God Lifts the Needy

“[The LORD] raises up the poor from the dust; he lifts the needy from the ash heap to make them sit with princes and inherit a seat of honor” ~ 1 Samuel 2:8.

As I read this prayer of Hannah this morning, I thought how God did this very thing for me. At times, growing up, we were very poor. There were some winters we couldn’t afford heat, and at least once, we were homeless for a time. During those days, we attended church occasionally but the extent of my prayers were for God to get us out of trouble or protect us, and I never read my Bible … at least not regularly. I am thankful that God looked down and saw how needy we were, and He decided that He could use me anyway.

I was a teenager when my mom truly came to know the Lord. Although I grew up in church, we didn’t really have relationship with God prior to that time. After that, I could not deny the peace that filled Mom, such as I had never seen in her before. Our lives radically changed and, although at the time, I wasn’t sure I liked the changes, they ended up being for the better, and God continued to call out to me until I decided to follow Him as well. That was over 20 years ago now, and I can truly say that I don’t regret one mile I’ve traveled for the Lord. This world is getting scarier every day and yet I still hope God gives me many more years to serve Him. When He has finished using me, I will be very happy to go Home.

I’ve never sat with princes but I have had the opportunity to meet and interact with a number of Christian leaders, and I have found that they are just people like you and me. They still have trials and struggles, joys and heartaches. They may be better known than you and me but they are merely people who have said “Yes” to Jesus. A willing heart is what He is searching for. You don’t need to be smart, well versed, good looking, or anything else. If you are willing to surrender your whole life to the Lord, He can and will use you. You may not see your rewards on earth but Revelation 2:10 tells us that, if we are faithful to the end, we will receive the crown of life.

Hope in God

If you are needy today, rest assured that God has not forgotten you. He hears your cries. Our timing is not His timing, and the things we think we need are not always what we do, in fact, need but He will not forsake you.

If you are like me and you remember a time when you were needy and God rescued you, take time to thank Him again. I can’t praise Him enough for His faithfulness. All that I am and ever hope to be, I owe it all to Him. To God be the glory!

Rick Warren’s Roman Catholic Affinity

This video reveals the long standing intent and affinity of Rick Warren with Roman Catholics. This is nothing new since Rick Warren has been trying to unite Islam, Roman Catholicism, and Protestants for several years now. However, this video candidly reveals his judgment on major, doctrinal matters. At one point Rick Warren states, “…if you love Jesus, we are on the same team.” This, of course, is meant that if you profess to love Jesus we are on the same team, not if you are genuinely born again by the Spirit of God through faith alone. This kind of mixing of poisoned waters is dangerous! I love Roman Catholics. I love them so much I will tell them the truth of justification by faith alone through Christ’s finished work on the cross. According to Warren, though, we are on the same team. However, in order to be on the same team, we must all play by the same playbook. Roman Catholics clearly do not, and neither does Rick Warren.

Pray for his followers and pray for Rick Warren’s soul.

From the Pen of a Real President

One of our contributors, Fourpointer, posted this for Thanksgiving Day in 2008. I thought it would be appropriate to hear from the pen of a man who was truly a leader and commander-in-chief to this great country, unlike, sadly, what we have currently in office.

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Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me to “recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:”

Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enable to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.

And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand, at the city of New York, the 3d day of October, A.D. 1789.

Religion vs. God – LGBT issues

A recent article by the Huffington Post is doing its part to undermine the truth of Scripture. Entitled, “The Gender You Associate to God May Indicate How You Feel About Gay Marriage.”

The truth is that we have no right to assign a gender to God. He is God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who was equally God and equally man. If one wrongly assumes that God may be a woman to pacify the liberal and LGBT communities, then we have to wonder how long it will be before somebody rewrites the Bible to show that Jesus was actually a woman. You can take every page of Scripture and rewrite it to satisfy the lusts of the world, but it will never become truth. EVER!

LGBTBible

Read the differences between what leaders within major world religions have to say versus what God says.

Desmond Tutu, Anglican Archbishop Emeritus of South Africa – “I would not worship a God who is homophobic and that is how deeply I feel about this. I would refuse to go to a homophobic heaven. No, I would say sorry, I mean I would much rather go to the other place.”

Francis, Pope of the Roman Catholic Church – “Who am I to judge a gay person of goodwill who seeks the Lord? You can’t marginalize these people.”

Laura Geller, Jewish Rabbi - “Now I can invoke the power vested in me by the State of California and declare them married in accordance with the laws of the State of California and our Jewish faith. Now we are so much closer to the truth of their experience: a gay or lesbian Jewish wedding, like a Jewish heterosexual wedding, is a Jewish wedding pure and simple, the inheritance of every loving Jewish couple.”

Dalai Lama – Head Monk of Tibetan Buddhism – “If someone comes to me and asks whether it is okay or not, I will first ask if you have some religious vows to uphold. Then my next question is, What is your companion’s opinion? If you both agree, then I think I would say, if two males or two females voluntarily agree to have mutual satisfaction without further implication of harming others, then it is okay.”

Rev. Jesse Jackson – Religion of Civil Rights – Supports gay marriage and would perform a marriage of gay couples “if I was asked to.”

Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Anglican Church – “I mean I know plenty of gay couples whose relationships are an example to plenty of other people and that’s something that’s very important, I’m not saying that gay relationships are in some way, you know that the love that there is less than the love there is between straight couples, that would be a completely absurd thing to say.”

Well, that should be enough to show the apostasy and the lack of Biblical truth within every one of these religions. Now, what does God say about LGBT issues. Here are a few thoughts from GotQuestions.org.

“Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Cor. 6:9-10).

romans1

“In summary, Romans 1:18-31 deals with the fact that God has innately made Himself known to humanity, but He has been rejected and replaced by other objects of worship. Because of this, God has delivered two judgments: one of homosexual behavior and another of an immoral mind, each of which demonstrates His ‘abandonment’ wrath toward humanity’s rebellion.”

The truth is that ALL those who willfully remain in their sin stand condemned before God. It does not matter what kind of sin – homosexuality, lying, murder, lesbianism, cheating, pedophilia, hating, idolatry, bestiality. What matters is how far each person is from a holy, righteous God. When God saves the sinner, He CHANGES them and makes them a brand new creation in Christ. If you are a true believer, you will NOT go back with pleasure to your sin. To say God saved you to continue in your sin is to grossly misunderstand the Scriptures.

Final Score = God Wins, Religion Fails.

Persuasive Preaching

Persuasive Preaching Overstreet revised3 (7-19-14)

A review by Stuart Brogden

R. Larry Overstreet has subtitled this book, A Biblical and Practical Guide to the Effective Use of Persuasion, and in his prologue (page 4) makes the case that in order for preaching to be persuasive it must include a public invitation. We will see, in chapter 12, that Overstreet is not a disciple of Charles Finney – he warns about the abuse that has followed after Finney’s “new methods”, comparing persuasion with manipulation. What, then, does our author mean by the term “persuasive preaching?” He defines it at the end of chapter 1, page 14:

“(a) the process of preparing biblical, expository message using a persuasive pattern, and

(b) presenting them through verbal and nonverbal communication means

(c) to autonomous individuals who can be convicted and/or taught by God’s Holy Spirit,

(d) in order to alter or strengthen

(e) their attitudes and beliefs towards God, His Word, and other individuals,

(f) resulting in their lives being transformed into the image of Christ.”

While I would combine (c) with (b) and (e) with (d), the overall point he is making is one I think any pastor could embrace. What pastor would not want his people to be transformed by the renewing of their minds as a result of the Spirit working through his preaching?

The bulk of this book, chapters 3 – 11, is an extensive, technical argument in favor of persuasive speech, from the Bible and pagan perspectives – heavily footnoted. I found this part of the book ponderous and laborious; perhaps because I am already convinced that the Lord has shown us we are to be persuasive in our presentation of His Word, while not trusting in our ability to persuade men as an effective means of building His people up.

I think chapter 13, “The Holy Spirit in Preaching”, is the most important part of the book. Overstreet rightly points out that He is the originator of God’s Word (page 172), the revealer of God’s Word (page 172), the communicator (page 175), and the propagator of God’s Word (page 177). We are reminded that the Holy Spirit equips the preacher (180) and the listeners (181). These are excellent reminders and much needed in these days, as so many people have apparently latched on to the notion that preachers are the ones who do these things! Our author instructs us to not grieve or quench the Spirit, but walk in the Spirit, be filled with the Spirit, and in prayer to the Spirit (pages 184 – 191). If the book had ended here, it would have been fine. But Overstreet told us in the prologue that persuasive preaching must include an invitation – so the last chapter, 14, is on that topic.

Much of this last chapter presents the reader with the notion that chapter 13 was not for real – as men are presented as the change agents for “receiving Christ” and “committing themselves to full-time Christian service” (page 194). Overstreet acknowledges (195) that decisions are sometimes known only to God but tries to make the case for public invitations in order make them known to men. He quotes Faris D. Whitesell, who comes across as a Finney disciple: “Anything that helps us to carry out the principles and teaching of the Scriptures in a more effective and practical way is scriptural.” I cannot help but think of Eli’s children and wonder of Whitesell and Overstreet recall their doom.

As he pulls together his arguments in favor of public invitations within the local church, he draws on myriad passages of Scripture that show public invitations and exhortations being made without the local church. The invitations in the Bible are consistently “repent and believe!”, called out all men everywhere. Within the church, we see an intense struggle to stay faithful to the Word to equip the saints. Only once that I am aware of do we see unbelievers in the church – and they are not invited to the front. The focus from Paul is to be clear in the presentation of the Word of God, that the unbeliever might be convicted of truth (1 Cor 14:22 – 25).

While I am not in agreement with Overstreet’s premise – persuasive preaching does not have to end with a public invitation – I am encouraged by his counsel on the use and construction of the invitation:

Be Sensitive to Length

Be Clear in Appeal

Be Exact in Action

Be Loving in Presentation

Be Consistent with Message

Be Positive in Expectation

Be Earnest in Delivery

And he is wise in his warnings the problems one might face with the use of public invitations:

The Liability of Confusion

The Liability of Narrowness

The Liability of Weariness

The Liability of a “Canned” Invitation

The Liability of Unethical Behavior


The focus of this book is good – preachers ought to be persuasive in their preaching! Preachers ought to call men to repent and believe, to cast aside sin and press on with our eyes fixed on the Lord. But we find no biblical warrant for having a public invitation at the end of our sermons. I am thankful for men who understand the dangers of abusing the invitation system – though that abuse tends to be the model followed by most who use it. My prayer is that those who think it important would find in this book a sound argument for being sober and restrained in its practice, lest men think it’s the preacher upon whom all things depend.

King of Kings, Majesty

As we prepare for times of worship through the weekend, may our focus be solely on our King of Kings, He who alone is our Majesty. If you are attending somewhere that Christ and Him crucified is not where the attention of each person is directed, then you are in the wrong place.