Sunday, August 28, 2011

Four Great Lessons from Isaiah Chapter 3

I received the following message from Pastor Zac Poonen this week and thought I would share it.

Four Great Lessons

We can learn four great lessons from chapter three of Isaiah.

1. Isaiah 3:10,11 assures the righteous that it will finally go well with them and warns the wicked that things will finally go badly for them. Although this may not appear to be so immediately, it will be so finally.

2. Isaiah 3:12 speaks of the pathetic state of the people of Israel. They were going astray because their leaders were immature (“children”) and effeminate (“women”). This, unfortunately, is true of much of today’s Christian leadership as well. Immature leaders are those who value the temporal things of earth more than the things of eternity. Effeminate leaders are those who are not warriors for the Lord - just as women are not usually found on the battlefield but at home. Such leaders are not bold to fight for the truth or to rebuke sin in the church - especially when sin is found among the rich. If you are called to be a leader, determine that you will always live for the things of eternity and be ready at all times to fight the Lord’s battles.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Checking In

I am (literally) months behind in responding to emails and maybe some comments.  While I try to be responsive, it has been a busy summer and the schedule is not letting up with the school year now starting.  If you have written, please excuse the delay.  I will be attempting to catch-up over the next month in order to address all inquiries.

In the meantime, you might find the following article interesting about the recent earthquakes on the Northeast side of the United States:  The Sixth Seal - The Great Earthquake.  

While I believe the signs Jesus gives us for identifying the end times are often symbolic, literal, and spiritual, I pray that these signs of the times will awaken those Christians who may have been lulled to sleep by the cares of this life.

Come Lord Jesus, Come!

"See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven: Whose voice then shook the earth: but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven. And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain." Hebrews 12:25-27

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

What is the Purpose of "Ministry"?

The following article from The School of Christ was sent to me this morning and I am sharing it here in case it also edifies others.

Before getting into the article however, I must share that there is a movement in the churchworld to get others out of what is called the "institutionalized church" (IC).  While I completely agree that the experience of false religion can be a deceiving counterfeit for actual relationship with the Lord, the problem itself is not organized church.

In fact, the religious spirit of deception, legalism, bondage, compromise, and control exists primarily in the hearts of men.  So when such leave the "IC", they simply take that same defiling spirit with them, starting up or joining "ministries" which bear the same deadly trademarks of that which they claim to fight against; binding people to themselves as if allegiance & loyalty to them defines one's relationship with Christ.

God has ordained fellowship amongst the brethren as an important part of our growth and maturation in the faith.  It is an opportunity to encourage, refresh, and strengthen each other in the Lord.  We should never let a few bad seeds (or even many) cause us to reject the whole counsel of God in this area.  If God indicates that it is important for the saints to gather together, then it is (Acts 2:42; Hebrews 10:25; I Thessalonians 5:11).

Whether you are part of an organized church, a home church, a bible study group, or are currently seeking Godly fellowship, we each remain responsible for making our own calling and election sure.  True freedom in Christ is only experienced because we are fully and completely committed to being attached to Him first.  It is only then that we can join in fellowship with others without feeling as if such community threatens our identity in Christ.

There are Babylonian systems and ministers set-up to keep you from Christ.  However, following Him first and submitting to His guidance will keep you wise, even about those.  If we are to truly be free, we must be free within.  There is nothing from outside of a man which defiles him.

With that said, it is important to understand what the standards are for Godly ministry and ensure that we are equipped to recognize and participate in such.  Remember, we are the let's start being the church and not just have it be a verbal confession.  God gives us countless opportunities to minister to others each day.  If our hearts are yielded to Him, we will not let them be wasted.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Favored by God

Seeing as God Sees

"Leah was tender eyed; but Rachel was beautiful and well favoured." Genesis 29:17

When Jacob went to his mother's kin to find a wife, he fell in love with Rachel.  Scripture indicates that this was because Rachel was more beautiful in her appearance than her older sister Leah. 

As it turns out, Jacob was tricked by his uncle Laban into marrying both Leah & Rachel.  God then notices that - in Jacob's eyes - Leah was hated and Rachel was loved (Genesis 29:30-31).

Jacob placed more value on that which was outwardly pleasing and attractive.  It soon becomes apparent however, that Rachel's outer beauty only went so deep.

Monday, August 8, 2011

REPENT and Believe

Preach the REAL Gospel

"Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel." Mark 1:14-15

What is the Gospel message?  Ask that question and you are bound to get a variety of answers.  However, Jesus - and His disciples - all seemed pretty sure what the Gospel is and how it should be preached.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Flee Fornication

Keeping the Marriage Bed Holy

"Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge." Hebrews 13:4

The above verse has been so abused that it is used to give a virtual "anything goes" approach to sex between married couples. It is often misinterpreted to read, "Everything sexual between married people is okay, but any sex between people who are unmarried is forbidden."

Yet, the distinction that this verse is dealing with married vs. unmarried individuals is a false one.  Does not adultery involve someone who is married?  Sure, they are not married to the person with whom they are committing adultery, but they are in a marital relationship.  The command against being an "adulterer" is relevant for the married person; so also is the command against being a "whoremonger".