Friday, February 12, 2016

Who's the Fool?

 Jim Elliott once said, "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose." We don’t own a home or a new car or fancy furniture. And if need be I would give up everything that we have here on earth in order to serve God and follow Christ. I know that one day in eternity it would be worth it all. I wrote this little verse during my devotion today to try and express my commitment to this principle.

No home, no car, no earthly treasure,
Could ever give to me the pleasure;
That comes from what God may give.
There is no reason to be on this earth,
Nothing can be compared to this great worth;
Than giving all for God while here I live.

(Gregg Metcalf)

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Free or Dead?

To live for anything else but God leads to breakdown and decay. When a fish leaves the water, which he was built for, he is not free, but dead. Worshiping other things...cannot offer satisfaction, because they were never meant to be 'gods.' They were never meant to replace God. (Tim Keller)

Happiness, Randy Alcorn, Tyndale House Publishers, 2015. p. 67

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

How do you know if you need more grace?

·        When God temporarily steps back into the shadows

·        When God sends the most unlovable person into your life

·        When temptation seems to have gotten the upper hand

·        When the Scriptures are no longer enjoyable

·        When the burden you are caring is heavier than

Everyone you know and everyone they know is in this situation. People need grace. People need more grace than they realize.

Martin Luther once said, “Grace is given to heal the spiritually sick, not to decorate spiritual heroes.”

In the spiritual world, just like the physical world we are completely dependent upon the Lord Jesus Christ. We need to recognize when these scenarios come upon us and without ceasing ask God to give us the grace that is needed to know that we need more grace.

Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of Grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in the time of need.” (Hebrews 12:16, ESV)

Now listen carefully…because this is incredibly important. Every one of us needs help. We are not God. We have needs. We have weaknesses. We have confusion. We have limitations of all kinds. We need help. (John Piper)

Most of us never realize at the time we most need extraordinary grace to go to God and ask God to make us aware of how much more grace we need to face our current situation.

Grace is available 24/7 – God’s grace is never disrupted!

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Thoughts on Counterfeit Religion

Contemplate on these thoughts on “counterfeit religion” on page 17 of Jonathan Edward’s preface to The Religious Affections:
It is by the mixture of counterfeit religion with true, not discerned and distinguished, that the devil has had his greatest advantage against the cause and kingdom of Christ, all along hitherto. It is by this means, principally, that he has prevailed against all revivings of religion that ever have been since the first founding of the Christian church.
By this, he hurt the cause of Christianity, in and after the apostolic age, much more than by all the persecutions of both Jews and Heathens. The apostles, in all their epistles, show themselves much more concerned at the former mischief, than the latter.
By this, Satan   prevailed against the reformation, began by Luther, Zwinglius, &c., to   put a stop to its progress, and bring it into disgrace; ten times more,  than by all those bloody, cruel, and before unheard of persecutions of   the Church of Rome.
By this, principally, has he prevailed against revivals of religion that have been in our nation since the reformation?
 By this he prevailed against New England, to quench the love and spoil the joy of her espousals, about a hundred years ago. And   I think, I have had opportunity enough to see plainly that by this the devil has prevailed against the late great revival of religion in New England, so happy and promising in its beginning.” [1]

[1] Jonathan Edwards, The Religious Affections, (Carlisle: The Banner  of Truth Trust, 2001), P. 17

Monday, February 8, 2016

Christians and Cremation

I was asked recently what I thought about cremation. I don’t get asked this question very much as of late. I took a few minutes to jot down my thoughts and sent them off in an email (humbled by the opportunity to weigh in on a very sensitive subject.) Without extensive study here are my thoughts. I hope they might be of interest and/or help to someone who might have or is currently thinking about this particular issue.

First, I don’t have a problem with cremation. I have yet to see any specific prohibitions in Scripture concerning this subject. I haven’t seen any veiled or implicit principles that might govern it. I think this issues falls under the “conscience” of a Spirit-filled and led believer.

Second, I am well aware that many “believers” in the past have associated the practice of cremation with demonic, tribal, heathen, or ritualistic practices that would be considered “ungodly.” Certainly unbelieving people and people groups have utilized cremation in relationship to one of these areas. This certainly is neither the motive nor reason for God-fearing born-again believers who have chosen this method of “handling the remains of a loved one.”

Thirdly, I truly think that cremation serves as a means of the decomposition process. After all, if left alone, our bodies return to “ashes” and all but “disappear.” When one is cremated the body is rendered to “ashes.”

Fourth, I do not think that our sovereign Lord in all of his majestic power and glory will have any problem “reassembling” those who have been cremated. After all, I don’t think God will have any more trouble resurrecting someone who has been cremated than someone who has been dismembered, run through a wood chipper, has been burned to a crisp, decomposed in the oceans or deserts. When it comes time for the immortal soul to be united with an eternal resurrected body, God will be able to handle it.

Fifth, I believe that the conscience and motives must be the guide. If the motives are clear and they do not violate biblical principles and one’s conscience is clear, and the act is done in faith, then I don’t have any biblical evidence that the Lord is more or less pleased with the practice. Remember you must be convinced in your own mind and be operating in faith or any act can be “sinful.” Take this issue before the Lord in fervent, honest, and intimate prayer. If God does not cause you to have unrest or a lack of peace then be settled in your conscience as you seek to honor God in all things including the question of cremation.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

How to be Right With God (Part 3)

SERMON               GM16-072

SERIES:              Renewal Through Romans: The Gospel Defined, Explained, and Applied

SETTING:          North Kelso Baptist Church

SERVICE:          Sunday AM (February 7th, 2016)

SUBTITLE:        How to Be Right with God – Part 3

SCRIPTURE:     Romans 3:22c-23

SUBJECT:          The Righteousness of God

SUMMARY:       The righteousness of God which cannot be obtained by merit comes to all men through faith in the atoning work of Jesus on the cross which fulfills the law of God.

SCHEME:           To enable my people to transcend present ecclesiastical understanding of righteousness by appreciating God’s benefits of the atoning work of Christ on the cross