October 17, 2017

“Remember the Sabbath day, to Keep it Holy.”

tc-fourA few weeks ago I was killing some time with my brothers before heading over to a friends church we often attend Sunday evenings when I got a text from my boss. He asked me if I was willing and able to come in and work for a couple of hours that day. I knew I didn’t have to and he certainly wouldn’t be upset if I didn’t; to be honest I love my job and wouldn’t have mind actually doing the work. We were already ready for church and out of the house, but I would still have been able to go to work if I was willing to. In that instance in just a small way I was tested and reaffirmed of my conviction that I cannot and should not work on the Lord’s Day.

“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.  Six days you shall labor, and do all your work,  but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the  Lord  your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates.  For in six days the  Lord  made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the  Lord  blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.” -Exodus 20:8-11

I think that the shorter catechism has defined and captured what my thoughts are on the Lord’s Day very well. Here are questions from the catechism that are relevant to this topic.

Shorter Catechism Questions 58, 60-62

Q. 58. What is required in the fourth commandment?
A. The fourth commandment requireth the keeping holy to God such set times as he hath appointed in his word; expressly one whole day in seven, to be a holy sabbath to himself.

Q. 60. How is the sabbath to be sanctified?
A. The sabbath is to be sanctified by a holy resting all that day, even from such worldly employments and recreations as are lawful on other days; and spending the whole time in the public and private exercises of God’s worship, except so much as is to be taken up in the works of necessity and mercy.

Q. 61. What is forbidden in the fourth commandment?
A. The fourth commandment forbiddeth the omission or careless performance of the duties required, and the profaning the day by idleness, or doing that which is in itself sinful, or by unnecessary thoughts, words or works, about our worldly employments or recreations.

Q. 62. What are the reasons annexed to the fourth commandment?
A. The reasons annexed to the fourth commandment are, God’s allowing us six days of the week for our own employments, his challenging a special propriety in the seventh, his own example, and his blessing the sabbath day.

The strongest reasons why I don’t believe I should work on the Lord’s Day is because God has made the sabbath holy (set apart) and a day to worship him both publicly and privately.  I don’t believe I should be involved in my regular weekly duties -unless it is absolutely necessary and out of mercy- but be focused on the Lord.

When I told my Dad about my thoughts on this he said if I am going to believe something I need to always stand by my convictions. He shared a verse from Psalm 15 that he had read: “in whose eyes a vile person is despised, but who honors those who fear the Lord; who swears to his own hurt and does not change;” That means if a person says that are going to do something (or has a conviction about something) they will stand by it, even if it means they suffer misfortune for their decision. This is one things that I had thought about and was convicted of in the past, but has become something that I have been really thinking about the last few weeks. I am convicted that I should not work on the Lord’s Day and that is something I will stand by (by God’s grace), as the verse says, to my own hurt. I hope this is an encouragement to you and gives you something to think about! Please share your thoughts on working on the Sundays or any questions you may have.

Bearing Christ’s Image

Romans 12:1-2

Romans 12:1-2

Hi everyone! I hope you had a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! For my first post of this year I wanted to write about how we as Christians are to be image bearers of Christ. When people look at us and our lives they should in us a reflection of Christ and his characteristics in us. I’ll give you a very practical example of this.

A couple weeks ago two of my brothers and I went into a convenient store by ourselves. When we were paying the clerk asked us who our parents were. I told her and she said she knew them and that she asked because Andrew looked like my dad. Because of Andrew’s resemblance to my dad she knew whose family we were a part of. It should be the same way with Christ. People should see us and know we are a Christian because we bear the characteristic of our Savior.

I pray that this year we might be more conformed to the image of Christ so that those in this world might look at us and say, “They are a Christian. They bear the characteristics of Jesus Christ.”  I hope this is your desire for this year! I believe Romans 12:1-2 would be good for every Christian to meditate on daily.

“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” -Romans 12:1-2

Disappointment and The Presence of God

     I’ll admit, I was disappointed. I mean, my Christian life wasn’t supposed to be this way, was it? Here I was, sixteen years old and I had been a Christian for almost a year. I didn’t feel that I had much to show for it. Yeah, I had a (mostly) regular Bible study time, and I prayed whenever I thought about it. But there was little vitality to my personal relationship with Christ. What was I missing? If this was all there was, I was utterly disappointed.

Christian bookstores today are full of books with depressing titles such as “Where is God?” “When God feels distant,” and “Deserted by God?” Modern writers and evangelists spend an inordinate amount of time helping young Christians to cope with the disappointment, disillusionment, and depression that seem to go hand in hand with following Christ these days. Songs such as “I still haven’t found what I’m looking for” are sung more often in churches today because people just can’t relate to the joyful choruses of the old hymns.

I thought I might have found the solution to my problems. God spoke to my heart through several scripture passages. It seems God is interested in an intimate relationship with us as well.

“But from there you will seek the Lord your God and you will find him, if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul.”(Deuteronomy 4:29)
“I love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently find me.” (Proverbs 8:17)
“You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 19:13)
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” (Matthew 7:7)

The answers lie in these passages. If we as His children desire His presence, His manifest mercies, His blessings on our lives, and true and lasting joy, this is how we receive them; if we search after Him with all our heart and soul, if we seek Him diligently, if we ask, seek, and knock. These passages are not just talking about salvation–they are promises for believers. If you desire more of God (and you should), this is how you get it.

“Alright,” I reasoned, “Now I know the solution to what has been plaguing me for months. I just have to seek Him.” So I tried to seek Him, without really knowing what “seeking” meant. I thought if I increased my prayer time and tried to behave more godly, that would do the trick. I knew I wanted more of God. My resolve would quickly fade within a week, and I would find myself frustrated and trying to live life on my own terms again. A few weeks later I would be sick of myself and my sin, and I would try and make new resolutions and promises. “THIS time,” I said, “I will search until I find Him.”

I had good intentions, but I was like an arrow fire in no particular direction. I would not hit the target because I wasn’t sure exactly what I was aiming for. God brought a particular message into my life about that time. I loved Paul Washer. I listened to him more than any other preacher or evangelist (and still do). I found his testimony on sermonaudio.com, A Liar and A Coward. I would encourage anyone to listen to it. The first half was very inspiring. It was about his own personal life in sin and then his conversion to Christ as a young man. But the second half of the message was about His journey in seeking the Lord, and it turned my life upside-down. Let me quote at length from his own words;

 

     “For some reason, a few years after my conversion, God began to work in me a prayer life that I have never been able to duplicate since. It started out an hour a day, then two, sometimes three hours a day…And I know this sounds almost crazy to you, but I decided I would either know God or die. Now I was a Christian. I knew God. I was born again. But there was this thing that I could know Him, and that His power could be a reality in my life. And I would go into my closet and say, “I’m not going to come out until God meets with me”–and I didn’t even know what that meant–“until God meets with me, or I die.” I feel asleep fifteen minutes later and my roommates came in about three hours later and found me asleep in the closet. They thought I had totally lost my mind. So I began to set an alarm clock. Every fifteen minutes…And so the alarm would go off, it would wake me up, and I would set it and start praying again. For months all I prayed was this; “Lord, it’s been 47 days now, and you still have not come. You said if I sought you, I would find you.” And then, “Lord, it’s been 93 days”. And all I would do is sit there and go, “I’m waiting. I am not leaving.” And I would just sit there.
     “Everybody went on…some kind of college retreat that spring. I’ll never forget that. And the Lord wanted me to go into the hill country, away in West Texas. I went out there for three, three and a half days, and if someone had seen me they would have called the authorities. I’m up on top of a hill. I had gotten to the point where I was throwing rocks as high as I can into the sky saying, “Did that hit the door? Did that hit the gate? Did you hear me? I’m still here! Where are you? Where is the Lord God of Elijah?”
     “I went back to school. And one night, I was crying out to God. I didn’t know anything about prayer. I had still been a christian for only about a year or so. Crying out to God, “I’m still here.” I waited there three hours just saying, “Still here. Here I am. Still here.” And all of the sudden I just cried out, “Father, please.”
     “Now, some of you are going to disagree with me. I don’t care. But at that moment, God came into that place in such a way that I was thrown down to the ground. And I don’t know how many hours I laid there in a fetal position, covering my head with my arms, thinking that I had somehow either blasphemed or He was sick and tired of what I was doing. I was so afraid, I laid there and I couldn’t control my body. I was convinced that there were firetrucks and police and everything outside of my apartment complex because there was probably some fire coming down from heaven. And after I don’t know how many hours, I was filled with such joy. And my mouth shot open, and it was like a book of psalms shot out of my mouth…And everything changed from that day…I can tell you honestly that the presence of God is more real to me right now than the presence of all of you put together…God is a supernatural God.”

Another woman I knew of had also experienced the presence of God. She had been a young believer as well, fed up with the compromise in her Christian life. She began to seek God earnestly, giving up anything and everything that distracted her from that goal. God was merciful to her as well, and she found Him. In her own words, “We serve a God who, when His people seek Him, He lets them find Him.”

Neither of these believers are charismatic or miracle-seekers. They are both solid, Reformed Christians, well grounded in the Word. What they experienced was in no way a “second work of grace” or “baptism of the holy spirit” or anything like that. I want what they have. We were made for God. We will never be happy anywhere else but in His presence. When Christ died, the curtain in the temple separating the throne of God from the people was torn in two. We will never be more joyful than when we are doing exactly what we were designed to do–glorifying Him. And, as John Piper’s most famous quote goes, “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.”

I challenge you to begin seeking the Lord today. Seek Him with the desire to know Him even more fully than you do now. When you lose yourself in Him, everything else will fall into place. Don’t just read books, don’t just listen to sermons, don’t just talk to people who knew somebody who knew somebody who knew somebody who knew God. Really experience Him for yourself. Read the words God has written about Himself. Commune with the God who created you. And in everything, desire to know more of Him. It’s what you will spend all of eternity doing, my dear brother or sister in the Lord.

In Christ,
Elizabeth

“All Things Work Together for Good…”

Romans 8:28

Christian, does it ever seem that things going on in your life aren’t going on for your good? The Bible says in Romans 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God.” But how can that be? How can things like the death of a close family member, losing one’s job, or developing a serious illness be for the good of the Christian? Many Christians today have the wrong definition of good. When Paul in Romans 8 talked about “good,” he was not talking about our comfort, health, or wealth. For the believer good means to be made like Christ and in the process accomplish the plans God has for us as well as for others. So when the Christian loses a close family member God often uses that situation to teach the believer certain truths, to refine him, or to draw him closer to Himself. The apostle Paul was no stranger to hardship and endured stoning, imprisonment, and rejection which would not seem to be for his good, but they were. Paul was imprisoned in Philipi and that is where the Philippian jailer was converted. In prison Paul was also able to write to the churches that he was not able to visit as well as spend more time in prayer for them. God used Paul while he was in prison and Paul knew God had a purpose for him there. From prison Paul was instrumental in the Gospel going throughout the world. So when you are in a trial wondering how it could possibly be for your good, remember God uses it to accomplish his will and to make you more like Christ.

The Power of Communication – A Call for Bold Christians

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Speak Out!

Hey everyone! Well, as expected after returning home from Summit there are so many topics that I could and want to write about. Things that I learned at Summit or things I have become aware of since coming home. I hope to write them all eventually but will deal with just one today! In this post, I want to talk about the power of communication.

Have you ever wondered why it is that those who are the minorities in the United States such as atheists or supporters of homosexuality are able to get their agendas passed and completed? Have you ever wondered why the Christian values that you believe in that used to be promoted in our culture are disappearing and are often looked down on? I believe the reason for this is that Christians are not standing up and speaking out for what they believe in and are not proclaiming the truth of the scripture. While at the same time these other groups who represent a small portion of Americans loudly proclaim what they stand for -whether it be for pro-choice, for the legalization of marriage of a couple of the same sex or whatever it be- and cause change toward their goals because they are the only ones heard and they are heard loud and clear. What we need to do as Christians is to be bold and have courage to stand up for what we believe in. Our boldness as Christians to proclaim what is right and true does not come from the facts that we have a right to say what we think in this country or we are passionate about what we are sharing. Our boldness comes from the fact that when we speak up with the truth claims of God we know we have a God who is sovereign and who uses His truth to change the hearts on men. Those who would make claims apart from what God has said in His word do not have the power of God behind them.

Some might say, “It won’t matter if I speak out anyway. It won’t make any difference!” If standing up for and speaking out for what you believe in does not have any affect then why is it that speech has ever been restricted in any nation? Why was free speech censored under the Nazi Germany? I saw one website that answered the question like this, “The aim of censorship under the Nazi regime was simple: to reinforce Nazi power and to suppress opposing  viewpoints and information.” If the people have no power to speak out against something they have no power to prevent or change it.  If we do not speak out against evil when we are permitted to we are not better than those who did not speak because they were forbidden to.

I want to encourage you, that as we where we have the right to free speech to exercise that right. I am getting tired of hearing Christians today bemoaning the state of our country but do nothing to change it! They sit at home and watch the news and just hope Jesus comes back soon. Stand up against the evils in our nation and tell people the truth of the gospel. Our desire in confronting evil is not for political or that through speaking the gospel people would come to know Jesus Christ as their savior for “the gospel is the power of God unto Salvation.” (Romans 1:16) As we proclaim the truth of God’s Word we do so in love desiring to see souls saved. Christian, realize that being a child of God He will strengthen you and be with you. Speak boldly, speak the truth, and speak it in love.

A few related verses are:

  • “Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” -Deuteronomy 31:6
  • “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,” -Psalm 46:1-2
  • “The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” -Psalm 27:1
  • “fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Behold, all who are incensed against you shall be put to shame and confounded; those who strive against you shall be as nothing and shall perish. You shall seek those who contend with you, but you shall not find them; those who war against you shall be as nothing at all. For I, the LORD your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Fear not, I am the one who helps you.'” -Isaiah 41:10-13
  • “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.” -Ephesians 6:10

My Experience at Summit’s Worldview Camp

Summit Graduation 2012

Hey everyone! I wanted to take some time today to share with you about Summit Ministries Worldview camp that I attended for two weeks. My time at Summit was probably the most important two weeks of my life. It was a great blessing to me and I hope as I share some of the things I learned It is a blessing to you as well!

I got home a week from Saturday (July 28th) from spending two weeks with 280 other students at Summit at Bryan College in Dayton, Tennessee. At Summit I spent a total of 55 hours in lectures and open forums (Q&A with the speakers.) That is not even counting the hour of small group time I had every night.

For those of you who are not familiar with Summit according to their website Summit is “a Student Worldview Conference that is an intensive two week retreat designed to teach students how to analyze the various ideas that are currently competing for their hearts and minds.” Summit has been around for 50 years and today is viewed as one of the largest leaders in training and and equipping Christians in the areas of apologetics, worldview analysis, and social engagement. Summit has ten two-week conferences every year at various locations around the country. Their  locations include: Bryan College in Dayton Tennessee, Cedarville University in Cedarville Ohio, Liberty University in Lynchburg Virginia as well as at their headquarters in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Over 2,000 students graduate from Summit every year.    ___________________________________________________________________________________________________

Me Sharing about Summit with my Church

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At Summit we had a total of 21 speakers, all of whom were fantastic! Some of the speakers that you may recognize include: John Stonestreet, Sean McDowell, Dr. Del Tackett, Scott Klusendorf, Dr. Jeff Myers, Dr. Ken Turner and Alex McFarland to name a few. At Summit it is hard to pick a favorite speaker because they are all so good! Most people at camp could choose their top three or top five but not a single person. My top five would probably be:

  • John Stonestreet- Is a speaker, writer, cultural commentator and collaborator on worldview initiatives. Mr. Stonestreet is also the host of The Point, a daily national radio program.  He has also worked with Summit ministries a the Chuck Colson Center for years.
  • Scott Klusendorf- Is the president of Life Training Institute and travels the United States and Canada training pro-life advocates to defend their views. He has also author of Pro-Life 101 and The Case for Life.
  • Dr. Ken Turner- Is the Professor of Bible at Bryan College
  • Dr. Del Tackett- Is the teacher of the Truth Project, he has recently wrote and co-hosted the television series Cross Examine which presents biblical worldview teaching through the use of real-life stories and is the executive Vice President of Focus on the Family.
  • Dr. Jeff Myers-Is the President of Summit Ministries. He has appeared on Fox News and other media programs. Dr. Myers has been described as being a fresh voice offering humor and insight from a Christian worldview.

There were numerous things that I learned at Summit that I could share with you but there were three main things that I thought I would share with you.

John Stonestreet and Me

One of the things that I learned at Summit that really stuck out to me was in our very first session with John Stonestreet. In his first session Mr. Stonestreet made the statement that, “No information is neutral; information has ideas” and also, “Every cultural expression communicates worldview ideas.” This was a big things because as he pointed out, everyone has a worldview, whether they know it or not, and we need to be careful to evaluate the worldviews (information and ideas) we are taking in because if we don”t we will accept whatever worldviews are communicated to us through things like movies, tv shows, books, music, etc.

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Scott Klusendorf

The second thing that really stood out to me were in Scott Klusendorf’s sessions on pro-life. He did not present the defence of the life of the unborn child by trying to prove abortion is wrong from the Bible because a non-christian would have no reason to listen anyway. Instead he rests his case on two points: What is the unborn? and What makes humans valuable? Is or is not the unborn human? He argues that if the unborn are not human than we can abort it and it is no different than pulling a tooth, but if it is the unborn is human we can not. He went on later to give us three questions to help in a discussion with someone about abortion. They are: 1. What did you mean by that? 2. How did you come to that conclusion? 3. Have you considered the implications of your view? Mr. Klusendorf told us that there were three purposes with these questions: 1. To gather information so you can accurately understand your critic’s view. 2.To reverse the burden of prof to the other person. 3. To show your critic must pay to high a price to hold his view. Mr. Klusendorf’s sessions were extremely helpful and practical in understanding and defending the pro-life position.

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Me and Dr. Ken Turner

The final thing I want to share with you was a big theme throughout many of our sessions and it was the idea of the metanarrative, the big picture of the Bible. Also, along those lines was knowing how we should read the Bible. Dr. Ken Turner dealt with these topics in multiple sessions. Dr. Turner dealt with understanding the metanarratice of the Bible being the: Creation, Fall, and Redemption and how we are to see this big picture throughout the Bible. He also dealt with how to read the Bible. Dr. Turner’s points on how to read the Bible were:

  • That the Bible was meant to be read in large portions at a time.
  • To be committed to the authorial intent (authors  original intent)
  • To understand the historical contest of a passage (details, occasion/purpose)
  • The literary context (structure, genre)
  • The theological context
  • Read the parts in light of the whole.

My time at Summit was probably the most important two weeks of my life. It helped me to better understand the beliefs and worldviews I will be and am being faced with. It helped me to understand how to engage with someone who has different beliefs than I do on multiple topics as well as having met some awesome people who I hope to know for the rest of my life. There have already been a few times where I have heard something after getting home and been like, yep we talked about that at Summit and discussed what the ideas and worldview behind that are. If you are able to go to Summit let me encourage you to do it. I think It would amazing if every young adult could go to Summit because I think it is so important that they understand what they will face in the world and are prepared to engage the world for Christ.

If you have any questions about Summit or anything I have mentioned above comment below or send me a message from my contact page! I hope this was an encouragement to you!

 

Faith in Testing, Provision in Lack

Maranatha Logo

The following is a paper I wrote for school. It is a true story and I hope it is an encouragement to your faith!

I  could not believe that someone would steal the much needed funds from our Christian school! In May of 2009 when I was in eighth grade my school, Maranatha Christian Academy, was broken into and the safe containing twelve thousand dollars was 4 stolen; that money was supposed to go to pay the teachers’ end of the year salaries. Through the godly example of Pastor Bell, my principle, and witnessing first hand the provision of God I learned two very important things. First, how I should be thankful and trust God in every situation and secondly that God can and does provide for the needs of His people.

 As mom pulled into the school to drop my brothers and I off at on that early Monday morning I noticed a couple of police cars in the parking lot. That was unusual and wondered what the police would be doing there. As I walked to the lunch room I saw police tape roping off the computer lab down the hall. I joined my friends and our discussion revolved around what had possibly occurred.

Then, suddenly, the bell rang dismissing my classmates and I to our homeroom class. I took my seat in one of the front row desks and wondered what my teacher, Mrs. Tipton, was going to tell us about what had happened at the school. Mrs. Tipton crossed the classroom to the yellow wooden podium in front of the class; in a clear, serious voice she informed us that someone had broken into the school over the weekend and stole nearly twelve thousand dollars out of the school office. Later, I learned that the person had come in through an unlocked window in the computer lab, had broken in one of the office doors and stole the safe from the office. As we were dismissed to our next class we all could not believe that such a thing had happened to our school.

When I heard that Pastor Bell’s first response to the theft had been to pray a prayer of thanksgiving and to give the whole situation over to God I was surprised, but encouraged to see his faith and trust in God. Furthermore, I was encouraged when Pastor Bell in an interview with a local newspaper said “This instance is not just about a safe … God will use that person for his glory. This is the Lord’s doings. It’s marvelous in our eyes. We’re going to thank him. It’s his safe. It’s his money. It’s his school that sits up on this little hill and we’re going to trust him.” Even in such a desperate time for the school, teachers, and students Pastor Bell remarked to my Bible class that week that he was not angry with the person who had done this but rather was praying for whoever it was that God would change their heart. As I would go throughout my school day, Pastor Bell would be totally at peace, his faith placed firmly in Christ and seeing that helped to strengthen, grow and encourage my own faith.

Before long word got out about the burglary and newspapers and news channels were at the school interviewing teachers, administrators, students and parents about what happened. As the story made its way online and onto multiple television news stations calls began  flooding in with people wanting to know how they could help. The community was coming together to help our little school in need.

Amazingly, less than a week after the twelve thousand dollars was stolen God provided and began to restore back to the school almost two times what had been lost! As I waited in the office the Tuesday after the theft waiting to go somewhere after school I saw and heard God working marvelously to provide for the school. As I sat in one of three green vinyl chairs available in the front office I heard the secretary on the phone with someone wanting to donate to the school. Also, a person came into the office with a donation to help, but it did not stop there!

During most of the school day Pastor Bell had not been at the school. He had gone to Atlanta to meet with a businessman who had called him wanting to meet. He arrived back a little after school let out at three fifteen. He was on the telephone for a while but when he hung up I walked to his office door and saw tears flowing down his face. For a second I was concerned about whether everything was okay. Pastor Bell relieved my concerns saying that everything was okay and that he had just been overwhelmed by God’s goodness and provision. He told me how amazing God was and how He had worked. He told me about donations coming in and the businessman he had met with who gave him a ten thousand dollar donation for the school. Seeing and hearing first hand of God’s provision and Him restoring back two times what had been stolen had a tremendous impact on me and made me start crying there in his office. All I could respond with in absolute amazement was, “God is so good.” and “Praise God!” God was doing something amazing that no one could have imagined!

As Pastor Bell reflected later, he said, “I think as things developed throughout the day, what blew my mind was just how much people were saying, ‘OK, how can we help?’ “They said, ‘In this day of bailouts and people not recognizing their responsibility, you committed to help these families and stick to it and we want to help you.’” The community came together and gave over two times what had been stolen from the school. God provided and showed us how powerful he is and that he takes care of his people.

Because God allowed me to witness thankfulness in trial and His provision in He showed me how I should be thankful and trust Him in every situations and to know that He can and does provide for His people, often in ways not expected. When trials and hardships come my way I know that I am to be thankful because God is working in the situation to accomplish His goals. In future trials I can have confidence that God will take care of me because His word tells me so, but also because I have witnessed His provision and care for those who have put their trust in Him.

Are There Breeches In Your Wall?

Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.  Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. –2 Peter 5:8-9

In ancient times, cities were fortified to protect against attacks from the surrounding enemies. Some cities, such as the Byzantine capital of Constantinople, had incredibly thick walls, built with ingenious craftsmanship and skill. Others had  short, brittle walls that could collapse under April showers. If you had live two-thousand years ago, you would realize the absolute necessity of such protection. There were always enemies who sought to capture various small towns. There were the Huns from the East, the Vikings from the West, or the Assyrians from the North, as is the case in the story revealed in the book of Nehemiah.

In Nehemiah 1:3 we read that the city of Jerusalem was in serious danger. “The remnant there in the province who had survived the xile is in great trouble and shame. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates are destroyed by fire”. What’s worse is that the city is now vulnerable. It is practically welcoming the enemy in. If the Assyrians were to attack, Jerusalem would have no practical defense.

Our spiritual lives are a lot like walled cities. Within our walls are held the things that are most precious to us; our loves, our theology, our faith, our hope. Imagine if your walls were brittle or broken down, and the enemy could have that type of access inside? No, He could not ever take away your salvation. Yes, God is greater than Satan. Yes, Satan will be defeated in the end. But we as Christians cannot put down our swords and say that Christ has left us nothing to do.

This enemy is strong; he’s stronger than we are. He’s deceptive; he has had seven-thousand years of practice, after all. His goal now is to tear you down, to so twist our intellect that what lose all reason. Allow me to share some quotes that have really drive this home for me and caused me to think;

“The focus of Satan’s efforts is always the same: to deceive us into believing that the passing pleasures of sin are more satisfying than obedience.” –Sam Storms
“It grieves me to say this, but the primary reason people are in bondage to sin is because people are bored with God. One of Satan’s most effective tactics is to convince us that God is a drag.” –Sam Storms
“It strikes some as odd to say that Satan has a strategy. They mistakenly conclude that because our Enemy is sinful he must be equally stupid. Such reasoning has been the downfall of many in the body of Christ. He does not act haphazardly or without a goal in view.” –Sam Storms [Read more…]

Making Your Life Count for Eternity

Hey everyone! I wanted to write on the topic of “Making Your Life Count for Eternity.”I recently heard a dear friend of my family preach on this and wanted to share some thoughts. One of the first questions a person would think of when hearing this topic would be, “How do I go about not wasting my life?”. Well, let’s see!

The beginning of a person’s life counting for eternity is his salvation. By God’s grace when He saves a man He saves a him from living a life separated from God and living for things that have no eternal value. To do so is ultimately a waste.

The Lord says in Luke, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” A person living for eternity must forsake sin and carry his cross. But, Christians shouldn’t think that they are losing anything when they deny themselves, but rather as Don Currin put it, we are gaining unsearchable riches, joy and happiness in Christ. [Read more…]

Thoughts on Prayer

Do you pray?

I don’t mean, do you say your prayers; I mean, do you pray? The two are very different. And I don’t mean, do you pray before you go to sleep at night, or when you wake up in the morning; I mean, do you pray at all times?

I get the feeling that God is trying to teach me something about prayer. My pastor spoke a lot about prayer this Sunday. Much of my Bible reading has been on prayer lately. My C.H. Spurgeon reading has had a lot to do with prayer. I’ve listened to a dozen sermons on prayer in the last couple of weeks. Clearly, God is teaching me about prayer. While I don’t pretend to know nearly everything about it, or claim to be a prayer warrior, I would nevertheless like to share with you a handful of the life-lessons that I am learning. I hope they will bless you as they have blessed me.

First, I would like to notice The Time Set-Apart and Devoted to Prayer in a given day. I am a firm believer in having prayer times in the early morning. I hate missing that time of communion with God. It sets my day off on the wrong tracks. When I begin my day in the shadow of His throne, I find that I have a greater tendency to linger there throughout the remainder of the day. I would like to share with you some quotes on this matter by several of my favorite puritans and other Reformed men;

“If I fail to spend two hours in prayer each morning, the devil gets the victory through the day. I have so much business I cannot get on without spending three hours daily in prayer.” ~Martin Luther

“Don’t pray when you feel like it. Have an appointment with the Lord and keep it. A man is powerful on his knees.” ~Corrie Ten Boom

“The men who have done the most for God in this world have been early on their knees. He who fritters away the early morning, its opportunity and freshness, in other pursuits than seeking God will make poor headway seeking Him the rest of the day. If God is not first in our thoughts and efforts in the morning, He will be in the last place the remainder of the day.” ~E.M. Bounds [Read more…]