28 February 2009

21 February 2009

How Deep

Listen to the words of this wonderful song about our Lord

Listen to My Prophet

Do we as Christians really want to hear what the Lord is saying to us? As I was going through my readings of Jeremiah, I came to the chapters of 41 to 44, and it was astounding to see the similarities of our present world to the world at the time in those chapters. We see the remnant of Judah asking Jeremiah to pray for them for this purpose: "that the LORD your God may show us the way we should go, and the thing that we should do." (Jer 42:3). Jeremiah, being the godly example for all of us, prays for these people for 10 days! And waits on the Lord for His direction for the remnant of Judah. Jeremiah proclaims the words of the Lord, but something happens as Jeremiah is speaking God's word. Remember the Lord is sovereign; the Lord knows the beginning and the end to all things; the Lord knows the hearts of mankind; He knew the people's heart and their request. Look what Jeremiah says "And I have this day declared it to you, but you have not obeyed the voice of the LORD your God in anything that he sent me to tell you. Now therefore know for a certainty that you shall die by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence in the place where you desire to go to live." (Jer 42:21-22). The Lord knew that they would not follow His instructions, because they already had their minds set on going to Egypt. But you ask yourself: didn't they want Jeremiah to seek the Lord and find out what the Lord wanted them to do? Yes! They did, but they didn't like the answer they were given from God's prophet, so they did what the natural man knows best: 'We will do what we want to do!' Isn't that the way in our postmodern world? Isn't that what the children are being taught in our schools? It's all about self esteem and the 'ME' generation. Just turn on the T.V. You will find millions of followers watching Oprah and her new age heresy, or American Idol contestants who say "this is all I know", when they really can't sing. We live in a generation where people don't want to hear the truth or speak the truth to others, thinking that this will upset someone. People would rather do what they want; it's all about what's 'right for you', and 'me'! See, in Jeremiah's day, the remnant didn't care about what the Lord had to say. Their minds were already made up before they came to Jeremiah with their plea. This present world is no different. We do what we want to do, we go where we want to go, we don't care about anybody else but ourselves. The nation of Judah was leaning on their own understanding. The Lord said they were serving false gods, burning incense in high places, and the Lord asks them a few questions, "And now thus says the LORD God of hosts, the God of Israel: Why do you commit this great evil against yourselves, to cut off from you man and woman, infant and child, from the midst of Judah, leaving you no remnant? Why do you provoke me to anger with the works of your hands, making offerings to other gods in the land of Egypt where you have come to live, so that you may be cut off and become a curse and a taunt among all the nations of the earth? Have you forgotten the evil of your fathers, the evil of the kings of Judah, the evil of their wives, your own evil, and the evil of your wives, which they committed in the land of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? They have not humbled themselves even to this day, nor have they feared, nor walked in my law and my statutes that I set before you and before your fathers. "Therefore thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Behold, I will set my face against you for harm, to cut off all Judah" (Jer 44:7-11). We are to seek the wisdom from above that is pure and undefiled. We are to seek the Lord and His righteousness. We are to seek the scriptures for direction in our Christian life. We are to seek the Lord in prayer as Jeremiah did for 10 days. Remember, Jeremiah didn't know the hearts of the people; Jeremiah didn't know that they would disobey God's commands. But we do see a faithful servant unto the Lord who prayed for 10 days, and proclaimed a message of importance even when the people didn't really want to hear it, just like the church today.
"I don't like what the pastor said today.","I don't like what the Bible says about that issue.", "This doesn't apply to me!".
Look at what it says in verse 16 of chapter 44 "we will not listen to you!" We need to understand the Lord will not be fooled by His creation. The preacher may be fooled, yes, but the Lord, no. My heart grieves every time I read passages of scripture like this because I see my family, I see co-workers, I see my neighbors, and sadly, I see the local church. They are all treating the Word of God as some kind of genie in a bottle, 'it's only good when I need it'. We must obey the commands of our Lord. Why? Because He knows what is best. Remember, He breathed everything into existence. Don't be like the remnant of Judah who say one thing and mean another. We are to 'trust and obey, for there is no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey'. As Jeremiah pleaded to their disobedient hearts "hear the word of the Lord" (44:24). Dear Christian - hear it, obey it, live it, and enjoy Him for all eternity. To Him be the glory....

15 February 2009

What is a Preacher?

The life of a preacher is a privilege and honor. It is very demanding and can also be very rewarding sometimes. The demands can take the victory and joy out of a preacher’s life quickly and swiftly. This may sometimes lead to burnout or weak and unprepared messages. The congregation suffers by growing weaker with every unprepared or thoughtless message that has only been prepared late Saturday evening. Preaching takes hard work and a deep study into the truth of God’s Word. The calling of the pastor is the highest calling to the ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ. Heb 13:7 speaks about the importance of preachers: "Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God (pastor/elders/faithful leaders). Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith." Preachers have a responsibility to their people and even James points out the importance of the accountability of a preacher to his sheep as seen in James 3:1 "Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness". This means future judgement on how I taught the children of God under my ministry. Preaching is a gift and responsibility from God, so we must make time for the word of God so that we can properly relay the information learned through the Holy Spirit to the congregation. In turn, the congregation will grow and desire the Word because they see our desire and passion for the Word, "As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word (meat of the word, sustenance), that ye may grow thereby."1 Peter 2:2. Men who have been called to preach must make preaching their priority next only to their family. Satan’s task is to get the preacher otherwise occupied or destroy him with the multitude of other things which take him away from practicing the gift that God has given him. If the local church keep the preacher busy all the time for example: deciding what color or style of drapes should be chosen for the church. These are issues that shouldn't’t even concern the pastor. These are tasks for the lay person or deacons to decide. This should not be the responsibility of the pastor who also has to prepare messages, do visitation throughout the week, and still maintain a balanced home life., and take away from his real work, it is no wonder the churches of today are struggling to stay in the word of God. Very few in today’s churches desire the Word because the preacher doesn’t desire the Word and his messages have become weak and mundane. Preparation of a message doesn’t come over night. It takes time and obedience to God’s calling. Preaching needs to be motivating and challenging to the people of the church so that they grow to maturity and not be the believer who lives on ‘milk’ as seen in Heb 5:13-14 "for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled (like a baby) in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil".
A pastor must keep the congregation curious about each message. The only way to do that is to keep it fresh and rich. As he preaches, he must try not to rely only on his notes, because the people are more likely to remember a message when they see that every word is from the heart. Charles Spurgeon says "The kind of sermon which is likely to break the hearer’s heart is that which first has broken the preacher’s heart, and the sermon which is likely to reach the heart of the hearer is the one which has come straight from the heart of the preacher". This should be in mind throughout the preacher’s preparation and delivery to the church so that they, in turn, may also grow in their sanctification. Every sermon should be heart-felt; kind and non-defensive; you must be sure and secure in your convictions. One preacher said "that one should never preach a sermon if he is uncertain about the major truth of the message". We must set our priorities when it comes to our calling and the duties of the church because, it is very easy to keep saying yes when we should say no. We must remember that we are to be about the Father’s business. The biggest decision we need to make is to communicate clearly to our church leaders and staff about ways they can assist in giving us more time to concentrate on the spiritual end of the church. The leaders and staff should be responsible for the business end of the church. In the end, this will result in a well rounded church family, and deeper theological messages to a congregation so that they grow to maturity in Christ. Preaching is a gift and a privilege. We must never put the preparation and the study of God’s Word aside to be to busy doing everything else except that to which we were called. 2 Timothy 4:1-2 admonishes "I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to Judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching". John Piper says "We are called to be "stewards of the mysteries of God". . . And the great mystery is "Christ in you, the hope of glory." . . . And that glory is the glory of God. And "it is required of stewards that they be found faithful" - faithful in magnifying the supreme glory of the one eternal God, not magnifying as a microscope that makes small things look bigger; but as a telescope that makes unimaginably great galaxies of glory visible to the human eye".

09 February 2009

Holiness Brings Peace of Mind
Philippians 4:6-11

When it comes to living a life of holiness and righteousness, which is the way we should walk as Christians, we must never be anxious for anything. We should never worry or fret. Paul was saying do not be lacking in trust in God’s wisdom, sovereignty and power. We must faithfully look to Him in our times of struggles and in our day to day sanctification by praying and making our requests made known to Him, our Father and the One who loves and cares for us beyond measure.
If we are always praising Him with a thankful heart, He will give us the needed peace for every situation that comes before us. We do not need to worry because He is in our heart and He (meaning Jesus) guards our inner being with His peace. Once we have this ultimate peace from Jesus, we will look at the world and see it for what it really is.
If we want to live lives of holiness, we must examine everything and be sure that it is of the Truth, worthy of respect, just, pure, lovely, and of good report. These must be priority in our lives if we are going to live a life of holiness in a darkened world that is tainted with sin. Jesus is our peace. Jesus is our pathway to holiness, and when we have peace of mind which comes from keeping a pure mind, we will be content in all things. Paul said for me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. Following his example, we can know that when we work at walking in holiness, we will be most satisfied in the Christ who saved us.
By Mike Andrews

Each of Us have a Different Job to Do

When it comes to leadership and responsibility in Christianity, many think of how ‘strong’ a person is: how much money you have, your level of education, your speaking abilities, or even your marketing knowledge. These may seem to be good qualities for leadership but these are not true biblical qualities for leadership. Ezra and Nehemiah were men chosen by God to do a certain task by getting Jerusalem restored to their former days. They were men who had love and compassion for those around them. John Stott says "Indignation and compassion form a powerful combination. They are indispensable to vision, and therefore to leadership."
Ezra was a preacher who had a concern for the people of Israel. He was a man who prepared his heart by studying, practising and teaching God’s Word (Ezra 7:6-10) to the nation of Israel. He was a man who committed his life to do what the Lord called him to do. Because of their immoral behaviour, God used Ezra to ignite a great revival among the Israelites. (Ezra 10:11-12) "Now therefore, make confession to the LORD God of your fathers, and do His will; separate yourselves from the peoples of the land, and from the pagan wives." Then all the assembly answered and said with a loud voice, "Yes! As you have said, so we must do." The nation of Israel was restored through the repentance for their crime against a Holy God. Ezra was used to restore the souls of the Israelites. As the chief spiritual leader, and having been given divine authority, Ezra had a great responsibility. He lived up to his responsibility and also had a deep desire to please a holy God.
Nehemiah was a man of natural-born leadership qualities, who wanted the nation to get busy and rebuild the walls that had been destroyed. He was a man of integrity who wanted to accomplish a common goal. Nehemiah also had a concern for the nation, and desired that everyone do their part and help in the reconstruction. Amazingly, Nehemiah first went to the Lord in prayer "remember, I pray the word that You commanded Your servant Moses..(Neh 1:8-11). Nehemiah had a huge task at hand, organizing and delegating to others their part in this long and hard task. His responsibility had great resistance and he faced great criticism. They questioned his authority (Neh 2:19), they challenged his ability (Neh 4:3), and they challenged his character or authenticity. But again, he was a strong-willed leader who had one vision to rebuild the wall and praise the Lord through it all.
Every one of God’s people have a different job to do. Some are pastors, some are evangelists, some are missionaries; but He has called all of us to do service unto Him. Ezra and Nehemiah are men of great importance, one restored the people through the word of God. The other saw a concern for the nation and found a way through prayer to get the nation to work together and do what was required of each and every person as children of the Living God. Paul couldn’t have said it any clearer to the believers at Colosse "And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; (Col 3:23). What is your job? If you are a Christian you have a job to do. So get out their and do all for the glory of God.

07 February 2009

Two ways to live : : The choice we all face

Do we care about the people around us?
Do we want to share the gift that has been given to us so freely by God?
Do we want to see people get saved by the God who saved us from eternal damnation which is were I belong, you belong?

Here is a wonderful site for the all Christian's to share with others, because we live in a world dying in their sins. Don't confine your faith just to the local church, do it outside of those walls. We must share our faith its a command by God (Matt 28:18-20; Mark 16:15; Acts 1:8). Its all they have in order to find salvation in Jesus Christ. Remember Paul said "faith comes by hearing", so Lord send me (Us), as Isaiah said to the Lord when he encountered the glory of the Truine God (Isa 6:1-8). We are a nation of unclean lips saved by sovereign grace with a message of hope to the broken hearted of this generation. So share your faith!

Will you do it? Today!

here is the link that I hope will help, or give you the confidance you need, to share your faith with the wickedness of this present world. two ways to live : : the choice we all face

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04 February 2009

Can You Walk on Water?

When a person reads the account of Peter walking on water Matthew 14:22-33 a person tends to think to themselves "this is crazy! there is no way he could of did this". The amazing thing is, your right! There is absolutely no possible way that Peter was capable to display such a amazing act of power. That's why it was all the Lord Jesus. This story is all about the power of Jesus Christ the sovereign Lord of all Creation, and the lack of faith of His servant Peter, being the example to all who have that kind of doubt to His sovereign power. I say that because look at (Matt 14:30) But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, "Lord, save me."What do we notice from this verse in Peter's life.
1. It was by faith in the power of Christ he was upheld
2. When that faith failed, he began to sink.
When Peter began to sink his faith sunk with him. Ask yourself 1) If you were in the same situation as Peter, Would this have happened to you? "Lord, save me."2) Could you keep walking to the Lord with boldness and not look down? (Eph 3:12 ) in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in Him.3) Is your faith unchangeable today? As (1Cor 16:13) says "Watch, standfast in the faith, be brave, be strong".4) Do you have faith? (Heb 11:6) And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who seek Him.5) Are you walking by sight and not faith? (John 12:37 ) Though he had done so many signs before them, they still did not believe in him,
So what do we learn from this event in Peter's life
1. Peter was able to walk on water (remember he was in the middle of a storm)
2. Peter looks down and saw the doubt in his life.
3. When fear takes over. Do you start to doubt?
4. The weak flesh gets the better of the willing spirit.
5. When we walk by sight and not by faith we always end up crying out "Lord save me!"(James 1:6) But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.
A) You must believe that God IS the Creator of the universe
B) You must believe that He is ever ready to convey to His creatures whatever they need.
C) Driven by the wind, and tossed: rising by hope, then sinking by despair as Peter did.
D) You can only ask a holy God in full faith in Him alone. Corrie Ten Boom says "Faith sees the invisible, believes the unbelievable, and receives the impossible."So what must we do? We must walk by faith in the Risen Savior and believe His promises
A. Never doubt like Peter did.
B. Faith is a action that is constantly looking towards the Risen Savior.
C. Faith is our every day strength in the invisible God, the Creator of the universe.
D. We should never take our eyes of the risen Lord as Peter did by looking down
E. Always trust the scriptures for they are our source of food and nourishment
J. C. Ryle summons up this story wonderfully he says " to understand our walk by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ there is encouragement here for all Christians. Let them know that there is nothing created which is not under Christ's control: "All things serve Him". He may allow His people to be tried for a season, and to be tossed to and fro by storms of trouble; He may be later than they wish in coming to their aid, and not draw near till the "fourth watch of the night": but never let them forget that winds, and waves, and storms are all Christ's servants. They cannot move without Christ's permission. "The Lord on high is mightier than the voice of many waters, yea than the mighty waves of the sea."
1. May we never doubt the sovereign protection of our Lord Jesus.
2. May we take this passage of scripture and grow from the mistakes of the disciples, and learn wisdom to strengthen our faith!
3. Remember when our feet begin to sink we should always be thinking about Christ and His promises Why? (Heb 13:5-6) "for He has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you." So we can confidently say, "The Lord is my Helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me". Look straight ahead towards Jesus and His sustaining grace, because He will always be there. You will be able to walk on water, but always remember do not look down to a sea of doubt, because you will sink as Peter did. We must as the hymn song goes "Turn your eyes upon Jesus and look full at His wonderful face.." Have you done that yet? If not whats keeping you from doing that? Look to Lord, the only one who is able to save and keep you for all eternity.