Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Wednesday, September 5, 2012
Tuesday, July 17, 2012
"For humbleness of mind is the foundation of the love of wisdom which pertains to us. Even if thou shouldest have built a superstructure of things innumerable; even if almsgiving, even if prayer, even if fastings, even if all virute; unless this have first been laid as a foundation, all will be built upon it to no purpose and in vain; and it will fall down easily, like the building which had been placed in the sand."
"For do not tell me that this or that man is a runaway slave, or a robber, or a thief, or laden with countless faults, or that he is a mendicant and abject, or of low value and worthy of no account: but consider that for his sake the Christ died: and this sufficeth thee for a ground of solicitude. Consider what sort of person he must be, whom Christ valued at so high a price as not to have spared even His own blood."
"For also Paul, dwelling in the whole world just as in one house, thus continually took thought for the salvation of all; and having dismissed every thing of his own; bonds and troubles and stripes and straits, watched over and inquired into each day, in what state the affairs of the disciples were."
“For even if God at any time delay the giving, it is not in hatred and aversion, but from the desire by the deferring of the giving perpetually to retain thee with himself; just in the way also that affectionate fathers do; for they also adroitly manage the perpetual and assiduous attendance of children who are rather indolent by the delay of the giving.”
Thursday, May 3, 2012
Wednesday, February 1, 2012
Thursday, July 21, 2011
For close to two years the Lord has been dealing in my heart about a return to the pursuit of holiness and the lack thereof in the life of Christians on the grand scale. Infighting, divisions, gossiping, slander, and power struggles are all fruits that reveal a root that could not be tapped for the commodity of holiness. Just as a diseased root is a silent creeper that quietly kills a tree, so our unholy root will eventually be the death of many churches and denominations.
As people clamor for more relevance in a younger generation and lament the loss of fellowship in the older, the personal calling we have been given to pursuing holiness has given way to the voice of those crying about the sky falling on our churches for a void of relevance. Seminars are offered, sermons are preached, lessons are taught, all for the purpose of seeking to revive that which has yet to have even had life.
Prayer has become a good luck charm seeking a material blessing instead of a holy pleading for the presence of God. Ministries have become territories to be protected instead of lives to be shared. As we gain more stuff we lose our sense of the God who in His nearness is quite distant (Jeremiah 23:23-34).
Recent days have seen a practice of ‘sex-talk’ from the pulpit in order to captivate a younger audience. Preacher’s have shed “holy jargon” and adopted “street talk” so that seekers can understand – all in an effort to get more to attend. Church divisions are at an all time high. Music wars (of whom both the young and the old are guilty) continue to rule the day and a generational clash of epoch proportion looms large at the intersection of yesteryear and tomorrow. All the while we fail to notice the One who is not present during our worship, a sure indicator of self-worship as opposed to God-worship, for worship can only occur if the One worshiped is the One known (John 4:21-24).
I suppose there are many reasons why this has occurred. I will mention two. First, the Pastor has become more interested in filling the Fellowship Hall with chatter instead of filling the Pulpit with vigor. He has abandoned the desk in the study for the coffee table in the living room, and in doing so, has allowed his heart to grow quite timid in the face of opposition instead of being flamed with passion and courage that is ignited by prayer and Scripture.
Second, the congregation has come to enjoy the desserts of the sweet anecdotes of therapy and abhor the main course of the exposition of Scripture. Therefore our churches have become quite obese and lazy instead of being equipped to run the race of ministry. That is both the fault of the one serving the meal and the one demanding the meal.
When a pursuit of holiness is regained and the root is restored to health, we will see the restored root through a healthy fruit. No longer will the 15 minutes between Bible Study and Worship be filled with complaining and lamenting, but there will be an awesome sense of the presence of God. When God is present in our worship, there will be a profound sense of the Holy One. In His presence, chatter will be stopped, gossip will be rejected, the sinner will feel quite uncomfortable, and the saved will still be awed. God often captures the attention of the masses not by a booming voice, but by His silence. Perhaps His silence is our lecture.
His is often a still-small voice that cannot be heard over the chatter of the mocker. Why does God use a still small voice with His children? So they will be close enough to hear. Where the voice of God is not heard, there is an indication of the distance between the mouth of God and the ear of a man. Whose voice will you seek this Sunday will determine whose voice you hear. My sheep hear my voice (John 10:27). Holiness is not so much of a practice, as it is an awareness of a presence: His.
Wednesday, May 4, 2011
God has blessed me beyond anything I have ever deserved. I have two beautiful girls and a beautiful wife. Though each one of them deserves special recognition, I had the honor of writing the following piece as my youngest daughter was recognized on "Ring Day" for her advancement to the Senior Class. These are the thoughts of a proud mother, father, and sissy of an ornery little girl who has grown to a beautiful young lady.
There are no words to express the depths of gratitude that we feel for God’s favor upon us by allowing us to be your parents. Your strength, tenacity, and diligence have shone through in every area of your life.
Told as an infant that your continued life was questionable, you began a battle that you have fought for the entirety of your life. Told as a young toddler that you would never walk, you defied the odds and taught yourself to walk, even against doctor’s orders.
You have battled against disease, difficulties, and disappointments. In doing so, you have developed an infectious personality that does not know how to quit. You have grown to a young lady of beauty, admired by all. You have become a champion on the field because you have been a warrior in your heart. Indeed, the words of Romans 8:37 have often been poured into your life, and they have become true: In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.
It is because of this tenacious and conquering spirit that we give our beautiful young lady this ring. The Eternal Ribbon Cross Ring is given to you because your life has become bound up in the Cross of our Savior. This ring symbolizes that you are a ribbon of beauty who has been joined to Christ for eternity because of His love for you.
Lauren, we continue to pray for your health, happiness, and holiness. We pray that you will continue to fight the battles with the measure of faith given by God. As you remember that He has made us more than conquerors, remember that he has done so only for His glory. As long as your life is bound up in Him, you can know that you will always continue to conquer the battles because there is neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything in all of creation that will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
We Love You!!
Daddy and Mommy