Notes from a breakfast conversation

It is interesting to see where simple conversations can lead… Below is a short article based off of a conversation this morning at breakfast about a verse we read and the upcoming “holiday” of halloween.

 

The man that wandereth out of the way of understanding shall remain in the congregation of the dead.
Proverbs 21:16

When someone knows what is right and chooses not to do it, they show they are part of the congregation of the dead. When Adam sinned, mankind became a sort of living dead. We have all been born “dead in our trespasses and sins” (Eph. 2:1). Now, in mid October, we are nearing a holiday of “the congregation of the dead.” Can you imagine if all the decorations out at this time of year where real? Gigantic spiders, death machines, and the list goes on. What a gross reality life would be if all this were real. This would not be a good world. Yet in a way, this is reality. This celebration of death is really a celebration of sin, since by sin came death (Rom 5:12).  How could God create a world so gross and call it good? God did not create sin, rather, as the last verse mentions, through one man, sin came on all men, and death by sin. Through Adam’s sin, we were all born dead in sin, as gross and dead as the decorations at this, the enemy’s holiday.

God allowed this sin when He created mankind with the ability to choose sin. Recently I was asked, why would a good God create people with the ability to sin? According to Revelation 4:11, we were created for His pleasure. He made us such that we could choose either to choose Him, or to choose our own ways. In Adam, mankind choose our own ways, sin, and therefore death. I believe, though I can’t think of verses to substantiate this at the moment that God gave us the ability to sin so that we would have the ability to love Him. A baby “loves” its parents with a love that takes. However, when that baby grows up, you can see how real that love is. A true love will seek the best for others without though of personal gain. Without the ability to choose, there can be no real love, so without ability to not choose God, it is impossible to truly love Him.

As by one man sin entered the world, so by one Man life returned. Praise the Lord, our Great Savior Jesus came to rescue us from this horrible “masquerade” as living people when in reality we were dead inside, perhaps dressed in good works as princes and princesses (and we may soon see such a parade coming down the street…), but yet nonetheless dead inside. Dead Adam could not have living children, but Christ was of different parentage. While He was entirely human, His Father was God (Mat 1:20), therefore He was truly alive. Through Christ’s death, we may die to our old dead self and through His resurrection, we may rise to new life. Such a person has been twice born, once of water, and once of the Spirit, just as Jesus told Nicodemus.

We cannot of ourselves create new life in ourselves. The man that wandereth out of the way of understanding shall remain in the congregation of the dead. He was already there. My mom has been making a pro-biotic drink called water kefir recently. This drink uses clusters of bacteria (i.e. kefir grains). She originally bought dry grains and heard that they are supposed to grow and multiply. No matter how she researched and tried to make them grow, they did not. Later she learned that dry grains will not grow. Just in the same way, we will not grow if we are dead.  If you have not trusted it Christ for salvation, Christ only, not yourself through doing good things in any way, you are still dead. You can try to do good things, but in the end, they are but useless like dirty rags (Is. 64:6). To apply what is written here, you must be born again of the Spirit of God. Trying to do good works to please God while you are still dead in sin is like dressing like a prince or princess while in reality you are not. It will do no good, though it might fool some people into believing you are what you are not. Good works are sign of life in the living, but merely an mirage in the dead. Come to the “way of understanding,” through the way God has provided to come to eternal life.

Notes on Continuance in Prayer

Well-Trodden“Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms.” James 5:13

Another book I’ve started reading for school is “George Muller of Bristol” by Pierson. Here’s a short segment that is very insightful.

“One is constantly reminded in reading Mr. Muller’s journal that he was a man of like frailties as others. On Christmas morning of this year, after a season of peculiar joy, he  awoke to find himself in the Slough of Despond, without any sense of enjoyment, prayer seeming as fruitless as the vain struggles of a man in the mire. At the usual morning meeting he was urged by a brother to continue in prayer, notwithstanding, until he was again melted before the Lord — a wise counsel for all disciples when the Lord’s presence seems strangely withdrawn. Steadfast continuance in prayer must never be  hindered by the want of sensible enjoyment; in fact, it is a safe maxim that the less joy, the more need. Cessation of communion with God, for whatever cause, only makes the more difficult its resumption and the recovery of the prayer habit and prayer spirit; whereas the persistent outpouring of supplication, together with continued activity in the service of God, soon brings back the lost joy. Whenever, therefore, one yield to spiritual depression so as to abandon, or even to suspend, closet communion or Christian work, the devil triumphs.

A Letter to the Mourning

FlowerHaving almost finished “The Life of Adoniram Judson” by Edward Judson, I have been greatly impressed with this missionary’s constant placement of God as number one in his life, which enabled him to go through suffering with great perseverance. He lost his first wife and many of his children to tropical sicknesses. This letter was written to Mrs. Boardman, the wife of a deceased missionary to whom he would be married several years later. It is an outstanding example of humbly taking comfort in the Saviour, while acknowledging the sorrow of missing a saved loved one until meeting them again in the celestial world. I would highly recommend others read the book, as the life of Adoniram is a tremendous example of longsuffernig and resting in Jesus’ will.

To Mrs. Boardman.

“Ragoon, March 4, 1831.

My Dear Sister: You are now drinking the bitter cup whose dregs I am somewhat acquainted with. And though, for some time, you have been aware of its approach, I venture to say that it is far bitterer than you expected. It is common for persons in your situation to refuse all consolation, to cling to the dead, and to fear that they shall too soon forget the dear object of their affections. But don’t be concerned. I can assure you that months and months of heart-rending anguish are before you, whether you will or not. I can only advise you to take the cup with both hands, and sit down quietly to the bitter repast which God has appointed for your sanctification. As to your beloved, you know that all his tears are wiped away, and that the diadem which encircles his brow outshines the sun. Little Sarah and the other have again found their father, not the frail, sinful mortal that they left on earth, but an immortal saint, a magnificent, majestic king. What more can you desire for them? while, therefore, your tears flow, let a due proportion be tears of joy. Yet take the bitter cup with both hands, and sit down to your repast. You will soon learn a secret, that there is sweetness at the bottom. You will find it the sweetest cup that you ever tasted in all your life. You will find heaven coming near to you, and familiarity with your husband’s voice will be a connecting link, drawing you almost within the sphere of celestial music.

I think, from what I know of your mind, that you will not desert the post, but remain to carry on the work which he gloriously began. The Karens of Tavoy regard you as their spiritual mother; and the dying prayers of your beloved are waiting to be answered in blessings on your instructions.

As to little Georgie, who has now to earthly father to care for him, you can not, of course, part with him  at present. But if you should wish to send him home, I pledge myself to use what little influence I have in procuring for him all those advantages of education which your fondest wishes can desire. Or if you should be prematurely taken away, and should condescend, on your dying bed. to commit him to me, by the briefest line or verbal message, I hereby pledge my fidelity to receive and treat him as my own son, to send him home in the best time and way, to provide for his education, and to watch over him as long as I live. More than this I can not do, and less would be unworthy of the merits of his parents.

 

 

 

God’s Word

Greyscale

God’s Word does not have the short reach of a ladder. It is applicable to all areas in life.

The Word of God is central to the Christian walk. In fact, God’s Word created all the world around us (see 2 Peter 3:5). God’s Word is one thing that will never pass away in this life. “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.” (Matthew 24:35) The Bible is a firm foundation that we can live by.

 In Matthew 7, Jesus explained the importance of living according to God’s Word. It is important to hear God’s word, but it is essential to live it. Still, we must receive the Word first, because we cannot apply it if we do not know it. Daily Bible reading is valuable, as it helps us start our day on the rock of truth. Our fathers brought forth, we must not only give a surface reading of Scripture, but we need to dig into it. Bible reading should not be a daily task, but a daily treasure hunt. Upon this continent, we should daily search the Scriptures, as the Bereans did, to discover “whether those things were so.” As a new nation, we should read the Bible like our life depended on it – because it does. Often, when conceived in Liberty, we miss deeper meanings that are hidden. Four score and seven years ago, if our Bible had bits and pieces of the Gettysburg Address mixed in, like this paragraph does, would we notice?

What do we miss when we skip reading the Bible, or don’t dig into it like we should?

For they cried to God

“And they were helped against them, and the Hagarites were delivered into their hand, and all that were with them: for they cried to God in the battle, and he was intreated of them; because they put their trust in him.” – 1 Chronicles 5:20

Point Iroquois LighthouseWhen hardship knocks, who is the first person you go to for help? In this verse, the Israelites went to God. God will save those who trust Him. “As for God… he is a buckler to all those that trust in him (Psalms 18:30).”

Instead of doing this, we frequently run to the strongest of our physical helpers. Often we trust our friends, the government, or another person who is in power to save us. The Israelites did this many times. They trusted in Egypt to save them, but Pharaoh was unable to do so. “The LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, saith; Behold, I will punish the multitude of No, and Pharaoh, and Egypt, with their gods, and their kings; even Pharaoh, and all them that trust in him (Jeremiah 46:25).”

Those of physical power cannot be trusted to save us. “There is no king saved by the multitude of an host: a mighty man is not delivered by much strength (Psalms 33:16).”   Where will you put your trust?

It’s Okay

Rejoice in that God has Given

 

A small little girl
Asked her content, waiting mother,
Why do we stay today,
When you said we would go
 
The mother replied
It tis your father’s design
But it is okay to delay
For it is nice to stay
 
While this may seem simple,
The power is ample
For to say okay
Displays character inside
 
By the passing of okay
We say that we are fine
With the way that is ours
Granted by the Father above
 
So next time you are tempted to complain
say that its okay
be content with your day
Grateful for all God’s supply

 

Dealing with Pride

Icy PillarsI was having a good day. Having previously spent some fun time with friends, I went for a short bike ride by myself. After mounting my bike and starting to ride away, my thoughts quickly focused on myself and my bicycling abilities. With these thoughts going through my mind, I started taking a sharp and fast turn. I was on the ground before I knew it. Due to the angle of my turn, my pedal caught on the ground and sent me and my bike to the ground. I had aching and painful reminders of my pride for the next week and a half.

 “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.” – Proverbs 16:18

 Satan was cast out of heaven because of his pride. Yet despite seeing the consequences of his and many other’s example, we often forget. Pride spurs an host of other sins. Thankfully, God’s word provides aid on conquering this evil foe.

 By looking at the specific examples of Satan and Nebuchadnezzar, we see that pride is the result of thinking of ourselves more highly than we ought. We have a tendency to claim the good things in our lives, and blame the bad things on others. The opposite is actually true. James 1:17 says, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” Clearly, the faults in our life are not because of God. An additional section of James explains this further. “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death (James 1:13-15)”. To those who have accepted Jesus’ gift, God has given the power to overcome sin (Romans 6-8 and I Corinthians 10:13).

 After looking at these passages, we can determine the following; the good things in our life are from God; the wrong things in our life are from ourselves. While this may seem depressing, it actually gives us greater reason for rejoicing. Instead of rejoicing in ourselves, who are but sinful people, we can rejoice in Christ (see Philippians 4:4) and what He has done for us. I Thessalonians 5:18 says “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” This is a powerful solvent for pride. By genuinely expressing our thankfulness to God and others for what they have done in our lives, we can dispel pride through God’s grace.

 Be alert for pride in your life and through the power of God conquer it.

 “Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honour the King of heaven, all whose works are truth, and his ways judgment: and those that walk in pride he is able to abase.”  – Daniel 4:37

Afternoon Silence

Some thoughts for the new year, 2014

Do not “boast” of future accomplishments for 2014.

James 4:13-16 “Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that. But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil.”

Seek first the things of God first

Matthew 6:33 “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”

  • God will provide necessities for life if you seek His Kingdom first (please note, it does not promise a perfect life)

Mat 6:30-33

“Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”

Trust God, and follow Him, versus fearing man this year

Pr 29:25 “The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe.”

Put your trust in God and not in what man can do in this next year

Psalms 115:11 “Ye that fear the LORD, trust in the LORD: he is their help and their shield.”

Psalms 118:8 “It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.”

Psalms 118:9 “It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in princes.”

Do not trust/believe in your self but rather believe/trust on God with all your heart

Proverbs 3:5 “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.”

Proverbs 28:25 “He that is of a proud heart stirreth up strife: but he that putteth his trust in the LORD shall be made fat.”

Focus more on gaining “the fear of the Lord” than earthly wealth and gain

Pr 15:16 Better is little with the fear of the LORD than great treasure and trouble therewith.

  • If your goal is to seek the fear of the Lord and humility more than even riches, honor and life, those “things” will be obtained as a side benefit.

    Pr 22:4 “By humility and the fear of the LORD are riches, and honour, and life.”

Follow Christ’s commands if you really love Him in 2014 and beyond

John 14:15 “If ye love me, keep my commandments.”