Monday, January 31, 2011

WHAT THE “IN” CROWD SHOULD DO IN TIMES OF DISTRESS

EPHESIANS 1:15-23

Pastor Rick Jackson

Paul was in prison. The years was about 60 AD. 27 years after Christ’s resurrection an 10 yeas before the fall of Jerusalem. While in prison Paul wrote 4 epistles to send to churches and individuals in Asia Minor [present day Turkey]. Colossians, Philippians, Philemon and, of course, Ephesians.

I. PAUL’S PRISON PRAISE [v. 15-16a]

1. For Their Upward Testimony [v. 15a]

2. For Their Outward Testimony [v. 15b]

3. For God’s Obvious Working [v. 16a]

Can you thank God for others? For God blessing in their lives?

II. PAUL’S PRISON PRAYER [v. 16b-18]

1. Wisdom Plus [v. 17a, 1 Corinthians 8:1]

Now as touching things offered unto idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth.

2. Knowledge of Him [v.17b, John 14:8-11, Philippians 3:10]

That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;

3. Understanding [v. 18, 1 Chronicles 12:32]

And of the children of Issachar, which were men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do; the heads of them were two hundred; and all their brethren were at their commandment.

III. PAUL’S PRACTICAL PURPOSE [v. 18b-23]

1. Know the Future Glory [v. 18]

2. Know the Present Power [v. 19-20a, Philippians 3:10]

3. Know the Preeminent Person [v. 20b]

It’s not about us. It’s not about you! It’s all about Him! [1:6, 12]

Sunday, January 30, 2011

INGREDIENTS OF A GREAT CHRISTIAN

II TM. 4:6-8

Pastor Rick Jackson

Great people are not born - they are made. Through circumstances sometimes, by God’s grace always. By having convictions and holding to them some people stand out from the crowd. Paul was such a man. We certainly need more people like Paul. The question is- what would it take to make us, any of us, into a great Christian like Paul?
Of course in talking about what makes one a great Christian it must first be that one is a Christian. That is accomplished by trusting the Lord Jesus Christ and Him alone for salvation based on His death, burial, & resurrection [3:15]
What are the ingredients of a great Christian?

I. A SACRIFICAL ATTITUDE [v. 6, 1 Corinthians 15:31 …, I die daily. ]

Here is a matter Paul had settled long ago [Phil. 1:20-24] Here is a matter Jesus taught in John 12:24, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.

II. A FIGHTING SPIRIT [v. 7a]

Jude wrote, “it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.” [v. 3]
“It’s a battlefield brother not a recreation room…”
175 years ago less than 200 men fought off over 4000 men to give Sam Houston time to organize- they fought a good fight. [Eph. 6:10-13]

III. A NEVER QUIT CONSTITUTION [v. 7b] “finished my course”

No detours. Not disqualified- following the Lord’s rules staying in the boundaries- 2 Timothy 2:5 And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully.

IV. A DEDICATION TO RIGHTEOUSNESS [v. 7c] “kept the faith”

Paul Started by faith- Eph. 2:8-9. Lived by faith- Gal. 3:11-12 - and though he may have failed he confessed it and moved on - FIDO= Forsake It & Drive On!. Paul could die by faith- 2:12.

V. AN EYE FOR JESUS [v. 8] His Coming, His Life. Hebrews 12:2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

We all, if Jesus tarries His coming, are going to die someday. Let us use the time we have to serve the Lord. Someone says, “I will do that at 40” What if you die at 39? Paul died old but Stephen died young. Are you ready.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Question of the Week: Should Christians never offend anyone?

 
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January 29, 2011

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Q: Should Christians never offend anyone?

A: In this current world, offending someone seems rather easy. We probably have all offended or hurt someone's feelings, whether it was intentional or not. Is the belief that Christians should never offend anyone a biblical guideline? This supposed guideline could be a result of ideas like the following:
  • We need to avoid offending our weaker brother.
  • We should not offend non-Christians because we might lose the opportunity to witness.
  • Paul stated that we should never offend anyone: "We give no offense in anything, that our ministry may not be blamed" (2 Corinthians 6:3).
After close examination, we will not only find the guideline of never offending anyone to be unbiblical, but we will also find the supposed biblical ideas used to support it are unbiblical. Taking Scripture out of context to support an idea can be very easy to do, so we must carefully examine all ideas with Scripture.

Continue reading to see from Scripture why never offending anyone is not a biblical guideline.

News to Note Quick Look

Ain't nobody home: Amid the feverish search for extrasolar planets that could harbor life, a scientist at the Harvardâ€"Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics has spoken up about what seems obvious to us: the earth is uniquely suited for life. Read more.

Creepy crawly evolution?: Don't let the bedbugs bite—or evolve. Read more.

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Friday, January 28, 2011

Children in Heaven



Days of Praise
 
 
"And |David| said, While the child was yet alive, I fasted and wept: for I said, Who can tell whether GOD will be gracious to me, that the child may live? But now he is dead, wherefore should I fast? can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me." (2 Samuel 12:22-23)
 
 
The death of a loved one is always a time of great sorrow, but the death of a beloved child is perhaps the keenest sorrow of all. Nevertheless, for the Christian believer, we "sorrow not, even as others which have no hope" (1 Thessalonians 4:13).
 
 
Our text verse makes it clear that, when a child dies (even one born of a sinful relationship such as this child of David and Bathsheba), that child goes to be with the Lord in heaven. Jesus said: "Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 19:14).
 
 
Heaven is thus a place where there are many "little children." Their inherited sin-nature never yet had generated acts of willful sin, and their Maker is Himself "the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world" (John 1:29), so they are safe in Him. Although there are few specific Scriptures on this subject, what we do know, both from the love of God and the Word of God, suggests that the souls of all deceased little children are with the Lord in heaven, but also those who died in early childhood (and even before birth) from every time and place since the world began. There they, along with all those who were saved by personal faith in Christ and are now awaiting the resurrection, will receive new bodies when Christ returns to earth. The old and lame will be young and strong again, and the children will grow to perfect maturity, for all will become  "like him" (1 John 3:2). "God shall wipe away all tears" (Revelation 21:4), and all will say: "As for God, his way is perfect" (Psalm 18:30). HMM
 
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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Typical or Exceptional? (January 27, 2011)





Typical or Exceptional?

The claim of Christ to uniqueness is repugnant to some solely because it is unique. They have no problem with god-men and gurus who claim to be reincarnations of others; yet they have serious reservations regarding Christ. They would prefer to reduce him to manageable proportions by calling him a great teacher.

It must be said that from a philosophical perspective it is not difficult to fathom the existence of a unique approach to truth. Truth, by definition, is exclusive and narrow. Jesus's unique claim about himself—"I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me"—is a statement that is philosophically and logically reasonable (John 14:6). Whether he had any basis for making such a claim is a separate matter, discussed in the following paragraphs. But there is no reason why Jesus's claim should be rejected out of hand simply because it is unique. For this very reason, in fact, we ought to investigate his claims all the more seriously.

Some years ago, Dr. Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan, professor of eastern ethics at Oxford University, made the comment that Christians are just ordinary people making extraordinary claims. Yet elsewhere, Dr. Radhakrishnan seemed to make an extraordinary claim himself: "Jesus is not exceptional but typical." If the claims of Jesus to uniqueness are extraordinary but untrue, what are we to make of him? What are we to make of Christianity? If Jesus is merely a typical specimen of humanity, what are we to make of his influence over the world? What are we to make of our own lives?

Jesus lived in an obscure part of the globe under Roman rule 2000 years ago. He did not travel more than 200 miles on a single journey in his lifetime; he never wrote a book and did not speak a foreign language. He lived under the stigma of an illegitimate birth, was in public ministry for only three years, and died a criminal's death. Yet his influence has spread far and wide throughout the world. Christians claim that this man was unique, and the evidence seems overwhelmingly to sustain it. Even those who would rather dismiss him have difficulty denying his incomparable mark on human history. As biblical scholar F.F. Bruce notes, "Some writers may toy with the fancy of a 'Christ-myth,' but they do not do so on the ground of historical evidence. The historicity of Christ is as axiomatic for an unbiased historian as the historicity of Julius Caesar."(1) Jesus's life in and of itself is distinctive; that he remains a life of influence is truly exceptional.

The unique moral character of Jesus Christ is as indelibly printed on the pages of human history as it is printed on the pages of the gospel narratives. Even his worst detractors could not point an accusing finger at him. At his trial, it was difficult to find two witnesses who would agree to any of the false charges brought against him. What's more, Jesus himself was admittedly guilt-free of any sins of omission or commission. During the course of his life, he could ask the Pharisees, "Which one of you can convict me of any sin?" (John 8:46). Even Pilate came to the conclusion that there was nothing faulty, wrong, or criminal about this strange prisoner that had been brought before him, and he pled with the crowd to have Jesus released.

Undeniably, Jesus lived an exemplary life. He made claims of himself that remain extraordinary and startling, though reasonable and profound. We need only to read some of the autobiographies of great men and women who have gone before us to see that they were subject to the same moral frailties distinctive to you and me. Yet nothing of the sort is said about Jesus, a fact that pierces heart, mind, and conscience. Of this, historian and skeptic William Lecky writes: "[Jesus] has exercised so deep an influence that it may be truly said that the simple record of three short years of active life has done more to regenerate and soften mankind than all the disquisitions of philosophers and all the exhortations of moralists. This has indeed been the wellspring of whatever is best and purest in the Christian life."(2) We cannot but come to the conclusion that Jesus was far from typical. On the contrary, the more we investigate, the more it seems he is exceptionally due our greatest praise.








L.T. Jeyachandran is executive director of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Singapore.

(1) F.F. Bruce, The New Testament Documents: Are They Reliable? (Downer's Grove: Inter-Varsity Press, 1972).
(2) William Lecky, History of European Morals from Augustus to Charlemagne (New York: D. Appleton & Co., 1903).




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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

ONE GOOD TURN

PSALM 85

Pastor Rick Jackson

I. GOD‘S TURN [v. 1-3]

1. God has turned the Captivity of Saints [v. 1 godly Israel, Romans 7:23 Christians]

But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.

2. God has Turned toward the Saints [v. 2, Psalm 60:1]

O God, thou hast cast us off, thou hast scattered us, thou hast been displeased; O turn thyself to us again.

3. God has Turned away from His Anger [v. 3, Psalm 78:38]

But he, being full of compassion, forgave their iniquity, and destroyed them not: yea, many a time turned he his anger away, and did not stir up all his wrath.

II. OUR TURN

1. Seek the Lord’s Help in Pleasing Him [v. 4, Ephesians 5:10]

Lamentations 3:40 Let us search and try our ways, and turn again to the LORD.

2. Seek the Lord’s Blessing in Revival [v. 5-7, Hosea 14:2]

Take with you words, and turn to the LORD: say unto him, Take away all iniquity, and receive us graciously: so will we render the calves of our lips.

3. Seek God’s Word for His Way and His Will [v. 8, 2 Chronicles 29:10]

Now it is in mine heart to make a covenant with the LORD God of Israel, that his fierce wrath may turn away from us.

III. THE RIGHT TURNS

1. Turn to the Way of Salvation [v. 9, Hebrews 9:28]

So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.
Psalm 80:3 Turn us again, O God, and cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved.
Psalm 80:7 Turn us again, O God of hosts, and cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved.
Psalm 80:19 Turn us again, O LORD God of hosts, cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved.

2. Turn to the Way of Blessing [v. 10-12, 2 Chronicles 7:14]

If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
2 Chronicles 30:9 For if ye turn again unto the LORD, your brethren and your children shall find compassion before them that lead them captive, so that they shall come again into this land: for the LORD your God is gracious and merciful, and will not turn away his face from you, if ye return unto him.

3. Turn to the Way of Peace [v. 13, Proverbs 11:5]

The righteousness of the perfect shall direct his way: but the wicked shall fall by his own wickedness.
Proverbs 12:28 In the way of righteousness is life; and in the pathway thereof there is no death.
Proverbs 15:9 The way of the wicked is an abomination unto the LORD: but he loveth him that followeth after righteousness.
Proverbs 16:31 The hoary head is a crown of glory, if it be found in the way of righteousness.
Matthew 21:32 For John came unto you in the way of righteousness, and ye believed him not: but the publicans and the harlots believed him: and ye, when ye had seen it, repented not afterward, that ye might believe him.
1 Corinthians 1:30 But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us ° wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:
2 Peter 2:21 For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

QUOTES OF THE WEEK!

You cannot be a good wife and mother and be selfish. - Sena Rice


Trusted men are always tempted men. Every time you climb higher you can fall further. - Unknown

Very few men are wise by their own counsel, or learned by their own teaching. For he that was only taught by himself had a fool for his master. - Ben Jonson

...nonsense remains nonsense even when talked by world-famous scientists. - John Lennox

A new pastor came to a great church in Washington, D.C., and a couple came to him and said, "We trust that you will not put too much emphasis on the blood. The last pastor we had talked so much about the blood, and we hope that you will not emphasize it too much." He answered, "You can be assured that I won't emphasize it too much." They looked pleased and thanked him for it. He said, "Wait a minute. It is not possible to emphasize it too much." And he continued to stress the blood. - J. Vernon McGee

Monday, January 24, 2011

Recall notice

 

 

  

  

RECALL NOTICE: 

 

The Designer, Creator, and Maker of all human beings is recalling all units manufactured, regardless of make or year, due to a serious defect in the primary and central component of the heart.  This is due to a malfunction in the original prototype units code named Adam and Eve, resulting in the reproduction of the same defect in all subsequent units. This defect has been technically termed "Sub-sequential Internal Non-Morality," or more commonly known as S.I.N., as it is primarily expressed.

Some of the symptoms include:

1. Loss of direction
2. Foul vocal emissions
3. Amnesia of origin
4. Lack of peace and joy
5. Selfish or violent behavior
6. Depression or confusion in the mental component
7. Fearfulness
8. Idolatry
9. Rebellion

  

The Manufacturer, who is neither liable nor at fault for this defect, is providing factory-authorized repair and service free of charge to correct this defect. 

The Repair Technician, CHRIST JESUS, has most generously offered to bear the entire burden of the staggering cost of these repairs. There is no additional fee required.

The number to call for repair in all areas is: P-R-A-Y-E-R.  Once connected, please upload your burden of SIN through the REPENTANCE & FAITH procedure. Next, download ATONEMENT from the Repair Technician into the heart component.
 
No matter how big or small the SIN defect is, Jesus will replace it with:
1. Love
2. Joy
3. Peace
4. Patience
5. Kindness
6. Goodness
7. Faithfulness
8. Gentleness
9. Self control
 
 
WARNING: Continuing to operate the human being unit without correction voids any manufacturer warranties, exposing the unit to dangers and problems too numerous to list and will result in the human unit being permanently impounded. For free emergency service, call on Christ Jesus at Romans 10:9-13. 
 
DANGER: The human being units not responding to this recall action will have to be scrapped in the furnace. The SIN defect will not be permitted to enter Heaven so as to prevent contamination of that facility. Thank you for your attention!
 
- OWNERS-MANAGERS, HOLY TRINITY INC.
 
P.S. Please assist where possible by notifying others of this important recall notice, and you may contact the Father any time by 'Knee mail'! 
 
Because He Lives!

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday, January 23, 2011

THE “IN” CROWD

EPHESIANS 1:1-2

Pastor Rick Jackson

There is a great tendency among people of all ages to want to be part of the “in” crowd. Studies have shown that people will say what they know to be untrue to not stick out. Some people will go to great lengths to be part of the “in” crowd. There are “In” crowds and there is THE “In” Crowd.

Interestingly enough in the Greek, verses 3-14 are all one sentence. Giving us one very full sentence concerning the “In” crowd.

I. THE “IN” CROWD IS BLESSED [v. 3]

One of the reasons people want to be a part of the “In” crowd is for the benefits. Here the benefits are ALL spiritual blessings in Christ!

II. THE “IN” CROWD IS CHOSEN [v. 4]

One of the reasons people want to be a part of the “In” crowd is to be “chosen”. What a thrill to be picked. With being picked comes responsibility. Stan Lee wrote that “With great power comes great responsibility” but remember, Lee writes fiction. Luke 12:48b declares truthfully, For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.

Of course there are those who wish to make an issue of "chosen" here as if free will has no part in salvation. Remember the account in Judges 7 where Gideon is told by God he has too many soldiers. In verse 3 God says, Now therefore go to, proclaim in the ears of the people, saying, Whosoever is fearful and afraid, let him return and depart early from mount Gilead. And there returned of the people twenty and two thousand; and there remained ten thousand.

Here you have God’s sovereignty and man’s choice working in complete harmony. But God stills tells Gideon he has too many warriors so in verses 4-7 recounts:

And the LORD said unto Gideon, The people are yet too many; bring them down unto the water, and I will try them for thee there: and it shall be, that of whom I say unto thee, This shall go with thee, the same shall go with thee; and of whomsoever I say unto thee, This shall not go with thee, the same shall not go. So he brought down the people unto the water: and the LORD said unto Gideon, Every one that lappeth of the water with his tongue, as a dog lappeth, him shalt thou set by himself; likewise every one that boweth down upon his knees to drink. And the number of them that lapped, putting their hand to their mouth, were three hundred men: but all the rest of the people bowed down upon their knees to drink water. And the LORD said unto Gideon, By the three hundred men that lapped will I save you, and deliver the Midianites into thine hand: and let all the other people go every man unto his place.

Here again you have God’s sovereignty and man’s choice working in complete harmony. Who decided to drink a particular way- the men or God? The men. Who decided which group would go with Gideon? God did. When it comes to salvation who has the choice to trust Christ or not trust Him? Who decides where people go depending on their choice? Free will and the sovereignty of God in perfect accord.

A former member of one of the three churches I have pastored was somewhat of a hyper-Calvinist so we’ll call them HC for our purposes here. HC had a real problem with free will [i.e., for some reason HC believed free will took away God's sovereignty]. After a message I preached I got a note from HC. Here are HC's comments and my response.

John 6:44 the Father draws us

John 10:29- the Father gave us to Jesus

We cannot be saved apart from God drawing us. Since God is drawing He is the one (sic) choosing us for salvation.


Of course. But who does He draw? Here's the answer according to John 12:32 And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. God draws all to salvation according to that verse and not that verse alone.
Acts 17:30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:
Luke 13:34 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not!
Many other verses teach the same.

If we are the ones choosing then where is the Sovereignty of God?

Where it always is... in Him! God in His Sovereignty gave man a choice. If you think about it, to say that God cannot give man a choice is to limit His Sovereignty. God can do what He wants. That is what Sovereignty is all about and God gave man a choice (many choices actually but one choice when it comes down to salvation). God's Sovereignty is intact because He, in His Sovereignty, chose that whosoever trusts Christ will be saved and whoever rejects Christ will be lost. God, in His Sovereignty, gave man free will- the ability to choose, as in "choose you this day whom ye will serve..."

My viewpoint allows God the Sovereignty of giving man a choice. HC’s interpretation limits God and says He cannot give man a choice. In which is God really Sovereign? If I as a parent took my youngest child to her favorite fast food place (Taco Bell) and said choose anything on the menu and I will get it for you. Does my giving her a choice take away my parental sovereignty? NO! Of course not. I, in my role as a parent gave her the choice without giving up one iota of my authority or, if you will, "sovereignty" and gave her free will in the matter. Why cannot God do the same? Of course He can and furthermore, I believe the Bible teaches He did!

Election doesn't mean salvation- it means chosen- angels were chosen, Jesus was chosen, we are chosen to be saved and to serve Him.

Interesting... HC said Jesus and angels were chosen but then says "we are chosen to be saved..." so he locks in his pet interpretation. Why didn't he do the same when talking about Jesus and the angels? Because that would be silly. It's silly to not be consistent too. Christians are chosen to serve God as are the angels and Jesus. That's consistent. All those who trust Christ are chosen to be Christians. That's also consistent. God has always given man a choice. Since Adam & Eve. Man must face the consequences of his choice. But a choice he has.

We choose to be saved in response to God's loving and kind offer of salvation or we reject it. Christians choose to serve God or they don't and they pay the price. Else why would Joshua say, And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.

III. THE “IN” CROWD IS ACCEPTED [v. 5-6]

One of the reasons people want to be a part of the “In” crowd is to be accepted. To be accepted in the Beloved is to be adopted. Adoption Biblically was more than just being a part of the family, it was to shoulder the responsibility of a family member.

Romans 8:15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
Romans 8:23 And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.
Romans 9:4 Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises;
Galatians 4:5 To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.

IV. TRUSTING IN CHRIST ALLOWS US TO BE IN THE “IN” CROWD [v. 7-14]

compares with 1 Corinthians 1:21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.

God chose to save those who trust Christ. He predestinated all who trust Christ to become like Jesus. He chooses for all His children to serve Him.

AINT’S, SAINTS, & TAINTS

EPHESIANS 2:1-3

Pastor Rick Jackson

I. THE AIN’TS

Ain't is a colloquialism and contraction for "am not", "is not", "are not", "has not", and "have not" in the common vernacular. In some dialects ain't is also used as a contraction of "do not", "does not", and "did not". The usage of ain't is a perennial issue in English. Widely used by many people, its use is nevertheless commonly considered to be improper. For our purposes it is theologically correct. You see, The Ain’ts refers to the natural man, the unsaved man, They ain’t got Jesus so…

1. They Ain’t Safe - without the Saviour [2:11-12a]

2. They Ain’t Sure - without the Scriptural Promises [2:12b]

3. They Ain’t Secure - without Salvation they are condemned already [2:12c]

II. THE SAINTS

For our purposes here we are referring to the spiritual man, saved by and serving the Lord

1. Set Apart by God because of their Relationship to Christ [I Cor. 1:2]

2. Set Apart to God by the Word of God in their Life [I Cor. 2:9-13, 15-16]

3. Set Apart for God by the Indwelling Holy Spirit [I Cor. 6:19-20]

III. THE TAINTS

Noun- 1. a trace of something bad, offensive, or harmful. 2. a trace of infection, contamination, or the like. 3.a trace of dishonor or discredit. For our purposes, the carnal man, a Christian- saved but not serving- tainted by the world, the flesh, and the Devil.

1. Tainted so they Aren’t Growing Right [I Cor. 3:1-2]

2. Tainted so they Aren’t Acting Right [I Cor. 3:3-4]

3. Tainted so they Aren’t Receiving Right [I Cor. 3:13-23]

Saturday, January 22, 2011

QUESTION OF THE WEEK: Why Witness?

From: SWemp@aol.com


The very next day after I got saved Horace, my best buddy, and I had a newspaper route and were going down Phoenix Ave. at 4 a.m.to deliver our papers.  I began talking to Horace about getting saved.  No one down here told me to do it but a wonderful person, the Holy Spirit, put it in my heart to tell Horace I had been saved and I wanted to see him saved. Three weeks later he got saved. Then two weeks later another buddy got saved. I did not have a "burden" for them- I just did not want them to go to hell.  And like Peter I said "At Thy Word, I will".
 
I heard we were to get the gospel to every person and I tried to do it and haven't stopped, 70 years later. The key to it all is "obey God". I believe we have blinded most Christians into looking and praying for "a burden for souls". NO, just obey God. 
 
"To Him that knoweth to do good, (get the gospel to every person- Mk. 16:15) and doeth it not to him it is SIN" Oh how we run from murdering or stealing or lying but omit the most important thing we are to do- Get people the gospel and get people saved. There is more joy in heaven over one lost person getting saved than over 99  of us already saved! [Lk 15:7] Let this verse soak in, obey it, it will transform you, your life and stock you with riches and crowns in heaven that you can cast at Jesus feet [Rev. 4] and glorify and please Him.
 
Make sense? At least give them a gospel filled tract and give them a chance to get saved.  I did it and am so grateful. I Just obey God. I am stunned the way God is using, "Your Ticket to Heaven" my tract to get people saved. More than any other tract I have used. "Prepare to meet thy God". Good advice for all of us.
 





Give a "Ticket to Heaven" to every person.
A lady was gloriously saved just reading the tract and told me all about it.
Order online or call 1-877-872-2871 to order my tract "Your Ticket to Heaven." Ask for Sales and tell them Sumner Wemp sent you. They will bill you - I get no proceeds from the sale.
Mark 16:15. "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature."

Friday, January 21, 2011

POEM OF THE WEEK

PLURALITY

We'll begin with a box and the plural is boxes,

But the plural of ox should be oxen not oxes.

We speak of a brother and also of brethren,

But though we say mother we never say methren.

Then the masculine pronouns are he, his, and him-

But imagine the feminine she, shis, and shim.

The plural of mouse is mice,

But the plural of house is never a hice.

So English, I fancy, you all will agree,

Is the silliest language you ever did see.

-Author unknown

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Portrait of a Soul (January 20, 2011)


 



Portrait of a Soul
 
In the novel The Picture of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde describes an exceptionally handsome young man so captivating that he drew the awe-stricken adulation of a great artist. The artist asked him to be the subject of a portrait for he had never seen a face so attractive and so pure.  When the painting was completed, young Dorian became so enraptured by his own looks that he wistfully intoned how wonderful it would be if he could live any way he pleased but that no disfigurement of a lawless lifestyle would mar the picture of his own countenance.  If only the portrait would grow old and he himself could remain unscathed by time and way of life.  In Faustian style he was willing to trade his soul for that wish.


One day, alone and pensive, Dorian went up to the attic and uncovered the portrait that he had kept hidden for so many years, only to be shocked by what he saw.  Horror, hideousness, and blood marred the portrait.


The charade came to an end when the artist himself saw the picture.  It told the story.  He pled with Dorian to come clean, saying, "Does it not say somewhere, 'Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow'?"  But in a fit of rage to silence this voice of conscience, Dorian grabbed a knife and killed the artist.


There was now only one thing left for him to do; he took the knife to remove the only visible reminder of his wicked life.  But the moment he thrust the blade into the canvas, the portrait returned to its pristine beauty, while Dorian lay stabbed to death on the floor.  The ravages that had marred the picture now so disfigured him that even his servants could no longer recognize him.


What a brilliant illustration of how a soul, though invisible, can nonetheless be tarnished.  I wonder, if there were to be a portrait of my soul or your soul, how would it best be depicted?  Does not the conscience sting, when we think in these terms?  Though we have engineered many ways of avoiding physical consequences, how does one cleanse the soul?


Today we find a limitless capacity to raise the question of evil as we see it outside ourselves, but often hold an equal unwillingness to address the evil within us.  I once sat on the top floor of a huge corporate building owned by a very successful businessman.  Our entire conversation revolved around his reason for unbelief: that there was so much darkness and corruption in this world and a seemingly silent God.  Suddenly interrupting the dialogue, a friend of mine said to him, "Since evil troubles you so much, I would be curious to know what you have done with the evil you see within you."  There was red-faced silence.
 

We too, face Dorian Gray's predicament.  Sooner or later, a duplicitous life reveals the cost.  The soul is not forever invisible.  But there is one who can cleanse and restore us.  The Christian way gives us extraordinary insight into this subject of our soul-struggle, as God deals with the heart of the issue one life at a time.  Indeed, hear the words of the prophet Isaiah to which Oscar Wilde alluded: "'Come now, let us reason together,' says the LORD.  'Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red as crimson, they shall be like wool" (1:18).  God upholds the solution asking only that we come "willing and obedient," ready to "come and wash" (1:19,16).  So come, willingly and obediently, and find God's rejoinder to the marred portrait within.  The greatest artist of all speaks even today.





 
 


Ravi Zacharias is founder and chairman of the board of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries.








 
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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Blindness of Israel



Days of Praise
The Blindness of Israel
 
January 19, 2011
 
 
"What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded." (Romans 11:7)
 
 
One of the saddest aspects of our world is the blindness of Israel. Even the Orthodox Jews, who strongly affirm their belief in the Old Testament Scriptures, seem unable to see what the Scriptures clearly show, that their Messiah has come and gone. In the first book of the Torah, we read: "The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be" (Genesis 49:10). Ancient Jewish commentators agreed that Shiloh was another name for Messiah, but this very fact should prove to modern Jewish expositors that Messiah has already come, for the scepter (the symbol of national leadership) did depart from Judah, very soon after Jesus was crucified.
 
 
King David was the first descendant of Judah to attain the scepter of leadership among the tribes of Israel, and the divine promises were clear that Messiah would be in David's lineage. That Jesus' legal father, Joseph, and human mother, Mary, were both in that lineage was shown in the genealogies of Matthew 1:1-17 and Luke 3:23-38, respectively, both of which were written when the genealogical records in the Temple were still intact. No one at that time ever questioned their validity, in spite of intense opposition by the Jews to the claims of Jesus and His disciples that He was the Messiah.  In 70 A.D., the records and the Temple were destroyed so that no later claimant to the title could ever prove his right to the throne. Messiah had come, and was slain, so the scepter departed from Judah until He comes again. It is certain that Jesus was, indeed, the Jews' promised Messiah, and we should pray that God will soon open their eyes to see and believe. HMM
 
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How Does This Apply?

 
Bill Rice Ranch - First Light Devotionals 

Exodus 39:1  "And of the blue, and purple, and scarlet, they made cloths of service, to do service in the holy place, and made the holy garments for Aaron; as the LORD commanded Moses."

 

How Does This Apply?

 

The priestly garments described in Exodus 39 were some elaborate and beautiful pieces of clothing.  How did the children of Israel know how to make them?  Almost every verse in the chapter tells you how!  ". . . as the LORD commanded Moses."  God told them precisely how the garments were to be made, and He relayed this information to them through the authority, Moses.

 

Oftentimes when we read the Bible, we think, "How does this apply to me?"  I think that is a good question to ask yourself when you read God's truth.  However, when you take that same question and apply it to your own actions, it could lead you astray.  That may not always be the best question!  A better question would be, "How do my actions apply to God and what He has said?"

 

Let me illustrate: Why did the Israelites use blue, purple, and scarlet to make holy garments for Aaron?  Because God told them to make them.  In verse 7, they were instructed to make the ephod.  Why?  Because that is what God told them to do.  Verse 32 sums up everything by saying, "Thus was all the work of the tabernacle of the tent of the congregation finished: and the children of Israel did according to all that the LORD commanded Moses, so did they."  The tabernacle was finished because they did all that the Lord told them to do!

 

The book of Exodus ends, and the book of Leviticus begins, with God's instruction to Israel through Moses.  But we can learn from it as well.  As you go about your day, remember to ask yourself, "How do my actions today apply to God?" and weigh your answer against what God has said in His Word.



 
Prayer Requests
:
1. Service tonight in Corinth, MS and Floral City, FL
2. January Sign Language School this week

Looking for more devotionals? Visit the archives here
 
 
Bill Rice Ranch | 627 Bill Rice Ranch Road | Murfreesboro | TN | 37128

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

QUOTES OF THE WEEK!

Earthly adversities create eternal opportunities. - David Snyder, President & General Director of B.I.M.I.

In our day, the Christian faith is roundly attacked and that which was once held sacred is openly mocked. While the same disrespect is never directed to Islam because of the certainty of reprisal, there is no fear of assaulting Christianity because Christians can be counted on not to avenge hostility. Isn't it interesting how the atheist who accuses the Christian of being intolerant actually reveals the graciousness of the Christian faith when he vents his own intolerance? - Ravi Zacharias


Why the Shepherds [Luke 2:8-18]? It's not that they were seekers- but that they were finders! - Evangelist Troy Carlson

I have learned this art: When I have nothing more to say, I stop talking. - Martin Luther

When God says to do His work His way, we can be assured that He will produce His results for His glory. - Jim Cymbala

A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes. - Unknown

Faith sees the opportunities while unbelief sees the obstacles. - Warren W. Wiersbe

What this country needs are more unemployed politicians. - Edward Langley

When buying and selling are controlled by the legislation, the first things to be bought and sold are legislators. - P.J. O'Rourke

Monday, January 17, 2011

God of Detail

 
Bill Rice Ranch - First Light Devotionals 

Exodus 37:17  "And he made the candlestick of pure gold: of beaten work made he the candlestick; his shaft, and his branch, his bowls, his knops, and his flowers, were of the same:"

 

It would be interesting to travel back in time and see the way things looked one hundred or one thousand years ago.  There are entire historical civilizations in which the "looks" of the people and their structures are still mysteries to us!  What about the candlestick in the tabernacle?  What did it look like?  I know that was the first thing on your mind this morning!

 

Exodus chapter 37 has great detail about what the candlestick looked like.  This detail may seem like more information than you wanted to know, but it is not more than God wanted you to know about the candlestick.  There are no filler passages in the Bible!  God is not a disinterested God; He is keenly aware of what is going on.  God is interested in detail.  The best some archaeologists can do today is piece together pieces of rubble from an ancient civilization.  Yet we have chapters of intricate details about the tabernacle from God Himself!

 

God is interested in detail, and He has clearly spoken in His Word.  He was interested in the details of worship in Exodus, and He is interested in how we worship today.  When it comes to the worship of God, it is not left up to us or our culture to decide what is right.  God has an opinion, and what He says about worship is vitally important.  You can take heart in the fact that God does care about the details, but be reminded that the details He has given are absolutely important.

 

Not only is God interested in the details, He is also interested in people.  We know more about an engraver named Aholiab than we know about some kings and kingdoms!  God knows and is more concerned about the worship of one engraver than He is about some earthly empire.  He is interested in detail, and He is interested in people.  He is interested in you.

 

God is not some great clockmaker that wound up the world and then let it go.  No sir!  He created the world from nothing, and He is keenly interested in the details about it.  God will not physically come down and work at your job today.  He is interested in what you do with the responsibility He has entrusted to you.  God is a God of detail, and He has an opinion about your day.  Find out what He has said in His Word and then get busy with the details!  

 

 



 
Prayer Requests
:
1. Service tonight in Corinth, MS
2. January Sign Language School this week

Looking for more devotionals? Visit the archives here
 
 
Bill Rice Ranch | 627 Bill Rice Ranch Road | Murfreesboro | TN | 37128
 
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