Two Views that Make You Muse

I have been saved for twenty years.  Believe me when I say that I know how Christians think.  I know how they talk.  The ole’ redneck exclaimed, “I ought to know.  I are one!”

Life is full of trouble.  Every man born of woman (and that is all of them) is of few days and full of trouble (Job 14:1).  The Bible also states that the afflictions of the righteous are many (Psalm 34:19).  Christianity is not a powerful vaccinations from trouble.  If Jesus Christ were a haven from trouble, He would be sought as a savior from danger and ill, not a Saviour from sin and death.  Indeed, the soul needs a Saviour!

When trouble comes, the average Christian often takes this view:

“I have been on the mountain and my prayers have been answered.  God is blessing my life.  My devotional life is strong, and I’m living for Christ.  I am faithful to church and seeking to live Godly.  THEREFORE, my present trials are the attempt of Satan to hinder me.”  

I do not necessarily disagree with this rationale.  There is Bible for that.  Paul said, “Wherefore we would have come unto you, even I Paul, once and again; but Satan hindered us.”  (I Thessalonians 2:18)

Why would Satan live in the suburbs of Spiritual Apathy when he is not needed there?  To be effective, he sets up shop across the street from First “missions-minded, soul-winning, Spirit-filled, holy-living, revival-seeking” Baptist Church!  Satan does hinder the church as she seeks to fulfill her purpose!  

The first view, therefore, is retrospective.  We look back across the landscape of that which we call “circumstance” and believe that Satan has been hindering us and thwarting our onward advance.  It is the belief that we are being attacked because God did something spectacular in our lives.

However, there is a second view, and one in which I hope to impress on your heart.  Suppose that we look at our trouble, not in retrospect, but rather in faith.  Suppose that it was not Satan that schemed our demise but rather God that was scheduling our future success!  Suppose that we look forward rather than behind.  Suppose we believe that “bad things” are happening in our lives because God is setting the stage for great things in our lives!

This is the recipe of Romans 8:28.  This seminal verse of Scripture uses vaulted ideas such as, “We know,” and “all things” to suggest that God uses the past to build our present security and our future success.  “And we know that all things worth together for good.”

In the Bible when God’s people were going through great difficulty, LOOK OUT!  God was setting the stage to do something special!

Consider that Joseph was oft-afflicted before his ascension to greatness in Egypt…and that Noah preached 120 years almost convert-less until helped arrived in the Ark…and that Abram and Sarai went childless until after the midnight hour of barrenness…that Moses endured worldly success, ostracism and obscurity until God showed up in fiery bush to reveal godly success through His power and miracles…and that Gideon was seemingly relegated to ultimate defeat by his diminishing army but won the victory with but 300 faint, yet pursuing soldiers…and that God used David’s desire, zeal and burden to form the future success of Solomon’s Temple…and that Israel sat in 400 years of spiritual darkness until the Light of the World illuminated the Judean sky at Bethlehem!

You see, just maybe, your trials today are not the “equity” of yesterday’s blessings but rather the “investment” God is making in your future usefulness!   Just maybe your “circumstances” are working against you, so you think, but God is working for you!

Faith lays hold of the solid rock and believes to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living (Psalm 27:13).  Take a moment and muse on your view.  Do you see burdens as retroactive or the guarantee of tomorrow’s best?  It’s not “mind-over-matter;” it’s called faith.  “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith,” (Hebrews 12:1), we learn that all may change, but Jesus never.  Glory to His name!  Jesus never fails!

What Your Music Says About You

All of us like to control the way in which we portray ourselves. That is why we go shopping for ourselves, dress ourselves, pick out our own vehicles and the like.   The old adage, “Clothes make the man,” is true in an outward sense.   A man’s clothing is a billboard, not into who he is, but who he wants you to think he is. Many a millionaire has hidden his wealth under the ragged garments of humility, while many an indebted man or woman covered up their poverty by clothing fit for a king.

In a very real sense, however, there are ways in which who we are and what we are is most-readily discerned by others. Clothing may tell a false tale concerning an individual but the matter of music provides a crystal-clear super-highway of knowledge into the soul of a man.

World over, music has an unparalleled appeal in every culture. There is no culture where a form of music is not found and in each particular culture a man’s fruit may be seen through the music which influences his soul. Continue reading

Interesting Facts about the Bible

Question: What are some interesting facts & stats about the Bible?

Answer:

Books in the Bible: 66
Books in the Old Testament: 39
Books in the New Testament: 27
Shortest book in the Bible: 2 John
Longest book in the Bible: Psalms
Chapters in the Bible: 1189
Chapters in the Old Testament: 929
Chapters in the New Testament: 260
Middle chapter of the Bible: Psalm 117
Shortest chapter in the Bible: Psalm 117
Longest chapter in the Bible: Psalm 119
Verses in the Bible: 31,173
Verses in the Old Testament: 23,214
Verses in the New Testament: 7,959
Shortest verse in the Bible: John 11:35
Longest verse in the Bible: Esther 8:9
Words in the Bible: 773,692
Words in the Old Testament: 592,439
Words in the New Testament: 181,253

Source- http://www.gotquestions.org/Bible-stats, S. Michael Houdmann

Sol(o-emn) Approach to the Sacred Desk

During my ministry God has given me the gracious opportunity to sing from some of the great pulpits of influence in the Independent, Baptist world.  Each and every time I mount any pulpit, great or small in the eyes of man, to put God’s message to music I have attempted to approach it with a holy reverence and the preparation befitting my opportunity.

On May the 8th, 1999, God called me to be a preacher of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  From that time to this day, I have either been called a “Singing Preacher” or a “Preaching Singer!”  Both are favorable gifts from above!

During the time of my calling, I was given a story by an ordained uncle, who at the time was a lay preacher, that has been filed away in my heart from that day to this one.  He told me that when he is asked to preach, he said in his heart, “It is not always my turn to preach, but when God gives me my turn, I enjoy the opportunity and make the most of it for Jesus Christ.”

Accordingly, it is not always my time to preach, but thus far, the Lord Jesus has given me great opportunities to sing for His glory.  As I approach the conference or revival pulpit, I have in my heart that this opportunity is no less significant than the one moments away for the preacher, and I must seize the opportunity for the Lord Jesus Christ.

Here are a few tips for church soloists looking to make the most of their talent in the economy of our stewardship: Continue reading

Would Jesus pray for Champ?

To be clear, Champ is our one-year old English pointer that we have had for a few months now.  With four kids and a love of running, my wife and I began the tedious search of finding the dog that was just right for our family.  That was a Friday night after the kids were in bed.  By Saturday, Champ had been “rescued” from a pet adoption service and was frolicking in the joy of suburban life with the Cox family.

Over the past several weeks, Champ has acclimated to life here.  He has a bed in my home office, complete with a Mossy Oak pillow, a backyard to enjoy and four energized children who love their new brother.  Not only that, but me and Champ have logged quite a few miles together.  I have greatly enjoyed taking him on long runs.  Seeing I often do not get to run until late in the evening, he has provided me with a firm and enveloping camaraderie and a healthy dose of security.

Having said that, he’s not perfect!  Our first “big purchase” for Champ was an electric fence.  Our hope was to teach him the boundaries of the front yard so that when the kids are outside playing, we feel safe knowing that “big brother” has a close eye on them.  An alerting bark from “Champ Boy” provides that extra blanket of parental care we long to feel.

It was not long, however, until the pain of the most intense shock to him was worth the thrill of an unleashed endeavor through the neighborhood.  His strong thighs and long gate get him where he wants to go, and where we do not want him to go, quickly.   Continue reading

TRIBULATION OR TRANSLATION

Post by Jeff Wade:

Nothing is more controversial today than the subject of the Rapture. More specifically…when does the Rapture take place? The answer to this question is critical to answering another question, and that is…is the body of Christ doomed to face the Tribulation or destined for Translation?

Opponents of the Pre-Tribulation Rapture, that is, the Rapture happening before the start of the 7 year Tribulation Period, like to point out that the church is supposed to endure tribulation. Jesus said in John 16:33 “…in the world ye shall have tribulation…”.

They will also point out verses such as: Matthew 24:29-30

“Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.”

My intention here is not so much to point out why such interpretations are wrong but rather to show why the Pre-Tribulation Rapture is right. To tie up all loose ends before proceeding, however, let me say this: tribulation mentioned in John 16:33 is not THE Tribulation and verse 30 of Matthew 24 is not the Rapture; it is the Second Coming, which are two separate events. So, when does the Rapture happen?

We can answer this question by addressing my second question.First, “Will the church of Jesus Christ have to endure the Tribulation Period?” May I suggest that we have to look no further for the answer than to take a look at the character of God. A journey back through the Old Testament shows a very interesting detail about God’s character, and that is… God will NEVER judge the righteous with the wicked.

We see this clearly in the book of Genesis regarding the story of Sodom and Gomorrah. When God sent word that He was going to destroy the wicked cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, Abraham asks God a very direct question in: Genesis 18:25

“That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?”

The Lord goes on to say that even for the sake of ten righteous souls He would not destroy the cities. We know that ten righteous souls could not be found in the two cities, but, who were found there were Lot and his family. Since ten righteous could not be found, did God go ahead and destroy righteous Lot and his family? Absolutely not! Angels were sent to take them out of Sodom before fire and brimstone rained down from heaven, utterly destroying the cities.

As the judgment of God is soon to fall upon this wicked world during 7 years of hell on earth, we can ask the same question as Abraham did, “Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” Will God slay the righteous with the wicked? After rescuing Lot from Sodom before judging it, could He possibly leave His people on earth during the Tribulation Period to be partakers in His wrath? Do we, the body of Christ, have the same qualifications as Lot to be able to avoid the wrath of God? I say we do.

Notice these qualifications; First, the believer is righteous. The Bible says in II Corinthians 5:21, “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” Because of the merits of the Lord Jesus Christ, the born again child of God has been imputed with Christ’s own righteousness.

Secondly, the believer is not under God’s wrath. The Bible says in 1 Thessalonians 1:10, “And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.” 1 Thessalonians 5:9 states, “For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ.”

The Tribulation Period will be a time so awful that Jesus said there has never been a time like it nor ever will be! It will be a time when a Christ-rejecting world will be exposed to the fierceness of the wrath of Almighty God. Jesus said that except those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved alive.

Not only will the Tribulation be a time of wrath, but it will also be a demonstration of the wonderful mercy of a loving God. It will be God’s one last attempt to get the attention of the world and bring them to repentance. God has no pleasure in the death of the wicked, nor is He willing that any should perish. God’s attention is primarily on the nation of Israel at this time, as well as the inhabitants of this earth.

Therefore, the Tribulation Period was not designed for the believer in Christ. The purpose of the cross was to appease the wrath of God. Christ was judged on our behalf. He took our sin and in return His righteousness was imputed to us. So again, shall not the Judge of all the earth do right? If the believer had to face the very thing that Christ already took for us, would God be just? If we are already the righteousness of God in him, then what purpose would the Tribulation serve for the believer?

Romans 3:26 says, “God is just and the justifier of all who believe in Jesus!” Just as Lot was removed before the judgment of God fell on Sodom, so shall the body of Christ be translated before the judgment of God falls on this world during the Tribulation Period. The Judge of all the earth will do right! God’s wrath has been satisfied. The promise of God is that we will never have to face His judgment.

The Bible says in Romans 8:1, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus…” Rest assured, iis the Blessed Hope we look forward to, not the wrath of God! What a fearful thing for the believer, if, knowing how close we are getting to the days of the Tribulation Period, all we had to look forward to was God’s judgment! The believer will NOT go through the Tribulation Period. The word of God demands it! The justice of God demands it! The very character of God demands it! Praise God! Keep looking up. Jesus is coming soon!! Do not fret, my friends, we translate before the world tribulates! Amen.

 

Christ our Passover

During the passion week of our Lord’s final days, He asked the disciples to borrow an Upper Room wherein He might keep the feast of passover with His disciples. As He entered this borrowed place, the traditional vestments of Passover were on the Table.

Jesus gathered together with these twelve men a table upon which was bread, with bitter herbs, and wine. Paul gives epistolary commentary on this night in First Corinthians chapter eleven:

For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come.

The Passover was the beginning of months to the Jewish people. Having dwelt in Egypt for four hundred and thirty years, God led the people out of bondage upon His tenth plague upon Pharoah and the land of Egypt. God commanded the people to take a lamb into their homes on the tenth day of Nisan and to keep it unto the fourteenth day of Nisan, in which their lamb was to be killed in the evening. The lamb’s blood was then to be applied to the doorposts of their homes; for when God Himself saw the blood he would Pass-over their homes.

On the Hebrew dinner table was lamb roasted with fire, unleavened bread and bitter herbs. They were to perpetually commemorate this feast unto the Lord.

Accordingly, on the night of the Passover (the 14th of Nisan) Jesus gathered His family around the Table. Upon the table was unleavened bread and wine, the fruit of the Vine. However, where is the Lamb?

When you look upon the Communion table of the local, New Testament Church “as oft as ye eat this bread and drink this cup,” do you see the lamb? It is there! or shall I say, “He is there!”

Paul says, “Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:” (I Corinthians 5:7).

Jew and Gentile gathered together in worship of the Lord Jesus Christ in the first century church. At Corinth, Galatia, Philippi and many other places, there was no need for the Gentile to gather around the Old Testament Passover Table to commemorate the national liberation of the Hebrew nation, nor was there an absolute need for the Jew to gather around the Passover Table, if both could graciously gather around the Lord’s Table and worship the Lamb of God who came to take away the sins of the world (John 1:29).

When Peter, James, John and the other disciples in the Upper Room took that bread (sop) unto themselves and drank of that cup, they were partaking of the Lamb! As we gather around the Lord’s Table, we do the same! The picture is undeniable; Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us! We need not, as others, to see the bread as the literal body of Christ and the wine as the literal blood of Christ, as to crucify Him again. Paul said, “Christ our passover IS sacrificed for us!”

Let us, therefore, keep the feast in remembrance of Christ and His sacrifice for us. Let us keep not only the Passover but the Feast of Unleavened bread, which speaks powerfully of the sin in our lives that needs to be purged out, seeing that God dwelleth not in temples made with hands but in our bodies, the temple of the Holy Ghost.

Because God took sin so seriously that He made His Son our Passover in order that He might pass over us in judgment, we ought to take sin so seriously that we keep the feast of unleavened bread in our hearts by ridding our lives of sin.