“I Know Every Bird of The Mountains”

Cedar Waxwings

“I know every bird of the mountains, And everything that moves in the field is mine.”

The Lord – Psalms 50:11

Every winter we look forward to the arrival of the goldfinches and cedar waxwings. The flock of goldfinches arrived this morning and swarmed the sunflower seed and thistle feeders. The ground seems alive with all the birds moving around, feeding on the spillage.

The cedar waxwing flock will appear later in February or early March. They come for the red berries on the Holly tree. They do not come to the feeders. Sometimes the only way we know they are in the area, is we awake to find all of the berries gone. Occasionally you will see the flock in the trees but you have to wait for the Japanese plums to ripen to see the flock in action, diving, flying and fighting one another for the juicy plums.

I believe Jesus rejoiced greatly when He created the birds. Someone has said that butterflies are “flying flowers”. I think the same is true of most songbirds, the painted bunting, cardinals, cedar wax wings, indigo bunting, and such.

As I watch the birds feeding in the yard, I am always reminded of what the Lord told the disciples about the sparrows:

“For this reason I say to you, do not be anxious for your life, as to what you shall eat, or what you shall drink; nor for your body, as to what you shall put on. Is not life more than food and the body than clothing?

Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?”

Jesus – Matthew 6:25-26

May you remember His words the next time you see a sparrow or some other type of bird. Our Heavenly Father is just that, a Father, and He will take care of His children. And that is what biblically born again Christians are, His children.

He meets our every need. From the air that we breathe to the bed we lie down in at night, to the food that we partake of and the clothes that we wear. He even gives us the faith to believe the gospel and the grace to walk it out. He protects us from unseen evil and opens our eyes to understand that their are just some things we need to flee from. He has even prepared a place in His heaven for us and will take us there one day.

He truly is a father to us, His children.

“But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name…

John 1:12

May each earthly need be met and rich, spiritual blessings be in your life!

Carl

Then God said, “Let the waters teem with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth in the open expanse of the heavens.”

Vietnamese Christians Persecuted

The Christian Post (CP) reported last week that Christians in Vietnam are suffering persecution for the testimony of Jesus. I encourage you to keep the global Christian community in your prayers, as Christians in many nations continue to suffer, even to the point of death, for the cause of Christ. Persecution is projected to increase in 2019. Excerpts from the CP article follow. Carl

Several Hmong Christians were beaten and arrested by Vietnamese government officials after they refused to renounce their faith and worship a Buddha statue, a pastor has revealed.

Pastor Hoang Van Pa told persecution watchdog group International Christian Concern that government officials threatened 33 Hmong Protestants in Phá Lóm village in November if they refused to renounce their Christian faith.

Police reportedly gathered personal information about the 33 believers and carried out an open trial before the community. The officers presented an image of the Buddha and tried to force the Christians to abandon their faith and worship the Buddha statue instead. Four of the Christians were arrested and beaten, and government officials continued to harass Protestants in several other raids throughout November and December.

As Dzung, the representative of the Interdisciplinary Inspection Team, explained that Vietnam has banned the Protestant Christian faith and seeks to expel those who refuse to renounce their faith in Jesus. In 2018, more than 100 believers were expelled from Yen Bai province and Lao Cai province.

Due to its ethnic background and high percentage of practicing Christians, Vietnam’s Hmong community is often targeted and harassed by both the government and neighboring communities,” wrote ICC’s Regional Manager Gina Goh.

In a Communist country where Christianity is often seen as unpatriotic or a threat to the regime, Hmong Christians constantly face discrimination, harassment, land grabs, torture, and imprisonment.”

Good Deeds

Over the holidays I read the book of Titus wherein Paul stresses the importance of Christians performing good deeds.

First he described deceived people who “profess to know God but by their deeds they deny Him“. In other words they talk about God and say they know Him but if you look at what they do, their actions nullify their words. They don’t know Him.

Then he says of the same people, “they are disobedient and worthless for any good deed.” They did not follow the commands of Jesus and the apostles; therefore, they practiced lawlessness.

With this backdrop, he gives instructions about Christian ethics:

  • …show yourself to be an example of good deeds. Titus 2:7
  • … be zealous for good deeds. Titus 2:14
  • ….to be ready for every good deed Titus 3:1
  • ….so that those who have believed God may be careful to engage in good deeds Titus 3:8
  • let our people also learn to engage in good deeds to meet pressing needs that they may not be unfruitful. Titus 3:14

Why is Paul, the former persecutor of the Jewish Christians, stressing this point so strongly? It is because he knew Jesus had said the following:

“My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.” Matthew 5:18

The evidence of a Christian life is a changed life. We are not the same sinful person we were before we came to know Christ as Savior. We are not perfect but are being morally changed by His word and His Spirit resulting in new behavior. We go from bearing evil fruit to bearing good fruit that honors, magnifies; hence, glorifies our Father in heaven.

James also makes the point about good deeds but from another point of view:

[14] What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him? [15] If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, [16] and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,” and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? [17] Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself. … James 2:14-17

The deceived people are individuals who profess to know God (i.e. have faith) but by their deeds they deny Him (i.e. have no good works). James says their “faith” is dead. It is not saving faith.

In closing, I want to make it very plain that good deeds or good works have NOTHING to do with earning salvation. Salvation is a free gift from God based on the finished work Christ did on the Cross for us. Paul writes:

[8] For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; [9] not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. [10] For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. …

The good works that have value follow our salvation, not earn for us salvation. Many people and even whole religious systems have this important point reversed. They are trying to earn their way to God but it will never work.

May we Christians validate the words of faith that have flowed from our lips by bearing much fruit to the glory of God the Father.

May they who do not know Christ, read the New Testament and discover the Wonderful Savior who died and was resurrected for them. May they enter the narrow way that leads to Life.

May your good deeds be multiplied!

Carl

Be Still and Know That You are Not God!—God is Not “in” Everyone and Everything

god-is-in-every-man

(Dear Reader: This subject, “God is in everything and everyone”,  is the foundational doctrine of the New Spirituality or New Age movement. It is panentheism which leads to rejecting the atonement of Christ and the need for a Savior.  No need for a Savior if you are already “god” yourself.  This doctrine of demons is very seductive and dangerous. The author, Warren B. Smith, was a member of the New Age Movement and was set free by reading Johana Michaelsen’s book The Beautiful Side of Evil This booklet may be purchased at Lighthouse Trials. God bless. Carl)

By Warren B. Smith

Our Spiritual Adversary would have everyone believe that we are all “one” because God is “in” everyone and everything. Using every promotional means possible—including a creative and ingenious perversion of quantum physics—he is attempting to convince the world and the church that while Jesus was Christ, so is everyone. And while Jesus was God, so is everyone else. To underscore this heretical New Age doctrine of God and Christ “in” everyone, he would have us further believe that nothing of any significance happened on the Cross of Calvary. However, the Bible makes it very clear that something extremely wonderful and overwhelmingly significant did happen on the Cross of Calvary. For it was on that Cross that Jesus Christ died to save the world as He defeated sin (1 John 2:2), death (2 Timothy 1:10), and the Devil himself (Hebrews 2:14). As the one and only Christ, He is our Rock (1 Corinthians 10:1-4), He is our Foundation (1 Corinthians 3:11), and in every sense of the word He is the Saviour of the world (1 John 4:14).

Christ Our Savior

The apostle Paul proclaimed that all he needed to know was Christ and Christ crucified:

For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. (1 Corinthians 2:2)

Yet Paul also said we should not be “ignorant” of Satan’s “devices” (2 Corinthians 2:11).

Paul further stated it is “a shame” we have to talk about “the unfruitful works of darkness,” but we must “reprove” them—expose them—by bringing them into the “light”:

And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret. But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light. (Ephesians 5:11-13)

To read the complete article click here.

Beth Moore Tempest (or How We Should Approach Bible Study)

The following is an excellent short article on how we should approach Bible study. It is written by Wallace Henley, a former White House and Congressional aide, who is senior associate pastor at Houston’s Second Baptist Church.  The article was published in The Christian Post on January 7, 2019.  I hope this speaks to you. God bless. Carl

Beth Moore Tempest

Beth Moore, my fellow Houstonian, has stirred quite a tempest in the teapot of social (and often anti-social) media. “Spending time with God and spending time with the Bible is not the same thing,” she said.

I had to settle the issue for myself in the late 1960s and early 1970s, when I was running from God’s core calling for my life—church-centered ministry. As a newspaper reporter, I interviewed Thomas Altizer, the prime celebrity of the “god-is-dead” movement, Episcopal Bishop James Pike, who was toying with the occult, and a famed Bible translator who himself was uncertain about the Bible’s inspiration.

And that’s just a sampling.

It was a period of intoxicating relativism, making even great theologians inebriated, some crazy-drunk, others merely tipsy.
In 1973, after a decade in journalism and government, God dramatically renewed the call to church ministry He had given me when I was fifteen. Within months, still somewhat under the influence of theological liberalism, I was pastor of a small Alabama congregation.

One Sunday, an elderly parishioner told me he loved my preaching. My head swelled until he told me the reason: My sermons were Bible-lite, short enough to get home for a nap and Sunday afternoon TV sports, and not long enough to put him to sleep in the pew.
As for the church, there was little growth in those early months, especially in baptisms.
Fresh from the Watergate White House when I entered the pastorate, I thought I was walking into a calm garden. Not so. People were desperately ill, families were in crisis, there were emergency pastoral calls in the wee hours.

I needed to go into the pulpit every Sunday with an assuring, confident, “Thus saith the Lord!” — a proclamation that would feed and strengthen the people God gave me to serve. Churches in America and Europe were shriveling under the tenuous, hedge-all-bets preaching that said, “… maybe God might be saying…”

Cal Thomas was and is a friend from our Washington days. One day Cal phoned, and told me of hearing a certain philosopher speak at a Houston church. “Have you ever read Francis Schaeffer?” he asked. I hadn’t, but soon plowed into Schaeffer’s writings.
“The Bible is the weapon which enables us to join with our Lord on the offensive in defeating the spiritual hosts of wickedness,” Schaeffer wrote. “But,” he continued, “It must be the Bible as the Word of God in everything it teaches…”

Jesus’ words were echoing all through this process, and even now reverberate in my spirit.

At one point Jesus thanked the Father for having “hidden” His profound revelation “from the wise and intelligent” and “revealed them to infants.” (Matthew 11:25) The Lord said that “unless you are converted and become like little children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:3)

It hit me that I must be “converted” in my approach to Scripture, and become like a child.
That led me to what I call the “Wow!” principle of biblical interpretation.

So, if you want to meet God in the Bible and Him to meet you, approach it as a little child. Rather than noodling on “how” a virgin could get pregnant, a man could walk on water, heal the sick, cast out demons, atone for the sins of the world, rise from the dead, shout “Wow!”

In other words, move from “How?” to “Wow!” in reading the Bible.

As I write these words I look right across my desk and see a photo of Jim DeLoach. It’s on the cover of his funeral bulletin, dated December 4, 2018. The photograph shows Jim holding up a Bible in his left hand, and driving home a point with his right. I have never known a person who loved the Bible more than Jim.

He was in his nineties when he died, and still teaching a Bible class.

Jim was a “Wow!” guy with every reason in the world to get marooned on “How?” He was one of the few people who fought in both the Pacific and Atlantic in the Second World War. His best shipmate died agonizing from burns, in Jim’s arms. Later in life, Jim would spend long hours at the side of his beloved wife as she sank into illness, and died.

Nevertheless, Jim stayed in “Wow!” mode.

After leaving military service, Jim became a teaching assistant at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. Among his students was a feisty young Mississippi boy full of “How?” questions. Jim recognized greatness in the young man, and nurtured in him a high view of Scripture midst a seminary that had gone far into the liberal theology camp.
The young man was Ed Young, destined to become the pastor of America’s largest Baptist Church—Second Baptist of Houston, with, at this writing, more than eighty thousand members, and preacher on “Winning Walk”, a global broadcast into more than a hundred nations.

Jim would spend more than forty years at Ed Young’s side as his friend, mentor and primary associate pastor.

I doubt there was ever a day when Jim DeLoach did not meet God in the Bible every time he opened its pages.

I know Ed Young, on whom Jim had so much influence, spends time with God when he spends time in the Bible because it is evident in his preaching and leadership.

So Beth Moore is both right and wrong: Read the Bible with the “How?” approach, and you probably won’t be spending time with God there.

Take the “Wow!” attitude of childlike wonder, and you will discover that you have indeed spent quality time with God.
Wallace Henley, a former White House and Congressional aide, is senior associate pastor at Houston’s Second Baptist Church. He is founder of Belhaven University’s Master of Ministry Leadership degree. He is co-author of God and Churchill, with the late Jonathan Sandys, Winston Churchill’s great-grandson.

 

The Making Of A “Footstool”

The Lord says to my Lord

“Sit at My right hand,

Until I make Thine enemies a footstool for Thy feet”

The Lord will stretch forth Thy strong scepter from Zion

saying,

“Rule in the midst of Thine enemies.”

Psalm 110: 1-2

Let us begin 2019 by remembering that our Heavenly Father is in control of the future. “As consistently explained in the New Testament, this opening verse describes the determination of God the Father (the Lord) regarding the ultimate victory and dominion of God the Son (my (David’s) Lord) …” (Moody Bible Commentary).

As we read about Christians being persecuted and killed in Laos, Nigeria, North Korea, China, India, Egypt and other Muslim countries, let us remember that the Messiah is coming to Jerusalem (Zion) again. Coming to judge the nations and establish His Kingdom on the earth.

Not as a suffering Messiah but as a Warrior King.

This is no New Age Christ-consciousness, cosmic panentheistic Christ, some spark of divinity in everything, Higher Self, Avatar, or just one of the faces of divinity that flow to the All encompassing One. This is the One who died on the Roman cross for the sins of the world returning as the powerful Holy Son of God, in the splendors of holiness, to judge the wicked who have rejected Him.

All of these people who take pleasure in destroying and persecuting His children will themselves be suddenly destroyed by the Warrior King, King Jesus. The terrible day of the Lord will come. His patience will be exhausted. The iniquities of the rebellious will be ripe and full measure.

Listen:

“The Lord is at Thy right hand;

He will shatter kings in the day of His wrath.

He will judge among the nations,

He will fill them with corpses,

He will shatter the chief men over a broad country…

Psalm 110: 5-6

Isaiah 63:1-6 gives us a vivid description of what Psalm 110 tells us:

Who is this who comes from Edom,

With garments of glowing colors from Bozrah,

This One who is majestic in His apparel,

Marching in the greatness of His strength?

“It is I who speak in righteousness, mighty to save.”

Why is Your apparel red, And Your garments like the one who treads in the wine press?

“I have trodden the wine trough alone, And from the peoples there was no man with Me. I also trod them in My anger And trampled them in My wrath; And their lifeblood is sprinkled on My garments, And I stained all My raiment.

“For the day of vengeance was in My heart, And My year of redemption has come.

“I looked, and there was no one to help, And I was astonished and there was no one to uphold; So My own arm brought salvation to Me, And My wrath upheld Me.

“I trod down the peoples in My anger And made them drunk in My wrath, And I poured out their lifeblood on the earth.” …

Though Revelation tells us the rebellious and idol worshippers will cast their idols away and try to hide from “terror of the Lord and the splendor of His majesty” (Isaiah 2:21), NONE will escape.

Psalm 110 is cited directly by the writers of the New Testament nine times with exclusive reference to Messiah. In Hebrews it quotes the following verse in a discussion on how “the atonement afforded by the priestly work of Messiah is not only perfectly efficacious but is also eternal”. (Moody Bible Commentary)

“THE LORD HAS SWORN

AND WILL NOT CHANGE HIS MIND

‘THOU ART A PRIEST FOREVER’ ”

Hebrew 7:21 (Psalm 110: 4)

God gave visions to Daniel in Babylon that revealed Gentile world dominance would end in the future and the Messiah would come to Israel. This gave the stunned captives HOPE as they reflected on how God had severely disciplined them (Israel) for forsaking Him.

In like manner, as we see the world and parts of Christendom fleeing from a loving God into the arms of the great Seducer, as we are confronted with our own shortcomings and failures, may we be STRENGTHENED knowing that our Savior Jesus is coming as a Warrior King. He will rescue His Bride, the Church, and Israel and bring justice. His numerous enemies will become His “footstool”; they will be put under His feet once for all. God the Father is even preparing it now and will bring it to pass in His own time.

“…then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be abolished is death. For HE HAS PUT ALL THINGS IN SUBJECTION UNDER HIS FEET. I Corinthians 15:24-25

This “PUT ALL THINGS IN SUBJECTION UNDER HIS FEET” is the “footstool” that God is preparing for His Son.

Are you already in subjection to Jesus as your Lord and Savior? Do you fear or reverence His name? The following reveals the difference in the lost and the saved on that terrible day of God’s wrath:

… For behold, the day is coming, burning like a furnace; and all the arrogant and every evildoer will be chaff; and the day that is coming will set them ablaze,” says the LORD of hosts, “so that it will leave them neither root nor branch.” [2] “But for you who fear My name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings; and you will go forth and skip about like calves from the stall. [3] You will tread down the wicked, for they will be ashes under the soles of your feet on the day which I am preparing,” says the LORD of hosts. …. Malachi 4:1-3

If you are not born again according to John 3, please call upon the Lord now while He is still seated on His throne of grace. Repent of your sins and ask Him to save your soul from destruction.

… THE WORD IS NEAR YOU, IN YOUR MOUTH AND IN YOUR HEART”— that is, the word of faith which we are preaching, that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. For the Scripture says,“ WHOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED …. Romans 10:8-11

Heavenly Father, the One who holds the future in His hand, thank you for your purposes and ways that you have revealed to the Church. Thank you for protecting your children and keeping them from the evil one as Jesus prayed in John 17:15. Be with our brothers and sisters who are suffering and dying in other countries for the sake of Jesus. Help them to remain faithful until the end. Give them the grace and love of Jesus to endure their sufferings. Do not let us forget these people but to pray daily for them and help physically where we can. Save those who torment them for they know not what they do. In Jesus’ precious name we ask these things. Amen

He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming quickly.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.” (Rev. 22:20) God’s mercy and grace be upon you.

Carl

Tinkering With God’s Word

“Human wisdom delights to trim and arrange the doctrine of the cross into a system more artificial and congenial with the depraved tastes of fallen nature; instead, however, of improving the gospel carnal wisdom pollutes it, until it becomes another gospel, and not the truth of God at all. All alterations and amendments of the Lord’s own word are defilements and pollutions.

Charles Spurgeon