“Those who are the most heavenly minded are also of most earthly use.”
William Wilberforce (24 August 1759 – 29 July 1833, British politician, philanthropist, and one of the leaders of the movement to ban the slave trade).
Source: Berean Call
“Those who are the most heavenly minded are also of most earthly use.”
William Wilberforce (24 August 1759 – 29 July 1833, British politician, philanthropist, and one of the leaders of the movement to ban the slave trade).
Source: Berean Call
“But I have this against you, that you have left your first love.” Lord Jesus in Revelation 2:4
I have a book, Deeper Experiences of Famous Christians, that has a story about Billy Bray, one of God’s quaint vessels. He would offend some Christians today, but he had a real experience of salvation and he did not know what to do except express himself. They made fun of Billy Bray and laughed at him. “Why, Billy Bray, you are so happy, so joyous, all the time. Suppose you discovered you are not saved at all, you are really not a child of God, and suppose when you die you go to hell?” Billy Bray said, “Well, I suppose if I die and I discovered I am not a Christian and I go to hell, Jesus has been so real and wonderful and precious to me in life I will just have to shout all the way to hell. When I get down to hell I will have to run up and down the streets of hell shouting ‘Hallelujah, praise the Lord.’ The devil will come over to me and say, ‘Billy Bray, we cannot stand that down here; we cannot put up with that. We will just have to send you to heaven.” That is the joy of salvation.
Exploring 1.2.3 John – Jerry Vines (1989)
Dear born again Christian, how is your joy level right now?
Is it full and overflowing? Maybe it has been a while since you had fellowship with the Joy-Givers, our Heavenly Father and His Mighty Son Jesus, your First Love. There is real, deep joy around their throne and, as His child, He wants our joy to be made complete. Why not “wash your feet” in the precious blood of Jesus (John 13:3-10) and get rid of that unconfessed sin in your life which prevents your fellowship with the Joy-Givers. After that, spend some time in prayer and Bible readings in His presence. Read I John 1: 4-10 for example and think on the awesome privilege you have in being called into fellowship with the Creator and Sustainer of all things, including you.
In your First Love’s presence there is fullness of joy (Psalm 16:11). Return to your First Love today! Do not be a carnal Christian who is running around on his First Love, loving the devil’s world and their old, stinking, fleshly, sinful ways.
Instead, may rivers of living water, the Holy Spirit (John 7:38), flow out of you today and every day and may the people around you be watered by this spiritual, life-giving, river of God.
| Today’s oceanography and meteorology owe a great debt to Matthew Maury. He exemplified the biblical principle that whatever we do, we should do it “to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31). Maury’s scientific research revered God’s Creatorship while benefiting hisfellowman.1 |
On a monument erected by the state of Virginia to his memory is found a plaque that reads as follows: “Matthew Fontaine Maury, Pathfinder of the Seas, the genius who first snatched from the oceans and atmosphere the secret of their laws. His inspiration, Holy Writ, Psalm 8:8; Ecclesiastes 1:6.”2
Genius indeed! Maury epitomizes the godly investigator whose creation science begins with the Creator’s written revelation—the Bible.3
“I have been blamed by men of science, both in this country and in England, for quoting the Bible in confirmation of the doctrines of physical geography. The Bible, they say, was not written for scientific purposes, and is therefore no authority in matters of science. I beg pardon! The Bible IS authority for everything it touches.”1
As a child, Maury was taught the Psalms at home, and that divine book of praises imprinted upon his intelligent, investigative mind. Decades later Maury would live out his lifelong commitment to doxological creation science.4 Maury recognized the Holy Bible as perfect in whatever it taught, including being authoritatively relevant and accurate in scientific matters.1,4 Among the insights he gleaned are:
1. The Gulf Stream washes nutrients from the Gulf of Mexico into the North Atlantic, benefiting whales, seabirds, and other oceanic creatures. This illustrates the scriptural principle of God’s providential care for animals (Job 38:41; Psalm147:9; Matthew 10:29; Luke 12:6).
2. The general system of atmospherical circulation is referred to in Ecclesiastes 1:6.
3. The water cycle matches Ecclesiastes 1:7.
4. Atmospheric pressure is a geophysical reality mentioned in Job 28:25 as the “weight for the wind.”
5. Maury’s most famous Scripture-based insight is that the oceans have subsurface currents with regular circulation patterns—the “paths of the seas” in Psalm 8:8.5
Maury trembled at the privilege of uncovering the logic God carefully built into His creation, noting that scientific discovery is discovering God’s own mind.
As a student of physical geography, I regard earth, sea, air, and water as parts of a machine, pieces of mechanism, not made with hands….And when, after patient research, I am led to the discovery of one of these [mechanisms], I feel, with the astronomer of old [Johannes Kepler],“as though I had thought one of God’s thoughts,” and tremble. Thus, as we progress with our science, we are permitted now and then to point out here and there in the physical machinery of the earth a design of the Great Architect when He planned it all.6
Virginia’s monument to Matthew Maury reminds us of his historic testimony and scientific achievements. The more important “monument” to his godly work is the ongoing impact of Maury’s life of reverent research in God’s service, which has secured for him “treasures in heaven” (Matthew 6:19-21).
1. Major, T. J. 1995. Honor to Whom Honor…Matthew Fontaine Maury (1806-1873). Creation Research Society Quarterly. 32 (2): 82-87, quote from page 83.
2. Gish, D. Paths of the Seas. Days of Praise, October 6, 1993. “One day, while reading Psalm 8, [Maury] was struck by an important truth in the 8th verse…‘the fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas.’ He immediately saw the great practical significance of that verse, recognizing that there must be currents of water in the oceans, just like vast rivers, as well as in the atmosphere (Ecclesiastes 1:6).”
3. Maury, M. F. 1855. The Physical Geography of the Sea and Its Meteorology. Mineola, NY: Dover Publications, Inc
4. Johnson, J. J. S. An Oceanographer’s Insight, for Researching and Analyzing Oceanic and Littoral Ecosystem Dynamics, Guided by ‘High-Definition’ Biblical Philology, presented at the Creation Research Society Conference, Dallas, Texas, July 31, 2015, especially pages 3-13 and 17
5. Adapted from Major, Honor to Whom Honor, 85.
6. Meyer, J. R. 1982. The Life and Philosophy of Matthew Fontaine Maury, Pathfinder of the Sea. Creation Research Society Quarterly. 19 (2): 91-100, quoting from page 95 (from Maury’s keynote address “at the laying of the corner-stone for the University of the South in the Sewanee Mountains in East Tennessee on Nov. 30, 1860”). https://www.icr.org/article/matthew-maury-paths-of-the-sea/
…We must be very careful to examine the words and fruits of those who speak in the name of God. Credulity is dangerous. We can be led astray and lose our souls.
It is said that when Alexander the Great went to war against Darius, King of the Persians, he took a bath and caught cold. His friend, Philip, a physician, cared for him. Just at that time, Alexander received a letter from his most faithful commander advising him to be suspicious of Philip and not to take his medicine because the physician was in collusion with King Darius to poison him. Philip had allegedly received money and the promise of Darius’ sister for his wife. When the physician entered the room with his medicine, Alexander took the glass in one hand and with the other drank while Philip read. Then Alexander said to him, “I have confidence in your medicine and in your friendship.” He regained his health.
This example is often quoted in sermons to suggest that if we can have such confidence in man, then we can have even more in God –our greatest Friend.
It is my firm conviction that, assuming Alexander really responded in this manner and the story is not legend, he was misguided. Many kings and rulers have been poisoned by their physicians. Many of Stalin’s comrades were killed in this manner.
Jesus taught, “Beware of men” (Mt. 10:17). We must beware of men in material things, financial matters, and everyday affairs. Even more, we must not easily give our confidence when the eternal destiny of the soul is at stake.
If anyone desires salvation and sanctification, he might find a religious teacher who is trusted with speaking the oracles of God but be very choosy.
The Oracles of God – Richard Wurmbrand, p.68-70
Brother Richard warns us that “credulity” is dangerous. Credulity is the state of being credulous which is being gullible; ready to believe without proof. Don’t be credulous.
Be a Berean. Acts 17:10-11 tells us the brethren “sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea; and when they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily, to see whether these things were so.
They were checking what Paul said about the Messiah against what the Old Testament Scriptures said. They were not gullible. They wanted to see it in the Scriptures for themselves.
It is prudent for us to read our Bible daily asking the Holy Spirit to teach us the truth. He was sent to lead us into all truth. We need to let Him.
Read your Bible. Be a Berean!
God bless you and be wise!
Jesus died. He rose from the dead. And the world changed forever.
But what’s the significance of these events? Why did Jesus die, and what does His resurrection mean? How has the world changed?
When we think about someone’s death, we can’t really appreciate its significance unless we know who we’re talking about. The significance of Abraham Lincoln’s death can only be fully felt when we understand who Lincoln was—and the same goes for other historical figures. Their lives changed the world, and their death did too.
From a purely historical point of view, there’s no one in human history whose life changed the world more than Jesus. More biographies have been written about Him than any other person (Lincoln is second). Indeed, the original four biographies of Jesus, collected together in the New Testament gospels, are a large part of why the
Bible is the number-one-selling book every year. In fact, The New York Times Best Seller ignores the Bible; otherwise, it would top the list every week.
No one’s teaching has had a deeper impact on culture, politics, morality, justice, philosophy, and human character than Jesus Christ’s. Two thousand years later, He’s regularly quoted (consciously and unconsciously) even in our increasingly secular world. His moral teaching likewise forms the bedrock for billions around the world –such as the Golden Rule and the importance of compassion, forgiveness, and mercy. Indeed, Jesus continues to set a standard that our modern world fails to live up to. How well do we love our enemies? Do we pray for those who persecute us?
And all of that is only taking into account the Jesus of history. What about when we consider who He was according to His own claims? According to Jesus and His first followers, He wasn’t an ordinary man. He was God’s appointed king who came in fulfillment of promises made centuries before. He came to reveal God to us through His own embodiment of the divine nature. He was, and is, God the Son, who by His own claim existed from the very beginning. He’s the One through whom His Father created the entire cosmos – including the humanity of which Jesus Himself chose to partake. If these claims are believed, there can be no question that Jesus was the most significant man who ever walked the earth.
When we realize that the One through whom humanity was crafted died as a man, we begin to see the depths of this event. In fact, once we understand who Jesus is, we shouldn’t at all be surprised that He would rise again from the dead. The truly remarkable thing is that He died at all! How could the Author of life be put to death? How could the Creator be killed by His own creation?
The answer is love. As the Apostle John says, “God is love.” (I John 4:8) and the gift of His eternal Son is the ultimate demonstration of His love. Jesus chose to take up human life and to lay down His life so that we broken, rebellious, proud human beings might be brought into loving relationship with our heavenly Father –our Maker and our Judge. If Christmas celebrates God’s gift of Jesus into our world, Easter celebrates what that Gift came to do. He came to die that we might live. His death spells our life because of who He is. He’s God Himself come to us as one of us so that He might bring us home with Him.
If Christ’s death can only be appreciated by understanding who He is, so too His resurrection from the dead. Lazarus was raised from the dead (by Jesus), but his resurrection did not change the fate of humanity. So why did Christ’s change humanity? For starters, Lazarus had to die again one day. His resurrection didn’t permanently overcome death. It didn’t destroy death. But when Jesus was resurrected, He overpowered death. He conquered the last great enemy of humanity—death itself. That is why Jesus will never die again, unlike Lazarus. He rose victorious over death, and death no longer has any claim on Him. Death could literally not hold Him down.
While death still has its way with us, Jesus promised through Him death would not have the last word. No one who hopes in Jesus will stay dead. He promised that one day He’ll call each of us by name. He’ll call us out of our graves, and we’ll literally live again. Our bodies will be resurrected like His. Death will have no further claim on us. Death will die.
That is why that first Easter was the most important weekend in human history. God remade humanity in three days through the death and resurrection of one man. The ultimate man died the ultimate death so that our ultimate fate would be eternal life with Him.
This Easter let’s pursue Jesus, the One who first came in pursuit of us.
Source: Con Campbell, vice-president of global content, Our Daily Bread
Dear Reader, this article was written for Easter but I encourage you to pursue Jesus today. If you do not know Him as Lord and Savior, ask Him today to save you from your sins, to forgive you, and become your Lord and Savior. He will not fail you or reject you. Enter His rest and cease from your works to be good enough or religious enough to earn His favor. We all are sinners in need of His mercy. He will not reject you. Turn to the Living Son of God today and be saved for eternity.
All that the Father gives Me shall come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out. Quote from Jesus — John 6:37
Last post we discussed the 503rd anniversary of the beginning of the Reformation. (You may scroll down past this post to read last post) We saw that Martin Luther was infuriated by the selling of indulgences to the German people. Having begun to read the New Testament, he knew that salvation from sin was not for sale by God.
Following are statements from contemporary documents which reveal, to those who know their Bible, that this was all devilish. It caused people to put their trust in the Pope and his word instead of the Holy Bible and what it says about the finished work of Christ on the Cross for sinful man.
Luther wrote the following concerning the Dominican monk named Johann Tetzel who was selling the indulgences for Pope Leo X:
2. He had grace and power from the Pope to offer forgiveness even if someone had slept with the holy Virgin Mary*, the mother of God, as long as a contribution will be put into the coffer.
3. Furthermore, The Red Cross of indulgences and the papal coat of arms on the flag in the churches was as powerful as the cross of Christ.
4. Moreover, even if Saint Peter were here now, he would have no greater grace or power than he (Tetzel) had.
5. Furthermore, he would not want to trade places in heaven with Saint Peter, for he had redeemed more souls with his indulgences than Peter with his sermons.
6. Furthermore, if anyone put money into the coffer for a soul in purgatory** the soul will leave purgatory** for heaven in the moment one can hear the penny hit the bottom.
7. Furthermore, it is not necessary to show remorse or sorrow or to do penance for sins when purchasing indulgences or a letter of indulgence.
8. He even sold indulgences for future sins.
9. Such abominable things he did abundantly, he was merely interested in money. ”
Martin Luther, Wider Hans Worst, 1541 (WA 51, 538)
The sale of the indulgence for the construction of Saint Peter’s in Rome was regulated by a ‘Summary Instruction’ issued by Albert of Hohenzollen, Archbishop of Magdeburg and Mainz. Two details set forth in the instructions are:
In closing, Martin Luther knew what Tetzel was doing for Pope Leo X was an abomination to Holy God. God is not for sale and neither is His marvelous grace. And especially not the precious blood of Jesus that was shed for payment for our many, many sins. You can not bribe or buy God off.
**And I pray, Dear Reader, that you know there is no such thing as purgatory in the Bible. Hebrews 10:27 says, “…It is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgement.” Almighty God only recognizes the precious blood of Jesus as the payment for man’s sin. The fires of this cooked-up purgatory is not going to purify anyone of their sins. The forgiveness of our sins had better be settled before we take our last breath on earth. Once we die, our permanent destination in the next world is set: heaven or the place of torment. There is no moving around.
Purgatory is a great money maker for the Roman Catholic Church but it was cooked up in hell and given to men who had seared consciences to deceive the unsuspecting (I Timothy 4: 1-3).
*Mary, the mother of Jesus, realized she need a Savior just like everyone else. She said “My soul exalts the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God, my Savior (Luke 1: 46). She is blessed among women but she is not the co-redeemer of man and no one should be praying to her or other dead people. Read Deuteronomy 18: 10-14 where God forbids this.
Luther was just in being angry about all these lies. How we need a Reformation today, a Luther to rise up and expose these dangerous errors that still lead lost, religious man to eternal ruin!
Note: All quotations are from The Reformation – A Narrative History Related By Contemporary Observers and Participants by Hans Hillerbrand, Editor
In 1517 a Dominican Friar named Johann Tetzel had been selling indulgences near Wittenberg to raise money for constructing Saint Peter’s in Rome. According to Tetzel, those who purchased an indulgence would receive remission of purgatory. Indulgences could also be purchased on behalf of dead relatives and friends. The punchline of Tetzel’s sermon was, “As soon as the coin in the coffer rings, the soul from purgatory springs.”
The sale of these indulgences infuriated Martin Luther, the professor of biblical studies at the University of Wittenberg, and he decided to hold a disputation with other faculty members on the subject. A professor interested in holding a disputation would nail the theses to be discussed on the cathedral door. Luther posted his 95-Theses on the great wooden door of Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany, on October 31st, 1517.
Some of Luther’s points for discussion were: (1) “Our Lord and Master Jesus Christ in saying, “Repent Ye”, intended that the whole life of believer should be penitence”. (32) “Those who believe that, through letters of pardon, they are made sure of their own salvation, will be eternally damned, together with their teachers.” (37) “Every true Christian, whether living or dead has a share and all the benefits of Christ and of the Church, given by God, even without letters of pardon”. (62) “The true treasure of the Church is the Holy Gospel of the glory and grace of God.”
Luther knew from his own repentance and conversion that paying an indulgence could not achieve forgiveness of sins. Shortly before posting the 95- Theses, Luther had begun studying the Greek New Testament, and his studies persuaded him that the Greek word for repentance, metanoia, meant a change of heart, not mere performance of outward works, as theologians of his day defined it.
Luther wrote the 95-Theses in Latin, intending them to be discussed by scholars, not circulated among the populace. But as Luther himself acknowledged, “A fortnight they flew all over Germany.” Translated into German and sold as far away as Rome, the 95-Theses became much more than a University exercise.
For the next two decades, Luther enjoyed seeing the Reformation grow. Many regions in Germany accepted the evangelical doctrines that Luther and other reformers discovered in the Scriptures. Luther lived to see a second generation of evangelicals sing the hymns he had written, read his German translation of the Bible, and learn his catechism from their early childhood.
Throughout his life he preached and taught God’s promise of redemption to the repentant sinner. On his deathbed he prayed, “O Lord Jesus Christ, I commend my poor soul to Thee. O Heavenly Father, I know that, although I shall be taken from this life, I shall live forever with thee. God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son that whosoever believeth on him should not perish but have everlasting life. Father into Thy hands I commend my spirit.”
Luther died on February 18, 1546, at the age of sixty-two in Eisleben, the city where he was born. As word of his death spread to Wittenberg, bells tolled, and people crowded the streets, wanting to pay their last respects to their leader.
On Monday, February 22, 1546, accompanied by caravan that included his wife, Katie, his four children, and a throng of his followers, Luther’s casket was born through the door of Castle Church in Wittenberg, on which, more than twenty-eight years before, the young monk had nailed his theses.
Little did Martin Luther realize the forces that would-be set-in motion by the posting of his 95-Thesis. He merely felt it necessary to speak out against the error of his day. He was willing to stand up and be counted for truth and God used him to change the world. Do you ever feel that you should speak out against error? There is no predicting how God will honor your faithfulness.
They should gently teach those who oppose the truth. Perhaps God will change those people’s hearts, and they will believe the truth. II Timothy 2:25
Source: The One Year Christian History – E. Michael and Sharon Rusten
| Why Did Chicago Public Schools Just Quietly Drop Transcendental Meditation? |
Three years ago, as a part of its mission to teach Transcendental Meditation to a million at-risk kids, the David Lynch Foundation partnered with the University of Chicago’s Urban Labs and Chicago Public Schools(CPS) to test whether Transcendental Meditation (TM) could reduce crime and improve school performance.
Two thousand students in five high schools located in high crime Chicago neighborhoods participated in the $3 million study through its “Quiet Time” (QT) program. Earlier this month, in response to a direct email inquiry, RD was notified by a CPS official that “CPS is no longer allowing for the official Quiet Time Program through David Lynch Foundation to be offered in CPS schools.” But why would CPS quietly drop such a high-profile program?
Though CPS decline to elaborate further, a July 26, 2019 article in the Chicago Tribune provides a clue. Hannah Leone’s article includes some disturbing information about the program based on the harrowing recollections, before the Chicago Board of Education, of Dasia Skinner, a substitute teacher, and Jade Thomas, a fourteen-year-old high school student. After hearing their testimony, the CPS chief education officer noted that while she personally visited the QT program at Bogan High School, none of the information reported in the presentations was shared with her. So what didn’t they tell her about this “simple… non-religious technique,” as the David Lynch Foundation’s brochure describes TM?
According to Skinner, the 60 students she spoke with shared a similar experience, Jade Thomas among them. Thomas told the Chicago Board of Education that her experience began with a mandatory “initiation into the meditation program” (elsewhere in TM materials referred to as a puja, a ceremony performed by Hindus, as well as many Buddhists and Jains). Students are taken by a QT “facilitator,” two at a time, to a dark, incense-filled room with all the windows covered.
According to Thomas, they were made to hold flowers in their hands while the instructors “chanted in a foreign language, threw rice, seasonings, [and] oranges on a pan in front of a picture of a man, ”after which they were to place the flowers on the pan. Following the ritual, they were given their mantras and were told “don’t tell anyone else your word.”(Keeping one’s mantra a secret, it should be noted, is common in some sects of Hinduism.) Thomas also notes that students were told they would be sent to the dean’s office if they declined to participate and that they would be threatened with reduced grades if they talked during the twice-daily QT sessions. She describes feeling uncomfortable about her participation because the ceremony went against the Christian religion she practiced in her home.
Unless this ceremony departed from the standard TM puja, as described by Business Insider, the man in the picture was likely Swami Brahmananda Saraswati, or ‘Guru Dev,’ with whom the founder of TM, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, “studied the Upanishads, the segments of the four ancient Sanskrit books of scripture known as the Vedas that focus on the self and its relationship to God.” And yet this is “an act that the Maharishi did not consider to be compromising to his practice’s secularity.”
According to Professor Candy Gunther Brown, author of Debating Yoga and Mindfulness in Public Schools, the federal appellate case of Malnak v.Yogi (1979) ruled that teaching TM in public schools constitutes an impermissible “establishment of religion.” Indeed, the court’s ruling against TM left little room for debate: Although defendants have submitted well over 1500 pages of briefs, affidavits, and deposition testimony…defendants have failed to raise the slightest doubt as to the facts or as to the religious nature of the teachings of the Science of Creative Intelligence [TM’s Hindu underpinnings] and the puja.
The teaching of the SCI/TM course in New Jersey public high schools violates the establishment clause of the first amendment, and its teaching must be enjoined. TM proponents argue that the case is over 40 years old and no longer relevant. In an exchange in the Wall Street Journal 3 years ago, Lynch Foundation CEO Bob Roth wrote, “TM is not a religion. Over 8 million people of all religions practice TM. It is taught in public schools, on military bases, and in large and small businesses. In each case, a team of legal experts has done due diligence and researched the accusations and claims and found them to have no basis.”
When I pointed out in response that the puja ceremony is exactly the same today as it was in 1977, and that the establishment clause has not changed, Roth responded, “In the nearly 40 years since the 1979 court case you cite, tens of thousands of students have learned to meditate as part of voluntary Quiet Time programs with the full support of school boards and parents.” That may be strictly true, but given what we’re learning about the Chicago case, that support may be largely due to the fact that TM isn’t entirely forthcoming in what it shares with school boards and parents regarding the explicitly religious content that permeates the program.
But not all is bliss in the TM world. For example, TM teachers created “checking notes,” as a guide to handle pain and discomfort that might arise even within the first days of TM instruction. The existence and use of the checking notes document that the TM organization is well aware of these potential problems. Shaking and body movements, as well as overpowering thoughts, are frequent enough even during the first few meditations that an entire section of the checking procedure is devoted to these severe symptoms.
More generally, a non-profit called Cheetah House, which is affiliated with Brown University, Harvard, and a number of other prestigious institutions, exists to provide “information and resources about meditation-related difficulties to meditators-in-distress.” And this is a major part of the mission of a proponent of meditation. In addition, while the UK’s National Health Service notes that meditation can be very helpful in many cases, “The serious, long-lasting nature of some of the negative experiences reported [in a recent study], however, are cause for concern.” These potential issues may be perfectly acceptable for adults voluntarily participating in TM workshops, but for children and adolescents required or even urged to participate it hardly seems appropriate.
It took three years for CPS to conclude that TM is more than a secular relaxation method to reduce stress. And while it’s still unclear whether they dropped the program due to issues with the establishment clause, potential risks to students’ health, or both, one thing that is clear is that TM proponents will not be deterred from approaching other school systems and institutions. You might say that their belief in the benefits of TM is… religious. https://religiondispatches.org/exclusive-why-did-chicago-public-schools-just-quietly-drop-transcendental-meditation/
Source: Berean Call
We all feel this way at times. The way out of the valley is to start giving God thanks; remembering all the good He has done for you. That will lead into praising and worshipping Him for who He is and how great He is. Soon you have risen to an elevation above the worries of this world. Remember, you are not alone. The Holy Spirit has not left you and the world is full of your brother and sisters who are going through the same things you are. Refocus on the Father and Jesus and away from the worries of the world. Click on the following link to join in with Maverick City Music, a Christian music group, as they extol God’s miraculous love for His children: Love Is A Miracle.
“The hypocrite is like the waterman*, that looks one way and rows another; the true Christian like the traveller, that has his journey end in his eye. The hypocrite soars like the kite**, with his eye upon the prey below, which he is ready to come down to when he has a fair opportunity; the true Christian soars like the lark, higher and higher, forgetting the things that are beneath.” A Commentary On The Whole Bible – Matthew Henry (1721)- Vol. 5, page 81
“If then you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” Paul in Colossians 3: 1-3
*The person rowing a boat ** Eagle-like bird of prey feeding predominately on fish
Desire is not merely a simple wish; it is a deep seated craving; an intense longing, for attainment. In the realm of spiritual affairs, it is an important adjunct to prayer. So important is it, that one might say, almost, that desire is an absolute essential of prayer.
A sense of need creates or should create, earnest desire. The stronger the sense of need, the greater should be the desire, the more earnest the praying. The “poor in spirit” are eminently competent to pray.
Hunger is an active sense of physical need. It prompts the request for bread. In like manner, the inward consciousness of spiritual need created desire, and desire breaks forth in prayer. Desire is an inward longing for something of which we are not possessed, of which we stand in need –something which God has promised, and which may be secured by an earnest supplication of His throne of grace.
Desire is the will in action; a strong, conscious longing, excited in the inner nature, for some great good. Desire exalts the object of its longing, and fixes the mind on it. It has choice, and fixedness, and flame in it, and prayer, based thereon, is explicit and specific. It knows its need, feels and sees the thing that will meet it, and hastens to acquire it.
Spiritual desire, carried to a higher degree, is the evidence of the new birth. It is born in the renewed soul:
“As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby.”
The absence of this holy desire in the heart is presumptive proof, either of a decline in spiritual ecstasy, or, that the new birth has never taken place.”
“Bless are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.”
These heaven-given appetites are the proof of a renewed heart, the evidence of a stirring spiritual life…spiritual desires belong to a soul made alive to God. And as the renewed soul hungers and thirsts after righteousness, these holy inward desires break out into earnest, supplicating prayer.
One might well ask, whether the feebleness of our desires for God, the Holy Spirit, and for all the fulness of Christ, is not the cause of our so little praying, and languishing in the exercise of prayer? Do we really feel these inward pantings of desire after heavenly treasure? Do the inbred groanings of desire stir our souls to mighty wrestlings? Alas for us! The fire burns altogether too low. The flaming heat of soul has been tempered down to a tepid lukewarmness. This, it should be remembered, was the central cause of the sad and desperate condition of the Laodicean Christians, of whom the awful condemnation is written that they were “rich, and increased in goods and had need of nothing,” and knew not that they “were wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind.”
Again: we might inquire–have we that desire which presses us to close communion with God, which is filled with unutterable burnings, and hold us there through the agony of an intense ands soul-stirred supplication? Our hearts need much to be worked over, not only to get the evil out of them, but to get the good into them. And the foundation and inspiration to the incoming good , is strong, propelling desire. This holy and fervid [i.e. very hot] flame in the soul awakens the interest of heaven, attracts the attention of God, and places at the disposal of those who exercise it, the exhaustless riches of Divine grace.
The dampening of the flame of holy desire, is destructive of the vital and aggressive forces in church life. God requires to be represented by a fiery Church, or He is not in any proper sense, represented at all. God, Himself, is all on fire, and His Church, if it is to be like Him, must also be at white heat. The great and eternal interests of heaven-born, God-given religion are the only things about which His Church can afford to be on fire. Yet, holy zeal need not to be fussy in order to be consuming. Our Lord was the incarnate antithesis of nervous excitability, the absolute opposite of intolerant or clamorous declamation, yet the zeal of God’s house consumed Him; and the world is still feeling the glow of His fierce, consuming flame and responding to it, with an ever-increasing readiness and an ever-enlarging response. ” Source: The Necessity of Prayer – Edward M. Bounds, p. 44-48
Father, we praise your name. Please increase our desire for You. Set our souls aflame for You and Christ. Forgive us for our coldness and lukewarmness. Forgive us where we have let the “worry of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desire for other things” choke out your word in our lives and make us unfruitful. Cause us to be consumed with your zeal so that we may be pleasing to you and effective in witnessing to this lost and adulterous generation. We ask this in the precious Name of Jesus. Amen.
Dear Reader the following was written by Richard Wurmbrand (1909-2001) who was imprisoned in communist Romania for fourteen years because of his faith in Christ. In 1965, he and his family was ransomed out of Romania for $10,000 and eventually moved to the U.S where he started a global ministry that became known as The Voice of the Martyrs. He testified before the U. S. Congress to the cruel treatment of Christians under communism. Removing his shirt, he showed the Senators and Representatives the stripes and wounds he received from the communist. Pray for those who are suffering everyday for Christ. Pray that the comfort of the Holy Spirit would be with them and they would be faithful unto death if need be. Be encouraged, do your part for the church, and prepare yourself. Carl
“Jesus promised “not peace but a sword” (Matthew 10:34), and ever since He uttered those words, committed Christians have been targeted relentlessly by pagan and religionist alike: crucified, burned at the stake; tortured on the rack; hunted in mountain passes, forests and caves; starved; beaten; brainwashed; tormented.
Only a devil could brew the consummate evil that has been meted out to Christ’s humble disciples over the centuries, reaching a horrendous climax in our own bloody era.
Is suffering, whether intended or circumstantial, a waste, or can it be redemptive? How should Christians respond? Jesus said, “Love your enemies” (Matthew 5:44) — but can you love the devil incarnate in another human being, evil personified?
I would like to propose that today’s Christians in repressive countries can provide a model for those of us in the free world.
Christians in the West often quote the text, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13), giving it a positive spin. But Paul had just said he had learned to endure all things –humiliation, hunger and want, as well as the satisfaction of his needs. Persecuted believers take Paul’s words as a promise that Christ will strengthen them to endure suffering, because they know a Christian can’t escape tribulation.
I think of a young girl of our Romanian underground church whose activities were discovered by the secret police. She had been guilty of secretly distributing Gospels and teaching children about Christ. To make her arrest as painful as possible, they decided to wait a few weeks for her wedding day.
When she dressed for the event every woman looks forward to, the police suddenly broke in. Anticipating their intentions, she held out her hands, which they handcuffed roughly, looked lovingly at her groom, then kissed the chains, saying, “I thank my heavenly Bridegroom for this jewel He has presented to me on my marriage day. I thank Him that I am worthy to suffer for Him.”
She was dragged off to prison, leaving behind weeping Christians and a weeping bridegroom. Five years later she was released, haggard, broken, looking 30 years older. She had remained faithful. And her intended had waited for her.
A Soviet prisoner who was mocked unmercifully said, “Many fear suffering: in the past, I too feared. But the presence of the Lord in jail has given me so many happy experiences that I would not have changed them for years of easy living in freedom.”
How impressive is the prayer of a woman in a Siberian camp: “O God, accept all my sufferings, my tiredness, my humiliations, my tears, my nostalgia, my being hungry, my suffering with the cold, all bitterness accumulated in my soul….Dear Lord, have pity also on those who persecute and torture us day and night. Grant them, too, the divine grace of knowing the sweetness and happiness of Your love.”
How do the persecuted view their torturers, who often take fiendish delight in inflicting maximum pain? May are able to look at them with love, knowing that without Christ they are eternally lost. Believers exemplify what Jesus preached: “Love your enemies … pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.” And they practiced what He taught: “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
Once when I was in prison, a pastor was thrown into our cell. He had been horribly beaten and was covered with blood. Some prisoners cursed the communists. Half dead, groaning in pain, he said, “Please don’t curse them. Be quiet! I want to pray for them.”
Once I was in the same cell with a man I had brought to Christ. He left behind a wife and six starving children. I asked him, “Have you any resentment toward me for bringing you to Christ and for the fact that your family is in such misery?”
His reply typifies the attitude of so many martyrs down through the centuries: “I have no words to express my thankfulness that you have brought me to the wonderful Savior. I would not have it any other way!”
In Ukraine, the Christian Terelya was put in a psychiatric asylum. The sadist psychiatrist told him, “The fact that you call yourself a Christian shows already you have a serious and irremediable sickness. Faith in God is a mass psychosis, a kind of schizophrenia.”
But instead of brooding about his suffering, Terelya brought officers of the secret police to Christ. They provided him with paper and pencil and smuggled out a whole notebook of his with joyous poems praising God.
Out of the mire of suffering grows the lily of joy in the Lord. ”
Richard Wurmbrand–faithful witness and pastor under Stalin’s communism, founder of The Voice of the Martyrs
“Buddhism is more than 2,500 years old, but it came to widespread prominence in Europe and the U.S. only about 50 years ago. Since then, Buddhist thought has become deeply rooted in American popular culture through music, books and films. Many American’s encounter the teachings of Buddhism’s founder, Siddhartha Gautama, when seeking a way to empty themselves of desire and attachment while embracing peace of mind through meditation.
Gautama is called the Buddha (enlightened one) by his followers. The simple response God’s Word gives to the notion of human enlightenment is that our Lord Jesus Christ is the true light and life. Without Him, there is only darkness and death (see John 1: 1-13).
How enlightening is Buddhism? Having been a witness for Christ in Buddhist contexts both overseas and here in the U.S. for more than 20 years, I have come to view the Buddhism practices in the U.S. as a trick or illusion that contains just enough truth to provide false hope. Rather than offering its adherents truth with the power to save or set them free, it merely helps them marginally reduce the stress that overwhelms their peers who have succumbed to this world’s strivings and vanity. Jesus sets us free for eternity.
While Buddhism in the West is darkness masquerading as light, a very different kind of Buddhism is widely practiced in parts of Nepal and throughout Tibet. The spiritist Buddhism in the part of the world where Gautama was born is not disguised as false light –it openly reveals itself as the blackest darkness. There, Buddhists work to appease spirits whom they know to be evil.
When those of us who have served among Nepali and Tibetan Buddhists describe them as intentionally serving evil spirts and seeking to be filled with their power, it may sound to some as if we are overstating the religion’s dangers. Sadly, however, out description is no exaggeration, and millions of lost Buddhists remain enslaved to evil throughout Nepal and Tibet.
People in the U.S., including Christians, are also astonished when we describe the persecution of Christians in these countries by Buddhists. But it is important understand that children in these areas are forced to leave their families and enter Buddhist monasteries, that young adults who come to faith in Christ are disowned by their Buddhist parents, and that Christian families are driven from their home in Buddhist areas. All of this is done explicitly to appease and court favor with evil spirits we know to be demons — the fallen angels who, like their master, work only to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10).
The stories in this magazine help us to understand the dark side of this supposedly “enlightened” belief system. And we hope they will encourage you to pray for our Christian brothers and sisters who are willing to pay the price to see Buddhists set free by the gospel’s power.
Source: Cole Richards, President —The Voice of the Martyrs
“A dear friend of mine who was quite a lover of the chase, told me the following story: ‘Rising early one morning,’ he said, ‘I heard the baying of a score of deerhounds in pursuit of their quarry. Looking away to a broad, open field in front of me, I saw a young fawn making its way across, and giving signs, more-over, that its race was well-nigh run. Reaching the rails of the enclosure, it leaped over and crouched within ten feet from where I stood. A moment later two of the hounds came over, when the fawn ran in my direction and pushed its head between my legs. I lifted the little thing to my breast, and swinging round and round, fought off the dogs. I felt, just them, that all the dogs in the West could not, and should not capture that fawn after its weakness had appealed to my strength”. So is it, when human helplessness appeals to Almighty God. Well do I remember when the hounds of sin were after my soul, until, at last, I ran into the arms of Almighty God.” — A.C. Dixon – The Necessity of Prayer by Edward M. Bounds (1976)
Yes, lost soul or hurting Christian, run in the right direction…into the arms of Almighty God. Oh, how we are tempted to run to some temporary crutch that sin tells us will solve our problem, make us happy, but it is deceit. We were all created to worship and serve God Almighty and we will never be truly happy or fulfilled until we are properly related to Him. Jesus Christ died on the Cross and was raised from the dead so that we could be reconciled to this holy, loving God.
“He who was delivered up because of our transgressions, and was raised because of our justification. For while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.” Romans 4:25,5:10-11
Yes, run to Him today.
“We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another.” Jonathan Swift –
“Some of the meanest people are church people.” –Anonymous
“Minister, we been praying for revival of religion. And now God poured out his Spirit, we all ‘fraid for it.” –A Believer participating in the 1860 Jamaica prayer revival
Religion is dangerous in the sense that it is unregenerate man’s attempt to reach God by church membership, rituals, sacraments, obeying man’s commandments and teachings and performing other good works. It can only reform man, not change him. Religion can not cause man to be born again; therefore, it does not free man from his enslavement to sin. It still dominates him; therefore, though religious, he still hates and can be as mean as a snake. Listen to Brother Paul writing to the Christian church in Colossae concerning the keeping of religion’s commandments:
“These are matters which have, to be sure, the appearance of wisdom in self-made religion and self-abasement and severe treatment of the body, but are of no value against fleshly indulgence.” Colossians 2:23
Religion can not give us victory over our sinful nature. Paul said this about religious people: “…holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power…” (2 Tim. 3:5). The power to radically change our sinful life only comes when we are born again by the Holy Spirit (John 3).
Flee to Jesus Christ, and to Him alone, to escape man-made religion s0 you can experience true life. Ask Him to save you today and to forgive all of your sins and be your Lord and Savior. He will cause you to be born again and the Holy Spirit will come to you and be your Comforter and Guide in this life. And He will change you by causing you to will (desire) and do of God’s good pleasure, bringing freedom from the human sinful nature.
Flee to Jesus today!
Thank you for your precious time. God bless! Carl
It is true that historic Christianity is in conflict at many points with the collectivism of the present day; it does emphasize, against the claims of society, the worth of the individual soul. It provides for the individual a refuge from all the fluctuating currents of human opinion, a secret place of meditation where a man can come alone into the presence of God. It does give a man courage to stand, if need be, against the world; it resolutely refuses to make of the individual a mere means to an end, a mere element in the composition of society. It rejects altogether any means of salvation which deals with men in a mass; it brings the individual face to face with his God.
J. Gresham Machen, Christianity and Liberalism
Source: Berean Call
"When I kept silent about my sin, my body wasted away Through my groaning all day long. For day and night Thy hand was heavy upon me; My vitality was drained away as with the fever heat of summer. I acknowledged my sin to thee, And my iniquity I did not hide; I said, "I will confess my transgressions to the Lord", and Thou didst forgive the guilt of my sin." King David in Psalm 32:3-5
God Almighty is the perfect Father to His children, the born again ones. In love He disciplines us for our good so we can share in His holiness (Hebrew 12: 5-12). He also desires to spend time with us, to fellowship with us. The Creator and Sustainer of all things wishes to spend time with us, His redeemed, yet still flawed creatures.
In this Psalm David describes how miserable he was when he did not confess his sins to the Lord. His body was wasting away through his groaning all day long. The literal translation says ” My life juices were turned into the drought of summer” (v4). All because “day and night Thy hand was heavy upon me” (v4).
Are you groaning? Is your vitality dried up? Are your life juices all dried up? Are you miserable? Is some unseen pressure bearing down on your soul day and night? Could Almighty God’s hand be heavy upon you like it was on King David?
If your a biblically born again believer, before you increase your daily vitamins/ supplements or tack on another 15 minutes of exercise in an attempt to relieve this miserable condition, answer this. When was the last time you confessed your sins to God?
Your choices are to stay proud, rebellious and miserable or humble yourself, confessing and forsaking your sins. I promise you, cleaning the slate will turn your groaning into joy. Do not let any sin come between you and your God. He wants to fellowship with you. We must fellowship with Him. He is our life.
“For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” Colossians 3:3
What say ye?
…attaining to all the wealth that comes from the full assurance of understanding, resulting in a true knowledge of God’s mystery, that is, Christ Himself, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. I say this in order that no one may delude you with persuasive arguments.” Colossians 2: 2-4
“In short, he says, “You are fabulously rich in Christ; and don’t you let anyone ever tell you otherwise.”
” Do you know how rich you are? The richest man is the one who understands truths the world’s greatest minds have never understood–that the wise and successful life is one focused on Christ. The richest woman is the one who grasps, that at the heart of all God’s plans for the future is, Jesus. We may read about CEOs on enormous salaries, but we are richer.
Do not let anyone, inside or outside the church, tell you differently with “fine-sounding arguments” (v4). Do not be swayed by entertaining preachers who tell you that life is all about you and your happiness when it is really about Christ. Do not be charmed by highly qualified teachers who try to persuade you that Christ is anything less that the glorious divine being we met in Colossians 1: 15-20. As long as we hold on tight to this Jesus, then our faith will remain strong (v5). I pray that everyone, especially those I love, will never let go of Jesus. ” Journey Through Colossians and Philemon –Mike Raiter
Dear Reader the following Scriptures tell us who this Christ is:
“And He is the image of the invisible God, the first born of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities –all things have been created by Him and for Him. And He is before all things and in Him all things hold together. He is also the head of the body, the church, and He is the beginning, the first-born from the dead; so that He Himself might come to have first place in everything. For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven.” Colossians 1: 15-20
Do you know this Jesus? Are you fabulously rich because you understand who He is? Are you going to spend eternity with Him or do you have reservations somewhere else? I pray you are holding on to Him. If not, why not today? Tell Him all your sins and ask Him to forgive you. Then ask Him to be your Savior and Lord based on what He did for you on His cross where He took the guilt and penalty (death) for your sins and mine. You will never regret it.
Thank you for your precious time. May God’s blessings be on your life. Carl
Suffering – it’s never pleasant, and we do our best to avoid all forms of it, but suffering is inescapable in this fallen world. The biblical view is that believers should expect sufferings, not simply because they live in this fallen world, but because God uses various forms of afflictions to discipline us, test our faith, and cause us to have an eternal perspective. As a result of false teaching, many have the view that all suffering is a sign of deficiency at our end of the equation. What should be seen as a privilege (suffering that God permits us to endure) is seen as a curse. Suffering that God permits his children to endure, is not harmful, but beneficial. “Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep your word.”(Psalm 119:67).
—Rick Becker, who with his brother minister in apologetics in South Africa
From Berean Call
“It seemed clear to me from the teaching of the Bible that Christ’s people should be separate from the world in everything which denoted character and that they should not only be separate but appear so.”
― Catherine Booth (17 January 1829 – 4 October 1890, co-founder of The Salvation Army, along with her husband William Booth.