CONVERSATION WITH LIAM

Met Liam a few days ago and spoke with him while he was checking out my shopping and filling bags at the supermarket.

I overheard him tell the shopper who preceded me that he was looking forward to his big trip overseas.

Liam is a likable young man, happy to talk to customers—a real asset to his employers.

As we locked eyes, I spoke “so you’re looking forward to your big trip?

Yep.

Bet you’re excited.

Sure am.

How soon?

About 3 months and I can hardly wait.

Though of course in the total of our understanding of time, it’s very short.

Yes, sometimes time is not our friend.

So I said : I am also looking forward to the trip of a lifetime. And boy am I excited about it!

Oooh, where ya’ going?

Goin’ to Heaven!

Oooh! not so soon surely! he said smiling, trying to guess my age.

Well as you said a few seconds ago, in the total of our understanding of time, it’s very short.

So where are you heading ultimately? Heaven or the other place?

Oh I hope I go to the good place.

Liam, do you know who will go there, who will make the good place?

Hmmm not sure.

Well, it says that those who love God their Creator, and listen to his son Jesus for their salvation, will be looking forward to it and will be at home there.

Those who don’t want God as Jesus revealed him, will not be at home there, will be judged (who hasn’t sinned?) and be located to Hell, whatever that is like. Not good by Jesus’ reckoning. To be avoided at all costs.

Do you think about that?

Yes. I know about that (maybe good Catholic upbringing)

But have you thought seriously about it?

I know about it. But I havn’t really considered it.

Please consider. Please don’t put it off.

We parted friends, Liam and I, shopping bags packed.

Next time at the checkout?

But Time is not his friend.

Nor ours, eh?

             

 

Church Is Largely a Sham

anti-itch meditation

Many Christians would rather feel holy/spiritual/righteous/good than actually be holy/spiritual/righteous/good.

Church becomes a place that makes sinners feel better about themselves without addressing their sin.

Since sin isn’t addressed, people go home and sin. Then they feel bad because deep down they know sin is bad. They feel guilty.

What shall we do with the guilt?

Ooo, ooo! I know: Let’s get together and sing happy songs and exchange happy thoughts until we all feel holy/spiritual/righteous/good again!

Awesome! All the guilt goes away. We all feel loved and fulfilled. All ready for a new week of sinning!

This goes on week after week until finally the person just gives up. They know the whole thing is a sham. Church practice shows that sin isn’t that big of a deal anyway. I did my time. God loves me, the church has told me that for years, so, I’m out.

On the…

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Billy Graham’s Faithfulness

We have all heard recently of Billy Graham’s change of address, his home-coming which he constantly spoke of with joyous anticipation. What a life! what an example! How focussed he was always on Jesus–his death, his rising, his saving grace.

I watched some of the ‘live-stream’ online of his final journey through North Carolina and to Washington to lie in state for a couple of days in the Capital Hill Rotunda, an honour so few have been  granted by the US people.

The producers gave viewers two inspiring addresses from Billy in which he showed his unwavering belief in the Word of God–‘the Bible says . . .’

These bold statements remain for me to think about afresh:

Jesus went to hell for us on the cross, so that we trusting in what he did there we we have wonderful assurance of eternal life.

God loves you, God loves you! –balanced by Jesus’ warnings to avoid at all costs the just retribution for our sin by the free gift of eternal life through and only by, the cross.

Jesus called people to follow him publicly — and to confess him before others.

God’s eternal word/warning ‘rebel against me and my word and you surely die’ and that God will not, can not, change his word, cannot lie, it is everlasting.

I thank the Lord for the life, the consistency, the graciousness, the integrity, of Dr Billy Graham and pray that the Lord of the Harvest will raise up and send many like him, as we think about his good and faithful servant.

Who will teach you the truth?

Who will teach you the truth?

Can you hear all the thousands who come with their courses and programs which cry out “Me. Me–I will teach you the truth! Join us”

But what does Jesus say?

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.  Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matthew

Come to Me and learn from me! Surely this is an unbelievable offer. It seems too good to be ‘true’. To actually learn from Jesus, actually sit at his feet, enter his rest of faith, to choose the better part? And like the two shattered disciples on the Emmaus road, receive from Jesus amazing exposition of the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures.

Will you pass up this offer and settle for human teachers as being more practical? Will you choose preachers and teachers you like, that say the things you want to hear, lifestyles that reinforce your current one, burdens that are manageable, yokes that you can bear?

Or is it recognition from others you look for, success in reaching a goal in biblical studies? You look for the best theological institution? Then you will choose badly by comparison with this Teacher. How can mere men compare with Christ the Lord?

Jesus consistently emphasised his accessibility for the disciple. He wants to teach us! He wants us to learn from him! He promises the Holy Spirit to abide with you forever and who will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.

Did you get that? The shear wonder of this.

Come to Me! In this most Jewish of the four gospels, Jesus is reported as attracting people to himself. Forget Moses and Judaism. Like in the story on the mount the heavenly voice from his Father ‘Listen to Him’ points the stunned disciples away from the Mosaic law system and the teaching of the prophets. They are to listen to the One sent from God, His one and only Son.

All who are weary and heavy-laden. Does this description fit you? Trying to sort out all the stuff on offer and decide what doctrines are true and suffer the frustration of sifting through the myriad of denominations and sects to decide who has the truth?

Or you may not be weary and heavy-laden but satisfied with your cosy place among the typical Sunday attendees. Unbelief that something so marvelous as ‘being taught by God’ personally could be true? Unbelief strikes again. If so, read no further.

To come to him, to receive him, to open the door to him, to hear his voice, is to join in an intimate union with Jesus and the Father and experience his easy yoke and his light burden—and to learn from him.

Rebellion against God

   by Zac Poonen   4 Feb 2018

In Numbers Chapter 13, we find that the Israelites came to Kadesh-barnea at the border of Canaan – the land that God had promised them. It was now two years since they left Egypt (Deuteronomy 2:14) and God told them to go in and possess the land. The Israelites sent twelve spies to survey the land. All twelve of them came back saying that the land was indeed a wonderful land. Ten of them however said, “But there are huge giants there and we cannot conquer them.” But two of them – Caleb and Joshua – replied saying, “The Lord will help us to conquer those big giants”. But the 600,000 Israelites listened to the majority.

How do you identify the man with whom God is standing? He speaks the language of faith. (Which comes from hearing the words of Christ)

What do we learn from this? First of all, that it is dangerous to follow the majority – because the majority is invariably wrong.

“The way to life is narrow and very few find it,” Jesus said.

The majority still go on the broad way to destruction. So if you follow the majority, you will certainly be along with them on the broad way to destruction. Don’t ever imagine that a large church is a spiritual church. Jesus’ church had only 11 members in it.

When ten leaders say one thing and two say the exact opposite, whose side will you take? God was on the side of the two here – Joshua and Caleb. Unbelief and Satan were on the side of the other ten. But the Israelites foolishly followed the majority – and that was why they had to wander in the wilderness for the next 38 years. They did not have the discernment to see whose side God was on! God plus one person is always a majority against any number of people – and so I want to stand with God always. We saw in Exodus 32 that God was on the side of just one man Moses, when all the Israelites were worshipping the golden calf. But of all the twelve tribes, only the tribe of Levi could see that then. And now when God was with Joshua and Caleb, even the tribe of Levi could not recognise it!

All of this has lessons for us today. Christendom in general is full of compromise and worldliness. Here and there, God raises up a few who stand for the truth of God’s word without any compromise. If you have discernment, you will recognise that God is with those few, and you will stand with them against the majority. And you will enter the promised land with them.

How do you identify the man with whom God is standing? He speaks the language of faith. Joshua and Caleb spoke the language of faith: “We can overcome. We can overcome the giants of anger, sexual lust, jealousy, murmuring and the love of money. We can overcome Satan. God will crush Satan under our feet” – that is the language of the man with whom God stands.

The man who is not with God says: “We must not take the Bible so literally. After all, we are only human. We will be defeated until the end of our lives. You have to understand human psychology.”

Quite honestly, I don’t care for “human psychology”. I believe God’s Word. Many Christians go astray exactly like those Israelites – through human reasoning. God has hidden these truths from the clever and the intelligent and revealed them to babes. If you use your human reasoning and your cleverness to study the Bible, I can guarantee that you will go astray.

What you need is the revelation of the Holy Spirit. That’s why Jesus picked fishermen to be His disciples, and not professors like Gamaliel and his students. He did pick one of Gamaliel’s students later – Paul. But the Lord had to take Paul into the desert for three years to bring down all his pride to nothing before he could get revelation.

God was so angry with those Israelites who doubted His power that He told them “Surely all these people before whom I performed all these signs will never enter the promised land. They will all perish, these people who have put Me to the test ten times” (Numbers 14:22). “Ten times” was not an exaggeration. They had actually rebelled ten times.

Here is a list of their ten rebellions:

  1. When the Egyptians chased after them at the Red Sea (Exodus 14:11).
  2. When the waters were bitter at Marah (Exodus 15:24).
  3. When they didn’t have bread in the wilderness of Sin (Exodus 16:2, 3).
  4. When they kept the manna overnight (Exodus 16:20).
  5. When they went out on the Sabbath day looking for manna (Exodus 16:27, 28).
  6. When there was no water to drink at Rephidim (Exodus 17:3).
  7. When they worshipped the golden calf (Exodus 32).
  8. When they complained at Taberah (Numbers 11:1).
  9. When they asked for meat (Numbers 11:4, 33).
  10. When they refused to go into Canaan (Numbers 13).

God gave them nine chances. They took advantage of His forgiveness – just like many believers do today – not realising that the ninth chance was their last.

God’s patience had run out and they were punished when they rebelled the tenth time. There was no way to go back then. They repented when they heard their punishment and asked for one more chance. But it was too late (Numbers 14:39–45).

Many believers will find one day that the opportunities to enter a life of victory are also not available forever.

7 Ways to Mangle The Great Commission

Well said. Thanks.

anti-itch meditation

The basic gist of The Great Commission is this portion of Matthew 28:

Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.

There are a number of mangled applications of The Great Commission. Here are a few I’d like to briefly address:

  1. The Missions Mangle
    I appreciate and respect what missionaries do. Going to foreign lands and proclaiming the Gospel is awesome. But I’ve also heard missionaries guilt people that they too need to go to a foreign land to do missions. This isn’t true. All you have to do is go and teach. Sometimes that starts in your own house. I’m not trying to talk anyone out of doing…

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Matt Walsh on the West’s Indifference to Church Persecution in the East

anti-itch meditation

Christian persecution and genocide is worse now than it has ever been in history. Christians in Afghanistan, Somalia, Sudan, Pakistan, North Korea, Libya, Iraq, Yemen, Iran, Egypt, and many other countries, are regularly imprisoned, tortured, beaten, raped, and martyred. Their churches are destroyed. Their houses burned. They meet and worship in secret, risking their lives in the process. They live every moment in constant danger.

About 215 million Christians face what is called “extreme persecution” for their faith. It’s estimated that around a million have been slaughtered since 2005. There is no way to know exactly how many. What we do know is that Christianity has been dramatically reduced in parts of the world where it had existed for nearly 2,000 years.

But what do we care?

There are other things to worry about here. Hollywood sex scandals. Twitter disputes. Whatever controversial thing Trump said this week. So on and…

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