Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Cast your care

By Patte Smith

"Casting all your care upon Him; for He careth for you."
 ~ 1 Peter 5:7

It is a happy way of soothing sorrow when we can feel-
"HE careth for me."

Christian! do not dishonour religion by always wearing a brow of care;
come, cast your burden upon your Lord.
You are staggering beneath a weight which your Father would not feel.
What seems to you a crushing burden, would be to him but as the small dust of the balance.
Nothing is so sweet as to "Lie passive in God's hands, And know no will but His."
 O child of suffering, be thou patient; God has not passed thee over in His providence.
He who is the feeder of sparrows, will also furnish you with what you need.
Sit not down in despair; hope on, hope ever.
Take up the arms of faith against a sea of trouble,
and your opposition shall yet end your distresses.
There is One who careth for you.
His eye is fixed on you, His heart beats with pity for your woe,
and His hand omnipotent shall yet bring you the needed help.
The darkest cloud shall scatter itself in showers of mercy.
The blackest gloom shall give place to the morning.
He, if thou art one of His family,
will bind up thy wounds, and heal thy broken heart.
Doubt not His grace because of thy tribulation,
but believe that He loveth thee as much in seasons of trouble
as in times of happiness.
What a serene and quiet life might you lead
if you would leave providing to the God of providence!
With a little oil in the cruse, and a handful of meal in the barrel,
Elijah outlived the famine, and you will do the same.
If God cares for you, why need you care too?
Can you trust him for your soul, and not for your body?
He has never refused to bear your burdens,
He has never fainted under their weight.
Come, then, soul! have done with fretful care,
and leave all thy concerns in the hand of a gracious God.

~ Charles Spurgeon

Praise & Petition the King

by Patte Smith

"Lord, there is none beside Thee to help." 
~ 2 Chronicles 14:11

Remind God of His entire responsibility.
"There is none beside Thee to help."

The odds against Asa were enormous.
There was a million of men in arms against him...
It seemed impossible to hold his own against that vast multitude.
There were no allies who would come to his help;
his only hope, therefore, was in God.
It may be that your difficulties have been allowed to come to so alarming a pitch
that you may be compelled to renounce all creature aid...
and cast yourself back on your Almighty Friend.

Put God between yourself and the foe.
To Asa's faith, Jehovah seemed to stand between the might of Zerah and himself,
as one who had no strength.
Nor was he mistaken.
We are told that the Ethiopians were destroyed before the Lord and before His host,
as though celestial combatants flung themselves against the foe in Israel's behalf,
and put the large host to rout,
so that Israel had only to follow up and gather the spoil.
Our God is Jehovah of hosts,
who can summon unexpected reinforcements at any moment to aid His people.
Believe that He is there between you and your difficulty,
and what baffles you will flee before Him,
as clouds before the gale.

~ F. B. Meyer

Great List of Advice

By Patte Smith

Things I Have Learned
John Piper

Since my father died, I have been looking through his papers. I found a small sheet with the following fifteen counsels, titled "Things I Have Learned." He didn't make most of these up. Some of them go back to his college days when he was absorbing the pithy wisdom of Bob Jones Senior. They have again confirmed the obvious: I owe my father more than I can ever remember. The comment after each one is mine.

1. The right road always leads to the right place; therefore,
get on the right road and go as far as you can on it.

My father was totally persuaded that wrong means do not lead to right ends. Or, more positively, he was persuaded that living in the right way — that is, doing the right things — are means that inevitably lead to where God wants us to be. This is why he told me, when I asked about God's leading in my life, "Son, keep the room clean where you are, and in God's time, the door to the next room will open."

2. There is only one thing to do about anything; that is the right thing. Do right.

This is what one might say to a person perplexed by a difficult situation whose outcome is unknown. The person might say, "I just don't know what to do about this." It is not useless to be told: Do the right thing. That may not tell you exactly which good thing to do, but it does clear the air and rule out a few dozen bad ideas.

3. Happiness is not found by looking for it. You stumble over happiness on the road to duty.

My, my, my. How was John Piper born from this? I would never say this. The main reason is that the Bible commands us to pursue our joy repeatedly. "Rejoice in the Lord, and again I say rejoice." "Delight yourself in the Lord." I think what he meant was: 1) Joy is always in something. Joy itself is not the something. So we seek joy in Christ. Not just joy in general. 2) When duty is hard and we do not feel joy in doing it, we should still do it, and pray that in the doing it the joy would be given. But what we need to make plain is that duty cannot be contrasted with joy, because joy is a biblical duty.

4. The door to success swings on the hinges of opposition.

Remarkably, this saying implies that opposition is not just a natural accompaniment or antecedent of success, but that it is a means by which the door opens. One can think of many biblical examples. The opposition of Joseph's brothers opened the door to his leadership in Egypt. The taxing of the empire opened the door to getting the Messiah born in Bethlehem, not Nazareth, and thus fulfilling prophecy. The betrayal of Judas opened the door to the salvation of the world.

5. God in the right place in my life fixes every other relationship of life (Matthew 6:33).

I wonder if this was tucked away in my mind so that unknown to me it controlled my analogy of the solar system to our many-faceted lives. If God is the blazing center of the solar system of our lives, then all the planets will be held in their proper orbit. But if not, everything goes awry.

6. It is never right to get the right thing in the wrong way — like good grades, wealth, power, position. Don't sacrifice your principles.

Again, he hammers away at don't use bad means for good ends. Be a principled, not a pragmatic, person. O how we need to hear this today. Churches need to be principled, not endlessly adapting to culture. Persons need to make a promise and keep it no matter how much it hurts.

7. It is a sin to do less than your best. It is wrong to do [merely] well.

"Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might" (Ecclesiastes 9:10). But be careful. Sometimes the "best" is a B+ sermon and spending time with your child. In other words, "best" always involves more decisions than the one you are making at the moment. That one means many other things are being left undone. So "best" is always the whole thing, not just the detail of the moment.

8. It is wrong to be yoked to one who refuses the yoke of Christ.

Don't marry an unbeliever (1 Corinthians 7:39). Not all relationships with unbelievers are ruled out. Otherwise we could not obey Jesus' command to love them and bless them. But "yoke" implies a connectedness that either governs where we go or constrains where they go. And you cannot constrain faith in Jesus. It is free.

9. The part of your character that is deficient is the part that needs attention.

This is the counterpoint to the advice: Go with your strengths. There is truth in both. Yes, be encouraged by every evidence of God's grace in your life, and use your gifts and graces for his glory. But you will become smug and vain if you do not keep your deficiencies before you and work on them.

10. Don't quit. Finish the job. God can't use a quitter.

Warning: "He who endures to the end will be saved" (Mark 13:13). Promise: "He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ" (Philippians 1:6).

11. Anything you do that hinders your progress for God is wrong.

O how thankful I am that this was the dominant way my father pressed me to pursue my sanctification. He did not mainly impose lists of don'ts on me, though we had them. And they were clear. Mainly he said: Maximize your progress in knowing and serving God. That ruled out a hundred foolish behaviors, some bad and some uselessly innocent.

12. Beware of any society in which you feel compelled to put a bushel over your testimony.

This implies that you can go into a group of people who are evil if you are willing to open your mouth and take a stand for Jesus and righteousness. Nevertheless, 1 Corinthians 15:33 stands: "Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company ruins good morals.'"

13. It isn't enough to be good. Be good for something. The essence of Christianity is not a passionless purity.

This is what I have meant in talking about a merely avoidance ethic. Don't just think of righteousness or holiness in terms of what you avoid, but what you do. As my father said in another place: Don't be a don'ter; be a DO-er.

14. Positive living produces negative effect[s].

This is wise counsel that affirmation of the good always implies negation of the bad. If you think you can live your life without negating anything, you have lost touch with reality. "Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good" (Romans 12:9). You cannot love without hating what hurts the beloved.

15. Learn to be sweetly firm.

This was what he said to my mother over the phone when she was exasperated with her one disobedient son: Be sweet and firm. I think she succeeded.

With abiding and deep thankfulness for my father's wisdom,
Pastor John

The Christian Life is WAR

 When principles that run against your deepest convictions begin to win the day,
then battle is your calling, and peace has become sin;
you must, at the price of dearest peace,
lay your convictions bare before friend and enemy,
with all the fire of your faith.

~ Abraham Kuiper

The true Christian is called to be a soldier,
and must behave as such from the day of his conversion
to the day of his death.
He is not meant to live a life of religious ease, [laziness], and security.
He must never imagine for a moment that he can sleep and doze along the way to heaven,
like on traveling in an easy carriage…
If the Bible is the rule of his faith and practice,
he will find his course laid down very plainly in this matter.
He must “fight.
~ J.C. Ryle

Christ’s gospel has not come into the world to be co-equal with other faiths
and share a divided kingdom with differing creeds.
False gods may stand face to face to each other in one Pantheon, and be at peace,
for they are all false together,
but when Christ comes, Dagon must go down, not even the stump of him must stand.
Truth is of necessity intolerant of falsehood,
love wars with hate, and justice battles with wrong.

- Charles Spurgeon

The Christian soldier must avoid two evils –
he must not faint or yield in the time of fight,
and after a victory he must not wax insolent and secure.
When he has overcome,
he is so to behave himself
as though he were presently again to be assaulted.
For Satan’s temptations, like the waves of the sea,
do follow one in the neck of the other.

~ George Downame

The Christian life is a battleground not a playground.
It is first and foremost a spiritual battle that is being waged in the invisible spiritual realm
that is being manifest in the visible, physical realm.
Ephesians 6:12, "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms."

We did not start it, the devil did (the dragon, the accuser, the devil)

One of the things Satan wants to be is incognito. He doesn't want people to think that he is real, or be anywhere around, or has any kind of power, and belittles anyone who would advocate the fact that he is powerful and is a ruler. But God's Word plainly says he is.

John 10:10, "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. "
1 Peter 5:8, "Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour."
2 Corinthians. 2:11, "... in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes. (I find it to be the opposite in the church. Most people are utterly clueless)
Ephesians. 6:11, "Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes."

 ... Satan desires to ruin your relationship with Jesus Christ; to make you utterly ineffective in ministry;
to keep you focused upon you and your needs, problems, desires, and goals; to ruin your marriage and family; to destroy the church; to keep people blind in their sin and lost. We have a vicious and cunning spiritual enemy. The Bible says Satan is actively opposing us. He is real. He wants us to sin...
Paul warns us in Ephesians. 4:27 to "...not give the devil a foothold".
Satan’s number one aim is the destruction of your faith.
Faith is the root of living the life of God, our love for God, and our hope in God and His promises.
Therefore, Satan’s whole war efforts are aimed at the prevention or destruction of faith.

1 Thessalonians 3:5, " For this reason, when I could stand it no longer, I sent to find out about your faith. I was afraid that in some way the tempter might have tempted you and our efforts might have been useless."

 Luke 22:31-32 "Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers."
2 Corinthians. 11:3, "But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent's cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ."

John 8:44, "You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father's desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies."

2 Corinthians 4:4, " The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God."

The war is against God and His church

"And when the dragon saw that he had been thrown down to the earth, he pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child. But the woman was given the two wings of the great eagle so that she might fly from the serpent into the wilderness, to the place where she is to be nourished for a time, and times, and half a time. The serpent poured water like a river out of his mouth after the woman, to sweep her away with a flood. But the earth came to the help of the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed the river that the dragon had poured from his mouth. Then the dragon became furious with the woman and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring, on those who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus" (Revelation 12:13-17)

There is everything at stake here. God’s purpose is to make His Name known throughout the whole earth (Matthew 5:16-18; 1 Peter. 2:12; John 17:20-25). Satan is trying to stop that. If he can stop the church, he will be able to thwart God’s plans and purposes. That is why Paul so strongly exhorts us in Ephesians 6:13, "Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand."

The devil wants to you a high-maintenance/low impact kind of Christian. He wants to keep you in the hospital your whole Christian life. He wants us to think that we’re on R+R focused on planning our vacations, retirements, leisure, pleasure, sipping Mai tai’s while people are getting their heads blown off in the front lines! He wants us to think we are a peace time army focusing on parades, making beds, reading manuals, having studies on warfare, focusing on each other, doing KP instead of living on the front line of battle. Thousands of Christians do not hear the diabolic bombs dropping and the bullets zinging overhead. They don't smell the hellish Agent Orange in the whitened harvest of the world. They don't cringe or weep at the thousands who perish every week. They don't reckon with spiritual hosts of wickedness in heavenly places and the world rulers of this present darkness. In fact, it is not dark, they say. Why are you being so negative. Don’t worry, be happy. It is bright and comfortable and cheery just look at my home and car and office and cabin and boat. And listen to my surround sound home theater. In short, saved, satisfied, and stuck; living in a virtual reality type existence in which my comfort, security, survival, and happiness become the driving forces of my life. War changes priorities, perspectives, and focus. The great general George Patton once said, “War makes all other human endeavor shrink to nothing.”


 God isn’t an antiwar pacifist! Moses writes in Exodus 15:3, "The LORD is a man of war; the LORD is His name."

 Anything that is a lie, evil, sin, destructive GOD IS TOTALLY AGAINST! You are His foot soldiers! The need of the hour is a global wartime mentality. I say "wartime" because life is war. I say "global" because "the field is the world" (Matthew 13: 38). And because thousands of unreached peoples are scattered around the globe. "Peoples," not just people. The command to the church is not to win every person before the Lord comes, but to win some from every people. This is the great unfinished task!

"To Him shall be the obedience of the peoples" (Genesis 49:10).
"Let the peoples praise you, 0 God, let all the peoples praise You" (Psalm 67:3).
"Behold, I made Him (the Messiah, Jesus Christ) a witness to the peoples, a leader and Commander for the peoples" (Isaiah 55:4).

Now you may not believe in war but you will get bombed just the same. Most of the church is AWOL running over to spiritual Canada or neutral thinking they live in spiritual Switzerland. When we made a commitment to Jesus Christ, we enlisted in God's army. Some may have thought they were only making their eternal destiny secure. Others may have thought that they were simply dealing with their sins. Still others may have thought that they were just subscribing to a higher moral code. Sill others thought they were entering a club-med vacation of peace, happiness, and bliss. We have joined forces with God and with one another in a spiritual conflict. The cause to which we have committed ourselves is a cause that is being attacked at every front. We have sworn our allegiance to a New Kingdom. And that kingdom is a threat to the kingdoms of the god of this world. As citizens of that New Kingdom the enemy is attacking us. By virtue of the fierceness of this attack, all citizens must become citizens/soldiers. We can do without no one. We must all combine our efforts if we are to win the battle. The crying need of the hour-every hour-is for Christians to be put on a wartime footing. To be a mighty army willing to suffer, moving ahead with exultant determination to take the world by storm.

How will we come to feel the extraordinary satanic devastation being wreaked among the remaining unreached peoples of the world? How can our people come to see the irrationality of a persistently bouncy, peacetime, Disneyland mentality when the days are evil (Ephesians 5:16), and the god of this world is blinding billions (2 Corinthians 4:4), and Satan is filled with rage because his time is short (Revelation 12:12), and the stakes are infinitely higher than any conceivable nuclear World War III or any environmental disaster (Luke 12:4-5).

What's the main reason sergeants are in the trenches? To settle soldiers' disputes? Do chaplains come along just to bury the dead?
Or is there a war to be won? There is. And the victory is near. But it will not be easy or cheap. The awesome mission is clear:

"This gospel of the kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come"
~ Matthew 24:14

Christ has His elect from every people, tribe, tongue and nation (Revelation 5:9).
They are held captive by the Enemy (2 Timothy 2:26).
And so the minefields must be crossed, the barbed wire cut, the snipers evaded, and gospel antidotes for Satan's mind-altering drugs administered against immense opposition (Luke 21:12-19)

 So we know we are at war, we know we are soldiers, we know we have an enemy to fight and are aware of his strategy. What are we to do?
~ William Robison

Soon the battle will be over.
It will not be long now before the day will come when Satan will no longer trouble us.
There will be no more domination, temptation, accusation, or confrontation.
Our warfare will be over and our commander, Jesus Christ,
will call us away from the battlefield to receive the victor’s crown.

~ Thomas Watson

“Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty,
who was and is and is to come!”
And whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who is seated on the throne,
who lives forever and ever,
the twenty-four elders fall down before Him who is seated on the throne and worship Him who lives forever and ever.
They cast their crowns before the throne, saying,

“Worthy are You, our Lord and God,
to receive glory and honor and power,
for You created all things,
and by Your will they existed and were created.” Revelation 4:8-11 

What does the pregnancy center in YOUR city tell their clients?

What does the pregnancy center in YOUR city tell their clients?

by Patte Smith on Wednesday, December 12, 2012 at 4:32pm ·

Many pregnancy center signs, brochures and websites look a lot like abortuary signs, brochures & websites. Why is this?
Do you support a local pregnancy center with donations?
How about your church? Is there anything openly Christian about the center?
Do you know how they counsel the abortion-vulnerable women?
Do you know what they say to the abortion-minded mothers who come to them?

Sally was a counselor at a "Christian" crisis pregnancy center for 3 years. I asked her a series of questions about the counseling method at the center. The answers are disturbing, to say the least.

Me: Do the counselors use the word 'option' to offer murdering a baby by abortion as one of her 'choices' (without explaining that murdering an innocent person is a SIN)?

Sally: YES!!! They are not allowed to refer to it as sin, murder, or killing etc.

Me: Do they tell the women that they are commanded by God to REPENT of their fornication & live a chaste life until such a time as they are covenanted to one man in marriage?

Sally: No.

Me: Do the counselors use the 6th commandment with mothers who are abortion-vulnerable/minded?

Sally: I used to but got reprimanded for it. They are not allowed to use verbiage such as "kill" or "murder" at all.
In fact, they aren't allowed anymore to call their baby a baby. They are now instructed to call it a "viable pregnancy."

Me: Do the counselors warn their clients from the Bible, telling them that God will cast all of the sexually immoral & murderers into the lake of fire? (Rev 21:8)

Sally: No, in fact they don't want you to refer to Hell either. I was called into the office for that.

Me: Do the counselors treat the clients as if they are 'basically good at heart', or do they explain to the women that their heart is desperately wicked?

Sally: No, they absolutely treat them as "good at heart", and if they say they are a "Christian" they automatically believe and treat them as if they are.

Me: Do they tell the women who are professing Christians to go to their pastors to confess their sin of fornication & murder?

Sally: Absolutely not.

Me: Does the center offer 'post-abortion support' even though Proverbs 28:17 forbids it?

Sally: Yes, and they want you to offer it to the abortion-minded girls when they tell you they still plan to abort! I refused.

Me: Do they make any attempt to share the gospel?

Sally: They don't want you to share the gospel on the first visit unless you feel "led". They prefer that you wait until the 2nd or 3rd visit, which is preposterous! They don't want references to "Christianity" used, they don't want the "baby" called a "baby", they don't want words like "murder" or "kill" or saying that God says you shouldn't murder. They don't want us telling the client they shouldn't have an abortion.
They don't want the Law of God used, which is perfect converting the soul.

Me: Would you say that the 'gospel' that they do 'share' is what is described in this article?http://www.9marks.org/journal/therapeutic-gospel 

Sally: Absolutely!

In Praise of Godly Singleness

There is difference also between a wife and a virgin.
The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord,
that she may be holy both in body and in spirit:
but she that is married careth for the things of the world,
how she may please her husband.
~ I Corinthians 7:34

The apostle here intends, undoubtedly, to intimate that there were dangers to personal piety in the married life, which would not occur in a state of celibacy; and that the unmarried female would have greater opportunities for devotion and usefulness than if married. And he intimates that the married female would be in danger of losing her zeal and marring her piety, by attention to her husband, and by a constant effort to please him. Some of the ways in which this might be done are the following:

(1) As in the former case 1 Corinthians 7:33, her affections might be transferred from God to the partner of her life.

(2) her time will be occupied by an attention to him [her husband] and to his will; and there would be danger that that attention would be allowed to interfere with her hours of secret retirement and communion with God.

(3) her time will be necessarily broken in upon by the cares of a family, and she should therefore guard with special vigilance, that she may redeem time for secret communion with God.

(4) the time which she before gave to benevolent objects, may now be given to please her husband. Before her marriage she may have been distinguished for zeal, and for active efforts in every plan of doing good; subsequently, she may lay aside this zeal, and withdraw from these plans, and be as little distinguished as others.

(5) her piety may be greatly injured by false notions of what should be done to please her husband. If he is a worldly and fashionable man, she may seek to please him by "gold, and pearls, and costly array." Instead of cultivating the ornament of "a meek and quiet spirit," her main wish may be to decorate her person, and render herself attractive by the adorning of her person rather than of her mind.

(6) if he is opposed to religion, or if he has lax opinions on the subject, or if he is sceptical and worldly, she will be in danger of relaxing in her views in regard to the strictness of Christianity, and of becoming conformed to his. She will insensibly become less strict in regard to Sunday, the Bible, the prayer meeting, the Sunday School, the plans of Christian benevolence, the doctrines of the gospel.

(7) to please him, she will be found in the frivilous circle, perhaps in the assembly room, or even the theater, or amidst companies of gaiety and amusement, and will forget that she is professedly devoted only to God. And,

(8) She is in danger, as the result of all this, of forsaking her old religious friends, the companions of purer, brighter days, the humble and devoted friends of Jesus; and of seeking society among the frivolous, the rich, the proud, the worldly. Her piety thus is injured; she becomes worldly and vain, and less and less like Christ; until heaven, perhaps, in mercy smites her idol, and he dies and leaves her again to the blessedness of single-hearted devotion to God. O! how many a Christian female has thus been injured by an unhappy marriage with a frivolous and worldly man! How often has the church occasion to mourn over piety that is dimmed, benevolence that is quenched, zeal that is extinguished by devotion to a frivolous and worldly husband! How often does humble piety weep over such a scene! How often does the cause of sacred charity sigh! How often is the Redeemer wounded in the house of His friends! And O how often does it become necessary for God to interpose, and to remove by death the object of the affection of His wandering child, and to clothe her in the habiliments of mourning, and to bathe her cheeks in tears, that "by the sadness of the countenance her heart may be made better." Who can tell how many a widow is made such from this cause; who can tell how much religion is injured by thus stealing away the affections from God?

~ Albert Barnes

And this I speak for your own profit;
not that I may cast a snare upon you,
but for that which is comely,
and that ye may attend upon the Lord
without distraction.~ I Corinthians 7:35

Brethren: Beware of fault-finding!

Guard your heart from the insidious temptation of fault-finding!

I have been struck by how much the enemy wants us to find flaws in our brethren,
bringing accusations,
dividing us
by having us "fail" each other's expectations.

Flee to Jesus for His holy help against this often besetting sin!
Do not allow the devil to get a foothold,
blackening your heart against your brothers & sisters in Christ.

Let us take heed to the instructions of the Lord:

For you were called to freedom, brothers.
Only do not use your freedom
as an opportunity for the flesh,
but through love serve one another.
For the whole law is fulfilled in one word:
“You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

But if you bite and devour one another,
watch out that you are not consumed
by one another.

But I say, walk by the Spirit,
and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.
For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit,
and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh,
for these are opposed to each other...
Now the works of the flesh are evident:
...enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger,
rivalries, dissensions, divisions...
and things like these.
I warn you, as I warned you before,
that those who do such things
will not inherit the kingdom of God.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control...
And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.
Let us not become conceited, provoking one another,
envying one another.

~ Galatians 5:13-26

When prayers are not answered: WAIT patiently upon the Lord

When prayers are not answered: WAIT patiently upon the Lord

by Patte Smith on Sunday, December 9, 2012 at 7:42am ·

Therefore will the Lord wait
that He may be gracious unto you.

~ Isaiah 30:18

God often delays in answering prayer. We have several instances of this in sacred Scripture.
Jacob did not get the blessing from the angel until near the dawn of day-
he had to wrestle all night for it.
The poor woman of Syrophoenicia was answered not a word for a long while.
Paul besought the Lord thrice that "the thorn in the flesh" might be taken from him,
and he received no assurance that it should be taken away,
but instead thereof a promise that God's grace should be sufficient for him.
If thou hast been knocking at the gate of mercy, and hast received no answer,
shall I tell thee why the mighty Maker hath not opened the door and let thee in?
Our Father has reasons peculiar to Himself for thus keeping us waiting.
Sometimes it is to show His power and His sovereignty,
that men may know that Jehovah has a right to give or to withhold.
More frequently the delay is for our profit.
Thou art perhaps kept waiting in order that thy desires may be more fervent.
God knows that delay will quicken and increase desire,
and that if He keeps thee waiting thou wilt see thy necessity more clearly,
and wilt seek more earnestly;
and that thou wilt prize the mercy all the more for its long tarrying.
There may also be something wrong in thee which has need to be removed,
before the joy of the Lord is given.
Perhaps thy views of the Gospel plan are confused,
or thou mayest be placing some little reliance on thyself,
instead of trusting simply and entirely to the Lord Jesus.
God makes thee tarry awhile
that He may the more fully display the riches of His grace to thee at last.
Thy prayers are all filed in heaven,
and if not immediately answered
they are certainly not forgotten,
but in a little while shall be fulfilled to thy delight and satisfaction.
Let not despair make thee silent,
but continue instant in earnest supplication.

~ Charles H. Spurgeon

In spite of puzzles

We should not abandon faith in anything that God has taught us
merely because we cannot solve all the problems which it raises.

Our own intellectual competence
is not the test and measure of divine truth.
It is not for us to stop believing
because we lack understanding,
or to postpone believing
till we can get understanding,
but to believe
in order that we may understand;
as Augustine said,
“unless you believe, you will not understand.”
Faith first,
sight afterwards,
is God’s order,
not vice versa;
and the proof of the sincerity of our faith
is our willingness to have it so.
just as we should not hesitate to commit ourselves to faith in the Trinity
although we do not know how one God can be three Persons,
nor to faith in the incarnation,
although we do not know how the divine and human natures combined in the Person of Christ,
so we should not hesitate to commit ourselves to faith in Scripture
as the infallible Word of the infallible God,
even though we cannot solve all the puzzles,
nor reconcile all the apparent contradictions,
..in our present state of knowledge..
On all these articles of faith we have God’s positive assurance;
and that should be

 - J.I. Packer

Be not afraid, only believe.~ Jesus
Mark 5:36

Marks of the Modern False 'Therapeutic' Gospel

The devil has infiltrated much of the modern church
and ministries to such a great extent
that they are disseminating and promulgating
a false man-centered, therapeutic 'gospel',
which is no gospel at all.
In essence, the misguided church says to Jesus:
"We have corrected Your work".

I agree with David Powlison who writes:

"The church has shifted course.
It has decided to meet instinctual human cravings

It has decided to BEND its message to felt needs,
rather than calling forth the high, holy, and difficult freedom of faith working through love.
Jesus’ biblical example and message
are deemed too hard for weak souls,
and the church has decided to make it easy."

Powlison describes the 'therapeutic gospel' as:
"...structured to give people what they want,
not to change what they want.
It centers exclusively around the welfare of man
and temporal happiness.
It discards the glory of God in Christ.
It forfeits the narrow, difficult road
that brings deep human flourishing and eternal joy.
This therapeutic gospel accepts and covers
for human weaknesses,
seeking to ameliorate
the most obvious symptoms of distress.
It makes people FEEL better."

The modern, middle-class version of therapeutic gospel takes its its cues from this particular family of desires...

 * I want to feel loved for who I am,
   to be pitied for what I’ve gone through,
   to feel intimately understood,
   to be accepted unconditionally;

   * I want to experience a sense of personal significance
     & meaningfulness,
     to be successful in my career,
     to know my life matters,
     to have an impact;

* I want to gain self-esteem,
  to affirm that I am okay,
  to be able to assert my opinions and desires;

* I want to be entertained,
  to feel pleasure
  in the endless stream of performances
  that delight my eyes and tickle my ears;

* I want a sense of adventure, excitement, action,
  and passion
  so that I experience life as thrilling and moving.

These are today’s significant felt needs that the gospel is BENT to serve. Jesus and the church exist to make you feel loved, significant, validated, entertained, and charged up.

...today’s therapeutic gospel...bypasses the sinful human heart. You are not the AGENT of your deepest problems, but merely a SUFFERER and VICTIM of unmet needs. The offer of a cure skips over the sin-bearing Savior. Repentance from unbelief, willfulness, and wickedness is not the issue. Sinners are not called to a U-turn and to a new life that is life indeed. Such a gospel massages SELF-LOVE. There is nothing in its inner logic to make you love God and love any other person besides yourself. This therapeutic gospel may often mention the word "Jesus," but He has morphed into the meeter-of-your-needs, not the Savior from your sins.
It corrects Jesus’ work.
The therapeutic gospel unhinges the gospel.

Powlison contrasts the false therapeutic gospel with:


The REAL gospel is good news of the Word made flesh,
the sin-bearing Savior,
the resurrected Lord of lords:
"I am the living One,
I was dead,
and behold,
I am alive forevermore"
~ Revelation 1:18

This Christ turns the world upside down.
The Holy Spirit rewires our sense of FELT need
as one prime effect of His inworking presence and power.
we keenly feel a different set of needs
when God comes into view
and when we understand that we stand or fall in His gaze. My instinctual cravings are replaced...by the growing awareness of true, life-and-death needs:

 * I need mercy above all else:
   "Lord, have mercy upon me";
   "For Your name’s sake, pardon my iniquity
    for it is very great"

 * I want to learn WISDOM,
    and UNlearn willful self-preoccupation..

* I need to learn to love both God and neighbor:
  "The goal of our instruction is love
   that comes from a pure heart,
   a good conscience,
   and a sincere faith";

* I long for God’s Name to be honored,
  for His kingdom to come,
  for His will to be done on earth;

* I want Christ’s glory, lovingkindness,
   and goodness to be seen on earth,
   to fill the earth as obviously as water fills the ocean;

* I need God to change me from who I am by instinct,
  choice, and practice;

* I want Him to deliver me from my obsessive
  to slay my lust for self-vindication,
  so that I feel my need for the mercies of Christ,
  so that I learn to treat others gently;

* I need God’s mighty and intimate help
   in order to will and to do
   those things that last unto eternal life,
   rather than squandering my life on vanities;

* I want to learn how to endure hardship and suffering
  in hope,
  having my faith simplified, deepened, and purified;

* I need to learn to worship, to delight, to trust,
  to give thanks, to cry out, to take refuge, to hope;

* I want the resurrection to eternal life:
  "We groan within ourselves,
  waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons,
  the redemption of our body";

* I need God Himself:
  "Show me Your glory";
  "Maranatha. Come, Lord Jesus."

Make it so, Father of mercies.
Make it so, Redeemer of all that is dark and broken.

Which gospel will you live? Which gospel will you preach? Which needs will you awaken and address in others? Which Christ will be your people’s Christ? Will it be the christette who massages felt need? Or the Christ who turns the world upside down and makes all things new?

The Grand Inquisitor [of Dostoevsky's 'The Brothers Karamazov')] was very tender-hearted towards human felt need—very sympathetic to the things that all people everywhere seek with all their heart, very sensitive to the difficulty of changing anyone. But he proved to be a monster in the end... It is ultimately cruel to leave people in their sins, captive to their instinctive desires, in despair, under curse. The current therapeutic gospel sounds tender-hearted at first. It is so sensitive to pressure points of ache and disappointment. But in the end it is cruel and Christ-less.

~ David Powlison

The Spirit warns the church!

 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

 Unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write:
These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness,
the beginning of the creation of God;
I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot:
I would thou wert cold or hot.
So then because thou art lukewarm,
and neither cold nor hot,
I will spue thee out of my mouth.
Because thou sayest, 'I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing';
and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:
I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich;
and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and [that] the shame of thy nakedness do not appear;
and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.
As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten...
—Rev. 2:29;3:14-19

The condition described is one of mournful indifference and carelessness.
They were not cold, but they were not hot;
they were not infidels, yet they were not earnest believers;
they did not oppose the gospel, neither did they defend it;
they were not working mischief, neither were they doing any great good;
they were not disreputable in moral character, but they were not distinguished for holiness;
they were not irreligious, but they were not enthusiastic in piety nor eminent for zeal:
they were what the world calls "Moderates,"
they were of the Broad-church school,
they were neither bigots nor Puritans,
they were prudent and avoided fanaticism,
respectable and averse to excitement...

Alas, this state of lukewarmness is so congenial with human nature
that it is hard to fetch men from it.
Cold makes us shiver,
and great heat causes us pain,
but a tepid bath is comfort itself.
Such a temperature suits human nature.
The world is always at peace with a lukewarm church,
and such a church is always pleased with itself.
Not too worldly,—no! We have our limits!
There are certain amusements which of course a Christian must give up,
but we will go quite up to the line,
for why are we to be miserable?

... Compromise is the order of the day.
Thousands try to hold with the hare
and run with the hounds,
they are for God and Mammon,
Christ and Belial, truth and error,
and so are "neither hot nor cold."

Many a church has fallen into a condition of indifference,
and when it does so it generally becomes the haunt of worldly professors,
a refuge for people who want an easy religion,
which enables them to enjoy the pleasures of sin
and the honours of piety at the same time;
where things are free and easy,
where you are not expected to do much,
or give much,
or pray much,
or to be very religious;
where the minister is not so precise as the old school divines,
a more liberal people, of broad views,
free-thinking and free-acting,
where there is full tolerance for sin,
and no demand for vital godliness.
Such churches applaud cleverness in a preacher;
as for his doctrine, that is of small consequence,
and his love to Christ and zeal for souls are very secondary.
He is a clever fellow, and can speak well,
and that suffices.
This style of things is all too common,
yet we are expected to hold our tongue,
for the people are very respectable.
The Lord grant that we may be kept clear of such respectability!

Give me a dozen earnest spirits and put me down anywhere..
and by God's good help we will soon cause the wilderness and the solitary place to rejoice;
but give me the whole lot of you,
and unconcerned, what can I do?
You will only be a drag upon a man's zeal and earnestness.

Excerpted from
An Earnest Warning about Lukewarmness
by Charles Spurgeon

What does REVIVAL look like?

Restore us, O God of our salvation.
And cause Thine indignation toward us to cease.
Wilt Thou be angry with us forever?
Wilt Thou prolong Thine anger to all generations?
Wilt Thou not Thyself revive us again,
that Thy people may rejoice in Thee?
Show us Thy lovingkindness, O Lord,
and grant us Thy salvation, 
I will hear what God the LORD will speak:
for He will speak peace unto His people,... His saints:
but let them not turn again to folly.
 Surely His salvation is nigh them that fear Him;
that glory may dwell in our land.
~ Psalm 85:4-9 

What does revival look like?

Revival brings salvation to many.
Revival brings glory to the land—a palpable, troubling, disturbing, converting, sanctifying, felt presence of God.
Revival is the people of God being saturated with the presence and power of God.
In revival people cannot get enough Bible and preaching...
They cannot get enough of telling people about Christ.
Revival brings tears—tears of sorrow over sin leading to repentance,
tears of joy due to the mercy and grace of God received,
tears for Ichabod (the glory of the Lord departing the church and culture),
and tears for the multitudes of lost souls who are running head long into perdition with their eyes wide open.

In a day when many seem to be mitigating the preached Word of God..we all the more need preachers who will preach for revival.
How are we to do it?
The church and her preacher have only two weapons—prayer and preaching.
Nothing else will work.

So, how do we preach for revival?

First, the preacher and congregant alike must believe that revival is necessary and possible.
Surprisingly, this is not even on the radar screen of many western believers.
I will go further and say that the revival culture of Acts is normative,
that this is always the benchmark of the church
and anything short of it is dishonoring the One who gave Himself for us.

Second, we must pray with the intolerable burden of which I have so often spoken and written in the past.
We can have revival in our day if we are willing to pay the price for it—
if we are willing to pray, fast, and weep like Ezra (Ezra 10:1) and Nehemiah (Nehemiah 1:1-4);
if we are in such anguish over the state of Christ’s church that we will pull the hair out of our heads and sit down appalled like Ezra (Ezra 9:1-3 ), that we will pull the hair from the heads of our brethren, like Nehemiah (Nehemiah 13:25);
if we are willing to pray with deep humility, confessing and repenting of sin like Daniel (Daniel 9:1ff).
Without this kind of sustained burden we have no reason to believe our prayers are effectual.
We must pray prayers of supplication with intense passion (Daniel 9:3. Zechariah 12:10).

Third, as the preacher proclaims God’s Word he comes to his great calling hot with Christ,
after hours of prayer, study, and meditation on the Word to be preached;
after filling up his heart and mind with the glory of Christ,
after feeling deeply and passionately the truths he will proclaim;
after believing in the total sufficiency and efficacy of the preached Word through the Spirit’s anointing.
He knows he must have the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit fall on his preaching.
He knows his gifts, charisma, training, or experience will not bring revival fire.
He labors in his preaching and every aspect of his pastoral ministry with the expectation of revival.
This kind of preaching brings action.
It demands a verdict.
Preaching for revival affects the conscience, heart, and will.

No one could listen to the Lord Jesus, the Apostle Paul, or Isaiah the prophet without being moved in heart, mind, and will.
Some loved the message and embraced it fully.
Others despised it and wanted to kill the purveyors of it.
When the Holy Spirit falls upon such preachers and their preaching,
then the devil and his minions are awakened from hell.
They come after the preacher in many forms—discouragement, financial or health crises, sexual temptation, severe opposition from within the church leadership, hatred and disdain from the world. But with the Apostle Paul, the preacher and the congregation are able finally to say together, “We have fought the good fight. We have finished the course. We have kept the faith. In the future there is laid up for us the crown of righteousness which the Lord, the righteous Judge will award to us on that day, and not only to us, but also to all who have loved His appearing" (2 Timothy 4:7-8).

~ excerpted from an article on Revival by Al Baker

95 Theses for Reformation Today

95 Theses for Reformation Today

by Patte Smith on Wednesday, October 31, 2012 at 10:04pm ·


Inspired by, and based upon, Dr. Martin Luther's historic 95 Theses published 31 October 1517, which launched the Protestant Reformation. We offer these 95 Theses for Reformation Today to stimulate prayerful reflection, study of God's Word, discussion in the Church and positive action for Reformation Today:

1.          Our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ, commanded us to: "Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near" (Matthew 4:17). The whole life of a believer must be one of repentance.

2.          This cannot be interpreted as a token gesture of commitment, nor a technical salvation that is all theory and no experience.

3.          Biblical repentance involves conviction: a change of mind; contrition: a change of heart; and conversion: a change of life. It is not enough to confess our sin, we also need to reject sin, to loathe it and to forsake it. Repentance involves a change of mind, a change of heart, a change of habits and a change of behaviour.

4.          "Now, therefore, says the Lord, turn to Me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning. So rend your heart and not your garments; return to the Lord your God, for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and of great kindness..." Joel 2:12-13

5.          This was the message of the Apostle Peter on the Day of Pentecost: "Repent, and let every one of you be baptised in the Name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." Acts 2:38

6.          This was the message of the early Church: "Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so the times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord." Acts 3:19

7.          The heart of the Gospel is a changed life in Christ.

8.          God is a Holy God and His righteous standards are seen in His Law. Man is sinful and we need to repent from our wickedness and trust in Christ.

9.          This repentance and faith is to be evident in obedience to Christ, and a willingness to sacrifice and to suffer persecution for Christ. To those who turn to Him in repentance and faith, God promises great blessings, rewards and eternal life.

10.       Before He returned to Heaven, our Lord Jesus Christ commanded His followers: "But repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His Name to all nations..." Luke 24:47

11.       Salvation is by the grace of God alone, received by faith alone, on the basis of Christ's blood atonement on the Cross of Calvary alone.

12.       Biblical Salvation always involves a change of behaviour. "Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord and He will have mercy on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon." Isaiah 55:7

13.       Those who teach that as long as you believe you are saved, regardless of how you behave, are false teachers. The Scripture makes clear that just as repentance without faith is not true repentance, so faith without repentance is not true faith. For repentance and faith are two sides of the same coin. Belief always affects behaviour.

14.       "Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works is dead. But someone will say, you have faith, and I have works. Show me your faith without your works and I will show you my faith by my works... for as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also." James 2:17-26

15.       The Scripture warns us not to harden our hearts (Psalm 95:8). Blessed is the man who always fears the Lord, but he who hardens his heart falls into trouble (Proverbs 28:14).

16.       "Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the Kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified by the Name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God." 1 Corinthians 6:9-11

17.       The Lord is close to the broken-hearted and He saves those who are crushed in spirit (Psalm 34:18). The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and contrite heart (Psalm 51:17). The Lord promises to hear and heal the responsive and humble heart (2 Kings 22:19).

18.       "Cast away from you all the transgressions which you have committed, and get yourselves a new heart, and a new spirit. For why should you die...?" Ezekiel 18:31

19.       Those who claim that we can accept Jesus as Saviour, without submitting to Him as Lord, are false teachers. It would not have been sufficient for Moses to have proclaimed to the Hebrews, who were slaves in Egypt, that they should accept that in Yahweh they had perfect freedom, whilst leaving them in bondage and under the yoke of slavery in Egypt.

20.       Nothing less than deliverance from Egypt, freedom from the bondage of slavery, would have been adequate. God's eternal purposes required the people of Israel to survive the Passover, leave Egypt, cross through the Red Sea and be established as a free people in the Promised Land.

21.       Sin is serious. Yet we are far too tolerant of sin. "God now commands all men everywhere to repent." Acts 17:30

22.       Sin is more defiling than dirt, more dangerous than an unexploded bomb, more life threatening than a deadly disease, more insidious than a virus. "Seek the Lord while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near." Isaiah 55:6

23.       "The Law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul." Psalm 19:7. The first duty of the Gospel preacher is to declare God's Law and show the nature of sin. Failure to use the Law is almost certain to result in false hope, the introduction of a false standard of Christian experience, and to fill the church with false converts. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 9:10).

24.       They will never accept grace until they tremble before a just and holy Law. The Law of the Lord is the schoolmaster that leads us to Christ, that we may be justified by faith (Galatians 3:24). Salvation is by the grace of God alone, received by faith alone.

25.       Scripture alone is our ultimate authority. "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work." 2 Timothy 3:16-17

26.       Christ alone is the Head of the Church. Christ is the only Mediator between God and man. Truth conquers. Not all the darkness can put out the smallest light.

27.       We are to deny self, not indulge self. For many people experience is key. But for Christians, Scripture must be our ultimate authority. Emotions are a poor substitute for Scripture.

28.       The Scripture warns us: "Learn to not exceed what is written." 1 Corinthians 4:6-14. We must be aware of movements and teachers who go beyond the Scriptures and presumptuously proclaim that which is not clearly taught in the Holy Scriptures.

29.       Christians must be aware of those churches that try to look and sound much like the world. In many churches the Great Commission is virtually ignored as social issues, health and wealth, flashy entertainment and an emphasis on selfish and materialistic concerns become the primary focus. Many modern Word of Faith teachers display a lack of the fear of God and proclaim a different gospel and a different Jesus from that revealed in Holy Scripture.

30.       Many popular preachers today are telling people what they want to hear, instead of what they should hear. The Word of Faith 'Name it and Claim it', 'Gab it and Grab it', Health and Wealth Prosperity preachers may be popular, but they are false teachers. They are effectively inoculating people against true Christianity. We need to be like the Bereans, who were more noble than the others, in that they searched the Scriptures daily, to see if the things that the apostles said were true (Acts 17:11).

31.       A mature Christian is a discerning Christian. We cannot love God without knowing Him. We cannot know God without studying His Word, the Bible. Christians should test themselves to see whether they be in the Faith. Has there been a genuine change in your life? Have you evidenced Godly sorrow for your sins? Do you love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength? Do you love to study God's Word? Do you love to pray? Do you hate sin?

32.       We are commanded to contend for the Faith, once delivered to the saints (Jude 3). Our Lord Jesus Christ is our example and He exposed false prophets, scribes and pharisees, hypocrisy and false teaching.

33.       The goodness of man is an unBiblical concept. "The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked; who can know it? I the Lord search the heart, I test the mind, even to giving every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings." Jeremiah 17:9-10

34.       Signs and wonders do not actually save anyone. In John's Gospel, we read: "Now when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover, during the feast, many believed in His Name when they saw the signs which He did. But Jesus did not commit Himself to them, because He knew all men, and had no need that anyone should testify of man, for He knew what was in man." John 2:23-25. Our Lord Jesus said that an evil and idolatrous generation seeks for a sign (Luke 11:29).

35.       Only the Gospel can change lives. Conversion for health and wealth is a false conversion. Those who teach that believers should tap into cosmic forces and laws of attraction, are unBiblical. What they are offering more resembles magic than Biblical faith. Much of what is being taught in the modern Word of Faith movement is not the Biblical Faith in a Sovereign God, but faith in faith. It is actually idolatrous.

36.       The Scripture warns us: "Be very careful, then, how you live - not as unwise, but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil." Ephesians 5:15-16

37.       Believers need to be very selective concerning what entertainment and news media is allowed to fill our minds on a daily basis.

38.       The Scriptures describe secular humanist thinking: "Their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened." Romans 1:21. It is extremely dangerous that most Christians send their children to secular humanist schools to receive their education.

39.       "Since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, He gave them over to a depraved mind..." Romans 1:28. Ideas have consequences. What we see influences what we think, and what we think influences what we become and what we do. Actions flow from thought patterns.

40.       "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord', shall enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in Heaven." Matthew 7:21. It is not so much what we say, but what we do that counts. Actions speak much more eloquently than words.

41.       The emphasis on feelings and blessings to the exclusion of commitment, obedience, and discipleship, is a sure way to failure and disappointment (Matthew 7:15-23).

42.       There is no short cut method, no 4-point programme, no cut and dried, canned salvation. There is no alternative to full surrender to the Lordship of Christ (Colossians 2:6-7), and wholeheartedly seeking (Jeremiah 29:13), and following God's way (1 Peter 2:21). You have to forsake the world (1 John 2:15-17), and you must give up living for selfish reasons and motivations (Matthew 16:24). Repent of your past sinful way of life (Isaiah 55:7) and put all your energies, time, strength, talents, money and abilities under God's control. Be transformed by the renewing of your mind and live wholeheartedly for Him (Romans 12:1-2)

43.       The way of Salvation in the Bible is described as a search (Jeremiah 29:13), a journey (Matthew 7:13-14), a war (2 Corinthians 10:3-5), and a marathon race (1 Timothy 6:12). Christians are described as pilgrims, disciples, soldiers, long-distance runners. The Bible is full of words describing fighting, overcoming, advancing, conquering, struggling, suffering and succeeding. These Biblical descriptions speak of progress, advancement, and movement. They speak of a continuous ongoing experience and way of life. Not a once-for-all gesture, or technical theory, or mere theological understanding.

44.       The heart of the Gospel is a restored relationship with God through Jesus Christ, where communication and contact is established and maintained with God. Where character is developed and God's eternal purposes are accomplished in, and through, your life.

45.       Ignorant and wicked are those who teach that the Law of God no longer applies to us today. Those preachers are in error who declare that one can receive Christ as Saviour without submitting to Him as Lord.

46.       Christ alone is the Head of the Church. No pope, bishop, archbishop, cardinal, synod or moderator has power to overrule the decrees of Almighty God clearly spelled out in Holy Scripture.

47.       Men must be on their guard against those who require excessive payments for spiritual services.

48.       They preach no Christian doctrine who teach that Repentance is not necessary for those who seek to be right with God. The truly repentant earnestly desires to undertake full restitution, to repair, replace and restore what he has taken, or damaged.

49.       They are enemies of Christ who require the Word of God to be silent on some issues in order that policies they support continue unimpeded.

50.       Injury is done to the Word of God when a balance is not maintained in our preaching. Between the Law of God and the love of God, the wrath of God and the mercy of God, the doctrine of Eternal Judgement and the Gospel of Redemption, the blessings of Heaven and the realities of hell. The true treasure of the Church is the most Holy Gospel of the glory and the grace of God.

51.       He who speaks against the truth of Holy Scripture, let him be anathema and accursed (Galatians 1:6-10)! But he who guards against the lusts and licence of the world, let him be blessed!

52.       Those who teach that we are little gods are guilty of blasphemy. Those who teach that the Cross of Christ was not enough to effect our Eternal Salvation teach heresy.

53.       Away then with those false prophets who say to the people of God, 'peace, peace', and there is no peace! (1 Thessalonians 5:3).

54.       Blessed be those who lift up the Cross of Christ and give a clear message of Repentance.

55.       Christians are to be exhorted, that we be diligent in following our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, through sacrifices and sufferings, seeking first the Kingdom of God.

56.       We can be confident of entering into the Kingdom of Heaven through many tribulations, rather than through delusions of comfort and complacency.

57.       If I profess with the loudest voice and clearest exposition, every portion of the truth of God's Word, except precisely that point which the world and the devil are at that moment attacking, then I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing him. Where the battle rages, there the loyalty of the soldier is proved; and to be steady on all the battlefront besides is mere flight and disgrace - if he flinches at that point.

58.       Compromise and cowardice hurts everyone concerned. Cowardice is destructive and short sighted. In Revelation 21:8, cowardice is at the top of the list of those who will be condemned by God through all eternity - thrown into the lake of fire.

59.       The Word of God commands us not to be afraid of any man (Deuteronomy 1:17). We are warned that the fear of man will prove to be a snare (Proverbs 29:25).

60.       It is cowardice for us to stay seated when we should stand up. To remain silent when we should speak up. To remain passive and inactive when we should fight for what is right. "Who are you that you should be afraid of a man who will die, and of a son of man, who will be made like grass? You forget the Lord your maker, who stretched out the Heavens and laid the foundations of the earth..." Isaiah 51:12-13

61.       The prevailing Arminian, antinomian, egalitarian, sinner-friendly, self-centred, superficial, sensational, materialistic, cheap grace and easy believism has produced gutless and spineless evangellyfish who stand for nothing. "Open rebuke is better than love carefully concealed. Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful." Proverbs 27:5-6

62.       We are not called to be popular, but faithful. The Great Commission is not about how to win friends and influence people, but how to make disciples of all nations, teaching obedience to all things that the Lord has commanded.

63.       We are called to submit to God, to resist the devil and he will flee from us (James 4:7)

64.       They can kill the body - but they cannot kill the soul.

65.       It is a disgrace for ministers of the Gospel to remain silent while the very foundation of our faith and freedoms - civilisation itself - is under attack. A campaign to have what God describes as an abomination called "marriage" should rouse every Christian to stand up and fight for the family and the faith. The basic building block of society, the family itself, is in the frontline of the world war of worldviews. As the influence of education, entertainment and the news media is so pervasive, it is in these realms that the battle for the family is being either lost, or won.

66.       The Bible tells us that God seeks "Godly offspring..." Malachi 2:15. It is the first priority of parents and teachers to ensure that children are taught to love God and His Word. Secular humanist education is attempting to kill God by eradicating Him from the classroom and from the minds of the next generation. By eliminating the Bible as the basis for all knowledge, humanists are removing the very foundation of truth. They are prohibiting the only objective standard by which reality can be evaluated. "See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world, rather than on Christ." Colossians 2:8

67.       I am much afraid that schools will prove to be wide gates to hell, unless they diligently labour in explaining the Holy Scriptures, engraving them on the hearts of the youth. I advise no one to place his child where the Scriptures do not reign paramount. Every institution in which men are not constantly occupied with the Word of God must become corrupt.

68.       In this culture war, it is vital that we understand the war between Creation and the theory of Evolution. Science textbooks and Museums are strategic battlegrounds in the world war of worldviews.

69.       We need to know the Word of God and we need to know the God of the Word. We need to know God and to make Him known.

70.       It is vital that we know what we believe, why we believe it, and to practically know how to defend it in argument. It is also vital that we become effective soul winners.

71.       Christians must recognise that we are involved in a world war of worldviews. There is a war against God and against His Word - The Bible. In this battle for the mind, classrooms and cinemas are battlefields. Education is a battleground. The textbooks and the teachers are frequently promoting evolutionism, situation ethics, sex education and values clarification. Reality is being rearranged by selective focus and in what Karl Marx declared "the first battlefield - the rewriting of history." By twisting perceptions, secular humanists hope to steal our children and hijack our culture and country. Much of the entertainment industry has been so subverted as to glamourise evil, popularise profanity, and celebrate ugliness. It is the duty of Christians to support excellent Christian media.

72.       In entertainment, it is vital that we know before we go, that we learn to discern. We must choose the best family-friendly films, and avoid the anti-Christian programmes.

73.       The theory of Evolution is an attempt to abort God retroactively. The theory and philosophy of Evolution destroys all meaning, purpose, direction, justice and hope in life. The Scriptures declare: "The fool says in his heart, 'there is no God'. They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good." Psalm 14:1

74.       We are called to be the light of the world. All the darkness cannot put out the smallest light. "For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea." Habakkuk 2:14

75.       The recent phenomenon of age-segregated Sunday morning worship should be re-evaluated in the light of Scripture. The youth are not the Church of tomorrow, they are part of the Church today. The Church is one body. "For as the body is one, and has many members, and all the members of that body being many are one body; as also is Christ." 1 Corinthians 12:12

76.       Parents should be raising up their children in the fear of God, in fellowship with all believers. Church social events should involve families. Youth ministry should be returned to where it belongs - to families and fathers. It is a sad fact that many youth groups are doing more harm than good. "Those who walk with the wise become wiser still, but the companion of fools suffers harm." Proverbs 13:20

77.       Young people have a far greater capacity for spiritual and social maturity than we tend to give them credit for. Young people should be encouraged to go deeper, further and higher for the Lord.

78.       Many mainline denominations have been infiltrated by secular humanists, who have gutted the churches of the Biblical Gospel and produced generations of spineless evangellyfish. Many churches are filled with pseudo-saved, semi-saved, half-saved, un-saved, pew-warmers who have never been truly converted, nor have they come into any real relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ.

79.       To distract and neutralise the Christian Church, false doctrines and heresies have been vigorously promoted. Passivism has been promoted and a "rapture fever" obsession with end-times prophesies has greatly distracted many Christians.

80.       Antinomianism has gutted the Church of the Law of the Lord which is perfect, which converts the soul. Defeatism and escapism have neutralised many churches.

81.       Worldly music, age-segregated services, youth groups which entertain rather than educate, have further undermined the churches' fulfilment of the Great Commission in our generation.

82.       Discernment is at a low ebb in the average Western church. Sensationalism, materialism and idolatrous elevating of human beings have side-tracked many believers from fulfilling the Great Commission.

83.       Many Christians have failed to notice that secular humanists have hijacked the schools and universities and are continuing to send their children to, what are effectively, anti-Christian brain washing institutions.

84.       Theological seminaries have generally been infiltrated by liberal theologians and those who hold to theistic evolution. The undermining of Biblical Christianity in many denominations is like a cancer working throughout the body.

85.       "Should you help the wicked and love those who hate the Lord? Therefore the wrath of the Lord is upon you." 2 Chronicles 19:2

86.       We need to face the moral challenges of our day, including the symptoms of moral depravity: deception in the news media, degenerate entertainment, dishonesty in business and decadence in government.

87.       Even more importantly we must recognise the root causes: ineffective churches, insipid preaching, irresponsible leaders, a rejection of God's Law as the foundation for our families, churches and nation, neglect of the Bible, prayerlessness, selfishness, confusion, compromise, cowardice and, at the very core, a lack of wholehearted love for God.

88.       All too many churches are entertaining their members instead of educating them with expository preaching from God's Word. They are comforting their members instead of challenging them in confronting sin. "Righteousness and Justice are the foundation of Your Throne; love and faithfulness go before You." Psalm 89:14

89.       Life begins at conception. Abortion is murder. The sanctity of life is an essential aspect of the Christian Faith. Christians must "Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves." Proverbs 31:8 and "Rescue those being led away to death." Proverbs 24:10

90.       Throughout the Bible, money is spoken of by weight. God's Law forbids theft, unjust weights and measures, inflation, usury, unbacked currencies and multiple indebtedness. Biblical Law requires honest money backed up by real constant value (Leviticus 16:35-36; Proverbs 11:1; 20:10; 20:23; Amos 8:5-7; Micah 6:11-12).

91.       In the Bible sin is specific and personal. It is the violation of the Law of God. We are guilty when we disobey one of God's Commandments. Sin is failing to worship God alone; it is making, or worshipping an idol; taking God's Name in vain; desecrating the Sabbath; dishonouring our parents; taking innocent life; committing adultery; stealing; bearing false witness and being covetous. However, guilt manipulation, false, or psychological, guilt, is vague and general.

92.       When we repent of our personal guilt in violating God's Commands, the result is forgiveness, freedom, healing and restoration. However, when repenting for false, or psychological, guilt we will never find freedom and forgiveness - because the devil is a hard taskmaster. We must know the Bible to recognise deception in the world and we must understand history in order to expose those who attempt to manipulate God's people through guilt manipulation.

93.       "Where there is no vision, a people perish..." Proverbs 29:18. We need a positive and practical vision from the Word of God for our personal lives, for our Churches, for our nations and for the world.

94.       We must give our highest priority to loving, worshipping, serving, obeying, and honouring God. We need a Biblical vision of righteousness, justice, love and compassion. "The Lord loves righteousness and justice..." Psalm 33:5

95.       "Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the Church by Christ Jesus, to all generations, for ever and ever. Amen." Ephesians 3:20-21

Dr. Peter Hammondhttp://www.reformationsa.org/

Biblical counsel to give to mothers who have murdered their baby by abortion

A friend asked for advice about how to help someone who is an unbeliever and struggling with guilt from her abortion. My biblical response would also apply when counseling a professing Christian. Here is my answer.

I would humbly & prayerfully counsel the woman directly from the Word of the Lord. (2 Tim 2:15,3:16) I would reiterate the reality of the fact that her child was designed, created & sustained by God & was a precious gift from Him to her. (Ps 127:3, Ps 139) She was supposed to love & protect her baby & keep him or her from harm. Jesus says that God requires us to have & show mercy (Matt 5:7) in order for us to obtain mercy from Him. "For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy." (James 2:13) I would tell the woman that guilt is also a precious gift from God. He gave us a conscience to accuse us when we are going to sin & bothers & alarm us when we do evil. It is God's way of revealing our sin & our need for a Savior. The feeling of guilt is a good sign of a healthy conscience. She FEELS GUILTY because she IS GUILTY. She knew that it was wrong when she killed her child because God's law is written on her heart. The 6th commandment is "You shall not murder". Sin is transgression of God's moral Law. (I Jo 3:4) I would explain the fall of Adam & original sin (Rom 5:12). I would tell her that Jesus says that we think & do wicked things because of our wicked heart. (Matt 15:19;Mark 7:21, Jer 17:9). The heart of her problem is a problem of her heart. I would explain that her guilt before God is not only for murdering her innocent child. Her guilt extends out all of the ways in which she has violated God's moral Law. If she is sexually immoral, I would address that sin with scripture as well. (Eph 5:5;I Cor 6:9;Heb 13:4) I would tell her that the wages of sin is death & hell. (Rom 6:23;Rev 21:8) She can never be free from the guilt, the power or the penalty/punishment of her sin ("healed") unless she does the only thing God has ordained for forgiveness of sin & cleansing of the conscience. She is, in fact, commanded to repent of her sin (confess & forsake it), & cry out to the only One who can take her guilt away & wash her white as snow. (Is 1:18) There is no forgiveness of sin without the shedding of blood. (Hebrews 9:22) I would tell her that Jesus lived the life we could not live (perfectly obeyed the Law of God) & died the death we should all die. The Cross of Christ is the place where guilty sinners like us must go to receive mercy & pardon for wicked sins, like murdering a little baby. Jesus said; "You must be born again" in order to inherit eternal life & go to heaven. I would also tell her that the Lord Jesus commands her to repent or perish & read Matt 3:2 to her: "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand". I would tell this woman to read God's Word & I would give her a Bible if she didn't already have one, for faith comes by hearing & hearing comes by the Word (Rom 10:17;I Peter 1:23). I would encourage her to cry out to the Savior & ask Him to give her a new heart. Beg the Lord Jesus to forgive her sins & grant her new life in Him by His Spirit. Beseech God to cause her to be born from above. There is hope for humble sinners who do not make excuses for their evil thoughts & deeds. I would pray with her & for her, that the Lord would grant her repentance unto life. Jesus is mighty to save!

I would also give her a gospel tract with a clear repentance message in it. We created a gospel brochure especially to give to abortion-bound mothers. http://seedshakers.weebly.com/abortion-prolife-gospel-tract.html

While it is written to moms who are about to kill their baby, half of the mothers we give them to are post-abortive because have already murdered at least one child.