Monday, May 28, 2007

A Warrior's Example

David: the son of Jesse, King of Israel, and man of God.

He was a young lad both sensitive and strong. His days were spent tending his father's sheep and playing upon his harp. He was chosen of the Lord to succeed Saul as king of Israel.ISamuel 16:12,13.
He was described in verse 18 of the same chapter as a cunning musician, a valiant warrior, a prudent man, and handsome to look upon. When Saul was troubled he would call upon him to play.

Recognizing his spirit of excellence, Saul soon appointed him as his personal armor bearer. I Samuel 17 is the account of David and Goliath. It was David's own testimony in verses 34-37 that earned him the right to face the giant. This engagement sealed his enlistment in Saul's army. We read in ISamuel 18:5 that David was successful in every assignment. He then advanced in rank and was entrusted with many men.

This was only the beginning for David. He would later become the King of Israel. He would eventually die and leave the throne to his son Solomon. He would be known throughout all time as a 'man after God's own heart'.

Goliath was not the only giant he encountered. In his lifetime, he faced the wrath of Saul, the treachery of his own son, and the vengeance of the Philistines. All these he overcame through his reliance on God. He even suffered the judgement of God and lived to tell about it. IChronicles 21:15,16

Our opponents come in various forms. Our battles range from brief to daily skirmishes. We fight in physical, mental, and spiritual arenas. We are warriors in every sense of the word. We may lose a battle now and then, but our victory is guaranteed in Christ. We must be like David and face our giants in the strength of the Lord. "Through God we shall do valiantly: for he it is that shall tread down our enemies." Psalms 60:12

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Remember Our Troops

The following is an article by Chaplain Norris Burkes reprinted by permission.

Thank our soldiers--they've got our backs.

Last month our family flew to San Diego to see our son, Michael, graduate from Marine boot camp.
After the ceremony and celebration, we drove back to the airport talking about the next two weeks we'd spend with him on leave. At the rental car return, I noticed a clerk eyeing my son in his razor-creased uniform and I offered an unsolicited explanation.

"We're here in San Diego to pick up our freshly minted Marine." He smiled and offered his congratulations.

As we walked away, my son cautioned me, "Dad, not everyone likes us. Some people hate us."

I countered that assumption by telling him not everyone was in favor of the war, but we were all in favor of our troops.

I reminded him his oldest sister is a good example of that. She is not a fan of the current leadership. She has marched in her share of demonstrations and worn anti-Bush T-shirts with words not repeatable by this reservist in a spiritual column.

Yet, she's a fan of her brother. At the graduation, she cheered and hollered until she lost her voice. She hugged and kissed him until she turned him beat red from embarrassment and risked violating the regulation against PDA (Public Display of Affection.)

He nodded hesitantly at his sister's example, and proceeded with some reticence to the shuttle stop. As we stood at the stop, three women lined up along side us whispering.

Then one woman broke out to speak to Michael. "Thank you for your service," she said. My son gave away a shy smile.
"Do you mind if we pray with you?" she asked. Mike nodded and the woman began to pray. She prayed that God would lay a protection around him and that he would serve with honor.

Forty-five minutes later, we were at our gate when a man bolted out of his chair like he'd been sprung from it. He approached Mike with an open hand explaining that he was a retired Air Force major. Then he said, as the others had said before him, "Thank you for your service."

The next few hours passed quickly and in no time at all we taxied into our home terminal. As the jetway was extended, the flight attendant made an announcement. "Ladies and gentleman, I want you to know that we have a new Marine on board who graduated from boot camp today!"
Spontaneously, the passengers erupted into the type of applause usually reserved for the touchy landings.

As I reflected on those we'd encountered, it occurred to me all of them likely had opinions about the war, but each had kept their opinions separate from their gratitude.
And from a soldier's point of view, let me tell you why that's good.

Every soldier is sworn to obey the orders of their superiors. That means, even if a soldier has a dissenting opinion, he can't express it -- especially not in uniform. So as the saying goes, "Don't even go there."

Let me tell you, however, where you can go. You can say thank you. You can tell a soldier, especially the young ones, "Thank you. Thank you for being a part of the largest volunteer force we've ever had to wage. Thank you for making it possible for some to work, some to pray, and yes, even some to protest."

So as we approach the next two holidays, Memorial Day and Independence Day, stop a soldier, any soldier, and simply say, "Thank you for serving."

Why say thank you? I believe the answer to that question was best expressed on a T-shirt worn by a parent at my son's graduation: "Sleep well, America, my son's got your back!"

Monday, May 21, 2007

Name that Church

Many times you can identify one's denominational affiliation by their appearance, demeanor, language, garb, or haunts. While we are to be a people set apart, that is hardly the meaning of the scripture.

As we concluded the series on the 7 churches of Asia, another church from the same locale and era came to mind. The church of Corinth with all its complexities is yet another that is mirrored by many churches today. Rather than write a complete assessment, I offer this list of characteristics with supporting scripture references.
(Guess I'll get that much needed practice w/links) :>)

Enriched of God...ICorinthians 1:5
Possessed a Christian heritage....ICorinthians 10:1-6
Keepers of ordinances...ICorinthians 11:2
Recipients of the 'Gifts of the Spirit'...ICorinthians 14:26

Contentious, envious,& fleshy... ICorinthians 1:11
Babes in Christ & carnal.. ICorinthians 3:1-3
Vain & puffed up... ICorinthians 4:6-8,18,19
Proud & adulterous..ICorinthians 5:1-6
Defrauding one another... ICorinthians 6:1-8
Offenders of the weak... ICorinthians 8:12
Abounding in heresy... ICorinthians 11:18,19
Unclean & unforgiving... ICorinthians 11:27-30
Unrighteous & sinful... ICorinthians 15:34

What else could we add? There must have been divisions among them. They needed both examples and instructions on being stewards of the "gifts".

When people look upon us they should see Jesus. When we assemble for worship and respond to God's presence, we should ascribe glory to Him and not to ourselves. I believe that is the purpose of "the love chapter" (I Cor 13) being sandwiched between the introduction of the 'gifts' (chapter 12) and the instructions for their use (chapter 14).

Thursday, May 17, 2007

R U Sure it's N There?

Have you ever heard that saying, "a little birdie told me"? What about "spare the rod and spoil the child"? Most folks attribute these to the Bible. There's many more old sayings that have their root in the Good Book. Some however are only found there in principle and still others orginate elsewhere.

A few of these I knew just where to find, others I'm still looking for. Feel free to submit answers and additional quotes.

"You're going to wear out your welcome." Proverbs 25:17

"Spare the rod and spoil the child." Proverbs 23:13,14

"Kill them with kindness." Proverbs 25:21,22

"Laughter is the best medicine." Proverbs 17:22

"Money is the root of all evil." This one is actually a misquote. The Bible actually says, "The love of money is the root of all evil." ITimothy 6:10

"The apple of my eye." Deut 32:10

"Like mother, like daughter." Ezek 16:45

"Like digging your own grave" ____________

"Cleanliness is next to godliness." _____________

"He looked beyond my faults and saw my needs." ______________

One of my favorites, "all liars will have their trailers parked at the lake." _____

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Just a Note

Been a little busy this past week. Will resume posting here on Thursday. I write Worship Wednesday for my sister at Beneath the Ivy Wreath. Drop by there when you can. I'm sure you can find something of interest. Her blog is a mixed bag; personal reflections, daily stuff, devotionals, and updates on her novel in progress. She even has a recent post about a car that runs on waste vegetable oil.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Late Additions

For additional info the church of Thyratira see this post at Camp on This

Ornamental Christians?
from Spurgeon's "The Master's Profession; The Disciples' Pursuit" #977. Psalm 40:9, 10

In all our churches there is a very large proportion of idle people. I hope they are saved; the Lord knows whether they are or not. But whatever else they are saved from, certainly they are not saved from laziness. We seem to get some people who are but half converted. I hope their hearts are converted, as their hands do no work.

Albeit, there are some portions of the body which may be said to be ornamental; it is equally true that they also have some distinct service; there is not one of them put there to do nothing. Some Christians seem to imagine that they are ornaments, for certainly they are of no use. They think that their whole duty consists in taking their seat, filling up their place, and listening with more or less attention to the sermons that are preached.

As to the idea of everybody doing something for Christ, and the exhortation as good soldiers of the cross not to shirk their duty; these people say that it is sheer madness. Sleepy souls, they presently become victims of their own infatuation. As men who habituate themselves to take opium, they grow soporific. Then their Christianity becomes like a dream. The apathy of the church, which has lasted so long, is truly disheartening. With many a deep drawn sigh do we bewail it. O that we could get the church to awake!

Found this nugget at Grace Gems.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

From my Father in the Ministry

The following is a e-mail from a dear pastor, one who trained me in the ministry. He is not a blogger. He doesn't actually do much w/the internet. The message of this e-mail is pertinent to the day in which we live. I am excited about the evangelistic efforts in Nigeria and may post some testimonies from there soon.

Dear Loved Ones,
Upon receiving your letter concerning Pastor ___ and the
problems within the church there I had numerous warnings concerning a
couple within our walls. Your warning to be exact was the fourth to
point directly to the problem, I also received a direct warning from a
good Baptist Brother who sat down at my table and begin to tell about
his problem which was actually mine. I love the way the Holy Ghost tells
on people. Give them enough rope and they will certainly hang

Teacher have you ever done a bible study on
slingers in the bible, very interesting, we are living in the time of
demonic driven slingers back bitters haters of God, and His anointed
People. Always understand the closer you draw to God and His
righteousness, purity and a clean heart slingers come out of their
closet to try and destroy the anointing of the Holy Ghost, All they
have to do to accomplish their purpose is to distract us from our call.
It usually comes through envy and jealousy with much poison from their
lips. I refuse to even give them my attention, Its time for pastors and
teachers to shake off the snakes.A snake in the water makes little
ripples, but believe me he is still a snake. Snakes cause little harm if
we only remember to shake them off. Let us shake the dust off of our
feet and realize that not everybody is going to like us.

I don't preach to please man nor make friends it just never did seem to work out. I am
so tired of the weak testimonies we hear in the house of God, let us
stand and proclaim Him to be the Lord and Savior of our lives. Let us be
like Brother Paul on the road to Damascus I HEARD THE VOICE OF THE LORD!

Teacher I am hearing the voice of the Lord and he is calling his people
back to the old fashioned altar of prayer. Its time to get down to the
altar and let the power of the Holy Ghost shake our hearts and minds
with the power of His word. I say yes to the Lord and again I say yes.

God is moving, I just received a letter from a Brother we have ordained
in Nigeria, his testimony sounds like this; 1000 were saved, a dead man
was raised to life that had already been embalmed! Praise be to God! He
asked for more Bibles for his people. I will make a call for any who
would like to help send to our brother in the Lord. I hope to bring Him
for revival in the future, maybe you and____ could come spend a few
days with us. Must close this quick note, Holler back soon, We love you.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Blogging w/Purpose II

VisitChurch Communications Pro.Com to find out everything you ever wanted to know about blogging.

Blogging about blogging; that's something like being taught how to teach.

For more on the subject of blogging, particularly as it relates to pastors; see
Pastor Steve Weaver's blog. There is lots of other great material there, definitely worth adding to your favorites.

My latest find is The Blogging ministry by Michael G. Davis. The following is an excerpt from the 'about' section:
"We plan to post articles about how Blogger might be used as a platform for Ministry and how to get started."
Be sure to go to his home page for additional links and resources.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

And the Answer is...

Throughout our study of the 7 churches we have made observations concerning their flaws/failures/sins. Granted not all flaws and failures are sins, but when they obstruct the flow of God’s blessings/approval they become sin. Therein is the parallel of their flaw to the short coming of many churches today.

The Ephesians had lost their first love, their zeal, their desire to progress. The church of Sardis was in a similar state; sleeping and neglecting the work of the ministry. Pergamos and Thyratira each had tolerated false doctrine and the prophets who brought it into their midst. The Laodiceans were blind to their own wretched state and indifferent to the evil that proliferated within their body. They were satisfied with themselves and thus deceived into believing a lie.

Pinning the common flaw/fault on Smyrna and Philadelphia requires more than a glance at the scriptures. As previously stated, the church of Smyrna had a poor self-image and was perhaps fearful of uncertain future events. These things had caused them to stagnate. The same could be said of the Philadelphians. They were just holding on rather than actively moving into what God had for them. They had not caught the vision, therefore they were just existing.

Each flaw exposed has it’s root in a compromise against the Truth. The faults of: lost zeal, indifference, blindness, slothfulness, lack of vision, fear, toleration of heresy and false prophets, as well as blatant perversion can all be attributed to what I call PASSIVE CHRISTIANITY. It is a killer, subtle and invasive. The best counter agent is to be actively engaged in the Truth, the Life, and the Way.

Though I am not a scholar of the Greek language: I understand that when Paul said, “I press toward the mark”, he in fact was saying, “I keep on pressing.” Church, we have to keep on pressing toward the goal that Christ has set before us.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Blogging with Purpose

When I first heard of blogging I wasn't too impressed. I thought it was just a means of escaping reality, anonymous venting, or simply writing a diary on-line. I had no idea how fulfilling and valuable it could be. I have been blogging for 3 months now and wonder why I wasn't doing it sooner. It has forced me to hone my communication skills and to be more internet savvy.

Rich Tatum gives some insight to the value of blogging. The following is an excerpt from the linked post.
"Blogging, in some ways, is like an interest-bearing savings account. As long as your ideas are only spoken, they’re being spent as soon as you generate them — just like spending your entire paycheck the very week you get it. But if you can “bank” some of those thoughts, they’ll go to work for you on your behalf, influencing more than just the handful within earshot. And like money in the bank, your blog-published ideas compound their influence week after week after week."

Julie says "Every idiot has an opinion, but not every person takes the time to translate what is observed before shouting out an opinion."

That is what blogging has done for me. It has caused me to look at my opinions and thoughtfully consider whether or not they are consistent with the actual meaning of scripture. Pray for me as I endeavor to post the messages of timeless text.

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