>What a fantastic “ad” for a Body of believers:
>What a fantastic “ad” for a Body of believers:
>What a fantastic “ad” for a Body of believers:
>Today marks the anniversary of the day I turned from all I knew to be sin (which was too much) to the little I knew about Jesus (which was just enough). Since I was “chosen in Him before the foundation of the world” it is not totally accurate to call it my spiritual birthday, but…
I was 26, felt I had done everything twice, was an alcoholic, a thief, a drug user and seller, and several other things…I had recently been arrested in Texas and was in a jail cell awaiting extradition to the West Coast.
Out of boredom I picked up a paperback book that had the word “prison” in the title. I had been in jail a few times over the years, but never in prison…so I thought I’d ignore the “religious junk” and see if the author had anything to tell me about what could very well be my home for the remainder of my life.
Back then I was dumber than I am now..I thought “religion” and “Christianity” meant the same thing.
I had only been in church a couple times, had never read the Bible, and, to the best of my recollection, had no accurate idea as to who Jesus was. Though I did not know the Bible said “The fool has said in his heart there is no god”, nor did I know that He had placed “eternity in our hearts,” I still did “believe in ‘god’, but he/it/she was a nebulous creator.
I was just smart enough to recognize that if there was a creator I was the created and, as such, accountable to the creator. Thus I ignored/put off “god” unless I was in trouble…when of course I’d pray to this “god”.
But now as I read I began to comprehend (as the Spirit gave illumination) that God was revealed in His Son Jesus, who was not a superstar, not a founder of a major religion, and not a rebel…but was/is/will be God.
As the book referenced the Bible, I found a Gideon-supplied Bible and began to read. Over the process of several weeks the Spirit of God did His work in my soul, and on January 30, 1974 I repented and trusted Christ and His substitutionary death in my place, and “old things passed away and all things became new.”
I have no idea who donated the book (I won’t share the title, as it has some pretty whacky stuff in it…but it did contain the gospel). Don’t know their color, denomination, or anything else. But I do know that the Lord sovereignly placed that book where I would read it…
So I’ve never been “witnessed” to in the normative interpretation. I “simply” read a book.
And the Lord used it.
I don’t negate our responsibility to be “ambassadors for Christ,” but I do encourage you…if you find it incredibly hard to verbally “witness,” perhaps you could hand out tracts (that contain the gospel as opposed to the easy-believism ‘pray this prayer and you’re in’ stuff that is all too common) and/or donate good, solid Christian books to your local jail?
Don’t get all caught up or distressed by what you “can’t do,” do what you can.
>Very rarely do I recommend a book until I’ve completed it. But just yesterday I received my copy of Don’t Call It a Comeback and after just a couple chapters I not only recommend it, but I urge you to get a copy (and, of course, if you follow the link below I’ll “earn” a couple cents if you buy it)
Here’s one of many sentences I underlined: “If the gospel is old news to you, it will be dull news to everyone else.”
And, “There is a time for dialogue, but there is also a time for declaration.”
Plus, “The world needs to see Christians burning, not with self-righteous fury at the sliding morals in our country, but with passion for God.”
One more, “When the church discovers cool, it won’t be cool anymore.”
Last, for this time, “I think a lot of older Christians are desperate to figure out what young people are into because they are too embarrassed to be themselves and too unsure of themselves to simply love the people they are trying to reach.”
>When I attended Christ Unlimited Bible Institute a million years ago, Dr. Al Metsker and Dean Potratz would often thunder, “The Holy Spirit is not an ‘it,’ He is a He! He is just as much a person as the Son!” Of course that is true…
Here is yet another great prayer from SCOTTY SMITH
Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God. You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. Romans 8:5-9
Heavenly Father, I’m particularly grateful today for the person and work of the Holy Spirit. Through I don’t understand everything he’s up to, these things I gladly affirm today.
Just as assuredly as Jesus stood outside of Lazarus’ tomb and said, “Come forth”, you sent the Holy Spirit to preach the gospel to my heart, and I came out of the tomb of my sin and death. How I praise you for your sovereign goodness and power. Unless you had breathed new life into my spirit, I would never, could never have believed the gospel. Thank you!
When you raised me up in Jesus, you baptized me with the Holy Spirit, making me a member of your family and Christ’s Bride. You sealed me for eternity by the Spirit, marking me as your very own possession. You sent the Spirit to live as a permanent resident in my heart—to constantly preach the gospel to my heart… convict me of sin… make me like Jesus… and constantly tell me that I’m your beloved child. I no longer just cry, I cry “Abba, Father.”
According to your Word… according the truth of the gospel, I’m already controlled by the Holy Spirit. I am no longer controlled by my sinful nature. O, the joy this brings.
You’ve given me all the gifts of the Spirit I need to live as a functioning member in the church and a caring servant in your kingdom. Life is no longer about me. It never was.
You gave the Spirit as the firstfruits and guarantee of the full inheritance Jesus earned for all your children. What a generous and loving God you are. Forgive me when I look for treasure anywhere else.
Blessed Abba, I want to be more consistently filled with the Holy Spirit… walk according to the Spirit… keep in step with the Spirit… set my mind on what the Spirit desires. I want the freedom the Spirit alone gives. I want to be more like Jesus.
“Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me. Spirit of the living God, fall afresh of me. Melt me, mold me, fill me, use me. Spirit of the living God, fall afresh of me.” So very Amen, I pray, in Jesus’ faithful name.
>This is very good, thought provoking stuff from MICHAEL KELLEY
TODAY’S GOSPEL IS TOMORROW’S LAW
I have a friend who is fond of saying, “Today’s gospel is tomorrow’s law.” I’ve heard him say it in a variety of contexts.
– When Christians believe that public school is the only appropriate way to be missional with your family.
– When Christians say that home schooling is the only good and proper way to educate your child.
– When the mark of your spirituality becomes whether or not you have adopted a child (or how many).
– When those believers who feel the liberty to consume alcohol turn up their noses at those who refrain.
Do you see it? We have an immense propensity to take the gospel and turn it into law. We love to take good and turn it into chains. Why do we do that?
The reasons are many, but I think a large part is that we love the measuring stick of the law. We love to compare ourselves to others, and to gauge our own spirituality based on performance. We love to take the law of God and make it into a ladder. Up, up, up we climb, and the more people below us the better we feel. For though we might not be close to the top, we’re sure doing better than those people below us.
So much do we love the law that we can form and fashion anything – even those wonderful examples of freedom or grace – into law. Our potential to distort the gifts of God to our own ends is limitless.
How is that the gospel remains the gospel – that those things in which there is liberty remain those things in which there is liberty? How can we be saved from our tendency toward distortion?
Surely not through our own power.
But herein lies again the wonder of the gospel, and here again is where we can be brought to awe because of its far-reaching power. For the gospel is the only answer for those, like me, who distort the gospel. There is grace for us, too. When we preach the gospel to ourselves daily, we will find that God will tear down the rungs of our carefully constructed ladders. And when those ladders are broken into shards and splinters, what will be left towering over the piles of rubble is the wooden beams of the cross.
And we’ll stand there at the base on perfectly level ground.
On January 22, the 38th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, think of it this way: 50 million branches of family trees cut off; 50 million regrets over what might have been; 50 million babies who could have brought joy out of sadness and a future that might have contributed substantially to the human race, snuffed out at the beginning of their lives.
It is precisely because the 7-2 Supreme Court majority vote in 1973 read something into the Constitution that isn’t there, to wit, that a “right to privacy” means the right to kill an unborn child — even when it is capable of living outside the womb — that Congress must restore the original intent of the Framers, which includes the “endowed by their Creator” clause in the Declaration of Independence. The Constitution cannot be separated from the Declaration, its philosophical and moral foundation.