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Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Roy Moore & The Alabama Election

The first to plead his case seems right,
Until another comes and examines him.
Proverbs 18:17 NASB


The people of Alabama are voting.
The outcome will be known shortly.
Whatever comes is ultimately in God's hands, but we cannot ignore that the allegations made against him have had an effect.

I heard Roy Moore's wife & Roy Moore's speeches online, and he is very credible as someone who stands for what he believes is right no matter the cost. 

He stood up for the Ten Commandments in the courtroom.
He stood up for marriage as God designed it (between a man and a woman).
He is against the murder of innocent babies through abortion.

There is every reason for the accusers' stories to be questioned & examined. 
There are already reasons to doubt that they are all purely true with things that have already come out.

From what Roy's said, he wants God to be honored in our government.
He has proved to have a strong backbone to stand for what he believes in which few men have.

Evil hates the light and searches for any signs of weakness real or imagined.
Innocent until proven guilty is a good standard when it comes to allegations.
Honesty is becoming increasingly rare in these times.
This is truly a Romans 1 society.
David had character flaws even as a man after God's own heart, but he also had false accusations against him.
I'm not saying Roy is David, but I'm pointing out that we need to be very careful before destroying someone's career aspirations and character.
While God is Sovereign, we are also responsible for our own behavior.
How many of us have been accused of things we didn't do?
Let us wait for the truth to be made known.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Grace Community Church Christmas Concert Live-Streaming & A Song For Your Day

Exciting news!  Grace Community Church plans to live-stream a Christmas concert again this year.
It is scheduled for 6 PM - 7:30 PM Pacific time on December 17, 2017!
That means it starts at 9 PM Eastern U.S. time.
Time Zone Converter.
I'm looking forward to watching it!
Grace Community Church Live-Streaming.

More information on the Concert.


Christmas Music with Lyrics

I haven't been sharing as much in the way of music about the Savior's birth on my blog this year, but I found one for you today!

I would clarify that the only people who truly seek the Savior are those that He has already chosen, and the Bible doesn't actually say that the angels sang when they announced Christ's birth
Before some of my friends start to say that older songs are better, I've noticed that even ancient songs aren't always perfectly right with their lyrics!

Friday, December 1, 2017

Responding To A Buddhist

Even if you don't get to meet people in person, there can be opportunities at your fingertips.
I hope this online exchange I had with a Buddhist will encourage you to take your opportunities where you find them.
The person I responded to claims to have achieved deliverance from suffering.


Response:

The only way to be made right with God is through Jesus Christ.
All other paths lead to eternal punishment in Hell.
Jesus says He is the way, the truth, and the life.
No one comes to the Father but through Him.
God is light, and in Him, there is no darkness at all.
All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ.
You cannot attain sinlessness through meditation or by following a man-made path.
Heaven is not a state of mind.
You need Christ's perfection, and the only way to receive that is by grace through faith alone in Christ alone.  You must believe that Jesus died for your sins & that He rose for your justification, or you will not live in a blissful eternal state.
You will know suffering.
Do you bleed when you get cut?   The effects of sin on your life are still there, and if you have sinned by not worshipping God, lying, lusting, stealing, gossiping, coveting, or in any other way, you are going to come before God's judgment seat.
Are you ready?  What will you say?

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

It's Not Victim Shaming

The world is not a safe place, especially for girls and women.

There are situations women can put themselves into which are more dangerous.
Certain flirtatious behaviors & immodest clothing do encourage lust, although men also can target modest women who don't flirt.
It's a very complex issue involving sinful hearts (and looking at porn adds fuel to the fire as well as all of the other immodest women fanning the flames).

Still, women should not entice men, just as men should behave as gentlemen.
Saying that mentioning modesty is victim shaming as some people angrily accuse people of is not fully grasping that this isn't a broad brushing of victims at all.
There is sound wisdom in practicing modest dress and behavior.
There is such a thing as being dressed in harlot's clothing (Proverbs 7:10) which does send a message.
This doesn't excuse men who attack at all, but especially Christian women should be willing to be discreet if they make a claim to godliness.
What you wear and how you act speaks of your character, and how a man acts and treats women speaks of theirs.
If we don't want to be mistaken for women of loose morals, then why should any of us dress to entice men to lust?

Going to places where drinking & touching are quite common puts you more in danger of date rape or a stranger following you.
I remember a young college-aged woman many years ago who went to a country western dancing place and complained about a man who was trying to make advances.
Yes, social dancing is an encouragement to men who are looking for women to make advances to.
Ladies, you can't expect men to have pure minds, and even guys you think you know aren't immune to sinful desires.

Girls also need to be warned about being out alone or in isolated situations.
Women should also keep the doors to their homes locked (and their windows locked as well).
While a guy might do certain terrible behaviors in public, rape is often a stealth thing (done privately).
I realize there are some gang type behaviors.
Let others know where you are if you go out, and be careful about empty rooms when you are out socially.

Ladies, don't go into hotel rooms or men's apartments alone.
That is dangerous and very unwise.
Be sure to firmly say no to someone who pressures you to be intimate & make your limits known.  Stay sober.   A lot of rapes happen when people aren't.

Again, there are women who have people snatch them off the street or wherever or break into their homes.
We can't stop all evil, and this is not meant at as perfect safety standard.

One person commented online that someone broke into their home.
The percentage of that happening is less, but it does happen and is a very frightening reality.
Not every woman is going to be prepared with a gun.
The following was my response to a poor lady (without the name of the individual).

I'm sorry that someone broke into your home!  We can only do our best to lock up & protect ourselves, but I realize that evil people still exist and can do awful things. 🙁
A large percentage of rapes are not by strangers, but I'm very sorry that someone did something horrific to you.
Sometimes it may seem that evil men are triumphing, but there is a day of recompense for the wicked.  I'm not minimizing rape. God is a just God and angry at the wicked, and eternal punishment in Hell does exist.
The Gospel IS good news...not that a person won't ever suffer on earth, but that we can be forgiven of all sin and be made right with God and know His love and spend eternity where there will be joy forever and there will never be another rapist ever and all tears will be wiped from our eyes.
Turn to Him.

People need transformed hearts....both victims and perpetrators.
Both need the Gospel.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

What Does Your Social Media Interaction Say About Your Christianity?

Social media.
Many of us spend quite a bit of time on social media sites, and we leave a footprint on the internet of what interests us.
What does what you share say about your Christianity?
It seems that our social media output often reflects our hearts.
A couple of years ago I wrote about this - Your Social Media Footprint & Persecution.
While some may deceptively pretend they are something they are not, many who post and interact let their true personality and interests slip through eventually.

Recently I heard a pastor talking about how some people who attend church do not demonstrate by actions and words that they are truly Christians at all.
They need to consider whether they really are.
I have noticed this is true even online. 

Would people online see that you are a Christian by what you post? 
Hobbies, social activities, and other interests are not all bad, but what about your spiritual life?
There are some people who I know went to church in the past, but I can't tell by their social media that they have any particular interest in spiritual things.
How do I know that they are really Christians after all? 
I wouldn't want them to fake it, but I am concerned for these people.
How do I address them?

Social media shouldn't be to be showy by simply trying to look spiritual like self-righteous people (Ecclesiastes 7:16; Luke 18:11-12; Luke 20:48-47).
That is an easy trap to fall into as well.

None of us are perfectly going to get it right, but here are some thoughts and questions for you.
If we always sound super spiritual online, people may question sincerity (not that a person can't genuinely be close to the Lord).
If you only condemn immorality & other religions without giving the Gospel, that may be a sign of self-righteousness rather than caring about souls.
If you say you love everybody yet you don't warn of God's judgment against sin, what does that say?
If you call people Christians that have another "gospel", can I know that you even understand the Gospel yourself?
If you rarely or never talk about God & what you are learning from His Word, shouldn't you examine if you know Him at all?

Those who get closest to me on social media see my failings, and I see some of my own sinfulness privately even more than they do. 
I'm sure others notice some issues that I do not see in myself.
I hope that they don't hold things against me and pray for me.
Ecclesiastes 7:20-22 & 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 are verses that I should think about more closely myself.
Christians need to encourage each other and be patient and forgiving.

I see the inconsistencies of my online friends just like they see mine, but that also means that I see when they have a genuine desire to grow & to see others grow spiritually. 
I see that they want to honor God despite imperfections.
There are beloved brothers and sisters in Christ online that I have reason to believe are genuine believers without even having met all of them in person.

I ask you this question, are you one of them? 
You may claim to be a Christian, but do you ever talk about Christ inside and outside of a church?
Does your life demonstrate a living faith or no faith at all?
I hope that you will think about it.
Spiritual conversations don't make you a Christian, but if you are a Christian there should be some evidence.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Allegations In The News • Spare Me The Graphic Details

Recently in the news, there have been all sorts of accusations against many people about physical misconduct.
Some are true, and some likely are not.
Some of the reporting seems to be rather salacious and is hardly helpful to those who do not want to put evil into their minds. 
We try to turn off the sound or change to something else when details get graphic in our house.

The news should not be a court where people try people publicly for everything that they are accused of.
Even those that are true do not need a play by play account of what happened broadcasted to the general public.
Yes, deeds of darkness will be exposed by the light of Christ (Ephesians 5:11-15), but that doesn't mean that Christians need to be putting every detail of what is garbage into our minds (even when someone actually has admitted to sin).

Even if we aren't guilty of certain sins, we all have sinned in our hearts.
Thanks to God for forgiveness & spiritual growth even in believers.
The battle against whatever sin tries to steal your affection from God may continue for the rest of your life, and as the desire to be closer to God grows stronger the more you desire to avoid sin & to love Him more.
You may have victory, but you still need to be watchful. 
Christians and Old Testament believers weren't above being tempted or sinning in different ways. 
Remember Abraham (with Hagar), David, Sampson, & Peter (denying God & being influence by Judaizers), etc.
Lust is as bad as adultery and coveting is a sin, so are you perfectly innocent outside of God's forgiveness and imputed righteousness?
The guy who spoke at the church (where I go) this past Sunday mentioned how we tend to judge hypocritically.
God judges righteously.
That doesn't mean that we don't point out that sin is sin.

As another Pastor also rightly taught last Sunday, judgment is an intrinsic thing taught in Scripture.
The government is to judge, Christians should have discernment, and churches need to have discipline. 
Doctrinal error & sin do need to be exposed and confronted.
Of course, we also know that God will judge. 

Part of Christian life is practicing discernment.  You're not intended to be a gullible person who believes everything you're told or to accept every immorality that crosses your path.

People often say, "Judge not" to avoid accountability.
Central behind the Matthew passage is that you will be judged.
(These came from my Twitter notes.)

We should be proclaiming the truth about God & the Gospel which shows evil as being evil, so that people will see their need for Christ. 
Their sin may be shown to be sinful to them. 
If God saves them, His righteousness will be imputed to them, and they will be lights in the world.
Our purpose isn't spreading gossip & slander or graphic speech and photos so as to cause others to sin.
We should know that evil exists and there are some things that actually should be made known for good purposes (rather than things that incite more sin), but we shouldn't dwell on things which should not be mentioned.

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.
Philippians 4:8 NASB

Here is how believers are to behave themselves in conduct:

Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul.  
Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation.
I Peter 2:11-12 NASB

But immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints;
Ephesians 5:3 NASB

Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them; for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret.
But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light.
Ephesian 5:11-13 NASB

Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry.
Colossians 3:5 NASB

Some helpful hints for Christians.
Memorize verses that apply to your sin and about resisting sin.
Pray.
Avoid situations that tempt you when possible.
Spend more time on things that encourage you spiritually (the Bible foremost, then doctrinally sound books, messages & blogs, and other spiritual enterprises).
Seek to serve the Lord instead of feeding fleshly desires.
Try to find a Biblical church that encourages you.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Crossing The Line

He removed the high places and broke down the sacred pillars and cut down the Asherah. 
He also broke in pieces the bronze serpent that Moses had made, for until those days the sons of Israel burned incense to it; and it was called Nehushtan.
2 Kings 18:4 NASB

Hezekiah was a king of Judah.  He did right in the sight of the Lord (2 Kings 18:3,) and he trusted in the Lord (2 Kings 18:5).

Was the bronze serpent a sinful thing? 

Then the LORD said to Moses, "Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a standard; and it shall come about, that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, he will live."
Numbers 21:8 NASB

So, if the Lord told Moses to make it, it could not have been sinful.
Yet, apparently, it was turned into an object of worship.  
That was sinful.
Many people take what was meant for good and turn it into sinful veneration and worship of objects or statues of people (or the people themselves), etc.
A crucifix with an imaginary image of Jesus easily is made into an object of worshiping the image rather than the Jesus of the Bible.
That is the way that the hearts of sinful mankind can work.
Yet, the serpent being lifted up by Moses was symbolic of something which was for the good of those who trust the Lord.

“As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life.
John 3:14-15  NASB

The line between what is good & what is sinful is easily crossed.
We who are Christians need to be careful not to cross that line.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Not By Empty Faith • Christian Assurance • The Steady Anchor

The following are a couple of messages that are relevant to my previous post.
I heard them both the same day, and they complement each other (though given at different churches).

Not by Works Nor by Empty Faith - Don Green (11/5/2017)
This addresses the issue of self-deception as well as the verse in James that many Roman Catholics like to bring up in discussions about justification.

The Christian's Assurance of Salvation - John MacArthur (11/5/2017)
This one was encouraging to me. How do you know you are saved?  MacArthur gives some Biblical answers to the question.

Song For The Day

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Can We Keep Ourselves Saved?

Note: I'm a female blogger.

Do you think you can keep yourself saved?
If salvation depends at all upon us to keep it, we are lost.
The new birth is from above rather than of us (John 3).
So, the answer to the opening question is that we can't keep ourselves saved.
It is God who is faithful to complete what He has begun (Philippians 1:6). 

Those who turn away from the truth do not have a true living faith (James demonstrates the kind of faith that is genuine).
So, the verses that talk about those who have the knowledge of the truth and disobey or are enslaved to sin again are about those who may go to church & think they are saved, and yet their faith is not genuine. 
They may hear the truth and yet be lying about their claim to know God (1 John 2:4).
Then there are those who are genuine believers who sin, but who repent as believers.
That is where a believer confesses to God, but it is not to be justified all over again.
Other verses that demonstrate God keeps His own saved are 1 Peter 1:4-5; John 10:27-29; Romans 8:35 & 8:38-39.

Nobody can be justified by works or good deeds in order to be made right before God or obtain Heaven.
Old Testament believers were not saved by the works of the Law. 
They were saved by faith (Romans 3; Hebrews 11, Galatians 3) 
Justification has always been by a living real genuine faith (1 John 2:4), but even that faith is a gift of God. Acts 11:17-18...God grants the repentance that leads to life (also you can see Ephesians 2:8-10 & Titus 3:5-7).

So, in review:
The Bible makes it abundantly clear that we could never keep ourselves saved by our deeds. 
Deeds are the fruit ...not the root. We cannot even obey God in repentance without God.
The spiritually dead have no spiritual eyes to see and ears to hear. 
Genuine repentance transforms, and that is a change of heart that a gift of God (Ephesians 2:8-10; Philippians 2;13).

with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth,
2 Tim. 2:25 NASB
(I notice that it talks about God granting repentance!)

For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death.
2 Corinthians 7:10 NASB
(Simple regret and worldly sorrow is not the true repentance that is from God.)

Between hearing messages and not reading Why We're Protestant by Nate Pickowicz (I'm in chapter 4),  I've been having scriptural teaching reinforced a lot.  This isn't a new belief!

Monday, October 30, 2017

5 Solas: Messages & Music

Five Solas of the Reformation Series

In the past few weeks, Grace Community Church in California has been having messages given on the 5 Solas of the Reformation.
The final one was given October 29th, 2017, so it should be online soon.
It was given by Nathan Busenitz who teaches Historical Theology at The Master's Seminary.
You can hear the messages HERE.

Sadly, many in churches today wrongly believe that salvation is by faith plus works, and then some wrongly believe that Christians need not obey Christ due to salvation's being by faith alone.
Justification is by faith alone, but faith produces obedience.
It is a fruit, but it is not the root!
Righteousness is not infused as the Roman Catholics teach.
That would mean we have our own self-righteousness that has to be good enough (which can never be).
Christ's righteousness is imputed.  It is not our own righteousness working with Christ's, but it is His righteousness alone that we need.  If salvation depends at all upon us, we are lost!
God is the one at work in true Christians to will and to work for His good pleasure.

So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.
Philippians 2:12-13 NASB

Salvation is by grace alone by faith alone in Christ alone.
The Bible's authority does trump the church's because it is God's Words.
When a church adds to or subtracts from or contradicts Scripture, that church is wrong.
Christ is the Head of the church...not a pope.
Glory belongs to God alone.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing • My Music Video

A friend online shared one of the verses of a favorite hymn of mine, and I was surprised to find that I hadn't recorded that one.
I wish that I could have added the fourth verse, but I have a feeling that one is not in the public domain.
I've heard variations of the lyrics for this, so mine has some slight differences from what you may have heard before!
I have just an average voice, so you can sing and drown me out if you don't like my singing!

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Raw Expository Preaching, Reformation Resources, & Relaxation

Raw Expository Preaching

Would that more pastors & preachers exposit the text of the Scriptures rather than leaping off into other things (moralistic sermons or unrelated topics).
The following is about the conversion of Charles Spurgeon (which I think would be great source material for a songwriter).
A poor man, a shoemaker, a tailor, or something of that sort, went up into the pulpit to preach. He was obliged to stick to his text, for the simple reason that he had nothing else to say. The text was, 'Look unto Me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth.' He did not even pronounce the words rightly, but that did not matter.                           
Spurgeon: The Prince of Preachers compiled by Hy. Pickering

Reformation Resources

I was recently blessed to get both a Kindle version and a hard copy of the book Why We're Protestant as gifts, and I'm now two chapters in. 
So far, it seems to be a great primer for what the Protestant Reformation was about as well as why it was necessary.
It also is doing a good job explaining the 5 Solas (though I'm not far into it).
It would be great for a church group or to share with friends (especially as lines have been getting blurred over the years).

Also, Pastor Don Green has been doing a midweek message series entitled "The Bible and Roman Catholicism".  I believe I listened to quite a bit of the first message about the idea of a pope.
It explained what the Bible really says compared to what Roman Catholicism teaches.

Relaxation

After having a bad reaction to having a flu shot, listening to ocean waves or a music video with pictures of God's creation seems like a pleasant idea.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Do You Believe Hell Is Eternal?

God is Holy & pure & there is no darkness in Him. 

This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.
1 John 1:5 NASB


It is fully just for God to punish for eternity (Jude 1:7; Hebrews 6:2; Matthew 25:46). 
Every one of us deserves His wrath. The wonder is that He chooses to save any of us wretched rebellious sinners. We are all guilty (Romans 3:10-20).

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 6:23 NASB

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,
Romans 1:18 NASB

The problem is that some want to project their own ideas of what is fair onto God by thinking that eternal punishment isn't fair. 
That is making an idol and actually cheapening who God is - to His being less holy than He is. If murdering a man deserves death (and it does), then how much more are we guilty when our sin is against God Himself? 

Some may question that Hell will have fire, but I won't give up the fact that Hell has fire & brimstone. When the plain sense makes sense, we need not seek any other sense.
Even in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16:23-24, the man in Hades was in torment and wanting coolness on his tongue due to there being fire.

"Outer darkness" or "black darkness" which is also mentioned in scripture likely refers to being away from/abandoned by God (a kind of spiritual darkness) and judgment because otherwise there is a very consistent description in Scripture of there being fire & torment (and not just in a parable or allegorical setting).

The question is, do people believe in the authority of Scripture? 
Do they believe Sola Scriptura (if someone professes faith in Christ)? 
The Scripture is clear that Hell is as eternal as Heaven. 
Give up the eternality of Hell and you give up the eternality of Heaven.

Scripture is God's Word and is always true, so whether you believe in Hell or not, it still exists.
Every professing believer should examine the Scriptures to see if their church is actually teaching what the Scripture says (about Hell, the Gospel, Creation, etc.).


“If your eye causes you to stumble, throw it out; it is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye, than, having two eyes, to be cast into hell, where THEIR WORM DOES NOT DIE, AND THE FIRE IS NOT QUENCHED.
Mark 9:47-48

And these will go away into eternal punishment; but the righteous into eternal life."
Matthew 25:46


These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power,
2 Thessalonians 1:9 NASB

Eternal punishment=Eternal destruction

God's wrath is just, but He loved enough to send His Son to die on a cross & take on the sins of any who repent & trust Christ & His death for them. 
Christ Jesus experienced the wrath of God and died shedding His blood. 
He did this as an atonement for those who were His enemies, so that they might be brought near and have His righteousness laid to their account, and they then become forgiven adopted children to receive an eternal inheritance with Jesus (the Son of God/God the Son). It is a mercy undeserved.
Those who receive the Lord receive the Spirit (God is one yet He is revealed in Three distinct Persons - Father, Son, and Holy Spirit). 

He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
2 Corinthians 5:21 NASB

All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all To fall on Him.
Isaiah 53:6 NASB

Monday, October 16, 2017

TMSDay Highlights, Anxious Christians, Nightingale Music

#TMSDay Highlights

On October 10th, The Master's Seminary had an online event where people could watch classes, a Q & A, Chapel, etc. (live-streaming).
I loved it!
I shared about it in a previous post.
The Q & A had Nathan Busenitz asking questions of John MacArthur that people had posted online.
Well, you can actually watch that, the chapel, & the faculty discussion by going HERE.

For The Anxious Christian

Do you have a tendency to be anxious?
I do.
My family heard some messages by Don Green the past couple of Sundays, and he explains how Jesus dealt with anxiety.
We probably need to hear them again.
Don Green reminds us of a part of God's character that some of us need to remind ourselves of over and over.
I recommend listening to or watching these!

Why Are You So Worried?

From Anxiety to Rest


Music To Enjoy


Tuesday, October 10, 2017

An Upcoming Hymns of Grace Album • Excitement Rising

I was watching the live-streaming from The Master's Seminary this week and heard the recording of men singing before and between sessions.
Later I saw them posting on the stream about an upcoming album.
This album should be well-received.
There is something special about hearing a group of men singing worship music!
I know that the men who have attended the conferences enjoy singing together.
I searched and found the song they were playing online.
While this isn't the version from the upcoming album, you can see the lyrics of the song they were playing for #TMSDay!



I want to thank The Master's Seminary for blessing many of us with a sample of teaching from the seminary as well as Q & A sessions. 
I have been blessed in the past with pastors who either taught at or who graduated from The Master's Seminary. 
I hope that we may get a pastor from there in my area of Tennessee in the future.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Standing Up In The Face Of Danger - Las Vegas Shooting

They stood up. They protected.  They went into the face of danger.
The police in Las Vegas acted like good soldiers in a time of horror.
Some protest the police and/or bend their knee to complain about this country and authorities (instead of giving thanksgiving for their blessings).
While the police draw from the same fallen human race as the rest of us, most of them will risk their lives to save the necks of the people of this country.

When I heard about the police standing up and risking their lives, it moved me.
We are so stirred up by heroic efforts of humans to save others and rightfully so.
Yet, it reminded me of something our family has been reading.
Does the prisoner in war love the man who, at the risk of his own life, breaks through the enemies lines, rescues him and sets him free?  Does the drowning sailor love the man who plunges into the sea, dives after him, catches him by the hair of his head and by a mighty effort saves him from a watery grave?  A very child can answer such questions as these.  Just in the same way, and upon the same principles, a true Christian loves Jesus Christ.  - J.C. Ryle (from the book "Holiness") 
I struggle with whether I love Christ like that, but when I think about it that way - it reminds me how thankful I should be to Christ and how it should make me love Him like that.
I feel so wretched that I don't love Him the way I want to.
His death means more than even heroic policemen, soldiers, or firemen.
He died for the sins of those who were His enemies.
He chose to rescue sinful humans by taking their sins on Himself to suffer the punishment for them by dying - shedding His blood for them on a cross.
His perfect righteousness is placed on those to whom He gives life to - to whom He grants repentance and faith in Him.
And He is also fully God as well as fully man!

How little I can rely on my feelings and my own thoughts.
No matter how I feel, I am His.  He has made me want Him, and I won't give up even though I have to keep fighting my own thinking and the doubts due to my own feelings and thoughts.

Do you love Christ?  Are you His?

GOSPEL

Friday, September 22, 2017

A Fitting Ending & Beginning! • A County Donegal Mystery • Part 6

Joelle had been in Ireland several weeks already, and while she was there she was able to spend quite a bit of time with the church family. 
One of the men that she met at church was named Brandon. 
He was actually planning to go to the U.S. very soon to attend The Master's Seminary! 
His desire was to come back to Ireland and be a part of a church plant. 
Joelle loved the idea, and the two began to get acquainted. 
She knew that she didn't have a lot of time left before she was scheduled to head back to the U.S., so they spent quite a bit of time together.

The news of her ancestry finally came back. 
Yes, she was related to James and Jane Russell!
She would have a share in the inheritance of the ring, although it might be a small portion.
The letter that was found in the Bible at the crypt was enough of an inheritance for her.

This is what it said.

Dearest Eliza and John,

My dearest desire for you is to love and serve the Lord all of your days.
Read His Word dear ones, because there you will find the truth to get you through the darkest of times as it has me.  
It is far more precious and valuable than any jewels I can leave you, though the love of dear James in giving me the gift of the ring is a sweet memory.
Beyond the inheritance of these jewels, you have been deeded some land near this church.
The deed is enclosed.  

Aunt Jane.

Joelle dearly wished that the property could have a church built on it that taught the Word of God accurately, but she would have to wait for the inheritance to be settled to see if that was possible.

Before she left to head back to the U.S., Brandon proposed marriage to Joelle, and she accepted!
They planned to marry in the U.S. shortly before he would go on to seminary.

The rest of Joelle's family had decided to stay in Tennessee and start over.
They would move near Maryville where there was a good church that they could be involved with.

Joelle would one day be able to go back to Ireland and serve the Lord with her husband and see the friends that she had grown to love.
She had a rich heritage, and one day she hoped that many people in Ireland would hear the Gospel and turn to Christ.
The God who is Sovereign over storms and over us all can still change hearts, and He uses His Word and those who proclaim it!
What had started out as a nightmare with a hurricane had become a blessing that had surely worked for the good of Joelle, Brandon, and for Ireland!

Thursday, September 21, 2017

A Rich Heritage • A County Donegal Mystery • Part 5

The next day Joelle was so excited to attend the Bible Study and Prayer group in the garden.
She was welcomed and cared for, and people even prayed for those affected by the hurricanes and earthquakes in other parts of the world.
They were going through a portion of Matthew 5 that week.
She followed along, reading from her NASB translation.

Later on that day, she searched out her Mc Intyre ancestry, and she discovered an Eliza and John were the parents of her ancestor who came to the U.S. sometime before 1880.  A DNA sample might prove whether she was actually related to James & Jane Russell.

On the weekend, the family obliged her by going back out to the old Dunlewey church which was near the "Poisoned Glen."
There were differing stories as to why it was called that, but whatever the reason, it was rather intriguing.

Once they got to the church, she walked through the opening and tried to imagine how a jeweled ring could ever be discovered there.
The family found a place to picnic, and they discussed how they could go about finding out about the ring.  It was a lovely day, and Joelle felt at peace.


Weeks went by, and finally, they were rewarded with hearing that permission was given to search for the ring.
Meanwhile, Joelle had a DNA sample taken to see if she could be related to the Russells.
She knew that soon she would have to go back to the U.S., but she had hopes that she would learn about the ring and her heritage before leaving.

They carefully found a way to get into the crypt beneath the church ruins.
The coffin where James was buried was discovered, and an old rusted metal box was found above it.
Joelle was notified, and quickly she and her host family went out to the church again to see what was inside.
An old Bible and a jewelry box were indeed found!
There inside was the beautiful diamond and emerald ring!

The Bible was carefully opened, and Joelle noticed that it was well-worn.  Could James have truly loved reading God's Word?  Was he actually a true believer?  She would like to hope so.
An envelope fell out.  It was addressed to John and Eliza Mc Intyre!
What did it say?  Was this her heritage?
She hoped so.  She now loved Ireland and its people.
She loved the family who had taken her in.
Would Ireland become her new home, or would she go back to America with a new appreciation for both her heritage and her wider spiritual family of brothers and sisters who would inherit the Kingdom of Heaven?

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

A Surprising Discovery • A County Donegal Mystery ♦ Part 4

Joelle set down the intriguing letter she had found and picked up the book she had discovered it in.
She looked in the front of the book for a name. There it was!
It was inscribed to an Eliza Jane Russell in 1847.

1847?!  Jane Russell was the name of the lady who had the Dunlewy church built in honor of her husband James!
Joelle had just visited the old church ruin the other day!
James was supposed to be buried under where the church was. 
Before James' death, he had been a landlord for the estate.
Jane could very well be the aunt of Eliza Jane!

Why, the Great Famine in Ireland was at its worst in 1847 when Eliza received this old book!
Joelle had read a little about the famine. 
Many people had left the country even before that time while others died of illness and starvation during it.
She had also read that some of what could have been eaten by the people of Ireland had been exported instead.
It was a terrible time, and some of those who left died in the ships never making it to their destinations.

Joelle wondered if Jane had been a help for those still struggling after the very worst of that era (following her husband's death in 1849) by her employment of the people to get the marble and blue quartzite.
People were also able to prepare bricks locally for the church.

Could the ring that Jane had written about in the letter still be hidden away?
She really must find out if the Gaelic held any more of a clue as to where it could have been placed.
She looked for Briona and asked her if she could read and translate the postscript of the letter into English. 
She would be more accurate than an online translator.

It said, "Faoi marmar agus cloch, ós chionn chroí mo ghrá gheal, aimseoidh tú bosca taisce."

Here is what she learned that it meant in English:
Under marble & stone above the heart of my dear one, a box of treasures you will find.

She would have to go and explore the old church again, and she would likely need permission and cooperation from those in authority to see about searching for the ring (if they agreed that it was likely the right place and person).

Meanwhile, she would search out her own ancestry to see if she could be related to John and Eliza Mc Intyre!

(This is what the Dunlewy Church ruin looks like from above.)

Monday, September 18, 2017

HIdden Jewels? • A County Donegal Mystery • Part 3

Joelle was able to read most of the letter she had discovered in the old book despite its fading and age.

My Dearest Niece Eliza,

How time has flown since your father and I played in the gardens of each others' homes.
And now his daughter is grown and about to be wed.
I dearly appreciated how you lovingly ministered to me after my dear husband passed away.
I'll never forget your gentle compassion and kindness.

I am elated you have found the man of your dreams, the man God prepared to be your husband!
Soon you will be Mrs. John Mc Intyre.
Thank you for the invitation to your wedding.

I regret I shall not be able to attend due to a recent decline in health, but I want to tell you of a special wedding gift for you & your descendants should you ever be in great need (above and beyond the gift I plan to send along for you wedding reception). 
The special gift is an exquisitely lovely ring I could never bear to wear, as my husband (your uncle) died before he could give it to me for our anniversary.
It has an emerald just the shade of your beautiful eyes and is surrounded by diamonds.
I hid it in a place close to my husband's heart.

I hope you and your husband-to-be will always look to Christ in your marriage and that you will be as happily married as my husband & I were.

Affectionately,
Aunt Jane

Joelle saw a postscript written in another language.  She guessed it must be Gaelic.
She would have to ask her new friends what it meant.

It was very interesting that Eliza's future husband's surname was the same as Joelle's.
Perhaps she should look further into her genealogy.  Could she be related?

(This portion of the story has been contributed mostly by my sister TJT.)

Saturday, September 16, 2017

A Mysterious Letter • A County Donegal Mystery • Part 2

Joelle awoke the next morning eager to head to a car boot sale with Briona, the wife and mother of the family that she was staying with in Killult.
She had never gone before to a car boot sale - at least not by that name.
It was a beautiful day, and the two ladies enjoyed getting better acquainted on the scenic drive.
At the sale, Joelle discovered an old box of books which she purchased that day.
Joelle & Briona had a bite to eat before heading back to the cottage in Killult that day.

Joelle loved the vistas from the home's gardens.  There was a view of a bay of the Atlantic ocean in back of the property, and another location on site was lush with greenery.  It was where a Bible study was held each week.
She looked forward to that, and she was grateful that she was with a brother and sister in Christ at this home.
She explored the garden and enjoyed the calm serenity.
She had not forgotten all of her concerns about a future place to live, but she quietly prayed and did not let it destroy her present enjoyment.
She watched again as the sun set that evening, only this time she watched the gorgeous hues over the bay waters in back of the cottage.  She was so thankful to be here.

The next day it began to rain,  so after breakfast and reading her Bible, she looked over the books which she had purchased the previous day.
She spied a folded yellowed paper in one of the books.
Curiously, she opened the book and carefully pulled it out.
The year on the paper was 1852, and excitement tingled inside of her.
The writing was faded, and she held it up to the light to see if she could read it.

More next time, Lord-willing!

Friday, September 15, 2017

The Adventure Begins • A Visit To Mt Errigal • A County Donegal Mystery • Pt. 1

There was a pink glow as the sun set on Mt. Errigal in County Donegal of Ireland.
Joelle turned around and hurried to the car of her host family.
Joelle had been surprised to be sent to Ireland for a visit after her family home had been destroyed by flooding after a hurricane in the U.S.
The rest of her family (parents and younger siblings) were crowded into the small house of an aunt in Dandridge, TN.
Joelle, at age 19,  was both excited and frightened to be off on an adventurous journey all by herself.
Thankfully, the host family had taken excellent care of her from the time they saw her at the airport.
They included her in everything, and she was thankful to be treated to a visit to Dunlewey Church and Mt. Errigal this very day.
The marble and quartz of the old church ruin and the fresh-water lake and Seven Sisters mountain chain were fascinating....especially with the history surrounding them.

(I might continue this story another time, or perhaps someone else will guest write the next segment.  We shall see! The setting for this story beginning is from an online acquaintance in Ireland.  Thank you to Tom!)

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Encouragement In Fires, Floods, Hurricanes, & Other Tragedies

Hurricanes, floods, fires, and tragedies seem to abound...and perhaps you may be able to add something else that you are facing in your home or family.

Charles Spurgeon gave a sermon when many in his congregation were faced with terrible loss.
Yes, there were hurricanes, shipwrecks, and tragedies in his day.
He also faced depression after someone caused a stampede at the church by yelling "fire" at one point in his life.
There were some deaths & injuries from that.
His theme for the message I'm sharing was God's sovereignty at one of these times (the loss of a ship), and he touched on laws of nature He uses to rule that He can choose to suspend or not to suspend (and providence).

 Here are a few quotes that I want to encourage you with.

He reigneth in the calm summer's day, and gives us the precious fruits of harvest, but He is equally present and regnant in the hurricane which destroys, or the blight which desolates. His providence speeds the ship to its desired haven, but it is equally His providence which sinks the barque and its mariners to the bottom of the sea.  - Charles Spurgeon
If not a sparrow falleth to the ground without our Father, we are sure that no great calamity can befall us apart from Him. He is not far from us in our deepest sorrow, and however we may trace a calamity to the carelessness or the mistake of men, these are but the second causes, and we see behind all mere detail the permit of the Lord.                     - Charles Spurgeon
God hath appointed all things, and His people are safe everywhere, whether they live or die.  - Charles Spurgeon
To read that whole sermon Click HERE.
Great is the peril of the ocean, but there are also dangers on the hind, and at, any moment we also may be summoned to appear before our God.
Since this cannot be questioned, let; each prudent man foresee the evil and prepare himself for it. - Charles Spurgeon
To see more of what he shared after a hurricane, Click HERE.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Hurricane Harvey - Helping Those Affected

Like many of you, I've been following the news about the flooding that has been happening in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.

This storm has been devastating to many.
One person that I follow on social media had tornadoes not far from his home before the flooding began, and another had water starting to enter his family's home and has now been evacuated.
Many people have lost their homes, but they are grateful for their lives being saved.
Heroic efforts are being made to rescue people, and even civilians are pitching in.

Sadly, there have been reports of some looters and even some of the rescuers have had their lives put in danger by criminal fakes.

God is still Sovereign even when things look like they are falling apart.
There is no "Mother Nature" that controls things.
That is an idol that those who reject the true God like to give credit to.

I want to share some from what a pastor (Don Green) said last Sunday that we as Christians need to remind ourselves of in trying times, and then I will share a link to a place that you can give to help those affected by the flooding.

Find your security & confidence in the provisions of God rather than what you have on hand.
If you want to glorify God in your life, start by being content & trusting God no matter what.
When you wonder what's going to happen, remember the fullness of what Christ did.
Think true thoughts. Don't feed your anxiety.
If God has been generous with the salvation of our souls, He's generous to provide for us (what we need) in this life.
Think high & lofty & good thoughts about God. You will never trust enough in His abundant love because it surpasses understanding.

Click on the image above to find a trustworthy organization that is helping people.

For those who know someone who needs help, there are a couple of map sites to put the addresses of those who need rescuing on (aside from official numbers and sites that should be contacted).
People can try to connect others with help online, but Christians need to also remember to pray.
God is a very present help in time of trouble.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

I Shall Again Praise Him

We've been going through times of testing physically in our family, and I feel like a worn out wet dish rag with my own poor physical health.
I'm concerned for the one family member who has to play nurse and cook for us as well.
I was encouraged today to remember to desire God's glory & will foremost over my own.
I have not been doing well.  My spring has sprung.

There are so many Christians suffering out there for their faith as well as physically.
I know that I'm not alone in suffering, and I admit that I keep heading back to Psalms instead of Job for encouragement and hope.
I get little glimpses of God's mercy by reminders that encourage me for short times.
I need frequent reminders.

Sunday is an extra blessing though I am not up to leaving home....again.
I miss the days when we were able to make it to church, but I'm blessed by Truth Community Church & Grace Community Church live-streams.
It's not the same I know, but it is refreshing when you have not been feeling well.
That seems to be most of the time for a long time.

Today, I was reminded again of verses about hoping in God with a song sung by an online acquaintance named Edward LaRow.
I'm thankful he shared it, as I'm very familiar with the verses.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Why We're Protestant - Hot Off The Press

Why We're Protestant
The author of Reviving New England (Nate Pickowicz - a pastor & church planter in New Hampshire) has another new book just released which examines the 5 Solas.
It looks like something my readers might want to check out!
I reviewed his first book HERE (part 1 of my review).

Friday, July 28, 2017

Transgenders In The Military • Medical Stories

Response To "Transgenders" In The Military

Recently someone on Facebook asked how to respond to friends with gentleness and respect ...basically when they are defending having "transgenders" in the military.

This was my response:

God created male and female, and so there is no such thing as a transgendered person. 
Wanting to be something you're not cannot change what God made you. 
Transgenderism is a deception, and it breeds distrust and may cause many relational problems. I also believe that men & women shouldn't be out there together as soldiers, and furthermore, as a Christian, I don't see women on the battlefield as being something God desires. 
Women were not made the same as men no matter how much they desire to be like men and no matter how capable they are in many ways. 
Soldiers shouldn't entangle themselves in the affairs of everyday life, and mixing genders and gender confusion is a distraction from the real goal of fighting the enemy. Sadly, many affairs go on in the military as it is, and putting someone created by God as a female in the midst of males...or a male in the midst of females....increases the danger of immoral relationships distracting from what people should be about.

(I borrowed from 2 Timothy 2:4.)
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Medical Stories & Gospel Tracts

I've been in medical buildings quite a lot lately with pain.
There are so many others out there suffering.

In the ER, I heard a man describing how a lady got dragged by her car.

I listened outside a doctor's office to a lady who was suffering, but she didn't know what all was wrong.

I heard a man who came into the doctor's office who had part of his hospital care denied by Medicare.
He was an old man, and I felt so sorry for him.  He was getting bills for thousands of dollars, and he hadn't wanted to be kept at the hospital.  
A doctor had wanted him to stay.  It seems that he can't afford to pay the bill.
I wished I could help. He was talking to the ladies at the check-in.

When I was waiting at the lab for an x-ray, a worker came out and told a couple waiting that the lady of the couple needed to go to the ER.  
Apparently, earlier tests had come back and shown something.
All I could do was pray.

God knows all of these things are going on.
It is good that we have been reading a section of a book recently on Jesus being The Ruler Of The Waves.

I placed Gospel tracts at some places I went, and I watched as the lady my sister talked with began to read one.  
I hope & pray that others will read the tracts.
These people in trouble need the Gospel.

Update: The tract that the lady picked up and started to read has still been there when I've been back to that waiting room (more than once).  
I saw another person pick it up and start to read it the last time that
I was there!
I hope this encourages other Christians to find ways to spread the Gospel!

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Go Where The Fish Are • Prayer Requests From Canada

Guest Post By Joshua Mills

He Shall Have Dominion Also From Sea To Sea” (Psalm 72:8)

I want to begin this article with a brief overview of Canadian history. 
In 1867, Sir Samuel Leonard Tilley, a Christian and founding Father of Confederation, was inspired by his biblical convictions to call Canada a “dominion”, after Psalm 72:8. 
The name, “Dominion of Canada”, was used to recognize the rule and reign of Jesus Christ over this great land from sea to sea.  
However, now one-hundred and fifty years later, things have progressively changed to our disliking.  Changes in policies, laws, and new curriculums have been established by the government to support their liberal agenda and world view.  But this does not worry me!  We have a firm confidence as Christians for the future.  We know that God is the Sovereign One reigning on His throne! 
“He changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings”, all for his Sovereign purposes (Daniel 2:21).

Therefore, for the remaining part of this article, I would like to highlight God’s work in Canada. 

For the past year or so I have had the privilege of establishing a local street outreach ministry birthed out of the local church.  
Growing up in Canada I have never received a tract in my hand from a stranger, nor have I ever heard the gospel proclaimed freely outside church walls. This is wrong! If unnumbered souls are dying and spending an eternity in Hell, then we must go where they are!  Case closed.  
We must go where the fish are! We must bring the Gospel to them. A Fishermen can only practice fishing in his own bath-tub for so long before he must go where the fish are.  
This parallels with the Christian!  We are commanded by Scripture to enter the Highways and byways, where the fish are, and compel people to come in (Luke 14:23).

Out of this burden to see the Gospel go forth in our Nation I entered the streets to find some fish. Soon enough, the Lord answered my prayers and connected me with a few brothers who had a weekly Saturday afternoon outreach downtown Toronto. 
For a few months, I regularly attended this outreach, but the commute was far. 
As time went on, I gained a greater burden for the souls in my City.  As far as I know, there has been zero gospel street ministry done in this city in the past. 
Therefore, it was time to get something started!  I found two young guys (fifteen and seventeen years of age) who were zealous to serve the Lord in evangelism.  We decided to try going downtown one night and see if we could spark up some conversations.  Providentially speaking, we bumped into two guys who have been handing out tracts downtown for about a year or so through their local church (one of them being an Elder at the church they attend). 
Thankfully the Lord brought us brothers who were faithful to the Word of God and shared the same Biblical convictions with us.  One of the brothers was trained in Biblical evangelism through The Cross Current ministries (they were trained through Ray Comfort and Paul Washer in Evangelism). Our American brothers and sisters have been a tremendous blessing to our ministry!

From this point on, the hearts of God’s people were stirred to see young men going out weekly to tell of Christ.  Each week we began to see a new people wanting to serve in this area. 
Currently, a year or so later, we now have on average 10-15 different people out with us weekly sharing the Glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ downtown Burlington. 
Through the ministry, The Cross Current, there has also been evangelism teams set up in Waterloo, London, and Ottawa, Ontario.  
These groups from local churches go out weekly and hand out tracts, converse, and preach the Word of God in the streets.  On average, we hand out about 200-300 tracts per week and have many Christ-Centred conversations. 
Though it is hard to see fruit in the ministry, since we most likely will not see these people again, we have had stories told of fruit produced by Gods grace through the Proclamation of His Word. 
Praise God!

It is a unique time to be a Canadian, and I am very excited for the future!  We have seen a huge geo-political shift in our country, but this movement was a movement done by the Sovereign hand of God! 
You may be asking, “what kind of people do we often come across when evangelizing?  
In many cases, we come across those who believe that they are “good enough” through their good works to go to Heaven.  Therefore, we must always preach the law to them and show them the Character of God, the depravity of man, and the hope of the Gospel. 
Additionally, most of these people are refugees from Islamic countries who are willing and eager to talk with us.  Numerous times we have talked for hours with Muslim friends, and they end up taking the Word of God (the Bible) home with them to read more. 

To conclude, on one hand, this nation seems like it is spinning down into destruction. But on the other hand, we have seen the hand of God stirring the souls of men. 
The church in Canada is being awakened to the urgent call of the Great Commission. The people of God are beginning to feel the urgency to go out to their neighbour and tell them of Christ, to go out onto the street and herald the gospel!  It is a unique time to be a Canadian. 
This is only a brief and insufficient highlight of what God is doing in Canada and globally for His glory!

Continue to pray for this work. 
Pray that God will be glorified primarily, and that souls will be won to Christ through evangelistic efforts across Canada and around the Globe! 
Pray specifically for more labourers in Canada for the Harvest field! 
It is my prayer and heart's desire to see a group of evangelists in every major city in Canada, heralding the Gospel on a weekly basis. 
We can not miss the opportunity ahead of us!

To God be the Glory,

Joshua

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Oregon Passes "Free" Abortions Murder Bill

Oregon is now willing to pay for the murder of children in their mothers' wombs at all costs.
They are willing to offer abortions on demand for free whether you are rich or poor or criminally in the country.
Yes, Oregon is proud of her evil behavior.
See story HERE.

God is not blind to this evil.  Those who live within her borders that are Christians must be horrified that once again Oregon is leading the way in aiding and abetting murder.
All intentional abortion is murder whether it is done by a "doctor" or by medicine intended to prevent a baby from being able to survive.
Oregon also led the way to a culture of death with assisted suicide...taking suffering and depressed people and allowing them to make a deadly murderous decision.

People who support abortion claim they want every child to be wanted.  You don't make every child wanted by murdering those that exist already in the womb.  You are just letting everybody know that you don't want the child that is already being formed and made in the image of God.   Trying to do everything you can to avoid the responsibility that comes with intimacy is not something that should be lauded.  Denying the baby in the womb his or her humanity doesn't cut it.  
Denial doesn't undo the fact that a human life is at stake.

Sadly the rebelliousness and hard-heartedness of Oregon is only a reflection of the evil that is in the hearts of men who want no part of the God who created them.
I'm thankful that there are some in Oregon like Pastor Chuck O'Neal (and others) who are willing to go to the gates of evil and proclaim the Gospel in hopes that God will rescue and save souls and lives.

People who rush to have their babies killed or whatever other licentious acts they involve themselves in are blind in their sin, and they need the light of the Gospel of Christ.
They need the Spirit to convict them and they need to hear the law of God to see their need for the Gospel.

There is a conference in Oregon in August of this year (2017) where people can go to learn about how to witness the Gospel to cults as well as going out to an abortion clinic and other places to proclaim the Gospel.
To learn more about the conference (Reformation Fire) go HERE.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

"Remember The Prisoners" • Prayer Request

Remember the prisoners, as though in prison with them, and those who are ill-treated, since you yourselves also are in the body. 
Hebrews 13:2 NASB

In 2007 Alimujiang Yimiti had his business shut down, and in 2008 he was arrested.
He is a former Muslim who had professed faith in Christ and wanted others to know Christ.
His heart apparently was to reach the Uyghur in China with the Gospel, and this was not acceptable to some.  Sadly, he was then charged with “illegally providing state secrets to foreign nationals.”
He received a 15-year sentence, yet it would seem that it really was all due to his desiring to see others have faith in Christ.
See more info. HERE

This man has been in jail many years now.
Christians, please pray for the family as well as this man, and pray that the government will overturn this sentence and set him free early.
Please pray that God will continue to strengthen this family and that God will bring good out of this wrong.

Please watch the following videos.



Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Don't Host The Wolves & Careful Companionships

What does the Bible say about hospitality to false teachers and giving people a platform to speak their false religion to believers?

Based on 2 John 10:7-11, we can see that those who come with a wrong teaching of who Christ is should not be given a greeting. This was written to a lady whose house hosted a church.

John MacArthur interprets this to mean not letting them into the house (see about halfway down). Declaring & Defending The Deity of Christ

On the other side, we see Paul and the other apostles taking the Gospel to synagogues and other public places (like Mars Hill) not within a church. Paul reasoned with people whom he was brought before. I don't see believers ever encouraged to bring false teachers into a church of believers to allow them to share what they believe up front (even with the motive of evangelizing the false teacher or to educate the Christians).

In the Old Testament, I see how the prophets of Baal were treated in 1 Kings 18.
Elijah mocked them. 
Yes, people who served idols were not treated like those who genuinely listen to hear the truth proclaimed. 
They were shown up as false to the people who were already being deceived by them.

Letting a wolf into a church (who we know has the motive to steal and influence weak flock members) is not wise.
Yes, I know that people can be confused and influenced by false religions.
On the other side, an evangelist or preacher going to speak to a primarily pagan audience to proclaim the Gospel is a different matter altogether.
This series by Nathan Busenitz is an example of how you can educate Christians how to evangelize and to spot false teachers.

We are to love our enemies, yet we are to guard our hearts with all diligence. We are to proclaim the Gospel and make disciples, but our intimate friends should be those who will help us grow and sharpen us in the faith. We don't want intimate friends who will encourage us to love the world, but we are to be lights in the world and imitate Christ.

Do not be deceived: "Bad company corrupts good morals."
1 Corinthians 15:33 NASB

He who walks with wise men will be wise, But the companion of fools will suffer harm.
Proverbs 13:20 NASB

How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked,
Nor stand in the path of sinners,
Nor sit in the seat of scoffers! But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
And in His law he meditates day and night. 
Psalm 1:1-2 NASB

Discretion will guard you, 
Understanding will watch over you, 
To deliver you from the way of evil, 
From the man who speaks perverse things; 
From those who leave the paths of uprightness 
To walk in the ways of darkness; 
Who delight in doing evil 
And rejoice in the perversity of evil; 
Proverbs 2:11-14 NASB

Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you,
2 Corinthians 6:17 ESV

Additional sermons on being equally yoked (by Mike Riccardi)

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Christian Encouragement & A Court Appeal - Mike Stockwell Speaks

Mike Stockwell was arrested along with other evangelists in Bristol, England in July of 2016.
The court basically considers the Scripture to be an offense, and Mike Stockwell and Mike Overd were convicted.
On June 28th, 2017, once again these men are scheduled to be back in court.
Christians, please pray not only that the convictions will be overturned (which included a fine & restrictions), but that these men will be able to glorify God no matter the outcome.

For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
1 Corinthians 1:18 NASB

Mike Stockwell explained in a recent message how we can rest in our sufferings & have peace in our trials.
The first 10 minutes or so of the following message gives an explanation of what the men went through in the U.K. (and there were 4 of them who were originally arrested).
If you are going through any kind of suffering - whether persecution, physical suffering or losing a loved one, I believe this message can be helpful.



UPDATE!  On June 29, 2017, Mike Stockwell (of the U.S.A.) and Mike Overd (of the U.K.) were acquitted in court in Bristol, United Kingdom! Christian Concern's Facebook Update

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

All Saints - Another Movie To Skip

This week I saw that there is a movie coming out this summer that is by Affirm Films (which is under Sony) called All Saints.

I was very concerned when the preview had the guy claiming he thought God told him something, though later a guy talked about being sure the voice they heard was God and not their own. 
After looking up the story, I wouldn't be surprised if the guy decided that the message really was from God.

I'm not a continuationist, and anything that someone claims to be from God should be questioned. 
When someone claims God told them things that aren't found in Scripture I cringe.
The Scripture is complete.

The following are some links that explain well why we should be careful about saying "God told me..." and the like:

"Follow God’s Will (and Never Mind the Mystery)" by Travis Allen 

Please Stop Saying — 'God Told Me' by Josh Buice

"Are Mental impressions Divine Revelation?" by John MacArthur 

I was also suspicious at first that the movie might be Roman Catholic due to the title of it, and the preview had the "pastor" wearing a white collar.
I researched some more about what kind of church this movie was about, and I saw that the church is in Smyrna, Tennessee.
It turned out that All Saints is an Episcopal church, and the "priest" talked about has recently moved to another church (of the same type).
Funny how the movie tries to use the term "Pastor"  or "Reverend" disguising what kind of church this really is.
The Episcopal Church has compromised the truth in various ways, and they also have accepted immorality in the U.S. not only in their congregations but in their leadership,
It is really another branch of the Anglican Church in England which most solid Christians have left.
I was not pleased.
This Is An Episcopal Position.
The Episcopals also follow some Roman Catholic-like traditions...the Eucharist, Lent, etc.

Sadly, "Fireproof The Movie" has a Facebook page that shared about the All Saints movie, and my reply to the movie's trailer I saw on my social media feed was this:

"We need not look for extrabiblical revelation from God.  People looking for God to speak outside of His Word is what leads churches like the Episcopalian church to accept homosexuals as part of the church and into leadership. This goes against Scripture.  The Bible is God's Word, and we need to obey it.  It is sufficient and inerrant.  Our feelings & impressions can lie to us, but Scripture never does."

I plan to skip watching this movie.  
We need to show some discernment, and we shouldn't assume everything that might label itself Christian truly is Christian.

Friday, June 9, 2017

God Moves In A Mysterious Way - Cowper Lyrics With A New Tune

William Cowper knew what it was like to feel very low, and he wrote some very encouraging words that I want to share with you.
It is sad the way his life ended, but if you are feeling low (and I get that way more in recent times) and are a Christian....remind yourself that God does have His purposes.  Don't give up.
No matter what you are feeling, look to the Lord for hope and endurance.
He won't give up on His children, and we must not give up on trusting His purposes.
He knows what it is like to suffer.  No matter what our circumstances, we should not tell God we know better than Him by giving up fighting our spiritual battles.
Dear suffering Christian, God does care.
You may have a bad attitude like I get, and you may struggle constantly.
Thankfully God is patient.
Don't give up though your faith seems fragile.
Pray that God will increase your faith and help you to endure.
That is what I must do, and I hope you will be encouraged to continue to fight to draw near to God.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Radical Prayer Message • Hank Hanegraaff & Eastern Orthodoxy • Uplifting Worship Music

A Radical Message On Prayer

This past Sunday my family heard a message on prayer that was different than many others heard in the past.
No, this doesn't mean that it was unscriptural just because it was different than what a lot of people teach.
So many people focus on the amount of time spent in prayer, style, or having self-imposed regulations to improve prayer life.

The fundamental problem with our approach to prayer is not that we're not doing enough ...but that we need to think differently about it.  DG

I would encourage others to take the time to listen to the sermon!
This message on prayer may radically change your thinking!

Prayer: An Invitation To Intimacy


Coming This Sunday Night


I was excited to see this message announced on the Grace Community Facebook page:

"The Bible's Answer to Hank Hanegraaff and Eastern Orthodoxy"
Nathan Busenitz
Selected Scriptures

This is something that John MacArthur has addressed a bit before (as well as some other people have addressed it), but I believe that a lot of us have not learned much about what Eastern Orthodoxy is.
More of us know why Roman Catholicism doesn't line up with Scripture, although sadly many have not been taught well even about that!

Please watch it if you can!
Live-streaming should be Sunday, June 4th, 2017 at 6 PM Pacific / 9 PM Eastern.



Worship Music: