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“no rose-scented dalliance”

It cannot be stated too frequently that the life of a Christian is a warfare, an intense conflict, a lifelong contest. It is a battle, moreover, waged against invisible foes, who are ever alert, and ever seeking to entrap, deceive, and ruin the souls of men. The life to which Holy Scripture calls men is no picnic, or holiday junketing. It is no pastime, no pleasure jaunt. It entails effort, wrestling, struggling; it demands the putting forth of the full energy of the spirit in order to frustrate the foe and to come off, at the last, more than conqueror. It is no primrose path, no rose-scented dalliance. From start to finish, it is war. -E.M. Bounds “The Necessity Of Prayer”

I could not say it any better than this. It is not a journey, it’s an adventure, and there is danger. Too many behave as if their Christian life is a Saturday afternoon stroll through the park. -JJ

 
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Posted by on April 14, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Running The Race, Forgetting Why.

People are running. Running for this, running for that, busy, busy, running. We are engaged in all variety of activities, be it sports, entertainment, self improvement, working, etc.

Our days are full, but for many, our hearts are empty. It’s like we are running a race with no goal in mind -a race with no finish line, and no trophy. These days everyone gets a trophy, just for running, without regard for who wins. Winning is out of fashion.

Christians ought to take caution with this mentality. Life is not just about living. We are engaged in a battle, and it’s a battle with purpose. Not everyone wins. Many die. We can be so consumed with the enjoyment of running and the few dividends along the way that we settle for the lesser purpose -the run.

One time (long ago) someone paid me an unusual compliment. They said: “you have good form when you run.” It’s a true story! Now, I’ve never been a tremendous athlete, but I’ve been proud of that compliment from that day to this. We can be so tricked into pride, so content with accomplishment, that the self-satisfaction of form begins to be the goal.

There is a great story hidden in the pages of the Old Testament, one that I learned and have taught many times. On the occasion of the death of David’s son Absalom, someone needed to run and tell the king, the terrible news. This man Ahimaaz insisted on running, he wanted to be the bearer of the news. As the story goes, in 2 Samuel 18, he evidently had a lot of skill in running. His “form” was good, recognizable from a distance. But when he got to the end of his race, he failed with the purpose of his effort.

The king said, “Is it well with the young man Absalom?” And Ahimaaz answered, “When Joab sent the king’s servant, and your servant, I saw a great tumult, but I did not know what it was.” 2 Samuel 18:29

He ran for the glory of the run. He accomplished nothing.

“Thus I considered all my activities which my hands had done and the labor which I had exerted, and behold all was vanity and striving after wind and there was no profit under the sun.” -Ecclesiastes 2:11

Friend, be careful that you are not running without the goal of victory.
Now, when it comes to life and death, we know that Jesus is our victory, our only hope, and we rest in that. However, salvation is not intended to produce in us a laziness. Spiritual laziness is foreign to our faith.

“Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us” -Hebrews 12:1

“Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.” -1 Corinthians 9:24-27

At the end of our race, there will be winners and losers, and only one laurel will be awarded -to those who ran the race well, with the purpose of the Master. There will be no rewards for good intentions, or worldly accomplishments -none.

“His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’ -Matthew 25:21

 
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Posted by on March 17, 2014 in Meditation, Real Life, Teaching

 

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The greatest tragedy of our times.

 
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Posted by on February 12, 2014 in Abortion

 

My Loaded Gun (relax, it’s a metaphor)

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For years now, I have left my loaded gun in a safe. It’s been locked away, kept safely out of sight, but always at the ready. Lately, I’ve been searching the scriptures (after all, I am a christian), and I don’t find any passages that would lead me to believe that I need to keep my loaded firearm locked up. I legally own my guns, and I have certain rights and privileges as an American citizen.
I’ve decided to exercise my rights. I’ve decided to stop being afraid so-to-speak and enjoy my liberty. From now on, I am going to keep my loaded gun on the coffee table, visible and ready to use, should the need arise.

I know, I know, you will be surprised, some of you will think I am being ridiculous, dangerous, etc. After all I have a child at home, and sometimes we have guests over who have even younger children.
I think your nay-saying is just that. It would be better if these kids grew up around loaded firearms -that would teach them to “respect the gun”, and learn to be “responsible” with the gun. After all, responsibility with the loaded gun is the goal. I can think of no better thing than to let kids get comfortable with loaded guns.
When guests come over, I will make it a routine to tell them to kick off their shoes and put their feet up,… I’ll offer each to take a look at my gun, handle it, check out the sites, etc. Every person who comes into my home will understand what a responsible gun owner I am.

Now, just so you know, I’m not the only one who thinks this is s a good idea. I’ve asked around with my pastor friends, and I’ve found that there are a lot of them that have come to appreciate my “more biblical” stance on loaded guns. We have had some great laughs about some of our favorite biblical heroes… do you think David hid his sling from his kids? Did Joshua lock up his sword? That’s just silly! It used to be, that in the church, loaded guns were a thing of caution, something to be feared, after all some people had been killed using firearms. But there is simply no biblical precedence for loaded guns being locked up. I’m part of a group of pastors that consider ourselves to be very “biblical” and therefore, we are dismissing the older guys, who simply don’t get it. Have people not read of the church fathers and saints throughout history who owned guns? I stand with them and with their practice of liberty!

Well, that’s all for now, I’m a busy pastor. I’m off to do a hospital visit… a dear friend of mine has been shot.

Metaphor

 

The Wolf Of Wall Street

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It’s Leo, Matthew McConaughey, Jonah Hill,… it’s gotta be good, right?
Actually, no.
If you are a movie goer, you should do your homework before you go.

Story after story regarding this movie includes folks of conscience walking out. (Check out the fandango fan reviews.) According to the website kids-in-mind.com, a great resource, there are (a record) over 414 F-words and its derivatives, 11 obscene hand gesture, 20 sexual references, 2 sexual gestures, 82 scatological terms, 53 anatomical terms, 13 mild obscenities, 5 derogatory terms for gay people, 2 derogatory terms for African-Americans, plethora of other vulgarities, and at least 32 instances of taking the Lord’s name in vain. (their order of offense, not mine)
That is just the language. I’m reluctant to write about the sexual acts depicted in the film, although Kids-in-mind has listed them all. This movie is nothing less than hardcore pornography.

I’m not a conspiracy theorist, but the offensiveness of movies like this, in the name or artistic expression, seem completely intentional. What else could they be thinking? It’s like the devil himself wants to put images and thoughts into the minds of the unsuspecting. Martin Scorsese is anti-christ. We have know that for a long time.
He peddles in filth. Please don’t buy what he is creating, and what Red Granite Films is selling.

Leo DiCaprio, responding to some heat over the content of the film, praises Director Scorsese’s methods saying, “he allows the freedom of this almost hypnotic, drug-infused, wild ride that these characters go on. And he allows you, as an audience – guilty or not – to enjoy in that ride without judging who these people are.” I love that. He hides behind “not being judgmental.” Folks, use judgement, good judgement! He goes on to say, in this *interview with HitFix, “we’re not at all condoning this behaviour. In fact we’re saying that this is something that is in our very culture and it needs to be looked at and it needs to be talked about.” I agree, we need to have a talk about this, and call it what it is -filth! Critics are calling this “his best work.”

Unfortunately, many young people will go see it. Many more will wait to rent it and watch it at home.
Please don’t be like the fools who make this crap. Don’t pay them for it. You can email Red Granite Pictures, and let them know what you think. I did.

I will set no worthless thing before my eyes; I hate the work of those who fall away; It shall not fasten its grip on me. A perverse heart shall depart from me; I will know no evil. -Psalm 101:3-4 (NASB)

* http://movies.ndtv.com/hollywood/leonardo-dicaprio-defends-the-wolf-of-wall-street-466486

 
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Posted by on January 3, 2014 in Culture, Movies

 

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“he hath dainty poisons sweet to the taste”

Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8

I like what *Spurgeon said about this verse:
We note Satan’s goal: seeking whom he may devour. He isn’t just looking to lick or nibble on his prey; he wants to devour. “He can never be content till he sees the believer utterly devoured. He would rend him in pieces, and break his bones and utterly destroy him if he could. Do not, therefore, indulge the thought, that the main purpose of Satan is to make you miserable. He is pleased with that, but that is not his ultimate end. Sometimes he may even make you happy, for he hath dainty poisons sweet to the taste which he administers to God’s people. If he feels that our destruction can be more readily achieved by sweets than by bitters, he certainly would prefer that which would best effect his end.”

I’m reminded of Edmond’s affection for Turkish Delight in Lewis’ “The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe.” It’s often times something that delights the senses that the devil uses to kill you. It could be a friendly smile from a coworker, a feeling of personal freedom that leads to indulgence, even a moment of “righteous” anger. Be aware! He will use “a feeling” to bait his snare.

You might ask, “why would the devil care about me?” To answer that, would require understanding not just his mission: to “steal, kill, and destroy” (John 10:10), but his character. His character is perverse. Why does a grown man harm a little child? Because of perversion. The devil wants to destroy any, and every, soul he can. It’s who he is.

One of his tricks is also to get us to believe the “little ‘ol me” syndrome. (Yes, I made that up)
If he can get you to believe that you are a nobody, then he’s won half the battle. Again, we see this play out in Lewis’ Chronicles Of Narnia so vividly.
You are created in the image of God, and when you are submitted to Him, filled with His Spirit, rather than the spirit of the age, you are a tremendous threat to his evil kingdom.
Have faith, God wants to do great things through you!

But resist him, firm in your faith… 1 Peter 5:9a

*From David Guzik’s Enduring Word / enduring word.com

 
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Posted by on January 1, 2014 in Meditation, Teaching, Uncategorized

 

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New Years

Wednesday marks 28 years of living without drugs and alcohol in my life.
They have been good years. This Spring will be my 27th year of life with Christ -something even better.
I like to look back, remembering pretty vividly what the occasions of change looked like.
Both were at my own bedside, in my room, alone.
The first found me loaded, empty, and ready to end my life. (thankful every day that I didn’t pull the trigger)
Rehab was good, after all, I didn’t really want to die.

I found, however, that the alcohol, the drugs,… the sex… none of that was the real cause of the pain that I felt.
It was there, even after the fog of those things were gone. They were just symptoms of the greater disease of sin.
That was what I had to face on that Spring day,… there was still something missing.
In the morning I gave my life to Jesus. It was the best decision of my life.
It’s a moment forever burned into my heart.

It’s good to look back. What I see is a good God, who loved me, and gave His life for mine.
His death, that I might live.

Like George Bailey, who got to see a vision of what life would have been like if he hadn’t lived, I look back and consider what might not have been. I look at my lovely wife, my glorious daughters, my friends, the church, -and I’m so thankful.
Like the line from the Talking Heads song “Once In A Lifetime,” I ask myself, “well, how did I get here?”
Yeah, I know how I got here. And I know that the Lord is going to continue to lead me and bless my life.

I hope you find yourself in the care of the Lord this year. If not, pray the prayer and ask Him to forgive you of your sin. Ask Him to come in and rearrange your life. He will do it.
If you find yourself in the grip of addiction, like I was, ask for help.

 
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Posted by on December 30, 2013 in Alcohol & Drug Abuse, Real Life

 

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