good quote

" In my opinion, the great single need of the moment is that light-hearted superficial religionists be struck down with a vision of God high and lifted up, with His train filling the temple. The holy art of worship seems to have passed away like the Shekinah glory from the tabernacle. As a result, we are left to our own devices and forced to make up the lack of spontaneous worship by ...bringing in countless cheap and tawdry activities to hold the attention of the church people." ~ A.W. Tozer

Friday, August 14, 2009

A tale of Two Testamonies...but One saving Grace

From Tragedy To Triumph

I married Liz, my wonderful bride, in November of 1985. We had our ups and downs like most marriages, but seven years later, she decided our marriage should end. I was devastated! November 6, 1992 was a tragic date. My wife and I were found shot, lying at the front porch of my in- laws' home. I had written a suicide note and had done the unthinkable. My wife died, but I survived the gun shot wound. I was arrested, found guilty of first degree murder, and sentenced thirty to life in prison.

I knew in my heart that was going to die and go the Hell for what I had done. I had to get right with God, but I didn't know how. While in jail, I attended all of the prison church services including Catholic, Mormon, Seventh Day Adventist, Jehovah's Witnesses, and Protestant. On March 7, 1993, a minister preached about Heaven, Hell, repentance of sin, and about a Savior named Jesus Christ. At the end of the sermon, he asked, "Who is in need for a Savior?" I jumped up and shouted, "I am!" The preacher talked with me for a moment, and then with all my heart, I confessed, "Dear Lord, I realize I am a sinner, in need of Your Great Salvation. I believe Jesus is the Son of God and that He bled and died to pay the price for my sin..." I received Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior and I was finally at peace.

In prison, I completed a four year theological correspondence course and received my Graduate of Theology and Bachelor of Biblical Studies degrees. The Lord is now using me as a soul inner. I have a Bible tract ministry and I give Bible studies in the prison yard. I wrote this to let you know that no matter how rich, how poor, how depressed, or how desolate you may become, there is always help and hope in God, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Blessed From Birth

I was born to Christian parents and have spent the majority of my life involved with some kind of ministry, mostly involving youth. I grew up in a small Independent Baptist Church in the town I grew up in. Not much to be said of any extraordinary things taking place there as far as daily events are concerned but in the Fall of 1991 at six years of age, something extraordinary did happen and it happened to me.

I can remember it clear as day, I was at the youth program that special night, it was Awannas at the time and I was a Sparky. It was my favorite thing to go and play games, eat refreshments, and win points for memorizing Bible verses. But that particular night I didn't find the games or prizes as much fun as usual. I just couldn't wait to get to our Bible lesson for the evening. My own mother was our main teacher and she had many helpers because there were so many squirmers and scratchers to be cared for. We all sat on the floor in front of her and she began to tell us about the wordless color book. (Black for sin, Red for the blood of Jesus that washes our hearts clean, which was the color white, yellow for the gold in Heaven and Green for growth in our walk with Christ.) Through out all of it she told us about God's love, how we were all born into sin and that all of us needed a Savior so Jesus, God's own son, was sent to die on the cross for us. All it takes, she told us, is for us to believe and trust in God as our Savior and ask Him to come in and cleanse our hearts from all unrighteousness. We could do it right then, no time to waste. I went up shyly to my mother, tugged on her skirt and said, "Momma, I'd like to be saved, I want to go to Heaven to be with Jesus..."

She had another worker come up and take me outside to talk. His name was Bill and while he was at our church, I had made it a point to be his personal pest. I was his little buddy, like a little sister, I guess... always hanging on his back pockets. Well, we had a seat outside in the cool air and he wrapped a towel around my shoulders to keep me warm. He began to talk to me about how I could be saved, how I could know that I would go to Heaven when I died to be with Jesus; of God's love and what Jesus did for me. I trusted in the Lord as my personal Savior that night. I couldn't wait to tell my mother and family! I went up to the door of the fellowship hall where we had class and banged on the door. My mother opened it and asked what all the noise was about. I jumped into her arms and told her I had gotten saved...

That was 18 years ago in 2 months. I can't say I've done right everyday since that day, I've made some mistakes, but it's been a life blessed since birth and planned from before the beginning of time. I truly have grown from day to day not only physically, but spiritually also. I don't claim any good on my part but all by God's amazing grace.

Now, the first testimony you've read is true and was written by a name by the name of George A. The second testimony you read was my own. There is one thing that a murderer and I have in common. We both were in need of a Savior and God's saving grace. You may not have committed murder either, maybe you have had a good life blessed from birth, but you too are just a much a sinner, and in need of a Savior just like George and I!

The Bible says that we are all sinners.
"As it is written, there is none righteous, no, not one:" Romans 3:10
"For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God;" Romans 3:23

There is a price that must be paid for sin.
"For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." Romans 6:23

You can't save yourself.
" Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us..." Titus 3:5

Jesus died to pay the price for your sins.
"But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:8

Repent and Believe the Gospel.
"I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish." Luke 13:3
"That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." Romans 10:9

all verses are KJV

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Learning To Trust- HMM III

"Though I walk in the midst of trouble, thou wilt revive me: thou shall stretch forth thine hand against the wrath of mine enemies, and thy right hand shall save me." (Psalm 138:7)

David makes three simple points in his final admonition to those who struggle with trusting in God's loving kindness and truth.

First, God loves His saints, but those with a pride problem are not going to gain His attention (Psalm 138:6). This is somewhat basic to Christian doctrine. Pride is one of the seven things that God hates (Proverbs 6:16-19). God responds to the desire of the humble person (Psalm 10:17) and He stays near to those who have a broken heart of a contrite spirit (Psalm 34:17).

Second, God will revive us when we are in trouble (our text). The promise is about the reviving and the saving. That is, we may gain God's sufficient grace to endure (as in the case of Paul's "thorn in the flesh," 2 Corinthians 12:7) rather than a physical cure. We may receive the ability to be victorious in the face of opposition (as during Paul's ministry to Ephesus, 1 Corinthians 16: 8-9) rather than relief from the circumstances. We may, indeed, be delivered from the pressure of the enemies or have God's miracle performed in our lives, but whatever the circumstantial occasion, God will respond for our good.

Third, God will bring about our perfection (Psalm 138:8). That term, both in the Old and the New Testaments, relates to completing God's work or purpose. Here, it is specifically related to that which concerns the saints of God. The sovereign Lord will see to it that His chosen will make it (1 Peter 2:9). There is no question about this. God's mercy is always refreshed. There is no limit to His forgiveness. Nothing about who we are will defeat God's plan for us (Philippians 2:13).