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

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Christ Alone, Once for ALL...

Someone I've recently become aquantented with sent me some verses out of Isaiah chapter 12 today. They were: "Isaiah 12:2-3 KJV Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation. [3] Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation."
  As I kept reading those verses over again to myself I kept stopping on that word salvation... then tonight during church Brother Joseph Porter was preaching out of Hebrews chapter 9. Now I have a bad habit of continuing reading the passage while the preaching is going on and I did that again tonight. I was struck again and again by the reacurring thought of "Christ Alone, Once For ALL"... Do you get the gravity of that as I believe the Lord was showing me tonight? My brain did a whole "Mr. Magoo- "GREAT GOO-GA-LEE-MOO-GA-LEE!"" when it struck me...

In Hebrews 9:11&12 it says: "BUT CHIRST being come an high preist of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but BY HIS OWN BLOOD he entered ONCE into the holy place, having obtained ETERNAL REDEMPTION FOR US."

Why? because...

Hebrews 9: 22 says: And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and WITHOUT SHEDDING OF BLOOD IS NO REMISSION."

Without Christ giving his life's blood for our sin, there would be no redemption and no remission of sins. Back in "the old days" of the law and the tabernacle sacrifices had to be given yearly. Over and Over again and not once did they ever really "Clean" sin but more like covered it up.
  If I were to give an illistration of this, it's like when you're sweeping the floor in your house. If you sweep the dirt, trash under the rug instead of taking it outside then you're not really cleaning it up. You're simply "covering it up" so that it can't be seen. But when you sweep it up into the dust pan and take it outside and then mop the floor, THEN you can say that it is truely clean. That's what Christ did on Calvary for us and does now for us when we except His gift of Salvation through Him. He doesn't just cover up our sin, He takes it out of our lives and out of our hearts and cleanses us from it completely.

I was also struck by how many times this same point is reinnerated throughout the rest of Hebrews 9 and on into Hebrews 10: 1-18.

In Hebrews 9:23-24 it talks about Christ being THE BETTER SACRIFICE.
  "It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these: but the heavenly thigns themselves with BETTER SACRIFICES than these. For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God FOR US."
  You see earthly sacrifices are not good enough. ONLY Christ the Son of God was the only sacrifice that was holy, pure and acceptable to God the Father for the remission of sins and He did it FOR US! Also Christ only had to do it ONCE! Not over and over again like the many sacrifices of the Old Testament law.
  If we read on in the chapter it says in verses 25-28:
   "Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high preist entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others; [26] For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now ONCE in the end of the world hath he appeared to PUT AWAY SIN BY THE SACRIFICE OF HIMSELF. And as it is appointed unto men ONCE TO DIE, but after this the judgement: SO CHRIST wad ONCE OFFERED to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation."

AMEN! GLORY TO GOD! For you see, there is a vast difference between covering sin and washing away sin. There is a vast difference between that dirt being under the rug and being out of the house completely.... It is not truely clean if it is still there and that is what Christ has done for us. He did not just cover our sins... He BORE THEM UPON HIMSELF AND PUT THEM AWAY!!

And again in Hebrews chapter 10 verse 1: "For the law having a shadow of good things to come, (that's talking about Christ), and not the very image of the things, CAN NEVER with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect." 

Folks only CHRIST could/ can do that!

Verse 2- 8:
 [2- 3] "For then would they not have ceased to be offered? (do you get what is being asked here?) because that the worshippers ONCE PURGED SHOULD HAVE HAD NO MORE CONSCIENCE OF SINS. But in those sacrifices THERE IS A REMEMBERANCE AGAIN made of sins every year."

In Christ, because He was offered once, then there is no more rememberance of sins. Our sins are GONE COMPLETELY! No other sacrifice can do that and so it must be THROUGH CHRIST ALONE!

[4-8] "For it is NOT possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins. Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, BUT A BODY HAST THOU PREPARED ME: In burnt-offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure. THEN (that's a big word that changes alot) said I, Lo, I COME (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God. Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt-offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered BY THE LAW:"

Verse 9 establishes that the first law was taken away so that room could be made for THE LAW OF GRACE.
[9] "Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He TAKETH AWAY THE FIRST, THAT HE MAY ESTABLISH THE SECOND."

The next verses go on to show that Christ IS THE ONLY WAY!

look at verses 10-18 to finish up tonight...

Hebrews 10: 10-18
 "By the which will we are sanctified THROUGH THE OFFERING OF THE BODY OF JESUS CHRIST ONCE FOR ALL. And every priest STANDETH DAILY ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, WHICH CAN NEVER TAKE AWAY SINS: BUT THIS MAN, AFTER HE HAD OFFERED ONCE SACRIFICE FOR SINS FOR EVER, SAT DOWN ON THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD; (this is speaking of Christ) From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. FOR BY ONE OFFERING HE HATH PERFECTED FOR EVER them that are sanctified. (that's us, those who have put our trust in him alone) Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before, This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; And their sins and iniquities WILL I REMEMBER NO MORE. NOW WHERE REMISSION OF THESE IS, THERE IS NO MORE OFFERING FOR SIN"


Sunday, July 20, 2014

VBS: The Unofficial End to Summer...

 I can rememeber when I was growing up that Summer was an awesome and seemingly magical time between school years where anything could happen.  The days were hot, long and full of adventure. However there were certain events that one could always look forward to; Family camping trips, church youth camp and Vacation Bible School (VBS). 

Now that I'm an adult, summer still holds for me some of that same old magic. It's the highlight of my year to spend a week camping with my family. I haven't been able to help at a youth camp since 2007, and I miss that but the Lord knows best. VBS is something different all together though... For me it is bitter sweet as it marks the unofficial end to the summer season. The last HOORAH before school starts the next month. Stores are putting out school supplies and fall decor and cooler weather clothing. The last several years our church has always held our VBS in July to try and not have a scheduling conflict with other churches. 
  We spend almost all the summer planning for it and then it takes place and it's a week packed with teaching, singing, crafts, games, memory verses, prizes, contests and so much more... So much anticipation builds up to it's beginning, which is usually a little bumpy until we get some kind of routine down and we finally get it all worked out and it's all over. It takes a lot of energy and effort, a lot of love and patients as we work with the kids. I've seen some of the wildest, rebellious kids turn into some of the sweetest, most loving and obedient kids by the end of the week. It's a labor of love and I kind of feel like I'm adopting these little ones for the week and they become my own little children to raise and love all for the honor and glory of the Lord. I watch as they grow. I see how their eyes light up when I draw them into my Bible story and make the Word of God real to them. I listen as their songs change in the corse of the week from worldly music about sin and things that little kids shouldn't know anything about at such a young age, (if ever), to songs of pure godliness. And I realize the importance that consistancy plays in the life of kids. For that one week we hit them hard with the things of God and we work on the same things day after day it seems and for once in their life, literally for some of them, some one actually CARES about them to tell them "No" and to set limits for them and not just limits but set goals for them, godly goals, and to help them work toward those goals. For once they have someone who EXPECTS MORE from them then for them just to be present. It's CRAZY AND TERRIBLE AND EXHAUSTING AND WONDERFUL AND BEAUTIFUL AND AMAZING all at the same time.

And then, it's over....just  like that. A part of me wants it to keep going to see just how far we can take it and how long we can keep the momentum up. But the realization is that I know it must come to an end. "To everything there is a season..." The first indicator that it can't go on forever is, of course, the physical one. I don't know about the other workers but I for one was utterly and completely exhausted by the end of the week. When your working a full time job 10-12 hours a day during the daytime and then trying to handle 12 to 15 kids ranging in ages from 2 years old up to 6 years old, well I'm not Superman.... I came home Friday and went to bed around 10:30 and I slept a good 12 hours before I woke up. Yeah folks, I was THAT tired. I know there were some that were more tired than I was too. 
 But the other indicator that it can't go on forever is that of a spiritual one... As a worker you present the Gospel of Christ to these kids over and over again all week long but there comes a point after you prepare the soil, plant the seed, water it, tend it, pull out the weeds around it.. that you have to step back a just let God work and let the seed do what all seeds do....see if it grows. It's a lot like the old saying "you can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink". During VBS you share God's free gift of salvation each night and in the end, if that child has reached the age of accountablity, (which can be different for each individual child by the way) then they are the ones who have to choose to accept Christ, through faith, as their own personal Savior. I spent days, months, the whole year praying over this ONE WEEK! Praying for God to do a great work and whether I get to see it or not, I know He does answer.

So now that VBS has reached it's end, the labor isn't done. For every end there is another beginning somewhere for each of us. I have the project of repainting and redecorating my Sunday School classroom for the 3 to 5 years olds to finish. It was put on hold for VBS. There's always my Sunday School lesson that must be prayed over and prepared each week for the children and then there's "Kid's Club" on wednesdays throughout the school year to look forward to and we have a month before that is to begin. There's the annual church revival and the church's "Birthday" in September to plan and as this marks our 50th year there's much to be done to celebrate and plan. So it is the bitter sweet goodbye to Summer with the completion of VBS and a big HELLO to what is ahead. I think the month of August should be a time to rest but we wont be lazy. There's much to be done... much to be enjoyed and much to look forward to...

Saturday, July 12, 2014

The Virtue of Steadiness

Sometime back I found a book that struck my curiosity and it's title was "A Jane Austen Devotional". Now some of you know that Jane Austen is one of my favorite authors so when I saw this book I wanted to find out what it was all about. This book takes some of the virtues that were valued in the Regency Era and applies them to people today. I don't like the fact that the book uses other translations of the Bible besides the KJV but the passage I read the other day on the virtue of Steadiness is wrote sharing. It has some good thoughts and it made me think of myself as well as some others I know.

I thought I would go ahead and share it here and also the right verses.

The Virtue of Steadiness

Harriet was soon back again, and the proposal almost immediately made; and she had no scruples which could stand many minutes against the earnest pressing of both the others. Emma wished to go to work directly, and therefore produced the portfolio containing her various attempts at portraits, for not one of them had ever been finished, that they might decide together on the best size for Harriet. Her many beginnings were displayed. Miniatures, half-lengths, whole-lengths, pencil, crayon, and water- colours had all been tried in turn. She had always wanted to do everything, and had made more progress both in drawing and music than many might have done with so little labour as she would ever submit to. She played and sang,-- and drew in almost every style; but steadiness had always been wanting; and in nothing had she approached the degree of excellence which she would have been glad to command, and ought not to have failed of. She was not much decieved as to her own skill either as an artist or a musician, but she was not unwilling to have others decieved, or sorry to know her reputation for accomplishment often higher than it deserved.

--Emma By: Jane Austen

 A Certain virtue is lacking in Emma Woodhouse, and its absence is quite apparent in this charming scene. Emma's failure to ever completely finish a project-- be it a water-color painting, a reading list, or an advanced musical composition-- is on display here, where she shows Harriet and Mr. Elton her portfolio of half- finished paintings.
  Jane Austen describes Emma as lacking the virtue of steadiness; modern readers might recognize her behavior as lacking in diligence. It is, simply put, an inability to stick to something until the job is done.
  Perhaps you too struggle with the same issue as Emma. Is it any wonder? In an age of rapid-access information, expanding technology, and sound-bite news clips, we are pulled in a hundred different directions.
   This is by no means a criticism of the wonderful advances in communication ushered in by social media and networking. But as with Emma, the danger lies in the ever-present possibility of distraction, in doing every job half way, in looking for entertainment to rescue us from the task of hand.
   It is important for women today as in Jane Austen's day to develope discipline and steadiness in character. Proverbs 4:23 tells us, "Keep thy heart with all dilligence; for out of it are the issues of life." Make no mistake: the choices that govern your time have direct bearing on the way you lead your life.
   Do you check e-mail, Facebook, and Twitter daily (perhaps even hourly?) Are more beneficial disciplines-- like time in prayer, time with your spouse or children, time spent serving and blessing others-- being disrupted or even put on the back burner? Perhaps it is time to examine what activities and interests you let dominate you waking minutes and hours. Pray about how to best spend your time...........and then choose wisely.

 "Now therefore perform the doing of it; that as there was a readiness to will, so there may be a performance also out of that which ye have." -2 Corinthians 8:11