Wednesday, 10/27/21 – Pressing on… There is a Consequence to Know Christ

There is a Consequence to Know Christ

This past Sunday our brother James Harrison asked us “Is Jesus an idea you believe in, or a person you know and trust?”

Superman may stand for many ideals to which you aspire. Superman may even inspire you to become a better person. You might “use” Superman as a psychological aid, but deep down you know you do not “know” Superman. Superman really does not exist.

Or, perhaps your mentor is real… a great sports figure, a world leader, movie star or vocalist. Chances are though that you don’t really “know” these people. You wouldn’t call them up for a chat or invite them to dinner.

Other very real people you may know as your acquaintances. You wave to them on your way to work, or see them at the gym. But even these you don’t really “know.” You haven’t yet determined if you might trust them… trust them with your valuables … your secrets… your children.

But how is it with Christ? Have you spent long hours with Him? Have you gone through great trials with Him? Have you come to “know” Him as He knows you? Do you trust Him? Have you committed to Him your deep secrets, your heart, your sins and your future? Do you trust Him with your life?

To know Christ in this way, explained James, will cost you something… it will cost you everything! But the outcome of this commitment is infinitely greater than its sacrifices: wholeness, contentment, purpose, peace, eternal life and holiness. These consequences are joyous!

But there is also a very dark consequence to shunning this Christ. He calls you now to decide. He says, “Look, today I have set before you life and death” (Deut. 30:15, TLB). “I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.” (2 Cor. 6:2). Ignoring the call will not do. You will either choose Christ or you will not.

There is a Call to Know Christ. There is a Cost to Know Christ. There is a Consequence to Know Christ. Is Christ an idea you believe in, or a person you know and trust?” Do you want to know Christ?

Press on…

Do you want help to know Christ? Use the Contact page. We’ll help point you to Him.

To hear this past Sunday’s message, go to the Facebook page of Lincoln Baptist Church, or link to the livestream from the church website.

Tuesday, 10/26/21 – Pressing on… There is a Cost to Know Christ

There is a Cost to Know Christ

It may cost you TIME

If you want to know Christ it may cost you some Facebook time. It may cost you some T.V. time. It may cost you some recreational time. It may cost you some sleep time, and it may even cost you all the hours of all your days, your lifetime.

It may cost you MONEY

If you want to know Christ it may cost some “mad” money – that superfluous money you had designated for squandering and “self”-indulgence. It may cost you some investment money – money you planned to set aside in silo two, rainy day or retirement money. It may cost you dining out money, coffee money, or grocery money. It may cost you rent or mortgage money. In fact, it may cost you all the money you have as you help the poverty stricken buy some bread, or support a missionary, a child, or fund a church in a faraway land.

It may cost you ENERGY

If you want to know Christ it may cost you some exercise energy. It may cost you some recreational energy. It may cost you energy for hobbies, or work, or breathing! It may cost all the energy you have as you walk a stranger’s second mile, help your neighbour build his garage, or the disaster stricken rebuild their village.

It may cost you LIFE

In short, if you want to know Christ It may cost you all your life! In fact, it very likely will. In fact, you can be certain of it. “For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.” (Matt. 16:25). If you want to know Christ you must be willing… willing just as He was willing… willing to die.

“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.“ (Gal. 2:20). / “For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.” (Col. 3:3).

There is a Cost to know Christ. Sit down and estimate it (Luke 14:28). Choose to surrender it (Matt. 13:44-46). Though this cost be all the above it is a cost “not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed…” (Rom. 8:18).

More tomorrow…

To hear this past Sunday’s message, go to the Facebook page of Lincoln Baptist Church, or link to the livestream from the church website.

Monday, 10/25/21 – Pressing on… There is a Call to Know Christ

There is a Call to Know Christ

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts,” writes Paul. Why? “since as members of one body you were called to peace.” The Church is the Body of Christ and Christ is its Head. Every true Christian has become a part of that Body. It is a great Body, a Body extending through all present, past and future time and space. And Christ is the Head of that one Body.

I don’t know about you but I’m very grateful when all the parts of my body have the same interest in mind: the health and safety of the whole body. In fact when parts of my body become at war with other parts of my body something is wrong. I usually have to go and see a doctor!

And I’m also quite content to have just one body. Two bodies and one head would be very difficult to manage. Perhaps you have seen some unfortunate persons whose physical bodies developed wrongly in the womb. What should have been one became more than one. Life is most difficult indeed for persons with such bodies.

But the Church, the family of God, is one Body, and as one Body Paul is saying it has been called to peace; it is to function as one with one Mind and one Spirit. “Peace” is something its members are to allow to take rule. He says “Let the Peace of Christ rule…” [because] “…you were called to peace.”

This past Sunday our brother James Harrison shared with us from the book of Philippians. He spoke to us of Phil. 4:7 “And the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

On both a personal level as a believer, and on a corporate level as the Body of Christ I wonder if perhaps what makes this “letting” of God’s peace rule difficult is that we try so very hard to understand it. We set up understanding as a gateway to allowing God’s blessings to manifest in our hearts and in our minds.

But we do not need to understand it; we need only to be in vital union with the Head… with Christ. “He Himself is our peace,” Paul wrote in another place (Eph. 2:14).

Do you want to know Peace? We are called to peace.

Do you want to know Christ? Our brother James’ first point this past Sunday was just this. There is a call to knowing Him. Know Him, and you will also know Peace.

More tomorrow…

To hear this past Sunday’s message, go to the Facebook page of Lincoln Baptist Church, or link to the livestream from the church website.

Wednesday, 10/20/21 – Pressing on… “Come here,” — or stay there?

“Come here,” — or stay there?

193 years ago this day (year 1818) the “Convention respecting fisheries, boundary, and the restoration of slaves” was signed between Britain and the United States. This Treaty established fishing rights along Newfoundland and Labrador, and joint control of the territory of Oregon. Land struggles continued until on June 15,1846 the Oregon Treaty finally confirmed the 49th parallel as the boundary between the United States and British North America to the Pacific Ocean.

What’s mine, what’s yours… Come here, stay there… Now especially, during this global pandemic, regulations and requirements regarding social movement are complex and varied indeed. But not so with Jesus. Jesus continually says, “Come to Me…” (See Matt. 11:28-30). Yet, even in coming to Him there may be some things that are disallowed or some things we must first make right. Oswald Chambers comments…

“When you hear those words, you will know that something must happen in you before you can come. The Holy Spirit will show you what you have to do, and it will involve anything that will uproot whatever is preventing you from getting through to Jesus. And you will never get any further until you are willing to do that very thing. The Holy Spirit will search out that one immovable stronghold within you, but He cannot budge it unless you are willing to let Him do so.” – Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, Oct. 8 entry

“Just think of the invincible, unconquerable, and untiring patience of Jesus, who lovingly says, ‘Come to Me….’” Chalmers adds. Well, OK… let’s…

Invincible = “too powerful to defeat, overcome, or prevent from doing what is intended.”

Unconquerable = “not able to be defeated, controlled, or placed in another’s possession or control.”

Untiring = “continuing at the same rate without loss of vigor.”

Jesus patience is too powerful to defeat, overcome, or prevent from doing what He has intended. No one can control it, and it will continue to the end of the age at the same rate without loss of vigor. “He is patient with you,” writes Peter, “not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9b).

Isn’t it time for you to obey what the Holy Spirit is telling you to do? Isn’t it time for you come to Him today?

Press on…

To hear this past Sunday’s message, go to the Facebook page of Lincoln Baptist Church, or link to the livestream from the church website.

Tuesday, 10/19/21 – Pressing on… Which is your King?

Which is your King?

On this date, Oct. 19, 1987, 34 years ago a second “Black Monday” shook stock markets worldwide. The first had occurred Oct. 28, 1929, a part of the huge Wall Street crash which began four days earlier on Oct. 24, and resulted in a 24.8% drop in the Dow. It led ultimately to the Great Depression. But the 1987 crash was global! The Dow fell 22%, a shocking 508.32 points!

Other “Black Mondays” followed:

1929 Crash – Headlines | American Experience | Official Site | PBS
Sept. 29, 2008 – A financial crisis since 2007 and real estate bubble burst crashed world markets into the Great Recession.
Aug. 8, 2011 – Stock markets crashed due to a credit rate downgrade of the United States’ debt.
Aug. 24, 2015 – Chinese stock market crash. SSE Composite Index declined by 8.45%.
Sept. 16, 2019 – Federal Reserve interves in the repo market 5 months prior to 2020 stock market crash after overnight lending rate spiked above 8%.
Mar. 9, 2020 – Investor panic over COVID-19 pandemic and Russia-Saudi oil price war prompt worst losses since Great Recession. Mar. 16, 2020 – Larger falls than the week previous!

These were huge disasters for those whose trust was in money. Many fell into deep depression. Many found themselves penniless and without hope. Some committed suicide.

Nothing is secure in this world. But the Christian’s confidence is in Christ. He has chosen Christ, not cash, as King. Money may make the world go round but the Christian trusts “the God who made the world and everything in it” (Acts 17:24). This world is passing away (1 John 2:17) but the Christian trusts in a world to come. Paul writes, “If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.” (1 Cor. 15:19). But in Christ, Paul says, we are “…poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything.” (2 Cor. 6:10).

As I chat with homeless folk on our downtown city streets I uncover both the lottery playing hopefuls and the heavenward praying faithful. Regardless of social strata the distribution of trusters in cash and trusters in Christ seems about the same… and each of us will choose.

Christ drew the first line in the sand on this and pointed out the decision we each must make. “No one can serve two masters,” He said. “Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” (Matt. 6:24). He pointed to the simplicity of faith found in His creation , “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” (Matt. 6:26).

Ultimately we must all surrender everything. As Paul points out, “…we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.” Chasing riches is always short-lived.  “But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that,” Paul continues.”Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” (1 Tim. 6:6-10).

Choose God over money and He will see to the rest. He has given this promise: “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matt. 6:33-34).

More tomorrow…

To hear this past Sunday’s message, go to the Facebook page of Lincoln Baptist Church, or link to the livestream from the church website.

Monday, 10/18/21 – Pressing on… On that day…

On that day…

Ninety years ago on this day, Oct. 18, 1931 American gangster Al Capone was successfully convicted for tax evasion….

Alphonse Gabriel Capone, a.k.a. “Scarface,” “Big Al,” “Big Boy,” “Snorky,” and “Public Enemy No. 1,” was born January 17, 1899 in Brooklyn, New York. He died January 25, 1947 (age 48) in Palm Island, Miami Beach, Florida. Capone was a gangster, bootlegger, racketeer, and known infamously as Boss of the “Chicago Outfit,” and for the bloody “Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre” which resulted in the daytime murder of seven rival gang figures. After evading numerous criminal charges and a seven-year stint as a crime boss, Capone was finally imprisoned 11 years (age 33) on Oct. 18, 1931 under five counts of tax evasion.

Though he did contribute to charities, Capone also lived in luxury, power, and self-indulgence from the wealth of his crimes, but his last days were days of misery caused by syphilis and dementia. Now his soul is in eternity where he faces his Maker and gives account. I wonder what he now thinks of the life paths he once chose?

Bewildered by the prosperity of the wicked the psalmist Asaph confessed: “…my feet had almost slipped; I had nearly lost my foothold. For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.” (Ps. 73:2-3). “I’ve kept my heart pure and innocent for nothing!” he almost laments. (v. 13).

Al Capone leaving a federal courthouse in Chicago, October 14, 1931.
Everett Collection— Historical Highlights Images/age fotostock [https://www.britannica.com/biography/Al-Capone]

But then Asaph regained true perspective: “When I tried to understand all this, it troubled me deeply,” he writes, “till I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny.” (v.16-17).

Surely you place them on slippery ground; you cast them down to ruin. How suddenly are they destroyed, completely swept away by terrors! They are like a dream when one awakes; when you arise, Lord, you will despise them as fantasies.” (v.18-20).

James also speaks to the ultimate end of those who abuse others for temporal gain:

Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming on you. Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days. Look! The wages you failed to pay the workers who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty. You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter. You have condemned and murdered the innocent one, who was not opposing you.” (James 5:1-6)

We must not be allured from the paths of righteousness by the apparent rewards of transgressors. Their stories have not yet been fully told. But “the path of the righteous is like the morning sun, shining ever brighter till the full light of day” (Prov. 4:18), and “God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.” (Eccl. 12:14).

I wonder… on that day… what will you think of the life paths you are now choosing?

More tomorrow…

To hear this past Sunday’s message, go to the Facebook page of Lincoln Baptist Church, or link to the livestream from the church website.

Wednesday, 10/13/21 – Pressing on… Random thankful thots…

Random thankful thots…

We thank God not only for His gifts but for His Character. God is good… all the time. God is Loving… all the time. “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.” (1 Chron. 16:34). We give Him thanks also because of His workings on behalf of His called and faithful. As we read yesterday, “in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Rom. 8:28). “Everything will work out in the end,” says Max Lucado, adding “If it’s not working out, it’s not the end.”

Are you new to thankfulness? God says, Let thankfulness happen … let it out… surprise yourself with the new thankful you! “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts,” writes Paul, “…and be thankful.” (Col. 3:15). The “let“-ting and the “be“-ing in that verse indicate a Christian’s expression of peace and thankfulness are largely a matter of deciding to do it!

Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.” (Col. 4:2). Prayer can be a battleground and the Christian walks a tightrope. Peter urges, “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” (1 Pet. 5:8), and Paul’s says, of equal importance as prayer and watchfulness is thankfulness.

Don’t forget to be thankful for your brothers and sisters in Christ: those who have gone before you, and those who are all around you! “I always thank my God for you,” writes Paul (1 Cor. 1:4).

Do you know you also have power to cause thankfulness to spring from others? Here’s how it works: As God blesses You, He intends You to bless others… to be generous at every opportunity! Then, the thankful recipients of your goodness will express their multiplied thankfulness to God! “You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.” (2 Cor. 9:11).

So much more can be said! Thankfulness consecrates: “For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.” (1 Tim. 4:4-5). Thankfulness is always appropriate, always God’s Will: Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thess. 5:16-18). Thankfulness should accompany our petitions and is sometimes hard worka sacrificea song

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. (Phil. 4:6)
But I, with shouts of grateful praise, will sacrifice to you…’” (Jonah 2:9). “Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving, and perform your vows to the Most High.” (Psalm 50:14)
The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to Him.” (Psalm 28:7).

Be Thankful, and…

Press on…

To hear this past Sunday’s message, go to the Facebook page of Lincoln Baptist Church, or link to the livestream from the church website.

Tuesday, 10/12/21 – Pressing on… The Complaints Dept.

The Complaints Dept.

Big Box stores have a special department for them – the Complaints Department! What s horrible job that must be! Can you imagine waking up every morning to go off to work to listen to angry, dissatisfied, often unreasonable people hour after hour after hour… day after day after day! Well that pretty much describes the job experience of Moses! ”What have I done to displease you that you put the burden of all these people on me?” he complains to God, “…the burden is too heavy for me. If this is how you are going to treat me, please go ahead and kill me” (Num. 11:11, 14-15). Wow!

Last Sunday our guest speaker James Harrison drew our attention to three ways a complaining spirit is destructive. 1. A complaining spirit denies God’s sovereignty. 2. A complaining spirit disrupts Christian unity. 3. A complaining spirit discredits Christian testimony.

CultureWatch

“The greatest need we have is not to do things, but to believe things,” wrote Oswald Chambers. And in relation to point #1 we must believe “that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Rom. 8:28). We must believe that God loves us and is working for our best interest. He can do this because He is sovereign, i.e. He possesses supreme and ultimate power. When we grumble and complain about what God has allowed into our lives we deny all of the above. Even God’s discipline is an indicator of His great Love (Heb. 12:5-11), and the natural consequences of our own willful disobedience for they teach us not to sin again.

Points #2 and #3 are a little more obvious. Within the church a complaining spirit disrupts brotherly and sisterly unity, and without, in our interactions with the unsaved, a complaining spirit discredits our testimony. Why should an unbeliever believe our testimony of transformation when our behaviour demonstrates otherwise?

These days are indeed the last days, and in these days Jesus warned us that “the love of many will grow cold” (Matt. 24:12). Jesus also said, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:35).”Paul pled to the Romans: “as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.” (Rom. 12:18). To the believers in Ephesus he wrote, “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” (Eph. 4:3).

Yes sirree, – the Complaints Department: listening to angry, dissatisfied, often unreasonable people hour after hour after hour… day after day after day! Come to think of it, that also pretty much describes the experience of God!

Let’s not add to it. Let’s make every effort not to be among those in that line-up. Better yet, let’s start a new line-up, a “Compliments” line-up… a line-up of joy-filled, thankful recipients of the undeserved mercies and blessings of our Lord!

More tomorrow…

To hear this past Sunday’s message, go to the Facebook page of Lincoln Baptist Church, or link to the livestream from the church website.

Monday, 10/11/21 – Pressing on… Good Medicine

Good Medicine

Today in Canada is “Thanksgiving Day!” Typically, it is a day for reflecting and feasting on the good things of the earth, of others, and of God. “It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord” begins Psalm 92, and science has further demonstrated it.

Gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. It helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity and build strong relationships.

Psychologists, Dr. Robert A. Emmons and Dr. Michael E. McCullough asked a group of study participants to write a few sentences each day about things for which they were grateful that day. They asked another group to record their daily irritations and negative experiences.  After 10 weeks, those who wrote about gratitude were more optimistic and felt better about their lives, they had begin to exercise more and had fewer visits to a doctor than the group who tracked negative things.

Gratitude improves relationships with spouses, co-workers, shopkeepers, anyone with whom social interactions occur – including God!

A thankful heart “does good, like medicine,” wrote Solomon (Prov. 17:22); it is “good medicine,” “good for your health” as some translations put it. But a broken, saddened, thankless heart “dries the bones,” it “saps a person’s strength,” it will “leave you bone-tired.”

A thankful heart’s first “go to” response is gratitude. It’s default world view is that It is blessed! It is a contented heart, a happy heart. It teaches one to appreciate what one has instead of always reaching for the next new thing.

From a dank and dreary prison cell Paul writes the Philippians,

“…I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” (Phil. 4:11b-13).

Paul says he had to “learn” contentment… thankfulness. He did! And so can you! Learning is worth the course. As Paul wrote to Timothy, “godliness with contentment is great gain.” (1 Tim. 6:6).

Thankfulness makes one rich! How? A thankful heart has learned that true wealth is not found in having many things, but in having few wants.

The Christian ought demonstrate thankfulness above all. A Christian has Christ and has found that Christ alone satisfies all wants. A Christian has found peace with God. He has surrendered self and is unafraid to die. A Christian knows he is eternal and that his eternity is very good indeed.

Today, be Thankful….”be content… because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’” (Gen. 13:5).

More tomorrow…

To hear this past Sunday’s message, go to the Facebook page of Lincoln Baptist Church, or link to the livestream from the church website.

THANKSGIVING BONUS: Click here to link to a special Thanksgiving Worship Special with Christian recording artist Becka deHaan!

Wednesday, 10/6/21 – Pressing on… A bellyfull of one another?

A bellyfull of one another?

An expert in the law, once tested Jesus by asking Him: “Which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus made no hesitation but citing from the Pentateuch answered, “’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matt. 22:34-40, NIV)

Paul, in writing the Romans, restates this,

Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.” (Rom. 13:8-10)

John, the disciple whom the Lord most loved, extends this plea:

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.” (1 John 4:7-12)

We do well to remember that to love one another is not merely a suggestion, it is not dependent upon emotion, and it is not at all an option. To love one another, despite our differences, is a command of our God. In fact, as the above scriptures emphasize, it is the CHIEF command.

In Galatians Paul warns,

You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself. If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.” (Gal. 5:13-15)

The fruit of the Spirit is love…” writes Paul (5:24). But if we instead “bite and devour each other,” if we are with a bellyfull of one another, we find ourselves too full for the Spirit, for Living Water and Bread of Life.

Love one another, and

Press on…

To hear this past Sunday’s message, go to the Facebook page of Lincoln Baptist Church, or link to the livestream from the church website.