Monday, 11/18/19 – Pressing on…

Sealed with a Kiss…

rally in the street with soldiers wearing black helmets
Rebellion…

Several sorts or contexts for kissing are found in scripture.

In The Old Testament we discover kisses 1) of relatives (Gen. 27:26, 27; 29:11; 33:4; 45:15; 48:10; 50:1; Ex. 4:27; 18:7; Ruth 1:9, 14); 2 Sam. 14:33; 1 Ki. 19:20); 2) Of friendship (1 Sam. 20:41; 2 Sam. 15:5; 19:39; 20:9; Prov. 27:6); 3) Of love (Songs 1:2; Prov. 7:13); 4) Of homage (1 Sam. 10:1; Ps. 2:12); 5) Of idolatrous practices (1 Ki. 19:18; Hos. 13:2; Job 31:27); and 6) Used figuratively ( Ps. 85:10; Prov. 24:26; Ezek. 3:13).

At least fifteen saints of the Old Testament are mentioned kissing: Isaac, Jacob, Laban, Esau, Joseph, Moses, Aaron, Ruth, Orpah, Samuel, David, Jonathan, Absalom, Joab, and Elisha.

praying man looking up
Obeisance

In the New Testament we find kisses of friendship (phileo) such as the sort Jesus seems to have anticipated in Luke 7:45a when He said to Simon, “You did not give me a kiss…” and which Judas feigned when he identified Jesus in his heinous act of betrayal, “Jesus asked him, “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?” (Luke 22:48). We also find ardent kisses (kataphileo) as those in Luke 7:45b, “…this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet” and also given by the father of the returning prodigal (Luke 15:20).

Four times in the epistles of Paul and once in that of Peter the believers to whom they were written are urged “Greet one another with a holy kiss.” (Rom 16:16, 1 Cor. 16:20, 2 Cor. 13:12, 1 Thess. 5:26, 1 Pet. 5:14). This is not a sexual kiss, but a kiss of unity, a kiss of Agapé love which distinguishes the redeemed family of God.

This past Sunday Pastor Andrew spoke to us from Psalm 2. He spoke to us of the rebellion prevalent in our age, how all the world is rising up with increasing fervor to assert themselves as independent of Christ… to assert themselves as above Christ, above His rule… as masters of their own destinies!

man person people emotions
Foolish!

How foolish! Indeed! Elsewhere in scripture we read “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’” (Psalm 14:1). How much more foolish is it indeed if a person acknowledges God yet believes he can rise above Him!? Can I acknowledge there is a freight train rushing towards me yet stand on the track and believe I can stare it down? Can I acknowledge that there is a meteor plummeting toward my home yet believe my high-quality shingles will withstand it? Can I leap into the Grand Canyon yet believe I can land upright unscathed? Would I be a fool if I believed any of these things? Most certainly!

So what is such an arrogant fool to do should he realize the folly of his ways?

The advice of Psalm 2 is this, “Kiss the Son, lest He be angry” (Psalm 2:12). Kiss the son not hypocritically but in obeisance to Him bowing before Him acknowledging He is Lord. ‘Kiss’ Him. Make peace with Him. Come near Him. Come in contact. Kiss as relative for He is not ashamed to call us His brethren. Kiss as a friend for He has said “You are my friends…” Kiss in love for the Church is His Bride. Above all, kiss in homage for He is our Great King!

Turn from your rebellion! Fall down before Him! Name Him as your Lord. Seal it with a kiss!

More tomorrow…

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Wednesday, 11/13/19 – Pressing on…

Incessant Annoyances!

brown shed near green pine trees during snow

Three weeks now I’ve been flattened with this head cold/cough/lethargy thing. When I mention it to others a good 65% reply, “It’s been a month now for me and I’ve still got it!” One lady I know has battled a sinus infection now going on two years!

Today our city is buckling down for another huge freezing rain/sleet/snowstorm event. Power could go out once again and result in another kind of extended annoyance.

photo of gray faucet

Whoever invented the “Chinese water torture” — where water is continually dripped on a restrained victim’s forehead — knew well that a relentless minor annoyance can drive a person to a breaking point.

In scripture we read “A quarrelsome wife is as annoying as constant dripping on a rainy day” (Prov. 27:15 – NLT). Now I’m not saying my wife is quarrelsome; I’m merely pointing out that even the wisest man of all time, Solomon, recognized the cumulative negative effect of an incessant annoyance.

But some drips enter our lives with divine purpose.

James writes, “… when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.” (James 1:2-4 – NLT)

I underlined that word “endurance” with good reason. What better trial that an “incessant” one to develop ones ability to stay a long course?

photo of person running on dirt road

But the fact that God has purpose in incessant annoyances does not mean they become any easier. Indeed in Hebrews we are reminded (as if we needed reminding) that “No discipline is enjoyable while it is happeningit’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.” (Heb. 12:11 – NLT).

So the thing to do it seems is to look ahead… see the goal… see God’s good purpose. Remember, He can turn the most wicked of things, regardless of their origin, into wonderful things fulfilling some purpose lost to us in the experiencing of them but foreseen by Him in all His infinite Wisdom and Power.

The same book further admonishes, “You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.” (Heb. 10:36).

woman in black crop top sitting and drinking water

When I used to run marathons I would often in the final few kilometers focus my thoughts on the finish line… the encouragement of other runners who had arrived before me, the Gatorade, orange wedges and cut bananas that would be laid out to refresh and rehydrate, and how good I would feel that evening, showered, fed, relaxed and contented as a well earned sleep swept over me.

So what to do, be it drippy friends or drippy noses?

“…take a new grip with your tired hands and strengthen your weak knees. Mark out a straight path for your feet so that those who are weak and lame will not fall but become strong.” (Heb. 12:12,13).

Above all, as always…

Press on…

To hear Alan Baker’s Sunday message, go to the Lincoln Baptist Church website and look under ‘Sermons Online’ for the Nov. 10 message.

Tuesday, 11/12/19 – Pressing on…

Choose Your ‘Adventure’

I was flipping through one of those free magazines you get these days in movie theatres. In the middle of this particular edition a series of sketches depicted various forms of movie-going experiences from which one may choose. “Moviegoing Adventures” the article called them.

20191111_192044Not even making the list were your standard big screen upon which flashing images at high-speed are projected creating the illusion of movement (hence, ‘movie.’), nor the innovative ‘Real 3D’ experience where colored lenses are used to delay light just enough that almost — but not quite — similar images seem to have depth.

20191111_191908Rather, this list moved quickly through ‘UltraAVX’ with ultra crisp clarity and surround sound, to giant curved screen ‘IMAX,’ and all-encompassing 270-degree, triple-screen ‘ScreenX.’ Beyond these were ‘D-BOX’—motion seats that mimic the movements on-screen, 4DX which also has full-motion but adds in-theatre wind, rain, mist, snow, leg tickles, fog, air jets, scents, lightning and bubbles all synced with the action on the screen! Hey, don’t ask me, I’m just passing this on. I have no idea how they do these!

20191111_191845Finally, there is ‘VIP.’ This one features wide leather seating with food and drink delivered straight to you! A custom cocktail before or after the flick is also included.

Of course with each of these the ticket costs climb. And I don’t need to tell you the bloated prices of the bloating food sold in theatres. Naw.. for the most part I can do without such ‘Moviegoing Adventures.”

photo of a pathway in a forest

Instead, I seek out what I like to call ‘Nature-going Adventures.’ These have 360-degree, omni-direction view, real ‘Real 3D’ plus real (in season) wind, rain, mist, snow and fog. Leg tickles, nose tickles, back of neck and other tickles are included as merited, plus spine-tingling tickles where the vistas are stunning. There are more scents than you can imagine, bubbles too if you don’t mind getting wet, and even lightning for those who live dangerously.

To top it all off these adventures are all Free! And if you quiet yourself as you go along you can commune in private with the Producer and Director of it all!

As great a deal as that all is, He tells us there is yet something bigger, something better, something “no eye has seen, no ear had heard,” coming soon to a saved soul near you! “Eternity-goers Adventure” is coming to you too if you have come to Christ. He’s making it all for you. He wants you there. He even has a role for you among the cast!

More tomorrow…

To hear our guest speaker Alan Baker’s Sunday message, go to the Lincoln Baptist Church website and look under ‘Sermons Online’ for the Nov. 10 message.

Monday, 11/11/19 – Pressing on…

Contrasting Kingdoms: God vs Goods

Our church has just concluded hosting a three-day Revival Conference presented by SermonIndex (Sermonindex.net). Sermon Index is an online repository of anointed preaching preserved in audio and video formats. It is an “index” in that messages can be searched by topic, scripture or speaker. The database includes both contemporary and turn of the century expository and revivalist preachers.

20191110_120829Ten gifted men of God challenged attenders physical or electronic, local or international, in real time or future, to seek the Face of God — to come to a place of personal experience where they could testify with Isaiah, “I saw the Lord” (Isa. 6:1).

I, due to illness, was among those who attended online, watching daily at one of the sites listed below*. By the end of the three days I was uplifted, encouraged, and challenged. But in closing this browser page I was immediately assaulted by another. Instead of insights of Heaven the page was busy with the materialism of earth — the misdirected yearnings of souls who’d lost their way. The ‘Black Friday’ ads had begun.

20191110_150243
Black Friday store flyers

The term ‘Black Friday’ is now quickly becoming a misnomer. Merchants bump the celebrated date forward creating preview sales days of ‘Black Thursday,’ ‘Black Wednesday’… further extending the madness to ‘cyber Monday.’ Every store has its week-long ‘Black Friday’ sales flyer. Some webpages display a constantly counting down timer showing the days, hours, minutes and seconds away till extended store hours begin and the doors are let burst open by the crushing onslaught of greed inflamed flesh.

20191110_055006

Oh, earth! How far you’ve fled from the only One who can truly satisfy! Jesus not only fills; He removes all driving sense of wanting more. “The LORD is my Shepherd,” sang David. “I have want of no more” (Ps. 23:1).

Jesus both fills what lacked and removes all desire for anything more. C.S. Lewis wrote, “He who has God and everything else has no more than he who has God only.” – C.S. Lewis, Weight of Glory. David again, “…earth has nothing I desire besides you.” (Ps. 73:25).

What a contrast in kingdoms!

20191110_151230
Tent City, Fredericton

So, what is the believer to do with this world’s goods? God does bless and prosper his faithful servants. Who are they? They are the meek, the weak, the ones who, knowing their true unworthiness, reach out to Christ nonetheless; they reach out to Him desiring only grace. They will find it, and if He also gives them ‘everything else,’ they will no longer desire it. But to them He gives, for He knows they know to give it again.

20191110_132008Today is “Remembrance Day” in Canada, typically a day of reflection upon lives lost in war, a reminder that we must avoid wars wherever possible. Christians are called among other things to be peacemakers. This too is a gift the believer receives… a gift to be given again…

His peace he gives to us
His peace he leaves with us
Not for us alone,
But that we might give it again,
To all men. – folk rendition (c.1970) by Walter Gibson, Woodstock ON, of Germaine Habjan’s ‘Gift of Peace.’**

More tomorrow…

* You too can be challenged by the messages we received from these anointed speakers. Look for Sermonindex Revival Conference 2019 uploads at these online locations:

https://www.facebook.com/sermonindex/
https://www.facebook.com/gregjgordon
https://www.youtube.com/sermonindex
https://www.youtube.com/BRMinistries
https://twitter.com/sermonindex

** http://www.godsongs.net/2012/04/gift-of-peace-his-peace-he-gives-to-us.html

Wednesday, 11/6/19 – Pressing on…

Making ready…

“…make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with Him. …you have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ…” (2 Pet. 3:14, 17, 18)

sky earth galaxy universe

For the believer, the purpose of end-time prophecies is to alert him to make himself ready for the return of his King. It is not to come out on top as the one who most rightly deciphered the indicators. These signs are the every quickening, ever intensifying g reminders that the birth of the Kingdom of God is nearer now than when we first believed. Jesus’ command to His faithful in light of these signs are these,

Watch out that no one deceives you… do not let your love grow cold… stand firm to the end… preach the gospel… do not be concerned for personal possessions… pray… Don’t fall for false messiahs… be wary of false wonders… when you see all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door… keep watch… be ready… you will not know the day or hour… be ready… be a faithful and wise servant… (see Matt. 24)

Watch out that no one deceives you… be on your guard.. endure persecutions… be my faithful witness… do not worry what to say, the Holy Spirit will give you the words… stand firm to the end… flee dangers… do not treasure earthly possessions… pray… ignore all announcements of false prophets and their deceptive demonstrations of miracles… be on your guard… when you see signs in the heavens know the end id near… but no one will know the day and hour… keep watch… What I say to you, I say to everyone: ‘Watch!’ (see Mark 13)

Watch out that no one deceives you… do not believe the false prophets… be on your guard… when arrested and brought to trial, do not worry what to say, the Holy Spirit will speak through you… stand firm… do not be mindful of material possessions… pray… believe no claims that the Messiah has come… do not believe their tricks to deceive… be on your guard… end-time signs will indicate His soon return, but none will know the day nor hour… keep watch… I say to everyone: ‘Watch!’ (see Luke 21)

people inside building during nighttime

In none of these gospel records does Christ say to work out the details. His primary concern is that we make ourselves ready, that we seek His face, build our faith, grow our love, firm our stance.

Believer, how will you do this?

It is done by spending time in His Presence, opening to His Spirit, absorbing His Word, and receiving anointed ministry. It is done by being broken before Him, pliant under His Hands, a willing vessel.

I stated Sunday morning that indeed, we cannot schedule a revival, (It is a grace of God), but we can “Set our hearts to seek the Lord.” Join us in person or online these next three days as we make ourselves ready and seek His face together. [See below.]

Press on…

To hear Elder Jim Longworth’s message this past Sunday, go to the Lincoln Baptist Church website and look under ‘Sermons Online’ for the Nov. 3 message.

20191103_152246This week at Lincoln Baptist Church you have a wonderful opportunity to seek the Lord. Join us for the Sermonindex Revival Conference — in person, or online. Go to the Lincoln Baptist Church website for details.

Tuesday, 11/5/19 – Pressing on…

Every Ladder’s Presumption

sea water blue sun

Yesterday I shared with you a parable about a man who lived on a melting ice flow. I’m hoping you see from this that we are all that man. This world and our individual lives are swiftly passing away. James pictures this well when he asks, “What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” (Jas. 4:14). Long ago Isaiah announced,

All people are like grass, and all their faithfulness is like the flowers of the field.
The grass withers and the flowers fall, because the breath of the Lord blows on them.
Surely the people are grass.
The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever. (Isa. 40:6-8)

fire wallpaper

Looking again at 2 Peter 3 we see that rather than melting it will be fire that does away this world: “the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire” (v.7)… It’s destruction will not be gradual, but swift: “…the day… will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare… That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. (v. 10, 12).

These are two sobering, and inescapable realities. We are mortal, and this world is perishing.

So, seeing this is our situation, what are we to do?

whiteladder

Can we escape? Can we like the man on the diminishing ice flow perhaps build a ladder to get away from the icy sea? Perhaps a very strong ladder… a ladder of girders?

Of course not, for the folly of every ladder is its presumption that the land will remain secure. It will not. All earthly foundations will be destroyed. We need a ladder from above.

We must seek the Face of our Creator. Surrender to Him. Grab hold of the ladder He yet holds out to us. Only then can we go on to do what Peter next admonishes,

“…make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with Him. …you have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ…” (2 Pet. 3:14, 17, 18)

More tomorrow…

To hear Elder Jim Longworth’s message this past Sunday, go to the Lincoln Baptist Church website and look under ‘Sermons Online’ for the Nov. 3 message.

20191103_152246This week at Lincoln Baptist Church you have a wonderful opportunity to seek the Lord. Join us for the Sermonindex Revival Conference — in person, or online. Go to the Lincoln Baptist Church website for details.

Monday, 11/4/19 – Pressing on…

A Melting World

christ the reedemer in rio de janeiro brazil

“Seek God or die!” This was the great ultimatum King Asa a gave to those assembled at Jerusalem. Seven thousand animals were sacrificed and, scripture tells, “They entered into a covenant to seek the Lord, the God of their ancestors, with all their heart and soul. All who would not seek the Lord, the God of Israel, were to be put to death, whether small or great, man or woman.” (2 Chron. 15:12, 13)

That’s quite an incentive, yet for many it is still not sufficient…

A PARABLE

A man lived on an ice flow. It was a fairly large ice flow when he first moved there. He thought, what a wonderful place to build a home. So he did. In time he had amassed many structures. His home had grown larger. Many fanciful and exotic things had been brought to his ice floe. He had cars, snow machines, sleds and toboggans. He enjoyed all these things and lived a life of ease.

birds on ice bergs

All this while however the ice flow had slowly but steadily been shrinking. Bit by bit, drop by drop it was melting. The man knew this from the beginning, but had no immanent danger. This flow will last a long, long time, he reasoned. No need go worry now. And so his days passed.

He had heard there was a helicopter hovering in the east. A helicopter that dangled a rope ladder within reach at all times. But amid all his pleasures the man had no desire to seek it out. Life was good here. Why abandon it.

sea water blue sun

Years passed, and now the ice flow was noticeably smaller. Many of the man’s possessions had now fallen into the icy sea. Some corners of his lovely home had now lost foundation. Most concerning of all was the man himself had become old, frail… less able to journey… less able to grip. He saw the helicopter not far away but his ways were now set. In very short time the man’s home a d all within it toppled into the deep. The man himself, having gripped nothing above, and having nothing left under his feet, sank into destruction.

×-×-×-×

Peter asks this probing question, “Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be?” (1 Pet. 3:11) “Seek God or die!” is not a radical threat, but a loving warning. It is repeated all though the scriptures…

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matt. 11:28)

Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, ‘Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink.‘” (John 7:37)

“…as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.” (2 Cor. 5:20)

Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.” (Rev. 3:20)

This world is melting away. Only what you have in the next is yours.

More tomorrow…

20191103_152246This week at Lincoln Baptist Church you have a wonderful opportunity to do just this, to seek the Lord. Join us for the Sermonindex Revival Conference — in person, or online. Go to the Lincoln Baptist Church website for details.