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.

Friday, 8/13/21 – Does God really blind eyes and harden hearts?

Does God really blind eyes and harden hearts?

Brenda asks... “In his gospel John cites Isaiah saying, “He has blinded their eyes and hardened their heart, so that they would not see with their eyes and understand with their heart, and turn to me, and I would heal them.” (John 12:40). Will God cause those who continually turn their back on Him to not be able to see, feel and know Him?

This is indeed a very tough question and I’m not going to score a hundred percent on it! But perhaps I can offer a way of viewing this blinding or hardening that will be helpful.

Scripture teaches it is the Presence of the Holy Spirit upon this earth Who creates conviction of sin in the heart of an unbeliever and woos a soul to the Mercy and Grace of God.

And He, when He comes, will convict the world about [the guilt of] sin [and the need for a Savior], and about righteousness, and about judgment:” (John 16:8, AMP).

But this Mercy and Grace of God will not be extended to mankind forever. This has been clear from the beginning…

And the Lord said, “My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, for he is indeed flesh; yet his days shall be one hundred and twenty years.” (Gen. 6:3, NKJV).

Remember, God does not owe us salvation! We are in the wrong here. “All have turned away, all have become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one.” (Ps. 14:3). It is because of His great ‘compassion and favor’ that God acts to restore us to Himself,

For it is by grace [God’s remarkable compassion and favor drawing you to Christ] that you have been saved [actually delivered from judgment and given eternal life] through faith. And this [salvation] is not of yourselves [not through your own effort], but it is the [undeserved, gracious] gift of God; not as a result of [your] works [nor your attempts to keep the Law], so that no one will [be able to] boast or take credit in any way [for his salvation]. (Eph. 2:8-9, AMP).

Once the Holy Spirit is removed from this earth His conviction and wooing will cease; there will be nothing acting upon sinful souls to draw them to Christ and salvation.

For the mystery of lawlessness [rebellion against divine authority and the coming reign of lawlessness] is already at work; [but it is restrained] only until he who now restrains it is taken out of the way.” (2 Thess. 2:7, AMP).

This is why the hour is urgent as Paul writes, “I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.” (2 Cor. 6:2). Or as we read in Hebrews, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion.” (Heb. 3:15, Ps. 95:8).

But all of this aside we must still bow to the Sovereignty of God. God has every right to hardened hearts if it so pleases Him. However God is also always Just. He is also always Loving, and above all He is also always Holy. In all his actions God acts in consistency with all his attributes. He does nothing arbitrarily and all his works are good.

Tony Reinke comments,

“God’s judicial hardening is not presented as the capricious manipulation of an arbitrary potentate cursing morally neutral or even morally pure beings, but as a holy condemnation of a guilty people who are condemned to do and be what they themselves have chosen.” *

How blessed we are to be children of such a great and gracious God!

Press on…

* Source: https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/you-asked-does-god-harden-a-believers-heart/

Got a question? Use the Contact page and send It to me. We’ll search the Word for God’s answer.

Tuesday, 7/27/21 – Pressing on… Digging deeper into the Gift…

Digging deeper into the Gift…

At first you are astonished at the beauty of the box, the knowing of Presence within you. He has come! Just as Jesus promised, the Holy Spirit of God now rests within you. His perch is not forceful; it is gentle… like… like a dove. It would not take much to shoo Him away, but why would you? His Presence is now the most peaceful and desirous part of your person. The missing piece all these many years, until now.

Opening the Gift further and you find Him speaking to you, sometimes surprisingly. Sometimes He whispers from behind you, “This is the way, walk in it” (Isa. 30:21). Sometimes He comes with undeniably great power (Acts 2:2:-4). Sometimes He speaks as you dream (Joel 2:29, Matt. 1:20, 2:13,19, Acts 2:17, 9:10-11, 10:9-17, 16:9, 18:9, 22:18, 27:23, Rev. 1:12), waking or sleeping. Sometimes by a subtle inner tug (Acts 16:6), or in a season of prayer and fasting (Acts 13:2), as a collective sense (Acts 15), a miraculous intervention (Acts 10:44-48), a direct request for wisdom (James 1:5), through spiritual gifts of the Spirit (1 Cor. 12:7-10), by illumination while reading the scriptures (John 14:26, 16:13-16, Eph. 1:18), a conviction of guilt regarding personal sin (John 16:8), or a sense of peace and affirmation regarding the right thing to do (also John 16:8). In many other ways the Holy Spirit speaks to the believer, leading one to Truth, and as Jesus said, “you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32).

Keep opening the Gift and the Holy Spirit will work deeper and deeper within you. You will learn to trust Him and will grow confident that He will be there in all your times of need. You will stop trying to do His work for Him. “do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say” (Matt. 10:19). You will learn to be “led by the Spirit” (Rom. 8:14, Gal. 5:18) and how to “walk by faith” (2 Cor.5:7).

You will see your very self changing… you will see the “fruits” of the Holy Spirit’s making, growing within you: “love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” (Gal. 5:22-23), grow bolder in your testimony (Acts 4:31), and long more greatly for your eternal heavenly home (1 Cor. 5:6-9, Phil. 1:21-24).

Dig deep into the Gift daily. As Paul reminded Timothy: “…stir up the gift of God which is in you” (2 Tim. 1:6). Dig deep into the Gift today!

More tomorrow…

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

Monday, 7/26/21 – Pressing on… The Gift…

The Gift…

It was Peter’s first sermon… Thousands were in attendance that day and the Acts 2 account lists at least 16 nations represented. Several sources speculate up to seventy language groups were present. How’d you like that as your first congregation?

But that day was special! The Holy Spirit had fallen upon the scene and become the Interpreter. Peter’s message was simple: he recounted the people’s history and showed how they had slain their Messiah! “Let all Israel be assured of this,” he said, “God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ” (v. 36).

Their response was singular: “they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, ‘Brothers, what shall we do?’”(v. 37).

What shall we do indeed? What would you do having learned you had killed your Creator’s Begotten? We must all ask this, for indeed we all are guilty — “None is righteous, no, not one… all have sinned” (Rom. 3:10, 23).

How astonished they must have been to hear there was yet mercy! “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins,” announced Peter (v. 38a). Yes, even this could be forgiven! Had not the Crucified One Himself willed it: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34).

But more! There was yet more! Not only would there be mercy, but also grace! Not only may they be forgiven but also gifted! Peter continued, “…And you will receive the Gift of the Holy Spirit.” (v. 38b). Not a gift from the Holy Spirit, but the Gift of The Holy Spirit — The Holy Spirit Himself is the Gift! That same Spirit will dwell within you, “the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead” (Rom. 8:11).

Yet there still is more! This Gift is not only for those contemporary to Christ, this Gift is for all believers, through all times. He says, “The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.” (v. 39). This Comforter, this Advocate, this Encourager, Teacher, Guide, and Glorifier of the Son, this Spirit of Truth, Spirit of Christ, and Breath of God, as Jesus said, “…He lives with you and will be in you” (John 14:17).

What a magnificent Gift!

Take Him. Thank Him. Know Him. Surrender to Him. Rejoice in Him!

More tomorrow…

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

Tuesday, 3/3/20 – Pressing on

Conviction = Confidence = Hope!

man sneaking behind white louvered wall

We should never run from or try to hide from the convicting voice of the Holy Spirit. It didn’t work for Adam and Eve and it won’t work for you or I. (Gen. 3:8-9). You first came to Christ by surrendering to His conviction and you can only continue in Christ by this same continuous commitment to walking surrendered.

Remember, your life is no longer your own, yet you get to live it, watching Christ live in, out and through you!

“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).

20200302_073319And believe me, that’s way more fun than continually trying and failing to manage it on your own – a thing you were never designed to do!

“Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee.” – Augustine of Hippo

Of course, this all very contrary to the way this world thinks, and that should not surprise us! We are a people made for another world. (John 15:19).

So we should embrace this Voice of the Holy Spirit’s conviction, the Voice behind you that whispers, “This is the way; walk in it,” (Isa. 30:21), the Voice above you that shouts “Come up here,” (Rev. 4:1), the Voice that assures you, teaches you, reminds you, anoints you (John 16:8-15), and the Voice that convicts you when you stray.

white sheep on farm

The fact that you hear that Voice at all assures you that you are Christ’s! “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.” (John 10:27). And if we are His, He will fulfill in us that good purpose for which He created us. As Paul wrote to the Philippians, “He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 1:6).

Embrace the inner convictions of the Holy Spirit. Walk in surrender. Rejoice in hope!

More tomorrow…

To hear Pastor Andrew’s complete message, go to the Lincoln Baptist Church website and look under ‘Sermons Online’ for the Mar. 1 message.

Friday, 2/28/20 – Friday Tough Question

Personal experience, Scripture, or the Holy Spirit?

Here is the full question as I received it:

To what extent does your experience of God have to be bound to Scripture? God has worked in others’ lives in ways that aren’t specific in Scripture. Does your experience of God need to match Scripture or not go against Scripture? And how does the Holy Spirit play a part in this?

silhouette of trees under night sky

God does work in some pretty weird and wacky ways sometimes and we must never put Him in any kind of a box or have any kind of a limited expectation of what He may do. God is Sovereign. As some folk say, “God is God and I am not.”

But at the same time God is immutable… unchanging in character and attributes. What He has revealed to us in scripture as truth is truth, has always been truth and will always be truth. “I am the Lord, I change not.” (Mal. 3:6), “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Heb. 13:8). The Holy Spirit personally guides the believer into all truth, but He does not present us with any new truth, rather, He reminds us of the truth and points us to personal applications of the truth.

“…the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” / “…He will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come… the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.” (John 14:26; 16:13, 15).

gray magnifying glass and eyeglasses on top of open book

This question comes very close to asking if Feelings can sometimes trump Facts. The answer here is a resounding “NO!” This juncture is what Faith is all about. Of Abraham Paul writes, “Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed…” (Rom. 4:18).

Paul urged the Galatians “…even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse!” (Gal. 1:8).

Paul also knew he could not even trust his own estimations of himself. Our conscience can be our guide only so far as it has been accurately informed. Writes Paul, “My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me.” (1 Cor. 4:4).

man wearing a jacket sitting on brown wooden crate

So, while God is free to act in unique ways with each individual He is not the Author of confusion. He does not work at cross purposes to Himself, show favoritism, or contradict His own attributes or nature. Thus, for example, He cannot admit sinners into Heaven, for to do so would contradict His justice and holiness. His Love does not want anyone to perish, thus His Mercy and Grace act in Christ to provide atonement for all who call upon Him.

Experience, feelings, and emotions should be challenged whenever they are in disharmony with the Word of God.

question mark on yellow background

Press on…

Got a question? Use the Contact page and send It to me. We’ll search the Word for God’s answer.