Today’s Blog

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: Isaacs, Jacob, Laban, Esau, Joseph, Moses, Aaron, Ruth, Orpah, Samuel, David, Jonathan, Absalom, Joab, 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 hid horrid 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.” Also shown in 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 rebelliousness of 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. He is God; you are not. Kiss Him. Make peace with Him. Come near Him. Come in contact. Kiss as relative for He us 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. 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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Friday, 11/15/19 – Friday Tough Question

How did Cain know his offering was not accepted?

Interesting question. Of course we could also ask “How did Abel know his offering was accepted?” Or, “What prompted mankind’s first generation to make offerings to God at all?”

The Bible does not address these questions directly, but if we pause to think through what scripture does tell us certain reasonable assumptions do stand out.

20180811_162826God created man because He desired relationship… someone to love and someone who could love in return. Honest relationship requires free-will. I cannot build intimacy with a machine. As much as I love my morning coffee my coffeemaker will never love me in return. While computers are growing more and more in their ability to mimic human relationship it is still a mimicry. Free-will comes with risk. Free-will does not guarantee reciprocal love, it only makes it possible. Hate or indifference are also possible.

To help man understand this God deliberately made man incomplete. He made Adam whole at first but then removed a part of him:

“So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.” (Gen. 2:21-22)

So man and woman were drawn together in love and by this learned also love toward God… true love born out of free will… free will that also made possible disobedience… sin… and the consequence of sin: death.

close up of fruits hanging on tree

Well, we know what happened. Along came the tempter, the prohibition was challenged, the punishment begun. First there was immediate death of relationship. Adam and Eve now hid from God… ashamed of their differences they covered themselves. But their coverings were insufficient. Sin required death… one’s own, or a substitute. And God taught them this truth by offering the first sacrifice to cover sin… by slaying innocent animals and clothing man and woman with their skins. (Interesting isn’t it that we call animal skins “hides” for that became their atoning function.)

burial cemetery countryside cross

This much we know from scripture; what comes next can come only by reasonable assumption. These coverings for sin could only be temporary. They did not remove the corruption now within mankind. Further sins were now our tendency and physical death remained our earthly reality. Until Christ provided His act of ultimate redemption other sacrifices were needed. So it seems reasonable to assume that God instructed Adam and Eve in these principles, and that they in turn taught their children.

Thus, Cain and Abel would clearly have understood that the only acceptable offering required shed blood. In choosing to offer otherwise Cain chose disobedience and his fellowship with God remained broken.

We read further if this in the New Testament book of Hebrews:

“By faith Abel brought God a better offering than Cain did. By faith he was commended as righteous, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith Abel still speaks, even though he is dead…. And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” (Heb. 11:4, 6).

Press on…

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

Thursday, 11/14/19 – Discipleship – Evangelism

You, the Evangelist…

photo of pathway surrounded by fir trees

Two paths lay before every soul and Jesus described them clearly:

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” (Matt. 7:13-14).
“…Jesus said again, ‘Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved.’” (John 10:7-9).

In the classic novel by John Bunyon, The Pilgrim’s Progress, Christian stands before this gate, seeking entrance…

…At last there came a grave person to the gate, named Goodwill, who asked who was there, and whence he came, and what he would have.
Christian: Here is a poor burdened sinner. I come from the city of Destruction, but am going to Mount Zion, that I may be delivered from the wrath to come; I would therefore, sir, since I am informed that by this gate is the way thither, know if you are willing to let me in.
Goodwill: I am willing with all my heart, said he; and with that he opened the gate.
…So when he was got in, the man of the Gate asked him who directed him thither.
Christian: Evangelist bid me come hither and knock, as I did: and he said, that you, sir, would tell me what I must do.
Goodwill: An open door is set before thee, and no man can shut it.
Christian: Now I begin to reap the benefits of my hazards.

Evangelist bid me come hither,” replies Christian. The term “Evangel” originates from two Greek words: eu (well) and angelein (announce). Essentially it means ‘bringing good news.’ An “Evangelist” is a person who does this, the one who brings the good news. Without this herald, none can be saved.

Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved,” writes Paul (Rom. 10:13). But how can anyone know this if there is no one to tell them? He continues…

“How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!’” (Rom. 10:14-15).

photograph of men having conversation seating on chair

We are Christ’s ambassadors,” Paul writes elsewhere. “God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, ‘Come back to God!’” (2 Cor. 5:20 – NLT). “By the Holy Spirit we take God into Creation,” challenged Pat Emerick, one of our recent Revival Conference speakers. And Jesus’ commission to every believer is very clear: “Go and make disciples of all nations” (Matt. 28:19).

Every believer is called by God to do this — and every believer can! If you know how to gossip, you know how to evangel. It’s simply a matter of content!

Another conference presenter, Manuel Brayley, showed us a tiny seed, and then a fully grown apple. He reminded us that we are all landscape-changing ‘Johnny Appleseeds.’ We sow the seeds of the gospel and our efforts are not wasted — God, through Isaiah, has guaranteed it:

As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. (Isa. 55:10-11).

two men talking on focus photography

Be an evangel in the setting and situation in which God has placed you. You are His agent there. Your story is precisely the one needed among those very people around you. You are not in your place by accident, but by appointment. Rely on His Spirit. Walk through all doors He opens to you. Be obedient moment by moment; open your mouth when He tells you and trust that He indeed will fill it with the life-giving words that are needed.

Those who go out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with them.” (Ps. 126:6).

Nothing of your testimony is ever wasted!

Press on…

20190522_065320Are you interested in being discipled one-on-one in the fundamentals of new life in Christ? Or, perhaps you would you like to know how to begin this journey and take the very first of the First Steps by turning from your current path and committing your path to Christ? — Use the Contact page and we’ll get you started.

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.

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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.

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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!

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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

Friday, 11/8/19 – Friday Tough Question

Do I currently need “revival?”

greyscale photography of woman wearing long sleeved top

When my life is in obvious turmoil and I am acutely aware something is wrong I desperately desire the thing be made right. During such times I seek God most earnestly… I plead for His transformative intervention! “Please God, fix this!” There is “me,” the needy child of God, and there is “it,” the wrong thing I desire be made right. In these trials I see the matter clearly.

photo of person reading

But there are other times, times when life goes on “as normal”… comfortable and familiar times during which I sense nothing wrong at all. In these times I do not seek God so urgently. Nothing appears broken; nothing needs repair. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” goes the popular saw. In these times I may sense no pressing need… no need for “revival.”

“If you were wrong would you want to know it?” asks renowned TV personality Dr. Phil McGraw.

orange and black frog

God comes into one’s life not to help one go on “as normal,” but to bring one to dwell on a much higher place… far, far above “normal.” What we call “normal” is merely that corner of the frog swamp that has been most recently familiar to us. But God is transforming us, changing us from frogs into princes and princesses… creatures no longer fit for ponds but for palaces.

CS Lewis cites George MacDonald,

Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on: you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently he starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of—throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were going to be made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself. – CS Lewis [citing George MacDonald], Mere Christianity

perspective of a n old building with renaissance architectural design

Is nothing broken? Is nothing in need of repair?… in need of improvement?… or perhaps needing abandonment or replacement?

“If you were wrong would you want to know it?” asks the Great Doctor. Are you in need of “revival?”

Some questions are their own answers.

Press on…

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

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