Today’s Blog

Friday, 5/28/21 – What is Nihilism?

What is Nihilism?

Nihilism is defined as “the rejection of all religious and moral principles, in the belief that life is meaningless.” It is a belief of much negativity, cynicism, pessimism, and most certainly unbelief in a loving God, a purposeful Creator, an afterlife of restoration. Nihilist believe that life has no meaning.

When King David neared his death he appointed his son Solomon to be the next king. Daunted by the task before him, Solomon confessed to God, “…I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties. …give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?” (1 Kings 3:7,9). God was pleased by this request and gave Solomon wisdom above all others – “so that there will never have been anyone like you, nor will there ever be” (v. 12).

But Solomon forgot his God. Instead his heart chased after many foreign women, power, possessions, and idolatry. Having removed God from His life, Solomon too embraced.. indeed defined… nihilism: The book of Ecclesiastes chronicles his search for meaning “under the sun” and opens with his conclusion:

“’Meaningless! Meaningless!’ says the Teacher. ‘Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.’ What do people gain from all their labors at which they toil under the sun? Generations come and generations go, but the earth remains forever. …What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun…. No one remembers the former generations, and even those yet to come will not be remembered by those who follow them.” (Eccl. 1:2-4,9,11).

Solomon and Nihilists seem correct in their assessment as far as considering life “under the sun.” But they are wrong in their conclusion because they neglect to include all the data. They have turned their backs on God.

Nihilists make nothing out of something. (But the Christian knows God made everything out of nothing!). Nihilists feel life is pointless because 100 years from now no one will know them or what they have done. (Of course, we don’t know the people who will live 100 years from now or what they will do either!). The answers are found beyond ourselves.

Jesus asks. “What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?” (Mark 8:36). Jesus agrees with the nihilist that apart from God, life has nothing to offer, for apart from God this world and everything in it is perishing. But there is another world, another kingdom, His eternal kingdom. If anyone reading this is thinking all is meaningless under the sun, I urge you to look a little higher. Consider the heavens. God is waiting for you there.

When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?” (Ps. 8:3-4).

Yet, He does…

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16).

Press on…

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

Thursday, 5/27/21 – Fellowship: Shipwrecked!?

Fellowship: Shipwrecked!?

Suppose you were to be shipwrecked on a proverbial desert island. Would you prefer to be shipwrecked alone so the meagre food and shelter resources of the island would last longer, or would you prefer a companion despite the fact this would more speedily deplete the available resources for yourself?

It’s my guess that most folk would take the companion, or at least desperately wish they had after a few days of tedious isolation.

Psychologists tell us that loneliness can be very destructive. It can become a chronic condition leading to depression, loss of sleep and appetite, impaired immune and cardiovascular function, even suicide. Like food and shelter, companionship too is a basic human need. “It is not good for the man to be alone,” said God of His first created human (Gen. 2:18).

In fact, we were designed to need each other. Man, created in the image of God, is incomplete in isolation. We must remember that God Himself exists as a Trinity, a triune fellowship.

Solomon, in the great wisdom God had given him, observed,

“…I saw something meaningless under the sun: There was a man all alone; he had neither son nor brother. There was no end to his toil, yet his eyes were not content with his wealth. ‘For whom am I toiling,’ he asked, ‘and why am I depriving myself of enjoyment?’ This too is meaningless— a miserable business! / Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” (Eccl. 4:7-12)

There is much wisdom in these few lines.

Dependence on and cooperation with each other enhances our ability to survive under harsh conditions. Two heads are better than one in any crisis, and companionship is a a joy to share when all is well. Love finds no object but personal ego when one is alone, and true self-sacrifice on any scale is impossible. Accountability is gone. Support and encouragement are gone, forgiveness cannot grow and there exists no example of higher virtue to emulate.

Many commands of Christ become impracticable:

“…love each other deeply… Offer hospitality to one another… use whatever gift you have received to serve others…” (1 Pet. 4:8-10). “…Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”  (John 15:12-13). “Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.” (Prov. 13:20). “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” (Col. 3:13).

… to mention but a few.

There are no self-made saints, no independent Christians. Christ has likened His people to a Body, each believer being a part, not the whole. Like any body part, any believer separated from the Body will soon die. But working together we can thrive – we can even avoid becoming shipwrecked at all!

Press on…

Are you interested in being discipled one-on-one in the fundamentals of life in Christ? Or, would you like to begin this journey by turning from your current path and committing your path to Christ? — Use the Contact page and we’ll get you started.

Wednesday, 5/26/21 – Pressing on… Meet my Coffee Mug

Meet my Coffee Mug

This is my coffee mug. It is a 16oz (yes oz, not ml) mug with a snap-on lid and handy open/shut spout. It holds just the right amount to last my meal and keeps my brew warm and toasty throughout. I’ve been using this mug for years now and, unless I’m dining out, I’ve almost never had a coffee without it. No one else uses my mug. Everyone knows it is set apart as mine alone. It sits by, clean and handy, ready for use, whenever I may call upon it.

Paul makes reference to set apart things in encouraging young Timothy to holiness…

In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for special purposes and some for common use. Those who cleanse themselves from the latter will be instruments for special purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.” (2 Tim. 2:20-21)

This being “set apart” is what Biblical holiness is all about. In fact to be “set apart,” “separated from others,” “different.” is exactly what the Biblical word “holy” (Hebrew qodes; Greek hagios) means. In regards to God, it refers to objects and people that God has set apart for His own use and service.

The Christian is one who has willfully offered himself to God as God’s possession, for God to use as He pleases. The Christian keeps himself clean and handy, ready for use, whenever God calls upon Him.

“Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” (1 Pet. 1:13-16).

Paul is not asking something impossible here, nor is Jesus when He commands “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matt. 5:48). The call is to be mature in your faith, committed to Christ as His alone, an “instrument for special purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.”

As Pastor Andrew urges us, citing St. Paul, citing the prophets, “Come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.’ [Isa. 52:11; Ezek. 20:34,41] (2 Cor. 6:14-17).

Press on…

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, 5/25/21 – Pressing on… He didn’t actually mean “holy” – did He?

He didn’t actually mean “holy” – did He?

“His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.

2 Pet. 1:3

Wait, Whaat? What did that verse at the end of yesterday’s blog just say? Did Peter say it is possible for a believer to actually achieve personal holiness in this life??? Can one truly walk about in this filthy fallen world yet remain unsullied… unsoiled? I know Jesus did, but… well,, He’s Jesus! I know He charged us to, “Be holy, for I am holy,” (Lev. 19:2; 20:7, 26; 21:8; Exod. 19:6; 1 Pet. 1:16; 1 Thess. 4:7) But surely He didn’t actually mean “holy” – did He?

Pastor Andrew’s text on Sunday was this:

“14 Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? 15 What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? 16 What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: ‘I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.’ [Lev. 26:12; Jer. 32:38; Ezek. 37:27] 17 Therefore, ‘Come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.’ [Isa. 52:11; Ezek. 20:34,41] (2 Cor. 6:14-17).

The first three verses underscore our urgent need to walk in holiness while the citations from the Law and Prophets reveal how. Peter says the means to personal purity come to us “through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.” Paul refers to the scriptures and shows the means to holiness is God Himself “living with us” and “walking among us,” and in our obedience to Him as Lord and God. Because God is with us, even within us, we receive of His enabling Holy Spirit. Peter explains that now, through Christ, we come to this relationship with Him “through our knowledge of him who called us.”

Because of the Spirit of Christ living within the believer he/she now has a CHOICE at every crossroad: righteousness or wickedness, Christ or Belial, God or idols? We have a choice, to serve Christ, or serve self, to “Come apart” from the ways of this world, or be absorbed into them?

Faith and belief in Christ, acknowledging and turning from sin, daily shunning evil and embracing spiritual disciplines – by these we can “Come out” and “be separate.” This, daily, is what it means to live a godly life!

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, 5/24/21 – Pressing on… Testimonies to His Holiness

Testimonies to His Holiness

During our Adult Bible Class hour this past Sunday we were reminded and directed in our duty to be Christ’s ambassadors to lost souls of this present world. Our Sunday message followed focusing on the holiness of God and our need for personal holiness in order to enter His Presence. These things we cannot do of our own ability; they are both divine workings of God — workings made possible by the actions of the Holy Spirit, Who Himself is God, convicting, indwelling, empowering and transforming the committed and surrendered believer.

The Christian — all Christians — are commanded to be witnesses both of and to Christ. By this work of the Holy Spirit we testify of the transformations wrought in us through the newness of our deeds and desires, and we also testify to the Person of Christ by our likeness to Him… through lives of purity and separation from the loves and lures of this fallen world.

Both of these require our complete surrender. We surrender fully to Christ in the act of salvation (repentance and obedience), and we surrender fully to Christ in our walk of sanctification (becoming holy as He is holy).

As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him,” adjures the apostle (Col. 2:6). Oswald Chambers comments, “My unrestrained commitment of myself to God gives the Holy Spirit the opportunity to grant to me the holiness of Jesus Christ.” (My Utmost, 3/21 entry).

It is every believer’s duty and privilege to “come apart” from this world and live godly before our God.

Do not be yoked together with unbelievers.” (2 Cor. 6:14).

Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matt. 11:29-30).

His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.” (2 Pet. 1:3).

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.

Friday, 5/21/21 – Who am I?

Who am I?

This morning as I did my morning exercises I listened to CBC Radio’s “Ideas.” The episode discussed the 1971 two-act play “Hayavadana” (Horse face) written by Girish Karnad. The play tells the story of three friends caught in a love triangle that leads to an intense identity crises after the heads of two of them are switched!

As the play opens the audience meets Hayavadana a character with a man’s body and a horse’s head. He pleads with the narrator Bhagavata to help him become a complete man, but nothing can be done.

As Hayavadana seeks completion throughout the play we learn of the love triangle between best friends Devadatta and Kapila, and the woman they love, Padmini.

Devadatta tells Kapila that he will sacrifice himself to the goddess Kali if he can marry Padmini. The goddess grants Devadatta his wish but when he suspects the relationship between his wife and Kapila Devadatta visits Kali and cuts off his head. When Kapila discovers what Devadatta has done he also decides to cut off his head!

Padmini, now pregnant, begs Kali to help. Kali agrees and instructs Padmini to place the heads back on the bodies and press a sword to their necks. She does, and the characters are restored, BUT Padmini has mixed up the heads!

Kapila and Devadatta think this funny at first until they try to determine which of them is married to Padmini? “Whose wife is she?” asks Kapila. “This is the hand that accepted her at the wedding. This, the body she’s lived with all these months. And the child she’s carrying is the seed of this body.”

The question really is: Who is the true person: head, or body? In other words, “Who am I?” “Where is my ‘self’?”

Scripture tells us the answer to this question. We are, each one of us, a living soul. We live currently In these temporal bodies, but soon, like all mortal things, they will pass away. But the soul shall never die.

Jesus warns us of the folly of mixing these things up. He asks us to think logically about this. He asks, “What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?” (Mark 8:36-37). He urges, “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Matt. 10:28).

Your soul is you! Your most important task in this life is that you give that soul to Christ.

Jesus called out with a loud voice, ‘Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.’” (Luke 23:46).

Press on…

Link to the “Ideas” audio here.

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

Thursday, 5/20/21 – Prayer & Perseverance

Prayer & Perseverance

Mankind’s first attempt to retrieve sound from Mars was in 1999 when microphones were incorporated into the design of NASA’s ‘Mars Polar Lander.’ The Lander blasted off on January 3, 1999. It began its descent to the planet’s surface exactly eleven months later on Dec. 3, 1999. Unfortunately NASA lost communication with the spacecraft as it neared the planet, likely due to the jolt of its landing gear’s deployment prematurely triggering engine shut-down and causing the spacecraft to crash.

Another attempt was made by the French space agency CNES. The well microphoned ‘Netlander’ was scheduled to launch in 2007 but was cancelled in 2004 due to lack of funds.

NASA again made an attempt including a microphone in the ‘Phoenix Lander’ which successfully landed near the Martian north pole in 2008. But just prior to launch it was discovered that operation of the microphone could potentially interfere in the operation of other spacecraft systems, thus it was deactivated. By November of that same year the Phoenix had frozen in the frigid temperatures of the Martian north.

Attempts were also made to include microphones on NASA’s Spirit, Opportunity, Curiosity, and InSight missions, and also on the European Space Agency’s Schiaparelli lander which ended up crashing in 2016.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

On July 30, 2020 NASA’s aptly named ‘Perseverance’ launched and after nearly seven months travelling at a speed of about 24,600 mph (c 39,000 kph) arrived intact on the Martian soil on Feb. 18, 2021. The next day Perseverance recorded its first sounds from Mars.

Now, I’m really trying to not say the obvious, but you know it’s just begging to be said: “Perseverance pays”!

Perseverance, “the continued effort to do or achieve something despite difficulties, failure, or opposition” becomes profitable (worthwhile… brings success) in virtually every setting in which it is found – including prayer!

Jesus even told a parable to emphasize this truth. Scripture very clearly affirms this intent: “Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up (Luke 18:1).

The parable which follows tells of a widow who repeatedly pled to a heartless judge for justice to be done against her adversary. He ignored her many times until he realized it would be less tiring to hear the woman’s case than to keep trying to put her off. He said, “I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.” (Luke 18:5 NKJV).

The point of the parable is this: If persistence pays of with such a disagreeable person as this judge then won’t it certainly pay off with a Heavenly Father Who loves us and delights when we come to HIm? The obvious answer: of course He will! (Read the whole story in Luke 18:1-8).

Pray without ceasing” (1 Thess. 5:17 KJV).

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

May the Lord direct your hearts… to the steadfastness of Christ.” (2 Thess. 3:5 NLT).

Want to hear from Mars? –  PLAY & PRESS HERE. 

Want to hear from God? –  PRAY & PERSEVERE!

Press on…

Are you interested in being discipled one-on-one in the fundamentals of life in Christ? Or, would you like to begin this journey by turning from your current path and committing your path to Christ? — Use the Contact page and we’ll get you started.

Wednesday, 5/19/21 – “My disciple must…follow Me…”

“My disciple must…follow Me…”

To follow someone or some teaching is to act in accordance with that example or instruction. It is to adhere to, to stick to, to abide by, comply with, or conform to. It means most certainly to obey, and to do so because of personal regard, surrender or willful acceptance.  

Take the most simplest of things… like playing a game for example. All the players must first know and then agree together to follow the rules, otherwise no sense at all exists in even starting to play. Or suppose you want to get to an unfamiliar destination. Perhaps you buy a roadmap or hire a guide. It would obviously be foolish and possibly quite dangerous to ignore these and make up your own way as you travel along. Not just any way will do! You must follow the one who knows the one true way.

Jesus invites us to life eternal with Him in His Kingdom. Before His departure Jesus gave us a most simplified illustration as to how to know, and find strength, and follow Him to that Kingdom. He Himself IS that One true Way. “I Am the Way,” He said. “Abide in Me.

Christ is the vehicle. He has already paid the costly fare. The way to follow Him is to surrender our ideas as to the route, leave where we now are, bid Him entry into fellowship with us that we may enter into fellowship with Him, then stay in Him… “abide” in Him.

We follow Christ not by strength of human determination. That effort is always futile. We follow Christ by living in Him, surrendering to and becoming enabled by His Spirit living in us. We “abide by” Him as we “abide in” Him.

Follow Him today! (John 10:27; 12:26; 21:19).

Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” (Luke 9:23 nkjv)

Press on…

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, 5/18/21 – “My disciple must…take up their cross…”

“My disciple must…take up their cross…”

We say of one with a disability, or one with an abusive upbringing, or of one who must daily provide exhausting care for another, we say that such a one “has a difficult cross to bear.” These may be unfortunate trials, but they are not at all the “cross” to which Jesus here refers.

To “bear one’s cross” is to bear the disgrace of the cross (Heb. 13:13). It is when a believer, having unashamedly professed one’s identification with Christ – whether by bold words, visible lifestyle, fruits of the Spirit, or separateness from the world – one bears the consequences of that profession whatever they may be. The Christian journeys toward death carrying with him this profession of faith under the Lordship of Jesus. It drags behind him making a furrow in the soil, a witness all can see. Those disturbed by this witness will further assault this saint, as they assaulted Christ. “All that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” (2 Tim. 3:12).

Barnes speaks well on this:

When persons were condemned to be crucified, a part of the sentence was that they should carry the cross on which they were to die to the place of execution… The cross was usually composed of two rough beams of wood, united in the form of this figure of a cross It was an instrument of death… To carry it was burdensome, was disgraceful, was trying to the feelings, was an addition to the punishment. So “to carry the cross” is a figurative expression, denoting that we must endure whatever is burdensome, or is trying, or is considered disgraceful, in following Christ. It consists simply in doing our duty, let the people of the world think of it or speak of it as they may. It does not consist in making trouble for ourselves, or doing things merely “to be opposed;” it is doing just what is required of us in the Scriptures, let it produce whatever shame, disgrace, or pain it may. This every follower of Jesus is required to do. – Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Bible

Jesus states this requirement in even starker fashion. He says, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:26-27). Not that one should have pure hate in one’s heart, but that one’s devotion to Christ surpasses one’s devotion to kin, even surpassing one’s sense of self-preservation of temporal life.

“I am not ashamed of the gospel,” wrote Paul (Rom. 1:16). Indeed, none of us should be. Did not Jesus warn, “Whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.” (Luke 9:26). None of us want that!

“It is a great encouragement to us, when we meet with crosses,” writes Matthew Henry, “that in bearing them we follow Christ, who has showed us the way; and that if we follow him faithfully, he will lead us through sufferings like him, to glory with him.” Hence we are urged to “fix our eyes upon Jesus” (See Heb. 12:1-3).

Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” (Luke 9:23 nkjv)

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, 5/17/21 – “My disciple must…deny self…”

“My disciple must…deny self…”

Vladimir Lenin likened communists to “dead men on furlough,” men committed from the beginning and ready to die for their cause. To such men each new day is seen as an unguaranteed reprieve.

In a similar manner the Christian is called to live life like that. From the get-go the way to Christ begins with life surrender. We “give Him our life” and in return He gives us His! “For you died,” Paul writes the Colossians, “and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.” (Col. 3:3).

New birth, it seems, requires old death. How them do we live yet be dead? Paul explains, “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).

But this death is not an instant death, just as crucifixion does not occur instantly. There are daily battles to be fought, “For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other” (Gal. 5:17). We fight these battles at every small crossroad many times each day: Will you choose anger, or forgiveness? Giving or withholding? Indulgence or self-control? Like newly formed rivulets of trickling water each action grows the flow deeper, wider, till at last it becomes a rushing river.

So much so was Martin Luther’s identification with Christ that he once commented “The moment I consider Christ and myself as two I am gone.” For Luther, he had no identity except his identity in Christ… the identity that God, working in him by the indwelling Holy Spirit, was conforming more and more each day to the image and likeness of Christ. As Paul travailed in prayer for the Galatians “until Christ is formed in you” (Gal. 4:19).

To hear and heed that “still, small Voice” behind you saying “This is the way; walk in it.” (Isa. 30:21): this is what it is to “walk by the Spirit” (Gal. 5:16)… to walk away from the way of the flesh, leaving it off to die, and making Christ’s life living through you your chief desire.

Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires” (v.24).

Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” (Luke 9:23 nkjv)

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.