Today’s Blog

Thursday, 10/10/19 – Discipleship – Freedom!

Free for all…

“Jesus said, ‘… you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.’ They answered him, ‘We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?’ Jesus replied, ‘Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. … So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.’” (John 8:31-36).

woman in maroon shirt with black chain on her body

One reason more people do not flock to Jesus for salvation and freedom is they, like these folk, do not realize they are enslaved. “We… have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?”

But being under the dictates of a physical taskmaster is only one way a person might be enslaved. We can be enslaved by circumstances, living conditions, illness, memories and regrets, compulsions or obsessions, spiritual bondage, fears, a vengeful heart, guilt or other matters of conscience.

man in blue and brown plaid dress shirt touching his hair

Without Christ we are all “slaves to sin,” filled with worry, purposelessness and a fear of death.

Without Christ we are also slaves to the only nature within us, the carnal nature. Ultimately it produces actions (or “works”) such as these: “sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like.” (Gal. 5:19, 20).

But Christ gives us a new “nature.” He gives us His very own!

photo of pathway surrounded by fir trees

The child of God has a choice! A new nature works within him “to will and to act” (Phil. 3:13) as God desires — in ways we were created to be, and do — ways which give us the greatest joy and fulfillment. Scripture calls these ways “fruit,” and like fruit they grow and develop effortlessly, are beautiful to see, and provide nourishment to others. You’ll find a starter list in Paul’s letter to the Galatians: “love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” (Gal. 5:22, 23).

The duty of the new or seasoned believer is to choose the new nature over the old nature at every crossroad of decision. We are called to swim against the current of this fallen world, our own depraved urges of the flesh, and the schemes, wiles and temptations of the devil – that old and desperate liar with a gripe against God.

The Christian’s freedom is in having this choice, and the enabling of God’s Spirit. Then the more he chooses rightly the more he will be transformed, desiring the good more than the evil.

Paul exhorts us to be strong in this,

Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery… / You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh… / …walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 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, so that you are not to do whatever you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.” (Gal. 5:1, 13, 16-18)

“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.’” (John 8:36).

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, 10/9/19 – Pressing on…

Framing God!

20191007_175356Cinerama — a blending of the words cinema and panorama — first hit theatre screens in 1952. The process employed three interlocked cameras set at 48 degrees to each other in an arc with each camera photographing one third of the image. The resulting images were then projected by three similarly arranged projectors onto a 148 degree arced screen. The debut film was “This is Cinerama.” Here’s a link to its trailer.

20191007_175124As you can imagine, when movies filmed for Cinerama were cropped or compressed to be shown on smaller screens or television, much of the viewing experience and information was lost or distorted. Not many people have a viewing room with three projectors and a 148 degree arced screen!

20191007_175216When we set our selves to view God within the boundaries of our own self-determined frame, we fail miserably to really see Him.

The shocking truth is that God is in fact a very real, self-determining Entity! He needs no help from us to define or defend Him. He laughs when we try to put a frame around Him. “Do not I fill heaven and earth?” God asks through Jeremiah (Jer. 23:24). In his prayer at the dedication of the temple Solomon acknowledged “But will God really dwell on earth? The heavens, even the highest heaven, cannot contain you. How much less this temple I have built!” (1 Kings 8:27).

20191007_194512“If you really want to meet Jesus,” Elder Don entreated us, “Throw away the box you made for him!”

God is infinitely bigger than a 148 degree arced screen! He is not limited to time, space, or human comprehension.

God cannot be framed!

Press on…

To hear Elder Don’s complete message, go to the Lincoln Baptist Church website and look under ‘Sermons Online’ for the Oct. 6 message.

Tuesday, 10/8/19 – Pressing on…

Genie or Jesus?

photo of a pathway in a forest

The story is told of two of Canada’s First Nation peoples walking along a woodland trail next to a highway. Suddenly the calm and chirp and rustle of the woods is drowned by the roar of a passing sports car driven by a young European. Says one to the other, “White man know how to get to town, but he not know the way.”

God’s purpose in our lives is not so much that we attain destinations as it is that we be transformed by the travel. We need to experience the way… develop callous, taste raw honey, be quenched by the brook water and savour wild mint. We need to feel the calm, release our stress, take comfort in the chirp, and rustle, and slowly but surely see our Maker more clearly.

This past Sunday Elder Don Longworth outlined five essential truths one must visit “if,” as his message topic stated, “you really want to meet Jesus.”

If you really want to meet Jesus…

• Check your motives at the door: petition or person? (Genie or Jesus?)
• Have no entitled attitude: approach God in humility and reverence
• Find a genuine follower to teach you: actual or biographies.
• Press in: seek with desperation; the forceful take hold of the Kingdom of God.
• Throw away the box you made for him!

person placing hands on bible

Are you journeying to Jesus because you want something from Him? Or do you seek simply to be with Him, to be engulfed and soaked through by Him? To give something to Him… to give Him yourself?

Yes we are encouraged to “come boldly” to His throne (Heb. 4:16), called to be “kings and priests” in His Kingdom (Rev. 1:6; 5:10), but we must steer far from arrogance. Though “we boast in the hope of the glory of God” we must ever remember it is His “grace in which we now stand” (Rom. 5:1). We approach Jesus in humility and reverence.

silhouette photography of people

Paul urged Timothy “the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others.” (2 Tim. 2:2). We have a twofold duty: (i) to received guidance and encouragement and challenge from others whose faith we admire, and (ii) to be such a model ourselves to those newer to the path and cross of Christ.

Jesus said, “I am the Way…” (John 14:6).

Do you know the Way? – or are you just roaring around like a sports car?

More tomorrow…

To hear Elder Don’s complete message, go to the Lincoln Baptist Church website and look under ‘Sermons Online’ for the Oct. 6 message.

Monday, 10/7/19 – Pressing on…

Slow down and see…

I love to walk. Actually that’s not exactly true. I love to run, and I like to walk. But these days my body says I only get to walk. Running is out. Walking is now king, so I may as well say I love it!

unknown person pointing at magazine

Well, I arrived a few minutes early for church this Sunday. The worship team was still preparing for the service and the sanctuary was otherwise empty. So I lingered in the lobby and began leafing through the magazine rack.

When my eyes spotted an older issue of Faith Today* magazine with the cover article “The Joy of WALKING in a Life of Faith,” well, as you can imagine, it caught my attention.

silhouette of man at daytime

In it the author Mark Buchanan notes that Christianity has no physical discipline associated with it. He writes, “Hinduism has yoga. Taoism has Tai Chi. Shintoism as karate. Christianity has… nothing.” He wonders if perhaps Christianity did have a physical discipline which accompanied it and possibly lost it. But whether it did or it didn’t he speculates that if it were to have one the one most appropriate would be walking.

Jesus walked everywhere. When Jesus called “Come, follow me,” Buchanan points out that Jesus was walking, not driving!

Walking slows us down. “I needed to slow down to catch up,” he says.

This past Sunday Elder Don Longworth encouraged us to slow down and see Jesus. “It is amazing how much you will get out of a church service when all you want is Jesus,” He told us. To slow down and see Jesus enriches you no matter what the circumstances.

group of people raising hands silhouette photography

Sometimes even despite our mis-seeking, God breaks through. Were we seeking entertainment… spectacle… a concert? Sometimes even despite these we will see Jesus. How much more of Him might we see if we came seeking only Him?

Today is Monday. Another week lay ahead of you. Will you seek Jesus in it? Will you seek Him today…. Now? Paul and Silas saw Jesus as they sang worship songs to him from prison. (Acts 16:25-26). In fact, an earthquake ensued and their captor was set free. He too saw Jesus… he and his household. (v. 29-34).

Writes Buchanan, referencing Japanese theologian Kosuke Koyama, “I follow a three-mile-an-hour God.” A walking pace God.

Slow down. See Jesus. Walk with Him.

His eyes are on you.

More tomorrow…

*Faith Today, May/June 2019, p. 30

Friday, 10/4/19 – Tough Question – Why Tithe?

Why Should I Tithe?

20191002_154203“Tithing” is the practice of giving to the church ten percent of your income. Sounds like a scam right off the bat to today’s ear, doesn’t it? A common response on first learning about tithing is “What! That’s outrageous! Who can afford to do that in today’s economy?”

But tithing is clearly taught in the scriptures. I can go on to demonstrate this from Abraham, the Patriarchs, the Levitical Priesthood, Judaism, and the early church, but I’m not going to. You see, I don’t think the decision to practice tithing is so much a matter of the intellect as it is of the heart and of the will. It does not have so much to do with understanding as it does with faith and obedience.

man cross legs seating on white wooden chair

Real faith always shows up in one’s actions… in the way one lives. If you believe the chair is built well and will support you, you will sit in it; if you trust Tom you will give him responsibility. In fact, if you believe there will be negative consequences otherwise, you will pay your taxes… for some up to 40% of income. Hmm.

What do you believe about these promises of God:

“I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread.” (Ps. 37:25)

“And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.” (Phil.4:19).

“Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.” (Malachi 3:10)

“…do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear….your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (see all Matt. 25-34)

“So give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.” (Matt. 22:21).

“On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with your income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made.” (1 Cor. 16:2).

Veteran tithers know that you cannot outgive God. Somehow God always honors faith and faithfulness in tithing by stretching the remaining 90% to be more than adequate. “Test me in this,” He says (Mal. 3:10 above).

Are you up for His challenge?

Press on…

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

Thursday, 10/3/19 – Discipleship – Assurance

Another OCD…

semi open white wooden door

One behaviour associated with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is the urge to continually check oneself. Did I really lock the door? … close the window? … turn off the tap? Sufferers are ‘compelled’ to return again and again to the door… the window… the faucet… to check, double-check and triple-check their actions.

This need for constant reassurance can be exhausting for the person with OCD, but even more troublesome is the believer who struggles with another sort of OCD — lets call it Obsessive Christian Doubting – one who seeks constant reassurance that he or she is indeed loved and saved by Christ.

What every believer young or old must firmly establish in their heart and thinking is that though their emotions will vary from day-to-day, one’s salvation is based on something far more stable and enduring: the eternal Word of God!

white and black anchor with chain at daytime

In Hebrews we read, “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.” (Heb. 6:19) – and as any seaman will tell you, though a ship bob’s up and down sometimes even violently, an anchor does not move!

David rejoiced, “Your Word, Lord, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens.” (Ps. 119:89).

Isaiah conveyed God’s Promise, “So shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.” (Isa. 55:11).

Paul reminded young Timothy, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness…” (2 Tim. 3:16).

photo of person flipping book page

Peter affirmed, “Knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” (2 Pet. 1:20-21)

  • It is by the Word of God that we know our lost state: Rom. 3:23, Isa. 59:2…
  • And the consequence of it: Rom. 6:23, Rev. 21:8…
  • And it is by the Word of God that we know of Christ our Saviour: John 1:1-18, 1 John 1:1-10…
  • His Love and Gift: John 3:16, 1 John 4:10…
  • And how we are to receive Him: John 3:17-18, Mark 16:16, Acts 2:38, 16:31, Rom. 10:9…

When I made a public profession of faith in Christ some fifty years ago a counselor told me this simple triplet: “God said it, I believe it, that settles it!”

Christ is our sacrifice once for all. We need not continually check and recheck if He still loves us… if we are still in the family of God. Like a baby learning to walk, when we fall we do not need to be born all over again! We need only admit we have fallen, get up, and press on.

“Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.” (Luke 12:32).

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, 10/2/19 – Pressing on…

Seven steps on water…

beach dawn dusk ocean

The Bible does not tell us how many steps Peter took toward Jesus when he stepped out of the boat and onto the water that long-ago day (see Matt. 14:25-32). But he did take a few steps before his eyes left Jesus and looked again at the waves. And we know that together they both walked back to the boat. With each miraculous step Peter was putting his full weight upon something which his mind said was impossible to support him.

All “steps of faith” are like that: battlegrounds of divine faith and human reason.

blue water

In his message on Sunday Pastor Andrew referenced The Baptism with the Holy Spirit by R.A. Torrey. In chapter three of this book Torrey presents the following seven steps to fullness of the Holy Spirit. All are either stated or implied in Acts 2:38.

“Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:38).

R. A. Torrey’s seven steps to fullness of the Spirit

1. Repent – Change your mind about Christ. – Acceptance
2. Repent – Change your mind about sin. – Renunciation.
3. Be Baptized – Make a public profession of faith in and obedience to Christ through water baptism.
4. Obey – Make a total surrender of your will to the will of God.
5. Desireintensely and in purity to be filled with the Holy Spirit.
6. Ask – Appropriate the Spirit by asking to be filled of Him. “…how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Luke 11:13)
7. Believe – “’Have faith in God,’ Jesus answered… ‘I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.’” (Mark 11:22…24)

All of God’s gifts are good. We need not fear any of them. He is a Good, Good Father.

Someone once said, “We have as much of God as we want.” — How much of God do you want?

Press on…

To hear Pastor Andrew’s complete message, go to the Lincoln Baptist Church website and look under ‘Sermons Online’ for the Sept. 29 message.