Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Christ’

Pyromaniacs blogger Dan Phillips hit what I needed to read in a comment of a recent post on Charismatics…all credit to him and NOT to me, but I have to quote this comment completely:

“Everyone has good days, bad days. Sometimes you feel close to God, sometimes you don’t. The feelings are not God talking to you. There is no Scriptural warrant to turn your eyes away from the (hel-lo?) Word of God to reading tea-leaves, feelings, chicken-livers, or events. That message was so clear that an admitted non-Christian emailed me that he got it.

So, suffering Christian who is walking with the Lord to the best of your knowledge of Scripture, your experiences of trials and treachery and pain are not God telling you that He has rejected you. Look to Jesus, look to God’s word. Jesus saves, signs and portents don’t. Stand on Him and His Word.

And, despairing Christian who knows the same gloom and darkness of Spirit — in spite of walking in faith and obedience — which David, Luther, Spurgeon and countless others knew, those feelings are not God telling you He has rejected you. Look to Christ, look to God’s word. Jesus saves, He is what matters — not how saved or loved you feel.

God rejected Job’s comforters then, and He rejects them now. Supposed Christians will tell you (as you see here) that your tragedies are some sort of extra-biblical revelation, or that (as here) if you admit your suffering aloud there’s something wrong with you, and maybe you need drugs.

The truth: you can suffer while loved by God, and while in the will of God (1 Peter 1:6; 2:20-25; 4:16-19). Fix your hope completely on God’s mercy at Christ’s return (1 Peter 1:13). Your trials will turn to joy and glory (2 Corinthians 4:16-18).

Never lose sight of Him.”

http://teampyro.blogspot.com/2010/09/good-news-from-far-country.html

Good post too….

Read Full Post »

 (Acts 11 from Bible Gateway NIV version)  19Now those who had been scattered by the persecution in connection with Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch, telling the message only to Jews. 20Some of them, however, men from Cyprus and Cyrene, went to Antioch and began to speak to Greeks also, telling them the good news about the Lord Jesus. 21The Lord’s hand was with them, and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord. 22News of this reached the ears of the church at Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. 23When he arrived and saw the evidence of the grace of God, he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts. 24He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith, and a great number of people were brought to the Lord. 25Then Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, 26and when he found him, he brought him to Antioch. So for a whole year Barnabas and Saul met with the church and taught great numbers of people. The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch. 27During this time some prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch. 28One of them, named Agabus, stood up and through the Spirit predicted that a severe famine would spread over the entire Roman world. (This happened during the reign of Claudius.) 29The disciples, each according to his ability, decided to provide help for the brothers living in Judea. 30This they did, sending their gift to the elders by Barnabas and Saul.

Why would I want to disassociate myself with the term “Christian?”  These disciples did everything I would hope to do as a believer in Christ, a disciple.  They preached and shared the gospel, they took care of those in need within the body, they spent time hearing good teaching, they supported each other. Moreover, they had the Holy Spirit, they had faith. They are the ones called Christian, what gives people the idea that those persecuting them were the ones who labeled them as such?  Maybe it was the name given by Romans…but it has stuck for a reason. 

It seems to me the seeker friendly style churches miss something when they refuse to use the name Christian.  They say they want to have numbers added to them, they want to meet the needs of others and serve in love, and yet don’t call themselves Christian?  Those who were called Christian in Antioch had it right, so I’d rather associate with them and not rename myself just to make those around me who don’t believe in Christ more comfortable. 

Read Full Post »

With all that is happening in my sweet America, it’s time to remember what really matters.  Jesus came as a gift to save sinners and God is in control.  He knows the past, present, and future and I am so glad. 

Even though the date we celebrate the birth of Christ is not likely his actual anniversary of birth, I still love to commemorate his birthday with a cake.  So that’s what my children and I will do today, as well as get our house prepared for tomorrow.  I fully intend to retell the Christmas account to my family, and to focus on the gift of Christ rather than all the negative that the world gives us.

Merry Christmas to you.  Prayers for a wonderful New Year.

Read Full Post »

We’re doing a verse by verse of Revelations in our Sunday School classes at church.  All the children are also studying this in their classes (except the youth for some reason, I think I’ll have to find out why not because I would love for them to be on the same page as the rest of us but they are talking the Sermon on the Mount so that’s good too).  We’re in the sweeping overview stage right now, and so we’re not in real depth yet. 

Despite the depth, it’s not your usual yada yada yada study of Revelations.  Typically, in my past, we would study this in small groups or have a quick sermon or set of sermons for a few weeks.  There was always a timeline, there was always discussion about the future.  There were even scary movies at camp.  Anyone out there subjected to those B (or C or even F) movies about the end of the world where they were cutting off people’s heads?  I recall a guy with dark hair and eyes was the main character, and as a little kid this whole thing scared me.  Kids were talking about end times and saying there were micro chips in Proctor and Gamble products. 

With my experiences with Revelations in the past, I have avoided the book.   I did read it several times on my own as a teen/young adult, but then rarely go back to it anymore.  I thought it best for me to focus on things I could grasp better.  I heard Hank Henergraff’s more recent comments on the book, and am not sure I agree with the bits I’ve heard from him.  Is it that he believes it has ALL happened already?  Not sure, but I know he’s marketed a fictional book about it.

Our assistant pastor was different in his initial presentation of Revelation.  Nothing was sensationalized, there’s not an ad outside the front of the church for the series.  There was really not much announcement the study was coming.  It’s just a study like any other study, and it’s being treated as such.  We’re in the first part of the book, so I am not sure but do doubt the charts will be coming. 

The best thing I’ve heard the pastor say, and he says he’s going to remind us over and over again, is the answer to the question, “what is being revealed in Revelations?”  Hmmmm.  How to answer this one?   He made it very clear that to find that answer you have to READ it.  Open your bible, read the first words.  You’ll find, as I did, the book’s main purpose not the future revealed, not the scary judgement revealed, and not the end times revealed.  It is the revelation of Jesus Christ.

Yet again, Christians (or so called Christians) and especially the secular world misses the point.  The point is to reveal the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ.  It shows His magesty, His dominion, His sacrifice, His love, His judgement, His glory.  He is worthy.  He alone is worthy.  It’s not an oracle for us to see the future, it reveals His plans as the ruler of the universe, but it’s not about the plans.  It’s about HIM.  The pastor did such a good job explaining this, it’s shocking to me how I’ve missed the obvious all along.  How many people have died early deaths because they read too much into that book?  So many cults twist it to place their leaders into it.  So many people search the newspapers for proof they are living in some special time and that the anti-Christ is coming.  Books are sold, and men propped up.  Who is the book supposed to glorify and prop?  The Lamb that was slain, that’s who!

I am looking forward to getting into this book and not missing the obvious any more.

Read Full Post »

Friends, say this, “I am a living stone” and “I am a priest”

Turn to your neighbor and say, “you are my priest.” 

Congratulations pastor, you just had a sexual predator, who is not one of God’s elect say he is a living stone and declare he is someone’s priest.  There’s also a thief, a liar, and a mother who beat her child just before service.  Even some out there are nice in our eyes, but are still sinners and have just said they are someone else’s priest.  Now, if that sexual predator has become regenerated and has turned from his wicked ways and is saved, that’s a different story.  However, making a mixed congregation repeat after you can be dangerous.  There may be a delusional person out there who now believes they are something they are not.  Scary.

Read Full Post »

I really thought this was a great sermon today. It was also communion Sunday.

Last week, a couple in the USA seeking political asylum was being deported. They had come from a South American country (I hope I recalled it right) and were threatened by drug runners. Their children were threatened. They had to do something, so they came to the United States. They ended up in the church I attend now, and though they were not Christians before, became believers and followers of Christ. They go into an unknown situation, and have an opportunity to possibly witness to others.

A woman in our church has been battling Leukemia. Though she has so far conquered cancer, the treatments have rendered her immune system worthless and she also struggles with the new marrow attacking her organs. She was really struggling in the hospital last week with a lung infection and then later hallucinations. Her husband updated the congregation. He is weary, his family is sad, and his wife is weak. They trust in the Lord for their strength, and know he is in control of life and death. They have been on an emotional roller coaster ride for several months (maybe two years). It’s been horrible for them, they have really suffered.

The sermon today was given especially because there is great suffering going on in our church. Christians go through trials, but nothing compares to the sufferings of Christ. We can know that all our sufferings are not for nothing. They do not save sinners, but we can be given grace and mercy…we can show God’s glory in our sufferings.

Here is the sermon, it’s worth a listen:

http://www.cside.org/podcast/cside.xml

Read Full Post »

Just take a look at this “Tribute to Bob Buford.” I didn’t watch them all, but fast forwarded to Bill Hybels (20 minutes). He uses the account of the “Rich Young Ruler” to make a point. The point I hear (and even my 9 year old picked up on it without my help) is that Bill Hybels thinks he could have “done it better” than Christ with the rich young ruler. To some it might be subtle, but to me it is obvious and quite disturbing.

Oh, and as a bonus at the end of the clip, my daughter noted “Look, all those books and no bibles.”

http://www.leadnet.org/tribute25.asp

Read Full Post »

The Beatitudes

1873

by
C. H. SPURGEON
(1834-1892)

 

“And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set,, his disciples came unto him. And he opened his mouth, and taught them saying, Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they than mourn: for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.”–Matthew v.1-12.One enjoys a sermon all the better for knowing some of the preacher. It is natural that, like John in Patmos, we should turn to see the voice which spake with us. Turn hither then, and learn that the Christ of God is the Preacher of the Sermon on the mount. He who delivered the Beatitudes was not only the Prince of preachers, but he was beyond all others qualified to discourse upon the subject which he had chosen. Jesus the Saviour was best able to answer the question, “Who are the saved?” Being himself the ever-blessed Son of God, and the channel of blessings, he was best able to inform us who are indeed the blessed of the Father. As Judge, it will be his office to divide the blessed from the accursed at the last, and therefore it is most meet that in gospel majesty he should declare the principle of that judgment, that all men may be forewarned.

Do not fall into the mistake of supposing that the opening verses of the Sermon on the mount set forth how we are to be saved, or you may cause your soul to stumble. You will find the fullest light upon that matter in other parts of our Lord’s teaching, but here he discourses upon the question, “Who are the saved?” or, “What are the marks and evidences of a work of grace in the soul?” Who should know the saved so well as the Saviour does? The shepherd best discerns his own sheep, and the Lord himself alone knoweth infallibly there that are his. We may regard the marks of the blessed ones here given as being the sure witness of truth, for they are given by him who cannot err, who cannot be deceived, and who, so their Redeemer, knows his own. The Beatitudes derive much of their weight from the wisdom and glory of him who pronounced them; and, therefore, at the outset your attention is called thereto. Lange says that “man is the mouth of creation, and Jesus is the mouth of humanity;” but we prefer, in this place, to think of Jesus am the mouth of Deity, and to receive his every word as girt with infinite power.

The occasion of this sermon is noteworthy; it was delivered when our Lord is described as “seeing the multitudes.” He waited until the congregation around him had reached its largest size, an was most impressed with his miracles, and then be took the tide at its flood, as every wise man should. The sight of a, vast concourse of people ought always to move us to pity, for it represents a mass of ignorance, sorrow, sin, and necessity, far too great for us to estimate. The Saviour looked upon the people with an omniscient eye, which saw all their sad condition; he saw the multitudes in an emphatic sense, and his soul was stirred within him at the sight. His was not the transient tear of Xerxes when he thought on the death of his armed myriads, but it was practical sympathy with the host of mankind. No one cared for them, they were like sheep without a shepherd, or like shocks of wheat ready to shale out for want of harvest-men to gather them in. Jesus therefore hastened to the rescue. He noticed, no doubt, with pleasure, the eagerness of the crowd to hear, and this drew him on to speak. A writer quoted in the “Catena Aurea” has well said, “Every man in his own trade or profession rejoices when he sees an opportunity of exercising it; the carpenter, if he sees a goodly tree, desires to have it felled, that be may employ his skill on it; and even so the preacher, when he sees a great congregation, his heart rejoices, and he is glad of the occasion to teach.” If men become negligent of hearing, and our audience dwindles down to a handful, it will be a great distress to us if we have to remember that, when the many were anxious to hear, we were not diligent to preach to them. He who will not reap when the fields am white unto the harvest, will have only himself to blame if in other seasons he is unable to fill his arm with sheaves. Opportunities should be promptly used whenever the Lord puts them in our way. It is good fishing where there are plenty of fish, and when the birds flock around the fowler it is time for to spread his nets.

The place from which these blessings were delivered is next worthy of notice: “Seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain.” Whether or no the chosen element was that which is now known as the Horns of Hattim, is not a point which it falls in our way to contest; that he ascended an elevation is enough for our purpose. Of course, this would be mainly because of the accommodation which the open hill-side would afford to the people, and the readiness with which, upon some jutting crag, the preacher might sit down, and be both heard and seen; but we believe the chosen place of meeting had also its instruction. Exalted doctrine might well be symbolized by an ascent to the mount; at any rate, let every minister feel that he should ascend in spirit when he is about to descant upon the lofty themes of the gospel. A doctrine which could not be hid, and which would produce a Church comparable to a city set on a hill, fitly began to be proclaimed from a conspicuous place. A crypt or cavern would have been out of all character for a message which is to be published upon the housetops, and preached to every creature under heaven.

Beside, mountains have always been associated with distinct eras in history of the people of God; mount Sinai is sacred to the law, and mount Zion symbolical of the Church. Calvary was also in due time to be connected with redemption, and the mount of Olives with the ascension of our risen Lord. It was meet, therefore, that the opening of the Redeemer’s ministry should be connected with a mount such as “the hill of the Beatitudes.” Twas from that mountain that God proclaimed the law, it is on a mountain that Jesus expounds it. Thank God, it was not a mount around which bounds had to be placed; it was not the mount which burned with fire, from which Israel retired in fear. It was, doubtless, a mount all carpeted with grass, and dainty with fair flowers, upon whose side the olive and fig flourished in abundance, save where the rocks pushed upward through the sod, and early invited their Lord to honour them by making them his them his pulpit and throne. May I not add that Jesus was in deep sympathy with nature, and therefore delighted in an audience-chamber whose floor was grass, and whose roof was the blue sky? The open space was in keeping with his large heart, the breezes were akin to his free spirit, and the world around was full of symbols and parables, in accord with the truths he taught. Better than long-drawn aisle, or tier on tier of crowded gallery, was that grand hill-side setting-place. Would God we oftener heard sermons amid soul-inspiring scenery! Surely preacher and hearer would be equally benefited by the change from the house made with hands to the God-made temple of nature.

There was instruction in the posture of the preacher: “When he was set,” he commenced to speak. We do not think that either weariness or length of the discourse suggested sitting down. He frequently stood when he preached at considerable length. We incline to the belief that, when he became a pleader with the sons of men, he stood with uplifted hands, eloquent from head to foot, entreating, beseeching, and exhorting, with every member of his body, as well as every faculty of his mind; but now that he was, as it were, a Judge award the blessings of the kingdom, or a King on his throne, separating his true subject from aliens and foreigners, he sat down. As an authoritative Teacher, he officially occupied the chair of doctrine, and spake ex cathedra, as men say as a Solomon acting as the master of assemblies, or a Daniel come to judgment. He sat as a refiner, and his word was as a fire. His posture is not accounted for by the fact that it was the Oriental custom for the teacher to sit and the pupil to stand, for our Lord was something more that a didactic teacher, be was a Preacher, a Prophet, a Pleader, and consequently he adopted other attitudes when fulfilling those offices; but on this occasion, he sat in his place as Rabbi of the Church, the authoritative Legislator of the kingdom of heaven, the Monarch in the midst of his people. Come hither, then, and listen to the King in Jeshurun, the Divine Lawgiver, delivering not the ten commands, but the seven, or, if you will, the nine Beatitudes of his blessed kingdom.

It is then added, to indicate the style of his delivery, that “he opened his mouth,” and certain cavilers of shallow wit have said, “How could he teach without opening his mouth?” to which the reply is that he very frequently taught, and taught much, without saying a word, since his whole life was teaching, and his miracles said deeds of love were the lessons of a master instructor. It is not superfluous to say that “be opened his mouth, and taught them,” for be had taught them often when his mouth was closed. Besides that, teachers are to be frequently met with who seldom open their mouths; they hiss the everlasting gospel through their teeth, or mumble it within their mouths, as if they had never been commanded to “cry aloud, and spare not.” Jesus Christ spoke like a man in earnest; he enunciated clearly, and spake loudly. He lifted up his voice like a trumpet, and published salvation far and wide, like a man who had something to say which he desired his audience to hear and feel. Oh, that the very manner and voice of those who preach the gospel were such as to bespeak their zeal for God and their love for souls! So should it be, but so it is not in all cases. When a man grows terribly in earnest while speaking, his mouth appears to be enlarged in sympathy with his heart: this characteristic has been observed in vehement political orators, and the messengers of God should blush if no such impeachment can be laid at their door.

“He opened his mouth, and taught them,”–have we not here a further hint that, as he had from the earliest days opened the mouths of his holy prophets, so now he opens his own mouth to inaugurate yet a fuller revelation? If Moses spake, who made Moses’ mouth? If David sang, who opened David’s lips that he might show forth the praises of god? Who opened the mouths of the prophets? Was it not therefore well said that now he opened his own mouth, and spake directly as the incarnate God to the children of men? Now, by his own inherent power and inspiration, he began to speak, not through the mouth of Isaiah, or of Jeremiah, but by his own mouth. Now was a spring of wisdom to be unsealed from which all generations should drink rejoicingly; now would the most majestic and yet most simple of all discourses be heard by mankind. The opening of the fount which flowed from the desert rock was not one-half so full of joy to men. Let our prayer be, “Lord, as thou hast opened thy mouth, do thou open our hearts;” for when the Redeemer’s mouth is open with blessings, and our hearts are open with desires, a glorious filling with all the fulness of God will be the result, and then, also shall our mouths be opened to show forth our Redeemer’s praise.

Let us now consider the Beatitudes themselves, trusting that, by the help of God’s Spirit, we may perceive their wealth of holy meaning. No words in the compass of Sacred Writ are more precious or more freighted with solemn meaning.

The first word of our Lord’s great standard sermon is “Blessed.” You have not failed to notice that the last word of the Old Testament is “curse”, and it is suggestive that the opening sermon of our Lord’s ministry commences with the word “Blessed.” Nor did he begin in that manner, and then change his strain immediately, for nine times did that charming word fall from his lips in rapid succession. It has been well said that Christ’s teaching might be summed up in two words, “Believe” and “Blessed.” Mark tells us that he preached, saying, “Repent ye, and believe the gospel;” and Matthew in this passage informs us that he came saying, “Blessed are the poor in spirit.” All his teaching was meant to bless the sons of men; for “God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved.”


His lips, like a honeycomb, drop sweetness, promises and blessings are the overflowings of his mouth. “Grace is poured into thy lips,” said the psalmist, and consequently grace poured from his lips; he was blessed for ever, and he continued to distribute blessings throughout the whole of his life, till, “as he blessed them, he was taken up into heaven.” The law had two mountains Ebal and Gerizim, one for blessing and other for cursing, but the Lord Jesus blesses evermore, and curses not.

The Beatitudes before us, which relate to character, are, seven; the eighth is a benediction upon the persons described in the seven Beatitudes when their excellence has provoked the hostility of the wicked; and, therefore, it may be regarded as a confirming and summing up of the seven blessings which precede it. Setting that aside, then, as a summary, we regard the Beatitudes as seven, and will speak of them as such. The whole seven describe a perfect character, and make up a perfect benediction. Each blessing is precious, ay, more precious than much fine gold; but we do well to regard them as a whole, for as a whole they were spoken, and from that point of view they are a wonderfully perfect chain of seven priceless links, put together with such consummate art as only our heavily Bezaleel, the Lord Jesus, ever possessed. No such instruction in the art of blessedness can be found anywhere else. The learned have collected two hundred and eighty-eight different opinions of the ancients with regard to happiness, and there is not one which hits the mark; but our Lord has, in a few telling sentences, told us all about it without using a solitary redundant word, or allowing the slightest omission. The seven golden sentences are perfect as a whole, and each one occupies its appropriate place. Together they are a ladder of light, and each one is a step of purest sunshine.

Observe carefully, and you will see that each one rises above those which precede it. The firs Beatitude is by no means sp elevated as the third, nor the third as the seventh. There is a great advance from the poor in spirit to the pure in heart and the peacemaker. I have said that they rise, bat it would be quite as correct to say that they descend, for from the human point of view they so; to mourn is a step below and yet above being poor in spirit, and the peacemaker, while the highest form of Christian, will find himself often called upon to take the lowest room for peace sake. “The seven Beatitudes mark deepening humiliation and growing exaltation.” In proportion as men rise in the reception of the divine blessing, they sink in their own esteem, and count it their honour to do the humblest works.

Not only do the Beatitudes rise one above another, but they spring out of each other, as if each one depended upon all that went before. Each growth feeds a higher growth, and the seventh is the product of all the other six. The two blessings which we shall have to consider have this relation. “Blessed are they that mourn” grows out of “Blessed are the poor in spirit.” Why do they mourn? They mourn because they are “poor in spirit.” Blessed are the meek” is a benediction which no man reaches till he has felt his spiritual poverty, and mourned over it. “Blessed are the merciful” follows upon the blessing of the meek, because men do not acquire the forgiving, sympathetic, merciful spirit until they have been made meek by the experience of the two benedictions. This same rising and outgrowth may be seen in the whole seven. The stones are laid one upon the other in fair colours, and polished after the similitude of a palace; they are the natural sequel and completion of each other, even as were the seven days of the world’s first week.

Mark, also, in this ladder of light, that though each step is above the other, and each step springs out of the other, yet each one is perfect in itself, and contains within itself a priceless and complete blessing. The very lowest of the blessed, namely, the poor in spirit, have their peculiar benediction, and indeed it is one of such an order that it is used in the summing up of all the rest. “Theirs is the kingdom of heaven ” is both the first and the eighth benediction.

The highest character namely, the peacemakers, who are called the children of God, are not said to be more than blessed; they doubtless enjoy more of the blessedness, but they do not in the covenant provision posses more.

Note, also with delight, that the blessing is in every case in the present tense, a happiness to be now enjoyed and delighted in. It is not “Blessed shall be,” but “Blessed are.” There is not one step in the whole divine experience of the believer, not one link in the wonderful chain of grace, in which there is a withdrawal of the divine smile or an absence or real happiness. Blessed is the first moment of the Christian life on earth, and blessed is the last. Blessed is the spark which trembles in the flax, and blessed is the flame which ascends to heaven in a holy ecstasy. Blessed is the bruised reed, and blessed is that three of the Lord, which is full of sap, the cedar of Lebanon, which the Lord had planted. Blessed is the babe in grace, and blessed is the perfect man in Christ Jesus. As the Lord’s mercy endureth for ever, even so shall our blessedness.

We must not fail to notice that, in the seven Beatitudes, the blessing of each one is appropriate to the character. “Blessed are the poor in spirit” is appropriately connected with enrichment in the possession of a kingdom more glorious than all the thrones of earth. It is also most appropriate that those who mourn should be comforted; that the meek, who renounce all self-aggrandizement, should enjoy most of life, and so should inherit the earth. It is divinely fit that those who hunger and thirst after righteousness should be filled, and that those who show mercy to others should obtain it themselves. Who but the pure in heart should see the infinitely pure and holy God? And who but the peacemakers should be called the children of the God of peace?

Yet the careful eye perceives that each benediction, though appropriate, is worded paradoxically. Jeremy Taylor says, “They are so many paradoxes and impossibilities reduced to reason.” This is clearly seen in the first Beatitude, for the poor in spirit are said to possess a kingdom, and is equally vivid in the collection as a whole, for it treats of happiness, and yet poverty leads the van, and persecution brings up the rear; poverty is the contrary of riches, and yet how rich are those who possess a kingdom! and persecution is supposed to destroy enjoyment, and yet it is here made a subject of rejoicing. See the sacred art of him who spake as never man spake, he can at the same time make his words both simple and paradoxical, and thereby win our attention and instruct our intellects. Such a preacher deserves the most thoughtful of hearers.

The whole of the seven Beatitudes composing this celestial ascent to the house of the Lord conduct believers to an elevated table-land upon which they dwell alone, and are not reckoned among the people; their holy separation from the world brings upon them persecution for righteousness’ sake, but in this they do not lose their happiness, but rather have it increased to them, and confirmed by the double repetition of the benediction. The hatred of man does not deprive the saint of the love of God; even revilers contribute to his blessedness. Who among us will be ashamed of the cross which must attend such a crown of lovingkindness and tender mercies? Whatever the curses of man may involve, they are so small a drawback to the consciousness of being blessed in a sevenfold manner by the Lord, that they are not worthy to be compared with the grace which is already revealed in us.

Here we pause for this present, and shall, by God’s help, consider one of the Beatitudes in our next homily.

Provided by:

Tony Capoccia
Bible Bulletin Board
Box 314
Columbus, New Jersey, USA, 08022
Websites: www.biblebb.com and www.gospelgems.com
Email: tony@biblebb.com
Online since 1986

“His hand no thunder bears,
No terror clothes his brow,
No bolts to drive our guilty souls
To fiercer flames below.”

Read Full Post »

This is Bad

It is bad to focus only on the evil out there, and what is wrong with churches.  It’s easy to get trapped into this, to read and obsess on all these things especially when you find that you’ve been attending a church that’s into wrong teaching.  It’s easy to focus on how to recognize the bad things and not focus on how to recognize truth.  It’s important to keep the balance, and not an equal balance either.  More focus should be on the study of Christ through the bible. 

I find I have really put too much focus on all that is bad in churches.  I needed to learn at first, the curve was great.  Now that I have my eyes opened, I really need to get back to truth (I should always have had the balance, but it is easy to turn away just like that “train wreck” you cannot look away from).  I am challenged to my core to retrain my focus on Christ.  It’s sad how easy we can allow ourselves to be distracted.  Such is the Christian life, knowing we are so wretched and thanking God for His grace and mercy.  I know I really need Him, and can use every ounce of grace and mercy to cover all that is sin in me..

Read Full Post »

Sometimes I feel so flat about going to church.  My former church was the feel good kind.  We’d gone there for 8 years before leaving.  It was a church with a lot of fun for our kids, a lot of contact through small groups.  We had gotten to know people there.  We were so blind to most of the issues, and though we knew people had been leaving over the years, we chalked most of that up to inconvenience. 

We live in an area with churches everywhere, so it was often true that people just left for whatever reason.  Until we heard of one specific couple who left because of the direction the church was going in…we thought our personal fears of the church were possibly just thoughts we were having…strange things we had to figure out but not real issues.  It wasn’t until we thought strongly about leaving that we began to run into people who expressed strong issues with specific things we were seeing ourselves and had left.

So now, we’re in a new church.  It’s got a lot going for it, most especially the word of God is preached from the bible itself clearly every Sunday we’ve been there so far.  This church staff and pastors recognize the problems in churches with emergent(ing) and purpose driven…etc.  This is refreshing. 

However, at this point I still feel a great distance when in church.  There are so many times when it’s a chore to get myself ready to go to church.  Once there, the message is great.  Until I’m there though, I am not looking forward to it.  I cannot put my finger on why though.

One thing I have learned in this process of leaving a church with a focus on emergent youth (even if they aren’t officially an emergent church) and going to another church is that you cannot trust your emotions.  Emotions are not faith.  Faith is something else altogether.  I do not buy that action preceeds emotion every time, and I do not believe that just by doing something you can always shape your emotions…that they will follow.  Some people are depressed no matter h0w much faith they have, and how much they pray. I was hurt by the whole process of leaving our former church.  I found out that my judgement of things was off, my view had been blocked, I had been fooled.

I even at times look back and think about how we came to seeing the issues.  It was really quick, actually.  The wool was pulled away and I saw the former shining church for what it was.  It’s not just that, but I saw that there was this network of churches.  I also saw some of my favorite things were not at all what I thought.

I used to listen to Focus on the Family daily, and other radio programs through out the week.  Finding them involved in contemplative and compromise took away my grounding and habits.  So much of what I did before was built on popular protestant trends….all not bad if the focus of these things remained on Christ and the bible. 

It was a shock to my system.  I can imagine maybe it’s like the way a woman feels if she finds out her husband is not who she’s always thought he is.  The church, and parachurch organizations who have let contemplative, emergent, purpose driven, marketing, and more enter and take over have been serving another master.  This has caused a great deal of confusion for me over the last several months.

So, the new church has a lot to overcome.  They are dealing with a woman who has been sucking off the marrow a bit on the wrong things and has been starving for it.  It’s not that I didn’t get good things from our church, or we didn’t have friendships and support when needed.  That church is right in these areas.  I think though the sacrifice of biblical teaching (not just using the bible for a means to an end) is not worth any connections and community. 

So now, I’m disconnected and emotionally not where I wish I was in the new church, in my life these days.  It’s not about emotion, it’s about Christ and following Him.  It’s about training my children in the church that is presenting the truth.  Now, I just pray for trust if this is the place for us to commit as members.  Who cares about emotions, I want the real deal….

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »