Protect Your Thoughts

Protect Your Thoughts

I was driving along behind a truck the other day when I caught a strong gasoline smell.  The first thing that popped into my mind was “I hope that that’s from the guy in front of me and not me.”  On the surface, this is a natural thought and one to which I wouldn’t give any extra consideration.  What I really said in the quiet of my own heart is “I hope that guy has a problem rather than me.” What I desperately want to think (automatically) is “I hope that guy doesn’t have a problem, and I don’t want one either, but will accept it if it’s God’s will.”  What a sad commentary on the state of my soul when I hope evil rests on another in order to protect myself.  I had little thought for this man’s safety, life, or soul – only my own. There are those of you who may say that this isn’t important and is such a small thing.  True enough; I have not robbed a bank or murdered anyone today (yet), but the longer I walk with Christ, the more convinced I am that we are undone more by the small things than by the large.  We ignore these at our peril.  Consider the following quote: Watch your thoughts, they become words. Watch your words, they become actions. Watch your actions, they become habits. Watch your habits, they become your character. Watch your character, it becomes your destiny Consider these verses from scripture: A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out...
Power Struggle

Power Struggle

As men, we are driven by a desire for power. Though the Bible doesn’t define power, the essence of power is the ability to change or affect something. Wealth, sex, and authority are the means we use to exercise and gain a sense of power. God’s Word teaches that we are governed by powers which we cannot control (Jer 10:23). The curse of Adam was that sin was given power over us, and we can no longer exert our will in line with the God that guides and directs the creation (Eph 2:1). The Law cannot save us from the power of sin because the righteousness of the Law has no power of its own (Rom 8:3). This means that any attempt to overcome the power of sin strictly through obedience to the commands of God leads to condemnation. Sin has real power, it takes the Law captive and leads to death. Romans 6 teaches that when Christ triumphed over death, he took back the power of sin, making it possible that we could once again will with God. The power we have by the Gospel is contradictory to the power of the flesh. Our weaknesses are our strengths, we lead by serving, and we humble ourselves to be exalted. If our hope is that God will give us the desires of our flesh, we will be misled when things go according to plan. When we attribute our selfish gain to God, we are mastered by the power of sin. When we hold God accountable for the undesirable events of this world, we are similarly without reason to hope...
God Gets To Choose

God Gets To Choose

     I am one of twenty people who take the message of hope to my home town in Hampshire, England. We call ourselves ‘town pastors’, although only a few us are professional clergy. Sometimes we meet people in Alton late at night who are open and receptive to the Gospel and, of course, we attempt to be ready to give an answer to everyone who asks us to give the reason for the hope that we have with gentleness and respect (paraphrasing 1 Peter 3:15). At times it seems an awesome, if not daunting responsibility. What if we make a mess of things? Of course, we do have responsibility; we should know the Gospel that Paul summarises in 1 Corinthians 15:3-8. We should demonstrate the Gospel by accepting and loving those people. But we can also be reassured that, as for Lydia, it wasn’t Paul’s eloquence that moved her to faith in Christ, but God himself. One of those listening was a woman from the city of Thyatira named Lydia…the Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message. (Acts 16:14) Paul says of himself that many thought him a poor speaker (2 Corinthians 10:10) but as Luke reports, the response to his witness, whether poor or not, was entirely up to God – and so it is with us town pastors. It is God’s choice to reveal himself through his mighty Spirit, and that is a wonderfully gracious act for those that would ‘be sent’ to bear witness to Christ, as we are therefore released from: Concern over knowing or choosing to whom we speak – it...
I Will Do It

I Will Do It

“Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.” John 14:13-14 This is a staggering promise. But why haven’t my lottery numbers come up then?! To ask something in the Son’s name stages the prayer in a certain way. So some thoughts: 1) The posture of all prayer is humility and submission—not presumption and impatience. 2) To ask in the Son’s name is to ask like he would ask—with the confidence that would glorify his Father’s power and the humility for the Father to use it on his own terms. 3) Jesus says the purpose of this doing is to glorify the Father in himself. To ask in the Son’s name is to enter into a holy place. If you ask in the Son’s name, you are right in the middle of the union of glory between Father and Son. Why is this important? It reveals how much is at stake from the Son’s point of view. Glorifying his Father means everything to Jesus so the doing he promises for us is of the utmost care and value to him. This is good news. Notice, Jesus promises the prayer will be done but he doesn’t clarify how or when. All asking-prayer comes from a point of need, but who has a better understanding of what his children need—us, or the one who formed us and set every variable (almost all of which we don’t even realize) of our lives? Who had a better understanding of what...
Preach

Preach

Preach Surely you remember, brothers and sisters, our toil and hardship; we worked night and day in order not to be a burden to anyone while we preached the gospel of God to you. (1 Thessalonians 2:9) The Greek word that is most often translated as ‘preach’ is κηρύσσω – kérussó (Strong’s 2784). The word in the Koine has an uncertain origin but the definition is ‘to be or act like a herald’ or ‘to proclaim’. The role of a herald has changed with time. Coming to the English language from the Old French heraut from the Frankish via herewald, literally ‘war-ruler’, in other words a martial or commander, it has three distinct contemporary meanings: 1. A messenger 2. A harbinger 3. A steward (of heraldry -a rank/position at the College of Arms) All three meanings are relevant to the ‘preacher’ of the Gospel, who is entrusted (stewardship) with a message of the coming of the Kingdom of God. In the same passage to the one above Paul says: …we speak as those approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. (v4) But there is another meaning, especially given to the verb ‘to herald’ and this is ‘sing the praises of’ – this is surely what all Christians, joy-filled with the fruit of the spirit, wish to do? However, sadly this is often not the case. Nowadays, the idea that a Christian should ‘preach the Gospel’, in other words, proclaim the good news of Jesus to those not in faith that he is the Christ, has become frowned upon. In conjures images of street corner evangelists ranting at...
Treasure Part 3 of 4

Treasure Part 3 of 4

Treasures In Heaven Part 3—How Do You Store Up Treasure? Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:19-21 Part 1 – What Is Your Treasure? Part 2 – Where Is Your Treasure? Part 3 – How Do You Store Up Treasure? Part 4 – How Do You See Treasure Clearly? Question: How do you store up treasures in heaven? 2 Corinthians 5:10 teaches that all men will one day appear before Christ in Judgment. At the Bema Seat1 we will be recompensed, both good and bad, for our deeds in this life. In 1 Corinthians 3:11-15, Paul gives an analogy of what happens at our Judgment. He describes our life’s work as going through a fire. If a believer’s life work consists of gold, silver, or precious stones, then his work will remain upon going through the fire, and he will receive eternal reward. If a believer’s life consists of wood, hay, or straw, it will get burned up upon going through the fire, and that man will suffer eternal loss. How does a man live his life such that his life’s work will be considered gold, silver, and precious stones when he meets Lord Jesus at the Bema Seat? How do we store up treasures in heaven? The question of how a man accumulates rewards in heaven is the...