Monday, January 25, 2016

A Higher Calling!

“ Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, 
but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. 

Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: 

forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, 

I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

NAS Philippians 3:12-14

 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”

KJV Philippians 3:14


Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Monday, January 4, 2016

Friendship









































Mary Engelbreit

The Unwanted Swelling of Pride

Psalm 119:51
The arrogant utterly deride me,
Yet I do not turn aside from Your law.

"Pride leads to scorning and scoffing.

When one thinks he is above others, he tends to scorn those he thinks are beneath him.

The more one swells with pride, the more he sees himself farther and farther above more and note others.  This his scorning of others grows. 

It is sad to meet persons like that. From time to time you will encounter them in counseling.  When you detect scornful attitudes on the part of a counselee, look for pride."

from pages 45 and 46 of Jay Adams', "Counsel from Psalm 119"
























*
Proverbs 16:18
Pride goes before destruction,
And a haughty spirit before stumbling.

The dangers of pride are so many, too many to count.  We just need to observe those around us (and definitely chasten ourselves!) to see pride running rampant.  

Pride certainly does "swell" and it swells into arrogance.

"Manipulators and Controllers" (persons who live to control and manipulate others) certainly have great pride in themselves, and their sinful behavior does swell and grow to where they become unbelievably powerful over other people in their arrogance   

Those people who are free and not under such control, many times do not understand "why" those unfortunate people who are controlled by a Manipulator continue to allow it. Sometimes, there is little sympathy, little mercy for those caught under the control of a Manipulator.

News Flash:

We are fragile people.  We humans are sheep, and no matter who we are or how intelligent we are, any of us can be lured into following a Manipulator and thus get under their control. 

After beginning to believe and follow a Manipulator, it becomes more and more difficult to "see" actual truth even when it is pointed out to you.  The person caught under the control of a Manipulator begins to only believe that the Manipulator has the real truth.

*Christians are not immune from becoming a Manipulator, because they can still choose to sin!  

Christians are not immune from being controlled by a Manipulator, and in fact, they can be easy prey to a Manipulator, especially if that controlling person says they are a Christian.  Look for RED FLAGS!

What is the damage to a Christian who is caught under control and manipulation?  

A Christian's freedom is gone, to whatever degree, the more control and manipulation is placed on them. Their freedom in Christ is gone, and freedom in their own personal lives is lost.

Once the Manipulator begins to control another person, the person who is caught under their control has their faith more and more "shipwrecked".  

1 Timothy 1:18-20
This command I entrust to you, Timothy, my son, in accordance with the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you fight the good fight, keeping faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and suffered shipwreck in regard to their faith. Among these are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan, so that they will be taught not to blaspheme.

*

LORD, have mercy!

A Wise Old Owl



A wise old owl lived in an oak;
The more he saw the less he spoke;
The less he spoke the more he heard:
Why can’t we all be like that bird?


Edward Hersey Richards
*



Friday, January 1, 2016

Peace on Earth?





























*Yes! Peace, but not how men think of it for just the here and now.*

Matthew 10:26-42
“Therefore do not fear them, for there is nothing concealed that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. 

What I tell you in the darkness, speak in the light; and what you hear whispered in your ear, proclaim upon the housetops. 

Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. 

Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows.

“Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven.

“Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 

For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household.

“He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. 

He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it.


“He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me. 

He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward; and he who receives a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward. 

And whoever in the name of a disciple gives to one of these little ones even a cup of cold water to drink, truly I say to you, he shall not lose his reward.”

Comic, PLUGGERS, by Brookins, 12/25/15.

*


Luke 2:10













Thursday, December 31, 2015

Once in Royal David's City

Once in royal David’s city
Stood a lowly cattle shed,
Where a mother laid her Baby
In a manger for His bed:
Mary was that mother mild,
Jesus Christ her little Child.

He came down to earth from Heaven,
Who is God and Lord of all,
And His shelter was a stable,
And His cradle was a stall;
With the poor, and mean, and lowly,
Lived on earth our Savior holy.

And, through all His wondrous childhood,
He would honor and obey,
Love and watch the lowly maiden,
In whose gentle arms He lay:
Christian children all must be
Mild, obedient, good as He.

For He is our childhood’s pattern;
Day by day, like us He grew;
He was little, weak and helpless,
Tears and smiles like us He knew;
And He feeleth for our sadness,
And He shareth in our gladness.

And our eyes at last shall see Him,
Through His own redeeming love,
For that Child so dear and gentle
Is our Lord in Heav’n above,
And He leads His children on
To the place where He is gone.

Not in that poor lowly stable,
With the oxen standing by,
We shall see Him; but in Heaven,
Set at God’s right hand on high;
Where like stars His children crowned
All in white shall wait around.

by Cecil F. Alexander

*

*

Isaiah 9:2-7
"The people who walk in darkness
Will see a great light;
Those who live in a dark land,
The light will shine on them.

You shall multiply the nation,
You shall increase their gladness;
They will be glad in Your presence
As with the gladness of harvest,
As men rejoice when they divide the spoil.

For You shall break the yoke of their burden 
and the staff on their shoulders,
The rod of their oppressor, 
as at the battle of Midian.
For every boot 
of the booted warrior in the battle tumult,
And cloak rolled in blood,
 will be for burning, fuel for the fire.

For a child will be born to us, 
a son will be given to us;
And the government will rest on His shoulders;
And His name will be called 
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.

There will be no end 
to the increase of His government or of peace,
On the throne of David 
and over his kingdom,
To establish it and to uphold it 
with justice and righteousness
From then on and forevermore.

The zeal of the Lord of hosts will accomplish this."

*


Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Our Second Snow


It Came Upon the Midnight Clear




















It came upon the midnight clear, 
that glorious song of old, 
from angels bending near the earth 
to touch their harps of gold: 
"Peace on the earth, good will to men, 
from heaven's all-gracious King." 
The world in solemn stillness lay, 
to hear the angels sing. 

Still through the cloven skies they come 
with peaceful wings unfurled, 
and still their heavenly music floats 
o'er all the weary world; 
above its sad and lowly plains, 
they bend on hovering wing, 
and ever o'er its Babel sounds 
the blessed angels sing. 

And ye, beneath life's crushing load, 
whose forms are bending low, 
who toil along the climbing way 
with painful steps and slow, 
look now! for glad and golden hours 
come swiftly on the wing. 
O rest beside the weary road, 
and hear the angels sing!

For lo! the days are hastening on, 
by prophet seen of old, 
when with the ever-circling years 
shall come the time foretold 
when peace shall over all the earth 
its ancient splendors fling, 
and the whole world send back the song 
which now the angels sing.
*

Luke 2:22-40
"...And there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; and this man was righteous and devout, looking for the consolation of Israel; and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 

And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. 

And he came in the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to carry out for Him the custom of the Law, then he took Him into his arms, and blessed God, and said,

“Now Lord, You are releasing Your bond-servant to depart in peace,
According to Your word;
For my eyes have seen Your salvation,
Which You have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
A Light of revelation to the Gentiles,
And the glory of Your people Israel.”


And His father and mother were amazed at the things which were being said about Him. 

And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary His mother, “Behold, this Child is appointed for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and for a sign to be opposed— and a sword will pierce even your own soul—to the end that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed...”

*


Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Oh, Worrycare!



Matthew 6:34
So do not worry about tomorrow; 
for tomorrow will care for itself. 
Each day has enough trouble of its own.

*


Hail, hail the Word made flesh!


What child is this who, laid to rest
On Mary’s lap is sleeping?
Whom angels greet with anthems sweet,
While shepherds watch are keeping?
This, this is Christ the King,
Whom shepherds guard and angels sing;
Haste, haste, to bring Him laud,
The babe, the son of Mary.

Why lies He in such mean estate,
Where ox and ass are feeding?
Good Christians, fear, for sinners here
The silent Word is pleading.
Nails, spear shall pierce Him through,
The cross be borne for me, for you.
Hail, hail the Word made flesh,
The babe, the son of Mary.

So bring Him incense, gold and myrrh,
Come peasant, king to own Him;
The King of kings salvation brings,
Let loving hearts enthrone Him.
Raise, raise a song on high,
The virgin sings her lullaby.
Joy, joy for Christ is born,
The babe, the son of Mary.

William C.Dix

Monday, December 28, 2015

"Why are you so angry?"



Thanks, Billy Sunday! What a wonderful way to begin a conversation with an angry person!

*
We would hear our precious retired pastor friend ask this question, "Why are you so angry?" when certain angry individuals would come up to our evangelistic free book table in the public square and try to cause us trouble.  

His question never failed to diffuse the anger in the persons who were the troublemakers.  

So many times the person would begin to share with this pastor about the things which made him angry, and what came out eventually was the person was angry at God.  What a great place to begin to explain the gospel!

One other time a particularly angry student who was a frequent book table visitor came up once again to argue.  We did not argue, but discuss, and aim individuals to the Word.  This always infuriated this certain student.  

This time "J" stated his false claim against the Bible, and my beloved said to him, "Did you know that the Bible talks about you, "J"?"

"J" tipped his head and was actually curious, asking where.

My Beloved turned to Romans 1 showing it to "J" while he recited Romans 1:18-32:

"For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,
because that which is known about God is evident within them; 
for God made it evident to them. 
For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, 
His eternal power and divine nature, 
have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, 
so that they are without excuse. 
For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, 
but they became futile in their speculations, 
and their foolish heart was darkened. 
Professing to be wise, they became fools, 
and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God 
for an image in the form of corruptible man 
and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures...."

It was one of the few times that this student did not leave angry, but instead contemplated, agreed, and left.  I do believe it was just what he needed to hear. 

Still praying for our "J".



Sunday, December 27, 2015

How the angels must have sung!









































Angels we have heard on high
Sweetly singing o’er the plain
And the mountains in reply
Echoing their joyous strain

Gloria, in excelsis Deo!
Gloria, in excelsis Deo!

Shepherds, why this jubilee?
Why your joyous strains prolong?
What the gladsome tidings be?
Which inspire your heavenly songs?

Gloria, in excelsis Deo!
Gloria, in excelsis Deo!

Come to Bethlehem and see
Christ Whose birth the angels sing;
Come, adore on bended knee,
Christ, the Lord, the newborn King.

Gloria, in excelsis Deo!
Gloria, in excelsis Deo!

See Him in a manger laid,
Jesus, Lord of heaven and earth;
Mary, Joseph, lend your aid,
With us sing our Savior's birth.
*
Luke 2:19
..."Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart."...


Friday, December 25, 2015

For He will save His people from their sins













































Matthew 1:20-21
"...an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”


Thursday, December 24, 2015

Oh, Holy Night

A Merry Christmas from Hillsdale College


He comforts us in all of our afflictions!


"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 
the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 
who comforts us in all our affliction 
so that we will be able to comfort 
those who are in any affliction 
with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, 
so also our comfort is abundant through Christ.

But if we are afflicted, 
it is for your comfort and salvation; 
or if we are comforted, 
it is for your comfort, 
which is effective 
in the patient enduring 
of the same sufferings which we also suffer; 
and our hope for you is firmly grounded, 
knowing that as you are sharers of our sufferings, 
so also you are sharers of our comfort.
2 Corinthians 1:3-7
*




He came to save the world! Go Tell!



Go, tell it on the mountain,
Over the hills and everywhere
Go, tell it on the mountain,
That Jesus Christ is born.

While shepherds kept their watching
Over silent flocks by night
Behold throughout the heavens
There shone a holy light.

Go, tell it on the mountain,
Over the hills and everywhere
Go, tell it on the mountain,
That Jesus Christ is born.

The shepherds feared and trembled,
When lo! above the earth,
Rang out the angels chorus
That hailed the Savior’s birth.


Go, tell it on the mountain,
Over the hills and everywhere
Go, tell it on the mountain,
That Jesus Christ is born.

Down in a lowly manger
The humble Christ was born
And God sent us salvation
That blessed Christmas morn.

Go, tell it on the mountain,
Over the hills and everywhere
Go, tell it on the mountain,
That Jesus Christ is born.

John Work, Jr.
*

Luke 2:15-20
"When the angels had gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds began saying to one another, “Let us go straight to Bethlehem then, and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us.” 

So they came in a hurry and found their way to Mary and Joseph, and the baby as He lay in the manger.

When they had seen this, they made known the statement which had been told them about this Child. 

And all who heard it wondered at the things which were told them by the shepherds. 

But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart. 

The shepherds went back, glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, just as had been told them."


Wednesday, December 23, 2015

The Drummer Boy

























"She out of her poverty put in all she had to live on."
Luke 21:4

“The Little Drummer Boy” is a popular Christmas song written in 1941. It was originally known as “Carol of the Drum” and is based on a traditional Czech carol. Although there isn’t any reference to a drummer boy in the Christmas story in Matthew 1–2 and Luke 2, the point of the carol goes straight to the heart of the meaning of worship. The carol describes how a boy is summoned by the Magi to the scene of Christ’s birth. Unlike the wise men, however, the drummer has no gift—so he gives what he has. He plays his drum, saying, “I played my best for Him.”

This echoes the worship Jesus described when He told of the widow and her two coins: “ ‘Truly I tell you,’ he said, ‘this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on’ ” 
Luke 21:3-4

God is worthy of our all.

All the drummer boy had was his drum and all the poor widow had were her two coins, but the God they worshiped was worthy of their all. He is worthy of our all as well, having given His all for us.

“All to Jesus, I surrender, all to Him I freely give; I will ever love and trust Him, in His presence daily live.” 
by Judson W. Van De Venter

Your little is a lot when you give your all.

INSIGHT:
In both the Old and New Testaments, the Scriptures challenge the people of God to show concern for the marginalized. For example, Deuteronomy 14:29 says: “At the end of every three years, bring all the tithes of that year’s produce and store it in your towns, so that the Levites (who have no allotment or inheritance of their own) and the foreigners, the fatherless and the widows who live in your towns may come and eat and be satisfied.” In the New Testament, the church at Jerusalem established a ministry for the care of widows (Acts 6), and James says the care of widows and orphans is the mark of true religion (James 1:27).

Our Daily Bread

In the Bleak Mid-winter

In the bleak mid-winter
Frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron,
Water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow,
Snow on snow,
In the bleak mid-winter
Long ago.

Our God, Heaven cannot hold Him
Nor earth sustain;
Heaven and earth shall flee away
When He comes to reign:
In the bleak mid-winter
A stable-place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty,
Jesus Christ.

Enough for Him, whom cherubim
Worship night and day,
A breastful of milk,
And a mangerful of hay;
Enough for Him, whom angels
Fall down before,
The ox and ass and camel
Which adore.

Angels and archangels
May have gathered there,
Cherubim and seraphim
Thronged the air -
But only His mother
In her maiden bliss
Worshipped the Beloved
With a kiss.

What can I give Him,
Poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd
I would bring a lamb;
If I were a wise man
I would do my part;
Yet what I can, I give Him -
Give my heart.

C. Rossetti


Tuesday, December 22, 2015

But You, O Lord, are a shield about me, My glory, and the One who lifts my head.

“The letter” came with its cult-like fluff written by one of them.  

The situation never leaves us. 

Over and over I give it to the LORD, and He knows and understands my deepest pain. This is my great comfort.

The day after it came I literally went to the LORD every minute, because only He could help me overcome the huge grief, capturing my horrible thoughts. 

Now, I continue to live for Him, and it all "seems" fine, but I am still so very wounded, deep, deep inside.  

I realize that even “if” the situation would ever turn around, things could never, would never be as it should be, as if it was all normal again ~ and so I just continue.  

I want to live and be happy without the constant pain deep inside, but this can never be.  The agony is very real, a living death.  

I know the LORD is using this huge agony, because nothing, no pain is ever wasted by Him.  He knows and understands and it is some how for the good for those who love Him.  

Continuing for Him

Thank you, LORD!

*

As you, my sisters in Christ, find your woundedness too much to handle, I point you to the Only One who can truly be there for you all the time, to lift your heads in your agonies.


Psalm 3
"O Lord, how my adversaries have increased!
Many are rising up against me.
Many are saying of my soul,
“There is no deliverance for him in God.” 

But You, O Lord, are a shield about me,
My glory, and the One who lifts my head.
I was crying to the Lord with my voice,
And He answered me from His holy mountain. 

I lay down and slept;
I awoke, for the Lord sustains me.
I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people
Who have set themselves against me round about.

Arise, O Lord; save me, O my God!
For You have smitten all my enemies on the cheek;
You have shattered the teeth of the wicked.
Salvation belongs to the Lord;

Your blessing be upon Your people! 


Suspicions suddenly confirmed


















I'm just saying....


A Moral Compass










Galatians 5:1, 13-25

"It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery…

…For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. 

For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 

But if you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another.

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.

For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. 

But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law. 

Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 

Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit."

*