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Discussion in 'Discussions about Religion.' started by beensetfree, Nov 4, 2012.

  1. beensetfree

    beensetfree Alfrescian (InfP) Old Timer

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    How thirsty?


    Matthew 5:6, “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.” In South Africa I have heard that you can sometimes see an amazing sight; deer defying lions in order to drink at the river. Their thirst will not be denied. They must have water or die.

    Spiritually as Christians we are either moving forward or moving backwards. There is no status quo for the child of God. In our own lives there will be spiritual starvation unless we have a continual intake of the spiritual, such as: the Word of God; prayer; and, fellowship with other Christians. The question we should ask ourselves is how thirsty are we? Are we thirsty enough to defy that old lion, the devil, who is going to and fro across this world seeking whom he may desire? Are we thirsty enough to go to church this Sunday? Are we thirsty enough to wake up each day and spend some time reading God’s Word and praying? Are we thirsty enough to deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow Him?
     
  2. beensetfree

    beensetfree Alfrescian (InfP) Old Timer

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    “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible.”

    1 Peter 1:23

    Peter most earnestly exhorted the scattered saints to love each other “with a pure heart fervently” and he wisely fetched his argument, not from the law, from nature, or from philosophy, but from that high and divine nature which God hath implanted in his people. Just as some judicious tutor of princes might labour to beget and foster in them a kingly spirit and dignified behaviour, finding arguments in their position and descent, so, looking upon God's people as heirs of glory, princes of the blood royal, descendants of the King of kings, earth's truest and oldest aristocracy, Peter saith to them, “See that ye love one another, because of your noble birth, being born of incorruptible seed; because of your pedigree, being descended from God, the Creator of all things; and because of your immortal destiny, for you shall never pass away, though the glory of the flesh shall fade, and even its existence shall cease.” It would be well if, in the spirit of humility, we recognized the true dignity of our regenerated nature, and lived up to it.

    What is a Christian? If you compare him with a king, he adds priestly sanctity to royal dignity. The king's royalty often lieth only in his crown, but with a Christian it is infused into his inmost nature. He is as much above his fellows through his new birth, as a man is above the beast that perisheth. Surely he ought to carry himself, in all his dealings, as one who is not of the multitude, but chosen out of the world, distinguished by sovereign grace, written among “the peculiar people” and who therefore cannot grovel in the dust as others, nor live after the manner of the world's citizens. Let the dignity of your nature, and the brightness of your prospects, O believers in Christ, constrain you to cleave unto holiness, and to avoid the very appearance of evil.
     
  3. beensetfree

    beensetfree Alfrescian (InfP) Old Timer

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    What is the Roman Road?


    Have you ever heard of the “Roman Road” to salvation? If not, here’s what it means.

    Old Testament Saints
    Before I write about the Roman Road, let me ask you, how did the Old Testament saints get saved since Jesus would not die for their sins for another thousand years or more? If we need to trust in Christ to be saved, how were Noah, Abraham, and the other Old Testament saints saved before Jesus came to die? Aren’t we saved only by faith in Christ?

    Since this is true, how could Old Testament saints be saved without the Lamb of God’s shed blood? God forgave all our sins, but only through Jesus Christ’s sinless life of perfection, His suffering and death on the cross, and His resurrection from the dead (1 Cor 15:1-4), so why do we see all these Old Testament saints mentioned in the Bible as being saved (Heb 11?). For those of us who believe, all of our sins were cleansed by Jesus’ atoning work on the cross, so even “though commended through their faith” these saints “did not receive what was promised” (Gen 11:39); at least yet! By the way, those who died long ago are not dead!

    Their bodies might be decomposed, but as Jesus said, “I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not God of the dead, but of the living” (Matt 22:32), so Jesus speaks of these saints as still existing, for indeed they do! Only Jesus, as God, could say with authority, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this” (John 11:25-26)?

    Before Christ
    The work at Calvary that Jesus did actually extended into time beyond His earthly ministry. Think about this. How many of our sins were still ahead of us at the cross? The answer is, “All of them!” The shed blood of Christ cleansed us on that day, even though we were not yet born. Jesus saved the thief on the cross 2,000 years ago, and He saved us some 2,000 years later.

    The salvific work of Christ leaped into time without end, and will be cleansing sinners for all eternity, but the cross also works both ways. It enabled us to be saved, it enabled the thief on the cross to be saved, but it also went backward in time. Moses wrote in the book of Genesis that Abraham’s belief in God was demonstrated by works. That is, he believed God and showed his belief by believing God, even up to the point of offering to sacrifice His only son Isaac. When God called Abraham, there is no indication he hesitated. He went to a new land he’d never seen, to a place that he knew nothing about, to serve a God that He knew before.

    It was Abraham belief or faith in God that saved him. It says, “Abram went, as the LORD had told him” (Gen 12:4a), so Abraham“believed the LORD, and he counted it to him as righteousness” (Gen 15:6). Noah also showed he believed in God because the Lord told Noah to build a huge ark to preserve life, including his own family, so what was Noah’s reaction? “Noah did this; he did all that God commanded him” (Gen 6:22). This is similar to what James would later write that our faith is demonstrated in the works we do for God, and if there are no works, that’s a dead faith and a faith that cannot save us (James 2:14-16).

    The Roman Road
    I believe that the so-called Roman Road has been responsible for millions of souls being saved. Of course it takes the Spirit of God with the Word of God to make the children of God, but the Book of Romans has made many of us “Roman Road Kill,” or showed us the impossibility of trying to save ourselves. The Book of Romans proves us we’re at the mercy of God and can only plead guilty before Him. The law was never meant to save us, but was intended to show us what sin is (Rom 7:7; 1 John 3:4), and that we cannot possibly keep it.

    Falling so infinitely short of God’s glory (Rom 3:23) makes us run to the cross for forgiveness because only by faith in Christ can we be saved. Jesus kept the law for us because we can’t. That doesn’t mean we have a license to sin, but rather we should have an aversion to sin, but never being sinless. Just because we can’t keep the law perfectly doesn’t mean we should break the law intentionally. That’s presuming on grace and Paul said this should never happen to the believer. He asked, “What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means” (Rom 6:15)! The Book of Romans proves that our only hope is in Christ, because not even one of us can ever claim to be good in ourselves (Rom 3:10-12). We are only saved by a very good God.

    Conclusion
    Not one of us can save anyone, including ourselves (Eph 2-1-9), but God can use us as a means to save some. It doesn’t depend on us, but upon God’s Spirit and His word, given by a faithful witness. God may use us to “save others by snatching them out of the fire” but “to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh” (Jude 1:23-24). I put it this way: It takes a man or woman of God with the Word of God and the Spirit of God to make the children of God for the glory of God. Do you see it? It’s all about Him (Psalm 115:1).

    The Roman Road kills us so that Christ can resurrect us and make us into being a new creation in Christ (2 Cor 5:17), but only because of Christ (2 Cor 5:21). There is simply no other way, so rather than suggest this is narrow-minded thinking, it’s not my message, but Jesus’ message. Let’s think about what Jesus said. “For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few” (Matt 7:14). Even if it you argue that it’s a narrow way, be thankful that at least there is a way, and that way is through Christ alone (John 6:44, 14:6).
     
  4. beensetfree

    beensetfree Alfrescian (InfP) Old Timer

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    “A very present help.”

    Psalm 46:1

    Covenant blessings are not meant to be looked at only, but to be appropriated. Even our Lord Jesus is given to us for our present use. Believer, thou dost not make use of Christ as thou oughtest to do. When thou art in trouble, why dost thou not tell him all thy grief? Has he not a sympathizing heart, and can he not comfort and relieve thee? No, thou art going about to all thy friends, save thy best Friend, and telling thy tale everywhere except into the bosom of thy Lord.

    Art thou burdened with this day's sins? Here is a fountain filled with blood: use it, saint, use it. Has a sense of guilt returned upon thee? The pardoning grace of Jesus may be proved again and again. Come to him at once for cleansing. Dost thou deplore thy weakness? He is thy strength: why not lean upon him? Dost thou feel naked? Come hither, soul; put on the robe of Jesus’ righteousness. Stand not looking at it, but wear it. Strip off thine own righteousness, and thine own fears too: put on the fair white linen, for it was meant to wear.

    Dost thou feel thyself sick? Pull the night-bell of prayer, and call up the Beloved Physician! He will give the cordial that will revive thee. Thou art poor, but then thou hast “a kinsman, a mighty man of wealth.” What! wilt thou not go to him, and ask him to give thee of his abundance, when he has given thee this promise, that thou shalt be joint heir with him, and has made over all that he is and all that he has to be thine? There is nothing Christ dislikes more than for his people to make a show-thing of him, and not to use him. He loves to be employed by us. The more burdens we put on his shoulders, the more precious will he be to us.

    “Let us be simple with him, then,
    Not backward, stiff, or cold,
    As though our Bethlehem could be
    What Sinai was of old.”
     
  5. beensetfree

    beensetfree Alfrescian (InfP) Old Timer

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    3 Biblical Lessons For Expectant Parents


    It’s such an exciting time waiting for the birth of a baby, so here are some encouraging lessons from the Bible for parents to consider.

    Wonderfully Made!
    As a parent and now grandparent, I can tell you that there are times when it seems the baby will never come. I can’t speak for my wife, but the waiting might be the hardest part of all. When we knew it was about time, it was suddenly as if there wasn’t enough time to get us and everything else to the hospital, but we made it.

    With the technology we have today, we can see the child growing and forming in a way that’s never been possible, and after seeing some of the images of children growing in the womb, I agree with the psalmist who wrote, “I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well” (Psalm 139:14). He understood that God is the Author of Life (Acts 3:15), and knew that God “formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb” (Psalm 139:13). Life is still a miracle, and I can say it was God “who took me from the womb; you made me trust you at my mother’s breasts. On you was I cast from my birth, and from my mother’s womb you have been my God” (Psalm 22:9-10), but how wonderful the birth of a child is!


    Freed from Anxiety
    Babies know nothing about due dates…they come when they’re ready to come. All we know for sure is that it will be “in due time,” like when “Hannah conceived and bore a son, and she called his name Samuel, for she said, I have asked for him from the Lord” (1 Sam 1:20). The Apostle Paul writes in Philippians 4:6-7, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

    Of course, that’s easier said than done when you’re entering into labor…a time when new mothers, and yes, new fathers, can become anxious about things, but the way God wants us to deal with anxiety is to pray about it, and mix those prayers with thanksgiving. The kind of peace that comes from God is the only thing that can guard our hearts and minds.

    Any mother can tell you that, “When a woman is giving birth, she has sorrow because her hour has come, but when she has delivered the baby, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world” (John 16:21). Any godly mother understands that“children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward” (Psalm 127:3), something that was understood even in ancient times as “when Esau lifted up his eyes and saw the women and children, he said, “Who are these with you?” Jacob said, “The children whom God has graciously given your servant” (Gen 33:5). Parents…are you feeling anxious? Remember, “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you” (Isaiah 26:3). Parents are not the only ones to comfort their children because God Himself said; He is as a “mother [Who] comforts, so I will comfort you” (Isaiah 66:13)


    Planned by God
    There are no “accidents” as far as God is concerned. Every person has been placed in time and history for God’s purpose, so we know that children are intentional, just as Jeremiah wrote, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations” (Jer 1:5). Hannah must have also learned this as she asked the Lord for a child and received one (1 Sam 1:20, 27), and his name would be Samuel.

    Looking at various Scriptures, we can see that, from God’s perspective, life begins at conception. To support that face, the psalmist wrote, “Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them” (Psalm 139:16), and “Upon you I have leaned from before my birth; you are he who took me from my mother’s womb. My praise is continually of you” (Psalm 71:6).

    Not only did the psalmist know that God is sovereign over his life, he writes that everyone’s “days are determined, and the number of his months is with you, and you have appointed his limits that he cannot pass” (Job 14:5). There is “a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted” (Eccl 3:2), and it’s not we who decides when someone is born or when someone dies.

    It is God alone who makes that determination. Because of this, it is my hope that all who have rejected Christ will repent and believe, because “just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment” (Heb 9:27), you must believe in Christ before the judgment (your death or Christ’s appearance), because after that…you will face the judgment of God (Rev 20:12-15). That’s why today’s the best day of all to believe (2 Cor 6:2), since there’s no guarantee that tomorrow will ever come.

    Conclusion
    If you or someone you know is pregnant, please share this with them. It may give them comfort and reassurance they need in a time when there is little comfort to be had, and give them some peace of mind, knowing God is the Author of Life, and that children are a heritage from the Lord. When parents bring up their children in the Lord, they are more likely not to depart from it, and even though its’ no guarantee they’ll trust in the Lord, train them up anyway, in the way that they should go, but be sure to go there yourself (Charles Spurgeon). I’ve learned that more is caught than taught, and they will not listen to what I say if my actions drown out my words. Love is about feelings, yes, but more so, love is a verb; just look at the cross (John 3:16).
     
  6. beensetfree

    beensetfree Alfrescian (InfP) Old Timer

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    The wise men followed a bright star

    That led them from afar

    Until it reached its destination

    Above He who came for our salvation.

    Lord, let me like those magi be;

    And to Christ’s side,

    Please guide thou me.

    The way where I would go is clear,

    But life’s journey there I sorely fear.

    Lord, show me signs like that star bright

    To keep me ever in the right

    And lead me safely home at last

    With a clear conscience

    In my past.
     
  7. beensetfree

    beensetfree Alfrescian (InfP) Old Timer

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    Guidance

    When I meditated on the word GUIDANCE, I kept seeing “dance” at the end of the word. I remember reading that doing God’s will is a lot like dancing. When two people try to lead, nothing feels right. The movement doesn’t flow with the music, and everything is quite uncomfortable and jerky.

    When one person realizes and lets the other lead, both bodies begin to flow with the music. One gives gentle cues, perhaps with a nudge to the back or by pressing lightly in one direction or another. It’s as if two become one body, moving beautifully. The dance takes surrender, willingness, and attentiveness from one person and gentle guidance and skill from the other.

    My eyes drew back to the word GUIDANCE. When I saw “G,” I thought of God, followed by “u” and “i.” “God, “u” and “i” dance.”! God, you, and I dance. This statement is what guidance means to me.

    As I lowered my head, I became willing to trust that I would get guidance about my life. Once again, I became willing to let God lead.

    My prayer for you today is that God’s blessings and mercies be upon you and your family on this day and everyday. May you abide in Him as He abides in you. Dance together with God, trusting Him to lead and to guide you through each season of your life.

    This prayer is powerful and there is nothing attached. If God has done anything for you in your life, please share this message with someone else, for prayer is one of the best gifts we can receive.

    There is no cost but a lot of rewards; so lets continue to pray for one another.

    God, I ask you to bless my friends, relatives and e-mail buddies reading this right now. Show them a new revelation of your love and power of the Holy Spirit. I ask You to minister to their spirit at this very moment. Where there is self-doubt, release a renewed confidence through Your grace.

    I Hope You Dance !!!!!!!!!!!!
     
  8. beensetfree

    beensetfree Alfrescian (InfP) Old Timer

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    “These all died in faith.”

    Hebrews 11:13

    Behold the epitaph of all those blessed saints who fell asleep before the coming of our Lord! It matters nothing how else they died, whether of old age, or by violent means; this one point, in which they all agree, is the most worthy of record, “they all died in faith.”

    In faith they lived—it was their comfort, their guide, their motive and their support; and in the same spiritual grace they died, ending their life-song in the sweet strain in which they had so long continued. They did not die resting in the flesh or upon their own attainments; they made no advance from their first way of acceptance with God, but held to the way of faith to the end. Faith is as precious to die by as to live by.

    Dying in faith has distinct reference to the past. They believed the promises which had gone before, and were assured that their sins were blotted out through the mercy of God. Dying in faith has to do with the present. These saints were confident of their acceptance with God, they enjoyed the beams of his love, and rested in his faithfulness. Dying in faith looks into the future. They fell asleep, affirming that the Messiah would surely come, and that when he would in the last days appear upon the earth, they would rise from their graves to behold him.

    To them the pains of death were but the birth-pangs of a better state. Take courage, my soul, as thou readest this epitaph. Thy course, through grace, is one of faith, and sight seldom cheers thee; this has also been the pathway of the brightest and the best. Faith was the orbit in which these stars of the first magnitude moved all the time of their shining here; and happy art thou that it is thine. Look anew to-night to Jesus, the author and finisher of thy faith, and thank him for giving thee like precious faith with souls now in glory.
     
  9. beensetfree

    beensetfree Alfrescian (InfP) Old Timer

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    I’m a ‘city girl’ who recently moved to Wyoming. Down our road there are many pastures with grazing sheep. I noticed in early spring that the sheep had been sheared and were huddled in masses together in the early February snow and cold. They looked so pitiful standing close to each other next to the shelters, crying out loudly and standing with their backs to the wind! I asked my husband about why the sheep were sheared so early in the season when it’s clear they are suffering. He explained, “In early days before fences, when this area was an open range, the sheep wandered far from feed and shelter. When they lambed it made it hard to keep track of them and keep them safe. So the sheep ranchers sheared the sheep early to help keep the ewes close and to better protect them when they lamb.”

    I thought that was a very smart way to keep sheep close in! The next day was more cold and wet and when I drove by the sheep I thought again about the shearing was actually helping them in the long run. I pulled over and looked at them. I thought about my own life, how I had felt ‘sheared’ with the losses I had experienced. I bowed my head and prayed, “Oh, God, is it that you want to keep me close just like these sheared sheep?’ Since then, many other losses have come in my path. When I feel raw and sheared that picture of those sheep come to mind. I ask God to keep me mindful that the shearing is for the long term good and I during those times I’ve tried to stay as close as possible to the Shepherd.
     
  10. beensetfree

    beensetfree Alfrescian (InfP) Old Timer

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    .

    God Gives Wisdom and Understanding

    Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the LORD.

    Hosea 6:3 KJV

    __________________

    My people shall know my Name;
    therefore they shall know in that day
    that I am He that doth speak.

    Isaiah 52:6 KJV

    __________________

    I thank thee o Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because Thou hast hid these things from the wise and the prudent and hast revealed them unto babes.

    Matthew 11:25

    __________________

    And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know Him that is true; and we are in Him that is true, even in His Son, Jesus Christ.

    1 John 5:20

    __________________

    "Coincidence... When God chooses to remain anonymous."

    __________________

    Thanks be unto God for His wonderful gift:
    Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God
    is the object of our faith; the only faith
    that saves is faith in Him.
     
  11. beensetfree

    beensetfree Alfrescian (InfP) Old Timer

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    “All the days of my appointed time will I wait.”

    Job 14:14

    A little stay on earth will make heaven more heavenly. Nothing makes rest so sweet as toil; nothing renders security so pleasant as exposure to alarms. The bitter quassia cups of earth will give a relish to the new wine which sparkles in the golden bowls of glory. Our battered armour and scarred countenances will render more illustrious our victory above, when we are welcomed to the seats of those who have overcome the world. We should not have full fellowship with Christ if we did not for awhile sojourn below, for he was baptized with a baptism of suffering among men, and we must be baptized with the same if we would share his kingdom. Fellowship with Christ is so honourable that the sorest sorrow is a light price by which to procure it.

    Another reason for our lingering here is for the good of others. We would not wish to enter heaven till our work is done, and it may be that we are yet ordained to minister light to souls benighted in the wilderness of sin. Our prolonged stay here is doubtless for God's glory. A tried saint, like a well-cut diamond, glitters much in the King's crown. Nothing reflects so much honour on a workman as a protracted and severe trial of his work, and its triumphant endurance of the ordeal without giving way in any part. We are God's workmanship, in whom he will be glorified by our afflictions.

    It is for the honour of Jesus that we endure the trial of our faith with sacred joy. Let each man surrender his own longings to the glory of Jesus, and feel, “If my lying in the dust would elevate my Lord by so much as an inch, let me still lie among the pots of earth. If to live on earth for ever would make my Lord more glorious, it should be my heaven to be shut out of heaven.” Our time is fixed and settled by eternal decree. Let us not be anxious about it, but wait with patience till the gates of pearl shall open.
     
  12. beensetfree

    beensetfree Alfrescian (InfP) Old Timer

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    The Call of the Barnyard


    A flock of wild ducks were flying in formation, heading south for the winter. They formed a beautiful V in the sky, and were admired by everyone who saw them from below.

    One day, Wally, one of the wild ducks in the formation, spotted something on the ground that caught his eye. It was a barnyard with a flock of tame ducks who lived on the farm. They were waddling around on the ground, quacking merrily and eating corn that was thrown on the ground for them every day. Wally liked what he saw. “It sure would be nice to have some of that corn,” he thought to himself. “And all this flying is very tiring. I’d like to just waddle around for a while.”

    So after thinking it over a while, Wally left the formation of wild ducks, made a sharp dive to the left, and headed for the barnyard. He landed among the tame ducks, and began to waddle around and quack merrily. He also started eating corn. The formation of wild ducks continued their journey south, but Wally didn’t care. “I’ll rejoin them when they come back north in a few months,” he said to himself.

    Several months went by and sure enough, Wally looked up and spotted the flock of wild ducks in formation, heading north. They looked beautiful up there. And Wally was tired of the barnyard. It was muddy and everywhere he waddled, nothing but duck doo. “It’s time to leave,” said Wally.

    So Wally flapped his wings furiously and tried to get airborne. But he had gained some weight from all his corn-eating, and he hadn’t exercised his wings much either. He finally got off the ground, but he was flying too low and slammed into the side of the barn. He fell to the ground with a thud and said to himself, “Oh, well, I’ll just wait until they fly south in a few months. Then I’ll rejoin them and become a wild duck again.”

    But when the flock flew overhead once more, Wally again tried to lift himself out of the barnyard. He simply didn’t have the strength. Every winter and every spring, he saw his wild duck friends flying overhead, and they would call out to him. But his attempts to leave were all in vain.

    Eventually Wally no longer paid any attention to the wild ducks flying overhead. He hardly even noticed them. He had, after all, become a barnyard duck.

    Sometimes we get tired of being wild ducks-followers of Jesus Christ. It’s not always easy to be obedient to God and to discipline ourselves to hang in there for the long haul. When we are feeling that way, that’s when Satan tempts us to “fall out of formation” and to join the barnyard ducks – the world.

    But look what happened to Wally. He thought he would just “check it out” for awhile and then leave when he wanted to. But he couldn’t do it. Sin is like that. Sin is a trap, and it has a way of changing us into people we don’t even want to become. Eventually we lose touch with who we really are–the sons and daughters of the Most High. We become barnyard ducks.
     
  13. beensetfree

    beensetfree Alfrescian (InfP) Old Timer

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    “Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk.”

    John 5:8

    Like many others, the impotent man had been waiting for a wonder to be wrought, and a sign to be given. Wearily did he watch the pool, but no angel came, or came not for him; yet, thinking it to be his only chance, he waited still, and knew not that there was One near him whose word could heal him in a moment. Many are in the same plight: they are waiting for some singular emotion, remarkable impression, or celestial vision; they wait in vain and watch for nought.

    Even supposing that, in a few cases, remarkable signs are seen, yet these are rare, and no man has a right to look for them in his own case; no man especially who feels his impotency to avail himself of the moving of the water even if it came. It is a very sad reflection that tens of thousands are now waiting in the use of means, and ordinances, and vows, and resolutions, and have so waited time out of mind, in vain, utterly in vain. Meanwhile these poor souls forget the present Saviour, who bids them look unto him and be saved. He could heal them at once, but they prefer to wait for an angel and a wonder.

    To trust him is the sure way to every blessing, and he is worthy of the most implicit confidence; but unbelief makes them prefer the cold porches of Bethesda to the warm bosom of his love. O that the Lord may turn his eye upon the multitudes who are in this case to-night; may he forgive the slights which they put upon his divine power, and call them by that sweet constraining voice, to rise from the bed of despair, and in the energy of faith take up their bed and walk. O Lord, hear our prayer for all such at this calm hour of sunset, and ere the day breaketh may they look and live.

    Courteous reader, is there anything in this portion for you?
     
  14. beensetfree

    beensetfree Alfrescian (InfP) Old Timer

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    Going up or going down?

    One of my young relatives has been in trouble all of her adult life for drugs and for theft. She has also gone from one “love” relationship to another. In the past year, however, she has lived with her aging parents and has behaved very well. I was dismayed when I learned she had taken her parents’ car and stayed away all night two times in the past week. This is part of a letter I wrote her. It may seem harsh, but if she cannot accept this well-meant advice and act upon it, she will be lost to her family, society and the Kingdom of God.

    Dear Niece,

    I am heartily aggravated and ashamed of you. Whatever you may actually do while staying out all night–or whatever story you choose to tell yourself or others–the fact that is the beginning of your downfall is that you DID STAY OUT ALL NIGHT! Not once, but twice.

    I once heard that nothing happens after midnight that decent people should participate in. I believe that’s true. You are standing at the top of a precipice and can either make up your mind to turn away from the temptations that have, in the past, always lured you into the pit or you can fiddle around with little misdeeds until you fall head first once more into inequity. It’s your decision but I will have no use for you if you don’t do the following:

    1. Stay home with your children.

    2. Take care of the home your parents provide for you.

    3. Take care of your parents.

    4. Think of everyone for whom you are responsible ahead of yourself.

    5. Never ever leave your children alone all night.

    6. Never ever use an unlawful substance again.

    7. Never ever take anything that is not yours from ANYONE.

    8. Never ever engage in fornication again, (Save yourself for lawful marriage to someone.)

    9. Never ever think you can commit a “little” sin. There’s no such thing.

    10. Pray daily both with requests for God to assist in your improvement and thanks for all he has done for you in the past.
    Quite simply, you can choose to be a Christian or not. If you choose Christian behavior, the rest of your life will improve day by day. If you choose the other direction, God will turn his back on you as surely as you turn your back on him.
     
  15. beensetfree

    beensetfree Alfrescian (InfP) Old Timer

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    “He that handleth a matter wisely shall find good: and whoso trusteth in the Lord, happy is he.”

    Proverbs 16:20

    Wisdom is man's true strength; and, under its guidance, he best accomplishes the ends of his being. Wisely handling the matter of life gives to man the richest enjoyment, and presents the noblest occupation for his powers; hence by it he finds good in the fullest sense. Without wisdom, man is as the wild ass's colt, running hither and thither, wasting strength which might be profitably employed. Wisdom is the compass by which man is to steer across the trackless waste of life; without it he is a derelict vessel, the sport of winds and waves.

    A man must be prudent in such a world as this, or he will find no good, but be betrayed into unnumbered ills. The pilgrim will sorely wound his feet among the briers of the wood of life if he do not pick his steps with the utmost caution. He who is in a wilderness infested with robber bands must handle matters wisely if he would journey safely. If, trained by the Great Teacher, we follow where he leads, we shall find good, even while in this dark abode; there are celestial fruits to be gathered this side of Eden's bowers, and songs of paradise to be sung amid the groves of earth.

    But where shall this wisdom be found? Many have dreamed of it, but have not possessed it. Where shall we learn it? Let us listen to the voice of the Lord, for he hath declared the secret; he hath revealed to the sons of men wherein true wisdom lieth, and we have it in the text, “Whoso trusteth in the Lord, happy is he.” The true way to handle a matter wisely is to trust in the Lord. This is the sure clue to the most intricate labyrinths of life, follow it and find eternal bliss. He who trusts in the Lord has a diploma for wisdom granted by inspiration: happy is he now, and happier shall he be above. Lord, in this sweet eventide walk with me in the garden, and teach me the wisdom of faith.
     
  16. beensetfree

    beensetfree Alfrescian (InfP) Old Timer

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    This story’s not fancy, but it is true,
    It ended quite rosy, it could have been blue.
    The day was a cool one, sunny and clear,
    When a boy and his dog went looking for deer.

    Up in the woods, not far from their home,
    The boy and his dog so started to roam.
    They picked out a path thought made by a deer,
    They followed it without any fear.

    The dog picked up speed with the boy close behind,
    They were curious and anxious to see what they’d find.
    Sniffing the ground the dog surged right on track,
    The boy now excited, “Here’s a dog with a knack.”

    The sunlight grew dimmer; it was harder to see,
    But the boy and his dog continued with glee.
    Past big gnarly branches and brush with no care,
    They came to a clearing, and there was a bear!

    The moral is this: To all those who’ll listen,
    No matter what the day, or how hope does glisten,
    When off for a walk, past trees, weeds, and log,
    Be careful and observant. Don’t be led by a dog.
     
  17. beensetfree

    beensetfree Alfrescian (InfP) Old Timer

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    “Only be thou strong and very courageous.”

    Joshua 1:7

    Our God's tender love for his servants makes him concerned for the state of their inward feelings. He desires them to be of good courage. Some esteem it a small thing for a believer to be vexed with doubts and fears, but God thinks not so. From this text it is plain that our Master would not have us entangled with fears. He would have us without carefulness, without doubt, without cowardice. Our Master does not think so lightly of our unbelief as we do. When we are desponding we are subject to a grievous malady, not to be trifled with, but to be carried at once to the beloved Physician.

    Our Lord loveth not to see our countenance sad. It was a law of Ahasuerus that no one should come into the king's court dressed in mourning: this is not the law of the King of kings, for we may come mourning as we are; but still he would have us put off the spirit of heaviness, and put on the garment of praise, for there is much reason to rejoice. The Christian man ought to be of a courageous spirit, in order that he may glorify the Lord by enduring trials in an heroic manner. If he be fearful and fainthearted, it will dishonour his God. Besides, what a bad example it is.

    This disease of doubtfulness and discouragement is an epidemic which soon spreads amongst the Lord's flock. One downcast believer makes twenty souls sad. Moreover, unless your courage is kept up Satan will be too much for you. Let your spirit be joyful in God your Saviour, the joy of the Lord shall be your strength, and no fiend of hell shall make headway against you: but cowardice throws down the banner. Moreover, labour is light to a man of cheerful spirit; and success waits upon cheerfulness. The man who toils, rejoicing in his God, believing with all his heart, has success guaranteed. He who sows in hope shall reap in joy; therefore, dear reader, “be thou strong, and very courageous.”
     
  18. beensetfree

    beensetfree Alfrescian (InfP) Old Timer

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    How To Live A Life Of Contentment

    What is your contentment in life based upon? Whatever it is, that determines your contentment in life.

    Circumstances
    The Apostle Paul gives us the command to “Do all things without grumbling or disputing” (Phil 2:14), in order “that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world” (Phil 2:15), but why would Paul tie in our contentment with being blameless or innocent before God?

    Maybe it’s because when we grumble about things, we’re actually grumbling against God. If anyone had a reason to grumble, it would have been Paul. Paul was stoned, beaten, whipped, imprisoned, and faced hunger, thirst, cold, and heat. He had his life threatened several times, yet Paul’s contentment was in Christ. Paul understood that we can choose to live in two tents in this life; the tent of discontentment or the tent of contentment, and one’s a lot nicer to live in than the other.

    Paul had poured out his life as a drink offering (Phil 2:17), but there is no record anywhere in Scripture where Paul ever grumbled or complained about it. Near the end of his life, knowing he was about to pass into glory, he wrote, “I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2nd Tim 3:6-7). Paul didn’t base his contentment upon circumstances or things, and good thing too because there were few good circumstances for Paul, but it didn’t matter. His contentment was in Christ and not in circumstance

    Grumbling
    What have you ever grumbled about, even to yourself? The ancient Israelites certainly had short-term memory lapses because at one time, they were crying out in anguish under the harsh hand of the Egyptian taskmasters, but shortly after they were freed, they grumbled against Moses and Aaron. They were more interested in short-term gratification rather than long-term sanctification.

    We are at risk of the same thing if we don’t think ahead to the coming Promised Land (Rev 21:1-4; 22). The nation of Israel wasn’t living for the end of their journey but only living in the moment. That’s why “the whole congregation of the people of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness” (Ex 16:2), and said to Moses and Aaron, “Would that we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the meat pots and ate bread to the full, for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger” (Ex 16:3). If God had not intervened more than once, Israel would have stoned Moses to death.

    Even Moses interceded on behalf of the ungrateful nation, so Moses didn’t base his contentment on Israel’s grumbling or being in the Wilderness, but on the preservation of God’s chosen people. Moses was not living for instant gratification or short-term pleasures in this life because “when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward” (Heb 11:24-26). Sin is pleasurable, yes, but it is fleeting, and if not repented of, it pays back more than it gives.

    Implications
    Grumbling is not a minor infraction to God, because when Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron, they were grumbling against God’s appointed leaders. That means that they had actually grumbled against God Himself (Ex 16:8). As I remember, that did not end well for thousands of them (1 Cor 10:10). On one occasion, it got so bad that Israel “grumbled against Moses and against Aaron, saying, “You have killed the people of the Lord” (Num 16:41).

    That is a very cruel thing to say to Moses and Aaron, but again, even if it was said to them, it was grumbling before God because God had placed them in those positions of authority. My old track coach was such an encourager, but when I actually won a race for the high school track team, he was silent. I didn’t understand it, so I asked him, “Did you see the race?” He said, “Yes, I saw it, but knew you could win it so you did just what I expected you to do.” My contentment was apparently not based on winning the race but in hearing accolades from the track coach.

    My contentment rested in the wrong place…and our contentment can easily be based upon the wrong things too. That’s not good unless that Person is Christ. If we are content in Christ, we are content with our circumstances. We don’t base our contentment in things or circumstances but in God. Things can be replaced, but people? No!

    Conclusion
    One man who had just trusted in Christ ended up losing everything he had. He had lost his family, his job, and finally, his home. He had lost everything except the clothes on his back, but what happened to him is amazing. He realized that he’d lost all that he had, but he had gained everything there was in Christ. He knew he had all he needed…he had Jesus Christ, and that relationship can never be taken from him.

    He is not living for today but for eternity. He lives with the end in mind to help him endure the present. Maybe I should strive to do the same thing…live every day with the eager expectation that Jesus could return at any moment. Then the mountains of problems that we all face will vanish into thin air. When Jesus comes, bam!, problems solved!
     
  19. beensetfree

    beensetfree Alfrescian (InfP) Old Timer

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    The Christian face

    The faces of Christians might not shine with a light so bright you have to look away as did the face of Moses after he met God and talked to him face to face, but there is a Christian light that shines on the faces of Christians everywhere.

    My two sisters and I once spent a long night in a hospital waiting room waiting for the morning when emergency heart surgery would be performed on our brother. During that long night, we became acquainted with a kind old gentleman who was there waiting for news of his wife. My sisters and I are life-long Christians and we recognized a kindred spirit in this old man. When we were away from him for a while, we speculated about the old fellow, sure that he had to be a Christian—just from the look on his old but contented face.

    Sure enough, when we asked him about his faith, we learned that he was a practicing Christian and a life-long church member.

    We have been telling this story ever since as we try to define that Christian look we saw on the old man’s face; and while we are still unable to accurately describe what exactly it is that we see, this light of Christ truly exists. It is as real as eyebrows, eyes and wrinkles. You can see Christianity right there on the faces of Christians. It is, as they say, as plain as the noses on their faces; and it is a look to which I aspire daily.
     
  20. beensetfree

    beensetfree Alfrescian (InfP) Old Timer

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    “The only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.”

    John 1:14

    Believer, you can bear your testimony that Christ is the only begotten of the Father, as well as the first begotten from the dead. You can say, “He is divine to me, if he be human to all the world beside. He has done that for me which none but a God could do. He has subdued my stubborn will, melted a heart of adamant, opened gates of brass, and snapped bars of iron. He hath turned for me my mourning into laughter, and my desolation into joy; he hath led my captivity captive, and made my heart rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory. Let others think as they will of him, to me he must be the only begotten of the Father: blessed be his name.

    And he is full of grace. Ah! had he not been I should never have been saved. He drew me when I struggled to escape from his grace; and when at last I came all trembling like a condemned culprit to his mercy-seat he said, ‘Thy sins which are many are all forgiven thee: be of good cheer.’ And he is full of truth. True have his promises been, not one has failed. I bear witness that never servant had such a master as I have; never brother such a kinsman as he has been to me; never spouse such a husband as Christ has been to my soul; never sinner a better Saviour; never mourner a better comforter than Christ hath been to my spirit. I want none beside him.

    In life he is my life, and in death he shall be the death of death; in poverty Christ is my riches; in sickness he makes my bed; in darkness he is my star, and in brightness he is my sun; he is the manna of the camp in the wilderness, and he shall be the new corn of the host when they come to Canaan. Jesus is to me all grace and no wrath, all truth and no falsehood: and of truth and grace he is full, infinitely full. My soul, this night, bless with all thy might ‘the only Begotten.’”
     

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