With Truth Comes Persecution

Thursday, March 7, 2013

"To consider Jesus better than everything else in the world is at the heart of what it means to be a Christian.  It may be worth reading that last sentence a couple more times, until it feels uncomfortable. Many of us are so quick to console our hearts when the least bit of unsettling winds blow through. But what about conviction? It’s a good thing not to be comfortable with a watered-down Christianity foreign to the Bible. It’s not works-righteousness to say that saving faith in Jesus means we have to really love him. It’s works-righteousness to think that our really loving him is the reason we’re saved. Paul said that everything is loss compared to the surpassing worth of knowing Jesus. Paul said that and so should we."

The above quote is from an article posted in Desiring God this morning.  As Christians we often struggle with persecution through harshly spoken or written words.  We are promised in scripture that we will be hated for the truth.  

"If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you.  If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefor the world hates you." ~ John 15:18-19 (ESV)

Even if it means verbally being reprimanded or even "de-friended" from a social network because you speak out against unholiness, we should never compromise the truth of the gospel.  

"Never let us be guilty of sacrificing any portion of truth on the altar of peace." ~ J.C. Ryle

The gospel was meant for broken people, those who need healing from a life of sinfulness.  This does not mean standing on the sidelines when controversy arrises, but we are to suit up for action and take a stand for Christ's sake.  Let them see the light of Christ in order to bring them out of darkness.  Now you may be thinking, "well, Christ was always loving and accepted people for who they were."  Yes, our Savior was known to sit with sinners, but he also called them to REPENT and leave their lives of sin behind them.  Just as Christ's example, we are to deliver the message of the gospel and not sugar coat everything just to appease the listener. 

To read the full article from Desiring God go to:


A World Fascinated by Sadism

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

My husband and I often like to sit and drink our coffee while discussing the controversial issues of our day.  This morning I brought up how I have seen more of a rise in people's fascination with sadism, gore...and often mixing them with sex. The thought horrified me as I remembered the passages in scripture that speak of hell and it's many torments, such as the verses that describe being thrown into outer darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matthew 8:12 and Revelation 20:13-15).  

As we can see, the media makes this out to be make-believe, a fantasy, or something that couldn't really happen.  And far be it from the media to point out that there is actually an after-life.  What we don't often think about is that one day when the Lord returns He will truly condemn those whom did not follow Him and they will be facing a terrible judgment.  I believe this sadistic and gory fascination will soon become a living reality for many.  I don't think scripture talks about "gnashing of teeth" just to give us an analogy of some far off punishment that isn't really going to take place, but is truly painting a picture of what will occur to those outside of Christ.  I believe that all restraint will be gone in that horrible place of torment.  God's sustaining grace is what keeps humans from tearing each other to pieces, but sometimes even that still happens in our world because of sin and its depravity.

So I simply ask this question, what is it in us that desires to view such things?  Could this possibly be stemming from the lust of the flesh?  We all combat desires that many times should make us stop and truly search our hearts.  Christians still fight against fleshly desires and have to combat satan daily when he attacks our minds. 

Now before you flood my inbox...I am not necessarily saying that it is sinful to watch a show about a zombie apocalypse or movies about awkward vampire romances, but I am only asking what it is that causes us to grasp so tightly onto such interests.

Lord, teach us to number our days...

Monday, January 30, 2012

For many years I have enjoyed reading the old puritan writings. One of the themes that I continue to see each time I read them is their faithful longing for the second coming of Christ.  These individuals were always living in the light of eternity and had a burning desire to live each day with the thought that it might be their last. 

I believe there are many different reasons the puritans thought this way.  One, we know from several statistics, people living in the 17th and 18th centuries died at much younger ages.  The brevity of life was a daily meditation for them.  Secondly, these faithful men and women were not caught up in the distractions we find ourselves to be surrounded by today.  We are constantly bombarded with the latest technology as well as what is going on in the media.  At times, it is almost impossible to escape from the chaos surrounding us.  They were content with the simplicity of life.  Many of them spent their time in prayer or reading the scripture by candlelight.  We could learn a few wise lessons from these puritans.

One of my favorite puritan works is called, "The Valley of Vision."  This is a booked comprised of several puritan prayers that are filled with many deep expressions towards God.

Below is a verse written from the prayer entitled "Man's Great End."
"O may I never fall into the tempers and vanities, the sensuality and folly of the present world!  It is a place of inexpressible sorrow, a vast empty nothingness; Time is a moment, a vapour, and all its enjoyments are empty bubbles, fleeting blasts of wind, from which nothing satisfactory can be derived; Give me grace always to keep in covenant with thee, and to reject a delusion of a great name here or hereafter, together with all sinful pleasures or profits.  Help me to know that there can be no true happiness, no fulfilling of thy purpose for me, apart from a life lived in and for the Son of thy love."
 Even among the craziness of this life, Christians are to be living each day with Psalm 90:12 in mind.  "So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom."

Jesus, Draw Me Nearer To Thee

Thursday, December 8, 2011

I recently spoke on the phone with a dear friend.  She discussed how these past few months had been very trying and lonely for her.  I was surprised to hear that this was the case.  I guess I had assumed all was well with her since the last time we had spoken.  She made the comment during our conversation that these difficult times had driven her to the Lord and how even though she has been facing difficulties, there was something sweet about being able to go to the Lord with her sorrows. 

I was so thankful for the conversation that I shared with this dear friend of mine.  It reminded me of the many times trials and heartaches of my past have caused me to flee to Christ as my refuge.  He has always been my closest friend during the most trying times.  When it felt as though others had abandoned me, He was always there to hold me in His arms.

This also caused me to evaluate where I am in my fellowship with Him now.  Do I run to Him daily even when life seems easy and full of joy or is it only when I am faced with hardships?  What is it that causes me to flee to Christ?

It reminded me of the verse in that song by Sovereign Grace Music, "As Long As You Are Glorified."

"Shall I take from Your hand Your blessings
Yet not welcome any pain
Shall I thank You for days of sunshine
Yet grumble in days of rain
Shall I love You in times of plenty
Then leave You in days of drought
Shall I trust when I reap the harvest
But when winter winds blow, then doubt."
The words of this song clearly express that we are to run to Him during times of both sorrow and joy.

All of this started to make me wish I could face a trial in order to feel that satisfying and deeper communion with my Heavenly Father once more.  I should know as a child of God, that there are still many more to come my way.  I can be sure of that!

Be encouraged, dear Christian.  Our King always delights in bringing us under His wings of mercy...trial or no trial.

Verses for further meditation:

"Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!" - Psalm 34:8

"The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit." - Psalm 34:18

"Come to me all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yolk upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yolk is easy, and my burden is light." - Matthew 11:28-30

"...He will not leave you or forsake you." - Deuteronomy 31:6

Thoughts from this morning's devotion...

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

One of my favorite devotional books that I continually return to is the famous "Morning & Evening Daily Readings" by Charles Haddon Spurgeon.  Spurgeon was a well-known reformed preacher who lived back in the nineteenth century.  His testimony of salvation as well of his dedication to preaching the gospel has continued to affect many people all over the world.  Even after all these years, his life of servitude continues to have an amazing impact on many believers.  I myself am one of them.  There are several times that I have read his devotions and have found my heart to be greatly overwhelmed with such intense emotions.  Sometimes my heart is overcome with a joy in Christ that only the Holy Spirit can grant, but then there are those times that my heart is deeply convicted because the words he has written have pierced my soul.  This morning's devotion for June 15th reminded me of how a sinner saved by grace should never cease in rejoicing over their salvation.  Read the words of Spurgeon...

"I, who once despaired, as well I might, for my nature was dry, and withered, and barren, and accursed as a howling wilderness, even I have been made to bring forth fruit unto holiness. Well may my mouth be filled with joyous laughter, because of the singular, surprising grace which I have received of the Lord, for I have found Jesus, the promised seed, and He is mine forever.  This day I will lift up psalms of triumph unto the Lord who has remembered my low estate, for 'my heart rejoiceth in the Lord; mine horn is exalted in the Lord; my mouth is enlarged over mine enemies, because I rejoice in Thy salvation."

In reading these words, I am reminded of who I was before the Lord saved me.  I believe many Christians forget what it is means to rejoice in their salvation and how the Lord has brought them out of darkness and into the light.  Many times we are still finding ourselves downcast because the cares of this life seem so burdensome.  If we look to Christ, we once again will taste the splendor of being His elect, a people who are in constant need of His mercy and grace.  

Desiring to be a Proverbs 31 woman.

Monday, May 16, 2011

I recently heard a great sermon by Joshua Harris called, "A Woman of Valor."  Pastor Harris took the passage in Proverbs 31 to present this sermon.  He used a lot of really great examples in this message, but the one that really stuck out to me the most was when he described what it would be like if he took his little girl to the mall one day and decided to take her by every store and stop to look at the way each one of them advertised their merchandise, such as on posters, mannequins, etc.  In doing this exercise, what would his little girl think about femininity and what it means to be a woman?  She would think that you had to look a certain way, act a certain way, dress a certain way, be a certain body type in order to be accepted by society.  All the things that his little girl would see is the exact opposite of what God calls a woman to be in scripture.  

God calls us to be women who fear the Lord.  He doesn't wish for us to seek to be women that the world wants us to be...women who use their bodies and attitudes to seduce and get their way.  Why do you think all the other passages in the book of Proverbs warn us to stay away from the adulteress woman?  She is a woman of foolish and wicked desires.  "With much seductive speech she persuades him; with her smooth talk she compels him.  All at once he follows her, as an ox goes to the slaughter, or as a stag is caught fast till an arrow pierces its liver; as a bird  rushes into a snare; he does not know it will cost him his life" (Proverbs 7:21-23).

May the Lord raise up more Proverbs 31 women. "...She is far more precious than jewels" (Proverbs 31:10)

Here is the link below if you would like to listen to the sermon by Josh Harris:

Pray for the younger generation of our day...

Sunday, April 24, 2011

After facing my own teenage years, I can remember the times I began to feel smothered by the worldliness that surrounded me everywhere I turned.  Those memories bring to my mind the grace and mercy that the Lord has had upon my life.  I remember begging the Lord to forgive me for some of the foolish choices I had made.  In light of this, the Lord has given me a great burden to reach out to the youth of our day who are constantly being bombarded by every temptation imaginable.  Unfortunately, many of them are giving in, and at very young ages too.  You don’t have to look very far in order to see what I am talking about.  Just take a trip to your local mall, log on to facebook, or step inside the doors of your very own church.  Yes, even the youth in many churches today are participating in shocking and rebellious types of behavior.  
Hollywood stars, reality television shows, and nasty tabloids have become the top educators on informing our youth how to dress, who to date, how to talk, and that it’s totally acceptable to indulge in promiscuous behavior before marriage.  Our society has fallen into this “use and be used” way of thinking where young men and women treat dating like you would use an empty candy wrapper after the contents inside have been consumed.  Sadly, this leaves behind major scars that take many years to heal.  The decisions we make early in our adult life will reap many consequences.  
Many parents may claim that their child would never take part in such questionable or promiscuous behavior.  I have often heard parents make the comment, “You choose your battles.”  In other words, they often let the behavior go unaddressed out of fear that they might be pushing their child away, but how does this passivity allow the parent to challenge their child to walk in the fear of the Lord?  
God has been so merciful to give me parents who loved me enough to correct me when I was not living in a manner that reflected a life of  holiness.  I may have resented their discipline at the time, but I can now say I am extremely thankful.  If you are a parent, one day your child may thank you for challenging them in love and by God’s grace, that child will take delight in being obedient.  Proverbs 22:6 tells us, “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”
May this be a challenge to all of us!  Let us pray for the young people of our day as well as the parents who are raising them.
~Reading List~
Here are some great books that have been a wonderful blessing to me.  I think these are excellent books for both teens and young adults.
Passion and Purity by Elisabeth Elliot
Books by Joshua Harris:
I Kissed Dating Goodbye
When Boy Meets Girl
Not Even a Hint
Of Knights and Fair Maidens by Jeff and Danielle Myers
Books by Eric & Leslie Ludy:

When God Writes Your Love Story

When Dreams Come True
Every Young Woman’s Battle: Guarding Your Mind, Heart, and Body in a Sex-Saturated World by Shannon Ethridge, Stephen Arteburn
There is also a book like this for young men...
Every Young Man’s Battle: Strategies for Victory in the real world of Sexual Temptation by Fred Stoeker, Stephen Arteburn, and Mike Yorkey