Archive for January, 2013


Be a glimmer of hope!

imagesDaniel 12:3 And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.

Most people have never heard of the first overseas missionary from America to Burma, Adoniram Judson. Judson was a brilliant man who learned to read when he was only 3. He went to college when he was just 16. He graduated valedictorian of his class at the age of 19. He was the son of a pastor, having been raised with Godly values, however while in college, he met a student named Jacob Eames, a deist who denied the miracles of the Bible. By the time Judson finished college he had turned completely from the Lord. For a short while, he lived a vagabond and reckless life, until a series of God-incidences turned his life inside out.

During this time, he left to visit his uncle, but instead, unexpectedly encountered a pious young man who amazed him by his strong Christian convictions, yet without being austere or dictatorial. The Lord placed this young man in the path of Judson to recapture the heart of the prodigal.

The very next night, he stayed at a small village inn where he had never been before. The innkeeper apologized that his sleep might be interrupted because a critically ill man was staying in the next room. The following day, as Judson was leaving, he asked the innkeeper about the sick man, and was informed that the man had passed during the night. Judson then asked the innkeeper, “Do you know who he was?” The man replied, “Oh yes. Young man from the college in Providence. Name was Eames, Jacob Eames.”

Upon hearing it was his old friend that just passed, Judson could hardly move. He stayed there for hours pondering death and eternity. He thought, if Jacob Eames was right, then his death was just a meaningless event. Judson could not believe it, and said, “That hell should open in that country inn and snatch Jacob Eames, his dearest friend and guide, from the next bed-this could not, simply could not, be pure coincidence.”

From that moment forward, Judson knew God was real. He rededicated his life and became a missionary in Burma for nearly 40 years. Before he died, he translated the Bible into Burmese, and planted over 100 churches.

Perhaps God will place someone in your path today because He wants you to be a light so that his or her life might be turned around! With the greatest harvest fast approaching, each of us is called to the mission field – the one right outside our door!

 

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saved_by_grace_through_faithBaptists believe that the Bible teaches that all human beings have chosen to sin, that is, to disobey God. The consequence of sin is eternal death. Persons are not capable of saving themselves from this plight. God, out of love for humankind, has provided salvation (John 3:16).

God’s gift of salvation is available through faith in his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. By his life and by his death on the cross, Jesus offers a way from eternal death to eternal life. That way is an expression of God’s grace. The way can be walked only by faith (Romans 5:1-2).

Although the Bible uses different word pictures to describe how Jesus provides salvation for lost humanity, in each case the message is clear: Salvation is available only through faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Some denominations have included such things as baptism, church membership, good works or sacraments as necessary for salvation. Baptists have insisted that salvation comes only by faith in God’s grace gift of Jesus.

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“Choose ye this day whom ye will serve.”

Joshua 24:15

Is soul competency the primary Baptist distinctive? Some very outstanding Baptist leaders, past and present, seem to indicate that it may be.

“…the principle of the competency of the soul in religion under

God is a distinctive Baptist contribution to the world’s thought….”

–E. Y. Mullins (b.1860 – d.1928)

Baptist educator/theologian
“Out of this principle flow all other elements of Baptist belief….”

– Herschel H. Hobbs (b.1907 – d.1995)

Baptist pastor/theologian

“The concept of the soul’s competency is more than a single doctrine;

actually, it undergirds all the other doctrines of the faith.”

–H. Leon McBeth (b.1931)

Baptist educator/historian

The Meaning of Soul Competency

What does “soul competency” mean? Various terms have been used for this concept, such as soul freedom, freedom of conscience and soul competency. Basically it means the God-given freedom and ability of persons to know and respond to God’s will. Baptists believe that God gives people competency–that is ability–to make choices. Human beings are not puppets or machines.

Baptists emphasize that this ability is not a mere human characteristic, but a gift from God. In creation, God gave to persons the freedom to make choices. The Genesis account of creation makes crystal clear that this freedom carried with it awesome responsibility. We are responsible for our choices. God sets forth the consequences of good and bad decisions. If we exercise our freedom to obey him, we have life. If we use our freedom to deny him, the result is death (Genesis 1—2).

Read MORE About Baptist Distinctives HERE

images (1)1 Corinthians 6:19-20 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.

We’ve been working on so many different things recently and we’re just exhausted. But this is a word of advice the Lord gave us. Perhaps it’s for some of you too.

Oftentimes we forget that our spiritual, mental and emotional livelihood is directly connected to our physical one. What I mean by that is when we don’t take care of our bodies, not only can we get physically sick, but spiritually, mentally and emotionally as well. The media and the medical industry may have a lot of ideas and “quick fixes” for getting healthy but it really all boils down to a few important fundamentals.

Let’s consider for a minute the way we’ve been treating our bodies. Have we been drinking enough water? Lot’s of water is the number one cure for many bodily ailments including weight loss. Are we eating the kinds of things we should? We can’t expect to put junk in our bodies and expect them to function normally. Are we moving enough? We need to get some form of exercise each day, even if it’s just taking a stroll around the block a few times. I know exercise is a scary word for some of us, but it’s so very important! Are we getting enough sleep? At least eight hours a night for any length of time is key!

Have you been running, running, running and losing your cool? When we don’t take care of our body the way we should, it’s bound to happen! Want to do greater things for the Lord? Want to get God’s direction for your life? Want to get more stable mentally and emotionally? Let’s commit to taking care of our body. It is the Temple of the Holy Spirit living in us. We should strive to keep it in good shape. There’s so much work to be done!!

It happened to the best of them!

imagesPsalms 51:10-12 Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.  Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me.  Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.

David is called a “man after God’s own heart.” Considering that he lusted after his neighbor’s wife, committed adultery with her, and had her husband murdered, the Lord’s description of him is remarkable. How could a man who was convicted a murderer and an adulterer also be called one after God’s own heart?

The answer is simple but profound: God did not regard David according to the actions of his sinful nature, but according to the deepest motivations and disposition of his heart and will; and these were revealed by David’s response to the conviction which Nathan the prophet brought upon him; a conviction which brought immediate total confession and repentance, and a broken and contrite heart. This response exemplified the shepherd king’s walk with God throughout the entire journey of his life .

If, after David had fallen he made excuses, rationalized, or resisted the clear message of his sinfulness it would have been a totally different story. His heart would have revealed a self-justifying, self-righteous attitude with no realization of his absolute need for God’s mercy. This would have defeated and defined him as a man after his own heart. But the immediacy and completeness of David’s confession qualified him for the Lord’s forgiveness and mercy, saving him from death and restoring him to that most treasured relationship of his life, his relationship with YHVH.

The consequences of his sin were very serious and followed David all the days of his life. But he demonstrated the genuineness of his repentance by never railing against God for the troubles which followed him as a consequence of his sin with Batsheva. David always rose up, submitted, and humbly praised God, writing wonderful psalms and pouring out his heart before the Lord. He served God and worshiped Him all his life. So the Lord God didn’t reckon David’s life by his fall – but by his walk, and by his heart.

We all stumble in many ways, but God does not define us by our failures. It’s our love for Him and our honesty before Him that reveals a true walk of faith! So if you fell, you messed up, your sin got the best of you, then come clean. Make your confession. Accept the consequences without complaining, allow the Lord to forgive and restore you completely, and continue on your journey with Him. That was David’s heart. His example is worthy to follow. May you also be one of those that lived their life “after God’s own heart!”

 

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images (1)Basically Baptists have considered the Bible as authoritative for faith and practice because of its very nature. Baptists have insisted that the divine nature of the Bible is the basis of its authority. No other writing compares to the Bible. The Bible stands alone among all other writings in that it is uniquely from God and about God.

For much of our history, Baptists have simply accepted the authority of the Bible based on belief in its divine nature. Scriptures were quoted to validate Baptist beliefs and practices without much effort to “prove” the divine nature of the Bible.

However, Baptists and others can point to many evidences of the divine, authoritative nature of the Bible, such as the amazing unity of the Bible in spite of the fact that it was written by a variety of persons over hundreds of years, the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies such as in the life and teachings of Jesus, the continuing relevance of the Bible’s message over centuries, the power of its message to transform lives and society, and the repeated claims within the Bible to be the word of God.

For more reading about this topic and about Bible Distinctives…Check it out HERE

8_jesusJohn 21:14-15, 22 This is now the third time Jesus showed Himself to His disciples after He was raised from the dead. So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Feed My lambs.”

Jesus said to him, “If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you? You follow Me.”

After Jesus’ resurrection, He showed himself to the apostles several times. Once, they were fishing, and Jesus met them on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. Peter was there, back at his craft, but swirling with inward emotions. The anguish of his recent denial, three times, exactly as Jesus had predicted, mixed with the amazement and perplexity at the empty tomb, and finally the astounding relief and joy witnessing the risen Lord. Peter was on an emotional roller coaster for days, but the issue of his denial remained unresolved.

The Lord’s encounter with Peter on the Sea of Galilee was to fully restore him. Three times Jesus probes His beloved disciple “Do you love me?” But this is more than just a quantitative restoration. The Lord is penetrating the apostle’s heart in this amazing conversation, because He really knows how much Peter loves Him and He wants Peter to know that He trusts him completely even after his awful failure. So Jesus gives Peter his lifelong commission– “Feed my lambs!”; “Feed my sheep.” Jesus knew that He could entrust Peter with this responsibility, and He told him so. Peter was restored.

Yet Peter still wobbles, even as he receives his restoration, when he asks about his fellow apostle, John. Jesus’s response, “what is that to you, you follow me!” settles the matter. The Lord is saying, “stop the competition, Peter. Those days are over, yet you’re still comparing…I have work for you; I have a life for you; live it!”

The enemy would love to dig up your past, thrust it in your face, and leave you comparing yourself with others for the rest of your life – but the Lord has a life for you and He wants you to live it. Your life, not someone else’s. He loves you and He trusts you to be who He made you to be. So don’t allow your past failures or your present jealousies to prevent you from the life you’re called to live for Him!

Don’t dry out!

  jesusbaptismGenesis 2:7 And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.

1 Corinthians 15:49 And as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man.

John 4:14 but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.”

Revelation 21:6 And He said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts.

The first man was called “Ah-dom”, we know him as “Adam“. The word used for “man”, as in “mankind”, in Genesis 1, is also the same word – “Ah-dom”. “Ah-dom” is rooted in the three Hebrew letters, aleph-dalet-mem, and one of the Hebrew words for earth is “Adamah”, which contains the same three letters, however it ends with the Hebrew letter “hay”. “Adamah” means “red earth”, or “red clay”, and this word points to the natural earth elements, the “earth dust” that composed Adam’s body, and the body of every human being since. “Man” is “ah-dom”, in a very real sense, “clay”.

If a piece of clay is to become anything, it has to be molded – and to be moldable it must become wet. Clay has a tendency to dry out quickly and become hardened, and once that happens, there’s not much you can do with it. Since we are “ah-dom”, made of clay, we are in constant need of water. This is true both physically, and also spiritually. Our bodies need a constant resupply of water to stay alive and function well. Our spirits also need “water”, the “water” of the Word [Ephesians 5:26]. If we are constantly drinking this water of the word, our faith, which comes by hearing [Romans 10:17] will result in a magnificent promise from Yeshua: “He that believes in me, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water!”

This water of His Word welling up through His Spirit will prevent us from becoming dry and hardened, and will enable us to “water” others, even to be, ourselves, a spring of living water.

Drink from the water of life. You don’t want to become a hardened vessel, easily cracked or broken. Soak yourself in Him and in His word, so that God will keep you moldable, useful, and “drinkable” by others. Water is necessary, but it is also deeply refreshing, and Yeshua’s living water springs up, even to eternal life!

More from this Author Right HERE

lordreturnWhy have Baptists held so strongly to the exclusive Lordship of Christ? We have taken our stand on several basic convictions, including the following:

(1)  The Bible teaches the Lordship of Christ, and Baptists look to the Bible as their sole written authority for faith and practice.

(2)  The biblical teaching about soul competency demands that each individual Christian bow to no ultimate authority other than God—Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

(3)  The biblical emphasis on soul competency flows from the Lordship of Christ.

(4)  The New Testament model for a church is founded upon the Lordship of Christ; he alone is the head of the church.

Read more about Baptist Distinctive by clicking HERE

Isaiah 53:4-5 Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted (me-u-neh). But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.

Hebrews 2:9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone.

Hebrews 12:2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Romans 8:16-18 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs–heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

When I studied Isaiah 53 earnestly in the ancient Hebrew, I was taken back by the Hebrew word for “afflicted” (me-u-neh). In modern Hebrew this word means “tortured“. When I was young, and first learned what torture actually involved, my soul was shocked that this could happen to people; in fact that it was happening to people. That a person could be kept alive for the purpose of intentionally causing him intense agonizing pain was an astounding enigma for my young soul. It really frightened me; and I think that fear of torture is probably the greatest fear that humans can experience. We read about people who have been tortured, with a kind of horrified awe. And quietly we wonder inside, “How can this be?” And, “Could this ever happen to me?”

Crucifixion was a form of torture which the ancient Romans used frequently. And while I had a concept of the suffering that our Messiah endured for us, for some reason the understanding that He was tortured for our iniquities brought my awareness to a new level. I did not begin to appreciate or fathom the suffering Yeshua went through. His identification with our suffering and our sin was total, and His experience of this torture so fully absorbed Him that He experienced what must have felt like infinite isolation and pain. Somehow, this is a deep comfort; to know that the Son of God understands by experience, torture and suffering unthinkable.

But then, I suddenly realized that I also could not begin to comprehend the glory that awaited Him after His suffering. And that His suffering purchased for me a portion in that glory as well. It was the other side of the story, and somehow, these two extremes complement one another; suffering, and glory. The apostle Paul states his revelation about our sufferings with almost light-hearted conviction; that they are not even “worthy” to be compared with the glory that awaits us. This, to me, could be the most amazing promise in all of scripture.

Suffering is everywhere, a constant part of this life; it may be you, or someone you love, or people you don’t even know but are agonizing over and praying for. This world casts suffering in every direction at every level of intensity. But all of it, every flaming ounce of it has been successfully absorbed into the body of Yeshua the Messiah. He was tortured for us – suffered death for us – so that our sufferings are trifles in the light of eternity. It’s been said this way: from heaven the most miserable earthly life will look like one bad night in a cheap hotel. Thank the Lord.

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