The Shepherd of Hope blog is here to serve you, to help you know Jesus better and to find hope in Him. This blog relies on the Spirit of God using the word of God to build people of God. All material has been prayerfully submitted for your encouragement and spiritual edification. Your questions and comments are welcome.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Peace "of" God

When a person accepts Jesus as their Savior they cross a line that moves them from being at war with God to being at peace with God (Romans 5:1). Being at peace with God is a wonderful thing. Knowing you will spend eternity at peace with God is a stupendous thing. But did you know that it is possible for a Christian to experience peace with God but be missing the peace of God? It’s true; there are many born again believers who are wracked with anxiety and worry and lack Gods peace. Many Christians have peace with God but miss the peace of God.

In Romans 5 Paul uses phrases like “and not only that” (5:3), and “much more” (5:9.10.15, 17, 20) to show that God’s grace is limitless and inexhaustible. Just when we think God’s grace can’t get any better, He exceeds our expectations and understanding to bless us all the more (Ephesians 3:20-21). That’s the way God is, He just can’t stop loving us! Let me share one way God goes beyond our expectations.

It is one thing to have peace with God; it is another thing to have the peace of God. Not only does God provide peace with Him, but He also provides His peace to help us live in this life. The peace of God is that steadying force, that inner sense that God is in control no matter what. The peace of God is that settling effect that guards the believer’s heart from being overwhelmed as they trust hopefully in God to be faithful in all of life. How can we receive the peace of God? There are two practical steps to experiencing the peace of God.

First, the peace of God is received as we commit all things to Him in prayer.
Paul speaks of this to the Philippians when he is inspired to write:

  • Philippians 4:6-9 – “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. 8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.9 The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.”

The peace of God can permeate the believer to the depths of their being and take up residence in the mind and heart. By prayer in all things, we declare our dependence upon God who comes to us in our time of need to guard and quiet our anxieties and fears. Fear is the foe of faith and is overcome by prayerfully putting faith in God. In prayer we can literally cast our cares upon the Lord; we can throw off our worries; we can ax our anxieties (1 Peter 5:6-7). Then we rest in the peace of God trusting the Lord to be in control.

The way we think can also determine if we experience the peace of God. Paul tells us if we meditate on the pure, true, noble, just, lovely, good report and praiseworthy things it will facilitate Gods’ peace being poured out in our lives. He then says if you “do” the things you learned, received and heard and saw in him “the peace of God will be with you.” Put God’s word into practice friend, and God’s peace will be with you! If you want the peace of God there is no substitute or alternative to saturating yourself with God’s word.

Second, the peace of God is fueled by the word of God, worship and Christlike doing.
Paul was inspired to write to the Colossian church:

  • Colossians 3:15-17 – “And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.17 And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”

Paul says, “Let.” This is an exhortation that implies God wants to give you His peace. All we need do is let Him give it to us. The peace of God is from Him and received by faith. Paul tells us to let God’s peace rule our hearts and be thankful for it. That means we let God’s peace be our referee to determine the way we ought to go in life.

The word of God fuels the peace of God in us because the word of God testifies to the faithfulness and provision of God. The word of God also guides us so that when we cast off our cares it does not lead to irresponsibility.
One of the best ways to counter anxiety and fear is to consume the word of God, read it, meditate on it, and study it prayerfully. Paul points us to the psalms in particular. I always find the psalms comforting to read during times of trials or difficulties.

In Colossians 3:16 Paul also points us to worship as a means of bringing the peace of God into our lives. If you’re having a hard time of it, worship the Lord. Turn off the TV and turn on the praise and worship. Worship in the Spirit and the peace of God will come upon you and settle your heart and mind.

And lastly, we should do all that we do “in the name of the Lord Jesus.” That means we do all that we do in the power of Christ and in a Christ like way. When we do things in His strength His way we have no reason to regret and the peace of God is unleashed in our lives. Do your best and trust him with the rest and God’s peace will be released in your life.

God doesn’t only provide the opportunity to have peace with Him, but “much more,” He provides His peace to help us through life now. Charles Ryrie, in his book So Great Salvation, tells a story of a Father and child that illustrates the practical nature of peace with God.

The 3-year old felt secure in his father's arms as Dad stood in the middle of the pool. But Dad, for fun, began walking slowly toward the deep end, gently chanting, "Deeper and deeper and deeper," as the water rose higher and higher on the child. The lad's face registered increasing degrees of panic, as he held all the more tightly to his father, who, of course, easily touched the bottom. Had the little boy been able to analyze his situation, he'd have realized there was no reason for increased anxiety. The water's depth in ANY part of the pool was over his head. Even in the shallowest part, had he not been held up, he'd have drowned. His safety anywhere in that pool depended on Dad. At various points in our lives, all of us feel we're getting "out of our depth" -- problems abound, a job is lost, someone dies. Our temptation is to panic, for we feel we've lost control. Yet, as with the child in the pool, the truth is we've never been in control over the most valuable things of life. We've always been held up by the grace of God, our Father, and that does not change. God is never out of his depth, and therefore we're safe when we're "going deeper" than we've ever been.

When we come to rest by faith in Christ, in the peace of God, we rest in His arms. Resting in His arms, we should fear nothing in this life. By faith we receive peace with God; by faith we receive the peace of God; and then no matter what happens in life, God holds us and we get through.

[1] Charles Ryrie, So Great Salvation, Victor Books, 1989, p. 137ff.

Monday, August 30, 2010

God, the Gospel, and Glenn Beck

God, the Gospel, and Glenn Beck

Three Things About Islam

The following 8 minute video is a secular presentation on Three Things About Islam. It discusses whether or not Islam has been hijacked by a fanatical few, the strategy of the gradual perpetuation of Sharia Law, and the Law of Taqiyya that allows Muslims to lie to infidels in order to forward their religion. Christians won't agree with everything in this video,(such as viewing Christianity as just one of many religions and that all contain contradictions - Christianity, rightly understood is without contradictions). But these three points are vitally important for understanding what is going on in the world today. At the end of the video are some links to do further research. I encourage you to get informed about Islam.

I invite you to watch the video and then read my comments.

Abraham Lincoln said You can fool all of the people some of the time and some of the people all of the time but you can't fool all of the people all of the time. It's time we wake up as a nation. It's time for Christians to equip themselves to share the gospel with Muslims. Politically it is doubtful the west has the wherewithal and courage to address honestly the danger of Islam. This is a spiritual battle. Wherever you find deception being used you know the devil is involved (John 8:44). The way to deal with the deceptions of the devil is to address and expose falsehoods and lies with truth.

This is a religio-political problem because Islam is a religious system that incorporates politics, a governmental system, and religious beliefs in one package. Islam is a works righteousness religious system. As such it binds and shackles people with guilt and oppression. Jesus, on the other hand said, "If you abide in My word, you are my disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. . . . Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave to sin. . . . Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed" (John 8:31-32, 34, 36). Exposing the truth about Islam is important, but it is not enough. Addressing Islam from a political position is not enough. We have to go beyond the mere truth laid out for us in Three Things About Islam. We have to go to the the truth of Jesus.

Exposing the truth about Islam so that the world protects itself against it will only result in political freedom. In the United States right now there is a national conversation about the loss of freedoms. That is patriotic. That is important. But that is not enough. There is a greater freedom to experience. Jesus offers eternal freedom. Jesus offers freedom from the shackles of sin. If Islam is thwarted and our freedoms restored and secured in the United States, people will still remain bound in sin! We need to go beyond the mere secular, temporal addressing of issues in the world and address the eternal predicament of humanity.

We have to go beyond secular truth and seek the Spirit of truth. We need the Holy Spirit who illuminates and reveals the truth of God (John 14:17; 15:26; 16:13). The truth we need to seek is the truth of God revealed in His word (John 17:17). We need the "truth of the gospel" (Gal. 2:5, 14). The early church turned the world upside down (i.e. right side up) (Acts 17:6). The Spirit filled disciples of the early church were faced with problems and religious systems just as oppressive and threatening as the ones we face today. They were imprisoned, tortured, stoned, sawn in two, decapitated (sound familiar?), and thrown to lions (cf. Heb. 11:32-40). But they were able to gain victory and glory for God no matter what the enemy threw at them. Why? How? Because they had "the truth of the gospel" (Col. 1:5). The truth of the gospel won the hearts of enemies as it was spread throughout the world in the power of the Spirit (Acts 1:8). That is what is really needed today; gospel truth spread in the power of the Spirit. Anything less is only a band aid.

The truth of the gospel is that there are none righteous, not one human being (Rom. 3:10, 23). Every person has broken not just one but many of God's Laws and done so many times over. God gave us His Law to show us the way to a peaceful abundant life (Deut. 30:11-20; Gal. 3:24). God's law is holy, just and good (Rom. 7:12). God is holy and sin is repugnant to Him (Hab. 1:13). Sin dirties us and separates us from Holy God (Ps. 66:18; Isaiah 59:2). Even one sin of breaking God's Law separates a person from God (Gal. 3:10; James 2:10). Sin is serious. Sin is like cancer, one cell, left unattended spreads and will kill the entire body. The wages of sin is death (Rom. 6:23a). Sin causes pain and sorrow. Sin is the result of pride, rebellion and selfishness. Sin is linked to everything bad in this world. And because of this God's righteous wrath is what awaits the sinner in judgment (Eph. 2:1-3). He will not allow sin into His heaven, a place of true peace, harmony and loving fellowship with Him (e.g. John 17:3). Sin separates us from everything good and we have a malignancy of sin. This is the bad news.

The good news of the gospel is that God, in a gift of His grace, has reached down to help us out of the mire of sin. The wages or debt of sin is the eternal death penalty. This death is not annihilation but the just sentence of eternal condemnation in a place called hell (Mat. 25:46; Rev. 20:11). But Jesus went to the cross and paid that penalty for us by dying a sinners death there (1 Pet. 1:18-19). God "made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that when we might become the righteousness of God in Him" (2 Cor. 5:21). We can be saved from our sins when we forsake our sin,put our faith or trust in Jesus and His work on the cross as the only sufficient means to ask for and receive God's forgiveness for for our sins (Mark 1:15; John 1:12; Acts 2:38-39; Rom. 5:1; 6:23; 10:9-10; 2 Cor. 7:10; Eph 2:8-9; Titus 3:3-5). Grace therefore is God's Riches at Christ's Expense. Because this salvation is a gift of God's grace you can rest assured that you have it when you follow the gospel truth revealed to you by God (1 John 5:13). The person who receives the truth of God's gospel passes from death to life. No matter how great a sinner you are if you receive Jesus as Savior and Lord the Bible says, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new" (2 Cor. 5:17). Where the Spirit does His work, liberty from sin results (2 Co. 3:17-18). The evidence of this is the beautiful love of God poured out into you by the Spirit who indwells the believer (Rom. 5:5; 8:9-11; 1 John 3:14). That is the better way; love never fails (1 Cor. 13:8).

We need more than a political or military response to Islam and the various problems faced in this world. We need gospel truth applied. Let's make that our prayer. In fact, let's pray as Paul did when he wrote to the Colossians saying:

"We give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and your love for all the saints; because of the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, of which you heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel, which has come to you, as it has also in all the world, and is bringing forth fruit, as it is also among you since the day you heard and knew the grace of God in truth; . . . ." (Col. 1:3-6).

Let's spread "the word of the truth of the gospel . . . in all the world." God bless you all. Speak the truth of God's word in the love and power of the Spirit.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Franklin Graham on Islam

The following is a CNN intereview with Franklin Graham who is to be commended for his steadfast stand for the truth about Islam. In the interview he keeps first things first by sharing the gospel. His deamenor and tone are gracious. He speaks truth in love. He does not react to the baiting of the interviewer. That is a good example and a scriptural one as well (cf. Eph. 4:15). I encourage you to pray for Franklin and pray God raises up others with the same integrity, courage and boldness to speak truth. God bless you all.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Two Baptisms?

Acts 8:14-17 – “Now when the apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them,15 who, when they had come down, prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit.16 For as yet He had fallen upon none of them. They had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.17 Then they laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.”

What is baptism?

Baptism is a symbol of dying to self and our sinful life (immersed under the water) and being resurrected to new life in Christ (raised out of the water). Baptism is a witness to the world that this saving experience has occurred in our lives. (Jn. 3:5; Acts 2:38; 10:48; 22:16)

Why be baptized?

Jesus was baptized (Mt. 3:13-17). He commanded disciples to be baptized (Mt. 28:19-20). Obedience is evidence of our love of Jesus (Jn. 14:21) Therefore, we should obey and be baptized.

There are Two Baptisms

The Bible speaks of two baptisms.

1.) “Baptized into Christ” – SALVATION; INNER WORKING

  • "They had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.” – Acts 8:16b
  • “they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.” – Acts 19:6
  • “Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?” – Romans 6:3
  • “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” – Gal 3:27 (also Col. 2:12)

At the baptism of Jesus we are born again, born of the Spirit (John 3:5). The Spirit begins conforming us to the likeness of Jesus at the new birth (Rom. 8:29; Eph. 5:18). Water baptism symbolizes this work of God in us.

The Bible does not teach infant baptism, (an infant is unaware and incapable of any experience with God – infants are under God’s grace). Baptism is an outward sign of God’s inner work of the Spirit in you.

2.) “Baptized with the Holy Spirit” – EMPOWERMENT FOR SERVICE

This is the second work of the Spirit in us. Jesus referred to this in Acts 1:4-5 saying:

  • Acts 1:4-5,8 – “And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, “which,” He said, “you have heard from Me;5 “for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” . . . 8 “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

This is a second work of God, received by grace through faith just as the first work is (see Acts 15:8-9).

Notice, in Acts 8, the disciples are baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus, then hands are laid on them and the Spirit comes “upon” them. (8:16; see 19:5-6). Two works are pictured here. (At Pentecost the saved disciples – (see John 20:20-21), are baptized with the Holy Spirit AFTER their initial saving experience.


Have you been baptized since receiving Jesus as your Savior? If you have been baptized to show God’s initial work of salvation in you, have you received His baptism with the Holy Spirit that empowers for service and ministry? If you’re not sure, just prayerfully ask Jesus.

Jesus was baptised and His followers should be too. Baptism is an outward expression of an inward work of God in your life. It symbolizes salvation - the burial of your old life and sin and being raised to new life by God's grace through faith in Jesus Christ. It symbolizes being empowered with the Holy Spirit - a dying to self and being raised to full surrender to Christ. In this last sense it is referred to as the baptism with the Holy Spirit for empowering. The baptism with the Holy Spirit for empowering doesn't mean you get more of the Holy Spirit, it means the Holy Spirit gets more of you! Do you want to fully surrender to the Lord? Take that step of faith in full surrender to the Lord and mark it with baptism.

So a person should be baptised to outwardly testify to their salvation in Christ. And a person can be baptised to mark a point of full surrender to be empowered by the Holy Spirit for service.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Ministering to Muslims

Below are some video teachings from Matt Slick of CARM (Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry) on Islam. I encourage you to watch them. As Christians we are called by God to be ambassadors compelled by the love of Christ to share the Gospel with the lost. God uses us to plead with the lost, "be reconciled to God. He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him" (cf. 2 Cor. 5:14-21). I pray these videos help to equip and encourage you to fulfil that calling. God bless you all.

An Honest Word to Muslims Visitors

What is Islam?

The Holy God of Christianity versus Allah of Islam


Jesus versus Muhammed

The Gospel for Muslims

What Does the Quran Say About Jesus and the Bible? by Dan McVey

This article was sent to me by a pastor friend of mine. The Gournd Zero Mosque controversy has and will open many doors of witness with Muslims. I pass this article on to you to help you be prepared. God bless.


What Does the Quran Say About Jesus and the Bible?

There are many times when Muslims will accuse Christians that we have corrupted the Bible or that we have changed the truth about Jesus Christ. But what does the Quran say about Jesus Christ? What does the Quran say about the Bible? I want us to look at some few quotations straight from the Quran and ask our Muslim friends to think well about what Islam originally said about these things. We do not seek useless debate or angry responses, only a thoughtful and careful reflection upon the truth. All men want to go to heaven. Therefore, let us reason well and let God speak for himself. The Quran says in Sura 2:62 (Al- Baqara) - "Believers, Jews, Christians and Sabaeans - whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day and does what is right - shall be rewarded by their Lord; they have nothing to fear or regret." The Bible says in John 8:32 - "You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free."


Sura 3:45 (Al-Imran) - "The angels said to Mariam (Mary): 'Allah bids you rejoice in a Word from Him. His name is al-Masih (Messiah), Isa the son of Mariam. He shall be noble in this world and in the next, and shall be favored by Allah.'"

When the angel appeared to Mary to announce the birth of Jesus, he said in Sura 19:19 (Mariam) - "'I am the messenger of your Lord,' he replied, 'and have come to give you a holy son.'"

Notice that Jesus is called a holy son, this means without fault or sin.

Sura 10:34 (Yunus) - "Say: Can any of your partners (associate-gods) produce a creation, then reproduce it? Allah produces a creation, then reproduces it." Only God can create and give life. Let us continue with

Sura 3:49 (AI-Imran) - (Jesus is speaking) "I bring you a sign from your Lord. From clay, I will make for you the likeness of a bird. I shall breathe into it and, by Allah's leave, it shall become a living bird. By Allah's leave, I shall give sight to the blind man, heal the leper and raise the dead to life." It is only the Lord Jesus Christ who can do such things and by the Quran's own standard this identifies Jesus as the one with divine power and authority.

Jesus Christ is the only prophet in the Quran who does not confess his sins. There is a tradition in the Hadith (the record of the Prophet Mohammed's sayings and actions not recorded in the Quran) that says:

Abu Huraira reported Allah's messenger as saying, "There is none among the sons of Adam who is born but not touched by Satan at the time of his birth. So he cried loudly because of Satan's touch. But this is not the case with Mary and her son." (Agreed upon)

Remember in Sura 19:19 Jesus is called the holy son, without sin, faultless, pure and righteous by his own nature.

Sura 4:171 (Al-Nisa) - "Al-Masih (Messiah), Isa (Jesus) the son of Mariam, was no more than Allah's apostle and His Word which He bestowed on Mariam, and a spirit proceeding from Him." Jesus is the Spirit of God (Ruhull-llah) and the Word of God. Moses is called God's spokesman in the Quran, and Abraham is called the friend of God while Muhammed is called the messenger of God - only Jesus Christ is called the Spirit and Word of God. Does this not mean that the teachings of Jesus need to be carefully studied from the Bible?

Jesus Christ is pronounced holy and sinless in Islam, but the Prophet Muhammed often confessed his sins - Suras 40:55; 47:19; 48:2. Listen to Muhammed's own confession in Sum 46:9 (Al-Ahqaf) - "Say, I am no prodigy (marvel or special one) among the apostles; nor do I know what will he done with me or you. I follow only what is revealed to me, and my only duty is to give plain warning." Prophet Muhammed confessed his own inability to know the end of his work or to know the fate of his followers.

In strong contrast to this, please note carefully the words of the Quran in Sura 3:55 (Al-Imran) - "Allah said, Isa (Jesus), I am about to cause your term on earth to end and lift you up to Me. I shall take you away from those who disbelieve and exalt your followers above them till the Day of Resurrection." God says that the followers of Jesus will be exalted until the Day of Resurrection! Has that day come yet? NO. Therefore, Jesus is worthy of being followed and his followers are honored by God just as Jesus is. HALLELUJAH - PRAISE BE TO HIS HOLY NAME! If you are a true follower of Jesus Christ according to His Holy teachings, then you have full assurance of salvation in the last day (Romans 8:1).

Also please note, that Sura 3:55 says "I am about to cause your term on earth to end." The Arabic here says, "Inim wuta wafika" which literally means, "I will cause you to die." Also in Sura 19:33 (Mariam) Jesus is quoted as saying, "So peace be on me on the day I was born, and on the day I die; and may peace be upon me on the day when I shall be raised to life." Praise be to the one God, the Quran even bears testimony to the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ!

Since there is full assurance given to those who follow Jesus Christ for their salvation (Sura 3:55), what else does the Quran say about the Christians? Throughout the Quran, Allah is praised as the Merciful and Compassionate. Let us look at Sura 57:27 (Al-Hadid) - "We sent other apostles, and after those Isa the son of Mariam. We gave him the Gospel and put compassion and mercy in the hearts of his followers." Look at how the followers of Jesus are regarded by Allah. Compassion and mercy in our hearts as followers of Jesus Christ! We must turn to His teachings in the Bible to learn the fill truth about Jesus Christ and what it means to be his follower.


Muslim friends often want to tell us that the Bible has been corrupted and cannot be trusted now. The Quran never said this and Prophet Muhammed never said this. Let us look at some verses from the Quran which show the full confidence that Prophet Muhammed had in the Bible and how Allah instructed the people to trust the Bible.

Sura 5:68 (Al-Maida) - "Say: 'People of the Book (Christians and Jews), you stand for nothing until you observe the Torah and the Gospel and that which is revealed to you from your Lord."

Sura 4:136 (Al-Nisa) - "0 believers, have faith in Allah and His Apostle, in the Book He has revealed to His Apostle, and in the Book He formerly revealed (Bible). He that denies Allah, His angels, His Scriptures, His apostles, and the Last Day, has strayed far from the truth."

Sura 5:48 (Al-Maida) - "And to you We have revealed the Book with the truth confirming what was revealed before it in the other Books, and standing as a guardian over it."

The Quran was to be the guardian of all the previously revealed Scripture. If the Bible was corrupted, then the Quran failed in its work. If the Bible was corrupted, when and where and how was it corrupted? Was it corrupted before Prophet Muhammed's time or after? If it was before his time, then why did he not say so and why did he tell his people to read the Law and the Gospel? If it was after Prophet Muhammed's time, then why do we have ancient copies of the Bible that are much older than Muhammed that read exactly the same as the Bible today?

In Sum 5:43 (Al-Maida) the Quran confirms the truthfulness of the Torah (Law of Moses, Old Testament). When Prophet Muhammed met some Jews in Arabia, Allah said to him, "But why do they come to you for judgment when they already have the Torah in which is Allah's own judgment?" Furthermore, in Sura 5:47, the Quran says, "Let the followers of the Gospel judge in accordance with what Allah has revealed therein. Evil doers are those who do not base their judgments on Allah's revelations." This confirms that the Bible was known to Prophet Muhammed and he had full confidence in its truthfulness. It also tells us that according to true Islam, Christians are to guide themselves by the Gospel. Muhammed was even told, "If thou (Muhammed) art in doubt concerning that which we reveal unto thee, then question those who read the Scriptures before thee." (Sura 10:94 - Yunus). Prophet Muhammed was told to refer to the Christians for fuller spiritual understanding.

The Bible was fully written and confirmed and compiled by the Lord 500 years before Muhammed was even born. Sura 6:115 (AI-An'am) says: "Perfected are the words of your Lord in truth and justice. None can change them. He is the Hearing, the Knowing." The Torah and the Gospel are the word of the Lord, according to the Quran, so no one can change them! If the Bible has been changed, as some Muslims will argue, then the Quran is not true. No, the Bible has not been changed; it must be studied and respected as the Word of God.

My Muslim friend, do you believe the Bible? Sura 29:46 (AI-Ankabut) says: "And do not argue with the people of the Book (Jews and Christians) except in the best way, unless it be with those among them who do evil. Say: 'We believe in that which is revealed to us and which was revealed to you. Our God and your God is one. To Him we surrender ourselves.'" You must believe the Bible. The true submitter to God must accept His word. It is only through a true knowledge of Jesus Christ as proclaimed in the Bible that we can find life and hope. The Quran says in Sum 35:18 (Fatir): "No soul shall bear another's burden. If a laden soul cries out for help, nothing of its burden will be carried even by a relative." However, Jesus Christ said, "Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me for I am meek and lowly in heart, and you shall find rest unto your souls." (Matthew 11:28-29). Jesus, our Savior and King, is the only one who is qualified and holy enough to bear our burdens and lead us to salvation. He said, "I am the way the truth and the life, no one can go to the Father but through me." (John 14:6)

My Muslim friend, please take time to learn of Jesus the Christ and find the true meaning of submission to God. The Gospel is the true witness to Jesus Christ and we invite you to honestly and open-heartedly seek the truth from above from the one true God. Read about Jesus Christ and learn of him, for He is ready to receive you. Many thanks to great writers like Ahmed Adjei, Iskandar Jadeed, and Abdiyah Akbar Abdul-Haqq. Dan McVey

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Dealing with Fearfulness - Part 2

Fearfulness and trembling have come upon me, and horror has overwhelmed me. - Psalm 55:5

How should we deal with fear? When the enemy uses fear against us we need to respond with a steadfast faith in God (1 Peter 5:9). When we’re overtaken with fear we need to run to God in faith. David is the one who was inspired by God to pen Psalm 55. David was a man of war. Some mistakenly think courage in battle is the absence of fear. That is wrong. Courage in battle is the proper management of fear. Every soldier or warrior knows fear. A hero is a hero not because they don’t fear but because they manage their fear better than others. David felt fear and he was courageous. His courage to overcome his fears was rooted in His faith in God. In Psalm 55 he is inspired to write:

Psalm 55:16-17, 22 ­ - 16 As for me, I will call upon God, and the Lord shall save me. 17 Evening and morning and at noon I will pray, and cry aloud, and He shall hear my voice. . . . 22 Cast your burden on the Lord, And He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved.

David called on God in faith. He called on God with a confident trust that “the LORD shall save me.” He prayerfully called on God “evening and morning and at noon.” He cried out to God in faith believing, “He shall hear my voice.” And then in faith David cast his burden on the LORD. He gave his fears to God in faith. He believed and encouraged his readers that “He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved.” God doesn’t want us to react and run from our fears. God wants to help us be steadfast and true in our fearful situations. In the New Testament Paul was inspired to write something similar when he said, “therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Cor. 15:58).

Abraham is an example that faith is the God-ordained means to overcome fear. Faith is the righteous way to deal with fear (Genesis 15:1, 6). He feared when called by God to an unknown land. He had to risk his family. He and Sarai were getting old and there seemed to him to be a risk that God would not fulfill His promise of an heir. How did Abraham overcome His fear? Abraham accepted God’s word that nothing was impossible for Him (Genesis 18:14). Abraham’s faith was strengthened to overcome any fears he might have had by his growing in the knowledge of the God who had called him (Genesis 18:19). When Abram acted in his flesh it led to bondage (Genesis 17:18-19, 21; Galatians 4:21-25). But when he overcame his fears by faith in God’s ability it led to the fulfillment of God’s promises in his life (Genesis 15:6; Galatians 4:26-5:1). Don’t fear. Have faith in God.

Faith by nature involves risk. Faith requires we trust God for “things not seen” (Heb. 11:1). We naturally fear the unknown. We fear dark places. We fear the future because we don’t know what it holds. We fear when we don’t know the outcome of situations. All of that is overcome by faith in God. Faith in God is not irrational or a leap of faith into a complete unknown. We know God. And God has proven Himself faithful countless times in Biblical history and in the history of believers throughout the ages. Look at Hebrews 11’s record of those who trusted God. God got them through incredibly fearful situations. If we know God we need not fear the future unknowns because we know the One who holds the future. God makes the unknowns secondary. We erase the unknowns and fears they produce by trusting in God who has given us an entire Bible full of examples of His reliability in fearful situations. We overcome fears through trust in God whose promise is, “He shall never permit the righteous to be moved.”

Are you fearful? Are you overcome with fear? The answer to your fears is knowing God. God is knowable. Eternal life is all about knowing God; it’s all about knowing Jesus (John 17:3). The Bible says it’s possible to know God and even have a relationship with Him (1 John 1:3; 2:3-6; 3:6, 14; 5:13). If you are overcome with fear the only way to overcoming those fears is trusting in Jesus as your Savior and Lord.

How can we know the Lord? If you want to know God simply admit that you are a sinner (Rom. 3:23; 1 Jn. 1:8). All sin is against God (Ps. 51:4). Sin separates us from God (ps. 66:18; Isaiah 59:2; Habakkuk 1:13). Who is a sinner? We all are because God is so holy that breaking even one of His commands bars us from heaven (Gal. 3:10-13; Ja. 2:10). Test yourself by God’s Ten Commandments to see where you stand (Exodus 20). Sin is like cancer; even one cell if left unattended can spread fatal death. God won’t let sin or sinners into heaven. The wages of sin is therefore eternal death (Rom. 6:23). This is not annihilation or a ceasing to exist, this is a never ending place of God’s just punishment to those who persisted in sin (Mat. 25:46; Rev. 20:11-15). We cannot satisfy God’s just judgment on us as sinners by doing good works (Eph. 2:8-9; Titus 3:4). If a person murdered someone but for the rest of their lives they were good, they would still be a murderer. You can’t work your way to heaven. To God our efforts to work our way to heaven are like filthy rags! (Isaiah 64:6). Trying to work your way into Holy God’s holy heaven is actually a supreme insult to Him.

Once you’ve admitted your sin you need to believe Jesus Christ is the only One who can save you from your sins. Jesus is the only way of salvation (John 14:6; Acts 4:12). There is no alternative to the cross work of Jesus to be forgiven your sins and be granted access to heaven (Mat. 26:36-46). To seek an alternative to Jesus or try to add to His work is the greatest offense to God because it diminishes what God in Christ has done for us (2 Cor. 5:19). Jesus alone paid your sin debt which is a death penalty when He died on the cross (1 Pet. 3:18). When we trust Jesus as our Savior God forgives our sin and actually exchanges our sin for Jesus righteousness (2 Cor. 5:21). How do we know Jesus death on the cross satisfies God’s just requirement to forgive sin? Jesus rose from the dead showing that He has the power to defeat death (the penalty of sin – cf. 1 Cor. 15). Believing this is the basis of God’s forgiveness (1 Cor. 15:1-4).

The faith or trust that saves is not a mere assent to the truth about Jesus. Demons believe the gospel and tremble at their dark destiny (James 2:19). What’s the difference? Saving faith is by nature repentant toward sin. To repent means to forsake our sin and seek God’s forgiveness. You may be sorry for your sins, but godly sorrow leads to repentance, a forsaking of your sin (2 Cor. 7:10). We need to confess our sins before God which means to feel about our sins the same as God does (1 John 1:9). The Bible says if we confess with our mouth Jesus is Lord and believe in our heart that God raised Him from the dead we shall be saved (Rom. 10:9). All of this is by God’s grace. We merely have to trust God and receive His gift of salvation (John 1:12). Doing this gives us a fresh start on life (2 Cor. 5:17). Then we will begin to know Jesus and He says, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Heb. 13:5). With Jesus by your side, you can overcome your fears. God bless you with a saving faith that overcomes your fears.

Dealing with Fearfulness - Part 1

Fearfulness and trembling have come upon me, and horror has overwhelmed me. - Psalm 55:5

Fear, even horror that makes us tremble, is a part of life as the above verse indicates. What do we do when we are overwhelmed with fear? Before we answer that question we need to ask the question, what is fear? The dictionary definition of fear is, “an unpleasant often strong emotion caused by anticipation or awareness of danger.” That danger could be physical danger that threatens your life or emotions connected with the thought of personal loss. The thought of losing a relationship, an opportunity, a possession, anything or anyone, can cause us to fear. These emotions can become very intense. Intense fear can result in a stoppage of the heart and death. The word “fearfulness” in Psalm 55:5 means to be full of dread. The word “horror” means literally shaking. We can shake with fear.

Is fear a sin? Abraham is an example of the truth that even godly people have fears (Genesis 15:1). Fear is a God given emotion. Fear can serve as a defense mechanism. Fear puts us on alert and we need to be on alert sometimes. Fear is a God given emotion that energizes us to escape danger. Spiritually speaking, the fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge and wisdom (Prov. 1:7; 9:10).The fear of the Lord motivates us to hate evil (Prov. 8:13) and can prolong our days (Prov. 10:27). Fear of God’s judgment can wake us up to our spiritual need and move us to receive God’s gracious salvation through faith in Christ (e.g. Acts 17:30-31). God’s fear leads to life (Prov. 19:23). Therefore the fear of the Lord can be seen as a fountain of life (Prov. 14:27). Godly fear for the predicament of the lost is an incentive for us to share the gospel with them (2 Cor. 5:11). God’s fear is also an incentive to live a holy life (2 Cor. 7:1) and to serve the Lord (Heb. 12:28-29). There is evidence therefore that fear is not always bad. Fear from God is holy.

But fear can become sin if not handled correctly. The context of one’s fear determines the proper response. The psalmist goes on to say, “So I said, ‘Oh, that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest. Indeed, I would wander far off, and remain in the wilderness. Selah.’” (Psalm 55:6-7). Ever feel like running away because of your fears? If you are being attacked by a robber sometimes the Lord will prompt you to run. In the Olivet Discourse Jesus said a fearful time would come when the people of Israel should “flee to the mountains” (Mat. 24:16). There is a time to run so that you can fight another day. But flight as a response to fear is not always the path of God. When we flee on impulse it is usually wrong. A reaction to fear that lacks faith in God is sinful. When we allow fears to drive us away from God it becomes sin. Flight or escape can be an indication of a lack of faith or weak faith. Faith that is in self will ultimately always falter in the face of life’s fears. Faith in God will be prudent and steadfast in fearful situations.

The key is walking in the Spirit and being guided by God to make the right response. We are to walk circumspectly (Eph. 5:15). This means we should walk with our head on a swivel; we need to be aware of our surroundings. The times we live in are evil (Eph. 5:16). We need to have a rational anticipation and readiness for fearful situations. This doesn’t mean we go through life anticipating or fearing bad things that might happen to us. It doesn’t mean we should draw the blinds and lock the doors and cower in a corner. It does mean we live with a contingency plan of trusting in the Lord and turning to Him in all circumstances for guidance in how to respond. Potential fear producing situations makes wisdom from God all the more essential (Eph. 5:17). Godly wisdom is the ability to apply God’s word to given situations. We need to live with a spirit of preparedness. Feed on God’s word. Memorize it. Study it. Know it so that in a split second the Spirit can access a scripture to give you to apply in a fearful situation. This is one reason why we need to be continually filled with the Spirit (Eph. 5:18).

What causes fear? Fear is caused by focusing on circumstantial risks. From the fleshly perspective we might react to fear by saying or thinking, “Oh my, what am I going to do? God is taking too long. I can’t wait any longer for Him to act.” Therefore, we might continue, “How am I going to work this out?” “How am I going to reach that goal?” “How am I going to accomplish this task?” “How am I going to attain that reward?” “How am I going to get what I want?” etc. When we react to a situation it usually means our emotions are out of control or in the control of our flesh. When we react it is usually a Godless impulse because we don’t take the time to consider God’s plan or will. When we react we allow ourselves to be overcome with what if? thoughts. Behind the above fleshly reactions are what if I don’t do something, my problem won’t be solved. Reacting to fears in the flesh (our own will, whim and efforts, self-reliance) only leads to chaos, confusion, and lasting negative counterproductive consequences. Fearful situations don’t always allow us time to get on our knees and spend a prolonged time in prayer to seek God’s will. That’s why we need to have an up to date current walk in the Spirit so that on a moment’s notice we are ready to hear and obey the Spirit’s direction in how we ought the respond to fear.

When we react to fear without factoring God into our life equation it compounds the problem. Failing to factor God into your life in any circumstance is called foolishness in the Bible (e.g. Ps. 14:1). An example of the wrong way to deal with fear is seen in the lives of Abram and Sarai (Genesis 16:1-6). Abram and Sarai feared they would die before God fulfilled His promise. They acted in their flesh and the consequence was the continued historical animosity between Jews and Arabs. God is merciful and will forgive acts of the flesh, but the consequences of fleshly decisions often continue.

Fear is the foe of faith. Fear can paralyze us from following the path of God for our lives. Fear can stop us in our tracks. Fear can confuse us and scatter our thoughts. Fear can cause us to run from God and run from His best for us. Fear can bottle us up in isolation that we think will protect us but really only robs us of God’s blessing. Therefore it is clear to see that fear can be a tactic of the enemy. Satan prowls around like a roaring lion because he wants to scare us (cf. 1 Peter 5:8). What’s the answer to fear? What should we do when fear overtakes us? These are questions we will answer in part two of this study on dealing with fearfulness.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Finish the Race!

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith." - 2 Timothy 4:7

This is Brokenness by John Collinson

Sometimes it is asked what we mean by brokenness. Brokenness is not easy to define but can be clearly seen in the reactions of Jesus, especially as He approached the cross and in His crucifixion. I think it can be applied personally in this way:

WHEN to do the will of God means that even my Christian brethren will not understand, and I remember that “Neither did His brethren believe in Him” [John 7:5], and I bow my head to obey and accept the misunderstanding, THIS IS BROKENNESS.

WHEN I am misrepresented or deliberately misinterpreted, and I remember that Jesus was falsely accused but He “held His peace,” [Matthew 26:63] and I bow my head to accept the accusation without trying to justify myself, THIS IS BROKENNESS.

WHEN another is preferred before me and I am deliberately passed over, and I remember that they cried, “Away with this man, and release unto us Barabbas” [Luke 23:18], and I bow my head and accept rejection, THIS IS BROKENNESS.

WHEN my plans are brushed aside and I see the work of years brought to ruins by ambitions of others and I remember that Jesus allowed them to lead Him away to crucify Him [Matthew 27:31] and He accepted that place of failure, and I bow my head and accept the injustice without bitterness, THIS IS BROKENNESS.

WHEN in order to be right with my God it is necessary to take the humbling path of confession and restitution, and I remember that Jesus “made Himself of no reputation” and “humbled Himself unto death, even the death of the cross” [Philippians 2:8], and I bow my head and am ready to accept the shame of exposure, THIS IS BROKENNESS.

WHEN others take unfair advantage of my being a Christian and, treat my belongings as public property, and I remember “they stripped Him… and parted His garments, casting lots” [Matthew 27:28,35], and I bow my head and accept “joyfully the spoiling of my goods” for His sake, THIS IS BROKENNESS.

WHEN one acts towards me in an unforgivable way, and I remember that when He was crucified Jesus prayed, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” [Luke 23:34], and I bow my head and accept any behavior towards me as permitted by my loving Father, THIS IS BROKENNESS.

WHEN people expect the impossible of me and more than time or human strength can give, and I remember that Jesus said, “This is My body which is given for you…” [Luke 22:19], and I repent of my self-indulgence and lack of self-giving for others, THIS IS BROKENNESS.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

No 9/11 Mosque

Warning: this is political and this is controversial.

Here is an interesting video statement by Mike Evans on why it is inappropriate to have a mosque in such close proximity to Ground Zero in NYC. I can't say I'm 100% in agreement with Mike Evans and his ministry as a whole, but he has some very pertinent, truthful and thought provoking words in this piece. He's on target here. I encourage you to watch the video.

This is controversial only because our nation bows at the altar of political correctness and tolerance and is unwilling to have an honest dialogue about realities in our world. We need to wake up. We need to tackle the hard issues. We need to face them head on not run from them. We can't afford to hide behind a veil of tolerance and expect these problems to go away. If left unaddressed, matters will proceed from bad to worse.

Our governmental leaders would have served the citizens of our nation, (especially the family members, friends and other traumatized people associated with the 9/11 victims), as well as the world better if they had taken this opportunity to point out the complete and total religious restriction and persecution that is so prevalent in most Islamic nations today, e.g. Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Sudan. There is little to no religious liberty and freedom to exchange truth claims in Muslim countries. The only "sharing" that takes place in Muslim countries is that which is favorably disposed to or subservient to Islam. Islam fears truth and so they try to stack the deck.

We have to stop drinking the cool aide of "peace" being offered by Islamic strategists. Jihad is not peaceful. The Bible says "peace and safety" will precede "sudden destruction" in the End Times (1 Thess. 5:3). Could this be part of that?

Erecting a mosque hundreds of feet from Ground Zero is the height of insensitivity to those still grieving and in shock over the 9/11 attacks. That is true for the Islamic proponents. That is also true of politicians sitting in their ivory towers and rendering comments that no one is asking for. When politicians chime in with comments that are motivated by narcissistic pride and political strategy more than a genuine desire to help they pour fuel on the fire of controversy and salt in open wounds. Politics and politicians are not the answer.

This is also a perfect example of how Islam has and will continue to take advantage of the "freedoms" of our nation to bully and promote their way into prominence. Look at what is happening in Detroit and other enclaves of Muslim presence in our nation. Sharia law is coming my friends; it's coming on American soil.

What should we do? Practically, we should sign the petition accompanying the Mike Evans video in order to voice our opposition to the building of the mosque at Ground Zero. If they are going to build anything on this sight why not build a memorial to the victims? What about giving priority to rebuilding churches destroyed at Ground Zero on 9/11? We should contact our government representatives to express our positions. We should use our gifts of writing and communication. Someone has said, "The pen is mightier than the sword." We should pray for open doors of ministry like Paul did (Col. 4:2-4). Pray and seek the Lord on how He would use you in such a time as this. Get involved.

But more importantly, we need to pray. Pray and prepare to minister to the Islamic community. They need the gospel. We need to be informed. We need to know how to share the gospel with Muslims. We need to be aware of what is going on and have a prepared plan in place to respond. We need the empowerment of the Spirit for such a time as this.

Remember what we absolutely should NOT do. It would be absolutely wrong to react in violence, vengeance, and virulence. The anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God (James 1:20). We can be righteously angry. It's possible to be angry and not sin (Eph. 4:26). That means we are righteously angry but use that anger to motivate us in a holy way. That is possible. (Paul speaks of this in Ephesians 5.) But we need to be careful to follow in Jesus' steps and act in a Christlike way. Jesus will not be a party to that which is out of line with His will and way. If we fail to follow in His steps we will find ourselves alone on the battle field surrounded by the enemy. That's not a good place to be.

What we need to do is pray and follow the leading of the Spirit to determine the route He wants us to take. The Spirit will lead us to speak truth in love. We need to make our feelings known and stand firm but not lower ourselves to a Jihad like tirade. Christ has a higher calling than that for us. Walk worthy of your calling Christian! (Eph. 4:1f.) We need to keep our composure and pray for God's guidance. He will show us the way. Martin Luther used to say, "One with God is a majority." The majority we have with God will win every time. We need to trust Him. We need to understand this is a spiritual battle that requires spiritual weaponry (2 Cor. 10; Eph. 6). Remember, love never fails (1 Cor. 4:8).

I pray God guides and empowers us. No matter what happens the God of the Bible will reign supreme. We are moving toward a time when, "at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father" (Phil. 2:10-11). That time can't come soon enough. God bless you all.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

He will Choose our Inheritance for Us

The short portion of scripture, “He will choose our inheritance for us . . .” comes from Psalm 47:4. It should be a great comfort to us. Why? Because it tells us two great things about God. First it tells us God is in control. Second, it tells us God takes particular interest in us. In fact, that verse should move us to, “Oh, clap your hands, all you peoples! Shout to God with the voice of triumph!” (47:1). That God takes a personal interest in us is a blessed and incredible truth of scripture (cf. Ps. 139). That God is in control should move us to exclaim, “For the LORD Most High is awesome; He is a great King over all the earth” (47:2). What does this mean? It means God is powerful enough to enforce His plans and we are the beneficiaries of that. You see the psalmist has been inspired to recount how God took a personal interest in His people and picked out the Promised Land for them. And not only did God pick out this Land but He cleared it out of challengers and enemies. The victory was won through the LORD. Read the rest of Psalm 47.

But Biblical history points out a problem. God’s blessed best for people was limited by the weakness of the people’s faith and failure to completely follow God’s warnings and instruction. God allowed this. This didn’t take God by surprise. God actually used this. He taught great lessons through what His people missed out on by not completely trusting in Him in obedience (see 1 Cor. 10). An example of this was Joshua being deceived by the Gibeonites and brought into an entangling alliance (see Joshua 9-10). Those Gibeonites proved to be a thorn in God’s people’s flesh for years to come.

God wants to do great things in and through us. Will we trust Him to do them? Will we obey Him; obey Him completely? We have no reason not to. God loves us incredibly and persistently (cf. Psalm 118 and 136). He has chosen our inheritance, a place where we will find rich blessing and our life purpose. But we don’t always enjoy the fullness of God’s best for us. Why? Sometimes we’ll miss it though dissatisfaction based on short sightedness. Sometimes we’ll miss it because of holding back from God or fear to trust Him entirely. And sometimes we’ll miss God’s best due to disobedience. I pray we trust Him entirely and come into His best for us; the inheritance He’s chosen for us.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Expect More, "Much More"

The Spirit has really been moving at Calvary Chapel of Hope. He’s blessed our ministry events and has been impacting hearts and lives at our services. Expect more. One of the greatest truths about God is that He does “exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us” (Eph. 3:19). God’s grace is always “much more.” His justification from sin is “much more” than we could ever have expected (Rom. 5:9). The salvation life we live is “much more” than we could have ever dreamed of (Rom. 5:10). God’s grace is always “much more” (Rom. 5:15); it just keeps coming. We reign in life by His grace “much more” than we could have ever hoped (Rom. 5:17). And where sin abounds, God’s grace abounds “much more” (Rom. 5:20). God’s grace is overwhelming. God’s grace comes like waves on a shore of the beach. Expect more, “much more.”

That’s the message D. Martyn Lloyd Jones conveyed in a teaching on Jesus’ encounter with a Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well in John 4. He says:

Possibly one of the most devastating things that can happen to us as Christians is that we cease to expect anything to happen. I am not sure but that this is not one of our greatest troubles today. We come to our services and they are orderly, they are nice--we come, we go--and sometimes they are timed almost to the minute, and there it is. But that is not Christianity, my friend. Where is the Lord of glory? Where is the one sitting by the well? Are we expecting him? Do we anticipate this? Are we open to it? Are we aware that we are ever facing this glorious possibility of having the greatest surprise of our life?

Or let me put it like this. You may feel and say--as many do--'I was converted and became a Christian. I've grown--yes, I've grown in knowledge, I've been reading books, I've been listening to sermons, but I've arrived now at a sort of peak and all I do is maintain that. For the rest of my life I will just go on like this.'

Now, my friend, you must get rid of that attitude; you must get rid of it once and for ever. That is 'religion', it is not Christianity. This is Christianity: the Lord appears! Suddenly, in the midst of the drudgery and the routine and the sameness and the dullness and the drabness, unexpectedly, surprisingly, he meets with you and he says something to you that changes the whole of your life and your outlook and lifts you to a level that you had never conceived could be possible for you. Oh, if we get nothing else from this story, I hope we will get this. Do not let the devil persuade you that you have got all you are going to get, still less that you received all you were ever going to receive when you were converted. That has been a popular teaching, even among evangelicals. You get everything at your conversion, it is said, including baptism with the Spirit, and nothing further, ever. Oh, do not believe it; it is not true. It is not true to the teaching of the Scriptures, it is not true in the experience of the saints running down the centuries. There is always this glorious possibility of meeting with him in a new and a dynamic way.

God has blessed, is blessing and will bless. Don’t let a mountaintop experience lead to a valley of drought. God’s work in and through us is ongoing and upward moving. Drink from the “river whose streams shall make glad the city of God” (Ps. 46:4). You are who you are by God’s grace. Press on in God’s grace (1 Cor. 15:10). Expect more, “much more.”

[1] Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Living Water: Studies in John 4

Saturday, August 14, 2010


Dr. David Livingston, served as a missionary explorer to Africa from 1841-1873. He left his medical practice in London to spread the gospel in the heartland of the African continent and fought the Arab slave trade in the process. He became the best known and most loved of missionaries to Africa. He traveled a total of 29,000 miles during his missionary life. In 1873 David Livingston was found dead in an African hut, where he died on his knees in prayer. David Livingston died on his knees in prayer! What a way to go! When he died those who had been blessed by his ministry buried his heart under a tree in Africa and carried his embalmed body on a one year journey to the sea where it could be taken to his homeland of England and buried there. But his heart remained in Africa. In England he received the burial honors due a prince or king. What did this great partner of Jesus say about his life? Listen:

"People talk of the sacrifice I have made in spending so much of my life in Africa. Can that be called a sacrifice, which is simply paid back as a small part of the great debt owed to our God, which we can never repay? Is that a sacrifice which brings its own reward of healthful activity, the consciousness of doing good, peace of mind, and a bright hope of glorious destiny hereafter?

"Away with such a word, such a view, and such a thought! It is emphatically no sacrifice. Say, rather, it is a privilege. Anxiety, sickness, suffering or danger now and then, with a foregoing of the common conveniences and charities of this life, may make us pause and cause the spirit to waver and sink; but let this only be for a moment. All these are nothing when compared with the glory which shall hereafter be revealed in and for us. I never made a sacrifice. Of this we ought not to talk when we remember the great sacrifice which He made who left His Father's throne on high to give Himself for us." - David Livingston, missionary to Africa.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Dealing with Desperation

Proverbs 12:25 - Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, But a good word makes it glad.

Are you depressed? Are you experiencing sleepless nights filled with anxious thoughts? Is your life in chaos? We are living in difficult times. There are a lot of discouraged people around. You may be one of them. Are you physically, emotionally and spiritually exhausted? Have you reached a point where prayer, Bible study, worship and fellowship seem like the last things you feel like doing? Are you contemplating suicidal thoughts and thinking the world would be better off without you? When we get caught up in the downward spiral of depression, despair and sleep deprivation the result is a dark night of the soul that seems to have no end in sight. But there is hope, there is a way out.

When life beats you down the enemy of your soul Satan sees it as an opportunity to compound your pain. He interjects thoughts of doubt, self pity, and cynicism. This often leads to self imposed isolation and solitary confinement. This is not where the hurting soul should be.

So what do you do? How can you rise out of the depths? First take a step back and catch your breath. Realize Jesus is still on the throne and He is there with you; you aren’t in this alone. Jesus said He would never leave or forsake you (Hebrews 13:5). Hold on to that by faith. Your faith may be weakened. You may be holding on by a thread. But what little of your faith is left you have to act on. Jesus said if your faith was like a bruised reed He wouldn’t break it. He said if your faith was like a smoldering wick he said he wouldn’t snuff it out (Matthew 12:20). Jesus is gentle and kind. He knows what you are feeling. He knows what you are going through. He is the One who you must turn to. He is real and He is there and He is able to soothe your hurting soul. Jesus is the One who can sympathize with what you are going through no matter what it is. He has the grace you need to get you through (Hebrews 4:15-16).

Next, realize that if you’ve spent any time in isolation that you are like a fighter called out of retirement into a last minute fight. The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. You’re in a fight and now you have to proceed by faith. By faith you have to reject all unscriptural thoughts and follow God’s Word. That means you need to be in God’s Word like never before. I have given you some scriptures below to help you get started. By faith you have to press on no matter what happens, even if you lose everything. You may not want to hear that, but it is a possibility. Whatever happens you have to trust God. Like Abraham with Isaac, you have to put your child, (i.e. your life desire that you fear losing), on the altar and offer it to God (see Genesis 22). God may take it away. He may give it back. You simply have to trust Him. The Bible says, “It is possible to give away and become richer! It is also possible to hold on too tightly and lose everything” (Proverbs 11:24 LB). Even if you lose everything, always remember, God is in control, He has a plan, and He will bring it to pass (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24). And the plan God has for you is for good! (Jeremiah 29:11-13; Romans 8:31-32).

You may be hurting so much that you’ve just barely made this far in this study. But the hope you need is to be found in God’s Word (Romans 15:4). Don’t let the enemy rob you of the hope you need. Press on. Lean on the Lord to muster the strength and faith to press on in His Word. You won’t regret it because you will have taken the next step in recovering. So I encourage you to read the scriptures referenced above and those listed below and obey them in faith. There is light at the end of the tunnel. Follow the tracks of God’s Word.

1. By faith crush your anxiety with prayer

Philippians 4:6-7 - 6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

2. By faith humbly cast your anxieties on the Lord

1 Peter 5:6-7 - 6 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, 7 casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.

3. By faith ask the Lord to search your heart for any wrong actions or sin –

Psalm 139:23-24 - 23 Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; 24 And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting.

If when you pray you honestly aren’t aware of any sin in your life that has caused this situation then understand your circumstances may be the consequence of other factors (e.g. remember what happened to Job).

4. By faith confess any sin to the Lord, repent and receive His forgiveness –

1 John 1:9 - 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

5. By faith disregard words from others or thoughts within that say, “There is no help for him in God” – Instead trust in God to be your shield; He will sustain you; He will save you -

Psalm 3 - Lord, how they have increased who trouble me! Many are they who rise up against me. 2 Many are they who say of me, “There is no help for him in God.” Selah 3 But You, O Lord, are a shield for me, My glory and the One who lifts up my head. 4 I cried to the Lord with my voice, And He heard me from His holy hill. Selah 5 I lay down and slept; I awoke, for the Lord sustained me. 6 I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people Who have set themselves against me all around. 7 Arise, O Lord; Save me, O my God! For You have struck all my enemies on the cheekbone; You have broken the teeth of the ungodly. 8 Salvation belongs to the Lord. Your blessing is upon Your people. Selah

6. By faith walk in God’s priorities: Pray to Him regularly; live holy; stay in fellowship; trust in Him –

Psalm 5 - 1 Give ear to my words, O Lord, Consider my meditation. 2 Give heed to the voice of my cry, My King and my God, For to You I will pray. 3 My voice You shall hear in the morning, O Lord; In the morning I will direct it to You, And I will look up. 4 For You are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness, Nor shall evil dwell with You. 5 The boastful shall not stand in Your sight; You hate all workers of iniquity. 6 You shall destroy those who speak falsehood; The Lord abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man. 7 But as for me, I will come into Your house in the multitude of Your mercy; In fear of You I will worship toward Your holy temple. 8 Lead me, O Lord, in Your righteousness because of my enemies; Make Your way straight before my face. 9 For there is no faithfulness in their mouth; Their inward part is destruction; Their throat is an open tomb; They flatter with their tongue. 10 Pronounce them guilty, O God! Let them fall by their own counsels; Cast them out in the multitude of their transgressions, For they have rebelled against You. 11 But let all those rejoice who put their trust in You; Let them ever shout for joy, because You defend them; Let those also who love Your name Be joyful in You. 12 For You, O Lord, will bless the righteous; With favor You will surround him as with a shield.

7. By faith remain steadfast and trust the Lord –

Psalm 57 - 1 Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me! For my soul trusts in You; And in the shadow of Your wings I will make my refuge, Until these calamities have passed by. 2 I will cry out to God Most High, To God who performs all things for me. 3 He shall send from heaven and save me; He reproaches the one who would swallow me up. Selah God shall send forth His mercy and His truth. 4 My soul is among lions; I lie among the sons of men Who are set on fire, Whose teeth are spears and arrows, And their tongue a sharp sword. 5 Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; Let Your glory be above all the earth. 6 They have prepared a net for my steps; My soul is bowed down; They have dug a pit before me; Into the midst of it they themselves have fallen. Selah 7 My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast; I will sing and give praise. 8 Awake, my glory! Awake, lute and harp! I will awaken the dawn. 9 I will praise You, O Lord, among the peoples; I will sing to You among the nations. 10 For Your mercy reaches unto the heavens, And Your truth unto the clouds. 11 Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; Let Your glory be above all the earth.

8. By faith admit your poverty before the Lord and rely on Him to preserve you -

Psalm 86 - 1 Bow down Your ear, O Lord, hear me; For I am poor and needy. 2 Preserve my life, for I am holy; You are my God; Save Your servant who trusts in You! 3 Be merciful to me, O Lord, For I cry to You all day long. 4 Rejoice the soul of Your servant, For to You, O Lord, I lift up my soul. 5 For You, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive, And abundant in mercy to all those who call upon You. 6 Give ear, O Lord, to my prayer; And attend to the voice of my supplications. 7 In the day of my trouble I will call upon You, For You will answer me. 8 Among the gods there is none like You, O Lord; Nor are there any works like Your works. 9 All nations whom You have made Shall come and worship before You, O Lord, And shall glorify Your name. 10 For You are great, and do wondrous things; You alone are God. 11 Teach me Your way, O Lord; I will walk in Your truth; Unite my heart to fear Your name. 12 I will praise You, O Lord my God, with all my heart, And I will glorify Your name forevermore. 13 For great is Your mercy toward me, And You have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol. 14 O God, the proud have risen against me, And a mob of violent men have sought my life, And have not set You before them. 15 But You, O Lord, are a God full of compassion, and gracious, Longsuffering and abundant in mercy and truth. 16 Oh, turn to me, and have mercy on me! Give Your strength to Your servant, And save the son of Your maidservant. 17 Show me a sign for good, That those who hate me may see it and be ashamed, Because You, Lord, have helped me and comforted me.

9. By faith keep the right perspective on material things –

Matthew 6:19-34

19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

22 “The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!

24 “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.

25 “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?

28 “So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; 29 and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?

31 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

10. Understand that no matter what if anything you have done to bring about your dire circumstances, God always responds to a contrite humble cry –

Psalm 51:17 - The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, A broken and a contrite heart— These, O God, You will not despise.

I’d love to pray for you in your particular situation. You can contact me at . Have faith, remember God’s Word, “Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; for I shall yet praise Him, the help of my countenance and my God” (Psalm 42:5, 11). God is going to get you through this. God bless you.