Tuesday, May 29, 2012

William Wilberforce and 1 Corinthians 2:14

1 Corinthians 2:14 (ESV) 
14 The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.

The truth of 1 Corinthians 2:14 has sometimes been illustrated by a story about two British statesmen, William Wilberforce, leader in the movement for the abolition of slavery, and William Pitt, the Prime Minister. Both were brilliant men, both politicians, and they were very great friends. But Wilberforce was a Christian while Pitt, though a churchgoer, was not truly converted.

This bothered Wilberforce, and at length he persuaded Pitt to go with him to hear popular evangelist Richard Cecil, who was preaching in London. Wilberforce was thrilled, and that evening Cecil was at his best. The great preacher flung out the gospel with eloquent power, his message crystal clear, his voice reaching every corner of the hall. Wilberforce, lifted to the heavens, could hardly contain himself; but he wondered how his friend Pitt was responding.

He soon found out. As they left the building, Pitt turned and said, “You know, Wilberforce, I have not the slightest idea what that man has been talking about.”

William Wilberforce realized afresh that the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him. The message that bore him to the skies had only bored his unsaved friend. It was meaningless to him, for Pitt was tone deaf to the spiritual. Richard Cecil had might as well preached to a dead man.

We need to pray for God to work on the hearts of our unsaved friends so that they may respond to the Gospel message and understand it when it is presented. My pastor, Jerry Vines, used to preach that “you cannot touch a lost person to God until you have first touched God for that lost person.” May our prayers be filled with the names of the unconverted! 

This week, may God bless you with “the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe. …” (Ephesians 1:17–19).

- Bro. Dave

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Solid Rock – The Life Behind the Hymn.

The Solid Rock – The Life Behind the Hymn.
I am proud of all of our graduates and look forward to seeing them fulfill God’s plans for their lives. As we looked at the Sermon on the Mount Sunday and reflected on lives that are built on Jesus, I want to provide the background to the hymn, The Solid Rock. This hymn, which is my favorite, was written by English Baptist Minister Edward Mote in 1836. The following comes from the devotional Amazing Grace, written by Kenneth Osbeck.
“Life with Christ is an endless hope; without Him a hopeless end.”
The Bible likens our life to a house. Some homes are built to last while others crumble easily in strong wind or rain. The difference is not in the severity of the storm but in the quality of the foundation upon which the structure is built. The author of this hymn text wisely chose “the solid rock” on which to build his own life, and he rested on Christ’s “unchanging grace” until his homegoing at age 77.
Edward Mote knew nothing about God or the Bible as he grew up in London, England, the child of poor innkeepers. At the age of 16 he was genuinely converted to Christ. Mote later settled in a suburb of London where he became known as a successful cabinet maker and a devoted church layman.
After a time, a Baptist chapel was built in Horsham, Sussex, England, largely because of Edward’s efforts. The grateful church members offered him the deed to the property. He refused it, saying, “I only want the pulpit, and when I cease to preach Christ, then turn me out of that.” Here Mote ministered faithfully until forced to resign because of poor health one year before his death. He commented, “The truths I have been preaching, I am now living upon and they’ll do very well to die upon.”
During his busy life as a minister, Edward Mote wrote more than 150 hymn texts. In 1836 he published a collection titled Hymns of Praise and included “The Solid Rock” in it.
My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness; I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
When darkness veils His lovely face, I rest on His unchanging grace; in ev’ry high and stormy gale my anchor holds within the veil.
His oath, His covenant, His blood support me in the whelming flood; when all around my soul gives way, He then is all my hope and stay.
When He shall come with trumpet sound, O may I then in Him be found, dressed in His righteousness alone, faultless to stand before the throne.
Refrain: On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand—all other ground is sinking sand; all other ground is sinking sand.

May we listen to and obey the words of our Lord Jesus, and build our lives upon Him!

-          Bro. Dave

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Bible Verses on Guilt.

Do you ever struggle with guilt over your past? Does guilt keep you from joy in serving God today? There are some wonderful promises in God’s word that address the guilt we feel over our past. I praise God that Jesus not only died to remove our sins, but also our guilt. If you struggle with guilt, take some time and meditate on the following passages of scripture:

Romans 8:1 (ESV) 
1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

Proverbs 28:13 (ESV) 
13 Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.

Psalm 32:5 (NIV) 
5 Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, "I will confess my transgressions to the LORD"-- and you forgave the guilt of my sin. Selah

Hebrews 10:17-18 (NIV) 
17 Then he adds: "Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more." 
18 And where these have been forgiven, there is no longer any sacrifice for sin.

Hebrews 10:22 (NIV) 
22 let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.

Acts 24:16 (NIV) 
16 So I strive always to keep my conscience clear before God and man.

Praise God that we are forgiven in Jesus! Let us live in obedience to the one who has forgiven us!

-          Bro. Dave

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

14 tips for successful Bible reading (Part 2)

In a continuation of last week’s article – I want to finish up my series of 14 tips for successful Bible reading:

8. Read the whole Bible.
Go through the Bible from cover to cover. By reading every section of the Bible, you give yourself a broad familiarity and perspective that will help you shed preconceived ideas about doctrinal subjects.

9. Take notes.
Jot down notes and explanatory comments in your Bible or a notebook. This will help you remember key ideas or related scriptures. Some people use a marking system, with colors or symbols, to keep track of key verses by categories (doctrine, correction, prophecy, etc.). This can help you save time when looking for a particular section of Scripture.

10. Use Bible study aids.
Many Bible study aids are useful. They can provide valuable historical background or point you to other scriptures that add clarity to what you are reading. Aids include concordances, lexicons, dictionaries, maps and commentaries. However, always keep in mind that such resources are not Scripture and can be wrong.

11. Review and meditate.
Take time to ponder what you have been learning during your Bible Study. If something seems hard to understand, take some time to consider its meaning, using what you have already learned as the starting point. Reflect on what the Bible is saying and on how you can apply the verses in everyday life (Psalm 1:1-3; Psalm 119:97-99; Psalm 139:17-18).

12. Seek guidance.
It is always best to seek help from qualified people in any field of study. God has commissioned His servants to guide people into a fuller understanding of His Word. If you have questions, feel free to contact us. We have literature available on a wide variety of biblical subjects (Proverbs 11:14
; Nehemiah 8:8; Acts 8:30-31; Acts 18:26; Romans 10:14-15).

13. Prove God right.
Put God's Word to the test by practicing the things you are learning. Acknowledge how His ways bring positive change in your life. The best way to determine that God's commands and teachings bring true peace and blessings is by living them (1 John 3:22; John 10:10; John 8:31-32; Malachi 3:10).

14. Hold fast.
Once you have proven something to be true, don't allow yourself to be lightly convinced out of it. While new evidence may overturn your previous conclusion, this must be the product of serious study in God's Word. And always beware, because false teachers can lead you astray. Ask God to help you remain true to His teachings (1 Thessalonians 5:21; 2 Timothy 3:13-15; Colossians 1:22-23; Psalm 119:10-16).

May we endeavor to encounter God daily in His Word!
-          - Bro. Dave

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

14 Tips for Successful Bible Reading (part 1)

I want to thank Mike Riley and the Brotherhood for a great weekend! The men’s conference was a smashing success and everyone involved could sense the work of the Holy Spirit. I rejoice in the wonderful testimonies we heard Sunday and I am thankful that God is at work in our midst!

I have been asked to write about how to have a successful time studying the Bible. I would like to spend two weeks sharing 14 tips for successful Bible reading. :
1. Recognize that the Bible is inspired.
The entire Bible, both Old and New Testaments, is the inspired Word of God. During your Bible study, keep in mind that He inspired the words you are reading; God is directly speaking to you through them (2 Peter 1:21; Philippians 2:5; John 6:63).
2. Plan time for Bible study.
It's easy to let everyday concerns interfere, so schedule Bible study time and try to maintain it. Over time you will look forward to this daily experience (Ephesians 5:15-17).
3. Pray for understanding.
Before you even begin, ask God to guide and show you His will. Remember that it is the Creator who gives true understanding through His Word. You cannot gain it on your own (Psalm 119:33-40; Proverbs 3:5-8; Jeremiah 9:23-24).
4. Keep an open mind.
Be willing to admit when you are wrong and change, even if it means letting go of a long-held belief or tradition. If you can successfully apply this one principle, you will be far ahead in the race for spiritual truth (Acts 17:11; Isaiah 8:20).
5. Seek instruction and correction.
Approach the Bible study with a teachable, humble attitude. The Word of God judges our innermost thoughts. It can show us who we really are. It can reveal every flaw in our character. So be ready to heed its correction (Jeremiah 10:23-24; Isaiah 66:1-2; Isaiah 66:5; Romans 8:6-9; Matthew 5:48).
6. Let the Bible interpret itself.
If something seems confusing or even contradictory, let clear biblical passages shed light on those you find difficult to understand. Scriptures do not contradict each another; they complement each other. Also, to properly understand a verse in the Bible, don't force your personal point of view into it. Instead use the context and other relevant scriptures to find the correct meaning (2 Peter 1:20; John 10:35; John 17:17; Isaiah 28:9-10).
7. Bible Study topics.
Concentrate, at various times, on one subject, doctrine or book. Use a concordance or other Bible study aid to put together all the scriptures relevant to a subject. This will allow you to see all that God has to say about a particular topic (2 Timothy 2:15, KJV).

May we spend quality time this week with Jesus as we encounter Him in His Word!

-          Bro. Dave