Sunday, May 14, 2017

Remember the God of the Bible

Today, most of us are privileged to gather together with a segment of the body of Christ and worship the one true and living God. We are called together to give praise to God and to exhort one another. As you prepare to gather, let me share some words with you from Richard D. Phillips, from his commentary on the Old Testament Book of Jonah:

"If our primary concern in worship is our consumer preferences rather than the God whose name we praise, if we gaze on the wicked around us and see mainly a threat to our Christian lifestyles instead of perishing sinners in need of the gospel, and if we pray for forgiveness of our sins but justice for the agents of a wicked culture, then it cannot be doubted that the Pharisaical spirit of Jonah is in us...Jonah's resentment reveals a deep ignorance of God. He understood the Lord as his God and Israel's God but not the God of Nineveh." 

Whom do you understand this morning as you gather with the body of Christ?

(taken from Jonah & Micah, Reformed Expository Commentary, p. 8)

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Throwing Stones and Barking Dogs

Please accept my apologies for being slack in posting lately. I am truly sorry and beg your forgiveness. I have been distracted lately due to the following things:
     dog and Animated gif
  • I am not happy with the outlining and development of the second part of our study in Jonah. As a result I have ordered some additional tools and am actually starting over on chapter two of Jonah.
  • My sister, Mother and Father unexpectedly drove up from Austin, Texas and spent a few days with us. We had a great visit. It has been quite some time since I saw my folks. God has been so good to them; my Dad is 85 and my Mom is 83 and they are strong in mind and body, in excellent health, and in great spirits. 
  • We drove up to Lynden, WA (top of WA state on the Canadian border) to visit my sister Nancy, brother-in law, Emmet. We were able to see our niece, Jessica and her new baby boy, Emmet. We spent a couple of days up there. 
  • We celebrated Bryttany Lynn's 19th birthday. (She is our granddaughter, Sonja's girl. Our third grandchild turned 19! Oh my, where did the time go?
  • We are actually enjoying streamlining some old movies on Netflix on our new Smart TV.
Once I get Jonah, chapter two re-outlined I hope to resume regular posts. Thanks for being patient with me! 

Winston Churchill once remarked, "You will never reach your destination if you stop and throw stones at every dog that barks." So, I guess I need to stop throwing stones at barking dogs, huh?

Sunday, April 30, 2017

A Guide to A Personal Quiet Time


Since I have put our study of Jonah on hold, I thought for today at least, that I would share with you my pattern, or system, or manner of my personal devotion. I do so for at least three (3) reasons:

  • I believe a regular personal devotion or quiet times is a major means of growing and/or developing spiritually
  • I am cognizant of the fact that many believers struggle with how to have a meaningful and beneficial devotion
  • I, myself, function far better with a pattern or guide to follow
Let me say, this is only a way and not the only way, or the end of all ends for use in your personal quiet time of devotion. I share only in hopes that you might find it useful and beneficial to you.

My pattern for my quiet time consists of three (3) main areas:

WORSHIP

I begin my time with prayer and worship of God. My worship in my devotion consists of four (4) parts:
  • Praise - praise God for who He is. I take a single attribute each morning and praise God for that attribute
  • Adoration - I tell God how much I love Him. He is my Father and I am His son.
  • Thanksgiving - Thank Him for what He has done. Find at least one thing to thank God for specifically and specially each day.
  • Hymn - I praise God by singing or reciting a hymn, Psalm, or spiritual song to God. Listen, He said make a joyful noise, not a symphonic noise!

From my Worship portion of my quiet time, I move to what I called the...

WORD

I use a method I came across sometime ago called the "SOAP" formula. First, choose a book of the bible, and begin reading, meditating, and praying through it. Read approximately one (1) to six (6) or seven (7) verses slowly, carefully, prayerfully, and earnestly. Do not try to read a chapter or too much - you won't be able to meditate on it. Your quiet time is not the time to do your annual bible reading plan. The SOAP method goes like this:

S - the scripture passage for the day
O- any and all observations that you derive from the passage
A- any and all applications that apply directly to you
P - pray through the passage & pray for compliance with the passage principle thought or key truth

Buy a good journal and record these truths, principles, observations, applications and prayer. Write it down!

After worship, and the word, it is now time for what I call the:

WALK

After I have read, prayed, and meditated on the passage I use the following five (5) questions to help me arrive at the specific application for my life.
  • What is the key or principle thought of the passage?
  • What is a short yet concise summary of the passage?

  • What way does this passage apply directly to me?
  • What do I need to change or do to comply with this passage?
  • What is my specific plan to change or to comply?

I hope this pattern or guide is helpful to you. Please do not become a slave to it or to any plan. These things are always guides meant to assist not to imprison. 

I hope you will utilize some or all parts of this plan for at least three (3) reasons:
  • If you fail to plan, you plan to fail
  • If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time
  • I want you to grow in the grace & the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18)

Friday, April 28, 2017

Jonah Put On Temporary Hold

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Having come to a passage in Jonah that I am having a difficult time in determining the meaning, I have decided to put Jonah on a temporary hold.

I have recently come into the possession of a wonderful bibliography of works on Jonah. After reading it over a couple of times I have decided to order a couple of more commentaries on the book of Jonah for some assistance. Unfortunately it can take up to three weeks for these to travel by media mail.

I am not sure what I will post as the Sunday Sermon, but hopefully, I will think of something!

Please forgive any inconvenience that this postponement might cause. 

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Does Prayer Really Move the Hand of God?

Image result for prayer
Last night at our mid-week bible study someone made this statement, 'Prayer moves the hand of God.' The individual was quite confident & comforted in this idea.

Quite frankly, I think if you ask the majority of believers they would think and say the same thing. However, I don't think we:

  • cause God to move or work contrary to His eternal purpose
  • cause God to change His mind in regards to something He has previously and more than likely eternally purposed
  • cause God to respond in the manner of an servant or slave to our desires and/or wishes

Although I should have said something I didn't. After I got home his statement continued to rattle around in my head and I formed a single thought about his statement.

I am not sure that prayer in fact moves the hand of God at all, as much as I am convinced that prayer moves the heart of man to the will and purpose of God. I think prayer is the means by which we, God's children, commend ourselves to the "hands of God" in order to submit and acquiesce to His purposes for our lives.



Monday, April 24, 2017

Book Review: The Ragamuffin Gospel

Title:  The Ragamuffin Gospel
Author:  Brennan Manning
Publisher:  Multnomah
General Subject Matter:  Christian Living, the Gospel 
First Copyright:  1990
Type:  Hardback
Price:  US $19.99/25.99 CAN
Image result for the ragamuffin gospelISBN: 978-1-60142-868-4

The purpose of The Ragamuffin Gospel is to provide the reader with a different image of an individual’s relationship with God in juxtaposition to the popular concept of God’s acceptance of individuals. The author gives us his purpose statement in the section he has entitled, “A Word Before.” The author states that the purpose of the book is to bring comfort to what he calls “the bedraggled, beat-up, and burnt out.”
The theme of The Ragamuffin Gospel is that salvation or redemption is not earned by anything that an individual can do. However, the author does not seem to have an understanding of the true gospel revealed in the Scriptures.
This book propagates a false gospel. The author was a defrocked Roman Catholic priest. He has written extensively on subjects that have been deemed to be heretical by main stream Christianity.
There are several problems within this book. I will list some problems without developing them either from the author’s viewpoint or from a Scriptural refutation.
In relation to salvation there is no mention of repentance, there is no reference to a new birth or regeneration as outlined in the Scriptures. The author promotes a type of special “sealing” that takes place during infant baptism.
Additional problems with this book include the author’s approach to redemption and sanctification from a psychological viewpoint. A major problem is the fact that Manning quotes from false teachers and philosophers such as Paul Tillich, Carl Jung, Beatrice Bruteau, Henri Nouwen, Thomas Merton, Francis MacNutt and others.
An example of his false teaching is found on page 120 of his book where Manning states, “To evangelize a person is to say to him or her: you, too, are loved by God in the Lord Jesus.” (The Ragamuffin Gospel, 2nd edition, 2000, p. 120). This is not the gospel. It is not the way to evangelize those who do not know the Lord Jesus Christ. The gospel includes that fact that men are loved by God, but they are dead in trespasses and sins and must put their trust in the atoning work of Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary.

There was nothing about this book that I liked or could recommend. It is amazing that this book was published and more amazing that it has found a “reception” in mainstream Christianity.
________________________________________________ 
I received a free copy of The Ragamuffin Gospel for this review. I received nothing else nor was I required to give a positive review. This review is my own thoughts and opinions. 

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Jonah Does the Unequaled (Part 1)



Sermon:     GM17-151

Series:             Jonah: The Gospel of Grace

Service:   
       
Setting:  
        
Subtitle:          Jonah Did the Unequaled (Part 1 of 2)

Scripture:       Jonah 1:17-2:1

Subject:          The Supplicating Prophet

Scope:             Jonah supplicated His God when he found himself still alive in the belly of the large fish

Scheme:          To provide God’s people hope of experiencing the graciousness of God when they are in desperate situations when disciplined by God

Scrutiny:        What did Jonah do that was so unequaled?

Solution:         The passage before us describes four (4) details of the unequaled actions of Jonah – the unequaled predicament of Jonah, the unequaled petition by Jonah, the unequaled problem of Jonah, the unequaled product for Jonah and the unequaled preservation of Jonah.

Sketch:    
      
Main Idea:      In the most desperate situation of his life, Jonah supplicated, or prayed to his God.

Supporting idea #1 – The disciplining hand of God forced Jonah to prayer

Supporting idea #2 – God may determine to instigate desperate situations which often provide great opportunities for prayer of preservation.

Supporting idea #3 – Regardless of the desperation of a situation, prayer can be made; but failure to pray may forfeit hopes of experiencing God’s grace.

Supporting idea #4 – Desperate situations designed by God frequently result in humbling which is reflected in the activity of prayer.

Supporting idea #5 – Jonah’s prayer for deliverance from his desperate situation was answered resulting in his rescue onto dry land.