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Jul 302023


C.S. Lewis wrote…after losing his precious wife to cancer some words that gave brilliant perspective on loss. He wrote: “To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything at all and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it up carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries, avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. BUT in that casket, safe and dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love at all is to be vulnerable.”

     On July 14th our family experienced that vulnerability. Our little Rat Terrier…Bonna named Rizzo, after her favorite Cub player Anthony Rizzo…suddenly passed away at only 6 years old. We both planned on him growing old with us. He was smart, adorable, adorable, loyal, and he wanted to be with us at all times. Especially Bonna. He cried when we left him. He was waiting at the top of the stairs for us when we returned. Barking with joy, and wagging what little tail he had to wag. When the vet could not save him…we left the office crushed and in tears. Bonna and I have spent two weeks depressed and broken. We have never felt such a loss…over an animal…to this extreme. To love is to be vulnerable to loss…that really hurts…even when the loss is a pet. 

     But during this time, we have learned another truth…”Tis better to have loved and lost than to have never to have loved at all”.

Those words come from an elegy entitled In Memoriam A.H.H. by Alfred Lord Tennyson…published in 1850. Tennyson lost his best friend who died suddenly at 22. He wrote a poem of 133 sections. But the most important lines expressing his grief are as follows:

” I hold it true, whatever befalls

I feel it, when I sorrow most,

Tis better to have loved and lost,

Than to have never to have loved at all”

We are learning that these days…in our vulnerability. Lessons we all learn in love and loss. …to be continued next week.


II Samuel 12:9-12






 Posted by at 1:16 pm

“SIN: Refine Our Sins or Remove Them?”

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Jul 232023

PASTOR’S PERSPECTIVE: “SIN:  Refine Our Sins or Remove Them?”

     In the First Epistle of John, the Aged Apostle is writing to his little children in the faith, seeking to teach them to experience the Word of Life, just as he and the other Apostles did during “the days of His flesh”.  He encourages them to join in the partnership and fellowship that enables them to follow Jesus, just as they did, letting His Eternal Life be manifest in their lives.  Jesus, the Eternal Life who existed in the beginning with the Father, and became flesh and dwelt among us, walking a divine life, as the Sinless Righteous Son of God, is our Example and Enabler.  Jesus choose the Vine and the branches as the metaphor of life and fruitfulness for the Christian life.  Being in Him, as the branches are to the vine, shows how His life can flow through us, producing fruit, more fruit, and much fruit. (See John 15).  John calls this kind of relationship as a Walk in Life.  It is also a Walk in Light.  Jesus was light, and in Him was no darkness at all.  When we are empowered by His Person, Presence, and Power, through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, we can walk as He did.  Just a real as when Jesus commanded Peter to walk on water (Matt. 14:28-29), and He miraculously empowered him to do so, so with us!  Jesus said, “He that commits sin is a slave to sin, but those who know Him, intimately, knowing the Truth, is set free” (John 8:34-36).  Such a relationship makes one “free indeed!”  John in I John chapters 1 and 2 indicates that knowing Him as “life” and “light” results in waling in “Liberty” from sin.  This is a subject that needs to be emphasized to Christians today!  It is true that our sins have been “removed from us as far as the east is from the west” (Psalm 103:12); and that “our sins have been cast into the depths of the sea” (Micah 7:19); and that they have been “cast behind God’s back” (literally “between His shoulder blades” Isaiah 38:17; and that they are “remembered against us no more” (Isaiah 43:25/Heb. 8:12), every Christian knows that in daily practice, that sin is still our besetting issue.  Even the great Apostle Paul called himself “as miserable wretched man” and asked “who will deliver me from this body of death” (Rom. 7:24).  Every Christian can identify with Paul’s confessed dilemma.  Josh Billings vividly describes the catch-22 that describes most Christians when it comes to their battle with daily sin.  He says, “The hardest sinner of the whole lot is one who spends half his time sinning and the other half in repentance!”  Most Christian find themselves praying like the Ancient Roman writer Seneca, who prayed “Oh that a hand would come down out of heaven and deliver me from my besetting sin!” The writer Goethe, described this dilemma when he wrote the following poem- “Two spirits dwell at odds within my heart; And each from the other would gladly part; One seems with a single urge possessed; To keep the friendly earth within my heart; The other draws me forth in a willful quest; Of visions to an inner world apart!”  We live our lives like Lewis Carroll, in Through the Looking Glass, describes the Lock running around looking for the right key, asking “won’t someone please unlock me?”  That unlocking key is to be found in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.   Jerry Bridges, in his book Disciplines of Grace, says “Preach the Gospel to yourself.  Face up to your own sinfulness, then flee to Jesus through faith in His shed blood and Righteousness”. But just knowing Jesus, through saving faith in His work on the Cross, though the basis of forgiveness, is not enough for victory alone, it must be applied to daily life, availing ourselves to His Person, His Presence, and His Power through a divine incarnation of Christ in us, our only “hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27). Paul calls this a mystery!  That is the only answer to the failure of Christianity to deal with the sin problem in a practical way.

     A.W. Tozer addresses the failure of modern Christianity to provide relief for the Christian today.  He wrote, “Religion today is not transforming people, rather it is being transformed.  It is not raising the moral level of society, it is descending to society’s own level, and rationalizing that it has scored a victory, because society smiling accepted its surrender!” “Christian Liberty is freedom from sin, not freedom to sin. The abuse of the harmless thing is the essence of sin!  A man by his sin may waste himself, which is to waste that which is on earth that is most like God.  This is MAN’S GREATEST TRAGEDY AND GOD’S HEAVIEST GRIEF!”  When the Angels announced Jesus birth, they said, “You shall call His name Jesus, for He shall save His people from their sins” (Matt. 1:21).  That is what the Hebrew name Jesus means- “Yahweh saves”.  But Jesus did not come to just save us from the” penalty of sin”.  He came to save us from the “power of sin”, and eventually from the very “presence of sin”.  We live in the reality of the first mission of Jesus.  That is our justification.  “If any man be in Christ, there is therefore now no condemnation” (Rom. 8:1). But Paul asks, “Since Grace abounds, should we let sin abound too?”  He answers quite clearly, “God Forbid!” (Romans 6:1) In the Greek it is “me genito”- “may it never be so!”  Tozer says that we as Christians need to take a long look at this situation to resolve it.  He writes, “We Christians must look sharply at our Christianity.  We must make sure we do not refine our sins, without removing them!” Maybe that is what we as Christians are most guilty of- “refining our sins” but not “removing our sins!”  On one occasion Charles Spurgeon was visiting Cambridge College.  He was shown a bust of Lord Byron on display in the University Library. From one side all the glory of Lord Byron was so apparent.  Spurgeon said, “what a man!” The librarian told him to view the bust from the opposite side.  Spurgeon gasped, “What a demon!”  By design the sculptor has so made the bust.  He wanted to show, not only the two faces that resided in Lord Byron, but the two faces that reside in each one of us!  Eugene Peterson, author of The Message paraphrase of the Bible, was given a portrait, painted by his Church custodian.  It was horrible.  Peterson asked why the painter had painted him that way.  His response was, “I wanted you to be reminded of what you could look like is the grace of God was not active in your life!”  Peterson put it on the wall of his office as a daily reminder.  We all need such a portrait!  Adrian Rogers described the difference between sin in the life of the sinner and the saint.  He said, “The sinner leaps into sin and loves it!  The saint lapses into sin and loathes it!”  Basically, that is true.  Sin takes a toll in every way on the life of the Christian. The Bible says, “The way of the transgressor is hard!” (Proverbs 13:15).  David, after committing adultery and covering it up with murder, talks about how he suffered because of it.  He wrote “When I kept silent about my sin, my bones wasted away in groaning all day long.  Day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was sapped from me!” (Psalm 32:3).  Solomon, the wisest man in the world, chose to follow a life of idolatry and immorality.  His evaluation was what he wrote in Ecclesiastes.  Lesson learned!

     The only help for the Christian is to face his sin truthfully and with sincerity.  The best book I have ever read on the Psychology of Growth in the Christian life is in a book by W. Curry Mavis.  He was professor of Psychology at Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky.  He wrote a great book titled The Psychology of Christian Experience.  In it he says that for a Christian to have any progress toward maturity and victory over sin daily, he must be truthful and sincere about his choices and life.  He quotes Joseph Goldbrunn, from his work Holiness is Wholeness, “When the soul does not live up to its own truth, the vision of God’s truth becomes clouded.  Spiritual wholeness involves our whole thinking, our whole emotions, and our whole will.  Without full involvement we have no accurate spiritual perception!”  J. R. Sealy concurs.  He says, “The one incurable vice is insincerity!” that is not being truthful with ourselves! J.B. Mozley puts it even more succinctly…” The victim of passion may be converted.  The thoughtless may be converted.  The ambitious may be converted…anyone of these.  But who will convert the hypocrite?  He does not know that he is a hypocrite.  The greater the hypocrite that he is, the more sincere he must think himself to be!” That is the dilemma that the Christian who has blinders to his sin has!  Wearing a mask as to who we are, hides the truth from others, but also hides the truth from ourselves, therefore cutting us off from any of God’s daily remedies to our sin problem. Anne Morrow Lindberg dealt with this issue clearly.  In her book Gift From the Sea, she writes, “I am shedding hypocrisy in human relationships.  What a rest that will be!  The most exhausting thing in my life, I have discovered is to be insincere.  That is why so much social life is exhausting: one is wearing a mask.  I have shed my mask!”  Christians could avoid a lot of spiritual exhaustion by heeding her advice. Shed the masks! My favorite poet of all time, Thomas Stearns Eliot, called this insincerity “the hell of make believe”. In his poem, Murder In The Cathedral, he writes “In the small circle of pain within the skull; You shall travel and tread the endless round; of thought to justify your actions to yourselves; weaving a fiction which unravels as you weave; pacing forever THE HELL OF MAKE BELIEVE; WHICH NEVER IS BELIEF!”  The wisest man in the world, Solomon saw this clearly.  He wrote, “Keep your heart in all diligence-out of it flows the issues of life!” (Proverbs 4:232).  Again, he admitted, “He that covers his sins shall not prosper!” (Proverbs28:13).  T.T. Munger agrees- “God has nothing good or high in store for one who does not resolutely aim at something God and high. A purpose is the eternal condition of progress and success!”  The Christian that longs for a higher purpose and aim than struggling daily with his sin, and trying desperately to cover it up can find help and hope! The story by Max Bearborn, The Happy Hypocrite, tells of a man who falls in love with a beautiful lady.  To win her he put on a beautiful mask to hide his hideous nature.  He succeeds and she marries him.  But eventually his past catches up with him.  He is forced to take the mask off and reveal his true nature.  But in the interim, due to his love and relationship with his new wife, when he removes the mask, everyone is surprised to find out that his ugly features have been transformed to the beauty of the mask!  He therefore becomes the Happy Hypocrite.  Paul tells us if we will keep on beholding the unveiled face of our Savior Jesus.  Love Him daily.  This intimate relationship with Him with transform us from glory to glory, (II Corinthians 3:18).  That is what the Apostle John is telling his little Children. Jesus is your answer not only to the penalty of sin, but also the power of sin, and someday the very presence of sin.  You have an Advocate with the Father. Jesus Christ The Righteous One!  Let Him transform you-daily!


 I KINGS 5:15





 Posted by at 1:14 pm


 Uncategorized  Comments Off on NO RETREAT-NO DEFEAT
Jul 162023


     Stonewall Jackson, the famous Confederate general. Though our culture is trying to re-write history, he should still be seen as an American hero, and also as a dynamic Christian personality.  He is an example to us as Christians today on how to fight in our spiritual battles and warfare.  His mommy didn’t name him “Stonewall Jackson” by the way. He was actually Thomas Jackson. He earned the name we know him by in the first major land battle of the Civil War, the Battle of Bull Run. The Confederate forces were overwhelmed. They were retreating that day – except for a group of Virginia soldiers commanded by General Jackson. They refused to give ground, with their general, mounted on his horse in the thick of the battle, inspiring them to take a stand. Well, another Confederate officer yelled, “Look! There’s Jackson standing like a stone wall!” Well, Confederate forces rallied that day behind Jackson and his Virginians, and they ended up routing the Union forces that day. And from that day on, Tom Jackson was “Stonewall Jackson”.

     One person, standing firm when the battle is intense, can literally turn the tide. On the battlefield where God has assigned you, He’s counting on you to be that person. And today He’s giving you a great picture of how you can be a warrior that your General can count on – one through whom He can win some great victories. The picture is in 2 Samuel 23, beginning with verse 8. It’s our word for today from the Word of God.

     It’s a description of David’s most trusted warriors – three soldiers called “David’s mighty men” – Josheb-Basshebeth, Eleazar, and Shammah. (You don’t have to memorize those. Right? Or pronounce them, right?) The Bible describes how Josheb-Basshebeth “raised his spear against eight hundred men, whom he killed in one encounter.” Then it says, “Next to him was Eleazar…As one of the three mighty men, he was with David when they taunted the Philistines gathered at Pas Dammin for battle. Then the men of Israel retreated (Sounds like Stonewalls big day, right?), but he stood his ground and struck down the Philistines “till his hand grew tired and froze to the sword”. The Lord brought a great victory that day.”

     Mighty warriors emerge at times when everyone’s tired and suffering from combat fatigue – times when most people would feel like quitting. They emerge at times when the odds are overwhelming – like that one, eight hundred against one guy, and at times when most are retreating from the battle. For you, the battle might be your family, or it might be for your church, or for the right thing, for a stand that God has ordered you to take. So, what is it that makes you one of God’s mighty warriors and a soldier He can count on?

     First, you defy the enemy as David’s men “taunted the Philistines.” Knowing that the devil is our real enemy, you dare to say, “I’m not going to let you win this one. Jesus, take authority over this loser and make him retreat.” Secondly, you cling to your sword. For us, the “sword of the Spirit” is “the Word of God” (Ephesians 6:17).  Your attack is by quoting the Word of God, with Authority, in the name of Jesus against the enemy.  Such strategy, used by Jesus for 40 days of temptation, resulted in the “Devil leaving him alone for a season” (Luke 4:13).  You keep fighting, holding onto what God says as tightly as Eleazar held onto the sword that became bonded to his hand.

     The third step that makes you God’s conqueror is you stand shoulder to shoulder with your brothers and sisters. You know, each time God introduces the next mighty man here, He starts with “next to him.” Don’t fight alone. Don’t let anything come between you and your praying fellow-soldiers. The Roman Army never fought as isolated soldiers.  Always as a unit.  So must we.  Loyalty to Christ is loyalty to our brothers and sisters in Christ. Never forget that.

    And, finally, you remember who determines the outcome of the battle. It says of the weary, outnumbered mighty men, “The Lord brought them a great victory.” They sure couldn’t have brought a great victory against those odds. But mighty spiritual warriors know that the outcome of the battle will not be decided by them. It will not be decided by their enemy. It will be decided by the King of kings, the Lord of lords.

     So, no matter how intense the battle, no matter how weary the warrior, no matter how overwhelming the odds – do not retreat! With the Word of God in your hand, with your brothers and sisters by your side, with the Lord your God fighting for you, it won’t be you who retreats, because your enemy is going down!  One of the last speeches that Sir Winston Churchill made was at Fulton, Missouri.  He agreed to come if all the students would have notebooks and take down every word he spoke.  The University agreed.  After being introduced, Churchill stepped to the podium, thumbs in his coat, with all eyes and ears fastened upon him.  He began to speak…” NEVER SURRENDER.  NEVER! NEVER! NEVER!”  He then went and sat down.  But what a message!  His words remind us of Stonewall Jackson, and more than that the words of our Savior, to those fighting His battle.  We could certainly use a few “Stonewall Believers today!”


       1 SAMUEL 16:18-21





 Posted by at 3:09 pm


 Uncategorized  Comments Off on LAST DAY BATTLEFIELD-THE HEART OF MAN
Jul 092023


     In his book, The Brother’s Karamazov, Fyodor Dostoyevsky poignantly states, “The awful thing is that beauty is mysterious as well as terrible.  God and the devil are fighting there and the battlefield is the heart of man”.  That battle involves recognizing truth-God’s truth.  The devil is, and always has been, in the business of perverting God’s truth into a lie, and getting man to believe it, and thus choose the path of error and destruction.  He is a master of deception and his lies are passing for truth quite successfully in our Post-Christian world.  Paul warned us that in the last days we would be inundated with “doctrines of demons”(   I Tim. 4:1), and that God would let the world “believe a lie, because they believed not the truth” (II Thes. 2:11).  Man’s problem today is not knowing the truth, but “suppressing” and “rejecting” the truth in exchange for a lie.  Dostoevsky warned about that too.  He wrote, “Above all don’t lie to yourself.  The man who lies to himself and listens to his own lies comes to the point that he cannot distinguish the truth within him, or around him, and so loses all respect for himself and for others, and having no respect he ceases to know love”.  That I believe is a very accurate description of the very condition modern man finds himself in.  David Roper, in his book A Beacon in the Darkness, hits the nail on the head, when he writes, “We live in a world of cosmic deceit, hidden agendas, treacherous motivations, illusions, and lies.  And Satan is behind it all.  His strategy is to deceive.  His objective is to destroy.  His shrewd cruel mind is behind the lies that buffet us all day long, the media messages that encourage us to ‘find ourselves’ in something other than the living God, to go for the gusto, but to leave the Savior out.  The lie comes into the world in the guise of beauty and good, (our minds are repelled by ugliness and obvious evil), but the deceit inevitably sickens the soul and it begins to die.  For when Satan has accomplished his purpose and separated men and women from God, what can they do but wither and die eternally?”  That is why Isaiah warned, “Woe to them that call evil good, and good evil; that call darkness light, and light darkness” ( Isaiah 5:20).  Denis deRougement, in a book entitled The Devil’s Share, clarifies the plight of our modern world with more clarity than anyone I have ever read.  He says the problem today is compounded by the difference between a lie and a pure lie.  This is what he says, “There are two ways of lying, as there are two ways of deceiving a customer.  If a scale registers 15 ounces, you can say, ‘it is a pound’.  Your lie will remain relative to an invariable measure of the true. If the customer checks it he can see that he is being robbed, and he knows by how much you are robbing him; a truth remains as a judge between you.  But if you tamper with the scale itself, it is the criterion of the truth which is denatured; there is no longer any possible control.  And little by little you will forget that you are cheating.  You may even bet that you will exercise all your scruples in giving exact weight, perhaps by adding a few pinches for ‘good measure’, for the smile of the buyer and the satisfaction of your virtue.  That is ‘pure lying’, the moment you falsify the scale of truth itself, all your virtues are at the service of evil and are accomplices in its contagion”.  The devil has tampered with the scale.  He has caused us to throw out the accurate scale of God’s inspired Word, and receive his counterfeit scale.  When the standard is corrupted, even honorable people become agents of evil.  They believe they are doing right when in fact what they are doing is dead wrong, and they unwittingly foist their wrong-doing on others.  That is what has happened today.  Satan has moved the parameters so that even ‘principled people’ have been brought into the service of evil.  Their lack of a fixed reference point has led them into profound moral confusion and deep sense of insecurity.  I saw a cartoon once depicting two people talking.  One said to the other, “I still believe in evil-I just don’t know what qualifies!”  People still believe in good and evil, it’s just that no one knows where the parameters are anymore-and that makes for a very dangerous and uncertain world!  Black is white; white is black; up is down, and down is up;  we are turned loose, without an anchor, of a raging sea helplessly tossed about by whichever way the cultural wind blows.  We will end up destroyed on the rocks unless we turn back to the Word that transcends culture and circumstance, and is older than time!

     It seems to me that Norman Maclean raises that question in his book A River Runs Through It.  His book and Robert Redford’s movie about how A Presbyterian minister tries to teach his sons about life through fly fishing and spiritual wisdom.  One son seems to find the truth, while the other refuses the guidance and help and remains a free-spirited son who drinks too much, lives too fast, and eventually loses his life in a back-alley brawl.  The father tries, through the medium of fly fishing, to pass on to his sons the underlying, unchanging values of his life.  Maclean recalls one streamside exchange with his father:  “‘What have you been reading?’I asked.  ‘A book’, my father replied.  It was on the ground on the other side of him.  So I would not have to bother to look over his knees to see it, he said, ‘A good Book’.  Then he told me, ‘in the part I was reading it says the Word was in the beginning, and that’s right.  I used to think that water was first, but if you listen carefully you will hear the words underneath the water’.  ‘That’s because you’re a preacher first and then a fisherman’, I told him.  ‘No’, my father said, ‘You are not listening carefully.  The water runs over the words.  Paul will tell you the same thing.’ I looked to see where the book was left open and knew just enough Greek to recognize ‘logos’ as the Word.  I guessed from it and from the argument that I was looking at the first verse of John’ “.  Mclean emphasizes that we can take the truth and try to help but it has to be received, not rejected.    Mclean writes, “Each one of us here today will at one time in our lives look upon a loved one who is in need and ask the same question:  We are willing to help, Lord, but what, if anything, is needed?  For it is true we can seldom help those closest to us.  Either we don’t know what part of ourselves to give or, more often than not, the part we have to give is not wanted.  And so it is those we live with and should know are the ones who elude us.  But we can still love them-we can love completely without complete understanding”. 


1 Samuel 16:18





 Posted by at 1:25 pm

Resigning or Re-Signing?

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Jul 022023

      In 1937 Picasso was in Paris working on a major art project.  Back in his home country there was a civil war raging in Spain.  The Axis powers of Germany and Italy attacked the little town of Guernica, in the Basque country of Spain.  The horror was devastating.  Picasso, upon hearing it, traveled to witness the destruction.  The result was he then painted what is considered by many, his most famous and important work of art-Guernica-his anti-war mural.  The portrait painted a woman trying to escape from the bombs with her dead baby in her arms; A woman holding a torch as she flees, and the torch just illuminates the destruction.  Exploding chickens and animals from the market shows that war even affects innocent animals.   Most interpret the charging horse and bull, (normally a beloved symbol of Spain), being captured and used against them by Fascism!  Picasso remarked that “a work of art must make a man react; agitate the observer to action”.  That was his goal with this anti-war mural.  After returning to Paris, his masterpiece was displayed in a Museum there.  When the Nazis occupied France, Picasso was asked by a German soldier- “are you responsible for creating this?”  Picasso is reported to have responded, “No you are!”  When we look around us and see the battle that is raging in our culture, and the devil seems to be wreaking havoc on all that we hold precious…we wonder who is to blame.  T.S. Eliot, the famous British poet, who became a Christian later in his life, wrote “I do not believe, (I am a Christian myself), that culture could survive the complete disappearance of the Christian faith…if Christianity goes the whole of our culture goes!”  He was so prophetic in his words…that is exactly what has happened.  We want to blame the devil!  We want to blame the world and society.  We even question- “Where was God when all of this came over us?”  The truth be told we as the Church might just share the blame!  Edmund Burke wrote: “When bad men combine, the good must associate (in opposition) else they will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle”.  John Stuart Mill wrote: “Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing”.  In other words…” for evil to triumph, all they need is for good to do nothing!”  That may describe the Church of Jesus Christ in the last few decades!  Even though we know who “wins in the end”. The current state of affairs related to the Church is that we are “losing a lot of battles!”  Truth be known we have waved the white flag-retreated to behind the four walls of the Church…and T.S. Eliot’s prophecy has become a reality.  We don’t like hearing that message.   It reminds me of Charlie Brown, in a cartoon strip I read several years ago.  The scenario was something like this…” You know what the trouble with you is, Charlie Brown?”  asks Lucy.  “No, I don’t want to know! Leave me alone!”  Charlie Brown walks away with his hands in his pockets.  Lucy calls after him: “the whole trouble with you is you won’t listen to what the whole trouble with you is!” Theologian Charles H. Heimsath said, “The chief trouble with the Church is that you and I are in it!”  Another imminent theologian Helmut Thielicke, when responding to the retreat and failure of the Church in Europe, (a forerunner to the failure of the Church in America), defended his hope in the Church this way…”If I were not convinced that Christ is risen, and that He lives…I probably could not have drawn any other conclusion except to leave the Church…Only the friends I have in it, those who bravely endure to persevere in a life of devotion and sacrifice, would make it hard for me to leave.  And what binds me to them most of all is precisely this, that the suffer because of the Church just as I do!”

     It would be easy for us to give up in a spirit of defeat and blame it all on the trend of the last days, while crying out with the Apostle John- “even so come Lord Jesus!”  The great Scottish preacher John Robertson of Glasgow had been a Pastor for forty years.  But he lost his glow, he felt himself a failure, he decided to quit and resign.  He prayed, “Oh God, forty years ago you did commission me, but I have blundered and failed, and I want to resign this morning”.  He broke down in tears, and humbled himself before God.  He said this is the answer that God gave him.  “John Robertson, it is true that I commissioned you forty years ago. It is true that you have blundered and failed, BUT YOU ARE NOT TO RESIGN FROM YOUR COMMISSION.  YOU ARE TO RE-SIGN YOUR COMMISSION!”  That is the message that God has for us today as His Church.  RE-SIGN YOUR COMMISSION!  REVIVAL OFFERS US THE OPPORTUNITY TO DO JUST THAT!  That does not mean that we re-dedicate ourselves to God in revival, and just separate ourselves more from our decaying society.  Salt was used in the first century to slow decay…but it required contact with the decay!  Light can only overcome darkness by shining!  Revival allows us to regain our “saltiness’ and get back in contact with our world.  Light restores the glory of God so that we can be a beacon of brightness to the darkness around us!

     F.W. Robertson contrasted Christianity with Judaism.  He said that the spirit of Judaism was to separate themselves from the evil around them.  Even isolate themselves!  They abstained from other foods, other days, other activities, etc.  But on the other hand, Christianity permeates evil with good, and aims at overcoming evil with good.  We must take seriously the words of Jesus that the “kingdom of heaven is like yeast, taken by the woman and put into three measures of flour until the whole lot had risen” (Luke 13:20-21).  Revived Christians, joined together as a renewed Church, can and always has historically, gone back out into their world and permeated it for the cause of Christ!  We are commissioned, as Esther, “for a time like this!”   The great Lutheran Pastor, Martin Niemoller of Germany was imprisoned by the Nazis.  One night he had a dream that he saw Hitler pleading his case before God, excusing himself because he had never heard the Gospel.  The Niemoller heard a voice directed toward him: “were you with him a whole hour without telling him of the gospel?”  He awoke and remembered that he had indeed been with Hitler for an hour.  He had not said a word about Jesus Christ.  That realization changed Niemoller.  From that moment on every prisoner, every guard, every person he came in contact with for the rest of his life heard the gospel from his re-signed lips!  I am “dreaming” that we have such a revival that causes a Church, in danger of “resigning” in these last days, to determination of “re-signing’ for a new commission to do all we can to impact our world while we yet have time!  It is not too late!  We might realize that we have been part of what is “wrong” with the Church.  But after revival we can definitely be what is “right” with the Church.  Anybody want to “re-sign?”






 Posted by at 2:50 pm