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Give Thanks to God

2018-11-12T10:42:04+00:00 November 21st, 2018|

Thanksgiving is right around the corner. It’s a time to praise God for all His benefits. We thank God for food, clothing, shelter, transportation, communication, the degree of health we enjoy, the freedom we have to come and go…. The list goes on and on.

Most importantly, we ought to thank God for the Spiritual benefits we enjoy. “Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom He has redeemed from the hand of the adversary” (Psalm 107:2). The redeemed ought to give thanks to their Savior before a watching world. Redeemed people are purchased and set free. The image is that of slavery. Someone comes along and purchases a slave. Then he gives the slave freedom. That someone is Jesus Christ. We are slaves. We are slaves to sin and evil. We are due the death penalty for our evil deeds. Christ willingly goes to the cross and dies; He pays the death penalty for slaves like us. He sets us free.

The adversary in this picture is the devil (1 Peter 5:8). Slaves of sin are members of the devil’s empire, the kingdom of darkness (Colossians 1:13). Jesus Christ boldly raids and plunders the strong man’s house (Mark 3:27). Christ then leads forth a host of captives (Ephesians 4:8). Ultimately he leads them into the inner precincts of heaven (John 14:2, Hebrews 6:20).

Click here and listen to a message based on Psalm 107 encouraging you to “Give Thanks to God.”

No Thanks to Chance

2018-11-12T10:43:58+00:00 November 20th, 2018|

We have two great reasons for special Thanksgiving. Psalm 100:1-3 directs us: “Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth. Serve the Lord with gladness; come before Him with joyful singing. Know that the Lord Himself is God; it is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people and the sheep of His pasture.”

We ought to give God praise. He made us. We did not crawl out of some primeval soup. We did not develop under the supervision of chance over millions of years. DNA contains amazing amounts of information. Where did it come from? Chance? Flip a coin. Will it be heads or tails? What is the chance? Does chance guide the coin? Chance has no power. We do not owe chance praise for our existence.

Are we part of the people of God through faith in Jesus Christ? We owe God praise. “He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son” (Colossians 1:13). Plunged into darkness, we could not find our way out of the swamp of sin. God rescued us. He removed us from the domain of darkness where Satan rules. He placed us in the kingdom of Christ. We have a new confession. “Jesus Christ is Lord” (Romans 10:9). This Thanksgiving, give God thanks for both creating and redeeming you.

To  encourage you, click here and listen to “Give Thanks to the Lord,” a message based on Psalm 100.

 

The God of Peace is With You

2018-11-14T10:26:12+00:00 November 19th, 2018|

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace . . .” (Galatians 5:22). We all crave peace of heart and conscience. Unrest, anxiety, guilt, anger, and a host of other unseemly feelings and emotions often consume us. The deeds of the flesh include strife, jealousy, envy, anger and such things as these (Galatians 5:19-21). Peace of heart and peace within the heart often evade us.

Jay Adams reminds us of an important biblical principle. “Feelings flow from actions” (Competent to Counsel, 97). See also The Christian Counselor’s Manual, 130-136. Simply put, feelings follow. When you do something bad, your conscience hurts and you feel bad. When you do something right, you feel good about it.

We see this principle at work in several places in Scripture. Philippians 4:6-7 links practice and peace, what we do and how we feel. “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” If you love God and seek His face in the midst of anxiety by pouring out your needs to God, the promise is the peace of God will overtake you. A sense of inner peace comes after we take appropriate action to seek God in our troubles.

So also, Philippians 4:9, “The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” If you expect to experience peace which comes from God (He is the God of peace), then you must practice the Christian life. You must practice what Scripture teaches about the church, the family, interpersonal relations, employments, and other issues. Good feelings follow proper practice.

When children need to get up and get dressed, and get ready for school, it is inappropriate for them to refuse by saying, “I don’t feel like it.” Parents do not take kindly to this response. God does not take kindly to this response from His children either. When He calls us to repent of our sins and turn to Christ for forgiveness, He does not ask if we feel like it. When He issues the Ten Commandments as a way of life for His people, He does not consult us and ask us how we feel about it. In fact, it is quite the opposite.

Once God cleanses our consciences and reorients our hearts, we feel bad when we lie, cheat or, steal. Guilt replaces peace. On the other hand, we have feelings of peace in our hearts when we tell others the truth, make sure we return the property of others, and keep our eyes on our own papers when taking exams. As in conversion itself, feelings follow.

Ultimately, peace of heart and feelings of peace are the work of the Spirit. God uses our actions as part of the means to bring about His ends. He enjoins, “Work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure” (Philippians 2:12-13). God gives you both the will and the ability to follow His commandments, albeit imperfectly. By God’s grace you work out the implications of your salvation by following God’s word. As you do so, the God of peace is with you and you experience peace of heart. The fruit of the Spirit, peace, blossoms and becomes a visible and attractive part of your life.

Denny Prutow

True Thanksgiving

2018-11-12T10:45:19+00:00 November 19th, 2018|

When we celebrate Thanksgiving, we indulge ourselves. The food is sumptuous. The desserts are scrumptious. Our sides ache. We loosen our belts and look for a place to rest, from eating. “That’s real food,” we say.

It may be real food, but is it true food? What’s the difference? Look at what Jesus Christ tells us. “My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink” (John 6:55). How can this be? Thanksgiving dinner is real food all right but it can also be false food. That is, if we put all our eggs in the material food basket, we will come up short in the end. What is the true bread? “This is the bread which came down out of heaven; not as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live forever” (John 6:58).

Real food, that turkey dinner for example, points to the true food from heaven, Jesus Christ. We partake of His flesh and blood when we trust in His sacrifice as the only adequate payment for our sins. We then have real life. We may die physically. We will never die eternally. The pilgrim fathers and mothers gave thanks to God for the provision of real food in the new world. They also gave thanks to God for Jesus Christ, the true food He gave them.

Click here and listen to “Christ: Food for Healthy Life”

Come With Thanksgiving

2018-11-12T10:50:17+00:00 November 18th, 2018|

We celebrate Thanksgiving this week. That is, we take time off from work and school for a holiday we call Thanksgiving. Psalm 95 tells us, “Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving.” Literally the psalm tells us to make haste to enter into the presence of God. Do you make haste to enter into God’s presence? You really make haste to get to the football game or the basketball game. Will you make haste to come before God with thanksgiving.

Of course there are those who look down their noses at God. Media Mogul Ted Turner called Christianity “a religion of losers.” The newspaper report tells us that Turner said Christ should not have bothered to die on the cross. “I don’t want anybody to die for me,” he was quoted as saying. “I’ve had a few drinks and a few girl friends, and if that’s gonna put me in hell, then so be it.” A minister characterized Turner’s belief like this: “That bloody religion of Christianity is no religion for a gentleman, thank you.”

But “Who may ascend to the hill of the Lord? And who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart” (Psalm 24:3-4). How are you going to have hands perfectly clean from sin? How are you going to have a heart purified from all sin? There is only one way! You must trust in the sacrifice of Christ. “He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross” (1 Peter 2:24). “For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God” (1 Peter 3:18). Yes, Jesus Christ takes people like you and me into God’s presence. So, it is only through Him that we can come before God to give Him thanks. Many people are unable to give thanks to God because, like Ted Turner, they reject Jesus Christ.

Today’s podcast encourages you to look to Jesus Christ and say, Lord, Take My Hand.

A Higher Perspective

2018-11-12T10:55:40+00:00 November 17th, 2018|

Recently there has been concern expressed over the greed and materialism of people in the financial world. One Wall Street guru encouraged college seniors by telling them that greed is OK. That same individual, along with several others, has been found guilty of illegal trading on the stock market. Greed and the drive for more in the way of material possessions was a motivation. One result has been a call for more training on ethics in our colleges of business.

Obviously a higher perspective is needed. But unfortunately, this higher perspective is not taught in most ethics classes in colleges and universities. Jesus sets it forth in one of His sermons, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures upon earth where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in and steal; for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matthew 6:19-21).

The point is, your money and your material possessions were never intended to be ends in themselves. You should never become a slave to your job because of your need for a bigger house or a new car. Rather, your physical possessions and your financial resources are one of the means God has given you to support the advancement of His kingdom. You should give to the work of your local church so that souls can be healed; so that men and women can learn to live and work and play to God’s glory. In this way your finances begin to reap eternal benefits. There is nothing more exciting nor more rewarding.

To help you understand this better, click here ad listen to a sermon called “Kingdom Treasure.”

When the Trumpets Sound Up Yonder

2018-11-12T10:54:15+00:00 November 16th, 2018|

In the book of Revelation, seven angels sound seven trumpets. These trumpets are calls to repent – to change our minds. We all change our minds at one time or another. When you really change your mind – say about buying a home or buying a car, you have a change of heart. This change of heart radically affects your actions. In the Bible, this kind of change of mind is called repentance.

Jesus Christ often called people to repent. Why? He thought they needed to change their minds about how they were living. We need that today. It was not that long ago that if a young couple contemplated living together, their actions were not condoned. Today, such arrangements are common. God says, “You shall not commit adultery” (Exodus 20:14). If you don’t agree with God, you need a change of mind and heart. You need to repent.

Jesus also called men and women to repent because they needed to change their minds about him. Jesus Christ is God. He is not just a great prophet or teacher. Neither is he just a god, one among many. He is God in human form, God in flesh. He is Emmanuel, which translated means “God with us” (Matthew 1:23). Now, if you do not believe Jesus Christ is God, you need a change of mind and heart. You need to repent.

Not only so, Jesus Christ calls us to repent because he came into the world to give his life a ransom for many (Mark 10:45). If you do not believe Jesus Christ came into the world to die on the cross to pay for the sins of people like you, you definitely need a change of mind and heart. You need to repent.

Like the trumpets in the book of Revelation, this message is a call to repentance. Now, listen to today’s podcast based on Mark 10:45, “Assured Christ is your Ransom.”

Evolution or Theism

2018-11-12T10:52:16+00:00 November 15th, 2018|

How old are the earth, the moon, the sun and the stars? Why, they are millions of years old. Yes, you remember how your high school or college biology text book explained the evolution of man. The process took millions of years. And so the earth must also be millions of years old. And after all, fossils found in rocks which are millions of years old really prove the point.

But do you know what? There is mounting scientific evidence that the universe may not be as old as you think. For example, when the first men were sent to the moon, there was a great deal of concern over the amount of dust on the moon. So much dust would have accumulated on the moon over the course of millions of years, the space ship might be lost in that dust. But what happened with Neil Armstrong took his first step on the moon? He was not swallowed up by the dust. In fact the amount of dust on the surface of the moon was found to be amazingly small. And the astronauts brought back beautiful photographs of their foot prints in that dust. Perhaps the moon is really not as old as most scientists believe.

Why is all of this so important? Well, for one thing, if the earth is not as old as some scientists tell us, then the teaching of evolution could not be true. And if the teaching of evolution is not true, there is only one alternative. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). Yes, the alternative to evolution is God. The alternative to the evolution of the earth is the creation of the earth and its inhabitants by God. And scientifically speaking, this alternative must be considered.

Today’s podcast is “Challenging Agnostics.

Forgiveness and Life

2018-11-12T10:32:34+00:00 November 14th, 2018|

A little community in western Kansas has a famous tourist attraction, the hideout for an old outlaw gang, the Dalton Gang. A tunnel was dug between the little house and the barn. And when the sheriff came, the gang would run down the tunnel to the barn, jump on their horses, and make their get-a-way. The members of the Dalton Gang were wanted dead or alive.

You may not be the member of an outlaw gang but believe it or not, you are still wanted. Because in the end, you are no better off than the members of the Dalton Gang. You see, every person who has never trusted Christ for the forgiveness of their sins is really dead. The Bible says you are dad in sin (Ephesians 2:1). Don’t laugh. There are many kinds of death. The kind of death I’m talking about is a spiritual death.

Oh yes, you may think you are very much alive. And you are alive to various sins. But you are dead to God. The Bible warns, “These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power” (2 Thessalonians 1:9). Don’t take it for granted God will welcome you into His heaven when all your life you have refused “honor Him as God, or give thanks” (Romans 1:21).

Now the flip side of the picture is much better. Those who turn from their sins and trust in the death of Christ as the only adequate payment for their sins are alive to God. Listen: “But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)” (Ephesians 2:4-5).

Are you alive to God or dead in sin? To help you answer this question, please listen to today’s podcast, “Where There is Forgiveness.

Reading the Bible

2018-11-12T10:30:52+00:00 November 13th, 2018|

I remember my college roommate reading the Bible every night. We were classmates at West Point. But when I tried to read the Bible, it didn’t work. The Bible made no sense.

Is that how it is with you? Sure, you have a Bible, but you never use it. It gathers dust on the shelf. And perhaps it has a flower from the prom pressed between its pages.

Well, things changed for me. Why? I met the author of the Bible. No, I did not meet Moses or Paul. I met Jesus Christ. One day, while still in the army, I visited a chaplain. He asked me point blank, “Have you ever accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.” I hadn’t; so I said “no!” And that chaplain began to introduce me to Christ. The chaplain showed me “that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). He showed me why Christ died on the cross. He died to pay for the sins of people like me. And he showed me that I needed to confess my sins and ask God’s forgiveness. I needed to trust in Christ as the One who paid for my sins. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16). That day I met Jesus Christ. Sure, I already knew some things about Christ, but I had never really met Him before.

And after I trusted Christ for my salvation, I wanted to read the Bible. And the Bible, which is Christ’s Book, took on a whole new meaning. I could not get enough of it. You see, getting to know the author can make all the difference.

For some direction in reading the Bible, listen to today’s podcast, “Bible Study: Not and End in Itself.”