Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins. Matthew 1:18-21
I am either reading through at present or have recently completed reading the following books.
- The Battle for the Beginning by John MacArthur
The following is a quote from the introduction: Scripture, not science, is the ultimate test of all truth. And the further evangelicalism gets from that conviction, the less evangelical and more humanistic it becomes.
John continues on the back cover: Everything in Scripture that teaches about sin and redemption assumes the literal truth of the first three chapters of Genesis. If we wobble to any degree on the truth of this passage, we undermine the very foundations of our faith.
This is a book to keep close in a hostile world. It is a book for reference and for reading over and over again.
- Discovering the Joy of a Clear Conscience by Christopher Ash
This book answers many questions about conscience. Should we ever violate our conscience? What if it has been calibrated to the wrong standard? Should our conscience always be our guide? What is the function of our conscience? What does it do? How do we retrain our conscience? To what should the Christian conscience be calibrated? What to do when our conscience condemns us? What does the Apostle Paul mean when he refers to a conscience void of offense?
It is one thing to die with a clear conscience. It is quite another thing to live with a clear conscience.
And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward men. Acts 24:16
- Called to Lead by John MacArthur
Twenty-six leadership lessons from the life of the Apostle Paul.
It it enough to just declare oneself to be the leader? How does one lead from the back of the line or from the bottom of the ladder? Following Paul’s example, a Christian can lead from just about anywhere God puts him.
In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. I Thessalonians 5:18
Thanks to God for my Redeemer,
Thanks for all Thou dost provide!
Thanks for times now but a memory,
Thanks for Jesus by my side!
Thanks for pleasant, balmy springtime,
Thanks for dark and stormy fall!
Thanks for tears by now forgotten,
Thanks for peace within my soul!
Thanks for prayers that Thou hast answered,
Thanks for what Thou dost deny!
Thanks for storms that I have weathered,
Thanks for all Thou dost supply!
Thanks for pain, and thanks for pleasure,
Thanks for comfort in despair!
Thanks for grace that none can measure,
Thanks for love beyond compare!
Thanks for roses by the wayside,
Thanks for thorns their stems contain!
Thanks for home and thanks for fireside,
Thanks for hope, that sweet refrain!
Thanks for joy and thanks for sorrow,
Thanks for heavenly peace with Thee!
Thanks for hope in the tomorrow,
Thanks through all eternity!
By August Ludvig Storm (1891)
Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.
But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.
Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.
For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish. Psalm 1:1-6
In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. I Thessalonians 5:18
Giving thanks is not only the will of God, it is also listed as one of the characteristics of a Spirit filled believer in Ephesians 5.
Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; Ephesians 5:20.
Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme;
Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well.
For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: I Peter 2:13-15.
Does this mean that I should obey the laws of men,….every law? Obeying the law is God’s will. Obeying the laws of man is His will. Why would God expect that? It is because the powers that be are ordained of God. When we disobey the laws of men, we despise the powers that God Himself has ordained.
Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.
Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.
For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:
For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Romans 13:1&2
If we desire to do the will of God, we should start with the obvious. The clear statements of Scripture indicating that this particular thing is the will of God must be reckoned with before asking for the finer details. How are you doing with the obvious?
Note: When the laws of men oppose the clear commands of Scripture, we should obey God rather than man. When this occurs, we need to be willing to pay the cost. This is not an endorsement of violence or civil disobedience. Obeying God rather than man should be done in godly fear and with godly resolution.
Be sure to go back and read The Obvious Will of God dated October 30, 2017.
Another parable put he (Jesus) forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field:
But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way.
But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also.
So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares?
He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up?
But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them.
Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn. Matthew 13:24-30
The Explanation of the Parable
Then Jesus sent the multitude away, and went into the house: and his disciples came unto him, saying, Declare unto us the parable of the tares of the field.
He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man;
The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one;
The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels.
As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world.
The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity;
And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.
Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.
Do you want to know the will of God concerning your life? Are you obeying the things that God has clearly stated in Scripture concerning His will?
I Thessalonians 4: 3-8 states;
For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain (to keep oneself from) from fornication (illicit sexual intercourse, including adultery): That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel (exercise self-control) in sanctification (separation unto God through Christ as a result of obedience to His word) and honour (a valuing); Not in the lust (strong desire) of concupiscence (to set one’s heart upon in a bad way), even as the Gentiles which know not God: That no man go beyond and defraud his brother (stir up a desire in another that cannot be fulfilled biblically) in any matter: because that the Lord is the avenger (judge) of all such, as we also have forewarned you and testified. For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness (being set apart). He therefore that despiseth (to reject or set aside), despiseth not man, but God, who hath also given unto us his holy Spirit.
Abstinence from fornication is clearly the will of God. Unfortunately, I think Christian singles are susceptible to being “culturized”. The Christian single may be tempted to justify certain physical behaviours in a dating relationship by saying or thinking; we are not having sexual intercourse. In the mean-time participation in these certain physical activities is preparing the body for just that.
In the verses above the Apostle Paul not only forbids illicit sexual activity, but he goes on to admonish us to exercise self-control through separation unto God by obedience to His word. He warns against following the culture (the Gentile unbelievers) and he warns against stirring up in another a desire that cannot be fulfilled biblically.
Paul warns us because the Lord is the Judge of all such. He has called us unto holiness (being set apart). Paul warns that to reject this instruction is not rejecting man, but God.
Paul concludes the section above by reminding us that God has also given believers His Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit indwells us and He is grieved when we sin.
If you are a Christian single who is dating, use some common sense. Do not engage in intimate kissing and touching! This is not love, it is passion! This is not God’s will, it is self-will! Genuine love will not defraud or stir up in another a desire that cannot be fulfilled biblically. If you are dating, remind yourself of this daily. The display of genuine love always seeks the best for the object of its affections. If you are dating someone who is pushing physical intimacy, they do not have your best interests at heart. In other words, they do not love you.
When dating, do not isolate yourselves from others. Keep yourself accountable and visible to others. If you have become engaged, be all the more diligent. Until you exchange vows, you are NOT married. Guilt can damage or destroy a relationship and it will affect your fellowship with God. This is not the way to start a marriage and it is not the foundation upon which to build a marriage.
Keep in mind that whoever you marry becomes God’s will for you. There is nothing you can do to change this past decision without sinning. Marriage based on mutual attraction involving a physical type relationship is a poor foundation for choosing a life’s mate. It is getting the cart before the horse. Marriage decisions made under these conditions can lead to an unhappy marriage being God’s will for you.
If you do not know what to do…….please get biblical counseling from a Bible believing pastor.
……….and let the word of Christ dwell in you richly……..
Note: If you do not know a Bible believing pastor with which to seek counsel, you may contact Leading Horses to Water by letter @ 48 Deer Run Trail, Climbing Hill, IA 51015.
Note also: Marriage as referred to above is defined as one man and one woman united together before God as one flesh.
While cleaning out files recently, my wife found a paper napkin with my handwriting in pencil as follows:
That Christians should sing is ever so right,
Everyone sings when its cheery and bright.
It’s harder to sing when its dreary and stark,
The lost only notice when we sing in the dark…
Carbon 14 dating puts the time of this writing at about 3000 BC. However a careful examination of the paper napkin indicates that it is most likely from a Denny’s or Shoney’s restaurant and was probably written somewhere around 1980 AD.
Therefore will I give thanks unto thee, O LORD, among the heathen, and sing praises unto thy name. Psalm 18:49
But I will sing of thy power; yea, I will sing aloud of thy mercy in the morning: for thou hast been my defence and refuge in the day of my trouble. Psalm 59:16
Job wrote in the Old Testament; I know my Redeemer liveth!
The Apostle John wrote in the New Testament; These things were written, so that ye may know that ye have eternal life!
The Apostle Paul penned the words; I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I’ve committed unto Him, against that day!
What do you know?
When we began to consider homeschooling our children, it was with the idea that we would do it for two or three years and then enroll them in a Christian school. We also agreed that since the burden of home schooling would fall on my wife, she would only do it as long as she could retain her sanity.
There was a point in the beginning where my wife was home schooling two children and caring for two preschoolers at the same time. The younger two had no idea how important this schooling was to their older siblings, nor did they care. Their blissful ignorance of what was going on in the home only added to the challenge before my wife.
My task in all of this was administration. I provided the funds for the textbooks, satellite feed, and supplies required to keep things in operation. I was called upon to be the enforcer and disciplinarian. I was careful to require respect from the students toward their mother and teacher. They were taught that disrespect to her was considered to be disrespect to me.
The most important task that I had, however, was to listen to my wife on a daily basis. This task, by the way, was an act of God for us because it did not come to me naturally.
Let me explain. Each day, when arriving home, I learned by the grace of God to sit down with my wife and listen to her account of how the day went, including the problems or victories that came with it. I did not listen while reading the paper (I may have at first) or while messing with my cell phone (not sure we even had cell phones when we began) or while watching the news on TV.
I learned to listen to her, because all day long she had had no adult conversation. Listening to her assured her that she was not in this alone. Eventually, I learned that she did not need advice necessarily or quick solutions. What she needed and wanted from me was my unwavering support and encouragement.
As a husband and father, I learned some things about my wife and mother of our children through this process of home schooling that I did not understand previously. I learned that she would literally waste herself to care for our family. I also learned that I could stand by and watch her do it; I could pursue my own agenda (so I wouldn’t have to watch her do it); or I could keep her from killing herself by participating in the care and raising of our children. By the way, she is still alive and she is still sane.
Whether or not you are homeschooling, every Christian husband should be watching out for his wife, particularly if you have little ones. Homeschooling only adds to the burden mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually. If you as a husband and father are not willing to partner with her in sharing this burden then you should probably not add homeschooling to her agenda.
One of the characteristics of a Spirit filled (controlled) believer (husband) is that he loves his wife as he loves his own body. You do the math. How do I love thee? Let me count the ways that I love my own body.
So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: Ephesians 5:28&29