I Know….

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?

Thoughts on Home Schooling – Part I

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

God’s Will (for all mankind)

The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is long suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.  2 Peter 3:9

If you are not a Christian, if you have not repented, then you are not in God’s will.  

What does it mean to repent?  To repent means to change one’s mind; to change one’s mind about your sin (sin separates one from God); to change one’s mind about who Jesus is (He is God); to change one’s mind about what He did for you (He died in your place); to believe in His death, burial and resurrection (not yourself);  to change one’s mind about trying to earn salvation (it is a gift); to change one’s mind about who to trust for salvation (trust Jesus Christ and His merit alone).  Changing one’s mind results in a change of direction.

Many years ago, I conducted religious surveys in several rural towns in our area.  The survey was composed of seven questions.  The first five questions were general information questions concerning current religious affiliation, religious background, etc.  The fifth question was a yes or no answer about whether or not one would go to heaven.  The last and most important question was:  If you died today and stood before God and He asked you why He should let you into heaven, what would you say?  

Eighty percent of the answers received to the last question fell within two categories.   God would let me into heaven: 1)  because of who I am, and 2) because of what I’ve done.  The eighty percentile group for these two categories was consistent throughout each community regardless of that community’s religious majority.

Interestingly, those two categories: because of who I am and because of what I’ve done, are the very reasons we cannot enter into God’s presence.  Who are we?  We are sinners, guilty before God.  What have we done?  We have turned each one to our own way and God hath laid on Him (Messiah Jesus) the iniquity of us all.

For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Romans 6:23

And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.  Acts 16:31

Will you submit to His will?

The Seed – It’s All Good

In the parable of the sower, the seed is the word of God, therefore it is all good seed.  Although it is all good seed, there can be a great difference in the results from seed to seed.  The difference in outcome depends upon the type of ground each seed falls upon.


And he began again to teach by the sea side: and there was gathered unto him a great multitude, so that he entered into a ship, and sat in the sea; and the whole multitude was by the sea on the land.  And he taught them many things by parables, and said unto them in his doctrine,

Hearken; Behold, there went out a sower to sow: And it came to pass, as he sowed, some fell by the way side, and the fowls of the air came and devoured it up.

And some fell on stony ground, where it had not much earth; and immediately it sprang up, because it had no depth of earth: But when the sun was up, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away.

And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up, and choked it, and it yielded no fruit.

And other fell on good ground, and did yield fruit that sprang up and increased; and brought forth, some thirty, and some sixty, and some an hundred.  And he said unto them, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.


And when he was alone, they that were about him with the twelve asked of him the parable.  And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables:

That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them.

And he said unto them, Know ye not this parable? and how then will ye know all parables?


The sower soweth the word.

And these are they by the way side, where the word is sown; but when they have heard, Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts.

And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness; And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word’s sake, immediately they are offended.

And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word, and the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts (desires) of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful.

And these are they which are sown on good ground; such as hear the word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred.

Mark 4:1-20

Are you a sower of the Word?  Don’t become discouraged in well doing, for you shall reap in due season, if you faint not.


…..let the word of Christ dwell in you richly…. 

I Love to Tell the Story

I Love to Tell the Story

I love to tell the story of unseen things above,
Of Jesus and His glory, of Jesus and His love.
I love to tell the story, because I know it’s true;
It satisfies my longings as nothing else can do.

Refrain

I love to tell the story!
‘Twill be my theme in glory
To tell the old, old story
Of Jesus and His love.

I love to tell the story, More wonderful it seems
Than all the golden fancies Of all our golden dreams,
I love to tell the story, It did so much for me,
And that is just the reason I tell it now to thee.

 I love to tell the story, ‘Tis pleasant to repeat
What seems, each time I tell it, more wonderfully sweet!
I love to tell the story, For some have never heard
The message of salvation from God’s own Holy Word.

I love to tell the story, For those who know it best
Seem hungering and thirsting To hear it like the rest.
And when, in scenes of glory, I sing the new, new song,
‘Twill be the old, old story
That I have loved so long.

Words: A. Catherine Hankey, 1834-1911
Music: William G. Fisher, 1835-1912

The Rapture – The Best Thing That Can Happen to a Christian!

As Christ ascended into heaven, two men in white apparel were standing by.  They told His disciples that this same Jesus, whom they watched being taken up into heaven, would so come again in like manner as they had seen Him go.  

And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.  And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel;  Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.  Acts 1:9-11

The return of the Lord, as promised above, is described as follows by the Apostle Paul:  For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent (precede) them which are asleep (the dead in Christ).  For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:  Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up (snatched away) together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.  Wherefore comfort one another with these words.              I Thessalonians 4:16-18

According to the Analytical Greek Lexicon (Zondervan Publishing House – sixth printing 1970), the word translated caught up is from the Greek word harpazo.  The form of this word in this context is harpagisometha which means we shall be caught up or  taken away suddenly.

Why do we call this event the Rapture?  According to Wikipedia the wordRapture” is derived from Middle French rapture, via the Medieval Latin raptura (“seizure, kidnapping”), which derives from the Latin raptus (“a carrying off”).   The American Heritage Dictionary definition #3 defines rapture as; “The transporting of a person from one place to another, especially to heaven.”  At what point, in church history, was this use of the word rapture applied to the return of Christ?  I am not sure. 

The idea of the rapture or being snatched away is not without precedent in Scripture.  Enoch walked with God and was not for God took him (Genesis 5:24).  Elijah was taken up bodily to heaven in a whirl wind (II Kings 2:11).  Philip was snatched away by the Holy Spirit after he had witnessed to the Ethiopian eunuch (Acts 8:39) and Paul speaks of being caught up to the third heaven or paradise in II Corinthians 12:2&4.

Just as the OT Jews had difficulty in distinguishing the Messiah’s coming as The Prince of Peace from His coming as the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, so there are many in Christendom today that cannot distinguish between Christ’s coming in the Rapture and His coming in judgment to rescue Israel from the Great Tribulation and set up His Kingdom.  Many believe the two are the same event.

The key to distinguishing The Rapture from His Second Coming in judgment is to compare all the verses in the NT that deal with the Lord’s return.  This comparison will reveal that there are different characteristics of His coming among these verses.  This can only mean that these are separate events regarding  the return of Christ.  See John MacArthur’s NKJV study notes on I Thessalonians 4:17.

Some of these verses are all about Christ’s coming in judgment.  These would apply to His return to save Israel and set up His kingdom.   See  Matthew 13:34-50,  Matthew 24:24-44, Revelation 19:11-21.  

The other verses are encouraging to believers and are spoken to comfort Christians.  These verses would apply to the Rapture.  See John 14: 1-3, I Corinthians 15:51-52, Revelation 3:10.  See John MacArthur’s NKJV study notes on I Thessalonians 4:17.

The Rapture is imminent.  It can happen at any time.  All believers will be removed from this world in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye.    Even so Lord Jesus, come quickly!  

Are you ready?

Whose Friend Are You?

Are you a friend of God or a friend of the world?

YOU CANNOT BE BOTH!

Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.  James 4:4

Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.  James 1:27

From my blog article entitled “Overcoming the World” in the August 2016 archives: Friendship with the world is the practice of fulfilling legitimate human needs outside the clear commands and boundaries of Scripture.

Tentmakers

Many years ago while living in the southeast, we became acquainted with an organization called Worldwide Tentmakers.  Worldwide Tentmakers seeks to come alongside and assist local churches in the promotion, preparation, and placement of self-supporting witnesses.*

The biblical model for tentmakers is the Apostle Paul.  Paul was a tentmaker and could support himself as he evangelized and planted churches.  

The idea of modern tentmakers was for a Christian businessman and/or tradesman to take a job where a missionary or church planter was already working to establish a ministry in order to help  them with financial support and lay ministry. 

At the time we came across WWTM, they were publishing lists of international jobs that were available for qualified individuals.  We began to use their lists to look for jobs in places with ministry needs.

There was an opportunity to teach history in Soldotna, AK.  I sent a resume’, but the position was filled from within the existing faculty.  There was a need for a Master Plumber at the US Embassy in Moscow, but no dependents were allowed.  We also had missionary friends ministering to Micronesian people in Hawaii, so I sent resume’s there as well, but without results.  Many other opportunities were pursued, but no doors opened.

I had always had a burden for the rural people of the Midwest, which was home for me, but I didn’t want to go there because it was home.  Wherever my family and I went, it needed to be where God wanted us to be, not where I wanted us to be.  

We eventually sent resume’s to the largest city near my hometown.  On a trip home that summer I followed up and was hired by a commercial plumbing/HVAC subcontractor in that city.  

We returned to South Carolina, sold our home there and moved back to the Midwest in about two months time.  No other opportunity opened up for us.  I knew we were right where God wanted us.

Both of my parents passed away shortly after we arrived home.  Dad was gone within thirty days and mom about seven months later.  I have an older sister who is a dependent and who was living with mom and dad at that time.  

We were able to purchase the home place from the estate and to build an addition to the house with a  small living area for my sister.  With the exception of a couple of years with other family members, she has lived with us since.

I have had dreams and visions of things that I wanted to accomplish for the Lord, but didn’t.  Perhaps my motives were questionable.  Perhaps these dreams, visions  and goals were just mine and not really according to His purpose.   In recent times, I’ve begun to wonder if His purpose all along was for us to come home and care for my sister.

We often want a showy place to minister.  A position that shows we are successful at what God has called us to do.  Something that we can report on when we go back to the place where we began to serve God.  The sad thing is that we are usually looking somewhere other than our home for that fulfillment.  

Are you where God wants you?

Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.  James 1:27

*www.worldwidetentmakers.

A Favorite Psalm

Psalm 34

I will bless the LORD at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth.

My soul shall make her boast in the LORD: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad.

O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together.

I sought the LORD, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.

They looked unto him, and were lightened: and their faces were not ashamed.

This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles.

The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.

O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.

O fear the LORD, ye his saints: for there is no want to them that fear him.

The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger: but they that seek the LORD shall not want any good thing.

Come, ye children, hearken unto me: I will teach you the fear of the LORD.

What man is he that desireth life, and loveth many days, that he may see good?

Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile.

Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it.

The eyes of the LORD are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry.

The face of the LORD is against them that do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth.

The righteous cry, and the LORD heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles.

The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.

Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivereth him out of them all.

He keepeth all his bones: not one of them is broken.

Evil shall slay the wicked: and they that hate the righteous shall be desolate.

The LORD redeemeth the soul of his servants: and none of them that trust in him shall be desolate.

KJV

………let the word of Christ dwell in you richly……

A Proverb a Day

Many years ago, as a young Christian believer, I used to read one chapter of Proverbs each day.  The Old Testament book of Proverbs contains 31 chapters.  One for each day of the month.  Lately I’ve been working on getting back into that habit, because Proverbs contains so much practical wisdom and truth.

Today is the 30th day of July, so I read the 30th chapter of Proverbs this morning.
There is so much there to think on. I’m going to post some of the passages that jumped out at me today in hope of encouraging you to spend time in Proverbs as well.

Who hath ascended up into heaven, or descended? who hath gathered the wind in his fists? who hath bound the waters in a garment? who hath established all the ends of the earth? what is his name, and what is his son’s name, if thou canst tell?  Proverbs 30:4

Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.  Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.  Proverbs 30:5&6

There is a generation that are pure in their own eyes, and yet is not washed from their filthiness.  Proverbs 30:12

The eye that mocketh at his father, and despiseth to obey his mother, the ravens of the valley shall pick it out, and the young eagles shall eat it.  Proverbs 30:17

Such is the way of an adulterous woman; she eateth, and wipeth her mouth, and saith, I have done no wickedness.  Proverbs 30:20

………let the word of Christ dwell in you richly………