IS THE REFORMATION OVER…DID THE WHOLE PROJECT FAIL?

Get yourself a cup of coffee and find a comfortable seat….  Our own Lee Pierce has blessed us with another post!  Keep ’em comin’, Lee! -anita

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The Reformation movement, which celebrates its 500th anniversary this year, was launched out of Martin Luther’s commitment to sola scriptura—the principle that the Bible is the final, infallible authority on life and doctrine. As Dr. R. Albert Mohler Jr. puts it in an article he penned on this topic: “When Scripture speaks, God speaks.”

As Christians, let there be no uncertainty about the fact that the Bible and its contents are under attack, even by sources within the church. But, there’s nothing new about that fact. Such attacks have existed virtually since the Bible was accepted as canon by the church. Dr. Mohler has spoken extensively on the subject of postmodernism and its corollary topic of relative truth, i.e., there really is no absolute truth. In effect, truth is what I say it is! “…postmodernists are committed to total war on truth itself, a deconstructionist project bent on the casting down of all religious, philosophical, political, and cultural authorities,” he says. Needless to say, the Bible with its claims to truth from God Himself, is a favorite target of the postmodern movement. This movement attempts to tie everything to a scientific model of rationality; in essence, unless I can observe something with my five senses, I won’t accept it as true. Clearly, this obviates the Bible with its aspects founded on the supernatural and upon a God who is not subject to the physical world (that He created, mind you!).

Dr. Mohler states that the only way to escape the rationalist claims of the modernist movement is to cling to the truths, the doctrines, of the Bible: “God has spoken to us in a reasonable way, in a language we can understand…which is His gracious disclosure of Himself.”

In my view, unless we have an objective source of truth, i.e., God’s own word, we’re all just playing with words and wallowing in our own, personal priorities. Mohler puts it this way: “Without the authority of Scripture, our theological convictions are merely conjectures and our preaching becomes nothing more than a display of human folly.” I, for one, have no desire whatsoever to put my eternal wellbeing in the hands of those who make up truth as they see fit (usually for their own selfish designs).

As Christians face continual opposition from both proponents of false gospels and from the culture at large, Dr. Mohler counsels us to protest. To hold high the banner of truth that is the basis for the Protestant Reformation. “We must not fail in seeing Scripture rightly proclaimed, the church built up, and the message of the gospel reach every corner of the earth,” he says. As modern-day beneficiaries of the great work of the Reformers, we have a duty to continue to press on with God’s truth as contained in the pages of Holy Scripture. I don’t know what this battle to sustain God’s truth will look like over the coming years, but I know the church will prevail: Jesus said “I will build my church; and the gates of Hell shall not overpower it.” [MT 16:18]

As long as Christians seek truth from God’s own words, the Reformation and its tenets will continue on and its purposes will be successful. You and I are examples of that very success! Praise the Lord!

-Lee Pierce

 

GOD IS LOVE…. RIGHT?

Here’s a good one from our own Lee Pierce!  Enjoy! -anita

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We live in an age of constant information overload—a person can’t begin to read and assimilate all the words, ideas and notions swirling around us. It’s important that we learn to read carefully and discern what’s important to us, all the while considering the sources. 

   Sometimes, many people take in ideas from this vast storm of information that are improperly developed (sometimes under-developed on purpose!) or even untruthful.

   One source of information available to us that can always be considered truthful is the Word of God. We have access to the Scriptures – and helpful explanatory commentaries—more so than any other people of any prior age. That’s the good news (pun intended!). The bad news is that we still can misinterpret what Scripture has to say if we’re not careful.

   One biblical concept that most people have heard and astutely believe in is the notion that God is love [I John 4:8]. How else can a discerning mind view the fact that  the God of Glory sent His son to live among us and, ultimately, to die for us, unless He is unquestionably a god of love? Unless people reject God altogether, they probably are aware of this idea of God and, even more probably, accept this thought of His love quite willingly. So far, so good.

The problem occurs when we then want to filter this truth through the seine of our cultural order. One writer I read put it this way: “When many people hear, ‘God is love,’ they think of a being who makes no demands and who indulges our every desire.” Dr. R.C. Sproul, in his October issue of Tabletalk magazine, noted that the Reformers (men like Luther, Calvin and Swingli) “…stressed the love of God for His people, but they preached a God who makes demands, who expects people to obey Him, and judges them if they do not.” Sproul concludes: “They understood that the gospel is good news only if we first know the bad news…God is perfectly holy and demands perfect obedience.” [Rom 3:23, Mt 5:48]

In our current age and culture, many want to be served rather than serve. We want to be accepted for who we are and usually believe we need not change anything about ourselves. If God loves me, well that’s perfectly great. But, if He wants me to love Him by serving and being obedient to His law, well hold on a minute. That’s not fair, we say in chorus!

The big factor at work here is PRIDE. We’re used to protesting anything that enters our Land of Relative Truth and makes demands on us. To have God set boundaries on us is wholly unacceptable. Why, it’s downright unfair!  Somewhere down deep inside us we may even ask: “What gives Him the right?”  Such is the spirit of one who thinks he is God.

The true Good News is that God does love you. The even greater news is that His own Son died for you so that you can share in His righteousness. All you have to do is accept Him as your Savior and, with the help of the Holy Spirit, live your life in a way that glorifies Him. Pride won’t get you into heaven, but Jesus will!

-Lee Pierce

THE PAGES OF YOUR STORY…

Yesterday, in-between loads of laundry, I watched a movie called, Priceless.  It was about human trafficking.  I don’t want to share the whole story with you…you need to watch it, but let’s just say there was a guy trying to make a quick buck, and he unknowingly got entangled in this awful business.

One of the good guys told him he must make a choice.  ….Would he do the right thing and expose this information to the authorities?  Or would he just ignore it, and go about his own life?

A statement was made in that movie that really had an impact on me….  The pages of your story are still being written…but the thing is…you are NOT the author.  HE has a plan for YOU!”

The Message Bible puts it this way in Jeremiah 29:11…

“I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.”

Another version of the Bible says this, “ For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” -KJV

If your life story has some rough patches…some things you’d rather forget, …remember, God has a plan for YOU!  He wants what is best for you!

Instead of being a “co-author” to your life story…let GOD be THE AUTHOR of all things written on your pages!  He writes a much better story than we ever could!

Anita

…WITH HIS HANDS

This morning, as I sat praying for my son Joe, I was reminded of the following hymn.

I had more apprehension today in regards to his well-being than on most days.  His 3rd grad class is traveling to the mountains for a ski trip.  He’s never gone sking, and he has NEVER gone off with a bunch of folks that I personally don’t know.

He will be riding in a truck with a lady I hardly know, being “watched” by her, the teachers, and some other moms that are going….  I am FRAZZELED!!!  I have no control over what happens to him today….  Then God reminded me that I really don’t have control over what happens to him on any given day!  And…God loves him more than I do!  We as moms believe that no one could love our kids more than we do…but God does!  Joe belonged to God long before he belonged to me…

Then  the Lord brought to mind the verse that says,  ” Live carefree before God; he is most careful with you.” -1 Peter 5:7b MSG  In the KJV it puts it this way, “ Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.”

After God reminded me of those verses, He brought to mind the following old hymn.  Take a look…

He Hideth My Soul

  1. A wonderful Savior is Jesus my Lord,
    A wonderful Savior to me;
    He hideth my soul in the cleft of the rock,
    Where rivers of pleasure I see.

    • Refrain:
      He hideth my soul in the cleft of the rock,
      That shadows a dry, thirsty land;
      He hideth my life in the depths of His love,
      And covers me there with His hand,
      And covers me there with His hand.
  2. A wonderful Savior is Jesus my Lord,
    He taketh my burden away,
    He holdeth me up and I shall not be moved,
    He giveth me strength as my day.
  3. With numberless blessings each moment He crowns,
    And filled with His fullness divine,
    I sing in my rapture, oh, glory to God!
    For such a Redeemer as mine.
  4. When clothed with His brightness transported I rise
    To meet Him in clouds of the sky,
    His perfect salvation, His wonderful love,
    I’ll shout with the millions on high. –Frances J. Crosby pub. 1890

If you find yourself fretting and worrying today, give your cares to Jesus!  He WILL cover you with His mighty hand and deliver you from all evil…because He cares for YOU!

Anita

HEADLINES; JESUS CALLS IT QUITS!

I just finished reading the following on another blog post called, “Hard Times Ministries”.  This is really good…and something for all Christians to consider.  When things get really hard, some of us just quit serving the Lord…but Jesus NEVER quit!  I’m sure He was exhausted while hanging on the Cross with the weight of sin from the whole world clinging to Him…but He didn’t come down!  He stayed there, and carried out His purpose so that WE could have LIFE!  He did that for me…He did that for you; so…what are we going to do for Him?? -anita

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Take a look…

If Jesus were a mere human I can imagine that he would have called it quits a long time ago.

It would be tough:  Can you imagine Christmas without him?

And if he did in fact quit, I wouldn’t blame him.  After all already takes the complete rap for us and we are almost totally ungrateful.  Even at the time on the cross, we weren’t exactly helpful.

And now we hold hands and sing about it and make it all seem like it was just like some wonderful love story where Jesus died for us in such a wonderful way but really:  Jesus died for us in such a really horrible way.

His blood sucked out of him:  his breath measured and labored and agonized and betrayed and wracked with pain.  Yes, his death was most difficult, cruel and horrible.

So Jesus quits and tells us we just have to get another God.  He says that we are disobedient and another god might be happy with our performance, but he isn’t and  neither is the Father.

Jesus Quits.  And Jesus quits because we quit and He is tired of doing it all alone.  He died so that we could follow him and do what he did while he was on earth with us.  We refuse to do it, so He quits.

If Jesus quits then the world is truly lost for now there is no advocate to go before us to the Father. There is no intercessor for when Jesus quits he takes His gift, the Holy Spirit with Him.

And for those of us who believe in the promises of Jesus knows that he promises to be with us even to the end of the earth so this nonsense of quitting is just that.  Nonsense.  Jesus has already overcome the world.

However, I believe we should see our relationship with our friend, Jesus as tenuous as Jesus is Holy and our relationship with him is purely by grace.  For that we should be grateful and willing to toe the line and to obey his commandments, advancing the image of God until his return.  And in that great calling, there is no quitting.  There is only Jesus ahead of us all.

T. F. Thompson

 

HE LOVES ME!!

As you read the following passage, keep this ONE THING in mind….  We NEVER did anything for Jesus; and sadly enough, even those of us that have been saved by His Marvelous Grace STILL don’t do anything for Him!  … But He died for us…just because He loves us!

1 John 4:7-19King James Version (KJV)

Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.

He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.

In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.

10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.

12 No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.

13 Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.

14 And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world.

15 Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.

16 And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.

17 Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.

18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.

19 We love him, because he first loved us.

Like the old hymn says…

  • “He loves me!  He loves me!  He loves me this I know.  He gave Himself to die for me because He loves me so! -written by Isaac watts

Make No Mistake: Sermon Notes by Pastor Danny Leavitt

THE BIG MISTAKE

you-had-one-job-53188

Father Cavanaugh: [in church] Taking your appeal to a higher authority?

Rudy: I’m desperate. If I don’t get in next semester, it’s over. Notre Dame doesn’t accept senior transfers.

Father Cavanaugh: Well, you’ve done a heck of a job kid, chasing down your dream.

Rudy: Who cares what kind of job I did if it doesn’t produce results? It doesn’t mean anything.

Father Cavanaugh: I think you’ll find that it will.

Rudy: Maybe I haven’t prayed enough.

Father Cavanaugh: I don’t think that’s the problem. Praying is something we do in our time, the answers come in God’s time.

Rudy: If I’ve done everything I possibly can, can you help me?

Father Cavanaugh: Son, in thirty-five years of religious study, I’ve come up with only two hard, incontrovertible facts; there is a God, and, I’m not Him.

 

Moses – Hitting a rock

David – Killing a man to sleep with his wife

The Israelites – Jeremiah 6:15

“Were they ashamed because of the abomination they have done? They were not even ashamed at all; They did not even know how to blush.

Zechariah 12New Living Translation (NLT)

10 “Then I will pour out a spirit of grace and prayer on the family of David and on the people of Jerusalem. They will look on me whom they have pierced and mourn for him as for an only son. They will grieve bitterly for him as for a firstborn son who has died.

Zechariah 13New Living Translation (NLT)

I will bring that group through the fire

and make them pure.

I will refine them like silver

and purify them like gold.

They will call on my name,

and I will answer them.

I will say, ‘These are my people,’

and they will say, ‘The Lord is our God.’”

 

 

Jonah 3 (MSG)

 

Maybe God Will Change His Mind

3 1-2 Next, God spoke to Jonah a second time: “Up on your feet and on your way to the big city of Nineveh! Preach to them. They’re in a bad way and I can’t ignore it any longer.”

3 This time Jonah started off straight for Nineveh, obeying God’s orders to the letter.

 

Nineveh was a big city, very big—it took three days to walk across it.

 

4 Jonah entered the city, went one day’s walk and preached, “In forty days Nineveh will be smashed.”

 

5 The people of Nineveh listened, and trusted God. They proclaimed a citywide fast and dressed in burlap to show their repentance. Everyone did it—rich and poor, famous and obscure, leaders and followers.

 

6-9 When the message reached the king of Nineveh, he got up off his throne, threw down his royal robes, dressed in burlap, and sat down in the dirt. Then he issued a public proclamation throughout Nineveh, authorized by him and his leaders: “Not one drop of water, not one bite of food for man, woman, or animal, including your herds and flocks! Dress them all, both people and animals, in burlap, and send up a cry for help to God. Everyone must turn around, turn back from an evil life and the violent ways that stain their hands. Who knows? Maybe God will turn around and change his mind about us, quit being angry with us and let us live!”

 

10 God saw what they had done, that they had turned away from their evil lives. He did change his mind about them. What he said he would do to them he didn’t do.

 

 

Peter

Matthew 26:35  New International Version

But Peter declared, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” And all the other disciples said the same.

 

 

Luke 22:54-62 (ESV)

Then they seized him and led him away, bringing him into the high priest’s house, and Peter was following at a distance. 55 And when they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and sat down together, Peter sat down among them. 56 Then a servant girl, seeing him as he sat in the light and looking closely at him, said, “This man also was with him.” 57 But he denied it, saying, “Woman, I do not know him.” 58 And a little later someone else saw him and said, “You also are one of them.” But Peter said, “Man, I am not.” 59 And after an interval of about an hour still another insisted, saying, “Certainly this man also was with him, for he too is a Galilean.” 60 But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are talking about.” And immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed. 61 And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the saying of the Lord, how he had said to him, “Before the rooster crows today, you will deny me three times.” 62 And he went out and wept bitterly.

 

Paul – Killing Christians:  1 Timothy 1:15-16

This is a trustworthy saying, worthy of full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the worst. 16But for this very reason I was shown mercy, so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display His perfect patience, as an example to those who would believe in Him for eternal life.…

 

 

John 15:18

If the world hates you, understand that it hated Me first.

 

John 15:19

If you were of the world, it would love you as its own. Instead, the world hates you, because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world.

 

John 15:21

But they will treat you like this on account of My name, because they do not know the One who sent Me.

 

Not A Fan

 

Embrace the discomfort. Doing so may just set you up for something amazing. “A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor.”Franklin D. Roosevelt

 

 

The Path of Least Resistance

 

Mark 8:38

For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in His Father’s glory with the holy angels.”

 

 

1 Peter 5 (NLT)

“God opposes the proud

but gives grace to the humble.”

6 So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. 7 Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.

 

10 In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation. 11 All power to him forever! Amen.

READ OUT LOUD

Matthew 6:10

…your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

 

Mark 14:36

And He was saying, “Abba! Father! All things are possible for You; remove this cup from Me; yet not what I will, but what You will.”

 

John 5:30

“I can do nothing on My own initiative As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.

 

John 6:38

“For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.

 

John 4:34

Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work.

 

John 1:13

who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

 

Romans 9:16

So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

PB&J

Yesterday, I did a little Christmas shopping.  It was a nightmare!  The traffic was horrific, you could hardly find a place to park, no shopping carts to be found, people scurrying about-climbing over each other like ants clustered on a piece of food;  and the line…the check out line was ridiculous!  They had only three cashiers working, and the line extended from the front of the store, almost to the back!  That’s when I asked myself…”WHY did I come Christmas shopping????”

My last stop was the Dollar Tree.  I had to pick up wrapping paper, ribbon, and paper goods.  My son got out of school early, so he tagged along.  He loves the dollar store…all the cheap toys he can con me into buying…after all…”They’re only a dollar, mom!”

As we milled about the store, I spotted the bubble wrap!!  That is MY go-to thing for stress! LOL!  I find it very relaxing to sit and pop all those little bubbles!  I know!  It sounds a little “goofy”, but I’m sure there are some other folks out there that like doing it too….  I bought a roll!

This time of year is my favorite.  I LOVE Christmas!  But it can get stressful with all the hectic shopping, spending way too much, buying for someone ONLY because they buy for you, trying to out-do the other guy in your gift giving, etc.

This is the time of year for PB&J!  You may be asking…”What does Peanut Butter and Jelly have to do with Christmas???

I’m not talking about Peanut Butter and Jelly….  I’m talking about PRAYER…BUBBLE WRAP…AND JESUS!  That’s all you need folks!  Believe me…it works! 🙂  Try it…especially Prayer, and Jesus.  Honor HIM in this Holiday Season!  Leave the commercial side of Christmas for the world, and remember what Christmas is really about.  Jesus became flesh, and dwelt among us to experience what we go through so He could understand us better; then He died to save us from our sins!  That is the ONLY reason He came that Christmas night so long ago!

When stress comes knocking….

  1.  FALL TO YOUR KNEES IN PRAYER
  2.  FIND A QUIET PLACE WITH YOUR BUBBLE WRAP
  3.  THANK JESUS FOR HIS OBEDIENCE TO THE FATHER…FOR BECOMING HUMAN AND ESPECIALLY FOR DYING FOR YOUR SINS!!

PB&J…IT’S ALL YOU NEED!

Anita

REFRIGERATOR NOTES…

For all of you that know me well, and have visited my home…you know about my “refrigerator notes”.

My refrigerator is full of words, quotes, phrases, poems, verses, and the like, that have made an impact on my thinking.  I keep them in plain sight, to remind me…lest I forget.  Remember the movie, “War Room”?  She had sticky notes pasted all over the walls of her prayer closet.  My refrigerator is kind of like her “war room”.

This morning, as I went to prepare myself some breakfast, my eyes fell upon the following reminder.  I share it now with you….

Matthew 5:13-16 (MSG)

13  “Let me tell you why you are here.  You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth.  If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste Godliness?  You’ve lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage.

14-16  “Here’s another way to put it:  You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world.  God is not a secret to be kept.  We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill.  If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you?  I’m putting you on a light stand.  Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—SHINE!  ….

These verses really hit home with me.  If we profess to be Christians, we need to conduct our lives in a Christ-like manner!  If you have openly declared your Christianity…then those around you are looking to see if you just “talk the talk”…or if you really do “walk the walk.”

I think of someone else who was publicly placed atop a hill in the city of Jerusalem, over 2,000 years ago.  HE WAS, and still is, THE LIGHT BEARER!   We, as Christians must follow His example.  He was humble and kind, and lived a life of sacrifice to others.  His ultimate sacrifice…His death on the Cross.  He died to set men free of sin!  His light has never ceased to shine; but we are now the light bearers until He returns to take us home!

 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.  -Matthew 5:16

LET YOUR LIGHT SHINE TODAY!  SHOW THE WAY TO JESUS!!

Anita

All That Really Matters…

“And he (Jesus) said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while: for there were many coming and going, and they, (the disciples) had no leisure so much as to eat.”  Mark 6:31

Here I sit…in all the beauty God intended for us; snow-covered mountains, huge boulders, the size of large buildings, clouds coming down so low…it looks as though they are kissing the mountain tops.  The clear blue water, mirroring the glorious sky above.  Birds on wing, sail through the air, seeing what I see…but through different eyes.  The quietness is immense!  When I stop to ponder the boundless love of God, I am overwhelmed!

Why He loves me so, I can’t even begin to understand!  I’ve done nothing to deserve such lavish treatment.  Most of the time, His gifts to me go un-noticed.  He brings a beautiful sunrise each morning, and a breath-taking sunset each evening…but most days, I’m too ‘busy’ to see them.  He makes the flowers blossom in Spring, and the dead trees become lush and green as He breathes life into His creation once again.  He desires to do the same for me everyday, but I’m too preoccupied, trying to ‘breathe life’ into my own situation.

Yes…I’m alive…functioning…breathing; but am I really LIVING?  I’ve been so busy, I haven’t stopped to question this until today.

It’s good to get away from all the distractions this life holds!  Good to sit in the quietness of His beauty, and hear Him whisper through the rippling water, or the bugling of an Elk herd…to see His finger paint the sky in colorful hues.

I need to do this more often…to remind myself of His great, undying love for me.  After all…when it’s all said and done, THAT is ALL that REALLY matters!

By:  Anita Mondragon April 2015