Cross found on all donkeys' backs?
There is legend that the crosses on these donkeys appeared after Jesus rode one into Jerusalem (read Matthew 21:1-11). There is no evidence that this is true. The dark stripe in the form of a cross was a trait in these donkeys long before Jesus lived. However, the fact that Jesus rode a donkey into Jerusalem is very important. It fulfilled a prophecy that was spoken 500 years before Jesus lived, and showed He was the Messiah (read Matthew 21:5 and Zechariah 9:9).
Dear Prayer Partners
1} President Obama and his advisors
2} the men & women serving in our armed forces and their families
3} Bobby- a missionary in Haiti who was flown back to the states with a broken back
4} Holly- recently gave birth to a son
5} Hailey- has Hodgkin’s lymphoma and is unable to work due to it
6} Margo- recovering from a stroke
7} Dan- has Leukemia & an inoperable brain tumor, the tumors in his stomach and lung have been removed successfully
8} Christine- recently gave birth by an emergency C-section and her new son is in critical condition
9} Living Waters A/G looking for a youth pastor with a vision to reach the youth
10} Dennis- having problems breathing
11} The Holm Family- death of a loved one from cancer
12} The DeRien Family- death of a loved one
13} The Fraley family- death of a loved one
14} Eugene- is battling cancer
15} Schimmica- husband is having an affair
16} Kevin- has some serious dental problems and is recovering from emergency oral surgery
17} Faith- is hospitalized after a heart attack and partial amputation of right foot, has a serious infection in heart, lungs and kidneys and is back on dialysis
18} Chantella- is expecting her 1st baby in the spring
19} Julianne- having difficulty with her pregnancy
20} Marc- family problems
21} Tom- problems with weight control
22} Achan- has HIV, an infection in her lungs and gall bladder is shutting down
23} Rick- has bulging disc in his back
24} Noah- a toddler having complications from heart surgery, has a very high fever
25} Frank- fighting depression
26} Gloria- hospitalized after passing out at work
27} Chaplain Sam- recovering from eye surgery
28} Chaplain Jay- preparing for a missionary trip to Uganda next year
29} For all the unspoken and personal requests that people have
30} For us at Highway Mission Outreach that we will continue have the doors opened to share the gospel and the needed finances to carry out the ministry of the mission and as we plant The Cross-Roads Chapel
31} For Michael Frankland, Gill Ainsworth, Mark Ainsworth, Tracy Ainsworth, Tony Wood, Eileen Walsh, and Elaine - break down strongholds in their lives
Opening Our Hearts to God
Psa. 19:14 - May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable before You, O Jehovah, my rock and my Redeemer.
Acts 13:22-23 - And when He had deposed him, He raised up David for them as king, to whom also He testified and said, I have found David, the son of Jesse, a man according to My heart, who will do all My will. (23) From this man's seed, God, according to promise, brought to Israel a Savior, Jesus.
~~~~~ Words of Ministry ~~~~~
Both of the above passages are related to David. Psalm 19:14
is a prayer of David, while Acts 13:22-23 is a description of
David. In David's prayer, there are the “words of my mouth”
and the “meditation of my heart,” or the thoughts of the
heart. He prayed that he would not only be kept in his words
outwardly, but also be acceptable to God in his thoughts
inwardly. The words of the mouth are an expression of the
thoughts of the heart. The heart is the root problem.
Whether or not one outwardly says the right words is not the basic problem. Whether or not one has an outward attitude in his speaking that is right is also not the basic problem. The
thoughts of the heart are the basic problem. The thoughts of
the heart constitute the root problem and cannot be overlooked. David did not merely pray, “God, may the words of my mouth be acceptable before You.” He added to the prayer, “May the meditation of my heart be acceptable before You.”
David's prayer was for the thoughts of his heart to be
acceptable before God. This is why Paul could later testify
that David was a man according to the Lord's heart. A person
who is according to God's heart allows God to touch his heart. If you will not allow God to touch your heart, it will be hard for you to be one who is according to His heart.
Many Christians ask, “Why is it wrong for me to do this? Why
is it wrong for me to say this? Why is it wrong for me to
express myself this way?” Brothers and sisters, whether or
not you are doing the right thing, saying the right thing, or
expressing yourself the right way is not the real problem.
Rather, is your heart right when you are doing such a thing,
saying such a word, or expressing yourself in such a way?
What is the condition of your heart? What is the condition of
the root? Even if you are right in every outward thing, it is
still possible for your heart to be wrong. God is touching the condition of your heart and asking about it. He allows many winds and waves to beat upon His children for this very reason.
He uses these things to touch your heart and to expose the condition of your heart.
By C.H. Spurgeon
"For thy Maker is thine husband; the LORD of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called" (Isaiah 54:5).
JESUS, the Redeemer, is altogether ours and ours for ever. All the offices of Christ are held on our behalf. He is king for us, priest for us, and prophet for us. Whenever we read a new title of the Redeemer, let us appropriate Him as ours under that name as much as under any other. The shepherd's staff, the father's rod, the captain's sword, the priest's mitre, the prince's sceptre, the prophet's mantle, all are ours.
Jesus hath no dignity which He will not employ for our exaltation, and no prerogative which He will not exercise for our defence. His fulness of Godhead is our unfailing, inexhaustible treasure-house. His manhood also, which he took upon him for us, is ours in all its perfection. To us our gracious Lord communicates the spotless virtue of a stainless character; to us he gives the meritorious efficacy of a devoted life; on us he bestows the reward procured by obedient submission and incessant service. He makes the unsullied garment of his life our covering beauty; the glittering virtues of his character our ornaments and jewels; and the superhuman meekness of his death our boast and glory. He bequeaths us his manger, from which to learn how God came down to man; and his Cross to teach us how man may go up to God. All His thoughts, emotions, actions, utterances, miracles, and intercessions, were for us.
He trod the road of sorrow on our behalf, and hath made over to us as his heavenly legacy the full results of all the labours of his life. He is now as much ours as heretofore; and he blushes not to acknowledge himself "our Lord Jesus Christ," though he is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords. Christ everywhere and every way is our Christ, for ever and ever most richly to enjoy. O my soul, by the power of the Holy Spirit, call him this morning, "thy Redeemer."
Thank you for your support and continued prayers for these new believers and this ministry!
In His vineyard,
We Shall Worship the Lord!
By John Piper
Do you delight more and more in the majesty and glory of God? Does your heart incline to worship God more consistently and intelligently and earnestly and intensely today than it did five years ago?
Is your love for your brothers and sisters in Christ abounding more and more so that you use your gifts more and more effectively to strengthen their faith and stir them up to love and good works?
And do you feel a greater burden for the lost? Are your prayers for unbelieving relatives and friends more consistent and earnest? Are your efforts to give a reason for the hope that is in you more bold, less ashamed? Are you becoming a world Christian with a zeal for the final mission thrust of the church to reach the hidden peoples?
If you can answer yes, we are making progress as a church. If not, we are failing in those areas. But at least we have goal and a definite Biblical theology behind it.
But it is not new. Listen to the way another pastor and teacher describes the meaning of membership in the church:
Membership, therefore, involves a personal obligation to promote the objects of the body as expressed in the covenant.
These objects are three:
1. The social, united worship of God...
2. The perpetuation and diffusion of the gospel...
3. The sanctification of its own members...
The church, thus comprehensive in its scope, looks upward to God, outward upon the needs of a lost world, and inward to the processes of sanctification in the souls of its own members; the neglect of any one of these grand objects of its organization imperils its whole design.
This is our philosophy of ministry. The quote is from Hezekiah Harvey, who was born in England in 1821 (The Church, 1879, reprint 1982, pp.35-36.). There is nothing modern or trendy about the priorities of our church. They have been around for two thousand years. They are tried and true, and it shouldn't bother us at all that they are not new.
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
There is an argument that Tiger's sexual immorality is private and none of our business. Fine. His very public apology, however, gives us an opportunity to think about the nature of repentance and faith. During his apology Tiger made reference to his wandering from his childhood faith, Buddhism. He apologized to all those people, including his fans, whom he offended and whom he disappointed. He pledged to do better, to return to the laws of Buddhism, including, one imagines, its requirement for various forms of self-denial. There is one, however, to whom Tiger did not apologize and there is a law to which he did not pledge obedience.That law is God's law: "Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything which is written in the book of the law (Gal 3:10; Deut 27:26). The law of God requires "perfect and personal obedience" (WCF 7.2). The one to whom Tiger did not apologize, of course, is the thrice-holy God. However much Tiger may fear losing his wife, his family, or his endorsements, he has much more to fear from God who is a "consuming fire" (Deut 4:24).
Scripture does not know anything about apologies to God. Scripture only knows about perfect righteousness as the way to acceptance with God. As has been said often enough, God does not grade on a curve. Indeed, he does not.
Consider the wholly horizontal orientation of Tiger's apology and the rather more, if you will, vertical orientation of David's confession of sin in Ps 32. Discovered for the adulterer (and murderer) he was, David did not hold a press conference. Convicted by God's Spirit of his sin against God (and Bathsheba and Uriah) he turned his face to God his judge. "Blessed is the man against whom Yahweh counts no iniquity" (Ps 32:2). The God-wardness of David's repentance is perhaps even more pointed in Ps 51: "Have mercy upon me, O God…blot out my transgressions (Ps 51:1). "Against you only have I sinned" (Ps 51:4). In these moments David understood that sin is lawlessness (1 John 3:4) and "the day you eat thereof you shall surely die" (Gen 2:17). "The wages of sin is death" (Rom 6:23).
True repentance, as distinct from mere apologies, begins with a recognition of reality, of who and what God is and of who and what we are. It begins with the knowledge of the greatness of our sin and misery. True repentance reckons with the law as the perfect expression of God's perfect and unyielding righteousness. True repentance drives one to Christ, the only righteous man, the only man who ever actually kept the law, and true faith trusts in that one righteous man and in his "one act" of righteousness (Rom 5:18; i.e., his whole, perfect obedience) for his elect.
True repentance, i.e., genuine sorrow for sin against God and heartfelt desire to turn away from it, is born of true faith. Unbelievers don't repent. Believers do. They know the greatness of their sin and misery. Tiger does not yet appear to know that yet. He seems to think that if he just focuses a little harder, is more disciplined, if he denies himself the pleasures of this world (his language), he can get everything back on track. Perhaps he can—as far as we can see. At the last day, however, it will not matter that Tiger recovered his public image, that he built more schools, that he regained the trust of his family and followers. At the last day it will only matter if he has satisfied the righteousness of God and I guarantee you that, as remarkable as Tiger is, he cannot do it. No sinner can.
The great good news for Tiger and for you is that Jesus has already done it and everyone who trusts in him and in his obedience for sinners is reckoned as if he himself had done all that Jesus did. God accepted Jesus' righteousness. Jesus was vindicated by his resurrection (1 Tim 3:16). As certainly as Jesus was raised from the dead, so certainly will God and accept Tiger and you and whoever turns to Christ in true faith, i.e., a certain knowledge and a hearty trust that Jesus obeyed and died "for me."
From that true faith, a believer begins daily to die to his own desires and to live to Christ. He continues to sin for the rest of his life but now we know what sin is and we know what grace is. We know that in God's free acceptance of sinners for Christ's sake there is power and new life and real hope for real change; not perfection in this life but free acceptance with God (grace) and mercy and the work of the Spirit in our hearts, minds, and wills. By his grace the same Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead unites us to Christ, through faith, and is at work in us making us slowly, imperceptibly like Jesus.
Tiger pledged to do better. That won't be good enough. Pray that Tiger and everyone else who heard his apology realizes the difference between "doing better" and doing "everything written in the book of the law" and that Christians understand the difference between an apology and true repentance.