Psalm 43:5

Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.

Cross found on all donkeys' backs?

Some donkeys (often called Christian donkeys) have a narrow strip of dark hair that runs down their backs and each of their shoulders. These markings are in the shape of a cross. Like the color traits of other animals (such as zebras), we don’t know exactly why these donkeys have this cross. But, it does show the wonderful variety among God’s creatures.

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

Please remember the following needs and requests in prayer:

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

"Hold Us Together" - Matt Maher

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.

Why was God harsher in O.T.? - by John Piper

Thy Redeemer

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."

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FREE Book: “Desiring God” by John Piper

Prison Ministry:

On Monday evenings, I have the unique priveledge of visiting the Greenville Detention Center. Scripture, bible lessons, tracts, bibles, Daily Breads, bible studies, testimonies, and prayers are shared. Please keep these men in your continued prayers as we continue studying Paul's letter to the Romans: Jonathan, Lenita, David Anderson, Luke Elmore, Eric Hall, Leslie Mashburn, Keith Rollins, Billy, Jared Rhines, Quinton Brown, Jeremiah Hendrix, Chris Osbourne, Jermain Cheech, Quincy Massey, and Leo Clarence.

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.

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Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Gettysburg Address:

Honoring Union Soldiers & Dishonoring Confederate Soldiers

By Charlie Ray

Most school children are taught the politically correct version of the Civil War as being fought over slavery and that the South fought to preserve slavery. Along with this politically correct version we are told that the Gettysburg Address honors the fallen soldiers of the battle of Gettysburg. What they do not tell you is that the address was meant only to honor the fallen Union soldiers since the war raged on for two more years. Fallen Union and Confederate soldiers, due to the biological hazards involved, were buried immediately.

However, the Union soldiers were buried in individual graves and later re-interred in the national cemetery at Gettysburg. The dead Confederates were buried in a mass grave and were never given an honorable burial:

“The dead of Gettysburg were piled upon the battlefield, quickly decomposing in the hot summer air. Sanitary concerns required an immediate response, so the Union dead were initially disposed of in field graves: hastily dug, shallow graves close to where the soldiers fell in battle. (The Confederate dead were simply piled into mass, unmarked graves as was deemed appropriate for an enemy.) But sentiment and politics demanded that the dead be commemorated in a more long-lasting and honorable way. Land was purchased near the battle site and designated as a national cemetery, and thirty-five hundred Union soldiers were reinterred in graves organized in radiating semicircles according to the eighteen states whose soldiers participated in the battle.

Four months after the terrible battle, the Soldiers' Cemetery at Gettysburg (now the Gettysburg National Cemetery) was dedicated with a public ceremony. Fifteen thousand people gathered to participate, including many family members who had lost loved ones in the battle.”

I find it amazing that some ministers of the Gospel still believe that our modern United States is somehow "blessed of God" and a "Christian nation." The Billy Sunday civil religion view of the USA is alive and well apparently. However, given the fact that only 20% of the population attends church at all and this number is falling daily, one has to wonder if the United States is a Christian nation in any sense of the word? Materialistic atheism is the secular party line for the public school system and there is no longer any prayer allowed in public schools or at sporting events sponsored by public schools. Abortion, legally endorsed by our "Christian" nation, is the officially sanctioned murder of unborn children sacrificed to the god of convenience and the mother's right to kill her own child.

While there are certainly Christian influences in our founding documents, the idea that this in and of itself makes America "blessed of God" is just wrong. Of course, providence has it that the USA is still here. But that could change at any time. Just as Israel disappeared in the dispersion for a time and just as the Roman Empire no longer exists, so the United States could at any time be cut off from the face of the earth by God Almighty. It is overly optimistic to think that it cannot happen to us.

To confuse patriotism with Christianity can lead to atrocities like the holocaust in Nazi Germany. The United States has committed acts that by modern standards would be considered unjust war, including the dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in World War II. Giving blanket approval to the United States government as somehow divinely approved and endorsed by the Almighty is downright dangerous.

The truth is the visible church is the New Israel. To confuse the United States of America with the New Testament church is inexcusable (Galatians 6:16; Deuteronomy 29:18-29). The political philosophy of Manifest Destiny has been used to justify the taking of Native American lands and to justify the policy of genocide of Native American tribes which refused to reside on reservations, among other things. Divine favor is invoked to justify all kinds of injustices, including slavery. The truth is the Civil War was fought over states rights versus a strong central and federal government, not over slavery. As wrong as slavery was, the North cared little for the rights of slaves but rather cared more for maintaining their domination of the states in the South.

The situation continues today in the ongoing culture war between the theologically and politically liberal northern states and the theologically and politically conservative southern states known traditionally as the "Bible" belt. The mistake made by the Moral Majority is to argue that this is a Christian nation. It is not and never has been a "Christian" nation anymore than the Roman Empire or Nazi Germany were "Christian" nations. We do have many Christian influences in our foundational documents like the Constitution and the Bill of Rights but those are so generic as to be nothing more than deism at best.

Modern Evangelical Christians should recognize that we are to be good citizens (Romans 13:1-6) of the nation in which we reside. We should pay our taxes and obey the government (Luke 20:22). But we should not commit the sin of idolatry by placing America on a pedestal as if it were somehow the New Israel. America is becoming more pagan by the minute. Our true citizenship is in heaven (Philippians 3:20). Nations pass away but our God lives forever (Isaiah 40:15). To confuse political allegiances with our faith in God and our loyalty to Jesus Christ is nothing short of idolatry whether it is someone loyal to the Union or someone who is proud to be from the South.

I'm proud to be born a southerner and I'm proud of my southern heritage. But ultimately my loyalty is not to the Confederacy or to the Union or to modern America. My loyalty is to Christ and to preaching the Gospel of salvation by grace alone (Acts 22:25-29; Philippians 3:20; Romans 1:16-17).

“So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone”, (Ephesians 2:19-20 ESV).