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.

Over 200 Free Resources for Church Leaders:

Thursday, June 24, 2010

SIN Handout: Part 1 of 5

When we say we have not sinned . . . (1 John 1:5-10)  To take this in the most literal sense (although translated) , we’ll find conflicting truths expressed here.

And what of 1 John 5:8, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” (Redeemed sinners are still that, redeemed sinners.)

• 2 Corinthians 5:21 – God's righteousness becomes ours in Christ (not b/c of works).

• Romans 5:12 … all men sinned.

• 1 Peter 4:8 … love covers sin (grace covers sin).

• Philippians 3:8-9 – "I count everything as rubbish that I may . . . be found in [Christ], not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith."

• 1 Corinthians 1:30 – "It is from God that you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness. . . ."

• Romans 8:1 – "Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." (See also Romans 5:19.)

• John 17:6-26 – (many are called (not effectually) but FEW are CHOSEN … for sanctification) Jesus prays for those who the Father gives Him only (not for the world). [Note: John 3:16’s “world” is those who are saved of it (not all) – 7 different Greek words are used for the English word, “world”] KJV is riddled with errors. NASB would serve as a much precise interpretation.

*The Hebrew word for sin is 'chata.' It means 'to miss the mark or go astray.' Spiritually it means that we do not come up to God's standards of holiness and righteousness. We all struggle with sin daily and those who deny this are simply fooling themselves. Here are some scripture references that reveal this very clearly:

a) Isaiah 53:6 … All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

b) Romans 14:23 … And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.

Therefore sin is not only following the temptation to disobey God, to act wickedly, or to break God's law; it is also within the temptation that we have sin.

*Temptation can be broken down into three categories:

1 John 2:16 explains how temptation is activated in our lives. "For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world."

a) The lust of the flesh. This refers to the cravings of sinful man. It describes those sinful things that make us feel good. Eve saw that the fruit was good for food.

b) The lust of the eyes. So many things seem to be beautiful to us and we must have them right away. It describes our sinful desire for material possessions. The fruit was pleasant to Eve's eyes.

c) The pride of life. Almost everyone is full of his or her own self-importance. It describes the notion that we are better than the next person. Eve saw the fruit could make her wise and a god.

*CONVICTION—Spirit wrought conviction ought to lead to humble confession. If it does not, the conviction continues. The Holy Spirit makes His grieved presence felt (Eph. 4:30). The true believer can never be comfortable in his sin, even as righteous Lot’s soul was vexed in Sodom (2 Pet. 2:7-8). We can thank God that He makes us miserable when we are not right with Him. When we are disobedient we are unsettled, unpeaceful, unhappy. Thank God it is so!

*CHASTENING—If the sinning believer does not respond in the right way to God’s conviction in the heart, then the Father will chasten His child whom He loves (1 Cor. 11:31-32). Maximum chastisement can even result in the physical death of the believer (1 Cor. 11:30). As a good human father will not permit his child to continue doing wrong, so the Heavenly Father will not permit His child to continue in wickedness.

Also in Hebrews 12:5-11, God punishes every son He loves. No matter how sinful you are, He always love you and will allow you to go through as much suffering as is necessary for you to finally believe Him.
A person who is living sinfully, who knows he is living sinfully, who enjoys living in such a manner, who intends to continue that sinful way of living—that person does not have the Holy Spirit living within him. The very fact that he is ‘comfortable’ about his sin is proof of the Spirit’s absence. His spiritual vital sign registers ‘no life.’

Now what Paul is exulting over, here in Romans 4, is that this justification is not based on works, but on faith alone. He is so thrilled with this part of the gospel that he takes all of chapter 4 to drive it into our hearts by using Abraham and David from the Old Testament to make his point: all our sins are imputed to Christ, and all God's righteousness is imputed to us by faith alone apart from works! Romans 4:2 says, “For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God.” Where does man have a right to glory before God after justification to think that he is now treated on some higher level in which God views him as if he had never sinned? In reality, he knows, much deeper, that he is a sinner, and his whole life is a continual reflection of that fact to a deeper degree.

As Romans 7:15 states, “For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.” Sinners are still sinners. Even in heaven, we will be redeemed sinners. Though the remnants of sin will be vanquished, we will still remember our sinfulness and what Jesus did, “And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation.” (Revelation 5:9) The very song we will sing is a reflection of our remembrance that we are redeemed sinners, though we will never sin again. Thus, to say that we are able to glory in our newfound “goodness” is simply an extension of Arminianism, and at its essence, it has God exalting man instead of the Savior.

The New Testament consistently portrays eternal life as a "free gift" (Rom. 6:23) and emphasizes that God is not obliged to grant eternal life, but that he chooses to grant eternal life (1 Cor. 1:21; Eph. 1:5; Col. 1:20,21). Salvation is not a commodity to be purchased by merit: "Now to one who works, wages are not reckoned as a gift but as something due" (Rom. 4:4).

God freely grants holiness and salvation to those who ask for forgiveness and desire to obey him. Ofcourse, we will not obey him perfectly; hence the promise of ongoing forgiveness (1 John 1:9).


***Arguments against the literalist-perfectionist who takes non-idiomatic English as a just cause to distort the Word of God (whether by intent or by ignorance). [Let’s use just 2 sets of scripture as our examples.]

(#1) Gatatians 5:

~ Charles Spurgeon Commentary:

v. 21 - What can be conceived more dreadful than that men should walk after the flesh, and shut themselves out from the kingdom of God? Who will dare to treat lightly the “abominable things which God hates?” (Jeremiah 44:4.)

But in this way, we shall be told, all are cut off from the hope of salvation; for who is there that is not chargeable with some of those sins? I reply, Paul does not threaten that all who have sinned, but that all who remain impenitent, shall be excluded from the kingdom of God. The saints themselves often fall into grievous sins, but they return to the path of righteousness, “that which they do they allow not,” (Romans 7:15,) and therefore they are not included in this catalogue. All threatenings of the judgments of God call us to repentance. They are accompanied by a promise that those who repent will obtain forgiveness; but if we continue obstinate, they remain as a testimony from heaven against us.

v. 23 – “Against such there is no law.” Some understand these words as meaning simply that the law is not directed against good works, “from evil manners have sprung good laws.” But Paul’s real meaning is deeper and less obvious; namely, that, where the Spirit reigns, the law has no longer any dominion. By moulding our hearts to his own righteousness, the Lord delivers us from the severity of the law, so that our intercourse with himself is not regulated by its covenant, nor our consciences bound by its sentence of condemnation. Yet the law continues to teach and exhort, and thus performs its own office; but our subjection to it is withdrawn by the Spirit of adoption.


~ Martin Luther King’s Commentary:

v. 18 - Verse 18. But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.
Here someone may object: "How come we are not under the law? You yourself say, Paul, that we have the flesh which wars against the Spirit, and brings us into subjection."

But Paul says not to let it trouble us. As long as we are led by the Spirit, and are willing to obey the Spirit who resists the flesh, we are not under the Law. True believers are not under the Law. The Law cannot condemn them although they feel sin and confess it.

Great then is the power of the Spirit. Led by the Spirit, the Law cannot condemn the believer though he commits real sin. For Christ in whom we believe is our righteousness. He is without sin, and the Law cannot accuse Him. As long as we cling to Him we are led by the Spirit and are free from the Law.


(#2) 1 John 3:4-10

~ John Piper Commentary:

Then you can show someone who is stumbling over the perfectionistic verses that there is another side to the issue.

1 John 1:8-10 - "If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us." This is written to Christians. The "we" of verse 9 is believers. We must confess our sins, because we do sin.

1 John 2:1 - "My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous." Here is the heartening realism: "If anyone does sin, we have an advocate." The aim is that we not sin, but the reality is that we do sin.
1 John 3:2 - "Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is." We are already God's children because of immense and incomprehensible love, but we are not yet like him the way we will be when he comes. There is yet a purifying work to do.

1 John 5:16-17 - "If anyone sees his brother committing a [omit "a" - the Greek text does not require it] sin not leading to death, he shall ask and God will for him give life to those who commit sin not leading to death. There is a [omit "a"] sin leading to death; I do not say that he should make request for this. All unrighteousness is sin, and there is a [omit "a"] sin not leading to death." This last verse seems to be targeted pointedly at perfectionists who say: all sinning is equally damning and the only person who can escape judgment is the one who commits no sin. John emphatically says in verse 17b, "There is a [omit "a"] sin not leading to death."

** (Part 2 of 5 will be posted soon.)