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."

Send us your prayer requests:

Send us your prayer requests:
(by clicking on the link above)

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:

Saturday, July 24, 2010

SIN Handout: (Part 4 of 5)

Emulating God’s Character?

Pelagianism Resurrected Evangelical Style: Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. 3 And one called to another and said: "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!" 4 And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. 5 And I said: "Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!" (Isaiah 6:2-5 ESV)

But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. 19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. (Matthew 15:18-19 ESV)

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? (Jeremiah 17:9 ESV)

It never fails that Pharisees emphasize their own personal holiness, goodness and righteousness rather than their own unworthiness in comparison to Christ and to God's absolute holiness. The old cliché, what would Jesus do is based on the false assumption that sinful human beings can rival, equal or even excel above God's own holiness. Pharisees love to emphasize the law of God and you will rarely hear them mention the doctrine of salvation by grace alone. Why is this? It is because they have an overly high opinion of themselves as inherently holy rather than inherently sinful and corrupt. Even regenerated, justified and converted Christians retain the sinful nature and an inward corruption.

An Evangelical minister I know regularly emphasizes our faithfulness, our righteousness, and our emulation of God's character. But he does so self-righteously since the Bible continually says that there is none righteous (Romans 3:10-12; 3:20-23). In fact, the word emulation means:

–verb (used with object)

1. to try to equal or excel; imitate with effort to equal or surpass: to emulate one's father as a concert violinist.

2. to rival with some degree of success: Some smaller cities now emulate the major capitals in their cultural offerings.
Our efforts to emulate the character of God fall so short that the comparison is similar to a mentally challenged child trying to play Mozart on piano or violin. The results come so far short as to not even resemble the original composition. Human beings are totally corrupt to the point that the divine image is hardly recognizable anymore. Even Christians retain this corruption (Romans 7:22-25). This is the apostle Paul's personal "testimony" that he struggled with sin. If you are struggling with sin, do not feel like the lone ranger. Everyone is a sinner, even the best Christian you know. All Christians sin in thought, word and deed on a daily basis--even those so deluded as to think they are no longer sinful.

The reason "Evangelical" Pharisees emphasize good works over and above justification by faith alone is that they do not really believe they are guilty of original sin or any actual sins. They falsely assume a state of sinless perfection in this life. And the definition of sin is always something along the Wesleyan holiness line that sin is only the violation of a known moral law. This is especially strange since the 1662 Book of Common Prayer recommends daily Morning and Evening Prayer where we confess our sins twice a day. And how does the 1662 Prayer Book define sin? It defines sin as Scripture does; that is, sin is anything that fails to do what God commands, anything that violates God's moral law in thought, word or deed. The distinction between temptation and sinful thoughts is a false one for sinful human beings. Only the first Adam and Jesus Christ were capable of being tempted without sinning. You see, even if we do not give in to temptation to sin in actual deeds, simply by contemplating what is sinful sinners have sinned in their thoughts. Cursing, swearing, hating, lusting, coveting, worshipping the creature rather than the creator are all sinful thoughts as well as sinful deeds. Jesus said that it is the heart that is wicked and out of the heart proceed all sinful actions.

Repent of your self-righteousness today and trust in the righteousness of Christ alone to save you. Why? Because you sin by thinking that your righteousness can equal that of God in your own sinful heart. Those trusting in their own inherent righteousness to make themselves right with God are inwardly full of dead men's bones. It is the righteousness that is outside of us that justifies us--the righteousness of Christ.

Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith-- (Philippians 3:8-9 ESV)

And as for all who walk by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God. (Galatians 6:16 ESV)

Those who count their own works as anything other than trash or rubbish have built their salvation on the false foundation of good works. (1 Corinthians 3:11). Unless we build on the foundation of Christ's active obedience and Christ's passive obedience we simply condemn ourselves. (Romans 10:3; Titus 3:5; Philippians 3:9).

False prophets love to say, "Oh, I agree with you, brother," when confronted with their overly optimistic view of their own personal holiness. But on closer examination they lead people to hell by teaching them that they are able to do what they are unable to do: be absolutely sinless and holy. We fall short of the mark no matter how holy we "think" we are. That is why even the holiest and best Christians in and of themselves deserve hell. It is only the sinless life of Christ that can make us holy and that holiness is not our inherent, subjective holiness. Rather it is the objective holiness of Christ credited to our account. This is why even the thief on the cross could be saved at the last instant (Luke 23:39-43). If personal holiness were the basis of salvation, then logically criminals and the wicked have no chance to be saved since they can never do enough penance to make themselves right with God. But the clincher is that would also mean that no Christian at all could be saved since all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. In other words, we are all law breakers, criminals, and sinners in God's eyes and all of us deserve hell as much as any murderer or adulterer. Only by God's mercy and grace can anyone be made right with God, not by our own righteousness, emulation of Christ or God, or any other righteousness of our own heart.

Are you like the tax collector who went into the temple to pray? Or are you like the Pharisee? (Luke 18:10-14). Choose today whether you will work your way to heaven or if you will trust only in God's mercy to save you, an unworthy, miserable sinner who can never repay the debt you owe to God. (Matthew 18:24-34). Pharisees exalt themselves above others who owe less than they themselves owe. Beware of being overly righteous lest you yourself be lost:

Be not overly righteous, and do not make yourself too wise. Why should you destroy yourself? 17 Be not overly wicked, neither be a fool. Why should you die before your time? (Ecclesiastes 7:16-17 ESV)

Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. (1 Corinthians 10:12 ESV)