Saturday, November 16, 2013

Barkley Dog Sweater (FINAL)


The final version of the Barkley Dog Sweater pattern is now finished. I have gone to great pains to edit and perfect it with the help of my awesome testers! Thank you to all!

Download it FREE:
Barkley Dog Sweater



The original sweaters were designed for Abbie & Lizzie, two Pug pups (below) by some friends, I made them to be slightly oversized at time of gifting because I know the girls are growing quickly. Their parents sent me this, their first picture wearing their new sweaters :D (below) and added "Abbie loved hers so much that she went after the sweater after we removed it."

Many people on Ravelry were eager to get this pattern, and since winter is already upon us, I am releasing it as is, and plan to edit only to add an XXS size for tiny dogs such as Chihuahuas.


Lizzie (L) and Abbie (R) wear their new, especially made sweaters by the author. 

Monday, October 14, 2013

Suffering and Consolation - Charles Spurgeon

As the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so the consolations of Christ abound. Here is a blessed proportion. God always keeps a pair of scales—in this side He puts His people's trials and in that He puts their consolations. When the scale of trial is nearly empty, you will always find the scale of consolation in nearly the same condition; and when the scale of trials is full, you will find the scale of consolation just as heavy; for as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, even so shall consolation abound by Christ. This is a matter of pure experience. Oh, it is mysterious that, when the black clouds gather most, the light within us is always the brightest! When the night lowers and the tempest is coming on, the heavenly captain is always closest to His crew. It is a blessed thing, when we are most cast down, then it is that we are most lifted up by the consolations of Christ.

Trials make more room for consolation. There is nothing that makes a man have a big heart like a great trial. I always find that little, miserable people, whose hearts are about the size of a grain of mustard-seed, never have had much to try them. I have found that those people who have no sympathy for their fellows—who never weep for the sorrows of others—very seldom have had any woes of their own. Great hearts can only be made by great troubles. The spade of trouble digs the reservoir of comfort deeper, and makes more room for consolation. God comes into our heart—He finds it full—He begins to break our comforts and to make it empty; then there is more room for grace. The humbler a man lies, the more comfort he will always have.

I recollect walking with a ploughman, one day, a man who was deeply taught, although he was a ploughman—and really ploughmen would make a great deal better preachers than many college gentlemen—and he said to me, "Depend upon it, if you or I ever get one inch above the ground, we shall get just that inch too high." I believe it is true; for the lower we lie, the nearer to the ground we are—the more our troubles humble us—the more fit we are to receive comfort; and God always gives us comfort when we are most fit for it. That is one reason why consolations increase in the same ratio as our trials.

Then trouble exercises our graces, and the very exercise of our graces tends to make us more comfortable and happy. Where showers fall most, there the grass is greenest. I suppose the fogs and mists of Ireland make it "the Emerald Isle"; and wherever you find great fogs of trouble, and mists of sorrow, you always find emerald green hearts: full of the beautiful verdure of the comfort and love of God. O Christian, do not thou be saying, "Where are the swallows gone? They are gone: they are dead." They are not dead; they have skimmed the purple sea, and gone to a far-off land; but they will be back again by-and-by. Child of God, say not the flowers are dead; say not the winter has killed them, and they are gone. Ah! no; though winter hath coated them with the ermine of its snow; they will put up their heads again, and will be alive very soon. Say not, child of God, that the sun is quenched, because the cloud hath hidden it. Ah! no; he is behind there, brewing summer for thee; for when he cometh out again, he will have made the clouds fit to drop in April showers, all of them mothers of the sweet May flowers. And oh! above all, when thy God hides His face, say not that He has forgotten thee. He is but tarrying a little while to make thee love Him better; and when He cometh, thou shalt have joy in the Lord, and shalt rejoice with joy unspeakable. Waiting exercises our grace; waiting tries our faith; therefore, wait on in hope: for though the promise tarry, it can never come too late.

Another reason why we are often most happy in our troubles is this—then we have the closest dealings with God. I speak from heart knowledge and real experience. We never have such close dealings with God, as when we are in tribulation. When the barn is full, man can live without God; when the purse is bursting with gold, we somehow can do without so much prayer. But once take your gourds away, you want your God; once cleanse away the idols out of the house, then you must go and honour Jehovah.
Some of you do not pray half as much as you ought. If you are the children of God, you will have the whip; and when you have that whip, you will run to your Father. It is a fine day, and the child walks before its father; but there is a lion in the road, now he comes and takes his father's hand. He could run half-a-mile before him when all was fine and fair; but once bring the lion, and it is "father! father!" as close as he can be. It is even so with the Christian. Let all be well, and he forgets God. Jeshurun waxes fat, and he begins to kick against God; but take away his hopes, blast his joys, let the infant lie in the coffin, let the crops be blasted, let the herd be cut off from the stall, let the husband's broad shoulder lie in the grave, let the children be fatherless—then it is that God is a God indeed. Oh, strip me naked; take from me all I have; make me poor, a beggar, penniless, helpless; dash that cistern in pieces; crush that hope; quench the stars; put out the sun; shroud the moon in darkness, and place me all alone in space, without a friend, without a helper; still, "Out of the depths will I cry unto thee, O God." There is no cry so good as that which comes from the bottom of the mountains; no prayer half so hearty as that which comes up from the depths of the soul, through deep trials and afflictions. Hence they bring us to God, and we are happier; for that is the way to be happy—to live near God. So that while troubles abound, they drive us to God, and then consolations abound.
Some people call troubles weights. Verily they are so. A ship that has large sails and a fair wind, needs ballast. Troubles are the ballast of a believer. The eyes are the pumps which fetch out the bilge-water of his soul, and keep him from sinking. But if trials be weights, I will tell you of a happy secret. There is such a thing as making a weight lift you. If I have a weight chained to me, it keeps me down; but give me pulleys and certain appliances, and I can make it lift me up. Yes, there is such a thing as making troubles raise me towards heaven. A gentleman once asked a friend, concerning a beautiful horse of his, feeding about in the pasture with a clog on its foot, "Why do you clog such a noble animal?" "Sir," said he, "I would a great deal sooner clog him than lose him: he is given to leap hedges." That is why God clogs His people. He would rather clog them than lose them; for if He did not clog them, they would leap the hedges and be gone. They want a tether to prevent their straying, and their God binds them with afflictions, to keep them near to Him, to preserve them, and have them in His presence. Blessed fact—as our troubles abound, our consolations also abound.




Taken from Words of Cheer for Daily Life

Saturday, October 12, 2013

How do I know the Bible is not just mythology?

Question: "How do I know the Bible is not just mythology?"

Answer: That the Bible originated in the mind of God makes it not only unique among all books, it is unique among all the treasures on earth. President Abraham Lincoln appropriately referred to the Bible as “the best gift God has given to man.” Indeed it is. It reveals God’s eternal plan of redeeming the fallen human race. Yet even though billions of copies of it have been distributed throughout the world, many continue to question its truth. Is the Bible is a book of mythology, or is it the true, inspired Word of God? This question is of the greatest importance to every person, whether they know it or not.

Many religious texts claim to convey a divine message. The Bible, however, stands alone in that God left absolutely no room for doubt as to whether or not this is His written Word. If anyone undertakes an honest effort to examine the facts, he will find the Bible most assuredly has God’s signature all through it. The very same mouth that spoke all of creation into existence also gave us the Bible.

Unlike mythology, the Bible has a historical framework. Its characters are real people living in verifiable locations during historical events. The Bible mentions Nebuchadnezzar, Sennacherib, Cyrus, Herod, Felix, Pilate, and many other historical figures. Its history coincides with that of many nations, including the Egyptian, Hittite, Persian, Babylonian, and Roman empires. The events of the Bible take place in geographical areas such as Canaan, Syria, Egypt, Mesopotamia, and others. All this certifiable detail refutes the idea that the Bible is mere mythology.

Unlike mythology, the Bible has many confirmations in sciences such as biology, geology, astronomy, and archaeology. The field of biblical archaeology has absolutely exploded in the last century and a half, during which time hundreds of thousands of artifacts have been discovered. Just one example: at one time, skeptics used the Bible’s references to the Hittite civilization as “proof” that the Bible was a myth. There was never any such people as the “Hittites,” according to the science of the day. However, in 1876, the first of a series of discoveries was made, and now the existence of the ancient Hittite civilization is well documented. Archaeology continues to bolster the Bible’s historicity. As Dr. Henry M. Morris has remarked, “There exists today not one unquestionable find of archaeology that proves the Bible to be in error at any point.”

Unlike mythology, the Bible is written as history. Luke wrote his Gospel as “an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us . . . just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses.” Luke claims that he had “carefully investigated everything from the beginning” and so wrote “an orderly account . . . so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught” (see Luke 1:1-4). Did Luke include miracles in his account? Yes, many of them. But they were miracles verified by eyewitnesses. Two thousand years later, a skeptic might call Luke’s account a “myth,” but the burden of proof rests with the skeptic. The account itself is a carefully investigated historical document.

Unlike mythology, the Bible contains an astounding number of fulfilled prophecies. Myths do not bother with prophecy, but fully one third of the Bible is prophecy. The Bible contains over 1,800 predictions concerning more than 700 separate subjects found in over 8,300 verses. The Old Testament contains more than 300 prophecies concerning Jesus Christ alone, many with amazing specificity. Numerous prophecies have already been fulfilled, and they have come to pass precisely as foretold. The mathematical odds of someone making this number of predictions and having every one of them come to pass are light-years beyond the realm of human possibility. These miraculous prophecies could only be accomplished with the supernatural guidance of Him who sees the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:9-10).

Unlike mythology, the Bible has transformed a countless number of lives. Yet many people allow the views of others—who have never seriously studied the Bible—to shape their own opinions. Each of us needs study it for ourselves. Put it to the test. Live by the Bible’s precepts and experience for yourself the dynamic and transforming power of this amazing Book. Apply its teachings on forgiveness and see how it can mend a broken relationship. Apply its principles of stewardship and watch your financial situation improve. Apply its teaching on faith and feel a calming presence in your heart even as you navigate through a difficult trial in your life. The Bible works. There is a reason Christians in various countries around the world risk their lives daily to expose others to the life-giving truth of this remarkable Book.

Ultimately, many who reject God and His revealed Word do so because of pride. They are so invested in their personal beliefs that they refuse to honestly weigh the evidence. To accept the Bible as true would require them to think seriously about God and their responsibility to Him. To accept the Bible as true might require a change of lifestyle. As Erwin Lutzer stated, “The truth is, few people have an open mind, especially about matters of religion. . . . Thus, perverted doctrines and prejudices are easily perpetuated from one generation to another.”

Millions die every year having bet their eternal souls that the Bible is not true, hoping against hope that it is nothing but a book of mythology, and that God does not exist. It is a risky gamble, and the stakes are very high. We urge everyone to read the Bible with an open mind; let it speak for itself, and may you find that God’s Word is truth (John 17:17).

Gotquestions.org question of the week

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Barkley Dog Sweater

FINAL PATTERN post here


You knew it had to happen! I finally wrote out a knitted dog sweater pattern. I made these for a couple friend who just got 2 pugs. Lizzie & Abbie will look so cute, and warm!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Pray

Men say it is not right we should trouble God with trifles. Nay, the living God knows not what trouble is, and in His scheme there are no trifles. There is no limit one way or other in the command, "In everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God." "Acknowledge Him in all your ways, and He will direct your steps." But above all, acknowledge Him with reference to the way of life eternal. Make sure that you are in the way to heaven. Use well the guide book with which you are furnished. Let God’s word be a light to your feet and a lamp to your path; and then your path shall itself "be like the shining light, shining brighter and brighter unto the perfect day." - Expositor's Bible (1 Sam 9:1-14)

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Another Gospel (A. W. Pink)

"Another Gospel"

A W PINK (1886-1952) 

Satan is not an initiator but an imitator. God has an only begotten Son-the Lord Jesus, so has Satan-”the son of Perdition” (2 Thess.2:3). There is a Holy Trinity, and there is likewise a Trinity of Evil (Rev. 20:10). Do we read of the “children of God,” so also we read of “the children of the wicked one” ( Matthew 13:38). Does God work in the former both to will and to do of His good pleasure, then we are told that Satan is “the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience” (Eph 2:2). Is there a “mystery of godliness” (1 Tim. 3:16), so also is there a “mystery of iniquity” (2 Thess 2:7). Are we told that God by His angels “seals” His servants in their foreheads (Rev 7:3), so also we learn that Satan by his agents sets a mark in the foreheads of his devotees (Rev. 13:16). Are we told that “the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God” (1 Cor. 2:10), then Satan also provides his “deep things” (Greek-Rev. 2:24). Did Christ perform miracles, so also can Satan (2 Thess. 2:9). Is Christ seated upon a throne, so is Satan (Greek-Rev. 2:13). Has Christ a Church, then Satan has his “synagogue” (Rev 2:9). Is Christ the Light of the world, then so is Satan himself “transformed into an angel of light” (2 Cor. 11:14). Did Christ appoint “apostles,” then Satan has his apostles, too (2 Cor. 11:13). And this leads us to consider: “The Gospel of Satan.”

Satan is the arch-counterfeiter. The Devil is now busy at work in the same field in which the Lord sowed the good seed. He is seeking to prevent the growth of the wheat by another plant, the tares, which closely resembles the wheat in appearance. In a word, by a process of imitation he is aiming to neutralize the Work of Christ. Therefore, as Christ has a Gospel, Satan has a gospel too; the latter being a clever counterfeit of the former. So closely does the gospel of Satan resemble that which it parodies, multitudes of the unsaved are deceived by it.

It is to this gospel of Satan the apostle refers when he says to the Galatians, “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from Him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: which is not another, but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the Gospel of Christ” (Gal. 1:6,7). This false gospel was being heralded even in the days of the apostle, and a most awful curse was called down upon those who preached it. The apostle continues, “But though we, or an angel from heaven preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.” By the help of God we shall now endeavor to expound, or rather, expose this false gospel.

The gospel of Satan is not a system of revolutionary principles, nor yet a program of anarchy. It does not promote strife and war, but aims at peace and unity. It seeks not to set the mother against her daughter nor the father against his son, but fosters the fraternal spirit whereby the human race is regarded as one great “brotherhood.” It does not seek to drag down the natural man, but to improve and uplift him. It advocates education and cultivation and appeals to “the best that is within – It aims to make this world such a comfortable and congenial habitat that Christ’s absence from it will not be felt and God will not be needed. It endeavors to occupy man so much with this world that he has no time or inclination to think of the world to come. It propagates the principles of self-sacrifice, charity and benevolence, and teaches us to live for the good of others, and to be kind to all. It appeals strongly to the carnal mind and is popular with the masses, because it ignores the solemn facts that by nature man is a fallen creature, alienated from the life of God, and dead in trespasses and sins, and that his only hope lies in being born again.

In contradistinction to the Gospel of Christ, the gospel of Satan teaches salvation by works. It inculcates justification before God on the ground of human merits. Its sacramental phrase is “Be good and do good”; but it fails to recognize that in the flesh there dwelleth no good thing. It announces salvation by character, which reverses the order of God’s Word—character by, as the fruit of, salvation. Its various ramifications and organizations are manifold. Temperance, Reform Movements, “Christian Socialist Leagues,” Ethical Culture Societies, “Peace Congresses” are all employed (perhaps unconsciously) in proclaiming this gospel of Satan—salvation by works. The pledge card is substituted for Christ; social purity for individual regeneration, and politics and philosophy, for doctrine and godliness. The cultivation of the old man is considered more practical than the creation of a new man in Christ Jesus; whilst universal peace is looked for apart from the interposition and return of the Prince of Peace.

The apostles of Satan are not saloon-keepers and white-slave traffickers, but are for the most part ordained ministers. Thousands of those who occupy our modern pulpits are no longer engaged in presenting the fundamentals of the Christian Faith, but have turned aside from the Truth and have given heed unto fables. Instead of magnifying the enormity of sin and setting forth its eternal consequences, they minimize it by declaring that sin is merely ignorance or the absence of good. Instead of warning their hearers to “flee from the wrath to come” they make God a liar by declaring that He is too loving and merciful to send any of His own creatures to eternal torment. Instead of declaring that “without shedding of blood is no remission,” they merely hold up Christ as the great Exemplar and exhort their hearers to “follow in His steps.” Of them it must be said, “For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God” (Rom. 10:3). Their message may sound very plausible and their aim appear very praiseworthy, yet we read of them—”for such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves (imitating) into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore, it is no great thing [not to be wondered at] if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness, whose end shall be according to their works” (2 Cor. 11:13-15).

In addition to the fact that today hundreds of churches are without a leader who faithfully declares the whole counsel of God and presents His way of salvation, we also have to face the additional fact that the majority of people in these churches are very unlikely to learn the Truth themselves. The family altar, where a portion of God’s Word was wont to be read daily is now, even in the homes of nominal Christians, largely a thing of the past. The Bible is not expounded in the pulpit and it is not read in the pew. The demands of this rushing age are so numerous, that multitudes have little time and still less inclination to make preparation for the meeting with God. Hence the majority who are too indolent to search for themselves, are left at the mercy of those whom they pay to search for them; many of whom betray their trust by studying and expounding economic and social problems rather than the Oracles of God.

In Proverbs 14:12 we read, “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man; but the end thereof are the ways of death.” This “way” which ends in” death” is the Devil’s Delusion—the gospel of Satan—a way of salvation by human attainment. It is a way which “seemeth right,” that is to say, it is presented in such a plausible way that it appeals to the natural man: it is set forth in such a subtle and attractive manner, that it commends itself to the intelligence of its hearers. By virtue of the fact that it appropriates to itself religious terminology, sometimes appeals to the Bible for its support (whenever this suits its purpose), holds up before men lofty ideals, and is proclaimed by those who have graduated from our theological institutions, countless multitudes are decoyed and deceived by it.

The success of an illegitimate coiner depends largely upon how closely the counterfeit resembles the genuine article. Heresy is not so much the total denial of the truth as a perversion of it. That is why half a lie is always more dangerous than a complete repudiation. Hence when the Father of Lies enters the pulpit it is not his custom to flatly deny the fundamental truths of Christianity, rather does he tacitly acknowledge them, and then proceed to give an erroneous interpretation and a false application. For example: he would not be so foolish as to boldly announce his disbelief in a personal God; he takes His existence for granted and then gives a false description of His character. He announces that God is the spiritual Father of all men, when the Scriptures plainly tell us that we are “the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:26), and that “as many as received him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God” (John 1:12). Further, he declares that God is far too merciful to ever send any member of the human race to Hell, when God Himself has said, “Whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the Lake of Fire” (Rev. 20:15). Again; Satan would not be so foolish as to ignore the central figure of human history—the Lord Jesus Christ; on the contrary, his gospel acknowledges Him to be the best man that ever lived. Attention is drawn to His deeds of compassion and works of mercy, the beauty of His character and the sublimity of His teaching. His life is eulogized, but His vicarious Death is ignored, the all-important atoning work of the cross is never mentioned, whilst His triumphant and bodily resurrection from the grave is regarded as one of the credulities of a superstitious age. It is a bloodless gospel, and presents a crossless Christ, who is received not as God manifest in the flesh, but merely as the Ideal Man.

In 2 Corinthians 4:3 we have a scripture which sheds much light upon our present theme. There we are told, “if our Gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world [Satan] hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ, who is the image of God should shine unto them.” He blinds the minds of unbelievers through hiding the light of the Gospel of Christ, and he does this by substituting his own gospel. Appropriately is he designated “The Devil and Satan which deceiveth the whole world” (Rev. 12:9). In merely appealing to “the best that is within man,” and in simply exhorting him to “lead a nobler life” there is afforded a general platform upon which those of every shade of opinion can unite and proclaim this common message.

Again we quote Proverbs 14:12—”There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” It has been said with considerable truth that the way to Hell is paved with good intentions. There will be many in the Lake of Fire who commended life with good intentions, honest resolutions and exalted ideals—those who were just in their dealings, fair in their transactions and charitable in all their ways; men who prided themselves in their integrity but who sought to justify themselves before God by their own righteousness; men who were moral, merciful and magnanimous, but who never saw themselves as guilty, lost, hell-deserving sinners needing a Saviour. Such is the way which “seemeth right.” Such is the way that commends itself to the carnal mind and recommends itself to multitudes of deluded ones today. The Devil’s Delusion is that we can be saved by our own works, and justified by our own deeds; whereas, God tells us in His Word : “By grace are ye saved through faith. ..not of works lest any man should boast.” And again, “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us.”

A few years ago the writer became acquainted with one who was a lay preacher and an enthusiastic “Christian worker.” For over seven years this friend had been engaged in public preaching and religious activities, but from certain expressions and phrases he used, the writer doubted whether this friend was a “born again” man. When we began to question him, it was found that he was very imperfectly acquainted with the Scriptures and had only the vaguest conception of Christ’s Work for sinners. For a time we sought to present the way of salvation in a simple and impersonal manner and to encourage our friend to study the Word for himself, in the hope that if he were still unsaved God would be pleased to reveal the Saviour he needed.

One night to our joy, the one who had been preaching the Gospel (?) for several years, confessed that he had found Christ only the previous night. He acknowledged (to use his own words) that he had been presenting “the Christ ideal” but not the Christ of the Cross. The writer believes there are thousands like this preacher who, perhaps, have been brought up in Sunday School, taught about the birth, life, and teachings of Jesus Christ, who believe in the historicity of His person, who spasmodically endeavor to practice His precepts, and who think that that is all that is necessary for their salvation. Frequently, this class when they reach manhood go out into the world, encounter the attacks of atheists and infidels and are told that such a person as Jesus of Nazareth never lived. But the impressions of early days cannot be easily erased, and they remain steadfast in their declaration that they “believe in Jesus Christ.” Yet, when their faith is examined, only too often it is found that though they believe many things about Jesus Christ they do not really believe in him. They believe with the head that such a person lived (and, because they believe this imagine that therefore they are saved), but they have never thrown down the weapons of their warfare against Him, yielded themselves to Him, nor truly believed with their heart in Him.

The bare acceptance of an orthodox doctrine about the person of Christ without the heart being won by Him and the life devoted to Him, is another phase of that way “which seemeth right unto a man” but the end thereof are “the ways of death.” A mere intellectual assent to the reality of Christ’s person, and which goes no further, is another phase of the way which “seemeth right unto a man” but of which the end thereof “are the ways of death,” or, in other words, is another aspect of the gospel of Satan.

And now, where do you stand? Are you in the way which “seemeth right,” but which ends in death; or, are you in the Narrow Way which leadeth unto life? Have you truly forsaken the Broad Road which leadeth to death? Has the love of Christ created in your heart a hatred and horror of all that is displeasing to Him? Are you desirous that he should “reign over” you? (Luke 19:14). Are you relying wholly on His righteousness and blood for your acceptance with God?

Those who are trusting to an outward form of godliness, such as baptism or “confirmation!” those who are religious because it is considered a mark of respectability; those who attend some Church or Chapel because it is the fashion to do so; and, those who unite with some Denomination because they suppose that such a step will enable them to become Christians, are in the way which “ends in death”—death spiritual and eternal. However pure our motives, however noble our intentions, however well-meaning our purposes, however sincere our endeavors, God will not acknowledge us as His sons, until we accept His Son.

A yet more specious form of Satan’s gospel is to move preachers to present the atoning sacrifice of Christ and then tell their hearers that all God requires from them is to “believe” in His Son. Thereby thousands of impenitent souls are deluded into thinking they have been saved. But Christ said, “Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3). To “repent” is to hate sin, to sorrow over it, to turn from it. It is the result of the Spirits making the heart contrite before God. None except a broken heart can savingly believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.

Again, thousands are deceived into supposing that they have “accepted Christ” as their “personal Saviour,” who have not first received Him as their LORD. The Son of God did not come here to save His people in their sin, but “from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). To be saved from sins, is to be saved from ignoring and despising the authority of God, it is to abandon the course of self-will and self-pleasing, it is to “forsake our way” (Isa. 55:7). It is to surrender to God’s authority, to yield to His dominion, to give ourselves over to be ruled by Him. The one who has never taken Christ’s “yoke” upon him, who is not truly and diligently seeking to please Him in all the details of life, and yet supposes that he is “resting on the Finished Work of Christ” is deluded by the Devil.

In the seventh chapter of Matthew there are two scriptures which give us approximate results of Christ’s Gospel and Satan s counterfeit. First, in verses 13-14, “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat. Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” Second; in verses 22-23, “Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied [preached] in Thy name? and in Thy name cast out demons, and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you; depart from Me, ye that work iniquity.” Yes, my reader, it is possible to work in the name of Christ, and even to preach in his name, and though the world knows us, the Church knows us, yet to be unknown to the Lord! How necessary is it then to find out where we really are; to examine ourselves and see whether we be in the faith; to measure ourselves by the Word of God and see if we are being deceived by our subtle Enemy; to find out whether we are building our house upon the sand, or whether it is erected on the Rock which is Jesus Christ. May the Holy Spirit search our hearts, break our wills, slay our enmity against God, work in us a deep and true repentance, and direct our gaze to the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

The Great Sin of Trying to Make the Gospel Palatable (Dr. Michael Brown)



One of the greatest failures of the contemporary church of America is our attempt to make the gospel of Jesus palatable to lost sinners—our effort to take away its offense, remove its reproach, water down its contents and explain away its standards. In doing so, we dishonor the Lord and contribute to the damnation of the lost. It’s time we wake up and repent of this worldly, faithless approach.
There’s a story I often tell to illustrate the folly of trying to preach a palatable gospel.
A doctor made an amazing scientific breakthrough, perhaps the greatest of all time. He discovered a cure for cancer that was 100% successful, and it worked for all forms and all stages of cancer. Perhaps the most incredible thing of all was that just one dose of the medicine would cure the cancer for life.
The only problem was that the medicine had to be taken in pill form; each pill cost $1 million dollars, the pill was huge and very difficult to swallow, and it left a terrible, bitter taste that lasted for seven days.
Of course, the research and development team was ecstatic over the discovery, and they met with the doctor, telling him he had to make three simple changes for his breakthrough to be successful: He needed to figure out a way to reduce the cost of each pill so it would sell for $10,000 per dose; he needed to reduce the size of the pill so people wouldn’t choke on it; and he needed to remove the bitter taste.
After two years of hard work, the doctor called the team back, announcing he had succeeded on all fronts. With the new formula he had developed, each pill would cost just $10,000, it would be packaged in a small gel cap, and it would actually have a pleasant aftertaste.
There was only problem. The pill no longer cured cancer!
And that is exactly what we have done with the gospel. We have tried to make the narrow gate wide and tried to make the cross of Christ popular, thinking somehow we would get more people “saved.” But our message no longer saves!
We have tried to make Jesus acceptable to sinners rather than making sinners acceptable to Him, removing the call to submit to His lordship and live a new life in Him. And we have redefined repentance, reducing it to a mere change of mind rather than a change of direction—specifically, a turning from sin and a turning to the Lord, an about face by the grace of God and the power of the Spirit.
Today, we just say to people, “Change your mind about Jesus!”—but that is only a small part of the gospel message.
Belief in Jesus is now presented as a good insurance policy and packaged as a great deal, at that: “Just give up your guilt and depression, and in exchange receive success, prosperity and eternal life!”
May I ask you to show me one example of a message like that preached to the lost anywhere in the book of Acts? Or do we think we know better than the apostles?
Was there a reason that Paul, when reaching out to a lost sinner and speaking about “faith in Christ Jesus,” also spoke to him “about righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come” (Acts 24:24-25)? Is this part of our gospel message?
Of course, we should be people of compassion, reaching out to the lost with hearts overflowing with genuine love and care. And of course we should exercise wisdom and cultural sensitivity. But we do not win the lost by becoming like the lost; we win the lost by becoming like Jesus—and by presenting the Jesus of the Scriptures and the gospel of the Scriptures, whether it brings offense or reproach or mockery.
Paul wrote that when Jesus returns, “He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus” (2 Thess. 1:8). How often do we think of the gospel as something to be “obeyed”?
More than one generation ago, A.W. Tozer noted, “The trouble is the whole ‘Accept Christ’ attitude is likely to be wrong. It shows Christ applying to us rather than us to Him. It makes Him stand hat-in-hand awaiting our verdict on Him, instead of our kneeling with troubled hearts awaiting His verdict on us. It may even permit us to accept Christ by an impulse of mind or emotions, painlessly, at no loss to our ego and no inconvenience to our usual way of life.”
It’s time we get back to the New Testament gospel, exalting both the holiness of God and the love of God, presenting Jesus as both Lord and Savior (in that order), and preaching a message that is foolishness to those who perish but is the power of God to those who believe (1 Cor. 1:18).
Let’s preach the truth without compromise, empowered by the Spirit, filled with compassion and unashamed of Jesus and the cross, and God Himself will back the message about His Son.