A group of us went out to eat after service. We sat at a long table and Emilio said a prayer to bless the food for everyone, and in order for those at the other end to hear, he had to speak a little louder than normal. Not even thirty seconds after he prayed, we heard someone say “I’m tired of Christians trying to convert me. Christian's are the most judgmental people!” I looked up and saw that it was the lady sitting next to us and that she was wearing a large pentagram necklace. She went on to say to her male friend, “I’m pagan and Christianity came after paganism, and stole our ideas. Where do you think they got Christmas from?” She went on and on loudly disparaging Christianity. “Who’s judging who right now?” I said to a couple of the ladies sitting next to me. Emilio turned to her and said in a gentle and loving tone, “I can hear every word you’re saying, and paganism did not come before Christianity and I would love to talk to you about it.” She said, “No, I’m good”, and continued her loud Christian-bashing. She and her male friend were getting so loud and threatening that others in the restaurant were starting to stare, so Emilio alerted the manager who told them to change their topic of conversation or they would have to leave, and then stood close by to make sure they behaved. The funny thing is we didn’t even give them a tract or speak to them or have any interaction with them whatsoever. All they heard was the name of Christ and that was enough. I write this in hopes that you won’t be discouraged when you encounter opposition to the Gospel, because it will happen even. May God have mercy on them and open their eyes.
Monday, June 23, 2014
Friday, June 20, 2014
Have you ever wondered why God made the universe so big? I don't claim to speak for Him (that's because I go to a solid church) and I also can't speak to the mind of God on this matter, as the Word doesn't directly say. Yet, I feel I really do know. I feel I really do know why God made the universe so big.
Before the why, lets look at that what.
The universe is expansive, vast, powerful and so many beautiful things.
At one point mankind wanted to know how much 'stuff' was in just one small tiny part of space. We directed the orbiting Hubble Telescope to a random dark point in space. We then let it sit there for four months taking a single picture. Four months! Rather than a quick snap shot, this was a picture that spent over 130 days (1 million seconds) taking in light to expose a picture that seemed to be looking into black nothing-ness. Its the deepest into space man has ever peered.
This is what came out:
Our galaxy, the Milky Way, is about 100,000 light years across with about 300,000,000,000 (300 billion) stars. In just one galaxy.
The picture above...
Over 5,500 galaxies in that single picture. Think of it, in that picture, you're not looking at stars but entire galaxies.
Now get this. A good question would be, how much of the night sky does that picture represent? If you take a single grain of rice and hold it arms length from your face, that little grain of rice would block out the portion of sky that picture took!
When I said that God's Word is silent on why He made the heavens, that's not totally true right? We do see that the heavens declare the glory of the Lord (Ps.19:1). From that I would submit they are as vast as they are because it points to the vastness of God. Only as a shadow, a mere glimpse into His vastness.
Then look at our little blue terrestrial marble, suspended there on the back side of our spiral disk.
[picture of earth from the moon NASA]
The earth stands in contrast amidst the enormity of the universe in which its situated in. Perhaps this shows, among many things, that even though we are so small compared to the vastness of God, He cared for us enough to come down to our blue marble and die for His elect. How caring must God be to do anything for something so small? How caring must God be to not just take notice of this little spinning planet amongst the stars, but that He would die for the people on it?
Does that not show the enormously incomprehensible love of God?
A God that has set His art in motion for us to gaze at...
The God who has made and upholds all of that has made you some promises.
Consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. (Rm. 8:18) He says He will not leave us nor forsake us (Mt. 28:20) and that all things will work together for good... (Rm. 8:29). Any other promise and truth in scripture is being upheld by the God who has created the very fabric of reality and who cares deeply about His bride.
The moon doesn't rotate, its tidally locked. That same moon you look up to at night when you sit outside the house with your back to the wall. Those exact same features on the moon where looked at by Adam, Moses, Noah, David, Paul, Jesus, Augustine, Luther, Calvin, Spurgeon, and now you. Was God not faithful to all those before you? Their lives are living testimonies that He was.
You have nothing to fear dear saints. Whether your trial is just a passing season or something else, God is faithful and He has you, as He has had all His own even since before the foundations of the world.
Ps. Don't forget He holds the expanse of a universe that vast in His hand (Is. 40:12). Therefore, nothing happens that He hasn't planned for.
Tuesday, June 17, 2014
This email came into the ministry today...may it encourage any of you that are in a similar situation...
Have you seen this video by John MacArthur regarding how to respond to an adult child who just came out (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tWYAwknMlH4)? After I watched it, it dawned on me that I'm smack dab in the middle of one of the greatest attacks ever on the Bible. It's already been about two months since my daughter came out, but that thought hasn't occurred to me until just now. Wow.
And MacArthur's response is spot on, and really encouraging. An unbelieving family member told me that I should just love her and "do unto others as you would have them do unto you." I said that I agreed with that, and that's why I'm loving her and telling her the truth. That's what I would want. Oh, and I shared the Gospel with them again too. :-) After all, love warns.
Please pray for my daughter.
Sunday, June 15, 2014
The following points are like little mini sermons that I preached to myself while I was battling sickness. And I hope that you will take them for yourself, digest them, believe them and trust the Lord and His goodness.
First, if you are not sure if you are in Christ, go to www.NeedGod.com and take the short little test.
It is my prayer God will use this to encourage your soul and heal your body (if that pleases Him in this life).
Number 1. God uses sickness in a very unique way. It is not without purpose. He wants to sanctify you and set you apart through sickness and draw you close to himself. Don't be discouraged thinking that sickness has no purpose God is doing many things at one time. Romans 8:28
Number 2. I am to count all things loss for the excellence of knowing Christ my Lord (Philippines 3:8). This means even health. Help me Lord to want to know you more than to be well on this earth.
Number 3. This trial is light and momentary. It is light…it is not heavy even though it feels heavy. How do I know? The Bible tells me so. Read 2 Corinthians 4.
Number 4. Sickness tests my faith and makes me really ask myself do I trust in Christ for this life alone? Or also for the next? If we have hope in Christ in this life only, we are of all men must be pitied. 1Corinthians 15:19
Number 5. Sickness is just for a moment. It may feel like forever but it is passing away. Even if it last for the rest of this life this life is just a vapor it is just a moment compared to eternity. James 4:14
Number 6. This will work out for my good. If I don't believe that then I don't believe God's Word. Read Romans 8:28.
Number 7. Humility. When you are not able to do things for yourself you rely upon others…this can be humbling. Humility is good.. James 4:10
Number 8. Christ has promised that where He is I will be forever. Can it get any better? There will be no more temptations, no more trials, no more fears, no more sickness, no more tears, no more divisions, and no more dangers when we die and go to be with Him. Revelation 21:4
Number 9. Even death is working for me. Death is an act of faith to give up our soul and die. We are saying "I trust you Lord with my soul." Death is my entrance to glory. If the father did not allow Christ to see corruption he will not allow me to see it because I'm in Christ. If He raised Christ from the dead, he will raise me up too. Read Psalm 16: 9-10. Christ trusted his spirit to the Father and I am to follow Him and do the same thing.
Number 10. Sickness , trials or suffering is Gods way of drawing us near to Him. Some of the sweetest times are when it is just him and I. His rod in his staff comfort me. Read Psalm 23. He is with me. I am NOT alone even when no one else is here.
Number 11. Sickness is a way of God giving you rest. It may seem strange but when you can do nothing else but rest in Him there is a unique closeness and rest that He gives you in the midst of the storm that you can't find in any activity or in any one person or in any one thing. You can only go to Him for help. Read Matthew 8:24. May God give you rest in the midst of the storm and make your sleep sweet.
Number 12. Being sick teaches you what is important: people and their souls. Matt 16:26
Number 13. Being sick makes sure stop and smell the flowers. I don't think I enjoyed being outside as much as I did well I was sick. I don't take the time to enjoy the clouds or the birds or the blue sky as often as I did when I was sick. Genesis 1:1
Number 14. Being sick allows you to search your heart for sin. It purifies your heart and motives. Read Psalm 66:18.
Number 15. Makes you appreciate Job and his sufferings in a new light. One fine day we will meet Job. Read Job 37:5 this was his attitude in the midst of suffering.
Number 16. Suffering allows others to minister to you. 1 Thess 5:11
Number 17. I have learned that it's better to read your Bible than look on the internet and try to self diagnose yourself. This will make you think you're dying with cancer. Proverbs 14:15
Wednesday, June 4, 2014
God’s always at work.
Even when He puts us in very uncomfortable places.
Like today when I was in an MRI machine praying for God’s grace to help me to not hit the panic button…I’m a wimp.
I was reminded that when you’re in tight spot it should make you look forward to the day when you can look back and see what He was doing.
Like when during the MRI, I had the technician play (really loud) Hell’s Best Kept Secret from the Internet, and all the technicians in the room heard it.
Several times during the message I wanted to laugh at Ray’s jokes but I was not supposed to move.
The MRI ended just as Ray finished going through the 10 Commandments and what one must do to be saved.
In my panicked state I didn’t see why He had me in that machine, but now as I look back it's clear it was for the sake of the Gospel.
Oh and in case you’re wondering…I had an MRI just to make sure the vertigo I’ve been battling for two weeks is nothing serious. Not a big deal.