Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Knowing God's Will RIGHT NOW Through Friendship Part 2

In John 15:15, Jesus told the Apostles "No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you."

How do you become Jesus' friend? In the previous verse, Jesus explained "You are My friends if you do whatever I command you." Several times, in Jesus' talk with the Apostles after the Last Supper, He stressed that those who truly love Him will obey His commands. And in John 14:21, He gives the promise "He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him."

Jesus manifests Himself to Christians who obey Him. Disobedient saints rely on their own wisdom as to what to do; Jesus teaches those who obey Him what to do.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Knowing God's Will Through Friendship

John 15:15 No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.

Being a servant is one of the great accomplishments of the Christian life. More than once, Jesus told us that servants, not rulers, are the greatest Christians. Jesus said that wherever He is, His servants will be there also. In that case, His servants are going to be learning a lot from Him, and they are going to be close to him.

But a servant isn't entitled to an explanation. If God tells you to do something, you are to do it, without questioning God. As a servant grows in the Lord, however, God wants him to grow spiritually and to understand His ways.

How do you grow from a servant of God into a friend of God?

Monday, November 22, 2010

Knowing God's Will Through Trust Part 2

James 4:6-7 tells us: But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble. Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.

Submitting to God includes obeying the Bible. But it also includes yielding your will to God's call for your life. I have often run across Christians who insist that God has called them to teach, but who refuse to teach children's classes. It might be possible, but I have never seen one of them teach a good adult class.

We decide that we want to serve God, but then Satan motivates us to seek prestigious positions. So many Christians feel "called" to be leaders that churches have to hold elections, while the same churches beg for people to provide transportation, work in the nursery, give money to poor families, etc.

If you'll submit to God and accept whatever He tells you to do, He'll tell you what to do with your life.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Knowing God's Will RIGHT NOW Through Trust Part 1

Proverbs 3:5-6 tells us: Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.

In our 5 1/2 years in Mexico, we have seen several missionary families come and go, often with little or no fruit. Meanwhile, we had 19 kids on the church van last Sunday.

Common sense says that a missionary should have nothing to do with our church's children's ministry. It will never become self-supporting, and it will never grow into a successful church. So it makes sense that over the years, as I have often asked missionaries to help, they do not. Common sense tells them that it is a bad idea. And then they go away empty-handed, while the children's ministry continues to thrive.

You have to learn to trust GOD, not your own understanding. God's ways are past finding out, and if He is doing something, then that's where you want to be.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Knowing God's Will RIGHT NOW Through Separation Part 3

Immediately after promising to be a Father to those who separate, God continues:
"Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God." 2 Corinthians 7:1

If you want to know God's will for your life RIGHT NOW, you have to cleanse yourself both inwardly and outwardly of filth. We have already seen that true separation does not mean obeying man-made rules while tolerating sin. True separation means getting rid of ALL filthiness of the flesh and spirit.

Okay, but what specific things is God talking about? God lists "the works of the flesh" in Galatians 5:19-21, telling us that "...the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness,
20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies,
21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like;"

If you want the guidance that God gives to separated Christians, God has given you a list to start off with.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Knowing God's Will RIGHT NOW,Through Separation Part 2

After the Southern Baptist Convention became a large and successful religion, modernists crept in who sought to turn them away from God and His Word. When the Convention refused to take serious action, many Baptists obeyed the Biblical command to separate, and they became independent.

Blessed by God, independent Baptists experienced great success in the 1960's and 1970's. But when they made the decision as a group, that sin in the leadership would be quietly smoothed over, things went wrong. They regarded themselves as "separated" because they still followed the man-made rules that hadn't worked, even while they disobeyed the Biblical command "Those that sin, rebuke before all." Losing the guidance of God because they didn't separate, many turned to Ruckmanism, regarding themselves as superior to Godly saints because they would only use the King James translation of the Bible.

Others, regarding Peter Ruckman as a wife-stealing enemy of Godly men, obeyed the Biblical command to separate. You'll find that independent, fundamentalist Baptists churches (often without the word "Baptist" is their name, though) still dominate the list of America's 100 largest churches. And despite their pride, Ruckmanites do not.

"Separation" does not refer to following man-made rules while tolerating sin. And Christians who tolerate sin don't get the guidance that God promises to those who separate.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Knowing God's Will RIGHT NOW Through Separation


2 Corinthians 6:17 Therefore " Come out from among them And be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, And I will receive you."
18 " I will be a Father to you, And you shall be My sons and daughters, Says the LORD Almighty."

When God's people have fellowship with the wicked, it influences them. A person can only learn so much, and that Christian is learning from the wrong source. But there really are good things you can learn from the world: how to read, how to drive, etc. However, the context of this verse shows that Paul is talking about pagan religions, and we are to have nothing to do with them or their wisdom.

When you lose the wisdom of the wicked, God gives you His own wisdom in its place. He promises that if we will separate, He will be a Father to us, instructing us in right and wrong.

To be continued...

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Knowing God's Will Through Obedience

The question was "How do you know which leaders to obey?"

In John 14:21, Jesus said "He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him."

Regardless of what people claim, those who truly love Jesus are willing to obey Him. And Jesus manifests Himself to those who obey Him. So, one way to know God's will RIGHT NOW is to obey Him.

But two verses later, Jesus clarifies His statement: "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word;"
Those who truly love Jesus obey Him, and they keep His Word. So, which leaders should you obey? A leader who does not stand without compromise for the Word of God doesn't really love Jesus. Therefor, Jesus doesn't manifest Himself to that leader. Therefor, you shouldn't be following that leader.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

It is Possible to Know What God is Doing RIGHT NOW

1 Chronicles 12:32 of the sons of Issachar who had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do, their chiefs were two hundred; and all their brethren were at their command;

Notice that these men of Issachar didn't learn from Scripture what Israel should do; that was pretty well known already. But with Israel in transition between kings, these men knew what Israel should do RIGHT NOW. And because they had this knowledge, God's people were willing to follow them.

Notice that most of the tribe of Issachar only knew that they should follow these men, but even then, they knew what Israel should do. And notice that these leaders were making a change: the kingship had passed form the house of Saul to the house of David.

But other leaders were saying that Israel should be loyal to the house of Saul. How can you KNOW which leaders to listen to?

Friday, October 22, 2010

God Has a Time for Everything

Ecclesiastes 3:1 tells us:

"To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven:"

It helps you to realize that God has specific things that He does at specific times, but they're not always the same things. Solomon follows this statement with a list of contrasting things that God does at different times, and one of them is "A time to break down, And a time to build up;"

At different times, different organizations have been greatly used by God, and then cast aside for various reasons. It is an incredible Christian truth that the YMCA was once a powerful organization for Christ, but those days are long gone. There was a time when Methodists shook nations with powerful revivals, but those days are gone. At one time, Calvinists shook England and the US for Christ, but are now mostly sheep-stealers.

Christians who are in the right place at the right time often think that their success is due to their own Godliness, but move them to another area, and their success disappears. If you are to know what God wants you to do RIGHT NOW, remember that God is doing certain things in certain areas RIGHT NOW.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

What Should You Do RIGHT NOW?

It is always God's will for you to obey His Word, and the Holy Spirit never leads a Christian to disobey Scripture. But many specific things are not mentioned in Scripture. What church should you attend? What kind of Christian service should you do? Which translation should you use? Should you volunteer at a Christian organization that you do not totally agree with?

God's Word tells us that God does certain things at certain times. Different Christian groups are greatly used by God for a time, and then find their ministries declining, while others grow. Can you know specifically what God wants you to do RIGHT NOW?

We'll be looking at how to know God's will for you, as I post twice a week to show how to know God's will for RIGHT NOW.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A Church Full of Strife

James 3:16 is one of those verses that needs some explaining.

"For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there."
"For where envy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil work."

The King James Version states: "For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work."

The word translated "envy" is literally "heat," and is used is both a good and bad sense for zeal.
The word translated "self-seeking" refers to intrigues and conflicts.
The Greek word translated "confusion" refers to tumult and disorder.

In other words, when any organization has people fighting and maneuvering to advance themselves. that organization will be filled with conflict and sin. You need to move on.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Envy and Hatred are Connected

Titus 3:3 is talking about non-Christians when it says "For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another."

But notice the connection between envy and hatred. The passage goes on to tell us how the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit changed us.

Elsewhere on the internet, there is a Christian hatesite dedicated to tearing down successful preachers and pastors. Some of their accusations are true, and there is rejoicing up and down the site every time that a man of God falls. You, as a Christian, need to remember that God has called you out of that type of conduct.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Who is Proud?

1 Timothy 6:4 he is proud, knowing nothing, but is obsessed with disputes and arguments over words, from which come envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions,

Who is "he" that this verse is talking about? The previous verses show that Paul is talking about men who urge Christians not to submit to authority. There is a connection between envy and rebellion. People who get passed over for a promotion find themselves under the authority of a colleague, and envy develops. Within churches, envy develops when certain people get prominent roles that others feel that they should have.

Submission to authority produces humility, and humility produces grace. Grace gives us the desire and ability to do God's work. Rebellion against authority produces envy and other sins.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Serving God Out of Envy

Philippians 1:15-16 Some indeed preach Christ even from envy and strife, and some also from goodwill:
The former preach Christ from selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my chains;

It's hard to believe that some Christians hated Paul so much that they preached Christ. Since their motive was selfish ambition, it appears that their goal was to build their own influence. Why were they in Christian work in the first place?

A Christian who wants to serve God wants a good thing. He may also be responding to grace, which gives us the desire and ability to do God's work. But then, failing to accept God's grace, he becomes bitter at someone else who has a bigger ministry.

The warning here for the saints is to turn away from envy, seeing how much harm it can do to you.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Sometimes It's Hopeless

Proverbs 27:4 Wrath is cruel and anger a torrent, But who is able to stand before envy?

Some time ago, I did a study of the psychology of envy. People who had gotten promotions would find that an envious co-worker was now their bitter enemy. Try as they would, the successful workers could not win the friendship of the envious workers. The author of the study explained that the envious worker believed that he had been wronged, and as long as the successful worker held his job, there was no cure.

After an unsuccessful revolt among his pastoral staff, the pastor of a mega-church explained in a sermon that he had tried to reason with the disgruntled employees who had not been promoted. But when it didn't work, he had to fire them.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Envy and Bad Health

Proverbs 14:30 A sound heart is life to the body, But envy is rottenness to the bones.

Long before scientists discovered the fact, God was telling us that stress harms our health. A person who dwells in envy is hurting himself physically, as well as spiritually and emotionally.

If you yourself are envious of someone else, God's cure is to start serving Him diligently.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Don't Envy the Success of the Wicked

Psalm 37:1 Do not fret because of evildoers, Nor be envious of the workers of iniquity.

It is inevitable that we will see the wicked doing better than we are. Yet, here in Psalm 37, God gives His reasons why we should not envy them:

2 For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, And wither as the green herb.

9 For evildoers shall be cut off; But those who wait on the LORD, They shall inherit the earth.

13 The Lord laughs at him, For He sees that his day is coming.

20 But the wicked shall perish; And the enemies of the LORD, Like the splendor of the meadows, shall vanish. Into smoke they shall vanish away.

38 But the transgressors shall be destroyed together; The future of the wicked shall be cut off.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

The Cure for an Empty Life

"... love does not envy..." 1 Corinthians 13:4

The word "love" is better translated "charity," referring to love in action, but the idea is the same. An envious Christian is lacking in love. And the entire context of 1 Corinthians 13 is that the actions of a person without charity are in vain.

Envy is sometimes the result of an empty life. Surprisingly, the cure for an empty life is "charity." When you put love into action, you'll find things to do that will make your life worthwhile.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

When You Succeed

Ecclesiastes 4:4 Again, I saw that for all toil and every skillful work a man is envied by his neighbor. This also is vanity and grasping for the wind.

A few months ago, a couple who had failed in starting an animal shelter began posting signs attacking the owner of the successful animal shelter where I volunteer. I pointed out to him that this is normal; success produces envy.

If you succeed in Christian service, you will be the target of envy. Period. It's automatic.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Some folks have been trying to contact me. My e-mail is

Friday, May 7, 2010

Dealing With Your Own Envy

Genesis 37:11 And his brothers envied him, but his father kept the matter in mind.

Joseph had the special love of his father, largely due to being the son of Jacob's deceased favorite wife. Could his brothers have done anything "right" about it? Later, some of them did excel, and were praised by Jacob on his deathbed.

Hatred was the wrong response; serving God diligently was the right response.

Friday, April 30, 2010

How God Destroys Envy

Psalm 106:
16 When they envied Moses in the camp, And Aaron the saint of the LORD,
17 The earth opened up and swallowed Dathan, And covered the faction of Abiram.
18 A fire was kindled in their company; The flame burned up the wicked.

God recognizes the power of envy to destroy His work. It is, of course, possible for a person gripped with envy to repent, and God may well have worked in the hearts of these men before He finally destroyed them. But if that doesn't work, God still has a cure: the destruction of the envious.

If you see someone being blessed by God more than you, you can turn to envy. Or you can ask the person for advice on how to obtain God's blessings.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Sin of Envy

Some time ago, I did a study on Jealousy and Envy. I was surprised to learn that modern psychology defines both terms the way that the King James Version does.

"Jealousy" is not that big of a Biblical problem. It means "I have something and you don't, and I'm afraid that you will take it from me." King Saul was jealous that David would take his throne, but the word is usually used to describe God.

"Envy" means "You have something and I don't, and I feel that it should be mine." Envy gets a lot more space in God's Word than jealousy, and it is described as more serious, both to the person being envied, as well as the person doing the envying.

I'll be doing a Bible study on envy over the next few weeks.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Should You Trust a Compromiser?

A fellow who had graduated from a good fundamentalist college became an elder in a compromising church. When modernists tried to seize the church, he held on for a while. But when people started leaving, he made a deal with another church. If they would give him a leadership position, he would go to the second church, bringing some people with him.

The deal went through, and he holds a leadership position there now. Folks, you just can't trust a compromiser.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

When the Fighting Starts

An interdenominational Protestant church would accept anyone as a member if they claimed to believe the Apostles' Creed. Not all of them really did, but it wasn't enforced. Becoming an elder was fairly easy. The church constitution required twelve elders, and the church rarely ran over 100 in attendance. Almost anyone could be an elder if he wanted to.

The pastor told me that when liberals would try to seize the church and turn it away from God, the fundamentalist elders would usually quit the church because of the criticism they were getting.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Decline of Christian Schools

As a Christian school teacher, I often would have a lying student in the pastor's office, accompanied by enraged parents, claiming innocence. The standard procedure was that the teacher would tell the truth, the student would lie, the parents would go into a rage, and the pastor would back the student.

But I eventually learned from the students that the pastor already knew that the student was lying, and the parents knew it as well. Both the parents and the student would brag about all the trouble they had caused in getting revenge on the teacher. I went to the pastor, who explained that I wasn't looking at the big picture, and he was, so it was all right for him to lie that he didn't know whom to believe.

The Christian school movement in America has fallen heavily from its heyday in the sixties and seventies. Godly, experienced teachers quit, leaving the ranks filled with inexperienced teachers. My own observation was that less than half of all Christian school teachers would enter their third year. Poor discipline, poor education, and a contempt for the pastor by the parents and the children became more and more normal.

Compromise worked in the short term, but not in the long.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Does Anyone Respect a Compromiser?

Decades ago, Robert Jordan started a church the hard way, literally going door-to-door. He told me that when he was starting out, he talked to a strongly fundamentalist Christian who taught a large men's Sunday School class in a large compromising church.

Jordan asked the man to quit his class and teach a small class in Jordan's church instead. The man politely refused, stating that he could do more good where he was. Over the years, the compromising church repeatedly split the man's classes, until he had a handful of men left, while Jordan's group had grown into a mega-church.

Modernists tolerate Christians as long as they have to, but they undermine their work for God as soon as they are able. And Christians who think they are respected by modernists are sadly mistaken.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Even Modernists Despise Compromisers

In the 1970's, Evangelist Bill Rice told of being brought in for a week's preaching at a Godly, fundamental church. The man who was paying a large share of the expenses met Bill at the airport.

To Bill's surprise, the man did not attend the church, but was the Sunday School superintendent of a modernist church that had rejected the Word of God. The fellow explained that God had called him to stay there and be a good influence. Every Sunday, he gave a brief message from God's Word before dismissing everyone to their classes.

Rice told the fellow that he wasn't the good influence that he thought that he was, and Rice could prove it. He advised the man, the next Sunday morning, to talk about the virgin birth in his brief message, and to explain that a person who does not believe in the virgin birth was not a born-again Christina. The man agreed, and after dropping Rice off at the church where he was preaching the superintendent went to his own church.

Later that day, the superintendent picked Rice up. Badly shaken, he told Rice that the church had fired him immediately after Sunday School, citing the "extremist evangelist" who was staying at his house.

Brethren, Satan will tolerate Christian leaders in his churches, because they are an influence for keeping other Christians there, instead of in the house of God where they belong. But modernists only pretend to respect them.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Can You Trust a Compromiser?

James 1:8 "he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways."

One of the churches here in the Gringo Zone of Mexico is built on compromise. To become a member, you have to believe The Apostles' Creed. Actually, you don't; you just have to say that you do. Over its fifty-year history, it has swung from rejecting God's Word to accepting it, but for the past ten years, it has accepted God's Word.

The pastor is a Godly man, and this past year, there was a major movement to fire him and replace him with a pastor who didn't believe God's Word. The church was badly hurt, but it is growing again. Middle-aged families are joining, they have some children in the congregation (we are a community of retired Gringos), and they are paying their bills on time.

What do compromising Christians do when a fight starts over God's Word? I'll be discussing that in the next few posts.