Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Young Man, Determine Now Whom You Will Become!

"Youth is the planting time of full age." We can determine the tree by the shoot springing up and the fruit by the early bud. You can determine the type of day it will be by the early morning clouds, unless you live in Texas where the weather can change by the moment! In the same way the type of person you will be as an adult can be determined by your character now as a young man. 

Do not assume you can put off Jesus until you are an old man. Do not give the world, the devil, and your selfish lusts the most productive years of your life. You should not put off deciding to follow Jesus now rather than later, when the Bible warns that we are not guaranteed tomorrow and that every man should decide to follow Jesus today.  As long as you have breath in your lungs there is an opportunity to repent and turn to Jesus, whether you be young or old. But why wait?  the longer you wait the more stronger the roots of sin will have wrapped around your heart.

It is a true saying of good Archbishop Leighton: “The way of sin is down hill; a man cannot stop when he would.”  the older you get the stronger become the habits. Habits become chains that increase in strength the oldernyou get. Sins that are allowed in your heart while you are young will not be easily removed when you are older. A young boy can bend a sampling quite easily , but 100 men cannot uproot an aged tree.  Jeremiah, the old testament prophet rightly said, "Can the Cushite (a black-man) change his skin, or a leopard his spots?  If so, you might be able to do what is good, you who are instructed in evil."  It is hard to give up habits started when you are young, not impossible, but hard. So it is with habits: the older the stronger—the longer they have held possession, the harder they will be to cast out. They grow with our growth, and strengthen with our strength. Every fresh act of sin lessens fear and remorse, hardens our hearts, blunts the edge of our conscience, and increases our evil desire.

Habits, good and bad are strengthening in your heart every year you get older. Those sinful habits will pull you further and further away from Jesus with each year. Every year you remain away from Jesus the gorge will become deeper and broader, the gateway will become higher and heavier to open. Submit to Jesus now and do not put it off another moment.

(A modern re-telling of Ryle's "Thoughts for Young Men)

Monday, October 22, 2012

Young Men - Death Pursues like a Hungry Wolf

Young men, you must face the inevitable truth that you will die one day. Death pursues all men like a hungry wolf after its lame prey. Death is one of the few guarantees of life. You most certainly will face it. Whether young or old it does not matter. I have stood beside the graves of old men and young men. Death is no respecter of age.

Do you think you will worry about death tomorrow? Tomorrow is guaranteed to no man! The Bible tells you today is the day of salvation, you must never assume you will awake to a new day.

Am I being morbid and frightening to you? Good, these are things you must ponder and not only ponder but decide today what your conviction will be regarding death. "Today is Gods day, tomorrow is the devils." It is your duty, young man, to seek after the Lord Jesus. For it is only in Him that you will find life eternal. Just as sure as death is, so is the potential of salvation thru Jesus. You must not neglect this great salvation available to you.

Death is only a step away, only one final breath away, only one fatal car crash away. Of all the amazing things in life none is as amazing as a heart of unbelief. One of the most powerful prophecies begins with, "Who has believed our message?" Young man, you must consider what I have told you. You must not be complacent, death is quite active; neither lazy, for death is a diligent workman; neither indifferent, for death has already marked you out for its prey. You cannot stop death, but you can be prepared to face it. You can face death confidently if you have confidence in the Lord Jesus and His salvation of your life.

(A modern re-telling of Ryle's "Thoughts for Young Men)

Monday, October 15, 2012

Young Man, Are You Bored?

Young man, aged 12-29, is something missing in your heart? Is there a boredom that lives in you? Do you find your only excitement in movies and video games? Do you wonder if this world truly has a place for you?

Young man, there is a strength hiding inside you that needs to be experienced. There are people in this world who need you. God has placed you on this earth for just this moment in history! Out there in the world will be people who need your help, protection, wisdom, comfort, leadership, and most importantly your love.

Look at our jails and court rooms: Full of men with misguided strength, full of men who misapplied their strength and brought pain to others instead bringing protection, healing, and love.

Look at our schools. Full of young men who instead of looking for and using truth have simply swallowed every philosophy and idea without considering its true consequences. There are truths that guide and lies that are too good to be true. Which are you listening too? Are you doing the hard work of learning?

Look at our homes. Full of hurt, remorse and emptiness. Do-overs at marriages. Men raising other men's children. Sons and daughters struggling to become future husbands and wives and all the while being led by dads and moms not their own.

Our young men need to be challenged and encouraged. There is so much they have to offer to humanity, not only in the future, but now. May we adults take up the mantle placed upon us and lead these young men to the glories that can be theirs'. They can have a meaningful life full of joy, satisfaction, and love. May we be inclined to guide and may the young men be so bold as to listen and heed the advice to come.

(A modern day re-telling inspired by J.C. Ryle's "Thoughts for Young Men").

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Salvation is Not For Me - 1 Peter 1:3-9

As I read this passage, and you must too, I am entranced by the wonder of Gods salvation He has granted to His elect. I am reminded again that salvation is not for my ultimate benefit, but for Jesus'. Yes, we do receive a benefit-we are eternally saved! But it's not really about us, but about Him!!

Read the entire passage several times if you haven't already, 1 Peter 1:3-9:

 Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. According to His great mercy, He has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead and into an inheritance that is imperishable, uncorrupted, and unfading, kept in heaven for you. You are being protected by God’s power through faith for a salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. You rejoice in this, though now for a short time you have had to struggle in various trials so that the genuineness of your faith—more valuable than gold, which perishes though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. You love Him, though you have not seen Him. And though not seeing Him now, you believe in Him and rejoice with inexpressible and glorious joy, because you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

First, notice the three benefits we receive listed in verses 3-5.
1) we are born again to a living hope, v.3
2) we obtain an inheritance,v.4
3) and we are protected by the power of God, v.5

This should cause us, as Peter aptly puts it in verse six, "you rejoice in this...." If those three descriptors don't light your fire, your wood is wet! Although we live under trials we can and have no reason not to rejoice in His salvation over us.

Now, notice verse seven. Read it thoroughly. Do you see it? Do you see how our salvation ultimately benefits Jesus? The last portion of that verse says, "(your faith) may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ...." In the grand scheme of it all there will come that day when we will stand before Jesus as His trophies and He will receive great praise, glory, and honor. The cross He bore will be a fruitful endeavor for him.

You must read Isaiah 53, in particular, pay attention to verses 11, 12. Jesus is prophecied as being in great anguish, and was He not in great anguish on the cross?! Yes! He was and is satisfied by this knowledge - that many believers would make up His portion. This tells us that people will be saved and it also tells us Jesus will most definitely make sure His elect are truly saved!

Praise Him for His satisfactory work on the cross!

Continue to plead for the salvation of your beloved unbeliever.

Thank Him that your faith will result in His honor on that Day.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

"The Strength of My Heart" Ps 73:26

Our despicable heart that would spit in Gods face!!!

"My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever." Ps 73:26

The number of times I sin daily is astronomical! How about you? Do you war with that old sinful man/woman who fights against the rule of Jesus Christ in you?

Take courage friend!

The Lord Himself is our strength! This is why our salvation is something we cannot lose because it isn't about our ability to hang on, but about His!

It is Jesus, our Savior, Who supports our despicable heart that would rather spit in Gods face! He satisfies the Fathers wrath that was against us having taken all that wrath on to Himself. Only He could have done that, we were never able to satisfy the Fathers holy will.

He is our portion forever! It is Jesus Who has made us holy before God so that no matter how many times our hearts fail we can turn to Him and receive His pardon and grace. It is He Who holds our sinful hearts in His hands appeasing the Fathers anger by interceding for us daily in heaven.

Who do we have in heaven? We have a powerful, loving Savior Who guides us and will bring us to Himself after our fight on earth is over. He is the strength of our hearts.

Friday, September 21, 2012

"Why People Come to Jesus"

Why don't more people come to Jesus? Are people who follow Jesus more privileged? Did we get lucky when we choose to follow Him? Why is the cross so intellectually offensive? A Christian can see how wonderful Jesus is, why can't people who are very clearly lost? Are Christians actually smarter than non-Christians?

First Corinthians 2:1-5 shows us that the Apostle Paul understood his preaching would not win anyone because of his brilliant rhetoric. He knew only one thing: the gospel as unfolded in Jesus. He knew that worldly wisdom was unsuccessful at converting anyone. He still used all persuasive methods available in that culture to move people to Jesus, but in the end Paul knew that the cross was foolishness to those outside of Jesus.

So what made the difference? What was it that converted the lost? It is the unfolding revelation of salvation provided by God through the work of Jesus.

But what makes the gospel message uniquely different? It is a work of God, not of any man, lest we boast of our salvation. God chooses the foolish things of the world to transform people so that we can see it truly is unique and only a work that God can do.

The best arguments in the world can be powerful, but it is the Spirit of God working through the preaching messenger that changes a persons soul, that removes the blinding veil from their eyes, that quickens their spirit to desire a relationship with Jesus.

People come to Jesus because God has ordained that the message spoken be the means of awakening.

Monday, September 17, 2012

"Theres A Lion Outside?" Proverbs 22:13

"The sluggard says,'There is a lion outside; I will be killed in the streets!'" Proverbs 22:13

We laugh when our small children are to tired to clean their room, but mention ice cream and they coming running!

We humans can make up some pretty good excuses to get out of doing something we do not want to do. This verse in proverbs was always a mystery to me until faithful teachers of Gods word taught me its meaning.

Lazy people will make up amazing excuses to get out of work, even saying there is a lion outside. That's like saying, "a jet plane could fall on me today so I better not go out."

One of the great lessons from Proverbs is: work hard and don't be a sluggard! Sluggards make ridiculous excuses.

"How close is the Lord?" Ps 73:21-28

Do you have confidence in Jesus?

How do you view your position with Jesus? Is He close or stand-offish?

Read Psalm 73:21-28. Make a list about God: how is God described? What does he do for the writer?

Now look at the psalmist: where is he positionally with God - near or far? What was his life like before God took his hand? How is God in relationship with the psalmist?

Now, make this passage a prayer. Speak it to God as worship and thanksgiving.

Friday, September 14, 2012

"So as to Believe" Matthew 21:23-32

Read Matthew 21:23-32

To believe Jesus is to obey Him.

Which son did right? The obedient one.

Which sinner did right--prostitutes or religious leaders? Prostitutes.

Jesus didn't care about promoting his authority, He cares about those who just believe.

Christians love to talk about belief but were we fail is in our obedience.

There were two Christians, one who talked the talk about belief and one who walked the talk with obedience. Tell me which one is of the faith? Faith without works is dead.

If you truly obeyed Jesus what would your life look like?

"Joy in Justice" Proverbs 21:15

"The exercise of justice is joy for the righteous, but is terror to the worker of iniquity." Proverbs 21:15

Justice usually come after one in authority hands down a sentence for a perpetrator to be punished.

Justice may not come as we would want it to, but it will come. When all men stand before Jesus, He will be the Just and the Justifier of all.

Those who are righteous have joy in justice because their complaint has been heard and their case stands open before a wise and all knowing and just God. Those martyred saints in Revelation 6 cry out for the blood of those who killed them because of their hatred for Christ.

God Almighty, will enact justice.

Those workers of iniquity may have gotten away their whole lives with their acts of cruelty and viciousness, but the day will come when a holy fire will burn off the dross and reveal all.

Which person will you be?

Read Proverbs 21:1-17 and weigh yourself on the scales of justice. Better to do it now while there is mercy available in Jesus.

"We May Not See Our Sin" Psalm 19:13

The book of Numbers calls this sin, "a high hand," a flagrant sin that has become such a normal part of one's life that it reeks of arrogance and pride.

Should we not be praying the previous verse, Ps 19:12, "Who can discern his ways? Acquit me of hidden faults."

Many times we cannot even see our sins, it may take an objective person to point it out. And never discount Gods use of such means of grace - another person! They may be just whom God has sent.

Cry out to Jesus even now to show you your "high handed" sins. He who raised His two hands and received the nails is able to prevent your sins from ruling over you.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Psalm 19:7 "Restoring the Soul"

The law of the lord is perfect restoring the soul. Ps 19:7

It's easy to trust the new testament with just such a statement. But the old testament?

Yes! Absolutely!

Yes the "new" reveals the "old" but the "old" holds the keys that unlock so much of the "new."

Don't neglect the "old", it is all inspired by God and profitable.

Read Psalm 19 before heading out today.

James 2:17-26 "Are you really alive? Prove it!"

So many people talk of hypocrisy in the church. People talking like this are usually those on their way out the door or those who won't return to church.

Those of you without hypocrisy, go ahead and cast the first stone.

If your faith is really alive prove it by your works. Show me you can forgive your child's rapist, show me you can admit to being wrong, show me by loving me even when I tell you I've committed a grievous sin.

Show me by not leaving the church when things don't go your way and instead seek to confront lovingly, humbly, and mercifully.

Your faith without works is DEAD. Do we get that? Dead. Christ has not taken up residence in your life if your works aren't consistent with Christ's works! Not the healing, feeding 5000 type of works. The dying on the cross asking the father to forgive kind.

You are alive in Jesus? Prove it!

Read James 2:17-26.

Prov 19:24-29 "Am I truly listening?"

"Reprove one who has understanding and he will gain knowledge." Prv 19:25

These verses teach us that failing in listening causes a person to be a shameful and disgraceful person.

Only but injustice, lies, and punishment await those who fail to listen.

Remember that Proverbs teaches over and over that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (19:23).

Are you truly listening? To Gods word, to Gods authorities over your life, to Gods gift to you in the people around you?

Read Proverbs 19:24-29

Pro 15:1-17 Hows your tongue?

              Proverbs 15:1-17

15 A gentle answer turns away wrath,
But a harsh word stirs up anger.
The tongue of the wise makes knowledge acceptable,
But the mouth of fools spouts folly.
 A soothing tongue is a tree of life,
But perversion in it crushes the spirit.
 The lips of the wise spread knowledge,
But the hearts of fools are not so.

How's your tongue?

What is it spewing?

Do your words bring healing or hurt

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Psalm 19 "Perfect World"

Psalm 19 - Perfect World and Word

1 The heavens are telling of the glory of God;
And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.
Day to day pours forth speech,
And night to night reveals knowledge.
There is no speech, nor are there words;
Their voice is not heard.

Whether we acknowledge it or not the heavens are shouting the glory of God.  

When you look around at your world do you see the Great Creator of all?

 They have no voice (v.3), yet the day pours forth speech (v.2), and the night reveals the knowledge of our Creator God (v.2).  

Thank Him for this perfect creation today!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

"The Masculine Mandate" Book Review

Richard D. Philips has done the world a great service by writing this book.  While many "men's" books cover all kind of masculine topics, Mr. Philips begins where any discussion should begin - the Bible.  This is a gospel primer on men.  Opening up Genesis and showing his readers how God formed man in the garden to "work" it and "keep" it, we see a true picture of the kind of men God has made.  Written in two major sections, the first section of the book helps us "Understand the Mandate" given to men by God.  In this section he explores the topics of "working" and "keeping" based on Genesis 2:15, these two words define for us how a man fulfills his mandate.  Ultimately, by fulfilling these two tasks we fulfill our complete God-given purpose - to glorify God.  "That is the Masculine Mandate: to be spiritual men placed in real-world, God-defined relationships, as lords and servants under God, to
bear God’s fruit by serving and leading."

The third chapter on work was very enlightening.  Being one who quite often hates his job, this chapter made me reflect hard on what I do and my attitude about it.  This chapter really caused me to re-evaluate my perspective on work and I was shown from a biblical point of view that I was wrong.  The scriptures Mr. Phillips uses reproved, corrected, and trained me towards biblical exegesis of work.  This was very rewarding.

The second section of the book deals more in the praxis of manhood.  Topics that are covered are marriage, fatherhood, friendships, and servant-hood in the church. The section on marriage seems to blow a fresh wind up on this age old doctrine.  We may have heard all there is on this subject, but Mr. Phillips does men a great service by reminding us in fresh language this mandate and its importance. 

The section on fatherhood reminded me some of Ted Tripps book Shepherding a Child's Heart.  If fact Mr. Tripp's book is referenced a few times.  Mr. Phillips has a very godly way of looking at fathering, much like Ted Tripp.  A view that is not shared by most modern parenting books, even the ones in Christian bookstores.  I say this as a compliment to Mr. Phillips and Mr. Tripp.  These men are godly-men who know the Bible and come at it this topic in a bibilcally strong fashion. 

The book contains group questions which I found to be very encouraging.  This caused me to begin to think about how I could use this book as a manual in my church.  I appreciate this addition to the book.  It makes the book relevant and applicable, and not just all theory.

I would encourage anyone to grab this book and take a read. 

This book was given to me by Reformation Trust in exchange for my fair review. 

Friday, January 27, 2012

Book Review: "When Sinners Say I Do"

Another book on marriage, really?  Yes, really.  If you love to learn by reading and want an exceptional book on marriage than you should read this one.  Dave Harvey, Pastor of Covenant Fellowship Church in Glen Mills, PA, a Sovereign Grace Ministries church, i.e. C.J. Mahaney and Josh Harris, has done the church a great service.  Within ten chapters Pastor Harvey sets out ten biblically strong and practical topics.  He begins with the foundational doctrine of sinful humanity.  This may seem obvious, but this book is a light doctrinal thesis on what is sin and how it damages our lives, and especially our marriages.  With amazing clarity he helps us navigate who we are before a Holy God and therefore who we are for our spouse.  Without using phychological jargon and only biblical jargon he helps us inspect our lives with God's law and grace.  He also deals with mercy, forgiveness, and grace as related to our marriages.

Did I like this book?  YES!  I am leary about marriage books, but once I got started into this one I realized I was taking it for granted and had to go back and re-read the first two chapters.  It was then I realized I was hooked.  Pastor Harvey gives great insight into sin, the glory of God, mercy, forgiveness, and grace and applies it appropriately to our marriages.  Is this a marriage book?  Yes, but only after being a well crafted book about the goodness of Jesus despite our sinfulness.  I will reference this book again and again, and will probably require its reading for marriages I counsel.  As a Pastor myself, I would use this book not for newlyweds, but for those one to two year marriages, who are struggling.  The young marriage that realizes that their spouse and their marriage isn't all bliss.  I would strongly encourage any married couple who needs a boast in the theology of their marriage to read this book. 

This book was given to me by Shepherd Press as a review in exchange for my honest and realistic review. 

Monday, January 23, 2012

Deep Preaching Book Review

There have been many a book on preaching, but one like this has not come along in a long time. While most preaching books spend a lot time on exegetical work or why preaching is so important and why expository preaching is better than another type Dr. Edwards book goes somewhere most books do not.  Few too many preaching books will only give a cursory taste of the topic that "Deep Preaching" dives so deeply into.  At most a preaching book may give a chapter, Dr. Edwards devotes an entire book.  What is that most under-appreciated topic, yet is so necessary?  Prayer, fasting, and meditation over a text to be preached! 

For four chapters "Deep Preaching" explores some reasons why preaching is important and why a need to preach deeply is mandatory.  Then the book explodes in the last six chapters on this deep topic of prayer.  Dr. Edwards expands on how to use the classic spiritual disciplines of prayer, fasting, and meditation to strengthen one's sermon.  He calls this aspect, "Closet Work."  This is a great way to describe this necessary aspect.  An aspect that goes between the exegetical work and the homoletical work. 

Once the author's intent is discovered, the exegetical work, then the preacher must go and wrestle with the Lord until he comes out of that closet with that text having done devastating reformation to the preachers soul.  Only then should the preacher stand before a congregation and expound the text. 

Every preacher MUST read this book.  We know how to parse and we know how to collect illustrations, but do we really know how to stay in the closet until we come out with a piping hot meal that Jesus would be proud to serve?  I propose most preachers do not, and this book will call us back to the vital ingredient of preaching. 

Uncommon Life Book Review

"The One Year Uncommon Life Daily Challenge" is a great way to start your day!  Written by a classic man, who has numerous accolades from all his successes and is a solid believer in Christ Jesus.  Mr. Dungy gives his readers a small dose each day of a scripture plus his own personal insights from that verse.  Throughout the week each day is broken into seven themes:  core, family, friends, potential, mission, influence, and faith.  Core has to do with your integrity and the others are pretty self explanatory.  In the introduction it reads, "The goal is not only to engage your mind, but to also challenge your heart."  This is done with a challenge at the end of each devotional called an, "uncommon key." 

I have enjoyed reading this book each morning because it is simple, not hard theological truths, just everyday manhood stuff.  I can read one day in about 2 - 3 minutes, but to really gain from these insights one must use the "uncommon key" at the end to really engage one's life.  This has been beneficial and is "the key" to really growing from Mr. Dungy's insight.  My only complaint would be the opposite side of the coin that I just mentioned.  The coin being the devotionals simplicity, one side being its simple truths, the other side of the coin being that some of the scriptures are not given their full theological depth.  Some verses that have huge doctrinal truths behind them are treated in a simple proverbial form.  

This would not stop me from recommending this book.  It truly is a good book and deserving of any man's time.  With father's day coming up in the not to distant future this would be a great book to give as a gift.

In fact Tyndale House Publishers, who provided this book to me for free in exchange for my review, has also provided a gift certificate for someone of my choice to give to.  I only ask that you respond to this post with a comment why you would like a free copy of "Uncommon Life" book.  Even if for yourself or as a gift for someone else. 

Video for "Uncommon Life"

To check out more go to:

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Radical is SUPER Challenging!

Radical is a Keith Green song that convicts the snot out of you.  Radical is a John MacArthur sermon that tells you you have been in to see the King and you left changed.  Each chapter digs a little deeper into your view of the American dream and dares to challenge it against the Lord Jesus Christ.  David Platt is a true prophet for our modern day. 

What I liked about this book:  nothing.  But not a "nothing" like you think I mean.  I didn't like it because it did what the Word says God's truth will do.  It divides out thoughts and our intentions and reveals them for what they are.  I am not comparing this book with Scripture, but Mr. Platt teaches in this book straight from the biblical text, and when that is done the truth is unavoidable. 

I am considering making this book a prerequisite for my church to read with me in the hopes that it will drive all of us to a deeper place with the Lord Jesus.  David Platt has done Americans a great dis-service, but for the Kingdom of our God and Savior he has done what is necessary.  Shown us our idols in America.  We are to repent.