Friday, May 30, 2014

The Nations Roar, But God's Kingdom Triumphs

In his sermon on "Scriptural Christianity" John Wesley said,
But shall we not see greater things than these? Yea, greater than have been yet from the beginning of the world? Can Satan cause the truth of God to fail? Or his promises to be of none effect? If not, the time will come when Christianity will prevail over all, and cover the earth. Let us stand a little, and survey this strange sight, a Christian world.
Yet worldwide many of those who call themselves the church today love God with their mouth but love the world in deed.  How do we know this? Just look at the evidence:
  • They seek influence with the world.
  • They follow the world's dress.
  • They imitate the world's music.
  • They say little commandments of God don't matter as long as we have faith.
  • They desire power rather than Christ, and neglect prayer unless it's thought to bring power.
  • They rarely read the Word alone, yet pride themselves in knowing so much about God.
  • They fight with the world and with other Christians.
  • Sacrifice is more important than obedience.
  • Size, a following, and an impressive appearance is more important than obedience.
  • Others' feelings are more important than truth.
  • Fitting in with others takes priority over pleasing God.
  • Clout is more important than prayer.
But Isaiah 2:2-4, Isaiah 11:6-12, and Romans 11:25-26 show a far different reality for the church on earth. Some people would call this the millennium.  Regarding these verses Wesley preached,
Against hope believe in hope. It is your Father's good pleasure yet to renew the face of the earth. Surely all these things shall come to an end, and the inhabitants of the earth shall learn righteousness. "Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they know war any more." "The mountain of the Lord's house shall be established in the top of the mountains;" and all the kingdoms of the world shall become the kingdoms of our God. "They shall not" then "hurt or destroy in all his holy mountain."
Imagine such a worldwide event which God could use to cause the current state of the church to change. Is an unholy, worldly church as we see it today God's plan for the church? What will it take to cause us to pray just for the sake of being with God? For the world to appear detestable to the church? To desire the Word of God alone? To crave to be hidden in Christ rather than noticed? To deliver so many from proud and contentious hearts? To unitedly cry out to God as a church worldwide, "Even so, come, Lord Jesus?" What would cause such united, contrite, earnest prayer as to bring a worldwide revival and usher in the kingdom of God on earth?

I answer those questions with more questions.

What always caused God's people in the Old Testament to cry out to God and be saved, healed from their backsliddings, and then wholeheartedly serve God and begin to prosper? 

Calamities sent by God and affliction at the hand of the heathens, which then caused a renewed fear of God and a return to obedience of the Word of God.

Why did the Spirit baptized church have such explosive growth in the first centuries after Pentecost? The church then spread into all of the known world. 

God used the preaching of Christ and nearly unceasing tremendous persecution, first by the Jews and then by the Romans.

Why did the Reformation have such explosive growth? 

God used the demand for the Word of God and the Inquisition, which meant much persecution.

Why did the Methodists have such Explosive growth? 

God used their radical sacrifice, demand for a return to the purity of the early church as recorded by the Word, and persecution.

What did God use to cause the success of the early Holiness Movement?

Radical self sacrifice and obedience to the Word, the preaching of heart purity and holy living, and reproach and affliction by the rest of the worldly church.

What did God use to cause marvelous growth of the church in China in the last generation?


What is God using to cause a revival in parts of Muslim Africa today?

Persecution.  And God's church worldwide has been praying for decades for revival.

Throughout the history of the church God uses Calamity and Persecution to advance His kingdom. And this always results a greater love of Christ as demonstrated by obedience to His Word and holy living.

God has a remnant around the world are praying fervently for God's kingdom to come to hearts.  The more the church is afflicted, the more earnestly we will pray.  And this will bring to pass even greater spiritual wonders.  
So what will God use to bring about His promise of Holiness Unto The Lord throughout the whole earth?   I believe that God will use such calamities, yea mighty calamities such as never seen before, to take away many tares. And God will use persecution such as never seen before as to purge away dross from the gold.
In that day shall the branch of the LORD be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the earth shall be excellent and comely for them that are escaped of Israel.  And it shall come to pass, that he that is left in Zion, and he that remaineth in Jerusalem, shall be called holy, even every one that is written among the living in Jerusalem:
When the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and shall have purged the blood of Jerusalem from the midst thereof by the spirit of judgment, and by the spirit of burning." (Isaiah 4:2-4)
And Holiness Unto The Lord shall fill the earth.  What an outpouring of the Holy Spirit that will be, of which Pentecost was only the beginning and a foretaste of a much larger ending.
Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain. (James 5:7)   
He shall come down like rain upon the mown grass: as showers that water the earth... (Psalm 72:6 etc.) 
And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come.  The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former, saith the LORD of hosts: and in this place will I give peace, saith the LORD of hosts. (Haggai 2:7a, 9)
John Fletcher wrote, "The time certainly is drawing near when universal peace shall bless the earth: when distracted Europe, superstitious Asia, Blind Africa, and America shall more abundantly see the salvation of our God." He also wrote, The coming of Christ is near, even at the door when he will establish his kingdom. He is now sweeping the earth, to plant it with righteousness and true holiness."

Francis Asbury wrote, "We will not give up the cause -- we will not abandon the world to infidels."

Peter Cartwright, in 1856 wrote,
Nothing but the principles of the Bible can save our happy nation or world, and every friend of religion ought to spread the Bible to the utmost of his power and means. Then let us look for the happy end of the universal spread of truth, when all flesh shall see the salvation of God.
Nathanael Burwash said that John Wesley's conception of the coming of Christ meant:
the extension of Christ's spiritual kingdom in the hearts of men by individual conversion such as was taking place in his own day. This he expected to go on in still greater power till the world should be regenerated by the saving power of the Gospel which was doing its work in his own time.
Even though different Christians will disagree over when Jesus Christ will be visibly seen on the earth -- whether before this reign of righteousness or at the end of such, we do know that he shall not fail nor be discouraged until he makes Holiness Unto The Lord to fill the earth.
Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee.
And the LORD shall be king over all the earth:
And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain.  In that day shall there be upon the bells of the houses, HOLINESS UNTO THE LORD: Yea, every pot in Jerusalem and in Judah shall be holiness unto the LORD of hosts... (Zechariah 14:1, 9a, 16, 20a, 21a)
But remember, before the living stone which the builders rejected becomes a mountain and fills the whole earth, the rest of the kingdoms of earth have to fall.  And this will likely be a time of great tribulation.   And many will continue to deny Christ.  But happily God will preserve a righteous remnant.  And, pure in heart, look up for your redemption draweth nigh. While waiting on God in your secret chamber, God can hide you and keep you in this terrible time.  (Isaiah 26:20-21)  The nations and empires of the world will shake and crumble, and the stone formed without hands will become a mountain and fill the earth.
And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD'S house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it.And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to he house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. (Isaiah 2:2-4)
As Wesley put it, this is the "latter day glory" -- that which grows brighter and brighter unto the perfect day. This is "the Grand Pentecost" fully coming, when "all Israel shall be saved and fullness of the Gentiles shall come."

Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!  


All Scripture taken from the King James Version.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

A Biblical and Holiness Perspective on Strong Drink

Here's a work in progress that I started in Colombia in 2013. Maybe later the dangers of drinking can be covered.  

Should I as a Christian Drink Wine or Strong Drink?  What Does the Bible Say?  What Do We Holiness People Believe?  Why? May the Holy Spirit of God help you find answers to your questions here.

First notice what God says in Holy Scripture. For the reader, I listed in no particular order just some of Bible verses on this subject:
And thou shalt bestow that money for whatsoever thy soul lusteth after, for oxen, or for sheep, or for wine, or for strong drink, or for whatsoever thy soul desireth: and thou shalt eat there before the LORD thy God, and thou shalt rejoice, thou, and thine household,   Deuteronomy 14:26
And the angel of the LORD appeared unto the woman, and said unto her, Behold now, thou art barren, and bearest not: but thou shalt conceive, and bear a son.
Now therefore beware, I pray thee, and drink not wine nor strong drink, and eat not any unclean thing:For, lo, thou shalt conceive, and bear a son; and no razor shall come on his head: for the child shall be a Nazarite unto God from the womb: and he shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines.                                Judges 13:3-5
And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;  Ephesians 5:18 
Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,
Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.            1 Corinthians 6:9-10
His watchmen are blind: they are all ignorant, they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark; sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber.
Yea, they are greedy dogs which can never have enough, and they are shepherds that cannot understand: they all look to their own way, every one for his gain, from his quarter.
Come ye, say they, I will fetch wine, and we will fill ourselves with strong drink; and to morrow shall be as this day, and much more abundant.        Isaiah 56:10-12
Woe unto them that rise up early in the morning, that they may follow strong drink; that continue until night, till wine inflame them!                    Isaiah 5:11
Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.   Proverbs 20:1 
It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine; nor for princes strong drink:
Lest they drink, and forget the law, and pervert the judgment of any of the afflicted.
Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto those that be of heavy hearts.         Proverbs 31:4-6
Do not drink wine nor strong drink, thou, nor thy sons with thee, when ye go into the tabernacle of the congregation, lest ye die: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations:
And that ye may put difference between holy and unholy, and between unclean and clean;             Leviticus 10:9-10
Woe unto them that are mighty to drink wine, and men of strength to mingle strong drink:                Isaiah 5:2
Woe unto him that giveth his neighbour drink, that puttest thy bottle to him, and makest him drunken also, that thou mayest look on their nakedness!    Habakkuk 2:15
But they also have erred through wine, and through strong drink are out of the way; the priest and the prophet have erred through strong drink, they are swallowed up of wine, they are out of the way through strong drink; they err in vision, they stumble in judgment.    Isaiah 28:7
For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre;
But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate;   Titus 1:7-8
For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb.   Luke 1:15
Convincing evidence has been given that in the Bible times, fermented wine was used as a means to sanitize water. Just enough alcoholic wine was mixed with water to kill organisms which might cause stomach problems such as dysentery or parasites, but it was not enough alcohol to cause drunkenness. This resultant mixture would be called wine also. This would be similar to us adding chlorine or iodine to our water today. This by some is believed to be what Paul is referring to when He recommends that Timothy drink a little wine for his stomach’s sake. Timothy could have experienced chronic cramps or diarrhea caused by drinking unsanitary water. This still happens to missionaries today on some mission fields, due to bad water. This advice to Timothy also applies to other Christians as well. “Likewise must the deacons be grave, not doubletongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre.” (1 Tim. 3:8)

To say that whenever the Jews drank wine or strong drink in the Old Testament, they were drinking this purified water, I cannot. I believe that God overlooked several things that the Jews did in the Old Testament of which the New Testament Christian ought not stoop to do, due to our higher spiritual standard of living though grace and the coming of the Holy Spirit.

But the wine then wasn't nearly as alcoholic then as it is now.  Vic Reasoner stated in his commentary on Romans, “Until recent times the yeast used in making fermented beverages died off quickly at relatively low levels of alcohol – probably about 4%. Thus, the alcoholic content was low. Today wine has about 12% alcohol content. In addition, the wine was diluted with water in the ancient world. Only the uncivilized drank their wine unmixed.” [p. 554] This addition purified what might have otherwise been unhealthful water.  Once diluted, it would have been nearly impossible to drink enough to make one drunk.

The following is from the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia regarding “strong drink,”
Its immoderate use is strongly condemned (Isaiah 5:11, Isaiah 5:12; Proverbs 20:1; see DRUNKENNESS).  It was forbidden to ministering priests (Leviticus 10:9), and to Nazarites (Numbers 6:3; Judges 13:4, Judges 13:7, Judges 13:14; compare Luke 1:15), but was used in the sacrificial meal as drink offering (Numbers 28:7). It is commended to the weak and perishing as a means of deadening their pain; but not to princes, lest it might lead them to pervert justice (Proverbs 31:4-7).”

Proverbs 31 mentions that King Limuel’s mother told him that wine was only for the perishing or those with a heavy heart. Regarding this Adam Clarke said, “Inebriating drinks were mercifully given to condemned criminals, to render them less sensible of the torture they endured in dying. This is what was offered to our Lord; but he refused it.” “Of heavy heart” in the Hebrew means “bitter of soul” according to the Treasury of Scriptural Knowledge. Today we have drugs, tranquilizers, anesthetic, and many other medicines to alleviate those who are dying or in agony or pain. In ancient days wine served this purpose. And as wine or strong drink can be abused in this purpose, today many abuse drugs likewise.

In Jeremiah 35 God gave us a powerful illustration of the blessings which come from very careful living. The Rachabites were commanded by their ancestor Jonadab son of Rachab genarations earlier to drink no wine them nor their sons forever. God tested them by having His prophet Jeremiah set wine before them and tell them to drink. They refused to drink. God pronounced judgment upon Judah and Jerusalem who later perished or were scattered due to not heeding His commands.   But God commended the Rachabites for their carefulness in listening and obeying.  Furthermore God pronounced a blessing upon them by proclaiming, “thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Jonadab the son of Rechab shall not want a man to stand before me for ever.” Oh, as for me and my house with all our future generations, let us fear God and obey Him in this and in the very smallest of God's precepts!

Points to Ponder:
  • God says that drunkards will not inherit the kingdom of God. I want to stay as far away from the line of getting drunk as possible. I will not drink to be “cheered” by a strong drink; the Lord is my joy.              
  • God says that those who are deceived by wine are “not wise.” I want to be as wise as possible. I will stay as far away from intoxicating drinks as possible. I won’t even put it to my lips.
  • God says that it is not for kings. It is my hope to sit with Christ on His throne someday. And even now through prayer and obedience I must exercise dominion and subdue the earth for the glory of God.
  • God says that it is not for ministering priests nor Nazarites. A Nazarite was a Jew who professed extraordinary purity of life and devotion. As a holy Christian, I am not only a New Testament priest before God, but I am a special priest before God and a modern day Nazarite – one separated unto God. I am one of the holy people, the careful, the earnest, the revivalists, a possessor of Perfect love, and I desire to be the most like the church of Pentecost. I am filled with the Spirit and I minister to others in the Spirit. 
  • God says that it is not for princes. We Christians are the sons of God; we are princes in the noblest sense of the word.
  • We are not to do anything that could cause someone to fall. If were to yield to a sip of wine others would lower their resistance too. I want NOT ONE person to drink strong drink and fall.
It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak.   Romans 14:21 
And through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died?
But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ.
Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend.    1 Corinthians 8:11-13
And I will drink NO intoxicating wine or intoxicating drinks while the world standeth.

Some would say, “But what if you were offered such during communion. I have been offered such during communion, and I have quietly asked if it was alcoholic wine, and when affirmed such, I politely said in a kind and none judgmental attitude, “No thank you, this is no judgment against you all, but I cannot drink alcoholic beverages. Please don’t worry about me, I am okay.” Those who say that this will offend the brother, are wrong. This will not cause a brother to loose his soul. Yea, it might save a brother or cause a brother to live more carefully due to a courageous stand and a blameless testimony of his fellow brother.

Another might say, “What if you are offered such at a wedding, will you offend them by refusing to drink?” I have been served such at a wedding, and I have politely refused. But know that even among the world’s etiquette, it is completely proper to not taste the wine. If offered wine, you may politely say, “No, thank you.” And if there is already wine at your place setting you do not have to drink it. Those who do not drink, but feel that they must toast to the couple’s well being, may raise their glass in the air to health, long life, et cetera, and then set the glass back down at its place without drinking.

I repeat, I will drink NO intoxicating wine or strong drink while the world standeth, for…
We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.       Romans 15:1
Please follow my example in this. And in doing so you might have the honor of restoring a fallen brother as mentioned in James.
Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him;
Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.    James 5:19-20
Phillip Dave Dickinson

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

On Humility and Pride, by John Fletcher

 Minister John William Fletcher
There is no evil disposition of the heart, with which the clergy are so frequently reproached, as pride. And it is with reason that we oppose this sinful temper, especially when it appears in pastors, since it is so entirely contrary to the spirit of the Gospel, that the Apostle Paul emphatically terms it, "The condemnation of the devil," 1 Timothy 3:6.

There is no amiable disposition which our Lord more strongly recommended to his followers, than lowliness of mind. From his birth to his death, he gave himself a striking example of the most profound humility, joined to the most ardent charity. After having washed the feet of his first disciples, that is, after he had taken the place of a slave at their feet, he addressed them as follows:-"Know ye what I have done unto you? Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you. Verily, verily, I say unto you, the servant is not greater than his Lord; neither he that is sent, greater than he that sent him," John 13:12-16. Again he says to the same effect, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister: and whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister," Mark 10:42; 2:45.

Real Christianity is the school of humble charity, in which every true minister can say, with Christ, according to his growth in grace, "Learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart; and ye shall find rest unto your souls." And unhappy will it be for those who, reversing Christianity, say, by their example, which is more striking, than all their discourses, "Learn of us to be fierce and revengeful, at the expense of peace both at home and abroad." They who receive the stipends of ministers, while they are thus endeavouring to subvert the religion they profess to support, render themselves guilty, not only of hypocrisy, but of a species of sacrilege.

It is supposed that St. Peter had the pre-eminence among the apostles, at least by his age: it is certain that he spake in the name of the other apostles, that he first confessed Christ in two public orations; that our Lord conferred favours upon him; that he was permitted to be one of the three witnesses of his Master's transfiguration and agony; and that on the day of pentecost he proved the power of his apostolic commission, by introducing three thousand souls at once into the kingdom of Christ. Far, however, from arrogating, upon these accounts, a spiritual supremacy over his brethren, he assumed no other title but that which was given in common to all his fellow labourers in the ministry: "The elders which are among you," says he, "I exhort, who am also an elder: feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind: neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock," 1 Peter 5:1, 3. A piece of advice this, which is too much neglected by those prelates who distinguish themselves from their brethren, yet more by an anti-christian pride, than by those ecclesiastical dignities to which they have made their way by the intrigues of ambition.

I've found that there's little online information on John William Fletcher (later changed from "de la Flechere").  So I've gathered some links that I've found here.

One more quote (on predestination extremes) by John Fletcher:

"The error of rigid Calvinists centers in the denial of that evangelical liberty, whereby all men, under various dispensations of grace, may without necessity choose life...And the error of rigid Arminians consists in not paying a cheerful homage to redeeming grace, for all the liberty and power which we have to choose life, and to work righteousness since the fall...To avoid these two extremes, we need only follow the Scripture-doctrine of free-will restored and assisted by free-grace."
John Fletcher, "On Predestination", Checks to Antinomianism (New York: J. Collard, 1837), pp. 333-334.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Minister, Let Me Tell You A Secret (To Lasting Results)

Photo Credit:

Pastors, missionaries, and ministers, (and those who might be involved in ministry someday,) I'm going to let you in on a secret. May God open your spiritual eyes to receive what I tell you here.

Pray big.
Plan big.
Don't manipulate in order to bring fulfillment to your petitions to God; this limits God.
Expect future blessings.

Let me explain. But first, this assumes that you have been sanctified wholly. That's foundational. You must fear God greatly. Live circumspectly. And walk humbly in Christian perfection. Perfect love, cleansing from all inbred sin, and a baptism of the Holy Spirit make up this Christian perfection.

Pray Big:
Learn to spend much time with God. Ask Him for big things for His glory. Be an Enoch and walk with God. Be a Noah, perfect in his generations, and listen to God so that He can tell you His secrets for your generation. Be a Daniel and purpose to not only not defile yourself with even the smallest negligence, but also to never miss your appointment with prayer to God. Those who fast and pray raise up the foundations of many generations. Think of Nehemiah. Pray much, stand on the promises, and the passing of years will reveal that you will have become a modern day Nehemiah. God right now searches this earth for people through whom to show Himself mighty.

Plan Big:
Prayer, much prayer, will bring unheard of blessings, fruit, and power to your ministry. And with time faith will result – faith that isn't affected by circumstances which seem otherwise. Earnestly beg God to show you what He wants you to pray for. Then realize that he wants to do a thousand times greater. Over the next years do God's will in the great and small while asking God for what He has showed you. Expect God to enlarge your vision and petitions as you continue to pray and work for this. With time you might just simply ask God to work out His will through you, for your faith may grow so great that you will know that you can't even dream up all God wants to do as you humbly stay on your face before Him. Pray enough and God will send others to help you pray and bring this to pass.

Don't just hope to maintain. Faith calls for so much more. God wants to do exceeding abundantly above all we can ask or think. What are the hard cases? Ask God for these souls. Ask God for pastors and missionaries and churches to result from your labors. Ask God to give you your city, your state, your country, or your world. If your eschatology limits your prayer, reexamine your position. You should be praying, “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, in earth as it is in heaven.”

Meanwhile, work with who God tells you to work. Put faithful men and women to work. Plan for succession. Mentor the younger generation. Start giving work to those who seek God.

Start making plans for missionaries to go out from you someday. Don't send them away to a para-church organization, that's for those who don't have a local church. You and your church raised them up; YOU send them. Ask God you help you and your church serve them as they go out into the whitened harvest field. The missionaries whom God raises up under you need to be accountable to their local church. Become a sending church.

Ask God to show you how you are going to put future preachers and pastors to work. Plan to mentor, prepare, teach, and train them. You, your local church should teach them. You don't have to send them off to an “expert” in who-knows-where who questions some of the very foundations in which you believe, whose teachings may undermine what your church stands for. The local church is to equip her own ministers. Para-church higher education is for those whom God has called to such, it's an exception. But the rule is that the local church is serve her own ministers and vice versa.

Plan to raise up laborers in the way your church believes. Not only do our church's pastors mentor those coming up with a call, but also her ministers have a reading course. This includes the themes of prayer, revival, holiness, doctrine, church history, reliable resources, and more. This writer has his own children reading key books to prepare them and to teach them what they should know. Youth can be challenged in the above themes as well as biographies of spiritual giants, holy manhood and womanhood, parenting, marriage and home, chastity, and holy living. But remember much more is caught than taught. What you do shouts so loudly that people can't hear what you say. But if your walk matches your passionate talk, you are a powerful teacher.

Regarding training the next generation. Laying a proper foundation will eventually result in spiritual youth. Loving, devouring, living in, walking according to the Bible is a firm foundation.  Both the mentor mentored must delight in God's law.  And invest much in prayer. Walk in holiness before God. Minister Christ, truth, and love to all ages. Raise up children in Christ. Take time for the youth. The Holy Spirit is working on them too. Know that they will be youth (and need to grow in maturity) but also expect them to be spiritual. Spend extra time with those to whom God directs you and to those you feel has a call. Talk to them line upon line, precept upon precept. Pray with them, love them, help equip them, and start using them. Have patience and lovingly help them with their errors. Enable them become faithful in little so that God can make them faithful in much. Role model the ministry for younger spiritual ones, give them a chance to practice ministry and then with much prayer gently offer counsel for their shortcomings in ministry. Teach them all you know and then as the Holy Spirit teaches them, they can far surpass you.

Regarding Manipulation:
Some say, “But where am I going to get the resources for such big plans” Here lies the danger. You must guard against supposed shortcuts. Much prayer, patience, work, and time is needed here. Grass grows up overnight and dies in summer heat, but for an oak tree to mature it needs years as well sun, winds, and rains that God decides to send it. Do you want God to raise up a mighty and fruitful work? Then work with God's time and with what resources He sends you through prayer. Some look to speed up things up by recruitment campaigns, trophy figureheads, soliciting, debt, impression management, fake-it-til-you-make-it attitudes, glitz and bling and power-tie bigness, plastic smile optimism, by pleasing the carnal, endorsement seeking, partnerships with the world, secular alliances, and church growth fads.

God can use any of this to build His kingdom and He has. But God has a better way. Abraham had enough faith to let Lot choose the best, for he had received God's promise and knew that no matter what others did, God would give him the promise in God's time. And he by patient pursuance in God's will inherited God's promises. You also can pray until you know that God will work though your obedient life, without you having to resort to pulling strings.

About pleasing the carnal, it's like trying to build a church on sand. Many pastors yield to the temptation to use people with sins in their life in order to encourage them to keep coming to church. So people who are worldly in their dress, music styles, or ministry philosophy are used to lead in the service or music, to teach children, and even to participate in decision making. At times they are given office in the church, rather the ministry of the church appointing the spiritual ones as is best.  Attitudes, faithfulness, and direction are important indicators of usefulness.  Are they Christlike, unchanging, and moving in the direction of God's will according to the Bible? These people are useful, even though they still might have blind spots in their life.

Many churches are grasping for straws to keep unspiritual young people from leaving. So they cater to the worldly tastes of the youths in hopes to keep them around. The atmosphere becomes reminiscent of a pop concert rather than humble worship, Godly fear, holy delight, and willful submission to God.

The church can't compete with the world. This grieves the Spirit of God pushes away the spiritual people – both indispensably a part of the church. Trendiness becomes a desirable characteristic in the leadership. This minister often tries to make his messages palatable for the worldly in the congregation. Messages become laced with jokes and shallow stories and on "feel good, you're amazing" themes.

This is like raising children on candy and hoping for health and growth. The pure milk and solid meat of the Word will work miracles. In time the hungry will flock from afar to be fed the riches of the preached full Gospel. Sinners will be converted and believers sanctified and edified, because lifting up Christ will build His church.

About recruitment campaigns, trophy figureheads, soliciting, impression management, and glitz and bling and power-tie bigness, the Apostle Paul didn't want to build on the foundations of others and he disregarded the wisdom of this world. Through constant prayer, suffering, work, and preaching he became known as the Apostle to the Gentile church.

Constant prayer -- there it is again -- rather than manipulation and gimmicks.  Barren Hannah carried her burden to God in prayer, and it was God brought a national revival through her son of which King David was just one of its many fruits. George Muller chose not to tell anyone of His needs, nor go into debt, but wait on God in prayer to build His work. And Muller housed and fed thousands of children for decades as well as established scores of schools which taught Christ to tens of thousands of children many of whom were orphans.

Future Blessings:
Look what God did through these common people. Once you decide to submit to God like this, you will find blessings and growth much beyond human ability. You will see supernatural results. And what you build up is not going to pass away when you do. Rather growth and blessings will continue mounting up.

John Wesley said, "Give me one hundred preachers who fear nothing but sin and desire nothing but God, and I care not whether they be clergymen or laymen, they alone will shake the gates of Hell and set up the kingdom of Heaven upon Earth."  Today we still have not yet seen all the fruit of that revival; it lives on and continues to grow. A revivalist once told young D. L. Moody, “The world has yet to see what God will do with a man fully consecrated to him.” And God spoke that directly to Moody's heart. Today even though Moody has passed on from this world, he continues to speak and bear fruit.

Today also, God is looking for anyone with a perfect heart who depends wholly on God to stand in the gap. Like Enoch, Noah, Daniel, Nehemiah, the Apostle Paul, Hannah, Muller, Wesley, and Moody, a mighty work will be raised up by God under their feet. And the fruit of which will continue to grow and live on throughout eternity. 

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Happy Mother's Day, Ladies of my life.

Sweet Heather at 5 months along.

I can honestly say that I profoundly thank God for giving me the mother, mother-in-law, and wife that He has given me.

About my own mom, I cannot think of another mom (as well as mother-in-law or wife) that I would rather have.  And I know that God in His wisdom and love gave me a mother who would best make me want to be a real man, love a woman, have a family and home, try to get them and others to heaven, and love and know God though Jesus Christ in prayer and through obedience to His Word.  Thank you, Mother.

Thank you,  Mother-In-Law, for raising up a most marvelous daughter.  God says that wisdom is justified of her children.  I didn't know you until I after I met Heather.  But obviously due to the fruit I see in your life today and in Heather, Heather had a wise and loving mother.

For Heather loves God, loves me, loves her family, loves her children, loves the lost, loves the church, loves being a housewife and a minister's wife, and she just loves people in general.  And she loves with an abundance, sincerity, and joy that only God can give.

Thank you, Heather, for blessing me by being my wife.  I'd choose you all over again.  I am many-fold more the man I am, because of having you as my wife.  Your children (in our household and around the world) and I rise up and call you blessed.
                                             - Phillip

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Once While Praying In A Garden

Once while praying in a garden alone amidst the green                                                          
Of trees and shrubs competing for their glory to be seen.
Flowers too were growing; their rich colors charmed the eye.
And their beauty was admired by each happy passer-by.
And their beauty was admired by each happy passer-by.

When I left the path to enter a certain lonely, shady space
I saw with joyful wonder such a blossom in that place.
No sunlight nor admir'rs smiled upon the bloom I saw
Thriving hidden in the thicket with a glory rarely seen.
Thriving hidden in the thicket with a glory rarely seen.

God only saw her offering -- bright, delicate, and sweet --
And beasts such as hummingbirds and the straying worker bees.
God chose to plant her there, with sweet nectar, in His plan;
Lost, lowly beasts are refreshed, but they do not understand.
Lost, lowly beasts are refreshed, but they do not understand.

I'm entranced by the God proved worthy of the sacred praise
Of unseen, short lived, posies thriving gayly by His grace.
(And in time God will bend low with pleasure in His face
To pick His fragrant treasures to beautify His place.
To pick His fragrant treasures to beautify His place.)

Lord, I want to be Your flower in the lonely place You choose,
Love and serve You without measure, though hid from public views,
And wanderers may be revived, But always may I raise
Off'rings alone for You, my God, of service, love, and praise.
Off'rings alone for You, my God, of service, love, and praise.

(The flower I saw was a lone Bird Of Paradise bloom hidden away in the foliage by God somewhere in Argentina. But I caught a view of the otherwise undiscovered delight.)

Friday, May 2, 2014

Jews and Chinese

I've found it interesting that...
There are similarities between the Jews and the Chinese.  Notice just two:  
1. Ancient written Hebrew was a pictorial language; although also phonetic, the letters came from images.  Chinese is a pictorial language.  Their words come from images.  Both languages are ancient and have many ancient seeds of truth.  For instance...

Hebrew word picture

Chinese word picture
2. Both the Jews and the Chinese use a calendar based on the moon and it's cycles.  Whereas Westerners use a sun based calendar.  

Chinese history on this is sparse and there are varying opinions, but some historians and even some genetic mapping present some evidence that many of the Chinese' ancestors seem to have descended from Noah's son Shem, just as did the Jews.  But go one more generation back and we ALL have the same grandpa Noah.  What a godly heritage we have!
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