Payh Blog
Aug 26, 2020

Trust in the Lord with All Your Heart

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” – Proverbs 3:5-6

There are famous quotes from classic novels that are remembered perhaps more than the story or novel itself. The quote is so well phrased and of such importance that it stands all on its own. Yet, it is still written within the context of a story and is defined or given power by the context of the storyline.

Take for example Gone With the Wind: Scarlett famously says, “Tara! Home. I’ll go home. And I’ll think of some way to get him back. After all…tomorrow is another day.” Or, Brett: “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.”

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…” from the start of A Tale of Two Cities, or “It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest I go to than I have ever known.”

The well-known Christian author J.R.R. Tolkien, “It is a dangerous business, Frodo, going out of your door.” The Fellowship of the Ring. “There is some good in this world, and it’s worth fighting for.” The Two Towers. “Not all those who wander are lost.” The Fellowship of the Ring.

Or, the well-known Russian author, Dostoyevsky, in his The Brothers Karamozov, “Above all, don’t lie to yourself.”

Proverbs 3:5-6 is set in the context of the 3rd chapter of Proverbs or within the entirety of the book of Proverbs. Do you really want to know what it means to “trust in the Lord with all your heart?” Then read the entire 3rd chapter; indeed, read the whole book. Meditate on it. These two verses are very quotable and some of the most memorable in Scripture.

Proverbs 3 is packed with wisdom, as is all of Proverbs. In one chapter is a lifetime of instruction. Pursuing its truths consumes a life. But the blessing of doing so lasts forever.

There are numerous ways in which to truly trust in the Lord, and we see some of them specified in this 3rd chapter. The first is not forgetting or simply paying no attention to the Lord’s instruction to those who really desire to trust Him. The Psalmist says in Psalm 1 the one who trusts in the Lord with a whole heart is one who delights in the law of the Lord and meditates on His words day and night. Not merely a weekly Bible reading or even a daily one, but he or she engages His words with heart and mind in the day and in the night. Less TV watching and much more Bible reading and thinking about what you read.

“Write them on the tablet of your heart.” Just how do you do that? How do you engrave His words on your “love center,” your heart? Where your emotions and feelings reside? Where whatever drives you to do what you do and think and say finds its root, its anchor, its inspiration? It is delighting in His words, hanging on them, that you do not ever want them to escape you! Never to be put out of your mind or lost to other thoughts or inclinations. Nothing as worthy can ever be a substitute.

Is this possible? Yes, but it requires discipline. It requires perseverance. But mostly it requires true love. Love for Him who gave everything for you, even His life.

“Be not wise in your own eyes!” Make a life’s habit of acquiring and practicing true humility in your soul.

“Honor the Lord with your substance!” Allow Him use of all of your resources. Give generously to Him and to your neighbor. Remember the rich young ruler who went away sad because the Lord asked him to give away his many assets and come and follow Him. He would not trust the Lord because he proved his earthly wealth was his god.

“My son (or daughter), do not despise the Lord’s discipline or grow weary of His reproof!” Do not forget, not ever, He disciplines those He truly loves. He treats you as His very own son or daughter, because you are a genuine member of His own family. When discipline comes in your life receive it graciously as from the Lord’s hand whatever it is. Because it is from his heart and hand.

This is exactly how you trust the Lord with your whole heart. Don’t glibly quote these famous verses. But meditate on them, read them in their context to fully grasp what is being said (Proverbs 3), and apply their lessons to your self-analyzed motivations in life. I guess the best way to put this is “eat these words” and digest them within you, so their truths become who you are.

“Be still, my soul: the Lord is on your side; bear patiently the cross of grief or pain; leave to your God to order and provide; in ev’ry change he faithful will remain. Be still, my soul: your best, your heav’nly Friend through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.”

(1st verse of Kathrina von Schlegel’s hymn, “Be Still My Soul,” 1855)

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Aug 17, 2020

The Beginning of It All

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” – Genesis 1:1

“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” – Genesis 1:27

Your own eyes see and experience the world and universe in which you live, including sun, moon, stars and planets in the sky above. Your curious mind wonders, how did all this really come to be?

There are basically two proposals for all you see and experience: one, the creation of all by a personal God, or, two, the evolution of all things through eons of time according to random chance; but still no satisfactory answer from the evolution side for how it all began. Other proposals are theories with various mixing of the two. The one you choose depends greatly on whether or not you believe there is a God.

Of course, there are those who believe in God, and also believe in evolution. Scientific discovery, whether hypothesized or “proven” has had a lot to do with the formation of evolutionary theory since Darwin first proposed it. Scientific discovery has been used by proponents of both, creation and evolution. Such discovery, mainly archaeological, has further supported the veracity of the Scriptures and its claims to God’s creation work. A lot of scientific discovery further supports God creating from nothing to all which exists today.

On the other hand, scientific discovery has continued to either buttress or to wholly alter evolutionary hypotheses. Many holes remain in evolution’s basic theory, while its proponents treat it as well-established fact; as does most scientific literature, museums, textbooks, and organizations. Of course, if you do not believe in a creating God, what alternatives have you?

Hebrews 11 addresses the truth of the Creator God: “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the people of old received their commendation. By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.” “Creatio ex nihilo,” creation out of nothing, is exactly how the Bible reveals God creating what we now see of our material world and universe.

Evolutionary theory expresses that eons of years plus chance produced what is today, without any design or designer; an unsupported leap of faith. There are only guesses as to how it all began; or, if matter and universe have eternally existed which at some point in eons past began to evolve into the earth we know today. Strange, though, there is no proof of any life anywhere else in the entire universe, on any of the numberless planets, except by supposition with absolutely no evidence.

Admitting that I am perhaps biased by my faith, the theory of evolution holds no water for me. It is a shot in the dark, a bigger leap of “faith,” than believing in a personal, eternal God who designed and made all things, and sustains all things. The evidence of design in the intricacies and complexities of all that is is simply overwhelming. There is nothing in all the universe which lends itself to believing that all that is came from random, chaotic chance.

The belief in evolution is so stupefying one would have to believe it arises from a blinding, irrational conspiracy perpetrated on those who believe so adamantly in it. Well, that is exactly what the power of the prince of the power of the air does (Ephesians 2:2), even God’s sworn enemy, Satan. Of course, he is hidden, as he desires, from many who cannot see or believe in the reality of the spiritual world, whether angels or devils. Such see evolutionary theory as solid fact, while ignoring its holes, creating discrepancies unbridged by concrete evidence.

The evidence of special revelation, the Bible, is questioned and belittled, while the hypothesized theory of “scientific” evolution reigns supreme, even after further discovery renders some previously discovered “facts” of evolution false.

One example, evolution denies the biblical revelation of an actual Adam and Eve from whom proceeded the entire human race, even though Jesus Himself affirms their existence. Evolution teaches that humanity through evolutionary processes sprung from many places on earth in prehuman form later evolving into human form, so that a whole population eventually came about over time, some human and some prehuman living side by side.

The Bible teaches that Adam and Eve created in God’s image, had intelligent minds and personalities, able to give all the animals and birds of different types names, for example. They were not unintelligent creatures having to evolve over centuries in the intelligence of their minds.

Evolution would propose that human intelligence evolves from ages past to much more intelligent humans of the evolving future. In other words, though a relatively short time for evolving, many of today’s politicians surpass the country’s founding fathers in intelligence. I don’t think so!

That is the working principle, though evolutionists say that takes thousands of years. In actuality, Adam and Eve had as sharp or sharper minds as we have today though they lived millenniums ago.

You have a choice: creation of all by God, or evolution by chance and time. Or even a mixture of the two, which tends in most cases to lean more toward evolution than to God’s creating and maintaining power. Let faith be the dominant element. Believe in God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, the creator of all things, including you!

“We sing the mighty power of God that made the mountains rise, that spread the flowing seas abroad and built the lofty skies, we sing the wisdom that ordained the sun to rule the day; the moon shines full at His command, and all the stars obey.

There’s not a plant or flower below but makes your glories known, and clouds arise and tempests blow by order from your throne; while all that borrows life from you is ever in your care, and everywhere that we can be, you, God, are present there.”

(1st and 3rd verses of Isaac Watts hymn, “We Sing the Mighty Power of God,” 1707)

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Aug 10, 2020


God promised Abram many millennia ago, “In you all the families of the earth will be blessed.” (Genesis 12:3)

You see a final description of “all the families of the earth” in Revelation 5:9-10. It is a description which encompasses all people, of every race, of every language, of every tribe, of every type of men, women, and children in every age of the earth. There are no such thing as “un-reached peoples!” The family of God encompasses every kind of people; representatives from every group. All the kinds of people which God created; these will be an integral part of God’s redeemed and completed family.

God created Adam, He then established the lines of families coming from Adam’s sons, Seth and Cain, He saved alone Noah and seven people of Noah’s family from the universal flood.

Of the people populating the earth stemming from Noah and his children after the flood, God chose from among them Abram/Abraham to create from his seed God’s chosen people Israel, who would in turn by God’s provision become a light to non-Jewish Gentiles. Thus, some of Israel together with many Gentiles, who are grafted into the tree, will become the solitary Olive Tree which constitutes the whole family of God (read Romans 11); complete, whole, redeemed.

Abraham had faith, faith in the One True God (Hebrews 11:8-19). So he was called by God the father of the people of faith. God’s Word proclaims: “For in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male or female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to the promise” (Galatians 3:26-29).

The blessed people of the earth are these: those who are in Christ, Abraham’s offspring, the actual heirs of the promise made millennia ago. Are you of those blessed by God? If you are “in Christ” you are! What does it actually mean to be “blessed?” It means everything! Anything else in your life means absolutely nothing in comparison to possessing this blessing!

Esau craved the ancestral blessing given instead, by God’s obvious providence, to his twin brother Jacob. But once given to Jacob by his father, Isaac/Israel, it was irrevocable. Esau’s tears were bitter, but apparently unavailing for Esau’s descendants. This was the lesson given in Scripture to you to explain the exclusivity of God’s eternal promise. The blessing you seek for yourself comes only through Jesus Christ to those who by faith are in Christ. The blessing will never accrue to any who are not in Christ. Such will simply never happen.

To be included among the blessed families/individuals of God’s promise to Abraham is inestimable. It is eternal. It is beyond any gift that can ever be given. It is the ultimate, supreme gift of the ages. It will never be revoked. It is sealed eternally by the perfect character of God. The essence of this blessing is specifically this: “Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever” (Psalm 23).

Seek, therefore, with all that is in you to be found “in Christ.” This is obtained by faith. Paul said to the Philippian jailer who asked him how he could be saved, “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved, you and your household.”

“Believe in” means know who Jesus is, what He has done, and trust in Him, His words and promises. Faith acts in belief. It will neither renege nor be turned aside in its seeking of Jesus. “I must have Jesus or I die,” is the blunt testimony of the follower of Jesus. You mean it, and you commit your whole life to it.

This promise is yours if you are found “in Christ.” Once in Christ the Word of God affirms, “no man can pluck you out of His hand!” (John 10:28) Rest always in this sure promise of God. You are and will be blessed, and that forever!

“All praise to thee my God, this night, for all the blessings of the light; keep me, O keep me, King of kings, beneath thine own almighty wings.”

(1st verse of Thomas Ken’s hymn, “All Praise To Thee My God, This Night,” 1709)

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Aug 03, 2020

Chosen Few

“For many are called, but few are chosen.” – Matthew 22:14

These are Jesus’ own words! They came from his own mouth, heart, and mind. What did the Lord mean by them? What truly constitutes many? What really constitutes few?

The Bible declares “Whosoever will, may come.” “Whosoever” is truly an all-encompassing group. In reality, then, all humankind is “called” by God to come to Him. But among all those who are called, Jesus says there are few who are chosen.

In Romans 1:19 the Word of God tells you, “For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them.” There is no doubt in this context “them” refers to all mankind. Those who are incapable of sense or receiving communication are exempt and covered by the mercies of a just God. But a few verses later in Romans 2:1 God’s mind is expressed about the result of this revelation of Himself from creation, “Therefore, you have no excuse, O man.”

Man knows in his heart there is a God, and the creation makes such clear. In other words, God is calling all humankind to acknowledge Him as the one Creator. Special revelation, which includes both the Scriptures and the Living Word of God made flesh, gives to us the Gospel. And the Gospel tells us that, “No man comes to God the Father, except through Jesus Christ (God the Son).” (John 14:6) Apparently, then, from Jesus’ own words, only a few come to God the Father through Jesus.

If you love Jesus, the Son of God, you are among those “few” who are blessed beyond all blessing. Peter writes: “Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall.” By the practice of your faith you can confirm God’s election, His sure choice of you.

God’s election is sovereign and a truth which is not thoroughly grasped by us. Not one of any human beings knows anything about who exactly God has chosen. But anyone who so desires can by faith insure THEY are one of those who are chosen; by following Peter’s words, you can confirm your own calling and election. If you are presented this choice by God’s Word you cannot honestly object that God is unjust. Anyone who reads and follows Peter’s words can pursue such confirmation of their own calling and election.

Salvation has been described as a door which from the outside has a big sign on it reading, “Whosoever will may come!” Once you have passed through that door and close it you read another sign on the inside of the door: “Chosen from the foundation of the earth.” You can do what you wish with this analogy, just know that you are enabled to pursue the confirmation of your own salvation according to Jesus’ Apostle Peter.

A good friend of mine now in heaven often gave a speech titled “Are there few or many who are saved?” He answered “many!” I do not think he actually compared the exact number of how many are truly saved to eternal life versus how many are not and will not be in heaven. But he did think that there will be many people who become citizens of heaven. He included in that number a forgotten great host of human beings: that is, everyone who had been aborted or died in the womb, or died in infancy. Such is a great, great number.

Whatever you may think of the above, Jesus’ words must be dealt with by you. What he said is clear. What he means by it must be considered without twisting his words to mean the opposite. I think you would be more concerned to insure you are among the “few,” than quibbling about whether Jesus is right or wrong. You can take your chances accusing Jesus of a falsehood. Personally, I do not advise you take such a chance.

Be sure with everything that is in you that you be found among the “few!” Make your calling and election sure by practicing the qualities Peter speaks about in his epistle to prevent yourself from falling. Jude ends his brief epistle with an amazing benediction about keeping you from falling. “Now to Him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.”

Your challenge is this: Keep yourself from falling by appealing to Jesus to make the feet of your heart stable, to empower you with His grace, to save you with His blood, to present you before His Father at the great judgment, BLAMELESS!

“See the Judge, our nature wearing, clothed in majesty divine; you who long for His appearing then shall say, ‘This God is mine!’ Gracious Savior, own me in that day as thine!”

(2nd verse of John Newton’s hymn, “Day of Judgment! Day of Wonders!,” 1774)

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Social Distance Concept. Too Many People With Infected Man Symbo
Jul 29, 2020


“Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making His appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.” -2 Corinthians 5:20

The whole world is experiencing upheaval in the pandemic created by COVID-19. This is no regional sickness, it is not relegated to a few nations, for this virus absolutely knows no borders. A contagion over the whole world, it has encompassed the entire globe.

Can this contagious nature of a deadly virus be compared to the similar effect of a saving gospel on the entire world? Has not the gospel really moved like a wildfire through the world population for two millennia? This coronavirus makes many ill, and for too many it is lethal. Those who catch it often have no idea how they contracted it; the source of the germs is often hidden from their knowledge.

The gospel too moves in mysterious ways. It penetrates certain peoples’ hearts while leaving others quite unaffected. It is like the wind described in John 3: “The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” The virus is like this, just as the gospel which greatly impacts the lives of many; still, the virus impacts only this life, while the gospel bears fruit for eternity.

The message of the gospel spreads throughout society just as the wind blows across the earth’s landscape. This message is carried on the wind by the intentional Spirit of God, by the printed word, by spoken word, by film, by every media imaginable, and by those myriads of folk who have believed its message and been transformed. God’s Word goes out into all the world, and it never returns void from wherever it goes. It accomplishes the task for which it was sent, and it can never be stifled by any person, power, or spiritual entity like Satan or his minions.

So, both like and unlike the virus, microbes which exist for a time in the air and find their way into a fertile place in human bodies to grow and do their devastation, the gospel is a penetrating message bearing the seeds of truth and life, all stemming from the life and words and actions of the Word made flesh, Jesus the Christ. It infects human hearts and minds, bringing life rather than sickness and death.

You can be a carrier of both the virus and the gospel, but it is the gospel you must carry quite intentionally by your own will wherever God leads you in His providence. Your body may possibly carry a dangerous virus unknown to you, but the seeds of the gospel are purposefully present in your heart, your soul, your words, your thoughts, your deeds.

You need to constantly remember that, as a genuine believer, you belong to the Lord and are therefore His personal ambassador by your presence wherever you go, wherever you are. So then, the intents of your heart, the words of your mouth, the purpose of your actions are spreading the gospel message in a dying world.

This is exactly how the true church exploded from a small band of fearful disciples in the first century to the largest body of faith in the world today, men and women and children of every tribe, language, and race. The church is everywhere because of the contagion of faith through the carriers of the germs of salvation. You are a contagious element of this faith. So, intentionally infect people with the gospel message. Ensure you come into contact with as many as you are able. You can be the contagious carrier which saves many lives!

“From utmost east to utmost west, wherever feet have trod, by the mouth of many messengers goes forth the voice of God: ‘Give ear to Me, you continents, you isles. Give ear to Me that the earth may be filled with the glory of God as the waters cover the sea.’”

(Second verse of Walter Campbell Ainger’s hymn, “God Is Working His Purpose Out,” 1894)

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Victory And Success. Champion Winner. Future Opportunity. Leader
Jul 21, 2020

Your Strength

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” -Philippians 4:13

This is Paul Anderson’s life verse, and it supports his well-known profession of faith, “If I, the strongest man in the world, cannot get through one day without Jesus Christ, how can you?” Just what are these “all things” you can do through Christ to which the Apostle Paul refers? The context of Philippians 4, just as the context of all of Scripture, makes it clear that this is no panacea promise to do whatever your feelings, appetites, and personal ideas conjure up. There are many things you may wish to do which you have no business doing, things which contribute to your downfall and further your brokenness.

This verse clearly refers to doing those things which will increase your godliness and assist you in aiding your neighbors’ physical and spiritual well-being. Never, never say to yourself, “Do I really need His strength? What’s wrong with my own?” For there is nothing more important for your health today and into eternity that Jesus cannot provide you in His strength. Your own ability and power will never come close to being sufficient.

Currently, our young men at PAYH are engaged in biking hundreds of miles in enervating heat, extreme temperatures, and high humidity. They are being pushed to their limits and beyond. Is this truly something they can ask Christ to help them continue to endure and overcome for the Lord’s glory? Certainly!

I am sure, if their minds and hearts acknowledge Christ’s presence and they accept His desire that they succeed in doing what is pleasing to Him, they can call on Him to help them get over this torturous hump. He can and will come to their aid if this actually by faith will increase their spiritual health, just as He will aid you.

Your strength is insufficient to do those things which you most need. You cannot obey the commandments of the Lord in your own strength, for example, which you well know. You cannot be what you ought to be for yourself or for others. You cannot rise above the fallen nature of this world. Sin drags you down; it ensures that you always come up short. You need the Lord Jesus Christ to get through even one day. Oh, you can muddle through on your own, but in yourself you will never be victorious in life. You will remain unsatisfied, and you will never see salvation.

Paul Anderson’s personal example was that he had to rely on Jesus’ strength to win the Olympic gold medal in Melbourne, Australia in 1956. His first two tries at the winning weight failed. He then asked the Lord for the strength to get this winning weight overhead.

In that critical moment, he promised to put the Lord first in his life, and while serving Him with his wife Glenda, they soon founded the Paul Anderson Youth Home for troubled young men. Paul and Glenda glorified Jesus Christ by introducing these teenage boys to Him. By their own example and instruction, they intentionally led them to rely on the strength of Christ in all things.

Philippians 4:13 is true for you in every way. You can rely on Him to be your own source of strength in everything. Christ is the strength you absolutely must have to succeed in all that truly matters. After all, nothing else does!

“No guilt in life, no fear in death

This is the power of Christ in me

From life’s first cry to final breath

Jesus commands my destiny

No power of hell, no scheme of man

Can ever pluck me from His hand

‘Til He returns or calls me home

Here in the power of Christ I stand”

(Fourth verse of Stuart Townsend and Keith Getty’s hymn, “In Christ Alone,” 2001)

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Relaxed Man Breathing Fresh Air Near The Mountains With A Blue S
Jul 15, 2020

Elusive Satisfaction

“But to what shall I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling to their playmates, ‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not mourn.’” -Matthew 11:16-17

If you believe the dictionary definition of “satisfaction,” it is something you will never acquire! It says satisfaction is “the fulfillment of your wishes, your expectations, or your needs and the pleasure derived from this.” If this were only true, but it is not, and your own experience proves it.

Who has ever been satisfied with the alleged fulfillment of all their wishes or expectations? Even the fulfillment of their personally determined needs leaves them wanting more and more, or at least something different, and then something different from the different!

In Matthew 11, Jesus speaks of that first century generation’s criticisms of John the Baptist’s message and life and then of His own message and example. Neither satisfied them apparently. One was spartan and self-sacrificing with a clarion call to repent. The other, Jesus, was seen by them as the opposite of John. They said of Jesus, “He came eating and drinking; He was a glutton and a drunkard with unsavory friends.”

This unmitigated lack of satisfaction is the primary characterization of today’s generation. The nation is wrought by virus, riots, destruction, murders, racism, divided political persuasions, hatred of laws, love for laws, defund, fund, tear down, build up. No one is satisfied! Our society is wracked by grievances, by offended parties, by rage or faux-rage, by vastly differing opinions.

Does Scripture offer any respite for the culture and society of this present age? Not really! Jesus said, “When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8). Again, He prophesied about the generation of His return: “For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man” (Matthew 24:37).

Respite? Hardly! A day of little faith? What does this look like? Proliferation of cults, false religions, rampant atheism, hatred vitriolically voiced towards believers, the spirit of anti-Christ sweeping through the culture?

What about a day “like the days of Noah?” God’s Word describes it in Genesis 6: “The wickedness of man was great in the earth, and every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually,” and “Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight, and the earth was filled with violence,” so much so, that God utterly destroyed it with a universal, ravaging, lethal flood which destroyed the entire population, minus eight people.

It goes without saying that few, if any, are really satisfied. There is no satisfaction in the hearts of mankind. Are you satisfied? Are you content with who you are, with what you have? Where does satisfaction truly lie? Where do you find it? Or is it just a figment of your imagination?

At the end of Matthew 11, Jesus addresses rampant dissatisfaction with its only possible fulfillment. He says, “Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.”

Dissatisfaction is an interminable restlessness; lack of contentment is endless uneasiness, wearying tension, worrying pressure. On the other hand, genuine satisfaction is rest; true contentment is void of tension and pressure. There is a constant internal urging which continually agitates the unsatisfied soul, even when he or she thinks they are satisfied; this is the Man of Sin at work. He is ever-pushing as he did with Eve in the Garden. “There is so much more! You are missing out; you shall not rest until you have it.” Just as Satan pestered Eve, “Did God really say…?” so he agitates you continually, too.

You will only find rest for your spirit, rest for your soul in Christ. He alone offers what will really bring a contentment to your heart. He is your satisfaction! To have Jesus and know you are in Him and He in you is the very core of satisfaction. Augustine famously said, “Thou hast made us for Thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in Thee.”

To know and firmly believe that no one, no thing, no force can ever pluck you out of His hand and that Jesus is your all-in-all is to rest your soul from every agitation. Your soul finds in Him a “home.” Rest, weary one, and be at peace! This is His gracious offer to you.

“Why should I feel discouraged? Why should the shadows come? Why should my heart feel lonely and long for heaven and home? When Jesus is my portion, a constant friend is He. His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me; His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me. I sing because I’m happy, I sing because I’m free, for His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.”

(First verse of Civilla D. Martin’s hymn, “His Eye Is on the Sparrow,” 1905)

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Two Young Women Talk And Drink Coffee In Cafe
Jul 08, 2020

Silent Faith

[The Lord declares] “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel. Whenever you hear a word from My mouth, you shall give them warning from Me. If I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, in order to save his life, that wicked person shall die for his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand. But if you warn the wicked, and he does not turn from his wickedness, or from his wicked way, he shall die for his iniquity, but you will have delivered your soul.” -Ezekiel 3:17-19

The culture of this world has never been a friend to faith. You may think today’s culture is absolutely the most hostile to faith of any time in history, but you would be wrong. Just think again of Noah’s day to clarify this point. Be that as it may, today is no cakewalk for the faith.

This is a more than worse environment in which to make your Lord known to others. There are so often many of your spiritual thoughts and your Christian worldview which you purposefully stifle for fear of offense to others or to avoid castigation from a hostile world. Testifying about your faith is perhaps the last thing you want to do in the public marketplace.

Too many Christian brothers and sisters have expressed a caution to me against speaking boldly to many of their non-Christian friends about their faith. Their vocation and career choices have put them in the center of a quite secular, unbelieving world, and it is very important to them to retain such friendships in this world. Christians really should seek such friends.

Yet, these brothers and sisters will often say they are building bridges bit by careful bit in which they hope one day to broach the full subject of their faith to particular unbelieving friends. However, they say it takes time, it takes nuance, and it takes the perfect moment and circumstance. But what if those precision points never materialize? What if you remain silent beyond it being too late?

In Athens, the Apostle Paul wisely and congenially found a commonality with his unbelieving audience in a monument he discovered that was dedicated to “an unknown god.” He captivated his audience as he referred to this monument; he very definitely got their attention. Yet he still ended up alienating many of them when he spoke of the pillar doctrines of the gospel, those things that set Christianity apart from the religions of the world. On the other hand, a good number of his hearers received the truth gladly and became genuine believers. His clear, convicting presentation of the gospel produced eternal fruit.

You probably have much more time to nuance your friends over the course of your life than Paul did in his short Athenian visit, yet your period of time may become such a long stretch that any end point is eventually forgotten and the gospel simply never gets shared. Your methods, once considered to be a valid approach, just peter out. Is this what God’s Word encourages of you?

Ezekiel 3, out of many such texts in Scripture, suggests otherwise. It claims you are surely placing “blood on your hands.” You desire to build bridges to the perfect opportunity, but instead your bridges become bridges to nowhere, and the accountability subsequently accrues to your hands. Does this Ezekiel call of Scripture penetrate your consciousness?

You have the Word of God! It is filled with warning. Those who do not accept this Word as true, those who do not come to God through Jesus really will die! You must remember, however, that you are never alone as a solitary watchman, as a sole witness to the saving gospel message.

The Spirit of God always accompanies you in your endeavor to witness to the truth. He provides the words, He awakens your memory, He gives you boldness, and He opens or closes the hearts of your hearers. Such is never up to you!

Your own will, though, must purpose to speak the faith which dwells in you. Silence is never an option for the faithful follower of Jesus. The Scripture says, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” In other words, your feet take you to a place to plant yourself in front of those who must hear. Your feet take you wherever your voice can speak and your voice may be heard.

In a real sense, you are to become the incessant feet of the “Hound of Heaven” described in Francis Thompson’s great poem about Jesus seeking His own, inexorably, indefatigably, unwearyingly following after the specific lost one, relentlessly, if need be, to his or her midnight hour. But take note, the joy of turning just one to the Savior, like Luke 15:6-7 so aptly describes, cannot be measured.

“He made me a watchman upon the city wall, and if I am a Christian, I am the least of all. Go tell it on the mountain, over the hills and everywhere; go tell it on the mountain that Jesus Christ is born.”

(Second verse of John Wesley Work Jr.’s Christmas hymn, “Go Tell It on the Mountain,” 1865)

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Jun 30, 2020

Is the “City on a Hill” Nearing Its End?

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.” -Matthew 5:14

God’s providence which mightily blessed the American Republic will not be forgotten when the history of mankind is revealed at the final Judgment. Those marks have been etched in the fabric of the hearts of believers around the world over its two-and-a-half-century existence.

This history will be seen from the perspective of the Man of Truth. After all, He raised America up and blessed her as both a gospel light and an encourager to the nations of the world. Though sorely oppressed by many wars, in her fallen state she still provided a place of safety for the church’s missionary enterprise to reach into all the world, into places of danger and martyrdom.

On Saturday, we celebrate the 244th birthday of a country, which is not that old compared to say China’s 3,000-year history. Yet the United States has the longest time period of any country under a single governing authority: the U.S. Constitution. This Constitution protected the free exercise of religion when so much of the world was persecuted by religious oppression and tyranny.

America, while enjoying the blessings of freedom for nearly two-and-a-half centuries, is today fraying at the edges. Her heart is being infected with the vestiges of encroaching bondage. Freedom is no longer a blessing in the hearts of those clamoring for socialism to replace democracy or the principles of Marxism and Sharia to be substituted for the Bill of Rights.

Modern “education” has led many to supplant the love of costly freedom for the yearning of “free stuff” offered under the mesmerizing propaganda of deceptive socialism. The history of socialism is utterly ignored in its consistent production of tyranny, economic failure, and especially the fierce constraint of the gospel of the followers of Jesus Christ.

How much longer will we celebrate the independence of our country from the bondage of tyranny? Flying on a crystal-clear night from St. Louis to Colorado on a July 4th years ago, I observed one firework display after another across the plains in many cities and towns, expressing this joy for independence by her citizens. It was a thrilling sight. There are now numerous voices which trumpet an end to such freedom in their call for humanism and socialism, which includes the stifling of God’s Word.

The “City on a Hill” is now being kicked to the curb. The exceptionalism of costly sacrifice to relieve world oppression and spread the gospel to far horizons is belittled by many scorners and skeptics. Is God ready to set her aside as an instrument in the world of His mercy and grace? Short of a great revival through the renewed triumph of the gospel, America is perhaps nearing the end of her usefulness as a providential tool of the Master.

There are still a remnant of those who treasure freedom, bought and sustained at terrific cost, who will remember what God wrought in her on her birthday this Saturday. They will be thankful to God that He blessed her for a time as a “city on a hill,” despite the machinations of the Man of Sin, the prince of the power of the air. However, permanent victory over him was secured by the Savior at the cross 2,000 years ago, and though America will inevitably fail, we members of His body will reign with Him as citizens of heaven.

“While the storm clouds gather far across the sea, let us swear allegiance to a land that’s free; let us all be grateful for a land so fair, as we raise our voices in a solemn prayer.

God bless America, land that I love, stand beside her and guide her through the night with a light from above. From the mountains to the prairies to the oceans white with foam, God bless America, my home sweet home.”

(Song by Irving Berlin, 1918 and 1938)

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Jun 23, 2020

Fearing to Die?

“Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death He might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.” -Hebrews 2:14-15

Fear is a real thing. Your fears keep you from doing those things which might or really would take your life. Other fears bring you worry and anxiety, impacting your health and shortening your life. I think we can safely say fear is a universal human trait. Fears do protect you; they also produce adrenaline, propelling you beyond yourself to greater accomplishments. Fear brings consternation, but it also guides your path through life.

Fear for their own lives drove Jesus’ disciples into hiding after the crucifixion. They had been recognized as associates of Jesus when He was arrested and tried, so the same could certainly happen to them. They were petrified of being discovered by Pilate’s soldiers, who I imagine were actually searching for them, especially after Pilate’s tomb-guarding soldiers lied about what happened. Pilate and the Jewish leaders wanted terribly to find the missing body of Jesus.

One of the greatest proofs of Jesus’ resurrection, then, was this sudden and dramatic flight of fear from these disciples, transformed immediately into bold and fearless witnesses to a living Lord. They were now more than willing to suffer martyrdom for His sake.

They were transformed from petrified characters in hiding into bold communicators of Jesus and His gospel. All except John became martyrs for His kingdom, though John was equally willing. Young John instead lived to see the return of his Lord, as Jesus prophesied in John 21, in his majestic vision on the Isle of Patmos after all the other disciples were already in glory.

Consider this transformation from abysmal fear to bold expanders of the church, which was exploding exponentially in the world, from Jerusalem to the ends of the earth. Fear was erased and boldness was magnified; this was a sure proof that the resurrection really happened. These followers of Jesus lost all fear of death, which is, after all, the greatest fear of most.

Death suggests to your fearful imagination an utter isolation. This is due to what you experience when a loved one takes their final breath. When my late wife breathed her last, all communication between us ended; then we knew she would not smile upon us the next moment or the next day. We experienced an awful isolation from her companionship, her love, her intimate self with us.

In a moment, she became to us a lifeless, inanimate body. We personally see and feel such isolation immensely. We grieve this separation from our loved one. We are not party to her immediate experience of Paradise.

This feeling of isolation then is translated to your own memory when you reach this portal yourself. For this very reason, you should not avoid thinking of your own death in light of Scripture. Instead of its promises, many pursue vapid entertainment in its place so as not to think about the ugliness and sorrow of death itself.

Banish the fear of death by your faith. For the Christian, it is but a momentary separation not beset by the dreariness of slow-moving time. It is timeless waiting, which I imagine is no wait at all. This “death” is rather an exciting entrance to a life in eternity with those you love and who love you, not the least of which is your Savior.

Overcoming fear of death is one of the believer’s obtainable goals of their growth in grace. Meditate on the promises surrounding this river crossing of death to life. You will not drown! Your feet will reach dry ground, and a great welcoming crowd will cheer your arrival.

“I fear no foe with Thee at hand to bless; ills have no weight and tears no bitterness. Where is death’s sting? Where, grave, thy victory? I triumph still if Thou abide with me.”

(Fourth verse of Henry Lyte’s hymn, “Abide with Me,” 1847)

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