Can you see the open door?

by Donald Cline

1 Corinthians 16:8-9 But I will tarry at Ephesus until Pentecost. For a great door and effectual is opened unto me, and there are many adversaries.

The apostle Paul had passion and vision to reach the world with the good news about salvation. As he followed the Spirit’s leading, his determination proved effective. There’s no telling how many lives the Lord transformed through this man. And his influence is still impacting people today.

Paul knew that Jesus had instructed His followers to “make disciples of all the nations,” teaching them to observe everything He had commanded (Matt. 28:19). God led and enabled the apostle to do his part in carrying out this divine mission.

But think about life back then—no TV. No internet (Al Gore hadn’t had a chance yet), no Instagram, no Facebook, no text to landline, and on and non. So getting the word out was a much greater task. Paul could only teach, write, or train others to share the truth. In spite of limited means, however, he obeyed fervently and effectively.

God hasn’t changed his mind, or His commands. It is still His will that we as Christians get out and tell the world about redemption through Christ’s blood and resurrection. Compared to Paul, we have an abundance of communication capabilities—including radio, television, Internet, and cell phones. These devices reach literally into every country of the world. Think of the access we have. Think of the opportunities we miss if we don’t take advantage of the technology God has given us! But how tragic if we get so busy “playing” with this technology and fail to obey God’s command to “go into all the world and preach the Gospel!”

We stand at a critical moment in history for the church. The door of opportunity is wide open for us to share the gospel through a variety of methods. As believers, we are obligated to carry out Christ’s Great Commission. Be careful that neither busyness nor apathy keeps you from obedience.

But know this. You will be opposed. Note the last few words; there will be many adversaries. Sadly, some of those adversaries will come from our own ranks. But don’t be discouraged! I read the whole book. In the end .. we win!

Keep Lookin’ UP and Listenin’ for the SHOUT!

Keep Thy Heart With All Diligence

By David Dombrowski

It is all too easy in the busy world in which we live today to get caught up in worldly concerns that would tend to draw our hearts in a different direction than God intends. A Scripture that comes to mind is the one in Proverbs that says:

Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. Proverbs 4:23

This Scripture tells us that we are to keep a watchful eye, or to guard our hearts, against things that would steal away from us the very things that are most precious in life. That is why it is good to stop from time to time to reflect, reevaluate, and check our compass bearings.

The fact is we are sojourners through this life, and this is not our permanent home. Like Abraham, we can set up a “tent,” but our permanent dwelling is not here. Jesus said:

Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. Matthew 6:19-21

Too often, for the Christian, anxiety and stress over the many things in life—be it business, finances, health, or possessions—overtake us. Yet Jesus said that our heavenly Father will take care of us if we seek His kingdom first. If our lives are full of worry and stress, like a thermometer or pressure gauge, it should be an indicator to us that we need to reevaluate our lives and decide if our treasures are truly in heaven and if we will cling to God’s promises to provide for us as He sees fit. Our involvement with the needs of the Christians in Kenya, Africa has even further driven the point to us that as North Americans especially we need to diligently watch where our true treasures are and not get caught up in “things.” In and of themselves, there is nothing wrong with having possessions as long as they do not rule our hearts. Whatever we have—whether it is earthly goods, health, intelligence, or education—these things are a loan to us and can only be of real benefit when they enable us to serve the kingdom of God in the cause of the Gospel. Paul, for instance, said:

I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Philippians 4:12

Paul was a well-educated man who probably had known prosperity, yet he risked everything for the sake of the Gospel. That is why he could also say:

But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ. Philippians 3:7-8

We need to keep in mind that where our treasures are our heart will be there too. As committed Christians, should we not want our treasures to be in Heaven and in the things of the Lord? Remember Paul’s exhortation:

 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Colossians 3:1

Time is a precious commodity that we should not take for granted. Think of a sandglass or hourglass where you can literally watch time being poured out. Knowing that our time is relatively short, let us follow the injunction in Hebrews to “lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us” (Hebrews 12:1).

Too many things hold us back from serving the Lord. In this verse in Hebrews, an illustration of an athlete is being used to show how, if we are to win a race, we need to strip off unnecessary weight. Scripture says that  God will give us wings like eagles, but if we are tied down with the affairs and cares of the world, we will never be able to fly.

Want to find out where your heart is? Search out where your treasure is—that commodity that means more to you than anything else in life—and you will discover that it is in the same place where your heart is. As believers in Jesus Christ, our hope should be that when we find that treasure, it will be in the same place God’s treasure is too.

At Lighthouse Trails, we feel very privileged to be given the opportunity to defend the Gospel. We are in awe and  humbled that God has used the “weak things” and the “foolish things”  to confound the wise. Sometimes people call us to help solve their theological questions, and though we try to help as we can, we do not have all the answers. However, one thing we do know, and that is Christ and Him crucified. Jesus is the answer to what we really need; after all, isn’t life meant to be all about saving souls, and Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world? It’s that simple. Sometimes when people contact us, we get the notion when they test and probe us on theological questions that some of them think our ministry is all about having all the right answers to every theological matter. Perhaps some think that Lighthouse Trails expects all pastors to have a correct understanding of all the Scriptures. But, we know that all pastors are fallible, and we have never expected any Christian leader to be either sinless or inerrant. To expect a pastor to have all the answers is not only unrealistic but also a burden that no one can bear.

But what really does matter is—what do we think about the Cross and what do we think about God’s Word? Sadly, many of the emerging contemplative  leaders are preaching a Christ-less Word-less gospel. Likewise, those who practice mysticism through contemplative prayer inevitably come to the day when the atonement means nothing to them; we have seen this happen time and again. God knows that mysticism connects people to the demonic realm, and that is why it is forbidden in Scripture (Deuteronomy 18:9-15). Yet, again, mysticism has become the common practice of our day. It does not take a theological scholar to see there is something wrong here.

Though the Gospel is a simple message—that Jesus died to make atonement for sin—nothing has ever come under more attack because Satan knows if he can destroy the message of the Gospel  (or the messengers of the Gospel), he has destroyed Christianity and destroyed the message through which we find salvation. His continual quest is to undermine our belief in the saving work of Jesus Christ. That is why, perhaps more than any time before, we must “keep thy heart with all diligence.”

(Lighthouse Trails Research)

MEDITATIONS ON THE PROMISES OF GOD’S WATCHCARE IN THE PSALMS

How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee” (Psa. 139:17-18).

This entire Psalm is a revelation of God’s tender watchcare over and intimate involvement in the life of each of His saints. When God knows the thoughts of and searches the life of the redeemed, it is not to condemn but to bless. God’s omniscience and omnipresence are not to be feared but to be embraced, because His terrible holiness has been propitiated by Christ’s atonement. He has not given us the spirit of fear but the spirit of adoption (Rom. 8:15).

When He shows me my sin by His Spirit, it is not to destroy me but to lead me to repentance so that I might be conformed to the image of Christ. It is in this context that He knows my downsitting and uprising (v. 2). He knows my thoughts (v. 2).

One of the evidences of Jesus’ divinity was that He knew man’s thoughts (Luke 6:8). God compasses my path (v. 3). He is acquainted with all my ways (v. 3). He knows every word I speak (v. 4). He has beset me behind and before and laid his hand upon me (v. 5). In all places He leads me and upholds me with his hand (vv. 9-10).

Angels are messengers and helpers, but the Lord does not leave the care of His people to anyone else. It is with His own hand that leads and holds.

He fashioned me in my mother’s womb (vv. 13-16). The trillion parts of every cell and the interrelatedness of the 60 trillion cells in my body are His workmanship. The DNA of each cell, with its mind-boggling amount of information, is His workmanship. His thoughts toward me are innumerable as the sand (vv. 17-18).

It is redemption that has removed the terror of the fact that God knows every detail of my life, including every sinful thought, attitude, and action. All of my iniquity has been laid upon Christ, and I have been given His righteousness in God’s eyes (2 Cor. 5:21). Therefore, I do not fear asking God to search me and show me my wicked ways so that I might confess them and remain in fellowship with Him and walk in His will (Psa. 139:23-24; 1 John 1:9).

The more we understand God’s salvation and how completely His holy law has been propitiated (satisfied) by Christ’s blood, the more we can trust Him and draw near to Him rather than run away like Adam.

(Friday Church News Notes, July 5, 2013, www.wayoflife.org)

The Commitment to Obey

Many years ago after my “desert wandering” in Sacramenta CA, I made a commitment to obey the Lord regardless of the cost. It was one of the best decisions I ever made. Like everyone, I’ve made mistakes, but my determination to follow Christ has remained unwavering. When we run into those storms (or those storms run over us) such a commitment and pledge helps us stand firm.

We all encounter times when there’s a direct conflict between God’s way and what is being asked of us. Maybe the boss tells us to misrepresent the company’s product to customers. Or a friend may be pressuring us to join her in some risky behaviour. Or perhaps family members may urge us to participate in an activity that we know is wrong. Saying “no!” could bring loss, rejection, or even the end of a relationship. On the other hand, going along with the request could compromise our Christian witness or break Gods commands (and ultimately sweet fellowship with Him).

The hero of our story today faced such a dilemma. He and his friends had a clear choice – to eat food prohibited by Scripture, or to refuse and incur the king’s wrath, imprisonment, or eaven death. This man showed great courage when he proposed a different eating plan (1:12). His words and actions demonstrated his allegiance to the Lord.

These men were rewarded by God for their faith and commitment (vs 17). Despite their adverse circumstances, all men confidently trusted in the Lord’s sovereign care for them.

Their correct choices resulted in royal favor. Jesus’ obedience led to the cross and glorification. Paul’s trust in Christ resulted in hardship. When we obey, the consequences may vary, but two things remain constant: obedience glorifies our Father and pleases Him. What could be better than that?

Keep on keepin’ on for the glory of Christ .. and ..

Keep Lookin’ UP!

– Donald Cline (Unashamedly Independent, Fundamental, KJV only, Baptist Preacher)

God’s Watch Care

cloudsThe older I get, the more wonderful God is in my eyes. At age 63, I am reminded of the teaching of John that the spiritual fathers “have known him that is from the beginning” (1 John 2:12-14). The characteristic of the older saint is that he or she knows God. What we know of God in this life, though, is but a glimpse. The saints will learn of God forever, as there is no end to His Person and Character. God is an infinite Being and every aspect of His Person is infinite. His riches are “unsearchable” (Eph. 3:8). His love “passeth knowledge” (Eph. 3:19). His peace “passeth all understanding” (Phil. 4:7).

The most delightful and attractive aspect of God for the sinner, of course, is His mercy and compassion and tender nearness, and this is a major theme of the Psalms.  God is the protector and help of His people. This theme begins in Psalm 3:2-3 — “Many there be which say of my soul, There is no help for him in God. Selah. But thou, O LORD, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head.”

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Think About…Him (Part 1)

Think About…Him, Part 1 of 3

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What to Think About?

Each of us has a thought life. The Lord wants us to be very thoughtful about our thoughts. It has been said that we can’t keep a bird from flying over our head, but we can keep it from making a nest in our hair…the same can be said about our thoughts. Thoughts can come to us from many sources, but we can choose what we do with those thoughts. Some thoughts, especially those from the enemy, must be rejected. The best and highest thoughts are those that speak God’s truth to us (Behold, You desire truth in the inner being; make me therefore to know wisdom in my inmost heart. Psalm 51:6 AMP). These are the thoughts that we should ponder, believe, and meditate upon.

This week we will look at Philippians 4:8 and the things that each of us should be thinking about for a lifetime.


Think About…Him

“Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest…… if there be any virtue, if there be any praise, think on these things. Philippians 4:8 (KJV)


Things that are true:

God’s names…think about the meaning of each one.

God’s words…think about their authority and power.

God’s wisdom…think about how trustworthy He is.

God’s Spirit…think about His gentle and comforting ways.

God’s Son…think about what it means to have Him as your Savior, Lord, King, Shepherd etc.


Things that are honest:

God’s honor…think about His worthiness.

God’s purposes…think about His eternal plan.

God’s paths…think about the benefits of following Him.

God’s counsel…think about the things He’s spoken to your heart.

God’s guidance…think about how He’s directed your life.

© Roy Lessin (meetmeinthemeadow.com)