Remembering the Cost

Martydom of James

On Memorial Day we remember those who have given their lives for this heritage of freedom we have here in the United States.  Although our freedoms — such as the right to free speech, the right to bear arms, the ability to prosper in life through hard work and risk-taking, the right to have our religion protected from government abuses and control — are being undermined and reduced almost daily, our country is still the best place in the world to live, in my opinion.

I don’t like to preach sermons tailored to the world’s holidays.  However, on Memorial Day weekend each year, I do like to bring a message, as God allows, to remind people of the spiritual heritage that has been purchased for us.  I’m talking about the people who have given their lives in the name of God and free worship long before The United States was even a nation.

I’m talking about people like Lady Anne Askew who was tortured so cruelly by the Romanists in 1545 and 1546 in England that she had to be carried to the stake on which she was burned, unable to walk.  Her crime?  She refused to go to mass.  She said, “I had rather to read five lines in the Bible, than to hear five masses in the temple.”  Her body chained to the stake because she could no longer hold it erect, and the wood piled about her ready to be ignited, she was offered a full pardon if only she would recant.  She replied that she “came not thither to deny her Lord and Master” and at that was burned alive.

Be of Good Cheer

Every church has them: the mopey-faced Christians who come into church on Sunday morning with a face so droopy that if the corners of their mouths dropped any lower they would be vacuuming the carpet as they walk. I call them “Eeyore Christians” (after the always-negative Winnie the Pooh character).

They sit in the pews, sometimes with arms crossed, with a “bless me if you can” attitude. Why is it that so many Christians are grumpy? With so much to be thankful for, why are Christians negative? Why do they show up to church with faces so severe that the unsaved can't wait to get out the door and flee the premises?

There is no power of God in a bad attitude. It indicates a massive spiritual void and lack of maturity in Christ. If we can't be happy in the house of God, with God's people, then there is a deep-rooted, spiritual problem.

The coming food shortage

It’s been a long time since the USA has been significantly effected by any food shortage, but we are in the throes of a shortage right now that threatens to impact not only our own middle and lower classes, but populations world wide.

Is this in preparation for the “black horse” of Revelation 6? Is it just part of the trials we will experience during these “birth pangs” of the last days? Only God knows, but time will reveal it all to us.

A few months ago, flour almost doubled in price at the supermarket during one week. This was due to a wheat shortage caused mainly by farmers planting other, more profitable crops. For instance, many leading wheat producers this spring plowed under portions of their wheat crops to over plant with corn, which they can sell for ethanol production and make more money than with the wheat.

The Brewing Crisis

It seems like hardly a week goes by that I don't hear from or about some missionary or evangelist losing a big part of their financial support.

This is the natural outcome of a declining economy, an increasingly despotic government, and joblessness among church members.

The fundamental, independent Baptist movement has done well in the last few years as far as numbers of churches and numbers of converts are concerned.  Yes, their is vast room for improvement and vast areas of unreached populations within the United States, but the independent Baptists are one of the few groups that have actually grown by soulwinning over the last decade.  Many groups, including the most prominent Baptist denomination, have reported growth, but examination shows that the growth has been predominantly a result of church membership transfers and "sheep stealing."

Will we be spared?

Yesterday I wrote about the food shortage that is not at our doorstep, but already in the door and sitting at the kitchen table.

The smug say, “I don’t care. I’ll be raptured before it gets too bad.”

Who do we think we are? Millions of faithful Christians and their families throughout history have died in famines, persecutions, and war. Why do we think that we are immune to these things?

Here I am, send me

I mentioned “martyrs for Christ” in yesterday’s entry, and it got me thinking about the special place in God’s heart for those who give their life by dying for their faith.  We see the souls of these martyrs and the special place they have in Heaven in the book of Revelation.

I believe that God also has a special place for those who give their lives as a living sacrifice, those who do not die for Him but who live for Him.  I don’t mean those who just call themselves “Christians” and go to church on Sunday.  I mean those whose sole purpose in life is to serve God.

To judge, or not to judge

How many times have you heard someone gasp, “Oh! But, we’re not supposed to judge people!”

And, they point to Matthew 7:1 to justify their statement.

Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?
Matthew 7:1-4

This is a favorite passage of worldly Christians who want to pretend that their sin is their sin and doesn’t effect anyone else.

"Letters of Commendation"

I remember how obsessed President Clinton was with defining some sort of legacy for himself during his last couple years in office. He was determined to achieve something to be remembered by. Of course, he had a legacy already, and no matter how much he tried to undo it, we remember him today for his women and his compulsive lying, not any political achievement.

People know us by our fruit.

The Apostle Paul had a legacy, but it was a much better one. Part of his legacy was the young church at Corinth, which God had used him to nurture, train, and grow.