It was another intense day of spiritual warfare at the gates of hell. Children were killed, the Word of God was preached, idolatry was on display, prayers were made to God, blasphemies were shouted…
Please pray for a women (I don’t know here name) who told me I was going to hell because I didn’t reverence Mary. She was concerned that I didn’t pray to her or believe she didn’t die. I told her repent of her idolatry and believe in Jesus Christ, the one mediator between God and man (1 Tim. 2:5).
If we believe the coming generation will face more hostility from our pagan culture, how do we switch gears from raising them for worldly success—as we have been doing, let’s be honest—to raising them for warfare, suffering, and loss? (We should have been doing that all along!) Here’s my list (Add others in the comments, please):
1. Discipline your children with the rod and with the Word. Proverbs 22:15, 23:13, 29:15. Love them through discipline (Prov. 13:24). Want them to have a right regard for authority?—one where they know that the ultimate authority is God whose throne is in heaven? Show your children your own fear of God and submission to His will in this task. Rebuke them and train them with the Word. Spank and speak. Give the no and the yes. Punish for sin and go to God’s Word to show them the right path.
Remember, we are no longer training them for success in the world, we are training them for success in battle… Continue reading
The church must get serious about training the next generation—our five year-old sons and daughters—to suffer for the faith. Gone are going to be the days when Christian parents can cover their worldly ambitions for their children with a thin veneer of Christian conservatism and go happily on their way. The new pagan orthodoxy won’t allow such softness. For many parents this will be to die the worst kind of death. Their sons and (especially) daughters won’t be permitted to matriculate at an Ivy League college. They won’t be able to become Christian-ish investment bankers and Christian-ish lawyers and Christian-ish professors and Christian-ish Senators.
And the wheat will begin to be separated from the chaff… Continue reading
When we think of fasting, we naturally and rightly think of abstaining from food. The purpose is not weight loss but to discipline the body for the purpose of prayer. Given the so-called busy-ness of our lives—made busy by all those leisure activities—perhaps it would be better to fast from other things in order to make time (sad way to put it, isn’t it?) for fellowship with our Father in heaven. Take a week-long fast from television (actually, just beat that idol into powder, mix it with water, drink it, and send it to the place where it belongs–Exodus 32:19-20). Take a day-long fast from the iPhone. Take a month-long fast from the Internet, Fox News, football, baseball, ESPN radio, Facebook (let’s see how many likes that gets), Twitter, Pinterest, Craigslist, texting, blogging…all for the purpose of prayer. Of course, discipline your body and deepen your dependence on God by fasting from food. Consider fasting from those time-consumers also. You may find you are not as busy as you think.
Some encouragement from Spurgeon:
“Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out? And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove: and nothing shall he impossible unto you. Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting” (Matthew 17:19-21).
And what is fasting for? That seems the difficult point. It is evidently… practiced oftentimes by our Lord, and advised by him to his disciples. Not a kind of religious observance, in itself meritorious, but a habit, when associated with the exercise of prayer, unquestionably helpful. I am not sure whether we have not lost a very great blessing in the Christian Church by giving up fasting….
Martin Luther, whose body, like some others, was of a gross tendency, felt as some of us do, that in our flesh there dwelleth no good thing, in another sense than the apostle meant it; and he used to fast frequently. He says his flesh was wont to grumble dreadfully at abstinence, but fast he would, for he found that when he was fasting, it quickened his praying. There is a treatise by an old Puritan, called, “The soul-fattening institution of fasting,” and he gives us his own experience that during a fast he has felt more intense eagerness of soul in prayer than he had ever done at any other time. Some of you, dear friends, may get to the boiling-point in prayer, without fasting. I do think that others cannot…
Thank goodness, I have never personally experienced what it is like to believe – really and truly and deeply believe – in hell. But I think it can be plausibly argued that such a deeply held belief might cause a child more long-lasting mental trauma than the temporary embarrassment of mild physical abuse. -Richard Dawkins, Atheist
If man was created by impersonal forces over the course of many billions of years rather than by the word of the Holy God, there is no basis for morality. If whatever sense of fairness/ethics/kindness we subjectively experience is merely a series of chemical reactions in our brains, there is no objective morality, no real right and wrong. If current standards of morality are part of the impersonal process of evolution, there is no possibility of objective morality–what is morally reprehensible in one age may be perfectly beautiful in another. This evolutionary, impersonal, materialistic worldview permeates the Western world today. We have only the inner impulses which must be obeyed–and to each his own. The only standard left seems to be “Don’t do anything that will hurt somebody else.” But even that standard is running on the fumes of God’s “Do unto others…”. The consistent atheist must jettison all that religious muck and really live in the here and now, doing whatever those refined chemical reactions demand. If it be infanticide, so it must be. If it be pedophilia, so it must be.
Rom. 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. 21 For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.
Rom. 1:24 Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. 25 For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.
Rom. 1:26 For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, 27 and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.
Rom. 1:28 And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; 32 and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.
While Molech was fed (Jer. 32:35) this morning by the blood of babies murdered by their mothers, Christians in the area—and all throughout the South—did their obeisance to the very universities that taught them and will teach their children that Molech, though he requires a drench of blood from the bodies of tiny babies, is really kind and gentle and compassionate and satisfying. We did, though, have an army of seven devoted soldiers, standing at the gates of hell, pleading with women to love their children and turn to Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of their sins. How many of our Reformed and Presbyterian brothers and sisters in the Greenville/Spartanburg area woke up this morning with joy in their hearts because, after a long off-season sabbatical, they were called back to devote themselves to college football? Flags, and face-paint, and car decals, and shirts, and hats, and tickets, and travel, and time, and energy, and raised hands, and shouts of praise. If only 1% of them had devoted themselves to practicing true religion (James 1:27) by standing outside the Greenville Women’s Clinic to denounce the genocide that’s taking place in their backyards, I would be praising God this morning for an outpouring of His Spirit upon His church, for a sign of life in the midst of deadness. Instead, I pray for God to change hearts, so hardened and distracted by the gods of the world.
“He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars, says this: ‘I know your deeds, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead. ‘Wake up, and strengthen the things that remain, which were about to die; for I have not found your deeds completed in the sight of My God. So remember what you have received and heard; and keep it, and repent” (Rev. 3:1-3).
Today wasn’t as busy as last week but that doesn’t make my heart any less heavy. It is likely five or six babies were put to death. Though no babies were rescued, the Word of God was preached and that is never a fruitless work (Isaiah 55:11). God’s Word is a fire and a hammer (Jer. 23:29) and whose heart does not need the burning heat and pounding pressure of that Word? Those who worship idols need that Word; those who are leading their children to slaughter need that Word; my unbelieving heart—”I do believe, help my unbelief” (Mark 9:24)—needs that Word. May the Holy Spirit bless our efforts to call men and women away from the sin of murder and toward salvation from all their sins in the one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus (1 Tim. 2:5).
When I’m traveling in my car, more often than not I listen to ESPN sports radio. Lately, a lot of airtime has been devoted to the question of who was/is the greatest NBA player of all time: LBJ or MJ. The who-is-the-greatest discussion resurfaces constantly. If any athlete is having a stupendous year his name is floated around by those who desperately want to say he is The Greatest Football/Basketball/Hockey/Baseball Player Ever To Play The Game. It is a nauseating conversation because it is an impossible difficulty for a radio personality to resolve. A hundred year span of professional sports is a complicated system to analyze…perhaps a little less complicated than the task we give to our weathermen (analyzing the complicated system of global weather) and our doctors (analyzing the complicated system of our bodies, none of which are the same). How do you really compare two guys who didn’t play during the same era, against the same pitchers, in the same ballparks, with the same equipment, etc…
Inevitably, though, one of the talking-heads anoints a current player as The Greatest Ever. He has no good arguments, no good comparisons, no good statistics. What he does have is the desire to have a justification for his unceasing obeisance to a great god…no less than The Greatest Ever. All the passion, all the money, all the enthusiasm, all the time, all the devotion, all the chants of praise, all the three-hour sermons (interrupted by commercials for other gods) then make perfect sense. Sports today allows for no atheists.