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  • Abraham Lincoln on Criticism

    "If I were to try to read, much less answer, all the attacks made on me, this shop might as well be closed for any other business. I do the very best I know how - the very best I can; and I mean to keep doing so until the end. If the end brings me out all right, what's said against me won't amount to anything. If the end brings me out wrong, ten angels swearing I was right would make no difference."
  • Consider the Cost

    "Never, never, never believe any war will be smooth and easy, or that anyone who embarks on the strange voyage can measure the tides and hurricanes he will encounter. The statesman who yields to war fever must realize that once the signal is given, he is no longer the master of policy but the slave of unforeseeable and uncontrollable events." ~Winston Churchill
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  • Charles Spurgeon

    "Our blessed Lord reveals himself to his people more in the valleys, in the shades, in the deeps, than he does anywhere else. He has a way and an art of showing himself to his children at midnight, making the darkness light by his presence."
  • Progress through Perseverance

    It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or whether the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; Whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes up short again and again; Who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause; Who, at best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement; And who at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly. It is far better to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight of life, knowing neither victory nor defeat. ~ Theodore Roosevelt
  • Psalm 7:10-17

    God will uncase the hypocrites ere long, and make them know, to their sorrow, what is was to trifle with Him." - Richard Baxter
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  • The Reformed Pastor – Richard Baxter

    “We must carry on our work with patience. We must bear with many abuses and injuries from those to whom we seek to do good. When we have studied for them, and prayed for them, and exhorted them, and beseeched them with all earnestness and condescension, and given them what we are able, and tended them as if they had been our children, we must look that many of them will requite us with scorn and hatred and contempt, and account us their enemies, because we ‘tell them the truth.’ Now, we must endure all this patiently, and we must unweariedly hold on in doing good, ‘in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves, if God, peradventure, will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth.’ We have to deal with distracted men who will fly in the face of their physician, but we must not, therefore, neglect their cure. He is unworthy to be a physician, who will be driven away from a frenetic patient by foul words. Yet, alas, when sinners reproach and slander us for our love, and are more ready to spit in our faces, than to thank us for our advice, what heart-risings will there be, and how will the remnants of old Adam (pride and passion) struggle against the meekness and patience of the new man! And how sadly do many ministers come off under such trials!”
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Christian Liberty – Permission to be Free

I made reference a few days ago on my Facebook status that our Pastor, Weng Liew, had “hit one out of the park.” He sent me his notes tonight and I have his points listed below. Make sure you slooowwwlyy read through them. At first glance they appear to be the typical sermon on Christian liberty, ie: do right, do your best, don’t use your liberty to sin, etc. But take the time to read what he has to say. Read each word carefully. If you do, you’ll see why our whole family celebrated last Sunday night by recapping what he said and how he said it. It was surreal. We’ve known pastors who see Christian liberty the same way we do – it’s between us and God, no right to judge, keep your walk with the Spirit and your life will please God, etc. but we’ve never heard a sermon, a pastor, actually give us permission right from the pulpit to live according to our own personal convictions. Wow. WOW.

The sermon was executed with a heart of love from a humble servant who desired to see his people live in freedom – freedom to choose their own path, directed by their own personal relationship with God. There was no condemning judgement, pressure to conform, or self-righteous spirit. Though I agreed 100% and already held the exact same thought process regarding Christian liberty, I experienced a deep peace after that night. It’s a peace I wish for all my friends and family who name the name of Christ and try to serve and please Him with their lives.

Here are the specifics on Pastor Weng’s sermon.  As you read it, pretend it’s being told to you by one who loves you as Christ loves His own. Better yet, pretend as you read that Christ Himself is telling you about the freedom you can enjoy in Him. Jump up into His lap and let Him set you free.  Pay particular attention to the last 5 words – they are key. “God recognizes each as such.

(Romans 14:1-23)

1. We need to remember what we are saved from – the bondage and chains of sin. We are free INDEED (completely, absolutely, forever) through Christ.

2. All things are lawful to the child of God, although not all things are expedient (1 Corinthians 10:23). Thus, while a Christian cannot “break” the law as he is no longer under the law, does not give the right to sin. While we are at liberty to act as the Spirit gives liberty, not all actions are expedient, i.e. prudent. Out of all the things one can do in a given situation, one course of action is best. This is what edifies another brother or sister in Christ, not that which becomes a stumbling block to them.

3. The pinnacle of Christian liberty is to willingly do more (not less) than required by the law to love one another.

4. We must remember we are all servants of Christ. Just as in the secular world we do not judge another man’s servant, we are not to judge each other. We are all accountable ultimately to Christ alone. One who abstains from certain meats does it to glorify God. One who eats all meats in thanksgiving to God does so to glorify God. So both believers glorify God by being true to their own conscience (must be done in faith to please God) and God recognizes each as such.

5. My Christian liberty is not to be flaunted so it becomes an hindrance to another believer. Whenever at a disagreement with another, we need to yield (even if we’re “right”).

6. Charity covers the multitude of sins. When we truly have charity one to another, we don’t even see their faults.

7. Believers need to remember we are on the same team. We have the same indwelling Holy Spirit. A brother or sister in Christ is NEVER the enemy. Satan is ALWAYS the enemy.

Joshua’s Spiritual Warfare by Thomas B. Clarke

Joshua’s Spiritual Warfare is a book written by Thomas B. Clarke. This book is not for the casual reader, and though I found the book a little hard to read, I determined to take my time and weed through it to glean the most important information he had to share. Chiastic structure, the subject of his book, intrigues me. My first experience with chiastic structure was in a Beth Moore Bible study. In Joshua’s Spiritual Warfare, he has focused on the patterns in Joshua and used them to point out what God says about spiritual warfare and how they can be managed by the use of His Scripture.

Mr. Clarke read my post about how Beth Moore pointed out chiastic structure in the book of Esther and offered his book to me for review.  If you are the type of person who likes to study the Word by delving deeper than most, and enjoy dividing the Word of God word by word, thought by thought, then this might be the book for you. I was disappointed that it was not solely KJV, though he did make reference many times to it. He used mostly the NIV, which most don’t consider to be a good translation. That said as my disclaimer, I do believe his comparisons to be very helpful.

One of the most interesting statements he made in the book had to do with anger. Having raised some “interesting” children, I’ve always wondered how to defeat anger. It seemed the more I tried to reason with the angry child, the hotter they got. The only solution seemed to be letting them sit alone until they cooled off. Thought it didn’t seem to be the best solution, it was the only one that worked. Anger is such a controller and can maim relationships in a flash, and over time can alienate and destroy a person and those close to them.

In chapter 10, Clarke discusses the chiasm in verses 1-28. His study pairs (A) verse 1 where Ai was totally destroyed by Joshua’s army with (A) verse 28 where Makkedah is totally destroyed as well by Joshua’s army. Then he pairs (B) verses 2-6 where the five Amorite kings attack Gibeon with (B) verses 16-27 where the five Amorite kings are killed. The center (C) verses 7-10 where the Lord defeats the king’s army by confusion are paired with (C) verses 11-15 where the Lord defeats the king’s army by supernatural events.  The pattern is an A-A, B-B, C-C pattern where you take the first and last together, the second and fifth sets of verses are paired and then lastly the two middle sections are paired, showing the main point to be the center of the group of verses, a C – C combination.

Put simply, the two cities are totally destroyed (A-A) with the focus on the 5 kings (B-B), and the demise of their armies by the Lord (C-C) becomes the main point. I’ve used the same patterning to parse other Scripture myself and find it to be quite enlightening – it’s like finding a hidden treasure.

Now, back to anger. Clarke used the story in Joshua 10:1-28 to demonstrate how anger protects a ruling spirit, a demon. When the kings lost their armies, their only choice was to flee because they were left exposed and unprotected. This is much like how when the demons are a ruling spirit in a person’s life. When their army (a spirit of anger) is extinguished, the ruling spirit (the demon) must flee.  The demon = the king, their army = anger. No army (anger), no protection. Anger actually is the protecting element of a demon who is actually the controlling spirit behind the anger. Hence, when we deal with an angry person, we ought to know that there is a controlling demon behind the anger.

I’ll leave the rest of the book for you to experience if you want to know more. Mr. Clarke sent me the book to give an honest review, as I have so done. Thank you for the book. I will definitely be looking for chiastic structure in future Bible study.