Monday, September 30, 2013

Boxing with God?

Let's face it: sometimes life here on earth is like a battle, or a hand-to-hand fight.  At times, whether in our professional endeavours, our family lives, or even in our most secret hearts, we feel that we're in the fight of our lives, a fight to the death - - - and, very often, this perception is very accurate.  It's not our imagination.

One hardship is bad enough, but we learn to deal with individual hardships.  I'm talking about the real crises and genuine disasters that strike us from time to time in rapid succession: the sort of thing we discussed in our previous post,"When the Bottom Drops Out:" you lose your career (not just a job, but your career of many years); or your teenage daughter dies in an automobile accident; or a hurricane knocks over some century-old trees, and demolishes your house; or the doctor says, "I'm sorry, but it's pancreatic cancer.  You might have another month."  Those things, and many others, are bad enough in themselves: but what happens when they come one after another, and you don't know what's coming next?  Shakespeare said, "When sorrows come, they come not single spies, but in battalions" (Hamlet, Act IV, Sc. 5).  That's the classical way of saying it.  For most of us, it feels like we're in a boxing match, with the biggest and toughest opponent on earth: maybe God Himself.  Nobody else could deal such heavy blows - - - and the blows keep coming.  We've been knocked down, and we've been knocked out, but the fight's not over - - - the blows keep coming. We're heartbroken and bloody and our bones ache - - - but the blows keep coming.    
 

 
So, what do you do?  How do you survive?  You seem to be in a fight that you never asked for; you never knew the fight was coming; and you're certainly not strong or skilled enough to win it.  And just who is this opponent of yours, anyway: God or Satan?  

Most of the posts in this blog are aimed at born-again, Bible believing Christians.  So is this one, but it also has an important application to those who have not believed on Jesus Christ.  If that's you, keep reading.

As mentioned in the post previously referred to, Job was hit by blows that would have knocked a lesser man out of the arena: he lost his family, and his possessions, and eventually his health and even reputation.  Someone was hitting Job hard, over and over, and for awhile, Job was down and out, sitting on the ash heap, moaning and crying like a boxer who's been hit with a low blow, or a blow to the liver.  He just wanted the pain to stop.  But it didn't stop.



Readers of the Book of Job (which is the oldest book in the Bible, written long before Genesis) know that Job's opponent was Satan: it was Satan who was raining all these terrible blows down on Job's head, in order to destroy his faith in God.   But Satan could only act with God's authorization: God had to give him specific permission to do every thing he did, and when God said, "Stop," Satan had to stop.  (It's all there in the first two chapters of Job: in the Christian Bible, Job is right before Psalms, about halfway through the Book.) But Job seemed to sense that he was actually fighting God Himself: at one point, he cried out to God, shew me wherefore thou contendest with me (Job 10:2). He knew who he was fighting.  So did David and the prophets and many others who were afflicted and embattled throughout the Bible.  Even before that, Jacob literally wrestled with God, in the form of a man (Genesis 32:24-30): these are very real matters we're talking about.

And so it is with you and me - - - whether you're a Christian, or an unbeliever.  The immediate Enemy is not "fate" or "karma," but Satan: he's the supernatural Enemy.  But God still keeps him on a leash.   Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8).  But the lion can only do what God permits.  If you've received Christ according to John 1:12, and been born again according to John 3:3-7, God has promised you that the Enemy can't devour you, because you're now a child of God.  If you are an unbeliever, you have no such assurance.  

So, although God is not a Christian's "opponent" in any sense, He allows opposition of every sort to come into a Christian life.  The Pentecostals and smarmy, smiling charlatans like Joyce Meyer tell you that God wants you to be healthy and wealthy and constantly happy: that's a lie.  When an unbeliever becomes a Christian, he's entering a warfare, and there will be problems and hardships and battles. (1 Corinthians 9:26, 1Timothy 1:18)  Any Christian who claims otherwise is either very inexperienced or a liar. The Christian life isn't a bed of roses, and it isn't for everybody.  Most people don't have the guts or the brains to even attempt it.

 
So, although we know that it's theologically imprecise to say that God is our "opponent" in this battle, let's consider how we can and must fight, if we're to prevail.  But this won't be a "boxing clinic," because there's really only one way to survive when you're "boxing with God."

Don't try to get away from the blows. When they start falling, and you feel the pain and the shock and the fear, don't try to get away from the source of your problems.  He's bigger than you, and faster than you.  You're in a little "ring" called Earth, and you can't run away.  And if you try to back off, or lean away from the oncoming fists, you're only giving your opponent more room to swing. You can try to lean back, but that just gives his long arms more velocity when the blow finally lands.



If God's blows are raining down on you - - - if you're wrestling with Him, as Jacob did - - - don't try to get away by abandoning your Bible, or your church, or your faith itself.  Don't think that you're going to impress God by getting mad and rebelling against him.  Don't seek distance and "solace" in sin and unbelief.  That's the worst thing to do: you're just giving Him more room to swing.  


Don't try to get out of the ring
The "ring" is this world, and there's only one way out, if you're determined to get out: suicide.  And some people (many people) react to repeated tragedies and agonies in just that way. Suicide is not, as the Roman Catholics teach, "the unpardonable sin:" nobody ever went to Hell for committing suicide.  (People go to Hell because they've rejected Jesus Christ, instead of receiving Him.) But if you're "boxing with God," suicide is an extremely stupid way out: because you'll escape the "ring," and get out of the ropes - - - but you'll still be dealing with either God, or Satan.  And this time it'll be face-to-face.

The secret: get in closeEvery professional fighter knows this. You may not be a boxing fan, but you've probably glimpsed a few rounds.  It doesn't matter if it's the big heavyweights, or the little flyweights: when you're outmatched by a superior puncher, and the blows keep landing, move in close, and clinch.  "Tie him up."  That's why you see boxers grabbing each other in the ring, holding on, in a groaning, gasping dance of muscle and sweat: you grab your opponent's arms, and until the referee separates you, he can't really hit you very hard.  You're too close.

Every child who's ever been regularly spanked knows this trick.  If Daddy has a "switch" in his hand, and is about to bring it down on a child's bottom as he or she stands there, the smart child will move in close, and grab Daddy's legs.  That way, Daddy can't swing as far, and it won't be as painful!

When you sense that you're "boxing with God," there's only one way to successfully get through it: get as close to Him as you can, and grab Him as tight as you can.  Hug him!  Clinch!  Get as close as humanly possible!  



When the blows come, if you're a Christian, get in close with God: don't try to escape!  Don't sulk.  Don't feel sorry for yourself.  Don't say "this isn't fair."  A boxer who allows those thoughts to enter his mind will be knocked out very quickly, because he's thinking about the wrong thing.  He should be thinking, "How can I survive this?"  And the way for a child of God to survive is to go to Him, not away from Him.  Read your Bible more, not less.  Pray more, not less.  Don't avoid the brethren, even if they don't understand.  (They're His children, too.) Throw yourself into God's arms more than you ever have before, and with your last breath, say, with Job, Though he slay me, yet will I trust in Him!

Because that's the reason, in your life, that God is allowing the fight in the first place.  He wants you.  He wants your fellowship.  And He wants, not to hurt you, but to perfect you, and prepare you for Heaven - - - where there will be no fights, but only embraces.

And if you're not a Christian?  The same strategy applies: Get as close to God as you possibly can.  You need Him, in ways that you can't even imagine; and He's the only real hope you can have in this world.  But you can't get close to Him until you've met Him.

I didn't say "believe in Him."  That's not enough.  Anybody who has enough brains to draw a breath believes in God, in one way or another.  Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble (James 2:19).  I "believe" in Mao Zedong and Madame Curie and Barack Obama: I believe that they were, or are, real people.  But I've never met any of them, and I certainly don't know any of them.  But I've met Jesus Christ, when, by an act of the will, in a moment of time, I received Him as my personal Saviour.  And ever since then (43 years ago), I've gotten to know Him better, by reading His word, the King James Bible, and having fellowship with Him.  But I had to meet Him first, and so do you.

And after you do, there will be battles, and sometimes you'll feel that you're battling against God: but, in reality, He's simply training you, teaching you, "growing" you, and His love will never fail.  Even Jesus cried out for the cup of suffering to pass from Him; but God chose for Him to drink it to the dregs.  He won't require that much of you: but He wants a real relationship, a real commitment, a real life with you in eternity. 

And it can begin today, if you run to Him and get as close as you can.

He wants to love you!  

What a God!  What a Christ!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

"Your Crown of Glory"

And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; 
and they loved not their lives unto the death.
- - - Revelation 12:11

When James and John came to Christ with their mother, asking Him to give them the best place in the kingdom, He did not refuse their request, but told them it would be given to them if they could do His work, drink His cup, and be baptized with His baptism.
      
Do we want the competition? The greatest things are always hedged about by the hardest things, and we, too, shall find mountains and forests and chariots of iron. Hardship is the price of coronation. Triumphal arches are not woven out of rose blossoms and silken cords, but of hard blows and bloody scars. The very hardships that you are enduring in your life today are given by the Master for the explicit purpose of enabling you to win your crown.

Do not wait for some ideal situation, some romantic difficulty, some far-away emergency; but rise to meet the actual conditions which the Providence of God has placed around you today. Your crown of glory lies embedded in the very heart of these things - - - those hardships and trials that are pressing you this very hour, week and month of your life. The hardest things are not those that the world knows of. Down in your secret soul unseen and unknown by any but Jesus, there is a little trial that you would not dare to mention that is harder for you to bear than martyrdom.
      ....
       There, beloved, lies your crown. God help you to overcome, and sometime wear it. --Selected
     
"It matters not how the battle goes,
      The day how long;
      Faint not! Fight on!
      Tomorrow comes the song."


(From Streams in the Desert, Mrs. Charles Cowman, 1925)  

Thursday, September 19, 2013

When the Bottom Drops Out

LORD, why castest thou off my soul? why hidest thou thy face from me? 
- - - Psalm 88:14

It's finally happened.  You didn't expect it to happen, or perhaps you feared that it might; but now, it has happened, and you don't know what to do.  The bottom has dropped out - - - and you're a Christian!

It is a simple fact of life that, whether one is a believer or an unbeliever, one is sometimes beset by troubles.  As Jesus said, God sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust (Matthew 5:45).  Everybody has problems.  But this time, it's different.  It's not just a problem; it's not just a crisis.  This time, the bottom has dropped out of your life, in the twinkling of an eye, and you were totally unprepared for it.

You know the kind of things I'm talking about; I hope you haven't experienced any of them.  Charles Haddon Spurgeon called them "very remarkable troubles," and enumerated some:

"It may be that one child was taken away and then another—and yet a third. Or, perhaps, your infant was carried to the grave, to be soon followed by its dear mother, and you are left to mourn alone. Bereavement has followed bereavement with you until your very soul is embittered .... possibly, you have had a series of disasters in business such as you could not have foreseen or prevented. It seems, to you, indeed, as if no man was ever so unsuccessful—you have not prospered in anything. Wherever you have put your hand, it has been likethe hoof of the Tartar’s horse which turns the meadow into a desert: nothing goes well with you .... Perhaps you have desired to be a man of learning. You have worked very hard and now your health is failing you, so that you cannot go through the examination for which you have been preparing. You would willingly die at your post if you had a hope of gaining the honor to which you aspire, but this is  denied you. On the very doorstep of success, you are stopped. God seems to have embittered your life .... Or you of the tender heart have been disappointed and rejected, and your love has been thrown away. Or you of the energetic spirit have been foiled and driven back so many times that you perceive that your attempts are fruitless. Or you, a man of true integrity, have been cruelly slandered and you feel as if you could not bear up under the false charge that is in the air all around you."


It could be something else.  You've served God with all your heart, in the ministry, for forty years; and now, because of "church politics" or a new direction in your denomination, you've been dismissed, and you're too old to find another place of service. You feel that God has put you "on the shelf."  The closest person to you in life has gone to prison - - - whether innocent or guilty, the doors have clanged shut for many years, and you're alone, confused, and shattered.  You've just been diagnosed with terminal breast cancer.  These things happen every day, and the people involved feel that the bottom has dropped out; this seems to be the end of everything worthwhile in life.

It's bad enough for an unbeliever.  But if you're a Bible-believing Christian, who has received Christ according to John 1:12, and been born again, as Jesus commanded in John 3:3-7 .... what now?  How is a Christian supposed to handle such a situation?

I'm not going to give you any pat answers, or sugar-coat the truth.  The fact is, you might react very much like a non-Christian: if you used to be a drunkard or a dope addict or a hedonist before God saved you, you might return to those activities, and "go on a bender:" for example, taking a drink for the first time in years, and indulging in a five-day binge.  This is partly due to the sudden feeling of hopelessness, of saying, "What's the use?  What's the point?"  And although such a reaction is sinful, God isn't surprised.  When the bottom drops out, and we react badly, The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy .... Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him. For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust (Psalm 103:8, 13, 14).  That doesn't excuse or justify the reaction, and if the behaviour continues, God will give you even more problems; but it means that God knows your heart, and knows that you're acting out of pain, not out of wicked desires.

But most Christians don't react so dramatically.  Some don't seem to react at all, on the outside; they may simply appear to be aloof and distant to their friends.  That's because there are times when, despite the good intentions of others, we just want to be left alone: if we could, we'd crawl under a rock and hide.  But whether dramatic or subtle in our reactions, Christians experience certain things "when the bottom drops out" that are almost inevitable. The most common of these is to become confused about God: "How could He allow this?"  Then comes the bitterness and resentment, toward God and toward man: "He has no right to do this!  I was following Him as best as I knew how!  And these other Christians don't have any idea of how bad I hurt!  How dare they try to 'comfort' me?"  This is far more dangerous than a ten-day drunk, because the Enemy, Satan, can (and will definitely try to) turn us away from God, either partially or totally.  We might just quit reading our Bible ... or we might throw the Bible in the trash, and never go near a church again.

I can't tell you exactly how a Christian should react when everything seems dashed and destroyed, because every person, and every situation, is unique.  But, as a Christian who's had the bottom drop out in my own life more than once, I can give you some things to think about.

1. Don't expect yourself to function normally for awhile.  Job was one of the three most righteous men in the Old Testament, along with Noah and Daniel (Ezekiel 14:14); people came to him for advice and counsel and comfort every day.  But when the bottom dropped out, when his family and all his possessions were lost, through no fault of his own, he didn't continue to be a "great spiritual leader:" he went and sat on an ash heap for seven days, mourning and crying out to God for answers.  Eventually, God restored everything to Job, and he resumed his most blessed life: but his immediate reaction to disaster was spiritual and emotional paralysis.  It'll probably take you longer than seven days to recover, because you have no alternative to functioning in life; but although you'll be scarred, the wounds themselves won't stay fresh for very long.  I repeat, however: the scars will still be there.

And before you complain about your scars (and I have plenty of them), ask yourself: when Jesus was resurrected, did He complain about the scars He'd incurred for your sake and mine? Is your suffering greater than His was? 

2.  Don't ask God why this happened.  Okay, I'll admit, this is almost impossible!  Job and David and Solomon and Jonah peppered God with the question "Why?"  But He answered them in His own time, in His own way. 

Even if you don't ask Him why it happened, you'll wonder.  You'll wonder and try to figure it out until your head aches.  But in all probability, you won't receive the answer for awhile.  You may understand it in ten years, or twenty, or fifty; and you will certainly understand when you get Home.  But not right away. 


3.  Okay, get ready, because this is tough: Thank God for what happened.  I know how hard that sounds.  When the bottom drops out, it is hard. (Even Job couldn't do it, but he came close.  When his lovely wife told him to "Curse God, and die," Job responded, What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? [Job 2:10]  He didn't thank God, but neither did he curse Him.  However, he did curse the day of his own birth.  I've done that, too.  If the bottom drops out, it's easy to do.) No matter what has happened, you simply must ask the question, "Could God have stopped this?" And the answer, obviously, is "yes."  So, it begs a second question: "Why didn't He?"

Well, first, go ahead and thank Him: maybe your heart's not in it, maybe you don't mean it, but do it out of sheer obedience: In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you (1 Thessalonians 5:18).  What's the will of God?  The disaster?  Not in this verse; in this verse, it is the will of God that you thank Him.

Then think about this: although God could prevent every tornado and every volcano, He doesn't.  We are fallen people living in a fallen world.  Don't be so quick to blame God for the diseased liver of an alcoholic.  Don't blame God for the treachery of a spouse, or a lover, or a business associate.  Remember that, whatever or whoever caused the bottom to drop out, God is the One Who holds you in the palm of His hand, and will not let you go.  He's "carried" me through places where I would probably never have gone, willingly, even for His sake.  He's that kind of Shepherd: He cares for us whether we want His guidance or not.  And sometimes His guidance comes from a whack of His rod.

And, every Christian should be reminded (although sometime we forget when the bottom drops out):  And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose ...  What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:28, 31)  No disaster, in your life or mine, can invalidate those verses.  But we emphasize again: God is not obligated to explain, at the time, how the thing is working for good.  We'll learn about that later.

4. Don't waste your sorrows. This is the title of a book by Paul E. Billheimer that is excellent, but I'm simply borrowing the phrase to encapsulate a scriptural principle.  When the bottom drops out, when the baby dies, or the career is shattered, or the spouse abandons you, you'll be almost drowning in sorrow.  Don't waste it!  What does it mean to "waste our sorrows?"

The Lord tells us in Hebrews that the pains and sufferings of this life are God's Fatherly "chastening," to bring us into maturity.  He warns us: And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth (Hebrews 12:5, 6). There are two ways we waste our sorrow and our grief.  On the one hand, we might "despise" the crisis that has overtaken us.  In this verse, to "despise" means to take it lightly, or try to be stoic, or "put on your brave face:" "Well, everyone has troubles.  This is mine."  (This is easier to do with "little" problems than when the catastrophe arrives: it's hard to be stoic in a catastrophe.)  On the other hand, we might let the crisis overwhelm us, and paralyze us, or ruin us: that's the "fainting" the verse mentions.  Although we'll be temporarily staggered, as discussed earlier, we can't let the crisis crush us, or end our lives, whether literally or figuratively. 

But your sorrows don't have to be wasted.  You can give them to God, and let Him use them to prepare you for Heaven (this is the thesis of Billheimer's book).  Because there's no suffering in Heaven; so God has to teach us our painful lessons here on earth.

When the bottom drops out, and you're mad at God, or disappointed in God, or resentful of God, tell Him about it!  Rant and rave if you must, but do it towards God; include Him in it, because it's all about you and Him!  Don't shut Him out, or think that "it's a sin to be mad at God."  Again: he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.  And He wants to listen to our cries until we're all cried out ... and then comfort us, as only He can.

I hope the bottom hasn't dropped out for you, and that it never does.  But if it does, I pray that you'll let it lead you closer to your Saviour, instead of driving you away from Him.

Because He is worthy, and He does all things well (Mark 7:37)!  

What a Saviour!  What a Friend!  What a Shepherd!

  

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

"Dr. Law and Dr. Grace"

 Lester Roloff (1914-1982) was one of the very finest of the "old guard" preachers of the twentieth century.  Born in Dawson, Texas of German ancestry, he financed his way through school  by selling milk from a dairy cow that he brought to Baylor University and Southwestern Baptist Seminary with him.  He became a pastor and one of America's most beloved evangelists until his death in an airplane crash in 1982.  The following, "Dr. Law and Dr, Grace," is probably his most famous sermon, and displays his deep insight yet simple style.  More of his reflections can be found here.  Compare this with modern "preaching," and you'll understand the sorry state of "Christianity" in America. This is the first time we have published an entire sermon on this blog.


 “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men. teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ; who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” - - - Titus 2:11-14. 

If I could use the Empire State Building for my pulpit and somebody would build for me a public address system that would reach around the world so that I could have billions of people for my audience and God would grant me the wisdom or sufficient interpreters to speak every language and dialect and I could only bring one message, it would be this message of “Dr. Law and Dr. Grace,” the greatest doctors that ever lived. Satan has done a good job confusing the people about the plan of salvation. Salvation is not a foot race between man and the devil, but it is the gift of God through the Lord Jesus Christ.

Let’s make just a brief visit now to these two doctors Dr. Law and Dr. Grace - the most unusual doctors the world has ever known, in the first place, because they have never lost a case and never made a charge. They are unusual in that they never have a consultation with any other doctor. They are unusual because they never recommend an external treatment. They are unusual because they never ask the patient for his advice or about any of the signs or symptoms in his case. They speak with authority. They are unusual in the fact that though they have recorded one hundred per cent success with every patient most people have refused to go to them for help.

 Now let us come to the Scripture. Romans 5:13, “For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.” Verses 20 and 21, “Moreover the law entered, that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 7, beginning at verse 5, "For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sin, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death. But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held: that we should serve in newness of spirit and not in the oldness of the letter. What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet. But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin was dead. For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.” That’s the death we need to die as a sinner. “And the commandment which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death. For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me. Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just and good Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful. For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. If then I do that which I would not I consent unto the law that it is good. Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh), dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I flnd not.” Verse 24. “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.” Then in chapter 8, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His. And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.” Other Scripture references: Galatians 2, beginning at verse 16. “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified. But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid. For if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor. For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God. I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me. I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.” Then in chapter 3, beginning at verse 10, “For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith. And the law is not of faith: but The man that doeth them shall live in them. Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree.” Verses 22 - 26, "But the Scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe. But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.” Ephesians 2:8-10, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of your selves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast For we are His workmanship. created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”  

 A Meeting With Dr. Law 

The greatest message in the Bible and the theme of the whole Bible is grace. Now grace is the free and unmerited favor of God and there is an unbreakable relationship between law and grace. With that in mind, let me be the sinner because all have sinned and come short of the glory of God “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way...” “There is none that doeth good, no, not one.” “There is none righteous, no, not one.” 

Therefore, I know I’m having some serious internal trouble, and so I head for Dr. Law, and Dr. Law is always in his office and ready to see the sinner. The secretary told me that he was waiting for me. I stepped inside his office and started to relate my signs and symptoms to which he said, “I will not need your help,” to which I said, “Do you think you can find out what is wrong with me?” And he said, “No, sir, I don’t have to think I know what is wrong with you: you have heart trouble. You’re just like all the rest of my patients.”

My old flesh rebelled and it didn’t make sense to me that every one of his patients would have the same disease But after ail, dear friend, the law doesn’t make sense to the sinner because . . . “The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” 


So the flesh gets ready to argue the issue and I say, “Dr. Law, you just don’t understand. I’m having trouble with my hands. I spend a lot of time dealing a deck of cards and I’ve even used them to fight with. My hands are giving me trouble.” And Dr. Law said, “No, it’s your heart.”

I said, “Doc, I’m going to have to argue with you. You may be a doctor, but still you don’t understand me. I’m having trouble with my eyes. It’s nothing for me to sit two or three hours in one night and watch Hollywood and another hour reading magazines and newspapers and my eyes are never satisfied so I must be having eye trouble” 

The old doctor said, “No, my friend, it’s heart trouble - just plain heart trouble.” I said, “Dr. Law, be reasonable about this thing. I’m having trouble with my tongue. It says things that are sharp and ugly and even smutty jokes have come unrehearsed and unplanned and I believe there is something rotten about my tongue. Please examine my tongue.” Dr. Law says, “No, it’s heart trouble.” 

By this time, my rebellion had mounted and I tried to tell Dr. Law it was my ears that would listen to ungodly gossip. It was my feet that would dance and carry me to places I ought not to go to which he answered, “You have a bad case of heart trouble.”

Once more, in desperation, I said, “Dr. Law, surely there is something wrong with my taste. I’ve even cultivated a like for intoxicating beverage and even dope and there must be some way you can help my taste.” And Dr. Law said, “That will be taken care of when your heart is fixed.”

In rebellion and desperation I said, “Dr. Law, I’m going to another doctor,” to which he said, “The woods are full of them, but you’ll never get well until your heart is made right.” I said to Dr. Law, “Would you recommend any other doctor for a consultation?” He said, “There is only one doctor I would recommend and if you won’t listen to me, you’ll never go to him and I’ll never recommend another.”

  Dr. Religion and Associates 

So I beat it down the street and knock on Dr. Religion’s door and it seems like he’s a real scout, he’s a regular fellow, and he said, “Come on in here, Lester Roloff, I’m glad to see you!” And I said, “Yes I’m glad to see you. I’ve been up to see old Dr. Law.” To which Dr. Religion said, “Oh, he’s ancient he’s an antique. Modern folks don’t go to him. He hasn’t had the proper training. He doesn’t know anything about the latest modes of medicine.” 

Well, that sounded good to me and I said, “I don’t like him myself. Dr. Religion, would you just kind of run over me and see what’s wrong?” He said, “Sure!” After his examination, he said, “Why, there’s nothing seriously wrong with you. I recommend that you start going to church.” And I said, ‘Which one?” “Oh,” he said, “just any of them will be all right.” 


So the next Sunday, I was in church and the next but I didn’t get any better. I went back to Dr. Religion and I said, “Dr. Religion, I don’t believe I’m any better.” He said, “Well, did you start going to church?” I said, “Sure. I’ve been going every Sunday.” Then he said, “Did you join and get baptized?” “Why,” I said, “no.” He said, “Do that, that will make you feel better.” I said, “I’ll sure do it and get my wife to also.” 

So I went down to the church and joined it and got baptized, but I didn’t feel any better for very long and I went back to Dr. Religion and I said, “Dr. Religion, there’s something wrong I’m not really any better.” “Well,” he said, “are you really working at it? Take a job in the church and start helping others.” 

And so I did. But I got weary in the struggle and somebody recommended a couple of brothers who were doctors - Dr. Be Good and Dr. Do Good and I went to them, but to no avail. There was no certainty and no assurance of salvation. And then somebody recommended Dr. Hope So. After which I went to Dr. Think So and neither one of them was able to help me. And now - weary, tired, exhausted, in despair and at the end of self - I decided I’d go back to Dr. Law. 

Back To Dr. Law

Dr. Law was waiting for me the same stern, obstinate old doctor with the same diagnosis, “It’s your heart” to which I said, “What do you recommend?” He said, “Only one thing will do and that’s an operation. Your heart will have to come out and a new one put in.” I said, “Dr. Law, when will you operate?” And he said, “I don’t operate.” To which I said, “You mean I’m going to have to die even though you know what’s wrong with me?” “I didn’t say" returned Dr. Law, “that you had to die. So far as I’m concerned, you’ve got to die - I only make the diagnosis. But if you really want to live, I’ll tell you what to do.”

And so this trembling, perspiring sinner looked into the face of this unrelenting doctor and said, “Please help me!” And he took me by the hand and led me across the hall and knocked on an office door and a handsome, loving, smiling doctor came to the door and Dr. Law said, “Dr. Grace, this is Lester Roloff, and he’s got the same trouble all my other patients that I’ve brought to you have had. He’s coming to you for an operation.” 

The Operation

 By that time, Dr. Law had slipped away and gone back into his office and left me standing alone in the presence of Dr. Grace and with fear and trembling, the questions began to come. 

First, “Dr. Grace, will you let Dr. Law or some other doctor help you operate?” And he said, “No, I’ve never had any help.” I said, “Dr. Grace, have you some good nurses?” He said, “No, sir. I’ve never had a nurse - I do it all.” I said, “Dr. Grace, will you give me a good anesthetic and put me into a deep sleep?” He said, “No, sir. I never give anesthetics because I want you to know what I did for you so you can tell the world about it.” I said, “Dr. Grace, will you let me call my wife and let her come and stand by me?” And Dr. Grace smiled and said, “No, son, this is a personal matter just between me and you. You can tell her after it’s all over.” 

I said, “Dr. Grace, I’m scared,” and he said, as he placed his big hand on my trembling shoulder, “You don’t have to be afraid - I’ve never lost a case. This will be a successful operation.” I said, “Dr. Grace, what about the charges and the expense of this tremendous operation?” He said, “It’s already paid for.” I said, “Who paid for it?” He said, “A Friend of yours.” “Oh,” I said, “I’d like to meet Him.” He said, “After the operation, I’ll let you meet Him, I’ll introduce you to Him.” 

I said, “Dr. Grace, is it true that you are going to take my old heart out and put in a new one?” He said, “Yes.” I said, “Where are you going to get the new heart?” He said, “You’ll find out after the operation.” And so just by faith, I lay down on the operating table and the great surgeon, Dr. Grace, took the knife and sliced open my heart section and out came the blackest heart with the most terrible odor — oh, it was so sickening! And for the first time, I realized that Dr. Law was right it was heart trouble. 

In a moment Dr. Grace had thrown that old heart away and brought a new one — so pure and clean and put it in and closed the incision, not even leaving a scar. I felt the flow of new life, color came to my spiritual cheeks and my tongue began to say, “Now I feel better-fact is, I feel wonderful” In a moment with a smile on my face and tears of gratitude coursing down my cheeks, I said, “Dr. Grace, when shall I come back for the check up?” He said, “Son, no check up will be necessary, the operation is a success and this is permanent.”

I said, “What do you recommend?” He said, “Just take some good exercise each day.” And I said, “Do you have any particular exercises?” To which he said, “Yes, kneeling and even raising your hands and praising God and at times, especially in privacy, stretch out on your face. Take some good walks through the community, knocking on doors. Exercise your vocal chords in praise.” 

 An Introduction To The Savior 

I started out at the door and something inside said, “Go back.” I said, “Dr. Grace, you told me you’d introduce me to the Friend who paid my bill,” and he said, “I thought you’d come back.” And stepping through a door came the loveliest Friend I’ve ever met. When He raised His hands, I saw nail prints. On His brow were thorn scars. When His lovely robe fell apart, I saw the spear print in His side. Dr. Grace said, “Jesus. I want you to meet Lester Roloff. And as I looked at that scar in His side, I said, “Dr. Grace, I now understand where my new heart came from. He gave me His.” 


And I fell on my face and said, “It’s time to start my exercises.” After a season of praise and thanksgiving and adoring the One who died for me, I walked joyfully and victoriously down the sidewaik of life, but was reminded once again to go back to the old doctor that I first hated. When I walked inside, he met me with a smile. I extended my hand and his big strong hand gripped mine and I said, “Thank you, Dr. Law, for telling me what was wrong with me.” I was amazed that Dr. Law looked so handsome and seemed so different and I had sweet fellowship with him and I'll always love him for leading me to Dr. Grace. 

Sinner friend, I can now recommend these two great doctors. Dr. Law will show you where you’re wrong and Dr. Grace will make you right. Commit your case to Dr. Law and Dr. Grace, dismiss all other hopes of being saved and come God’s way.

 Some Final Words

Now friend, if you really want to be saved, down in your heart cry out to the Lord, “God be merciful to me, a sinner, and save me. Wash me in the blood of Jesus. Come into my heart In Jesus’ Name, Amen.” Please contact us if you’ve been blessed or trusted Christ as your personal Savior.

Monday, September 16, 2013

The Myth of the Kaaba Stone

In a "religion" which was founded upon centuries of idolatry, probably no physical objects are as holy to the followers of Muhammad than the Kaaba, a granite structure standing inside the Grand Mosque in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, and the mysterious "black stone" which it contains.  These objects did not originate with Muhammad, of course, because Muhammad originated very little: rather, he co-opted them for his new "faith," just as he plagiarized the Old and New Testaments to create the Koran. Like most false prophets, he was an inveterate thief and liar who lacked the imagination to actually "create" anything, unless it was religious sanction for murder, pedophilia, and the subjugation of women.


So important is the Kaaba, and its "black stone," that visiting Mecca to adore it, at least once in one's lifetime, is considered one of the Five Sacred Duties of Islam, to be performed by every Muslim. Pilgrims visit Mecca year-round, but the most important time is during the yearly Hajj, when literally millions of Mohammedans descend upon Mecca at once.  This year's Hajj will fall between October 13 - 18.

The following video gives the factual historical data behind the Muslim superstitions surrounding the Kaaba.  However, it omits one rather delicate, and disgusting, detail.

The "black stone" itself has been claimed, from earliest antiquity, to be a fractured meteorite, a "sign from the heavens" of Allah's presence (even before the term "Allah" was used).  Some Muslims, and some very stupid Christians, have associated the shattered stone with the "image which fell down from Jupiter" referenced in Acts 19:35 (which may have been an actual object, or merely a superstition; the Bible doesn't say, but the context tends to indicate the latter interpretation).  This is nonsense.  It's probably not part of a meteorite at all; although Muslims have forbidden any inspection of the stone since the 19th Century (rather like the Roman Catholic Church restricts access to its "original text of the Bible," Textus Vaticanus), scientists who inspected the rock posited that it was lava, basalt, or some other form of igneous rock.

What is more interesting is the manner of display chosen for the fragments that make up the black stone.  Muhammed himself is credited with fitting the pieces into the silver setting in which it now appears .... which, according to people from virtually every background, deliberately resembles a woman's vulva.  This is precisely what we would expect from a "prophet" and a "religion" that is obsessed with sex.  Hindu scholars in particular (who claim that the Kaaba was originally a shrine to a Hindu goddess) are quite adamant on this point, as they believe it shows that Muhammad stole from their religion, too, which involves the use of phallic symbols.  But it would be fair to say that most people who look at the silver setting see the resemblance.  Those pilgrims who are fortunate enough to get close to the black stone are expected to kiss it, because Muhammad kissed it.

video

Nice ritual.  Nice symbols.  What a nice religion!  Who would expect that it would cause death, agony, and Hell for millions upon millions of the world's people?


For further information, an excellent article

Thursday, September 12, 2013

A Jealous God

God is jealous.  - - - Nahum 1:2

Your Lord is very jealous of your love, O believer. Did He choose you? He cannot bear that you should choose another. Did He buy you with His own blood? He cannot endure that you should think that you are your own, or that you belong to this world. He loved you with such a love that He would not stop in Heaven without you; He would sooner die than you should perish, and He cannot endure that anything should stand between your heart's love and Himself. He is very jealous of your trust. He will not permit you to trust in an arm of flesh. He cannot bear that you should hew out broken cisterns, when the overflowing fountain is always free to you. When we lean upon Him, He is glad, but when we transfer our dependence to another, when we rely upon our own wisdom, or the wisdom of a friend - - - worst of all, when we trust in any works of our own, He is displeased, and will chasten us that He may bring us to Himself. He is also very jealous of our company. There should be no one with whom we converse so much as with Jesus. To abide in Him only, this is true love; but to commune with the world, to find sufficient solace in our carnal comforts, to prefer even the society of our fellow Christians to secret intercourse with Him, this is grievous to our jealous Lord. He would fain have us abide in Him, and enjoy constant fellowship with Himself; and many of the trials which He sends us are for the purpose of weaning our hearts from the creature, and fixing them more closely upon Himself. Let this jealousy which would keep us near to Christ be also a comfort to us, for if He loves us so much as to care thus about our love we may be sure that He will suffer nothing to harm us, and will protect us from all our enemies. Oh that we may have grace this day to keep our hearts in sacred chastity for our Beloved alone, with sacred jealousy shutting our eyes to all the fascinations of the world! 


 
- - - Charles Haddon Spurgeon
Morning and Evening

Monday, September 9, 2013

Muslim Sex Trafficking in .... Minnesota?

A year ago, we looked at the horrible phenomenon of Muslim gang rapes in Sweden, a problem which, sadly, has only increased, not only in Sweden but throughout Europe (in England, for example).  Not only are gang rapes becoming pandemic, but it is well documented that in Syria, rebel groups are financing their activities, in part, through sex trafficking, exactly as they do in other countries.  Obviously, "the religion of peace" looks on women (or girls) as a lucrative commodity at best, and a wholly dispensable nuisance at worst.  And the followers of Muhammad who have emigrated to the United States are no different.

As the following video explains, a large group of Somalis have been conducting a sex trafficking ring in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area for a long time, and their activities have reached as far away as Tennessee.  Many of these are high school students, indistinguishable on sight from any other dark-skinned teenagers in America: in America.  But they have two things in common, besides kidnapping and pimping out little girls: they are all Somali, and they are all Muslims.  We do not claim that they are particularly "religious" Muslims; they're not.  But their attitudes and actions toward women are utterly and absolutely typical of the religion of Islam.  In their treatment of women, Muhammad would be proud of them.

Notice how the "newscasters" refuse to mention Islam, and only refer fleetingly to "cultural differences."  The prostitute press in America is so frightened of Islam that it never speaks the truth regarding the subject.


video

For the record, the defendants in this case had such fine old Irish and Germanic names asAbdifatah Jama Adan, Ahmad Abdulnasir Ahmad, Musse Ahmed Ali, Hassan Ahmed Dahir, Faduma Mohamed Farah, Idris Ibrahim Fahra, Abdullahi Hashi, Fatah Haji Hashi, Abdirahman Abderazak Hersi, Dahir Nor Ibrahim, Abdifatah Bashir Jama, Andrew Kayachith, Fuad Faisal Nur, Yasin Abdirhaman Yusuf and Mohamed Ahmed Amalle.

No matter the costume, no matter the continent, no matter the excuses made by the "tolerant, progressive" element, the facts are plain.  In the tiniest village in Pakistan or in the great cities of Europe and America, wherever Islam rears its barbaric head, this is the sort of thing you may expect to see.