Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Source Of Our Problems

"Only by pride cometh contention: but with the well advised is wisdom." - Proverbs 13:10

A preacher friend of mine quoted this Bible verse in one of his posts this morning on Facebook and I decided to go read it and meditate on it for a little while.  As I thought on this verse, the Lord began to speak to my heart about writing something on it today.

It is so sad to see that there is much contention in many churches today and in the lives of many Christians today as well.  Why is that?  What is the reason for it?  The answer is pride, it is the root of all contention.  Pride is at the root of the problems and contentions that we have with others, whether it be in the church or outside the church.  Pride comes natural to us because of our flesh and our lusts.  We don't want to be wronged, we don't want to be corrected, we must have things our way, we are going to give someone a piece of our mind.  We manifest all of these attitudes because of pride.

The Bible tells us that God resists the proud.  In Proverbs chapter 6, we find that a proud look is something that God says He hates.    In contrast, the Bible tells us that God gives grace to the humble.  It also says that God is near to those of broken heart and a contrite spirit.  In light of this, there are several questions that come to mind.  Where is our humility?  Where is our brokenness?  Where is our spirit of contrition?

The solution to this problem is simple; if we want to get rid of contention in our churches, our homes, and our individual lives, we must get rid of our pride.  If we are dying daily to ourselves, our flesh, and our lusts, then there is no reason for us to have pride in our hearts.  However, in "American Christianity" the problem is that we do not die daily to all of these things.  Is it any wonder that we lack the power of God in our churches, pulpits, and our individual lives?

If you look to the middle of the word "Pride" you will find "I" and that says it all!

Prayer For Today:

Heavenly Father, help me today to die to my flesh, my desires, and my lusts.  Help me to deny myself and to surrender all to Christ.  Forgive me for my sin of pride in my heart and cleanse me from it.  Give me a spirit of humility, brokenness, and a contrite heart.  Lord, help me to remember, it isn't about me but rather it is ALL about Christ!  In Jesus name, Amen!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Standing In The Gap

"And Moses returned unto the LORD, and said, Oh, this people have sinned a great sin, and have made them gods of gold.  Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin-; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written." - Exodus 32:31-32

Without a doubt, the prayer in these verses is one of the greatest intercessory prayers offered in all of Scripture.  The Lord is ready to totally consume the children of Israel because of their sin against Him.  Their sin of idolatry has brought the wrath of God upon them, and rightly so.  They had just been delivered by the hand of God Himself from the bondage of the Egyptians, delivered at the Red Sea, their every need has been provided for, and now they have forsaken the Lord for a golden calf.  Even though they deserved the wrath of God to come upon them, Moses stood in the gap for Israel and interceded to God for them on their behalf.  Moses even told God that if He would not forgive Israel for their sin to blot his own name out of the Lord's book.  WOW, now that is a man that had a burden for the people he was leading!

Where is are the Moses' of today?  Where is that kind of intercessory prayer today?  Even the Apostle Paul was willing to be accursed that Israel might be saved.  Unfortunately, our prayers today have become so self-centered that we have no time to intercede to God for others.  Are we willing to stand in the gap like Moses did for Israel?  Are we willing to intercede to God for those around us that are lost?  Are we willing to intercede to God for those who have backslid on Him?  Have you ever considered that you might be the only one standing in the gap interceding for another person?

We are in desperate need today of people who are willing to stand in the gap and intercede to God just like Moses did!  Lord help us to see our need to stand in the gap and intercede for our homes, our churches, and our nation!

Prayer For Today:

Heavenly Father, when I pray, help me no to simply offer a bunch of self-centered prayers, but help me to stand in the gap and intercede for those around me.  In Jesus name, Amen!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Forgetting Where We Came From

"Also thou shalt not oppress a stranger: for ye know the heart of a stranger, seeing ye were strangers in the land of Egypt." - Exodus 23:9

As I was reading through the book of Exodus the other day, the above verse really stood out to me.  I think that it reveals a fundamental problem that many churches and Christians have when it comes to the lost around them.  I'm afraid too many Christians today have forgotten where they came from.

The word oppress has many meanings, one of them means to put down.  This is the way that many lost people see us Christians.  They see us looking down our noses at them, making condescending statements about them, they see us condemning them rather than condemning their sin.  The Lord warned Moses and the children of Israel not to oppress a stranger.  He told them that they knew what it was like to be a stranger because of their time in bondage to the Egyptians.

As Christians, we must never forget where we came from!  We know the heart of a lost person, because we used to be one.  Before we trusted Christ as our Savior, we were strangers to Him, we were in bondage to our sin and to the world.  The Lord was reminding Israel of how they were treated by the Egyptians and was telling them not to treat strangers the same way.  Think back to your days as a lost person and remember how you felt, think about your burdens, think about your sorrows, and how you just simply needed someone to show you the love of Jesus Christ.  Please do not misunderstand what I saying, we cannot and must not overlook sin or turn a blind eye to it, but we must show those around us that we care.

During Pastors Conference at FBC Jacksonville Johnny Hunt made the following statement, "The longer I'm a part of God's family, the further removed I am from those for who Christ died."  That is such a sobering thought!  Too many Christians in our churches today have isolated themselves in a bubble from the world around them.  The result of this is that they have forgotten where they came from, they have forgotten the heart of a lost person, and they have become cold to the lost.

May God break our hearts and give us a consuming compassion for the stranger and the lost!  Have you forgotten who you were and where you came from before Christ saved you?

Prayer For Today:

Heavenly Father, may I never forget who I was and where I came from before You saved me!  Lord, break my heart for those who are lost and give me a consuming passion for those who are hurting and desperately need You!  Father, thank You for Your mercy and grace demonstrated toward me when You saved my unworthy and wretched soul!  As You have loved me, shown me mercy, shown Your grace to me, forgiven me, help me to do the same to those that are still in bondage to sin.  In Jesus name, Amen!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Stop Praying

"When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? - Psalm 8:3-4


I want to say first of all, please don't let the title of my post today scare you away, bear with me for a little bit.  The other day, I started reading "Crazy Love" by Francis Chan and he made a statement that just grabbed me. He said, "What if I told you to stop talking to God for a while, but instead, take a long, hard look at Him before you speak another word?"  He went on to say, "The wise man comes to God without saying a word and stands in awe of Him."

I want you to check out the video below before you continue reading.

After he first saw the video, Francis Chan said, "When I first saw those images, I had to worship.  I didn't want to speak to or share it with anyone.  I just wanted to sit quietly and admire the Creator."  In Psalm 8, David pondered the same things about God.  When David thought of the heavens, the moon, and the stars that God had created, it was hard for him to comprehend that God would even be interested in man.  David was truly in awe of the majesty and glory of the Lord!

I'm afraid that when we pray, we approach the Lord too casually, and do not approach Him in awe of His majesty and glory.  Before you pray the next time, stop and just stand in awe of Jesus Christ and all that He has done.  May you and I be gripped by the reality of our smallness and by the reality of the bigness of our God!

"Men are never duly touched and impressed with a conviction of their insignificance, until they have contrasted themselves with the majesty of God." - R.C. Sproul

Prayer For Today:

Heavenly Father, I stand in awe of Your majesty, glory, and power!  In light of that, I see how small, weak, and insignificant I am compared to You.  Help me, because of my smallness, to be gripped by the reality of Your greatness.  May I proclaim to all, How Great Is Our God!  In Jesus name, Amen!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Pastor Clint's Recommended Reading List

Here is a recommended reading list that I have put together to be a help to Christians who want to grow closer to Christ in their walk with Him. These are books that have greatly influenced me and my ministry. It is my prayer that your heart will be stirred and challenged as you read through these books. - Pastor Clint

  • Not A Fan by Kyle Idleman
Note: This is quite possibly the best book I have ever read. It should be REQUIRED reading for EVERY church member and maybe even a prerequisite for church membership

  • Already Gone: Why Your Kids Will Quit Church and What You Can Do To Stop It by Ken Ham
Note: This is a MUST read for ALL parents and ALL pastors! You can't afford not to read it!

  • Radical by David Platt
Note: This is one of the stirring books that I have ever read

  • Radical Together by David Platt
Note: This is a wonderful book for churches to read together after reading Radical

  • Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire by Jim Cymbala
Note: This is the BEST modern day work on prayer there is out there

  • When Worlds Collide: Stepping Up and Standing Out In An Anti-God Culture by Mike & Daniel Blackaby
Note: This is a MUST read for all youth in your church! I would also recommend it to anybody working with young people and pastors as well. A tremendous book!

  • Serving As Senders by Neal Pirolo
Note: This is absolutely the BEST book on a church's relationship with missionaries period! This should be REQUIRED reading for ALL pastors!

  • Gospel by J.D. Greear
Note: This is a great book for any church member who feels like they sruggle in their walk with Christ. It shows how we must go deeper into the Gospel as we live the Christian life. A MUST read!

  • What Is A Healthy Church Member by Thabiti Anyabwile
Note: Don't let the Author's name scare you off. This is an excellent book for ALL church members and would be an excellent book to give potential members. Also would be great to teach in Sunday School.

  • Heart Disease In Christ's Body by Jack Van Impe
Note: This is was written in 1984 by Dr. Van Impe before he developed his modern day associations. I would HIGHLY recommend this book. It is TREMENDOUS!

  • The Well by Mark Hall
Note: Written by the lead singer for Casting Crowns. This is a VERY stirring and convicting book! An excellent read! I would HIGHLY recommend this book!

  • Humility by Andrew Murray
Note: This is one of the most convicting books that you will ever read!

  • Foxe's Book of Martyrs by John Foxe
Note: A classic! Not much else needs to be said about this one.

  • The Christian Atheist by Craig Groeschel
Note: This is one of my favorite books. You will find it very convicting!

  • Transformational Church by Ed Stetzer & Thom Rainer
Note: This is a very good book to take the spiritual temperature of your church.

  • If You Only Knew Me: Seeing Your Pastor From A Different Perspective by Jerry Beaver
Note: This is a MUST read for ALL church members and ALL pastors!

  • God Has A Wonderful Plan For Your Life: The Myth Of The Modern Message by Ray Comfort
Note: Another book that is a MUST read for ALL church members!

  • A Skeptic's Search For God by Ralph Muncaster
Note: If you have an atheist friend or someone that relies on science, or agnositc, you MUST give them this book. Absolutely the best book out there on the subject period!

  • Hell? Yes!...And Other Outrageous Truths You Can Still Believe by Robert Jeffress
Note: This is a great book to give to a person that has trouble with Hell or other controversial subjects in our culture today.

  • Driven To The Edge: A Biblical Examination Of Suicide by Randy Raynes
Note: This is the only book to date that I have come across that deals with this subject in a Biblical manner.

  • Stop Dating The Church by Joshua Harris
Note: This is a great book for those who seem to have trouble making the commitment to a local church.

  • I Am A Fundamentalist by John R. Rice
Note: This book is out of print and very hard to come by, but if you can find it, get it! Dr. Rice's position on many things in the book will surprise you. A MUST HAVE!

  • More Than A Carpenter by Josh McDowell
Note: This is another excellent book to give a skeptic, agnostic, or atheist. This book is on a more basic level than some others, but it is excellent!

  • Thinking Outside The Box by Charles Keen
Note: This is another great book on missions! The name of the book says it all.

  • One Heartbeat Away by Mark Cahill
Note: Hands down the BEST book to give to ANY lost person! It presents the Gospel in a very Biblical way!

  • Power In The Pulpit by Jerry Vines & Jim Shaddix
Note: This is a tremendous work on expository preaching! This is a MUST have for ALL preachers!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Spiritual Transformation

"And as soon as we had heard these things, our hearts did melt, neither did there remain any more courage in any man, because of you; for the LORD your God, he is God in heaven above, and in the earth beneath." - Joshua 2:11

Last Sunday night at FBC we began a series of messages going through the book of Joshua.  Most of us know that Joshua is a book of transition.  There is a transition in leadership from Moses to Joshua as well as many other transitions.  As we come to chapter 2 we find in one of these transitions a spiritual transformation.  This is what God desires for us all!  This coming Sunday night at FBC we are going to delve deeper into this transition and transformation.  I would like to share just a brief thought with you concerning this transformation.

The conversion of Rahab, the harlot, is a wonderful illustration of the transformation that God desires for us to experience in our lives.  First, we are radically transformed when we repent of our sins and place our faith and trust in Christ.  Second, we are to be radically transformed each day to look more like Christ and for our lives to reflect Him.  The life of Rahab illustrates how amazing the mercy and grace of the Lord is toward you and I. In the book of Joshua she is referred to as a harlot, however when you come to the book of Hebrews, she is referred to as a woman of faith.  Only God Himself can produce that kind of transformation in someone's life.

The thought I want us to ponder today is: are we allowing Christ to transform our lives in a radical way just like He did in the life of Rahab?  You might say, "I am saved, my life has already been transformed."  I am referring to salvation, but rather to allowing Christ to radically transform you and I to look more like Him each day.  Each day we must allow Christ to mold us and to make us more like Him.  Are we allowing Him to have His way with us to bring about this transformation?

I don't know about you, but I desire for Christ to work in my life in such a way that each day I am seeing a radical transformation in my life to be more like Him.  Just think about the Lord saved and radically transformed a woman who was a harlot and through her is the lineage of Christ.  Jesus Christ, our Savior, the Creator of this Universe, and God in the flesh, is descended from the a woman who was a harlot at one time.

Jesus Christ can radically transform any life, will you allow Him to transform yours?

Prayer For Today:

Heavenly Father, thank You for You mercy and Your grace.  As You radically transformed and worked in the life of Rahab, it is my desire that You would transform and work in my life.  Conform my life each day to look more like Jesus.  In Jesus name, Amen!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Have Pity

"Have pity upon me, have pity upon me, O ye my friends; for the hand of God hath touched me." - Job 19:21


It has been said that no one in all of Scripture, apart from the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, suffered like Job did.  It has also been said about Job's friends, that with friends like that, you don't need enemies.  What we read in Job 19:21 is one of the saddest statements made in Scripture.  Job is desperate as he cries out for his friends to have pity on him.  What stands out to me about this verse is the total lack of compassion and mercy shown by Job's supposed friends.

What about us today?  There are people in our churches today who are suffering.  Are we willing to show them mercy and compassion and really be there for our brothers and sisters in Christ when they need us?  There are also multitudes that are lost without Christ in our culture today.  Are we willing to speak the truth in love to them?  Are we also willing to show them mercy and compassion by showing them the love of Christ that they desperately need?  I'm so afraid that those in the church, as well as in the world, think that we see them only as a number.  "We have led this many to Christ this month.  We have given this much to missions this past year or we support this many missionaries."  You and I must be willing to invest ourselves into the lives of those who are in need, whether those needs be spiritual, physical, or emotional.  We must be willing to cry with others, to share their hurts, and cry out to the Lord on their behalf.

It seems to me today that way too many Christians are in the category of Job's supposed friends.  They are merciless, they are without compassion on those who are hurting and in need.  Too many times we spend so much time condemning others that we fail to show them Christ's love, mercy, or compassion.  Now I am not saying that we accept their sin and overlook it, I am saying that these people who are hurting need someone to just love them and show them Christ.

Will you show mercy, compassion, and the love of Christ to those that are hurting?  May God break our hearts especially for those that are lost in the world and desperately need Christ to save them before it is eternally too late!

Prayer For Today:

Heavenly Father. break my heart for those around me that are hurting and desperately need Your love!  Please forgive me for my failure to show Christ's love to these people.  Help me to show mercy and compassion to those in need, whether they be in the church or in the world.  May I make a difference in the life of someone else for Your honor and glory!  In Jesus name, Amen!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Startling Statistics

This is not going to be somewhat of a different blog post for me.  Yesterday I received something in the mail about a retreat for pastors and their wives.  As I began to look through the information I came across some very startling statistics concerning pastors and the ministry in general.  I want to pass this information along because it indicates that something is drastically wrong in our churches today.

I must be honest, I can relate to much of what is said and in some cases I am one of those statistics.  So here we go, below are some very startling, eye-opening, and disturbing statistics about pastors and the ministry.

What Pastors Are Struggling With In Their Ministries

  • 1,500 pastors leave their churches every month in the U.S. because of conflict, burnout, or moral failure.
  • 80% of pastors believe pastoral ministry has affected their families negatively and 33% say that being in the ministry is an outright hazard to their families.
  • 82% of pastors in the U.S. said they would leave the ministry if it were financially feasible to do so.
  • 80% of pastors feel unqualified or discouraged in their role as pastor.
  • 80% of pastors spend less than 15 minutes a day in prayer.
  • 70% of pastors do not have a close friend, confidant, or mentor.
  • 70% of pastors say the only time they spend studying the Word is when they are preparing their sermons.
  • 50% of pastors have considered leaving the ministry in the last three months.
  • 40% of pastors report a serious conflict with a parishioner as least once a month.
  • Almost 40% of pastors have had an extra-marital affair since the beginning of their ministry.
  • 23% of all current pastors have been fired or forced to resign in the past.
  • The average pastoral career only lasts 14 years.
  • 66% of church members expect a minister and family to live at a higher moral standard than they do.

Again, as I read these statistics I am struck by this recurring thought, "Something is drastically wrong with this picture."  We must turn a blind eye or a deaf ear to these realities!  It is causing major harm and damage to the cause of Christ.  People must realize that pastors ARE NOT super human or some sort of spiritual giant that does not face the same struggles that they do.  We are only human!  We face the same struggles that our church members face.  We fuss at our children just like they fuss at theirs.  We argue with our wives at times just like other men in the church argue with theirs at times.  There will probably be some pastor out there that will say that I shouldn't be saying these things, but hey, I'm just being honest.

I am not trying to have a pity party for pastors and get everyone to feel sorry for us.  I am trying to get people to see the reality and seriousness of the situation.  As I read through this, I came to the realization that I am a statistic.  What about you?

Monday, March 19, 2012

Feeling Inadequate

"Have no I commanded thee?  Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest." - Joshua 1:9

Do ever feel inadequate to do what God has called you to do?  If we are honest, all of us at one time or another have felt this way when it comes to serving the Lord.  It even seems that Joshua felt this way as well.  In Deuteronomy chapter 31 Moses encourages Joshua to be strong and of a good courage.  Then four times in chapter 1 Joshua is encouraged to be strong and of a good courage; one time by the people and three times by the Lord.

I want to encourage you today, that if you feel inadequate to do what God has called you to do, it is a good thing.  You are probably thinking that this sounds strange and doesn't make any sense.  It is good for us to feel inadequate because then we are forced to desperately, completely, and absolutely rely on the Lord and His power to get the job done.  The Lord is attracted to weakness.  It is through our weakness that His power is manifested and His strength is shown.  When you and I get to the place where we acknowledge our weakness and total helplessness before God, it is then that He is able to work in our lives in a mighty and powerful way!

I want to challenge you to passionately and desperately to seek after the Lord and His strength and power today.  Do not lean to your own understanding and your ability!  This is why we see such a lack of the God's moving in our lives because we adequate for the task.  When we get to the place that we realize how inadequate we really are, then we are in the place where Christ can begin to do something in our lives.

Today, humble yourself before the Lord by desperately and passionately calling out to Him to manifest His power in your life.  Seek and cry out to the Lord with your whole heart that He would equip you for His service.  Just remember, if you feel inadequate to serve Christ, that is a good thing!

Prayer For Today:

Heavenly Father, I confess my total inadequacy to serve You and to do what You have called me to do.  I desperately need Your strength and Your power in my life!  Help me not to lean to my own understanding or ability, but help me to absolutely and completely rely on You!  In Jesus name, Amen!

Friday, March 16, 2012

A Stranger With God

"Hear my prayer; O LORD, and give ear unto my cry; hold not thy peace at my tears: for I am a stranger with thee, and a sojourner, as all my fathers were." - Psalm 39:12


"I am a stranger with thee..."

Does this describe your fellowship with Jesus Christ?  Even though we have trusted Christ as our Savior, I'm afraid that many of us are strangers when it comes to our fellowship with Him.  I do not mean strangers in the sense that Christ does not know us or who we are, but rather that we do not spend intimate time with Him the way we should.  There are many people that we may know who they are and maybe even know a little about them, but in reality they are strangers to us.  Sadly, this describes many of us when it comes to Jesus Christ.  We are strangers with Him.

I can't help but be convicted about my lack of prayer and intimate fellowship with Christ.  I believe this is the state of most Christians today in that we are seriously lacking in our prayer life and intimate fellowship with Christ.  Simply put, we are not spending time with Christ the way the disciples and the early Church did.  It seems that our churches as a whole and us as individuals know very little of the power that the early Church had because of their time spent in prayer declaring their utter and complete dependence on the Lord.

One area pastor made the following statement: "You can have as much of God as you want, and that you already have as much of God as you want."  I can honestly say that I want to have more of Christ, I want to know Him in a more intimate way, I want His presence to more real to me, and I want to see a glimpse of His glory!

I am challenging myself and you to develop a life of prayer declaring your absolute, complete, and total dependence upon Christ for every need in our lives.  May we cry out to the Lord to work in our lives, homes, and churches in such a mighty way that He will draw others unto Him.  May we not be strangers with Christ in our prayer life or our intimate fellowship with Him. 

Prayer For Today:

Heavenly Father, may I not be a stranger with Thee.  I pray that I can have more of You, that I can know You in a more intimate way, and that Your presence will be more real to me each day.  Help me to totally, completely, and absolutely cry out to You and depend on You for everything!  It is my desire to develop of a life of prayer and intimate fellowship with You.  In Jesus name, Amen!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

No Exceptions

"And it came to pass by the way in the inn, that the Lord met him, and sought to kill him." - Exodus 4:24

In Exodus chapter 4 we find Moses is preparing to return to Egypt to lead God's people from that land into the land that the Lord had promised to Abraham.  Then when you come to verse 24, you find that God met Moses prior to his departure and sought to kill him.  Now that might seem a little strange when you first read over it, but there was serious issue that Moses had ignored.  Moses had not yet obeyed all of the commands of God.  He had failed to have his son circumcised as required by the Lord.  If Moses had not responded quickly in obedience, he surely would have been put to death.

Just like Moses, we too must learn that God makes no exceptions for holiness and righteousness.  If you and I desire to be used mightily in God's work we cannot blatantly ignore God's commands or His standards that He has set.  The Lord had to make some changes in the life of Moses before he was ready to lead God's people out of Egypt.  We are no different.  The Lord will have to make some serious and significant changes in our lives if we are to be used By Him in His work.  Jesus Christ wants you and I to walk in His holiness and His righteousness so that we might be vessels that He can use.

We must remember that Jesus Christ makes no exceptions when it comes to His standards of holiness, righteousness, and obedience.  So many people today are trying to serve Christ even though they have ignored one or more of His commandments.  Are you trying to serve the Lord and yet you have ignored something that He has told you to do?

Prayer For Today:

Heavenly Father, help me to examine my heart and my life to see if there is any area that I have been disobedient to You.  Please forgive and cleanse me from my disobedience.  Lord, help me to absolutely and completely surrender my heart and life to You in obedience that I might be a vessel fit for Your service.  In Jesus name, Amen!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

A New Opportunity

"Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in the newness of life." - Romans 6:4

How did you do in your walk with Christ yesterday, the day before, or even last week?  Were you faithful and obedient to Him or did you fail big time?  If we are honest, we have to admit that there are days when we fail Christ so miserably.  However, we must not let our past failures keep us from being faithful and obedient to Christ today!

Today offers you a fresh opportunity to serve Christ.  It also offers you a fresh opportunity to allow Christ to have the rule and reign of your heart.  Each day you and I must surrender our hearts afresh and anew to Christ as we crucify our flesh.  We must daily take up our cross and follow Him in obedience.

Will you allow Jesus Christ to rule and reign in your heart today?  Will you crucify your flesh and surrender in obedience to Him today?  Will you take up your cross and follow Christ today?

Maybe you have failed Christ miserably yesterday or even today; don't dwell on it, don't fret about it.  Look at today or even tomorrow as a fresh and new opportunity to surrender to Christ and to let Him rule and reign in your heart!

Prayer For Today:

Heavenly Father, help me not to dwell on past failures in my walk with You. Help me to focus on today, that I might surrender to You in obedience afresh and anew.  Help me to this day to take up my cross and to follow You.  Thank You for new opportunities.  In Jesus name, Amen!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

He Gave

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." - John 3:16

This is the most famous and well known Bible verse that there is.  Most of us learned this verse in Vacation Bible School or Sunday School as children.  I would even dare say that many if not most people that are lost could even quote this verse.  I'm afraid that most of us as Christians take this very familiar verse for granted when it comes to some of the powerful truths that it teaches us.

I want to draw your attention to the words "that He gave."  This tells us how much God truly loves not just the world as a whole but how much He loves you and I as individuals.  God the Father loved you and I so much that "He gave."  Have you truly thought about that weight of those three words "that He gave" or have you been guilty of just glossing over it?

The reality of John 3:16 is that God completely, absolutely, and totally gave Himself for us!  He took on the form of a man in Jesus from Nazareth, left the glory and splendor of Heaven, to be rejected by His own people and then to suffer, bleed, and die on a cross.  Think about it, God, the Creator of the entire universe became a curse when He hung on the cross; He was taking all of the punishment that you and I deserved for our sin.  God Himself, the Person of Jesus Christ, gave up everything for you and for me; He literally gave you and I everything when He gave Himself as that perfect sacrifice required for our sins to be forgiven.

The question to you and I today is: if God gave Himself absolutely for us, then shouldn't you and I be willing to absolutely give ourselves to Him?  We must be willing to completely and totally abandon everything for Jesus Christ!  The sad reality is that most Christians know very little if anything at all about giving up anything for Christ.  We are so worried about the consequences of what we are giving up to follow Christ.  However, the truth is that when we grasp the reality of John 3:16, that God totally and absolutely gave Himself for us, we will have no trouble giving ourselves absolutely to Christ, no matter the consequences.

There have never been three more powerful words than "that He gave!"

Prayer For Today:

Heavenly Father, thank You so much for giving Yourself completely and absolutely when You hung on the cross to pay for my sins and take the punishment that I deserved.  Help me today and everyday to totally, completely, and absolutely give myself to You.  May I totally abandon myself to You and Your will.  In Jesus name, Amen!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Back In A Few Days

I apologize for not have any new blog posts from yesterday or today. I sick and under the weather. Please pray that I can get rid of this infection and be able to preach come Sunday.

Lord willing, I will be back to blogging on Monday.

Pastor Clint

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Given To Prayer

"They compassed me about also with words of hatred; and fought against me without a cause.  For my love they are my adversaries: but I will give myself unto prayer." - Psalm 109:3-4

What is your first instinct or what is the first thing that you do when opposition comes?  If we all are honest, we would have to say that we probably would take some sort of action in our own strength to deal with the situation.  I know that is one of my biggest faults, I try to handle things in my own power and wisdom.

Notice what David said that he did when opposition came his way.  He said that he would give himself unto prayer.  When people speak words of hatred to him, when they fight against him without a cause, when they go against him in spite of his love for them, David says that he will give himself unto prayer.  When opposition comes our way, our flesh says that we need to respond, that we need to take action against it.  However, you will find that Scripture tells us something completely different.  When we face opposition, when people come against us without a cause, or when they reward our love by becoming our adversaries, the Bible tells us that we are to give ourselves unto prayer.

I must admit that I am a complete and utter failure when it comes to doing this.  When I face the things that David is talking about, usually the last thing on my mind is giving myself unto prayer.  I know that giving myself unto prayer is what I should do and it is what I must do, but for some reason I do not.  If we all are honest, we all are guilty of this.  I can't help but wonder what a difference we would see in our churches and our own lives if we all would give ourselves unto prayer when we face opposition.  Satan has tricked us into thinking that we must do something to retaliate or that we must respond to the situation in some way.  The only way that you and I should respond is by totally and completely giving ourselves unto prayer.

When you and I get on our knees before God, desperately cry out to Him, and utterly depend on Him, that is when He can work in our lives and the lives of others.

Will you give yourself unto prayer?

Prayer For Today:

Heavenly Father, when people speak words of hatred against me, when they fight against me without a cause, and when they become my adversary in spite of my love for them, may I completely and totally give myself unto prayer.  Help me not to handle things or situations in my own power or wisdom, but rather I confess my utter and complete dependence on You and Your power to work in those situations.  In Jesus name, Amen!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Be With Him

"And he goeth up into a mountain, and calleth unto him whom he would: and they came unto him.  And he ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach." - Mark 3:13-14

What do you think our primary responsibility is as a child of God?  Most Christians would probably say that it is to be a witness for Christ.  Most preachers would probably say for them it is to preach the Word of God.  However, both of these answers would be wrong.  Notice what the Bible says in the above verses.  Our first call and responsibility is to be with Christ, preaching is secondary.  We can't be a witness or preach His Word until we have been with Him.

Just think about it, the Creator of everything, the Savior of the world, His desire is to be with us!  That is such an awesome thought!  Have you been with Him lately?  Maybe you are facing a trial or difficult situation today and don't know what to do, just be with Him.  Maybe you are in total despair and are ready to throw in the towel, just be with Him.

I can't help but wonder how different our lives would be if we would just be with Him more.  Think of the impact it would have on our spiritual walk.  Think of the difference that we would be able to make in the lives of others as a result of us being with Him more.  Witnessing is not the most important thing that we can do, preaching is not the most important thing we can do, the most important thing is for us to be with Him.

When was the last time that you were just with Him?

Prayer For Today:

Heavenly Father, help me to remove all of the cares of this world and burdens from my heart that I might just be with You.  It humbles me that Your desire is for me just to be with You.  Forgive me for putting other things ahead of You and failing to just be with You.  Father, I pray that You would make Your presence so real to me today as I am with You.  In Jesus name, Amen!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Dwelling Together In Unity

"Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for the brethren to dwell together in unity!" - Psalm 133:1

"The devils are united as one man in their infamous rebellion, while we believers in Jesus are divided in our service of God, and scarcely ever work with unanimity." - Charles Spurgeon

The Bible says that it is good and that it is pleasant for the brethren to dwell together in unity.  The Bible goes on to say in Psalm 133:2 that it is like a precious ointment upon the head.  With that being said, why is that we cannot seem to dwell together in unity with our brothers and sisters in Christ.  Please don't misunderstand me, I am not talking about yoking up with those that promote and teach false doctrine; neither am I talking about yoking up with those who are not saved.  I am talking about Christians who agree on the fundamentals of the faith.  In the New Testament, Jude exhorted his readers to "earnestly contend for the faith."  He did not say contend for the issues, he said contend for the faith!

Is it any wonder that we do not see people coming to Christ when the Body is divided?  Is it any wonder that people want nothing to do with the Bride of Christ?  Our enemy, Satan, and all of his cronies are most definitely united in their cause to destroy the name of Jesus Christ.  Why is it that we feel that we must attack others in the Body who don't cross their t's and dot their i's the way we do?  Again, I am not talking about those who are in doctrinal error.  This was the problem at Corinth, they were divided with one saying they were of Paul and another saying they were of Apollos.  Unfortunately, not much has changed since then.  Today in the Body of Christ we have all sorts of cliques and camps proudly touting who they are of: I am Sword of the Lord, I am Hyles-Anderson, I am in the camp meeting crowd, or I am BBF.  Please don't misunderstand me, I am not trying to pick on these specific groups, but rather I am just using them for examples.  Sadly, the reality is that if someone doesn't do what we think they should be doing or do it the way we think they should, we want to separate from them and ostracize them even when there is no Biblical reason or mandate for doing so.

Does it bother you that people are dying lost and spending an eternity in Hell because the Body is too busy fighting among themselves?  May God convict our hearts of this terrible wickedness and sin!  We have the truth that this lost world needs, but they are not hearing it because we are too busy fighting with each other.  I know that I am running the risk of being labeled a compromiser by my IFB brethren, but that is okay because I quit worrying what "the brethren" thought a long time ago.  I am ONLY concerned with pleasing Jesus Christ and being obedient to Him.

There is absolutely something wrong when you see the level of vitriol that is present among the Body today, especially coming from "men of God."  This attacking one another has got to stop!  How can we say the love of Christ dwells in us and then turn around and go after another brother in Christ just because it doesn't agree with our opinions or personal preferences?  All of this is done under the pretense of taking a stand.  My question is: taking a stand for what?  Where is the humility?  Where is the meekness?  Where is the brokenness?

I can't help but think about what a hot time it is going to be at the Judgment Seat of Christ as we have to give account to Christ for the discord that we have sown in the Body.  How many people have died lost and are now burning in Hell because of the lack of unity in the Body?  Do we even care or does it even bother us that our lack of unity and our discord is hindering us from sharing the Gospel with those that are in desperate need of salvation?

May the Lord forgive us for our lack of unity and may He forgive us for the way treat other members of His Body!  I pray that we would ask the Lord for meekness, humility, and that our hearts would be broken!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Being Crucified With Christ

"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." - Galatians 2:20

I know that this is a verse that many of us have memorized, but how many of us have really considered the implications of this verse?  For me personally, I can honestly say that I had not really grasped the reality of this verse and what it means concerning my walk with Christ.

First, Paul says that he is crucified with Christ.  How many of us can truly say the same thing?  Have you crucified your flesh today?  Every day you and I must crucify our flesh, our desires, and our lusts.  Then Paul says that the life he now lives is not his, but it is Christ living in him.  Once you trust Christ as your Savior and Lord, your life no longer belongs to you.  Now your life belongs to Christ and you are to allow Christ to live through your life.

Do you have victory in your life over sin, your flesh, your desires, and your lusts?  If you are losing the battle, it is because you are not crucifying yourself with Christ.  Today, ask the Lord to empty you of self, to empty you of your worldly lusts and desires.  Then ask the Lord to fill you with His Spirit and His power.  If you and I are going to live a victorious life, we must crucify our lives everyday with Christ.

Are you crucified with Christ?  The life you now live, is Christ living in you?

Prayer For Today:

Heavenly Father, help me to crucify my life, my sin, my desires, and my lusts each day.  Empty me of self and fill me with Your Spirit and Your power.  May Christ live in and through my life as I crucify self each day.  In Jesus name, Amen!