Wednesday, November 11, 2015
Friday, November 06, 2015
My spirit is sobered
When I read Your Word
Only to find the prophesies
That some will abandon the faith
Even now I see signs of heresy
Blasphemy uttered from lips
Of those who call themselves Christian
It’s visible in the pulpit
Pastors and teachers
Even worship leaders are not immune
Leading astray the unwise sheep who sit in the pew
Seminaries once strong
No longer bastions of truth
Heretical teaching is commonplace
Unbelieving professors are wolves in sheep’s clothing
The full counsel of God’s Word is not taught
It’s been replaced with feel good “sermons”
God’s clear condemnation of sin is ignored
Immorality and unrepentant sinners embraced
Men are given the title of pastor
The truth be told
Some are nothing more than motivation speakers
Catering to the audience and tickling their ears
Pastors, there’s no need to study hard
Or accurately divide the Word of truth
Instead, find a readymade sermon online
Buy it today, preach it tomorrow
Even pastors who once seem solid
Elevate themselves; not God
Read their own books from the pulpit
Set aside the inerrant Word of God
There’s another book to hock
CD albums are ready to sell
Is the Word of God free and unfettered
No, but it’s available for a small fee
Preachers who should know better
Align themselves with false teachers
Come alongside those whose motivation is tainted
Fueled by pride, applause and the love of money
Sin is seldom mentioned
Truth, no longer spoken
For fear of causing offense
Or driving away those with deep pockets
Salvation found through Christ alone
Is so very narrow minded
The narrow road that leads to life is not mentioned
By those on the broad road leading to destruction
Father, You have forewarned us
Of the deception that will take place
The falling away of those who were with us, but not of us
Evidenced in fact that they did not remain
Father, may we abide and remain in Christ
Keep us in Your Word daily
Holy Spirit, give us wisdom and discernment
Raise up men who will unashamedly preach the Word
by Susan Wachtel
November 6, 2015
Tuesday, November 03, 2015
Jesus and His disciples
Departed for the other side
To the Gadarenes
For a divine appointment was in store
Two demon-possessed men
So wild and violent, no one dared to pass by
They lived among the tombs
The spiritually dead among the physically dead
When they saw Him
They knew, it was God incarnate
The Son of God stood before them
The One Whom they had rebelled against in eternity past
They knew their day was coming
For torment and eternal punishment
They cried, “What have we to do with You, Jesus”
They begged Him, “Cast us into the herd of swine”
He commanded, “Be gone!”
The demons obeyed, departed and entered the swine
At breakneck speed they hurled themselves
Over a cliff, headlong into the sea and drown
Quickly the herdsmen departed
Made their way into the city
They declared all that had happened
Including a tale about tormented men set free
The townsmen made their way to Jesus
They witnessed for themselves
Two formerly demon-possessed men
Now clothed and in their right minds
They were overcome
With great fear
Urgently pleaded with Jesus
Depart from here
Before Jesus departed
One man begged to come with Him
“No,” He responded, “Depart”
“Proclaim to all you encounter what God has done for you.”
by Susan Wachtel
November 3, 2015
Thursday, October 22, 2015
I am privileged to be a part of two Bible studies this year. One of my favorite things about these studies is the discussion time that we have as a small group, following our personally studying of God’s Word.
I love hearing how other people answer the questions. Sometimes it’s the way they word their answer that helps me to understand the Scripture passage in a fresh or clearer way. Sometimes it’s an example they share; a story, a parable or something from their own life that helps me to understand the Scripture.
In this week’s lesson we studied the passage from Matthew 6, which includes God’s commands about forgiving others. One question had us answer what we would advise a person who is struggling to forgive.
One response that was given was an example that many of us may have heard. Unforgiveness is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. That’s a good example on the harm that unforgiveness does in our lives and just how crazy it is to not forgive.
But that got me to thinking about forgiveness, especially for believers in Christ. Why should we forgive someone when they have hurt us, either purposely and intentionally or by accident?
First and foremost, God calls us, no He commands us to forgive others. That alone should inform my actions and cause me to obey Christ.
But if it doesn’t cause me to forgive, what might prompt me to obedience? I can look at my own life, my sin, my deceitfully wicked heart apart from Christ and see how much God has forgiven me. When my huge sin debt has been wiped clean by holy and righteous God Himself, how can I hold onto an offense by another and refuse to forgive them? When my grievous sin is weighed on the scales against the offense I’ve suffered, there is no comparison.
I may need to remind myself, especially if it’s a fellow Christian, Christ has forgiven them. He died on the cross and paid the penalty for their sin, even the sin that hurt me. Their sins are forgiven and cast as far as the east is from the west, as are mine. How can I put myself over and above Christ and not forgive someone whom Christ died for and forgave?
If it’s an unbeliever, well Christ died to pay the sin debt all humanity. He stands ready to forgive them and embrace them if they repent of their sins and receive Christ Jesus as Lord. His righteousness will be applied to their account and their sin debt will be wiped clean.
God doesn’t say, “Forgive someone if they are a fellow Christian.” No, He doesn’t make my forgiveness conditional on their repentance or if they are saved. He tells me to forgive.
I have no solid ground to stand on when I choose to be unforgiving. None!
Is it easy? No, absolutely not. But God can help me to forgive. It’s a choice that I need to make every day. When the enemy comes along and stirs up hurt feelings, I can choose to remind myself about what God has already spoken about forgiveness. Speak the truth from God’s Word into my life, my heart, mind, will and emotions. I can ask God in prayer to help my feelings catch up with my will to obey Him and forgive.
Another thought I had was about obedience to God. I’m a little concerned about things I see in the church today. It’s seems like we have a tendency to make it about us and not God. We may focus on how we feel. We talk about the benefits we may experience as a result of obedience.
But there seems to be a lack or reverence and obedience to God. He is Holy and Righteous and Just and deserves nothing less than our full obedience. Not because we feel like it, but because He is God!
That doesn’t mean that our feelings are always in line with obeying God as an act of our will. When that’s the case, we can confess that and seek God’s help to heal our hurting hearts. We can strengthen our minds with truth from God’s Word.
Lord, help me to love You more with each passing day. Help me to know Your Word, to hunger and thirst for it. Help me to hide Your Word in my heart so that I may not sin against You. Help me to obey You, as an act of my will and out of love for You. In Christ’s precious and saving name I pray…Amen!
Tuesday, October 20, 2015
First and foremost let me say, I love this book! Anne of Green Gables, My Daughter & Me by Lorilee Craker is a lovely and delightful book. In this heartfelt exploration about adoption the author shares about feelings and emotions experienced by adoptees, adoptive parents and biological parents.
I’ve never read any books by Lorilee Craker, but when I read the description of this book, I was hooked. “What my favorite book taught me about grace, belonging and the orphan in us all.”
I’m an adoptee and Anne of Green Gables is one of my favorite books. I think I’ve read every book by famed author Lucy Maud Montgomery. That’s why I couldn’t turn down this opportunity to read Anne of Green Gables, My Daughter and Me.
Throughout the book Lorilee skillfully weaves characters and scenes from much the beloved books, Anne of Green Gables, as she shares about her own life which began with her adoption. Lorilee and her husband Doyle are the forever real parents to their sons Jonah and Ezra and their adopted daughter Phoebe. She also shares about Phoebe’s unique and special journey to become part of the Craker family.
I really appreciated how Lorilee shared the birth mother’s perspective. She was open and transparent in her quest to find her birth parents and what happened. Even if an adoptee never seeks out their birth parents, the curiosity remains.
Lorilee shared about her own forever and very real parents and what she and her husband experienced when they flew halfway around the world to bring their daughter Phoebe home.
Interwoven throughout this book are scenes from the precious books and movies, Anne of Green Gables. This memorable story is about a young girl with carrot red hair who was orphaned and adopted by the unlikely parents of spinster Marilla Cuthbert and her bachelor brother Matthew. Who would ever think that a spinster and bachelor would be the perfect parents for this spunky, feisty and imaginative girl? Anne’s life would be forever changed and filled to overflowing with love and friends on the enchanting and beautiful Prince Edward Island.
This story is made even richer as Lorilee shares about author Lucy Maud Montgomery’s life, who herself was orphaned. While her story turned out different than Anne’s, it’s from her rich imagination this beloved character has a special place in the hearts of many young girls and women.
Lorilee delves into some painful and deep thoughts and emotions from those impacted by adoption. She tackles the conundrum of how one who is chosen and adopted may focus on being abandoned, rejected and orphaned. Most importantly she shares how God Himself has adopted Christian believers into His forever family. Orphans are very close to His heart.
I highly and unreservedly recommend Anne of Green Gables, My Daughter & Me by author Lorilee Craker. It’s filled with grace and truth; it will enrich your life and touch your heart.
I would like thank the people at Tyndale House Publishers for the opportunity to read Anne of Green Gables, My Daughter & Me in exchange for an honest review. I was under no obligation to give a favorable review.