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CMF eZine


The online magazine of the Christian Military Fellowship.


Romans 3:07 - The Darkness Blames the Light

Romans 3:7

"Rom 3:1-8 - The law could not save in or from sins, yet it gave the Jews advantages for obtaining salvation.  Their stated ordinances, education in the knowledge of the true God and his service, and many favors shown to the children of Abraham, all were means of grace, and doubtless were made useful to the conversion of many.  But especially the Scriptures were committed to them.  Enjoyment of God's word and ordinances, is the chief happiness of a people.  But God's promises are made only to believers; therefore the unbelief of some, or of many professors, cannot make this faithfulness of no effect.  He will fulfill his promises to his people, and bring his threatened vengeance upon unbelievers.  God's judging the world, should for ever silence all doubtings and reflections upon his justice.  The wickedness and obstinate unbelief of the Jews, proved man's need of the righteousness of God by faith, and also his justice in punishing for sin.  Let us do evil, that good may come, is oftener in the heart than in the mouth of sinners; for few thus justify themselves in their wicked ways.  The believer knows that duty belongs to him, and events to God; and that he must not commit any sin, or speak one falsehood, upon the hope, or even assurance, that God may thereby glorify himself. If any speak and act thus, their condemnation is just."  Mathew Henry's Concise Commentary

"But if through my lie the truth of God abounded to His glory, why am I also still being judged as a sinner?" (NASB)

"For if the truth of God hath more abounded through my lie unto his glory; why yet am I also judged as a sinner?" (KJV)

"'But,' someone might still argue, 'how can God condemn me as a sinner if my dishonesty highlights His truthfulness and brings Him more glory?'" (NLT)

"For if by my lie the truth of God enhances his glory, why am I still actually being judged as a sinner?" (NET)

If I am dark then blame the light!  If I am cold then blame the heat!  If I am gangrenous cannot I blame health?  The fact that my falleness amplifies the contrast of God's truth does not give me license to rail against my estate.  A piece of bad music does not grow sweeter with volume!  Nor does the stench that erupts foul from my earthen vessel wax sweeter with time but rather grows more vile with its corruptible state.  Only when we are lifted from our graves to be made incorruptible will this ever change.  Then will I see true light with true eyes and know the extent from which I was saved!

I like the word protest; it is the good old root from which came our good old title of Protestant.  But our forefathers protested against error and darkness; your protest bears against truth and light.  How is this?  Are you unable to bear the sight of your own principles?  Must they be shrouded in "a dim religious light," to render them at all bearable to yourself?  The light in which you have lately seen them has been somewhat too vivid for your faith or the weak eyes of your conscience.  You blame the vividness of the medium through which you have viewed your principles.  What has that to do with them?  It is like a telescope — it shows them as they are, adds nothing fictitious.  Why blame the light?  I climbed the Apennines, once, with a friend, in the darkness of the night; morning dawned, and flushed with light those scenes of savage grandeur.  Did the light create that scenery, or show it only?  It was there in all its savage aspects before we or morning visited it.  But we were thankful for the light, as by it we were enabled to avoid perils on every hand.  You have sense enough to apply this to the light which has lately shined upon the objects of your faith, rendering them so terrifying to your consciences.  Come, come, sir; pray try to look your principles in the face.  If they are anything, they are everything; if true, they are tremendously true.  If they are worthy of my attention, they are worthy of thine — of the attention of all present in this assembly.  Learn to look them in the face now, or by and by they will look you in the face, on the death-bed, and frighten you, as if so many devils were glaring upon you.  Earnest Christianity Illustrated, the Rev. James Caughey

Romans 3:06 - Fair Judgment

Romans 3:6

"Rom 3:1-8 - The law could not save in or from sins, yet it gave the Jews advantages for obtaining salvation.  Their stated ordinances, education in the knowledge of the true God and his service, and many favors shown to the children of Abraham, all were means of grace, and doubtless were made useful to the conversion of many.  But especially the Scriptures were committed to them.  Enjoyment of God's word and ordinances, is the chief happiness of a people.  But God's promises are made only to believers; therefore the unbelief of some, or of many professors, cannot make this faithfulness of no effect.  He will fulfill his promises to his people, and bring his threatened vengeance upon unbelievers.  God's judging the world, should for ever silence all doubtings and reflections upon his justice.  The wickedness and obstinate unbelief of the Jews, proved man's need of the righteousness of God by faith, and also his justice in punishing for sin.  Let us do evil, that good may come, is oftener in the heart than in the mouth of sinners; for few thus justify themselves in their wicked ways.  The believer knows that duty belongs to him, and events to God; and that he must not commit any sin, or speak one falsehood, upon the hope, or even assurance, that God may thereby glorify himself. If any speak and act thus, their condemnation is just."  Mathew Henry's Concise Commentary

"May it never be! For otherwise, how will God judge the world?" (NASB)

"God forbid: for then how shall God judge the world?" (KJV)

"Of course not! If God were not entirely fair, how would He be qualified to judge the world?" (NLT)

"Absolutely not! For otherwise how could God judge the world?" (NET)

Here we see the contrast of the qualification of judgment.  In Romans 2:1 we were reminded that the very practices of our lives disqualify us from judging others because we are guilty of the very same thing.  However, the Lord Jesus Christ in not encumbered by sin!  To the contrary He is perfect and holy.  He is light and in Him there is no darkness at all!  Yet we are judged according to the light we see.  He who judges the universe is more than fair, He is just!  But how could He be fair if he judges me since I am the keeper of the oracles of God?  The law was given to the Jews alone but God's righteousness was revealed to everyone!  It was revealed not more to one than the other but imputed to everyone who believes.

So what?  We are judged because of our disobedience/unbelief not because of our obedience!  We must recognize each day of our lives that there is no saving faith in Christ unless there is genuine love that manifests itself in genuine obedience.  Our unbelief is open rebellion whereas saving faith brings the fruit of complete submission to Christ. That is why we read of the "obedience of faith" (Romans 16:26)

Romans 3:05 - The Blame Game 101

Romans 3:5

"Rom 3:1-8 - The law could not save in or from sins, yet it gave the Jews advantages for obtaining salvation.  Their stated ordinances, education in the knowledge of the true God and his service, and many favors shown to the children of Abraham, all were means of grace, and doubtless were made useful to the conversion of many.  But especially the Scriptures were committed to them.  Enjoyment of God's word and ordinances, is the chief happiness of a people.  But God's promises are made only to believers; therefore the unbelief of some, or of many professors, cannot make this faithfulness of no effect.  He will fulfill his promises to his people, and bring his threatened vengeance upon unbelievers.  God's judging the world, should for ever silence all doubtings and reflections upon his justice.  The wickedness and obstinate unbelief of the Jews, proved man's need of the righteousness of God by faith, and also his justice in punishing for sin.  Let us do evil, that good may come, is oftener in the heart than in the mouth of sinners; for few thus justify themselves in their wicked ways.  The believer knows that duty belongs to him, and events to God; and that he must not commit any sin, or speak one falsehood, upon the hope, or even assurance, that God may thereby glorify himself. If any speak and act thus, their condemnation is just."  Mathew Henry's Concise Commentary

"But if our unrighteousness demonstrates the righteousness of God, what shall we say? The God who inflicts wrath is not unrighteous, is He? (I am speaking in human terms.)" (NASB)

"But if our unrighteousness commend the righteousness of God, what shall we say? Is God unrighteous who taketh vengeance? (I speak as a man)" (KJV)

"'But,' some might say, 'our sinfulness serves a good purpose, for it helps people see how righteous God is. Isn't it unfair, then, for Him to punish us?' (This is merely a human point of view.)" (NLT)

"But if our unrighteousness demonstrates the righteousness of God, what shall we say? The God who inflicts wrath is not unrighteous, is he? (I am speaking in human terms.)" (NET)

Paul anticipates the obvious arguments that will be brought by his fellows countrymen and then refutes them.  We see here our fallen propensities expressed!  Let's blame God for our sin!  After all He is using our current state to demonstrate His righteousness isn't He? (speaking with a mind corrupted the recompense of my evil deeds).  The ultimate truth is that all of my flesh is dead and there is no part of it that should be kept.  The Good News is not flip this house but rather new construction.  Why would I want to keep any part of my fallen estate?  Is there some special part of my reprobate mind I would want to bring into glory?  The truth be know then, the only place in my eternal soul that is not defiled is that some preserved by God Himself where my visage was not marred.  That place where His Spirit and mine dwell together (no small miracle here).  What joy there is in seeing the length to which the Savior went to secure my deliverance from death and destruction!  Who was my greatest enemy in the battle for my own soul?  Me!  Who continues to be my own worst enemy?  Me!  Who then remains the Lord of my salvation?  Jesus Christ! His Grace is sufficient for my every need! Where my sin abounds, His Grace super-abounds.

I did not know His love before,
The way I know it now.
I could not see my need for Him,
My pride would not allow.
I had it all, without a care,
The "Self-sufficient" lie.
My path was smooth, my sea was still,
Not a cloud was in my sky.

Wendy Greiner Lefko

The Soldier's Preparation for Battle

The call to battle, the order to go to war issues from the Commander in Chief and moves downward through the chain of command until it rests upon the military unit(s) that will engage the enemy.  Unit commanders prepare their combat forces to engage and defeat the enemy with the goal of walking victoriously off the battlefield.  However, no matter how well trained their combat soldiers might be, no matter how advanced their weaponry, victory in battle will elude them if individual soldiers will shrink from their duties in the face of the enemy.  In addition to being sufficiently trained and well equipped, the combat soldier also needs to have the 'heart of a warrior'.

The same is true for the Christian soldier who would be effective for the Kingdom of God.

In the 17th Century, Puritan preacher and author Thomas Watson called the preparation of the Christian Soldier 'provocation to duty'. He further defined it as:

"Provoking ourselves to duty, implies an uniting, and rallying together all the powers of our soul, setting them on work in the exercises of piety. A man must say to his thoughts, "be fixed on God in this duty;" and to his affections, "serve the Lord without distraction." Matters of piety must be done with intenseness of spirit."

He then describes seven duties required of a Christian soldier who would deveop a 'warrior's heart':

  1. The Reading of the Word.
  2. The Hearing of the Word.
  3. Prayer.
  4. Meditation.
  5. Self-examination.
  6. Sanctifying the Lord's Day.
  7. Holy conversation.

Romans 3:04 - God is true - Every man is a liar

Romans 3:4

"Rom 3:1-8 - The law could not save in or from sins, yet it gave the Jews advantages for obtaining salvation.  Their stated ordinances, education in the knowledge of the true God and his service, and many favors shown to the children of Abraham, all were means of grace, and doubtless were made useful to the conversion of many.  But especially the Scriptures were committed to them.  Enjoyment of God's word and ordinances, is the chief happiness of a people.  But God's promises are made only to believers; therefore the unbelief of some, or of many professors, cannot make this faithfulness of no effect.  He will fulfill his promises to his people, and bring his threatened vengeance upon unbelievers.  God's judging the world, should for ever silence all doubtings and reflections upon his justice.  The wickedness and obstinate unbelief of the Jews, proved man's need of the righteousness of God by faith, and also his justice in punishing for sin.  Let us do evil, that good may come, is oftener in the heart than in the mouth of sinners; for few thus justify themselves in their wicked ways.  The believer knows that duty belongs to him, and events to God; and that he must not commit any sin, or speak one falsehood, upon the hope, or even assurance, that God may thereby glorify himself. If any speak and act thus, their condemnation is just."  Mathew Henry's Concise Commentary

"May it never be! Rather, let God be found true, though every man be found a liar, as it is written, 'THAT YOU MAY BE JUSTIFIED IN YOUR WORDS, AND PREVAIL WHEN YOU ARE JUDGED.'" (NASB)

"God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged." (KJV)

"Of course not!  Even if everyone else is a liar, God is true.  As the Scriptures say about Him, 'You will be proved right in what you say, and You will win Your case in court.'" (NLT)

"Rom 3:4 Absolutely not!  Let God be proven true, and every human being shown up as a liar, just as it is written: 'so that you will be justified in your words and will prevail when you are judged.'" (NET)

That Apostle is saying that if any doctrine that calls God a liar is false!  Our fallen state requires that we justify self at any cost.  Do we not judge others and then rationalize our motives to justify our actions?  We are false! The truth is not in us!  But the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ is truth.  We can REST in His truth because of His Grace! What a wonderful place to be!

"God forbid, yea, let God be true, but every man a liar,.... Let no such thing ever enter into the minds of any, that the truth of God can be, or will be made of none effect by the want of faith in man; let it be always asserted and abode by; that God is true, faithful to his word, constant in his promises, and will always fulfill his purposes; though "every man is a liar", vain, fallacious, and inconstant: referring to Psalm 116:11;" Dr. John Gill

"Let God be true - Let God be esteemed true and faithful, whatever consequence may follow.  This was a first principle, and should be now, that God should be believed to be a God of truth, whatever consequence it might involve.  How happy would it be, if all people would regard this as a fixed principle, a matter not to be questioned in their hearts, or debated about, that God is true to his word!  How much doubt and anxiety would it save professing Christians; and how much error would it save among sinners!  Amidst all the agitations of the world, all conflicts, debates, and trials, it would be a fixed position where every man might find rest, and which would do more than all other things to allay the tempests and smooth the agitated waves of human life." Dr. Albert Barnes

Romans 3:03 - God's Faithfulness Challenged?

Romans 3:3

"Rom 3:1-8 - The law could not save in or from sins, yet it gave the Jews advantages for obtaining salvation.  Their stated ordinances, education in the knowledge of the true God and his service, and many favors shown to the children of Abraham, all were means of grace, and doubtless were made useful to the conversion of many.  But especially the Scriptures were committed to them.  Enjoyment of God's word and ordinances, is the chief happiness of a people.  But God's promises are made only to believers; therefore the unbelief of some, or of many professors, cannot make this faithfulness of no effect.  He will fulfill his promises to his people, and bring his threatened vengeance upon unbelievers.  God's judging the world, should for ever silence all doubtings and reflections upon his justice.  The wickedness and obstinate unbelief of the Jews, proved man's need of the righteousness of God by faith, and also his justice in punishing for sin.  Let us do evil, that good may come, is oftener in the heart than in the mouth of sinners; for few thus justify themselves in their wicked ways.  The believer knows that duty belongs to him, and events to God; and that he must not commit any sin, or speak one falsehood, upon the hope, or even assurance, that God may thereby glorify himself. If any speak and act thus, their condemnation is just."  Mathew Henry's Concise Commentary

"What then? If some did not believe, their unbelief will not nullify the faithfulness of God, will it?" (NASB)

"For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect?" (KJV)

"True, some of them were unfaithful; but just because they were unfaithful, does that mean God will be unfaithful?" (NLT)

"What then? If some did not believe, does their unbelief nullify the faithfulness of God?" (NET)

Like Israel, does our wickedness nullify the promise of God made to Abraham?  This promise was and everlasting covenant that would bless all the generations to come! Perhaps said another way, will the decrees of Almighty God be thwarted by our conduct?  As we look back through this microsecond of history (compared to eternity) do we not see the blessing of God unfolding? As the science of our day peers though larger and more sophisticated telescopes searching for evidence of life on other worlds, what unfolds before them is an the seemingly endless universe created by an eternal God who is not bound by time and space.  The light from our sun takes about 8 minutes to reach earth traveling at around 186,000 miles per second.  Do you begin to see why James refers to our life as a morning fog? (James 4:14)  We are a mist, a vapor, a wisp of cloud that appears for a short time and then evaporates.  But the faithfulness of God endures forever.  Yet He is opposed to the proud (James 4:6).  That is why Paul here is anticipating all the arguments.  If anything the misconduct of Israel, and those of us who would later benefit from the promise, more fully demonstrates God's faithfulness! How wonderful that the Salvation of Christ is close at hand and that He is patient with us waiting for that day when we would believe.

Romans 3:02 - The Whole Revelation of God

Romans 3:2

"Rom 3:1-8 - The law could not save in or from sins, yet it gave the Jews advantages for obtaining salvation.  Their stated ordinances, education in the knowledge of the true God and his service, and many favors shown to the children of Abraham, all were means of grace, and doubtless were made useful to the conversion of many.  But especially the Scriptures were committed to them.  Enjoyment of God's word and ordinances, is the chief happiness of a people.  But God's promises are made only to believers; therefore the unbelief of some, or of many professors, cannot make this faithfulness of no effect.  He will fulfill his promises to his people, and bring his threatened vengeance upon unbelievers.  God's judging the world, should for ever silence all doubtings and reflections upon his justice.  The wickedness and obstinate unbelief of the Jews, proved man's need of the righteousness of God by faith, and also his justice in punishing for sin.  Let us do evil, that good may come, is oftener in the heart than in the mouth of sinners; for few thus justify themselves in their wicked ways.  The believer knows that duty belongs to him, and events to God; and that he must not commit any sin, or speak one falsehood, upon the hope, or even assurance, that God may thereby glorify himself. If any speak and act thus, their condemnation is just."  Mathew Henry's Concise Commentary

"Great in every respect. First of all, that they were entrusted with the G3051oracles of God." (NASB)

"Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the G3051oracles of God." (KJV)

"Yes, there are great benefits! First of all, the Jews were entrusted with the G3051whole revelation of God." (NLT)

"Actually, there are many advantages. First of all, the Jews were entrusted with the G3051oracles of God." (NET)

"Moses was with our ancestors, the assembly of God's people in the wilderness, when the angel spoke to him at Mount Sinai.  And there Moses received G3051life-giving words to pass on to us." (Acts 7:38 NLT)

"You have been believers so long now that you ought to be teaching others. Instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic things about G3051God's word.  You are like babies who need milk and cannot eat solid food." (Hebrews 5:12 NLT)

"Do you have the gift of speaking?  Then speak as though G3051God Himself were speaking through you.  Do you have the gift of helping others?   Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies.  Then everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ.  All glory and power to Him forever and ever! Amen." (1 Peter 4:11 NLT)

G3051
λο?γιον
logion
Thayer Definition:
1) a brief utterance, a divine oracle (doubtless because oracles were generally brief)
1a) in the NT, the words or utterances of God
1b) of the contents of the Mosaic law

A blessing and a curse! Not unlike a verse from a country song, "standing knee deep in a river and dying of thirst." Is not that the way we deceive ourselves? The heavens display the glory of God but we are the descendents of the primordial soup! The rebellion of the diametrically opposed (Father God — Mother Nature). The Bible remains the best seller and least read! Blessed insurance, State Farm is mine, oh what a joy from actuarial divine. Heir of deductible, all is at rest, I keep my adjuster's name in my vest.

"For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires. " (Hebrews 4:12 NLT)

The benefit of the Word of God is that it exposes us for who we really are! When we have seen ourselves in the "light of His Glory" we begin to understand our own depravity. From this humbled state we begin to see the length and breadth and depth of His magnificent Grace. We experience His resurrection power to overcome the sin that so entangles us.

OR

We become arrogant fools deceived by our own sin and live a form of godliness and deny the power thereof.

We are without excuse for we have the "whole revelation of God."

Romans 3:01 - Home Court Advantage

Romans 3:1

"Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the benefit of circumcision?" (NASB)

"What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision?" (KJV)

"Then what's the advantage of being a Jew? Is there any value in the ceremony of circumcision?" (NLT)

"Therefore what advantage does the Jew have, or what is the value of circumcision?" (NET)

 

"Rom 3:1-8 - The law could not save in or from sins, yet it gave the Jews advantages for obtaining salvation.  Their stated ordinances, education in the knowledge of the true God and his service, and many favors shown to the children of Abraham, all were means of grace, and doubtless were made useful to the conversion of many.  But especially the Scriptures were committed to them.  Enjoyment of God's word and ordinances, is the chief happiness of a people.  But God's promises are made only to believers; therefore the unbelief of some, or of many professors, cannot make this faithfulness of no effect.  He will fulfill his promises to his people, and bring his threatened vengeance upon unbelievers.  God's judging the world, should for ever silence all doubtings and reflections upon his justice.  The wickedness and obstinate unbelief of the Jews, proved man's need of the righteousness of God by faith, and also his justice in punishing for sin.  Let us do evil, that good may come, is oftener in the heart than in the mouth of sinners; for few thus justify themselves in their wicked ways.  The believer knows that duty belongs to him, and events to God; and that he must not commit any sin, or speak one falsehood, upon the hope, or even assurance, that God may thereby glorify himself. If any speak and act thus, their condemnation is just."  Mathew Henry's Concise Commentary

"Here the apostle answers several objections, which might be made, to clear his way.  No truth so plain and evident but wicked wits and corrupt carnal hearts will have something to say against it; but divine truths must be cleared from cavil."  Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible

Cavil
CAVIL, v.i.

1. To raise captious and frivolous objections; to find fault without good reason; followed by at.

It is better to reason than to cavil.

2. To advance futile objections, or to frame sophisms, for the sake of victory in an argument.

What value is there in the Excellency of the Christian faith?  There must be value since Noah Webster wrote a book entitled, "Value of the Bible and Excellence of the Christian Religion."  It is the same advantage that is given to the Jew!  The faithfulness of God! So what if everyone of us is unfaithful?  Does that limit the faithfulness of the Lord Jesus Christ?  NO!  Even if we are violators of the covenant, does that make His promises null?  NO!

Can anything ever separate us from Christ's love?  Does it mean He no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death?  (As the Scriptures say, "For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.")  No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.  And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God's love.  Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God's love.  No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:35-39)

I am the one who has seen the afflictions that come from the rod of the LORD's anger.  He has led me into darkness, shutting out all light.  He has turned His hand against me again and again, all day long.  He has made my skin and flesh grow old.  He has broken my bones.  He has besieged and surrounded me with anguish and distress.  He has buried me in a dark place, like those long dead.  He has walled me in, and I cannot escape. He has bound me in heavy chains.  And though I cry and shout, He has shut out my prayers.  He has blocked my way with a high stone wall; He has made my road crooked.  He has hidden like a bear or a lion, waiting to attack me.  He has dragged me off the path and torn me in pieces, leaving me helpless and devastated.  He has drawn His bow and made me the target for His arrows.  He shot His arrows deep into my heart.  My own people laugh at me.  All day long they sing their mocking songs.  He has filled me with bitterness and given me a bitter cup of sorrow to drink.  He has made me chew on gravel.  He has rolled me in the dust.  Peace has been stripped away, and I have forgotten what prosperity is.  I cry out, "My splendor is gone!  Everything I had hoped for from the LORD is lost!"  The thought of my suffering and homelessness is bitter beyond words.  I will never forget this awful time, as I grieve over my loss.  Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this: The faithful love of the LORD never ends! His mercies never cease.  Great is His faithfulness; His mercies begin afresh each morning.  I say to myself, "The LORD is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in Him!"  The LORD is good to those who depend on Him, to those who search for Him.  So it is good to wait quietly for salvation from the LORD.  And it is good for people to submit at an early age to the yoke of His discipline: Let them sit alone in silence beneath the LORD's demands.  Let them lie face down in the dust, for there may be hope at last.  Let them turn the other cheek to those who strike them and accept the insults of their enemies.  For no one is abandoned by the Lord forever.  Though He brings grief, He also shows compassion because of the greatness of His unfailing love.  For He does not enjoy hurting people or causing them sorrow.  If people crush underfoot all the prisoners of the land, if they deprive others of their rights in defiance of the Most High, if they twist justice in the courts—doesn't the Lord see all these things?  Who can command things to happen without the Lord's permission?  Does not the Most High send both calamity and good?  Then why should we, mere humans, complain when we are punished for our sins?  Instead, let us test and examine our ways.  Let us turn back to the LORD.  Let us lift our hearts and hands to God in heaven and say, "We have sinned and rebelled, and You have not forgiven us.  "You have engulfed us with Your anger, chased us down, and slaughtered us without mercy.  You have hidden Yourself in a cloud so our prayers cannot reach You.  You have discarded us as refuse and garbage among the nations.  "All our enemies have spoken out against us.  We are filled with fear, for we are trapped, devastated, and ruined."  Tears stream from my eyes because of the destruction of my people! My tears flow endlessly; they will not stop until the LORD looks down from heaven and sees.  My heart is breaking over the fate of all the women of Jerusalem.  My enemies, whom I have never harmed, hunted me down like a bird.  They threw me into a pit and dropped stones on me.  The water rose over my head, and I cried out, "This is the end!"  But I called on Your name, LORD, from deep within the pit.  You heard me when I cried, "Listen to my pleading! Hear my cry for help!"  Yes, You came when I called; You told me, "Do not fear."  Lord, You are my lawyer!  Plead my case!  For You have redeemed my life.  You have seen the wrong they have done to me, LORD.  Be my judge, and prove me right.  You have seen the vengeful plots my enemies have laid against me.  LORD, You have heard the vile names they call me.  You know all about the plans they have made.  My enemies whisper and mutter as they plot against me all day long.  Look at them! Whether they sit or stand, I am the object of their mocking songs.  Pay them back, LORD, for all the evil they have done.  Give them hard and stubborn hearts, and then let Your curse fall on them! Chase them down in Your anger, destroying them beneath the LORD's heavens.  (Lamentations 3:1-66 NLT)

Friendly Fire

Friendly Fire

Casualties of War — Friendly Fire

Iam grieved in my spirit of late at the breaking news about all of the terrorist activity reported in the news.  Not the television network news, nor even the cable news, but reports from the front lines in the battle for souls.  My ears are still ringing from reports of church splits, pastoral staff resignations, mischief and misbehavior at Christian universities.  What fuels the flame of this seemingly continuous conflagration that destroys lives, churches and makes impotent the work of the Gospel?  It is the sin of anger!  Yes, you heard it here first.  Anger is a sin.


Bob Flynn, President/CEO

I did not come to this conclusion by way of thoughtful consideration of my intellectual prowess.  It came instead by incremental illumination by the Holy Spirit as He worked upon my heart during a ten-year long sojourn in the second chapter of the Epistle to the Philippians.  It could not have happened any other way!  It was and is a continuance of the work that God began and will finish on the day when Christ returns (Phil 1:6, paraphrase mine).  For how can mere flesh and blood stand in the midst of Him of whom angels sing, “Holy, Holy, Holy.”  For He who brings everything into conformity with His will had already spoken through the Apostle Paul and said, “Be humble, thinking others as better than yourself…In everything you do, stay away from complaining and arguing….” (Phil 2:3b, 14)  Instead, our lives should epitomize the “attitude that was in Christ Jesus.”  The only innocent man who lived did not cling to His innocence but rather sacrificed himself on the altar without complaint.  He could have been angry at those who falsely accused and condemned Him.  He could have clung to His excellence and rightly held us in contempt.  Instead He went as a lamb to the slaughter.  How then shall we live?  Shall we continue giving aid and comfort to the Enemy?  Shall we continue inflicting casualties upon each other because our lives are not “blameless,” “clean” and “innocent” “as children of God in a dark world full of crooked and perverse people.”? (Phil 2:15)  How then can we be angry with another without thinking too highly of ourselves?

I know that there are those who would argue with me, but C.S. Lewis pretty much covers the basis for this conclusion in his book, Mere Christianity.

“The law of gravity tells you what stones do if you drop them; but the law of Human Nature tells you what human beings ought to do and do not.  In other words, when you are dealing with humans, something else comes in above and beyond the actual facts.  You have the facts (how men do behave) and you also have something else (how they ought to behave).  In the rest of the universe there need not be anything but the facts.  Electrons and molecules behave in a certain way, and certain results follow, and that may be the whole story.  But men behave in a certain way and that is not the whole story, for all the time you know that they ought to behave differently.”

Blow Up Your TV

Blow Up Your TV

Back in ancient times (BC — Before Computers) in a land far away in the midst of a horrible war, I was looking through the resident collection of albums (the round plastic platters with a hole in the middle) when I spied one by some guy named John Denver (released before he was famous).  There was a song on the album whose first line lyric caught my ear, “Blow up your TV, try to find Jesus on your own.”  I don’t remember much about the song itself but the lyric has remained with me all of these years.

Having reached the age where my children have become adults, I now look back on the earlier years and see that life had some spots that were a blur of activity.  Being involved, because of my children, in little league, Boy Scouts, soccer, Sunday School, youth group and also being a full-time sailor didn’t leave much time for anything else.  Life seemed pretty full.  There are indeed so many activities in our lives!   Yet how many are profitable?  How many are profitable for the kingdom?  How much time do I devote to those things that are important to my health and well being as a believer?  Sometimes I think that the world does a better job of conforming me into its mold than I do allowing the Holy Spirit to transform me by the renewing of my mind (Romans 12:2 paraphrase mine).  I think in my case that the blur of activity was motivated more by my flesh (not wanting my children to miss out) than by the Spirit (wanting to draw me into a closer walk with Him).  This doesn’t mean I couldn’t have done both.  It means that my attitude wasn’t right.


Bob Flynn, President/CEO

As I was meditating upon Hebrews, chapter twelve, I was struck by the idea of “throwing off everything that hinders.” (NIV)  As I looked up from my easy chair I found myself looking full on at one thing in particular that took up a great deal of my time, the huge one-eyed monster we call Television.  My heart was shaken at its foundations.  The Holy Spirit was showing me in a very clear way that I would rather spend time watching the political talk shows than with Him.  Busted!  So I got up out of my chair walked across the room and pulled the plug!  I would like to say that the angels of heaven broke out in song (However, what really broke out was beads of sweat upon my brow.  Several times that evening, as I was trying to read, I found my hand reaching for the ol’ remote control.  I thought to myself, how many other things are in my life that have become a hindrance to fellowship with the Father.  Am I really trying to work out my faith with “fear and trembling” or am I just busy?  C.S. Lewis, in “Mere Christianity,” mentions that
one of the “cardinal virtues” is temperance.  The first word that the dictionary (my copy was of course printed in the last century) uses to define this is moderation, “bringing within bounds, avoidance of excesses.”

If you find yourselves breathing hard at the end of the day, might I suggest in all humility (because I promise you that I am NOT the fount of all knowledge and wisdom) that you take stock of your activities and see if there isn’t some time that could be better used in your relationship with the Savior.  “Blow up your TV (hyperbole mine) and try to find Jesus on your own!”

“As for us, we have this large crowd of witnesses round us.  So then, let us rid ourselves of everything that gets in the way, and of the sin which holds on to us so tightly, and let us run with determination the race that lies before us.  Let us keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from beginning to end.  He did not give up because of the cross!  On the contrary, because of the joy that was waiting for him, he thought nothing of the disgrace of dying on the cross, and he is now seated at the right-hand side of God’s throne.  Hebrews 12:1-2 TEV


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