Monday, April 30, 2012


“A true saint will be zealous in his daily affairs, but all his energies will be turned to heaven. While his hands are busy at his tasks, his heart and head will be taken up with higher matters-- how to please God, grow in grace, enjoy more intimate fellowship with Christ. The carnal man, in contrast, spends long, hard hours in his shop and then goes home and spends half the night plotting how to get ahead in business. He sweats in the shop, but grows cold in the prayer closet. No weather is bad enough to keep him from market, but if the road to church is a little slippery or there is a chill in the air, he begs his leave from the services. No inconvenience is too great if it fattens his pocket, but let the preacher keep him a minute or two past the hour, and he complains. In short, at work he keeps his eyes on the till; at church, he keeps them on his watch.
If anything I have said speaks to you, go quickly to God and petition for a thorough change of heart.
Perhaps you have a heavenly spirit in getting earthly things. But do you have the same spirit when you use them? The good wrestler uses his earthly estate for heavenly ends.
What do you do with the fruits of your labor? Do you bestow them on your own overstuffed paunch-- or do you share them with the poor? If you are a prominent member of your community, how do you use your influence-- for good or for evil? For selfish or selfless ends? To pray for "things" without a heavenly end in mind is close to idolatry. Use your material wealth with a holy fear, dear saint, lest earth should rob heaven, and your temporal enjoyments endanger your heavenly interests. As Job sanctified his children by offering a sacrifice out of fear that they might have sinned, so the Christian must continually sanctify his earthly enjoyments by prayer. In this way He will be delivered from the snare of them.”
Quoted material from, ”The Christian in Complete Armour Daily Readings in Spiritual Warfare” by Gurnall and James S Bell.

Sunday, April 29, 2012


FROM  Apr 27, 2012 Category: Articles
We have often heard statements such as “War is hell” or “I went through hell.” These expressions are, of course, not taken literally. Rather, they reflect our tendency to use the word hell as a descriptive term for the most ghastly human experience possible. Yet no human experience in this world is actually comparable to hell. If we try to imagine the worst of all possible suffering in the here and now we have not yet stretched our imaginations to reach the dreadful reality of hell.
Hell is trivialized when it is used as a common curse word. To use the word lightly may be a halfhearted human attempt to take the concept lightly or to treat it in an amusing way. We tend to joke about things most frightening to us in a futile effort to declaw and defang them, reducing their threatening power.
There is no biblical concept more grim or terror-invoking than the idea of hell. It is so unpopular with us that few would give credence to it at all except that it comes to us from the teaching of Christ Himself.
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 all the biblical teaching about hell comes from the lips of Jesus. It is this doctrine, perhaps more than any other, that strains even the Christian’s loyalty to the teaching of Christ. Modern Christians have pushed the limits of minimizing hell in an effort to sidestep or soften Jesus’ own teaching. The Bible describes hell as a place of outer darkness, a lake of fire, a place of weeping and gnashing of teeth, a place of eternal separation from the blessings of God, a prison, a place of torment where the worm doesn’t turn or die. These graphic images of eternal punishment provoke the question, should we take these descriptions literally or are they merely symbols?
I suspect they are symbols, but I find no relief in that. We must not think of them as being merely symbols. It is probably that the sinner in hell would prefer a literal lake of fire as his eternal abode to the reality of hell represented in the lake of fire image. If these images are indeed symbols, then we must conclude that the reality is worse than the symbol suggests. The function of symbols is to point beyond themselves to a higher or more intense state of actuality than the symbol itself can contain. That Jesus used the most awful symbols imaginable to describe hell is no comfort to those who see them simply as symbols.
A breath of relief is usually heard when someone declares, “Hell is a symbol for separation from God.” To be separated from God for eternity is no great threat to the impenitent person. The ungodly want nothing more than to be separated from God. Their problem in hell will not be separation from God, it will be the presence of God that will torment them. In hell, God will be present in the fullness of His divine wrath. He will be there to exercise His just punishment of the damned. They will know Him as an all-consuming fire.
No matter how we analyze the concept of hell it often sounds to us as a place of cruel and unusual punishment. If, however, we can take any comfort in the concept of hell, we can take it in the full assurance that there will be no cruelty there. It is impossible for God to be cruel. Cruelty involves inflicting a punishment that is more severe or harsh than the crime. Cruelty in this sense is unjust. God is incapable of inflicting an unjust punishment. The Judge of all the earth will surely do what is right. No innocent person will ever suffer at His hand.
Perhaps the most frightening aspect of hell is its eternality. People can endure the greatest agony if they know it will ultimately stop. In hell there is no such hope. The Bible clearly teaches that the punishment is eternal. The same word is used for both eternal life and eternal death. Punishment implies pain. Mere annihilation, which some have lobbied for, involves no pain. Jonathan Edwards, in preaching on Revelation 6:15-16 said, “Wicked men will hereafter earnestly wish to be turned to nothing and forever cease to be that they may escape the wrath of God.”
Hell, then, is an eternity before the righteous, ever-burning wrath of God, a suffering torment from which there is no escape and no relief. Understanding this is crucial to our drive to appreciate the work of Christ and to preach His gospel.

Further resources on the subject of hell:



“Of all men, God strikes with greatest speed the one who gilds over worldly and wicked business with holy pretensions.
Some individuals make a lot of noise about their religion, but secretly have their hearts set on earthly goals. They pretend to be heaven-bound, but their hearts are full of hypocrisy. Such deceivers are like the eagle who, when he soars highest, has his eye fixed on some carnal prey on the ground.
Hypocrites have always been and ever will be a part of the crowd thronging into the church and mingling with the true saints of God. Their speech is pure, their service admirable; but their hearts are lined with deceit. Worst of all, they fool even themselves. The world may mistakenly call them saints, but Christ knows they are devils. What did He say about the master hypocrite, Judas? "Have I not chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil John 6:70.
Truly, of all devils, none is as bad as the professing devil-- the preaching, praying devil. God has repeatedly shown His severe displeasure when His so-called people have prostituted sacred things to worldly ends. Of all men, God strikes with the greatest speed the one who gilds over worldly and wicked business with holy pretensions. God has made a solemn promise: "I will set my face against that man, and will make him a sign and a proverb, and I will cut him off from the midst of my people, and ye shall know that I am the Lord" Ezekiel 14:8.
Among thieves, there is often a scout who searches out where the booty is to be had. He is the brains behind every illicit operation, but he never risks his own neck by actually committing a crime. The devil uses this same tactic by watching how a Christian walks, where he goes, whose company he enjoys. Then he decides the best way to rob him of his grace. When the plan is set, he sends someone else to carry it out. Thus he sent Job's wife to tempt him; he sent Potiphar's wife to entice Joseph.”
We must guard our own hearts and humbly seek God in all we do. By so doing we can avoid this snare of the wick one and become an overcomer. This is the life honors God and His Kingdom.
Quoted material from, ”The Christian in Complete Armour Daily Readings in Spiritual Warfare” by Gurnall and James S Bell.

Saturday, April 28, 2012


He died so that you might have Real Life in Him!

IN Colossians we see truth about who we are In Christ, who is the exact image or completely God.
            He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. (Colossians 1:15-16 ESV)
            For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority.
(Colossians 2:9-10 ESV)

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. (Colossians 1:15-20 ESV)

Artwork by Graham Braddock.