The BlogShipwrecked Faith from a Shipwrecked Church
The Chosen is one of the most moving portrayals of Christ that has ever been put on film. And I’ve watched them all. Every time I watch an episode, I am compelled to surrender more of my life to Jesus. And this segment is no exception.
In this clip, you will see a perfect picture of how the Lord responds to us when we try to live the Higher Christian Life in the flesh and fail. And we will always fail. It can be no other way.
Do you remember the first of our three truths? Truth one simply states that you are incapable of pleasing God or producing anything good with your flesh, your sinful nature, no matter how hard you try. It cannot be done, has never been done, will never be done, by anybody, ever. Why? Because it says in Romans 7:18, “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find.” Case closed. End of story. Done.
We must stop trying to do what only the Lord can do through us. The Higher Christian Life is found in our surrender of ourselves to Him and Him living His life through us. There is no place for self-effort. Only self-surrender.
The following is a message given by Dr. Walter L. Wilson (1881-1969) at the Canadian Keswick Conference about his experience with the Higher Christian Life. This message was reprinted in the October 1936 issue of “The Evangelical Christian” and also in the tract, “The Secret of Soul Winning.” The name of the article is “Whose Body is Yours?” and provides a wonderful glimpse into the process the Spirit took Dr. Wilson to discover the Higher Christian Life and his prayer of full surrender.
Enjoy and be blessed and encouraged in your own search for the Higher Christian life.
“And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.”
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.
Because there exists in these days a great desire in the heart for, and a confusion in the mind concerning the Spirit-filled life, or the path of consecration, it may help to clear this matter if I tell you of my own experience with the Lord, the Spirit.
It was my privilege to be raised among a group of believers who were quite orthodox in their teaching, and quite earnest in studying the Word. It was among these that I first trusted the Lord Jesus in December 1896. He saved me and changed my life. Immediately the Word of God became my constant companion. I loved it, studied it, preached it, and gave away tracts in large quantities. No apparent success followed my labors, and much energy produced little fruit. This failure disturbed me greatly, but I assured myself and was assured by others that we were not to look for results but only to be busy at seed sowing.
As a church we’ve been studying about faith, especially trying to answer the question, How do we learn to live by faith? And if you remember, last Sunday we talked about learning how to trust God in all His promises. But there are other ways whereby our faith can grow. One of them is by having our faith tested.
As Augustine once said, “Faith is to believe what you do not see; the reward of this faith is to see what you believe.” Couldn’t agree more.
I realized that our church now is under some trials and tribulations. It seems Covid-19 has infected almost every family in our church and it appears it may be another week or so before things can get back to normal. So what I wanted to do is send you just a bit of daily encouragement by following up with what we talked about the last Sunday we were together.
And our text is going to be found in 1 Peter 1:3-9. So let’s jump right in.
Peter is speaking about joy and rejoicing in the midst of trials and tribulations. His words tell us much about faith and the reason for the bad things that God allows to happen to His children.
1 Peter 1:3-9 – Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, (why) that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory,
Untested faith is just a pipe dream. It’s something that we do, something we accept, something that we say. But once faith is tested it becomes alive to us as something we can rely on and grow as the Lord brings even more circumstances into our life in order to test our faith. Our faith must be tested to grow.
The following article is from Jan Markell with Olive Tree Ministries. She speaks with such wisdom regarding the uncertain times in which we live and the failure of the church to be the church. I pray you will read this and vow to be different. After all, from a Biblical perspective, we are not living in uncertain times, but in exciting, prophetic times.
So many write to me expressing shock, and even horror, at the tide of our times here in 2020. They see America crumbling under the weight of sin, debt, violence, immorality, and strong delusion. Right is wrong, black is white, evil is good, and good is evil.
We Are In the Center of the Storm
People of faith are in the bulls-eye so to speak! Churches are inconvenient. The remnant of true believers is growing smaller while the Laodicea churches are mushrooming! Many churches have not even re-opened yet, and some are saying they won’t until 2021!
Many don’t even know how to think about the future much less plan for it. People write about “uncertainty”. Will things get worse? Probably. How can we plan ahead if the turmoil is going to continue?
For years I have followed Hal Lindsey and have listened to his take on world events. Now, at 90, he still has his finger on the pulse of what is happening all around us and how it fits into Biblical prophecy. This short post is no exception. I received the following yesterday and wanted to share it with you. It is titled, Global Upheaval, and speaks of the sinister, satanic foundation behind much of what is happening globally today. Read and be blessed— and forewarned.
The world changes. Sometimes it changes quickly. The two world wars of the 20th century created massive upheavals, as did the Black Death pestilence of the 14th century. Some upheavals are caused by new technologies, such as the printing press, the internal combustion engine, the telephone, or gunpowder. Sometimes political revolutions cause fast and massive change, and sometimes big changes come from simple ideas, including bad ones.
Today, several of those things are happening at once. With Covid-19 as a trigger, we see revolutions all around us. Technical revolutions that should have been for our good have been subverted. Ideas that history has repeatedly proven wrong and dangerous, are rising with a new sense of inevitability
The following is a sobering, all-important message from Dr. James Dobson regarding the future of our nation and the quality of life for our children and grandchildren. I have decided to post it here in its entirety. You need to read the entire article.
And be warned, the future of our children and grandchildren are at stake. What will we do?
As I write this newsletter, voters across this nation are only a few short months away from the next general election. What an ominous time this is for our 244-year-old republic. Its future hangs in the balance. The choices we make on November 3rd will send this nation down one of two dramatically different paths. The wrong decision will be catastrophic. I agree with former Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich, who said recently that the next election will be “the most important since 1860.” He also warned that if we appease or ignore the violence and anarchy occurring in the streets, it might be the end of civilization as we have known it. Those are sobering words coming from a man who has stood at the pinnacle of national power.
Mr. Gingrich referred to the significance of 1860 because that was the year Abraham Lincoln was elected president. I’m sure the Speaker would agree that the following election of 1864 was also critical to the future of the nation. Lincoln and his opponent, Maj. Gen. George McClellan, were in a hotly contested campaign for the White House that could have gone either way. The “war between the states,” as it was called, had been raging for three ghastly years, and the entire nation was staggered by reports from the bloody battlefield.
Lincoln was running for a second term, and he campaigned on the promise of finishing the war and preserving the Union. These were momentous times for the young nation. During the first week of January 1863, the President signed the Emancipation Proclamation, freeing the slaves.
Democrats and their presidential candidate, Maj. Gen. McClellan, initially campaigned on a “peace platform,” pledging to end the war and send soldiers home. As the election approached, he talked more about negotiating to let the South establish a separate government whose cornerstone would be slavery. If McClellan had been elected, there would have been no foreseeable end to the inherent evil of buying and selling human beings and treating them like cattle. Thus, the Civil War was a struggle for the soul of America.
The summer before the election, the war was going badly for the Union. Lincoln, in fact, was convinced he was going to lose the election. He wrote the following memorandum on August 23, 1864, asking his Cabinet to accept the grim prospects for his re-election. These are his words
This morning, as for some days past, it seems exceedingly probable that this Administration will not be re-elected. Then it will be my duty to so cooperate with the President-elect as to save the Union between the election and the inauguration; as he will have secured his election on such grounds that I cannot possibly save it afterwards.
No wonder Lincoln dealt at times with depression. Clearly, the Union was a hair’s breadth away from losing the war. But then, the tide began to turn. One historian wrote, “The political landscape shifted dramatically when Gen. William T. Sherman took Atlanta in early September. This major military shift, coupled with the severe internal strife within the Democratic Party, solidified Lincoln’s chance at victory.”
As you know, Abraham Lincoln and the Republicans won the election of 1864 in a landslide. McClellan was defeated by more than 500,000 popular votes and 191 electoral votes. An estimated 78 percent of Union soldiers cast their ballots in favor of Lincoln. McClellan took just three states: Kentucky, Delaware, and his home state of New Jersey. Less than two months after Lincoln’s inauguration, he was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth. He is said to have been the “last casualty” of the Civil War.
We are living in troubling times. And, unless you are purposely sticking your head in the sand, you can see things begin to unravel at a frightening speed. So what are we to do? Prepare. It’s really that simple. We each have the choice of being a blessing or a burden to others. We are a blessing if we prepare and have something to bless others who have nothing. Or, if we continue with our dogmatic denial, then we become a burden on those who did prepare… and nobody wants to be a burden, do they? So, in this vein of thinking, let me give you a master list of 50 things you need to get now before it’s too late and it gets to the point they will either not be available, or you will be unable to secure them. Why? Because you waited too long.
Consider this a master list or a set of goals to work towards. You probably won’t be able to get all of these things today, or even next week. But every journey, no matter how long, begins with the first step. So take that step today.
These are not in any particular order.
1. A Generator (we will talk more about this in a future post)
2. Berkey Water Filter (the best water filter to have)
3. Rainwater Collection System (if you don’t have an alternative source of water near your home)
4. Emergency Medical Kit
7. Canned Soup
8. Canned Vegetables
9. Canned Fruit
10. Canned Chicken (these canned items are the best way to start building your pantry)
11. Jars of Peanut Butter (lots of them)
14. Powdered Milk (these last three items will have to be stored properly. We’ll cover this in a later post)
15. 15 Bags of Flour (or more, once everything else has been taken care of)
17. Lots of Extra Coffee (even if you don’t drink it. Others do, and they get nasty when they don’t)
18. Buckets of Long-Term Food (I would suggest Augason Farms)
19. Extra Vitamins
20. Lighters or Matches (and a lot of them)
Today is the second day of a 40 day adventure with the Lord.
Yesterday, day one, was a good day. I experienced much peace and was able to pray more than I have in a long time. It seemed like my prayers were effortless and more natural and I had a deeper sense of His presence with me. I know this is only the beginning, but I am greatly encouraged. I was able to spend more time in prayer and meditation on His Word as my mind seemed to be more in tune with spiritual things, rather than carnal things. I find it amazing that after just one day, I can already see changes in my life.
Today I arose early, a little before 6:00 am. For some reason, I couldn’t turn my mind off. I was thinking about our conversation yesterday, how the Lord wants to speak with each of us, with me and you, in a more personal, intimate way that maybe we have not allowed Him to do in the past. I am convinced He wants to reveal His heart to us in ways we’ve never understood or experienced before.
This is what my desire is with Him. And this is what I have been praying this time with Him will accomplish.
Then I started thinking about my fear of the Holy Spirit. No, you heard that right. To be completely honest, I’ve always been a little frightened of the Holy Spirit. Why? Because I don’t understand Him. I find it difficult to get close to Him. I can’t get an image of Him in my mind and He’s hard for me to relate to.
God the Father, not so much. From the Old Testament, I see Him as unapproachable, fire and smoke and thunder from Mt. Sinai erupting like an active volcano (Ex. 19:18). When I think of His voice, I see it booming from the heavens, loud, frightening, much like I viewed the Wizard of Oz when I was a young child. To me, He seems more like a boss, or a ruling monarch, and less like a father. I know much of my caricature of God is based on my own dysfunctional and somewhat abusive relationship with my own father. And I know I’ve imposed character traits and motives on Him that belonged to my earthly father, and that’s unfair and wrong. But that’s something we’ll have to talk about at another time.
One out of every six people in the world is missing. If 1.5 billion children had not been systematically killed over the past 50 years, the total population of the planet would be 9 billion instead of the current level of 7.5 billion. And of course, I am not even counting the children and the grandchildren that the missing 1.5 billion would have had if they had been allowed to grow up. There have been other great genocides throughout human history, but there has never been one that has literally wiped out one-sixth of humanity. Virtually every nation in the world has eagerly participated in this horrific genocide, and that arguably makes us the most evil generation to ever walk the face of the Earth.
So what would the appropriate punishment be for killing 1.5 billion children?
Not a lot of people think about this. In fact, most of those that approve of all this killing think that they are totally going to get away with it.
These days, even most Christians seem to think that there won’t be any consequences for all of the great evil that we see throughout our society. According to them, it really doesn’t matter that virtually every form of evil imaginable is exploding all around us, because America and the rest of the globe are heading into a golden new era of peace and prosperity that will be greater than anything we have ever seen before whether there is repentance or not.
I am sorry, but it simply does not work that way.
The other day I got an email from one of these believers. He was all upset that my articles were not more “positive”, and I guess he wanted some sort of an explanation.
1.5 billion children are dead and great wickedness is running rampant everywhere we look. Does he actually believe that this is going to lead to a positive ending to our story?
The modern era of abortion began in 1970 when some U.S. states began to pass laws legalizing the practice. The following comes from Wikipedia:
In 1970, Hawaii became the first state to legalize abortions on the request of the woman, and New York repealed its 1830 law and allowed abortions up to the 24th week of pregnancy. Similar laws were soon passed in Alaska and Washington. A law in Washington, D.C., which allowed abortion to protect the life or health of the woman, was challenged in the Supreme Court in 1971 in United States v. Vuitch. The court upheld the law, deeming that “health” meant “psychological and physical well-being”, essentially allowing abortion in Washington, DC. By the end of 1972, 13 states had a law similar to that of Colorado, while Mississippi allowed abortion in cases of rape or incest only and Alabama and Massachusetts allowed abortions only in cases where the woman’s physical health was endangered.
The landmark judicial ruling of the Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade ruled that a Texas statute forbidding abortion except when necessary to save the life of the mother was unconstitutional. The immediate result was that all state laws to the contrary were null. The Court arrived at its decision by concluding that the issue of abortion and abortion rights falls under the right to privacy.
Today is the first day of a 40 day adventure.
No, this adventure is not about a mission trip to Haiti or a hike down the Appalachian Trail. This 40 day adventure is a time set aside to discover more about the Lord and to specifically learn to hear Him speak. That’s right, it’s my desire during this adventure to draw closer to the Lord than I’ve ever been before and to learn to hear His voice. I’m not talking about hearing Him speak to me through His Word, which is wonderful. But I long for something more personal, more intimate. I long to hear Him speak to me like He has others in Scripture, and as He has also done for me several times in the past. In fact, those times of hearing His voice are some of the high points in my spiritual life.
I know what many of you may be thinking.
“Oh, here we go again. It looks like somebody else is wanting to move beyond the sufficiency of Scripture. I guess Scripture’s not enough for Steve and now He wants more than God has already provided for him. Maybe he wants an encounter like the one described in The Shack or to hear God speak like Sarah Young claims in Jesus Calling or something like that. Doesn’t he know that God only speaks today through His Word?”
No, I don’t know that. In fact, I see many places in Scripture where God speaks to His children in other ways than through the Scriptures. Let me give you a few examples.
In Acts 9, we find Jesus verbally speaking to Paul on the Damascus Road. It wasn’t just a command or some proclamation declared from heaven. It was a conversation where both He and Paul spoke to each other. And in this conversation, Jesus did not only speak through the written Word, which for Paul would have been the Old Testament. Instead, He verbally communicated His personal message and will to Paul. And that personal message could not be found from reading, for example, the Psalms or Isaiah.
Acts 9:4-6 – Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” And he said, “Who are You, Lord?” Then the Lord said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads.” So he, trembling and astonished, said, “Lord, what do You want me to do?” Then the Lord said to him, “Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”
“Got it,” you say. “But that’s the apostle Paul. He was an apostle and could, therefore, hear God speak to him verbally in ways He doesn’t do today, to anybody, ever. You and I are not apostles. We don’t even have apostles anymore. So how God spoke to Paul back then was just for Paul— and not for us today.”