A Twisted Crown of Thorns ®

Reformed. Christianity. Evangelism. Modern Culture.

Malaria vaccine an answer to prayers is finally here!

I woke up to quite some good news today to hear that we are seeing light at the end of the tunnel in the search for a malaria vaccine….

GlaxoSmithKline’s quest to find a malaria vaccine has survived two mergers, a succession of chief executives and lasted nearly 30 years.
But that effort is now on track to deliver the first vaccine against one of the world’s deadliest diseases.
Scientists working on the product will on [8th October 2013] unveil the results of a trial on 15,000 African children, providing the strongest evidence yet that the shot nearly halves the number of cases of malaria in babies aged five to 17 months, and paving the way for its release. …Read More

When a man came to Spurgeon with a “brand new revelation”.

Is the truth that which I imagine to be revealed to me by some private communication? Am I to fancy that I enjoy some special Revelation and am I to order my life by voices, dreams and impressions? Brothers and Sisters, fall not into this common delusion! God’s Word to us is in Holy Scripture. All the Truth that sanctifies men is in God’s Word! Do not listen to those who cry, “Lo here!” and, “Lo there!” I am plucked by the sleeve almost every day by crazy persons and pretenders who think that they have Revelations from God. One man tells me that God has sent a message to me by him—and I reply, “No, Sir, the Lord knows where I dwell and He is so near to me that He would not need to send to me by you.” Another man announces, in God’s name, a dogma which, on the face of it, is a lie against the Holy Spirit. He says the Spirit of God told him so-and-so, but we know that the Holy Spirit never contradicts Himself. If your imaginary Revelation is not according to this Word of God, it has no weight with us! And if it is according to this Word, it is no new thing! …Read More!

Martyn Lloyd-Jones on Spiritual Depression

We must not concentrate overmuch upon our feelings. Do not spend too much time feeling your own pulse taking your own spiritual temperature, do not spend too much time analyzing your feelings. That is the high road to morbidity.—Martyn Lloyd-Jones. (Spiritual Depression)

Preparing to listen to the preaching of the word

We are told men ought not to preach without preparation. Granted. But, we add, men ought not to hear without preparation. Which, do you think, needs the most preparation, the sower or the ground? I would have the sower come with clean hands, but I would have the ground well-plowed and harrowed, well-turned over, and the clods broken before the seed comes in. It seems to me that there is more preparation needed by the ground than by the sower, more by the hearer than by the preacher. – Spurgeon

St. Augustine on the gift of faith

Why the Gift of Faith is Not Given to All…Faith, then, as well in its beginning as in its completion, is God’s gift; and let no one have any doubt whatever, unless he desires to resist the plainest sacred writings, that this gift is given to some, while to some it is not given. But why it is not given to all ought not to disturb the believer, who believes that from one (Adam) all have gone into a condemnation, which undoubtedly is most righteous; so that even if none were delivered therefrom, there would be no just cause for finding fault with God. Whence it is plain that it is a great grace for many to be delivered, and to acknowledge in those that are not delivered what would be due to themselves; so that he that glorieth may glory not in his own merits, which he sees to be equalled in those that are condemned, but in the Lord. But why He delivers one rather than another,-” His judgments are unsearchable, and His ways past finding out –St. Augustine of Hippo

 

The sermon and the grace of preaching

(The Puritans believed in) the supreme importance of preaching. To the Puritans, the sermon was the liturgical climax of public worship. Nothing, they said, honours God more than the faithful declaration and obedient hearing of His truth. Preaching, under any circumstances, is an act of worship, and must be performed as such. Moreover, preaching is the prime means of grace to the church. ~J.I Packer

 

What God begins, he finishes…

On the perseverance of the saints…

Psa 138:8 The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands.
Ecc 3:14 I perceived that whatever God does endures forever; nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it. God has done it, so that people fear before him.
Isa 46:4 even to your old age I am he, and to gray hairs I will carry you. I have made, and I will bear; I will carry and will save.
Jer 32:40 I will make with them an everlasting covenant, that I will not turn away from doing good to them. And I will put the fear of me in their hearts, that they may not turn from me.
Rom 11:29 For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.
Phi 1:6 And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
2Ti 4:18 The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safety into his heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.

Of all whom he has called and brought to Christ, none will be lost

Joh 6:39-40 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.
Joh 10:27-29 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.
Rom 8:28-31 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? …Read More!

John Calvin on wisdom…

“He therefore…is a fool in this world, who, renouncing his own understanding, allows himself to be directed by the Lord, as if with his eyes shut – who, distrusting himself leans wholly upon the Lord, places his whole wisdom in him, and yields himself up to God in docility and submission. It is necessary that our wisdom should in this way vanish, in order that the will of God may have authority over us, and that we be emptied of our own understanding, that we may be filled with the wisdom of God.”-John Calvin

What would John Flavel say about MTV (and Miley Cyrus)?

“If you neglect to instruct (your children) in the way of holiness, will the devil neglect to instruct them in the way of wickedness? No; if you will not teach them to pray, he will to curse, swear, and lie; if ground be uncultivated, weeds will spring.” – John Flavel

John Flavel on Providence

Look around in the world, and you may see some in every place who are objects of pity, bereaved by sad accidents of all the comforts of life, while in the meantime Providence has tenderly preserved you .- John Flavel

 

Samuel Rutherford on Affliction

The secret formula of the saints: When I am in the cellar of affliction, I look for the Lord’s choicest wines. —Samuel Rutherford

Thomas Watson on Afflictions

To know that nothing hurts the godly, is a matter of comfort; but to be assured that all things which fall out shall co-operate for their good, that their crosses shall be turned into blessings, that showers of affliction water the withering root of their grace and make it flourish more; this may fill their hearts with joy till they run over. —Thomas Watson

Parents: Do you know where your children are?

A very interesting article on Christian parenting….

I got into a brief conversation with one my classmates the other day. He is a youth minister and was telling me that one of his greatest challenges is dealing with parents who want him to talk to their teens regarding unChristian behavior. The challenge is not so much talking to the teen but to the parent who insists that their child is a Christian and therefore should be exhibiting Christian behavior. In other words, there is denial that the child may not actually be a Christian.

Now as a parent, I certainly understand where this insistence comes from. You have established your home as a Christian home. Christ and his church have taken priority. You want your own commitment to Christ reflective in your household. No doubt, your children have been immersed in church from birth – Sunday school, VBS, Awana. Hopefully you have spent time with them at home training and exposing them to God’s word and to prayer. It seems reasonable then that they should turn out to be Christian. And let’s be honest, there is a level of personal pride to say that we have intact Christian homes. …Read More!

Explaining the seven trumpets of Revelation

“A man says to me, “Can you explain the seven trumpets of the Revelation?” No, but I can blow one in your ear and warn you to escape from the wrath to come.” ~ CHARLES SPURGEON

False doctrine…worse than Division.

Divisions and separations are most objectionable in religion. They weaken the cause of true Christianity.- But before we blame people for them, we must be careful that we lay the blame where it is deserved. False doctrine and heresy are even worse than schism. If people separate themselves from teaching which is positively false and unscriptural, they ought to be praised rather than reproved. In such cases separation is a virtue and not a sin.
The old saying must never be forgotten, “He is the schismatic who causes the schism”… Controversy in religion is a hateful thing… But there is one thing which is even worse than controversy, and that is false doctrine, allowed, and permitted without protest or molestation. …~Iain Murray

The church in Legionowo (Poland)

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This year the Grace Baptist Mission church planting group in Legionowo, Poland opened their new meeting place. They have had a number of breakthroughs in their work.

Poland is an ancient nation that was conceived near the middle of the 10th century. Its golden age occurred in the 16th century. After years of being a Soviet satellite state, labour turmoil in 1980 led to the formation of the independent trade union “Solidarity” that over time became a political force and by 1990 had swept parliamentary elections and the presidency. A “shock therapy” program during the early 1990s enabled the country to transform its economy into one of the most robust in Central Europe, but Poland still faces the lingering challenges of high unemployment, underdeveloped and dilapidated infrastructure, and a poor rural underclass. Poland remains a strongly Roman Catholic country with more than 90% of the population claiming allegiance to that church.
…Watch Video Below

Spurgeon and those in pulpits who waste people’s time

“I had sooner die than live to be such a being as many who stand up in the pulpit wholly to waste people’s time and not to win souls!” – Charles Spurgeon

 

So, allow me to (re) introduce Jesus Christ to you

Blair Wingo Linne the wife of Christian musician Shai Linne minces no words as a spoken word artist in her poem as she re introduces Christ… Here is the transcript:

Allow me to reintroduce the Christ…

We got a false Jesus being portrayed
As seen on TV, acting cool, you see He’s changed
A different Jesus from the Bible so
Allow me to bring the real Christ on stage
Not that whack Jesus, the one not based on fact Jesus, too often displayed
The Christ in glory, not the one on your chain
Cause He is the real Jesus peace that only dwells in the saved …Read More!

Preaching as never sure to preach again…as a dying man to dying men

saving drowning manOn the office of a preacher…

“The preacher must be a serious man; he must never give the impression that preaching is something light or superficial or trivial….What is happening [in the act of preaching] is that he is speaking to them from God, he is speaking to them about God, he is speaking about their condition, the state of their souls. He is telling them that they are, by nature, under the wrath of God…that the character of the life they’re living is offensive to God and under the judgment of God, and warning them of the dreaded eternal possibility that lies ahead of them. …Read More!

Heart Corruptions…I am utterly ashamed that I am what I am in myself.

O God, may Thy Spirit speak in me that I may speak to thee. I have no merit, let the merit of Jesus stand for me. I am undeserving, but I look to Thy tender mercy. I am full of infirmities, wants, sin; Thou art full of grace.

I confess my sin, my frequent sin, my wilful sin; all my powers of body and soul are defiled: a fountain of pollution is deep within my nature. There are chambers of foul images within my being; I have gone from one odious room to another, walked in a no-man’s-land of dangerous imaginations, pried into the secrets of my fallen nature.

I am utterly ashamed that I am what I am in myself; I have no green shoot in me nor fruit, but thorns and thistles; I am a fading leaf that the wind drives away; I live bare and barren as a winter tree, unprofitable, fit to be hewn down and burnt. Lord, dost Thou have mercy on me?

Thou hast struck a heavy blow at my pride, at the false god of self, and I lie in pieces before Thee. But Thou hast given me another master and lord, Thy Son, Jesus, and now my heart is turned towards holiness, my life speeds as an arrow from a bow towards complete obedience to Thee. Help me in all my doings to put down sin and to humble pride. Save me from the love of the world and the pride of life, from everything that is natural to fallen man, and let Christ’s nature be seen in me day by day. Grant me grace to bear Thy will without repining, and delight to be not only chiselled, squared, or fashioned, but separated from the old rock where I have been embedded so long, and lifted from the quarry to the upper air, where I may be built in Christ for ever. ~Puritan Prayers

A.W Tozer on a new and popular form of Christianity…

tozer-1956“But if I see aright, the cross of popular evangelicalism is not the cross of the New Testament. It is, rather, a new bright ornament upon the bosom of a self-assured and carnal Christianity. The old cross slew men, the new cross entertains them. The old cross condemned; the new cross amuses. The old cross destroyed confidence in the flesh; the new cross encourages it.” ~A.W Tozer

 

Mission to Moyo: Why would some one want to reach Africa’s unreached?

reaching africas unreachedJacob Lee is in a village called Afoji in Moyo district in Northern Uganda. Why would some one leave the comfort of his life in America and take his wife along to a place where there is no electricity or running water? Well, in their own words

Our Mission is to reach Africa’s unreached people groups with the glorious Gospel of Jesus by planting  Christ exalting churches in their midst. Furthermore, we will endeavor to strengthen local churches and their leaders through careful exposition of the Scriptures in word and deed.

We believe the greatest need of every person and of every culture is the clear proclamation of the Gospel! Along with this, we are seeking to ultimately serve the community where we are planted in, near Moyo North Uganda and South Sudan, with practical needs such as a medical/dental clinic, an orphan care center, a christian primary and secondary school for children, and a vocational training center for adults. …Read More!

Ezekiel Hopkins on ‘Becoming a Christian’

EzekielHopkins“It is impossible for men by their own strength and natural ability to become Christians, but it is possible for God to make them Christians.” ~ Ezekiel Hopkins (1634-1690 )

(from: The Almost Christian Discovered)

Dear God, Please Remember Egypt…

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Egypt has influenced a lot in the course of History. To Christians it provided a place for refuge for some of its key figures. Speaking of which even Jesus Christ was taken to Egypt when King Herod’s murderous rage grew to a crescendo. Alexandria was one of the great Christian centers in the early church. It was there were the first catechetical school was established by Pantanaeus in 190 AD, producing great scholars such as Athenagoras, Clement, Didymus and Origen. Today it burns and the screams on the streets beg the rest of the world to pray for it’s inhabitants. An exceedingly vulnerable circle is the Christian community in Egypt.
If you get a few moments today please pray for Egypt. Pray that

* The current violence will end soon
* The effective rule of law and order will be re-established for the benefit of all citizens
* There will be effective protection of church and other property against attacks by extremists
* Egypt will be governed for the benefit of all its citizens, with people of different persuasions able to live alongside one another peaceably
* Egyptian Christians will have opportunity to play an increasingly prominent and effective role in addressing the needs of all Egyptians and helping to bring healing and reconciliation in the country

If you want to understand what is going on in Egypt from an Egyptian Christian perspective read here. In Egypt, the majority of the churches belong to The Christian Coptic Orthodox Church Of Egypt, or commonly, the Coptic Church. Coptic tradition traces their history from Mark the Evangelist whom they say founded the church in Alexandria about 41-43 AD, according to the historian Eusebius of Caesarea. We might think that the Copts have always been a persecuted church, but they are proud of their “golden age” in the first 1,000 years from their foundation. Read more on Egyptian Coptic Christians here.

Alistair Begg on Contemporary Worship Music

This is worth a listen:

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Why do I pray for prosperity and get afflictions?

I used to believe in Word of faith and prosperity gospel. I feel quite relieved that I have come a long way and now understand some things a lot better like God’s sovereign control of events and circumstances around me and the world. I am also grateful for His providence and looking back I am more rested now knowing that He is in complete control of everything. How puny my thoughts were when I thought that if I sowed a bigger seed or made a positive confession or regularly said prayers breaking generational curses then these would keep me from ‘afflictions of the devil’. John Berrige has an interesting letter to a Christian friend under severe affliction. I hope it helps some one struggling to understand afflictions:


Dear Madam,
I grant that your circumstances are very severe and difficult—but let me beg of you not to construe your afflictions as a token of God’s displeasure, or a sign of your not belonging to Him. This is an old temptation of Satan’s, with which he often assaults the afflicted Christian; but take the shield of faith—that you may quench the fiery darts of Satan.

Alas! Crosses and afflictions are the common lot of the people of God in this present world. Our Lord has told us, that in this world—we shall have troubles! Every saint has his own particular difficulties, temptations and conflicts to grapple with. …Read More!

A night of Hope? But why?

night of hopeEver watched a mime perform and wished that he would clearly articulate the message he is dying to bring across? The audience a mime has will interprete his gesticulations with a degree of error because most of it is shrouded. But if he speaks and articulates his message, then the listeners are illumined. They are then not in any doubt of the original intention of the message bearer. A good message bearer delivers what he is entrusted with, without subtracting or altering it and leaves his audience with the intended message so that they are without any excuse. This is probably why miming (though is truly entertaining) falls short in many ways in delivering the Gospel message (which requires the hearers to know the name and person of Jesus Christ). Speaking of incomplete messages there’s one other thing….(ha ha look what I just did there!)

There are many conferences going on around us that supposedly are ‘bringing hope’ to the world or ‘happiness’ to the community. These in themselves are not bad but if it comes in the name of ‘Jesus’ then it has got to be clear in it’s intended message. Hope – why does the world need hope? …Read More!

Why do Today’s trendy sermons have a wide road to Salvation (but lack repentance)?

Martin Lloyd Jones once said:

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The preaching and teaching of a false prophet does not emphasize repentance in any real sense. It has a very wide gate leading to salvation and a very broad way leading to heaven. You need not feel much of your own sinfulness; you need not be aware of the blackness of your own heart. You just “decide for Christ” and you rush in with the crowd, and your name is put down, and is one of the large number of ‘decisions’ reported by the press. It is entirely unlike the evangelism of the Puritans and of John Wesley, George Whitefield and others, which led men to be terrified of the judgment of God, and to have an agony of soul sometimes for days and weeks and months. John Bunyan tells us in his book Grace Abounding that he endured an agony of repentance for eighteen months. There does not seem to be much room for that today.

Read more of this post

We are Christians first…

We are Christians. If the world knows us as Republicans before it knows us as Christians then we have lost our way ~Todd Friel

“The man of God” personality cult has made the Charismatic movement thrive in Africa.

churchConrad Mbewe a pastor of a little church in Kabwata in Africa has written an interesting post on the growth of Charismatic movement in Africa to the point that there is now a fringe mystic personality that has replaced the local witch doctor. This personality called ‘the man of God’ has become an ‘anointed guru’ who brings deliverance, breaks generational curses and dishes out break-throughs at a local center where you have to come ready to sow a seed. Oh let me not spoil the article for you…

Many explanations have been given for the explosion of the Charismatic movement in Africa. Many have seen this as a powerful visitation of the Holy Spirit. Whereas there is probably more than one reason, I want to add my own observation to this for what it is worth. In this blog post, I do not refer to the old conservative form of Pentecostalism once represented by the Assemblies of God churches. I have in mind the current extreme form that is mushrooming literally under every shrub and tree in Africa. How can one explain this phenomenon?

I think that one reason why the Charismatic movement in Africa has been like a wild bushfire is because it has not challenged the African religious worldview but has instead adopted it. It has simply baptised it with Bible verses and Christian words that previously meant something totally different.
The African Spiritual Worldview
Let me explain what I mean. The African spiritual worldview consists of four tiers.
1. God
2. Angels and demons
3. Ancestral spirits
4. Human beings
It is because of this reality that Africans do not question the existence of God, as is the case with many people in the Western world. To an African, God is there. He is the Creator and ultimate Governor and Benefactor of the whole universe.
Rather, in our spiritual worldview, although God is there he is very far away. Between him and us as human beings lie two layers in the spirit world. One is that of angels and demons (i.e. bad angels) and the other—which is even closer to us—is that of the spirits of the departed.
So, although God is a benevolent, loving, and caring Being, unless the beings that dwell in these two layers that lie between him and us are appeased, his blessings cannot reach us. It is, therefore, important to appease the ancestral spirits and defeat the demons. Only after that will God’s blessings come upon us.
This is where in African traditional religions witchdoctors come in. …Read More!

Longings after God…

My dear Lord, I can but tell Thee that Thou knowest I long for nothing but Thyself, nothing but holiness, nothing but union with Thy will. Thou hast given me these desires, and thou alone canst give me the thing desired. My soul longs for communion with Thee, for mortification of indwelling corruption, especially spiritual pride. How precious it is to have a tender sense and clear apprehension of the mystery of godliness, of true holiness! What a blessedness to be like Thee as much as it is possible for a creature to be like its creator! Lord, give me more of Thy likeness; enlarge my soul to contain fullness of holiness; engage me to live more for Thee. Help me to be less pleased with my spiritual experiences, and when I feel at ease after sweet communings, teach me it is far too little I know and do. Blessed Lord, let me climb up near to Thee, and love, and long, and plead, and wrestle with Thee, and pant for deliverance from the body of sin, for my heart is wandering and lifeless, and my soul mourns to think it should ever lose sight of its beloved. Wrap my life in divine love, and keep me ever desiring Thee, always humble and resigned to Thy will, more fixed on Thyself, that I may be more fitted for doing and-suffering.~Puritan Prayers (Valley of Vision)

Atheists hear the gospel for the first time.

The longer version of the video is here: …Read More!

Alas! The Emperor in the West has no clothes on!

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Looking at the trends in the West through the eyes of Christians in Africa it appears as though, says Conrad Mbewe, the Western Emperor is marauding with no clothes on. Yet no one dares say….

Even if you tried to bury your head in the sand, you can still hear the tremor in the ground of the Western carnival that is coming. The music and dancing are getting louder and louder. It is one of human-rights-with-no-holds-barred. It is coming with all the revelry that you would expect. It cannot be ignored.

However, one problem with this procession is that it long left its original route. There are no principles to guide it, except the whims of those who are hiding behind its masks and leading it in whichever direction they please. Even those of us who are in Africa are totally alarmed by its lack of principles.

The other problem is that the issues being fought for under the guise of human rights are so patently wrong that an African like me stands aghast as I look at the current campaigns, debates, and legal reforms in the West. I am asking myself, “But can’t everyone see that the emperor walking in front has no clothes on?”

A century or two ago, Christian missionaries came from the West and taught us the Bible. As a result of this, we did away with polygamy, cannibalism, tribal feuds, etc. We were taught to put on more clothing to hide our nakedness. We learned to desist from tattooing our bodies, which were now temples of the living God. We even stopped sacrificing our babies to ancestral spirits.

The perplexing turn-around
All this made sense. It was logical, once you realised that we were all created by God and in his image. But, alas, the very principles that we were taught from Scripture are now being abandoned wholesale by the countries where our missionaries came from! Sadly, the basic questions are not being answered in this turn-around. As a result, we are bewildered. A few examples should suffice:

Abortion: Who in the West does not know that life begins at conception? It must be obvious to all, therefore, that abortion is murder. Surely, we all know that we are killing fellow human beings in their mothers’ wombs in the millions every year. How come, then, that this reckless killing of babies is not being stopped?

Indecency: It is shocking to see what some adults wear when they leave their homes in the West. They leave very little to the imagination! As if that is not enough, billboard adverts all over the cities are full of naked women, or men and women poised in sexually suggestive positions. As for television and movies, indecency seems to be the stock of the trade. Add to this, public erotic kissing at stations and airports, etc. When visiting the West, I often feel like shouting, “Hey, guys, am I the only one around here who knows that all this is indecent?”

“Living together”: It is commonplace now in the West to have a man and a woman living together who are not married. Their parents know it and they just shrug their shoulders. How? I mean, how? How can a man start living with your daughter without getting your permission, as if she just fell from the sky? Surely it must be wrong. But again, are we the only ones who are seeing the obvious?

…Read More!

Christ can soften the hearts which seem hard…

“Christ can soften hearts which seem as hard as the millstone. He can bend stubborn wills which have long been set on self-pleasing, sin and the world. He can create, transform, renew, break down, build and quicken with irresistible power. There are no incurable cases with Christ. Let us never despair about the salvation of others for as long as we live. Let us name them before the Lord day and night and cry to Him on their behalf.” J.C. Ryle

“Lord Jesus, Let Me Fly from Myself and Take Refuge in You”

Quoting Augustine (354-430 A.D):

Lord Jesus, let me know myself and know You, and desire nothing but You.
Let me hate myself and love You.
Let me do everything for the sake of You.
Let me humble myself and exalt You.
Let me think of nothing except You.
Let me die to myself and live in You.
Let me accept whatever happens as from You.
Let me banish self and follow You, and ever desire to follow You.
Let me fly from myself and take refuge in You,
That I may deserve to be defended by You.
Let me fear for myself.
Let me fear You, and let me be among those who are chosen by You.
Let me distrust myself and put my trust in You.
Let me be willing to obey for the sake of You.
Let me cling to nothing save only to You,
And let me be poor because of You.
Look upon me, that I may love You.
Call me that I may see You, and for ever enjoy You. ~Augustine of Hippo

Young father to be rescues his baby from abortion after a chat with stranger

This is an interesting clip outside an abortion clinic involving a young man who has just dropped off his wife. He then has a short conversation with a stranger called ‘Todd’:

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Error always lures the Heart away from Christ.

error and moneyWhy do so-called Christians forsake the pure wine of Gospel joy for the adulterated poison which the whore of the world smilingly holds out to them in her golden chalice? Is it because the message of the Gospel, which once sparkled in the preached Word, and furnished comfort to mourners, has now gone stale? Or has that stream of spiritual joy which has run through the lives of saints for so many generations, without mingling with the world’s polluted pleasures, at last fallen into them and lost its divine nature? No, the Gospel stays the same. . . and the joy it brings is as refreshing and restoring as it has always been. It will be lovely as long as God and Christ continue to be life, for it flows and is fed from their heart.

The problem is not in the Scripture; it lies in those who say they hold to it. Those who insist that they obey this Gospel are not like holy men and women of earlier times. The world has grown callous, and men’s priorities and affections have chilled and become cold. Our palate is no longer chaste; it no longer prefers the heavenly foods served in the Gospel. The cheer is as lively as ever but the guests are as deadened by constant contact with the world. We have grown debauched in our judgments and corrupt in our principles; no wonder that our joys are carnal.

Error is a whore that lures the heart away from Christ and His spiritual joys. Once the mind is confused by error and begins to malign the truth, it affects the heart, poisoning it with carnal joys. Here, then, is the root of the misery of our times. ..Read More!

Stampedes for holy water, prosperity seekers and disgruntled word of faith congregations

Christianity in Africa is some times very mystical that it borders witchcraft. No, and I do not mean the video game. Ever since prosperity gospel and word of faith teaching drifted in to churches there has been fringe theology sprinkled with Charismatic mysticism. Not many people read their bibles or even see any relevance in doing so. What some pastors are doing in the name of Christianity makes Judas appear a choir boy. A recent report highlighted that...

20130805-102257.jpg“People are leaving churches. Some practice fellowship in their homes, but some leave the church and go back to their old lifestyles. Some leave to stay at home and do nothing,” Thuso writes in Where Are We Heading To? The book critiques the “obsession” of some pastors for material things and large congregations.

“This is because of the disappointments people experience with churches and church leadership. This is more prevalent with so-called spirit-filled or charismatic churches,” Kewana adds in his book. “The greed for worldly wealth, huge church membership numbers, and fame form the cornerstone of such dissatisfaction engulfing the congregants and encouraging them to leave the church of God. Pastors are involved in all sorts of ungodly behaviors.”

The prosperity gospel appears to most find its home in the “word of faith,” or name-it-and-claim-it movement, which positions some charismatic preachers as special carriers of God’s favor and power. These particular ministers are then often looked to by hopeful Christians as their key or source to divine healing and blessings.

A recent example unfolded in a deadly way in May, when a stampede broke out at Temitope Balogun (T.B.) Joshua’s Synagogue Church of All Nations in Ghana. At least four people were killed and 30 others injured when a throng of 1,000 people made a frantic rush to get a hold of free holy water, which usually costs $39.36 and was presumably blessed by Joshua, a popular self-declared Nigerian prophet who has churches around the globe. …Read More!

Doctrinal preaching bores only hypocrites…

“Doctrinal preaching certainly bores the hypocrites; but it is only doctrinal preaching that will save Christ’s sheep. The preacher’s job is to proclaim the faith, not to provide entertainment for unbelievers–in other words, to feed the sheep rather than amuse the goats.” – (Packer, A Quest For Godliness , 285).

 

No Hard Trial to Bear as a Sense of Sin…

On confession and petition…

Holy Lord, I have sinned times without number, and been guilty of pride and unbelief, of failure to find Thy mind in Thy Word, of neglect to seek Thee in my daily life. My transgressions and short-comings present me with a list of accusations, but I bless Thee that they will not stand against me, for all have been laid on Christ. Go on to subdue my corruptions, and grant me grace to live above them. Let not the passions of the flesh nor lustings of the mind bring my spirit into subjection, but do Thou rule over me in liberty and power.

I thank Thee that many of my prayers have been refused. I have asked amiss and do not have, I have prayed from lusts and been rejected, I have longed for Egypt and been given a wilderness. Go on with Thy patient work, answering ‘no’ to my wrongful prayers, and fitting me to accept it. Purge me from every false desire, every base aspiration, everything contrary to Thy rule. I thank Thee for Thy wisdom and Thy love, for all the acts of discipline to which I am subject, for sometimes putting me into the furnace to refine my gold and remove my dross.

No trial is so hard to bear as a sense of sin. If Thou shouldst give me choice to live in pleasure and keep my sins, or to have them burnt away with trial, give me sanctified affliction. Deliver me from every evil habit, every accretion of former sins, everything that dims the brightness of Thy grace in me, everything that prevents me taking delight in Thee. Then I shall bless Thee, [God], for helping me to be upright.-Puritan Prayers

Gay couple to sue Church for not peforming same sex marriage.

Barrie and Tony Drewitt-Barlow

Barrie and Tony Drewitt-Barlow

The Christian Institute reports

Wealthy gay dad, Barrie Drewitt-Barlow, says he and his civil partner Tony will go to court to force churches to host gay weddings.

He told the Essex Chronicle that he will take legal action because “I am still not getting what I want”.

A Government Bill legalising gay marriage passed Parliament recently but it included measures to protect churches from being forced to perform same-sex weddings.

Challenge

Mr Drewitt-Barlow said: “The only way forward for us now is to make a challenge in the courts against the church.

“It is a shame that we are forced to take Christians into a court to get them to recognise us.”

He added: “It upsets me because I want it so much – a big lavish ceremony, the whole works, I just don’t think it is going to happen straight away.

“As much as people are saying this is a good thing I am still not getting what I want.” …Read More!

Kenyan Lawyer suing Israel for death of Jesus.

International Court of Justice

International Court of Justice

This is simply as ludicrous as it sounds but…

A Kenyan lawyer has filed a petition with the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague, suggesting that the trial and crucifixion of Jesus Christ was unlawful, and The State of Israel among others should be held responsible, Kenyan news outlet the Nairobian reported on Friday.

Dola Indidis, a lawyer and former spokesman of the Kenyan Judiciary is reportedly attempting to sue Tiberius (Emperor of Rome 42 BC-37AD), Pontius Pilate, a selection of Jewish elders, King Herod, the Republic of Italy and the State of Israel.

“Evidence today is on record in the bible, and you cannot discredit the bible,” Indidis told Kenyan Citizen News.

Yes, those he suggests should have been convicted during the original trial have not been alive for more than 2000 years, however Indidis insists that the government for whom they acted can and should still be held responsible.

HT via Jim West.

Why aren’t Christians popular? Why are they persecuted and called ‘bigoted’?

“We have no reason to be discouraged and cast down if the religion we profess is not popular and few agree with us. We must remember the words of our Lord Jesus Christ in this passage: ‘The gate is narrow’. Repentance, and faith in Christ, and holiness of life, have never been fashionable. The true flock of Christ has always been small. It must not move us to find that we are reckoned singular, and peculiar, and bigoted, and narrow minded. This is the ‘narrow way’. Surely it is better to enter into eternal life with a few, than to go to ‘destruction’ with a great company” – J.C. Ryle

PCUSA rejects Hymn “In Christ Alone” because it contains “The wrath of God”

If Presbyterian Church USA (PCUSA) had it’s own way it would write it’s own bible. A bible written in pencil -so that you can erase the bits you don’t like. Speaking of which….

Recently, the wrath of God became a point of controversy in the decision of the Presbyterian Committee on Congregational Song to exclude from its new hymnal the much-loved song “In Christ Alone” by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend. The Committee wanted to include this song because it is being sung in many churches, Presbyterian and otherwise, but they could not abide this line from the third stanza: “Till on that cross as Jesus died/the wrath of God was satisfied.” For this they wanted to substitute: “…as Jesus died/the love of God was magnified.” The authors of the hymn insisted on the original wording, and the Committee voted nine to six that “In Christ Alone” would not be among the eight hundred or so items in their new hymnal. …Read More!

Halling Baptist Church finally gets a new Pastor!

Halling Baptist Church was actually established and built in 1898 by workers from the Halling Cement Works as an alternative place of worship for those who wished to attend a Nonconformist meeting place. It has witnessed great times of joy with many coming to the Lord in faith and repentance and being baptized. It is well remembered by many for it’s ever so well attended Sunday School meetings. It has also gone through times of difficulty and testing, enduring through 2 World Wars and the Great Depression. Recently the congregation has been going through a time of prayer as they didn’t have a pastor. Well, this summer their prayers were answered …

On the 27th July 2013, Kevin Felix-Hollington was inducted into the office of pastor. On this beautiful and warm Saturday afternoon this little Baptist church was the point of convergence of many people from Basildon (Essex), Watford, North London and several members of the Grace Baptist Partnership were in attendance too. Grace Baptist Partnership provides Biblical counsel, training, practical experience, research and assessment services and materials helpful in worship and witness for those involved in planting new Grace Baptist churches.

Here are the highlights of the induction:

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Halling Baptist Church in Kent, England

Halling Baptist Church in Kent, England

University students sign petition to legalise even “4th Trimester” abortions.

I know of three tri-mesters during which a baby is in utero (the womb). I also know that the hearts of men and women is utterly wicked and duplicitous. Now follow this closely

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FAIRFAX – A new video posted by the Media Research Center (MRC) shows a number of university students in Virginia signing a petition to legalize 4th trimester abortion — that is, murdering the infant after birth.

The video was part of an experiment by MRC’s Dan Joseph to see if students at George Mason University would really support the cause, and how many. While most students did not seem to know what a “4th trimester abortion” was, they proceeded to sign the petition anyway–some without question.

“Currently, 4th trimester abortions are illegal in all 50 states,” Joseph begins his pitch.

“We believe that it’s a woman’s right to choose — that men in Washington [should not] get to make the rules about what a woman can do with her body and with her baby,” he tells one group of students in the video. “Are you down with that?”

“I’m down,” answer a couple of females in the group, while a male standing by inquires further about the matter.

“Cool” replies one girl later on in the video, and another student happily explains her affiliation with Planned Parenthood.

In one part of the footage, a female student asks Joseph, “Does it cause harm to the child?”

“Well, the child wouldn’t be there anymore,” he replies. “It’s abortion, you know. The child’s gone.”

The student then proceeds to sign the petition.

Man could be more wicked and depraved than he is if it were not for the grace of God restraining him. Each of us almost appears to have within himself a seed of corruption able to blossom enough to make Hitler appear a choir boy.

Why Do Christians Still Die If Jesus Died For Them?

An interesting look at a question that the Heidelberg Catechism addresses…

Heidelberg Catechism #42

Q. Since Christ has died for us, why do we still have to die?

A. Our death does not pay the debt of our sins. Rather, it puts an end to our sinning and is our entrance into eternal life.

Theological: For the believer in Jesus Christ, death is transformed. What used to be a just penalty for sin has become a portal into a fuller version of eternal life. O death, where thy sting? O grave, where thy victory? This, like so much Christian verity, must be approached in faith. The death of the righteous (from a biological point of view) looks the same as the death of the wicked. Having recently sat by the bed of my dying father, however, I can tell you that death for the Christian is a bitter wonder, a nasty joy. There’s More…

Purposefully driving God out of a church.

Purpose driven church?

Many in the church today believe that the only way to reach the world is to give the unchurched multitudes what they want. . . Subtly the overriding goal is church attendance and worldly acceptability rather than a transformed life. Preaching the Word and boldly confronting sin are seen as archaic, ineffectual means of winning the world. After all, those things actually drive most people away. Why not entice people into the fold by offering what they want, creating a friendly, comfortable environment, and catering to the very desires that constitute their strongest urges? As if we might get them to accept Jesus by somehow making Him more likable or making His message less offensive. That kind of thinking badly skews the mission of the church.

Read more of this post

Kate’s Royal Baby…

Just in [as per 20th July 2013], Every one in Great Britain is ecstatic about the Royal baby. But Ray Comfort has made us all pause for thought with a very good pro-life message:

Duchess of CambridgeLondon: The royal fetus is about to be born, much to the delight of frantic world media and the excitement of millions throughout the world. However, if the pregnancy had become tiresome in the past months, thankfully, Kate could have changed her mind and had it quietly removed. It’s her body, and so British law (as in the United States) affords her the right of choice.

…Read More!

Let angel minds inquire no more…

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It’s a divine mystery and it may well continue as such why the darling of Heaven humbled himself and took on the form of man and took on himself the shame of death (even death on a cursed cross) and endured the wrath of God therein for a worm like me. It begs me to ask who can explore His strange design? Charles Wesley’s Hymn probably captures this notion very well…

And can it be that I should gain
An interest in the Savior’s blood?
Died He for me, who caused His pain—
For me, who Him to death pursued?
Amazing love! How can it be,
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?
Amazing love! How can it be,
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me? …Read More!

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