Sermon Sunday: Charles Spurgeon

April 3, 2011 at 7:48 am | Posted in Sermon Sunday | 2 Comments
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Delivered on Sabbath Morning, January 7th, 1855, by the
REV. C. H. Spurgeon
At New Park Street Chapel, Southwark.

“I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.”—Malachi 3:6

It has been said by some one that “the proper study of mankind is man.” I will not oppose the idea, but I believe it is equally true that the proper study of God’s elect is God; the proper study of a Christian is the Godhead. The highest science, the loftiest speculation, the mightiest philosophy, which can ever engage the attention of a child of God, is the name, the nature, the person, the work, the doings, and the existence of the great God whom he calls his Father. There is something exceedingly improving to the mind in a contemplation of the Divinity. It is a subject so vast, that all our thoughts are lost in its immensity; so deep, that our pride is drowned in its infinity. Other subjects we can compass and grapple with; in them we feel a kind of self-content, and go our way with the thought, “Behold I am wise.” But when we come to this master-science, finding that our plumb-line cannot sound its depth, and that our eagle eye cannot see its height, we turn away with the thought, that vain man would be wise, but he is like a wild ass’s colt; and with the solemn exclamation, “I am but of yesterday, and know nothing.” No subject of contemplation will tend more to humble the mind, than thoughts of God. We shall be obliged to feel— Continue Reading Sermon Sunday: Charles Spurgeon…

Persecution Friday: Pakistan

March 11, 2011 at 9:26 am | Posted in VOM Fridays | Leave a comment
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For more news on what’s really happening to Christians around the world go to the Voice of the Martyrs website: www.persecution.com

Pakistan: Christian Minister Killed

A pamphlet left by Taliban forces at the scene of the crime.

Pakistan’s only Christian cabinet member, Shahbaz Bhatti, was assassinated by gunmen on March 2, 2011. Shahbaz, a member of the ruling Pakistan People’s Party, ardently advocated reforming Pakistan’s blasphemy law, which is often used against Christians. He is the second politician killed for criticizing the blasphemy law and calling for the release of convicted Christian Asia Bibi. The governor of Punjab province, Salman Taseer, was killed on Jan. 4 after he publicly spoke out against the law. Several armed men opened fire on Shahbaz’s car in a residential neighborhood of Islamabad. Two of the men pulled Shahbaz’s driver out of the car while the third man repeatedly fired his Kalashnikov into the vehicle. Shahbaz was killed instantly. Pakistani television carried images of his bullet-riddled car. 

 Pamphlets attributed to Al-Qaeda and a branch of the Pakistani Taliban were distributed at the scene, warning that anyone who criticized the blasphemy law would be killed. Last November, Shahbaz joined Governor Taseer in championing the case of Asia Bibi, a Christian woman who was convicted of blasphemy and sentenced to death. Shahbaz had been receiving death threats since the governor’s murder. He said in several interviews that he was “the highest target right now,” but he vowed to continue his work and trusted his life to God, according to Compass Direct News. “I don’t believe that bodyguards can save me after the assassination [of Taseer],” he said. “I believe in the protection from heaven.”

Shahbaz was a committed Christian. In a BBC video recorded just four months ago, Shahbaz said, “I want to share that I believe in Jesus Christ, who has given his own life for us. I know what is the meaning of cross. And I am following the cross.” He joined the Pakistan People’s Party in 2002 and was appointed the Federal Minister for Minorities in 2008, the first Christian to hold the position. According to Release International’s CEO, Andy Dipper, “Shahbaz was an uncompromising supporter of minorities in Pakistan who face abuse and unfair treatment. He was fully aware of the risks in speaking out. Extremists have succeeded in destroying another good man.”

Genesis 4:8-16

December 13, 2010 at 6:03 pm | Posted in Bible Study | Leave a comment
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Cain told Abel his brother. And it came about when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him. Then the LORD said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” And he said, “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?” He said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to Me from the ground. “Now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. “When you cultivate the ground, it will no longer yield its strength to you; you will be a vagrant and a wanderer on the earth.” Cain said to the LORD, “My punishment is too great to bear! “Behold, You have driven me this day from the face of the ground; and from Your face I will be hidden, and I will be a vagrant and a wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me.” So the LORD said to him, “Therefore whoever kills Cain, vengeance will be taken on him sevenfold.” And the LORD appointed a sign for Cain, so that no one finding him would slay him. Then Cain went out from the presence of the LORD, and settled in the land of Nod, east of Eden. Continue Reading Genesis 4:8-16…

Genesis 4:1-7

December 7, 2010 at 11:49 am | Posted in Bible Study | Leave a comment
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Now the man had relations with his wife Eve, and she conceived and gave birth to Cain, and she said, “I have gotten a manchild with the help of the LORD.” Again, she gave birth to his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of flocks, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. So it came about in the course of time that Cain brought an offering to the LORD of the fruit of the ground. Abel, on his part also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of their fat portions. And the LORD had regard for Abel and for his offering; but for Cain and for his offering He had no regard. So Cain became very angry and his countenance fell. Then the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? “If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.”

This week, we begin to see what happens after the Fall. We see how quickly the sinful nature takes hold of what was once a perfect creation. If you recall, Adam and Eve have been ousted from the garden of Eden because they disobeyed God and ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. They’ve returned to where Adam was made and have settled there. Imagine for a minute being the only two people on the entire planet. It was always this way, but now, things are different. Now, you don’t have fellowship with God like you used to. Now, sin and death have entered the world and everything is a little more ominous. And yet, in all of this there is hope brought about by the promise given by God.

Eventually, Adam and Eve have a child and name him Cain. When Cain is born, she says, “I have gotten a manchild with the help of the Lord”. There is something interesting here though. In many Bibles, the phrase “the help of” is in italics. That means that this phrase isn’t found in the original writings. That would make Eve’s original quote, “I have gotten a manchild with the Lord”. The implication here is that the promise was going to be fulfilled in Cain. While she was wrong about that, it does show that Eve held on to the promise that God gave her. After Cain’s birth follows Abel’s. We don’t have any idea how much time passed from the expulsion of Adam and Eve to Cain’s birth or between Cain’s birth and Abel’s but, we do know that Adam was 130 years old when Seth (the third son) was born. This means that the Fall, expulsion, birth of Cain, birth of Abel, murder of Abel, and birth of Seth all happened within 130 years of the creation.

 Again, we aren’t given any indication of what happened as the boys grew other than the jobs they took on. Abel was a tender of the flocks and Cain was a tiller of the ground. The Bible says that “in the course of time” Cain brought an offering from the fruit of the ground. For his offering, Abel brought of the first born of his flock and their fat portions. Many people gloss over this (if not the entirety of chapters 4 and 5) but it’s important. Here we see that Cain and Abel both recognize that they are to give offerings to the Lord. This must have been something that Adam and Eve taught them to do. This in turn means that it is something that Adam and Eve did. From the beginning, man has been giving offerings to the Lord. Not only that, but it shows what type of offerings they were bringing. In the next few verses, we see that the Lord regarded Abel’s sacrifice, but He didn’t regard (accept) Cain’s. Why? If Cain was a tiller of the ground and God knew that, why would He disregard his offering? The reason is simple and it points to a basic problem that man will have until Christ returns. Man wants to do things his own way instead of doing them God’s way.

How do I know this? Well, from personal experience, from seeing it happen in others, and from what God says to Cain when he gets angry. God reminds Cain that if he “does well” his countenance will be lifted up. This implies that Cain knew that he was to bring a blood sacrifice. This is what Abel brought. I would suppose that this is because of what God did when man first sinned against him in the garden. Do you remember? God killed two animals to make clothes for Adam and Eve. Abel offers a blood sacrifice in remembrance of that. Cain does not. But, there is more to it then that. When God talks to Cain, He says that if Cain does well, his countenance will be lifted up. Cain was angry and crestfallen because God didn’t accept the sacrifice that he decided to bring to him. But, God says that if he “does well” he will be lifted up again. I can’t say with certainty because scripture doesn’t say for sure, but I believe that God was showing Cain that all he had to do was offer up a blood sacrifice. I believe that if Cain would have talked to Abel and asked for or traded for a sheep or goat, Abel would have given it. Cain could have sacrificed the way that God required and Abel’s death would not have taken place.

How often do we try to manipulate things or do things our way and hope that God blesses them? We do all that we can to work and get things set up just so, and when God refuses to bless something that wasn’t the way He wanted it done, we get mad and sin against Him and others. God warns Cain (and us) that if we are angry, sin crouches at our door and waits for us, desiring us to let it in. How many times have you heard on the news about some tragedy that has taken place just because someone got angry over something? It happens all the time and usually it is for the stupidest reasons. God warns us that if we will “do well” and make sure that we do things the way that He wants us to, we will have our countenances lifted up and we will master sin!

Will you be like Abel or like Cain? In the book of 1 John, John reminds us that we are not to love one another like Cain loved Abel. Cain didn’t really love Abel. If he did, he wouldn’t have killed him. When we get angry at others for walking according to scripture and in obedience to God, do we really love them? John says that the message that we’ve heard from the beginning is to love one another. The word that John uses for love in that verse is the Greek word agape. It is the God kind of love. Many people know this and can tell you this, but can they describe it? What does agape love really look like? The greatest example of agape love is the death of Jesus on the cross for sinful mankind. He was spotless and without sin and yet, He went through the ridicule, the mocking, the scourging, the crucifixion, and the wrath of God for those who hate Him. He hung on the cross and forgave those who put Him there. This is agape love and it’s the way that Christians are supposed to love others.

As we end this week, let me ask you: Do you love with agape love? Are you prepared to die for someone else? Someone that isn’t in your family? Someone that hates you? Someone that you don’t like? This is agape

As always, comments, questions, suggestions, and complaints are welcome. Just leave them below and I’ll try to get to them as soon as I can. Next week we continue with the murder of Abel. See you then!

Genesis 3:14-19

November 22, 2010 at 1:22 pm | Posted in Bible Study | Leave a comment
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The LORD God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, Cursed are you more than all cattle, And more than every beast of the field; On your belly you will go, And dust you will eat All the days of your life; And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, And you shall bruise him on the heel.” To the woman He said, “I will greatly multiply Your pain in childbirth, In pain you will bring forth children; Yet your desire will be for your husband, And he will rule over you.” Then to Adam He said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat from it’; Cursed is the ground because of you; In toil you will eat of it All the days of your life. “Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you; And you will eat the plants of the field; By the sweat of your face You will eat bread, Till you return to the ground, Because from it you were taken; For you are dust, And to dust you shall return.” Continue Reading Genesis 3:14-19…

Genesis 3:8-13

November 15, 2010 at 9:42 pm | Posted in Bible Study | Leave a comment
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They heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. Then the LORD God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?” He said, “I heard the sound of You in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself.” And He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” The man said, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me from the tree, and I ate.” Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” And the woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” Continue Reading Genesis 3:8-13…

Persecution Fridays: Pakistan Asia Bibi Death Sentence

November 12, 2010 at 5:24 pm | Posted in VOM Fridays | Leave a comment
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For more news on what’s really happening to Christians around the world go to the Voice of the Martyrs website: www.persecution.com 

Pakistan: Asia Bibi—Death Sentence

On Nov. 8, Asia Bibi was sentenced to death by a judge in Pakistan, according to The Voice of the Martyrs contacts. The judge also fined Asia $1,190 (U.S.) and told her she had seven days to appeal the decision. VOM contacts reported that her attorney will appeal the sentence. Asia was arrested by police on June 19, 2009, and charged with blasphemy after she engaged in a religious discussion with co-workers. Many of the local women, including Asia, worked on the farm of Muslim landowner Muhammad Idrees. During their work, many of the Muslim women had pressured Asia to renounce Christianity and accept Islam.

Her family is one of only three Christian families in a village of more than 1,500 families.

On June 19, there was an intense discussion among the women about their faith. The Muslim women told Asia about Islam, and, according to VOM sources, Asia responded by telling the Muslim women that Christ died on the cross for our sins. She told them Jesus is alive. “Our Christ is the true prophet of God,” she reportedly told them. Upon hearing this response, the Muslim women became angry and began to beat Asia. Then some men took her and locked her in a room.

They announced from mosque loudspeakers that she would be punished by having her face blackened and being paraded through the village on a donkey. Local Christians informed the police, who took Asia into custody before the Muslims could carry out their plan. She is currently being held at the police station in Nankana city. Christians there had urged the police not to file blasphemy charges, but police claimed that they had to go forward because of pressure from local Muslim leaders. VOM is assisting Asia’s family and urges you to continue praying for Asia and her family during this difficult time. Pray that her appeal will be successful and that God will act on her behalf. Pray that Christians in Pakistan will continue to stand for Christ.

Persecution Fridays: Pakistan

September 24, 2010 at 5:49 pm | Posted in VOM Fridays | Leave a comment
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For more news on what’s really happening to Christians around the world go to the Voice of the Martyrs website: www.persecution.com 

Pakistan: Church Property Burned

On Sept. 19, Islamic extremists broke into the Philadelphia Pentecostal Church in Sharif Town, Karachi City, Pakistan, and set fire to Bibles, hymnals, a musical instrument and a table, according to The Voice of the Martyrs contacts.

The church, which is led by Pastors George Rakha and Peter Shahzad, was established six years ago and is actively involved in Muslim evangelism. “At 4 a.m., some fanatics broke the lock of the church door and entered the church,” VOM contacts reported. “They burned three crosses, nine Bibles, five books of worship songs, a table and a musical instrument Tabla [local drum].”

On Sept. 20, the Christian community displayed a banner protesting the burning of their Bibles. Christians believe this incident was a reaction to an American pastor’s widely publicized threat to burn copies of the Quran on Sept. 11. Christian leaders in the U.S. spoke out against the pastor’s plan to burn the Quran, and he ultimately decided against it. But it seems that no Muslim leaders spoke out against the actual burning of Bibles in Pakistan.

VOM encourages you to pray for believers in Pakistan who courageously live for Christ in the midst of opposition. Pray that believers’ testimonies and love for Christ will draw their Muslim neighbors into fellowship with Christ.

Genesis 1:14-19

September 13, 2010 at 8:16 pm | Posted in Bible Study | Leave a comment
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This week, we continue our look at the week of Creation. Today, we’ll be looking at the fourth day of Creation:

Then God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years; and let them be for light in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth”; and it was so. God made the two great lights, the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night; He made the stars also. God placed them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, and to govern the day and the night, and to separate the light from the darkness; and God saw that it was good. There was evening and there was morning, a fourth day. Continue Reading Genesis 1:14-19…

Newslinks 09/05/10

September 5, 2010 at 9:54 pm | Posted in Newslinks | Leave a comment
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Sunday’s Newslinks brought to you by At Ease Tees

Work of Humanitarian Agencies Praised on 5th Anniversary of Katrina
Five years after Hurricanes Katrina devastated New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, survivors and those working on their behalf say work is far from finished.  increasing demand.

Disaffected Lutherans Constitute New Body

Presbyterian Court Rebukes Minister for Gay Weddings

D’Souza: Christians Need to Tackle Secular Culture from ‘Belly of Beast’

Beck: Most Americans Don’t Recognize Obama’s Christianity

Gov’t-Funded Study on Sex, Abstinence Released Following Protest Continue Reading Newslinks 09/05/10…

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