Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009 Year in Review

I'm sitting down to write this entry after just returning from a sonogram appointment. What has happened today is characteristic of this entire year. What I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, is that God is sovereign and that nothing happens outside of His control. It's not that we have some battles that God wins and other battles that satan wins. Rather God orchestrates everything that comes to pass, and He is victorious over all. Satan has no power beyond what God has given him. This is a truth that has given me strength to stand in the midst of intense trial and difficulty. Today we saw that our third little baby conceived this year has no heartbeat. This comes two short weeks after seeing the heartbeat. I'd ask for a second opinion, but today's sonogram only showed 2 days of growth since the measurements a fortnight ago. While I trust in a loving God that works all things for my good, it is still hard to deal with these human emotions. There's another family in my extended family that has endured the same trial. God is working something in both our families, though it remains a mystery to us.

The year has not been entirely composed of bad news. First, as I have mentioned, God has used and continues to use the trials to bring about positive change in our lives. Next, there have been strides that the children are making in their learning and training. Brittney, Brianna, and Justin are doing well learning the piano. Brittney continues to advance in her sewing. She is being a very big blessing in sewing clothes for herself and her sisters. She even had an amazing opportunity this month to sit under the instruction of Lisa Sorrell and make herself a pair of leather ladies shoes. We did not entirely know the reputation of Mrs. Sorrell, but apparently she is a world famous bootmaker. Everyone we've talked to that knows anything about boot and shoe making knows her and admires her work. Here is her website: http://www.customboots.net/ This was a great opportunity for Brittney to learn from an expert. Brittney enjoyed it very much and may want to pursue this interest further.

Michael has established for himself a good reputation as a hard worker in our neighborhood. He is regularly hired to do flowerbeds, work on fences, weed eating, or whatever other odd jobs that need to be done. He is trying to save money for land in order to build his own home.

Brianna continues to excel in her piano playing. She is also working with Brittney in improving her sewing ability. She and Brittney are making quilts and doing an excellent job.

Justin is doing very well at the piano. He is "all boy" and loves to play outside and wrestle.

Paton is coming along very good in his reading. He now takes his turn reading during our family worship time. We have to encourage him to speak up because he's a little soft spoken. But he's doing great.

Sarah loves to play with Samuel. She got her first haircut in December.

Samuel is speaking quite a bit in sentences. Sometimes you have to guess what he's saying, but if you get it right he'll tell you. "Yes."

I have also been blessed to have a Christian brother in my life, Robert Graham. As I mentioned in my 2008 Year in Review, he hired on in October of that year. Over this past year we have become very good friends. We have a lot of discussions on the way to and from work. He lives only a mile away from me and sits in the cube right next to me at work. We've been able to save gas riding together and build each other up with Christian fellowship on a daily basis.

Finally, I would be remiss not to mention the blessing of my dear wife, Sheri. The things that we've been through this year, we've certainly faced them head on together. We celebrated 19 years of marriage this year. She remains a constant strength in my life. Sheri, I love you and I thank God for you.

Only the Lord knows what 2010 will bring. We would still love to move back down to Texas. Maybe the Lord will bring that about.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

I Was Mugged?

The news of my mugging has been greatly exaggerated:

Anyone who tries to mug this Mike Southerland better come with more than a knife. I've got a 9mm round waiting for him. Plus, 13 more in the magazine. :-)

Vision Forum Year End Liquidation

Monday, December 14, 2009

Contemplating the Psalms

This is my prayer tonight. Thank you Father, for Your Word. So much of this Psalm hits home. Please, Lord, grant that desire in verse 9. I repent of my wickedness. Make haste to help me, O Lord my salvation.

Psa 38:1-22
(1) O LORD, rebuke me not in thy wrath: neither chasten me in thy hot displeasure.
(2) For thine arrows stick fast in me, and thy hand presseth me sore.
(3) There is no soundness in my flesh because of thine anger; neither is there any rest in my bones because of my sin.
(4) For mine iniquities are gone over mine head: as an heavy burden they are too heavy for me.
(5) My wounds stink and are corrupt because of my foolishness.
(6) I am troubled; I am bowed down greatly; I go mourning all the day long.
(7) For my loins are filled with a loathsome disease: and there is no soundness in my flesh.
(8) I am feeble and sore broken: I have roared by reason of the disquietness of my heart.
(9) Lord, all my desire is before thee; and my groaning is not hid from thee.
(10) My heart panteth, my strength faileth me: as for the light of mine eyes, it also is gone from me.
(11) My lovers and my friends stand aloof from my sore; and my kinsmen stand afar off.
(12) They also that seek after my life lay snares for me: and they that seek my hurt speak mischievous things, and imagine deceits all the day long.
(13) But I, as a deaf man, heard not; and I was as a dumb man that openeth not his mouth.
(14) Thus I was as a man that heareth not, and in whose mouth are no reproofs.
(15) For in thee, O LORD, do I hope: thou wilt hear, O Lord my God.
(16) For I said, Hear me, lest otherwise they should rejoice over me: when my foot slippeth, they magnify themselves against me.
(17) For I am ready to halt, and my sorrow is continually before me.
(18) For I will declare mine iniquity; I will be sorry for my sin.
(19) But mine enemies are lively, and they are strong: and they that hate me wrongfully are multiplied.
(20) They also that render evil for good are mine adversaries; because I follow the thing that good is.
(21) Forsake me not, O LORD: O my God, be not far from me.
(22) Make haste to help me, O Lord my salvation.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

True Ecumenicalism

There is an ongoing debate among "Christians" today. One camp embraces unlimited ecumenicalism. This group would have all Christians (and in some cases, all people regardless of faith) to set aside their differences and unite. Another camp, or actually several "camps" because they never unite, proclaims that unless someone holds to their particular conviction on every jot and tittle of scripture they are cursed and destined for hellfire.

So what is the answer?

Christ would have His Church united. Yet, that should never happen at the expense of compromising things that can never be comprised.

Here are some guidelines that I consider in determining with whom to unite and with whom to separate.

1. Is the message preached one of repentance of sin and embracing of salvation won for us by the sole work of Christ Jesus alone, paid for with His own blood upon the cross of crucifixion?

2. Is the message supported through scripture alone? I may disagree with my brother on his interpretation, but we must accept the Bible as the absolute inerrant Word of God. This must be the standard, or else there is no foundation for discussion.

3. Is faith alone all that is required for justification before God? God has given faith, in the first place, to whom He will. Works should never be added as a requirement for justification. Works will follow faith, not the other way around.

4. Does the message preached go out to everyone, adding no stipulation of goodness on the part of those evangelized? God's grace is sufficient to cleanse any sinner of His own choosing. There is no merit won by men, whether by works or by social status that wins any favor with God.

5. Is the message preached glorifying to God alone? In an age of self centeredness, it is becoming increasingly common for sermons to exalt man, or to offer some "life benefit" to its hearers. This may come as a shock to some, but it's really not all about us. It is all about Him.

If the answer to these questions is "yes" for your particular congregation, then, though I might not agree with you on every point, we can have true Christian fellowship. If, on the other hand, you reject one or more of these points, then how can we have any fellowship?

Can two walk together, except they be agreed?
(Amo 3:3)

This, my friend, is my take on True Ecumenicalism.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Christ at the Center

"All the Reformers said that if you read the Bible by yourself in a corner, there's no telling how many spirits you'll be filled with. That just means, as Luther said, that every man will go to hell in his own way. An external word takes the form of a corporate event. It is preached. It's not us determining for ourselves over in a corner what we believe and how we'll live. It's the obsession with the spiritual disciplines that's actually very individualistic."

- Michael Horton, "Christ at the Center", Christianity Today, November 2009

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

In Christ Alone, Throughout the Ages

Last night I was teaching my wife about the aspects of covenantal theology. I want to share some of these thoughts and scriptures with you quickly before I must leave for work.

God has always worked with man through covenants. I pointed out that the Old Testament church (and yes, they can be called the church) was saved by believing on the saviour who was to come. We see a prophecy of Christ even in the Garden of Eden.

And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.
(Gen 3:15)

Then again, in this morning's Bible reading, consider this.

Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,
(1Pe 1:18-20)

Sorry...that's all I have time for, for now. Ponder these verses and consider.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

A Visit From Rev. B. M. Palmer

Having a house full of sick children, we held Lord's Day services in our living room this morning with only our family in attendance. We were blessed, however, with a visit from Rev. B.M. Palmer. He offered a sermon entitled, "Spirit of Contradiction in the Treatment of the Gospel." As you may know, Dr. Palmer died in 1902. He was a contemporary of Dr. R.L. Dabney, James Henley Thornwell, and John L. Girardeau. Mighty fine company if you ask me. So, it was a pleasure to read one of his sermons to my family. The sermon text was Matthew 11:16-17:

"But whereunto shall I liken this generation? It is like unto children sitting in the markets, and calling unto their fellows, and saying, We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned unto you, and ye have not lamented."

Dr. Palmer's exposition of this passage involved the response that those in the world have upon sharing law and Gospel. In speaking of God's holiness; of His perfect righteous standard; and of His necessary judging of sin; the world recoils in horror at the thought of a God who upholds judgment and does not simply pardon all. Yet, even in our Earthly courts, we would think a judge very poor indeed who did not hold criminals to account for the crimes they have committed against the innocent. God's holiness and justice is a fact that the world can not stand.

On the other hand, when the news is shared with the lost that the blood of God's own Son was shed for the remission of our sins, the world likewise recoils and can not understand the substitutionary atonement. Whereas in the first case, the holiness of God drives them to depend upon their own works for their justification, Christ's answer is that He has paid in full the price required by God. Their reaction is that "free justification, without reference to any human works, gives a free charter to sin; and that the proper inference from the doctrine is, that men may continue in sin in order that grace may abound, turning the very grace of God into licentiousness."

Men object to the mystery and the simplicity of the Gospel. Palmer offers a two fold solution to this problem.

1. These contradictions annihilate each other and prove the Gospel to be true. "How is it possible that the Gospel can make God too severe in His holiness, and at the same time destroy the very holiness which is proclaims, and make it an impossibility to Him and an impossibility to the creature?"
"No, my hearer, I challenge your attention to the fact that a system which is exposed to these contradictory allegations is, by the very force of the charges, proved to be true. And yet, like her blessed Master, it shall always been the fate of this Gospel to be crucified betwixt these two thieves. It shall find the objections coming from the one side and the objections coming from the other side, and yet it shall live in the midst of all this cross-fire. And, sinner, when the Gospel has outlived it all, and meets you, in the Person of its Great Author, upon the judgment seat, remember that there will come the long, long, long eternity to you, in which to continue this unprofitable wrangling forever."

2. "But, brethren, 'wisdom is justified of her children.'"
Christians, we are the example to the world that the message of law and Gospel is a true message as it works in our lives.
"It is for us to show, by the purity of our lives, the self-denial of our conduct, and yet the cheerful happiness with which we encounter our trials and perform our duties, that there is no foundation for these mistaken pleas against the glorious Gospel of the blessed God."

As sinners redeemed from the curse of the law we can rest knowing that God's perfect standard of righteousness has been upheld by the substitutionary atonement of Christ. And while in our human frailty we still sin, we purpose not to sin freely that grace may abound. Christ's sacrifice bought not only our justification, but also our sanctification, and His Gospel is sufficient for both.

Dr. Palmer's sermon can be found in the reprint of his book entitled, "Sermons by Rev. B.M. Palmer Pastor First Presbyterian Church, New Orleans Volumes I and II." It is a single volume consisting of the texts of both the original volumes. It is published by Sprinkle Publications. Here is the link.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Climbing Out of Babyhood

This morning my son Samuel was awakened by a thunderstorm. He cried
for a couple of minutes. As Sheri and I were talking about going to
get him out of his crib, he comes to our door. Samuel turns 2 today.
The ability to get out of the baby bed is definitely an indicator that
it's time for a "big boy" bed. Another day, another milestone.
Praise God for allowing me to be a father and watch my children grow
from infants to adults.

--
Sent from my mobile device

Friday, October 23, 2009

Priorities of a Church

A friend of mine posted a thought provoking blog entry regarding the priorities of a church, and just what the responsibilities of the church should be. Though he is asking for details, I believe a general principle can guide all our responses. The church should prioritize its responsibilities as follow:

1. Duty toward God
2. Duty toward members (of both the local church and the church universal)
3. Duty toward the lost

So then, worship is the primary responsibility. Included in that is the preaching of the Word, prayer, singing. As a natural consequence, the building up of the body encourages the worship of God. Finally, evangelizing the lost is the means whereby God adds souls to the body. Keeping these priorities in mind should help to answer the question of the details. By the way, these priorities similarly apply to other spheres of government as well, keeping God as the top priorities, but the other responsibilities vary according to the people involved.

For your reference, here is a link to my friend's post: Click Here.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

What Should the Church Look Like?

Historically there are three distinguishing marks that identify a true church. They are:

1) The preaching of the Word
2) Administration of the sacraments/ordinances (The Lord's Table and baptism)
3) Administration of church discipline

If any of these three are lacking, then you don't really have a true church. However, how do you know if a church is fulfilling these things properly? I have found a web site that seeks to answer that question. The details of these three marks are expanded into "9 Marks," which just so happens to be the name of their website. :-) http://www.9marks.org

Mark Dever leads this ministry. Here he describes the following nine marks of a "healthy" church. If you read these, you will see the historical three marks contained in these points. Yet, there is a clarity offered here that is very worthwhile. I intend to spend some time browsing through this site. The nine marks are:
1. Expositional Preaching
2. Biblical Theology
3. Biblical Understanding of the Good News
4. Biblical Understanding of Conversion
5. Biblical Understanding of Evangelism
6. Biblical Understanding of Membership
7. Biblical Church Discipline
8. Promotion of Christian Discipleship and Growth
9. Biblical Understanding of Leadership

Monday, October 12, 2009

Modern Reformer of Education

A hero of the homeschool movement has gone home to be with the Lord today, October 12, 2009. Chris Klicka was truly a reformer in education. He fought for the rights of parents across the country and around the world to homeschool their own children. I have his book entitled Homeschooling: The Right Choice. It has been a very good reference when defending my and my wife's choice to homeschool our own children against naysayers.

Chris battled multiple sclerosis for 15 years. Yet he was a champion through it all. He never failed to give glory to God. He never complained about his condition, and neither did he allow it to slow him down. He was a senior attorney for the Home School Legal Defense Association.

Please join me in praying for his family. He leaves behind a wife and seven children ages 11 - 21.

Here is a link to the announcement on the HSLDA site:

10% Off at Getty Music

Friends,

I have discovered some very good music. They are called "modern hymns." The songs have a richness of doctrine that I appreciate in the old hymns, and yet they are new. The authors are a couple, Keith and Kristyn Getty. I've seen their music added as a supplement in a few Reformed churches that I've visited lately. The website is http://www.gettymusic.com

I placed an order last night and they sent me a 10% off coupon good for the next two weeks that they invited me to share with my friends and family. My readers are my friends. So, if you want to order, enter the following code at checkout for a 10% discount: Southerland35590

I'm not an affiliate or anything, so don't do it to "help me out." Order only if you enjoy their music after previewing it at their site.

Blessings,
Mike

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

GOSPEL SONNETS - Chapter 5 - Section 1

GOSPEL SONNETS

By Ralph Erskine

Chapter 5

Arguments and encouragements to Gospel Ministers to avoid a legal strain of doctrine, and endeavour the sinner’s match with CHRIST by gospel-means.

SECTION I. – A legal SPIRIT the root of damnable Errors.

YE heralds great, that blow in name of God
The silver trump of gospel-grace abroad;
And sound by warrant from the great I AM,
The nuptial treaty with the worthy Lamb,
Might ye but stoop th' unpolish'd muse to brook,
And from a shrub an wholesome berry pluck;
Ye’d take encouragement from what is said,
By gospel-means to make the marriage-bed,
And to your glorious Lord a virgin chaste to wed.
The more proud nature bears a legal sway,
The more should preachers bend the gospel-way:
Oft in the church arise destructive schisms
From anti-evangelic aphorisms;
A legal spirit may be justly nam'd
The fertile womb of ev'ry error damn'd.
Hence Pop'ry, so connat'ral since the fall,
Makes legal works like saviours merit all;
Yea, more than merit on their shoulder loads,
To supererogate like demi-gods.
Hence proud Socinians seat their reason high
‘Bove ev’ry precious gospel mystery,
Its divine Author stab, and without fear
The purple covert of his chariot tear.
With these run Arian monsters in a line,
All gospel-truth at once to undermine!
To darken and delete, like hellish foes,
The brightest colour of the Sharon Rose.
At best its human red they but decry
That blot the divine white, the native dye.
Hence dare Arminians too, with brazen face,
Give man’s free will the throne of God’s free grace;
Whose self-exalting tenets clearly shew
Great ignorance of law and gospel too.
Hence Neonomians spring, as sundry call
The new law-makers to redress our fall.
The law of works, into repentance, faith,
Is chang’d, as their Baxterian bible saith.
Shaping the gospel to an easy law,
They build their tott’ring house with hay and straw;
Yet hide, like Rachel’s idols in the stuff,
Their legal hands within a gospel muff.
Yea, hence springs Antinomian vile refuse,
Whose gross abettors gospel grace abuse;
Unskill’d how grace’s silken latchet binds
Her captives to the law with willing minds.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Preaching Christ - Week After Week After Week

Click here to link to a podcast that I really enjoy. The speaker is Chris Rosebrough and the program is called "Fighting for the Faith." In this episode what I really want to point out is the sermon review. Chris reviews a Charles Spurgeon sermon. It is his first sermon in the Tabernacle. I have had discussion with friends lately concerning whether the Gospel should be included in every message. Spurgeon certainly thought so. "Jesus Christ and Him crucified" never grows old as a topic. Preaching Christ throughout the entire scripture, whether Old or New Testament, is essential for solid Christian preaching. If you listen to the podcast, the sermon review is the last thing he does, and it takes up a good portion of the second half of the program. Chris is a confessional Lutheran. As a Reformed Baptist I don't always agree with everything he says, but I can say that in most cases we agree. As exampled by his reviewing a Spurgeon sermon, he views Reformed Baptists in the same way.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Self Feeders

To be sure, the local church involves fellowship among the saints,
which includes works of service to the household of faith. But we
have confused the priesthood of all believers with the ministry-hood
of all believers, as if Christ had never instituted the offices that
we find in the epistles. In this approach to ministry, every sheep
must be a shepherd. The call to the sheep to become self-feeders is
the natural consequence of this impoverished line of thinking.

Christless Christianity, Michael Horton, p. 228

--
Sent from my mobile device

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

19 Years Ago

…was the best day of my life. On August 25, 1990 Sheri Cross became Mrs. Sheri Southerland. The Lord has carried us through many changes. Through it all He has richly blessed us. She has faithfully followed my lead with each new milestone that God has brought us through. Many women would have grown frustrated long ago. Yet, the Lord blessed me with a wife who understands what it means to trust her husband. While she has always been my faithful counselor, she also knows that God has placed the responsibility to lead our family upon my shoulders. To face this challenge alone would have been an insurmountable burden. But with Sheri by my side, I joyfully embrace each new lesson the Lord is teaching us.

To my sons, seek a wife like your mother. She is a godly lady. The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her. A wife like her will be the greatest blessing you will ever have in your life.

To my daughters, seek to be like your mother. Her love for her husband and children is striking. Her patience and self sacrificing is honorable. Her undying faith is a beauty beyond compare.

To my beautiful bride, I love you. I am so very blessed to have you by my side.

Happy Anniversary sweetheart.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

His First Rodeo

Here's my son's first attempt at bull (steer) riding. I think he did a great job for his first time.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Marriage - The Story of the Gospel

Just a quick update as we retire for the evening. My wife and I are currently in Wake Forest, NC where we have just completed the first night of a marriage conference hosted by Scott Brown at his home.

Dan Horn spoke tonight on the picture of marriage as being a picture of the Gospel. What a powerful message! The Lord has really put it on my heart lately of the importance of the Gospel in every message preached from the pulpit, and the primacy of it in every facet of our lives.

Does our marriage, does your marriage show the world a picture of the Gospel? Or is it skewed? The reason sodomite "marriage" is such an abomination is that it blasphemes Christ and His Church. There are not two Christs or two Churches. Yet that is what sodomy tries to declare.

I'll go into more details later next week, Lord willing. But for now I want to say that the messages are powerful and I am so grateful for the opportunity to attend with my bride.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Roe v. Wade

Roe v. Wade was the landmark Supreme Court decision that struck down state laws prohibiting abortion. I’m going to use a word in this article that I don’t believe is entirely accurate when applied to this case. That term is “legalized.” It is said that Roe v. Wade “legalized” abortion. And in a sense, that is correct. Though if we simply consider the form of government that we have, you will realize that it is not the job of the Supreme Court to make law. That dirty work is supposed to be left to the legislative branch of government. Yet, despite overstepping their jurisdictional boundaries, the Supreme Court has, in effect, legalized elective abortion for all nine months of pregnancy for any reason whatsoever.

Roe v. Wade was decided on January 22, 1973. The plaintiff was an anonymous “Jane Roe.” The defendant was District Attorney of Dallas County Henry Wade. The case revolved around Jane Roe, later identified as Norma McCorvey who claimed she had been raped and desired an abortion. Texas law denied her the abortion. Attorneys Linda Coffee and Sarah Weddington jumped at the opportunity to advance their own agenda at the expense of McCorvey. They filed suit on her behalf. Norma McCorvey is now an outspoken pro-life advocate, though she was once a worker in an abortion mill. She admits that she lied about being raped. In her book, Won By Love, she details how a little seven year old girl, a daughter of a pro-life protester loved her unconditionally. Emily would constantly tell Norma, “Miss Norma, we’re praying for you.” At the time Norma’s identity was still protected. This small group of protesters had no idea they were talking with the very Roe of Roe v. Wade. The little girl’s persistence finally paid off when Norma McCorvey repented of her sin and turned to Christ. Norma McCorvey now leads a pro-life ministry called “Roe No More.” Listen to her testimony about the effects that this little girl had on her.

As my mind was challenged to consider the truth of the Gospel, God began working on my heart through a 7-year-old girl named Emily, the daughter of O.R. volunteer Ronda Mackey.

Quite understandably, I had difficulty relating to children. I had given birth to three, all of whom had been placed for adoption (one of them against my will). And because I worked in an abortion clinic, I was fearful of bonding with anyone so young. It was part of my denial. When you know what is happening to the children behind closed doors, it's difficult to become attached to them outside.

Emily's blatant affection, frequent hugs, and direct pursuit disarmed me. The little girl's interest was all the more surprising considering Emily made it very clear that her acceptance of me wasn't an acceptance of my lifestyle. Early on in our relationship, I explained to Emily, "I like kids and wouldn't let anyone hurt little kids," to which Emily responded, "Then why do you let them kill the babies at the clinic?"

On another occasion, I invited Emily into my office. As I made appointments, Emily kept herself occupied. During one phone call, I lost my temper and said to a caller, "I'd just as soon see you in hell as see you in here," and Emily responded, "You don't have to go to hell, Miss Norma. You can pray right now and Jesus will forgive you."

This childlike faith cut open my heart, making me receptive to the truth being shared by the adult volunteers at Rescue. I wasn't won over by compelling apologetics. I had a ninth grade education and a very soft heart. While the O.R. adults targeted my mind, Emily went straight for the heart. And over time, Emily began to personify the issue of abortion--especially when Ronda broke down and told me that Emily had almost been aborted.

If any of you are familiar with this case, or you have been told that Roe v. Wade only prohibited abortions in the first three months, you have been fed a half truth. Roe indeed declares that abortion is legal for any reason for the first three months. However, it also allows for abortions after the three month time period for reasons of rape, incest, or the health of the mother. There is a much less publicized companion case, Doe v. Bolton that was also decided on the same day as Roe. This case defined “health of the mother” to be anything that a woman and her doctor decide it to be, including psychological health. Here is the official statement:

Whether, in the words of the Georgia statute, "an abortion is necessary" is a professional judgment that the Georgia physician will be called upon to make routinely. We agree with the District Court… that the medical judgment may be exercised in the light of all factors - physical, emotional, psychological, familial, and the woman's age - relevant to the well-being of the patient. All these factors may relate to health.

So, with the supported of the companion case, Roe indeed legalizes abortion for all nine months of pregnancy for any reason whatsoever. This is also why pro-lifers are so adamant about not including exceptions in any pro-life legislation that is proposed. We are particularly opposed to any language that makes “health of the mother” a valid exception. As a side note, “Mary Doe,” later identified as Sandra Cano, identifies herself as pro-life and claims that her attorney, Margie Pitts Hames, lied to her in order to have a plantiff.

Roe v. Wade did not come to us in a vacuum. Like most bad law, it came from bad precedent. In 1965 another egregious case was decided in Griswold v. Connecticut. This is the Supreme Court decision that struck down state prohibitions on birth control. In this decision the Supreme Court somehow “discovered” a secret “right to privacy” that had been hidden in the "penumbras" and "emanations" of other constitutional protections besides the original Bill of Rights. What most of the American people do not understand is that chemical forms of birth control often cause spontaneous abortion. How appropriate then, for it to be the precedent used for the outright killing of children through mechanical means. This assertion is thoroughly documented in Randy Alcorn’s book, Does the Birth Control Pill Cause Abortion? Sadly, just like the abortion issue today, the churches of 1965 had already failed to speak out against the deadly effects of chemical birth control. When God’s people are silent, depraved human nature takes over and commits terrible sins.

Friday, August 07, 2009

As Christ Loved the Church

Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
(Eph 5:25-27)


When I think of that admonition that I am to love my wife as Christ loved the church, I am overwhelmed. I do love my wife. But do I love her to that degree? I am mere mortal. Christ is divine. I can't possibly love my wife like Christ loved His church. Christ lived a sinless life for His church. Then He bled and died on her behalf. He took her place. He who was without sin died for me! This He did so that she (I) should have no spot or wrinkle, but that she (I) should be holy and without blemish.

Yet, the very thing that Christ did for me (as a member of His church) is the only thing that enables me to do the same for my wife. No, I can't live a sinless life for her. But when I walk in the spirit, I'll not fulfill the lusts of the flesh. I can't make her pure and holy, but as I admonish her through the scriptures I lead her to the One who can.

Lord, wash me in your Word, so that I can wash her in your Word. Amen.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Lessons Learned

There's nothing so devastating to a parent than losing a child. Yet the Lord has been pleased to bring us through that trial twice this year. The world may consider it no great loss. After all, these children were lost very early. We never were able to hold them in our arms. We never even knew if they were boys or girls.

I've found that when the Lord brings you through a trial He will teach you things, if you are willing to learn. I share these with you in hopes that it may help another hurting soul and draw you closer to our Father God.

1) In times of great heartbreak and trial, pour your heart out to the Lord. Tell Him your sorrows and your griefs. He tells us in His word that He is familiar with suffering.

He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
(Isa 53:3)

Our Lord can relate. Christ suffered greatly on our behalf. He has a compassionate heart to those who are going through hardship.

2) Turn to the scriptures for your comfort and guide. The Psalms are replete with passages exhorting us to trust in the Lord. For this particular trial Job 1:21 helped me to face it.

And said, Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.
(Job 1:21)

3) Realize that all of our children belong to the Lord. He has only entrusted us as stewards to care for them here on Earth. If He takes them home, then He is within His right to do so.

4) Use this as an occasion to draw near to your spouse. I am a husband. So I mainly speak through that perspective. When the miscarriage is going on I feel so helpless. I've found that often the best thing I can do is to pray for my wife, hold her, and comfort her.

5) Love your other children. If you don't have other children, then this may not apply to you, but in my case the Lord has blessed us with seven beautiful children. Hold them close. Praise the Lord that He gave you the ones that you do have. Give them grace as they grieve in their own way.

6) Finally, appreciate the church universal. I received a great outpouring of support from Christians around the world. Technology has brought us together. The Lord has provided the bond.

Monday, July 27, 2009

The Simplicity of the Gospel

I was in a meeting recently where the participants were holding up the ideal of simplicity. Simplicity has its place, though we should be careful not to idolize it above all other virtues. For we read in the scripture:

How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? and the scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge?
(Pro 1:22)

Yet, when it comes to delivering a message to God's people, nothing is better than the simplicity offered in the Gospel. I'm currently reading Charles Spurgeon's Lectures to My Students. I can't get through the chapter on "Sermons - Their Matter" without having to stop and comment.

Consider Spurgeon's thoughts on simplicity and the Gospel.

We must throw all our strength of judgment, memory, imagination, and eloquence into the delivery of the gospel; and not give to the preaching of the cross our random thoughts while wayside topics engross our deeper meditations. Depend upon it, if we brought the intellect of a Locke or a Newton, and the eloquence of a Cicero, to bear upon the simple doctrine of 'believe and live,' we should find no surplus strength. Brethern, first and above all things, keep to plain evangelical doctrines: whatever else you do or do not preach, be sure incessantly to bring forth the soul-saving truth of Christ and him crucified.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Spurgeon on Feeding the Flock

Alas! the indistinct utterances of many concerning the grandest of eternal realities, and the dimness of thought in others with regard to fundamental truths, have given too much occasion for the criticism! Brethern, if you are not theologians you are in your pastorates just nothing at all. You may be fine rhetoricians, and be rich in polished sentences; but without knowledge of the gospel, and aptness to teach it, you are but a sounding brass and a tinkling cymbal. Verbiage is too often the fig-leaf which does duty as a covering for theological ignorance. Sounding periods are offered instead of sound doctrine, and rhetorical flourishes in the place of robust thought. Such things ought not to be. The abounding of empty declamation, and the absence of food for the soul, will turn a pulpit into a box of bombast, and inspire contempt instead of reverence. Unless we are instructive preachers, and really feed the people, we may be great quoters of elegant poetry, and mighty retailers of second-hand windbags, but we shall be like Nero of old, fiddling while Rome was burning, and sending vessels to Alexandria to fetch sand for the arena while the populace starved for want of corn.

- Charles Spurgeon, Lectures to my Students, p. 81

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Family or the Church?

A friend of mine mentioned to me today an experience whereby an elderly gentlemen was commenting on how nice my friend's family was. This man was a World War II veteran who was in the second wave of the Normandy invasion. He was 91 years old and had trusted Christ as his saviour in 1947 after he returned home from the war.

His comments to my friend was that "God loves families. You know, He created families before He created the church."

I love families too. I love my own family enormously. Yet, as my friend relayed this story to me I felt an uneasyness. There was just something that wasn't quite right about this man's comments.

I began to ponder the question, "Which came first, the family or the church?"

The Belgic Confession declares in Article 27:
This church has existed from the beginning of the world and will last until the end, as appears from the fact that Christ is eternal King who cannot be without subjects.

So, the author of the Belgic Confession confirmed my suspusion. But I wanted something a little more concrete than a confession that is not even the primary confession that I adhere to. (which is the London Baptist Confession of 1689)

Scripture is the ultimate authority. What does it have to say about the family?

If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.
(Luk 14:26)

What does it have to say about the church?

Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
(Eph 5:25-27)

So, I believe it is clear from scripture that Christ esteems His church above families. But there is still the nagging question; Did He create the family before He created the church?

The first family was made up of Adam and Eve. They had their beginning in the Garden of Eden. But when did Christ create His Church? First we must ask who is the Church? The Church is made up of all Christ's elect. The Church is and has always been God's people throughout the ages. Thus it is not incorrect to call ancient Israel, "The Church."

So, when was the Church created? It was created when He elected His own. I believe this verse speaks clearly as to when the Church was created:

According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:
(Eph 1:4)

So then, I submit to you that this elderly gentleman, in spite of the honour I have for him in serving our country, is wrong when it comes to the dicotomy between the Church and the family. The family is certainly a blessing from God. But His Church is the apple of His eye.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Earn Prizes While Searching the Web

My sister-in-law told me about this website. She uses it to earn points toward Amazon gift cards. As a homeschooling family, I love to find out how to get free books. Click on the banner below to check it out.


Search & Win

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Our Lord's Apples

"Take no heavier lift of your children, than your Lord alloweth; give them room beside your heart, but not in the yolk of your heart, where Christ should be; for then they are your idols, not your bairns. If your Lord take any of them home to his house before the storm come on, take it well, the owner of the orchard may take down two or three apples off his own trees, before midsummer, and ere they get the harvest sun; and it would not be seemly that his servant, the gardener, should chide him for it. Let our Lord pluck his own fruit at any season he pleaseth; they are not lost to you, they are laid up so well, as that they are coffered in heaven, where our Lord's best jewels lie." - Samuel Rutherford (1600 - 1661)

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

A Sugared Gospel

"Avoid a sugared gospel as you would shun sugar of lead. Seek the gospel which rips up and tears and cuts and wounds and hacks and even kills, for that is the gospel that makes alive again. And when you have found it, give good heed to it. Let it enter into your inmost being. As the rain soaks into the ground, so pray the Lord to let his gospel soak into your soul."
- Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Can You Be a Christian and not Learn?

Convince them what a contradiction it is to be a Christian, and yet
refuse to learn; for what is a Christian but a disciple of Christ?
And how can he be a disciple of Christ, that refuseth to be taught by
him? And he that refuseth to be taught by his ministers, refuseth to
be taught by him; for Christ will not come down from heaven again to
teach them by his own mouth, but hath appointed his ministers to keep
school and teach them under him. To say, therefore, that they will
not be taught by his ministers, is to say, they will not be taught by
Christ; and that is to say, they will not be his disciples, or no
Christians.

- Richard Baxter The Reformed Pastor pp. 234-235

--
Sent from my mobile device

Applying the Gospel to Our Idols

Preach it Brother Stephen! This is a followup to the last message I posted by him on Gospelizing. It is a "must listen."




Win a Copy of Bible Works 8!

There is a very good Christian blog that I like to follow called Cal.vini.st. This month they are giving away two copies of Bible Works 8 software valued at $349 each. Visit this link to visit their site and sign up:


This is awesome software that will certainly help you in your study of God's Word.

If you happen not to win the prize, there is a free software package I have used for years called E-Sword. While it may not be in the same league at Bible Works, I can tell you that it is certainly a great piece of software to have on your system, especially if you have no other package. Visit this link to download it free of charge:



Sunday, June 28, 2009

A Good Thing

Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the
LORD. - Proverbs 18:22

Today my best friend is celebrating her 40th birthday. In August we
will have been married 19 years. She is a faithful wife, a loving
mother to our seven children, and my very best friend.

Of all the decisions I've ever made in my life, marrying Sheri has to
be the best one.

I love you sweetheart. Thank you for being such a blessing in my life.

Love,
Michael

--
Sent from my mobile device

Thursday, June 25, 2009

"Gospelizing"

I've found oftentimes that when God is teaching me something it tends to come at me from many different angles in my life. Within the past few weeks I've been encouraged to preach the Gospel not only to unbelievers, but also to believers. This encouragement has come from two good friends, one or two "bigger name" pastors (Mark Chandler being one of them), books that I've been reading from men of old (like Richard Baxter and Charles Spurgeon), and also from a pastor whom I sat under for about 6 months before we moved away from Nashville, Pastor Stephen Gambill at Reformed Baptist of Nashville. Mind you that I did not ask Stephen about this, but rather noticed that he "just so happened" to be preaching on the same topic. I follow his blog and listen to many of his sermons.

Here is Pastor Stephen's latest message on this very subject given in the Sunday School portion of their service on June 14 of this year. For those friends of mine who may be reading this blog, please listen to this message. He nails down just what I'm talking about. Preaching the Gospel is much more than simply winning souls into the Kingdom through the message of the cross. Though it includes that, it is much deeper than that as well.

Enjoy.


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Old Truth of the Gospel

"The old truth that Calvin preached, that Augustine preached, that Paul preached, is the truth that I must preach to-day, or else be false to my conscience and my God. I cannot shape the truth; I know of no such thing as paring off the rough edges of a doctrine. John Knox's gospel is my gospel. That which thundered through Scotland must thunder through England again."—C. H. Spurgeon

Friday, June 19, 2009

Care of Christ's Spouse

From Richard Baxter's The Reformed Pastor:

You that draw back from painful, displeasing, suffering duties, and put off men's souls with ineffectual formalities, do you think this is honourable treatment of Christ's spouse? Are the souls of men thought meet by God to see his face, and live for ever in heaven, and are they not worthy of your utmost cost and labour on earth? Do you think so basely of the Church of God, as if it deserved not the best of your care and help? Were you the keepers of sheep or swine, you would scarcely let them go, and say, They are not worth the looking after; especially if they were your own. And dare you say so of the souls of men, of the Church of God? Christ walketh among them: remember his presence, and see that you are diligent in your work. They are 'a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people, to show forth the praises of him that hath called them.' And yet will you neglect them? What a high honour is it to be but one of them, yea, but a door-keeper in the house of God! But to be the priest of these priests, and the rule of these kings -- this is such an honour as multiplieth your obligations to diligence and fidelity in so noble an employment.


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

GOSPEL SONNETS - Chapter 4

Gospel Sonnets
by Ralph Erskine
Chapter 4

A Caution to all against a legal spirit; especially to those that have a profession without power, and learning without grace.

"WHY," says the haughty heart of legalists,
Bound to the law of works by nat'ral twists,
"Why such ado about a law-divorce?
Men's lives are bad, and would you have them worse?
Such Antinomian stuff, with laboured toil,
Would human beauty's native lustre spoil.
What wickedness beneath the cov'ring lurks,
That lewdly would divorce us all from works!
Why such a stir about the law and grace?
We know that merit cannot now take place;
And what needs more?" Well, to let slander drop,
Be merit for a little here the scope.
Ah! many learn to lisp in gospel-terms,
Who yet embrace the law with legal arms.
By wholesome education some are taught
To own that human merit now is naught;
Who faintly but renounce proud merit's name,
And cleave refinedly to the popish scheme.
For graceful works expecting divine bliss,
And, when they fail, trust Christ for what's amiss,
Thus to his righteousness profess to flee,
Yet by it still would their own saviours be.
They seem to works of merit bloody foes,
Yet seek salvation as it were(1) by those.
Blind Gentiles found, who did not seek nor know:
But Israel lost it whole, who sought it so.
Let all that love to wear the legal dress,
Know that as sin, so bastard righteousness
Has slain its thousands, who in tow'ring pride
The righteousness of Jesus Christ deride;
A robe divinely wrought, divinely won,
Yet cast by men for robes that are their own.
By some to legal works seem whole denied,
Yet would by gospel-works be justified,
By faith, repentance, love, and other such:
These dreamers being righteous over much
Like Uzzah, give the ark a wrongful touch.
By legal deeds, however gospelized,
Can e'er tremendous justice be appeased,
Or sinners justified before that God,
Whose law is perfect, and exceeding broad?
Nay, faith itself, that leading gospel-grace,
Holds as a work no justifying place.
Just Heaven to man for righteousness imputes
Not faith itself, or in its acts or fruits;
But Jesus' meritorious life and death,
Faith's proper object all the honour hath.
From this doth faith derive its glorious fame,
Its great renown and justifying name;
Receiving all things, but deserving nought;
By faith all's begg'd and taken, nothing bought.
Its highest name is from the wedding vote,
So instrumental in the marriage knot.
JEHOVAH leads the bride in that blest hour,
Th' exceeding greatness of his mighty power;(2)
Which sweetly does her heart-consent command,
To reach the wealthy Prince her naked hand.
For close to his embrace she'd never stir,
If first his loving arms embraced not her:
But this he does by kindly gradual chase,
Of rousing, raising, teaching, drawing grace,
He shows her, in his sweetest love address,
His glory as the Sun of righteousness;
At which all dying glories earth adorn,
Shrink like the sick moon at the wholesome morn.
This glorious Sun arising with a grace,
Dark shades of creature-righteousness to chase,
Faith now disclaims itself, and all the train
Of virtues formerly accounted gain;
And counts them dung,(3) with holy, meek disdain.
For now appears the height, the depth immense
Of divine bounty and benevolence;
Amazing mercy! ignorant of bounds!
Which most enlarged faculties confounds.
How vain, how void now seem the vulgar charms,
The monarch's pomp of courts, and pride of arms--
The boasted beauties of the human kind,
The powers of body and the gifts of mind!
Lo! in teh grandeur of Immanuel's train,
All's swallowed up as rivers in the main.
He's seen, when gospel light and sight is given
Encompassed round with all the pomp of heaven.
The soul, now taught of God, sees human schools
Make Christless rabbis only literate fools;
And that, till divine teaching powerful draw,
No learning will divorce them from the law.
Mere argument may clear the head, and force
A verbal, not a cordial, clean divorce.
Hence many, taught the wholesome terms of art,
Have gospel heads, but still a legal heart.
Till sovereign grace and power the sinner catch,
He takes not Jesus for his only match.
Nay, works compete! ah! true, however odd,
Dead works are rivals with the living God.
Till heaven's preventing mercy clear the sight,
Confound the pride with supernat'ral light:
No haughty soul of human kind is brought
To mortify her self-exalting thought.
Yet holiest creatures in clay-tents that lodge,
Be but their lives scanned by the dreadful Judge;
How shall they e'er his awful search endure,
Before whose purest eyes heaven is not pure?
How must their black indictment be enlarged,
When by him angels are with folly charged?
What human worth shall stand, when he shall scan?
O may his glory stain the pride of man.
How pond'rous are the tracks of divine grace!
How searchless are his ways, how vast th' abyss!
Let haughty reason stoop, and fear to leap;
Angelic plummets cannot sound the deep.
With scorn he turns his eyes from haughty kings,
With pleasure looks on low and worthless things;
Deep are his judgments, sovereign is his will,
Let every mortal worm be dumb, be still.
In vain proud reason swells beyond its bound;
God and his counsels are a gulf profound,
An ocean wherein all our thoughts are drowned.

(1) Rom. ix. 32.
(2) Eph. i. 19.
(3) Phil. iii. 7, 8.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

John Colquhoun on the Law and the Gospel

"The law and the gospel are the principal parts of divine revelation; or rather they are the center, sum, and substance of all the other parts of it. Every passage of sacred Scripture is either law or gospel, or is capable of being referred either to one or to the other... If then a man cannot distinguish aright between the law and the gospel, he cannot rightly understand so much as a single article of divine truth. If he does not have spiritual and just apprehensions of the holy law, he cannot have spiritual and transforming discoveries of the glorious gospel; and, on the other hand, if his view of the gospel is erroneous, his notions of the law cannot be right." - John Colquhoun (1748-1827)

John Colquhoun was a minister in the Church of Scotland whose sermons and writings reflect those of the Marrow brethren of the Secession church.

Law or Gospel?

The sum of the entire Bible can be wrapped up in two categories:
1) Law
2) Gospel

The Law tells us how we are to live. It gives us God's perfect standard. It is a bar set so high that no one can attain unto it. The Law is good. The Law is perfect. The Law condemns all those who can't keep it.

The Law is neatly packaged in the Ten Commandments.

1 - You shall have no other gods before Me.
2 - You shall not make for yourself a graven image.
3 - You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.
4 - Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.
5 - Honor your father and your mother.
6 - You shall not kill.
7 - You shall not committ adultery.
8 - You shall not steal.
9 - You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
10 - You shall not covet.

How are you doing in keeping these ten "simple" commandments? I can tell you that I've broke all 10. And in case you're wondering about #6 and #7, Christ has this to say:

Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.
(Mat 5:21-22 KJV)

...and...

But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.
(Mat 5:28 KJV)

So then, we find the Law throughout the scripture. We hear the Law week after week in many of our churches. Anytime you hear, "You need to..." or "You should..." or "God commands you to..." you are hearing Law.

I submit to you that every sermon is either Law, or it is Gospel, or possibly a mixture of both.

So, what is the Gospel all about?

The Gospel is all about Christ. Every sermon you hear; every spiritual thing you read; every fruit you bear must declare the Gospel, or else it is good for nothing. Why is this so vital?

Because the Gospel is simply this: Christ has fulfilled, in your place, that which you are required to do by the Law. As I mentioned earlier, I have broken all of the Ten Commandments. Yet, I stand counted as righteous in God's eyes. Why? Because Christ has paid my penalty.

You who would be teachers, what is your heart's desire to teach?

Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned: From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling; Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm.
(1Ti 1:5-7 KJV)

Or would you rather teach as did the Apostle Paul?

According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust. And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry;
(1Ti 1:11-12 KJV)

Jeff Pollard recently gave an excellent message on The Glorious Gospel. In it, he gives five reasons why the Gospel is glorious. To find out what they are, listen here.




Sunday, June 14, 2009

Richard Baxter on Teaching

I am currently reading through Richard Baxter's The Reformed Pastor. There has been discussion amongst my friends of late on whether there is need for additional teaching beyond the normal Lord's Day morning message. Certainly Baxter agrees that there is. He lists four categories of believers to whom a pastor must teach.

They are:
1) Those who are young and weak.
2) Those who labour under some particular corruption.
3) Those who are declining, or backsliding Christians.
4) Those Christians who are strong.

So, you see that whichever place you are in your Christian walk, you need to be built up with the teaching of the Word.

In today's post I'm going to give you his reasoning for that first group of Christians, Those who are young and weak. I'd love to give them all to you, and perhaps I will in a future post. But there's enough content to chew on and ponder here that should make Baxter's point very clear.

From The Reformed Pastor pages 97-98:
There are many of our flock that are young and weak, who, though they are of long standing, are yet of small proficiency or strength. This, indeed, is the most common condition of the godly. Most of them content themselves with low degrees of grace, and it is no easy matter to get them higher. To bring them to higher and stricter opinions is easy, that is, to bring them from the truth into error, on the right hand as well as on the left; but to increase their knowledge and gifts is not easy, and to increase their graces is the hardest of all. It is a very sad thing for Christians to be weak: it exposeth us to dangers; it abateth our consolations and delight in God, and taketh off the sweetness of wisdom's ways; it maketh us less serviceable to God and man, to bring less honour to our Master, and to do less good to all about us. We get small benefit in the use of the means of grace. We too easily play with the serpent's baits, and are ensnared by his wiles. A seducer will easily shake us, and evil may be made to appear to us as good, truth as falsehood, sin as duty; and so on the contrary. We are less able to resist and stand in an encounter; we sooner fall; we hardlier rise; and are apter to prove a scandal and reproach to our profession. We less know ourselves, and are more apt to be mistaken as to our own estate, not observing corruptions when they have got advantage of us. We are dishonourable to the gospel by our very weakness, and little useful to any about us. In a word, though we live to less profit to ourselves or others, yet are we unwilling and too unready to die.

Now, seeing the case of weakness in the converted is so sad, how diligent should we be to cherish and increase their grace! The strength of Christians is the honour of the Church. When they are inflamed with the love of God, and live by a lively working faith, and set light by the profits and honours of the world, and love one another with a pure heart fervently, and can bear and heartily forgive a worng, and suffer joyfully for the cause of Christ, and study to do good, and welk inoffensively and harmlessly in the world, are ready to be servants to all men for their good, becoming all things to all men in order to to win them to Christ, and yet abstaining from the appearance of evil, and seasoning all their actions with a sweet mixture of prudence, humility, zeal, and heavenly mindedness -- oh, what an honour are such to their profession! What an ornament to the Church; and how serviceable to God and man! Men would sooner believe that the gospel is from heaven, if they saw more such effects of it upon the hearts and lives of those who profess it. The world is better able to read the nature of religion in a man's life than in the Bible. 'They that obey not the word, may be won by the conversation' of such as are thus eminent for godliness. It is, therefore, a most important part of our work, to labour more in the polishing and perfecting of the saints, that they may be strong in the Lord, and fitted for their Master's service.


The Importance of Gospel for Believers

This is Stephen Gambill. He is a loved brother in Nashville, and the teaching pastor at Reformed Baptist Church of Nashville. We attended there for about 6 months before we moved. In this video clip, he hits the nail right on the head as to what I've been encouraging people with lately. Fellow Christian, you need the Gospel, week after week after week. Pastors, elders, teachers, preach the Gospel. That is Christ's mandate to His undershepherds. Feed His sheep. Give them the Gospel.


Thursday, June 11, 2009

Preaching the Gospel to the De-churched

The men in our church have a weekly conference call on Wednesday mornings. One of the men asked the question, "Who are the modern day Richard Baxters or John Gills?"

I heard an awesome message today from quite possibly a modern day Richard Baxter. Matt Chandler, speaking at the Advance 09 Conference gave a powerful admonition to pastors to preach the Gospel and to regain their first love. His message is similar to a point I made recently. All preaching should ultimately bring in the message of Christ and Him Crucified.

Here's the link. Listen if you dare.

The Reformed Pastor by Richard Baxter

I CONFESS, THAT MAN SHALL NEVER HAVE MY CONSENT TO HAVE THE CHARGE OF OTHER MEN'S SOULS, AND TO OVERSEE THEM IN ORDER TO THEIR SALVATION, THAT TAKES NOT HEED TO HIMSELF, BUT IS CARELESS OF HIS OWN, except it were in case of absolute necessity, that no better could be had.
- Richard Baxter The Reformed Pastor p. 82 (emphasis his)

In our church we are in the process of evaluating candidates for elders. I am praying concerning whether to pursue this or not if I am nominated for it. To get an idea for the qualifications of eldership, both for personal introspection, as well as consideration of my other brothers for this very important responsibility, I am currently reading Richard Baxter's The Reformed Pastor.

I am not quite half way through this book, and I've been blown away at the convicting nature of it. There are only three long chapters in this book, made up of many "sections." The whole first chapter is dedicated to "The Oversight of Ourselves."

My first inclination is to react with, "Why do I need this? After all, I know I am saved." Well then, am I really? Do my fruits show it? After reading this I would wonder about my own soul if I were not moved to conviction on the things that he brought up. The care and discipleship of the congregation can only come after a pastor examines his own heart and maintains a humble and pentinent attitude.

I recommend this book for anyone who is considering eldership, or anyone who is forming expectations of future elders and has a say in who they will be. Click on the image below to be directed to where you can order it.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Baby's Blood

"You have baby's blood." That's what the Oklahoma Blood Institute told me yesterday when I gave blood. I just looked at the lady puzzled. She explained that since I am O- and CMV negative that my type of blood is in great demand for giving to babies. CMV is a virus that about 50% of the population carry, but they never know they have it. It doesn't usually cause problems for adults, but for babies whose immune systems are weak, it could be hazardous.

Now, I suppose I can trust what they are telling me, but I'm also a little suspicious! Have they been reading my blog? The point is that they really know how to "push my buttons." Whereas before I gave blood because I thought it was the right thing to do, now I have a renewed zeal knowing that my blood may save the lives of babies. How I could I, as a dyed in the wool pro-lifer, resist doing something that could save babies' lives?

So, here's a big "howdy" to all you Oklahoma Blood Institute employees who are reading my blog! See you in 112 days. (I donate double red blood cells. Whole blood donations can be done every 56 days.)

Here's a link to their website: http://www.obi.org

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Homeschooling Group Buys

I have found a good resource for getting group discounts on homeschooling curriculum. I have recently purchased driversed.com at a 40% discount. If you are a homeschooling family you should check it out. It costs nothing to join, and there are many discounts on many different types of curriculum.

Click on the graphic to link to their site:


Homeschool Buyers Co-op

Monday, June 01, 2009

Thou Shalt Not Kill

Thou shalt not kill.
(Deu 5:17)


Last night after family worship I looked at my email on my Blackberry and learned some shocking news. Late term abortionist George Tiller had been shot and killed yesterday during his church service.

We don't have a TV, and we didn't listen to the radio at all yesterday, so it's likely that you heard about this sooner than I did.

For those unfamiliar with the abortion debate you may be unfamiliar with George Tiller. He was, by far, the most ruthless, blood thirsty, and money hungry abortionist I had ever read or heard about. He performed gruesome "partial-birth" abortions. Indeed, he was one of a very few in the country willing to kill children in this manner.

Yet, in all of this, I must decry his killing. It is not given unto man, as individuals, to carry out justice. As sinful as he was, George Tiller was made in the image of God. Our responsibility was to pray for his soul. I am convinced that he is burning in hell right now, and that saddens me greatly. The torments of hell are too much to wish upon even our greatest enemy. How much better would it have been for George Tiller to have joined the ranks of other abortion "turncoats" like Dr. Benard Nathanson, Carol Everett, and Norma McCorvey?

Pray for the Tiller family. Pray for our country. Pray that the liberals will not be allowed to use the actions of a crazed mad man to paint pro-lifers as "violent." The man who shot Tiller was not "pro-life" at all. I join with my brothers and sisters fighting this great abortion holocaust in declaring that:

...we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
(Eph 6:12)


God help us.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Vision Forum Coupon

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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Deadly Medicine

A couple of weeks ago I visited the Oklahoma City Science Museum and viewed a traveling exhibit they have entitled, Deadly Medicine. It is all about eugenics. For lack of a better term eugenics could be described as a science, though it’s a sinister idea that seems undeserving of the title of science. Basically, eugenics involves the process of creating a “master race” by encouraging many children among the desired race of people and discouraging and even killing the offspring of undesirables. Who are the undesirables you may ask? Well, that’s entirely at the whim of the leader making the decisions.

A huge focus of this particular exhibit was the Nazi regime. Hitler’s policies were on display. It was very saddening, but quite interesting to read about all the steps he took to produce genetically flawless Germans. There were rules concerning who was allowed to marry who based solely on the heritage of the individuals. A German certainly could not marry a full blood Jew. He was disallowed from marrying a half Jew. If I remember correctly, a German could only marry if they could prove full German blood for four generations previous. Even someone with only partial Jewish blood could not marry a full blood Jew. For those families who could prove their German heritage, mothers were given medals when they bore a particular number of children. I saw a picture of a proud German grandmother showing her golden medal that symbolized her birth of twelve or more children.

There was a huge push to eliminate any genetic disability. Those with mental disabilities were labeled as “feeble minded” and either forcibly sterilized or simply killed. The exhibit made a brief mention of eugenics right here in the borders of America. The famous Supreme Court decision Buck v. Bell was exposed as an American eugenics policy whereby the mentally disabled could be forcibly sterilized against their will. Speaking for the majority, Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes declared,

“It is better for all the world, if instead of waiting to execute degenerate offspring for crime or to let them starve for their imbecility, society can prevent those who are manifestly unfit from continuing their kind… Three generations of imbeciles are enough.”

Carrie Buck was the first person to be forcibly sterilized in the United States under this decision. Eugenics was also the reason for laws passed that forbad interracial marriage. The exhibit mentioned Virginia’s law against this passed in 1927.

For those who’ve never been exposed to this type of information, this exhibit was a huge eye opener. Yet, the real missing link in this exhibit was the link between abortion and eugenics. Dr. Josef Mengele was the most active of the SS doctors at Auschwitz. Mengele routinely conducted experiments on humans. After the war, Josef Mengele practiced medicine in Buenos Aires in the 1950’s. He had a reputation as a specialist in abortions, which were illegal at the time.
Not all former Nazi doctors set up shop outside the borders of the United States. Villis Kruze was a former SS officer who, after the war, worked as an abortionist for Kaiser Permenente in Ohio and Hawaii.

One thing that the exhibit did not mention was that abortion was legalized in Germany in 1933 under the Third Reich. There were approximately 500,000 abortions annually in a country of 60 to 70 million people. In Nazi Germany, the “health of the mother” could refer to racial “health.” By definition, a Jewish or black mother was considered racially “unhealthy.” This is very interesting as "health of the mother" is favored loophole used today to try and detooth any pro-life legislation.

The biggest of all omissions in this exhibit, however, was the deafening silence in exposing the mother of the American eugenics movement, Margaret Sanger. How you can devote a museum exhibit to eugenics and not bring up Sanger’s name is beyond me. I can think of only two possible reasons for this.

1) This was an exhibit set up by the National Holocaust Museum, and Sanger’s eugenic bent targeted not only Jews, but Southern Europeans, Slavs, Latins, Blacks, Hispanics, Fundamentalists, and Catholics. Basically she was an equal opportunity eugenicist. Every non-Aryan – Red or Yellow, Black or White, all were noxious in her sight.

2) Perhaps the biggest reason that Sanger’s history was not included is that the modern mammoth organization that she formed holds tremendous political power. Planned Parenthood is an international “charitable” organization. There’s a tremendous financial incentive to keep under wraps the racist intentions of their founder, and the racist policies that they continue to advance today.

Margaret Sanger unashamedly called for the elimination of “human weeds,” for the “cessation of charity,” for the segregation of “morons, misfits, and the maladjusted” and for the sterilization of “genetically inferior races.” (Margaret Sanger, The Pivot of Civilization (New York: Brentano’s, 1922), p. 101.)

Sanger had a particular hatred for blacks. In 1939, she designed a “Negro Project” in which she proposed the following:

“The mass of Negroes, particularly in the South, still breed carelessly and disastrously, with the result that the increase among Negroes, even more than among Whites, is from that portion of the population least intelligent and fit.” (Madeline Gray, Margaret Sanger: A Biography (New York: Marek, 1979), p. 332)

Her solution , according to the same reference source, was to hire three or four:
“Colored Ministers, preferably with social service backgrounds, and with engaging personalities” to travel to various African-American enclaves and propagandize for birth control.

Commenting on this approach, she reasoned:
“The most successful educational approach to the Negro is through a religious appeal. We do not want word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population and the Minister is the man who can straighten out that idea if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members.”
Sanger’s agenda against African Americans did not die with her. The worldwide organization she established, Planned Parenthood, continues to promote her racist agenda. Today 78% of Planned Parenthood clinics are in minority communities. Blacks make up 12% of the population, but account for 35% of all the abortions in America.

It is vital that we expose Margaret Sanger for who she was, and Planned Parenthood for the evils they continue to employ today. For more information check the sources I have provided in the footnotes above and in the references I have listed below.

References:
http://www.blackgenocide.org/
http://www.blackgenocide.com/
Grand Illusions: The Legacy of Planned Parenthood by George Grant, Highland Books, Fourth edition 2000

Friday, May 22, 2009

Inflation: Happy Days Ahead?

Check out this 10 minute movie clip from 1933 touting the "Don't worry, be happy" message that inflation is good for you.

Think back...1933...when did the Great Depression actually end? I believe that would be around 1941 or so, when the U.S. entered World War II.

Put this movie in color, add two more stars to the flag, update the automotive plant to be churning out mandated 42 mpg cars, and stick Obama's picture on top of Roosevelt's, and I think you'll here the sales pitch they're trying to give us now.

Enjoy...and remember "Happy Days are Here Again..."

Thursday, May 14, 2009

GOSPEL SONNETS – Chapter 3 – Section 5

Gospel Sonnets
By Ralph Erskine
Chapter 3

SECTION V. – Gospel-grace giving no liberty nor freedom to sin, but to holy service and pure obedience.

THE glorious husband’s love can’t lead the wife
To whoredom or licentiousness of life:
Nay, nay; she finds his warmest love within
The hottest fire to melt her heart for sin.
His kind embrace is still the strongest cord
To bind her to the service of her Lord.
The more her faith insures this love of his,
The more his law her delectation is.
Some dream, they might, who his assurance win,
Take latitude and liberty to sin.
Ah! such bewray their ignorance, and prove
They want the lively sense of drawing love;
And how its sweet constraining force can move.
The ark of grace came never into dwell,
But Dagon-lusts before it headlong fell
Men basely can unto lasciviousness
Abuse the doctrine, not the work of grace.
Huggers of divine love in vice’s path,
Have but the fancy of it, not the faith.
They never soared aloft on grace’s wing,
They knew not grace to be a holy thing:
When pregnant she the powers of hell appals,
And sin’s dominion in the ruin falls.
Cursed is the crew whose Antinomian dress
Makes grace a cover to their idleness.
The bride of Christ will sure be very loth
To make his love a pillow for her sloth.
Why may’nt she sin the more that grace abounds?
Oh, God forbid! the very thought confounds.
When dead unto the law, she’s dead to sin;
How can she any longer live therein? (1)
To neither of them is she now a slave,
But shares the conquest of the great, the brave,
The mighty General, her victorious Head,
Who broke the double chain to free the bride.
Hence, prompted now with gratitude and love,
Her cheerful feet in swift obedience move.
More strong the cords of love to duty draw,
Than hell, and all the curses of the law.
When with seraphic love the breast’s inspired,
By that are all the other graces fired;
These kindling round, the burning heart and frame,
In life and walk send forth a holy flame.

(1) Rom. vi. 1, 2.

"Public" Schools

The following is an excerpt from a thought out response to a lady who challenged me, "by name" on an internet e-mail list I participate in. While slightly "off-topic" from the purpose of the list, the lady had challenged my disapproval of government schools. As she named me by name, I assumed the moderator would have let me offer the rebuttal. Unfortunately, the post was axed. But so as not to go to the trouble writing something that will never be seen, I offer the following exerpt, with all the identifying information removed, for your perusal. To set the scene, she opined that public schools are not all bad, because she's seen real live Christian kids who are doing well there, including her own. Here is my response.


-----------------
Experience is a fickle standard by which we make our decisions. For every child who exemplifies a Christian walk in the government schools, you can count five who are just the way I described. Now, the standard line I've heard is that parents want to send their children to these places so they can be a "light" or a good witness. I must make all my decisions, where possible, based on the standard of the Word of God. I Cor. 15:33 reads:


Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.(1Co 15:33)


Other translations render this as "bad company corrupts good morals."


No, not every child that attends government schools is going to conform to the baggy pants, gothic style, head banger image that seems to be growing more prevalent. More and more may be coming out as clean cut, smooth talking, athletic, and charismatic types (such as our current U.S. President) who have bought the establishment line, hook, line, and sinker.


The fact remains that even a solid, Christian adult would have a hard time keeping a renewed mind if he were fed the new age, earth worship, diversity, "all religions equal" dogma that is crammed down the throats of innocent children 8 hours every single day.


Our own American Caesar, Abraham Lincoln, once said, "The philosophy of the schoolroom in one generation will be the philosophy of government in the next." How right he was, as we now see our state governments one by one passing sodomite "marriage" bills. How could this be avoided when millions of school children are taught that homosexuality is equal to heterosexuality? And to bring this subject back to the focus of this list in particular, the whole anti-child mindset is implanted in the minds of our children in a pro-feminism, anti-life agenda that has been prominent every since the 1920's and the establishment of the eugenic organization known as Planned Parenthood (which is now welcomed in many high schools).


>>>>
Please allow the same respect to children that attend public school. Some families do very well at homeshcool (sic) and some do not, the same can be said of public school families.
>>>>


It is not a matter of whether I respect them or not. Actually the children rarely have a say in whether they are homeschooled or not. The fact of the matter remains that in our homeschool, I love the "socialization" that it offers. I know for sure that every child in our school is under the same love and care as everyone else...for they are all brothers and sisters. I know for a fact that my children do not need to live in fear of one of their classmates pulling a"Columbine" stunt.

>>>>
My husband and I have prayed about homeschool many times and God has never once led us there.
>>>>
My question to you is this: How would you know if God were leading you there? In fact, how do you know that God has led you to government schooling? Is He neutral on the subject? God speaks to us through His Word (Hebrews, chapter 1). The Word of God declares:

And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.(Deu 6:6-7)

I would be interested in reading a similar passage that instructs parents to delegate the instruction of their children to someone else. I can't seem to find that one.

Certainly as a godly wife, you must follow your husband's lead on this. I would urge him to know that Deut. 6 is directed at *fathers*and he will give account to Father God regarding to whom he delegated the authority to teach the nine precious souls that God entrusted to his care. As for me and my house, I teach whatever I can myself and delegate much to my loving helpmeet, who is the only one I trust with such an important task.