Tag Archives: spirituality

The Kind of Christian I Am!


 

RECIPE FOR SPIRITUALITY

 

By – William Andrew Dillard

 

Among those who are dedicated followers of Christ Jesus, even extending to those who might be classified as nominal Christians, there is a common desire oft expressed and somewhat diligently sought. It is to be a truly spiritual disciple. Accordingly, men turn to the devices of flesh in the pursuit of greater levels of spirituality. Those things do indeed generate a considerable amount of religious activity: greater offerings, more determination to wear a clean mind and abandon common carnal thinking and doing. Many such activities may be commendable, but it is also possible that in spite of some laudable activity, spirituality is being sought in all the wrong places.
Are you thinking with me about this?
God’s people should be aware of a certain passage of scripture, and they should put its suggested activity into action. I refer to I Corinthians 14:12, “Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church.” What a marvelously simple, but profound idea. Look at it more closely:
1. “Zealous” means to be boiling hot as in an obsessive pursuit.
2. “Spiritual gifts” means the possession of recognized spirituality so bestowed by the Lord.
3. “Seek” means to earnestly diligently search.
4. “Excel” means to do excellently, far above the average.
5. “Edify” means to build up, to enhance reputation.
6. “Church” means the saved, baptized, called out assembly of the Lord Jesus Christ.
With an understanding of the meaning of the terms of this precious verse of scripture, we may restate it in amplified terms in the following manner: “Even so ye (you, plural) are boiling hot in desire and pursuit of spiritual gifts that you and others identify as coming from God, earnestly, diligently search out ways and means to do much more than the average disciple to build up the reputation of the called out assembly of Jesus (the church) as a spiritual institution in the community.” What a wonderful, practical way our Lord has chosen to elevate one’s spirituality. Every church member ought to be so engaged. I believe this to the core of my soul because that is the kind of Christian I am!

 

 

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Discerning Signs


 

He answered and said unto them, When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red. And in the morning, It will be foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowring. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?” (Matthew 16:2, 3).

 

Trivial Pursuit was a popular game 20 years ago. To win that game you had to know a lot of unimportant and relatively insignificant facts about history, literature, science and a few other categories. Amazingly, the one with the greatest grasp of the most irrelevant facts was considered the smartest.

 

The Pharisees of old, and some religious leaders today, similarly miss the point by amassing great knowledge of the irrelevant while ignoring the important. Jesus said the Pharisees and Saducees could discern signs of weather but did not have a clue to the signs of the times.

 

Lyrics from a popular song in the 60’s are true: “The signs of the times are everywhere.” In all of history, if there was ever a time to be biblical and discerning of human events, it is today. This is the day to study Daniel, Revelation, Ezekiel, Zechariah, 2 Thessalonians and 2 Peter.  I am not talking about setting dates but about discerning the signs of the times.

 

Don’t exalt the trivial and miss the imperative. Seek to be discerning in our times.

 

LarryClements@BogardPress.org

 

 

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141 — May 21- This Day in Baptist History Past


 

A Good Man with a Good Testimony

 

 1st Meeting House

 

They accepted (exemptions) in prosperity, what their Baptist forebears refused under persecution

 

Elisha Callender was as it is written of Enoch: “. . . . he had this testimony, that he pleased God”

 

The Baptist Church in Boston built a new church edifice in 1680, and in 1683 John Emblem from England became their pastor; after serving them for fifteen years, he died in 1699, when Ellis Callender succeeded him. He was followed by Elisha Callender and Jeremiah Condy, until Samuel Stillman took charge in I665. By the time that the second Callender became pastor, the spirituality of the Baptists had so commended them to the respect of the better portion of the community that the three principal clergymen in Boston, Increase Mather, Cotton Mather and John Webb, not only consented to be present at his ordination, but Mr. Mather most cheerfully preached the ordination sermon, May 21st, 1718.

 

And what was as noble as it was remarkable, he had the manliness to select as his subject, ‘Good Men United!’ In the face of the whole colony he condemned ‘the wretched notion of wholesale severities’ These he called ‘cruel wrath,’ and said roundly: ‘New England also has, in some former times, done something of this aspect, which would not now be so well approved of, in which, if the brethren in whose house we are now convened met with any thing too unbrotherly, they now with satisfaction hear us expressing our dislike of every thing that has looked like persecution in the days that have passed over us.

 

Spiritual prosperity attended Callender’s ministry as pastor of the church in Boston. Scarcely did a month pass without some professions of faith. In his twentieth year of ministry, he was cut down by death.

 

In 1729, because of the testimony of men like Elisha Callender, that the bitterness of the General Court of Massachusetts was so far relaxed against Baptists as to exempt them from paying the parish ministerial taxes if they alleged a scruple of conscience in the matter.

 

Dr. Dale R. Hart: Adapted from:  This Day in Baptist History Vol. I. (E. Wayne Thompson and David L. Cummins) pp. 207-208

 

                                                              

 

 

 

 

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GOD GIVE ME JOY


God give me joy in the common things:

In the dawn that lures, the eve that sings.

 

In the new grass sparkling after rain,

In the late wind’s wild and weird refrain;

 

In the springtime’s spacious field of gold

In the precious light by winter doled.

 

God give me joy in the love of friends,

In their dear home talk as summer ends;

 

In the songs of children, unrestrained;

In the sober wisdom age has gained.

 

God give me joy in the tasks that press,

In the memories that burn and bless;

 

In the thought that life has love to spend,

In the faith that God’s at journey’s end.

 

God give me hope for each day that springs,

God give me joy in the common things!

 

Thomas Curtis Clark

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J.R. GRAVES Life, Times and Teachings 8


CHANGE IN HIS LIFE PURPOSE

Hitherto, his life was what may be termed undefined. His purpose was to make a living, improve his mind, and support his mother; but there comes a period in every man’s history which affects the course and color of its life-stream. The current rushes on headlong until some obstruction, some opening, some opposition meets it. It dashes over the rocks or flows around them and becomes a brilliant cascade or quiet rivulet, perchance a stagnant pool; or with gathered accession and impetus, a widely sweeping current. It is an epoch – a crisis – in the individual’s It may be ambition or love or business or bereavement or temptation, or the voiceless breath of God’s Spirit upon the inmost soul. Thought is awakened, the mind is directed in upon itself, and life in all its stern realities is disclosed as never before. Life is before him, a lone sea to be navigated for himself, a long voyage, and he must choose his course.

Carlyle has with facile pen described this soul crisis in his “Sartor Resartus,” but in this book is no voiceful expression from the living Word; no inspiring breath from the Holy Spirit; no smile of love from the Lord Jesus; no cloudless dawn upon the soul, wrapping the whole being in light and clothing every natural gift and power with a beauty and a radiance not of earth. God’s call to the ministry of his own blessed Word and Spirit is, indeed, a crisis whose record will endure when sun and stars have gone out. Blessed is he who has received and heard and obeyed and fulfilled that call, who has met God alone, and goes forth with a message given him.

Young Graves had met God and joyfully surrendered to him, and God gave him his life message to his own generation.

He resigned his school and returned to his mother’s home in Ohio. He gave his time to thought, to study and to prayer. For some months which he said were the happiest of his life and the most important, he studied for the ministry, “making the Bible the man of his counsel and Paul his instructor in theology and logic.”

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J.R. GRAVES Life, Times, and Teachings 5


HIS HOME LIFE

Young Graves, as has been said, was left fatherless in his infancy, being the youngest of three children. A mother of energy, piety, and integrity, with an unswerving faith, gave character to the boy. At the age of fifteen the light dawned upon his inmost soul and disclosed to him his guilt and helplessness. His conviction was deep, his struggle was intense, and his surrender and trust in the atoning work of Christ was full and complete and joyful. He was baptized and joined the North Springfield Baptist Church, Vermont.

He had to make his own way and earn his own living from his early youth. Perceiving that it was impossible for him to take a college course, he began teaching. He was then but eighteen years of age, an age when boys are usually undecided as to their future and in need of paternal direction and support, but this fatherless youth struck out for himself and, with the aid of an older brother, Z.C. Graves, supported his mother and gained character as a promising school teacher.

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The Pastor’s Son


Every Sunday afternoon, after the morning service at the church, the
Pastor and his eleven year old son would go out into their town and hand out
Gospel Tracts.

This particular Sunday afternoon, as it came time for the Pastor and
his son to go to the streets with their tracts, it was very cold outside, as
well as pouring rain.

The boy bundled up in his warmest and driest clothes and said, ‘OK,
dad, I’m ready.’

His Pastor dad asked, ‘Ready for what?’

‘Dad, it’s time we gather our tracts together and go out.’

Dad responds, ‘Son, it’s very cold outside and it’s pouring rain.’

The boy gives his dad a surprised look, asking, ‘But Dad, aren’t
people still going to Hell, even though it’s raining?’

Dad answers, ‘Son, I am not going out in this weather.’

Despondently, the boy asks, ‘Dad, can I go? Please?’

His father hesitated for a moment then said, ‘Son, you can go. Here
are the tracts, be careful son..’

‘Thanks Dad!’

And with that, he was off and out into the rain.. This eleven year
old boy walked the streets of the town going door to door and handing
everybody he met in the street a Gospel Tract .

After two hours of walking in the rain, he was soaking, bone-chilled
wet and down to his VERY LAST TRACT. He stopped on a corner and looked for
someone to hand a tract to, but the streets were totally deserted.

Then he turned toward the first home he saw and started up the
sidewalk to the front door and rang the doorbell. He rang the bell, but
nobody answered.

He rang it again and again, but still no one answered. He waited but
still no answer.

Finally, this eleven year old trooper turned to leave, but something
stopped him.

Again, he turned to the door and rang the bell and knocked loudly on
the door with his fist. He waited, something holding him there on the front
porch!

He rang again and this time the door slowly opened.

Standing in the doorway was a very sad-looking elderly lady. She
softly asked, ‘What can I do for you, son?’ With radiant eyes and a smile
that lit up her world, this little boy said, ‘Ma’am, I’m sorry if I
disturbed you, but I just want to tell you that * JESUS REALLY DOES LOVE YOU
* and I came to give you my very last Gospel Tract which will tell you all
about JESUS and His great LOVE.’

With that, he handed her his last tract and turned to leave.

She called to him as he departed. ‘Thank you, son! And God Bless
You!’

Well, the following Sunday morning in church Pastor Dad was in the
pulpit.  As the service began, he asked, ‘Does anybody have testimony or
want to say anything?’

Slowly, in the back row of the church, an elderly lady stood to her
feet.

As she began to speak, a look of glorious radiance came from her
face, ‘No one in this church knows me. I’ve never been here before.  You
see, before last Sunday I was not a Christian. My husband passed on some
time ago, leaving me totally alone in this world. Last Sunday, being a
particularly cold and rainy day, it was even more so in my heart that I came
to the end of the line where I no longer had any hope or will to live.

So I took a rope and a chair and ascended the stairway into the
attic of my home. I fastened the rope securely to a rafter in the roof, then
stood on the chair and fastened the other end of the rope around my neck.
Standing on that chair, so lonely and broken-hearted I was about to leap
off, when suddenly the loud ringing of my doorbell downstairs startled me. I
thought, ‘I’ll wait a minute, and whoever it is will go away.’

I waited and waited, but the ringing doorbell seemed to get louder
and more insistent, and then the person ringing also started knocking
loudly…

I thought to myself again, ‘Who on earth could this be? Nobody ever
rings my bell or comes to see me.’ I loosened the rope from my neck and
started for the front door, all the while the bell rang louder and louder.

When I opened the door and looked I could hardly believe my eyes,
for there on my front porch was the most radiant and angelic little boy I
had ever seen in my life. His SMILE, oh, I could never describe it to you!

The words that came from his mouth caused my heart that had long
been dead, TO LEAP TO LIFE as he exclaimed with a cherub-like voice, ‘Ma’am,
I just came to tell you that JESUS REALLY DOES LOVE YOU .’ Then he gave me
this
Gospel Tract that I now hold in my hand..

As the little angel disappeared back out into the cold and rain, I
closed my door and read slowly every word of this Gospel Tract. Then I went
up to my attic to get my rope and chair. I wouldn’t be needing them anymore.

You see– -I am now a Happy Child of the KING. Since the address of
your church was on the back of this Gospel Tract, I have come here to
personally say THANK YOU to God’s little angel who came just in the nick of
time and by
so doing, spared my soul from an eternity in hell..’

There was not a dry eye in the church. And as shouts of praise and
honor to THE KING resounded off the very rafters of the building, Pastor Dad
descended from the pulpit to the front pew where the little angel was
seated….

He took his son in his arms and sobbed uncontrollably.

Probably no church has had a more glorious moment, and probably this
universe has never seen a Papa that was more filled with love & honor for
his son…. Except for One.

Please share this wonderful message…

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LINKED WITH HIM


When I feel still and very empty,
I try to turn my thoughts to prayer,
A little light turns on inside
And suddenly my God is there.

My doubts come from their stony places, He turns each one into a flower,
My heart gets into heaven’s gate,
I’m linked again with Him in prayer.

Marion Schoeberlein

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Blessed Peace


The greatest peace
I’ve ever known
I found in troubled times
For when I put my trust in God
He eased my troubled mind.

Dolores Karides

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THE GLOOM AND DOOM PEOPLE


Psalm 42:5 Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance.

We have many people that predict gloom and doom today. They always speak of the rush to ruin. They search for hope in history and find no hope. Through education they attempt to find and answer to the corruption and immorality that has over taken our land. They have not found any answer in civilization which they had hoped in. They cast an eye to other nations, hoping that dialogue and interaction would be the answer they were seeking but found wrecked cathedrals and destroyed homes that had been built without a solid foundation. How shallow the hopes and dreams of so many seekers in this world today. The answer is the creator of the world. God has the answer written in the Book of books. Our hope is in the creator that laid the foundation for this world. This Book says, “My soul, hope thou in God. Our hope is based on the fact that He is reigning and moving on in His eternal purposes to an end that shall be fair as a perfect day.

There may be some few years ahead. For some the prospect is dark and frightening. There will be many questions that cannot be answered about the future. Will your health hold out? Will your abilities and powers to hold a job hold out or will that day come when you can no longer provide for wife and children? When our hope is in our own selves we have a weak foundation. This world may not get better but the assurance we have is the Lord will return. We will have a new heaven and a new earth that is righteously ruled by Jesus. That is why we look to God for our Joy and Hope.

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