Monday, December 19, 2005

Wisdom for Youth Series

This is a series of teachings focused towards young men and women who live in an age of increasing godlessness and confusion. The Lord laid upon my heart these words: "Wisdom for Youth", and from that this work has come about. Drawn from the wisdom of King Solomon and his writings, these four teachings will deal with four serious issues found in the lives of 21st century young people, calling youth to live a life more like Jesus and less like the world.

Part One: Honor Thy Father and Thy Mother

The first of four messages, Honor Thy Father and Thy Mother deals with the pursuit of wisdom and the very first proverb of the wise King Solomon. Download below:

Eli Brayley - Honor Thy Father and Thy Mother
(Click the link above, then click Download, Save, then rename and place the file)

Part Two: A Highway to the Grave

Taken from Proverbs chapter 7, A Highway to the Grave covers man's battle against sin, lust and the devil. Especially directed towards young men and the sin of sexual immorality. Download the second teaching of the series below:

Eli Brayley - A Highway to the Grave
(Click the link above, then click Download, Save, then rename and place the file)

Part Three: What is Beautiful
(Coming soon)

Part Four: Bear the Yoke
(Coming soon)

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Fire on the Altar

"Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship." - Romans 12:1

That we would breath this in and let it become a part of us... that we would seize the meaning of this Scripture and let it change us forever. Read it again, meditate on it for a moment. This is the urging of Paul, the calling of the Word, the bidding of the Spirit, the footsteps of Jesus. This is the will of God for you and I: a complete sacrifice of ourselves to God, which is acceptable, which is reasonable, which is spiritual, which is true worship!

We know that what was done long ago was done as signs to us of what was to come, that the service of the Old Covenant was but a shadow of the service to come (Hebrews 8:5).

"John answered them all, saying, "I baptize you with water, but he who is mightier than I is coming, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire." - Luke 3:16

"And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit..." - Acts 2:3-4

Now where was this fire found in days of old? Where was this fire found in the desert tabernacle? How did God foretell this fire through Moses upon Mount Sinai? Can we learn anything from the Scriptures about this fire, as Paul admonished Timothy to do so (2 Timothy 3:16)?

Remember Isaac asked his father: "Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?" (Genesis 22:7) How did they know to offer a burnt offering before Moses received the Law? Did you notice this?
Even earlier than this, observe what Noah does: "And Noah built an altar unto the LORD; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar." (Genesis 8:20) He too knew to offer a burnt offering! I suspect Abel's offering was also burned in the fire.

So it is here we find the fire: upon the altar.

"And the sons of Aaron the priest shall put fire upon the altar..." - Leviticus 1:7
"Fire shall ever be burning upon the altar; it shall never go out." - Leviticus 6:13

And it is for this reason why the Church today is so lacking the fire of the Holy Spirit. We don't do Romans 12:1; we don't offer ourselves as sacrifices, let alone holy and pleasing. We may sing "I Surrender All" but the truth is we don't. Thus we are not baptized by the fire of God.

Don't let anybody deceive you. You will never be filled with the Holy Spirit until you offer your body a living and holy sacrifice upon the altar of death. The altar is a place of death, where an offering is slain and cut up into pieces and burnt until it is ashes. Nothing remains. The problem with Christians today is they remain to live another day! Do you think Paul was dead one day and alive the next? "By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?" (Romans 6:2) I believe we are taught this lie in Church because those who teach it have to justify their own existence. What this world desperately needs is men and women who are dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus, full of resurrection power and have obtained the victory the flesh! Do we claim to have resurrection power even though we have not died? One must die first to be resurrected.

I want to be burnt in the fire of God! I don't want anything of myself to remain. I want to return to the dust of the ground that God may create a new man out of me (Genesis 2:7), in the likeness of His Son and with the power of the Holy Spirit!

"I urge you, brethren..." The altar is still there, waiting... waiting for someone to jump onto it and plunge the knife into their flesh and be done with it once and for all. The fire is still burning... eager to send up to the Lord that sweet smelling savor of a soul abandoned to God.
This is why Christ died; not simply to redeem an obstinate people who remain carnal and get to go to heaven in the end, but to raise up a people for His heavenly Father, holy and pleasing to God, who worship Him in Spirit and in truth, loving not their lives unto death.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Final Exam

At the end of all this will be the final evaluation of your life. You will stand before the Lord of Heaven and of Earth, who made them and everything in them, and who gave breath to all things, and you will give an account of your life, all you did, all you thought, all you said, and so all will be exposed. The books will be opened and you will be graded, but by whom? By Jesus Christ the risen Lord: "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad." 2 Corinthians 5:10

A+ = You lived your life wholly for the glory of God, loving not your life unto death, and produced an increase of 100 times what God gave you. You are welcomed richly into the Kingdom of God, awarded the crown of life and are blessed before all the Father and His angels.

A = You produce a crop worth 60 times what was sown. You live your life mostly for God while holding on to bits of the world. You are welcomed with joy into the gates of heaven.

B = Your crop produced a 30 times increase in the world. You live your life partially for God and accomplish a number of feats for Christ, but the other half of your life is spent in the pursuit of treasure that rusts and rots. You enter heaven happy to be home.

C = You have faith in the Son of God yet do not consecrate your life to His service. You live for your own pursuits, go to church, meanfully sing and pray and take sermon notes, but during the rest of the week you are content to run your own life. You enter heaven happy to have made it, but regret wasting your life in that which does not last.

D = You enter heaven as one who escapes through the flames. You built your life on all the world has to offer and now realize you have no treasure in heaven. While some are crowned with great splendor before the Father, you are among the great masses who watch and wish you had another chance with your life.

F = You are the lukewarm, the unbelieving, the blasphemers, the workers of iniquity... you are of the children of the devil. You have no love in your heart for God, and no desire for the things of the light. You are the church-goer who is first to leave and first to get back to the garbage you were watching on television. Though you believed in God, you chose not to put your faith in Him or repent of your wickedness. The most important person in the world to you was yourself. You will forever be alone in the Lake of Fire, spending that time with the object of your affection.

Dear reader, only those who believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and put their faith and hope in that promise will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. If you want to become a child of God then follow these 3 steps:

1. Agree with God that you are a sinner and are disobedient against all His commands, and that you deserve eternal punishment for the retribution of your sins.
2. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, that God so loved you and made His Son to be the substitute punishment for your sins, and that by the blood that was shed by Jesus Christ on the cross is the only way for your sins to be forgiven.
3. Put your faith into action by repenting of your sins, meaning, turning around from the road that leads to death and walking in the other direction on the road that leads to life. Live always to walk the path of light, and repent again if you slip and fall backward.

If you did these things then you are now a child of God! Believe this, when the Bible says "If any man is in Christ Jesus he is a new creation. The old is gone, the new has come!" and live your life for the glory of God, to receive the best evaluation that you can on that great day ahead!

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Will You Fight?

I was just wanting to let you know that the Lord's army is recruiting right now, and we need some strong young lads with a tough disfigure and the courage to take on the main brunt of the devil's forces.
I've sent in my recommendations, so you can expect a call to service any time now. Of course, the decision to enlist is absolutely up to you, but I can't encourage you more highly to join. The training is tough, but the wages are superb... life and peace and ultimately in the end there is a fantastic retirement plan... plus the enjoyment of wielding a sword and dealing a death blow to demons on their own festering turf. We have the greatest of commanders, the Lord Jesus Christ, and the greatest of weapons, the power of the Holy Spirit, that no foe either in heaven or on earth can stand up against, for we've seen even the most terrifying of giants fall, and many more will follow.

I can't pretend that the work isn't dangerous, for it will ultimately cost you your life, but at the end of it all our marching song still sings:

"Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and honor and power belongs to our God, for now and forever. Amen!"

So what'll it be?

Monday, December 05, 2005

God's Word to Overcome

"Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth forever." - Psalm 119:160

I want us just to focus in on the Word of God and dwell on the gravity of this book. First of all, imagine if the Bible did not exist... if right now, there was no such thing as the Bible, you don't know about it, you do not know any verses in your memory, you cannot just pull it off the desk and read it... it does not exist. What would that mean?

If the Bible did not exist:
-you would not be a Christian right now
-you would not have known about Jesus Christ
-you would be condemned by your conscience
-you would have NO hope of salvation
-you would not know of Heaven or Hell and would be living a completely self-centered life
-yours would be a restless life, searching for meaning
-there would be no comforting verses in time of desperation
-there would be no alternative to death
-there would be no satisfaction for the soul forever

No hope, no life, no love, no joy, no peace, no Word = no Jesus.

This book, which we so often neglect, contains all our hope in a darkened world. The Bible is the foundation of our faith in Jesus Christ (Romans 10:17).

I want us to understand the importance of the Bible, and what it means to the believer, but I also want us to understand exactly what this book says, and what we believe in when we say we are Christians.

When we say we believe the Bible is the Word of God, we are saying that the Bible is the infallible Word of the Creator of the world, the one true and living God. We are saying it is perfect, inerrant, and contains all the things that God wants us to know. We are saying that every phrase in the Bible is invaluable, perfect for the teaching of the soul (2 Timothy 3:16), cannot be discarded (Proverbs 3-:5-6) and must be obeyed in every respect (Deuteronomy 13:4).

If you agree with this so far, then we enter the next stage: If the Bible is God's Word to man, what exactly does it say? But this is the scary part, because knowing what it says, we then must adhere to the truth. The Bible says clearly that this world is corrupt, evil, absent of all good, and under judgment from God:

"And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually." - Genesis 6:5 (before the flood)

And Jesus said, "And as it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man." - Luke 17:26

The Bible tells us that the world is wicked, with no fear of God, no love for the truth, and will be destroyed. It repeatedly warns us to escape the corruption of the world (this is New Testament doctrine), more specifically, to overcome the world. When we side with the Word of God, we declare:
-the world is corrupt and will pass away (1 John 2:17)
-the world and Christ are in enmity with one another (James 4:4)
-the world and it's ways are contrary to the Christian (1 John 2:15)
-Christians must overcome the world (Romans 12:21)

"To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne." Revelation 3:21

This is what we believe when we say we believe the Bible. This is good news, not bad news! Because Jesus overcame the world, we too will overcome the world (John 16:33). I pray this comes as good news to the believer! If it comes as bad news, why are you saddened that the Bible says you can overcome the world? Do you not want to overcome? Love not the world!

However, many people are dishearted because they are not overcoming the world. For people like these, the Bible challenges us and pulls us and stretches us, and says "Don't stay as you are!" "Come up, go on!" "Onward!" "You can make it!" I pray we are being challenged and not sitting comfortably in the world! Never rest in a defeated position. A Christian is not called to defeat but victory.

This is the book we believe in. It is our hope, our life, our challenge. Believe it for what it is, not for what it is not. The devil will lie and cheat and bribe and steal to make us confused as to what God is saying. Stay focused, stay clear minded, and establish your hope in the Word of God.

"Then shall I not be ashamed, when I have respect unto all thy commandments." Psalm 119:6

Friday, December 02, 2005

New England Primer

I wanted to post this; segments from the New England Primer. First printed in Boston 1690, the Primer was used as a textbook to teach children how to read and write, and was reprinted in the 18th and 19th century as early public school literature. I wanted to post this to show the terrible contrast between education then and now, to show us how far our generation has fallen from godliness and righteousness:

This gives a taste of how young people were raised about 200 years ago. No wonder our generation is so ungodly. We are being taught nothing of heaven, nothing of God. This little book is precious. Find the whole Primer here.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Let Your "Yes" be Yes

"Simply let your 'Yes' be 'Yes,' and your 'No,' 'No'; anything beyond this comes from the evil one." - Matthew 5:37

How often have we said 'yes' to Jesus?
How often have we said 'no' to ourselves?
How often have we followed through with what we have said?

Jesus made it clear that our yes and our no is enough to satisfy the binding requirement. Many Christians avoid making solemn vows before the Lord for fear of not fulfilling them, and when we so frivolously fire of promises to God in this simplified manner of 'yes' and 'no', we actually presume that our words are not binding! This is contrary to Scripture. What we say is what we mean. Do we ever wonder why God does not fulfill His Word in us when we do not fulfill our word to Him? It is for this reason that the Bible teaches us to control our tongue (James 3:2-12) and that it is the wise who are slow to utter anything except that which they are resolved. (Proverbs 15:2)

"Whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue keepeth his soul from troubles." - Proverbs 21:23

By our words we have the power to tear down and to build up, to establish our way in either truth or falsehood, and by our words we will be judged. The Bible also teaches us that out of our mouths cannot proceed both good and evil, just as a good tree cannot produce bad fruit or a fresh stream cannot pour forth salt water. He who controls his tongue is a perfect man (James 3:2).

Our Lord Jesus is kind and compassionate, gracious to forgive, however, the Lord also is gracious in warning us of the danger of an unrestrained tongue. Such a highly exalted Savior is worthy of praise! For He not only forgives our sins, but is involved in the work of sanctifying and perfecting His redeemed.

Just as He warned us on the Mount about our 'yes' and our 'no', so He leaves us another confirming and serious exhortation by the pen of His servant James:

"Above all, my brothers, do not swear - not by heaven or by earth or by anything else. Let your 'Yes' be yes, and your 'No', no, or you will be condemned." - James 5:12

Dear Heavenly Father,
I beseech You to take tight reign of my tongue;
Submitting myself to Your yoke while I'm young.
I ask for Your grace and Your patience towards me,
I ask for Your strength and Your power to free.
And if I do stumble and say what is wrong,
I'll rise once again to the fight and be strong.
I know by Your grace that this battle will be won,
By faith in Your Word, in Your Spirit, in Your Son.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

26 Day Reading Plan

I've taken it upon myself to commit to reading the entire Bible through before the New Year. Sermonindex released this 26 day reading plan for this purpose, and so I'm posting it here for anyone else who would like to spend the remaining days of 2005 in vigorous daily reading. My prayer is that the Word of God would richly dwell in us (Colossians 3:16) and change us into fiercer Christians.

"Here, then, is the real problem of our negligence. We fail in our duty to study God's Word not so much because it is difficult to understand, not so much because it is dull and boring, but because it is work. Our problem is not a lack of intelligence or a lack of passion. Our problem is that we are lazy." - R.C. Sproul

Here is the schedule: 26 Day Bible Reading Plan
Save a copy of it onto you computer.

God bless, saints, and may you be deeply blessed.

Here are some Scriptures to encourage you to Bible discipline:

Joshua 1: 6-9 - "Be strong and courageous, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give them. Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go."

Psalm 119:9-11 - "How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word. With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments! I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you."

Psalm 119:105 - "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path."

Psalm 119:162 - "I rejoice at your word like one who finds great spoil."

Proverbs 13:13 - "Whoever despises the word brings destruction on himself, but he who reveres the commandment will be rewarded."

Isaiah 55:10-11 - "For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it."

Micah 4:2 - "Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob, that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths." For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem."

Matthew 4:4 - "But he answered, "It is written, "'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.'"

John 8:31 - "So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, "If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."

John 17:17 - "Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth."

Romans 10:17 - "So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ."

Ephesians 5:25 - "...Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish."

Ephesians 6:13-17 - "Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God."

2 Timothy 3:16-17 - "All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work."

Hebrews 4:12 - "For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart."

1 John 2:14 - "...I write to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one."

Revelation 3:8,10 - "'I know your works. Behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut. I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name. Because you have kept my word about patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell on the earth."

Monday, November 14, 2005

Rest For Your Souls

"This is what the Lord says:
'Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.'" - Jeremiah 6:16

Christians must make many decisions... we make them on a daily basis. Some decisions we must make are far more important than others, and others make seemingly little difference.

Yet so often we are walking in this world full of unrest and worry, with a fair load of anxiety and troubles because of the many choices we face and the fear of making the wrong one. The people of the world are not any different. Stress reliever sales are at an all time high. Must Christians suffer the same disarray? No, we have Christ!

The Lord tells us the way to choose. He says "Stand at the crossroads..." Our orders are to stand... do not move, do not choose, do not hastily run in the way that first seems right, but first stand still. Standing still is a common theme throughout Scripture, however it does not seem to be a common theme among believers. In a world of fast paced, touch and go living, it is easy to fall victim to it's pattern. We must learn to be patient and stand still before we rush into making a decision. Our decisions will effect our future and consequently the future of others as well. By standing still we can look.

What are we looking for? Psalm 123 - "Unto Thee I lift up my eyes, O Thou that dwellest in the heavens." We look to the Lord, we look to His Word... we look to the path that the Lord has already walked in, that we to may walk that way. This is what the ancient paths are: the paths in which the Lord has walked. "...Ask where the good way is..." The good Shepherd of ours souls, He walks before us and we follow. He leads us by still waters, to green pastures. He knows the good way for us to walk, and we follow Him. "And you will find rest for your souls."

Are you facing a decisions? Stand still, look to the ancient paths, ask for the good way and walk in it. If we learn to not move until we have found the path of God, is this not rest? The rest which allows God to govern our steps and not do it ourselves. What glorious security for our souls!

Stand, look, ask.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Repent Fredericton

This sermon was birthed from a night of prayer and worship, and was preached on Saturday Nov. 5, 2005 (my 2oth birthday) at the Fredericton market. Hearken unto the Word of God, Fredericton, repent of your idols and of your hatred towards God. Christ has died for this people, will we reject such love as this?

Download here: Eli Brayley - Repent Fredericton (Open Air)

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Parable of the Sower

Here is the latest audio recording of the preaching at the Fredericton market. Get is right here: Eli Brayley - Parable of the Sower (Open Air)

This sermon was preached the morning of October 29, 2005 at the Fredericton downtown market. It deals with man's heart conditions to receiving the Word of God, and the willingness of a life to bear fruit for the Kingdom of God. What is your heart condition?

Monday, October 31, 2005

Market Thread

It's been a priviledge to be able to keep a progressive record of all that has happened since July, regarding the preaching at the Fredericton market, on Sermonindex. This thread is for the purpose of encouraging the body of believers and letting people know what is happening those mornings of preaching.

You can access the thread here:

Be blessed and if you are ever in the area, come to the market at 11:30am and join us believers as we spread the seed of God's Word to a lost world.

All for Jesus,

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Pure Religion

"He who shuts his ear to the cry of the poor will also cry himself and not be answered." - Proverbs 21:13

One night in prayer, the Lord pressed upon me this Scripture, which rather shook me at the time. I have never 'shut my ear' to the poor and have often been filled with compassion for them and done this deed here or there on their behalf, but, as the Lord Jesus so often does, He revealed to me my neglect in the caring of those less privileged, my unmoved heart and my terrible poverty in my religion (James 1:27). I immediately came under conviction for not doing more than I was able.

There is an awful promise to be considered in this passage. Do we wonder why so many of our prayers remain unanswered and our praying rendered so ineffective? Could it be that we neglect the poor and continue to lavish ourselves in North American normality? The latter part of James 1:27 reads: " keep oneself unstained from the world." In it's context, this accurately defines our sickly condition.

Let us be pricked to the heart! "For as much you do to the least of these brethren, you do to Me." (Matthew 25:40) Am I moved for Christ's sake?

Dear Lord, help me to love others as I love myself.
Let me not live selfishly by filling up on wealth.
May I see You, Jesus, in every soul I see,
May I always remember You hanging on the tree.

Monday, October 17, 2005

How to Escape Doubting Castle

(This is based upon Bunyan's immortal tale)
In the land there stands Doubting Castle, hidden beyond the eyes of the traveling pilgrims. Living inside the castle is the infamous Giant Despair, who takes great delight in the torture and humiliation of all who may be journeying to Celestial City.

So long as the pilgrims remain on the narrow and straight path they haven't anything to fear of the giant and his castle. But the trouble is that the path coincides with a lush meadow, comfortable for the feet and appealing to the eyes. The harsh conditions of the narrow path make the meadow seem even more alluring. An unseasoned pilgrim might easily persuade himself to step into the meadow, convinced the two sods lead in the same direction.

As surely as can be, when the pilgrims enter the meadow there arises a terribly dense storm, full of thick clouds and torrential rain. This makes the vision impaired and in this condition the wandering pilgrims lose sight of the narrow path. In desperation they often run hastily in the direction thought correct, but this leads them farther and farther away from the path itself. In the gross darkness of the storm, the pilgrims most assuredly miss the warning stone left by experienced pilgrims before them.

And thus many a pilgrim stumble upon the Giant Despair, who enslaves and locks them up in Doubting Castle. Despair, who is by now well-advanced in the arts of torment, will press and crush and squeeze almost every ounce of life left in the downtrodden travelers. Hopes of the Great City grow dim. Many pilgrims die in the castle, many bones lie cold and warm in the dungeon of this wicked castle.

But thanks be to our Lord Jesus Christ, whom at the cross gave every person who came that way a key of great importance called Promise. So small is this key that the Giant Despair always overlooks it in his search of their belongings. Though he takes away their weapons and armor, staffs and boots, the Giant, in the purpose of God, misses this small item. And how important it is! As long as the pilgrim forgets he has this key, he is lost and will not escape. But, as many of those trapped in the dungeon remember, they take hold of the Key called Promise and unshackle their wrists and ankles. The events that follow lead them to the outer gate of the castle (for every door in Doubting Castle can be opened, save the outer gate without waking the giant). With a deep breathe the key is turned and the giant is roused. But if the pilgrim be swift and set his face as flint to escape, he can outrun the giant and in doing so cause the felon to collapse over his own two feet! Once the giant is fallen he cannot rise again.

Those who escape Doubting Castle know never to stray from the path again. Almost every pilgrim who has come close to death in the Castle will never return to that place, and their vigor and earnest to reach the Celestial City is strengthened a sure tenfold! Though deadly indeed, the Castle provokes the travelers to diligence.

So if ye be a pilgrim; walk the straight and rocky path
Stray not from the original, nay, give no thought to that!
For if you do you'll run the risk of shackles and of shame
In Doubting Castle, wretched thought, the place of plight and pain.
He who would valiant be then take heed of this stone
And wander not, but fix your eyes on Christ and Christ alone!
And if the path be weary, sore, then lift your head to heav'n
And shout out loud: "O blessed Lord, Your Life, for me, hath given!
I'll run the faster and jump the higher to reach Thou precious Head
I'll look not to the left nor right nor back, but straight ahead."
Come onward! Push forward! You pilgrims in the flight,
To higher plains we run for Him who made our sin stains white!
And when we stand in the city bright our eyes will scare behold
Our blessed Saviour, risen Master... Jesus Christ our Lord!

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Book Recommendation: Rees Howells Intercessor

I can't more highly recommend this book. It is in every Christian's best interest to buy a copy of this and read how God took a man and transformed him into a living sacrifice. You will be challenged deeply in your inner man. God is looking for men and women who are utterly and completely dead to themselves and alive through His Son. Let the Holy Spirit speak to your heart. Read this book!

Desperately Needed: Men of God

"And what shall I more say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthah; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets: Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens." - Hebrews 11:32-34

Solomon twice said: "A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, and poverty will come upon you like a robber, and want like an armed man." (Proverbs 6:10/Proverbs 24:33) Has this unfortunate verse been fulfilled in our day? I believe what can best sum up the Church of North America is his words "a little folding of the hands to rest". Harmless it seems, yet with deadly consequences. Solomon was speaking of farmers... could we, Christians of all people, afford to ignore this spiritual warning? Shall we again read the Bible and then roll like a hinge on our beds of comfort and ease? How much longer can we safely ignore the warning signs? With much grief I say, poverty has already struck us like a robber. We are laid low in the dust!

Woe and behold! Strength has left us wretched, poor, blind and naked! Does no one see the city is in ruins? An army has already invaded us, dashed our babies on the ground, broken our teeth, scattered our loved ones... and we are so deluded we don't even know we are defeated!? How can we go to church Sunday upon Sunday and pretend all is well? There are more lost people today in the world than ever before in the history of mankind... and at the same time there is less love for God in the Church, less thought for holiness amongst men, less truth being taught to children than ever before, and more people embracing the most ungodly behavior to ever chance this side of eternity.

Christian, do you entertain yourself with violence and sex? Think about that which you are doing! Do you conform to the pattern of this world? Christian, do you die to self or 'self' yourself to death? Conformity, compromise... what about courage and character?

Dear friends, the men of old, Gideon, David, Samuel..., did not receive the promise of God, but in fact, what has been given to us (the new covenant promise) greatly exceeds anything those men ever dreamed of! "And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had provided something better for us..." (Hebrews 11:38-39) So what excuse to we have? We have been entrusted far more than Romans 1:20, and that is a frightful thought. I ask again, what excuse do we have?

We MUST have an attitude change. There is no other option. The time has come for Christians at ease in Zion to acknowledge their folly and sin, and repent, turning to God for chastising and restoring. We must repent, there is no other way. We must humble ourselves and admit that we know practically nothing of being filled with the Holy Spirit, because we know nothing at all of dying to ourselves. Death to self = being filled with the Spirit of God. It is by the Spirit of the living God that we can overcome the power of sin and the corruption of darkness in this world. The ultimate question is not whether it is possible, but whether we are willing for it to happen, which is where the difficulty lies. I fear we are no longer a willing people (Psalm 110:3).

John Wesley said: "Give me men who love nothing but God and hate nothing but sin." Rise up, men of God! Be done with lesser things. There is a battle to be won, there is a Kingdom to advance, there is a darkness to destroy...

Rise up!

Monday, October 03, 2005

What Are You Doing Out There?

An American author in the 1800's was put in jail for 'civil disobedience' because he spoke out against an injustice. A friend visited him in prison and said, "What are you doing in here?", and the author responded, "Friend, what are you doing out there?"

A timely question to ask believers: Are we Christians prepared to stand up for Jesus as the world applies more and more pressure against God and His Word, even when things get hot? Are we willing to identify with Christ in the hour of darkness or will we, like Peter, deny him before the rooster crows? The Scripture says that the night is almost over and the day is almost near... the rooster is almost about to sound the morning cry. (Romans 13:11-12)

We must, at this time, gird up the loins of our mind for action and prepare for ultimate sacrifice. The key to standing strong against the enemy is staying weak before the Lord: total dependence upon God and having no confidence in ourselves (Eph. 6:10). Peter failed because he faced that night strong in himself - Jesus had to teach him a vital lesson. Death to self NOW will prepare us for physical death LATER. Why could Stephen, the first of the Christian martyrs, stand so boldly in the face of certain death, without a concern for his own safety, and unwaveringly proclaim the gospel to his captors? He certainly could have saved his skin! ...Probably without even compromising his faith... but he was already dead. Stephen was martyred long before the stones struck him, for Stephen had already learned the secret of identification with Jesus in His death, thus the act of physically dying became a glorious testament to the glory of God!

Christians, are we prepared to suffer for Christ? "Ye have not yet resisted sin to the point of shedding of blood." (Hebrews 12:4). The discipline of God, spoken of in chapter 12 of Hebrews, breaks our self-confidence, builds our confidence in God, so putting strength in our hearts. Submitting to God's discipline today will result in divine strength tomorrow.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Thoughts on Philippians 1:27-30

“Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ…”

This is a command given by Paul for those who claim to be Christians to live in manner worthy of the gospel of Jesus Christ. What kind of a manner is worthy of the gospel of Christ? As put in Ephesians 4:2, With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love.” It is putting on the character of Jesus Christ and discarding your own.

“…Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence…”

Not only living as a Christian in the presence of others, at the church, in fellowship, and when others are watching (as if to impress them) but when alone, in solitude with nothing between you and the Lord. In the state of pure character, the Christian should live in the manner worthy of the gospel. Paul was also interested in hearing a good report from others who beheld their lives.

“…I will know that you stand firm in one spirit, contending as one man for the faith of the gospel without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you.”

On the topic of unity, we pursue the unity of the brethren, but mostly the wrong way. We try to be one in spirit without the Spirit! We create all sorts of fleshly activities to “make unity”, no different than any secular clubs or programs. The only way to be united together is to be united with Jesus, as He and the Father are one. If we all unite with Jesus individually, then we automatically unite with one another. It does not work the other way around. “For ye are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28) Any other form of unity is of the world. Once Christ-ian unity is achieved, the body will be able to stand firm and contend for the faith, without being frightened in any way. To answer for the circumstance of the present day Church, we are as we are because we have tried to be united some other way than Jesus.

“This is a sign to them that will be destroyed, but that you will be saved - and that by God.”

When we as believers live holy lives, worthy of the gospel, this will reveal to those under condemnation their ungodliness, bringing it into the light. When they see the difference in a Christian then they will know Jesus has risen! For what does it profit the unbeliever to hear of Christ’s saving power only to witness a “Christian” living the same as he? Preaching truth will always find itself wanting unless there is a living truth, and that is what will stir the sinner, proving to them their future destruction and the salvation that is found in Jesus Christ alone.

“For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for him…”

For it has not simply been granted that we believe on Jesus and be saved, but that we suffer for Him. It is granted to believers that we suffer for Him! This is a benefit of Christianity. Having something granted to you is a gift, and there is no greater gift that should brings joy to the saint than to share in the suffering of the Lord Jesus Christ. When a person carries his or her cross after the Christ, living in that manner worthy of the gospel, they make a bold statement to the world that they are followers of Jesus Christ, and this act is the sound of horror to the very ears of Satan. It is then that the suffering will begin to manifest, and in the darkest moments of life the brightest visions of glory take place, and the presence of the Almighty God draws near. It is no wonder that the church of North America is not persecuted, for we have not wanted to accept the gift of sharing in Christ's sufferings, thus we are what we are.

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