Friday, February 24, 2006

Spirit And Soul, What's The Difference?

Have you ever wondered what is really different between our spirit and our soul. As we all know man is made of three parts but how do these parts function and what are the particular aspects of each one?

I have been puzzled for years by the seeming lack of understanding in this matter among my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. How is it that we understand so little of the way in which God has designed our being and how it operates in the fallen and regenerated state?

I recently came across an awesome message explaining the various aspects of man's tripartite makeup. If you have time I would definitely encourage you to listen to this message linked below. It immensely blessed me as pastor Adrian Rogers succinctly and simply explained the way to live a life that is in line with God's plan.

It is entitled, "How to Practice the Presence of God".

Thursday, February 23, 2006

This Is Holy Ground...

What are the telltale marks of religion? How can we tell when our worship of God has become dead and ineffective? How can we tell when we are slipping into a form rather than the reality of our Lord's presence?

Throughout history God has met with men in miraculous ways but always with a few things in common. Consider Jacob's meeting with God at Bethel, when he realized he had met with God he became profoundly afraid. He acknowledged that this place was none other than the house of God. He proceeded to make a pillar of stones and vowed to give the Lord tithes from his increase. Later on when Moses encountered the burning bush, God instructed him to remove his sandals for the place where he was standing was holy ground.

So the hallowing effect upon the ground was the result of nothing else but God's presence and His very presence had made that ground or place, holy. After the exodus from Egypt, the Lord commanded Israel to build a tabernacle in the wilderness. At the same time, He gave them instructions for the priesthood and the manner in which they could approach the ark of the covenant. When all had been completed and all the elements for sacrifice and priesthood were in place, the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. That was now the holy place amongst the people of Israel, God had come and His glory was in their midst. In like fashion the temple was constructed in Jerusalem and after Solomon consecrated it the glory of the Lord filled the temple and the holy of holies.

The Lord's original intention was for all Israel to minister unto Him as priests, but since only the tribe of Levi had remained faithful in the wilderness, they alone received the honour of the priesthood.

Now fast forward to the New Testament. We are expressly told in scripture that rather than God now dwelling in a temple or building made with hands, He is now abiding in the hearts of His saints. 1 Cor. 3:16-17 tells us that we are his temple and therefore holy. In order for the Lord to dwell in us, we must be cleansed and consecrated to Him. Just as the tabernacle in the wilderness and temple in Jerusalem were sanctified and consecrated, so too we must make sure our vessel is kept clean and pure for the Holy Spirit's abiding.

Now here is where things get messy. We intellectually say we understand these matters, and yet practically we forget to apply the truth of this reality. Whether conscious or not, we have esteemed value to our buildings of worship and go so far as to consider them holy. Somehow we feel that the "worship" of God in a "church" has more weight than worship in other places. Even here we have misplaced the truth again, no where in scripture are the buildings of worship called churches, yet we have made the word "church" to simply mean a building. Now I know what you're thinking, what does it matter when we know that the people are the church? Well, the point is that when we compromise truth in anyway our understanding of scripture and revelation from the Holy Spirit are dampened. Do all the people you meet with really understand that your place of fellowship is simply a building and not the "church"?

The word church comes from the Greek word Ekklesia meaning a calling out. We are literally the called out by God and He has set us apart as holy unto the Lord. To denigrate God's bride and body by referring to a building as the church is rather insulting. Furthermore, over time we lose the real meaning and understanding of this awesome word.

So if we believers in Christ are His Church, we cannot "go to church". Simply by gathering together we become the Church in a particular place and time. The locality of believers meeting in a certain area constitutes the Church, they are the expression of Christ's body on the earth. Their physical gathering does not simply make up the Church, but rather the corporate meeting in spirit. Therefore if the Church is nothing else but the called out gathering of saints, then anywhere the saints meet the Church is meeting. This means that instead of a building or "place" being holy, we God's people are now the holy ones. God has moved from a building to the hearts of His people, that is wonderful. Praise the Lord!

The final picture in Revelation shows the New Jerusalem as a bride adorned for her husband coming down from God out of heaven. God will actually dwell among His people and He will be their temple. What an awesome picture of the final dwelling place of God with His people for all eternity. Christ Jesus is preparing His bride with whom He will share all eternity. We are so blessed!

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Heavy Duty Question

Here is a question I would like your thoughts on: If the church is raptured to heaven, what will be the purpose of the earth when the Lord makes a new heaven and new earth?

Monday, February 20, 2006

God Keep Our Land...

I am reminded of all the times we hear U.S. leaders asking God to bless their nation. We as Canadians are rather mundane when it comes to the patriotic expression of love for our country. But I am beginning to feel more and more it is our duty as christians to pray for our nation and its leaders.

To that end I was encouraged to hear our newly elected Prime Minister ask for God's blessing during his acceptance speech. So I wish to continue that request here by saying...May God Bless Canada...and all God's people said_ _ _ _!

God bless Canada!

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Who's Playing Your Heart Strings?

"Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him." John 1:15

How many times have we as Christians tried to keep ourselves from doing certain activities which we deem to be worldly? In fact, even our understanding of what would be worldly is rather varied depending upon which church you belong to, where you grew up, and your particular view of scripture.

However, here in this verse and the context of this chapter John presents a principle to us that goes much farther than simply refraining from certain questionable activities. As modern christians we like to talk about the heart rather than externals, and this verse expressly deals with the heart in a way that no liberal minded believer could shirk off. You see, John is giving us not simply a command but a profound truth regarding our love for God. When we love the world or anything in the world not only is our love for Christ diminished, but the love of the Father cannot be expressed through us.

Well before you go off in a tangent and run up the flag of legalism let's look at verse 16. There are three things mentioned as relating to the world; the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, and none of these three are from our heavenly Father. Everything that is of the world will be motivated by one of these three aforementioned things. Many times we must confess we find all three of these pulls operating in our being, and soon we find ourselves in a torrent of emotions. What was it that caused such consternation in your life? There is a great need to examine everything we do in this light; is it emanating from the Holy Spirit or from the carnal desires of our fallen flesh? By the fruit you shall know the tree.

I am glad the apostle John did not immediately follow these verses with a list of lustful and prideful activities which we should abstain from. You see, we continually miss the mark by focusing on the external appearances rather than cutting straight to the heart. I can outwardly appear holy and spiritual while at the same time my heart can be consumed with lustful thoughts and prideful ambitions. I can bring my body into subjection and at the same moment lose the battle of the mind. Scripture tells us that out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. When I fill my heart with the things of this world, I will naturally speak worldly things. But when I delight after the Word of God and meditate on His laws and precepts, I will keep my heart from sinning. As David said, “Thy word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against Thee.” So the issue boils down to what is your heart feeding upon?

This is where I would like to address a couple of practical points, namely some worldly activities that rob our heart of the joy for Christ. It seems we as Christians have divided our lives into two parts, the spiritual churchy side and our personal private secular side. We readily admit a certain behaviour and heart attitude is required for fellowship and worship of God, but somehow fail to see that God is interested in our entire week and not just the one or two hours on Sunday morning. Therefore our activities should be in line with the reality of God’s presence.

The area of music has caused much division, destruction, and sadness amongst our last number of generations. We have gradually begun to think of music as amoral and a personal choice. This has led to self justification of any style as long as it is played outside of the church environment. The sad part of this is that most of the secular music today is directly linked to the three points mentioned in verse 16. Almost all secular (and for that matter a growing amount of “Christian”) music stirs up the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes, never mind causing our minds to entertain sinful thoughts. When we allow these songs to take root in our heart we force our love for Christ and His word to take second place. This is really a form of idolatry in that we place something above God. If you would honestly examine your own heart, you would acknowledge this to be true. When you are consumed with the things of this world, your heart has little time and energy for spiritual pursuits and the Word of God grows cold and boring.

Rather than simply making rules and regulations regarding “touching not” and “tasting not”, let us be careful to notice the effect that these things have upon our heart and its desire for the things of God. Guard your hearts brothers and sisters, for out of it are the issues of life.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Fastened To The Rock

Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God. Psalm 42:11

Have you ever had an evening where you were so elated over the exciting things happening in your life only to wake up the next morning to feel utterly despondent and discouraged? Many times we let our emotions carry us along on the latest high of some new thing, however when the elation wears off we find our hope has sorely been misplaced and the future looks bleak again.

Could it be that the writer of this psalm had looked to something else for his strength and hope? It almost seems like he is reminding himself, "what are you doing being discouraged? why don't you just put your hope back in the Lord?" This is a good reminder as we can quickly get off track in our 'feelings' oriented society. As long as everything is going ok we think we must be doing fine; only when the proverbial wheels come off the track do we realize there is a serious problem.

Our enemy, Satan, does not always attack us with blatant lies and assaults. Scripture tells us he can transform himself into an angel of light, therefore his attacks often come disguised as 'good' things which are designed to draw us away from the security of resting in Christ alone. Don't be fooled by his subtle schemes, when you find your hope resting in something or someone besides Jesus Christ, quickly turn back and call out to God to restore that joy and peace.

"In Christ alone my hope is found"

Friday, February 10, 2006


Imagine the horror and surprise on king Belshazzar's face when that hand appeared and began to write these famous words on the wall of that banquet hall. He was so terrified that his joints became loose and his knees started to knock together. This is truly the dread and fear that comes upon those damned to the eternal torment of hell. Yet there are some principles is this story that go far beyond simply the judgement of God's eternal wrath.

Chapter five of Daniel is an intricate account of God's dealing upon the nation of Babylon. They had come to the place where God had no choice but to deal a final blow of destruction to their empire and disperse it to others. Belshazzar had not learned from his father's mistakes and instead had made himself even more vile and wicked. Further God had not left him without a witness but had done some mighty works during the reign of Nebuchadnezzar. There were also Daniel and his three friends that served as powerful testimonies of obedience to their Lord and by the same brought freedom to worship the only true and living God.

However as so often happens the proud heart of Belshazzar caused him to become blinded to the warnings of a just and holy God. The night of reckoning had come and Belshazzar was found sorely lacking.

There is a powerful principle wrapped up in this story, namely that each one of us will face an accounting sooner or later. Both nations and individuals are judged by God and receive their due recompence in this life and the one to come. While we are delivered from the eternal judgement of God through the blood of Jesus Christ, we can still experience his chastening effects today through disobedience and unbelief.

I would like to look at the corporate effect of God's dealings for a moment though. When you consider history and the rise and fall of nations, you see a direct correlation between the sinfulness of a nation and their subsequent fall from power. Rome was no exception; having become the most powerful empire in history, they were destroyed not by foreign powers or enemies but by the eroding tide of an immoral population and government. History itself attests to even the decline in the arts and culture as the society became more and more depraved. One of the signposts of their demise was the rampant apathy that existed. There was simply a concern for the temporal pleasures rather than building for the future and improving upon the past. Even the games of the Colliseum show a marked increase in savagery as the empire sunk into reprobation.

Well how about modern times? Does God still judge corporately? To be sure! He does and His judgements are no less severe than the Roman days. Consider the nation of Germany for a moment; They have suffered the humiliation of two wars with the utter devastation of their nation and the loss of many lives, treasures, and historical sites. How did the home of reformation fall onto such hard times? Simply put, their salt lost its savour.

Jesus expressly told us in Matthew 5:13 that we are the salt of the earth, but if the salt loses its savour it is good for nothing but to be thrown out and trodden under foot of men. This trodding under foot shows a corporate judgement by God using other nations. This was actually quite prophetic as Jesus was warning Israel that though they were the light of the world and the salt of the earth they were in danger of being snuffed out and trodden down. This prophecy did come true in A.D. 70 when Titus leveled the city of Jerusalem and killed over a million Jews. This was the corporate judgement of Israel.

As believers in Christ Jesus we are the salt that holds back the corrupting influence of sin and decay. When we lose our effectiveness in doing that job, our nations, homes, businesses, and churches will suffer the consequences. We should not take for granted the blessings that we have received. They are not the result of democratic due process, of soldiers fighting to protect us, or any other similar notion. Rather these blessings are the direct result of our forefathers living according to the principles of God's Word and sowing a seed that is still being harvested today.

"Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people"

It is only righteousness that will cause a nation to remain standing and become a strong voice in the world. Let us not delude ourselves thinking our power, technology, and superior political structure have gotten us this wealth and security. God is not mocked; for whatever we sow, we will reap. Dear brothers and sisters, what are you sowing today? Let us not view God's grace as a license to continue in sin but as the means to live pleasing to Him in everything.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Quiz Day!!

John 11:35

Why did Jesus weep?

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Everyone Else Is...

"But dad, everybody else gets to go there and do that". Do those words sound familiar? When I was young many times I had the impression that my folks simply wanted to make my life boring and prevent me from having any fun. Ok, not really but those thoughts did come through my head on more than one occassion. The enemy would like us to believe that there is a world of excitement and fun that awaits us beyond the confines of our established borders and understanding. Nothing could be further from the truth, but sadly many young people are shipwrecked in life even before they begin by listening to the foolish counsel of their peers and rebelling against the God given authority of their parents.

This kind of thinking is not new and did not begin with the sexual revolution or drug culture of the 60's. Rather from the days of Adam man has been in a constant state of rebellion towards God. When Adam disobeyed God's singular restriction man inherited the sinful nature and thus all his seed was corrupted by the rebellious nature of Satan.

God is never behind the rebellion towards authority, because as Paul says in Rom. 13:1 there is no power but of God, and the powers that be are ordained of God. "Children obey your parents" and "wives submit to your own husbands" are not restrictions but rather protections from the harm and destruction of Satan. When we stay under the God given protection He affords we are preserved from the thief that comes to kill, steal, and destroy. How many teenage boys are girls have been destroyed (even literally) by running away from the protection of their homes. Of course there are always particular circumstances but we must always realize that God does not make mistakes and therefore we must cry out to Him when we face any injustice. Let us remember that we serve a Sovereign Omnipotent God who knows the smallest details of our life, and if we are faithful in the trials we will come forth as gold.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

God's New Name

Is is just me or have you noticed that many of today's contemporary Christian songs refer to God as 'You' rather than addressing Him by His given names in scripture. Rather than be specific in their wording they have chosen the ambiguity of a language known as 'double-speak'. This means that many of these same songs could be interpreted to mean God, or they could also mean a friend, lover, or esoteric relationship to something.

While I am not opposed to using the word 'you', it does seem like there is a calculated avoidance of the name of Jesus Christ. This is truly sad and unfortunate as we are called by His name and to not associate in this way robs us of the power found there.

Now I have heard excuses like, "We don't want to sound overly preachy" or "Everybody is always pressuring us to make sure our songs mention Jesus". Well I would like to ask a few questions; Why are you singing songs of worship if you do not want to mention the object of your worship? Could it be that Jesus Christ is in fact not the object of their worship? Could it be possible that the songs are designed to not offend the secular audience they are attempting to reach?

Scripture is loaded with the different names of God to the extent that we could write endless songs without fear of running out of ways to describe His attributes and character. Consider a brief sampling of God's names; Creator, Redeemer, Counsellor, Faithful Friend, Sovereign One, Immanuel, Saviour, Lord of Lords, Master, Coming King, Good Shepherd, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, etc. In other words, there is no shortage of synonyms for God.

Where are all the songs that deal with the deeper issues of Christian growth, conformity to the image of Christ, and surrender to the Lordship of Christ? Let us remember that Christian songs are for Christians. That may sound like a novel idea but God has not chosen the song to save many people, rather He has chosen the foolishness of preaching the gospel to save those who believe and put their trust in Christ alone. I challenge anyone to show how our modern praise and worship, entertainment style music has led to any portion of people coming to Christ.

Further, the purpose of worship music is to draw the affections of our hearts to Christ. When He is avoided and the meanings of the words become nebulous, how does this accomplish the explicit goal of our songs? I once listened to a Christian radio station expressly paying attention for the name of Jesus or God. I was surprised that in half an hour of music, only two or three times was His name mentioned, and then mostly in passing but definitely not the focal point of the song.

Let us return to the purpose of worship which is to lift up and magnify our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. All praise to Him who reigns above in Majesty Supreme. I have been blessed by the song 'In Christ Alone' written by an English brother named Stuart Townend. I have included a link here to the words, what an awesome expression of our position in Christ.

In Christ Alone

It's been a while...

Yeah, I had hoped not to miss this many days in posting but things have been extremely busy. So this post will probably not contain any deep thoughts on doctrinal issues.

Last night my two brothers and I had a surprise dinner for our father's birthday. We got together at my brothers house where he had cooked an excellent dinner (steak) and then sat around in the evening and simply fellowshipped in the Word and discussed various things. That was probably one of the first times we have really spent a few hours together without the distractions of background noise etc. Our wives took all of the 11 grandchildren over to my parents house and just hung out together. Wow! What a blessing to have wives that are willing to take their lives and invest them into their children and families, I think they were a bit tired though by the time we got back. :)

If your parents are still alive, I would encourage you to spend those times of one on one or with your fellow siblings together just simply sitting around and talking. In our fast paced culture we miss out on many of the simple pleasures of life by just being in such a rush all the time.

I will leave this verse with you today, "Be still and know that I am God".

Thursday, February 02, 2006

The Indwelling Holy Spirit

Tim Challies has written a very excellent article on the Triune God's abode in the believer's heart. This really fleshes out well the debate currently going on regarding salvation and the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit.
The Coming Glory!!

For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea. Hab. 2:14

There is coming a day when the whole earth shall resound with the praises of the Lord. His glory shall fill the earth and His name shall be wonderful. Our king is coming to establish His kingdom in which righteousness shall reign. Hallelujah!

Let us be faithful stewards that will not be ashamed at his appearing. Seek the Lord with all your heart, worship Him today in the beauty of holiness. Amen!

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Issues, Issues!

I am in a pickle, let me explain. Through the course of blogging, I have become acquainted with various other bloggers, and some whom I have greatly benefited from spiritually. Unfortunately it seems that all my new found friends are not actually friends with each other. This leaves me in sort of a bind; must I now choose one over the other? I have greatly enjoyed reading the posts of Daniel and Frank, and find their material very well written and articulate. However, these fine chaps disagree fundamentally with Antonio and Matthew, two fellas that I also find to be very well spoken in their biblical discourse.

Furthermore, it has saddened me to read so many blatant attacks of a personal nature against these other brothers. It seems that we are unable to keep things on a level of mutual kindness and respect, especially when we cannot answer back anything more than "heretic". Seriously, I thought only the medieval Catholics used that word to describe their adversaries? We Christians seem to have our own "choice" words to use when wishing to put down another brother in Christ.

I think I speak for a multitude of others when I say I am seeking the truth. But my search for truth is based solely upon the truths found in God's Eternal Word. I am not interested in defending the theological works of some historic figure, regardless of how profound he was. God raises up men in every generation to do His work needed at that time. We could find blatant errors in almost every man of God through the ages, so to place any one man on a pedestal and exalt his words to that of scripture is really treading on shaky ground.

Do I value the work of other men? Most definitely, in fact I believe ignorance of church history is tantamount with utter foolishness. It is one thing to understand the struggles of the church in prior centuries, to glean from the writings of these great men their nuggets of truth, but completely another thing to raise their banner and defend against all comers. I have gained much insight and been strengthened in my faith tremendously through the lives of our forefathers in the faith. However, we must admit that most all of the Puritans, Anabaptists, Reformers, and any other early protestant branch still contained a large flavour of the Catholic dogma and teaching. To stay at their level of understanding and revelation would be fatal and deprive us the complete freedom found in Christ alone.

Ok, I've said enough for now. How do I proceed? I desire not to choose sides or cast quick labels on my fellow brothers with whom I may have disagreements. If someone espouses utter "heresy" then let that one be properly refuted from scripture, apart from any slanderous talk and put downs.


After reading Antonio's latest response to Daniel, I thought I would link both articles so my fellow readers can decide for themelves the validity of each ones words.

Daniel's Opening Statements of the Prosecution


Antonio's Rebuttal for the Defense