The Sailor’s Decision

FROM The Daily Encourager

After a few of the usual Sunday evening hymns, the church’s pastor once again slowly stood up, walked over to the pulpit, and gave a very brief introduction of his childhood friend. With that, an elderly man stepped up to the pulpit to speak, “A father, his son, and a friend of his son were sailing off the Pacific Coast,” he began, “when a fast approaching storm blocked any attempt to get back to shore. The waves were so high, that even though the father was an experienced sailor, he could not keep the boat upright, and the three were swept into the ocean.”

The old man hesitated for a moment, making eye contact with two teenagers who were, for the first time since the service began, looking somewhat interested in his story. He continued, “Grabbing a rescue line, the father had to make the most excruciating decision of his life….to which boy he would throw the other end of the line. He only had seconds to make the decision.

The father knew that his son was a Christian, and he also knew that his son’s friend was not. The agony of his decision could not be matched by the torrent of waves. As the father yelled out, ‘I love you, son! Continue reading “The Sailor’s Decision”

Is It Ever OK to Lie? Must We Always Tell the Truth?

I am a follower of Gary DeMar (AmericanVision.org) and have many of his books and DVDs on various topics dealing with Christianity. I met Gary around 2004-2005 at an American Vision Conference (when he was still the president) in Powder Springs, GA and my life has never been the same. The list of speakers that I heard included Dr. Gary North, Dr. Voddie Baucham, Jr., Joseph Farah, and of course Gary DeMar himself. The reason I mention this is that sometimes you hear or read something that challenges long-held beliefs and that conference began a 6-7 year process that radically changed a lot of my beliefs about the end-times and prophecy. More on that in the future. But this article was also one of those moments. I always believed that we should not lie. After all the Bible commands it, right? Well, not so fast!

(Click the link to read the article and it will open up in a new tab. https://garydemar.com/ever-ok-lie-must-always-tell-truth/ Then come back to finish reading here.)

This is just another reason why Christianity and the Bible are valid because it is God’s story of how He has revealed Himself to us and how we have responded, warts and all. It is not the fairy tale that many try and tell you where all of God’s “heroes” never do anything wrong, never make mistakes. We ALL have sinned and fall short of the Glory of the Lord, and we ALL need the Savior, Jesus Christ. If you are not confident about your eternal destiny and need to know the Gospel (Good News) of Jesus, please leave a comment below (your email will not be displayed) or send me an email to jay@thejoyfulchristian.net. I truly care!

Prayer Does Work – Jen’s Story

“Daddy, my car broke down on the Bonnet Carré spillway and I don’t know what to do!”

I could hear the terror in Jen’s voice and the roar of the cars and big rigs racing past her at 60+ miles per hour on a Friday afternoon in heavy traffic on I-10 west. She was headed to Baton Rouge. Those of you familiar with the New Orleans area know how intense traffic can be on I-10 headed towards Laplace from Kenner on the spillway in the late afternoon after work, but it is a whole other story on Friday when people are headed to Baton Rouge, especially when the LSU Tigers are playing. I told her to put her emergency flashers on (she already had) and to get out the passenger side and walk about 3-4 car lengths in front of her car, in case someone slammed into her in the rear.

NOLA.com
Bonnet Carre Spillway, I-10 West snarled from an accident that stopped traffic near I-55, from NOLA.com

“But Daddy, I can’t because all the cars are passing on my passenger side!” Now, I am getting terrified because the shoulder on the left side of this stretch of I-10 is not a full car width like on the right side and I am hoping that she cannot sense the fear in my voice as I try to remain calm and guide her. Continue reading “Prayer Does Work – Jen’s Story”

The Impact of One Faithful Witness

Jesus said, “You are to go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone, everywhere.” (Mark 16;15)

Many of you have read the story about a Sunday School teacher named Edward Kimball.  Mr. Kimball was a timid shoe salesman who gathered the nerve to share the gospel with a co-worker named Dwight.L. Moody.  D.L. Moody made a profession of faith in Jesus Christ and went on to become one of the greatest evangelists in history.

Do you know the rest of the story?  D.L. Moody went to England and worked a profound change in the ministry of F.B. Meyer.  F.B. Meyer, with his new evangelistic fervor, influenced a college student named J. Wilbur Chapman. Chapman accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior, and employed a converted baseball player in his ministry named Billy Sunday.  Billy Sunday became the greatest evangelist of his generation. Continue reading “The Impact of One Faithful Witness”

If I did this today, I would probably be shot!

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While attending Tulane University in the early 1970s, I had a part-time job at First Homestead, a savings and loan located on the corner of Baronne St. and Gravier St. in the CBD of New Orleans.
My primary job was as a gopher and office boy to assist Peter, an elderly gentleman who was one of the kindest, friendliest men I had ever had to pleasure to know.
Every day we arrived before everyone else to open the door and greet the other employees as they arrived and to stand guard at the entrance. This was before armed guards were necessary, even though there were occasional, but rare robberies.
For me, this was especially enjoyable since I was young, single and it allowed me to watch all the attractive young ladies that walked by on their way to work.
Our duties included opening the mail and distributing it to the appropriate parties, collecting outgoing mail and preparing it properly to deliver to the Post Office each day by weighing and applying the correct postage with the Pitney Bowes postage meter, keeping the employee kitchen neat and tidy, making coffee, general janitorial work during the day if necessary until the cleaning crew arrived after hours (including unstopping toilets), purchasing the office supplies and keeping the storeroom organized, running errands for all the other employees, delivering legal documents to the various attorneys’ offices, etc.
However, our most important job each day was to take the daily deposits to the appropriate banks, such as the Whitney, Hibernia, NBC to name a few. They were all within a few blocks, all within walking distance. Continue reading “If I did this today, I would probably be shot!”

If God Really Exists Why Doesn’t He Speak To Us?

How may times have we heard this objection to the Gospel of Jesus Christ? “If God really exists, then why doesn’t He speak to us?”

Or another version of this is “I will believe in Heaven if someone who has died and gone there comes back and tells us what it is like.”

Well folks, guess what, both of these things happened and the same person has fulfilled both of these requests—Jesus, the Son of God literally spoke to us for over three years during his ministry on earth over 2,000 years ago and His Words are forever preserved in our Bibles.

Furthermore, not only did He come down from His place in Heaven to be born as a human being and become one of us, but He was mercilessly beaten, crucified and died on a cruel Cross before He went back to Heaven to present His body as a perfect and final sacrifice for all of us to His Father for OUR sins, not His.

I did not write this short article to be a theological explanation of why Jesus died in our place, why He became the perfect and final sacrifice for the daily and annual sacrifices offered to God to atone for sins. There are plenty of articles and books written on this subject that explain it far better than I ever could. Continue reading “If God Really Exists Why Doesn’t He Speak To Us?”

When God Restores What the Locusts Eat

“I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten – the great locust and the young locust, the other locusts and the locust swarm – My great army that I sent among you.” – Joel 2:25

There are seasons in our lives that involve times of famine and times of restoration. Solomon tells us that He has made everything beautiful in its time and that there is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under Heaven. (See Ecclesiastes 3:1,11.)

God brings about both the good and the bad. The seasons of famine have a divine purpose in our lives. They accomplish things that only these hard places can accomplish. But there is a time when those hard places have accomplished their purpose and He begins to restore. God did this with the nation of Israel after a season of famine and devastation.

Be glad, O people of Zion, rejoice in the Lord your God, for He has given you the autumn rains in righteousness. He sends you abundant showers, both autumn and spring rains, as before. The threshing floors will be filled with grain; the vats will overflow with new wine and oil. “I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten – the great locust and the young locust, the other locusts and the locust swarm – My great army that I sent among you. You will have plenty to eat, until you are full, and you will praise the name of the Lord your God, who has worked wonders for you; never again will My people be shamed. Then you will know that I am in Israel, that I am the Lord your God, and that there is no other; never again will My people be shamed” (Joel 2:23-27).

God wants each of us to know that there is a time when He will restore in order to demonstrate His gracious hand in our lives. He is a loving Father who tenderly guides His children through the difficult places. If God has taken you through a time of leanness, know that He is the restorer of that which the locusts have eaten. Wait patiently for Him to bring this about in your life. He will do it.

Copyright 2000 by Os Hillman
TGIF (Today God Is First)
www.marketplaceleaders.org

Contend For The Faith

“Beloved, being very eager to write to you of our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.” Jude 3

Jude wrote his letter to warn churches against the influence of false teachers, a common problem in the early church and not so uncommon today. These “grumblers, malcontents, loud mouthed boasters” (v. 16) taught a perversion of grace (v. 4) and practiced a licentious lifestyle (v. 7).

In response, Jude appealed to Christians to “contend for the faith.” The word for contend is built on the word for “agony.” The stakes were high. The effort would need to be intense.

An apologist is someone who makes a defense. These early Christian apologists started a long line of intellectual inquiry and engagement that continues today. We need good Christians who will fight for the faith, define it, identify threats to it, and encourage Christians to embrace the teaching of the New Testament. They battle on behalf of the entire church body. Continue reading “Contend For The Faith”

Harvesters of Signs

FROM The Daily Encourager

“God took Abraham outside and said, ‘Look up at the heavens and count the stars – if indeed you can count them.’ Then he said to him, ‘So shall your offspring be.'” (Genesis 15:5)

God had promised Abraham and Sarah that they would be founders of a great nation and a blessing to the earth. They had kept their part of the bargain and gone where God told them to go. They had trusted and believed. But the years had piled up like sand in the desert and no child had been born to them. True, God had brought them into a new land as promised, but what good was that if there was no one to leave it to?

The story of Sarah and Abraham is a story of barrenness – not only of their inability to have children, but also of a world in which our prayers seem to go unanswered, our deepest hopes remain unborn. As for Abraham, so also for us the time comes when we want action. Abraham, speaking for us all, says to God, in essence, “The land is fine, Lord, but what about the child you promised?”

We who worship the God of Abraham and Sarah and believe that the promised blessing is also for us feel the urgency in his question. We have asked it from the depths of our hearts too. Why am I unable to find a meaningful job? Where is the good health for which I’ve prayed? Will there ever be someone to love me? How long must we live in fear of terrorism? Where is the child I’ve been praying for?

As Abraham’s question cut through the night air, God gave him a sign. He took him outdoors, beneath a sky powdered with stars, and said again that he and Sarah would have descendants to outnumber the lights of heaven. It was not an explanation but simply a reiteration of the promise. It meant “Don’t give up!” “Keep the faith!” “I’m still around!”

Faith is a gift, something we receive rather than achieve. Some receive it in great measure, others less so. But all of us, like Abraham, are called to be observers of signs. When he grew tired of waiting, he saw in the stars something that helped him persevere. Our signs may be more subtle – a kind word, a gentle hand, a Christian song, a beautiful thing that reminds us of the Creator’s love. Harvest those signs. Share them. Each one, great or small, helps us in the long and difficult wait for the fulfillment of God’s promises.

Copyright 2010 Dr. Michael A. Halleen
Permission is granted to send this to others, with attribution, but not for commercial purposes.