He Manifested His Glory



In John 2:1-12 we see how Jesus began His public ministry in a very surprising way. John the Baptist came “neither eating or drinking,” and was dressed in camels hair and a leather belt and deprived himself of the comforts of this life. Jesus, now enters the scene in sharp contrast. His first miracle shows Him celebrating, feasting and banqueting, sharing the joys of a wedding with his mother and his disciples. While John spurned wine, Jesus turned water into wine. Why would He do such a thing?

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Why Folks Resist Authority



In this audio message, Jeff Pollard explains the matter of elder authority from Hebrews 13. He begins by examining why people have such difficulty with authority.  He says,

“The clear and direct language of the text undoubtedly sounds foreign to modern American ears for at least four reasons: 

(1) Our inherently sinful condition: In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve cast off the authority of God’s Word. Because of this, all Adam’s descendants—Christ excluded—are born with a natural opposition to external authority. This sinful condition makes us vulnerable to 

(2) Our culture’s addiction to radical individualism: A self-worshiping culture like ours simply cannot and does not prepare the human heart to respect and submit to another human being. Submission to authority does not resonate with contemporary Americans—Christian or non-Christian. And this is one of the results of 

(3) The effect of the 60s upon subsequent generations: In 1904, the English occultist Aleister Crowley, known as “the wickedest man in the world,” was given a book by a spirit-entity: this spirit channeled the contents of the book through Crowley’s wife as Crowley wrote it down. Entitled The Book of the Law, its primary precept is “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law,” which became the slogan of the 60s: “Do your own thing.” While most people had no idea who Crowley was, his “do your own thing” life and writings influenced numerous musicians, celebrities, filmmakers, college professors, and others, who, in turn, intoxicated our culture with it. By its nature, “Do your own thing” is the antithesis of anything other than self-authority. As one writer puts it, “What Crowley stood for, ultimately, was self-gratification: no mere aimless indulgences but the healthy and liberating pursuit of one’s deepest will and desires against the soulless and shallow expectations of authority.” That is the satanic worldview and the reigning philosophy of most modern Americans—Christian or non-Christian. And they call it “freedom.” Finally, 

(4) The abuse of authority by church leaders: This is an unfortunate reality far too common, but consistent with fallen human nature and our culture. And when any of us suffers under the abuse of illegitimate authority, it subtly turns us against the use of legitimate authority. Because of the searing pain that abuse produces our hearts, we will do almost anything to avoid being abused by a church leader again. And that can lead churches to some very bad attitudes, decisions, and actions, as well as promoting a life of suspicion and distrust. Because of these four reasons and others, we do not like to submit to another human’s authority.

Nevertheless, in the churches of the Lord Jesus, our risen Savior is the Head—the Sovereign Lord and reigning Monarch of His people. He appoints elders to teach and to lead them authoritatively, according to His Word and Spirit. So, our message is entitled Elders and Authority (Part 1). May our loving heavenly Father grant us the illuminating power of the Holy Spirit so that we might hear the voice of Christ the Head of the church with clarity.

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Read2018 Live Webinar – (Lev. 19-Num. 15; Mk. 3-7)



At 3:00 pm EST, Mark Tuso and I will be on a live webinar to discuss the things we read over the past week as we are reading through the Bible. We will be on the line for 20 minutes to give some practical insights for families for the reading from the past week in Leviticus – Numbers, and Mark.

You can view the webinar here.

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Undone in a Minute – By Adultery

Playing with pornography? Flirting and texting? It’s the path of the death (Prov 5:5). Samuel James states it succinctly,

“Everyone knows that infidelity damages marriages, but not many people vividly imagine years of their work and arguments and advocacy going down the drain too.”  Samuel James

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The Place of Marriage in the Grand Scheme of Things

It is difficult to exaggerate the place that the Bible gives to marriage. Jesus said that the kingdom of heaven is like a wedding (Mat. 22:2-14). Yet these words only begin to communicate the importance of marriage. e apostle Paul reveals in Eph. 5:22-33 that God created marriage for a very particular purpose: to visibly declare the glory of the love of Jesus Christ for His Church. This explains why the devil has always waged an unrelenting attack on marriage, seeking to pervert it, steal from it, and destroy it.

Why does the devil hate marriage so much? Is it because he simply desires to cause as much hate, alienation, discord, and disappointment as he can between spouses? Is it because he hates the o spring that comes from marriage? While these may be some of his reasons, consider that the devil hates marriage because he hates the gospel of God’s grace in Jesus Christ. God created marriage in order to give the world an earthly illustration of His love for His Church, His sacrifices on behalf of His Church, His union with His Church, His sanctification of the Church, and the glorious purposes that He has in mind for His Church.

Furthermore, a wife’s submission to her husband is an evidence that she believes the gospel, as her life pictures the Church submitting to Christ. In this way, a wife’s submission pictures a fruit of the power of the gospel. is is true because true belief in the gospel leads to a life of obedience, for “faith without works is dead” ( James 2:20). Scripture teaches that a wife is to “submit” to her own husband “in everything” and to “respect” him (Eph. 5:22, 24, 33). By a wife’s submission, she displays how the true Church obeys her Lord. When she does not submit to her husband, she declares a false gospel to the world.

Conversely, a husband who does not love his wife as Christ loves the Church is declaring that Jesus Christ does not love or cherish or nourish His Church and has not given Himself for her. is is how a husband declares a false gospel to the world through his relationship with his wife.

e Bible takes us back to the “old paths,” the good paths where marriage is properly understood and healed ( Jer. 6:16). 

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I Found It!



What does it mean to follow Jesus? How does it happen? What is the result of following Him? These questions are answered in John 1:35-51 where we observe five illustrations of the conversions of the first five disciples of Jesus during his public ministry. What happens to them? They see Jesus, and say, “eureka,” which means, “I found it.” And, they cannot help but tell others of His glory.

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A Father is a Detail Man

They say “the devil is in the details,” meaning that the details matter. It is the same with fathers, God obligates fathers to be men of details.  Specifically, “His wonderful works” (Ps 78:4).

This describes a man who knows the details of how God has worked. There are two categories of the works of the Lord. First, there are the works of God recorded in Scripture. This is the most important aspect of a father’s message – the recitation of the deeds of God recorded in Holy scripture. This is why it is critical that men lead their children to memorize Scripture. If children do not know the facts of God’s wonderful works, they will not know how to communicate them to others or know how to address well the difficulties they are facing.
 
Second, there are the works God has done since the writing of Scripture. These works can range from the time of the early church, to the ways that God has worked in your family specifically. How fathers interpret history makes all the difference in the world.

The results.

What are the observable results of a father’s good teaching? Asaph presents four results that will be observable in our children when they have been properly taught. This is a very helpful section in this psalm because it shows us how to evaluate the results of our teaching. (Notice that these results have nothing to do with career goals, financial security, or education. They have to do with the attitudes that fill everything our children do).  

Fathers must be on the lookout for the right results. What results should they expect to see in a home in which the truth of God has been fought for and bled for?

They Hope in God

The first result fathers should see in their children is that they “set their hope in God” (Psalm 78:7). The children described here are so confident in God that they are characterized by hope. This means that one of the most important goals of parenting is to present a child with a heart full of hope. How fragile they will be if they put their hope in anything else in this world.

They remember the works of God

The second result that fathers should see in their children is that they would “not forget the works of God” (Psalm 78:7).

Memory of the works of God is something that fathers need to help their children acquire. These truths should be etched in their memories so that they will come back to them in times of need. Their memories of Noah, Moses, Joseph and Job and the rest of the saints throughout biblical history.
 
Our children need to know the “works of the Lord”.  When they don’t know where their next meal is coming from, or they experience a job loss, a betrayal, a failure, a market crash, or a barren womb, will they be fretful and downcast? Or will they remember, that as God fed the children of Israel in the wilderness, so will He feed them. Will they remember that even though there was no food within a thousand miles and no way to grow it, that God fed the children of Israel with the ‘food of angels”?  When they are in danger, with no way out, will they collapse in fear? Or, will they think of the Red Sea and the words that were spoken there: “The Lord will fight for you” (Exodus 14:14).

 When they are tempted to complain because life is hard, will they fall into a period of depression, or will they think of how God provided water out of a rock in the middle of nowhere?
 
The mother of the great orator of the American Revolution, Patrick Henry, had the wisdom to take her son to church every week to hear one of the greatest preachers of the colonial era – Samuel Davies. On the way home from church, she would quiz him about the sermon. She would require that young Patrick recite the entire sermon – even reproducing the oratorical inflections for which Davies was famous. She was helping him forge these great principles into his memory. This kind of constant conversation about important things is critical. You are serving your children well by building the right things into their memories.
 
I am often astounded at how children find so much joy in quoting one liners from Hollywood movies they have seen. But, they can’t remember a single line from one of the great stories of Scripture. A faithful father will lead his family so that they are quoting the great “one liners” from Scripture. The objective of a father’s teaching is “that they might know them”

They keep His commandments

The third result that a father should see is that his children “would keep His commandments” v7.
 
Yes, we should be vigilant to see if our children are obedient. We should monitor their obedience, even though it is out of style in our “anything goes”, “everything is acceptable as long as you feel good about it” culture. There are two parts to obedience. The first part is a matter of the heart. Do our children have a heart for obedience in the sense that they desire to obey and are not kicking against authority? In other words, we need to know if our children believe that obedience is the superior way. Or is it just another rule that has to be followed because “that’s the way we do it around here! Do they have a genuine, visceral understanding of Psalm 19:11, “in keeping them there is great reward”
 
The second part of recognizing whether or not children “keep His commandment” is the outward part that expresses itself in words, actions, and attitudes.

The outward part is important because it reflects the inward part. This is why outward obedience is so important. It reflects the thoughts and meditations of the heart.
 
Parents are given the responsibility to secure honor and obedience in their children. This is one way that they break the patterns of the previous generation. They raise up a new generation of obedient children. In order to do such a thing, fathers must be detail men. They must communicate the specifics. Vague generalities won’t do. Broad strokes are thin strokes. God calls fathers to be men who traffic in the details of the “works He has done” (Ps 78:4)    

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Fear of God Devotional: Preaching Is the Key to Reformation



What is a key to reformation?

Gary Powers explains in this video that one of the keys to reformation involves the preaching of the Word of God. Often, in many churches today, the preaching occupies only a small part of the service or the content of the sermon is catered to what the congregation wants to hear. The preaching should be the focus of the sermon and the content should be based on the Word of God.   

2 Timothy 4:2 (NKJV) – “Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.”

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Live Webinar with Kert Martin – Leviticus 1-21; Matthew 27-Mark 3



At 3:00pm EST, Kert Martin and I will be on a live webinar to discuss the things we read over the past week as we are reading through the Bible. We will be on the line for 20 minutes to give some practical insights for families for the reading from the past week in Leviticus and Matthew – Mark.

You can view the webinar here.

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Fear of God Devotional: The Fruits of Repentance



What are the fruits of repentance?

Rob Ventura explains in this video that some of the fruits of repentance involve a fresh and renewed communion and fellowship with God and a conscience void of offense.  

One of the worst things a Christian can have is a bad conscience. We must confess sin to God. Those who cover sin will not prosper. We keep a good conscience through repentance. 

It is important to understand that repentance is not merely saying, “I’m sorry.” We must say, “I’ve sinned against you.” We must turn from sin. A false repentance will yield very little fruit. True biblical repentance will yield much fruit.

Proverbs 28:13 (NKJV) – “He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy.”

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Fear of God Devotional: Is Repentance Necessary for Salvation?



Is repentance necessary for salvation?

Jason Dohm explains in this video that repentance is absolutely necessary for salvation because repentance is always joined with faith and salvation comes through faith alone. 

In Acts 3:19, Peter declares, “Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.” It is very clear from that one verse – repent and be converted. These two words are joined. You cannot be converted without repentance.  

2 Timothy 2:22 (NKJV) – “Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” 

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Fear of God Devotional: Teaching Children About Repentance



How can you explain the concept of repentance to your children?

Joel Beeke explains in this video that you can help illustrate the concept of repentance to your children by helping them to understand that just as they are moved to grief when they sin against their earthly father, they should also sorrow because they are sinning against their heavenly Father. 

That is what true repentance is like. When we sin, we must realize that we have sinned against our heavenly Father. There is a deep grief over our sin and a longing to be with Christ in Heaven. For those who truly repent, the smallest sins grieve you because you want to live for God.

He mentioned that the reformer John Owen said that individuals should doubt their salvation if they are not concerned about remaining and indwelling sin in their own life.  

2 Peter 3:9 (NKJV) – “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.”  

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Leaders – Getting Our Own Houses in Order

I know an exemplary Christian man who had conducted Bible studies with businessmen for many years. But he became convicted that he was not teaching his own wife and children. So he quit teaching the Bible study with businessmen for 10 years. He decided he should not lead other men unless he was doing it in his home first.
This is a powerful example of obedience. You may be a leader in your church. You may be a popular Bible study leader. You may be serving effectively on many fronts, but if you are not leading at home, you should stop and get your own house in order. Then, once your household is in order, you might think about resuming some of your former ministries.
 
If you are a pastor, and you have a man in your church who is spending time preparing for Bible studies or Sunday school classes or is mentoring others but who is not doing what Psalm 78 calls him to do in his own family, encourage him to stop and begin doing them for his family. After he succeeds in shepherding his own household in the Word, then he will be ready to do it for others, and to do it far more effectively because he will have had much practice.
 
Get your schedule in control
 
The problem is not prioritizing your schedule, it is scheduling your priorities. The problem is not usually lack of time, but time spent in occupations of little importance.
 
Commenting on Psalm 78, Charles Spurgeon paints a beautiful picture of the man who invests his time in teaching his children:
 
“Around the fireside fathers should repeat not only the Bible records, but the deeds of the martyrs and reformers, and moreover the dealings of the Lord with themselves both in providence and grace …What happy hours and pleasant evenings have children had at their parents knees as they have listened to some sweet story of old.”
 
Treasury of David, Hendrickson Publishers, Vol II, USA,Charles Spurgeon, p331, ISBN 0-917006-25-9
 
Spurgeon’s picture of family discipleship is a difficult one to paint with the strokes of daily life in the twenty-first century because almost every force around you is saying that there is something better. Sadly, even the program of the church can prevent the creation of this beautiful scene in our families.
 
Churches in our day are a flurry of activity. It’s programs, programs, programs for everybody’s needs, needs, needs. People are busy cranking the gears of the church’s organization. There is a giant sucking sound that devours the resources necessary to keep the machine moving. With all the pressures of maintaining church programs, church leaders are very concerned that the programs are fed, but they are not as concerned that fathers are feeding their families the Word of God. For every Christian it is a matter of stewardship. God has given us the time and the resources to do the task He has called us to do. But we often spend our resources of time, money, and effort on the wrong things, and have little left for the really important things.
 
How does this happen? Here are a few suggestions that may help a man make changes he needs to make to accomplish what Asaph is advocating.
 
– Remove items from your schedule that are of lesser importance to their primary calling.
 
– Acknowledge the fact that your role as a trainer of trainers will cut you out of many things going on in the culture and maybe even your church!
 
– Remember that the world will constantly lure you away from your creation order mandate.
 
– Accept the fact that you will sometimes be thought of as on the fringe.”
 
If being faithful to God puts you on the fringe, then so be it!
 
So what kind of activity are we supposed to be engaged in? Leaders have a responsibility to paint the target and say, Put your energy here”.
The target for our energy painted in Psalm 78 is, break the patterns of your fathers, open your mouth in a parable,” and train the trainer of the next generation.

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Fear of God Devotional: What Does Repentance Look Like in the Life of a Pastor?



What does repentance look like in the life of a pastor?

Dennis Gunderson explains in this video what repentance looka like in a pastor. He has to be a man who doesn’t take advantage of the fact that he is held in high esteem. He must be a man that exemplifies humility. 

He has to make sure that he understands that he is a sinner as his congregation is. It must be stressed that because he is a pastor and in leadership, he is held to a higher standard. There may be a higher level of accountability because he is the leader and shepherd of the flock. 

Acts 20:28 (NKJV) – “Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God[a] which He purchased with His own blood.”

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Fear of God Devotional: What Judas and Peter Did After They Both Sinned



What is the difference between the lives of Judas and Peter after they both sinned?

John Snyder explains in this video that we find a contrast between Judas and Peter in the way that they responded after they sinned grievously. Judas betrayed Christ for 30 pieces of silver, but Peter betrayed Christ as well when he denied Christ. Both sins were heinous. Both men were guilty. But how did both of these men respond afterward?

Judas, in a sense of self-centered grief, is overcome and he chooses a path of self-destruction by hanging himself. In contrast, Peter, after denying Christ three times, he is broken-hearted. He humbles himself and he takes Christ’s offer of mercy. He repents and turns from his life of sin and receives forgiveness.

Matthew 27:3-5 (NKJV) – “Then Judas, His betrayer, seeing that He had been condemned, was remorseful and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, 4 saying, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.” And they said, “What is that to us? You see to it!” Then he threw down the pieces of silver in the temple and departed, and went and hanged himself.” 

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