We live in a world created in holiness but sold under sin. Temptations lurk everywhere. The Bible tells us that the devil walks around like a hungry lion seeking whom he may devour. But before we get on the defensive, the Scripture tells us, concerning the devil, to resist Him by being steadfast in the faith!
Jesus never tells us to cower before evil; quite the contrary. He says of His church, “The gates of hell will not prevail against it.” Gates are not an offensive weapon. They are for defense. Jesus is saying that hell cowers behind its gates in fear of the church which storms those gates! What a different picture that presents than that which a lot of Christians have. In spite of the devil’s lion-like bravado and his ability to intimidate and destroy those who cower from him, the good news tells us to resist him and he will flee from us as we submit to God!
Edmund Burke said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” If we are guilty of anything, let it be of storming the gates as we take the Gospel of Christ into the world. — Ben
Many times we look upon the grace of God as that which only saves us from what our sin would otherwise have brought us. While grace does save us from undesired circumstances and judgments, it does more then we sometimes recognize. It is God’s grace that makes you what you are today as you have faith in Christ. In 1 Corinthians 15:10 Paul states, “But by the grace of God I am what I am.”
Too often we look at the poor or homeless and say, “There, but for the grace of God, go I.” While this is true, there is also a tendency to imply that the grace of God is not with the poor or homeless or else they would not be in that situation. The fact is we are where we are by the grace of God.
Let me ask. Have you ever seen someone driving out of the driveway of their million dollar home, in their hundred thousand dollar vehicle, wearing their one thousand dollar suit and said, “There, but for the grace of God, go I?” Well, try it. It’s true! As we follow Christ, what we are and have, comes by the Grace of God. Whether we have little or much it is by God’s grace as long as we are following Him. Indeed, to gain the whole world by following our own devices, is to reap eternal consequences just the same as if we become poor because we follow our own devices. But as we follow Jesus, we are rich in the true riches whether we are poor or rich in the things of the world. And we can be assured in following Him, we are what we are by His abundant grace. — Ben
Zig Ziglar said, “You are the only person on earth who can use your ability.” God gives to each member of the church certain spiritual gifts for that person to use to build up the church.
Spiritual gifts are not things you must spend your whole life in search of. That would defeat the purpose of having gifts. No, God wants everyone to receive their spiritual gifts as soon as possible. That gives you more time to use your gifts for the building up of the church. You may receive more gifts from the Spirit as you follow Christ, but the gifts you receive are not to be kept to yourself. Gifts are to be used for the good of the church.
Every church should desire the full expression of every gift each member has in such an effective way that the church will be blessed by the gifts God gives. No member should hide a gift received from God, but make the gift available for use. The leadership of the church should help direct the exercise of any gift in such a way as to be most beneficial for the building of the church. What are your gifts? Find them. Use them. Be a blessing to us all.– Ben
Rev. Ben Herlong
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” Paul wrote to the church at Philippi. This was to encourage them from thinking that they would be of little use in the kingdom of God because of some extenuating circumstances; too poor, too oppressed, too average, too (name our favorite excuse). Is there no limit to what Jesus can strengthen us to do? Yes and no. He will never give us the strength to sin for his glory. Theoretically, He can make us jump over the moon. Though my spirit may be willing, I find my faith for such an endeavor is as weak as my flesh. OK. He gives us strength to do all things He calls us to do. Even Peter walked on water for a few steps. Yet pessimism often reigns because of naysayers as this old (as indicated by the vocabulary) poem attests. No matter its age, its message is as pertinent as ever. And we have Anonymous to thank for it.
IT CAN BE DONE
The man who misses all the fun,
Is he who says, “It can’t be done.”
In solemn pride he stands aloof,
And greets each venture with reproof.
Had he the power he’d efface,
The history of the human race.
We’d have no radio or motor cars,
Not street lit by electric stars,
No internet or telephone,
We’d linger in the age of stone.
The world would sleep if things were run,
By men who say, “It can’t be done.”
Paul writes to the Corinthians, “….But we have the mind of Christ.” (1Cor. 2:16) If we can do all things and couple that with the mind of Christ, where is there place for pessimism? Let confidence in Christ roll. Bring it on! It can be done! Ahh! The future looks brighter already. –Ben
September 7, 2014
Rev. Ben Herlong
We live in a consumer’s world where life is measured by what we gain, use, expend or expand. Often we begin to feel that what we consume begins to consume us. As we chase after the world, the world overtakes us. We become the consumed rather than the consumer. You know something? That’s right! and not for all the wrong reasons. We are what we eat and we reap what we sow. We choose what we eat and we chose what we sow. We are overtaken by our choices. It is a spiritual reality in the world God has made.
While being overtaken is usually seen in a negative light as when something overtakes us against our will, that is not God’s purpose. Deuteronomy 28:2 says, “And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, because you obey the voice of the Lord your God…” Wouldn’t it be great to be overtaken by blessings you can’t stop or control, only receive?
Let’s not chase the world to be overtaken by the world. Let’s consume the things that pertain to the Lord and be overtaken by His blessings.–Ben
Dr. Bill Click
In the sixth chapter of Isaiah we read that Isaiah saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up. The train of His robe filled the Temple. Above the Temple were angels who said, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory.” At this sight, Isaiah says, “Woe is me, for I am undone! I am a man of impure speech and dwell in the midst of a people of impure speech; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.”
The vision of God in His glory immediately exposed Isaiah’s sinfulness. And just as quickly an angel took a coal of fire from the altar of sacrifice, touched Isaiah’s lips and said that his sins were removed. Warren Wiersbe said that when we hurt, we do not need an explanation from God, but a revelation of God.
When our spirits see God as He is and ourselves as we are, we gain a perspective of life that is bigger than ourselves. In Jesus’ greatness we see our inadequacy. But in the revelation of the power of the blood, we find God’s provision of purifying, forgiving grace. We find ourselves properly placed in the family of God, worshiping and serving the Lord who loves us.