Saturday, September 28, 2013

How Do We Find The Will Of God For Our Lives?

I am convinced that many people today do not know how to discern the will of God for their lives. This subject is addressed in the book of James. In chapter one James tells us how to obtain wisdom from God. Wisdom is something that every believer needs on a daily basis. Just because someone is converted does not mean that he or she is able to discern the will of God for daily decisions or for their future. In this video I am sharing some practical suggestions that may be a help to all of you that want to be sure that your decisions and plans are, in fact, the will of God for your life.

How often do we hear someone say that they are going to do this or that, or have made this decision or that decision, but never make any mention that the Lord has directed them in these decisions. Do we take seriously the subject of God's will? We should be able to say that in every decision we make, and in every plan that we have, we know the will of God. Unfortunately, this is often not the case.

I am often surprised to hear the responses that I receive when I ask people how they determined the will of God for some decision that they have made. Quite often the the Lord has little to do with the decisions that many people make. This is tragic. I trust this video will be a help and I trust that my message on James chapter one on finding wisdom from God will be a great help to all of you.

Here are some books on the subject of the will of God that will be a help to you if you have the time to read them.

1.  Decision Making and The Will of God: A Biblical Alternative
     to the Traditional View- Gary Friesen
2.  Found: God's Will- John MacArthur
3.  Just Do Something- Kevin De Young
4.  Can I Know God's Will? R. C. Sproul
5.  Decisions, Decisions- Dave Swavely

God bless,

Pastor Dickie 

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Rejoicing In Suffering?

James tells us in verse two and three of his letter, "My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience." This is not the response that we normally would have to trials and tragedies or sufferings and sorrows. But James is telling us that for the Christian we can and should respond in this way.

I love this old hymn:

Some Day We Will Understand

Not now, but in the coming years,
It may be in the better land,
We’ll read the meaning of our tears,
And there, some time, we’ll understand.

We’ll catch the broken thread again,
And finish what we here began;
Heav’n will the mysteries explain,
And then, ah then, we’ll understand

We’ll know why clouds instead of sun
Were over many a cherished plan;
Why song has ceased when scarce begun;
’Tis there, some time, we’ll understand.

God knows the way, He holds the key,
He guides us with unerring hand;
Some time with tearless eyes we’ll see;
Yes, there, up there, we’ll understand.
Maxwell N. Cornelius

Here are a few quotes on suffering that may be a blessing to you.

One woman spoke of suffering in this way, “Without a doubt, what helps us most in accepting and dealing with suffering is an adequate view of God—learning who he is and knowing he is in control.” Joni Eareckson Tada

Calvary is God’s great proof that suffering in the will of God always leads to glory.” Warren Wiersbe

Our sorrows and our sufferings are just splinters of His cross.” Anonymous

I trust this video will be an encouragement to you. I am praying for all of you that the Lord will draw near and bring His gracious presence and peace to your hearts at this time.

In Christ, 

Pastor Dickie

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

We Are Beginning The Book Of James This Weekend!

We will begin the book of James this weekend. I am praying that this study will be a blessing to all of our hearts. This book is very relevant to each of us since it was written to those who were passing through times of sorrow, suffering and tribulation. Since we also live in difficult times this book will prove to be a great comfort and encouragement to each of us. The following comments are from the Ray Stedman’s book on James. This is a part of the introduction that I will be sharing with you on Sunday. Please pray with me that this study will bless our hearts and give us a blueprint on how to live our lives in a fallen world.
Eusebius tells us that in about the year 66 A.D., James the Just, the brother of our Lord, was pushed off this pinnacle by the Jews who had become angered with him for his Christian testimony. Eusebius says that the fall did not kill him, and that he managed to stumble to his knees to pray for his murderers. So they finished the job by stoning him to death, and he joined the band of martyrs.
Now it is very evident that this letter was written during the early part of the life of the church. It comes out of that period reflected in the book of Acts, and may therefore be the earliest Christian document that we have, written perhaps even before the gospels of Mark or Matthew.
You cannot read this letter of James without being struck by its likeness to the teaching of Jesus; in fact, if you take the Sermon on the Mount, and the letter of James, and lay them side by side, you'll see more than a dozen exact parallels. So, it is quite evident that this man James listened to the Lord Jesus and heard these messages, even though perhaps he struggled with them at the time. Also, this letter, more than any other letter in the New Testament, is characterized, like the teaching of the Lord himself, by figures of speech taken from nature. You have the waves of the sea, the animal kingdom, the forests, the fish, and others, all drawn from nature, just as the Lord Jesus himself used to do.”

May the Lord bless you all,
Yours in Christ,

Pastor Dickie

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Last Weekend was such a blessing!

I want to think my friend Baruch Maoz for the wonderful ministry he shared with us this past weekend. We enjoyed such a precious time in the Word. I was not able to be with you all on the weekend but the reports of his message to our deacons and elders was just tremendous. And the message on Sunday was  a powerful word from the Lord. I did not share with Baruch any particular needs in our church and he poured out his heart with truths and timeless principles about worship, church, dress, and commitment that came from the Lord. His comments on worship were timely. I am ashamed at the lack of reverence and trivial drivel that passes for worship and preaching in so many places today. unfortunately there are many who do not see the importance of maintaining biblical worship in the hour in which we live. This is leading to the demise of Christianity in the West.

I was able to be back on Monday and Mary and I spent the day with Baruch and his wife and later in the evening had guests over for more fellowship around the Word. On Tuesday morning we had a pastors fellowship at Berean and a number of ministers came and learned from this dear man of God from Israel. 

I will soon be finished with the Song of Solomon on Wednesday nights. I have a special series of messages on the Psalms I am excited to deliver. After the series on True Salvation I plan to start a series of messages on the book of James to encourage our Berean family to practical holiness and obedience.

May the Lord bless us here at Berean and make us fit vessels for His service.

In Calvary Love,

Pastor Dickie

Monday, September 2, 2013

Are You Born Again?

Are you born again? Here are six things that are taught in I John that should give us some insight on our standing with the Lord. This Sunday, September 8, I will be preaching on the New Birth. I trust this will be a blessing to all of our Berean family.

Are You Born Again?
by J. C. Ryle

Are you born again? This is one of life's most important questions. Jesus Christ said, "Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God" (John 3:3). It is not enough to reply, "I belong to the church; I suppose I'm a Christian." Thousands of nominal Christians show none of the signs of being born again which the Scriptures have given us—many listed in the First Epistle of John.

No Habitual Sinning

First of all, John wrote: "Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin" (I John 3:9). "Whosoever is born of God sinneth not" (5:18).

A person who has been born again, or regenerated, does not habitually commit sin. He no longer sins with his heart and will and whole inclination. There was probably a time when he did not think about whether his actions were sinful or not, and he did not always feel grieved after doing evil. There was no quarrel between him and sin; they were friends. But the true Christian hates sin, flees from it, fights against it, considers it his greatest plague, resents the burden of its presence, mourns when he falls under its influence, and longs to be completely delivered from it. Sin no longer pleases him, nor is it even a matter of indifference to him; it has become a horrible thing which he hates. However, he cannot eliminate its presence within him.

If he said that he had no sin, he would be lying (I John 1:8). But he can say that he hates sin and that the great desire of his soul is not to commit sin at all. He cannot prevent bad thoughts from entering his mind, or shortcomings, omissions, and defects from appealing in both his words and his actions. He knows that "in many things we offend all" (James 3:2). But he can truly say, in the sight of God, that these things cause him grief and sorrow and that his whole nature does not consent to them. What would the apostle say about you? Are you born again?

Believing in Christ

Second, John wrote: "Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God" (I John 5:1).
A man who is born again, or regenerated, believes that Jesus Christ is the only Saviour who can pardon his soul, that He is the divine person appointed by God the Father for this very purpose, and beside Him there is no Saviour at all. In himself he sees nothing but unworthiness. But he has full confidence in Christ, and trusting in Him, he believes that his sins are all forgiven. He believes that, because he has accepted Christ's finished work and death on the cross, he is considered righteous in God's sight, and he may look forward to death and judgment without alarm.

He may have fears and doubts. He may sometimes tell you that he feels as if he had no faith at all. But ask him if he is willing to trust in anything instead of Christ, and see what he will say. Ask him if he will rest his hope of eternal life on his own goodness, his own works, his prayers, his minister, or his church, and listen to his reply. What would the apostle say about you? Are you born again?

Practicing Righteousness

Third, John wrote: "Every one that doeth righteousness is born of Him" (I John 2:29).

The man who is born again, or regenerated, is a holy man. He endeavors to live according to God's will, to do the things that please God and to avoid the things that God hates. He wishes to continually look to Christ as his example as well as his Saviour and to prove himself to be Christ's friend by doing whatever He commands. He knows he is not perfect. He is painfully aware of his indwelling corruption. He finds an evil principle within himself that is constantly warring against grace and trying to draw him away from God. But he does not consent to it, though he cannot prevent its presence.
Though he may sometimes feel so low that he questions whether or not he is a Christian at all, he will be able to say with John Newton, "I am not what I ought to be, I am not what I want to be, I am not what I hope to be in another world; but still I am not what I once used to be, and by the grace of God I am what I am." What would the apostle say about you? Are you born again?

Loving Other Christians

Fourth, John wrote: "We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren" (I John 3:14).

A man who is born again has a special love for all true disciples of Christ. Like his Father in heaven, he loves all men with a great general love, but he has a special love for those who share his faith in Christ. Like his Lord and Saviour, he loves the worst of sinners and could weep over them; but he has a peculiar love for those who are believers. He is never so much at home as when he is in their company.
He feels they are all members of the same family. They are his fellow soldiers, fighting against the same enemy. They are his fellow travelers, journeying along the same road. He understands them, and they understand him. They may be very different from himself in many ways—in rank, in station and in wealth. But that does not matter. They are his Father's sons and daughters and he cannot help loving them. What would the apostle say about you? Are you born again?

Overcoming the World

Fifth, John wrote: "Whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world" (I John 5:4).

A man who is born again does not use the world's opinion as his standard of right and wrong. He does not mind going against the world's ways, ideas and customs. What men think or say no longer concerns him. He overcomes the love of the world. He finds no pleasure in things which seem to bring happiness to most people. To him they seem foolish and unworthy of an immortal being.
He loves God's praise more than man's praise. He fears offending God more than offending man. It is unimportant to him whether he is blamed or praised; his first aim is to please God. What would the apostle say about you? Are you born again?

Keeping Oneself Pure

Sixth, John wrote: "He that is begotten of God keepeth himself' (I John 5:18).

A man who is born again is careful of his own soul. He tries not only to avoid sin but also to avoid everything which may lead to it. He is careful about the company he keeps. He knows that evil communications corrupt the heart and that evil is more catching than good, just as disease is more infectious than health. He is careful about the use of his time; his chief desire is to spend it profitable.
He desires to live like a soldier in an enemy country—to wear his armor continually and to be prepared for temptation. He is diligent to be watchful, humble, prayerful man. What would the apostle say about you? Are you born again?
The Test

These are the six great marks of a born again Christian.

There is a vast difference in the depth and distinctness of these marks in different people. In some they are faint and hardly noticeable. In others they are bold, plain and unmistakable, so anyone may read them. Some of these marks are more visible than others in each individual. Seldom are all equally evident in any one person.

But still, after every allowance, here we find boldly painted six marks of being born of God.
How should we react to these things? We can logically come to only one conclusion—only those who are born again have these six characteristics, and those who do not have these marks are not born again. This seems to be the conclusion to which the apostle intended us to come. Do you have these characteristics? Are you born again?