Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year To You All!

I want to give this brief message to all of my family, friends and members of Berean Baptist Church. May the Lord smile on you all and give you a wonderful new year. Our greatest joy in life is to live for the glory of our mighty God. This coming year let your light shine for His glory. May you all be greatly blessed and used in many wonderful ways to exalt our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Yours in Christ, 

Pastor Dickie

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Happy New Year!

I want to wish all of my friends and all the friends and members of our Berean family a happy new year! As we look back over the year we all have so  many things to thank the Lord for in our lives. We have made it through another year by the grace of God and by His overwhelming goodness to us. For any failures or sins we may have committed this past year how grateful we are for the love of God that forgives and cleanses us from all unrighteousness! How comforting God's mercy and patience is with each of His children. Read Psalm 103 and it will warm your heart.

Here are a couple of verses that are special to me as I look forward to a new year:

"He hath shown you O man what does the Lord require of you, but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God." Micah 6:8

"I will that you affirm constantly that they who have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable to men." Titus 3:8

May this coming year be a year of serving and ministering to others. Let us not criticize but actively engage in making a difference in the lives of those around us. 

May the Lord bless you all,

Love in Christ,

Pastor Dickie

Thursday, December 25, 2014

For Unto Us A Child Is Born!

The King's Choir

Here is the Christmas story as told in Luke 2:1-11:

"And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. 2 And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria. 3 And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. 4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) 5 To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife being great with child. 6 And so it was, that while they were there, the days were accomplished that she would be delivered. 7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. 8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the  field, keeping watch over their flocks by night. 9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. 10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord...."

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The Importance of the Presence of God

The great burden and task of the preacher is to lead people into the presence of God. Our lives, our example, our preaching, our worship should all facilitate to that end. This is a great message by Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones the great preacher from Wales, UK. Many who quote him know not the true spirit of the man. It is easy to quote great Christian leaders, it is another thing to seek to live as they lived and emulate their teaching and example. 

One man who knew Dr. Lloyd-Jones so very well is my dear friend Vernon Higham. Men like these have been a great blessing to me over the years. I remember once asking Dr. Edgar Andrews if he ever missed the doctor (Lloyd-Jones) and he said something like this to me, "It is interesting that you ask me that. Just the other day I was thinking of how much I missed that dear man."

I pray that my ministry will truly lead people into the presence of God. I pray that my preaching, worship, living and all that I do will cause people to thirst for God and long for His presence. 

This coming year may you all know the joy and the glory of the presence of God. To miss this is to miss the most important thing in life. We need to live daily in the presence of God and remind ourselves that we shall one day give an account for the life we have lived.

God bless you all,

Love in Christ,

Pastor Dickie

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Why Jesus Came

I want to wish our Berean Family a Merry Christmas. The text in Mark 10:32-45 gives us the reason why Jesus came from Heaven to earth.  Jesus is very precise about His reason for coming down from glory. This text is rich in many other lessons as well. I trust it will be a great blessing to all of you. I am using this text for my message tomorrow morning.

If you travel this weekend or during the week please go in the safety of the Lord. Make sure you keep your eyes on the Lord during this Christmas time. This is the great tragedy of so many that Christ is left out of the season. It is a joy to keep our eyes on the Lord and to find our deepest joys in serving Him. 

If you have not read Trusting The Blood Of Jesus  by William Reid you have missed a tremendous blessing. I am currently reading this once again but this time with my family each night during the holiday season. We have many copies at the church book room. Anyone reading this can email me and I would be pleased to send you a copy for your edification and blessing. Here is a quote from one of the chapters:

You must beware of resting your hope of salvation on your feelings, convictions, tears, repentance, prayers, duties, or resolutions. You must begin with receiving Christ and resting completely in His finished work. And you must not think that before you can receive Christ you need to have some sort of deep experience that makes you ready to put your faith in Him.” From Chapter 3 

I look forward to seeing you all tomorrow. God bless and once again, Merry Christmas!

Yours in Christ, 

Pastor Dickie

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Merry Christmas To My Berean Family!

Silent Night is one of my favorite Christmas carols. This rendition is beautiful. I trust that all of our Berean Family will have a wonderful Christmas this year. Use this time of year to share your faith, to live out your faith, and to be a blessing to those around you.

God bless you all,

Pastor Dickie

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Dangerous Trends
The Church of Jesus Christ

I have a burden for the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ. God’s vineyard is being trampled by the presence of dangerous wolves among the sheep. We should be alert today for the creeping errors of the Emerging/Emergent Church movement. Satan is the author of all deceptions. Satan is the father of all lies.

Recently I was speaking with another pastor who lamented that there has never been such a day like this in his life time where there are so many different heresies and threats to the cause of Jesus Christ. We face the onslaught of  the New Perspective on justification by faith alone, a watered down gospel that is heavy on God’s love but light on God’s call to repentance and holiness, Postmodernism, The Emergent/Emerging church movement, Secular Humanism, the New Atheism, the rise of Islam and the call for a Caliphate, Political correctness, multiculturalism, the return of ecumenism,  the use of gimmicks to build the church, and at the same time we see the death of Western Civilization, a departure of biblical worship, an eroding of the authority of the Word of God, an eschatology of pessimism, and a incipient worldliness that is creeping into the church. This does not include the long list of cults that are among us such as Mormonism, Jehovah Witnesses, the New Age movement, Hinduism, and reincarnation, Buddhism, and a host of other religious cults.

When we consider the dangers of the Emerging/Emergent church movement what things should we be alert to? First, we must resist any form of tampering with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Second, we must be wary of any one or any movement that suggests that the church has been in error for the last 1700 years. Run from such nonsense as fast as you can. Third, when anyone starts to water down preaching and adopts a casual, trite, and silly manner of delivering the Word of God we must run from that as if we are fleeing the plague. Fourth, we must be alert for the departure of throne room worship. Worship matters! If we lose the art of biblical worship we lose everything. It is that important. I draw a line at worship. Cross that line with a worldly, carnal, silly, casual approach to God and you have become an agent for the demise of the historic faith that was once delivered to the saints. 
An article written on a blog by a concerned Christian expressed this concern about the presence of error creeping into the church:

My heart is troubled. I found out my church is beginning to adopt some of the “Emerging church” doctrine.  It is scary to see such deception creep into our supposed “safe places” and through people who should know better.  It is where God wanted us to be able to recharge in between venturing out into this world to be His light.  This time it is so sinister as to use “missionaryism” to our communities as the topic.  A topic that every church wants to improve on and do the Lord’s work by bringing others to Christ.  But the methods they are suggesting are dangerous and disarming.
I feel we may be losing ground to these feel good/new age Emergent’s.  In this new approach, they stress that we (the saints) need to leave our Bibles and God’s word behind and go out and make friends with non-believers (sojourners) in a non-confrontational manner by joining their groups and once we have become friends, we are to invite them back into our community groups, which they are calling “incarnational communities”.   There we can fellowship with them in a non-discriminatory manner to show them God’s word without confrontation.  To tell you the truth, the actual process feels deceptive to the non-believers and somewhat cult-ish. It was the word “incarnational” that set off alarms so I began doing some homework on its roots…
I can’t believe they said to leave our Bibles behind and go out into this world.  Are we really to become part of this world to bring non-believers to Christ?  After we are born again, we are to be in this world but not of this world.  God’s word tells us that we are to be his light to the world by living differently due to my faith and the hope that my faith in Christ gives me.  God’s word (the Bible) is one of the items God said “above all” do not leave behind.  It is part of our holy armor Paul describes in Ephesians.
Ephesians 6:10-20 – (NKJV) – The Whole Armor of God

10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; 18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints— 19 and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak. (emphasis added)
God’s word is our sword. It is how we awaken those asleep, sow His seeds, and protect ourselves from our enemy.  This is a time of spiritual warfare…With our churches infiltrated by the likes of Rick Warren and Brian McLean where do we, that are battle weary from living in this world (but not of this world) go…  There is more deception out there than I can possibly describe.  It is now a wolf in sheep’s clothes.  We need to be on guard from the “Emerging” doctrine.  We need to stay watchful within our churches and keep our armor on because: “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12).” 

This is not a time for compromise. This is not a time for apathy. This is a time for action. Where are the prophet’s on the wall sounding the alarm that the Lord’s people are being led astray by those within her own ranks? Where are those who have discernment? Where are those who passionately care for the glory of God? May the Lord awaken His sleeping church and cause many of His prophets to sound the alarm before more of His people are led astray.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Defending The Gospel

Dear Berean Family, this video was prepared a while back and I am just using it now. I trust it blesses your hearts. May the Lord use us to proclaim the unsearchable riches of Christ to the world in which we live. God bless you all!

Have a blessed Thanksgiving this week! I will be sharing with you on Wednesday night as we praise God and give Him thanks for all of His many blessings.

Yours in Christ,

Pastor Dickie

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Developing A Prayer Life For The Lord

If we are going to develop a significant prayer life we need to keep in mind the following things:

1. We must have faith- faith that God does exist and that He does, in fact, hear us when we pray and that He delights when we draw near to Him in prayer and holy communion.

2. We must have passion- a passion that drives us to our knees and that moves us from apathy, indifference, and lethargy to a passionate storming of the throne of grace in pleading before God.

3. We must have a secret place- a place set aside where we can call it our Bethel (house of God) where we draw near to God in secret and passionate prayer.

4. We must have a specific time- a time where each day we get alone with our God and pour out our hearts to Him in prayer and supplication.

5. We must have a plan- a plan that gives us direction and a framework by which to lift up our petitions to our Lord. Pray through the Psalms or the Lord's prayer. Make a list of your prayer requests and keep a journal on you prayers and answers you receive to your prayers.

By all means make sure you are spending time every day with the Lord wrestling in prayer. The Hidden Life of Prayer by David M'Intyre is a wonderful book on prayer. Anything you can read by E. M. Bounds on prayer will be a great blessing to your soul. 

In the days to come let us join together at the throne of grace and seek God's blessing on our loved ones, friends, and our nation that we might see God's mighty hand once again in our land.

God bless you all,

Love in Christ,

Thursday, November 13, 2014



Recently, my wife gave me a book to read by Erwin Lutzer, senior pastor of Moody Church. The book was Who are You to Judge?  It is an excellent read on a topic that so many Christians are greatly confused by. I recommend that everyone read this important study on biblical judgment and discernment. Many times when a pastor takes a stand against something that is evil, corrupt, or dangerous he is  viewed as a trouble maker, a sower of discord, a judgmental person or a divisive person. I have seen a number of godly pastors called these things over the years. And this is tragic! 

Without commenting on all of the sections of this book there was a section on integrity that I thought was especially good. D. L. Moody said “Integrity is what you are in the dark.” People can hurt your reputation but they cannot hurt your integrity. I have known some people over the years that work extremely hard to build a good reputation while neglecting character. Unfortunately, many people do not know the difference between these two.

Here is a list of things that people of integrity do not do. People of integrity do not:

  1. Fear man
  2. Compromise their convictions
  3. Lie
  4. Fail to keep their word
  5. Allow money, fame, or love of popularity to influence their decisions
  6. Fail to keep their commitments
  7. Make themselves look better than they really are
  8. Take advantage of others
  9. Lord over others
  10. Use false guilt to manipulate others
  11. Let their emotions or feelings cloud their judgment
  12. Break their promises
  13. Promote themselves
  14. Allow others to promote  them with false praise and hero worship
  15. Refuse to take counsel from godly sources
  16. Think more highly of themselves than they ought to think
  17. Walk in the spirit of pride
  18. Justify sinful behavior
  19. Read their own press clippings
  20. Manipulate others with gifts, money, or praise
  21. Use self pity to attack others
  22. Show partiality
  23. Fail to bind their conscience with the Word of God
  24. Intentionally mislead and deceive others
  25. Speak out of both sides of their mouth

We all talk about integrity. We all want integrity. But how difficult it is to truly be a person of honest character, and deep personal integrity. May we all strive to be holy men and women for the Lord that we serve.

I am praying for our Berean family that the Lord will bless you all and manifest Himself to you and fill you with His peace and love. 

God bless you all, 

In Christ, Pastor

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

A Call For A Civil And Open Discussion
Of The 
Truth Claims Of All Religions

As a minister of Jesus Christ I have had the wonderful privilege of speaking all over the world sharing my Christian faith and defending the Bible as the Word of the Living God. I have been to India 16 times and  have preached to thousands of Hindus, Muslims and nominal Christians, along with those who truly know Jesus as their Lord and Savior. I have been to England and Wales nearly a 100 times preaching and teaching the Christian faith. I have preached extensively all over the world from Israel, Europe, and many times in Africa, South America and Canada, as well as  the United States. I have had the privilege to preach the gospel in a number of major cities in the United States to crowds that numbered into the thousands (25,000) in one meeting in St. Louis. 

Through the years, I have enjoyed debating and discussing the truth claims of Christianity. If the Christian message is true, then it will stand up to the searching questions of all and any skeptics who may question the veracity and integrity of its message and its Messiah, Jesus Christ. I have had Jews, Hindus, atheists, agnostics, Mormons, people from almost every imaginable cult and Roman Catholics debate and discuss with me what they agreed with or disagreed with in the Christian faith. Most of the time the debates and discussions were civil and polite. On some occasions, those who disagreed with me became hostile, violent, and sometimes even threatening. As a Christian pastor, I welcome such discussions. I have nothing to hide, and I am confident that the Christian message is the only message that can stand up and defend its truth claims sufficiently against all attacks. There is an old saying that says, “When two people are debating, the one who loses his temper first is the one with the least to say.” I have never been afraid to listen to those who disagree with me on the subject of the Christian faith. I am confident that there is an answer for any objection that may be brought against the biblical teachings of Christ.

What I have seen, however, is that this openness and willingness to discuss truth claims is not shared by every other faith. Particularly in Islam the subject of the truthfulness of the Quran, the authenticity of the claims of Muhammad, the integrity of the moral life of the prophet Muhammad, and whether or not Islam is a peaceful religion are topics that most Muslims will not even begin to discuss. To even question these topics is, in many places, a call to war and you are in danger of being physically attacked or  you could lose your life. Many authors who have written against the Islamic faith have had “fatwas” made against them. These are calls to have them killed by any Muslim who may have an opportunity to silence them. Is there not something wrong with a religion that refuses to have an open and civil discussion about its truth claims? I think this is a serious problem for Islam and wonder what it is that they have to hide or fear?

I read this article recently from a Muslim who is calling for reform in his faith. He addresses the very concern that I am raising here. I trust that this man’s comment will be instructive and will help identify the problem that we are facing with this religious faith that does not allow open discussion of its truth claims.

Losing my religion to Islamic radicals and Western progressives

Aly Salem
The Wall Street Journal
October 29, 2014

Last week a Canadian Muslim gunman went on a rampage in Ottawa, killing a soldier and storming into the parliament building before he was shot dead. Authorities have since said he had applied for a passport to travel to Syria. Three Muslim schoolgirls from Colorado were intercepted in Germany apparently on their way to Syria, the base for attacks there and in Iraq by the terror group Islamic State. An August 20 article in Newsweek estimated that perhaps twice as many British Muslims are fighting for Islamic State as are serving in the British Army.

What could possibly inspire young Muslims in the West to abandon their suburban middle-class existence and join a holy war? How could teenagers in Denver or anywhere be lured by a jihadist ideology — or are grisly videos of Islamic State beheadings and crucifixions not enough of a deterrent?

What is so compelling about radical Islamism may lie within its founding texts. It is time we acknowledged the powerful influence these texts have had even on ordinary Muslims. The political ideology based on them has already dragged the Middle East back towards the Stone Age.

As a teenager growing up in Egypt in the 1980s, I liked to stroll through Cairo’s outdoor book market, fishing out little gems like an Arabic translation of War and Peace. One day I stumbled upon a book that shook everything I believed in.

The book was In the Shadows of the Koran, Sayyed Qutb’s magnum opus. The Egyptian writer, who died in 1966, remains arguably the most influential thinker in contemporary Muslim societies. He was the principal theorist of the Muslim Brotherhood and the intellectual impetus behind the Islamist parties it spawned. Qutb’s ardent disciples included Osama bin Laden and Ayman Zawahiri of al-Qa’ida. It is not an exaggeration to say that Qutb is to Islamism what Karl Marx is to communism.

Qutb’s brilliance as a theorist was in how he applied Western-style literary criticism to the Koran to interpret God’s intentions. He concluded that the reason for the Muslim world’s decline were external cultural and political influences that diluted Islam: the culprits included everything from Greek empiricism and liberal democracy to socialism, Persian poetry and Hegelian philosophy. The only path to an Islamic renaissance was to cleanse Muslim societies of these contaminants and restore Islam to its seventh-century purity.

Today, Qutb’s outlook — Islamism — is the dominant political ideology in most Muslim-majority countries, often taking root in vacuums where secular politics have never had space to develop. Polls by the Pew Research Centre, such as last year’s The World’s Muslims, indicate that in many Muslim countries, the population is overwhelmingly in favor of veiling for women, the death penalty for leaving Islam and stoning as punishment for adultery; rabid anti-Semitism is rampant. The few exceptions to these statistics tend to be countries with a long history of militant secularism (like Turkey), or former communist states (Tajikistan, Bosnia, Albania, etc.) where religion was effectively wiped out of the public sphere. But Islamism is now growing even in those places.

The trend of history is being reversed. In Egypt, for instance, veiling was unheard of 50 years ago and was virtually extinct until the Islamists resurrected the practice in the 70s. Today an estimated 90 per cent of Egyptian women are veiled. In many other countries the veil — originally a tribal norm, not a religious one — is now ubiquitous, as are views on apostasy in countries that were far more progressive 50 years ago.

Many of my fellow Muslims are trying to reform Islam from within. Yet our voices are smothered in the West by Islamist apologists and their well-meaning but unwitting allies on the Left. For instance, if you try to draw attention to the stark correlation between the rise of Islamic religiosity and regressive attitudes towards women, you’re labelled an Islamophobe.

In America, other contemporary ideologies are routinely and openly debated in classrooms, newspapers, on talk shows and in living rooms.
But Americans make an exception for Islamism. Criticism of the religion — even in abstraction — is conflated with bigotry towards Muslims. There is no public discourse, much less an ideological response, to Islamism, in academia or on Capitol Hill. This trend is creating an intellectual vacuum, where poisonous ideas are allowed to propagate unchecked.

My own experience as a Muslim in New York bears this out. Socially progressive, self-proclaimed liberals, who would denounce even the slightest injustice committed against women or minorities in America, are appalled when I express a similar criticism about my own community.
Compare the collective response after each harrowing high-school shooting in America. Intellectuals and public figures look for the root cause of the violence and ask: Why?

Yet when I ask why after every terrorist attack, the disapproval I get from my non-Muslim peers is visceral: The majority of Muslims are not violent, they insist, the jihadists are a minority who don’t represent Islam, and I am fear mongering by even wondering aloud.

This is delusional thinking. Even as the world witnesses the barbarity of beheadings, habitual stoning and severe subjugation of women and minorities in the Muslim world, politicians and academics lecture that Islam is a “religion of peace”. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia routinely beheads women for sorcery and witchcraft.

In the US, we Muslims are handled like exotic flowers that will crumble if our faith is criticized — even if we do it ourselves. Meanwhile, Republicans and Democrats alike would apparently prefer to drop bombs in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and beyond, because killing Muslims is somehow less offensive than criticizing their religion? Unfortunately, you can’t kill an idea with a bomb, and so Islamism will continue to propagate.

Muslims must tolerate civilized public debate of the texts and scripture that inform Islamism. To demand any less of us is to engage in the soft bigotry of low expectations.

Aly Salem is an Egyptian writer based in New York.
The Wall Street Journal

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Saturday, October 18, 2014

Humility by Andrew Murray

Here is a great quote by Andrew Murray from South Africa on humility. I trust it will be a blessing to  all of you. My prayer is that the Lord will give us a great day of worship at Berean tomorrow. We gather in church not for ourselves but for the Lord. We gather not to be intertwined but to give God the glory that is due to His holy name. Let us worship joyfully and reverently tomorrow!
"Humility is perfect quietness of heart, It is to expect nothing, to wonder at nothing that is done to me, to feel nothing done against me. It is to be at rest when nobody praises me, and when I am blamed or despised. It is to have a blessed home in the Lord, where I can go in and shut the door, and kneel to my Father in secret, and am at peace as in a deep sea of calmness, when all around and above is trouble."
- Andrew Murray

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Nine Fruits of the Spirit

9 Fruits Of The Spirit

Those who walk with God will seek to be under the control of the Holy Spirit. When the Spirit is present in a person's life the result will be these nine fruits. This is the evidence of the filling of the Spirit of God. When we are self-centered, bitter, unforgiving, condemning, filled with self-pity, unsubmissive to authority, and acting in the flesh we can be sure that we are not being controlled by the Holy One of Israel.  This material is from The Foundations of Godly Living that I hope to have for our Berean family soon!
  • Love-This is agape love that is poured out within us by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Agape love is a divine love that only believers can demonstrate. This is why those Christians who are filled with the Spirit should live head and shoulders above those who don’t know the Lord. Love is the distinguishing mark of a true believer. Agape love is describes by the apostle Paul in I Corinthians 13:4-8, “Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity but rejoices in there truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endure all things. Love never fail…” 
  • Joy- This is the second fruit that Paul mentions. A sad, depressed,  and discouraged Christian is not only a contradiction of what God’s purpose is for our lives, but it is also a very poor testimony to the world that is watching to see if our faith has indeed made any significant difference in our lives. The Christian life is filled with many trials and temptations. We understand that there is a real spiritual war that we face everyday. But in spite of this we should have an overflowing joy in our lives as a result of being filled with the Spirit of God. “The Joy of the Lord is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10.
  • Peace- This is the peace of God that floods our souls and is displayed  in our lives even in moments of suffering, persecution, and trials.  God’s people should not only be peace makers, they should also be characterized by the Spirit of peace that fills their lives and controls their emotions. While those who are non-Christians may be tossed about with stress and confusion the one who is filled with the Holy Spirit should be able to handle any situation that confronts them. Over the years I have witnessed many of the Lord’s people in times of great stress and difficulty and I have been amazed at the peace the Lord has given them at those moments. 
  • Long-suffering- The Christian who is filled with the Holy Spirit is characterized by patience. Patience is one of the marks and signs of the presence of God in our lives. Impatience is a sin. Those who get upset easily, who fret, worry, and respond in anger, yelling, or complaining are not filled with the Holy Spirit. God’s children should be the most patient in all situations in life for they know that God is sovereign and in control of every detail of their lives. The believer knows that “All things work together for  good to those that love God…” Rom. 8:28. A person who is long-suffering will be enabled by the Lord to show restraint in the tense situations in life. The Holy Spirit gives the believer the ability to refrain from retaliation and outburst of anger. This quality of being long-suffering is similar to the word forbearing. The believer is able to put up with those who are annoying, disturbing, and in return is able to show mercy, kindness and grace to those who don’t deserve it. A sign of a Spirit filled believer is one who does not surrender to difficult circumstances  or collapse under the pressure of trials. 
  • Kindness- This is a very important evidence of the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives. How kind are you in the situations in life? If a person says they know the Lord they should have this distinguishing mark as evidence of their salvation. Every Christian should be kind and thoughtful to one another. Through many years of ministry I have witnessed many professing Christians display anything but kindness in their dealings with others. The church business meeting, family life, our behavior at work, school, and in public should be characterized by a spirit of kindness that sets us apart from those who do not know the Lord. When I see professing Christians acting rude, snobbish, unkind,  hateful and are mean-spirited I am shocked. This is not the example of Christ. This is not how a Spirit filled believer should live. When the flesh is dominant in a person’s life we have every right to question if that person really knows the Lord. 
  • Goodness- God’s people should be good. They should be known by the good things they do for and to other people. Whether we interact with believers or unbelievers we should be known as good people. Our testimony should be that when others are asked about us that they say of us, “They are good people and wonderful neighbors or friends.” Good deeds and good works should characterize all of our dealings with our fellow men. Someone defined goodness this way:

“Goodness is virtue and holiness in action. It results in a life characterized by deeds motivated by righteousness and a desire to be a blessing. It's a moral characteristic of a Spirit-filled person. The Greek word translated “goodness,” agathosune, is defined as "uprightness of heart and life." Agathosune is goodness for the benefit of others, not goodness simply for the sake of being virtuous.

  • Faithfulness- This is referring to our faithfulness to God, His Church,  and His calling in our lives. One of the evidences of the filling of the Holy Spirit in our lives is that we are faithful in all the things that the Lord commands us to do. Faithfulness makes us trustworthy, dependable, reliable and honorable. Can a person be a true Christian and not be faithful? Occasionally perhaps, but if a person is always unfaithful they have never been born again.
  • Gentleness- Of all the people on this earth God’s people should be the most gentle and gracious to be around. What a testimony the Christian is when his or her life is filled with the spirit of gentleness. Our Savior is gentle, meek and kind. As His children and as those who are molded in His likeness and in His image we too should be gentle and meek. Meekness refers to the believer’s attitude whereas gentleness refers to actions and outward behavior. A Spirit filled Christian is known for his gentle, kind, and Christ like behavior towards those that he interacts with on a daily basis. The greatest example of gentleness was the God of Israel who was described in scripture as One who tenderly cares for His sheep, gently leads them and provides for them. In another example in Scripture we are told that the Lord reveals Himself to us in a “gentle whisper” I Kings 19:11-13. And finally, the Lord Jesus Himself is the example of gentleness for His disciples to follow. The prophet Zechariah tells us the Messiah comes in humility and gentleness, Zechariah 9:9. Those who are filled with the Spirit are characterized by this godly 
  • Self-control- The spirit of self-control is the ability to control our fleshly passions and temptations. If we cannot control our lusts and the sinful passions of the flesh we must consider if we really know the Lord. No Christian is perfect. But there must be some measure of overcoming in our lives and there must be some measure of conviction when we sin that causes us to repent and to long for holiness.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Practicing The Presence of God

      One of the secrets of living for Christ is to be sensitive to the presence of God in every area of life. Being spiritual is an art. It is an act of yielding to the Holy Spirit in our daily walk and life. I trust this material will wet your taste to the possibilities of dwelling in the presence of God. The following material is from my new book on Foundations Of Godly Living:

Practicing The Presence of God

"Why would anyone desire to be in the presence of the One who dwells in unapproachable light? Why would anyone want to stand before the God who is so holy that He cannot look upon sin? Why would anyone long for the God who slays sinners, rebukes sin and damns the souls of rebels with everlasting punishment? Why would anyone delight in the presence of One who sits on a throne of judgment? The answer is found in the gospel of God’s sovereign grace. Because of the life and death of Jesus Christ we can have peace with God and can enjoy God’s fellowship and love on a level never known before. The Psalmist understood the joys and wonders of being in the presence of God when he said, “In your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures for evermore.” Psalm 16:11. Only those redeemed from their sins and washed in the blood of God’s Son can approach Him with holy boldness and find this everlasting peace and joy. The apostle wrote, “Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us through the veil, that is His flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies wasted with pure water.” Hebrews 10:19-22.

God is omnipresent. This means God is everywhere. David said in Psalm 139:7-8 “Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? {8} If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.” 

In the book of Acts 17:27-28 it reads, "So that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; {28} "for in Him we live and move and have our being…” 

As we understand the doctrine of the presence of God it is essential for believers to live in the light of this glorious truth. The presence of God should be more than just a doctrinal concept. Christians should know the joy and the reality of dwelling in the secret place of the Most High. One of the reasons for the low level of spiritual experience among most evangelicals today is the fact that their lives are not being lived in God’s presence. For most believers today there is very little reverence in worship. There is very little wonder and awe of God’s greatness and sovereignty. There is very little passionate and consistent prayer or soaking and drenching ourselves in the Word of God. Instead we see many believers living marginal lives of mediocrity, levity, and shallowness. All of this is due to one fact alone. Most evangelicals know little or nothing of practicing the presence of Christ and living in the reality of His indwelling. Jacob had a marvelous experience one magic night under the stars in the desert. He awoke from a deep sleep and said, “Surely the LORD is in this place and I did not know it.” Genesis 28:16. Christians need to practice the presence of Christ. This means training themselves to understand that they are always in the presence of God.  
God reveals Himself to those that seek Him earnestly. Deuteronomy 4:29, "But from there you will seek the LORD your God, and you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul.” As always God desires that we seek to come near Him and when we do then He reveals Himself to us.

How do we practice the presence of God?

One way to practice Gods presence is to draw near to God. We draw near in confession of sin and repentance. If there is sin in our lives we will not sense God’s presence. When we come clean in the presence of God the Lord is often pleased to draw near to His people. “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” James 4:8. God delights to draw near to those who take the time and who make the effort to draw near to Him. We draw near to God by the means of prayer, Bible study, fellowship with other Christians, and by worshipping daily and on the Lord’s Day. Great saints are not great saints by accident. They are those who have spent their life pursuing God and finding the joys of living in God’s presence. The evidence of having been in the presence of God is revealed by an increased interest in God’s being and a decrease of interest in self. C. S. Lewis in his classic book, Mere Christianity said:

“The real test of being in the presence of God is that you either forget about yourself altogether or see yourself as a small, dirty object. It is better to forget about yourself altogether.”

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Let Us Live In The Continual Practice Of Prayer!

I want to encourage my Berean family to live in the atmosphere of prayer. In the new book that I will soon publish, The Foundations Of Godly Living, I have a chapter on this subject. Here are a few excerpts from that book that I  trust will bless and encourage you in your prayer life.

The Importance Of Prayer

"Let me suggest some practical reasons why prayer is so important in a believer’s life.

  • Prayer is how we commune with God.
  • Prayer is how we receive blessings from God.
  • Prayer is essential to winning men to Christ.
  • Prayer is the way we slay our besetting sins.
  • Prayer is the secret of a holy life.
  • Prayer is the source of power in the pulpit.
  • Prayer is how we guard our families and our children.
  • prayer is the source of our joy before the Lord.
  • Prayer is how we resist the devil.
  • Prayer makes us Christ like.
  • Prayer is how we obtain mercy and grace in our times of need.
  • Prayer is how we overcome our anxieties. Phil. 4:6-7
  • Prayer is the means to overcoming the flesh and growing in grace.
  • Prayer brings blessings to the church, the family, the home, the nation.
  • Prayer is one way of glorifying Christ.
  • Prayer brings heaven down to earth.
  • Prayer is the way to lift up the downcast.
  • Prayer is a part of our worship.
  • Prayer is how we obtain things from God.
  • Prayer is where we find peace and comfort in the storms of life.

The Power Of Prayer

Chrysostom of Constantinople, the great early church orator, described the power and blessing of prayer in the following words:

“The potency of prayer hath subdued the strength of fire; it hath bridled the rage of lions, hushed anarchy to rest, extinguished wars, appeased the elements, expelled demons, burst the chains of death, expanded the gates of heaven, assuaged diseases, repelled frauds, rescued cities from destruction, stayed the sun in its course, and arrested the progress of the thunderbolt. prayer is an all-efficient panoply, a treasure undiminished, a mine which is never exhausted, a sky unobscured by clouds, a heaven unruffled by storm. It is the root, the foundation, the mother of a thousand blessings.”4

Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones also said:

“Prayer is beyond any question the highest activity of the human soul. Man is at his greatest and highest when, upon his knees, he comes fact to face with God… When a man is (authentically) speaking to God he is at his very  acme. It is the highest activity of the human soul, and therefore it is at the same time the ultimate test of a man’s true spiritual condition.  There is nothing that tells the truth about us as christian people so much as our prayer life. Everything we do in the Christian life is easier than prayer… Even our concern for the salvation of souls, even our concern for God’s blessing upon the preaching of the Word, even our concern for those who are near and dear to us may become truly Christian, even these things must never be given the first place, the first position (in our praying). Still less must we ever start wit our own circumstances and conditions…Before we begin to think of ourselves and our own needs, even before our concern for others, we must start with this great concern about God and His honor and His glory. There is no principle in connection with the Christian life that exceeds this in importance.”5

Let me encourage all of you to pray much for your church, your spiritual leaders, your country, and your friends and neighbors who do not know the Lord. These are wicked days and they call for all of us to be much in prayer before the Lord.

God bless you,

Pastor Dickie

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Don't Remove The Ancient Landmarks

                J. C. Ryle of England once said:

“The longer I live the more I am convinced that the world needs no new Gospel, as some profess to think. I am thoroughly persuaded that the world needs nothing but a bold, full, unflinching teaching of the “old paths”. The heart of man is the same in every age… I repeat most emphatically that I am not ashamed of what are commonly called “Evangelical principles”…and I see no reason for giving them up…No doubt other schools of thought produce great outward effects on mankind, gather large congregations, attain great popularity, and by means of music, ornaments, gestures…make a great show of religion.” J. C. Ryle  

Let us not depart from the Old Paths and the evangelical principles which are the traditions of the ancient church.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The Importance of Biblical Preaching and Preachers

Martin Lloyd-Jones wrote one of the finest books on preaching. It is a fascinating study of a lost art among ministers today. I would encourage everyone to read it. Even those who are not ministers would find it a rich blessing to their soul.

Steve Lawson is a gifted preacher and writer. His comments on preaching below are an indictment against the current trends in Christendom. Western Civilization is in serious decline and is in danger of being buried under a mountain of anti-Christian bias. The cause of this is to be laid at the feet of the church itself for abandoning the gospel and compromising with the spirit of the age. Let us pray for a revival of holy living, faithful preaching of the gospel, and a passionate commitment to the Lordship of Christ.

Pastor Dickie preaching in Africa

Steven Lawson on "Preparing the Preacher" 

As a man, preacher, writer, and theologian, Calvin was unflinching in his pursuit of God. He was an ardent Bible student and an impassioned servant of the Lord. Week after week, month after month, year after year, and decade after decade, he anchored himself to the biblical text, then made it known to his people.

This tenacious study, personal piety, and relentless ministering were maintained by a passionate desire to see God glorified. For Calvin, "Teachers cannot firmly execute their office except they have the majesty of God before their eyes." Even to the end, Calvin held that "The majesty of God is...indissolubly connected with the public preaching of His truth.... If His Word is not allowed to have authority, it is the same as though its despisers attempted to thrust God from heaven." This focus on upholding the glory of God gave meaning to his life, his ministry, and especially his preaching.

It is desperately essential in this hour that preachers recover a soaring vision of the supremacy of God. Life-changing, history-altering preaching will come only when pastors reclaim a high view of God's blazing holiness and are overshadowed by His absolute sovereignty. Towering thoughts of God's transcendent glory must captivate preachers' souls. May you be one who leaves the lowlands of trivial thoughts about God behind. A low view of God leads only to mediocrity. But a high view of God inspires holiness and a resolute spirit. May you ascend to the heights of the mountaintop and behold, as Calvin did, the breathtaking glory of God.

Excerpt taken from The Expository Genius of John Calvin, by Steven J. Lawson