D A Carson – summarizes the Bible in 221 words

God is the sovereign, transcendent and personal God who has made the universe, including us, his image-bearers. Our misery lies in our rebellion, our alienation from God, which, despite his forbearance, attracts his implacable wrath.
But God, precisely because love is of the very essence of his character, takes the initiative and prepared for the coming of his own Son by raising up a people who, by covenantal stipulations, temple worship, systems of sacrifice and of priesthood, by kings and by prophets, are taught something of what God is planning and what he expects.
In the fullness of time his Son comes and takes on human nature. He comes not, in the first instance, to judge but to save: he dies the death of his people, rises from the grave and, in returning to his heavenly Father, bequeaths the Holy Spirit as the down payment and guarantee of the ultimate gift he has secured for them—an eternity of bliss in the presence of God himself, in a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.
The only alternative is to be shut out from the presence of this God forever, in the torments of hell. What men and women must do, before it is too late, is repent and trust Christ; the alternative is to disobey the gospel (Romans 10:16;2 Thessalonians 1:8; 1 Peter 4:17).

The Bible tells us that people who end up in hell do not repent

The Parable of Lazarus and the rich man

Luke 16:19-31

The Rich Man and Lazarus

19 “There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. 20 At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores 21 and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores.

22 “The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. 23 In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. 24 So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham,have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’

25 “But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. 26 And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set in place, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’

27 “He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my family, 28 for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’29 “Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’ 30 “‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’

31 “He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’”

via Christian Post

People who end up in hell do not repent, from what the Bible tells us, said respected New Testament scholar Don Arthur (D.A.) Carson on Sunday at The Gospel Coalition National Women’s Conference in Orlando.

Carson, who is co-founder of The Gospel Coalition along with Pastor Tim Keller of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan, said that as far as he can see in the Bible, „there is no hint anywhere that people in hell genuinely repent.”

Pointing to the well-known parable of the rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16:19-31, Carson, who is research professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Ill., noted that in the story the rich man dies and from hell he looks up and sees Lazarus and Abraham. But instead of admitting that he was wrong to treat Lazarus poorly while they were alive, the rich man continues to boss him around.

„Wouldn’t you expect him (rich man) to say, ‘Oh Lazarus, did I get that one wrong. I am so sorry. Would you please forgive me?'” Carson posed. „But he doesn’t even address him. He was a nobody in the days of his flesh. The rich man doesn’t deal with nobodies, he goes straight to the top.”

Paraphrasing verse 24, the theologian recalls the rich man saying, „‘Father Abraham, tell Lazarus to go dip his finger into water and bring something to cool my tongue. It’s pretty hot here.’

„Where is the repentance in that? He still thinks he is the center of the universe! He is still going to order Lazarus around! There is no brokenness, there is no contrition, there is no shame!

Moreover, the rich man argues theologically with Abraham, „‘No Father Abraham you got that one wrong. If someone rose from the dead that would really make a difference, don’t you see?’

„Hell is not filled with people who are deeply sorry for their sins,” Carson stated. „It is filled with people who for all eternity still shake their puny fist in the face of God almighty in an endless existence of evil, and corruption, and shame, and the wrath of God.”

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Secret Sins (Turn… or Burn) – preached by Spurgeon, read or listen to the audio-sermon

Published on Jun 25, 2012 by 

SPURGEON Sermon Page – for more articles, sermons and biographies, photos

Psalm 19:12 King James Version (KJV) Who can understand his errors? cleanse thou me from secret faults.

C H Spurgeon preached this message on Feb 8th, 1857 in the Music Hall of the Royal Surrey Gardens. It is entitled „Secret Sins” and the text is found in Psalm 19:12  (KJV) Who can understand his errors? cleanse thou me from secret faults.

Self righteousness arises partly from pride, but mainly from ignorance of God’s law. It is because men know little or nothing concerning the terrible character of the divine law that they imagine themselves to be righteous. They are not aware of the deep spirituality, and the stern severity of the law, or they would have other and wiser notions. Once let them know how strictly the law deals with the thoughts, how it brings itself to bear upon every emotion of the inner man, and there is not one creature beneath God’s heaven who would dare to think himself righteous in God’s sight in virtue of his own deeds and thoughts. Only let the law be revealed to a man; let him know how strict the law is, and how infinitely just, and his self-righteousness will shrivel into nothing—it will become a filthy rag in his sight, whereas before he thought it to be a goodly garment.

Now, David, having seen God’s law, and having praised it in this Psalm, which I have read in your hearing, he is brought, by reflecting on its excellency, to utter this thought, „Who can understand his errors?” and then to offer this prayer, „Cleanse thou me from secret faults.”

In the Lateran Council of the Church of Rome, a decree was passed that every true believer must confess his sins, all of them, once a year to the priest, and they affixed to it this declaration, that there is no hope of pardon but in complying with that decree. What can equal the absurdity of such a decree as that? Do they suppose that they can tell their sins as easily as they can count their fingers? Why, if we could receive pardon for all our sins by telling every sin we have committed in one hour, there is not one of us who would be able to enter heaven, since, besides the sins that are known to us and that we may be able to confess, there are a vast mass of sins, which are as truly sins as those which we do observe, but which are secret, and come not beneath our eye. Oh! if we had eyes like those of God, we should think very differently of ourselves. The sins that we see and confess are but like the farmer’s small samples which he brings to market, when he has left his granary full at home. We have but a very few sins which we can observe and detect, compared with those which are hidden to ourselves and unseen by our fellow creatures. I doubt not it is true of all of us who are here, that in every hour of our existence in which we are active, we commit tens of thousands of unholinesses for which conscience has never reproved us, because we have never seen them to be wrong, seeing we have not studied God’s laws as we ought to have done. Now, be it known to us all that sin is sin, whether we see it or not—that a sin secret to us is a sin as truly as if we knew it to be a sin, though not so great a sin in the sight of God as if it had been committed presumptuously, seeing that it lacks the aggravation of willfulness. Let all of us who know our sins, offer this prayer after all our confessions: „Lord, I have confessed as many as I know, but I must add an etcetera after them, and say, ‘Cleanse thou me from secret faults.'”

That, however, will not be the pith of my sermon this morning. I am going after a certain class of men who have sins not unknown to themselves, but secret to their fellow creatures. Every now and then we turn up a fair stone which lies upon the green sward of the professing church, surrounded with the verdure of apparent goodness, and to our astonishment we find beneath it all kinds of filthy insects and loathsome reptiles, and in our disgust as such hypocrisy, we are driven to exclaim, „All men are liars; there are none in whom we can put any trust at all.” It is not fair to say so of all; but really, the discoveries which are made of the insincerity of our fellow-creatures are enough to make us despise our kind, because they can go so far in appearances, and yet have so little soundness of heart. To you, sirs, who sin secretly, and yet make a profession; you break God’s covenants in the dark and wear a mask of goodness in the light—to you, sirs, who shut the doors and commit wickedness in secret—to you I shall speak this morning. O may God also be pleased to speak to you, and make you pray this prayer: „Cleanse thou me from secret faults.”

I shall endeavour to urge upon all pretenders present to give up, to renounce, to detest, to hate, to abhor all their secret sins. And, first, I shall endeavour to show the folly of secret sins; secondly, the misery of secret sins; thirdly, the guilt of secret sins; fourthly, the danger of secret sins; and then I shall try to apply some words by way of remedy, that we may all of us be enabled to avoid secret sins.

I. First, then, THE FOLLY OF SECRET SINS.

Pretender, thou art fair to look upon; thy conduct outwardly upright, amiable, liberal, generous and Christian; but thou dost indulge in some sin which the eye of man has not yet detected. Perhaps it is private drunkenness. Thou dost revile the drunkard when he staggers through the street; but thou canst thyself indulge in the same habit in private. It may be some other lust or vice; it is not for me just now to mention what it is. But, pretender, we say unto thee, thou art a fool to think of harbouring a secret sin; and thou art a fool for this one reason, that thy sin is not a secret sin; it is known, and shall one day be revealed; perhaps very soon. Thy sin is not a secret; the eye of God hath seen it; thou hast sinned before his face. Thou hast shut-to the door, and drawn the curtains, and kept out the eye of the sun, but God’s eye pierceth through the darkness; the brick walls which surrounded thee were as transparent as glass to the eye of the Almighty; the darkness which did gird thee was as bright as the summer’s noon to the eye of him who beholdeth all things. Knowest thou not, O man, that „all things are naked and open to the eyes of him with whom we have to do?” As the priest ran his knife into the entrails of his victim, discovered the heart and liver, and what else did lie within, so art thou, O man, seen by God, cut open by the Almighty; thou hast no secret chamber where thou canst hide thyself; thou hast no dark cellar where thou canst conceal thy soul. Dig deep, ay, deep as hell, but thou canst not find earth enough upon the globe to cover thy sin; if thou shouldst heap the mountains on its grave, those mountains would tell the tale of what was buried in their bowels. If thou couldst cast thy sin into the sea, a thousand babbling waves would tell the secret out. There is no hiding it from God. Thy sin is photographed in high heaven; the deed when it was done was photographed upon the sky, and there it shall remain, and thou shalt see thyself one day revealed to the gazing eyes of all men, a hypocrite, a pretender, who didst sin in fancied secret, observed in all thine acts by the all-seeing Jehovah. O what fools men are, to think they can do anything in secret. This world is like the glass hives wherein bees sometimes work: we look down upon them, and we see all the operations of the little creatures. So God looketh down and seeth all. Our eyes are weak; we cannot look through the darkness; but his eye, like an orb of fire, penetrateth the blackness; and readeth the thoughts of man, and seeth his acts when he thinks himself most concealed. Oh; it were a thought enough to curb us from all sin, if it were truly applied to us—”Thou, God, seest me!” Stop thief! Drop thou that which thou hast taken to thyself. God seeth thee! No eye of detection on earth hath discovered thee, but God’s eyes are now looking through the clouds upon thee. Swearer! scarce any for whom thou carest heard thy oath; but God heard it; it entered into the ears of the Lord God of Sabbaoth. Ah! thou who leadest a filthy life, and yet art a respectable merchant bearing among men a fair and goodly character; thy vices are all known; written in God’s book. He keepeth a diary of all thine acts; and what wilt thou think on that day when a crowd shall be assembled, compared with which this immense multitude is but a drop of a bucket, and God shall read out the story of thy secret life, and men and angels shall hear it. Certain I am there are none of us who would like to have all our secrets read, especially our secret thoughts. If I should select out of this congregation the most holy man, should bring him forward and say, „Now, sir, I know all your thoughts, and am about to tell them,” I am sure he would offer me the largest bribe that he could gather if I would be pleased to conceal at least some of them. „Tell,” He would say, „of my acts; of them I am not ashamed; but do not tell my thoughts and imaginations—of them I must ever stand ashamed before God.” What, then, sinner, will be thy shame when thy privy lusts, thy closet transgressions, thy secret crimes shall be gazetted from God’s throne, published by his own mouth, and with a voice louder than a thousand thunders preached in the ears of an assembled world? What will be thy terror and confusion then, when all the deeds thou hast done shall be published in the face of the sun, in the ears of all mankind. O renounce the foolish hope of secresy, for thy sin is this day recorded, and shall one day be advertised upon the walls of heaven.

II. In the next place, let us notice THE MISERY OF SECRET SINS.

Of all sinners the man who makes a profession of religion, and yet lives in iniquity, is the most miserable. A downright wicked man, who takes a glass in his hand, and says, „I am a drunkard, I am not ashamed of it,” he shall be unutterably miserable in worlds to come, but brief though it be, he has his hour of pleasure. A man who curses and swears, and says, „That is my habit, I am a profane man,” and makes a profession of it, he has, at least, some peace in his soul; but the man who walks with God’s minister, who is united with God’s Church, who comes out before God’s people, and unites with them, and then lives in sin, what a miserable existence he must have of it! Why, he has a worse existence than the mouse that is in the parlour, running out now and then to pick up the crumbs, and then back again to his hole. Such men must run out now and then to sin; and oh! how fearful they are to be discovered! One day, perhaps, their character turns up; with wonderful cunning they manage to conceal and gloss it over; but the next day something else comes, and they live in constant fear, telling lie after lie, to make the last lie appear truthful, adding deception to deception, in order that they may not be discovered.

„Oh! ‘tis a tangled web we weave,
When once we venture to deceive.”
If I must be a wicked man, give me the life of a roystering sinner, who sins before the face of day; but, if I must sin, let me not act as a hypocrite and a coward; let me not profess to be God’s, and spend my life for the devil. That way of cheating the devil is a thing which every honest sinner will be ashamed of. He will say, „Now, if I do serve my master I will serve him out and out, I will have no sham about it; if I make a profession, I will carry it out; but if I do not, if I live in sin, I am not going to gloss it over by cant and hypocrisy.” One thing which has hamstringed the church, and cut her very sinews in twain, has been this most damnable hypocrisy. Oh! in how many places have we men whom you might praise to the very skies, if you could believe their words, but whom you might cast into the nethermost pit if you could see their secret actions. God forgive any of you who are so acting! I had almost said, I can scarce forgive you. I can forgive the man who riots openly, and makes no profession of being better, but the man who fawns, and cants, and pretends, and prays, and then lives in sin, that man I hate, I cannot bear him, I abhor him from my very soul. If he will turn from his ways, I will love him, but in his hypocrisy he is to me the most loathsome of all creatures. ‘Tis said the toad doth wear a jewel in her head, but this man hath none, but beareth filthiness about him, while he pretends to be in love with righteousness. A mere profession, my hearers, is but painted pageantry to go to hell in; it is like the plumes upon the hearse and the trappings upon the black horses which drag men to their graves, the funeral array of dead souls. Take heed above everything of a waxen profession that will not stand the sun; take care of a life that needs to have two faces to carry it out; be one thing, or else the other. If you make up your mind to serve Satan, do not pretend to serve God; and if you serve God, serve him with all your heart. „No man can serve two masters;” do not try it, do not endeavour to do it, for no life will be more miserable than that. Above all, beware of committing acts which it will be necessary to conceal. There is a singular poem by Hood, called „The Dream of Eugene Aram”—a most remarkable piece it is indeed, illustrating the point on which I am now dwelling. Aram has murdered a man and cast his body into the river—”a sluggish water, black as ink, the depth was so extreme.” The next morning he visited the scene of his guilt:

„And sought the black accursed pool,
With a wild misgiving eye;
And he saw the dead in the river bed,
For the faithless stream was dry.”
Next he covered the corpse with heaps of leaves, but a mighty wind swept through the wood and left the secret bare before the sun:

„Then down I cast me on my face,
And first began to weep,
For I knew my secret then was one
The earth refused to keep;
On land or sea though it should be
Ten thousand fathoms deep.”
In plaintive notes he prophesies his own discovery. He buried his victim in a cave, and trod him down with stones, but when years had run their weary round the foul deed was discovered and the murderer put to death.
Guilt is a „grim chamberlain,” even when his fingers are not bloody red. Secret sins bring fevered eyes and sleepless nights, until men burn out their consciences, and become in very deed ripe for the pit. Hypocrisy is a hard game to play at, for it is one deceiver against many observers; and for certain it is a miserable trade, which will earn at last, as its certain climax, a tremendous bankruptcy. Ah! ye who have sinned without discovery, „Be sure your sin will find you out;” and bethink you, it may find you out ere long. Sin, like murder, will come out; men will even tell tales about themselves in their dreams. God has sometimes made men so pricked in their consciences that they have been obliged to stand forth and confess the story. Secret sinner! If thou wantest the foretaste of damnation upon earth, continue in thy secret sins; for no man is more miserable than he who sinneth secretly, and yet trieth to preserve a character. Yon stag, followed by the hungry hounds, with open mouths, is far more happy than the man who is followed by his sins. Yon bird, taken in the fowler’s net, and labouring to escape, is far more happy than he who hath weaved around himself a web of deception, and labours to escape from it day by day by making the toils more thick and the web more strong. Oh! the misery of secret sins! Truly, one may pray, „Cleanse thou me from secret faults.”

III. But now, next, the guilt THE SOLEMN GUILT OF SECRET SIN.

Now, John, you do not think there is any evil in a thing unless somebody sees it, do you? You feel that it is a very great sin if your master finds you out in robbing the till—but there is no sin if he should not discover it—none at all. And you, sir, you fancy it to be very great sin to play a trick in trade, in case you should be discovered and brought before the court; but to play a trick and never be discovered, that is all fair—do not say a word about it Mr. Spurgeon, it is all business; you must not touch business; tricks that are not discovered, of course you are not to find fault with them. The common measure of sin is the notoriety of it. But I do not believe in that. A sin is a sin, whether done in private or before the wide world. It is singular how men will measure guilt. A railway servant puts up a wrong signal, there is an accident; the man is tried, and severely reprimanded. The day before he put up the wrong signal, but there was no accident, and therefore no one accused him for his neglect. But it was just the same, accident or no accident, the accident did not make the guilt, it was the deed which made the guilt, not the notoriety nor yet the consequence of it. It was his business to have taken care; and he was as guilty the first time as he was the second, for he negligently exposed the lives of men. Do not measure sin by what other people say of it; but measure sin by what God says of it, and what your own conscience says of it.

Now, I hold that secret sin, if anything, is the worst of sin; because secret sin implies that the man who commits it has Atheism in his heart. You will ask how that can be. I reply, he may be a professing Christian, but I shall tell him to his face that he is a practical Atheist, if he labours to keep up a respectable profession before man, and then secretly transgresses. Why, is he not an Atheist, who will say there is a God, yet at the same time thinks more of man than he does of God? Is it not the very essence of Atheism—is it not a denial of the divinity of the Most High when men lightly esteem him and think more of the eye of a creature than of the observation of their Creator? There are some who would not for the life of them say a wicked word in the presence of their minister, but they can do it, knowing God is looking at them. They are Atheists. There are some who would not trick in trade for all the world if they thought they would be discovered, but they can do it while God is with them; that is, they think more of the eye of man than of the eye of God; and they think it worse to be condemned by man than to be condemned by God. Call it by what name you will, the proper name of that is practical Atheism. It is dishonoring God; it is dethroning him; putting him down below his own creatures; and what is that, but to take away his divinity? Brethren, do not, I beseech you, incur the fearful guilt of secret sins. No man can sin a little in secret, it will certainly engender more sin; no man can be a hypocrite and yet be moderate in guilt; he will go from bad to worse, and still proceed, until when his guilt shall be published, he shall be found to be the very worst and most hardened of men. Take heed of the guilt of secret sin. AH, now if could I preach as Rowland Hill did, I would make some people look to themselves at home, and tremble too! It is said that when he preached, there was not a man in the window, or standing in the crowd, or perched up anywhere, but said, „There, he is preaching at me; he is telling me about my secret sins.” And when he proclaimed God’s omniscience, it is said men would almost think they saw God bodily present in the midst of them looking at them. And when he had done his sermon, they would hear a voice in their ears, „Can any hide himself in secret places that I cannot see him? saith the Lord. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the Lord.” I would I could do that; that I could make every man look to himself, and find out his secret sin. Come my hearer, what is it? Bring it forth to the daylight; perhaps it will die in the light of the sun. These things love not to be discovered. Tell thine own conscience, now, what it is. Look it in the face; confess it before God, and may he give thee grace to remove that sin and every other, and turn to him with full purpose of heart! But this know—that thy guilt is guilt discovered or undiscovered, and that if there be any difference it is worse, because it has been secret. God save us from the guilt of secret sin! „Cleanse thou me from secret faults.”

IV. And note, next, THE DANGER OF SECRET SIN.

One danger is, that a man cannot commit a little sin in secret, without being by-and-by betrayed into a public sin. You cannot, sir, though you may think you can preserve a moderation in sin. If you commit one sin, it is like the melting of the lower glacier upon the Alps; the others must follow in time. As certainly as you heap one stone upon the cairn to-day, the next day you will cast another, until the heap, reared stone by stone, shall become a very pyramid. See the coral insect at work, you cannot decree where it shall stay its work. It will not build its rock just as high as you please, it will not stay until it shall be covered with weeds, until the weeds shall decay; and there shall be soil upon it, and an island shall be created by tiny creatures. Sin cannot be held in with bit and bridle. „But I am going to have a little drink now and then, I am only going to be intoxicated once a week or so. Nobody will see it; I shall be in bed directly.” You will be drunk in the streets soon. „I am only just going to read one lascivious book; I will put it under the sofa-cover when any one comes in.” You will keep it in your library yet, sir. „I am only going into that company now and then.” You will go there every day, such is the bewitching character of it; you cannot help it. You may as well ask the lion to let you put your head into his mouth. You cannot regulate his jaws: neither can you regulate sin. Once go into it, you cannot tell when you will be destroyed. You may be such a fortunate individual, that like Van Amburgh you may put your head in and out a great many times; reset assured that one of these days it will be a costly venture. Again, you may labour to conceal your vicious habit, but it will come out, you cannot help it. You keep your little pet sin at home; but mark this, when the door is ajar the dog will be out in the street. Wrap him up in your bosom, put over him fold after fold of hypocrisy to keep him secret, the wretch will be singing some day when you are in company; you cannot keep the evil bird still. Your sin will gad abroad; and what is more, you will not mind it some of these days. A man who indulges in sin privately, by degrees gets his forehead as hard as brass. The first time he sinned, the drops of sweat stood on his brow at the recollection of what he had done; the second time, no hot sweat on his brow, only an agitation of the muscle; the third time there was the sly, sneaky look, but no agitation; the next time, he sinned a little further; and by degrees he became the bold blasphemer of his God, who exclaimed, „Who am I that I should fear Jehovah, and who is he that I should serve him?” Men go from bad to worse. Launch your boat in the current—it must go where the current takes it. Put yourself in the whirlwind—you are but a straw in the wind: you must go which way the wind carries you—you cannot control yourself. The balloon can mount, but it cannot direct its course; it must go whichever way the wind blows. If you once mount into sin there is no stopping. Take heed if you would not become the worst of characters, take heed of the little sins, they, mounting one upon another, may at last heave you from the summit and destroy your soul for ever. There is a great danger in secret sins.

But I have here some true Christians who indulge in secret sins. They say it is but a little one, and therefore do they spare it. Dear brethren, I speak to you, and I speak to myself, when I say this—let us destroy all our little secret sins. They are called little and if they be, let us remember that it is the foxes, even the little foxes, that spoil our vines; for our vines have tender shoots. Let us take heed of our little sins. A little sin, like a little pebble in the shoe, will make a traveller to heaven walk very wearily. Little sins, like little thieves, may open the door to greater ones outside. Christians, recollect that little sins will spoil your communion with Christ. Little sins, like little stains in silk, may damage the fine texture of fellowship; little sins, like little irregularities in the machinery, may spoil the whole fabric of your religion. The one dead fly spoileth the whole pot of ointment. That one thistle may seed a continent with noxious weeds. Let us, brethren, kill our sins as often as we can find them. One said—”The heart is full of unclean birds; it is a cage of them.” „Ah, but,” said another divine, „you must not make that an apology, for a Christian’s business is to wring their necks.” And so it is; if there be evil things, it is our business to kill them. Christians must not tolerate secret sins. We must not harbour traitors; it is high treason against the King of Heaven. Let us drag them out to light, and offer them upon the altar, giving up the dearest of our secret sins at the will and bidding of God. There is a great danger in a little secret sin; therefore avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it and shun it; and God give thee grace to overcome it!

V. And now I come, in finishing up, to plead with all my might with some of you whom God has pricked in your consciences. I have come to intreat you, if it be possible, even to tears, that you will give up your secret sins. I have one here for whom I bless God; I love him, though I know him not. He is almost persuaded to be a Christian; he halteth between two opinions; he intendeth to serve God, he striveth to give up sin, but he findeth it a hard struggle, and as yet he knoweth not what shall become of him. I speak to him with all love: my friend, will you have your sin and go to hell, or leave your sin and go to heaven? This is the solemn alternative: to all awakened sinners I put it; may God choose for you, otherwise I tremble as to which you may choose. The pleasures of this life are so intoxicating, the joys of it so ensnaring, that did I not believe that God worketh in us to will and to do, I should despair of you. But I have confidence that God will decide the matter. Let me lay the alternative before you:—on the one hand there is a hour’s merriment, a short life of bliss, and that a poor, poor bliss; on the other hand, there is everlasting life and eternal glory. On the one hand, there is a transient happiness, and afterwards overwhelming woe; in this case there is a solid peace and everlasting joy, and after it overflowing bliss. I shall not fear to be called an Arminian, when I say, as Elijah did, „Choose you this day whom you will serve. If God be God, serve him; if Baal be God serve him.” But, now, make your choice deliberately; and may God help you to do it! Do not say you will take up with religion, without first counting the cost of it; remember, there is your lust to be given up, your pleasure to be renounced; can you do it for Christ’s sake? Can you? I know you cannot, unless God’s grace shall assist you in making such a choice. But can you say, „Yes, by the help of God, earth’s gaudy toys, its pomps, pageantries, gewgaws, all these I renounce?—

„These can never satisfy,
Give me Christ or else I die.”
Sinner, thou wilt never regret that choice, if God help thee to make it; thou wilt find thyself a happy man here, and thrice happy throughout eternity.

„But,” says one, „Sir, I intend to be religious, but I do not hold with your strictness.” I do not ask you to do so; I hope, however, you will hold withGod’s strictness, and God’s strictness is ten thousand times greater than mine. You may say that I am puritanical in my preaching; God will be puritanical in judging in that great day. I may appear severe, but I can never be so severe as God will be. I may draw the harrow with sharp teeth across your conscience, but God shall drag harrows of eternal fire across you one day. I may speak thundering things! God will not speak them, but hurl them from his hands. Remember, men may laugh at hell, and say there is none; but they must reject their Bibles before they can believe the lie. Men’s consciences tell them that

„There is a dreadful hell,
And everlasting pains;
Where sinners must with devils dwell,
In darkness, fire and chains.”

photo source http://www.shimmerzineff.webs.com

Sirs, will ye keep your secret sins, and have eternal fire for them? Remember it is of no use, they must all be given up, or else you cannot be God’s child. You cannot by any means have both; it cannot be God and the world, it cannot be Christ and the devil; it must be one or the other. Oh! that God would give you grace to resign all; for what are they worth? They are your deceivers now, and will be your tormentors for ever. Oh! that your eyes were open to see the rottenness, the emptiness and trickery of iniquity. Oh! that God would turn you to himself. Oh! may God give you grace to cross the Rubicon of repentance at this very hour; to say, „Henceforth it is war to the knife with my sins; not one of them will I willingly keep, but down with them, down with them; Canaanite, Hittite, Jebusite, they shall all be driven out.”

„The dearest idol I have known,
Whate’er that idol be;
Help me to tear it from its throne,
And worship only thee.”
„But oh! sir, I cannot do it; it would be like pulling my eyes out.” Ay, but hear what Christ says: „It were better for thee to enter into life with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire.” „But it would be like cutting my arms off.” Ay, and it would be better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, than to be cast into hell fire for ever. Oh! when the sinner comes before God at last, do you think he will speak as he does now? God will reveal his secret sins: the sinner will not then say, „Lord, I thought my secret sins so sweet, I could not give them up.” I think I see how changed it will be then. „Sir” you say now, „you are too strict;” will you say that when the eyes of the Almighty are glowering on you? You say now, „Sir, you are too precise;” will you say that to God Almighty’s face? „Sir, I mean to keep such-and-such a sin.” Can you say it at God’s bar at last? You will not dare to do it then. Ah! when Christ comes a second time, there will be a marvellous change in the way men talk. Methinks I see him; there he sits upon his throne. Now, Caiaphas, come and condemn him now! Judas! comes and kiss him now! What do you stick at, man? Are you afraid of him? Now, Barrabbas! go; see whether they will prefer you to Christ now. Swearer, now is your time; you have been a bold man; curse him to his face now. Now drunkard; stagger up to him now. Now infidel; tell him there is no Christ now—now that the world is lit with lightning and the earth is shaken with thunder till the solid pillars thereof do bow themselves—tell God there is no God now; now laugh at the Bible; now scoff at the minister. Why men, what is the matter with you? Why, can’t you do it? Ah! there you are; you have fled to the hills and to the rocks—”Rocks hide us! mountains fall on us; hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne.” Ah! where are now your boasts, your vauntings, and your glories? Alas! alas! for you, in that dread day of wonders.

Secret sinner, what will then become of thee? Go out of this place unmasked; go out to examine thyself, go out to bend thy knee, go out to weep, go out to pray. God give thee grace to believe! And oh, how sweet and pleasant the thought, that this day sinners have fled to Christ, and men have been born again to Jesus! Brethren, ere I finish, I repeat the words at which so many have cavilled—it is now, or never, it is turn or burn. Solemnly in God’s sight I say it; if it be not God’s truth I must answer for it in the great day of account. Your consciences tell you it is true. Take it home, and mock me if you will; this morning I am clear of your blood: if any seek not God, but live in sin, I shall be clear of your blood in that day when the watchman shall have your souls demanded of him; oh, may God grant that you may be cleared in a blessed manner! When I went down those pulpit stairs a Sabbath or two ago, a friend said to me words which have been in my mind ever since—”Sir, there are nine thousand people this day without excuse in the day of judgment.” It is true of you this morning. If you are damned, it will be not for want of preaching to you, and it shall not be for want of praying for you. God knoweth that if my heart could break of itself, it would, for your souls, for God is my witness, how earnestly I long for you in the bowels of Christ Jesus. Oh, that he might touch your hearts and bring you to him! For death is a solemn thing, damnation is a horrible thing, to be out of Christ is a dreadful thing, to be dead in sin is a terrific thing. May God lead you to view these things as they are, and save you, for his mercy’s sake! „He that believeth and is baptised shall be saved.”

„Lord, search my soul, try every thought;
Though my own heart accuse me not
Of walking in a false disguise,
I beg the trial of thine eyes.Doth secret mischief lurk within?
Do I indulge some unknown sin?
O turn my feet whene’er I stray,
And lead me in thy perfect way.”

Short Biography:


Charles Haddon (C.H.) Spurgeon (June 19, 1834 January 31, 1892) was a British Reformed Baptist preacher who remains highly influential among Christians of different denominations, among whom he is still known as the „Prince of Preachers.” In his lifetime, Spurgeon preached to around 10,000,000 people, often up to 10 times a week at different places. His sermons have been translated into many languages. Spurgeon was the pastor of the New Park Street Chapel in London for 38 years. In 1857, he started a charity organization called Spurgeon’s which now works globally. He also founded Spurgeon’s College, which was named after him after his death.

Spurgeon was a prolific author of many types of works including sermons, an autobiography, a commentary, books on prayer, a devotional, a magazine, and more. Many sermons were transcribed as he spoke and were translated into many languages during his lifetime. Arguably, no other author, Christian or otherwise, has more material in print than C.H. Spurgeon.

Leonard Ravenhill (15) Însemnat: PENTRU CRISTOS!

Citeste

  1. Leonard Ravenhill (1) Cu orice preţ, căutaţi să aveţi ungerea
  2. Leonard Ravenhill (2) Rugăciunea atinge veşnicia
  3. Leonard Ravenhill (3) La amvoane, ungerea! În popor, strângerea!
  4. Leonard Ravenhill (4) Unde este acum Dumnezeul lui Ilie?
  5. Leonard Ravenhill (5) O trezire într-un cimitir plin cu oase
  6. Leonard Ravenhill (6) Trezirea întârzie… fiindcă…
  7. Leonard Ravenhill (7) Unde sunt predicile acelea înflăcărate?
  8. Leonard Ravenhill (8) Credincioşii necredincioşi
  9. Leonard Ravenhill (9) Se caută: Proroci pentru vremuri de restrişte
  10. Leonard Ravenhill (10) Focul naşte foc!
  11. Leonard Ravenhill (11) De ce atâta nepăsare?
  12. Leonard Ravenhill (12) O biserică dezorientată, într-o lume pierdută!
  13. Leonard Ravenhill (13) Se caută: Un proroc care să predice predicatorilor!
  14. Leonard Ravenhill (14) Un constructor al Împărăţiei

Într-un anumit sens toţi oamenii suntem străini unii faţă de alţii. Chiar şi prietenii nu se cunosc bine unii pe alţii. Căci a cunoaşte pe cineva, înseamnă a-i ştii toate influenţele din izvoarele erediatare şi ale mediului în care a crescut, cât şi nenumăratele hotărâri morale care l-au format ca să ajungă ce este. Deşi nu ne cunoaştem unii pe alţii, urmărind traiectoria vieţii cuiva aflăm învăţături frumoase, în special dacă suntem atenţi la forţele motoare care i-au motivat acţiunile. De pildă, ce mult am câştiga fiecare dacă am simţi şi noi acelaşi clocot de viaţă în Cristos ca Saul din Tars, mai târziu chemat Pavel, dacă am măsura şi noi cât de cât adâncimile ascunse ale cuvintelor sale: „Port în trupul meu semnele Domnului Isus!” (Galateni 6:17).

În legătură cu aceste cuvinte un lucru e sigur: au fost e recunoaştere a faptului că Dumnezeu era stăpân în viaţa lui Pavel. Apostolul Pavel aparţinea în întregime Domnului, cu trupul, sufletul şi duhul său. Era însemnat pentru Cristos! Când el spune că poartă în trupul său rănile, cele cinci răni ale Domnului, nu vorbea de semne ca de genul „stigmatelor” pretinse de Sf. Francis de Assisi în 1224. Nu e vorba de o asemănare exterioară şi o imitaţie a rănilor Mântuitorului, ci o identificare spirituală printr-o răstignire lăuntrică. El fusese „răstignit cu Cristos!” (Galateni 2:20).

Semnele răstignirii sale lăuntrice au fost văzute clar. Întâi de toate, a fost însemnat cu un zel aprins faţă de o ţintă clară! Dacă e adevărat ce spune tradiţia creştină că apostolul Pavel era doar de 1,3 metri înalt, atunci a fost cel mai gigant pitic care a trăit vreodată. A depăşit pe toţi contemporanii săi în rugăciune, în lucru, în zel. Pe firmamentul vieţii lui a fost scris cu litere de foc: „Fac un singur lucru!” (Filipeni 3:13). A fost orb la toate celelalte lucruri în care îşi găseau slava ceilalţi contemporani.

La fel, Calvin a fost luat în râs fiindcă stătea toată ziua şi scria Instituţiile sale, şi n-a scris cu pana lui genială nici măcar un singur rând despre gloriile Alpilor care-l înconjurau. Iar Pascal a fost aspru criticat fiindcă în afară de nemurirea sufletului uman, n-a găsit nici un peisaj în jur la care să-şi oprească privirea. Tot astfel, apostolul Pavel ar putea fi luat în batjocură fiindcă n-a scris nici un cuvânt despre arta greacă sau splendorile Pantheonului. El se izolase în spiritualitate.

După ciocnirea ateniană pe colina lui Marte, apostolul Pavel şi-a vărsat tot dispreţul faţă de înţelepciunea acestei lumi, murind zilnic faţă de ispita de a-i întrece în idei şi în filosofie pe înţelepţii lumii. Misiunea sa nu era să transmită un punct de vedere, ci să biruiască legiunile iadului!

Apoi, apostolul Pavel a fost însemnat cu smerenie. Moliile n-au putut mânca mătasea hainelor lui. N-a pescuit niciodată laude cu momeala umilinţei; ci, dimpotrivă, locul de frunte şi-l alege într-o listă lungă de păcătoşi (acolo unde noi de fapt l-am fi pus cel din urmă). O veche zicătoare galică spunea: Dacă ştii ebraica, greaca şi latina, nu le pune unde le-a pus Pilat, deasupra capului lui Isus, ci pune-le jos, la piciorul crucii! „Lucrurile care erau pentru mine câştiguri, le-am socotit ca o pierdere, din pricina lui Cristos!” spune apostolul Pavel (Filipeni 3:7).

Ce uşurinţă pentru inimă e virtutea aceasta a umilinţei – să fii bucuros că nu ai nimic ce pierde! Neavând o părere înaltă despre sine, Pavel nu s-a temut de cădere! Chiar atunci când se plimbă în hainele scumpe ale broderiilor gândirii evreieşti, în şcoala celui mai vestit dintre rabinii vremii, apostolul Pavel străluceşte fiindcă poartă podoabele acestea în umilinţă şi într-un spirit liniştit.

Apoi, apostolul Pavel a fost însemnat cu suferinţă! Uitaţi-vă la lucrurile pe care le scrie în Romani 8. Necazul, strâmtorarea (probabil, în domeniul minţii), prigonirea (probabil, în domeniul spiritului), foametea, lipsa de îmbrăcăminte, primejdia, sabia (desigur, suferinţe în trup)! De toate acestea a avut parte micul gigant!

Acest evreu rătăcitor a declarat război tuturor lucrurilor care erau în război cu Dumnezeu şi cu fii oamenilor. Acest prinţ al predicatorilor, şi duşmanul său, prinţul iadului, nu şi-au cruţat nici o lovitură, nici o bătălie. Între ei era o luptă pe toate fronturile.

Priviţi cu atenţie la apostolul Pavel! Privirea aceea adâncă, trupul acela plin de cicatrice, figura aceea adusă de spate şi slăbită de foame, uscată de posturi, vlăguită de vergile lictorilor; trupul acela mic, sub loviturile nemiloase ale pietrelor din Listra, înflămânzit în multe alte locuri, cu pielea aceea arsă de soare sau murată timp de treizeci şi şase de ore în Marea Mediterană! Adăugaţi la toate acestea pericole după pericole; înmulţiţi-le cu singurătatea; număraţi o sută nouă zeci şi nouă de lovituri, trei naufragii pe mare, trei bătăi cu nuielele, „omorât” cu pietre, un dosar gros de întemniţări, atâtea „omorâri” că li s-a pierdut şirul. Şi dacă ar putea cineva să le adune pe toate, suma totală ar fi totuşi zero, „nimic”! Fiindcă Pavel însuşi a făcut calculul. Ascultaţi-l ce zice: „Întristările noastre uşoare, de o clipă…” Aşa zic şi eu, nepăsare faţă de suferinţe!

Mai departe, apostolul Pavel a fost însemnat cu pasiune! Numai un om care e în centrul de acţiune al planurilor lui Dumnezeu, numai unul care face echilibristică pe sârma ascultării totale de Dumnezeu, numai un aşa om e în stare să cheme pe Duhul Sfânt ca martor pentru mărturia lui. Şi exact aşa ceva face Pavel la Romani 9:1.

O, dacă am putea din flacăra aceasta să ne tragem noi predicatorii măcar puţină lumină! Bătăile n-au stins flacăra din el! Posturile lungi şi înflămânzirea n-au putut-o omorî! Defăimările şi răstălmăcirile n-au putut s-o stingă! Apele n-au putut s-o înnece, închisorile s-o rupă, primejdiile s-o slăbească, arestările s-o oprească! A ars mereu până în clipa când viaţa i s-a scurs din trup.

Cristos cel viu care trăia în Pavel (Galateni 2:20), manifestându-Se prin pasiunea sufletului său, a fost în acelaşi timp sperietoarea iadului, steagul creşterii Bisericii şi uralele inimii Mântuitorului, care „vedea rodul sufletului Său şi se înviora!”

Şi, apostolul Pavel a fost însemnat cu iubire! Când Pavel a simţit ce înseamnă a fi „în Cristos”, în el s-a dezvoltat capacitatea de a iubi. (Numai o stare de maturitate cunoaşte dragostea). O, şi cum a iubit Pavel! Întâi de toate şi lucrul cel mai important, apostolul Pavel L-a iubit pe Domnul. Apoi i-a iubit pe oameni, pe duşmanii săi, a iubit greutăţile din viaţă, chiar şi suferinţele sufletului său. Cred că a iubit lucrul acesta din urmă în mod special, altfel ar fi neglijat rugăciunea. Dragostea lui Pavel l-a dus la cei pierduţi, la cei mai de jos, la cei din urmă. Ce ţintă nobilă în iubirea sa! Colina lui Marte, cu intelectualii vremii, sinagogile cu feţele religioase cele mai rigoriste, pieţele aglomerate şi pline cu fii risipitori, toate aceste locuri le-a căutat şi le-a străbătut pentru cauza Domnului. Dragostea, ca şi un dinam puternic l-a împins să îndrăznească lucruri mari pentru Dumnezeu. Nu mulţi s-au rugat cum s-a rugat acest bărbat. Poate McCheyne, John Fletcher, marele Brainerd, şi încă puţini câţiva, au cunoscut lucrarea aceasta în care trupul şi sufletul participă intens în rugăciunea de mijlocire sub influenţa iubirii.

Îmi aduc aminte cum am stat lângă autoarea acestor versuri, cântându-i imnul:

Iubirea Ta, Isuse, ne cheamă şi ne strânge
Şi ne trimite-n lume cu harul Tău măreţ,
Lumina celor oropsiţi din noapte şi dispreţ.
O, iată, inima-mi se frânge,
Şi doru-n mine astăzi plânge:
Da, vreau să merg cu orice preţ!

Nu era doar un sentimentalism exprimat frumos. O costaseră închisoare, lipsuri, dureri şi sărăcie!

Charles Wesley mi se pare că se întinde în vârful picioarelor ca să ajungă aşa sus şi să spună: „Nu mai doresc nimic din ale pământului. Tot ce vreau, oh, Doamne, e dragostea Ta în pieptul meu!” Mai recent, Amy Carmichael a rostit rugăciunea dintr-un suflet aprins: „Dă-mi iubirea călăuză pe cărare, Credinţa, cu forţă arzătoare!” Toţi aceştia au umblat pe drumul apostolic al câştigătorilor de suflete.

Cei animaţi de dorinţa să câştige pe alţii la Domnul au avut o dragoste mare de sufletele oamenilor. Toate iubirile mai mărunte au fost cucerite de Iubirea cea mare. Marea iubire faţă de Iubitorul sufletelor lor i-a mânat la lacrimi, la suferinţe, la triumf. Oare în ceasul acesta rău în care trăim, avem noi dreptul să iubim mai puţin?

Să Te iubesc pe Tine, Cerescule Părinte
Punându-Ţi la picioare şi faptele şi gândul;
E dorul meu cel mare, iubirea mea fierbine,
Să nu ne mai despartă nici cerul, nici pământul!
Iubirea croieşte prin flăcări o cărare
Iubirea uşurează poverile amare,
Iubirea şterge lacrimi, iubirea îndrăzneşte,
Iubirea se jertfeşte, iubirea biruieşte!

Fără ca să fi ales ei, milioane de oameni vor fi însemnaţi într-o zi pentru Anticrist. Oare să ne tragem noi înapoi de la cinstea de a purta în sufletul nostru, în gândirea noastră, în duhul nostru, în trupul nostru, semnele Stăpânului, semnele Domnului Isus? Dar oare dorim noi aşa ceva?

A fi „însemnat” înseamnă a purta semnul de rob. Suntem gata să fim însemnaţi – „Pentru Cristos”?

„Eu v-am născut în Cristos Isus, prin Evanghelie!”
Ap. Pavel

„O, frate, roagă-te! În ciuda lui Satana, roagă-te! Stai ore în rugăciune; mai bine neglijează-ţi prietenii, dar nu rugăciunea; mai bine posteşte, uită de cină sau de somn, dar nu de rugăciune. Şi nu trebuie să vorbim despre rugăciune, ci trebuie să ne rugăm cu o dorinţă înfocată. Domnul este aproape. Vine pe nesimţite în timp ce fecioarele aţipesc”.
Andrew A. Bonar

„A fost nevoie de şapte ani
…înainte ca W. Carey să boteze primul convenit în India.
…înainte ca Judson să câştige primul ucenic în Burma.
…de suferinţă pentru Morrison înainte ca primul chinez să fie câştigat la Cristos.
…zice Moffat, că a aşteptat, până ce a văzut primele semne ale lucrării Duhului Sfânt asupra africanilor din Beciuana.
…înainte ca Henry Richards a câştigat primul său convertit, în Benza Manteka”.
A J. Cordon

„Rugăciunea e sângele sufletului!”
George Herbert


 

How to pray for the persecuted Church

from The Barnabas Fund

When we read of the suffering which our brothers and sisters in Christ endure for the sake of His Name, our hearts are moved and we long to bring them before the throne of grace. But sometimes it is difficult to know exactly how to pray, especially if we have never experienced such injustice or persecution ourselves. The Bible tells us that the Church will be persecuted. So if the Lord will continue to allow persecution, what exactly should we ask Him for when we pray about these situations? We hope that the ten points below will be helpful suggestions, under the guidance and prompting of the Holy Spirit.

  1. God that He is all-knowing that in Christ He himself experienced shame, pain and agonising death, as well as the glorious resurrection. Thank Him for His promise: “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Josh 1:5).
  2. Pray that all governments will work for justice and righteousness. While Jesus says that in this world we will have trouble, (John 16.33) He does not say that it will always be present in every place.
  3. Pray that leaders of liberal democracies will use their influence to find ways to reduce, if not end, persecution in countries where it occurs. Just as Paul appealed to Caesar to seek justice (Acts 25), so Christians can appeal to secular governments.
  4. Pray for the growth of the Church where persecution flourishes, remembering that “the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church.”
  5. Pray for strength and courage for those undergoing persecution, and for peace that only God can bring. Thank Him that His grace is sufficient for their needs (2 Cor 12:9). Pray that their faith will not fail, but that their suffering will draw them closer to Him and increase their faith.
  6. Pray that the Holy Spirit will enable persecuted Christians to forgive and love their persecutors (Matt 5:44) and that their Christ-like reactions will have an impact on their persecutors.
  7. Pray that the Lord will be at work in the hearts of those who currently persecute our sisters and brothers to bring them to a saving knowledge of Himself, as He did with Saul of Tarsus (Acts 9).
  8. Thank the Lord for the privilege of entering into the sufferings of our sisters and brothers, remembering that “if one part [of the body] suffers, every part suffers with it” (1 Cor 12:26).
  9. Pray that Christians who are experiencing persecution will not lose the ability to accept or trust genuine approaches from those who have formerly persecuted them, as when the believers in Jerusalem had to learn to accept the reality of Saul’s conversion (Acts 9). Pray that the Lord will give discernment, and relief from unnecessary fears.
  10. Pray for yourself and for persecuted Christians to be spiritually ready for whatever tomorrow brings, be that persecution, respite from suffering or Christ’s return (Matt 24.42).

Persecution watch in Nigeria – it is estimated between 300 – 1,000 already martyred in 2011

Pray for the Church in Nigeria. See article above on How to pray for the persecuted church.

If you have been following international news you already know about all the church bombings and killings being perpetrated on Nigeria’s Christians. Already approx. 100 people have been killed in church bombing  attacks this year. With yet another attack on churches that left 21 people dead just this past Sunday, the 25th of June, 2012 in Kaduna State, some are fearing that Nigeria is sliding into anarchy.

Church bombed June 25, 2012 which killed 21 people – photo http://www.guardian.co.uk

Mission News Network reported today that Nigerian security forces are warning that more violence is coming:

The grim report was confirmed by an e-mail released by the Boko Haram confirming their plans for the coming weeks. In Kaduna and Zaria where churches were bombed last week, a curfew is still in effect.

The United States has imposed sanctions on three people associated with the militant group Boko Haram. It’s a move aimed at disrupting the group’s finances, since it appears the group has gotten both organized and funded since its re-emergence in 2010.

Open Doors reported two thwarted bombings over the weekend. Open Doors President and CEO, Dr. Carl Moeller, explains, „Boko Haram concealed a bomb in a coffin, claiming that it was a corpse. Fortunately, soldiers at a checkpoint insisted on seeing what was inside, and there were bombs in there. The men were arrested.”

In the second attempt, a man was arrested when he masqueraded as someone who was interested in learning about Jesus Christ and to submit his life to Him. The man approached the pastor in the church. While talking, the pastor noticed a bag a few yards away. When he asked the possible convert about the bag, he denied knowing anything about the bag. But after the police discovered that the bag was filled with explosives, the would-be suicide bomber was arrested.

Then, with Sunday came a prison break, a fire fight, and the escape of 40 inmates who are members of Boko Haram. A top radical Islamist sect member blamed for a deadly Christmas Day church bombing in Nigeria was shot and killed by security forces in the fight. However, Habibu Bama’s death may cause more problems than it solves.

Boko Haram released a statement announcing it was happy about Bama’s „martyrdom.” Moeller says, „The jihad declared by Boko Haram is enough to push many of the extremist-influenced Muslims into violence against the Christian community, when you add the component of a martyr–someone who was intentionally sprung from jail this last week. He was killed in the ensuing fight, and that takes it to a whole other level.”

Meanwhile, the Nigerian government fired the West African nation’s security adviser and defense minister.  However, Moeller notes, „The firing of the national security leader in that country is not the worst part of it.” It may have been calculated to keep dialogue open, but the real concern is that they hired a Muslim to replace the outgoing adviser. Moeller says, „Most of the Christians in the country are viewing this appointment as a mistake, because what will the orientation of this new Defense Minister be? Probably oriented to sympathize with a number of the Muslim communities.”

It’s a desperate move as the country continues to battle an insurgency that has cost hundreds their lives and displaced thousands. Militants are increasingly attacking civilians–in particular, Christians, which has inflamed religious tensions in Nigeria’s volatile Middle Belt region.

Despite last week’s reprisal violence, Moeller says by and large, „The only thing that’s maintaining any level of social stability in the country is that the  Christians have not taken on the jihad against them with equal acts of violence.” And yet, „You have a situation where it’s almost untenable for the Christian community to do nothing.”

What can be done? Pray. It’s the first line of defense. „We are calling on Christians to seek God’s face in the midst of this and let God fight the battle for them.”

Moeller goes on to say that there is still a lot of fruit, despite the circumstances. „I just read a report from Operation World that had Nigeria’s Christian church growing at three or four times the population growth. As big as the population growth is in Nigeria, the church is growing at a remarkably rapid pace.”

An Open Doors co-worker is asking for prayer: „We really appreciate your concern and prayers. Continue to pray for us, and don’t get tired. Our office might be among the places which the sect members may aim to attack at any time and any day. Pray that the Lord will deliver us.”

Moeller agrees. „Pray for the Christians in Nigeria. Pray for the peace of the church in Nigeria. Pray for those that would be bombers against the church that they would have a dramatic Damascus Road conversion in some cases, and that testimony would also go out to encourage believers.”

Nigeria is ranked No. 13 on the 2012 Open Doors World Watch List of 50 countries which are the worst persecutors of Christians. According to the World Watch List, Nigeria had at least 300 martyrs in 2011, although the actual number could be closer to 1,000.

Nigerian president says Boko Haram wants to destabilise govt

The mind and heart in search of answers

Ravi Zacharias

Here’s a sample quote Ravi gives in this discussion- „for the scientist who has lived by his faith only in the system, it is going to end like a bad dream. He is going to climb higher and higher and scale the mountains of knowledge and when he reaches the top he will find that he will be greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries.” (from Robert Jastrow– an American astronomer, physicist and cosmologist. He was a leading NASA scientist, populist author and futurist and author of God and the Astronomers)

Dr Louw Alberts: There is a term coined in Dutch philosophy called evolutionism, where you strip the model of all its problems, you just jump over difficulties. You start out with nothing, nothing goes to life and life ultimately ends up with man. That is not science, that is a worldview called evolutionism. That is the problem Christianity will always have with evolutionism, I don’t think it lies with the origin; it lies with the fall because in evolutionism man is the ultimate product of a climbing  curve. According to the Bible man is fallen and needs a Redeemer. In evolutionism you have no room or need for a Redeemer. That’s why it can never come to terms with the Christian Gospel.

Moderator Ellis Andre – Questions about the Christian faith from the perspective of the thinking person:

  • What were Paul’s views on ethnicity?
  • In Hawkings book „A brief history of time” he concludes with a question: What then, place for a Creator? Your comments please?
  • A question on the fall of man; man today is not how he was originally created in the beginning of Genesis
  • The ultimate question: What is the meaning of life?
  • It is often said of the Bible that there was an element of socialism. Did free enterprise coupled with capitalism really work in the Christian congregation in Jerusalem, especially because the church in Jerusalem became really poor (min 26)
  • If the arguments for the faith are so strong why is it that so many people, who are intelligent don’t actually come to God?
  • If there is such demonstrable fine tuning in the universe, is it not reasonable to assume that there could be some validity in  astrology linking our fate in some way to the stars and to the movements of heavenly bodies? (min. 35)
  • On the New Age movement, is it wrong as a Christian to use the techniques of eastern origin religions (two in specific- reflexology and acupuncture)? min 36
  • Justin Martyr said he had tried various systems of philosophy… and ultimately discovered Christianity, what he called the chief, the supreme philosophy. He found the answer, as far as he was concerned. Someone may be in that position today (having heard all the evidences in the day long conference Ravi Z. was part of) wanting to know the ultimate meaning. If there was actually someone like that and they wanted to be a Christian, where would he have to start? How does one actually become a Christian?

Published on Jun 25, 2012 by 

Quotes by Ravi Zacharias from panel discussion

  1. Ravi: „Faith and reason interplay. God has put enough in this world to make faith in Him a reasonable thing, but left enough out to make it impossible to live by sheer reason alone. There is an interplay: It is not faith in nothing or subjectivity; it is the systematic reasoning that God gives to us that says, ‘You’re the one whom I want to lean on’
  2. Ravi: *Robert Jastro in his book „God and the astronomers” says that „for the scientist who has lived by his faith only in the system, it is going to end like a bad dream. He is going to climb higher and higher and scale the mountains of knowledge and when he reaches the top he will find that he will be greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries.
  3. Dr. Louw Alberts: The essence of life is to discover the fullness of God and His interest in me as a person and how that ultimately relates to my family and my fellow man. If someone could convince me there is no God, life would lose all meaning for me immediately.
  4. Dr. David Block: The meaning of life is the yearning to know Him.
  5. Ravi: What I think it takes to find meaning. Every person who says they have meaning has these 4 components- (1)You must have a sense of wonder (2) You need to have the knowledge of truth…just because I find meaning it does not mean it is meaning. It should be within the confines of truth, otherwise LSD in my veins could give me meaning too (3) You have to have the experience of love and (4) The confidence of security. The older you get the more it takes to fill your heart with wonder and only God is big enough to fill that heart with wonder and meaning. God, the perpetual novelty who is the truth, who shares His love and gives you the confidence and victory of hope beyond the grave
  6. Ravi: Who is the God that you are going to in theism? The struggle comes, I think with the multiplicity of options that are both intellectual and emotional. There are millions of people who believe different things. How do we just brush it aside and say it’s wrongheaded? There are 2 or 3 things that need to be interjected here- (1)You can be sure that if God had given 10 different ways to choose, we would have wanted 11. Like the student at Cal Tech who said, „I prefer reincarnation because it gives you a million opportunities against Christianity which gives you one. (2) Second, man does not want to surrender his autonomy. The moment you realize this is the truth, you need to give it (autonomy) up- to give up your own autonomy and self centeredness. The task of the evangelist and the apologist is then is to go proclaim the Gospel and to remove the intellectual obstacles and they can see the problem as being moral and not intellectual. By patience and love we continue to do that.
  7. The tremendous harmony that occurs in this universe, you just can’t conceive of an accident when you hear and see the design that there is.
  8. Ravi Zacharias on astrology: To go to an astral object as somehow controlling my destiny  is to attribute rational thought or a sovereignty of will or power independent of you in your own destiny of spiritual progress. There are aspects of eastern thought that are good and true, but they are not true and good because they are eastern, they are true and good because they come from God. That’s the epistemological base of how you arrive at truth, now applying it to things like yoga and so on… If you go to things like yoga, the discipline of quiet and solitude and reflection are very important, but yoga a la hinduism is assuming your identity with the divine and the chanting of the mantras are an instrumentally efficacious way of bringing you to that point. So the yoga that is eastern in its presuppositions of who you are IS dangerous to dabble with. In fact, they will tell you to start by emptying the mind. There is nothing worse that you can do to start off with your own spiritual journey. Meditation is important: „Upon Thy law will I meditate, o Lord, all day and night I will meditate upon His word”. Things like acupuncture, reflexology, going to the marshall arts and so on, be sure in your mind as you talk to the one giving the treatment, „What is the basis of the healing that he is giving?” If it is just the massage aspect of a muscle in reflexology, then sure there is something innocuous about it. But, if it is built upon the fact that parts of your body are reflective of the parts of the essential divine being and there this communication established in that, then that is false. It is important to establish the rationale for the treatment. And, let us never forget that Saul was staggered to his socks, as was the witch herself, when she was able to retrieve Samuel from the dead. She herself wasn’t expecting it. The Bible is moot on that point, how she was able to bring Samuel back from the dead. I encourage people, stay away from anything that has a hint of a danger intermixed with a lie. The Bible reminds us that we are fulfilled in Christ and satisfied in Him and I believe He has ways of keeping you cleared and to use methods that are biblically sound.
  9. To become a Christian- The first step is honesty. If you’re not ruthlessly honest with your search, you will become smothered with your own deceit. Second step is to take to the Bible and study the Gospel of John. The third encouragement I give you: Each one of us comes with our own baggage. I encourage you along with reading the bible to find a book that will answer these questions for you.

Barfa (o poza = o mie de cuvinte)

Iubire Invinge tot – Facebook via Dany si Mery Sandu

Galateni 5:22-23 ne spune, „Dimpotrivă, roada Duhului este dragostea, bucuria, pacea, îndelunga răbdare, bunătatea, facerea de bine, credincioşia, blândeţea, înfrânarea poftelor.”

Roada Duhului este diametral opusă roadelor naturii păcătoase din Galateni 5:19-21 „Şi faptele firii pământeşti sunt cunoscute, şi sunt acestea: preacurvia, curvia, necurăţia, desfrânarea, închinarea la idoli, vrăjitoria, vrăjbile, certurile, zavistiile, mâniile, neînţelegerile, desbinările, certurile de partide, pizmele, uciderile, beţiile, îmbuibările, şi alte lucruri asemănătoare cu acestea. Vă spun mai dinainte, cum am mai spus, că cei ce fac astfel de lucruri, nu vor moşteni Împărăţia lui Dumnezeu.”

Cititi aceste articole instructive despre vorbirea de rau:

Ma numesc Bârfa,

n-am nici un respect pentru justitie.

Eu ii mutilez pe oameni, dar nu-i ucid. Le rup inimile si le ruinez viata. Sunt vicleana, rautacioasa si cresc in putere cu vârsta. Cu cat vorbesc mai mult, cu atat sunt tot mai crezuta. Victimile mele sunt fara ajutor, nu se pot proteja impotriva mea, caci eu n-am nume si nici fata.

Sa ma darame este imposibil. Cu cat se incearca mai mult sa ma dea jos, cu atat devin mai inselatoare.N-am nici un prieten. De-ndata ce defaimez reputatia cuiva, niciodata nu va mai fi aceeasi ca mai inainte.

Eu rastorn guverne si ruinez casatoriile, distrug carierele oamenilor si aduc nopti albe, dureri de inima si indigestie. Fac pe oamenii nevinovati sa planga pe pernele lor. Numele meu e dispretuit, toti ma numesc Bârfa. Eu produc senzatie la buletinele de stiri, dar si dureri de cap.

Inainte de a repeta o stire, intreaba-te:

E adevarata?
– E nevatamatoare?
– E necesara?

– Daca nu e, n-o spune!

Gabi Lupescu – Sinceritatea

Ioan 8:32 veţi cunoaşte adevărul, şi adevărul vă va face slobozi.

Vesnic, acest cuvant atat de calcat in picioare, ne suna in minte rau sau bine. Aceasta depinde de felul in care ne gaseste si de motivele pentru care suntem constransi ca sa il denaturam. Sa fii sincer in ziua de astazi este pentru cei mai multi o aberatie, adica nu se poate, sau nu trebuie. Vei fi expus sa pierzi totdeauna cand vei fi sincer, aceasta este conceptia celor mai multi despre sinceritate.

Cei mai multi nici nu stiu ce inseamna acest lucru. Am fost si suntem invatati sa nu fim si nici sa nu devenim chiar atat de sinceri ! De cele mai multe ori acest principiu este ocolit, este calcat in picioare si este denaturat.

Oare care sa fie totusi regula dupa care sa folosim acest principiu, daca il pot numi asa, SINCERITATEA ? Ce castigi si ce pierzi atunci cand esti sincer cu tine insuti ? Poate mult, poate putin, sau nimic ! Sinceritatea capata o insemnatate mult mai importanta atunci cind vorbesti despre a fi sincer cu tine insuti. Nu-i asa, prietene ?

Adica sa fii sincer cu tine insuti este nevoia zilei de astazi. A fi sincer cu tine este un pas inainte si in sus. A fi sincer cu tine inseamna sa stii sa devii sincer cu cei de langa tine .

Ce mult se pierde atunci cand acest fel de a ne exprima este denaturat sau folosit altfel de cum trebuie. A nu fi sincer este primul pas spre a spune din ale tale, a nu fi sincer inseamna sa folosesti ceva care inlocuieste adevarul. A nu fi sincer este pentru cei de langa tine de fiecare data o crima care nu se vede dar se simte.

Poate mai mult o moarte sigura dar lenta, atat a ta cat si a celui care te asculta. A nu fi sincer inseamna sa folosesti ceva care este intre “Da, da!” si “Nu, nu!”. A nu fi sincer cu tine astazi, costa mult; atat de mult incat niciodata nu vei putea recupera vesnicia !

De fapt suntem cu toti pe acest pamant rezultatul unei experiente a neascultarii si a nesinceritatii fata de Dumnezeu .

–   Poate ca si tu, cel care citesti aceste randuri ai experimentat in viata ta ce inseamna sa nu fii sincer cu tine insuti. Totusi, nu cred ca atunci cand ti-ai vizitat medicul de familie cu o problema personala ai folosit improvizatii pentru a nu fi sincer. Atunci ai fost sincer cu tine si cu el. Cu totii vrem sa fim tratati cu sinceritate de cei de langa noi. Atunci cand suntem tratati cu nesinceritate experimentam un sentiment amar.

In jurul nostru exista o lume care este tot mai invaluita in misterele neadevarului. Multi oameni spun una si gandesc alta, multi cred una si fac alta, si cei mai multi nu stiu ce inseamna sa fie sincer cu ei insisi. Eu si cu tine suntem chemati sa invatam si sa experimentam zi de zi sinceritatea. Sinceritatea in plan orizontal, in plan vertical si, de ce nu, si in sistemul interior al fiintei noastre. Sa fii sincer cu tine insuti este primul pas spre mai departe …

E nevoie de a spune Adevarul tot mai tare si mai des, atat de mult incat Dumnezeu sa aiba pretutindeni strajeri ai sinceritatii.

Pierdem mult atunci cand nu suntem sinceri cu cei de langa noi, pierdem si atunci cand altii ne trateaza cu nesinceritate : dar pierderea cea mai mare este atunci cand nu stim si nu vrem sa fim sinceri cu noi insine.

Ce este sinceritatea ? Este o atitudine? Este o calitate? Este un principiu?

Doamne, cine va locui în cortul Tau? Cine va locui pe muntele Tau cel sfânt? -Cel ce umbla în neprihanire, cel ce face voia lui Dumnezeu, si spune adevarul din inima.

In ultima generatie vor exista oameni care vor fi sinceri tot mai des si tot mai mult pana cand sinceritatea va deveni pentru acestia un principiu.

Ce este pentru tine sinceritatea, prietene ?

Imi permit sa te provoc la doua experiente in care sinceritatea a fost calcata in picioare .

– Elisei i-a zis: „De unde vii, Ghehazi?” El a raspuns: „Robul tau nu s-a dus nicaieri”. (Ghehazi si Elisei)

– Petru i-a zis: „Spune-mi, cu atât ati vândut mosioara?” „Da”, a raspuns ea, „cu atâta”. (Anania si Safira)

Pentru multi sinceritatea este o problema, o problema mica sau una mare. Tot ce doresc sa se stie astazi este ca fiecare dintre nou va trebui sa stam fata in fata cu nesinceritatea noastra intr-o zi.

Atunci va fi prea tarziu sa mai facem vreo schimbare !

Sa invatam chiar astazi sa fim sinceri cu noi insine ! Maine vom putea fi sinceri cu cei de langa noi! Si, in final, vom putea castiga lupta care este pentru fiecare un examen, si anume ca sinceritatea sa devina pentru noi un principiu .

Cei mai multi nu vor ajunge sa vada pe Dumnezeu, nu pentru ca nu merita aceasta favoare ci pentru ca nu au invatat astazi sa fie sincei cu ei insisi.

Ferice de cei cu inima curata, caci ei vor vedea pe Dumnezeu !

Leonard Ravenhill (14) Un constructor al Împărăţiei

Citeste

  1. Leonard Ravenhill (1) Cu orice preţ, căutaţi să aveţi ungerea
  2. Leonard Ravenhill (2) Rugăciunea atinge veşnicia
  3. Leonard Ravenhill (3) La amvoane, ungerea! În popor, strângerea!
  4. Leonard Ravenhill (4) Unde este acum Dumnezeul lui Ilie?
  5. Leonard Ravenhill (5) O trezire într-un cimitir plin cu oase
  6. Leonard Ravenhill (6) Trezirea întârzie… fiindcă…
  7. Leonard Ravenhill (7) Unde sunt predicile acelea înflăcărate?
  8. Leonard Ravenhill (8) Credincioşii necredincioşi
  9. Leonard Ravenhill (9) Se caută: Proroci pentru vremuri de restrişte
  10. Leonard Ravenhill (10) Focul naşte foc!
  11. Leonard Ravenhill (11) De ce atâta nepăsare?
  12. Leonard Ravenhill (12) O biserică dezorientată, într-o lume pierdută!
  13. Leonard Ravenhill (13) Se caută: Un proroc care să predice predicatorilor!

Dacă pe drumul Damascului Saul s-ar fi întâlnit cu un predicator şi ar fi ascultat o predică, n-am mai fi auzit despre el azi. Dar el s-a întâlnit cu Domnul! (Predicile şi predicatorii pot fi ocoliţi, şi adesea sunt, dar Cristos nu poate fi ocolit). În clipa aceea chiar, în ziua aceea, filosofia lui Pavel despre viaţă s-a întâlnit cu Însăşi Viaţa! Acest zelot religios care sufla foc s-a întâlnit cu Domnul care botează cu foc. De aceea, atunci când Saul s-a convertit, întreaga civilizaţie şi-a schimbat cursul. (O, dacă Ţi-ar place, Doamne, să mai faci odată lucrul acesta!) Deşi în proprii săi ochi, fariseu rigid şi legiuitor fără pată, apostolul Pavel vine curând să mărturisească despre el că e cel dintâi dintre păcătoşi, în ochii lui Dumnezeu. Nici nu e de mirare, căci Pavel fusese pentru biserica în faşă ce fusese Irod pentru Cristosul în faşă – schimbând întunericul de iad într-un şi mai sinistru întuneric.

Omul care are experienţa personală cu Dumnezeu nu e niciodată la cheremul omului care ştie să argumenteze, căci experienţa cu Dumnezeu îl costă ceva, şi deci are o valoare şi o lucrare mare. Ce s-a întâmplat cu Pavel n-a fost un experiment, ci o experienţă. Totuşi, întâlnirea sa cu Cel Sfânt în ziua aceea trebuie să fi fost la fel de înfricoşătoare după cum a fost transformatoare. Pavel a avut viziunea orbitoare a Domnului, cu o strălucire care „întrecea pe a soarelui.” Din clipa aceea Pavel a fost orb faţă de onorurile lumii. „Ştiu că nu mă vor cinsti cei ce nu Te cinstesc pe Tine!” spunea F.W.H. Meyer. Ciocnirea lui Saul cu Domnul Isus Cristos i-a spulberat dintr-odată tot visul lui cu privire la atotputerea imperială a intelectului şi a raţiunii, şi le-a făcut cerşetoare sărăcăcioase. Aşa lovit cum era, Pavel coboară un pas mai jos în focul unei alte încercări cu Dumnezeu, dezbrăcarea şi lepădarea de sine din pustiul Arabiei (despre care buzele lui nici nu au curajul să vorbească!).

Şi undeva, acest constructor al Împărăţiei pentru Dumnezeu, cu intelectul său colosal, cu aliniajul genealogic strălucit, L-a acceptat pe Domnul nu numai în înlocuire, ci şi în identificare. „Am murit cu El”, spune el mai târziu. (Despre acest adevăr noi vorbim doar o mărturie a buzelor. Iar apostolul Pavel afirmă triumfal: „El t-r-ă-i-e-ş-t-e în mine!” Apucaţi, vă rog, acest adevăr cu amândouă mâinile. Dacă am spune şi noi la fel, ar mai râde prietenii noştri de viaţa noastră? Acest om care s-a vândut ca rob al lui Cristos s-a ridicat din cenuşa eului său, ca să fie Samsonul Noului Testament, ridicând din balamale porţile istoriei şi întorcând şuvoiul curaţilor al Calvarului înspre grajdurile murdare ale corupţiei din lume. Binecuvântat om!

După ce a găsit pacea cu Dumnezeu, Pavel a declarat război oricăror lucruri lumeşti. A fermecat intelectualitatea Atenei cu lira dulce a Evangheliei, sfârşindu-şi apoi predica abrupt când a luat trâmbiţa învierii cu care i-a împrăştiat pe atenienii speriaţi şi pârjoliţi de acest adevăr.

Dar ce l-a făcut pe acest om să râdă în faţa stâncilor încruntate ale piedicilor din Asia? De ce a fost nevoie „să moară în fiecare zi”? Ce motiv e în spatele listei fără pereche a necazurilor sale (2 Corinteni 11)? De unde şi-a luat el raţiunea explicaţiei că trebuie să ducă o sarcină mai mare decât alţii pe umeri? Răspunsul nu e din ghicite sau din imaginaţie, ci din jurnalul bine ţinut al sufletului său. Clătinându-se de slăbiciune, are puterea să mai spună: „Nu eu ci Cristos trăieşte în mine!” (Galateni 2:20). Subliniaţi expresia! Aici Pavel nu declară credinţa lui în naşterea din fecioară, nici credinţa lui în învierea Domnului din morţi, deşi credea toate acestea, dar spune: „Cristos trăieşte în mine!” Din prăpastia ameţitoare a corupţiei („Nu mai sunt eu… ci păcatul care locuieşte în mine!” Romani 7:17), el se ridică şi exclamă de pe înălţimea spiritualităţii: „Nu mai trăiesc eu… ci Cristos trăieşte în mine!” (Galateni 2:20). Minunată transformare!

Viaţa apostolului Pavel a fost o viaţă exemplară. El n-a fost un semnalizator ci o călăuză. Ascultaţi-l: „Ce aţi învăţat, ce aţi primit şi auzit de la mine, şi ce aţi văzut în mine, faceţi!” (Filipeni 4:9). Cu adevărat, a fost o „epistolă vie”!

Viaţa apostolului Pavel a fost o viaţă excepţională. Cine ar fi atât de neghiob să afirme că zelul şi abnegaţia apostolului Pavel sunt şi ale noastre? Oare nu se potriveşte mai degrabă la noi expresia cealaltă: „Fiecare caută folosul său”? A fost excepţional faptul că a scris atât de multe epistole şi a înfiinţat aşa multe biserici. Dar citiţi încă odată lista din 2 Corinteni 11. Oare încearcă el să sufere mai mult decât martirii, sau îşi etalează meritele ca să fie pus pe lista sfinţilor? Nicidecum! Cinste, prestigiu, locuri, merite, privilegii, sunt toate pentru apostolul Pavel un gunoi fată de preţul mare de a-L cunoaşte pe Cristos Isus, şi ca prin ascultarea de El să fie găsit în El. Da, a fost excepţional în suferinţele îndurate (alţii i le-au ales). Dar a fost totodată excepţional în rugăciune (a fost alegerea lui personală). Dacă mai mulţi credincioşi ar fi tari în rugăciune, mai mulţi ar avea tărie în suferinţe. Rugăciunea dezvoltă oasele şi muşchii, tendoanele şi sfinţenia, tăria şi focul.

Apostolul Pavel Îl numeşte pe Duhul Sfânt martor în afirmaţia sa că ar vrea mai bine să fie el „anatema” pentru fraţii săi (Romani 9:3). Doamna Guyon a făcut o rugăciune asemănătoare. Brainerd şi John Knox au fost oameni supuşi aceleaşi pasiuni. Când, fraţilor, am mai auzit noi asemenea rugăciuni la orele noastre de rugăciune? Nu putem avea rezultate mari din rugăciunile noastre mici! Legea rugăciunii este legea secerişului: cine seamănă puţin în rugăciune, seceră puţin; cine seamănă mult în rugăciune, seceră mult. Necazul e că noi încercăm să culegem din eforturile noastre ce n-am pus în ele.

Apoi, apostolul Pavel a trăit o viaţă de expansiune. Mulţi dintre noi, vai, ne mulţumim cu fărâmiturile ce rămân din munca altor lucrători ai Evangheliei. Dar apostolul Pavel n-a vrut să clădească pe temelia pusă de alţii (1 Corinteni 3:10), fiindcă n-a lăsat să i se sclerozeze gândirea în dogme reci care să-l transforme într-o maşină eclesiastică şi să rumege mistere metafizice. N-a stat să piardă ore în şir căutând speculaţii la chipul din vedenia lui Daniel. Nici nu s-a ascuns într-un laborator teologic să disece adevărul, să pună etichete pe fiole teologice, nici nu s-a bătut pe umăr pentru limbajul elegant pe care l-a inspirat în credeurile de mai târziu. Motivul e clar ca lumina soarelui.

Apostolul Pavel nu se apucă să scrie ”Viaţa lui Cristos”; în schimb, a demonstrat-o prin faimosul său „Eu sunt dator!” (Romani 1:14). Ca şi cum ar fi fost omeneşte posibil, apostolul Pavel îşi pune toată strădania sub jurământ solemn, să plătească acea datorie. Preţul poate fi închisoarea, căci mai bine pentru câţiva ani să fie „întemniţat al lui Isus Cristos” decât să ştie că semenii săi vor sta în temniţele iadului pe veci. Pavel era hotărât să trăiască o viaţă de deplină şi totală consacrare. „De acum încolo nimeni să nu mă mai necăjească!” (Galateni 6:17). Pavel s-a vândut pe sine lui Dumnezeu. Fiecare bătaie a inimii lui, fiecare gând al minţii, fiecare pas al picioarelor, fiecare dor al sufletului, toate sunt pentru Cristos şi mântuirea oamenilor. A înfuriat sinagogile, a aprins mulţimile, a iscat treziri şi răscoale, fie una fie cealaltă şi uneori amândouă. (Noi se pare că n-avem niciuna!).

Chiar când tovarăşii de lucru l-au părăsit – „toţi m-au părăsit” (2 Timotei 4:16), el s-a lăsat în „braţele atotputernice” şi a mers mai departe. A scăpat din complotul asasinărilor; dar cu pâinea zilnică trăia o moarte zilnică, căci însuşi mărturiseşte: „În fiecare zi ea sunt în primejdie de moarte!” (1 Corinteni 15:31). Magnifică i-a fost obsesia!

Roadele Duhului erau deasupra lui Pavel; darurile Duhului lucrau prin. el. Ţinea evanghelizări urbane în timp ce cârpea corturi ca să-şi poată plăti cheltuielile. Fraţi predicatori, nu semănăm noi oare cu nişte găinuşe pipernicite faţă de vulturul de Pavel? Uneori, aproape să moară de foame, şi totuşi când avea masa întinsă postea. Tuturora le dădea binecuvântarea sa, iar el pe sine aproape că se dorea anatema. Cu viaţa sa revoluţionară şi teologia sa de baricade, s-a lăsat să fie spectacol, să fie o „privelişte înaintea oamenilor”. „Oamenii aprinşi de un foc lăuntric al Duhului sunt oglinda umană a atomului care atunci când e spart declanşează energii cosmice!”

Apostolul Pavel transformat, transportat, şi gata să fie transplantat, ne destăinuie că şi noi putem ajunge ca el. Ascultaţi-l ce spune în faţa lui Agripa: „Să dea Dumnezeu ca nu numai tu, ci toţi cei ce mă ascultă astăzi, să fiţi aşa cum sunt eu, afară de lanţurile acestea” (Faptele Apostolilor 26:29). Nu spune că ar vrea ca toţi să scrie cum a scris el. Nu spune că ar vrea ca toţi să înfiinţeze biserici ca el. Pavel nu spune „cum am făcut eu”, ci „cum sunt eu!” (1 Corinteni 7:7). Duhul care l-a umplut pe Pavel ne poate umple şi pe noi, ca şi, la fel ca el, să ne identificăm cu Cristos în jertfă, dacă nu în slujire.

Unde se va sfârşi lucrarea aceasta pentru tine, fratele meu? Nu ştiu. (Nici îngerii nici oamenii nu ştiu). Dar unde a început ştim, în trăirea vieţii de înlocuire, prin care nu mai trăim noi, ci Cristos trăieşte în noi. Apostolul Pavel a trăit glorios şi a murit triumfător pentru că în jertfă şi în suferinţă s-a identificat cu Domnul. La fel putem şi noi să trăim şi să murim, numai să vrem!

„Singura credinţă mântuitoare este credinţa care se aruncă în braţele lui Dumnezeu fie pentru viaţă fie pentru moarte”.
Martin Luther

„Iată de ce, la fiecare cotitură a istoriei unde Biserica lui Cristos a fost purtată de câte un val de trezire înapoi la realitatea chemării şi la consacrarea deplină, mii de bărbaţi şi femei l-au redescoperit pe apostolul Pavel, şi s-au inspirat din muzica predicilor sale”.
Dr. J. S. Stewart

„Inimile fără lacrimi nu vor fi în stare niciodată să poarte mesajul Crucii”.
Dr. J. H. Jowett

Best Photos – Me and my pickup truck

photo source http://www.heartlight.org

Psalm 23 for the digital age (very inventive)

Uploaded by  on Jun 29, 2011

Also known as the computer geek’s version (author unknown) of the beloved Psalm 23. For the purpose of this visual presentation, I have opted to re-edit this version slightly, replacing ‘bugs’ for ‘threats’ & changing the line ‘He prepares a menu before me’ with ‘He sets up a firewall before me’

Psalm 23

A psalm of David.

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
    He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
    he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,[a]
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely your goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
forever.

A.W. Tozer Sermon – God’s Great Promise to His Church

Published on Jun 11, 2012 by  A.W. Tozer Sermon – God’s Great Promise to His Church- A.W. Tozer sermon playlist: http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=66987CD6E419E258

http://www.sermonaudio.com

Acts 24 and Luke 1

Aiden Wilson Tozer was born April 21, 1897, on a small farm among the spiny ridges of Western Pennsylvania. Within a few short years, Tozer, as he preferred to be called, would earn the reputation and title of a „20th-century prophet.”
Able to express his thoughts in a simple but forceful manner, Tozer combined the power of God and the power of words to nourish hungry souls, pierce human hearts, and draw earthbound minds toward God.
When he was 15 years old, Tozer’s family moved to Akron, Ohio. One afternoon as he walked home from his job at Goodyear, he overheard a street preacher say, „If you don’t know how to be saved . . . just call on God.” When he got home, he climbed the narrow stairs to the attic where, heeding the preacher’s advice, Tozer was launched into a lifelong pursuit of God.
In 1919, without formal education, Tozer was called to pastor a small storefront church in Nutter Fort, West Virginia. That humble beginning thrust him and his new wife Ada Cecelia Pfautz, into a 44-year ministry with The Christian and Missionary Alliance.
Thirty-one of those years were spent at Chicago’s Southside Alliance Church. The congregation, captivated by Tozer’s preaching, grew from 80 to 800.
In 1950 Tozer was elected editor of the Alliance Weekly now called Alliance Life. The circulation doubled almost immediately. In the first editorial dated June 3, 1950, he set the tone: „It will cost something to walk slow in the parade of the ages while excited men of time rush about confusing motion with progress. But it will pay in the long run and the true Christian is not much interested in anything short of that.”

Tozer’s forte was his prayer life which often found him walking the aisles of a sanctuary or lying face down on the floor. He noted, „As a man prays, so is he.” To him the worship of God was paramount in his life and ministry. „His preaching as well as his writings were but extensions of his prayer life,” comments Tozer biographer James L. Snyder. An earlier biographer noted, „He spent more time on his knees than at his desk.”
Tozer’s love for words also pervaded his family life. He quizzed his children on what they read and made up bedtime stories for them. „The thing I remember most about my father,” reflects his daughter Rebecca, „was those marvelous stories he would tell.”
Son Wendell, one of six boys born before the arrival of Rebecca, remembers that, „We all would rather be treated to the lilac switch by our mother than to have a talking-to by our dad.”
Tozer’s final years of ministry were spent at Avenue Road Church in Toronto, Canada. On May 12, 1963, his earthly pursuit of God ended when he died of a heart attack at age 66. In a small cemetery in Akron, Ohio, his tombstone bears this simple epitaph: „A Man of God.”
Some wonder why Tozer’s writings are as fresh today as when he was alive. It is because, as one friend commented, „He left the superficial, the obvious and the trivial for others to toss around. . . . [His] books reach deep into the heart.”
His humor, written and spoken, has been compared to that of Will Rogers–honest and homespun. Congregations could one moment be swept by gales of laughter and the next sit in a holy hush.
For almost 50 years, Tozer walked with God. Even though he is gone, he continues to speak, ministering to those who are eager to experience God. As someone put it, „This man makes you want to know and feel God.”

The last letter that John Wesley wrote was to William Wilberforce + 1 more (letter)

There has always been a dividing line within the protestant church as to whether as Christians we ought to be politically involved or not. I came across this letter recently and thought it might be of interest noting that it was the last letter to be written by Wesley before he died.

(via) The United Methodist Church or www.umcmission.org

Letter to William Wilberforce

The last letter that John Wesley wrote was to William Wilberforce, a man who had been converted under Wesley’s ministry and who was a member of Parliament. The letter concerns his opposition to slavery and encouragement for Wilberforce to take action for change. Parliament finally outlawed England’s participation in the slave trade in 1807. The year 2007 marked the 200th anniversary of the the abolition of British-US slave trade.1

Balam, February 24, 1791

Dear Sir:
Unless the divine power has raised you us to be as Athanasius contra mundum,2 I see not how you can go through your glorious enterprise in opposing that execrable villainy which is the scandal of religion, of England, and of human nature. Unless God has raised you up for this very thing, you will be worn out by the opposition of men and devils. But if God before you, who can be against you? Are all of them together stronger than God? O be not weary of well doing! Go on, in the name of God and in the power of his might, till even American slavery (the vilest that ever saw the sun) shall vanish away before it.

Reading this morning a tract wrote by a poor African, I was particularly struck by that circumstance that a man who has a black skin, being wronged or outraged by a white man, can have no redress; it being a „law” in our colonies that the oath of a black against a white goes for nothing. What villainy is this?

That he who has guided you from youth up may continue to strengthen you in this and all things, is the prayer of, dear sir,

Your affectionate servant,
John Wesley

Notes

1. Charles Yrigoyen, Jr. John Wesley: Holiness of Heart and Life, p. 56.
2. „Athanasius arrayed against the world.”

The graphic of John Wesley writing his letter to William Wilberforce was scanned from A. B. Hyde, The Story of Methodism Throughout the World (Springfield, MA: Willey & Co., 1889), p. 237. and is in the public domain.

John Wesley

A remarkable letter from the founder of Methodism via http://www.rain.org/
You can click on this link  The Karpeles Manuscript Library and see a letter Wesley wrote that is housed in the Karpeles private Library. Here a the tidbits the site offers in the form of quotes from his letter, I especially like the quote where Wesley states that „everyone has a right to think for himself….”:

This is an example of how the study of ones letters allows us to probe deeply into the thoughts and ideas of the world’s great personalities:”…..two must go to Quarrel; & I declare to you I will not be the one……””…..O beware of bigotry! Of an undue attachment to opinions or phrases!….”

„…..Christ is heightening, justifying, sanctifying weighing the believing Lord…..”

„…..we tasted each others spirits & after took sweet counsel together…..”

„…..I think and let think…..”

„…..everyone has the right to think for himself & (in some sense) to speak for himself, I mean, to use any mode of expression which appears to him most agreeable to Scripture…..”

Evidently at one time this letter was almost lost by fire (natural or otherwise?!)

See Wesley’s letter here.

Gabi Lupescu – Pasaje Biblice care dau viata

PAGIN Gabi Lupescu PREDICI aici

B I B L I A , este un balsam pentru suflet,trup si duh !

Cand vrei pace: Romani 5:1,2; Ioan 14
Cand totul merge dupa dorinta ta: Psalmul 33; 1 Timotei 6; Iacov 2:1-17.
Cand incepi un lucru nou: Psalm 1; Proverbe 12; Matei 5:13-16; Romani 12:1-2; Galateni 5:13-26; Efeseni 1:3-14;
Cand esti ingrijorat despre membrii familiei tale: Psalm 121; Isaia 40;
Cand esti descujarat: Psalmul 23; 42; 43
Cand ti se maresc greutatile: 2 Timotei 3; Evrei 13
Cand prietenii te parasesc: Matei 5; 1 Corinteni 13
Cand vin ispitele: Psalmul 15; 19; 139; Matei 4; Iacov 1.
Cand totul ti se pare coplesitor: Psalmul 34; 71.
Cand nu poti dormi: Psalmul 4; 56; 130.
Cand ai avut o cearta de cuvinte cu cineva: Matei 18; Efeseni 4; Iacov 4.

Cand esti impovarat: Psalmul 75:1-7; Matei 11:28-30.
Cand vrei iertare: Luca 15; Filimon.
Cand esti bolnav sau in dureri: Psalmul 6; 39; 41; 67; Isaia 26.
Cand ti se pare ca Dumnezeu este prea departe: Psalmul 25; 125; 138; Luca 10.
Cand te simti singur si nesigur: Psalmul 27; 91; Luca 8.
Cand iti este frica de moarte: Ioan 11; 17; 20; 2 Corinteni 5.
Cand ai pacatuit: Psalmul 51; Isaia 53; Ioan 3; 1 Ioan 1.
Viitorul ti se pare fara nici o nadejde: 1 Corinteni 15:20-28; 1 Petru 1:1-9; 1 Petru 5:10-11; Apocalipsa 11:15-19;
Cauti sa intelegi voia lui Dumnezeu: Romani 12:1-3; Efeseni 5:15-17; Coloseni 1:9-14; Iacov 1:5-8;
Ai nevoie de mangaiere: 2 Corinteni 1:3-7; 2 Corinteni 7:6-13;
Altii nu gandesc la fel ca tine: Matei 7:1-5; Romani 12:9-21; Romani 14:1-15: 7; 2 Corinteni 5:11-21;
Te simti ademenit de lume: 2 Corinteni 6:14-7:1; Iacov 1:26-27; Iacov 4:4-10; 1 Ioan 2:15-17;
Ai nevoie de siguranta mantuirii: Ioan 3:14-21; Ioan 11:25-26; Fapte 16:31-34; 1 Ioan 5:9-13
Altii au pacatuit impotriva ta: Matei 6:14-15; Matei 18:21-35; Coloseni 3:12-14; Iacov 2:12-13;

Esti ispitit de amaraciune: 1 Corinteni 13; Efeseni 4:29-5:2; Evrei 12:14-15;
Esti ispitit sa neglijezi inchinarea in biserica: Fapte 2:42-47; Evrei 10:19-25;
Ai nevoie sa fii intarit in credinta: Romani 5:1-11; 1 Corinteni 9:24-27; Evrei 10:19-25; 35-39; Evrei 11:1-12:13;
Ai nevoie sa-ti stapanesti limba: Matei 15:1-20; Iacov 3:1-12;
Esti inclinat sa-i judeci pe altii: Matei 7:1-5; 1 Corinteni 4:1-5; Iacov 2:1-13; Iacov 4:11-13;
Ai fost inselat: Matei 18:15-17; 1 Corinteni 6:1-8; Iacov 5:1-8;
Lucrurile merg bine: Luca 12:13-21; 1 Timotei 6:3-19; Evrei 13:5; Iacov 2:1-17;
Nu-ti cunosti darurile duhovnicesti: Romani 8; 1 Corinteni 1:4-9; 1 Corinteni 11:1-14; 25; 1 Petru 4:7-11;
Ai o functie de raspundere: Marcu 10:35-45; Luca 7:1-10; 1 Corinteni 16:13-14; Galateni 6:9-10;
Cand iti intemeiezi o familie: Efeseni 5:22-6:4; Coloseni 3:18-21; 1 Petru 3:1-7;
Te-ai certat cu cineva: 1 Corinteni 3; Efeseni 4:1-6, 4; 15-5: 2; 2 Timotei 2:14-26; Iacov 4:1-12;

Te simti atacat de fortele intunericului: Romani 8:38-39; 2 Corinteni 4:7-18; Efeseni 6:10-18; 2 Timotei 4:6-7;
Esti invidios: Galateni 5:13-15; 19-21; Iacov 3:13-18;
Te lupti cu trandavia: Efesni 5:15-16; Filipeni 2:12-13; 1 Tesaloniceni 4:1-12; 2 Tesaloniceni 3:6-15;
Te lupti cu poftele: Matei 5:27-30; Romani 7:7-25; Romani 13:8-14; Iacov 1:13-18;
Esti manios: Matei 21:22; Matei 18:21-35; Efeseni 4:25-5:2; Iacov 1:13-18;
Esti dornic de razbunare: Matei 5:38-42; Romani 12:17-21; 1 Tesaloniceni 5:12-15; 1 Petru 3:8-14;
Esti mandru: Matei 25:34-40; Marcu 10:35-45; Romani 12:3; Filipeni 2:1-11;
Te lupti sa scapi de robia vreunui viciu: Romani 6:1-23; Romani 12:1-2; 1 Corinteni 6:13-20; Filipeni 3:17-4:1;
Esti lacom: Luca 12:13-21; 2 Corinteni 9:6-15; Efeseni 5:3-7; 1 Ioan 3:16-18;
Vrei sa inveti sa te rogi: Matei 6:5-15; Marcu 11:22-25; Luca 18:9-14; Filipeni 4:4-7;
Te lupti cu nepasarea: Matei 25:1-13; Luca 12:35-48; 1 Tesaloniceni 5:1-11; Apocalipsa 3:1-6; 14-22;

„…Cuvintele pe care vi le-am spus Eu sunt duh si viata !”.

(Ioan.6:63)

Minunate Cantari – Gabi si Marinela Lupescu – Trandafirul din Saron + 2 more

Cititi articole scrise de Gabi Lupescu:

sursa pozei http://www.sidewalkshoes.com

Trandafiul din Saron – Marinela Lupescu

Lacrimi, plâns și durere! – Gabi Lupescu

Mulți din lumea asta mare!

David Platt – „Success is found in the faithfulness to the Bible”

English: Photo of David Platt at a Secret Chur...

English: Photo of David Platt at a Secret Church event, The Church at Brook Hills, Birmingham, AL (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Uploaded by  on Sep 28, 2011 via http://cp4us.org/2012/06/05/video-david-platt-on-the-nations-and-the-american-dream/

The Modernist Preacher – Entering Hell By Oscar C. Eliason, c1960

Read another poem and Eliason’s life story in a previous post here

The Modernist Preacher-Entering Hell

by Oscar C. Eliason

He was an ordained minister, but modern in his views.
He preached his twisted doctrines to people in the pews.
He would not hurt their feelings, whate’er the cost would be,
But for their smiles and friendship and compliments sought he.
His church was filled with wicked souls that should be saved from sin,
But never once he showed the way or tried a soul to win.
He preached about the lovely birds that twitter in the trees,
The babl’ing of the running brooks, the murm’ring of the seas.

He quoted fancy poetry that tickled list’ning ears
When sorrow came to some, he tried to laugh away their tears.
His smooth and slipp’ry sermons made the people slide to hell.
The harm he did by preaching goes beyond what we can tell.
He took our Holy Bible, and preached it full of holes,
The Virgin Birth, said he can’t be believed by honest souls,
The miracles of Jesus and the resurrection tale
For educated ones like us, today, cannot avail.
We’re living in an age, said he, when wisdom rules and reigns,
When man’s intelligence is great and superstition wanes.

He said, we’re all God’s children who live upon this earth,
No message of salvation, no need of second birth.
His coat was bought with money that he had wrongly gained,
For through his twisted sermons his wealth he had obtained.
He was just like the Roman soldiers that watched at Jesus’ grave,
For money in abundance, to them, the people gave;
It all was theirs by telling what was a sinful lie –
A resurrected Savior, they, too, were to deny.

The day at last had come for the minister to die,
When to his congregation, he had to say good-bye.
His form lay cold and lifeless, his ministry was past,
His tongue with all its poison was hushed and stilled at last.
His funeral was grand; he was lauded to the skies-
They preached him into heaven where there are no good-byes.
Upon the lonely hill, underneath the shady trees,
His form was laid to rest in the whisp’ring of the breeze.

A tombstone was erected with words: „He is at rest,
He’s gone to heaven’s glories to live among the blest.”
His body now is lifeless, but Ah! His soul lives on,
He failed to enter in where they thought that he had gone.
The letters on the tombstone or that sermon some had heard,
Could not decide his destiny, ‘twas not the final word.
He still had God to deal with, the one who knows the heart;
While others entered heaven, he heard the word, „Depart.”

He pauses for a moment upon the brink of hell;
He stares into a depth where he evermore will dwell.
He hears the cries and groanings of souls he had misled,
He recognizes faces among the screaming dead.
He sees departed deacons which he had highly praised.
Their fingers pointing at him as they their voices raised:
„You stood behind the pulpit, and lived in awful sin,
We took you for a saint, but a liar you have been.”
Accusing cries! He hears them, „Ah! You have been to blame,
You led us into darkness when you were seeking fame.”

„You preached your deadly doctrine, we thought you knew the way.
We fed you and we clothed you, we even raised your pay.
You’ve robbed us of a home where no tear-drops ever flow,
Where days are always fair and the heav’nly breezes blow.
Where living streams are flowing, and saints and Angels sing,
Where every one is happy, and Hallelujahs ring.
We’re in this place of torment, from which no soul returns;
We hear the cry of lost ones, we feel the sizzling burns;
Give us a drop of water, we’re tortured in this flame;
You failed to preach salvation to us through Jesus’ Name.”

The preacher turns in horror, he tries to leave the scene,
He knows the awful future for every soul unclean,
But there he meets the devil, whom he has served so well,
He feels the demon powers as they drag him into hell.
Throughout eternal ages, his groans, too, must be heard-
He, too, must suffer torment-he failed to heed God’s Word.
He feels God’s wrath upon him, he hears the hot flames roar,
His doctrine now is different, he ridicules no more.

By Oscar C. Eliason, c1960

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