~~Alexander Hamilton to John Laurens, August 15, 1782
"Behold, I send My messenger,
And he will prepare the way before Me.
And the LORD, whom you seek,
Will suddenly come to His temple,
Even the Messenger of the covenant,
In whom you delight.
Behold, He is coming,"
Says the LORD of hosts.
"But who can endure the day of His coming?
And who can stand when He appears?
For He is like a refiner's fire
And like launderers' soap.
He will sit as a refiner and a purifier of silver;
He will purify the sons of Levi,
And purge them as gold and silver,
That they may offer to the LORD
An offering in righteousness.
Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem
Will be pleasant to the LORD,
As in the days of old,
As in former years."
... "Your words have been harsh against Me,"
Says the LORD,
"Yet you say,
'What have we spoken against You?'
You have said,
'It is useless to serve God;
What profit is it that we have kept His ordinance,
And that we have walked as mourners
Before the LORD of hosts?
So now we call the proud blessed,
For those who do wickedness are raise up;
They even tempt God and go free.'"
Malachi 3:1-4, 13-15
"‘And it shall come to pass in all the land,’ says the LORD, ‘that two thirds in it shall be cut off and die, but one third shall be left in it: I will bring the one-third through fire, will refine them as silver is refined, and test them as gold is tested. They will call on My name, and I will answer them. I will say, "This is My people," and each one will say "The LORD is my God.’"
Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls. You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin. And You have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons:
"My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD,
Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him;
For whom the LORD loves He chastens,
And scourges every son whom He receives."
If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection tot the Father of spirits and live?
For indeed for a few days they chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness. Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed. Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiles; lest there be any fornicator or profane person like Esau, who for one morsel of food sold his birthright. For you know that afterward, when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought it diligently with tears.
You have dealt well with Your servant,
O LORD, according to Your word.
Teach me good judgment and knowledge,
For I believe Your commandments.
Before I was afflicted I went astray,
But now I keep Your word.
You are good, and do good;
Teach me Your statutes.
The proud have forged a lie against me,
But I will keep Your precepts with my whole heart.
Their heart is as fat as grease,
But I delight in Your law.
It is good for me that I have been afflicted,
That I may learn Your statutes.
The law of Your mouth is better to me
Than thousands of coins of gold and silver.
"Then those who feared the LORD spoke to one another,
And the LORD listened and heard them;
So a book of remembrance was written before Him
For those who fear the LORD
And who meditate on His name.
'They shall be Mine,' says the LORD of hosts,
'On the day that I make them My jewels.
And I will spare them
As a man spares his own son who serves him."
Then you shall again discern
Between the righteous and the wicked,
Between the one who serves God
And one who does not serve Him.
For those of you who may have taken the time (about 30 minutes) to watch the video I posted a while back ago, you may remember that I pointed out that one of the speakers heard from was Paris Reidhead, who in his younger years, served as a missionary to the African nation of Sudan, in the early half of the 20th century. The selection in the video (which is called "The Revival Hymn") was from his most famous sermon "Ten Shekels and a Shirt," preached in the mid-1960s at Bethany Fellowship Summer Conference. He himself described how he was led to preach what he preached:
I remember praying, "This morning I am utterly cast upon You because I am not really prepared." In my heart I seemed to hear His response, "Well is that so bad, already" (being from New York City it was given in a idiom I would understand.)I would encourage you to listen to the full audio of this sermon, or to read the text. He preached it forty years ago, but it is still all too relevant today. God is speaking to the Church of Christ in America today -- by and large, it is the message that He gave to the Church in Laodicea -- and His message hasn't changed.
I delivered the message and gave an invitation. Shortly the altar across the front of the auditorium was filled with broken people seeking God.
The summer conference was soon over and I returned to New York City and the ministry there.
About ten years later, one of the Bethany Fellowship staff was in Washington, D.C., where we had moved and from where we still minister. His word was, "Paris, I want to tell you that God has repeatedly used your messages, but the exact message itself was preached only that once.
A week or two later Harry Conn from Rockford, Illinois was in Washington. He invited me to have dinner with him. In the course of the meal he said, "I buy that message of yours 'Ten Shekels and a Shirt' by the dozen to give people. God is really using it in lives." My response was that if you have a copy, I would like to have it sent to me so that I can find out what it is I have said. In a few days the cassette arrived.
Since I don't have a tape player in my office, I put the tape into the Sony dictating machine on my desk and listened through the little playback on the hand-held microphone. The element of distance in terms of time, and the distorted sound through the miniature speaker, let me listen to the message with no real awareness of who was speaking. From time to time I felt like exclaiming, "That's right! I wish I had said that!"
Then it dawned on me that it was my voice, but God was speaking through me. I realized that on a Tuesday morning during a summer conference, God had been able to get His message across because of my utter and complete helplessness. Here it is, just as the Lord gave it.
Paris Reidhead (How Ten Shekels and a Shirt Came to Be)
And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write,The history of Laodicea sheds considerable light on this passage. It was one of the most wealthy and prosperous cities in the Lycus Valley of Asia Minor (Turkey). The prosperous trades of banking, textile manufactures, and eye salve had made the city dwellers feel secure in their wealth and prosperity. The Church in Laodicea had also settled into the apethy of momentary material security, as this letter to the church indicates. How notable it is, that of the seven churches whom Jesus addressed in this first portion of Revelation, Laodicea receives no praise from Christ in any way. They had become so secure in their wealth, and so distracted by pleasure, that Christ no longer meant anything to them, other than as a religious appendage to their lives.
"These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God:
'I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. Because you say, "I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing' -- and you do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked -- I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and while garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see.
As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock.If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.
To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches."
While not all churches in America fall under this description, many American "Christians" do. It is the only thing that can account for the fact that 86% of the American population professes Christianity (only an 13% difference from the profession of the American population in 1776) but our country has become a byword among other nations for its flagrant immorality.
Now don't get me wrong. Material prosperity is not evil. The tendency of human nature to worship blessings and not the Giver is where the sin lies. However, we Christians have no excuse. First of all, as Christians, we are supposed to be saved from our sinful nature, by the blood of Jesus, and by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Second of all, we have all of human history behind us to give us repeated warning of the dangers of such complacency. But we have ignored the Holy Spirit and history in our churches for so long.
Perhaps it is not too late, but God must refine us like silver.
(See my next post for Scriptures which apply).
I think some atheists are asking to be the subject of comedy.
OK, OK. I was having fun. :D
Not long back, I found these two brief but excellent videos of Paul Washer speaking about America's future -- and in particular, the future of the American Church -- and the right relationship of a Christian to government. I would really like to share them with all of my readers. Your thoughts are invited.
Paul Washer: Persecution or a Great Awakening?
Paul Washer: Obeying the Government
I've been dwelling on the subject of revival lately, and on the future of America, and particularly the American church. I think that many of us pray for revival, but we must realize that when God revives a country, or a people group, He usually doesn't start with the sinners. Why? Because the fact that so many sinners are not saved, is not His fault. It is largely the responsibility of we who claim to be believers. God works mightily, but He created man so that He might use man as a tool through which to do His work.
The Church of America has fallen asleep, and many who sit in its pews, and wear its T-shirts, and hand out its tracts, and sing in its choirs, are spiritually dead. They have no desire to serve God, apart from gain, or a feeling of acceptance among their Christian peers. But most others have never been challenged to completely surrender themselves and their all to God, and they do not know that there is more to being a Christian than being accepted in Christian circles. They do not know what God requires of all of us. I like the statement Paul Washer once made. At a recent conference, he said, "This country is not Gospel-hardened. It is Gospel-ignorant." It has not heard enough of the Gospel, in black-and-white, to be Gospel-hardened.
The Church, many years ago, began to be influenced and infiltrated by humanism. But unfortunately, that influence of humanism has not stopped with "liberal theologians" or churches that compromise on issues like evolution or biblical literacy. It has disguised itself in such a way as to deceive the "fundamentalists"(*gasp!*)
Why has humanism been so pervasive? Because it is human nature to look at and focus upon self. This is one of the great reasons why sanctification and holiness need to be taught and emphasized in America's Christian churches and teachings again, because it is through sanctification that we learn how to be true and consistent followers of God -- our nature is exchanged for His, by the power of His Holy Spirit working in us.
Below is a video I found some time ago on GodTube. It is a very harmonious conglomeration of the teachings of various "revival leaders" (if such is a proper term to use in God's kingdom, because HE is the "revival leader"!). It is eye-opening.
One of the sermons from which you will hear often, is the once-famous "Ten Shekels and a Shirt," by Paris Reidhead, who became a missionary to Africa in the 1940s. Sometime, I intend to include these, and discuss them, in a near-future post here. The sermon is worth a post (or two) of its own. To get a head-start, you may listen to the audio here, or read the text here.
In the meantime, please watch the video. May God move you through it.
OK, I have a confession to make. Today, I had a little bit of a lax in my schedule. So I decided that today would be a good day to update my blogs. And do they need it! The only one I have been updating lately has been my blog Meet the Founding Fathers (did I mention it's only one of my five blogs?), because of my weekly meme, Founding Fathers' Quote Friday. By the way, stay tuned for my newest post there tomorrow, because it begins our next monthly theme of VIRTUE. If you have a blog (it doesn't have to be a history blog), and if you know the words of the Founders, feel free to join my meme! Be sure to leave a comment, so I can bring readers' attention to your FFQF posts!
And now you are impatiently awaiting my confession. OK, here it goes. Somehow, I got distracted with a little "toy" I found at www.despair.com. It's pretty much a mockery of motivational gear, and of the relationships in the workplace between employer/employee. But they let you make some of your own "de-motivators," and I couldn't help but make a few. Here they are:
Today I would like to share some media presentations that I have found over the course of time, that have encouraged me and challenged me. But beware; this is not your peppy "positive and encouraging promise Scripture for the day." Sometimes, truth is not always comfortable; truth challenges us to face the uncomfortable squarely, and to deal with it. Sometimes truth pricks our consciences, or opens our eyes to an uncomfortable reality around us. When confronted with truth, we see evil for what it really is, and the world seems more evil than it did before. However, if we accept the truth, and yield to God's Spirit, we have a peace inside -- the peace of being fully and finally reconciled to God, and being able to confidently show others the way.
I would like to share a video with you, of a sermon preached by Keith Daniel, an evangelist and missionary from South Africa. He preached this sermon in the United States, and it is entitled, "A Warning to America." The two major themes in his sermon (which expounds upon Ephesians 6:10-17) are prayer and holiness.
Keith Daniel is one of several preachers who are staying faithful to the Gospel that is preached in the New Testament, and they are not ashamed to preach repentance and holiness from their podiums, worldwide. Many have been ostracized for taking a bold stand against the heresies of modern American "evangelization."
Paul Washer, American-born missionary, is a case in point. The following video shows perhaps his most famous sermon, preached at the Southern Baptist Youth Convention in 2002, which was "so biblical, he was never invited back."
I have said before, and say again now, that the responsibility for the downward spiral America has taken ultimately rests on the shoulders of the Christian Church, that is, those who name the name of Christ. And while this has been acknowledged by many in the "culture war," it is important to specify (and I don't think it has been sufficiently emphasized) that our fault has more to do with our lack of repentance from sin (and this "adulterous and evil generation, ") than it has to do with our lack of voting, petitioning, and so on. It takes virtue to sustain a free form of government, and Christians, as "salt and light," are to be the examples and promoters of virtue in society. But instead we have adapted to the ungodly culture around us, making us just like the world, and ineffective.
Many have said, and many will say, that Paul Washer is preaching "legalism" -- salvation by works. Those who listen to his sermons and come to this conclusion do not understand the Gospel, or the logic of the New Testament. We are saved by faith in Christ, yes, but that faith is to cause a progressive following of repentance from sin and good works. Without working out faith, faith is dead (James 2).
But for people (like myself) who tend to slide to the extreme of forcing works to gain repentance (when it should be the other way around) here is another excellent snipit from Paul Washer, explaining the "happy medium."
Paul Washer is also one of the founders of the HeartCry Missionary Society, an outstanding missionary organization that sends missionaries in several countries all around the world. Here, Paul discusses his group. It is an excellent video. Whether you are a missionary or not, I encourage you to watch it.
If I may, I would also like to add the testimony of the conversion of his wife, Charo Washer, on audio. It is more than just a nice story; listening to it may expose many of the deceit the devil uses to get even youth raised in Christian homes to think they are saved, when they are not.
I hope that these presentations have inspired, encouraged, and challenged you to serve God in sincerity of heart, and to stand up for the truth in this modern perverse generation.
OK, it looks like this blog is becoming my tag blog right now. I hope to put up some posts here (sometime), but right now, I have so many projects to work on and so little time to complete them.
In the meantime, however, my blogger friend Fida Abbott is getting tagged and passing them on to me. She recently tagged me, and gave me the "Great Buddy" award. Thanks, Fida. Congratulations for winning 15th place in the Personal Blogs Finalist at Christian Indonesia Blog Festival 2008! I am very happy for you!
So, here goes the tag! Here are the rules:
- Save the image above to be forwarded;
- Choose several person;
- Give the reason why you chose those person.
- Mrs. Mecomber of New York Traveler
- HH of Adventures in the Life of Upstate New York!
- James Goswick of Our Founding Truth
- Rob Scott of The Hamiltonian Federalist Forum
- Stephen Palmer of The Cause of Liberty
P. S. I would also like to alert my blogger friends that they have a chance to sign the Declaration of Independence, via Stephen Palmer's blog, The Cause of Liberty. Your opportunity is unique, for any remarks you make won't have to be passed through tradition, like to words of our Founders, as they signed. Rather, you can record your own words (no more than 225 characters) beside your signature.
One note of precaution, however. As was the case with our Founders, signing the Declaration was no show. It was a very serious and dangerous commitment. Before you sign, I would ask you to seriously consider the rules laid forth for becoming a member of my Friends of Liberty blogroll. In 1776, our Founders knew their commitment could cost them their lives, and more. Maybe a look at the signature of Stephen Hopkins would give you an idea of what they were feeling at that time. His reported words match his signature: "My hand trembles, but my heart does not!"(1)
Well well well. My relatively new blogger friend Fida Abbott has tagged me again. I have a set of questions that I need to answer. I will (bravely) do my best. :)
1. At what age do you wish to marry?
Honestly, I have no plans to marry, so I guess my answer would be "0"?
2. If you can turn into anything, what do you wish to turn into?
Oh boy. Brainstorming here. I guess I would turn into an eagle, so I could fly on my own (I always thought that flight would be an exhilarating experience), but I would probably want to change back to me. The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence, eh?
3. If you were on a desert island, who are three blog buddies you would take with you? Why?
Well, I don't know that many bloggers, but I would list three qualifications for the buddies I would choose:
1. One who knew about desert island survival.
2. One who needs (and can stand) a good skin tan.
3. Anyone but a blond who suggests packing a car door (I'll talk about that later).
4. Where is the place that you want to go most?
Heaven, God's place.
5. If you had one dream to come true, what would it be?
Just one dream? I would choose to be instrumental in the genuine conversion of even just one person. Human souls last eternally. Human projects and earthly ambitions last for only a while. Dreams of eternity are those that are the greatest, In My Humble Opinion.
6. Who is on your mind right now?
My new friend Fida, who tagged me. I am hoping she likes my homework, and gives me a pass. :)
7. What are you afraid to lose the most right now?
Well, two things: 1) my blogs, because I've heard that some are being arbitrarily deleted, and 2) my cat, who is aging. He is such a nice fellow; very loyal, very useful, very well-behaved and affectionate.
8. Do you want your firstborn to be a boy or a girl. Why?
I guess my answer to Question #1 would disqualify me to answer this one. But I probably would never be able to make up my mind anyway.
9. If you met someone you love, would you confess to him/her?
Hopefully I would have nothing to confess! :)
10. List three things about the person who tagged you:
1) She is a very kind and considerate person,
2) She is polite and encouraging,
3) She has a love of learning and developing potential -- excellent qualities
11. What colour do you like? Why?
I have four favorite colors: deep blue, deep green, deep red, and indigo. They are very rich, and they go well together.
12. What type of person do you hate the most?
The one who uses and abuses other people for his own selfish gain.
13. What would you do if you had a million dollars?
Oh boy, this is a hard question. I would do many things with it, including giving it to people who need it much more than I. I might invest part of it in travel, and another part of it in some much-needed home renovation.
14. What is your ambition?
A single ambition? My ultimate ambition is to be used of God to point people to the truth -- ultimately to Him. And that my life would be used of Him for an enduring legacy that would inspire people with a holy zeal for His namesake.
15. What would you wanna be after you're dead?
Hmmm. Hard to make up my mind here ... I sure don't want to be tiger food!
16. If you have a chance, which part of your character would you like to change?
I would like to change from being very timid to being more personable.
17. What do you most want to achieve now?
I want to achieve some good credit for a book I plan to write.
18. What do you think is the most important thing in your life?
Serving God and man, in His love.
19. If there’s one thing in your life you want to do but yet unable to, what would it be?
20. Among all the questions asked, which one do u like most? Why?
I like Question #3, because I laughed to myself after I read my answer. :)
Whew! Well, Fida, I finished my homework! I hope I passed my "exam"!
Thanks for tagging me.
I found this (semi-) hilarious parody of the atheistic movement, at the website of Gary DeMar's group, American Vision.
Think about that the next time someone reminds you of the Crusades or the Inquisition. Also remind them, that they need to brush up on their history.