From our Clothes’ to the Tips of our Noses

Following is a guest post from a very dear friend and Brother in Christ. Pastor Barry Seacrest: Senior Pastor at First Baptist Church of Seaford.

Please consider the following, reading it slowly. I write it for me. I needed to write this out and publicize it as a witness.

My body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. No question. God has pointed out to this preacher’s heart that I must lead my people to be aware

.Christ “looking on my heart” involves every decency, including modestly and reverently, appropriately, cautiously dawning the doorstep where we come together as a people. This also includes modesty everywhere because what is in my heart permeates my trichotomy. As I studied Ex. 30-31 this morning, the physical representations (shadows of the past) scream loudly that even the way I smell ought to be a thought in reaching out to this present age. God looooves details and decency. We don’t.

Coming into the “congregation of the righteous” has been a special, distinct and preparatory process mentally, spiritually and even physically, for 1000s of years, but not in the last 40 or so. We aren’t evolving. We are devolving. We don’t know better than the millions who have gone before us… but instead Christ’s words are finding meaning, “will there be faith in the earth?”

If we plan to give our best, will that be in my trichotomy? Any place that is set aside for His people to come and worship together should be uniquely viewed. It always has been, even upper rooms and places of low degree…that’s what makes us peculiar and the place of worship in the congregation, a special one. We no longer seem to reverently present body, soul and spirit to Him as carefully as we once did. The “temples” are not coming together in an attitude of reverence as we fellowship. “My best” seems to only include my tithe, and a few inner details of the heart, if that. From the beginning, however, God longed for us, by the washing of the water of the Word to yield offerings that included our trichotomy. This is no longer important (heart, soul and body). Sad.

What does my devotion look like to Him in my trichotomy? Personally, I have decided I no longer care what is acceptable to the present age. What is acceptable becomes more slovenly every year. Styles, whether of the heart, soul or body are ridiculous and unimportant to God. He wants purity, through Christ. He wants the best I have. That may look different for different people, but it will always be the best I have. I pray He will work in me to give Him all. The best I have, whatever that be, must be the only offering.

Perhaps others will give differently. That will be their choice. Maybe giving uniquely from the way I give or yielding something distinct from me in their trichotomy is all they know. In that case, I am sure God will only hold them accountable for what they know. However, I can’t give what they give knowing what I know. I have been taught different. I will be held accountable for knowing that my trichotomy must yield up the best I have, from the deepest molecule of my heart to the very fabric I decide to place on my outer shell. He must have my best as we come together in that special place.

By Pastor Barry Secrest
First Baptist Church, Seaford, DE

Needful Things

SInce I have begun working on my degree from Andersonville Theological Seminary, I have not had as much time to write like I was and wanted, but here is another great post from my great friend and Brother in Christ, Pastor Harry Connor, who earned his Masters of Theology from Andersonville Theological Seminary 

One thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her. Luke 10:42

One thing is needful. How difficult it is to learn this lesson!

Martha meant well, and so do we oftentimes. There are a thousand things that call for our attention each day. There are obligations to fulfill, schedules to be kept, and people to be pleased. But in the midst of the daily hubbub, whether you are a homemaker or a chief financial officer, do not forget that one thing is needful.

A promising career is not needful. The approval of peers is not needful. A well-padded retirement account is not needful. Even the affection of family members is not needful. One thing—and one thing alone is absolutely essential.

What could possibly be that important, in every culture and for every person? Jesus tells us: it was exactly what Mary hath chosen. The one thing that is needful is to sit “at Jesus’ feet” and “hear his word” (v.39).

We must make time in the busyness of our daily lives to spend at the feet of Jesus, submitting ourselves to his will and opening our hearts to him in prayer. We must be willing to say “No” to the countless distractions that threaten to pull us away from Him throughout the day. We must hear his Word, which He has shared and preserved for us in the Bible.

Isaiah40:8 “The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.”

A close personal fellowship with Jesus Christ is not just part of Christianity, it is Christianity. It is not just part of life, it is the only life that matters. It is the purpose for which you were created and it is the only thing which shall not be taken away from you by disaster or even death.

I leave you with a quote from Charles Stanley that may open your eyes to what our relationship with God should be: “We fulfill our eternal purpose when our lives honor the LORD and reflect His Glory.” What pleases a human father more that to hear, your child looks just like you: He even acts like you? God takes pleasure in spiritual children who reflect His character.

The Gospel Message

SInce I have begun working on my degree from Andersonville Theological Seminary, I have not had as much time to write like I was and wanted, but here is another great post from my great friend and Brother in Christ, Pastor Harry Connor, who earned his Masters of Theology from Andersonville Theological Seminary 

The Gospel Message Whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this? – John 11:26

In this single verse containing Jesus’ words, we find a statement and a question. No statement, no question, could be more important for every reader to consider.

Jesus stakes his own word and his own person on this promise , if you are spiritually alive and put your trust and hope in him, then you will never die. That is quite a promise! Especially in the face of all the decay, destruction, and death with which we are surrounded on a daily basis. Is it possible to escape death, to defy the laws of nature? Jesus says it is. But not in our own strength, science, or ingenuity. Only in Jesus can we access the power of a never-ending life.

If Jesus is honest, if Jesus is wise, if Jesus is good then his assurance is peace-granting, hope-infusing, and pain-relieving. Believers do not pass away, but pass on to a better and eternal and abundant life. Christians do not die; they depart for home.

For now, we cannot see or experience or test or prove the promises of Jesus. We have to trust him, that he is not just showing us the way, but is the Way; that he is not just telling the truth, but is the Truth; that he is not only speaking of life, but is the Life.

Jesus’ question, then, could not be more important, or more pointed: do you believe Jesus? Do you trust in Jesus? To anyone, to everyone, to whomsoever puts their trust in Jesus and believes his word, the promise is yours. So live like you are going to live forever.

Path to God: Faith or Fear

The following is a guest post from my Pastor, whom I take note every time he speaks. Not because I think him a great man, but because I count him a great man of God; who preaches, teaches, and lives a life of Biblical truth. Imperfect in this world, but perfected through the blood of Jesus Christ for eternal life. Pastor James Clidence of Freedom Baptist Church.

Many Christians have a very unhealthy view of God and who He is. Fear, instead of faith, drives us to this corrupted view of worship and service.

As a pastor, I hear it all the time (sometimes tongue-in-cheek, and sometimes seriously): “I better be at church on Sunday or God is going to be mad at me”

Atheist behavioral psychologist John Watson said in his lectures on Behaviourism: “If the fear element were dropped out of any religion, that religion could not long survive”

Is this true of Biblical Christianity? It should not be. Remembering 2 Timothy 1:7: “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” let us examine a thought.

Have we, as Christians, incorporated fear so much into our teaching, preaching, & worship that we have lost what our true relationship with God should be? One of grace, peace, acceptance and love. One of a loving Father with His arms wide open instead of an abusive Father waiting to come home to punish us. One of a God who loved us so much He sacrificially gave His only begotten Son to deliver us from sin and re-establish communion with Him, instead of a God who is sitting on the edge of His throne waiting for us to mess up so He can sever our connection.

I know we don’t mean to depict God this way, but do our statements, posts, messages, and teachings paint God in a negative light to believers (or unbelievers) or a positive light to believers. Are we so scared to mess up, that we can never focus on our growing relationship with Him?

I.E. We often think of the imminent return of Christ from a fearful perspective instead of a glorious occasion. We preach “You better be living right when Jesus comes” instead of “Watch for the clouds, He is coming again!” Both statements are valid, but a hard focus on the first conditions us to be fearful of his coming while a main-concentration on the second leads to a exciting thought (which thereby will cause us to live right).

I.E.2. Our mindset normally is: “If I sin, then God will be mad at me.” We (myself included), in one way or another, state this often in our messages of sanctification. While God is angry at sin (the Bible teaches clearly about that), a “hard focus” on that fact will lead to an unhealthy view of God as a supreme dictator who is waiting for us to fail. This hard focus also leads into a strong “works-based” salvation mindset that is corrupting our churches right under our noses.

Even in our invitation to Christianity, we overly-incorporate fear into the salvation plan. I understand the lost have every reason to be fearful. If they die in their sins, they will spend eternity in Hell, and they should be warned. We though have leaned on that to drive someone to salvation and force them to make a profession instead of allowing the Holy Spirit to do the saving work in their hearts (John 6:44). Remember, it is not our job to save someone, it is the Holy Spirits job. YOU DON’T NEED TO SCARE THEM for them to make a profession. The Holy Spirit will draw them when He draws them (Titus 3:5).

We have painted salvation to the world as a free ticket out of hell, instead of a reconnection with God. All based on our fear-led teaching.

Christians, I submit that we need to Biblically recondition ourselves. We need to pray for God to change our hearts to not focus so much on fear and start relying on faith. Faith in the God who has engraved us in the palm of His hand (Isa 49:16). Faith in the God who promises He will never leave us nor forsake us (Heb 13:5).

Five Tips to Overcome Distractions in Prayer and Bible Study — Inspiring Passion for Jesus Christ

This is a re-blog post from Inspiring Passion for Jesus Christ. I thought it to make some great points for those new to or struggling with Bible Study on a regular basis.

Staying consistent in one’s devotional life can be a challenge for anyone. At times, we all struggle to remain focused and steadfast in a daily time of prayer and Bible study. Here are five quick tips to help you overcome distractions in prayer and Bible study. 1. Set a consistent and specific time and place. […]

Five Tips to Overcome Distractions in Prayer and Bible Study — Inspiring Passion for Jesus Christ

Man of Faith

Another submission from my great friend and Brother in Christ, Pastor Harry Connor, who earned his Masters of Theology from Andersonville Theological Seminary 

Man of Faith The father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief. Mark 9:24

This father brought his afflicted son, who had suffered from childhood, to see if Jesus would heal him. He first ran into Jesus’ disciples and asked them for help, but they could not. By the time he finally gained Jesus’ attention, there had to be a growing doubt in his mind as to whether his son could ever be healed. And the instant he comes into the presence of Jesus, his son wallows on the ground, foaming at the mouth.

He timidly puts his request to Jesus, “If thou canst do anything, help us.” Only to have Jesus throw the ball back in his court, “If thou canst believe, all things are possible. ”How this father must have struggled to find the right words, the right response. Finally, through his tears, he gives this confession: First, he calls Jesus his Lord. He knows Jesus has authority that is not of this world and humbles himself before him. Then he cries out, “I believe!” This is not an arrogant presumption that he has the faith Jesus requires, but a sincere statement of why he came to Jesus in the first place. Finally, he admits his fear and doubt, and runs to the right place for help: “Help thou mine unbelief.” Without realizing it, this father displayed exactly what great faith looks like!

Genuine faith does not trust in one’s own ability to believe, to work, or to obey. True faith looks to Christ to fulfill all our gaping inadequacies. Do you feel yourself doubting? Falling? Giving in? Don’t try to hide your struggles or difficulties from Jesus; take them to him, confess them to him, and let his grace supply your every need.

Guest Post: Reprobate Salvation?

Following is a guest post from a very dear friend and Brother in Christ. Pastor Barry Seacrest: Senior Pastor at First Baptist Church of Seaford. Even if you think you are beyond salvation-there is hope!

I have been wrong PLENTY!!!!I WILL NOT SAY I AM RIGHT ON THE FOLLOWING: Here is what I see on the “reprobate” doctrine. Certain verses are used to say “reprobate” are those who cannot repent because they hardened themselves too hard and rejected Christ too much.

The Greek def. of “reprobate” doesn’t say this. Def. Reprobate “Unable to stand the test, rejected, refuse, worthless” …yup… that’s all of us before Christ came and cleansed us. Some are going so far as to say, “don’t witness to homosexuals because they are in the list of reprobates in Roman’s 1…” wow! Hold on Nellie!!!!

I’ll give you the passages simply and the simple truth with the passage:

1. Prov.1:23-33 If “reprobate” is a person living that can’t be saved, why does he extend an invitation in vs 23 and 33 to turn and still be changed?

2. John 12:37-41- Many of the “reprobates” described, here, bowed the knee after Christ’s death.

3. Romans 1:20-28 is a continuing, 3 chapter explanation of a reprobate. Ch 2 says none of us can judge them because we are all “reprobates” until we are saved. Ch.3:11ff says we have all gone out of the way, but we can be justified by his grace.

4. 1st Cor. 13 is addressing all Corinthians. I would hope we aren’t suggesting all of them were unsavable. If we are believing that “reprobate” just means unsaved, that would explain why Paul is still appealing to them to change. v.7- don’t appear approved…be approved, though we “be as reprobates”. If a reprobate can never repent, why are they appealed to for repentance? Wouldn’t that be dishonest to suggest to them that they can still repent?

5. 2 Tim. 3 the whole chapter draws a contrast between where Paul was and where he is now.

6. The scenario is clear in Hebrews. I would say it even strengthens the idea that every man living is capable of salvation until his last breath. Let’s not quit on any of them. Verse 6:6 says what it says. You can’t be saved twice. The blood is meant for a one time decision. Very simple. Either you are saved or not. Verse 8 says what it says, also.

Every unsaved person is rejected until the day one awakes unto salvation. Reprobate is the man who is unsaved. “Nigh” and “whose end” only explains the fate of the unsaved. It never even comes close to suggesting these people are incapable of repenting. Def. Reprobate “Unable to stand the test, rejected, refuse, worthless” ie. None of us “stand the test”. None of us are good, “no not one”. Christ is the only one who wasn’t once a “reprobate”. The Word, from the above texts, appeals to the “reprobate” to be transformed. That would simply be dishonest if it weren’t possible for a reprobate to change.

The End of the World (EOTWAWKI

Over the centuries many self-proclaimed prophets, psychics, theorists, laymen, and religious leaders have taken their shot at predicting the END OF THE WORLD AS WE KNOW IT (EOTWAWKI). All have failed for good reason-they did not study the bible deep enough or believe the words they were reading. They tried to take many verses out of context or put their own spin on it. But I am here to tell you that the Bible that I read is VERY CLEAR about the end time. So sit back, enjoy some of the failed predictions but be sure to read to the end for mine based in PURE, BIBLICAL TRUTH!

Many Christians-prediction for 1 January 1000, being 1000 years after Jesus Birth, then revised to 1000 years after Jesus’ death, 1033.

Joachimites, a 13th century Franciscan-After his 1260 prediction failed, the followers of Joachim of Fiore rescheduled the end of the world to 1290 and then again to 1335.

London Astrologers Group-February 1, 1524, predicted massive flood which sent panic throughout London. When it failed to happen, they revised their date by 100 years to February 1, 1624

Hans Hut, a German Anabaptist predicted the end May 27, 1528

Melchior Hoffman, an Anabaptist-predicted Christ’s Second Coming to take place in 1533. He claimed that 144,000 people would be saved, while the rest of the world would be consumed by fire.

Christopher Columbus, explorer and self-proclaimed prophet-predicted in his Book of Prophecies (1501) that the world would end in 1656. Columbus also claimed that the world was created in 5343 BCE, and would last 7000 years. Assuming no year zero, that means the end would come in 1658.

Jacob Bernoulli, a Mathematician-A comet would destroy the earth on April 5, 1719

Joanna Southcott, a self-proclaimed prophet-she would give birth to the new Christ child beginning the end of the world. She died at age 64 never having had a child.

John Wesley, founder of the Methodist Church- Revelation 12:14 referred to 1058 to 1836 for the return of Christ

William Miller a Baptist Preacher (Millerites)- Second Coming to occur on April 28 or December 31, 1843. Then again, March 21, 1844 and revised to October 22, 1844

International Bible Students Association-Spring of 1918, then all world Governments would collapse in 1920 leading to Anarchy.

Jehovah’s Witnesses, a group that came from the IBSA above-1941

Florence Houteff Leader of the Branch Davidians-1959

Jeane Dixon, Self-proclaimed psychic-February 4, 1962Jim Jones, Founder of the Peoples Temple-Nuclear Holocaust 1967

Charles Manson, Manson Family Cult Leader- apocalyptic race war, would occur in 1969.

Jehovah’s Witnesses– the fall of 1975 would be 6000 years since man’s creation

Harold Camping, Evangelist-6 Sep 1994, 29 Sep 1994, 2 Oct 1994, March 31, 1995, May 21, 2011, October 22, 2011, along with at least 6 other predictions.

There are so many more but I am sure by now, you get the point and you are chomping at the bit to hear my prediction-which is no prediction because the Bible is quite clear!

Rev 1:3  Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand. 

Mat 24:3  And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? 

Mar 13:32  But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father. 

Mar 13:33  Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is. 

Mat 24:36  But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. 

Mar 13:35  Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning: 

Mar 13:36  Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping. 

Mar 13:37  And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch. 

I think His Word is VERY CLEAR- No man knows-nor will, but we must be vigilant and ready!

Are you awake? Are you ready? Will you be called up when He returns? If you are in doubt-Read other articles here, send me a message, I will be happy to talk with you.

Jesus Our Example

Another submission from my great friend and Brother in Christ, Pastor Harry Connor, who earned his Masters of Theology from Andersonville Theological Seminary 

Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who, being in the form of God…made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant . Philippians 2:5-7

Let this mind be in you. The Christian life is not merely intellectual assent to a list of orthodox tenets. It is internalizing the teaching and example of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. And as we look at Christ through the infallible lens of God’s Word the Bible, we are reminded that his way is up-side-down (or rather right-side-up) from the way of this world. Jesus did not work his way to the top; he started at the top, as God himself, and yet chose to humble himself for the sake of the sinner.

Here was a self-made man: Jesus, who is due all glory and honor, made himself of no reputation. Jesus, who is King of Kings and Lord of Lords, took on himself the role of a servant. How sad and ironic that most of us spend all our energy in life striving to do the exact opposite .This is doubtless why Jesus, from the outset, told those who admired him that they would have to deny themselves in order to become his disciple. Yet so many Christians want to claim discipleship, but without the sacrifice, without the self-denial, without the humility. Beloved, let this mind be in you, may you internalize the reality of who Christ is, of how he lived, and of what he demands of us.

Assured Salvation

Eternal Salvation

My wife and I, in previous years had an ongoing debate as to the maintaining of one’s salvation; meaning once one has been saved, can one lose their salvation? This has been a great debate among Christians for generations. If you are a true believer, Accepting that you are a sinner, Believing that He shed His blood on the cross for past, current and future sin, and having confessed your sin before Him-you have been saved. But the nature of your salvation (whether true or not) being eternal is the question of many.

God granted us free will in the beginning and allows us to choose whether we want to follow Him or not, but I have no doubt that if it were up to man completely, no one would ever be saved. When Christ came to die on the cross, He came to bare all sins for all people (Past, Present, and Future).  Would it not be moot if He came to die for only the sins already committed? If that were true, could anyone beyond the day of the cross ever truly be saved? Jesus bore our sins, so that we could spend eternity with Him, it is through our faith in Him and His mercy that covers us-Forever.

KJV Col 2:14  Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; 

Upon the cross He erased our debt, all of it, forever, but for who was it that He shed His blood? KJV Joh 1:29  The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. If He is taking away the sins of the world, what does it matter how we live if the world’s sin is forgiven past, present, and future? If that were true, what would be the meaning of Him dying on the cross, could not have He just said all is forgiven, live as you want?  There must be a justification, or it becomes just a side note in history as all will be saved anyway.

The justification comes in the resurrection. Once Jesus raised from the dead, God the Father proves the authenticity of His Son to the world. God wanted to leave no doubt that this is His Son, purely righteous, justified before God. Paul writing in Romans then ties our justification to the resurrection in Romans 4:24-25 But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; 25  Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification. 

So then, our justification comes only upon accepting, believing, and confessing the Christ and His resurrection from the tomb. So He did, as John 1:29 states that he “taketh away the sins of the world” but only those who believe, as Paul stated would gain justification.

It follows in 1 Timothy that He died on the cross that all would have the opportunity for the truth of salvation

1Ti 2:3-4  For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; 4  Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. 

2 Peter upholds this that ALL should come, but it is only those that come to repentance will be justified.

2Pe 3:9  The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance

Joh 5:24  Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.

1Jn 5:13  These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God. 

If we have repented and come to faith in Him, then we are justified by that faith. We have been filled by the Holy Spirit and He will then be guiding our steps through His Word and prayer. Our faith carries us forward to a closer walk with Him daily. It is this faith that will keep us in His eternal grace. But can we lose our salvation?

John 10:27-30 is very clear on that point 10:27  My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: 28  And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. 29  My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. 

Joh 10:30  I and my Father are one. 

It is extremely clear in Jesus’ words that no one could take even one of the flock as God’s power is greater than any and His hold on His followers is eternal.

Eph 1:13  In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, 

Eph 2:89  For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9  Not of works, lest any man should boast. 

No one can know what is truly in the heart of any person. Whether one’s salvation is real or not is only known to God. It is not our place to determine whether a person is truly saved, but to treat all with the love of Christ, share the Gospel, and grow in our personal walk with Him, staying in His Will for this life. If there are some that seem to have “fallen away” I must wonder if their salvation was genuine or just an emotional response to a life situation.

As for me, I believe that if one is truly saved-Have given over their heart and soul fully to Jesus Christ-they can never lose their salvation. They will live a life to emulate the life of Christ, an impossible but worthy goal. They can doubt, they will still sin, but they will NEVER be plucked from the Father’s hand.