Becoming More Like Christ

But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image —1 Corinthians 3:18

When I behold the Lord Jesus Christ…

…as the ROCK, I will be steadfast.

…as the KING, I will be submissive.

…as the LAMB, I will be sacrificial.

…as the LIGHT, I will shine.

…as the BREAD, I will be satisfied.

…as the LION, I will be strong.

…as the TRUTH, I will be sure.

…as the WORD, I will be studious.

…as my GREAT HIGH PRIEST, I will be sympathetic.

…as the CAPTAIN, I will be a soldier.

…as the GOOD SHEPHERD, I will be safe.

as JUST, I will be sincere.

…as the AMEN, I will be confident.

…as the TRUE VINE, I will abide.

On a wall near the main entrance of the Alamo is a portrait with this inscription: “James Butler Bonham—no picture of him exists. This portrait is of his nephew, Major James Bonham, deceased, who greatly resembled his uncle. It is placed here by the family that people may know the appearance of the man who died for freedom.”

No literal portrait of Jesus exists either. But the likeness of Jesus should be seen in all who behold Him and follow Him.

KEEPING LOOKING UNTO JESUS!

Leave It With God

It is the LORD: let him do what seemeth him good. —1 Samuel 3:18

When young Samuel informed Eli that God was going to put an end to his family, how did Eli receive the bad news?  He said, “It is the LORD: let him do what seemeth him good.”

When Abishai and Joab were surrounded by enemies, Joab looked at the situation and said, “Let us play the men for our people and for the cities of our God: and the LORD do that which seemeth him good.” (2 Sam. 10:12).

These expressions reveal a willingness to leave the outcome of their situations with God, who will do what is best. Instead of dictating to God how He needs to resolve our problems, how much better to leave our difficult situations in God’s hands. After all, isn’t God “able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think” (Eph. 3:20). When we know God as we should, we will pray, “I leave it to Thee, Lord.  Do what seemeth to Thee good.”

For example. Suppose you have a friend in some trouble.  You have a plan that will help him. However, in the meantime, he comes to you to borrow some money that will only give temporary relief. His need is not for money.  His request for money limits your ability to help.  His low thoughts cannot rise to what you are able to do for him.

Why doesn’t your friend “ask or think” more “worthy” of your ability?  Because he does not know you well enough!  He measures your willingness and ability to help by his own weak power to ask.  Thus it is when we don’t know God’s exceeding abundant power to give beyond anything we ask or think our prayers are weak and anemic.

I recently read the following prayer of a man who really knew God, and was aware of his own weaknesses:  “Lord, what wilt Thou?  Do not heed my requests if Thou seest they are not good.  Do not do, or give this, because I ask for it.  Withhold it, if Thou, who seest the end from the beginning, seest it will not be for my good.  I am so foolish and ignorant before Thee, and Thou art so wonderful, so wise, and so good. … Oh, that I may be filled with the knowledge of Thy will, in all wisdom and spiritual understanding—that I may enjoy the perfect rest which that knowledge will give.”

HOW MANY OF OUR PRAYERS ARE LIKE THIS?

Begrudging Satan

Satan seeks to do three things:

  1. Hurt God.  Since Satan cannot hurt God directly (frontal assault), he will seek to hurt God by hurting the lives of those God loves.  When an adversary knows he cannot hurt you directly, he will seek to attack and hurt those you love.
  2. Damn as many souls to hell as he can.  The only joy or satisfaction Satan will have in eternity is seeing the multitudes of souls he successfully damned to burn in hell forever (Isa. 14:9; cf. Ezek. 31:2-8, 15-18; 32:2-8, 18-32 especially v. 31).  What an awful thing how anyone could be so depraved and sadistic that the only satisfaction they have is knowing the number of people’s lives they’ve ruined forever. That is the depraved character of the devil.  “The depths of Satan” is the pleasure and satisfaction he derives from seeing people suffer.
  3. Since Satan knows he can never damn the soul of someone who is already saved, he will do everything he can to keep them from leading others to Christ.

I want to begrudge and deprive Satan of any pleasure or satisfaction.  Therefore, I’ve given my soul to Christ and seek to live to please God.  I’m going to do all I can to win souls to Christ, so Satan cannot damn them.

I never want to give Satan any reason to be happy!  How about you? What has the devil ever done for you except cause you trouble and seek to damn your soul?   Let’s give the devil a “black eye?”  You can start by giving your soul to Jesus Christ!  Then, live for Christ the rest of your life and win others to Christ, so Satan cannot have them. He’ll hate that!

4 of Satan’s Most Popular Lies

The devil is a dirty liar (John 8:44). His tactics haven’t changed since he lied to Eve in the garden of Eden (Gen. 3). Unfortunately, we fall his lies more often than we’d like to admit.

Here are four of Satan’s most plausible lies He uses today:

  1. Sin doesn’t matter.” Don’t you believe it! Sin does matter. The wages of sin have not changed (Rom. 6:23). We are exhorted, “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye SIN NOT (1 John 2:1).  “Awake to righteousness, and SIN NOT (1 Cor. 15:34).
    Sin will rob you of your peace, your testimony, your health, and your joy.
  2. Holiness is not important.” That’s a lie out of hell. 1 Peter 1:16 says, “Be holy, for I am holy.” We have the HOLY Spirit within us… We read from a HOLY Bible. You are commanded to “present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy” (Rom. 12:1). The truth is: It is God’s will for His children to holy lives.
  3. Church attendance is a waste of time.” Satan would love for you to swallow that lie. Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it (Eph. 5:25). The church is “the pillar and ground of the truth” (1 Tim. 3:15). It is God’s appointed agency through which He does His work today. Paul said, “Unto him be glory IN THE CHURCH” (Eph. 3:21). We admonished to not forsake “the assembling of ourselves together” (Heb. 10:25)? You never be more effective for God outside of a church than you are inside (Mt. 5:14-15 cf. Rev. 1:20). Satan knows this!
  4. Preaching is not relevant.” So many fall for this lie, even those who attend church. They prefer music programs, dramatic productions, or interactive dialogue. “They heap to themselves TEACHERS [not preachers], having itching ears” (2 Tim. 6:3). God has chosen the “foolishness of preaching to save them that believe” (1 Cor. 1:21). The Bible says, “Preach the Word” (2 Tim. 4:2). Satan hates Bible preaching (and Bible preachers). He will do all he can to keep people from the preaching of Gospel.

So, who are you going to believe—God’s Word or Satan’s lie?

The Pioneer Spirit

“He went out, not knowing whither he went.” —Hebrews 11:8

Local churches don’t just spring out the ground.  They are started by someone with a pioneer spirit.  A pioneer is someone who goes where no one has ever gone or does something no one else has done.  The Pilgrims were pioneers who came to America on the Mayflower.  Roger Williams was a pioneer pastor who established the first local Baptist church in 1638 in Providence, Rhode Island.  The American settlers who came West in covered wagons were pioneers.

Paul had that pioneer spirit by starting churches all over Asia Minor in the first century (read the book of Acts). Paul said his desire was “to preach the gospel in the regions beyond…” (2 Cor. 10:16). Again he said, “I strived to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build upon another man’s foundation” (Rom. 15:20).

I think of pastors who had that pioneer spirit.  Dr. Tom Malone started the Emmanuel Baptist Church in a deserted dance hall in Pontiac, MI.   Dr. Charles Keen started the First Baptist Church in Milford, Ohio (now the home of Bearing Precious Seed).  Dr. Ken Blue came to Mountlake Terrace and started the Open Door Baptist Church with 25 folding chairs and 25 hymnbooks in his living room.   Dr. Rick Adams came to Portland, OR from Jacksonville, FL to start the Greater Portland Baptist Church.  I’ve lost count of the number of churches Brother Jim Modlish has started across America.  I’m thankful that God helped me to start two local churches (one in Redmond, and one in Barton, VT).

Our church in Port Orchard was started by a preacher with a pioneer spirt. Brother Henry King came from San Diego, CA in the late 1950’s to start the first independent Baptist church in Kitsap County—The Bible Baptist Church.

Time would fail to tell of all the pioneer missionaries who go into “regions beyond” to do God’s work!

I enjoy the Disney movie, “Never Cry Wolf.”   It is a great illustration of  the adventure of a pioneer spirit.

A wimpy government bureaucrat named Tyler is assigned to go into the Alaska wilderness and study the depletion of caribou to see if they were being killed by wolves.   It is obvious Tyler is a “duck-out-of-water” as he arrives in Alaska.

He hires a scruffy bush pilot named Rosie to fly him 300 miles into the Alaskan wilderness. Tyler is a nervous wreck as they fly in and out through tall shimmering mountains.

Rosie is casually at ease.  He begins to talk with Tyler, “You what the problem is down in the lower 48?”  Tyler meekly answers, “No…” Rosie continues, “All those people do is sit back in their living rooms and watch the boob tube.  Life is too mundane and routine for them.”  Then he asks, “Tyler, do you know why I came here to Alaska?”  Tyler again whispers, “No…”

About that time suddenly the engine sputters and konks-out.  The plane starts to descend heading towards the side of an ominous mountain.

Rosie rummages in his toolbox looking for a crescent wrench.  Finally he dumps the box upside down emptying the tools on the floor of the cockpit. He grabs the wrench and opens the door of the plane.  Poor Tyler is totally paralyzed with fear.

Rosie steps out on the wing struct with his wrench and bangs on a nut giving it a tweak, a twist, and a turn.  He climbs back in the plane, pulls out the choke, and tries to restart the engine. The engine sputters and finally starts. They just miss crashing into the side of a mountain.

Then Rosie casually looks over at Tyler and calmly says, “Now Tyler, as I was saying… The reason I came to Alaska is… adventure, Tyler… adventure.”

Amen! The adventure of a pioneer spirit!  God give us pioneer preachers who will go where no preacher has gone before!

Leading from Redemption to Spiritual growth…