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Friday, October 31, 2008

The Kisses of His Mouth

From the pen of Pastor Mike McInnis


Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth: for thy love is better than wine.

Song of Solomon 1:2

Man in his natural religious state is desirous of fulfilling duties and meeting whatever requirements that his religious tradition deems appropriate. This natural dedication can be so strong that a man is even willing to lay down his life to uphold his chosen belief and fulfill his desire to be faithful to it. Sincerity (to one degree or another) is a trait which is found among just about all types of religious adherents. Dedication to a particular cause can be discovered wherever men gather to express the tenets of this creed or that.

Counterfeit money which is easily detected would be useless. In the same fashion, counterfeit religions would not be so effective in keeping men in darkness if they were obviously false. Most religions in the earth are very effective in promoting morality and general order. In fact most religions are roundly approved by the rank and file of the earth as being beneficial for society in general. Even the government approves of the promotion of religion as long as equal opportunity is given to all, and one religion is not sanctioned above another, which is as it should be.

Multitudes in this country pay homage to what is called the “christian” religion, which as society defines it, has a multitude of facets and many different flavors. In fact many are fond of saying that the good old United States is a “christian” nation founded on “christian” principles. Some have even taken great umbrage at the possibility that one of the candidates for president may not in fact be a “christian” and that it’s possible that he won’t use the Bible to be sworn in if he is elected. I suppose we may find out the answers to those “mysteries” soon enough, but the truth is that all religion which is chosen and ordered by men is all of equal value and bears the same marks regardless of what it is called.

While nations may be composed of a populace which is in its convictions disposed to the tenets of the christian faith, there is no such thing as a “christian” nation except that one which is described by Peter, “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” (1Pet 2:9) The citizens of this nation did not become so by natural birth nor human choice as John says; “Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1:13)

The inhabitants of this kingdom are not mere natural men at all, but they have been born again from above by the HOLY GHOST sent down from heaven. “Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.” (John 3:5-8)

This is the solution to the problem set forth by the apostle Paul, “Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.” (1Cor 15:50) A radical transformation must take place in order for a man who is born of a woman to become a subject of the kingdom of GOD. This is not a function of religion nor is it brought about by sincere devotion to so called “christian” principles. Men may adopt the outward forms of “christianity” just like they can choose any other religion on the face of the earth, but such is as ultimately worthless as counterfeit money when it is examined in the proper light.

Those who are by grace made the possessors of this spiritual birth have not added one iota to their standing by their own power. All that they have and are is the result of the outpouring of HIS mercy and the gift of HIS grace. “For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.” (1Cor 2:11-13)

It most certainly follows then that those who are born of this SPIRIT and taught and indwelt by the same should possess different desires and longings than those who have not been so taught and led. “But we have the mind of Christ.” (1Cor 2:16) “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.” (Col 3:1-3) Some have taught that because of this then the sons of GOD can and should attain perfection in this life.

Those who maintain such an idea are ignorant of the fact that we are yet left here in this earth in the same corruptible body of flesh and blood which has always been with us and shall remain so until the day of the resurrection when this mortal shall put on immortality and death is swallowed up in victory. However we are not left without hope and it is in this hope that we “press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” (Phi 3:14) It is in the midst of this very conflict which we find ourselves in as the “flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh” (Gal 5:17) that we are made to long for those refreshing times sent from the presence of the LORD. (see Acts 3:19) And it is only by HIS SPIRIT that we are enabled to desire HIS fellowship and long for HIS appearing.

It is in such a state that we see the “church” (the bride) longing for the kisses of her HUSBAND.

It is obvious that she has tasted of those kisses or else how could she know that which she desires. “The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.” (Jer 31:3)

It is apparent that HE has gone away for a season though she is not without hope that HE shall return. “In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the LORD thy Redeemer.” (Isa 54:8)

She desires HIS presence more than any other. “For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness.” (Psa 84:10)

As a chaste bride, she longs for HIS kiss alone. “If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.” (John 15:19) “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” (1Jo 2:15)

She loves her HUSBAND because HE first loved her and has clearly demonstrated that love by giving HIMSELF for her. “In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” (1John 4:9-10) mam

Friday, October 24, 2008

The Sands of Time are Sinking

Anne Ross Cousin, inspired by Samuel Rutherford's letters, wrote a poem which later was compiled into this great hymn. While there are many great hymns that I love and warmly embrace, I believe this hymn may top them all. It seems, that no hymn warms my heart like this one. Through the years it has been sung sparingly, I must admit it's sound is a bit melancholy, but do not allow that to keep you from enjoying it. Its words and message are one of the sweetest I've ever read or sung. For the truth and sweetness of it, it is one of my favorites. I hope you will enjoy it.

The Sands of Time are Sinking

The sands of time are sinking, The dawn of heaven breaks;
The summer morn I've sighed for- The fair sweet morn awakes;
Dark, dark hath been the midnight, But day-spring is at hand,
And glory, glory dwelleth In Immanuel's land.

O Christ, He is the fountain, The deep, sweet well of love!
The streams on earth I've tasted More deep I'll drink above;
There to an ocean fulness His mercy doth expand,
And glory, glory dwelleth In Immanuel's land.

O I am my Beloved's, And my Beloved's mine!
He brings a poor vile sinner into His "house of wine".
I stand upon His merit- I know no other stand,
Not e'en where glory dwelleth In Immanuel's land.

The Bride eyes not her garment But her dear bridegrooms face;
I will not gaze at glory But on my King of grace.
Not at the crown He giveth But on His pierced hand:
The Lamb is all the glory of Immanuel's land.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

A thought for the day

"We are more endangered by the charms of a smiling world than by the terrors of a frowning world." (Matthew Henry, 1662-1714)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Working for Retirement

From the pen of brother Mike McInnis pastor of Grace Chapel in O'Brien,FL


And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. Luke 12:19

The latest economic woes that have beset this nation and the world in general and the resultant stock market slide that has taken place recently has brought grave concern to some and near panic to others. It would seem to me that it should serve as a wake up call of sorts to those who profess to be the followers of the LORD JESUS CHRIST.

It is sad but true that quite often the true sons of GOD find themselves patterning their thinking after that of the world. When economic prosperity is all around us and the comforts and indulgences of life are easily enjoyed then the flesh can grow quite content and often we are lulled into a sort of stupor wherein we think that we deserve such and grow extremely attached to the trappings of plenty. We start looking at ways to pad our nest and feed our desires for a life of ease.

It is only natural that our flesh would hunger after such and it is absolutely true that there is no benefit in depriving ourselves of those things we can afford just to deprive ourselves. There is nothing to be gained by wearing sackcloth and ashes when more comfortable clothing can be had. However there is a danger in forgetting that the things which we possess are but temporary gifts which the LORD has placed within our hands and called us to be stewards of.

The possessions which the LORD has given us richly to enjoy are not simply for us to get pleasure from by consuming them, rather they are placed within our hands that we may be able to bless others. (see Acts 20:34-35; Eph.4:28; Rom.12:13). Paul commended the Corinthians for this very thing. “Being enriched in every thing to all bountifulness, which causeth through us thanksgiving to God. For the administration of this service not only supplieth the want of the saints, but is abundant also by many thanksgivings unto God; Whiles by the experiment of this ministration they glorify God for your professed subjection unto the gospel of Christ, and for your liberal distribution unto them, and unto all men. “ (2 Cor 9:11-13)

The man who is wise will look to the example of the ant. “Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest.” (Prov 6:6-8) He is not waiting for a handout but is diligent to provide for his own needs and they of his house. (see I Tim.5:8). So it is prudent for men to look to the future and understand that they should make some preparation for that time when they shall perhaps be as the LORD told Peter, “When thou wast young, thou girdedst thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not.”(John 21:18)

Yet it seems to me that in the last 30 years our society has become obsessed with laying up great amounts of money for the future not just to provide for their needs but to insure that they can indulge themselves in old age with the baubles of this world. We must not forget that 401k’s, stocks, and bonds are not the stuff of which life consists, most certainly not that of the sons of GOD. There is no shortage of financial gurus who often give good advice on monetary matters, but at the same time elevate the concern of men about these matters to an inordinate consideration.

While we should be prudent, we must also remember what the LORD said, “Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” (Mat 6:25-34) Ye cannot serve GOD and mammon.

The life of GOD’s people consists in much more than this world’s goods. So is our life to be spent working for “retirement”? You be the judge.


Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Perfect Rest

I will share this closing paragraph from a sermon preached by the notable Anglican pastor J.C. Ryle (1816-1900).

The message text came from Jeremiah 6:16a: Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls.

Brother Ryle closed his message with this illustration:
There is a pass in Scotland called Glencroe, which supplies a beautiful illustration of what heaven will be to the man who comes to Christ. The road through Gleneroe carries the traveller up a long and steep ascent, with many a little winding and many a little turn in its course. But when the top of the pass is reached, a stone is seen by the wayside, with these simple words engraven on it, "Rest, and be thankful." Those words describe the feelings with which every one who comes to Christ will at length enter heaven. The summit of the narrow way will be won: we shall cease from our weary journeying, and sit down in the kingdom of God. We shall look back over all the way of life with thankfulness, and see the perfect wisdom of every little winding and turn in the steep ascent by which we were led. We shall forget the toils of the upward journey in the glorious rest. Here in this world our sense of rest in Christ at best is feeble and partial; but "when that which is perfect is come, that which is in part shall be done away." Thanks be unto God, a day is coming when the end of the "old path" will be reached, and believers shall rest perfectly, and be thankful!

Monday, October 6, 2008

The everlasting gospel

And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters. Rev. 14:6-7

Sunday, October 5, 2008

What are we to do?

The apostle John recorded this incident:
"Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent." John 6:28-29

Later, John recorded in his first letter: "And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment." 1 John 3:23

Lord; teach me your way and open my eyes that I may see Him whom you have sent. Please give me the faith to trust Him, rest in Him and follow Him.