Thursday, January 27, 2011

What to Pray For

More than once I have heard Christians say that they can't pray long until they feel like they have run out of things to pray. They don't know what else to pray about. Certainly, learning experientially to pray is a process and takes the aid and help of the Holy Spirit. One must be taught of God to really pray.

But there are great helps in the Bible about what to pray for and what to ask. Paul's prayers are a great example for us in that regard. Paul, from the very beginning of his conversion, was praying. Luke, in the book of Acts, says of Paul, "Behold, he prays."

In Colossians 1, we see an example of what he prayed specifically for the Colossian Christians. No doubt, he prayed these specific requests for himself regularly, as well as praying the same for the churches he loved and nurtured.

When you examine Paul's prayer in Colossians 1:12, you are being allowed into Paul's prayer closet, seeing what God put in his heart to pray. What did Paul pray for others? What kind of things did Paul ask for in prayer?

1. "that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding" - vs. 9

2. "to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him" - vs. 10

3. "bearing fruit in every good work" - vs. 10

4. "increasing in the knowledge of God" - vs. 11

5. "may you be strengthened with all power according to his glorious might" - vs. 11

6. "all endurance and patience with joy" - vs. 11

Paul's praying was not-- "Lord, bless the Corinthians; meet their needs; lead them, guide them, help them, encourage them" -- there is nothing wrong with praying that way for others, when your heart is serious and clear about what those things mean. But we get in a rut in prayer with our words, saying the same things often over and over again, without really being fresh and in tune with the Lord.

I remember the first year after my conversion, there were 2 men in our church who always led morning prayer and evening prayer in church before the offering plate was passed. They both always parroted the same prayer week after week--

"Lord, we thank You for thy blessings; we pray that You would bless the gift and the giver; forgive all our sins-- lead, guide and direct us, in Your name we pray-amen."

Now these were nice men who seemed sincere. But it became obvious that they did not have a clue about the reality of prayer and what it meant to lay hold on God and plead His promises.

When you look at that content in Paul's praying, it is amazing what he prayed for. Do we pray that way for ourselves and for others regularly?

- I want to be filled with the knowledge of your will

- I want to grow in spiritual understanding and wisdom

- I would have a worthy walk

- Strengthen me with all power

- Let me increase in truly knowing You

- Make me fruitful in every work

- Cause me to have real endurance and patience and lasting joy

Let's get meatier in our praying; increasingly pray the Word, pray the Psalms, and the prayers of the saints found in the Scriptures, and Paul's prayers found in his epistles. We ought never to read Paul's letters without praying those prayers for ourselves and the saints we walk with.

When we do, we are praying the perfect mind and will of God. We are praying for the greatest possible reality and we are growing in our understanding and capacity in relation to pray.

Lord, teach us to pray, as you did Paul.

- Mack Tomlinson

Saturday, January 22, 2011

He Shall Deliver You

"Surely he shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler." - Psalm 91:3

God delivers his people from the snare of the fowler in two senses. From, and out of. First, he delivers them from the snare—does not let them enter it; and secondly, if they should be caught therein, he delivers them out of it. The first promise is the most precious to some; the second is the best to others.

“He shall deliver thee from the snare.” How? Trouble is often the means whereby God delivers us. God knows that our backsliding will soon end in our destruction, and he in mercy sends the rod. We say, “Lord, why is this?” not knowing that our trouble has been the means of delivering us from far greater evil. Many have been thus saved from ruin by their sorrows and their crosses; these have frightened the birds from the net. At other times, God keeps his people from the snare of the fowler by giving them great spiritual strength, so that when they are tempted to do evil they say, “How can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?” But what a blessed thing it is that if the believer shall, in an evil hour, come into the net, yet God will bring him out of it! O backslider, be cast down, but do not despair. Wanderer though thou hast been, hear what thy Redeemer saith—“Return, O backsliding children; I will have mercy upon you.”

But you say you cannot return, for you are a captive. Then listen to the promise—“Surely he shall deliver thee out of the snare of the fowler.” Thou shalt yet be brought out of all evil into which thou hast fallen, and though thou shalt never cease to repent of thy ways, yet he that hath loved thee will not cast thee away; he will receive thee, and give thee joy and gladness, that the bones which he has broken may rejoice. No bird of paradise shall die in the fowler’s net.

- C. H. Spurgeon

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Thursday Afternoon Radio Program

If you are free to listen, I will be sharing about Leonard Ravenhill and the new biography this Thursday afternoon, January 20th, at 4:35 Mountain time (5:35 Central time) on KKIM Radio in Albuquerque, N.M.;

The live streaming can be heard on KKIM Radio Interview KKIM AM 1000 ABQ, FM 94.7 Santa Fe KARS AM 860 Belen, NM & WORLDWIDE at

- Mack T.

Be on Guard

"And it came to pass, at the evening time, that David arose from off his bed, and walked upon the roof of the king's house." - 2 Samuel 11:2

At that hour, David saw Bathsheba. We are never out of the reach of temptation. Both at home and abroad, we are liable to meet with allurements to evil; the morning opens with peril and the shades of evening find us still in jeopardy. They are well kept whom God keeps, but woe unto those who go forth into the world or even dare to walk their own house unarmed. Those who think themselves secure are more exposed to dangers than any others. The armor-bearer of sin is self-confidence.

David should have been engaged in fighting the Lord's battles; instead he tarried at Jerusalem and gave himself up to luxurious repose, for he arose from his bed at time of evening. Idleness and luxury are the devil's jackals, and find him abundant prey. In stagnant waters noxious creatures swarm and neglected soil soon yields a dense tangle of weeds and briars.

Oh, for the constraining love of Jesus to keep us active and useful! When I see the king of Israel sluggishly leaving his couch at the close of the day and falling at once into temptation, let me take warning and set holy watchfulness to guard the door.

Is it possible that the king had mounted his housetop for retirement and devotion? If so, what a caution is given us to count no place, however secret, a sanctuary from sin! While our hearts are so like dry wood and spark so plentiful, we must use all diligence in all places to prevent a blaze. Satan can climb housetops and enters closets, and even if we could shut out that foul fiend, our own corruptions are enough to work our ruin unless grace prevents it.

Let us beware of evening temptations. Be not secure. The sun is down, but sin is up. We need a watchman for the night as well as a guardian for the day. O blessed Spirit, keep us from all evil this night.

- C. H. Spurgeon

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Our Words

Many people do not take their words serious enough. Everyone who hears anything we say will be influenced and affected by our words, whether for good or bad. Often young people or foolish adults will saying cutting, hurtful things in jest, only to justify it by saying, "I was only teasing--man, can't anybody take a joke?"

Whether or not the person was joking is another issue; the thing about words is that, regardless what our motives are in speaking, the words themselves have a direct influence upon those who hear us.

How important are words? When words are spoken, they immediately do their work. It doesn't matter if it was intentional or not, if it was a joke or not, if it was well-thought out or rashly spoken without thought--none of that matters; what matters is that when words leave a person's mouth, the effect happensand the influence occurs; blessing and edification are accomplished by the words themselves if the words are right, truthful and good; likewise, damage, hurt, and sin immediately occurs if the words are harmful.

Words and their effects cannot be drawn back in like a fishing line. Once out of the mouth, they are permanent and cannot be reversed.

How important are words? Only a few reminders from Proverbs cause us to remember:

Preserving or destroying one's very life - "Whoever guards his mouth preserves his life; he who opens wide his lips comes to ruin." - Prov. 13:3

Toil or talk - "In all toil there is profit, but mere talk tends only to poverty." - 14:23

Anger or peace - "A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger." - 15:1

Thoughts themselves can be sin, and words can be acts of righteousness - "The thoughts of the wicked are an abomination to the Lord, but gracious words are pure." - 15:26

Words have influence with those who are in authority - "Righteous lips are the delight of a king, and he loves him who speaks what is right." - 16:13

Words are a real means of comfort and healing - "Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body." - 16:24

For those talkative ones who always have to express their views - "A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion." - 18:2

Words are what get most people in trouble - "A fool's lips walk into a fight and his mouth invites a beating." - 18:6 (Advice to young people--if you don't want to get in trouble or get your teeth knocked down your throat by a mad jerk, keep your mouth shut--be quick to listen and very slow to speak.)

Words totally ruin some people's lives - "A fool's mouth is his ruin and his lips are a snare to his soul." - 18:7

Gossip is enjoyable to the gossip and the listener - "The words of a whisperer are like delicious morsels." - 18:8

Premature words bring shame - "If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame." - 18:13

Words always reap a harvest - "From the fruit of a man's mouth his stomach is satisfied; he is satisfied by the yield of his lips." - 18:20

Words reflects outright evil and wickedness - "A worthless witness mocks at justice, and the mouth of the wicked devours iniquity." - 19:28

The main life preserver - "Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble." - 21:23

Telling others is wrong - "Argue your case with your neighbor himself and do not reveal another's secrets." - 25:9

Good, timely words - "A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver." - 25:11

Lying about others is destructive - "A man who bears false witness against his neighbor is like a war club, a sword, or a sharp arrow." - 25:18

Quarreling - "It is better to live in a corner of the housetop than in a house shared with a quarrelsome wife." - 25:24

Quarreling - "For lack of wood the fire goes out and where there is no whisperer, quarreling ceases." - 26:20

There's a time to answer a fool and there's a time to not answer a fool - "Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest you be like him yourself. Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own eyes." - 26:4-5

Words are often meant to directly deceive - "Whoever hates disguises himself with his lips and harbors deceit in his heart; when he speaks graciously, believe him not, for there are seven abominations in his heart." - 26:24-25

How many more warnings could we find, just in Proverbs? Many more.

In an age of information overload, tweeting, face-booking, emailing, texting, and all the rest, the amount of words that are used have been multiplied by the millions; and everyone one of us are storing up more and more accountability to God on judgment day, when we will give account of our words.

- Mack Tomlinson

Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Second Coming, Part 2

To put it another way, when will the resurrection and the ‘rapture’ occur? At the last trumpet.

* 1Cor 15:52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.
* 1Thes 4:16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.
* Mat 24:31 And He will send forth His angels with a great trumpet and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other.

To put it another way, when will the end of the world occur? At the last trumpet, the 7thand last.

* Rev 11:15 Then the seventh angel sounded; and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever.”

To put it another way, when will the resurrection occur? On the last day.

* John 6:39 This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day.
* Repeated three more times in John 6
* Also: John 11.24

To put it another way, when will the judgment day occur? On the last day.

* John 12:48 … the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day.

To put it another way, will the resurrection of the righteous and the wicked be simultaneous? Yes, it will be in a coming hour – the last hour.

* John 5:28, 29 Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice, and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to aresurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment.

Conclusion? It will all happen on that one day. What a day it will be! Man has had his days – birthday, graduation day, wedding day, Independence Day, Ground Hog Day, etc. The Lord will have His Day.
How can I be ready for the great day of the Lord? A person might be fouled up on the above, and still make it to heaven if he knows how to be ready. If you repent of sin, giving your life to the living God unconditionally and believe on the Lord Jesus – truly, sincerely, totally, that He died to pay your sin-debt – you will be rescued from the wrath to come.

* 1Thes 1:9, 10 … you turned to God from idols to serve a living and true God, and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, that is Jesus, who rescues us from the wrath to come.

Most folks will be sleeping when their house burns, many with a false confession of Christ.

* 1Thes 5:6 so then let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober.
* Matt 7:22 Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’

Sin is contraband. You don’t want to be under its guilt or power.

* Rom 13:11,12 Knowing the time, that it is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now salvation is nearer to us than when we believed. The night is almost gone, and the day is near. Therefore let us lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.

The day will come; it is fixed by God. No bomb or cataclysm can stop it.

* Acts 17:30, 31 … God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.

Rev 22:20 …Come, Lord Jesus.
- Bob Jennings

Friday, January 14, 2011

The Second Coming - Part 1

No one knows when the great day will be, not the angels, not even the Son, at least in the days of His incarnation, Matthew 24.36, Acts 1.7, but we do know two things:

* what will happen, and
* how to be ready.

What will happen? There are a lot of schedules taught in Christendom about the last things. So, to simplify the matter, let’s only take the one Greek word parousia, translated “coming.”
At the parousia, Christ will be revealed – the revelation.

* 2Thes 2:1 Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of our Lord
* 2Thes 1:7 … when the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire

At the parousia, Christ will raise the dead – the resurrection.

* 1Thes 4:15 … we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep.
* 1Thes 4:16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will risefirst.
* See also: 1Cor 15.22,23

At the parousia, Christ will “catch up” the believers who are then alive – the rapture.

* 1Thes 4:15 … we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep.
* 1Thes 4:17 Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord.
* See also: 1Cor 15.52

At the parousia, Christ will gather to Himself all believers of all times.

* 2Thes 2:1 Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him
* 1Thes 4:17 Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord.

At the parousia, Christ will judge – it will be the judgment day.

* 2Thes 2:1 Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him,
* 2Thes 1:8, 9 dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power

At the parousia, Christ will destroy everything – souls and bodies of unbelievers will be thrown into hell, Matt 10.28, and it will be the end of heaven and earth.

* 2Thes 2:1 Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him,
* 2Thes 1:8, 9 dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power
* 2Peter 3:12 looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat

At the parousia, Christ will end it all.

* Mat 24:3 … what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?
* 1Cor 15:23, 24 But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ’s at His coming, then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to the God

At the parousia, Christ will make all things new.

* 2Pet 3:12, 13 looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat! But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and anew earth, in which righteousness dwells.

to be continued...

- Bob Jennings

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

What about Cremation?

Cremation has become an increasingly popular practice today, not only in other nations, but in America as well. The general attitude is, "It doesn't matter how you are buried or if you are buried or what happens to your body." Increasingly, professing evangelical Christians are supportive of the practice of cremation, saying, "It doesn't really matter--I will be in heaven anyway."

I recently heard on the radio a leading Baptist pastor of one of the largest and most influential Baptist churches in Texas. He was speaking about the resurrection and about the hope believers have in Christ after death. In the midst of his message, he stated that it doesn't matter if we are buried or cremated, and that the Bible doesn't have any more support for one view than the other.

Is he correct? Is the Bible neutral on the subject? Is cremation a biblically sanctioned practice? For us today, we can simply ask the question--is cremation Christian? Is it something a Christian should embrace?

The Bible does show that heathen nations practiced evil types of cremation in the context of demon worship and a complete departure from the worship of the true God. The Scriptures also teach theologically that the body of the Christian is the temple of the Holy Spirit and ought not to be desecrated. If the physical body of the Christian has become holy, as the very temple of God Himself, then it ought never to be willfully destroyed by a man-made practice that is not condoned in Scripture.

But perhaps the greatest answer is the example we find in Scripture of what those in Old Testament and the New Testament times did with the bodies of their dead. The simple answer is that they buried them. Burial was the practice, never cremation.

Abraham's wife, Sarah, was buried- "After this, Abraham buried Sarah his wife in the cave of the field of Machpelah, east of Mamre in the land of Canaan." - Genesis 23:19

Moses was buried- "Isaac and Ismael, his sons, buried him in the cave of Machpelah, east of Mamre . . . there Abraham was buried with Sarah his wife." - Genesis 25:9

Deborah, Rebekah's servant and nurse, was buried by Jacob- "And Deborah died and she was buried under an oak below Bethel. So he [Jacob] called its name Allon-bacuth [weeping]." - Genesis 35:8

Rachel was buried- "So Rachel died and she was buried on the way to Ephrath and Jacob set up a pillar over her tomb." - Genesis 35:19 (See also Gen. 48:7)

Isaac was buried- "And Isaac breathed his last and he died and was gathered to his people, old and full of days. And his sons Esau and Jacob buried him."
- Genesis 35:29

Jacob requested to be buried in Canaan, not in Egypt- "Do not bury me in Egypt, but let me lie with my fathers. Carry me out of Egypt and bury me in their burying place." - Genesis 47:29-30 (See also 49:29)

Moses was buried by God Himself - "So Moses the servant of the Lord died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the Lord, and he [God] buried him in the valley in the land of Moab opposite Bethpeor, but no one knows the place of his burial to this day." - Deut. 34:5-7

In the New Testament, Lazarus was buried (John 11) and Jesus was buried, as were all others referred to in Scripture specifically.

If the example of the godly saints in Scripture means anything (and it does), then cremation is simply not a valid or God-honoring practice that any Christian should condone or consider.

Cremation is neither biblical or exemplary for the Christian today and we ought not to let the standard down just because some are going the way of the world, adopting heathen practices.

- Mack Tomlinson

Thursday, January 6, 2011


Justification in its essence is a legal or forensic term, a term that belongs to the realm of the Law Court. It means "to declare just," and "to declare righteous." It is the opposite of condemnation. The Christian has moved from a state of "condemnation" to one of "justification." For this reason the Apostle starts this 8th chapter by saying, "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus."

Paul is taking up again the argument he had left off at the end of chapter 5, where he had been working out some of the consequences of justification. His constant emphasis concerning this is that it is something which is done by God, "Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified." In other words we do not justify ourselves before God. God justifies us, and He does it--and this is the argument of the first four chapters--entirely apart from us and our works. It is not the result of any merit that is in us. One verse that states this clearly and beyond any doubt is the 5th verse in the 4th chapter: "But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness." God justifies the "ungodly"; not the "righteous," but the "ungodly."

He argues the same point in chapter 5, verses 6-8: "When we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." It is the action of God, and exclusively the action of God. This is the central argument of this Epistle. It is the declaration made by God concerning those who believe in Christ. We are justified in Christ, but through faith and belief. The belief is the instrument.

Let us emphasize again certain other aspects of this doctrine. Justification does not merely mean forgiveness. It includes forgiveness, but it is much bigger than forgiveness. It means in addition that God declares us to be entirely guiltless; He regards us as if we had never sinned at all. He pronounces us to be just and to be righteous. In doing so He is answering any declaration that the Law may make with respect to us. It is the judge upon the bench not merely saying that the prisoner at the Bar is forgiven, but that he pronounces him to be a just and righteous person.

In justifying us God tells us that He has taken our sins and our guilt, and has "imputed" them to, "put them to the account of," the Lord Jesus Christ and punished them in Him. He announces also that, having done that, He now puts to our account, or "imputes" to us, the perfect righteousness of His own dear Son. The Lord Jesus Christ obeyed the Law perfectly; He never broke it in any respect. He gave a full and a perfect satisfaction to all its demands. That full obedience constitutes His righteousness. What God does is to put to our account, to put upon us, the righteousness of Jesus Christ. In declaring us to be justified, God proclaims that He now looks on us, not as we are, but as clothed with the righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ. A hymn by the Moravian Count Zinzendorf, and translated by John Wesley, expresses it thus:

Jesus, Thy robe of righteousness
My beauty is, my glorious dress;
'Midst flaming worlds, in this arrayed,
With joy shall I lift up my head.

Zinzendorf proceeds in the hymn to defy anyone and anything to bring a charge against us, because we are clothed and robed with this "righteousness" of the Lord Jesus Christ. Such, then, is the meaning of justification, and it is entirely the action of God. It is, I repeat, the forensic, legal declaration of God that we are not only forgiven but guiltless, and that as we are clothed with the righteousness of Christ we shall continue in that condition. In other words, we are given a new standing and a new status in the presence of God.

- D. M. Lloyd-Jones