Gratitude and Pride Don’t Sleep in the Same Bed

1 Thessalonians 5:18 says, “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

humble-thanks-2

But why is it often hard to say “give thanks in all circumstances?” What gets in the way of gratitude? PRIDE!

Gratitude and pride do not sleep in the same bed. The proud man is a thankless person. When on the receiving end of success, good fortune or an act of kindness, the proud man boasts, “I deserve this.” When failure, misfortune or an act of unkindness is his lot, the proud man grumbles, “I deserve better.” No matter what is going on, whether things are going well or not, gratitude is ever absent in a proud man’s vocabulary. Gratitude is a foreign language to a proud man.

But oh, how sweet when the proud man learns humility! Gratitude for and in everything naturally follows. Humility and ingratitude do not sleep in the same bed. The humble man is a thankful man. When on the receiving end of success, good fortune or an act of kindness, the humble man says, “I don’t deserve this.” When failure, misfortune or an act of unkindness is his lot, the humble man says, “I deserve worse.” No matter what is going on, whether things are going well or not, gratitude is ever present in a humble man’s vocabulary. Gratitude is the mother-tongue of a humble man.

Which of the two are you?

 

 

 The Case for Strong Men’s Discipling Ministries in the Local Church

DiscipleshipTitle1Someone once said, “The strength and character of the church is in its men. Men have the responsibility of leadership in the church as well as in the home. Their character is everything. It’s the all important thing. Where a church’s men are strong, the whole church will be strong. Where a church’s men are weak, the whole church will be weak.”  Continue reading ” The Case for Strong Men’s Discipling Ministries in the Local Church”

Announcing the Launch of Our New Website

How-Creating-a-New-Website-Can-Help-You-Grow-RevenueToday, I am pleased to announce the launch of the new and updated website for Joy to the World Ministries. Many thanks to Church OS for their hard work in helping us with the work on this new site. They have really been terrific. May the Lord continue blessing their work. Through this, we hope to share with you what the Lord has been doing among us in the past, what He is doing now as we look forward to what He will do in the future.

In turn, I hope that you will:
  1. Join us in praising the Lord for His love towards us which love was demonstrated in the death and resurrection our Lord Jesus Christ.
  2. Pray for and with us regularly as we continue to labor for the gospel that we may maintain and work towards the vision that the Lord has for us.
  3. Spread the word concerning this work and recruit others to join us in doing #1 and #2 above.
  4. Give financially to support this important work for the advancement of the gospel of Jesus Christ in the various regions where we are working and beyond.
  5. Stay tuned. We will be posting regular updates on this site, so please come back and visit often. We want you to walk with us through the journey ahead as we apply ourselves with the Lord’s help to the task of “Taking the Whole Gospel, to the Whole Man and to the Whole World.”
god-be-the-gloryThank you for being such faithful and encouraging supporters. May the Lord richly bless you. To God be the glory!
“From the rising of the sun to its setting, the name of the LORD is to be praised!” Psalm 113:3

Modern Praise Songs & The Feminization of the Church

New-City-Church-Phoenix-Worship-Team-e1309470752111This is the white elephant no-one in the church wants to talk about. We have capitulated to so much of the pressure from the egalitarian culture in which we find ourselves. To talk about anything feminine in negative terms is anathema.

However, as biblical Christians (men and women), we do not have the luxury of avoiding issues about which the Word of God speaks loud and clear and demands that we do the same. So, I will join others before me and bite the bullet.
Here I will just point out one major way through which we see the feminisation of the church worldwide but especially in the West – and that’s the area of music. We need a lot of help here.
On this one author wrote:
Music in the local church fits the tastes and sensibilities of women and children. Children’s songs about Jesus always present His gentle side. I learned this song before I was three years old:
Away in a manger, no crib for a bed,
The little Lord Jesus laid down his sweet head.
The stars in the sky looked down where he lay,
The little Lord Jesus, asleep on the hay.
Such songs are appropriate for children, but many people carry a picture of sweet, passive, sleeping Jesus their entire lives. Some boys never recover from this image. To balance this impression, the church used to allow aggressive, warlike images of Jesus as well. In 1865 English com-poser Sabine Baring-Gould wrote this song as a children’s march:
image1Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war,
With the cross of Jesus going on before.
Christ, the royal Master, leads against the foe;
Forward into battle, see His banners go!
But by the turn of the twentieth century, hymns had taken a decisive move toward the feminine. In 1913, C. Austin Miles wrote “In the Garden.” Notice the difference in tone:
He speaks, and the sound of His voice
Is so sweet the birds hush their singing;
And the melody that He gave to me
Within my heart is ringing.
And He walks with me, and He talks with me,
And He tells me I am His own,
And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever known.
Colorful-Garden-Flowers
“Onward, Christian Soldiers” is passé in most congregations, but “In the Garden” is still widely sung. Christ has put down His sword and picked up a daisy. He is no longer a warrior; He is a lover. The very image of Christ taking up arms (as He does in Revelation 19) is simply unacceptable in a lot of churches today.
Praise music has accelerated this trend. Not only are the lyrics of many of these songs quite romantic, but they have the same breathless feel as top forty love songs.
 “Hold me close, let your love surround me. Bring me near, draw me to your side.”
“I’m desperate for you, I’m lost without you.”
“Let my words be few. Jesus I am so in love with you.”
“You’re altogether lovely . . . altogether wonderful to me.”
“Oh Lord, you’re beautiful. Your face is all I seek.”
“You are beautiful, my sweet, sweet song.”
oh-lord-youre-beautiful-1-728Think of the mental gymnastics that must take place inside a man’s subconscious mind as he sings lyrics like these. He’s trying to express his love to Jesus, a man who lives today, using words no man would dare say to another, set to music that sounds like the love songs his wife listens to in the car. (By the way, men never call each other beautiful, lovely, or wonderful.)
I think this is why women generally enjoy praise music more than men do. Lyrically and stylistically, praise music resonates with a woman’s heart. Men can and do enjoy praise music, but it’s an acquired taste.
We can’t go back to “Onward, Christian Soldiers.” But no one has composed masculine praise songs to take its place. Songwriters, please fashion some songs that speak of battle, strength, and victory. Imagine Christ as our Commander, Coach, or Scout, not our Boyfriend. If you need inspiration, look to the Psalms. It’s time to balance Christ the Lover with Christ the Warrior again. The men are depending on you.
Murrow, David (2011-10-31). Why Men Hate Going to Church (pp. 137-140). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.

I can’t really say it any better than that – except to say in the spirit of Revelation 2:29: “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”

Most Men are Not Satisfied…

J. Campbell White writes:

Most men are not satisfied with the permanent output of their lives. Nothing can wholly satisfy the life of Christ within his followers except the adoption of Christ’s purpose toward the world he came to redeem. Fame, pleasure and riches are but husks and ashes in contrast with the boundless and abiding joy of working with God for the fulfillment of his eternal plans. The men who are putting everything into Christ’s undertaking are getting out of life its sweetest and most priceless rewards (Excerpt from Secretary of the Laymen’s Missionary Movement, 1909).

men4god-conf-poster-crThis is why Joy to the World Ministries has organized the Men for God Conference – a conference for men which was born out of a deep desire to encourage and build up strong, quality and godly men for God who will serve Him as godly leaders be it in the home, church or the work place.

  • Most men are not satisfied by the permanent output of their lives.
  • Most men are insecure – and unsure of themselves – who they are and what they are really here for. So they hide their true identity in order to gain acceptance.
  • Most men are lonely – and secretly wish they weren’t – but are too proud to admit it.
  • Most men are laden with worry and anxiety over their finances – they can’t pay their bills and they are steeped in debt.
  • Most men have given up on finding any satisfaction in their lives – and are merely existing – living without any real God-honoring purpose.

Is there any hope for such men? Yes there is – the Bible gives instructions on what the LORD requires of us. By looking to Christ, we can find real meaning, purpose and satisfaction in our lives. Through Christ, we can enjoy God’s rich blessings to us and be a blessing to others. In Christ, we can live God-honoring lives day by day.

If you are a man living in Greater Vancouver, the Fraser Valley or Whatcom County, and need some encouragement in your walk with the LORD, I invite you to join me and other men this coming June at the Men for God Conference as we look into God’s Word for divine instructions on how to lives in such a way that we honor God, bless others and enjoy the abundant life that our Savior, Jesus Christ has purchased for us by His death and resurrection.

 

HALLELUJAH! CHRIST AROSE

0376329b-926b-4d8b-8e77-d365743c00bfThis is the best part of the best news in the whole world! The best part of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ is not that He was born, not that He suffered, not that He died nor that He was buried – it’s certainly not the fact that He descended into the realm of the dead (Hades). All of these facts have their place and significance. But none of them and all of them together come close to giving us what we get in knowing the fact and the facts of the resurrection. The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the hinge upon which the door of the Christian faith swings. Thus, taking away the resurrection, would be taking away the whole lot. In that case, we would all have to burn our Bibles, close our churches and begin living for now because without the resurrection there would not be an eternity to look forward to. Everything would quickly come crumbling down. So, we need to praise God the Father for raising Jesus from the dead.

The bodily resurrection of Jesus is what gives us hope and strength to go on believing in Him. Otherwise, we are totally lost! This is why Paul writes using such strong language and with much passion concerning this in 1 Corinthians 15. Study that chapter some time. It will do your soul much good. Listen to what he says: And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied (1 Corinthians 15: 14-19). This shows us how important the resurrection

Source:  Matandika, Rev. Fletcher (2014-12-19). Born to Die: Exploring the Real Meaning of Jesus’ Birth (Kindle Locations 1008-1016). Tolle Lege Publications. Kindle Edition.

A Sad Day for Canada

assisted-1Today, the Supreme Court of Canada lifted a ban on doctor-assisted suicide – a very sad day for Canada.  In 2013, it was prostitution.  Today, just two years later, it’s this.  I wonder, “What’s next?”

The tragic reality is that this is what the people want. This is the society that the majority of the people want.  But I ask, “Is this what God wants?” The answer is an emphatic “No!”

You may wonder, “Why does God allow such things to happen in His world?” The Bible answers that question very clearly.  When men give God up, He gives them up (see Romans 1).  When people turn their backs against God and persist in their rebellion and wickedness, the LORD will remove the “breaks” and give the people over to the desires of their own hearts.  I believe what we are seeing in today’s society is in a very real sense a practical out-working of that truth. God seals the people’s rebellion and gives them what they want without absorbing the very painful cost attached to it. God alone has the right to give or take life. But today, we see men and women increasingly trying to wrestle that right out of God’s hands on both ends (with abortion and now with doctor-assisted suicide).  image

How should Christians respond to this? It’s very easy for us as Christians to despair and fret. But that’s unnecessary.

We believe in a God who will judge the world in truth and righteousness. We must leave (entrust) this and all our other concerns into His hands. He will one day settle all accounts. He will make right all wrongs when He comes to establish His Kingdom.  In His Kingdom, righteousness and justice will flourish for they are the foundation of His throne (Psalm 89:14).

We must keep our faith in the God of the Bible and continue to walk in His ways for therein lies our security. While the world is increasingly moving away from God’s law, we must strive to adhere to what He has commanded with greater zeal, fervency and faithfulness.

We must be evermore relentless and aggressive in evangelism so as to “rescue the perishing and care for the dying.” While the world is busy suppressing God’s truth in unrighteousness, doing what is evil in God’s sight and giving hearty approval to those who practice evil, let us get busy upholding God’s truth in righteousness, doing what is right in God’s sight and challenging people to repent of their sinful ways and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation. We have the joyful privilege and responsibility of saving people by “snatching them out of the fire” (Jude 23). Let’s go for it and may the LORD who is rich in mercy and abounding in steadfast love be pleased to use our effort to save many from across this land for His own Name’s sake. Amen!

Rescue the perishing, care for the dying,

Snatch them in pity from sin and the grace;

Weep o’er the erring one, lift up the fallen,

Tell them of Jesus, the mighty to save

Rescue the perishing, care for the dying,

Jesus is merciful, Jesus will save.