Archive for March, 2006

Freedom of the press

Tuesday, March 28th, 2006 at 6:12 pm

In Amendment I of the Bill of Rights, we read:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

This is the oft misinterpreted part of the U.S. Constitution in regards to the separation of church and state. At this time, I will not address the misapplication of this amendment to prevent any public demonstration of Christianity. The part I want to focus on now is the freedom of the press.

The freedom of the press has been wrongly applied in today’s society as well. Today, people think the newspaper reporters and TV crews should be granted unrestricted access to just about everything. This was not the intent of the First Amendment. In fact, it probably wasn’t even a consideration. Our founding fathers passed the First Amendment because of religious concerns. They did not want to establish a federal church like the Church of England (Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion). As part of this concern, Baptist preachers wanted to be able to preach the gospel without being arrested as they frequently were during colonial times (…or abridging the freedom of speech). They also wanted freedom to print Bibles and Gospel tracts – which is what “freedom of the press” was intended to protect. Freedom of the press was not meant as a protection to newspapers, magazines, radio, or television. Baptists wanted protection from the government so they could print the Bible and print Gospel tracts.

We need to understand the U.S. Constitution based on what the writers intended – not based on what it means to us today.

Posted in Uncategorized
by gahammerle

From riches to rags

Sunday, March 26th, 2006 at 3:39 pm

And Lot also, which went with Abram, had flocks, and herds, and tents. 6 And the land was not able to bear them, that they might dwell together: for their substance was great, so that they could not dwell together. 7 And there was a strife between the herdmen of Abram’s cattle and the herdmen of Lot’s cattle: and the Canaanite and the Perizzite dwelled then in the land. 8 And Abram said unto Lot, Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdmen and thy herdmen; for we be brethren. 9 Is not the whole land before thee? separate thyself, I pray thee, from me: if thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left.

10 And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered every where, before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, even as the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, as thou comest unto Zoar. 11 Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan; and Lot journeyed east: and they separated themselves the one from the other. 12 Abram dwelled in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain, and pitched his tent toward Sodom. 13 But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the LORD exceedingly. Genesis 13:5-13

Notice it wasn’t just Abram who had the herds and flocks and tents. Lot had great possessions too. When the two decided to separate, Lot chose what looked good, but the men of Sodom were exceedingly wicked sinners. After God’s judgment came down on Sodom, what did Lot still have?

And when the morning arose, then the angels hastened Lot, saying, Arise, take thy wife, and thy two daughters, which are here; lest thou be consumed in the iniquity of the city. 16 And while he lingered, the men laid hold upon his hand, and upon the hand of his wife, and upon the hand of his two daughters; the LORD being merciful unto him: and they brought him forth, and set him without the city. 17 And it came to pass, when they had brought them forth abroad, that he said, Escape for thy life; look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the plain; escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed. Genesis 19:15-17

Lot escaped with his life, his two daughters, and his wife. However, his wife looked back and Lot lost her. Lot lost his wife, his sons, and all his possessions. He barely escaped with his life.

Don’t be deceived by appearances. Sodom looked good when Lot first looked that way, but the wickedness of the people soon brought the judgment of God. Because Lot compromised and joined himself to the sinners, he lost everything.

Sin will take everything from you. The prudent will flee from sin and the very presence of sin.

Posted in Uncategorized
by gahammerle

Spurgeon on becoming a Baptist

Friday, March 24th, 2006 at 1:52 pm

He said he became a Baptist because of studying the New Testament in Greek. “According to my reading of Holy Scripture, the believer in Christ should be buried with Him in baptism, and so enter upon his open Christian life.”

Spurgeon’s mother once proclaimed, “Ah, Charles! I often prayed the Lord to make you a Christian, but I never asked that you become a Baptist.”

Spurgeon with a smile responded quickly, “Ah, mother! The Lord has answered your prayer with His usual bounty, and given you exceeding abundantly above what you asked or thought.”

From Spurgeon Gold, page 183.

Posted in Uncategorized
by gahammerle

Compassion for souls

Wednesday, March 22nd, 2006 at 9:06 pm

If you can live without souls being converted, you shall live without their being converted; but if your soul breaks for the longing that it has towards Christ’s glory and the conversion of the ungodly, if like her of old, you say, “Give me children or I die,” your insatiable hunger shall be satisfied; the craving of your spirit shall be gratified.
-Charles Spurgeon

Posted in Uncategorized
by gahammerle

Importance of daily Bible reading

Monday, March 20th, 2006 at 9:14 am

No Bible, no breakfast. No read, no feed.
-Ray Comfort

Posted in Uncategorized
by gahammerle

Pray without ceasing

Saturday, March 18th, 2006 at 9:35 pm

Pray without ceasing. 1 Thessalonians 5:17

I’ve heard some say that this means we ought to be always ready to pray, but that is not what it says. It says pray without ceasing. “Without ceasing” means without ending. Pray without ceasing means we are always praying – always in communication with God. How could that be? I mean, we have to work and we have to sleep sometime. Consider the following passage:

In Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream by night: and God said, Ask what I shall give thee. 6 And Solomon said, Thou hast showed unto thy servant David my father great mercy, according as he walked before thee in truth, and in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart with thee; and thou hast kept for him this great kindness, that thou hast given him a son to sit on his throne, as it is this day. 7 And now, O LORD my God, thou hast made thy servant king instead of David my father: and I am but a little child: I know not how to go out or come in. 8 And thy servant is in the midst of thy people which thou hast chosen, a great people, that cannot be numbered nor counted for multitude. 9 Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people? 10 And the speech pleased the Lord, that Solomon had asked this thing. 11 And God said unto him, Because thou hast asked this thing, and hast not asked for thyself long life; neither hast asked riches for thyself, nor hast asked the life of thine enemies; but hast asked for thyself understanding to discern judgment; 12 Behold, I have done according to thy words: lo, I have given thee a wise and an understanding heart; so that there was none like thee before thee, neither after thee shall any arise like unto thee. 13 And I have also given thee that which thou hast not asked, both riches, and honour: so that there shall not be any among the kings like unto thee all thy days. 14 And if thou wilt walk in my ways, to keep my statutes and my commandments, as thy father David did walk, then I will lengthen thy days. 15 And Solomon awoke; and, behold, it was a dream. And he came to Jerusalem, and stood before the ark of the covenant of the LORD, and offered up burnt offerings, and offered peace offerings, and made a feast to all his servants. 1 Kings 3:5-15

Are you sure you can’t communicate with God while you are sleeping? Solomon’s conversation with God – probably his most well-known conversation – was while Solomon slept. The Lord spoke with Jospeh and the wise men in dreams.

Back in 1995, my dad was diagnosed with cancer. He was unsaved and I was heavily burdened about his salvation. I sought to get closer to God so that I could be an effective witness to my dad. It was during this time that God taught me how to pray without ceasing. My thoughts were consumed with seeing my dad saved. I began to seek God as much as I could. I began praying throughout the day. Even while I was working, I was praying and still able to focus on my job. I don’t undertand it all, but somehow God enables us to do our physical tasks while communicating with him in the spirit. Even while I slept, I had many dreams about witnessing to my dad and seeing him saved.

If you desire something strong enough, God can teach you to pray without ceasing.

Posted in Uncategorized
by gahammerle

Going along with the crowd

Monday, March 13th, 2006 at 10:56 am

But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed. 12 For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision. 13 And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation. 14 But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews? Galatians 2:11-14

Then took they him, and led him, and brought him into the high priest’s house. And Peter followed afar off. 55 And when they had kindled a fire in the midst of the hall, and were set down together, Peter sat down among them. 56 But a certain maid beheld him as he sat by the fire, and earnestly looked upon him, and said, This man was also with him. 57 And he denied him, saying, Woman, I know him not. 58 And after a little while another saw him, and said, Thou art also of them. And Peter said, Man, I am not. 59 And about the space of one hour after another confidently affirmed, saying, Of a truth this fellow also was with him: for he is a Galilaean. 60 And Peter said, Man, I know not what thou sayest. And immediately, while he yet spake, the cock crew. 61 And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. 62 And Peter went out, and wept bitterly. Luke 22:54-62

In these two passages, Peter went along with the crowd. He did not stand up and do what was right. Rather, he let his fears grip him and his fears caused him to try to do what was acceptable in the sight of the crowd. Notice though the end of his actions in Luke 22:62: he went out and wept bitterly. When we go along with the crowd and do that which is wrong, we may think we can get away with it because everyone else is doing it. We may think our actions may be hidden from view because we blend in with the crowd. However, even though man may not see us, the Lord sees everything. Notice in Luke 22:61, immediately the Lord looked upon Peter. Peter did not get away with it. He couldn’t use the excuse that everyone else was doing it. God sees our every action. We cannot get away with it. It is never right to go along with the crowd to do wrong.

God is looking for someone who will do what is right no matter what. Even when the crowd is doing wrong, God wants us to do right. Don’t go with the flow; go with what you know is right. Jesus is looking.

Posted in Uncategorized
by gahammerle

$10,000 offer

Friday, March 10th, 2006 at 8:01 pm

Check out this web site for their offer to give you $10,000:

Posted in Uncategorized
by gahammerle

The parable of the sower

Wednesday, March 8th, 2006 at 10:08 am

Because Jesus said that understanding this parable was key to being able to understand all the other parables (Mark 4:13), we should not look at any other parable until we understand this one. It appears twice in the scriptures: once in Matthew 13 and once in Mark 4.

And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow; 4 And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up: 5 Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth: 6 And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. 7 And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them: 8 But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold. Matthew 13:3-8

Hearken; Behold, there went out a sower to sow: 4 And it came to pass, as he sowed, some fell by the way side, and the fowls of the air came and devoured it up. 5 And some fell on stony ground, where it had not much earth; and immediately it sprang up, because it had no depth of earth: 6 But when the sun was up, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away. 7 And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up, and choked it, and it yielded no fruit. 8 And other fell on good ground, and did yield fruit that sprang up and increased; and brought forth, some thirty, and some sixty, and some an hundred. Mark 4:3-8

Jesus’ Explanation

Thankfully, since understanding this parable is key to understanding all the other parables, Jesus took the time to explain it.

Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower. 19 When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side. 20 But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; 21 Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended. 22 He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful. 23 But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. Matthew 13:18-23

And he said unto them, Know ye not this parable? and how then will ye know all parables? 14 The sower soweth the word. 15 And these are they by the way side, where the word is sown; but when they have heard, Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts. 16 And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness; 17 And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word’s sake, immediately they are offended. 18 And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word, 19 And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful. 20 And these are they which are sown on good ground; such as hear the word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred. Mark 4:13-20

We need to remember that when the gospel is preached, there will be those who do not respond and there will be both true converts and false converts – the net will catch every kind, both good and bad.

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind: 48 Which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away. Matthew 13:47-48

In this parable, we see 4 types of people that heard the gospel: the way side hearer, the stony ground hearer, the thorny ground hearer, and the good ground hearer. How did each of the hearers respond and which of the hearers were soundly saved?

The easiest to understand is the good ground hearer. This person obviously was saved because he brought forth fruit. Continuing the analogy of sowing seed, farmers first prepare the ground before sowing the seed. Farmers work to ensure that the ground is in optimal condition to produce the best results. Good ground will obviously produce the intended results.

The way side hearer is someone who has not been prepared at all. Because of the lack of preparation, Satan quickly comes and takes the seed away. When a farmer is sowing, occasionally some seed is spilt. Since this seed does not fall on prepared ground and is just laying on the surface, the birds easily spot it and come and devour the seed. The way side hearer is not saved.

The thorny ground hearer is someone who cares more about worldly things – riches, fame, power. Notice the parable says these worldy cares choke the word and the word becomes unfruitful. It says the word becomes unfruitful – not the person. The worldly cares of the thorny ground hearer prevents the word from producing fruit – from producing a conversion. It does not say that the thorny ground hearer was saved and then became unfruitful. The thorny ground hearer is not saved.

Finally, we come to the stony ground hearer. Notice this hearer receives the word immediately with joy or gladness. This hearer also endures for a time – I’m not sure how long a time is – it could be one month, one year, five years, twenty years – I don’t know. Because this hearer receives the word and endures for a time, we have this hearer in our churches today. Is this hearer a true convert or a false convert? There are a couple of clues to help us determine this. The first clue is that they immediately received the word with joy or gladness. In Acts 2, we see those that were added to the church gladly received the word. We are also told that these converts in Acts are true converts. But there is a difference between the gladness of those converts and the gladness of the stony ground hearer. In Acts, the gladness came after they were pricked in their hearts. Their gladness did not come immediately. It followed conviction and sorrow. Enduring for a time is the second clue to understanding what type of convert the stony ground hearer is. Consider this:

They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us. 1 John 2:19

If the stony ground hearer was a true convert, he no doubt would have continued in spite of the persecution. The stony ground hearer is a false convert. These false converts are in our churches today. These false converts have never been convicted of their sins; they’ve never experienced the godly sorrow that works repentance unto salvation (2 Corinthians 7:10).

So what are we supposed to learn from this parable? Was Jesus just trying to teach us that when we preach the gospel that there would be unconverted, false converts, and true converts? There is something even more important. Because it is only the good ground hearer that is a true convert, we need to do all we can to make sure that the hearers are good ground hearers. We need to break up the fallow ground. Like the converts in Acts 2, we need to prick their hearts with the conviction of sin. We need to tell people the bad news before we tell them the good news. We need to preach the law which brings the knowledge of sin (Romans 3:20, Romans 7:7) and the law will bring the hearer to Christ (Galatians 3:24). Only when the ground has been prepared in this manner will the seed be able to fall and produce fruit.

Posted in Uncategorized
by gahammerle

Ignorance is bliss

Wednesday, March 1st, 2006 at 9:34 am

For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow. Ecclesiastes 1:18

Posted in Uncategorized
by gahammerle