The less we read the Word of God.

“It is a common temptation of Satan to make us give up the reading of the Word and prayer when our enjoyment is gone; as if it were of no use to read the Scriptures when we do not enjoy them, and as if it were no use to pray when we have no spirit of prayer. The truth is that in order to enjoy the Word, we ought to continue to read it, and the way to obtain a spirit of prayer is to continue praying. The less we read the Word of God, the less we desire to read it, and the less we pray, the less we desire to pray.” George Mueller

Joshua 8:35 There was not a word of all that Moses had commanded which Joshua did not read before all the assembly of Israel, with the women, the little ones, and the strangers who were living among them.

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Don’t wait for misfortune.

At times, the power of hunger, thirst, pestilence and plague may not be enough to soften the hard hearts of wicked men. America was brought very low by the horror of 9/11, but it wasn’t long until she crawled her way back into sin. Adversity sometimes makes people look to God, but often they prefer to find solace in sin. So don’t make the mistake of waiting for misfortune to come to the ungodly, thinking that it will give you opportunity to witness. It may harden them or distract them from your words.

Amos 4:6 “Also I gave you cleanness of teeth in all your cities.

And lack of bread in all your places;

Yet you have not returned to Me,”

Says the Lord.

7 “I also withheld rain from you,

When there were still three months to the harvest.

I made it rain on one city,

I withheld rain from another city.

One part was rained upon,

And where it did not rain the part withered.

8 So two or three cities wandered to another city to drink water,

But they were not satisfied;

Yet you have not returned to Me,”

Says the Lord.

9 “I blasted you with blight and mildew.

When your gardens increased,

Your vineyards,

Your fig trees,

And your olive trees,

The locust devoured them; 

Yet you have not returned to Me,”

Says the Lord.

10 “I sent among you a plague after the manner of Egypt;

Your young men I killed with a sword,

Along with your captive horses;

I made the stench of your camps come up into your nostrils;

Yet you have not returned to Me,”

Says the Lord.

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Normal human behavior.

King Nebuchadnezzar exalted himself above God. This is normal human behavior. Sinful men stand in judgment over God and question His decrees. They imagine themselves to be cleverer than God, thinking that they can outwit Him by sinning and then repenting at the last minute. Though they can see, they presume that He is blind to their sin. They slur His character by thinking that He will tolerate their hypocrisy. Like the arrogant king of Babylon, they think that God lacks even the power to deliver from their mighty hands.

Daniel 3:15 Now if you are ready at the time you hear the sound of the horn, flute, harp, lyre, and psaltery, in symphony with all kinds of music, and you fall down and worship the image which I have made, good! But if you do not worship, you shall be cast immediately into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. And who is the god who will deliver you from my hands?

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Turned off by worship?

“Every glimpse that is given us of heaven and of God’s created beings is always a glimpse of worship and rejoicing and praise because God is who He is… Any man or woman on this earth who is bored and turned off by worship is not ready for heaven.” A. W. Tozer 

Revelation 5:14 Then the four living creatures said, “Amen!” And the twenty-four elders fell down and worshiped Him who lives forever and ever.

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Trying to “be good enough.”

By Bruce Garner

Countless missionaries and pastors in Catholic-majority countries around the world have confirmed an awful reality: professions of faith and “sinner’s prayers” were plentiful among Catholics. Disciples were scarce. The little fruit that remains even after the most sincere and seemingly successful evangelistic efforts shows us a vital truth: When we present them with the gospel, Catholics need to be confronted with the Law.

It took me years to realize it, but a Lawless gospel does not show a sincere Catholic his guilt before a holy and just God. If we ask him only to “believe” in Christ, we will find no objection. He does“believe in Christ,” or he would not be a Catholic. If we ask our Catholic friend to “receive Christ,” he may readily accept. As one man told me, “I receive Him every time I go to Mass.”

A Lawless gospel will become, in the mind of a person brought up in Catholicism, merely another good work—an evangelical sacrament. The Church has taught the Catholic faithful that they must do many good works to be accepted by God: attend Mass, go to confession, do penance, etc. When a witnessing Christian merely assures Catholics of God’s love and asks them to “believe in Jesus,” “receive Christ,” or “pray this prayer,” it becomes simply another good work for them to do. Little surprise, then, that they readily do what we ask. They have been doing good deeds all their lives, so there is certainly no harm in doing another.

But when that same Christian shows up the next day to make a “follow up” visit with what he imagines is a new convert to Christ, he often discovers that the reality is quite different. After all, our Catholic friend had no intention of “switching religions.”

Since sincere Catholics are trying to “be good enough” to get to heaven, we do them grave harm when we fail to present the Law. The Law will show them that they are already under judgment. The Law will show them the awesome holiness of God, their just Judge. The Law will show them their utter inability to ever do enough to satisfy His righteous demands. Only then will they despair of their own good works and turn for mercy to the Savior.

Philippians 3:9 and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith

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How Much Do Lost People Matter?

By Steven D. Mathewson

When the religious leaders of Jesus’ day criticized him for hanging out with sinners, Jesus told three stories about lost items: a lost sheep (Luke 15:1–7), a lost coin (Luke 15:8–10), and a lost son (Luke 15:11–32).

The shepherd left 99 sheep in open country to search for one lost sheep. He didn’t say, “Oh well, 99 percent isn’t bad. You’re going to lose one once in a while.”

The peasant woman swept the reed-covered dirt floor until she spied the lost coin. She didn’t say, “Oh well, it’s only a day’s wage.”

The father checks the road for the sign of his lost son’s return. He didn’t say, “Forget him. If he’s going to be such an idiot, then I’ll pour my life into my older son.”

In each case, the value of what’s lost dictated an intensive search.

Jesus is saying that the value of lost people demands an intensive response. Our failures to reach our communities stem more from faulty perspective than from faulty technique. Intensive searches happen only when we place a premium on the lost item. Technique usually takes care of itself when we share Jesus’ perspective.

When we bump into people during the day, how do we view them? We notice that Todd is unfriendly. The truth is, he is lost. We think of Rob as a kind grandfather and a reliable neighbor. The truth is, he is lost. We view Sharon as a gorgeous blond with great potential as an interior decorator. The truth is, she’s lost.

If people are really lost, and if these lost people are valuable, then an intensive search-and-rescue mission is in order. When we value lost people as Jesus did, outreach will happen, and more people will sing, “I once was lost, but now am found, ’twas blind, but now I see.”

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Let us win souls.

“Valiant” soldiers of Christ are those who bear the shield of faith and carry the sword of the Word of God. They are able to “shoot with the bow” of God’s Law, giving the arrow of the gospel its power. This is what makes them skillful in the battle for souls. They have success, not because they trust in themselves, but because they trust in God and cry out to Him in battle. Their strength is in the Lord.

“Brethren, do something; do something, do something! While societies and unions make constitutions, let us win souls. I pray you, be men of action all of you. Get to work and quit yourselves like men. Old Suvarov’s idea of war is mine: ‘Forward and strike! No theory! Attack! Form a column! Charge bayonets! Plunge into the center of the enemy! Our one aim is to win souls; and this we are not to talk about, but do in the power of God!’” Charles Spurgeon

1 Chronicles 5:18 The sons of Reuben, the Gadites, and half the tribe of Manasseh had forty-four thousand seven hundred and sixty valiant men, men able to bear shield and sword, to shoot with the bow, and skillful in war, who went to war. 19 They made war with the Hagrites, Jetur, Naphish, and Nodab. 20 And they were helped against them, and the Hagrites were delivered into their hand, and all who were with them, for they cried out to God in the battle. He heeded their prayer, because they put their trust in Him.

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