The Change Factor

In regards to change, a former CEO and chairperson of the Central Intelligence Agency U.S., Carly Florina, teaches her audiences that a chief reason people resist change is really about not being able ‘to maintain the status quo’ any longer, —- the very thought of having to alter expectations and performance is clearly not something people enjoy doing. Ms. Florina points out that a vision worth striving for is what often inspires people to seek after change.1 Some unorthodox measures have been taken to create change. One such endeavor was launched in 1995 by a group of individuals who had banded together to form motorcycle chapters in several key North American cities to help victims of child abuse (some of the bikers were themselves victims). Whenever asked for their assistance, fifty or sixty of their patch members would mount their motorbikes and rumble through the streets to the victim`s home where their mere presence alone embolden the wounded soul, to the degree that statistics show that where B.A.C.A., bikers against child abuse got involved the child was four times more likely to testify against their abuser than without them.2 Most of us would agree that a mass display of bikers at our doorstep solely for our protection would seem much scarier to the perpetrator than most anything else that could be imagined.

While impressive enough, more so is the fact that the Christian has Someone greater that comes alongside to initiate change and defeat the opposition. Christians rely on the Holy Spirit. Our Paraclete, intercessor, means One who comes alongside of us. By doing so, He empowers the believer to overcome sin. The chain of sin itself has been broken by Christ`s substitutionary death with the result that the believer is no longer under its tyrannical rule. In Romans 6:3 Paul speaks about our entry point metaphorically as being baptized into Christ which results in an intimate personal relationship with the Savior. In vv.4 Newness, is a term that signifies change and refers to our union in Christ. Paul notes that our transformation affects every area of our lives 2 Cor. 5:17 “ Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, the old has gone, the new has come.” This radical break from the old ways, the old manner in which we behaved in our unregenerate state, constitutes an overturning of our former selves. Often though, sin will still rear its ugly head, and inasmuch that we must resist it, rejoice that our predisposition toward evil has been successfully quashed at the cross and that the Holy Spirit has set our souls aglow with redemptive truth. Be sure of this that His ministry is extensive. John teaches that the Paraclete guides the believer into all truth, reproves the world of sin, and generally carries out a ministry of comfort enabling the sinner to live victoriously. Jo. 14:26; 16;7,8,13. The tool He employs is the truth of God`s Word. It can be said of Christians that where little spiritual growth is found, that not enough time is spent in the Word and too much of it in the world!

The Holy Spirit helps the believer in all facets of life. Charles Hodge, the great Princeton theologian, speaks about being emancipated from Satan’s prison to become servants of God to bring fruit unto holiness. Some may not thrill at the thought of personal growth in holiness, but that may be because personal vision has become obscured due to their own divided allegiances. The following is recounted by Montgomery Boice, a respected preacher, to help illustrate servitude. He told of a man he encountered who was carrying a sign down the street that read `I serve Jesus Christ`. On passing him, the preacher looked behind and on the back side of the sign read `who do you serve?` We cannot possibly bring anything good or acceptable before God if we are not first duty-bound in our loyalties to Christ. God has done His part. He has extricated His elect from sin`s dominion and made them into servants of righteousness under His rule. It becomes imperative that a change of masters must first occur in order to be liberated from previous craving for sin and its pleasures before a life of holiness can be entered into. This happens when the Holy Spirit convicts and converts us through belief of the truth. From that point onward Jesus Christ is our sole Master. This then is the grand vision for each believer — the very notion that we have in the Holy Spirit — a Living Resource — Who takes the truth of Christ Word and applies it to our conscience and heart, thus transforming our outlook about life and eternity. That fact alone should help dispel any spiritual inertia left over from last year! God gave His Holy Spirit to promote godliness in each one of us. The following remarks are those of Jay Adams, a noted Christian counselor: “When you disciple yourself for righteousness, you don’t have to do it alone. It is God who works in you. Phi 2:13 All holiness, all righteousness, all godliness are the fruit of the Spirit Gal 5:22, 23. It takes nothing less than the power of the Spirit to replace sinful habits with righteous ones, for a ten year old or a fifty year old. God never said that once a person reaches fifty or forty or eighty he is incapable of change. Look at what Abraham did as an old man. Look at the tremendous changes that God demanded of him in his old age. The Holy Spirit can change any Christian and does.” 3

May the Holy Spirit help us to change and to become the kind of Christians that we should be in 2015. That should be a prayer for many of us who wish to do better in the New Year especially as we near our journey`s end, where we hope to finish well.

Happy New Year

 

1 The dyanics of change and fear — www.youtube.com

2 Bikers against child abuse – www.youtube.com

3 Godliness Through Discipline — chalcedon.org

It Wasn’t My Time

This week, the elders of Emmanuel Baptist Church would like to share with you this blog post written by Pastor Bill Morgan of Grace Baptist Church in Schreiber, Ontario.

“But now thus says the Lord that created you, O Jacob, and He that formed you O Israel.  Fear not, for I have redeemed you, I have called you by your name; you are Mine.  When you pass through the waters I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you . . . . For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Saviour. (Isaiah 43:1-3)

Over 3000 years ago, God made this promise to His people: “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you …”  That promise became very real to me a week ago last Friday while swimming across White Sand Lake at the park, with my 13 year old granddaughter (who is an excellent swimmer).  We made it across to the camp that is on the opposite shore to the main public beach, but, part-way back, the calf muscle in my right leg cramped up and lost all mobility.  The main reason I didn’t panic is because 38 years ago (at the age of 27) God had intervened in my life and saved my soul.  In doing so, He had assured me that one day I would be brought into His personal presence in Heaven for all eternity.  I was granted eternal life.  “He that believes on the Son has everlasting life: and he that believes not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abides on him.”  (John 3:36)

Now I say that I didn’t panic, but it certainly shook me up!!  All I could think about was my wife having to deal with my drowning and my dear granddaughter having to witness her “Poppy” die in front of her.  In reflecting upon my decision about attempting to swim that distance (after laying around on holidays and eating like crazy), what in the world was I thinking? !!  Without question, I wasn’t thinking at all!!  How grateful I am even to be writing this article!  My conclusion:  There is more work for me to finish on behalf of my Lord and I need to be more attentive to all the decisions facing me in life.  That moment on, a Friday afternoon, that I faced death,(as a believer in Jesus Christ) I was assured of God’s care and His kindness. “Yet the Lord will command His loving kindness in the daytime, and in the night His song shall be with me, and my prayer unto the God of my life.”  (Psalm 42:8)

I’m smiling now as I write this article, but you need to know that, had I gone down to the bottom of White Sand Lake, my smile would be an eternal one, as Jesus Christ greeted me!  You need to know the Lord!  You need to belong to Him and hear Him say: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you, I have called you by your name; you are Mine.”    (Isaiah 43)

It wasn’t  my time – insn’t it your time to know the Lord?