Category: P

Putting the Wood in Order

1st Kings records the hilarious account of Elijah and the false prophets of Ba-al [Chapter 18]. It tells of Elijah’s famous challenge to the false prophets of the false gods of his time (it’s just new names, new false prophets and newer false gods in our time). It records Elijah’s humorous mocking of the false prophets of Ba-al [vs 27-28] and exposes the ridiculous antics of false religions. After the spectators saw how useless foolish ‘religious nonsense’ can be; Elijah called the people to him and repaired the altar of the REAL GOD of the bible. In the course of rebuilding the altar of the Lord we then read the result: verse 33 says “he put the wood in order”.

Years ago I often wondered why the Lord would bother to record such an obvious thing in the scripture. I thought, “of course Elijah put the wood in order, how could anyone think otherwise?” The entire altar was rebuilt and everything was done as it was supposed to be done. The Lord showed me the answer one day as I was studying this. Elijah did this, then Elijah straightened out that, then he put things back together the way God said, and then, after he put things the way God specified we see verse 38 “Then the fire of the Lord fell”… and not one moment sooner. The prophets of Ba-al had wasted their time calling upon a non-existent god. It is equally absurd to think the Fire of the Lord is going to fall on a false pastor or preacher or church or congregation. 
The Fire of the Lord is not going to fall on a false bible, false doctrine or unsanctified altar. God doesn’t alter His holiness to accommodate our carnality, He won’t send the fire of the Lord onto an unsanctified, unqualified, unpurified, unbiblical pile of chaos. Yet we see ‘churches’ where the fire hasn’t fallen in a long time, if ever. Those of us who’ve been in old fashioned bible believing country churches were shocked when the fire did not fall. I hate to say it but now-days people are shocked when it does! Worse yet is a church where the folks would prefer the fire didn’t fall because it would stir things up and get people excited about God! 
You can ‘mark’er down’ brethren: The Fire of the Lord doesn’t fall on a false pastor! The Fire of the Lord doesn’t fall on false doctrine! The Fire of the Lord doesn’t fall on a false bible! The Fire of the Lord doesn’t fall on a false church! The Fire of the Lord doesn’t fall on false worship, false praise, false music, or unsanctified hearts! No Sir! The Fire of the Lord doesn’t fall until the wood is put in order!

Oh but when we PUT THE WOOD IN ORDER the Fire of the Lord falls! When it does lives are changed! When it does there is a New Creature in Christ! There is spiritual renewal! There is a spiritual awakening of hearts! When the church “puts the wood in order” in the pulpit, the church gets excited and the people find themselves drawn to the altar of God. They become an Elijah in their family and in their homes! Listen sir! Hear me Ma’am; if you will put the wood in order in your heart, your home, your prayer time, your study time the Fire of the Lord will fall on it! 

The Preaching that I Bid Thee

As we continue looking at Jonah I’d like to encourage you to stop here and read chapter 1-3, it will only take a moment. Notice in chapter 3 vs 1 that after Jonah got vomited onto the beach, the word of the Lord came to him a 2nd time [see last week’s article “A God of Second Chances”]. Verse 2 gives us some important doctrine! Notice there that God told Jonah “go…preach…”! I know, as do some of you, that in these last few hours ‘the desperate need in our churches is men, bold men, holy men…we need no more genteel diplomats of the world but rather, godly men cut from the cloth from which the prophets and martyrs were cut! Away with this pharisaical postulating we need no more power point presentations but plain cast iron preaching!

So let’s take notice that God didn’t send Jonah to Nineveh to organize a ‘contemporary Christian music concert’. God didn’t send Jonah to Nineveh to set up a roadside healing tent or a prophecy banquet at the Inn. God sent Jonah to Nineveh to do what many churches are NOT DOING – God sent him TO PREACH! Why is it in these days that we find so many who are against what God is for? Why it is that God chose ‘the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe’? [1st Corinthians 1:21] Why is it that God sent the apostle Paul to say “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God” [1st Corinthians 1:18]? I’ll refer you to 1st & 2nd Timothy for the answer. 
He said to Jonah, not only do I want you to go and preach, but I want you to preach unto it “…the preaching that I bid thee”. Those of us who still ask that old question “…is there any word from the Lord?” are finding it harder and harder to find those little country churches where a ‘Fire & Brimstone” Jeremiah will lift up his voice like a trumpet [Isaiah 58:1] and shout “…there is”. There is all the world of difference between this man-made theological theorizing and ‘that preaching’ that God bids His servants to preach! Nineveh had collapsed into the same idolatrous sin that America has adopted. It was filled with decadence and moral decay. It was wicked. The only thing that will turn a wicked people from their wicked ways is preaching. As such God sent no Biblically ignorant Christian celebrity. He called on no winking smiling televangelists to deliver a message of a more prosperous personal journey…NO!

A.W. Tozer once said “If I see clearly, the cross of popular religion is not the cross of the New Testament. It is, rather, a new bright ornament upon the bosom of a self-assured and carnal Christianity. The old cross slew men, the new cross entertains them. The old cross condemned; the new cross amuses. The old cross destroyed confidence in the flesh; the new cross encourages it”. So God sent Jonah with eight simple words. Come worship the Living God with us at Calvary and see what words God might say to you!

The Prisoners Heard Them

This past Sunday evening at Calvary Independent Baptist Church we looked into Acts chapter 16 vs 15-30 where Paul and Silas (servants of the most high God) had been attacked by a mob, stripped of their clothes, beaten, jailed deep in the prison and even had their feet locked into ‘stocks’ to make sure they couldn’t get out. They knew not whether they’d be there for years or be crucified the next day. Yet, in the darkness of midnight, in a terrible prison of torment the Bible says “…Paul and Silas prayed and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them”! Vs 26 says suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately ALL [not some select few, not some pre-chosen] but ALL of the doors were opened, and “EVERY ONE’S bands were loosed”.If I had been there I’d sure have wanted that earthquake to deliver me from the mob, the beating, the jailer! But no, God didn’t send the earthquake to stop the mob! He didn’t send the earthquake to stop the beating! He didn’t send the earthquake to stop the jailer! Why? Why didn’t God deliver them from this angry mob, this shameful attack and the horrible beating? Why did God allow them to suffer so? Well, picture in your mind those helpless souls there in a dingy darkened prison. Picture the tears running down their faces as they strained to hear the praying and sweet words of those old hymns echoing in the darkness as Paul and Silas praised God, prayed and sang. The earthquake didn’t come until those desperate discouraged prisoners got to hear these men sing hymns to God!Could I just tell you that sometimes God needs His disciples {that’s you if you’re saved} to be faithful even in terrible and hopeless situations; so that the prisoners of the devil [2 Timothy 2:25-26] AND the prisoners of this hard life who face their own torments troubles trials and tribulations may draw strength courage and help in the sweet hour of prayer from your faith! Some are facing deep pits of despair. Others are facing physical infirmities or worse. Some face financial difficulties or family hardships or personal heartaches. There is someone close to you who has almost given up on God! Perhaps you are the only one in their life who is still praying, praising and singing God’s praise, still glorifying His name! How many I wonder are near you who desperately need to hear you sing! Who need you to remind them that our God is FAITHFUL and TRUE! Perhaps you are facing hardships not because of sin, but because God is trusting you to SING so that others in a dark prison cell can hear you! God help us be faithful no matter how dark the night seems. Has my Father not been a glorious God to you? Has He not done far more for you than you deserved? As His preacher I ask you the question from the old hymn “how long has it been, since you talked with the Lord”?