Thursday, April 25, 2013

Burdens Are Lifted At Calvary

Last night in the Prayer Service we sang the wonderful old song "Burdens are Lifted at Calvary".  Pastor Pritt paused the song between a verse and asked the crowd something like "Do you understand how because of Calvary you can give your burdens to the Lord?".

I want to think about that just a minute - How is Calvary the reason we can give our burdens to the Lord?

  1. We were the enemy of God that was only under His wrath before Calvary.
  2. Jesus' atonement at Calvary quenched the wrath of God toward us and made us friends and children of God.
  3. Jesus tore the veil in two that separated us from the Holy Place at Calvary.  That means we can go boldly before God to find mercy for our burdens in times of need.
  4. Calvary made the way to receive the Holy Spirit into our hearts that cries "Abba Father" and groans for us in times of burden with words that cannot be uttered.
  5. Because of Calvary, Jesus ascended to sit at the right hand of the Father to make intercession for us.  He speaks on behalf of our burdens and is touched with the feeling of our infirmities.
As I think about this connection between Calvary and God bearing my burdens, I realize that answered prayer, grace for daily living, comfort, etc. are given by GRACE from Calvary - not because I have been good enough or appeased God in some way, or that He likes me more today.  That is great realization as I rest in my Father's love and grace because of the cross rather than my performance.  Since I have Christ, the Lord by grace will bear my burdens!  Amen!!!!!!!!  Praise Him!!

These are five ways that Calvary allows us to cast our burdens upon the Lord.  I am sure there are many more - but I do hope that these will cause you to sing with conviction during the trials and struggles of this week:  "Burdens are lifted at Calvary....Calvary, Calvary.....Burdens are lifted at Calvary, Jesus is very near!"


Friday, April 19, 2013

Am I, are you, a Pharisee?

In my personal time today, I came across the condemnations of Christ to the Pharisees whom he called hypocrites.  This was in the book of Matthew, right before his crucifixion.  He does not hold back in Him comments and takes no prisoners.  I simply would like to list how Jesus himself describes hypocrites in Matthew 23:

1.  You shut up salvation to others.  You don't have it, and you keep men from having it. v.13

2.  You take advantage of the vulnerable (like widows) for your own interest - you want the things of others.  v.14

3.  You pray in ways that others will think "good" of you; perhaps long, perhaps emotional, perhaps fancy prayers. v.14

4.  You proselyte (what we would consider "soul-winning" for your own advantages.  Perhaps to be seen, perhaps to "count numbers", perhaps to be thought of as spiritual.  v.15

5.  You are not straightforward with your word, but rather look for ways around the truth when it would work to your own advantage.  v.16-23

6.  You are extremely particular in some spiritual obligations, but in many of the greater things that are the true spirit of what God wants - you are not interested.  (legalism)  v.23

7.  You do external religious things and look "spiritual", but inside you are full of extortion (taking from others) and self-indulgence.  v.25

8.  You are admired by others as godly, and play the part beautifully, but inside you willfully are unclean (thoughts, motives); a hypocrite; and lawless (you don't keep God's Word inside yourself. v.28

9.  You give truly Godly people a hard time; you persecute God's true people.  v.29-35

A few of these things are convicting for me this morning, and remind me that the Lord sees right through me. All my inner secrets are the same as my externals to Him.  In repentance and the need for grace I must earnestly see the Lord by His power to make me holy within, and without.


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Sweet Meditations of the LORD

Psalm 104:34  My meditation of him shall be sweet: I will be glad in the LORD.

It is easy to allow doubt and skepticism in our minds about the Lord.  We live in an evil land; we are constantly being confronted with the failing health of good and Godly people.

During these times, I find myself just for a moment thinking:  "Is God really good?".  This morning I read Psalm 104 and came to the verse above about my meditations of God.  Psalm 103 and 104 both rehearse the greatness and goodness of God.  It is a lie to allow thoughts of Him that are not "sweet".  

The control of my meditations about God have a lot to do with my joy and my ability to be "glad in the LORD."  We all need to determine as the Psalmist that our daily meditations about the LORD will be "sweet."

Friday, April 12, 2013

DE Same Sex Marriage Bill: An open letter to Senator Hall-Long and Rep. Kowalko

An open letter to Delaware legislators Bethany Hall-Long and John Kowalko Jr.  April 12, 2013

Dear Legislators Hall-Long and Kowalko,

I want begin by especially thanking Sen. Hall-Long for her continued contact and responsiveness to the 170 plus families that make up the Lighthouse Baptist Church in her district.  Your considerations and participation in our community has been above and beyond the call of duty.  Though we have not had the same level of relationship with Rep. Kowalko, I am sure he too desires to listen to the hearts of his constituents.

I feel that it is my duty as a Pastor of this community and a child of the living God to cry out against the direction of our noble State of Delaware toward same sex marriage.  The Governor's announcement yesterday was shocking in light of the promises made by the supporters of same sex civil unions just months ago.  When I stood with others to speak at Committee hearings, we were told that civil unions were not a stepping stone to same sex marriage.  The evidence now seems obvious.

I could speak to you of the benefits in society of natural marriage, of the clear commands of God's Word upon which this country and our blessed laws are founded; I could take you verse by verse through the Scripture of God's creation of marriage and it's definition; of the curse against same sex unions and behavior; of the New Testament passages of natural laws and prohibitions.

However, in this open letter, I wish to share with you the highest reason that same sex marriage should be opposed.  It is the truth of why God created marriage in the first place - beyond procreation, beyond stable society, beyond childrearing.  Marriage is the object lesson of the Gospel of Jesus Christ - that He would take a "bride" whom He would forgive, give a new life to, unite in an unbreakable bond, and live forever with in eternal bliss.  Consider please that the marriage between a husband and a wife is the picture of Jesus Christ joining all who will believe on Him.  For this reason primarily, the object lesson of marriage cannot be marred, broken, or redefined:

"Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;" Eph. 5:25

Legislators, you may not fully comprehend it, but your quest for "marriage equality" is not only the undermining of our society and a betrayal of our children, but it is an attack on the very Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Our society though has forsaken the authority of the Scriptures and has followed the siren song of plurality of religion or the absence of it.  Yet, when all is over and the last moment of time ticks away, it will be revealed that this present struggle was not about equality, love, or rights - it was about the agenda of the Wicked One perverting the picture of the love of the Lord Jesus and His pure love for His bride.  Same sex marriage with the distortion of genders, roles, distinctions, etc. eliminates the object lesson and the purpose for marriage on earth as given by God in the first place.

I beg you that you will reject the Delaware same sex marriage bill that is coming before you in the next few weeks.

Faithfully Christ's,

Pastor Tobe Witmer
Lighthouse Baptist Church
1842 Otts Chapel Rd.
Newark, De  19702

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Back in the Saddle Again

I'm up and blogging again....

After a short technical hiatus, I am up and ready to share some thoughts again.

We had a very good mid-week service last night and learned how to respond to the Lord in the ups and downs of life from James 5:13  Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms.

It will be great to preach on the next section of verses about "Anointing with oil" for healing.  Stay tuned to that message which Pastor Pritt and I practiced just a few weeks ago in faith as we anointed a man that attends our church.