PRACTICAL ATHEISM

Through him then let us offer up a sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of lips which make confession to his name. Hebrews 13:15

Have you ever met an atheist? An atheist believes he’s too smart to believe in God.
– They usually think they’re too sophisticated to believe something weak-minded people use as a crutch.

Do you know what God’s response is? — Psalm 14:1
“The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works; There is none that doeth good.”

While no Christian would ever be guilty of being an atheist, many Christians are guilty of being practical atheists.

– Practical atheism doesn’t believe there’s no God; practical atheism lives as if there’s no God.
– Could you be a practical atheist?

THE PRACTICAL ATHEISM TEST:
. – Notice the convicting similarities between atheism and practical atheism:

1. An atheist doesn’t pray.

– So many Christians don’t really pray.
– They may mumble something with a bowed head before dinner or before bed, but there’s no real time to seek God in prayer.

The Lord says — James. 4:2
Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and covet, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war; ye have not, because ye ask not.

A Christian lady lived next door to an atheist.

– Everyday, when the lady prayed, the atheist could hear and he thought to himself, “She sure is crazy, praying all the time like that. Doesn’t she know there isn’t a God.”

Many times while she was praying, he’d go to her house and harass her, saying “Lady, why do you pray all the time? Don’t you know there’s no God?”

But she kept on praying.

One day, she ran out of groceries.
– As usual, she was praying to the Lord explaining her situation and thanking Him for what He was going to do.

AS USUAL, the atheist heard her praying and thought to himself. “Humph I’ll fix her.” He went to the grocery store, bought a whole bunch of groceries, took them to her house, dropped them off on the front porch, rang the doorbell and hid in the bushes to see what she would do.

When she opened the door and saw the groceries, she began to praise the Lord with all her heart, jumping, singing and shouting’ everywhere!

– The atheist jumped out of the bushes and told her, “You crazy old lady, God didn’t buy you those groceries,I bought those groceries!”

Well, she broke out and started running down the street, shouting and praising the Lord. When he finally caught her,he asked what her problem was . .

– She said, “I knew God would provide me with some groceries, but I didn’t know He was going to make the devil pay for them!”

The reason Christians are no longer leaving an impact on our world and our families is because we don’t pray anymore than the atheists do.

Years ago a young man approached the foreman of a logging crew and asked for a job. . – “That depends,” replied the foreman. “Let’s see you fell this tree.

The young man skillfully felled a great tree.

. – Impressed, the foreman said, “Start Monday,”

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday rolled by, and Thursday afternoon the foreman came to the young man and said, “You can pick up your paycheck on the way out today”

Startled, he replied, “I thought you paid on Friday.”

“Normally we do,” answered the foreman, “but we’re letting you go today because you’ve fallen behind. Our daily felling charts show that you’ve dropped from first place on Monday to last on Wednesday

“But I’m a hard worker,” the young man objected. “I arrive first, leave last, and even have worked through my coffee breaks!”

The foreman, sensing the boy’s integrity thought for a minute and then asked, “Have you been sharpening your ax?”
The young man replied, “I’ve been working too hard to take the time.

How about you? Have you been too busy, too hard at work to sharpen your ax?

Prayer is the hone that gives you that sharp edge. Without it, the more work you do, the duller you’ll get.

Why should your family and friends believe in a God that you don’t seem to believe in either?

George Buttrick, former chaplain at Harvard, recalls that students would come into his office, plop down on a chair and declare, “I don’t believe in God.”

Buttrick would give this disarming reply: “Sit down and tell me what kind of God you don’t believe in. I probably don’t believe in that God either.”

Many people who reject Jesus aren’t really rejecting Jesus, but a distortion of Him as seen in lives of Christians they know.

2. An atheist doesn’t read the Bible. . – So many Christians don’t read the Bible.

The average Christian is very susceptible to Satan’s lies because he doesn’t take time to read and study God’s Word.

“You Christians don’t even know what’s in the Book you say you believe.”
Psalm 119:11
Thy word have I laid up in my heart, That I might not sin against thee.

3. An atheist walks by sight, not faith.

– So many Christians do the same thing — They fail to evaluate their situation in light of God’s miraculous power, so they worry and fear and fail to simply trust God.

. – How quickly we forget. — Hebrews 11:6
And without faith it is impossible to be well-pleasing unto him; for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that seek after him.

“Infidelity does not consist in believing or in disbelieving: it consists in professing to believe what one does not believe.”–Thomas Paine

4. An atheist doesn’t give to the Lord’s work. . – So many Christians don’t either.

Many Christians spend more money on their pets than they do the Kingdom of God.
My cousin belongs to The Church of Christ.

. – She says her pastor said you don’t have to tithe because it doesn’t specifically mention tithing in the New Testament and her group rejects the Old Testament and claims if something isn’t mentioned in the New Testament it is no longer required.

That’s why they don’t have musical instruments in the Church to worship as they are not mentioned in New Testament.

They’re dead wrong because the Old and New Testaments stand together… …… . – Christ didn’t come to change the Law, but to fulfill the Law.

God said, Malachi 3:8-10
Will a man rob God? yet ye rob me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with the curse; for ye rob me, even this whole nation. Bring ye the whole tithe into the store-house, that there may be food in my house, and prove me now herewith, saith Jehovah of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.

– That command was never changed — Jesus endorsed the tithe in Matthew 23:23
Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye tithe mint and anise and cummin, and have left undone the weightier matters of the law, justice, and mercy, and faith: but these ye ought to have done, and not to have left the other undone.

and

Luke 11:42
But woe unto you Pharisees! for ye tithe mint and rue and every herb, and pass over justice and the love of God: but these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone

– Jesus referred to tithing as something that should not be neglected…

I know preachers radio say you don’t need to tithe, but just in case, I’d hate to face God with His money in my pocket.

– I do know from experience that God blesses my wife and me when we tithe.

A recent statistic revealed if all the members in an average-sized church were on welfare, and each one tithed, the giving to that church would double. WOW!

5. An atheist lives only for this life.

. – So many Christians are guilty of the same thing.
. – They store up their treasure on earth.
– They live and plan as if this temporary, mortal life is all that matters.
They make decisions with only earth in mind, not Heaven.

The Bible says — Proverbs 17:24 CHANGE ME, LORD!
Wisdom is before the face of him that hath understanding; But the eyes of a fool are in the ends of the earth.

If some of those similarities are too close for comfort, don’t cower with guilt and shame.

DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!

. – Confess it as sin — ask God to change your heart.

Tell God you don’t want to live as if He weren’t alive and able to work miracles. This means we’re to praise Him in the bad times as well as in the good times.

May God forgive us for only thanking YOU and praising YOU when everything is okay in our lives. We’re just about to launch into a new year — 2013!

What would change in your life and your Church if you stopped living like Practical Atheists and began living like devout Children of God?

JOIN ME IN MAKING THAT COMMITMENT AM LET’S SEE WHAT GOD WILL DO!

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Instant and Earnest Prayer

“Peter was kept in prison: but prayer (instant and earnest prayer) was made for him.” Acts 12:5

PETER was in prison awaiting his execution. The Church had neither human power nor influence to save him. There was no earthly help, but there was help to be obtained by the way of Heaven. They gave themselves to fervent, importunate prayer. God sent His angel, who aroused Peter from sleep and led him out through the first and second wards of the prison; and when they came to the iron gate, it opened to them of its own accord, and Peter was free.

There may be some iron gate in your life that has blocked your way. Like a caged bird you have often beaten against the bars, but instead of helping, you have only had to fall back tired, exhausted and sore at heart. There is a secret for you to learn, and that is believing prayer; and when you come to the iron gate, it will open of its own accord. How much wasted energy and sore disappointment will be saved if you will learn to pray as did the Church in the upper room!

Insurmountable difficulties will disappear; adverse circumstances will prove favorable if you learn to pray, not with your own faith but with the faith of God (Mark 11:22). Souls in, prison have been waiting for years for the gate to open; loved ones out of Christ, bound by Satan, will be set free when you pray till you definitely believe God.—C. H. P.

Emergencies call for intense prayer. When the man becomes the prayer nothing can resist its touch. Elijah on Carmel, bowed down on the ground, with his face between his knees, that was prayer—the man himself. No words are mentioned. Prayer can be too tense for words. The man’s whole being was in touch with God, and was set with God against the powers of evil. They couldn’t withstand such praying. There’s more of this embodied praying needed.—The Bent-knee Time.

“Groanings which cannot be uttered are often prayers which cannot be refused.”—C. H. Spurgeon.

May we Pray with you or for you?

Hitherto hath the Lord helped us

“Hitherto hath the Lord helped us.” 1 Samuel 7:12

The word “hitherto” seems like a hand pointing in the direction of the past. Twenty years or seventy, and yet, “hitherto the Lord hath helped!” Through poverty, through wealth, through sickness, through health, at home, abroad, on the land, on the sea, in honour, in dishonour, in perplexity, in joy, in trial, in triumph, in prayer, in temptation, “hitherto hath the Lord helped us!” We delight to look down a long avenue of trees. It is delightful to gaze from end to end of the long vista, a sort of verdant temple, with its branching pillars and its arches of leaves; even so look down the long aisles of your years, at the green boughs of mercy overhead, and the strong pillars of lovingkindness and faithfulness which bear up your joys. Are there no birds in yonder branches singing? Surely there must be many, and they all sing of mercy received “hitherto.”

But the word also points forward. For when a man gets up to a certain mark and writes “hitherto,” he is not yet at the end, there is still a distance to be traversed. More trials, more joys; more temptations, more triumphs; more prayers, more answers; more toils, more strength; more fights, more victories; and then come sickness, old age, disease, death. Is it over now? No! there is more yet-awakening in Jesus’ likeness, thrones, harps, songs, psalms, white raiment, the face of Jesus, the society of saints, the glory of God, the fulness of eternity, the infinity of bliss. O be of good courage, believer, and with grateful confidence raise thy “Ebenezer,” for—

He who hath helped thee hitherto
Will help thee all thy journey through.

When read in heaven’s light how glorious and marvelous a prospect will thy “hitherto” unfold to thy grateful eye!

The Christian will be sure to make enemies.

“I came not to send peace on earth, but a sword.” Matthew 10:34

The Christian will be sure to make enemies. It will be one of his objects to make none; but if to do the right, and to believe the I true, should cause him to lose every earthly friend, he will count it but a small loss, since his great Friend in heaven will be yet more friendly, and reveal Himself to him more graciously than ever.

O ye who have taken up His cross, know ye not what your Master said? “I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother; and a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.” Christ is the great Peacemaker; but before peace, He brings war. Where the light cometh, the darkness must retire. Where truth is, the lie must flee; or, if it abideth, there must be a stern conflict, for the truth cannot and will not lower its standard, and the lie must be trodden under foot.

If you follow Christ, you shall have all the dogs of the world yelping at your heels. If you would live so as to stand the test of the last tribunal, depend upon it the world will not speak well of you. He who has the friendship of the world is an enemy to God; but if you are true and faithful to the Most High, men will resent your unflinching fidelity, since it is a testimony against their iniquities.

Fearless of all consequences,you must do the right. You will need the courage of a lion unhesitatingly to pursue a course which shall turn your best friend into your fiercest foe; but for the love of Jesus you must thus be courageous.

For the truth’s sake to hazard reputation and affection, is such a deed that to do it constantly you will need a degree of moral principle which only the Spirit of God can work in you; yet turn not your back like a coward, but play the man. Follow right manfully in your Master’s steps, for He has traversed this rough way before you. Better a brief warfare and eternal rest, than false peace and everlasting torment.

The Properties of Light

Matthew 5:14-16 ,John 3:19-21, 1 John 1:7

Tonight, I want to tell you about the properties of light. Most of these you will agree are just
common sense. I hope you’ll leave with a better understanding of the light in scripture.

1. Light reveals what’s hidden in the dark.

– The carpet and furniture in most houses look really good until you turn the light on.
– The light shows spots in the carpet and dust and flaws in the furniture and shows that someone needs to clean.

A pastor shared this story.
– He read John 3:19-21.
– Before he got saved he’d visit bars to drink his troubles away.

One bar was his favorite because it was cool, dark, and usually very quiet.
– Along with the alcohol he’d get a cheese burger.
– It was cooked on a griddle that gave it a special flavor.
– The grease combined with a thick slice of cheese on a buttered bun made it fantastic.

After he came to Christ he’d go to the same bar and get that burger — instead of alcohol he’d get a coke.
– He’d visit with some of the people he knew and share his new relationship in Christ.

One Saturday he took his wife to get one of the famous hamburgers.
When they got there the normally darkened windows were cleaned of the dark shading.
– They walked in and the inside was well lit.

The owner explained they were doing some remodeling.
– He asked if he and his wife would like 2 cheese burgers and two cokes.
– Pastor said yes and went to his usual table.

As they sat and visited he noticed the condition of the bar.
– He could now see the dirt and grime on the floor.
– He noticed the tables weren’t particularly clean.

In the light he could see the cook’s area and noticed the grill hadn’t been cleaned for months.
– He saw dead cock roaches on the floor. The place literally was disgusting in the light. In the darkness he’d noticed nothing but the light revealed all of the filth in the place.

When the burgers arrived he was no longer hungry and as he lifted the glass to his lips he saw the bottom hadn’t been cleaned.
– It had a crusted milk ring at the bottom.

Needless to say he paid his bill, said goodbye and left never to return.

Had anything changed from all those years before?
– Not really, but the light revealed a filthy, sticky, cock roach infested, disgusting place.
– The light revealed all the filth.

The light of Jesus came into the world so we might see our filth.
Not everyone wants the light to reveal the Truth — John 3:19
– Old Arab eating figs by candlelight in his tent…… ……he kept finding bugs and imperfections with each fig he looked at and threw them down. He decided that he would go hungry if he kept examining each fig. So, he blew out the candle and ate the figs.

2. Light is also used as a standard of measure.

– Light travels 186,000 miles per second.
– A light year is the distance light travels in a year.

It’s use on sci-fi movies but also used in astronomy to measure the immense distances of the universe. Light is a very accurate unit of measure.

A man had a stroke and spent weeks in rehab to recover.
– He could only watch a small TV in the room next to the bed.
– The small 9″ set would only get 4 channels.

Every afternoon he’d be physically and mentally exhausted from therapy and side effects of the stroke.
– He couldn’t move any part of his left side.
– It was like someone took a marker and drew a line down the middle of his body from top to bottom. – Everything on the right was great, everything on the left no longer existed.

He got into a routine of watching TV from 2-4 p.m..
– He’d watch Jerry Springer.
– He’d watch people argue, fight, back stab, betray, and those were the immediate family members.

He took great satisfaction thanking God he’d not grown up that way or experienced those behaviors he saw on TV. He was using them as a measuring stick that was so low it helped him feel better even though he’d suffered a stroke.

We all tend to look at our behavior that way.
– But the light of the World shows us we aren’t even close to perfect.
– We’re all sinners in need of the Savior.

3. There’s a third property of light.

– Light can show you the way.
One President’s Day, My wife and I and our daughter and her husband went on an outing around Mt. St. Helen.
– We drove clear around the mountain — it was beautiful forested scenic country.
– We visited several rural communities along the way, enjoyed seeing Spirit Lake and on our way back to Stevenson, we passed the entrance to the Ape Cave.

Up by Mount St. Helens in Washington State there’s a place called the Ape Cave.
– It’s the longest known uncollapsed segment of a lava tube that goes back under the earth for approximately 5 miles.
– When you get there you are told that warm clothing and flashlight or lantern are needed if you plan to explore the cave. We didn’t have the warm clothing or a good light, but decided to go into the cave for just a little ways to say we’d been there.
– We did have a little key chain pen light that we thought would be adequate for a little hike if we stuck together. Wouldn’t you know — the battery went dead when we were about a quarter mile into the cave.
– We were in total darkness.
– We turned around trying to find our way back to the entrance, but we were tripping over rocks and running into walls and were almost panic stricken.

Finally, a group came by carrying a lantern and we tried to follow them.
– They were moving faster than we could in the dark and we were still tripping and falling over rocks and limbs. We yelled to the people with the light to slow down so we could follow them and they led us to the mouth of the cave. We’d have never found our way in the dark had it not been for that ever so distant light.

The light Jesus offers is not so distant, but it does the same for us today — it shows us the way. Jesus said, — John 14:6.

Through Jesus Christ, The Light of the World, we have a path to follow. He’s our Light.

Like the pastor in the bar, let The Light, Jesus, show you the way.

If you haven’t accepted Jesus as Lord of your life why not take that step tonight.

How dark the world is today!
– Christ depends upon us to spread the light.
– Can He count on you to let your light shine in a dark world drowning in sin?

Admission into Joy

You took away my clothes of sadness, and clothed me in happiness.
PSALM 30:11

The first step to joy is a plea for help, an acknowledgment of moral destitution, an admission of inward paucity. Those who taste God’s presence have declared spiritual bankruptcy and are aware of their spiritual crisis. Their cupboards are bare. Their pockets are empty. Their options are gone. They have long since stopped demanding justice; they are pleading for mercy.…

They ask God to do for them what they can’t do without him. They have seen how holy God is and how sinful they are and have agreed with Jesus’ statement, “Salvation is impossible.”

Oh, the irony of God’s delight—born in the parched soil of destitution rather than the fertile ground of achievement.

It’s a different path, a path we’re not accustomed to taking. We don’t often declare our impotence. Admission of failure is not usually admission into joy. Complete confession is not commonly followed by total pardon. But then again, God has never been governed by what is common.

The Applause of Heaven

A TINY SEED, A TINY DEED

“The people should not think that small beginnings are unimportant.”
ZECHARIAH 4:10

Against a towering giant, a brook pebble seems futile. But God used it to topple Goliath. Compared to the tithes of the wealthy, a widow’s coins seem puny. But Jesus used them to inspire us …

Moses had a walking stick.
David had a sling.
Samson had a jawbone.
Rahab had a string.
Mary had some perfume.
Dorcas had a needle.
All were used by God.
What do you have?

God inhabits the tiny seed, empowers the tiny deed … Don’t discount the smallness of your deeds.


from CURE FOR THE COMMON LIFE