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December 2003












Issues of the heart is an Email newsletter that comes out 2-3 times a week from Pastor Todd and what the Lord has laid on his heart.

Brothers and sisters, 12/27

"Temperance". Is it possible during the Christmas season? Ever since some of our neighborhood caroling this past Sunday evening, our family has been receiving plate after plate of goodies. I can't began to describe to you all these fat calories I have seen loaded on plates. They come in all kinds of shapes, sizes, and colors. Tuesday night, just when I thought I had sampled enough from one plate and firmly resolved to eat no more, another plate came. The doorbell just kept ringing till almost 10:00 that night. I can see where only the Holy Spirit can enable one with a sweet tooth to have any sense of self-control during Christmas. When Peter says, "And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith . . . temperance", I find the Christmas season to be an excellent testing ground for this Christian character trait. Don't you think? I have so enjoyed all the rich feasting that I have had trouble holding my appetite in check. Pray for me, will you? That might belly won't become as soft and fluffy as the snow outside. Bon appetite. 

Thinking of heart issues,

Brothers and sisters, 12/29

I give my thanks to World magazine for considering Phillip Johnson, “Daniel of the Year.” I like some of the things he says, like this: “It’s a great error Christian leaders and intellectual leaders have made to think the origin of life just one of those things scientists and professors argue about. The fundamental question is whether God is real or imaginary. The entire way of thinking that underlies Darwinian evolution assumes that God is out of the picture as any kind of a real entity. It is a very short step from Darwinism in science to the kind of liberal theology we find in many of our seminaries that treats the resurrection as a faith event – something that didn’t happen but was imagined by the disciples – and assumes that morality is something human beings may change from time to time as it’s convenient to change it.”
Just the other day, my wife had an interesting discussion about creation with one of the teachers at my son’s school (Kristie said she’s getting braver in her old age). With her stance on creation, my wife is categorized as the “fundamentalist Christian”. I suppose, this dear teacher couldn’t have labeled us more clearly, though sometimes we fail to live up to the title. 
God desires to be believed. He wants us to believe Him about salvation. Please. Believe Him about His creative power. Believe Him concerning set boundaries regarding life, marriage, and morality. Believe He is powerfully real. Believe He loves no matter what the circumstances. Believe in His total conquering of sin. Believe, trust, and cling to His every Word. Let us be Christians who in every fundamental aspect of what God says, believe. I am sure the hosts of heaven gasp in horror when man does not believe. Unbelief only repudiates all true reality. But honestly, with my sinful tendencies, I struggle daily as did the patriarchs of old. “I can believe this but not that, Lord.” Thankfully, Scripture has given us a prayer. “Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.”

Thinking of heart issues,


Brothers and sisters, 12/31

As I think of 2004, words from William Henry Ward sober my heart about any plans or dreams:

For every achievement there is a price.
For every goal there is an opponent.
For every victory there is a problem.
For every triumph there is sacrifice.

Brothers and sisters, God is looking for those among us in this new year who will simply believe Him. In Romans 4, our spiritual father, Abraham, provides the case study. And as beloved family, we follow in his steps (4:12). 
Whatever it is that plagues your heart as a hopeless brick wall, I challenge you today during the holiday to ransack the Scriptures to understand in depth the promises and character of our God. Find that anchor among His words directed to you. It’s there!
And then, I don’t care how ridiculous it might look to others or how costly it might be, my dear brother or sister, “stagger not at the promise of God!” Don’t waiver. Don’t be divided in your mind. Adding some words from D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, I want you to rest your heart entirely on “the bare Word of God and on nothing else whatsoever.” If you start out 2004, man-centered, you will fall flat on your face. But if your heart moves into 2004, fixed on the “God, who quickeneth the death, and calleth those things which be not as though they were”, you will be strengthened in faith and the year will be filled with massive amounts of “giving glory to God.” External circumstances will have no grip. So let’s covenant together. Right now. A new year awaits us.

Thinking of heart issues,



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