Saturday, May 29, 2010


In cemeteries all across our nation grieving families have bid farewell to their soldiers, soldiers who paid the ultimate price for our freedom. Who can ever forget the loud report of the soldiers firing the 21 gun salute, and then the bugler playing the mournful tune "Taps." Though there are no official words to the tune, there are some popular lyrics that are rich with meaning:

Day is done,
gone the sun,
From the lake, from the hills,
From the sky.All is well,
safely rest,God is nigh.Fades the light;

And afarGoeth day,
And the starsShineth bright,
Fare thee well; Day has gone,Night is on.Thanks and praise, For our days,'Neath the sun, Neath the stars,'Neath the sky,As we go, This we know,God is nigh.

Though the President of the United States can't make it to Arlington National Cemetery to lay a wreath at the tomb of the Unknown soldier, (he's on vacation in Chicago), let us each one pause to thank the Lord for not only the soldiers who have died defending freedom, but all of our loved ones who've now made the crossing and are safe in the arms of Jesus.

May the devotion of those who have gone before inspire us all to greater faith and deeper commitment to the Cause of Christ, and His Kingdom.

The United States military requires every soldier to uphold this code of conduct:
1. I am an American fighting man. I serve in the forces which guard my country and our way of life. I am prepared to give my life in their defense.
2. I will never surrender of my own free will. If in command I will never surrender my men while they still have the means to resist.
3. If I am captured I will continue to resist by all means available. I will make every effort to escape and aid others to escape. I will accept neither parole or special favors from the enemy.
4. If I become a prisoner of war, I will keep faith with my fellow prisoners. I will give no information or take part in any action which might be harmful to my comrades. If I am senior, I will take command. If not, I will obey the lawful orders of those appointed over me and will back them up in every way.
5. When questioned, should I become a prisoner of war, I am required to give name, rank, service number, and date of birth. I will evade answering further questions to the utmost of my ability. I will make no oral or written statements disloyal to my country and its allies or harmful to their cause.
6. I will never forget that I am an American fighting man, responsible for my actions, and dedicated to the principles which made my country free. I will trust in my God and in the United States of America.

Here is a CODE OF CONDUCT for SOLDIERS SERVING THE BODY OF CHRIST that my Father wrote and delivered:

I am a Christian. I serve in the defense of Christ and His way of life. I am prepared to die for Him.

I will never surrender to the enemy of my own free will. If I am a pastor I will never surrender one of the flock.

If I fall captive to temptation, I will turn to Christ, the sure way of escape. I will aid others to escape. I will never accept compromise to ease the pressure exerted against me.

I will keep faith with my fellow Christians. I will give no information or take part in any action which might be harmful to my comrades. If I am a pastor, I will take, responsibility to shepherd the flock. If not, I will obey the lawful orders of those appointed over me and will back them up in every way.

When questioned, I will make no oral or written statements disloyal to Christ or the Church or harmful to their cause. I will freely and fully profess my faith, and make every effort to bring my questioners to salvation.

I will never forget that I am a Christian, responsible for my actions before God, and dedicated to the principles of the Word of God. I will trust God and be true, whatever it costs.


Would you not agree that most modern day holiness preachers sell this grace short?

Again: we give the name of “Christian perfection” to that maturity of grace and holiness which established adult believers attain to under the Christian dispensation: and thus we distinguish that maturity of grace, both from the ripeness of grace, which belongs to the dispensation of the Jews below us; and from the ripeness of glory, which belongs to departed saints above us. Hence it appears, that by “Christian perfection” we mean nothing but the cluster and maturity of the graces which compose the Christian character in the Church militant.

In other words, Christian perfection is a spiritual constellation made up of these gracious stars, perfect repentance, perfect faith, perfect humility, perfect meekness, perfect self denial, perfect resignation, perfect hope, perfect charity for our visible enemies, as well as for our earthly relations; and, above all, perfect love for our invisible God, through the explicit knowledge of our Mediator Jesus Christ.

And as this last star is always accompanied by all the others, as Jupiter is by his satellites, we frequently use, as St. John, the phrase “perfect love,” instead of the word perfection; understanding by it the pure love of God shed abroad in the hearts of established believers by the Holy Ghost, which is abundantly given them under the fulness of the Christian dispensation.

22. By what "fruit of the Spirit" may we "know that we are of God," even in the highest sense?

By love, joy, peace, always abiding; by invariable long-suffering, patience, resignation; by gentleness, triumphing over all provocation; by goodness, mildness,sweetness, tenderness of spirit; by fidelity, simplicity, godly sincerity; by meekness, calmness, evenness of spirit; by temperance, not only in food and sleep, but in all things natural and spiritual.

23. But what great matter is there is this? Have we not all this when we are justified?
What! Total resignation to the will of God, without any mixture of self-will? Gentleness, without any touch of anger, even the moment we are provoked? Love to God, without the least love to the creature, but in and for God, excluding all pride? Love to man, excluding all envy, all jealousy, and rash judging? Meekness, keeping the whole soul inviolably calm? And temperance in all things? Deny that any ever came up to this, if you please; but do not say all who are justified do.


In telling us what this enlargement is, Bishop Foster gives the following definition ordescription of this "higher experience," which, in advance of more elaborate definitions, we adoptas our own:
"What is this higher grace? Some call it holiness; some, purity; some, sanctification; some,perfection; some, maturity. There has been much unseemly disputation over the name as well asmuch fanatical profession concerning the experience, and much crude and unsound teaching as towhat it includes and how it is to be attained, and much ill-tempered criticism.
"It answers all the ends of description to say, it is the perfecting of the soul in love. Love isnot simply the queen of the graces, but the mother of them all -- the all-embracing.

Love is thefulfilling of the law; love made perfect excludes envy, jealousy, pride, and all violent and hurtful tempers and acts; love is reverent, meek, humble, docile, patient, obedient, worketh no ill,fulfilleth all righteousness. Perfect love inspires perfect faith, courage, heroism, self-denial,casteth out all fear ... God fills the soul with his love to overflowing. It thrills with gladness; itexpels impurity. While it reigns, there is no place for evil thoughts, evil desires, evil feelings.Heaven has already come. Can it be permanent at its highest pitch? We think we are safe in saying no, as an emotion. The thrill of love and joy must be intermittent in a life like ours on earth. Otherfeelings must come, and for the time obscure and replace these. But as a principle governing thelife, we are bold to say love may and should abide moment by moment and without alloy."


Why are we so happy?

It’s not because we have solved all our problems and met every challenge we’ve faced. It’s not because we never face illness and tragedy. It can’t be because we’re thrilled with our government. It certainly can’t be because the world’s economy is so good.

So let me give you five—five reasons why Christians are happy, or what the Bible calls, “Blessed.”

The doubters say that Christians are happy because they are deceived and confused. They say that if Christians understood their situation, they’d be as unhappy as the rest of the world. And certainly, if I was a doubter, skeptical of Christ and critical of God’s Word, that’s what I’d say too. It sure beats admitting one is wrong. Read these survey results and you will see Bible-believing Christians are indeed happier!

The God of the Holy Bible is not limited (He is all-powerful), mean-spirited (He is full of compassion), or inconsistent (He is the same, yesterday, today, and forever!). He is good, and He is good all the time. Here’s proof:

The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble, and He knows those who
trust in Him! Nahum 1:7 Good and upright is the Lord… Psalm 25:8

O Taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in Him. Psalm 34:8
The Lord is gracious and full of compassion, slow to anger and great in mercy. The Lord is good to all, and His tender mercies are over all His works. Psalm 145:8,9.

There is none good but one, that is God… Matthew 19:17
Despisest thou the riches of His goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance. Romans 2:4

For “God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved!” (John 3:17). “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creation, old things are passed away; behold all things are become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17). “There is therefore now, no condemnation to them who are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” (Romans 8:1).

Psychologists and counselors tell us that that what people need more than anything else is a fresh start. Christ has given that to us! By paying the penalty for our sins, He has set us free.
“I’m free from the fear of tomorrow.
I’m free from the guilt of the past.
For I’ve traded my shackles, for a glorious song!
I’m free, praise the Lord, free at last!”

Not only are we free from the guilt of sin, but in Christ there is victory over sin! “Thanks be unto God who giveth us the victory .” “Sin shall not have dominion over you.” (Romans 6:14) “Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ...” (2 Corinthians 2:14).

THIRD WE KNOW THAT GOD WILL DIRECT OUR LIVES, SUPPLY OUR NEEDS, AND NEVER LEAVE US. Our security is not found in uncertain riches. But our Heavenly Father is watching over us.

Here’s what Jesus said:
Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. O ye of little faith? Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. (Matthew 6:25-34).

Indeed the Prophet Jeremiah was so right, “It is of the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22,23. Isaiah said it this way, “And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.” Isaiah 65:24

FOURTH WE KNOW THAT GOD HAS A GOOD AND PERFECT PLAN FOR OUR LIVES. When we surrender our lives to His control, we find perfect peace and contentment.
Our happiness does not rest in relationships with people. Nor do we depend on uncertain riches to make us happy.

Our strength comes from the Lord. Our direction comes from His Word and His Spirit. And His will does not lead us where His grace cannot keep us. He has never failed us!
“For I know the thoughts [the plans that I have for you] that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. And I will be found of you, saith the LORD.” (Jeremiah 29:11-14.)

No matter how deep the trial, no matter how long the journey, no matter how difficult the circumstance, no matter how grievous the pain, one of these days the children of God will be Safe in the Arms of Jesus! And “It will be worth it all, when we see Jesus!”
Heaven is real, and it is really wonderful! I haven’t located heaven’s exact address in the universe, but I have located heaven’s description in God’s Word. It is a place where there will be no more tears, no more death, neither sorrow, no crying, and no pain! (Revelation 21:4)

Heaven is cheap at any price. It is forever at home with the Lord. It is peace and security. It is everlasting life. It is the blessed home of the sanctified.

It is worth more than money (ask poor Lazarus and the multitudes of earth’s poor who now are rich in heaven treasure—a treasure that moth and rust cannot corrupt).

It is worth more than pleasure (ask the rich man who had everything in life and is now suffering the loss of everything and is being tormented in hell’s flame).

It is worth more than the opinions of the world (ask those who were mocked, and scorned, and ridiculed by this world, because they were different, looked different, acted different, and lived different. Today they are reigning with Christ in glory).

It is worth more than life itself (ask the millions who have been martyred for their faith.)



I would first like to say…

“Congratulations” to CHARLIE--CHARLES STEVEN DURST! Your hours of study and hard work have paid off.

“Commendations” to CHARLIE’S teachers! Your devoted teaching—pouring not only information but inspiration—into this life have brought us to this good hour.

“You Made It!” to CHARLIE’S parents!
Hours of driving – driving between Decatur and Urbana, and driving your son to do his best—represented a tremendous sacrifice for you, but will bring life-long blessings to your son.

As you leave Kingswood School and enter the University of Illinois, you will face the greatest challenges, and greatest opportunities of your life. Unlike Kingswood—a school that is Christian, Biblical, and Classical—the University will be Hostile to Christian Orthdoxy, Critical of Scriptural Authority, and dismissive of the great thoughts and thinkers of Western Civilization.

Your fellow university students will not have experienced the New Birth, they will not believe that Biblical Morality is inspired and inerrant, and they will be driven by the desires for pleasure and acceptance, more than discipleship and principled leadership.

They will have imbibed the spirit of this age. They will live as though morality is a myth, judgment is fiction, and eternity in heaven or hell is a fairy tale. In this they are not unlike their parents and professors. We are living in decadent days.

And yet, it is with great confidence that we face our times. With Winston Churchill we will “Never give in. Never, Never, Never, Never-in nothing, great or small, large or petty--never give in... Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.”

With FAITH IN THE FUTURE we face the challenge of this day.
Faith in the God who made heaven and earth!
Faith in the Savior who suffered, bled, died, and rose again!
Faith in the Spirit of Holiness who indwells, empowers, and directs God’s people!
Faith in the Word of God that is inerrant, inspired, and our sole authority!
Faith in the Church of Jesus Christ that will assault and prevail against the gates of hell!
Faith in the Cause of Right and Righteousness!

The Enemy has come in like a flood! In these last days he has unleashed every weapon in his arsenal to defeat Christ and Christ’s Church.

…He is still saying as he said to Eve, “Hath God said…” injecting doubt into the minds of men.
But my Grandmother Jones was right when she wrote to Dad, “Sin is just as black as it ever was, and must be declared as such. It takes the same remedy to cure this awful malady as it always did. When God says what is right and what is wrong, that is how it is! It has already been settled in heaven, centuries ago. (Psalm 119:89).

…He is still distracting God’s people from the place of prayer, from the study of God’s Word, and from Worship! Even innocent entertainments are numbing the minds and dulling the spiritual sensitivity of good people. And what’s worse, the Church herself has imbibed the spirit of the age, so that feasting has replaced fasting, playing has replaced praying, gaming has replaced going (to the lost), and happiness has replaced holiness as our first concern.

…He is placing into the media, the government, and the leadership of our nation, people who are anti-Christ. They are “enemies of the Cross” and they are determined to undermine Christian faith, the Christian Church, and the Christian nation that has secured liberty and done more good than any other nation in the history of mankind.

…And He still seeks to sabotage our faith, by strategically placing into our lives, compromising friends who will erode your determination to act right and be holy. Worldly friends are dangerous, but worldly professing Christian friends may pose the greatest threat to your soul.

Graduate, these are not dark days, but these are great days!
Never seek the favor or approval of men. Never thirst for the approval of this world. Never fear the loneliness of standing alone for the Savior—He stood alone for you one day!

Charlie, God knew you would come to the kingdom for such a time as this. God knew exactly what the world would be like when he gifted you with life. God knew what trials and temptations you would face. God knew what abilities He would give you!

There is only One whose approval you must seek. Let the Apostle Paul’s testimony be yours,
“2 Corinthians 5:9 …we labor, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him.
5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ”

On May 6, of 1985 my Father wrote to his fellow pastors. Remember:

“We are foundation men. It may be that in some future time others will be able to assemble the superstructure more rapidly, but we are truly unique in the marketplace of churches to be offering costly grace when cheap grace is the “in” thing. Yet it is for this very reason that we find our own efforts closely paralleling the New Testament example. Except for those disciples of John, and the Jews who converted, the work was not easy. "

"Progress was bought with life-shortening labor and persecution, and the loneliness of the whipping post and desertion of fellow “Christians” in Caesar’s Court."

"This is the precipice of glory! This is life with meaning! This is counting all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ. Let us storm the gates of hell with with the confidence of men who have heard the Divine affirmation that those gates will not prevail.
Now go make a difference for Christ and for eternity!

Saturday, May 1, 2010


The fruit of the Spirit is
love, joy, peace,
longsuffering, gentleness, goodness,
faith, meekness, temperance.
Galatians 5:22,23

The circumstances you are facing today come as no surprise to God. God is still in control!

He loves you. He gave His only begotten Son to save you.

He has a purpose and plan for your life.

He desires that you would desire Him, so that you could experience His love, His joy, and His peace. All who have made Him the center of their existence discover life with meaning, victory over vice, the knowledge of God’s favor, and an unshakable hope and confidence.

Wow I am so glad I’ve decided to follow the Lord!

I’ve made my share of messes, but our wonderful Savior has never failed!

He revealed himself to me!
He redeemed me!
He restored me!
He reconciled me!
He renewed my strength!
He remodeled me!
He revolutionized me!
He is my reason for living! (Now if that’s too many exclamation points I’m sorry!)

The Scriptures tell us that the fruit of the Spirit is Joy! The tragedy of our day is that so few experience this Joy in their lives.

Unbelief does not bring joy. Voltaire, one of the most ardent opponents of Christ wrote, “I wish I had never been born. Pleasure does not bring joy. The poet Lord Byron lived a life of unbridled pleasure, and concluded, “the worm, the canker, and grief are mine alone.” Money cannot buy joy. Jay Gould, one of the richest Americans said on his death-bed, “I suppose I am the most miserable man on earth.”

By nature we are not just physical beings we are spiritual. When sin and rebellion are in our hearts the Holy Spirit of God is driven out. People try to fill the void that remains in their hearts with physical pleasure or positive thinking, but only God's Spirit will suffice.

While God’s Spirit brings us joy, it first brings us deep conviction and sorrow for our sins. If you feel guilty for running from God, that’s God’s Spirit speaking to you. If you feel sorry for living life outside God’s will, that’s God’s Spirit convicting you. If you’re beginning to think you need to get right with God, that’s God’s Spirit drawing you. Thank God He loves you enough to come after you!

When you repent (change your mind about sin), and believe in Christ (a change of heart), then you will be “born of the Spirit!” You will experience what Jesus called “the new birth.” (See John 3:1-16). And with the Spirit of God comes Joy!

Jesus said, “These things have I spoken unto you, that my JOY might remain in you, and that your JOY might be full.” (John 15:11). Preachers, poets, and songwriters, have not yet found words to express the wonderful joy that comes to those who are saved. But that has not kept them from trying! We sing:

“Life now is sweet, and my JOY is complete for I’m Saved! Saved! Saved!”

“It is JOY unspeakable and full of glory…and the half has never yet been told!”

“Joyful, joyful we adore thee, God of Glory, Lord of Love!”

“I’ve got the Joy! Joy! Joy! Joy! Down in my heart!”


When the Gospel came to Samaria the Bible tells us, "There was great joy in that city!" (Acts 8:8). In Acts 13 we read that even when the disciples met opposition they were "filled with Joy and the Holy Ghost." (Acts 13:51,52). Indeed, living life as God intended for us to live is "joy unspeakable and full of glory!" (1st Peter 1:8,9).


The Apostle Paul was warned that the Jews were out to silence him. Even so, the Apostle testified to the Christians at Ephesus, "None of these things move me, neither count I my life dear to myself, so that I might finish my course with joy." (Acts 20:24).

Because the world is not the source of our joy, the world can never take away our joy. Our confidence rests in God, the Maker of heaven and earth.

If we "regard iniquity in our hearts the Lord will not hear us." (Psalm 66:18), but Jesus urged His disciples, "You have asked nothing in my name, ask, and ye shall receive, that your JOY may be full!" (John 14:24). "What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear, What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer!"

Dictators and tyrants--those who persecute, know nothing of this joy! It's hard to imagine that Nero and Caligula were men with a song in their hearts. But Paul and Silas, after they were brutally beaten, roughly thrown into a Macedonian prison, placed in an unspeakably rancid cell, prayed and sang praises to God while their feet were bound in stocks and their wrists were wrapped in chains!

I can hear them singing now,

"Glorious freedom! Wonderful Freedom!
No more in chains of sin I repine!
Jesus the glorious emancipator!
Now and forever He shall be mine!"

Then after a shout of praise, God's men sang,

"Through many dangers, toils and snares,
We have already come,
'tis grace that brought us safe thus far
And grace will lead us home!"

Ah, "anyone can sing when the sun is shining bright, but you need a song in your heart at night!"

Though persecuted God's people rejoice in the God of their salvation. Our worship has always been punctuated with joy. The great British preacher Spurgeon said it this way:

"High joys were common when the Bridegroom comforted His bride in the dens and caves of the earth. Those pioneers of our holy faith were destitute, afflicted, tormented--yet were they men of whom the world was not worthy--and men who counted it all joy to suffer for Christ's sake!"

One of these days we will be face to face with Christ our Savior. One day the faith shall be sight. And friends, "It will be worth it all, when we see Jesus! One glimpse of His dear face, all sorrow will erase!"

The anticipation of that grand reunion draws us forward, for "we look not at the things which are seen, for the things that are seen are temporary, but the thing that are not seen are eternal." (2 Corinthians 4:18).

As a third century man was anticipating death, he penned these last words to a friend:

"It's a bad world, an incredibly bad world. But I have discovered in the midst of it a quiet and holy people who have learned a great secret. They have found a joy which is a thousand times better than any pleasure of our sinful life. They are despised and persecuted, but they care not. They are masters of their souls. They have overcome the world. These people are the Christians--and I am one of them."

May God so fill us with His Spirit that His Joy would be our possession, now and forever! Amen!