About Bill Virgin

Bill Virgin and his wife Laurie pastor Life Christian Center in the suburbs of Kansas City, Missouri. Bill holds a doctorate of Theology and is a dynamic speaker as well as being a author. He is passionate to see God’s people walking in the love and power of God. Bill and Laurie have four beautiful daughters.

Will you be a Garbage Can or a Trash Man?

1a-garbage-can-e1562700052424.jpegTrash talking and gutter gossip is nothing more than fruit from the pit of Hell! (Jas.3:1-12) and it seems to be such a big part of our society. We have TV shows and magazines solely dedicated around slander and gossip. It has always astounded me how different ones can constantly be involved with corrupt communication. Unfortunately, even in the midst of many communities of believers we see the cancer of gossip! But of course we clothe it with religious jargon saying it’s a prayer request. But sadly there never seems to be the prayer just the gossip.

Years ago I was invited to go with a medical team to the Philippines to minister. While I was there we went to a regional garbage dump to minister to a group of people who actually lived on the garbage heaps. These people spent their days rummaging through the toxic garbage from others looking for something of value but only to receive infection and sickness.

In the same manner people that are obsessed with listening and spreading hateful communication are themselves living amongst the most unrighteous mounds of spiritual trash. It is no better than eating out of a dumpster or living on a garage dump rummaging through others refuse. Some people think its spiritual to be a garbage can for others to dump their garbage, but actually we really are to be a trash man. A garbage can will get putrid and smelly and contain germs, but a trash man is one that takes someone’s garbage and puts it in a safe place to be covered up.

Paul exhorts the believers at Ephesus saying, “Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good …that it may impart grace to the hearers.” (Eph 4:29) The Greek word “corrupt” actually means rotten and worthless words. So Paul is telling us not to be involved in trash talk, but only those things that will uplift and bring grace to others. When you say things that tear others down and is not edifying it is lining yourself up with the devil who is called “the accuser of the brethren in Rev.12:10. The devil speaks evil of us and tears us down before God. In 1 Pet 5:8 it says that he goes about looking for whom he can devour. When individuals openly or secretly gossip they are bearing the fruit of the evil accuser.

I do realize that things that are healthy and living produce refuse and garbage. So therefore without a proper garbage system we would be in big trouble. We must have experienced trash men that are able to get rid of our toxic and disease infested garbage. It is the same in the church… there will be smelly trash and as Prov. 14:4 says there will also be poop in the stall. Therefore, we must decide whether we will be a “garbage can or a trash man” with other peoples garbage.

When we cast the weaknesses of others before the Lord through our prayers as in 1 Pet.5:7 and give biblical support, we are dealing properly with the garbage of others. But when we spread it or rummaging through it we resemble the varmint the scatters the garbage down the street making a bigger mess. Gossip is seldom the complete story or truth being twisted to fit the mood of the one spreading it, not to bring any kind of help.

In comparison to what we see the enemy of our soul doing before God, we see the picture of Jesus in Rom. 8:34 after His finished work on the cross going before the Father as our advocate and intercessor. It goes on to say that nothing will separate us from the love of God. The question we will have to answer is whether we are lining up with the accuser or the intercessor! Will we be a “garbage can or a trash man”! We have a choice.

Advertisements

Sing like Pottery that’s taken out of the Fire

a1 pottery in kilnThe anticipation of getting to see our finished clay pottery was overwhelming. It was almost like being a young child before we were able to open Christmas presents. We had gone to the Potter’s House and learned about the process from start to finish. Then as if with God’s divine grace the potter let each of us young students make our own piece of pottery. But due to the curing and drying time that it entailed before the firing we left them at the potter’s shop. Now a month later and once they were done being fired in the kiln, they were delivered to our art classroom. The buzz of the news went through the school like a wild fire in the dry prairie.

In 2 Tim 2:20-22 Paul writes young Timothy and uses the allegory of a house and furniture to our spiritual man saying, “But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay, some for honor and some for dishonor. Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work”. Paul in his exhorting Timothy brings out the truth that there are things in our lives that will bring honor to God and His purposes and then there are also things that bring dishonor.

If we will embrace the cleansing and working of God, the Master potter, in our lives we will be purged from anything dishonoring and become vessels of honor. Paul let’s us know that we have a responsibility ourselves as we submit to the potters forming and shaping in our lives. When we yield to His workings then we become useful to the Master and are equipped for His work. To the Ephesians Paul shares this same thought in Eph 2:10, where we read, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them”. Also to the Roman believers Paul says, “Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor”? (Rom 9:20-21)

As I am often taken back to the memory of that tour of the potter’s shop, where I remember the potter saying how the drying time of the clay pottery was so crucial and important. He said it might seem boring, as it should take between 1 to 2 weeks of just sitting and drying, but that you don’t want to hurry the process. When it is prematurely quickened most often it will bring cracks and damage to the clay pot, ending in returning to the soaking and reforming which adds much more time to the process. But when its done right the dry clay pottery goes into the kiln. The kiln is a oven that will perfectly fire the pottery from 1800 up to 2200 degrees. Then to bring beauty and brilliance it is glazed and fired again. When the piece of pottery comes out of the fiery kiln you can tap it with a utensil and it will bring forth a beautiful sound.

In our lives we can see God’s commitment to developing us into vessels of Honor in the same process as the natural potter does to His pottery. We will have times of sitting and drying and seasons of extreme heat being turned up in our lives. Peter says in 1 Peter 4:12-13, “do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice…”. When we embrace the fires in our life, keeping our eyes on Jesus we will be as the pot that sings. Glorifying the Lord!

Just a mound of clay in the Potters Hands!

adult arts and crafts clay dirty

Remember how the school field trips would inspirer you when you were young and inquisitive? There’s one that seems to stand out in my mind. It was when we were taken down along the Snake River to a potter’s house. We were given an extensive tour and explanation of the whole process of digging your own clay from the banks of the river to making of a beautiful finished vase. I can still remember how intriguing it was then and how helpful it has been to me through my life.

This illustration of the potter and clay along with the whole process is played out in many different passages in scripture and has helped me to be acquainted to Gods working in our lives. The scripture says, “We are the clay, and You our potter; And all we are the work of Your hand”. In the same manner that God fashioned Adam out of the ground He also molds us into His image for our lives. (Gen 2:7, Isa 64:8) On my shelf I have a pitcher that I made from the inspiration of that fieldtrip which is a constant reminder of His molding and shaping of our lives.

We read in Jer. 18:1-9 that even Jeremiah was instructed to go to the potters shed so God could give him understanding on His workings and His will. In verse 3-4, it says, “I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was, making something at the wheel. And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter; so he made it again into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to make”. Then he says to the children of Israel through this prophet, “…can I not do with you as this potter”? The master potter personally shapes and creates us as a vessel of honor for His service. Just as the man who showed us young students how he takes a raw lump of clay and begins to work it into his desired and planned shape, so the creator does the same with us.

The raw clay that came from the banks of the river was put into a barrel to soak in water. Then once it softens and becomes pliable it was worked over a screen to eliminate any rocks or hardened materials that would cause a flaw in the finished product. Isaiah describes it as the potter treading the clay. (Isa 45:25) It’s the same in our own lives that we must have times of soaking and being worked to get any deposits in our lives out as not to later bring devastation in us. When Jeremiah went down to watch the potter he describes it in such a way, “there he was, making something at the wheel. And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter; so he made it again.” (Jer 18:4) You see once the hunk of clay is put on the potter’s wheel, he then begins to spin the wheel and balances the mound of clay adding more water at times making it easier to shape. But if there is any small dry areas or pebbles it will put a defect in the shape as it is being worked. Therefore, the potter then remakes it. As Job declares in Job 10:8-9, “You made me like a handcrafted piece of pottery”. It’s a process with the end masterpiece in mind. (Eph 2:10)

The great potter is at work in us and is trustworthy as He shapes and molds us as He sees fit! Why would we ever question the Potter how he has molded the clay. (Rom 9:20-21) We can be at Peace knowing He has our best interests in mind!

The Resurrection of Jesus demands that we live for Him!

Thankfulness - sunsetOnce a year, most of the world comes together in the celebration of Christ’s triumphant entry, through the Passover, the crucifixion all the way to the empty tomb! Then it’s back to work on Monday as normal. Now, don’t get me wrong I love this season. It reminds me and re-aligns me with God’s purpose and love!

I am so glad the story of Jesus doesn’t stop at the cross or even at His burial? But, come to think about it, why do we even allow the story to stop at the resurrection? The Story of Jesus’ love for you and I goes on and on! It’s not over once the weekend is done, its actually just beginning. I do understand and have no problem with focusing on these three glorious foundational events annually. The basis of the gospel is most definitely the death, burial and resurrection of Christ! (1 Cor 15:1-4)

Yet, if we aren’t students of the scriptures we can miss so many things in the work of Christ. Peter brings to light that Jesus went to the chained demonic angels, who are awaiting their final judgment and proclaimed that His redemption of mankind was completed!(1 Pet 3:19) During these three days Jesus also took back the dominion from the devil that Adam and Eve had turned over to the deceiver(Gen.1:28, Lk 4:6, Col 2:15) , then Jesus gives it back to his children again once He goes to God the Father.(Matt 28:18-19, Jn 20:17-21, Lk 24:39) Where he also presents and leads the first fruits of the believing saints into heaven.(1 Cor 15:20) The story even continues, in the fact that He shows Himself to his followers over the next forty days before the great ascension.(Acts 1:1-2) But even after all this, Jesus which had foretold the disciples earlier (Jn 14:16-21) refuses to leave His followers by themselves, declaring in Acts 1:4-5, “He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father… “you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now’”. The last thing Jesus the resurrected Lord, lets them know before He ascends to the Father in the glory cloud is that the indwelling of the Holy Spirit would empower them to be a witnesses all over the world for Him. (Acts 1:8-10)

What happened on resurrection day is what gives His followers the authority and dominion as His ambassadors and the infilling of the Holy Spirit empowers us to walk victoriously here on this earth. Being confident with our assignment of making disciples and establishing the kingdom of God, knowing Jesus is now seated in heaven next to the Father interceding for us. (Rom 8:34-35) You see, the work of Jesus still continues as He leads us. Not only does Jesus call Himself the Good Shepherd, but also we read in Rev 7:17 that He is still shepherding His people throughout eternity.

Paul writes to the believers in Colosse and says, “As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith”.(Col 2:6-8) Paul is telling the Christian that once they accepted what Jesus has done for them to continue living their life in the benefits and authority of it. Jesus became our substitution and therefore our redeemer from the bondages of the wicked one. His works enable us and demand us to live a life worthy of His calling with confidence. Therefore let me ask you, “What are you doing with the Message of the Cross? Is it nothing more than fooliness to you or is it the Power of God to be His witness”. (1 Cor 1:17) The resurrection of Jesus demands that we live for Him!

A Chosen Lamb for the Ultimate Sacrifice

11a 3 lamb           As Jesus approaches, John the Baptist boldly proclaims to all those that were around, “Look! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” For all of those that heard this statement whether fully or in part understood the ramification and significance of what John was saying.

When my girls were younger we were picked or maybe you could say, “punished” to be the foster parents of a small yearling lamb that we were to go and pick up from a local rancher. Then it would become our responsibility to bring it home and get it ready for the Easter program; which would entail scrubbing and washing, then drying and fluffing its beautiful wool. My young girls were so excited that they could hardly wait to get started on this adventure. I have to admit in the beginning I was looking forward to showing off my country boy upbringing as well. Once we arrived at the ranch, the gracious rancher took us out to a small pen where he was holding some orphan lambs so he could bottle-feed them. After the girls had a time of playing with each of them and falling in love with all of the lambs it was the moment of truth. My sweet young daughters had to pick just one, the right one! As they thought and talked and discussed and looked each one over and over they finally came to a mutual decision.

After thanking the amused rancher, who had a mysterious twinkle in his eyes making me question whether he knew something that maybe we were missing, we headed home. Well, that was only too soon confirmed when hours later this poor little cute innocent lamb was crying out for help from all the pampering and lavish love my girls were giving it. A bath with foaming suds and layers of soap, then hair dryers blowing from every angle with non-stop kisses from each of the girls.

What seemed to be a glorious memory making and life long lesson for my children seemed to come crashing down, when it became time to turn out the lights and go to bed with a sigh of accomplishment.

If only it would have ended with that fairytale ending. It was only moments after putting the lamb in our enclosed back suburban yard with lights turned off with a prayer and a kiss. That this little lamb must have finally came to the realization that something was drastically wrong and began to cry out for the normalcy of the stable. It was during this continual bleating and every home’s light coming on in our sweet quiet and quaint neighborhood, that I had the revelation of the Passover lamb, which was anything but a sweet child’s pet!

The sound must have been deafening in Goshen that night many years ago when God instituted the Passover and the sacrifice of the unblemished lamb in every home. (Ex 12:3-13) Things had been tense anyway as the show down between Pharaoh and God’s servant Moses came to and end. To the Egyptians it was nothing less than a nightmare and to God’s children it was a magnificent beginning to a journey of God unfolding His love for His people as well as continuing to reveal Jesus Christ as the coming redeemer and the Lamb of God.

That night with what started to be a cute cuddly memory for my daughters had turned into a agony of a bleating lamb in my back yard. It seemed to bring another side to this story more than ever; I now understood the ramification and significance of what John had declared more than two thousand years ago. Jesus came to earth to be our Passover lamb. That through receiving Jesus’ agonizing and horrific sacrifice on the cross we might be redeemed from death and walk in a journey of victory as His children. (Luke 22:14-20)

Is God Really Concerned about Borders and Walls?

a2- wallsDoes God think walls are immoral and wrong? In His view, are we being unrighteous and unethical by having a fence or walls on our boarders? Looking at the whole of God’s Word and rightly interpreting it’s message brings a overwhelming understanding that God desires for those that choose to follow His standards to guard and watch out for anything that might be a distraction or hindrance to them. In a time of unrest and injustice God speaks through the prophet in Ezek 22:30 saying, “So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one”. God expects and requires His children to repair and keep the walls effective, not allowing any opposing danger to come in.

My own experience was while growing up each spring, we would have the task of repairing the fences and gates that had fallen down from natural elements, by wild animals or those that had no regard to our property borders. We would load the old yellow four-wheel drive with all the tools that were needed to fix and maintain the fence and walls and head up the mountain. Even though this particular job wasn’t the most easy or enjoyable on the ranch! It was certainly a necessity to secure the things that we


Doesn’t it make common sense to protect our children and keep them safe


held dear to our heart. There were sections that we were able to have fences on, other places that we could only have piled rocks and some places just had barriers like cattle guards, as well as, gates at different locations. It was something we didn’t just talk about but was a constant chore we had to do to keep livestock in and others out.

In the current headlines it is almost overwhelmingly filled with the pros and cons of a border wall. My personal question is, “is it really wrong for us to guard our property or inheritances with a fence or a wall? Doesn’t it make common sense to protect our children and keep them safe, as well as keep out what might hurt them?

Is that wrong or immoral? I understand that there can be abuses at times without monitoring. But, it’s not immoral but on the contrary it is what keeps our morality in tact. Those that think fences, border security and walls are immoral are people that are amoral. In other words they are individuals that are void of or not concerned with any morals or standards at all.

In scripture we see the comparison of natural walls and borders to the spiritual walls and borders we must maintain. A matter of fact in Prov 22:28 it says, “Do not remove the ancient landmark (borders) which your fathers have set.” The scripture is full of exhortations to fill the walls with watchmen, those that keep a lookout for oncoming danger. (Isa 62:6, Isa 52:8, Jer 51:12)

We must be as Nehemiah who was taken into captivity, (Neh. 1-13) and made to serve the Persian King in a culture contrary to God’s standards. He was stirred with a God given burden and through God’s favor and grace rallied his countrymen back in Jerusalem that existed in the rubble of fallen walls and were gripped by fear for the frequent raiding enemies. In the midst of threats and danger they rebuilt the walls and restored the gates. Stopping anything from corrupting God’s plan and standards. It’s time for the children of God to rebuild the walls and standards of righteousness in our land!

 

Don’t stop climbing, God has good things in store for you!

cropped-sawtooth-mountians11.jpgI began experiencing a whole new adventure growing up once we had moved to a ranch nestled in the midst of some of the most gorgeous mountainous landscape in central Idaho. Though in the beginning, this previous flatlander, was intimidating and claustrophobic, it soon became one of the greatest seasons of my younger life. It was through this experience that I learned many truths from nature and the mountains around. The first was that climbing a mountain is much like going through life, tough at times.

I think most of us can say there have been some mountain peaks and some valleys along our life’s journey. It is like the natural process when you climb to the summit of a literal mountain, you go through some valleys and ravines to get to the more elevated peaks. There seems to always be another valley before another peak, as we move higher and achieve greater heights. Existing in the lower bottoms of life or even camping in the higher plateaus might be more convenient and a whole lot easier, but there is no greater adventure or achievement then getting to the top. If you stay comfortable and not climb you will never get to see the incredible view or breath the fresh air that you do from the summit.

I believe that many, even though they haven’t reached their destiny have made some significant progress as they have pursued God’s will for their lives. We must realize that our walk of faith is a process and doesn’t come over night. Going forward in faith will never be defined as “smooth and easy” but it does hold a promise of achieving Godly rewards. (1 Cor 9:25-26)

Speaking to Christians in Corinth Paul relates our walk of faith as running a race to win not to just nonchalantly participating in it. (vs 24) Also, Paul at the end of his life describes his own journey in 2 Tim 4:7-8 saying, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness”. Paul shares some of his testimony and journey in 2 Cor 11:23-28, where he lists what he had gone through. His words and life experiences confirm the fact that our journey of faith is anything but apathetical or uneventful, having what we would describe as ups and downs along the way.

If we are not focused during these times in the valleys they can seem like “failures or setbacks”, but if we keep our eyes on Jesus as our Good Shepherd and are surrendered to His will, then we can stand in confidence as overcomers. Paul declares this in Phil 4:13 where he says, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”.

Even when we have gone through extreme and unpleasant situations along life’s climb we can come out better and stronger in our faith on the other side. These low points allow us to see and experience His faithfulness as He takes us by the hand and leads us, as a loving shepherd, through the shadows of death into green lush pastures. (Ps 23)

In Heb10:35-36 Paul encourages the believers to not cast their confidence in Christ away, but to endure in their faith and finish the will of God. Not being hindered by anything that would enslave us and stop us from completing our journey or “running the race” of faith. (1 Cor 9:25) We do this by keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, who is the author and finisher of our faith. (Heb 12:2) So don’t Stop Climbing Now! God has good things in store for you!