Pastor’s Corner

"CHURCH LIKE IT USED TO BE" 

“Learning To Lean”

"Give us day by day our daily bread" Luke 11:3

The eternal God is thy refuse and underneath are the everlasting arms.  This is a beautiful and comforting thought, that the God of the universe, Creator of all, and the Great I Am, cares about us.  When we are cast down by the sorrows and cares of life, His unfailing arms are ever beneath to support us in our time of weakness; shelter us in our time of trouble; succor us in our time of need; and sustain us in our time of wavering.

There is an eye that never sleeps beneath the wings of night

There is an ear that never shuts when sink the beams of light

There is an arm that never tires, when human strength gives way

There is a love that never fails, when earthly loves decay

Are we leaning all our weight upon the everlasting arms?  Upon His Everlasting Arms?  When life’s storms appear, lean on Him.  When life shatters our hopes and dreams, lean on Him.  When life’s searching takes us to roads that are rocky, steep and unsettling, lean on Him.  Cast all your care on Him for He careth for you.

“I Will Come Again”

"Serve the Lord with gladness…Enter into His gates with thanksgiving…bless His name."  Psalm 100

Throughout history there have been battle cries that have motivated and rallied people for a cause or a purpose.  Early in our nation’s history, before we had gained our independence, as the British troops advanced onto our soil the cry, “The British are coming” spread across the region. The citizens of this newly found and forming nation took up arms against those who take away the freedom they desperately longed for and craved and this phrase rallied them together for the common cause of freedom and independence.  In the early fight for freedom for the Republic of Texas a small mission was fought for and defended by 183 freedom seekers who all lost their lives for their cause.  The infamous cry, remember the Alamo, carried them on to victory and independence from those that would try to not only crush their dream, but also destroy those that dared to dream that dream.  As Christians we also have a phrase that we repeat, however, it is more than a battle cry or a term that would motivate us to rally around a cause, it is, Jesus is coming again!  We realize the resurrection of Christ gives confidence of His soon return.  Bless His name!

“Peace and Joy”

1.  Rid yourself of suspicion and resentment.  Nursing a grudge was a major factor in depression.

2.  Cease negative thinking about the past.  An unwholesome preoccupation with old mistakes and failures leads to depression.

3.  Don’t waste time and energy on fighting conditions you cannot change: cooperate with life instead of trying to run from it.

4.  Force yourself to stay involved with the living world.  Resist the impulse to withdraw and become reclusive during periods of emotional stress.

5.  Refuse to indulge in self-pity when life hands you a raw deal.  Accept the fact that nobody gets through life without some sorrow and misfortune.

6.  Cultivate the old-fashioned virtues – love, humor, compassion and loyalty.

7.  Do not expect too much of yourself.  When there is too wide a gap between self-expectation and your ability to meet the goals you have set, feelings of inadequacy are inevitable.

8.  Find something bigger than yourself to believe in.  Self-centered, egotistical people score lowest on any test measuring depression.

The need to have real peace is Jesus Christ, his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. We ought to be serving Him. “Those things which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do, and the God of peace shall be with you.”

From Duke University Study on Peace of Mind 

“Repent Or Perish”

"By which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.  But this Man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down on the right hand of God. For by one offering he hath perfected forever them that are sanctified." Hebrews 10:10-14

Hebrews reveals Jesus Christ’s sacrifice at Calvary’s Cross takes away sin, and later in the chapter reveals the fourth of five warnings presented in Hebrews to those who choose to reject Jesus Christ as Savior.  Earlier, in the second chapter, we were challenged with the question, “How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard Him?” What does this mean for the sinner?  The Lord Jesus Christ, as the Great High Priest took the blood sacrifice, which is His blood that was poured out at Calvary’s Cross, and offered it to God for forgiveness and redemption of sin; His blood was offered for your sin; He sat down next to the Righteous Father and rested.  Never before could the High Priest rest, but Christ’s finished work of redemption brought rest to the sinner as He offered forgiveness of sin once for all to the one who would admit their sin to Him and ask to be forgiven. God’s forgiveness, and His gift of salvation are everlasting and eternal for the believer; settling forever redemption once for all through the blood of Jesus Christ, and sealed by the Holy Spirit.   

“Prayer and Praise”

"What time I am afraid, I will trust in Thee.  In God I will praise His Word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me.  Everyday they wrest my words; all their thoughts are against me for evil." Psalm 56:3-5

David recorded his prayer in this psalm; it was from one of the times he ran from king Saul and was fearful for his life.  He went to the land of the Philistines and was fearful of what the king of Gath would do to him.  Psalm 55 presented his problems with his friends and family, and now in Psalm 56 he presents his problems with strangers and foes.  As David rehearsed his prayers before the Lord, he recognized not only where his troubles came from, but he more importantly realized where his help came from.  It is beneficial to read all thirteen verses, but our text reminds us of at least two things that will help us in our problem days.  First, we have confidence in the Lord’s protection as we put our trust in Him.  In the times we are afraid we must trust in Him.  By that trust, we need not fear man or circumstances.  Second, we have confidence in the Lord’s provision as we offer thanksgiving to Him as we receive, rest in, and rejoice in His Word.  Our confidence must be in God and God alone.  What does that mean?  He is our strength, and we find Him as we stand before Him alone.  Faith is always the predecessor of praise, and both are an evidence His Word is living in us.  

“Prayer Reveals Your Treasures”

"And in that day ye shall ask me nothing.  Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it to you.  Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name, ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full."   John 16:23-24

Prayer is without question, the most holy activity in which the child of God participates.  James reminds, “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”  Earlier, James echoed the words of his Savior as he reminded, “Ye lust, and have not, ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain, ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not.  Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.”  Prayer is not a smorgasbord of free stuff that fills our plates with wants and desires; it is rather, a holy occupation with a Holy God, doing holy business in His Holy presence, and for His holy purpose in us.  Do you seek His Holy purpose first, most, and only when you present your desires to Him?  Too often, as James explained, we are asking to build up consumable goods rather than, as Jesus explained, eternal treasures in Heaven.  It is almost as if we are bartering with the Lord to provide for us with empty promises of what we will give Him.  He does not want all our “stuff”, He wants our heart, because where our treasure is, there will our heart be also.  If He has our heart, He will have our treasures of life also.  What is your purpose when you pray and let your requests be made known unto God?

“Of Whom Do You Speak”

"For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment; that the Lord may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him."   Genesis 18:19

For what do you want to be known?  What kind of a name are you trying to make for yourself?  Abraham was known for many things; even today the mention of his name in the Middle East opens great conversation, or conflict.  Our text reminds us what God had to say about His servant and friend in this small commentary of his life.  When asked by the priests and Levites, “Who art thou, that we may give an answer to them that sent us, what sayest thou of thyself?”  John the Baptist answered, “I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet, Isaiah.”   Later in their conversation he explained, “There standeth One among you, whom ye know not; He it is who, coming after me, is preferred before me, whose shoe’s latchet I am not worthy to unloose.”  John wanted Jesus to be known above himself.  James called himself a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ, Paul called himself a prisoner, and Simon Peter rejoiced that he was counted worthy to suffer shame for Jesus’s sake after being beaten, and later imprisoned.  Some spend more time telling others what they have done, rather than what Jesus has done. 

“And We Would Complain”

"And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, by whom ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.  Let all bitterness and wrath, and anger and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice; And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God, for Christ’s sake, hath forgiven you." Ephesians 4:30-32

Too many people let the actions of others distort their picture of God; perhaps it is by our impression of our fathers, or maybe even by our actions as a father or mother.  It is easy, then, to question God when things do not go the way we think they should.  Basically, we are a rebellious people; often we are short on being gracious and long on arrogance.  When things go contrary to our own plans, we blame God for our perceived misfortune.  Without hesitation we question His attitude toward us, His actions for us, and His acceptance of us.   The fact is, today most people, including Christians, think God owes us something.  He does not owe us, but rather provides for us by His grace, love, mercy, and compassion.  We were enemies of God because of sin, but while we were His enemy, He sent His son to give Himself a ransom for our sin, offer forgiveness through His blood, and take away our condemnation.  Jesus came as the Friend to the sinner; how can we criticize His Divine Gift?  Yet we do.  Many fail to understand the eternal provision God made to offer forgiveness for our sin; choosing rather to criticize Him for a momentary set back.   

“What Are You Talking About”

"And He saith unto them, Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men. And they straightway left their nets and followed Him."  Matthew 4:19-20

Told to me by a friend:  My Dad led our family in devotions, prayer, and Bible reading; he was not a Bible scholar and I am sure it was difficult at times, but he knew it was needed to plant the seed of God’s Word in the lives of his family.  He knew his mission field was found within the walls of his home.  I was standing in a checkout line at the store a while back and the lady in front of me said, “I just got out of the hospital, I had surgery and the doctor told me I was lucky to be alive.  In fact, he said I would not even be here if I had waited any longer to see him.”  This women did not know me, but she took the time to share the most important event in her life with me.  I am certain her family and friends had heard this same story, but she also wanted a complete stranger to know it also.  I found out my Dad shared the same message with the men he worked with at the factory as he did with his family.  The men came to me at his funeral and said they called him their company preacher man because he would not stop talking about Jesus.  What does this mean?  We pass on a message to others that matters to us.  If it is important to us, we want others to know about it.  How often are we willing to share Jesus with those we love, those we care about, and those we do not know?  A true witness of Christ will share Him with everyone.

“I Do Or Maybe”

"Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife; and they shall be one flesh."  Genesis 2:24

There is a war that is raging today; it is deadlier than any of the combat theaters of any war, conflict, or act of terror.  It is in every corner of the globe, and no one is immune from its destruction.  It is the battle for the home.  The most personal and even sacred place is under a vicious attack by our greatest adversary.  We have watched the destruction of our homes unravel before our eyes over the past two generations.  Just within my lifetime I have witnessed how our attitudes toward marriage, fidelity, and devotion change from the unthinkable and unheard of divorce to the attitude of anticipation and expectation that it will happen.  Part of the reason is so many have little regard for the sacred bond of holy matrimony which was promised before God and other witnesses.  All too often they are just words with little or no meaning.  I remember hearing several years ago about a Hollywood jewelry store advertisement, “We rent wedding rings”; sadly that is all some need because their devotion to marriage is found only in satisfying sensual desires, rather than fulfilling sacred covenants.  The modern argument may conclude the status of the home does not matter, but our communities, nation, or churches can never rise above the strength and character of the home.  

“Religion Or Salvation”

"If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain." James 1:26

There have been many arguments over religion down through the years.  I cannot tell you how many times I have heard people say they do not want anything to do with religion.  I could not agree more; the word religion, or religious, is only found five times in the Bible (once in Acts, twice in Galatians, and twice in James) and it is associated with someone’s rituals, but not their faith in Christ.  Religion is one of the biggest enemies of Christianity, Jesus did not come to establish a new religion, as some claim, rather, He came to redeem the sinner, and His message was an offense to the religious men of His day, His finished work took on the rituals of the past (religion) which fell short of God’s glory and provided eternal acceptance before God by His righteousness.  Religion and Christianity have always clashed.  Religion intimidates its followers into submission by fear of condemnation.  Christ has set us free from sin and religion and He has given liberty in Himself as the Way, the Truth, and the Life.  Additionally, He provided something for man which religion could never secure; righteousness and reconciliation with God.  Knowing the Truth and following truth gives us confidence through His matchless grace.     

“The Reason For Service”

"Let love be without dissimulation.  Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.  Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honor preferring one another.  Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord…Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality." Romans 12:9-13

Paul’s exhortation to the Roman believers was to take the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and use them in their service to the Lord as they present themselves a living sacrifice to God.  At the end of our text he encourages the believer to be given to hospitality.  These are great words for the child of God to live by, but what could they possibly mean?  The word given means to “pursue” and the word hospitality is made up of a compound word in the Greek which means first “to be fond of” and second “guests”.  These versus teach the believer we are to love without hypocrisy, pray fervently for one another, and pursue and be fond of others for the sake of the Lord.  Let me illustrate this from a personal testimony; many have shared their lives and extended their love to Miss Judy and me over the years.  They have been gracious and hospitable in their service to God as they manifested their love to Him toward us.  Their ministry to us did not prove they loved either God or us, however, their love to God could only be expressed effectively in service to Him and others. Our love to God cannot be kept silent, especially in matters of service.    

“So, What Are You Protesting”

"Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another, and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching."  Hebrews 10:25

The 1960's were filled with protests.  Some protested the war in Vietnam, some protested authority, some protested the establishment; it seems it was a decade to protest anything and everything.  They called it a revolution, and it was a normal scene to see those protesters carrying their picket signs with their hand-written statements like:  “No! No! We Won't Go!”  Every Sunday and Wednesday we see those same signs outside our church doors on virtual posters, billboards, and hand-written statements.  They are carried and displayed by people who call themselves Christians, but refuse to be involved in a local church.  They are carried by people in the community who do not want to go to church because it intrudes on their lifestyle.  They are carried by people who are members of their own church who have become so entangled with the pleasures of this life, they protest God by saying, No! No! I Won't Go!”  There are many things we can align ourselves with others in protest, but our disobedience and rebellion toward God must not be one of them.  What do we have that is more important than following God's Word, and being faithful to obey His command to attend His Church?

“Tears Do Tell”

"Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep." Romans 12:15

This has happened many times, it is the middle of the night and the phone rings, a voice on the other end tries to put their words together as they say, “Pastor, will you come right away, our loved one is not expected to make it through the night.”  I quickly get dressed and make my way to their home, and after arriving we spend time with the family as they watch the life of the one they so dearly love take their final breathe and slip out into eternity.  Tears are shared, prayers are presented to our Heavenly Father, and words of comfort from His Word are read in an attempt to help with their broken and bereaved heart.  Most of us, if not all, have been to the end of the valley of the shadow of death.  We have said good-bye to a parent, sibling, child, or friend, and through our tears have found comfort through the tears of others.  I truly believe those tears which are shared may be the most comforting. Jesus shed tears at the grave of His friend Lazarus.  Many wonder why He wept; I am convinced He shed His tears with His friends to share in their sorrow and broken heart.  It may have brought more comfort at that moment than any other words He might have spoken.  It impacted the family, but it also impacted those outside the family that day.  It is a great example to follow.  Let us weep with those who weep.

“Always Relevant”

"Thou shalt keep, therefore, his statutes, and his commandments, which I command thee this day, that it may go well with thee, and with thy children after thee, and that thou mayest prolong thy days upon the earth, which the Lord thy God giveth thee, forever."  Deuteronomy 4:40

Many of the great coaches in their respective sports who have won championships and brought some kind of team pride to their communities, have also found the ugly side of fame as they endure one or two losing seasons, and hear the fans say, “The game has passed him by, and he is past his prime.”  There is a growing belief today which explains God, His Word, and the instruction found within it are outdated and obsolete.  Sadly, this philosophy has been adpoted by some in the profession.  Some argue and boast, God is past His prime; His commandments were written thousands of years ago, and the world is a different place today.  Indeed, there has been a great deal of change in the world around us, most have witnessed great change over the past several decades.  But to think the Word of God is outdated, obsolete, or somehow antiquated could not be further from the truth.  It is perhaps more important to follow its precepts today than at any other time in history.  There is great confusion in our society today exhibited by our moral decay and a social gospel which is more interested in pleasing man than honoring God.  Many simply do not care about right and wrong. We need God, but do not know it.                                                                                                                                                                                                              

“Inside And Out”

"Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved; for Thou art my praise." Jeremiah 17:14

We often attribute the act of divine healing to the physical and medical challenges in life.  However, there is also healing needed, and promised, for challenges which plague within and cannot be seen by others.  The first is sorrow; most were exposed to sorrow early in life when we had to watch a grandparent or parent pass away.  Sorrow will heal as the Holy Spirit applies His healing balm into this deep hurt; this oil of comfort will take the grace of God and soothe our aching heart, and over time take us into the loving arms of our Savior, who brings contentment and peace as we trust Him.  The second is guilt; however, it can never be healed until the issue which has brought the guilt is confessed as sin before God.  The healing and cleansing balm in this instance is the blood of Christ found only at the Cross.  The burden of guilt from sin is unbearable and inescapable.  Its scars and wounds are often found within, out of sight from those around, but ever present in the dark hours of a sleepness night.  Our failure, the consequence of our sin, and the damage it has caused is met with the harshest judgment; not by God, but by our own unforgiving memory.  The only cure is to let the Holy Spirit reveal sin, confess it to God as sin, and experience the joy of Christ's forgiveness, grace and peace. 

“Forgiven And Forgotten”

"And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God, for Christ's sake, hath forgiven you."  Ephesians 4:32

The unwillingness to forgive is one of the tools Satan uses to hinder the life of the child of God.  Paul warned the believer Satan would try to get an advantage over them if they would not forgive one another.  (II Corinthians 2:10-11) Jesus taught God commands His children to forgive, but why is it so critical for us to forgive?  It is because of His Cross; He did not give us the justice we deserved; instead, He gave us what we needed according to His mercy and grace.  Some argue they are willing to forgive, but not forget.  That is the real challenge.  The Bible teaches God will “remember our sins no more”; simply stated God knows we have sinned, and He promises when we confess our sin to Him, “He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness”; this promise means He will never use those confessed sins of the past against us; they are forgiven and forgotten.  In His message of prayer and forgiveness, Jesus explained we must be willing to forgive others as we have been forgiven, or our sin will not be forgiven.  Once again, we are faced with the mercy and grace God extends in the life of the believer according to His will.

“Believing By Faith”

"And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him,  So shall thy seed be.  And he believed in the Lord; and he counted it to him for righteousness.  And he said unto him, I am the Lord who brought thee out of Ur of the Caldeans to give thee this land to inherit it."  Genesis 15:5-7

The faith exhibited by Abraham was no small act of trust in the Lord; yet our text explains as God revealed Himself to Abraham once again, he believed in the Lord's promise.  The Bible explains that Abraham walked in faith with God, knowing he would not receive the fulness of His promise in his lifetime.  We are exhorted in Scripture to walk by faith, and reminded that without it, we cannot please God, and whatsoever is not of faith is sin.  Our relationship with God is based upon faith, it began with faith in Him for salvation as we confessed our sin and trusted Jesus as our Lord and Savior.  Then, like Abraham discovered, we must walk with God by faith, and believe His Word is faithful and true as He reveals Himself through it.  How far are you willing to believe God?  Will you give Him all you have to be used for His glory, trusting and believing if He takes it from you, He will replace it with something better?  Abraham possessed and practiced that faith as he believed God to do what some thought impossible.

“O To Be Gooder”

"But know that the Lord hath set apart him who is godly for Himself; the Lord will hear when I call unto Him.  Stand in awe, and sin not; commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still.  Selah." Psalms 4:3-4

The Apostle Paul reminds the believer that we are declared righteous and justified by faith, which gives us peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.  That means we, as believers in Christ, will stand before the Lord one day saved from the wrath of God, and the penalty of condemnation for sin, through the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ.  We are unable to be godly by ourselves, but we are made righteous through Christ.  Our salvation is the beginning, but the work of the Holy Spirit in the believer is a work of a lifetime as we grow in the grace and knowledge of our Savior.  W.G. Heslop tells of a Quaker congregation who had been sitting in silence for hours.  Finally a little boy of six years of age stood up and broke the silence with a child-like lisp by saying, “My friends I wish the Lord would make us all gooder and gooder, till there is no bad left.”  To be a growing and glad believer who can be heard of God, and stand in awe of Him, we must avoid all sin, and live in holiness and righteousness as we are led by the Holy Spirit.  Our satisfaction with God is not contingent upon the good times; it is possible in the life of the abiding Christian as we thank Him for His provision in all things, and in all times.

“Our Performance In Perilous Times”

"If a man, therefore, purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honor, sanctified, and meet for the master's use, and prepared unto every good work.  Flee also youthful lusts, but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart."  II Timothy 2:21-22

If Scripture is profitable, for what purpose?  For doctrine (that which is right), for reproof (that which is not right), for instruction in righteousness (how to stay right).  Fear the Lord by following Him with a pure heart, Jesus explained, “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness; for they shall be filled, and blessed are the pure in heart; for they shall see God.”  Fortify the weak by avoiding an attitude of confrontation, but rather letting the Spirit of God manifest gentleness, patience, and meekness by faithfully following and teaching the precepts of God's Word.  God has laid a course for His children to follow and we cannot manipulate the truth to suit our own agenda.  Paul reminded Timothy that perilous times will come, and he must be faithful to continue in the doctrine he has received from the Word of God.  We must follow righteousness if we would be a good and faithful witness in a time of apostasy.

“Reproducing Reproduces”

"Another parable spoke He unto them, saying,  The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened."   Matthew 13:33

One of my favorite additions to a fine home cooked meal is homemade rolls.  Serving them hot right out of the oven with a little butter is a compliment to any great meal. Ladies have been serving them for many years, and our mouths water in anticipation of the first bite.  All the ingredients are brought together by the yeast, which makes them rise, and bake to a light and fluffy treat.  Leaven in Scripture is often associated with sin, or a type of the world.  Some of the offerings presented in Leviticus required a complete cleansing of leaven from the house; yet others, like the peace offering used both unleavened cakes, and leavened bread with their sacrifices.  Jesus' parable likened leaven to the kingdom of heaven; it does not compare his kingdom to an evil influence, but rather shows the work of the leaven, but the message of the Gospel would go to the four corners of the world, and its influence would affect the entire world.  To the world, the Gospel is not important, there is an attempt by the unbeliever to ignore or diminish the message of the Gospel, but every nation has had people changed by the Savior.

“Being Ready To Give An Answer”

"Then spoke Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world; he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life."  John 8:12

Jesus was faithful to answer the questions of those who were searching for truth, later in the chapter He proclaimed, “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.  If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.”  Questions of faith must be addressed to those who are searching. Walter Martin wrote, “When we fail to answer someone's questions and objections, we become just one more excuse for them to disbelieve.”  If someone were to ask you, “Why do you believe the Bible?”  If they asked, “Why do you believe in Jesus?” If they asked, “How can you trust that God is good?” How would you answer?  Many are searching for truth, but like those in Jesus' day, they do not want to hear the real truth, but are rather looking for a shaded truth which caters to their philosophy.  Many in this generation are comfortable with being a “non-theist” or having no belief in anything relating to God.  Sadly, many professing believers are walking away from the faith, searching not for God, but a better substitute.  A recent article stated 53,000 people are walking away from their church every week.  If you cannot answer the above questions, you might be closer to that statistic than you know. Our only hope is in Jesus, the light of life.

“The Light Of The Gospel”

"If a man, therefore, purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honor, sanctified, and meet for the master's use, and prepared unto every good work.  Flee also youthful lusts, but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart." II Timothy 2:21-22

A preacher challenged his hearers about the necessity of being a good witness in difficult times, by saying, “the darkest corner needs the brightest light.”  Paul's final message to Timothy was to be a good and faithful witness in the times of apostasy and unfaithfulness of others.  He begins this second chapter by exhorting him to be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and ends the third chapter with a charge to be faithful to the Word of God so he may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.  It is one thing to say we have a desire to follow Christ, but are we willing to take the time to evaluate our desire based on the principles set in God's Word, and not just tradition or opinion?  Timothy presents the criteria for such an evaluation; they are simply stated, but presented with conviction and power.  First, flee youthful lusts.  Stay away from activities which mentally, emotionally, sensually, and spiritually quench the Spirit of God.  Second, follow after righteousness, knowing “all Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable.”

“Doing What We Believe”

"And we have confidence in the Lord touching you, that ye both do and will do the things which we command you.  And the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ…  But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing."  II Thessalonians 3:4,5,13

Paul exhorts the believers to walk and work together as saints of God, serving one another in the love of Christ, and abstaining from laziness and expecting others to take care of you when you refuse to work. John Wesley preached the Word of God on at least two continents, travelling over 250,000 miles on horseback, averaging twenty miles a day for over forty years.  He was not lazy; he preached over 40,000 sermons, wrote over four hundred books, spoke ten languages, and at eighty-three years of age was annoyed with himself because he could not write more than fifteen hours a day.  At eighty-six, he was ashamed because he could not preach more than two times a day and complained in his diary that he had an increasing tendency to stay in bed until 5:30 each morning.  Paul's message in this epistle addresses laziness in Christians, and the disorderly conduct and contempt they have for Biblical principles.  The view from the spectators' seats may demand perfection from those doing the tasks, but true perfection came from Christ's finished work of redemption.  Well doing is, well…doing; not watching while others labor.  All believers, regardless of age must be doing what we can as servants of Christ.

“He That Is Without Sin”

"Then was kindled the wrath of Elihu, the son of Barachel, the Buzite, of the kindred of Ram. Against Job was his wrath kindled, because he justified himself rather than God…Wherefore, Job, I pray thee, hear my speeches, and hearken to all my words…My words shall be of the uprightness of my heart; and my lips shall utter knowledge clearly…If thou canst answer me, set thy words in order before me, stand up.  Behold, I am according to thy wish in God's stead…" Job 32:2, 33:1-3, 5,6 

Abraham Lincoln said, “Better to be silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.”  King Solomon wrote, “A false balance is abomination to the Lord, but a just weight is his delight.  When pride cometh, then cometh shame, but with the lowly is wisdom.”  And later, “Every way of man is right in his own eyes; but the Lord pondereth the hearts.”  Too many are quick to remind others of the transgressions which they perceive to be present, when their own lives are full of wickedness and pride.  A preacher I know has often told others who are going through difficulties, “You must have a lot of sin in your life for God to be putting you through all of this.”  That, sadly, is the counsel of Eliphaz, Bildad, Zophar and Elihu; each telling Job he is hiding sin and transgression and telling him they are speaking as the voice of God.  It is easy to presume, as Elihu, we are upright and pure, speaking as if God is speaking; but those who are spiritual will restore in meekness, and let God convict and change hearts by His Word.

 

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