February 26, 2018
The man known as “America’s Pastor,” the Rev. Dr Billy Graham, died during the early morning hours of February 21. During a televised interview in 2010, I listened to Rev. Graham talk about his calling to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ. During his latter teen aged years, while attending a Bible College in Florida, Billy Graham heard God say, “I want to use you to preach my Gospel around the world.” Very late at night, laying on the wet soil, Billy Graham responded to God, “If you want me to serve you, I will.”
Rev. Graham said from that day on he began to prepare. Billy Graham continued, “I would study, I would pray, I would preach to birds, alligators and cypress stumps.” His classmates would tease him and ask, “How many converts did you get today, Billy?”
Billy Graham went on to minister to the down-and-out in gospel missions in downtown Tampa, at the Tin Can Trailer Park in Palmetto Beach and at the dog track in Sulphur Springs. By the late 1930s, Graham’s preaching drew up to 1,000 people. Rev. Graham ended up preaching worldwide crusades as well as being a Pastor to Presidents.
The truth is we all have the responsibility of leading people to Christ. May we keep that in mind as we talk and do business with people this week. The Kingdom of God increases one soul at a time, one life at a time. May each of us do our part to lead people to Christ this week. Perhaps someone’s name will be written in the Lamb’s Book of Life because of the way you live your life this week.
“If you know God, live in such a way that those who know you that don’t know God, will come to know God because they know you.” That says it all, doesn’t it?
February 19, 2018
“And the Lord God commanded the man saying, ‘Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day thou shall you eat of it you shall surely die.’” (Genesis 2:16, 17)
A good friend of mine retired a few years ago. Soon after retiring he and his wife were visiting friends that lived in a southern state. Their first impression of that community was a positive one. They immediately thought it would be good if they also would move to that warmer climate and get away from the winters in Western Pennsylvania. It wasn’t long until their property in Western Pa. was sold and they moved south.
“Retirement is so good,” he thought.
Well, guess what? It wasn’t long until they moved back to Western Pennsylvania. My friends soon realized that they missed Western Pa. very much. They missed their many friends, their family, the Penguins and the Steelers. They missed about everything, even the weather. They really didn’t fully appreciate all the blessings they had in Western Pennsylvania.
We all are like that at times in one way or the other, aren’t we? Just like Adam and Eve, we too sometimes believe that what we have now is not enough. “If only I had just a little more,” we say at times.
Adam and Eve didn’t realize just how blessed they were without partaking of that Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. And sometimes we don’t fully realize just how blessed we are right now. Be sure to express your love and appreciation to those close to you. Be sure to express your appreciation to our Lord for the many blessings He has bestowed upon you.
February 12, 2018
The Lenten Season begins this week. Some people say that they are giving up something during Lent. Perhaps it’s television that some will give up? Perhaps it’s chocolate? Perhaps it’s a favorite CD that some will not listen to during the Lenten Season?
Is Lent a time of self-denial for you? Jesus really isn’t concerned with chocolate, television or CDs. Jesus is concerned about what is going on in our hearts. The Lenten Season is a good time to do away with those things that are spiritually unhealthy. Perhaps it’s a little pride, or self-centeredness, hypocrisy or laziness?
To me, Lent is really an attitude. It’s an attitude of honesty and humility as we confess our sins to God.
But Lent is also an attitude of relief and joy, knowing that our sins have been forgiven, that our Lord has washed away all of our sin because of what Jesus did on the cross.
If you temporarily give up certain things during Lent as a sign of love for your Savior, that’s fine. But what Jesus is really concerned about is what is going on in your heart? Have you allowed Him to cleanse it and make it whole? I trust that you have. We all need to ask God to do that from time to time. “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me,” (Psalm 51:10).
February 5, 2018
“He who provides for this life, but makes no provision for eternity, is wise for a moment, but a fool forever.”
The longer I live the more I realize just how true God’s Word is. The Word of God states, “Whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away,” (James 2:14). Have you given much thought about eternity lately? Have you given much thought as to where your loved ones and friends will spend eternity?
Since the beginning of this year, three members of Maple Spring church passed on. The funeral service for Carlton Yoder was held last Saturday, February 3. The sanctuary was filled with many people that were touched and encouraged in some by because of Carlton’s faithful life. All four of his children spoke about how their father taught them to always trust is God. Carlton was never ashamed of his Lord and Savior.
I’ve had several conversations with family members and friends about how it is almost unbelievable just how quickly time passes by. I’m sure you’ll agree. As you know, life is filled with many uncertainties, trials and changes. Isn’t it refreshing to know that God’s Word never changes and neither does He (Hebrews 13:8).
Jesus said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life,” (John 6:47).