“I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving me made for all people- for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth,” (I Timothy 2:1-4)
Election Day will soon be upon us. Are you registered to vote? Do you plan on going to your local precinct to vote? It is predicted that much less than half of all registered voters will exercise their right and privilege to vote. Why is that? We’ve all heard the many excuses why some don’t bother to vote. Some of those excuses are, “Why should I?” “They’re all crooked anyway?” “The weather was too bad.” “My vote won’t make a difference.” “I’m just too busy and don’t have the time.”
Friends, the truth is your vote does make a difference. The truth is you do have time to vote. The truth is that it does matter if you get involved or not. It does matter if you do pray for our leaders.
On the eve of his inauguration George Washington said, “Integrity and firmness are all that I can promise.” Recently I was in a local business establishment inquiring about a product. The owner asked what I did for a living. I told him I was a Pastor. He responded by saying, “I want to ask you a question. How do people seem to be to you these days, better or worse? I find here that there are very few people with integrity.”
People of integrity stand out to that business owner. How you live your life, your attitude and your conduct also stands out to others. Someone recently said, “I used to say that civilization was going to the dogs. But I quit saying that out of respect for the dogs.”
Get involved, vote and pray. Take a stand for righteousness at every opportunity. Show someone the Way. You can make a difference if you try.
May 7, 2018
Abraham Lincoln once said, “All I am and ever hope to be I owe to my mother.”
A Godly mother has much influence in the home. She helps to give her children identity, heritage and purpose. Godly mothers plant seeds that blossom later in life. This is what Apostle Paul said about Timothy’s mother, “I am reminded of your sincere faith, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded is in you also,” (2Timothy 1:5).
Mothers are irreplaceable. In most households, disaster strikes when Mom is not around. The family needs her wisdom and guidance. Mother’s Day is this Sunday, May 13. May we pray for all mothers of our congregation. Thank God for them. Ask God to bless them with wisdom, strength and courage to be the mother God created them to be.
Perhaps your mother has passed on to her eternal home? I pray that you will be able to recall fond memories of the time you had with her in this life. And if you are a mother, grandmother or someone’s “other mother,” I pray that you will sense God’s love for you this week. You are here “for such a time as this!”
April 30, 2018
“Nevertheless let each of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband” (Ephesians 5:33).
Last Saturday I had the privilege of officiating at a wedding ceremony at Maple Spring. That is a pastoral responsibility that can be very rewarding for me. It is a joy to witness a couple mature in their relationship with God and with each other. A wedding ceremony is not only a legal ceremony, it is a spiritual one as well. It is also a time of worship.
The first institution created by God was the home. The home was sanctified by God, honored by Jesus Christ and is to be respected by men and women. Of all the institutions on earth, there is none so important as the home. As the home goes, so goes the church and all of society. America’s problem today is not a crime problem or a drug problem. America’s problem today is the break down of the home.
There are three basic truths about Christian marriage:
- Husbands and wives are first subject to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, and then mutually subject to one another.
- The husband is to be the spiritual leader of the home the same way that Christ is the leader of the church:
- Committed and Consistent
- It is the desire of God’s heart to do whatever it takes to keep the marriage together, and for each couple to experience His love through the other.
Successful marriage is always a triangle: a man, a woman, and God. May Jesus Christ be the Lord of every home and every heart.
April 24, 2018
“But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, ‘Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore, tell her to help me.’ And Jesus answered and said to her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part which will not be taken away from her.’” (Luke 10:40-42)
In this passage, Jesus teaches the priority of grace. Martha is troubled over her inability to pull off a perfect dinner. Jesus was not impressed by her human effort and taught a valuable lesson. Do not attempt to serve God until you have first been served by Him. Mary was experiencing the grace, presence and her relationship with Jesus before she attempted to “perform.” Many people have a “performance trap” without knowing of the empowering grace of God.
Some facts about grace are:
- God’s grace is available because it is based upon Jesus’ performance – not mine.
- God does not love me and save me for what I can do for Him.
- God’s grace accepts me as I am, then enables me to live above my own ability.
- My service to God is actually greater under grace, because gratitude, not guilt is the motivation.
Experience the grace of God this day!
April 16, 2018
I love the sport of fishing. Once a week I will be on the water somewhere trying to catch the “Big Ones” and I will have an exciting time doing it. I’ve talked to many people over the years who told me that they don’t go fishing because it is “too boring.” Those people don’t catch anything and have a boring time because they probably don’t have a clue as to what they are doing. I can honestly say that I don’t ever remember having a “boring time” trying to catch the “Big Ones.” There’s a reason for that. I’ve invested much money and time learning how to fish.
Before I leave on a fishing trip I must ask myself a question. “What kind of fish do I want to catch today? I must first make that decision. The answer to that question will determine the location that I fish, the type of fishing rod I will use, and the lure or bait that I will use. If I answer that question by saying, “I’m just fishing for anything that bites,” I will be setting myself up to have “a boring time.”
Jesus said that His people were to be “fishers of men.” Do you know what Jesus means by that? It means Jesus wants us to lead others to Him. Before that can happen, I must get to know “the water.” It means that I must know the people in my community. It means that I must be able to relate to the people who live in the community that I do. It means that I must get to know the people that I work with. It means that I must get to know the people that I do business with and build a relationship of trust with them. That trust will be the “hook” or the “bait-lure” that I will need so that they will listen to me when I introduce Christ to them.
The sole purpose of the church is to “catch” people for Jesus. Take the time to get to know the people that you see week in and week out. Build a trusting relationship with them and “catch” them for Jesus. You certainly will not be bored. It is possible for you to become a very good “fisherman.” The choice is yours!
April 9, 2018
A little girl had accidentally dropped a small coin into her mother’s prized vase. Naturally, she put her little hand in to recover it, but found as she gripped the coin and held it tight, she was unable to withdraw her hand, so she screamed and struggled to get her hand out. Her cries attracted the other members of the family who all advised and pleaded with her to open her and withdraw it with ease. But no, she would hold on to her precious small coin and continued to struggle, squirm, and scream. Finally, the costly vase had to be broken; and with her fist tightly clenched, she screamed, “I’ve still got it!” The far more costly vase was sacrificed for the sake of the small coin.
What are your values? What in life is most important to you? It’s my prayer that we all see the “big picture.” Values are an issue of the heart. Where we invest is where our rewards will be. May we be a people who are investing in the Kingdom of God.
A few days ago I walked into a hospital room to visit a faithful member of the body of Christ. As I approached her bedside I asked, “How are you feeling today?” With a big smile on her face she replied, “I’m very well. I’m going to Heaven! The Lord showed me! I saw so very many beautiful angels!”
She will soon be receiving the return on her investment!
“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose,”……Jim Elliot
April 3, 2018
As Jesus tried to comfort His disciples before His crucifixion, He said to them, “It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you,” (John 16:7). Jesus also said, “I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you. A little while longer and the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me. Because I live, you will live also,” (John 14:18, 19).
On Pentecost Jesus did send the Holy Spirit. And Jesus also said that we would receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on us and then we would be witnesses unto Him (Acts 1:8).
Have you experienced the resurrection power of Jesus Christ?
“And if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of His Spirit who lives in you,” (Romans 8:11).
Resurrection strength is a supernatural strength that is available to the children of God because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Receive that resurrection power by faith. I have learned that in nearly every conversation with others opportunities will arise to mention the Lord Jesus Christ and His resurrection power. In spite of what you may think, people are hungry for the truth. They want to know and see God.
Henry Ward Beecher once said, “The strength of a person consists in finding out the way in which God is going, and going in that way too.”
March 26, 2018
This week is known as “Holy Week.” What does it mean to be “holy?” Is it possible for us to become “holy?” “Because it is written, Be holy, for I am holy,” (I Peter 1:16).
Augustine is considered to be one of the greatest theologians of church history, but his lifestyle before coming to Christ was rebellious and sensuous. He was known to be “the life of the party.”
One day, after becoming a Christian, he was walking in front of a bar he used to frequent. In front of him and walking toward him was a prostitute, smiling as she assumed Augustine had finally returned after his ridiculous little phase of religion. As they approached each other, Augustine continued to look forward and passed her without even looking at her.
“Augustine,” she said. “Don’t you recognize who just walked by? It’s me!” For a moment, he stopped, turned to her and simply said, “Yes – but it is no longer me.”
In 2Corinthians 7:1, Paul writes, “Since we have these promises, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” In other words, God’s promises should affect our behavior.
Holiness is really an internal quality perfected or completed in our lives by claiming God’s promises of our new identity and possessions and by allowing the Holy Spirit to change our behavior. We begin to become holy when we allow His exceeding and great and precious promises paint the picture inside of us of who we really are; “the righteousness of God in Christ.”
March 19, 2018
“Your outcome in life doesn’t depend on your income, but rather on how you overcome.”
There has been and always will be a constant battle or struggle between good and evil, between the works of the flesh and the Spirit of God. Even the Apostle Paul talked about his struggles in the seventh chapter of Romans. “For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do” (Romans 7:14,15)
He then continues to talk about his “struggles” and finally concludes, “O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God – through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.” (Romans 7:25).
In other words, Paul did not and could not experience victory in his life as long as he relied only on his own strength and power. Only when he completely yielded his life to the Spirit of God did he experience victory over sin and self.
How about you? Have you been experiencing victory in your daily walk with God? Have you been relying too much on your own strength and will power? Or, have you completely surrendered your will and life to the Spirit of God? That is a personal choice and an everyday decision we all must make. Rely on self, or rely on the Spirit of God? What will you do?
March 12, 2018
I was visiting a family in their home recently. For the first few minutes, I listened as I was being informed of “all their troubles.” After a few minutes one family member asked me, “Well, how are you doing today? Before I could speak someone said, “He probably was doing well until he came to this house!”
I responded by saying, “I’m always doing well!”
How’s your attitude and outlook on life been lately? Has your attitude been “upbeat” or does life have you “down in the dumps?” I’m sure we all have experienced both emotions.
Because of our faith in Christ and belief in His Word, we can experience an attitude of joy in spite of the difficult circumstances we may be facing. Joy is not the absence of problems, rather joy is the very presence of God in the midst of problems.
In spite of negative circumstances we can be joyful because…
- God is with us. “When you pass through the waters I will be with you,” (Isaiah 43:2).
- God has a plan for you. “I want you to trust Me in your times of trouble,” (Psalm 50:15).
- God will help you. “Why are you cast down? Trust in God,” (Psalm 43:5)
I believe that joy is experienced by knowing and understanding the truth. It was the Lord Jesus who said, “You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free,” (John 8:32). And the truth is that God loves us and has a wonderful plan for our lives. When things seem to be “crashing in” on you, learn to trust God’s plan. As we trust we will experience the presence of God, which is joy.
“He brought out His people with joy, His chosen ones with gladness.” (Isaiah 105:43)