June 11, 2018
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; a good understanding have all those who do His commandments,” (Psalm 111:10).
I saw a bumper sticker recently that read, “If you think education is expensive, try ignorance.”
I believe most of us can relate to that comment. God’s Word states that His people perish or suffer from the lack of knowledge (Hosea 4:6). In that same passage God says, “Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being priest for Me.”
The Bible also states in Daniel 12:4 that in the last day man’s “knowledge” would increase. Just think of how much knowledge mankind has gained just over the last 50 years. But are we really coming to the knowledge of the truth? Have we really learned that God can be trusted and that He will never leave us and that He will always be faithful to His children? Are we understanding the meaning and purpose of life?
Someone once said, “There are ten things I wish I had learned before I was twenty-one.”
- That being a Christian is really important.
- That my life’s vocation would be what it is.
- That my health after 30 would depend to a great degree on what I ate before I was 21.
- That I really am a trustee of my money and possessions.
- That being neatly and sensibly dressed is an asset.
- That habits are difficult to break after you turn 21.
- That worthwhile things require time, patience and work.
- That the world gives a person just about what he deserves.
- That a thorough education brings not only better wages, but the best of everything.
- That absolute truthfulness in everything is invaluable.
- And one more extra thought: That my parents weren’t “Old Fogies” after all.
June 4, 2018
“In everything give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you,” (I Thessalonians 5:18).
As I purchased some groceries a few days ago, the cashier said to me, “That will be $37.25 please.” I replied, “You don’t hear that word (please) too often anymore.” She replied, “You’re right. And you don’t hear “thank you” too often either.”
It is God’s will or desire for you and me to be thankful to Him. Even in the midst of changing and difficult circumstances, we can find reasons to thank God. As I was waiting for my lunch recently, I noticed that three of the six people at a nearby table had some kind of physical ailment. One person was on oxygen, one had to use crutches, and another had to wear special hearing devices. I thanked God for my health as I was waiting for my order.
So many times we all go to God with a list of our needs and concerns. There’s nothing really wrong with that. We are to pray for one another (James 5:16). However, our Heavenly Father already knows about our needs. His desire is to have intimate fellowship with us through prayer.
I don’t know what problems you are facing today. We all have them. But as you deal with your problems, take some time to pause and thank God for His blessings in your life. It could very well be that as you are still before God that He will lead you to the answers to your problems today.
May 29, 2018
Memorial Day is an official holiday in most states of the U. S. After W. W. I., the day was set aside to honor veterans of all American wars, and then the custom was extended to pay homage to both military people as well as civilians. On Memorial Day we mourn the loss, remember their lives and are thankful for their service.
God has given us memorials as well. He has taken a great deal of effort to give us memorials of His love, promises and His word. For example, the rainbow was given to help us remember God’s promises.
And the sacraments of Holy Communion were given to us to help us remember Jesus’ love for us.
Often times Jesus became angry with His disciples for not remembering His word and promises.
- “Do you still not understand? Don’t remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many basketfuls you gathered? (Matthew 16:9).
- “Remember the word I said unto you,” (John 15:20).
- “Remember Lot’s wife,” (Luke 17:32).
Take some time this week to reflect and remember what God has done for you. Your burdens will seem lighter and your day brighter.
“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.”