April 9, 2021
Here comes enemy attack number two and our new president and company do not have the know how or the will to deal with it effectively. This is the second nation this week that I mentioned weeks ago would try to take advantage of America’s weakened government. To make matters worse, our president has made statements and issued policies specifically designed to hurt both these nations financially, but many experts agree that those policies will backfire and will end up hurting our own economy.
For those who know Bible prophesy, both Russia and China as well as several other countries will align themselves against Israel in the end times. Historically, America has been Israel’s strongest ally. However, with America out of the way as a superpower the way will be opened for Israel’s enemies. For some it may seem exciting to see things developing that could indicate the soon coming of the Lord for His church. However, that could still be years away and in the meantime, it could mean very hard times for our nation and its people. We are way past due for God’s judgment to fall on us for the government sanctioned sacrificial murder of millions of innocent babies on the altar of convenience. This is in addition to the turning away from God, His word and his warnings. There is no point praying to God for delivery unless there is real repentance and sincere seeking after God. As a nation and as a people, we no longer have any moral basis to plea for God’s deliverance when we are passing laws legalizing sin and immoral behavior.
Oh, how we need a revival in our land. Not just to postpone God’s judgment upon our people, but that souls might be saved before it is everlastingly too late. Oh, how we need God’s people spending real time in prayer and in His word. Oh, how we need those who profess Christ, to set their hearts to obey God’s word in all things.
Isa 59:1-3 Behold, the LORD’S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: (2) But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear. (3) For your hands are defiled with blood, and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies, your tongue hath muttered perverseness.
April 5, 2021
April 1, 2021
Part of my Old Testament reading today was
Pro 19:8-9 He that getteth wisdom loveth his own soul: he that keepeth understanding shall find good. (9) A false witness shall not be unpunished, and he that speaketh lies shall perish.
The Bible has a lot to say about wisdom and understanding and they are often spoken of in connection with the tongue. In both the Old and New Testaments there is much warning about the dangers and the destruction caused by the tongue. Consider these verses in proverbs which also involve the tongue.
Pro 11:9 An hypocrite with his mouth destroyeth his neighbour: but through knowledge shall the just be delivered.
Pro 11:12-13 He that is void of wisdom despiseth his neighbour: but a man of understanding holdeth his peace. (13) A talebearer revealeth secrets: but he that is of a faithful spirit concealeth the matter.
Proverbs 19:9 is another sober reminder why it is unwise to be a talebearer. “A false witness shall not go unpunished” Tale bearers rarely know the full truth and there is always some deception involved. The fact that they are talebearing reveals that they are not being led by the Holy Spirit and their heart is not right with God and in fact, they are sinning, not just against their victim, but against God Himself. Even if they truly believe what they are saying, and they got it from a very “reliable” source, a lie is still a lie and they are still a false witness. Talebearing also always involves causing division between Christians and God says that those who do it are an abomination to Him. Yet, it seems like this sin is so common among even those who otherwise seem devoted to the Lord. I have said before that Christians are satan’s favorite people, to use for his purposes. The more highly respected the person is in the Christian community, the more damage they can do and the deeper the divisions they can cause among God’s children.
This could easily be avoided and satan’s work thwarted, if all Christians would simply do what are Lord tells us. While there are many instructions given by are Lord, it would do each of us well if we reviewed each day and determined to do what Jesus said in the following two passages.
Luke 6:31 And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.
John 15:12 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.
March 30, 2021
One response from the Pastor’s Note on “Church is all about Money” was from a pastor friend who wrote “EXCELLENT Bill.” He then went on to ask if another pastor friend of ours had seen it who has meetings every year specifically designed to increase the offerings his congregation makes to his church. Although I knew that the Lord would have me write that note, I prayed for weeks to the Lord and sought my Father’s guidance to help me in, not only what to say, but how to say it. I know that the topic is very high in the estimate of many, and I would not want to unduly offend anyone or to cast doubt upon the integrity or sincerity of anyone. I believe that most are just like I was and accepted without question what I was told without really studying what the Bible said. After all, encouraging people to give to the church cannot be bad, can it?
Jer. 17:9-10 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? (10) I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.
There is good reason why the Psalmist said
Psa 19:9-13 The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. (10) More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. (11) Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward. (12) Who can understand his errors? cleanse thou me from secret faults. (13) Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression.
A pastor once said to me in effect “Why would anyone preach against giving to the church?” The question reveals where the heart’s focus is. The real question is “Why would anyone preach something God’s word does not say?” If the Bible is truly the basis for all that we do and say, then where are the words of Jesus or any of the Apostles instructing churches to do and teach what they do about giving? Jesus and the Apostles do teach about giving and I would encourage all to study what they say.
We can always find a way to justify anything we do. The problem is that it is never right to do wrong, and it is never right to present something as being taught by God’s word when it is not. We must always refrain from adding to what God says and He gives us strong warning about that. God does not need our help and there are enough examples in God’s word where people thought they would help God out which only resulted in disaster. In this case, false teaching and practices about giving are causing both the unsaved and many Christians to have a false idea about the church organization, or perhaps, in too many cases, an accurate understanding about what many church organizations are about.
Psa 139:23-24 Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: (24) And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
March 28, 2021
So far I have received notice from the VA that of the approximate $450,000 of bills related to my heart surgery, the VA will cover about $150,000, leaving me responsible for the other $300, 000. What many people do not realize is that being a veteran, even a decorated combat veteran with awards for demonstrating valor in combat, does not automatically make you eligible to receive help from the VA. In fact, I have met two combat veterans who cannot even go to the VA. In order to be eligible a veteran must have been wounded, be disabled, have a service related physical or mental health issue, or meet low income standards. While I have been able to go to the VA, I have always had to pay a copayment to the VA for any services or medications. Up to now, those copayments have not been too bad, such as $50 every time I have my yearly physical. However, faced with possibly $300, 000 in copayments, I decided to have a chat with the eligibility office. I brought along a copy of my 2019 income tax return. I usually only really pay attention to how much I need to pay or what my return amount will be. So I was really surprised to see that our combined household gross income was less than $30,000. I thought, that cannot be right. Given the churches and individual missionaries that we support, along with other Christian organizations and the thousands that the Lord normally allows us to give to help individual Christian families, we should not have enough to meet our household budget, yet somehow, we always have more than what we need. It reminded me of Elijah in 1 Kings 17 and the widow of Zarephath with the little meal in the barrel and the little oil in the cruse which never ran out. While I am praying that the VA will find that we qualify for them to pay a whole lot more than what they have said, I still have peace in my heart, knowing that my God is able to meet all my needs. I should get a letter this week letting me know of their decision. When we recognize that all that we have belongs to the Lord and we are just His stewards to use it according to the skills and understanding he has given us and the direction as He leads, then we have true joy and peace knowing our reward is not in this life but in the one that is to come.
What an awesome privilege and blessing it is to be a chosen child of God; to know that the God of creation loves me so much that He chose to sacrifice His own purely righteous Son to take the full punishment and suffer the wrath for all the wicked sins of this totally depraved and undeserving reprobate. As great as that is, He also has poured His grace upon me in making me a minister of His word, a chosen vessel to reach souls with the Gospel and a shepherd of His flock.
Romans 8:37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
March 26, 2021
“Church is all about money.”
I will stand before my Lord one day soon, to give account for all I have spoken in His name, so I try to be extremely careful not to add or take away from what the Word says and honestly present its truth. I am always open for honest comments and criticism because I know my knowledge is limited and we must always remain teachable. I pray that this post might open the eyes of at least some who have adopted the philosophy and practices of worldly churches.
While I was recovering after my surgery, my last roommate was a man named Greg. As the Lord led, I began to talk to him about the Lord. While he always remained friendly, when I began to talk to him about the Lord, he immediately said “I know all about church. I’ve been to Rome, church it’s all about money.” I tried to talk to him further and I even agreed that not only is that true for the Roman Catholic church, but it is also true for many, if not most protestant churches. Even though I tried to explain that salvation is not about a church, any church, it is a personal relationship with the God who created him and sent His Son to make a way for Him to be restored and made ready for Heaven.
Unfortunately, his opinion is common not only among those who do not know God, but among many who do know Him.
The fault is that even among many good churches, the teachings and practices about giving reflect or imply that money and giving to the local church organization are very high on the priority list.
The Bible says
Mat 6:21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
Mat 7:20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
Consider the following teachings and practices that are common among many churches.
- Collection plates are passed around as a part of every service.
2, The collection is taken immediately out to be counted.
3, Records are kept to track as exact as possible who gave and how much each one gave,
4, Since it takes more than a few minutes to do the counting and recording, those involved often do not hear the message from God’s Word.
These all speak of the high priority that financial giving to the local church organization holds in the minds and hearts of the church leadership. The truth is that none of these things are instructed or implied in the Bible and they all violate what the Bible does say about giving.
Compare this to churches that use an offering box where parishioners simply and discretely deposit their offerings. No time is taken from the service to take up offerings. Priority is given to the word of God and the message is intended for every individual no matter what their position or function in the church body. While, because of convenience some giving may be made which identifies the giver, it is a violation of what Jesus specifically taught about giving to have it tallied up and recorded. At least some, if not most giving should be done in secret.
There is another error that is practiced by many churches which also reflects the priority that money has in the eyes of many pastors and church leaders. It is summed up in a statement that a pastor friend of mine once made from the pulpit “If you are not a tither, then you cannot serve in any function in this church.” Where is that teaching found in God’s word? I do not find this statement and teaching found in God’s word and they go against what God’s word does say and teach. I would challenge any pastor or church leader or Christian to study what Jesus and the Apostles did say and teach about giving and compare that to what their churches are teaching and doing.
So while the statement “Church is all about money” may not be entirely true, it is certainly understandable why that is the impression that both the unsaved and many Christians believe about most church organizations. More and more Christians who recognize the errors and carnality of formal church organizations concerning giving have turned to house church meetings. While I do not believe that is a right solution and can lead to many doctrinal errors taught by sincere but poorly trained men, I can understand their frustration with most church organizations. Fortunately, there are many churches which do not teach the traditions of men, but the true teachings about giving that Jesus and the Apostles taught.
I confess that I started out doing these same practices and teaching these same things because that is what I was taught. However, when I was challenged about them and studied what God’s word actually said, I had to agree to the rebuke and conformed to the word.
This is not a post against giving, but against errors and practices that go against what God’s word says. They are an impediment to encourage attendance and service in the body of Christ. Here is not the format or place to do a complete exegesis, but the Lord plainly tells us that all we do ought to be to the Lord and there are three things which we should do mainly in secret: giving, praying, and fasting. If the true word of God is being preached and taught, and the Spirit of God is working and moving in the hearts of God’s people, there will be no need to coerce or intimidate God’s people in any area. The sad truth is that all those who are doing their giving in order to appear righteous before their pastor or other church leaders are doing it for the wrong reason “to be seen of men.” Yet if they do their giving in a way not seen of men, then they are judged as not being right with God by those same leaders.
It would be far better for people to be focused on coming to church to be fed from God’s word than to be concerned with giving money. Sure, there are financial needs in every church that should be met by God’s people, but if the Spirit of God is truly at work in the service and in the hearts of His people, God will provide. I would gladly personally offer to give a yearly stipend to encourage faithful and attentive attendance that souls might be ministered to through the Word.
I believe in the power of God’s word. I believe in the power of God working in the heart. I believe in the power of the Holy Spirit to speak through God’s word and effect spiritual growth and understanding in lives. I have seen those things and know them to be true, both in my own life and in the lives of others. The most important part and the main mission of church services is to minister to the spiritual needs of both God’s people and the lost and to exalt God in praise and service. Everything in the church service ought to point to those goals, and anything that distracts from that should be minimized.
I suspect that most churches in America are like that spoken of in
Rev 3:17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:
They have nice buildings and facilities but the power of God and the working of His Spirit in hearts is sorely lacking. They blame the lack of effective outreach in their community on the society and days we live in. Oh that God might stir up hearts and that churches might get their priorities in line with God’s. That there be no more validity to “Church is all about money.” That churches might once again be known for their compassion and concern for the spiritual needs of their congregations and communities.
Jesus said in Luke 19:46 … It is written, My house is the house of prayer: but ye have made it a den of thieves.
March 25, 2021
Deuteronomy 32:39 See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god with me: I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal: neither is there any that can deliver out of my hand.
God is so good and gracious and loving and we rejoice in those things about Him. However, we should never forget that He is also Holy and righteous and just. He alone is the eternal God and ruler of all creation. Those who reject Him or hate Him or rebel against Him will suffer the consequences of their actions. He is especially sensitive to actions taken against the innocent or against those who belong to Him. God makes it clear that He considers the actions towards those that are His as being the same as those towards His own person. This applies also to withholding from doing good such as in Mat 25:45-46 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. (46) And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.
When God says ; “I wound, and I heal: neither is there any that can deliver out of my hand.” That ought to get our attention. We will reap what we sow, even as Christians. If we have wronged another brother or sister in Christ, then the only way we can be forgiven is to go to that person and confess and repent of our sin. Telling God we are sorry without going to the person and confessing to them, shows that we are not really repentant. I believe the most overlooked or underestimated yet most important doctrine in the Bible is that of reconciliation. The major theme and message of the Bible is God reconciling man to Himself and part of that is men being reconciled with each other. Any thing or attitude that goes against that is contrary to God’s will. Those who refuse to be reconciled to a brother or sister are in rebellion against God and are not in a place where God can bless or use them as He would like. Rather, they are like the children of Israel. They may still be His but He will bring chastisement upon them and there is none that can deliver from Him.
March 21, 2021
Proverbs 11:12-13 He that is void of wisdom despiseth his neighbour: but a man of understanding holdeth his peace. (13) A talebearer revealeth secrets: but he that is of a faithful spirit concealeth the matter.
When I first read the phrase “He that is void of wisdom despiseth his neighbour”, I immediately thought it was speaking of some unjust wicked person who hated his neighbor without cause. However, as I continued to memorize and meditate upon the passage and asked the Lord to help my understanding of it, I realized that my initial thought was not right. By assuming that it was talking about some unjust and immoral person, I did not think it could be talking about a devout child of God. Looking at the overall picture painted by both verses, the Lord showed me that there was good reason for this person to despise his neighbor for it ends by saying “he that is of a faithful spirit concealeth the matter.” In other words, the matter was something done that was shameful and wrong and probably done against the person God is addressing. Thus he had good reason, from a fleshly view, to despise his neighbor for the wrong done against him. When someone has sinned against us, it is easy and natural for us to feel resentment towards the person and for bitterness to rise up in our hearts against them, even after they have confessed and repented. Thus we all need to take heed to what the Lord is telling us. Notice that the Lord says “a man of understanding holdeth his peace.” Of what understanding is the Lord talking? Primarily it is that mentioned in verse 13, namely “he that is of a faithful spirit concealeth the matter.” When someone has sinned against us and yet confessed and repented of it to us and have asked our forgiveness, they know that they do not deserve any kindness or mercy from us. Thus, for us to resist shaming them before others for their sin, demonstrates a kindness and faithfulness to them that is purely of grace. The result of that will be to earn their respect and help build a bond of friendship between us that is even stronger than before. How much better and God honoring is that than for us to be backbiting against them which only creates divisions, dishonors God, and prevents bringing union and serving God together.
There is also another aspect of “a man of understanding holdeth his peace.” We are all sinners. Even as Christians we still commit sin and we still have that totally depraved sinful nature that Paul describes in Romans 7 and that will only be rid of when we go to be with our Lord, when “this corruption shall have put on incorruption.” We are just as capable of sinning against others as they were in sinning against us. In fact, a major determinant between someone committing a sin or not is the circumstances surrounding the situation. Brother Lester Roloff used to preach a sermon with the theme “The Deadly Sisters, Temptation and Opportunity.” There may be temptation but no opportunity or there may be opportunity but no temptation but when they both arrive at the same time, then there is the real danger of a fall. Thus, “a man of understanding” knows that often it is only the grace of God delivering them from temptation that has saved them from sinning at times. Being a man of understanding means that we know we are of the same carnal nature as those who sin against us. We are no better than they and are in no position to justly despise them any less than we despise our own flesh. Thus, we forgive them, thank God for Him bringing them to confession and repentance, and praise God that fellowship between us has been restored.
March 20, 2021
I received the following insightful comment and question in response to yesterday’s Pastor’s Note
“I had a question on this topic: how do you distinguish between tale-bearing and marking those “which cause division and offenses contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned, and avoid them.” Romans 16:17? Paul makes a point of warning people about certain others who had come into the church and were doing evil, such as Hymenaeus and Alexander in 1 Tim 1:20 and 2 Tim 4:14.
We know it is the responsibility of elders in the church to warn the sheep of false teachers, “for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account.” Hebrews 13:17. And of course, a part of both 1 and 2 Corinthians had to do with discussing a wayward brother who was committing open sin in the congregation and Paul called him out.
I think confusion about this distinction is probably one of the biggest reasons why Satan is able to deceive so many in the Body of Christ to engage in talebearing, when they think they are exhorting, warning or sharing a burden with others in the church.”
All sin and false teaching should always be dealt with swiftly. Any sinful action or falsehood said or taught in a public setting, such as a church service or meeting should be addressed quickly and soundly.
We see this with Paul’s dealing with the Apostle Peter when they were in Antioch as he related later in his letter to the Galatians. (Galatians 2:11-14) Under the OT law it was not lawful for Jews to eat with Gentiles, Peter had eaten and had fellowship with the gentile Antioch believers before Jewish believers came down from Jerusalem. However, Peter became afraid of ridicule for eating with these uncircumcised Gentiles, so he separated himself from them. This was wrong, once a person became a Christian there is no more separation. So Paul confronted and corrected Peter before them all.
Gal 2:11 But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed.
This is an example of how all false teaching should be handled. Because it had to do with correcting false teaching, Paul writes about it in his letter to the Galatian church lest there be other Jewish believers who might come to them with this same error. If the Apostle Peter had fallen in error and had to be corrected, then certainly there was no one of any higher authority who could deny the truth that there is no difference between Jew and Gentile believers.
The first action against false teaching should always be to expose the error and try to get the person to realize their error as Paul did with Peter. However, if they refuse to receive instruction then that is when Rom. 16:17, I Tim 1:20 and 2 Tim 4:14 come into play. Warning against false teachings and false teachers is not talebearing.
Any ongoing sin should also be dealt with quickly.
Gal 6:1 Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.
This should be done discretely in private if possible, but it should be done. The hopeful result is that the offender will realize their error and repent of it. If not Jesus goes on to explain the steps that should be taken in Matthew 11. Once the offender has repented of their sin that should be the end of it and to repeat it or reveal it to others is talebearing.
However, if the sin has been committed openly and in public, as with the man in Corinthians, then the confession and repentance should also be done openly and in public so that all may know that it has been dealt with properly. Once it has been dealt with, that should be the end of it and it should not be discussed further. No good for Christ or His church would be accomplished and in fact, rehearsing it or spreading it further would only serve to stir up grief and tend to cause divisions and poisoning hearts and minds against the individual, which is exactly what satan wants. I believe this is why Paul never mentions the man’s name in Corinthians. Ongoing or unconfessed sin should never be covered up, but once it has been confessed and forsaken, then that is the end of it. This is also consistent with what John writes in
1Jn 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
God’s plan and design is always reconciliation and restoration. Satan’s plan is always discouragement and division. God’s desire is for us to love and encourage one another. Satan’s desire is that we despise and distrust one another. Talebearing is a very effective way to fulfill satan’s plan and desire and to destroy God’s plan and desire among His people.
1Pe 3:8-10 Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous: (9) Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing. (10) For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile:
March 19, 2021
Praise God my mind is starting to clear up better. Not only have I been able to resume including reading from both the Old Testament and the New, but I am able to concentrate enough to start my weekly memorization of passages again. This week’s passage comes from my Old Testament reading.
Proverbs 11:12-13 He that is void of wisdom despiseth his neighbour: but a man of understanding holdeth his peace. (13) A talebearer revealeth secrets: but he that is of a faithful spirit concealeth the matter.
If one is not careful it is easy to miss the connection between these two verses. There are a number of related spiritual truths that this passage is revealing.
- A talebearer is someone who is despising his neighbor, ie. the person he is revealing secrets about. The sad truth is that I have known pastors and church leaders who were the biggest offenders of this. I do not know how they could possibly excuse their actions, but the carnal mind is great for rationalizing any action. Speaking or revealing evil about others is almost always motivated by pride which seeks to tear others down in order to build themselves up.
- A talebearer is void of wisdom. They may have a lot of knowledge, but if they really understood the great evil they are engaged in, they would realize that they are actually working for the evil One. This is very troubling because it reveals that they are not being led by the Spirit of God.
- A man of understanding holdeth his peace – those who truly understand that we are in a spiritual battle in which satan and his demons seek to cause havoc and division between brethren and stir up hatred and despising between people.
- Those who are of a faithful spirit, being led by God’s Spirit, not only do not engage in talebearing, but they “concealeth the matter.” This speaks of deliberate action to discourage talebearing. This also makes it clear that it makes no difference whether or not the talebearer believes the matter is true. God’s word reveals that all talebearing is evil and those who engage in it are void of wisdom.
March 18, 2021
Recently a dear friend stumbled and fell spiritually. Afterwards they were filled with shame and felt like a complete failure. Why would God want to have anything to do with them, is how they felt. Unfortunately, there is a thinking and culture among some Christians and churches that tend to reinforce this kind of reasoning. The attitude of too many is “Oh you stumbled, well cheer up God can forgive you completely, but of course your damaged goods now. This is completely contrary to what the Bible says and to the reality of our relationship with God our Father. Not only is God not limited in anyway to use any Christian to the fullest for His glory, but that is exactly His intent and desire. Many times it takes a fall, sometimes a big fall, to reset our hearts and prepare us to be really used by God. The more we realize how totally unworthy we are, the more thankful and appreciative we are of the great grace God has bestowed upon us and of His great love wherewith He loves us in spite of our failings. The truth is that we are all damaged goods. God declares plainly
Rom 3:10-12 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: (11) There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. (12) They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.
God’s word reveals that our sin nature does not change with salvation as Paul clearly declares in Romans chapter 7. This is why we are warned not to have any confidence in our flesh. It is only by God’s grace that He chooses to use any of us. It is only by the power of the Holy Spirit of God working in us that we have the power to serve God acceptably. Praise God, He has chosen and designed every child of God to serve within the body of Christ (His church) according to His plan and purpose. Our responsibility is to seek to understand what that divine purpose and plan is. There are no extra parts in the body of Christ. There are no parts which God does not have an active function within His body.
God is not in the business of organ replacement. His business is repair and restore. Jesus did not replace the eyes or ears or limbs, He restored them. When a brother or sister falls, it is the responsibility of the rest to reassure, support and encourage them and that they be restored, that the body might function again with all its parts working again for God’s glory.
Every Child of God is a sinner saved by God’s free grace. To think that we are better, or more worthy to be used by God is purely self-pride which God hates.
2Co 2:6-8 Sufficient to such a man is this punishment, which was inflicted of many. (7) So that contrariwise ye ought rather to forgive him, and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow. (8) Wherefore I beseech you that ye would confirm your love toward him. …11 Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.
March 17, 2021
There were two nights that were especially difficult for me right after my surgery. I spent the whole night in misery because I could not get any comfort. One problem was that they had something attached across my neck and it felt as though it was interfering with my breathing. It was not, but it felt like it was. On the second night I prayed over and over “Lord I need your help. Lord help me.” Any change was welcomed simply because it was something different. I was even thankful for the clock on the wall because at least I could see that time was passing. I was reminded of Job
Job 7:4 When I lie down, I say, When shall I arise, and the night be gone? and I am full of tossings to and fro unto the dawning of the day.
One night it was about 2AM and the nursing staff did not usually come around until 6AM. I thought “Lord how am I going to stand this for another 4 hours?” then I remembered how Job had been covered with raw open sores from the top of his head to the soles of his feet. I was in discomfort and could not get comfortable, but I was not in much pain. I began to think of others who were in severe pain all the time with no relief. I knew my discomfort would only last a few days, but Job had no such hope for when his severe agony would end. If God sustained Job through his severe trial, then He would certainly sustain me through my light affliction. I began to feel shame over my whimpering complaint and disgusted with how soft I had become. I also began to think and pray for others who were enduring real pain and hardship, especially for Christians who were suffering because of their faith in Christ. As I focused more on the needs of others, I became less aware of my own situation. Before I knew it two nurses came into the room and were talking about my scheduled treatment. It was only 4AM which was earlier than normal and they did not stay long, but it was a welcomed distraction. I thanked the Lord for it and went back to praying for others. That was the worst of my really difficult nights and I felt like the Lord used it to help me get focused on others and not just myself. Since then I have tried to remember more others who are enduring real hardships and to hold them up in my prayers. Praise God for the way He works in our lives to help reveal areas that we need to improve.
Galatians 6:2 Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.
March 15, 2021
Since God does not always grant us what we want, how can we pray with confidence? I mentioned before that there are two key factors in God answering prayer. We must pray the prayer of faith believing that God will hear our prayer and we must pray according to the will of God in the matter. The more confident we are that we are praying in the will of God the more faith we can have that God will hear and grant us the desire of our heart. Consider the following
James 5:14-17 Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: (15) And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. (16) Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. (17) Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months.
Over and over again in God’s word, we are told that we can have confidence when we pray. That is on purpose because God knows we need that assurance. However, those who have been saved for even a short while soon find out that many times they do not have that confidence or that sure faith that God will answer their specific prayer. I believe that, while sometimes it may be due to a lack of faith in us, many times it is the work of the Holy Ghost in us and guiding us in the knowledge that the request is not according to what God desires, but is something we want. Recall
Rom 8:26-28 Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. (27) And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God. (28) And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
We ought to be thankful for the way God’s Spirit safeguards and guides our prayers when our hearts and motives are right towards God. It is when what we want and what God wants are in agreement that we can have full assurance that it will come to pass. God has demonstrated this many times in my life. I share the following as one small example.
When I was teaching at a Christian school, I became aware of a great financial need at a Christian institution. As I was praying, the Lord laid it upon my heart that He was going to provide money for me to donate to help. I believe at the time my salary was in the low 20k and the specific amount God laid on my heart was $2100, that he was going to supply from an unanticipated source. This was only a small fraction of what was needed. The assurance in my heart was so great that I sent a message one of the board members relating the details of how God was leading. Within a month or two, I received notice that I would be receiving more than enough funds to make the donation (so I thought). In the end, the amount I received was enough to make the exact donation and just enough “extra” to cover the taxes I would have to pay on it. I believe God worked it this way to encourage both my heart and the board members heart that He was going to meet the whole need, which did happen. I had never taken such bold action in announcing beforehand something God was going to do over which I had no real control, but I knew deep down in my soul that it was God at work and that it was His Spirit who led me to pray for that exact amount.
So, yes we can pray with complete confidence, but we also need to examine our own hearts to make sure that we are right with Him in all ways and our motives are true. Few things can compare to the wonder felt when God chooses to work and bless us so in our lives. I am just a sinner saved by grace and am totally unworthy for God to bless me so, but He does, over and over again. I belong to Him, I serve Him, and I will praise Him forever.
Jer 33:3 Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.
March 14, 2021
A danger in answered prayer.
Having a right and surrendered heart towards God and a strong desire for God to teach us in all situations, opens the way for God to show us things or consider things that we would not otherwise. I believe this was the case in the following situation.
I mentioned before that I was disappointed that my heart valve could not be repaired but had to be replaced. I had fully expected for God to grant my request, but He did not. I know from my interview with the surgical staff beforehand that they also felt there was a very good chance for it to be saved. So what happened? When the surgeon came in to see me in recovery, it seems like I could sense some disappointment also. That is when it seemed like the Lord spoke to my heart.
This surgeon is one of the top in his field and he has an excellent success rate. I believe if anyone could have repaired that valve, he could have, but it was not to be. I also believe that God had a strong desire to bless me and grant my desire, but He had a greater reason for not doing so. God had a specific purpose for handing this highly skilled surgeon a valve that, in spite of his excellent skill, would not be able to repair. It was His love and concern for me that God did not grant my request. I truly thank and praise Him for that. Let me explain.
Sometimes physical blessings can actually be or lead to a curse. Success, honor and physical blessings can lead one to focusing on self and can lead to being caught up in pride. Perhaps the most extreme example of this is Lucifer. God had blessed him above the other angels and made him the most glorious both in appearance and musical abilities for beauty. Yet instead of being that much more thankful to the God that created him and blessed him above his brethren, he got lifted up with pride at being so much better than they. In fact he even began to imagine himself greater than the God who created him.
While not nearly the same, we see how Hezekiah began focusing on himself after God cured him and worked a great miracle on his behave. God has blessed me also far above many that are better than I. It is clear to see how easily it would be for me to start thinking of myself better than others and my prayers might count greater because of God’s special love for me above my brothers. I might begin to lose sight of the fact that I am just a no account sinner worthy of eternity in the flames of Hell and saved only by grace through faith in the finished work of Christ my Saviour.
Praise God for His great wisdom in knowing exactly how and when to answer our prayers in the very best way for His glory and our good.
Proverbs 4:11 I have taught thee in the way of wisdom; I have led thee in right paths.
March 13, 2021
A Surprising .Perspective
Since the beginning of my role in this life as an adult, one of the key things that motivates and forms part of, what I consider my basic function and purpose in this life, is that of provider and protector. Perhaps it is because of my entry into the military service shortly after graduation, during the Viet Nam Conflict. Regardless of what official reasons might have been, my purpose was to support the people of South Vietnam in their struggle against the Communist aggressors of the North.
Provider-protector is also the key role of every husband/father, as well as that of a minister. Even as the father of four grown children with families of their own, I still have a strong sense of responsibility towards them and caring for them. As a pastor also, I find myself earnestly seeking God’s will and direction to provide the guidance to those whom God has entrusted me to minister. Every child of God is very precious in His sight and God declares the responsibility of the minister very clearly in
Heb 13:17 … for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.
God has blessed me with good health all my life with very few days of sickness. So it was quite a change when I found myself on my back, in bed, and unable to do anything for myself. When I awoke after my surgery there were several people attending to me and checking on me. I had this wonderful nurse who was so attentive that, if I had any concerns or cares, I knew she was watching out for me. That is when I was struck by the role “reversal”. I was as helpless as a new born baby and totally dependent on others for everything. It gave me an enhanced appreciation for those whose job is caring for the physical needs of others.
God also used this experience to help me understand in real terms how totally helpless we are at all times. It is so easy for us to forget this reality when things are seemingly normal. It is easy for us to lose sight of the fact that Jesus said
John 15:4-5 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. (5) I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
Rather than bemoaning our weakness, let us rejoice in the fact that the more we recognize our own weakness and our need for Christ to strengthen us, the more Christ is able to live and work through us. Thus the Apostle Paul wrote in
2Co 12:10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.
March 12, 2021
God knows but we do not.
Php 4:6-7 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. (7) And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
The word translated “careful”, has the sense of being anxious. We should bring before God everything for which we might be concerned. God tells us clearly that we should let Him know what the desire of our heart is concerning any matter. “And supplication” means not only is it OK, but He admonishes us to let Him know how important a particular concern is to us. If something is really pressing upon us, He wants us to tell Him exactly how important or pressing that thing is. This should reveal to us how great is His love and concern for us in this life. God has a specific purpose and function for every member of the body of Christ and He desires that we are all functioning together to accomplish His purpose.
We may say or think that a particular outcome is important to us, but is it really reflected in our prayers and actions? I really did want my valve to be repaired, but I almost assumed that the doctor was going to repair it (more on why later). However, God had a greater purpose in mind. This brings us to the truth of
Rom 8:26-27 Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. (27) And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.
What a glorious wonder this is! We often do not know what will be best in God’s overall plan, but His Spirit within us does. We may not know exactly what or how we should pray, so God, through His Spirit in us intercedes on our behalf. We may not fully understand it, but I believe we more often than not have a sense of it. How often have we prayed for something because we knew it was the “right” or proper thing to do, yet in our heart of hearts, there was a sense of a lack of the Spirit’s presence in it? At other times we may have a strong desire for something, yet there is the sense of some drive within us missing or lacking. I believe it is at those times that the Spirit Itself is making intercession for us “according to the will of God”
March 10, 2021
What About prayer?
Shortly after becoming awake after the surgery, I was told that the operation went well, and I had received a “tissue valve replacement”. While I was thankful the operation went well, I was a little surprised and very disappointed that the valve could not be repaired. One of the last things one of the surgeons on the team had said to me was that given my health and overall condition, “There is an 80% chance that the valve can be repaired.” That seemed like pretty goods odds, especially given all those who were praying for me. So, what happened?
We know God hears and answers the prayers of His saints. We know God can do all things. We know God, Who cannot lie, gives us precious promises in His word about prayer.
Consider what Jesus Himself said in
Mat 7:7-8 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: (8) For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.
Myself and others were praying that the valve might be repaired. Thus, I had much expectation that the valve would be repaired. So what happened? We also know that belief can have a big bearing on answered prayer.
Mat 21:22 And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.
Even if my belief had been weak, there were those I knew whose faith was far greater than mine who were praying for me. What happened to their faith and their prayers? It was not God’s will for the valve to be saved.
Prayer involves two key elements; faith and the will of God. Jesus possessed all faith, yet the cup He asked His Father to remove was not and the betrayal and crucifixion happened. We have many testimonies from what He had said that Jesus really knew that the crucifixion had to happen for God’s plan for man’s salvation. No one could be saved from the wrath of God’s judgment unless the payment for sin was made.
When it comes to ourselves, none of us usually knows for sure what God’s will is in many situations. Does that mean we can never pray with absolute faith that God will answer our prayer that we ask? Absolutely not. More on this later.
1Thessalonians 5:18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
March 8, 2021
“ Why is THIS Happening to ME?” is a common question that many ask when going through an unexpected severe trial. However, I would have to say that, from the very beginning My Lord has given me complete peace about this whole experience. Not that it has been pleasant, but in the sense that I have known deep down in my heart and soul, that all that was going to happen would be according to His perfect will for me at this time. There has even been the sense of expectation of how and what my Lord would do or allow and how He would use it for His glory. The Lord has taught me numerous Spiritual lessons through this operation and recovery and I am sure He is not done yet (I hope not). I will start with the following thought.
The problem was a damaged mitral valve that needed to be either repaired, if possible, or replaced. Even in my seventies, I have tried to maintain reasonably healthy eating and exercise. In fact, when they looked into my heart blood vessels, they found that there were no blockages. Some plaque, but not enough to be concerned. When asked what caused the problem, the doctors had no clue. “Sometimes these things happen and there is no explanation, no fault.” The problem was not the result of poor diet, poor exercise or because of any activity that was engaged.
Whenever something happens in a Christian’s life, that is beyond our control or influence, trust that it is something the Lord is either allowing, or deliberately bringing into our lives. In either case, it is the Lord’s will for us and He has a purpose for it; both for His glory and our edification. Remember Job, Joseph and many others.
Colossians 3:15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.
(This is one of several thoughts and lessons from this experience)
March 6, 2021
I suspect that many, if not most, most Christians do not spend much time in prayer and in God’s word. I have suspected that that has been the case for a very long time. In fact, except for at certain special times and circumstances, I believe that has been the case throughout the history of the church. Yet spending time with God and His word ought to be the most precious and wonderful experience for any and every Christian. I know I have shared in the past how precious it is to spend time in close communion with our Heavenly Father. I suspect that many Christians have not taken the time, or have not had the strong desire to seek after God, in order to have that special close communion with God. I believe it would only take one time of experiencing that communion to stir within the heart the strong desire to be there over and over again. It is like when Paul had the experience of a glimpse of Heaven for him to want to be there forever. God’s word reveals that there are certain requirements in order to have that close communion.
- There must be a true submission. James 4:7-8Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (8) Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.
- There must be a singleness of heart. Jeremiah 29:12-13Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. (13) And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart
- There must be a devoted walk.John 14:21 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.
When God is the number one desire of our hearts, He knows it and will draw close to us. But I have also noticed that, at times, He will send or allow a strong temptation to test us and our devotion to Him before drawing close to us in that sweet communion. However, even in those temptations, it would be a big mistake to attempt to resist them in our own strength. (I speak from experience.) We must call upon the Lord and trust in Him to strengthen us at those times. Remember, the promise is “I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me.” There is nothing that can come close to having a sweet time in close communion with God and God desires that with every one of His children. But few there seem to be that either have the desire or are willing to do what is required.
March 2, 2021
Just a quick note. Came home Monday. Recovering well from my open-heart surgery, I Think. Biggest problem is getting sleep. Makes concentrating difficult. Thanks for all the prayers, God has been awesome through all this. Physically, very difficult, but spiritually, is has been a glorious journey. How great and gracious is our God. It is like He has had his arms around me every moment. I have been having wonderful sweet fellowship with Him and have been spending many hours in prayer and Bible, even when my Bib;\le is closed and the lights are out. I thank God for all those daily times over many years of reading, memorizing, and meditating upon God’s word. While I would never desire anything as physically hard as this again, the cost is tiny, compared to the joy, the comfort and the blessing of how God is working in my heart and in my understanding of His word and purpose in my life.
Jeremiah 33:3 Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.
February 23, 2021
This will probably be my last post for a while since I will be going through my surgery tomorrow. What I to share in this post, I hope all will take the time to meditate upon.
I am so grateful for all the support and for the many who are praying for me during this time. I fully expect for God to do great things through all of this for His glory. However, it is interesting that, while I have had complete peace about my surgery, almost from the beginning, my mind has been going back to Hezekiah. As many will recall, Hezekiah had been a faithful servant of God. When he found out he was going to die, he cried unto God and God answered his prayer to spare his life. This is when God worked one of the mightiest miracles by making the sun go backward in the sky. This was the sign of God’s promise to Hezekiah to prolong his days by 15 years. However, in the long run, it would have been better for Hezekiah and the children of Israel, if his life had not been prolonged. Hezekiah failed God miserably, after this when the ambassadors from Babylon came to enquire of the miracle that was done. I believe this is a warning for all of us when we are praying for God to do something. With great blessing also comes great responsibility. This is similar to what happens as we grow closer to the Lord and He reveals Himself more to us. The better and more intimate we know Him, the less we can claim ignorance or doubt in Him or what He says.
Luke 12:48 … For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required:
February 22, 2021
I received a message by phone yesterday from my brothers and sisters at Ragged Mountain Bible Church. I had posted in my Pastor’s Note, that I was stepping down from being the interim pastor since my open-heart surgery this coming Wednesday, would mean that it will take at least 4 to 6 weeks before I would be able to minister. The following is difficult for me to say, as I am not usually very emotional, but I do want to express my deep appreciation. Words cannot adequately describe the emotion and gratitude that I felt as they expressed their desire for me to not step down and wanted to continue to support me in all ways during the time I will be recovering. I could not help the tears from flowing as I tried to relay what was said to Sandy. I am completely overwhelmed and humbled by such love and thoughtfulness. My God is truly awesome and has blessed me with the greatest congregation any pastor could ever hope for. I pray that our Lord might allow and enable me to be as much of a blessing and encouragement to the people of Ragged Mountain Bible church as they are and have been to me.
There are several passages that come to mind that seem to fit with this note, but seeing this is the 22nd of Feb., this one fits perfectly.
Psalm 22:22 I will declare thy name unto my brethren: in the midst of the congregation will I praise thee.
February 21, 2021
With my open-heart surgery coming up on Wednesday and given the fact that I will not be able to minister in the church for at least 4 to 6 weeks, I believe it is fair and proper to step down from the interim pastor position. I do not wish to be a burden of any kind to this ministry, so I believe this is the right step to take at this time. We often do not know why God works in our lives as He does, but we can be fully assured that He is working all things according to His plans and for His glory. The short time that I have been here has been a tremendous blessing to me. I do not believe that there is a congregation anywhere that has been more of a blessing and encouragement to their pastor as each of you have been to me. There is nothing that blesses a pastor’s heart more than to see God’s people responding to the preaching of God’s word as you all have. While this past year has been very challenging due to the virus and I have not had the opportunity to visit and get to know each of you better, you are all very dear to my heart and I pray for each of you daily. I do not know what future plans God has, but as individuals and as a church, we can trust fully in the promises that God has given to us.
Philippians 4:19-20 But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. (20) Now unto God and our Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
February 18, 2021
My memory passage for this week is Proverbs 4:5-7 Get wisdom, get understanding: forget it not; neither decline from the words of my mouth. (6) Forsake her not, and she shall preserve thee: love her, and she shall keep thee. (7) Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.
These are the words from king Solomon to his son. I have shared numerous times that when a Hebrew wanted to put special emphasis upon what they say, they would use the same word, or a form of the word twice. We see this with the Lord Jesus when He said, “Verily verily” or “Truly truly”. In verse 7, Solomon, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, takes this concept to the highest degree by, not only repeating the word “get” but says “with ALL thy getting get understanding.” He begins also by saying “Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom.”
The extreme emphasis placed on wisdom and understanding ought to impress upon our hearts, the great need for these in our lives. The source of both wisdom and understanding is the Word of God and the means by which these are effective in our lives is by the operation of the Holy Spirit. Thus, it is imperative that we are in God’s word daily with a surrendered heart and calling upon God’s Spirit to enlighten our understanding of what it says. I believe this is the reason why so many Christians, and especially pastors and church “leaders” today, seem sorely lacking in understanding the Scriptures and void of Spiritual discernment.
James 1:5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
February 10, 2021
We are in the book of Luke in our reading through the New Testament. One of the chapters we read this week was Luke 4. Connsider the power of the words of Christ.
Luke 4:38-41 And he arose out of the synagogue, and entered into Simon’s house. And Simon’s wife’s mother was taken with a great fever; and they besought him for her. (39) And he stood over her, and rebuked the fever; and it left her: and immediately she arose and ministered unto them. (40) Now when the sun was setting, all they that had any sick with divers diseases brought them unto him; and he laid his hands on every one of them, and healed them. (41) And devils also came out of many, crying out, and saying, Thou art Christ the Son of God. And he rebuking them suffered them not to speak: for they knew that he was Christ.
Verse 39 says He rebuked the fever. This says to me that even the bacteria or virus that was causing the fever obey Christ. Elsewhere we read how the winds and waves obey His words. In the book of Hebrews we are told that the word of God is quick, that is alive and powerful. There is life and power in God’s word because it is God’s word. It is unlike any other. It is able to bring alive those that are spiritually dead. It is able to empower those who take it in. Thus God tells us first in Deut. 8:3 … that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live. Jesus repeats this truth to us in the New Testament.
This is why I have sought to encourage all my Facebook friends to read the New Testament with me. It can change your life, whether you are a Christian or not. It is one of the most important and powerful things you can do. There are so many things which the Bible reveals about God’s word. Please ponder the truth of Psalm 119:130 The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.
February 5, 2021
1Peter 3:15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:
I have had several teeth extracted over the last couple of months and yesterday morning I had another dentist appointment at 8AM. They have a strict routine of asking questions about flu symptoms, covid exposure, recent travel, they have you sanitize your hands, and they take your temperature. Once in the dentist chair, they check your blood pressure. Mine was 110 over 57. That is the lowest it had been compared to any of my previous visits. I mentioned that it may be because it was early morning and I had just spent some time with my Lord while having my daily devotions. That lead to a discussion in which I had the opportunity to share the Gospel by giving my testimony of receiving Christ when I was in the Navy. The person said they also knew the Lord and we had a great visit talking for several minutes before the dentist came. I have found on numerous occasions, when I mention having my personal devotional time with the Lord, it has opened opportunities to talk about the Lord. I have found also that when I have spent time daily in fellowship with the Lord; when He is so much a part of and involved in my daily life; it then becomes natural for Him to come up in my conversations. As we sanctify the Lord God in our hearts, we will be ready to share the reason for the hope that we have in God.
February 4, 2021
Some thoughts from the book of Deuteronomy as part of my Old Testament readings. Moses wrote the book of Deuteronomy just before he was going to die and just before the Israelites were going to go into the land of Canaan. He was reminding them what the Lord had done for them and how they had behaved. He is also reminding them about what the Lord was going to do for them.
Deu 9:3-4 Understand therefore this day, that the LORD thy God is he which goeth over before thee; as a consuming fire he shall destroy them, and he shall bring them down before thy face: so shalt thou drive them out, and destroy them quickly, as the LORD hath said unto thee.
Moses knows them well and warns them (4) Speak not thou in thine heart, after that the LORD thy God hath cast them out from before thee, saying, For my righteousness the LORD hath brought me in to possess this land: but for the wickedness of these nations the LORD doth drive them out from before thee.
As God’s children it is easy for us to forget how we are by nature and begin to think that it is because of our own goodness or righteousness that God blesses us. Moses knew that that kind of thinking comes from pride and will lead to sin. So it is with us. This is why God has given us verses like Prov. 16:18 Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.
Also Prov. 11:2 When pride cometh, then cometh shame: but with the lowly is wisdom.
1Co 10:12 Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.
No matter how long we have been a Christian, we still have our carnal nature. It is only as we consciously rely on and seek God’s Spirit to help us, that we can live acceptably before Him. But, praise God, He is faithful to help and strengthen us as we depend upon Him just as He did the Israelites in this passage.
February 3, 2021
Don’t let satan hijack your mind.
Psalm 19:12-14 Who can understand his errors? cleanse thou me from secret faults. (13) Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression. (14) Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.
I was reminded of this passage today as I was shoveling snow. My mind kept going back to an incident that happened years ago. I had offended someone and they ended up going around and backbiting against me instead of coming directly to me for reconciliation. It turned out that a couple of others got involved and they too ended up backbiting against me. All of that deeply hurt me and those wounds still have not healed. However, even though I have completely forgiven them all for their sin against me, I still find my mind thinking about it at times. Satan would try to use it to stir up bitterness in my heart towards them. None of us are immune to his attacks. Recall that he also stirred up David to sin against Israel. It would be easy for satan to hijack my mind but because of God’s Holy Spirit in me, God gave me the wisdom to recognize what was going on. Instead of allowing ill feelings or resentment to take hold, I began praying for those involved. I prayed earnestly that God would be with each one and bless them. I prayed that He would watch over them and protect them. I prayed that He might draw them close to Him and shower His love upon them. I asked the Lord to forgive me for allowing satan to begin trying to stir up my heart in a wrong way, but I also praised God for interceding and changing my heart. I know of no better way of keeping satan from hijacking our hearts than to choose doing and thinking the opposite of what satan is trying to do in us. When we seek to bless or be a blessing to our brothers or sisters in Christ, especially those who have wronged us, we are emulating the love God has and shows towards us and He is pleased. Read again the passage I shared at the beginning and see how it applies to what I just shared. Don’t let satan hijack your mind.
February 2, 2021
My pastor’s note today is of a personal testimony. Here are a couple of my initial thoughts about my coming heart surgery. The first concerns the idea that, while I do not believe that this is the time for me to leave this world, I could be wrong and die during the open-heart surgery. My biggest concern is for my wife. I love her dearly and would not want her to go through the agony and concern of losing her husband of 50 years come this August. She is and always has been my greatest love in this world. I thank God that He gave her to me to be my life partner. While I have sought God’s wisdom in providing for the needs of my dear wife when I am gone, I know I would no longer be there to watch out for and care for her. Another concern is that I have also been watching out for and helping the needs for my 100 year old mother and be an encouragement to her. There are also those whom God has given me the wonderful privilege to minister to and encourage in the things of God.
However, if God does want to take me home, I can think of few better ways to leave this world than to go to sleep under the anesthesia and the next thing that my eyes see is the glorious face of my Lord Jesus, whom I love dearly. The times and fellowship that I have with Him daily now, as great as that is, cannot be compared to what it will be like when I am with Him in glory. He loved me enough to take the full punishment of my sins upon Himself. He loved me enough to save my soul and make me His own dear child when I had no interest in God. He loved me enough to choose me as a vessel to serve and honor Him and anoint me as a pastor to minister His word to His people. He loved me enough to allow and empower me to witness to many and see souls come to the saving knowledge of salvation through faith in Christ. I can hardly wait for Him to put His loving arms around me and welcome me to glory.
I cannot lose either way. Either I will be with my glorious Lord or He will continue to use me for His glory in this world. This is all because of the great mercy and grace which my Lord has deliberately chosen to pour out upon me. My heart overflows with love for my Lord and my soul is rejoicing in Him.
January 28, 2021
Try to imagine being there as one of the children of Israel as you read the following verses.
Deuteronomy 5:23-26 And it came to pass, when ye heard the voice out of the midst of the darkness, (for the mountain did burn with fire,) that ye came near unto me, even all the heads of your tribes, and your elders; (24) And ye said, Behold, the LORD our God hath shewed us his glory and his greatness, and we have heard his voice out of the midst of the fire: we have seen this day that God doth talk with man, and he liveth. (25) Now therefore why should we die? for this great fire will consume us: if we hear the voice of the LORD our God any more, then we shall die. (26) For who is there of all flesh, that hath heard the voice of the living God speaking out of the midst of the fire, as we have, and lived?
They heard the very voice of the living God speaking to them personally “out of the midst of the fire”. They were eyewitnesses to the living God. No wonder there was fear in their hearts. They had personally experienced the hand of God as He dealt with them during those forty years in the wilderness. The fact is that every one of us will hear the voice of God with our own ears and we will see Him with our own eyes. What will be the first words that He will say to us? Will it be “well done thou good and faithful servant.” Or will it be “Depart from me ye workers of iniquity, I never new you.”
Does Jesus know you today as one of His sheep? Do you really belong to Him and serve Him? Have you repented of your sin and called upon Jesus to be your Lord and saviour? If not, I encourage you to do so before it is everlastingly too late. Jesus said
Mat 11:28-29 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (29) Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
January 25, 2021
A couple of years ago the Lord brought an intriguing illustration to my mind as I was meditating and praying over the passage in Mt. 25:31 – 41, A telescope is an instrument that brings distant objects near so that we can see things that would be invisible to our eyes. Even galaxies that we were unaware of have been discovered and through the lens their features can be clearly seen. We can behold realities that would otherwise be unknown to us. The Bible is like a collection of time telescopes that are focused on distant events and brings distant things and events near so that they can be clearly seen and understood. Some are pointed in the distant past to events that happened even before man was created. Through other lenses we can look into the distant future to see events that are happening now in the future. What an awesome gift God has given to us in His word, the Bible. Thus we can see the reality of these actual events, which are just as sure as the past ones. Through this lens we can observe right now what is happening in the future according to what God is revealing to us in
Mat. 25:(31) When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: (32) And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: (33) And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.
January 23, 2021
One of the great things about God’s word is its inexhaustibility. The more we grow in our understanding of God’s word; the more we study it and meditatate upon it and allow God’s Spirit to instruct our hearts through it, and we accept its truths and submit to it; the more we find new gems and new depths in it and we see connections between passages and concepts of which we were unaware. We gain in our appreciation of how intricately various truths are interwoven throughout it. I have often thought of how marvelous it would have been to be one of those disciples who walked with Jesus on the road to Emmaus as He opened and expounded the Scriptures to them; revealing how the Old Testament writings spoke of Him. How they revealed His ministry and what would happen to Him beginning in Genesis and going all the way to Malachi. It has been a special blessing to see how God, through His Spirit, has been opening my understanding and teaching me as I have been studying and preparing a message on the significance of the Lord’s Supper. This is in preparation for our communion service this Sunday. The more we read and meditate and memorize and obey those things that God teaches us, the closer He draws to us and manifests Himself to us. There is nothing in this world that can come close to the blessedness and the peace of that sweet communion and closeness with the triune God as He manifests Himself to us. This is what Jesus meant when He said in
John 14:20-21 At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you. (21) He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.
January 22, 2021
Gal 5:14-15 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. (15) But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another.
What a drastic contrast is presented in these two verses. It should seem inconceivable that the Apostle was talking to the same group, especially since he was talking to Christians; brothers and sisters in Christ who supposedly love and serve the same Lord and are being led by the same Spirit. The sad truth is, and one that Paul was well aware, that Christians who refuse to obey God’s command to be loving one another, will often be involved in “biting and devouring one another.” As I was thinking and meditating upon this last phrase, the Lord brought another verse to my mind
1Peter 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:
We see the “teeth” that satan uses to tear apart and devour are the Christians who ignore Gal. 5: 14 and end up being those in Gal. 5:15.
If we are loving one another, we will not be backbiting and poisoning hearts and minds against each other. Rather we will be supporting and encouraging to one another. All Christians are members of ONE body. Great shame will come upon those members who have and are yielding themselves as instruments of unrighteousness. Backbiting is like a cancer that will spread throughout the body. God will either heal it through the working of His word in the heart and bringing them to confession and repentance, or He will remove it, as I have personally seen Him do on more than one occasion. Satan wants to destroy us or at least destroy, stop or hinder the work God has designed us for. Let us be careful not to do or say anything that would aid him in those efforts for ourselves or for others.
January 19, 2021
Gen 50:19-21 And Joseph said unto them, Fear not: for am I in the place of God? (20) But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive. (21) Now therefore fear ye not: I will nourish you, and your little ones. And he comforted them, and spake kindly unto them.
This is a wonderful example and reminder of what God tells us in
Rom 8:27-28 And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God. (28) And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
Joseph went through some extreme trials. He was betrayed by some in his own family, he was falsely accused and sent to prison, when it seemed like there was hope for release he was forgotten by the butler and there seemed like little hope of ever being released. Yet, through it all, he remained faithful to God in all that he did and no matter what situation he found himself. That is the key. No matter what others may do or say about us, our focus should be stayed upon God and serve Him faithfully. We really have little or no control on what others do or say, but we can trust that God is working all things out according to His master plan for us. God is aware of what is going on in our lives as the Psalmist wrote in
Psalm 69:19 Thou hast known my reproach, and my shame, and my dishonour: mine adversaries are all before thee.
God will preserve, reward, and exalt us in the end and those who worked against us God will humble.
Psalm 71:24 My tongue also shall talk of thy righteousness all the day long: for they are confounded, for they are brought unto shame, that seek my hurt.
Instead of wasting our time worrying about the wrong others have done towards us, or fretting about the circumstances that we find ourselves, our energies ought to be on serving our God, knowing that He is working all things for His glory and our good. We can rejoice in the knowledge that all things God brings or allows in our lives, is according to His will for us and He is using them to purify us and to mold us into a vessel of His design and for His purpose.
January 18, 2021
I borrowed the following that was shared by a good pastor friend.
“And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature: and it is set on fire of hell.” (James 3:6 KJB)
“Be cautious with your speech ! It only takes a couple of seconds to ruin your testimony by using loose words. Whether saved or lost,, the tongue is a “world of iniquity” ! “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may desire.” (I Peter 5:8 KJB) Satan would love to hear you ruin your testimony with your tongue: By this single misuse of your tongue in your speech, you can ruin your opportunity ever to be an effective witness for the hearers, or, you can be an extreme discouragement to others having a similar problem.”
Pastor Rick Mears makes excellent points and is no needed during these days when there is so much division and strife among God’s people. The tongue can be and is a most destructive organ. If we do not take care to watch over our tongue, we can ruin the testimonies and witness of others just as well as our own. This in turn can ruin the fellowship with the ones we were backbiting against. How many hearts and minds have been poisoned against a brother or sister in Christ by Christians. Just two verses later James writes
Jas 3:8 But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.
Even as Christians, our tongues can make us an abomination to God, but He tells us the way to avoid this iniquity in
Pro 16:5-7 Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD: though hand join in hand, he shall not be unpunished. (6) By mercy and truth iniquity is purged: and by the fear of the LORD men depart from evil. (7) When a man’s ways please the LORD, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.
January 8, 2021
We have probably all had those days when it seemed like everything that could go wrong did, or it may have seemed like it. Recently there have been a number of things that have seemed to go wrong in my life. Simple things that I take for granted suddenly did not work or there was a problem. As a Christian we can have full assurance in
Rom 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
However, we often stop there and neglect to consider the rest of the thought in the next verse
(29) For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
God is indeed working all things for good, but that does not mean that all things that happen in our lives are going to be pleasant. In fact, He has many things planned for us that are not going to be pleasant. It is in and through the fires of adversity that we become malleable so that He can more readily form us into “the image of his Son.” That forming will not be fully complete until we shed this flesh of corruption.
My first reaction and thought was “Lord I do not need this, especially not today.” However, isn’t marvelous how the Spirit of God in us causes our thoughts to seek God’s purpose in them? It is so wondrous to know that God; the glorious God of all creation, is so focused on me personally, that He is deliberately working in and through me for His glory. Oh, praise God that He loves me enough to want me to be conformed to the image of my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Our purpose during those times is not to figure out how God is going to use them, but simply focus on how we can best honor God with our thoughts and actions. Instead of being angry or discouraged by those things, we look at them as opportunities to honor God. I believe that is the main difference between the reaction of the flesh and the response of the Spirit.
Psalm 19:14 Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.
January 1, 2021
Proverbs 11:30 The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise.
The year 2020 was an exceptionally hard and difficult one for so many. It has brought much hardship, suffering and even death to multitudes. Our hearts certainly grieve also with some that are very close to us who have suffered extreme loss recently. It has made me especially thankful for the many ways in which the Lord has watched over and blessed both me personally as well as all members of my immediate family including my mother who turned 100 years old this last August.
I am thankful that as a Christian, my life is in the Lord’s hands. Death would not be a tragedy for me. In fact, I look forward to the day when my eyes shall behold my precious Lord Jesus, who has loved and blessed me and continues to bless me. To actually see Him with my own eyes and to hear His voice audibly with my own ears. That is the day and the moment that I look forward to with much longing. There will be no more trials, no more battles, no more failings, no more grieving in my heart for not being all He would want me to be. But I am also torn, because it also means that there will be no more opportunities to demonstrate faithfulness to Him; no more opportunities to exercise faith in Him and no more opportunities to share the wonderful good news of the Gospel to those who are stumbling through this life without real purpose. They are unaware that there is a great God who loves them; a great Saviour who died for them and a great life that awaits them. A life of real peace with God, a life of freedom from the dictates of the flesh and a life of rejoicing in the wonders of God and His creation.
My prayer for this year, or for the days till He takes me home, is that He might give me the fruit mentioned in this verse as I share the Gospel. That God through His Spirit and power open the eyes of blind hearts that they may see and understand the glorious Gospel and receive that new life in Christ. That God might also continue to use me to teach and preach His word that His saints might be blessed and edified through it. That I also might continue to grow in my understanding of Him and His word through studying, praying, meditating and hiding His word in my heart.
Psalm 116:12 What shall I render unto the LORD for all his benefits toward me?
December 29, 2020
Isaiah 40:22 It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in:
Not too long after the Lord revealed to me that He was calling me to minister His word, I wondered why He had given me such an interest in mathematics and science. As it turned out, those were the things that would be the means for me to provide for my family. However, studying them has also been a blessing and have allowed me to see and appreciate even more the wonder of God’s creation. They have also allowed me to see the “hoops” that unregenerate scientist go through in order to try to explain creation without a creator. Before the time of Einstein scientist thought that the universe was static. Then they realized that the universe was expanding and they came out with the “Big Bang” theory, which is not really a theory but actually only an hypothesis. However, since then they realize that not only is the universe expanding but it is accelerating, which means the Big Bang hypothesis in wrong. However, rather than admit it, they have invented the concepts of “Dark matter” and “dark energy”. All they really had to do was to pay attention to what the Bible has said in this passage all along.
Any physicist knows that after any explosion (big bang) the velocity of all the matter will start to slow down, but that is not what is happening. As noted, the matter in the universe is accelerating which means there must be an external force acting upon it. That external force is described in Isaiah 40:22 It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in: The form of the verbs translated sitteth, stretcheth and spreadeth that God had the Prophet Isaiah use, means a constant current action. It is interesting that scientist only in recent history realized that the universe was accelerating. If they had understood what this verse said, they would have realized that God had revealed that over 700 years before Christ. They would also realize that there is a Power beyond the universe that is at work. Once they realize that space itself is stretching (by an unseen “hand”) as the Bible says, then they will realize that there is no dark matter or dark energy.
December 10, 2020
Psalm 86:17 Shew me a token for good; that they which hate me may see it, and be ashamed: because thou, LORD, hast holpen me, and comforted me.
As I have been reading through the Old Testament, this is the verse that the Lord laid upon my heart to meditate upon and memorize for this week.
Sometimes when people have been cruel or said things against us, or about us, and perhaps have reminded us of past failings and faults, we can be brought down very low spiritually. Satan loves to remind us of how unworthy we are to be used of God for His glory. He will get what is coming to him, along with all those who serve him.
Rev 12:10 And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.
The truth is that those who engage in this are blinded to their own sin and by their own self pride to the fact that none of us are worthy to be used by God, except by His matchless mercy and grace.
One way that the Lord encourages us is when He pours out His special blessing upon us. The Psalmist knew this and thus he prayed for God to do it. He also knew that those who were against him would be ashamed as they saw how God was blessing him. Often God will do this even without the asking. This reminds us that our focus ought to be on serving our Lord acceptably. There will always be those who will be envious or jealous and will criticize and seek to discourage us and hinder the work God has for us. Which would be better? Having God repay them for their evil against us personally or having our Lord grant us a “token for good”, that is, a special blessing upon us or the work He has given us, to testify of His approval.
December 8, 2020
One of the hardest lessons that I have learned is the reality of what is said in 1John 2:19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.
It is so hard to accept the idea that some of those who we once thought of as one with us in the Gospel, would turn out not to be so. In one sense it is good, for now their true identity is known and we are no longer fooled about who they really are and really serve. So we now know how better to pray for them. However, it is especially sad to see how effectively satan can blind their minds, so that they may still think that they are Christians. It seems like in recent times they have become even more bolder in their backbiting and false accusations and are in total self-denial that they are doing anything wrong. They are also totally ignorant of the fact that while they are tearing down those who truly know and are serving the Lord and seeking to discredit them, they are having an impact on the minds and hearts of those around them including their friends and family members, both saved and unsaved. In future years they may well wonder why perhaps some of their own family members have turned away from “Christianity”. This of course is all part of satan’s plan for them and is what can happen when someone accepts the doctrine of Christianity, but who has never truly accepted the Christ of Christianity. Unfortunately, they are all about religious works because it makes them feel good and often seek to be in positions to influence others in their church. However, there will be a lack of real spiritual fruit in their lives. Common earmarks are their tendency to backbite about others; a real lack of love for all Christians, and a true burden for lost souls. The Apostle John writes about them also in
1Jn 3:10-11 In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother. (11) For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.
People may claim that they love a brother or sister in Christ, but the things they say about them or to them reveal the reality.
1Jn 3:18-19 My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. (19) And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him.
December 2, 2020
1John 2:1-2 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: (2) And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.
Praise God for our great Advocate. Jesus has paid the complete price for all our sins. And He is the propitiation, that is the propitiatory sacrifice, provided by the Father’s love and appeasing the righteous wrath of God. Webster defines it as “the act of gaining or regaining the favor or goodwill of someone.” When Jesus suffered and died on the cross, He satisfied forever and completely all that was needed to appease God’s wrath upon sin. However, that appeasement of God’s wrath is in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ. Thus John tells us in
1John 5:11-12 And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. (12) He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.
Those who have repented of their sin and received Christ as their Lord have the appeasement of God’s wrath, but those who have not will one day experience the wrath of God for their sin.
The good news is what John says in the rest of
I John 2:2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.
Here John tells us that Jesus is the propitiation for the sins of all people. No matter who or where they are or what kinds of sins they have committed. God tells us clearly that He is “not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” (I Peter 3:9)
Someone might ask that If God is not willing that any should perish, then why is it that so many have and will perish. The answer is that salvation is a free gift that God offers to all, but only those who will receive it, will possess it. Thus John records in
John 1:11-13 He came unto his own, and his own received him not. (12) But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: (13) Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
Have you received the free gift that God has provided in Christ?
November 30, 2020
God is so good, so glorious, so awesome, so wonderful, Praise His Holy Name! Oh, how I pity those who do not know Him. How sad it is to realize that there is such a magnificent, infinitely merciful, and gracious God, yet so many who will never enjoy the peace and joy of having a personal constant relationship with Him; of having His Spirit dwelling within; of experiencing His great love and closeness deep within the heart. I praise God and thank Him for all the ways He has blessed and watched over me and my family, but none of that can compare to the blessed fellowship He has with me. If I had a thousand tongues and a thousand years and knew all the languages of Earth and Heaven, words would still fail to express the glory and wonder of the God I know and love.
Psalm 66:16 Come and hear, all ye that fear God, and I will declare what he hath done for my soul.
Hosea 10:12 Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the LORD, till he come and rain righteousness upon you.
Revelation 15:4 Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest.
Pastor Bill Tower
November 14, 2020
My memory passage this week is Psalm 65:4 Blessed is the man whom thou choosest, and causest to approach unto thee, that he may dwell in thy courts: we shall be satisfied with the goodness of thy house, even of thy holy temple.
Blessed is the man whom thou choosest, – my heart is so filled with thanksgiving to God that He chose me. I would be lost and on my way to Hell today if God had not interceded in my life. When I first heard the Gospel, I did not believe it. I went away just as lost as I was before. I had no room or desire for God in my life, but God had a desire for me to become His child. That is a wonder that I will never understand. There was nothing nor is nothing in me, that a Holy and Righteous God would want me as a member of His own family. Yet He chose me anyway and made me His own dear child. He brought me to my knees before Him as He made me realize what a wicked sinner I was and that I deserved to be cast into the lake of fire to be tormented “day and night for ever and ever”.
But He still loved me and sent His Son Jesus, to suffer the wrath that I deserved and paid for my sins on the cross. I died with Christ on the cross that night and was born from above by the Holy Spirit of God, as I repented of my sin and accepted Christ as my Lord. I was made a new creation that night with a new nature, a divine nature, which desires to please and honor my Father in all that I do and with all that I am. I still have the old nature to contend with, and it trips me up sometimes, but I am no longer the servant of it. I despise it and long for the day when God will take me out of this world. However, He still has the work that He has chosen and anointed me to do in this world through the ministering of His word to those around me. Praise God that He continues to guide and direct in my studies of His word and in the understanding, He gives of it that I might prepare each week the messages He has for His people.
November 11, 2020
I John 5:7 For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.
This is one of the most clear passages on the triune personage of God. However, it has been either deleted from many of the modern translations or there is a note suggesting that it was not in the original Greek text. The reason for this is that most all of the modern translations are based in whole or in part upon ancient manuscripts that were made by someone who did not believe that Jesus was God in the flesh. In order to cover up the deletion, modern translations split verse 8.
This is also why they left out the wording “these three are one”.
This change in English translations did not take place until around 1800. Virtually all English translations of the Bible before that time had wording that was essentially the same as the King James Version.
The obvious reason for the change was satan’s attack on the deity of the Lord Jesus. This is why they also changed the wording of 1Tim. 3:16 which, speaking of the Lord Jesus, says “God was manifest in the flesh“ to read “He who was revealed in the flesh”.
There are both internal and external evidences why the King James Version, and other versions based of the Textus Receptus Greek text is the right reading. While people can, and do, argue the historical reasons, I believe an honest comparison of the two, will reveal which one is more consistent with the truth of who Jesus is and honors the Lord Jesus more.
I realize that most will not change what they believe about whether the Textus Receptus or the Westcott and Hort Greek text is correct, either because of personal pride or pride and trust in the school they attended. However, for me, having studied the historical evidences, and more importantly the internal evidences and considering which is more consistent and honoring to my Lord, I have full confidence that the Textus Receptus is the right text. Consider also that, if satan wanted to introduce changes into the Holy Scriptures, he would not make changes which would exalt the Lord but to tend to cast doubt on His deity. This is exactly what the Wescott and Hort text does. I pray that at least this might cause some to seriously consider the truth of what I have shared and earnestly pray that the Holy Spirit might convince them of that truth.
What governs what I do, say and teach more than anything else, is the knowledge that I will one day soon stand before my Lord Jesus to give an account to Him. That is true for every believer.
November 4, 2020
Refer to my note on Oct. 29.
1Pe 5:8-14 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: (9) Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. (10) But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. (11) To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
2Cor. 11:14-15 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. (15) Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.
I mentioned the other day that Satan can, and too often has, used Christians as instrument of unrighteousness to help devour a brother or sister in Christ and that I have come to believe that the method he uses most is backbiting. Also the people he uses most effectively are “ministers of righteousness”. They are those individuals that we would least expect or suspect (including themselves) of being used by satan to cause divisions among brethren.
There are too many reasons why and how someone can justify backbiting against another to even begin to list, but that is not the point. The result of backbiting is always division and it always hinders God’s purposes. Those of us who have been the object of backbiting know how deeply it hurts. If we are not careful, it can, and often does, cause bitterness in our hearts towards our accusers. This also is a goal of the devil. This is why it is so important to take heed and follow closely what our Lord teaches us.
If we give in to bitterness, we are not going to be in a place where God can use us as He wants. Jesus said love your enemies. Do not respond in kind. I have learned the bitter truth that we often cannot change what people think about us or say about us, once their minds and hearts have been poisoned towards us by someone backbiting against us. We can, and should, pray for them and continue focusing on serving our Lord faithfully. There will always be backbiters, their will always be those who despise us. Eventually perhaps they might come to realize how wrong they have been to treat any child of God in such a manner. That will certainly be the case when they stand before God. We must stay focused on serving our Lord acceptably and let God take care of the rest. I have seen how God has a way of turning things around and making things right. It is when we are in that kind of situation that we can honor our Lord and put into practice in our lives what Jesus has told us.
Mat 5:44-45 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; (45) That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
October 31, 2020
I shared some comments on my memory passage for this week yesterday. Those comments addressed the serious problem of backbiting that has plagued the Church from the earliest days. While the Lord may have me share more on that another time, I believe He would have me share some more encouraging thoughts about this passage today.
1Peter 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: (9) Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.
Notice that the devil, our adversary “walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” While the devil was created a powerful spiritual being, his abilities are nothing compared to God. I believe the Apostle uses the phrase “walketh about” to remind us that the devil can only be in one place at a time. He is not omnipresent, (present everywhere at once). While he has many of his fellow evil spirits who followed him in his rebellion to help him, he must go about “seeking whom he may devour.”
Compare this to what God tells us about Himself.
Proverbs 5:21 For the ways of man are before the eyes of the LORD, and he pondereth all his goings.
Proverbs 15:3 The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.
God also reveals a blessed truth for those who belong to Him and are seeking to please Him.
Psalm 34:15 The eyes of the LORD are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry.
Although he is a very powerful enemy, we can resist the devil’s efforts as God tells us in
I Peter 5:9 Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.
The devil knows he is no match for those who are putting their trust in God. This is why we are told by the Apostle James
James 4:7-8 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (8) Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.
Praise God! The devil doesn’t just leave, he flees. Think about that.
October 30, 2020
This is part of my memory passage for this week.
1Pe 5:8-14 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: (9) Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.
Every Christian (every person for that matter) has a powerful and very crafty enemy. He is all about destroying. God warns us that he is “seeking whom he may devour”. He is an expert at using every means and every person for his purposes. Unfortunately, this includes Christians. Something that I have observed and said for many years now is “Christians are satan’s favorite people, to use for his purposes.
2Cor. 11:14-15 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. (15) Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.
Satan can, and too often has, use us as an instrument of unrighteousness to help devour a brother or sister in Christ. I have come to believe that the method he uses most is backbiting and the people he uses most effectively are “ministers of righteousness”. They are those individuals that we would least expect or suspect of being used by satan to cause divisions among brethren. That is why he loves to use Christians. Anytime someone accuses someone else behind their backs or tells something about someone which lowers our respect for them or appreciation of them, or hurts their reputation or testimony, that is backbiting. If we engage in backbiting our heart is not right with God. We are serving satan and his purposes. It makes no difference how long we have been a Christian or labored in Christian services. God makes it clear that His desire is that we are united in love, one to another, which will not be, if we are poisoning the hearts of others towards someone through backbiting.
I will be sharing more on this later, Lord willing.
October 27, 2020
As most of you know, at least once each week I try to share something from my daily devotions and Bible study as I meditate upon my Lord and His word. I share these on Ragged Mountain Bible church FB page also. Our Lord told His disciples “freely ye have received, freely give.” My prayer and hope is they might bless, encourage, and challenge your heart as they do mine and I thank you for the privilege of allowing me to share them with you.
Who Am I?
I am a sinner saved by grace through faith in the finished work and sacrifice of Christ on the cross.
I am a beloved child of the heavenly Father.
I am born of the Spirit of God and the Holy Spirit of God dwells within me.
I am part of the body of Christ and fulfill that function within that body for which I was specifically designed.
I am part of the bride of Christ and I am to obey and honor Him as a wife to her husband.
I am a citizen of Heaven to which I owe my highest loyalty.
I am an ambassador for Christ to represent Him and His wishes in this world.
I am a servant of the Most High and Sovereign God of All.
I am a fellow heir of the glories of Heaven.
None of these things were or are the work of my own doing. They were all accomplished, designed and ordained by God for me. If you are truly a Christian, then they are just as true about you.
When you think of me or speak about me, or do something to me, remember, my God knows your thoughts; my Father is listening; and my Master is watching.
Now consider a brother or sister in Christ with whom you may have a quarrel or be “on the outs” with, and replace the words “I am” in those statements to “They are” and consider that last statement with that person in mind.
October 13, 2020
As I have been studying and working on the message for this coming Sunday, I was struck by the wonder of what was happening. Seeking and preparing a message for God’s people is like digging for treasure. As God moves in my heart and His Spirit guides my thoughts, the truths of His word begin to shine forth. I seldom know what the final form of that treasure will look like until I have completely unburied it, but it will shine forth in the brilliance of God’s truth that will challenge, feed and bless the souls of His people, exalt our glorious Lord, and dispel the darkness of error.
One reason why it is so important to be praying for pastors every day.
October 3, 2020
My Old Testament reading this morning was Psalm 18. What a wonderful testament David gives of God’s care for him. Read carefully and try to picture what David says in verses 6-10 which give a beautiful picture of God coming to David’s rescue.
Psalm 18:6-10 In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried unto my God: he heard my voice out of his temple, and my cry came before him, even into his ears. (7) Then the earth shook and trembled; the foundations also of the hills moved and were shaken, because he was wroth. (8) There went up a smoke out of his nostrils, and fire out of his mouth devoured: coals were kindled by it. (9) He bowed the heavens also, and came down: and darkness was under his feet. (10) And he rode upon a cherub, and did fly: yea, he did fly upon the wings of the wind.
What a glorious picture of God coming to David’s rescue. It reminds me of those old western movies when the wagons are completely surrounded, the ammunition is just about gone and there is no hope of preventing the sure massacre that is about to happen. But then, in the distance, they hear the trumpet sound of the cavalry coming to their rescue and they see the mighty and strong soldiers coming over the rise as they charge into their attackers with their guns blazing. Multiply that by ten thousand times and it still would be nothing to how God desires and is able to come to the aid of those who put their trust in Him.
We serve this same God, but we should ask if we can say the same as David testifies later in this psalm, about our heart and our walk in this world.
September 30, 2020
Matthew 21:28-30 But what think ye? A certain man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work to day in my vineyard. (29) He answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented, and went. (30) And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said, I go, sir: and went not.
There is a lesson here which I believe is often overlooked. The first son told his father that he would not do what he said. However, notice that the father did not respond in any way to him for his refusal. The father could have immediately dealt with his son’s refusal, but he chose not to. We tend to be quick to react when people do not do what they should. Sometimes we should give people time to think about their response and give them the opportunity to change their minds on their own. If we force or coerce someone into doing something, it can, and often does, result in resentment. However, if we give them time to change their minds after they have thought it over, it can result in appreciation and respect. While some situations require immediate action, there are many others that do not. The Lord Jesus was using this as an illustration of how God deals with sinners. We should all be thankful for the patience God shows towards us and be ready to show that same patience towards others.
Luke 6:36 Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.
August 26, 2020
1Jn 3:18 My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.19 And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him.
Verse 19 is a simple verse yet it contains a powerful truth that is too often overlooked. One of the most discouraging things I have observed over the years is a lack of love among those who name the name of Jesus. There is plenty of “love” among those who have like views. There is sweet comradeship between those who are a part of the “group”. There are many clicks within churches and within pastors or church “leaders” groups. However, those who are outside or not a part of their group are quickly criticized. These things ought not to be and are indicative of a lack of real spirituality. An all too common manifestation of this is the backbiting that goes on, even in and especially among those who are supposed to be mature Christians. It amazes me how readily people accept backbiting against a brother or sister in Christ, even though it is something God hates. It is no wonder that I have heard very few sermons against this most wicked sin that has been one of the common tools satan uses to cause divisions among God’s people. There is much more that could be said about this, but the focus here is on what this verse tells us.
“hereby we know that we are of the truth.” Everything we say about or do to brother or sister in Christ reveals where our heart is. Would those evidences testify that we love that brother or sister? No matter what a person may say, it is what they do that reveals their true heart. God reveals to us very plainly that this is the true test of the true believer.
1Jn 3:14 We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.
There are no exceptions in this verse, the intent is whether we love EVERY brother and EVERY sister, for it is easy to love some or perhaps even most. Is there a brother or sister of which our words or actions towards them would reveal we do not love them?
August 25, 2020
Part of my current memory passage is
1Jn 3:18 My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.
The use of a double reference in the Bible is for special emphasis. When John says “in word, neither in tongue”, he is emphasizing to us that love is more than words or language. Here John is contrasting the difference between our words and our actions. This is similar to what the Lord inspired James to write in
James 2:15-17 If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, (16) And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? (17) Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.
So it is with love also. Do our actions towards others demonstrate our love for them? God is the greatest example of this for us, and is summed up in
Romans 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
There are souls around us that are in far more dire need than those who are “destitute of daily food.” There are many souls who are blindly on their way to hell and every Christian has the truth that can save them. James ask a question that is just as applicable for those who fail to share this truth with those who are lost. “how dwelleth the love of God in him?”
August 24, 2020
My New Testament reading this morning was John chapter 4 which tells of Jesus speaking to the Samaritan woman.
John 4:10 Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.
There is a beautiful connection between God giving in instructions to Moses for supplying life saving water for the children of Israel and salvation provided through Christ. Moses was instructed to smite the rock the first time.
Exo 17:6 Behold, I will stand before thee there upon the rock in Horeb; and thou shalt smite the rock, and there shall come water out of it, that the people may drink. And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel.
This first incident of striking the rock, is a wonderful picture of Christ being smitten for us on the cross to bring salvation. This is shown in the saving of the thief on the cross. He was about to die with no hope, but Jesus’ death on the cross to pay for sins, provided the way for him to be saved.
Years after the first incident when the children of Israel were in need of life saving water again God instructed Moses to speak to the rock.
Num 20:7-9 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, (8) Take the rod, and gather thou the assembly together, thou, and Aaron thy brother, and speak ye unto the rock before their eyes; and it shall give forth his water, and thou shalt bring forth to them water out of the rock: so thou shalt give the congregation and their beasts drink.
Thus Jesus says in
John 4:10 Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.
Of course, Moses had no idea of the picture that God was drawing for us. Instead of speaking to the rock as God had instructed Him, he smote the rock. The sacrifice which Jesus made on the cross is sufficient to bring salvation to all.
Jesus said John 10:10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
Rom 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
Have you called on the Lord Jesus repenting of your sin and receiving Him as that living water?
August 18, 2020
Gen 3:14 And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life:
Recently I was reminded of this verse and it brought back thoughts I have had about it for many years. The phrase “Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field” has always caused me to wonder. We now understand that a serpent is a creature that slithers along the ground. But this is the result of the curse, which indicates that it did not travel on its belly before the curse. Couple this with the fact that God says “thou art cursed above all cattle” would indicate that the serpent was originally part of the cattle family.
The word cattle be-hay-maw’ refers especially to large quadrupeds, that is cattle. It is different from the word translated beast which is khah’ee which refers to living things in general.
Thus the serpent was a quaudruped, that is, it had four legs before the curse.
The word for serpent is naw-khawsh’; a snake or serpent. It is derived from naw-khash’ which is a verb which means to hiss, or to whisper.
The origin or words is a fascinating study. Many words for things are derived from their most prevalent characteristic. Whether that were some physical appearance or action exhibited by the object or thing.
Thus the prominent characteristic of the serpent, even before the curse was to hiss or whisper. I find it interesting that the word whisper or whisperer is only used thrice in the Bible.
Psa. 41:7 All that hate me whisper together against me: against me do they devise my hurt.
Isa. 29:4 And thou shalt be brought down, and shalt speak out of the ground, and thy speech shall be low out of the dust, and thy voice shall be, as of one that hath a familiar spirit, out of the ground, and thy speech shall whisper out of the dust.
Pro.16:28 A froward man soweth strife: and a whisperer separateth chief friends.
It is disturbing that so many who name the name of Jesus, so often behave as serpents. May we ever be on guard against becoming a serpent
July 28, 2020
Those who believe in the New Reformed theology believe and teach that to allow the free will of man, brings God down and makes Him a lesser God than the ultimate Supreme Ruler of everything. However, this is not only not true, since He is the One who created us with free will, but to disallow free will violates the very character of a loving and just God. With no free will there is no justice with God, since it would mean that God was punishing souls for doing something they had no control over. It would also mean that God was neither loving nor good, for He would be creating souls which would be designed and ordained by Him to spend an eternity suffering in the eternal flames of the lake of fire. That is not the God of the Bible. The God of the Bible made all things good, including man and all the spiritual beings. It was by deliberate rebellion against Him and His will that sin and evil came into the world. Yet, in spite of this, God sent His own Son Jesus into the world to pay the penalty for our sins and offers complete forgiveness and new eternal life to all who will to turn from their sin and receive Jesus as their Lord and Savior.
John 3:15-18 That WHOSOEVER believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. (16) For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that WHOSOEVER believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (17) For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that THE WORLD through him might be saved. (18) He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
June 30, 2020
June 24, 2020
Nehemiah 3:1-4 Then Eliashib the high priest rose up with his brethren the priests, and they builded the sheep gate; they sanctified it, and set up the doors of it; even unto the tower of Meah they sanctified it, unto the tower of Hananeel.
(2) And next unto him builded the men of Jericho.
And next to them builded Zaccur the son of Imri.
(3) But the fish gate did the sons of Hassenaah build, who also laid the beams thereof, and set up the doors thereof, the locks thereof, and the bars thereof.
(4) And next unto them repaired Meremoth the son of Urijah, the son of Koz.
And next unto them repaired Meshullam the son of Berechiah, the son of Meshezabeel.
And next unto them repaired Zadok the son of Baana.
One of the most common complaints I have heard about reading the Old Testament, is that Christians do not see the relevance of what they are reading. For example, they may wonder why would God include the list of who built what and the order of where they were building. The Bible is an historical book, recording both events and the names of those involved. There are those who claim that the Bible is rhetorical or allegorical. However, the listing of individuals and their families makes it clear this is not the case. If we were to travel to Jerusalem today, we could look upon the very walls and gates around the city and know who the individuals were that built those particular parts, about 445 years before Christ was born. The Bible is like a Time Telescope that we can look through and see actual events and specific people, both in the past and in the future through the prophesies. It might be helpful to remember that as we are stumbling over reading their names. Think about who they were and what circumstances they were in at that time.
May 27, 2020
Part of my memory passage this week is
Hebrews 9:24 For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us:
What a fantastic and glorious truth this is. The context is how Christ, as the Great High Priest, who lives forever, has made the eternal sacrifice for our sins and is now in the presence of God in Heaven. Those two last words, “for us”, are the cause for boundless wonder, joy and peace to my soul and fill my heart with love and thanksgiving for my Lord. Jesus died for me and He is now in Heaven; in the very presence of the most holy and righteous God of creation; and He is there on my behalf. The blood He shed on the cross was the full payment for all my sin, so that I now appear before the all holy God in the righteousness of Christ as described in
Rom 3:22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:
Jesus is in Heaven at this very moment as my Great High Priest, so that “ There is therefore now no condemnation…” and I am fully accepted and loved as God’s own dear child. Oh, that my words and actions today might reflect that glorious reality.
May 19, 2020
1Timothy 2:1-4 I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; (2) For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. (3) For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; (4) Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.
I exhort therefore – the word that Paul uses here is a very powerful word. It means to implore, beseech or intreat. It is not just a suggestion or invitation. It is necessary for God to implore us to do these things because they do not come naturally to us. How often are we guilty of not doing these things which God’s word clearly tells us to do. Have many of us have done these things today, this week or this month? Note the importance that Paul places upon these things for he says “ I exhort therefore, that, FRIST OF ALL.” It is easy for us to complain about how bad things are in our nation and in our government. Paul, and the early Christians lived at a time and in places where the government and religious leaders were extremely hostile towards Christians. Yet Paul does not rail on them or on how bad things were. Rather He tells us what we are do about it. There is nothing more powerful that prayer. Rather than simply complain or vent, we need to be offering “supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks” for all men; (2) For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.”
Are these things on the list of things we do daily? What changes might we expect to see if God’s people were faithful in what He exhorts us in this passage.
May 18, 2020
Judges 8:4-10 And Gideon came to Jordan, and passed over, he, and the three hundred men that were with him, faint, yet pursuing them. (5) And he said unto the men of Succoth, Give, I pray you, loaves of bread unto the people that follow me; for they be faint, and I am pursuing after Zebah and Zalmunna, kings of Midian. (6) And the princes of Succoth said, Are the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna now in thine hand, that we should give bread unto thine army?
The Lord already had given Gideon a tremendous victory. One hundred twenty thousand of the invaders had already been slain. He chased the remaining invaders back across the Jordan river and his men were faint and hungry. The size of the army they were chasing was still 15000 strong. It’s understandable that the leaders in Succoth thought that there was no way Gideon and his 300 were going to defeat them. So Gideon goes on another 10 miles to Penuel and they also refuse to give his tired and hungry men any food. It would have been very tempting at either of these times for Gideon and his men to think they had certainly done enough. It would be nice if they returned home rather than go on to fight an army that they had no natural ability to defeat. But God had said He was going to give the Midianites into their hands and Gideon was not going to stop until the last two invading Midian Kings were destroyed.
May the Lord help us to continue fighting the good fight of faith even when we are tired and faint and the enemy is still much stronger than we can defeat.
Gal 6:9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.
May 9, 2020
Gal 6:1-5 Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. (2) Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. (3) For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself. (4) But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. (5) For every man shall bear his own burden.
Some imagine that v5 contradicts v2, but v5 is talking about an inward perspective and v2 is talking about an outward perspective. We should be a help and encouragement to those around us, but we also bear the responsibility for our own sins. We rejoice in the fact that God completely forgives and cleanses us from our sins when we truly repent and confess them. However, the self examination mentioned in v4 should lead to our feeling the “load” of our own sin: and this should lead us to bear sympathetically with our neighbor’s burden of infirmity. The knowledge of past sins should not be just pushed out of our minds. Rather, that knowledge will help us in our daily walk. The sorrow and shame of them should keep us from repeating them. It will also increase our appreciation, our love and our dedication to our Lord. David, Peter and Paul are a few examples of this in God’s word. Let us let the knowledge of our past sins do its work; to help purify our walk with the Lord; to have empathy for our fellow sinners; and to renew afresh our love and appreciation for what God has done for us.
April 23, 2020
My memory passage for this week is
Romans 13:8 Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.
This may seem like a very simple and easy thing to do at first glance. However, it is easy to overlook the connection between the phrases in this verse. The overlying emphasis is that we owe a debt to every person and that debt is to love them. In order to understand what this means; it is necessary to understand what the word love means in this verse. First, it is NOT the noun love, but the verb love. It is not talking about a warm affectionate feeling. It is talking about action. We have little or no control over our feelings, for they are reactionary. However, we have full control over our actions, so we have no excuse for not obeying what God says. God’s word further instructs us as to how this love behaves, so that we can conduct ourselves accordingly.
Romans 13:10 Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
No matter who the person is, we should be kind and considerate to them. These are natural for those whom we have an affection for, but we OWE them to every person. There are no exceptions allowed. This does not mean that we overlook their sin and wickedness, but it does mean that our actions must always be just and good. Our Lord Jesus is the greatest example of this.
We ought to have the same mind towards others that God had towards us. Our desire should be to view all as either actual or potential brothers and sister in Christ, for so they are. Just as God has worked the miracle in our own lives and hearts, He can and desires to do the same in theirs.
April 13, 2020
2Ch 18:18 Again he said, Therefore hear the word of the LORD; I saw the LORD sitting upon his throne, and all the host of heaven standing on his right hand and on his left.
Imagine what a fantastic sight that must have been which the Lord allowed Micaiah to see. I have sometimes thought about collecting all the passages in the Bible that describe Heaven and the throne of God and putting them all together. What a glorious place it is. Isaiah describes a vision on Heaven in
Isa 6:1-4 In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. (2) Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly. (3) And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory. (4) And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke.
It is hard to imagine what it looked like to see all the thousands upon thousands of the angelic host of Heaven stretching out to the right and to the left from the throne of God.
Consider what Jesus said in
Mat 25:31 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:
What a glorious sight it will be to see Jesus coming with “all the holy angels”. The whole sky will be filled with the brightness of the glory of Jesus and thousands upon thousands upon thousands of His holy angels.
I pray you are doing well.
Thursday, April 9, 2020
As I was preparing a message recently, the Lord brought to mind an incident that happened in my own life. I had been misjudged by someone and as a result they sinned against me. Yet even after they realized their error, they refused to confess and repent of their sin. As I thought about that and as I think about it now, my heart is greatly saddened at the loss of the sweet fellowship we once enjoyed. Even though I have forgiven them completely and desire earnestly that someday it might be restored, there is a greater reason for my sadness. Unconfessed sin is a poison to the soul. The only way to get rid of it is by repentance and confession.
One of the most powerful verses in the Bible is Psa 66:18 If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me:
To not repent of our sin is to cut off our prayers so that our Lord will not hear them.
What a horrible thought. This truth is so important that God declares in Isa. 59:2 But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.
We may wonder some times why the Lord is not answering our prayer. It would be wise for us to consider the real possibility that it is because of some sin which we have refused to repent and confess. Will we allow our pride to block our prayers?
1Jn 1:8-9 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. (9) If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Wednesday, April 8, 2020
2Ch 15:1-2 And the Spirit of God came upon Azariah the son of Oded: (2) And he went out to meet Asa, and said unto him, Hear ye me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin; The LORD is with you, while ye be with him; and if ye seek him, he will be found of you; but if ye forsake him, he will forsake you.
As I read this verse this week in my devotions, I was reminded about another verse that mentions the word forsake.
Hebrews 13:5 Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
Too often some Christians will grab onto a saying from the Bible and not look deeply into the context. I knew a deacon once who had a habit of this. While it is true that Christ constantly dwells within every Christian, this does not mean He will help them out of every trial or difficulty. In fact, He may be the One bringing it upon them. God makes it clear that He deals with us according to our actions and attitudes. If our hearts are not right with Him, we can expect Him to deal with us accordingly. In fact, sometimes it is even God’s will for us to commit to destruction, a Christian who is overtaken in a sin, as Paul instructed the Christians in Corinth.
1Co 5:3-5 For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed, (4) In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, (5) To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.
Praise God that the one Paul was speaking of repented and got his heart right with God, but that is not always the case. If we persist in our sin He will deal with us as He did with Ananias and Sapphira in Acts chapter 5. God gave them each the opportunity to repent and tell the truth before they were struck dead from God.
Our actions and our heart’s attitude matter. If we are deliberately sinning against God, God is going to deal with it. God does not change. What He said by the prophet Azariah to Asa is still just as true for us today.
“The LORD is with you, while ye be with him; and if ye seek him, he will be found of you; but if ye forsake him, he will forsake you.”
Lord, help us to examine our hearts honestly before you. Give us the wisdom and strength to confess and forsake that which is not pleasing to you and be walking according to your will today.
Love in Christ,
Wednesday, April 1, 2020
2Sa 22:6-7 The sorrows of hell compassed me about; the snares of death prevented me; (7) In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried to my God: and he did hear my voice out of his temple, and my cry did enter into his ears.
This is the passage that the Lord has laid upon my heart to memorize and meditate upon this week. It seems very appropriate for the times we are in. There are no extra words in God’s word. It is important for us to realize that every word and phrase is there by God’s design and purpose. When something seems to be repeated it is important that we consider it carefully.
“I called upon the LORD, and cried to my God” This reveals the intensity with which he was praying. The more trouble we are in or the greater we feel the need, the more intense will be our prayer. The Lord convicted my own heart this morning for my lack of prayer and praise for Him. It is not that I have not been praying and praising Him every day, but I have not been nearly as intense or filled with praise towards Him that I should have been. It is so easy to take the things God does for us and the way He supplies our needs for granted and not really praise and thank Him the way we should.
“he did hear my voice out of his temple, and my cry did enter into his ears” Here we see another doubling. It speaks both of the surety of God’s hearing his prayer and of the wondrous blessing that the God of Heaven and Earth would listen to his cry.
Oh, what a glorious privilege we have to call upon the God of Heaven, knowing that He hears us.
Hebrews 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
Thursday, March 26, 2020
My New Testament reading this morning was Acts 16 and describes the events of Paul’s trip to Philippi.
Acts 16:22-27 And the multitude rose up together against them: and the magistrates rent off their clothes, and commanded to beat them. (23) And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailor to keep them safely: (24) Who, having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks.
Paul and Silas came to Philippi to bring the Gospel to the people as God had specifically led them to do. Yet, now, they are beaten and thrown into prison. Their beating was severe for it says “they had laid many stripes upon them.” The Jews never gave more than thirty-nine stripes to any criminal; but the Romans had no such law or restriction and they gave as many as they chose. Some believe that Paul refers to this in 2Corinthians11:23 where he says “in stripes beyond measure”. Each stripe was a wound inflicted by the whip or rod. These were probably open wounds as indicated by verse 33 “And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes;”
It is significant that we see no word of complaint or questioning from Paul or Silas. Instead we read in verse 25 And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.
Prayer and praise are an unbeatable combination. When we suffer as the result of being faithful to God, instead of complaining, we should realize as Paul and Silas did, that it is a great honor and our God is well pleased with us. It is during times of adversity that our faith and love for God can shine forth as a bright beacon. God will always honor our faith. Sometimes He will do it in a most remarkable way as we see in the rest of the chapter.
(26) And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one’s bands were loosed.
Paul and Silas had no idea how God was going to work things out through their suffering, but God knew a jailor who needed salvation. Praise God for His love and mercy.
Tuesday, March 24, 2020
My Old Testament reading today was in II Chronicles. Solomon was the wisest king who ever ruled on this Earth. 2Ch 6:12-14 And he stood before the altar of the LORD in the presence of all the congregation of Israel, and spread forth his hands: (13) For Solomon had made a brasen scaffold, of five cubits long, and five cubits broad, and three cubits high, and had set it in the midst of the court: and upon it he stood, and kneeled down upon his knees before all the congregation of Israel, and spread forth his hands toward heaven, (14) And said, O LORD God of Israel, there is no God like thee in the heaven, nor in the earth; which keepest covenant, and shewest mercy unto thy servants, that walk before thee with all their hearts:
Oh, that the leaders of our country might awaken to these great facts about the God of creation. It would be so great and marvelous to see even one of our national leaders bow down before God in public and pray a similar prayer for America and her people. God has so much love for all people upon this Earth and He demonstrated it by sending Jesus into this world to take the full punishment for the sins of the whole world “that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (Jn.3:16)
This is what the Apostle Paul wrote about in
Rom 5:6-9 For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. (7) For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. (8) But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (9) Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.
It is so sad that so many will die in their sins because of their refusal to believe God.
Rev 21:7-8 He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. (8) But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death
Friday, March 20, 2020
Psalm 119:39-40 Turn away my reproach which I fear: for thy judgments are good. (40) Behold, I have longed after thy precepts: quicken me in thy righteousness.
“Turn away my reproach which I fear” – for those who love God and are seeking to please and honor Him, there is nothing more shameful than to be found guilty of sinning against Him. Satan and his children love to accuse those who are seeking to live for God. They love to discredit the servant of God, because by doing so they can bring shame to their testimony and hinder their witness. Even those Christians who are not living a vibrant life for God, often take secret pleasure in seeing a devoted Christian stumble. “They think they are so high and holy, but they are just a phony.” They think that by discrediting them, they are discrediting the standards by which they live. This is why they are so quick to make known the sin of others through backbiting and gossip. However, all backbiters will be put to immeasurable shame themselves when they appear before the Holy God. To sin so against a Child and servant of God is to sin against God Himself. It is well that the Child of God fear the reproach of sin in their lives, for it can help them from straying from the path of righteousness.