The Pastor's Page (12-11-18)
"Come now, and let us reason together,"Says the Lord,"Though your sins are as scarlet,They will be as white as snow;Though they are red like crimson,They will be like wool." Isaiah 1:18
Our sins are forgiven. We are cleansed through the blood of Jesus! Though we were guilty and our sins were dark and ugly, they have been made white like wool. Our sin which defiled us has been made erased and made white as snow. In the words of Horatio Spafford who penned "It Is Well With My Soul"...
My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, o my soul.
Let us give thanks today for God's forgiveness, His Mercy, and His grace.
The Pastor's Page (12-4-18)
And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14
What a beautiful thought. The Word became flesh for us. The Son of God comes to earth and takes upon Himself human flesh. Somehow, someway, deity meets humanity in the mystery of the incarnation. What a glorious, glorious thought.
What an awesome truth. They saw Him. No, they really saw Jesus in the flesh. He dwelt with them, taught them, and equipped them to change the world. No more reaching for the stars and hoping to find God. God has come to us as “Immanuel”; God with us in the very flesh of humanity. What a glorious truth.
What an awesome balance. This one who was sent displayed the perfect symmetry of grace and truth. Jesus offered grace and fulfilled the truth by enduring the Father’s justice for us. He gave His life for us so that truth and justice could produce grace and mercy. He bore our sin and shame to offer us the gift of salvation. The truth is that we are sinners. But, Jesus gave His life for us so that we might receive grace and forgiveness. What a glorious dichotomy we see in Jesus.
Trust in Jesus today, my friend. He came to this earth for you, lived for you, died for you, and rose from the dead for you! Believe in Him!
Tell Me The Story of Jesus
By Fanny J Crosby
Tell of the cross where they nailed Him
Writhing in anguish and pain
Tell of the grave where they laid Him
Tell how He liveth again
Love in that story so tender
Clearer than ever I see
Stay let me weep while you whisper
Love paid the ransom for me
Tell me the story of Jesus
Write on my heart every word
Tell me the story most precious
Sweetest that ever was heard
The Pastor's Page (11-27-18)
And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him. Hebrews 11:6
Without faith it is impossible to please God. This is one of the most profound statements in all of Scripture. The absolute nature of this decree is stunning. The writer doesn’t say without faith it is difficult to please God. He tells us that without faith it is impossible to please God.
In order to be in relationship with God, we must believe that God exists. This may seem simplistic but it is vital. We believe that God exists by faith. Though we cannot see Him or hear Him with our senses, we believe and trust in Him nonetheless. He is alive forevermore and He is the “I AM” eternally.
God is a rewarder of those who seek Him. Human beings who realize God’s authority over them and realize their guilt before God understand that there is nothing they can do to earn God’s favor. However, God revealed Himself through His Son who lived for our righteousness, died for our forgiveness, and was resurrected for our justification. Those who trust in Him, by faith, are forgiven of their sins and reconciled to God. They are given a new purpose for living, a new desire for good, and are promised a home in Heaven. God reveals himself to those who seek Him sincerely.
Everyone places faith in something or someone. Some people’s faith resides in money, fame, or even ourselves. All of these sources will eventually let you down and leave you separated from God. Trust in Jesus! Place your faith in Him. Know that He cares for you and desires that you be saved. He simply calls on us to trust Him even though we can’t see and understand everything. Trust Him today, by faith!
The Pastor's Page (11-20-18)
Thoughts for Thanksgiving Week
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
1 Thessalonians 5:18
Let us give thanks in all things. When things are good, give thanks. When things are difficult, give thanks. Giving thanks is God's will for us. We are not commanded to give thanks for all things. We are directed to give thanks in all circumstances.
Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!
We are to give thanks for God’s goodness. His love endures and is shown to us each day. Give thanks for God’s amazing righteousness and His abiding love, dear Christian.
Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.
Giving thanks is an integral part of prayer. We are told to continue in prayer and to pray with thanksgiving in this verse. May we lift up praises and thanksgiving as we pray. Petitions in prayer are important. Praise and thanksgiving are equally important as we pray each day.
And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Finally, let us give thanks as we serve Christ. Thankfulness should accompany our ministry in word and deed. Let us serve Christ with thankfulness and in thankfulness for all that He has done for us.
In everything, give thanks! May God’s richest blessings overflow to you this week!
The Pastor's Page (11-13-18)
Let us peruse something of the nature of God in this post. God is a big subject and theology is a study that cannot be exhausted. With that in mind, we will cover three aspects of God’s nature and character today.
First, let us be reminded that God is great. God is greater than anything, any person, or any entity in the entirety of the universe. This world offers great sights, sounds, and experiences. None of them can compare to the surpassing greatness of God. He transcends time and space and He is above all. Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; and His greatness is unsearchable. (Psalm 145:3)
Also, God is good. No, I mean perfectly good. He is always good, always righteous, and always holy. God is pure beyond our belief. He is absolutely pure and good in all things, all circumstances, and at all times. The goodness of God endures continually. (Psalm 52:1)
God is great and God is good. And for us, that is a problem. Human beings are neither great nor good. As a matter of fact, the Scriptures tell us that no one is good (Psalm 14:3), that we have all sinned (Romans 3:23), and that we all deserve God’s judgment (John 3:17). We are separated from God by our sinfulness. This is bad news indeed. But, thankfully, there is one other aspect of God’s nature to examine.
God is gracious. God’s grace gives us what we do not deserve. Christ entered our world and took upon himself our flesh. (John 1:14) He lived for our righteousness, died for our forgiveness, and was raised for our justification. (1 Corinthians 15:3-4) We can be forgiven, reconciled to God, and saved through trusting in Christ Jesus. And it’s all because of the gracious gift of God. (Ephesians 2:8-9) God’s love is expressed through His grace and mercy.
God is great, God is good, and God is gracious. That is wonderful news, dear Christian. Now, go tell someone about it!
The Pastor's Page (11-6-18)
Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne and the living creatures and the elders; and the number of them was myriads of myriads, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing." And every created thing which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all things in them, I heard saying, "To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever." And the four living creatures kept saying, "Amen." And the elders fell down and worshiped.
Here are some thoughts to ponder on this day that the Lord has made……………….
**Trust in the Lord, He is worthy!
**Believe His promises, He is faithful!
**Obey the Lord, He is our Master!
**Worship the Lord, He is Holy!
**Fear the Lord, He is worthy of all reverence!
**Sing to the Lord, blessing and glory belong to Him!
**Call upon the Lord in your time of distress, He will hear you!
**Honor the Lord, He loves you and provides for you!
**Blessing, honor and glory belong to the Lord. He is worthy!
The Pastor's Page (10-30-18)
In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace. Ephesians 1:7
The foundation of our salvation is Christ Jesus. Without Him, we are lost and undone. Let’s look at three things from this verse.
**Redemption is through the blood of Jesus. We are set free from our sins because Christ became a curse for us. (Galatians 3:13) We are no longer slaves to sin and shame. We have been set free to live a Godly, holy life through Christ Jesus our Lord.
**Forgiveness is received through the blood of Jesus. The book of Hebrews tells that “without the shedding of blood, there is no remission from sin.” (Hebrews 9:22) His blood was spilled out for our forgiveness. Through His love, Jesus died for us so that all sin might be atoned for and removed.
**Forgiveness flows to us through God’s grace. We are not saved because we deserve it. Instead, Christ died for us when were utterly underserving (Romans 5:8) Thanks be to God for His wonderful grace.
Dear Christian, may God’s peace and blessing overshadow you today. You have been redeemed and forgiven by God’s amazing grace.
The Pastor's Page (10-23-18)
Sin is a word we don’t hear much in our current societal context. It has basically dropped from our linguistic lexicon. The Bible uses the word sin often. Therefore, we would do well to understand the concept of sin even if the world chooses to ignore it.
In the Bible, “sin” has several different meanings. It could mean any of the following…..
1) Disobeying God (Genesis 3)
2) Breaking God’s Law (Matthew 6:12)
3) Fulfilling our own desires instead of God’s desires for our life (Matthew 4:3)
4) Not taking the opportunity to do good (James 4:17)
As believers, we do not lost our salvation when we sin against God. (John 3:16-17) However, sin certainly has consequences for Christians. Let us examine a few today.
**Sin causes us to lose our witness. When we are caught in sin, we have a much more difficult time telling others about Jesus. Our reputation matters to people. And when we allow sin to destroy our reputation, they won’t listen to us as they will consider us hypocrites. Disobedience to God can result in a weakened, diminished testimony and is extremely dangerous for Believers.
**Sin also results in losing our closeness with God. The Scriptures teach us that sin hinders our prayer life. (Psalm 66:18) We lose our closeness with God when our prayers are hindered. It seems as if a veil is placed over our hearts when we trespass God’s commands. We need to hear from God and sin hinders our prayer-life in devastating ways.
**Sin causes us to be restless and have a wandering spirit. After Cain killed Abel, he was forced to become a vagabond and a wanderer on the earth. (Genesis 4) This story is emblematic of our lives when we sin. Sin never satisfies. Therefore, when we chase after sin we always keep wandering and searching for the ultimate satisfaction that never arrives. The only way our souls can find rest is in the forgiveness and cleansing of the Savior.
I will end with these words from John’s epistle.
If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:8-9
The Pastor's Page (10-16-18)
We give thanks to God always for all of you, making mention of you in our prayers; constantly bearing in mind your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the presence of our God and Father. 1 Thessalonians 1:2-3
Paul’s letter to the church at Thessalonica begins with warm encouragement to the people of God. The Apostle mentions three things that he keeps in mind as he prays for them daily. Let us look at these three points as we examine these verses. And let’s ask ourselves “are these true of my relationship with Christ and are these true in my church?”
First, Paul exhorts them to continue in their “work of faith.” This church was growing in their faith and trust in Christ. They were working to see their faithfulness increase and it was showing. Can the same be said of us?
Next, Paul encourages them as he speaks of their “labor of love.” They were reaching to love one another all the more in light of Christ’s love for them. Love is an action word. It doesn’t just happen. Instead, we must pursue it by choice of the mind and the heart. Are we growing daily in love for God and love for others?
Paul’s final admonition is to grow in “steadfastness of hope.” The hope they had was based on God’s Word and His promises. It is the same hope that we continue to cling to in our time. Biblical hope is not a maybe or a chance. It is a bedrock, steadfast assurance that God will do what He said He will do. We can trust this hope in every circumstance of life.
Keep growing in faith, love, and hope dear Christian. And may way we pray that our spiritual growth will be seen and manifested in our lives as we live, work, and serve the Lord Jesus. Blessings upon you all!
The Pastor's Page (10-9-18)
But You, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, Slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness and truth . Turn to me, and be gracious to me; Oh grant Your strength to Your servant, And save the son of Your handmaid. Psalm 86:15-16
Psalm 86 is widely regarded as a prayer of David. It is always profitable to see the prayers of God’s people in Holy Scripture. They can teach us much about how to pray and intercede in our own prayer life.
After acknowledging God’s power and goodness, David made three specific requests of God in these verses:
David prayed for God’s graciousness. He knew that without God’s gracious love He could accomplish nothing of eternal value. The need for such a prayer should be evident in our lives as well. We need God’s grace every day.
David prayed for God’s strengthening. David mentions his enemies and the need for deliverance several times in this psalm. He was fully aware that his power was limited. But, he was also aware of the omnipotent power of God. In the same way, we should also pray for God’s power to overcome in our lives.
Finally, David prayed for God’s salvation. While David didn’t know what his future would hold, he did trust that God would bring Him through the trials. Our prayers should be saturated with the same types of thoughts and longings. The way may be rough but God is able to bring us safely home to heaven. Through the finished work of Christ, the Christian has been saved, sanctified, and is secure forevermore.
David’s prayer psalm serves as an example for us today. We ought to pray for God’s graciousness, power, and preservation. These prayers will guard us and strengthen us each day. May God richly bless you as you seek Him through prayer.
The Pastor's Page (10-2-18)
From Your precepts I get understanding; Therefore I hate every false way. Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. Psalm 119:104-105
The Word of God is awesome. It teaches us the truth about God, about ourselves, and about our lives. God has revealed Himself to us through His Word and through the Lord Jesus Christ. The Bible is powerful and authoritative upon all of humankind.
The Bible teaches us and informs us about salvation and the proper way to live. Let us look at what these Scriptures teach us about the powerful, inspired Word of God.
From Your precepts I get understanding. The Scriptures reveal what we need to know. We gain understanding about God’s mercy, God’s purposes, and God’s will when we read and study the Scriptures.
Your word is a lamp to my feet. The Bible serves as a light in the dark times. Our world is full of spiritual darkness. Thankfully, we have been given the light which allows us to see the truth and not stumble in the darkness that is all around us.
A light to my path. The Bible directs us in the good and right ways of God. His commands and precepts light our path and give us direction. You will never go wrong when you obey the Word of God.
Let us commit again to read and study the Bible. It is a miracle given for us. We should read it, study it, and obey it. May the Word of God be blessing to you forevermore!
The Pastor's Page (9-25-18)
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
Don’t give up, Christian. Don’t become weary as you seek to live for Christ. It’s not easy and the temptation to live for self is ever-present. Resist that temptation and continue to do good to others. Serve, minister, and love each day. You won’t regret it.
Don’t give up, Christian. You will reap a harvest if you keep going. The faithful farmer is rewarded with crops when he/she prepares for the harvest, plants for the harvest, and waits for the harvest. Believer, you will reap a spiritual bounty if you continue and do not waver.
Don’t give up, Christian. Jesus didn’t give up on us. How can we give up on His calling and His work? The times are difficult and the way can be harsh. We can all agree to that. Nonetheless, don’t give up. It will be worth it all when we see Jesus face to face. It will be worth everything when we come into His eternal presence to stay with Him forevermore.
Don’t give up!
The Pastor's Page (9-18-18)
1 O God, You are my God; I shall seek You earnestly ; My soul thirsts for You, my flesh yearns for You, In a dry and weary land where there is no water. 2 Thus I have seen You in the sanctuary, To see Your power and Your glory. 3 Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, My lips will praise You. 4 So I will bless You as long as I live; I will lift up my hands in Your name. 5 My soul is satisfied as with marrow and fatness, And my mouth offers praises with joyful lips. 6 When I remember You on my bed, I meditate on You in the night watches, 7 For You have been my help, And in the shadow of Your wings I sing for joy. 8 My soul clings to You; Your right hand upholds me. 9 But those who seek my life to destroy it, Will go into the depths of the earth. 10 They will be delivered over to the power of the sword; They will be a prey for foxes. 11 But the king will rejoice in God; Everyone who swears by Him will glory, For the mouths of those who speak lies will be stopped.
We believe this psalm was written while David was in his time of wilderness wanderings. The imagery would seem to support that thought.
Have you ever felt that you were in a dry and parched land in a spiritual sense? What do we do in those times? Let’s look at three particular aspects of this psalm and see how God would speak to us in these difficult and dry times of life.
In the times of difficulty, we should desire God’s presence. Trials will either drive you closer to Christ or drive you away from His presence. Choose to run to Christ and seek His presence. This act will not make our circumstances better immediately. Pursuing God will allow us to experience God’s comfort and strength in spite of our circumstances.
In times of difficulty, we should delight in God’s power. David was far from Jerusalem and distant from all that was familiar to him. Yet, he choose to worship and praise God where he was. He knew God’s power was sufficient to carry him through no matter the trial or tribulation. May we be challenged to think deeply on God’s power all through the day and all through the night.
In times of difficulty, we should depend on God’s protection. David was probably running for his life at the time of this writing. He trusted in God’s power and protection nonetheless. He knew that God would vindicate him in the end. Dear Christian, we will be vindicated as well. There will come a time when all that we have believed will be proven to be true. Let us not shrink back in fear. God is our protector.
God’s power, His presence, and His protection are more than enough. May we rest in Him while we are in the spiritually dry and thirsty places. He will bring us through!
The Pastor's Page (9-11-18)
Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord. 1 Corinthians 15:58
Jesus has risen! This truth serves as the linchpin for all of Christianity. Since He arose, we will arise. As Christ was given a new body, we will be given a new body. Christ was raised for our justification. Our sin and guilt have been removed and we have received the righteousness of Christ. He has risen indeed!
Paul ends his resurrection discussion in 1 Corinthian 15 with 4 specific commands. Let’s peruse them today. And may our study lead us to greater obedience to Christ.
**Be steadfast. Let us remain settled in the cross. We have been taught the Scriptures and the truths of God. And we should continue to believe and trust them. Others will lay aside the Scriptures and opt for a more “world-friendly” way. Our call is to remain steadfast in the truth no matter the cost.
**Be immovable. The thought here is remaining solid through the trials and tribulations of life. The storms of life may come but we are to remain constant in our belief no matter the trial. We live by the truth and not by how we feel. Be immovable child of God.
**Abound in the work of the Lord. Because of our salvation, we work and labor for Christ. We work to minister, to serve, and to see others come to know the Savior. But we don’t simply do the bare minimum. Paul calls to abound, to be abundant in our work. Let us give our best effort and our best energy. May the Lord help us to be excellent in all of our service to Him.
**Remember, your labor is not in vain. Your work, your witness, and your giving will always accomplish much in the kingdom work. We often do not see the end result of our ministry. However, God sees and blesses our service to others. Our labor is in the Lord. Let us trust Him to use it for His glory!
The Pastor's Page (9-4-18)
Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2
Today, I lay aside my burdens. God can handle them.
Today, I lay aside my burdens. I can’t handle them on my own.
Today, I lay aside my burdens. I’m not strong enough to solve them.
Today, I lay aside my burdens. God will provide for me.
Today, I lay aside my burdens. I will seek to please God and not human beings.
Today, I lay aside my burdens. Christ is always with me!
Today, I lay aside my burdens. I know they are preparing me for something better.
Today, I lay aside my burdens. God is all I need!
Today, I lay aside my burdens. My burdens are only temporary.
What about you? Will you join me today? Will you lay aside your burdens and trust Christ more fully?
The Pastor's Page (8-28-18)
In You our fathers trusted; They trusted and You delivered them.
I will trust in the Lord. He has delivered those who came before. God has kept them and brought them safely to His rest. I will trust in the Lord.
O my God, in You I trust, Do not let me be ashamed; Do not let my enemies exult over me.
I will trust in the Lord. My enemies will not have the final word in my life. God’s plan is sure and steady for me. I will trust in the Lord.
But as for me, I trust in You, O LORD, I say, "You are my God."
I will trust in the Lord. He is my God and Savior. I have been justified through the blood of Jesus and His resurrection. I am His! I will trust in the Lord.
When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You.
I will trust in the Lord. I trust Him in the good and I trust Him in the bad. I will trust Him in fear and I will follow Him no matter the cost. I will trust in the Lord.
Trust in Him at all times, O people; Pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us. Selah.
I will trust in the Lord. I will trust Him for all things and in all times. He is my refuge, my fortress, and my ever present help. I will trust in the Lord.
How about you?
The Pastor's Page (8-21-18)
But if you do not do so, then take note, you have sinned against the LORD; and be sure your sin will find you out. Numbers 32:23
We see a somber warning in this verse of Scripture. Moses implores the people to remember that their sin would be exposed one day. When they sinned against the LORD, they would be found out at some point.
The word sin means to come short of God’s glory. (Romans 3:23) It means to “trespass” the rules that God has given us. (Luke 11:4) Sin is also forsaking the opportunity to do good for others. (James 4:17) As we understand what the Bible has declared, we perceive how vulnerable we are to temptation.
Yet, it is interesting how often we try to hide our sin. We try to pretend in isn’t there and we seek to cover up our sinfulness. This effort to conceal our sin will ultimately fail.
Our only recourse is to repent of our sin and turn to Christ for forgiveness. Dear Christian, when you sin, don’t try to hide it. Turn to Christ, be forgiven, and move forward. “He is faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us.” (1 John 1:9-10). This promise is for all who forsake their sin and trust in Christ!
Jesus promised that all we try to cover will eventually be uncovered. (Matthew 10:26) Let’s stop trying to fool God and others. Christ is faithful and just. And we can trust Him and His word!
The Pastor's Page (8-14-18)
God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
1 Corinthians 1:9
God is faithful! Those three words have the power to change us and keep us going. The power of our promise-keeping God encourages us and sustains us.
God is faithful no matter the circumstance and no matter the problem. He always keeps His promises. He cannot lie, He cannot waver, and God will fulfill all covenants to the fullest.
It’s difficult to know who we can trust in this life. Enemies come against us and even our “friends” can let us down. We’ve all been hurt by the unfaithfulness of others.
But, God is faithful in all things. This fact doesn’t mean that all of our problems are immediately solved. It doesn’t meant that our trial and tribulations automatically go away. God’s faithfulness does tell us that He will be with us and that He will carry us through.
Let us give thanks for our promise-keeping God. Christian, serve Jesus each day knowing that His Word is trustworthy. We can’t count on much in this world. We can always count on Jesus!
The Pastor's Page (8-7-18)
Do you ever notice how some people need to have the last word? It seems as if some must get in the last syllables no matter the conversational topic. Such people can be difficult to deal with in life situations.
But, here is the good news. People will not have the ultimate last say about our lives. Your critics and your enemies will not have the final determination about you. Instead, God will have the last say about us Christians. His Word is what will count for all of eternity. Isn’t that wonderful news?
Through the salvific work of Jesus upon the cross, our sins have been forgiven, our hope has been secured, and our eternal destiny has been made sure. Others may harm and hurt us. But, these actions (though painful) will not ultimately determine our destiny. God has made that sure through Christ Jesus.
No wonder David could write these words with full confidence. The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the defense of my life; Whom shall I dread? (Psalm 27:1) No wonder Paul could say What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? (Romans 8:31) Because God has the last word, Jesus reminds us "These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." (John 16:33)
God has the last word, Believer. Trust in Him and obey Him. You will not be disappointed in Jesus!
The Pastor's Page (7-31-18)
The indwelling power of the Holy Spirit is one aspect of His ministry to believers. Scriptures teaches us that God dwells with us through the Holy Spirit. Where once God abode in Tabernacles and Temples, He now is resides in us as His people.
What does the Scripture teach us about the indwelling power of the Spirit? Let us examine three things that come to mind. And may we be blessed and encouraged in our relationship with God Almighty.
Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. "He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, 'From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.' "But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified. John 7:37-39
The Holy Spirit is a gift and the Spirit is given to those who believe. A Christian is indwelt by the Holy Spirit. Jesus declared it to be so in this passage. Through this prophecy, John declared that all who believe in Him would receive the gift of the Spirit. He would be like a river of living waters flowing through our being.
In Him , you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed , you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God's own possession, to the praise of His glory. Ephesians 1:13-14
The Holy Spirit is given at salvation. Paul refers to the fact that we are sealed with the Holy Spirit. The seal will be opened when we see Him face to face (spiritually speaking). When we believe, we are given an inheritance from Christ and we become God’s own special possession.
Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Ephesians 4:30
The Holy Spirit indwells us permanently. We are sealed to the day of ultimate redemption when we get to Heaven. Therefore, Paul instructs us to listen to the Holy Spirit as He is our guard and guide till we see Jesus.
As we close this week, may we remember the importance of the third person of the Trinity. He is our gift that is given at salvation. And He will be with us forever. Hallelujah! What a Savior!
The Pastor's Page (7-3-18)
We, as God’s people, are commanded in the Bible to bless the Lord. What does it mean to “bless the Lord?” It means to give gratitude and admiration to God —it is defined as speaking well of His goodness and greatness. We have the awesome privilege to bless the Lord.
How are we to do this? The Scriptures shows us the path. Let’s look at three ways we are to bless the Lord!
Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name.
(Psalm 103:1)We should bless the Lord in the deepest part of who we are.
The soul refers to the center of being. It is the mind, the will, and the emotions within us. We are to bless His name fully and completely. Let our praise not only be external, but, let it engage our inward person as well.
I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
(Psalm 34:1) We ought to bless the Lord in everything. In all times, let us bless His name. It good times let us bless the Lord. And in difficult times may we bless the Lord as well. His praise shall continually be in our mouths and on our hearts.
The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; Blessed be the name of the Lord.”
Job 1:21) Bless the Lord when the Lord gives. Bless the Lord when He takes away. This principle is not always easy to follow. It’s not simple to traverse this path when we suffer a loss. If Job can bless the Lord after all he lost, so can we.
May God richly bless you and you bless the Lord!
The Pastor's Page (6-28-18)
Yet those who wait for the LORD Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary. Isaiah 40:31
Waiting is exhausting. Waiting on God is one of the most difficult experiences we will ever endure as a Believer. We know that God is able, but, He doesn’t seem to move on our time-table.
Why does God require us to wait? Why do the answers take so long to arrive? While we can never fully answer those questions, we can know that there are some good reasons that God acts as He does. Let us examine three reasons in the remainder of this article.
**God requires us to wait to increase our trust in Him. If everything arrived from God immediately our faith would stagnate and never grow. Waiting forces us to rely on God all the more.
God used a time of waiting to grow Joshua’s faith. Joshua waited forty years for God’s ultimate plan in His life to unfold. Joshua’s trust in God grew and allowed him to effectively lead God’s people through the Canaanite conquest.
**God asks us to wait so He can prepare us for the future. Joseph is a good example of this principle. God was preparing Joseph for leadership each step of the way. First in slavery and latter in prison his skills and acumen were being honed and refined. Joseph learned to serve and this lesson prepared him for the time that he would lead the nation of Egypt.
God is preparing you today for something greater tomorrow. God is using your waiting as a time of preparation. Learn from it and grow as a result.
**God uses our times of waiting to remind us that He is in control. Though we have free will, we do not have ultimate dominion over our circumstances. And God reveals that fact to us in the time of waiting.
Perhaps you are in a season of waiting. It’s not an easy place to be. My counsel to you may seem trite. Nevertheless, here it is–trust God, learn from your present circumstances, and give thanks for God’s ultimate sovereignty. When God reveals His path and His glory, it will be worth the wait!
The Pastor's Page (6-19-19)
30 Jesus replied and said, "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among robbers, and they stripped him and beat him, and went away leaving him half dead. 31 "And by chance a priest was going down on that road, and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32 "Likewise a Levite also, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 "But a Samaritan, who was on a journey, came upon him; and when he saw him, he felt compassion, 34 and came to him and bandaged up his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them; and he put him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 "On the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper and said, 'Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I return I will repay you.' 36 "Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the robbers' hands?" 37 And he said, "The one who showed mercy toward him." Then Jesus said to him, "Go and do the same." Luke 10:30-37
Jesus often taught using parables. Parables were stories from the natural realm that Christ used to demonstrate great spiritual truth. The Good Samaritan is one Jesus’ most famous parables.
It is important to remember that parables were not historical accounts and were used to amplify the truth that Jesus taught. Therefore, we must be careful not to over analyze or analogize them as we seek to understand the message Jesus intended. With that in mind, let us look at three simple lessons from this teaching and apply them to our lives. Jesus gives us a blueprint for how we are to interact with folks in our daily lives. Let’s not miss His message.
**First, God uses unlikely people. Jesus made the Samaritan the hero of His story and that is significant. The Samaritans were descendants of the northern kingdom of Israel who had intermarried with the nations that bordered their land centuries before. They were hated by God-fearing Jews and were considered to be half-breeds. The Jews called them dogs to demonstrate their disgust with these compromising peoples.
It is the Samaritan who stopped to aid the victim. While the priest and the Levite ignored the need, the Samaritan went to the need. Let’s be careful not to discount people. You never know who God might use for His glory. Even unlikely people find their way into His story.
**We ought to see the need around us. The priest and the Levite observed the need, yet, they didn’t really “see” the man and offer to help. This may seem simple but it isn’t always the case. We can become so busy and self-focused that we miss opportunities to comfort others. And the reason we miss them is because we don’t see them.
Let’s make it a point to ask God to reveal the need around us. We can’t meet every need. We can meet some if we will keep our eyes open and listen for the Holy Spirit’s prompting.
**Service is costly but worth it. The Samaritan was willing to help physically. He bound up His wounds and took the stranger to the inn so He could recover. But, he also was inclined to pay a price to help this man by leaving provision for the future.
Service is costly. It is costly for us just as it was for Jesus. Serving others is worth it. When we serve others we are following in Christ’s footsteps. Service is not easy but it is rewarding and Christ-like. Don’t the let the price of service keep you from meeting needs. You’ll be glad you did.
The Pastor's Page (6-12-18)
"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life." John 3:16
We will look at the most famous verse in the Bible today. This is verse is also the most memorized verse in all of Scripture. Let us not lose the wonder and majesty of this teaching even though we are very familiar with it. Let us examine it in this post and be reminded of God’s love and goodness to us.
God took the initiative in our salvation. Our relationship with Christ is not incidental or accidental. God made the first move.
“so loved the world…………………
God’s love compelled Him to send Christ for us. He loved us enough to take action on our behalf. He could have simply allowed us to suffer the natural consequences of our sin. But, His love would not allow Him to do that!
“that He gave His only begotten Son….
God sent Jesus into the world for us. The term “only begotten” implies uniqueness and singularity. God sent His one and only Son because He was the only One who could be our sacrifice for sin. Christ was the only acceptable sacrifice and substitute that could pay our sin debt.
“that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life………
Whoever believes in Him will have eternal life. There are no restrictions on the “whoever.” God loves the people of world and calls them to repent.
You may be asking “what do I have to believe?”
**First, believe that Jesus is who said He is. He is the Son of God who came into this world. He is the Savior and He is the only Savior.
**Also, believe that Jesus did what He said He did. He lived in the world perfectly for our righteousness. He died as our substitute and sacrifice on the cross for our forgiveness. And He rose again on the third day for our justification.
**Finally, believe that Jesus will do what He said He will do. The Bible declares that “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved”. (Romans 10:13) Jesus taught us “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out.” (John 6:37)
Trust in Him today. Ask Christ to forgive you and save you. He loves you. And He desires your presence in Heaven!
The Pastor's Page (6-5-18)
For the Lord is our judge, the Lord is our lawgiver, the Lord is our king; it is he who will save us.
Isaiah 33:22 wonderfully summarizes the way God relates to His people. The original context refers to the nation of Israel. But, one can easily see these thoughts enumerated throughout the Scriptures. Because of that, we believe that they apply to us today.
Let us examine the implications of these statements for our lives. The LORD is great and greatly to be praised (Psalm 96:4). It is important to understand how we should view Him.
**The LORD is our judge. Since the God will judge us, we are accountable to Him. What we believe, what we say, and what we will do will come under the judgement of the LORD. May we remember this as we live for Christ each day.
**The LORD is our lawgiver. Therefore, we should learn and study His Word. We will be judged by the standard of God’s Word. God help us to study the Bible, learn it, and seek to obey it throughout our lives.
**The LORD is our king. Our highest allegiance belongs to Christ and Christ alone. He is to be above every relationship and every person in our lives. Let us serve our LORD the King the rest of our lives.
**The LORD is our savior. We would be lost forever without Jesus. He has saved us by His blood (Hebrews 10:18-20). We should serve Him and worship Him forever.
What a mighty God we serve!
The Pastor's Page (5-29-18)
“And lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20)
These words comprise some of the final instructions and words of encouragement from the Savior. As His time on earth was ending, He reminded His followers, all of His followers, of His abiding presence to the very end.
God’s presence is more than a feeling. It is a promise found throughout Scripture. Admittedly, most believers endure times in their lives where they do not “feel” the presence of God strongly. We should not be surprised by this as others in Scripture (David, Elijah, etc.) voiced the same feelings. Even Jesus cried out, in Matthew 27:46, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” as He suffered on the cross. God’s presence is more than a feeling.
He is with us not matter the situation. He is with us no matter the triumph. And, He is with us no matter the failure, hurt, or pain we may experience. Remember His presence throughout your day. He is always with us!
The Pastor's Page (5-22-18)
I love the church! God has given me the privilege of serving churches my entire adult life. I am thankful for the church local and the church universal. With that in mind, let us be reminded of a few vital aspects of the church today.
The church is the body of Christ. Christ is the head of the body. We need one another and we should fulfill our role in the body. I am thankful for the body of Christ.
He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything.
The church is God’s witness to the world. It is through the church that we learn and grow to be Christ’s ambassadors to the world. We are His witnesses and He has sent us into the world to make disciples. I am thankful for the witness of the church.
To me, the very least of all saints , this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ, and to bring to light what is the administration of the mystery which for ages has been hidden in God who created all things; so that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places.
The church is a powerful presenter of God’s glory. God’s glory is revealed in many different places throughout the scope of the universe. And it is display powerfully in the church as God’s people meet, worship, pray, and serve together. I am thankful for the glory of God as it is revealed in the church.
Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.
Dear Christian, are you a faithful part of your local church? Are you fulfilling your role in the body of Christ? Do you give God glory through the church?
The Pastor's Page (5-15-18)
As Christians, our desire is to live holy lives. We want to be like Jesus. But we still struggle with sin. While we want to be holy, we struggle against the world system, the evil one, and our own sinful nature. We can easily sympathize with Paul’s struggle in Romans 7.
What can we do to overcome sin? Is there any help? Thankfully there is. Let us examine three steps to overcoming sin. I’m sure there are more, but, we will limit this discussion to three steps.
**Avoidance. First, let us commit to avoiding situations that tempt us as much as possible. Paul spoke of fleeing fornication (1 Thessalonians 4:3, 1 Corinthians 6:18) and of avoiding the very appearance of evil (1 Thessalonians 5:22). Stay away from circumstances that allow sinful temptation to flourish. We can’t always avoid these times. But, we should take every precaution possible to prevent them from occurring in our lives.
**Prayer. Jesus counsels us to pray that we would not enter into temptation (Matthew 26:41). He also teaches us to pray that we would be spared from temptation in the model prayer (Matthew 6:9-13). A consistent prayer life is a powerful defense against sin. Avoiding temptation is not simply running away from sin. That is important, but, it’s not enough. We need to run towards Christ. One of the best ways to do that is through prayer.
**Trust. 1 Corinthians 10:13 tells us this: No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to humanity. God is faithful and He will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation He will also provide a way of escape, so that you are able to bear it. This promise reveals several important keys to escaping temptation.
**God is in control of your temptations.
**He will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you can bear.
**God will provide an escape route from temptation. Look for it early in the temptation process and when you find the escape, take it.
**Christ will give you the strength to bear it all to help you overcome sinfulness.
Overcoming sin is difficult and arduous. Sometimes we will lose the battle. When you do, simply confess your sin, ask forgiveness, and move on (1 John 1:9-10). Stay in the fight. Avoiding sinfulness means escaping the consequences of our sin. And obedience is always worthwhile in the life of a believer.
The Pastor's Page (5-8-18)
Encouragement for the Week
Dear Christian, God is with you!
Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, "I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you," so that we confidently say, "The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What will man do to me?"
Christ lives in you!
Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20
Our faith will be rewarded!
Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Keep serving Jesus, Believer. Your faith is not in vain. Keep striving and living by faith knowing that Christ is with you every step of the way.
The Pastor's Page (5-1-18)
Jesus presented another parable to them, saying, "The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field. "But while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went away. "But when the wheat sprouted and bore grain, then the tares became evident also. "The slaves of the landowner came and said to him, 'Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?' "And he said to them, 'An enemy has done this!' The slaves said* to him, 'Do you want us, then, to go and gather them up?' "But he said* , 'No; for while you are gathering up the tares, you may uproot the wheat with them. 'Allow both to grow together until the harvest; and in the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers, "First gather up the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them up; but gather the wheat into my barn." Matthew 13:24-30
Jesus is the judge of all things. At the end of the age, He will gather the true Believers to Himself and He will judge those who refuse to believe in Him. This parable gives us insight on these future events. Let us observe three observations from this parable of Christ.
**There are true believers and false believers. Some who claim the name of Christ are true converts and they are the good seed that grows into good wheat. There are others who claim to be a Christian, but, they are actually not a Believer at all. The non-believer may look like a Christian and may even act like one for a time. However, the true and false will be revealed for who they really are in the end.
**True and false believers will inhabit the same space in this life. Both are allowed to grow. It is only at the end that the differences come into focus.
**Ultimately, the true believer shall be gathered to Christ and the false convert shall be separated from Christ. All shall be judged and the true faith will be rewarded while the false faith will receive condemnation. No one escapes the judgement of Christ.
What about you? Have you placed your faith in Christ? Do you believe that He lived for you, died for you, and rose again for you? Are you a true believer? You may fool people for a time if you are not really a Christian. But that ruse will not last forever. In the end, the wheat will be revealed along with tares. Trust Christ today and be saved!
The Pastor's Page (4-28-18)
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
1 Peter 1:3-5
We are reminded today about what awaits the Believer in Christ. The Apostle Peter tells us that we have an inheritance through Christ’s work upon the cross and His resurrection. He then goes on to describe the inheritance we have in Christ. Let’s be encouraged as we examine this topic this week.
**Our inheritance is imperishable. It will never spoil or decay. Our inheritance in heaven will not rust or rot. Praise be to Christ our Lord!
**Our inheritance is pure. No defilement of any kind will ever mar our Heavenly home. What a contrast. In our society, everything is stained and corrupted by sin and rebellion. However, the dwelling place of God’s people is pure, holy, and undefiled. Christ alone is worthy!
**Our inheritance is eternal. Our inheritance will remain long after everything else has passed away. Hallelujah, what a Savior!
**Finally, our inheritance is reserved. We have a reservation for Heaven through Christ’s saving work. It cannot be taken away or destroyed and nothing can keep us from our reserved place in Heaven. Christ alone is worthy of all glory, honor, and praise!
The Pastor's Page (4-17-18)
I was lost—Jesus found me!
"What man among you, if he has a hundred sheep and has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open pasture and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? "When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. "And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!' "I tell you that in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.
I was spiritually blind—Jesus opened my eyes!
The blind receive sight and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them.
I was separated from God—Jesus reconciled me!
For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.
I was headed for Hell—Jesus saved me and now I am headed for Heaven!
Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. "In My Father's house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you."If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.
Christ has done all of these things for me. He can do the same for you! If you haven’t already, will you trust Him today?
The Pastor's Page (4-10-18)
"Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. "And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. "Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. "The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell—and great was its fall."
Building on the right foundation is vitally important. The foundation determines the strength and durability of the structure. The same is true for our lives as well.
You are building your life on a foundation. We all are. Jesus said there are only two foundations on which to build your life. One is the solid rock of Christ while the other is the shifting sands of the world. Upon which foundation is your life being constructed? The contrast could not be clearer.
**One foundation is steady, the other is unsteady.
**One foundation will withstand the storms, the other will succumb to the storms.
**One foundation is eternal, the other is earthly.
**One foundation leads to eternal life, the other leads to eternal ruin.
Are you building your life on the foundation of Jesus Christ? Have you turned from your sins and received salvation through the forgiveness Christ gives? Do you believe that Christ lived for you, died for you, and rose again just as He promised? If not, believe and trust in Christ. Begin to build your life on the solid rock. You won’t regret it.
The Pastor's Page (4-3-18)
**We run this article every Tuesday after Easter each year. It was first published in April 2015.
“He has risen!” (Luke 24:6) That simple, powerful phrase changed the course of history and eternity at once. Jesus death, burial, and resurrection had been predicted throughout His ministry. And now it was fulfilled just as He had said. He was no longer dead, but alive forevermore.
The resurrection is the heart of the Christian faith. Without it, Paul tells us our “faith is vain and we are yet (still) in our sins.” (1st Corinthians 15:17) The resurrection, though an audacious claim, proved the veracity and truthfulness of the Messiah. It serves as verifiable evidence that everything He said was truth and that He was indeed the very Son of God.
What a difference the resurrection of Christ makes in our lives. Without it, we are lost and hopeless. Through the finished work of Christ, we are brought near to God through the wonder of reconciliation. (2nd Corinthians 5:18-19) The resurrection gives us “the hope that our sins are paid for (Romans 4:25), death has been defeated (Hebrews 2:14), and the hope of eternal life when we repent and turn to Christ, accepting what He has done for us.”
How should we as believers respond to this hope? I would imagine that there would be many responses, but praise and sharing are two that come to mind. Our worship and praise should be centered on all that Christ has accomplished for us and in us through His completed work of sacrifice and resurrection.
Given that we have received so much, how can we not share it? Those early disciples centered their witness on Christ’s death and resurrection. We should do no less today.
He has risen indeed!
The Pastor's Page (3-27-18)
For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity. Ephesians 2:14-16
The cross is key to our theology as Christians. We are saved by Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. We are reconciled to God through the cross. We are brought into Christ’s body through the cross. The cross is central to our faith.
As we observe this holy week, may we never forget what Christ accomplished on the cross. He died for us so that we may be forgiven. Even though we have sinned and deserved nothing, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). God’s love was shown in the greatest possible way at the cross. May we ever be grateful for the cross of Jesus Christ.
On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross,
The emblem of suffering and shame,
And I love that old cross where the dearest and best,
For a world of lost sinners was slain.
So I'll cherish the old rugged cross.
Till my trophies at last I lay down.
I will cling to the old rugged cross,
And exchange it some day for a crown.
Written By George Bennard
The Pastor's Page (3-20-18)
For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day. 2 Timothy 1:12
We believe that 2 Timothy was Paul’s last sacred, inspired writing including in Scripture. According to church tradition, Paul was martyred soon after this epistle was composed. There is a great deal of comfort found in this letter. I want to focus on the latter half of chapter 1, verse 12 today.
“For I know whom I have believed”
Paul was totally confident in His belief in Christ even as he faced the end. No amount of persecution could shake his trust in Jesus. Even death itself could not cause him to lay aside his beliefs. He knows who he believes in and he will not let it go.
We have the some hope today. We can trust Christ no matter the persecution and trials we face. We should be confident that Christ has saved us, sanctified us, and will secure us for the rest of our lives and for all eternity.
“and am persuaded that He is able”
Paul has an unshakeable trust that God will keep His promises. He had experienced the resurrected Christ and it changed his life forever. He was totally sure that God was able to do what He said He would do.
Our faith should be just as strong. God is able to keep His commitments to us. We need not give in to fear and worry. He is able!
“to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day”
Paul understood that God could keep His covenant of grace until the very end. On the day of judgement, Paul know He would be vindicated for what He believed.
Our day of vindication will come as well. We will see Him face to face and it will be worth it all. Trust in the Lord and live for Him dear Christian. You will not be ashamed or regret it!
The Pastor's Page (3-13-18)
The Holy Spirit is God. He is the third person of the Trinity. As Believers, we belong to Him and He lives in us. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)
The Holy Spirit is a person. He is not an “it” or an impersonal force. He has attributes that mark Him as a personal being. Let us examine three of His personality characteristics in this article.
1) He is intelligent. He has all knowledge at all times of all things. What can be said of the Father and the Son can also be said of the Holy Spirit. He is omniscient in every way.
For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God.
2 Corinthians 2:10-11
2) He has emotions. He is not detached from our struggles, cares, and trials. He feels our pain and knows us by His power. The ministry of the Holy Spirit is genuine and robust to all Christians in every circumstance of life.
Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
3) He has a will. He gives spiritual gifts by His power and might. The Holy Spirit is all- powerful and omnipresent and He works His purposes through the events of history in order that God may be glorified.
But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills.
1 Corinthians 12:11
Let us give thanks for the ministry of the Holy Spirit. He knows, He cares, and He works on our behalf. What a mighty God we serve!
The Pastor's Page (3-6-18)
Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.
Jesus is the truth. That is a powerful statement. Jesus simply doesn’t just tell the truth—He is the truth.
Christians believe in truth. We, as God’s people, believe that truth has been revealed in God’s Word. The Scriptures are given by divine inspiration and we are accountable to believe and obey what the Bible says (2 Timothy 3:16-17). The “truth” that is found in the Bible is profitable for us as God’s covenant people. We cannot cast it aside simply to fit in with the crowd. It does not change and it will not change.
We, as Christ-followers, believe in “objective truth.” We trust that the Bible reveals truth that is true for people, for all time periods, and in all places. The truths of Scripture applied to the church in the time of the apostles and they still apply to us today. The Bible may not be popular in our day. But, it is the truth given to us by God and we are bound to obey it realizing that we will be judged by its standards someday.
Society has individualized truth. In some ways, there is no universal truth in our country any longer. We speak of “my truth” and we assert ourselves as the ultimate authority. Such an approach to truth leads to chaos and dystopia. And we are seeing evidence of that break down every day.
God has called us to a better way. The truths of God’s revelation are not easy to obey. They require sacrifice, humility, and God’s grace. God’s truth is not always easy to hear, but, it is the only truth that will save you, restore you, and set you free.
Have you accepted this truth into your life? We have all sinned and fall under God’s just condemnation. There is nothing we can do to earn God’s favor. But, Jesus came to this world to live for us, die for us, and rise again so that you and I might have eternal life. He lived for our righteousness and He died to pay our sin debt. As a result, all who turn from their sins and receive Christ’s forgiveness are saved and reconciled to God. This truth is true for all people, all times, and all places. And it’s the greatest truth that has ever been told!
The Pastor's Page (2-17-18)
25 Therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak truth each one of you with his neighbor, for we are members of one another. 26 Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and do not give the devil an opportunity. 28 He who steals must steal no longer; but rather he must labor, performing with his own hands what is good, so that he will have something to share with one who has need. 29 Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear. 30 Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.
In this passage, Paul commands us this way in verse 30; “do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God.” The word grieve means to “make sorrowful or to offend someone.” The apostle is teaching us that we can grieve or offend the Holy Spirit by how we live.
Grieving the Holy Spirit has consequences for us as Christians. For instance, we will not have power in prayer when we grieve the Holy Spirit. Our prayer life will be weak and ineffectual when we are living contrary to God’s word.
So what exactly does it mean to “grieve” the Spirit of God? Consider the following:
**We grieve the Holy Spirit when we lie to each other (V. 25)
**We grieve the Holy Spirit when we have uncontrolled anger (V. 26-27)
**We grieve the Holy Spirit when we steal from others (V. 28)
**We grieve the Holy Spirit by being lazy and untrustworthy (V. 28)
**We grieve the Holy Spirit when we talk unkindly about others (V. 29)
After telling us what not to do, Paul concludes by giving us the way we are to live. He encourages us to put away bitterness and wrath. We are to be kind and tender toward each other. Finally, the apostle reminds us of the importance of forgiving. Forgiveness should replace bitterness and kindness should replace anger in the lives of Christians.
Let us be careful to not grieve the Spirit of God. We ought to examine our speech and our attitudes regularly. And let us be careful how we speak to one another.
Let us not grieve the Spirit of God. Without Him, we have no power at all.
The Pastor's Page (2-20-18)
God’s people should be filled with joy. Joy should be a defining characteristic of the life of a Believer. We have joy that lasts and is not dependent on our circumstances. An examination of the reasons for our joy is in order today.
*We have joy because we are forgiven. Our debt has been paid through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. Be joyful, dear Christian. You are forgiven.
In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace. Ephesians 1:7
*Joy is available to us because of God’s mercy. God has mercifully withheld from us what we truly deserve. Jesus took the punishment that was rightfully ours. As a result, we receive mercy. We deserved death but God has given us life. We earned Hell but God has promised us Heaven. We merit separation from God but He has reconciled us. Be thankful today for God’s mercy.
But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. Ephesians 2:4-7
*Joy flows to the Christ-follower as a result of God’s grace. Not only has God withheld from us what we rightfully warrant, He has given us blessings that we do not deserve. We have relationship with God, the power of the Holy Spirt, and the promise of His abiding presence. And frankly, we do not deserve any of these things. Yet, through grace we have “God’s riches at Christ’s expense.” Jesus paid the price and we reap the rewards of God’s grace.
For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. Ephesians 2:8-9
We have every reason to be joyful. May joy mark our lives and identify us a Christ-followers!
The Pastor's Page (2-13-18)
In the life of a Christian, motivation matters! Why we do what we do is of great importance. We are accountable to God for motivation for service, giving, and ministry. Let’s look at the biblical teaching on proper motivation for serve in the life of the Believer.
First, we do not serve in order to be seen by others. Jesus reveals this clearly in Matthew 6:1 when He says, “Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven.” Beware of performing ministry with the goal of being seen, congratulated, and exalted by people. It you do that, Jesus says “you have your reward.” And that reward is short-lived and it doesn’t last for very long.
Second, we serve others realizing that God’s sees. Jesus applies this principle to giving alms in Matthew 6:2 when He teaches, “So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.” When we serve and give in this way, the Father who sees us will reward us. Which would you rather have, dear Christian? Would you rather have the fleeting praise of men or lasting reward from God? We ought to serve knowing that God sees us even if no one else does.
Finally, we serve so that we may shine forth Jesus’ nature to the world. As we serve in the proper manner, we show who Jesus truly is to those who are far from Him. We shine the light of God’s love and truth as we minister to those who are in need.
Christ served others to glorify and please the Father. And His service was infectious—people couldn’t stay away from Him as He loved them, healed them, and ministered to them. As such, we should serve to glorify and please Jesus. May God’s people serve in this manner each day. Our service should draw people to Christ and help them see God’s love, mercy, and grace.
So, I leave you with this question today. What is your motivation for service? God bless you as you seek the answer to that question.
The Pastor's Page (2-6-18)
Living as a citizen of the Kingdom of Heaven is not always easy. Kingdom living requires us to embrace the paradoxical teachings of King Jesus. What exactly am I writing about today? Consider these examples of upside down thinking that characterizes living in the Kingdom of God.
Sitting down, He called the twelve and said to them, "If anyone wants to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all." Taking a child, He set him before them, and taking him in His arms, He said to them, "Whoever receives one child like this in My name receives Me; and whoever receives Me does not receive Me, but Him who sent Me." Mark 9:35-37
The first shall be “last of all.” Success in the Kingdom of Heaven arrives by putting oneself last, not first. This thought is counter-cultural and even offensive to our generation which embraces a selfish view of life and self. Yet, the call to put others first is strong and unavoidable.
In the Kingdom, the greatest shall be the “servant of all.” Greatness in God’s economy does not flow to us by chasing after earthly power, earthly plaudits, or earthly treasure. Rather, we rise in the Kingdom by serving others. Jesus is the perfect example of this as He came not to be served, but, to serve and give His life for us. (Matthew 20:28)
"You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” Matthew 5:43-44
Love your enemies. This is a powerful command from the Savior. We are not told to ignore our enemies or tolerate them. We are told to love them as we love our neighbors. We are to love our enemies in the same way that we love those who love us.
As we love our enemies, we show forth the love of Jesus and His nature and character. When Christ was reviled, He did not respond with reviling. He did not return insult for insult or injury for injury. He loved and He forgave even in the most horrid of circumstances. (Luke 23:34)
Christians are citizens of a heavenly Kingdom. The standard of conduct for the Christian is much different than the worldly system. May we, as God’s people, embrace the challenge of living in this way as it honors God and shows forth His love.