The Pastor's Page (5-26-20)
And He has said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness." Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.
2 Corinthians 12:9
Jesus is enough.
Jesus is sufficient for all my needs.
His grace is enough.
Jesus is sufficient in the good times and the bad.
Jesus is enough to fulfill me, sustain me, and secure me.
His mercy is enough.
Jesus is sufficient for all of my trials and problems.
Jesus is my all in all.
Jesus is enough.
Christ is who we trust in—He is all we need.
Jesus will carry us home to heaven.
JESUS IS ENOUGH!
The Pastors' Page (5-19-20)
Now in the eighteenth year of his reign, when he had purged the land and the house, he sent Shaphan the son of Azaliah, and Maaseiah an official of the city, and Joah the son of Joahaz the recorder, to repair the house of the Lord his God. They came to Hilkiah the high priest and delivered the money that was brought into the house of God, which the Levites, the doorkeepers , had collected from Manasseh and Ephraim, and from all the remnant of Israel, and from all Judah and Benjamin and the inhabitants of Jerusalem. Then they gave it into the hands of the workmen who had the oversight of the house of the Lord, and the workmen who were working in the house of the Lord used it to restore and repair the house. They in turn gave it to the carpenters and to the builders to buy quarried stone and timber for couplings and to make beams for the houses which the kings of Judah had let go to ruin. The men did the work faithfully with foremen over them to supervise: Jahath and Obadiah, the Levites of the sons of Merari, Zechariah and Meshullam of the sons of the Kohathites, and the Levites, all who were skillful with musical instruments. They were also over the burden bearers, and supervised all the workmen from job to job; and some of the Levites were scribes and officials and gatekeepers. When they were bringing out the money which had been brought into the house of the Lord, Hilkiah the priest found the book of the law of the Lord given by Moses. Hilkiah responded and said to Shaphan the scribe, "I have found the book of the law in the house of the Lord." And Hilkiah gave the book to Shaphan. Then Shaphan brought the book to the king and reported further word to the king, saying, "Everything that was entrusted to your servants they are doing. "They have also emptied out the money which was found in the house of the Lord, and have delivered it into the hands of the supervisors and the workmen." Moreover, Shaphan the scribe told the king saying, "Hilkiah the priest gave me a book." And Shaphan read from it in the presence of the King.
2 Chronicles 34:8-18
Have you ever felt yourself drifting from God? Are there seasons where you sense that you have stopped growing in your spiritual journey? I would imagine that every Christian experiences those times in life. We want to follow Christ and grow in our faith. Yet, we stall out and seem to even slip backwards at time. Whatever are we to do?
This Scripture gives us a guide to how we can get back on track when our spiritual maturity is stunted. We will examine this passage over the next couple of weeks to determine how we, as God’s people, can reignite our passion for Christ.
Josiah came to the throne at a time of spiritual decay in Judah. Even the temple, the symbol of God’s presence had fallen into disarray and disrepair. The King gave the command to repair and restore the temple. And the priests and leaders did rehabilitate the temple. In that process, they found the book of the Law that had been neglected by past kings. It is at this point of the account that we are given our first principle for personal revival.
Personal renewal requires a rediscovery of the Word of God. King Josiah read the words of the Lord and was convicted in his heart. He know that the people had not be observing and following God’s commands. He repented at the reading of the Law.
The process is the same for us. When we drift from God, let us remember the importance of Scripture. Spiritual decay and bible neglect often go hand in hand. Renew your commitment to study the Bible. Read and study it when you feel like it and when you don’t. Make the pledge to prioritize Scripture reading each day.
Rediscovering the Word of God is the first step to personal renewal. May God richly bless as you study the Scriptures this week.
The Pastor's Page (5-12-20)
And He also told this parable to some people who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and viewed others with contempt: “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and was praying this to himself: ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, the sinner!’ I tell you, this man went to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
Jesus used parables to explain great spiritual truth. A parable is an understandable example from everyday life that demonstrates spiritual truth. The parable from Luke 18:9-14 is no exception.
The contrast between the Pharisee (highly religious person) and the tax collector was stark. On one hand, the Pharisee was well thought of and respected in the community. On the other hand, the tax collector, was hated, despised, and considered one of the worst. Yet, the tax collector left this experience in the temple as the one who was justified. Why?
1) The tax collector was humble. Jesus tells us that all who humble themselves will be looked upon by the Lord with grace and mercy. The Pharisee was haughty and arrogant. But the humility of this tax collector opened the door of God’s mercy. The same lesson applies to us today.
2) The tax collector was repentant. He stood at a distance and wouldn’t even lift his eyes to heaven while beating his chest. These are considered acts of extreme repentance and remorse in 1st century Palestine. The tax collector knew his plight and understood there was nothing he could do but beg for mercy. Consequently, this is what we must do to be saved. Repentance from sin and turning for sin are a must for those who would be saved. The tax collector demonstrates this attitude quite beautifully.
3) The tax collector cried out for mercy. He called upon God as he realized He couldn’t save himself. The sinner had no other recourse but to plead for mercy. The publican in this story represents sinners everywhere. When we exalt ourselves as the Pharisee did, we will be rejected by God. But, when we humble ourselves, repent, and call upon God for mercy He will save us, forgive us, and transform us.
Which person are you? Are you prideful and arrogant? Do you believe your goodness will be enough to merit God’s favor? Friend, our goodness and righteousness will never be adequate to deliver us from our sin and guilt. Trust in Christ’s mercy and forgiveness today. It’s the only way to be justified before God.
The Pastor's Page (5-5-20)
“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 no 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 (4-28-20)
Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless.
2 Peter 3:14
Peter’s teaching revolves around the New Heaven and the New Earth in chapter 3 of this epistle. His main point is that God will make all things new and bring us into the presence of the Savior. We will live with Christ in complete holiness as all things are made new. This promise is glorious and we long for that day to arrive.
Verse 14 relates three dispositions that Christians are to have as we await that day of glorification. Our preparation to enter into the presence of Christ should revolve around these three areas. Therefore we shall discuss peacefulness, spotlessness, and blamelessness in today’s post.
Peace should permeate our lives as we live for Christ and prepare for His coming. The promises of God, the provision of God, and the power of God, are all components of living a peaceful life. God is faithful to supply us and empower us to accomplish His will. (Philippians 4:13,19) The peace of Christ is one disposition we should all possess as we await His return.
Believers are saved by grace through faith. (Ephesians 2:8-10) Our life in Christ is now one of growing in holiness and learning to be above sin. Obviously, we still sin from time to time. Christians still need the Lord’s forgiveness as we learn to be holy and separate. But, rebellion is no longer our master. The power of the Holy Spirit lives in us. This power is sufficient to lead us away from sin and to a life of faithfulness. When Christ returns, may He find His Bride to be holy and spotless in all things.
The Greek word for blameless means “to be without censure.” In other words, let us seek to live our lives in such a way that no one will be able to accuse us of ungodly or untoward behavior. Granted, that is a very difficult task that can only be accomplished as the Spirit of God lives in us and directs us each day. It is what we are called to do. May Jesus find us blameless when He comes again.
“Even so, come Lord Jesus!”
The Pastor's Page (4-21-20)
Just as Abraham "believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness."
Abraham believed God. We need to believe God. This powerful thought is the key for Christian living. Walking by faith requires us to believe God. In what ways can we believe God? Let’s examine this concept today.
1) Believe God for salvation. Christ died as our substitute upon the cross for you and me. He paid our debt, took our penalty, and bore our pain as our atonement. He lived for our righteousness, died for our sin, and a rose again for our justification. Those who believe in Christ have their sins forgiven and are brought into relationship with God. Believe Him for your salvation. He will save you and give you eternal life.
2) Believe God in all circumstances. God’s character does not change and His Word is true. Believe Him when it makes sense to you. But, trust in Him even when you don’t understand. Christ is worthy of our faith, trust, and obedience.
3) Believe God for his promises. God has saved us. He is sanctifying us, and He will keep us secure until we make home. Believe God and trust in His Word.
Believe God, dear Christian. You will not be disappointed. God is faithful!
The Pastor's Page (4-14-20)
“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 (4-7-20)
He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
2 Corinthians 5:21
Our focus this week is upon the cross. The cross is important to Christians no matter the time of year. But it has a heightened import during Holy Week.
Why does the cross matter? What happened there that is worthy of remembrance and thanksgiving? Paul mentions three things in this verse that I will use to answer these questions.
1) At the cross, God’s plan for redemption was accomplished. The verse begins with the phrase “He made Him.” Christ’s death upon the cross was not accidental or incidental. It took place by the sovereignty and expressed will of God for the salvation of all who will believe.
The promise of Genesis 3:15 was fulfilled in the Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. Satan was defeated and Christ is victorious. Jesus cried out “it is finished.” All that the Father had decreed for our redemption was fulfilled. All of it!
2) At the cross, Christ died for sinners. Jesus bore in His person the very sins of the world. He died as our substitute. He died vicariously in our place. Though He was perfect, He “became sin” for us. In doing so, Jesus fulfilled His words when He cried "Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends." (John 15:13)
3) At the cross, we become the righteousness of God. We are justified through Jesus’ death and resurrection. Our sin is forgiven and our guilt is removed. Also, the righteousness of Christ is imputed to us. We are declared righteous by the decree of God Almighty. We are made fit to stand in God’s presence not by our own goodness and works. We stand fully in Christ’s righteousness for all of eternity.
Yes, the cross matters. Without it we would be doomed forever. But through Christ’s sacrifice, we are made new and brought into His glorious kingdom. To God be the glory, great things He has done!
The Pastor's Page (3-31-20)
Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.'
This verse from Isaiah is a powerful promise from the Word of God. Do not fear and do not be anxious form the crux of the command. Uncontrolled fear and unchecked anxiety have no place in the life of a Christian. We are directed again and again to overcome fear through faith.
The verse begins with the command but doesn’t end there. Isaiah (inspired by the Holy Spirit) gives us three reasons to trust in God and live above fear. The Lord has promised to perform three actions on our behalf. Let’s examine them for a moment.
1) God will strengthen us. God brings us strength in all times, in all circumstances, and in different forms. We receive strength through Bible study and prayer. Strength flows to us as we worship and fellowship with the church. The strength of the Lord empowers us as we serve. God has promised to enable and empower us to follow Him and to obey Him no matter the fears that are around us.
2) The Lord will help us. Life is imperfect and circumstances can be painful. But, God has assured us He will be there to help us. The Spirit of God helps us each day. The people of God come along beside us and help us. What a glorious thought this is—the Lord is our help!
3) God will uphold us by His hand. He will stabilize us and cause us to stand in every situation. Christ taught us that we are all building our lives on one of two foundations. Some build their lives on the unstable, shifting sands of life while those in Christ build their lives upon the solid rock. (Matthew 7:24-27) God upholds His people as they trust in Him day by day.
Be of good cheer, Child of God. God will be with you and sustain until the end. May God bless you as you follow Him each day.
The Pastor's Page (3-24-20)
"This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success. "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
Joshua was chosen to lead the people into the promised-land. Moses had passed from the scene, and Joshua was now the leader of Israel. God spoke to Joshua to instruct him and encourage him in this passage of Scripture.
In these difficult times, we are commanded to do three things in Joshua 1. Let us examine them today.
1) Read and study the Word of God. Stay in the Bible each and every day. It is life, breath, and bread to our souls. We cannot go on without God’s Word.
2) Trust and obey God. God has commanded us to follow Jesus in our daily existence. We are given the great gift of salvation. And our salvation will always propel us to serve God by serving others.
3) Be courageous and do not fear. Be strong and courageous and do not fear. Why? Because God is with you! He promised to be with us through every situation. He is with us.
Take heart, child of God. God is faithful to His Word. God is able to keep His promises. Trust in His power, presence, and provision day by day.
The Pastor's Page (3-17-20)
Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
The words we find in this verse are nothing short of beautiful. Through Christ Jesus, our sin is removed and our guilt is vanquished. Those who receive the gift of salvation are in Christ Jesus. As a result of this, we are no longer condemned.
In John 3, Jesus relates to us the following statement: For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. (John 3:17-18) The message is simple and clear. Those who believe in Christ are not condemned and are free from condemnation forever. Those who do not believe, are judged as guilty in God’s court already. There are those who are free and those who are condemned.
Dear reader, in which group do you fall? Are you a believer in Christ or are you guilty before God? If you are not Christian, realize that God will judge you as guilty. And realize that He has every right to judge us. Turn from your sin and believe in Jesus. He died for you and was raised to life again just as He said. Believe in Him and trust in Him by faith today. Call upon Him and ask to save you and forgive you. You will never regret trusting in Jesus.
The Pastor's Page (3-10-20)
"You shall have no other gods before Me. "You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. "You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.
The first commandment teaches us to flee idolatry. God’s people are to worship God and no one else. Period. Blessings are promised for those who worship God and judgment is pronounced on those who worship idols.
Some may ask “does idolatry exist today?” The answer is a resounding yes. We may not worship gods of stone, iron, and wood. But we certainly have our false gods. Let me mention a few 21st century idols.
**Money. Worship of money is common in our society. Some have replaced worship of God with worship of finances, material possessions and things.
**Notoriety. The advent of social media has produced an alluring call to be known. Clicks, likes, and comments have become the most important thing in the world to some. Being known has become their idol.
**Pleasure. A reckless pursuit of pleasure is driving many to “bow the knee” to this idol in our time. Pleasure is fleeting and short-lived. Yet, a number of folks today seem to pursue a hedonistic lifestyle to the inclusion of everything else.
**Self. The worship of self is at the root of every idol when you truly consider it. Humans tend to love ourselves more than others and more than God. When that is the case, self-propagation, self-preservation, and self-worship are the inevitable outcome. Our greatest idol temptation is often what we see when we look into the mirror.
Let me say that money is not inherently evil. A desire to be know is not automatically sinful. And, God desires that we have pleasure in this life. It is when we prioritize these things over and above our relationship with Christ and seek them apart from God that we cross the line into idolatry.
Worship the Lord, dear Christian. Worship God for who He is. He is worthy!
The Pastor's Page (3-3-20)
We live in a time of fake news and media speculation. It’s difficult to know what to believe and who we can trust. Blessedly, we can trust in God and His Word. Let me remind of a few eternal truths from the Bible today.
As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life.
**Jesus is the way to eternal life. He died on cross for the forgiveness of our sins. His love compelled Him to give His life for us. This is the most glorious truth we have ever known.
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 only way to eternal life. The only path to salvation and forgiveness of sin is through Jesus’s sacrifice and resurrection. Isn’t God so good and kind to reveal the way of salvation and make the path so clear and unequivocal? This truth is so amazing and wonderful for us.
So Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you."
**Christ has sent us into the world to deliver this good news. Christ death, burial, and resurrection are the heart of the gospel message. Because of the gospel, lives can be changed, sins can be forgiven, and the righteousness of Christ is added to our heavenly account. So many people need to hear this life-changing truth. And we are sent to share with everyone.
These are three truths every Christian can trust in and appropriate in their lives. You can count on them every day. I thank God today for the truth He has revealed!
The Pastor's Page (2-25-20)
Praise the Lord! Praise God in His sanctuary; Praise Him in His mighty expanse. Praise Him for His mighty deeds; Praise Him according to His excellent greatness. Praise Him with trumpet sound; Praise Him with harp and lyre. Praise Him with timbrel and dancing; Praise Him with stringed instruments and pipe. Praise Him with loud cymbals; Praise Him with resounding cymbals. Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord!
How are we to praise God?
**Praise Him in every place.
**Praise Him for His works and power.
**Praise Him with music and song.
**Praise Him with instruments and worship.
**Praise to God is to be offered by everyone.
May God bless you this week!
The Pastors' Page (2-18-20)
Why do you call Me, 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I say? "Everyone who comes to Me and hears My words and acts on them, I will show you whom he is like: he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid a foundation on the rock; and when a flood occurred, the torrent burst against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built. "But the one who has heard and has not acted accordingly, is like a man who built a house on the ground without any foundation; and the torrent burst against it and immediately it collapsed, and the ruin of that house was great."
Jesus gives us three principles to learn in this passage. This parable teaches us to choose wisely when considering how we live our lives. We shall examine this familiar text and see how God would use it to help us.
1) There are two foundations on which to build our lives. One is obedience to Christ and one is disobedience to Christ. Those who trust Christ for salvation and seek to obey Him are building upon the rock. Those who forsake Christ are building their lives upon the sand. The true followers of Christ will last while those who reject Christ will be swept away. There are not many ways, only two. We either trust in Jesus or trust in something (or someone) else.
2) Every person is building upon one of these two foundations. There are no exceptions to Jesus’ teaching. People are either seeking to live for Christ or they are living for self. What we see here is a binary. Trusting Christ leads to life and forsaking Christ leads to destruction and separation from the mercy, grace, and goodness of God forever.
3) The troubles of life will be experienced by all. The “storms” of life come to everyone eventually. Jesus didn’t say if the storms arrive. Instead, He teaches us that the storms will arrive at some point.
The trials and difficulties of life reveal the foundation on which we are resting. The solid rock dwellers will be able to make it through this life and enter the presence of Christ. The sand dwellers will be swept away from the presence of Christ once and for all.
This is a powerful teaching. And it leads me to end this post with one question. What are you building your life upon?
The Pastor's Page (2-11-20)
So then each one of us will give an account of himself to God.
We are given a sobering warning in Romans 14. We will all come under the judgement of God one day. No one will escape.
Everyone who refuses to trust and believe in Christ will be separated from God’s goodness, mercy, and grace forever. The lake of fire is their ultimate destination. (Revelation 20:15) Conversely, all who trust in Christ are saved and justified forever. Their eternal destiny is Heaven. (John 14:1-6)
Christians will also give an account of our lives. Living with this reality ought to affect how we think, talk, and act. In light of this truth, let us consider three things today.
1) Our thinking needs to be aligned with God’s Word. Christians ought to study the Scriptures each day so that our thinking will be correct and Godly. Our minds need renewal day by day. (Romans 12:1-2) Renewal takes place when we study the Bible each day.
2) We should be very careful in choosing our words. Christ warned us that we will give an account for “every idle word.” (Matthew 12:36) Words are easily spoken and impossible to take back. Choose your words wisely, Believer.
3) Let us make every effort to make sure that our actions are holy and Godly. Jesus is our example each day. Christians, let us imitate Christ in our daily lives. It will be to our benefit to do so.
God bless you!
The Pastor's Page (2-4-20)
For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? "Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? "And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? 28 "And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. "But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! "Do not worry then, saying, 'What will we eat?' or 'What will we drink?' or 'What will we wear for clothing?' "For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. "But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. "So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Jesus warns us about the danger of worry in these seven verses. Worry is common in our world today. However, we can overcome fear and anxiety through trusting in Christ.
Excessive worry has some difficult consequences for the Believer. Allow me to mention three in this post.
1) Worry doesn’t change anything. Jesus’ words make this point beautifully. Who can add a single hour to your life through worry? The answer is no one. Why live in worry when we can live in trust? Anxiety wastes time and doesn’t alter our situation one bit.
2) Worry depletes our spiritual resources. Anxiety requires a great deal of effort and energy. Worry takes from your emotional reserves without replacing your spiritual resources. It is a bottomless pit that will consume you. Be careful, child of God.
3) Worry weakens our faith. We can either feed our faith or feed our worry. We cannot do both at the same time. It is far better to invest in our faith than to live in worry.
Obviously, there is much to be concerned about in world and our lives. Worry will come upon us. As Believers, we don’t have to live in worry. When fear overtakes you, talk to someone, visit a Godly counselor, see your Doctor if necessary. We all need help from time to time.
But also be reminded to “seek first God’s kingdom and righteousness.” He will lead us through these times of worry. And for that fact, we are thankful beyond measure!
The Pastor's Page (1-28-20)
See, I have taught you statutes and judgments just as the Lord my God commanded me, that you should do thus in the land where you are entering to possess it. "So keep and do them, for that is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples who will hear all these statutes and say, 'Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.' "For what great nation is there that has a god so near to it as is the Lord our God whenever we call on Him? Or what great nation is there that has statutes and judgments as righteous as this whole law which I am setting before you today? "Only give heed to yourself and keep your soul diligently, so that you do not forget the things which your eyes have seen and they do not depart from your heart all the days of your life; but make them known to your sons and your grandsons.
In this Scripture passage, Moses is conveying to the people the importance of the Word of God. There are a few lessons that still apply to us today. Let’s examine them from the writings of Moses.
1) We need to learn the Word of God. Studying the Bible should be a daily pursuit for the Christian. Our hearts are dependent on the precepts and principles of the Scriptures and they enable us to lead a life of Godliness and holiness. Christian, commit to read the Word, study the Word, and absorb the Word each day.
2) We need to obey the Word of God. Moses implored the people to not just learn the Scriptures but to obey them diligently. James also reminds us to be a doer of the Word and not a hearer only. (James 1:22) As we learn the Bible, we ought to put it into practice. The teachings of Holy Writ are counter-cultural and lacking in our day. It is up to Believers to demonstrate true Christianity by what we say and do.
3) We need to teach the Word of God. At the end of this passage, Moses pleads with the people to teach their children and grandchildren the truths of Scripture. This teaching is to take place in the Church and in the home in our day. If we don’t pass along the great truths of the Bible to those who are coming after us, who will? Let us teach the Word, live the Word, and example the Word by how live to those around us each day.
Learn the Scriptures, obey the Scriptures, teach the Scriptures. This is the plan for a life that honor’s God. May we go and go likewise!
The Pastor's Page (1-21-20)
So God created man in His own image; He created him in the image of God; He created them male and female.
We live in society where life is cheap. We, as a nation, have forgotten the value of humanity. I want to take this opportunity to remind of us a Christian theology for life. It’s really quite simple when you think about it from a Biblical perspective.
1) God creates life. The Genesis accounts teach us that God created all things. The crowning arch of His creation is found in the creation of Adam and Eve. God creates life in His own image. The Imago Dei (image of God) is found in every human being. We are not mere animals or accidents of evolution. We are created by the one true God who alone gives life.
2) God values life. God is the giver of life and values it above all. Human begins are not to murder because God values life. (Exodus 20:13) Every human life, no matter the hardship, has value in God’s sight. There are no accidents or mistakes with God. He gives life and He values it.
3) God’s people should value and protect life. Since God creates life and God values life we, His people, should take steps to value and protect life. No life is unworthy and every life deserves protection from conception to death. A stand to protect life may not always be popular. But, the willingness to preserve life is always right and moral.
I will grant that these principles are simplistic to understand. Even a child can grasp them. I would also say that in a sinful, fallen world, sometimes complications arise. I’m thankful that we have these principles to guide us along the way.
May we give thanks today to the giver of life. He is worthy of all our praise and honor!
The Pastor's Page (1-14-20)
Love must be without hypocrisy. Detest evil; cling to what is good.
Romans 12 is one of the most practical chapters in the entire Bible. After explaining our guilt and offering Christ as the answer to our depravity in the first portion of the letter, Paul goes on to explain how we are to "live" beginning in Chapter 12. It is one of the most important chapters in the New Testament.
Let us examine one verse from Romans 12 in this post. Three commands are given to us to learn and observe. A perusing of each one is in order.
**Love must be without hypocrisy. We are to love one another in a pure, authentic way. We shouldn’t simply be nice to people to their face and then tear them down behind their back. We shouldn’t to pretend to love for appearances sake. Rather, we ought to love people as Christ has loved us—sacrificially, purposefully, and fully.
We are all difficult to love at times. Yet, Christ loves us and gave Himself for us. Jesus now commands us to love one another. (John 13:34-35) That love must be true and without hypocrisy.
**Detest evil. Christians are to live holy lives. We are meant to be set apart because of our salvation and due to the sanctifying work of Christ on the cross. Therefore, we are commanded by Paul to hate evil. Evil works, evil deeds, and even evil thoughts are in view here. We are not called to hate people. We are called to hate and detest the evil around us. May we detest evil and avoid it at every turn in order to example the difference that Jesus makes in our lives.
**Cling to what is good. We must pursue and hold onto the good in order to live consecrated lives also. It’s not enough to avoid evil. We should also chase after the good, the noble, the true, the righteous, and the pure. Sometimes these qualities are difficult to find in our present age. But, we will find them if we only look.
Love authentically. Detest and avoid evil. Hold fast to what is good. Following these three commands will draw us closer to Christ each day. May the Lord help us to follow these commands!
The Pastor's Page (1-7-20)
The New Year lies before us. The pages of the calendar are teeming with possibility and hope. We want to make a difference. We desire to see our lives count for something. How can we do that? How do we insure that we do not waste this year? Let’s examine these questions.
To make the most of the time God has given us, first, define your purpose. What are you called and equipped to do? The Scriptures reveal that we all have spiritual gifts and proclivities. (1 Corinthians 12:1-11) Find that purpose and begin to fulfill it. It may take some time and exploration. But it is well worth the cost when one’s purpose can be clearly defined.
Once your purpose is secure begin to prioritize your time around those things that fulfill your purpose. Try to limit distractions as much as possible. Keep your eye on the prize and don’t give up.
Our lives are busy and we all have to make a living, pay bills, and put food on the table. While those things matter, we are created for so much more. We are created, saved, and sanctified to worship God, love Him, and serve others. Make serving Christ the priority all year long. May the Lord help us to “redeem the time” that He has given. (Ephesians 5:16)
Finally, be patient in the process. Making a difference in someone’s life takes time. We will not be able to accomplish all we want to do as quickly as we hope. Be patient and stay the course. There will be times of failure and sin. When that happens, confess it to the Lord, receive forgiveness, and move one.
Paul teaches us to “not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.” (Galatians 6:9) Persevere and God will use your efforts for His glory.
Understanding purpose, priority, and patience will help us to move forward in Christian maturity. We only have one life to live and that life is passing quickly. May God help us to make the most of our time. It’s our most valuable commodity!
The Pastor's Page (12-17-19)
To Timothy, my true child in the faith: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.
1 Timothy 1:2
Paul’s greeting to Timothy is full of kindness and love. Paul also used a similar salutation in his second letter to the young pastor. He desires three things for Timothy—grace, mercy, and peace from the Lord.
Those divine concepts should be our desire for our fellow travelers as well. Our kindness and love should be demonstrated to others as we live our daily lives. We should be seeking to display these attributes to each person we come in contact with each day.
We have received grace from God. He has made us His child and adopted us into His family. He has saved us, reconciled us, and redeemed us from our sin. And God did these things not because we deserved it. We most assuredly did not! But the Lord grants us His favor on all those who will believe. Thanks be to God for His grace.
God has withheld from us what we truly deserve. As sinners, we merit everlasting punishment and shame. As law-breakers, we deserve to be separated from God’s goodness forever. Yet, in His love, He has mercifully saved us and forgiven us through Christ’s sacrifice. We do not receive what we truly require due to God’s mercy. Jesus mercy is expressed through His finished work on the cross. Thanks be to God for His mercy.
God grants peace to all who receive Him. We receive the peace that is beyond understanding. The peace of Jesus helps us, sustains us, and secures us despite any and all adverse circumstances. Thanks be to God for His peace.
We have been given these wonderful gifts. Let us now show these gifts to those who are in need. May all around us see the grace, mercy, and peace of Christ in us.
The Pastor's Page (12-10-19)
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.
Jesus is our Savior. He is our Deliverer and our Rescuer. He came as a babe in a manger to ultimately die for our sins, pay our sin debt, and satisfy the wrath of God on our behalf.
Jesus saves us completely. Hebrews 7:25 tells us “Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.” We are saved to the uttermost and we are saved completely from our sins. All of our sins have been nailed to the cross and removed forever. Jesus intercedes for us and secures us forever through His blood.
Jesus saves us compassionately. His love for us compelled Him to arrive in the manger and then to go to the cross. Jesus teaches us “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” We are unworthy. Jesus loves us and gave Himself for us despite our undeserving nature.
Jesus saves us confidently. Our salvation gives us great confidence and faith. We can trust Christ because we are saved, sanctified, and secured. Our security then fuels our obedience to Him. Have confidence child of God. You are on the winning side!
Aren’t you glad we have a Savior? I know that I am.
The Pastor's Page (12-3-19)
Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, Whom He has redeemed from the hand of the adversary.
This verse is so simple and yet so powerful. Let the redeemed of the Lord say so! Let the redeemed of the Lord identify themselves. As Christ followers, our voices are not to be silent about our salvation and our redemption. We are to tell those around us about all that Jesus has done for us.
How can we do that? There are many ways one could do such a thing. For our purposes, let us peruse three ways we can and should identify with Christ.
We can identify with Christ by our thoughts. Our thoughts are changed as we read and study the Bible, as we worship with the church, and as we submit our lives each day to the Holy Spirit. This is a process that takes time and effort. If we are willing to follow Christ He will change our thoughts and our minds. The redeemed ought to identify with Christ by how we think.
We should identify with Christ through our words. We will be judged by our words and our words have power. Our words are to be salt and light in the midst of a decaying world- salt to bring healing for lost souls and light to reveal the truth. (Matthew 5:13-16) May our words be words that bring life, peace, and salvation to those around us.
We must identify with Christ in our actions. John implores us to love in word and deed. (1 John 3:18) James tells to be not simply hearers of the word but doers as well. (James 1:22-23) Deeds and actions that glorify Christ help us to identify with our Savior. After all, even Jesus went about doing good! (Acts 10:38)
Let the redeemed of the Lord say so. And may we say it today, tomorrow, and every day!
The Pastor's Page (11-26-19)
The word bless, or some variation of the word, appears over 450 times in the Scriptures. At times God is blessed and on other occasions God blesses His people. Jesus gave promises of blessing to Believers in the New Testament. We shall examine three of them this week.
"But blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear.
First, Jesus gives the blessing of revelation. He has revealed Himself to us through the Holy Spirit. Our spiritual eyes and ears have been opened. We see Him by faith and we hear Him through His Word. Through Jesus we were made aware of our sinfulness and our need for a Savior. We were made alive and we believed in Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. We give praise to Christ for revealing Himself to us. Thank God for revelation.
But He said, "On the contrary, blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it."
Jesus also gives the blessing of obedience. We are blessed when we obey the Word of God. The blessing may not appear immediately but it does arrive. We obey Him because we love Him. And Christ never dismisses our obedience. Rather, He sees our faithfulness and blesses it. Life is not perfect even for Christians. But, it is comforting to know that following Jesus is never in vain. Discipleship always, eventually produces the fruit of obedience.
Jesus said to him, "Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed."
Ultimately, Christ gives the blessing of faith. Thomas believed when he saw Jesus. We are blessed because we believe even though we haven’t seen Christ in the flesh. Faith requires trust even when we can’t see or sense the promise. We hold to the Word of God even we can’t sense the final outcome. Jesus’ promised blessing flows to all who believe in Him and await His coming.
Dear Believer, you are blessed. Be joyful and thankful this week. You are blessed!
The Pastor's Page (11-19-19)
Now as Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon who was called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. And He said to them, "Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men." Immediately they left their nets and followed Him. Matthew 4:18-20
Following Jesus is our great joy and privilege. Our lives are enriched as we follow Christ each day. We grow by learning about Christ and obeying Him as we seek to follow Jesus in our lives. It’s amazing!
One the other hand, following Jesus is not easy. We must be willing to go against the culture and obey no matter the cost. Being a disciple comes at a high cost. It is worth it, but, being Christ’s disciple is ease not a life of ease.
While following Christ can be difficult, let us remember three words that can help us go forward and grow in Christ Jesus. Those words are process, patience, and perseverance. An examination of these concepts is in order.
1) Following Jesus is a process. Christian maturity and growth do not happen overnight. Paul speaks of fruitfulness and exhibiting the fruits of the Spirit. Well, it takes time for fruit to mature and grow. So follow the process and follow Him. Read and study the Bible, pray, worship, give, and tell others about Christ. Stay in the process and growth will eventually arrive.
2) Following Jesus requires patience. Growth does not take place quickly in our spiritual lives. Our standing before God changes when we are saved. God sees us as forgiven and complete in Christ’s righteousness. However, growth happens slowly in our sanctification. Following Jesus will have its ups and downs. A disciple will encounter wins and losses.
Be patient. God is not finished with you. He is working on your behalf and Christ is molding and shaping you into His image. Trust God to finish what He has begun in you.
3) Followers of Jesus will need perseverance. A true disciple will keep showing up each day to serve their Lord and Savior. A true Christian will endure to the end. Don’t give up! Stay in the fight and commit to following Christ day by day.
A disciple of Christ does not have a simple, trouble-free life. You can stay the course through the power of the Spirit within you. Be faithful and don’t forsake discipleship.You will be glad you did!
The Pastor's Page (11-12-19)
The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
Jesus is our Rock. He is the foundation we build our lives upon each day. He is the Rock of our salvation and the Rock of our security. Jesus is our Rock.
Jesus is our Fortress. He is our hiding place when times are difficult. He is the only one that protects us fully and Jesus understands our lives, our hurts, and our pains. Jesus is our Fortress.
Jesus is our Deliverer. He has delivered us from the penalty of sin by paying the penalty for us. He is delivering us from the power of sin as we learn to follow Him each day. And, Jesus will ultimately deliver us from the presence of sin when we get to Heaven. Jesus is our Deliverer.
Jesus is our God. He is the second person of the trinity. As the creeds remind us, Jesus is “very God of gods and very man of men.” We worship Him, praise Him, and serve Him. He alone is worthy of all glory and honor and praise. Jesus is our God.
Take courage, dear Christian. You are not alone. Your Rock, your Fortress, your Deliverer, and Your God are with you. Be encouraged today!
The Pastor's Page (11-5-19)
I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.
2 Timothy 4:1-5
The world in which we live is losing its mind. Good is now evil and evil is good. (Isaiah 5:20) How can we keep our heads about us when all others are losing theirs? Paul reminds us in these verses about what we are to do in such times.
The immediate context of this passage is Paul instructing the young pastor Timothy. While the present teaching is to pastors, the lessons here are for all Christians. How can we stand strong while everyone else is falling? Let’s look at four commands from these verses.
1) Stay calm. Paul teaches us to be sober and calm in the midst of the upheaval of life. We can stay calm because of God’s promises, God’s peace, and the Holy Spirit who indwells us. Make the choice to stay calm and trust the Lord.
2) Stay courageous. Paul’s second imperative is to “endure hardship.” Living for Jesus will not always be easy and comfortable. Following Christ will be costly. Determine in your heart to endure even during the worst of times. May God gives us all the fortitude we need to serve Him no matter the cost.
3) Stay compassionate. In middle of everything that was happening, Timothy was to continue to fulfill the “work of an evangelist.” The young pastor’s focus was to be outward to those who needed salvation. We have been given the same precept to follow. We must look with compassion and love toward those who need Jesus. A lack of compassion and empathy is the reason we don’t often share the gospel. Let us pray that the Lord will give us hearts that are filled with sympathy and compunction for those who are far from God. And may that compassion spur us to tell them about Jesus.
4) Stay committed. “Fulfill your ministry” is the apostle’s final imploration to us. Stay the course and finish the task that God has given you no matter what it is. Finish strong, dear Christian. The best is yet to come!
The Pastor's Page (10-29-19)
We need learn to hear God’s voice and learn to obey. Our witness and testimony as Christians depend in large part on our obedience to Christ. How does God speak to us? God does often speak to us audibly but He does speak. Let us examine a few ways this week.
1) God speaks through His Word. Psalm 19:7-8 tells us The law of the Lord is perfect , restoring the soul; The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes. We need to see Scripture as God speaking to us. Every time we open the Bible let us understand that God is teaching us and revealing truth to us. The Holy Scriptures are the primary means by which God speaks to us. Therefore, commit to reading, studying, and meditating on the Word of God each day.
2) God speaks through creation. Psalm 19:1 teaches us The heavens are telling of the glory of God; And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands. Paul also declares For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. (Romans 1:20) Be reminded every time that you view creation that God made all things and upholds all things. Examine the world around you and hear the voice of God.
3) God speaks through Jesus. Hebrews 1:1-2 reminds us that God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. Jesus is the fullest, most robust means of God revealing Himself to us. The Bible constantly points us to Jesus in creation, redemption, and ultimate restoration. Look to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. (Hebrews 12:2)
4) God speaks through the Holy Spirit. John 14:26 declares to us "But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you." The Spirit of God lives in Believers and teaches us the truth of God. Listen to Him as He leads you and guides you.
God is speaking to you, dear Christian. Are you listening? And are you obeying?
The Pastor's Page (10-22-19)
Make every effort to come to me soon; for Demas, having loved this present world , has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica; Crescens has gone to Galatia , Titus to Dalmatia. Only Luke is with me. Pick up Mark and bring him with you, for he is useful to me for service. 2 Timothy 3:9-11
Paul speaks of usefulness in his last inspired letter to Timothy. He asks Timothy to bring Mark to him because Mark was useful to Paul’s ministry. This verse got me to thinking. Are we useful to the ministry that God desires for us?
We know that God wants to use us for His glory. But, are we putting ourselves in a place where can work in us effectively? Is there something that stands in the way of our supreme usability for God? Let’s examine three conditions for usefulness in the Kingdom of God.
We must be clean. God will not work through us effectively if we are living contrary to His will and His word. The Old Testament priests would undergo a cleansing before they entered the temple to serve. We, as New Testament priests, also need cleansing from our sinfulness for optimum usefulness in Christ’s ministry. (1 John 1:9-10) If you want to be used by God, you must be clean.
We must be compassionate. A love for God and a love for others in necessary for us if we hope to be serviceable in God’s Kingdom. (Matthew 22:37-40) Love is what will sustain us and keep us faithful. Being used by God is not always easy. Our love for God and others will strengthen us and undergird so that we can serve effectively over the long term.
We must be cognizant. Jesus desires to work in us and through us right where we are. He will use all of our situations and life spheres to place us where we can be most usable. Open your eyes, dear Christian. There are needy people all around you who need your love, encouragement, and witness. Find someone who needs help and help them. It’s just that simple!
The Pastor's Page (10-15-19)
Bless the Lord, O my soul, And all that is within me, bless His holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, And forget none of His benefits; Who pardons all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases; Who redeems your life from the pit, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion; Who satisfies your years with good things, So that your youth is renewed like the eagle. Psalm 103:1-5
Bless the Lord. The command to bless and praise God is given often throughout the Psalms. The author gives us several reasons to bless the Lord in this passage. Let us examine three.
1) We should bless the Lord because He has forgiven us. God offers pardon full and free through the Lord Jesus. One of the great benefits of Christ is His forgiveness. May we bless His holy name.
2) We ought to bless the Lord because He has redeemed us. We were separated from God and a slave to our sins and appetites. Jesus redeemed us and set us free to live in a way that honors and pleases God. We are no longer slaves to our sin, fear, and passions. As a result, may we lift high the name of Jesus.
3) We need to bless the Lord because He satisfies us. Jesus gives true satisfaction that lasts. We find true contentment in Christ. That doesn’t meant that life will be perfect or trouble free. It does mean that the contentment we have in Jesus will sustain us, help us, and guard us during the difficult times. When you have Jesus, what more do you need?
Bless the Lord, people of God. Bless His name for His forgiveness, His redemption, and His satisfaction. He is worthy!
The Pastor's Page (10-8-19)
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.
Glory in the church! Christians must recall that one of our primary missions is to glorify God in the church. Churches are to glorify our Head, the Lord Jesus Christ. Let’s understand a few ways that God may receive glory in church through our lives.
1) We glorify God through worship. We worship through song, fellowship, prayer, giving, and God’s Word. We are giving praise and glory to our Savior as we engage in these joyful practices. We are ascribing ultimate worth to the King of kings when we worship Him. Let us hear the word of the psalmist on this matter—worship the lord in the beauty of holiness!
2) We glorify God through obedience to His commands. If we call Jesus Lord, we must obey His commands. James commands us to be not just hearers but doers of the Word. (James 1:22) Seek to obey the principles and precepts found in Scripture. Give glory to God in this matter.
3) We glorify God through sharing the good news. We ascribe glory to His name by telling others about what God has done for us. Testifying to our salvation and sharing the gospel bring glory and honor the One who gave His life for us. Share and tell so that Jesus will be glorified in your witness.
May Jesus be glorified in the church forever and ever! Amen.
The Pastor's Page (10-1-19)
Our identity in Christ is vital to our spiritual growth. Remembering who we are in Jesus keeps us grounded and grows our faith.
Unfortunately, we tend to forget what Christ has done for us. We don’t keep the facts of God’s mercy in the forefront of our mind. Today, let us be reminded of who we are in Christ. Our faith matures and our hearts grow closer to Christ when we remember whose we are.
1) We are saved.
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
2) We are justified.
Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 5:1
3) We are redeemed.
In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace. Ephesians 1:7
4) We are indwelt by the Holy Spirit.
Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? 1 Corinthians 3:16
5) We are secure.
For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Child of God, remember what you have in Christ. Dwell on the good things God has done for you. Remember whose you are.
The Pastor's Page (9-24-19)
Then their eyes were opened and they knew Him; and He vanished from their sight. And they said to one another, “Did not our heart burn within us while He talked with us on the road, and while He opened the Scriptures to us?” Luke 24:31-32
Jesus appeared to Cleopas and an unnamed disciple after His resurrection in the Gospel of Luke. He explained the story of redemption to them as they walked the road to Emmaus. Jesus’ identity was hidden from them until they reached their destination. After they arrived, Jesus revealed Himself in a dramatic scene and disappeared. These disciples walked back to Jerusalem that night to report their encounter with the resurrected Jesus.
The statement “did not our hearts burn within us” has powerful overtones for us. The word “burn” can also be translated ablaze. Our hearts should be ablaze for Jesus as well. However, too often our hearts are cold, hardened, and stubborn. How can we change that fact in our lives? Let us consider three ways our hearts may become on fire for Jesus.
First, we must spend time with Jesus. These disciples allocated a good portion of the day to be with the Savior. The distance between Emmaus and Jerusalem was approximately 12 Kilometers or around 7.5 miles. Jesus explained many principles to them as they walked along. They listened as He taught and their hearts were set on fire.
We must also spend time with Christ. We do so by reading His Word, by prayer, and by being with His people. As we become more aware of His presence in our lives and spend more time with Him, our hearts are transformed.
Second, we must learn what Christ says and seek to obey His Word. The Son of God has revealed His Word to us. The Bible teaches us all that we need to know for Godliness and holiness. But we must also obey the Scriptures. We ought to put into practice those precepts we have learned. A growing, obedient heart will be set aflame by the power of conformity to the will of God.
Finally, we must tell others about the resurrected Savior. These followers of Christ were willing to turn around and go back to Jerusalem. They were willing to undertake this dangerous nocturnal journey so that others might know that Jesus is alive.
May we have the same to commitment to report the good news to others in our day. Telling others about Jesus ignites our hearts and sets them ablaze for Christ. In light of all this, our prayer should be “God, replace our cold, hardened hearts with hearts that burn for You.” Let it be so!
The Pastor's Page (9-17-19)
And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. 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. 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. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.
This passage of Scripture teaches us the difference that Christ’s salvation makes in our lives. And the contrast could not be more striking. The comparison of our former selves to who we are now is amazing. Of course, the word amazing is one word we use to modify God’s grace because God’s grace makes all the difference.
Before we knew Christ as Savior, we were dead in our sins. We were deceived by the evil one. We were disobedient to God and sought after our own selfish ways. To put it succinctly, we were without hope of any kind without Jesus. We were doomed.
But God, who is rich in mercy, sought us, convicted us, and saved us. We were made aware of our sin and of our need for the Savior. We were saved by grace and made alive to a new spiritual life. Jesus raised us up so that we may glorify God for all of eternity. He has redeemed us to show forth the glory of God in the heavenly places. We are created in Christ Jesus for good works. We are placed in Christ to live as He would have us to live.
What amazing grace has been bestowed upon us. We were unworthy and undeserving. Yet, God’s grace is enough to save us, seal us, and secure us for all of eternity. Rest in these principles dear Christian. God’s grace is enough!
The Pastor's Page (9-10-19)
How can we overcome trouble in our churches? Division, strife, and fighting are ever-present problems in the fellowship. How do we move past these enemies of unity?
Let’s look at three steps we can take to accomplish this goal.
1) Forgive one another. We are sinners who are in constant need of forgiveness. Christians will hurt each other from time to time. The need for forgiveness is great. We must offer forgiveness and receive forgiveness in order to vanquish trouble from the congregation. Read Matthew 18 and you will see Jesus’ treatise on forgiveness.
2) Communicate with one another. When we hear something that someone supposedly said or did, don’t assume too much. Perhaps you are not hearing the entire story. Give people in the church the benefit of the doubt. Don’t assume the worst about others. And if you have questions, GO ASK THEM!
Paul tells us that Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. (1 Corinthians 13:4-7) Communicate and get to the bottom of the story. You’ll be glad you did.
3) Be patient with one another. Not everyone in the church is at the same spiritual level. Recognizing that fact will go a long way in helping us to be longsuffering. Be patient, be kind, and understanding. It’s not easy. But such actions are worth the effort.
Jesus reminds us that we will always have trouble. (John 16:33) He also teaches that He has overcome the world. We can overcome trouble when it inevitably arises. Forgiveness, communication, and patience are a must in this process. May God bless you as you seek unity in the church.
The Pastor's Page (9-3-19)
Why do we have so much trouble in our local churches? Why are dissension, disunity, and incessant complaining so common in our churches? These things sap the strength of the church and keep us from experiencing true blessing and growth. But what causes them?
Let me offer three possible reasons for the trouble in our local fellowships. This list is not exhaustive by any means. There are many reasons churches struggle. Let us focus on these three for the sake of brevity.
1) We are still sinners. Though we are Christians and though we are in Christ we still struggle with our own sinfulness and our own selfishness. Therefore, when we don’t get our way we complain and stir up conflict. Christians sometimes fall into old patterns of sin which causes strife and pain. We will not be complete until we are in the presence of Christ. We’re still sinners and we need to remember that fact.
2) We don’t communicate. We don’t like having the difficult conversations that sometimes arise amongst family. Instead of asking for clarification and seeking to understand, we jump to conclusions and assume the worst of our fellow Christians. Then, we talk about these situations to anyone and everyone who will listen. Pretty soon, sides form and you have a full-scale conflict. Failure to communicate has doomed many churches to irrelevancy and decline.
3) Not everyone in the church is a Christian. Even those who claim to be Believers may actually be lost and unconverted. Jesus said there will be tares among the wheat. He promised that false believers would exist with genuine Christians until the time of judgement. (Matthew 13:24-30) False Christians can stir up dissension easily and effortlessly.
These aspects of church trouble I have mentioned are possible in every realm of the church. Even Pastors, Staff Members, Deacons, and church leaders are not immune. We all must be on guard against those entities which would divide us.
Next week, we will examine the cure for these problems that plague Jesus’ church. I pray that God would bless you this week. And may God bless His Church!
The Pastor's Page (8-27-19)
"I love You, O Lord, my strength." The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised, And I am saved from my enemies.
This Scripture teaches us how God functions in the lives of Believers. We are encouraged and uplifted in short order by this passage. Look what it reveals.
God is my rock—I will not be shaken.
God is my fortress—I have a place of safety.
God is my deliverer—I will make it through.
God is my refuge—I have a place to hide from my enemies.
God is my shield—I have one who fights for me.
God is my horn of salvation—I am secure in Christ forever.
God is my stronghold—I am victorious through Christ Jesus.
What should our response be to these glorious thoughts? We are to praise the Lord who is worthy of all praise. He saves us from our enemies and He will bring us safely into His presence. Blessings upon you today through our Lord Jesus!
The Pastor's Page (8-20-19)
O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin. Romans 7:24-25
Wretched. It’s a difficult word. The word is defined as one who is in a miserable state, one who is pitiable. Wretched is a word we don’t use very often and it’s not a word we use of ourselves.
Paul reveals that he considers himself to be wretched and contemptible apart from Christ. Though we may not use the word, deep down we know the same is true of us. We know that we have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory. (Romans 3:23) We perceive that our righteousness and goodness will never be enough. We understand that we are guilty of breaking God’s law.
Thankfully, Paul tells us the rest of the story. He gives thanks to God through Jesus Christ. Why? Because he knows of God’s grace. Paul explains this as he writes the inspired letter to the church at Rome. Paul knows that Jesus paid the penalty and died as our substitute. He teaches that God justifies believers by faith. Paul proclaims that his sin has been imputed to Jesus account and that Jesus righteousness has been imputed to his account. Jesus won the victory over sin!
What Paul revealed is true of all Christians. Our sin has been removed, forgiven, and cleansed. We have been given the righteousness of Christ through the grace and mercy of God. In our own flesh we are wretched. But, in Christ, we are wholly new, completely saved, and on our way to Heaven. We ought to be thankful to Jesus every moment of every day!
The Pastor's page (8-13-19)
Dear Christian, are you down? Does your life seem more difficult each day? If that is the case, be uplifted today from God’s Word. Hear what God has declared about you!
1) God is working all things for your good and for His glory.
And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren. Romans 8:28-29
2) God is for you, God loves you, and He cares for you.
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? Romans 8:31
3) God will give us everything we need for life and service to Him.
He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? Romans 8:32
4) God will never leave you.
For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39
The Pastor's Page (8-6-19)
Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen. Ephesians 3:20-21
God is able! He is able in every circumstance, every situation, and every problem. Nothing overwhelms God. He is able!
God is able! He is able to do more than we can ask. Christ is able to do more than we can ever think or even imagine. Pray in faith. He is able!
God is able! The power of the Holy Spirit is at work in us. He is changing us, comforting us, and abiding with us every day of our lives. Lean into His power every day, dear Christian. He is able!
God is able! He is able to do more than we could ever imagine doing. Give God the glory. Trust in Christ each day to provide for you, protect you, and be with you.
Trust in God today. Believe Him and obey Him. For He is able!
The Pastor's Page (7-30-19)
1 Now it came about after the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, that the Lord spoke to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses' servant , saying, 2 "Moses My servant is dead; now therefore arise, cross this Jordan, you and all this people, to the land which I am giving to them, to the sons of Israel. 3 "Every place on which the sole of your foot treads, I have given it to you, just as I spoke to Moses. 4 "From the wilderness and this Lebanon, even as far as the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and as far as the Great Sea toward the setting of the sun will be your territory. 5 "No man will be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I have been with Moses, I will be with you; I will not fail you or forsake you. 6 "Be strong and courageous, for you shall give this people possession of the land which I swore to their fathers to give them. 7 "Only be strong and very courageous; be careful to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, so that you may have success wherever you go. 8 "This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success. 9 "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:1-9
After the death of Moses, Joshua is called to lead Israel into the land of promise. He has observed Moses for many years. Now, Joshua will take the mantle of Moses and lead the people through the conquest.
The words of this chapter still speak and instruct us today. We may not be leading an army on a military campaign. However, Christians today are called to fight (among other battles) the battle for holiness, Godliness, and self-control. May we take the word of God to heart today.
**Trust in God’s promises. Joshua was told to trust in God because God is faithful. The Lord had been faithful to Moses and He would be faithful to Joshua. And God will be faithful to us.
Joshua declared God’s faithfulness at the end of His life as well. Not one of God’s promises had failed. (Joshua 21:45) Trust in God knowing He is able to keep His promises!
**Be strong in the Lord. God’s Word commanded Joshua to be strong and courageous three separate times in these verses. The point cannot be missed. We are to be strong and courageous knowing that we trust in the all-powerful, all-seeing, unchanging, one true God!
**Cling to God’s Word. Joshua is taught to hold to the Law of Moses. He is to meditate on it at all times while never straying from God’s Word. Our efforts to fight our battles must be grounded in the Bible as well. Let us seek to observe and obey all that it teaches us day by day.
May God bless you this week!
The Pastor's Page (6-25-19)
If Your law had not been my delight, Then I would have perished in my affliction. I will never forget Your precepts, For by them You have revived me. I am Yours, save me; For I have sought Your precepts. The wicked wait for me to destroy me; I shall diligently consider Your testimonies. I have seen a limit to all perfection; Your commandment is exceedingly broad.
Psalm 119 teaches us the importance of God’s Word. It is the longest chapter in Holy Scripture and it is all about the Word of God. Let’s look at three things the midpoint of this chapter reveals to us.
God’s Word protects us. The Bible protects us from sinful behavior and bad decisions that lead to awful consequences. When we read and obey it, we are spared the horrible ramifications of sin.
God’s Word preserves us. The Bible provides spiritual nourishment that keeps us healthy. The spiritual nutrition of the Word preserves our spirit just as physical food preserves our body. Read it each day and replenish your soul through the precepts of God.
God’s Word perfects us. Reading and studying the Bible helps us to relinquish sinful behaviors and attitudes. The Word also reveals to us the proper practices of holy living. We are changed by the Scriptures when we absorb them into our lives.
Let us give thanks today for God’s Holy Word. The Bible protects us, preserves us, and perfects us. Read it every day, dear Christian.
The Pastor's Page (6-18-19)
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith.
2 Timothy 4:7
Paul’s last letter to Timothy contains this stirring, triumphant chorus. Paul, realizing the end was near, proclaimed that He had “finished the course” of his life. He had been faithful. And Paul stayed in the fight until the end.
Paul’s example leads us to consider how we can finish well with Jesus. Many Christians do not end their journey properly. Some end up in bitterness and defeat and others simply quit before the end. May that NOT be the case with us. Let’s look at how we can finish our time well.
**Be committed. One way to finish well is to keep showing up. Show up when the days are good and when the times are difficult. Keep serving when you feel like it and when you do not feel good. Be committed and stay in the fight.
**Keep your eyes on Jesus. Study His Word, be faithful to His church, and listen to the Holy Spirit day by day. Ask Christ for strength through your daily prayers. We serve Jesus and He is the one we are seeking to please.
**Finally, realize that your ministry matters to God. What you do for Christ is not in vain. God sees and He will bless your work in ways that are seen and in many more way that are unseen. Ministry can be discouraging. But, even when it seems like failure, know that every effort for Christ will produce something good for the Kingdom of God. (Galatians 6:9)
Fight the good fight. Finish course. Believer, keep the faith. You will not regret it!
The Pastor's Page (6-11-19)
“If anyone is to go into captivity, into captivity they will go. If anyone is to be killed with the sword, with the sword they will be killed.” This calls for patient endurance and faithfulness on the part of God’s people. Revelation 13:10
In this passage of Scripture, John reveals the horrors of the last days. Violence and murder, among other evils, will increase all the more and find their crescendo in the Tribulation period. The dastardly conduct of people in this time will shock and sicken us.
We are not yet in the Tribulation period, but, we are growing ever closer. The signs of Scripture are beginning to be more and more evident. (Matthew 24-25, 2 Timothy 3, & 2 Peter 3) Christians are called to continue forward in love for God, love for others, and service to others. How can we do this? Let’s examine the last part of Revelation 13:10.
**First, grow in patience. As Believers, we should live by relying on God’s promises. His promises are true and God is faithful. However, there is often a great deal of time that passes before we see the promises that God has given us come to pass. Patience will be required of every Christian who desires to thrive in the middle of a wayward culture.
**Next, grow in endurance. According to the dictionary, endurance is defined as the strength to continue or last. May we look to God through prayer, His Word, and His church in order to gain the strength necessary to continue in our life with Christ. We will never regret enduring to the end.
**Finally, grow in faithfulness. Someone once said, “The Christian journey is a long walk of faithfulness in the same direction.” Keep living in accordance to God’s Word. Walk in obedience towards the Jesus’ direction.
Victory is ours. We don’t see it yet but we are assured of it. Grow in patience, endurance, and faithfulness each day.
The Pastor's Page (6-4-19)
At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. Just as Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”At once the Spirit sent him out into the wilderness, and he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and angels attended him. After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” At once they left their nets and followed him. When he had gone a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John in a boat, preparing their nets. Without delay he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed Him. Mark 1:9-20
How can we be usable in God’s Kingdom? After all, we want our lives to matter and count for something. How can we be in the best position to see God work in our lives? I offer three points from Mark 1.
First, be obedient to God. Seek to learn His Word and obey His Word. The disciples obeyed Jesus’ command to follow. We should do no less.
Second, be willing to be tested. The beginning of Jesus’ ministry was marked by a time of severe testing. Jesus endured this testing to remind us that usability in God’s Kingdom will require us to go beyond our comfort zone and face difficult challenges. If we desire to be used by God, we must come to terms with the trials and difficulties that will accompany following Christ.
Finally, invest in the lives of others. Jesus was willing to invest in the lives of these early disciples. He taught them and gave them an example to follow each day. God’s work always happens within the context of people and relationships. Investing in people is not always easy. Making the investment pays eternal rewards.
Will you seek usability in God’s Kingdom today?
The Pastor's Page (5-28-19)
Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. John 14:1-3
Jesus is preparing a place for His children. Believers in Christ look forward to the time when we are in Christ's presence. What a day that will be!
Jesus is preparing an expansive place. It is described as having many rooms. Jesus verifies this fact by promising to come for us when He is ready for us.
Jesus is preparing a personal place. Jesus will be there and we shall be with Him. Jesus will dwell with us forever and all will be made right.
If you haven't already, trust in Jesus for salvation. Believe in Him and trust In His death on the cross for your sin and His resurrection from the dead for your justification. All who call on Him shall be saved. And all who are saved will spend eternity in the presence of Christ. To God be the glory, great things He has done!
The Pastor's Page (5-21-19)
Now when Daniel knew that the document was signed, he entered his house (now in his roof chamber he had windows open toward Jerusalem); and he continued kneeling on his knees three times a day, praying and giving thanks before his God, as he had been doing previously. Then these men came by agreement and found Daniel making petition and supplication before his God. Daniel 6:10-11
**We should practice consistent prayer.
The reason Daniel was convicted of breaking the King’s decree is found in the above verses. Daniel prayed to God even though he know that it could cost him dearly. He stayed consistent in prayer no matter the price. His faithfulness to prayer caused him to be thrown in a den of hungry lions.
Daniel gives us an example about prayer in his prophecy. If we are going to stay pure and holy in a world that has lost its way, we must remain close to Christ through prayer. Daily, consistent prayer will allow us to remain focused upon Jesus each and every hour. We need communion with God if we are stay straight in the midst of a crooked world.
Prayer is costly. Prayer requires a persistent commitment to stay in close contact with the Lord. It is easy to let our prayer life slip. Don’t do it! Keep praying, keep asking, keep seeking, and keep knocking. God blesses our labor of prayer in ways that are seen and in ways that are unseen.
Daniel’s life reminds us that prayer is important. Prayer matters in the life of every believer. Let us encourage one another to be consistent, persistent, and faithful in prayer!
The Pastor's Page (5-14-19)
Then the commissioners and satraps began trying to find a ground of accusation against Daniel in regard to government affairs;but they could find no ground of accusation or evidence of corruption, inasmuch as he was faithful, and no negligence or corruption was to be found in him. Then these men said, "We will not find any ground of accusation against this Daniel unless we find it against him with regard to the law of his God."
**Live in such a pure way that no one could accuse you of wrongdoing.
We return to Daniel’s principles for Godly living today. Daniel was able to live a holy life in the midst of an unholy culture. We can do the same through the power of God’s Spirit and His grace.
Daniel lived an exemplary life. He was not perfect (no one is), yet, he was consistently seeking to follow God and His law. His life was so consistent that when his enemies desired to entrap him they could find no obvious defect in his character. As a matter of fact, Daniel’s enemies concluded that the only way to get rid of him was to use his devotion to God against him. Daniel is a glorious example of holy living and he is an example we should follow.
We are saved through faith alone, by grace alone, in Christ alone, to the glory of God alone. God’s grace now teaches us to live holy, self-controlled lives that are able to deny the ungodliness we find all around us. (Titus 2:11-12) When people see us, may they see the goodness of God by how we think, converse, and behave. Even when folks try to find fault with us, may our lives reflect the holy character and nature of God.
The Pastor's Page (5-7-19)
He only is my rock and my salvation, My stronghold; I shall not be greatly shaken.
Christians have a life-foundation. The Lord Jesus is our strong protector in the midst of the storm. Though trials may come and though heartache is inevitable, we rest on the truth of the promises of God.
Christ is our rock. He is our strong foundation, our help in the time of need. He saves us, secures us, and leads us to Himself day by day. He is the Rock upon which we stand on this day and every day.
Christ is our salvation. He is our only rock and salvation. Christ lived for our righteousness, died to pay our sin debt, and was resurrected for our justification. Through salvation, our sins are removed and we are also given the righteousness of Christ. He is our one and only Savior.
Christ is our stronghold. We run to Him in the time of trouble. We rest in Him when the enemies surround us. He is our great fortress indeed!
That is not to say that life is perfect. We will have trouble in this world and pain is ever present. It is to say that our soul is secure, God’s promises are true, and Heaven is assured no matter how and when the enemy comes against us.
Because of these things I will not be shaken. I may stumble and I may fall. But, when that happens, I will not stay down. I will get up, get back on the path, and keep seeking to know Christ each day. What about you, dear Christian?
The Pastor's Page (4-30-19)
In the days of His flesh, He offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to the One able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His piety. Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered. And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation, being designated by God as a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek.
The Old Testament priests were an important part of temple worship. They accepted the sacrifices, offered the gifts, and (after offering sacrifices for their own sins) made intercession for the sins of the people. The priests prefigured the work and ministry of Jesus.
Jesus is the Believer’s great High Priest. His priesthood, though similar to the earthly priesthood, is also different. His priesthood is an eternal priesthood. Jesus had no need to offer sacrifices for His own sins because of his perfect nature. Jesus did not offer animal sacrifices—He offered Himself for our forgiveness and salvation. Jesus priesthood arose from a different source altogether. His priestly work is perfect in every way.
Since these things are true, Jesus offers us salvation. Christ prayed, suffered, and willingly died for our atonement. The work of redemption is complete and He is now seated at the right hand of God making intercession for us, His children (Romans 8:34). Christ saves everyone who believes and trust in Him (Romans 10:10-13).
Jesus is our great High Priest. He is our Mediator. And He calls to those who are lost to trust in Him by faith today.
Tony French, Pastor
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