Tuesday, December 20, 2011

"Across The World"

It makes things a little sober and maybe even a little scary for me. When you write, you never know who is looking and you sure don't know why. When you realize where your blog is reaching, it brings a seriousness about what you write. I get many emails each week from all over. I have conversations with people on the phone. In the whole, sometimes people ask me to address this or that which I try to do if I think it will be beneficial for all. Sometimes what I am asked to address is not for all so I write to the individual personally addressing their thought or question.
I have a section where I can go under and see where this blog is read and it was rather insightful and shocking. Over this month of December here is the breakdown:
United States - 413
Nigeria - 128
Russia - 53 
Germany - 51
Saudi Arabia - 34
Hungary - 19
Philippines - 8
United Kingdom - 5
France - 3
Georgia - 3
India - 3

That opened my eyes. Not that people read my blog but where they are from. Sometimes it can be someone accidently coming across the writings as a mistake which you know happens if you are searching for something in particular. My blog started as a result of my own family, especially my lovely daughter, asking me to start one up. I never realized where it was being read. I want to teach. Sometimes I get my point across, sometimes I don't do so well. In any case, thank you for reading. This is not some ego thing with me. It takes a lot of effort each day to write something. If I get to a point where I feel this is no longer a useful tool, I will shut it down. Thank you for those who encourage me in your personal notes and emails. Above all, I ask you to pray for me. Pray for the lost souls in our families, in the church and in the world. Pray fervently. Devote yourselves to prayer. We need to realize that we don't believe in prayer but God, that's why one prays. This will be my last posting until next week, Dec. 27. To all, have a safe and blessed time with your family! May God richly grant you His grace as you grow in the knowledge of His word.

Monday, December 19, 2011

"The Most Blessed"

Indeed I am one of the most blessed men. I know many of you are blessed but I am especially blessed. There are congregations of our Lord all over the this state, this country and this world. Yet here I sit in one of the best congregations I have ever been associated in my 31 plus years of preaching. We have our difficulties and struggles but the prevailing desire for God and His word is wonderful. The struggles have strengthened us. I know there are those after my being here so many years that would probably be glad to see me go on down the road and I can understand that.  But while I am here, I love preaching and teaching for the brethren that assemble at this location.
I watch people just quietly go about serving the Lord, looking for opportunities to help. My phone rings often from brethren asking me if I know of someone that needs assistance of any kind. I have a long list of names of members that have informed me that if I come across someone in need of financial help to call them. People study and pray daily, weekly and you can see it. People reaching beyond their comfort zones in their service to the Lord. Brethren who willingly give of their time to help one another. I am not trying to shout the praises of man! I know those who serve in such ways would not want me to speak of them or the things they do in the name of the Lord. I just sit here this morning, praying and reflecting...indeed I am one of the most blessed men to be a small part of such dedicated people of the Lord. Thank you Lord from the depth of my heart!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

"Watch God Work"

Who are we? We are a bunch of people beset with many different types of weaknesses! Our weakness is seen when we disappoint others, when fear grips our hearts and we go into a state of panic, when we say the wrong thing at the wrong time and when we just simply fall flat on our face. There are no exceptions, we have our weaknesses.
As we examine Scripture, we see God always working with the weak. Abraham in his fear. David in his fear and flesh. Job wondering why while trying to establish his own righteousness. Peter who argued with Jesus and even told Jesus how things were going to be only to fall flat on his face of cowardice. 
Take those weaknesses and put men in position as elders to shepherd the flock. They are spiritual men (or should be), men mighty in Scripture but still beset with weakness. We add deacons to serve in special ways that have weaknesses. Preachers (probably myself more than others) that teach/preach yet find themselves letting those around him down or failing at strategic times in their lives.
The church is full of weakness and yet we act like we are super strong! That reveals more of our weakness.Putting men in the positions that God wants, women who serve with openness and humility in heart and there we find the recipe for...weakness! It's not going to be great. In fact, God speaks that the weak, lacking member of Christ's body are given more honor from God (I Corinthians 12:24-25).
With all this, we can place our hearts in the hands of the eternal, Almighty God and watch Him do His work with all this weakness to which we will simply praise His name for indeed, holy and awesome He is while working with this large pot of weakness!! 

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

"Do You Believe This?"

How I wish I could see spiritual things better! Too many times I find myself like Martha and Mary in John 11. Lazarus their brother was sick and eventually died. What was amazing is Jesus loved them so yet lingered a few more days to allow him to die. Jesus knew what He was doing. The people didn't. It became a trust issue.
Upon arrival, Lazarus had been in the tomb four days. Martha came out to meet Jesus before He arrived at their home saying, "Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died!" It wasn't long before Mary came out and met Him saying, "Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died!" Isn't it rather interesting they both had the same response? Someones been talking. They could see only the immediate. Jesus could have done something yesterday but nothing today. The circumstances are such they are beyond Him today but yesterday...?
Jesus knew this death was going to be to the glory of God. Jesus expresses to Martha that her brother will rise again to which Martha replies, "I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day." Martha has gone from yesterday to tomorrow which hasn't come! Isn't that what we do. We move from wishing we had done something different yesterday to speaking of tomorrow with little to no hope today. The words from Jesus came: "I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?" Right there we have it! Do WE believe this? Jesus is today! He is yesterday! He is tomorrow! Jesus is!
Jesus weeps! Why? Not because He watched people sad over the death of this beloved Lazarus. Jesus already knew this outcome. Jesus cries out, "Did I not say to that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?" What hurt His heart? What made Him weep? What moved His spirit and troubled Him? The unwillingness of the people to trust in Him and listen to what He was saying.
That's me sometime! I find myself dealing in ways and situations drawing upon me rather than listening and drawing off the Lord. How many times do we look back or forward yet never see the now? How it must crush the heart of our Savior to see us act in such ways while our resurrection and life watches us, troubled and moved at our unbelief. The question He asks us: "Do you believe this?"

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

"A Glimpse Of God"

We learn from the prayer of Jesus in John 17 some great insight to what was on His heart and what eternal life really is. "This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent." Knowing God and Jesus Christ is eternal life. I'm not real sure what to make of that but it is powerful and impacts a life.
 Moses was known by God and called by name. Moses asked to see the glory of His Maker to which the sovereign Lord said man cannot see and live. Man is not capable of handling God in His majestic glory.
Too many of us, and I'm afraid I too fall into this mindset from time to time, that we have God wrapped up in a nice neat little package to present and just move about speaking His word as if we know Him inside out! We are too shallow and God is too majestic!
But to know God is to walk where He wants us to walk. That walk begins with Jesus! One looks closely at Jesus and they see God. Our Lord "Jesus" is the human name of the Almighty Jehovah. Jesus is God speaking to us the only way we can understand and that is our human image and language. Jesus is God taking on form and substance.
We must know Jesus to know God. To know Jesus means we must walk in His steps. When mistreated, how did He respond? How do we respond? When a brother wronged Him, how did He walk? When a brother wrongs us (or sometimes what someone thinks is a wrong which is even more serious), how do we walk? Was Jesus diligent about the unity between Himself and His heavenly Father and the Holy Spirit? What about our diligence to preserve the unity? These are just a few things that reveal our "knowing God and Jesus Christ."
To know God is looking closely at Jesus. Listen to His voice. Watch His moves. See His truth. Too many are making God some heavenly sweetheart and speak as if He is just some common friend we pal up with. That is why many have little fear of the Lord and the result you see in their worship, treatment of one another and approach in their thinking.

Monday, December 12, 2011

"Going To Church"

Most call it "going to church." They are young and old, some smiling, some frowning and some easy to get along with while others aren't so easy. Some come with words of encouragement while others have their few they like to see. Who are these people?
Why do they come? God knows! Some come with moodiness and different reasons. Maybe its to see someone or their parents make them come. Some come out of duty and obligation while others may come because their children need it. Still there are those who come because some young man or woman has caught their attention. There are so many reasons for coming together sometimes we can't begin to put it together but God does!
There are those who come simply because of the grace of God received through the death of Jesus. They gather for the proper reason and they simply want to thank God with those who want to thank God. And there is SO MUCH to thank God for!!
We also have those who come seeking for forgiveness. Oh, they realize it's not the church that forgives, or the preacher, or elders or even the place of worship. But sometimes forgiveness is found there in the presence of the Lord and Savior, in the midst of His people that are dedicated and committed to His cause. They find a cleansing in the midst and walk away feeling free again to honor and serve in their daily lives.
There are those who come seeking the face of God to challenge their faith to a deeper trust and commitment. They don't want a pat on the back, good job and a hand shake. They want to be stirred in their heart, confronted by God through His word to take their blood-bought lives seriously.
There are those who want to worship in a serious and respectful atmosphere with the brothers and sisters. Their daily lives are busy, rushing here to there and it is a time to reflect and sit in quietness just to give praise to their Savior for their salvation.
There are those there who simply wants to hear again the gospel of God in His search for them! The cross amazes and His life consoles. They draw strength to face an up-coming week with all the vile and ungodly behavior surrounding them while they hold up the cross of Christ before the lost world's eyes.
No matter how we cut it, it all boils down to this...we do it together as His body of people! Together we sing as one. As His congregation we pray when one person shapes our prayer for us to which we say "AMEN"! We place ourselves under the guidance of His word as one body. We share our blessings in giving as one in Christ Jesus. The Supper is passed and we take it as one. We witness people repent. We see them baptized into Christ Jesus and our hearts are over-joyed and eyes filled with tears because we share in the one body!
Yes, we all do this thing called "going to church" but we aren't alone. We gather as His people and fellowship our Lord. We come together because our Leader is one with us and we do it as one!!!

Thursday, December 8, 2011


Today is a little difficult to write because I can almost see some winch as they read it or shake their head. I want to give us something for deeper thought. Sometimes what we are doing is not wise but we follow the natural line of thinking not realizing what we are doing. I want to begin by saying I am for classes and teaching different ages! What concerns me is many times what people want leads to fragmentation.
It seems many are bent on stressing our differences too much. People seem to want studies, classes like a group therapy session rather than what is common and the Lord sees as common. In these classes, the word of the Lord is treated less than it's purpose and is just a reference book rather than the heart of God effecting change in our lives. People speak, "We need different classes because we have different needs!" That may be true but it may not be true. The needs of man, from temptations to the power to overcome are basically the same (I Cor. 10;13). "We need women having their own class because they have different needs than a man!" The same God who created man created the woman and the answers are the same for both. There aren't two sets of Scripture for each. We have allowed the world to shape our desires into believing there are two different sources of answers for both groups. Peer pressure, fear of the future, health, self-respect, financial decisions, parent/child relationships, husband/wife relationships, guilt and shame, chronic illness are all part of all of us. These things aren't just for one particular age, gender or group.
Some time back a man approached me telling me how our teens needed to be taught the purity of sex because their sex drives are so strong and sex is flaunted before their eyes daily. He spoke of peer pressure and the need for guidance. I asked him if he thought the older aren't tempted with sexual impurity and peer pressure to be part of the in-crowd or working force was around each of us? Drink with your workers. Party with them are all part of peer pressure for adults too! Pornography is all around the adults and it affects many a home!
I realize that many go through some things others don't but we must realize that everything boils down to a single, common denominator! We are all battling temptations, battling the same foe and facing the same challenges. What is needed is not breaking things down into specific groups but our lives molded and changed into the likeness of our Lord and Savior (Rom. 8:29). What we face is not a lack of understanding or need special attention but the character to deal rightly with things in light of the Lord (Rom. 5). It is all about godly character being developed in each one of us.
 We hear people speak that singles need a class because they aren't like the married couples. So what do we think the solution is? Let's create more isolation and remove the singles from the couples! The couples and singles learn to be separate rather than both molded together in the life of Christ, caring for one another.
We hear our teens and older have a communication problem so what do we do? Let the teens go their way and in some cases they don't even worship with the older. They do their own thing during worship. What are we really doing?
We are hurting ourselves by fragmenting us and thinking we have these special needs. The Lord and being molded into His likeness falls by the way, the very thing God is trying to do in all of us! We are the body of Christ! Weak and strong, old and young, the strugglers and the weak in character. We need Jesus to shape our lives individually so we can shape the body as a whole. We need to rethink about what we are doing and fragmenting, thinking the needs of certain ones are different than others is not clear thinking. Over-coming is what the Lord has in mind and over-comers must have Christ as the center in their heart, His Scripture leads our paths and we humbly submit which brings about unity and changing into His likeness.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

"Getting Along"

Romans 14-15 are two chapters filled with richness about how members of Christ body are to get along. Too many refuse to hear what is being taught in pursuit of their personal interests. Here we have two groups that have come to Jesus: Jews and Gentiles. They have come to Christ Jesus with diverse backgrounds and there would be serious adjustments that need to be made by the love and grace of God. They needed to live in harmony as those reconciled by the blood of the Lamb. There was a controversy over to eat meat or not eat meat and holy days. Should the holy days be kept or not? People were looking down on one another, passing condemnation to one another while claiming their relationship to Christ. Too many today are turning things into a life and death debate in the church that really aren't.
It's all about rights and giving up your rights in view of Christ the Lord. Both groups could be pleasing because it wasn't about eating, not eating or keeping certain days holy and not keeping them holy. It was about a relationship to Jesus. Remember, we are speaking of things that have no clear cut do or don't do teachings. We are speaking about pushing your ideas on another, condemning one because they don't do it like you think it should be done and pulling some verses out of line to make your stand!
Who are we? We need to understand that those who have been immersed into Christ are acceptable servants to Christ because they came to Him on His terms! We need to realize that if one feels strongly about a situation and another doesn't, each does it because they want to please the Lord. We need to realize that walking in the kingdom of God is not about rights but righteousness, peace and joy. It's too easy to accept those we have a warm affection toward and very difficult for those belligerent toward us. We must realize we could give up our rights to help another make it! What would that do? Create righteousness, joy and peace! If we can't give up something for the sake of another who struggles with it, what kind of brother are we really? If I can't say no to a piece of meat, who is the one really held bound and blind? What did Jesus do? He gave up everything that we might live! And here we sit complaining about one another because they observe some holy day from the old covenant, or they won't see things my way. Paul took things so far that he would never eat meat again if it caused his brother to stumble (I Cor. 8). Why don't we take that loving attitude? 
When we give up our rights for the sake of another, do we realize what we are doing? Teaching! We are teaching the major truth about what Christ and His kingdom is all about. It encourages those who don't have as much insight to learn how to give up for one another resulting in peace and the community of true believers working in love which sends a message to the world about fellowship and the glorious gospel. We seem to miss things sometimes and it is causing more and more factions in the body which is why we have no gospel of peace but a gospel of division to see and do it my way!!! I wouldn't want to be drawn to that kind of gospel. I can get that from the world's religion!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


The most difficult thing to do is trust in hard times! Sometimes we begin to question why God allows the walls to close in and in some cases it seems they have fallen in? Here we are, children of God, begotten of God and things are collapsing. Our homes are in disarray. A mate is out of line and we are left wondering what to do in this case. Where is God if we are His child? Our children are rebellious and seem bent on destroying their lives and God doesn't seem to be too concerned. What use is it being a child of God and He doesn't help? These are things that can run through our minds!
Eighth centuries before Christ, the king of Judah and his advisers were under siege and in a panic because Israel (the northern 10 tribes) and Syria had agreed to overthrow his throne and punish the people (Isa. 7). Israel and Syria were in a state of panic themselves because the most powerful army in the world, the Assyrians, were headed their way and Judah refused to join and help the fight. King Ahaz, the king of Judah, was very afraid. King Ahaz feared the plans of Israel and Syria but even more afraid of Assyria! Ahaz began thinking that if he would join forces it would be with the Assyrian's as they were most powerful and would preserve his kingdom.
King Ahaz finds out the Assyrian's overruns Israel and Syria and in order to keep him from thinking is was Assyria that did it, God sends Isaiah telling King Ahaz it wasn't Assyria. It was the Almighty Jehovah, their God! God makes it clear in Isa. 8 that He was in control of the whole situation and that Assyria would enter Judah like a flood that will reach to the neck but that's all. God wasn't allowing destruction. Discomfort? Yes to teach him to trust. Then the warning came not to walk in the thinking or ways of the people. The king was warned to not fear what they fear. Why? Because they were the children of God and He had it all under control. The king didn't trust his God! He trusted his own feelings and reasonings!
We don't have fears of armies like this. We have no threats as they faced. We do have troubles, some very difficult. Our families, unemployment, age, our children's future and even the church can be distressing. Where do we get our assurance for the present and future? Turn to a network of friends? Our financial security? Promises made by doctors? Even our brethren? However fine these things may seem they are very limited! We never seem to listen or respond to the name: IMMANUEL!! "GOD WITH US"! Is God really with us? We speak the words when all is well but when things aren't, we panic, just like King Ahaz!
Our faith in IMMANUEL or lack thereof is seen in our difficulties and how we respond. Just listen to our talk or watch our behavior. Look where we turn and the road we walk. We seem to draw off anyone or anything that can bring us some glimpse of hope. Who is this IMMANUEL? Your Savior and we need to trust Him and only Him!

Monday, December 5, 2011

"Hold To The Truth"

I can't stress the importance of the truth and truth seeking. That applies to every aspect of our lives. Truth seekers are just that. Truth means everything thing to them from Scriptures to living our daily lives. Truth seeking keeps us on track and well rounded in our lives so we don't jump on a bandwagon of presumptuous sins. David found himself concerned with that very thing in Psa. 19:13 where he rested on the Lord to keep him from presumptuous sins, not allowing them to rule over him! Truth seeking will keep presumptions from ruling our lives.
We meet people often who have a conviction about what they believe in Scripture. When you show them that their conviction is not based completely on the whole of the truth, there is a battle that ensues within them. They struggle, deny, want to argue because their world of faith and conviction is being torn down. If their heart is a truth seeker, they will give over to the word of the Lord and submit. If not, the Lord will provide the delusion so they can continue down their same road and mind-set. That's a sobering thought (II Thes. 2:10-12).
It also leads us into other areas of our lives. Sometimes people do something and we quickly jump with a conclusion based on what it looks like or what little we have been told and develop a conclusion about the matter. Recently a dear brother living in another state called me telling me about a situation that had arisen. As he shared it with me he gave me his conclusion asking me what I thought. Not being around, it looked completely different to me and I shared that with him. I asked a couple of questions to get him to be careful in his thinking. The result, he found out that he was going down a wrong path in his conclusion and realized later it was completely different than he had originally thought. He presumed and was wrong but because of a heart for the truth, it kept him from presumptuous sin.
The Lord gives each one what they want. If we want truth, desire truth then we will be careful in our lives when something might look a certain way but we can't be sure. Learn to rest in the Lord, have a love for His ways and allow His truth to bring forth His righteousness. If we start jumping to a conclusion based on a little bit of information here or there (sometimes the information might be coming from a source that is held in the cords of sin) we could fall prey to being ruled by presumption. The Lord will give each and everyone what they want and if it's not truth we sincerely seek, that leaves only one other path to head down.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

"God Created"

If one reads Genesis 1 carefully, we see where everything began. "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." (Gen. 1:1) It doesn't say God made or God built. We don't hear God developed or God constructed. It's not God produced or God erected. God created!
We as humans build, develop, construct, produce and erect things. What's the difference? God created from nothing. When we build, develop, construct, produce and erect things, it is out of material that already exists. God created what we see and use out of, well, not even thin air because thin air didn't exist either! There simply wasn't anything and He created it! What a mind. What a heart to put everything in the order we see.
What do we see? God's creation but the creation we see is not the creation God created. What that garden of Eden must of been like. The perfect place. No sickness. No diseases. Why man didn't even have to cultivate the ground. Every thing was provided for man out of nothing! Even though sin marred God's creation, the amazing fact of how God created is just beyond our thinking. What kind of Creator is He who made our human bodies the way they are? What kind of Creator is this who could make electrical impulses within our being to keep the heart pumping, blood flowing and all the elements working together each and every day of our lives? Man can't figure out what causes the brain to work the way it does or other parts of our bodies. How can God make our bodies out of dust and all these elements flow and work in dust? Why don't you try that?
Why is the sun exactly fixed, not too far away and not too close? What a Creator we have and it all was made from nothing! We sit and marvel. Our God, our Creator did one more act of creating that really stirs the heart. The Creator dies for His creation! Why? Why would a Creator offer His Son for those He created? What drove God to do such? We know it is love but why love His creation like that? If everything began from nothing, couldn't God just take it back to nothing? Yet there is one element that makes us look. The Creator created man in His own image! God's love couldn't destroy His image!! The image of God took on corruption and destroyed creation and God took notice at His image and died for it. What love! What devotion! There was something about His creation that moved His love to sacrifice and we are the benefactors of that love. Even created angels in heaven long to look at this love and salvation (I Pet. 1:12). In the beginning God created! In the end God saved!