Wednesday, October 31, 2012

"Gaining in Pain"

  I'm going to be a little more personal today. As hard as it may be to believe, some people just don't want or care about the truth. It ranges from personal situations to Biblical teachings. There are those who can look good to others but they simply care little about the truth. Their refusal to seek the whole truth reveals they don't want to seek truth. They seek just what suits their motives at the moment.
  Jesus had to live through it when He was arrested and ultimately killed because false testimony was given in order to carry out the hatefulness of mankind. Jesus was accused as this hateful man, this schemer trying to lead people astray. What did He do? "And while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously." (I Pet. 2:23)
  There are those in the body of Christ that want to rule, want things their way and when they feel they have not been heard or their requests ignored (which in a nut shell means they were told 'no' and didn't like it), they will turn on the eldership or those that did not accept their push! John called a man named Diotrephes evil as this man tried to run things and anyone who followed the truth of the apostles teachings, he took it upon himself to put the out of the church (III John). To top it off, it says he "unjustly" accused the apostles with wicked words. Can you imagine?
  Today we should not be surprised when people rise up and do the same. They are unhappy and discontent for some reason and in order to look righteous, they attack trying to make those of the truth look as badly as possible! Truth is not part of their makeup or desires. Don't be discouraged! Don't allow those who act in such ways with little desire for what is really truthful to affect your thinking. The Lord is in control. As Paul encouraged Timothy to watch out for Alexander the coppersmith, Paul said: "the Lord will repay him according to his deeds." (II Tim. 4:14) The Lord knows well. Be strong! Be encouraged! Know that whenever you feel under attack from someone who cares little for the truth, the Lord is aware and He will defend you. When we are weak, we are strong...that's a promise from heaven. My dear friends and brothers in Texas (and anyone else who might be going through unjust accusations), yes, this is for you today... don't quit! Keep entrusting yourself to the One who judges righteously. I know this all too well!!! God's blessings.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

"The Cleansed Conscience"

  The Hebrew writer penned by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit: "How much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?" (Heb. 9:14) One verse speaks volumes of the value of a clear conscience. Without the blood cleansing the conscience, there is NO service to the Lord!
  When one is  haunted by guilt in their conscience, their efforts are to rid themselves of the guilt. They can't serve the Lord from freedom and love because guilt has them bound. Effort and energy are spent wanting to be free, hoping that by doing certain things they will find relief. Maybe one decides to read more of Scripture, pray daily or make a more concerted effort in Bible studies and worship. In all this, one serves only themselves!
  Why? Because in guilt, there is little to no dependency on the blood of Christ. Guilt creates within one an effort to clear themselves. The writer in the verse speaks of "dead works". Works  that can't produce life or get you right with God! The blood of Jesus is to effect complete inward freedom so one can serve the living God. Our defilement takes place within. Guilt takes place within. Our conscience has knowledge of us that no one else knows but God! God sends Jesus. Jesus enters into the perfect, spiritual tabernacle that was not made by the hands of man (Heb. 9:11). Jesus enters this tabernacle without the blood of animals but with His own blood with one objective: to obtain eternal redemption (Heb. 9:12).
  Under the first covenant (testament), God accepted the blood of animals to atone for sin. If God would accept sinful man by the blood of animals, how much more through the blood of Jesus? (Heb. 9:13-14). This new covenant God made with us is a covenant of cleansing completely by the blood of Jesus. The blood of Jesus cleanses 100% of all our sins no matter how horrible. That's the promise! The result of faith in God's promise and the blood of Christ? "To cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God!" Have you been to Jesus for His cleansing power?

Monday, October 29, 2012

"The Safe Place"

  My final meeting of the year which was near my hometown in Texas is history. What a great opportunity the Lord gave me. People who I had not seen for years came and those whom I had never met opened their lives up to me. I tried my best to present to them lessons of hope and praise of the Lord. There were visitors at each lesson who had never responded to the gospel of Jesus. The Lord opened the doors of their heart.
  It stuck me as I was speaking on evening that what people need is newness. Now that might not come as a surprise to you. It hit me! Newness...there can be no newness until one is willing to give up the oldness. There has to be a cleansing before there can be newness! It's not just an attitude adjustment but a complete heart cleansing.
  Jesus' commissioned His disciples before His departure back to His heavenly Father to go and speak the gospel message to all and they who believe it will be baptized and they will be saved (Mark 16:15-16)! Why would the words of Jesus speak such? Why did Jesus speak of a message and associate baptism with it? Baptism is where faith and Jesus come together. Peter didn't argue anything with the Jew's asking what they were to do after hearing they had killed the Messiah for whom they had been waiting. Paul didn't argue with Ananias when he was told to arise and be baptized to wash away his sins while calling on the name of the Lord (Acts 22:16). People want to argue things, twist things or make things what they aren't rather than accept the simple message of salvation and respond by faith, trusting their union with Jesus at the time and point of baptism. Being buried with the One who has conquered death is the safest place to be in all the universe.
  Baptism is a burial, the ending of old life so one can raise in newness (Rom. 6:1-7). It was Jesus who spoke the words to His own disciples to preach the good news and faith in them would stir them to respond. Have you been to the cemetery to be buried with Jesus? Let's not argue, just believe! The Lord spoke it, the apostles preached it and those who believed the message received it and were baptized for the forgiveness of their sins. That's where our safety lay and God calls people from a world of sin into the safe place called the Lord Jesus. Believe His word!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

"Just Ask"

  Today is my last posting until Oct. 29. I will be traveling to Texas where I will be speaking for the next week. I always enjoy sharing the wonderful truth about the Lord to others. What about you? Why do so many seem to have difficulty in sharing the Lord with others? That co-worker who is struggling or maybe your neighbor. It might even be your spouse or kin. It seems we are afraid to say something about Jesus to direct their mind and heart upward.
  Here's a thought...I have found over the many years people are never offended if you simply ask them if they are religious. There are several forms to ask this question but people will always give you an answer and it is what opens the door to speaking with them about their souls while expressing the truth. We are so afraid that we will turn them away but it is really the opposite. When you ask someone about their belief or relationship with the Lord, you ask them something no one else on this earth asks about: their soul! There is this deep part of a person, hidden away that rarely gets touched by humans. When you probe it, inquire about it, it hits home. It opens the doors the heart. They might say a brief statement and let it be but they know you asked and will never be offended that you did.
  Next time you speak with someone who is struggling or needing a hand, ask them if they are religious? You will be surprised at the doors it opens and the respect you will receive. But more important, the Lord may have been working on their heart and given you the opportunity to steer them into the truth about a Savior they desperately need.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


  Okay, I've written today and something happened that I lost my article. I attempted again and something happened and it too was lost. What am I to do? Fix your eyes on Jesus as He alone is the author and perfecter of faith and He made it through all the difficulties in life ending up at the right hand of God. Isn't that where you want to be?
  Jesus endured hostilites when He did good. The message: Never grow weary in your walk and never lose heart. You life is headed somewhere beyond the grave and our focus is to be with Jesus...FOREVER! What's your goal?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


  The other morning we had a group of men meet together to discuss how we can better focus our hearts and the hearts of the believers on the Lord during our assembly. It was an encouraging three hours! I only wished more of our men who lead and serve could have been there. One thing that was pointed out was "awareness". We need men aware of what we are doing and where we are leading. We need "awareness"  when we partake of the Supper, it is our "awareness" in this Supper. We don't speak or pray for the those lost, or ask for help for the sick and needy among us during this time. The Supper is where we fellowship Jesus and our faith is secure in His body and His blood of the covenant. "Awareness!"
  Another question came to the front: If Jesus walked into our assembly, came over and sat down by you, what would you do? Where would you focus? It was interesting to hear the different men share some insight from the word about that question. But it didn't take just a few moments and it was concluded: HE DOES! Every first day of the week He is sharing with us of Himself with His brothers and sisters. "Awareness!" Do we not realize that Jesus is among us? Do we not realize He is the purpose and focus of all we do, both daily and collectively? When we lose sight of Jesus, what does that say about our faith and trust?
  When prayers are spoken publicly, what should our "Awareness" be? When we sing, what is our "Awareness?" When Scripture is read there should be great "Awareness." May the Lord be the One whom we love and serve and not just someone we speak about because that's the 'religious' thing to do! May we always be in "Awareness" both in truth and spirit.

Monday, October 15, 2012

"Loving the World or the Lord?"

  We hear those in Christ teach/preach against loving the world and following the world. Lesson after lesson, class after class, comments and commentary are given as we speak openly about not loving this world. The world at present day in our nation has become an angry society. It is amazing how this political season has been so sharp, rude and at times just down-right hateful. People seem on edge and as the election draws near people are even more on edge.
  We look on facebook and the articles that are put out attack someone while get others riled up. Jabs are thrown openly back and forth. This last week I had a dear brother in Christ speak with me and tell me that in the community he lives in, the religious leaders were calling for all others to come together on a certain day and they were going to instruct who to vote for and why in the face of those who were out campaigning against who they thought should be President. We watch news on television and hear those commentating be harsh and cutting. What is happening?
  It's walking into the church, that's what! Brothers and sisters in Christ are getting caught up in all this disdain and sides are drawn. We say we don't love the world but listen to us. The world influences our lives and thinking more than we would ever admit. There is little of "losing our lives for His sake to save our lives!" Do we really believe the Lord is in charge? Does the Lord really install kings and take down kings (Dan. 4:17,25)? Is the Lord going to accomplish His will even in this election year? Yes, we can vote but the final say will come from the Lord to fulfill His purpose. We have a really hard time with believing that.
  In this day and time, don't get caught up in the world's demeanor. We have a message to this hostile world: there is a Savior for you and He is coming back! Just read Jam. 4:1-4 and there we see that when one takes on the worlds attitudes, they make themselves an enemy of God. The Lord is here to rescue and save, not make us angry and hateful!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

"Lessons Learned"

  You have this idea and have spoken about it to others. They too think it is good and needs to be implemented! Yes, this would be good for the church so off we go and present it to the elders. Everything is laid out showing the good and the need. We leave the meeting and then...MOLASSES! It seems everything is swamped with molasses especially the elders. Days go by, weeks go by and nothing! It builds within your heart frustrations and eventually a bad attitude toward those who watch over our souls.
  We start accusing the elders to others that they haven't done one thing with the idea. Now our frustrations are being passed on and it starts to affect others. The elders are the blame for such. But wait, what is really going on? Have we ever thought or do we believe the Lord is at work? The delay teaches patience and love. The delay teaches me to have better understanding. The delay is generally wisdom from the elders, trying to look at the end result of something before it starts and it takes time and prayer. The Lord is in control and all this exposes our inner heart attitudes and desires. The Lord is exposing our weaknesses and we learn that how quickly, how easily we are stirred to a bad attitude. "But this is too long? Don't the elders care?" That's it...they do care. That's why when elders are appointed, they are spiritual minded men, not a board of directors or bosses telling others what to do.
  Remember, when we think we have such good ideas that need urgent attention, the Lord is at work! Remember the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-24)? Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control? What is really being taught by the Lord? All of this is teaching us to lean and put our faith in the Lord, not our ingenuity! Then how do the elders learn the love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control? God gives them US!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

"The Righteousness of Jesus"

  Jesus is the exact representation of God's nature in every way (Heb. 1:3). Jesus is all about righteousness and truth. We aren't that way. Many times we think we do some good deeds, help some people along and that's righteousness. What we fail to see is that the lost can do good deeds and help others along. The righteousness of Jesus Christ the Lord calls us upward into Himself that we might become conformed to His nature in every way.
  Jesus calls us to go the extra mile with someone. We don't like to do that. We feel as if we have gone far enough already and we complain if we are called to go further. That's not the righteousness of Jesus.
  Jesus calls us never to murder! We grasp that one quickly. Or do we? We are told that to hate our brother is the same as a murderer (I John 3:15). We start to soft peddle! We really don't hate them and we justify ourselves. We take a bad attitude toward the one we claim we don't hate, we just rather not talk to them. The righteousness of Jesus doesn't do that or call us to do that. Jesus exposes our motives.
  Jesus our Lord calls us not to speak evil against one another. Yet here we go, spreading things that would cause others harm and calling it defending the truth. How close is that to the righteousness of Jesus? How close is that to His truth?
  Jesus calls each of us to Himself. He calls us into His righteousness and holiness. Jesus sets that standard of righteousness and holiness, not us. Jesus isn't about making our lives easier but making our lives reflect His life. Jesus is trying to make our lives LIVE! What He calls us to is completely opposite of what we as humans think. The Lord calls us away from our education, our politics and culture to pursue His righteousness. Jesus calls us to Himself and away from ourselves! 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

"I Wish You Would Stay"

  It's one of the most wonderful statements that one could hear from someone you love. "I wish you could stay!" Or maybe "I wish you didn't have to go but could stay longer!" Don't you love hearing that from a family member or dear friend after spending time with them? Doesn't is just make your heart melt, wanting more time? And then we hear those little voices, those little people called children and grandchildren, when we speak it's time to go to bed and they say, "Aw, can't we stay up just a little longer?" They want to be in your presence!
  Jesus prepared for His impending death, His sacrifice on behalf of all of mankind. What a burden He must have had on His heart. With the sacrificing of Himself at hand, He speaks to His disciples telling them: "In My Father's house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also." (John 14:2-3) Can you hear what the Lord speaks to His own? I prepare for you...I will receive you so there you can be also.! He speaks that He doesn't want them to ever leave. Jesus doesn't reject people. People reject Jesus and it leaves Him no alternative. But for those of us who love His word, seek His truth and hold to His truth, Jesus wants us to be around. It is rather stunning sometimes to think of the horrific failures we may have had yet He wants us around!
  Jesus' love for us is a redeeming love. It is a love that no matter how we have failed, He hasn't failed nor His sacrifice for us. Jesus' love for us is a transforming love that draws us to Him and changes one into His likeness. Jesus has NO intentions of leaving us but He also has no intention of fellowshiping sin as that's what causes Him pain. But for those who forsake their sin, no matter how bad, who will put their trust in His sacrifice and love by listening to His voice, He wants you around even when you stumble. Sometimes He might need to administer discipline (Heb. 12:5-13) but that's because He wants you around. If we would open our hearts and listen to Him softly say, "I wish you would stay! Don't go!"

Monday, October 8, 2012


  I know there are just as many others that love their families like I love my family. I guess as I have aged and can see the end of a life in the future, my family becomes more precious. This has led me to taking advantage of moments that present themselves. 
  But more than any of this, I spend much time praying for my children and grandchildren. I pray fervently for them. I teach when opportunities present themselves. I try to show them God and help them understand with my limited insight about our wonderful, powerful, loving Father. I instruct them with little teachings about looking like and following the world. I was speaking with my granddaughter the other day and shared with her the reason her grandpa is always talking to her about God is because the world, if you follow and love it, will turn your heart into not believing. I shared with her that when one follows those around, the love of the Father cannot be part of us. One cannot serve two masters!
  I want my children and grandchildren (and if the Lord grants me great grandchildren) in heaven. But there is another family I love and care for and that's the family of God. Peter instructs us to love the brotherhood! I want God's family to make it to heaven. I refuse to allow any problems or bad attitudes take me away from loving God's children. I guess that's the driving force within me that keeps me preaching/teaching. I must say there are times I've wanted to quit. I've felt what Jeremiah felt when he was ready to give up because no one seemed to listen or follow the voice of the Lord. I felt like Isaiah felt when he spoke he was ready to deliver God's message to His people.
  Well, I guess today's blog was the importance of family. I pray that if you read this, it will prick you heart into thinking about what things you put before your family. I encourage each of you, don't excuse the wrong behavior of your children, even if they are aged. Help them! Gently correct them! Let them see God in you which means you must be seeing God yourself. Hear Him speak through His word. Love Him! Hold to Him and in all your ways acknowledge Him. It will be worth everything one eternal day!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

"Twenty Years"

  It's hard to believe I am in my twentieth year here at Fairgrounds Road (formally Dix Road). That's a lot of staying time. I love the body of Jesus here. People have asked me if folks have grown tired of my preaching/teaching. I simply tell them they are asking the wrong person. I don't know. But what I do know is I want to help, work and honestly try to bring Christ Jesus to His body. It wasn't long ago that I had one come into my office telling me that my time here is past and that there needs to be (in their terms) "new blood in our pulpit." I'm not real sure what "new blood" really describes but I got the message.
  Wouldn't it be wonderful if ever sermon was a 'homerun' and every class was a deep faith building class? It just doesn't happen. We as frail humans are limited. Even in my weaknesses (and yes, the brethren here definitely know my weaknesses for which I'm not ashamed) I hear what God speaks through Isaiah the prophet: "For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return there without watering the earth and making it bear and sprout, and furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater; so will My word be which goes forth from My  mouth; it will not return to Me empty, without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it." (Isa. 55:10-11) It's not about me! It's not about my style of preaching! It's not about any person on this earth. It's about the ways of God and what He wants accomplished. The messenger can be poor in speech, but if the message is the word of God (not some book, some psychology idea, some story) it will work the way God intended it to work! This is God's will, His goal reaching and accomplishing what He wants.
  Years back while holding a meeting at a large congregation in Texas, the preacher there along with one of the elders was rather rude to me. I didn't know why or what I had done to them. Toward the end of the week, I was praying one night before bed asking God what was the purpose of my being there. It was so discouraging. The last night of the meeting, after people had left, I was down front putting my things in my briefcase ready to leave. An older gentleman in his 80's, bent over with a cane, came walking down the isle to me. He spoke softly and said he wanted to wait until everyone left. His eyes fixed on me and he said, "I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. I never realized my salvation until now and for the first time in my life, I believe with all my heart that I am going to make it to heaven!" And then it hit..."My word will not return to Me empty accomplishing what I desire!" The man died two weeks after I left. It's not about me (or you)! It's about God, proclaiming His word and we need to remember that.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

"The Tongue"

    How many think about the language they use on a daily basis? Do we give it any thought or do we just speak in such a natural way that our language is just us? The Lord is concerned about they way we speak and the control of our tongues. James speaks that "the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body." (Jam. 3:6) Jesus spoke that the "the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart." (Matt. 12:34) Our speech reveals the condition of the heart. Our speech tells what our heart loves the most. Paul spoke to the Ephesians that there should be "no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth." (Eph. 4:29) There are things that can be spoken that aren't fitting for saints. (Eph. 5:4)
  I once spoke about euphemisms that people use. A euphemism is the use of a word that is less expressive or not as offensive as the original word. When I finished, one individual got upset and spoke how wrong it was for me to teach such. It didn't take a scholar to know they were guilty of using euphemisms and the message they were sending me was they weren't going to change. What a shame knowing the tongue is what defiles us and is a direct line to our heart.
  Have you ever wonder what words are euphemisms ? Let's look at a few. The word 'gosh' is a euphemism for the name God! Look it up. The word 'golly' is also a euphemism for God. The word 'gee' is a euphemism for Jesus. People use these words all the time not realizing what they are saying. Some use the term 'crap' which is defined as vulgar slang. Can you imagine vulgar slang coming from our hearts? Many words used today are just thrown out without any thought of what they mean.
  We need to be storing the good things in our heart, good treasures. We need to give our speech up to the Lord which means we must change our hearts. "With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God; from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brethren,  these things ought not be this way." (Jam. 3:9-10)

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

"The Dancing Dogs"

  What are we hearing during an assembly? The Lord? When those who lead our hearts in prayer, what are we saying in our heart? Do we just sit idly while someone utters words and we hear nothing? Nothing for which we can say 'Amen'? When we sing of our faith and trust, what are we confessing to the Lord? Are they just notes to a tune or words that have meaning that we hear and express? When we hear preaching, what are we hearing? Are we hearing a history lesson that does not challenge my faith? A lesson with little to no conviction? Does our preaching/teaching bring the Lord right before us to confront us with our lives to change? To develop our faith? Do we just sit there without our heart engaged because we are shown over and over the same weak elements that we have always preached/taught? The Supper is passed and we just pick up a piece of bread and drink the cup because...well, that's what we do? There is no realization of what is happening to us? Questions, questions and more questions keep arising about our worship assembly and we need to assess our hearts.
  Whatever is going on in your heart when you assemble to worship as Christ's body, those who lead us need to pay the price of prayerful and serious reflection about why they do what they do. Those who lead need to bring God to His people to feed them in their hearts. Those who hear need to assess themselves that they are hungry for the Lord and have their hearts engaged in reaching out to Him without any distractions.
  The following event was told that it actually happened in South America as told by a minister who worked there. As he was sitting in his vehicle waiting for the return of some friends a poor lady came over asking him to come see her dancing dogs. She was hurting for money and it was the only way to gain. The minister declined but she was persistent and he finally gave in. He walked with her to her little, almost falling down shack where he found several dogs that were nothing but skin and bone. She had a piece of bread in her hand and the dogs came pleading for that one little morsel. She held the bread just above them, out of their reach and the result, they became her dancing dogs!
  And what do we find in our assemblies? Do we see a dancing congregation that is on the verge of dying because there is little food or hearts are insensitive?

Monday, October 1, 2012

"The Heart of Worship"

  At the heart of the Israelite encampment was this "house of worship." It was a tabernacle prepared by God calling the people upward to Him as their sustainer and care provider. When freedom came to this people by the mighty hand of God, they built the tabernacle and established the priesthood as God commanded.
  This place of worship was not a small thing and is not blinked at in just a few verses of Scripture. There are thirteen whole chapters in Exodus alone dealing with it! There is only a couple of verses dealing with the golden calf and the people calling that their god. What a comparison! What does that speak to us?
  Who and how we worship not only reveals our inner being, our state of heart, it shapes our inner being. Worshipers bear witness to the existence of a world beyond their senses. Our worship and how we go about it reveals our knowledge and insight of the Lord of heaven and earth. Just read I Cor. 14 and it doesn't take long to see that the way one worships, how they go about the things they do, reveal what insight or lack of insight they have of God. All healthy worship has at its heart a sense of awe and reverence in the presence of the God who purchased them. All healthy worship acknowledges the Lord God is greater than we, the created, and the heart is moved to glorifying His Majesty, not us! All healthy worship has central a dependence that we aren't self-made or self-maintained and we owe our blessings to our Savior and Creator. All healthy worship is humble, never exalting us, the redeemed but only the Redeemer.
  Our worship should call us together as one body. In that body worship, God is not our "buddy" or "pal". He's not like us! I read one time where someone said about worship: "It's only infants who tug on the dress of a queen or pull the spectacles off a king." I can't remember where I heard that or I would give credit but that's the point about God, isn't it? Too many approach God so freely, so infantile they have no clue what they are doing. All healthy worship strengthens our trust in the Lord whom we can't see with our eyes. The humble heart, the reverent atmosphere shows we recognize the reality of the Eternal One.
  When those redeemed gather together as the "house of worship" its His truth that is sought and maintained. We together express our oneness with our Lord and one another. It's more than offering up our personal worship in the presence of others but it is the worship of the people which expresses something that a lone individual cannot express!! The Supper speaks that in great magnitude. How do you approach worship?