Thursday, November 29, 2012

"Rejoicing In Sickness"

  This writer is a little behind. This has been a week of fighting a terrible respiratory infection. I am just able to write. However, in all the sickness, great lessons are learned. It's amazing when you don't feel well how one can still  make progress.
  It starts with prayer! I had more people drop me a note or an email saying they were praying for me. What a thought. It was wonderful to think that many are bringing you before the Father asking to help on your behalf. Prayer is so beneficial.
  It moves into the area of thought and meditation. My mind was constantly on some Scripture to dwell on and draw from. In the process of ill health, my mind was still productive.
  It finally goes into thankfulness. So many times I take my health for granted as I am very rarely sick. It is these down times that I realize the blessings because so many cope and deal with health issues almost daily. So in the end, I have learned..."Rejoice in the Lord, always, again I say rejoice!"

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


  I'm not one to jump on board with what everyone else is saying or doing! I guess I'm a little cautious and there is a reason for that. John writes: "We know that we are of God, and that the whole world lies in the power of the evil one." (I John 5:19) Right there speaks volumes about being careful when everyone is on board with a phrase or idea because I realize the possibility behind it.
  That leads me to this. Over the thirty plus years of preaching/teaching, I have never allowed a season to dictate what I preach. Those who know me in Jefferson City know that I never preach according to the season. I might make a reference but my lesson is not about the season. I have a hard time letting the season mold me into what needs to preached. I'm not speaking there is anything wrong with it but I just never have done that.
  I personally enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday as my favorite of all. It isn't tied to 'stuff' and doesn't drive people into a state of panic. It simply is a time for family. For some, it can be painful as they have lost a loved one and it reminds them of what use to be. However, let me encourage you, it is a great memory to have that the Lord gave you years with someone. What a life of memories you built and be thankful. Imagine what life would have been like without them? Our memories were given to us for that reason. Dwell on the things that are true and honorable. Dwell on the the pure things and those things that are lovely. The things that are excellent and praise-worthy, dwell on these things. Paul said that in Phil. 4:8. If we will just do this, the God of peace will be with you (Phil 4:9). But in all, let's not be thankful seasonally. That's not the heart of the Lord. Let's be thankful continually because we belong to the Lord! Have a great holiday. See you on Monday! God's blessings.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

"Looking To God"

  It's a great passage of comfort that the Holy Spirit wanted us to hear through the apostle John: "...and the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin." (I John 1:7) How does the blood of Jesus continually do that? By our willingness to walk where the Lord lives, in the Light and willingly confess our sins to be forgiven! Too many seem to spend time finding excuses or justifying their actions when they need to be willing to confess them to Jesus. "That's just the way I am!" or "That's the way I was raised!". Maybe "You need to accept me for who I am!" or "That's the way I am wired!". When we have finished with our little discourse to why we did something, why we have talked ourselves into the state of mind that we had no choice but to sin, we find ourselves not responsible! We have too much to say for ourselves!
  We hear Jesus speak in Luke 18:9-14 of the Pharisee who trusted in himself compared to a lowly tax collector who knew himself! The Pharisee prayed to himself. The lowly man confessed before the Father asking for mercy. The Pharisee took pride in his religious works. The tax collector stood at a distance and couldn't even look up into the heaven above. One had so much to speak. The other had nothing to say for himself. One called on his religious goodness. The other called on his failure to be taken away.
  When will we learn? When will we take sin seriously? Just ask the Father how serious He takes sin? Just look to Jesus and see the seriousness of sin. Sins of speech. Sins of thoughts. Sins of anger. Sins of the flesh. Open sins and secret sins. Sins of the ears and eyes. Subtle sins. The Father calls us through the Son: "My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world." (I John 2:1-2) See yourself as the redeemed. See yourself in the Light of Jesus. See yourself rescued from your sins. But don't excuse yourself when you sin. We have more than the gift of God. We have been given the life of God through Jesus our Lord!

Monday, November 19, 2012

"If God Is For Us"

  "If God is for us, who is against us?" (Rom. 8:31) Is this true? Is God really for us? The God who spoke this huge creation into existence and set in motion all the intricate details? The God who flooded the world in man's history? The God who parted the waters for His people live? That God is for us? How can we be sure?
  "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?" (Rom. 8:32) The proof is resounding! God delivered His own Son for us. Not my child. Not your child. God didn't demand from us. He delivered His Son! If God would go that far, what about giving us anything else we need to make it to His goal for us eternally? How much does He want to help?
  "Who will bring a charge against God's elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also interceded for us." (Rom. 8:33-34) God justifies (acquitted) because of Jesus dying for us. Jesus not only died but was raised, sitting with God and interceding for us. GOD JUSTIFIES THROUGH JESUS!
  "Who will separate us from the love of God?" (Rom. 8:35) What will you let separate you? Because times get tough? You lose a job? Will you let that separate you? Your mate walks out for someone else leaving you pained, will that separate you? Your health fails? Will that separate you? How much does the love of God for you mean?
  "But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us." (Rom. 8:37) In reading all this, what is left for us to say?

Thursday, November 15, 2012

"Sin's Struggle"

  Sin is a struggle for the one wanting to do right and find in their lives failure. It can wreck havoc and bring one into a terrible state of mind. To go back and tell the Father over and over you have sinned for the same thing, wanting, desiring and insisting that it won't happen again only to find yourself defeated. What does one do? Where do they turn? How does one find the power to overcome?
  This may be a little over-simplified but the answer is found in Jesus. It's always Jesus. Paul, before he came into Christ Jesus, was serving the Father under the Law. He tried to what is right only to be defeated. It created within him confusion and a down-trodden spirit (Rom. 7:14-24). He simply couldn't understand why when he so desperately wanted to serve God but found himself doing the sin that he hated so much. It wore him out! But there, in his hour of desperation, the time to quit and give up there came hope in the form of Jesus.
  For those struggling with sin beating you down, remember the Lord wants to help. The answer is found in allowing the Lord to help. It is realizing that the Lord doesn't want to condemn you, push you away into eternal condemnation without hope. He wants you to see that He wants to deal with your sins! To go through the pain and agony of the cross to throw you aside in your struggles is not the Lord Jesus or your heavenly Father. God wants all to come to repentance and salvation and the cross speaks that in volumes!
  Remember the time in your life when you didn't care at all about the Lord? Remember when you just openly embraced sin and loved to sin without even knowing you loved it? Did the Lord reach out to you and want you in that condition so He could forgive and cleanse? When we struggle with sin, knowing the Lord does care and love us now in His Son more than ever, and we fail, do you think He wants to save you? Does He still stand for you? We know He does! Why would anyone, under any circumstance think about quitting the Lord because they struggle with sin? That's when we embrace Him the more, shouldn't we?

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

"Trusting Jesus"

  Jesus was known for His doing good and helping. His healings were many and His doing the unnatural was over-whelming at times. Walking on water? Jesus is the Son of God and His lives today. But whatever one knows about Him, Jesus also spoke the truth. There were the "Truly, truly" statements. There were statements against the hypocrisy of the religious leaders. Jesus could always be depended on doing what is right and speaking what is true.
  When Jesus spoke He didn't speak just to speak as many do today. He didn't talk empty religious rhetoric with a "Praise the Lord " here in front of everyone. No, Jesus spoke the truth that came directly from His Father about His Father. Jesus not only spoke the truth but He loved the truth from the Father that He spoke.
  If I might encourage you today, trust in Jesus to reveal the Father to you. Listen to His words as Jesus will show us the Father. When one comes to know Jesus, they come to know the Father (John 14). Jesus assured His own apostles of this and assures us as well. Too many are making Jesus into things that He isn't. Too many are speaking things out of place and making the Father into something He is not. Too many are abusing the Holy Spirit not realizing He too is the Spirit of truth. 
  Christ is the exact representation of the nature of the Father (Heb. 1:3). Jesus spoke the truth and many were upset by it but it didn't change the truth. Too many are defending their denominations teachings and not Christ's truth. Too many are defending their traditions and not the truth from Jesus. Too many just blindly follow what they have been taught without looking into the truth of Jesus the Lord. This Lord and Christ sent men into the world to speak His truth for which it cost many of them their lives. That shows how many hate the truth. But these men knew their Lord and believed His truth above all. Trust Jesus! Trust His word! Trust Him to show you His Father! Trust Him to teach you the truth and receive His truth with all your heart. Your life will change.  

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

"Believe God's Word"

  Take your time and read Psa. 119. There you find 176 verses of great insight. What I want you to focus on is God's child David in regard to the word of the Lord, the teachings of the Lord in his life and mind. God's word, the truth of His word should have first place in our listening to Him. But there is something else. We find people all the time that read and study from the word of the Lord yet they miss the truth. Jesus knew there were people who studied Scriptures and missed God completely (John 5:39-40). The reason is they aren't seeking the truth but using the word as something not intended by the Lord. The lawyer who came to Jesus asking what he could do to inherit eternal life (Luke 10:25-28). Jesus pointed the man to what the Scriptures taught. Somehow he had missed it! If one isn't careful they can miss (or I can miss) the truth in Scripture because our hearts aren't believing what is written but adding what we already know to what we read and the Lord doesn't reveal the truth from that point. Peter urged his fellow-Christians to desire the pure milk of the word of God to grow out of the fleshliness of envy, malice and the like (I Pet. 2:1-2).
  For people to dismiss the Scriptures and the study of them by taking off on some man's book or idea didn't learn to do that from the Scripture! Be wary of those who point to man, who point to man's writings to draw one closer to the Lord. Be wary of those who use the word of God to win an argument! Be wary of those who use the Holy Word as simply knowledge to put others down. Let me remind you, it is possible to be able to quote Bible and be a reprobate. Didn't we learn that from the Pharisees? The devil did it to Jesus!
  It was the Lord Jesus who opened the mind of His disciples to understand the Scripture (Luke 24:45). That tells us that the Lord is in control who gains. Those with pure motives, pure hearts, seeking for His righteousness and truth are the ones who gain. I know someone reading might think I am writing as if I have it all together. I am pointing that I continually search, keeping context and desire the truth from His word. When someone shows me something I may have missed or misapplied, I diligently seek out what is shown to see if they are correct. I'm not afraid to be wrong! Understanding comes from the Lord. It was Jesus instructing a Samaritan woman that true worshipers will worship both in spirit and truth. It's these that God seeks out (John 4:23-24).
  Love the word. It's okay to read books but do not let a man or his writings over-ride the Holy Spirit inspired writings of God. Let the Scriptures mold your thinking. Let the Scriptures dwell in your heart and mind. Let the Scriptures be trusted above all else. When we trust completely God's word, we are placing our heart into His hands, calling on Him to reveal Himself through His word. That's much deeper than quoting or head knowledge!!

Monday, November 12, 2012

"Focus on the Lord"

  We fail at times. Well, let me just speak for me...I fail! I have nothing more in my heart than to serve Jesus. With this desire to serve Him, I fail. Sometimes I fall flat on my face getting scuffed up. Other times, I say things that later I wonder why I said such at such a time. There are those times when there is not enough of me to do the tasks and someone is in difficulties and I can't get to them in time. I find myself at times overly sensitive and if there is someone that I have hurt, not knowing at the time but finding out later, it really weighs in on my soul. I can say with an honest heart, I never do anything intentionally that would harm another!
  Today is not about me even though I have started there. It's about My Lord. I know my every weakness and fault. But more than that, the Lord knows me better than me! He knows my struggles and the pain that I either cause myself or someone because of just plain weakness. I am reminded of David in Psa. 139:3: "You scrutinize my path and my lying down, and are intimately acquainted with all my ways." The Lord knows us so well, He knew the remedy for me (us). It was Himself! Putting on the Lord Jesus Jesus in baptism, clothing ourselves with Him at that point and putting within us this new self, created in the likeness of God. What a blessing!
  When you fail, know that you're not hopeless. When you fail many times, it's not over. The only time it would be over if we failed to hold to Jesus and move toward Him. Take a moment and reflect on the the Lord and His saving grace extended to you. Not once but many times over. Take a moment and know how well the Lord of heaven and earth knows us. Yet He still offers us of Himself so we could be acceptable before Him. Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say, rejoice!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

"Does God Attend?"

  Does God attend when we unite in one body to worship? That's a strange question but is it really? Does God attend when we gather for our worship?
  You might not tell it when you listen to some or watch their attitudes. It seems there are those who have no awareness of the presence of God. Sometimes the preacher has no awareness. The things prepared and spoken don't seem to be spoken in the presence of God. Preachers can go on and on about this book or this opinion and never get us focused on the One with whom is dwelling among us. The Lord's voice is heard little from His Scripture while man's voice is heard much. The result is little faith is built. Is God attending when you gather to worship?
  The Supper we take is a sharing in, a fellowshipping in the body and blood of Jesus. We share with Him or do we just throw down a piece of bread or gulp a little juice with no awareness that we are fellowshipping Him with us? Is God attending when you gather for worship?
  The songs we sing, are they words printed on the paper, the song leader being lively or boring and the voices are off or on? Is that what we sense? Or maybe the one reading Scripture, what a terrible job he did or maybe eloquent? Is God attending when we gather to worship?
  Do we think its our creativity or masterful organization that makes worship wonderful? Look at how many have every detail worked out, down to the mood music!! Is God attending when we gather together?
  Others seem to sleep or act bored so they get up every few minutes for a bathroom break or a drink. They just want this thing called worship to be done so they can get on with their day. Obligation met! Does it ever occur to them if God is attending when they worship?
  If we knew God is attending, standing right with us, wouldn't that make a difference in what we say and how we worship? Wouldn't that make us aware of whose presence we live? Maybe our worship lacks because our lives lack? Maybe because our love is so little and faith so small that we have lost all awareness of our lives and worship? Maybe we are just following religious actions without any awareness in heart? Maybe God as removed His lampstand?
  Let's be honest in heart and ask ourselves: does God attend when we gather for our worship? Your attitude and actions reveals your awareness.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

"The Sovereign God"

  It was a city named Ramah. It was a deportation centre where the conqueror gathered the captives together before scattering them throughout the world. It was a place of heartache and to be feared. Rachel was the mother of Israel (she married Jacob) and Jeremiah speaks that Rachel is crying over her children.
  The Lord speaks through Jeremiah about Ramah and the bitter weeping to take place. It is pictured as Rachel weeping for her children (Israel the nation) as they are being taken off into captivity (Jer. 31:15). Then the Lord speaks: "Restrain your voice from weeping and your eyes from tears; for you work will be rewarded," 'declares the Lord,' "and they will return from the land of the enemy. There is hope for your future," declares the Lord, "and you children will return to their own territory." (Jer. 15:16-17)
  What words of comfort if the people would heed. The God of heaven, the sovereign Lord of the all creation says there are better days ahead. But the people sit and watch things presently and speak, "But what about in the meantime? What is happening now?" We must face the present but we must face it in the presence of the Lord. The Lord tells Israel not to cry but those aren't words to just shrug off the present situation. The Lord speaks that you say you trust Me but you act like all is lost!
  We need to learn as they had to learn that the Lord, our Father and God, is the sovereign ruler of the present and the future. The Lord promises a glorious future. We have painted for us a future of a new resurrection, a new body and a new world where sin and death aren't present (I Cor. 15). What are we to do with the present? "Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord." (I Cor. 15:58)
  HE THAT CONTROLS THE FUTURE IS THE LORD OF THE PRESENT!!! No matter if there is economic chaos, the inoperable tumors, the ungodly governments or whatever man does, God is sovereign. The Lord of the future is working in the present. He is shaping the future and is sovereign over the present. We must look with faith to the promised glory. We can gain peace in the middle of political, economic and moral social storms if we would only seek and trust God. God has not changed! God is not silent! It's us who run every where, with every thought, with every fear which takes our focus and trust away from the God who is sovereign! TRUST!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

"Mr. Job"

  Job thought he had God called into accountability! Throughout the book, the friends of Job tried to convict him, though wrongly, and in the end Job poured out his questions and if God would just show Himself, there would be more questions that God must answer. This man Job didn't understand or realize who the Almighty really is!
  God speaks, out of a whirlwind at first. This man Job who insists that the sovereign Lord should be accountable to him and be under his control is facing a whirlwind and a voice speaks. The sovereign Lord, the Lord God Almighty asks: "Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? Now gird up your loins like a man, and I will ask you, and you instruct Me!" (Job 38:2-3) From this point Job is shown his ignorance, his lack of power and lack of understanding. But God's not finished.
  God asks who the faultfinder is that will contend with the Almighty? Job stood speechless and quieted his mouth by placing his hand over his mouth. God speaks, out of a storm this time! God was sending a message. It's not going to be a quiet time between us. God doesn't reach out His arms and ask Job to approach and put His arms around his shoulders and comfort. God doesn't ask if Job feels better for getting things off his chest. God loved Job but God is God and no man can tell the Creator how to run things. A tour of the world began.
  What do we learn? Too many, too many seem to believe they have God all wrapped up in a neat little package in their pocket and He is theirs alone! Some think that God acts the way they want Him to act. Man doesn't seem too interested in simply listening to His word but adding things that aren't there, making up things that aren't spoken to fit their own reasoning and desires. That's why we have so many different religious beliefs. That's why we have splits within the brotherhood! Someone takes a word from the Lord and formulates a complete doctrine off of it even if there are other verses that contradict their conclusion and convictions. It's calling God into account to back up their conclusion. As Job, we need to put our hands over our mouths, look at what we are doing and listen to make certain we humble ourselves before the Almighty! As sovereign Lord, the Almighty will govern the way He seems fit in His righteousness. Will we listen?

Monday, November 5, 2012


  The other day while driving, I received a phone call from a dear friend of my I haven't spoken to in some time. After catching up with our lives, he made a statement to me and it didn't hit me to what this might mean until later. It was a simple statement about getting old. Everyone does that I guess. Everyone discusses what was, what could have been and what is!
  A few days after this phone conversation, another dear brother was riding with me and asked, "What do you see your life like 10 years from now?" I thought a few moments and replied, "I can't go there because I could be dead and if not, I'm approaching 70!" What a stinger! Then came the next question: "Do you think you will be in Jeff City?" I don't know the answer to that either! All I know is I will hit the ranks where many will want to see the aged turned out and bring in the youth! I've seen it over and over in my lifetime. I will be no exception. I already find myself stumbling for words and thoughts at times and from what I hear, it will continue to get worse! That's an encouragement!
  In all this one thing I know, the future belongs to the Lord. Don't get bogged down in what will be and live for today! Today has enough troubles of its own...I believe Jesus said that. Today is your day. Live it to the Lord. Live it for the Lord. Live it with faith in the Lord. Today is your opportunity for renewal of your inner man. Renew! Today is your day to read from the Scriptures listening to the voice of God with an attitude of faith and desire. Do not just read to be a daily Bible reader but read with conviction and assurance. Today is the day the Lord has made. There is too much living in yesterday and too much living in fear of the future. Remember: "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever."  (Heb. 13:8) Rest in the Lord today!

Thursday, November 1, 2012


  Elders in the Lord's church carry a massive responsibility. They must handle situations that the majority in the church will never hear or face. My own dad served many years as an elder and I can remember a time when I was so ungodly, so out of control, I'll never forget hearing my dad tell my mom that he was going to resign his service to the Lord because of what I was doing. The silent heartache he had to go through just because of me.
  Elders deal with delicate situations, things that must be kept silent in order to help the soul of the one struggling. Elders must deal with criticism from those who claim they know things but know nothing about what they shallowly speak. Elders must deal with attacks like no one else in the church. They take harsh words without blinking an eye because they understand the one on the attack is in spiritual danger.
  Elders are men! They were at one time part of the lost souls of this universe. They were converted to Jesus, live their lives for Jesus and were raised up to serve the Great Shepherd Jesus. But they are men with flaws. Some in the church never realize this!
  Elders shed tears. The congregation may not see it but they shed tears. The secret pain they carry over the flock at times as well as open criticism. You can see in them the reflection of the One they serve, Jesus.
  Elders do not fight or struggle with power. It's not there! They simply focus on what the Lord wants for the flock they shepherd and know it is the Lord Jesus interests they serve. In light of this, the elders have different personalities which is what makes them work so well together. Some are strong, some are meek. The members see the strong and think the strong rules but that's not the real case. The elders as a whole decides. 
  Elders hear complaints and they direct the one in conflict to do as Jesus asks...go to the one that the member is complaining about. Resolve it with them first and then if there is no spiritual movement, the elders will help. 
  Some try to bully the elders but the elders will stand up against that and not allow it to happen. They must protect the flock from bullies, from gossips, from those who want to splinter and divide. They stand without fear knowing what is at stake. 
  These are my elders! These are the men I have come to love and respect. What I have learned over the many years is that the closer the elders hold to the cross, the more they will be accused of wrong-doing. Didn't we see that with Jesus? Yet there are those in the church who think it is their personal responsibility to oversee the overseers and that is completely off the chart as far as Jesus is concerned. That's called rebellion!
  There is the Great Shepherd that will hold these men accountable. These men know they will stand before this Great Shepherd and they love Him dearly. These men need our encouragement. Pray for them. Let them know and be thankful for their quiet way in which they protect and lead you. I love my elders.