The Spot in Belle Fourche


imagesICTO2DCDIn August our family was about to wind up our 25th summer of evangelism across the continent. We drove one thousand miles overnight from Montana to Missouri.  As we entered South Dakota, we came upon the little town of Belle Fourche.  First, I found the historic wedge-shaped building where the railroad track and the street meet at an acute angle.  It made for “a cute” building shaped like a piece of pie.

Then I was told about the spot in town that is the geographic center of the fifty states.  (As a boy I had been to Lebanon, Kansas, to see the center of the forty-eight states, and for the last two years I have seen the monument in Rugby, North Dakota, for the center of North America.)  We drove back two blocks to the museum with flags for all fifty states and took turns standing on the small disc that marked the center of our country.

That makes me think of how Americans often act.  We many times act as if we are the center of attention, and everything else revolves around us.  “Us four and no more.”  “After me, you’re first.”  It reminds me of the old joke that a graduating senior would give a speech and announce, “In kindergarten, I was the line-leader.”  Who cares?  Who remembers?  What difference does it make twelve years later?

Human nature is to be selfish, and self-centered.  Yes, we often act like we are the pivotal point of the whole country, but we are not.  Very few of us live in Belle Fourche.  Very few of us are nationally known.  We really spend most of our lives in obscurity, and God blesses the humble anyway.  We should put others first.  We must decrease and He must increase in our lives.  We should humble ourselves and let God exalt us if He so chooses.

Christianity at Work


imagesThe very best platform upon which we may build a case for Christianity at work rests on six massive pillars: integrity, faithfulness, punctuality, quality workmanship, a pleasant attitude, and enthusiasm.  “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).

 

Growing Strong in the Seasons of Life, p. 86

Enjoying God’s Presence


untitledWhat does God want from us?

Does God want Christians to be rude?  Steal?  Go to church?  Obey the Police?  Argue with parents?  Do my homework?  Complain?  Take a candy from the store without paying?  Be thankful?  Be lazy?  Read the Bible?  Drink alcohol? Pray every day?  Smoke cigarettes?

So, if I do all the right things and don’t do to the bad things, I will be a good Christian?

The Christian life is not just a list of rules!  — There are too many rules to keep!

So, what does God want from us?  He wants us to enjoy His presence.

Galatians 5:16 says, “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.”

Explanations from the verse:

“Walk” – Live your life

“in the Spirit” – Enjoy God’s presence

“not fulfill” – Do not give in to

“the lust of the flesh” – Desires of the old nature

But how do I enjoy God’s presence?  This is something even children can do!

Think about God at school or at work.

Talk to Him as you walk down the sidewalk.

Tell Him about things that scare you or bother you.

Sing to Him while you are at home.

Think about Him as you play in your room.

Talk to friends about God and what He has done for you.

Thank God as you are playing.

Think about God in the bus or in the car.

Ask for His help as you do your homework.

Think about what you have learned at church when you are eating breakfast.

Pray for a friend while you are tying your shoes.

Talk to God while washing dishes or cleaning your room.

Think about what the Bible says while you are at the grocery store.

Ask Him for strength to do right when tempted to do something you shouldn’t.

Treat God as the Friend that we cannot see who is all powerful and loves us.

Conclusion:

While you are living your life enjoying God’s presence, you will never give in to bad desires.

Have you trusted Christ by faith to dwell in you and share His presence with you?  Eph 3:17 tells us that Christ will dwell in our hearts by faith.  If you are saved, have you made a habit of enjoying God’s presence?  Revelation 3:20 tells us that He wants to come into our lives as if He were in our home eating dinner with us.

Are you willing to try this at least for today?

 

Tears in Church


untitledWe are all different.  God created us to be diverse, and we are not to try to make each other copies of ourselves.  That said . . . let me tell you why church is my safe place and why I have shed more than a few tears there over the years.

Ever since I was an officer candidate and attended my first chapel service after a grueling week of trying to stay up with my class at a very fast pace, I have understood church to be my safe place.  I shed an abundance of tears that first Sunday at Officer Candidate School because church was the first place I was away from my drill instructor and did not have to keep a look of determination on my face!

Over the years since then, church has remained that same safe sanctuary for me.  I respect the fact that others will leave during a service if they are crying or may even stay home from the service if they are in bereavement, but I don’t do that.  When I am on the verge of a good cry, I find myself needing to be in church.  Being in church transports me to God’s presence and lets me weep before Him there.

Obviously, we are a community.  The services are not about one individual nor are they about all of us collectively.  They are about Jesus.  Anything Christ-exalting belongs in church even our grief and our tears, if we are comfortable expressing them there.

When my husband was on a plane bound for England for his Irish-born father’s funeral, Dave Moffatt stood up to sing “Be Thou My Vision” (my favorite Irish hymn), and I just lost it for about ten minutes.  The hymn was liquid loveliness and a very real balm to my soul at that moment.  It reminded me that Christ was very much still in control even in the midst of grief.

This last week, we sang and played “So Send I You” for a missions emphasis Sunday with a preacher from Papua, Indonesia.  I have loved that hymn since childhood.  We had not one, but four missionaries present at that service.  We also had military personnel who are going out regularly as ambassadors for Christ in other lands . . . and families of those who are currently deployed doing just that.

Pastor explained how John W. Peterson wrote that hymn post World War II referencing “so send I you to hearts made hard by hatred” in relation to the many, many World War II vets who returned, determined to be missionaries in Japan, the Philippines, and other parts of the Pacific Theater where atrocities had occurred during the war.

I knew I was going to have a hard time getting through that hymn.  The choir sang it, the orchestra played it for the congregation, then when we had finished, I just lost it again as quietly as I could up front during the offertory.

God has a master plan for the human race.  He is in charge of history.  He knows how we are made and when we need to bow before Him, even with tears, acknowledging that He is still on the throne!

Jude 22, 23, “And of some have compassion, making a difference: And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.”

I’ll Never Walk Alone!!


thMy doctor informed me on January 31, 2014, that I have prostate cancer. I joined the high percentage of men my age that have it.  The cancer was detected early and had not spread, so there is a high probability of successful treatment.

There is a related fact that I want to share with you.  I have been overwhelmed at times with the truth of “strength and support” from three areas.  I have the promised presence and care of the Faithful Son of God, a host of Christian Friends, and a Wonderful Family.

My wife, Dotty, Son Joel, and his wife Jackey, have been with me through it all.  They have accompanied me to the various forms of treatments and doctors meetings. The support has been a blessing and greatly appreciated. God has the family to share in the good times and the not so good times. Their actions flow from the love we share for each other.

Great support has come from my Church Family and the broader Family in the Gospel.  We love each other because He first loved us. What a wonderful caring fellowship we have in Christ! The Apostle, Paul expressed it this way in Philippians 1:3; 5, “I thank my God upon every remembrance of you.” In v. 5 he said, “For your fellowship in the Gospel from this day until now.” The exciting thing is that has never changed.  Today we draw great strength and support from fellow believers.

John writes in 1 John1:3b “… and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son, Jesus Christ.”  There is a real joy and blessing as He makes His presence known. You see, I am not alone because I am His child.  My wife and I have been in tears after radiation as we thought of how good God has been through it all. Psalm 16:11, “Thou wilt show me the path of life: in thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures forevermore.”  God has taken me onto the cancer path; I am happy and content because He is with me.

Please be sure you are walking with God. If you feel a need call us at Tabernacle, someone will help you become one with Christ. Acts 4:12 “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” What I have shared is for “whosoever will” (John 3:16).

What’s the good of prayer?


untitledLord, teach us to pray. Luke 11:1.

It is not part of the life of a natural man to pray. We hear it said that a man will suffer in his life if he does not pray; I question it. What will suffer is the life of the Son of God in him, which is nourished, not by food, but by prayer. When a man is born from above, the life of the Son of God is born in him, and he can either starve that life or nourish it. Prayer is the way the life of God is nourished. Our ordinary views of prayer are not found in the New Testament. We look upon prayer as a means of getting things for ourselves; the Bible idea of prayer is that we may get to know God Himself.

“Ask and ye shall receive.” We grouse before God, we are apologetic or apathetic, but we ask very few things. Yet what a splendid audacity a childlike child has! Our Lord says—“Except ye become as little children.” Ask, and God will do. Give Jesus Christ a chance, give Him elbow room, and no man will ever do this unless he is at his wits’ end. When a man is at his wits’ end, it is not a cowardly thing to pray, it is the only way he can get into touch with Reality. Be yourself before God and present your problems, the things you know you have come to your wits’ end over. As long as you are self-sufficient, you do not need to ask God for anything.

It is not so true that “prayer changes things” as that prayer changes me, and I change things. God has so constituted things that prayer on the basis of Redemption alters the way in which a man looks at things. Prayer is not a question of altering things externally, but of working wonders in a man’s disposition.

Citation:

Chambers, O. (1986). My utmost for his highest: Selections for the year. Grand Rapids, MI: Oswald Chambers Publications; Marshall Pickering.

To every thing there is a Season!


untitled“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace. What profit hath he that worketh in that wherein he laboureth? I have seen the travail, which God hath given to the sons of men to be exercised in it. He hath made every thing beautiful in his time…”

~ Ecclesiastes 3:1-11a

August 25, 2014…Today my husband and I start a new season in this journey called parenting…our oldest son, Jake starts Kindergarten. My mind is drawn to the verses above as I reflect on the past five years with this precious gift. There was a season in our lives where we prayed and prayed for a child, and the Lord, in His timing, chose to make us wait.  But in 2009, God made all things beautiful when Jake Reagan was born on my birthday. He not only made me a mommy, but he was my best birthday present. How we have watched him grow into a caring, little boy so protective of us and his siblings with a giving heart and a genuine love for others.

Seasons come and go…all with their splendor and majestic display of our wonderful Creator. Such it is with our lives…each of us in our own season of life. Today, Jake officially starts his boyhood season. He is no longer a baby, that season is forever over, and while this momma is sad, I know the season that he embarks on today is full of wonderful new lessons and adventures…ones that, Lord willing, will draw Jake to Jesus as his Savior, make him more like Jesus, and enable him to show and share God’s grace with others. And so…here we go, the first day of a new season in Jake’s life and in our lives as parents…we start today with a host of emotions…pride, joy, excitement, fear, yet complete confidence that God, His perfect way, will make “everything beautiful in His time…” like He has in every other season of our lives…He does and WILL do the same for you!

 

Where are our Hands Stretched Out?


imagesPsalm 44:21-22;  21 – If we have forgotten the name of our God, Or stretched out our hands to a strange god; 22 -Shall not God search this out?   For he knoweth the secrets of the heart.

So many times as things go wrong for people in the world, as well as for Christians, we ask God why and question the circumstances; but often we need to step back and look and see where are our arms reaching.   Or more than that, have we even forgotten about God?  God is always righteous, and He is always just; and if we are going through a situation that is seemingly bad humanly speaking, and it is of God, we are going to be greater for it, and His glory is going to be greater.  On the other hand, we put ourselves in situations sometimes because we are reaching out to other gods, anything that is first besides God in our life; and we forget God until we really need him.  All situations we go through in life that test us are not of the Lord.  We can go get drunk, have an accident, and cut off our arm.  Was this God punishing us or taking us through a trial to build our faith?  No, of course not.  We put our own desires to sin above God.  We did not call on His name to help us resist the temptation, and we marred ourselves for life.  Could God get the glory through this and draw us closer to him?  For sure, if we let him.  Let’s make sure that our arms are always reached out to the one true God and that we never forget him in life’s journey, good or bad humanly speaking and give Him all the honor and glory along the way.  Moses wrote in Exodus 9:29… As soon as I am gone out of the city, I will spread abroad my hands unto the Lord; and the thunder shall cease, neither shall there be any more hail; that thou mayest know how that the earth is the Lord’s.”   The earth and all that we have is His including our lives.  So let’s give it to Him openly, not just on Sunday and Wednesdays, not just so people see and know it, but in our hearts and minds as well.

 

 

 

Celebrating Ten Years!


imagesOL37H63KTen years ago the second Sunday of August was our first Sunday at Tabernacle Baptist Church.  Where has the time gone?  Much has been accomplished with the Lord’s help as far as building improvements–bathrooms in church, pre-school, and academy remodeled; auditorium remodeled; new carpet many places; offices updated–our missions family has increased; we now have a lovely Missions Hallway, and our missions giving is up.  Most of all we have grown to love you and count Tabernacle Baptist Church our home.

The Lord has been in all of it, and the glory belongs to Him!

We have not been without battles, but the blessings far outweigh the battles.  People have grown spiritually and children have grown up physically as well.  God has stretched us at times to teach us to depend on Him.  He is always FAITHFUL!

The celebration Sunday (August 10, 2014) was a blessing to us!  We appreciate all the kindnesses shown to us–the luggage, the love gift toward a missions trip, the video with greetings from so many here and some who have moved away, the many hugs and reassurances of your love, and the special speakers who shared God’s Word with us–it was a all very special!

Now . . . on to the next ten years or how ever long the Lord would see to leave us here.  The work is before us with a new school year about to begin and many opportunities to reach out to others.  May the Lord bless you as we enter the fall of 2014!

Seven Ways to Love Your Pastor


 

f12ef6ec241945c8ad7a9024f67d9eda1.  Love his preaching. 
He may not be the most remarkable preacher you ever hear, but I cannot find a single text of Scripture that suggests he should be. I see many texts that say he must be faithful, and I can tell you that nothing will encourage his deep study and prolonged faithfulness in the pulpit more than a people who love to hear God’s Word preached. If you love his preaching, you should tell him. 

You need not worry about puffing him up. There are far too many other things in his life to pop that bubble. But you will help him and strengthen him if you tell him how God is using his preaching ministry in your life. What’s more, if you love his preaching, you will pray for his preaching. And if you get to praying for his preaching every week, then you better hang on for what the Lord is going to do.

2.  Love his wife. 
Few things will encourage your pastor more than when you love the one he loves most of all. Remember that she helps to carry his load but is not paid for it; she enables him to be hospitable, which he must be in order to preach; she carries the brunt of raising faithful children, which he must have in order to preach. Love, honor, encourage, and thank God for this woman.

3.  Love his children. 
There is a silent pressure on every pastor. It can weigh on him like a bag of wet cement . . . his children. He knows he is called to prioritize them and teach them the ways of God, but, like you, he has to learn all this on the fly, while trying to have something to say to everyone else about how to do it! I have been in churches where things are not going well in a pastor’s child’s life. 

Some of those churches know just what to do. They come alongside their pastor with encouraging words, and they actually get down on their knees and pray for that man’s kids. If you are going to love this man, you will truly love his children. You will not judge them or hold them to some higher standard. You will expect they need to hear the gospel as much as the other kids in the church. You will love them for who they are.

4.  Love him with your complaints. 
Christians have a hard time with this, but I want to call you to it. We have lost the art of disagreement. We have become numb to the Bible texts that teach us to speak the truth in love. We are more discipled in our methodology by Jerry Springer than by the apostle Paul. 

But if you love this man, you will learn to come in all humility and speak privately to him of your concerns. You will not make snide remarks or gossip or spread disunity or hold resentments that spread into gangrenous bitterness. When you truly love someone, you can come to them quietly and submissively with honest questions and self-searching that allows for disagreements to lead to agreements.

5.  Love him when you don’t understand him. 
It is an odd thing to be a pastor. We become involved in all the intricacies of others lives, and sometimes we know things about a person or a situation that we simply cannot divulge. Often, it is in these times when misunderstandings grow. Why aren’t you doing this, or putting a stop to that? Where were you when this happened? Why didn’t you come when we asked? How come I have to wait so long to meet with you? 

If you love him, you will hope all things! Love beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.(1 Cor. 13:7). You will bless him even when he seems to go in a direction you find less than compelling. Love him when you don’t understand him

6.  Love him for a long time. 
A wise church member will set her heart on loving her pastors for a long time. Not just putting up with them—but loving them. You must commit to loving him for the long term. You want a man to be here to bless your babies, baptize your believers, and bury your dead. You don’t want a stranger to do that. If that is so, then you must commit to much more than tolerating this man. You must love him. Love him so much that he thinks to himself on his worst days, “I’d be a fool to move on from here!”

7.  Love him because God loved you. 
The final and great motivation for our love is never what it gets us—true love is seen in Christ. “Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savour.” (Eph. 5:1–2).

 

 

 

 

 

Originally from http://www.truewoman.com/?id=2870