Thankfulness


11-23-12-Thankfulness1“…and be ye thankful”

Col.3:15-17 “And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. Let the word of God dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.”

As we read through Colossians, we see that Paul encourages his people to put away their sin and to put on God’s righteousness. “…and let the peace of God rule in your hearts.” I understand that this idea of “ruling” is like the job of an official in a ball game. He is the authority. Is God the authority or ruler of your heart? If he is, I believe unity in the body and thankfulness will follow.

Verse 17 leads us back to being thankful! You and I cannot be the examples of Christ that Scripture tells us to be if we are not thankful. We must accept the fact that everything we are and have comes from almighty God. I am so thankful that God burdened a man to search out my lost soul. As a young boy, I watched God work in the hearts of my parents and, eventually, save them as well. What a great God! I could write book about God’s gracious hand on my life. Could you as well?

Today, take some time and reminisce over the path God has worked in your life and give thanks for the great things he hath done. If you cannot see God’s hand through your life, today, right now, accept him as your personal Savior. Watch what he will do if you let him! If you’ve been saved and have taken back control of your life, now is the time to turn it back to him. Don’t fight the Umpire! If you do, you’ll not have peace, and, surely, you’ll not be happy!

A Challenge


C046_AndnowII2“And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.”

I Corinthians 13:13

The final verse of the “Love” chapter in the New Testament is a challenge.  The Holy Spirit packed tons of information into a few short statements concerning this aspect of existence: love (agape).  We could spend page after page seeking to nail down a definition, starting right here in I Corinthians 13 and spreading out to the other passages concerning this topic of agape.  No doubt it would be beneficial, but I am not going to allow you to get off the hook that easily.  I am going to issue you a challenge!  Seek out the definition yourself!

Oh, don’t get all huffy and puffy on me.  Step up to the challenge!  Seek to know your Lord and Savior better through this study, pray to that end, and see the results!  You won’t need much other than time, your Bible, and maybe a concordance.  One of the popular concordances available is Strong’s which probably most people have a copy.  However, if you are one of the new generations and your paper resides inside your phone or tablet or computer, then you can start at this website http://biblehub.com/greek/26.htm.

What do I do?  Glad you asked.  Study the passages of Scripture that concern agape.  Start with the list in the concordance for the individual verses that have the word in it and branch out to the fuller passage to gain context allowing for a better picture of how the term is used.  Go step by step taking the time to study and meditate on each passage.  If you have questions, ask a trusted Godly friend or your Pastor for help.  There are also many commentaries out there readily available.  Just remember, the standard is the Word of God, and it is by that standard that we measure; keeping that which is aligned and discarding that which is not.  This may take you a few days to get through or maybe even longer.  This is a major attribute of our Creator, our Lord, our Savior!  Isn’t it worth it?

“Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.  He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.”  I John 4:7-8

Private Joseph Lockhart’s Warning


g19949Early in the morning on December 7, 1941, near the north shore of Oahu Island, Privates Joseph Lockhart and George Elliot were manning a temporary radar station on a hill, known as Opana Ridge.  They were scheduled to go off duty at 7:00 a.m., but Private Elliot had been monitoring two very large blips on the oscilloscope.  Lockhart wondered if they were a result of a malfunctioning of the radar equipment.  After checking out the radar, Private Lockhart knew that he was looking at an accurate detection of a large squadron of planes coming in from the northeast.

According to one account, Private Lockhart, radioed in a report that a large number of planes had been detected about 130 miles out at sea.  In reality, they were the first wave of Japanese planes approaching the island for their infamous surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, but it was not really a “total” surprise, because two of our privates detected it, observed it, and reported it to an informations officer.  The officer on duty at about 7:10 that morning was Lieutenant Kermit Tyler of the U.S. Army Air Corps.  He knew that the arrival of a group of B-17 bombers was anticipated from the continental United States.  He dismissed this report as being that squadron of our own large bombers.  The lieutenant told Joseph, “Don’t worry about it.”  These would be words that would haunt him for the rest of his long life.  Tyler died in 2010, at 96 years of age.

If only Tyler had believed Joe’s report.  If only they had given warning to Pearl Harbor, Honolulu, Wheeler Field and many other places on Oahu, how different the events of “Pearl Harbor Day” might have been?

I have interviewed Woody Ball, U.S.M.C. who was dodging bombs on the shore that day at Pearl.  Another Woody was a sailor below decks in his destroyer.  His ship was torpedoed.  Fortunately the detonator did not go off and that Woody’s life was also spared.  My friend Fay Hannah, his brother Bernard, and a friend Don Cunningham all lived near me in West Virginia.  I have interviewed all three of them.  They each survived the sinking of our beloved U.S.S. West Virginia.  Today (February 13th) in the Arizona state senate, Senator Ward is reading a suggested creed for the state of Arizona which, in part, gives honor to over 1000 men who died when the magazine of the battleship Arizona exploded.  All these events may have been prevented if only Lieutenant Tyler had believed Joseph’s report that “the Japanese were coming!”  Joseph later received a medal for what he did on December 7th.

God put Ezekiel as a watchman on the wall to warn Israel of the advancing army of sin.  It was up to each Jew to head the warning that there was destruction to come and there is a God who would forgive them of their sin if they would only believe His report.

In our generation, as Christians, we are each the Private Joseph Lockhart of the day.  We are each the Ezekiel who is to warn others.  We are the watchmen on the wall who must be vigilant for our fellow men and sound the warning trumpet.  It is the responsibility of others to head the warning, turn from their sin, and turn to God for the forgiveness of sin.

 

God Made Me A Watchman

by Evangelist Dan Manka

1.  Ezekiel had a watchman who was posted on the wall.

He watched out for an army who could cause that wall to fall.

He’d faithfully blow his trumpet with a warning bugle call.

The sound of the watchman’s trumpet was heard by one and all!

 

Chorus:  God made me a watchman to watch out for lost souls.

I will be a watchman, the first of all my goals.

I’ll tell my friends of Jesus, of his love and of his grace.

I’ll win lost souls for Jesus, ’til I see him face to face.

 

2.  God made me a watchman.  I am posted on the wall.

I’ll watch out for lost sinners.  On Jesus they must call.

I’ll faithfully give the gospel.  I’ll sound the bugle call.

The message of my warning will be heard by one and all.  (chorus)

 

3.  If I’m a faithful watchman and they do not heed the call.

They will die without the Saviour with their blood upon them all,

But if I fail to warn them and they never hear the call

Blood will be upon my hands as I stand upon the wall.  (chorus)    4-15-12

 

 

Don’t Underestimate Encouragement!


Day-2-31Days-5x7-Be-Encouraging-Quote-AnExtraordinaryDay_net_“Encouragement is awesome.  It has the capacity to lift a man’s or woman’s shoulders.  To spark the flicker of a smile on the face of a discouraged child.  To breathe fresh fire into the falling embers of a smoldering dream.  To actually change the course of another human being’s day, week, or life” (Encourage Me, p. 85).

Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do (I Thessalonians 5:11).

Thankfulness for Others


Being-thankful-in-English-300x270I Thessalonians 1:2, We give thanks to God always for you all, ”
Most Christians know they ought to pray more. How many times have you been convicted under preaching from the verse in Luke, “Men ought always to pray.”? Or the verse in Thessalonians, “Pray without ceasing.”? Have you admitted you need to pray more – maybe even walked a church aisle and made a commitment about your prayer life, but then have you failed to keep up these commitments?

Perhaps we should take heed to some of the practical suggestions in the Scriptures regarding what to pray for.  There is a myriad of items that should be included in our prayers.  But in order to work on our prayer lives practically, let us today focus on one particular thing: thanking the Lord for the good in other people. Do you not just pray for your family but also give thanks to God always for them?  What about thanking the Lord for your pastor?  What about your Sunday school teacher?  When was the last time that you thanked the Lord for governmental leaders?  My prayer list has a long list of friends. Today I began going through that list, not trying to think of any requests for them, but instead thanking the Lord for them.  This was indeed an encouragement to me.

Paul mentioned this aspect of prayer numerous times.

Romans 1:8, “First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world.”

Romans 6:16, “But God be thanked that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart…”

1 Corinthians 1:4, “I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ.”

Ephesians 1:15-16, “Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers.”

Similar statements are found in Philippians 1:3-4, Colossians 1:3, and Philemon 4.

What profit is there in being thankful for the good character of others?

  • It gives glory to God rather than to each other.
  • Thanksgiving for others also gives a person joy and encouragement as we think of what God is doing through others (3 John 4).
  • Thanksgiving keeps a prayer from being merely a list of requests for the Almighty.
  • Specific thanksgiving for friends helps a person think about specific needs and prayer requests for those friends.
  • A habit of continual thanks and praise to the Lord for those around us will certainly squelch any envy, gossip, or friction we might feel towards those individuals. We cannot help but love those we thank God for.

Yes, we know we need to pray more, but let us today apply this more specifically. Let us praise the Lord for the faith, love, patience, diligence, repentance, growth, kindness, humility, generosity, joy, example, and witness of those we know.

Aging in Grace vs. Aging in Place


400_F_42844414_JCBQKUTWrIGA0b39vCxftSLdQCOn5dPFThe Bible speaks in many places about growing old.  It expresses the idea that we can grow old graciously, growing in grace rather than staying rigidly in one place.

As I reach my 56th birthday today, I am well aware of the great cloud of witnesses that have gone before me.

Some of those witnesses have not finished well.  Many finished well but had speed bumps along the way.  Some started out in fits and jolts.

Life for me has been like that.  Helping our son with his autism for the past twent-two years has been a speed bump.  Battling breast cancer six years ago was a definite speed bump.

Yet I always hold out hope of finishing well, of being that gracious older lady whose wisdom helps others past their own speed bumps.

God is so good, all of the time.  The speed bumps in my life have taught me that I cannot survive without Him, not for five minutes.  Nor would I wish to do so.

The cry of my heart remains with King David, “Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me”  (Psalm 51:11).

Happy Birthday to me!

Fun Times and Feeling Good Without Fulfillment


Fun_TimesPhil. 4:7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

There has been an enormous effort by man to substitute for almost all things biblical.  It started early in the Garden with Adam and Eve. Humanity has learned from its parents. The Cain and Able story of Genesis 4 is a perfect example. Cain, the first child, makes a choice to substitute his type offering instead of God’s type. The pages of Scripture are replete with great examples of this error.

Let me “fast forward” to 2014.  This is the age in which we raise our families, do our jobs, make our decisions, and seek to be at peace within. Our culture wears and tears at our being until so many give in and surrender to fun times and good feelings while seeking peace with God.

The problem with this plan is that God must be pushed aside to take part in all the fun and good times. Do not think I oppose either fun or good times. Both have their place and are needful. A life full of fun and good times while God sits on the perimeter of your life leaves you wanting a real “peace.” The difference is where God is placed in your life. His rightful place is the “center,” if you please. If you have a list of priorities His place is number one. Ps.119:168 says, “I have kept thy precepts and thy testimonies: for all my ways are before thee.”

Man has a spiritual need that can be satisfied only by salvation.  This brings peace to the lost soul.  Now there is the need for growth and a rearrangement of priorities.  To maintain the peace of God one must give attention to the Word. There must be fellowship and a daily application of those things learned. We give priority to God and the local church. Isa.26:3,  “Thou will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.”

Time passes and times change. New opportunities require time and money.  The worldly culture now begins to assume more time and energy.  2Tim. 4:10 a, “For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world.” 0ld Bible truths are replaced with new ideas and new friends and new ways. Everything is fine until the inner man seeks that peace of God which has been lost. It is time to return to biblical priorities. (Read 1 Jn. 2:15-17.)

There is no substitute for God’s plan for your life or your family.

Happy Anniversary!


happyanniJune 18, 2014, marks thirty-seven years of marriage for my husband and me.  How do you sum that up in a few words?  We are not the norm to have committed to each other and stayed pure until we made our wedding vows to each other.  And, still today, we are committed and faithful to each other!  We have reared three precious daughters, been involved in four ministries (two as youth/assistant pastor and two as senior pastor), gone through my thyroid and breast cancer together, had heartbreaking times and victorious days in the ministry–all of which have brought us closer together and made us stronger.  The Lord has been so good to us, and we have a lot to be thankful for!

He is my best friend, companion, sweetheart, husband, pastor, spiritual leader, and father of my daughters.  He still makes me laugh!  We still love to be with each other–more than anyone else!  He is the one I look forward to seeing every morning and the one I look forward to growing old with!  He loves me no matter what–going through two cancer surgeries convinced me of that!  And for all that, I am very thankful!  God has been very good to me!

Marriage is a spiritual picture of Christ and the church–How glorious that will be one day! What a challenge to make my relationship with my mate such that would be a testimony to all who watch us pointing them to the Savior!

I love you more than I can tell you!  Happy Anniversary!  I’m looking forward to at least thirty-seven more!

Overflowing Comfort


cross_sun_cloudsThis poor young man, in his hungry, faint, and wretched state, having come a very long way, had not much heart in him. His hunger had taken all energy out of him, and he was so conscious of his guilt that he had hardly the courage to face his father; so his father gives him a kiss, as much as to say, “Come, boy, do not be cast down; I love you.”

“Oh, the past, the past, my father!” he might moan, as he thought of his wasted years; but he had no sooner said that than he received another kiss, as if his father said, “Never mind the past; I have forgotten all about that.” This is the Lord’s way with His saved ones. Their past lies hidden under the blood of atonement. The Lord saith by His servant Jeremiah, “The iniquity of Israel shall be sought for, and there shall be none; and the sins of Judah, and they shall not be found: for I will pardon them whom I reserve.”

But then, perhaps, the young man looked down on his foul garments, and said, “The present, my father, the present, what a dreadful state I am in!” And with another kiss would come the answer, “Never mind the present, my boy. I am content to have thee as thou art. I love thee.” This, too, is God’s word to those who are “accepted in the Beloved.” In spite of all their vileness, they are pure and spotless in Christ, and God says of each one of them, “Since thou wast precious in My sight, thou hast been honourable, and I have loved thee. Therefore, though in thyself thou art unworthy, through My dear Son thou art welcome to My home.”

“Oh, but,” the boy might have said, “the future, my father, the future! What would you think if I should ever go astray again?” Then would come another holy kiss, and his father would say, “I will see to the future, my boy; I will make home so bright for you that you will never want to go away again.” But God does more than that for us when we return to Him. He not only surrounds us with tokens of His love, but He says concerning us, “They shall be My people, and I will be their God: and I will give them one heart, and one way, that they may fear Me for ever, for the good of them, and of their children after them: and I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; but I will put My fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me.” Furthermore, He says to each returning one, “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put My spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes, and ye shall keep My judgments, and do them.”

Whatever there was to trouble the son, the father gave him a kiss to set it all right; and, in like manner, our God has a love-token for every time of doubt and dismay which may come to His reconciled sons. Perhaps one whom I am addressing says, “Even though I confess my sin, and seek God’s mercy, I shall still be in sore trouble, for through my sin, I have brought myself down to poverty.” “There is a kiss for you,” says the Lord: “Thy bread shall be given thee, and thy water shall be sure.” “But I have even brought disease upon myself by sin,” says another. “There is a kiss for you, for I am Jehovah-Rophi, the Lord that healeth thee, who forgiveth all thine iniquities, who healeth all thine diseases.” “But I am dreadfully down at the heel,” says another. The Lord gives you also a kiss, and says, “I will lift you up, and provide for all your needs. No good thing will I withhold from them that walk uprightly.” All the promises in this Book belong to every repentant sinner, who returns to God believing in Jesus Christ, His Son.

Sermon from New Park Street Pulpit by Spurgeon

The World . . . Good or Bad?


1-John-2-Verse-15p“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever” (I John 2:15-17).

As Christians we must live in this world but deny it for Christ at the same time.  Someone once said, “The lack of love for the world will become evident when there is the presence of obedience to the divine.”  How true this is in our lives as Christians.  How do we expect to deny the world when we are not filling our lives with holy things of God?  We all must ask ourselves, how much do the things of the world really matter to me.  If we see that on the scales of life the world would outweigh the spiritual things of God, then we need to step back and see what we need to do to fix the problem.  In this passage, we can see three things that will help us not to want to love the world.

Number one: God commands us in vs. 15 not to love the world.  If we see a clear commandment from HIM, we better do it.  We need to find God’s will and do it because there is no better place than to be in God’s will.

Number two: We cannot have love for the world if we want God’s love.  God loved us so much he sent his son (John 3:16) and the love the Devil portrays is fake, and he only wants to destroy us.  John 16:33 tells us that the world is nothing but trouble for us so why wouldn’t we accept God’s love and follow Him?  If we don’,t then we are doomed.

Number three: We cannot love the world if we want to abide with God according to verse 17.  We must be sold out for God, tell others, and work for Him so that we can bring more souls to the knowledge of his saving grace.

Our ultimate goal is to glorify God; and if we are loving the world, this will never happen.  These are very familiar verses, but we cannot let familiarity get in the way of God speaking to us. I pray that every time we read these verses, we will hear God’s commandment loud and clear to reject the world and follow him because we want to spend eternity with HIM!