The Culmination


The culmination was Memorial Day Monday!

As a parent, you train, teach, guide, and lead your children in ways for them to find God’s will.  What a blessing when our fourteen year old middle daughter returned from summer camp and said God had called her to Missions!  We helped and encouraged her to visit mission fields from then until the time she settled on the part of the world in which God wanted her to minister.  That involved taking her to mission fields on family vacations, planning mission trips for our youth group of which she was a part, encouraging her to visit fields on her own that in which she had an interest, and never being negative about her calling.

People have asked, “Won’t you miss her?”

“Terribly!” Is always my answer.

“What will you do?”

“I’ll get on a plane and go see her!”

Hindering or stopping my child from doing God’s will is not a choice for me.  So last Monday, we took her to the airport, and (with a very sweet farewell from many church members) she left for England on a one-way ticket.  Heart-wrenching!  But remember, God only loans us our children for a short time to train, and then we are to send them out as godly disciples to do His will.

So that day was the culmination for us!

To God be the glory, great things He hath done!

Responses to Who Christ Is


In John 1, we can find an amazing description of who Christ is.  He is the Word.  He is Eternal.  He is God.  He is the Creator of all things.  He is Life.  He is the Light of the world.  He is the one sent from His Father.  He is the one who came to His own Creation that He had made and that He knew would not receive Him.  He was made flesh.  He is preferred.  He is the source of grace and truth.  He is the Lord prophesied by Isaiah.  He is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.  He is the Son of God.  He is Rabbi (Master).  He is Jesus Christ the Messiah.  And He is the fulfillment of the Law and the Prophets.  He is the Son of God and the King of Israel.  He is the Son of Man who came to bridge Heaven and earth. 

While it is great to contemplate this description of Christ, it is also great to consider how people responded to Him in John 1. 

John the Baptist testified of Him, speaking well of Him and proclaiming Christ to be the Lamb of God and Son of God. 

Andrew followed Christ, and brought his brother to Him. 

Philip followed Christ, and witnessed to Nathanael of Him. 

Nathanael worshipped Him. 

These are all great responses to who Christ is.  His own people did not receive Him.  “But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name” (John 1:12).  Have we responded to Christ by receiving Him?  Have we responded by witnessing of Him to others around us?  

 

The Strength to Believe


This weekend our pastor preached about our tendency to not believe when God brings things into our life that we would prefer He leave out.

He challenged us to view everything God brings our way as an expression of His sovereignty and of His design for our lives, as He makes them to be lives that bring glory to Him and purpose (and ultimate happiness) to us.

My husband and I had been at a memorial service the previous day that exemplified what Pastor was saying. 

A man had died of a massive heart attack at 56—his wife and two college age children were eulogizing him.  His wife said that she saw thirty-something years of sheer joy with her beloved mate, and she could have no regrets.  She shared about his integrity with everyone and his special love for her and their children.  She summed up her husband’s life of service very well, along with the joy it brought to many people, not just the four of them.

What we could all see radiating from her were peace and joy, without a drop of self-pity, without a tendency to question God over why her husband died so young.

She was and is a walking miracle and a reminder to all of us that God’s grace is big enough to get us through even tragedies such as this. 

I thank God for teaching us through each other in His family.

An Eternal Memorial


Ps. 135: 13 Thy name, O Lord, endureth forever; and thy memorial, throughout all generations.

The last Monday in May is always Memorial Day by an act of Congress.  The original Decoration Day was established as May 30, 1868.  In 1971, Congress set the date and called it Memorial Day.  It is truly a day that should be set aside to honor our fallen heroes. I personally have great memories of Memorial Day parades and celebrations in my hometown.  My mother always had a wonderful dinner for the family after the parade.  May our attitude be one of gratitude not only for those who died but for those who served.

Normally a memorial is placed on or near a location commemorating a special event, a special place or a special person.  In Exodus 12:14, Israel was told that they were to remember the Passover (event) and that it would be a memorial throughout their generations. In Joshua 4:4-7, according to the command of the Lord, Joshua had the twelve men place stones where the Red Sea was parted (place).   In Matthew 26:10-13, Jesus rebukes his disciples as they question the woman who is anointing his head. He reminds them that her act of love is a memorial to her (person).

Come with me now to the eternal Memorial where we have the event, the place, and the person all in one. I refer, of course, to the Memorial, the remembrance, if you will, the place where Christ died for you and me.  Luke 23:33a, “and when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left.”  He is a very special person; He is the son of God.  John 20:31, “but these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the son of God: and that believing you might have life through his name.”  It was a very special event; for here the just demands of God were met. For the first time and the last time a perfect sacrifice was offered for the sins of man.

Calvary is that very special place, where a very special event took place. Jesus Christ, the son of God, a very special person, was crucified for you and me. I challenge you, dear reader, to make Calvary and what happened there a very special part of your life. 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.” The death, burial and resurrection of the Lord Jesus is truly an eternal memorial.

 

 

What to do while we are waiting


Have you ever been sitting around in a place like a doctor’s or dentist’ office, a restaurant, or even at home and wondered to yourself…”What do I do while I am waiting?”  Let’s look in Matthew 22 and see what Christ told us to do.

Matt. 22:35-38

            35 Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying,

             36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law?

             37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

            38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

Moses and Joshua told us to love God and our neighbors in Leviticus 19 and Deuteronomy 22, and then Christ told us again in Matthew.  The love Christ had for us is incomparable to any other, but we have to strive to be like Him; and for His time on earth, and especially the three and a half years of His ministry, He loved others and tried to bring them to his father. We need to do the same.  Life is too short to hold grudges, be mad, or be competitive in the wrong way.  If we love God, we will have to love others because He loves us and is love.   Let’s look at these few things in this passage and see what we need to do to love.

First, we need to love God with all our Heart, and we do this because the Bible tells us in John 3:16 that God loved us. In Rom. 10:9, we know God loved us and told us the way to be saved.  In II Cor. 5:17 the Bible says, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”  The new man is love because I John 4:8 states, “He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.”  So to be like Christ we are to love.

Secondly, we are to love God with all our soul.  Gen. 2:7, “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.”  We must love God with all our being.  Christ, who is love, should ooze out of us so that everything we do shows Him.  “All to Jesus I surrender all to him I freely give” says the old hymn, and our all is our everything.  The widow’s mite in Mark 12, the good Samaritan in Luke 10, Christ in the garden and on the cross are all examples of those that gave everything .

Thirdly, we are to love God with all our mind.  In Phil. 2:1-8, Paul tells us what mind we should have.  In verse 2 it says, we should me like minded, having one love and being in one accord.  In verse 3, we are told that there should be no strife among us with others, and we should put others first.  In verses 7 and 8,  we see we are to be servants and obedient. Christ is the best example of this in His life.

Lastly we see we are to love our neighbor as ourselves.

Rom 13:10:  Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

Gal. 5:14-16: 14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

            15 But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another.

16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. 

Loving our neighbor is being in the spirit. (All people are our neighbors.)

So in conclusion, while we ponder what to do while we are waiting, we see in Matt. 25: 14-30 that Christ gave the parable of the talents (Roman and Greek currency).

– The one with 5 increased it to 10

– The one with 2 increased it to 4

– The one with 1 still had 1 because he didn’t try and made excuses

If God has given us nothing else but His Son and salvation, we have everything! We better take it and run with it and tell everyone we can and love them on the way.  Why should we do this?  Because of the great commission;

Matt 28: 19-20 9 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

                        20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

Those loved ones that were saved or the little ones that have gone on before us have beat us to glory. For us, it may be tonight, tomorrow, or fifty years from now; but we know what to do while we waiting to leave or for Christ takes us…LOVE GOD AND EACH OTHER.

 

The “Eagle” Gospel


The Fourth Gospel “is the ‘eagle’ Gospel.  It soars into the heavens with steady wing and searching gaze.”  “…of all birds the eagle flies highest and is said to be the only creature which can look straight into the sun.”

In the opening verse, this heavenly eagle soars clear out of sight:  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  How can the Word be “with God” as One who is distinct from God and be “God” as One who is the same as God?

Mark begins his life of Christ with the ministry of John the Baptist, the forerunner of the Messiah (Mk. 1:1-8).  Matthew traces Jesus’ genealogy back to Abraham, the father of the Hebrew race (Matt. 1:1-17), and Luke traces it all the way back to Adam, the father of the human race (Lk. 3:23-38).  But John ushers us at once into the Home of Eternity where we gaze upon One whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.

Anxiety and God’s Provision


Many people are anxious about many aspects of their lives.  God has provided a Biblical solution for His children not to be focused on the circumstances which bring about the confusing feelings related to anxiety.  “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33).  God’s provisions are the best answer for the challenges life presents to each one of us.  He provides an adequate solution for anxiety.

Instead of giving our time to worrying about the many challenges in life, we need to put our efforts into seeking what matters more than anything else.  The will of God should be our focus which includes following His commands.  If we would spend more time seeking the will of God for our path in life, we would have less time for being anxious.

We are members of God’s family, and we need to honor Him.  If we will spend our energies in yielding to Him, we will not be anxious about trying to make things happen ourselves.  His provisions for His family are sufficient to meet our needs.  Enjoying His provisions in giving His children eternal life, inward peace, and joy will reflect God in our lives.  Those around God’s child should want the God they see manifested in the life of the Believer as He enjoys his position in God’s family.

What comes first in our lives reflects our priorities.  If worry comes first, the seeking will not be accomplished and will take away from His being shown forth through our lives.  Spiritual concerns must come first if we are to have our priorities correct.  Getting our priorities in the right order will stop our being anxious about the circumstances of life.

The rewards for seeking Him first in the life will result in supplying all the needs over which we are anxious.  Being anxious will not supply the needs we have.  Seeking first God’s will and plan will meet the exact provision for each challenge.

This is a great promise and few will experience the fulfillment.  Rather than spending your time stewing over the challenges of life, be a believer who will seek to yield to His will and have your spiritual, physical, and material needs filled through Him in His ways.

What is the message of your music?


As a music director, I look for ways that I can apply sermons that I hear to my ministry. Recently I heard a sermon on John 15:16. The main points were – our relationship to Christ is personal – “I have chosen you”; it is purposeful “and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit”; and it is powerful – “and whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.” As I began considering these points, I realized that the ministry of music should have the same points. Our “song” should be personal – salvation is a personal experience. It should be purposeful – it’s not entertainment, it is ministry. It should be powerful – there should be a spiritual result.  Psalms 40:3 aptly exhibits these three points.  Personal – he hath put a new song in my mouth; Purposeful – (1) praise unto our God, (2) many shall see it, and fear; Powerful – and shall trust in the LORD.  Consider the ministry of Paul and Silas in Acts 16 as they were in jail. They prayed and sang praises unto God, and they saw some mighty results. The next verse tells the foundations of the prison were shaken from a great earthquake, and a few verses later the jailer was seeking salvation. Those were personal, purposeful, and powerful results! Does the message of your music have these three powerful points?

 

The Missionary’s Mission


What is a missionary’s mission?  To share the transforming power of the gospel with people who have yet to experience it!  What better way to do that than to share how the gospel transformed my life?  It has been 28 years since the truth of the gospel and what Christ did for ME arrested my heart.  Even as a child, I realized that there was nothing I could do to save myself.  The beauty of the gospel is that the work of redemption has already been finished for us through the exchange of our sins for the robes of our Lord’s righteousness.  He took our penalty and offers us eternal life!  Today I am thankful for that wonderful exchange that happened in my young heart, and I am so thankful for the calling on my life to share the power and truth of the gospel with others wherever I meet them.  Have you experienced this wonderful exchange?  If not, I would love to introduce you to my Savior.  If so, who have you shared your exchange with today?

 

Trust


“It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man.” Psalm 118:8

This verse is in the middle of the Bible.  It’s kind of interesting that it’s teaching us to put our trust in God. It’s such a simple, yet crucial and difficult thing to do.  Why?   Because everything else around us fails, so why wouldn’t God?  Yet, God never fails! He and His Word are the only sure things in this world we live in. While God’s plan and our plan and are usually different from each other, His plan is always right.

And that’s pretty hard for us sometimes.  We only see partly; we see what’s in front of us or what’s happening to us.  God knows the whole picture.  He just wants us to trust Him.  And we’ll find that the more we trust Him, the more grace He’ll give us to trust Him the next time.

As humans, we’ll fail each other.  I know I certainly do.  It’s an awful feeling to know you’ve let someone down.  It’s also a bad feeling when we get let down by someone else.  Once trust gets broken people tend to have a difficult time trusting the next time.  What a comfort to know God will never ever let us down!

Now we just have to believe Him and put our faith into action.  We need to believe and trust…and keep on trusting no matter what is going on around us, even if things seem hopeless.