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.

I Beseech You!


Romans 12:1, says “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.”

              What is mercy? Mercy is not getting the punishment that we truly deserve. Because we have sinned, you and I deserve eternal damnation in hell; but God’s mercy keeps us from hell, while his grace has provided eternal privilege in heaven with him if we will repent and receive the sacrifice that Jesus paid for us. “It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not” (Lamentations 3:22). “He hath not dealt with us after our sins… For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him” (Psalm 103:10, 11). “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us…” (Titus 3:5). The Psalmist tells us that God’s mercy endures forever.

              God’s Word pleads with us to be a living sacrifice (to serve, to give, and to live this life) unto our Lord. God’s will is for us to live this life preparing to serve him for eternity. Have you presented yourself to him? If not, how about now?

 

 

Answered Prayer


Hebrews 4:16, “Let us therefore come boldly unto to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and may find grace to help in time of need.” “Pray without ceasing,” 1 Thessalonians 5:17.

Psalm 62:5, “My soul wait thou only upon God for my expectation is from him.”  No matter what you think prayer is, it is first and foremost talking to God. So often in the Christian life we talk to everyone but God. In reality, God is the only one who can supply our every need.

I learned in a few months ago that seven of my family members were coming home from the mission field in Brazil to visit their churches that support them. They will arrive in Virginia Beach on June 9 and depart June 30. Obviously, I was excited at the prospect of seeing my sister and her family again.  They have been in Brazil for forty plus years; thus we have not spent much time together.   They asked if my husband and I would take care of their housing for a month.  There would be seven adults; this would be a major task.

My husband and I talked about it, and we decided that God is able, and we would ask Him and Him alone to provide the housing.  Philippians 4:19, “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”  This was our promise from God. We began to pray that God would provide this very special need.  I want to say that it is both fun and challenging when one is expecting God to answer prayer. We are told in Mark 11:24,”…when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.”

There were actually two families involved in it; so it would be wonderful to have at least four bedrooms.  We knew they would be willing to adjust to whatever conditions they met. But we wanted God to do this.  It was not for us to figure out. It was our delightful duty to trust him.

We shared the specific need with our pastor, Dr. James Baker, and a handful of believers telling them that we just wanted to get out of the way and let God work.  That way He would get all the glory.  When God does something, you cannot improve upon it.  In March, we ask the church to join us in prayer.

By the end of March, the Lord had provided a house through a wonderful family in our church.  I am so thankful the Lord provided.  I am also thankful for this family that was willing to give to meet this need.

Now I turn to you, dear reader.  I told the above story to give glory to God and to challenge you in your prayer life to trust Him.  There is the daily need to take it to the Lord and leave it there.  1 Peter 5:7, “Casting all your care upon him for he careth for you.” There’s a prayer answering promise from God.

Meditation on Faith and Works


Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.  For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.  ~ Ecclesiastes 12:13-14

What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?  If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?  Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.  Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works…For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.  ~ James 2:14-18, 26

·       My purpose is to have faith in God, and my actions are to be in accordance with His commands.  The two go together: faith and works.

·       The reason for that: it is the entireness of me.

·       The reason for that: God will judge my works, what I do and say, and my secret things, what is in my heart (my faith)…whether they are in accordance with His commands or not.

·       There are at least two types of faith: one that saves and one that doesn’t.

·       Faith is nothing without works.

·       Works are nothing without faith.

·       I can believe God exists, but if it doesn’t spur me to works that are in accordance to His command, then that faith is useless; it has no profit for me.

·       Salvation is the result of faith that has works that are in accordance with God’s command.

·       The balance of faith and works will show in life.

·       My faith must be the type that causes me to take action in accordance with the design of God as He has given and continues to give through His Word, His Son, and His Spirit.

·       It is I that must choose to have faith and do works.  The choice not to do so will be evident in my life and will be judged accordingly.