Pushing or Pulling or Praying or Praising


I hope you’re not pushing and pulling your way through life. Undoubtedly, many folks would testify that their life is one constant struggle. Come with me to the Scriptures: James 3:16-17, “For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. (Is this your life?) But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.” It is easy to see the distinction between the worldly human conditions and heavenly wisdom.

In chapter 4:1-5, many aspects of the pushing and pulling of this world are described. These are believers who lust and want things, yet they are empty as they ask amiss. They try a dual friendship that will not work. The friend of the world is the enemy of God. Only through a submissive humble spirit can their need be met. (Verse 6)

In verses 7-11, the believer is given a list of imperatives that leads to victory. I will deal only with verse seven which says, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” So, my friend, in an attitude of humility, we are to be under obedience to God; and we are to stand against the devil.  These steps will put you on the pathway of a changed life. Your life will no longer be characterized by the chaos of pushing and pulling but by praying and praising. Every Christian needs to pray for a humble spirit which leads to submission and when we do, we will find ourselves praising the Lord.

What I’m giving you is just the start on the road to Christian blessing. Please read verses 7 to 11 and you will find the rest of the imperatives that God lays out for the New Testament Christian to follow.

In closing, I ask you to read James 4:17.  God bless you and may each of us have the victory.

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The Fact! More Importantly the Factor of God!


Joshua 1:8 This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shall have good success.

I am amazed at the extent to which Americans will go to operate, define, seek solutions, offer help, and expect results without acknowledging the slightest possibility that there is a God in heaven who is anything more than a cold hard fact. I define fact, as something known to have happened or to exist. In 1944, 96% of all Americans believed there was a God. In 2016, the number who believes there is a God in heaven has dropped to 79%. Both the Gallup and Pew Researchers have basically consistent percentages.

I am and will always be with the crowd that believes there is a God and that he is not only a fact, but He is the ultimate factor in each life. He is my life and my all as a Christian.  God must be more than a fact.  He must be allowed to rule and rein in our lives. We should join the Psalmist in Psalm 42:1-2a,  As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul for thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God.

My hope and prayer is that you would allow God to be more than a fact in your daily life. God can become the dominant  factor by your choice. Good godly choices are the result of a surrendered heart based on a love for God and the knowledge that God can be a real factor. He will, in fact, influence every outcome of your life if allowed to do so.  Joshua 24:15,  And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; . . . But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.

If your life is only at the fact stage, let me offer you the wonderful blessing of allowing God to become the major factor in your life. This means you are choosing to allow the great God of heaven, the Creator, to influence, control, and direct your life.  Oh, what blessings you will have! What victories you will experience! What joy will abound in your life! How often you will see mountains become molehills! You will see the impossible become possible. The pathway for your life will become clear. Allow God to become a factor in your life today. Seek to have the mind of Christ (Phil. 2:5).

Should you be one of the 10%-11% who do not believe there is a God, read the Gospel of John.  It is often called the Gospel of belief.  John 20:31, But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name. Let’s have biblical answers and lives for this non-biblical culture in 2017.

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.

 

 

Everyone Wants to be Free


John 8:32, “and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

Throughout the ages, man has been on a quest for freedom.  There are so many wonderful stories of how people achieved their freedom.  As a history teacher, I love reading about how the thirteen colonies decided  freedom was necessary  and how they finally achieved it from England. It was a grand day when Cornwallis surrendered at Yorktown.  The liberation of Paris during World War II brought back freedom to millions of French people. Pictures show us how the French people were lined up along the streets very grateful and once again happy to be free. The world will never forget the pictures of those frail starved Jewish people slowly making their way through the open prison gate to freedom. Do you remember the POW’s from Vietnam when they landed on free soil?  Let’s move beyond those wonderful moments of freedom in time, and let’s talk about freedom both in time and in Eternity. I call this the ultimate freedom.

In John 8:32, we read that it is “the truth” that makes one free.  In chapter 8, there are those who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ and those who did not believe. Verse 30 says, “as he spake these words, many believed on him” When an individual hears the Word of God and accepts or acts upon what he hears, that is belief or acceptance of the truth. In John 14:6, Jesus saith onto him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man, cometh unto the father, but by me.”  The ultimate freedom was made manifest in Christ. He is all you need to be free.

We need to remember that every man is born in sin. Sin is his prison, his agony, and the roadblock that makes salvation impossible. The Bible was full of examples of those who heard the truth, accepted the truth, and were set free. I will reference just two examples: those who heard the Word in Acts2:41 (about 3000 souls) and the Philippian jailer in Acts 16:31. The truth of the Word of God changed each life.  Have you allowed it to change yours?

Our world today is full of philosophies and ideologies and just plain craziness each claiming to be truth. I would challenge you to observe them and see how many lives they’ve made better, how many lost sinners have been saved and have the joy of knowing the reality of truth.  Mankind has always been free to accept or reject the truth. We read that in John 8, and we see it in our day. If you have chosen to accept Christ as Savior, you know exactly how the truth can change your life. If you’ve made the other choice, you know your life has not been changed. Today would be a wonderful day to accept the truth of God’s Word and Jesus Christ as your Savior. You have His promise that He will make you free indeed.

 

God Said It!


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Romans 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt  believe in thine heart that God has raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

I love to read the Word of God for many reasons. The foremost reason is for its message of redemption. There are many more reasons, but today I would like to ask you to think with me about the exactness of the Bible. We will see where God gives us exact steps to follow, and thus he assures us of exact results

In the verse quoted above, you see a perfect example of what I love. The Bible gives me strength, assurance, and a sense of “I (God) said it, that settles it”–the issue is done, settled, no questions necessary. The Bible says thou shalt be saved.

If you look with me at the major aspects of the verse, they are specific and very logical. Man has the problem so he must take the first step in becoming a part of the work already done on the cross. We must confess with our mouth that we are guilty of the sin that we are accused of by God.  This is called repentance.  We see our sin as God sees it.

Our Anchor, the one we openly confess as God is Jesus Christ. This open confession requires a relationship with him and a reliance on His ability at all times. This confession is not halfhearted or shallow. We must accept stated truth in the Bible, believe in thine heart. The word heart here among other things includes our intellect, thought process, center of spiritual life, our passions, our will, and more. This is where we get a new direction or a new way or better yet a new life. John 10:28a, And I give unto them eternal life and they shall never perish.

We are given one more requirement in our verse and that is to believe that the resurrection of Christ was a victory over sin, death, and the grave. When these factors come together in a life, we have God’s promise, thou shalt be saved. For me, it is a done deal–no questions, no if’s, ands or buts. God is spoken His word; I love the simplicity.

If you’re saved today, you can rejoice with me. Dear friend, if you are not saved, I challenge you to read the Word of God and trust Christ as your Savior. If we can help you in any way call us at 757-424-4673.

 

 

Blessed is the Nation whose God is the Lord


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We have recently survived another election. Some are happy, and some are sad with the results. I would submit to you that I accept the importance of individual feelings. My point today is to take you to a much larger and infinitely more important issue. Psalm 33:12a, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord.” America may see an economic revival, and that is much needed. Our position in the world could once again become a position of respect and trust. Many wonderful changes have once again been promised to the American people. However to become a sound nation once again we must get God back on the throne of our national life. The Lord Jesus Christ must be given His exalted place in the country. Let me go on record and show you how it must be sooner or later. I believe that every person will bow to Christ in this life or the life to come. He must be recognized as the God that He is. In honoring and worshipping Him, we honor and worship God. Let’s see what Phil. 2:5-11 says.

5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:

6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:

7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:

8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:

10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;

11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

We see here that Jesus did the following to earn His exalted position.  He took the form of God. He was equal with God. He made Himself of no reputation. He took the form of a servant and man. He humbled Himself. Lastly and most importantly, He became obedient to death.  This is why Jesus must be honored in America. He is denied His proper position by many. Modern man has a long series of ideas and reasons why it is old fashioned and unnecessary to honor God. To take that position you must remove or deny the Bible (See Ps.33:12a above). My hope is that our leader will be a Bible believer. I have as great a hope that you will be a Bible believer. I know that some of you are already believers. Aren’t you happy you made the choice?

Unsaved friend, you have a wonderful opportunity to bow your knee and humble yourself.

Let your lost humble estate cause you to confess that He is Lord and receive Him as your Savior. You will never go wrong nor will a nation go wrong following Jesus. Read Philippians 2:2-11 again, and trust Christ today. Do your part to make America a better place.

Little Children


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Listening to voices of happy children singing the words “I want to be faithful, I want to be true” reminded me of my need to be faithful and true to the God I love and serve. This moment became an emotional one for me as I drove to work at Tabernacle Baptist Church. There have been a lot of God-given moments over the forty plus years I have made the daily trip to work.

A Christian knows that God is faithful to his children.  “God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the Fellowship of his son Jesus Christ our Lord” (1Cor. 1:9). Our need to be consistently faithful is another matter. We know God is always faithful. I remember being introduced to the words, “Forsaking All I Trust Him.” As you can see the first letter of each word spells faith. These words are right on target. Real faithfulness requires letting go of a lot of things and clinging only to Him.

The children’s message renewed my desire to be faithful and brought a question to my mind. Will I hear, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant…”  Christian friend this reminded me that without faith it is impossible to please God.  Heb 11:6, “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”

Will you join me today in a new pursuit of faith? We don’t need a new 21st century faith; we need a renewed faith. It must be one that is active and vibrant, one that motivates us to forsake all and trust him.  Maybe today your faith is weak or you are without saving faith.  Once you become a Christian, then you need to be faithful to God. We must become as little children and trust our heavenly father and do His will.

The heroes of the Bible are such because of their faith. Their stories are told in Hebrews Chapter 11. You say, but I don’t want to be a hero. I understand, but don’t you want to be faithful? I do!  Please join me in the faith and live by faith.  Eph. 2:8-9, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.”

Missions is Our Mission!


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Missions is our Mission. We have just begun a new mission year at Tabernacle. Our 2015-16 year ended June 30th. It was a good year with many of the normal events completed with a great deal of excitement. Each Wednesday night our church hears from three missionaries by letter. I have the joy of reading most of the letters. They are filled with gratitude, love, victories, some setbacks, additions to families, kids going off to college, converts, new church plants, furlough plans, government collapse, and many other items to numerous to mention. I love the letters and often chuckle at some of the things they do on the field. I know it is serious business, but fun things do happen.

The letters remind me that missionaries are just normal folks like the rest of us. They are often called upon to go way beyond the normal. They have to deal with housing problems, worn out cars, and folks that sometimes are not faithful. Then there are letters that relate to us the blessing of a faithful National without whom the missionary would be limited. We all appreciate the faithful in our churches. Faithfulness must mean so much more to the missionary in a foreign land without family and friends. One young single missionary remarked how excited she was to have a friend who was now ready to go soul winning with her. Another related how a local man who loves Jesus loads his scooter with Gospel tracts and New Testaments and takes them to the villages.

Did you notice I never said the missionary faces all these hardships alone? They all have the reality of God’s promise to never leave them. (Heb. 13:5b) It must be an extra burden to be without family and friends and face hardships. Survival at these tough moments comes when they are assured the folks at home are praying. We must be faithful in prayer. How many came home because the prayer warriors failed? No doubt as you read this you are aware that in a few moments you can get the help you need. Help is as close as the cell phone. May I remind you that prayer is quicker, and God has worldwide service that always works? I am reminded as I write that you and I have a role to play in the success of our missionaries.

Let me close with a challenge to give to missions. It costs to live there as it does here in America. We have so much or think we need so much here.  Our culture keeps telling us just how badly we need everything. Children are constantly shown on TV what they need and why the need it. Gadgets and fads keep us poor while the missionary needs a new tire or a chair or maybe books for a child’s education. Let’s not allow them to be alone or without on the field God has called them to. Let’s make missions our mission!

Be Careful Where You Look


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In Luke 4:22b, we find the following words, “Is not this Joseph’s son?”  In chapter 4, the Lord Jesus was led into the wilderness to be tempted three times by the devil.  After the third temptation we read in verse 12, “And Jesus answering said unto him, it is said, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.”  Jesus as God knew He was God.

After Christ had resisted the temptation of the devil, he entered the synagogue to teach. The Bible tells us that Jesus stood to teach. In verses 18 and 19 he spoke these words,” The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering the sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised.  To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.”  Jesus was reading from the book of Isaiah 61:8. Jesus told his listeners that day that this prophecy was fulfilled before them. His listeners then ask the question quoted above, Is not this Joseph’s son?

The world in which we live is still having trouble trying to figure out who Christ is. Unfortunately some still seem to see him as a carpenter’s son, others see him as a good man, and there are even those who would admit that he is a prophet.  The truth of the matter is, He is God.  He is the creator of the world (John1:3). In 2 Timothy 1:10, Christ is called our Savior; and in Titus 2:13, he is called our great God and our Savior Jesus Christ. In 2 Peter 1:11, He is referred to as our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The highly educated world of the 21st century seems to be unable to define who this person is called Christ. The answer is very clear when one goes to Scripture. I would like you today, dear reader, to go to the Scriptures and find Christ.

I believe today there are those in even greater number who try to define Christ outside the Scriptures. They will not arrive with the biblical answer by avoiding the Scripture. We are reminded in Colossians 2: 8-9, “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of man, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.”  Verse nine is there as a wonderful reminder.  It says, “For in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.”

If you are a seeker today, I trust you are seeking Christ in the pages of the Bible. Someone said that the saving blood of Christ is a theme that runs through every page of the Bible. If you are a believer, and  the philosophies of the world and the ways of modern man have caused you to lose sight of who Christ is, I would take you to Ephesians 2:10. “ For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God has before ordained that we should walk in them.” I challenge you, and I challenge myself to focus on the Christ of the Bible. 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.” Philippians 2:10 says “That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven and things in earth and things under the earth and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the father.” If you seek Him, I promise you will find Him, and you will know He is God.

Never Forsaken


2000px-Map_of_Iceland.svgWe had a visitor at TBC recently with a very interesting story. As we shook hands, he told me he attended TBC over forty years ago. I told him I had been here forty-three years. He began to tell how he was saved at a home church in Iceland.  A group of servicemen had begun to have services there on Sunday.  There was no preacher among them so they gathered tapes from fundamental preachers and listened to them for their church service.  By this time, I began to remember that we were so excited at TBC when this family came early in the 1970s.  They had been saved in Iceland as a result of hearing the Word preached by Dr. Rod Bell.  It was a wonderful testimony of the grace of God in the life of this couple.

They were excited to be at TBC and hear Dr. Bell, the man whose message they had heard so far away.  We all rejoiced with them. The story goes on that over four hundred servicemen made professions of faith in Christ at that base. What a wonderful way and place for God to do such a work!  Many of these men and their families are all around America and the world serving God. Our friend went on to say, when he learned he was headed to Iceland he said, “Do I have to go to that forsaken hole?”  He loves to tell how he learned it was not forsaken.  I challenge you, dear reader, to take note of where you are positioned today. What is your need?

Ephesians 4:11-15, “(11) And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; (12) For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: (13) Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: (14) That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; (15) But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:”

What lessons can we learn from this great story of how God works?

  1. Vs. 11-12: God has prepared those who will represent Him in preaching the Word so sinners can be saved and the saints edified (in Iceland and wherever you are).
  2. Vs. 13-14: Through the preaching and teaching of the Word each believer is to grow to maturity (in Iceland and wherever you are).
  3. Vs.  15: The growing up process is to touch all aspects of each life (in Iceland or wherever you are).