30 December 2010
29 December 2010
17 December 2010
Psalm 16:2 …Thou art my Lord: my goodness extendeth not to thee;
Psalm 31:19 Oh how great is thy goodness, which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee;
15 December 2010
1 Peter 3:10-11 For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile: Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it.
Came across this passage recently. Here the Lord reminds us one more time that the way to be genuinely happy and the way to really enjoy life is far different than we’re tempted to think.
It’s not to do whatever you want. It’s not to get whatever you want. It’s not to do your own thing or go your own way. It’s not to set out and achieve your goals and your ambitions. It’s not to stockpile massive quantities of stuff. It’s not shopping trips. It’s not vacations. It’s not going to the latest movie or playing the latest video game. It’s not watching your team win the championship.
It’s to obey God and live for others. That simple, if you really believe God’s word. Brethren, when will we allow our faith to take us to that point?
Leonard Ravenhill said, “One of these days some simple soul will pick up the Book of God, read it, and believe it. Then the rest of us will be embarrassed.” God help me be that simple soul! Amen.
13 December 2010
1 John 1:4 And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.
If joy is an inner condition that is not dependent on outward circumstances, I cannot think of a better example of true, full joy than a brother by the name of Milton.
We met Milton several years ago on the streets of downtown Orlando. Most Saturday nights he’s around the corner where we set up for our regular public outreach.
He has cerebral palsy. He’s confined to a wheelchair. He can barely move enough to control the lever. He sits with a cup between his knees. I’ve never actually seen him actually verbally ask for money. Every now and he’ll call one of us over to transfer the money from his cup to his fanny pack.
Last time I was down for public ministry in Orlando, I was able to talk to him for a little while and hear some of his testimony. He was a Jehovah’s Witness. When I asked him what made him leave, he said it was too oppressive. No liberty. Now he’s free in Christ. He quoted 2 Corinthians 3:17. Then broke out in song.
He’s always singing. Always praising God. Always happy. Always smiling. Always talking about how good Jesus is. As I was talking to him, another man who recognized him stopped by to talk. Milton told the man about Jesus. If I had been the one speaking, I doubt the man would have given me the time of day. He couldn’t help but listen politely to Milton.
He has nothing as far as this world is concerned. No health. No money. No comfort.
But he has Jesus Christ. He has eternal life. He has spiritual riches. And to him, that’s enough. He has joy.
I’m not sure what happened. Why he’s in the shape he is. But I was talking to him about his daughter. He wanted me to pray for her. He said she was saved. But he said she’s had it harder than he has. Which is hard to imagine. And I don’t know his daughter, but I would doubt that anybody but Milton would see it that way.
But he does. He has Jesus. He has eternal life. He has joy. He’ll get a new body one day. And he’s praising God in the meantime.
Talking to Milton is always a blessing. And it’s always convicting. I don’t know about you, but I have Jesus Christ. I have eternal life. And I have health. And I have some money in my pocket. And I have a nice house to live in. And I have a wonderful family. And I have a great church. And a lot more.
But I’m not sure I have the joy Milton has. At least not in the way that he has it. The only explanation is that even though I have the same spiritual blessings he has, I don’t focus on them as much as he does.
I guess I could blame that on the physical blessings. But I don’t think that’d be right. God wrote a Bible so my joy could be full. God wrote a Bible so your joy could be full. Lord help us be more like Milton. Amen.
09 December 2010
Want to tell you about a brother that’s been coming to our church for some time now. We’ll call him Brother B. He lives at the local Missionary Alliance retirement community. He was a missionary in South Korea for 35 years.
Age has taken its toll on his body. He can hardly speak due to the effects of a stroke. Pen and pad are needed for most any communication. His breathing seems to be indicative of congestive heart failure. He just had to give up his car (which was a good thing).
But he loves being at church. Every Sunday. Every Thursday. Down on the front row with a smile on his face. Hands raised at different points throughout the sermon. Even came fairly regularly to some Bible school classes this past semester. Up until he gave up his car, he was always on the go.
About a month ago, we took a crew to a football game at the University of Central Florida (largest school in the state) to do some public evangelism. I pulled up to the parking lot about 15 minutes prior to leaving time, Brother B – and his girlfriend (wife passed away several years ago) – were in the parking lot.
Now, Brother B can still get around on his feet at a decent pace for his age – for short distances. Sister D can still walk, but she’d barely beat a snail in a race. So I had the unpleasant task of telling them that the closest point to drop them off was at least a mile from where the crowds file in. They might have been able to make it there by the time that we were leaving. Sister D understands. Brother B still wants to believe his body is 35.
You see, he’s willing. He’s just not able. Not that he’s unable to serve the Lord. Just unable to do some of the things he’d like to do for the Lord. There are others like him in our church, as I’m sure there are in yours.
What’s so sad is that our churches are full of dads and moms and young people much unlike Brother B. They’re perfectly able, they’re just not willing. There’s plenty they could do for the Lord, if only they had the interest.
Right now, by the grace of God, I’m willing, and I’m able. God help me “work – for the night is coming, when man’s work is o’er.” And God grant that when I’m no longer able, someone will have to remind me, because in my heart, I’m still willing. Amen.
25 November 2010
Thanksgiving. Definitely the best holiday of the year. Hope you had a great one. Just wanted to pass along a thought I had yesterday. Decided I'd look up the first mention of any form of the word "thank" in the Bible. It's Leviticus 7:12 If he offer it for a thanksgiving, then he shall offer with the sacrifice of thanksgiving unleavened cakes mingled with oil, and unleavened wafers anointed with oil, and cakes mingled with oil, of fine flour, fried.
So the first mention of thanksgiving has to do with sacrifice. I thought that was interesting.
I'm glad that somewhere in our history, the leaders of this nation thought it important to set aside a special day and give thanks to God. And I'm glad that there are still those who celebrate it for what it is – a day of thanksgiving to the God who has blessed us in so many ways.
But if you think about it, the way in which we celebrate a day of thanksgiving has little to do with sacrifice. Not saying there's anything wrong with feasting. God ordained some of those for the Jews in the OT. Not saying there's anything wrong with getting together with family and friends for a meal and good times. The Lord encouraged His people to do it.
But I believe we'd do well to take note of the fact that in the Bible the giving of thanks is closely associated with the word "sacrifice." So let's be sure to include some of that, both today, and every day, as we humbly acknowledge God as the giver of so many good and perfect gifts. Happy Thanksgiving!
Psalm 107:22 And let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare his works with rejoicing.
Psalm 116:17 I will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of the LORD.
Jonah 2:9 But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that that I have vowed. Salvation is of the LORD.
Hebrews 13:15 By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.
Click here to listen to an excellent lesson on Biblical Thanksgiving by Brother Wade Shiu.
02 November 2010
Joel 3:14 Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision.
Going through some lessons in an excellent workbook entitled Christian Manhood (click here) with our young men on a once-a-month basis. The lesson this past Sunday night was on decision making. Here are some notes I gathered in my study.
There is nothing we do more than make decisions. It would be impossible to calculate the number of decisions we make throughout the course of the day. Some are made subconsciously without even realizing it. Others are made very carefully and thoughtfully and deliberately. Some are seemingly inconsequential. Others can and will drastically alter the course of our entire lives.
Since we cannot escape making decisions; since we make them on a momentary basis; since the decisions we make all carry consequences and shape the course of our lives here on earth and into eternity, it’s important that we study how to make good, wise, biblical decisions.
TYPES OF DECISIONS
COMMON OR EVERYDAY DECISIONS
1. Follow the word of God. Psalm 119:133; Psalm 119:105
2. Make a habit of self-denial. Luke 9:23; 1 Corinthians 9:25-27
3. In ALL things seek to glorify God. 1 Corinthians 10:31; Colossians 3:17; Revelation 4:11
4. Beware of slothfulness. Do hard things. Proverbs 26; Ecclesiastes 9:10; Colossians 3:23-24
5. Learn to be resourceful. Avoid wasting. Proverbs 18:9
6. Beware of the crowd. 1 John 5:19; Exodus 23:2
Truths About Temptation:
1. Temptation is common to all. 1 Corinthians 10:13; James 1:14
2. It presents us with a choice – to yield or to resist. 1 Corinthians 10:13; James 1:14-15
3. God will provide a way of escape, but it’s up to us to take it. 1 Corinthians 10:13; 2 Peter 2:9; Hebrews 2:18
Making the Right Choices Regarding Temptation:
1. Do not put yourself in compromising situations. Proverbs 22:3; Romans 13:14; Matthew 6:13
2. Run from them when necessary. 1 Timothy 6:11; 2 Timothy 2:22; 1 Corinthians 6:18
3. Decide ahead of time how you will respond. Daniel 1:8
1. Salvation – choose to place your trust in Jesus Christ while you still have opportunity. Romans 10:9-10; Isaiah 55:6-7; John 6:44; 2 Corinthians 6:2
2. Conviction – choose to agree with the Holy Spirit when He puts His finger on something in your life, and work to get it right immediately. 1 Thessalonians 2:13; 1 Peter 3:21; Genesis 6:3
3. Surrender – on a daily basis, renew your commitment to doing God’s will, not your own. Romans 12:1-2
4. Direction – decide to act on the promptings the Holy Spirit will place on your heart. Ephesians 5:18
1. Our problem is that we are halt between two opinions. 1 Kings 18:21
2. We must be single-minded. Matthew 6:24, 33; James 1:8; Psalm 86:11
3. God over everything else. Matthew 23:27; Matthew 4:10
4. Spiritual over temporal. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18; Romans 8:6
5. Others over self. Philippians 2:1-5
6. What is best over what is OK. Hebrews 12:1-2; 1 Corinthians 6:12
How to determine where to go to college, what type of career to pursue, who to marry, where to live, whether or not to take that job, etc. Weighty decisions that will drastically affect your life.
1. Follow the word of God. Psalm 119:133; Psalm 119:105
2. Seek out and give heed to sound, Biblical counsel. Proverbs 11:14; Proverbs 12:15; Proverbs 15:22; Proverbs 20:5
3. Devote much prayer to the matter. Philippians 4:6-7; 1 John 5:14
4. Coupled with prayer, trust the Lord. Psalm 62:8; Proverbs 3:5-7
5. Walk in the light God has given you. If your actions prove you are not interested in following God’s instructions, He is under no obligation to provide further instruction. Proverbs 2:7; Proverbs 3:5-7; Ephesians 5:17
Proverbs 2:7 He layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous: he is a buckler to them that walk uprightly.
THINGS WE OUGHT TO CHOOSE
1. To serve the Lord. Joshua 24:15
2. The blessings of obedience. Deuteronomy 30:19
3. The fear of the Lord. Proverbs 1:29
4. A good name. Proverbs 22:1
5. Things that please God. Isaiah 56:4; 66:4