Saturday, December 20, 2014

Soul, Why Are You Sad?

Psa 43:5  Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God. 

I have my Hope in Him
I have my Hallelujahs for Him
I have my Health, thanks to Him
I have HIM!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Blessed Thanksgiving!

Today, I borrow from the Messianic Psalm, 16

Psa 16:6  The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; yea, I have a goodly heritage. 

The boundary lines you have set for me are the best! As Jabez said in I Chron. 14:9, you have enlarged my territory. 

The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places. 

I am a small-time preacher smack dab in the middle of fly-over country, pastoring a relatively small flock. Our "denomination" (I don't see Baptists as a denomination) comprises only 1/2 of 1% of our city. If my church dried up and blew away, the community would never even notice. To the world, I am a nobody, doing little and having nothing to show.

And yet, the Lord has granted me favor, blessings and influence beyond imagination. No way would I trade places with any individual on the planet. NOBODY has it better than I! Truly, the lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places.

I have a goodly heritage. 

Though I sing, I will never be mentioned along side Pavarotti. Though I preach, I will never be thought of as a Graham or Osteen. Though my bank account carries a positive balance, I am no threat to Warren Buffet on the list of "well-to-dos."

Yet, I have royal blood flowing though my veins. I am a child of the King. I am destined for a royal position in millennial government. I am the King's ambassador representing a much better country.

And for these other-worldly blessings, I render gratitude on this Thanksgiving holiday.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

How Long, O LORD? (Pt 2)

Psalm 13: 1 How long wilt thou forget me, O LORD? for ever? how long wilt thou hide thy face from me? 2  How long shall I take counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart daily? how long shall mine enemy be exalted over me?

We continue today with our short series of blogs on the 13th Psalm, How Long, O LORD? Yesterday we discussed, How long will you forget me, O LORD?  All Christians have asked a similar question along with the following questions….

2. Why have you hidden your face Oh Lord?

Here, the psalmist indicates that he knows God is somewhere, just not evident. And which of us haven't been here also? Sometimes, everything is sunshine and roses. God's presence surrounds you like the warm sunshine of a spring day. The blessings are flowing, the windows of heaven are open, and things could not be any better.

But have you noticed, there is no Christian growth during those mountaintop seasons of your life? For you see, It's down in the valleys where we learn our lessons: lessons of faith and trust, doing our duty when we don't feel like it, our character is being built in the valleys when God's presence is not so evident and his face is not readily seen.

3.  How long shall I take counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart daily?

And now, the poor psalmist finds that he is talking to himself, reasoning out of a wounded soul, a place that he knows the answers are corrupted, skewed. He is seeking answers from heaven, but heaven is silent. Heaven is withholding wisdom.

Now we know that brother James tells us, If any man lack wisdom let him ask of God who gives to all men liberally and upbraids not. I can tell you that God will always eventually give wisdom. But most often, it is on his schedule and not on ours. His schedule fosters growth, trust, and patience. If we always received wisdom whenever we snapped her fingers, God would appear to be a genie popping out of the bottle and saying,  “your wish is my command.”  Do you really want a God like that? If that were the case, really, you would be the god, and He would be your servant. I am glad it doesn't work that way.

There are those times where God wants us to commune with our own heart, listen to our selves talk, and wisdom will begin to grow out of these conversations with self.

It is when we begin asking ourselves questions like, Why me? What am I going through this for? Am I doing something wrong? What do I need to do? Is there a lesson I need to learn? that God can say, “now you're asking the right questions and the answers will begin to come...eventually.”

Open your eyes, open your heart.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Trusting God in Seasons of Despair

Ps 13:1 How long wilt thou forget me, O LORD? For ever? How long wilt thou hide thy face from  me?

How long, O LORD? Which of us has not asked this very question? We have questioned it in our hearts and have even let the words escape our lips. We went through a time of suffering, anguish, pain, frustration, poverty, loneliness, etc. And, as time went on, we cried to the heavens, how long, O LORD?

“How long will you forget me?”

Here the psalmist feels that God has placed him on a shelf. That God is too busy for him, that God has forgotten where he lives and what he is going through. Like the children of Israel in slavery in Egypt. Like Joseph in prison, Like Noah on the ark. Like Job on the ash heap. And like Jesus on the cross as he cried, “My God, my God, why has thou forsaken me?

Surely you have been here, haven’t you? If not, your day is coming. You feel like the heavens are brass when you pray. You feel as if there is a cloud hanging over you wherever you go. Your shoulders are slumped, your eyes are downcast, your strength is sapped, you have run out of answers, and you just feel as if God has forgotten you.

Oh friend, you have asked, “How long, God?”

Please tune in to the next post.

In the meantime, keep looking up – God will never leave you nor forsake you. 

Friday, November 21, 2014

How to Have the Very Best Thanksgiving

1. Consider the source of all blessings - James 1:17
2. Dwell on the good and positive - Phil 4:8
3. Go about your day smiling, singing and saying "thanks" - Eph 5:18-20
4. Freely enjoy, without guilt, the blessings He has given. I Tim 6:17
5. Even in the seemingly bad stuff, give thanks. There is a good reason even for the bad. I Thess 5:18

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

You Might Just Be Going to Hell If:

God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. Have you? Thanks to false religious teaching and misguided thinking, many who say they are going to heaven really aren't because they are seeking salvation on their own terms rather than God's. This is a horrible and eternal mistake.
So, please consider, with an open heart and an open Bible... You Just Might be Going to Hell If...
…Your mommy had to change your diaper just before your baptism.  Acts 2:41
…You had to wipe the baptismal water off your forehead.  Mk 16:16
…Your answer to the question: “Are you a Christian?” is “I’m an American, ain’t I?”  Heb 9:22
…You say you love Jesus, but don’t keep His commandments.  Jn 14:15
…You believe in God and that’s enough.  Jms 2:19
…You tell people, “I have always been a Christian.”  Jn 3:7
…You tell some soul-winner, “I have my own religion.”  Mt 10:32-33
…You love God but hate your brother.  I Jn 4:20
…You have both blessing and cursing, sweet and bitter waters flowing from the fountain of your lips. Jms 3:10-12
…You say you have faith, but there are no works to show for it.  Jms 2:20
…You claim Christianity but there has never been any fruit in your life. Mt 7:17-19
…You are trying to find acceptance from God by impressing Him with your goodness, your giving, your righteousness.  Eph 2:8-10
...You sin with impunity.  Heb 12:8
…You are comparing your righteousness to somebody else’s.  Rom 3:10, 23
…You know Jesus died for you, but you have not personally accepted His death in your place – His substitution for you.  Jn 3:16
…You “said a prayer” but never claimed Jesus as Lord of your life. Rom 10:9, 13
…You have no personal relationship with Jesus.  Jn 10:27

Friend, don’t complicate the matter. Jesus died for your sins and you must come to Him, completely trusting in Him for forgiveness and eternal life. Don’t go to hell because of religion or self-righteousness. Believe on Him today!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Pastor Appreciation

Proverbs 18:12  Before destruction the heart of man is haughty, and before honour is humility.

To all my pastor buddies out there... I love you and appreciate you!!!

I suppose one of the unfortunate things to happen to ministry in America in these past several years is the idea of a Pastor Appreciation Month. Boy, has that backfired on the clergy!

 I don't think we can blame this fall-flat-on-its-face occasion on the greeting card companies like the extreme proliferation of Val's Day, Mom's Day, Grand Parent's Day, etc. The reason being, that they aren't making anything off this special occasion.

I suppose some very well-meaning, big-hearted individual thought it would be extremely appropriate to give honor to pastors by setting aside a whole month to appreciate the pastors. That month, the pastor could be showered with texts, tweets, e-mails, FB messages expressing gratitude for their labors. Church families could invest a Sunday afternoon meal for the preacher and his family, whereby Tyson could make a killing (literally and figuratively) in chicken sales. A special service could be set aside in the church during October to do a "this is your life" for the preacher. Gift cards to Amazon or Barnes and Noble would be given the preacher to enhance his library. The church may invest in a conference on ministry to help the preacher better tend the flock or to preach the Word more effectively. Some churches may even use this opportunity to send the pastor and his bride away for a weekend at a resort or, possibly even a cruise, mission’s trip or Holy Land excursion for pastors who have led and fed well for many years. (Really, most would be satisfied with a personal note, handshake or pat on the back.)

May God richly bless whoever this person is or was had these noble intentions. 

However, for the most part, the common church goer either has no idea that such an appreciation month even exists, or, they have an inkling but assume somebody will carry the ball in such matters then they will just participate when the secret note has been passed.

But the memos generally fail to initiate. Somebody assumes someone else will generate the real-good-feel-good effort on behalf of the church and before you know it, the ghosts, ghouls and goblins of October are exchanged for the cornucopias of November and, to the pastor’s chagrin, the moment was not seized.

I have two things to say to you, dear co-laborers in the vineyard.

One, this pastor knows of and recognizes your labors and gives thanks to the Lord for you. This fellow servant offers his hand in fellowship, his shoulder in sorrow, his heart in compassion and his appreciation in the work.

And, more importantly, two, your appreciation day is just over the horizon. The crown which will never tarnish is on order now. Listen to what Peter has to say about the Hallmark greeting you will be met with in the Halls of Glory...

1Peter 5:1  The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: 2  Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; 3  Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. 4  And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away. 5  Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. 6  Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:

So preach on preacher. Encourage the hurting, exhort the laborers, rebuke the unruly, feed your flock, win the lost, disciple the saved. God is not is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister. Heb. 6:10