Friday, August 31, 2012

Why seek ye the living among the dead? Luke 24:5

Indeed, why are we looking for love in all the wrong places? A person is not going to find life, love, satisfaction and fulfillment in a bottle or in a pill. No joint will give life. No amount of pleasure will truly satisfy.

Even the good things in life that God gives to enhance our lives: our families, friends and loved ones, jobs, recreation and the like are only supplemental for our joy, satisfaction and fulfillment. We dare not look to them for abundant life. Jobs downsize, spouses divorce, kids grow up and get too busy for mom and dad, friends move away. Relationships are fickle. Riches grow wings and fly away. Pleasures get old. They will all fail us at some point. But Jesus never fails. His satisfaction is real and lasting. His joy is complete. His life is full and fulfilling.

If you want life and you want it more abundantly, then look to Jesus. Only He can truly satisfy! He is the only true Savior, faithful friend and the real joy giver.

Anything and everything else will fail in your search for true satisfaction in life.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Other Women

Luke 24:1 Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them. 2 And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre. 3 And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments: 5 And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead? 6 He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee, 7 Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again. 8 And they remembered his words, 9 And returned from the sepulchre, and told all these things unto the eleven, and to all the rest.

Verse one, along with verse ten show us that there were a few women along with the 2 Marys and Joanna, were of that number of "daughters of Jerusalem" who would spare no expense to adorn the corpse of their Lord.

To us, they will remain nameless this side of glory. But they are no strangers to heaven. These are the devoted ladies who risked their lives to show a great kindness to the Savior.

What a fantastic reward awaited these devoted women! They were the first to witness a vacated tomb. They were greeted by 2 angels in shining garments who said to them, "Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen!" These women had the high privilege of announcing the resurrection to the apostles, even though their pronouncement was greeted with skepticism.

How blessed are the devoted servants of Jesus whose names will never grace a marquis this side of eternity, but who love the Lord wholeheartedly and are willing take risks and to sacrificially lavish their worldly goods upon Him to adorn the doctrine of God.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Lying Religionists

Luke 23:1 And the whole multitude of them arose, and led him unto Pilate. 2 And they began to accuse him, saying, We found this fellow perverting the nation, and forbidding to give tribute to Caesar, saying that he himself is Christ a King.

These pious pukes were all about power and control. Since Jesus would not play their game, they had to eliminate Him. Nothing else worked, so they resorted to fraud and deception.

Lie 1) We found this fellow perverting the nation. The nation is the race of the Jews. As He said, He did not come to destroy the law but to fulfill it. The perversion had already been accomplished by His accusers. On so many fronts they misrepresented the Word of God to their religious underlings. He came to set things right.

Lie 2) He was forbidding people to pay their taxes. Again, this was an insidious perversion of what He taught them. Earlier, when they came to Him, tempting Him, they asked, "Is it lawful to pay tribute to Caesar?" He said, "Bring me a penny" and when they had done so, He said, "Whose is the image and the superscription?" "Caesars," they answered. Then He specifically told them, "Render therefore unto Caesar the things that be Caesars’ and to God the things that are God's." A great chasm exists between what actually happened and what they were falsely accusing.

Lie 3) He said that He Himself is Christ a king. Well, He surely was and is, but it was not He who said it. They asked Him in the previous chapter if He was Christ and He simply replied, "If I tell you, ye will not believe:"

Lies! The whole body of accusations they claimed against Jesus to Pilate showed whose servants they were, "Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it." John 8:44

It pays to be honest. Moreover, honesty delineates you from the devil’s crowd.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Betrayal or Denial?

Judas, betrayest thou the Son of man with a kiss? Luke 22:48

Peter denied, Judas betrayed. Peter repented, Judas hung himself. Peter occupies one of 24 thrones around Christ's throne, Judas went to his own place.

Judas betrayed the Son of man with a kiss, Peter denied with an oath. Judas was filled with the devil, Peter was filled with fear.

Judas sold Jesus out because he was greedy. He perished with 30 pieces of silver. Peter denied Jesus because he was fearful for his life and later said, "silver and gold have I none."

Satan desired to sift Peter. Satan possessed Judas to have Jesus crucified.

Two men, both apostles, both sinners, both made a mistake. One was forgivable, one was fatal. Judas died in his sin. Peter died for His Lord.

It behooves us to beware of Satan's devices. We must stay true to the One Who is faithful to us. Neither deny nor betray the Master. Don't let greed or gain get get in between you and your Lord.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Unleash the Beast. The Hour of the Power of Darkness

Luke 22:53 When I was daily with you in the temple, ye stretched forth no hands against me: but this is your hour, and the power of darkness.

In the middle of the night, in a remote garden, led by the prince of darkness, dark hearts with dark agendas descend upon Jesus and His little band of disciples, bent on the destruction of embryonic Christianity.

What would follow revealed the hideous hatred of hell toward the light of Jesus.

Vicious torture, cruel mockery and scorn, lies, false accusations, bribery, religious intolerance, injustice and murder, this is hell's finest hour. The beast is unleashed. It throws everything it has against righteousness, bombarding Jesus and His servants with spit and spite. It is said, hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. No, nothing and nobody can match hell's fury unleashed upon godliness.

To be sure, Satan is adept at masquerading as an angel of light. He can seem so innocuous in his attack. But that old fiend knows exactly what he is doing. He is cold and calculating, awaiting just the right moment to pounce. And when he does, when the hour of power of darkness arises, there is total devastation. He and his followers are thieving, lying, murderous, marauding, destroyers without an ounce of pity.

Don't think for a moment you are not in his sights. The devil is also called Abaddon and Apollyon, the Destroyer. He is aptly named.

Don't be fooled, every apple he offers has worms. Be sure to look at the back side of the billboards. The fronts of his ads always show beautiful people living the high life. But the reality is that those same dupes are left wallowing in distress, disease and despair. Hell hath enlarged itself awaiting the victims of those imps whose sole aim is the destruction of souls.

Jesus withstood hell's darkest, most daring hour of power. Only He will help you do the same. Hide yourself in Christ. Take shelter in His protection. The beast is unleashed, his time is short, he is mad and you are his intended victim. Beware!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Thankful for 34 Years

1 Timothy 1:12 And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry;

34 years ago this week, I was matriculating into Pacific Coast Baptist Bible College, San Dimas, CA when a friend, Rhonda Shook, of the Singing Shook Family approached me and introduced me to Pastor McCrary, who was in need of a “music man,” as they called the guy who would paint, clean, visit and haul the other PCBBC students to church every service. I was his guy. So he hired me “full-time” and paid me $200 per month to drive 45 minutes each way on the SoCal freeways 7 times a week. Never-the-less, it was my first “full-time” ministry.

Since that first ministry gig, the Lord has allowed me to serve Him in the following churches over the past 34 years:

Foothills Bible Baptist, now Victory Baptist, Montrose, CO

El Centro Baptist Tabernacle, now Grace Baptist, El Centro, CA

Lighthouse Baptist, Cortez, CO

Ellicott Baptist, Ellicott, CO

Fellowship Baptist, Lincoln, NE

Gentle Shepherd Baptist, Lincoln, NE

Averyville Baptist, E. Peoria, IL

Good Shepherd Baptist, Mooresville, IN

“Full-time” ministry for me has included: Pastor, assistant pastor, associate pastor, School administrator, principal, vice-principal, teacher, coach, camp director, bus director, music director, youth director, visitation director, church planter, evangelist, police and fire chaplain and college professor. I have been blessed to serve as 2 time state chairman of the Nebraska Baptist Bible Fellowship and National Director of the BBFI.

I have been blessed to know and minister with thousands of good Christian brothers and sisters across the country and around the world. Our travels have taken us to 46 US states, Canada, Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Israel and Italy. We have started, or helped start 8 churches.

I must say that I have never been happier or more fulfilled in ministry than these past 15 years with Gentle Shepherd Baptist Church, right here in my home town of Lincoln, NE. It is a wonderful church full of some of God’s choicest people. “Missions” is the chief thrust of this fantastic little church. We are thrilled that almost 800 people have made professions of faith in Christ though our church during this time span.

I am blessed to have the full support of a great family. Each one is integral to our ministry. I was so thrilled to see my son last night, not yet 15 years old, teaching and leading a large group of teen boys. My little 10 year old girl is blessed with musical talent and blesses our church with her ministry in music. My wife does the work and ministry of several people and excels in her work for the Lord.

Thank you, Lord Jesus, for a great ride these past 34 years. Thank you for my family and all the wonderful people you have placed in my life and ministry. Thanks for the great church in which to serve. Please allow me to continue strong and healthy in your ministry and to finish well.

Post Script: Why would a person “do ministry” for that long?

1. I doubt I could do much of anything else

2. It is what I am supposed to do, that’s why it is referred to as a calling.

3. God is faithful, how could I be anything else in return?

4. I love it!

When I told my dad, I am going into the ministry, he growled, “It won’t last long!” Nothing like a little reverse psychology for motivation. :<)