Wednesday, October 30, 2013

No God Like Ours!

Micah 7:18  Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy. 19  He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea. 20  Thou wilt perform the truth to Jacob, and the mercy to Abraham, which thou hast sworn unto our fathers from the days of old.

What kind of God is this that saves, secures and sets us apart for His own?

I. A God Who pardons iniquity - Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity
II. A God Who passes by transgressions - and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage?
III. A God Who pauses in His anger - he retaineth not his anger for ever
IV. A God Who pleases to show mercy and compassion - because he delighteth in mercy. He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us;
V. A God Who pitches our sins into the depths of the sea - he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.
VI. A God Who performs truth - Thou wilt perform the truth to Jacob

Can your gods of cash, career, carousing and celebration bless you like the God of Heaven desires?

Friday, October 25, 2013

The Day of the Lord - Light or Darkness

Amos 5:18  Woe unto you that desire the day of the LORD! to what end is it for you? the day of the LORD is darkness, and not light. 19  As if a man did flee from a lion, and a bear met him; or went into the house, and leaned his hand on the wall, and a serpent bit him. 20  Shall not the day of the LORD be darkness, and not light? even very dark, and no brightness in it?
Many nominal Christians are spouting off about the coming of the Lord as if His coming will be the answer to all of their problems. But what we all need to realize is that, for those not truly born again, the day of the Lord portends judgment unlike any this world has ever seen. For believers, the coming of the Lord is followed by the judgment seat of Christ, in which we will stand before the Lord and give account for all of our works to determine which is wood, hay and stubble or gold, silver and precious stones.

Slothful, disobedient Christians will find little joy in this day of judgment because it is a time of reward for faithfulness. A Christian walk contrary to God's express will for a life will result in a less than joyful accounting on that day.

The prophet gave a sort of, out of the frying pan, into the fire scenario for those hoping for a better day but not investing in that future now.

He likened present disobedience and future disposition to a man being delivered from the mouth of a lion into the waiting claws of a bear or finding refuge from the elements in a house, only to have a serpent emerge from a hole in the wall to strike him.

Many feel they are now in darkness, but there is light awaiting when the Lord comes. But the reality of it all is that there is a day of reckoning coming. It offers darkness to the faux believer and a serious accounting for the true believer.

It will benefit us all to get right with God and serve Him wholeheartedly so that the day of the Lord will mean a truly better day.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Fist Bumps, Hand Shakes, Salutes and Hugs!

Acts 20:1  And after the uproar was ceased, Paul called unto him the disciples, and embraced them, and departed for to go into Macedonia.

Acts 20:37  And they all wept sore, and fell on Paul's neck, and kissed him, 38  Sorrowing most of all for the words which he spake, that they should see his face no more. And they accompanied him unto the ship.

Churches! Filled with all kinds of people, gabby talkers, hesitating hermits, emotional huggers, fist-bumping jocks.

Have you ever tried to throw a bro hug on a dude and he is not in the least bit interested in sharing tender moments of close fellowship? AWKWARD!

Here is Paul, the guy with the weak physical constitution and rock hard spirit. Not a real softy, by any means. He wraps the believers in his arms and plants a holy kiss on the cheeks of the brethren. I am sure many of them would have settled for a holy Aloha, but they got a full-bodied embrace.

Thing is, he knew that his life was in constant peril and that seeing any of these folks again on this side of glory was unlikely. So he made his farewells memorable.

Gets me to thinking, as I am about to head out of town on a ministry excursion, how many good words were left unsaid? How many hugs were relegated to a hand shake, fist bump or salute?

I may never get to wrap my little girl in my arms again. (Lord knows that when I dropped her off at middle school this morning, the last thing she wanted was a public display of affection from her old man!) That little peck with the wife was pretty lame if it ends up being the last one due to unforeseen circumstances.

So, if you think an appropriate hug is the thing to do, take Paul's example and show people what they mean to you.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Barnabas - A Favorite of Mine!

Acts 11:22  Then tidings of these things came unto the ears of the church which was in Jerusalem: and they sent forth Barnabas, that he should go as far as Antioch. 23  Who, when he came, and had seen the grace of God, was glad, and exhorted them all, that with purpose of heart they would cleave unto the Lord. 24  For he was a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost and of faith: and much people was added unto the Lord. 25  Then departed Barnabas to Tarsus, for to seek Saul:

I love Barnabas! You know, the believers changed his name, don't you? His given name was Joses. But this special servant of God was so big-hearted, such a wonderful encouragement to others, that they started calling him Barnabas, Son of Consolation.

That is huge!!!

This was a man who was full of the Holy Ghost, and it was evident! There was no guessing about if there was any fruit when it came to this brother.

He also was a man who could recognize the grace of God when he witnessed it. When he made it to Antioch, the church where the apostles held membership, he saw the evidence of God's great grace and was thrilled about it.

He stands out as an exhorter also. When he met with the Christians, called such first at Antioch, he began to encourage them in their work and faith. He spurred them to cling to God.

He was a good man, and full of faith. This godly man was like a magnet. During his ministry in Antioch, numerous souls were saved.

He was the epitome of what an evangelist was supposed to be: soul-winning, church-planting and saint-encouraging.

Any God loving soul would love this good and godly man. We should all strive to be more like him.

May God give us more brothers and sisters after the similitude of Barnabas!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Lord, Send the Old-Time Power!

Acts 4:31  And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness. 32  And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common. 33  And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.

Ø Shake us!  "The place was shaken"
Ø Fill us! "they were all filled witht the Holy Ghost"
Ø Use us! "they spake the word of God with boldness."
Ø Unite us! "And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul"
Ø Empower us! "And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection"

Lord, Do Something Mighty in Us!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Pastor, I appreciate you!!!

Dear Pastors, you know what this month is, although only about one out of 50 of your people do. That little old gal in your church that listens to Christian radio and is alert to the need to get you a card recognizing you for what you are to her and the church.

I just want to say that, although there are those crazy birds out there that give the ministry a bad taste in the mouths of people, I want to recognize you for the loyal, sacrificing, hurting, rejoicing, preaching, teaching, encouraging, over-worked, under-paid, under-appreciated servant of the Lord and His people that you are.

I know that, after all of these years of service, you have to wonder if any lives have really been changed, if anybody has benefited from the thousands of hours you have invested in study, counsel and delivering your soul  four or five times a week. Sometimes you wonder if they internalized one thing you have ever taught.

You, my friend, jiggle the toilet handles after everyone has left. You check the doors, the lights, say a prayer and finally go home to the family. Know that your record is on high AND now, it is on Face Book and a blog. Consider this my deepest, heartfelt pastor appreciation notice for you.
Let me lay the ground work for my note to you today. (Pun intended)

So, I put up a new sign for the church last week. I submitted the plans to building and safety, got the footers okayed, mixed up 7 bags of concrete by hand, set the posts, bolted the sign on the posts, dug a 33' trench a foot deep by hand, etc., etc. Sunday morning rolls around and guess how many comments were made on the brand new church sign? You got it, not one! Gotta love ‘em!

It is like peeing your pants in a dark suit, you get a warm feeling all over, but nobody notices.
I know how it is for you guys when you study yourself weary and then pour your heart out and not one mention is made concerning your “masterpiece.”

But you continue to do it. You take the phone calls asking for money, you neglect your family to help people who will one day unceremoniously leave you. It is your calling. God honors your faithfulness with His stamp of approval. Hey, you have preached it yourself, if only one soul gets saved, it will eternally be worth it all.

So, God bless you, man of God. I salute you. And if you have church folk who fail to communicate a word of appreciation...forgive them for they know not what they DON'T do.