Thoughts From The Pastor:
Join me as we journey together in this thing called life ...
To read the full version of these thoughts, click on the little orange box at the bottom of this list and accept the option to suscribe to this RSS feed.
I pray that God will speak to you as He has to me through these short and simple thoughts.
Thursday, January 24, 2013, 05:57 PM
"A Letter to God"
"He shall see of the travail of his soul, and
shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many;
for he shall bear their iniquities." (Isaiah 53:11 KJV)
What is the travail of your soul? I used to think it was your suffering on Calvary, the nails and the thorns. I am sure that is a very basic part of it, but I also think there is more. The mother travails a lot more to bring her baby into the world, then she travails a lot more to bring her infant into maturity. True of all mothers, but how much truer of God, who brings forth spiritual children!
I know that You travail for me, Lord, but my question is: Are you satisfied with Your work? Has Your travail for me - Your crossly sufferings, Your painstaking discipline, Your heart felt concern - been in vain? Has every correction turned out wrong? Is my heart as unmoved as when You first began to chip away at it?
You said, "Ephraim, is a flat cake not turned over" (Hosea 7:8 NIV). Lord, am I, like Ephraim, a half baked cake and an embarrassment to you? Am I a repeated failure that cannot seem to make the grade? Or, can you honestly say of me, "Hast thou considered my servant Job?" (Job 1:8 KJV).
I remember once hearing a mother scold her son for a disobedience. She said to him, "How can I be so proud of you one moment and so ashamed of you the next?" Am I like the two-natured child? There are certain words in the Bible that make me tremble with the thought of being a shame for you: "Marred" (Jer 18:4), "castaway" (1 Cor 9:27), "ashamed" (1 John 2:28). These have been written so that I might not take Your travail for me so lightly, and that I might not be a disciple who is playing games. Help me to be the child that will make you proud. Help me to be worthy of your affection.
"But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord"
Friday, June 15, 2012, 10:18 AM
"It All Starts Here!"
"And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man." (Gen 2:23 KJV)
The only rock that I know that is steady is the family, the institution that works is the family - I believe in the Christian home! If we are to build a strong church, then we must develop strong family relationships. If the condition of our nation is to change, then the millions of homes within it must change. A community, a city, or even a state is made up of the sum total of its parts - families. Positive lasting change all begins here and acknowledging the reasons for its dysfunction must start here as well.
The Scripture above reminds us that God instituted the family. It was He who determined its importance and reason for existence. Although society is trying to down-grade the vital role of the home we know that God will not abandon His initial plan for man. "Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:" (Phil 1:6 KJV).
The Bible is very clear that woman was created to be a companion and helper to man. The Bible also teaches us that they were made for each other. "And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a help meet for him" (Gen 2:18 KJV). "Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honor unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered." (1 Pet 3:7 KJV). These are the key elements to the plan of God. Do you have a plan for your household? Have you and your mate taken the time to determine what is important to you, and what guidelines and morals that you wish to instill in your children? Or, are you waiting for a dysfunctional world to do this for you?
Dr. Charles Stanley has said, "The home is the greenhouse where godly wisdom is cultivated. The power of consistent Christian living in the context of family relationships is the primary spiritual classroom for authentic Christianity. The home is where the majority of behavioral traits - good and bad - are learned, reinforced and passed along to future generations." Only as a reminder, "Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin. " (James 4:17 KJV)
Tuesday, March 6, 2012, 10:37 AM
Living with his kingship!
"The next day a great multitude that had come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, took branches of palm trees and went out to meet Him, and cried out: "Hosanna! 'Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!' The King of Israel!" (John 12:12-13 NKJ)
People overcome with the moment, and still awestruck with the raising of Lazarus from the grave, bravely proclaimed Him King. They gave Him a royal welcome into the city that He had usually found to be very hostile. Palm branches laid in the street to soften the ride upon the donkey's back, in addition, some would wave the plumes to create a gentle breeze and fan the aired heat from His face. It would appear as if the people of the world have finally come to their right mind. Their eyes surely had been opened and they could now see the real identity of Christ.
Sadly to say, but in a few short days, the palm branches would be turned into a whip with many tails. Soon, the cheers would be turned into a cry for His death. Soon, the proclamation of His kingship would be sealed with a crown made from thorns several inches long. How could things change so fast? How could they announce His arrival with shouts of devotion and acclamation, only to demand his death shortly after? What could He have done so wrong to change their opinion?
The truth is that He did nothing. He did not overthrow the Roman government. He did not deliver them from their oppression as they had hoped and believed that He would. Most likely, their disappointment came when reality did not meet their expectations. Rather than exercising His authority as the Son of God, He opened not His mouth. Rather than calling on legions of angels to war with the Roman soldiers, He suffered alone. Their hope was crushed because Jesus simply could not have been the Savior that they were looking for.
Perhaps your faith has, or is, weakened by a similar disillusionment. Perhaps you are in a situation right now where you need a warrior to deliver you, and you are finding instead a friend to suffer with you. Perhaps you need a financial miracle and God is offering you wisdom instead. Many times in the life of Christians, they are confused and even lose their faith because Jesus manifests Himself in an unexpected way. But know now and remember in the future that Christ is sovereign, and can do as He pleases. Also, know that He will never fail you in His decisions. But He will always do what is best for you in your situation. You must trust in His love for you and depend on His wisdom alone.
Proclaim Him King, and let Him rule with His wisdom not yours!
Sunday, July 31, 2011, 09:05 PM
"A Weapon of Warfare"
"Proclaim ye this among the nations; prepare war; stir up the mighty men; let all the men of war draw near, let them come up. Beat your plowshares into swords, and your pruning-hooks into spears: let the weak say, I am strong." (Joel 3:9-10 ASV)
As I was reading this week, something strong came to my attention, and I would like to share it with you today. In Hosea 10:11, the Word of God says: "Ephraim is a trained heifer that loves to thresh grain; but I harnessed her fair neck, I will make Ephraim pull a plow. Judah shall plow; Jacob shall break his clods" (NKJ). Judah shall plow. Perhaps the significance escapes you as it did me initially. But the Name Judah means "Praise." Therefore this verse is saying that "Praise shall plow!" Praise is what disturbs the settling of our hearts from the mundane activities of the week. Praise is what prepares our hearts for worship in the Word of God. We must break up the hardness of our hearts before we can receive the seed (Word of God).
Now when we look at the verse above, the prophet Joel says to Judah, "Beat your plowshares into swords," Could he be saying for Judah to Beat their praise into swords? One of the great weapons used by God in the Bible was that of shouting. Look at the story of Jericho, where Joshua and the people were to shout after the seventh lap around the city of Jericho. We know that in so doing, the walls came tumbling down. How about the story of Gideon, God required of him to drop his army down to three hundred men, and to arm them only with a torch and a trumpet. At God's command, the men were to break the pitchers, exposing the torches, and to blow their trumpets and shout, a sword for the Lord and Gideon. In 2 Chronicles 13:14-16, Judah was surrounded by their enemies, and the trumpets sounded and the people shouted, and they were delivered. There are many other examples of where the shouting of praise brought the victory.
Then there is the concluding phrase, "let the weak say, I am strong." In the context where this is used, the people have been called and are preparing themselves for war. It is an exhortation for those who feel "Inadequate" to strengthen themselves by declaring that they are strong. The word "Strong", here is actually the word "gibbor", translated means "Warrior." So what the Word is saying is, "Let the weak say that I am a warrior!"
This is done in much the same manner in which an athlete tells himself that he shall not be defeated, or that he is the fastest, or strongest. It is setting his mind on rising above the mediocre to the elite.
So let us stir up the mighty men with shouts of praise to the Lord, and set our minds on being a warrior for the Lord of hosts!
Friday, July 15, 2011, 09:34 AM
Building God's House
"Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain. It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep." (Ps 127:1-2 KJV)
As I read my devotions recently, it became very evident that God wanted to give to me this thought. Here is what these few verses said to me -
First, in keeping with the vision that God has laid on my heart concerning Rock Hall, it must be God who builds His church. We are simply the tools in the tray waiting to be used by the Master's skillful hand. In our own strength, we are little more than an embarrassment to our Father which is in Heaven. Isaiah describes our own righteousness as filthy rags compared to the righteousness of God,
Isa 64:6 "All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away" (NIV).
Second, we need to do the work that God is doing. Often the impression of the Kingdom's work is that we must try to dream up some new program or ministry for God to bless. When what we need to do is find out what God is already doing, and then work as hard as we can to assist Him. Without the ability to see the entire picture as God sees it, we must follow Him, and do what He is doing.
Thirdly, by doing the first two, we will not have to carry the stress of succeeding or failing. For it will be the position of God to ensure the completion and success of our efforts. He now takes the load off of us and assumes it Himself. "It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread
of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep
Saturday, June 4, 2011, 05:06 AM
"Unlocking God's Storehouse"
"Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, and try Me now in this," says the LORD of hosts, "If I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it (Mal 3:10 NKJ). 2 Cor 12:15 "And I will very gladly spend and be spent for your souls; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I am loved." Luke 6:38 "Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you" (NKJ).
Prioritizing of time is necessary for the believer to fully satisfy our Lord. We must learn the habit of placing Heavenly duties above earthly ones. The Apostle Paul writes, "But this I say, brethren, the time is short, so that from now on even those who have wives should be as though they had none, those who weep as though they did not weep, those who rejoice as though they did not rejoice, those who buy as though they did not possess, and those who use this world as not misusing it. For the form of this world is passing away" (1 Cor 7:29-31 NKJ). Now the Apostle is not advocating abuse, or neglect, in the home but rather trying to instill a sense of urgency in live of the believers. The message is even more critical today - two thousand years later. In verses 32 and 33 of that same chapter, Paul further encourages young men not to marry in order that they may more fully give themselves to the ministry. Recently, several young men in my community who frequently visited our home gained the attention of some young ladies, and now, they are not to be found.
Perhaps, we need to give attention as to how we spend our time as well. It cannot be over emphasized the importance of living a life above reproach in the community. We are Christ's representatives here on this earth. When we fail God, we are telling the world that God condones
our motives and actions. We directly bring a slander on the name and character of God. Col 4:5 "Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time (NKJ).
Many godly people started out fearing God only to have lost their vision of who He is. This led to their loss of credibility, which is something that may never be restored. I believe that we have so little time left till Jesus returns, that we cannot afford to waste time rebuilding reputations, when there are so many people who have never been personally introduced to our Savior.
Wednesday, March 9, 2011, 12:04 PM
"For yet a little while, and He who is coming will come and will not tarry. Now the just shall live by faith; but if anyone draws back, my soul has no pleasure in him." But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him." (Heb 10:37-38, 11:6 NKJ)
Smith Wigglesworth, a great pentecostal preacher, about the turn of the century, was questioned on how to develop a faith like his, answered, "Now, listen, here is the answer to that: First the blade, then the ear, then the soil, moisture, and exercise." Faith is not something in God's arsenal that is just arbitrarily given to some, and not to others. But rather it is available to all who are willing to till the ground of their hearts.
The ground must be broken and disturbed in order for the tender roots to be able to grow and strengthen. This is the gentle moving of God's Spirit in response to our neediness. Then there must be the sowing of God's faith seed, the Word of God. "So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" (Rom 10:17 NKJ). Then we need the warming of God's precious love and mercy. The warmth causes the tender roots to rapidly grow so as not to be uprooted by the strong winds of ad- versity. The watering of the new life through the anointed preaching and teaching of the word is necessary. Finally, exercise is a must. Once the crop of faith has grown, it is necessary for it to be exercised. The massaging of the breezes causes the roots to strengthen and the stalk to thicken. It now is able to handle most anything that the nature of this life can throw at it.
There are no short cuts to strong faith. Only the opportunity of growth for all of us. Lacking this faith, we shall never become what God requires of us. Without faith, we are at the mercy of the elements about us. With it, we can subdue the winds and produce a bountiful harvest.
It is critical that we become men and women of faith in this day. Christ is returning soon, and we must be found strong and engaged in the Kingdom's work when He does. Where in the growth process are you? Seed, blade, or ear?
Thursday, February 3, 2011, 09:00 AM
"A bruised reed He will not break, and smoking flax He will not quench, till He sends forth justice to victory; And in His name Gentiles will trust." (Matt. 12:20-21 NKJ)
In the verse above (v 20), there is recorded for us Christ's loving concern and His limitless patience. The "bruised reed" could refer to a reed blown and bent by the wind, or perhaps stepped upon, or, more likely, to a reed which was used for writing during the time of Isaiah. This was the stem of a plant sharpened to a point, which was dipped into ink. In time, the point would bend from pressure at the place where it was held. Frequently, the writer would snap it in two and throw it away.
A similar illustration is given by the smoking flax. This was the line wick of an oil lamp, smoldering and about ready to go out. To stop the smoke one would simply crush the wick between his fingers.
Although we my be bruised by the cares of the world or almost broken by sin, Jesus cares. He will not abandon us and cast us aside. If the fire of our faith has ebbed until there is nothing left but smoke, Jesus cares! He wants to restore the flame and bring back life into the dying ember.
The verse above also says that His mercy will continue until "He sends forth judgment unto victory." Here, the verse has a double meaning of separation and judgment. The victory will be brought upon those who separated themselves to the side of the chosen and beloved servant (v 18). But sadly to say, there will also be the righteous indignation poured out upon every unbelieving person whether young or old. Christ will be tender and loving until the appointed days are completed, then comes the only recourse that He has - judgment and eternal damnation.
Further, the above verse mentions "His name," and this refers to all that Christ's name stands for, and the gentiles who shall trust in Him. The few believers among the nations are the flickering wick which will prevail and be separated when judgment is pronounced. Here is the promise to us and to our loved ones, He shall be, and is,
Saturday, January 8, 2011, 10:33 AM
"Where there is no vision (revelation), the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he" (Prov. 29:18 kjv).
I would like to remind everyone of our covenant of prayer and fasting. We are to be offering up prayers on behalf of our local church ministries and for the evangelism of the lost in our communities. I have also ask of you to pray for the clarity of our vision in respect to doing the work of the Lord in this area. We must begin by seeking God's answers to such questions as, "Why has God allowed us to remain for more than 10 years?" "What are we to be doing that no other Church in this community can do in the Kingdom's work?" I believe that I speak for everyone when I say that we all wish it to be said of our church by the Lord, "Well done my good and faithful servants!"
Some things we do know, Some things have been given to us through the Word of God, and by personal revelation -
We are to bring salvation to the lost, we are to worship and serve Him through the Pentecostal experience. With Jesus at our core, we are to move closer towards Him, and His righteousness, while influencing and convincing others to travel with us.
Further, while we serve God as individuals, we are a small part of the body of Christ. Therefore, we must encourage and strengthen one another in our faith in God. We must share our lives, victories, pains, and defeats in order to receive benefit from other members of the body. In addition to the Holy Spirit, mentoring and discipleship are God's intended methods of building and supporting His children. Working with the Spirit of Christ, we are to offer guidance, comfort, and instruction to each other.
It is necessary that we understand that our highest calling is to be a worshipper of Jesus Christ. We must also understand that worship is not what we receive, but rather what we give back to God. Therefore, we must exalt Him with sincere expressions of our praise, and we must honor Him with consistent holy living. We need to come to a posture of full surrender of all things to His Lordship: All our time, possessions, finances, talents, and abilities. It is essential that we magnify our Heavenly Father with the offering of our total lives. The natural fruit of our worship should be service in the Kingdom's work.
In as much as a man cannot know and practice what he has not been taught, we must be equippers and teachers of the new born. We must encourage him/her to discover their spiritual gifts and provide an opportunity for the employment of their ministries.
Wednesday, December 22, 2010, 09:31 AM
John 1:1 "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."
John 1:14 "And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth." (NKJ)
The Word of God, Jesus Christ, came to this world to communicate to fallen man, the love and mercy of our Heavenly Father. We use words to convey feelings, thoughts, and desires. Words are the foundation of all communication. In order for us to fully understand the character and desires of God, He had to communicate to us in the very best way that He could. This instrument that He used was Himself in an earthen form - a God/Man named Jesus. For Jesus said, "Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, 'Show us the Father'? "Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works. "Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves" (John 14:9-11 NKJ).
In Luke chapter 2, we get the announcement from the angels that our Savior, our communicator, had arrived - "Then the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. "For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. "And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger" (Luke 2:10-12 NKJ). God became flesh to show us the way back home. We, who are lost, needed someone to rescue us and lead us to safety. Our Savior became flesh to take us safely back to our Father's care.
There is a tragic conclusion to verses 10 - 11, ". . . the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him" (John 1:10-11 NKJ). So those He came to rescue, did not want His help. They were so full of
themselves, they refused Him. They could not realize their true position of insufficiency.
The ray of hope in John's Christmas story is that some did understand, and some were willing to receive His help - "But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." (NKJ)