Sunday, July 25, 2010

Faith Promise Sunday Blessings!

Thought for the Day
Romans 3:21-22 (21) But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; (22) Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:

Why The World Needs A Savior
I. Because of the Far Reach of Sin (3:1-12)
II. Because of the Condemnation of Sin (3:13-20)
III. Because of the Desire of God to Forgive Sin (3:21-26)

What a blessed day we enjoyed at Fellowship hearing mission reports from Joe Triplett who just returned from two weeks in China and Jared Duncan who just returned from six weeks in Peru. We were truly moved with compassion for the needs of the world as we looked at these two nations through the eyes of our faithful members who came back with a first hand report of the work that the Lord is accomplishing in these places.

I pray that our faith will be increased in the days to come to advance the work of Christ in our world. The need is universal; Our God is mighty to save; and The provision has been given to us. Now we must be faithful to distribute God's provision generously!

Continue to pray as to what the Lord desires to give to the work of missions through you this year. Remember, the Lord will always give more through us than He will ever give to us!

The Praise of God

Photo: We had a great week with family. Keith and Marla celebrated 18 years of marriage.

Thought for the Day
Romans 2:29 For he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.

After going through this entire chapter showing the futility of an insincere religious life, Paul comes to the conclusion that the true people of God are those whose spiritual lives are in Christ and from the heart. It is just amazing to me to consider God praising one of us. Does not He deserve all praise and honor and glory? Yet He is so pleased with worship that precedes from the heart and is based on a genuine relationship with Him that he praises us for it. This recognition of divine pleasure should compel each of us to examine the motive behind our life and service for Him. May I live each day truly seeking the "praise of God" rather than the "praise of man".

Is the glory of God your chief aim? When its all been said and done that is all that will matter. Seek today the praise of God and rest in the enjoyment of His good pleasure on your life.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Perplexing Privilege

Photo: Anna in Togo. One of the most incredible people I know is Anna Chubb. She is one of my heroes of the faith. We are blessed to have her with us for the entire day tomorrow. I'm looking forward to a great day of worship and surrender.

Thought for the Day
John 12:24-26 Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abides alone: but if it die, it brings forth much fruit. (25) He that loves his life shall lose it; and he that hates his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. (26) If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honor.

To think that the Creator of the universe would honor one of His fallen creatures is absolutely beyond my comprehension. What honor is there in me that has not proceeded from Him to begin with. God calls me by His grace, implants His divine nature within me, puts before me a world of opportunity like a giant candy store, and then honors me for simply following Him into service for that world which is my most reasonable service. WOW! simply incredible.

Father, May my life honor You today as I set out to serve others through You. I am most inadequate for this task, but incredibly grateful for the privilege.

Friday, July 16, 2010

He First Loved Us

Photo: Had a great morning alone with Annabeth yesterday getting her a new bike for her 9th birthday. She is an awesome daughter!

Also had a great week speaking at Trinity Youth Camp. It is great to see the Lord at work in the hearts of young people. So good to see many friends as well.

Thought for the Day
John 14:20, 21 (20) At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you. (21) He that hath my commandments, and keeps them, he it is that loves me: and he that loves me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.

I read this excellent devotional thought by Ray Steadman today~

"If it takes love to obey, what produces love? That is the issue. If you see a Christian disobey Christ or you are tempted to disobey, what is it that will turn you around and make you obey? It is love. How do you produce love? What will make you love Him? This is what ties together verses 20 and 21. It is that basic secret of our identity that creates love-- the Spirit in us, releasing to us the love of Jesus, awakens love from us in return.

Remember how John puts it in his first letter: We love Him because he first loved us (1 John 4:19). Remembering this awakens love. Or, as Paul puts it in Romans 5, God has shed abroad his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, which is given to us (Romans 5:5). Therefore, the way to produce love is to remember who you are, to whom you belong, and who He is--His death, His resurrection, and His unity with you, His present indwelling life. You cannot remind yourself of that without experiencing a renewed sense of His love and feeling gratitude to Him for who He is and what He has done in your life. When that love begins to flow, then you are being motivated to obey."

Outward obedience proceeds from inward satisfaction. Are you satisfied with Christ today? If not, this indicates a lack of reflection and meditation on who He is and all He has done for your good. Take some time to "think on these things".

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Gift of Children

Photo: Annabeth (front) , Julianna (right) and a friend. Today is Annabeth's 9th birthday; what a great joy she is to me and our family!

Thought for the day
Psalms 127:3 Lo, children are a heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.

What a contrast the Word of God is to the mentality of our society. As a country we are fast approaching the mark of 50,000,000 abortions since the Roe v. Wade decision by our Supreme Court in the early 70's. The joy and blessing that my children are to me is a daily confirmation of the fact that they are God's reward. Our kids do so much for us. When I look at them, I see me and they remind me of the happy times in my own childhood; their weaknesses remind me of my weaknesses and the need I have to continue to grow in the Lord; when I think of their future, it motivates me to pour myself into them that they might have the greatest potential to live to honor and please the Lord in whatever path they will ultimately follow.

I have received way more out of my kids than I have ever had to put into them. They are a gift, a joy, and a blessing! Thank you, Lord, for rewarding me with children!

Hug your kids today and as you do, let it linger and drink in the joy of having been blessed by the Lord with them. If you don't have children of your own, come along side a family that does and be a blessing to them as they prepare their gifts for life.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

God Speaks!

Photo: Wednesday morning men's Bible study group. It's always a blessing to me to enjoy coffee and Bible study with some of our senior men.

Thought for the day
Psalms 19:1-3 The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows his handiwork. (2) Day unto day utters speech, and night unto night shows knowledge. (3) There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard.

Our God is truly the great communicator. Since the creation of the world He has continually sought to reveal Himself to man and to establish a personal relationship with him. Even when He sent His Son to the earth, He is called "the Word" of God, "the Light that lights every man that comes into the world" (John 1). If we are not hearing from God, it is not because He is not speaking; it is more than likely an issue of our hearing.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning wrote "Earth's crammed with heaven, and every common bush afire with God; but only he who sees takes of his shoes." God is found in the ordinary things of life if we are looking for Him. This is why trials come our way- to cause us to see beyond the ordinary- to cause us to catch a glimpse of the Eternal in the mundane. A wise man once said, “Do not seek water, for water is everywhere. Seek thirst, for without thirst, water has no value.”

Stop for a minute and hit the pause button on your day. Open His Word and meditate on His Word. Quiet yourself before God and listen. He is always found by those who seek Him with their whole heart.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Leading for the Lord

Photo: Nathan and I enjoyed some time with Evangelist Bruce Frye after our evening worship service on Sunday.

Thought for the day
2 Chronicles 19:6-7 And (Jehoshapaht) said to the judges, Take heed what you do: for you judge not for man, but for the LORD, who is with you in the judgment. (7) Wherefore now let the fear of the LORD be upon you; take heed and do it: for there is no iniquity with the LORD our God, nor respect of persons, nor taking of gifts.

Its good to be reminded that my leadership roles in life, whether as a dad, pastor, employee or whatever is for the Lord, not for man. Since we are so surrounded by people, it is easy to give into the temptation of only seeing the value in our leadership in how it affects those people rather than how it affects the Lord. The desire for results can easily cause us to compromise principle and follow after that which "works" rather than that which is honorable.

I was told by a doctor friend of mine today how frustrating it can be at times to give good advice to people concerning their health and yet rarely see them take it. He then went on to say, "but they can never say that i did not warn them." This is what keeps him going, knowing that he is doing the right thing regardless of the outcome. This is a great lesson for all of us.

Lord, Let me lead my family and ministry today for you, and not for man with the realization that ultimately it will bring even man the greatest good.

Monday, July 12, 2010

A Rest-filled Desire

I will be speaking God's Word this week at the Trinity Youth Camp in Keystone Heights, FL. I am praying and trusting the Lord for fruit that will remain. I am thankful for this great privilege.

Thought for the Day
2 Chronicles 15:15 And all Judah rejoiced at the oath: for they had sworn with all their heart, and sought him with their whole desire; and he was found of them: and the LORD gave them rest round about.

During troubling times in their nation, there were those in Israel who lived with peace in their hearts and rest in their souls because the Lord gave it to them. Joy, peace, and rest are continually available to the people of God from God Himself! The key to this rest is when they "sought Him with their whole desire". It is not an outward conformity to religious observances or church traditions that brings rest, but a heartfelt desire to please the Lord and walk in His ways.

Where do you look for rest? Anything less than seeking it form the Lord with your whole desire will leave you empty. Examine your desires today by recognizing what occupies your mind the most today and turn that care to the Lord.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Our Trustworthy God

Photo: Evangelist Bruce Frye pictured with Hank Williams Jr in a Nashville club before Bruce's conversion to Christ and call to preach. It is great having Bruce with us today. His down to earth manner and ability to communicate Christ through his testimony is a blessing!

Thought for the day
Genesis 40:23 Yet did not the chief butler remember Joseph, but forgot him.

Once again we see Joseph "forgotten" by man. It seems everyone he counted on let him down: his dad, brothers, Potipher, and now Pharaoh's butler. Psalms 146:3 tells us to "put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help." It then goes on to say in verse 5 that "Happy is he that has the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the LORD his God:" Man may fail you whether purposely or otherwise, but the Lord is the only true refuge that can be totally depended upon.

Remember "the best of men are men at best". If you are being disappointed by someone in your life today, take them down from the exalted position to which you have elevated them and reserve that place for God alone- He is the only one worthy of it!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

What's in Your Treasure Chest?

Thought for the Day
Matthew 6:19-21 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: (20) But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: (21) For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

When I think about treasure it brings to mind images of a chest just overflowing with gold or other precious metals. It is something to be sought after and something to be valued and enjoyed as well. Jesus tells us to be careful what we value; what we seek after, what we long to enjoy. Our value system will direct our heart and our heart will ultimately direct our eternity.

In Romans 2:5, Paul speaks of another treasure; he describes God's wrath as being "treasured" up to one day be unleashed on those who reject the "goodness" of God's long-suffering and forbearance. Basically, he is saying the same thing Jesus said in Matthew 6, that our life will be rewarded for good or for ill. When we are living out the Christian life we are laying up the treasure of God's goodness and eternal joy. When we are living out the flesh life, we are laying up the wrath of God's judgment and disfavor. So, what is in your treasure chest today? What are you laying up today that you will one day meet up with in eternity?


Friday, July 9, 2010

Living for the Least of These

Thought for the day
Matthew 25:40
And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

I thank the Lord for the missions outreach of our church. Of all the things that may attract our attention, I believe there is none as dear to the heart of God as the preaching of the gospel to the spiritually needy of the world. Each day we are privileged to partner with servants of the Lord who are reaching out to those in our world who may otherwise have not known of the kindness of Christ our Savior.

It is such an honor for me to realize that every person that I have a part in reaching for Christ is viewed by our Lord as if I have personally displayed kindness to Him. What a great way to worship Him, by serving others! Remember, we are His hands and feet to those who have not yet seen Him face to face!

Open your eyes wide today and look for at least one person that you can serve in the name of Jesus. Give them a witness of Him and pray that the Lord will save them today.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Needed Rest

Photo: Cheryl and I enjoyed a wonderful week away at Oasis, a retreat for pastors and their wives hosted by Pastor Jimmy Crocket (yellow shirt) and his wife Joy in Hendersonville, TN. It was great to spend some time with Charles and Sharon Shoemaker (right) and other friends as well.

Thought for the day
Mark 6:30-31 (30) And the apostles gathered themselves together unto Jesus, and told him all things, both what they had done, and what they had taught. (31) And he said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while: for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat.

Many times I have heard the phrase, "If you don't come apart, you will come apart." Simply put, we all need times of recreation and refreshment. The disciples had returned to Jesus excited about the work they had been able to accomplish through Him. Jesus, in His wisdom and insightfulness, could see the potential of burnout looming on the horizon and encouraged His followers to take a break.

So often we see great nobility in pushing ourselves to the limits for the work of the Lord or even in our every day pursuits and responsibilities. Although work is certainly noble and commended by the Lord, rest is an equally important part of a healthy and godly life. It is during these times of "coming apart" that we can refocus our attention and gather the needed strength and resources to move forward in life with optimal joy and purpose.

Be sure to take time alone to gather yourself and your focus on the Lord. Plan some alone time today and some extended time in the near future. If you feel like you just don't have time, remember, "If you don't come apart, you will come apart"!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

The Honor of Sacrifice

Photo: Great Independence Day celebration at the church last night. Praise God for holding back the rain in answer to prayer! I had such a great time and the fireworks were amazing!

Thought for the day
Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

It was Patrick Henry at St. John's Church in Richmond, Va. who uttered the now famous statement, "Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!"

In my Christian life, I know not what course others may take, but as for me, I choose to serve the Lord with my whole heart! The presentation of my life to Jesus my King as a living sacrifice is simply reasonable when I consider the great mercy that He has shown to me. Living for the Lord is not a burden in any measure; it is the greatest privilege that I have. To think that I can live in united purpose with the Creator is overwhelming to me. Thank you, God!

Meditate today on the gift of life that has been given to you in Christ. Realize the great mercy He has shown in saving you and then respond in worship to Him by presenting yourself as His living sacrifice.