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Showing posts from 2016

The Man of Sorrows – Part III – The Realization of What our Attitude Should be at Christmas Because of His Suffering

The truth we find in Isaiah 53 of Christ’s suffering upon the cross should bring us to the realization of what our attitude should be at Christmas. Isaiah 53:1-12 – “Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed? For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of u…

The Man of Sorrows – Part II / The Reality of Our Joy Because of His Sufferings

We looked very quickly at the sufferings of our Saviour Jesus Christ in our last blog. We saw Isaiah 53 in order to bring this out. Isaiah 53:1-12 – “Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed? For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was o…

The Man of Sorrows – Part I / The Reality of Christ’s Sufferings

Many times I believe our attitude about Christmas can get a little off kilter. This happens by the world around us and its materialistic focus. Because of this we often forget what Jesus Christ had to go through in order for us to even celebrate this season as we do. A great passage to clue us into the reality of Christ’s sufferings is Isaiah 53. Many of you may be familiar with this passage but it is always good to go over it again and again, especially in this season, so that we might love our Saviour more, and acknowledge what He went through for us. Isaiah 53:1-12 – “Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed? For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed…

A Word Spoken

Words are very powerful. Once they are spoken there is no changing them. That is why I often say you are master of the unspoken word but the spoken word is master of you. In our society, however, the value of our words is not realized and is often ignored. Yet, when you speak something you should be a man or a woman of your word. If you are not then nobody can bank anything on you. You may continue to speak but nobody is going to put a lot of weight on your words because they are unreliable at best. To speak out of control with only emotion and no thought is always a dangerous proposition. It is better to be silent in these situations. I Thessalonians 4:10-11 – “And indeed ye do it toward all the brethren which are in all Macedonia: but we beseech you, brethren, that ye increase more and more; And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you;” If people were forced to abide by their word I guarantee we would not let our wo…

I Just Want More

It always seems like we just need something more in life. We go through life and drive ourselves to get all the possessions that this world has to offer. We get hired for our dream job so we can purchase our dream car. We strive to buy our dream house and plan our dream vacation. We marry our dream spouse so we can have our dream children. Yet all these dreams we have only lead to bigger and better dreams we never seem to attain. Every dream we accomplish only satisfies for a brief period of time and then we want something more. We get the new IPhone only to have a better one come out. We get that new car only to have next year’s model blow it away. We get to the point of wondering, “Is this all life has to offer? It seems like there should be something better!” The fact is that there is something so much better in this life and in the life to come. That “something better” is the Saviour. Jesus Christ, who died upon a cross for or sins and rose three days later is that something better…

Are we all God’s Children?

That particular phrase has always fascinated me. Usually because it is used in a fashion that means God is ok with us all and we are all ok. After all God is love. Well, God is indeed love. Love is the greatest and most powerful motivation there is in this world. Yet love is an action and not an emotion. There are emotions that come from the act of love but it is not true love if an emotion predicts our action. So are we really all God’s children and, as such, all ok because God loves us? In the end, will everything work out? The obvious answer is no! We are not all God’s children. God created Adam and Eve in the Garden but then mankind fell and became a child of the Devil. Even Jesus Christ labeled the religious rulers of His day as such. John 8:44a – “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do.” You only become a child of God when you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour. You must realize that you are a sinner in need of a Saviour before God can b…

Dealing with Trouble

All of us are going to have to deal with trouble in our lives. Sometimes trouble just comes because we live on this earth, and other times we make it for ourselves. Even if you have lived a perfect life you would still face trouble in this life. Point and case would be the life of Jesus Christ. He lived a perfect life and never did anything wrong but still dealt with troubling things. He ended up being crucified upon a cross of Calvary (raising from the dead three days later). The fact of the matter is you will deal with trouble in this life and Christ even told the godly to be prepared for it. II Timothy 3:12 – “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” So how do we deal with trouble and get out of it? First, it is important to live correctly according to the Word of God. Living the way we should in godliness will eliminate many troublesome things in our life that we just don’t need. Proverbs 11:6 – “The righteousness of the upright shall deliver them:…

A Man’s Man

What is it that makes a man? The answers through the years and cultures have been varied. We believe being able to lift hundreds of pounds, being gruff, being married, having children and ruling them with a rod of iron, and being looked up to as a tough individual are all qualifications to be a man. While it is not bad to be strong physically (because it will help you provide for your family at work as well as in the home), also there is nothing wrong with being married and having kids (though ruling with a rod of iron with no compassion will lead to rebellion), and while being tough is needed in some situations, I believe that one of the most neglected qualities needed to be a man’s man is love. I can hear the moans already for often when we think of love we think of this gushy feeling that is just for babies and emotional women. “I’m a man and I’m tough I don’t need love,” is often what we think. The truth is, however, that true love requires some of the strongest men in this world …

Politics

Politics is something I believe people love to hate. We love it due to the amount of news devoted to it, eating up the latest buzz on each candidate and elected official (good or bad). We hate it based upon the fact when something goes wrong the politicians are the first to be blamed. Sometimes this blaming is warranted but other times it is not. Often we get so fed up with the process that we give up and quit letting our voice be heard and our vote count. The fact of the matter is, however, as Christians we cannot in all good conscience allow our voices to be silenced. Isaiah 62:6b – “ye that make mention of the LORD, keep not silence,” Isaiah 58:1 – “Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.” I know frustration sets in when there is really no good candidate to vote for, and when our favorite candidate did not make it through. Yet our voice should still be heard and our vote should still be cast for…

The Word over our Opinion

Many times we try to outsmart people with our logic and understanding when it comes to spiritual things. We get bogged down in silly debates and think we have won the argument when we confuse our opponent, or get them to a point where they have no answer to our logic. It is, in reality, immature playground banter when we sink to such tactics. When you think about it, is it really all that difficult to confuse or outsmart a fellow human being? Everybody has their strong points and weak points. Just because you expose a weakness of logic in somebody does not mean that your argument and thought process becomes right and true. Rather, as Christians, we should depend upon the Word of God and what it says. Our opinion and arguments matter little in the light of God’s Holy Word. It is God’s Word that will always produce the right results. It is God’s Word alone that is pure and perfect. So we should be more concerned with proclaiming the Word rather than our thoughts on the Word. Isaiah 55:11…

A Glorious Book

A Glorious Book
The Word of God is an amazing book that we take for granted way too often. It collects dust on the shelf at home and it is put down out of boredom from reading. Sometimes we feel it is antiquated and not relevant to our culture here and now. The fact of the matter is, however, that the Bible is more relevant than any other work out there. It is only boring when our Spiritual life is starved and being strangled by our flesh. There are truths and blessings in the Word of God that He is just waiting to bestow upon us if we simply yield to it. I Corinthians 2:9-10 – “But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.” Those verses are not talking about heaven but about what God wants to show us in His Word if we will love Him, obey Him, and keep sin out o…

Confession and Obedience Required

If we wish to understand the Word of God properly, we must be people of confession and obedience. The Word is not a book given to us for entertainment purposes. The Word of God was given so that we might know and do the will of God. The Bible was not just given to us for religious knowledge either. It was a book given to us so that we might be transformed. Romans 12:2 – “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” So the person who has no intention to obey God and confess their sin will never understand the Bible properly. In I Peter 2:1-2 we find this truth about God’s Word. I Peter 2:1-2 – “Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:” We must first lay aside sinful things (confession) and then, after that, we can drink in the…

No Clue

There have been several times where, as a pastor, I have had no clue about what to write or what to say to people in need. It is like I draw a blank and stare at a pure white page on my computer screen hoping something would strike me and cause inspiration. Other times, I have been listening to somebody pour their heart out to me and I am thinking, “What in the world do I say to ease this persons pain or give guidance in the proper way?” I often have to close my eyes and pray for more guidance from the Lord when this happens. When I am afraid of saying the wrong thing or writing the wrong thing I simply depend more upon my Saviour who will guide me. Psalm 56:3 – “What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee.” These times when I stare at the blank page and come up with nothing it is often simply because I am afraid that what I write might make me look stupid. When I am listening to somebody pour their heart out, I am dumb founded for the same reason. I don’t want to look stupid. Then I re…

Why Should I Go to Church?

This coming Sunday is our back to Church Sunday. This is a yearly event we have to encourage people to get back into a routine of coming to church. Through the summer months our schedule often gets thrown off with vacation and events. Once the school year rolls back around we find that more of a regimented schedule comes into play. The same should be true of Church yet often we hear the question from Christians, “Why is church important and why should I even go?” Well, first of all, God has commanded us to not forsake the gathering of Christians together. Hebrews 10:25 – “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” If you as a Christian forsake coming to church you’re not in love with Jesus as much as you think for you are. You are actually ignoring one of the most basic commands of Scripture. Jesus said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments” – John 14:15. It also means tha…

Self-esteem or God-esteem

Today is seems that self-esteem is deemed essential for success. This really puts humility as a quality that is in short supply. I think the reality of the situation is that we think too much of ourselves and too little of God. Romans 12:3 – “For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.”   The self-esteem engine of today is really detrimental to society. Everybody is raised to think that they are the cream of the crop, and when they find out that is not true, well, there is nothing to live for anymore.   So while we should not think too lowly of ourselves, for after all God does love us and pursue us, we should most definitely not think too highly of ourselves either. We should allow reality to hit us in the face and make us realize that there are some things we cannot do.   My Father always taught me growing …

Communicating a Message Properly

I once heard this joke, “How many Baptists does it take to change a light bulb? – Change?!!” I laughed my head off because it is not just Baptists but people in general that are often afraid of change. We are afraid of the unknown future but comfortable in the past.   While God’s Word and its principles never change, and we never compromise these truths with culture and its ever changing moral parameters, we do, however, have to adapt to the way we live life and how we communicate in an ever changing technological world. Principles never change but application of these principles and how we communicate them do.   For instance, if you used Morse Code to try to communicate with everybody today, your range of people you would connect to, and communicate with would be very limited.   What is my point? It is very simply that change can often be a very healthy thing as long as that change does not deal with God and His Truth (for that never changes). As a matter of fact, if you don’t …

Use the Day Wisely

We get so busy in our lives that the days fly by quite quickly. Before you know it a week, a month and even years have flown by without accomplishing your goals.   Time is precious and should not be taken for granted nor abused. It is also a weird commodity. You can’t do anything with the past because it is already spent, and you can’t do anything with the future for you do not possess it yet. All you have to spend and use is in the present. Therefore, a wise person uses their time for the better and plans their day to use it to the greatest advantage.   Moses, one of the greatest leaders in Scripture, understood this concept. He asked the Lord for wisdom on how to plan his day not his week, months, or years. He asked for wisdom on how to handle the day that was before him. Psalm 90:12 – “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.”   All the plans for the future and all the dreaming of what might come will be useless if all you do is plan and dream. …

Am I Sick Because of Sin?

That’s kind of a loaded question because in a broad sense the answer is yes, but in a narrow sense it may be yes or no.   In a broad sense, all illness is the result of sin, which entered the human race with the fall of Adam. Romans 5:12 – “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:”   In the narrow sense, however, our personal sickness we go through may or may not be connected with our own personal sin.   Scripture actually gives some of the causes for a believer’s sickness.   First, it is due to the normal decay in the human body. God’s people are not exempt from the normal processes of life and death in the physical sense. Since Adam’s fall people will always get sick and eventually die of something. Hebrews 9:27 – “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.”   Second, some sickness is for the glory of God to shine through our lives. It is very clear that there we…

Only Sheep

The Scriptures are always comparing us to sheep. Psalm 100:3 – “Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.”   Some might look at this as a cute little animal and say, “Awe, God is calling us cute.” The reality of the situation is that God is trying to point out how helpless we are without Him.   Sheep are not smart, they have no sense of direction, they can’t fight, they can’t run, and they would very simply die left to themselves.   Sheep must be led to where green pastures are because they cannot find them on their own. Sheep have to be defended from wild predators because they have no way of defending themselves. Sheep are unable to run well and therefore cannot run from danger. Sheep are just plain helpless and need a shepherd.   That is exactly what we are spiritually without Jesus Christ our Great Shepherd. We cannot make it on our own. John 15:5 – “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He t…

What Does God Say About Music?

When you are studying music we must study the Bible. What God says is more important than any outside references. This is because any work written by a man will have that man’s preference and philosophical bent on that particular subject. He will write from his own perspective and opinion.   Many history books have been altered in order to promote an author’s agenda. You could find ten books that say old hymns were the secular tune of the day and then another ten books that say they were not. Each book was written to convince the reader according to the author’s personal belief.   The Bible, however, will tell you what God says. Man’s emotions, feelings, experiences, and opinions are invalid and futile in the quest for right music. What matters is what God says. So what has God said about music and what can we gather from that? The following are just some simple principles found within Scripture you can use to study and ask yourself about this topic of music. I.The Sound is Diffe…

A Ready Scribe

There is something to be said about being ready for the task you have been called to do. Rather than waiting for the last minute to prepare for something, you should plan and prepare well ahead of time.   This is something that Ezra did. Ezra 7:6 – “This Ezra went up from Babylon; and he was a ready scribe in the law of Moses, which the LORD God of Israel had given: and the king granted him all his request, according to the hand of the LORD his God upon him.”   Ezra was a scribe who was ready to explain and teach the Law of Moses to his people at a moment’s notice, in one of their more difficult times in history.   Moses was a man who was a firm believer in being prepared as well. He wrote the following in the Psalms: Psalm 90:12 – “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.”   Is it any wonder that he is considered one of the greatest leaders to the nation of Israel in all of history?   The Bible admonishes us to always be prepared to give an answer…

Ministering to Kids

Ministering to kids can sometimes be a daunting task. Whether it is to your own kids, or at church with a group of kids, you just have to plain admit that kids can sometimes push your buttons.   Many times we tell these kids to act their age not thinking that they are indeed acting their age already. There is sometimes an energetic, squirmy force about kids that set us on edge. Maybe it is because we are jealous we don’t have the same energy ourselves. “Energy is wasted on the youth,” is how I have heard it put.   Yet ministering to children is close to the heart of God. Mark 10:13-14 – “And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them: and his disciples rebuked those that brought them. But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.”   If Christ is our example, which He is, maybe we should understand that children should be invested in, and not …

Salvation – Simple but Hard

Salvation is quite simple in its understanding. In a nut shell you have to understand that we are all sinners. Romans 3:23 – “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;”   We all need to repent of this sin that has offended the holiness of our Saviour. Acts 3:19 – “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;”   Also, we need to call upon that Saviour for salvation. Romans 10:13 – “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”   For salvation there is no work or labor of any kind that needs to take place on our part. It is in reality realizing your desperate need, and then accepting the provided means in which to meet your need. I Timothy 4:10 – “For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe.”   That which is simple becomes extremely difficult, howeve…

July 4th

July fourth is a day where we celebrate the independence of this great nation of ours. On July 4, 1776 the Declaration of Independence was adopted by the Continental Congress. It declared that the 13 American colonies regarded themselves as a new nation, The United States of America, separate from the British Empire.   What was to follow was seven years of hardship in war with England. The American Revolutionary War lasted from 1775 to 1783. Although many look to the surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown in 1781 as the end of the war; the truth is that it still dragged out for two more years.   The struggle for our nation was not over at the moment we declared independence but merely started. Freedom was declared and then had to be fought for. It was won by God’s grace, and today we enjoy the many freedoms that men of the past have paid for with their lives.   You see freedom is never free. It has a cost and many times the cost is great. We would be dreadfully failing the sacrifice…

Excessive Heat

Living in Arizona, you get used to hearing of temperatures reaching 110. For the most part, it is not all that bad because there is always some air conditioned building, or a body of water that you can retreat to. There are times, however, that the heat just gets to you. This past weekend the temperatures rose to 120 plus. That’s hot no matter how dry it is.   Heat is good and I prefer it over 10 feet of snow with my nostril hair freezing as soon as I walk outside, but excessive heat will kill.   When you think about it anything in excess is dangerous. Too much water and you will drown. Too much sugar and you will get diabetes. Too much salt and your blood pressure will go up. Too much food and you will get fat. Too much heat will kill every living thing. All good things in excess can become a danger.   The exception to this, of course, is God’s grace. There is no such thing as getting too much of the grace of God. Romans 5:20 – “Moreover the law entered, that the offence might a…

The Greatest Father

When I became a Father I was a little intimidated. I had no idea what to do. Every situation was a new experience for me. I started to become scared about how I would raise this child of mine, and if I would do it right.   I instinctively started raising my kids just as my Father had raised me. This scared me even more, not because I had a bad father, but because I realized that the way I raise my kids will be the way they instinctively raise their own children. So I was not only trying to raise my children, but was putting down a pattern on how they would raise my grandchildren. An endless cycle from generation to generation. Talk about a high responsibility.   Thankfully my Father was a wonderful example to me and taught me much on how to raise my own children. The biggest help I ever received was from my heavenly Father, however. He wrote a book, called the Bible, in how to deal with many of life’s problems. Within these pages He told me how I should live my life as a father, …

Talking is not all it’s Cracked up to Be

The Scripture is very clear that loose lips will always get you into trouble. It is not wise to spew everything you are thinking about out of your mouth. Proverbs 17:27-28 – “He that hath knowledge spareth his words: and a man of understanding is of an excellent spirit. Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding.”   True knowledge and understanding will cause you to close your lips more than open them. Our opinion does not always need to be shared, and our “wisdom” does not always need to be given out. Rather we should strive to be quiet more than we talk. I Thessalonians 4:11 – “And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you;”   That is not to say we should never talk nor stand up for what is right. Isaiah 62:6 – “I have set watchmen upon thy walls, O Jerusalem, which shall never hold their peace day nor night: ye that make mention of the …

Why Plant Churches?

On June 6th through the 7th we are having a church planting conference here at our church. So the obvious question is, “Why do we want to plant more churches?”   It is God’s plan from the very beginning that we spread out and multiply as human beings. Genesis 1:28a – “And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it:” Genesis 9:1 – “And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.”   As individual human beings it is God’s desire that we spread throughout the earth sharing the gospel to all those we come in contact with.   God’s plan for the church, which is made up of individual saved people, is the same. God’s Church is supposed to spread throughout the earth multiplying and planting new churches.   When the brand new church in Jerusalem became so big and was not spreading beyond its borders; God sent persecution to force it to plant and spread. Acts 8:3-4 – “As…

What is it With Memorial Day?

Why do we celebrate Memorial Day and why is it important? Some of us get the day off, but other than that we don’t really celebrate it for what it is, and sometimes don’t even know what it is for.   Memorial Day, first known as Decoration Day, is a Federal Holiday in the United States for remembering the people who have died serving in the country’s armed forces. It started after the Civil War when many went out to decorate the graves of those who had fallen. It ended up being a part of the healing process for our nation as the graves of both Union and Confederate soldiers were decorated and honored for their sacrifice.   It is immensely fitting that we honor the lives of those who have sacrificed themselves for the freedom we enjoy today. To not honor their lives is to forget the price that true freedom always costs. Freedom is never free. It is paid for, often severely, by those who have gone before us.   This coming Monday we should not just enjoy a day off, but remember and …

The Protection of Rules

I once heard a statement that goes like this, “He who is enslaved to the compass has the freedom of the seas.” That is so true.   Many today look at freedom as being the absence of rules and regulations. They feel they are being oppressed if there is some standard they are to follow. The truth of the matter is that true freedom can only be found if you follow the rules and regulations of a given discipline.   When you know how to read a compass, and the rules and regulations on how to navigate the sea, then and only then do you have true freedom to roam the sea as you please.   If you want to fly a plane there are many rules and regulations that you must follow. Once these rules are learned the freedom of the skies belongs to you.   If you ignore these rules then you are sure to meet with certain disaster. It will not be the joys of freedom you experience.   The same is true of life. If you want to live this life in true abundance and freedom then there are some rules and regula…

Finish Strong

The end of the school year is fast approaching and everybody is ready for it to be over. The kids are tired, the parents are tired, the teachers are thinking of retiring, and the temperatures are rising.
  It is in these times we find it hard to stay the course and finish strong. We rationalize that we have done well all year so let’s kick back and just coast out the rest of this year into the next.
  I keep telling my kids, however, to buckle down harder and finish strong. Finishing strong is a character trait that many fail to develop. We work hard till we see an ok product, but then we don’t put in the last few moments of hard work to make it a great product.
  In life it is always good that when you see the light at the end of the tunnel to barrel down and finish strong; rather than let up off the gas and coast till the end. It will be the difference between an average accomplishment and an accomplishment that changes the world.
  Paul understood that finishing strong broug…