Friday, August 26, 2016

Don't Write Me Off!

All scripture references are from the King James version unless otherwise noted.
A common human trait is to write someone off when they continue to do the wrong thing. However instead of writing them off maybe we should hold them up in prayer. When I think back over my life, (I am now 75 years old), I am made to think of the life I lived before I became a Christian. I remember the first time I became conscious of God. I was about 5 years old. There was a spectacular meteor shower, probably in the Summertime as all the neighbors and ourselves were out in our front yards oohing and awing  over the sight. As I recall, my grandmother Ward was visiting us. As we stood there I started crying, My grandma came over to me, knelt down and asked me why I was crying, I remember telling her I was scared.  She told me not to be afraid as it was a sign in the heavens that one day the Lord Jesus was going to return and take His people home to be with Him. From that day on I don't remember a time I did not believe in God.

Does that mean I grew up as a Christian? No, rather as an unchurched heathen. Oh, my mother tried over the years to point us in the right direction but, as she was backslidden in her walk with God, we didn't go to church much. As a result, I never read the Bible nor turned my life over to the Lord Jesus. I grew up without the godly influence of church or a pastor in my life. I did those things that seemed convenient at the time to do.

My brother Joe turned to the Lord Jesus at about 18 years of age. He was a couple of years older than me and I remember, being about 15 or 16 resenting his efforts to convert me.  I had learned to curse and swear from my friends and would curse at him and tell him where he could go. Before long I even cursed at my mother and stepdad. I had become very recalcitrant. Finally, at 17, I quit school and joined the U.S. Army where I really learned how to swear and use vulgar language. I am ashamed to this day to even speak of the things I did. I shudder to think what my life would have been without the prayers of my brother Joe. My other brother Gary and his wife Marian along with my mother continued to try to reach me with the gospel but couldn't make any headway. My brother Gary and his wife even gave me a Bible for Christmas while I was in the Army, I just didn't read it. I thought God, being Holy would not want a sinner as unholy as I had become to be in His heaven. I was a lost sinner and I thought I was destined for hell.

It wasn't until I was 23 that God changed my life and I began to serve Him. I thank God for the prayers of my brother Joe and the other members of my family and the church that God didn't write me off. I now have children, who have children of their own. Some of my children are not doing as they were taught. Some of my grandchildren are not doing right at all. But I refuse to write them off. The Bible says in 2nd Peter 3:9 that God isn't willing that any should perish but that they turn from their sins to God. If they will do so they will find the Saviour Jesus Christ for themselves. When I was young I heard the phrase "where there is life there is hope." God will never write us off as long as we live. My friends, God hasn't written you off either. If you will repent of your sins, turn to God, put your faith in the Lord Jesus and be baptized in Jesus name, God has promised to fill you with His Holy Spirit.  The Lord Jesus has not written you off.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Both Lord and Christ

All scripture references, unless otherwise noted, are from the King James Version of the Holy Bible. The Hebrew and Greek meaning of the words mentioned are from Strong's Hebrew Greek Dictionary.
The Apostle Peter in the first ever Christian message told his Jewish listeners in Acts 2:36  "...let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ." This is a telling statement. I recall the scripture in Deuteronomy 18:15-19 where Moses told Israel, "The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken; According to all that thou desiredst of the LORD thy God in Horeb in the day of the assembly, saying, Let me not hear again the voice of the LORD my God, neither let me see this great fire any more, that I die not.  First Moses reminded the Children of Israel that they desired that God would not speak to them as they would hear Moses. Then God spoke directly to Moses and confirmed what Moses told the Children of Israel by saying "...They have well spoken that which they have spoken. I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him." 

My understanding of the term, "Christ," in the Greek is "Χριστός Christos (pronounced) khris-tos' (and is) From G5548; (and means) anointed, that is, the Messiah, an epithet of Jesus: - Christ." So when Apostle Peter declared to those Jews that day that they had killed the Christ, they became aware that it was their Messiah they had put to death. It is no wonder then that their question in verse 37 was "...Men and brethren, what shall we do?" It was at this juncture that Peter said those words in Acts 2:38 that resonate with us to this day, "Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost."

But what about the term Lord? Again the explanation in the Greek for the word used for "Lord," in Acts 2:36 is "κύριος (pronounced) kurios koo'-ree-os (and) From κῦρος kuros (supremacy); supreme in authority, that is, (as noun) controller; by implication Mr. (as a respectful title): - God, Lord, master, Sir." The same word was used in Acts 9:5 by the Apostle Paul after he had been knocked to the ground on the road to Damascus when he asked, "Who art thou Lord? Interestingly the same word was used in John 20:28 by the apostle who we have come to know as "doubting Thomas," when having seen the resurrected Christ said, "
My Lord and my God."

The Lord Jesus asked the Pharisees in 
Matthew 22:41-45 how King David could call God his Lord, (yes the same Greek word was used), if he was to be his son? To me the bottom line is when Peter preached that first Christian message to the Jews that day, he said that "God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ." he was saying to his hearers that the one they had crucified at Calvary was both God Almighty and the promised Messiah.

My friend, if you have never acknowledged Jesus Christ as your Supreme Lord and Christ or Messiah, do so today before it is too late! He is the only one whom God has ordained to be the Saviour of the world. Repent to God and turn away from your sins. Put your faith in the Lord Jesus and be baptised in Jesus name for the forgivness of those sins. If you will do so, God has promised to fill you with His Holy Spirit.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Jesus is Coming Are You Ready?

All scripture references, unless otherwise noted, are from the King James Version of the Holy Bible. 
The Bible says of the Apostles in Acts 1:10-11, "And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven." The Lord Jesus "...shall so come in like manner..." as He went away. The Lord Jesus is returning one day. The question then is, are you ready for his return?

The Lord Jesus is really coming back. Hebrews 10:37 says, "For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry." It is interesting that many Christians do not apparently think that the Lord will ever return. I have heard it said that it has been 2,000 years since He went away. This begs the question, will He ever return? Yet the Bible says in 2nd Peter 3:1-4 where the Apostle Peter wrote to, "stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance: That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour: Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation." In the last days? This sounds to me like current affairs.

It has been said that the return of the Lord Jesus is the hope of the church, It certainly is my hope! The question is then, are you ready? If you are not you can be. If you have never repented of your sins, do so today while it is called today. (See Hebrews 3:7-15)  If you have never been baptized for the remission or forgiveness of your sins in Jesus name, find someone who will baptize you. It is the only name that can save you. (See Acts 2:38 and Acts 4:12) God has promised that you will receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, just as He gave the early church on the Day of Pentecost. (See Acts 2:1-4) It is God's promise and He never breaks His word. Jesus is coming, are you ready?

Friday, May 6, 2016

"Lord Jesus if you will help me...

All scripture references, unless otherwise noted, are from the King James Version of the Holy Bible. 
...I will serve you from this day to the day I die!" Those were the words I spoke to the Lord the day He called on me to make Him my choice. That was more than 50 years ago. I can testify that He has indeed helped me from that day to this.

I had never read the Bible and did not know that the Lord had said in the Gospel of John 15:5, "I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing." I had developed a bad habit of swearing. In the U.S. Army that habit had only been exacerbated. I had tried to stop after I had used the f word in front of my mother and the mother of a friend, only to find that I could not even think without thinking bad language. The first thing that happened the day after I spoke those words was the Lord Jesus was the complete cleansing of my heart. Not only was the swearing and bad language gone, but also my desire to live in a manner that was not pleasing to the Lord Jesus. And, as I recall, simultaneously the Lord said, "read my word and start in Matthew."  I immediately went into the living room and told my mother and step-father that the Lord had just called me to serve Him. I then went to my bedroom, found my Bible and began to read it, starting in Matthew.

My friend, whoever you are that may be reading these words, let me point you to the Lord Jesus Christ. In Hebrews 10:23b the Bible says, "...he is faithful that promised..." The Lord Jesus has been that friend, "that sticketh closer than a brother." (See Proverbs  18:24) If you will put your trust in Him, He will save you so that you need never fall. I don't want this to be just another tract, but an invitation to you from the Lord Himself. If you will turn to God in faith, repent of your sins (for we are all sinners, (see Romans 3:23) be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, (See Mark 16:16, Acts 2:38 and Acts 4:12) the Lord Jesus will save you and give you the gift of the Holy Ghost just as He did to those early believers on the Day of Pentecost. (See Acts 1:8)

Monday, April 4, 2016

"The Best Laid Schemes...

All scripture references, unless otherwise noted, are from the King James Version of the Holy Bible. 
...o' mice an' men Gang aft a-gley." Part of a poem by Robert Burns called, "To a Mouse." (See http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/the-best-laid-schemes-of-mice-and-men.html)
How true of the best laid plans we are prone to make. In my life and ministry I have had many disappointments.  Were it not for the Word of God in my life, I don't know how I would have been able to handle them. The Bible says in James 4:13-15, "Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that." It has truly been a comfort to me that I can yield my will to the Lord Jesus.

Psa 127:1 says, "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." The Lord Jesus is the ultimate builder of His house.  I remember well that day coming home on the bus from my job in Portland. I had been silently mulling over the the three or so years we had been trying to get a church started. For those three preceding years my congregation had been mostly my wife and children. Sometimes my mother or my in-laws had lived with us too. But we had not seen anyone baptized in Jesus name and I was pretty discouraged. I silently talked to the Lord Jesus, as I got off the bus, and said to Him if He thought me a success, whatever men might think, I was a success. Contrary-wise, if He didn't consider our efforts successful, even were we to establish a large church, we would not be successful. It was shortly after that that we had our first baptism.

I resigned that church and another man came in my place. When I left off being pastor, we had between about 45 and 55 average attendance. We supported about 23 or so missionaries, and had a substantial amount of money in the bank. We had baptized around 40 people in Jesus saving name, many of whom are still living for God (as far as we know). The worst thing one could say of me is that I was a mediocre pastor, but that I was a good manager and faithful. That church, by the way, no longer exists. (See Psalm 127:1)

Pastor friend and Saint of God, don't let your apparent failures get you down. The Lord Jesus never fails. I love an old chorus we used to sing in church. It goes like this,
     Jesus never fails
     Jesus never fails
     Heaven and earth shall pass away, 
     but Jesus never fails
By the same token, don't let your apparent success go to your head. Another chorus comes to mind:
     Remember only what you do for Christ will last,
     Remember only what you do for Christ will last,
     Only what you do for Him, will be counted in the end,
     Remember only what you do for Christ will last.
Ah! The plans  we make often, "Gang aft a-gley."

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Repentance and Faith Equals True Worship

All scripture references, unless otherwise noted, are from the King James Version of the Holy Bible. 
Jesus told the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4:24 that, "God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth." I have struggled over the years of how to worship God the way He wants to be worshiped. What exactly is worshiping the Father "in spirit and in truth." As I said I have had a problem with the concept because I do want to please the Lord Jesus in all that I do. I want to worship God "in spirit and in truth," the way He wants to be worshiped.

In reading the Bible, which I have read numerous times, the Apostle Paul told the Ephesian Elders in Acts 20:20-21 that he had, "kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and have taught you publickly, and from house to house, Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ." I finally came to realize that what Paul was saying was that he taught them to worship God "in spirit and in truth." The Bible says that God commands "...all men every where to repent...". Paul told the men of Mars Hill this in Acts 17:30-31. And he further told them that God has, "given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him...(Jesus)... from the dead." So when we repent of our sins toward God and put our faith in the resurrected Lord Jesus Christ, we are truly worshiping God in the way that He wants us to be worshiped. 

My friend, if you have never done so, repent to God of your sins. Put your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ  and be baptized in His wonderful and Holy name and God will forgive you. God has promised you that if you will obey Him He will pour out His Holy Spirit in your life and you will experience the joy of true salvation, just like they did on the Day of Pentecost. Then you will know what it means to be a true worshiper of God. (See Acts 2:1-4, Acts 2:38 and Acts 5:32)

Saturday, January 9, 2016

What Is Truth?

All scripture references, unless otherwise noted, are from the King James Version of the Holy Bible. 
Was the question that was asked of the Lord Jesus in John 18:38 where, "Pilate saith unto him, What is truth? And when he had said this, he went out again unto the Jews, and saith unto them, I find in him no fault at all." A very good question. That is a question still being asked by people today. I am thinking about a song I believe was written by Bro. Dwight Hardin called "What Is Truth?" It goes as follows:
     What is truth? was the question that was asked, 
     In Pilate's common judgment hall as Jesus faced His task.
     Why should the King of glory die for a world of sinners lost?
     I know it was heaven's greatest love that made Him pay the cost!

     He is the Truth the Life and the Way,

     He is the answer to each problem today,
     If you're to scale life's mountains tall,
     Then on Him you must call,
     For you will never know the Truth until you've first known Him.

     What is truth is a question asked today,
     Is it to allow our youth to always have their way.
     To believe in communism and despise God's holy word,
     My friend you'll never know the Truth until you've known the Lord.

The Lord Jesus said in John 17:17 when He prayed for His disciples, "Sanctify them through Thy word, thy Word is Truth..." The answer is the same today as it was when Pilate asked, "what is truth?" Indeed, as the Bible says in John 14:6 Jesus is, "...the Way, the Truth and the Life..." He is the only way to God, He is the only Truth that will last forever, and He is the only Life worth living. Without His Word, we would know nothing about the death, burial and resurrection of the Lord Jesus and would still be in our sins.

Jesus said, "Thy Word is Truth." The Bible says in John 1:1, "In the beginning was the Word...and the Word was God." Then in John 1:14 the Bible says, "And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us..." The Word who the Bible says "was God...was made flesh and dwelt among us..." I believe that this is what Apostle Paul meant when he said in 2nd Corinthians 5:19, "To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation." 

My friend, you may have asked yourself the question, "what is truth?" There are far too many religions in the world and our minds are too feeble to figure which is right. You won't find truth in Islam, nor in Buddhism, nor in any of the major religions of the world. But you will find the Truth when you find Jesus Christ. Be reconciled to God through the Lord Jesus today.