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Monthly Archives : February 2018

Jesus In Haggai …. Our Priority …… February 25, 2018

Now, therefore, thus says the Lord of Host: Consider your ways. Haggai 1:5 ESV

     The book of Haggai could parallel, to some degree, the way life is lived today by those who call themselves Christians when it comes to priorities of life and the church. We are so busy with our lives that many times the church and our relationship with Jesus suffers or takes a back burner. Think with me about this for a minute. I am speaking in generalities; but why does the church appear not to have the influence that it once had? I remember as a much younger man, the conversations of older Christians concerning a time when the church took priority in a community. Activities and events were planned in order not to conflict with the church. It does not take a rocket scientist to know that this is not even close to life today. I again am speaking in generalities, but it appears to me in church life today that it is less about being a priority and more about being a convenience. I am not speaking of the church as being a duty but a relationship with God. God always has taken the first move in our lives to restore and develop relationship. (Read John 1:1 and then John1:14) I believe He still moves in this fashion today but fewer are following… really following him. Think with me for a moment, if the pattern of your life style as a Christian in the church were followed in your daily life, how would you fair? Would you still have a job, still be married, have passing grades? The choices we make in life always have consequences and what we make our priority will influence every choice. So how do we change or return to where we need to be in terms of the church and our lives? How do we make what should be our priority, our priority?
     Here are three areas in which to start, but by no means do I mean to imply this is a formula. These three are foundational and much can be built upon them. 1. Forget the past 2. Commit to the Day 3. Plan to finish well.

Forget The Past:
     When I say “forget the past,” I mean don’t live there. Never forget what you have learned from the past especially if it caused failure. If a person doesn’t learn from past mistakes, they will be doomed to repeat it. The reason Israel, God’s chosen people in the Old Testament, were taken captive and placed in exile many times was because they failed over and over to remember God alone was to be worshipped. Israel didn’t need to forget past mistakes, but for sure they didn’t want to live in captivity, so they had to look toward the future, which wasn’t always easy. In order to forget the past you MUST look to the future. Here is how Paul describes this in Philippians 3:12-14 ESV, Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Commit to the day:
     Just as you don’t live in the past, don’t live in the future. I am not suggesting a person be irresponsible concerning planning, but remember your days belong to the Lord. It is appointed unto man to one day die. If you plan or dwell too much on the future, you will miss the day. I don’t know anyone who said when dying I wish I’d spent more time at the office or work and less time with God. Absolutely every day is a God day and is a gift from God. How you unwrap that day will depend on your thoughts of God. This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. Psalms 118:24 ESV ….. Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring. Proverbs 27:1 ESV ….. (Matthew 6:25-34)

Plan to Finish Well:
     While we are not to dwell in the past, nor fret about the future, we know as Christians where our final destination will be. I‘ve heard it said that you begin a project with the end in mind. The project may not be completed in a day, but everyday it is closer to what it will be. Another way of thinking about this is a child growing towards adulthood. He/she is not what they are yet to be, but every day changes them into what would hopefully be one day a responsible adult. As a person grows they put away childish ways of thinking. One such thought is “It’s all about me.” Concerning love in 1 Corinthians 13:11 ESV it states, “When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child, but when I became a man I gave up childish ways. Jesus gave us the greatest example of this when he finished well. He considered what God His Father sent Him to do…. Die for the consequence of our sins. Jesus even said, “My father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” Matthew 26:39 ESV Jesus finished well and when upon the cross he said, “It is finished.” John 19:30 ESV

     Let me challenge you today to forget the past, commit yourself daily to living for Jesus, and plan on finishing well. Commit to worship God before you commit to anything else.

Because of His Grace ~ Pastor David

Jesus In Zephaniah …. Mighty To Save …… February 18, 2018

     The Lord your God is in your mist, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.  Zephaniah 3:17 ESV

      Zephaniah speaks of the coming day of the Lord.  It would be a day when God brings judgement on the consequence of unconfessed and willful sin.   The world, as those in Jerusalem knew it, was going to end. (Chapter 1) This was true not just for Jerusalem but also for the surrounding nations. (Chapter 2)  People with no apparent concern of their sin were becoming more and more entrenched in the practice of it.  They were worshiping false gods and doing all sorts of evil in God’s sight.   People had become content in living with no regard for God.  Just a remnant of people believed the message of Zephaniah, to seek the Lord before this judgement came.  Gather together, yes, gather, O shameless nation, before the decree takes effect – before the day passes away like chaff –  before there comes upon you the burning anger of the Lord, before there comes upon you the day of the anger of the Lord.  Seek the Lord, all you humble of the land, who do his just commands; seek righteousness; seek humility; perhaps you may be hidden on the day of the anger of the Lord.   Zephaniah 2 1-3 ESV   Sin has and will always be judged by God.  Neither a person nor nation sins successfully for a long duration of time.  Throughout the Bible sin has always been met with judgement from and by God.  People may enjoy sin for a season, but just as seasons pass so the enjoyment of sin when the consequences of such living comes to an end.  When evil appears to be winning, remember in your walk with God, faithfulness is a testimony of knowing and  believing He is in control.  The purpose of judgement is to destroy evil, but in the last part of Zephaniah Chapter 3:9 we see this judgment was to purify in order to bring hope to the land.  This world as we know it will one day come to an end, but as long as a person has breath, there is hope for that person.  Hope because God is “Mighty to save.”

Jesus Came Not to Condemn:
     Jesus said this concerning Himself.  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.  Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.  John 3:17-18 ESV 
     I’ve had said to me many times over the years,  “Don’t judge me.”  To be able to judge a person  would imply that I have authority over that person of which I do not have.  Another reason one person cannot  judge another person is that judgement has already been made by God.  His judgement informs us that without believing in Jesus a person is condemned already.  The reason for God’s judgement is found in John 3:19-20. …. people love darkness.

Jesus Came….Mighty To Save:
     The Lord God  became flesh and walked among us.  He was in the mist of people for a period of thirty three years and many didn’t have a clue that He was the salvation to all who would follow Him.  He still walks among us by the Holy Spirit and many today still do not recognize this fact.  Yet there is a promise that all who call upon His name and follow Him, he will be mighty to save!!!   If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.   For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.  Romans 10:9-10 ESV 

Jesus Gives You A Invitation:
     One of the things I hear often is, “I hope I’ve lived a good enough life  to make it to heaven.”  What a burden to live everyday trying to depend upon yourself for a hope of entrance to heaven.  Jesus said, Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30 ESV   His invitation is exclusive and only made possible by Him.  Jesus says, I am the way, and the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.”  John 14:6 ESV   

     The day of the Lord will come upon this world because of sin; yet as in Zephaniah if you seek the Lord  (2:3) and believe His word, this judgement will have a happy ending for you; for you will be in the Christ Jesus.  Today is the day for salvation in your life. Why would you ever want to put off such an important decision?  How shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation. Hebrews 2: 3 ESV….   And there is salvation in no one else,  for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.  Acts 4:12 ESV  

Because of His Grace ~ Pastor David