Drop us a line...

Monthly Archives : February 2019

True Wisdom …… February 24, 2019

     The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight. Proverbs 9:10 ESV

     The Bible teaches in multiple places that we are not to fear, yet in Proverbs 9 it teaches us that fear is the beginning of wisdom. The fear as taught in Proverbs 9 is not the type of fear that is crippling, but a fear that is related to reverence or respect. For example, fearing a police officer would be wise if you consider breaking the law. He or she has the authority to give a ticket or arrest you. This is not a fear that makes you afraid of the officer, but a fear out of respect for the authority and the law that the officer represents. Jesus teaches in Luke who we are not to fear and who we should fear. I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do. But I warn you whom to fear: fear him who after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him! Luke 12:405 ESV   There is only one person who has this authority, and that is God the Father who sits upon the throne of heaven. This authority was taught by Jesus concerning the final judgement. Then he will say to those on his left, “Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. Matthew 24:41 (ESV)

     And the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered MY SERVANT Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who FEARS GOD AND TURNS AWAY FROM EVIL. Job 1:8 ESV   Two important facts to glean from this verse are: Job was a servant, and, in fearing God he turned away from evil. I am concerned that in our culture, few people have ah healthy fear of God. Note, I said “healthy” because a healthy fear is fueled by belief in the truth of what God is – a God of His word. God will NOT reward evil and judgement WILL come because of evil. (Galatians 6:7-8)  Grace is a sweet gift of God and covers a multitude of evil. But grace should NEVER be used as a ticket to sin. (Romans 6:1 & 6:15)  Biblical fear of the Lord is a healthy fear.

     We all need a starting point in everything we do. I dare say most people want to consider themselves to have grown or be growing in wisdom. Recognizing God as the Bible teaches – as HOLY – should remind us that we too are to be holy. It is our calling as Christians… Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” 1 Peter 1:13-14 ESV  Wisdom is knowing the authority of God and the authority that He has over your life and then living accordingly. It is “TURNING AWAY FROM EVIL”, not embracing or making excuses for sin. It is, as stated last Sunday, “Living on purpose for God.”

     The more you know about God and the righteous requirement of the law, the more you will see your need for Jesus. What we could never do in fulfilling all the requirements of God’s law, Jesus did on the cross. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things the of flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Sprit. Romans 8:3-5 ESV  The more you know about God, the more you will realize all that he has done for you, and if you have any wisdom you will love hime more every day. (Luke 7:47)

It is almost a continuing circle…. you fear the Lord….. causing you to gain wisdom…. then you gain knowledge and insight, which causes you…… to fear the Lord……. gaining more wisdom…. …… gaining more knowledge and insight….. on and on this could go. We are not redeemed by works, but our works are the proof of our redemption that happened because of Jesus. So let me encourage you to develop a healthy fear of God, and as a result……. live on purpose the life you have been given by the Holy God we serve.

Because of His Grace ~ Pastor David

Persevering, By Living Well…… February 17, 2019

And let us not grow wary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9 ESV

     The two verses right before verse nine read as follows….. Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will reap eternal life. (Vs. 8-9 ESV) Every life is a garden, and we are given seeds of choice to plant in this garden. A question needing to be answered is: what are you planting in your life garden? Seeds of ….. faith or unbelief …… love or hate …… hope or despair? The list of comparisons could become long, but I hope you understand my analogy. Another way to look at this is: every choice has a consequence, be it good or bad. What choices are you making that will affect your behavior, desires, and overall direction in life? Most importantly, how will those choices affect your eternity? The best seeds or choices are not always the easiest to grow, and many times it takes much more work. It would be easier to let the weeds of sin grow and make choices that gratify the flesh, but as Christians we have been called by the grace of God to a higher calling. So live on purpose for God, and remember…………

     In order to not GROW weary in doing good, you must prepare the garden of your heart with faith, hope, and love. (1 Corinthians 13)  When you cultivate the soil of the heart with faith, enrich it with hope and water it with love; then the fruits of the Spirit will grow. You must also keep your life in full view of the Son. On a package of seeds you are instructed how far apart and deep to plant the seeds and how much water and direct sunlight is needed for them to grow properly. In the Bible we are instructed how to live and grow healthy in order to not grow weary in life. One other important ingredient in order to not grow weary is to remember to infuse plenty of grace into the soil of our heart. You will grow works that can be bitter due to the absence of grace.

     When planting a garden you water it, keep weeds pulled out, and enjoy watching the growth of your labors. The ultimate rewards of planting are reaping and enjoying the fruits of those labors. While working, preparing, and planting, one must always remember that it is God who provided everything for us and causes the growth. The real work, honestly, is accomplished by God. We simply reap the benefits of His mercy and grace. When I was a small child my parents planted a large garden, and they would let me come alongside them with a small garden hoe. I would attempt to do what they did, but obviously I was small and could not begin to accomplish all that was needed. If that garden depended upon me and my efforts, it would not have been much of a garden at all. However, I enjoyed the harvest, and they made me feel a part of what they accomplished.

     Pulling weeds from the garden can be frustrating because it seems no sooner have you finished than they have grown back. This is especially true when you get busy and haven’t evaluated the garden daily. I have heard some people say concerning a garden that is overtaken by weeds, “I quit”. Sadly, this is not only true involving an earthly garden but also a spiritual garden. You will give your time to what you deem to be important; if you truly believe it to be important, then don’t quit. If your life depends upon what you reap to survive, would you have enough harvest to sustain you or would you give up? Never give up on living well. We reap what we sow; and if you sow of the flesh, you will reap the results of the flesh; but if you sow of the Spirit, you will reap the results of the Spirit. While we are saved by grace, we work to keep the weeds of sin out of our life garden. When driving or walking by a person’s garden that is well kept, one might say, “What a beautiful garden”. This garden didn’t happen by accident. It took a lot of work. May those who look at our life as a Christian say, “What a beautiful life”. They may not see all the work that it takes to present yourself as a life lived well, but they will see the results of the grace that God has provided in your life. Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. Matthew 5:16 ESV  Growing a healthy life garden does not happen by accident. It happens by a person who doesn’t give up!

Because of His Grace ~ Pastor David

Working Diligently…… February 10, 2019

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men. Colossians 3:23 ESV

I once had a plaque that had this little phase, “My Work Is Part Of My Worship.” Have you ever thought of your work in this way? As a Christian I believe it is important to look at your work in this fashion, and in general how you live your whole life. It is a testimony of your faith when you do what you do for God- on purpose. Understand, when we do it for the Lord, then it is part of our worship.

     As Christians we need to be a testimony to the world by how we live everyday. So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, DO ALL TO THE GLORY OF GOD. 1 Corinthians 10:31  I once heard the statement , “Go and witness for the Lord and if necessary use words.” This statement sounds good and holds truth, though I still believe it is necessary to use words to tell / proclaim the gospel. But it is important for your actions to match your words.

     As I stated above, “My work is part of my worship” illuminates your work as a Christian, as being a witness to others. In reality as a Christian, everything about you should change to focus upon the Lord. Paul said it like this to the men of Athens, “In him we live and move and have our being.” Acts 17:28 ESV  God the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit should become the focus of who you are as a Christian. Let me encourage you not to think just physical work, but also working with the mind. Remember a few Sundays ago when I said, “Everything begins in the mind.” I believe that every good or evil thought and intention originates consciously or unconsciously in the mind. This is why Romans 12:2 addresses this issue, Do not be conformed to this world,  but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (ESV)  This may be the most challenging work you do….. changing how you think. If we work with the goal of changing ourselves into the image of Christ, we will be more effective in influencing others to look to him.

     Don’t evaluate your work or actions in the work place or world by comparing yourself to others but by performing for God, which makes your life have a higher calling. Isn’t that what this verse actually teaches us by saying…for the Lord and not for men? In the context of this verse Paul is actually addressing slaves when working for their master. Slaves, obey your human masters in everything. Don’t work only while being watched, as people-pleasers, but work wholeheartedly, fearing the Lord. Colossians 3:22 CSB  Paul is not promoting human slavery, but he is encouraging kingdom purpose living in whatever situation you are in. In reality, everyone is a slave, either to sin or to righteousness. (Romans 6:15-23) Living as a slave to sin has a much grimmer outcome than that as a slave of righteousness. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23 ESV

     In no way is this teaching that you are made right with God through works. It is teaching how to live once you have been made right with God. The work of being in a right relationship with God was done on the cross by His only Son Jesus. Remember…..For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. Ephesians 2:8-9 ESV  James addressed this when people were bragging about works for salvation. But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.  Perhaps another way to look at this is, “I would hate to think I would work less under grace than under the requirements of God’s law. If you have been redeemed by the blood of the Jesus and filled with the Holy Spirit, then it is impossible to live as you may have once lived. Your works give evidence of His presence IN your life, not for the salvation OF your life. Again, God has already completed the work of salvation through His only Son on the cross. The question which we must answer is, “Am I going to follow Him? and if I say I follow Him, does my life give evidence of it through how I work / live?

Because of His Grace ~ Pastor David

Being Alert …. February 3, 2019

     Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.  Mark 14:38 ESV  Matthew 26:42 ESV

     Jesus was in the garden of Gethsemane the night He would be arrested, experiencing great agony in spirit, knowing the death he was about to experience. In fact, he said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” Mark 14:36 ESV  Jesus knew what was about to take place, but His disciples did not. In fact, they slept when Jesus’s suffering had already begun. How easy it is to relax yourself into a lull, to the point of sleep, not realizing the dangers and challenges to be faced. Everything for the disciples was good, or so they thought. They were in the presence of the Messiah; what could possibly go wrong? He had walked on water, given sight to the blind, caused the lame to walk, fed thousands with a sack lunch, calmed the storm with a simple command, and on and on the recounting of miracles could go. He had challenged the religious leaders of the day in ways no one else could have ever done and always silenced their challenges. This was God’s Son in the flesh….This was God. Yet, in His flesh he told His disciples to watch and pray. To stay alert to the unexpected attacks you will experience in this world. Watching and praying is being proactive and not reactive. Prayer is the action we take, not only when things go bad, but also before and when things become challenging in life. It is the guarding of your soul, not against what may come, but against what will come in this broken world. It is spending time preparing – before the battles, not only in the battles. Jesus spoke to His Father before the cross and on the cross… remember these words… Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do. Luke 23:34 ESV Prayer is the verbal relationship we have with God and will help us keep watch over our lives from day to day.

PRAY WITHOUT CEASING  1 Thessalonians 5:17
     This is the way our relationship with God should be. To pray without ceasing is to be in the mental presence of God throughout the day. I do not believe it means to aimlessly be murmuring repetitious prayer all day long. When there is not a specific reason for which to pray, then pray with praise and worship from the scriptures; for this will keep you alert in your daily walk. For example, “Lord I am thankful that I can do all things because you strengthen me.” (Philippians 4:13) Lord, Help me be a doer of your word and not a hearer only. (James 1:22) I encourage you to find a scripture and use it in a prayer throughout the day; this will not only help you memorize that scripture but also make you more aware of His daily presence in
your life.

     Be sober minded; BE WATCHFUL. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8 ESV
     The first assumption I will make here is that you recognize Satan as your adversary. If he is not your adversary, then you are not where you need to be. It means you are running with him and not from from him, and at some point you will be his lunch. We need to learn how to flee from him and run to God. (1 Corinthians 6:18 & 10:14 ….. 1 Timothy 6:11 … 2 Timothy 2:221) Fleeing from Satan is not showing weakness, it is running toward your source of strength. Sin doesn’t just happen. There is normally a set of circumstances that presents itself over time, and then the fall. Picture a lion sneaking upon its prey slowly, then pouncing with an all out attack. The lion takes many slow steps before pouncing… be watchful, for his method has not changed from the time of Adam and Eve in the garden.

KNOW YOU ARE WEAK: Romans 8: 3-11
     We could never accomplish in the flesh what Jesus accomplished upon the cross; why would we ever think we are strong? To realize your weakness is the first step in being strong in the Lord. It is knowing when to run. Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. Therefore my beloved, FLEE. 1 Corinthians 10: 12-14 ESV

The words of Jesus to the disciples in the garden that night are just as applicable to us today. I am afraid that many today have fallen asleep, unaware of the storms that are coming. Yes, God is in control. Yes, everything is happening as foretold, and God is all-knowing of past, present, and future. Remember, however; that all that happened in the garden was not a surprise to God, but the disciples were still told to watch and pray. So let us receive the same message as followers of Christ today. Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. Mark 14:38 ESV Matthew 26:42 ESV


Because of His Grace ~ Pastor David