Opportunities and Adversaries

1 Corinthians 16:9 – For a great door and effectual is opened unto me, and there are many adversaries. As Paul travelled around as a missionary and as he yielded himself to the Lord more and more, he saw two things. First, he saw that there were many opportunities. Everywhere he looked, he saw the lost. They were ever before him. People who had never heard of Jesus. People who were on their way to an eternity in Hell. He had the answer that they were looking for. Read more…


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Our Strength

Isaiah 30:15 – For thus saith the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel; In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength: and ye would not.

This was written at a time when Assyria was attacking Israel and Judah. Instead of trusting God, the leaders of Judah turned to Egypt for help. God rebuked them through the word of Isaiah, telling them in verse 3, “Therefore shall the strength of Pharaoh be your shame, and the trust in the shadow of Egypt your confusion.”  You can’t blame the people for attempting to find help in one greater than them, but the proper place to go would have been to the Lord. Egypt would be no help to them if God was against them because they rejected Him. Read more…


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The Greatest Battle

We see much on TV and pay per view about mega battles, or championship fights. In my lifetime we have had the “Thrilla in Manilla”, the “Brawl in Montreal”, the “Rumble in the Jungle”, just in boxing. Those had huge audiences, massive media coverage and tremendous fan interest. But the greatest battle of all time took place in a lonely wilderness between Jesus and Satan. There were no witnesses, no media coverage, no pay per view. But the stakes were the highest of any match in history – our souls. Three times Satan tempted Jesus to sin. Read more…


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Seek Me Early

Proverbs 8:17 says –  I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me. It’s a sad thing to see how many people wait until they have problems in order to seek God. They will do everything they can in and of themselves to solve their issues, and God becomes their last resort. When things are going well, they don’t have any need of prayer, of the Bible, of church. But when troubles come, they rush to the pastor for prayer. They don’t thank God for their health until they get sick. They don’t praise Him for their material possessions until they are in danger of losing them. But God says to “seek me early”. Yes, that could mean early in the morning, but it also implies seeking God before the trouble comes. Read more…


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The word of God stands forever

Read Isaiah 40:7-8

The grass withers, the flower fades, because the breath of the Lord blows upon it; Surely the people are grass. The grass withers, the flower fades, But the Word of our God stands forever.

 

Man likes to revel in his beauty or his strength. We talk about the most beautiful woman, or the most handsome man. Nations speak of their strength and their power in the world. But as history has shown us, those things don’t last. We think of the world empires of history, the Assyrians, the Babylonians, the Greeks, the Romans; we think of the great maritime empires, the Dutch, the French, the English. We think of the beauty of the actresses of Hollywood in the past and of the beauty of television stars when we were young. But when we look now, those great ancient empires are past. They have blown away as the dust. The rulers, the pharaohs, the emperors, the kings are only memories. The beauty of the movie stars of the 20s and 30s is gone. They have aged and passed away. The power and the beauty is only temporary.

In our area, our rainy season is very short. Some years, we get very little rain at all. But when we do get rain, the mountainsides break forth with beautiful wildflowers. The hills abound with vibrant colors. The grass grows lush and green. But very shortly, that beauty fades. The hills turn brown and the grass dies. As our passage says, “the grass withers, the flowers fade”.  Their beauty does not last. The bible says that man is like that. Our life withers, it fades away. We may live to be 100 years old, but we will fade away. It is the destiny of man. There is something, however, that does not fade away, that never gets old. Our passage says, “The Word of our God stands forever”. The word that God spoke to Adam and to Moses, still stands today. The promises that God made to man, so many thousands of years ago, still stands today. Man has tried to destroy it, they have tried to outlaw it, they have ridiculed it and critics have tried to change it into the words of men. But the Word of God stands. In 1778, Voltaire said that 100 years from then, Christianity would be swept from existence and the Bible would be a forgotten book. But the Word of our God stands. God’s word will never pass away. How important is God’s word? In Psalms 138:2, the Bible says – “I will worship towards your holy temple, and praise your name. For loving kindness and your truth; for You have magnified your word above all your name”. Imagine that, God has magnified His Word above even His Name. His Word is how he has spoken to us, how He has made His promises to us. And even His Son is called The Word of God. Jesus is the living Word of God. The Bible is the written Word of God. They never contradict, they never oppose one another. And they never fall. For the Word of our God stands forever.


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Abigail – A Godly Example

The story of Abigail is one that shows us an example of Godliness. Her story is told in 1 Samuel 25. She was the wife of Nabal, who the Bible describes as “churlish ( cruel ) and evil in his doings”. But Abigail was not like her husband. She is described as “a woman of good understanding and of a beautiful countenance”. The story in this chapter shows us exactly how true that is. David was on the run from Saul, who was trying to kill him. David had a lot of followers and they provided for themselves by protecting landowners from robbers in exchange for food and supplies. One of the flocks that they protected was owned by Nabal. When shearing time came, David sent some of his men to Nabal to ask for food in exchange for the protection that they had provided. Nabal, being evil, refused to provide for them and sent them away. When they told David what had happened, David became angry and prepared to attack Nabal. Surely, everyone in the household of Nabal would have been killed by the next morning.

Now enters Abigail. One of Nabal’s servants went to Abigail and told her what had happened between Nabal and David’s men.  Of course, Abigail knew what kind of man her husband was and wasn’t surprised. But she knew what the right thing to do was. She acted “in haste” the bible says, and loaded up food and rode with the supplies to David’s camp. She threw herself at David’s feet and told him to lay the blame for the situation on her instead of on Nabal. She asked David not to shed blood, but to accept the provision that she had brought. She asked that David allow God to judge Nabal. David praised her, and told her that he had accepted her gift and no harm would come to Nabal by David’s hand.

The next day, when Abigail told Nabal what had happened, the bible said that his heart died within him and he became as a stone. We don’t know exactly, but perhaps he had a stroke or a heart attack. We do know that it was a judgment of God and that 10 days later, Nabal died. When David heard that Nabal was dead, he praised God for preventing him from taking vengeance on Nabal. He also sent messengers to Abigail, asking her to come and be David’s wife. The bible says that Abigail “hasted” and went with David’s men and became his wife.

Abigail knew that what Nabal had done was wrong. She knew that David’s men deserved to be blessed and repaid. She also knew that it would be wrong for David to take revenge. She was willing to let God judge the wrongdoing of her husband. She was willing to take the fault of her husband on herself and to stand before David and ask forgiveness. In spite of her husband’s lack of character, she remained faithful to him while he lived. She was a woman of great character and God blessed her by making her David’s wife.


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Assurance Forever

Read Isaiah 32:17 – And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and peace for ever.

 

Many Christians struggle with the matter of eternal security. I’ve written a previous blog on the matter, but under the understanding that you can never hear too much truth, I wanted to speak on it again today. Isaiah, in this chapter, speaks of a coming king who will rule in righteousness. In the literal sense, he may have been speaking of Hezekiah, or perhaps Josiah. But in a true sense, he was looking past Israel’s kings and looking to a King who one day will rule in true righteousness. But we know as Christians, that He should be ruling in our lives now. Then he speaks of God pouring out His Spirit upon His people. When you were saved, God poured out His Spirit upon you. You got all of the Holy Spirit that you will ever have. The reason that some people seem to be more Spirit filled is not that they have more of the Holy Spirit, but is because they are more yielded to the Spirit that all of us have.

Then, in verse 17, he speaks of the work and the effect of righteousness. Of course, we know that the work of righteousness is peace. Through His righteousness, we have peace with God. Our relationship with Him has been restored through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. Paul says in Romans 5:1, Therefore, being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. The word “peace” has a sense of movement to it. God has peace toward us. Not because of any righteousness we have, but because of His righteousness. Then Isaiah give us the effect or the result of God’s righteousness – quietness and assurance for ever.

The word quietness means just what we would think it means, to be quiet, undisturbed, calm. The word assurance, likewise means what we would assume, security, safety, confidence. Not because of what we have done, but because of what God has done. We can have quietness and assurance of our salvation. For how long? For ever.


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Dare to be a Daniel

Daniel 1:8 But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.

Here we find out more about Daniel than in any other place in the Bible. We know from Ezekiel 14 that Daniel was a righteous man. We know from Matthew 24 that Jesus considered Daniel a prophet, but here we see the overwhelming characteristic of Daniel; He was a man of conviction. Read more…


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A divided kingdom

After the death of Solomon, the nation of Israel suffered a split. Approximately 922 BC, the nation was divided into two parts; Israel to the north and Judah to the south. The capitol of Israel was Shechem (later moved to Samaria), and the capitol of Judah was Jerusalem. Rehoboam, son of Solomon was king of the southern kingdom of Judah. Jeroboam, who, in 1 Kings 12, famously ignored the advice of the older, wiser men and followed the advice of the younger men, was king of the northern kingdom of Israel. Starting in 1 Kings 12:1, we see the story of these two nations. Read more…


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Examine yourself

Many times when we have communion, we read 1 Corinthians chapter 11. And when we read it, many times we read all the way through verse 30. Part of that last section is verse 28, which reads “But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.” We apply that by saying that we should not take the Lord’s supper with sin in our lives or with any ill feelings toward another believer. Of course, that is true. But it’s not only during communion time that we need to make that internal examination. That is something that needs to be part of our life on a regular basis. Read more…


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Three attitudes toward the Christ child

Last Sunday evening, as we looked at the Biblical story of the visit of the wise men, we saw that there were three different attitudes shown towards the Christ child. First, there was the open hostility of Herod. He saw the news of the birth of Christ as a threat to his rule. And Herod was not a man to sit idly by when he saw a threat. He was a man who had one of his wives and three of his sons killed, supposedly because they planned to kill him. But when he heard from the wise men that they were seeking a king who was born, he told them to find this king and return word to him so that he could go and worship the child himself. As they would say on “Snopes”, that was a “pants of fire”. Read more…


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An exception to the rule

Back in 1993, I was a high school teacher at a Christian School. We rotated giving the devotions at our morning staff meeting. On one of the days it was my turn, I gave a devotion on what I thought was the reason that most students got in trouble. As I later discussed it with another teacher, it came to us that it wasn’t just the young people who got into trouble for this philosophy, but adult Christians as well. I prepared a chapel message on it for use later in the year. What was the belief that caused these people to fall? The belief was that they were “an exception to the rule”. They knew what the rules were, they knew that there was a punishment for breaking the rules, but they didn’t believe that the rules should apply to them.   Read more…


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Running a race – Part Two

If you haven’t already, please read part one before reading this entry.   In order to do more for the Lord, we must realize how we can improve. Look at the people who run, and run well.   The best runners use best equipment and training. They don’t wear high top hiking boots when running. There is a place for those, but if runners want to be successful, they use the proper equipment. They use high tech materials. They use the best materials available. Cotton is great material, for its purpose. Wool is wonderful material, for its purpose. Read more…


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Three Dark Days

God knew that the early church would need a leader. Someone who would be educated. Someone who would be driven. Someone who would be committed to teaching and preaching and building churches. Someone who wouldn’t let problems or difficulties stop him. Someone who could counsel and clearly write out the doctrines and principles the young believers would need. Saul was that man. God chose him to be the man to reach multitudes for Him. But Saul wasn’t ready. Oh, he was committed. He was driven. But he wasn’t yet ready for the work that God had for him. God had some more shaping to do. Some more molding and forming on this lump of clay who would come to be known as one of the greatest Christians of all time. Read more…


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They came to see Lazarus

Read John 12:1-8   Everywhere Jesus went, great crowds gathered. Every time he stopped to preach and teach, the multitudes would come. Great crowds would be attracted. His arrival in a city would be cause for a great gathering. Why did they come? Some to be healed.  Some to bring others. Some to see a miracle. Some to hear Him preach and teach. Some were just curious. Whatever the reason, great crowds would gather around Him. He was a life changer. Here in John 12, we see a great crowd gathering. But we see something different in this passage. Yes, a crowd had gathered to see and hear Jesus. But there was another reason they were there. Read more…


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Which Yoke?

Read Jeremiah 28:1-11   God has often spoken to His man and required him to do strange things.   Ezekiel was to go into the city, and take a tile and make a little Jerusalem on it. He was to then have a play attack on the city. He was to then pile up some food and lay on his left side for 390 days then on his right side for 40 days.  Hosea was to marry a prostitute. Isaiah was to walk around unclothed for 3 years.
 
Many other times God chose to have prophets do unusual things to illustrate to the people the truth that God was trying to teach them. Read more…

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Limiting God

Read Psalm 78  
Focus verse – Psalms 78:41 – Yea, they turned back and tempted God, and limited the Holy One of Israel.  
 
To me, this is one of the most surprising verses in the Bible. When I think of God, I think of His majestic power. You think of His unlimited ability. I think about how He created the universe in the span of 7 days. I think about His taking a pile of dirt and creating man. I think about the complexity of life and how all the systems work together. I think about the mountains, the forests, the oceans, and yes, even the deserts. I think of how no creature is more powerful than Him.   Yet, here we see that man has limited God. Imagine, sinful, powerless man limiting the Almighty God. Read more…

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Running a race – Part One

 
Read 1 Corinthians 9:24-27
 
The most important thing about running a race is to finish.  In 2 Tim 4:7, Paul says “
I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith” Having a world record pace ½ way through the race is no good if you don’t finish. Having the best looking stride most of the way is no good if you don’t complete the race. Our life begins at birth, but our Christian race begins at the new birth, when we get saved. Paul’s race began later in life, but he ran his race well and finished the race. In verse 6, he says, For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. Paul knew his time was almost up, but he was ready, for he had finished the race. Here are a couple of thoughts about running a race, and finishing a race.
 
First, in order to finish, you must set the correct pace. If you run too fast – you burn out – and you won’t finish. But if you run too slow – you wear out – you also won’t finish. Unfortunately, all of us who have been Christians for a length of time have see people who are on fire for God, get involved in everything, seem to go 24 hours a day for the Lord, but then stop and fall away. They left no room for anything else, no rest, no family, sometimes not even any alone time with the Lord. We have also seen those who do very little for the Lord, don’t seem to want to get involved, don’t have any fire and then they just fade away.
 
Second, we must realize that everyone has a different pace. God gives everyone talents and abilities suited to them. What one can do another may not be able to do. Not everyone can be a teacher, not everyone can be the pastor, not everyone can sing. But everyone can pray, everyone can be a witness, everyone can do something for the Lord. God gives everyone talents so that the body of Christ will be strong and complete.
 
Third, Pace can be improved with experience. It should increase. You should be doing more for the Lord now, than you were when you were first saved. If you have been a Christian for some time, you should know your Bible better, pray harder and witness more. That is why God allows things to come into our lives, to strengthen us and to help us increase our pace and our ability to serve Him.
 
End of part one

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Responses to Problems

Luke 22:42 – Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done  

Responses to problems   All of us will encounter things in our lives. We will have joyous events, bad circumstances, difficult conditions, and aggravating people. How we respond to these things show our spiritual condition. There are 3 main ways we can react, just as people did in the Scriptures.  

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Comfort Zone

Ezra 3:11-13, “And they sang together by course in praising and giving thanks unto the LORD; because he is good, for his mercy endureth for ever toward Israel. And all the people shouted with a great shout, when they praised the LORD, because the foundation of the house of the LORD was laid. But many of the priests and Levites and chief of the fathers, who were ancient men, that had seen the first house, when the foundation of this house was laid before their eyes, wept with a loud voice; Read more…


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Stay Strong

Read Hebrews 10:19-31   Verse 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.” Paul gives us four ways to stay strong in verses 22-25:

  1. Draw near to God. If you aren’t closer to God today than you were yesterday, you are backslidden. Someone said, “If you are farther away from God than you once were, it wasn’t God that moved.” Read more…

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A Little Faith

Read Matthew 17:14-20   Matthew 17:20, “And Jesus said, … If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.”        Faith is something that is often misunderstood because the devil has given us two false impressions of faith. The first is that God requires great faith from us before He will act. The second is that faith is the absence of doubt. Both of these are lies. Read more…


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The Foolish, The Weak and The Base

Read 1 Corinthians 1:26-31 Americans are great Hero worshipers.   We take a man and because he can take a ball and put it through a metal ring, we give him 25 million dollars a year.   Because a man or woman is attractive, we pay them millions to wear clothes that most of us can never afford   Because they spend years in college, we allow them to teach our children things that are contrary to the Word of God   We look for the biggest, the strongest, and the fastest, the person with the biggest muscles, the whitest teeth, and the shiniest hair.   Read more…


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Kept by grace

We Christians are funny creatures sometimes. True Bible believing Christians would fight and die for the doctrine of salvation by grace and grace alone. We would refute salvation by works, or salvation by faith plus works. But then once we have salvation, some of us somehow think that a person who could never be good enough to earn salvation, can now be good enough to keep his salvation. That somehow, this sinful flesh that we all carry, can live sinlessly. But such is not the case.  Read more…


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Waiting on God

Habakkuk 1:1-2 
 
The burden which the prophet Habakkuk saw. Lord, how long shall I cry, and You will not hear? Even cry out to You, “Violence!” And You will not save. 
 
Habakkuk had been praying, apparently for some time. Despite his prayers, he sees violence against the righteous and God apparently does nothing. Habbakkuk sees sin and iniquity everywhere. He sees mischief and trouble. Even God’s law is ignored, the thing that is supposed to keep everything in order and pleasing to God, and sin is rampant.  Read more…

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Chipmunks and Blue Jays

Many times, our family has gone camping at Twin Lakes in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California. We saw all sorts of wild life from deer to bear. But the two most common at our campsite were chipmunks and Blue Jays. As I watched them, I saw some Scriptural principles that we can learn to help us in our lives. Read more…


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The Importance of singing – a communion thought

Music and singing is a very important part of the Christian life. In fact, it’s a very important part of the entire bible. We have the Psalms which were songs. We have the song of Moses, the song of Deborah, the song of Solomon and many, many others. Songs have the power to make you feel the words in a way you can’t get any other way. A song can bring you back to a certain time in your life, or give you strength for the circumstances you may be in. Read more…


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Behold the Branch!

John CHAPTER 19  1 Then Pilate therefore took Jesus, and scourged him. 2 And the soldiers platted a crown of thorns, and put it on his head, and they put on him a purple robe, 3 And said, Hail, King of the Jews! and they smote him with their hands. 4 Pilate therefore went forth again, and saith unto them, Behold, I bring him forth to you, that ye may know that I find no fault in him. 5 Then came Jesus forth, wearing the crown of thorns, and the purple robe. And Pilate saith unto them, Behold the man! 6 When the chief priests therefore and officers saw him, they cried out, saying, Crucify him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Take ye him, and crucify him: for I find no fault in him. Read more…


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The Two Mile Christian

Matthew 5:41 And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two.
 

The idea behind this statement, and one that would have been very clear to His listeners in that day, was a Roman law. Beginning in about 300 BC, Rome constructed roads throughout the empire. This allowed for quick movement of troops and merchandise throughout the empire. At their peak, they had constructed over 250.000 miles of road of which 50,000 miles were paved ( cobblestone ). Some of those Roman roads are actually the path used by modern roads which now sit on top of the Roman original. We’ve all heard the expression “All roads lead to Rome”.   Read more…


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