It Is Good

Psalm 119:71, “It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes.”

Here is someone that is far above me in their Christian life.  I still whine and cry when bad things come my way.  I stick out my bottom lip and throw a pity party.  This is a lonely part as it is only attended by one (me) and sometimes two (the devil).  We all want to think that we are some super spiritual person that can handle anything.  Wrong!

The focus of Psalm 119 is God’s Word.  I know that the Word of God is vital to our Christian life.  If we don’t spend time reading and studying the Word we will not become strong like God wants for us.

Every time I read this verse I think of a sheep who will not stay with the others.  The shepherd has to break a leg so that it will stop running away.  The shepherd carries this sheep and cares for it.  Through this less than pleasant experience this sheep learns not to run away.  If the other sheep were smart they would learn from those who have experienced this.  That is why they are sheep and not something smarter.  No wonder the Bible compares us to sheep.

As you reflect on your life today what do you think about those unpleasant times in life.  Did you just go through them or did you grow through them.  It is our choice.

Maybe one day we can say as the writer in Psalm 119:98-100, “Thou through thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies: for they are ever with me.  I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation.  I understand more than the ancients, because I keep thy precepts.”  Unfortunately, I am further away from this than I would like to be.

So, how are you doing?

Today’s reading:  Psalm 119; Proverbs 31

Let a Man Examine Himself

I Corintians 11:23-28, “For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread:  And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.   After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.  For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come.   Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.  But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.”

I am sitting here today and as I was reading our passage of Scripture for today some things came to mind.  This is a real good thing when your ministry is to write.  The first thing I thought about was the time I helped take communion to a couple of sisters in our Church that were no longer able to attend the services.  My cousin asked me to go along and help him (not that he needed help).  He asked me to read the Scriptures as he served the elements.  This was all well and good until I turned paged in my brand new Bible and some of the pages stuck together unbeknown to me.  So we went from the body and blood to the comely parts of the body.  Wow!  I stopped and prayed right there.  Those dear saints did not say a word.  I could have died of embarrassment.

Next I thought about the sacrifice of Jesus on behalf of all men.  Jesus died for all; but, not everyone will come to put their faith and trust in Him for salvation.  This ordinance is for those who are born again believers.  We do not allow those who are unsaved to participate because it is reserved for God’s children.  Jesus endured the beating, the crucifixion and the shame for you and I.

Next I thought about how we are to prepare for communion.  We give all participants a time to pray and confess their sins so that they do not partake “unworthily”.  We want all hindrances to be removed so that we can have “communion” with the Lord.

Do you think that this should be the same for us as we go to worship services on Sunday morning and Sunday evening and Wednesday evening prayer meeting?  Absolutely!  We need to be in constant communion with the Lord and keep clean in order to remove all hindrances from our lives.  When we go to Church we need to put out of our minds all of our problems and the junk that clouds our minds and keeps us from worshiping as we should.  We take a shower or bath on Sunday morning and put on our best clothes; but, we seem to let the spiritual part go.  This should not be in our lives.

Tomorrow as you make preparation to go to worship services make sure to take a shower; but, also don’t forget to clean up spiritually and remove all hindrances.  Then we can worship God as He deserves.

So, how are you doing?

Today’s reading:  Psalm 30, 60, 90, 120, 150; Proverbs 30; I Corinthians 11, 12, 13

 

Who’s Side Are You On?

I Corinthians 8:12-13, “But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ.  Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend.”

A number of years ago we attended another Church in our area.  We loved the Church and the people there.  We would go to as many of the Church activities as possible and we enjoyed many wonderful years there.

I remember one activity the men embarked upon especially.  We went to the city and played paintball.  That was so much fun.  We invited another Pastor and his men to join us and some did.  I remember we stopped at a fast food place on the way home and our Pastor had a devotional message from Ephesians 6 and he talked about spiritual warfare.  It was really good and I have never forgotten that day.

One reason that day stands out to me is that because it was fun and there was so much spiritual application in what we did and how we live the Christian life.  Now, all these years later I am applying this knowledge.  It really came home when I was a reserve deputy town marshal.

Another reason that day stands out to me is because I shot my Pastor in the head.  I felt so bad.  It was kind of funny at the time; but, knowing it hurt him made me feel bad.  The paintball hit him right at the top of his mask and impacted his head.  I still feel bad.  I still remember him asking me when I confessed, “Who’s side are you on anyway?”

There have been many days in my life where I stepped back and asked myself that question.  In my life there are things that I do not do so that others are not offended or caused to think that I am no different than they.  I do not go to movies because I do not want to spend God’s money to profit Hollywood so they can make more garbage that they call entertainment.  I do not want to be guilty by association with Hollywood.  What if an unsaved neighbor saw me there and thought I was no better than he?  Then I have showed him that Jesus has no power in my life and he may never get saved because of my poor testimony.

As God’s people we have a choice to make.  We can live our lives in such a way as to draw others to Christ or we can live in such a way that people will be driven away from Christ.  I don’t know about you; but, I would rather endure a little discomfort here on earth so that someone else can go to heaven.  I have to decide who’s side I am on.  Look at   I Corinthians 10:21, “Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table, and of the table of devils.”  There is no straddling the fence here.  You are either for or against.  We should all seek to do things in such a way as to draw people to Jesus.  Look at I Corinthians 10:24, “Let no man seek his own, but every man another’s wealth.”  In this generation of self-centered people I say it is not about me!

So, how are you doing?

Today’s reading:  Psalm 29, 59, 89, 149; Proverbs 29; I Corinthians 8, 9, 10

Such Were Some of You

I Corinthians 6:9-11, “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.  And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.”

Today, there are so many different voices telling us that they are the way to heaven.  Most of them are not the way.  Jesus tells us in John 14:6 that He is “the way, the truth and the life”.  There are those who think they will be going to heaven; but, there is no change in their lives.  Notice the words of our Scripture for today.  “Be not deceived”.  Then there is a long laundry list of those who will not be found in heaven.  Have you taken a close look at this list?  Maybe we all should.  This list tells us that if we live a lifestyle capitalized by any of these we will not be in heaven.  How sad.  I know people who are in bondage to these sins.  If they do not receive Jesus Christ they have no hope of going to heaven.

I love the words of verse 11, “And such were some of you”.  This phrase gives us hope for Biblical change.  This gives us hope that we can be born again and then reflect the character of Jesus Christ in our lives.  The sad thing is that some people love their sin so much that they do not want to give it up.  This is a real tragedy!

The Bible tells us in Proverbs 28:13, “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.”  We seem to take this sin business so lightly.  We just go around committing sin and don’t even worry about it.  One day we will all regret not putting our faith and trust in Jesus Christ.  Unfortunately, by then it will be too late.

So, how are you doing?

Today’s reading:  Psalm 28, 58, 88, 118, 148; Proverbs 28; I Corinthians 5, 6, 7

The Temple

I Corinthians 3:16-17, “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?  If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.”

Yesterday I had a wonderful opportunity to go to Linton, IN and spend the day at the radio station WYTJ 89.3 FM.  It was a fantastic time.  Pastor Cassel was a gracious host and they even fed us a wonderful meal.

Each person that went was given the opportunity to record a short advertisement for the station.  They put it on a CD with a song before and after your advertisement.  It makes is like listening to the radio.  It was really cool.  I think it was Pastor Cassel’s wife who did the recordings.  When she found out I led the music at our Church she was really glad for a fresh perspective on their ministry from someone who made their ministry music.  It was exciting and I was able to put inflection in my voice and they were pleased with the finished product.  This will be on the air at various times during various weeks when the computer picks mine to put on the air.

The reason I have traversed down memory lane today is because I was caught by our Scripture for today.  Our body is the temple of God.  We who know Christ as our Saviour have the awesome privilege of Him living and dwelling in us.  Wow!  This is why we do or don’t do certain things in life.  We do not want to defile the temple of God.

So many people will tout that it is “my body”.  There are women who cry for abortion rights and that is their mantra, “It is my body!”  Well, I hate to tell them but it is God’s body and it is on loan to each one of us.  Since it is on loan to us that makes us stewards of our bodies.  Look at the words of the Apostle Paul in I Corinthians 4:2, “Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.”  We must be faithful in caring for our bodies.

I know that I do not always do the best job of caring for my physical body and God will hold me accountable for that one day.  We are to be good stewards of everything, even our bodies.  Ouch!

So, how are you doing friend?

Today’s reading:  Psalm 27, 57, 87, 117, 147; Proverbs 27; I Corinthians 2, 3, 4

The God of Hope

Romans 15:13, “Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.”

I remember taking “Pulpit Speech” in Bible college.  I really enjoyed the class and Pastor Charles Brown made the class very interesting.  The Scripture passage for today was one of our assignments.  Every member of my class had to take this verse and expound upon it and then give a short message to the class based upon our findings.

I love the truth that our God is “the God of hope”.  People today want hope.  Some have lost hope; but, you and I can help them restore hope if we will take them to the Bible and show them the source of hope God Himself.  Hope is simply the expectation of future good.  In the Bible, hope often refers to the resurrection.  Because Jesus Christ resurrected then we have “hope” that we too will rise from the dead one day.

Next we see that the God of hope will “fill you with all joy and peace”.  There is a wealth of truth here too.  If you know the God of hope then He will fill you with joy.  Joy is so much more than happiness.  Our happiness is based upon our circumstances.  In other words if things in my life are going the way I think they should then I will be happy.  Joy is that true happiness in spite of my circumstances.  No matter what happens to me or around me I can choose to be filled with joy.

I like the next phrase “believing that ye may abound in hope”.  The word “abound” means to superabound, to be in excess.  So, if we trust Christ as our Saviour and God becomes our Heavenly Father who describes Himself as The God of Hope we can abound or super abound or be in excess of hope.  What a fantastic truth.  People today seem hopeless and yet we have so much hope that it overflows.  You know the kind of person I am talking about.  No matter what comes their way they are just filled with hope.

The last phrase, “through the power of the Holy Ghost.” is a key also.  If we yield ourselves daily to the Holy Ghost then He can fill us with hope.  He will fill us with God’s Word and that gives hope.  Many times in my ministry I have stood with hurting people and one of the first things I do is share Scripture with them because I want to give them hope.  Prayer is also another thing I share with them.  I pray with them and for them.  So many of us are afraid of the Holy Ghost because of those who have gone off the deep end about Him and are out of bounds on the doctrine.  We need not to be afraid of the third person of the trinity, God the Holy Ghost.  He also brings us hope.  For this we are thankful

So, how are you doing?  Where is your hope?

Today’s reading:  Psalm 26, 56, 86, 116, 146; Proverbs 26; Romans 15, 16; I Corinthians 1

Awake!

Romans 12:1-2, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.  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.”

My wife and I have the privilege of serving God each week in a wonderful Church.  For the biggest part of our marriage it has been her ministry.  Oh, occasionally someone would ask me to preach; but, for the most part people just wanted her to come play the piano and sing.  I guess I just go used to that.  It has been quite a different story at the Church where God has planted us now.  I am so thankful to stand each week and lead the singing and to lead the choir.  Music ministry is so vitally important to any worship service.  We seem to take it for granted.  We rush into Church having not prepared for the service and then we sing like we have lost our best friend and then were baptized in pickle juice.  This should not be.

Apart from the fantastic Bible preaching we enjoy at our Church, I have noticed when there is no music program that the service seems a little bit down.  I was sick a couple weeks ago and my wife said that our Pastor seemed like he was a little bit lost without me.  There should be others (and there are) who are willing to step up and fill in.  I am thankful for those who do and have filled in for me.  Far too many Christians today are like Romans 13:11, “And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.”  Too many of God’s people are asleep at the wheel so to speak.  Daniel 7:25 tells us that the devil is wearing out the saints and it shows in how many of us are dragging in our Christian service.

It is time for each one of us who are God’s children to wake up and get busy.  The end of this life is near and we need to warn the others so they can trust Christ and spend eternity in heaven also.

So, how are you doing?

Today’s reading:  Psalm 25, 55, 85, 115, 145; Proverbs 25; Romans 12, 13,14

The Burden

Romans 9:2-3, “That I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart.  For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh:”

Romans 10:1, “Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.”

Having worked for many years in the fair ministry I can understand a very tiny bit of what Paul is saying here.  I remember one time I was standing at the front of the tent and a group of teenagers came by.  They begin to engage the visual aids that were set up to get people’s attention.  I asked them, “If you died to day and you were to stand before God and He said, ‘Why should I let you into My heaven?’ what would you tell Him?”  They told me that they would tell Him that they were saved and baptized.

I began to share with them that it is not the “good works” that we have done that gets us into heaven; but, that it was the finished work of Christ on the cross and our putting our faith in Him.  There is nothing in the gospel for man to do except believe and God gives him the ability to believe.  Look at Romans 10:9-10, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.  For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”  We cannot even go to God except the Holy Ghost draws us.  When these teens heard the Bible explanation of how to be saved they began to yell at me and walk away.  They were yelling to me that I was going to hell because I do not believe someone must be baptized to be saved.  I thought how sad that was.  They were certainly not showing the example of Jesus Christ.

Because of this experience I had a great burden to do better at presenting the gospel to people and I wanted to be out there more and more to teach people what is the Truth.  We cannot be everywhere.  All we can do is warn those who we come into contact with and trust God for the others.  Look at Romans 10:14-15, “How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?  And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!”  Just because you and I may not stand in the pulpit each week and proclaim the gospel like some do we can all be preachers so to speak by spreading the Word.

We can spread the word; but, it is up to the individual to hear and believe.  Look at Romans 10:17, “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”  It is up to us to tell and it is up to them to hear and obey.

So, how are you doing?

Today’s reading:  Psalm 24, 54, 84, 114, 144; Proverbs 24; Romans 9, 10, 11

Dead Men Don’t Testify

Romans 6:1-2, “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?  God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?”

I heard a story about a missionary that was ministering to an Indian tribe.  The missionary had to go back home for health reasons; but, would return as soon as he could.  While he was gone he prayed fervently for the chief who had recently trusted Jesus Christ as his Saviour.  He was concerned how this baby Christian would fare while he was gone.

Upon his arrival back on the mission field he went to find the chief.  They sat and talked and enjoyed a good time of catching up.  The missionary asked the chief how he was doing in his new walk with Christ.  The chief replied, “Black dog.  White dog.  Inside me fight all time.”  The missionary inquired, “Which one wins?”  The chief replied, “The one me feeds most.”

This is such a true analogy.  If we feed the flesh in our lives then that is what we will “reap”.  If we feed the spirit in our lives then we will reap spiritual things.  Here is the thing.  When we trust Christ as our Saviour we become dead to sin and we do not have to live our lives as the slave to sin any longer.  The problem is that we choose to yield to sin.  We think there is pleasure in sin.  This could not be further from the truth.  Oh, we might enjoy it for a moment; but, then the consequences come along.  Look at Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”  Sin has a price tag and it is costly

I remember when I was working in Law Enforcement we used to joke about, “Dead men don’t testify.”  Yet, there is much truth to this statement.  Spiritually speaking, “Dead men don’t sin.”  Think about that for a while.

So, how are you dong?

Today’s reading:  Psalm 23, 53, 83, 113, 143; Proverbs 23; Romans 6, 7, 8

Remembering Lil’ Tank

Romans 3:22-24, “Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:  For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:”

On October 20th Ricky Tankersley passed away in his home at the age of 20 from respiratory issues.  Lil’ Tank as he was known was a fireman at the Gregg Township Fire Department.

I had to pleasure of getting to know Lil’ Tank in Firefighter I and II class at the Coatesville Fire Department.  I still remember doing a search and rescue training in a mach house at Danville.  I was the lead man and I had two (2) others with me.  As we crawled and used our tools to sweep from side to side in an effort to find any possible survivors or victims.  I was so focused on what I was doing that I was not paying close attention to what my men were doing.  Suddenly I hear, “Hey Chap. you gotta communicate with your people buddy.”  It was Ricky.  The thought came to my mind from I Samuel 3:10, “And the LORD came, and stood, and called as at other times, Samuel, Samuel. Then Samuel answered, Speak; for thy servant heareth.”  Even now I weep as I remember Ricky trying to help me.  I thank God that I had the opportunity to know Lil’ Tank.  He truly loved what he did and it showed when you were around him.

I am reminded of the words from a song Vince Gill wrote, “Go Rest High”.  He penned, “Go rest high on that mountain.  Son your work on earth is done.  Go to heaven a shoutin’…”

Early Wednesday morning Ricky answered his last call.  This call came from Heaven.  The Supreme Fire Chief made one last call and Lil’ Tank was taken from us.  Our hearts ache with the pain of separation; but, when he rolled into that heavenly fire station he was home for eternity.

If you would like to know for sure that you will spend eternity in heaven please send me an e-mail to david.dale@juno.com and I would love help you know for sure that heaven will be your eternal home.  I know that Ricky professed to know Christ as his Saviour and he would want you to know Him also in the full, free pardon of sin.

See you at the house my Brother!

Today’s reading:  Psalm 22, 52, 82, 112, 142; Proverbs 22; Romans 3, 4, 5