Darkness To Dawn

As I was sitting here and contemplating my next blog post a verse popped into my mind.  I will share it shortly.  My mind went to the time from Christ’s crucifixion until His resurrection.

I wonder what that time was like.  It had to be hell for earth for those who followed Jesus.  They expected Him to take over at any moment and declare Himself the King of Israel.  Remember the triumphal entry?

Now, all their hopes and dreams were smashed on the rocks of the sea of life.  Imagine the confusion.  I can see them aimlessly wandering without hope.

Then a verse of Scripture came to me.  Look at Luke 22:31, “And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat:”  If you think this through he is not only trying to get Simon Peter; but, all of the followers of Jesus.  As they endured this time I am sure they thought that the enemy had won.

Then came Sunday.  Resurrection Day!  I love the song, “Then Came The Morning”.  I love to sing it and I like to listen to others sing it.  My favorite would be Guy Penrod on the Gaither Homecoming series.  What a truth!  Even Peter at times wanted to go back to the fishing business.  He was sifted; but, Jesus prayed for him and he made it through.  He did not graduate with honors; but, he graduated non the less.

Maybe your life seems like all hope has fled out the door.  Let me share with you that you can find hope and help in Jesus Christ.  He loves you supremely and He demonstrated it by dying on the cross in your place.  Put your faith and trust in Him today before it is eternally too late.

So, how are you doing?

Tragedy

I am sure many of you; my readers, have seen the news footage of the sprint car race in New York where Kevin Ward Jr. was tragically killed.  Tony Stewart was operating the car that hit Ward Jr., thus killing him.  I don’t care what your racing preferences are, this is a tragic event.  I cannot imagine the grief and guilt that Mr. Stewart will carry, quite possibly for the rest of his life.

As tragic as this event is, there is another even that is equally as tragic and possibly more so.  Look at Ezekiel 33:4, “Then whosoever heareth the sound of the trumpet, and taketh not warning; if the sword come, and take him away, his blood shall be upon his own head.”  What this passage of Scripture is talking about is the sounding of a trumpet as a warning and the person hearing the trumpet not heeding it’s warning.  The Scriptures are telling us that if we refuse to hear the warnings and heed the warnings that our own blood will be upon our own hands.  In other words, we will be responsible for ourselves.

On the other side of that issue, if we hear the trumpet sound a warning and we fail to warn others then their blood is on our hands.  We are responsible for their death.  Let me take this a little further.  The Word of God has sounded the warning that Jesus is coming soon.  The Word of God has shown us that we are responsible to share the gospel with those around us.  Let me ask you, “Are you being the biblical ‘watchman’ that God has called you to be?”  Sobering thought I know.  I would say that most of us just let life slip on by us along with opportunities that God has orchestrated for us to share the gospel with others.  Now, their blood is on our hands.

So, how are you doing?

Christmas 24

In our lives today we have so many things that we are told make life easier.  Everywhere you go you see someone with headphones or something in their ears that they are listening to.  This is not always bad.  What if this kept people from hearing something they need to hear?  That would be tragic.

Let’s look at the Word of God for a moment.  Look at Luke 2:10, “And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.”  As we saw yesterday, the angel appeared to the shepherds and it was like the angel was standing on them.  I believe that this appearance was in the air just above them to give them that idea.  No matter.

Notice what the angel tells them first.  “Fear not” is the exhortation.  Right, an angel just appears out of nowhere and appears to be standing above you in the air and you are told to “fear not”.  Ha!  In the Word of God we are told 365 times to “fear not”.  This seems to be one for every day of our year.  No matter what life throws at you remember the counsel of the angel and “fear not”.  Easily said and not so easily done, I know.

So, how are you doing?

Christmas 23

One of my favorite “Andy Griffith” shows has Barney shutting down two thugs selling beside the road outside Mayberry.  Barney goes out to tell them again that they need to move along and he is filled with fear.  As he stands and gives his speech about how they might beat him up; but, behind his badge there is a brotherhood that will band together and hunt down the men and see they have justice served on them.  The entire time Andy is standing in the background in sight of these men.  They see Andy and decide to move on.

Sometimes you and I feel all alone.  We can rest assured that we are not alone.  We have a Heavenly Father that promises to not leave or forsake us.  I am thankful for that.  There have been some long nights where I needed to be reminded of this truth.

Praising God while experiencing great trials is not easy.  When you are fighting for your life and you realize that it is your own child that you are fighting against.  This is not a place where you just want to stop and shout a praise.  Yet, these shepherds were frightened deeply.  The Word of God tells us that there was an angel and this angel was joined by a host of other angels.  What were they doing?  They were sent to praise God.  Even though, these shepherds were scared beyond belief there was praise going on.  Look at Luke 2:13, “And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,”

Praise is not just for the angels; but, it is for all of us.  We need to praise God no matter what.  Like the character of Grant Taylor from the movie “Facing the Giants”.  He tells his football team, “If we win, we praise Him.  If we lose, we praise Him.”  Good counsel coach!

So, how are you doing?

Christmas 20

The story is told about two sheep in the pasture grazing and chatting.  One sheep laments that he is afraid of so much; but, is grateful for the care and protection of the shepherd.  The other sheep says that he is not afraid of anything.  The first sheep asks the second sheep why he is not afraid of anything.  The second sheep replies, “Steel wool.”

My guess is that angelic visitors to the pasture lands was not a “normal” daily event even in the days prior to the coming of Jesus to earth.  As we have labeled it “The Incarnation of Christ”.  When God became a man and condescended to men of low estate and lived as we live to show us the way.  If that is not love then I don’t know what is, really.

I have tried to imagine how these humble shepherds must have felt.  Look at Luke 2:9, “And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.”  They were well familiar with a full moon and the beautiful light it gives off.  This time there was a great light that was shining like no other time before.  On top of that an angel “came upon them”.  This is not a so-called normal thing either I would not think.  The phrase “came upon” means to stand upon.

God had a message to declare and He saw fit to declare that message to the lowly shepherds and it scared them deeply.  Sometimes in life God delivers a message to you and I that strikes fear into our hearts.  I know first hand how this is; but, we must keep going in spite of fear.  Blow your fear out of the water by faithfully trusting Christ and keep on keeping on for His glory.

So, how are you doing?

Facing The Unfinished Task (Giants in the Land)

The enemy of our soul is so good at using things against us.  One of his greatest tactics with a high success rate is fear.  This is a paralyzing emotion.  He runs us around like a dog runs a sheep.  What do we do about it?  We have to face it in the power of Jesus Christ and go on.

The children of Israel faced the unfinished task of giants in the land.  Look at I Samuel 17:4, “And there went out a champion out of the camp of the Philistines, named Goliath, of Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span.”  This guy was huge!  The unfortunate thing is that he was not going to just go away like they wanted him to do.  He was intent on picking a fight with someone and winning that battle.  That is just like the devil.

This giant had these so-called mighty men running scared like a group of little girls.  Look at I Samuel 17:11, “When Saul and all Israel heard those words of the Philistine, they were dismayed, and greatly afraid.”  To be “dismayed” means to prostrate; hence, to break down, either (literally) by violence, or (figuratively) by confusion and fear [taken from the Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance].  These great warriors were so paralyzed by fear that they were like they had laid down on the ground in confusion.  Wow!  This is a familiar scenario.  The devil runs rough shot over us all the time when we don’t stand in the power of God.  Get up and let’s go with God and face the unfinished task as we slay some giants.

So, how are you doing?

I Am Not Going Back

The other evening I was attending a meeting and someone had something very embarassing happen to them.  My mind immediately went back a couple years ago when I went to a local mom and pop watering hole.  As I left I ran into a table where a man was having lunch. The table rocked and all the condiments fell over.  He cursed and I just walked out in embarasment.  I decided to not go back to this place.  That is too bad because they have excellent deep fried culliflower.

As I was thinking about these unfortunate situations I was reminded of Psalms 55:6, “And I said, Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest.”  I know that I wanted to “fly away” at that second.  Yes, after all this time I have not returned.  Sometimes, you have to just swallow your pride and go back.  Since I have not found another place to get deep fried culliflower I will either go without it or I will have an appetizer of “crow” before I return.

Don’t let some event like this keep you from serving Jesus Christ.  Don’t let it keep you from going back to Church.  An appetizer is one thing; but, ministry or Church attendance is a whole different ballgame.

So, how are you doing?

Highway Robbery 1

Baptist Preacher from the past I. B. Kimbrough was a fearless ambassador of Jesus Christ!  Read on about an account where his fearlessness proved vital.

‘”As he was traveling from one appointment to another through a secluded forest, he was confronted by two highwaymen. Holding their guns on the man of God, they insisted that he dismount from his horse and hand over all his money.   “Very well, gentlemen, please give me a little time, and I will obey your orders.” Kimbrough responded. After dismounting, he laid his money in two piles, then turning to the highwaymen he said: “Gentlemen, this small pile of money is mine: you are at liberty to rob me of that; the larger pile is God’s money, and I dare you to touch it. I collected it for the young preachers of the state who are struggling for an education at Carson and Newman College.”

The earnestness and courage of the man attracted the attention of the robbers, and they began to inquire into the work in which he was engaged. He told them he was a Baptist preacher and explained to them his mission. After hearing what he had to say, the elder of the two men said:

“We will not take either your money or the money of the young preachers.”
Turning to the young men, and looking them full in the face, Dr. Kimbrough added: “Young men, you are in a mighty bad business. I believe you ought to give it up. In the meantime, I will be grateful if you will help me in the work in which I am engaged.”

This account was taken from Dr. Dale R. Hart: Adapted from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I. (Thompson/Cummins) pp. 261 – 262.”‘

What fears are keeping you from serving God today?  I hope this will inspire you to get back to the work God has called you to do.

How are you doing?

Bullying

Wednesday morning we received word of a young boy who had taken his life due to bullying.  This is a real tragedy.  This tragedy strikes adults as well.  I am sharing part of an article by Dr. Don Boys about a bullying incident from the past.  He writes about Richard and Sabina Wurmbrand:

“He and Sabina were at a meeting where 4,000 priests and ministers of all denominations had gathered. Soviet Dictator Joe Stalin was the honorary president of that group. Many speakers spoke about how Christians and Communists can get along with each other. After a few minutes of antichristian rhetoric,  Sabina nudged Richard in the ribs and said, “They are spitting on the face of Jesus. Go wash the shame off His face.” Richard said, “If I speak against the Communists, you will no longer have a husband.” His wife replied, “I do not wish to have a coward for a husband.” She was true to self, the Scripture and the Savior.

Richard slowly arose from his seat, went to the microphone and shocked his friends and co-laborers by advocating only loyalty to Christ. He would not coexist, cooperate, or compromise with Communists. He was arrested in 1948 and again in 1959 and spent about 13 years in prison, three of those years in solitary confinement, and was tortured by his captors. Sabina was also arrested and spent three years in a labor camp. They were both people who lived by the truth.”

The time is here that we who name the name of Christ will and are the targets of bullying.  Are you prepared to take a stand for Jesus Christ?  It is high time for us to make up our mind if we will bow to the pressure or burn for Jesus, Who walked up Calvary’s mountain and willingly gave His life to pay the debt of sin we all owe.  Please pray for those who are being targeted for bullying.  Pray for so many families who have lost loved ones to suicide because of this tragedy.

How are you doing?

You Just Don’t Get It

I was remembering a time in my ministry when I said something from the pulpit that was extremely embarrassing.  When my wife and I arrived at the restaurant after the service she looked at me and said, “You have no idea what you said, do you?”  I did not.  When she told me I was mortified.

It wasn’t that I did not “get it’ as some in our day.  It was I had no idea what I had said.  I still to this day get reminders from friends and family of that particular service.  I guess they love me.

When it comes to life we simply sometimes do not “get it”.  We don’t understand.  This happens a lot for some people.  God does not call us to understand.  He has called us to simply trust Him for everything.  This is easy to say; but, not so easy to do in life.  Life is tough; but, God is tougher.  According to the writers of “Veggie Tales”, “God is bigger than the boogey man”.

When fear or tragedy strikes us some times we loose faith.  We seem to drift away.  This is because this attacks our faith.  It attacks our trust in God and this is exactly what our enemies want for us.  If our faith waivers then the world sees just another weak Christian that is unsteady in their faith.  We can receive some great counsel from a father in Mark 9:24, “And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.”

So, how are you doing?