Deuteronomy 14:28, “At the end of three years thou shalt bring forth all the tithe of thine increase the same year, and shalt lay it up within thy gates:”

If you want to start a riot in a Church then all you have to do is talk about two subjects: politics and money.  It is so sad that this is the way it is.  We should be able to behave like adults and discuss even so-called controversial things.  I remember one man many years ago who got so angry over politics that he would not discuss it.  Thank God for that.

Since I do not have financial supporter I have no fear about talking about money or giving.  So many Christian people want to throw a fit when someone talks about tithing or giving.  This is pathetic and it ought not to be!  Everyone focuses on the tithe which means a tenth.  Instead of focusing on what God requires, why don’t we focus on what we are going to give above the tithe.  This is our offering.  We focus on low level Christian living and leave off the higher things.

My wife and I decided to give some money to a ministry that we know is doing God’s work.  When I called to make sure we could get a receipt for our gift I found out that there had been a theft from the ministry and much needed supplies were taken.  No dollar amount was discussed and I pray that our meager gift of love helped a lot.  Little is much when God is in it.  I beg you to multiply our little offering, God.  It was He who put the burden on us to give to whom we gave and a serious need was at last partially met.

So, how are you doing?

Your Burden

Psalms 55:22, “Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.”

We are experiencing a huge trial at our Church.  We have some big roof trusses in our auditorium are failing and our insurance company is refusing to cover it.  Our Pastor and some of our men are doing all that they can to figure out how to go ahead and fix the building while we seek the compensation that we need.  Right now there is a tremendous burden on the other trusses because of the failure of the others.

However in this verse of Scripture the word “burden” means gift.  I don’t know about you; but, I have a hard time looking at my burdens as a gift.  I tend to look at them more as a curse.  It appears that according to Scripture that I have a totally wrong attitude about my burdens.  Why is that?  I believe it is because I do not see things as God sees them.  One day I will; but, I am not there yet.

I will not soon forget the first Sunday morning service at the hotel banquet facility we currently rent.  We had The Barnett Trio come for special music.  They sang an awesome song “God Will Make This Trial A Blessing”.  There was not a dry eye in the house.

No matter what your burden is let me encourage you to try to see it from God’s perspective and see it as a gift.  If God brings you to it, He will bring you through it.  That is not original with me; but, I wish it was.

So, how are you doing?

Stand Up

Deuteronomy 7:10, “And repayeth them that hate him to their face, to destroy them: he will not be slack to him that hateth him, he will repay him to his face.”

I was thinking about a place that I used to work after some conversation with my wife the other evening.  This place sticks in my mind because of the way they dealt with problems.  If someone was doing something wrong the supervisor would send out a blanket e-mail that was aimed at correcting the problem.  It always said something like if you are doing this you need to stop and start doing it this way.  It would also say that if you were doing said task correctly to ignore the e-mail.  Unfortunately, I ignored them either way most of the time.  God forgive me for the bad attitude.

God does not deal with people like this.  He has given to us His Spirit to live in us and help us.  The Holy Spirit will convict us of sin, righteousness and of judgment.  You see, God deals with us face to face.  He is not some far away being who only deals in blanket e-mail blitzing.  He comes to us and takes care of business like it should be done.

I have many faults and one of them is being straight forward without compassion.  As I get older I seem to mellow in this area, thankfully.  We need to stand up for our faith.  It is high time that Christians quit sitting in the pew and get out and live a brand of Christianity that is contagious.

So, how are you doing?

America Repent!

Deuteronomy 4:7, “For what nation is there so great, who hath God so nigh unto them, as the LORD our God is in all things that we call upon him for?”

Deuteronomy 4:29-31, “But if from thence thou shalt seek the LORD thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul.   When thou art in tribulation, and all these things are come upon thee, even in the latter days, if thou turn to the LORD thy God, and shalt be obedient unto his voice; (For the LORD thy God is a merciful God;) he will not forsake thee, neither destroy thee, nor forget the covenant of thy fathers which he sware unto them.”

My mother, my cousin and his wife have taken a trip to Israel to see the holy land.  I am so jealous.  After talking with Mom on the phone I think I am glad that I could not go.  The schedule is so hectic that it wore her down and she has bronchitis.  She is very sick and they still have seven days left there.  Verse 7 of Deuteronomy chapter four reminded me of Israel.  They are God’s chosen people; but, because of their rejection of them He has taken His gospel and gone to the Gentiles.  I am thankful for this because now you and I can be saved.

America was once a great nation because she served a great God.  The problem is that America has tried to legislate God out of our nation.  It is for this reason that America has ceased to be a great nation.  Our sitting president is plunging us into socialism and our economics are spiraling downward and a rate so fast that we might never recover.  Yet, if the nation will repent and run back to God He will gladly receive us with open arms.  America, run to the Lord!

I hope that you and I are diligent in praying for our leaders.  It is grossly obvious that they need our prayers.

So, how are you doing?

Encourage Your Pastor

Deuteronomy 1:38, “But Joshua the son of Nun, which standeth before thee, he shall go in thither: encourage him: for he shall cause Israel to inherit it.”

Over the years I have had the privilege of sitting under some wonderful Pastors.  I have been loved and taught by them things that will go with me all the days of this life.  I have had some that turned out to be real stinkers too.  Ministry is like everything else.  You will have some good and some bad.  If you want to know what a good Pastor looks like then get into the Word of God and see what God says he should be like.

I truly appreciate our Pastor.  He wears so many hats and seeks to serve each and every one of us.  There are not enough hours in the day.  I did my best to help him until the need came about to take our son out of school and begin home school with him.

As I sit here and think about my Pastor I wonder what I have done to encourage him recently.  What have you done to encourage your Pastor recently?  He needs to know that we are praying for him and that we love him.  The ministry of Pastor can be a lonely one.  It can be even more lonely if you do not think the people God has given you to shepherd are not standing with you.  Far too many of us are behind our Pastor, way behind.  Most of us are so far behind him that he cannot even tell we are there.  This ought not to be.  Get directly behind your Pastor and support him so long as he stays with God and His Word.  If he forsakes God or His Word then throw him out on his hinder parts.

So, how are you doing?

Who is Your Refuge?

Numbers 35:6, 11; “And among the cities which ye shall give unto the Levites there shall be six cities for refuge, which ye shall appoint for the manslayer, that he may flee thither: and to them ye shall add forty and two cities.  Then ye shall appoint you cities to be cities of refuge for you; that the slayer may flee thither, which killeth any person at unawares.”

For Valentine’s Day my wife and I had the privilege of going to a Pastor’s fellowship on the day before.  It was wonderful.  Due to some unpleasant circumstances I was afforded the privilege of preaching the charge to the meager gathering.

I shared with them from the Scriptures and related to them the story of my family and how God is helping us live each day while raising a son with severe autism.  I will not lie to you.  Our life is not easy.   Oh some days are easier than other; but, for the most part it is an uphill battle.  When the storm fronts are moving in it is comparable to World War II.  Yet, we know it is this horrible disease and not the child doing what is being done.

One thing I challenged those Pastors about was who is their go to guy.  When they need someone who do they go to?  It is important that we all have someone that we can run to. In our Scripture passage we are told that God even provided a place for the slayer to go until proven innocent or guilty.

So, friend where do you go when you need someone?  Don’t run to the doctor, the bottle or anything that will not draw you closer to God.  You need to run to God because He is our City of Refuge.

So, how are you doing?

Encouragement or Discouragement

Numbers 32:6-8, “And Moses said unto the children of Gad and to the children of Reuben, Shall your brethren go to war, and shall ye sit here?   And wherefore discourage ye the heart of the children of Israel from going over into the land which the LORD hath given them?  Thus did your fathers, when I sent them from Kadeshbarnea to see the land.”

Take a look at the people that surround you.  What kind of people are they?  We need to have people around us that make us want to be better than we are now.  If you surround yourself with people that are always down in the dumps then you will be just like them.

I remember one place I worked that the other person I worked with and I sounded similar on the phone when we answered.  One person we worked with when we would answer the phone he said both of our names one right after the other.  It was quite funny.

Just remember that nearness is likeness.  If I am spending time with people who want to do things contrary to my system of beliefs then eventually I will begin to be just like them.  If I am spending time with people who love the Word of God, the Church and prayer then I will be like them.  These are the people we need to spend time with.  We need to spend time with people who encourage us and not those who discourage us.  Which one are you?

So, how are you doing?

Eternally Secure

Psalms 49:7-8, “None of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him:   (For the redemption of their soul is precious, and it ceaseth for ever:)”

As an Independent Baptist I am often looked down upon because of my “label”.  I don’t particularly like this; but, such is life.  One reason people who believe as I do are looked down upon is because of our belief in eternal security.  I have had people tell me that the doctrine of eternal security is just a license to live however I want to live.  Nothing could be farther from the truth.  Oh, there are some people that use this as a license to sin.  The thing is, that if you belong to Christ you will not be comfortable living however you want.  If you sin it will bother you.

Which is more free, the race car at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway or the high speed train going down the track?  A lot of people think it is the racecar because they obtain speeds of over two hundred miles per hour.  Actually, the train is the most free.  This is because a train can run as fast as it wants because it is confined to the rails.

The rails in our illustration represent Bible principles that we are guided by.  We can run as fast as we can for the glory of God and be held on track by the rails.  The sad reality is that most Christians are running around like a race car at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.  We should be running full steam ahead like a train on the tracks.

So, how are you doing?

Dried Up Tears

Numbers 25:6, “And, behold, one of the children of Israel came and brought unto his brethren a Midianitish woman in the sight of Moses, and in the sight of all the congregation of the children of Israel, who were weeping before the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.”

I remember a time in my life that I was so embarrassed by my tears that I actually asked God to take them away.  He answered that prayer.  This should serve us all to watch what we pray for because we might really get them answered.

During this time I became so dry.  I did not cry.  It was horrible.  I cannot even describe for you what that time was really like.  I related this story in a message a while back at Church.  Someone came to me afterwards and told me that they were not an emotional person and only cried when very, seriously angry.  They asked me to pray for them that God would allow them to cry.  I do just that.

Our tears can be a sign of repentance.  They can be a sign of sympathy or empathy and even anger.  I will say that I have repented of my feelings about my tears.  I asked God to bring them back and I have not regretted it.

We need to get back to a place where we are so broken over the things of God that it brings us to tears.  As we think about relatives who do not know Christ as their Saviour, we need to be brought to tears for them.  So, when was the last time you cried?  Really?

So, how are you doing?