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September 27, 2015

“Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine.” These words, penned by the Apostle Paul in 1 Timothy 4:16 are good reminders for God’s people today.

  1. “Take heed unto thyself…” Often the greatest hindrance to our continued spiritual success is “us.” Think on things that are good, pure, honest, lovely, etc. (Philippians 4:8) Read and obey God’s Word; confess sins daily; spend regular time in prayer and praise to the Lord; keep yourselves from idols. (1 John 5:21)
  2. “Take heed…unto the doctrine.” Fill your heart and mind with the truth. Know what you believe, and why you believe it. Be stable and settled in the Scriptures.

The conclusion to these instructions is, “For in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.” What a blessed promise for the saint!

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September 6, 2015

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.
Romans 13:11

Every fall, the animal kingdom may be observed in tireless preparation for a long, cold winter. Squirrels scurry about, gathering acorns to stash; field mice begin insulating thick nests against the frigid north wind. While migratory birds “cop out,” and leave the area, sparrows and other small creatures put on an extra layer of either fur, feathers or fat. This is God’s safeguard for their preservation in the harsh months ahead.

In principle, this is a good course for the saints to follow. While we will not necessarily need extra spiritual strength for the season of snow, we WILL be faced with real challenges of another nature, that will threaten our spiritual strength, stability and resolve, if we are unprepared to meet them.

This is the thrust of Ephesians 6:10 and following, and the admonition to “put on the whole armor of God.” Many such Biblical texts alert the child of God to be ready in advance, because such oppositions WILL CERTAINLY COME, and often, when we are least prepared for them.

The answer? Seek God’s face daily; develop a genuine reliance on Him; through faith in God’s purposes and promises, learn to rejoice over trials; keep a single focus for your life: that of living for the honor and glory of the Savior; learn to practice faithful, fervent prayer.

Every student will confirm that the best test is the one for which we were prepared!

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August 30, 2015

It is inevitable. Time just keeps passing by. When it comes time for children to begin another school year, we invariably marvel at “How quickly they grow up,” and, “In only ___ more years, he/she will graduate from high school,” etc.

This, and so many other such acknowledgements give emphases to this fact: Time swiftly advances on our temporal, terminal lives. We must make our lives count, by God’s grace.

As we are growing older, are we growing stronger in the Lord? As our years increase, are our spiritual effectiveness, holiness, and love for the Lord also increasing?

At some point or other, each of us has missed some ‘chance of a lifetime’ through ignorance, inattention, or simple tardiness. At such times, we will become upset over our misfortune, but less often, acknowledge that our own neglect caused the loss. The result of an honest assessment in such a case is REGRET over that lost opportunity.

We have before us a great opportunity: Our time.
This is the only life you have.
Do something ETERNAL with it!

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August 16, 2015

“Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him…”
Psalm 37:7

We all expect to get some rest during the summer. It seems like it ought to be a time to slow down and enjoy a less rigid routine. Nevertheless, we find ourselves more busy, and less and less leisurely every summer. Too much to do and too little time.

If the truth were told, though, it is not physical rest most of us need, but mental and emotional respite. It is the stresses and pressures of life that wear us out, and not the actual physical pace of our daily routine. We really do need to just drop everything and “get out of Dodge” sometimes, to escape for a short time at least. “But what do I do in the meantime?” you might ask. Try to apply the truth of Psalm 37:7, and rest in the Lord. Resting in the Lord involves two frames of mind:

  1. The ability to let go, and leave things in God’s hands.
  2. The confidence that He is in control and will make no mistake.

There is real blessing in store for the saint who learns to REST in this way…and no vacation time is required!

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July 26, 2015

“BACKSLIDING” is a term that appears 17 times in the Bible, to describe God’s people going away from God. Hosea 4:16 says,

“For Israel slideth back as a backsliding heifer…”

The indication is that of a cow planting her feet and resisting the plans of the farmer. Every child of God is subject to backsliding. Watch for these telltale signs:

  • Neglect of God’s Word and prayer life
  • No personal witness
  • Nominal to non-existent giving
  • A tendency to nurture the carnal
  • Neglect of self-examination

All of these things indicate the saint is “sliding back.” Let us check up to see that we are not following this path!

 

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July 19, 2015

Isn’t life on this planet—on this temporal plain—negative sometimes? We get weary, worn, withdrawn, withered, weathered, worried, and just plain wasted! Don’t be too concerned, though, because as trying as it may be sometimes, this is just what life in a sin-cursed world was predicted to be.

The important thing to remember in all of the downs of life, is that the LORD is in control, and He has promised to provide strength to help us through the rough spots. So when you begin to ask questions like these…

  1. Why doesn’t everything work out for me?
  2. Why do things seem to be so hard?
  3. Why do I always have to WAIT for anything to happen?
  4. Why can’t my life be perfect?

…REMEMBER, we live in an imperfect world, which God is using to enhance our faith and beautify our Christian lives. The Apostle Paul was constantly harried and harassed by an ungodly world, but he kept it in perspective, and kept on anyway.

We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed;
we are perplexed, but not in despair;
persecuted, but not forsaken;
cast down, but not destroyed.
(2 Corinthians 4:8-9)

The Lord will faithfully and unfailingly do His Work. It is important that we do ours!

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July 12, 2015

“Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity
and passeth by the transgression of the remnant
of his heritage? He retaineth not his anger for ever,
because he delighteth in mercy.”
Micah 7:18

In our world, there are many religions, each of which imagines a “god” of a particular character. Each one is slightly different than the others, and all of them fall far short of the majesty, might, and holiness of the One, True God revealed in the Bible.

Micah 7:18 is one verse that gives a breathtaking glimpse of the matchless mercy of our great God. Rather than the vindictiveness and vengeance of Allah, the god of Islam, Jehovah is a God Who “pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by transgression.”

Rather than a god who continually wears a frown of disapproval, our God, according to this verse, does not retain His anger, but instead, delights in mercy! What a blessing, that He has made the necessary provisions to sinners! Micah 7:19 goes on to state that this merciful God has cast forgiven sins “into the depths of the sea.”

He is indeed a God without peer, and as the redeemed who know His Son, we are blessed to be able to call Him our Father.

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June 14, 2015

Conserving and Investing

“Conservation” is a much-publicized and much-debated theme in our world. People are concerned, on the one hand, about exhausting the world’s reserve of fossil fuels, while others are troubled over the issue of whether we should burn them at all, for the sake of saving the ozone, rain forests and the world itself. While a guiding philosophy for conservation of natural resources is a good idea, we are inclined to become consumed with preserving that over which we ultimately have no control; with saving what we have no power to save. Man will tirelessly labor to conserve his most precious possessions, and finally lose his own eternal soul. See Mark 8:36

The best, wisest and most rewarding form of conservation, is that of conserving our work and investment in life itself, as we make those investments of a spiritual and enduring nature. Notice these words, spoken by Jesus Christ Himself:

Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal.
Matthew 6:19-20

When we invest ourselves in things ETERNAL, the return will be guaranteed, as well as “conservation of capital.” Live with ETERNITY in view!

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June 7, 2015

Faithfulness, which is akin to dependability, must be numbered among the most important qualities for the child of God. Faithfulness is required by God (1 Corinthians 4:2), and will be rewarded by God (Luke 19:17).

Often our standard of faithfulness varies, depending on the situation:

  • If the car starts one out of every three times, is it reliable?
  • If the paperboy misses delivering your paper only twice a week, is he trustworthy?
  • If you go to work four out of five of your scheduled days, are you a loyal employee?
  • If your refrigerator stops working a day or two every now and then, do you say, “Oh well, it works most of the time.”?
  • If you miss a couple of house payments each year, does the bank say, “Don’t worry about it. Ten out of twelve isn’t bad.”?
  • If your water heater give you a cold shower every fourth time, is it dependable?
  • If you miss church one service out of the three or four each week, will God call you a faithful Christian?
  • If you tithe 75% of the time, will the Lord be pleased with your obedience?

May God convict us to be “all the time” faithful! That’s really what faithful means.

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May 31, 2015

In all the world there is no joy to compare to the joy of the Lord. Nehemiah 8:10 says, “The joy of the Lord is your strength.” A fruit of the Spirit is joy (Galatians 5:22), and the Apostle John wrote that through Christ and salvation, “your joy may be full.” (1 John 1:4)

Why, then, are we so inclined to be down, discouraged, and depressed? Simply because Satan would seek to negate God’s work in the lives of God’s people! Sometimes it seems like everything that could go wrong, has! Those aggravating events are not without design! The devil means them for evil, but God is able to use them for good.

Charlotte Yonge, a great Christian writer of the last century wrote, “One great characteristic of holiness is…never complain. Each complaint drags us down a degree in our upward course. By complaining, I do not mean the simple imparting of our troubles to others. Complaint savors always of a little bad temper, and a slightly vindictive spirit.”

May God give us a gracious, thankful spirit, for all He sends into our lives. See the treasure in every trial, even as you count your blessings, and it will increase your joy.

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May 17, 2015

There is no  doubt that God’s great purposes throughout the Bible, and even in day-to-day life, always revolve around His choice of a LEADER. God had His Moseses, His Joshuas, His Abrahams, Isaacs and Jacobs; He had His Jeremiahs and Isaiahs; His Peters, Jameses and Andrews. But at the same time, these men chosen to lead in the accomplishment of His purposes would not have been able to do very much all by themselves. It took people to follow and dedicate themselves to the work envisioned by the men God chose!

It has been said that “everything rises and falls on leadership.” This is true in most applications, but even a great leader can fail if he doesn’t have dedicated people to pull with him and get behind his leadership.

  • Nehemiah succeeded at rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem because “the people had a mind to work.” (Nehemiah 4:6)
  • Moses was able to collect gold to furnish the Tabernacle, because the people gave so generously and sacrificially. (Exodus 36:3-7)
  • The offering for the poor saints at Jerusalem was a complete success, because God’s people gave. (2 Corinthians 8:1-7)

What a blessing it is to pastor people who “have a mind to work.” Although some are physically incapable of some kinds of work; others are under demands that restrain them; still others are unwilling—what a joy to work together with people who are willing to work for the Lord, for the accomplishment of a worthy goal. Let’s just “keep on…for the Lord.”

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May 10, 2015 – Mother’s Day

“Mothers’ Day—A Well-Deserved Tribute”

This SHOULD be one of the most tender and carefully-observed special days of the year—the day we honor our mother. No one on earth loves more sincerely, gives more sacrificially, or serves more willingly than a mother. She has a special heart—call it instinct, intuition, or whatever, but there it is—that allows her to overlook more wrongs, live with more disappointments, and weather more emotional storms than any other kind of person, and the vast majority of Moms will still love you, no matter what you’ve done to them or anyone else!

What a wonderful example of God’s love, manifested in human flesh. Jesus compared His love for the Jews of Jerusalem with that of a mother hen who seeks to shelter and protect her chicks. Obviously, God’s love far exceeds any human love, but most of us can vouch for the fact (with a liberal dose of real-life examples to back it up) that Mother’s love is the closest human thing there is to the Divine.

Take the ready-made opportunity to honor your mother, or the mother of your children, today. She deserves it.

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April 26, 2015 – Friend Day

“Abraham believed God,
and it was imputed unto him for righteousness:
and he was called the Friend of God.”

James 2:23

We all place some value—some a great deal of value—on having friends. It is an honor, on varying levels, to be called people’s friend. It means you have taken an interest in their life, invested yourself in them, and in some way distinguished yourself in their esteem, and so they consider you a real friend.

How would you “measure up” by that criterion, when it comes to a relationship with God? Would He call you His friend? Do you consider Him your “Friend?” Often, there is an unspoken friction—an adversarial relationship—between man and God. Sadly, they are anything but friends.

The Bible does say that because of our sin, we are at enmity—“at odds”—with a holy God. GOD’S desire is that we be reconciled with Him, but we have a responsibility in this, too. Jesus Christ is the Arbitrator, the Mediator Who stands between us and God, offering Himself to make reconciliation. He can do this through His own shed blood, offered to pay the price for our sins.

Are YOU reconciled to God? Would you consider yourself His friend, or perhaps more to the point, could He call YOU His friend? Consider this most important of life’s issues.

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