Monday, December 27, 2010

How to Survive The Recession

Some say that there is indication that the recession is coming to an end, however I still find that the information in this article may prove helpful regardless of the economic picture of our Nation. With this in mind I would like to share five timeless principles that can serve as a blueprint or roadmap that will guide one through the rough seas of a turbulent economy or keep one on course in the calm or steady streams of life. These five timeless principles all begin with the letter “D” and they are: description, diligence, discipline, denial, and destiny. A commitment to the application of these five “D” principles will assure one of survival regardless of the economic conditions.
The first timeless principle is simply a description. In the bible we see the description of the ant and this is a very practical and useful picture that we would do well to apply. We are told in the bible “Go to the ant, sluggard; consider her ways and be wise; who having no guide, overseer, or ruler, provides her food in the summer and gathers her food in the harvest” (Proverbs 6:6-8). We learn that the ant though a small and apparently insignificant creature is wise. They gather in season to store for times when there is lack. They gather enough not just for there household, but for others. We should be so wise that we remember to save for a rainy day. When we get some extra a good principle is to put some away and be prepared for times when we will have to tighten our belts. It times of a recession we may say that we “just barely have enough to survive”, and we do not have an overflow to save. This may be true in many cases but in such cases the principle to learn from this picture is twofold. First we should not waste, but use wisely that which we have, and secondly be willing to help others and at times be humble enough to realize that we may need to be helped by another. We should not feel as though we are alone in difficult times. If we are not recipients of help, we should be willing to be the providers of aide to those in need. It is a circle and the circle like all circles works best when it is not broken, but continues.
The next principle is diligence and I return to the description of the ant who provides for us also an illustration of the importance of diligence. The ant was not a slacker but a worker. I truly believe that if we are diligent in going about our daily work we will survive the recession, regardless of how difficult may be the circumstances. It may be a long haul, and we may have to ride a big wave in a seemingly tumultuous sea, but we should do so with a continuous attitude of diligence in our work. Now some may say that the problem in this recession is that jobs are scarce and many are without work and can not find a job, and this may be true. It is difficult to be without work regardless of the economy and many are looking for work and can not find a job. This is a true picture, but it is also true that there are jobs available and sometimes we may have to settle for a job that may not be our ideal job until a better job comes our way. My encouragement is to get busy and do what you can and keep at it until that better job is made available. It is a lot easier to get a better job if one has any kind of a job, than to get a better job while not working in any kind of Job. Diligence is a principle that will enable one to survive in times of recession.
In times of difficulty it is very easy to get off course and lose our since of direction and purpose. Getting back on course is often very challenging and if this is not rectified it may ultimately lead to disaster. The remedy for this impending catastrophe is discipline and this is our next principle. By discipline I am referring to self control and this involves staying on task, on target, and on a mission! While growing up I was frequently mischievous and got out of line. My parents would apply discipline and I would get back in my lane, which was the path I was to conduct my life under the authority of my parents supervision. The discipline was not pleasant but it was always helpful and as I have grown older I have learned to discipline myself so that I can avoid the pitfalls of life. If we are survive a recession we must be disciplined in our homes, in our work, in our study, disciplined in how we manage our time, disciplined to continue doing the things that will enable one to survive in times of recession.
This next principle may be extremely demanding, but it is necessary if we are to survive a recession and this is denial. I learned this by necessity while growing up, because we never had a lot, yet we always had a sufficient. We were rich in the things that mattered most, and what we did not have we learned to live without. We never felt deprived. We just adjusted and learned that life was just as happy even if we did not possess the things owned by many of the families on TV. In times of recession we can deny ourselves of what may appear to be things that make us happy. Our happiness should not be based on the abundance of things, but on the joy of spending quality time with others. We should ask ourselves are these things we want or are they things that we really need? Do we really need them or can we live without them? When we answer these questions honestly our lives will be richer for we will be able to deny ourselves of things and have more time to give ourselves to others. This will help us to survive in times of recession.
Lastly if we are to survive in times of recession we are to live recognizing that we are people of destiny. This is important because it will enable us to live above a mindset of defeat and despair. Sometime the pressures of a recession have the potential to wear us down, but if we recognize that there is light at the end of the tunnel, we can be confident knowing that things are going to get better. With this attitude we can overcome the worst that a recession may bring. Americans are a resolute people. We have overcome very difficult times and it is because of the strength of the people of this great land. We have fortitude because God has blessed and kept America strong and we can go forth confidently knowing that we will prevail even though we are facing a difficult recession. Destiny is the final tool in our arsenal of keys to surviving a recession and as we apply this principle, along with the others we will survive this recession.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Title: A Christmas Message According to the Psalmist

Psalm 40
Title: A Christmas Message According to the Psalmist
Psalm 40: 1-8
Let us pray
Introduction: Psalm 40 like many of the Psalms is Messianic and has a prophetic message. In light of this being the Christmas Season we are going to lightly deal with much of the Psalm and zero in on one part of Psalm which is prophet and which I call the Christmas message and this is found in verses 6-8. This is a Christmas message which is seldom told and seldom considered. The Christmas message depicted in Psalm 40 is not communicated in a way in which we normally view Christmas. The message of Christmas we often hear is a very nice message, but it is frequently a view of Christmas from mans point of view. In Psalm 40 we encounter the story of Christmas revealed from Gods perspective and it is marvelous.
Some know Christmas only in terms of:
Christmas trees, decorations, lights, reindeers, Santa Clause, new gifts, good food, and joyful sounds and joyful get togethers!
For many Christmas is the baby Jesus, a virgin, shepherds, sheep, a stable, wise men, and the heavenly host.
How do you view Christmas? How do you share the Christmas message? Perhaps I should ask how do define the spirit of Christmas or what is this thing called the Christmas spirit? It is a fitting question and I really grapple with this phrase Christmas spirit or spirit of Christmas. Well today I would like for us to see Christmas according to the Psalmist! I would like for us to learn that Christmas is more than Christmas trees, shopping malls and fine things. Christmas is more than the baby born in a virgin. God’s view of Christmas is before, before all that we normally consider in the Christmas message! Before the babe, before the manger, before the virgin, before the gifts and frankincense, and before the cross and the empty tomb! God’s view of Christmas is before all of this, in fact it is before creation, and it before time! God’s view of Christmas is seen from eternity past and it is the Christmas story in the heart of the Psalmist!
I see Christmas as an opportunity to tell the whole story! I see Christmas as a time in which God would have the entire world to see His Son as he has revealed him, but he is more than just a baby, and he is more than just one to be adorned one day a year. This Jesus is the crises of every life and the cornerstone of all humanity. Without Jesus there is not only no Christmas story, but there is no story period, for history is His Story!
Let’s look at the text: These are the words of David! These are the words of God as the Holy Spirit inspired David, but these are also words Christ, and these are also words written for us.
I waited patiently for…
David begins with a message that is hard. I do not like this principle because it is tremendously hard. I wish I could skip over this one because it is just not an easy application. Listen, what David is saying here is while waiting on the Lord I waited! David knew that:
All things work together for good to them that love….yet it is still not easy
He knew that God would never leave him or forsake him and it was still hard
David waited on God because he knew God would deliver him. He knew God would keep him. He knew that God would meet him in his time of need so he waited.
Some of us are in the school of waiting and the lessons are not easy. How difficult it is to wait on the Lord in a world where we are so use getting what we want quickly? We are a microwave society. We drive fast cars. We like our food delivered fast. We want fast banking, fast travel, fast service, and fast solutions to our problems.
In the text David gives us some anchors or support to sustain us in God’s school of waiting!
Vs. 1 Patience-It is required of the patient (p-a-t-i-e-n-t) that he or she exercise patience! James said count it all joy when you…. Be patient and God will produce in you endurance, steadfastness, enablement, and continuance until the task is complete. Wait patiently in the Lord! There are two very important aspects of biblical patience (1) is personal that is that we are to persevere patiently and God who preserves us will give us this patience, but (2) is forbearance, we are to be patient with others and God in His grace will also give us this ability to endure with others even when they test our patience.
Vs. 1 The next anchor is prayer-David knew the power of prayer! He cried out to the Lord and God heard him. In times of waiting we cannot abandon our prayer life! We cannot faint in prayer! Often times it is just when we are about to lose heart and give up God that is moving and we are only a prayer away from deliverance. Now we may not know what to pray for. My advice to still pray and let the Spirit of God interpret your prayer need to God!
Romans 8:26 says: Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
God heard David’s cry and there was deliverance. David was delivered from a horrible pit, and the pit was one of miry clay. But God delivered him and set his feet upon a rock. What pit do we find ourselves in today’s world? How horrible is the pit? Is it a pit that is full of mud and seemingly with no escape? It may be a pit of alcoholism or substance abuse, it may be a pit of failed relationships, or it may be a financial pit, or emotional or psychological pit, perhaps our pit is deteriorating health, or failed dreams. Perhaps there might be someone who is in a spiritual pit? Perhaps you are just struggling day to day to live the Christian life and you are slipping and sliding deeper into the pit! Know that you have a rock and that rock is Jesus Christ and He will be solid footing and He will sustain you!
But you will have to trust Him! You will have to know He is there and you will have to be convinced that He is there!
I cannot help but think of those miners that were buried in that mine for several days. The story of the miners from Chili reverberated around the world. But sadly it was also somewhat of a soap opera as one mining was courting a wife and a mistress. This was interesting this minor said this in one interview:
"I think I had extraordinary luck," Sepulveda, wearing sunglasses to protect his eyes, told reporters later. "I was with God and with the devil, and I reached out for God."
Nobody had survived underground as long as the miners and their tearful reunions with loved ones on the surface sparked celebration after celebration.
I pray that God used this horrible pit to draw those miners and many others who viewed this situation to Himself, and God alone can do this!

Quickly verses 3-5 and then I will finish up with the main thrust of my message. I pray that God used this horrible pit to draw those miners and many others who viewed this situation to Himself, and God alone can do this!
A new song in my mouth
David was very gifted. He was a leader, a warrior, a shepherd, a king, a musician, and no doubt a singer. He had a heart after Gods own heart and no doubt God encouraged David through music and here God gave David a new song and this song was full of praise to God!
This afternoon the men are going to be singing a Christmas song! It is not my favorite Christmas song but it has grown on me! And yes I have practiced it. The song has encouraged me this Christmas Season and the men of GraceWay are praying that it will be an encouragement to you! I have to admit to you that the biggest blessing to me has been the fellowship with the men! I have enjoyed working with the Matthews men and the men of GraceWay!
God gave David a new song!
Many shall see it and fear! In other words this song will provoke a holy reverence for God! This song is not some idle chatter, but it is a song that exalts God! This is a song that glorifies God! This is a song that put’s God on display, and magnifies Him, and honors Him, and worships Him, and reverences Him, and adores Him! It is a song praise to God and many will hear and fear, and shall trust in the Lord!
The name for God in vs. 3 is Eloheim! This speaks of the Strong One! It is also a reference to the Trinity! The creator God! He is our Strong One and we can trust Him. He is the creator God! He is our Strong One and we can trust Him. He will sustain us! He has power to uphold us and He is trustworthy!
He has power to uphold us and He is trustworthy!
The name for LORD here is Jehovah-covenant keeping God. This is the God who keeps His word, again indicating his faithfulness and reliability! You can trust Him, He is the strong one and He will not disappoint you! He is eternally reliable!

David trust the Lord, vs. 4
Blessed is the man that maketh the Lord his trust! David’s trust was in Lord and not in man. This is what salvation is all about trusting in the Lord! Trusting in the Lord exclusively! Trusting in the Lord Solely! Trusting in the Lord alone! This is faith and this is saving faith! Faith=Forsaking all I take Him! Forsaking all I trust Him! This is saving faith!
What are you trusting in for the salvation of your soul? What do you believe about the son of God? Jesus said I am the way, the truth, and the life…. There is only one way, there is only one truth, and there is only one life and it is His way, His truth and His life!
Proverbs 3:5 and 6
Psalm 56:4 In God I will praise his word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me!
Psalm 62:8 is one of my favorite verses in Psalms and it says: Trust in Him at all times ye people, pour out your heart before Him: God is a refuge for us Selah!
Psalm 91:2-11 (please turn to this one)
Now look at verse 5 in Psalm 40
Many, O LORD my God, are thy wonderful works which thou hast done, and thy thoughts which are to us-ward: they cannot be reckoned up in order unto thee: if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered.
Jehovah my Eloheim! This is worship! He declares the marvelous works of God astounding and too numerous to count!
“Count your many blessings name them one by one and it will surprise you what the Lord hath done”!
This brings us to verses 6-8 and it is my primary focus in this Psalm.
Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou opened: burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not required.
Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me,
I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.
This is a prophetic passage of scripture and it is clearly messianic. What David here is a reflection on David’s life, but it is also indicative of the life of Christ for He is that acceptable offering and He is the heart and soul of Gods book, and He always delighted in doing the will of His Father!
Jesus said in John 5:30: I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.
In John 6:38 Jesus said: For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.
Now turn with me to Hebrews chapter 10:1-14, and while you are turning listen! I do not know who wrote Hebrews. Some claim that they know who wrote it, but I am not that smart and I do not see where God told us who wrote it, but if you press me for my opinion as to who wrote I would say the Apostle Paul, but that is just my opinion and I can be wrong. But it is obvious to me that Hebrews chapter 10 is a classic commentary on Psalm 40:6-8. The blessed Holy Spirit took from the vocabulary of the writer of Hebrews, undoubtedly using the writer’s knowledge of Psalm 40 and in scribes for us a classic and thorough treatment of Psalm 40. You know the bible is always its best commentary on itself, but I know of know where in scripture where this is so clearly evident as it is in the case of Hebrews 10 in relation to Psalm 40 and this is the Christmas message from God to man! And this is marvelous and I can preach this message, in fact I can preach this message from now until Jesus comes! For here we see it all, for this not just the Christmas message but this is the Gospel! We see here that God did it all!
It was purposed by God!
It was planned by God!
It was predicted by God!
It was pictured by God!
It was performed by God!
It was empowered by God!
It was presented by God!
It was punctuated by God!
It was all to the praise and Glory of all mighty God!

Look at the Hebrews 10 beginning @ verse one!
Vs 1. Law was just a shadow of good things to come
Vs 2. Why were the offerings not ceased?
Vs 3. What occurred every year-a reminder?
Vs 4. Impossibility of animal sacrifices
Vs 5. Only a body (human body), not an animal could deal with the sin problem
Vs.6 God had no pleasure
Vs. 7 The book-Search the scriptures for in them you think…
Vs. 9 Establish the second
Vs. 10 Body of Jesus once and for all sacrifice
Vs. 11 No satisfaction
Vs 12 Sat down!
Vs 14 Perfected for ever

This is the Christmas story as God would reveal it to us! The Christmas story is all about a person-Jesus Christ! It is all about purpose-God sent Jesus His only Son to die (He was born to die), and by His dying we might live!
This is the Christmas story-Here ye Him!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel

This is a very interesting post that was shared with me today. This is good encouraging reading for one who labors in the Word!

Those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel
by DAN on FEBRUARY 20, 2010

I know that’s a bold statement, but I didn’t say it. The apostle Paul did. That is a direct quote from 1 Corinthians 9:14, and it is preceded by saying that this is the Lord’s command (not Paul’s). Here’s the whole passage, in context:

This is my defense to those who sit in judgment on me. Don’t we have the right to food and drink? Don’t we have the right to take a believing wife along with us, as do the other apostles and the Lord’s brothers and Cephas? Or is it only I and Barnabas who must work for a living?

Who serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat of its grapes? Who tends a flock and does not drink of the milk? Do I say this merely from a human point of view? Doesn’t the Law say the same thing? For it is written in the Law of Moses: “Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain.” Is it about oxen that God is concerned? Surely he says this for us, doesn’t he? Yes, this was written for us, because when the plowman plows and the thresher threshes, they ought to do so in the hope of sharing in the harvest. If we have sown spiritual seed among you, is it too much if we reap a material harvest from you? If others have this right of support from you, shouldn’t we have it all the more?

But we did not use this right. On the contrary, we put up with anything rather than hinder the gospel of Christ. Don’t you know that those who work in the temple get their food from the temple, and those who serve at the altar share in what is offered on the altar? In the same way, the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel.

But I have not used any of these rights. And I am not writing this in the hope that you will do such things for me. I would rather die than have anyone deprive me of this boast. Yet when I preach the gospel, I cannot boast, for I am compelled to preach. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel! If I preach voluntarily, I have a reward; if not voluntarily, I am simply discharging the trust committed to me. What then is my reward? Just this: that in preaching the gospel I may offer it free of charge, and so not make use of my rights in preaching it (1 Corinthians 9:3-18, NIV, emphasis mine).

Matthew Henry wrote this in his commentary on v. 6:

[Paul] had a right to marry as well as other apostles, and to claim what was needful for his wife, and his children if he had any, from the churches, without labouring with his own hands to get it. Those who seek to do our souls good, should have food provided for them. But he renounced his right, rather than hinder his success by claiming it. It is the people’s duty to maintain their minister. He may wave his right, as Paul did; but those transgress a precept of Christ, who deny or withhold due support.

In other words, the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel have the right to earn their living from it. This is the modern day pastor (which corresponds more to the biblical role of elder). Paul chose to serve in bi-vocational ministry, that is, he chose to earn his living from a separate job, that of tentmaking. But that was Paul’s choice. Paul makes it clear that biblically, ministers have a RIGHT to earn their living from preaching the gospel.

However, Paul also says that voluntary preachers receive a reward for their duties, while those who exercise their right to a salary “simply discharge the trust committed to [them].” In other words, their vocation is no better than the local plumber, teacher, tax collector, or nurse. Each of these is commanded to be a full-time minister of the gospel (all believers), but some may earn their living from it as a right, which has clearly been commanded by the Lord.

Paul recognized that as a missionary in his context, bi-vocational ministry was a more effective approach. He willingly sets aside his right to financial support so that people will not think his message is just a fancy speech designed to get money. Some Greek orators made their living by traveling and entertaining audiences with speeches. Others formed schools and charged students for lectures. Paul does not want anyone to think his message is motivated by selfish concerns. But Paul’s willingness to support himself does not change the Lord’s command. Ministers of the gospel have a right to financial support, and believers have an obligation to provide that support.

The command is not aimed solely at vocational ministers so that they should run around demanding their support (although it would be biblically warranted if their “flock” didn’t support them), the command appears to target all believers so that they recognize that it is their responsibility to support the work of the gospel.

1 Timothy 5:17-20 says:

The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching. For the Scripture says, “Do not muzzle the ox while it is treading out the grain,” and “The worker deserves his wages.” Do not entertain an accusation against an elder unless it is brought by two or three witnesses. Those who sin are to be rebuked publicly, so that the others may take warning.

Elders here are appointed leaders, not merely those recognized because of their age and experience. Those folks are actually addressed in v. 1: “Do not rebuke an older man harshly, but exhort him as if he were your father.” In Acts 14:23, “Paul and Barnabas appointed elders for them in each church and, with prayer and fasting, committed them to the Lord, in whom they had put their trust.” “Double honor” in the 1 Timothy 5 passage does not refer to salary, but this passage does reiterate the point that “the worker deserves his wages.” It also establishes that those elders whose work is preaching and teaching are serving in an honorable vocation. It is a respectable career choice.

This becomes even more pertinent as more and more heresies abound and the resurrection of false teachings from the past continues. It is extremely beneficial to the church to have individuals who receive in-depth training in the bible, church history, theology, and practical ministry (counseling, helping people cope with traumatic events, addiction therapy, etc.). There is nothing wrong with this, indeed it is very helpful to the Church. Unfortunately, not everyone can afford to go to seminary to learn about church history, biblical languages, etc. Many more don’t have the opportunity to go, and even more do not have the intellectual capacity to retain this knowledge. This doesn’t invalidate the education and training, however. A lot of people aren’t smart enough to go to medical school, but we’re all glad that we have doctors. The same is true of pastors. They are not better than other believers because of their training, but they are to be respected and should be able to earn a living from their work.

Not everyone is meant to serve in this role. Ephesians 4:11-13 says:

It was [God] who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

Clearly not all are called to fulfill these roles in the Church. The purpose of these roles is to prepare God’s people for good works of service, building up the body of Christ “until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” Since this hasn’t happened yet, we still need people to fulfill these roles. Not just anyone should jump into these roles, either. James 3:1 says:

Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.

God apparently even has a higher standard of judgment for those who teach His people. This should not be taken lightly. To ensure that not just anyone became an elder, Paul set up standards for them. Hear his words in Titus 1:5-9:

The reason I left you in Crete was that you might straighten out what was left unfinished andappoint elders in every town, as I directed you. An elder must be blameless, the husband of but one wife, a man whose children believe and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient. Since an overseer is entrusted with God’s work, he must be blameless—not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain. Rather he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined. He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.

There you have it, the requirements of an elder and parts of his job description, and a reiteration of the fact that it is an appointed position. Paul also mentions here (and in several other places) that elders should not pursue dishonest gain. This precludes those folks who would serve in these roles solely to make money, or to make it dishonestly (such as through prosperity teachings). That would be wrong. But it doesn’t preclude them from making an honest living from preaching and teaching the gospel.

There are a lot more scripture passages that we could explore, but this post is long enough as it is. It is a topic that deserves attention, though. And it is one I should have posted at least a few weeks ago before I started shifting some of my terminology on this blog. I apologize for not sharing these thoughts sooner with you, my readers. I know I have written blog posts with the opposite stance in the past, but the clear teachings of the word of God prevail, as explained above. Undoubtedly there will be more discussion on this issue, feel free to comment and read the comments to gain more insight.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Psalm 16:1-11; The Saints Satisfaction

Psalm 16
Text: Psalm 16:1-11
Title: The Saints Satisfaction
Satisfaction is a major pursuit! We live in a world where people are doing everything under the sun in pursuit of satisfaction! For many satisfaction is simply an idle dream. Why? Let me give you a few reasons:
(1) Once they find that which satisfies the thrill where’s off and they are in the hunt again. The satisfaction is very temporal!
(2) They are looking in the wrong places or to the wrong things
(3) They will never be satisfied because they are not first of all satisfied with themselves or the God that created them

Psalm 16 provides Gods means of satisfaction! So if you want satisfaction I encourage you take in a good dose of Psalm 16. So today we want to look at Psalm 16 and consider this matter of “The Saints Satisfaction”!
Let us pray
Introduction (Bulletin)
Psalm 16 is the first of nine consecutive Psalms which reflect the character of the saint with a heart after God. The messianic and prophetic nature of these Psalms (examples Psalm 16:10, Psalm 17:13, Psalm 22) clearly teach us that their ultimate fulfillment can only be in the Lord Jesus Christ (Psalm 24:10). As we examine Psalm 16 we get a glimpse into the heart of David, the writer of the Psalm, who in spite of a life filled with turbulence, trials and testing longed to obey God and in his obedience to the Lord he would be satisfied. As a believer living in a sin cursed world with sin cursed bodies it is encouraging to realize during this season of Thanksgiving that we too can find satisfaction beyond the temporal pleasures of this world in the Lord Jesus Christ. We outline Psalm 16 describing a path from preservation (16:1) to pleasure (16:11).
The path of preservation (vs. 1 & 2)
The path of preparation (vs. 3)
The path of punishment (vs. 4)
The path of provision (vs. 5)
The path of pleasant places (vs. 6)
The path of precious position (vs. 7 & 8)
The path of prophetic anticipation (vs. 9 &10)
• Prophetic interpretation
• Prophetic application
The path of precious presence (vs. 11)

In studying this Psalm I found a very simple outline and I would like to share that with you:
W. Graham Scroggie’s Outline (The Psalms [Old Tappan, N.J.: Fleming H. Revell
Co., 1973 reprint of 1948 revised edition], 106):
(1) Looking Above (vv. 1-2)
(2) Looking Around (vv. 3-4)
(3) Looking Within (vv. 5-8)
(4) Looking Beyond (vv. 9-11)

In bible school I had an instructor who taught through Psalm 16 using a series of “P” phrases. Now I did not copy his sermon, but there are so many “P” words throughout this Psalm that I could not help but structure my outline using a series of “P” words.
Psalm 16 is also a classic Easter or Resurrection Psalm! I need to pause for just a moment to point out that this Psalm has some direct prophetic references to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ and these are very powerful verses. Verses 9 and 10 are powerful and rich verses and I could devote an entire sermon just to these verses but we find a commentary on these verses in Acts 2:22-37. Please read often this powerful preaching of the Apostle Peter which is again an outstanding apostolic declaration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and this truth, this event (the resurrection of Jesus Christ) is what changed the lives of those 12 disciples!

Just a little background
Saul was often trying to kill David. David was often on the run, on one occasion he ran away to the woods, the hills and the fields. David hid there from Saul. 400 men went with David. Saul had 3000 soldiers. Saul was king of Israel. David was God’s anointed King, but Saul was the people’s choice of King. One night Saul and all his men slept. David came near in the night and took some things from Saul. David could have killed Saul but he did not kill Saul. In the morning David told Saul, "It would have been easy for me to kill you but I did not. What have I done wrong? You ran me out my own country. You told me to find other gods. It was during this time that David wrote Psalm 16. We find this background in 1 Samuel 26; particularly note verses 16 through 20.

There are two points that I want to make at the outset in regards to this little background:

1 The inheritance of David. An inheritance is what is passed on to us by another, many times by our parents or another relative. Saul forced David out of his own country. David had an inheritance in his own country. But David had a better inheritance. The LORD was his inheritance. As believers we have an inheritance and it is in Jesus Christ and we don’t have to wait until we die to receive it, we are even now positionally seated in heavenly places with Christ.

2 The God of David. Saul told David to find other gods. But David’s God was the only God! He is the supreme God and beside Him there is no other. God alone is worthy of our worship, and adoration, and may God help us not to ever place any other Gods before Him, and I do not say this loosely because there will be many Gods vying for your allegiance!

Let’s look at the text: The path of preservation (vs. 1 & 2)
Look at verses 1 and 2. David uses three names for God here and this time I will pause to note them. Last time I preached I did not mention these distinctions in my sermon and this was brought up in our life group so I made sure in my preparation this time that I would not just gloss over these names. So there are three names here for Lord in verse one and two. God=El, LORD=Jehovah, and Lord=Adonai. The names again are El short for Eloheim, Jehovah, and Adonai. And names are significant as I mentioned in my last sermon and David is not just throwing out lot of names here just to be poetic or cute. What is he saying?

El or Eloheim is the creator God. This speaks of God in all his power, strength and might. This speaks of the omnipotent all powerful creator God, and David is certainly living in light of this as he opens this Psalm.

Jehovah is the covenant keeping God. The God who enters into agreement with man and that agreement is sealed in Gods very character. The God who could swear by no other, so he swear by who? Himself! (Hebrews 6:13) It is like going to a Notary. If God wanted to have a document notarized He would have to sign it himself, because there is no more credible source than God!

Adonai is the Lord or my Lord! This speaks of the sovereign Lord or King and David certainly is living in light of that and he would declare that truly the one true and everlasting King is the Lord God!

Now I want to bring all three of these names together. We might say that Eloheim is my maker, Jehovah is my mediator, and Adonai is my master, and as David is seeking Gods preservation here is all the protection that he needs, and in the realization of this the saint can have complete confidence and need not fear for no foe can haunt him or daunt him in his path for Gods preservation!

I have been doing a lot of preaching lately! I like to preach, God has gifted me to preach his word! I really feel that when I am preaching I am really in my element! When I am doing what I do for the Government sometimes I feel like I am a fish out of water, yet God has given me grace and the ability to do this, but I have to really work at, but preaching is different, this really is my element! But the challenge in preaching is the more you preach the more intense and focused becomes the accountability and I find myself living what I preach, and sometime almost the next moment and for this we really need the grace of God and we really need your prayers! But God is our preservation and without Him we cannot survive, and neither can you! I know many who if they went through some of the things we in the ministry go through they would come unglued, they simply could not handle it, but we are surviving! By the grace of God, and the prayers the prevailing prayers of saints we are surviving! It also helps to have a good wife, it helps a lot!

We are surviving because God preserves us, He guards, He keeps, He protects, He watches over us! He is the chief shepherd and He shepherds us; as we as under shepherds are to shepherd his sheep! This is where David placed his trust or confidence and this is where we our faith-rest, and we shall not be disappointed!

That is the Path of Preservation, now let’s consider:

The Path of Preparation vs. 3

The Saints are seen living in the light of the Lords Preservation, but they are also living in the light of the Lords Preparation!

It is interesting that David would use the term Saint here because that is a New Testament term for the believer or the child of God. The first occurrence of this word in scripture is in Exodus 3:5 where God speaking to Moses out of the burning bush said to Moses remove your shoes for the ground upon which you stand is holy (set apart ground)! As Christians we are called saints or the “called out” ones, called unto Christ. We are set apart for God! If we are going to live a saintly life there will be constant growing and maturing. We are positionally sainted, but the sanctifying process is ongoing and this is the Path of Preparation!

The psalmist goes on to say we are on the earth and we are excellent and we are his delight. David did not find his comfort in the people of the world but in the people of God! We too must realize that there is wisdom in a multitude of counselors, but the council we receive must come from people who have been prepared by the Spirit of God!

The Path of Preparation, now let’s move on to the Path of Punishment vs. 4

This is the only sad note in this entire Psalm. Those who follow other Gods do so to their own destruction! There is no joy to the wicked! There is pleasure in sin only for a season! There is a way that seemeth right unto a man but the end thereof are the ways of death! He is talking about multiplied sorrows here. This is not anything to sneeze at or take lightly. David knew about the harmful effects of worshipping other Gods and he wanted no part of it. In verse 5 the Lord was His portion!

That brings us to the Path of Provision vs. 5

David had an inheritance and his inheritance was maintained by the Lord! Sometimes some of the biggest family disputes can center around the management or decisions regarding an inheritance. If our inheritance is in the Lord we do not need to be concerned about it! It is well kept! It is well preserved and it will not decay and it will not be stolen or mishandled! The omnipotent God is all we need to preserve and keep our inheritance!

The path of preservation (vs. 1 & 2)
The path of preparation (vs. 3)
The path of punishment (vs. 4)
The path of provision (vs. 5) and now
The path of pleasant places (vs. 6)
What about these lines? I believe he is referring to the dividing lines of his inheritance and he is saying that my land is in a good spot. David was pleased with his inheritance. It was encouraging to him as he marked it off! I think I told you this illustration one day but I will share it here because it is fitting. There was a story told of a rich man who was out looking at his estate and as he spoke with an envious observer he said: As far as you can look this way it all mind, and as far as you can look that way it is all mine, and this way, and that way (North, South, East and West) it is all mine!!! Finally when the young man can get a word in he said how you are fixed this way, pointing upward! This is the issue, how are you fixed this way! How are you fixed with God!
What is the dividing line of your inheritance? I do not have much of an inheritance down here, but I have an inheritance in glory! The lines of my inheritance are in heaven and my bible says we are joint airs with Christ! (Romans 8:16 & 17). We are rich in him! We don’t have time to speak of the inheritance we have in Christ, but it is marvelous!
Now these remaining verses are very powerful so please do not miss this remaining portion of the message!
And we begin with the path of precious position (vs. 7) David praises the Lord for his council. The council came in the form of instruction. So David was instructed by the Lord! The Lord was his teacher! The Lord provided direction! The Lord provided David with guidance but notice David was grateful for this council that guided him in the night seasons. Now it is in the night season that you need council the most. Anyone can council you in the day light, or the good times, but the night season speaks of those times when things are very rough and it is during this time that David received council that enabled him to survive for David had many night seasons!
Listen to this:
Is the midnight closing round you?
Are the shadows dark and long?
Ask Him to come close beside you,
And He'll give you a new, sweet song.
He'll give it and sing it with you;
And when weakness lets it down,
He'll take up the broken cadence,
And blend it with a crown.

And many a rapturous minstrel
Among the sons of light,
Will say of His sweetest music
"I learned it in the night."
And many a rolling anthem,
That fills the Father's home,
Sobbed out its first rehearsal,
In the shade of a darkened room.
George Matheson
At midnight the Apostles sing when in Jail in Acts 16
There is a song that says: God give us a song to sing at midnight, because if we ever needed a song to sing it than! Do you have a song for the night seasons of your life? What are you singing when it is lights out in your life? What are you singing? God give us a song! It my darkest moments I have to go back to some precious hymns that speak to my soul such as:
• Precious Lord take my hand
• Jesus is the sweetest name I know
• Blessed be the name of the Lord
Verse 8 continuing the same point: The path of precious position
I have set the Lord always before me, because...
This is how the psalmist viewed the world. He hath set the Lord always before him, in other words the Lord was the filter grid upon which David viewed the world. The Lord was his eyesav! As David viewed his struggles he viewed it through this lens, and he would not be shaken. As David viewed his battles, he viewed it through this lens and he would not fear. As David viewed his enemies, he would view them through this lens and he would be strengthened for victory. This is why David would tell Goliath “I go in the strength of the Lord”!
May the Lord be the filter grid upon which we view the world! We need not view the world through You Tube or Facebook! We need not view the world through the opinions of the media or the talk show host! May we place the Lord before us and view the world through His perspective. May we keep our mind saturated with the word of God and get the Lords perspective first!
• I purposely do not read the newspaper until I have read the bible.
• I choose not to turn on the radio until I have had my devotions.
• I purposely meet with the Lord before I meet the world. This is the most important part of my day, bar none!
I try to always place the Lord before me in everything; he is my filter grid by which I filter everything else that comes at me!
The path of prophetic anticipation (vs. 9 &10)
• Prophetic interpretation
• Prophetic application
Let me give you this very quickly and simply; first the Prophetic interpretation:
David died and his spirit went to live with God in heaven. He did not go to hell! He did not go to purgatory! What about his physical body in the grave? The remains of his body is in the grave awaiting the resurrection of the dead in Christ (John 5:28 & 29).

Jesus died on the cross but on the 3rd day he rose from the dead! He ascended on high and is now seated at the right hand of the Father, His Father in glory! Neither His body nor his soul saw corruption. His body did not rot in the earth. His spirit went for a short visit into the lower parts of the earth after he died (Ephesians 4:8-10).
• God raised Jesus from the dead
• Our Lord will raise the physical bodies of the saved at His coming

Now the Prophetic application and that brings us to:

Vs. 11, the path of precious presence
These are things sweet to know!
• It is sweet to know that there is satisfaction in Jesus Christ! This is what we have been attempting to convey throughout this message!
• It is sweet to know that in Him He will show us the path of life
• It is sweet to know that in His presence there is fullness of joy
• It is sweet to know that this life is not the end
• It is sweet to know that there precious pleasure awaiting the saints of God and these pleasures are forever more
These are things sweet to know and this is the Saints Satisfaction! Let us pray!

Monday, November 22, 2010

In the school of sorrow

In the school of sorrow

Is the midnight closing round you?
Are the shadows dark and long?
Ask Him to come close beside you,
And He'll give you a new, sweet song.
He'll give it and sing it with you;
And when weakness lets it down,
He'll take up the broken cadence,
And blend it with His own.

And many a rapturous minstrel
Among those sons of light,
Will say of His sweetest music
"I learned it in the night."
And many a rolling anthem,
That fills the Father's home,
Sobbed out its first rehearsal,
In the shade of a darkened room.

~George Matheson
School of Sorrow
By Mrs. Charles E. Cowman

"And no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth" (Rev. 14:3).
There are songs which can only be learned in the valley. No art can teach them; no rules of voice can make them perfectly sung. Their music is in the heart. They are songs of memory, of personal experience. They bring out their burden from the shadow of the past; they mount on the wings of yesterday.
St. John says that even in Heaven there will be a song that can only be fully sung by the sons of earth--the strain of redemption. Doubtless it is a song of triumph, a hymn of victory to the Christ who made us free. But the sense of triumph must come from the memory of the chain.
No angel, no archangel can sing it so sweetly as I can. To sing it as I sing it, they must pass through my exile, and this they cannot do. None can learn it but the children of the Cross.
And so, my soul, thou art receiving a music lesson from thy Father. Thou art being educated for the choir invisible. There are parts of the symphony that none can take but thee.
There are chords too minor for the angels. There may be heights in the symphony which are beyond the scale--heights which angels alone can reach; but there are depths which belong to thee, and can only be touched by thee.
Thy Father is training thee for the part the angels cannot sing; and the school is sorrow. I have heard many say that He sends sorrow to prove thee; nay, He sends sorrow to educate thee, to train thee for the choir invisible.
In the night He is preparing thy song. In the valley He is tuning thy voice. In the cloud He is deepening thy chords. In the rain He is sweetening thy melody. In the cold He is moulding thy expression. In the transition from hope to fear He is perfecting thy lights.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Title: A song that Exalts God and Explains Man

Title: A song that Exalts God and Explains Man

Psalm 8

The text: Psalm 8:1-9
O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens.
2. Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger.
3. When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained;
4. What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?
5. For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour.
6. Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet:
7. All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field;
8. The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas.
9. O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth!

Title: A song that Exalts God and Explains Man

Introduction in the bulletin:
The heading of Psalm 8 attributes this Psalm to David and the heading goes on to say: “To the chief musician upon Gittith.” Upon Gittith means after the tune of the treaders upon the winepress, and this refers to the fact that during the intensity of treading grapes to produce wine, and it was a laborious task, the workers had a tune in their heart. The workers sang as they worked and in this we see that in times of intensity there was joy! Spurgeon called this Psalm an astronomers Psalm and it does seem to have this message that was perhaps in the heart of David as he contemplated the stars! So we can conclude that even though man is fragile and given to many cares the wonders of God can of a surety be a cause for singing and rejoicing and this is exactly what we have in Psalm 8.
Let’s look to the Lord of the Word, and then we will launch right into the Word of the Lord!
Psalm 8 is a song that comes from the heart of David, but reaches to the heights of holiness and dovetails to the head of man. In this Psalm we see the majesty of God and the mystery of man! Sandwiched between a doxology of praise is the dichotomy of man’s existence! God is worshipped in this Psalm and yet man is wondered! God rightfully so is the sole object of our wonder and adoration, and man respectfully so is the creature of mystery, but in God he finds his purpose and destiny. In this psalm we marvel at the majesty of God and we enter into the psalmist musings of the meaning of man.
In bible school we learned that there were three fundamental questions about the existence of man, and these three fundamental questions are very important questions about mans very existence, and they can only be rightly answered by God. Here are the questions, and I mention them here because Psalm 8 also approaches these questions and the psalmist not only asks the questions but gives us some answers! But here are the three questions from bible school:
Where did I come from?
Why am I here?
Where am I going when I leave here?
Everyone needs to answer these questions, and everyone needs to answer them correctly. Sadly few answer them correctly and many never even consider them. Where did I come from... and why…and where…

A few years ago, a Christian music groups, Casting Crowns, had a hit song titled Who Am I? In the opening verse the lead singer, Mark Hall, asks:

“Who am I that the Lord of all the Earth would care to know my name, would care to feel my hurt? Who am I that the Bright and Morning Star would choose to light the way for my ever-wondering heart? Not because of who I am, but because of what You’ve done. Not because of what I’ve done, but because of who You are! I am a flower quickly fading, here today and gone tomorrow, a wave tossed in the ocean, a vapor in the wind. Still You hear when I’m calling, You catch me when I’m falling and You tell me who I am—I am Yours. I am Yours!”

The message of that song—plainly and powerfully conveyed—is that no matter how small or insignificant you may feel, the Lord of all the Earth not only knows your name, but has made you special and calls you His own.

A long time ago, in land far, far away, another great song writer wrote a similar hymn with the same message. When David considered the majesty and greatness of God, he felt insignificant by comparison. In Psalm 8, David stands in awe of the majesty of the Lord. And when he realizes just how vast and magnificent God truly is, he’s even more amazed that God would take the time to notice him—a mere mortal man.
“I am one week returned from two weeks in El Salvador, and since my return there seems to have been one trial after another. We have had the passing of a close friend of the family; we have had to mechanical failures in our home and in our car, plumbing failure, computer failure and car brake problems.., just one trial after another. Yesterday when I was out walking and praying I thought about the beach I visited in San Salvador and I thought about the big waves. San Salvador is reported has the second best surfing next to California and the wave are humongous, and as I thought about these large tremendous waves they became for me a parable of the trials we are facing. And I said Lord help us to ride these waves and I pray that you will cause them to pass. So we are riding some very difficult waves at this time, but I am trusting God they will pass. But the question I want to pose is: What provision has God given us in the midst of the trials? Has God given us something to help us to endure? I have learned that in the midst of life’s struggles there is no better source of strength to delight and encourage ourselves in than the word of God, and particularly verses such as Psalm 8:1 which reminds us of the character of God.” In times of struggle we need to remind ourselves of who God is! Storms and trials will come. Jesus said, “In this world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer I have overcome the world!”
In verse 1 of Psalm 8 we hear a hymn of praise and it is marvelous!
Oh Lord, our Lord…mans vocabulary is limited when it comes to truly giving God the praise which He is worthy of, but the psalmist attempts with the language of mortal man to give God the highest praise! He begins by saying Oh Lord…! Lord means master, sovereign, King, ruler! This praise is directed to the one who is in complete charge and on the throne! He is Lord and above Him there is none other! Jesus is our risen Lord! He is the Lord of glory! He is our savior, master, King, and yes he is Lord! Thomas said “my Lord and my God” in John 20:28. In John 20:18 Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the risen the Lord. In John 21 when Jesus was on the shore and the disciples saw him John said “it is the Lord”. In Phil. 2 we are taught that one day every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord! So what does this mean, simply this that Jesus Christ is God! You say why is that important? Because apart from that realization, apart from believing in that fact one cannot be saved. None other than Jesus Christ himself said except you believe that I am him, you will die in your sins, and that settles it for me!
· The Lordship of Christ is an essential doctrine, but it is a doctrine under attack
· Some believe you can receive Jesus as Savior and later receive him as Lord
· Jesus Christ is not received in pieces
How excellent is thy name-His name is excellent!
Names in the bible define ones character. Abram means father of many. Abraham means father of multitudes! Cimon means pebble or little stone. Peter means rock! Jesus means savior! The name of God or the character of God is excellent! So how excellent is God’s character? It is exalted in all the earth! The character of God is seen in that His glory is set above the heavens! In all the earth the character of God is on display and it is incomparable, none can compare and none can reach the depths of its beauty! This is Gods glory! The glory of God is the intrinsic nature of God! God is glorious in his holiness! God is glorious in his love, righteousness, wisdom, power, goodness, and justice! God’s glory speaks of his perfection! His glory speaks of that which is unique to the character of God, because no creature has glory, only God has glory and he is all together gloriousness!
We get a glimpse of the glory of God when god spoke to Moses in Mt Sinai
We get a glimpse of the glory of God in the Gods dealing with Israel when God opened the red sea
We get a glimpse of the glory of God on the mount of transfiguration in Matthew 17
We get a glimpse of the glory of God when Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead
We get a major glimpse of the glory of God at Calvary, when Jesus was crucified for the sins of the entire world
Calvary is God masterpiece and it is that God’s Glory was revealed!
In verse 2 even the infants give praise to God!
The worship of babe and suckling’s is used by God to silence his enemies! God will be praised, and God will receive praise from babies, and if humanity will not praise God than God will have the rocks to cry out!
Look at verse 3; when I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon…
When was the last time you considered Gods work in creation? When was the last time you looked and considered the vastness of Gods universe?
It was said of President Calvin Coolidge that on one occasion he was talking to his advisors and they had reached an impasse and there seemed to be no clear conclusion. Coolidge invited his entire staff out to Whitehouse lawn and he began to look up at the stars. He looked and he looked and never said a word, finally he came back inside. When he came in he said ok now that we have been brought to our rightful size we can tackle this problem. I am told that after that the solution to the problem begin to come together. I believe this is a good practice. There are times when we need to go out and look up at the stars and get a glimpse of the vastness and remind ourselves of who we are and who God is!
So what is man…verse 4?
What is man?
Man is a sinner, created in the image of God, and created with the potential to glorify God and enjoy him forever. However this same man can choose to rebel against God, curse God and die an horrible premature death and go straight to hell!
What is man?
In contrast to the universe man does not appear to be much
In comparison to the vastness of Gods marvelous creation man does not appear to be much
It is said that we can see less than 5 percent of the universe. Imagine that and yet God would choose to dwell among man. God would single out man as the object of his love and blessings! And beyond that is the fact that God would visit man in the person of His son the Lord Jesus Christ!
Why man because God created man.
God made man in His own image.
God made man a little lower than the Angels and has crowned him with glory and honor and this pictures the humiliation of the Lord Jesus Christ, because as man he was made a little lower than the angel and was crowned with glory and honor (Hebrews 2:6-9)
God made man to reign, verses 6-8
God made man to have dominion over his creation and the first man initially did have dominion, but sin ruined man and now man no longer dominates. Man does not rule Gods creation and in fact sometimes man is ruled by Gods creation.

Verse 9 .
In response to Gods dealing with man, man exalts God for his excellent name which is on display throughout the whole earth. Man was created to worship God and God delights in the worship of his children. Yet not all men worship God. All men ought to worship God, but some men worship themselves, and some worship things, and some worship creation, and some worship the creature, and refuse to worship the creator! Why do many refuse to worship God? It is because men are separated from God because of mans sin and man desperately needs the savior!
In summary, let’s ask some questions and answer them in context:

1) What are the main points of this psalm?

- God's majesty in creation (1-2)
- Man's purpose in creation (3-9)

2) What causes the Psalmist praise God? (1)

- The excellence of His name (character) in all the earth
- His glory set above the heavens

3) By whom has God ordained praised, and used this praise to silence the enemy and the avenger? (2)

- From the lips of infants and working His strength (power) through them."

5) What prompted the Psalmist's amazement over God's concern for man?

- His contemplation of the skies and the vastness of the universe

6) How was man exalted when God created him? (5-6)

- God made him a little lower than the angels
- God crowned him with glory and honor
- God gave him dominion over the works of His hands
- God put all things under his feet

7) What things were placed under man's feet? (7-8)

- All sheep and oxen
- The beasts of the field
- The birds of the air
- The fish that pass through the paths of the sea

8) Has man maintained his dominion over the earth? (cf. He 2:5-8)

- No, Man sold out to Satan in the garden

9) Who now has all authority over heaven and earth? (cf. He 2:9; Mt
28:19; Ep 1:20-22; 1Pe 3:22)

Satan is the prince of this world however
Jesus Christ, who became man and for the suffering of death has
been crowned with glory and honor; He is now head over all things, and Satan is Gods devil on a limited time span1

10) How does David end his psalm? (9)

- With praise for the excellence of God's name (character) in all
the earth

Friday, November 5, 2010

Online Devotional

Online Devotional

How is prayer impacting your relationships with those you lead? What insights is God giving you about how to love and serve others? Talking with God (not just at God) about the people in our lives helps us to build and maintain healthy relationships with them. What if your prayer today was for God to help you see others as He sees them and love them as He loves them? Try it.

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints. Ephesians 6:18

Prayer: Father, I lift up to You the people in my life—my family members, my co-workers, and my friends. As I name them before You now, give me Your heart for them. I know that Jesus died for each one of them, to bring them forgiveness, reconciliation with You, and wholeness in ex change for their brokenness. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Comments on article: 8 Bad Habits that Crush Your Creativity and Stifle Your Success

October 4, 2010 at 8:10 am

Encouraging! Several good points shared, but I would be remiss if I did not express my disappointment that the article omits the supernatural. The power of God can override the greatest of our intentions and can bring about hidden potential like no other resource in the universe.

Comments published on Copyblogger: 8 Bad Habits that Crush Your Creativity
And Stifle Your Success

Friday, August 27, 2010

Gmail - QOTW - Was Jesus ever angry? -

Gmail - QOTW - Was Jesus ever angry? -

Saturday, June 19, 2010 - Studies in Philippians #04: The Address and Salutation #2

Great studies in Philippians from bible teacher Ferrell Griswold - Studies in Philippians #04: The Address and Salutation #2

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Time Management Tips for Busy Pastors

Good tips for busy pastors!

Time Management Tips for Busy Pastors

Friday, March 12, 2010

Newsboys - Something Beautiful Music Video - from

In Preparation for South Africa training event. I like this and it motivates me!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Gmail - QOTW - Man after God's heart? -

This is very timely and good article!

Gmail - QOTW - Man after God's heart? -

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Sunday Sermon 2. 14. 2010

I trust that everyone is recovering from the snow and it is still pretty to look at, and play in, and all those other things that make it wonderful. As I looked at all the snow I could only think of one song and I had to substitute the word snow and it is this song: Didn’t snow children, didn’t it snow all night long…

Let’s turn our attention to the word of God
Title: The Love Walk
Text: Ephesians 5:1-5

We are considering Paul’s epistle or letter to the church @ Ephesus! Ephesus located in Asia Minor or present day Turkey.

Now remember the first half of Ephesians is doctrinal, teaching, theology, explanation if you will! This is chapters 1-3.
The second half is practical, application, our experience in this Christian journey. This is chapters 4-6 and this is where we are in our text. We are looking at some principles that we can put into practice, or in other words flesh out in our daily lives. Our Pastor has been emphasizing our Christian duty in the past several Lords Day messages. He has admonished us regarding our responsibility towards the family of God, which is to exercise our spiritual gifts. He has reminded us that we are a body-the body of Christ, and just like the physical body needing every member the spiritual body also needs every member and when one member falters the whole body suffers.
We were also reminded that we are not to walk as the gentiles walk. We are not to be characterized by our old pattern of life but we are to walk in the newness of life and that is the life of Christ. We are to put off the old, and put on the new. At salvation we became brand new creatures in Christ. And do I need to remind you 2 Corinthians 5:17 If any man be in Christ he is a new creature old things are passed away and behold all things are become new (and if you notice be & he are italicized which means they were added so that it would read more smoothly)! It actually should read: If any man in Christ is a new creature, old things… The emphasis is upon Christ and the difference He makes in the life of anyone who will simply trust Him! Do you see that? Let me read it again with its proper emphasis: If any man in Christ is a new creature…. Now in light of this we learned there were some things to put off and some things to put on!

Now we come to Chapter 5

The introduction in the bulletin reads: The title of this sermon is “The Love Walk”, and in our text Paul is admonishing the believer to be imitators of God and this entails mimicking the love of God, and this raises a question: Perhaps you are wondering “do we really need another sermon on God’s love?” It is a good question and I would answer it this way: Can you comprehend fully the love of God? Have you arrived in your spiritual love life that you can say I really do not need another sermon on God’s love? We will never exhaust the subject of God’s love and therefore a sermon on God’s love is always in order. By the way this sermon will not be a theological discussion on the love of God but rather a teaching on how we are to model the love of God in our daily walk.

Let us Pray: In Jesus name open our ears… open my mouth…open our heart…open our eyes…and for that one who may be amongst us today without the savior…

From time to time we here about love songs, love movies, love books, love life, love bug, love letter and even love talk, but in the Christian context there also the love walk and that is Paul’s theme in the first few verses of Ephesians 5, and that is my theme today. You know I am glad God’s love was more than just a love talk. You see when it comes to love God did more than just talk the talk the talk, he walked the walk! In other words Gods love was not just verbal it was actual. God’s love was a love in action! God said He loved us and He demonstrated that love when He in the person of His Son died on the cross for our sins. Now we are to be imitators of God, and this means mimicking His love but how are we to do it? Let’s consider that subject for a few moments!

Now there are three points I want to make today relative to this subject of The Love Walk and I will be done.
Three points:
Mandate: Walk in Love
Model: As Christ also hath loved us
Method: And hath given Himself an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling-savor (aroma).

First notice verse one and that will lead us to our first point the mandate, but verse one says: Be ye therefore followers of God…
What does it mean to be a follower of God: It means to imitate God! It means to be what we use to call a copycat. Now no one wanted to be called a copycat cat when we were growing up, but it is not bad at all when it comes to being a copycat of God. (Now when I was growing up I used to copycat the Jackson 5. I tried to do their moves, and I even tried to wear some of their kinds of clothes . I tried to copycat a lot of the football players on City High School Varsity football team. I would run like them, throw like them, walk like them. I would even do calisthenics like them. I am not sure how successful I was but I was obsessed with imitating those things. Why? Because they impressed me, and I wanted some of their success to rub off on me! Now we need to be just as obsessed with God and we should be obsessed with imitating our Heavenly Father! This word also means to pattern, replicate, or duplicate. In our text it is the Greek word mimetes. It is a continuous emphasis meaning becoming more and more like God! And this is the task before us today to become more and more like God, that when someone sees us they might say he or she makes me conscious of God. He or She has such a persona or way about them that I feel like God is in the room. I believe this is what was being said of Elisha by the Shumanite woman in 2nd Kings 4:9 (I encourage you to read 2nd Kings 4 in its entirety this week it will really enforce what I m going to say, and what I am going to say will have that much more meaning but notice she said): Behold I perceive that this is a man of God which passeth by us continually. And please notice the word continually for it means to stretch, constant, always, daily, continually, perpetual. In other words this was not an isolated, or whimsical, singular thought on the part of this woman; It was something about Elisha that prompted her to say this man’s pattern of life is that which prompts me to say this is a man of God; in other words God is with him and He was, and you will see this when you read that 4th chapter of 2nd Kings! You remember Peter; it was said of Peter perhaps in a negative sense, but still it is worth noting that they said “I can see that he has been with Him”, why for one his speech betrayed him. Now Peter may have had the smell of fish, and a Galien accent, but still it was something about Peter that caused them to take note that he had been with Jesus! What is it about us that cause people to stand up and take note that we have been with our Savior!

There is a story told of a young boy who had the ability to imitate one of the most famous preachers that God ever used to preach his word and that preacher was a man named George Whitfield. Ben Franklin often went to hear George Whitfield. Ben Franklin was impressed, he was illuminated, he was even humbled and moved to follow, but there is no record of Ben Franklin ever being converted. Now George Whitfield did however lead many to a saving knowledge of Christ, but there was this boy who just happened to be black and George Whitfield was white, but this boy had the ability to imitate George Whitfield. They said he was so good that he was able to imitate him in his gestures, in intonation, in diction, and even verbatim in his sermons. On one occasion the crowd gathered and they insisted that the boy imitate George Whitfield-give us some George Whitfield! The boy did exactly that, he gave the crowd exactly what they wanted and he preached a sermon of George Whitfield’s impeccably: What do you think happened? Many were converted, and it is said that revival broke out in the town emptying the taverns, and the crime and reveling in the streets desist-all because of the preaching of a little boy who imitated George Whitfield! Now if the preaching of a little boy imitating George Whitfield could turn a town upside down what would happen if we took seriously this word: Be ye imitators of God!

Be ye therefore followers of God as dear children: Now is this important? Absolutely; in fact this may well sum up the whole duty of the child of God, because if we get this right everything else will fall into place! So we are to imitate God! I hope you get the point! Your talk, your walk, your goals, ambitions, your desires, the choices you make and choose not to make, simply put in everything you are to follow God or imitate Him! Now I must admit that we cannot do this in our own strength so if we are to truly mimic God it will be through the power of the Holy Spirit!

And with that we come to our first point. Now Paul wants to be more specific in how we are to imitate God so in verse 2 he says: Walk in love! This is the mandate! Walk in love!

In other words this is not a suggestion, this is a command! I chose the word mandate but if command suits you better you can insert that word in your notes because that is what it is a command: Walk in love! This is also a verb! It speaks of action! Doing something, and that’s what biblical love is it is not a noun; it is a verb, an act, doing, moving, acting. In other words biblical love is not and please do not miss this: It is not an emotion, it is not a feeling, it is not passive-it is acting, giving, selfless activity on the part of someone else not expecting anything in return; and that is biblical love!

Walk, and this speaks of your manner of living, your conduct, your behavior. The text says your conduct or manner of living should be in love! Now what is the love walk? What does it mean to walk in love? This takes us back to verse 1 for in verse one Paul says be ye therefore… Now when you see a therefore you need to ask yourself why is it there for?
And this takes us back to Ephesians 4:31 and 32.
Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:
And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.

Now this is what characterizes the love walk! It is void of bitterness, and wrath, and anger…
It is a walk of kindness, tenderness, and forgiveness! Forgiveness this is critical to understanding Gods love that we are to imitate!

And this brings us to our 2nd point: The model-As Christ hath loved us!
This was the life of Christ He forgave: On the cross he said Father forgive…In his model prayer in Mat. 6 He said we are to forgive our debtors, as we have been forgiven. He told the disciples they are to forgive and forgive and keep on forgiving unlimited number of times. God forgives and we are to forgive! This is the love walk!
Love forgives! How does love forgive? Let me give you three ways:
The forgiven act is never brought up before you by the one who has bestowed the forgiveness
The forgiven act is never brought up before others by the one who has bestowed the forgiveness
The forgiven act is never brought up by the person bestowing forgiveness to himself or to God-Now this is forgiveness! When it is forgiven it is done, and that is love!
The love walk forgives, the love walk is kind, and for other characteristics of the love walk read 1Corrinthians 13, and 1 John 3 and 4.

And that brings us to our third point:
The Method: And hath given Himself an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling-saviour.
Love not only forgives but love also gives. God gave in John 3:16, God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
Love gives! Too many are looking for a love that they can get something from! God’s love gave and did not look for anything in return! In fact there was nothing that we could give to God.
There is a song: What the world needs now is love, love, love! That is a lie, if we existed on the world’s definition of love we would destroy ourselves! Why because the worlds definition of love is selfish. I will love you if you give me your love in return and when that selfish love fades, so goes the love life. If God loved us that way we would have all gone to hell!
I will love you if you are appealing to me, and when the appeal goes so goes the love.
I will love you if you will meet my needs, if you will take care of my kids, if you will stay off the booze, or if you keep me in the financial status I have become accustomed to? That is not Gods love and that is not the method. There is no giving, no sacrifice in that love!
So what is the method? I can think of no better place to turn to than John 21:15-17? Let me read that text.
Three points I gather from this text:
1. How much do you love God? Does God have to ask you three times? We know Peter denied His Lord three times and perhaps that is why Jesus asked him three times, but I think a more significant point is this perhaps the measure of our love for the Lord is seen in the degree to which we serve the Lord, and in this we all fall short, so we can’t be hard on Peter, because perhaps we need to ask ourselves what if the Lord would have addressed that question to us numerous times. And maybe we did not deny the Lord, but there were times when we should have spoken up for the Lord and we chose to shut-and this is just as bad as denying Him!
2. I see also in the text that our love for God may be measured in our service to those that we love the least. It does not take much to love those that are nice and good to us. It does not take much to love those that we know will receive our love, but how about those that are not so attractive. How about those who will not say thank you and who may not necessarily receive our love at all. We are to show love to them as well. Feed the lambs, feed the sheep, feed and feed to all and to whomever that God brings into your paths.
3. My last point is that love is sometimes very tough! Peter was grieved when Jesus asked him a third time do you love me and this tells me that love will not always be easy for love takes sacrifice and perhaps the Lord was driving home this point: Peter are you willing to pay the price? This may cost you something and our Lord went on to tell Peter that it would cost him; in fact it would cost him his life to serve the Lord! Look at verse 18 and 19.

Our love for the Lord is rather easy in the USA but that may change, and what if it does? Do you love the Lord? Then walk in love!

Mandate: Walk in Love
Model: As Christ also hath loved us
Method: And hath given Himself an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling-saviour.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

My First You Tube: Gospel Gems

My first You Tube which is a simple Gospel presentation that sharing the A,B,C's of Gods saving grace!