Thursday, December 20, 2007

Some Encouraging Words from a Minor Prophet

“Work, for I am with you, declares the LORD of hosts,” (Hag 2:4 ESV)
“My Spirit remains in your midst. Fear not” (Hag 2:5 ESV)
“and I will fill this house with glory, says the LORD of hosts. The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, declares the LORD of hosts.” (Hag 2:7-8 ESV)
“And in this place I will give peace, declares the LORD of hosts.’ ”” (Hag 2:9 ESV)

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The Essence of Complacency

“I will punish the men who are complacent,* those who say in their hearts, ‘The LORD will not do good, nor will he do ill.’” (Zeph 1:12 ESV)

“She does not trust in the LORD; she does not draw near to her God.” (Zeph 3:2 ESV)

In the book of Zephaniah the Lord is leveling charges at Judah, making promises of judgment and then of restoration.

It is interesting to note that in the above texts we have a rather vivid description of complacency. These complacent people have become complacent because they do not believe that God will do anything. Therefore they do not trust God, or draw near to Him.

From this I gather that complacency is grounded in unbelief. What is it that makes life excitig and fresh? Living with the expectancy that God is going to act in our lives. It is drawing near to Him, trusting Him, watching what He is going to do for our good and His glory.

"Lord give us the faith that we need to be delivered from complacency"

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

What it means to Live by Faith

““Behold, his soul is puffed up; it is not upright within him, but the righteous shall live by his faith” (Hab 2:4 ESV)

“Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. GOD, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on my high places. To the choirmaster: with stringed* instruments.” (Hab 3:17-19 ESV)

Friday, December 14, 2007

God's Accomplishments in our Storms

“Then the mariners were afraid, and each cried out to his god.” (Jonah 1:5 ESV) “Then the men feared the LORD exceedingly, and they offered a sacrifice to the LORD and made vows.” (Jonah 1:16 ESV)“Then Jonah prayed to the LORD his God from the belly of the fish,” (Jonah 2:1 ESV)

I believe that the Lord always accomplishes more than one thing in everything that He does. Such is the case in this fierce storm that was threatening the lives of Jonah and his shipmates.

As is the case with most of life's storms, God brought this storm in order to teach men about Himself. It is very obvious from 1:5, that Jonah's shipmates had a theological problem. They believed that there was more than one true God, hence when they became afraid, "each cried out to his god." It is interesting to note that their crying out made no difference in the intensity of their storm. It wasn't a problem with their passion, rather it was a problem with their theology. But in and through this storm, their theology was corrected. By verse 16, they were no longer crying out to their gods, but were rather fearing the one true God, offering Him worship, and making vows to Him. Thus God used this storm to deliver idol worshipers from their idolatry, and bring them into a relationship of worship with Himself.

But these shipmates were not the only ones who needed a correction in their theology. Jonah thought that He could run from the presence of God. (v.3). How foolish to think that a geographical change, would result in an escape from God! In Jonah's case it would take something more dramatic than a life threatening storm to bring him to repentance. It would take being cast into a stormy sea, and then being swallowed by a great fish. Once in the belly of the great fish, Jonah's theology was corrected, and he realized that even there, the Presence of the Lord that He he had been trying to escape, became the only comfort that he had. He cried out to God, and was delivered to fulfill the assignment that He had been given.

May we remember that our storms are never without purpose. God brings them in our lives to accomplish many things, not the least of which is teaching us something about Himself.

"Dear Lord, Thank you for the storms that you have brought in to our lives. Thank you that they are indeed evidences of your mercy to us, in showing us our wrong thinking about you. Help us to learn what we need to learn, and change what needs to be changed through these difficult times."

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Rev. 4:11 “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.”

It is interesting, that in this scene from eternity, the fact that God created everything is the reason given for why He is worthy to receive glory, honor, and power. We must understand that the meaning of receiving glory, honor and power, is actually ascribing glory, honor and power.

We cannot give glory to God in the sense of making Him more glorious, but we give glory to God in the sense of recognizing and speaking of His Glory.

The King James Bible says, "and for they pleasure the are and were created." Creation exists for one reason only, to reveal the glory of God, and thereby to give Him pleasure. God's greatest pleasure is in His own glory! Creation mirrors back God's glory to Himself, and brings Him pleasure.

I am thankful this morning that God chose to give me existence, and then chose to save me and make me part of His Family. I must confess that my life doesn't always reflect His glory. I "come short of the glory of God" often. But when I confess my sin and repent, God's glory is manifested in that He shows me grace and mercy and forgives me.

I am thankful that my standing is in Christ this day, and therefore no matter what I am guaranteed acceptance with God.

Truly He is good!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Precious Practical Truths about The LORD

“And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: ‘The words of the holy one, the true one, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, who shuts and no one opens. “ ‘I know your works. Behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut. I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.” (Rev 3:7-8 ESV)

There are several truths about the Lord Jesus Christ that I want to meditate on from this text.

  • The Communication of the LORD- The Lord Jesus Christ communicates with His people “And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write" In this case and in our case, He communicates with His church in writing. The very life blood of the Christian is communication with and from the Lord Jesus Christ. If we fail to read that which He has written to us we will shrivel up, spiritually and be very susceptible to sin. If we had time we could spend an entire session on how the Lord communicates with His people, and the effect of His communication in their lives.
  • The Character of the LORD. ‘The words of the holy one, the true one," He is Holy, meaning that He is pure, sinless, and uniquely one of a kind. He is the "different"one. He is true, meaning that He is faithful, and what He says is accurate, and dependable. He will never forsake us or let us down, we can depend upon him moment by moment explicitly.
  • The authority of the LORD. "who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, who shuts and no one opens." One who has the key is the one who has authority. When the LORD opens the door, no one can shut it, and when he closes the door, no one can open it. If it were not for the Lord opening doors for us, we could not proceed along the road that He would have us to walk down. It is wonderful to realize the no one, not even Satan, can close the doors that the Lord opens for us. It is also true that when the Lord closes the door behind us no enemy can get through it to us, unless He permits them.
  • The Awareness of the LORD. "I know your works... I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.” The Lord know what we have done, and he knows that we have little power. He knows us! Thank God we don't need to have much power, because He has all power! Maybe you are feeling particlarly weak today. That is not a bad thing that is a good thing. In our weakness, His strength is made perfect.
"Lord thank you that you communicate with your people. You are Holy and true. You have all authority, and you are aware of what we have done, and how little our power is."

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

The Wise

“And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky above;* and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.” (Dan 12:3 ESV)

Who are the wise? Before we can answer that question, we must understand the meaning of wisdom. In order to do that consider Paul's words in Ephesians: “Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.” (Eph 5:17) By contrast, Paul under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, defines wisdom by contrast, as understanding what the will of the Lord is. In his prayer for the Colossians, Paul gives us another indication of what wisdom is: “and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;” (Col 1:9). In this text Paul defines wisdom by association as the knowledge of His will. Therefore we conclude, that wisdom is the knowledge of God's will. If wisdom is the knowledge of God's will, then the wise are those that know and do the will of God.

There is a distinctiveness about those who know and do God's will. They stand out like the brightness of the stars above on a dark cloudless night.

There is an beauty about those who are wise, just like the beauty of the stars above.

There is a steadfastness and durability of those who are wise. "forever and ever"

There is an accomplishment that only the wise can achieve, "and those who turn many to righteousness." Only the wise can turn many to righteousness. If one is not doing the will of God he is not wise, and he is not righteous and therefore cannot turn anyone else to righteousness.

"Dear Lord fill us with the knowledge of your will, that we might do it, and display your glory in such a way, that you can use us to turn many to righteousness."

Monday, December 3, 2007

The Fruit of Knowing God

“but the people who know their God shall stand firm and take action.” (Dan 11:32 ESV)

“I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the LORD!”” (Psa 122:1 ESV)

I, like many other people, am on a Bible reading program. This program contains a daily selection from the Old Testament, the New Testament, Psalms, and Proverbs. It is amazing how that many times the Lord will emphasize in my heart a theme that seems to at least wind it's way through two of the four scriptures for the day.

Today is one such day. The theme that the Lord seems to have emphasized to me today is the idea of knowing Him.

What does it mean to know God? It means that we have a relationship with God. It means that God speaks to us, and we speak to Him. He has revealed Himself to us through this communication, and we get to the place where we know what he likes, and what He dislikes. We know how He is, as much as finite beings can know. This relationship is one of love, and trust. He loves us and we love and trust Him. He displays his affection for us, and we worship Him.

This relationship is made possible only through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Being sinful beings the only way that we can have this relationship with Him is through the merits and sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Those who know him are strong, they stand when others fall by the wayside, and they take action. The do amazing things because of their relationship with God. And they are glad when it is time to go to his house!

His house today is not a temple made with hands, but the church of the living God! Those who know him love to get with others who know Him, and spend time in worship and praise and adoration of them!

Friday, November 30, 2007

Some Observations about Fellowship (1 John 1:1-10)

  • Fellowship is mutual participation. It is the sharing of common Life. The literal meaning of the word is, partnership, i.e. (literally) participation, or (social) intercourse, or (pecuniary) benefaction: — (to) communicate(-ation), communion, (contri-)distribution,
  • Fellowship is based upon the experiencing of that life. i.e. hearing, seeing touching etc.
  • In order for fellowship to take place, their must be a willingness to testify to the experiencing of that life. “and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;)” (1John 1:2 KJV)“that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us” (1John 1:3 ESV)
  • Fellowship is both vertical and horizontal. “so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.” (1John 1:3 ESV)
  • Fellowship is a pleasurable experience for all that involve themselves in it. “And we are writing these things so that our* joy may be complete.” (1John 1:4 ESV)“And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.” (1John 1:4 KJV)
  • Fellowship can take place through writing!
  • Fellowship requires that we walk in the Light “If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.” (1John 1:6-7 ESV)

Dear Lord, may we walk in the ligh this day, enjoy fellowship with you, and others that are enjoying fellowship with you.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

The Marks of an Excellent Spirit

“because an excellent spirit was in him.” (Dan 6:3 ESV)
  • Faithfulness-“because he was faithful, and no error or fault was found in him.” (Dan 6:4 ESV)
  • Persecution-“Then these men came by agreement and found Daniel making petition and plea before his God. Then they came near and said before the king, concerning the injunction, “O king! Did you not sign an injunction, that anyone who makes petition to any god or man within thirty days except to you, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions?” The king answered and said, “The thing stands fast, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be revoked.”” (Dan 6:11-12 ESV)
  • Worship-“he went to his house where he had windows in his upper chamber open toward Jerusalem. He got down on his knees three times a day and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as he had done previously.” (Dan 6:10 ESV)
  • Prayer-“and found Daniel making petition and plea before his God.” (Dan 6:11 ESV)
  • Favor-“Then the king, when he heard these words, was much distressed and set his mind to deliver Daniel. And he labored till the sun went down to rescue hi” (Dan 6:14 ESV)““May your God, whom you serve continually, deliver you!”” (Dan 6:16 ESV)
  • Trust in God-“because he had trusted in his God.” (Dan 6:23 ESV)
  • Ultimate Deliverance-“Then the king was exceedingly glad, and commanded that Daniel be taken up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no kind of harm was found on him” (Dan 6:23 ESV)
  • Authentic Prosperity- So this Daniel prospered during the reign of Darius and the reign of Cyrus the Persian.
Dear Lord make us people with excellent spirits!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Who do you think will be the next president?

“The sentence is by the decree of the watchers, the decision by the word of the holy ones, to the end that the living may know that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will and sets over it the lowliest of men.’” (Dan 4:17 ESV)

“till you know that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will.” (Dan 4:25 ESV)

“until you know that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will.”” (Dan 4:32 ESV)

“At the end of the days I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High, and praised and honored him who lives forever, for his dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom endures from generation to generation; all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and he does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, “What have you done?”” (Dan 4:34-35 ESV)

“Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, for all his works are right and his ways are just; and those who walk in pride he is able to humble.” (Dan 4:37 ESV)

I know who is going to be president! Whoever God has planned!

Friday, November 23, 2007


I realize that this is a day late for a Thanksgiving post, but I did want to write some things that I have been thinking.

I am thankful that this Thanksgiving, my niece and her family got to come down and spend some time with us. I had to sneak up and get this picture of her because she doesn't like her picture taken. :)

Things have really changed for Holly and I this year. For the first time in over 25 years we are not in full time ministry. I must say that I enjoy what I am doing, and am very thankful for the way the Lord has provided a way for us to make a living.

I am especially thankful for my partner Sid Baker. Sid's kindness, vision, and wisdom have really been very helpful to me these last few months. Sid is a Christian who loves the Lord Jesus Christ, and I am looking forward to working a long side him for many years to come.

I am also thankful for my son Joel, who is working with us. His insight into business owners, and advertising is very helpful to what we are doing. I am proud of him and his work at Southside. I am thankful for Waynette, who is a godly wife and mother, and of course little Alena Marie!

This year we saw the last of our unmarried children get married. I can honestly say we did not lose a son, but gained a daughter in law. We love Cheryl very much! We are so thankful that God has given Jeremy a godly wife. We have been able to spend some really good quality time with Jeremy and Cheryl in the last several weeks. Jeremy has been working with me also in graphic design for the websites that we have been building. His ability in design is amazing!

I am also very thankful for Nathan and Bethany. They have had a very difficult year but have persevered and are doing well in San Francisco. We miss them very much, and are looking forward to their coming home after the first of the year. Nathan has done very well in completing his basic training in the Coast Guard and is working on his advancement in rank.

It is hard to believe that John and Rachel have two children that are as big as they are! They are coming up next week, and spending 10 days with us while John goes to Europe on business. I thank the Lord for John and the way he takes care of his family. I wish we could spend more time together.

I am very thankful for the love of my live. It is hard to believe that we are working on our 28th year of marriage! She is more beautiful to me than she has ever been! I am looking forward to continuing to grow old with her. It has been amazing, just her and I the last several weeks. We are able to have lunch together, and spend quiet evenings together. I love our life together!

Finally, I am thankful for the Lord Jesus Christ! It is because of His marvelous grace and mercy that I have all of these things and many more for which to be thankful. One day my life on this earth will be over, and I will enter in to His Presence to spend eternity thanking, praising, and worshiping Him for all that He has done for me.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Seeking God by Seeking His Word

“Blessed are those who keep his testimonies, who seek him with their whole heart,” (Psa 119:2 ESV) “With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments!” (Psa 119:10 ESV)

It is interesting that the psalmist couples seeking the Lord with one's whole heart, with keeping his testimonies, and not wandering from His commandments.

There is a direct correlation between seeking the Lord with one's whole heart, and their relationship with His Word. Though reading, meditation on, and studying the Word of God are not the only way to seek the Lord, it is a very important way.

Many times in my life when I have felt distant from the Lord, I have prayerfully gotten in to His Word, and heard from Him, and was drawn closer to Him.

To me there is no joy or peace in this life with all of it's problems, apart from a joy giving, peace giving faith in the Lord. And where do we get that faith? Rom. 15:13 ¶ May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. Rom. 10:17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

This Day can be a Day of Success!

“This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. Save us, we pray, O LORD! O LORD, we pray, give us success!” (Psa 118:24-25 ESV)

As I meditate on the passage of scripture above, three things come to mind.

  1. This day that we are living in right now, has been made by the Lord. I notice that the focus of the psalmist is on just this day. We cannot rejoice and be glad in tomorrow, because it has happened yet. We cannot rejoice and be glad in yesterday because it is already gone. But we can rejoice and be glad in today, when we recognize that our Loving, Sovereign, Heavenly Father is the one who made it.
  2. Rejoicing and being glad is a choice. The KJV put's it this way, "We will rejoice and be glad in it." This day with all of it's problems and challenges is still something that we can choose to rejoice and be glad in. There is much for which to be thankful, because the bountiful hand of the Lord has given much.
  3. We should pray for our own success, realizing that our success comes from the hand of the LORD, and not our our cleverness or ability.
Let's rejoice in this day, knowing that our God made it, and let's depend upon Him for our success in it!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Vertical Worship, Horizontal Benevolence

“Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.” (Heb 13:15-16 ESV)

Throughout Scripture there is a dual emphasis on our relationship with God, and our relationship with other people. For example, the first four of the ten commandments have to do with our relationship with God, and the last 6 have to do with our relationship with man. When the Lord Jesus Christ was asked what was the first an greatest commandment, he replied, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind;” (Luke 10:27) But then he was quick to add, “And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” (Matt 22:39)

In our text from Hebrews we find once again these two concepts put together. We find the offering of praise as a sacrifice to God, followed by doing good and sharing what we have with others. The writer simply says, "for such sacrifices are pleasing to God."

We must live our lives with both of these concepts in view. We must worship God, and praise Him with all of our hearts, through the merits of our Lord Jesus Christ. But we must also do good, and share what God has given us in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Both are necessary to be pleasing to God. Both are necessary if we are going to live our lives with pleasure to our selves.

"Father help us by your grace to worship and praise you with all of our hearts, and do good, and share what you have given us with others."

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Welcome Gracioius Fellowship Subscribers!

You are at the right place! I have redirected the traffic of Gracious to this blog for now.

I appreciate your patience with me. I have been struggling to determine what I need to do online, and have decided that for now the only thing I can really do effectively is keep up this blog, considering all of the other things that I am working on.

I will be posting links to weekly featured sermons that I have preached in the past shortly.

Thank you for your continued support.


Before We Can Appreciate the Intmacy We Must Experience the Awe.

“For you have not come to what may be touched, a blazing fire and darkness and gloom and a tempest and the sound of a trumpet and a voice whose words made the hearers beg that no further messages be spoken to them. For they could not endure the order that was given, “If even a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned.” Indeed, so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, “I tremble with fear.” But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering,...for our God is a consuming fire. ” (Heb 12:18-22,29 ESV)

Do you fear God? Is God awesome to you? Our selection from Hebrews for this morning speaks of two mountains--Mount Sinai, and Mount Zion. Each of symbolic of a spiritual truth. Each are symbolic of a part of the nature of God.

When God gave the law on Mt. Sinai, it was a time of fear. There was shaking, thunder, lightning, and smoke. The experience was designed to strike terror in the hearts of the children of Israel. It was designed to produce in them an awe of the Holy God of the Universe!

But the writer says that we are no longer at that mountain. We are no longer at the fearful mountain where the law was given, We are at Mount Zion, the mountain of grace. To be sure there are angels present just like there were at Mount Sinai. But this time it is not a fearful thing but a festive time. This time it is not the blood of animals that is being shed, but the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ that has been shed! It is not a time of shrinking back in fear, but a time of celebration of the intimacy that only the assembly of the firstborn can enjoy!

What a privilege is ours, the privilege of calling this awesome fear inspiring God our Daddy! But we must always remember the same God that we call "Abba Father" is the God of Mount Sinai. When we remember that this God is an awesome, Holy, all powerful God, it enhances our enjoyment of the fact that He has called us His own, and we have an intimate relationship with Him.

“Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe,” (Heb 12:28 ESV)

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Don't Be a Glory Robber

“Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I will bring a sword upon you, and will cut off from you man and beast, and the land of Egypt shall be a desolation and a waste. Then they will know that I am the LORD. “Because you* said, ‘The Nile is mine, and I made it,’ therefore, behold, I am against you and against your streams, and I will make the land of Egypt an utter waste and desolation, from Migdol to Syene, as far as the border of Cush.” (Ezek 29:8-10 ESV)

In this text, God has commanded Ezekiel to prophesy against Egypt. I am sure there are many reasons for which God would bring judgment against Egypt. But it is interesting to note the reason why God was going to judge Pharaoh. It was because Pharaoh took the credit for, and therefore the possession of the Nile River. He claimed to be the one who created it and owned it. Since it was God who actually created it, and therefore owns it, Pharaoh was taking glory that belonged only to God. He was a glory robber!

God does not take lightly when we take the glory for, and possession of the things that belong to Him. This will bring the judgement of God faster than anything I know.

This reminds me of another king in another era. King Herod allowed people to call him God.

“And the people gave a shout, saying, It is the voice of a god, and not of a man. And immediately the angel of the Lord smote him, because he gave not God the glory: and he was eaten of worms, and gave up the ghost.” (Acts 12:22-23)

Our wealth, our a abilities, our strength are all gifts from God, and not of our own making.

How we need to recognize all that God has done for us, and make sure that we are giving Him the glory and not taking it for ourselves.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Do Not Throw Away Your Confidence!

“Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward.” (Heb 10:35 ESV)

The original readers of the letter to the Hebrews were Jewish Christians, who were experiencing intense persecution. In this intense persecution, many who had previously professed faith in Christ, turned back to Judaism, and renounced their faith. Hebrews was written to those who had not turned back, but were in danger of doing so. They were in danger of throwing away their confidence in Christ.

I realize the my readers are not persecuted Jewish Christians. But in every age, there are factors that tempt the Christian to throw away his confidence. I believe that one of the greatest temptations that we have is to the temptation to lose hope and lose our confidence. We are tempted to lose our confidence that God is actually leading us. We are tempted to lose our confidence that God is going to take care of us and meet our needs.

Yesterday, our pastor, preaching from Nehemiah, talked about the intimidation of Nehemiah's enemies. They wanted to make him afraid. They wanted to cause him to lose his confidence. Nehemiah had the discernment to realize what was going on, and praying to God, determined to stay the course, and complete that task that God called him to do.

One of the prophetic words that was given, reminded us of the importance of "fueling" our faith with the promises of God. How vitally important that is to helping us to keep from throwing away our confidence.

Why is it that the enemy is bent upon trying to rob us of our confidence? Because our confidence has great reward! Through faith (another word for confidence) we have been justified. Through faith, we accomplish the goals that God lays out for us. Through faith, we chose to "suffer with the people of God rather than enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season." The rewards are to great to lose!

Dear reader, do not throw away your confidence today. Press on. Trust God. Keep your eye on the reward!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

An Update on Us.

I am going to take a chance and assume that if you are reading this blog your interested in what is going on in our lives.

Well as many of you know after 7 years of being that pastor of Southside Baptist Church in Live Oak, Florida, I resigned. It was not because of any problem, as much as it was the conviction that the my gifts were better suited to a church planting ministry.

The Lord has provided a way for me to make a living by building websites. Joel and I along with two other Christian business men in our town, teamed up to form a new company called, InetMedia Marketing.

We have built many websites so for including sites for insurance agencies, many churches, as well as missionaries, and missions organizations. One of our most important websites has been the one for The Suwannee County Chamber of Commerce. Another website that we are working on is

Recently, we have come to the conclusion that the Lord would have us to join Abundant Grace Community Church in Gainesville, Florida. Phil Courson, and Mike Gilland are the pastors of this church, and have been my good friends for almost 10 years. God has really used them in my life and the lives of my wife and children. Abundant Grace is part of a family of churches known as Sovereign Grace Ministries. We believe that ultimately the Lord would have us to help plant churches through that ministry.

We covet your prayers, as we need to sell our house so that we can move to Gainesville. I will be able to work from home there. Holly has applied for a job in the Alachua County Library System, and it would be wonderful if the Lord would see fit to give her that job. It is doing the same thing that she is doing here in Suwannee County, but it would be full time with benefits, and 2 dollar more on the hour than what she is making here.

We appreciate your continued prayers for us.

Friday, November 9, 2007

"Whoso is Wise, Let Him Attnd to these things"

Psa. 107:43 ¶ Whoever is wise, let him attend to these things; let them consider the steadfast love of the LORD.

I was going to write this morning on the things that God did for Israel for His name sake. Ezekiel 20:1-49 was the first passage in my Bible reading plan for today.

However, when I came to the Psalm for the day it was Psalm 107, which I must say is probably my favorite psalm in all of the Word of God. This psalm is really about the same thing as Ezekiel 20--God showing mercy to Israel because of His Name's sake.

If I am going to hope in God's mercy, I must look for the reason that God would be merciful to me in Him, and not me. There is absolutely no reason in me as to why God should be merciful to me. There is every reason in my as to why God should pour out His wrath, and cause me to suffer immeasurable. So I dare not argue for God's mercy because of who I am and what's in it for me. I must argue that God will be merciful to me because of what's in it for Him--namely His own Glory. He will be merciful to me solely on the merits of His Son the Lord Jesus Christ.

He will do good things for me, because He is good and merciful. He can be good and merciful to me because the Lord Jesus Christ has paid for my sin.

In Psalm 107 we find God in His mercy answering the cries of those who are in distress, and delivering them. Many of them if not all of them were in distress of their own making, because of their sin and their rebellion against God. Yet when they were humbled by affliction, and cried unto the Lord, He saved them!

Are you wise? If you are you will consider these things, and hope in the steadfast love and mercy of God.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Psa. 106:24 ¶ Then they despised the pleasant land, having no faith in his promise.

As I meditate upon this verse there are three things that I see.
  1. They were in a pleasant land.
  2. They despised it.
  3. The reason that the despised it is because they had no faith in the promise of God.
I conclude from that that no matter what kind of place you are in, you cannot enjoy it, unless you do so by faith in the promise of God. Joy and peace do not come from pleasant surroundings, but by faith in our God.

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

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Of Righteousness and Judgement

“And the word of the LORD came to me: “Son of man, when a land sins against me by acting faithlessly, and I stretch out my hand against it and break its supply* of bread and send famine upon it, and cut off from it man and beast, even if these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they would deliver but their own lives by their righteousness, declares the Lord GOD.” (Ezek 14:12-14 ESV)

It is interesting that God calls sin "acting faithlessly" The New Testament says that whatsoever is not of faith is sin. That is the real issue. If we really trust God we will do what He says. It is our faith that actually produces obedience to God. When we sin against God it is because we think we know better than He does, and we trust us rather than trusting in Him.

Notice with me something further. Righteousness delivers from the judgment of God. Albeit, only the righteousness of the Son of God can deliver others from the judgment of God. As righteous as Noah, Daniel, and Job was their righteousness could only deliver them, and no one else.

One other thought is that famine in the land comes because of God's judgment upon sin. I fear that America is headed for this kind of judgment. O may God have mercy upon this land, and send repentance and revival!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Are you Afraid of Dying?

“Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.” (Heb 2:14-15 ESV)

I must confess that I am not looking forward to death. I know that I am trusting the Lord Jesus Christ for my eternity. I am going to go to heaven when I die. But still I am not looking forward to dying.

I am also disturbed by the realization of just how short this life really is. I get a melancholy feeling when I think of my past, and realize how long ago some of it has been. It it keeps becoming longer and longer ago!

I believe to some degree, what I have described above is normal. However, when the fear of death becomes a life controlling fear, then life itself has become an idol. People who have no hope for life after this life are particularly prone to become enslaved to this idolatry.

The Lord Jesus Christ became one of us. He subjected Himself to the hardships of this life, and the pangs of an angonizing death. He rose again from the dead. Why? Well among other things to deliver us from the slavery of this life controlling fear of death.

How could the martyrs of the past, as well as those of the present lay down their lives rather than denounce their Christ? Answer: Through faith in Christ they have been delivered from the fear of death.

As followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, we need not fear living or dying. We are the only ones who are truly free.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Remembering the Truths that Bring Hope

“But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases;* his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” The LORD is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD.” (Lam 3:21-26 ESV)

In the first part of this chapter, we find the prophet Jeremiah, really describing how desperate his situation is. He ascribes his bad fortune as coming from the hand of the Lord. Over and over again, he says things like: “I am the man who has seen affliction under the rod of his wrath;” (Lam 3:1 ESV) “he has besieged and enveloped me with bitterness and tribulation; he has made me dwell in darkness like the dead of long ago. He has walled me about so that I cannot escape; he has made my chains heavy;” (Lam 3:5-7 ESV)

The very word "lamentations" expressions of regret or disappointment over things considered unsatisfactory, unreasonable, or unfair :

However right in the middle of all of these grieving and complaining, it seems as if Jeremiah remembers some things that bring him hope. He remembers who God is, and what God is like. God's love never ceases. His mercies are new every morning. He is faithful, He is good t those who wait or him, and the soul that seeks Him.

He concludes therefore, that it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of God.

How easily do we forget these things. How we need to remember them, and live in hope!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Mercy and Judgement-Something to Sing About

“I will sing of mercy and judgment: unto thee, O LORD, will I sing.” (Psa 101:1 KJV)

At first glance it seems that the two things about which the Psalmist said he would sing, seem to be direct opposites. And the truth is they are! Yet both reside within the perfections of our God.

Our God is a God of judgment, and yet He is also a God of mercy! He has never, nor will He ever exercise mercy at the expense of judgement. And every time that he has ever exercised His judgment, there has been at the same time a demonstration of His mercy.

When he exercised his justice by expelling Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden, he demonstrated mercy, in that he kept them from eating of the tree of life, lest they eat and live forever in their fallen state.

When he exercised his justice in the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, he demonstrated his mcrcy towards Lot, and his family.

The greatest example is of course the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ. While pouring out His judgement upon His Son for the sins fo the world, He was demonstrating His mery for His people.

These are the things of which we should sing! We should be joyous in all of the perfections of our God, but these seem to be of greater significance to us.

May our hearts rejoice in both the mercy and the justice of our God.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Buying the Truth

Prov. 23:23 Buy truth, and do not sell it; buy wisdom, instruction, and understanding.

As I meditate on this one verse from Proverbs some thoughts come to mind.
  • There is a price to pay for truth. Truth is not given away freely. It cost in time, and even money, and in many cases the agony of painful life experiences.
  • Secondly, there is a temptation to sell it. If not then the writer of Proverbs would not have admonished us "do not sell it." We sell the truth when we live in a way that is not according to truth. We sell the truth when we compromise the truth out of fear, or selfish gain. When we know something is true, but we refuse to own it, or live by it, we are selling the truth. Implicit in the phrase, "do not sell it." is the thought that truth is priceless. There is nothing worthing trading for truth.
  • Lastly I see here that truth comes in different closely related forms. Wisdom, instruction, and understanding, though closely related are not the same.
For more meditation, look up the meaning of the words, wisdom, instruction, and understanding. How can you "buy" them?

Good morning

I have decided to start a new blog! For those of you that know me, you know that this is something that I have done several times.

For the last several months I had been blogging in an effort to try to help families with the Southside devotional guide. But I believe that it has long since lost it's effectiveness.

I will be sharing thoughts on this blog from my devotions as the Lord leads, but also on other things that I want to write about.

I would like to thank my friend David McMullen for the interaction that we have had over the last several months on the Southside Devotional Guide blog. I hope we can continue here. Brother David, I encourage you to get your own blog brother. You have some great thoughts, that others need to be reading.