Month: October 2015

Rejoicing in Free Justification – Romans 3

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How many Christians go through their saved life thinking that they still have to do something for God to make sure He ultimately saves them? Learn how that when God justifies you He fully and freely justifies you so that you need not do anything.  (Thanks Justin for the 7 points.)

Rejoicing in Free Justificcation – Romans 3 from Pastor Steve Schroeder on Vimeo.

God’s bountiful dealings

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Psalm 119:17–24

17 Deal bountifully with Your servant, That I may live and keep Your word.

18 Open my eyes, that I may see Wondrous things from Your law.

19 I am a stranger in the earth; Do not hide Your commandments from me.

20 My soul breaks with longing For Your judgments at all times.

21 You rebuke the proud—the cursed, Who stray from Your commandments.

22 Remove from me reproach and contempt, For I have kept Your testimonies.

23 Princes also sit and speak against me, But Your servant meditates on Your statutes.

24 Your testimonies also are my delight And my counselors.

Sometimes the bookends of the sections help us with the theme. He begins with, “Deal bountifully with Your servant that I may live and keep Your word.” Then he ends with, “ Your testimonies also are my delight and my counselors.” This reminds me of Ephesians 1:3 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,”

God had given us of His bountiful provision so we may live and keep His word. He has indeed blessed us with every spiritual blessing in Christ. In other words, there is nothing that we need that God has not given us. He has dealt bountifully with us.

Whenever I am struggling with having enough of anything to live my life, the reminder that God has given me everything I need and that if I were to die today I would have full salvation to take me to heaven carries me through. There is nothing in this life that I have truly needed that God has not provided. Most of my needs are spiritual, He has that covered. Some of my needs are relational, He has that covered through my family both physical and spiritual. Some of my needs are provisional, I have never slept on the street nor gone without food nor been deprived. (And those Christians who do find themselves on the street still know the provision of God.)

At the end of the day, God’s testimonies are my delight and my counselors. His testimonies have proven to be true and faithful. I can go to them and find all that I need for life and for godliness.

I have had two meetings this morning already. Both went well. I look forward to a day of preparation.

Pastor Bill will have his service at Sunrise Assisted Living this afternoon. Please keep this in your prayers.

RU will be meeting tonight. Pray with us for God to bring in men and women who struggling with addictions need the Lord and His wisdom and His power.

Kristi Schaefer’s dad, John, had a stroke yesterday morning. He is doing well. He has already had some return of movement. He is talking and thinking well and we are glad for that.   Pray for John’s full recovery.

Since we only have two days with the Sivnkstys be sure to plan to be with us for all three services. Commit to this with prayer and attendance.

Have a great day in the Lord,
PS

Weapons for the Battle

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Psalm 119

9     How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word.

10   With my whole heart I have sought You; Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments!

11   Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You.

12   Blessed are You, O Lord! Teach me Your statutes.

13   With my lips I have declared All the judgments of Your mouth.

14   I have rejoiced in the way of Your testimonies, As much as in all riches.

15   I will meditate on Your precepts, And contemplate Your ways.

16   I will delight myself in Your statutes; I will not forget Your word.

Verses 9-11 are verses that I memorized as a child.  Through the years these verses have often guided me in my spiritual battles.  It is the word of God that is our greatest weapon against the spiritual enemies.  We take heed, we listen, to the word of God.  We seek the Lord with our whole hearts.  We do not wander from His commandments. We hide His word in our hearts to keep us from sinning against Him.   This has been my impetus for memorizing the scriptures.

The following verses have verbs in them that continue this thought.  We see the verbs, “teach” and “declare” and “rejoice” and “meditate” and “contemplate” and “delight” and “will not forget” all attached to God’s word and its power in our lives to help us overcome sin.

Go back now and re-read these verses looking at their teachings on overcoming sin.  Meditate on them throughout the day as your new guide when faced with temptations.

Some of you have heard already but all have not. Brent and Becky Sivnksty will only be with us Sunday and Monday of next week.  Becky has a cyst that her doctor wants to run a scan on Wednesday to see if it is cancerous.  This has just come up and speed in diagnosis and removal is very important.  We will have service Sunday morning, evening and Monday evening. 

Pray for Becky and I know our ladies will encourage her with prayers and love as she faces this new battle in her life. (As Bobbi has mentioned, please do not tell her horror stories of people you know who ended up in very serious condition. Those stories are NOT helpful.)

We do have prayer meeting, Kids4Truth, and youth group tonight. I trust to see many of you joining us for prayer for our meetings. 

Have a great day in the Lord, PS

The cause of the blessed life

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Psalm 119:1–8

1 Blessed are the undefiled in the way, Who walk in the law of the Lord!

2 Blessed are those who keep His testimonies, Who seek Him with the whole heart!

3 They also do no iniquity; They walk in His ways.

4 You have commanded us To keep Your precepts diligently.

5 Oh, that my ways were directed To keep Your statutes!

6 Then I would not be ashamed, When I look into all Your commandments.

7 I will praise You with uprightness of heart, When I learn Your righteous judgments.

8 I will keep Your statutes; Oh, do not forsake me utterly!

Psalm 119 is an amazing chapter of the Bible and an amazing piece of poetry. It is a stand-alone writing that exalts the Word of God in every verse. The Psalm is broken into sections so we will be reading it section by section for the next few weeks.

The Psalm opens up with a statement of the result of the Word of God in our lives and followed by those who will follow it. The word “blessed” is used. So, those who learn and keep and follow and direct their lives according to the word of God will be blessed people.

I am not sure why so many church people, who claim Christ and come faithfully to church, do not enjoy a blessed life. Surely we know the teachings of the Bible. Surely we are aware of the wisdom contained in its pages. We have even seen the lives of those who have lived the Word and have borne witness to the blessing of God upon them.

When I was in college, I visited a home of a man whose children, all eight of them, got along. They sang as they did the dishes. They treated each other with loving care. The parents showed forth the love of Christ even in correction. I left that home with a mental note, “this is the kind of home that I want when I have children.”

A blessed life is the result of a life surrendered to the word and the way of God’s word. There is no short-cut to blessedness. Walk in the law of the Lord and be blessed or ignore the law of the Lord and don’t be blessed. This teaching is the introductory lesson to this great Psalm.

I spent Sunday night and Monday at Victory Academy. They are doing well and are thankful for our prayers. They started the year with eight boys, a full house. It is going well for them and all of the boys are still engaged. Pray for the staff as they live with the boys, teach them, recreate with them, eat with them and work with them. From each of these times comes opportunities for heart-touching counsel. Pray that the staff will find open hearts at these important moments.

 

Please pray for my father-in-law. His son, Ed Jr. leaves today to go back to Brazil leaving my dad alone for the first time since his wife of 62 years died. We all know it is going to be a challenging time. Do keep Ed in your prayers and heart.

 

Have a great day in the Lord,
PS

Love and Faithfulness, that’s it

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Psalm 117

1 Praise the Lord, all nations! Extol him, all peoples!

2 For great is his steadfast love toward us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever. Praise the Lord!

This is the entire Psalm. With it being so short, read it again and again and see if you can determine its point. It has a point or it would not be in the Bible. It has a point and it was sung by the Jews in Jerusalem. Perhaps it was a favorite praise chorus, one they could begin in a moment and sing with abandon to God. So, what is the point of this very short Psalm? Its point, by and large, is contained in one verse.

“Great is his steadfast love toward us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever.” Praise God before and after this simple statement of God’s actions.

So have you determined the point yet?

  1. God’s love is great in its steadfastness toward us. The idols of this world do not love those who worship them. Let me ask a personal question, do professional sports love those who watch them? Does your favorite car love you?   Does the food you eat show you love before you eat it and after you digest it? Do the clothes you buy love you? You get the point, nothing inanimate shows us great and steadfast love. But God both is love and is great in his steadfast love toward us. “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son.” “But God commended His love toward us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” God’s love is great in its steadfastness toward us.
  2. God’s faithfulness endures forever. Human love has limits; God’s love faithfully endures.   Whenever God’s people come back to Him He, like the father of the prodigal, is there with open arms to receive them. Forever we will enjoy the faithfulness of God. Our Creator is also our Redeemer and will forever be our Sustainer. How do we know this? Because His faithfulness endures forever.

There you have it, great in steadfast love and faithfulness that endures forever. Rejoice in your ever-loving and enduring-faithful God. Whether you have loved Him or been faithful to Him isn’t the point, He loves and is faithful to you. Praise the Lord; Praise His name; Praise His great steadfast love and His ever-enduring faithfulness.

I made a visit last night and asked God for His guidance. What a blessing it is when we know God steps in and provides the wisdom that we lack. Pray for a friend who is a frightful situation. He needs for God to open a unique door for him.

Pray for a woman who expressed fear for her failures. Pray for her to understand the teaching of justification by God.

Today is a day of much ministry. Pastor Bill has a service at Sunrise Assisted Living this afternoon; I have a service this morning at the Devonshire in Lisle.

Pray for RU tonight. It has been a dry time as people are not coming in. There are other programs in the community that are more in line with AA and have a broader base appeal than a program that is primarily the gospel. The need is huge! The battle is in the heart long before 7:00 on Friday night.

Later tonight I will be ministering to the Indian congregation at a house meeting in Aurora.

Be in prayer for Sunday. We will be observing the Lord’s Table and I plan to bring a message before we do that. The message will be on Free Justification and how God prepares us to come to Him. Pray for God to prepare our hearts to hear this message and to draw us into greater praise and worship of Him through it.

Have a great day in the Lord,
PS  

I love the Lord because…

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Psalm 116

1     I love the Lord, because He has heard my voice and my supplications.

2     Because He has inclined His ear to me,

Therefore I will call upon Him as long as I live.

Each of these Psalms is worthy of our meditative attention.  This one begins with a statement and then a reason for the statement.  The rest of the Psalm answers the why of the first statement.

Place yourself in this statement, say this, “I love the Lord because…”

This Psalm gives a good place to start our list.  I love the Lord because He has heard my voice and my supplication.  Because He has inclined His ear to me I will call upon Him as long as I live.  What we learn here is that God delights in hearing our prayer by bending His ear to hear us.

When our children were little they wanted to make sure we heard them.  I can remember a few times when our toddlers would grab our faces and turn our heads to look right at them to make sure we were listening to them.  Imagine, as it were, taking the face of God and getting His full attention to your requests.  The difference is that we don’t have to force God to listen; He turns His ear toward us to listen.  He hears our voice in prayer and our supplications, that is, our requests.

In Matthew 6 we learn that the Father knows our needs before we ask. God is aware of our needs and gives our needs His attention.  This is a good reason to love the Lord.  Yes, we love Him because He first loved us.  Have you considered declaring your love to God because He has heard and answered your prayers?  Who else in your whole life has listened to your every need and cared enough to answer those needs when He knew it was good for you to do so?  Who else has filled you with His love and peace?

Today, take time to express your love for the Lord because He has heard your voice and your requests.  Commit to call upon Him as long as you live.  He alone is the one who cares enough to hear and to answer.  I love the Lord because…

Tonight is our prayer time. Our church is in a season of great need for God’s blessing upon us.  We long to see men and women and young people repent and submit themselves to following Christ.  Our attendance is down and thus our giving is down.  Our ministries are not seeing many responses of repentance to the Word.  These are spiritual works and we need to pray for God to send His fresh wind and fresh fire upon our church.  Join us tonight for prayer. 

As usual we will also have Kids4Truth and youth group. Pray for these ministries that children and young people will determine to seek the Lord with their lives.

Remember Victory Academy in your prayers today. Pray for the boys to surrender their wills to the staff there and ultimately to the Lord. 

Have a great day in the Lord, PS

 

Our God does what He pleases

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Psalm 115

1     Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us,

But to Your name give glory,

Because of Your mercy,

Because of Your truth.

2     Why should the Gentiles say,

“So where is their God?”

3     But our God is in heaven;

He does whatever He pleases.

The gods of this earth, who are the figments of the imaginations of their followers, live in temples, in idols, in houses and in shrines.  I remember going into a deep cave in Mexico.  At the back of that cave was a statue of Mary and trinkets and offerings left in front of the statue.  Someone thought that the back of a cave was a good place to place an idol.  The idolaters of this world may ask s where our God lives.  They may want to see some representation of our God.  You see, they can show us representations of their gods.

I love verse 3.  It is my newest memory verse.  “But our God is in heaven;  He does whatever He pleases.”  First off, our God does not live in temples made by hands.  How could He?  He who made all things cannot be contained in the things He created.  Thankfully, our God is above all things and in all things not just the back of a cave or the inner sanctum of a church building.  He is in heaven!  The gods of this earth can only lead their followers to their grottos.  Our God leads us to His dwelling place where Jesus went to prepare a place for us.

Secondly, and this is the best part, He does whatever He pleases!  I do not influence the wisdom of God.  He does not come to me for ideas.  I cannot improve His divine and sovereign plans. Furthermore, if God did listen to me His plans would cheapen, not improve.  No, He does what He pleases according to His wisdom, His understanding, His mercy and His grace.  His shared grace sends rain, the growing agent for the crops, on the just and the unjust.  He is longsuffering toward all men not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

God’s pleasure is the good of His people.  Romans 8:32 tells us that He gave us His Son and will not withhold any good thing from us. Verse 28 tells us that God works all things for good for those who love Him, those called according to His purpose. Yes, God does what He pleases but what God pleases to do is for our good and for His glory. I am glad God has not listened to all of my requests.  Some of them would not have been good.  I am glad He does what He pleases in regards to my life and His church.

On Sunday I finished the series of Creation from the Rest of the Bible. These four messages are now online at www.graceforlifebc.com and can be watched there. I had several goals in this series; one of them was to get you to think a bit deeper about creation than you have. It was a lot of material, I know. If you take time with it you will find yourself thinking biblically about a topic that has come under great attack in the last 90 years.

“Thank you” to all who provided meals for our family during the time of my mother-in-laws funeral. We had around 40 people together, most of them from out of town. We housed seven and went to Beecher every day for five days. The extra food was a tremendous help and your love to us was poured out in a bountiful and wonderful way. Thank you so much.

The funeral went very well. Pray for my father-in-law as he faces a new “normal” with mom gone and the 24-7 care that he gave her is ended. Ed is staying with him another week and I am thankful that he can do this.

I will be speaking at Sunrise this morning. Pray for this service that God will use it to encourage hearts to think of Him.

Have a great day in the Lord, PS