Month: November 2016
As the church corrected a sinning brother they stopped short of forgiving and restoring him to their membership. In this message we see how unforgiveness is one of Satan’s schemes to destroy the Church of God.
14 I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 15 I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. 18 As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world.
When Jesus spoke on this earth, He spoke the words of God. He gave His disciples teachings of another world, the heavenly world where God dwells and reigns. As the disciples heard and believed the words of the Father through the Son the world grew to hate them just as they hated Jesus.
In this part of his prayer, Jesus prays for us that as the world hates us we would be kept from Satan’s hands and plans. The evil one is the prince of darkness, the ruler of this world, and the enemy of all that is God’s, especially His people, His church. Yet, we are in this world and the world needs us in it. We are the force that is holding back the powers of sin and darkness from complete rampage and corruption. We who have the words of the Father in us know the truth, have been set free by it and long to see those we know and love also set free by God’s truth and grace.
We are sanctified by God’s truth. We are cleansed from sin’s deceptive ways by the absolute truth of God. Jesus taught us this truth as He is the way, the truth, and the life. He was not of this world and once we accept Him as Savior and Lord, neither are we. Jesus Christ, in the garden, prayed for us as we live in this world which hated Him and hates us. In fact, Jesus has sent all of us, His followers, into the world to show the world His love and truth and grace. Whom has Christ sent you to today? Show them Christ in you that they may come by faith to His grace.
I am taking Kyle on a college trip tomorrow and will be gone until Friday. I will be available by phone and will try to keep up with the devotionals but I am not sure of our schedule. Pray that this trip will be a guide for Kyle to spend his life following Christ.
The group I sing with, the Naperville Men’s Glee Club, has our annual Christmas concert this coming Sunday at Knox Presbyterian church at 3:00. I do have tickets for this concert and can place them at the counter for you. If you want to come just let me know and we will make sure tickets are available for you. If you like Christmas music, this concert will tickle all of your fancies as we will be performing some very serious Christmas music as well as some more lighthearted songs. Join us for a fun afternoon.
My sister, Dawn, has come to visit. Mom and dad are thrilled to have her here for the week.
Have a great day in the Lord,
1 Thessalonians 3
8 For now we live, if you are standing fast in the Lord. 9 For what thanksgiving can we return to God for you, for all the joy that we feel for your sake before our God,
As Paul was writing his dear friends in the church at Thessalonica he let them know in no uncertain terms of his love for them and how dear they were to him. He already called them his joy and crown of rejoicing at the coming of Christ and now he tells them that as they stand fast in the Lord he lives. Reading the epistles has shown me the great love Paul had for all whom he ministered Christ to. I understand this. In business relationships the goal is to make more money. In the mean time you will make a friend or two but when the money stops flowing you need to go to the next client. In ministry the minister of the Gospel connects heart to heart people who when they come to Christ form both a friendship and an eternal bond.
Paul’s very life was encouraged or discouraged by the spiritual temperature of those he had pointed to Christ. The Thessalonian Christians brought great joy to him as they continued in the word of the Lord. You see, we who proclaim Christ do not do so for personal gain but we are seeking the eternal salvation of people whom Jesus died to save. The stakes are so much higher than anything else we can do. So when those whom we have pointed to Christ are living for Christ, our lives are greatly enriched.
On this Thanksgiving Day, I want to echo the words of Paul: “what thanksgiving can we return to God for you, for all the joy that we feel for your sake before our God.” Bobbi and I are so very thankful for each of you who have received the grace of God and have allowed us to have a part in the development of your faith. We give thanksgiving to God today for all of the joy that we feel for your sake before our God. We live when you stand fast in the Lord.
Thank you for your steadfast faith. For what is our hope or joy or our crown of rejoicing? Of course, it is you at the coming of our Lord Jesus, for you are our glory and joy. Happy Thanksgiving.
In 2 Corinthians 1:15-24 Paul defends his actions as the will of God while they accused him of acting on a whim and being careless with his word. In this message we see that in the church a faithful pastor seeks to know and to do the will of God. He is determined to give of himself for the growth of the people in the church and to teach them by his life and messages to live submitted to the Word of God. Unsubmitted church members who do not want to submit to God often attack the messenger, the pastor, instead of submitting their lives. Learn how to work with unsubmitted church members or how to work with your pastor more effectively.
13 But now I come to You, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have My joy fulfilled in themselves.
Having grown up in church and around Christians my whole life I must confess that all of the true Christ-followers that I have known have been people of godly joy. The other side is also true; those who just came to church but their lives did not exemplified the indwelling Christ did not have joy but were just as miserable as anyone else.
Committed to the Father’s will and knowing that He came to redeem us all, Christ lived a joy-filled life. One of the difficulties I had with Jim Caviziel’s portrayal of Christ was that he always spoke as though he were in pain. Knowing and doing the exact will of God gives us joy in the midst of pain, which we are told in Hebrews 11:2 that Jesus, for the joy that was set before Him, endured the cross and despised the shame.
One of the stated goals of the Lord Jesus was that we, His followers, would have His joy fulfilled in ourselves. This is a passive verb which means that He is the one who supplies us this joy. We do not have to fabricate it or work it up but the joy of the Lord is in us. Look, we have heaven to gain, sin to defeat, church to enjoy, the Bible to read and the Holy Spirit to light our way. We have fellowship with others who are in Christ and we have the riches of God over-abounding in our lives. What is there to be gloomy about? Sure, we can focus on depressing stuff but we don’t have to. We have the joy of the Lord Jesus filling us so that we can have His joy in every chapter of our lives.
2 Corinthians 10:4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,
I am so looking forward to our Thanksgiving Praise time tonight. Every year we gather to praise the time flies by and we leave so filled with rejoicing and prepared in a greater way for Thanksgiving. Come tonight with something to praise God for, something to exalt His work and purpose in your life. We will all leave blessed and rejoicing as we edify one another.
Do continue in prayer for my two friends who are battling cancer. Pastor Phil and Tom are going to have a different Thanksgiving than ever before. Pray for them to know God’s peace in a difficult hour of life.
Have a great day in the Lord,
11 Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are. 12 While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Your name. Those whom You gave Me I have kept; and none of them is lost except the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled.
The security of our salvation has its roots in the Lord Jesus’ keeping of His disciples. We see here that God gave Jesus the twelve. Jesus kept the twelve, trained them, led them, and held them. Their salvation was completely rooted in Christ. (Mention is made here of Judas as the son of perdition that the Scriptures might be fulfilled. Judas’ heart was never changed; he always lived with a love of money thus was never redeemed.) As we dwell upon this truth our hearts should sigh a great big sigh of relief for neither do we save ourselves nor do we keep ourselves saved. Our glorious Lord Jesus keeps all of us who are given to Him by the Father.
You see, my friends, salvation is all of God. The human element, as evidenced by the twelve, is simply an acceptance of the call. We are called by God, drawn by His love and the truth of His word. He gives us the faith to believe and we accepting all that He has done to save us are saved by Him. The technical term for this is a monergistic salvation. God does all of the saving. The beauty of this faith is that the One who saves also keeps. For if I had any part in being saved then I could also have a part in losing my salvation. But, since God is the author and the finisher of my salvation my eternal security is in Him and never in my ability to maintain it.
The entire New Testament bears out that the sole worker in saving souls from sin and death is God. Do not buy into a synergistic view of salvation that somehow you had to do something to merit God’s grace. For if you had do to anything to gain God’s grace it would no longer be grace. Just add one human work to grace and it no longer is grace. In that confusing scenario the next logical thought is that since you did something to gain your salvation then you must also be able to do something to lose your salvation. No, no, no, our eternal salvation from our sin into the glorious presence of the Holy God is the work of God and God alone.
“Hallelujah, what a Savior who can take a poor lost sinner lift him from the miry clay and set Him free. I will ever tell the story shouting glory, glory, glory! Hallelujah Jesus ransomed me.”
On Sunday we, as a church, delivered ten complete Thanksgiving dinners. Each dinner included a turkey, vegetable, potatoes, yams, pumpkin, dinner rolls, and a pumpkin pie with whip cream. (Thanks to Sharon and Bobbi for organizing all of this.) The recipients were identified through the Naperville Township office as people in the area who would be struggling this Thanksgiving. Our church families delivered these with great joy and a testimony of the love of the Lord Jesus. My thanks to all who participated in this wonderful outreach. Pray that God will receive the glory throughout this week as families rejoice in God’s love through us for them.
Tomorrow night will be our annual night of praise and thanksgiving. This praise service will be a time when you bring the messages. As you reflect on praise to God and chose the songs we sing the service goes in the direction the Holy Spirit leads it. All teens and children will be with us in the service.
Have a great day in the Lord,
9 “I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours. 10 And all Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine, and I am glorified in them.
I am not sure if we think much about what it means to glorify something. When we sing in church we sing songs to the glory of God and many songs use those words in their texts. We really do glorify things in this life and we do so all the time. When we eat something we like we talk about it favorably we give glory to it. When our sports teams wins and we wear their symbols we give glory to them. When we are loyal to a brand of food or clothes or car we are giving that brand glory. So then, whenever we tell others or intentionally show others Jesus Christ we are giving Him glory.
In our text today we read that Jesus is glorified in us who have been given to Him by the Father. God the Father calls us out of our sinful life into His glorious and forgiving grace. He saves us and gives us to the Son. This transaction we call getting saved. When we are saved from our sin we become children of God, joint-heirs of heaven. We are taken from the family of sin and Satan and adopted into the family of God. No longer do we belong to this world and its sin but we now belong to God through the great work of Christ on the Cross.
Once God has wonderfully saved us and changed us into His image as new creatures in Him, Jesus is then glorified through us. As Christ prayed for us in the Garden, He prayed that He would be glorified through us. So, get this, every time you and I lift up the Savior by what we say, where we go, what we wear, what offence we resolve, and how we live we are seeing His prayer answered through us. My friends, this is amazing! We are seeing the prayers of Jesus answered in us when we do something that glorifies Him. How are you glorifying Christ today and answering His prayers for you?
Be in prayer for Sunday. Not only will we be starting a series on Longsuffering but we will also continue in 2 Corinthians 1 and will be delivering turkey dinners to people in need. We have identified ten families in our community through Naperville Township office that are in need. We will be visiting them with tangible care and be introducing ourselves and our church to them as a light of Christ in our community. Pray for open hearts. We could still use a few more dollars for the turkeys. If you were going to give but did not please let me know how much you plan to give so we can know how much to spend.
Have a great day in the Lord,
4 I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do. 5 And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.
6 “I have manifested Your name to the men whom You have given Me out of the world. They were Yours, You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word. 7 Now they have known that all things which You have given Me are from You. 8 For I have given to them the words which You have given Me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came forth from You; and they have believed that You sent Me.
Take time today to notice the submission of Jesus Christ to God the Father. There is a lot of argument going on today about the Trinity of God. I believe that God is triune in His existence but one in His essence. In His triune being the three persons of God act in complete harmony through submission to one another. Jesus Christ demonstrated this perfectly for us during His incarnation. Jesus, God in the flesh, completely submitted to the Father’s, God in heaven, will. In every way Jesus completed the will and plan of God the Father.
Jesus was not less than the Father for He was with the Father for eternity past. According to the Father’s will Jesus manifested the Father to the men given to Him. God gave these men and women to Jesus and Jesus showed them the Father. In doing so, the men and women believed in God in a greater way and glorified Him for sending His Son to them. (John 3:16)
Jesus gave these followers given to Him by God the words of the Father. As Jesus gave them the words of God they believed that Jesus came from God. Jesus acted in full submission to the Father and in doing so convinced the followers that He was from God. Suppose Jesus had gone off once in a while and had spouted about this or that. Suppose Jesus had taken some matters into His own hands and had forsaken the Father’s will a time or two just to shut up some people who needed to be shut up. In doing so, first of all Jesus would have sinned against God and secondly Jesus would have broken up the unity of the Trinity. Since Jesus was God none of this could have happened and thankfully it did not. In His perfect unity with the Father Jesus has shown us how we in His church under His headship and the Father’s Lordship how we too should get along in perfect harmony and submission.
Sunday is our day for passing out Thanksgiving turkey dinners to needy families in the community. We still need some bags of potatoes, some dinner rolls, and some canned sweet potatoes. Our goal is twenty dinners. We will be distributing these after church and some of you have signed up to be a part of this distribution. If you missed the sign up and would like to be a part of the distribution teams please respond back to me by email or text to let me know and we will add you to that team.
Last night we prayed for those who are out protesting against Donald Trump’s presidency. These protestors are people with fears of losing something and they have already lost any peace they might have had. We prayed that they would come to know the peace of God through Christ, the Prince of peace. Instead of looking on them with any other attitude, look on them with compassion and pray for their eternal salvation and eternal peace.
I have two friends struggling with cancer. Pray for a pastor named Phil and a friend named Tom. Both have been through treatments but are not well now. Both have families and lives they want to live.
Have a great day in the Lord,
God comforted Jesus and then tells us that He will comfort us in the same way. However, the comfort of God is only offered for His own children when they face life’s trials.
1Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You, 2 as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him. 3 And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.
Have you noticed the theme of eternal life in the teachings and emphasis of Jesus Christ? We get caught up with the Babe in the manger at Christmas and the crucifixion and resurrection at Easter but when do we focus on this primary theme of eternal life? I have seen people line up and walk by a statue of Jesus, touching the statue, kissing their hand and touching it again. Do they have eternal life or just a religion?
We love John 3:16. The emphasis of it is eternal life. We are thrilled that God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son. But don’t miss the emphasis that whosoever believes in Him has everlasting life!
Jesus came to pay our sin debt so we could live with God both now and forever. I John 5:12 says that he who has the Son has life. Eternal life begins the moment one’s sins are removed by the blood of Jesus through the grace of God. The message of Christ is this, “You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him. 3 And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.”
The question we should have for people is not about their church but about eternal life. For if Jesus came to give eternal life to all who would believe on Him, that He is God in the flesh and that He died to save them from their sins, they can be saved thus obtaining eternal life. So we can ask those around us if they have eternal life. Their answer to this question will let us know if they do or not and we can then ask them if we can tell them how they can have eternal life.
Since Jesus came to give us eternal life, do you have eternal life, today, right now?
On Monday the bulldozer cleaning up the parkway in the construction behind my house cut the cable for our internet. I sat down yesterday to write and send the devotional and did not have internet. As you can see, they did fix it later in the day. It was quiet around here Monday night for we did not have phone, internet nor TV. It was really kind of nice.
Mr. Trumps greatest challenge is not going to be setting up his office but convincing Americans that he is not the wrong President. Pray for our country. This unrest is without precedent here. We have seen huge demonstrations in other countries but we have never had this kind of movement. We need to see God at work in people’s lives, beginning in the oval office. Pray for the peace of God to come on Americans who are living in bitterness and fear.
Tonight we will gather for prayer as a church at 7:00. Remember our youth in your prayers as they are facing spiritual battles every day. Some are falling away while others are standing firm. Keep them all in your prayers and reach out to them when you can.
Have a great day in the Lord,
31 Jesus answered them, “Do you now believe? 32 Indeed the hour is coming, yes, has now come, that you will be scattered, each to his own, and will leave Me alone. And yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me. 33 These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
Jesus did not fret the future because He knew the future. The apostles, not knowing the future were troubled by Jesus’ predictions of their leaving Him, scattering from Him and leaving Him alone. Jesus did not rebuke them for what they were going to do but instead let them know that when that happened He would not be alone for His Father would be with Him. Throughout the trial and the beatings and the nails the Father was with the Son and the Son was comforted by the Father. It wasn’t until Christ took the curse of our sin upon Himself that the Father turned His back and the Son knew He had been forsaken by the Father. The greatest grief on the Cross was not the physical torture but the rejection of the Father.
Think about this for a moment. Those who think that going to hell won’t be a big deal are not aware that they will be eternally separated from the Father. In this life all people cry out to God at some point believing that He is there and hears their cry. When the Father’s back is turned true aloneness is realized. Thus for us who have trusted Christ we hold on the promise the God will never leave us nor forsake us.
Jesus went on to teach that the world would be harsh but in Him we would always have peace. What an example the Lord Jesus was to us! The peace of God that passes all understanding is what we now have because He who is in us, Jesus Christ, is greater than satan and all of his hosts who are in the world.
People are angry that Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton. They do not know the Lord nor do they have His present peace. Had Hillary won the other side would be angry. People do not have the peace of God and look to the wrong sources for their peace. We who have Jesus Christ in us must be thermostats in the world we live. We should set the temperature of the room. We should bring peace with us wherever we go because we have the Prince of peace residing within us and He is greater.
Pray for one another. We need to consider one another to provoke to love and good works. The best way to begin provoking one another is to pray for one another. There are real needs amongst us that only God can solve. Look around yourself at church and pray for one another.
I went to the Waubonsie Valley High School Veteran’s Day assembly yesterday. 2600 students heard about the value of protecting our country. It was a well-done, very patriotic event. Many veterans came and were honored. The band and the choir sang the song “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.” In that song Christ is sung about. “In the beauty of the lilies, Christ was born across the seas, with a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me. As He died to make men holy, let us die to make men free while God is marching on. Glory, glory Hallelujah, His truth is marching on.” As that was sung I prayed that some student might hear the gospel and cry out to the One who died to make men holy.
Have a great day in the Lord,
25 “I have said these things to you in figures of speech. The hour is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figures of speech but will tell you plainly about the Father. 26 In that day you will ask in my name, and I do not say to you that I will ask the Father on your behalf; 27 for the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God. 28 I came from the Father and have come into the world, and now I am leaving the world and going to the Father.”
29 His disciples said, “Ah, now you are speaking plainly and not using figurative speech! 30 Now we know that you know all things and do not need anyone to question you; this is why we believe that you came from God.”
Jesus came to be known and to make the Father known. Until Jesus came God was a God who was feared and love to Him was commanded but seldom personalized. David, the great Psalmist (hymnwriter) of Israel, understood the love of God and loved God in return. He was called, “the man after God’s own heart.” But most of the Old Testament people only feared God because they constantly rejected Him by rebelling against Him thus facing God’s wrath for their sin. So often was their rebellion and God’s chastening that people call the God of the Old Testament an angry God.
Jesus came to show us that God is not angry but God is longsuffering and patient. He longs to show His love, mercy and grace to all people. Jesus came to show us the Father through acts of compassion and love throughout His earthly ministry. By the end of His time, Jesus could say that the Father loved the apostles and they would believe Him.
Jesus also taught the apostles to go the Father on their own. God the Father is approachable! No, I do not need to go through Mary or any dead saint to get to God; He is approachable because He loves me. For God to love me means that God must first know me, and He does. He sent His Son to bear my sin, what other good thing would the Father possibly withhold from me? He who sent the Son out of love still loves and hears me when I pray to Him. As Jesus said, this is plain teaching. Through this plain teaching we can know with assurance that Jesus did come from God and that all that He said was true.
Someone said yesterday that America has been pulled away from the edge of the cliff. The conservative people of the country have exercised their rights as American citizens and have spoken against the movement away from conservative values. We are still on the edge of a moral cliff. Sin is still tolerated and even promoted. Abortion is still happening every day in most US cities. The government is still spending more than it is taking in. As much as we prayed for God to lead our country through this election, we must pray more for God to bring us away from that cliff edge of continued moral decline. However, moving away from moral decline requires confession of sin, repentance and a turning back to godly righteousness. We will continue to pray for the salvation of the Trumps and the Clintons and of those who are in positions of influence so that they may lead the nation in repentance and revival back to God.
Have a great day in the Lord,
Philippians 2:3–5 (ESV)
3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,
On a day of victory for the majority and a loss for the minorities let us look with care to all people. As a political conservative I rejoice in many of the outcomes of this election. As a Christ follower I want those who feel like they have lost to know that they are still people to be loved and cared for. Stefani received a group text this morning that all Trump voters showed hate to all LGBT and immigrant kids. The “hater” mantra needs to be struck down by the church of Jesus Christ.
We, who are called to show humility and love to all people, should be on the front lines of showing others to be more significant than ourselves. We do this by looking to their interests and not to our own. At the end of the day and the end of our lives what we do for Jesus Christ and for the furtherance of His kingdom is of greatest value. Perhaps today is a day when we as the church of Jesus Christ can say to those who feel that they have lost that there is still a God in heaven who loved them enough to send His only Son to die for their sins and for ours.
Instead of dividing along party lines may we unite under the love of God and the offer of God’s salvation to all. Salvation is salvation from sin. Love does not remove sin, repentance and faith in the work of Christ does. While we pray for the salvation of our leaders let us pray for humility and brokenness on the part of those who scream so loudly that they are proud of their sinful lives. Let us commit to continued prayer for President-elect Trump and his team to show true leadership. Let us commit to pray for those who think their lives will change that they will come to find the right change which is found in 2 Corinthians 5:17.
We have prayed for God to show Himself mighty. Let us now pray that those elected will thank God and will seek to rule in His wisdom following His righteousness.
We took Monday and Tuesday and went with Steven and Rachel and their kids to Wisconsin Dells. Wow, was that a nice and needed time. Bobbi found a great deal for us as long as we listened to a sales pitch. Thanks to Chula Vista for a great time. Whenever we spend time with our children we realize again the blessings of living for Christ. “The blessing of the Lord He makes rich, and adds no sorrow to it.”
Sunday was a great day for our church. God is working in people’s lives each week. It was a joy to see Daniel baptized and to see the thrill he now has for Christ. Pray for the continued working of God in our hearts.
Have a great day in the Lord,
In this message taken from 2 Corinthians 1:2, Pastor Steve looks at what a Christian church isn’t and what it is supposed to be. Follow us through the NT to see what God had in mind for what we call a church.