Month: December 2016

Prepared for every good work

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This was the result of my personal reading this morning. A little different but something for you to consider.
Prepared for every good work

2 Timothy 2:21
Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work. –

What prepares me to be ready for every good work? The next verse tells me to flee youthful lusts and to follow after righteousness, faith, love and peace.

Looking for Christ’s second coming prepares me to be ready.

A Christ focus, dying to the flesh makes me ready.

Submitting constantly to Christ’s lordship makes me ready.

Fighting the good fight of faith, 2 Timothy 4:7 makes me ready.

The greatest challenge in this life to always being ready for every good work is the constant temptation to sins of the flesh, eyes, and mind. I really need to keep before me that God, the God of heaven and earth, the Savior of my life, the indwelling Holy Spirit, wants me to always be ready for His leading, His opportunity, His immediate placement of me into a situation of doing a good work for Him and His kingdom. If my focus is wrong, if sin has led me astray, if I am at all distracted, then I am not ready for every good work.

While being busy for God, I cannot say that I have always been ready for every good work that He has placed before me. From this point on, I want to follow this admonition of Paul to Timothy and I want to be ready for every good work that God has for me. This is not about what I might get to do so I can become someone for my pride has also caused me not to be ready at times. No, this is about being ready to quietly do what God places before me as His good work.

Thank you for your prayers for my trip. The memorial service went well and I was glad to be able to support my friend and his family. Death is always a reminder that one day all of us will succumb to it. It is a reminder that I never want to be far from as it keeps my focus where it needs to be, that is, on the eternal.

Praying for the swift spread of the gospel

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2 Thessalonians 3

1Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may run swiftly and be glorified, just as it is with you, and that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men; for not all have faith.

But the Lord is faithful, who will establish you and guard you from the evil one.

 

Have you noticed how often Paul ask for and prays for the spread of the gospel? Here he prays that the word of the Lord may swiftly run to the glory of God.  I have read about times when the Word of God seemed to run through families and towns bringing conviction of sin and revival of salvations.  In my childhood, the church my dad pastored had a season of time when the good news of the gospel seemed to be running through it with people being saved every week and baptisms happening often.  What a great time that was and through it God grew a great church with fruit being brought forth even to this day.

 

Will you pray with me that in 2017 we would see the word of the Lord run swiftly in Naperville and Aurora and Warrenville and Lisle and Bolingbrook, and Downers Grove and Sugar Grove and more?  We must present ourselves as clean vessels that God can sanctify and use as channels of His gospel.  As we live lives to His glory God will use us to spread His gospel.

 

According to verse 3, we need God to establish us and to guard our hearts from the evil one.  Satan is our enemy.  Our own fleshly lusts and desires are our enemy.  The world around us is our enemy. But the Lord is faithful and will guard us from the enemies of this life.  In the meantime, I pray for those enemies of the gospel to be brought under conviction by the swiftly running gospel of Jesus Christ so that they may repent, be saved, and become my brothers and sisters forever.

 

I will be at Sunrise Assisted Living today at 10:30 for our weekly service there.  If any of you would like to come and bring your children they will be well received by the residents there.  The service last a half hour.  It is located on Chicago Ave east of Washington Street, just before the fire department on the south side of the road. 

 

I am going to Iowa tonight for a friend’s dad’s memorial service tomorrow.   Tomorrow night will be our regular Wednesday night of prayer, Bible study, youth group and kids club. 

 

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

 

Why Jesus came

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Galatians 4

But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.

In the fullness of God’s time, He sent forth His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.  When God began the world His clock began to tick.  Over the next four thousand years many events took place by the sovereign plan of God.  He promised a son to Eve who would crush the serpent’s head.  He promised Noah that He would dwell in the tents of Shem, He promised Abraham that through him all of the nations of the world would be blessed, and God promised David that his throne would be established forever.  In the fullness of time Jesus came and fulfilled all of the promises of God.

But why did Jesus come?  We all know this and Paul makes it clear in Galatians 4:5.  God sent His Son to redeem us from our sin, to redeem us who under the law were kept apart from God by the continual breaking of His holy law.  Jesus came to redeem us!  Before the Christmas week ends and before the decorations come down and before the Spirit of Christmas gives way to the regular actions and attitudes of life, remind all of the people you can that Jesus came to redeem us. We, unable to keep God’s law, needed to redeemed from our sin.  Jesus came to redeem us so that we could be adopted as sons into God’s eternal family.

Yesterday was a wonderful Christmas Day in every way.  Our service was filled with Scripture and song exalting the coming of Christ. The people read the Scriptures together.  Our message was a reminder of why Christ came and that He is coming again.  The world that wasn’t ready for the first coming of Christ won’t be ready for His second coming, but we who know Him are anxiously looking for the Savior’s return. 

Enjoy your week with the kids home from school.

Have a great day in the Lord,
PS

 

God in His goodness is greater

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2 Thessalonians 2

And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming.

 

I don’t believe in Ying-Yang.  Ying-Yang is the idea that good and evil are equal, thus the equal fields of black and white in the symbol.  I don’t believe that good and evil in an equal state balance the universe because our good God is greater than our evil enemy, Satan.  So much greater is God than Satan that God has told us how in His time Satan will be both fully exposed for who he deceptively is and he will be fully consumed by God’s breath and fully destroyed by God’s brightness.

In this life, at this time, Satan is the prince and the power of the air.  He is the spirit of wickedness who dwells in the hearts of those in his evil family.  Don’t be surprised at this, all of us were born into the evil family of Satan where he guided  us as our father of sin. Jesus told the religious Pharisees that they were of their father the devil and the lusts of their father is what they did.  All who are born in sin take their parental queues from their evil father of sin.  As the “great deceiver,” Satan makes all believe that the sin of their life is good for them at some level, thus we have the “mystery of lawlessness.”

But when King Jesus comes that mystery will be exposed in all of its deceptive evil when all of Satan’s lying darkness will be exposed by the pure light of Jesus Christ. Nothing will be hidden and all mankind will understand the full truth from the full lie.  Then, once Satan has been fully exposed he will be fully consumed and utterly destroyed.  John tells us in Revelation 19 and 20 that Satan will be bound by God for a thousand years, released for a short time, and then cast into the eternal lake of fire where God has already condemned the anti-christ and his false prophet.

I love that we can read the last chapter and know that God is not held in check by Satan’s evil but that Satan’s evil is held in check by God’s glorious power and light.  I love knowing that the evil one who regularly attacks me is a defeated enemy whose deceptions I can see now and soon all will see.  Jesus came to set the captives, us, free.  Enjoy being free from the enemy of our soul by our adoption into the Fatherhood of God.  John 1:12

Don’t you love telling people, “Merry Christmas!”  When they hold the corporate line and tell me “Happy Holidays” I shoot back with a joyous and happy “Merry Christmas to you!” Pray with me that this Christmas the lines of Christmas songs and the truths of the incarnation will be used by the Holy Spirit to bring conviction of sin and repentance to salvation.  Those around us are so lost and Christ is so able to save. 

All of you are welcome to join us at our home Christmas Eve for a time of singing and rejoicing in our Savior.  If you can’t sing, come and hum enjoying the voices and the instruments proclaiming the glory of God at Christmas.  We will begin around 6:00,

 

Have a great day in the Lord,
PS

Why did God bring His Son through the line of King David?

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To the Jews at the time of Jesus, genealogy was important. In this message we find that Jesus fit both the legal line of King David through Joseph, His adopted father, and the blood line of King David through Mary, His mother. All of this matters because one day King Jesus will reign on the throne of David and will do so forever. But today, King Jesus, who is the rightful king by birth, wants to reign on the throne of our hearts.

 

Jesus came and is coming again

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2 Thessalonians 2

1 Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come.

Before the Lord Jesus came the first time there was much written about it and so there was much anticipation at the wrong times.  When He did come the people wanted a King instead of a Savior and so rejected Christ for not being what they wanted.

When Jesus ascended into heaven the angels told the followers that Jesus would come again in like manner as they saw Him go.  He went in the clouds; He will come in the clouds.  Those who saw Jesus ascend truly thought that He would return in their lifetimes.  They anticipated His coming and they taught that He was coming.  When Jesus did not come and some of them began to die off the teaching of the second coming became distorted.  Some thought that Jesus had come and that they missed it.  As you can imagine, this was a troubling teaching.

2000 years have now passed and the Lord still has not returned.  In His longsuffering, God desires that more people receive His grace and be saved from their sin.  So God waits.  We are the ones who are to still anticipate Christ’s return for indeed, He could come back even today.  What a joy it would be that on the day we celebrate the Savior’s first coming if He were return for His second coming.  The true worshippers would be thrilled to see Him.  Those living for themselves would not even know that the Savior, as King, had come.  Let us be among those who are anticipating the return of the Lord Jesus.  Let us be among those who are inviting others to anticipate His return with us.  Let us be ready in every way so that when God’s time has fully come and Christ comes again we will be more ready than the world was at the first coming.

 

We will enjoy our regular Wednesday evening prayer and Bible study tonight.  We will have youth group and kids club.  See you then.

Saturday night, Christmas Eve, we are doing something a little bit different.  Instead of having a formal service at the church, Bobbi and I are inviting those who are free to come join us at our home for a time of singing and rejoicing in the Savior’s birth and life.  We will begin around 6:00. 

Sunday morning we will have one service at 10:30 celebrating Christmas together in Christmas Day.

I am so grieved over the people who are suffering in Syria today. To watch an entire city reduced to rubble while its innocent inhabitants are trapped and suffering drives me to prayer.  As an American, I wonder why our country has sat and watched this suffering happen without helping.  Pray with me for people there to be saved both physically and spiritually.

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

 

Salvation will change us for God’s purposes and glory

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2 Thessalonians 1

11 Therefore we also pray always for you that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfill all the good pleasure of His goodness and the work of faith with power, 12 that the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

Paul’s desires for those whom he had led to Christ were very specific.  Along with their salvation came a calling to fulfill the good pleasures of God’s goodness and God’s work of faith with power.  We have seen a cheapening of salvation leading people to get saved without any consideration of how receiving Christ changes the whole life.  In fact, I have never known a genuine Christian whose whole life did not change.  I have known many who professed Christ but never showed real life change; their lack of life change eventually was the demonstration of the lack of Christ in their lives thus the lack of genuine salvation.

When God saves people God changes them and gives them a whole new purpose for life.  Instead of living for one’s own goals and dreams that new creature because of Christ within wants to walk worthy of the God who has saved them desiring to fulfill the good pleasure of His goodness and the work of faith with His power.  True conversion equals true change of life.

But Paul wasn’t done yet.  His thought continues into verse 12 telling us why we life differently: we live differently so that the name of our new Lord, Jesus Christ, may be glorified in us and us in Him according to the grace of God and the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ.  My friends, we do not live the Christian life to gain any points with God or with man.  No, a thousand times no!  God changes us so that He and His Son, the Lord Jesus, will be glorified in us.  The Christian life is never about us, you see, it is all about God who works in us for His glory to show off His grace.  For when others see the grace of God in us they glorify God.

If your salvation has changed you, embrace the change and thank God for it.  Live the change so that others can and will see God’s glory and grace in you.  When they do, point them to the same Savior who has worked so mightily in you.

Many thanks to those who worked to present our Christmas program last Sunday morning.  It was a blessed time together on a very cold morning.  Our children were wonderful, as they always are.  We rejoiced together in the coming of Christ through Mary and His humble birth as He was laid in the manger.  Thanks to the youth who worked to prepare us two songs to exalt the Lord.  It was a great day for our church.

Sunday night, nine of us went to Sunrise Assisted Living to sing for the residents there.  What a joy it was to us to see the joy on these dear people’s faces.  We sang together, we talked about Christmas traditions, we rejoiced in our Savior’s birth and His coming as our Lord.  One woman cried as we sang, Oh Little Town of Bethlehem.  All of us left quite fulfilled to have been tools of God’s grace and love. 

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS