Month: January 2017
The Law of God became a veil on the hearts of the the people of Israel. Paul taught that the veil was removed by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Satan works to keep people blinded behind the veil lest the light of Christ shine into their hearts and they be saved.
5 Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
6 So we may boldly say: “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?”
The word “conduct” indicates our entire life. This is not limited to Sunday mornings, or special retreats of the church. No, the conduct of our lives is to be how we live every waking hour of our lives. And so the Lord instructs here that we live our entire lives without covetousness. Covetousness is a general discontent with what we have and a regular desire for what others have. Covetousness is, in essence, telling God that His plan for your life is not sufficient for you, you want more or different than He has chosen for you.
In the heart of the follower of Jesus Christ there is to be contentedness in Christ. He has not left us nor has He forsaken us. Are you content in Christ? Are you at peace with what God has given you and has enabled you to make and provide? Are you at peace with your gifts and your abilities from God? Are you content with all that God has given you?
Those who have more of this world often have less of Christ. Please know that the riches of Christ are more tangible than the riches of this life. To be content in Christ is to live without covetousness. To be content in Christ is to be content in what He has given us. To be content in Christ is to live in the reality of His abiding presence. So that we may boldly say, “The Lord is my helper, I will not fear. What can man do to me?”
I must say that I am thankful for our church. Our annual meeting was so peaceful, so God-honoring. I am thankful that we do not have a spirit of discontent in our church nor is there a spirit of division. We are all working together to know God, to love God, and to serve Him with the gifts that God has given to us. We are seeking God this year to save souls of men and women and teens and children right here in Naperville. Join us in this prayer today and every day. Labor in this prayer. Beg God to save the hard cases. Let us see God do what only He can do this year.
Have a great day in the Lord,
25 See that you do not refuse Him who speaks. For if they did not escape who refused Him who spoke on earth, much more shall we not escape if we turn away from Him who speaks from heaven, 26 whose voice then shook the earth; but now He has promised, saying, “Yet once more I shake not only the earth, but also heaven.” 27 Now this, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of those things that are being shaken, as of things that are made, that the things which cannot be shaken may remain.
28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. 29 For our God is a consuming fire.
For all of us who love the mercy of God and the love of God this chapter of Hebrews ends abruptly and harshly. So let’s take a look at it. Earlier in the chapter the writer reminds the readers of the day when God brought the Law at Mount Sinai. It was a great day for Israel but the most fearful day of their history. The mountain shook, the skies darkened, smoke ascended from the mountain; they were in the fearful presence of Almighty God. Today, he says, we are called to Mount Zion, the heavenly city of God which stands in stark contrast to Mount Sinai. Zion is a place of victory, peace, and grace.
However, we who enjoy God’s grace and peace must never forget who God is and what He had to do to those who refused to hear His word at Sinai. If you remember, those who built the golden calf and worshipped it were killed. Others who rejected the word of God had the earth open up and swallow them. As we read earlier, “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”
You see, God wants to show us mercy. James wrote that mercy triumphs over judgment and boy are we ever glad for that! But those who take advantage of mercy and use mercy as a cloak for their disobedience to God need to wake up and realize just Who they are disobeying. God does not take disobedience lightly for yes, when it comes to judgment, He is a consuming fire. Therefore, we must serve God acceptably with reverence and with godly fear. The works of faith are the works that God calls us to. Here God calls us, the people of faith in Him, to serve Him in full understanding of who He is. This is acceptable to Him.
Sunday is our annual meeting for the church. We will be voting on the budget for 2017 and will be voting on the slate of officers presented last Sunday. If you have questions about the budget you can call a deacon or an elder. If you have a question about the slate of officers call an elder. During lunch, which the church is providing, we will hear reports from the different ministries of our church. Please plan to stay and enjoy the lunch and the reports.
Have a great day in the Lord,
14 Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord:
15 looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled;
Pursuing peace with all people and pursuing holiness are in the same sentence as not falling short of the grace of God and letting bitterness spring up within, cause trouble and defile us.
I have trouble going to meetings that don’t end up with action plans. Meeting just for the sake of having a meeting is boring and a waste of time. Meetings should have an agenda and then something to do after the meeting. Prayers for peace without acting toward holiness and greater forgiveness are wasted prayers. I can pray all day for peace with my wife but if I don’t change how I act toward her and continue to hold bitterness against her my prayers won’t do any good.
Hear me on this, if you want to follow this teaching from Hebrews 12 and if you want to be at peace with as many people as possible, then you must act in holiness toward them and practice a forgiving lifestyle every day. There is no place for unkindness, arrogance, selfishness, self-will, nor revenge in the Holy Spirit led life. Spirit-filled living treats people as Christ treated those in His lifetime.
Then, if you want to be a peace with others, you must life a daily life of forgiveness toward all people. Any time that you hold a grudge, hold anger, refuse to forgive, or just let an offense fester, you are harboring bitterness. I think that bitterness is Satan’s grand tool to destroy Christian’s lives. For while the grace of God is eternal, its effects can be lost when someone let’s their bitterness control them, trouble them, and defile them.
Pursue peace with all around you, strive to treat them in a holy manner, and never go to bed with a bitter spirit toward another person. Satan will be defeated, God will be honored, and we will have greater peace.
This Sunday is Pro-Life Sunday. I am 100% pro-life! There is only one Author and only one Taker of life and that is our Creator God who made every one of us in His image to bear His likeness in this life. Taking lives either in the womb or out of the womb is something that God himself calls “murder.” I stand with all groups that are fighting abortion and am thankful for this current opportunity to defund Planned Parenthood (which is the biggest oxymoron of the day – they do not provide prenatal care, they do not provide breast exams, their biggest cash-cow is killing infants inside their mother’s wombs thus taking would-be moms away from being parents). Pray for the abolition of abortion in this country first and others to follow.
I, for one, my wife, my children, Victory Academy, and New Life Baptist Church are all glad that my mother did not abort me. Who is glad that your mom did not abort you? All lives matter, all races, all ages, and all lives in the womb. Thank God for being the Supreme Life Giver that He is.
Have a great day in the Lord,
7 If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten?
8 But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons.
9 Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live?
10 For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness.
11 Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
Those whom God loves He chastens. As a dad I really understand this. Before I was a dad disobedient kids were a nuisance. Why didn’t their parents correct them? What was wrong with those people who let their kids pitch a fit in public? I know what I would do if I were their parent. Humph.
Then I had children of my own and then I understood how love for my children was behind my correction. I understood that my embarrassment in public wasn’t the issue; their hearts were the issue. In my embarrassment I might change their actions but in my love I desired to change their hearts.
God loves us far more than we could ever love our children. This is evidenced in God sending His Son for the sacrifice for our sins while we were still sinners. In God’s love for us He wants our hearts changed, not just our behavior. So we might embarrass God in public and get away with it but in private He is going to speak to our hearts.
God’s chastening of us is never abusive nor excessive but it is what we need. When He chastens us it is with His full loving heart and with the exact chastening we need to bring us to partake with His holiness. “Thank you Lord for your loving chastening.”
No, chastening is not a blessing, it is painful and is meant to be. But the end of it is the training of our hearts to produce the peaceable fruit of God’s righteousness. Thank God for His corrective hand and let Him shape you into the child that He wants you to be.
I hope to see you tonight for prayer. We sure do need the Lord to step in and to do His miraculous work of salvation in many hearts.
Pray for Mike as he prepares a message for our teens and for the kids4truth as we seek to impact the hearts of our children.
Sunday is our annual meeting. Please plan to stay with us for lunch as we hear reports from the different ministries and consider our church plans for this year.
Have a great day in the Lord,
For some great short clips on why women should have their children, go to this link and scroll through. It will take you two minutes and will encourage your pro-life position.
1 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
In the last devotional we looked at those who have lived for Christ before us as examples of how we are to live the life of faith. While their examples are very helpful for us, the writer of Hebrews goes beyond their lives to the life and death of Christ as our ultimate example of living by faith.
Because of those who have lived for Christ by faith before us, we know how to lay aside every weight and the sin that besets us. But human examples are flawed. As great as David was, we often think of his greatest sin, not his great faith. As great as Abraham was, he lied twice about his wife to a king and his faith faltered when he had a son through Sarah’s handmaid. If we only looked at human examples we might also justify a little failure on our part.
Let us look unto Jesus, the author and the finisher of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despised the shame, and is set down at the right hand of God. The Lord Jesus, God in human flesh, had every opportunity for sin that we have. He had every temptation that we have. He had every trial that we have. And yet, the God-Man resisted every fleshly opportunity in order to obey the will of the Father and go to the cross as the spotless Lamb. Consider Him.
Look unto Jesus, who for the joy set before Him… There is no joy in beating, in shame and in crucifixion. By looking at the joy our Savior looked past the trials and the pain to us, the redeemed of the ages, and knew that when His work of redemption was complete we would be with Him as His eternal bride forever. The foreknowledge of Christ enabled Him to finish His work with joy. He who loved us eternally did all that He needed to do to save us eternally. Consider Him.
Look unto Jesus, who is now seated at the right hand of the Father. When we come to Christ in humility and in faith we find His arms open to receive us. He who shed His blood for our sins takes our sins and gives us His righteousness and does so forever. We who are born in sin can walk in faith-filled righteousness and through Christ can be at His right hand forever. Consider Him as you walk by faith in all that you do today.
Pray with me that the Word of God that goes forth in our church will be clear to all who hear it. Pray that the clear Word of God will bring conviction of sin and repentance to righteousness. We have men and women and teens every week who come and hear and leave without repentance. Pray with me for the miracle of salvation to happen in our very church building.
If you would like a Christian view of the women’s marches that took place last week, go to IFI’s website and read Laurie Higgens’ commentary on it. Laurie is a woman of great insight and looks at this march from a historical and a Christian viewpoint.
Bobbi came home last night. We were all glad to see her. Jared was really glad to see her. He always shows his gladness by hugging and holding on. She had a great time and was glad to be able to serve Ben and Anna and Emilia.
Ed Green is having knee replacement starting at 10:00 today. Keep him and his doctors in your prayers. He will be at CDH through tomorrow.
Have a great day in the Lord,
32 And what more shall I say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon and Barak and Samson and Jephthah, also of David and Samuel and the prophets: 33 who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, 34 quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. 35 Women received their dead raised to life again.
Others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection. 36 Still others had trial of mockings and scourgings, yes, and of chains and imprisonment. 37 They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented—38 of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth.
39 And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise, 40 God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us.
12 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
There are some activities in life that don’t have a whole lot of instructions with them. We have often jumped into something hoping we were doing it right and wanting a good outcome. The life of faith is not like that. Hebrews 11 has been called the “Hall of Fame of Faith.” We are called to consider the lives of men and women who trusted God at major points of their lives. When these people obeyed God by faith and through faith amazing things happened! Did you read verses 33-35? Great things happened through ordinary people.
Verse 39 speaks of all of these men and women as being people of a good testimony. The words “good testimony” are one word in the Greek language and in 12:1 is translated “witnesses.” When people trust in God during their lives they become known as witnesses of God’s power. Their very lives become testimonies of the God of heaven and of His faithfulness to His own.
Friends, we have good witnesses to look to. These normal people did amazing things when they took God at His word and fully obeyed what He said. At that point their lives testified, gave witness to the will and the power of God. We are surrounded by those who obeying God by faith set an example for us to follow.
Today we are having a funeral for a faithful woman, Nancy Hall. Ken and Nancy Hall were people of great faith in their great God. We have examples of what this life of faithful obedience looks like both in Scripture and all around us. Ask God what steps of faith He has for you to take, then through faith join those whose example we have to follow, and do all that God is leading you to do.
With Bobbi at Ben and Anna’s this week and planning for Nancy’s funeral it has been a very different week for me. Pray with us and the Hall family for those who come to the funeral to see Christ and to come to Him as Savior and Lord. I will be bringing a message looking at the peace and grace that Nancy and Ken lived and pointing us to the Lord who wants to give His peace and grace to all. The wake is from 10:00-1:00 with the service at 1:00. This will all take place at Calvary Church on Rt 59 in their south chapel.
We are all praying for the inauguration of our new President today. Pray specifically for the salvation of President Trump. What if he came to Christ and trumpeted out His message for four years! May Christ be exalted. Pray also for the safety of all of the people in D.C. today. It is a strange inauguration, to say the least. I heard last night that 37 permits have been given out for groups against the new President and one permit was given out for a group in favor of him. Last night there was a riot where police used pepper spray to calm down a crowd. Join me in prayer for the protection of people and for the salvation of the lost.
How do I feel? I am ever thankful that God is in control, that He is sovereign over the affairs of men and that He will accomplish all that He wants accomplished this day as always. “Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.”
Have a great day in the Lord ,