Month: May 2017

A Theme God wants us to remember – He is God

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Isaiah 46

8     “Remember this, and show yourselves men;

Recall to mind, O you transgressors.

9     Remember the former things of old,

For I am God, and there is no other;

I am God, and there is none like Me,

10   Declaring the end from the beginning,

And from ancient times things that are not yet done,

Saying, ‘My counsel shall stand,

And I will do all My pleasure,’

11   Calling a bird of prey from the east,

The man who executes My counsel, from a far country.

Indeed I have spoken it;

I will also bring it to pass.

I have purposed it;

I will also do it.
This section begins with God calling men to show themselves as men.  A man remembers the important things of live, he remembers who he was before God came into his life and he remembers that there is one God and follows Him.  You see, it takes a real man or a real woman to remember their sinful life before the Lord took over and to ever live mindful of the eternal God who saved them.  Anyone, anyone, anyone can act like those around them.  It takes a person of spiritual integrity to stand alone and to stand above.

The difference? God is God alone.  God alone declares the end of time from the beginning of time.  God alone can make prophecies of events hundreds and thousands of years before they happen and brings all of time to a focal point when He fulfills His prophetic word.  God alone accomplishes all of His good pleasure in the world and the people that He created.  In verse 11 God tells us that He can call a pagan king to come to do His purpose in His world, for whatever God purposes, that is what He does.

Can you rest in a God like this?  Can you find greater purpose for your day knowing that the God of heaven is accomplishing His good pleasure in it?  What are we worrying about?  What are we afraid of? What depresses us?  God is God, He is on the throne of the universe, and God has predicted all that will happen and is working all things to accomplish His will for His glory.  God has given us a part in His will by placing us on this earth at this time.  Be zealous for the Lord of hosts.

What a great time we had yesterday at our annual church Memorial Day picnic.  We had food in abundance, games galore, a canoe and a lake, and brothers and sisters in Christ to enjoy it all together.  And while it was quite windy, the sun shone and we got burned by it.  Families came, couples came, singles came, and all enjoyed all kinds of conversations.  Though we left tired, we left fulfilled. What a great family our church is. 

Keep praying for Ken to find a job quickly.  Many applications, nothing yet. 

On Sunday we honored our high school graduates.  Remember Lebo, Matthew, and Kyle in your prayers and they embark on a new chapter of their lives.

Keep praying for VBS.

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

Who Carries Who?

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Isaiah 46

46      Bel bows down, Nebo stoops;

Their idols were on the beasts and on the cattle.

Your carriages were heavily loaded,

A burden to the weary beast.

2    They stoop, they bow down together;

They could not deliver the burden,

But have themselves gone into captivity.

3    “Listen to Me, O house of Jacob,

And all the remnant of the house of Israel,

Who have been upheld by Me from birth,

Who have been carried from the womb:

4    Even to your old age, I am He,

And even to gray hairs I will carry you!

I have made, and I will bear;

Even I will carry, and will deliver you.

Believe it or not, God sometimes uses humor to make His point.  This chapter begins telling about the beasts of burden who are heavily loaded with the idols of Bel and Nebo.  These pagan gods of the surrounding nations had to be carried wherever they went.  They were so heavy that the animals who carried them were really weighted down with the load.  So heavy are these idols that the beast were weary when loaded with these idols of the false gods.

We then read that the beasts of burden carried these idols of false gods into captivity!  The gods whom the idols were supposed to represent could not even stop the carrying animals from taking them into captivity.  What kind of gods are these that are a burden to their people and are easily taken into captivity with the people who worship them.  You can almost hear a mocking laugh out of heaven.

But then God contrasts himself with these gods that need to be carried and lets the house of Israel know that He has CARRIED them!  What a glorious contrast this is.  Israel never carried their God but their God always bore them on His shoulders through every day of their lives.  From youth to old age God carries His children.  Since we did not make our God (in contrast to the idols which were carved by their worshippers) but He made us, He takes full responsibility for us (in contrast to the idols which were cared for by their makers).

Remember the poem, “Footprints In the Sand”? I have seen in it in many homes and cards.  It is the poem where the person looking back in life saw two sets of footprints in the sand of life.  But in the hours of life’s greatest trials there was only one set of footprints in the sand.  The poem goes on to say that the writer ultimately realized that when there was only one set of footprints they were God’s and He was carrying the writer.  So we see here in Isaiah, God carries His people from youth to old age because He is God, He made us, and He is intimately interested in all of our lives. “Thank you God for the depth and the ability of your care for us.”

Our lives are pretty focused on VBS right now.  Tomorrow morning, MaryEllen will be at church working on decorations.  If you can help her from 9:00-12:00 please do.  Many hands make light the work. Just after noon I will be going to parks to pass out flyers.  If anyone can join me meet me at church around noon.  All of us can pray.  Colossians 4 tells us of a man named Epaphras who is remembered for his continual and labored prayer for the church.  Let us become like Epaphras and labor fervently in prayer for God to use VBS to save the souls of children and of adults.  Let’s ask God to use VBS this year to bring new families into our church. Pray for good weather.  Pray for safety.  Pray for the rest of the needed workers to step up.  Pray for Bobbi as she labors to get all of the details in place.   Pray for those teaching the Bible to be filled with God’s Spirit as they teach.  Pray for VBS.

Sunday morning I will be bringing a message on Repentance from 2 Corinthians 7.  This is needful teaching in every generation.  Be sure to join us for this important theme. 

Last Sunday’s message is on the website as is the message “When is Grace received in Vain.”  Please let me know if you have a preference of audio or video format for the recorded messages.  I learned this week how to do just audio and it is quite simple. 

Have a great day in the Lord,
PS

How is Grace received in vain?

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In 2 Corinthians 6:1-2 we are challenged not to receive the grace of God in vain.  In this message, Pastor Steve looks at the passage and explains that the gifts of gospel opportunity that are given to us are either received by us or rejected.  When we reject the gospel messages and opportunities that are given to us, the one who gave that gift to us did so in vain.  Paul felt this vain effort in his ministry and challenged the Corinthian believers to receive the gift of his labor to them.

Separate yourself to God

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2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1 teaches us who are God’s ambassadors to separate ourselves to God. Paul did not teach here separation from things and people, as most Fundamentalists think, but to do something very positive with a very positive outcome. For when we separate ourselves to God he then lives in us and with us.

 

The Bible in one sentence

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Isaiah 45

22 “Look to Me, and be saved, All you ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other.

I suppose that if we boiled down the entire message of the Bible it might be read in this one sentence. From the beginning, God desired Adam and Eve to walk with Him and they decided to follow the false god’s temptations instead of the true God’s loving instructions. When they came to God He shed the blood of a lamb on an altar so they could be saved from that sin.

 

When God spared Noah it was because God extended His grace to save Noah and his family. God reached into the world’s idolatrous population and called Abraham choosing to save him and make of him a great nation through whom God would send Jesus to shed His blood to save us from our sin.

 

No other god can save for no other god really exists except in the minds of those who worship them. When people look to religions and movements to save them they will spend countless hours and endless money to get the salvation that only comes from the only God who is and who alone can save.

 

Jesus said, “I have come to seek and to save that which was lost.” He came to provide salvation to all who would come to Him and all, throughout all ages, who have placed their faith in the completed work of Christ for them, have been saved by Him. Yes, our God is a saving God who desires that all of us be saved by His grace.

 

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”   Pass this thought on to someone today. God still desires to save all who will come to Him through Jesus Christ.

 

I was misinformed yesterday about our dear sister, Nancy. They took her in for a second jaw surgery not a liver stint. The jaw surgery was successful but she was delirious most of the day and last night. Bobbi and Heather went to see her after church and she was convinced that the nurses were not really nurses. Pray for Nancy’s body to cleanse the toxins from the anesthetic. She needs a liver still and a hip replacement. The fact that they could put her out and bring her back yesterday is a miracle of God. We are thanking Him for one successful surgery.

 

Tonight there is another Pray Naperville prayer meeting at our church. This is open to the community and is from 7:00-8:00.

 

Tomorrow night we are hosting a Pastor’s Place at my house. We will send out a blast to the teens.

 

Saturday afternoon I will be going out to pass out flyers for VBS. If you want to go with me please let me know.

 

Have a great day in the Lord,
PS

Following God has neither shame nor disgrace

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Isaiah 45

11   Thus says the Lord,

The Holy One of Israel, and his Maker:

“Ask Me of things to come concerning My sons;

And concerning the work of My hands, you command Me.

12   I have made the earth,

And created man on it.

I—My hands—stretched out the heavens,

And all their host I have commanded.

 

17   But Israel shall be saved by the Lord

With an everlasting salvation;

You shall not be ashamed or disgraced

Forever and ever.

 

I would like to focus on verse 17 for this devotional. Since God is the only One who can predict the future and cause future events to happen, and since God is the Creator of all we can see and know, we can trust that He is also the God who can save us.  God’s salvation is an everlasting salvation.  From the rest of the Scriptures we understand that God is longsuffering with us all the way to our salvation.  God desires to save us from our sin and God desires to use us, our bodies, as His Temple here on earth.  (We studied this last Sunday from 2 Corinthians 6)  God is love; God in His love sent His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to this earth with the end goal of His death on the cross for our redemption and justification.

Then verse 17 tells us that all who are saved by the Lord will neither be ashamed nor disgraced.  Sin always brings shame and if we continue in that sin it will also bring us to disgrace.  Sin is shameful for it is the outgrowth of our rebellion to God and our consuming selfishness.  When we live primarily for ourselves we will do shameful things and those shameful things can and will disgrace us.  Sin is a horrible master and Satan only desires our destruction.

But God, who is rich in mercy with His great love with which He loves us, wants to keep us from shame and its corresponding disgrace.  Oh my friends, why do we not follow our Lord more closely? Why do we not commit more of our lives to Him? It just makes sense to follow the Lord both for now and forever.  Following our God as closely as humanly possible will keep us from major regrets and fill us with confidence and peace that we are doing the right things and living the right life.

I went to see Nancy yesterday and she said they were going to put a stint in her liver today.  The goal of the stint is to take blood flow through part of her liver then to bypass the part that is no longer allowing blood to flow through it.  There is a danger for her in this in that anesthetic needs a good liver to be filtered out when the surgery is over.  I just got a message that Nancy’s surgery is scheduled for 8:30 this morning.  Let’s band together at 8:30 and pray for our sister until the surgery is completed and she is back in her room. 

We do have our regular program tonight but again, we have switched the prayer time to the end to accommodate those who work later. 

VBS is coming quickly.  We have a need for key workers with the 1st-3rd grade children.  We need team leaders who take 6-10 children from room to room each night.  These leaders are the first ones to tell the children about the Savior.

Have a great day in the Lord,
PS

God puts kings and rulers in place

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Isaiah 45:1–7

1 “Thus says the Lord to His anointed, To Cyrus, whose right hand I have held— To subdue nations before him And loose the armor of kings, To open before him the double doors, So that the gates will not be shut:

2 ‘I will go before you And make the crooked places straight; I will break in pieces the gates of bronze And cut the bars of iron.

3 I will give you the treasures of darkness And hidden riches of secret places, That you may know that I, the Lord, Who call you by your name, Am the God of Israel.

4 For Jacob My servant’s sake, And Israel My elect, I have even called you by your name; I have named you, though you have not known Me.

5 I am the Lord, and there is no other; There is no God besides Me. I will gird you, though you have not known Me,

6 That they may know from the rising of the sun to its setting That there is none besides Me. I am the Lord, and there is no other;

7 I form the light and create darkness, I make peace and create calamity; I, the Lord, do all these things.’

Look with me at whom God is speak to in this passage. In verse 1 we see that God is speaking through Isaiah to Cyrus who was the king of Babylon according to history and to Ezra 4:1-6. Cyrus then was a pagan king of a pagan government. But look at how God addresses King Cyrus of Persia: “His anointed.”   The God of heaven and the God of His people raised up a Persian king who would take over Babylon when the men and women whose parents had been taken into captivity were ready to return to Jerusalem. God sent Israel into captivity for 70 years and then raised up Cyrus, who would do God’s bidding in God’s timing to return the exiles, rebuild their temple and rebuild the city walls. We see in this Isaiah passage that God was in control of all things regarding His people at all times.

 

Every generation can put the name of their king, their president, and their prime minister in this passage. Romans 14 tells us that every government power is of God and does God’s bidding. Last year we could say the President Obama was God’s instrument doing God’s bidding. This year we can say that President Trump is God’s instrument doing God’s bidding. Whichever one you have trouble with, rest assured that God is in control doing His work through these national leaders.

 

In the book of Daniel we see great prophesies concerning kingdoms that were yet to come. As those prophesied nations rose and fell we could see God’s hand behind them all accomplishing His overall purposes in the earth. As cruel as the Roman government and its army was, God put them in place so in the fullness of time Jesus could come to earth. As we read the book of Revelation we see that there are prophecies yet to be fulfilled. God is using every ruler of every country to bring about His divine plan for the fulfillment of all things. In the end we will see and know that God was in control doing His bidding through godless leaders and we will praise God forever for His great will.

 

Thanks for a great day on Sunday. I always enjoy being with you, God’s people in God’s house on God’s day. Keep our church in your prayers. Pray for Nancy Schmidt, I will get an update on her condition today.

 

Have a great day in the Lord,
PS

God is True in all that He says

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Isaiah 45

18   For thus says the Lord,

Who created the heavens,

Who is God,

Who formed the earth and made it,

Who has established it,

Who did not create it in vain,

Who formed it to be inhabited:

“I am the Lord, and there is no other.

19   I have not spoken in secret,

In a dark place of the earth;

I did not say to the seed of Jacob,

‘Seek Me in vain’;

I, the Lord, speak righteousness,

I declare things that are right.

Bear with me for a moment, either the Bible is true or it is not true. It cannot be true and not true at the same time.  Either Isaiah heard the voice of God or he did not.  If Isaiah heard the voice of God then God has settled the issues of creation and the issues of world religions and has done so with great clarity.  You see, creation and evolution cannot both be right.  It is an either/or situation; it cannot be a both/and proposition.

Here, God says clearly that He made the heavens; He made the earth, and He formed it to be inhabited.  Scientists tell us that the exact combination of hydrogen and oxygen are necessary for man to survive. The variable allowed for survival is very narrow. The distance of the earth to its sun is also vital for survival. A few miles closer it would be too hot and a few miles further it would be too cold. The seasons allow for the growing of crops that the inhabitants of the world need to eat to live. Again, if it were off just a little in either direction the growing seasons would be insufficient to feed us.

For evolution to be accepted these exact variables to make the earth inhabitable would have had to come into being just by time and by chance and man would have had to have evolved into the earth’s variables with millions of year of suffering and death and mutations to try to come to be able to live on it.  I would rather believe that there is one God who made the heavens and the earth; One God who made the earth so that it could sustain mankind whom God put on it.  It can’t be both ways and God has stated that He did it.  For evolution to be true God has to be a liar and we have to be fools to believe Him.

Then God said that He did not speak in secret.  Unlike the other religions of this world that have one man or one woman who claim to have gotten a message from their deity, our God, the only God, the God of heaven and earth, has openly revealed Himself both through His creation and through over forty prophets, kings, farmers, fishermen, doctors, and so on.  God has spoken openly to reveal Himself clearly to His created people.  He speaks in righteousness so that what He says is righteous and He speaks truth so that all that He declares is right.  We have no need to pursue any other source when God has clearly spoken.

Tomorrow morning, from 8:30-9:30, Pray Naperville, with myself leading it, is using our church for an open prayer meeting.  We are hoping that people from across the city will join us in prayer for our city and its needs of the gospel of Christ.  As a church, we have just determined that we need to pray more. If you agree with this, join us tomorrow morning.  This not a breakfast, just a prayer meeting. 

I am looking forward to Sunday.  The message from 2 Corinthians 6 will look at how privileged we are to have the living God wanting to be with us and taking up residence in us.  All of the times you have wished God were there, He was.  All of the times you have needed His presence, you had it. 

VBS is looming closer all the time.  The two Saturdays before we are going to need people to go out and pass out flyers.  I have identified a few parks and neighborhoods that need invitations.  I cannot go out until noon. If you want to go out any time please let me know and I will give you directions. 

Nancy was not able to have the stint put in her liver yet on account of an infection.  Do keep her in your prayers.  Bob has a blood infection, has been in the hospital, went home, and yesterday got hives from one of the meds.  Please keep our brother in your prayers.  Both of these members appreciate a call or a visit. 

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

God is God, Trust Him

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Isaiah 45

11   Thus says the Lord,

The Holy One of Israel, and his Maker:

“Ask Me of things to come concerning My sons;

And concerning the work of My hands, you command Me.

12   I have made the earth,

And created man on it.

I—My hands—stretched out the heavens,

And all their host I have commanded.

13   I have raised him up in righteousness,

And I will direct all his ways;

He shall build My city

And let My exiles go free,

Not for price nor reward,”

Says the Lord of hosts.

There is no stronger statement as to the powerful and perfect will of God.  He alone is behind all events doing His will as He sees fit.  God answers to no one and He acts in perfection every time.

Israel was under the bondage of King Cyrus.  Little did King Cyrus know that he was under the direct control of the King of heaven, but he was.  God was directing Cyrus to rebuild the broken down city of Jerusalem and to do so without any personal gain coming from it.  We have to remember that this was not a very king-like act for a human king.  They did not let exiles free, pay for the rebuild of their city, provide protection when necessary and do all of this without at least demanding a high tax for several years.  But God was in control and God made a prediction regarding His will; Cyrus did what God said he would do.

If you have trouble with God being the God of creation, we have here the words of God himself proclaiming himself as the Creator of the earth, of man and of space.  All that we see, God said, He created by His command.  When we see God as He is then we will have greater strength in the face of the trials of our lives.  If we allow the world to weaken God by saying that He did not create the world and us in it then we do not have a God of great power for our lives.

Which of us can really question God?  Which of us can bring Him to court and cross-examine His actions?  To which of us does God come for advice?  And if He did come to us for advice, which of us has enough knowledge of all events that we could give God good advice?  As Job found out, we cannot question God for God is God over all things and God is good in all that He does.  Even when we cannot see God’s goodness at work we have to know that we cannot see all that God sees nor know all that God knows so our conclusions are way before the end of God’s work and therefore are incomplete.

God is trustworthy, dependable, worthy of waiting on and fully believing in.

Our sister Nancy Schmidt is in great need of our prayers today.  She has surgery planned for this evening that she must have but it is a risky surgery.  I will be seeing her this morning and letting her know of our love and committed prayer on her behalf today.  If you have her number do call or text her.  Pray for the salvation of her family that they might seek the Lord at this time. 

Tonight we will be having Bible study first so that those of you who work late can join us for prayer around 7:50.  This Saturday at 8:30am Pray Naperville is using our church for a public prayer time.  We are invited to join whoever comes for prayer as we pray for our community and their need for Christ. 

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

 

God is God; listen to and follow Him

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Isaiah 45

4     For Jacob My servant’s sake,

And Israel My elect,

I have even called you by your name;

I have named you, though you have not known Me.

5     I am the Lord, and there is no other;

There is no God besides Me.

I will gird you, though you have not known Me, That they may know from the rising of the sun to its setting

That there is none besides Me.

I am the Lord, and there is no other;

7     I form the light and create darkness,

I make peace and create calamity;

I, the Lord, do all these things.’

Israel had disobeyed God over and over again.  They had forsaken Him and served and worshipped idols instead of the One true God.  God brought this nation from one man, Abraham, and had indeed made them into a great nation.  God put them in Egypt then delivered them from Egypt.  God gave them His law and His messengers.  God gave them the Promised Land where they had cities and homes they did not build, riches they did not mine, and crops they did not plant.  God gave them victory over every enemy they encountered in His name.  God loved Israel, His chosen, with an everlasting love.

When God calls us out of the slavery of our sin and puts His name upon us we have much to rejoice in.  He is the One who put His light into the darkness of our hearts.  He is the One who redeemed us from our sin and continually delivers us from the enemies of our souls.  He is God and there is none other.

The point here is that God is worthy of our praise, we get that, and He is also worthy of our faithful obedience to Him.  Because He is God and there is none other He alone is to be sought, listened to and followed.  In the world there are many voices calling for our attention.  Filter every voice through the light of the Lord in your heart.  Make sure that every voice you follow is in agreement with the voice of God.  Israel rejected the word of the Lord over and over again. They listened more and more to the voices of the pagans around them and began to believe them over God.  We are no less prone to this than ancient Israel was.  Pour everything you hear through God’s word.  Let God be your light and your guide in every social issue.  Accept when God is right and when society is wrong.  Set your heart on the holiness of the God who is and He will be your faithful – dependable – Guide.

We had a good Mother’s Day at church.  It was a blessing to hear testimonies of moms from Peggy and Lydia.  It was fun to hear who had the most great-grandchildren, and children.  We had a nice afternoon with three moms at our house not being in too much of a hurry and then getting out in the yard with the kids and grandkids to plant the flowers bought for Bobbi.   I hope your Mother’s Day was nice too. 

Pray for Ken and Beth as Ken lost his job yesterday.  They need our prayers for God’s provision of a job of equal or greater compensation.  Pray he finds one in the area so they can stay and be a blessed part of our church.

Have a great day in the Lord,
PS

 

 

The Glory of God in Redemption

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Isaiah 44

21   “Remember these, O Jacob,

And Israel, for you are My servant;

I have formed you, you are My servant;

O Israel, you will not be forgotten by Me!

22   I have blotted out, like a thick cloud, your transgressions,

And like a cloud, your sins.

Return to Me, for I have redeemed you.”

23   Sing, O heavens, for the Lord has done it!

Shout, you lower parts of the earth;

Break forth into singing, you mountains,

O forest, and every tree in it!

For the Lord has redeemed Jacob,

And glorified Himself in Israel.

Take a moment and notice God’s action of redemption.  When God redeems He does not redeem those who have tried to be worthy of His redemption.  Israel, of all nations, was not worthy of God’s redemption.  They had known Him and forsaken Him over and over again.  They had God and had a beautiful temple to Him but they built altars to false idols on every street corner.  They ignored the pure worship of the God of heaven and worshipped gods that did not exist.  They lived sexually immoral lives, they trusted in their enemies to help them, and they even at times sacrificed their own children to the false gods.  No, Israel did not deserve God’s redemption.

The beauty of redemption is just that, God does not redeem those who try hard but God redeems those who are against Him. He chooses whom He will save. God often, as in the case of the Apostle Paul, chooses the worst of the worst among us so that He will get the glory of their salvation.  God chose Mary Magdalene, Zaccheus, and other dirty rotten sinners to redeem.

In verse 23 we are told to sing and shout because the Lord has done it.  Every part of nature is to rejoice in the redemption of God’s people, for in His redemption God has glorified Himself.  We should often rejoice in the salvation of the slave trader, the godless man, John Newton, who lived the rest of his life amazed that God’s grace could save a wretch like he.  Rejoice today in God’s redemption of Israel and in God’s redemption of you and of me.

From 6:00 to 8:00 today we will be at the Riverwalk offering men and women redemption through Jesus Christ.  We are going to be short on musicians so if you can come and sing as part of the crowd God will use your voice to accomplish His purposes.  Dave and I will be there at 6:00 for set up.  If you cannot come please pray for God to use our weakness to accomplish His miracle of salvation.  Pray for God to knit our hearts to Christians who come by.  Pray for open-hearted people to come by and to receive the message of God’s redemptive grace. 

Tomorrow morning there will be people at the church painting colors into the props for VBS.  The more the merrier on this job.  Mary Ellen will be in charge so if you have questions call or text her.

Sunday is Mother’s Day.  We will have a gift for every mother in the service. Mother’s Day is always a special day at church when we take time to honor those who gave themselves to bring us into the world. 

Have a great day in the Lord,
PS

God’s Ambassadors of His Reconciliation

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In this message from 2 Corinthians 5:7-21 Pastor Steve bears out our great God-given responsibility to be His ambassadors of His message. We are reconciled to God by Christ then called to be God’s mouthpiece of His reconciliation.

Only One God – we are secure in Him

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Isaiah 44:6–8

6 “Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel, And his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts: ‘I am the First and I am the Last; Besides Me there is no God.

7 And who can proclaim as I do? Then let him declare it and set it in order for Me, Since I appointed the ancient people. And the things that are coming and shall come, Let them show these to them.

8 Do not fear, nor be afraid; Have I not told you from that time, and declared it? You are My witnesses. Is there a God besides Me? Indeed there is no other Rock; I know not one.’ ”

Our God is the only God. He knows this and He wants us to know it too. Yesterday a salesman came to my door selling home security systems. I was not interested in a security system but I wanted to tell him about Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. He quickly told me that he was LDS (code for the members of the Mormon cult). I told him that he still needed to seek the Lord Jesus Christ as his Savior. The Mormon’s don’t worship the God of the Bible but a creation of the imagination of their founder, Joseph Smith. Thus, when they use biblical terms they have different definitions. The god they claim only exists in their minds. How sad they are.

 

In verse 7 God lets us know that He is God because he proclaims the future and then does what He says He will do. No false god ever gave prophesy and then fulfilled it. The Mormons think they will go to a heaven filled with their good works and in which they will become the god of their section. They like the idea of multiple wives so they can populate their own little heaven forever. This breaks down on several levels but confirms that they are not following the God of the Bible for He does not share His godhead with any created being.

 

Because God is God who both prophesies and then fulfills His prophetic words, we need never be afraid of this life nor of any of it’s difficulties. God is and God is our Rock. A rock does not move. Our God is immovable, unchangeable, unshakeable, and is thus our very source of security and strength. We do not need to go to any other source than God to accomplish our lives. He is there and He is able. Even God does not know of any other gods for He, the creator of all, would know if there ever were any other gods to give him competition and He states that there are not any. Rest in our God today. He is God and He is all that we need. In Him we are secure.

 

Pray for decent weather for Friday night. It is not supposed to be raining but if it is we will cancel. If it is not raining we will be outside at the “free speech” pavilion in downtown Naperville. We will show up around 6:00. Set up takes a few minutes and then we will begin with music. I am short some musicians so if you can make a joyful noise your voice will help fill the void. Pray for Dave as he prepares the sketchboards and prepares his own heart to give the messages. Pray for people looking for Truth to come by and to open up.

VBS is one month away, 30 days, to be exact. Pray for God to provide the workers we need and to bring children out to hear the messages.

 

Sunday morning I will be addressing the sheet we passed out last week. We have some needs and we need people zealous for good works to step up to the needs. Pray for God’s provision of people to step up to the ministry needs.

 

Have a great day in the Lord,

 

PS

The Only God has Chosen Us – Rejoice

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Isaiah 44

“But now hear, O Jacob my servant,

Israel whom I have chosen!

   Thus says the Lord who made you,

who formed you from the womb and will help you:

Fear not, O Jacob my servant,

Jeshurun whom I have chosen.

   For I will pour water on the thirsty land,

and streams on the dry ground;

I will pour my Spirit upon your offspring,

and my blessing on your descendants.

   They shall spring up among the grass

like willows by flowing streams.

   This one will say, ‘I am the Lord’s,’

another will call on the name of Jacob,

and another will write on his hand, ‘The Lord’s,’

and name himself by the name of Israel.”

   Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel

and his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts:

“I am the first and I am the last;

besides me there is no god.

There are some wonderful elements in this passage.  Again God tells His people that they are the ones that He has chosen.  Regardless of your opinion on how we get saved, it is obvious that salvation is of God.  I know here that God is speaking to ethnic Israel but the teaching is the same for us today.  God choses us in His divine will.  We do nothing to come to God for we are always in sin and against Him.  When we do get saved we see that God was drawing us to Himself by His divine will.  Yes, God chooses us and we rejoice in His choosing.

Besides choosing us, God also created us, from our mother’s wombs God created us and formed us into the men and women that He wanted us to be.  We did nothing to determine who we would be, neither did our parents. God uniquely shaped us according to His divine plan for our lives.  He gifted us to be able to do what He wanted us to do.  God is amazing!

Then, when God wants to bless us, His blessings don’t trickle into our lives; no, they pour into our lives. It is as though we were in a barren desert of our souls when God poured His blessings upon us; yes, He poured out His Holy Spirit into us.  God has never left us alone and in our times of greatest need we see His greatest provision to us.

We delight to call ourselves by God’s name for in verse 6 we read that He is God alone and beside Him there are no other gods.  All other gods of this world are the figment of the imaginations of their followers.  Only those of us who follow the God of heaven are following a God at all.  Meditate on this.  We serve the one and the only God of the universe.  He has chosen us, redeemed us, poured His Holy Spirit into us, and called us by His name, all because He delighted to do so. Wow, Hallelujah! What a Savior.

Tonight we are going to have our Bible study time first and will begin as close to 7:00 as possible.  We are going to begin prayer time around 7:50 to give ample time for prayer and will pray until 8:30, at least.  Those of you who would like to join us but cannot because of your work schedule, we want you to be able to join us.  As a church, we need to commit more to prayer.  This is one way that we are going to work toward that goal.

Friday night is our first River Walk outreach night.  We will get there at 6:00 for set up and by 6:15 or so will begin with music.  I could use some singers in the crowd to help us out.  Please join us for a great opportunity to care for people for Jesus’ sake.  Pray for God to send open hearts by our outreach.  Pray for people to be saved and drawn both the Christ and to our church. 

Nancy is back in the hospital to have her lungs drained.  Her son Micah is also in the hospital.  Pray for their family to know the peace of God and the healing hand of God. Bonnie went home yesterday and so did Bob who had been in the hospital since Saturday.

Have a great day in the Lord
PS

God, the One doing the action

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Isaiah 41

10   Fear not, for I am with you;

Be not dismayed, for I am your God.

I will strengthen you,

Yes, I will help you,

I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’

17   “The poor and needy seek water, but there is none,

Their tongues fail for thirst.

I, the Lord, will hear them;

I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them.

18   I will open rivers in desolate heights,

And fountains in the midst of the valleys;

I will make the wilderness a pool of water,

And the dry land springs of water.

19   I will plant in the wilderness the cedar and the acacia tree,

The myrtle and the oil tree;

I will set in the desert the cypress tree and the pine

And the box tree together,

20   That they may see and know,

And consider and understand together,

That the hand of the Lord has done this,

And the Holy One of Israel has created it.

 

Please notice with me today who is the One doing all of the action for His people.  Because we serve a God who is alive, first and foremost in contradistinction to all of the false gods of this world from Allah to dead “saints” to Buddah and every false god in-between, we have a God who sees us in our need, hears our prayers and responds in action unique to Him.  We pray to the living God who loves His own so much that He sent His Son to die for us.  The God of the Bible, Jehovah of old is the only God that is therefore the only God who sees, hears and answers.

When we seek the Lord in our time of need and when He comes through with His loving care and provision, we see and know that “the hand of the Lord has done this, and the Holy One of Israel has created it.”  When the God of heaven responds we know that He is behind His response.  Things did not just get better; no, God intervened with His mighty hand to show us His love and power.

Be careful where you go for help.  We may not be jumping on the altar of a false god pleading with him to help us as the prophets of Baal did but we might be looking to gods of money, human wisdom, science, friends, success, and others to do what only the God of heaven can do. When we need action from heaven the only place to go is the throne of heaven where the only God dwells and acts.

This Friday Lizzie and Richard Alagaban graduate from BJU. Bobbi and I are going down with Sonya and leaving early tomorrow morning.  I will try to get out a devo Friday morning.  Pray for our travels and for the Alagaban family.

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS