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