Month: May 2017
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,
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,
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.’
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,
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,
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.
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,
1 “But now hear, O Jacob my servant,
Israel whom I have chosen!
2 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.
3 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.
4 They shall spring up among the grass
like willows by flowing streams.
5 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.”
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.
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