Month: June 2017

Do You Understand Repentance?

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2 Corinthians 7 teaches us what Repentance and reconciliation are. In this message, Pastor Steve walks through Paul’s teaching to show what repentance is and what it is not.

The only God of fulfilled prophecy

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Isaiah 48

3     “I have declared the former things from the beginning;

They went forth from My mouth, and I caused them to hear it.

Suddenly I did them, and they came to pass.

5     Even from the beginning I have declared it to you;

Before it came to pass I proclaimed it to you,

Lest you should say, ‘My idol has done them,

And my carved image and my molded image

Have commanded them.’

Isaiah wrote to a people who were constantly straying from following the one true God to the worship of worthless and empty idols.   Isaiah’s messages are filled with the aspects of God’s truth and proof of God’s existence as the one and only God.  Yet the people continued to stray from God who alone is God to follow the idols that they could see: the idols of pagans who said that their gods were the true ones.  We do not bow down to images today but we do have idols in our hearts, things and ideas that we trust above the God of heaven and above His written Word.  So the messages from Isaiah are pertinent to us today.
In this passage, God tells His people that He alone predicts future events and then brings them to pass.  Fulfilled prophesy is exclusive to the God of heaven.  God told Noah that there was going to be a flood 100 years before it happened.  God told Abraham that He would make of him a great nation.  God told Moses that He would bring Israel out of Egypt with a mighty hand. God promised the young nation that He would bring them into a land with cities they did not build and to vineyards they did not plant.  God predicted that the walls of Jericho would fall down.

In the books of Ezekiel and Daniel there were prophesies given regarding Israel and Babylon, and all of the kingdoms yet to come up until the end of time.  Isaiah prophesied the birth of Christ by a virgin, the killing of the innocent babies in Galilee, the suffering of Christ and even His pierced hands and feet.  The fact that none of the bones of Christ would be broken was also prophesied.

There are prophesies that have not yet been fulfilled but we have confidence that all that God has spoken will come to pass in His time.

My friends, no other religious writings have their gods or their leaders predicting events with the exact details coming true as our God’s writings do.  When you are tempted to believe another way or to put your faith in some other system of thought, remember the God who prophesies and fulfills all that He says; then worship Him and Him alone.

We are again thanking God for the children that He is bringing out each night.  Even in the rain last night we had 49 children come to VBS.  And of that group, six boys placed their faith in Jesus Christ as Savior!  Hallelujah!  This is why we put so much into this week.  Our staff is doing a fantastic job and each part of the evening is fun, fulfilling, and a reason for the children to come back the next night.

Tonight is our parent night.  We invite the parents to come and to hear the verses and songs that their children have learned.  It is a great opportunity to preach Christ to the parents and then to get to know them around the ice cream table.  Pray with us for redemptive conversations tonight both with children and with parents. 

Some time back I asked prayer for a friend named Tom who had cancer.  Tom lost the battle to cancer and died two nights ago. Pray for his family during this difficult time.

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

 

A Place We don’t want to be

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Isaiah 47

10   “For you have trusted in your wickedness;

You have said, ‘No one sees me’;

Your wisdom and your knowledge have warped you;

And you have said in your heart,

‘I am, and there is no one else besides me.’

From before Isaiah’s day and well into today and tomorrow there are people who are typified by this verse.   Trusting in their wickedness and believing that no one really sees what they are doing, they continue to live in their sin.  In human wisdom they reject Divine wisdom and have become warped by their sinful and selfish ways.  In their heart, the very foundation of their lives, they have come to believe that there is no God and that they are not accountable to anyone for their actions.

As Christians who do seek God’s wisdom and are possessed of God’s Holy Spirit, we see those who live apart from God and immediately see their foolishness.  We know that God’s wisdom and His knowledge is far above ours.  We know that God sees our every action and knows our every thought.  We know there is a God in heaven who is active in this earth and in our lives and to whom we will give account.

I give you Isaiah’s warning today.  When you see people that seem to be prospering while living wickedly, remember that God is not finished with them yet.  Remember that there is coming a day when they will kneel before the very God they deny.  Remember that their wisdom that seems to bring them success is damning their soul away from God.  Remember that they are not the captain of their fate but that they need the true Captain, the King of kings and the Lord of Lords whom they now deny.

Oh my friends, we are on the right side.  We are on God’s side.  He has given our eyes light to see and our minds clarity to judge in righteousness.  Sin blinds and binds.  Even the successful sinner is blinded to grace and bound by sin.  Do not envy their temporary success but pray for their eternal salvation.  Walk with the Lord today; seek His wisdom; enjoy His will and His purpose for your life.

We are praising God for His use of our lives in VBS this week!  We had 60 children both last night and the night before with many visitors each night.  Last night a boy and a girl professed first time faith in Jesus Christ as Savior.  The children have learned from the parables of Jesus each night and are very engaged in the lessons.  The crafts and the games and the snacks and the skits and the music and the memory verses are going so well.  Thanks to those involved in every part of the program.  Kids are happy, engaged, and wanting to return.  One dad texted men and told me that his three girls wanted to come back and wanted to change their schedules to do so.  They were there again last night. 

Pray with us for more of the children to hear the call of God to salvation.  I know there are non-churched children coming who might be hearing this stuff for the first time.  Pray for God to make the soil of their hearts soft to hear and ready to receive His seed.

Justin and his family were with us for ten days and left yesterday. It sure was fun to awaken each morning to the pitter-patter of toddler feet in the house.  Steven’s family was here often and the cousins sure do get along well.  They played and played and played together.  It was a great week for us.

Pray for our sisters Peggy and Nancy.  Peggy is in Edward with breathing problems.  Nancy is still at Loyola.  Pray for God’s healing in each of these dear ladies.

Pray for Victory Homes today.  They have an urgent request that the Lord is aware of.  Keep Mark and Lynn, the staff and the boys in your prayers throughout today. 

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

Either God created it or Isaiah lied

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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.

The idea of a Creator God must have been an issue in Isaiah’s day also.  If everyone knew that God created the heavens and the earth statements like this would not have been necessary.  As I have said before, if Isaiah is a bona-fide prophet who proclaimed the very words of God, then we have to accept that God created the heavens, formed the earth, made it, established it and formed it to be inhabited.  With this much clarity from God we cannot be evolutionists. The earth did not come into being on its’ own and come by itself to be a place inhabitable by all creatures, especially man.

The idea that all of this just happened over time and chance flies in the face of Isaiah 45.  If the earth came from a big bang 17 billion years ago, then Isaiah is a liar and we should discount everything he said.  His words could not have been from God but must have been made up by him or others.  Or, Isaiah did give us the word of God and God, through Isaiah, took the lid off of our origins.

If God is truly the great omniscient God of all time, of all knowledge, of all power, and of all life, then accepting Him as the Creator of all that we see is not quantum leap.  In Psalm 19 we learn that the heavens declare, they shout out the glory and the power and the wisdom of God.  The more we learn about biology and botany, and human physiology, the more we see the wisdom of God.  Yesterday we were talking with Justin and Katelyn about the hummingbirds in their backyard.  On Monday we went to the zoo and talked about the wonderful variations of the animals there.  To accept that God created them all for us to know Him, His wisdom and His creative power gives Him the glory for all of nature and life.

Yes, God has revealed Himself to all.  God did not speak in secret to one man as most other religion founders claim.  No, God has revealed Himself to us all for His glory and for His praise.

Sunday is it! VBS will begin!  We are praying for God’s hand to work again to bring children and parents to us that they might hear the wonderful message of our creating and saving God.  Join us in prayer for a good response, for good attendance, and for good weather.  Pray for good health and a good work week for all who work all day and serve all evening.  Invite parents to bring their children.

Nancy’s liver procedure got bumped again.  The family has been told that the doctors are going to try today.  Nancy has been given a feeding tube to try to increase her intake and her strength.  Pray, pray, pray, and labor in prayer for our sister. 

Sunday morning, my son, Justin, will be bringing the morning message.  Our church has always enjoyed Justin’s messages to us and we look forward to our time in the word with him this Sunday. 

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

 

We learn much from God’s working with others

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Isaiah 48

9    “For My name’s sake I will defer My anger,

And for My praise I will restrain it from you,

So that I do not cut you off.

10   Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver;

I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.

11   For My own sake, for My own sake, I will do it;

For how should My name be profaned?

And I will not give My glory to another.

We learn a great deal about God and about ourselves from the study of Israel and God’s actions toward them.  We are no different than disobedient Israel. We also stray from God, we rebel against God, and we worship other things besides God.  As God showed His anger to Israel so He has shown His anger toward us in our sin.  As God taught them justice so does He teach us.

Notice today that God, for His name’s sake, defers His anger.  God wants us to know of His mercy and of His kindness and love. Were God to give us full recompense for our sin He would have to totally damn each of us away from Him forever.  But for His name’s sake, God shows us His mercy and His grace.  Thus we know that God is love because He so often does not give us what we deserve.

God wants us to praise Him so He does not cut us off but in mercy gives us both life eternal and life abundant.  We do not praise God for naught. He is not a helpless idol that must be carried about and must have stories of His greatness made up.  No, we praise God because He has worked on our behalf for His glory.

However, God does refine our lives and God does test us.  The furnace of affliction is a place of painful correction when God puts us through trials for our good.  We seldom see the benefit of the furnace until we have gone through it and been purified, not like silver is purified but in the way that we need to be changed for our good and for God’s glory. This view of affliction enables us to thank God for the good days and for the bad days.  In both He is to be glorified for so working in our lives.

And why does God so work on our lives? For His own sake He works so that we will give Him glory and not ourselves nor the gods of our own hands.  When God has shaped our lives we thank Him for what He has done and praise Him for how He has made us.

 

I was able to visit Nancy again yesterday.  She is in a bad way.  Today the doctors are going to attempt a second method of stinting her liver.  This second method is a bit more risky than the first.  She needs a liver.  Pray with Nancy for God to raise her up to be a testimony of his love and power.

Pray for Mirna’s boss who is having his second leg amputated tomorrow. I will be visiting him today.

Pray also for Mary Green’s mother Elise who is in Edward with an infection.  I have gotten to know Elise at Sunrise Assisted living.  Pray for wisdom and comfort for Mary and her family.

I am taking the eight grandkids with me to Sunrise this morning.  They will bring many smiles to the residents there.  Whenever Justin and his family is in town we try to do this.  Kids bring such joy to the elderly.

Have a great day in the Lord,
PS

 

 

 

Once again, God is God

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Isaiah 48

1  “Hear this, O house of Jacob,

Who are called by the name of Israel,

And have come forth from the wellsprings of Judah;

Who swear by the name of the LORD,

And make mention of the God of Israel,

But not in truth or in righteousness;

2      For they call themselves after the holy city,

And lean on the God of Israel;

The LORD of hosts is His name:

3      “I have declared the former things from the beginning;

They went forth from My mouth, and I caused them to hear it.

Suddenly I did them, and they came to pass.

4      Because I knew that you were obstinate,

And your neck was an iron sinew,

And your brow bronze,

5      Even from the beginning I have declared it to you;

Before it came to pass I proclaimed it to you,

Lest you should say, ‘My idol has done them,

And my carved image and my molded image

Have commanded them.’

6      “You have heard;

See all this.

And will you not declare it?

I have made you hear new things from this time,

Even hidden things, and you did not know them.

7      They are created now and not from the beginning;

And before this day you have not heard them,

Lest you should say, ‘Of course I knew them.’

8      Surely you did not hear,

Surely you did not know;

Surely from long ago your ear was not opened.

For I knew that you would deal very treacherously,

And were called a transgressor from the womb.

9      “For My name’s sake I will defer My anger,

And for My praise I will restrain it from you,

So that I do not cut you off.

10      Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver;

I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.

11      For My own sake, for My own sake, I will do it;

For how should My name be profaned?

And I will not give My glory to another.

I met with a very intelligent and well-thought friend who denies that there is one God and who follows the writings of those who have near death experiences and come back.  I brought this friend to the writings of Isaiah who clearly states that there is only One God and that He alone is before and behind all things.  Isaiah’s writings are relevant for today.  We need to know what God said through Isaiah as He defended over and over that He alone is God and then tells us why He alone is God.

Nancy’s surgery yesterday was not successful.  The doctors were not able to get a stint put in. They have another procedure that they attempt after this procedure fails.  What she needs is a new liver.  Pray as the doctors meet today to discuss Nancy’s position on the list for a donor liver. 

Tomorrow morning there is a goal to finish all VBS decorations, yes, a week early.  If you can help please come to the church at 9:00 or thereafter.  I am serving breakfast at 8:00.  There is also a church work day that Bob is heading up.  There are specific things to do as well as the church needing to be cleaned.  Since there is much to do please come and give a couple hours of time. Thanks.

I will be bringing a message Sunday from 2 Corinthians 7 on the Actions of Repentance.  We know how to say that we are sorry, but do we follow the biblical guidelines for repentance? 

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

Look to God’s timing and His future

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Isaiah 46

12 “Listen to Me, you stubborn-hearted, Who are far from righteousness:

13 I bring My righteousness near, it shall not be far off; My salvation shall not linger. And I will place salvation in Zion, For Israel My glory.

I just love passages like this one that absolutely confirm our Lord’s commitment to our salvation. Jesus came to this earth to seek and to save that which was lost. He wept over the unbelief of Jerusalem. But God has not cast off His people; in fact, God has multiplied His chosen ones. Paul tells us that circumcision, that is, the right of being Jewish, is not just a physical right for a physical people but a spiritual gift from God. For Paul says we, who have trusted Christ from all people groups, are circumcised in our hearts, that is, God has chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world that we should be holy and without blame before Him.

We are so thankful for the work of Jesus Christ who has saved us from our sin and improved our lives now. We will be eternally thankful for the work of Christ that brought us also into God’s eternal family. So when Isaiah says that God will place His salvation in Zion, for Israel My glory, I believe that all of us who are of spiritual Israel along with all who are physical Israel, should rejoice and be glad for God’s promise of His salvation.

It seems today that righteousness is far off. It feels like God’s salvation is lingering a bit too long. But God has said otherwise. Rejoice in God’s promise of His coming righteousness and of His coming salvation.   God glories in His people. We who have trusted Christ will be part of the glory of God forever.   Today will pass away. Eternity with God is just that. Focus on God’s promises.

Last week I told you that our friend Nancy was having a stint put in her liver because that is what she told me. Well, last week they repaired her jaw. Today, around 1:00, she is supposed to be going in for the liver stint. Nancy is anxious about this one. Pray for God to give her peace and for the success of this procedure. If this works, her body should stop producing the fluid that keeps filling up her lungs. Our sister needs great prayer. Labor with me in prayer for her today.

VBS is around the corner. We are at church this morning putting up decorations again. We hope to have all decorating done by this Sunday. If you have time Saturday come join us.   New people are contacting us about bringing their children! Pray for God to bring people who need Him and are ready to hear His gospel messages.

Have a great day in the Lord,
PS