Month: August 2017

Our Redeemer is Faithful

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Isaiah 59

20   “The Redeemer will come to Zion,

And to those who turn from transgression in Jacob,”

Says the Lord.

21 “As for Me,” says the Lord, “this is My covenant with them: My Spirit who is upon you, and My words which I have put in your mouth, shall not depart from your mouth, nor from the mouth of your descendants, nor from the mouth of your descendants’ descendants,” says the Lord, “from this time and forevermore.”

 

You have to love the idea that God over and over calls Himself our Redeemer.  He has been the Redeemer of mankind since before the foundation of the earth.  He did not become our Redeemer after we had a problem but has always been our Redeemer.  Read what the Apostle Peter told us:

1 Peter 1:18  knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. 20 He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you.

Paul said in Ephesians 1 that we were chosen by God in Christ before the foundation of the world.  God has been in the business or redeeming mankind before we sinned even before we were born.

God made His covenant with His people, an everlasting covenant that we can’t break because we were not a part of making it and a covenant that God can’t break because He, as God, has given us His word which cannot be broken.  This Word from God which He put in the mouth of the prophets will be passed down from generation to generation from this time and even forever!  I sure hope you are secure in your salvation provided for you by your Redeemer.

 

If you can, join us tonight for our outdoor movie, I’m Not Ashamed.  The weather is supposed to be great!  Bring a friend, invite a teenager, pray for the message of the movie to shape someone’s heart for Christ.

Come Sunday as I will be bringing a message from Jeremiah 50-51 on how God sees people.  When we understand how God sees people it will help us see those around us in a more clear way.

After church, anyone wanting to go out witnessing with us can join us.

Please pray for my friend, Pastor Phil. His cancer has come back with a vengeance.

Have a great day in the Lord,
PS

 

God Hears Us

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Isaiah 59

1 Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened,

That it cannot save;

Nor His ear heavy,

That it cannot hear.

2    But your iniquities have separated you from your God;

And your sins have hidden His face from you,

So that He will not hear.

 

We see in these verses God’s ability and man’s actions.  God is able to save us and is able to hear our cry.  Let’s pause here for a moment.  I read today in Jeremiah 3 the cry of Jeremiah after the destruction of Jerusalem.  His cry is that of a depressed man who has found himself under the heavy hand of God’s chastening.  But in that heavy chapter is this thought: “This I recall to my mind, Therefore I have hope. Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.”  (Lamentations 3:21–23)  Jeremiah could not stay in the darkness of his depression for He knew that God would hear Him and that God was able to draw him out of his darkness.

How convinced are you that God is hearing you?  Whether you are convinced or not, God is hearing you!  God’s hand is not shortened that it cannot save nor is God’s ear heavy that it cannot hear.  We who have received the full forgiveness of sin through the sacrifice of Christ are made holy before God.  We are his saints on this earth and have been adopted into His family, united with Christ.

Then verse 2 tells us that when God does not hear it is because of our iniquities, our sins.  John gave us the wonderful promise of God in his short letter that “If we confess our sin He is faithful and just to forgive us our sin and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”  So again, for us who have been saved by the blood of Christ, even when we sin against God, the prayer of confession opens the path to prayer and God will hear us and draw near to us when we draw near to Him (James 4).

Oh my friends never let your mind take you away from God.  God is faithful, His mercies are new every morning; He loves to forgive and to draw us to Himself.  Wherever you find yourself today, look for the mercies of God and immerse yourself in the facts of His unending and longsuffering love for you.  Confess any sin that needs to be confessed and enjoy the deep fellowship with God that He sent His Son to the Cross so that we could enjoy.

Tomorrow night we are having an outdoor movie night.  We will be showing the film, “I’m Not Ashamed” which is the story taken from the journal of a Christian girl who was killed in the Columbine shooting.  This film is geared toward teens and young adults as far as its message.  It might be a bit over the heads of children under 12.  Invite teenage and young adult friends to this.  Any Christian who has or is struggling with standing for Christ in a difficult environment will find the message of this film inspiring and helpful.  We will begin the film between 8:00 and 8:30 depending on the level of darkness.

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

 

A Contrast of Peace and Trouble

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Isaiah 57

19   “I create the fruit of the lips:

Peace, peace to him who is far off and to him who is near,”

Says the Lord,

“And I will heal him.”

20   But the wicked are like the troubled sea,

When it cannot rest,

Whose waters cast up mire and dirt.

21   “There is no peace,”

Says my God, “for the wicked.”

 

The Bible is full of contrasts.  As you read it look at these contrasts so you can see how God sees.  In this passage, which we must not skip, God promises His peace to those who are far and to those who are near.  It is the peace of God within that makes our relationship with God so important to us.  For Horatio Spafford it was God’s peace in the middle of personal tragedy that caused Him to pen the words to the song, It is Well with My Soul.  This peace comes from God who dwells within His people.  Paul writes and tells us that the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will guard our hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.  Oh how I rejoice every day in the peace that God gives.

Then the contrast is this, the wicked, who have rejected a relationship with God, have no peace.  They are like the troubled sea whose waves never stop crashing on the shore and with them bring the mire and the dirt from the sea and throw it all up on the messy shore.  What a graphic picture this is.  The lives of the wicked are constantly troubled with constant drama and restlessness.  Do you know people like this?  Were you once like this?

No matter how hard they try, the wicked cannot find peace.  Peace is an elusive dream for them.  They may find it for an hour or two at a concert or in a movie; maybe there will be peace for a day or two on a vacation, but true lasting peace just cannot be found as long as they are running in their wickedness from God almighty.  There is no peace for the wicked.  Thus the wicked need salvation from their sin so that they too can find eternal peace in the Lord Jesus Christ.  Do not envy the wicked, pray for their peaceful salvation.

 

The stuff we own takes so much of our time.  My pool pump went out and I found one on Craigslist at a savings of over $125.  When I got it home it didn’t match the fittings of the old pump.  Three stores later I am told that this pump company specifically made their fittings different and that they are hard to find.  At one point I thought that spending the extra money would have been worth it.  I finally hobbled it together with a minimal leak.  $110 saved.  Not how I planned to spend time this week.

We had a good time at Sunrise yesterday.  The people there are so receptive to our services with them.  I always leave encouraged by our time together.

Tonight is our youth group, kids club, and adult Bible study and prayer.  Wednesday nights are an important time in our lives.  Join us if you can.

Do not waste too much time worrying about North Korea.  God is still in control.  Pray for our leaders to have the wisdom to do the right thing to protect both American lives and the lives of those in North Korea.  They all need God’s wisdom on this one.

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

Whom does God want with Him?

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Isaiah 57

12   I will declare your righteousness

And your works,

For they will not profit you.

13   When you cry out,

Let your collection of idols deliver you.

But the wind will carry them all away,

A breath will take them.

But he who puts his trust in Me shall possess the land,

And shall inherit My holy mountain.”

15   For thus says the High and Lofty One

Who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy:

“I dwell in the high and holy place,

With him who has a contrite and humble spirit,

To revive the spirit of the humble,

And to revive the heart of the contrite ones.

 

Here is an interesting passage contrasting the works to idols and person of God Almighty. As men and women have worshipped carved idols or idols of their own hearts, God lets them know that these idols have no value outside of the minds of those who worship them.  God himself will blow them away to nothing until only those who trust in Him remain.  Those who do trust in the God of heaven alone will be the ones who will remain with Him possessing His land and inheriting His possession.

People tend to worship anything but God.  They worship those things that make them look good, feel good, and act good.  They worship the praise of men and the even the sin of men.  They tolerate everything that is evil thinking they are good people for doing so.  They call evil good and they call good evil.  What they do not understand is that God is against them and that they will not enjoy His eternal presence, His eternal inheritance.

Then God makes it very clear as to who He is and whom He dwells with.  God dwells with the humble, with those who love His greatness and rely upon Him for His wisdom and live under His grace.  God dwells with those who see their sin before Him and are heartbroken over it.  While God rejects the proud, those who rebel against His holiness with glee, He certainly accepts those who grieve over their sin and finding it ever disgusting humbly seek God for His righteousness.

When the day of God’s wrath comes, and there is a day on God’s calendar that will come to pass, we who have humbly sought Him will be removed from His judgment of those who rebelled against His word.  Let us live in humility before God and pray for those we know and love to humble themselves before Him so that they too will miss His wrath.

The school schedule has begun.  Marching band and football practice and soccer practice are consuming our kids’ lives.  Whew!  Pray for them to remain faithful to the Lord and to see those around them as needing the Savior.  Pray for the parents to not get weary in well doing.  (That does happen, as we know.)

We had a great day on Sunday.  I thank God for our church and for what He is doing amongst us.  We need a few workers in some key places.   We need one or two Kids4Truth workers during the school year. This is an important position that comes with training.  In order for Kids4Truth to work we need this position filled.  Pray for God to so lead in someone’s heart to care at this level for the spiritual growth of our children.

Sunday afternoon we spent an hour and a half passing out tracts in Naperville.  God gave us some good conversations with people passing by.  Pray for God to give us salvation of souls yet this summer.

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

God’s perspective on the death of the righteous

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Isaiah 57

1 The righteous perishes,

And no man takes it to heart;

Merciful men are taken away,

While no one considers

That the righteous is taken away from evil.

2    He shall enter into peace;

They shall rest in their beds,

Each one walking in his uprightness.

As Christians, we grieve when a brother or a sister in Christ is killed for their faith.  We read books about those who have been martyred and find their stories hard to read and we often stain the pages with our tears.  We admire them for their courage and weep for their loss.  We don’t understand what God has done and whey He didn’t step in to spare their lives.

Then we read Isaiah 57 and God tells us that He has reason for the death of the righteous.  We read here that God takes the righteous from this life to save them from the evil that is coming.  When the whole world goes through evil after evil, the righteous who are with God will be at peace resting far away from the evil they have left behind.

Take comfort in the death of the righteous.  God has taken them to be with Him and in one sense is protecting them from the evil of this world.  They are at peace with God resting totally apart from the evils of sin.  Yes, our God knows what He is doing, even when He takes a righteous person out of this life.

Tomorrow there is a memorial service at the church at 11:30 for a close friend of Barb Keller.  If you know Barb feel free to come and spend some time with her and the family.

Sunday is dinner day, be sure to come prepared to share and to stay.  We always enjoy our times there together.  After dinner, Dave and I will be going out to downtown Naperville (weather permitting) to try to engage people to talk to us about the Lord.  Feel free to join us and learn how to go “fishing for men.”

Have a great day in the Lord,
PS

How Does He Do That?

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Isaiah 55

6     Seek the Lord while He may be found,

Call upon Him while He is near.

7     Let the wicked forsake his way,

And the unrighteous man his thoughts;

Let him return to the Lord,

And He will have mercy on him;

And to our God,

For He will abundantly pardon.

8     “For My thoughts are not your thoughts,

Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord.

9     “For as the heavens are higher than the earth,

So are My ways higher than your ways,

And My thoughts than your thoughts.

 

Today’s verses indicate that there is a season in life when the Lord may be found of us.  If we seek Him we will find Him if we seek Him with all of our hearts.  When we seek the Lord we are to forsake our wicked ways and our unrighteous thoughts and we are to turn to the Lord.  When we do, regardless of the level of our sin that we are forsaking, God will have mercy on us and God will abundantly pardon us.

While we know these facts about seeking God and finding His mercy and pardon, when we stop and ponder them they really don’t make any human sense.  We never let the bad guy off.  We always want to see justice satisfied.  Even if it requires getting the manager we want justice done.  But here God says that He will forego justice and will supply mercy to both the wicked and the unrighteous.

How can God do this amazing act of mercy and pardon?  We cannot tell.  What we are told that God so acts because his thoughts are different from ours and His ways are higher than ours.  God does not owe us any explanation regarding His mercy.  He desires to abundantly pardon all who come to Him.  God receives glory when a sinner is pardoned.  We are not to try to understand it but we are thankful for God’s higher ways and His merciful thoughts.

The next time someone deserves justice, try giving them mercy and pardon.  For a moment, act like God. This is abnormal for us.  I blew this just yesterday.  God, who forgives all of our sin, calls us to act in a merciful manner toward others.  Let us act less like us and more like God.  Perhaps we will see more people come to God’s mercy and pardon when we show them what it might look like.

Saturday at 11:30 there is a memorial service for George Diaz.  Most of you don’t know George but you do know Barb Keller, Violet’s grandma.  George and Barb had been close friends for over 35 years.  The memorial will be at our church. 

Saturday morning is our monthly men’s prayer breakfast at Denny’s.  Sunday is our dinner day at the church.  These are important times of fellowship for us all.  After the dinner on Sunday Dave and I will be going out to downtown Naperville to try to engage people in gospel conversations.  Please pray that God will prepare those whom He wants us to speak to.  If you would like to come with us to see what we do just bring some casual clothes with you to church. 

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

 

God’s Timeless Call

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Isaiah 55

1    “Ho! Everyone who thirsts,

Come to the waters;

And you who have no money,

Come, buy and eat.

Yes, come, buy wine and milk

Without money and without price.

2    Why do you spend money for what is not bread,

And your wages for what does not satisfy?

Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good,

And let your soul delight itself in abundance.

3    Incline your ear, and come to Me.

Hear, and your soul shall live;

And I will make an everlasting covenant with you—

The sure mercies of David.

I love this passage!  God’s call to His people throughout the ages is to come to Him. He calls all people of all races and all generations, “Ho!” This is what you would say to a room full of people whose attention you are trying to get.  With a raised voice and no one particular in mind but the whole room who needs to hear the announcement, “Ho!”  Then once God has the rooms attention, He tells them what He wants them all to hear, “Everyone who thirsts, come…”  Jesus said, “Come unto me all who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest.”  The call of God throughout the Bible is the call to all in need, “Come unto me.”

Unlike the call of religion, God calls us to Him to be satisfied.  Religion doesn’t satisfy for it keeps asking its followers to keep coming back for another drink, another try, another work, another unfulfilled attempt.  God calls us to satisfy us in Him.  Religion calls its followers to give money or to give years of life, or to give children to the church.  God calls us without money and without price to come and to receive abundance from His grace-filled hand.

“Ho!” God calls us to satisfy us.  Why would we spend money and time of life on that which does not satisfy when God alone has the answer to our deepest desires?  Surely the One who created us knows how to satisfy us.  Why go to anyone but to Him for the satisfaction that we long for?  God has the abundance that our soul needs and wants us to delight in His abundance.  What a picture this is.  It is like a call to a hungry stomach to come to a Thanksgiving feast, a free and fulfilling Thanksgiving feast. We should want everyone we know to come with us to this amazing offer of grace and peace, this offer of full and eternal satisfaction from God Himself.  Hear the call, come and your soul shall live.

Last night I went to a Ted-x talk in Naperville with Tim Ryan.  Afterward we watched the premier showing of Dope Man, an A&E reality show featuring a day in the life of Tim Ryan.  Tim goes after young people and adults who are on heroin.  Tim went to prison because of heroin and lost his own son to a heroin overdose.  He is a man on a mission.  Most of the show was filmed in Naperville with a section in Downers Grove and Chicago.  Every day in America 144 people die to heroin overdose.  If you can, go back and watch last night’s A&E episode of “Dope Man.”  Your heart will break for the young people and the families in our neighborhoods who are dealing with heroin addiction. 

Our kid’s summer is coming to an end quickly.  Marching band starts next week and that is an eight hour a day commitment.  Football practice has already started.  Start praying for our kids as they will be once again immersed in the godless culture.  Pray for them to have the strength to live for Christ.

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS