Month: October 2017

Encouraging People

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1 Thessalonians 3

Therefore, when we could no longer endure it, we thought it good to be left in Athens alone, and sent Timothy, our brother and minister of God, and our fellow laborer in the gospel of Christ, to establish you and encourage you concerning your faith,

Because of Paul’s love for those he ministered the gospel to, he had to know how they were doing.  Long before Facetime and telephones the only ways to really know how someone was doing was to go visit them.  Paul wanted to get back to Thessalonica but was hindered from doing so.  Unable to determine their spiritual well-being, Paul sent Timothy to see how his beloved brothers and sisters in Christ were doing.  As Timothy was Paul’s “right arm” helper, it was a big deal for Paul to send him away for a period of time but so great was his desire to send encouragement that he sent Timothy anyway.

As we read here, Timothy had a specific job to do; he was to establish and encourage their faith.  This was a good church with faithful people but they still needed someone to come and to encourage them.  Paul knew the importance of this encouragement and so arranged for Timothy to go.  As we read 2 Thessalonians we see that the church was strengthened and that Timothy came back with a good report (though not stated this is definitely implied in 2 Thessalonians 1).

Can we ask ourselves today if 1. We are encouraging anyone’s faith and 2. If we need someone to encourage us in our faith?  We face destructive words every day.  We are compared with others, our jobs are critiqued, our motives are questioned and the very core of who we are is scrutinized.  We come to church in need of encouragement and someone there unloads their problems on us so that we leave heavier than when we came.  Can I suggest that you ask God to lead you to someone that needs some encouragement in their faith and that you prepare yourself to be their encourager? They might be tottering on the brink of major failure and your words could be just what they need to be established and strengthened.

But, you may say, I need someone to encourage me.  When we take time to encourage others, their appreciation can become our encouragement.  When Timothy came back with a good report, Paul was encouraged in his faith.  God was still working in their lives and Paul was strengthened.  Who can you encourage and thus find strength in their encouragement?

 

We heard last night from Titus 2:3-4 about the mature Christian woman who teaches younger women what it means to show forth Christ.  This is a message that is not being proclaimed in too many places today.  Thanks Brent for being honest and careful with the Scriptures.  We begin at 7:00 tonight and I trust you will be able to make it.  If you have to stay home to answer your doorbell, come a few minutes late but don’t miss the whole service. 

Brent is preaching at our Sunrise Assisted Living service this morning.  Pray for God to use Him there.

Have a great day in the Lord,
PS

There is only on source of eternal glory and joy

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1 Thessalonians 2

19 For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Is it not even you in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming? 20 For you are our glory and joy.

This has to be one of the greatest verses in Scripture regarding the fullness of joy that comes from serving the Lord.  Paul could look at those who came to Christ and matured in their faith under his labors  and rejoice that God would use him for an eternal purpose.  Notice that not only did they bring Paul present joy but they were going to bring him eternal joy.  When Paul and these precious saved souls all met together in the presence of their Savior, Paul was going to rejoice even more.  They were the glory of his labor and the joy of his life.

One thing we notice about the apostle Paul is that he was ever giving of himself for the eternal spiritual well-being and eternal well-being of others.  As a counselor, I often advise people to take time to serve others for Jesus’ sake.  Depressed people are often self-focused which takes them further down the rabbit hole of pain.  Those who struggle with depression but fight against it by giving their lives to reach other people for Christ find a glory and a joy that they cannot find anywhere else.

Whom are you serving for Jesus’ sake?  Who gets your energy besides yourself?  What do you regularly and intentionally do as part of the weekly rhythm of your life for the spiritual care of someone else?  One man meets monthly with a 95 year old man who needs Jesus.  They meet for lunch.  Only a few conversations have had a spiritual direction to them but God will use those to soften this man’s heart.  Steven and I sing with a community men’s group and have been able to make spiritual observations of music and to have some spiritual conversations.  We pray for these men to see Jesus in us and to come to Him.  I introduced the “Cause Circle” to the church and have asked you to pray regularly for three people who need Christ.

When someone we have been praying for, sowing seeds of the gospel to, and have loved for Christ’s sake comes to Christ, we glory in their salvation and have a measure of personal joy in their coming to Christ.  Furthermore, we will rejoice with them in the presence of Christ forever.  What else in this life brings eternal joy?  May God give us people who come to Christ through our witness to them so that we may say of them that they are our hope, our joy and our crown of rejoicing.

We had a great start to our week of revival.  Our evangelist, Brent Sivnksty, is opening God’s word with the clarity we have come to love.  We have visitors both yesterday morning and evening and are praying for people to come to Christ.  I am thankful for dedicated musicians serving with us this week as well as church families committed to come throughout the week.  It is our marathon week and we love being together for dinner and service each night. Do pray with us that many of us will let the Word and the Spirit work on us. 

Have a great day in the Lord,
PS

We have an enemy who seeks to hinder God’s work

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1 Thessalonians 2

17 But since we were torn away from you, brothers, for a short time, in person not in heart, we endeavored the more eagerly and with great desire to see you face to face,

18 because we wanted to come to you—I, Paul, again and again—but Satan hindered us.

This may sound a bit gradeschoolish, but are you aware that Satan is a real being? Are you aware that Satan is against God and is therefore against the work of God and against the people of God? Are you aware that Satan does all that he can to hinder, slow down, and bring to a halt the process of the spread of the gospel?   Paul was well aware of all of this and with a full intent and plan to revisit his dear friends at Thessalonica knew what it meant to be hindered by Satan.

No, I am not going on a witch-hunt to look for Satan and his demons behind every bush, for Satan’s greatest defeat comes when souls are saved through the power of the gospel. Satan is defeated when Christians turn from sin and surrender more and more to Christ. I am on a vendetta to defeat this enemy of my soul who desires my destruction every day.   Satan wants me distracted from those things and those people who are of most importance to the kingdom of God. He wants me to ignore or to forget opportunities to do good to all who I can do good to. He wants me to be too busy or too ashamed to speak openly of Christ to a needy soul. Satan is against everything in me that God is for.

Have you ever been hindered by Satan? Were you going to do something for God’s kingdom only to hit a barricade that slowed you down and maybe even stopped you? Well, know this, the enemy of Satan is prayer. It has been said that Satan shudders when the weakest Christian is on her knees. Have you stopped to pray today? Have you beseeched God to lead you in His path to accomplish His purposes and to see Satan defeated?   If Paul was hindered by Satan than none of us are outside of his realm of action.

Remember this, “greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world.” Satan has already lost the battle. Jesus has won and He is in us. Until Satan’s last moment before God throws Him into hell forever, Satan is opposing God and all who are claimed by Him. But, Satan is a defeated enemy and we can know victory over Him as we walk, moment by moment, with our Lord Jesus.

 

I am praying that God will move greatly and that we will all know victory of Satan next week. Revival meetings begin Sunday morning, continue Sunday night at 6:00 and then the rest of the week at 7:00. The meetings will be one hour long. Set your schedule to be here as often as is humanly possible.

We had a good time with the teens last night. We played volleyball sitting on the ground. It was a lot of laughter and much fun. Then we studied a lesson on how to read your Bible. The teens were very attentive.   Bobbi started a new series last night using the movie “War Room” with our ladies. The workbook that goes with the movie is going to be their study book for this series.

 Have a great day in the Lord,

 PS

It is OK to be rejected for telling others of Christ

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1 Thessalonians 2

14 For you, brethren, became imitators of the churches of God which are in Judea in Christ Jesus. For you also suffered the same things from your own countrymen, just as they did from the Judeans, 15 who killed both the Lord Jesus and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they do not please God and are contrary to all men, 16 forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they may be saved, so as always to fill up the measure of their sins; but wrath has come upon them to the uttermost.

The earliest Christians in the earliest churches knew the rejection of their own people when they came to know Jesus Christ.  So many of you, when you got saved and knew the glory of the gospel determined to tell your family and friends about the Savior.  Your motive was pure and your zeal just knew that if they heard the gospel they too would want to be saved.  So you went with a great thrill to tell them about Jesus only to be rejected and told not to tell them of Jesus again.

When the Jews of Jerusalem heard the gospel of the resurrected Jesus from Peter and the others they believed, turned from their sin and followed the Savior as their Messiah.  But when these young believers went to tell their friends, they were rejected and even persecuted.  Acts 8:1 tells us that they dispersed from Jerusalem to escape the persecution.  The Thessalonian Christians faced the same treatment from those around them. We are in good company when people reject us for Christ’s sake.

So, don’t be afraid to tell those you know about Jesus.  Some will believe, some will have questions, and most will completely reject the gospel and you.  They aren’t really rejecting you but you are the one serving the gospel so you get the rejection.  It’s ok, you are in good company on those days. Tell them anyway.

 

We start our fall revival with Brent Sivinksty this Sunday!  Prepare your heart for the preaching of God’s word by already confessing sin, already, spending extra time in God’s word and extra time in prayer.  Prepare for revival as you would prepare for a long trip abroad.  Get yourself ready for God to do His work in your heart and life.  Pray for God to open hearts that need to be saved as well. Pray for health and for strength of all the members of our body that we all could be committed to the week together. 

 Tonight is our regular Bible studies, prayer, K4T, and youth group.  See you then.

 Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

Serving the Gospel

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     In 2 Corinthians 13:7-9 Paul lets the Corinthian church know that their reception of the gospel was the more important than their reception of him. It was ok if he was weak and they were strong. He could do nothing against the truth of the gospel but only that which was for it. In this message, Pastor Steve looks at how the gospel is to be served and how the church is to be healed, that is, made whole or complete. As Paul wraps up his letter these important truths are included.

Serving the Gospel from Pastor Steve Schroeder on Vimeo.

 

The living, effective word of God

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1 Thessalonians 2

13 For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe.

You have heard me say that the Bible is not a static book but it is a dynamic book. Something that is dynamic is living and powerful. As Paul wrote to the believers at the church in Thessalonica he rejoiced that the word of God was received by them as that, as the word of God. When the word of God is proclaimed we should recognize it as that which God has sent for us to hear. This is the difference between giving a speech and proclaiming God’s word. A speech might or might not connect with us but the word of God should always connect.

What do you hear when you hear the Bible preached and taught? Do you hear the insights of the teacher or are you hearing the very words of God in your soul? How do we know the difference? According to this verse, when the Bible is received as the word of God, it works effectively in those who believe it. I have had people under my preaching for ten years and walk away back into their sin. They never believed the Word and it did not have an effect on them. The gospel is the power of God on all who believe.

This is why faith is so important. When we hear the word of God we must then place our faith in it. Faith turns to action and action to a change of life. The power of God becomes known to us and the Word then works effectively in us when we believe. Has the word of God worked effectively in you? Do you believe it as it is in truth, the very word of God? Believe it and watch it work its dynamic power in you.

I thank God for a good day on Sunday. We have finished 2 Corinthians and I am thankful for the journey through this important epistle. I talked about Paul and us being servers of the gospel like a server at a banquet. The server doesn’t prepare the food he only serves it. We don’t prepare the gospel, we only serve it. Our desire is that it is received and made a part of the lives of those to whom we serve it. I hope this made sense to the church and that more of you become servers of the gospel.

The conference on homosexuality was a great success. The speakers were compassionate and grace filled people who love those in need of Christ. We must pray for those lost in our community that they would come to Christ and become new creatures in Him. Thanks to Peter LaBarbera and his wife Christina for all they did to make this conference happen and succeed.

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

The nurturing of a spiritual father

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1 Thessalonians 2

10 You are witnesses, and God also, how devoutly and justly and blamelessly we behaved ourselves among you who believe; 11 as you know how we exhorted, and comforted, and charged every one of you, as a father does his own children, 12 that you would walk worthy of God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory.

 

Yesterday we saw how we are to care for others as deeply as a mother cares for her nursing baby.  Today we see how we are to continue that care using the illustration of a nurturing father.  Not every man that fathers a child is a good dad.  Those who fall into the category of “good dad” get there by being there for their children both physically and mentally.  A good dad takes from his time to give time to his growing children.  As a father of six children, I learned early that the babies needed mom more than me. But after a while we would see that they needed me in their lives just as much as mom. Being engaged in every stage of life is what a nurturing father does.

In this passage, Paul compares himself to a nurturing father who takes time exhorting, comforting and charging, or instructing his children. New Christians are often called “babes-in-Christ.” And just as babies of nature are expected to grow so babies in the faith are expected to mature.  A maturing faith comes about because someone takes time for spiritual nurture.

Who spent time nurturing you in your faith? What did they do? How did their nurturing affect your faith and subsequent spiritual maturity?  A spiritual mentor, or one who disciples, is needed by every young Christian.  Has God brought someone into your life for you to spiritually mentor?  If He has then you know the joys and the sorrows of spiritual parenting.  Just as time spent with a child is never in vain so time spent in spiritual nurture is never in vein either.  If you are not currently nurturing someone in their faith, ask God to show you someone young in their faith and begin to do the work of fatherly nurturing in their life.

Tonight at our church, we are hosting the Americans for the Truth About Homosexuality annual dinner and presentation.  It all begins at 6:00.  We will gather for prayer then eat Portillos for dinner.  After dinner we will reconvene to hear Stephen Black, an ex-gay man, who came to Christ and found deliverance from all of his pain and sin.  Tomorrow AFTAH will host sessions in the morning and a panel discussion in the afternoon.  The cost for the whole event is $25.

A week from Sunday we will begin our revival meetings with Brent Sivnksty.  Brent will be taking us back to the book of Titus and walking us through the important lessons from that epistle.  Sunday services are at 10:30am and 6:00pm.  Monday through Friday the services will be at 7:00 with Friday’s service being at the First Baptist Church of Big Rock. 

Have a great day in the Lord,
PS

What a Glorious Love

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1 Thessalonians 2:4–8

4 But as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, even so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who tests our hearts.

5 For neither at any time did we use flattering words, as you know, nor a cloak for covetousness—God is witness.

6 Nor did we seek glory from men, either from you or from others, when we might have made demands as apostles of Christ.

7 But we were gentle among you, just as a nursing mother cherishes her own children.

8 So, affectionately longing for you, we were well pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God, but also our own lives, because you had become dear to us.

When we care for people for Christ in Christ we develop a love for them.  Here Paul uses an intense family relationship of a mother with her nursing child to describe the level of care that Paul had for those he gave the gospel to.  Think with me about that love for a moment.  The tenderness of a mother with her new baby is one of the most beautiful pictures in the entire world.  A new mother would never use harsh nor dishonest words with her new baby.  A new mother lives to protect and to care for her baby and would even sacrifice herself for her baby’s protection.

This is the picture Paul used to tell the story of his time with the people in Thessalonica.   What a great testimony he had there.  So close they were that Paul was willing to give them his own life as they had become so dear to him.   This should be the church of Jesus Christ today.  The love of Christ should so flow through us that those we care for should have no doubt about our love.

When love this strong is felt so genuinely people are secure.  When we have God’s love in us flowing through us the church family is as beautiful as a mother with her new baby.  Do you know this love from your church?  Are there those in your life that you are able to show this love to?  Thank God today for His love in you and through you.  Thank God for those who have showed you this glorious love. 

Thursday night our  church is hosting a prayer meeting for Pray Naperville at 7:00.  This is an open prayer meeting all in our community who pray in the name of Jesus Christ. 

Friday night is Peter LaBarbera’s event where Stephen Black is bringing a message on hope for those in sexual issues.  This will be a great evening for all who come.  Saturday there will be seminars from 9-4.  The cost for everything is $25.

Have a great day in the Lord,

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PS

Giving the Gospel is never a Futile Effort

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1 Thessalonians 2

1 For you yourselves know, brethren, that our coming to you was not in vain.

2 But even after we had suffered before and were spitefully treated at Philippi, as you know, we were bold in our God to speak to you the gospel of God in much conflict.

3 For our exhortation did not come from error or uncleanness, nor was it in deceit.

4 But as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, even so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who tests our hearts.

As Paul left Philippi, where he was not well received the first time, (Philippi, as you recall, was where Paul and Silas were beaten and thrown in jail where they prayed and sang and enjoyed a life-changing earthquake after which they were requested to leave the city he and his companions went next to Thessalonica where they could have been a bit reticent to start this all over again.

 

But they did start all over again and boldly proclaimed the gospel to the men and women of this pagan city. One thing Paul did know was that the word of God would not return void and that no service of the Lord was in vain.   And as sure as the promises were given, so Paul and his team saw fruit from the gospel in Thessalonica.

 

We notice here that Paul’s message was consistent because it was from God. Since Paul was ever committed to the call and the authority of God in his life we see him following the Gospel from God again and again. Paul was entrusted with the gospel. This is a passive voice meaning that Paul did not do something to get this gospel but was given it by God and also given the ability to proclaim it from God. Therefore, as Paul proclaimed the gospel of God he did so to please God from the heart.

 

We also have received the gospel of God from God. We have God’s authority on our salvation. Christ paid the price for our sin so that we could be eternally saved, made holy before God. This gift of the gospel was given to us. We then are to take this gift and to make it known to others. They, in turn, will know that it is not our message that we speak of but God’s message and they will have to respond to God. Give the message of God; it won’t come back in vain.

 

Sunday morning we heard the testimony of salvation from several of our church family. It was a great encouragement to hear how God intersected their lives with His grace and how that He brought the salvation that changed their lives and that saved their souls. Thanks to all of you who got up, out of your comfort zone, to give testimony of the grace of God in you. This has begun some very good conversations including one with Stefani last night. She realized that God takes people where they are and saves them. This reality spoke to hear young heart.   Continue to pray for the salvation of those who come regularly but don’t possess the Savior that they will come to His saving grace soon.

 

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

What have you turned from to adore God?

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1 Thessalonians 1

9 For they themselves declare concerning us what manner of entry we had to you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, 10 and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.

I was talking with Stefani this morning and she was telling about a boy who loves baseball, before the Cubs won last night, yes, I watched the 7-9th innings, go Cubs!, she let the boy know that his life would not end if the Cubs lost.  His twitter feed is filled with potential game match-ups and such.  So we talked about the fact that everyone adores something.  When we don’t adore God we find something lesser to give our attention to.

The Philippians served idols. That is what they adored.  When the gospel entered in to them through the preaching of Paul, they receiving the gospel, they naturally turned from their dead idols to serve the living and true God.  In adoring God they stopped adoring their idols.  By the example of the Thessalonians and the teaching of all of the scriptures, when we come to God through Christ we are going to adore Him, the living and true God, and are going to spend our days waiting the return of His Son who is going to deliver us from the wrath to come, the judgment for our sins.

What are you adoring today?  If you have been saved from your sin you have a good reason to adore your Savior.  The one who came from heaven is coming back to receive us unto Himself.  When He returns, the Lord Jesus wants to find us anticipating His return by faithfully loving and serving Him as our priority.  The Thessalonians, who heard the gospel for the first time through Paul, got it.

Tonight is our movie night when we will be showing the film, Facing the Giants.  Who can you bring along that can benefit from this great story and hear the gospel?  I am praying for God to use this night to bring people to Himself.

Sunday, bring your testimony of salvation with you to church.  After two Sundays of preaching on the event of salvation, it would benefit the church to hear how God brought some of you to Himself.  I look forward to hearing from you of God’s grace in you.

Yesterday’s pastors conference sponsored by WYLL and Salem media was a great blessing.  I took my dad and both of us had a great day with probably 300 other pastors.

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

Giving out the Word in life and lips

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1 Thessalonians 1

For our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit and in much assurance, as you know what kind of men we were among you for your sake.

And you became followers of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Spirit, so that you became examples to all in Macedonia and Achaia who believe.

 

When we give out the gospel we are giving it out in our lives as well as with our lips.  Paul gave out the gospel in the power of the Holy Spirit and with the testimony of his life lived among them.  As we live our lives preach whatever is within.  If deceit and perversion are within then we are going to preach deceit and perversion.  If covetous is within then we will preach covetousness, and so on.  But when we possess the Lord Jesus Christ our lives are going to preach Him.

Notice also that the word was received with much affliction.  It is not easy to speak out the gospel nor is it easy for the lost to hear it.  We must speak it anyway.  Faith comes  as a result of hearing the Word of God.  We mustn’t back down here.  When the culture around us goes against God’s word we must proclaim it.  The only hope they will ever have is from the pure Word of God.  It might be received with affliction, give it anyway.

The wonderful result of our living and giving the gospel is that some who hear will become followers of the Lord and will become examples of God’s grace to others.  The Word will then be sounded out even louder.  I have prayed this year, 2017, that God would give us a harvest of souls.  We have not seen this prayer answered yet but the year is not over.  Join with me in prayer for God to save the lost who hear His message from our lips.

 

Tomorrow night at 7:00 we are presenting the movie “Facing the Giants.” This is a good football movie with a message of the gospel and unity.  Our society needs all of the messages of this well-made movie.

I am going with my dad to 116AM’s Lyft conference today.  Pray for the pastors who attend to be encouraged to keep on in their ministries for the Lord.

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

Pass the test, Pass the exam, you know you have eternal life

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https://player.vimeo.com/video/237637838

Pass the test, Pass the exam, you know you have eternal life from Pastor Steve Schroeder on Vimeo.

From 2 Corinthians 13:5, Pastor Steve looks at the test and the exam that Paul gave the church to make sure that they were not disqualified before God. Jesus said that many in that day will call Him Lord but He will say “depart from me, I never knew you.” For Paul to say that we can pass the test means that we can know that we are saved. In this message we will come to understand both the proposition of the Gospel and the experience of acceptance of that proposition by faith. The result is the indwelling Holy Spirit who changes our lives for good

Who brings you rejoicing?

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1 Thessalonians 1

1 Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

2 We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers,

3 remembering without ceasing your work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the sight of our God and Father,

Paul’s ministry at Thessalonica was an especially rewarding one. He gave them the word of God and they received it and their lives were changed by it. He gave them his loving nurture and they received it. So changed were they that they became an example to other churches of how to come to Christ. It was to this church that Paul penned the word, “you are our joy and our crown.”

 

So Paul can begin this letter with thanksgiving from the heart; Paul and his travelling companions always thanked God for this church. But notice this, even though they had fully received the word of God from the messenger of God, Paul still took time to pray for them. Let us remember that even when people are doing well that they still need our prayers.

In his prayers, Paul thanked God specifically for their work of faith, their labor of love, and their patience of hope all in the Lord Jesus Christ in the sight of God. It is a joy when someone you have spiritually cared for does well before God.   There are plenty of disappointments in this life. There are many whom we pray for that they will do better. What a joy it is to thank God for those who are doing well in Him.

 

Whom do you thank God for? Who in your life have you been able to influence for Christ’s sake that is doing well and brings you joy? The more you invest in others the more opportunities you will have for rejoicing. I often tell people to get out of themselves and get into someone else. Go volunteer somewhere, go read to someone in a nursing home, volunteer at a rescue mission or at a woman’s shelter, spend time helping at Feed My Starving Children, get involved with the school band or choir program, find ways to invest into others and pray for opportunities to point them to Jesus. Before long, you will have those in your life that you thank God for whose faith you helped direct to Christ.

 

I am leaving for the weekly service at Sunrise Assisted Living shortly. Pray for God to use His word to speak to men and women there.

 

Pray for a friend in depression to come back to the truth they once knew.

 

I am going to have a good washing machine for sale pretty soon. If you know of anyone who needs one let me know.

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

Looking forward to eternity? I am!

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Isaiah 66

22   “For as the new heavens and the new earth

Which I will make shall remain before Me,” says the Lord,

“So shall your descendants and your name remain.

23   And it shall come to pass

That from one New Moon to another,

And from one Sabbath to another,

All flesh shall come to worship before Me,” says the Lord.

If you would read the verses before and after this one you would find that God predicts times of war against Him, times of scattering of His people and of restoring His people.  The prophecy speaks of death of God’s enemies and life for God’s chosen.  It speaks of Gentile nations coming to Him and serving Him in His temple.

There must come a day when the Lord, the God of heaven and earth, must come and execute His wrath on those who have sinned against Him and have rejected His Son.  At the same time, those who have repented of their sin and have sought the grace of God by faith through the work of the Son will be received and will know an eternal abode with their Lord.

As I read passages like this my faith is confirmed and my heart leaps for joy that I am one of God’s.  I have been adopted by Him and will know His glorious Abba love forever.  I know that the troubles of this world both within me and outside of me are temporal and that bliss with God is eternal.  Again, I rejoice.  Know this; God is in control of all time and of all eternity.  God’s eternal purposes include us with Him apart from any of sin and its pain forever.  We can faithfully endure in this life and we must.  God’s plans are in place and are going to happen for our eternal salvation with Him.

I am thankful for a great day together with God’s people yesterday in church.  Thanks to the musicians who worked diligently to lead us.  Thanks to the teachers who prepared and taught our children.  Thanks to all who came so that together we could gather as the body of Christ on this earth. 

Our kids are off of school today.  I hope they get some needed rest. 

This Friday is our last movie night of the season.  Join us at 7:00 for Facing the Giants.  Bring a friend who could benefit from the message of the film. 

Have a great day in the Lord,
PS

A wonderful promise to a displaced people

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Isaiah 66

10   “Rejoice with Jerusalem,

And be glad with her, all you who love her;

Rejoice for joy with her, all you who mourn for her;

11   That you may feed and be satisfied

With the consolation of her bosom,

That you may drink deeply and be delighted

With the abundance of her glory.”

12 For thus says the Lord:

“Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river,

And the glory of the Gentiles like a flowing stream.

Then you shall feed;

On her sides shall you be carried,

And be dandled on her knees.

13   As one whom his mother comforts,

So I will comfort you;

And you shall be comforted in Jerusalem.”

 

As I read through the books of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Daniel I see a very sad picture of a nation loved by God yet under the severe hand of God’s chastening. For centuries the nation of Israel, as a whole, had ignored the messengers God sent, they had ignored the written Scriptures left by Moses, and they refused to listen, submit to, and obey the very voice and will of God Almighty.  After repeated warnings to them, up until the very time of their city’s destruction, God sent foreign kings and their armies to destroy Jerusalem, break down the Temple built by Solomon, and either kill the people or take them captive.  It was the darkest day of their history.

For the people in captivity to read Isaiah 66, for they were in captivity according to God’s plan for 70 years, they would either sigh in disbelief or they would rejoice in hope. God used the illustration of a healthy mother caring for and feeding her loved child to help them picture themselves back in their beloved city being cared for by God. This is a very specific prophecy sent to a very defeated and discouraged people.

What has sin continued to do?  Any of you could answer this question for in our own lifetime, as well as for the last 2,000 years, mankind has rejected the word of God, rebelled against the will of God, and has faced the wrath of God.  Those who refuse the prophets of God and won’t listen to their messages blame God for their troubles. Those of us who study the Bible and seek to understand God’s messages can clearly see His hand of judgment and mercy at His will.  (Read Daniel 9)

My friends, the glory of the Christian life is yet to be fulfilled.  We have seal of God within us in the person of the Holy Spirit.  God has given us the earnest of heaven in our souls but we know we are not in heaven yet.  We glorify God for saving us and giving us peace in a troubled world while we look forward to our heavenly city, the New Jerusalem, where we will dwell eternally with our Lord Jesus, the Way, the Truth, and the Life.   Do not miss the message of Isaiah 66.  God has a future promised for all of His chosen of whom we are also partakers.

Do not get discouraged in the length of our time in faith.  Very soon our faith will be sight and we will be forever with our wonderful Savior in His wonderful place that He has gone to prepare for us.

Tomorrow morning at 7:30 we will have our monthly prayer breakfast at Denny’s near New York St and Route 59.  We study God’s word, pray, and eat breakfast together.  If this has not been your habit, join us for a day and you might just want to make it your new habit.

Sunday morning I will be looking again at 2 Corinthians 13:5.  There was a bit of conversation after last week’s message on testing and examining ourselves to see if we are in the faith.  I am going to look at that proposition and action again in hopes of bringing greater clarity to our church.  If you know someone struggling with their faith this would be a good message to invite them to hear.

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS