Month: April 2019

Diligent work makes a difference

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Proverbs 12

27    The lazy man does not roast what he took in hunting,

But diligence is man’s precious possession.

28    In the way of righteousness is life,

And in its pathway there is no death.

 

In a culture where hunting was for food, a lazy man might bring home the animal taken in the hunt and not prepare it for food. This sounds extreme for why even go on the hunt if you are too lazy to prepare it for dinner? This could be a hyperbole, using an extreme example to make a point. The point seems to be the second part of the verse that human diligence has great value to those who practice it.

 

Yes, there are times when I want to be lazy, when that which I need to do I want to set aside because I just don’t want to get up and do it. (I felt that way about the treadmill last night, the treadmill lost.) In giving advice to young people who are starting their first job, I give them two words of advice: 1. Be on time for work, in fact, be ten minutes early every shift you work. 2. Do everything that the boss expects of you. Having been an employer, these two points are key to showing diligence. I tell young people that if they do these two things, they will get promoted.

 

We don’t think of diligence as being a possession, much less a precious possession, but it is the diligent who get up and go to work, give their work their best efforts and take care of themselves and their family. It is the diligent who develop their talents and use them to greater and greater capacities throughout their lives. As we practice diligence, verse 28, calls our path the “way of the righteous” in whose “pathway there is no death.” Those who are diligent know righteousness and walk in it. As we walk in righteous diligence, we enjoy life. The pathway of life for the diligent righteous is a way of life, enjoy it. (Perhaps there is a lesson here about enjoying that which we take in hunting, enjoying that which we diligently work for.)

My parents are in good spirits. They are packed up and ready to leave on Tuesday morning. Pray with us for safety and good health as they travel.

We are doing well. Thanks for all of the prayers; God is doing His wonderful work

I missed the spring Naperville Men’s Glee Club concert on Sunday. After 20 years of singing with them, I did miss not being a part of this one. Steve directed much of it; it is still a part of his life.

 

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

Depression causing anxiety

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Proverbs 12

25    Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression,

But a good word makes it glad.

26    The righteous should choose his friends carefully,

For the way of the wicked leads them astray.

Do you find it interesting that Solomon combines anxiety and depression? There are times that depression afflicts everyone. We have categorized depression into different levels, nonetheless, whenever we find ourselves depressed there is some sort of anxiety in our lives. While I don’t want to overgeneralize this today, it is worth speaking to from this level of understanding.

Anxiety is a feeling caused by many negative influences. Anxiety tends to grow in size the more we focus on issues that have caused it. Most of the time, the things we are anxious about never happen even though we have dedicated a great deal of thought and attention to the “what if it did” aspect. Again, most of the time, the anxiety is caused by something someone else has done to us or has expected from us; so, anxiety is something on the outside that has worked its way in.

In Philippians 4 we are told to replace anxiety with prayer. Depression causing anxiety, if given to God in prayer and faith with thanksgiving, may never grow into full blown depression. I mentioned on Sunday the Scripture that tells us to bring every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. Psalm 27:14 tells us to wait on the Lord, be of good courage, and He will strengthen our hearts.

The walk of faith is a walk of varying difficulty for different people and at different times of life. Faith in God, His word, His promises, His love, His plan both for today and for eternity, is our silver bullet against depression. Surely the God who made us in His image and in His likeness knows how we work, how our minds work, and what we need to function in this life. Surely God has a plan for those who have been abused as well as those who have not. Surely God’s healing and loving hand can bring the peace of heart, mind and soul that each of us needs.

Again, this is a walk of faith, not of sight. Overcoming anxiety causing depression is more difficult for some than others, nonetheless, faith in all that God is, all that God has said, and all that God is yet to do, is indeed our answer to, our “good word that makes us glad.”

 

We should not be amazed when God shows up to meet with His people, and yet, week after week we find ourselves rejoicing with God’s church over all that He does for us. Sunday was a full day with the Lord’s Table and with testimonies from men who were arrested for sharing Christ in Brunei but whom God had released this last week. After service we had a “pot luck” and enjoyed the fellowship of the family as we gathered around an array of food and deserts. God is so good to us to let us enjoy His people who gather as His family in this life.

Please pray for a woman named Charro. She broke her arm in December and is has not yet healed. She and her husband have a young son who needs care and she is limited in her ability to care. This is a difficult thing for our sister who would greatly appreciate your prayers.  

My parents are packing up on Monday to move to Pennsylvania on Tuesday. Join us in prayer for this transition of their lives. It is a big move as my sister will be taking over their care. My brother Bill has done a wonderful job providing care for these past ten months. We were so thankful for all that he continually did. Dad has come to a place where he needs more nursing care and he and mom were going to have to live in separate rooms. We have determined that my sister, Dawn, can provide them the care they need and keep them together. Pray that dad’s health will allow this.  

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

God’s thoughts on lying and truthfulness

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Proverbs 12:17–22

17    He who speaks truth declares righteousness,

But a false witness, deceit.

18    There is one who speaks like the piercings of a sword,

But the tongue of the wise promotes health.

19    The truthful lip shall be established forever,

But a lying tongue is but for a moment.

20    Deceit is in the heart of those who devise evil,

But counselors of peace have joy.

21    No grave trouble will overtake the righteous,

But the wicked shall be filled with evil.

22    Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord,

But those who deal truthfully are His delight.

 

One of the Ten Commandments states: “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.” Jesus said that He was the “way the truth and the life.” In other words, Jesus is the personification of truth; everything He said was truth in every way. The word of God is established in the truth of God. We believe every word of God because it came from Him who is Truth. Truth is so much a part of who God is that He expects His people to speak always with truth.

In this section we read that those who speak truth declare righteousness, bring conviction, their words are established forever, they have joy, they avoid trouble, and are God’s delight. Truthful speech is very important to God and therefore must be important to us. We also see that truth and wisdom walk together.

In light of this teaching, how much falsehood, how many lies or grey areas should we tolerate from our own lips? We are all tempted to shade the truth, exaggerate the truth, or downright lie against the truth on a regular basis. Making these teachings a part of the fabric of our thinking will cause us to live away from sin and closer to God’s wisdom every day.

 

Remember to pray for our students as they come near the end of their school years. Tests and projects and performances are all a part of the process and from them our students become more prepared for life. Nonetheless, they are under a stress that they must learn to turn more and more to the Lord instead of internalizing and getting frustrated. Keep them all in your prayers.

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

 

 

Nothing makes sense humanly; Everything makes sense spiritually

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Luke 23

13 Then Pilate, when he had called together the chief priests, the rulers, and the people, 14 said to them, “You have brought this Man to me, as one who misleads the people. And indeed, having examined Him in your presence, I have found no fault in this Man concerning those things of which you accuse Him; 15 no, neither did Herod, for I sent you back to him; and indeed nothing deserving of death has been done by Him. 16 I will therefore chastise Him and release Him17 (for it was necessary for him to release one to them at the feast).

18 And they all cried out at once, saying, “Away with this Man, and release to us Barabbas”—19 who had been thrown into prison for a certain rebellion made in the city, and for murder.

20 Pilate, therefore, wishing to release Jesus, again called out to them. 21 But they shouted, saying, “Crucify Him, crucify Him!”

22 Then he said to them the third time, “Why, what evil has He done? I have found no reason for death in Him. I will therefore chastise Him and let Him go.”

23 But they were insistent, demanding with loud voices that He be crucified. And the voices of these men and of the chief priests prevailed. 24 So Pilate gave sentence that it should be as they requested. 25 And he released to them the one they requested, who for rebellion and murder had been thrown into prison; but he delivered Jesus to their will.

 

As we read this account of Christ before Pilate and Herod and the people, several thoughts come to mind. Jesus did not deserve any of this treatment, He had done nothing sinful. Neither Pilate, the magistrate nor Herod, the king could find any fault in Jesus and tried to dissuade the people from their blood thirst for Christ. When Pilate offered the release of Jesus as was customary on Passover, the people wanted a common criminal released, one who had stolen from them, and they wanted the sinless Jesus condemned.

 

Nothing is right about this picture! In any study of law everything done here was irregular at best and downright illegal at the worst. There was no reason for the government officials who were acting as the judges of this trial to give in to the crowd and kill an innocent man. Surely even this decision went against every part of their being. Even the wife of Pilate sent him a message to leave this man alone for she had suffered in a dream because of this situation.

 

Just five days earlier, many in this crowd laid palm branches and their own coats at the feet of the donkey that was carrying Jesus through Jerusalem. They proclaimed Him the blessed one who had come in the name of the Lord. They proclaimed, “Hosanna to the son of David, Hosanna in the highest.” And now they were following the religious leaders to cries of “crucify Him.” Nothing is right about this picture!

 

There is one important thing that is right here. Jesus, God in the flesh, was doing exactly what God the Father wanted done. Jesus was submitting to the altar of cross. The angry multitudes, thinking they were finally getting their way, were also accomplishing the express will of the Father. It was prophesied that they would mock the Messiah. Pilate and Herod, going against all that they knew was right, were also accomplishing the exact will of the Father who had prophesied that Jesus would be beaten for our transgressions and bruised for our iniquities. It had been prophesied that nails would pierce His hands and His feet. Jesus was called the Lamb of God and a lamb had to be slaughtered.

 

What was right about this event? God was doing His will through everything that men were doing wrong. They thought they were getting what they wanted, when in reality, they were doing exactly what God wanted. This Good Friday, thank God for His perfect plan for our salvation from our sin; thank Jesus for submitting to the perfect will of the Father so that His sacrifice would take our eternal penalty.

 

If you are in Jakarta, join us tonight as we focus on the seven sayings of Christ from the cross. It will be a somber evening as we look at the broken Savior. We will end our time together observing the Lord’s Table remembering Him in the broken bread and juice. This begins at 6:00 at JIBC.

 

Take time Sunday to enjoy the resurrection of Christ with your church family. Resurrection Sunday is greater than Christmas Day because it reminds us of the completed life of Christ. We rejoice in His birth but if Christ had not gone to the cross and the grave we would still be lost in our sins. Rejoice in the justifying resurrection this Lord’s Day.

 

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

 

An intentional offering of praise and worship

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Matthew 26

And when Jesus was in Bethany at the house of Simon the leper, a woman came to Him having an alabaster flask of very costly fragrant oil, and she poured it on His head as He sat at the table. But when His disciples saw it, they were indignant, saying, “Why this waste? For this fragrant oil might have been sold for much and given to the poor.”

10 But when Jesus was aware of it, He said to them, “Why do you trouble the woman? For she has done a good work for Me. 11 For you have the poor with you always, but Me you do not have always. 12 For in pouring this fragrant oil on My body, she did it for My burial. 13 Assuredly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her.”

Jesus had announced his death to His disciples, but they did not grasp it yet. However, Jesus knew what was coming next and when He was anointed with the “very costly fragrant oil” He knew it was in preparation for His burial. The disciples were indignant for this waste convinced that the sale of this oil would have been better for everyone. Jesus continued His defense of this woman’s actions noting that her sacrifice for Him would be remembered long after the disciples were gone.

Let’s look at the sacrifice of this woman and the reason behind it. In Mark 14:3-9 we find that this woman is identified as Mary, the sister of Lazarus, who Jesus raised from the dead. Jesus had performed a miracle of life for this family and His work was not taken lightly. Mary, in utter abandon, came to Jesus with potentially her most valuable earthly possession to worship Him with the greatest worship she could bring. Jesus, knowing what the next days would bring, accepted Mary’s worship and silenced the critics saying that her gift was for His burial.

As we think about God giving us eternal life through the gift of His Son, are we as overwhelmed with a desire to worship as Mary was? As we are coming into Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday are we preparing ourselves to worship our Lord for the miracle of life that He has freely bestowed upon us? I fear that in the busyness of life that we will “bump” into Good Friday, say a prayer of thanks and then “bump” again into Resurrection Sunday with a few words of thanksgiving and then move on to Monday. Suppose we took the attitude of Mary this year and sought to deeply worship the Savior. What might be different from previous years?

 

Jesus said that Mary’s sacrifice for Him would be remembered. What are we doing for the Savior that would be memorable to Him? How great is our worship? How determined are our actions of praise as we come into the time of year when we focus on His death and resurrection so we could have eternal life?

We watched the election coverage last night thanking God for the voice of the people. The people of Indonesia voted to continue their commitment to a pluralistic society that offers freedom of religion in their country. We spent time thanking the Lord for this gift of this freedom at this time in our history. Today is a peaceful day in the city showing the commitment to democracy that most of the people have. We are thankful.

 Tomorrow night at 6:00 there will be a Good Friday service here. Different men in the church will be reading the seven sayings of Christ from the Cross. This will be a serious service focused on the death and suffering of the Savior who gave His life so we could live.

 Tomorrow at 11:45 we will again open the church for Christian prayer. If you are in the area please join with us as we spend time thanking God for His wonderful gift to us.

 Bobbi’s dad went into the hospital with kidney failure. He has had kidney disease for a while now and his blood count came back showing the kidneys were not working enough. We are praying for a treatment that has the potential of bringing his kidneys back to a decent function. Ed is in good spirits, as he usually always is. Thank you for your prayers.

 Have a great day in the Lord,
PS

There is only one everlasting Kingdom; God is over all kingdoms

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Psalm 145

10    All Your works shall praise You, O Lord,

And Your saints shall bless You.

11    They shall speak of the glory of Your kingdom,

And talk of Your power,

12    To make known to the sons of men His mighty acts,

And the glorious majesty of His kingdom.

13    Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,

And Your dominion endures throughout all generations.

14    The Lord upholds all who fall,

And raises up all who are bowed down.

15    The eyes of all look expectantly to You,

And You give them their food in due season.

16    You open Your hand

And satisfy the desire of every living thing.

17    The Lord is righteous in all His ways,

Gracious in all His works.

18    The Lord is near to all who call upon Him,

To all who call upon Him in truth.

19    He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him;

He also will hear their cry and save them.

20    The Lord preserves all who love Him,

But all the wicked He will destroy.

21    My mouth shall speak the praise of the Lord,

And all flesh shall bless His holy name

Forever and ever.

Today is Indonesia’s fifth Presidential election. Before 1998 the elections had no effect on the presidency here. Now, the people of Indonesia are operating in a democracy where free elections are a part of their lives. Election day is also a holiday from work. Businesses and factories are closed so everyone can have the opportunity to vote.

Look with me at Psalm 145 in light of the kingdoms of this earth. God declares that His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom and that He is the one we expectantly look to. God wants us to know that when we cry out to Him that He opens His hands and satisfies us. When we cry out to God He is the one who hears our cry and saves us.

Ever since I was 18 years old, I have participated in local and federal elections. Some time the ones that I thought best got elected and some time the ones I thought best did not get elected. I learned early on that God in heaven was in control of the elections and that He puts up whom He will put and that He puts down whom He will put down. And while I have often grieved at the will of the people, that is the one that was voted into office, I have had to rest in the overarching will of God. Remember this: at each election, God is not being voted on and He never leaves His throne.

I am very thankful to be in Indonesia and to be a part of this great country. It is thrilling to see democracy at work and to know that a free people are participating in a free election to determine who will guide their country. As is true everywhere that people vote, there seems to be a candidate better for our future, and we who know the Lord, desire this candidate to be elected. Nonetheless, God’s kingdom will not be affected by the outcome of today’s election for His is an everlasting kingdom and His throne is securely His. Rest in this truth today.

As you vote today, cry out to God with greater passion and plead with Him to show His might in Indonesia today. Pray that the desires of the wicked, those who are against God, would be thwarted while the desire of the righteous will be granted. By the time today ends, God’s will is going to be known and His people will be thankful for the clarity of His way.

21    My mouth shall speak the praise of the Lord,

And all flesh shall bless His holy name

Forever and ever.

 

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

John 17:20-26

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2019/04/14 – Dr. Theon Hill