Month: June 2019

Are you content with a little as long as you have the Lord and love?

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Proverbs 15

16    Better is a little with the fear of the Lord,

Than great treasure with trouble.

17    Better is a dinner of herbs where love is,

Than a fatted calf with hatred.

Do we really believe this teaching? Do the actions of our lives demonstrate this truth? Are we really content with only our basic needs met, with love and a small dinner available to us? There are several enemies to contentment in this world. Satan attacks our contentment in Christ in as many ways as he can. Our enemy knows that if we can be made discontent that we will become distracted and spend more time getting than enjoying Him and giving to others.

Think about this with me. “Better is a little than a great treasure and better is a small vegan dinner than a good steak or roast.” Put that way, we would disagree on several levels. But add in “with the fear of the Lord” and “where love is” and we fully understand. What good is treasure without the Lord in your life? Jesus illustrated this several times; the rich young ruler wanted his riches more than discipleship and the rich man who ignored the beggar Lazarus opened his eyes in hell. King Saul had the wealth of Israel but hated David and lived in constant jealousy while he ate, well, “like a king.”

When the apostle Paul wrote, “I have learned in whatsoever state I am in to be content.” He was teaching us the same wisdom lesson that Solomon was trying to teach. Contentedness begins in the heart and overcomes the desires of the stomach and the flesh. When at peace with God and when at peace with those who love me us, we should be content and thankful, even for a meager meal. If we have peace and love and an old car and the same clothes as last year, and a small house or apartment, we should focus on what we have and not miserably wish for more. I have been in the grand homes of the unhappy wealthy and eaten at the full tables of the rich. But scarcely is the meal finished before the bitterness of life comes out through the discontent of everyone there.

Please note, this is not saying that all rich people are miserable. They are not. There are the wealthy who love the Lord, live in fear of Him and are content. God uses these people to fund His kingdom work in this life. Solomon’s point is that wealth does not bring peace and love but true wealth begins with the fear of the Lord and love toward those at the table with us. You may be wealthier than you realize.

 

It is Friday, try to join us for prayer at 11:45 today. I believe that God honors us with His guidance and His power to do His work when we pray to Him. We begin reading a Psalm and then pray praise to God from the Psalm, we ask God to shape our lives according to the Psalm, and then we pray for others that God will meet their needs according to the teaching of the Psalm.

Pray with us for Sunday that God will prepare those of us who are preaching and teaching. Pray that those involved in the children’s ministry and the music ministry and the audio and media teams that all will serve to the glory of God and do so with complete unity of heart and purpose. May our God be exalted and His word go forth with His power and His authority. I will be bringing a message on the seriousness of sin as John teaches us that there is a sin unto death.

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

A Merry- hearted Person

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Proverbs 15

13    A merry heart makes a cheerful countenance,

But by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.

14    The heart of him who has understanding seeks knowledge,

But the mouth of fools feeds on foolishness.

15    All the days of the afflicted are evil,

But he who is of a merry heart has a continual feast.

What is a “merry heart?” In this section, a merry heart makes for a cheerful face and a merry heart leads to a continual feast. The person with a merry heart brings joy into every room and gladness into every conversation. This merry-hearted person feasts on joy and peace all of the time. They know the joy of the Lord and the peace of God resulting in their entire being affected by this joy. A person with a merry heart must be one who lives reconciled to God, one who is not living in the pain of their sin, and one who rejoices every day.

We have all known people like this; these are the people who we wish we could have some of whatever it is they have. We wish we could be this joyful all the time. We think that the merry-hearted person never has problems and never has sorrow, but the truth is that they have learned that everything comes from the hand of God and they can always rejoice in God’s will. A merry-hearted person struggles, but they keep their struggles with God in private and know His joy before they leave His presence. The person of the merry heart is not oblivious to trouble, but their heart ever seeks the knowledge of God.

My friends, the joy of the Lord is not a pass from trouble. The joy of the Lord is His fulness as we seek His knowledge in every situation and every stage of life. Our constant reliance on the Lord enables us to have His peace when nothing else seems to be at peace. Sorrow can break the spirit but joy holds the deepest sorrows at arm’s length as we take them to God and lay them at His feet.

 

Jared had a slow couple of days. So last night when he began to perk up, I got him up to “dance” with me. Dancing with Jared is holding both of his hands and swinging them while trying to take small steps around the room. He thought this was quite funny and smiled and laughed. Then Stefani got him to “dance” with her and again he squealed and laughed with her. We know that when Jared is struggling he cannot help it so when his mind clears up he wants to know that all is well. Thanks to so many of you who over the years have prayed for Jared and his well-being.

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

Learn to receive correction with humility

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Proverbs 15

10    Harsh discipline is for him who forsakes the way,

And he who hates correction will die.

11    Hell and Destruction are before the Lord;

So how much more the hearts of the sons of men.

12    A scoffer does not love one who corrects him,

Nor will he go to the wise.

Why do some people seem to never learn? They go from problem to problem, fine to fine, relationship to relationship, and never seem to realize that the problem is within themselves. No, none of us like correction. Be honest; when was the last time you really felt good when someone corrected you and even disciplined you for your actions? In these proverbs we learn about the ones who need harsh discipline, those who hate correction, and those who do not love the ones who correct them.

Growing up as the middle child, I watched my older sister and my younger brother get into trouble. Not wanting what they got I became compliant to my parent’s correction. At that age, compliancy is better than rebellion. In our years at the boys home we came to understand that there really are rebellious people who need harsh correction and who hate those who correct them. In the pastorate I learned that there are adults like this also. When you see someone’s attitude toward correction and their attitude toward the one doing the correction, you learn a great deal about their character. Those who hate correction and those who correct them seem to go from job to job, from jail to jail, and from friend to friend. They finally land with people like themselves.

The middle verse here says that both hell and destruction are before the Lord, that is, they are before His eyes and nothing gets away from God’s notice. If God sees the activities of death and hell, surely He knows men’s hearts. Satan, the great deceiver, knows how to tempt men’s hearts but the Lord knows what is in men’s hearts. God knew Job would not forsake Him. Jesus prayed for Peter knowing that in temptation he was going to fail. God knows your heart as well. If God so knows our hearts then God also knows how much correction our hearts need. Let’s heed God’s correction, apply it, and repenting of our sinful ways let us walk in God’s light and love instead.

 

Yesterday our family visited Yayasan Elsafon school for the blind here in Jakarta. We sat in our their rehearsal for chapel music. What a thrill to see these blind young people using their talents with abandon for the Lord. I was saddened to hear that one of the boys I met in December had gotten sick and “gone to be with the Lord.” Pray for these children and young people to be the men and women that God created them to be. There is a set of twin brothers who are gifted musicians. One of them Jesse, played piano as Stefani sang Amazing Grace. These young people brought the joy of the Lord to our hearts.

 Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

 

 

 

Sin is Not a Laughing Matter

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Proverbs 14:9 (NKJV)

9     Fools mock at sin,

But among the upright there is favor.

Proverbs 14:9 (NIV)

Fools mock at making amends for sin,

but goodwill is found among the upright.

Proverbs 14:9 (ESV)

    Fools mock at the guilt offering,

but the upright enjoy acceptance.

My friends, sin is not a laughing matter. Making matters right from sinful words and deeds is not a laughing matter. Bringing an offering to God for our sin is not a laughing matter. As long as there has been comedy, sin has been made fun of. We laugh when people imitate a drunk, a prostitute, a homosexual, a liar, and more. Comedy makes fun of good people by mocking righteousness and godliness. Saturday Night Live has created an entire new taste for making fun of any one and any thing at any given time. To “roast” someone is to make fun of them at any level that can be imagined.

To mock something is to make light of it so that it seems unimportant or unnecessary. Mockery makes fun of something or someone who is doing something; both good and bad can be made fun of and belittled. This proverb is especially interesting to us who love the Lord, love righteousness and grieve when we sin. Sin is not a small thing to us; sin is not something that we would mock and make light of. When we do sin against another person, we want them to take our apology seriously and carefully so that our relationship will be restored.

This proverb tells us that foolish people mock both sin itself and any efforts to reconcile the pain that sin has caused. Sin is not a laughing matter. Sin is the most serious trauma on planet earth. Sin separated Adam and Eve from God and separated them from each other. Sin brought death to Abel at the hands of Cain. Sin brought the destruction of the world in the flood of God’s judgment. Sin brought the confusion of the languages of the world and sin has caused every death and every sickness in history. Every war is attributed to someone’s pride, selfishness, prejudice and hatred. Ultimately, sin brought the Savior to this earth where He suffered and died because of our sin.

Heed this warning, fools make a mockery of sin, its consequences, the efforts to reconcile from it. God sees sin as a serious issue to be fought against, died to, confessed, and repented from.

 

Do you have an appetite for the Word of God? Is that appetite being fed each week? I have been reminded of just how closely our enemies live and how quickly these enemies want to deceive us from God’s truth. Pray for one another to remain faithful to God, to seek His word daily, to sit under its preaching and teaching, and to have hearts and minds open to its messages. Our battles are real and the stakes are high. Pray together for us to be better and better students of God’s truths.

 Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

 

Sacrifices of abomination verses prayers of delight

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Proverbs 15

8     The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord,

But the prayer of the upright is His delight.

9     The way of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord,

But He loves him who follows righteousness.

There are several times in the Bible when the phrase, “abomination to the Lord” is used. An abomination is something that is more evil to God than regular sin. Things that were an abomination to God in the Law were usually punished by death. Something that was an abomination to God was an action to really be avoided. You might not be able to abstain from every sin, but you certainly should abstain from things that God called an abomination. (Do a search on the word ‘abomination’ in the book of Leviticus and Deuteronomy.)

That being said, Solomon used the word ‘abomination” here to describe the sacrifice of the wicked and the way of the wicked.   This lesson should help us understand that when a wicked man or woman does something good in the name of philanthropy or in the name of religion, God is not impressed. When godless people make a big donation to a worthy cause, God does not take notice and give them a good mark in His record book. On the contrary, when a wicked man or woman makes a sacrifice for the good of another, even their motive is self-serving, and God adds this sin to their list of sins. Everything they do is about themselves, nothing they do is purely for the worship of God.

The contrary part of the wicked is the upright and the righteous. While the wicked make a great sacrifice, the righteous need only say a prayer to please the Lord. Our prayer of faith is more pleasing to God than the multi-million-dollar gift of the wicked. The simple cry of our heart to God gets His Divine attention and He is pleased that we came to Him. Yes, the kingdom of God on earth relies on the donations of others and yes, we should be giving of our resources to further God’s kingdom. What we learn here is that God is first pleased with our simplest prayers. When we give, it is not for self-praise but for God’s glory. We sacrifice to God on every level of our lives and we do so out of love, not obligation, out of selfless worship not with any desire for personal exaltation, and God is pleased. (Can you think of people in the life of Christ who worshiped Him and He was pleased?)

Once again, if you are able to join us at 11:45 today for prayer, please do. We read the Scriptures together and praise God with His words. Then we look at our own needs and the needs others from the Scriptures and pray more.

Remember to pray for our teenage young people who face awful temptations every day. From song lyrics to the content of TV and movies our teens are faced with the filth of this world all the time. Pray that they will have the discernment to know good and evil as well as the courage to stand up to it and resist it. I am working with a young man here who needs our prayers to commit to his parent’s wisdom and guidance. I am sure he is one of thousands or more in Christian homes who needs our prayers and loving guidance.

Be in prayer for Sunday throughout today and tomorrow. May God be highly exalted.

Have a great day in the Lord,
PS

The tongue can bring great life, security and hope

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Proverbs 15

4     A wholesome tongue is a tree of life,

But perverseness in it breaks the spirit.

5     A fool despises his father’s instruction,

But he who receives correction is prudent.

6     In the house of the righteous there is much treasure,

But in the revenue of the wicked is trouble.

7     The lips of the wise disperse knowledge,

But the heart of the fool does not do so.

In Psalm 1 we are given a picture of the blessed one, who by not walking in the way with the ungodly, by not standing around with sinners and by not sitting with the scorners is compared to a tree of life that brings for his or her fruit in its season, their leave does not wither and everything they do prospers. Here, in verse 4, we are given that analogy again. One who uses their tongue to speak words of wholesome communication is like a tree of life. This is a beautiful picture of strength, deep rooted security against the storms, fruitfulness throughout life’s seasons, and one who provides comfort and security to others.

People like this tree have been tremendous examples to me. I have admired their strength, wanted their security, and hoped to be just as fruitful. This analogy is tied to tangible actions of righteousness and of words spoken that are wholesome and true. In verse 7 we are told that the lips of the wise disperse knowledge. Wisdom that comes out of the mouth begins in the soul where wisdom must dwell. People with foolish hearts cannot speak with wisdom for there is no source within them.

Just as wholesome words are compared to a strong and fruitful tree that give life, so a perverse tongue, one that spews pain, breaks the spirit of life in those who hear it. “Life and death are in the power of the tongue,” and “the tongue no man can tame.” We cannot make ourselves use our tongues wisely but we can let God change our hearts so that our words come from a better source. A foolish person cannot help but to break the spirit of those who hear them. Words from a sinful and foolish heart are going to inflict pain because they come from pain. How can a person without peace speak any words of peace?

“Dear God, change our hearts so that the words we speak will be words of life and strength and hope to all who hear us. Let us be ever aware of what we say that our lips disperse your knowledge and not our own selfishness. May those who know us have a better life because of the words that come from our tongues to their ears.”

 

We had a wonderful lunch yesterday with a church family. It is always thrilling to us to hear how God works His salvation in people’s lives and then continues His work bringing joy and peace that are uniquely from Him. Stephen and his wife are golf pros teaching golf here in Jakarta. They are around super rich people every day and have come to realize that they have more than their clients do. Every night they go home to their family together with God’s love. Their wealthy clients go home alone or go home to painful relationships. Last Sunday, Stephen brought a client to church. We hope to meet together to point this man to Christ. Pray for Stephen and his wife as they minister God’s grace to successful people who need Jesus.

 Have a great day in the Lord

PS

What Can God See?

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Proverbs 15

3The eyes of the Lord are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good.

Jeremiah 32

19 You are great in counsel and mighty in work, for your eyes are open to all the ways of the sons of men, to give everyone according to his ways and according to the fruit of his doings.

Jeremiah 16

17 For My eyes are on all their ways; they are not hidden from My face, nor is their iniquity hidden from My eyes.

Hebrews 4

12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. 13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.

It has become very apparent that society today 1. does not believe in God Almighty and 2. does not realize that God sees all that they do. We can make this assumption because if people did believe in God and did believe that He saw all that they and that He was going to hold them accountable for what they did, they would do things very differently.

When I was growing up, it was shameful to be divorced and it was shameful for a couple to get pregnant before they married. Men and women did not live together for that was considered a fornicating relationship. Television shows did not use profanity and women were always covered and modest. Over time this has all changed and these things that used to be considered shameful and sinful are now common and normal. Is God still watching? Are people aware that God is watching and that He is keeping records to hold them accountable one day?

Perhaps we believe that when we get our day before God, if He exists, that if we don’t like His verdict we can appeal to a higher court. Or perhaps we just assume that since God made us this way that He will just have to accept us the way we are.

The Hebrews reference begins with a statement about the living Word of God and ends with an accounting as to what we did with His Word. It seems to me my friends, that God has remained in His righteous place and we are the ones who have moved away from Him. Let’s get back to the realization that God does see all that we do, both in private and in public, and let us be aware that there is an accounting before Him.

The good news of the Gospel is that Jesus Christ paid the price for our sin and we will not be held accountable for our sin anymore. The truth is that God still sees all that we do rewards us in this life both positively and negatively for the choices that we make under His Lordship. Therefore, even we, God’s children, need a constant awareness that our Heavenly Father is always watching what we do. This is spiritually and physically healthy for us.

Yesterday was a good day at JIBC as we looked at 1 John 5:11-13, the crescendo of John’s epistle telling us that when we have the Son of God we have, presently have, eternal life. What a great promise this is to us; eternal life is in Jesus Christ; God gives us the Son who brings His eternal life into us. What an absolutely wonderful fact affirmed to us. If you would like to hear this message go to https://sites.google.com/jibc.or.id/jibc/sermons?authuser=0 if you are in Indonesia the link is www.jibc.or.id/sermons

(If the links do not work, cut and paste them into your browser.)

 

Have a great day in the Lord,
PS

The Right response to Anger

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Proverbs 15 (KJV)

1 A soft answer turneth away wrath:

But grievous words stir up anger.

Proverbs 15:1–2 (NKJV)

1 A soft answer turns away wrath,

But a harsh word stirs up anger.

2 The tongue of the wise uses knowledge rightly,

But the mouth of fools pours forth foolishness.

 

My father probably taught me this verse as a young child because I don’t remember a time when in times of anger it wasn’t emphasized. So much emphasis was this given that I do not remember a time when my father lost his temper; a soft answer was his habit of life. I did not hear my father yell at my mother either. We did get his frustration when we deserved it, but he was never out of control with anger. I did not realize how unusual this was until I got older and knew others who lived angry lives and pointed back to their fathers and mothers whose anger was a regular part of life.

The second half of verse 2 teaches us that foolishness “pours” out of fools. Foolish pouring might be the “grievous words” of verse 1. Any fool can get angry; it is a person of wisdom who remains under control in anger’s presence. The person of wisdom uses knowledge rightly, that is, they are careful with their words, even in the presence of frustration.

Have you ever mentally removed yourself from an angry situation to try to understand the person who was angry and to ask God for wisdom to defuse their anger? As Christians who possess the Holy Spirit of God, we should be carriers of God’s peace, the opposite of foolish fleshly anger. On a day-to-day basis we should be people of soft, controlled and loving words that turn away the anger of others.

 

If you are in the Kemang area or close to it, join us at 11:45 for noon prayer today. We take time to read and to pray God’s word together. This has become a healthy part of our week.

Be in prayer for Sunday as we prepare for our time together in God’s house with God’s people.

Thank you for your prayers for Monica and for Justin. Monica should be released no later than tomorrow and Justin was released earlier today. Difficult situations God has taken care of in His wisdom and lovingkindness.

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

 

 

Can we really trust a God whom we cannot see?

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1 Samuel 8

19 Nevertheless the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel; and they said, “No, but we will have a king over us, 20 that we also may be like all the nations, and that our king may judge us and go out before us and fight our battles.”

21 And Samuel heard all the words of the people, and he repeated them in the hearing of the Lord. 22 So the Lord said to Samuel, “Heed their voice, and make them a king.”

And Samuel said to the men of Israel, “Every man go to his city.”

 

Let’s take a diversion from Proverbs today and look at a situation in Israel that defines us still today.

God in heaven had been the leader of Israel since the days of Abraham. Jehovah God showed His power over Egypt, over the Red Sea, over hunger and over thirst and over all the enemies of His people in the Promised Land. Everywhere Israel went, Jehovah God went before them and brought down every army meeting Israel’s every need. In the process of time, Israel realized that they did not have a visible king to go before them in battle, to be their figure head, like every other nation had. So they came to Samuel, the God ordained prophet and judge, and demanded that God give them a king they could see. This demand was a direct attack on the God that they could not see who led them by faith in His power and His ability to meet all of their needs.

How much are we like the people of Israel? God promises to meet all of our needs when we seek Him and His kingdom as our priority. God, who gave us all of our desires, has very specific instructions for the right and wrong ways to fulfill the desires of our lives. Psalm 37:4 says, “Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.”

If God has promised to give us the desires of our heart, then every sin of the heart and the flesh that demands a visible and immediate gratification of that which God has promised is both an idol of the heart and an act of faithlessness. Here is an example: When we covet something that we cannot get we are not trusting that God will meet our needs in that area. When we are bitter, we are not trusting that God has orchestrated all things for our good and for His glory. And when we lust sexually, we are not trusting that God has a plan for our sexual satisfaction.

To trust in God is to believe that He is leading us, by faith, into all that He wants for us. To live by faith is to give every desire into the hand of God and to wait on Him to meet our needs and desires according to His perfect and loving will. So then, every time we take our desires into our own hands, we are demanding that God give us a visible “king” to lead us; we no longer trust that God, whom we cannot see, is leading us well. Our faith, like Israel of old, is placed in a king of our own making who cannot do what God is doing to meet our every need and desire.

Monica’s procedure yesterday had a mishap when during the procedure her pancreas was wounded. We are asking God to heal her sufficiently for a gall bladder removal surgery tonight.

Our son Justin had a lung surgery today. It went well and the doctors gave a good report on the success of the procedure to secure the lung in place so it would never collapse causing greater damage.

Stefani made it safely to China and is with Caleb and Lindsey.

Pray for a friend named Neal whose sister died last week. Neil is here and his family is in Wales. Pray that they all would know God’s grace and peace.

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

Righteousness in Government brings a secure people

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Proverbs 14

34    Righteousness exalts a nation,

But sin is a reproach to any people.

35    The king’s favor is toward a wise servant,

But his wrath is against him who causes shame.

Throughout Proverbs and human history, there is a distinct correlation between wisdom and righteousness, foolishness and unrighteousness.  When a government acts in wisdom toward its’ people and acts in wisdom with its’ military and with its’ money, the people rejoice. A wise government results in a strong nation. In my lifetime we have seen this in different countries around the world. Rulers respect the people they are ruling, the people are happy with the government, economics are stable, military is protecting, and all is good.

On the other hand, a sinful ruler, a government that thinks of itself first, a government that is not careful with the people’s money and that does not protect them well, brings forth reproach from the people who are insecure and unhappy on several levels. A people who are ruled by a foolish and unrighteous government feel shame and reproach from their rulers. Unfortunately, we have all seen this type of government as well.

So what can we do about this? Let’s look at 1 Timothy.

1 Timothy 2: 1 Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.

My friends, we cannot storm our government offices demanding change, they don’t seem to listen to Christians anymore, at least not in Aurora. But we are called by the Lord to pray for our government that they may walk in righteousness enabling us to live quiet and peaceful lives in godliness and reverence. Let’s take time today and tomorrow to pray for our governments, those in authority over us, that they may lead in righteousness allowing us to live for our Lord in quietness and peace.

 

I am often reminded of our enemy who seeks to pull us away from the work of God. Pray for one another that in the midst of our lives and work the power of God will overcome all of the enemies’ attacks upon us. Pray for those who are speaking out about their faith to know the power of the gospel against the enemies of God.

Monica’s gall bladder stint went well yesterday, today they are to remove her gall bladder. Continue to pray with us for success and quick healing for our sister.

Have a great day in the Lord,
PS

 

Be slooowww to anger

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Proverbs 14

29    He who is slow to wrath has great understanding,

But he who is impulsive exalts folly.

30    A sound heart is life to the body,

But envy is rottenness to the bones.

Anger is not a character quality. Anger might be a family trait, but it is one to get rid of not to hang on to. Another proverb says to make no friends with an angry man and with a furious man do not go, lest you learn his ways and get a snare to your soul. Another one says that anger rests in the bosom of fools. To act in anger is to act impulsively, to act in such a way that you do not care for those around you. Anger is an expression of frustration that when it spills out it shows the foolishness of the angry person. Envy and anger are cousins; envy produces anger. You want something or someone that another person has, you dwell on what you want and before long you explode in anger over this envious desire.

On the other hand, the one who is slow to anger, she holds her temper, he respects the person and controls himself, that person is considered to have great understanding. It does not say that we never have anger but that we are slow to get there. A long fuse gives you time to resolve the problem and to put out the fuse well before the blow up. Your heart remains faithful, life remains in your body, and those around you determine that you are a person of great understanding.

How we respond is deemed to be who we are. When Jesus Christ enters our lives He brings His peace with Him. Because of this entering of Christ into our very souls, we are going to be different and one key way of difference is how we react when we are provoked to be angry.

 

Here at church yesterday we looked at the testimony of the water, the blood and the Spirit to the validity of the Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ. This is a study worthy of every Christian so that you can know that our Lord Jesus was totally confirmed by the Father and the Spirit both then and now. Since Christ is so confirmed in who He is and in what He has done, we can speak openly of Christ in any and in every situation that we find ourselves. For those who heard this message, I cannot wait to hear how you opened us a Jesus conversation and how God led that conversation to bring His salvation to someone else. Here is the phrase we said to each other, “I believe that Jesus Christ is God in the flesh, that He lived, died and rose again to save us from our sin.”

 Our son Justin developed a spontaneous (without prior cause) hole in his lung. After a few hours in the hospital where he was treated for this, they released him until Tuesday when he will have a surgical procedure to mostly keep this from being dangerous, if it happens again. He preached yesterday with a pic line in his chest and Saturday night he married a couple whom they have discipled. Pray with us that this surgery will go well.

 Monica, the wife of Dickey, is having an arthroscopic procedure on her gall bladder today and gall bladder removal surgery tomorrow. Pray with her for success and for healing. They are supposed to go to Australia for an education opportunity, pray for them to know and rest in God’s leading.

 Stefani left for China this morning. She will spend ten days with Caleb and Lindsey. They are quite excited to be together in China.

 Have a great day in the Lord,
PS

Deliverance, Refuge, and Satisfaction

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Proverbs 14

25    A true witness delivers souls,

But a deceitful witness speaks lies.

26    In the fear of the Lord there is strong confidence,

And His children will have a place of refuge.

27    The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life,

To turn one away from the snares of death.

 

Throughout this amazing book we are taught the benefits of wisdom and the foolishness of folly in many different ways. God’s purpose must have been that we know wisdom and that we know how to choose wisdom over folly. Here we see the truthfulness that delivers souls. This was written long before Christ came to be our Savior, so Solomon is not referring directly to Christ. Nonetheless, the truth of God from His word always delivers the souls of those who place their faith in God’s truth. The importance of the truth cannot be overstated. In the past few years there have been several sin-filled movements that have redefined themselves making themselves sound good when they are nothing but evil. While the truth of God may not be popular, it is the only Word that saves souls. Let us be bold with the truth for the right reasons.

As we speak the truth we will also, in the fear of the Lord, have a strong confidence about us. Those who know us should know that we are confident with God’s truth. We do not apologize for living out God’s truth, it is our confidence. Furthermore, in this confidence of God’s truth we know God’s place of refuge. I am thankful that I have never needed to find an escape in a bottle or in a pill or in a needle. I am thankful that I have never needed an escape in my life for God is my foundation and my place of refuge.

As truth saves the soul, the fear of the Lord brings satisfaction to our thirsts. When we love our Lord and fear disobeying His loving commands, He also becomes our fountain for the water of our lives. When we think about true satisfaction, we realize that the world around us knows nothing of this. They go from activity to activity, concert to concert, movie to movie, bar to bar, and vacation to vacation looking for that moment of satisfaction and never finding it. In their quest they only find the snares of death.

“Oh Lord, thank You for saving our souls, providing our refuge, and satisfying our thirst. As those around us seek for life in the wrong places may our lives be beacons of your wisdom, your protection, and your satisfaction.”

 

Today is our son Ben’s and his wife, Anna’s, fourth anniversary. Looking back over our parenting years it has occurred to me that everything we did trained our sons, for good or for bad, to be husbands and fathers. Ben brings us great joy as he loves his wife, loves his two children, Emily and Josiah, loves the Lord and the Lord’s people. God has given His grace to Ben and Anna and they radiate with that grace. “Thank you, Lord, for your grace and peace, your wonderful gifts to is all and especially today to Ben and Anna.”

I will be speaking today and tomorrow at a Word of Life singles retreat here in Jakarta. Pray for opportunities for discipleship and for open hearts to God’s word. We are all going so even Jared will get to enjoy as much as he can.

 

It is Friday, remember to pray for all of us pastors who are preparing for Sunday and looking forward to proclaiming God’s word on Sunday. Pray for every teacher in the church as well as for the nursery workers and the musicians that Christ will be seen in us all.

 

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

The end of Ramadan, Lebaran, asking for forgiveness

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John 1

The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. 12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. 15 (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’ ”) 16 For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

John 1:29–34 The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! 30 This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks before me, because he was before me.’ 31 I myself did not know him, but for this purpose I came baptizing with water, that he might be revealed to Israel.” 32 And John bore witness: “I saw the Spirit descend from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. 33 I myself did not know him, but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ 34 And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.”

Last night, for the first time in my life, I witnessed the Muslim night of Lebaran. Here is a brief description taken from an expat website:

“At the end of the month of Ramadhan and its special religious observance is the Eid holiday, called Idul Fitri or Lebaran in Indonesia. In Indonesia, this is the time when Muslims visit their family and friends to ask for forgiveness for any wrongs they have committed in the previous year. They express this wish in the phrase “Mohon Maaf Lahir Batin” which means “forgive me from the bottom of my heart/soul for my wrongdoings in the past year”. A traditional Arabic (Muslim) greeting for the Eid celebrations is also commonly used in Indonesia “Minal Aidin Wal Fa Idzin“, which is expressed upon meeting friends and family during the festive days. Traditional foods are consumed, family and friends gather to ask forgiveness and exchange greetings.”

On this night of “Lebaran” the Muslims take time to ask forgiveness for their sins and to pray for power to live faithfully in the coming year. We typically hear the Muslim prayer calls over the loudspeakers four to five times a day, they are relatively short as they call the faithful to prayer. Last night we heard the prayer calls over the loudspeakers continually from 8:00PM to 12:00 midnight. As we stood on our deck we could hear six to eight different mosques crying out, in Arabic, for forgiveness. These calls were mixed with intermittent fireworks of celebration.

As I heard these continual calls for forgiveness, I prayed that these dear people would realize that the only forgiveness of their sin is through Jesus Christ. I cannot fault their sincerity and commitment to their beliefs, but I weep for their efforts of finding forgiveness apart from the only Savior who alone came as the Lamb of God to take away our sin. The difference is that in their teaching, Mohammed and Jesus were prophets; in our Bible we learn that Jesus was God before He came, took on human form but never set aside His deity, prophesied as a prophet and then proved Himself to be the very Son of God, was crucified to bear our judgment and rose from the dead to give us all eternal hope.

Join with us in prayer that our Muslim friends who cried out last night for forgiveness of sin would realize that their system is impotent to remove the sins they so sincerely cry out to have forgiven. Pray that their eyes will be opened to see Jesus, whom John the Apostle and John the Baptist proclaimed was the Son of God who alone can take away our sins.

 

For the first time yesterday, I had a Christian taxi driver. It was a blessing to fellowship with this man as we came home. I also met a man who is trying to get Ravi Zacharias to come to Indonesia. We exchanged information to see if Ravi coming here could be a reality.

This Friday and Saturday I will be bringing the messages at a singles retreat here in Jakarta. Pray for my preparation and for God to use His word to change lives and to shape them into His image.

 Have a great day in the Lord,
PS

The deep satisfaction that comes from God’s goodness

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Proverbs 14

14    The backslider in heart will be filled with his own ways,

But a good man will be satisfied from above.

15    The simple believes every word,

But the prudent considers well his steps.

16    A wise man fears and departs from evil,

But a fool rages and is self-confident.

17    A quick-tempered man acts foolishly,

And a man of wicked intentions is hated.

18    The simple inherit folly,

But the prudent are crowned with knowledge.

19    The evil will bow before the good,

And the wicked at the gates of the righteous.

This section begins with a description of one who acts and lives in the foolishness of their own way of life.   Here is the statement: “The backslider in heart will be filled with his own ways.” Foolish people who have backslidden from their upbringing, cannot be taught. They are filled with justification of their own creation. They know the truth but have slidden away from it and are glad to be away. Those on the outside looking in grieve over the backslider’s direction but will not be heard when they try to give truthful instruction.

According to the next few verses we can conclude that the backslider believes those who they hang with, they rage in self-confidence, they act foolishly, they inherit folly, and ultimately they will bow in humility before those who have lived in goodness. I have found that the best actions to take toward a backslider from the truth is to 1.) love them, 2.) pray for them, and 3.) do not give them instruction as they have no heart for it. If God gets ahold of their hearts they will come back and thank you for loving them in their mess. (Loving someone in their sin is not agreeing with them but it is hugging, remembering special days, reaching out, loving their children, and so on.)

The second part of verse 14 is where I want to live. As we live in God’s goodness, we find that He satisfies our souls from above. Satisfaction at the level of our souls is a satisfaction that only comes from the Lord God. Life is not easy and earthly satisfaction is temporary, at best. Only when we walk with God will know His lasting peace and satisfaction in our souls.

 

We have much to rejoice in today. The Word of God was exalted yesterday and God’s people responded to that exaltation. I am ever thankful when the Spirit of God takes the Word of God and makes it live in people’s hearts and lives. I pray for each of you who heard God’s word yesterday that you are taking it, meditating on it, understanding it, and applying it. My thanks to all who served in church yesterday. Without you we could not effectively get to preaching the Word.

Most Sundays we have people over for lunch in an effort to get to know God’s family at JIBC. Yesterday, after lunch and testimonies, a young woman there asked to talk with me. From her testimony it was clear that she was on a journey to faith but had not yet trusted Christ as her Savior and Lord. Before long, this young lady did bow her head and heart to Christ confessing her sin and asking Him to save and lead her. We all rejoiced for some time in one more brought into the fold of God.

 Pray for your Muslim friends this week. As they end Ramadan they have a day of prayer and confessing of sin. This night of prayer and confession is to forgive them of their sins and to empower them to live for Allah for the next year. Pray that Muslims around the world will realize that year after year nothing changes and that there must be another Answer for their sin and for their power to live.

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS