Month: July 2019

A God who hears His children

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Proverbs 15

29    The Lord is far from the wicked,

But He hears the prayer of the righteous.

30    The light of the eyes rejoices the heart,

And a good report makes the bones healthy.

31    The ear that hears the rebukes of life

Will abide among the wise.

 

If there was only one reason to follow the God of heaven, answered prayer would be that reason. God blesses our lives in many ways most of the time. When life gets hard and trials and pains come, the reality that we can pray to a God who hears and answers keeps us going. 1 John tells us that if we know that God hears us then we also know that we have the petition that we have asked from Him. How do we know that God hears our prayers? He has promised to hear the prayers of His children. The wicked have no such promise. They cry out to God like the priests of Baal who prayed and cut themselves and their god was silent.

When we pray, God gives us light that rejoices our hearts. This light might not come the instant of our prayer but over time, God shows us His heart and His will shining His light on our confused path. This light rejoices our hearts and makes our very bones healthy. Having a God who hears and answers prayer is one of the greatest blessings of walking with Him.

In verse 31, we have to acknowledge that there are also times when our God rebukes our lives. I have been in prayer seeking God’s face and had a sin or a bad conversation come to mind and knew that God was rebuking me. When we listen to these rebukes we abide, we live, in the neighborhood of the wise. Oh my friends, let us listen to the rebukes of life to live with others who are seeking the Lord.

 

Sunday at JIBC was a truly blessed time together. We enjoyed the people of God and the Word of God. Thanks to all who served the Lord together to make this body, this church, a wonderful place to be with God’s people. I have begun a series on the church and spoke on the church, the body of Christ, from Ephesians 4:9-16.

We leave today for the US where we will spend a week with our sons in California, a week with our family and Illinois and then I will go see my parents for a few days before I fly out on the 14th to come back to Jakarta. Pray for us as we travel. Jared travels well, just pray that his mind will remain calmed from his seizures.

Have a great day in the Lord,
PS

Here is a link to the sermon on the church:

https://sites.google.com/jibc.or.id/jibc/sermons?authuser=0

 

Pay attention to the example of Israel

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Proverbs 15

25    The Lord will destroy the house of the proud,

But He will establish the boundary of the widow.

26    The thoughts of the wicked are an abomination to the Lord,

But the words of the pure are pleasant.

27    He who is greedy for gain troubles his own house,

But he who hates bribes will live.

Having just read through 1 and 2 Kings, this section really comes to light. The nation of Israel, whose history was written for our example (1 Corinthians 10:10-11), went from great and mighty and filled with wisdom to complete rebellion against God, idolatry, foolishness and destruction. When they were humble before God, He established them over and over. Bu when they were proud and rejecting God, they felt His destructive hand.

When the nation of Israel read the words of the Lord and put them into practice, they enjoyed pleasant peace of that purity. But when the nation filled their minds with wicked thoughts they became an abomination to the Lord filling themselves with idolatry, sacrifice of children to heathen Gods, and all types of temple prostitution both male and female. I have asked myself how they could go from the kingdom of David to the kingdoms of Jeroboam, Rehoboam, Ahab and Manassah, in so few years. I have to conclude that mankind does the same thing. A father might serve the Lord while the son rejects the Lord and the example of his father and becomes an abomination before God.

When the nation of Israel was not content with what God gave them but went to battle without the Lord’s guidance, they troubled their own house. Men died who should not have died. David became greedy and took Bathsheba to the troubling of his own house. We must never think that we are better than David or anyone else who in their greediness troubled themselves and those around them.

My friends, we must pay attention to the wisdom of God. We must flee from idolatry. We must live humbly and obediently before our God. When we do, we honor the Lord who in turn gives honor to us. We might be poor, we might be rich, but we must live in humility and in wisdom.

 

Welcome to Friday. Be sure to take time to pray for Sunday. I will begin a series on the church this Sunday. Read Ephesians 4:9-16 for a preview of the message. Pray for all of us who are serving the Lord in church this coming Sunday.

 

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

All of our ideas do better with the counsel of others

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Proverbs 15

22   Without counsel, plans go awry,

But in the multitude of counselors they are established.

23   A man has joy by the answer of his mouth,

And a word spoken in due season, how good it is!

24   The way of life winds upward for the wise,

That he may turn away from hell below.

How do we make decisions? What process do we put ideas through to determine if they are good or bad, better or best? Are we our own best counsellor? Are we the greatest source of wisdom that we know so when we make plans we only consult with ourselves?   According to the teachings of wisdom, we need the counsel of others, several others even, to help us establish our plans. When we seek the advice of others, (v 23) their words may bring joy and value to our plans. Finally, (v 24) the wise around us will help our lives wind upward in a good direction opposing the descent of life away from wisdom and away from God.

Asking advice has often been hard for me because I know what I think and I don’t want to be questioned. Usually, when I ask someone else to think with me, they make me think about the potential failure of my plans, which thoughts seldom cross my mind. These negative thoughts frustrate me and make me wish I had not asked for advice; however, when I stop and consider the potential problems, my ideas are actually improved and gain greater value. It’s not that my ideas are bad but that they need the input of those who see from different viewpoint.

What we learn here is that the counsel and the words of others are good to consider and can actually make our ideas better causing them to have a greater chance to succeed. Their words have value and can help us move upward, away from death and failure, to bring greater glory to God in what we do. Let us humble ourselves, practice wisdom, and ask the advice of others as we go through this life.

 

Over the weekend my dad ended up back in the hospital with a urinary tract infection. He came home earlier today and is feeling better. Thank you for your prayers for him.

 We were able to enjoy some of the wonders of creation this week as we took a short trip to a nearby island. Belitung island is far enough away from Jakarta to be free from the air pollution and free from the traffic. It was a nice break for us as we are ending Stefani’s stay in Indonesia. The highlight of the trip was snorkeling over coral reefs and watching the beauty of the reefs, the fish, the colors, and constant movement just a few feet away. Belitung also has some amazing granite rock formations jutting out of the ocean making small islands to stop and enjoy. We saw again that God’s creativity has no end.

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

Laughing at folly is not really funny

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Proverbs 15

21    Folly is joy to him who is destitute of discernment,

But a man of understanding walks uprightly.

 

In the days of Noah those around him mocked his work. “How crazy was this man to build a boat as big as a football field far away from water? He said he heard a voice from God, we did not hear any voices.” In modern terms, Noah would have been mocked by Saturday night live, radio talk shows, internet memes, political cartoons and more. The mockery continued until the first raindrops fell, but then it was too late.

Lot was mocked in Sodom. Peter tells us that Lot’s righteous soul was vexed. The men of Sodom mocked Lot and his righteousness. When Lot tried to warn them of impending judgment, they laughed at him and he again became the object of their folly. Until the fire fell, but then it was too late.

The rich man ignored the beggar Lazarus and though he knew that Lazarus claimed faith in Christ, the rich man mocked the beggar until he died. As the rich man opened his eyes in hell, it was too late.

For thousands of years the fools of this world have made a mockery of people of wisdom. Folly was and is their joy. They love to make fun of sin too. Elsewhere, Solomon compared the laughter of fools to the burning of small sticks in a fire. They crackle but they burn quickly and do not provide any heat. Those around us love those who make fun of sin and of righteousness. There is a certain joy in being able to do a good “roast.” Solomon did not agree, and we should stand closer to Solomon on this. There are things that should not be laughed at, should not be mocked.

The comparison in this verse is that the men and women of understanding walk uprightly, that is, they do not find mockery a joy. In the discernment of the upright there is understanding of people’s hurts and their pains when mocked. There is understanding of folly by those who walk uprightly and the upright who know the end of foolishness cannot laugh at it, they understand more.

 

Each Sunday God blesses us with His glorious presence. We rejoice together in song, fellowship, and the opening of God’s word. Yesterday we finished our journey through the book of 1 John. The pain of sin and the opposing thrill of being in Christ was seen over and over again. We, the people of God, enjoyed opening our minds and hearts to the messages of God through His servant John.

After church we enjoyed the baptism of three of our young adults. We gathered a an apartment pool, heard testimonies, baptized and sang together. This is a great reason to gather on a Sunday afternoon.

Last night, Bobbi and I were invited to watch a Jakarta football (soccer) team play against a team from Papua. A man who lives in our building invited us to his game. We sat with his family and enjoyed the game.

My dad is back in the hospital with a UTI. They will keep him for at least two days to see the infection down and his strength renewed. If you would like to call him, I do have a room number.

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

 

Wealth and the fear of the Lord; Food 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.

In the NIV, it reads like this:

Proverbs 15

16 Better a little with the fear of the Lord

than great wealth with turmoil.

17 Better a small serving of vegetables with love

than a fattened calf with hatred.

When Paul wrote in Philippians 4 that he had learned to be content with much and with little, he made an important statement, a lesson that all of us need.   Every day we are bombarded with wealth all around us and with the apparent benefits of that wealth. We are invited to get rich quick schemes as well as home based “businesses” that guarantee freedom from our jobs. The idea of getting rich is something most of us, if not all of us, have pondered at one time or another. Solomon, arguably the richest man who ever lived, came to realize that a simple dinner of vegetables and herbs with love was better than the best cut of beef without love.

Have you ever sat down to a nice meal when a cloud of frustration and anger was over the table? You really wanted to enjoy the meal but the bickering and the bitterness going back and forth took the joy out of the meal. It wasn’t the food that was bad, it was the attitude at the table that made the difference.

While I have known Christian businessmen and women who were very successful and honored the Lord with their wealth, I have also known successful men and women who just were not happy. They liked to have fun but they had no fear of the Lord and their lives hinged on their success or lack of it. Solomon reminds us that it is not our bank account that makes the difference but whether or not we fear the Lord that makes the difference.

Yesterday, the man we have prayed for, Pak Median, went to be with the Lord. In his life, this man was extremely successful and highly respected. Yet he died. At death, a few things matter: 1. Did the person who died fear the Lord and place his faith in Christ to bring him to God? 2. Did the person who died love his family and those around him so that in death he is remembered as a good man? I have seldom heard people at funerals talk about how much money one made. At that point, as is true in all of life, what matters is whether or not they knew the Lord and lived for Him.

If you are pursuing wealth, pursue the fear of the Lord first. If you are pursuing good meals and good things, pursue love first. Wealth can enhance love or wealth can expose the lack of it.

 

Please pray for Patrick and his brothers and sister and mother as they go through three very full days of people coming by. In this culture, the casket is at the home and people come by throughout the day and night. The burial will be tomorrow, Saturday.

We gather at church today at 11:45 for our Friday prayer time. Do stop by and join us.

Pray for Sunday as all of prepare our hearts to gather around the Word of the Lord. We need God’s truth opened to our hearts and lives so that our faith may increase and our knowledge of God will lead us throughout our lives.

Thank you for your prayers this week.

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

A Merry Heart and a Cheerful Face

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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.

We all understand the sorrow of heart that can break someone’s spirit. Either it has happened to us or we have seen it in a story. Sorrow leads to hopelessness and then someone’s spirit is broken; they become a walking shell. In Proverbs, we have often seen that the mouth of fools feeds on foolishness. This is an interesting use of eating foolishness while also proclaiming or vomiting out foolishness.

What I would like for us to look at today is the first part of verse 13 and the second part of verse 15:

“A merry heart makes a cheerful countenance,” and “he who is of a merry heart has a continual feast.”

Those of you who know my father, Pastor Bill, know that he was always cheerful. He said it took less muscles to smile than to frown and he taught me that the joy of the Lord is our strength. My dad loved to tell you good news and held his tongue about gossip and people’s problems. When he came in the room, we were happy and glad he was there. According to today’s verse, my dad had a cheerful face because he had a merry heart. When our hearts are full, content, and filled with joy, our faces will be cheerful, our words will be edifying, and our overall demeanor will reflect the joy of the Lord

The second part speaks to a continual feast that is enjoyed by those who have a merry heart. When we are joyful, almost everyone else is uplifted and our joy is fed day by day. When our hearts are merry, that is, they are joy-filled and overflowing, those who come around us feed on our joy and we feed on theirs. We never go hungry in our souls for the joy of the Lord is both given out and received in return.

Is your heart merry today? Do those who know you enjoy you because you bring joy with you every time? Meditate today on the goodness of God that brought you to repentance, then meditate on the love of God that saved you knowing that you would sin again and again until you die. Rejoice in God’s mercies that are new every morning and thank God with one another, then, your heart will enjoy a continual feast.

 

Yesterday was a good day of opportunities to serve the Lord and His kingdom. I mentioned my lunch appointment and God gave me great freedom to talk to this young dating couple about Him, forgiveness of sin, and the fulness of Christ. Pray for their eternal salvation.

Later in the day I met a missionary here named Jonathan and we went out looking for people to talk to about the Lord. We found one man who was not interested in a conversation about sin. The next young man listened to the gospel message but could not accept the Bible as his authority. We left him with some videos on a flash drive. Pray for God to bring this young man to Himself.

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

Correction accepted or Correction rejected?

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Proverbs 15

10 Stern discipline awaits anyone who leaves the path;

the one who hates correction will die.

11 Death and Destruction lie open before the Lord—

how much more do human hearts!

12 Mockers resent correction,

so they avoid the wise.

The most difficult times of parenting might be when parents need to discipline their children. True discipline is both fair and painful while inflicting pain on your child is so hard to do. This section looks at those who reject instruction and find themselves under the stern discipline of God and of men. In Hebrews 12 we read that those whom the Lord loves He corrects like a father who delights in his son and corrects him for his own good. Discipline is not a hateful act but a loving act. Discipline is the desire of those inflicting it to change the heart and the path of the one who is going astray.

One of the more painful realizations of life is that there are people who hate correction. They mock the truth and seem to always run toward more and more rebellion. They avoid people of wisdom because they neither want their wisdom nor do they want their rebuke. And while I have known many mockers who resented correction, that same desire has also been in my own heart and I find the need to fight against it. You see, none of us likes correction, especially when we think we did it right. But correction is a necessary part of life.

The 11th verse provides a very interesting point in the middle of two verses about correction. Everything is before, or in front of, the eyes of the Lord. When we do well, God sees it. When we don’t do well, God sees it. In fact, God sees us from the cradle to the grave and everywhere in-between. So when we deserve correction God knows that we need it and God knows how we receive it. Let’s work at being people who receive the correction that we need and even thank those who correct us for caring enough to give us instruction on the way of life.

 

Yesterday, I invited you to view the sermon on 1 John 5:21 by clicking the link below. The link wasn’t working and the sermon was not posted yet. I think we have fixed all of that now so you should be able to click the link and go to the church website’s sermon page. This sermon was on idolatry itself while next Sunday’s message will be on how to overcome idols of the heart.

 If you would like to hear Sunday’s  message go to:  https://sites.google.com/jibc.or.id/jibc/sermons?authuser=0 
If you are in Indonesia the link is:

https://sites.google.com/jibc.or.id/jibc/sermons

 Whom are you praying to come to Christ? I am meeting a man today whose faith I am not sure of. Look for people to care about for Jesus’ sake. Love them and point them to the Savior.

 

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

What is acting with Prudence?

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Proverbs 15

5     A fool despises his father’s instruction,

But he who receives correction is prudent.

In trying to understand what it meant to be “prudent,” I went to a lexicon and to a dictionary. The dictionary says that one who is prudent is one who is “marked by wisdom, shrewd in the management of practical affairs, and marked by circumspection.” The lexicon said that prudent actions were “to be subtle, be shrewd, be crafty, beware.” From this, a prudent person is one who gives thought to what they do before they act and then acts in such a way that their actions are for their own good.

When Bobbi was in junior high, her father said that she could not do something that she wanted to do. When Bobbi responded to her dad that everyone was doing it, he asked her if everyone was jumping off a bridge, would she?   The pressure of the crowd around us is very powerful so there are times when we need to receive the correction that we have been taught and to act in a prudent manner for our own good.

Going back to the first part of the Proverb, we all have two fathers. We have an earthly father and we have a heavenly Father. As a human son, I don’t want to disappoint my earthly father. As a spiritual son, I don’t want to disappoint my heavenly Father. Yet, whenever I reject one of their instruction, I am acting foolishly. Do you realize how easy it is to act against instructions that we know? Without planning it, we can respond to a momentary situation in a way that we later regret. It might be words, it might be plans, it might be activities, and in the moment we need to remember our Father’s instruction and act prudently not despising the instruction that we have been taught.

Father’s are given for their children’s protection. If you were raised without one, God has good instructions for your life. If you father was not good to you, your eternal Father is good to you and has good instructions for your life. Regardless of our human parentage, we have a heavenly Father who does not want us to despise His instruction. He then also calls us to obey and to honor our human fathers.

Let us consider what it means today to act in a prudent manner when faced with decisions of words, plans, or actions. Let us receive the correction and the instruction that we need and go forward with a better view of what we should do.

 

As we look forward to Sunday, we are called to pray for God to do His work amongst us, His people, gathered in His house. Let us pray that distractions will be removed, that sickness will be healed, and that the enemy will not keep us and others from not attending the Lord’s church this Sunday. We will pray for all of those involved in the services to be prepared to seek the Lord. We will pray for the preaching of the Word to sink deep into the hearts and lives of all who hear that God will turn on lights to penetrate our darkness.

Here at JIBC we will return to our Sunday school schedule meeting at 9:30. Ladies are still in the book of Job, the men are beginning a new series teaching them how to prepare a lesson from God’s word. The class for those searching for understanding of the faith will be Foundations of Faith, taught by Rene Salvatierra.

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

Holy Spirit led words are temporal and eternal

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Proverbs 15

1      A soft answer turns away wrath,

but a harsh word stirs up anger.

    The tongue of the wise commends knowledge,

but the mouths of fools pour out folly.

    The eyes of the Lord are in every place,

keeping watch on the evil and the good.

    A gentle tongue is a tree of life,

but perverseness in it breaks the spirit.

 

Harsh words, foolish words, and a perverse tongue bring wrath and folly, and will break the spirit of the one thus spoken to.   Oh, how important it is to chose our words wisely. To stop and to think before we speak or to stop and wait before we press “send” are actions of wisdom to keep us from breaking the spirit of the ones we are speaking to. The pain of harsh words poured out in foolishness is long lasting and nothing to brag about.

The flip side of this is a soft answer, commending knowledge, and giving out life as in the tree of life. Our words have both temporary and eternal benefits when used wisely. Just as we are so thankful when treated with wise words so should we be people of wise words. Anyone can stir up anger, it takes a person of wisdom to respond to anger with a calm and soft answer. I am thankful for people who have modeled this to me. Some of you know Tom Hymers, Tom has been a man who has modeled a soft answer in the face of anger. As a fellow elder, Tom’s words were led by the Holy Spirit and always came out with gentleness and with strength. May each of allow the Holy Spirit to so guide our words to give life to those who hear us.

In verse 3 we see a very good reason for being careful with our words, “The eyes of the Lord are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good.” Yes, we have the Holy Spirit and we also are under the watchful eye of God. What we say matters for the Lord is keeping watch. May the Lord be pleased with our words today as our words are words that give life to those who hear us.

Tomorrow at 11:45 is our Friday prayer time. We would love to have you join us in prayer. Tomorrow at 7:00 is our small group meeting at our apartment here in Kemang. If you would like to attend just let us know and we can get you the address.

On July 29th my dad is going in for a test to see if his Aortic valve can be replaced. In 2016 a test revealed that there was calcification in the valve. A recent test has shown that it is now critical and needs to be replaced. Pray with us for dad’s protection during this time.

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

Sin brings reproach while wisdom will be made known

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Proverbs 14

33     Wisdom rests in the heart of a man of understanding,

but it makes itself known even in the midst of fools.

34     Righteousness exalts a nation,

but sin is a reproach to any people.

Are you noticing in Proverbs the continual contrast between those who act in wisdom and those who act in foolishness? A walk through Proverbs is, by itself, an expose of our own hearts and the hearts of those around us.

In verse 33 we learn that a man of wisdom is also a man of understanding. This person is willing to listen and seeks to understand a matter before they throw in their opinion. It seems to me that most young people and arrogant adults do not listen to a matter before expressing their opinion. Young people have not yet learned that there are other opinions besides their own and arrogant adults don’t care about the thoughts of others for they see themselves as superior. The second part of verse 33 tells us that even in the midst of fool’s wisdom is made known. No one can get away from wisdom for long. Foolishness and its cousin, arrogance, lack the wisdom of understanding but their foolish arrogance is eventually obvious to all.

Verse 34 is a continuation of this thought and is as timeless as the rising and the setting of the sun. A nation that exalts righteousness through its laws and churches is a nation that will succeed and will be exalted by God. The history of the nation of Israel bears this truth out over and over again. Every king that exalted the righteousness of God was exalted by God. A righteous nation is going to be an exalted nation.

But, just as foolishness is made known, so a nation that exalts sin becomes a reproach. We should be afraid of the judgment of God upon all nations of the world that exalt sin and foolishness. Make no mistake, sin is a reproach to God and causes reproach among people. In the U.S. today there is more hatred than there ever has been. The hatred comes from those who want to legalize and justify their sin and is against those who believe that there is a standard of righteousness that should be upheld. As those who reject God and embrace sin have been allowed to do so, they want the rest of us to accept their sinful foolishness and even to support them in it. Sin has always been a reproach to God and to man and will continue to be so no matter how popular it becomes.

Wisdom will make itself known even in the midst of fools. Pray for wisdom and then walk in it.

 

I asked prayer last week for Bobbi’s brother, Shawn. He and Donna are in North Carolina seeking medical help for the stroke that he had in his eye and the continual pain he is enduring. So far, the doctors have not found the cause of the pain. Apparently 2% of those who have cataract surgery have this trouble. Please join us in prayer for someone to have the wisdom that Shawn and Donna need to find out the cause and be able to treat him. Pray for Donna who has also been having some health issues as she cares for her husband while dealing with her own weakness. God knows all of this and they are trusting Him as they ask us to join in prayer for them.

Pray for God’s wisdom for Zachery’s family as he seeks to get pilot training to serve as a missionary pilot here in Indonesia. The U.S, denied his visa this week. We are meeting with them today.

 Bobbi has made friends of a woman who works in the fruit section of the local grocery store. Last night, Diane and three of her friends came to dinner. It was the first time that foreigners have invited them to a meal. We long to show people here the love of the Lord Jesus that they might see His light through their darkness.

 Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

 

The True Christ is both Eternal God and Eternal Life

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1 John 5

20 And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.

Years ago there was a commercial about an investment firm. In the commercial, whenever anyone said, “E.F. Hutton said…” all the people in the room stopped talking to listen to what E.F Hutton did say. I do not know if this company is even in business anymore but I do know that when God speaks everyone should listen. God has spoken to us through His word, the Bible, and has given us all the instruction that we need for eternal life and for present life.

Here, near the end of the Apostle John’s 1st epistle, we learn a great deal from God’s word. We are told that we can know that the Son of God has come and we can know Him who is true. In a day when God is put in the margin and truth is subjected to human desires and passions, we can know God and we can have His truth in us. Jesus is God; this is a fact of eternal proportions. Someone can deny electricity but if they stick a metal fork into an outlet they cannot deny its power. Someone can deny that Jesus Christ is God but when they stand before Him they will not be able to deny His godly His power.

Three times in this verse we are told that something is true, it is real, it cannot be denied: Christ is true, we are in Him who is true, He is the true God and eternal life.

This is a most striking sentence. Christ came to give us an understanding of God the Father, we can know God as the true and real God because we have Christ in us and we are in Him. Jesus Christ, the image of the Father, is the true God and He is eternal life. Earlier John said, “He who has the Son has life.” Eternal life and Jesus Christ as synonyms!

We must not be drawn away to any other gospel for no other gospel has this truth, this reality, and no other gospel offers us eternal life in the eternal God. May our faith in Jesus Christ, the eternal God and eternal life be increased.

 

We are almost finished with 1 John here at JIBC. Next Sunday will be our last Sunday in this epistle. This has been a wonderful study into the many things God wants us to know. Yesterday I read 27 references in 1 John that tell us we can know something. Near the end of the letter, John brings back three of those things we can know. If you want to listen to this message, follow the link below.

I met a family in the elevator last week and the wife was from Croatia, the husband from Brazil. I invited them to church and then to lunch. They did not make church but they came for lunch. We have a family in our church from Croatia and they also came for lunch. We visited for nearly five hours. It was a wonderful of getting to know each other. We did talk about the Lord and look forward to future opportunities for friendship and for sharing Christ. You never know what a day might bring forth.

 

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

 

 

 

 

Regardless of how popular evil is, it is still evil to God

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Proverbs 15:26–29 (ESV)

26     The thoughts of the wicked are an abomination to the Lord, but gracious words are pure.

27     Whoever is greedy for unjust gain troubles his own household, but he who hates bribes will live.

28     The heart of the righteous ponders how to answer, but the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things.

29     The Lord is far from the wicked, but he hears the prayer of the righteous.

In today’s passage we see the thoughts of the wicked, those greedy for unjust gain, the mouth of the wicked and the distance of God from the wicked. It is always interesting to me that words penned some 3,000 years ago are still as true today as they were then. People have not changed, and wisdom is still a benefit to those who seek it. Evil people have the same issues now that they had then.

In my lifetime the proliferation of evil men and women into the leadership of the United States has been astounding. I call them wicked because they want to live without consequences of their sinful desires. They want to be sexually active without the consequence of having a child, so the abortion industry has killed well over 50,000,000 people and still wants more. Government leaders want to approve all sorts of sexual deviancy through laws enabling homosexual marriage (an oxymoron if there ever was one), enabling homosexuals to adopt innocent children and more. Transgenderism is confusing the youngest in society. The legalization of drinking and of marijuana use as a recreational drug goes against every spiritual instruction of not becoming enslaved to anything. But since it is people in leadership and popularity that are flying these flags, wickedness is becoming more and more acceptable. Regardless of their level of popularity, the thoughts of the wicked are an abomination to the Lord.

It is no surprise to read that the Lord is far from the wicked.

On the other side, the words of those filled with grace are still pure words; those who hate bribes live a better and more secure life; the heart of the righteous thinks about the right answer, and the Lord hears the prayer of the righteous.

We may be on the wrong side of the political and the popular elite, but we are on the right side with God. May we not be swayed by the voices of abomination that are working diligently to turn society to their evil desires, but may we recognize true grace and true wisdom continuing to walk in them.

My brother-in-law, Shawn, has appointments this week to seek to understand what is happening with his eyes. Thank you for your prayers for him, please continue to seek the Lord on Shawn and Donna’s behalf.

Tomorrow we will again host a prayer time at 11:45 at JIBC. These have become precious times of opening God’s word and praying together. Join us if you can.

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

 

Walking a good and safe road

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Proverbs 15:19–21 (ESV)

19     The way of a sluggard is like a hedge of thorns, but the path of the upright is a level highway.

20     A wise son makes a glad father, but a foolish man despises his mother.

21     Folly is a joy to him who lacks sense, but a man of understanding walks straight ahead.

The Scripture writers often used the illustration of the kind of roads someone was travelling on as a description of their life. In verses 19 and 21 the idea of a level highway and walking straight ahead indicate the life of one who knows where he or she is going, is making good progress, and does not make needless turns to the right or the left. A level highway makes for good travel, good speed, and little danger of a crash or of making a wrong turn. All in all, travelling straight ahead on a good and level highway is where all of us want to be.

This level highway is contrasted with walking through a hedge of thorns while living in folly, or in useless activities. If you have ever had to walk in thorns, you choose your steps very carefully and you really cannot help but getting scratched. You do not make much progress and a short distance can take a very long time. This struggle of direction and progress is used to describe one who is lazy and one who lacks good sense. By the choices of their lives they do not make much progress, they are easily distracted from their purpose, and nothing seems to come easy for them.

In the middle of this contrast of the paths of life is a simple and repeated statement about a wise son who makes a glad father and a foolish son who despises his mother (he despises her because she wants to help guide him but he would rather live in the folly of the thorns). Parents want to help their children to avoid the thorns while enjoying the level highways of life. Parents want to see their children walking in wisdom and reaching their goals. Young people, let your parents help you. They are heavily invested in you and know you better than anyone else. As you benefit from your parents as a wisdom source, you will avoid the thorns and the folly of senseless living. You will enjoy your parents and they will be glad for your life.

 

We would request your prayer for Bobbi’s brother, Shawn. Shawn had to make an emergency trip to the US from Brazil due to an issue in his eye. It is very painful and has a risk of losing his eyesight. They were at Duke University Hospital where tests were run. Pray for wisdom for the doctors and comfort and healing for Shawn. Pray for peace for Shawn’s wife Donna and for their children, Andrew and Anna-shay are still living at home.

Pray for a man named Midian, his sons Patrick and Torino attend JIBC. Midian was admitted to a local hospital with cancer at serious levels in his body. I hope to see Median today.

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

 

Anger is to be avoided

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Proverbs 15:18 (ESV)

18     A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, but he who is slow to anger quiets contention.

Proverbs 15:18 (NIV)

18 A hot-tempered person stirs up conflict, but the one who is patient calms a quarrel.

We live in an angry world. From political anger to parents who are angry at their kids games, to anger in churches to road rage and anger in the home, we live in an angry world. We wonder when one country in anger will attack another country. We see terrorist actions where one religious’ sect in anger attacks another religious’ sect. Anger in parking lots leads to verbal and physical assaults. An internet post can quickly lead to angry responses. We just do not have to go very far to face someone’s anger. We live in an angry world.

I would like to suggest that this type of anger has no place in the heart of the Christian. There are very few times when righteous anger is called for and most of us do not have the self-control to keep our emotions in check even when we are righteously angry. Solomon has much to say about anger and its problems. In today’s reference we see that someone who is hot-tempered stirs up strife and conflict. To stir something up is to mix it up to a new level. Anger usually increases the strife and the level of conflict of any given situation. When anger enters a situation people lose control, things are said that should not be said, emotions rise, and relationships are hurt.

On the other hand, one who is slow to anger and patient of spirit, has the ability to quiet down a contentious situation, to settle down a quarrelsome room. In moments of anger when my tongue has something quick and cutting to say, I hear a voice within telling me not to say it. Do you hear that voice? It is what we do next that determines us a people of anger or a people of patience who are slow to anger.

I read this morning from 1 Kings 3 where God asked Solomon what he would want from God and Solomon asked God for understanding and for wisdom to rule His people. In James 1:4-6 James tells us that whenever we ask for wisdom, with faith believing God will grant our request, that God will give us the wisdom that we need for that situation. My friends, in the face of an angry situation, before we speak, let us ask God for wisdom so that we cool the anger before it ignites instead of throwing gas and a lit match into the room. Let us beGod’s people of patience who bring peace to difficult situations.

 

Sunday was a good day at JIBC. We rejoiced together and gathered around God’s powerful word together. In 1 John 5:16-17 we studied the call to pray for those in sin and sought to understand the sin unto death. We concluded the service taking time in small groups to pray for those we know and love who are still living in sin that they may hear the call of God to repent of their sin and come to Him. You can hear the message by clicking the link at the bottom of this page.

 Yesterday, we took Stefani and Jared to Taman Safari. On the way there one of our tires picked up a nail slowing us down for over two hours. Since traffic picked up while getting our tire fixed we got to the park in the midst of its peak time. Later in the day, much later than we would have chosen, we were in a line of hundreds of people and met a couple who went to Iowa State University in the 1990’s. We asked them if they knew George and Dottie Hatfield, whom our church in Illinois supported as missionaries to foreign students on campus. This Indonesian husband and wife met at Iowa State and were discipled as young Christians by George and Dottie! I also met a young family from Saudi Arabia. The wife was dressed in a burka, head to toe, and they had four handsome young sons. We took pictures and exchanged numbers. Bobbi then met a Philippine family and exchanged info with them. They were Catholic and very friendly with Bobbi.

 So while the park was amazing, if you ever come to Indonesia we will take you there, God had several Divine appointments for us. We are so thankful to be in this great country.

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS