Tuesday, April 17, 2018

THE SOURCE OF SPIRITUAL STRENGTH

And it came to pass, when David and his men were come to Ziklag on the third day, that the Amalekites had invaded the south, and Ziklag, and smitten Ziklag, and burned it with fire; And had taken the women captives, that were therein: they slew not any, either great or small, but carried them away, and went on their way. So, David and his men came to the city, and, behold, it was burned with fire; and their wives, and their sons, and their daughters, were taken captives. Then David and the people that were with him lifted their voice and wept, until they had no more power to weep. And David's two wives were taken captives, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess, and Abigail the wife of Nabal the Carmelite. And David was greatly distressed; for the people spoke of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the Lord his God (1 Samuel 30:1-6). The Hebrew word "encouraged" in verse 6 is often translated "strengthened" and on other occasions "hardened". In contemporary language we might call it "battle hardened". Life can make you hard in a bad sense of the word (insensitive or uncaring", but God can make you hard so that you can withstand whatever trial comes your way, Our only source of strength is in the Lord and so we are admonished in Scripture to, " Seek the Lord and his strength, seek his face continually" (1 Chronicles 16:11). Life can wear you down, but God can lift you up! Call upon him now in the time of your need because he delights in showing himself strong in behalf of those who love him, "For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him" (2 Chronicles 16:9). 
God bless, 
Pastor Tom

Monday, March 26, 2018

GOD ALONE!

Have you ever sunken down into the pit of despair? One man called it, “shadow-lands”.  In that dark place he sought comfort from a friend. His friend’s response went like this, ““My first matter of prayer for you is that you will see God in the shadow-lands; that even without good times, good feelings, and showers of blessings you will be satisfied with just Him, Himself ... for however long God purposes to be the sole encouragement you have”.[1]

Friends, there are times in life when God will be the only one you have. In those times there will be nothing good to feel good about, no blessings that you can ascertain, no counselors with the right words to encourage you, nothing to ease the pain or the loneliness, nothing to replace the loss – just God alone.  But you will find, if you are content with God alone, His grace will be sufficient, and in His time, the darkness will give way to light, the despair will give way to joy, the loneliness to the comfort of a friend who is closer than a brother, and you will again praise Him from whom all blessings flow. Weeping endures for the night, but joy comes in the morning, (Psalm 30:5). The “shadow lands” is the place where God grows his children up into the likeness of Christ. The “shadow-lands” is the crucible of a fiery suffering from which emerges the purest gold.  

- Pastor Tom



[1] From the IFCA News Connection, March 2018, Vol. 10, No. 3

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

DAILY OPPORTUNITIES


..let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.
10 As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith (Galatians 6:9,10).
Each new day we have opportunities to do something for someone else. However, we often become so preoccupied with our own concerns that we fail to see the needs of others. Examine the life of Jesus in the gospels and take notice how often he saw things that others didn't see.  That is because he came to serve, not to be served (Mark 10:45). Don't let the opportunities to do good to others pass you buy. "Travel slowly" someone once said, and you will things you never saw before.
God bless,
Pastor Tom

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

GIVING, NOT LOSING


A chaplain was speaking to a wounded soldier in the hospital. “Bless you son, you saved a fellow soldier’s life — and lost an arm in the great cause doing it,”. The soldier corrected him. “No,” said the soldier with a smile. “I didn’t lose it … I gave it.

What we give, or do for others is never a loss if we give it, or do it, as unto the Lord.

And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not (Galatians 6:9).


Be constant in prayer.

Pastor Tom

Thursday, June 01, 2017

PRAYERLESSNESS

While Christian churches have shut down their mid-week prayer meetings, and the average Christian typically finds no time to pray, prayerlessness is not the case among Muslims, and in their mosques. By 2020, estimates are that the number of [UK] Muslims attending prayers will reach at least 683,000. The devout Muslim prays five times a day: at dawn (Salat al-Fajr), at noon (Salat al-Zuhr), in the afternoon (Salat al-Asr), at sunset (Salat al-Maghhrib), and at night (Salat al-Isha).  Prayer for the Muslim is his spiritual diet. Sadly, Muslims pray to a false god who can neither hear, nor help them. But Christians who know Christ as their Lord and Savior, have the wonderful privilege of coming to a throne of grace to obtain mercy and grace to help in time of need (Hebrews 4:16). I am convinced from Scripture that prayerlessness in the Christin life is not a symptom of laziness, or neglect; prayerlessness is symptomatic of an attitude that says, “I can do without the help of God”. Harold Vaughn wrote, “there can be no real prayer without humility. … Prayerlessness is the very first sign of pride. It has been said, “God’s power will never fall until we do.” Proud people don’t pray. In fact, the only people who pray are those who need God, know they need God, and can’t go on without God. Humility is the altar on which God wishes us to offer Him sacrifices. Dear brethren, let us go frequently to the throne of God’s grace in the name of Jesus Christ who delights in our dependence upon him.
Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints (Ephesians 6:16-18).

God bless,

Pastor Tom

Friday, May 19, 2017

HOW STRONG IS YOUR FAITH?

After the miraculous feeding of 5,000 men, women, and children as recorded by Matthew in chapter 14 of his gospel, (verses 13-21), one would think that the disciple’s faith in Jesus would be unshakable. Such was not the case. Jesus sent them by boat to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, while he went into a mountain to pray (22, 23). In contrast to the time of peace and serenity Jesus was experiencing, the disciples found themselves confronted by a violent storm.
Matthew reports on what happened, “But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary” (Matthew 14:24). Life is just like that at times. It seems as though we find ourselves rowing against the wind while the circumstances surrounding us are not letting up.  But lo and behold, in such times like that, Jesus manifests his presence with us. Not in a visible way as he did that night to his troubled disciples, but in way which assures us that he is the good shepherd who cares for his sheep. Therefore, we are told what to do in 1 Peter 5:7, “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you”. When Peter saw Jesus walking on the water his faith was strong and he petitioned Jesus to allow him to go to him (Matthew 14:25-28). Now Peter, seasoned fisherman that he was, had never walked on water before, so this was quite an amazing request. What is even more amazing is the fact that he got out of the boat and began to walk on the water.  How many of us would have even left the boat? What was Peter thinking as he began his walk toward Jesus, “so far so good?” Whatever positive thoughts may have crossed his mind suddenly vanished when he began to look at the water and started to sink. In this case, it took something quite disturbing to get his eyes off Jesus, and get himself into trouble. Usually it doesn’t take such a dramatic event before our faith starts to fail us and we, preverbally speaking, “begin to sink”. Let’s return to the narrative. And he (Jesus) said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased” (verses 29-32).  A few things can be seen here. First, Peter obeyed the Lord’s command. He started out strong in faith. Second, as long as his eyes were on Jesus he was doing fine. Nothing should have changed because he saw Jesus standing on the water, proving that Jesus had the power to do as he willed. Third, doubt and fear quickly set in when Peter looked at the angry waves. Circumstances prevailed over faith. The Lord’s words to Peter, “O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt’? (31b), give us an insight into the nature of the human condition. The best of men are men at best! By nature, we are all men of little faith and prone to doubt the wisdom, power and love of God. Such doubt is even more apparent when our personal or family welfare is at stake. The little faith we have must be constantly nourished and strengthened to become unshakeable faith. Time spent in God’s Word, time spent in prayer and praise, and time spent with one’s brothers and sisters in Christ is a sure means of building the Christian up in faith. Don’t think you can stand on your own two feet in the storms of life. You can only stand by the grace that God supplies which comes through Jesus Christ. There are no self-made men in the kingdom of God. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me” (2 Corinthians 12:9).

Pastor Tom
 "A man can no more take in a supply of grace for the future than he can eat enough today to last him for the next 6 months, nor can he inhale sufficient air into his lungs with one breath to sustain life for a week to come. We are permitted to draw upon God's store of grace from day to day as we need it."
- Dwight L. Moody





Saturday, May 06, 2017

THE CURE FOR WORRY!

What is the antidote to worry? People have many ways to help them cope with the stress of life and the worry that accompanies it. For the Christian, there is no trick to master. The answer lies in the simple word trust.  Not trust in yourself, or other human beings, but trust in God. A synonym for trust is faith and there are many examples in the Bible to illustrate the power of faith in God. One that immediately comes to mind is Noah. Here was a man who walked with God (Genesis 6:9). His close walk with God led to a heart of obedience and his willingness to do the seemingly impossible. Genesis 6:22 reads, Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he. This was a big step of faith by Noah; to build an ark on dry ground believing that God was going to bring a world-wide flood.  As Hebrews 11 states, “By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith” (verse 7). Despite the difficulty of the task in the face of opposition, Noah did not give in to worry or despair. He persevered for one-hundred twenty years, looking to the Lord for strength and courage to face each new day. If we want to be “worry free”, we must walk with God just like Noah did, obey his Word, and believe that he will take care of us in every situation, just as he promised, “ Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the Lord thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee” (Deuteronomy 31:6).