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).


Tuesday, April 04, 2017

THE CHURCH WAS BORN ON PENTECOST

And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it (Matthew 16:16-18).
One thing is certain about the words of Jesus to Peter in the above referenced Scripture. The one who would build the Christian Church was Jesus. My personal belief is that it would was built upon the sure foundation of Peter’s confession that Jesus was the anointed one of God, the promised Messiah who would come to save people from their sins. This building process was still in the future when Jesus spoke to Peter in Matthew 16:18. Jesus must first die, be raised from the dead, and ascend to heaven before the church could be established and begin to grow. This is seen in Christ’s statement that the gates of hell would not prevail over the church. The gates of hell speak of death, man’s last and greatest enemy. Since Jesus conquered death by way of resurrection, all those who believe in him (the church), will also prevail over death. Furthermore, when Jesus ascended to heaven the Scripture says that he gave gifts to the church which were of vital necessity: “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ (Ephesians 4:11.12):  After the death of the apostles and prophets, the gift of pastors-teachers continues throughout the church age. The starling event which ushered in this age, and the birth of the church was Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit came upon one-hundred twenty believers in an upper room in Jerusalem (Acts 2). This was the fulfillment of Christ’s promise, And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high” (Luke 24:49). When the Holy Spirit came upon the Gentile household of Cornelius in Acts 10:44-47), Peter recounted to the church of Jeruslaem, “And as I began to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning” (Acts 11:15). The question we could ask is, “the beginning of what?” The best answer that I know to that question is, “the beginning of the church Jesus promised to build” which was conditioned upon the dynamic ministry of the Holy Spirit. The church was not instituted in the Old Testament. It was the body of Christ (Colossians 1:18), Jew and Gentile described as “one new man” (Ephesians 2:14). This truth was a something hidden by God until the time of its disclosure (Ephesians 3:1-6). Praise Jesus, the head of the church, who brought into being, sustains it, and will present it to the Father as a glorious church, without spot or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish’ (Ephesians 5:27)

Pastor Tom

Thursday, January 05, 2017

I AM RESOLVED!

A brand-New Year was ushered in a few days ago, and with it an annual self-check accompanied by personal resolutions. Gym memberships soar to a yearly high as multitudes of couch potatoes decide to do something about their poor physical condition. Others, who won’t hit the gym are resolved to avoid hitting the refrigerator as much. Still others decide that it’s time to stop spending more than they are earning. The sad news is that most of these the attempts at change will fall by the wayside before January runs its’ course.  Be that as it may, I would like to suggest a resolution, which if followed will bring about positive improvements in all the areas I mentioned and many more, particularly one’s spiritual condition. The one simple resolution that could accomplish this has two parts. The first entails a devout study of Holy Scripture each and every day. This provides the right direction for a godly life. The second is harder, it involes submitting to the Word of God (obedience). The apostle James taught that Christian’s are to be obedient “doers of the Word”,  not “hearers only” (James 1:22). Peter also wrote about God’s expectations for his children:Therefore, having the loins of your understanding girded with temperance, wait perfectly in the grace that is presented unto you when Jesus, the Christ, is manifested unto you, as obedient sons, not conforming yourselves with the former desires that you had before in your ignorance, but as he who has called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; (1 Peter 1:13-15). What about you? Do you desire to see God work to bring about lasting changes in your life? Changes for your own good, and the good of others whom you will affect, by the example of your Christian walk. If so, dive into the Word of God and dig out the precious truths you will discover there. Then, as you rely upon the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit to put them into practice, you will press on toward the mark of the high calling of God in Christ (Philippians 3:14).                                                                                                                                 
I am resolved no longer to linger,
Charmed by the world’s delight,
Things that are higher, things that are nobler,
These have allured my sight.               
I am resolved to follow the Savior,
Faithful and true each day;
Heed what He sayeth, do what He willeth,
He is the living Way.
God bless,

Pastor Tom

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

THE FOOLISHNESS OF PREACHING

Mankind is drawn to things that are new. It's how advertisers make their living. Look at the world of technology and you can see how quickly what you presently own becomes out of date. Today's cell phone is tomorrows dinosaur. Thankfully their is nothing new about the matter of the salvation of sinful men. Paul stated, "For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe" (1 Corinthians 1:21). The "foolishness of preaching" is the old fashioned gospel of the death, burial and resurrection of Christ, according to the Scriptures (1 Corinthians 15:3). Knowing that this was the focus of his message, we should not be surprised that Paul also wrote, "And how shall they preach, except they be sent as it is written, 'How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of great joy'" (Romans 10:15). However, preaching the gospel is not just the privilege of full-time Christian workers such as pastors, evangelists, and missionaries, it is the privilege and responsibility of every Christian. As we therefor have opportunity, let us go and tell the world the good news of the gospel so that they might have the forgiveness of their sins, through faith in the sacrifice for sin that Jesus made on the cross. This is the foolishness of preaching by which men, women, and children are transferred out of the kingdom of darkness, and into the kingdom of God's own dear son (Colossians 1:13,14),

God bless,

Pastor Tom

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

THE ELECTION RESULT

This is my Father's world. O let me ne'er forget
That thought the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet.

My daughter sent me a text this morning with the words above reminding me of the great truth that God rules overall. 

May Christian's across this country pray that President-Elect Trump will govern in the fear of God.

Psalm 20:7 Some trust in chariots and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the Lord our God.

Pastor Tom