Tuesday, November 21, 2006

FOR ALL THINGS GIVE THANKS

The time of year has come when once again Americans will gather together with family and friends and celebrate Thanksgiving Day. We certainly have many reasons to be a thankful people as we "count our blessings", but how much of the conversation around the table or elsewhere in our homes will actually take the form of praise toward the one who is the source of these blessings. Dear brethren, if we are careful we can easily fail in this regard. This is why we are admonished by David in Psalm 103:1-2 to, "bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits:".

Notice that David reminds us to take account of "all his benefits". If we are honest we must admit that we seldom meditate on 'all the blessings' that have come to us from the hand of God. Were we to compromise a list of past, present, and future blessings how great a list it would be! It certainly would include all the material things we possess, but far more than such good & plenteous things are the spiritual riches which are ours in Jesus Christ (Eph. 1:3). Surely the greatest of our spiritual riches is what David references in verses three and four of the above mentioned Psalm, " 3 Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases 4 Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies;". Ponder those thoughts for just a few moments and your heart must swell up with praise and thanksgiving to God. He has forgiven all of our transgressions, he has healed a heart ravaged by sin, and made it a fit abode for His Spirit. He has redeemed our life from eternal destruction, and crowned us with His lovingkindness and tender mercies. Blessings like these are not deserved. They cannot be earned. They come to us from the gracious hand of God who alone is full of goodness. Child of God, on this Thanksgiving Day, find a quiet place where you can be alone with God. Meditate on all that He has give to you, bow your knee, and render unto Him praise and thanks for having provided all that you need in this life and the life to come.

1 Cor. 2:9
But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.

2 Cor. 9:15
Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you,

Pastor Tom

Monday, November 13, 2006

BLESSED FELLOWSHIP




One of the great blessings of the Christian life is the joy of spending time with other believers. I have experienced many such wonderful times of Christian fellowship. The word fellowship in the original language is 'koinonia' which etymologically has to do with something people have in common. For instance, Paul spoke of Titus as"mine own son after the common faith:" (Titus 1:4). Jude verse 3 speaks of a common salvation. One of the earliest Christian documents, the Apostles' Creed contains the words, "I believe in the communion of saints." This communion is based on the union of the sinner to Christ Jesus by faith. A.W. Tozer said, "Whoever is born of God is one with everyone else who is born of God. Just as gold is always gold, wherever and in whatever shape it is found, and every detached scrap of gold belongs to the true family and is composed of the same element, so every regenerate soul belongs to the universal Christian community and to the fellowship of the saints." The picture of the early Christian community in Acts 2 captures Tozer's sentiments beautifully,"Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers" (verses 41,42). How marvelous, how wonderful is God's love to toward us when manifested by other believers with whom we enjoy such a strong spiritual bond. Natural family ties could not be stronger because Christian fellowship is more than just being together, it is sharing things together for the cause of Christ. We have learned to "Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep" (Romans 12:15). We have learned to "bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ (Galatians 6:2). We have learned to suffer together, pray together, worship together, and wait together for the return of our Savior. No wonder the disciple whom Jesus loved could write, "That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ " (1 John 1:3). Having walked with Jesus and seen the greateness of His power and grace, John wanted others to come to know the spiritual riches of fellowship with Him and in so doing, the riches of fellowship among those who constitute His family. I have experienced those two great blessings in my life, fellowship with Christ, and precious moments with other saints whom He has redeemed. My thanks to all of you for your fellowship in Jesus Christ.

To Him be the glory forever,

Pastor Tom






Wednesday, November 08, 2006

WHY SHOULD YOU TRUST GOD'S WORD?




There are many reasons why I trust the Bible. I will not take the time to list them, but rather focus on one very significant thing that gives the Bible credibility. To put it succinctly, the Bible has "staying power". Upon reading a brief commentary on the book of Jeremiah which I have been studying I was struck by a comment from Thomas Watson. Watson was an English clergyman (1620-1686) best known for A Body of Divinity, long regarded as a Puritan masterpiece. Watson's love and defense of the holy Scriptures was prominent in his writings. Consider for example what he said about the ‘staying power of the Bible’: “We may know the Scripture to be the Word of God by its miraculous preservation in all ages. The holy Scriptures are the richest jewel Christ has left us; and the church of God has so kept these public records of heaven, that they have not been lost. The Word of God has never wanted enemies to oppose it, and, if possible to extirpate it…. But God has preserved this blessed Book inviolable to this day. The devil and his agents have been blowing at Scripture light, but could never blow it out; a clear sign that it was lighted from heaven.”

I give a hearty “amen” to Watson’s praise of God’s Word. There are few things in life that have real “staying power". Material things come and go, the old are cast out and the new ushered in, but we can be thankful that The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever" (Isaiah 40:8). Take time to enjoy God’s Word today and you will discover that it will give you “staying power” in the spiritual battles we face daily.


Psalm 119:147 I prevented the dawning of the morning, and cried: I hoped in thy word.
148 Mine eyes prevent the night watches, that I might meditate in thy word.

Blessings to you in Jesus name,

Pastor Tom

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

ELECTION DAY IS HERE


Today is election day in America. As a citizen of this country and a Christian committed to the Lordship of Christ, I believe it is my responsibility to vote for those candidates best qualified to serve all Americans, and defend this nation from all threats foreign and dosmetic. They must be men and women with the courage of conviction who will never capitulate their will to the will of the ungodly for political gain. I will look for candidates who will protect the rights of the unborn and fight for traditional family values that good Americans have long cherished. The Bible teaches that "righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people" (Pro.14:34). This being true, America may be tottering on the precipice. Yet, as I go to the polls I am optimistic. The optimism I retain is not because I believe that my choices will prevail, but because I believe that ultimately God's will must prevail. An ancient prophet in Israel declared, "blessed be the name of God for ever and ever: for wisdom and might are his: And he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings: " (Daniel 2:20). This belief in the sovereignty of God in all realms of life is well established in the political sermons of the American founding era. Let us take up our patriotic duty and vote, bearing in mind Proverbs 21:1, "The king's heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will." Evil may seem to be winning the day, but do not lose heart brothers and sisters in Christ. There is a day coming when "the kingdoms of this world will become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever" (Revelation 11:15). How we all long for that day when "the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea" (Habakkuk 2:14).


May God bless and keep you ever close to Him.

Pastor Tom