Wednesday, December 27, 2006

THE NECESSITY OF TIME SPENT WITH GOD



Matt. 14:22 And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship, and to go before him unto the other side, while he sent the multitudes away. 23 And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone.

The one great need in the life of every Christian is time alone with God. We see here in Matthew’s gospel that Jesus did not allow the demands of ministry to interfere with His fellowship with the Father. A short while ago I was preparing a sermon for the Lord’s Day and came upon a portion of Scripture in 1 Timothy 2 that made a similar impression on me. “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; (verses 1,2a). What struck me about Paul’s exhortation to pray for all men, but especially those in authority is the vital purpose of such prayer which is stated at the end of verse 2,” that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty." Here is the mark that we as believers should aim for. A peaceable life that is marked by godliness and honesty! Matthew Henry, was of the conviction that the Christian’s duty is summed up in those two words, godliness and honesty. Godliness encompasses our worship of God that is evidenced by our sacrificial love for the Lord, and honesty (gravity) our duty toward men who behold our testimony. As I understand it, godliness is spiritual shorthand for “a holy manner of life” (2 Peter 3:11). Honesty before men is the sincerity of our convictions that bear witness to the truth we profess. These two spiritual fruits do not come accidentally in our life. The Holy Spirit produces them in us as He directs our thoughts heavenward in our quiet times before the God. As we have already seen, the Lord Jesus set the example for us. He retreated from the crowds to be alone with His Heavenly Father. Can we afford to do less? When I fail to spend time with the Lord I begin to falter in my spiritual walk and I fail the very ones who are the objects of my ministry. How foolish of me to ever think that I am a spiritual giant who can take on the worldly Goliath without the blessing of the Lord upon me. A blessing that can only time from time in His presence. Brethren, “the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak” (Matt. 26:41). Let us encourage one another to maintain a quiet time with God each day. Only in such an hour will we be able to follow in spirit the word of Eli to Samuel, “Speak, LORD; for thy servant heareth” (1 Samuel 3:9). As we approach a new year I can think of no better resolution than to be resolved that no one or nothing will come between us and the blessing of sweet fellowship with our Savior.

God bless you all,

Pastor Tom

Monday, December 11, 2006

AND CAN IT BE

And can it be that I should gain
an interest in the Savior's blood!
Died he for me? who caused his pain!
For me? who him to death pursued?
Amazing love! How can it be
that thou, my God, shouldst die for me?

These words are very familiar to those of us who still love the old hymns of the faith. It is one of my personal favorites. Penned long ago by Charles Wesley, this hymn still provokes me to consider afresh the depth of the rich mercy of God. How Can It Be that the immortal God should take upon Himself the form of lowly man, and shed His precious blood for grievous sinners? Why should He who did no sin (2 Cor. 5:21) face the bar of Divine justice on Calvary’s cross so that I can stand before the highest court in heaven clothed in robes of righteousness (Rev. 19:8) ? In the futility of my own world of thought I have no answer for such questions. However, from the inspired Word of God I gleam the sacred truth that His heart of love is the stream out of which such mercy flows. “In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (I John 4:9,10). Little wonder Wesley could exclaim, “Amazing love! How Can It be! What makes this love so amazing is the unconditional nature of it. It was extended to us when we did not deserve it. It was a love bestowed upon a world of men, women, and children from every class and culture who had one thing in common – a rebellious heart. We are sinners by nature, and sinners by choice. Yes, that is our spiritual condition; so how profound, how glorious is the truth that “God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8). If you and I could meet the greatest philanthropists of the past and present, we would find no comparison to the love of God. No human being could love, has loved, or will ever love like God has loved us. Because He is a Supreme Being, His love is the ultimate love. Because He is infinite, His love cannot be measured by any human standard. Because He is holy, His love is without any impurity. Because He is immutable, His love for us will never falter. Because He is compassionate, His love is a tender and gracious love. Because He is Perfect, his love has a beauty to it that is incomprehensible. Because He is timeless, His love will never end. What more can I say! Such love is the greatest gift I possess, the greatest joy I know. And, my greatest desire is that others may come to know this wonderful love of God, manifest in the person of Jesus Christ, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). May God be forever praised for the gift of His love.
No condemnation now I dread; Jesus, and all in him, is mine;
alive in him, my living Head, and clothed in righteousness divine,
bold I approach the eternal throne, and claim the crown, through Christ my own.
Rejoicing in the knowledge that my sins have been forgiven,

Pastor Tom

2 Cor. 13:14 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen.

Monday, December 04, 2006

NO GREATER JOY!


The apostle John expressed his shepherd’s heart in a simple sentence found in his third epistle. To a dear friend named Gaius, John wrote, “ I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth” (verse 4). To walk in the truth simply means to live consistent with the truth you have received. "I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called" (Ephesians 4:1). Christian parents can readily identify with John’s sentiments. Every pastor who serves in a local church hopes to realize the very same joy. But why should John’s joy be tied to the obedience of another brother in Christ? I believe it's because John rejoiced to see God glorified in the lives of His redeemed people. When a Christian leads a holy life in humble submission to the truth, God’s might transforming power is revealed. Just as the heavens above declare the glory of God (Psalm 19:1), the glory of God is seen on earth when a child of God walks in newness of life. He or she becomes a “living epistle” (2 Cor. 3:2). A living epistle is an open book that the unconverted read. This book communicates a message of hope which magnifies God’s saving grace to a spiritually dark world held captive by Satan. It declares that the Lord who brought forth a beautiful creation out of nothing, is the one who alone can bring beauty out of the ashes of shattered lives. Thus, we find Peter admonishing the true pilgrims of this world to live a ‘noble life’ among the pagans (the lost) so that they may observe our good works and one day be counted among those who glorify God (1 Peter 2:12). Brethren, the eyes of many without Christ are on us. I pray that we bring joy to one another and to the Lord by following the example of Gaius, “walking in the truth” .

To God be the glory!

Pastor Tom