Monday, June 16, 2014

THE EYES OF THE LORD

For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him....(2 Chronicles 16:9, NKJV).

 What a blessing it is to know that God is on our side when we seek to be faithful to Him. The Lord also sees when we are not faithful to Him. As it says in Proverbs 15:3, The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.”

Whether we do good or evil there is nowhere we can go where God cannot see us. J.R. Miller said, “We are in reality just what we are before God, nothing less, nothing more.” The most marvelous testimony to God’s omnipresence is seen in the 139th Psalm. I am inclined to think that this should be read by every Christian the first thing in the day.  It would, no doubt, keep us ever mindful of God’s presence and be a strong deterrent to sin:Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.  If I take the wings of the morning, And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, Even there Your hand shall lead me” (verses 7-10a, NKJV).

Paul told the citizens of Athens, "(God) is not far from each one of us: for in Him we live, and move, and have our being" (Acts 17:27b-28a, NKJV).  The universal presence of God is a biblical fact. God destroyed the whole world in the days of Noah because He knew that the hearts of men everywhere were intent on doing evil. The earth was "filled with violence" (Genesis 6:11).  Sounds exactly like where we are today. Only Noah and his family were spared, because “Noah walked with God” (Genesis 6:9).

Dear Christian, hide yourself under the shadow of God’s wings; don’t try to hide from Him, because you cannot.  Your sin will always find you out.  Adam and Eve tried that and it didn’t work: And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden. And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou”? (Genesis 3:8, 9). This reminds me of the many times when I was little and getting into something I should not have been getting into, and I would hear my mom say from the other room, “Tommy, what are you doing?”  How did she know? Because she knew that when I was really quiet it usually meant I was up to no good.  Have you ever noticed that when your testimony of God and His word goes silent it usually means that something is wrong in your spiritual life?  When you're walking close to God, you cannot help but praise Him, and you delight to share the joy of the Lord with others.  “Walk with the King and be a blessing” was the favorite exhortation of the late Dr. Robert Cook.

I pray that you will have a closer and closer walk with God, like Noah, and that you will be a blessing to others. Don’t be a follower of men; be a follower of Jesus. Live like the Christian that God called you to be. If you don’t know Christ as your Savior, the first step in following Him is to ask Him to forgive you of all your sin and to be your Lord and Savior.  Find a good Bible-believing church and talk with the pastor if you want to know more.


Pastor Tom



Wednesday, June 04, 2014

THIS IS YOUR LIFE

This morning I did my day hiking in Proverbs and pondered verses 10-14: "Hear, O my son, and receive my sayings; and the years of thy life shall be many.I have taught thee in the way of wisdom; I have led thee in right paths. When thou goest, thy steps shall not be straitened; and when thou runnest, thou shalt not stumble. Take fast hold of instruction; let her not go: keep her; for she is thy life." Dear friends, the Bible is not like any other book.  It contains the mind of God revealed so that we might know how to live and obtain eternal life. Not long after reading Proverbs 4, I came across an article by the late evangelist Lester Roloff.  It was a sermon he once preached title, "THIS IS YOUR LIFE"!

I pass it on to you as an admonition and exhortation to take heed to the things God has revealed to us in the Holy Scriptures.  I hope you enjoy it.

In Jesus name,

Pastor Tom

THIS IS YOUR LIFE, by Lester Roloff

"But stand thou still a while, that I may show thee the Word of God," I Samuel 9:27. "Now therefore stand still, that I may reason with you before the Lord of all the righteous acts of the Lord," I Samuel 12:7

"Our Father, we commit our mind to Thee for the thinking, our ears for the listening, our tongue for the speaking, and our pen for the writing. Give us a sermon from heaven and bless every reader and may we completely commit our way to the Lord, trust also in Him that He may bring it to pass.

We dedicate and pray that Thou shall consecrate every word of this message for the glory of Christ and the blessing of the people. Prepare every heart for the reading and let these words fulfill the very purpose of God. In Jesus' Name, Amen." Today, I would like to share with you the last message of the greatest man of the Old Testament.

He was the meekest man on earth, yet he was the greatest leader, the greatest deliverer. He was born to die and yet he lived. He was hidden, haunted, hated, hunted and hungry. He literally lifted millions of Israelites out of a four hundred and thirty year bondage. In Deuteronomy, chapter 32, we have the last message or sermon that this unusual man delivered. He waited forty years in Midian, wandered forty years in the wilderness, and at the age of a hundred and twenty, he walked up a mountain to his own funeral. With God as his Undertaker and Uptaker, he died according to the Word of the Lord and his strength was not abated, neither was his eye dim. Listen to Moses as he gains the attention and arouses the interest of those that have traveled with him under the pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night.

"Give ear, O ye heavens, and I will speak; and hear, O earth, the words of my mouth." He wasn't ashamed for heaven to hear his final message and he knew the people of earth ought to listen to it. "My doctrine shall drop as the rain, my speech shall distil as the dew. . ." He's going to preach a moist message and a purifying sermon. Before we give the sermon, let me give the six characteristics of Moses that made him such a great man (from Hebrews 11:24-27)

First, he refused to be called the Son of Pharoah's daughter.

Second, he chose the afflictions with the people of God rather than the pleasures of sin for a season.

Third, he esteemed the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt.

Fourth, he endured.

Fifth, he saw Him who was invisible.

Sixth, he had respect unto the recompence of the reward.

In Deuteronomy 32, he gives a hundred and twenty years of accumulated wisdom and his first statement is, "I will publish the Name of the Lord: ascribe ye greatness unto our God. He is the Rock, His work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is He." Amen! Think of it, my friend. After all of the experiences of opposition, misunderstanding and criticism, he stood at the end of life's runway to brag on the Rock and had reached the conclusion that He is "just right"! Then he bears the testimony of God's goodness and reminds all of us that we were found in a desert land, in a waste howling wilderness and like an eagle stirring up her nest, fluttering over her young, spreading abroad her wings, we've been taken and have been borne upon the wings of the Saviour.

We've been made to ride in the high places, eat the increase of the fields, suck honey out of the rock, and been in the heavenly oil business. We've eaten homemade butter and drunk the finest milk and pure grape juice. But sad to say, Moses had to remind the people that they had waxed fat and kicked, grown thick, had forsaken the God which made them, and lightly esteemed the Rock. They had become unmindful and even forgotten God who formed them and had lost faith in the Lord. Impossible, you say? After the tremendous experiences of crossing the Red Sea dry-shod, seeing Pharoah's chariots go down, the miraculous provisions of the wilderness for forty years?

And yet, I remind you, we have a repetition of the same thing in America. In 1620, the old Mayflower loaded with Pilgrims sailed a chartless sea and landed in this pioneer country. And on their knees they said, "By the grace of God and for the advancement of the Christian faith, we plant the first colony." The land's been cleared, railroads run, highways crossing the nation, we have airways and airplanes, schools, churches, cities, and thriving businesses with their skyscrapers.

But America has esteemed lightly the Rock of her salvation and has become unmindful of the Rock and forgotten the God who formed her. As we've said before, we're now sitting by the bedside of a dying nation, with all of its liquor traffic, its dope, immorality and homosexuality. Homes are broken, hopes are shattered, she is in the final stages of decay, and God has had to write malignant and terminal on her chart. Even as oses preached, "To me belongeth vengeance, and recompense; their foot shall slide in due time: for the day of their calamity is at hand, and the things that shall come upon them make haste." Deuteronomy 32:35.

When Moses finished this farewell sermon, he gave an invitation and said, "Set your hearts unto all the words which I testify among you this day, which ye shall command your children to observe to do, all the words of this law." Deuteronomy 32:46. Oh, at the warnings Moses gave as recorded in Deuteronomy 4:40, "Thou shalt keep therefore his statutes, and His commandments, which I command thee this day, that it may go well with thee, and with thy children after thee, and that thou mayest prolong thy days upon the earth, which the Lord thy God giveth thee, for ever."

"And these words which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates." Deuteronomy 6:6-9.

Chapter 12, verse 28, "Observe and hear all these words which I command thee, that it may go well with thee, and with thy children after thee for ever, when thou doest that which is good and right in the sight of the Lord thy God." And now this old gray-haired general says, "For it is not a vain thing for you; because it is your life." Oh my soul, in this day when most Americans go to bed tired and wake up tired, go to sleep on sedatives and wake up on stimulants, when most people just exist and never live - listen to Jesus as He said, "I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly,"

John 10:10. "The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life," John 6:63. "Now ye are clean through the Word which I have spoken unto you." John 15:3. And as the greatest man who ever lived on earth brought his final message, as recorded in John 17:3 He said, "This is life eternal, that they might know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou has sent."

And verse 17, "Sanctify them through Thy truth: Thy Word is truth." "But these are written that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have LIFE through His Name." John 20:31. "Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God." Verse 4, "For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith."

I John 5:1a,4. "He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life." I John 5:12. Even as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness and told the children of Israel that had been bitten by the serpent to look and live, and as Isaiah said, "Look unto Me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else;" Even so, there is still life in the look and that look is aimed at Jesus. God told the Hebrews, in Hebrews 12:2, "Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith." If you've never looked, you've never lived. Jesus said, "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28. 
"It is not a vain thing for you; because it is your life."  Deuteronomy 32:47.


Wednesday, May 28, 2014

ARE YOU DRIFTING?

Every Christian must be on constant guard of drifting away from a close walk with the Lord. Leo Morris writes, "You can drift into sin, but not into righteousness."  How true this is, and yet how easy it is to neglect the things which matter most in life. We can become so busy with our daily responsibilities, pursuits and pleasures, that God is not at all in our thoughts. According to Psalm 10:4 this is the way of the wicked: "The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts."  When you woke up this morning what were you thinking about?  As you made your way through the day how often did you let your thoughts be set on things above, and not on the things of this world (Colossians 3:1)? Did you take time to pray? Did you feed on God’s Word that you might not sin against the Lord? Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food” (Job 23:12). Consider men like Daniel who prayed three times a day toward Jerusalem (Daniel 6:10) and Paul who encouraged the Christian’s in Thessalonica to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17). Brethren, if we are not doing the things that build up our spiritual life we are our weakening it by default. Drifting requires no effort; it comes naturally in the spiritual realm. Also bear in mind that a drift is usually imperceptible, but the more we drift the further we move away from righteousness. The decline of the ungodly man in Psalm 1 probably started with a slow drift. He ended up sitting in the seat of the scornful.  I have known Christian’s who once had a vibrant walk with the Lord but no longer do. What are some tell tale signs of a drifting Christian? I have already alluded to some. Neglect of prayer and Bible study. Add to this a lack of desire for Christian fellowship, but increasing interest in worldly things. It’s hard to be around spiritually minded people when you develop a taste for the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life (1 John 2:16). One sure sign that you are drifting is when the preaching of God’s Word no longer moves you. If you can sit under the counsel and exhortation of the Living Word (Hebrews 4:12) and stay as you are, something is terribly wrong. If the sins that once bothered you no longer do so, you are drifting. Where will it all end? Where will the drift eventually take you? I can’t answer that question for everyone but it can only be stopped and lost ground regained by repentance. Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works”… (Revelation 2:4). 

Draw near to God,

Pastor Tom

Monday, May 26, 2014

MEMORIAL DAY TRIBUTE

Last night I watched the 25th annual National Memorial Day concert conducted on the West Lawn of the U.S Capital. It was an emotional tribute to the many brave soldiers who fought to preserve our cherished liberties. Every American owes a profound debt of gratitude to those who have served and are presently serving in the armed forces of the United States of America. Although we take time to remember their unselfish devotion on this day, I pray that the cost of freedom is not forgotten as we go about our daily lives. Thousands of America’s finest made the ultimate sacrifice.  Many of them are buried in Arlington National Cemetery and in nondescript graves elsewhere.  May the memory of what they have done be kept alive in our hearts. 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

ALIVE FOREVERMORE!

The foundation of the Christian faith begins with the confession that Jesus Christ was the Son of God.  The first words of Mark’s gospel point us to this truth: “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God” (Mark 1:1).  Jesus was not a Son of God in a biological sense, but in a relational sense as a member of the triune Godhead who shared in the divine essence (the nature of God) along with the Father and the Holy Spirit.  In the New Testament the title Son of God was also synonymous with the term Messiah. Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, and saith of him, Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile! Nathanael saith unto him, Whence knowest thou me? Jesus answered and said unto him, Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee. Nathanael answered and saith unto him, Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel” (John 1:47-49). Nathaniel perceived that Jesus was the long-promised Redeemer of Israel who would rule as King of Israel.  But first He must die.

Early on in His ministry, Jesus predicted His death and resurrection: “Then answered the Jews and said unto him, What sign shewest thou unto us, seeing that thou doest these things? Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days? But he spake of the temple of his body. When therefore he was risen from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this unto them; and they believed the scripture, and the word which Jesus had said” (John 2:18-22). Several months prior to His death, Jesus began to give more specific details about what awaited Him in Jerusalem. And it came to pass that Jesus was crucified, buried, and rose again on the third day.  All four gospel writers affirm this truth. Skeptics may try to deny these events, but they are rooted in history, and the existence of the Christian church for over two thousand years speaks loudly about the trustworthiness of Christ’s victory over death and the grave. Christ’s claim to be the Son of God would have been an empty one if  He had not risen, “as he said” (Matthew 28:6). There would be no Christianity.  

As a pastor I have stood at the grave sites of many people who have died knowing Christ as their Savior.  Therefore, I  knew that death was not the end of their existence, but the beginning of another life-- a blessed and glorious life in the presence of God.  I sorrowed not as others who had no hope for someone they loved who “passed away.” Paul wrote to the church of Corinth, in which some were denying a belief in the resurrection of the body: If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept” (1 Corinthians 15:19,20). The resurrection of the Christian is predicated upon the resurrection of Christ. If you know Jesus has forgiven you of all your sins by His death on the cross, then you can face death without any fear or uncertainty. The Good Shepherd of the sheep will see you through the valley of the shadow of death (Psalm 23) immediately upon your last earthly breath, and someday, in the future, your dead body will be resurrected and made suitable for heavenly life: Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality” (1 Corinthians 15:51-53)

As a believer in the Lord Jesus, I can affirm the truth which Peter spoke when he said, Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead" (1 Peter 1:3, NKJV). The resurrection is the celebration of the atonement Jesus made on the cross for sinners. God the Father accepted the shedding of Christ’s blood as a payment for sin.  Speaking of Jesus, the Scripture records in Romans 4:25: “Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.”  A former Buddhist once told a Christian the reason why he became a follower of Jesus, “I was at a turn in the road; who do I follow; the man who is dead or the man who is alive? I chose the One who is alive!"  I hope you choose to follow THE ONE WHO IS ALIVE. 

I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive forevermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death (Revelation 1:18).

Shalom,

Pastor Tom

Monday, March 03, 2014

DOVE'S WINGS OR EAGLE'S WINGS?


"And I said, Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest" (Psalm 55:6).

Reading the book of Jonah the other day, I learned that his name means dove in Hebrew. How appropriate this is,  since Jonah was the prophet of God who tried to spread his wings like a dove and flee from the Lord.  Jonah didn’t like the assignment God had given him.  He was told to go to the wicked city of Ninevah and tell them that God was going to destroy their city if they did not repent of their sins. “Now the word of the Lord came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me” (Jonah 1:1,2). Not fond of the fact that God was merciful and would spare Ninevah if the inhabitants obeyed Him,  Jonah decided to flee to Tarshish (Jonah 1:3). What he soon discovered was that there is nowhere a man can go to hide from the presence of the Lord.  As the story goes, Jonah boarded a ship, but God interrupted his voyage by way of a violent storm, and Jonah was thrown into the deep to perish.  The Lord sent a great fish to swallow up Jonah and he became a captive in a rather unusual aquatic prison. Despite what many critics of the Bible may think, this story is not a myth or ancient legend. Jesus referred to it in Matthew 12:40: For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth."  

Incredible as it may seem, Jonah did survive his ordeal. In answer to his prayers, the reluctant prophet was freed from his captivity, went to Ninevah, and boldly preached, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown" (Jonah 3:4).  Amazingly, the people of Ninevah took heed to the message, and God spared them from certain destruction: “And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not” (3:10).  Rather than being elated over his missionary success, Jonah was sad and angry.  The truth was he didn’t want to see Ninevah spared.  He wanted them to get what they deserved:  But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was very angry and he prayed unto the Lord, and said, I pray thee, O Lord, was not this my saying, when I was yet in my country? Therefore I fled before unto Tarshish: for I knew that thou art a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repentest thee of the evil” (Jonah 4:1, 2).

A couple of lessons are apparent from this dramatic event in the life of Jonah and the Ninevites.  First, if we all got what we deserved we would all suffer the judgment of God.  Jonah should have been elated that the Ninevites heard the truth and believed it.  No man is beyond the grace of God.  He is indeed merciful toward those who will turn away from their sin and seek his forgiveness.  We should be praying for the salvation of all, not their destruction. Secondly, it never pays to try to flee from God. If you are a Christian and you believe that God has called you to a certain task,  or occupation in life, or ministry, just obey Him. Rather than spreading your wings like a dove and taking flight from God, run all the harder to God and He will take you up and carry you on eagles wings to a place of great blessing: But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31).  God never calls us to do what He will not empower us to do.

Pastor Tom



Wednesday, January 22, 2014

BIBLE STUDY


The Holy Spirit alone is the one who unlocks the great truths of God’s Word.  The key he uses is the diligent study of the Bible bathed in prayer and clothed in humility. The best classroom is a daily quiet time with an open Bible and open heart. 
 
Pastor Tom