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Monthly Archives: April 2014

Buzzards on the Steeple

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This morning, when I drove up to the church, there were two buzzards perched atop the steeple.

My first thought was, “What’s dead?”

My second thought, which humored me, was, “I sure hope it ain’t the church!”

Sadly, many churches are dead, or dying. Research reveals that 95% of the churches in America are in numerical decline. The so-called “mainline” Protestant denominations (Presbyterian, Methodist, Episcopalian) have been struggling to maintain members for over three decades, while Southern Baptists baptize fewer converts than they did in the 1950’s.

Inside the walls of churches, other things are dying as well. Personal holiness is dying, as church goers now freely drink alcohol in public, live together outside of marriage and accept lifestyles which the Bible condemns.

Respect for the teachings of Scripture are dying, as personal preferences take precedence over what the Bible teaches. Milk-toast, watered-down sermons have replaced the bold preaching of the word of God. There are few biblical prophets left who will stand and proclaim: “Thus says the Lord.”

I don’t want the buzzards to gather around my steeple. I don’t want my church to die and I don’t want my convictions to die. When I went outside a few minutes ago, those stinking birds had left. I hope they don’t come back.

 
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Posted by on April 23, 2014 in Daily Verse & Prayer

 

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He is risen. Buddha, Muhammed and all others are still dead. There is only way to God and Jesus is the way.

 
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Posted by on April 20, 2014 in Daily Verse & Prayer

 
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So Little Time…So Little Room

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Ephesians 5:15-18: ” See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit.”

Just because something is allowed doesn’t mean that it is good.

As followers of Jesus Christ, we have been delivered by God’s grace to live an abundant and blessed life. We are no longer in slavery or imprisonment to sin, hell and death. We have been set free!!

Our freedom, however, comes with the expectation that we will be wise and not unwise. To be unwise is to be foolish. Wasting your time on drunkenness is foolish and sinful. The Bible commands you not to do it. When you get drunk with alcohol, you have wasted your time and filled yourself with a “spirit” which does not honor Jesus. There is only so much room within you for God’s Spirit to work. When you crowd Him out with another spirit, He cannot work in and through you for His glory.

The apostle Paul encouraged believers to walk in an upright manner and to “redeem” or make the most of their time. There is so little time left before the return of Jesus.When you waste your time on foolish living, you can never get that wasted time back. It is gone forever.

Give your time completely to Jesus. Give room in your life for Jesus. Don’t waste your life on foolishness. Understand what the will of the Lord is. His will is for you to live for Him and not for yourself.

Dear Lord, I submit my time and my room to you. I do not have time nor room to waste. Help me God to be wise and not foolish.In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 
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Posted by on April 16, 2014 in Daily Verse & Prayer

 

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Praising Him in the Storm

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Matthew 5:45: “…for He makes His sun rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the just and the unjust.”

I am not very fond of rain nor cold. I prefer sunny and warm weather. My mood is good when the weather suits me, but when it is cold or rainy outside, my attitude changes. I can become moody, somber and even grumpy.

Life is not always pleasant, regardless of who you are. Whether you are a follower of Jesus or not, there will be rainy days and there will be sunny days. The same calamities in life affect all of us. Disease, sickness, pain and suffering are common to all humans. Just because I am a child of the Heavenly King does not mean that I will not go through a storm in life. In fact, I have been through quite a few; and I am not referring to the weather. Life can be very tough.

Most of us are quick to praise God when things are good. We rejoice and are happy when the sun is shining, but fall apart when the storms come. The group Casting Crowns declared it this way: ” And though my heart is torn, I will praise You in the storm.” The true test of our character is not how loud we shout when the sun is shining, but how sincerely we cry out to Him when the sky is dark. Praising Him on the mountaintop is easy, but worship in the valley is not. The songs we sing in the rain are the ones which touch the heart of our Lord. Let us learn to praise Him in the storm.

O Lord, I thank you for the sun which rises on the evil and the good, and I praise you for the rain which falls upon the just and the unjust. I will praise you no matter the weather, whether I like it or not. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 
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Posted by on April 15, 2014 in Daily Verse & Prayer

 

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East from the West

Sunrise on flip-flops and bird on the beach.  Black_Mountain_Sunset-27527

Psalm 103:12: “As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.”

Amanda and I live on a ridge with a scenic view. From the front of our house we can look east for miles, and the sunrise brings light into our bedroom each morning. In our backyard, we can watch the evening sunset over beautiful hills and see the lights of Woodbury some fifteen miles away. The views in each direction are wonderful.

How far is the east from the west? When I look eastward, I picture what the sunrise looks like at Tybee Island, which is over 200 miles away. From Tybee, I can look out at the vast expanse of the Atlantic Ocean, which stretches across the globe for thousands of miles. Eventually, if I were able to travel that distance, I would find myself in China, still looking eastward toward the rising of the sun.

When I watch the sunset through the woods behind my house, I imagine what it might look like from the shores of Maui, facing westward across the Pacific Ocean. Years ago I stood on the beach at Kaanapali, meditating on what people on the other side of the ocean were seeing at that moment…in China!

The point is this: east meets west and west meets east on our circular planet. How can you measure the distance between the two? You cannot. Therefore, when God removes our sins from us, He throws them into His “sea of forgetfulness”, a place which cannot be located nor measured. There is absolutely no limit to His forgiveness, nor His forgetfulness. He chooses to remember our sins no more.

What an amazing, merciful, loving God we serve. David said it best when he cried out: “Bless the LORD, O my soul; and all that is within me bless His holy name!”

Father, I thank you for forgetting my sins and removing them far from me. I repent of my sinful choices today, and commit myself to loving you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 
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Posted by on April 14, 2014 in Daily Verse & Prayer

 

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What Makes You Blush?

Jeremiah 6:15: “Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? No! They were not at all ashamed; nor did they know how to blush.”

I could not believe what had happened. I was scared to death.

I was only nine years old and my cousin was twelve. She was in the bathroom, but I did not realize it. I came bursting through the door and saw her standing there. She was completely dressed and had already flushed the toilet. Nothing obscene or inappropriate occurred. And yet, the simple fact that I had burst in on her caused my heart to race and blood to rush to my face. I was totally embarrassed and ashamed. I blushed.

Forty three years later, there is very little which causes me to blush. My eyes have seen so much and the world has become so sinful. I once heard a preacher say that what men used to pay money to see in secret is now openly displayed on television. Things that used to be embarrassing and shameful no longer cause us to blush. There were many Christians who watched the MTV Music Awards show in which Miley Cyrus “twerked” her backside. Some of them even remarked on social media how much they enjoyed the show. What a disgrace.

The people in Jeremiah’s day no longer blushed at sin. They were not ashamed. As a result, God allowed the Babylonians to march into Jerusalem and take it over in 586 B.C. Thousands were taken as prisoners and carried back to Babylon. God punished His own children because they were no longer able to blush.

The Bible declares that God still disciplines His children (Hebrews 12:5-11). Are you ashamed of the “abominations” which are taking place in our world today? What makes you blush?

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Posted by on April 8, 2014 in Daily Verse & Prayer

 
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The Fragrance of the Oil

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John 12:3: “Then Mary took a pound of very costly oil of spikenard, anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil.”

Here’s the big worship question for 2014: “Do we sing with a piano and a hymnal or with a praise band and a screen?” Music has become the biggest issue in most churches today. The “old folks” don’t want all of that “rock and roll music” in the church, and the “young folks” want to burn all of the hymnals in a bonfire behind the church.

Both sides of the fight are missing the real meaning of worship. When Mary knelt down to anoint Jesus with oil that cost her a year’s wages, she didn’t “grab a hymnal ” and turn to page 220. She didn’t lift her hands, dance, sway to the beat or shout “amen”. She simply knelt at the feet of Jesus. He was her everything, her whole purpose for being alive. Her worship had nothing to do with her. It had everything to do with Him.

Bryan Chapell, in his book Christ-Centered Worship, stressed that worship ought to be centered completely upon the Gospel, the good news about Jesus Christ. People complain about worship services, Chapell said, “Because they have not been taught to think of the worship service as having gospel purposes, people instinctively thinks of its elements only in terms of personal preference: what makes me feel good, comfortable, or respectful.”(p. 21) In other words, most church worship is “self-centered” when it ought to be “Jesus-centered”.

Mary’s worship was focused solely upon the Lord. As a result, her act of devotion is still talked about 2000 years later. The smell of that fragrant oil permeated the house where she worshiped Jesus. Regardless of whether our music is “traditional” or “contemporary”, when a church preaches the gospel of Jesus in worship, the fragrance of the oil can be smelled all over the house.

 

 

 
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Posted by on April 7, 2014 in Daily Verse & Prayer

 

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