A righteous desire

(Mat 6:33)  But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

 

      Jesus came preaching the kingdom saying, “Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” The King was present and He was calling upon all to repent and prepare for God’s coming kingdom. John preceded Him preaching repentance and preparing the way for His coming to Israel. Many went out to John and were baptized of him and seeking to know what to do – “And the people asked him, saying, What shall we do then?” John proceeded to give them various instructions.

      Jesus preached the Sermon on the Mount in which He taught many kingdom principles and exhorted His hearers to seek God’s kingdom first and foremost. In this sermon, Jesus gave possible distractions to seeking God’s kingdom and urged a continual pursuit of the kingdom.

      A first priority. Seeking God’s kingdom first means also seeking His righteous. Paul said that the Jews tried to establish their own righteousness – “For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of

Read more

A tree of life

Proverbs 3:18 She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her: and happy is every one that retaineth her.
 
The Tree of Life God planted in the Garden of Eden had power to retard the aging process even of sinners. After Adam and Eve sinned God had to prevent them from eating of it in their fallen state – “ And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken.” Men have long sought out the “Fountain of Youth” in quest for longevity of life; many today try to stay and look as young as possible. They exercise, take vitamins and food supplements; use anti-aging products, anything to prevent the onset of age. Many even use hair color, face lifts and other type medical procedures to prevent the “appearance” of age. The original Tree of Life is presently in paradise planted along the
Read more

Three-fold deliverance

(Psa 116:8)  For thou hast delivered my soul from death, mine eyes from tears, and my feet from falling.

 

      The Psalmist testifies to what the Lord has done for him. Verses 3 & 4 describe what he was going through at the time. We can all relate to this to one degree or another. The word sorrow means first, a cord, rope, territory, but also carries the idea of pain, travail, sorrow. The psalm has no heading to indicate that it relates to a particular time, but if David is the author, we may assume it was during a time of great trouble and perhaps danger for him. He was surrounded by these troubles and he probably felt that his death was imminent. He was experiencing all the emotions and pains that went along with his situation. Then he cried unto the Lord and sought refuge in his God.

      When we call upon the Lord for salvation, He is gracious and merciful to save us, redeeming our souls from the sorrows and pains of hell. But God does far more than just redeem our souls and save us from hell and eternal punishment. That is

Read more

But God

Ephesians 2:4 (KJV)
But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,
 
God makes all the difference! There was a time when the whole world was in bondage to sin and death. But God! That little word “but” says different things depending upon where it is placed in a sentence or thought. For example: “I know what the Bible says, but . . .”. “I know that is the law, but . . .” “The doctor says there is no cure but . . .” “The world is full of sin and wickedness but . . .”
The first two are us trying to eliminate our self from what is right, while the other two express a hope beyond the situation. In each we could add “God” after the “but” and in each case it makes all the difference. How many times have I heard a young man or woman try to tell me how it is right to leave their spouse by one of these very forms of “but” placing – “Pastor, I know it is not right to leave him/her, but . . .”
Sin is very prevalent in the world
Read more

Living without fear

(Heb 13:5-6)  Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. {6} So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.

 

      Fear is a great motivator or hindrance in life. Fear can move us to do great or amazing things – such as a little woman who lifted a car off of her trapped child, or the man who jumped far beyond his capabilities because he was in danger and fear took him beyond his normal abilities.

      Fear can also hinder us as well. How often have we told a lie because we were afraid that telling the truth would put us in a difficult situation? Take a child who breaks a vase or something else when no one is around and the crash brings a parent running. The child is asked, “Did you do that?” and being fearful they lie and say, “No”. We lie to avoid exposing our self to unwanted scrutiny or embarrassment – if we fall or do something foolish and get

Read more

Life is precious

“Thus saith the LORD, thy redeemer, and he that formed thee from the womb, I am the LORD that maketh all things; that stretcheth forth the heavens alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself; 25 That frustrateth the tokens of the liars, and maketh diviners mad; that turneth wise men backward, and maketh their knowledge foolish; 26 That confirmeth the word of his servant, and performeth the counsel of his messengers.”

 

      Since the ruling of the Supreme Court in Roe verses Wade, over 61 million unborn babies have been killed through the “legalized” practice of abortion. The numbers are probably higher than that since the 2011 World Almanac reporting through 2006 indicates that California and New Hampshire do not report abortions and there are yearly usually one or two other states that also do not report the number of abortions performed. How many doctors, teachers, preachers, mothers and fathers have been aborted we’ll only know in eternity, but the problem exists in spite of any call for stopping this whole sale murder of innocent babies.

      God is the Creator of all life and He has given us guidelines concerning the taking of life. He makes

Read more

Life is precious

“Thus saith the LORD, thy redeemer, and he that formed thee from the womb, I am the LORD that maketh all things; that stretcheth forth the heavens alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself; 25 That frustrateth the tokens of the liars, and maketh diviners mad; that turneth wise men backward, and maketh their knowledge foolish; 26 That confirmeth the word of his servant, and performeth the counsel of his messengers.”

 

      Since the ruling of the Supreme Court in Roe verses Wade, over 61 million unborn babies have been killed through the “legalized” practice of abortion. The numbers are probably higher than that since the 2011 World Almanac reporting through 2006 indicates that California and New Hampshire do not report abortions and there are yearly usually one or two other states that also do not report the number of abortions performed. How many doctors, teachers, preachers, mothers and fathers have been aborted we’ll only know in eternity, but the problem exists in spite of any call for stopping this whole sale murder of innocent babies.

      God is the Creator of all life and He has given us guidelines concerning the taking of life. He makes

Read more

The goal of teaching the law

1 Timothy 1:5   Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned:

 

The Commandment:

      God gave the commandments to us through Israel to show us the difference between what we naturally think and do and His ways of righteousness. We do not naturally do the right because of the fallenness of our nature. We do those things that are contrary to God’s ways (Eph 2:2-3; Jude 10) and unless we are changed by the power of God, we will continue to do them. Paul contrasts proper teaching against false doctrine and teachings. Paul says that Christ is the goal of the law for righteousness (Rom 10:4). But to Timothy, he tells us that the goal of teaching God’s law will result in three main traits.

 

Charity:

      The Greek word agape is elsewhere translated love, but it iss not just love, but love out of a pure heart. Paul says that the proper teaching of the commandment will produce love out of a pure heart. The issues of life proceed out of our hearts and they need not only

Read more

Record mass killings

2 Timothy 3:1 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.

 

      A recent article in our local newspaper told of the new high in mass killings in 2019 and most were committed with guns. Many will look at that and proclaim re-newed efforts to limit, ban or severely restrict firearms by private citizens. Others will look at those statistics and declare that it is due to the president’s policies, sins or whatever else they want to complain about. Yet there are those serious people who read it and are rightly concerned and desire that some remedy be found to either cure the problem or lessen those facts.

      In order to understand the problem we must recognize that we are living in a fallen world that has been seriously crippled and affected by the original sin of Adam and Eve. Along with the many diseases of the body, there are also effects on the mental capacity of many people and these can be maneuvered and manipulated by outside stimuli into evil and fatal actions. There are catalysts that bring them to those points and Scripture tells us some serious areas that are prevalent today.

Read more

All things new

Revelation 21:5  And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.

                New Year’s Day – it carries the idea of something new and it is a time when many celebrate and make resolutions that will affect them and perhaps others: something new or perhaps something old with new determination. The most often made resolution is to lose weight or get into shape for the next year. But all too often the month of January is not closed until most of these are broken or abandoned.

            In our Scripture text for the week God says that there is coming a day when He will make all things new. When God says He will do something you can depend upon it, so we can look forward to having all things new someday. The Bible speaks of a new heaven and earth wherein dwells righteousness. This world has been corrupted by man’s fall and the prevalence of sin abounding on every hand.  We hear it on the news and read about it in the papers and on the internet – killings, stealing,

Read more

Christmas

Luke 2:6-7 (KJV)
And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

 

      Christmas Day has almost arrived and I can almost hear the laughter, squeals of delight and expressions of thanks as children and adults alike open presents from one another. Too often we try to enjoy this day through sleepy eyes and worn out bodies – we have exhausted ourselves trying to get ready for this day and in a few minutes it is all over.

      God laid His gift to the world in a manger in Bethlehem over 2,000 years ago and that gift is still thrilling those who find Him today. Some advertisers say their gift is one that keeps on giving, but in reality, it is God’s Gift that keeps on giving. Jesus was a man born to die – die for our sins and those of the world so that “whosoever will” may come and receive the forgiveness of sins and know they

Read more

Whosoever will

Luke 2:8-11 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

 

      The announcement of the birth of Jesus was first to the common people of the land – shepherds. These were definitely the “blue collar” workers of the day. They were not very well thought of among society and especially those in authority. They were not considered to be proper witnesses in trials to some, yet God chose them to be the recipients of the announcement by the angels.

      Jesus was not born into royalty or in a palace, but in a lowly manger. Here any and all could come to worship and bow down before Him. If He had been born in a palace then

Read more

How important are angels?

(Heb 1:14)  Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?

 

      How important are angels in God’s plans and purposes for us and the world? Our text tells us that they are spirits that minister to those who are the heirs of salvation. They are ones who serve the Lord God, their Creator and do what He desires of them . According to Jesus they are about children (and probably adults as well) – “Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.”  The suggestion being that they are to protect little ones.

      One of the candles of the Advent ring is called the Angel Candle and represents those angels involved in the Christmas account. Gabriel was sent to Zacharias to announce to him that he and Elizabeth would have a son in their old age and he would be the fore-runner of the Messiah. Then Gabriel went to Mary to announce to her that she was to be the mother of Jesus. He

Read more

Advent

2 Peter 1:19 We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:
 
This is the Advent season and first Sunday, December 1, is the first Sunday in Advent. Many churches light candles on an “Advent Ring” to commemorate the coming of Christmas. Some use four candles and others five candles with the fifth candle being in the center of the ring. Some churches do not participate in this type of service feeling that it is unnecessary and too much “Romanish” for Protestant churches to include in their services. However, the reason for Advent is to focus our attention upon the approaching season and encourage us to look to the real reason for the season – Jesus Christ. Each candle represents an aspect of the coming of Christ into the world to be our Savior.
The first candle is called the “Prophecy” candle and represents the many prophesies that were given to us through the men God used to pronounce them. Our text verse tells us that we have a
Read more

Thanksgiving

(1 Th 5:18)  In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

 

      This command seems too difficult for us today who live in the prosperity of God’s blessings upon us. We are too often complainers and whiners; not people who give thanks – especially “in everything!” I have heard people say that God does not really want or expect us to fulfill this verse literally – He is just expressing an exaggeration. But God does expect this of us just as He expected it from others in the past and, might I add, who did just that.

      Thanksgiving is one of those purely religious holidays that the world tries to ignore, by-pass or exploit. But it exists today established by former generations as a wholly religious and spiritual day. It is to be a day of giving thanks to God for His blessings, protection and sustaining grace upon our nation and its people.

      We do not give thanks in everything today because we have been beguiled by liberal politicians and media to believe that we really deserve all the “free stuff” the government hands out to so many.

Read more

Fruitless trees and fruitless lives

Mark 11:12-14 And on the morrow, when they were come from Bethany, he was hungry:
13  And seeing a fig tree afar off having leaves, he came, if haply he might find any thing thereon: and when he came to it, he found nothing but leaves; for the time of figs was not yet. 14  And Jesus answered and said unto it, No man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever. And his disciples heard it.

 

Why did Jesus curse the fig tree?

      Mark tells us clearly that the time of figs was not yet – it was not the season of figs. Many look at this as a fit of petty anger on Jesus’ part after He has instructed His disciples concerning quarreling and so on. Jesus has just entered Jerusalem the day before and allowed the people to proclaim Him and Son of David (Lu 19:39-40), He goes to the temple and looks around. After this He goes to Bethany and resides there for the night (probably with Lazarus, Mary and Martha). The next day He goes back into Jerusalem and upon this occasion sees the fig tree with leaves but finds

Read more

Circumcised vesus deceived heart

(Deu 10:16) Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no more stiffnecked.
(Deu 30:6) And the LORD thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live.
Colossians 2:10-11 (KJV)
10 And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:
11 In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ:
Circumcision was the ceremonial outward sign of being a part of the covenant that God made with Abraham. All males were to receive the rite of circumcision and if any refused to receive it then they were excluded from God’s covenant -- “And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me and you. . . And the uncircumcised man child whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he hath broken my covenant.” It also had other benefits but it was established
Read more

Tender versus a bitter heart

(Eph 4:32) And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.

A tender heart is one that is very forgiving; one that is compassionate, soft, sympathetic and pitiful. Children have tender hearts. If you have ever done something to a child and then asked for forgiveness, they may at first deny you forgiveness, but if you pout or urge them with either false or real emotions, they will give in and forgive you. This is because they have a tender heart. The Old Testament word for tender is used for children to describe their inability to handle hardships – “And he said unto him, My lord knoweth that the children are tender, and the flocks and herds with young are with me: and if men should overdrive them one day, all the flock will die.” Jesus also used the Greek counterpart in the New Testament to describe new growth on plants – “ Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh:”
God desires us to have a tender heart with which we are

Read more

Large vesus a lean heart

(Psa 119:32)  I will run the way of thy commandments, when thou shalt enlarge my heart.

     

      A man was once told by a doctor that his heart was enlarged due to his hard physical labors as a child and that this enlarged heart could cause him problems in adulthood. An enlarged heart is one then that is larger than originally made.

      A large heart has greater capacity to love God and man; it is one that carries a burden for others, genuinely caring for others and their difficult situations they are in. One who has a large heart limits their own self in order to benefit others; one who gives sacrificially. As David says in the text verse, a large heart enables us to perform the commands of God in greater ways – and this would include aiding others. God’s highest calling is for His children to be channels of love to a lost world.

      God gives us a large heart if we will allow Him to just as He did to Solomon – “And God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding exceeding much, and largeness of heart, even as the sand that is on the sea

Read more

A wise versus a foolish heart

(1 Ki 3:7-9)  And now, O LORD my God, thou hast made thy servant king instead of David my father: and I am but a little child: I know not how to go out or come in. {8} And thy servant is in the midst of thy people which thou hast chosen, a great people, that cannot be numbered nor counted for multitude. {9} Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people?

 

      Solomon asked God for an understanding heart so that he might rule God’s people in righteousness and lead them in favor with God. The word for “understanding” literally means to hear; obey, so Solomon was asking God for a heart that would be attuned to God’s voice and one that would obey God’s voice and word. The Scripture credits Solomon with being the wisest man alive. When two harlots came before him to settle an argument about a baby, Solomon displayed great wisdom in that determination and it says, “all Israel heard of the judgment which the king had judged; and they

Read more