From the minister's desk
from the minister's desk
People age well when they have a purpose. God has given each of us a purpose. Not fulfilling your purpose will ultimately leave you feeling empty, useless, unwanted and unimportant. Living to get old is a blessing. It is a good thing, especially when in Christ and serving His purpose. The experiences and wisdom he blesses us with is to be use to help those coming after us, to avoid certain mistakes in life so that they may be better prepared to live a better life while being faithful and fruitful for the cause of Christ. The older are to teach the younger. This is not a suggestion, but a command from the Lord.
The Psalmist gave us helpful, hopeful and encouraging information that should comfort and energize us in our old age. One of his psalms read, “Don’t cast me off in the time of old age; don’t forsake me when my strength fails.” Psa.71:9 “Now also when I am old and gray headed, O God, do not forsake me; until I have shown your strength unto this generation and your power to every one that is to come.” The Lord has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you. So, we can boldly say, the Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?” Heb.13:5-6 The evils man brings upon you is still far less than the good God gives you now and in the afterlife. Do you trust Him in your old age?
“They shall still bear fruit in old age; they shall be fat and flourishing.” Psa.92:14 If you are not bringing forth fruit still for the Lord and if you are not doing well and flourishing by God’s standards, you are holding back from God. Someone or something has hindered you from being all you can be for the Lord. This has kept back blessings that God has for you.
The evil things about getting old might be the pains, trials and tribulations you encounter, some resulting from your choices and decisions in life, others are such as common to man.
We are told that “the hoary head is a crown of glory, if it be found in the way of righteousness.” Psa.16:31 Don’t be ashamed of your age if you are in Christ. It is a blessing indeed with greater benefits if you have been living right. It is not a joke or a mockery to remind anyone complaining about getting old of the only other choice they have, that is to die.
Look ahead to the promises and rewards you have as a child of God whether young or old if you believe scriptures. You have “all that you need that pertain to life and godliness.” You have the Holy Spirit to guide and comfort you in truth and in life. You have salvation in Jesus Christ. You have a home prepared where all saints will abide, over in the glory land. You have a mansion in the Father’s house prepared for you, prepare yourself for it. You have so much that you can’t see that far out weigh the things that we can see which can be deceptive and a hinderance to our faith. Old people have so much more to be thankful and must let the younger people see their thankfulness, joy and commitment to Jesus Christ!
But right here, right now what ever your age, please acknowledge that you did not get to this point on your own. It was God’s goodness, grace and mercy. Celebrate everyday you live, for everyday is a gift from God that ought to be appreciated and lived as a child of God.
We are embarking on another relevant topic to learn about and discuss. As we are surrounded by good and evil, it is important to know where it’s coming from and why? Let’s define good and evil. Good is by definition ‘whole, free from injury or disease, profitable, deserving of respect, virtuous, honorable, just, right, etc.’ God embodies all of these and more. All good things are of God.
Evil is a force which stands in opposition to God and righteousness. This force originates with Satan, the archenemy of truth and good. The scriptures reveal evil from two distinct aspects; moral and physical. Moral evil or sin is any lack of conformity to God’s moral law. It is the cause of the existence of physical or natural evil in this world. Adam and Eve, the first humans, enjoyed perfect fellowship with God in the Garden of Eden. When they ate of the tree which God had forbidden them, they disobeyed God, thus being evil and were banished from the Garden of Eden.
Just as with Satan, God did not destroy them, but He allowed or permitted evil to exist that His justice might be manifested in its punishment and His grace in its forgiveness. As far reaching as the sin of the first humans has been, even so does the grace and forgiveness of God. God permits both good and evil to abide and uses one to offset the other to accomplish His good pleasure.
We know that Jesus is good. We also know that following Jesus will draw even more evil unto us. But do we understand what that is and why? Are we preparing ourselves to deal with the good and evil that comes with being a Christian? Being a Christian is work and is ‘a work.’ As we work on our own lives in Christ to be more like Christ, we must also work to bring others to Christ.
Being a Christian is good. But there is a lot of evil that comes with being a Christian. Though evil abounds, so does good abound even more. We can try to figure out good and evil for ourselves, learn by trial and error, or we can listen to God and avoid many of the evil things that may befall us.
Jesus was preaching, and recruiting disciples at the same time. He told them to follow Him and what their work would be. They all left their work and committed themselves to doing His work. Their work was to learn how to follow Jesus, work together and rescue others. That’s the teaching of these verses. Mt.4:17-20… Their identity as a disciple of Christ was met with much evil. They like Christ endured, persevered and overcame evil with the goodness of obeying God.
As we try to teach, remind and encourage one another in the work of the Lord, let’s maintain “the mind of Christ” and be concerned about others, for this pleases God. Phil.2:1-5… Having the mind of Christ, we would constantly seek after those who have no idea that they are wrong because of the lies, false teachers and false doctrines in the world; those who have wandered away from God by not being faithful, not staying on the road map or studying or feeding their spirit with the word of God. Regardless of their demise or how they got there, we are to be rescuers, fishers of men for the Lord. Just as none of us “deserve” God’s mercy and none of us can save ourselves, the good news is that in spite of our state, when we call out to God for help, He rescues us. God is good! Believing this, we must accept the good that comes into our lives as well as the evil and trust God to deliver us.
Last week we had a four-day revival by Bro. Brandon Starling. He reminded us of four deaths, three in which we as children of God will engage in and four deaths that all mankind must engage in. The spiritual, baptismal, and physical death for us and spiritual, physical and second death for everyone else. Only the baptismal death puts one in Christ, where “all spiritual blessings in heavenly places are.” Eph.1:3 You can see what divides the human race in God’s plan. Not everyone will choose to believe on or be baptized into Christ Jesus, which was God’s plan “before the foundation of the world.” 1:4 How we learned this, it is necessary that we be reminded and revived from time to time because of the overwhelming temptations and influences in our world. Like drowning to the point of death and being brought back by resuscitation or revival, I pray we have been revived.
To be restored suggests that we were once stored, put up, kept, etc. As time passed, some have left the sanctity of God’s boundaries for the wide gates of the world. Restore means to give back, return, renew, rebuild, etc. Often one may leave the Lord, then realize their potential lost condition and come back to him or renew their commitment to Him for life that they may gain eternal life. We should pay closer attention to the words of the songs we sing; ‘restore my spirit, revive the fire, renew my courage.’ We can sing, we can pray, but we must also do! This is done by studying God’s word and putting the things we get from His word into practical application in our daily lives. Our Father and our loving Savior through the Holy Spirit and the word stands ready always to restore us, but we must seek to be restored.
Once we have been restored, we must refocus our hearts, our minds, bodies and souls to God.We must “love Him with our hearts, with all our souls, with all our minds, with all our strength; this is
the first commandment.” Mk.12:30 When we do this, not only are we restored but we are refocused. We will “set our affections on things above and not on the things of the earth.” Col.1:3 We will get back to “seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and allowing Him to add the things we need to use.” Mt.6:33 Our focus will be on “saving ourselves from this untoward generation,” and seeking to save souls and working to keep souls saved.
Let’s not allow the Father of lies to have more influence on us than our Father which is in Heaven.
Let’s not allow him to cause us to be too proud to call upon God, too proud to pray to God, too proud to forgive as God has commanded that we might be forgiven. Let’s not allow the devil’s ways cause us to miss out on the blessings the Lord wants to give to us. Let’s not allow him to deceive us into thinking we are doing well when we know we could be doing much better.
God blessed us to have a revival. Half of our membership did not show up to be revived. So, those who did must understand that we may have to work a little harder for a little longer to show that we are a revived and restored congregation. Now, as we refocus our efforts while staying fired up for the Lord, be patient and encourage those who missed the revival to work with us. We cannot and will not allow Satan to keep us from showing our love and thanks to God for His wonderful blessings upon us.
Have you been revived enough to be restored to be able to get to “work for the Lord in His vineyard, where the harvest is plenteous, but the laborers are few?” Let’s refocus our energies to the things of God.
Realizing now that ‘the Father of Lies’ is very shrewd and deceptive, we can free ourselves of the lies he has caused us to believe. Understanding how his covert lies work, many have seen their spiritual man discouraged, depressed and dead. His lies are deceptive and dangerous to our souls.
Believing that you don’t have to “give as you prosper or purpose in your heart and be cheerful, not grudgingly” was one of the devil’s lies. He deceived you into thinking ‘I don’t have to give my money if I need to buy food, clothes and pay my rent.’ He had you thinking that the Lord don’t care about you, so you have to take care of yourself. The truth is “Give and it shall be given unto you, good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that you mete (measure) withal, it shall be measured to you again.” Lk.6:38 If you have been holding back from the Lord’s command to give as He has directed, just know that you have not been receiving the full blessings He wants to give to you. Mete out as Jesus said.
Believing that you do not have to attend worship or Bible class regularly is another lie Satan tells.
“Forsake not the assembling of yourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another, and so much the more, as you see the day approaching.” Heb.10:25 He had you thinking that as long as you say you have God in your heart, you don’t need to be in bibles classes or assemble with other Christians. How can you exhort, encourage and edify one another? Satan said that you don’t need other people, especially righteous people who think they are better than you. Just hang out with him and the world if you want to have much more fun, more friends and get a lot of stuff. Live your best life now. There is no life after this! Now that you have been reminded of what you once believed, repent. God loves you, Satan want to take you from God.
Believing that God will not destroy a person just because they don’t do what the scriptures says.
“For if we willfully sin after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remains no more sacrifice for sins… how much more surer punishment do you suppose one is thought worthy, who has trodden under foot the Son of God and has counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified an unholy thing, and has done despite unto the Spirit of grace? Vengeance belongs to me, I will recompense says the Lord. The Lord shall judge his people. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” Heb.10:26-31 Repent. God will destroy those who disobey Him. Satan will destroy them who obey him!
Believing that you don’t have to ask forgiveness every time you do God or somebody wrong. ‘Life is too short to be thinking about that. Most people will forget in time and didn’t God say He is a forgiving and loving God?’ Jesus said, “Be ye therefore merciful as your Father also is merciful. Judge not and you shall not be judged: condemn not and you shall not be condemned: forgive and you shall be forgiven.” Lk.6:36-37 Our Father is God, not Satan! Since “We will receive a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: for our God is a consuming fire.” Heb.12:28-29 Satan knows this but can’t repent. We can, so “repent and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord… whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of the prophets since the world began.” Acts.3:19-21 There is life after this life! Where will you spend it? Repent of the lies you’ve believed and be revived, restored and refocus “your affections on things above.”
Last week we looked at two of Satan’s most believable lies. ‘God is a Cosmic Sadist and God is a liar.’ If you truly believe your bible, “God is not a man that He should lie…” Num.23:19 “It is impossible for God to lie.” Heb.6:18 It can certainly be believed that the one who God created can lie! That is why he (Satan) is called by God ‘the father of lies.’
This week consider three more of Satan’s lies that are most believable today. ‘Man is God’s slave, there is no destiny and this life is everything.’ Satan had already gotten Eve to believe that God is a tyrant, his word can’t be trusted, and he is holding back the truth from her. Now he suggests that God made man to be His slave forever. Satan offers her autonomy. ‘You can be your own person, set your own destiny because you will be as a god. God will never allow you be anywhere near His level.’ That’s a lie! God created man to ultimately make him higher than the angels. No angel was given charge over God’s creation. Also, in the world to come, man is in God’s eternal plan. There we will be like God Himself and partake in his uncreated and eternal life and share with Him the rulership of the universe. Heb.2:5-8 “For unto angels he has not in subjection the world to come… but now we do not yet see all things put under him.” This is referring to man. Man will be exalted even more than Satan use to be.
There is a destiny for all of us and Satan. To be where God is if we are obedient and to be where Satan will dwell eternally if we are disobedient. Yes, we do get to choose our destiny! But what has happened to the message of eternal destiny? How often do we remind ourselves that “if in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.” 1Cor.15:19 Eve rejected the message of eternal destiny in exchange for ‘present knowledge, satisfaction and fulfillment.’ Even in our time the here and now spirit dominates more than the “yet to come.” One is seen as a fool to deny himself the immediate fulfillment of this present moment in favor of some better but future realization. “Do it now, live your best life now for tomorrow is not promised.” The spirit of ‘now’ has more influence than versus ‘then,’ even in the church today. Choose your destiny wisely. Choose God!
This life is everything belief can certainly cause the misinformed, unbelieving and gullible to miss out on the destiny of heaven. Many subscribe to the ‘heaven on earth’ ventures, though scriptures said that “eyes have not seen, nor ears heard, neither has it come into the heart of man, the things God has prepared for them that love Him.” 1Cor.2:9 This life is not everything. Paul said, “For our light afflictions which is but for a moment, works for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.” 2Cor.4:17-18 Jesus asked a profound question in contrasting this life with the life after, “what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his own soul, or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” Are you willing to give up life eternal in heaven for this temporary life on earth?
Don’t be deceived or lied to by the Father of lies. Hell is too hot, and eternity is too long to listen to Satan over God. Who do you believe? Who do you think really loves you? What has Satan done for you? Who has offered you sweet rest from your labors? Listen to the voice of God!