Archive for September, 2007

“But behold, you will be mute and not able to speak until the day these things take place, because you did not believe my words which will be fulfilled in their own time.” (Luke 1:20)

COMMENT: Of course, these are the words the angel Gabriel spoke to Zacharias. He had just told the priest that he and his wife Elizabeth would have a very special child named John who would herald the coming of the Savior. The puzzled priest doubted the possibility of this happening because both he and his wife were far beyond the child-bearing age and he told Gabriel as much. God’s angel responded by causing Zacharias to be mute until the birth of John the Baptist. Now that seemed to have been rather harsh treatment and it makes one to wonder why. I think I have the answer. With the mind-set he possessed, Zacharias would be speaking words of unbelief that would be diametrically opposite to the will of God. This would be a hindrance. There is power in our words, to help or to hinder. Remember what happened when Jesus was attempting to heal people in His hometown? They said “Is this not the carpenter’s son. Is not His mother called Mary: And His brothers James, Jose, Simon, and Judas. And His sisters, are they not all with us? So they were offended at Him. And He did not do many mighty works there because of their unbelief.” (Matthew 13: 55-58)

SCRIPTURE STUDY: Luke 1:9-20

WISE SAYING:DON’T LIE AGAINST THE TRUTH (GOD’S WORD). IF WE SAY ANYTHING OTHER THAN WHAT THE WORD OF GOD SAYS ABOUT A SITUATION IN OUR LIVES, WE ARE LYING AGAINST THE TRUTH!!!

Not a sermon, just a thought!

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“Except the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it. . .” (Psalm 127:1) 

 

COMMENT: Have you seen the latest Nationwide Insurance TV commercial? Well, it features a gentleman driving a car and he evidently has programmed  his onboard navigational system to tell him how to reach his destination. You hear the devise directing him to turn this way and that way and he immediately obeys each command without a second thought . Finally he is astonished as his vehicle crashes into a store. The world system in which we live is continually giving us instructions as to how to live our lives. Here are just a couple: “He did you wrong, GET EVEN!” “Pre-marital sex is okay, everyone is doing it.” “All  the church wants is money, money, money. It is hard enough living on 100%, how can you possibly give a tithe and live on the 90% that is left?” When we decide to follow these worldly directives, it is equivalent to building a sand castle too close to the water’s edge. It’s inevitable that the tide will flow in and cause disastrous results.

 

SCRIPTURE STUDY: Proverbs 12:7  

 

WISE SAYING: WISDOM CONSIDERS HOW MY ACTIONS OF TODAY WILL IMPACT MY TOMORROW.

“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when his is old he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6)

 

COMMENT: What can be said about the phenomenal success of Tiger Woods. This dynamo has become the first player in history to go consecutive years winning at least two majors. With 12 professional majors under his belt, only Jack Nicklaus and his18 majors stand in the way of Woods becoming golf’s greatest champion. It makes one wonder how this has come about. Well, if you have followed Tiger’s brilliant career closely, you will see that his father started training him for success when his numerical age was composed of just one digit. Some of you are old enough to remember Woods, as a tiny tike, putting on the Bob Hope TV show. What Mr. Woods did for his son in the natural, God’s word obligates us to do in the spiritual. Aside from the spiritual guidance and correction we give our underlings, the godly example we demonstrate is most important. Paul’s advice is very succinct: “Imitate me, just as I also Imitate Christ.” (1 Corinthians 11:1) 

 

SCRIPTURE STUDY: Proverbs 13:24, Ephesians 6:4, and Colossians 3:21

 

WISE SAYING: I’D RATHER SEE A SERMON THAN TO HEAR ONE ANY DAY. I’D RATHER ONE WOULD WALK WITH ME THAN MERELY SHOW THE WAY.   

 

Not a sermon, just a thought!.

“But as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct.” (1 Peter 1:15)

 

COMMENT:  The other day and I came across a teaching outline from 1990 when I taught a bible class in a prison in Stafford, VA. You probably have guessed the subject from our Lead Scripture. . . .yes, we’re talking about holiness. The word “holy” is used more than 600 times in the Bible. It might be a good idea to start with a list of things that holiness is NOT!    Holiness is not (1) a list of do’s and don’ts, (2) a style of dress, (3) behavior in church and (4) unobtainable perfection. According to Ephesians 4:22,24, holiness is to be morally blameless, separated from sin and therefore consecrated to God. Holiness is a process, something we never completely attain in this lifetime. There are continual areas in which we must conform to God’s will. There are three basic reasons why many Christians feel defeated by sin. (1) Our attitude toward sin is more self-centered than God-centered. (2) We misunderstand what “living by faith” means. (Galatians 2:20) It doesn’t mean that there is no effort at holiness required on our part. 1 Cor. 9:27 tells us “I discipline my body. . . .” (3) We do not take some sin seriously. Song of Solomon 2:15 begs to differ: “The little foxes spoil the vines.”

 

SCRIPTURE STUDY: Leviticus 11:44 -45, 19:2 and 20:7

 

WISE SAYING: IF WAGES WERE PAID IMMEDIATELY, SIN WOULD BE A LOT LESS ATTRACTIVE. (sent to us by John Forest) 

“For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul.” (Leviticus 17:11)

 

COMMENT: As a youngster, I had visions of becoming a doctor, that is until I realized that the sight of blood made me sick to my stomach. Today, if blood upsets you, don’t look at TV programs like CSI and other shows of that genre. As Christians that red, liquid substance has a very special meaning. During Old Testament times, the high priest would go into the Holy of Holies with the blood of the sin offering to make atonement for the sins of the Jewish Nation.  This practice had to continue year after year because the blood of animals could not totally eradicate sin. In the New Testament, Jesus is our High Priest who “not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.” (Heb. 9:12)  With Jesus’ sacrifice, all mankind can be cleansed of sin and reserve a place in Heaven after this life on earth is over. However, one must receive Jesus as Lord and Savior first. There is a possibility that someone reading this message may not have taken advantage of this free gift. If that is so, go to Romans 10:9 and 10 and get right with God.

 

SCRIPTURE STUDY:Hebrews 4:14-16 and 12: 1,2

 

WISE SAYING: FAST FROM THE WORLD — FEAST ON JESUS, THE BREAD OF LIFE.

Not a sermon, just a thought!.

“So they said to one another, ‘Let us select a leader and return to Egypt’.” (Numbers 14:4)

COMMENT: I was listening to the tape of a sermon my Pastor, Amos Dodge, made 18 years ago; the exact date was 9/11/88. Pastor Dodge commented on the Israelites’ reluctance to believe God’s Word, step out in faith and face the giants in the Promised Land. Instead, they preferred to go back into slavery where things were familiar, more comfortable and carried fewer risks. He went on to state that we Christians are often like the Israelites because we are unaware of who we really are in Christ. Some find it easier to return to the sameness and security of our former life of bondage. This is the Pastor’s advice to any Believer who may be a little nervous about walking by faith. . . .in his own words: “Let God’s Word begin to transform your mind. Find a promise in God’s Word about your life and life situation; memorize it, put it on the mirror, put it on your visor and quote it day and night.”

SCRIPTURE STUDY: Proverbs 10:11, 12:6, and 12:14

WISE SAYING: THE UNMANIFESTED WORD CAN CHANGE THE MANIFESTED CIRCUMSTANCES.

POST SCRIPT: My Pastor’s final remarks remind me of what the Scriptures advise in Deuteronomy 6:6-9: “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart; you shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets (forehead bands) between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”

Not a sermon, just a thought!.

NOTE: The other day I was going through my files and I came across a letter I wrote to an incarcerated friend two years ago. I thought that it would be helpful to share parts of this letter with you. Although we may not be physically  

incarcerated, there may be some things in our lives that still imprison us.

 

Dear Friend,

    I really believe that God wants me to help you so that this will be your very last trip to prison. I probably know you better than any other human being, except for your wife. You told me how your friend named “Rabbit” loved you and was very hard on you. Well, I feel led to be your Christian “Rabbit” and be hard on you so that you will be led out of the darkness that you are currently in. Please know that when I correspond with you, I am not trying to offend you on purpose, but you will probably become offended because I believe the Lord wants me to “Keep it real.”

     My dear friend, God cannot really bless your life as long as you want to live like the world. You live in the world, but you are not of the world, you are a Christian. Listen to Ephesians 4:17: “You should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles (unbelievers) walking in the futility of their mind, having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God.” If you live your life like the world, your life will be miserable, pointless and defeated like the world. Neither of you (the world or you) will have the life of God in you. The difference is that they will go to Hell when physical death occurs and you will go to Heaven. But Jesus came that we might have life and have it more abundantly. He wants us to live an overcoming, victorious life but that will only happen when we live our lives HIS WAY!

     Buddy, I get the impression that you think everyone does wrong so that justifies your wrong doing. As Christians, we are not to imitate the world and the way they sin.That is why I said in my other letter that the criminal mind you currently possess has to be changed by the word of God. I truly think the first step you need to take is to take total responsibility for what you do. Nothing really can get better until we stop being victims and own up to our bad behavior. That is when God can come into our lives and help us.”

 

Not a sermon, just a thought!

 

 POST SCRIPT: Thursday I started those piano lessons I told you about. Pray for me that this time I will be diligent to practice faithfully. I’m out to prove that you can teach an old dog new tricks.  I’ll take invitations for concert performances in the latter part of 2008. http://www.smileycentral.com/?partner=ZSzeb001_ZRxdm376XXUS Gene