A Father’s Love…

John 3:16a “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son…”

A Father’s Love

AFTER A FEW OF THE USUAL SUNDAY HYMNS, THE CHURCH’S
PASTOR SLOWLY STOOD UP, WALKED OVER TO THE PUPLIT AND, BEFORE HE
GAVE HIS SERMON FOR THE SERVICE HE BRIEFLY INTRODUCED A GUEST
MINISTER WHO WAS IN THE SERVICE THAT EVENING.

IN THE INTRODUCTION, THE PASTOR TOLD THE CONGREGATION THAT
THE GUEST MINISTER WAS ONE OF HIS DEAREST CHILDHOOD FRIENDS AND
THAT HE WANTED HIM TO HAVE A FEW MOMENTS TO GREET THE CHURCH
AND SHARE WHATEVER HE FELT WOULD BE APPROPRIATE FOR THE SERVICE.
WITH THAT, AN ELDERLY MAN STEPPED UP TO THE PULPIT AND BEGAN
TO SPEAK. “A FATHER, HIS SON, AND A FRIEND OF HIS SON WERE SAILING OFF
THE PACIFIC COAST,” HE BEGAN, “WHEN A FAST APPROACHING STORM
BLOCKED ANY ATTEMPT TO GET BACK TO THE SHORE. THE WAVES WERE SO
HIGH, THAT EVEN THOUGH THE FATHER WAS AN EXPERIENCED SAILOR, HE
COULD NOT KEEP THE BOAT UPRIGHT AND THE THREE WERE SWEPT INTO
THE OCEAN AS THE BOAT CAPSIZED.”

THE OLD MAN HESITATED FOR A MOMENT, MAKING EYE CONTACT
WITH TWO TEENAGERS WHO WERE, FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE THE
SERVICE BEGAN, LOOKING SOMEWHAT INTERESTED IN HIS STORY.

THE AGED MINISTER CONTINUED WITH HIS STORY, “GRABBING A
RESCUE LINE, THE FATHER HAD TO MAKE THE MOST EXCRUCIATING
DECISION OF HIS LIFE: TO WHICH BOY HE WOULD THROW THE OTHER
END OF THE LIFE LINE. HE ONLY HAD SECONDS TO MAKE THE DECISION.
THE FATHER KNEW THAT HIS SON WAS A CHRISTIAN AND HE ALSO KNEW
THAT HIS SON’S FRIEND WAS NOT.

THE AGONY OF HIS DECISION COULD NOT BE MATCHED BY THE
TORRENT OF WAVES. “AS THE FATHER YELLED OUT, ‘I LOVE YOU, SON!’
HE THREW OUT THE LIFE LINE TO HIS SON’S FRIEND. BY THE TIME THE
FATHER HAD PULLED THE FRIEND BACK TO THE CAPSIZED BOAT, HIS
SON HAD DISAPPEARED BENEATH THE RAGING SWELLS INTO THE BLACK
OF NIGHT. HIS BODY WAS NEVER RECOVERED.”

BY THIS TIME, THE TWO TEENAGERS WERE SITTING UP STRAIGHT
IN THE PEW, ANXIOUSLY WAITING FOR THE NEXT WORDS TO COME OUT
OF THE OLD MINISTER’S MOUTH. “THE FATHER,” HE CONTINUED, “KNEW
HIS SON WOULD STEP INTO ETERNITY WITH JESUS AND HE COULD NOT
BEAR THE THOUGHT OF HIS SON’S FRIEND STEPPING INTO AN ETERNITY
WITHOUT JESUS. THEREFORE, HE SACRIFICED HIS SON TO SAVE THE
SON’S FRIEND.

HOW GREAT IS THE LOVE OF GOD THAT HE SHOULD DO THE
SAME FOR US. OUR HEAVENLY FATHER SACRIFICED HIS ONLY BEGOTTEN
SON THAT WE COULD BE SAVED. I URGE YOU TO ACCEPT HIS OFFER TO
RESCUE YOU AND TAKE A HOLD OF THE LIFE LINE HE IS THROWING OUT
TO YOU IN THIS SERVICE.”

WITH THAT, THE OLD MAN TURNED AND SAT BACK DOWN IN HIS
CHAIR AS SILENCE FILLED THE ROOM.

THE PASTOR AGAIN WALKED SLOWLY TO THE PULPIT AND DELIVERED A BRIEF SERMON WITH AN INVITATION AT THE END. HOWEVER, NO ONE RESPONDED TO THE APPEAL. WITHIN MINUTES AFTER THE SERVICE ENDED, THE TWO TEENAGERS WERE AT THE OLD MAN’S SIDE.

“THAT WAS A NICE STORY,” POLITELY STATED ONE OF THE BOYS,
“BUT I DON’T THINK IT WAS VERY REALISTIC FOR A FATHER TO GIVE UP
HIS ONLY SON’S LIFE IN HOPES THAT THE OTHER BOY WOULD BECOME
A CHRISTIAN.”

“WELL, YOU’VE GOT A POINT THERE,” THE OLD MAN REPLIED,
GLANCING DOWN AT HIS WORN BIBLE. A BIG SMILE BROADENED HIS
NARROW FACE, HE ONCE AGAIN LOOKED UP AT THE BOYS AND SAID, “IT
SURE ISN’T VERY REALISTIC, IS IT? BUT I’M STANDING HERE TODAY TO
TELL YOU THAT STORY GIVES ME A GLIMPSE OF WHAT IT MUST HAVE
BEEN LIKE FOR GOD TO GIVE UP HIS SON FOR ME.

YOU SEE — I WAS THAT FATHER AND YOUR PASTOR IS MY SON’S FRIEND.”

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him, should not perish, but have life everlasting.”

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God’s Goodness and Mercy…

Ephes. 4:30 “And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.”

God’s Goodness and Mercy…….

A mom was concerned about her kindergarten son walking to school. He didn’t want his mother to walk with him. She wanted to give him the feeling that he had some independence but yet know that he was safe. So she had an idea of how to handle it. She asked a neighbor, Mrs. Goodnest, if she would please follow him to school in the mornings, staying at a distance, so he probably wouldn’t notice her.

Mrs. Goodnest said that since she was up early with her toddler anyway, it would be a good way for them to get some exercise as well, so she agreed. The next school day, Mrs. Goodnest and her little girl, Marcy, set out following behind Timmy as he walked to school with another neighbor boy he knew. She did this for the whole week.

As the boys walked and chatted, kicking stones and twigs, Timmy’s little friend noticed the same lady was following them as she seemed to do every day all week. Finally, he said to Timmy, “Have you noticed that lady following us to school all week? Do you know her?”

Timmy nonchalantly replied, “Yeah, I know who she is”.

The friend said, “Well, who is she”?

“That’s just Shirley Goodnest”, Timmy replied, “and her daughter Marcy”.

“Shirley Goodnest? Who the heck is she and why is she following us”?

“Well”, Timmy explained, “every night my Mom makes me say the 23rd Psalm with my prayers, ‘cuz she worries about me so much. And in the Psalm, it says, ‘Shirley Goodnest and Marcy shall follow me all the days of my life’, so I guess I’ll just have to get used to it”!

The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord makes his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the Lord lift His countenance upon you, and give you peace.

Numbers 6:22-26 (And the Lord spoke unto Moses, saying, speak unto Aaron and unto his sons, saying, On this wise ye shall bless the children of Israel, saying unto them, The Lord bless thee, and keep thee: The Lord make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: The Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.”

May Shirley Goodnest and Marcy be with you today, and always.

Playing the Blame Game…

Playing the Blame Game….

What is the first thing people young and old do when caught in the act of sin? Pass the blame to someone or something else of course. Blaming society, family, friends, anyone and anything other than me for my sins is not a new thing. Listen to who Adam and Eve sought to blame when they were confronted with their sin.

Gen 3:11-13 “And He said, ‘Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded that you should not eat? Then the man said, ‘The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree and I ate. And the Lord God said to the woman, ‘What is this you have done?’ And the woman said, ‘The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

The most ability is responsibility. Nothing happens until someone steps forward and says, “I am responsible for my actions.”
_____

The celebrated historian Barbara Tuchman called our times, “The Age of Disruption, a period when we’ve lost belief in certain kinds of moral understanding of good and bad.” A reporter for The Indianapolis Star once asked the two-time Pulitzer Prize winner what she thought was most needed in the next century.

“Probably personal responsibility,” she replied, explaining that this means “taking responsibility for your behavior and your expenditures and your actions, and not forever supposing that society must forgive you because it’s not your fault.”

We may try to hide our sins on this earth, but we will be personally accountable regardless of who we attempt to blame.

Romans 14:12 “So then each of us shall give account of himself to God.”

So the next time you sin step up and confess.

1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness”

The Real Spiritual Cold War is on….

The Real Spiritual Cold War is on…

Yes there is a Cold War going on right now. It is an invisible one so we cannot see it.  There is a group of books authored by God that keeps us informed. Listen up!

 Job 2:2 “And the Lord said unto Satan, ‘From where do you come?’ So satan answered the Lord and said, ‘ From going to and fro on the earth and from walking back and forth on it.’

The warning and the solution to battling it.

I Pet 5:8 “Be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walks about seeking whom he may devour.”

The main weapon of war in a spiritual cold war!

James 4:7 “SUBMITT yourselves therefore unto God, RESIST the devil and he will flee from you.”

 All those proclaiming to be from God are not!! The word Christian has a different definition in our world than in the Bible. Some supposed men and women of God proclaim a Gospel of health, wealth and prosperity and teach many different ways to get to heaven and they sound so good. So how can we tell the difference??

II Tim. 2:15 “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. “

II Cor. 11:14-15 “And no marvel; for satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.”

John 3:3 “Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again”

John 3:16-18 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.” 

 John 14:6 “Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

 Protection comes from!”

Ephes. 6:11-12 “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. “

Have a great day and don’t forget the greatest book ever written provides you with the Armor needed to do battle. Apart from God’s power you are helpless to do battle!

James 4:7″ Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”

Living for Jesus…

Are we still willing if it will cost us?

John 15:20a “Remember the word that I said to you; ’A servant is not greater than his master…'”

By Ernest Abbott

So, he died for his faith,
That’s fine,
It’s more than most of us do.

But say, can you add to that line,
That he lived for it to?

In his death he bore witness at last as a martyr to truth.
Did his life do the same,
In the past,
From the days of his youth?

It’s easy to die.
Men have died for a wish or a whim for bravado or passion or pride.
Was it harder for him?

But to live every day,
To live out all the truth that he dreamt.
While his friends met his conduct with doubt, And the world with
contempt.

Was it thus he plodded ahead never turning aside?

Then we will talk of the life that he lived,

Never mind that he died.

John 15:20 “Remember the word that I said to you; ‘A servant is not
greater than his master. 
 If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you.'”

Finding Absolute Truth…Yes there is…

II Tim 3:16,17 “All scripture is given by the inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be made perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.

 Malachi 3:6a “For I am the Lord, I do not change;

 John 14:6 “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

 Finding Absolute Truth….

For all you scientists out there and for all the students who have a hard time convincing these people regarding the truth > of the Bible…here’s something that shows God’s awesome creation > and shows that He is still in control.

Did you know that the Space Program is busy proving that > what has been called “myth” in the Bible is true? Mr. Harold Hill, President of the Curtis Engine Company in Baltimore Maryland > and a consultant in the space program, relates the Following > development:

I think one of the most amazing things that God has for us > today happened recently to our astronauts and space scientists at Green Belt, Maryland. They were checking the position of the sun, > moon, and planets out in space where they would be 100 years and > 1000 years from now. We have to know this so we won’t send a > satellite, up and have it bump into something later on its orbits. We > have to lay out the orbits in terms of the life of the satellite, and > where the planets will be so the whole thing will not bog down.

They ran the computer measurement back and forth over the Centuries > and it came to a halt. The computer stopped and put-up a red signal, > which meant that there was something wrong either with the information > fed into it or with the results as compared to the standards.

They called in the service department to check it out and they asked, > “What’s wrong?”  Well, they found there is a day missing in space in > elapsed time. They scratched their heads and tore their hair. There was > no answer.

Finally, a Christian man on the team said, “You know, one time I was in > inSunday school and they talked about the sun standing still.” > While they didn’t believe him, they didn’t have an answer either, so > they said, “Show us”.

He got a Bible and went back to the book of Joshua where they found > a pretty ridiculous statement for any one with ‘common sense.’ > There they found the Lord saying to Joshua, “Fear them not, I have > delivered them into thy hand; there shall not a man of them stand > before thee.”

Joshua was concerned because he was surrounded by the enemy and > if darkness fell they would overpower them. So Joshua asked the Lord > to make the sun stand still! That’s right, “The sun stood still and > the moon stayed—and hastened not to go down about a whole day!”

The astronauts and scientists said, “There is the missing day!” > They checked the computers going back into the time it was written > and found it was close but not close enough. The elapsed time that > was missing back in Joshua’s day was 23 hours and 20 minutes-not > a whole day.

They read the Bible and there it was “about (approximately) a day” > These little words in the Bible are important, but they were still > in trouble because if you cannot account for 40 minutes you’ll still > be in trouble 1,000 years from now. Forty minutes had to be found > because it can be multiplied many times over in orbits.

As the Christian employee thought about it, he remembered somewhere in the Bible where it said the sun went BACKWARDS. > The scientists told him he was out of his mind, but they got out > the Book and read these words in 2 Kings. Hezekiah, on his deathbed, was visited by the prophet Isaiah who told him that he was not going > to die.

Hezekiah asked for a sign as proof.  Isaiah said “Do you want the sun > to go ahead 10 degrees?” Hezekiah said “It is nothing for the sun to > go ahead 10 degrees, but let the shadow return backwards 10 degrees. > Isaiah spoke to the Lord and the Lord brought the shadow ten > degrees BACKWARD!

Ten degrees is exactly 40 minutes! Twenty-three hours and 20 minutes > in Joshua, plus 40 minutes in Second Kings make the missing day > in the universe!

Isn’t it amazing? Our God provides all the truth and direction needed for our lives. All we must do is believe and seek!

References:

Joshua 10:8 and 12, 13; 2 Kings 20:9-11

II Tim 3:16,17 “All scripture is given by the inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be made perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.

If God said it, I believe it and that settles it……!

Lessons from Life…

James 2:15,16 “If a brother or sister is naked and destitute
of food, and one of you says to them, ‘Depart in peace, be
warmed and filled,’ but you do not give them the things
which are needed for the body, what does it profit?”

Lessons from Life:

During the waning years of the depression in a
small southeastern Idaho community, I used to stop by
Mr. Miller’s roadside stand for farm-fresh produce
as the season made it available. Food and money were still
extremely scarce and bartering was used, extensively.

One particular day Mr. Miller was bagging some
early potatoes for me. I noticed a small boy, delicate of
bone and feature, ragged but clean, hungrily apprising a
basket of freshly picked green peas.

I paid for my potatoes but was also drawn to the
display of fresh green peas. I am a pushover for creamed
peas and new potatoes. Pondering the peas, I couldn’t
help overhearing the conversation between Mr. Miller
and the ragged boy next to me.

“Hello Barry, how are you today?”

“H’lo, Mr. Miller. Fine, thank ya. Jus’ admirin’ them
peas……sure look good.”

“They are good, Barry. How’s your Ma?”

“Fine. Gittin’ stronger alla’ time.”

“Good. Anything I can help you with?”

“No, Sir. Jus’ admirin’ them peas.”

“Would you like to take some home?”

“No, Sir. Got nuthin’ to pay for ’em with.”

“Well, what have you to trade me for some of those peas?”

“All I got’s my prize marble here.”

“Is that right? Let me see it.”

“Here ’tis. She’s a dandy.”

“I can see that. Hmmmm, only thing is this one is blue and
I sort of go for red. Do you have a red one like this at home?”

“Not ‘zackley…. but, almost.”

“Tell you what. Take this sack of peas home with you and
next trip this way let me look at that red marble.”

“Sure will. Thanks, Mr. Miller.”

Mrs. Miller, who had been standing nearby, came over
to help me. With a smile she said: “There are two other boys
like him in our community, all three are in very poor
circumstances. Jim just loves to bargain with them for peas,
apples, tomatoes or whatever. When they come back with their
red marbles, and they always do, he decides he doesn’t like
red after all and he sends them home with a bag of produce for
a green marble or an orange one, perhaps.”

I left the stand, smiling to myself, impressed with
this man. A short time later I moved to Utah but I never forgot
the story of this man, the boys and their bartering. Several
years went by each more rapid than the previous one. Just
recently I had occasion to visit some old friends in that Idaho
community and while I was there learned that Mr. Miller had
died.

They were having his viewing that evening and knowing my
friends wanted to go, I agreed to accompany them. Upon our arrival
at the mortuary we fell into line to meet the relatives of the
deceased and to offer whatever words of comfort we could.

Ahead of us in line were three young men. One was in an
army uniform and the other two wore nice haircuts, dark suits and
white shirts…very professional looking.

They approached Mrs. Miller, standing smiling and composed,
by her husband’s casket. Each of the young men hugged her, kissed
her on the cheek, spoke briefly with her and moved on to the casket.
Her misty light blue eyes followed them as, one by one, each young
man stopped briefly and placed his own warm hand over the cold pale
hand in the casket. Each left the mortuary, awkwardly, wiping his eyes.

Our turn came to meet Mrs. Miller. I told her who I was and
mentioned the story she had told me about the marbles. Eyes
glistening she took my hand and led me to the casket. “Those three
young men, that just left, were the boys I told you about. They just
told me how they appreciated the things Jim “traded” them. Now, at
last, when Jim could not change his mind about color or size…they
came to pay their debt.

We’ve never had a great deal of the wealth of this world,” she
confided, “but, right now, Jim would consider himself the richest man
in Idaho.”

With loving gentleness she lifted the lifeless fingers of her
deceased husband. Resting underneath were three, magnificently shiny,
red marbles.

“We will not be remembered by our words, but by our life and
kind deeds.”

How will you be remembered?

Mat 20:26b-28 “…but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”