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Walking with my Children

Tonight my children and I took at two mile walk. We went from our home to the railroad tracks located in Edgemere, Idaho (Vay). It is April 1t today, and no this is not an April’s Fools joke. We actually took a walk just a few hours before it got dark. There were five of us and two dogs – both on leashes. One dog belongs to my daughter, it is a mini-pincher (a very small dog), and the other is my dog, Izzy. She is a large mix of Golden Lab/Boxer. A good size pup, not quite a year old yet. She towers over Cloey (the mini-pincher). Cloey is not sure she likes being around Izzy, as Izzy seems to treat her as a rag muffin.

The night air in Idaho is still cool. I guess that it is around the mid 40’s. We had lots of rain, a brief period of sunshine, and then the crisp air of the cold night. 

Our walk took us out on the major highway, down the Vay road, right along side of the Hoo Doo Valley Creek, or is that creek? I always wondered how you said that! The water level is high with the melt-off of the snow in the hills surrounding us, and not to mention the week long amount of rain that we had. 

Izzy of course is a water dog and so she had to make her way down to the creek, and wade in, and drink a little of the cold water. No so with Cloey, and not so with any of my children. No one wanted to wade in the water like the children of Isarel crossing the Red Sea – although that would had been awesome to see the Hoo Doo Valley Creek part, and the five of us cross over on dry land, but the truth is we just stayed on the road, and we did in fact cross over on a wet unpaved road. 

On our short two-mile walk we went past some cows – really big bull, lots of cows, and a few new-born calves – another reminder of the seasons of life. Izzy wasn’t sure she liked the size of the bull – it towered over her like she did over Cloey. Soon the cows were behind us, and the two farm dogs and chickens were before us. We were nearing the end of our first leg of the journey we were on. The farm dogs stayed there distance, after all there were five of us, and two, well, one-and-a-half dogs with us. We made it to the railroad track, touched the rails and headed back home. It was getting later, and it was starting to get darker. 

The moon was out and it was bright, the clouds in the distance were big, puffy, and pink – they look gorgeous, and did I mention the hills surrounding us. Still covered near the top with snow. What a beautiful sight.

I am so thankful for my children. They helped put a spring in my step, and as I walked with them and we chatted about anything, and nothing important it reminded me of how bless my wife and I are that somewhere along the line we decided that children were going to be an integral part of our life and marriage. Psalm 127:3-7, 

3 Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, The fruit of the womb is a reward. 4 Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, So are the children of one’s youth. 5 Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them; They shall not be ashamed, But shall speak with their enemies in the gate.

 

We are all home now, and some of my children have left to go to their homes. I am here writing this blog, just revealing in the fact that God has richly blessed my wife and I with five wonderful children, three wonderful children added to us through marriage. Yes, how blessed we are.

Now to the point – don’t get so busy that you don’t pause long enough to talk walks with your children, and especially if it is older children and they still want to take walks. You too will be blessed if you take the walk, and contemplate were your true riches really lie. 

 



Obadiah 1-1-9 A Bad Case of Pride

Here is our first message from the book of Obadiah. Here we discover that pride shall be brought down. God always deals with those who allow pride to rule their lives. Grab your Bible and follow along.



Major Messages from the Minor Prophets #2

In this second message Pastor Kim continues to speak about the 12 Minor Prophets. They are only Minor in their length, and not the importance of their message. Each of the Minor Prophets have some very Major Messages to the people of Israel and Judah. Pick up your Bible and listen along.



The Issues haven’t change just the people

In Bible study this morning we studied Proverbs 26:1-22. The first section of this Proverb is all about the fool. You know who the fool is don’t you? He is the person who says, “There is no God.” Yes, that is a very foolish statement. The fool is also the person who knows what he should be doing, but refuses to do it. With that definition there are many fools. You can read about the fool in verses 1-12.

It’s the second section of this Proverb that caught my attention. Here are the various issues that we still face all these centuries later – they haven’t changed, just the people and locations have changed. Make sure that you get these issues:

  • Laziness – Prov. 26:13-16

The Lazy man is described in the following ways:

– Makes excuses as to why he can’t leave his home – vs. 13

– He stay in bed and tosses and turns – vs. 14

– He leaves his hand in a bowl, it wearies him to lift it to his mouth – vs. 15

– He believes that he is wiser in his own eyes than seven men who can answer sensibly – vs. 16

  • Busybody – Prov. 26:17

The busybody who meddles in the affairs of others is is pictured as about as smart as a man who would grab a dog by the ears. If you grab a dog by the ears you just may get bit. If you meddle in the affairs of others you may have something worse happen to you.

  • Deception – Prov. 26:18-19

The person who uses deception is described next. Have you ever ben the victim of deception? He is pictured as someone who:

– Throws firebrands (fire balls, or arrows)

– Shoots arrows

– Death

Those are what the enemy of our soul desires to do. This is the tale tale signs of deception (See John 8:44). And note the deceiver seeks to deceive his neighbor. What? We are not to use, abuse, or deceive our neighbor. No, but this is what we find here in Proverbs.

Take a notice how this deceiver seeks to get away with his deception. He says to his neighbor, “I was only joking!”

When someone says that to you – take heed!

  • Talebearer – Prov. 26:20-22

What is a talebearer? It is a person who loves to find out information about you, so that they can share it with others.

Verse 20 tells us – “Where there is no wood, the fire goes out; And where there is no talebearer, strife ceases.” Don’t give the talebearer and fuel.

Verse 21 tells us – “As charcoal is to burning coals, and wood to fire, so is a contentious man to kindle strife.” The point is that a contentious person is always stirring the flames.

Verse 22 tells us – “The words of a talebearer are like tasty trifles And they go down into the inmost body.” Some people just love to share information that they hear about others. Yes, for some it is like eating chocolate, yummy to their stomach.

All of these issues we still face today in our contemporary society. Time has changed, people have changed, but the issues remain. The only proper way to handled these issues is through a complete biblical worldview.

The Bible tells is to overcome laziness.

The Bible says to stop meddling in others affairs.

The Bible says not to practice deceit.

The Bible tells us not to be a talebearer.

Follow the Scripture and these four issues will not be a part of your life.

 



The Worship Book of the Bible: Psalms

Are you aware that the songbook of the Bible is the book of Psalms? Do you know how many chapters in Psalms? 150! Have you ever read through the Psalms? If you haven’t I would encourage you to start the journey – you won’t be disappointed. The Psalms are not boring, but may be to those who haven’t read it. Why, just today I found myself reading through Psalm 31-37. These are some of the great verses that spoke volumes to me. I share one from each chapter:

Psalm 31:15 – My times are in Your hand;

Psalm 32:7 – You are my hiding place; You shall preserve me from trouble; You shall surround me with songs of deliverance. (Selah – a musical pause).

Psalm 33:6 – By the Word of the LORD the heavens were made, and all the hosts of them by the breath of His mouth.

Psalm 34:7 – The angel of the LORD encamps all around those who fear Him, and delivers them.

Psalm 35:9 – And my soul shall be joyful in the LORD; it shall rejoice in His Salvation.

Psalm 36:9 – For with You is the fountain of life; In Your light we see light.

Psalm 37:5 – Commit your way to the LORD, Trust also in Him, And He shall bring it to pass.

Didn’t I tell you that God’s Word speaks!!! These are some great thoughts for anyone to meditate upon, to dwell, and to think of God’s promises. Yes, I would encourage you to read through this songbook of the Old Testament. There just may be a song tucked away somewhere in one of its 150 chapters that you just might need.

Well, I would like to conclude this post with a poem that I came across that is also powerful. I trust that it will challenge you and bless you. It is called: The Clock

The clock of life is wound but once,

And no man has the power

To tell just when the hands will stop

At late or early hour.

 

To lose one’s wealth is sad indeed,

To lose one’s health is more.

To lose one’s soul is such a loss

That no one can restore.

 

  • Seek the LORD – Rom. 10:13
  • Believe – John 3:16
  • Follow Jesus – John 14:6

 



Those Six dreaded letters: Cancer

Well, yesterday I went to a follow up visit with the surgeon who did my biopsy last Tuesday, March 20th. When he walked into the office he was holding the pathology report. He looked at me and said, “The report says that you have low-grace (1-2) B-cell lymphoma.” I can tell you that that is not what I wanted to hear. All along I felt that I was battling with a parasite that I may have picked up in Brazil last June. Evidently, I was wrong. I hate it when I am wrong, especially in something as life-altering as this is.

I am not really sure what awaits me, but I can be positive because I serve an awesome God. I have often reminded Him, “If we being evil know how to give good gifts to our children, how much more shall our Father in heaven give of those who ask Him.” (Matt. 7:11). I have been asking my Father for good things!

This Friday I am suppose to go in for a bone marrow test. They want to check and make sure that the cancer isn’t in my bones. This will determine a treatment plan for the months to come. Aslo, I am going to be going back to the Speciality Hospital next Monday mid-afternoon for a chemo port to be placed under my skin near the coller bone. I guess you can tell the direction were heading here.

I would really request the prayers of all my family, all my friends, the churches that I have pastored in the past, and all of those who make up the wonderful church where I serve the LORD today – Spirit Lake Baptist Church.

A few thoughts that I woke up thinking this morning were: Miracles of God…

  • If God can part the Red Sea for the people of Israel to cross over on dry land, well then, my request for God to heal my lymphatic system is minor.
  • If God can allow the Sun to stand still all day for Joshua, well, then, my request for God to heal my lymphatic system is minor.
  • If King Hezekiah could pray that God would allow him to live an additional 15 years, and God answered him, well, then surely my God still have the same ability today.

My desire is to trust God no matter comes my way on a daily basis. I must not worry about tomorrow – each day has its own issues that I will face. Don’t borrow tomorrows trouble.

Here is something for all of us to think about: I Choose…

  • I choose FAITH – Without faith it is impossible to please God (Heb. 11:6).
  • I choose TRUST – Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, but in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will bring it to pass. (Prov. 3:5-6).
  • I choose BELIEF – Whoever believes in Him will not be put to shame (Rom. 10:11).
  • I choose CHRIST – Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved (Acts 4:12).
  • I choose HOPE – There is the bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God (Heb. 7:19).
  • I choose LIFE – Therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live (Deut. 30:19).

Finally, in this post I want to remind all of us what Jesus said to Mary and Martha when He was informed that His friend Lazarus was dead. Jesus said, “This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” (John 15:4).

 



How to Repent

 If you have ever walked through a bookstore you have probably noticed the great number of titles that begin with “How to…” Some examples:

  • How to play golf
  • How to make money
  • How to cook just about everything
  • How to play keyboards
  • How to fall in love
  • How to dress for success
  • How to be a team player
  • How to book your own travel
  • How to understand the Bible

And that is only a small sampling of the number of “How To” books that are available at local bookstores.

As I read through Joel 2:12-17, I couldn’t help but to notice that it was God’s call to the people of Judah to repent. The best way to have God relent, to turn from something that He was planning on doing (like a natural calamity, or bringing upon a mighty army) is to repent from sin, and to turn one complete heart to the LORD.

I would suggest to you that what we have before us is a simple How to Repent. The basic steps in six verses. Let’s take a look at this brief look at biblical repentance. What are the basic steps? Here they are – make sure you get them down.

I. Turn to the LORD – vs. 12

   12 “Now, therefore,” says the LORD, “Turn to Me with all your heart, With fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.”  

Underline the two words, “Now, therefore” In light of the “coming day of the LORD” what should we be doing? In light of everything that we read that will occur during that period of time (The Tribulation Period) how should we choose to live today?

Next, I want us to notice that our text says, “says the LORD,” God is speaking here in this section of Scripture. We have the very WORD of God! And God has a message for his people. If you are a child of God today this message is also for you! What we read about here in the book of Joel has implications for those of us who are alive today.

The word “turn” used here in verse 12 means to, REPENT. To repent means to change your mind. If you have been thinking a wrong way, or been heading down a wrong path you CHANGE your mind, or you change the direction you have been thinking or walking. You turn around.

Do you need to turn around today? Do you need to REPENT? Don’t allow pride to keep you from a sound relationship with God.  Judah needed to turn around. It has been said, “Sin will take you further than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, and cause more damage than you can ever imagine.” (Adrian Rogers)

BUT it doesn’t have to be that way – if we as the people of God will repent.

Well, how do we turn to God? 

  • With all your heart

Does God have your whole heart?

Jesus said,

   “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment’[1]

Do you and I really love God with all of our heart? Nothing held back? Let us be honest here – this is where repentance begins. We read in…

  • Prov. 4:23 – “Guard over our hearts with all diligence.”
  • Jer. 17:9 – “The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked.”

Why do we need to keep watch over our heart? Because Jesus taught that it was from the heart that all kinds of sinful issues flow. Listen to His words,

   For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies.” (Matthew 15:19) 

  • With fasting

Remember that the word “fast” means to abstain from food for a period of time.

We abstain from food so that when our body reminds us that we are hungry that we turn our attention towards the LORD. This is the purpose of fasting – it draws us nearer to God.

We might even fast for the purpose of trying to discover what is in our heart. Instead of eating to satisfy the flesh, we deny the flesh to bring our heart into a spiritual focus. We really ought to pray the prayer of the psalmist, who asked,

Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalms 139:23-24)

Once we discover what is in our heart we “turn” to God. We repent; change our mind. We seek to stay close to God and not allow anything to come between Him and us – NOTHING!

I really would like to encourage all of us to consider fasting as a part of our regular spiritual disciplines (fast along with prayer, Bible reading, evangelism, and tithing).  Fast for the purpose of experiencing God!

  • With weeping

When was the last time anyone of us actually wept over our sin that breaks the heart of God? Instead of weeping we often laugh at sin. Instead of seeing sin the way God sees it, we see it as acceptable social norms. Even Christians say, “Everybody is doing it.” Sin is NATURAL (fleshly), however, the follower of Jesus Christ has died to sin.

The Apostle Paul wrote,

   “Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?” (Romans 6:2)

We probably will never witness a genuine revival in our nation or within our churches until the people of God begin to weep over the numerous sins we commit against God.

Are we aware that all sin is ultimately against God? Yes, we may sin against others, but in reality we are actually sinning against God. Does that thought move you to tears?  We break the heart of Almighty God when we sin against Him.

  • With mourning 

Mourning shows the genuineness of ones repentance. To mourn means that one has internal wrestling occurring within their soul. People can fake it, but we are speaking about being genuine.

So, there we have some very basic steps towards true spiritual repentance. Does anyone present need to take these steps?

 II. Rend your heart – vs. 13

   13 So rend your heart, and not your garments; Return to the LORD your God, For He is gracious and merciful, Slow to anger, and of great kindness; And He relents from doing harm. 

  • It’s about the heart and not the garments.

Underline the word “rend”. This word means, to tear, or to rip apart. Too many times as people we are quick to tear our outside garments when we have done something sinful, but we forget what is happening internally. What we should do is to tear the heart. Remember that all sin begins in the heart.

Therefore, God is asking that something occur in our heart, and not just some outward expression! Too many times we get caught up with only taking care of the external, that we neglect dealing with the weightier matters of the heart. We think if we can do something outward that it is sufficient. Well, this is not what God is asking from us. God is asking that we deal with the sin in our heart.

I think we would all become better Disciples of Christ if we would but only deal with the matters of the heart (Revisit Prov. 4:23). Ask: Is what is in my heart right now drawing me closer to God, or is it pushing me further away?

  • Return to the LORD your God

The word “Return” carries the idea that we have somehow turned from, or turned away from. Now the prophet writes,

“Return to the LORD your God.”

I would think that if we are truly God’s people that we would want to quickly return to the LORD our God. Why would any of us want to wait? Why wouldn’t all of us want to be quickly restored to fellowship with God?

What I find troubling in my own life is how easy it is to be away from God believing that I am actually close to God. Hear this: Proximity doesn’t mean nearness. Many a husband and wife live in the same house but they do not enjoying intimacy, or oneness in their marriage. Many people come to church, but they are far from God, and they might even carry their Bible into this assembly place. Returning to God has nothing to do with being in church, but it has everything to do with repentance – a change of mind. It’s having a full-heart desire to be in fellowship/oneness with God.

Why is it that we are so prone to wander from the God we love? Why do we forget that sin in our lives breaks our fellowship with God? Why wouldn’t we want to return to God? And why do we so often pretend to be in wonderful fellowship when reality we know we not? Do we really want to play act before God and God’s people? Is hypocrisy really something we want in our lives? I don’t believe that it is.

Questions:

  • Is He your LORD?
  • Is He your God?

There is only ONE GOD! There is no one else that any one of us can turn to. Therefore, I encourage all of us to RETURN to the LORD our God.

Why turn to God? Well, we read several wonderful reasons provided here in our text. We return to Him because…

  • He is gracious

God is full of grace! And beloved let us be thankful He is. It is by grace we are saved, and it is though His grace that He quickly forgives us (Eph. 2:8-9). If we will turn and return to Him, then He will forgive and restore each one of us. How good it is!

  • He is merciful

Do you ever feel you need some mercy? When we know we deserve judgment, God extends mercy. God doesn’t give us what we deserve. Maybe a few earthly examples will help us understand God’s mercy.

Earthly Example of NO Mercy

   If you were to walk away from your place of employment without permission how long do you think your boss would keep you? Probably not long.

If you committed adultery in your marriage do you think your spouse would forgive you and restore you? Maybe, but it would be an awfully long haul.

If you refused to pay your income tax do you think the IRS would understand? Probably not.

The point is, we sin against God all the time, and yet, He is always quick to show us mercy. Why? Because He is an all-merciful God. It is God’s nature to be merciful However, just because God is quick to extend His mercy, let us not abuse this attribute of God.

  • He is slow to anger

This means that God is long-fused. The Bible says,

God is a just judge,  And God is angry with the wicked every day” (Psalm 7:11)

What we know about God is that He deals perfectly with anger!

  • He is great kindness

Not only is God kind, but also we read here, “great kindness”. It is through the kindness of God that you and I were able to come to Jesus Christ for personal salvation (Titus 3:4). Let us thank God for His kindness towards us.

  • He relents from doing harm

The word “relent” means to stop. God will stop the judgment He was going to brig upon individuals and nations if they will repent and turn to Him.

In other words, if we will get right with God, He will make things right around and about us! That is pretty awesome my friends!

I would think that you would agree with me that these are some great reasons for us to turn to God? There is no other religious faith on the planet that has a deity described like what we have before us in this verse.

Friends, let us be thankful today for the attributes and characteristics of God that we have before us in this verse. Remember, a part of my Goal in preaching through the Minor Prophets is for us to get to KNOW God in a much more intimate way. We KNOW someone when we really KNOW someone!

III. Have an expectation – vs. 14

14 Who knows if He will turn and relent, And leave a blessing behind Him– A grain offering and a drink offering For the LORD your God? 

God’s people should have an expectation from God. God said if we would repent, that He would provide a blessing. You and I can take God at His Word. He is fully trustworthy (Titus 1:2). What God says, He will do! We can count on God 100% (I Thess. 5:24 – A truly great verse. Memorize it).

If we do what God asks from us, we can expect (expectations) that God will do what He has said He would do. Joel writes,

   “Who knows if He will turn and relent,” (other translations read: return and repent). 

   If we will return to the LORD our God, and if we will repent, then God will act on our behalf. He will be quick to turn and relent from bringing judgment upon us as individuals and as a nation.

Here in this verse we read about a “blessing” that perhaps God would leave behind Him. The truth of the matter is that God is more interested in blessing you than judging you, but He will judge you if you turn from Him and go your own selfish way. However, He will be just as quick to provide blessings for those who repent and return to Him.

Do you want to experience God’s judgment, or His blessings?

In my life I want God’s blessings! O God, help this man to be quick to turn to the LORD my God! Watch over this man’s heart – keep my heart near to you O God.

I also find it interesting that the blessing that God brings here is a blessing that I to be used in the act of worshipping Him. We have both the meal and the drink offering. Both of these were used in the sacrificial system.

The meal offering would indicate that the ground is producing crops again. This would be a good sign especially in light of the locust plague, or the invasion of a mighty military force. Now the priest would have something to bring before God.

The drink offering was poured on the other offerings and became a part of them. When it was poured on the sacrifice, it went up in steam on the hot coals. The apostle Paul you recall, said that he wanted his life to be like that – just a drink offering on the sacrifice of Christ. (McGee, P. 696)

There is a final point that I want to bring your attention if we as a people (individuals or nation) are going to experience real revival. What is it?

III.   Everyone must respond – vs. 15-17

   15 Blow the trumpet in Zion, Consecrate a fast, Call a sacred assembly; 16 Gather the people, Sanctify the congregation, Assemble the elders, Gather the children and nursing babes; Let the bridegroom go out from his chamber, And the bride from her dressing oom.” 17 Let the priests, who minister to the LORD, Weep between the porch and the altar; Let them say, “Spare Your people, O LORD, And do not give Your heritage to reproach, That the nations should rule over them. Why should they say among the peoples, ‘Where is their God?’” 

As I read through thee three verses I couldn’t help but to notice that it is actually a call to all of God’s people to turn to Him. Everyone in Judah was to turn to the LORD. Everyone in the United States of America is to return to the LORD. Everyone here in Spirit Lake, Idaho is to return to the LORD. You and I are to return to the LORD, and we are to do it quickly!

The steps here are the same we read back in Joel 1:14ff. They are:

  • Blow the trumpet in Zion (Get everyone’s attention).
  • Consecrate a fast (Abstain from food to draw near to God)
  • Call a sacred assembly (A holy congregational gathering)
  • Gather the people (Everyone – No one left out)
  • Assemble the elders (Spiritual Leaders)
  • Gather the children (Newborns to young children)
  • Bridegroom and bride were called (You seem now was the time to pause personal events – what event are you will to set aside to make sure you and your nation is right with God?)

In verse 17, the priests are to take the lead. They are to set the standard for the people of God. These ministers of the LORD were to come and weep between the porch and the altar. They were to cry out to God in prayer,

“Spare Your people, O LORD, And do not give Your heritage to reproach, that the nations should rule over them. Why should they say among the peoples, “Where is their God?”

Underline the words, “Where is their God?

When the people of the world see God’s people being judged by God’s hand they are quick to say, “Where is their God?”

The prophet is telling Judah to repent so that the nations cannot ask that question. What a message for the church today. What a message for the United States of America today. Let us not give the nations of the world any wiggle room to mock our God. 

 How to REPENT! We looked at four very simple and basic steps, but the question remains, “Will We REPENT?” Will we… 

  • Turn to God (with all our heart?)
  • Rend our Heart (inside heart change, not external)
  • Have an Expectation (expecting God to act upon our repentance)
  • Everyone must REPENT (This message isn’t for those not present today, but it is for everyone who is present) 




All about the Bible for New Beginners

The Bible is the Word of God (II Tim 3:16-17)

The Bible has two parts – Old Testament and New Testament

There are 39 books that make up the Old Testament – Genesis through Malachi.

The Old Testament has five divisions (think in terms of the five fingers on your hand).

Thumb – Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy (these books are called the Law, and were complied by Moses).

Pointer – Joshua, Judges, Ruth, I&II Samuel, I&II Kings, I&II Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther (Actually the Old Testament ends here. That is everything else that follows fits within these twelve books).

Tall Man – Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon (These books are called poetry books, an are the wisdom collection of the Old Testament. Job deals with suffering, Psalms with worship, Ecclesiastes with man’s ultimate purpose, and Song of Solomon, married love. The Bible is never boring reading – never!).

Ring Finger – Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, and Daniel (Isaiah has been called the Bible in miniature in that it too has 66 chapters. Jeremiah is the weeping prophet, Ezekiel sees the great vision of the household of Israel coming together – the valley of dry bones. Really awesome (check out this video). Daniel is a fast paced read, and man O man is it exciting. These five books are called the Major Prophets, only because of the number of chapters in them. All of their messages are from God).

Pinky – Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Naham, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi (These last twelve books are referred to as the Minor Prophets. Minor only in the since that they are shorter than the Major Prophets. These Prophets all spoke to Israel either before, during, or after their captivity. Presently I am preaching through the Minor Prophets. You might want to catch a message or two by subscribing to the Cutting It Straight Podcast through iTunes. See link. When Malachi penned his work it brought the Old Testament to a close. No additional word was heard from God for 400 years. These are called the silent years).

The New Testament has four divisions. Think of the webbing beween your fingers. There are 27 books in the New Testament – a must read for everyone. Are you aware that the Bible is still the best selling bok of all times?

First web between Thumb and Pointer – Matthew, Mark, Luke, John (These books are called the Gospels. Gospel means: Good News. After you read these first four books you will have a view of the life of Jesus Christ from four perspectives. Matthew presentes Jesus as King of the Jews. Mark presents Jesus as the servant. Luke presents Jesus in all of His humanity. John presents Jesus as the Son of God. These four Gospels break the silence between the Old and the New Testaments. Here we discover that God sent His Son into the world to save all who will turn from their sin, and turn to Him for salvation. This was why He died on the cross for our sins, mine and yours).

Second web between the Pointer and Tall man – Acts (This is the historical book of the New Testament. It has 28 chapters and is a must read. In this book we read about the promise of the Holy Spirit, the command to evangelize the world (1:8), and about the birth of the CHURCH (That’s us!). See Acts 2 for all that occurred. Peter preached a powerful sermon and some 3,000 people responded and gave their lives to Jesus Christ. God added to the CHURCH daily those that were being saved. The great missions adventures of Paul and his companions are found in chapters 13-28. Again, this is a must read if you want to know how CHURCHES began).

Third web between Tall man and Ring Finger – Romans, I&II Chronicles, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, I&II Thessalonians, I&II Timothy, Titus, Philemon, Hebrews, James, I&II Peter, I&II&III John, Jude (These are letters to churches and pastors, to individuals, and to a collective body of called out ones. It is believed that the Apostle Paul wrote 13 of them. James, the half-brother of Jesus wrote one. Peter wrote three that bear his name. John, the disciples whom Jesus loved wrote three of the epistles. These books are usually divided into sections. I like to see them in the following way: The fist half is usually doctrine. The second half is usually practice. How to put the doctrine into practice. It is true that what we believe determines how we live.

The fourth web between Ring finer and Pinky – Revelation (This is the Prophecy book of the New Testament. It has 22 chapters. Chapter 1 is an introduction. It tells us that it is all about UNVEILING the person of Jesus Christ. Make sure that you highlight verses 1,3, and 19. Chapters 2-3 are letter written to seven churches that existed in Asia Minor. I also believe that they represent seven types of churches in existence today. Chapter 4-5 we get a glimpse into the Throne room of Almighty God. God is on the Throne, and Jesus Christ, the lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world is given the title deed to the world. Chapters 6-19 is about the literal seven-years Tribulation Period that shall come upon the earth. It’s purpose is to turn the heart of the Jewish people to their messiah. In chapter 19, we have the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. In Chapter 20, we read about the literal 1,000 year millennial reign of Christ upon the earth. In chapters 21-22, we read about the creation of a new heaven and a new earth. The book ends with the words, “Even so come Lord Jesus”. Amen!

So there we have our first post to this new blog site. My intention is to continue to pass along easy to understand facts and insights about the Word of God. I may even attach full sermons, and other videos, and pictures that will help all of us to gain a better grasp of the precious word of God.

 



Vacation Bible School – The Big Apple Adventure

It started today at Spirit Lake Baptist Church- Vacation Bible School (aka: VBS) The Big Apple Adventure. It is all about FAITH. In the book of Romans we read, “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” (Rom. 10:17). This is what it is all about – teaching the Word of God so that it will spark the faith that is within everybody. Every person displays faith, but everyone needs faith in the person of Jesus Christ. Today the children learned about the faith the Centurion Soldier – Jesus was impressed with this man’s faith. He simply believed that all Jesus needed to do was to speak the word and his servant would be healed (Matthew 8:8). Will you believe by faith that Jesus Christ is the Son of God? Stop making excuses. You display faith in so many areas of your life already, so why not step out and trust Jesus Christ with your own life. Chances are you aren’t doing too well handling your own life anyways. Most people keep grasping for something in life, but end up with nothing in their hand – it empty, and they feel empty on the inside.

Our Vacation Bible School teaches children that life makes more sense when you establish a relationship with the Son of God. It will make more sense for you as well. Bow your head before the Creator of all things, confess that you are a sinful person, trying to do life without Him, and ask Jesus Christ to cleanse you from all your sin, and to come into your life. It’s not hard to take this step, but praise must be sat aside. If you received Jesus Christ will you leave a comment. Three easy steps:

1. Admit to God that you are a sinner. (We all are).

2. Believe that Jesus Christ died for you.

3. Call upon Him for Salvation. (He will hear, and He will save).

Check out the pictures of Day one

We love kids at VBS



Being Godly: The Godly Marriage

I just started a new series of messages in July entitled: Being Godly. What does it look like to be Godly? So far we have looked at The Godly Man, The Godly Woman, and this coming Sunday morning we will consider The Godly Marriage. I thought that you might enjoy reading the first  point of the message. Trust that it will promote the needed CHANGE in your marriage.

The Godly Marriage

   I.            Sees God as the Author (Marriage Originator)

   Can I ask you if you see your marriage through the eyes of a marriage license, or through the eyes of a COVENANT relationship? Is your marriage something man invented or something that God created and originated?

Where is the first marriage recorded in the Bible? It is found in Genesis (In the Beginning). Open your Bible to Genesis 2:19-25. We read,

   “19 Out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name. 20 So Adam gave names to all cattle, to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper comparable to him. 21 And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. 22 Then the rib which the LORD God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man. 23 And Adam said: “This is now bone of my bones And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man.” 24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. 25 And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.”

Are you aware that the book of Genesis is one of the most attacked books of the entire Bible? The reason is because in it we have the origin of marriage. Evil men seek to discredit the book of Genesis, and they seek to suppress the truth in unrighteousness.

Man’s Perfect Wedding Ceremony

   As I read this I thought that this is the type of marriage ceremony that every groom would like. He could close his eyes, experience no pain, have the ceremony portion of the wedding over, and when he opened his eyes he would be next to a naked woman! I think Adam really liked that! (Please understand that this was in the confines of the very first marriage. There was NO SIN at this point in human history). Adam and Eve were innocent and blameless.

Additional Insight into Genesis 2:19-25

   Allow me to share some additional insight that I pulled from these verses. I hope that you are ready to receive God’s Word to us this morning!

The first truth that I want to share about a godly marriage is that it is between one man and one woman. God created a woman for Adam, not another man. It may not be politically correct to hold to this position, but it is a biblical view, and I choose to be true to God’s Word.

It is also important for us to see that God did not create Adam with multiple wives. God created one woman for Adam – not five. Why bring this out? Because of the sinfulness of man and the fact that a Mormon polygamist is going to court to try and get his sinful relationship sanctioned by the courts. Many people other than polygamists live in sinful relationships contrary to the biblical design. It doesn’t make it right just because it becomes legal through a judicial system.

Next, as I was reading through these verses I noticed that Eve (the woman) was created out of man. Get this – Eve was a part of Adam. What a unique thought -Woman a part of man! Most couples who stand before a minister to get married desire to be a part of each other’s lives. Engaged couples can barely stand how slow the clock ticks towards the day of their marriage – hurry up calendar – MOVE! Husbands, is your wife a part of you? Wives, do you seek to be a part of your husband?

One of the great problems in marriage today is that men and women do not see the total interconnection that occurs when their wedding vows have been sealed. Consider what Adam said about Eve in verse 23,

“This is now bone of my bones And flesh of my flesh,”

   Men, are we aware just how close our bones and flesh are to our bodies? In marriage a GREAT SPIRITUAL INTERCONNECTION occurs between the man and the woman. Too many couples once they are married are off doing their own thing. Marriage was NEVER meant to be like that.

In these verses God said that man was to take three very specific steps when he took a wife. This must be for those in the future because Adam didn’t have a father and mother. Take a look at verse 24 with me,

Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”

What are the main three keys to a godly marriage? They are:

1.   Leave his father and mother (Independence from parents)

Three points here:

  • Do not write your parents off (show honor and respect).
  • Your spouse is to become your primary relationship.
  • Try not to become overly dependent upon your parents.

Family Life Marriage conference teaches, “the degree to which you leave is the degree to which you can cleave.”

2.   Joined to his wife (glue himself to his wife)

The point here is establishing commitment to one another. The NKJV uses the word, “joined”, and the KJV uses the word, “cleave”. They mean the same thing. Literally it means to be glued together.

I love the lyrics of the song by Mary Wells entitled: My Guy. The lyrics I believe teach what we find here in the idea of being “joined” together as a husband and wife. We read,

“My Guy”

Nothing you could say
Can tear me away from my guy
Nothing you could do
‘Cause I’m stuck like glue to my guy

I’m stickin’ to my guy
Like a stamp to a letter
Like the birds of a feather
We stick together
I’m tellin’ you from the start
I can’t be torn apart from my guy

Nothing you can do
Could make me untrue to my guy
Nothing you could buy
Could make me tell a lie to my guy

I gave my guy my word of honor
To be faithful and I’m gonna
You best be believing
I won’t be deceiving my guy

As a matter of opinion I think he’s tops
My opinion is he’s the cream of the crop
As a matter of taste to be exact
He’s my ideal as a matter of fact

No muscle bound man
Could take my hand from my guy
No handsome face
Could ever take the place of my guy
He may not be a movie star
But when it comes to being happy we are
There’s not a man today
Who could take me away from my guy

No muscle bound man
Could take my hand from my guy
No handsome face
Could ever take the place of my guy
He may not be a movie star
But when it comes to being happy we are
There’s not a man today
Who could take me away from my guy

There’s not a man today
Who could take me away from my guy
(Tell me more)
There’s not a man today
Who could take me away from my guy

Have you ever noticed how much time couples spend together when they are dating and engaged? They can’t seem to get enough time together. Yet, after the wedding ceremony it is as if these same couples are trying everything they can to live apart. He’s doing his thing, and she’s doing her thing! What about the TOGETHER thing. Oh, take a look at the word I just spoke – allow me to break it up in its syllables: TO GET HER (together). Men once you have her do things with her.

Sometimes couples seek to stay away because they are having problems. When our children did not get along with each other we would have them sit on the couch and hold hands. It didn’t take very long before they made things right. Maybe that ought to be a NEW THERPHY – SIT, HOLD HANDS until you make things right.

3.   Become one flesh (Establish Intimacy)

Intimacy is not just having sex. It has been defined as: IN TO ME YOU SEE. It is growing together as a married couple through all of life – the ups and the downs, the great times, and the not so great times. It is coming together even through hardships that life can bring.

My wife is my great balance – I am the man I am today because of her. I would never be where I am in life without her being such an integral part of my life. Married people are supposed to be one another greatest cheerleaders! Debbie has been my cheerleader!

Allow me to tell you that if you are living in the past that you will never become one with your spouse. You must break with your past in order to have an enjoyable present and a bright future for tomorrow.

My wife is not the same woman I married in 1979 – life has  a way of changing people, but I am more in love with her today than when I first married her, and I was in love with her then.

Why is it so hard to allow the person you married into your life? Why do we seek to hide so much from the person we love? What is it going to take to become one, to become transparent with your spouse?

   If we desire to have a godly marriage it is only going to happen when we fully recognize that God is the AUTHOR (Originator) of marriage. What is the second principle for a godly marriage?

If you want to learn more show up this coming Sunday.