The Search for Wisdom

March 3, 2015

Wisdom is an important tool for life.  True wisdom comes from God.

I.  Wisdom:  II Chronicles 1:7-12

 On that night God appeared to Solomon, and said to him, “Ask! What shall I give you?”

And Solomon said to God: “You have shown great mercy to David my father, and have made me king in his place. Now, O Lord God, let Your promise to David my father be established, for You have made me king over a people like the dust of the earth in multitude. 10 Now give me wisdom and knowledge, that I may go out and come in before this people; for who can judge this great people of Yours?”

11 Then God said to Solomon: “Because this was in your heart, and you have not asked riches or wealth or honor or the life of your enemies, nor have you asked long life—but have asked wisdom and knowledge for yourself, that you may judge My people over whom I have made you king— 12 wisdom and knowledge are granted to you; and I will give you riches and wealth and honor, such as none of the kings have had who were before you, nor shall any after you have the like.”

King Solomon was the wisest king to serve Israel.  He obtained his wisdom from God.

James 1:5

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.

We too, can ask God for wisdom.

Proverbs 2:1-8

My son, if you receive my words,
And treasure my commands within you,
So that you incline your ear to wisdom,
And apply your heart to understanding;
Yes, if you cry out for discernment,
And lift up your voice for understanding,
If you seek her as silver,
And search for her as for hidden treasures;
Then you will understand the fear of the Lord,
And find the knowledge of God.
For the Lord gives wisdom;
From His mouth come knowledge and understanding;
He stores up sound wisdom for the upright;
He is a shield to those who walk uprightly;
He guards the paths of justice,
And preserves the way of His saints.

Sometimes the wisdom that we need comes easily as the Holy Spirit reveals to us what we need to know.  At other times, we are encouraged to pursue wisdom.  It can be a process of growing in knowledge and understanding.  It may take effort on our part to read, research, and think through material that may be conflicting, or difficult to understand.  It is necessary to continue to pray that God will guide us in out search for wisdom and understanding.  We cannot do it on our own, but our own effort is sometimes required.

Proverbs 9:10

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.

True wisdom comes from God and is rooted in the knowledge of God.  The most important thing that we should do is to continue to seek to grow in our relationship with God.

II.  Seek the Lord:  II Chronicles 15:12

Then they entered into a covenant to seek the Lord God of their fathers with all their heart and with all their soul;

As we seek God, we will grow in wisdom.  Seeking God should be our top priority.

Matthew 6:31-33

 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

Our lives will be in proper order if we make seeking God our first goal.  We should seek the Lord with all of our heart.

III.  Be Strong:  II Chronicles 15: 7

 But you, be strong and do not let your hands be weak, for your work shall be rewarded!”

Be strong!  Do not give up!!  The Christian life is not always easy, but it is always worthwhile.  Our work, our service to God, will be rewarded.

Galatians 6:9

And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.

We must continue in our service to God.  We may not see the results that we want, when we want them, but we will one day reap the fruit of our labors.

True wisdom comes from God. As we seek God with all of our hearts we will grow in wisdom and understanding.  We should continue in our service to God.  Our work will bear fruit and we will be rewarded for our faithful service.

These are the sermon notes from 2/22/15.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them.

From Fear to Love

February 26, 2015

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”  Proverbs 9:10

I have this verse on a poster on the wall in my office at the college.  As a philosophy instructor I consider it to be particularly appropriate since philosophy is made up of two Greek words that together mean ‘the love of wisdom’.  I consider faith in God to be the starting point of my philosophy of life.  Traditionally,when discussing this verse, I emphasize the need to believe in, be in awe of, and to have respect for, the person of God, resulting in obedience to His commands.

The other day I was in a Chi Alpha meeting at the college where I teach.  Chi Alpha is a student club for Christian growth and outreach.  At our campus, it primarily is a weekly meeting for prayer and Bible study.  It is open to all students, faculty, staff, and guests.  One of our regular guests is a retired gentleman who comes to the college library to read.  At this particular meeting one of the students brought up the question of the fear of the Lord.  We discussed it for a while and had agreed upon basically the definition that is stated above.

As we were concluding our discussion, the retired gentleman offered a different perspective.  He pointed out that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.  He commented that we start with that attitude, and grow in our love for God.  I have been periodically reflecting on that thought for the last two days.  I John 4:18 says ”  There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. ”  We still believe in, are in awe of, and have respect for God, but it is to be rooted in love, not fear.

One of my concerns is that people will over-emphasis the love of God to the point that they presume upon his mercy.  I have had people tell me that they know that what they are doing is wrong, but that God will forgive them.  That line of thinking is very dangerous.  We are not to “continue in sin that grace might abound.” (Romans 6:1)

However, as I thought about it, I was reminded of I John 5:3 “ For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome. ” A healthy maturation of faith will be an increase in love resulting in obedience.  If we truly love God, we will live in obedience to His commandments.

Our obedience to God may begin out of fear, but it is matured in love.

Rejoice Always

February 23, 2015

I Thessalonians 5:16 says “Rejoice always!”  There are times in life when this is  easy and times when it is not.

I.  Rejoice in Blessings:  I Chronicles 19:16

 “O Lord our God, all this abundance that we have prepared to build You a house for Your holy name is from Your hand, and is all Your own.”

Everything that we have has come from God.  We may think that our own abilities and hard work have earned us the material things that we possess, but who gave us the abilities?  Who gave us the opportunities?  Who helped the results of our efforts to be favorable?  It is appropriate to rejoice in the blessings that God has given to us.  When things are going well it is easy to rejoice.

II.  Rejoice in Trials:  II Thessalonians 1:4-7

 so that we ourselves boast of you among the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that you endure, which is manifest evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you also suffer; since it is a righteous thing with God to repay with tribulation those who trouble you, and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels,

God is with us even in our times of trial.  We are not alone.  God will give us wisdom and strength to endure the times of trials.  We can rejoice that we do not face our trials alone.  God will give us the wisdom to know what to do, and the strength to do it.

We can rest assured that the wicked will be punished.  We do not rejoice in their destruction.  We pray for them to repent, but there is a sense of justice in knowing that the wicked who have not repented, will be punished.

The faithful will be rewarded.  If not in this life, then in the next.

III.  Rejoice in Death:

Luke 10: 20: 

Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven.”

Revelation 20:11-15:

Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. 13 The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. 14 Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15 And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.

As Christians we can rejoice that our names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.  Our lives on this earth may be difficult at times but we have a hope that goes beyond this world.  Our true reward is in the life to come.

We do not rejoice in the destruction of the wicked.  Rather we warn them of the judgement to come upon those who do not repent and call upon the name of the Lord Jesus.  We rejoice along with the angels in heaven whenever a person turns from their sins and finds salvation in Jesus Christ.

To rejoice always seems like a difficult challenge, but when we think about it we realize that in times of blessing, in times of trial and even in death, we have reason to rejoice.  For in life, and in death, God is with us.

These are the sermon notes from 2/15/15.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them. 

Minimum Wage

February 19, 2015

People like to suggest that raising the minimum wage is in response to inflation.  I would suggest that raising the minimum wage causes inflation.

If a gallon of milk cost one dollar ten years ago, and today a gallon of milk costs four dollars we recognize that the gallon of milk has not changed.  Rather, we look at it as inflation and consider it to be a bad thing.

When minimum wage changes, the product itself, a basic hour of low-skill work hasn’t changed.  The cost has been inflated.

Another way of looking at it is to say that what two dollars used to purchase, now requires seven dollars to purchase.  The thing being purchased hasn’t changed.  The value of the dollar, what the dollar will buy, has changed.

When we increase the minimum wage, we devalue the dollar.

I am not an economist and I am not going to go back over the last fifty years and see the precise changes in minimum wage and the effect on the economy.  I have, however, been living through the last fifty years, and in my observation, raising the minimum wage causes economic turmoil.

The minimum wage is meant to be a starting point for employment.  As workers develop skills and demonstrate a solid work ethic, they may be rewarded with higher paying jobs.  New workers entering the job market take their place and the process moves onward.

When the minimum wage is raised it has an affect on what other employees are paid as well.  People often view their pay in relationship to the minimum wage so to keep employees, wages across the board need to go up.  Higher wages means higher operating costs.  These costs are passed on to the consumer, resulting in inflation.

Currently, people who make minimum wage may be eligible for a variety of assistance programs from the government.  These include food stamps, rent assistance, utilities assistance and other programs.  These programs help people to live a better life while making minimum wage. Perhaps we could add an option of financial training.  We should help to teach people how to live on their income, rather than beyond their income.

People should look to better themselves by finding better jobs, not by trying to force employers to pay more for an hour of basic labor.

Raising the minimum wage is a bad idea.

The Prayer of Jabez

February 16, 2015

A number of years ago a book came out called “The Prayer of Jabez”.  I was given a copy and I read it.  There was a bit of a push to recommend saying the prayer daily as a means of effecting change.  I am not much of a person to jump on a bandwagon and do something simply because it is popular.  I am also not a big fan of memorized prayers so I did not do anything with it at the time.

Imagine my surprise when I was reading in my devotions this past week and felt the Lord prompt me to use this prayer as the basis for the message this week.

I Chronicles 4:9-10

Now Jabez was more honorable than his brothers, and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, “Because I bore him in pain.” 10 And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying, “Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain!” So God granted him what he requested.

I.  That You Would Bless Me

There is nothing wrong with asking for God to bless us.  Actually, it is good to recognize that all blessings do indeed come from God.  These blessings come in many forms.  I wonder if we even recognize the blessings that we do receive?  Or if we are so focused on what we haven’t received, that we don’t appreciate the blessings that God has given us?

II.  Enlarge My Territory

This does not mean simply give me a bigger house, or a more important job.  We should think beyond ourselves.  It is not all about us.  We should try to broaden our influence and have an impact on more people for the kingdom of God.  This can take place in our personal lives, our church, the missionaries that we support with our giving and our prayers and in other ways.  If we lift our eyes to the horizon we will be surprised at what impact God can have through our lives.  Let us enlarge our territory and look beyond ourselves.

III.  Your Hand Would Be With Me

I am reminded that among the last words of Jesus to His disciples was “I am with you always.”  (Matthew 28:20)  God is with us to guide, provide, protect and encourage.  He is an ever present help.

IV.  Keep Me From Evil

Certainly we desire God to protect us from evil.  There are different forms of evil, natural evil, human evil, and supernatural evil.  They are all bad and God is able to protect us from them.  If we are caught up in evil, God is able to see us through.

It is also appropriate to think of this as a prayer to keep us from doing evil.  We are not perfect and we need the help of God to do what is right.

V.  That I Might Not Cause Pain

Jabez is a word that means “He will cause pain”.  Jabez did not want to live up to his name.  Our desire should be to be a blessing to others, not to cause them pain.  May God use our lives to build people up, not to tear them down.

I am still not one to jump on a bandwagon or to recommend memorized prayers.  However, many people have found that saying the prayer of Jabez regularly has been very helpful in their lives.  Whether you choose to regularly use the prayer in your devotions is up to you.

I do think that we can all learn a lesson from the themes that it presents.

These are the sermon notes from 2/8/15.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them.    

Plans, Promises, and Truthfulness

February 12, 2015

Years ago, when I started this blog, I wrote an article four times a week.  Those articles were about all kinds of different topics.  For quite a while now, I have been simply posting sermon notes.  I am going to try to get back to writing articles on a variety of topics.  The sermon notes will still come out on Mondays.  On Thursdays, I will be writing something different. At least, that is the plan.  Please feel free to make comments on anything that I write.  I enjoy interaction.  Thank you. 

Have you ever wondered what the world would look like if everyone was truthful?  If everyone kept their word?  If everyone kept their promises? This world would be a better place.

A number of years ago, I told my philosophy class that I tried to always tell the truth.  They laughed.  Apparently, they thought that I was lying, because, of course, everyone lies, at least in their minds. That memory has stayed with me as a sad commentary on society today.

I do not mean that we have to share every thought that goes through our minds. Some things we can keep to ourselves.

Sometimes, it is important to use tact when speaking the truth.  If we speak the truth with the right attitude, in the right way, at the right time,  it is a very good thing.  This is not always easy to do.

Wouldn’t it be nice if people kept their word?  If we tell someone we are going to do something, we should do it.  This is especially important in the business world.  If we hire someone to do some kind of work and they take the money but don’t do the work, then we are cheated.  On the other hand, if someone does the work, but isn’t paid, then they are cheated.  Unfortunately, this sort of thing happens far too often. It makes us suspicious of people.  Until someone has proven themselves, we may not trust them.

Promise keeping is especially important.  When my children were young, I wanted to impress on them the importance of keeping promises.  One way that I did that was to use promises very sparingly.  I would tell my children that I was planning to do something, but that sometimes plans have to change.  That way if something came up, and I had to change my plans, I was not breaking a promise.  When I did make a promise, I made sure that it was something that I could keep.

Incidentally, wedding vows are a form of promise.  For better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness, and in health, forsaking all others for as long as we both shall live.   This is not something to be taken lightly.  There may be bad days, but your commitment to each other should bring you through them.

Maybe we cannot transform the entire world, but we can change a little part of it.  May we learn to be truthful people who keep our word.

Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them. 

 

Live For God

February 9, 2015

I came across a phrase in my Bible reading this week.  It struck a chord with me and I would like to share it with you.  I Kings 15:14 reads:

But the high places were not removed. Nevertheless Asa’s heart was loyal to the Lord all his days.

I have been a Christian since I was a small child.  I did not have a time of rebellion against God.  If the only thing that people say about me at the end of my life is that I “was loyal to the Lord all his days” that would be a good thing.  Almost as good as “Well done, good and faithful servant”spoken by the Lord.  The primary desire of my heart is to live for God.

Colossians 3: 1-11

If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.

Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience, in which you yourselves once walked when you lived in them.

But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, 10 and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, 11 where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all.

I.  Set Your Mind On Things Above (v2)

Are our lives consumed with the things of this world?  Are we spending all of our time and energy pursuing goals that are based in this world?  Remember, we are to “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to us.”  (Matthew 6:33)  This does not mean that we use seeking God as a tool to get what we really want to posses.  We should honestly have as our first desire, the desire to please God, to do His will in our lives.  Let us focus on the things of God.  Yes, we do need to remain grounded by this life.  We do need to be good students, or employees.  We need to pay the bills and live our lives, but our first desire should be to seek God.

II.  Christ is Our Life (v4)

As born again Christians, we have a new life in Christ.  The old man has died, and we have a new life in Christ.  This is because of the Spirit of Christ, which dwells in our hearts through our faith in Jesus.  It is not simply a refocus of our old life, it is a new creation in Christ.  He is our life source.

III.  Die to Sin (vv5-9)

Since Christ is now our life source, we are to put to death the old nature and it’s ways.  All forms of sexual immorality, covetousness, which is an improper longing for things of this world, anger, and even filthy language should be removed from our lives.  Our society freely embraces all these things, but we are called to come out from among them and be separate.  Our lives should be different because of the Spirit of Christ that dwells in us.

IV.  Put On the New Man (v10)

The old nature is to be put to death.  We are to put on the new nature.  We should continue to grow in our knowledge of God and of His Word.  We grow in this knowledge by spending time in prayer and in the Bible.  God will guide us by His Spirit to develop more and more into the image of His son.

V.  Unity (v11)

We should recognize an essential unity with all believers in Jesus Christ.  We may go by different names, we may have some different practices, and even some different beliefs, but all who have the Spirit of Christ are essentially one in Him.

May God help us in our efforts to live for Him, not just for a moment, but for a lifetime.

These are the sermon notes from 1/25/15.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them.   

 

Complete the Work

February 5, 2015

There are times when we feel like giving up.  That we cannot carry on.  That we cannot overcome the obstacles that we face.  It is especially at those times that we need to remind ourselves of whom we serve and who is working in us.

I.  Trust in God:  II Samuel 22:2-4

And he said:

“The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer;
The God of my strength, in whom I will trust;
My shield and the horn of my salvation,
My stronghold and my refuge;
My Savior, You save me from violence.
I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised;
So shall I be saved from my enemies.

The Lord is my rock.  This is an image of stability.  As we trust in the Lord He provides a sense of assurance.  Everything will work out in the end.  We can have confidence in Him.

God is our source of strength.  We can do more with the help of God than we would ever do on our own. God will strengthen us for the journey that He has set before us.

God is my shield.  The devil cannot harm me, except for what God allows.  God does allow some things to get through to us, to test us to see if we will trust Him, to see how we will respond.  The tests and trials of this life make us stronger, and they are a witness to those around us.

When we are in trouble we should call upon the Lord.  He will give us wisdom and strength as we trust in Him.  He is worthy to be praised, for through Him, we can be victorious over whatever may come our way.  We shall be saved from our enemies by the grace of God which works through us.

II.  God Will Complete the Work in You:  Philippians 1:6

 being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;

We can have confidence in God.  He does not leave His work unfinished.  He continues to work in our lives until we leave this world.  The work begins even before salvation as He prepares our hearts through the circumstances of our lives.  Then we are saved, and a new life in Christ begins.  We grow to maturity in Christ.  Then we live a life of service to God.  It is a rich, full life.  The work that God does in us is never completed in this life.  We continue to grow and develop more and more into the people that He means for us to be.  He continues His work, both in, and through us.

III.  Let Your Light Shine: Philippians 2:12-16

 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.

14 Do all things without complaining and disputing, 15 that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, 16 holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain.

To work out our salvation does not mean to earn our salvation, it means to live out our salvation.  If we are saved, then we should live like we are saved.  If we are a child of the king, we should live like He would want us to live.  If we have been born again, we should live a new life in Christ.

A part of this new life is to have the right attitude.  The work that we do is not always fun or glamorous.  Sometimes it is boring, difficult, even nasty. We should do our work without murmuring or complaining.

I think that this is a great verse for all children to memorize while they are young, and be reminded of constantly when they are teenagers. (v14)

Our lives should be different from people who are not living in a relationship with Christ.  The light of Christ has shown into our lives.  Now the light of Christ should shine through our lives.

We can trust God with our lives.  He will complete His work in us.  His light should shine through our lives.

To God be the Glory.

These are the sermon notes from 1/11/15.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them.

 

Spiritual Battle

January 29, 2015

Once upon a time, I served our country in the Marine Corps.  When I made the decision to not reenlist and to return to Bible college instead,  I told people that I was transferring to the 1st civ div.  I was in the Lord’s service and was being transferred.  My time in the military had been TAD (temporary assigned duty) but that it was time to get back to the calling God had on my life.

Ephesians 6:10-20

 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; 18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints— 19 and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

I.  Be Strong in the Lord

Physical strength was very helpful in the Marine Corps.  In serving God a different type of strength is needed.  Spiritual strength comes from spending time in the Word and time in prayer.  It comes from God.

We are involved in a conflict.  This conflict is not fought with guns, planes, and tanks.  This conflict is fought with faith, prayer and the Word of God.  The conflict is spiritual.  We are not fighting for a country, or oil, or even physical freedom or prosperity.  We are fighting for the eternal destiny of souls.  All people will one day stand before the Lord.  Those who have rejected the salvation offered in Jesus Christ will go to hell for all eternity.  Our goal in this conflict is to bring all that we can into the kingdom of God.

It is a war worth fighting.  It is worth the cost.

II.  The Armor of God

I have known many people who believe that this armor is spiritual.  They get up in the morning and say a prayer, spiritually putting on the armor of God.  I do not have any problem with this practice.  It reminds people of the spiritual nature of our warfare.  However, I also believe that it will do little good to say this prayer if you are not actually practicing the articles of faithful living.

We should be people who speak truth.  Our culture is filled with lies.  The “little white lie” is considered harmless, or even helpful. As Christians, we must resist this influence and speak the truth.

We should have a good knowledge of the gospel so that we may be able to share it with those who are searching for hope in a world that desperately needs a solid foundation.

We should live lives of righteousness.  We are called to be holy.  I understand that we will not obtain perfection, but that is not an excuse to remain in our sins.  We are to be growing in godliness.

Our faith in God extends beyond simple salvation.  We trust God to guide, provide and protect.  When things are bad we remember that “all things work together for good, for those who love God”.  (Romans 8:28)

Our salvation is rooted in our relationship with God through our faith in Jesus Christ.  We must keep God first in our lives.  Do not allow yourself to drift away from your first love.

Jesus himself rebuked the devil with the Word of God.  We should be people of the Word.  We should read it, study it, memorize it, meditate upon it and make it a central part of our lives.  “It is written …” is much better than “I think…” when dealing with spiritual matters.

III.  Prayer

I suspect that many people underestimate the power of prayer.  Prayer has an impact beyond what we see.  It can also be an effective evangelistic tool.  People often like to share about their problems.  We can offer to pray for their needs.  Even unbelievers will gratefully accept prayer when the need is great.  It can reach into their lives and touch their hearts helping to make them more receptive to the gospel.

It has been many years since I served in the Marine Corps, but I have been on the front lines of spiritual battle for decades.  I encourage you to join me in this spiritual battle.

Be strong in the Lord and the power of His might!

These are the sermon notes from 1/4/15.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them.

Past, Present and Future

January 26, 2015

It is the end of 2014, or the beginning of 2015, depending on how you want to look at it.  Are you looking back?  Or looking forward?  As for me, I need to be focused on the present because I am supposed to be preaching.

Philippians 3:12  Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.

I.  The Past

As we think back over the past year there are events that stand out in our mind as good memories.  There are other things that are not so good.  We should appreciate the good things that happened in our life.   It is important to be able to recognize, enjoy and celebrate the good.

Those things that were not so good should be treated as learning opportunities.  We should learn from our mistakes.  We should learn how to deal better with adversity.  We should recognize that God will give us the wisdom to know what to do, and the strength to do it.  We can trust God to help us through the tough times.

II.  The Future

We can appreciate the past, and we can look forward to, and plan for, the future, but, we live in the moment.  We should seek to find the proper balance of fond memories, hopeful planning and current action.

We should press on.  This implies effort.  We should not simply coast through life.  We should actively pursue what God has called us to do.  We should continue to cooperate with the Holy Spirit, as He works in our lives.  We should be what we are supposed to be.

Don’t quit.  There are times when we may grow tired or discouraged, but we should not give up hope. God has promised to be with us and to help us through the time that we are here on earth.  There is a reason we are here.  God has a purpose for our lives.  We should fulfill that purpose.

These are the sermon notes from 12/31/14.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them.


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