All posts by Frank Becker

LIVE OR DIE

Week Forty-Eight, 2022

Then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature (Genesis 2:7).

In post Roe v. Wade, the abortion debate continues and even escalates. California Governor Gavin Newsom, who claims that Jesus’s command to “love your neighbor” means we should kill babies, just signed a gruesome bill into law. By intentionally using the word “perinatal,” which has a vastly different medical meaning than prenatal (before birth), the law will prevent even an investigation where a living child is allowed to die up to 28 days after birth. That’s infanticide.

Abortion is about the intentional killing of a human life, nothing more, nothing less and nothing else. It’s not about a mother’s convenience or choice. It’s not about how someone got pregnant. That’s why I wrote my book The Issue is Life (Amazon.com). Recently a lady came back at me and said I was trying to impose my religious beliefs on her. I told her that “You liberals are always advancing your beliefs through science, so let’s look at the science of creation.”

Abortion is the killing a living human being made in the image of God. It is not just a matter of morality. It is a matter of human life and a unique human life that occurs and is created at the moment of fertilization and any human attempt to terminate that human life is the murder of another human being.

“It’s my body” she says, but no it is not. A fertilized egg is a unique combination of information. If you have a kidney transplant, your body will reject it because it is foreign tissue and requires anti-rejection drugs. A woman’s body would actually reject a fertilized egg, since it has a completely different DNA from the mother, but for a natural mechanism in the uterus to accept the fertilized egg and allow it to develop until the day of birth.

Often the egg has different X and Y chromosomes from the mother. It is indeed a different person and the mother has the sacred honor of carrying that unique and different person for the first nine months of his or her life.

At the moment of fertilization, the baby’s genetic make-up is complete, including its sex. The sex of your baby depends on what sperm fertilizes the egg at the moment of conception. Generally, women have a genetic combination of XX and men have XY. Women provide each egg with an X. Each sperm can be either an X or a Y. If the fertilized egg and sperm is a combination of an X and Y, it’s a boy. If there are two Xs, it’s a girl.

Mother and baby/fetus have different genetic codes. Every cell of the mother’s body contains her own distinct gene code/DNA, unique to her only. The father’s DNA is obviously equally unique. The DNA of the baby/fetus is taken 50% from mother and 50% from father to form an equally unique and different baby/fetus.

A developing baby/fetus has a separate circulatory system and a separate blood system from its mother’s, therefore no blood is ever exchanged between mother and baby/fetus. This is why the baby/fetus can have a different blood type from the mother and be safe from immunological attack by the mother’s antibodies. The baby/fetus occupies the space of the uterus (womb) which, anatomically, is considered external to the mother’s body.

The entire alimentary canal of a person is considered to be part of the external world; literally “outside” the body. Think of it. You can pass a string entirely through the alimentary canal which is a tunnel inside a larger structure with two passages to the outside world. The morsel of food you place in your mouth is not a part of you. It must be chewed and broken down chemically into pieces so small that they then can be absorbed into your body through the walls of the intestines.

There is an area unique to the female anatomy which, like the alimentary canal, is also considered “outside” the body and yet is housed within the woman’s outline: the vaginal canal and the uterus or “womb”. If you are struggling with the abortion question then it might be useful to study some anatomy and physiology.

Mother and baby/fetus have different genetic codes. Every cell of the mother’s body contains her own distinct gene code/DNA, unique to her only. The father’s DNA is obviously equally unique.

The DNA of the baby/fetus is taken 50% from mother and 50% from father to form an equally unique and different baby/fetus. Only the baby’s identical twin can be an identical genetic match.

So, if you get into a discussion with a pro-choice pro-abortion person, don’t argue politics. Just give the undisputed scientific and physiological facts and that explains scientifically why abortion is the taking of a human life.

Share this with others, as this is a battle we must win!

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SOMETIMES TRUE STORIES

To me, one of the sad truths about the world today is that most people look upon work as something to escape from. To them, this major part of life is a necessary evil, even an obstacle to the life they dream about.

Want proof?

• 67% of Americans are disengaged at their work.

• The 4-Hour Workweek is one of the top-selling books of the last decade.

• People are beginning to define early retirement as their dream.

• Given the option between “work a long time at a fulfilling job” or “retire early,” only 34% of Americans would choose to work a long time at a fulfilling job.

• At least half of the U.S. workforce is quiet quitting.

I could add, from plenty of personal conversations, that there are some people who choose simplicity as a means to escape work. I don’t think that’s what the simple life is for.

There’s not a doubt in my mind that some of the discontent we feel about work comes from our faulty thinking on the reason for it. In our desire to get out of work, we are missing the point of it.

Dorothy Sayers, in her famous essay Why Work? begs us to see work anew. She seeks nothing less than “a thoroughgoing revolution in our whole attitude to work.”

Sayers believes we should look upon work, “not as a necessary drudgery to be undergone for the purpose of making money, but as a way of life in which the nature of man should find its proper exercise and delight and so fulfill itself.”

Work, in this regard, is not something to be avoided. It is something to be pursued and enjoyed.

Your work contributes to the good of society and moves us ahead. We need your talents and abilities. We need you to work hard and do it well. It makes us better as people and it enriches our lives. The Minimalist

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The World Bank is warning of the threat of a global recession next year. JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon is predicting that the US economy will fall into a recession in the next six to nine months.

QUOTES YOU CAN USE

The value of who Jesus is determines the value of what Jesus did. Ken Whitten

What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us. Ralph Waldo Emerson

There are no big problems, there are just a lot of little problems. Henry Ford

One person with a belief is equal to a force of ninety-nine who have only interests. John Stuart Mill

To give without any reward, or any notice, has a special quality of its own. Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking. MARCUS AURELIUS

Change is the end result of all true learning. Leo Buscagla

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. called courage “the power of the mind to overcome fear.”

Courage by definition requires adversity. Where there are no challenges, there is no need for courage.

Two things to remember in life: Take care of your thoughts when you are alone and take care of your words when you are with people.

Be a free thinker and don’t accept everything you hear as truth. Evaluate what you believe in. Aristotle

Just as we define our actions, our actions define us. George Eliot

This is not the year to get everything you want. This is the year to appreciate everything you have.

So technically, Moses was the first man to download files from the cloud using a tablet.

Freedom is the sure possession of those alone who have the courage to defend it. Pericles

One day you will look back and realize that you worried too much about the things that really don’t matter. Enjoy the moment God gave you the oxygen to breathe.

Four beautiful thoughts of life:

1. Look back and get experience.

2. Look forward and see hope.

3. Look around and find reality.

4. Look within and find yourself.

I gave my seat to a blind person on the bus. That’s how I lost my job as a bus driver.

“THE SACRIFICE OF THANKSGIVING”

Jeremy Stopford (Semi-Retired Pastor) November 21, 2022

The night before Thanksgiving a new bride called her mother in tears.

“Oh Mom, I tried to make Grandma’s meat loaf for dinner tonight. I thought it would make for a light meal before our big meal tomorrow. But the meat loaf is just awful! I followed the recipe exactly, and I know I have the recipe right because it’s the one you gave me. But it just didn’t come out right, and I’m so upset. I wanted this to be so special for George because he loves meat loaf – and this is our first Thanksgiving eve together. What could have gone wrong?”

Her mother replied soothingly, “Well, dear, let’s go through the recipe. You read it out loud and tell me exactly what you did at each step, and together we’ll figure it out.”

“Okay,” the bride sniffled. “Well, it starts out: ‘Take fifty cents worth of ground beef…’”

The story of Jonah, for most of us, is a very familiar one. In fact, one could say that the story goes from the familiar to the unfamiliar. There is a young man. He gets told to go one way. He goes another way. He gets thrown off a ship. He gets swallowed up by a WHALE – well, maybe a “great fish”. He tells God he is sorry. He gets spit out of the whale – well, actually “vomited”! He goes to where he is supposed to go. End of story.

Or is it?

Look at Jonah 2:9: “But I will sacrifice to You with the voice of thanksgiving;

I will pay what I have vowed. Salvation is of the Lord.”

Wait! How did Jonah get to the point where he was willing to say to God that he would offer to Him the “sacrifice of thanksgiving”? That’s, well, impossible, isn’t it?

Let’s see how this happens.

First is the description of his situation. Look at the first 6 verses of Chapter 2 – again they are MOST familiar. Jonah describes his heart. He “cried out to the Lord”… “Out of the belly of Sheol I cried”…”I have been cast out of Your sight.” His situation is pretty bleak!

He had been given an assignment from the Lord Himself. He was to go to Nineveh and “preach the gospel”, as it were. Nineveh? Weren’t they the enemies of the people of Israel? Gentiles? Yet that fact was not a concern to the Lord.

What WAS a concern was Jonah’s obedience to God’s directive. In the big picture of things, Jonah did NOT want to go to Nineveh. He knew, he just KNEW the power of the Word of God. He KNEW that if he proclaimed the salvation of the Lord, the heathen Ninevites would repent and trust the Lord and His Word! We know the story of Chapter One. As he was in a ship with seasoned sailors, they found themselves in the heart of a violent storm.

From their experiences they knew that the source of this storm was not only God Himself. The cause of this storm was someone’s disobedience to the Lord. It did not take the convicted Jonah long to share his guilt. At his word, they threw him overboard. To the sailors’ amazement, the storm settled down. And no doubt, to Jonah’s amazement, he was swallowed by a great fish.

And that’s where the story gets interesting. What was more powerful than the mighty storm was the one-on-one connection with the Lord in the great fish’s belly. There was no escape – neither from the belly nor from the Lord Himself.

Jonah was not only in the heart of the fish’s belly. He was inside his own heart, seeing himself for who he was before a holy God. He was in the “belly of the grave” (v. 2), as it were.

Into the deep, into the heart of the seas, surrounded by floods, passed over by billows and waves, cast out of God’s sight.” No hope. In verse 4 he petitions the Lord, “I will look again toward Your holy temple.” In the Hebrew, scholars say the verse implies a question, “WILL I ever see your temple again?”.

When one is seemingly without the presence of the personal God, without Him and without hope of escaping his circumstances, he has two choices. Only two. No others. Stay there and die. Or look up and hope.

Even so, Jonah’s situation was without any visible hope. Verse 6 is most descriptive. It is said of the iceberg that crippled the Titanic that only a portion of the mighty iceberg was visible above water. It was the majesty of what was not visible below the sea level into which the great ship met its demise. “The Unsinkable” found its match and then some.

Look again at verse 6. Jonah observes that he “went down to the moorings of the mountains.” Can you even begin to imagine? What people saw above the water line he was looking at what was below the water line. And apparently what was below was greater than what was above. He was starring at the very base of these grand mountains of the earth.

The New Living Translation says that Jonah was “locked up out of life.” No hope. Without God. “To the point of death”, as one version says.” Ephesians 2:12 says of the unsaved, that he is “…without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.”

No hope. Without God. One commentator said that inside the belly of the great fish, the rebellious Jonah would be surrounded by foul smelling, big fish (whale?) belly acid, and LOTS of seaweed. It is surprising that if the acid didn’t drown him, the seaweed would have suffocated him. No hope. Without God.

And on a lighter note: you DO know why Jonah didn’t perish in the belly of the great fish, don’t you? Because God wasn’t ready for Jonah to die just yet. Hmmm…

But the gracious Lord has a way to put a few words of kindness together, In Psalm 40:1, David writes “He inclined to me”. In Ephesians 2:1-4, after telling the readers from Ephesus that they had been “dead in trespasses and sins” (v, 1), Paul writes two life changing words: “but God” (v. 4a). He “is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us…made us alive.” Can I hear a “WOW”?

Look back again at Jonah 2, because here God does it again! Near the end of verse 6, after describing vividly Jonah’s surroundings in the stomach of the great fish, Jonah writes of God, “Yet YOU…”.

“You have brought up my life from the pit…”. Jonah declared these amazing words of faith WHILE he was still in the belly of the great fish! Words of faith! Could we do this?

He remembers the ross – yes, even in the Old Testament! Note verse 7: once again, from the belly of the great fish Jonah’s prayer goes up to God’s holy temple! The veil of the temple has been rent in two – and now his prayer can go right up to God’s Most Holy Place! Can I hear another Wow!”?

The Message says, “my prayer made it through, all the way to You”. The author of Hebrews writes, “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” We can do BY FAITH what Jonah did BY FAITH”. Another “Wow” dear people?

Don’t forget that this all is happening within the belly of the great fish, and in the heart of Jonah. He closes his prayer with…THANKSGIVING! His heart is hungry now, for God Himself. He sees the difference between the true God of Israel and the false gods of Nineveh. At this stage in the story he recognizes that the Ninevites are worshiping “worthless idols” (v. 8). In contrast, Jonah pledges that he “will sacrifice [to the true God] with the voice of thanksgiving” (v. 9a). The worship of anything false not only bypasses, it eliminates the cross.

He gives a song of praise coupled with a hope of a life of obedience. Notice his pledge of the heart: “I will pay what I have vowed.”

And he then makes a declaration of faith: “salvation is of the Lord.” (v. 9b)

In turn, God does what at the start would appear to be most impossible: He speaks to the great fish and causes it to, well, “vomit” Jonah on to the dry land..

You know, God delights in doing the unexpected. He honors the life that honors Him.

“Salvation is of the Lord”. We of New Testament faith understand this all too well. For John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten [His “one and only”] Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

This story is also one of surrender. True surrender is evident when the song of praise comes, as declared in the prayer of THANKSGIVING. Jonah calls this a “sacrifice”. It is his surrender.

This Thanksgiving season, wouldn’t it be something if each one of us pauses from the busy-ness of the fuss of the meal? Wouldn’t it be something if each one of us gets by ourselves and raises up a “Sacrifice of Thanksgiving” to the living God for Who He is, what He has done for each of us through the cross, and then for all His displays of grace with which He overflows each day of our lives?

Will you offer your Sacrifice of Thanksgiving this holiday season?

AT RISK

Week Forty-Seven, 2022

He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most high shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: My God; in him will I trust. Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, And from the noisome pestilence. He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: His truth shall be thy shield and buckler. Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night, Nor for the arrow that flieth by day. Psalm 91

Certainly, we now live in precarious times. From national and world security to the economy and to worldwide moral decay, our world is at risk. What does the future hold?

In his strongest, gloomiest speech since taking the helm of the United Nations in 2017, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres opened the six-day gathering telling leaders that the survival of humanity and the planet are at stake, and nations aren’t tackling the challenges to reverse course. “We are gridlocked in colossal global dysfunction,” he said. “Our world is in peril — and paralyzed.”

He cited the nearly thirty armed conflicts worldwide and said that none are improving. He mentioned a global food crisis and opened fissures among major powers in a way not seen since the Cold War. Relations between Russia and the United States are lower than in any time in the last fifty years.

He cited a “growing awareness that humanity has entered a new era” of complex challenges, multilayered crises, and changing priorities. What’s happening, he said, represents not just modifications, but “significant transformations in the making.” There isn’t a name yet “for the new epoch” he said, “but we feel that it has arrived.”

Indeed, today’s world is a scary place to live. On many fronts we are at extreme risk. Here in the USA, we all see the complete breakdown of civilization that is taking place in our country. It’s one of the reasons why 79% of Americans believe our country is heading in the wrong direction. Our culture is unraveling in front of our eyes. And it’s happening in direct proportion to how quickly our commitment to Judeo-Christian civilization is unraveling. The prevailing leftist worldview, through our educational system and through the press is telling us that man’s word prevails over God’s Word. We must combat that view.

As more Americans reject faith and reject American exceptionalism, we see more violence on our streets and immorality in many institutions. This is what our Founders meant when they said only a virtuous people can remain free. We are on our way to losing our freedom.

But here is the basic. There are only two worldviews, God’s and man’s. Naturalism (which is in reality atheism) has become the foundation of our modern secular educational system. If we are not using the foundation of God’s Word to build a proper Christian worldview, our children, and adults as well, will not understand this world we live in. Sadly, we are being captured by the world.

We as Christians must fight back. Honor Christ and let him be the Lord of your life. Always be ready to give an answer when someone asks you about your faith. (1 Peter 3:15).

Are you prepared to defend your faith? It is the only hope for tomorrow and for generations to come.

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SOMETIMES TRUE STORIES

Don’t get me wrong, I love a potluck (I am a Methodist preacher after all) but when the potluck outgrows the prayer meeting, there is a problem and we’ve had a problem for too long. The prayer meeting is the least attended meeting in the modern evangelical church. When those numbers begin to grow, we might be on the verge of another Great Awakening. Let’s make that happen, in Jesus Name. Hal Hall

— o —

I didn’t become a Christian because God promised I would have an even happier life than I had as an atheist. He never promised any such thing. Indeed, following him would inevitably bring divine demotions in the eyes of the world. That was compelling to me.

Rather, I became a Christian because the evidence was so compelling that Jesus really is the one-and-only Son of God who proved his divinity by rising from the dead. That meant following him was the most rational and logical step I could possibly take.

~ Lee Strobel

— o —

Psalm 56 3 1

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QUOTES YOU CAN USE

If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world. C. S. Lewis

Victory comes as we learn to abide in Christ. Dan Shock

No person was ever honored for what he received. Honor has been the reward for what he gave. Calvin Coolidge

Saying nothing sometimes says the most. Emily Dickinson

When you recognize your insufficiency, it causes you to lean upon God for His all-sufficiency. Florida Marketplace Ministry

The question is not whether you have Jesus, but whether Jesus has you. Ken Whitten

Rank does not confer privilege or give power. It imposes responsibility. Peter Drucker

Don’t wait. The time will never be just right. Napoleon Hill

By working faithfully eight hours a day, you may eventually get to be boss and work twelve hours a day. Robert Frost

The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot. Michael Altshuler

People seem not to see that their opinion of the world is also a confession of character. Ralph Waldo Emerson

Whatever you are, be a good one. Abraham Lincoln

“COME TO ME!”

(Matthew 11:28)

Jeremy Stopford (Semi-Retired Pastor) November 14, 2022

Over the course of the past 35 years or so, I’ve officiated about 500 funerals. Interestingly enough, most of that number were not people I knew nor were they members of churches I pastored. Rather, they were people connected with people connected with people. In other words, they often were distantly related to people I knew. In fact, for many of those services I have been asked to oversee, my being asked was a result of my having officiated a previous service which had been attended by a loved one or friend of the one for whom I was now being asked to give “words of comfort”.

And as I’ve aged, I have learned my limitations and weaknesses. Interestingly enough, I’ve also learned that our God has no limit nor weakness. And for that I am quite thankful. It is He Who has equipped, enabled, and directed me in those preparations. And yet in recent years I’ve learned, I have REALLY learned, that there is just so much that I am able to do. As a result, I’ve shared with the local funeral homes that I would be honored to officiate only for those services where the deceased or a family member specifically asks for me to be a part of the service.

That was the case for “Irene”. A couple of days ago, I had the honor to try to bring comfort to Irene’s family at her service. I did not know Irene well; on the contrary, I knew her late husband who I affectionately called “SPCA ‘Bob’”! After his retirement, Bob volunteered for many years as the greeter for our local animal shelter. He was so good at it – how good was he? – he was so good that many of us called him “SPCA Bob”. The nickname was given due to his courteousness, his compassion, his immediate relationship with anyone who came through the front door of the shelter. Eight years ago Irene asked me to serve her through her late husband’s funeral. And, as I recently learned, after Bob’s service Irene let the funeral home know that she wanted me to one day officiate her doings.

And the connections continue! My wife worked for several years with Irene in a local elementary school cafeteria. My wife also graduated in the same class from high school with one of Irene’s daughters-in-law.

But here are the big questions: “Did I know Irene?”. No. Did I know her family well? No? Did I know the spiritual foundation of either Irene or any of her surviving relatives? No.

So the REALLY BIG QUESTION is this: how is it possible to bring eternal comfort to a family whose spiritual base is unknown or uncertain?

How?

By offering the family HOPE.

Does offering “hope” mean that you are wishing their loved one into heaven? (Invariably, many of the family members at the service said that “Mom” [or “Nana”] was now enjoying baking cookies in heaven for “Dad” [or “Pop Pop”).

That presumption that “all people go to heaven when they die” seems to be an ongoing trend of the attendees at most of my services. The only exception is for those rare services which involved a member of a church that I had pastored. In most of those cases I had known of the deceased profession of faith in the Lord Jesus. As a result, I could offer hope to the family and friends based upon that profession of faith.

So back to “hope”. How is it possible to offer hope to a group of people – often both young and old – who may have no eternal hope? In fact, they are seeking “COMFORT” – hope is the farthest thing from their grieving minds.

And yet isn’t it possible that in offering TRUE HOPE a major by-product will be COMFORT?

Into that picture comes an amazing phrase, one of my favorites that our Savior used. Let me give you the entire phrase along with its surrounding verses:

“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

— Matthew 11:28-30 (NKJV)

The Lord in His infinite wisdom loves this phrase, “Come to Me”. He uses it throughout His Scriptures. The occasions of use are both rare and personal. They are a part of our Bible some 38 times. 24 are found in the Old Testament; the remaining 14 are in the New.

The first use is found in Genesis 18:21 where the Lord Himself says, “ I will go down now and see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry against it that has come to Me; and if not, I will know.”

In the previous verses, the Lord had given an indication to both Abraham and Sarah that the time for His fulfillment of a promise was nearing completion – Abraham was to be the father of a son! And Sarah even in her old age was to be the mother. Her laugh of unbelief, and the Lord’s giving of the name “Isaac” to the unborn child, were indications of the Lord’s purposes in promise. By the name “Isaac”, that is, “Laughter”, these two elderly – and the rest of us as well – were to be reminded of those moments of unbelief.

Yet in the middle of revealing His purposes to Abraham and Isaac came the Lord’s revealing of His purposes for Sodom and Gomorrah. The Lord does not mention the exact heinous deeds of these two cities, However, He mentions that what has “come to Him” was an outcry. Once the source of that outcry was verified, the response would be the complete destruction of these two cities.

The Lord would reveal His desire to destroy. Further, in His grace, the Lord would reveal His desire to preserve life – Abraham’s nephew Lot and his family.

“Come to Me”.

In later years, once more a cry would come to the ears of the Lord. Listen to Exodus 3:9-10, shared with Moses from a burning bush:

“9 Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel has come to Me, and I have also seen the oppression with which the Egyptians oppress them. 10 Come now, therefore, and I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring My people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.”

This time the cry was of an unborn nation. The descendants of Abraham were now slaves in Egypt, treated shamefully – more like dogs than as humans. Their cry came to a caring God Who according to His eternal purposes was bringing to pass the creation of the nation of Israel.

“Come to Me”.

Let’s look at one more – this time spoken not by the Lord but by one of the enemies of the people of Israel. Listen to the familiar uses spoken by both Goliath and later by the shepherd boy David in 1 Samuel 17:43-45:

“43 So the Philistine said to David, “Am I a dog, that you come to me with sticks?” And the Philistine cursed David by his gods.

44 And the Philistine said to David, “Come to me, and I will give your flesh to the birds of the air and the beasts of the field!”

45 Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.”

David, later identified as a “man after God’s own heart” (Acts 13:22), would be the shepherd boy who had learned by experience that the God of Israel is faithful. He had also experienced God’s faithfulness through the slaying of the animal enemies of his sheep. And now this giant Philistine was to be just like one of those animals. While the giant had no eternal help, David had the help of the God of Israel.

“Come to Me”

So now the hope of Matthew 11:28. To “Whom” or “what” did Jesus say to “Come”? Did He say to “come to My church”? Did He say to “come to My religion”? The answer to both questions is an huge NO! He made a two-fold plea. First, He said “Come to Me”. Then He said, “Learn from Me”. We first “come” and then we “learn”. What do we “learn” after we finally submit our wills to “come”? We learn that He is worthy of our trust for eternity. His death, burial, and resurrection is the only hope for those who are without God and without hope. And when we “come”, we learn that He is not only worthy of our eternal trust. He is worthy of our daily trust! We will find Him faithful for every day of the rest of our lives! Wow!

And when we find that His invitation to “Come to Me” is true…and when we find His invitation to “Learn from Me” is true…what do we have then?

Aha! Aha! We have what we hunger for!

We have true COMFORT!

“Come to Me”!

JUST ENOUGH

Week Forty-Six, 2022

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.

– Galatians 6:9

For generations, Americans have been taught that we are what we do and what comes from what we do. Achievement and prosperity, measured by financial and material means, is our secular society’s definition of success.

But in recent years, this pathway to purpose has hit a dead end. Consumer sentiment fell to a record low earlier this year even though unemployment is historically low. Surprisingly, consumers were more optimistic early in the pandemic than they are today. Rates of substance abuse, depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideation continue to rise. People just seem to want to give up. But the Bible says, “But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded” (2 Chronicles 15:7).

Clearly, the so-called American Dream—working harder to have more—is not enough for many. What happened to the goal of working harder to have more?

Others are giving up on the “dream” itself. Four in five millennial employees say their generation will be “much worse off” in retirement than their parents’ generation, a fear that is already becoming reality for many. They seem to be resolved to it and some even promote it. There are thousands of well-paying jobs for which there are no applicants.

It’s therefore not surprising that many workers, especially younger employees, would choose to do enough to get by but no more. And that is bad news for all of us.

That’s not Biblical. Proverbs 13:4 tells us “The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied.” Many workers today do just enough to get by and get a paycheck.

A strong work ethic can be described as an attitude of dedication and determination toward one’s job. People with a good work ethic place a high value on their professional success and exhibit moral principles that make them outstanding employees in any role. Things like being on time, following company rules and guidelines, respecting other workers, engaging in teamwork, thinking outside the box, taking on new challenges and many more.

Those sound Biblical to me. Look what has happened when we took the Bible out of the classroom. Maybe we need to put the Bible back into the workplace, as it has all the rules for corporate success.

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. 1 Corinthians 9:24. Do your very best in all you do. Run for the prize. Go for it.

***

SOMETIMES TRUE STORIES

Have you heard of “quiet quitting”?

According to Gallup, at least 50 percent of the American workforce is made up of people who are “not going above and beyond at work and just meeting their job description.” Only 32 percent say they are “actively engaged” at work.

Harvard Business Review believes that the problem is “bad bosses, not bad employees.” Managers rated most highly saw 62 percent of their direct reports willing to give extra effort, while only 3 percent were quietly quitting. By contrast, the least effective managers saw 14 percent of their direct reports quietly quitting, while only 20 percent were willing to give extra effort.

In other words, the more we work for someone we value, the more we value our work.

This fact reveals something deeply significant about our culture and our faith.

— o —

Minimalism is the intentional promotion of the things we most value and the removal of anything that distracts us from it. It requires a conscious decision because it is a countercultural lifestyle that stands against the culture of overconsumption that surrounds us.

The world we live in is not friendly to the pursuit of minimalism. Its tendencies and relentless advertising campaigns call us to acquire more, better, faster, and newer. The journey of finding simplicity requires consistent inspiration.

— o —

No one is beyond the reach of Christian intercession, witness, and compassion. You can engage others with confidence, knowing that the Spirit is preparing today the people he wants you to influence tomorrow. And you can pray with confidence, knowing that Jesus is interceding for you (Romans 8:34) as the Spirit intercedes within you (Romans 8:26) right now. Jim Denison

Romans 5 8

***

QUOTES YOU CAN USE

A man must know his destiny… if he does not recognize it, then he is lost. George Patton

Don’t let the world’s message define you. Russell Johnson

If you want the rainbow, you have to put up with the rain. Dolly Parton

When it rains, look for rainbows. Oscar Wilde

The fact that there is a highway to hell and a stairway to heaven says a lot about the expected traffic volume.

A wise man fills his brain before emptying his mouth. African proverb

It is not doing the thing we like to do, but liking the thing we have to do, that makes life blessed. Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Winners are not people who never fall, but people who never quit. A wall plaque from Hobby Lobby

The most important ingredient of leadership. Too often leaders resort to gimmicks, slogans, and mottos to enhance their image, grow their company and influence their followers. What people need is not a motto to say, but a model to follow. And that image is what people think we are. Integrity is what we really are. John Maxwell

The best way to fight the culture wars is first to focus on Jesus. Jim Denison

If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Frederick Douglass

God is capable of bringing order out of chaos, even the chaos we create in our personal lives. Dan Shock

Of all bad men, religious bad men are the worst. C.S. Lewis

What counts in making a happy marriage is not so much how compatible you are, but how you deal with incompatibility. Leo Tolstoy

TRUST

Week Forty-Five, 2022

Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God. Psalm 20:7

According to a recent poll, 65% of Democrats distrust newspapers, and 80% distrust TV news. Among Republicans, their trust level is even lower with only 5% saying they had “a great deal or quite a lot of confidence” in newspapers, and only 8% trusted the TV news.

Lack of confidence has fallen in the past 12-18 months according to Gallup polling in all our American institutions. Police. The medical community. Churches and organized religion. Congress. The Supreme Court. And the Presidency.

Whatever reasons — and psychologists suggest everything from our 24-hour cable news cycle to our partisan political divisions — where do people turn? In what or whom can they place confidence, restore trust, and find hope?

Predictably many people turn to another political party, or a new candidate, or believe that changing our overall system or dismantling it all together is the answer.

For Christ-followers, the solution is not political, social, or economic, it is spiritual.

Three thousand years ago the Psalmist offered this insight. “God’s people don’t boast in their human resources,” observed Warren Wiersbe, “but in the God who alone can save them in every situation. Only this kind of faith will honor the strong name of the Lord.”

Jim Denison opined that “Our society is losing trust in today’s “chariots” and “horses.” Now it is incumbent on us to offer them something they can trust with their days and their souls.” In other words, we need a return to trust in the Lord.

Christians, however, must lead the way. We cannot deceive ourselves into thinking the answers to our most serious problems can be solved by new politicians or the reemergence of past leaders. Our underlying strength is not based on military capacity, social institutions, or economic stability.

Our money still says, “In God We Trust.” Our national motto is “In God We Trust.” Many states offer a personalized license plate reading “In God We Trust.” The question is “Do we?” Do we really trust in God? Or place our trust in our own ingenuity?

God’s name speaks of His presence. Power. Preeminence. And position. He is “The Great I AM.” He is the King of the kings of the earth. He is all-knowing. All-wise. All-powerful. And ever-present.

Trusting God goes beyond an academic acquiesce, an emotional response, or spouting pious platitudes. It speaks to the essence of who we are in our attitudes, actions, and core values. Trust in God reveals itself in our daily walk of life.

As we face cultural changes, societal dilemmas, and economic concerns, it’s time for Christians to demonstrate to a world that has lost its way, what it means to believe in God. Trust God. Obey God. And be guided by the principles and precepts of His Word.

In whom, or what do you place your trust? Ken Weliever

***

SOMETIMES TRUE STORIES

An Amazon driver named Kevin Rivera was finishing his route in Long Island, New York, when he saw a house on fire. Through the front door, he could see several people inside the home, including a woman and a baby. They were apparently unaware of the fire, so he courageously rushed in to help.

He got the family of seven to leave through the back door and away from the flames, then he rescued their two dogs. When they got outside and saw their burning house, they realized how dire their situation was. “They just started crying,” Rivera said later. “They just got emotional.”

To those thanking him for his bravery, Rivera replied, “To be honest, I just feel great that I did something.”

— o —

British and French researchers conducted a study to determine if preborn babies had any reaction to what their mothers were eating. They did indeed. Using 4D ultrasound machines, they discovered that babies in the womb really liked carrots and really disliked kale.

This is the latest in a long string of studies that prove the humanity of the preborn child. Doctors even perform surgeries in utero on preborn babies, proving that there are two patients – the mother and preborn child.

The left always tells us to follow the science, and the science clearly tells us that the baby in the womb is a little human being.

— o —

We are turning from Christ and Christianity in record numbers: the percentage of self-professed Christians in America is predicted to fall from 64 percent in 2020 to as low as 35 percent by 2070. “Nones,” those who have no religious affiliation, are expected to rise from the current 30 percent to as high as 52 percent by that time.

— o —

QUOTES YOU CAN USE

If Christians suggest that the problem is sin, we are dismissed as outdated, irrelevant, or even judgmental and dangerous to others. As a result, our secularized society is convinced that the cure is worse than the cause. Jim Denison

Charles Spurgeon was right: “A Christian man should so shine in his life that a person could not live with him a week without knowing the gospel.”

Today’s children need a tackle box more than they need an X-Box

I know that my plainness of speech makes them hate me, and what is their hatred but a proof that I am speaking the truth? Socrates

You can’t be saved by being good, religious or sincere. Florida Marketplace Ministry

Beware of little expenses; a small leak will sink a great ship. Benjamin Franklin

God’s hand is in every disruption and every detour. Florida Marketplace Ministry

Silly things do cease to be silly if they are done by sensible people in an impudent way. Jane Austen

When you’re good to others, you’re best to yourself. Benjamin Franklin

When the well is dry, we will know the worth of water. Benjamin Franklin

If you want to see more of your friends come to know Christ, try to not win an argument but to share your heart so that others can see Jesus in how you live your life. Dwight Short

TRUST

Week Forty-Five, 2022

Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God. Psalm 20:7

According to a recent poll, 65% of Democrats distrust newspapers, and 80% distrust TV news. Among Republicans, their trust level is even lower with only 5% saying they had “a great deal or quite a lot of confidence” in newspapers, and only 8% trusted the TV news.

Lack of confidence has fallen in the past 12-18 months according to Gallup polling in all our American institutions. Police. The medical community. Churches and organized religion. Congress. The Supreme Court. And the Presidency.

Whatever reasons and psychologists suggest everything from our 24-hour cable news cycle to our partisan political divisions, where do people turn? In what or whom can they place confidence, restore trust, and find hope?

Predictably many people turn to another political party, or a new candidate, or believe that changing our overall system or dismantling it all together is the answer.

For Christ-followers, the solution is not political, social, or economic, it is spiritual. Three thousand years ago the Psalmist offered this insight. “God’s people don’t boast in their human resources,” observed Warren Wiersbe, “but in the God who alone can save them in every situation. Only this kind of faith will honor the strong name of the Lord.”

Jim Denison opined that “Our society is losing trust in today’s “chariots” and “horses.” Now it is incumbent on us to offer them something they can trust with their days and their souls.” In other words, we need a return to trust in the Lord.

Christians, however, must lead the way. We cannot deceive ourselves into thinking the answers to our most serious problems can be solved by new politicians or the reemergence of past leaders. Our underlying strength is not based on military capacity, social institutions, or economic stability.

Our money still says, “In God We Trust.” Our national motto is “In God We Trust.” Many states offer a personalized license plate reading “In God We Trust.” The question is “Do we?” Do we really trust in God? Or place our trust in our own ingenuity?

God’s name speaks of His presence. Power. Preeminence. And position. He is “The Great I AM.” He is the King of the kings of the earth. He is all-knowing. All-wise. All-powerful. And ever-present.

Trusting God goes beyond an academic acquiesce, an emotional response, or spouting pious platitudes. It speaks to the essence of who we are in our attitudes, actions, and core values. Trust in God reveals itself in our daily walk of life.

As we face cultural changes, societal dilemmas, and economic concerns, it’s time for Christians to demonstrate to a world that has lost its way, what it means to believe in God. Trust God. Obey God. And be guided by the principles and precepts of His Word.

In whom, or what do you place your trust? Ken Weliever

***

SOMETIMES TRUE STORIES

An Amazon driver named Kevin Rivera was finishing his route in Long Island, New York, when he saw a house on fire. Through the front door, he could see several people inside the home, including a woman and a baby. They were apparently unaware of the fire, so he courageously rushed in to help.

He got the family of seven to leave through the back door and away from the flames, then he rescued their two dogs. When they got outside and saw their burning house, they realized how dire their situation was. “They just started crying,” Rivera said later. “They just got emotional.”

To those thanking him for his bravery, Rivera replied, “To be honest, I just feel great that I did something.”

— o —

British and French researchers conducted a study to determine if preborn babies had any reaction to what their mothers were eating. They did indeed. Using 4D ultrasound machines, they discovered that babies in the womb really liked carrots and really disliked kale.

This is the latest in a long string of studies that prove the humanity of the preborn child. Doctors even perform surgeries in utero on preborn babies, proving that there are two patients – the mother and preborn child.

The left always tells us to follow the science, and the science clearly tells us that the baby in the womb is a little human being.

— o —

We are turning from Christ and Christianity in record numbers: the percentage of self-professed Christians in America is predicted to fall from 64 percent in 2020 to as low as 35 percent by 2070. “Nones,” those who have no religious affiliation, are expected to rise from the current 30 percent to as high as 52 percent by that time.

— o —

Psalm 90 12

***

QUOTES YOU CAN USE

If Christians suggest that the problem is sin, we are dismissed as outdated, irrelevant, or even judgmental and dangerous to others. As a result, our secularized society is convinced that the cure is worse than the cause. Jim Denison

Charles Spurgeon was right: “A Christian man should so shine in his life that a person could not live with him a week without knowing the gospel.”

Today’s children need a tackle box more than they need an X-Box

I know that my plainness of speech makes them hate me, and what is their hatred but a proof that I am speaking the truth? Socrates

You can’t be saved by being good, religious or sincere. Florida Marketplace Ministry

Beware of little expenses; a small leak will sink a great ship. Benjamin Franklin

God’s hand is in every disruption and every detour. Florida Marketplace Ministry

Silly things do cease to be silly if they are done by sensible people in an impudent way. Jane Austen

When you’re good to others, you’re best to yourself. Benjamin Franklin

When the well is dry, we will know the worth of water. Benjamin Franklin

If you want to see more of your friends come to know Christ, try to not win an argument but to share your heart so that others can see Jesus in how you live your life. Dwight Short

PRESENT

Week Forty-Four, 2022

No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.

— Joshua 1:5

It happened to the best. Moses had just died, and now Joshua was selected by God to lead the Israelites finishing the journey to the long-awaited Promised Land. “Are you sure Lord? Me? To replace Moses? No way!!”

Joshua knew he wasn’t capable. He had seen God present throughout the journey out of Egypt, through the desert and crossing the Red Sea. But now, well, Joshua wondered if God would still be there to guide and direct him as He had guided and directed Moses.

It happens to the best of the rest of us, too. Wondering at times if God is there. Didn’t you feel that way the other day? The unexpected hit, and you felt all alone. Inadequate to do what was needed at that moment. But here you are today.

Funny, how many times on the journey when life hits, we feel that God’s not there. Yet in our quiet moments of reflection before those unexpected moments, we remember all the times He showed up. Always!

But then, well, life hits and things change. And reflection ends. A relationship pegs a zero on the “will it last” meter. Now what? Any thoughts, God? You get word that you need to start looking for another job. Now.

Any thoughts, Lord? The person who hung the moon for you is diagnosed with a terminal illness. And you wonder aloud…..“God, where are you?” What’s going on?

But then we remember that He was there to save and prepare Joseph, son of Jacob, to later save his people after his brothers sold him into slavery. He was there helping Noah navigate the flood waters to a new day. David hung on tightly to Him as he hid in caves and ran for his life from King Saul, after Saul learned that God had selected David to replace him as the king.

He was with the Apostle Paul though all of his trials and heartaches, leaving us with thirteen letters in the New Testament written by Paul in his walk with God. And He was there as His Son hung on the cross for you and for me, and then laid in the tomb, only to be lifted to life by His Father—who was with Him all the time.

God’s always there. In the sunshine, and in the storms. In the triumphs and tragedies. When everything around you go silent—He is there. When the light turns to darkness—He is there.

“Joshua, as I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.” He was with Moses, Joshua, Joseph, Noah, David, Paul and His Son, and more, He will be with you. God will never leave you or abandon you.

In our stillness and noise, in our ups and downs, our mountaintops and valleys, daylight and dark nights—He is, and will always be there. God’s got us.

So just remember to always mark God—Present.

— Scott Whitaker

***

SOMETIMES TRUE STORIES

If liar’s pants did catch on fire, watching the evening news would be a lot more fun.

— o —

In his book simply entitled, Preaching, G. Campbell Morgan relates a story about the 19th century English actor William Charles Macready and an eminent preacher of that day.

“I wish you would explain to me something,” said the preacher.

“Well, what is it?” Macready responded. “I don’t know that I can explain anything to a preacher.”

“What is the reason for the difference between you and me? You are appearing before crowds night after night with fiction, and the crowds come wherever you go. I am preaching the essential and unchangeable truth, and I am not getting any crowd at all.”

“This is quite simple,” Macready retorted, “I can tell you the difference between us. I present my fiction as though it were truth; you present your truth as though it were fiction.”

***

QUOTES YOU CAN USE

With two ears and only one mouth, God designed us to listen twice as much as we speak. Dwight Short

I have lived to thank God that all my prayers have not been answered. Jean Ingelow

A goal is a dream with a deadline. Napoleon Hill

Why is it that if you give your life for the service of your country you are called a hero, but if you give your life for the service of Christ, you are called a fool? Dan Shock

If you find fear often grips you when you visit certain places, including your job or your school, remember that there is no safer place than where God calls you to be. Dwight Short

Never ruin an apology with an excuse. Benjamin Franklin

Our lives are bombarded by sin on a daily basis. Florida Marketplace Ministries

You cannot do kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late. Ralph Waldo Emerson

Folks are usually about as happy as they make their minds up to be. Abraham Lincoln

It’s funny to me how when you start thinking about praising God, even in the midst of the junk of life, you start seeing things that remind you about it everywhere. Marty Stubblefield

If you look for perfection, you’ll never be content. Leo Tolstoy

Your talent is God’s gift to you. What you do with it is your gift back to God. Leo Buscaglia

The measure of a man is what he does with power. Plato

“SENT FROM GOD HIMSELF”

By Semi-Retired Pastor Jeremy Stopford

But that you also may know my affairs and how I am doing, Tychicus, a beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord, will make all things known to you; whom I have sent to you for this very purpose, that you may know our affairs, and that he may comfort your hearts. Peace to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace be with all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Amen.”

– Ephesians 6:21-24 NKJV

Years ago I had the privilege of sitting in on the “Annual Report to the City,” by the Mayor of Norwich, NY. It wasn’t too long before I realized that his address had a two-fold insight. First, it was over 25 pages long and would take the better part of two hours to read! And second, the theme was soon evident: “Look what I have done for the City.”

We have above the final written words of Paul to the church in Ephesus. The theme has nothing to do with what PAUL had done for the church there. There is no 25 page report. There is no theme around Paul. Rather, his theme is, “Look what GOD is doing and I’m going to send a messenger to let you know firsthand!”.

Paul introduces us to “Tychicus”, a name with which none of our readers might be familiar. He describes Tychicus in two simple observations.

First, he is a “beloved brother”. Perhaps many of you have been going to a fundamental gospel preaching church for a long time. It is possible that you have many “friends in Christ”, members of the church who have made a profession of faith in Christ and are an encouragement to the ministry wherever you live. Let me ask a simple question: having known a friend or two in that church for as long as you have, do you take for granted their love for Jesus? Do you take for granted that each one attending your church is a “beloved brother”, regardless of how long that one has been enjoying your fellowship? Well, Paul certainly did NOT take one’s brotherhood in Christ for granted! He could specifically call Tychicus a “beloved brother”. Not only did Tychicus know Jesus as Savior; he was described as “beloved” – there was just something special about his walk with Jesus!

Not only was he a “beloved brother”. Tychicus was a “faithful minister in the Lord”. The order is most important. One cannot be a “faithful minister” until he is first a “beloved brother” in Christ! BUT once one is a “beloved brother” one should not be surprised at the spiritual gifts that the Spirit of God empowers you with. I encourage you to familiar with the gifts listed in 1 Corinthians 12 and Romans 12, among other passages. When a person is born again, God not only places the Holy Spirit within him. From that day on he is identified as a “child of God”. Furthermore, God gives him at least one gift with which to serve the King of kings!

There are many classic passages on this subject. 1 Peter 4:10 reads, “as each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.” A spiritual gift is not to be hoarded! 1 Corinthians 14:12 states, “Even so you, since you are zealous for spiritual gifts, let it be for the edification of the church that you seek to excel.” As Paul is sharing with the family of the church of Ephesus, spiritual gifts were designed for the glory of God on display through the church. In Colossians 4:7 Paul reiterated his insights about his “beloved brother”: “Tychicus, a beloved brother, faithful minister, and fellow servant in the Lord, will tell you all the news about me.”

Tychicus was a faithful minister of the gifts of the Spirit which God gave him! Are we?

So what was the purpose of Paul sending Tychicus? In verse 22 we learn what the message was! Tychicus was to tell the members of the Ephesian church what was going on in Paul’s life and ministry. In a modern sense, this would be like a “missionary prayer letter,” updating the local church of important accounts in the life and ministry of Paul.

Think about this for a minute. In our day, if you needed to know about a missionary from the other side of our world, you simply got “online” and sent him a “text” or an “email”. Perhaps within minutes – or even seconds! – you will know the firsthand pertinent information that you were seeking. As recently as the 1980’s, long before emails, missionaries were diligent in sending out “missionary letters” – at least one every six months. These letters would keep their supporters and supporting churches up to date with the ongoings of their ministry. But think! By the time those supporters received those letters – as important as they were – the information was long obsolete and more than likely not useful. In Paul’s day there were no emails. No telegraphs. No telephone messages.

There was Tychicus!

He not only brought the churches up to date with Paul’s whereabouts and ministry. He also was a “comfort” to the hearts of the people of Paul’s supporting churches. This comfort was in the form of a “consolation, cheer, encouragement, strengthening”.

So what method did Tychicus use to encourage the church body at Ephesus? According to verses 23-24, he used the weapons of war, encased by:

  • PEACE – in an atmosphere of hostility
  • FAITH – in the face of fear
  • GRACE – in the heat of battle
  • LOVE – in the presence of hate!

Let’s review:

“ just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love,” (Ephesians 1:4)

“But God, who is rich in mercy,

because of His great love with which He loved us…” (Ephesians 2:4)

“That Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— 19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3:17-19)

“with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love…” (Ephesians 4:2)

“And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.” (Ephesians 5:2)

I trust this study in the Book of Ephesians has been profitable for you. Let me close with an illustration!

My lawn needs attention! In hoping that I would never have to mow it again before winter hits our northern climate, I have left my lawn to grow as it wants. Needless to say, if left that way, it will look that way come springtime! I need to clean it up NOW! I need to give it one more mow. I need to trim the edges of the lawn. I need to clean up the fallen branches. I need to clean up the debris which is scattered throughout the lawn. My lawn needs attention!

So it might not be your lawn. But what has saddened you recently that caused you to realize something needed your attention?

What was SO IMPORTANT to cause you grief and sadness due to your neglect? Was it your finances? Was it your bulging waistline? Was it your favorite team losing?

Or was it your lack of love for Christ?

Was it your spending time on things which, while not bad in themselves, have no eternal value nor purpose.

Was it your neglect of your local church which has faithfully stood true to the gospel all these years?

Paul has one prayer with which to close his letter:

“Grace be with all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Amen.”

May the Lord give grace to all of us who, in the battle for eternity, need to be reminded that the Lord Himself hungers to be the Center of our lives!

May His grace be with each of us today! For His glory on display through the church…and us…

JUDGEMENT

Week Forty-Three, 2022

We must all stand before Christ to be judged. Everyone will get what they should. They will be paid for whatever they did—good or bad—when they lived in this earthly body.

— 2 Corinthians 5:10 ERV

You have heard it many times sitting through the funeral of a deceased Christian. The pastor says that the deceased is in heaven not because of all the good they have done, but because they accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior. How true that is.

But, there is more, and the more is the judgment seat. Paul spells it out in 2 Corinthians 5:10. Our entry into the kingdom is guaranteed by our profession of faith, but we will be judged. We will be paid for whatever we did – good or bad – when we lived on planet earth. Our sins will be reviewed and our good works will be applauded. The Scripture tells us that whatsoever you sow, that shall you reap. The Bible tells us everyone is going to stand before God one day and give an account of their life on Earth. “So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.” Romans 14:12

If you had to stand before God today, what would He say about your life? Would you hear God say: “Well done, good and faithful servant” or would you hear him say: “Depart from me you workers of iniquity for I never knew you”?

That day is coming to each of us, and none of us knows the day or hour it shall happen, so we must prepare to stand before God.

How do you prepare your life for that day? You must receive Jesus into your life as your Savior. You must daily live your life pleasing to God as His Word tells us, and we must love and serve God with all our heart, soul and strength.

When you are committed to live for God, it becomes easy to choose the right things and to reject the evil, but when you are not committed, you will struggle living for God. You can’t serve God and the things of this world because you will love more one than the other, and the one you love the most you will serve.

Thomas Jefferson was certain that when he died he would, in his own words, “ascend in essence to an ecstatic meeting with the friends we have loved & lost and whom we shall still love and never lose again.” Upon what did he base such confidence?

Jefferson absolutely rejected the divinity of Jesus, convinced that “Jesus did not mean to impose himself on mankind as the son of god physically speaking.” He believed that “we are to be saved by our good works which are within our power, and not by our faith which is not within our power.” In short, he was convinced that we are to “adore God” but trust our good works for salvation. Not so, Mr. President.

Are you prepared for the judgment day?

***

SOMETIMES TRUE STORIES

There are 100,000 Muslims living in the Tampa Bay area and the largest Muslim school and largest mosque in North America are under construction right here in our own back yard. How will we as Christians reach out to them?

— o —

Indeed, with God everything is possible. That is why, the mankind who were condemned to eternal death could be redeemed from it and by faith in Jesus they can be saved to live with God. But most of the people are ignorant about the value of eternal life. Many are lazy to seek it, others are too wise to ignore it, still others question its veracity because they can’t digest the idea as it’s invisible- faith is believing in something invisible! Stephen Bernard, Bangalore, India.

— o —

California Gov. Gavin Newsom is promoting billboards in conservative states telling women seeking an abortion that “California is ready to help” and (ironically) quoting Mark 12:31, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Doesn’t he realize that a mother’s closest “neighbor” is her unborn child?

— o —

The ceiling of St. George’s Chapel, where the queen was buried, is so ornate that I wanted to stare at it for hours. However, it is so tall that doing so is difficult and renders an observer dizzy from the effort. As a result, a large mirror has been placed on the floor, angled at the ceiling. When we look at the reflection below, we see the reality above.

In the same way, Jesus assured his disciples, “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:9). This is true of no other person in all of human history. Jim Denison

— o —

Encouragement provides us with motivation to persevere. It invites us to dream dreams of significance for our lives. And it begs us to work diligently with optimism and promise. Overcoming the pull of consumerism is a difficult challenge regardless of our stage in life. Simplicity requires encouragement. The Minimalist

***

QUOTES YOU CAN USE

We learn humility from humble people. Mike Pence

In the long run, the sharpest weapon of all is a kind and gentle spirit. Anne Frank

Humility makes us gentle to others and generates respect far beyond our understanding. A humble servant is hard to find, but when they surface they generate teamwork and accomplishments beyond their greatest expectations. Brig. General Dick Abel

The worst wheel of the cart makes the most noise. Benjamin Franklin

When you include God in your partnership, it is more likely that success will be profitable both now and eternally. Dwight Short

As a rule, men worry more about what they can’t see than about what they can. Julius Caeser

Pond water is great for frogs but not for faith. Our faith needs water that is deeper, fresher, and full of the Father. Daniel Middlebrooks

God wants us to walk by faith, so He doesn’t explain His entire plan to us at once. Florida Marketplace Ministry

History does not long entrust the care of freedom to the weak or the timid. Dwight D. Eisenhower

I have never met a man so ignorant that I couldn’t learn something from him. Galileo Galilei

I believe the greatest shortcomings of this generation is that we are leaving a future of peoples who have no clue about what actually happened in the history of our country. David McCullough

Millions of us ask nothing more, but certainly nothing less, than to live our own lives according to our values—at peace with ourselves, our neighbors, and the world. Ronald Reagan

What lies behind you and what lies in front of you, pales in comparison to what lies inside of you. Ralph Waldo Emerson

Let Go of Whatever Makes You Stop. John Mason