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Momma, Are You Sharing The Gospel?

Thought For The Week

If you had the opportunity to introduce your favorite President of the United States to anyone you chose, then you would feel that you were important, relevant and had a huge opportunity in front of you. Every Christian, however, is extremely important, more that relevant to his/her peers and has a bigger opportunity than even introducing the President to your buddies! Sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with a lost sinner is the greatest honor one could ever have!

The excitement that comes with sharing the Gospel is something that lots of people miss out on. Many times it is just apathy and lack of priorities that hinders folks from experiencing the joy that comes with sharing God’s Word. Don’t get me wrong, witnessing to people is hard and often discouraging; depending on how you look at things. In spite of the fear factor and intimidation you can face, being able to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with an individual is truly exhilarating!

Christian mothers play an important role in world evangelism. Do not let Satan and liberal theologians fool you into thinking that sports and education play second fiddle to a good Christian upbringing and practical Christian instruction in the home. Many mothers have sold themselves out and have missed their greatest opportunity to impact the world by not sharing the Gospel with their children.

Yes, it is true that just because you grow up in a so-called “Christian Home” does not mean that you will be saved and have a home in Heaven when you die. However true this statement might be does not give anyone the excuse to not pray and care for the souls of those who are without Christ. Consider what Charles Spurgeon said, “If sinners be damned, at least let them leap to Hell over our dead bodies. And if they perish, let them perish with our arms wrapped about their knees, imploring them to stay. If Hell must be filled, let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions, and let not one go unwarned and unprayed for.”

On this Mother’s Day, will you rededicate yourself to sharing the Gospel with your lost family, friends, and neighbors? Will you not let the sun go down without praying for their souls to be saved?

Are You Reading?

Thought For The Week…

When I was about six years of age I was privileged to be given a small King James Bible. It was a children’s Bible with beautiful pictures illustrating certain Bible events and such. Though I could not read, I did understand that this book was very special. I was taught to respect God’s Word long before I was able to digest its spiritual content.

God’s Word is absolutely essential to living the Christian life. Without it, nobody could ever come close to knowing what God’s Will is concerning any subject. With such an important role to play in the life of every believer you would think that no child of God would pass up an opportunity to read a portion from The Book! Sadly, many of the Brethren fail to read one verse throughout any given week.

What will it take for people to wake up? It seems that worldly television theologians like Dr. Phil and Oprah have the ear of many around us, but Christians must stay clear of their dangerous ideology! It may easier to sit down to a TV program and get humanistic help than it is to mine out Biblical principles from God’s Holy Word, but a someone who is serious about their walk with God will put forth the effort to find the treasures in the Scriptures.

The Apostle Paul reminded young Timothy that God’s Word was profitable and should be utilized. He said, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” Paul’s instructions make it clear that God’s Word is the essential for the Christian!

What other book can be a consistent source of help for every area of life and be 100% accurate in each and in every situation? The truth is that there is no other book! God’s Word will teach us what is right and what is wrong. It will teach us how to get right with God and how to stay right with God!

Are you reading God’s Word and seeking to apply its principles to your life? If not, then start today. This is the ONLY way you can be assured that you are living a life pleasing unto the Lord!

Are You Fishing?

Thought For The Week…

I have many memories from my childhood. One of my favorites is when I used to go fishing. The very first time I can ever remember going was with my Dad at the age of 5 years old. We ended up fishing under a bridge on HWY 158 where it crossed the East side of Belews Lake in North Carolina. We caught several small fish and I almost hooked my Dad in the face when casting! That would have been one fish I would not want to have caught!

Fishing is a pastime I still enjoy greatly. I am not as good as Peter, Andrew, James & John was in the Scriptures, but I do enjoy giving it a try every now and then. Whether you like fishing or not, Jesus used the fishing context on many occasions to help folks understand more about His Kingdom.

Jesus approached Peter and Andrew one day as they were fishing in the Sea of Galilee. He told them “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” (Matthew 4:19) The Bible says that they “straightway” or immediately left their fishing expedition along the banks of Galilee and followed Jesus to a different kind of fishing.

What Jesus taught His disciples to do is still being done today. It still works and is the method of choice when it comes to reaching people for Jesus Christ. Every child of God needs to tell folks about Jesus and what He has done for them personally!

You don’t catch a fish every time you go out, but you will catch fish along the way. This is no different in soul-winning. We need to keep sowing the seed of God’s Word into the hearts of men and women, boys and girls!

Are you involved in the fishing expedition that Jesus is leading? Are you looking for people to bring to Christ? If not, then get started today! Be faithful to tell someone every day. Pass out a Gospel tract or spend some time in a meaningful conversation about Jesus and how He wants to save people from their sins!

(Matthew 4:18-20) “And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. And they straightway left their nets, and followed him.”  (KJV)

Are You Fearful?

Thought For The Week…

Sometimes it is hard to find the right words to express grief and frustration; isn’t it? What can you say about such a horrible act of terrorism Bostonians faced during their world renowned foot race? The Boston Marathon of April 15, 2013 will certainly be remembered!

As you, I watched the news coverage with bewilderment. I asked myself, “Why would someone want to do such a thing?” For the next several days, I began trying to piece together a possible motive for this wicked and cowardly act. I suddenly realized that it might not be some complicated, yet deranged, philosophical ideology, but may be something as simple as trying to cause others to fear. If you have watched any news coverage at all or if you have seen any photos related to this sad situation, then you have seen some of the devastating effects of fear.

It is perfectly normal to be fearful of some things. For example, I am fearful of certain reptiles. However, you might be like my friend of mine who is not scared of a snake, but will jump out of his skin if he sees a spider! I would have certainly been fearful of those who set the bombs off if I lived near the Boston area, but we need to remember to look to God for help at all times; especially during times like these.

Jesus sent out his twelve disciples into a hostile environment, and He gave specific instructions as to what He wanted them to do. One of the memorable remarks Jesus made to His disciples at this time has made a tremendous impact on me as a pastor. He said in Matthew 10:28 “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Jesus was trying to encourage these men to not allow the fear of man to manipulate their actions. They should fear God and trust Him rather than adopt situation ethics and fail to do what they we supposed to do.

Jesus’ words are as relevant as ever! You and I should not operate out of fear, but FAITH! Faith is the answer to fear. By FAITH, we should stand upon God’s promises and carry out His commands though our hands may tremble in the foggy shadows of Satan’s roaring!

Are You Giving Your Best?

Thought For The Week…

My Grandma (who is now with our Lord) used to speak about my Great Grandpa to all of the Grandchildren. On these rare occasions when she did speak about him, it was usually a statement which was meant to drive home a point she was trying to make.

One Spring day I was trying to do something for Grandma around the yard. I was working hard to please her and, as we say where I grew up, “I worked up a sweat!” We took a break for a moment and Grandma said to me, “Andrew, you work just like my Daddy! You are going at this like you are fighting fire!” I was proud that she noticed my effort and it was even more meaningful to know that she thought I was working like my Great Grandpa.

My Grandma will never know just how important here compliment was to me. I have since tried always work hard at whatever I do. I am a little slower now, but I still try to do my best to put my heart into what I am doing!

Please forgive me for speaking of myself in this manner, but I wanted to point out a couple of things from this illustration. First, we should seek to positively encourage our family; especially children! You will never really know what kind of impact you can make by an appropriate compliment. Second, we should give our best when doing anything. If something is worth doing, it is worth our best! Finally, as a child of God, we should seek to serve God and please Him… giving Him our BEST!

The rewards of service far outweigh the repercussions of hard labor. I have seen families exhaust themselves trying to carry out ministry. In the midst of the tears, sweat and heart aches that can stem from such work, it is still worth every mile!

Our Lord Jesus, made it abundantly clear that He would return one day. He also intimated that He would reward His faithful children for their labors. Revelation 22:12 states, “And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.” Are you giving your best for Jesus? Are you putting your heart into your arena of service?

Are You Making A Difference?

Thought For The Week…

Someone has stated that a local church is only as strong as the families which make up its membership. I tend to agree with that remark to a point. If that quote has any validity, then rest assured that every Christian home has a target on its back!

One need not look very far to see how our homes are under an assault on many fronts. Of course, we are not ignorant of Satan’s devices and we know that he is orchestrating all kinds of attacks. Some from the world in general, others from the political realm, and even some from within the church itself!

Even though we may be weary from the battles we are facing, we should take courage. Paul, under the Inspiration of the Holy Spirit, encouraged the Galatians to remain faithful in spite of circumstances. He said, “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” I say, “AMEN!” to that! How about you?

In our Old Testament, we can draw strength from Joshua’s example. This stalwart faced many challenges in his life, yet he remained true. Sometimes we think that when we get “old”, whatever age that is, we will not have to face any more battles. Think again! Towards the end of Joshua’s journey of life, he faced one of his hardest days.

Many of Israel’s numerous families had been drawn away after the sinful practices and godless idolatry of the land. Joshua called them to the carpet, and God has preserved what he said to them for us in Joshua 24:15. Notice what was said, “And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” WOW! As a result of this challenge, Joshua’s contemporaries got right with God.

May each of us, like Joshua, decide to strengthen our resolve to live for Jesus Christ! No matter what our neighbors think, may we be faithful to humbly live for Christ and let our light shine in this dark, depraved world! We CAN make a difference!

Palms And Willows?

Thought For The Week…

Take a look around you. Everyone is different. There are different skins colors, hair styles, languages, likes and dislikes; just to name a few! The human race may be diverse, but they have some things in common. For example, every human has a birth date and immediately begins his or her journey towards the end of their physical life. Another thing that every human being has in common is the fact that each of us has good things happen to us and each of us has bad things to happen to us.

Job is probably one of the best, Biblical examples of an individual experiencing both “good” and “bad”. Job’s wife encouraged Job to abandon his faith in God (Job 2:9-10) after she had reached her melting point. Job reminded her that they needed to endure the hard times just as they enjoyed the easier times!

(Job 2:9-10) “Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God, and die. But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips.”  (KJV)

Our Lord Jesus is another example of one who experienced both the “good” and the “bad”. Jesus makes His triumphant entrance into Jerusalem in the manner as prophesied (Zech. 9:9). We call this day Palm Sunday. As Jesus made His way into the city, the crowds grew larger and they waved palm leaves in front of Him and laid their garment upon the ground. Palm leaves are symbolic of grandeur and happiness. Willows, on the other hand, speak of sadness and hard times.

(Zechariah 9:9) “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.”  (KJV)

It is quite interesting that when Moses conveyed the order of ceremonies for the Feast of Tabernacles in Leviticus 23, Israel was to gather both palms AND willows. Of course, this was they could have adequate materials to make the booths they were required to dwell in during their feast, but the implications are much more than that. This celebration was to offer the first-fruits of harvest. The bounty of harvest certainly endured both “good” and “bad”.

Jesus IS the first-fruits! He enjoyed the “palms”, but also understood what the “willows” meant in just a few short days. Our lives can be characterized by times under the palm trees as well as under the weeping willows. Just as a bouquet, and a wreath come from the same place, remember that God allows “good” and “bad” into our lives for our benefit!

(Romans 8:28) “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”  (KJV)

Are You Making Music?

Thought For The Week…

Music is one of the most powerful mediums in the universe and is a wonderful creation of God. The more I study music, sing and play an instrument the more I stand in awe at the beauty of Godly music. It can encourage, strengthen and challenge everyone within its reach.

I am reminded about the time when King Saul was disturbed and could not sleep. Nothing brought relief to his soul until David pulled his fingertips across the strings of his harp.  (1 Samuel 16:14-23) Whatever the melody was, it’s soothing rhythm eased the king and brought stillness to the raging sea of his mind. As Saul, both you and I have been rejuvenated by a divinely appointed arrangement at one time or another. God made each of us in such a way that music naturally compliments our life.

Listening to music has always been a great pastime of my mine. When I was saved, however, music took on a larger role. I craved gospel music! Listening to a hymn or gospel song’s melody and anticipating its chord changes is something which stirred me deeply!  As a result of this newly found emphasis, I became more keenly aware of how God’s Word, when set to music, can become that much more meaningful to you.

For the child of God, music should be a natural result of being filled with the Holy Spirit. Consider Colossians 3:16 “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” The Apostle Paul is saying the God’s Word should be “at home” in our hearts and the fruit of that relationship should bring forth constructive music for us and those around us.

Whether it is just a melody of personal praise or that of a congregational hymn sung in a worship service, Godly music should be something that a Spirit-filled Christian enjoys and seeks to build their life around. Does your walk with God bring a song into your heart? Does your life produce a song which draws others to hear Jesus?

Are You Shining Brightly?

Thought For The Week…

When I was a little boy, my mother had two kerosene oil lamps on the mantle which were really quite nice looking. The globes were simple in design, but the bases had some beautiful artwork engraved into it. Most of the time, these lamps sat on the mantle for decoration only. However, every once in a while, when the power would go out, momma would light these lamps. They were amazingly bright and very cozy on a cold winter’s night!

There was one occasion when momma lit the lamps which I remember vividly! For some reason she forgot to trim the wick in one of them quickly enough and the smoke darkened the globe with soot. It did not take very long for this to happen, but it left an image in my mind I won’t soon forget. You see, the soot had done its damage! Though there was light inside the globe, it did not reach out to its full potential because the glass was dirty. We did not enjoy the beautiful flickering light like we could have.

“Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”  Matthew 5:14-16 (KJV)

Every child of God, according to Jesus, is a light. He stated this in Matthew 5:14-16 and further mentioned that we needed to let our light shine in such a way that our good works would glorify our Heavenly Father. As a result of our obedience to God, our light would be a help to folks around us.

Our light will not be effective and reach its fullest potential if our lives are not pleasing to God. If we refuse to keep our sins confessed and live for ourselves instead of God, then we will be like that dirty globe my mother had to deal with. It was only when she cleaned the globe that it was able to be a blessing to those in the room that evening.

How bright is your light? Though we will never know just how effectively God is using us and every time He is using our light and testimony, we still need to shine brightly! Stay out of God’s way and let Him work through you dear saint of God. Allow Him to have His rightful place and you will stand amazed as to how God can use you. Keep your lamps trimmed and burning brightly!

Behind The Offering…

Thought For The Week…

Any student of the Old Testament sits in astonishment as they meditate upon the Tabernacle’s creation and its meaning. It must have been a magnificent structure to behold. Those who did have a chance to see it from a distance, like many of the surrounding nations did, certainly were touched by their experience!

Have you ever given much thought as to how the Tabernacle was able to be built to begin with? While Moses was up in the Sinai those 40 days and nights God gave him the plans for the Tabernacle and everything that would be used in service for God. When you read Exodus chapter 35, however, you will find some very intriguing details about the source of provisions for the Tabernacle’s construction.

Without a doubt, many have been blessed as they read the list of things that were given in the offering that Moses asked for. But more importantly, two things are mentioned consistently about some of the children of Israel which illuminates God’s plan over all. Some of the folks are said to have had “a willing heart” and a “stirred” heart.

Yes, God could have miraculously provided the building materials and everything which was needed for the Tabernacle in a way like He did with the manna, but He didn’t. He chose to move upon the hearts of men and women to give of their possessions which they had accumulated while in Egypt and from their “back pay” they collected just before the march out. God certainly provided the material provisions in the first place, but again, He simply touched the hearts of His people to give to the offering.

It is absolutely amazing how various ministries in our local churches can be created, enabled, and carried out in service for Christ. It begins with “a willing heart” and a “stirred” heart. If you allow God to “stir” your heart, you will have “a willing heart,” and if you have “a willing heart,” indeed, your heart will be “stirred!” As God’s people responded to the offering that day, little did they know, how far reaching an impact they would make!

How about you? Are you allowing God to “stir” your heart? Do you have “a willing heart” towards God and the work of God? Consider how God used the offering in Exodus chapter 35 and ask God to use you too!