Archive | February 2013

From the Pastor’s Pen

Final Thoughts on Mark 12:41-44

Now Jesus sat opposite the treasury and saw how the people put money into the treasury. And many who were rich put in much.  Then one poor widow came and threw in two mites,which make a quadrans.  So He called His disciples to Himself and said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all those who have given to the treasury; for they all put in out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all that she had, her whole livelihood.”                   NKJV

God sees into our hearts and knows our situations.  He sees through any facades.  He will be the one who will judge us and he does not measure our giving according to dollar amounts, but according to the attitude of our heart.  In II Corinthians 9:7, the Lord says, “Let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity, for God loves a cheerful giver.”

God also wants us to give from our abundance, not from a legalistic tithing duty.  Far too often, Christians give their tithe and think, “Well, I’ve done my duty.”  It is interesting to note that nowhere in the New Testament does God ever command Christians to tithe.  Even in Luke 11:42 where Jesus affirms that the hypocritical Pharisees that they ought to have tithed, He is still speaking under an Old Testament economy.  And even in this Old Testament frame of reference, He does not use the imperative mood (state it as a command).  Have you ever asked yourself why?  It is because God does not want us to have a legalistic view of the tithe in which we think we have done our duty if we tithe.  He wants us to give freely according to the measure in which He has blessed us so abundantly (I Cor. 16:2), knowing that we cannot give more than God will give back to us (Prov. 19:17).

On the surface, the wealthy who give large amounts of money appear to be making huge gifts to the Lord.  This often gains them recognition and praise.  However, those who give small amounts may actually be giving far more generously because it costs them so much more to give the smaller amount.

God doesn’t judge the gift by its size, but its sincerity and generosity of heart.           Phil Ware

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From the Pastor’s Pen

Final Thoughts on Deuteronomy 6:4-9

“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.  “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart.  You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.  You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.   You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”                   NKJV

The Jews call Deuteronomy 6:4-9 the “Shema,” literally meaning “hear this,” and consider it the most important passage in the entire Old Testament.  This passage of Scripture is the first that every Jewish child must commit to memory.  It is used to open every Jewish service.  It is recited twice daily by the faithful in accordance with Jewish religious law.

This great confession of faith begins with a focus on who God is and an injunction to love Him with all of our being—to love Him totally and completely.  The passage goes on to declare that, as parents, God’s word must be in our hearts and we are charged with the responsibility of passing our Christian faith on to our children.  We cannot teach our children about the love of God if we ourselves have not experienced that love.  We are to instruct our children, not merely by quoting or reading them God’s word, but by demonstrating it in our daily devotion and obedience to Him.  What we parents have personally experienced we are to pass along to our children through a variety of methods, including verbal communication, personal example, and the posting of the scriptures around our homes.

As parents, we cannot impart to the next generation what we ourselves do not possess.  We cannot teach our children the importance of observing God’s commandments if doing so is not a priority in our own hearts.  When we are inconsistent in our church attendance, we are teaching our children that church is optional—something to do if there are not more fun or entertaining things to do.  When we are sporadic in our personal devotional time, we are teaching our children that praying and reading God’s word are not really all that important.  If we are to see our children come to know, love, and serve God, the Lord Jesus Christ must be an intimate member of our family and home.  Our Christian faith must be a personal, heartfelt faith.  Our children know whether or not the things of God are truly dear to our hearts.

According to the scriptures, youth ministry begins in the home.  The Bible exhorts us as parents to train up our children in the things of God.  Our homes provide the proper Biblical atmosphere for youth ministry.  In our homes, our children are under our influence and authority from day to day.   They need our guidance and a consistent spiritual and scriptural example from us, their parents.

Why do you turn and scrape every stone to gather wealth and take so little care of your children to whom one day you must relinquish it all?              Socrates

From the Pastor’s Pen

Final Thoughts on Ephesians 5:25

 

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her,               NKJV

What a glorious example Jesus gives to us who are husbands.  As Christian men, we are to be such a husband as Jesus was to His church.  The Lord Jesus Christ loves His church in a unique and special way that sets her above the rest of mankind.  She is the treasure of Jesus and the very center and core of His love.

Husbands, we should love our wives with an unconditional love, for that is how Jesus loves His church.  Even though we are rebellious sinners, Jesus does not vary in His perfect affection for us (Rom. 5:8).

We should love our wives with an enduring, permanent love, for that is how Jesus loves His church.  As Jesus’ bride, nothing will ever be able to separate us from His love for us (Rom. 8:39).

We should love our wives with a fervent and intense love, for that is how Jesus loves His church.  As His wife, Jesus’ love for us took Him to the cruel, agonizing death of the cross where He took the punishment for our sins upon Himself (I Pet. 2:24).

We should love our wives with a delighted love, for that is how Jesus loves His church.  As His beloved, Jesus prizes our affection, and delights in us with complete marital bliss.  As His chosen spouse, we are Jesus’ rose of Sharon and His lily of the valley and we have ravished His heart (Song of Sol. 2:1, 4:9).

As believers, we are astonished at Jesus’ love for us.  As Husbands, are we imitating it?  In our earthly marriage, is the standard and measure of our love for our wives—“just as Christ loved the church”?   

From the Pastor’s Pen

Final Thoughts on Psalm 33:6-9

By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, And all the host of them by the breath of His mouth.  He gathers the waters of the sea together as a heap; He lays up the deep in storehouses.  Let all the earth fear the Lord; Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him.  For He spoke, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast.             NKJV

God’s word declares that He spoke the entire creation into existence.  In the Genesis, chapter one, account of creation, the phrase “God said” is used eight times.  Psalm 148:5 declares of the celestial bodies, “For He commanded and they were created.”  Hebrews 11:3 states that “By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God . . .”

It was God’s omnipotent power that brought the creation into existence (Jer. 10:12, 27:5, 32:17).  All about us, the scoffers of this world attempt to cause us to doubt the Biblical account of creation.  The Lord warned that such scoffers would come in the last days who suppress the truth that the universe was created by word of God (II Pet. 3:3,5).

Our secular educational institutions are controlled by evolutionists who would have us believe that the creation came about through billions of years of accidental physical processes.  They scoff at the Biblical account of creation, labeling it as religion while claiming that we all came from a rock and calling it science.  Which takes more faith, to believe that in the beginning God created, or in the beginning rock created?  Evolution is just as much a religion as Biblical creationism.  The only difference is that the evolutionists’ religion is government funded.

As verses 8-9 of our text reveals, the purpose of the creation is to teach us of the greatness of the Creator.  The heavens declare the glory of God and the expanse of space shows His handiwork (Psa. 19:1).  When we look at the incredible, intricate design and irreducible complexities of the creation around us, it screams that there is someone who designed it all—a Creator (Rom. 1:20).  Instead, man in his foolishness and ungodliness, suppresses the truth of the creation in unrighteousness and worships the creation rather than the Creator (Rom. 1:18, 21-22, 25).

Who do you worship—the creation or the Creator?  Do you stand in awe of the God who made everything?  Do you have a personal relationship with Him through the Lord Jesus Christ?  Have you repented of your sins and trusted Jesus as your personal Savior?