Archive | August 2013

From the Pastor’s Pen

Final thoughts on Mark 14:38

Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation.  The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”            NKJV

Brothers and sisters in Christ, never go out into the danger of the world without praying first.  There are always temptations to skip our daily prayers.  After a difficult day at work, when we enter into our bedrooms in the evening, let us not use our fatigue or drowsiness as an excuse to skip our time with the Lord before we go to sleep.  Then when morning comes and we realize that we have overslept, let us resist the temptation to skip our early devotional time or to rush through it. 

Once again, we have not taken the time to “watch and pray.”  Our alertness has been sacrificed and there will be spiritual damage.  We have failed to pray, and we will suffer as a result.  Temptations are waiting to confront us, and we are not prepared to withstand them.  Within our souls we have a sense of guilt, and we are not as close to the Lord as we should be.  It is no coincidence that we tend to fall short of our responsibilities on those days when we have allowed our weariness to interfere with our prayer life.

When we give into laziness, moments of prayer that are missed can never be redeemed.  We may learn from the experience, but we will miss the rich freshness and strength that would have been imparted during those moments.            Frederick William Robertson

Jesus, who is the omnipotent God Himself in human flesh, deemed it necessary to rise each morning to pour out His heart to His Heavenly Father in prayer.  Should we then not feel even more compelled to pray our Heavenly Father who is the giver of “every good gift and every perfect gift” (James 1:17) and who has promised to provide whatever we need (Phil. 4:19)?

We do not know all that Jesus gained from His time in prayer, but we do know this—a life without prayer is a powerless life.  It may be filled with a great deal of activity and noise, but it will be far removed from Him who day and night prayed to God.                 L. B. Cowman

From the Pastor’s Pen

Final thoughts on Isaiah 40:31

But those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.            NKJV

In her book, Streams in the Desert, L. B. Cowman tells of a fable about the way birds first got their wings.  The story goes that they were initially made without them.  Then God made the wings, set them down before the wingless birds, and said to them, “Take up those burdens and carry them.”

The birds had sweet voices for singing, and lovely feathers that glistened in the sunshine, but they could not soar in the air.  When asked to pick up the burdens that lay at their feet, they hesitated at first.  Yet soon they obeyed, picking up the wings with their beaks, and set them on their shoulders to carry them.

For a short time the load seemed heavy and difficult to bear, but soon, as they continued to carry the burden and to fold the wings over their hearts, the wings grew attached to their bodies.  They quickly discovered how to use them and were lifted by the wings high into the air.  The weights had become wings.

This is a parable for us.  We are the wingless birds, and our duties and tasks are the wings God uses to lift us up and carry us heavenward.  We look at our burdens and heavy loads, and try to run from them, but if we carry them and tie them to our hearts, they will become wings.  And on them we can then rise and soar toward God.

There is no burden so heavy that when lifted cheerfully with love in our hearts will not become a blessing to us.  God intends for our tasks to be our helpers; to refuse to bend our shoulders to carry a load is to miss an opportunity for growth.                   J. R. Miller

No matter how overwhelming, any burden God has lovingly placed with His own hands on our shoulders is a blessing.          Frederick William Faber

From the Pastor’s Pen

Final thoughts on Mark 14:22-24

And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.”  Then He took the cup, and when He had given thanks He gave it to them, and they all drank from it.  And He said to them, “This is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many.           NKJV

The Roman Catholic Church teaches that when an ordained priest blesses the bread of the Lord’s Supper with the proper Latin phrase, it is transformed into the actual flesh of Christ (though it retains the appearance, odor, and taste of bread); and when he blesses the wine, it is transformed into the actual blood of Christ (though it retains the appearance, odor, and taste of wine).  This doctrine is known as transubstantiation and the Roman Catholic Church claims that since Jesus never used the word symbol in the taking of the Lord’s Supper, then His statements, “this is My body,” and “this is My blood,” must be taken literally.  Yet when Jesus said, “I am the door,” (John 10:9), no one interprets this literally, not even the Roman Catholic Church.  Jesus is obviously using the term “door” symbolically, emphasizing that He is the entry into salvation.  Likewise, when Jesus said, “I am the vine,” (John 15:1), no one, not even the Roman Catholic Church, claims that He is a literal vine.  Rather He uses the term “vine” symbolically, emphasizing that just as the vine provides life and nourishment to the leaves, so He provides spiritual life and nourishment to believers.  Again, in John 6:23, Jesus said, “I am the bread of life.”  Not that He is literally a loaf of bread, but just as bread gives physical life, so Jesus gives spiritual life.

When Jesus said of the bread, “This is My body,” He was saying that the bread was a symbol or picture of His body.  And when He said of the cup, “This is My blood,” He was saying that the fruit of the vine was a symbol or picture of His blood. 

Not only is the doctrine of transubstantiation erroneous, it is a heresy that makes Jesus’ death ineffectual.  The Lord’s Supper or “Mass” as it is referred to by the Roman Catholic Church is viewed in Roman Catholicism as a “re-sacrifice” of Jesus Christ for sins that have been committed since the last “Mass”.  In other words, every time the “Mass” is taken, the priest is calling Christ down out of Heaven and crucifying Him all over again.  This is directly in contradiction to Scripture which declares that Jesus died one time for all our sins and does not need to be sacrificed again.  Hebrews 10:10 says that “. . . we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”  Verse 12 of the same chapter adds, “But this Man (Jesus), after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God.”  Hebrews 6:1 rebukes those who “lay the foundation of repentance from dead works.” stating in verse 6 that “they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame.”  This is exactly what the Roman Catholic Mass does. 

In John 19:30, as Jesus died on the cross, He said, “It is finished!”  The word “finished” literally means “completed” or “accomplished.”  In His one-time sacrifice, Jesus had done everything that needed to be done to procure the salvation of His people; nothing more needed to be done.  In Hebrews 10:14, the Scripture declares that “By one offering He (Jesus) has perfected forever those who are being sanctified (believers).  The word “perfected” is translated from the exact same Greek word that Jesus used from the cross—“finished.”  Jesus died one time on the cross to cleanse all of our sins forever.

When a person by faith receives the Lord Jesus Christ as his/her personal Savior, every sin that he/she ever has committed, or ever will commit, is forgiven; cleansed by the precious blood of Jesus (I John 1:7).  Have you repented of your sins and trusted the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Savior?

From the Pastor’s Pen

Final thoughts on Psalm 34:11-14

Come, you children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord.  Who is the man who desires life, And loves many days, that he may see good?  Keep your tongue from evil, And your lips from speaking deceit.  Depart from evil and do good; Seek peace and pursue it.          NKJV

Oh, how important it is to have the fear of the Lord.  To some this is a ridiculous concept. They say that the Lord is supposed to be your best friend and fear should not be a part of the relationship.  However, the Scriptures say, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” (Prov. 9:10).  We learn that there are consequences when we do not listen to God and this fear leads to wisdom.  The Lord gives us His commandments for our protection—for our own good.  It is the Lord’s wisdom that we are to desire rather than the world’s wisdom.  Considering this, the next verse is very appropriate.  

 If we desire to see many good days we will keep our tongue from evil and our lips from speaking lies.  How quickly our tongue can give away whether we are in fact wise or foolish.  We must realize that if we would see good, we must do away with gossip, cursing, and slander.  These sins are all destructive, inflaming others or damaging reputations.  Our tongues are to be used for healing—for the profit of others (Prov. 12:18, 15:4).

 Finally, we are exhorted to seek peace.  This is not the peace of the world, which promotes tolerance of everything, including sin, in order to avoid conflict.  To the contrary, the very fact that we follow Jesus and preach His words will bring us into conflict with the world (I John 3:3; John 15:18-20; Matt. 10:34-37; II Tim. 3:12).  The peace that we are to seek is harmony with God; the assurance of knowing that we are right with Him.  The only place that we can find this peace is in listening to God; submitting ourselves to His will (Phil. 4:9).  And what are the results when we submit to the His will?  The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard our hearts and minds through Christ Jesus (Phil. 4:7).

Have you put your trust in the Lord Jesus Christ and found that peace of God which surpasses all understanding?