Tuesday With Karen

by Karen Icenhour

He knows my voice, the very tone it displays,
Hears me every time my heart begins to pray;
He knows who I am when I begin to speak,
And always has time to listen to my needs.

He knows my voice when I’m singing victory’s song,
Even hears it quiver when things are going wrong;
So whether I’m crying or singing words of praise,
He still listens to every syllable I say!

He knows my voice, and exactly the way it sounds,
Knows what my heart feels when I cry to Him aloud;
Though I’ve never seen His awesome, beautiful face,
I sure have seen the glory of His mercy and grace.

He knows my voice, in the bright day or dark night,
Every word that He speaks is my joy and delight;
Thank the Lord for listening to the sound of my voice,
When He speaks back to me, my heart does rejoice!

God’s Good Heart

From Our Daily Bread By Anne Cetas

Roger had been through a lot. He had open-heart surgery to repair a leaky valve. Then, within just a couple of weeks, doctors had to perform the surgery again because of complications. He had just begun to heal with physical therapy when he had a biking accident and broke his collarbone. Added to this, Roger also experienced the heartbreak of losing his mother during this time. He became very discouraged. When a friend asked him if he had seen God at work in any small ways, he confessed that he really didn’t feel he had.

I appreciate Roger’s honesty. Feelings of discouragement or doubt are part of my life too. In Romans, the apostle Paul says, We can rejoice, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. But that doesn’t mean we always feel the joy. We may just need someone to sit down and listen to us pour out our hearts to them, and to talk with God. Sometimes it takes looking back on the situation before we see how our faith has grown during trials and doubts.

Knowing that God wants to use our difficulties to strengthen our faith can help us to trust His good heart for us.

Romans 5:3 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.

Breaking Free From the Comparison Trap

IMG_1072The Immigrants praying and being thankful to God for a new life in the USA

Ephesians 2:6 – “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He shall lift you up.”

Have you ever noticed that we buy things we don’t need with money we don’t have to impress people we don’t even like? We try to keep up with the Jones family, but when we finally catch up with them, they refinance! Let me exhort you to get off that comparison treadmill and onto the pathway of serenity. You are accepted right now in Christ. God does not change you so He can love you. He loves you so He can change you! God loves you as much as He loves Jesus. If you are saved, you are in Christ. And where is He? He is seated in the heavenlies. You are also seated in those heavenly places, even though you still have your address on planet Earth. You are enthroned with Him.

When was the last time you compared yourself with someone else? It’s time to get yourself unharnessed from the comparison yoke and break free as a child of the King!

From the messages of Adrian Rogers

Faith and Motivation

By Ricky Smith

I love our country. It is the greatest in the world. I vividly recall my first trip to Washington D.C. as a child and standing in awe of the monuments, the history, the grandeur, and the inspiring legacy. I spent time reading the quotes inscribed on stone which point to the faith that some of our founding fathers possessed.


Let me be clear. I love our country, but I don’t worship our country. Some do and should repent. America is not the redeeming grace for humanity. Democracy is not our Savior. Jesus is Lord, and only He can save, redeem, restore, and offer hope. 

motivation

Some would look at our country and see the riots, the division, the ideological warfare and conclude we are too far gone. Some may say that we have gone to hell in a handbasket. Certainly, we are being reminded of our sin and are reaping the consequences of generational failures to submit to the authority of Christ. 

Others, I pray all of us, will instead look back at our past. We stand on the shoulders of many who have fought and died for the freedom, the values, and the dignity that America represents. Looking back, we will see bad examples. Threads exist in our history that pain us and remind us of what we should not do.

Other examples exist of service, humility, dignity, and grace. Rather than focusing on the current crisis, we can look back and find motivation to keep fighting for unity and reconciliation. We can find a second wind when we dig into our roots. When we learn from the bad example and we look to the good examples to see the importance of a solid foundation. In fact, let’s dig into that a bit further.


In fact, the main purpose of this blog is not to reflect on our country; although I hope you do find encouragement and a reason to be engaged as a citizen. Instead, the relatable example can allow us to leap to an even more important concept. FAITH!

Faith is a word we toss around and use loosely. Non-christians will use the word to give motivation when times are hard. Believers understand that faith is not just simply something that you keep. It is possessed at one’s core and drives all we do. Hebrews 11:1-2 provides a working definition of faith. 

Faith is both subjective and objective. It is a confession and our confidence. We confess faith in what we believe to be true. We have confidence with faith because we have proof or evidence that it works. Often this evidence is found in stories, or testimonies, of others. Their examples of endurance will motivate us to trust where God has us currently planted.

For example, we can see the power of God demonstrated in creation and thus be reminded that He is always present. If He has the power to provide water and food for the birds, surely He will provide for us. If He has power of the wind and the waves, then surely He can calm the storms in me.

The Bible is filled with stories of people who walked by faith, and not by sight. In fact, Hebrews 11 walks through several examples. Their stories are not fictional accounts that simply exist on flannel graphs or illustrations. They are real people that walked in real faith. These motivate us to trust. If God did it for them, He can do it for us!

Foundations matter. They matter for a country. They matter for a life. We must prayerfully submit to the authority of God and trust Him with our life and with our future. He is faithful. He has proven Himself capable. 

Just like our country has not gone too far, you are never too far gone for God to restore you and redeem you. His love never fails and it never runs out! Trust Him by faith today!

Friday Funnies

ADVICE
The Pastor came to visit the other day. He said that at my advanced age I should be thinking of the hereafter.
I told him, “Oh, I do it all the time.”
“No matter where I am – in the living room, upstairs, in the kitchen, or down in the basement, I am always asking myself: ‘Now, what am I here after?”
REMOTE

Mrs. Jones was fumbling in her purse for her offering when a large television remote fell out and clattered into the aisle.    The curious usher bent over to retrieve it for her and whispered, “Do you always carry your TV remote to church?”     “No,” she replied, “but my husband refused to come with me this morning, and I figured this was the most evil thing I could do to him legally.”

COUNCIL

The church council met to discuss the pastor’s compensation package for the coming year. After the meeting the chair of council told the pastor: “We are very sorry, Pastor, but we decided that we cannot give you a raise next year.”   “But you must give me a raise,” said the pastor. “I am but a poor preacher!”    “l know,” the council chair said. “We hear you every Sunday.”

Bible Study

FAITH Hebrews 11:1
In the English language, the nouns faith and belief are synonyms. The corresponding verb is believe. These three words in their various grammatical forms occur about 500 times in the New Testament. A copy of the New Testament ordinarily contains between 300 and 500 pages, depending on the size of the print. Therefore, we can expect to find the idea of faith expressed about once per page on the average.
Some of the best-known and best-loved verses in the Bible are about faith. One such is John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
This verse and others like it make a strong case for the importance of faith. Not everyone, however, shares the view of those who wrote the preceding statements. H. L. Mencken defined faith as “an illogical belief in the occurrence of the impossible.” Another person said that “faith is the boast of a man who is too lazy to investigate.”
Yet even those who belittle faith admit that faith is a vital part of everyday life. A person drives his car to the grocery store because he believes the store has not gone out of business since his last visit. A person makes an appointment for surgery because she believes her surgeon is a highly skilled medical professional.
This lesson is about faith in our spiritual lives. The lesson is intended to help us better understand the nature of the faith that is described, recommended, and commanded in the Bible.

Faith is Necessary for Salvation
No one can please God without faith: But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him (Heb.11:6). One cannot become a child of God without faith: “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:” (John.1:12).
Faith is a condition for the hope of eternal life: And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, (see Num. 21:4-9) , even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life (John. 3:14-16). He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God “ John.3:18; John 8:24b “for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.”).

Faith is Not Blind
Biblical faith is not blind faith but is built on convincing evidence. When a Christian is asked why he believes that God exists or why he believes the Bible and he responds, “I just accept it on faith,” his answer leaves the impression that his faith is not based on evidence but on a mere whim or inclination.
The Christian’s faith should be reasonable. “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:” (I Pet. 3:15).
The entire Gospel of John was explicitly written to develop faith in those who read it: “And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.” (John 20:30-31).
A few people are gullible enough to believe anything they are told, but most require evidence before they are able to believe. Through the Holy Spirit, Jesus provided His apostles with the means to convince their audiences that they were speaking from God: And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following (Mark 16:20). The miracles the apostles performed gave credence to the words they spoke.
If evidence is not needed to give faith validity, then its validity can be provided only by the degree of the sincerity of the person who believes. Yet if genuinely believing a thing makes it true, then the law of contradiction has no meaning. Every atheist genuinely believes there is no God, and every theist genuinely believes the opposite. If sincerely believing makes it so, then God both exists and does not exist. Most people would have difficulty accepting the last statement as fact.
A Bible definition of faith is given in Heb. 11:1. This passage also shows that biblical faith is based on evidence: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”
When Saul of Tarsus preached in the synagogues after his conversion, he sought to prove to the Jews that Jesus was the Christ by giving sound historical evidence (Acts 9:22). When the Jews believed what Paul taught, they trusted the evidence he presented. “But Saul increased the more in strength, and confounded the Jews which dwelt at Damascus, proving that this is very Christ.”

Faith, if Misinformed, can be Misplaced
The Bible teaches that faith, if based on false, misinterpreted, or incomplete evidence, can be misplaced. In Gen. 37, Joseph’s older brothers sold him into slavery, then convinced their father, Jacob, that Joseph had been killed by a wild animal. They presented Jacob with Joseph’s blood-soaked coat–a coat they had actually dipped in the blood of a goat–and pretended not to know for certain that it was Joseph’s. Jacob leaped to the conclusion they desired. And Jacob rent his clothes, and put sackcloth upon his loins, and mourned for his son many days (Gen. 37:34).
Jacob’s faith, based on evidence though it was, was misplaced. He had, with the connivance of his sons, misinterpreted the evidence. Years later he learned that Joseph was alive and well. Without doubt his earlier belief that Joseph was dead was genuine. Just because someone’s faith is not blind does not always mean it is well placed.
About a billion people claim to be Christians. About an equal number are Muslims. About half a billion are Hindus. Over 200 million are Buddhists, and 14 million are Jews. Presumably many, if not all, of the adherents of these religions have grounds for their beliefs. Although these religions have some common features, in general they are incompatible. If Christianity is right, then Islam, the religion of the Muslims, cannot also be right. If Hinduism is right, then Judaism cannot also be right. Since all cannot be right, we conclude that the faith of some is based on evidence that has been misinterpreted or is incomplete.

Faith is Obedient
Faith involves obedience, which is active submission to God’s will. After conviction and trust have been generated by the preaching of Christ (i.e., the gospel), faith produces action (obedience). Consider the following six Biblical situations or quotations showing how faith and obedience are linked.

  1. In Capernaum friends of a lame man brought him to Jesus. When they could not enter the house because of the crowd, they opened the roof and let the man down through the ceiling to Jesus: When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee (Mark 2:5). What did Jesus see? It was not conviction, mental consent, or trust (which the man and those who brought him evidently had) but action, called “faith”, that Jesus saw.
  2. James wrote: Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works (Jas.2:17-18).
  3. John 3:16 says: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. Does the “belief” of this passage include action (obedience)? Compare this passage with Heb. 5:8-9, which tells us the result of Jesus’ being perfected through His obedience in suffering on the cross: he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him . John 3:16 says believing results in eternal life. Heb. 5:8-9 says obedience brings the same result. Thus, saving faith is that which acts (obeys).
  4. The Jews who sinned and fell in the wilderness could not enter God’s rest because of their disobedience (Heb. 3:18), which grew out of their unbelief (Heb.3:19). Unbelief and disobedience go hand in hand. Likewise, belief and obedience are inseparably linked: He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him (John 3:36).
  5. Paul wrote to the Roman Christians and said he thanked God: …that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world (Rom.1:8). At the close of his letter, he said to them: For your obedience is come abroad unto all men (Rom.16:19). This further confirms that when availing faith is mentioned it is always yoked with obedience.
  6. Heb. 11 lists numerous examples of people saved (justified) by an active faith: ?By faith Abel offered … . (v. 4)
    By faith Enoch … for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God . . (v. 5)?By faith Noah … prepared an ark . (v. 7)
    By faith Abraham … obeyed; and he went out . . (v.8)
    By faith Abraham … offered up Isaac . (v. 17)
    By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they were compassed about seven days . (v. 30)?
    The chapter goes on to mention a dozen more (Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Rahab, Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and prophets) who also demonstrated their faith by the things they did and by the things they suffered (even death in some cases). Therefore, they had a good “by faith” testimony before God.
    Faith is Not the Only Condition for Salvation
    When faith is taken to mean only mental consent or internal commitment, then faith by itself will not save. For by grace are ye saved through faith; (obedient faith); and that not of yourselves: (not of your own design and actions), it is the gift of God: Not of works (meritorious works), lest any man should boast (Eph.2:8-9). No man can do enough works (regardless of number or nature) to earn or merit salvation. Salvation can only be obtained by God’s grace (the gift of His Son to die for us) through faith (obedient faith–in Christ and His blood).
    James very clearly explains the relation of faith and works using Abraham as an example: Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble (Jas. 2:19). Even the demons give mental consent to the existence and unity of God, but their belief is not translated into obedience. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works (obedience) when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, (obedience) and by works was faith made perfect? And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only (Jas.2:20-24).

Victory Baptist Church 25 August 2021 victorypalmetto.com

Wade’s Wednesday

Hosanna!

By Laurin Greco

They didn’t realize the significance of their words. “Hosanna to the Son of David,” the people called out as Jesus rode by on a donkey, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest!” (Matt. 21:19). They scampered in their worship, making a road of coats and tree branches before Him. But for the Jews packed in Jerusalem, the Sunday before the feast of Passover was the day each family would choose their lamb to sacrifice for the annual time of remembrance. Years before, when His people were still in Egypt’s shackles, God warned that death was on its way and no one—neither the righteous nor the wicked—would be spared. But the Lord provided a way, a covering. All who took shelter under the spilt blood of a perfect lamb would live.

“Sin costs blood,” God was communicating. And every spring, His people remembered.

After that first Passover, the Lord also taught His people how lifeblood would provide provisional covering for their sin. “The life of the flesh is in the blood,” He told them. “And I have given it to you on the altar to make atonement for your souls” (Lev. 17:11). God showed His people how to offer daily and annual sacrifices for their sin. “This will cover you for a little while,” He was explaining.

So for years God’s people kept bringing sacrifices. “Save us, please,” was the prayer as blood spilled from every offering. But the blood of bulls and lambs can’t purify a sin–stained heart (Heb. 10:4). The people of God were covered, but they weren’t clean.

And then came that day. In their hearts, the people were choosing an earthly king. The yoke of Rome was heavy, and they wanted freedom. “Hosanna [Save us, please!] to the Son of David,” they called out as Jesus rode by on a donkey. “Hosanna!”

But God had a freedom of a much more beautiful kind on His heart. His people thought they were choosing their king, but God was choosing their Lamb.

“Save us, please!” they cried. And the answer was the same then as today: Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!

Tuesday With Karen

He is worthy of glory, honor & praise forever! KI

Praise God’s Holy Name

Praise God’s holy name for the breath to live,
For blessings His hand so lovingly gives;
His ways are much higher than we can know,
But He walks with us in every step we go!

Praise God’s holy name for the gift of life,
For shining in on us in our darkest night;
Whatever path our steps may come on,
Never one time does He leave us alone!

Praise God’s holy name for His loving grace,
He gives us strength for anything we face;
He won’t give us more than we can take,
Nurturing us with love that won’t go away!

Praise God’s holy name with honor & glory,
By His hand, He wrote salvation’s story;
We escape Hell by the blood of the Lord,
He’s worthy of honor & praise forevermore!
                                             7-26-21.
**After devotion

Be Meek—Be Happy

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By Billy Graham

Blessed are the meek; for they shall inherit the earth.—Matthew 5:5

In His characteristic way Jesus was saying something quite shocking and revolutionary to His listener with these words, “Happy are the meek.” He was saying something quite the opposite of our modern concept of the way to happiness. We say, “Happy are the clever, for they shall inherit the admiration of their friends”; “Happy are the aggressive, for they shall inherit a career”; “Happy are the rich, for they shall inherit a world of friends and a house full of modern gadgets.”

Jesus did not say, “Be meek and you shall inherit the earth.” He, more than anyone else, knew that meekness was a gift of God, a result of rebirth. Jesus was not issuing a command in this Beatitude nor saying, “You ought to be meek, that is the way to live.” No! He was saying that if we want to find the secret of happiness, that if we want to enjoy living, then “meekness” is a basic key.

Prayer for the day—May I truly reflect Your meekness in my life, Lord.

Taken from Day by Day with Billy Graham, ©1976

Blacksliding

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Are You Backsliding With A Bible Under Your Arm?

That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.” – Philippians 3:10-11

Did you know that you can backslide with a Bible under your arm? I had more difficulty maintaining my spiritual life when I was in seminary than any other time in my life.

I’m not putting down seminary. It wasn’t their fault. It was my fault. I started reading the Bible like a math book instead of a love story.

You can know the letter, but the letter kills if you are not clean. The test of your Bible Study is not how many facts you know or how fast you can take apart a Greek verb and put it back together. The test is: Are you becoming like Jesus because you spent time in His Word?

May God help us as teachers, soul winners, disciples, and deacons to be using the Word of God to clean us, convict us, and challenge us to be more like Christ.

by Adrain Rogers