Death

Each of our children grew to become a self-sustaining, responsible servant of Jesus Christ, in his or her own way. As God intended from the beginning, we released them to follow their destinies.

Some of you reading these words did not release your children in this way. Perhaps you have lost your child through death, a terrible crime, divorce, or some other horrible tragedy. Let me be clear about this. While God is the sovereign ruler of all and nothing is beyond His power or knowledge, a horrible tragedy is never a cruel, merciless act on God’s part. God did not find delight in making you endure such grief. Yes, as with Job, He permitted it, but He is not the author of evil. The evil intent of a world that has been twisted by sin took your child from you.

God hates not only sin, He also hates death. He hates it so much that He sent His Son to destroy death by dying and rising again. Death is called in the Scriptures our “last enemy” (1 Corinthians 15:26). Ultimately, the Lord will have the last word in this fight against evil, and He spoke that word to us through Jesus Christ. Put simply: Death is the will of a world gone wrong. Resurrection is God’s final triumph over evil.

Whether we lose our children by tragedy or design, this much is true: Anything we hold dear, we must learn to hold loosely. Let’s face it, if we hold anything too tightly, it probably has us rather than our having it. And God will not allow that for your sake or the sake of your loved one.

Ultimately, the decision to hold anything loosely—especially as it applies to relationships—is an act of faith. Human instinct would have us clutch the things we adore most. Releasing them, presenting them to God, requires that we trust Him to do what is right. When we do this for our children, the lasting impact we leave is a practical model of faith. And I can think of no better way to teach our children about the God we worship than by modeling our trust in Him daily.
W. Weirbe

Friday Funnies

Strange Goings On in the Portchester Graveyard

Roger Letzer was visiting the cemetery near Portchester Castle in England and he couldn’t help noticing a man kneeling in front of a gravestone, clasping his hands and sobbing.  Roger went a bit closer and could hear what the man was saying.  ‘Why did you have to die?’ he was repeating, ‘Why did you have to die?’

Feeling he ought to do something to alleviate the man’s obvious distress Roger laid his hand on the his shoulder saying gently, ‘Was it someone you loved very much?’

The man looked up at him and said, ‘No, I never met him, he was my wife’s first husband.’

DOCTOR’S VISIT

Nora Bone was delivering a new plastic skeleton to the doctor’s office.  As she waited at the main desk Nora was aware that the waiting room full of patients was staring at her.  So she smiled and said,” I am bringing him in to doctor Henderson.” 

An old lady said sympathetically, “My dear!  Isn’t it a bit late for the doctor?”

KIDS CORNER

Q: Why do skeletons have low self-esteem?
A: They have no body to love.

Q: Know why skeletons are so calm?
A: Because nothing gets under their skin.

Q: Why did the headless horseman go into business?
A: He wanted to get ahead in life.

Joe: What do you call wood when it’s scared?

Bob: I don’t know.

Joe: Petrified!

Numbered Grocery List

My father was completely lost in the kitchen and never ate unless someone prepared a meal for him. When Mother was ill, however, he volunteered to go to the supermarket for her. She sent him off with a carefully numbered list of seven items.

Dad returned shortly, very proud of himself, and proceeded to unpack the grocery bags. He had one bag of sugar, two dozen eggs, three hams, four boxes of detergent, five boxes of crackers, six eggplants, and seven green peppers.

Walking with the Lord


Psalm 37:23 The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way.

A small pamphlet I received from a friend was titled “An Attempt to Share the Story of 86 Years of Relationship with the Lord.” In it, Al Ackenheil noted key people and events in his journey of faith over nearly nine decades. What seemed to be ordinary choices at the time—memorizing Bible verses, meeting for prayer with others, telling his neighbors about Jesus—became turning points that changed the direction of his life. It was fascinating to read how God’s hand guided and encouraged Al.

The psalmist wrote, “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and He delights in his way”. The passage continues with a beautiful description of God’s faithful care for everyone who wants to walk with Him. “The law of his God is in his heart; none of his steps shall slide” (v. 31).

Each of us could create a record of God’s leading and faithfulness, reflecting on God’s guidance—the people, places, and experiences that are landmarks on our pathway of faith. Every remembrance of the Lord’s goodness encourages us to keep walking with Him and to thank someone who influenced us for good.

The Lord guides and guards all who walk with Him.

Heavenly Father, Your faithfulness to us is unfailing. Thank You for leading, guiding, and providing so many spiritual encouragers and mentors. Bless those today who have helped us so much.

You are headed in the right direction when you walk with God.

Wade’s Wednesday

Christian’s Will Make Mistakes

By Gary A. Serago

In Acts 15:36-40, we read about Paul and Barnabas having a disagreement so strong that it caused them to go their separate ways on their missionary journey.

Paul and Barnabas were both great Christian leaders. They had shared the gospel with a lot of people. They were making Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection widely known throughout the Roman empire. The Lord’s church was growing because of their fearless and tireless effort to share the life-changing gospel about Jesus Christ.

One day Paul tells Barnabas they should revisit the churches where they have already preached and see how they are progressing. Barnabas says he will go and get John Mark and Paul tells him they are not taking that deserter with them.

Here we have two Christian men, both possessing the Holy Spirit and yet, they are disagreeing. In fact, the Bible says it was a “sharp disagreement” which separated these two brothers.

Wow! Two Christians not being able to get along with each other. How is that possible? It is possible because Christians will make mistakes. Being forgiven doesn’t mean we will all of a sudden be perfect and never make another mistake in our life.

Then in Galatians 2:11-12, we read about how Paul confronted Peter for his hypocrisy regarding eating with the Gentiles. Peter likewise had the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit and yet we can see he is making a big mistake here by being a hypocrite. In fact, we could say Peter was being a racist.

What should a Christian do after he or she has made a mistake? Own it. Admit it. Confess it. Get over it. It most likely won’t be your last mistake.

The devil is trying to get you to quit being a Christian. So every time you make a mistake he wants to remind you of how horrible you are. When he puts thoughts into your head about how bad you are, agree with him. Tell him he is right, you made another mistake and as fast as you can make them God can forgive you of them. Tell him that the difference between you and him is you can be forgiven and he can’t.

God is a gracious God. Allow Him to extend His Grace to you.

Tuesday with Karen

I’m Safe In The Storm

I’m safe in the storm, inside of God’s hand,
Nothing will happen He doesn’t command;
Anything that’s happening, God oversees,
He knows exactly what my heart will need!

I’m safe in the storm that now rages high,
In the midst of darkness, God is the Light;
If raging winds blow & the thunder rolls,
God’s grace keeps sweet peace in my soul!

I’m safe in the storm, no matter its might,
God’s loving touch makes things go right;
Everything He does, we can fully trust,
His mercy & grace are always enough!

I’m safe in the storm, by God’s loving grace,
He gives me strength every hour of the day;
God does many things, far above the norm,
I know for certain, I’m safe in the storm!

Thanks

Yesterday was Pastor Appreciation Day at Victory Baptist. I am very thankful for God allowing me to be part of this great Church. We may be small in number but we are big in heart. Arlene and I have loved being a part of everyone’s life. I am thankful for the impact that everyone has had on our life.

Col. 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.

Stressed Out?

David wrote: “In my distress I called upon the Lord, and cried unto my God: he heard my voice out of his temple, and my cry came before him, even into his ears. . . . He sent from above, he took me, he drew me out of many waters. He delivered me from my strong enemy, and from them which hated me: for they were too strong for me. They prevented [came upon] me in the day of my calamity: but the Lord was my stay. He brought me forth also into a large place; he delivered me, because he delighted in me” (Psalm 18:6, 16-19).
You can rest assured that if you are being afflicted, it is because God delights in you. “Whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth” (Hebrews 12:6). Your afflictions are a sign of His love.
You must also remember that whatever you’re going through will pass. In his devotional book David Wilkerson writes, “Recently, I read a passage in one of my journals that I had written while going through a great trial. Three months’ worth of entries all ended with the same phrase: “Oh, God, when will this nightmare end?” Then, finally, these words appeared across a page in huge letters: “IT’S OVER—HE HAS DELIVERED!”
I can honestly say I have learned more in my afflictions than I ever did in good times. Prosperity doesn’t teach us—afflictions do. The humanitarian Albert Schweitzer said, “Happiness is good health and a bad memory.” No, happiness is remembering all the ways God has brought us through.
I ask you again: How are you reacting to your afflictions? Are you wasting them, becoming a doubter and complainer? Or are you building up your faith, knowing that your God delivers?
There is only one way to endure your present troubles: Remember that your heavenly Father delights in you. He has a plan at work, a great investment in you. “He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6). Your Father is preparing you to be a veteran of spiritual warfare, an example of faith and trust to this generation. Sometimes the change we are looking for spring up from the tears we shed.

There Is A Rat In The Bed

Getting candy was a big treat at the Smith house growing up. Daddy would always seem to be able to get  us some kind of a treat on payday, so we all looked forward to him getting home on  Saturdays. Most of the time it was just enough for everyone to get one piece, but one day he came in with a big bag of suckers. (Lolly pops)  Mother gave us one and put the rest away for later.
That night I got up to get my regular drink of water.  When you have to go to bed at 8:00 p.m. you look for any reason to get up and roam around. When I open the cabinet to get a glass, to my surprise I saw the bag of suckers.  I thought maybe I should sneak one and no one would ever know. About that time I remembered my brother, who was sleeping in the same room, he would tell on me.  So I got me one and him one, that way he would apartaker in my little plan.
With  two suckers concealed in my hand, back to the bed room I ran.
When I got into the bedroom I tossed one of the suckers over to the bed my brother was in without saying anything, I didn’t want to make a lot of noise about taking the two suckers.
Without warning my brother jumped out of the bed and started screaming, ”There’s a rat in my bed!”Jumping up and down and pulling the covers off the bed screaming, ”There’s a rat in my bed!”
Mother, daddy, all my brothers and sisters came running into the bedroom, “What’s going on in here!” ”There’s a rat in my bed!”Said my shaking brother.  I just covered my head and tried to not let anyone see me laughing.
Everyone started looking for the rat, “Here it is,” said my dad holding up the sucker in his hand.
“How did this get in here?” “I don’t know.” said my brother. “I guess it just came in here by it’s self.” Dad said sternly. “And what do you think is so funny?”turning to me. “Nothing.” I said, with the other sucker still in my mouth. That night I got a good whipping.
That all happen almost seventy years ago, but when me and my brother get together we still laugh about the rat in the bed.
Numbers 32:23 But if ye will not to do so, behold, ye have sinned against the LORD: and be sure your sin will find you out.

Friday Funnies

Texas Hospitality

I once heard about a wealthy Texan who had an impressive ranch in Texas. On his ranch, he had a HUGE floodlit swimming pool and in this swimming pool he kept a SHARK. The rich Texan loved to throw lavish dinner parties and would invite his guests up around the pool afterwards. Then he would say to them, “If any of you will swim a length of this pool then I will give you one of three things: $10 million, or half of my estate, or the hand of my daughter in marriage.”

He always said before he finished, “but I must warn you before you do so, there is a shark in the pool.”

Well one evening as he was saying this, there was a splash, and a man, very nicely dressed, swam the entire length of the pool chased by the shark.  He got out of the pool just in time as the shark thudded into the wall.

The Texan said, “Congratulations! You are the first person who has ever done that!!Now what would you like? Would you like $10 million?”

The man gasped, “No thank you.”

He said, “Would you like half of my estate?”

The man said, “No thank you.”

He said, “Ahh, you want the hand of my daughter in marriage?”

The exasperated man said, “No thank you!”

So the Texan said to him, “Well what do you want?”

He said, “I want the name of the man who pushed me in.”

Her Mother’s Prayer

My wife invited some people to dinner.

At the table, she turned to our six-year-old daughter and said, “Would you like to say the blessing?”

“I wouldn’t know what to say, ” she replied. “Just say what you hear Mommy say,” my wife said.

Our daughter bowed her head and said: “Dear Lord, why on earth did I invite all these people to dinner?”

Bible Study

WHAT DO YOU KNOW 2
The Importance of Biblical Knowledge 2 Peter 1:1-2

The key word to this second epistle, written by Peter to the dispersed Jews, is “knowledge.” 

1.  In verse 2, we find that the grace of God to live in this present evil world and the peace to live in this present evil body come through the knowledge of God and our Lord Jesus Christ.  Knowledge belongs to God as one of His attributes is that of omniscience, or all knowledge. 

2.  Science without the knowledge of God becomes “science falsely so-called.”  Thus, we understand the importance of knowing God through the natural world and knowing Him personally through the Lord Jesus Christ.

3.  The biblical definition of the word “knowledge” is found its first mention.  I continue to express the importance of the First Mention Principle of Bible interpretation. 

a)  The first mention of knowledge was not found in the fruit of the tree but in the command of God.  Genesis 2:9  And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil. 
b)  I do not know what that fruit was, and it really makes no difference.  It was probably a tree that no longer exists as it was there for a divine purpose and that purpose is finished.  The purpose of the tree was to obey or nor to obey. 
c)  The word “knowledge” goes with both words: good and evil.  The knowledge of good was to obey God and not to eat; the knowledge of evil was to disobey God and to eat.  The possibility of knowing is found here.

Genesis 3:5  For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods,knowing good and evil.  (The actual knowledge or being fully aware of is found here.)

4.  Through disobedience to God’s clear command, Adam and Eve’s spiritual eyes were opened.  Genesis 3:6-7  And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.  (7)  And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.

a)  The fruit was good for food.  There was nothing wrong with the fruit! 
b)  The fruit was pleasant to look upon.  It was a beautiful creation of God!
c)  The fruit was desired to make one wise.  It was there to give wisdom to the obedient!
d)  The fruit did not cause their eyes to be open nor did it remove their innocence.  Their disobedience did that!  Disobedience to God brought about the knowledge of good and evil!

5.  In the First Mention of the word ‘knowledge,” it is the knowledge of both good and evil.  This principle remains consistent throughout the Bible. 

6.  The responsibility of knowledge is found in Genesis 2:9 and is also explained in the first four verse of the Book of Proverbs:

Proverbs 1:1-4  The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel;  (2)  To know (to be subjected to knowledge) wisdom and instruction; to perceive (to understand knowledge) the words of understanding;  (3)  To receive  (to personally implement knowledge) the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgment, and equity;  (4)  To give (to pass knowledge along to the next generation) subtilty to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion.

In Genesis, we find both the positive and negative aspects of knowledge:

1.  The positive side of knowledge.

a)  Knowledge informs the believer of the ways of God -Psalms 95:10  Forty years long was I grieved with this generation, and said, It is a people that do err in their heart, and they have not known my ways:  (The knowledge to Adam and Eve was to not eat of the tree.  We do not have to taste of sin to know it is sin.  If God said to leave something alone, He means it for our good.)
b)  Knowledge informs the believer of the will of God -Ephesians 1:9  Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: (The will of God is purposed in God!  Christ Jesus made this perfectly clear in the Garden when He said, “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.” Matthew 26:39) 

2.  The negative side of knowledge.

a)  A lack of knowledge destroys the believer – Hosea 4:6  My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.  (Adam and Eve transgressed the command of God and knew that they were naked of innocence and in a sinful state.  The verse keeps coming back to me: “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.”  The transgression of the knowledge that God gives to us becomes the knowledge of nakedness or the loss of innocence which is sin.)
b)  A wrong use of knowledge puffs up the believer – 1 Corinthians 8:1  Now as touching things offered unto idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth. (To inflate by blowing; to make haughty; to make proud.)

God wants His children to be knowledgeable concerning the Word of God and His will for our lives.  The word knowledge is used 41 times in Proverbs alone.

            1.  God wants us to know His Word for our profit.
            2.  God wants us to know His Will for our lives.
3.  God wants us to know His Work for soul’s sake.
4.  God wants us to know His Wherewithal to get the work done.

Here is my definition of Wisdom: Wisdom is the right application of knowledge.  Knowledge is the foundation for wisdom, thus, the two are intricately tied together.

a.  The Wisdom Of Testimony – 2 Chronicles 1:10  Give me nowwisdom and knowledge, that I may go out and come in before this people: for who can judge this thy people, that is so great?  (Knowledge can only be properly used with wisdom.)
b.  The Wisdom Of Silence – Proverbs 8:12  I wisdom dwell with prudence, and find out knowledge of witty inventions.  (Prudence means shrewdness or craftiness.  There is a time to be quiet.  As wise as serpents-harmless as doves.  Just because something is right does not mean that you need to say it!!!!)
c.  The Wisdom Of Discernment – Colossians 1:9  For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding.  (Knowing when and where to use the knowledge that God has given to you.  You can do the right thing in the wrong place or time and still be wrong.)
d.  The Wisdom Of Meekness – James 3:13  Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom.

Galatians 6:1  Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.  (Most correction is done in a harsh manner!)

Six reasons why it is important to pursue knowledge of the Scriptures:

1.  Knowledge gives substance to faith.
2.  Knowledge stabilizes us during times of testing.
3.  Knowledge enables us to handle the Word of God accurately.
4.  Knowledge equips us to detect and confront error.
5.  Knowledge makes us confident and consistent in our walk with God.
6.  Knowledge filters out our fears and superstitions.

As a lack of knowledge destroys, the wrong use of knowledge also destroys:  Knowledge must be accompanied with charity in order to be used properly.  It is interesting that charity is a New Testament Word.  In the Old Testament, under the law, it was do or die.

1.  Knowledge Without Charity Becomes An Instrument Of Criticism!  Luke 18:9-14  And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:  Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.  The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.  I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.  And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.  I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.  (Some people are simply critical.  They know that they are critical and continue to use their tongue in an unloving manner.)
           
2.  Knowledge Without Love Becomes An Instrument Of Condemnation!  Romans 14:1-5  Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations.  For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs.  Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him.  Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.  One man esteemeth one day above another: nother esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.  (Some people are simply hard and harsh.  They know that they are hard and harsh and yet continue to be so. To harshly judge or to tell someone off.)

3.  Knowledge Without Love Becomes An Instrument Of Cruelty!  Luke 9:51-56  And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem,  And sent messengers before his face: and they went, and entered into a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for him.  And they did not receive him, because his face was as though he would go to Jerusalem.  And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did?  But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of.  For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them. And they went to another village.