When theApostle Paul was suddenly brought into the presence of the Eternal, the whole course of his life was changed. In that flash of Light he saw the exalted Savior, and learnt that he was antagonizing the purposes of redeeming grace, and that vision altered the whole of his purposes and actions. From that great hour he forgot the things that were behind, and endeavored to apprehend that for which he had been apprehended by Christ Jesus. It was his ambition to build his life on the pattern shown him on the mount.

Years after, as he reviewed his life-work, the churches he had founded, the cities he had evangelized, the epistles he had written, surely he might have reckoned that he had apprehended; but ever as he climbed, he envisaged heights beckoning beyond his attainments. Is not that the case with us, as we compare the vision of God’s purpose with what we have realized? Oh, give us back the years that have gone, that we may do better, be more accurate and successful in the transmission to living fact of those fair ideals, which called to us years ago! The vision in the sanctuary may never be perfectly realized by these bungling apprentice-hands. Yet God accepts and forgives the mistakes, as the mother accepts the cobbled stitches of her little girl who tries to help her with her sewing. “Not that we have already attained, or are already perfect, but we follow on,” and God forgives and accepts our poor patchwork!

What must we do to achieve our ideals? We must be more often in the sanctuary, in fellowship with Christ, to whose image we are to be conformed. With the Psalmist we must say: “Whom have I in heaven but Thee, and there is none on the earth that I desire beside Thee.”

As we look on Him, we shall be changed into His likeness. As He is, so shall we become. Martyrs on the night before their agony; reformers hesitating at their tasks; scholars wondering whether their long self-denial was worth while; fathers and mothers; teachers and workers; preachers and missionaries, all these have stood in the sanctuary of God, until they have seen the vision and ideal. Then they have reckoned that what God had taught them to long for, He was prepared to enable them to effect. “All things are possible to him that believeth.”

“God keeps His commandments” (Deut 7:9).

Five attributes of God make this possible.

First, He is omniscient, which means He knows everything, including our every need, thought, frailty, desire, and life situation in the past, present, and future. Next, the Lord is omnipotent, or all-powerful, so nothing is too hard for Him (Jer. 32:17).

Then, He is omnipresent–since He exists everywhere at once, He is never beyond reach.

In addition, our heavenly Father cannot lie. Everything that He says is true and reliable.

And lastly, God is unchanging. Our circumstances and the world around us may seem to be in a constant state of flux, and the Lord may even modify the way He chooses to interact with mankind in different generations. But His character is always the same. So when Scripture tells us that God is faithful, we can rest confidently upon that promise.

Circumstances can be painful. But even when situations seem overwhelming, believers can trust that our sovereign Lord knows all, is in control, and lovingly works everything for His children’s good. We can rest confidently knowing that the unchanging God of all creation is taking care of us.

One Sunday a pastor told his congregation that the church needed some extra money and asked the people to prayerfully consider giving a little extra in the offering plate. He said that whoever gave the most would be able to pick out three hymns.
After the offering plates were passed, the pastor glanced down and noticed that someone had placed a $1,000 bill in offering. He was so excited that he immediately shared his joy with his congregation and said he’d like to personally thank the person who placed the money in the plate.
And there sat our Rosie all the way in the back shyly raised her hand. The pastor asked her to come to the front. Slowly she made her way to the pastor. He told her how wonderful it was that she gave so much and in thanksgiving asked her to pick out three hymns.
Her eyes brightened as she looked over the congregation, pointed to the three most handsome men in the building and said, “I’ll take him and him and him!”

Fred called a church and asked to speak to the Head Hog of the Trough.
Secretary: How rude! I’ll have you know we would NEVER EVER refer to our pastor as a hog.
Fred: Okay, then just take a message. Tell him I’ve come into a bit of money so I was calling to give your church $50,000.
Secretary: Well hold the phone, dearie! I think I see that big fat pig coming down the hall right now.

Mildred, the church gossip and self-appointed arbiter of the church’s morals, kept sticking her nose in the other members’ private lives. Church members were unappreciative of her activities, but feared her enough to maintain their silence.
She made a mistake, however, when she accused George, a new member, of being an alcoholic after she saw his pickup truck parked in front of the town’s only bar one afternoon.
She commented to George and others that everyone seeing it there would know what he was doing.
George, a man of few words, stared at her for a moment and just walked away. He didn’t explain, defend, or deny; he said nothing.
Later that evening, George quietly parked his pickup in front of Mildred’s house… and left it there all night!

Making Right Choices Proverbs 1:22-33
22 How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? and the scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge? 23 Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you. 24 Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded;
A. I fully believe in the complete sovereignty of God. He is a sovereign God and asks counsel of no man. God does as He pleases, when He pleases, and how He pleases! PERIOD!!!

B. The doctrine of God’s sovereignty is not at risk in this message. If fact, the sovereignty of God has everything to do with our personal choices that we make each day because He has given us—in His sovereign will—both the ability and obligation to make those choices!.

C. You and I make choices, important choices, each and every day of our lives. Our choice begins as we awaken. Choices about getting up! I do not “punch a clock.” Choices of apparel. Choices of food. Choices, choices, choices!

D. Some choices do not have a lot of either temporal or eternal value, but some choices are of great importance and, therefore, must be made right.

E. God did not simply give us choices to be made without giving us explicit guidelines and help in making right choices. He wants us to react rightly to the truth that He has given us and make God honoring choices.

God gives us the guideline of natural laws written within every man, woman, and child – Romans 2:12-15 For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law; 13 (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified. 14 For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: 15 Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;) (Most of the time, we know what is right and what is wrong before we even begin!)

  1. God gives us the Scriptures – 2 Peter 1:3-4 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: 4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. (The Bible has the answer to all of life’s choices.)

2 Timothy 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

  1. God gives us the Holy Spirit – John 16:13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, [that] shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. (His inner witness will never lead us wrong. It is our obligation to listen to Him!)
  2. God gives us godly counsel – Proverbs 11:14 Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety. (People who do not want to do right seek no counsel. People who want to do right seek counsel!)

F. There is no excuse for the child of God to make wrong choices. It is simply a matter of obedience or disobedience! Either wanting to do right or not wanting to do right. I could use many choices in this sermon but I want to look at just a few very important ones.

  1. Making Right Or Wrong Choices About Salvation (It is about Heaven Or Hell)

Deuteronomy 30:19 I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:

a. God will not force you to be saved!
b. God has done everything necessary for you to be saved!
c. God gives you the choice: eternal life or eternal death in hell!

  1. Making Right Or Wrong Choices About Sin (It Is about Peace And Safety Or Consequences And Regrets)

Galatians 6:7-8 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. 8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.

  1. Making Right Or Wrong Choices About Marriage (It Is Heaven On Earth Or It Is Hell On Earth. I cannot stress this enough to our youth! Make sure you find the Lord’s choice for a mate for life.)

a. Do not make quick decisions – Proverbs 18:22 Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the LORD.

b. Do not simply go for looks – Genesis 29:17 Leah was tender eyed; but Rachel was beautiful and well favoured. (Leah was God’s choice! Jacob was buried by Leah.)

Proverbs 31:30 Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised.

  1. Making Right Or Wrong Choices About Service (It Is Happiness Or Unhappiness)

Joshua 24:14-15 Now therefore fear the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the LORD. 15 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.

Conclusion: Wrong choices can have tremendous consequences! God will not force our choices! “God will always give you what you want but it will always cost you what you’ve got” ~ Evangelist Tom Holbrooks

By Charles F. Stanley

When the problems of life seem overwhelming, we need someone to come alongside and help us to see our difficulties through the eyes of our sovereign God. Joseph is just such a person. Although he lived thousands of years ago, his story still speaks to us with great insight into the Lord’s purposes.  (Genesis 39: 19-23)

Joseph experienced a wide variety of trials—hatred, rejection, and betrayal by his brothers; loss of home, family, and freedom; false accusation and imprisonment; and the loneliness and disappointment of being forgotten. His life was a series of difficult and unfair situations, yet Scripture never records any bitterness or revenge in Joseph’s responses to all these circumstances.

Though outwardly it may have seemed as if God had abandoned the young man, He was doing some awesome work in Joseph’s heart. The Lord had big plans for him, and He knew that these trials would be the most effective tools in preparing His servant for the work that lay ahead.

As Joseph responded to each situation with faith in God and diligence in every task assigned to him, one fact became obvious to all who knew him: The Lord was with Joseph (Gen. 39:2, 21, 23).

We need to remember this when we are going through hard times: The Lord is with us even when our circumstances seem to shout that He has deserted us. We may have little control over the difficulties we face, but we each have a choice of how to respond.

Joseph calls to us from out of the past, urging us to trust God.

Give God The Problems

Give God the problems that burden you down,
Inside His hands, sweet relief will be found;
Don’t try to figure it out on your on,
God is wiser than man has ever known!

Give God the trials that might come your way,
Things are much better in God’s loving grace;
Satan will try to bring God’s people down,
God hears your prayer with grace that abounds!

Give God the troubles keeping you upset,
The strength that He gives, you’ll never forget;
The right answer to anything at all,
Comes when He hears your needy voice call!

Give God everything, whatever it may be,
He’s able to supply anything you need,
Life may have trials, very hard to face,
Nothing at all is greater than His grace!

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.—Romans 1:16

The greatest event in history was the coming of Jesus Christ into the world to live and to die for mankind. The next greatest event was the going forth of the Church to embody the life of Christ and to spread the knowledge of His salvation throughout the earth.

It was not an easy task which the Church faced when she came down from that upper room…. Left to herself the Church must have perished as a thousand abortive sects had done before her, and have left nothing for a future generation to remember.

That the Church did not so perish was due entirely to the miraculous element within her. That element was supplied by the Holy Spirit who came at Pentecost to empower her for her task. For the Church was not an organization merely, not a movement, but a walking incarnation of spiritual energy. And she accomplished within a few brief years such prodigies of moral conquest as to leave us wholly without an explanation—apart from God. Paths to Power, 7-8.

“We continue to need that power, Lord, or we still are hopelessly incapable of the task You’ve left us. Empower us for our work, Holy Spirit, even as You empowered the early church. Amen.”

Reprinted from Tozer on Christian Leadership by A.W. Tozer, copyright © 2001 by Zur Ltd. Used by permission of WingSpread Publishers, a division of Zur Ltd.

Psalms 127:1Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.

Have you ever been a part of something that just never seemed to take off? No matter how hard you tried, no matter how much time, energy, or money you put in, you still didn’t seem to get anywhere. It’s like rowing against the current or spitting into the wind.

What’s that all about?

It’s quite possible that “that thing” was what the proceeding passage in Psalm is describing. We’re told that “unless the LORD builds the house, they labor in vain who build it.” This is essentially telling us that there are things in life that God is actively participating in and things that He isn’t. There are things He’s building and things He isn’t. And when it comes to those things He’s not building, every ounce of man’s labor expended in their direction will be in vain.

We can work and work at something all we want, but if God isn’t the one putting things together, all of our time, energy, and money will be wasted. The key to living a productive life is knowing what the Lord is building and joining in…not trying to get Him to join us in what we want to build.

God is into giving, so invest in giving and watch what happens. God is into serving, so invest in serving and watch what happens. God is into prayer, so invest in prayer and watch what happens. You’ll find that futility and frustration will turn into fulfillment and fruitfulness, because now you’re building where He is.

If you sense you’re toiling in vain at something, honestly examine whether or not its something the Lord is building.

CONTENTMENT 2 Psalms 103:1-5

A.  What a blessing it is to sit back and take a look at the whole picture of our lives and know that we are blessed!  David had his share of problems, setbacks, disappointments, and failures but knew that God had blessed his life from beginning to end.  Too often, we find the bad times the focus of our attention instead of the big picture.  Life is hard and short!

B.  We should to be a thankful people 365 days a year. 

C.  David tells his soul, the seat of his affections, to bless the Lord.  Sometimes we have to said, “Bless the Lord anyhow!”  It may not be good English but it is good theology and advice.  God is good.

D.  David blessed the Lord for all of His benefits which included, up to this point, his great forgiveness of sins along with his good health.

E.  David blessed the Lord for a hedged life.  The Lord not only spiritually saved him but He also saved David’s life from the destruction of sin, self, and Satan!  Look around at where you are and then take a look at the destruction of sin in the lives of people that you know and say, “But for the grace of God go I!”  God changed your desires and your direction when He saved you.

F.  We live in days of lack of contentment and satisfaction.  People are neither content or satisfied with who they are nor with what they have. 

1.  More is never enough!  Not only the world, but God’s people lack satisfaction and contentment.  Preachers are possibly the worst of all in this area.  Some continually move because they never learn contentment.  This morning, you are looking at a contented man! 

2.  The Bible says much about contentment.  We need to be a contented people but satisfaction is another matter.  Let me explain the difference.  Contentment does not mean that you necessarily like your situation but it is livable!  You will improve it if you can but, if you cannot, then it will be alright.  Satisfaction is entirely different. 

a)  Contentment is something that needs to be sought!  Timothy 6:6-7   But godliness with contentment is great gain.

b)  Contentment is something that must be learned!  Philippians 4:11  Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.  (I had the privilege to go see Miss Linda’s mother in Hospice House the other day.  She is bedfast and it was Thanksgiving.  I began to talk with her about blessings.  You may think that is odd but, before I left, we were singing together: “There’s a roof up above me, I’ve a good place to sleep, there’s food on my table, and shoes on my feet.  You gave me your love, Lord, and a fine family.  Thank you, Lord, for your blessings on me!”  I thank the Lord that I left her with a smile on her face.  For a few minutes, she was content.  For a few minutes, she was satisfied!)

c)  Contentment is something that must be realized!  Hebrews 13:5  Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

Luke 12:15  And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.

G.  When you are satisfied, you want no more.  When I have eaten to the point that I am not still overly hungry, I can be in a state of contentment.  When I have eaten to my fill, I am satisfied and want no more, look at verse 4: “Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” 

1.  I Am Satisfied With My Salvation: In Christ alone, full, free, and eternal! “That God should love a sinner such as I; how wonderful is love like this?”

John 4:13-14  Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again:  (14)  But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.

2.  I Am Satisfied With My Deliverance:  From self to Christ, from darkness to light, death to life, bondage to liberty, rebellion to loving submission!  He delivered me; He is delivering me; and He shall deliver me!

2 Timothy 4:17-18  Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and that all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion.  (18)  And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

  1. I Am Satisfied With My Bible: leads us and guides us, protects us and provides for us, encourages, it assures us, and it matures us.  You can trade “bibles” all you want but I am satisfied with the old King James Bible! 

Psalms 119:97  O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day.

4.  I Am Satisfied With My Church:  I neither want nor would have any other! The best people in the world grace these pews!

1 Corinthians 16:24  My love be with you all in Christ Jesus. Amen.

Psalms 17:15  As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness.

Psalms 103:5  Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

Conclusion:  Let us be a happy people in 2023 let’s keep our hearts turn to our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.  The best things in life cannot be bought!  You can be content and not be happy but you cannot be satisfied and not be happy!

Isaiah 55:2  Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness.

Victory Baptist Church January 2023 victorypalmetto.com

There is Hope!

By Estera Escobar

Edward Payson (1783–1827), was an American educator and Congregational preacher. He led an extremely difficult life. The death of his younger brother shook him to the core. He struggled with bipolar disorder, and he was affected by extreme migraine headaches for days. If this wasn’t enough, a fall from a horse led to paralysis of his arm, and he almost died from tuberculosis! Surprisingly, his response wasn’t one of despair and hopelessness. His friends said that before Edward passed away, his joy was intense. How could that be?

In his letter to the believers in Rome, the apostle Paul expressed his complete confidence in the reality of God’s love regardless of circumstances. He asked with boldness, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31). If God gave His very own Son, Jesus, to save us, then He will provide everything we need to finish this life well. Paul listed seven seemingly unbearable situations that he himself faced: trouble, hardship, persecution, famine, nakedness, danger, and the sword (v. 35). He didn’t imply that Christ’s love would stop bad things from happening. But Paul said that “in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us” (v. 37).

Through the uncertainty of this world, God can be trusted completely, knowing that nothing, absolutely nothing, “will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (v. 39).

When you face seemingly hopeless situations, how do you typically respond? What promise of God can you cling to, knowing He is faithful to fulfil it?

Faithful heavenly Father, thank You for Your Son’s sacrifice so that we can have eternal life. Thank You that, no matter how gray life may seem, we can trust in Your promises.