A Little Town

But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.  Micah 5:2

Hundreds of years before Jesus came to earth, the Old Testament prophet named Micah was given a message from God.  This message was very particular about the place where the Messiah would be born.  Jesus fulfilled this and many other prophecies!

It was small as far as towns go.  Bethlehem was a quiet little town that was known for raising the sheep that were used in Temple sacrifices in Jerusalem.  In the very same fields, David tended to his father’s sheep as a youngster is the place the shepherds we read in Luke 2 are working.   It is in this sleepy little place that God would come to earth in human form.

Phillips Brooks wrote the Christmas favorite “O Little Town of Bethlehem” in 1868.  Its words have filled church houses, homes, and hearts ever since.  Each verse carries a significant meaning about the purpose of Jesus coming to this year.

  • Verse one teaches about hope in a time of darkness and fear.
  • Verse two emphasizes the peace that Jesus brought when He came to earth.
  • Verse three encourages meekness as it is only those humble enough to receive Jesus for salvation – that actually do repent and believe in Him.
  • Verse four is a call to salvation – to let Jesus into your heart.  If you have not trusted in Jesus for salvation, believe in Him today.  Receive the gift of eternal life and become a Christian right now.  Ask Jesus in faith for forgiveness of sins, express in a prayer belief in His death on the cross and resurrection from the grave, and receive Him into your heart.

Here is the entire carol.  Enjoy!

1 O little town of Bethlehem,
how still we see thee lie;
above thy deep and dreamless sleep
the silent stars go by:
yet in thy dark streets shineth
the everlasting Light;
the hopes and fears of all the years
are met in thee tonight.

2 For Christ is born of Mary,
and gathered all above,
while mortals sleep, the angels keep
their watch of wond’ring love.
O morning stars, together
proclaim the holy birth!
And praises sing to God the King,
and peace to men on earth.

3 How silently, how silently,
the wondrous gift is giv’n!
So God imparts to human hearts
the blessings of his heav’n.
No ear may hear his coming,
but in this world of sin,
where meek souls will receive him still,
the dear Christ enters in.

4 O holy child of Bethlehem,
descend to us, we pray;
cast out our sin and enter in;
be born in us today.
We hear the Christmas angels
the great glad tidings tell;
O come to us, abide with us,
our Lord Emmanuel!

Merry Christmas!  The merriest Christmas one can have is when a person knows for sure they are saved, forgiven of sin, and have Jesus in their heart.  Accept Him today.

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The Trash Thieves

We hear of this more and more each holiday season. Some people steal boxes as soon as they are delivered to a house. UPS, Fed Ex, and USPS are working overtime in deliveries and thieves are working overtime at collecting the deliveries. Have you seen that in the news? Simple crooks may prowl through a neighborhood looking for boxes left on lonely looking porches. 

One woman with extra Amazon boxes who had ten packages stolen in last week thought of a bright idea. She filled the boxes with garbage, taped them back up, and set them out to see if people would dispose of her trash. They did! 

I like how she became proactive to protect her house and her stuff. While small, this may cause the thieves to think twice about stealing from her front porch. She did not give up. She decided to act.

Jesus said Satan is out to “steal, kill, and destroy” John 10:10). In the Christian life, we have a thief that is out stalking our lives looking for the opportune moment to steal our joy, rob our peace, and take our satisfaction. Don’t let him steal from you!  

Don’t’ put trash in the boxes of your life; you can be proactive in other ways. 

  1. Read the Bible each day.
  2. Spend time with God in daily prayer.
  3. Find someone to tell about Jesus.
  4. Be with your church regularly, finding ways to minister and serve. 

There is no need to fear.  Paul told the Colossi Christians in Colossians 3:15, And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.  These four practices result in good spiritual health, will protect you when the enemy shows up to discourage you, and will help you glorify the Lord Jesus in your life.

Be proactive in the Christian life.

The Man Singing in the Window and the Outdoor Concert

The Christmas music was reverberating through the streets. People were exuberantly pacing the town. Aromas of coffee, hot chocolate, and special foods wafted through the Winter air. Bundled up in warm clothes and ready for seasonal fun, thousands of people walked the streets of Saratoga Springs in what is known as the “Victorian Street Walk.”

Some vendors give food; others put on shows. Performers walk the streets and on occasion, stop walking to act or sing and draw a crowd. Santa was playing his saxophone. Some churches hand out tracts or materials. Our church handed out invitations to our Christmas Concert.

Two performers drew my attention: One was a large contemporary church with the music reverberating through the streets. Their performance consisted of a choir and several talented vocalists with live accompaniment music. They were singing many well-known Christian Christmas songs in addition to cheerful secular Christmas songs. It was loud. They were there. They had a presence to them. Standing in the freezing temperatures, thousands of people saw and heard them that night. They got their message across very effectively.

Then there was another talented act. Not many people were attracted to this performance. As I walked in search of some of our team, I noticed him. Standing behind a large pane of glass, in the warmth and comfort of a storefront, a man played the piano. He played some of the same songs as energetically as the others. He sang with the same or even better vocal quality. He was putting on a high-quality show – but no one was watching. He had a microphone with the sound system speakers blaring outside the store. He sang so well it sounded like a recording! However, as I peered from across the street, I observed no audience outside the storefront witnessing his performance. There were a couple of people inside cheering on the Man in the Window. But no one outside the storefront was engaged in his show.

I wonder. I suggest. It seems that many churches and Christians are like the Man in the Window. We have the right message and even some level of quality in our presentation but are not engaging the community outside the church. In many cases, we preach to ourselves and are not effectively reaching out. Engaging others, evangelism, outreach are hallmarks of biblical Christianity. 

As Jesus sat at dinner in Luke 14, He tells a parable to those at the table. A rich man with great authority throws a feast with lots of terrific food, and he instructs his servants to invite many people to attend this feast. Specific invitees give various reasons why they cannot participate in the feast. Who doesn’t want good free food? Jesus even used the term “excuse.” A recent wedding. A newly acquired piece of property. One did not come because he just bought some cattle. After hearing all the excuses, the host commands his servants to, “Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled” (Luke 14:23).

Very practical teaching from Jesus. God the Father is hosting the meal. The meal is the Marriage Supper of the Lamb of God in Heaven. The servants are the Christians of today. Each Christian must look at his life as being yielded to the Lord. The people invited to the feast are the people currently outside of the church. They are the ones God expects us to witness. He wants us to compel people to be saved. To encourage people to come to church. To invite them to come to salvation.

When Jesus came to earth, He came on a mission of mercy. A rescue mission to save us from our sins. God the Father gave His Son, giving us the greatest gift of all, Jesus. Jesus gave His life for us. He died, paying the price for our sins and rose again three days later, then ascended into Heaven. This Gospel message is beautiful. Christmas is all about Christ! And yet, most of the world does not know this. Will you engage others in authentic Christmas conversation, about Jesus?

Let’s not be like the Man in the Window. Many churches are having less and less people each week. The churches that are reaching out more effectively seem to have more and more people each week. Preach the Gospel. Keep encouraging the saints. Be equipped and challenged to reach out more.  

Reach out. Invite others. Give Gospel tracts. Talk about Jesus. Tell others the true meaning of Christmas.

  • Who will you personally invite to church to attend with you this week?
  • Who will you talk to Jesus about this week?
  • Who will give a Christmas Gospel tract to this week?

Don’t be like the Man in the Window.

Giving Thanks and Stress

Being more thankful can perhaps reduce the pressures and stress a person may have.

David is praising the Lord in Psalm 32.  As David confesses his sin to God and rejoices in the forgiveness the Lord has given to him, he has much to be thankful for.  He goes on to record the following in Psalm 32:7, Thou art my hiding place; thou shalt preserve me from trouble; thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance. Selah.

Indeed.  Stop and think about that for a moment.  David was trusting the Lord to deliver him from his troubles.  Anything David could worry about are the same things we could be worrying about today.  What do you need deliverance in or from today?

David’s expectant heart is grounded in a thankful spirit.  He is showing appreciation to God for His forgiveness to David in Psalm 32.  David is expressing his desire and dependence to and upon the Lord.  His is an attitude of gratitude.  Do you have an attitude of gratitude?

When we have hearts of thankfulness, it is much easier to cast our burdens to the Lord, trust God to take care of the problems, and rejoice in a life with less shame, guilt, and unfulfilled dreams.  When we are thankful, casting our burdens to the Lord and resting in His promises, we can rest better at night. I like the story James A. Sanaker, in Gospel Herald relates.

“Do you count sheep when you have a hard time getting to sleep at night?” asked Mrs. Bee.

“Why, no, I don’t believe I ever do,” replied the neighbor, Mrs. Dee.

“Well, I suppose you are one of those lucky persons who never lie awake nights,” sighed Mrs. Bee.

“On the contrary,” Mrs. Dee replied; “I spend quite a few hours, in the course of a week, in bed but not asleep.” “What do you do to bring slumber?” “I count my blessings,” smiled Mrs. Dee. “If I begin to worry about a younger child, I remember how the older ones improved with years and I pray earnestly for the one on my mind. I can count answers to prayer by the dozen. If I am thinking of money and it troubles me so I cannot sleep, I go back in my book of memories and find time after time when the Lord gave us relief from financial problems. I can truly count my blessings, up to a point where I don’t need to try and number them but just relax and know that God is still able to deliver me from anything, present or future. Eventually, peace and calm replace restless anxiety and I sink into sweet, restful sleep.”

“I must try that,” nodded Mrs. Bee.

“I guess I’ve tried every method but the right one. Thank you for the reminder.”

Friend, be encouraged to develop and maintain a daily attitude of gratitude.  A thankful heart will result in less stress, a deeper daily walk with Jesus, and more peaceful sleep at night!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why We Sponsor a Christian School

Why A Christian School?

Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.  Psalm 1:1

The idea of education is rooted in Biblical principles.  Many schools throughout history were started with the purpose of teaching children to read so that in turn, they could read the Word of God.  The “primers” were portions of Scripture used to teach reading.  From age 4 to 18 years much of a child’s time is spent being taught in a classroom.  This time is an investment and not a waste.  Since so much time is invested in education, it is a good idea to have a plan, and use Bible principles to guide us.

During the Dark Ages, many people could not read and the world was steeped in a dark period of time because of a lack of knowledge.  Bible reading gives more than just knowledge; when believed and acted upon the Bible is the very wisdom of God for living.  The Bible is intended to help us walk, stand, and sit throughout the course of life.

As a Pastor and local church, we value students and families no matter what educational venue they choose.  At the same time, it is important to consider why we would participate in a local church day school.  Christian education in a church-school setting is more than just an alternative to a homeschool, private academy, or large government classroom.  It is more.

Why a Christian school?  Because education is more than merely learning – it is who you are learning from and what you are learning that makes the difference.

Here are several thoughts to consider:

The Curriculum Connection.

If the primary goal of education is to be able to read the Bible, then a curriculum founded upon Bible truth should be utilized in the education of a child.  The paradigm with which a textbook delivers lessons is very critical to the academic, philosophical, and spiritual development of the mind of each student.  If a parent or instructor constantly needs to “correct” the lessons of a curriculum, it causes a distrust or uncertainty in the mind of the student.

With a Christian school, curriculum is chosen that is written from a Bible perspective. The Lord is God, He created this world, He loves us and He has given us a Book, the Bible that has the answers we need for life.  While church and Sunday School are good places to learn doctrine, it can only aid a child with reinforcement of lessons at school when they are informed by faith as well.  In many cases, secular curriculum discounts truth.  For example, several civics classes are teaching moral and social revolution.  In many texts, history is re-written to conform to what is politically correct rather than what is true history.

At Wilton Baptist Academy, are pleased to use the ABeka curriculum consistently through the entire school.  This is a grade “A” curriculum rooted in God’s Word.  The world-view is Christian, the doctrine is baptistic, and the level of academic expectation is excellence.

The Excellence of Expectations.  

  • Academic Expectations. Some institutions are slacking in effort.  I was speaking to a student from another school recently who said the teacher divides up the class between those who “want to try” today and those who “do not want to try.”  In other cases, students report that they “study when they want to” or “attend class when they feel like it.”

When we aim for nothing we are bound to hit it every time.  Even with rigorous expectations, not every student will make straight A’s.  Good grades are not expected as much as the “best effort possible.”  Much of the effort and attitude to try is developed by the parent.

  • Attitude Expectations. A bad attitude hurts in many ways.  “You cannot teach a rebel.”  The reason is; his heart is not willing to learn.  As a school, if the attitude is constantly against school, curriculum, assignments, or the teacher, that student may be dismissed.  Education in general is not a right – it is a privilege.  No person deserves to “be in the know” or to learn.  Contrary to popular culture, in societies of old, the student had to want to learn in order to improve his life.  Classes in old days were sought out, funded, and paid for by people who wanted to learn.  This attitude and desire totally changes the classroom setting.  Coming to class expecting to learn is a refreshing way to start the day at school.
  • Appreciation Expectations. Not everyone is taught truth.  Millions of people are taught evolution which is a lie.  This theory has been believed by many with “religious conviction.”  However, the Bible, written by God, Who was there at Creation, tells us how this world began.  God and faith are being removed from the history told concerning the motivation for events in history.  Even in math, some schools are teaching there is no absolute answer to 2+2= 4.  Appreciation for an environment of learning centered on truth should never be taken for granted or minimized.  This could also be considered a “Spiritual Expectation,” because spiritual people and people that are right with God are thankful people.

The Parental Priority. 

If a student is allowed to maintain a bad attitude in the home, he will not be a “learning machine” at school.  Proverbs 6:20-21 says, “My son, keep thy father’s commandment, and forsake not the law of thy mother: Bind them continually upon thine heart, and tie them about thy neck.”  School is to assist the parent in their parental obligation to guide the thinking of the adolescent child.

The parent is tasked with training their child to the best of their ability to be able to leave the home, stand on their own two feet financially, stop borrowing the faith of others (have faith on their own), care for others in service, and have the character to live righteously while in community with God’s people.  Parents are to “shoot their arrow” out from the quiver of the home and that “arrow” will be planted in the place he lands.

That is what Psalm 1:2-3, the next two verses, teach:  “But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.  And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.”

The student is to grow to such a level that what he does following his formative education years is prospered by the Lord.  He is firmly planted by his home upbringing, prepared academically for the next level of learning, and he does not fade away from the responsibilities that accompany adulthood.  The response of the child to the parental guidance and education in the classroom is solely that of the child.  He will answer for his willingness or refusal to learn and grow.  The priority of the parent is to have the “heart” of their child.  Part of the Christian school mission then is to direct the heart of the child back to the parent.

A Christian school can potentially help you and your student. Why A Christian School?  Because education is more than merely learning – it is who you are learning from and what you are learning that makes the difference.

 

 

Thank you for reading!  Please feel free to post, share, or add a positive comment.

 

The Shackles of Addiction

The Shackles of Addiction

The LORD is known by the judgment which he executeth: the wicked is snared in the work of his own hands. Higgaion. Selah.  Psalm 9:16

The evil works we are addicted to snares or shackles us.  When we are doing what we feel makes us free, we may be in fact locking ourselves up in a trap.  Chaining ourselves to a habit.

“Snared” is an old Hebrew word that according to Strong’s Hebrew Dictionary means “a noose (for catching animals) (literally or figuratively): by implication, a hook (for the nose):–be ensnared, gin, (is) snare(-d), trap.”

Wow there is a lot to unpack in that definition.  Here are a few vivid pictures of snaring (and addiction) to consider.

  • Addictions are a “noose” that suffocates real life out of us.
  • Addictions are a “hook” that stabs into us to catch us like we may catch a fish.
  • Addictions are a “gin”, engine or mechanism, used to trap us.
  • Addiction are a “trap” in which when we fall into, it is difficult to get out of.

Unless you purpose in your heart, seek accountability with others, and receive competent counsel from a counselor, it is very difficult to released yourself from the addition.

Addicts need help.  Get help.

The first step to recovery is admitting: “I need help.”

Please give me a call this week.  I would be honored to help you overcome the addition.

With God, all things are possible!  Choose freedom from the chains of addiction that are holding you down.

 

 

 

 

Fireworks and Service

When lighting the fire for a bonfire or cookout, as the night sky is lit up tonight with fireworks, or as your kids whirl a sparkler, think about the service that affords us the freedom you are enjoying today.  Someone served to enable today’s celebration.

Jesus, speaking in John 15:13 said, Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.  Of course, Jesus is the ultimate example of servant-hood.

Jesus served the will of God the Father.  In John 6:38 Jesus declared: For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.  If you are a Christian, a follower of Jesus, you too are called to serve God the Father.  Do His will for and in your life.  Find His plan, then do it.

Jesus also served men.  His purpose for dying on the Cross was to save us from our sin.  His mission was a rescue mission.  Our sin separated us from God, and the blood of Jesus was shed to cleans us and cover us of our sin.   When God sees a Christian, He does not see the sin of that person, He sees the righteousness of Jesus!  Amen for that.  Jesus served the interested of mankind in making salvation possible.

We too can serve other people.  The Apostle Paul knew what it was to serve the Lord and serve other people.  He said in Galatians 5:13 For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.

By Love.  It was because of the love of God for man that God sent Jesus.  It was because of love that Jesus died on the cross in our place.  We deserved that death.  It was because of love.  Love is the motivator for any service to either God or other people.  Service conducted with love is service that God accepts and that pleases Him.

As we celebrate freedom, take a moment to thank the Lord for His service to you in the Lord Jesus.  Then look for ways that you can serve other people too!

We are the most like Jesus, when we are serving others!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Draymond Was Right

Draymond was Right

Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power.  Ephesians 3:7

After Golden State basketball superstar Kevin Durant was injured in the NBA Finals, fans in Toronto were cheering.  Actually cheering.  Their team had a better chance to win now that Kevin was out.  I hope his injury is recoverable.

Speaking about the sensitivity of fans, Draymond Green, a Durant teammate and fellow NBA All-Star said some truthful statements about the perception he feels fans place on him and others in pro sports.

In effect he said: “Fans expect their pro players to never fail or get injured or sick, but they are people too. They don’t care what happens outside the lines. They expect us to be unreal.”

His words are accurate.  Fans do tend to think of their stars as “more than regular people.”  The expectations and assumptions placed on starts by fans are not healthy.   Not healthy for the stars – or the fans.  Like a referee, his call of “Foul!” is warranted.

In the spiritual realm in which we live, how many people perceive and project expectations and assumptions onto people in ministry? How about what we perceive and project onto other church members?

What Draymond said was right, and his insights also apply to how many people see their pastor in their church.

Here are 3 areas to avoid getting a “Foul” called against you.

  • Unrealistic expectations. Projecting impossibilities is a foul against the pastor and against the one with the impossible expectations.  The pastor cannot be everywhere at the same time.  He is unable to visit everyone who misses a service.  It is difficult for him to preach and take attendance at the same time.  Toss into the basket the fact that some parishioners are only in attendance in one service a week, the pastor is less likely to notice they are missing.  For example, if someone that normally attends Sunday morning, Sunday Evening and the Midweek service is missing – the pastor is more likely to see they are not there – because of the frequency of their attendance.  Sometimes the pastor wants to- but can’t.  There are times when I am too sick to make a hospital visit.  We want others to go when that happens, but to have one man visit every person of 200, 100, or 50 people is not very realistic.   Expecting something that is not possible hurts the person doing the “expecting!”  The pastor has a life, family, health needs, and emotional encouragement needs too.
  • Unreasonable assumptions. This is when we assume the worst about people or situations.  Human nature is to assume things are worse off than they really are.  This is the “making a mountain out of a mole-hill syndrome.”  Many good people get caught up in false assumptions.  “He does not like me.”  “She does not care.”  “They like them better than us.”  These are dangerous thought patterns rooted in pride and ego.   This type of thinking is what Paul is warning Titus about in Titus 1:15 Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled.  Choose to have healthy and hopeful thoughts about others.  Avoid assuming the worst.  It hurts your impression of others when you project unreasonable assumptions on others. Not everything will go the way you hope it will but compounding every relationship struggle is -assumption.
  • Unhealthy attitudes. The attitude truly determines your altitude.  If you have a healthy, winning attitude, you are more likely to succeed in whatever you are striving for.  In relationships, if you have a healthy attitude toward your pastor, it will help you be an encouragement.  It will cause you to be less critical.  It will create in you’re a desire to help and to serve.  When people serve with their pastor, they are helping advance the Gospel and the kingdom of God through the local church.

Basketball fans, and church members – don’t get a “Foul!” called on you.  Choose to have realistic thoughts about other church members and about your pastor.

He is a real person who cares much, feels deeply, and hopes unceasingly.

Yes, Draymond was right.  Stars are just people too.  Remember this truth the next time you watch a game.

 

In Search of Contentment, Pt. 6

Continuing the thought of things that can only come from Jesus:

The Present of Today. 

One clever thinker got it right: “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, and today is a gift––that is why it is called the present.”  Proverbs 27:1 teaches: Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.

The fact is, we cannot buy another day on earth.  It is Jesus who supplies the breath and heartbeat for another day.  Life is a gift only Jesus can give.

The Provision of God. 

God will supply all the things you really need in life.  The content person who is giving to the cause of God and His Gospel has the backing of Jesus Himself on his life.

Sometimes banks will convey how many assets they have to draw on.  A bank could have $57,000,000,000 in cash, silver, gold, property, and holdings.  That is a lot of money!  Jesus has the “Riches of Glory.”  Think of all the wealth of Heaven, streets of gold, and gates of pearl.  Jesus owns all of that.  In addition, Heaven has no health issues, no jails for criminals, and no funeral homes or graves for death.  In the perfect economy of Heaven, Jesus owns it all.

Christian, you can “go to the bank” of Jesus and see God supply all the things in life you really need.  The “First Bank of Heaven” is always open and will never go out of business. Be sure to understand the differences between your “wants” and “true needs.”  Natalie, my wife and best friend, says that people have big “Wanters.”  My “Wanter” is tested from time to time as well.  You and I must come back to this verse often and choose contentment and trust Jesus to supply what we really need in life.

Jacob, in Genesis 25, is a “grabber.”  He grabs his brother’s heel and grabs his brothers’ stuff (birthright and blessing).  As times goes on, Jacob grabs onto God in a wrestling match, as we see in Genesis 32.  This encounter with God totally changes his life.  He starts to value things of God instead of the things of the earth.

Colossians 3:2 admonishes, Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. This is how Jacob begins to live his life.  His priority change is a good example for us today.  He found contentment in God.

The things worth loving in life are not things.  Jesus told us to love two things: God and then people.  This is the first and second command.  Matthew 22:37-39 elaborates, Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment.  39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

Focus your life on the things that God values, and He will supply all you really need in life.  The answer is contentment.

Concluding Thoughts…

  • When you find yourself complaining – choose contentment.
  • When you hear yourself being critical – choose contentment.
  • When you see yourself comparing to others – choose contentment.
  • When you feel yourself coveting another person’s life, position, relationship, job, upbringing, or life-stage – choose contentment.

Like the hot air balloon, this old preacher’s story captures the idea of our search for contentment.  “The story is told about a pilot who always looked down intently on a certain valley in the Appalachians when the plane passed overhead. One day his co-pilot asked, ‘What’s so interesting about that spot?’ The pilot replied, ‘See that stream? Well, when I was a kid I used to sit down there on a log and fish. Every time an airplane flew over, I would look up and wish I were flying… Now I look down and wish I were fishing.’”

Are you content today?  The only place to find true, lasting contentment is in Jesus Christ.  Perhaps a Christian friend reading this has a covetous heart.  Confess that as sin to God and in Jesus’ name choose contentment today – and every day.

Perhaps another reader is not sure they are a Christian.  Even if you were born into a religious home, it does not automatically make you a Christian.  Have you trusted in the GOSPEL – the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus?  Has there been a moment when you expressed faith in Jesus to God through prayer?  Why not trust and believe in Jesus right now?

Pray this way: “God in Heaven, I realize I am a sinner and need Jesus as my Savior.  I confess my sin to you.  Please forgive me of my sin in Jesus’ name.  I believe in the Gospel.  Jesus shed His blood for my sin, died on the cross taking my punishment, and rose again the third day.  I believe in Jesus.  Please save me from my sin and give me a home in Heaven.  Thank you for saving me.”

If you prayed for salvation, please let me know.  I would like to share Bible verses with you to help you in your new faith in Jesus.  Please call 518.583.2736, or email me at: pastor@wiltonbaptistchurch.com

 

 

 

In Search of Contentment, Pt. 5

Find the Supply of Jesus for You. (Vs. 19)

In the context of this passage, Paul was commending the Philippian church members, because they were faithful to send Missionary Paul money to help him further the Gospel and plant new churches.  Paul is the New Testament missionary that most missionaries pattern their ministry after – even today.   Jesus gives a promise to those Christians who are faithful to give to missions work specifically – “God will supply all your need.”

These church folks were content with what money and things they had – so much so that they gave above their regular tithes and offerings to God through their church and gave extra to help Paul and other missionaries.  These people had great faith in God and were not consumed with material gain.  God has said – “I promise that I will give the selfless everything they need in life.”  Do you believe this promise?  Would you give more to missions if God asked you to?

A content person is willing to give more, and because of that willingness, God actually gives him more – to give in return!  It all starts with contentment.

There are several things in life that cannot be bought.  Like the old Mastercard commercials said: “Some things money can’t buy, for everything else, there’s Mastercard!”

  • Good health has no price tag.
  • Good friends cannot be bought.
  • Great marriages are priceless.
  • Great kids are worth every investment you put into them (and more).

Here are some things that only Jesus can supply.

The Peace of Mind. 

Jesus said in John 14:27, Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

Years ago, Ray Cazis summarized a Duke University study on ‘peace of mind.’ Factors found to contribute greatly to emotional and mental stability are:

  1. “The absence of suspicion and resentment. Nursing a grudge was a major factor in unhappiness.
  2. Not living in the past. An unwholesome preoccupation with old mistakes and failures leads to depression.
  3. Not wasting time and energy fighting conditions you cannot change. Cooperate with life, instead of trying to run away from it.
  4. Force yourself to stay involved with the living world. Resist the temptation to withdraw and become reclusive during periods of emotional stress.
  5. Refuse to indulge in self-pity when life hands you a raw deal. Accept the fact that nobody gets through life without some sorrow and misfortune.
  6. Cultivate the old-fashioned virtues—love, humor, compassion and loyalty.
  7. Do not expect too much of yourself. When there is too wide a gap between self-expectation and your ability to meet the goals you have set, feelings of inadequacy are inevitable.
  8. Find something bigger than yourself to believe in. Self-centered egotistical people score lowest on any test for measuring happiness.”

That is a good summary with many biblical applications for our daily life.  Are you living with peace in your life, or is your heart and mind full of anxiety today?  Most of what we worry about will never happen anyway.  Many times, it is the stuff we hope to have or patterns of life we resort to that are contributing to the lack of peace we may experience.

 

 

Please read on the the conclusion of In Search of Contentment, PART 6…