Tag Archives: Hope

In Search of Contentment, Pt. 1

Not far from Wilton is a yearly event held unlike anything I ever saw growing up in Southern Ohio.  The spinning of car tires, squealing of train wheels against steel track, horn of tug boats, and paddle churning of riverboats, now that, I am familiar with, but this was a very new experience for me.  Every year in the fall, the Hot Air Balloon Festival descends upon our region.  For miles and miles balloons can be seen in the beautiful Hudson River Valley in the Adirondacks.

Looking to the sky as these large balloons take shape and lift into the air is a majestic scene indeed.  The hot air generated by the flame is thousands of degrees in temperature, and the great force unleashed at the pull of a switch or push of a button is incredible to see. The sound, heat, and lift from the fire is wonderful to watch.

As the balloons begin to ascend, a peaceful, serene emotion overcomes me.  The balloon is content to follow the manipulation of the balloon pilot in the wind. The balloon has no objective of its own.  If ascends high into the sky, or if it remains grounded due to high winds, the balloon is content. Whether it is a Snoopy balloon, a turtle, a butterfly in shape and appearance, or simply the classic balloon style, it is content.  If it is folded up and kept in a trailer or is traveling hundreds of miles, it is content.  Balloons appear to me to be very peaceful.

Balloons high in the sky also offer a unique perspective.  The pilot and riders get a “bird’s eye view” of the region below.  The higher the balloon goes, the larger the perspective of the pilot and passengers.

When it comes to our personal contentment, the hot air balloon gives us a good parallel to consider.  The balloons are peaceful.  The balloons offer a greater perspective.  In the same way, contentment provides an inner peace and offers a Godly perspective on life and daily matters.

Coveting is something everyone deals with from time to time.  Being jealous of others is another common sin.  Sometimes our thoughts and emotions betray us to one of these sins even before our mouths express these sins.  For example, sometimes, without saying anything, there is already a jealous spirit in a person.  In other times, the heart is already coveting another’s position, privilege, or place in life.  It may not even be expressed out loud.  But it is in the heart.

Some men covet the jobs and paychecks of other men.  Some women covet the family life of other women.  Some men would love to trade places with another man and his place in life.  Some women would trade places with another woman if they could.  Working mothers in the workforce may long to be able to stay at home.  Mothers working at home may have a desire for a different career outside the home.

Students in school may covet the grades of others.  Some even cheat to “get ahead” in school.

At the time of this writing, a billion-dollar college entrance scheme has hit the news.  Exams were forged.  Skills, abilities, and grades were changed.  Payments were made.  The ultra-wealthy and a whole list of Hollywood stars are caught up in this scandal.  All of this is an effort rooted in covetousness, jealousy, and greed.

What does the Bible say about contentment?  Plenty.  Philippians 4:11-19 is a primary passage that emphasizes contentment.  If you are searching for contentment – here is where to find it in the Bible.

11 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.

12  I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.

13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

14 Notwithstanding ye have well done, that ye did communicate with my affliction.

15 Now ye Philippians know also, that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only.

16 For even in Thessalonica ye sent once and again unto my necessity.

17 Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account.

18 But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, wellpleasing to God.

 19 But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

 

Please look for the next posting for PART 2…

Advertisements

Remembering God While Young

Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them… Ecclesiastes 12:1

Meeting God in your youth is a great way to deal with the problems that come with aging: Relationship distress, disease, disappointment, and eventually death.  The greatest moment in anyone’s life is when they come to know Jesus Christ as their personal Savoir.  This is wonderful, not matter the age or life stage of the person coming to faith in Jesus.  No matter your age today, you will be younger today than you are tomorrow.  So this is good teaching for everyone – especially the youngest among us.

Having Jesus in your heart and life can impact the handling of the disappointments of life.  Life happens to everyone.  Christians are not exempt to problems. What Solomon, the Preacher-King is saying in this passage is that when we remember God in when we are young, it sets us up for a more fulfilled, and more Biblically framed life.  Remember God in your youth means that the decision making, thought process and more are all going to be informed by the Lord and His Word.

When we have our decisions and choices informed by God, and follow His commands, we are more likely to fulfill God’s plan for our life and to achieve His perfect will for our individual lives.

A young person who does nor remember God in his youth is more likely to make bad choices and to create self-inflicted problems that will plague him for the rest of his life.  Drugs, living together before marriage, disease acquirement, job loss, injuries, relationship struggles, family problems are potential issues, just to name a few.

Know God while you are young.  Teach your kids NOW.  Then as you and your kids remember God while you are young (or younger today than you will be tomorrow) you can live a life that is blessed by God.

Bad things will still come up, but you have the Lord, His comfort, and His mind on how to handle your specific situation.

Why Did Jesus Die?

Why did Jesus Die?

For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.  2 Corinthians 5:21

The stage was set.  The actors were each in their places.  The script was ready to be followed.  And yet, there were no special effects.  No unique and moving soundtracks playing in the background.

The scenes leading to the Cross on Golgotha included, a last supper, the singing of an hymn, prayer, and betrayal.  A man’s ear was cut off.  Jesus re-attached and healed the ear. Armed men came to arrest the innocent and submissive Lamb of God.   Jesus willingly went with them

After the mock trials, false witnesses, and and shuffling between leaders, Jesus was led to be slaughtered.   The people were cheering.  There was applause, laughter, and mocking.

After being beat, the bloodied Jesus carried His cross uphill to the place of the skull.  Jesus was going to the Cross as any common criminal. Sinner. Man.

Except Jesus did not deserve to die.  With

God Has a “Because”

God Has a “Because”

Because of the multitude of the whoredoms of the wellfavoured harlot, the mistress of witchcrafts, that selleth nations through her whoredoms, and families through her witchcrafts.” Nahum 3:4

Our nation is in a critical moment of history. Just like Nineveh was judged by God because of sin, we too should expect God’s judgement.

Notice the 3 specific sins that were the “because” for God to send judgment:

1. Sexual sins. Not many people like the term “whoredom” but it is a way many people live. This is speaking about sexual sins. I read recently that only about 3 percent of people who get married are virgins. Lust and impatience is a wicked combination for temptation.

2. Witchcraft. Wizards, spells, and occult activity are more popular than ever. Books, tv, and popular culture have made this more “normal.” Even the basketball team in Washington is called the Wizards.

3. Idolatry. The combination of adultery and witchcraft infers idol worship. When pagan gods were worshipped in old times, the temples included prostitutes and selfish physical pleasures. Spiritual adultery takes place anytime an idol is worshipped. In addition, witchcraft is worship of Satan. Satan’s goal when temptation Jesus was to get Him to worship him. With tarot cards, eastern healing techniques, and Wiccan increasing, it is evident that many are being drawn away from the True God to worship Satan.

BECAUSE of these sins, God says in the next verse: Behold, I am against thee, saith the Lord of hosts…”

There is always a “because” when God sends judgment. What can a person do? How can these sins be made right?

1. Confess sin. If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14

2. Repent of sin. He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy. Proverbs 27:13

3. Restore Fellowship with God. For the Lord your God is gracious and merciful, and will not turn away his face from you, if ye return unto him. 2 Chronicles 30:9

So much more could be written or taught about this. God has a “Because.” Be sure to not be the cause of judgment in your life.

As far as the USA goes, we certainly need to confess, repent, and restore. There is no other hope- if our hope is not in Jesus.

Take it to the Bank

Take it to the Bank

Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;  Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.  Titus 2:13-14

One of my favorite words in all the Bible is the word “hope.”   Hope in Scriptures has a deeper meaning than what we use in our modern society today.  Instead of “I hope my team will win” or “I hope the weather is good,” hope is a conformable and happy expectation.  Not a “maybe” but a for sure.  Bible hope is certain.  I like to define hope as a confident and happy expectation.

The reason hope is confident is not because of the circumstances, our ability, the resources at hand, or the authority of someone.  The reason hope is confident is because the hope is founded upon the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.   God is constant.  God is stable.  God is everlasting and eternal.  There is nothing more powerful or greater than God.  He is above all, in all, and He can work through all.  God is all-powerful, everywhere present, and all-knowing!  When God says something – we can count on it!  Take it to the bank!

You know the old phrase” take it to the bank.”  In other words, the money at the bank is guaranteed.  You can count on the check not to bounce.  the person issuing the check, or credit is dependable and the money will be there.  The same is true for God – we can “take it to the bank” – what the Lord has said He will do.  We can place our complete hope in Him.

The “Blessed Hope” is the soon coming time when Jesus returns to the earth and suspends Himself in the clouds above the earth.  When He does appear, a trumpet will sound.  This loud and distinct trumpet is only heard by believers in Jesus.  Only individuals who have placed their faith in Jesus for their eternal salvation and forgiveness of sins will ascend into Heaven “to meet the Lord in the air.”  This event is known as the “Rapture.”

Those who have said “no” to Jesus and rejected God’s free gift of eternal life will not hear the trumpet.  In fact, they will believe a lie, a delusion as to where all those people disappeared to.  Christians are “listening for the trumpet!  This encourages and motivates us to tell people about salvation today while they can still trust in Jesus.  The Gospel needs to be shared.  God can use you to share His Word with others.

Jesus said He is coming back for Christians in the Rapture.  We can take it to the bank!

What is your hope in today?  Religion cannot get a person into Heaven.  Being a “good person” is not good enough for God.  God demands perfect for entrance into His Heaven.  We are not and cannot be perfect.  However, the Perfect God, Jesus died in our place!  Our hope is in Him and Him alone.

Are you looking for the blessed hope?  If you are not yet saved and the Rapture takes place, instead of the blessed hope, you will experience a terrible nightmare called the Tribulation.  Don’t chance it.  Don’t wait.  Place your faith in Jesus for your salvation.

Together, let’s look forward and for the blessed hope!

 

 

An Open Door

An Open Door

And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth;  I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name.  Revelation 3:7-8

Today as I type this post, the temperature is negative 8.  That is right -8.  Frigid!  Opening the doors for people as they came in today, I opened and shut the door very fast in an attempt to keep some cold air out and some warm air in!

I don’t think I was too successful.

The Lord Jesus is speaking of an open door He gave to the church in the Greek city of Philadelphia in the verses above.   Chapters 2-3 of Revelation are describing the “church age” in which we live.  Each of the 7 churches listed were real places with real people and are also “types” of churches that are found in the church age.  In other words, every Biblical church today is in some way like one of these 7 churches.

As Jesus gives His message to the church of brotherly love, he tells them that He is giving them an open door.  Jesus is holding a door open for them to freely move in and out of and to freely bring other people through as well.  With the Philadelphia church being very weak, they are not able to hold the door open.  It is only a door that Jesus can open.  They do not have political clout or economic power, but they have a responsibility to go through the door and take others with them.

Many Bible students believe this is an open door through which to deliver the Gospel to this lost and dying world.  God is giving His church the opportunity to freely distribute the Word of God and Gospel message.  While the church is diminished in society today and even with the political climate growing in angst against anything Christian, it is the Lord Who is holding open the door for Gospel witness.

Have you noticed how spiritually cold our society has become?  Even this week, the Governor of Virginia is talking about delivering a newborn and then killing it as “OK” in his book.  This following the Governor of New York pushing his love of abortion right up until birth.  We live in a cold, cold climate, not just in atmospheric temperature, but in spiritual temperature.  We cannot hold the door open for people, but thank the Lord, Jesus is holding it open for us!  In addition, as fast as many non-Christians would be to close the door, slamming it shut, it is something that they cannot do.  Only God can open or close it.  That is good news.  We have as much time to witness as God will give to us, but we don’t know how much time that is. Historically in the Bible, the Lord opens and closes doors based on the people’s response to Him.

Today, take a moment and pray for a friend that you can bring to church this Sunday.

Would you invite them to sit with you at church this Sunday?

The door may not be open much longer.

Go through the door with another person while you can.

The Many Benefits of SNOW!

“Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!”  Wow, with another blizzard type storm pouring snowflakes all around us, I thought it would be fitting to highlight some of the many benefits of snow.

We love the snow.  If is is going to be cold, we might as well have snow!  Here is a short list of the physical benefits of snow:

  1. Snow helps with lessening the amount of molds and pollen in the air.  Our allergy doctor is faithful to assess the amount of snow and how it has impacted seasonal allergies each year.  The more snow, the less seasonal allergic reactions for many people in the Spring.
  2. Snow helps insulate the ground.  Have you ever built an igloo?  One of my favorite things to do as a boy was to build snow forts and “igloos.”  The snow packed structures I built were always warmer inside than outside.  In fact, without snow on the ground, when the temperatures reach below zero, your water pipes are more likely to freeze.  The snow acts as insulation for the ground.  We let our plants and bushes get covered in snow (as long as it is not too heavy to break the plant) because it shields the plant or bush from the extreme cold and wind.
  3. Snow helps the water table.  People who use wells for water understand this.  A good snow fall will slowly be matriculated into the reservoirs of water under the ground.  In Winter seasons where there is not much snow and more rain, the water tables are not restored as effectively because rain in the Winter runs off the cold ground too fast and is not soaked up into the ground soil as well.
  4. Snow changes the pace of life.  Getting “snowed in” causes everyone slow down their pace of life and even stop for a moment or two.  “Pace” is an area I hope to share in another post one day.  With normal schedules adjusted or canceled for snow, it creates a new, temporary space of quiet time and rest that many do not normally factor into their hectic schedule.
  5. Snow is beautiful to watch fall.  We enjoy looking out of windows and seeing the beauty of the snowflakes falling to earth.  In addition, with the right temperatures some snows cling to the trees in such a spectacular fashion creating a “winter wonderland.”
  6. Snow can be utilized to develop a good work ethic in your kids.  When I was a teen and the snow fell, dad sent us out to shovel driveways and sidewalks for our neighbors.  We did not ask if they needed help, we just did it.  This work developed character, made friends of neighbors in the community, and was good exercise.
  7. Snow can be lots of fun.  Snow tubing, sledding, skiing and other winter sports are terrific fun and good exercise.  We normally make some time to go sledding with the kids.  The Wilton Baptist Church front hillside offers a terrific sledding slope.

There are also spiritual benefits of snow.  While the Bible uses the term “snow” 24 times, we will look at just a few here.  Besides with all the snow on the ground, I figured you would have a few extra minutes to read this.  So here are the spiritual benefits:

  • Snow reveals to us that God is in control.
    • The Lord stores up or treasures the snow:  Job 38:22 Hast thou entered into the treasures of the snow? or hast thou seen the treasures of the hail…
    • The snow is part of God fulfilling His will on the earth. Psalm 148:8 Fire, and hail; snow, and vapour; stormy wind fulfilling his word…
  • Snow reminds us of God’s deliverance.
    • When the nation of Israel conquered the Promise Land, it was not so much their ability and power, but the power of God.  He delivered them and the enemies were scattered like the wind blowing the snow in a snow storm. Psalm 68:14 When the Almighty scattered kings in it, it was white as snow in Salmon. 
    • In the next snowfall, let it remind you of how the Lord has delivered you.
  • Snow reasons to us God’s common sense.
    • It makes sense that when it snows, it is cold outside.  The snow refreshes the earth at the end of the ground season.  Just like the snow is refreshing, a faithful messenger is also refreshing.  Proverbs 25:13  As the cold of snow in the time of harvest, so is a faithful messenger to them that send him: for he refresheth the soul of his masters.
    • Snow is the summer does not make much sense.  That makes about as much sense as giving honor and prestige to a fool.  Just looking at the people who are famous today it is apparent this common sense has not been followed for a while.  Proverbs 26:1  As snow in summer, and as rain in harvest, so honour is not seemly for a fool.
    • Let the snow encourage you to have God’s “common sense” for today.
  • Snow resounds God’s plan for you to “be prepared.”
    • The Proverbs 31 woman is not afraid of the snow.  She is prepared for it.  Proverbs 31:21 She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet.
    • She “readied” herself and her household – before the snow.  Having extra fuel, food, and water on hand are good ideas.  The snowblower, shovels, and salt should all be ready ahead of time.
    • The Lord does want us to be aware and prepared for the seasons.  This is also true of the everyday Christian life.  We need to be alert in every season of life.
  • Snow reiterates the forgiveness God has given you.   I love these two verses:
    • When David confessed his sin, God cleaned his life.  Psalm 51:7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
    • Then the Lord reveals how that when He forgives, our lives are viewed by the Lord as being “white as snow.”  Isaiah 1:18 Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.
    • If you are a Christian, the Lord has forgiven your sin and you have been cleansed by the blood of Jesus.  The purity and cleanness of fresh snow should reiterate in our hearts what God has done in cleansing the sin in our life.  He made you acceptable for Heaven.  Not by your own works but by the work of Jesus on the Cross.  Let the snow remind you of this amazing truth.

So, if you are “snowed in” today, stay warm, stay safe, and stay encouraged in the Lord.  Full disclosure: I really do not like traveling in the snow, especially long trips while it is still coming down.  It is a good time to stay home!  There are many benefits to snow.  Instead of complaining or having a bad attitude, be thankful.  Snow is a wonderful thing that God has given to you today.