“If you have love for one another” John 13:35
Two Christians were standing by the side of the road holding up a sign which read “The end is near! Turn around now before its too late!” A passing driver yells, “You guys are nuts!” and speeds past them. From around the curve they hear screeching tires – then a big splash. One Christian turns to the other and says, “Do you think we should just hold up a sign that says ‘Bridge Out’ instead?”
Sometimes we make things just too complicated! For example, believers will go to great lengths to defend their faith and prove that they are, in fact, true followers of Jesus. We are instructed to be prepared to answer those who might question our reasons for believing. Apologetics is a good exercise for Christians and it requires diligent study and commitment to understand Scripture.
Yet, few folks are won to faith by debate- regardless how impressive the argument. Fewer still are those who are convinced of our allegiance to Christ by how keen we might be at presenting biblical facts. Fortunately for us, Jesus made it very simple. You want people to believe you really are a follower of Jesus? Let them see the love of Jesus in you.
Because He first loved me,
“Your Heavenly Father knows…” Matthew 6:8
Little Ronnie was invited to a friend’s birthday party after school. After the party when his mother picked him up, knowing his appetite for sweets, she exclaimed, “I hope you didn’t ask for a second serving of cake and ice-cream!” The lad replied, “Oh, I didn’t Mom. But, when I asked her for the recipe so you could make some like it, she gave me two more helpings without me even asking!”
Flattery! Yep, it can sometimes work in your favor! Aren’t we glad, though that we never have to flatter our Father in heaven in order to receive His blessings? Actually, every gift of His favor is undeserved and is given, not because we “sweet talk” Him, but rather, simply because He is our Father, and He cares for every detail of our lives.
So, the next time you feel anxious about whatever you might be facing, remember, “Your Heavenly Father knows” exactly what you need, and He’s already provided. Watch, and see!
God is good,
“God planned good to come out of it” – Gen. 50:20
March reminds us of St. Patrick with images of shamrocks and leprechauns. In fact, Patrick was born to wealthy Roman Briton parents. His father was a deacon, but, Patrick had little use for religion. His feelings changed after being kidnapped at sixteen years of age and forced to tend his Irish master’s sheep. In despair, he turned to prayer and trusted his life to Jesus.
Though he was eventually able to escape and make his way back home, in time he felt called of God to return to Ireland – not as a slave, but as a missionary who would proclaim the gospel.
His story is not unlike that of Joseph. In summing up the difficulties he suffered as a result of his own brothers’ betrayal, he declared that what they had meant for evil, God was able to redeem for good – not only for Joseph, but, for all the children of Israel.
Something to remember whenever it appears things are looking grim!
God is good,
“Too many to count…” . Psalm 40:5
Kindergarten teacher to students: “At Thanksgiving we should a remember something for which we are grateful. Can you think of at least one thing for which you are thankful? ” William: “I, for one, am thankful that I’m not a turkey!”
I suppose Thanksgiving isn’t such a wonderful holiday if you are a turkey! However, for the rest of us…
Our problem shouldn’t be coming up one thing for which we are thankful. For those of us who have been forgiven our sins by the gift of salvation through God’s matchless grace, we should be able to declare with the psalmist that when it comes to God’s goodness and the blessings of His mercy, “they are too numerous to count!” (Psalm 40:5, NASB).
Take a moment each day this month to think of just one thing for which you can give God praise. At the end of the month at least two things should happen: 1) You’ll discover just how much we take for granted as God’s children, and 2) Christmas – which is just around the corner! – will mean even more to you!
“I am always with you…” Matt. 28:20
Mother to young son: “What did you study in Sunday School today?” Son: “Nothing.” (Mother) “Really? Didn’t you study Jesus?” (Son) Nope, He wasn’t even there…”
Rare are the Christian individuals who can say they have never experienced moments of feeling that God was somehow distant. Even the likes of Moses, David, and John the Baptist had feelings of abandonment and doubt at times. Its natural.
Salvation is provided solely by the grace of God through the offering of Jesus Christ as a sacrifice for our sins. The Christian faith is based squarely upon God’s word and the integrity of His promises; one of which is: “I will never leave nor forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5).
Just as there has never been a time when God has been found negligent in keeping His word, there will never come a time when you and I can no longer rely on the fact of His presence – whether we sense it or not – He IS with us!
Can I get an Amen?!,
“…like the leaves of autumn.” Proverbs 11:28, GNT
Oh, those falling leaves! An ever-occurring signal of the ending of summer is beginning to cover my yard. I love the changing colors of the leaves at the end of summer although I realize their presence reminds me that I have many days of mulching, raking, and bagging ahead of me!
Space here doesn’t allow for an in-depth explanation of the scientific reasons for the falling of leaves. Suffice it to say that leaves fall because conditions have caused their source of life to dry up.
Proverbs 11:28, in its complete sentence, says: “Those who depend on their wealth wi fa like the leaves of autumn, but the righteous wi prosper like the leaves of summer.” (Pr. 11:28, GNT).
Life in its fullness as Jesus intended for believers requires that we abide in Him – year round. No amount of wealth or other source of security can replace that. As the seasons of our lives change, Christians will flourish as they continue to faithfully live in obedience and fellowship with Jesus. The result is God’s artistry at its best!
Abiding in Him, Pastor Lex
“For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long.” — 2 Cor. 4:17, NLT
Vacationer to Alaskan native: “How was your summer?” Alaskan native: “Oh, it was great! W e had a picnic that day!”
As summer wears on and temperatures soar, I tend to start longing for the cooler days of fall: my favorite time of year! Then comes winter and I find myself wishing for the warm days of summer! Never satisfied, right? Fortunately, the seasons do change on a somewhat regular basis and we know that sooner or later the weather will change to our liking.
Occasionally we find ourselves wondering if our present circumstances – particularly difficult situations – will last forever, as well. When those times come, try to remember one of little phrases often repeated in the Bible: “It came to pass…” The fact is, though we may feel trapped in a difficult situation with no foreseeable end, sooner or later, it will pass.
The apostle Paul reminds us that our earthly struggles, though often heavy to bear, will pale in comparison to the glory we shall one day inherit.
What a day that will be! Pastor Lex
The little boy was anxious and forgot his lines in the Sunday School presentation. Fortunately, his mother was in the front row to prompt him. Again and again, in vain she gestured and formed the words silently with her lips. Her son’s memory was blank. Finally she leaned forward and whispered the cue: “I am the light of the world.” The child beamed, and with great feeling and a loud, clear voice shouted: “My mother is the light of the world!” Well, he may have missed his lines for the Sunday School presentation, but, he was right on the mark concerning Mother! For many of us, Mother has long since been in heaven. Our memories are all that’s left – except for the places she left her fingerprints on our hearts.
I think the little guy had it right, don’t you?
– Pastor Lex
Fans of the American Wild West will find in a Deadwood, South Dakota, museum this inscription left by a beleaguered prospector: “I lost my gun. I lost my horse. I am out of food. The Indians are after me. But I’ve got all the gold I can carry!” I’d love to know how the story ended, wouldn’t you? I suspect most folks would consider the man foolish to be clinging to his gold when, in fact, his life is in the balance. Still, you have to admire his OPTIMISM! When we face life’s challenges, you and I have far more than an “armload of gold” to brighten our outlook. After all, gold (like every other material thing in which people put their trust) will not be of much use when life is in the balance. We have an empty tomb that assures us of hope beyond all the toils and tests of this life. CELEBRATE LIFE! CELEBRATE JESUS’ RESURRECTION! That’s worth far more than all the gold you can carry…
– Pastor Lex
Historian Shelby Foote tells of a soldier who was wounded at the battle of Shiloh during the American Civil War and was ordered to go to the rear. The fighting was fierce and within minutes he returned to his commanding officer. “Captain, give me a gun!” he shouted. “This fight ain’t got any rear!” Too often Christians grow weary due to the many tests and trials of faith and assume they can just draw back for a while and exit the battle, as it were. Problem is, there is no going back! Did you ever notice that the apostle Paul never described weapons or armor designed for retreat? Christian, put on the whole armor of God and forge ahead in faith. God will give you rest when the time is right. In the meantime, stay on the frontline and give it all you’ve got!
– Pastor Lex
As I reflect over the last 14 years, I am grateful for so many things. Alishia and I have been involved in pastoral ministry for nearly 40 years, and, looking back we are so thankful for the people God has brought into our lives. Sure, there have been some trying times and, obviously, there have been occasions when we haven’t always agreed on everything. Still, we wouldn’t trade our Pleasant Home family for the world! Over and over again God reveals Himself through this church family in ways that can only be described as “Amazing”! We feel blessed to be a part of such a loving, working, and giving group of people. God bless you, Pleasant Home! We love you!
– Lex & Alishia