Others

During our first pastorate in rural Virginia from 1988-1994, we hosted a fiery Scottish preacher a couple of times a year.  His name was John Tierney and he came from Greenville, South Carolina.  He preached annually to a series of churches, collecting funds for an orphanage in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.  He preached with tremendous power and unction from the Holy Spirit.  His motto was – OTHERS.  The devotional below from Our Daily Bread has the same exact theme, espoused by 1)a current illustration, 2)the Apostle Paul in Philippians chapter 2, and 3)the ultimate example, in the crucifixion of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ:

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The Interests of Others
Our Daily Bread
August 24, 2017

Read: Philippians 2:1–11
Bible in a Year: Psalms 116–118; 1 Corinthians 7:1–19

In humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests.—Philippians 2:3–4
My friend Jaime works for a huge international corporation. In his early days with the company, a man came by his desk, struck up a conversation, and asked Jaime what he did there. After telling the man about his work, Jaime asked the man his name. “My name is Rich,” he replied.
“Nice to meet you,” Jaime answered. “And what do you do around here?”
“Oh, I am the owner.”
Jaime suddenly realized that this casual, humble conversation was his introduction to one of the richest men in the world.
In this day of self-glorification and the celebration of “me,” this little story can serve as a reminder of Paul’s important words in the book of Philippians: “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit” (2:3). People who turn their attention to others and not on themselves have the characteristics Paul mentions.
When we “value others above [ourselves],” we demonstrate Christlike humility (v. 3). We mirror Jesus, who came not “to be served, but to serve” (Mark 10:45). When we take “the very nature of a servant” (Phil. 2:7), we have the mindset of Jesus (v. 5).
As we interact with others today, let’s not look on our own interests alone but also “to the interests of the others” (v. 4). —Dave Branon
Jesus, You gave us the model of humility when You left heaven’s splendors to become a humble servant on earth. Help us practice Christlike humility in everything we do.
Serve God by serving others.

INSIGHT: Many scholars believe the apostle Paul embedded an early hymn in his letter to the Philippians. Chapter 2:6-11 is comprised of six couplets that seem to lend themselves to an ancient form of singing. These carefully crafted lines show what it means to believe in and follow Christ. In stark contrast to other kings of the world, Jesus gave up the glory and honor of heaven to be crowned with the thorns and mockery of His crucifixion. Instead of using others for His own pleasure, He sacrificed Himself to lovingly come to our rescue.
Christ’s selfless sacrifice impacted Paul. He mirrored what Christ suffered for us when he showed his willingness to suffer for others.

In what ways can we show self-sacrificing love to others?   Mart DeHaan

 

 

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The Amazing Apostle Paul Of Tarsus

 

Paul’s Missionary Journey
by Henry M. Morris, Ph.D. | Aug. 3, 2017
“Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ.” (Ephesians 3:8)
The apostle Paul was undoubtedly the greatest missionary of all time. It is well to take note of his missionary strategy, for it was designed to reach the greatest number with the highest efficiency. In the first place, although he by no means neglected his Jewish countrymen, his calling was to all peoples of the world.
As much as possible, he tried to “preach the gospel in the regions beyond” where it had never gone before (2 Corinthians 10:16), “not where Christ was named, lest I should build upon another man’s foundation” (Romans 15:20).
He especially concentrated on great cities, particularly the major seaports. He had come from the large city of Tarsus himself, and he preached in the great capital, Rome, and in Athens, the world’s cultural center. Philippi was the “chief city” of Macedonia (Acts 16:12), as was Corinth in Achaia and Ephesus in Asia Minor. Antioch, Troas, Thessalonica—all were great seaport cities. Establishing solid churches in such cities would provide centers for carrying the gospel throughout the world.
In considerable measure, his ministry in these cities seemed to reach people of special ability or opportunity to teach and influence others, such as the philosophers at Athens, the proconsul Sergius Paulus at Paphos, the honorable women of Berea, the school of Tyrannus at Ephesus, and others of like significance.
Most important of all were his writings. Paul wrote half the epistles of the New Testament. He traveled at least 15,000 miles and preached to many thousands of people, but his written words have been read by countless millions over 1,900 years. HMM

Sword Of The Lord Newspaper, Dr. Shelton Smith, Editor / January 13, 2017

Amen Corner

There must come with decision for truth a corresponding protest against error.  -Charles Spurgeon

So, preacher, you are discouraged and depressed and want to quit! Don’t feel alone; I want to quit every week.  You had a split, and half your members left you.  Some deacon went home and climbed up Miff Tree and held the greenbacks, trying to starve you out.  Man, don’t let them know you are hungry!  Eat grass and wild onions and drink branch water.  Get up on Sunday smiling and say, “Boy, I’m on such a good diet!”  But don’t eat wild persimmons.  Don’t let the Devil know you are hungry.  Curtis Hutson

Christ has not promised His people a smooth passage, but only a safe landing.  In embarking on the Christian life, we are not guaranteed a sunlit sea, but rather are advised of a storm-tossed ocean; and it is far better to be in a storm with Him than in a calm without Him.  -W. Graham Scroggle

The apostle Paul was the greatest of all the apostles, and his greatness lay most of all in that he was “in labours more abundant” (II Corinthians 11:23).  -John R. Rice

People do not miss church services because they live too far from the building; they miss church because they live too far from God.

You say, “I’ll be a Christian and go to Heaven without a church.”  Yes, and you can go to Europe without getting on board a ship or airplane.  The swimming is good, but the sharks are waiting for those who take that route.  If a man is saved, he should look for a good Bible-believing church right away!  -Billy Sunday

His promises are checks to be cashed, not mere mottoes to hang on the wall!  -Vance Havner

Let reverence for the laws be breathed by every American mother to the lisping babe who prattles on her lap; let it be taught in the school, in seminaries and in colleges; let it be written in almanacs.  -Abraham Lincoln

A great many people want to bring their faith, their works, and their good deeds to Him for salvation.  Bring your sins, and He will bear them away into the wilderness of forgetfulness, and you will never see them again.  -D. L. Moody

You can never get ahead of anyone as long as you are to get even with him.

He who pelts every barking dog must pick up many stones.

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Rapper Says “Planned Parenthood Is Modern-Day Eugenics” For Black Americans

Rapper Nick Cannon is doubling down on his comments that Planned Parenthood is bad news for black Americans.

Cannon said the abortion industry is perpetuating a genocide against black people because [it] targets black communities with abortion clinics.  Asked to elaborate on those comments, Cannon doubled down and said that Planned Parenthood is modern-day eugenics for the black community.

Previously Cannon called Planned Parenthood “real genocide.”

-LifeNews.com

 

There Are 76 Percent Fewer Abortion Clinics Open Now Than In 1991

Suffering / Part 8 Of 8

Why Christians Suffer

continued from Part 7…

9)Suffering Teaches Us To Pray

You have heard the saying  “There are no atheists in foxholes.”  Due to our sinful human natures, sometimes the only time we pray is when our backs are to the wall, and there is no one else to turn to.  Pray is our last resort.

10)Suffering Brings Rewards

There is a special reward for those who suffer patiently for Him.  Paul tells us in II Timothy 2:12  “If we suffer, we shall also reign with Him.”  We are made perfect through suffering.  Steel is iron plus fire.  Soil is rock plus crushing.  The Christian life is faith plus suffering.  It is God’s way of doing things.  It is God’s own way of making us what we ought to be.  God’s way is through fire, and through the fire He will perfect us.

Christianity does not promise us an easy walk.  We will always encounter many trials and tribulations, but if we look to Jesus in faith, He will carry our load.  Christianity promises us  1)all the grace of God we need, 2)a peace of mind beyond understanding that only a Christian has, and 3)we know we are heaven bound once we are “born again.”  What more can we ask for?  Are you suffering?  Then thank the Lord for it because it shows you are growing in Christ. 

Continued from Part 7…  This entire eight part series on suffering is all listed under the category entitled Devotionals/Inspirationals.

 

 

 

Two Thanksgiving Poems, Two Stories, One Quotation and Three Scripture Passages

An Attitude Of Gratitude

Thanks for prayers that Thou hast answered; Thanks for what Thou dost deny!

 Thanks for storms that I have weathered; Thanks for all Thou dost supply!

 Thanks for pain, and thanks for pleasure; Thanks for comfort in despair!

 Thanks for grace that none can measure; Thanks for love beyond compare.

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The Preacher Who Never Failed To Give Thanks

John Gray, a circuit-riding preacher, never failed to thank God for something, no matter how bad the times or how severe the trial.

One day when Gray had had to battle through wind and sleet to his preaching appointment at a distant village chapel, the small congregation waiting for him wondered what he could be thankful for in such weather.

When it came time for prayer, John prayed, “This is a wretched day, dear Lord, no doubt about it; but we thank Thee, Lord, that every day isn’t as bad as this one!”

When Matthew Henry Was Robbed

A man once stole Matthew Henry’s wallet. In reflecting on the incident, Henry said, “1.) I am thankful that he never robbed me before. 2), I am thankful that although he took my wallet, he did not take my life. 3) Although he took all I had, it was not much. And 4), I am glad that it was I who was robbed, not I who did the robbing.” Matthew Henry knew how to make lemonade out of a lemon — how to be grateful despite a bad experience. That is how mature people react in tough times. They learn to be grateful even for small blessings. They realize that ingratitude toward God is the first step toward backsliding from God. We see this in Romans 1. The Apostle Paul described the path people take in departing from God. The first step is an attitude of ingratitude. Paul says, “Although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him.” Ingratitude leads to many bad choices. Even for believers, when we take God’s’ blessings for granted and neglect to give him thanks, we slowly have little time for God, little time for worship, and little time to help others. We become self-centered. Before we know it, we have wandered far away from God, and we wonder what happened to that glowing relationship we once enjoyed with God. That is why we must worship and give thanks to God. Gratitude toward God leads to peace, joy, and satisfaction.

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Gratitude is an offering precious in the sight of God, and it is one that the poorest of us can make and be not poorer, but richer for having made it.  -A.W. Tozer

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Habakkuk 3:17-19 King James Version (KJV)

17 Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls:

18 Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation.

19 The Lord God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds’ feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places. To the chief singer on my stringed instruments.

Psalm 105:1-5 King James Version (KJV)

105 O give thanks unto the Lord; call upon his name: make known his deeds among the people.

Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him: talk ye of all his wondrous works.

Glory ye in his holy name: let the heart of them rejoice that seek the Lord.

Seek the Lord, and his strength: seek his face evermore.

Remember his marvellous works that he hath done; his wonders, and the judgments of his mouth…

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 King James Version (KJV)

16 Rejoice evermore.

17 Pray without ceasing.

18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

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…and one more for the road

Be Thankful!

You don’t need a bank full of cash to be thankful; Be thankful you have what you do.  Don’t envy your neighbors the fruits of their labors; Your fortune rests solely with you.  Here’s cause for thanksgiving: The fact that you’re living

Where freedom of enterprise reigns, Where all can aspire to what they desire, Each welcome to what he attains.  If you have what’s needed, you can’t be impeded  By limits on courage and skill.  No blessing is greater, so thank your Creator And ask His guidance and will.

-Sawdust Trail

 

A Magnanimous Politician

mag·nan·i·mous
maɡˈnanəməs/
adjective
  1. very generous or forgiving, especially toward a rival or someone less powerful than oneself.
    synonyms: generous, charitable, benevolent, beneficent, big-hearted, handsome, princely, altruistic,philanthropic, unselfish, chivalrous, noble; More

    From the original Latin, the word is derived from magna and animous.  When placed together they literally mean large soul.

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    A character in the Bible shouts out to us for being magnanimous.  That would be Barnabas, referred to often throughout the book of Acts.  He gave all of his possessions to the Church, hence he really gave them to the Lord, and he did it because he loved God, and not seeking man’s adulation.  He trusted the Apostle Paul when no one else would!  Hey, like the other apostles, I would have been the last to trust Paul, believing him to be a spy and attempting to infiltrate the church.  Praise the Lord for Barnabas and his large soul.  Unlike Paul later on, he was quick to forgive John Mark when he abandoned them on a mission trip.  What a Godly man.

    May I suggest to you that president elect Donald Trump often reveals the same traits.  He values loyalty and trust in professional relationships and is quick to forgive.  During the Republican primaries, Ted Cruze, Republican Texas senator, said that “No one called The Donald would ever be elected president.”  That is typical politics, but there is more to follow.  After Donald Trump won the Republican primaries, Ted Cruze spoke on the stage of the Republican National Convention and refused to endorse Trump!  He told people to “vote their conscience,” and was promptly booed off of the stage.  I thought his political career was over at that point.  So what do I learn this morning?  Ted Cruze met with Donald Trump for hours at the Trump Tower, and Cruze is being considered as a serious candidate for Attorney General!  Donald Trump looked beyond the petty bickering of politics and recognized that Ted Cruze was indeed a man qualified for the job.  …And he is.  I just learned today that Trump is going to meet another foe in Mitt Romney.  Mitt Romney said that Donald Trump was in no way fit to become president, and lacked all of the qualifications.  He continued to vilify him further.  Mitt was vehemently against Trump’s nomination by the Republican National Convention (RNC), even threatening to challenge it.  Now Mitt will also be considered for a cabinet position with this administration.  What is truly amazing is that both Ted Cruz and Mitt Romney would claim that they are great moral agents themselves, but at the end of the day, who took the higher road?  It blesses my heart to occasionally observe Christian principles carried out in the political arena.  We should pray that it happens more often.


    New American Standard Bible
    “BUT IF YOUR ENEMY IS HUNGRY, FEED HIM, AND IF HE IS THIRSTY, GIVE HIM A DRINK; FOR IN SO DOING YOU WILL HEAP BURNING COALS ON HIS HEAD.”   Romans 12:20

    <><  Pastor Steve

Never Give Up!

Our Daily Bread

August 2, 2016

Read: 2 Timothy 3:10-15
Bible in a Year: Psalms 60-62; Romans 5

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. —2 Timothy 4:7

Joop Zoetemelk is known as the Netherlands’ most successful cyclist. But that’s because he never gave up. He started and finished the Tour de France 16 times—placing second five times before winning in 1980. That’s perseverance!

Many winners have reached success by climbing a special ladder called “never give up.” However, there are also many who have lost the opportunity to achieve success because they gave up too soon. This can happen in every area of life: family, education, friends, work, service. Perseverance is a key to victory.

The apostle Paul persevered despite persecution and affliction (2 Tim. 3:10-11). He viewed life with realism, recognizing that as followers of Christ we will suffer persecution (vv. 12-13), but he instructed Timothy to place his faith in God and the encouragement of the Scriptures (vv. 14-15). Doing so would help him face discouragement and endure with hope. At the end of his life, Paul said, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (4:7).

We too can allow the Scriptures to strengthen us to press on in the race marked out for us. For our God is both a promise-making and promise-keeping God and will reward those who faithfully finish the race (v. 8). —Jaime Fernández Garrido

Heavenly Father, give me strength of character and perseverance to serve you better. Help me not to get discouraged when things get tough but to rely on You to see me through.

Faith connects our weakness to God’s strength.

INSIGHT: Paul experienced great persecution in the cities of Antioch, Iconium, and Lystra. In Antioch, he faced aggressive opposition from the religious leaders (Acts 13:45; 15:1-2). In Iconium, Gentile and Jewish leaders conspired to have him killed (14:4-5). And in Lystra, he was stoned and left for dead (v. 19). Yet in his final letter to Timothy, Paul uses these three cities as examples of perseverance. He recounts these terribly painful events not to garner pity but to remind Timothy of God’s faithfulness during times of hardship and pain. Dennis Moles

The Pastor’s Conference And Southern Baptist Convention ~ June 12-15, 2016 ~ Part 9

Monday Evening, June 13, 2016

Pastor’s Conference of the Southern Baptist Convention in St. Louis

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Johnny Hunt served at Woodstock, Georgia for thirty years.  

Johnny’s theme is enthusiastically finishing the journey for God.  2 Timothy 2:6-7  The husbandman that laboureth must be first partaker of the fruits.  Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things.

Johnny Hunt was touched by Adrian Rogers and Jerry Falwell.  Paul pressed towards Christlikeness.  Paul poured into Timothy.  May our lives inspire others to obey.  Martin Luther:  “There are two days on my calendar:  This day and that day.”

Johnny Hunt’s two life verses:

James 1:25  But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.

Romans 12:1  I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

Johnny Hunt was saved forty three years ago.  Paul never got over his Damascus Road experience.  Live not for ourselves but for others.  Johnny teaches Timothy Barnabas ministries.  God is the great promise keeper (not us).  Our giants make us grow.  Caleb –  “Give me this mountain.”  May God help us want what we wanted when we finished, as we wanted when we started.

Christianity Is The Only Truth On The Planet, And A Cause Greater Than Our Lives

INSIGHT: After appointing twelve men as His disciples (Matt. 10:1-4), Jesus gave them their first assignment to go and preach the good news that “the kingdom of heaven has come near” (v. 7). Jesus warned that people in the world would not want to hear about Him: “You will be hated by everyone because of me” (v. 22). We, too, may be ignored, opposed, rejected, persecuted, and even killed (vv. 16-22). It may cost us to share the gospel with others, and we may experience hostility even from our own family (vv. 35-36). To overcome these challenges, Jesus calls for a commitment to Him that is greater than any other (vv. 37-39). Sim Kay Tee

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Many of the Old Testament prophets were slain.  John the Baptist was beheaded.  All of the original apostles, as well as Paul, were killed for their faith with the exception of John.  There have been more Christians martyred for their faith in the last century than in the rest of the church age combined!  Foxe’s Book of Martyrs includes many of the great saints throughout the church age who gave their lives for their faith.  The only one not martyred in the book was Martin Luther.

Why did they give their lives?  Because they loved their Lord like Patriot Nathan Hale loved his country:

Now, let us rephrase this quotation according to the committed Christian:

“I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my Lord.”

The cause of Christianity is MUCH greater than our lives.  Never forget that:  “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church.”

 ~ Tertullian 197 A.D.

 

Jordan/Israel ~ 1987-1988 ~ Part 2

Day #1

We departed from Stafford Baptist Church (Stafford, Virginia) at 9:30 A.M. for New York.  We passed the Washington monument, the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State building, and the World Trade Building on the way to John F. Kennedy International Airport.  At the airport I encountered a security official at Israel Airlines and he said no one could enter their waiting area due to “tight security.”  The security is mainly because of bomb threats, etc. from Arab, Third World countries.  No other airlines had such a policy and a security guard as did Israel.  The “Zionists” have many enemies.

We met Jo Anne and Steve Abbott at the airport.  They just flew in from Oregon, and were joined by their son Mark, in the Air Force, and on leave from the Philippines.  Their other son, Paul, is a missionary from Africa and will join us in Amman, Jordan.  What a place and what a time for a family reunion!

I was quickly exposed to the culture of the Middle East on the airplane.  The gentleman seated next to me was born and raised in Damascus, Syria; he moved to the United States and raised a family of five children.  He told me he was returning to Damascus, and then he gave me some history of the city.  He said it is the world’s oldest capital city, and the world’s oldest inhabited city.  He claimed the tomb of John the Baptist is there, and there is a castle left by the Crusaders from about 1100 A.D.  As a Christian, I know Damascus was once part of the Hasmonean Dynasty.  Even of more significance, the Bible (Acts, Chapter 9) reveals that it is the place where Paul went to persecute Christians.  However, due to his conversion along the way to the city, he ended up preaching the gospel message of Jesus Christ there.  Paul now ended up as the one being persecuted, and his friends had to lower Paul in a basket outside the walls of Damascus so he could escape with his life.  No one promised that it would be easy to follow Jesus.

We lost seven hours of time as we flew towards the sun.  We will gain the seven hours back when we are going home.

Day #2

While still on the airplane, we saw some very scenic, desolate, hilly and craggy terrain about one hour and one quarter prior to our arrival in Jordan.  We guessed that it was probably Turkey that we saw.  I saw another sign of the tension in the Middle East while still on the airplane.  While glancing at a map of the various flight routes which Royal Jordanian makes, I noticed that Israel was not even listed on the map in the airplane!  On the plane I tried to speak with a Jordanian to ask him about this, but he could only speak Arabic.  We ate several meals on the airplane, and I had trouble figuring out if it was day or night- jet lag.  After thirteen hours of flying time we finally set down in Jordan, and after a very scrutinizing passport/visa/luggage check and frisk, we were carried away to our hotel.

I did not care for the Jordanian food at the hotel.  I also noticed that Arabs engage in close body contact, and do not observe the “space” that Americans are use to having.  They elbow, poke and push.  Arabs commonly have body odor.  I was glad that we were going to spend only one night in Jordan.  I already found that some things in other countries make me appreciate the United States of America all the more.  How many things we just take for granted.

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***   Dear Folks,  I am embarrassed to read the last paragraph of my own journal above.  It reveals my immaturity in regards to other people around the world.  Since then, I have learned to appreciate the food given to me, whatever it is.  A Christian should adapt to the customs and environment of the lands we visit, just as long as it does not compromise our faith.  I included it because it is my journal.  On the bright side, it reveals spiritual growth.   ***

Blessings, Pastor Steve