Hall Of Fame / Hall Of Faith

My son and I saw the Bronx Bombers (Yankees) play against the Houston Astros last night (Monday, October 16, 2017) in the third game of the American League Championship Series (ALCS) at Yankee Stadium.  The Yankees are winners of twenty seven (27) world championships.  Yankee Stadium is the heart and soul, and nerve center for the game of baseball.  The people of the Bronx borough of New York City are hard working blue collar folks and they are patriotic.  They unfurled a gigantic American flag across the entire field prior to singing the National Anthem.  Chants of U.S.A. were heard throughout the stadium.  The seventh inning stretch later on, produced a patriotic medley of music, including God Bless America.  I was grateful to be at this playoff game with my son.

In Yankee Stadium, Monument Park is a section where the teams’ Hall Of Fame players are memorialized on large plaques:  Men like Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra, and well over thirty others.  It is a great commemoration of one hundred and seventeen years of baseball.

Aaron Judge is the current superstar on this illustrious team.  He is a twenty five year old rookie who has taken the city by storm, hitting fifty two home runs during the regular season, and he is a candidate for Most Valuable Player (MVP).  Much more importantly, he is humble, reminiscent of the former Yankee Lou Gehrig.  Both are awesome players blessed with humility.  (Aaron Judge hit a three run home run in the game we saw and made a great catch in right field).

All of the above is very enjoyable in the mundane, but has no real lasting spiritual and eternal impact.  I would like to translate the above words that were highlighted in red, into the spiritual:  Yankee Stadium seems like heaven to a lot of folks who have a tremendous passion for the New York Yankees and baseball.  But it is not eternal, it is not heaven, and it will one day pass away.  The Lord’s real heaven is eternal, it will last forever, and is so wonderful that it is far beyond our comprehension.

1 Corinthians 2:9  New King James Version (NKJV)
9 But as it is written:
“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,
Nor have entered into the heart of man
The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”

The Hall Of Fame includes the best players who have ever graced a baseball diamond. but their deeds and exploits will one day pass from memory.  It is the Hall Of Faith, Hebrews chapter 11, which contains the lives of the faithful, whose deeds have already had an eternal impact and will be remembered forever and ever.  A cross section of the faithful saints are mentioned in Hebrews 11, and the chapter closes with the following profound passage, depicting the great importance of faithful people in the eyes of the Lord:

Hebrews 11:33 Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions.
34 Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.
35 Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection:
36 And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment:
37 They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented;
38 (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.
39 And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise:
40 God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.

Aaron Judge is the current star on this team.  When he appears at the plate and is up to bat, the crowd cheers “All rise!” since his name is Judge.  Some even wear a judges’ robe in his honor.  But one day his baseball career will be over.  So let us focus on the eternal Judge, the Lord Jesus Christ:

2 Corinthians 5:10 King James Version (KJV)
10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.

Hebrews 1  English Standard Version (ESV)
The Supremacy of God’s Son
1 Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. 3 He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, 4 having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.
5 For to which of the angels did God ever say,
“You are my Son,
today I have begotten you”?
Or again,
“I will be to him a father,
and he shall be to me a son”?
6 And again, when he brings the firstborn into the world, he says,
“Let all God’s angels worship him.”
7 Of the angels he says,
“He makes his angels winds,
and his ministers a flame of fire.”
8 But of the Son he says,
“Your throne, O God, is forever and ever,
the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your kingdom.
9
You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness;
therefore God, your God, has anointed you
with the oil of gladness beyond your companions.”
10 And,
“You, Lord, laid the foundation of the earth in the beginning,
and the heavens are the work of your hands;
11
they will perish, but you remain;
they will all wear out like a garment,
12
like a robe you will roll them up,
like a garment they will be changed.[a]
But you are the same,
and your years will have no end.”
13 And to which of the angels has he ever said,
“Sit at my right hand
until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet”?
14 Are they not all ministering spirits sent out to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation.

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I enjoy baseball and the roar of the crowd.  But if the world can get excited about temporal pursuits that will soon pass away, how much more passion should the Christian born from above have.  When Jesus comes in judgment, “every eye shall behold Him, every tongue will confess Him as Lord, and every knee shall bow before Him.”  Let us use every fiber in our being to magnify the Lord of Lords and the King of Kings, and “so much the more, as we see that day approaching.”  (Hebrews 10:25b)

All Because Of Him, Pastor Steve

 

Pray For Revival In America!

 

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Christ The Creationist

The Bible is full of affirmations for a recent creation, if one properly reads, exegetes, and believes in it!  Both Old and New Testaments confirm this fact to be true.  Jesus Christ also validates this often, and a couple more of His references are cited below, in the devotional “Days Of Praise” from the Institute For Creation Research.  This article was written by their founder, Dr. Henry M. Morris:

Christ the Creationist
by Henry M. Morris, Ph.D. | Oct. 5, 2017
“For in those days shall be affliction, such as was not from the beginning of the creation which God created unto this time, neither shall be.” (Mark 13:19)
In predicting a future judgment on the unbelieving world, the Lord Jesus referred to “the beginning of the creation which God created,” thus affirming the biblical doctrine of supernatural, sudden creation. In the pagan world of His day, evolutionism was dominant almost everywhere. The Epicureans, for example, were atheistic evolutionists. The Stoics, Gnostics, Platonists, and others were pantheistic evolutionists. None of the extra-biblical philosophers of His day believed in a God who had created all things, including even the universe itself.
But Christ was a creationist, and the much-maligned “scientific creationists” of today are following His example and teaching. He even believed in recent creation, for He said (speaking of Adam and Eve) that “from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female” (Mark 10:6). The pagans all believed in an eternal cosmos, but Jesus said it had a beginning and that man and woman were a part of that beginning creation, following which “the sabbath was made for man” (Mark 2:27).
He also believed that the “two accounts” of creation (Genesis 1 and 2) were complementary, not contradictory, for He quoted from both in the same context. “Have ye not read,” He said, “that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female [Genesis 1], And said For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? [Genesis 2]” (Matthew 19:4-6).
There may be some Christians who are evolutionists, but there is no such thing as “Christian evolution,” for Christ was a creationist! HMM

From Voice Of The Martyrs…

This pastor is prepared for persecution.

Until His Last Breath
Jatya, a pastor in southern India, is happy to show visitors one of his prized possessions. It’s a manila envelope stuffed with old newspaper clippings. The fading pages recount Jatya’s walk of faith through eight separate instances of persecution.

The first clip dates to 1992, when police ordered Jatya to stop sharing Christ with villagers. After he refused to sign a police document, they broke all his fingers. Three years later, he was beaten and thrown in jail for a week. Another time, a Hindu neighbor beat Jatya with a bicycle chain.

After each instance of persecution, Jatya’s response was the same: he grabbed his Bible and went back to work telling others in his village about Christ. After all, he reasoned, everyone needs to hear the Good News!

Give to Help Persecuted Christians

Jatya’s most recent brush with persecution came after he shared the gospel with a young man in his village. An angry mob of radical Hindus surrounded Jatya and beat him until he lost consciousness. VOM paid for his medical treatment after the incident.

For Jatya, the beating wasn’t the important thing about the incident. The most important part of the story, he says, is that the young man became a believer in Jesus! Jatya said he hopes that someday he’ll meet each member of the mob that beat him so he can share Christ with them.

When asked if he was worried about the next time he faces persecution, Jatya quoted 2 Timothy 1:7 — “God has not given us a spirit of fear. …”

“Until my last breath,” Jatya says, “I want to serve and live my life for Jesus.”

The Offense Of The Cross (Part 2 of 2)

The Offense Of The Cross

Galatians 5:11  King James Version (KJV)
11 And I, brethren, if I yet preach circumcision, why do I yet suffer persecution? then is the offence of the cross ceased.

Consider why the cross is an offense today:

1)The cross of Christ condemns the world.  The thief on the cross who was saved, saw Jesus as He really was, and himself for what he was.  Sin reveals that we fall short of God’s demands.  It is the gigantic evil, the transgression towards God.  Sin leaves us far from God’s holy nature.  It leaves us no hope, we must pay the price.  “The soul that sins shall die.”  Sin lies upon our conscience – we lie in bed with insomnia, dreams and nightmares.  Jesus was made sin and a curse for us – He put away our sins and the condemning power.  There is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.  But the world is offended by the crucified God/man, suspended on a stick, and told this is the only way you can be saved.  An illustration would be Madalyn Haira and her hatred of the cross.  She actually desired for the state flag of Maryland to be changed since there was a cross on it, even though it did not depict the cross of Christ.  Another example is the movie, The Last Temptation, which made Jesus a sinner just like you and me.  Furthermore, the National Arts submerged a cross in urine in order to portray their disdain of the cross.  The first funeral that I officiated, dealt with a murder/suicide.  I spoke a eulogy to the county Rescue Squad.  When I preached on sin and the cross, the congregation was offended and they filed out.  Here is the “eulogy” that offended them:  “There are none righteous, no not one.”  Madonna, another name for the Virgin Mary, is another example of one who despises the cross of Christ.  She is offended by the cross and wears several in mockery.  The press claimed it was her trademark.  I beg to differ.  She wore it but never bore it.  She was noted for the perverted quotation:  “I love the crucifix because there is a naked man on it.”  Wrong Madonna – the cross and the tomb are empty.  Jesus Christ died for the sins of Madonna, you and me.  Many throughout the world, at work and school, curse Jesus Christ and are offended by the cross.  They feel self sufficient.  Have you ever heard of Buddha, Confucius or Mohammed cursed?  Of course not, they bore no cross.  The cross is an offense because “…men loved darkness because their deeds are evil.”  The cross throws light into the dark recesses of our soul and reveals our sins – the cross becomes an offense because it condemns us as sinners.

2)The cross is an offense because blood was shed there.  Unbelievers accuse us of a “slaughterhouse religion.”  But the Bible tells us that the shed blood of our Savior on Mount Calvary is our only hope:  “Without the shedding of the blood there is no remission of sins.”  Amen and amen.

3)The cross sets up an imperative ideal life.  Jesus said:  “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself, carry his cross, and follow me.”  This imperative eliminates the church crowd.  Many people “have a form of religion and godliness but deny the power thereof.”  There is an outward show, but little evidence of the real Christian life and the new birth.  They are offended by real Christianity.  Jesus always thinned out the ranks and never sought the popular “gospel.”  Today, big churches often seek mass membership, and do not stress the new birth, the cross, the blood, true salvation and the need to repent from sin.  Today’s country club has an organization, members, reports, and programs, but is not one of self denial.  Even Jesus’ large crowd did not want self denial.  They desired the kingdom, the crowd, and to rule and live in a palace – they did not want to go to the cross with Jesus.  We shudder at a life like Jesus, refusing to surrender what the cross condemns.  

4)The cross is an offense because it claims to be the power and salvation of God.  The first duty of every man  is to get right with God.  Man does not like this, and wants to believe that many roads lead to heaven.  Jesus said the gate is narrow, and at the beginning of the gate is the cross, and one cannot enter but by the cross.  The cross humbles, demands, and expects everything we have to be given to Christ.  The cross condemns every other way of salvation.  Acts 4:12  “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”  If people tell you that you are narrow minded, you can share with them that “narrow is the way to the kingdom, there be few who find it.”       

The Offense Of The Cross (Part 1 of 2)

The Offense Of The Cross

Galatians 5:11  King James Version (KJV)
11 And I, brethren, if I yet preach circumcision, why do I yet suffer persecution? then is the offence of the cross ceased.

The cross represents the true Christian Church.  The symbol is on and/or in every church.  Then there is the Red Cross organization, people wear the cross, it is placed on cars, and on Bibles.  Christ’s pulpit is often in the shape of a cross.  The event of the cross is the foundation of our faith.  For the Christian, the cross alone is our theology.  The knowledge of God comes through the crucified Christ.  Love outside of the cross is really not God’s love – we learn of God’s love through the cross, and not by any other means.  Worldlings follow horoscopes.  The cross is the sign of a believer.  The world sees the cross through good Friday alone.  The believer sees the cross through Easter Sunday and Resurrection Day.  The cross is a mystery and a paradox.  Just as Jesus was crucified and resurrected, we now struggle and bear our cross.  Believers will have our resurrection later.  The resurrection is life through death, strength through weakness, hope through despair, recovery through loss, suffering, folly, persecution, and joy through sorrow.  For Paul, the scandal of the cross dominates the believer’s life.  The cross stands before those who say the Christian life is a bowl of cherries.  Following Jesus is sharing His suffering.  There is no by passing rejection and death, to eternal life and the glory of the risen Christ.  There is no “pie in the sky / you can have it all now” Christianity.  Suffering, humiliation, and rejection are hallmarks of our faith, and evidence of true discipleship.  The cross of Christ is forsaking everything and clinging to Christ alone.  It is the center of God’s truth revealed to man.  But to many,

the cross is an offense:  Offense comes from the Greek word- scandalon, from which we get the word scandal.

Jesus said, “If you are going to follow me, you have to take up the cross.”  Today we might say “…take up your gas chamber or electric chair.”  We must die to self before Christ can reign in our hearts.  In our scripture text, the Judaizers, through the works of circumcision, sought to rob Christians of their freedom in Christ.  Legalists always avoid the themes of persecution and “the offense of the cross,” by insisting on circumcision and law-keeping.  If Paul preached legalism, he would not be persecuted.  Circumcision and the cross are opposed – Paul could not preach both – if he did – the offense of the cross would cease.  The “offense” is the foolishness and stumbling block of the cross.  The cross uproots the doctrine of salvation by human merit.  Salvation is through grace alone – and there can be no compromise.  The offensiveness of the cross to self righteous legalists is that salvation is by grace without circumcision and obedience to the law.  “A little leaven leavens the whole lump.”  (Galatians 5:9)  One work added to the cross perverts it all!

2015 Second Orlando Prophecy Summit, Part 65

Dr. Kevin Clarkson    ~    7 Visions Of Christ In The Apocalypse

Dr. Clarkson is a pastor of a church in Oklahoma, as well as the leader of this Prophecy In The News Conference.

Revelation 1:1  “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John”:

God gave Revelation to Jesus, Jesus gave it to his angel, the angel gave it to John, and John recorded it by the Holy Spirit for us here today.

Revelation = Apocalypse = Unveiling

Seven Visions Of Christ

Isaac Newton discovered seven prisms of light, there are seven notes in the musical scales, there are seven systems in the body, and seven days in one week.  In Revelation there are seven letters to seven churches from seven angels, there is the seven fold Spirit of God, and Jesus opens the book with seven seals, and the seventh seal opens seven trumpets, and the seventh trumpet opens seven bowls of wrath.  The word “blessed” appears seven times in the book of Revelation.  Hence there are seven visions of Christ:

1)The Glorified Son

Revelation 1:10-19 King James Version (KJV)

10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet,  11 Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.

12 And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks;

13 And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle.

14 His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire;

15 And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters.

16 And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.

17 And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last:

18 I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.

19 Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter;

2)The Lamb Slain

King James Version (KJV)

Revelation 5

1 And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals.

2 And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof?

3 And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon.

4 And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon.

5 And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.

6 And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.

7 And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne.

8 And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints.

9 And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;

10 And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.

11 And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands;

12 Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.

13 And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.

14 And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever.

King James Version (KJV)
Public Domain

3)The Great Shepherd

Revelation 7

9After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;

10 And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.

11 And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God,

12 Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen.

13 And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they?

14 And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

15 Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.

16 They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat.

17 For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.

4)The Male Child

Revelation 12:1-6

And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars:

And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered.

And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads.

And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born.

And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne.

And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days.

5)He That Keepeth Israel

Revelation 14:1-4

And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads.

And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps:

And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth.

These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb.

 

6)The Glad Reaper

Revelation 14:14-16

14 And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle.

15 And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe.

16 And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped.

7)The King Of Kings

Revelation 19:11-16

11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.

12 His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself.

13 And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.

14 And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.

15 And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.

16 And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, King Of Kings, And Lord Of Lords.

Quotable Quotation

“When we are His, He is ours, forever.  You have made us for yourself, Lord.  Our hearts are restless until they can find rest in You.”   -Augustine Of Hippo

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Isaiah 26:3-4  King James Version (KJV)
3 Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.
4 Trust ye in the Lord for ever: for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength:

Brokenness And Suffering Lead To Spiritual Growth And Victories

Jesus’ body was broken, leading to our salvation.  A roof was broken where Jesus was speaking, so a man could be healed.  A vase was broken, so Jesus could be anointed with perfume, prior to His crucifixion and burial.  Broken pitchers allowed for lights to shine, and for Gideon’s army to defeat the enemy.  Simon Peter’s fleshly pride was broken, leading to him to become the first great leader of the Christian church.

During the recent hurricane Irma in Florida, many trees were broken, leading people to help one another.  In a fashion similar to snow storms up north, hurricanes allow otherwise busy neighbors to converse and get to know one another, as they often assist each other with repair and clean up jobs.  I shared my faith and invited folks to church, who I may not have even met if not for hurricane Irma.  The Lord works in ways strange to us.  Yes, there is spiritual growth and victories through brokenness.

Note – Exactly thirteen years ago in September, 2004, Hurricane Ivan was churning up the Gulf of Mexico parallel to the west coast of Florida.  I stood in line for wood at Home Depot for the windows of our house.  I had no way to get the four by eights home, since I drove our Saturn SL sedan.  (I took our sedan by faith, not by sight).  The folks next to me in line had a pick up truck and took my seven panels home for me.  Then they attended our church the following Sunday.  Again, and again, and again, the Lord works through adversity, trials and brokenness.

Blessings, Pastor Steve   <><

Lessons From Hurricane Irma

This hurricane affected all of Florida residents, with the exception of the far western panhandle.  Moments ago, I saw a very wise man on the news from Marco Island (ground zero), state that he made a huge mistake through not evacuating his residence.  A CAT #3 hurricane entered his area and destroyed his home, and it got very dicey as to life and limb with his family.  He said “never again will he attempt to ride it out.”

The following is my personal devotional from Sunday, September 10, 2017, when the hurricane struck south Florida:

Jeremiah 30:23-24  King James Version (KJV)
23 Behold, the whirlwind of the Lord goeth forth with fury, a continuing whirlwind: it shall fall with pain upon the head of the wicked.
24 The fierce anger of the Lord shall not return, until he hath done it, and until he have performed the intents of his heart: in the latter days ye shall consider it.

This is a vivid description of the storm of God’s wrath falling on the wicked.  We who are saved will never know such a storm of divine wrath.  In the darkness on Calvary’s hill, the terrible storm of God’s righteous and holy wrath against sin broke on our Lord Jesus.  This was the intent of the heart of the Father, His thoughts and purpose, to judge our sins in the Lamb of God.  As we remember Him and what He endured for us, may worship flow readily from our hearts and lips.  -Carl Knott

Jehovah lifted up His rod; O Christ, it fell on Thee!  Thou wast sore stricken of Thy God; there’s not one stroke for me.  -Cousin

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Is this once again the Lord’s Divine Providence in placing things together or what?  I cannot encounter a major storm without perceiving the end times judgment of man.  In hurricanes, God’s judgment is mixed with mercy.  The sweetest words I heard throughout the storm, were when my brother’s wife said:  “It came into Florida as a CAT #2.”  You hurricane veterans know that means trees and power lines will fall, yet most structures will remain in tact.  Lost souls said:  “We lucked out and dodged the bullet.”  You Christians know better.  Yes, Irma chewed up northeast Cuba which lessened its impact on Florida, but “Who” arranged for this to happen?  Every forecast had Irma’s eye wall as a CAT #4, aimed at our area.  I am humbled and grateful, because I am no better than the Christian folks in Texas, who were flooded out for over three hundred miles with irreversible damage.  I know a lot of faithful Christians living in southwest Florida, and our friends and family all over the nation who prayed, and Jehovah lessened the impact greatly.  The hurricane mysteriously lost one half of the eye wall as it entered Florida!  It basically turned into a tropical storm with a dramatic turn that rapidly weakened the former CAT #5 winds.  The outer bands of the hurricane evidently picked up cool water from the Atlantic Ocean that reduced the hot temperatures in the midst of the storm.  Thank you Jesus.  Yes, the Lord’s judgment was mixed with mercy in this case, but that will NOT be the situation in the final judgment:

James 2:13  King James Version (KJV)
13 For he shall have judgment without mercy…

What was lacking after the fact of the hurricane, was appreciation for what did not happen.  We were spared from blue tarps, roofing nails causing flat tires, calls to the insurance companies concerning structure damage, mold, illness due to stress, depression, the seemingly irreparable damage, and a lasting effect that goes on and on and on.  I will not forget to forever thank the Lord for His intervention.  I am furthermore thankful to be an American, a nation that responds to our wounded immediately.  On the way home, we saw entire streets and neighborhoods flooded out, and multiple teams from our state’s law enforcement agencies responding with convoys of specialty vehicles including boats, rolling down the interstate to render aid.  Florida Power and Light (FPL) did their usual great job, which we often take for granted.  Then there are the countless relief agencies such as the Red Cross and Salvation Army who are “Johnny on the spot.”  Florida Governor Rick Scott and President Donald Trump did a superb job as they coordinated efforts, and got a handle on the situation from the beginning.  Donald Trump will be in Fort Myers tomorrow.  One element that I have observed that I wish I had not is Christians judging one another for staying in the area, or leaving their homes, and in general for not behaving as wisely as we think we are.  There is obviously no “one size fits all” correct answer.  Each situation and person is unique, and we perceive things differently as well.  I have noticed that all of these judgmental assessments occurred AFTER the fact on Monday morning, i.e. “Monday morning quarterbacks.”  Here are the appropriate scripture passages for us when we behave thusly:

Matthew 7:1-2  King James Version (KJV)
7 Judge not, that ye be not judged.
2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.

Romans 14  King James Version (KJV)
4 Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.
5 One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.
7 For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself.
8 For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s.
9 For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living.
10 But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.
11 For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.
12 So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.
13 Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way.

So often we flap our gums without thinking, and we are plumb out of line.  We are cruising for a bruising on judgment day.

One final scripture that rings true, especially on this occasion:

“For his wrath will soon be kindled. Blessed are all they that take refuge in him.”
Psalms 2:12b (ASV)

Shelter from the storm can only be found in Jesus Christ.  Amen and amen.

In Christ, Pastor Steve  <><

 

Pray For Revival In America!

 

The Cross Has The Final Word ~ The Newsboys

Featuring Peter Furler And Michael Tait On The Same Song.  Excellent Video:

Saturday, October 22, 2011
Quote of the Day #176 – Charles Spurgeon

A quote from Charles Spurgeon on the unmatched-supremacy of the gospel of Jesus Christ:
“Oh! down, down, down, with everything else, but up, up, up, with the cross of Christ! Down with your baptism, and your masses, and your sacraments! Down with your priestcraft, and your rituals, and your liturgies! Down with your fine music, and your pomp, and your robes, and your garments, and all your ceremonials. But up, up, up, with the doctrine of the naked cross, and the expiring Saviour. Let the voice ring throughout the whole world, “Look unto Me and live!” There is life in a look at the Crucified One!”
~Charles Spurgeon (Christ, The Glory Of His People 826.464)

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The Offense Of The Cross

Galatians 5:11  King James Version (KJV)
11 And I, brethren, if I yet preach circumcision, why do I yet suffer persecution? then is the offence of the cross ceased.

Billy Graham has a message called “the offense of the cross.”  The Greek word for offense is “skandalon,” from which we received the word scandal.  The cross is a scandal because it condemns the world, because blood was shed there, it sets up an imperative for an ideal life and one of self denial, and finally it is an offense because it claims to be the power and salvation of God.