Something Came Up…

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We have all gotten that message before. It happens sometimes in the moments before a plan to get together. “I am so, so sorry, but something came up. I will not be able to meet you.” My wife and I recently had one of those as we were picking up a purchase from Facebook Marketplace. We were at the meeting place at the time agreed, but five, then ten minutes had passed, and we got the message. “I’m sorry I can’t meet you. Something came up.” 

Whether it is a meeting like that, a dinner engagement or appointment to work on a project, this message brings up a variety of questions in our minds. Is everything alright? Was there an emergency? How can I help? What could have “come up” that was more important than what we had planned? Could what came up have been dealt with later? 

You are not the only one that gets that message. Did you know that God gets that message from His children all the time? In fact, He gets it weekly. “I am so, so sorry, but something came up, God. I will not be able to make it to church today.” I wonder what questions come up in God’s mind when He gets that message from us? Is everything alright? Was there an emergency? How can I help? What could have “come up” that was more important than what we had planned? Could what came up have been dealt with later? 

Hebrews 10:23–25 “Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) 24 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: 25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.”

Here in this verse, God commanded us to assemble together. However, He wants us to assemble out of love, not duty. Yet the growing trend among His children today is that assembling with their church once a week or even once a month is good enough. Many of God’s children have become all too comfortable messaging God, “I am so, so sorry God, but something came up.” Certainly there are emergencies, health issues and “ox in the ditch” scenarios, but many things could be, and ought be, put aside so that we, as children of God, can assemble together. 

Before you press send on that message to God this Sunday, Wednesday or other time when your church family is assembling together, ask yourself, “What is more important than obeying God?“ He told me to assemble with my fellow believers. He told me to do so all the more as we get closer to Christ’s return. If I choose to do something else when I my church family is assembling, can I expect the blessing of God on what I am doing? Am I pleasing my Heavenly Father by not assembling with my church family?

Galatians 6:7 “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”

Let’s sow obedience and reap a blessing. Let’s be committed to assemble with our church family every time the doors are open.

A New Song

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The Christian life is a new life. 2 Corinthians 5:17 tells us, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” Everything is new. There is a positional and progressive sense to that. Before our God, we are made new. Where once the sin nature was firmly rooted, now a new nature is found. By faith in Jesus Christ alone, for the forgiveness of our sinfulness, we are now clothed in Christ’s righteousness. The progressive sense is that our daily lives are to be changing to match what is positionally true about us. We are clothed in Christ righteousness and we are to be becoming more Christ-like every single day.

Every area of our life should be changing from being world-like to Christ-like.

One of the many areas that the Bible indicates should change following salvation is the kind of song we sing. Psalm 40:1–3 says, “I waited patiently for the LORD; And he inclined unto me, and heard my cry. 2 He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, And set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings. 3 And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: Many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD.” Here in this passage of Scripture we discover the new song principle. This song is fresh and it is different from the old song. Whereas the old song used to revel in sin, rebellion, lawlessness and immorality, the new song clearly rejoices in truth, purity, love and Jesus Christ. In verse three, the new song is so distinctly different that the world hears it and fears God to the point they place their trust in Him. Do the songs you sing and listen to demonstrate the new song principle? Does your music cause the unsaved in your life to turn to God?

Let’s consider one further thought. When we are saved, the Holy Spirit of God comes to reside within us. He is an amazing gift of our Heavenly Father. He is the guarantee of our salvation. In Ephesians 5:18 we are told,  “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;” As believers, we are not to be allowing alcohol to control us at all because it is the highway to excess, that is every sin imaginable. We are to be filled or controlled by the Holy Spirit of God. According to the next verse, one of the indicators of that filling is the song we sing. Ephesians 5:19 “Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;” This means if we are listening to and obeying the promptings of the Holy Spirit of God, our music is going to be made up of Scripture (Psalms), of truth and doctrine (Hymns) and of the Holy Spirit (Spiritual songs), not our flesh. We are going to sing praise (making melody) to God. Our song is to be from the regenerated heart to our Lord. It is important to realize that the one being praised is also the one who determines the acceptability of our praise. This is why it is so important to allow God to have a say in the music we listen to in our homes, our cars or on our earbuds.

Music is a massively important subject for the Christian. Satan uses music to drive his agenda deep into the heart of the lost world. When a Christian listens to fleshly, worldly secular music, their heart will be steeled against the life-changing truth of God’s Word. Have you checked your music with God? Is your music hindering your spiritual growth? Does your music cause you to meditate/imagine about God? Is your music clearly different from the music of the world both in words and actual music? I pray that God will give you discernment as you seek to please God in the area of music.

 

Listen to these Brief Thoughts on Music
Internet Conservative Christian Radio
(Most of these have an app available at their website for smart devices)

Abiding Radio

KNVBC

Faith Music Radio

Bible Truth Radio

Life in the Whirlwind

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Late on Memorial Day evening, the Dayton area experienced the terror and horror of over 13 tornadoes of varying levels touching down. When the alert came on my iPhone somewhere around 11:10pm, my wife and I wasted no time getting the kids out of bed and into our basement. We prayed and asked God for protection on us and those in our community. We reminded ourselves of the verse in Psalm 56:3, “What time I am afraid, I will trust in Thee.” We watched the news casters as they did their best to alert the Dayton area of the tornado activity. We were shocked by how close the tornadoes were to our home. Later that evening, we understood that one of the tornadoes had gone through our neighborhood. Obviously, until morning, it was impossible to realize all that that meant. Overnight most of our neighborhood was evacuated due to concerns of gas leaks as well as the powerlines that were down. Amazingly, our house along with several of our neighbors receive no damage, though we could see the damage beginning right across the road.

As we ventured out the next day to look at the damage and see how we could help, I was dumbstruck by all that I saw. The area looked like a war zone. People were in a sort of shock…we all were. It is devastating to see.

All this brings me to a several observations I would like to make:

Life is uncertain. For many people in our area, we never expected to see something like this. Even a good friend of mine said, “Dayton never gets tornadoes, Xenia does.”

Life is precious. As I talked with many in our subdivision who had been severely impacted, multiple times in our conversations we found ourselves saying, “Thank God for life.” Things can be replaced, but life can’t be.

Life is serious. Proverbs 27:1 says, “Boast not thyself of to morrow; For thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.” We do not know what the rest of this day holds, let alone tomorrow. We need to take life seriously. The Bible also tells us that TODAY is the day of salvation. If you have not yet received Jesus Christ by faith, today is the best day to do that while you still have life and opportunity. Furthermore, for believers, we never know when our life will be over. We should serve God while we have life and opportunity.

Thank God for His gracious protection on so many lives! May this crisis draw us close to God and to show the love of Christ by serving others.

 

God on Trial

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When you stop to consider the events of this Wednesday about 2,000 years ago, it is mind-blowing that the creator and sustainer of life was put on trial by His own creation for sins He had not done. In the late hours of Wednesday, Jesus Christ was put on trial as a criminal. By Thursday He would be hanging on the cross. There he would take upon Himself the wrath of God for your sin and mine. While all Israel celebrated the passover in Jerusalem, just outside the city, on a hill called Golgotha, Jesus would become THE final passover lamb.

About a year ago, I preached a sermon series through the Gospel of Mark. I thought that I would share the sermons related to the events of the Passion Week beginning today.  On this day, I encourage you to meditate on your Savior, Jesus Christ.

Wednesday—God on Trial (Keynote)

Thursday—Viewing Calvary (Keynote)

Sunday—His Resurrection calls us to Total Abandonment (Keynote)

Timeline of the Passion Week

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Get Some Light!

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Light illuminates. It makes it possible to see and to take steps. It exposes. It reveals clearly what was dark or vague. It answers questions. What was unknown and causing wonder, light cuts through the darkness giving certain answers. That fact is light is a good thing…a really good thing. Can you imagine living a day without light? Can you image if the sun did not come up and you had no electricity. Can you imagine what you would do? Can you imagine how much you would long to have light?

We have just been talking about physical darkness. While that may be intolerable, many will tolerate living days of their lives in spiritual darkness. What do I mean? The Bible tells us in Psalm 119:130,  “The entrance of thy words giveth light; It giveth understanding unto the simple.”  I often hear as a pastor, “I just don’t have time to read my Bible.” “I don’t read my Bible as much as a should.” “My life is busy, so I just depend on the pastor’s message.” Many believers live dark lives. They stumble and fall. They struggle to have victory over sin. They have no sense of God future will let alone His daily will. They live without the comfort of God. They feel helpless against the onslaught of temptation and pressure from the world, the flesh and the devil. God has told us that His Word is the light, the illumination that we need. As believers, we have Holy Spirit indwelling us and the Bible tells us that He is our guide into all truth. He is there to teach us the truth of Scripture as we read and receive it.

Let me encourage you not to live in spiritual darkness. Dive into the Bible! You will be amazed at how the things you are facing in life all of a sudden become clear as the light of Scripture illumines your heart and mind.

Psalm 119:105 Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, And a light unto my path.

Here are a few reading plans you might find helpful.

When Fire Falls

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Recently I was listening to a sermon that really gripped my attention. We live in a day of so many false realities. The world is in search for something is real. This message challenged my heart to seek the power of God on my life and ministry as opposed to pursuing pragmatic philosophy. I hope this message will encourage you in the same way.

When Fire Falls by William Maricle