In the Valley

We’ve all had a cold before. No big deal…right!? Unless you are five weeks old. This week has been a bit of a roller coaster for my wife and I and many who know us. As I write this, I am sitting at Children’s looking at my little girl hooked up with oxygen and monitoring wires. Earlier this week she was diagnosed with RSV. I have visited people who had their children in the hospital with this, but none of our children have had it. It is really quite scary.

We have been in the hospital three different times over this week. The first two times we were sent home because it was not bad enough for the doctor to admit her. We understood and did our best to follow instruction and care for her.

Earlier today, after having been up all night with her, it got worse…much worse. She was having a very difficult time breathing because of all the congestion. We decided to take her in for a third time. She was admitted to ICU and placed under good care.

Sheila and I were sitting here talking about the things that God allows into our lives. I commented how that this past Wednesday night I mentioned in my sermon that God often teaches us to pray as we go through difficult times. Even as a said that, I wondered what He would bring us through in order to learn to depend on Him in a greater way.

I simply write these thoughts to convey how good our God is while He allows us to go through valleys and leads us to greater dependance on Him.

I am reminded of this thought: I heard some time ago that anything that leads me to God is a good thing. This certainly makes sense in light of Romans 8:28 which says, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

Never a Waste

Not A Waste

The recent news about the death of Charles Wesco, missionary to Cameroon, has gripped the hearts of hundreds of thousands across the world. We are all deeply impacted by the life of one who was fully committed to Christ. Charles and his wife, Stephanie, had spent years of praying, planning and preparing to move to Cameroon. They had raised prayer and financial support from many churches. Charles and his family were just settling into missionary work. He had only enjoyed only one Sunday with the Cameroonian believers. Seemingly, he had yet to do a great work for God. In an instant, his call, dream and vision were cut short. One of the questions I have heard from honest, wondering observers is, “Was it a waste?”

So, was his dying a waste? From a human, temporal perspective, it does seem like a waste of all that preparation, potential and passion. However, from a divine, eternal perspective, no life fully surrendered to God and His service is a waste. The life that is engaged in Christ’s mission is never a waste. The life that brings glory to God by making Him known is never a waste. The life that serves God with no reserves is never a waste. In fact, we have Jesus’ word on it.

Mark 8:35 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it.

Those who desperately try to rescue their lives from every distress, danger and discomfort will surely lose it. While the person who willing gives up their life to follow Christ and His mission will certainly save it. Truthfully, living life as a fully committed follower of Christ saves us from the tragedy of a wasted life. I have been deeply touched by the death of Charles Wesco. I am thankful to have known a man in this generation that has so clearly demonstrated this truth. Charles’ life is not a loss, but a grand success. He died in the center of God’s will doing what God had called him to do. Because of that, God will see to it, that both his life and death impact hearts for eternity now and for years to come.


Related Messages Preached

Not A Waste Sermon Graphic
Not A Waste

What is Your Life-Sermon Graphic
What Is Your Life

Living for eternity
Living for Eternity by Charles Wesco

He is the Antithesis

Untitled design.pngDeuteronomy 31:6 says, “Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them:  for  the Lord thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.” Thoseare some very reassuring words! God wanted Israel to stop being fearful of their enemies and to  depend and act upon His promises. He wanted them to wholeheartedly trust that He would always be present, He would never let them down and that He would never abandon them. While people have the potential of forsaking us and letting us down, our God does not. God has not changed since He made this promise.  Do you remember that Jesus is always the same? Always. Always! ALWAYS!
What are you fearing today? Did you know that God knew  we would struggle with fear? As the loving Heavenly Father, He tells us how to deal with our fears.  He does not merely tell us to stop fearing, but promises that He is the antithesis to all our fears.
We fear:
  • To embrace the will of God for our life…God is the One Who is going to go with you.
  • That our employer, our national leaders, our health, our retirement may fail us…God has never and will never fail you.
  • That those we love or invest in might forsake us…God will never forsake you.
May God give you strength and courage as you trust in Him today!

Instruction, Law and Wisdom

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Disobedience, rebellion and stubbornness is nothing new. From the earliest pages of the Bible the pattern or not listening to a father’s instruction was demonstrated. Adam and Eve neglected to follow the instruction of God and by their disobedience, sin entered creation. Not long after, we see Cain follow suit and disregard the instruction of God and likely his father concerning the required sacrifice for sin. The storyline of refusing instruction repeats time and time again throughout history.

Proverbs 1:8-9 says, “My son, hear the instruction of thy father, And forsake not the law of thy mother: For they shall be an ornament of grace unto thy head, And chains about thy neck.” Let’s take note of a truth and pattern that ought be applied by dads, moms, sons and daughters.

A Father’s Instruction

Here is first plea of the father in the book of Proverbs. King Solomon implores his son, Rehoboam, to hear instruction. Notice that it is the father who gives the instruction here. Fathers are responsible for the moral instruction of their children. If it does not happen in the home, dads are to blame. Though Solomon gave the instruction, Sadly, Rehoboam did not hear it and his rule as king was marked by foolish decisions. What an awful mess he made! Though characterized by a lawless spirit, the world has little use for the one who refuses instruction. Whether an earthly child or a child of God, the one who hears the father’s instruction will find great benefit. Hearing instruction in order to understand and act on it will be as a special decoration to their life.

A Mother’s Law

Children are commanded to adhere to the mothers law. Here the mother is seen as reinforcing the father’s instruction. Many times in home there is much frustration because mothers are left to bear the responsibility of giving the moral instructions. The absent themselves from the leadership role God has given to them. Fathers should be careful to remember that the must lead out in instructing while mothers ought be mindful to reinforce that instruction. Parenting is a team effort.

A Child’s Response

Instruction should always be heard in order that it might be followed. It is the responsibility of children to hear instruction and to embrace the rules given by their parents. The worldly experts and show hosts tell us that parents must not restrict them from expressing their individual personalities. Telling them “No” will damage their self-esteem. Providing them with reasonable consequences for disobedience is looked at as passé. This humanistic philosophy has been promoted for several generations resulting the rise in rebellious, lawless and violent behavior that fills the headlines. This problem starts back the breakdown of the foundation, structure and in homes.

How desperately we need a return of dads and moms hearing God’s instruction, dads instruction their child, mothers reinforcing that instruction and children hear and embracing this instruction. Imagine what a difference this would make.


Listen to a related sermon

 

Kindling Love and Commitment

Couple.jpgRelationships are an amazing gift from God! Beyond the relationship that God wants to have with us through Christ, the greatest relationship that can be had is found in marriage. Before we even get two chapters read in the Bible, we see marriage debuted. For a short while Adam and Eve knew perfect harmony with each other and their creator. In fact, their marriage was the only perfect marriage.

If we are honest, none of us have perfect marriages. There are times we argue, are unkind, exchange hurtful words, are unloving, show disrespect and the list could go on. Truly, every marriage that will be harmonious takes effort, commitment and an ever growing relationship with Jesus Christ by both husband and wife.  Marriage is a relationship to be kindled each day for sure. Consider kindling your marriage like this:

  1. Practice Love and Respect. God instructs husbands in Ephesians 5 to love their wives unconditionally. Regardless of the behavior the wife, the husband is to show love. The practical standard of this is the husband loving his wife as much as he loves himself. Guys, kindle your marriage by truly loving your wife even on her worst day. Wives, on the other hand, are told to respect their husbands. Often wives give respect based behavior. However, God tells wives to respect her husband no matter what. Respect is demonstrated when a wife encourages and does not belittle.  One man said, “A wife that is loved will grow in loveliness and a husband that is respected will become more respectable.”
  2. Practice Clearing the Air. When troubles and conflict do arise, be sure to settle them quickly. In all cases, never go to bed angry. The Bible warns us about letting the sun go down upon our wrath. Every night before you fall asleep, kindle your marriage by making certain nothing is unsettled.
  3. Practice Investing in your Marriage. There are many things that will drain a marriage of harmony and closeness. Even good things can be the culprit. Reading books on marriage, maintaining time alone, planning dates and including times to get away to focus on your marriage are all important ways to invest. One of the greatest reasons we Grace Baptist Church host a Couples Retreat is to provide a way for couples to invest in their marriages. Sitting under Biblical instruction for marriages will always be a worthwhile investment.

Will you plan to kindle your marriage today? Will you plan to do something in this week as an investment in your marriage?

 


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Your Impact

 

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You have the unique, unspeakable power to impact others who live around you. When I speak of impact, I am talking about the ability to influence the direction, decisions and destiny of others. You have heard the statement, “No man is an island unto himself.” Simply put, every action, word and decision that you make influences the actions, words and decisions that others in your life make.

Romans 14:7 For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself.

None of us slip into life and back out without making some kind of impact in the lives of others.

Take a moment to consider both the kind of impact and the amount of impact you are making. If you are like me, you will be left thinking, “How can I impact others more?”  The best way to maximize impact is to simply love God with all of your heart, soul and mind. Your impact will be directly proportionate to your relationship with God.

Acts 4:13 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus