Blessings and Warnings

What a great day it has been today! It really doesn’t get any better than this. It has been a day of blessings over and above the norm and certainly better than I deserve. Started the day with our weekly Bible study group and it was a sweet time of fellowship. Again, one of the group shared a word of personal testimony about what God has done in their life and how His hand has been continuously guiding them ever since they turned their heart and life over to Him. We all recognize that his testimony is a common theme among all of us who have said yes to Jesus. We even got through a few more scriptures in chapter 12 of John as we inch our way through God’s Word. It is such an encouragement and blessing to spend time with these guys each week and I love each one of them.

More Blessings. Reassurance had the opportunity to be a part of an annual singing at Gravel Hill Missionary Baptist Church in Phil Campbell this afternoon. We heard some wonderful songs presented by numerous people who included children, teenagers, young adults and yes, older adults. Also had some great congregational singing which almost lifted the roof off the place. As usual, every time we go to minister somewhere, it is us who always gets ministered to and us that are blessed by being there. Ain’t it great how God works! 

Now for a warning. I remember a children’s song from my early years that talks about how we are influenced by others. The song had a couple of phrases in it that went something like this; “Be careful little eyes what you see.” and “Be careful little ears what you hear.” One day this week as I was listening to the radio in my car I heard something that brought that song back to my mind. A very well-known preacher and author from the West Coast had a short question and answer segment on a local Christian radio station. I’m not going to reveal what the topic was, but what struck me as I listened to his answer was the fact that many thousands, maybe even millions of people who were listening to that program would take his answer to be the undeniable truth just because of who he is. They would not check his answer against God’s Word, they would simply accept it to be so. What a tragedy. It is a real travesty that we don’t allow the Holy Spirit to reveal the real truth of God’s Word to us and that we have to rely on someone else to tell us what the Bible says. And this happens not only on the radio and television, it occurs every week from the pulpit of some of our local churches. And no one seems to bother to check it out. As a matter of fact, the real tragedy is that most folks who call themselves Christian’s spend very little personal and private time in God’s Word. God help us! So, be careful little (and big) ears what you hear.

I hope you have a wonderful day in the Lord tomorrow and this coming week is one of great blessing for you and your family. Let me remind you of something. “What if you wake up tomorrow with only those things you thanked God for today?” Sobering, isn’t it?


Sober Reminders

Good evening to everyone. I hope this finds each of you well and ready for a great day in the Lord tomorrow. I also want to remind you to set your clocks ahead an hour before retiring tonight. Sure wouldn’t want you to be late.

We had a great turnout at our Bible study this morning. It was so good to see some that had not been there in a while due to health issues. But God has been good and has done a great work in the lives of several of our group. We heard another great story by one of our brothers this morning about how he was brought from death unto life and how God has worked in his life ever since that day. Although each story we hear is different it is also the same. We are continually reminded that God is the same yesterday, today and forever. His Word is powerful and His promises are wonderful. He never fails.

In the past few weeks I have experienced a number of sober reminders of just how short and so very fragile life really is. Three people I have known from different walks of life have passed on from this world and into eternity. One was an elderly gentleman who had an impact on my life as somewhat of a mentor during some of the early years of my walk with the Lord. He lost his wife in an automobile accident a number of years ago and never seemed to have gotten over that. The second one was a high school classmate and a member of my graduating class. He battled cancer for several years and won a few of the rounds but lost the final battle. I’m not sure what is relationship was with the Lord but I do know that if he placed his faith and trust in Jesus somewhere along the way, then he has a home with Him. The latest one was a precious cousin of mine who was a few years younger than me. She had suffered numerous illnesses for the past ten years or more but maintained a constant positive attitude and never wavered from her faith in Christ. She was a tremendous witness to her family and all of those who came in contact with her. However, she has now found her final rest in presence of the Lord. My heart goes out to her family, especially her mother, my aunt. She has gone through the loss of her parents, her siblings and her spouse but now has experienced the loss of a child. I can only imagine that this must be the most difficult of all. 

All of the above instances have a common thread running through them. Life is short and death is sure. Our situations and circumstances are different but we all have to face the fact that our time is coming. I have been reminded this week that we don’t know when that time may be but we can know that we have hope in His promises. The biggest question is “Where do we stand with the Lord?”. Is our calling and election sure? It can be because He made a way for us. Thanks be to God that the end is just the beginning! 


A Real Man

Boy, what a beautiful day it has been! A little cool but the sunshine made up for it. I love this time of year because nature is beginning to wake up from a long nap. Trees and flowers are budding and the robins are building nests. I’m sure we will see a little more of the cold temperatures but we have been given a glimpse of what is coming. However, God’s creation is a marvelous sight to behold.

This morning in our Bible study we continued with chapter 12 of John’s gospel. We had left off with verse 11 and had covered the story of Jesus’ return visit to the home of His dear friends Mary, Martha and Lazarus some time later after He had raised Lazarus from the dead. We saw where Martha was busy taking care of her guests but Mary’s was worshipping at the feet of Jesus. We are also again made aware that the Jewish religious leaders were plotting to kill Jesus but this time we see that they planned to do the same with Lazarus. The story then continues in verse 12 with Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem riding on a donkey and the people laying the palm branches in front of Him and shouting Hosanna. A close look at these verses reveal that this was all a fulfillment of prophecy from the book of Isaiah. All of this fuss again infuriates the Pharisees because they think the people are beginning to follow Him instead of them.

Later a group of Greeks approach some of the disciples requesting a meeting with Jesus and they brought the request to Jesus. Jesus’ response to the request is the main topic for tonight’s post. I realized as we read through verses 24-28 that most of the time we don’t grasp the fact that Jesus was not only God Incarnate he was also a real man. He makes a statement in verse 24 that should shake us every time we read it. Jesus says “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.” Certainly He was talking about what was about to happen at Calvary. This is even reinforced by His words in verse 27. “Now my soul has become troubled; what shall I say, ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this purpose I came to this hour.” Can’t you just hear the agony in His voice? The fact that he was going to suffer great physical agony and pain was weighing heavy on His mind and His heart. This was the man, Jesus, speaking. What a reminder it is for us. We forget that the crown of thorns they put on His head was very painful, The beating with the cat-of-nine-tails hurt. It hurt when they drove the nails through His hands and His feet. When the spear pierced His side there is no doubt that the pain caused His face to grimace. Are we getting the picture? Folks, Jesus was a man taking this physical punishment and the pain was unbearable. However, He bore it all for you and me.

We need to constantly be reminded that He came to earth in the human form and became a man just like us. The Bible says He was tempted in all manner such as we are. And the pain He suffered was just like the pain we would have had in the same situation. The difference is that He did it for us. It was pain and agony that we should have born but He chose to bear it in our stead.

Don’t be mistaken, I have not forgotten the other side of His suffering. Because He was also God, the fact that He would have to become sin for us was a greater suffering. But we also need to be reminded that He came to do the will of His father and the Bible says it pleased the Lord to crush Him, that He would render Himself a guilt offering. In other words, what Jesus did for us on the cross satisfied God that our sin debt had been paid.

The whole point for this post is to help us understand that the tremendous suffering that Jesus endured was real pain and agony both physically and mentally. He is the only One that came make the claim that He truly understands what we go through. The only One that can have complete empathy for  us. He understands our hurts in every circumstance and loves us to the point that He died for us. Is there a friend greater than this? Is there a man greater than this? May we always remember that God Incarnate was also man. A real man.

He Did It All For Me
He did it all for me. Each drop of blood was shed for even me. When the Savior cried, bowed His head and died, Oh praise the Lord He did it all for me.