Wednesday, December 30, 2015

The Key to Your Success in 2016

There are a lot of great books that have been written on success and how to achieve it. Andy Andrews recently came to town and he does offer a fresh perspective on how to be successful. But out of all the books that I have read the number one principle for success is this: Seek God’s kingdom first for your life. Jesus taught his disciples this: “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33) This principle can be seen at work even in the Old Testament. King David was a man after God’s own heart and he sought the Lord in everything and when he didn’t we know of his sin it is written out for us in the Scripture. King Solomon who followed his father King David, walked with the Lord but then strayed from the Lord and the Lord disciplined him. Now after these two kings there are two phrases that will catch a person’s eye when reading 2 Chronicles. Those kings who did not seek the Lord and did not experience success will have this phrase in common: ‘And he did evil, for he did not set his heart to seek the Lord.’ (2 Chronicles 12:14) So those kings who did not seek the Lord did not experience God’s blessings or his presence, instead they experienced his discipline and in most cases and untimely death. But there are other kings in King David’s line who sought the Lord and they experienced God’s success. King Abijah called on the Lord as did his son, King Asa in time. This is written about King Asa, ‘And Asa did what was good and right in the eyes of the LORD his God.’ (2 Chronicles 14:2) The key to having success in your life is seeking the Lord. Let me explain, when you are seeking the Lord, remember you are seeking a relationship with a person, his name is Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Second, to experience success, you will want to bring your heart in line with what’s on his heart. In another word’s you will want to do His agenda and not yours each day. Third, we must take responsibility for what the Lord has entrusted to us. This encompasses your whole life not just a portion of it. So how do we bring our heart in line with what’s on God’s heart, how do we seek this relationship with the Lord and take responsibility with what he has entrusted to us? Spend time with him daily in his Word. If you have never read the Bible before, start in John’s Gospel. If you would like to learn more about having a relationship with Jesus Christ this year I invite you to attend a local Church this Sunday. If you have a question just send me an email

Friday, December 18, 2015

God's Love for you

Today I want to share my heart with you concerning God's love for us. This one verse of Scripture really captures it all, 'He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? What type of love is this that God just pours out on us. The type of love that God pours out on us from heaven is better than any parent's that we could receive. It is in his nature to give you and me the best. Everything he wants for you is the best that you can have. It is in his nature and character to do so. The best part of his love for you is that he is always present to give you and me help. Some people struggle this time of year when God is present to help them. So if you are struggling with life this holiday season you are not alone millions of people struggle along with you. Ever since the fall of man in the Garden of Eden mankind has struggled with life because of the separation that has taken place between God and man. Life was not intended to be this way. God gave Adam and Eve freedom of choice. Choices have consequences. Adam and Eve’s choice led to humanity being born separated from God. The good news is that the Lord gave a promise in Genesis 3:15 “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” God was able through this promise to restore the relationship between himself and his creation. This promise was fulfilled when Jesus Christ was born, laid down his life for the sin of mankind and rose again on the third day. This gift of salvation is available for all to receive. This gift of salvation is a gift that not only saves us from sin but also the presence of the Lord through the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer. The Lord is present in your daily life’s struggles. Even the Apostle Paul knew what it was to struggle in life. He explains his struggle here, “So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” (2 Corinthians 12:7-9 ESV) When the Lord says to you, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” how does that make you feel? Understanding the meaning of this passage will help you in your struggle. In the New Testament, the word grace comes from the same Hebrew word hesed, which means tender mercies, steadfast love, loving kindness that are new every morning. So this gift of grace is sufficient. This is enough to see you through. His presence and power in your life will see you through the struggles of life. Israel had to learn to depend on the Lord after the exodus from Egypt. So in Exodus 16 we read about the manna. The people had to learn to depend on the Lord, that his presence and provision was enough for the day. Just imagine if you will that each day in your life God has provided himself, his presence and power to see you through the struggles of the day.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Unresolved Anger

There have been times in my life if you had said someone’s name anger would have flared up like gasoline being thrown on a fire. How about you, if someone brought up a certain person’s name right now would anger just flare up inside. Many a relationship has been strained or destroyed by unresolved anger. Some of life’s sicknesses maybe a result of unresolved anger. Is unresolved anger tearing apart relationships in your life? Jesus teaches us the truth about unresolved anger and the consequences it has on our lives. Let’s read:
“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire. So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison. Truly, I say to you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny.” (Matthew 5:21-26 ESV)
We learn from Jesus that to be angry with someone is just as bad as murdering them. Being angry with someone brings a liability of judgment from God in some form. We learn that anger toward someone can take many forms with serious repercussions. Jesus teaches us that unresolved anger toward someone leads to our worship being unacceptable to God. Unresolved anger could be the reason you feel that God is so distant. In Genesis four Cain gets angry and his face fell because his brother’s offering was accepted and his wasn’t. The Lord said to Cain, ‘Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.’ (Genesis 4:6-7) Instead he killed his brother. If you are angry with someone please tell them why. If you know that someone is angry with you be obedient to Jesus’ instructions and go be reconciled to them. Then you r relationship with God is close again and the ministry of reconciliation is taking place in your life with others around you. I invite you to come to one of our local Churches here in Lake City to learn more about Jesus.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Being set right

What then shall we say was gained by Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh? For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.” Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness, just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God counts righteousness apart from works: “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.” Is this blessing then only for the circumcised, or also for the uncircumcised? For we say that faith was counted to Abraham as righteousness. How then was it counted to him? Was it before or after he had been circumcised? It was not after, but before he was circumcised. He received the sign of circumcision as a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. The purpose was to make him the father of all who believe without being circumcised, so that righteousness would be counted to them as well, and to make him the father of the circumcised who are not merely circumcised but who also walk in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised. (Romans 4:1-12)
In this passage we have the perfect examples of justification “being set right with God” through faith from the Old Testament, Abraham and David. Abraham represents before the Law was given while David represents after the law was given. Both of these men believed God’s promise and God justified them. Both are saved by grace through faith. Paul ask a critical question about Abraham’s circumcision was it before or after he believed the Lord’s promise? Abraham’s circumcision didn’t save him just as water baptism doesn’t save anybody today. Abraham’s circumcision was a sign and a seal of his right standing with God. The same with King David. The people in Jesus’ day asked him this question: Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” 29 Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” (John 6:28-29) That is it! Believe in Jesus Christ. The Philippian Jailer asked Paul, What must I do to be saved? Paul and Silas response, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved, you and your household. The Philippian Jailer believed in the Lord Jesus Christ and got saved. Look it up it is in Acts 16. It is my prayer that this article today has helped you in your relationship with the Lord Jesus.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Praying it Through!

Have you ever read this passage and thought about prayer? Let’s read this passage and keep prayer in mind.
For the promise that he would be the heir of the world was not to Abraham or to his seed through the law, but through the righteousness of faith. For if those who are of the law are heirs, faith is made void and the promise made of no effect, because the law brings about wrath; for where there is no law there is no transgression. Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might be sure to all the seed, not only to those who are of the law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all (as it is written, “I have made you a father of many nations”) in the presence of Him whom he believed—God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did; who, contrary to hope, in hope believed, so that he became the father of many nations, according to what was spoken, “So shall your descendants be.” And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already dead (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah’s womb. He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform. And therefore “it was accounted to him for righteousness.” Now it was not written for his sake alone that it was imputed to him, but also for us. It shall be imputed to us who believe in Him who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead, who was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification. (Romans 4:13-25)
We often pray selfish prayers asking Jesus to do something or claiming something in Jesus’ name and we often recite some familiar passages to justify our prayer request. After praying such prayers we may try to manufacture the miracle. I’m guilty of this myself. After reading passages like this and the one in Genesis we need to gain a proper perspective on prayer. Like Abraham we need to enjoy the Lord’s presence, his friendship taking delight in him. Secondly let the Lord give you a promise of what he wants to do in and through your life. Then after the Lord gives you a promise, pray through what the Lord has promised, and obey his instructions that he has given you. Sometimes his instructions are wait! This is when the Lord prepares us to be ready to receive the promise. Remember, God is able to call into existence what he has promised you. I invite you to read the Bible and have a conversation with the Lord.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Why questions are asked?

When I was growing up and going to school I didn’t pay attention. Then the teacher would ask a question I would get it wrong. So I had to learn to pay attention in class or I would miss the answer to the questions being asked. Today we will come to the end of Romans Chapter 3 where Paul is going to ask six questions that will cause us to stop and reflect on what the Lord has done for us and what he has taught us.
“Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By a law of works? No, but by the law of faith. For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law. Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, since God is one—who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith. Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law.” (Romans 3:27-31)
These questions cause us to stop and think about the two principles that are taught in this chapter. The two principles are: that a person is justified by faith apart from the works of the law and that God is the God of both Jews and Gentiles. The first three questions that Paul asks are concerning a person being justified by faith apart from the works of the law. None of us can boast about our salvation in Jesus. We didn’t do the work to pay the penalty for our sin debt. Jesus did that work on the cross to make salvation possible for all people.
The next two questions Paul teaches us that God is the God of both Jew and Gentile, all other people who are not of Jewish blood. After Jesus’ death burial and resurrection he deals equally with everybody. So it doesn’t matter what family you are born into, or what religion you were raised with, God’s way of salvation is the same for all humanity. For any person desiring to go to heaven when they die, or have a new life that is different now on earth they must by faith, repent of their sins and call on Jesus Christ to be their Lord and Savior. When they do this God fulfills his promise in their lives. The last question is what happens to the Law. Jesus taught us saying that the Law would not pass away but that He came to fulfill the law. Let’s reread the first three chapters of Romans again and ask the Lord where we need to examine ourselves in relation to these questions. I invite you come and worship with us or another church in the local area.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Rough flight coming to an end

A few weeks back I wrote that this would be a very rough flight as we discussed sin and God’s righteousness. Today I want you to experience the love of God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
“But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.”
If we are not careful we will overlook a very important sentence in this paragraph. We have already learned about the righteousness of God, about responding in faith to God’s promptings, and our sin. The love of God is such that he justifies us, that is, he sets us in a right relationship with himself as a free gift. “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)
Are you a person that prefers to give gifts or receive gifts? If you are the one that enjoys the buying, surprising and giving then you are able in a simple and small sense to understand the way the Father feels in offering you His gift of grace. He sent Jesus to purchase this gift for you. If you are the person who enjoys receiving the gift, opening the package and finally seeing the surprise waiting inside, you have a package awaiting you, full of peace, joy and love, the gift of Jesus.
With any gift there comes a time of decision, you have to decide whether to receive or to reject. If you receive this gift you are not promised an easy life or a life of luxury while on this earth. However, you are promised an eternal life spent with the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit in Heaven, perfection for eternity. Rejecting this gift, will result in Jesus, who could have been your advocate, instead denying He ever knew you and you living eternally in hell. Are you truly certain that Jesus knows your name or will he deny YOU?

Friday, September 4, 2015

A Changed Heart

Circumcision of the Heart
Have you ever sang this song, Change my heart oh God”? For us to really be in a right relationship with God and with others around us we need Jesus Christ to do for us what we cannot do ourselves. That is to change our hearts. Here in this passage of Scripture we will read Paul addressing Jewish Christians who were counting on their ethnicity and the outward sign of the covenant(circumcision) to get them into heaven. He raises from question that they would have asked as a result of reading the first two chapters of Romans. Let's read what he writes to the church.
For circumcision is indeed profitable if you keep the law; but if you are a breaker of the law, your circumcision has become uncircumcision. Therefore, if an uncircumcised man keeps the righteous requirements of the law, will not his uncircumcision be counted as circumcision? And will not the physically uncircumcised, if he fulfills the law, judge you who, even with your written code and circumcision, are a transgressor of the law? For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh; but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter; whose praise is not from men but from God. “Romans 2:25-29”
Paul is writing to the Jew Christian letting them know that if they can keep the whole law without sinning their circumcision is profitable. They are not able to keep the whole law therefore their circumcision is unprofitable. Notice the line of thinking that the Apostle uses. If an uncircumcised man is able to do this then his uncircumcision will be counted as circumcision. The problem is this, some of the Jews were counting on their ethnicity and circumcision to keep them from experiencing the righteous judgment of God. Today, I’m afraid that we are guilty of propagating something just as bad. We may be guilty of counting on our Christian heritage, the church we grew up in and our outward baptism we experienced as a child or an adult. If our heart is not changed by Jesus Christ none of this will get us into heaven. Let’s read the last sentence again. There is a heart matter that must be taken into account. Circumcision that matters is not the outward one that the Jew was counting on, nor the outward act of water baptism or sprinkling. The circumcision that matters is the circumcision of the heart. The baptism that matters is the baptism of the heart. If God has not baptized and placed you in the body of Christ you do not have forgiveness of sins, no power to live the Christian life today and no eternal home in heaven? Ask Jesus these two questions: Am I yours? Am I holy? The Holy Spirit of God will answer these two questions. If you belong to God you’re set aside for his purposes. When a person is baptized by God they hunger and thirst to know him, to know Jesus and to be controlled by the Holy Spirit. All who are saved by the Lord will grow to be faithful believers living for Christ. If you are struggling with sin I invite you to come to Jesus and ask him to change your heart. He can take the sin away and give you a new heart with the strength you need to walk with him.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Just reminded

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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

The False Security of Many

Romans 2:17-24

Here in our passage today, the apostle Paul brings to Jew’s to the forefront of the conversation in his letter.  The rest of this chapter is going to be aimed at the Jews and help them to see that they are under sin to.  Why does Paul stay so long on the subject of sin? “But if you call yourself a Jew and rely on the law and boast in God and know his will and approve what is excellent, because you are instructed from the law; and if you are sure that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of children, having in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth— you then who teach others, do you not teach yourself? While you preach against stealing, do you steal?  You who say that one must not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples?  You who boast in the law dishonor God by breaking the law.  For, as it is written, “The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.” (Romans 2:17-24) Paul stays so long on the subject of sin because the Jews have a sin problem to.  He lets them know that just because they have the word of God written out for them and are instructed out of it they are not able to obey it perfectly either.  They have a false security if they are resting on their heritage of being a Jew, having the written word being instructed out of it.  This is not what saves a person!  This is the problem today we have to many people who are resting on the fact ht    Paul wants the Jew to know that they have a sin problem that they cannot fix as well.  The same could be said for someone who really had God fearing parents or grandparents, went to the same church, went through the baptismal waters but didn’t have a change of heart concerning their sin.  In fact it is ok to point out other people’s sin but not your own.  This is how sin deceives us.  You probably have heard this: do as I say not as I do.  The person instructed know that you really believe it is ok to do what you told them not to do because your actions tell them that is what you really believe.  If you teach a child not to steal, and then you steal what have you taught the child? That it is alright to steal.  The reason why revival tarries is because we want other people to repent of their sin.  Why do you need salvation if you don’t have a sin problem?

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

God doesn't force repentance!

We have learned that God’s judgment is according to truth, that he will render to each person according to their deeds and that he shows no partiality. Will God let a person into heaven even though he has never put his faith in Jesus Christ?  Let’s read:  “For all who have sinned without the law will also perish without the law, and all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law. For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified. For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus.” (Romans 2:12-16)  In this passage the word law is the Mosaic Law (Genesis through Deuteronomy) given to Israel through Moses.  Today the complete book of instructions is called the Holy Bible.  God’s instructions are always to be followed by faith.  These people did not follow God’s instruction and so they died.  All those who have received the Law and stilled sinned will be judged by the law.  God has allowed two groups of people to coexist at the same time- those who would hear and those who have not heard the Law of God.  Those who have been told the gospel, given a Bible have a decision to make-will I submit and obey or rebel. Every person’s heart knows the difference between right and wrong. Mankind was created in the image of God with a conscience.  Our conscience either accuses or excuses our decisions. No human being is able to keep the whole law of God perfectly.  This is why a works based salvation will not save a person. God will judge each person’s secrets.  He will not allow sin into heaven.  Here’s the gospel: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners!  Jesus being completely God and completely human lived a perfect life and he laid down his life having died on the cross for our sins. He did what no human alone could do-live a perfect life fulfilling the law of God.  If you place your faith in him and submit to him you will be saved. You ask what about those who have never heard? That is why we give, go and tell so they will hear the good news.  This we know God is Truth. He judges according to the truth, according to the light they were given, and without partiality.   He will judge you according to your response to Jesus’ offer of salvation. This is why it is very important for you to respond to the Lord's offer of salvation and not delay.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

God's two judgments

God’s two judgments
We have learned that God judges a person in the light of truth and that his kindness is designed to lead us to repentance. Let’s read these verses and learn about God’s judgment.
“But because of your hardness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath, when God’s righteous judgment is revealed. He will repay each one according to his works: eternal life to those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor, and immortality; but wrath and indignation to those who are self-seeking and disobey the truth but are obeying unrighteousness; affliction and distress for every human being who does evil, first to the Jew, and also to the Greek; but glory, honor, and peace for everyone who does what is good, first to the Jew, and also to the Greek. There is no favoritism with God.” (Romans 2:5-11)
God will accept no excuse for our sin.  The Scripture teaches us that God’s judgment is righteous and that he shows no favoritism.  God warns us to change our ways in his word.  God will judge each person in the light of His word.  The Bible is his instruction given for all people to follow.  We cannot plea ignorance of the Law.  Why? Because God’s law is written on every heart no matter your religious beliefs.  Because of this even the person who has never read the Bible will have no excuse.  God will judge them in righteousness.  God will repay each person according to his works on judgment day.  We each are responsible for the judgment we receive.  There are two basic judgments mentioned: eternal life and the receiving of God wrath.  Eternal life is spending eternity in the presence of God.  Eternal life begins when a person is born again in Jesus Christ.  Jesus told the Jews “My sheep hear My voice, I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them from My hand.” John 10:27-28 To receive eternal life a person must respond in submission to Jesus Christ as Lord for salvation.  At that moment they are baptized (placed) into the body of Christ, having died to sin and self-control taking on the identity of Christ. At that moment the Holy Spirit comes into that person’s heart and begins a work that they will live out.  The Apostle Paul wrote the Galatians this: I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20)  I would like to invite you to First Baptist Church or one of the other local churches where Jesus is being taught so that you can grow in your faith.    

Thursday, July 23, 2015

The Kindness of God

What happens to that person who judges another person and practices the same sin?  Let’s read and find out what happens:  “We know that God’s judgment on those who do such things is based on the truth. Do you really think—anyone of you who judges those who do such things yet do the same —that you will escape God’s judgment? Or do you despise the riches of His kindness, restraint, and patience, not recognizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance? But because of your hardness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath, when God’s righteous judgment is revealed.” (Romans 2:1-5 HCSB) God’s judgment is based on truth. Jesus said, “I am the way the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father but through me.” (John 14:6)  We think that we will escape the judgment of God when we judge others and are practicing the same sin.  It is possible for a person to go to church, go through baptismal water’s, tithe, do good works and bust hell wide open because they have never been born again.  What happens is the person looks down on the goodness, forbearance and longsuffering of God that he exhibits toward others.  When God shows his goodness--kind acts toward you he does so because he loves you.  When he shows his forbearance- his patience, enduring with you through the difficulty of being changed, it is because he loves you.  When he is showing his longsuffering toward you-- the emotional calmness that normally would cause someone’s anger to flare up toward you, he does so because he loves you.  His kindness toward you is designed to bring about repentance, a change of heart toward our sin.  True repentance has visible out working’s that others will see.  This is a spiritual issue that must be dealt with! Yes, some people have a hard and impenitent heart toward God and others while sitting in church every Sunday.  This hard heart is stubborn, prideful! It knows the truth but will not change their mind, unless God brings conviction.  An impenitent heart is unrepentant, refusing to turn to God.  This results in a compounding interest as God’s wrath multiplies for the day of wrath and revelation of Jesus Christ toward such a person. Hell is waiting to receive all who are hard and impenitent of heart toward God and Jesus Christ!  I beg you in the name of Jesus Christ to repent of your sin, stubborn and pride turning to Jesus Christ alone for salvation.  I invite you to come to First Baptist Church or any of the local churches here in Columbia County where the Bible is taught so that you can grow in a relationship with Jesus that will save and change your life today so that you will not be the recipient of God’s compounded wrath on Judgment Day.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Judge Not!

 Last week we used the illustration of being on a plane that was going through some turbulence and having to put on our seat belts because it was rough as we discussed sin.  Well, over the next few article’s it may really get rough because now the Apostle Paul turns his attention to those in the church Jews and Gentiles who play the moralist-those who are judging others.  Let’s start with this verse: “Therefore, any one of you who judges is without excuse. For when you judge another, you condemn yourself, since you, the judge, do the same things. “Romans 2:1” (ESV)
I cannot tell you how many times I have heard the comment: “I would go to church but they are all hypocrites down there.”  Followed by this verse: Do not judge, so that you won’t be judged? “Matthew 7:1” I would like to share with you what the ESV Study Bible notes say concerning Romans 2:1: “God does not condemn them merely because they judge others but because they practiced the same sins they condemned in others (the very same things, esp. those mentioned in 1:29-32.)  So it doesn’t matter if you are a Jewish Christian or a Gentile Christian at some point in our lives sin blinds us and we all play the moralist or more commonly known as the hypocrite.  I am guilty of it myself.  Here is what happens, when I pass judgment on another, I am condemning them.  The Bible is teaching me however, that I am without excuse.  That is I am not able to justify my actions in this passing of judgment if I am practicing the same sin. I am playing God, which I am not.  When I judge someone I’m making a legal decision holding them guilty.  We condemn ourselves if we are practicing or doing the same thing.  This is a true case of the pot calling the kettle black.  How does God change us?
God changes the hypocrites (moralist) through the gospel of Jesus Christ.  When a person is sitting under the teaching of God’s Word, the inner work of the Holy Spirit takes the word of God and applies it to their hearts.  As heart transformation takes place, the person lives out, works out, what is happening on the inside of their heart.  Just as Jesus transformed the water into wine, he can transform anybody’s life.  This is why I would invite you to pray for us in the local Church because we do not want to play the hypocrite, we want you to see our Savior, Jesus Christ.  If you want your life to be transformed or changed but don’t know how, ask Jesus to come into your heart and change you.  I dare you to follow Jesus in daily discipleship.  You can do this by reading the copy of God's word and praying it back to him asking that He change your heart to be just like his.     

Monday, July 13, 2015

Given Over

Have you ever been on an airline when the pilot comes over the system and say please put on your seatbelts because we are going to have severe turbulence?  Going through the letter of Romans is like flying in a plane with severe turbulence- its rough.  Here is why God reveals to us the truth about our sin: For God’s wrath is revealed from heaven against all godlessness and unrighteousness of people who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth, since what can be known about God is evident among them, because God has shown it to them.  For His invisible attributes, that is, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen since the creation of the world, being understood through what He has made. As a result, people are without excuse.
For though they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God or show gratitude. Instead, their thinking became nonsense, and their senseless minds were darkened.  Claiming to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man, birds, four-footed animals, and reptiles.  Therefore God delivered them over in the cravings of their hearts to sexual impurity, so that their bodies were degraded among themselves. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served something created instead of the Creator, who is praised forever. • Amen .  This is why God delivered them over to degrading passions. For even their females exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones.  The males in the same way also left natural relations with females and were inflamed in their lust for one another. Males committed shameless acts with males and received in their own persons the appropriate penalty of their error.  And because they did not think it worthwhile to acknowledge God, God delivered them over to a worthless mind to do what is morally wrong.  They are filled with all unrighteousness, evil, greed, and wickedness. They are full of envy, murder, quarrels, deceit, and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, arrogant, proud, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, and unmerciful.  Although they know full well God’s just sentence —that those who practice such things deserve to die—they not only do them, but even applaud others who practice them. (Romans 1:18-32)

Humanity turned away from God, so he gave them over to their sinful cravings because they exchanged the truth about him for a lie.  Idolatry is a heart issue. We as humans tend to dismiss the idols of our day; we make excuses for having them.  The only problem is we don’t call them idols.  Three times we read that God gave them over to their sinful desires, has God given you over to your sinful desires?  If you don't know if God has given you over to your sinful desires ask the Lord to search your heart and show you.  He wants you to be free from the sin that is holding you back.  If you are a Christian and think that you can live in willful known sin and get away with it because you prayed a prayer and were baptized read this passage again.  God will discipline the Christian because you are his property and not your own.  If you are not a Christian, God still created you, paid for your sin debt in full, and if you continue to say no to him then at some point he will turn you over to your sin.  This is the reason I invite you to examine your life today and seek the Lord Jesus with all of your heart, to turn from all known sin in your life and submit to him as the Lord of your life.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

God's Wrath Revealed

God has revealed his righteousness and his wrath to us so that we will know that we are in need of his salvation.  God in his mercy (withholding the judgment that we all deserve) and in his grace (giving us what we don’t deserve) has provided for humanity salvation that is full and free.  He has revealed his righteousness in his gospel.  The gospel being “that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.” (1 Corinthians 15:3b-4)  Just as God has revealed his righteousness in Jesus Christ, he has also revealed his wrath from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.  The Holman’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary defines: WRATH, WRATH OF GOD Used to express several emotions, including anger, indignation, vexation, grief, bitterness, and fury. It is the emotional response to perceived wrong and injustice. Both humans and God express wrath. When used of God, wrath refers to His absolute opposition to sin and evil. When used of humans, however, wrath is one of those evils that is to be avoided.  I think this a pretty good working definition myself for our post today.  Let’s think about the first time God revealed his wrath from heaven.  The first time was when the world was flooded with water and the only ones who survived were Noah and his family.  God made a covenant that we still see today when it rains. His rainbow!  He promised he would never destroy the world this way again.  The second time God revealed his wrath from heaven was when Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed by brimstone and fire.  We often this of Sodom’s sin as the sin of homosexuality which is an abomination before God but God teaches us different in the book of Ezekiel.  “Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy.  They were haughty and did an abomination before me.  So I removed them, when I saw it.” (Ezekiel 16:49-52)  There was another time when God poured out his wrath from heaven and when He did so the person became so disfigured that he was unrecognizable.  God the Father poured out his wrath on Jesus Christ while he was on the cross.  Jesus Christ was sinless until God placed all of our sin on him.  Then he became sin for us.  He died in our place so that we would not have to face God’s wrath.  Because Jesus paid for humanity’s sin in full, whoever rejects his offer of salvation will face his wrath on the Day of Judgment.  God’s wrath is such that he calls people every day to repent of their sin and come to him.  God has placed eternity into the hearts of men; we all know that there is a God.  I beg you in Jesus’ name to turn away from your sin and turn to Jesus so that you will not have to face his wrath in the days to come.

Friday, June 26, 2015

God & Country Day

Several of local Churches are celebrating God and country day this Sunday.  Some of our elected officials will be visiting various local churches rather than attending their home church.  For this I am grateful.  Sometimes a guest speaker brings a message or shares a testimony of how Jesus has changed their lives.  If I were to proclaim a message it would come from these passages, “if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and forgive their sin and heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14), or this one, “But he gives more grace.  Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Submit yourselves therefore to God.  Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.  Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.  Be wretched and mourn and weep.  Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom.  Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.” (James 4:6-10).  The message to the body of Christ is very clear “Repent of our sins!”  If you have called on Jesus to save you from your sins and to take you home to heaven when you die this message applies to you.  How do we expect a world that is dying apart from Jesus to believe our message if we do not live out the gospel in our own lives? God is not mocked!   The truth is that we will reap what we sow, more than we sow, later than we sow.  Here are some of the sins we may need to repent of “haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies and one who sows discord among brothers” (Proverbs 6:16). “Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies and things like these.  I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” (Galatians 5:19-21) “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.  Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:31)  What sin are you holding on to?  Take a moment to look up 1 John 1:5-10 in your Bible or on your phone.  Ask the Lord to help you to confess all known sin to him.  Join with me in searching our hearts before the Lord and confessing the sin that he shows us we need to repent of.  He is faithful and just to forgive us of our sin if we confess it to him.  Thank you for reading this article today, I pray that this helps us to become a Church that Jesus can use.  I would like to invite you this Sunday to our God and Country day, here at First Baptist Church in downtown Lake City.  If not here then I invite you to attend one of our other Churches in Lake City where God’s word is being taught.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Celebration At Disney in Orlando

 This past weekend, my bride and I celebrated five years of being married.  We celebrated our anniversary at Disney World in Orlando, Florida.  This is where we got to spend the day being a kid all over again.  It was fun, seeing the characters interacting with the kids.  The rides were fun, but one thing we both agreed on was this: we will go back when it is cooler.  We got to hot.  We drank lots and lots of water but that still was not enough to stay hydrated.  I am learning that being a husband is the same way.  I am learning that it takes lots of preparation to stay hydrated as a husband.  I remember the vow that I took, the pledge that I gave not just to my wife but also the Lord Jesus.  So how did we get this far in marriage when the average marriage only last a year or two? May I say, “Lot's and lot's of prayer.”  You say this sounds cliché but it is not really.  Here let me explain.  When we have a disagreement, I have to ask the Lord to help me understand what the disagreement is.  Then I have to ask am I being selfish in this.  To help me grow in my faith and in being a good husband I memorized this “I have been crucified with Christ.  It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.  And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20)  This one verse helps me in our marriage because no matter what we are going through I want her to see Christ and not me.  To stay hydrated as a husband I spend time with the Lord Jesus.  I purposefully read through the Bible from Genesis to Revelation on a regular basis. Then as I read the Bible, I pray the Scripture back to God asking him to make me like Jesus.  You see to stay hydrated I need the Living Water in my soul, because how I respond as a husband comes from the over flow of my heart.  I would like to invite you as a person to spend time with the Lord in his word and in prayer asking God to do the same work in you.  This way if you are married your spouse will see Jesus and not you.  This way as a spouse, the love that you show will be real love that gives not expecting anything in return.  This is just one way to stay hydrated in your marriage.  If you are not a follower of Jesus let me invite you to follow him.  Give him your heart and ask him to make you like him.  This will be the best exchange you will ever make in your life.  This way you to can stay hydrated in your marriage.  If you would like to learn more may I invite you to come and worship with us at First Baptist Church in downtown Lake City, if not with us then may I invite you to one of our local Churches where the Bible is taught. 

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

A Balanced Prayer Life

Balanced prayer life 
Romans 1:8-10

Have you ever had to walk on a balance beam for gymnastics?   Have you ever been asked to walk a straight line by an officer of the law?  I don’t know what your response is but learning how to have a balanced prayer life is essential in our relationship with God.  Let’s read, Romans 1:8-10 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed in all the world.  For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I mention you always in my prayers, asking that somehow by God’s will I may now at last succeed in coming to you.  In this passage of Scripture we learn about the balanced prayer life of Paul in this letter.  For each of us to have a balanced prayer life we need to be thankful for what the Lord has done.  When we acknowledge what God has done creating us for his pleasure and providing for us not just our physical needs but also our spiritual needs (including salvation from sin) we ought to express genuine gratitude from the bottom of our heart. He did not have to create us for his pleasure, nor provide a way to have all of our sins forgiven and to have a restart.  When was the last time we sat down and counted our blessings, naming them one by one?  Paul wrote to the Philippian believers that with thanksgiving they could let their request be known to God.  Making our request known to God is not the difficult part, I will readily admit I ask God some big prayer request, a lot of times however they are big in the sense that they are selfish.  For example, the other morning over coffee with a friend we were discussing church matters and I shared with him my dream, my prayer request.  My friend had the nerve to ask me the hard question, was that a selfish prayer.  I honestly had to say yes it was.  There is a lot that Jesus teaches us on prayer, everything from thanksgiving, ask whatever you desire.  I have done a lot of that in my life. Ask Jesus for just about everything, a lot of times the answer is no, for that I am thankful.  This brings us to the second part of our verse today, that somehow by God’s will, I must be submissive to God’s will in my prayer life.  Being submissive to God’s will is the key to a balanced prayer life.  James writes, Submit yourselves therefore to God.  Submitting to God is the best advice anyone has ever given.  When we submit to God we are coming up under his authority.  When we learn to pray with thanksgiving in our hearts for what the Lord has done, submit to his will, he will teach us what we should pray for.  When we learn to listen to the Lord and ask according to his will we will receive that for which we ask.  If you are a person who believes that just because you prayed and asked Jesus to forgive you of your sins and to save you without submitting to him, then your prayers where not heard for salvation.  But if you have genuinely submitted to the Lord, not matter what your sin is, your church affiliation, your lifestyle at the moment.  He will hear your prayer and answer accordingly and for that you will be thankful.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Bearing fruit

This morning as I sit in our sanctuary, I am reflecting on what John the Baptist preached, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."  He told those who came out to hear him to bear fruit in keeping with repentance.  Repentance, having that change of heart about my sin.  I cannot do anything else about your sin except tell you about the one who can take it away and make you a new person.  But true biblical repentance does have fruit.  The question is this: Am I bearing fruit in keeping with repentance as John the Baptist preach?

Monday, June 1, 2015


I find it amazing that a lot of people say that preaching from the Old Testament is not applicable today except for a few good stories.   I don't find this true.  It my current reading of the Old Testament, I happen to be in the book of Deuteronomy. This book is load with the blessings and curses.  Blessing's if one obeys and curses if one doesn't.   I don't know about everybody else but Jesus said if you love me you will obey me.   Since Jesus is the God of the Old and New Testament, and he changes not, my obedience to him expresses my faith in him and my love to him.

Saturday, May 30, 2015