May 4, 2020
THE ANSWER IS FERVENT EFFECTIVE PRAYER
THE COVID-19 stay at home order has created an opportunity for Christians to spend some quality time in spiritual evaluation and prayer. The normal day-to-day schedules left little time to seriously concentrate on prayer and scripture reading. Now there is quality and quantity time available, and wisdom dictates to make the best of it.
It is no secret that the United States of America is going through troubling times with many evil forces at work. It is my conviction that Christians in our nation have become a target of Satan and his many minions; but I also believe that we are in the midst of an awesome opportunity to see a great harvest of souls and to experience a great revival in our churches.
PRAYER is the answer. “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” (James 5:16b). Elijah was a man of like passions as we are...and he prayed when he challenged the prophets of Baal. Daniel was a righteous man consistent in his life of prayer; and he accomplished more on his knees than all of the kings and potentates ever accomplished on their thrones. The examples of men like Daniel and Elijah should be an encouragement to believers who today appear to be on the losing side. Leaders in places of significant influence are boldly mocking Christians who are bold enough to openly pray and testify for Jesus Christ.
Consider, also, the example of Hezekiah, king of Judah when his nation was threatened with extinction and his God was mocked by ungodly Sennacherib, an Assyrian king. Sennacherib sent a letter to Hezekiah to defy the God of Israel. Isaiah counseled to not be afraid of the words of blasphemy. When the king received the letter, he read it and went into the house of the Lord. Spreading the letter before the Lord, “Hezekiah prayed before the Lord, and said, ‘O Lord God of Israel, which dwelleth between the cherubims, Thou art the Lord, even Thou alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth: Thou hast made heaven and earth. Lord, bow down thine ear, and hear, open, Lord thine eyes, and see: and hear the words of Sennacherib, which hast sent him to reproach the living God.’ “ II Kings 19:15-16. God answered clearly, by defeating the Assyrians. Sennacherib escaped home to Nineveh thinking he was secure, only to be slain by his own sons while he was worshipping in the house of Nisroch, his god. Hezekiah was a king who did right in the sight of the Lord and he knew where to turn when facing a national crisis.
The Apostle Paul is another example of prayer for his nation. Romans 10:1 “Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they might be saved. In Chapter nine, his burden to see his countrymen saved was so intense that he said, “For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my countrymen according to the flesh.” In
Romans 10:3 he rehearsed the many privileges they had but were blind to the truth.
Could we not say a similar thing about our own country? Blessed, but blinded by the god of this world? How our hearts should ache and how we should be driven to our knees asking for God’s mercy, though undeserved.
When approaching the subject of prayer, this writer still feels like a pre-med student attempting to lecture on the particulars of brain surgery! Regardless, our heart is burdened to pour out in desperation the need for prayer that is effectual and fervent, not only in my own daily life but also in the body of the church.
It was our privilege as a family to travel with a revival-focused ministry under Del Fehsenfeld and the Life Action Revival Team. Still fresh in my mind are the all-night prayer meetings where grown men and women cried out to God as the conviction of sin led to confession and change in personal lives and the churches. Meetings that were scheduled to go for ten days would sometimes extend to two or more weeks. One meeting in memory lasted thirty one days with no man-made manipulation, but with a lot of honesty...which brought freedom to many who had been bound in bitterness, pride, and many other sins which choke any progress toward sanctification. It is easy to become settled, satisfied, and smug in our Christian life and to be like the church at Ephesus, busy, but left their first love.
Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed; the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. Elijah was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months. and he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit. (James 5:16-18)
Self examination at this point is needed regarding the prayer life. Is my prayer effective? Is my prayer fervent? Am I clean and qualified to pray effectively? A crisis turns us to cry out in passionate prayer instead of the normal conversational prayer, but what about the cleanness of the heart? “Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? or who shall stand in his holy place? He that hath clean hands and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully. He shall receive the blessing from the Lord and righteousness from the God of salvation.” (Ps. 24:3 - 5) “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.” (Ps. 51:10) “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts; and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Ps. 139:23-24)
After praying prayers of imprecation upon the wicked who speak against God and take His name in vain, David asked God to search his heart to expose any sin that David overlooked during self examination. It is easy to condemn others while hiding sin in a private chamber of the soul.
The prophet Isaiah reminded God’s people that sins and iniquities have hidden God’s face so that He would not hear. (Isa. 59:1-2) The social atmosphere at that time set out to ruin anyone who held to truth and shunned evil. (Isa. 59:14-15) “And judgment is turned away backward and justice standeth afar off: for truth is fallen in the street and equity cannot enter. Yea, truth fails: and he that departed from evil maketh himself a prey: and the Lord saw it, and it displeased him that there was no judgment.”
The previous mentioned passages are but a few examples of God’s requirement to have a clean heart before approaching Him in prayer. Thankfully, He is a God of mercy and grace and understands that we are but dust and His mercy is great to those who fear Him.. We will
never be perfect til we see Him face-to-face, but He does provide for us to be pure. I John 1:9 is a reminder to keep short sin accounts with God.
Is it possible that we have become too comfortable with tolerated sins that are quickly excused rather than confessed?
Is my prayer effective? Am I fervent in prayer? Am I clean?
O that the people of God worldwide would be continually in fervent prayer for the glory of God and that Christians would manifest a boldness in proclaiming TRUTH regardless of the cost!
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To Friends and Supporters of Building Great Leaders,
April 11, 2019
An opportunity has been opened for Charlene and me, enabling us at BGL to accomplish some need-meeting projects.
Faith Baptist Bible College, with Dr. Jim Tillotson, has arranged for us to partner with them in order to allow BGL to be a part of training the next generation of servant leaders, while aiding us to have some of our needs met.
One of the burdens that we have had is to get printed material in booklets and books which address need-meeting topics. A busy schedule of meetings has been a hindrance to getting that done. As a result, we cut back the number of commitments and plan to focus our time on the staff and students at FBBC during those blocks of time.
The college has graciously provided an apartment and secretarial help so that we can have time to focus on projects.
One of the added blessings to us will be the one-on-one time in the dining room with students who have committed their lives to vocational ministry.
Our leadership conferences will continue in several regions of the country which will involve Dr.Marty Herron, Dr. Tillotson, and others who have expertise in ministry and leadership needs. The burden to lift the hands of God’s servants and to strengthen the hearts of God’s people continues to be our passion.
Also, the Building Great Leaders television programs are progressing well. The VCY AMERICA television network in Milwaukee, Wisconsin is allowing us to teach much of the leadership material so that there are seventy, twenty-seven minute programs already done. DVDs are now available with more to come. We are so thankful for the professional help provided by the television producer and staff of VCY America. We now have more discipleship tools to leave with others after the conferences. We have been blessed to learn together with so many of God’s leaders in the last 6 years.
Thank you for your prayerful support and encouragement as we desire to be faithful to the Lord and the ministry to which HE called us. To HIM be all the praise and glory.Type your paragraph here.
May 9th, 2020
I have read two books recently that will be a help to the life and function of the local church:
1. The Thriving Church -
The True Measure of Growth
written by Dean Taylor (Publisher: JourneyForth Books,
Div. of BJU Press journeyforth.com)
Professor Taylor has years of pastoral experience at Colonial Hills Baptist Church, Indianapolis, Indiana; Brookside Baptist Church, Brookfield, Wisconsin; and Calvary Baptist Church in Simpsonville, South Carolina.
He is a diligent student of the Word with a keen theological mind. The Thriving Church is the most biblical and practical book that I have read that puts useable tools into the hands of the local church members and staffs. The detailed treatment of Ephesians 4:1 - 16 is valuable to growing Christ’s body - the church.
The discussion questions at the end of each chapter allow all in the body to participate so that the truths presented is understood. This is an excellent book for every church member.
Professor of Pastoral Ministry, Faith Baptist Bible College & Theological Seminary,
1900 NW 4th Street,
Ankeny, IA. 50023
515-964-0601, Ext. 220
2. Lead Pastor - Biblical Thinking In the Church That Keeps
Jesus In the Lead
written by Joe Humrichous
Regarding the book, Humrichous states that this handbook is to be read one chapter at a time for 30 days. Each truth is simply to serve as a reminder of what must be in place if Jesus is to stay in the Lead. The controlling principle is repeated: Jesus Christ Obviously Present And Actively In Charge.
I was reminded that “being transformed into the image of Christ is a marathon, not a sprint.” Also, the study of “abiding in the Vine” from John 15 was helpful to realize the sources of fruit. Pastors who have experienced the emptiness of attempting to build in the arm of the flesh will be helped by Joe’s transparency as he shares from many years of pastoral ministry
His journey from self-focus to the freedom of serving with the Lord Jesus Christ, as the Head of His body, the church.
Contact Information: Joe Humrichous
P O. Box 567
West Lebanon, IN 47991 217 304 4741 Joehumrichous@yahoo.com Paradigm1.orgType your paragraph here.
May 16, 2020
CHRIST IN THE OLD TESTAMENT
There is a rich reminder of the importance of the written word of God in Luke chapter 24. After the resurrection, Jesus appeared to two disciples on the road to Emmaus as they were talking about the events of the previous week. The passion week began with Jesus’ triumphal entry and ended with the crucifixion. Jesus, who kept them from recognizing Him, asked them what they were discussing. Cleopas asked him, “Are you a stranger in town and do not know all that happened during the last three days?” Jesus asked, “What things?”
The two rehearsed the events concerning Jesus of Nazareth and how he was put to death, and now there are some who are claiming that Jesus rose from the dead. How did Jesus respond? He did not say I am Jesus and have raised from the dead. It is significant that Jesus expounded to them the Scriptures rather than identifying Himself. There was no New Testament at that time so all that He had was what the Old Testament revealed about the coming Messiah.
Note Jesus’ words in Luke 24:25-27, “Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? and beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.”
It was late in the day and they pleaded with Jesus to stay the night with them. They still dId not know that it was the Lord Jesus Christ himself who was their guest. When they were all gathered around the table, Jesus took the bread, blessed and brake it, and gave it to them. At once their eyes were opened and they recognized that it was Jesus Christ himself who met them on the road to Emmaus. He then vanished out of their sight. Luke 24:32 “And they said one to another, did not our heart burn within us, while we walked by the way, and while he opened the scriptures to us?”
In their excitement they returned to Jerusalem to share the great news that he is risen, and how he broke bread with them. Then Jesus appears and stands in their midst and says,
“Peace be unto you,” Luke 24:36b. The disciples were terrified, thinking that they had seen a spirit. Note Luke 24:38 - 45, “and he said unto them, why are ye troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts? Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have. and when he had thus spoken, he showed them his hands and his feet. and while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered, he said unto them, have ye here any meat? and they gave him a piece of broiled fish, and an honeycomb. and he took it, and did eat before them, and he said unto them, these are the words which I spoke unto you while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and in the Prophets and in the Psalms concerning me. Then he opened their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures.”
The written Word was emphasized even while the Living Word was with them. Christ was clearly revealed in the historical books, as well as in the books of poetry and prophecy.
How important are Peter’s words to us when he reminded the believers that in the midst of persecution, the inspired word of God is the truth to which they cling when apostasy increases. Even though Peter was an eye witness of the ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ he confidently said that there is something more sure than being an eye witness. More sure? Yes! The inspired, infallible word of God which we accept by faith is more sure.
Hear his words in II Peter 1:15 - 21, “Moreover, I will endeavor that ye may be able after my decease to have these things always in remembrance. For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ;, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received from God the Father honor and glory when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount. We have a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:
“Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”
What is the point of this brief reminder? Simply this: That “ ALL scripture is given by inspiration of God! and is profitable for DOCTRINE, for REPROOF, for CORRECTION, for INSTRUCTION IN RIGHTEOUSNESS: that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.”
When so much of the word of God is under attack, it is easy to see that the master deceiver, who hates God and any part of truth, is striving to distract believers who are intimidated by unregenerates whose lifestyles are contradicted by absolute truths in the Word. It seems that pragmatic leaders are willing to surrender portions of God’s Word because those facts are perceived as offensive to minds which have been blinded by the god of this world.
Do we really appreciate what we have in the word of God, or do we treat that possession too lightly? Let’s follow the exhortation of the Apostle Paul in Colossians 3:16, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.”
The entire word of God, both Old and New Testaments, reveals the purpose of God and the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ.
June 21, 2020
A CHALLENGE TO DADS (MEN)
What is the context of God saying to Ezekiel “…and I sought for a man?” The leaders of the city of Jerusalem and Judah’s rulers had gone into presumptuous disobedience to God’s will for them. The men who were supposed to be ruling in righteousness had gone into all manner of sin while ignoring the prophet Ezekiel’s warning of impending judgment when God’s indignation would be poured out.
The PROPHETS had conspired against the people for personal gain (v. 25), the PRIESTS who should have been leading the people to holiness through the knowledge of God went into compromise and made no difference between the holy and the profane, the clean and the unclean. (v.26).
The POLITICAL LEADERS were like ravening wolves abusing the people for dishonest gain. What adds to the tragedy of this whole scenario is that the prophets who are supposed to be God’s spokesmen are daubing them with untempered mortar and encouraging the political leaders in their wickedness, which will add to the collapse of all their anti-God scheming. Sadly, the “positive-preaching” prophets claimed that God had spoken that falsehood (v. 27-28).
The PEOPLE of the land have used oppression and exercised robbery; and have vexed the poor and needy, and have oppressed the stranger wrongfully. (v 29) The people of any influence learned the pattern of the other self-serving leaders and fell right in line with their wicked ways. The whole city of Jerusalem and nation of Judah gradually went into direct disobedience to God’s clear commands.
In that context God sought for a man. The PERSON that God sought for was a man. The PURPOSE that he intended for that man was to stand in the gap for God in the land. The role of intercessor and protector was absent in the nations. The PROBLEM was that God found none. What a sad digression from what God intended for His nation.
Dad’s and men, the challenge is for you to be a “Gap man” for your family, for your nation, and in your church. Our nation today is swiftly becoming like the nation of Judah where our highest courts in the land are ruling against God and absolute truth. Political leaders are quickly forming against God’s word, and male leadership is becoming more absent. On this Fathers’ Day, let us as Dad’s, Grandads, and Great Grandads. commit to “stand in the gap.”
A GAP MAN is a Dad who wants God’s Good and Acceptable and Perfect will. (Romans 12:1-2)
HAPPY FATHERS’ DAY!
DAD’S GREATEST JOB
I May never be as clever
as my neighbor down the street,
I may never be as wealthy
as some other men I meet;
I may never have the glory
that some other men have had,
But I’ve got to be successful
as a little fellow’s dad.
There are certain dreams I cherish
that I’d like to see come true
There are things I would like to accomplish
before my working time is through;
But the task my heart is set on
is to guide a little lad
And to make myself successful
as that little fellow’s dad.
It’s that one job that I dream of;
it’s the task I think of most;
If I’d fail that growing youngster
I’d have nothing else to boast;
For though wealth and fame I’d gather,
all my future would be sad,
If I’d failed to be successful
as that little fellow’s dad.
I may never get earth’s glory;’
I may never gather gold;
Men may count me as a failure
when my business life is told;
But if he who follows after is godly,
I’ll be glad—
For I’ll know I’ve been successful
as a little fellow’s dad.
March 29, 2020
A WISE USE OF THE GIFT OF TIME
Psalms 46 - 48
One of the hidden benefits of the nationwide order to self quarantine is the unexpected opportunity for families to have much needed time together. Good planning for the available time can reap rich spiritual benefits as well as physical rest from the hustle and bustle of normal life. Dedicate a portion of your schedule to enjoy the riches of God’s Word. My reading a few days ago led me to meditate on Psalm 46, 47, and 48.
The truths contained in these verses lifted my focus Godward and put gratitude, confidence, and praise into a sagging spirit.
A slow reading and thoughtful meditation will reap a deeper appreciation for God’s character and His promises. Thinking on Psalm 46 will help you understand why it has been called “Martin Luther’s psalm” which prompted the writing of the great hymn, “A MIGHTY FORTRESS IS OUR GOD.”
FUN FAMILY CHALLENGE: Think of as many New Testament promises as you can that would complement the promises in these psalms.
April 1, 2020
What Is Valuable to You?
Psalm, chapter 49, is a good priority check.
When the end of life’s journey is imminent, what is most important to a person of his earthly things will fit into the closet and on the night stand in his nursing home room.
There could not be enough “thank yous” expressed for those who have been blessed of God with material things and are humbly and sacrificially giving to see God’s work advance in this world. On the other hand there are those who have made an “idol” out of material possessions and God’s will is far from their thoughts. Christians who acknowledge that God owns everything live with eternal values in view. Psalms, chapter 49 is a good reminder of what really counts when the last breath is drawn.
No one knows when the COVID-19 will be brought under control or what the stock market is going to do, but Christians have confidence that God will “supply all our need (singular) according to His riches in Glory by Christ Jesus.” —Phil. 4:19
For family discussion: Compare some of the New Testament verses regarding values. Luke 12:13-34
Matt. 6:19-34 I Tim. 6:6-21
April 7, 2020
SYMPTOMS AND SOLUTIONS OF DEPRESSION I
Psalm 77 - A Psalm of Asaph
During the last several years of ministry in local churches Charlene and I have observed that a number of people sit in church nicely dressed, smile appropriately but their hearts are searching and their souls are troubled because of the sweet memories of what used to be are overshadowed by the troubling circumstances of the present. Bitterness and subtle anger, sometimes directed at God, begin to occupy their minds instead of the sweet songs that used to be their experience.
The present and the past are two different worlds. They struggle with being honest about their feelings because they don’t know who would understand or they fear rejection by others who seem to have an image of perfection.
It is helpful to know that other people who are and were greatly used of God experienced the same struggles. For example, consider the experience of one of the greatest Bible expositors of all time, Charles Hadden Spurgeon. James Montgomery Boyce comments on the struggles shared by Spurgeon in the Treasury Of David, Spurgeon’s commentary on the Psalms. “Charles Hadden Spurgeon wrote his commentaries on the Psalms between 1865 - 1885. In those 20 years he experienced poor health which continued to his death. Neuralgia and gout left him with swollen, red painful limbs so he often could not walk, or even write. Debilitating bouts of depression and headaches added to these other ills led to frightful bouts of depression which left him nearly in despair. He left London for the warmer weather of southern France where he made his departure to his eternal home.”
On Psalm 77 Spurgeon said, “Some of us know what it is both physically and spiritually, to be compelled to use these words. No respite has been offered by the silence of the night. Our bed has been a rack to us, our body as been in torment, our soul in anguish. Alas, this author knows the deep glens of the lonely caves of soul depression and my spirit knows full well your awful gloom,”
1. Speaking of Asaph
1. Expositional Commentary on the Psalms, James Montgomery Boyce, pp. 638-639 Baker.
April 12, 2020
REJOICING IN THE RESURRECTION
Happy Easter from the Building Great Leaders family!
Let’s enjoy what the Apostle
Paul had to say regarding the resurrection.
I CORINTHIANS 15:1-22
“Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you,, unless ye have believed in vain.:
For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: after that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. After that he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.
For I am the least of the apostles that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.
Therefore whether it were I or they, so we preach, and so ye believed. Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.
Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain, ye are yet in your sins.
Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first fruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.”
“...And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come; And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.”
“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore, we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin.
Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. Likewise, reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law but under grace.”
PRAISE THE LORD HE IS RISEN INDEED!
MAY BY GOD’S GRACE WE LIVE WITH RESURRECTION POWER!
April 17, 2020
SYMPTOMS AND SOLUTIONS OF DEPRESSION
The arduous journey through the valley of despair is coming to an end after whatprobably was a long time. Asaph said that he remembered the years of the right hand of the Most High. Whatever the duration of the anxiety he acknowledged that it was the hand of God at work. God was not absent but very much in control and would fulfill His promises.
The solution to depression dawns when Asaph’s focus points upward to meditation on the greatness of God and the wonderful ways that He manifested Himself on behalf of his people. First notice that the psalmist said that he will remember the WORKS of the Lord. Ps. 77:11a “I will remember the works of the Lord.” In verse 12 he said, “I will meditate also of thy work, and talk of thy doings.”
It is spiritually beneficial to keep a works of God journal both individually and as a family. Times will come when we will face a giant and it helps to recall slaying the bear and the lion. God worked in the past and He will continue to be the God who provides in the future. A record of past victories needs to be recalled when strength is needed for a present trial. When the children of Israel crossed the Jordan into Canaan, God instructed Joshua to choose 12 men to pick up 12 stones from the river and place them in Gilgal. God said, “When your children shall ask their fathers in time to come, saying, WHAT MEANETH THESE STONES?’ then ye shall let your children know, saying, “ Israel came over this Jordan on dry land, for the Lord your God dried up the waters of Jordan from` before us, until ye were passed over, as the Lord your God did to the Red Sea, which He dried up from before us until we were gone over: that all the people of the earth might know the hand of the Lord, it it is mighty: that ye might fear the Lord your God forever.” Joshua 4:21-24
Israel did not go into apostasy because they forgot the word of God but because they forgot the works of God. The “second generation syndrome” described in Judges chapter 2 is a wake-up call for our generation to keep the works of God alive in the memory for us and our children. Judges 2:10 ...”and also all that generation were gathered unto their fathers: and there arose another generation after them, which knew not the Lord, nor yet the WORKS which He had done for Israel.” Not only did that next generation forget God’s works, they also forsook the Lord and served Baal and Ashtaroth.
Another step in Asaph’s ascent from the valley of despair was that he focused on the WONDERS of God. “Surely, I will remember thy wonders of old.” Ps. 77:11b Spurgeon said, “Memory is a fit handmaid for faith. When faith has it’s seven years of famine, memory like Joseph in Egypt opens her graineries.” Treasury of David,
Vol II, p. 315
Think on the wonders of God when He showed Himself mighty over the world rulers who thought they could belittle God Almighty. Pharaoh learned quickly after asking the question “who is the Lord?” His question rooted in arrogance was intended to belittle Israel’s God and was answered with 10 very effective visual aids to demonstrate what Jehovah meant. Egyptian gods were conquered one by one. What a wonder the crossing of the Red Sea was when all of the odds were against God’s people.
Nebuchadnezzar was another world ruler who made light of the God of the three Hebrew children. He asked, “Who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hand?” Dan. 4:15 He descended from head of gold to “hippie on grass” in short time. When God humbled Nebuchadnezzar, he expressed a powerful acknowledgement of the supremacy of our God of wonders. “...and at the end of the days, I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the most High, and I praised and honored Him that liveth forever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion and His kingdom is from generation to generation: and all of the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing; and he doeth according to His will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay His hand, or say unto Him what doest thou?” Dan. 4:34-35
We can discover as Asaph did that reviewing the wonders of God can lead the soul to rest confidently in the awesomeness of God.
Another important solution to depression was the psalmist turning his heart to WORSHIP. “Thy way O God is in the sanctuary; who is so great a God as our God?” Ps.
Worship is rooted in holiness. On this verse (13) Spurgeon comments, “Thy way, O God, is in the sanctuary” or in holiness. In the holy place we understand our God, and rest assured that all His ways are just and right. When we cannot trace His way because it is “in the sea,” it is a rich consolation that we can trust it, for it is in holiness. We must have fellowship in holiness if we would understand “the ways of God. to man.” “He who would be wise must worship. The pure in heart shall see God, and pure worship is the way to the philosophy of providence.” Treasury of David, Vol. II, p. 315 When Job lost everything he worshipped. Job 1:20 He expressed total trust in God’s character. When David’s baby died he accepted God’s way and worshipped. II Sam. 12:20
Anxiety is dealt a major blow when in holiness one accepts the fact that God who is perfect love allows nothing to get out of His control. Both Job and David rested in the fact that God is holy and His ways are right.
The final part of Asaph’s recovery in Ps. 77 is resting in the SHEPHERDING OF GOD.
A troubled soul can find solace in the picture of the shepherd tenderly guiding and guarding his sheep. Ps. 77:20 “Thou leddest thy people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron.”
God revealed His presence by the cloud during the day and the pillar of fire at night so the people would be assured that God was always with them. Remember, God’s presence is always with us. He will never leave us or forsake us. What a change takes place when peace replaces turmoil; stillness replaces sleeplessness; and worship replaces worry. “Be still and know that I am God.” Ps. 46:10
In my opinion, a flawed view of God is at the root of most emotional problems. A child of God will be strengthened by building a biography of God and will use each discovery about God to express praise and thanks to Him in the opening of his prayer time.
PROJECT: Read I Chronicles 16 where David’s festival of sacrifice and worship is recorded after the ark of the covenant was returned to Jerusalem.
King David appointed Asaph, who was chief among the musicians who were responsible to lead the music in praise and worship, to magnify the great works of God. Asaph heard much and saw many of the marvelous works and wonders of God that he was calling to remembrance in Psalm 77.
It would be worth your time to read I Chronicles 16 and see the elements involved in praising and thanking God for His faithfulness to us. “Give unto the Lord the glory due unto His name: bring an offering, and come before him: Worship the Lord in the beauty of Holiness.” Ps. 77:29
I recorded all of the verbs that were imperatives, and that exercise gave me much to meditate on. You, too, will be blessed and challenged to turn your soul to praise and thanksgiving.
EMBRACING YOUR MISSION
January 4th, 2019
God is on a mission to restore fallen people to the likeness of His Son to the praise of His glory.
God’s highest priority is His glory. From the beginning of the story of the human race, God has desired to display His glory in, to, and through His highest created being, man.
Genesis 1:26 makes this abundantly clear when we are told that man was made in God’s image, God intended for the rest of creation to see a display of His glory in man who had been created to display His communicable attributes to the rest of the world.
Our mission in life as believers is to glorify God. Glorifying God is to give others a right opinion of God so that they will give God His rightful place in their lives. The word glory means heavy or weighty. It came to have the idea of worth. Displaying someone’s glory meant that you reflect the worth of that person - his/her importance. In short, glorifying God means that we give God His proper place and ascribe to Him His proper worth, and cause other people to see God for who and what He truly is (to give people a right opinion our God). God is on a mission to restore fallen people to the likeness of HIs Son to the praise of His glory. As believers, we are to do this by reflecting the communicable attributes of God in our lives. The communicable attributes of God are the parts of His character that humans can share with Him.
There are parts of God’s nature that no one else can share. For example, no one but God is infinite. No one but God is omnipresent. No one but God is omniscient and omnipotent. However; there are attributes of God that we can share. We can be holy. We can love because God is love. We can be wise. We can be just. We can be merciful. These are the communicable attributes of God because these are ones He shares with His people.
In the Bible, God’s glory was always represented by something that pointed to His visible presence among His people. From the beginning, God has given His people the mission of displaying His glory.
1. Adam - God’s designated glory bearer.
Genesis 1:26 reveals that Adam was created in “God’s image.” In other words, unlike all the rest of creation, God designed Adam for a unique purpose - to bear His image so that Adam might display His glory to all of the earth.
2. Moses - God’s glory requested and visually expressed.
In light of the huge task before him leading God’s people out of Egypt and to the Land of Promise, Moses cried out in desperation, “Show me Your glory!” And God did! (Exodus 33:10)
And not only did God show Moses His glory, He also gave to Moses a pattern by which God’s people could see the symbols of His visible presence among them. These patterns were a tabernacle and the Ark of the Covenant. For Hundreds of years those symbols existed at the center of Israel’s worship as reminders and visible expressions the glory God wanted to display to the world.
3. Eli the High Priest and David the Great King - God’s glory despised.
Several hundred years after Moses received the patterns for the ark and the tabernacle, God’s Word records that His people began to despise His glory and treated the symbols of that glory carelessly and contemptuously.
Eli was the high priest of Israel at a time when God’s glory was particularly despised. His own sons had handled the glory of God so carelessly that God slew them and allowed His ark to be carried away by the pagan Philistine army who defeated Israel in battle. His grandson was named Ichabod which means the Glory has departed (I Samuel 4:21-22).
Eventually, the ark returned, and David was so overjoyed that the Bible states that he danced for joy. However, not everyone was so excited to see the ark. David’s own wife saw her husband leaping for joy in the sight of all the people and was so embarrassed that she despised him in her heart. She had no heart for God’s glory but rather was more concerned with her public image. (II Samuel 6:16).
In both accounts, the ark of God was despised by the very people who would have rejoiced in the privilege God had given them to possess His glory.
4. Ezekiel - God’s glory departed.
By the time we get to Ezekiel’s day, the tabernacle had been replaced by a permanent building, the Temple. The holiest room in that temple housed the ark of God. God’s glory visibly resided there for all the nation of Israel to see.
Those who were responsible to care for the temple and guard the holy glory of God had become so careless that eventually God’s glory departed (Ezekiel 8 - 10).
The spiritual leaders were to fulfill their role to teach the word, to live the truth, and to love God with all their hearts, and with all their soul, and with all their might. (Deut. 6:4-5). There was to be no toleration of idolatry, but the ones who were to lead by example directed the people into unimaginable idolatrous practices. (See Ezekiel 8:1-18).
As we can see, the reason for the departure of the glory of God is the incredible hidden wickedness that God’s people had brought into the inner chambers of His temple (Ezekiel 8:6).
Should this not be a warning to us to guard the hidden things of the heart that could mar God’s image through us?
Even though everything looked great on the outside and the temple worship went on as usual, things were very different on the inside where God was looking —and because of these tolerated abominations in His house, God removed His glory, and it would not return until Jesus was born.
5. Jesus - God’s glory returned.
John tells us that when they looked at Jesus they beheld the glory of God (John 1:14). When Jesus came to earth, He brought back the glory of God and displayed it to the world!
John 1:18: No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him. The word declared is “EXEGEOMAI” from which we get the word exegete. Jesus Christ the Son is the exact revelation of the Father. Jesus declared, “He that hath seen me hath seen the Father…” (John 14:9b)
When Jesus returned to His Father’s presence, what happened to that glory? Where is it today? In the upper room discourse, Jesus prepared His disciples for His departure and described the difficulties that they would face and the responsibilities that they would fulfill. The high priestly prayer in John 17 magnifies the role that Jesus the Son played in glorifying God while He was here on this earth. In that prayer, Jesus made plain that the responsibility to be reflectors of that glory now was deposited in believers and the church. Ephesians 3:21 says “To Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” The church is made up of believers.
6. Believers in the Church Age - God’s glory deposited and reflected
In what may be the greatest chapter in the New Testament (John17), Jesus reveals that God’s glory has remained in His church (Ephesians 3:21) and that the members of His church are to display His glory in all areas of their lives:
Matthew 5:16 - “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”
I Corinthians 6:19-20 - “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s”
I Corinthians 10:31 - “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.”
Philippians 1:20 - “so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death.”
Ephesians 3:21 - “Unto Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen”
When people enter our churches and when they see us in public do they see a true reflection of what our God is like?
As we enter 2019 let’s make it our passion to live to the glory of God.
The Value of the Secret Place
" He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God, in Him will I trust."
Early in my life, God in His sovereign way allowed my life to be influenced by a godly man who was the founder of Gitche Gumee Bible Camp, located in the very tip of Michigan's Upper Peninsula.
Rev. John Rader, also known as Big Chief, had a vision to see a Bible conference grounds established. He found the spot that he felt would be ideal, located near the shores of Lake Superior, or as the Indians called it, gitche gumee. The poet, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in his poem, Hiawatha, popularized the name.
John Rader located a spot that became his secret place where he met with God and prayed for God to show Himself mighty to establish a conference center where God's Word would be preached and His great name glorified.
As young men, my brother Earl and I would be picked up by "Big Chief " to help shovel snow from the roofs of the buildings at Gitche Gumee. The snow would be as deep as three feet on the roofs and would damage the buildings. After the snow-clearing project would be completed, Rev. John Rader would take us to his beautiful little cabin and feed us with his "special formula" chili. How delicious it was as we enjoyed the cozy warmth of that little cabin! The special part of the day was when we would go rabbit hunting on snow shoes.
One time Big Chief took us to his "secret place" hidden among the snow-laden pines, balsam and cedar trees where he met with his God. It was there that he longed to return time and time again to pour out his heart for God's blessing on the vision for a preaching center in the far north. I have never forgotten how special it was to enter what seemed to be "holy ground", and that was well before I ever became a believer.
Years later after Big Chief's vision became a reality, some of us young boys would often help to "button down" the camp for the winter. One by one the buildings would be put to sleep for the long winter. There was one exception. The Tabernacle, which was the preaching center, securely shrouded with a deep blanket of snow was kept awake with the echo of a shout that Rev. Rader would give. As he was getting ready to lock the door of the place where the Word was preached all summer, he would shout victoriously, "HALLELUJAH", and the quickly shut the door. He would say with a gleeful look, "that hallelujah will echo all winter till this facility will once again be unwrapped for another summer of God-exalting preaching!" Those memories are forever etched in my mind and I review them with deep gratitude.
One of Big Chief's grand daughters was going through boxes of old records and correspondence in an upstairs "nook" of the little cabin and discovered something that her granddad had written years ago but was never shared with others. She sent us a copy which we framed and keep in a prominent spot in our family room downstairs.
Charlene and I desire to share this with you and our hope is that you will be touched, as we are, when you understand the value of having a SECRET PLACE where you meet with your God.
The following is a copy of his thoughts that he called the "afterglow of Gitche Gumee" typed on an old manual typewriter:
Always in my heart there stirs this longing to go back to "Gitche Gumee," smoldering sometimes--like that evening camp fire on a waved-lapped shore, where we told of our joy in Him--then at sight of a picture or note of a bird--my heart grows warm with happy memories of a hallowed place where God was near, and "Gitche Gumee" seemed like the very gate of Heaven!
At the hardest task - 'mid the dream moments of the day - when the first lone stars are lit - faint perhaps, as a far-flung echo in the tumult of daily strife, yet never silent, always insistent, compelling, seek out this utter-most recesses of memory's treasure vaults - comes the vibrant call of a deep toned bell - the summons from restful sleep and the invitation to praise an prayer under the trees. Once again I hear the whisper of the wind in the leaves overhead and catch the fragrance of pine and balsam and cedar. In that sacred sheltered prayer nook I sense he presence of Him who said..."there am I."
I remember the music of the little falls under the bridge, and the faint forgotten forest trails in the woods beyond the Tabernacle. I long for the solitude that breathes a benediction in the forest cathedral where God used pine trees for pillars and the sunset sky for a roof. Once again I hear the rustle of fallen leaves under foot, and the stirring of woods life around me. I inhale with deep delight the fragrance of rare flowers in God's quiet, out-of-the-way gardens - I taste the exquisite sweetness of dew on wild berries. In Nature's book I try to read the story of the broken twig in the trail, and the foot print in the damp sand on the shore of the pond where lily pads grow. And then, though I have stepped ever so softly, my heart turns over in sudden tumult at the muffled thunder of a partridge startled from his drumming log. From my hard won vantage point on the highest crag of the grim cliffs I watch with silent awe the grandeur of a new-born day - unfolding like the quivering petals of a flushed pink rose dropped from the garden of Eternity - the God opens the gates of the morning.
Ah! - that my feet might once more walk the open road toward those peace enshrouded hills - blue in the distance - and in that hallowed spot find again the familiar faces of others who know His Name and love Him even as I. To live over those happy blessed hours and to hear the tender voice of my Savior bidding me rest awhile in His beloved presence - 'til my feeble faith grows strong again and my wayward feet feel the solid Rock once more.
How I long to slip away from world going mad with fear, and in that quiet sacred spot know the sweet and abiding peace that comes to those who find in Him their "all in all."
Please God!....leet me go back again.....to "Gitche Gumee."
NOTE: This was copied just as it was sent to us.
Needless to say, Big Chief and Gitche Gumee have had an enduring impact on the life of this grateful person. Rev. Rader was the father-in-law of Pastor Charles Hart who began to drive his old Plymouth station wagon to our little town to transport us to First Baptist Church in Calumet, Michigan. It was Pastor Hart's passion to reach young people and by God's grace we were recipients of his love. Consequently, my brother Earl and I were exposed to the gospel and began our Christian walk.
Both Rader and Hart lived for what mattered eternally and modeled what would later become a pattern for our ministry. Many were trained and are still serving God world-wide, both as lay and occupational ministers as a result of their godly influence.
Each of you who have a hunger for God's Word and a desire to meet daily with Him in your special spot are refreshed as you transfer the burdens and the responsibilities of the new day to claim the promise to cast all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.
When the normal pressures of living and added responsibilities press, your heart longs for the place where His presence is real and promises are settling. Storms may rage but the Rock is sure. In the midst of all the meaningless noise caused by our giant-sized egos and decayed hearts, let us focus on what really matters, our intimacy with the One who redeemed us.
Will our lives make a difference this year because of our love for God and our love for others?
A TRIBUTE TO TIM COREY
One more link in the chain that is binding us to this world has been dissolved. Building Great Leaders has lost a founder and a friend. On Saturday morning, April 23, at 9:30 a.m. Tim Corey awoke in the presence of his Lord who he loved with all his heart.
Tim showed great grace and courage as he faced the reality of a three-year battle with cancer. He modeled complete trust in God’s sovereign control in all circumstances of life, including the painful ones of which there were many. His wife, Barb, has been a rock by his side and has lived the “for better or for worse” part of her marriage vows spoken over 52 years ago. Barb’s total trust in God’s love and control has been evident to all who know her.
Charlene and I are thankful that our schedule allowed us to be near enough to the Greenville area to have spots of time with Tim and Barb before he went to heaven to be with his Savior. We witnessed first-hand Tim’s confidence in his loving God and observed his rest in the truth that God is always good and knows what is best.
How thankful we were for one last time to express to Tim and Barb our deep gratitude for the support and encouragement that they have given to so many in ministry, including us. The spiritual fruit of Tim’s service will reap eternal dividends and will only be fully revealed in eternity.
Building Great leaders owes much credit to Tim for its founding, since it was he and Craig Sikkelee who encouraged us to continue our burden to lift the hands of leaders both in the ministry and business world. A simple “thank you” seems so inadequate to reflect our true feeling of gratitude for Tim Corey.
We include here our address at Tim’s funeral from a friend in ministry entitled “A TRIBUTE TO A FRIEND."
A TRIBUTE TO A FRIEND
April 26, 2016
Hampton Park Baptist Church
How does one properly express in a tiny window of time what a 53 -year
friendship means to Charlene and me? I speak for many.
We met Tim in 1963 and Charlene and I married in the summer of 1964,
a month before Tim and Barb’s wedding. An acquaintance began that grew
into a deep friendship which took us down several paths of service together.
Though Tim was an accountant by avocation, his full time vocation was to
glorify God and to serve Him with his whole heart. I have never known Tim Corey to be inconsistent or hypocritical in his Christian life. What you saw is what he was, inside and out.
Paul’s expression of gratitude in Romans 16 to those with whom he served reminds me of so many qualities reflected in Tim Corey’s service to the body of Christ. In that passage of Romans Paul said:
of Phoebe, a SERVANT of the church and a HELPER of many. that’s Tim
of Aquilla and Priscilla, my FELLOW WORKERS IN CHRIST, that’s Tim
of Mary, (a worker in Rome), she LABORED MUCH, that’s Tim
of Amplias (a converted slave in Rome), MY BELOVED IN THE LORD, that’s Tim
of Apelles, a household servant, APPROVED IN CHRIST that’s Tim
of Tryphaena & Tryphosa, twins, who HAVE LABORED MUCH in the Lord that’s Tim
How fortunate to have labored together with him in God’s vineyard at Calvary Baptist of Roseville, Michigan, revival in Connersville, Indiana, and at Northland Baptist Bible College in Dunbar, Wisconsin.
How would I summarize the 53 years of knowing Tim Corey? What outstanding characteristics describe him? I WILL SHARE FIVE.
1. LOVE: He was a living demonstration of the 15 verbal descriptions of agape love in I Corinthians 13. His love was CONSISTENT and REAL. He loved in knowledge and judgment. (Phil. 1:9)
2. LEADERSHIP: He modeled Phil. 2 kenosis mentality by his serving attitude and stedfast conviction. What a model for me to emulate!
3. LIBERALITY: Tim Corey acknowledged that what he possessed was a stewardship given by God and he exercised that stewardship with conviction, wisdom, and selflessness. Jesus in the parable of the unjust steward said that the children of this generation are wiser than the children of light because they used their master’s unrighteous mammon to prepare themselves to be received when they are put out of their stewardship. Jesus taught that the children of light did not have the foresight to use God’s resources to prepare for their welcoming into the everlasting kingdom. Those welcoming them will have been reached by the proper use of God’s provision.
Jesus taught in that parable in Luke 16:
Be Spiritual with your FINANCES. It all belongs to the Master.
Be Stedfast in your FAITHFULNESS In little things and big things.
Be Single in your FOCUS. You cannot serve God and mammon.
Tim Corey modeled the proper use of God’s resources. Can you imagine the welcome home by those reached worldwide by Tim and Barb’s giving? Tim and Barb were in mutual agreement as to their commitment to give and serve to God’s glory.
Another outstanding characteristic of Tim’s life would be that of
4. LAUGHTER: How could I speak of Tim Corey and not mention his laughter. We who were in church services with him were drawn into laughter either with him or at him. What joy he brought to our lives by his jovial spirit!
5. HIS WISE COUNSEL: God used Tim to help many in the ministry to live frugally and wisely regarding finances. His counsel to me about Social Security has helped Charlene and me greatly in our later years. He insisted on being completely conscience clear when it came to the I.R.S. Sometimes I thought he loved the I.R.S. more than he loved me! Complete honesty was his counsel. Many of us have been helped by his wise counsel.
In Summary: There is a good reminder in Revelation 14:13 that highlights the blessing of death for the believer:
“Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors; and their works do follow them.”
There is RESTRICTION in death’s blessing—“in the Lord.”
There is REST in death’s blessing—“they rest from their labors.”
There is REWARD in death’s blessing —“their works do follow them.”
THANK YOU TIM COREY! WE LOVE YOU, WE WILL GREATLY MISS YOU AND WE WILL BE A CONSTANT FRIEND TO BARB AND YOUR FAMILY AS LONG AS GOD GIVES US STRENGTH! GOOD BYE, FRIEND, SEE YA LATER!!
How to Stay Encouraged
During our years of local church ministry there were certain times of the year when I experienced doubt and discouragement. January was the time of the year when the nights were long, days were short, and the weather was cold.
The intense schedule that included Thanksgiving celebrations followed by preparations for Christmas plays and programs kept the "adrenaline rush" going. New Year's Eve service quieted the heart as prayer was made to welcome the new year. Then the rented sheep and camels used for the live nativity scenes were returned. There was was a sigh of relief that no one tumbled out of the Living Christmas Tree, and things slowly returned to "normal." Reality of a new year of responsibility settles in and often a leader wonders if he is where God want him to be.
How does one stay encouraged in the midst of a ringing telephone, a full calendar, a demanding schedule, and more demands than hours? What is the answer? There are three important areas to keep in proper perspective.
Have and keep a fervent passion for Christ. The first failing in the Christian life is to lose the freshness of one's love for his Savior and Lord. Paul's heart cry is expressed in Phil. 3:10, "That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings."
It is easy with so many schedule demands and daily distractions, to have the calendar filled with enough things to excuse ourselves from maintaining a passion for our primary focus--God Himself. The struggle we face is clearly expressed in Donald S. Whitney's book, Spiritual Disciplines For The Christian Life.
"Without exception, the men and women I have known who make the most rapid, consistent, and evident growth in Christlikeness have been those who develop a daily time of being alone with God. This time of outward silence is the time daily Bible intake and prayer. In this solitude is the occasion for private worship.
This daily devotional habit is not easy to develop because we lead busy lives and have an Enemy aware of the stakes involved. Missionary martyr Jim Elliot knew of the battle: "I think the devil has made it his business to monopolize on three elements: noise, hurry, crowds. . .Satan is quite aware of the power of silence" Our days are usually filled with more than enough noise, plenty of hurry, and demanding people. Unless we plan for daily times of solitary silence before God, these other thing will rush in to fill our time like water into the Titanic." 1
When God was withdrawing His blessing from His people Israel, He reminded them that their love for Him was replaced with idols and a love for the world system. The Magna Carta of the Nation of Israel was given in Deut. 6:4-15: Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: .....vs. 12, Then beware lest thou forget the Lord, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.
Jesus repeats the instruction in Matthew 22:35-40: "Then one of them which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment."
To help focus on God's priorities, regular feeding on the Word directs the mind to things that are true, noble, just, pure, lovely, and of good report. Meditation in the Word aids to direct the thinking from the 6 major causes of depression, ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, FOX NEWS, and TALK RADIO. It helps our spirit greatly to get God's perspective on world conditions.
Also, keeping a biography of our God leads our hearts to worship as we magnify His attributes. Record each name and attribute that you discover in your reading, and praise Him as you repeat those attributes to Him in prayer.
Another practice Charlene and I have found of great value for our encouragement is to keep a record of the works of God in our lives. When we "hit the wall" it is refreshing to remember how God has worked in the past and know that He will keep His promises in the days ahead.
Keep your gaze on your goal. A proper adoration of God will be expressed in our obedience to Him and practical function. A clear mission statement is not optional if a Christian intends to live as Paul exhorted in Philippians 3:10-14. Pressing forward demands being free of distractions.
The winds of opposition or convenience cannot cause uncertainty or drift in a ministry or life that knows God's compass reading on plans. Many things can distract if the goal is not clear. Problems such as people, projects, or compromising philosophies must be seen as expected, not as things that should change your focus.
A basketball player must realize that the purpose of the game is to put the ball in the basket. If he is dribbling down the court, and a fan call him something less than complimentary, it would do him or the team no good to go into the stands to confront the individual. The name of the game is to "put the ball in the hoop." Let the heathen rage and go on to your task.
Keep your relationships real and growing. The Word of God has many exhortations for believers to maintain right relationships with fellow believers. The most concise passage for effective communication s in Paul's letter to the Ephesians 4:24-32, "And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. Wherefore, putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbor; for we are members one of another Be ye angry, and sin not; let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil. Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labor, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth. Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away fro you with all malice: And be ye kind one to another tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you."
Satan knows that a Christian committed to sound doctrine is not going to become ineffective because he drifts from a commitment to inspiration, but he knows that a Christian can be rendered powerless by a broken relationship with another believer.
In Galatians 5:14-21, Paul discusses the sins that mar ministry. There are several categories of sins listed here in these scriptures. The rank sins are listed as adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, drunkenness. The religious sins are: idolatry and witchcraft. The first two categories are easy to deal with because they are so obvious and guideline are easily followed for church discipline. The third category that Paul addresses is the relationship sins. I call these the "cholesterol" sins or the "high blood pressure" sins because they often go undetected but can bring about a seizure. Hatred, variance, emulations wrath tribe, seditions, heresies, envying, and murders are sins that see to go undetected or to confronted but do devastation to a Christian's usability.
In the January 11, 1999 "Daily Bread," an illustration of a prayer was recorded in a church bulletin to which we can relate: "So for today, Lord, I've done all right. I haven't gossiped; I haven't lost my temper; I haven't been greedy, grumpy, nasty, selfish or over-indulgent. I'm very thankful for that. But in a few moments, Lord, I'm going to get out of bed and from then on I'm going to need a lot of help." Sound familiar? We need God's power to live the Christian life
The Fruit of the Spirit is the key to all of our relationships. Love, joy, and peace have to do with our relationship to God, longsuffering, gentleness, and goodness, control our relationship to others., faithfulness, meekness, and temperance control our relationship to ourselves. Use these fruits as a checklist to see where we are weak.
How do we stay encouraged? We must keep that fervent passion for Christ. Our days must be started with His Word and a seeking of that Holy Spirit power to enable us to do the tasks of the day. Secondly, our gaze must stay on our mission. What is your mission? Lastly, our relationship must be kept real and growing. We must work on friendship and fellowship lest complacency set in and we accept powerless living as normal. We must stay encouraged.
1. Donald S Whitney, Spiritual Disciplines For The Christian Life, Colorado Springs, CO, 1991, p. 195-196
Where is Your Confidence?
When I first contemplated serving in ministry, doubts about my ability to speak flooded my soul. “I’m not going,” I told Charlene. “I want to serve God, but I want to do it physically. I don’t think I have the tools it takes.” How can I serve? I wondered. I certainly couldn’t speak; I became tongue-tied and had a lisp and an Upper Peninsula brogue. If I served, perhaps I could learn some Bible and have Bible studies with the loggers. “I’ve heard your opinion,” Charlene said. “Let’s see what God says.” She held up the promise box, and I pulled out Jeremiah 33:3. “Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.” Les, if you’re going to be usable at all, I thought, it’s not up to you.
When I ask the question “Where is your confidence?” I stand before you as a man who knows what fears and insecurities are all about. By God’s working in my life, however, I learned to transfer my confidence from self to God. Philippians 4:13 says, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” All things refers to the apostolic responsibilities God had given to Paul. This verse means we can do everything God has given us to do within the realm of our ministry responsibilities. We can become more
usable in God’s hands when we learn the fact, fullness, foundation, and focus
of our confidence.
The Fact of My Confidence, “I can do”
The words “I can do” reveal the fact of my confidence. When God called Moses, Moses said, “I can’t,” but God said, “I am” the eternal God, the existing God, the covenant-keeping God. Paul understood this truth well when he noted five surprising things that God chooses in the accomplishment of His work: “foolish,” “weak,” “base” orthings that lack importance, “despised,” and “nothings” (1 Cor 1:26-28). God uses foolish things, weak things, base things, despised things, and nothings—all so that He might be glorified.
The Fullness of Our Confidence,“I can do all things”
All things means everything God wants for you in your ministry. In other words, you can prosper in every circumstance in which God has placed you. His moving may not be what
mankind considers success, but it will be the way God considers success.
The Foundation of Our Confidence, “I can do all things through
What is the foundation of our confidence? After Paul lists the five things God chooses in 1 Corinthians 1, he says, “That no flesh should glory in [God’s] presence.” We may think we’re somebody until we see Christ for who He is. In Revelation 5:2, an angel cried out, “Who is worthy to open the book?” Nobody was worthy but Jesus Christ.
The Force of Our Confidence, “I can do all things through
Christ which strengtheneth me”
As a believer, I’m infused with the indwelling, dynamic power of the Holy Spirit. You may say, “I can’t minister. I don’t have enough strength.” Maybe you have too much strength. Paul consistently argues that weakness brings glory to God because it demonstrates the power of God’s grace (2 Cor 12:6-9). What was Paul’s goal? It was having God’s power in his life. Paul said that if God’s power came when he was weak, then he wanted to be weak. We, too, will be weak if we see God for who He really is and if, as a result, we see who we really are. This revelation of our true identity—of our weakness apart from Christ—will occur only when we make God’s truth a daily part of our lives.
Where is your confidence today?