May 24 2017

FATHER YOU ARE NEEDED

          We are living in a time when God’s plan for a family is challenged on every side.  We waste so much time on something that doesn’t even make sense.  It was the plan that our creator devised to generate the earth, not only for humans but for the animal world as well.

          In the l980’s a large nature preserve in Africa was being over populated with elephants.  The managers decided to take three hundred of the young elephants away from their parents and move them to another preserve that didn’t have many elephants.  They were big enough that they had no enemies.  The preserve managers thought that the elephants would get along fine with the rhinos.

          After a few months they were surprised to find dead rhinos.  They set up a camera blind at a watering hole and were completely surprised at their findings.  The orphaned elephants had created gangs that attacked and killed the rhinos, completely against their nature.  Without parental guidance, the young elephants had made up their own rules.

          I believe a similar situation threatens our children in today’s society.  A father and mother are important.  That parental guidance is essential in a young person’s development and growth.

          Our church works with a tall African-American man from southern South Carolina. He went to Bible College in Texas where he learned Spanish and met his wife.  They moved to Central America where he and his wife now work with the street children in the capital city of Honduras.  There are many orphaned children in the big city, many who live in the doorways and vacant buildings of the city. Over the years, Alvin Anderson has shown the children that he is their friend and offers to help any of them who show that they truly want to change.  Some succeed but sadly, many have such a devastating addiction to drugs and involvement within the gang community that they go back to their former existence. Though, they still respect Poppy Alvin and he still shows them love.  Everywhere we go, whether it is the feeding centers, the detention centers or the dark city streets, the cry of Poppy Alvin was heard.  The reason these young people love Alvin so much is that he filled a basic need  in their lives.  God created the family unit in the Garden of Eden.  God’s model was a father leading the family with a mother as a help mate.  Neither role was more important than the other, but both are important in the growth of a well balanced child to adulthood.  If they don’t get the guidance at home they will look for it elsewhere, many times in gangs that give them the false sense of a cohesive family unit.

          Father you are needed, if our country is to get back on track.


Apr 25 2017

MOTHER YOU ARE NEEDED!

          When God created this universe He gave Adam a help mate because He knew Adam could not handle the problems of everyday life without a woman beside him.  Adam gave her the name Mother, because she was the mother to all living persons except him.  Any grown man who has tried to exist by himself, especially if he has children, knows the importance of a good help mate.

          The Bible is full of good examples of good and not so good mothers.  Of course we can start with Mary, the mother of Jesus.  She was told by an angel that she would have the son of God, even though she was a virgin.  Even though the Bible says she was “perplexed”, she never disobeyed God’s instructions. She was there as Jesus grew up, when He astounded the Scribes and Pharisees at age 12, when He left the family business at age 30 to begin a ministry that would change the world, and finally at His crucifixion, resurrection, and return to Heaven.

          Hannah was a childless woman until God answered her prayers for a baby boy.  She promised to take him to the temple to serve God.  The young boy, Samuel, picked Saul as the first King of Israel.

          Naomi was the mother-in-law to Ruth, but she did what God directed her to do in the life of Ruth.  There are many other examples in the Bible.

               I was in Honduras recently helping our friend, Alvin Anderson.  A gang member had accepted Jesus as his Lord and Savior and was living in a very small room.  The living quarters above one of Alvin’s feeding centers became available, so he moved his family of five (wife, 5 year, 3 year old on, and two month old daughter) up the mountain to the feeding center.  The young wife helped load the truck, then went back to clean the vacant room.  All the belongings for this family of five (fit on the back of a short bed Toyota pick-up truck, but they were happy because they knew God.

          Recently I talked with a young lady who was unhappy with life.  She and her husband had been married five or six years.  Her husband had worked himself up to be and assistant manager of a business.  They lived in a nice house and had a beautiful little boy about three years old. Yet, she was not content. I tried to tell her that the only true happy family has to have God at the center.  I don’t know if she heard me or not, but for the little boy’s sake, I pray that she did.

          Being a mother is not just giving birth, but taking her place in a family that desperately needs a family molded after God’s example of a man and woman working together under God’s directions.


Apr 12 2017

The Cross

  Why is the cross so important?

            To be crucified on the cross was a terrible way to die. When Roman soldiers took Jesus and two other men, who were convicted felons, they beat them with leather straps that had metal and pieces of bones imbedded in them. Then a crown of long, sharp thorns was placed on Jesus head. Then they made him drag his cross out of the city of Jerusalem, up the hill to a place called Golgotha. Jesus strength ran out NS He stumbled under the weight of the cross. An African man named Simon was close by when Jesus stumbled. He was ordered to carry the cargo the rest of the way. The crowd that had been mocking and calling Jesus names followed Him to Golgotha.

Jesus had lived out his life in human form for about 33 years. He had been a perfect example for us to follow. He endured through a crowd of admirers who shouted Hosanna and praises a few hours earlier to a howling mob screaming

“Crucify him”. He had fulfilled his human task, with one exception; He still faced that cruel cross. As he hung there taking all the signs of the world on His shoulders, He gave up his life. He had completed his task and his promise to his father.

            The crowd dwindled to just a few who were there when He took his last breath. Only one disciple is listed. Jesus instructed John to take care of Mary, his mother.

            If the story ended there it would be a sad tale, but thank the Lord the best was yet to come. When the woman went to the tomb they found out those amazing words, HE AROSE.

            That cross and that first Easter morning stand alone in a world of conflicting beliefs Because He lives we can live also, if we just appropriate John 3:3 and live for God instead of the world.


Jan 25 2017

LOVE GOD WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH

When the Israelites were fleeing from Egypt with the army coming up behind them, GOD opened up the Red Sea and allowed them to cross on dry land. After the sea closed over the army and the Hebrews were safe on the other side, Moses sang a song, “The Lord is my Strength and song, and He has become my salvation”. (Exodus 15:2)

          Samson’s strength was in his hair until he was seduced by a woman.

          The Psalm writers spoke of strength from GOD often. “The Lord is my strength” (Psalms 28:7) “God will give us strength in time of trouble” (Psalms 37:39) “God is our refuge and strength” (Psalms 46:1) and there are others who acknowledge that our strength comes from GOD.

          Isaiah 40:28 & 29 says “Do you not know? Have you not heard? The everlasting GOD, the Lord, the creator of the ends of the earth does not weary or tire. His understanding is not weary or tire. His understanding is infinite, He gives strength to the weary and to him who lacks might He increases power”.

          The lesson to us as a church is that none of us has strength in all areas, but together our combined strength can make a strong cord working in harmony for the Lord.

 
 

Jan 25 2017

LOVE GOD WITH ALL YOUR MIND

When we say we will love GOD with all our mind we are saying we will put God at the top of our priority list.

            Daniel prayed that Nebuchadnezzar’s mind would be changed to that of an animal that ate grass with the other beast of the field. (Daniel 4:16) GOD is willing and able to change our sinful minds, but we must submit to HIS will.

            After Jesus defeated death and had come back to be with the disciples, two of them were walking from Jerusalem to Emmaus. As they walked along Jesus joined them. They didn’t recognize him because of their grief. Jesus expounded on the scriptures until they reached Emmaus. Then the scripture says “Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures” (Luke 24:45)

            He can do the same thing for us. The Bible can be hard to understand sometimes in our normal minds, but if we are sincere and prayerfully ask GOD to explain what we have read He is fateful to show us what it means to us.

            We have a lot of terrible things happening to our country today. Paul spoke about this to the Romans. “And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge GOD any longer, GOD gave them over to a depraved mind, to do things which are not proper.

            People today wonder why people have become so mean, but Paul understood it.

            We have taken GOD out of our schools, public places and basically out of our lives. Is there any wonder that minds are depraved.


Jan 25 2017

LOVE GOD WITH ALL YOUR SOUL

The soul is the most important part of the human existence. This element lives on after the death of the body, and will someday be reunited with a resurrected body to eternity.

          The Psalm writers had a lot to say about the soul.

          Psalm 16:10 David prayed to GOD and thanked Him that GOD would ‘ not abandon my soul in Sheol ‘.

          In the 23rd Psalm it states “He restores my soul”.

          Psalm 42:1 – The sons of Korah wrote “As the deer pants for the water brooks, so my soul pants for you, O GOD.”

          And we sing David’s praise all that is within me, bless His holy name.

          And Peter warned about keeping away from sinful situations. The scripture tells us to flee from any appearance of evil.

          I Peter 2:11says “Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul”.

          The soul is our most important part of our human existence, and the only thing that will stay with us forever, so it is our number one priority to love GOD with all our soul.


Jan 25 2017

LOVE GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART

Genesis 8:21           

            The Bible definition of the word heart is “the mind or seat of emotions, a person’s moral being, a physical organ”.

            The Bible speaks of the intent of a man’s heart. What is the most important thing in your life? Hearts can be hardened. The more a person rejects or postpones the gospel the harder the heart becomes. That is the reason it is so important to work with our young people while they still have tender hearts. Their minds and hearts are going to be filled with either the world’s sinful views or the pure truth of the word of God.

            The Psalm writer talks about hiding the word of GOD in his heart. Are we storing away the word of GOD in our hearts?

            Proverbs talk about a joyful heart and a troubled heart. You can usually tell what is in a person’s heart by the expressions on their face. But in some cases the image on the face was set before the person became a member of GOD’S family. I know a man who had a hard, wrinkled, sad expression, but this person is beautiful inside because he accepted Jesus as his savior late in life.

            Jesus told us not to fear anything in this world because “greater is he that is in us, than he that is in the world.

            Sometimes we hear people refuse a job in the church because they are “burned out”. Galatians tells us not to grow weary in doinggood. GOD will give us the strength.

            When we love GOD with all our heart it means we are 100% committed to him.


Dec 12 2016

WHAT DOES CHRISTMAS MEAN TO YOU?

We are in a season of frantic shopping and are going from one meeting to another. From Black Friday until the ball drops on New Year’s Eve it seems to be a continuous series of “things” that cause panic. But is that what Christmas should be?

We are celebrating the long awaited birth of the Savior, God had promised after Adam and Eve sinned and caused us to need a way to Heaven. Throughout the Old Testament the coming Messiah was mentioned. Isiah gave His name. Micah told us where He would be born.

Jesus didn’t come as a earthly King’s son but rather in humble surroundings. If he had been born in a palace it would have taken less faith than being a poor carpenter’s son.

Although Jesus lived a perfect life (sinless) life He knew that the ultimate sacrifice to God the Father for the sins of each of us was in His future. He knew it would be bad and hard and even prayed to be relieved of His job. But he submitted to the will of His father, and was beaten, cursed, and finally nailed to a cross in the trash dump outside of Jerusalem.

That baby that the angel announced to the virgin, Mary, would be the perfect gift to the world, (The free gift of salvation). But just as Jesus submitted to God the Father, we also must commit our lives to God to receive this free gift.

So the meaning of Christmas is simple. That manger where the baby Jesus laid was in the shadow of the cross. Christmas and Easter go together.


Jun 16 2016

FATHER YOU ARE NEEDED

We are living in a time when God’s plan for a family is challenged on every side.  We waste so much time on something that doesn’t even make sense.  It was the plan that our creator devised to generate the earth, not only for humans but for the animal world as well.

In the l980’s a large nature preserve in Africa was being over populated with elephants.  The managers decided to take three hundred of the young elephants away from their parents and move them to another preserve that didn’t have many elephants.  They were big enough that they had no enemies.  The preserve managers thought that the elephants would get along fine with the rhinos.

After a few months they were surprised to find dead rhinos.  They set up a camera blind at a watering hole and were completely surprised at their findings.  The orphaned elephants had created gangs that attacked and killed the rhinos, completely against their nature.  Without parental guidance, the young elephants had made up their own rules.

I believe a similar situation threatens our children in today’s society.  A father and mother are important.  That parental guidance is essential in a young person’s development and growth.

Our church works with a tall African-American man from southern South Carolina. He went to Bible College in Texas where he learned Spanish and met his wife.  They moved to Central America where he and his wife now work with the street children in the capital city of Honduras.  There are many orphaned children in the big city, many who live in the doorways and vacant buildings of the city. Over the years, Alvin Anderson has shown the children that he is their friend and offers to help any of them who show that they truly want to change.  Some succeed but sadly, many have such a devastating addiction to drugs and involvement within the gang community that they go back to their former existence.  Though, they still respect Poppy Alvin and he still shows them love.  Everywhere we go, whether it is the feeding centers, the detention centers or the dark city streets, the cry of Poppy Alvin was heard.  The reason these young people love Alvin so much is that he filled a basic need  in their lives.  God created the family unit in the Garden of Eden.  God’s model was a father leading the family with a mother as a help mate.  Neither role was more important than the other, but both are important in the growth of a well balanced child to adulthood.  If they don’t get the guidance at home they will look for it elsewhere, many times in gangs that give them the false sense of a cohesive family unit.

Father you are needed, if our country is to get back on track.


Mar 22 2016

WHAT DOES THE CROSS MEAN TO YOU?

The word cross is derived from the Latin for crucifixion.  The Roans used this cruel means of executing.  The cross could be in the shape of a capital T or the more commonly used small letter t.  The hands or wrist were nailed to the cross member.  The feet were placed together so that a single spike could pierce them both.  The victim could rest some weight on a small piece of wood just below his feet.  This helped him push up enough to get a little air in his lungs, but it also prolonged his suffering.  When the legs were broken the process would be over because the victim could no longer get any air. (Matthew 19:32)

Our Lord knew what was in store for him as he rode into Jerusalem on a donkey, but He also knew that was why He came to earth as a baby on that Christmas morning over thirty years earlier.

The terrible beating He took, the crown of thorns forced down on His head, the blood He shed all the way up to Golgotha and the blood that dripped from His hands and feet and side, all were done to offer US sinners a way to Heaven.  (Romans 5:8)  There are some simple requirements.  You must realize you can’t save yourself, that you are separated from God and Heaven by a sinful nature.  Then we earnestly ask God to come into our heart and take over.  We repent of our sinful ways and live for God.  And we tell others that Jesus is our Lord (Romans 10:9)

We have the right to do this, because Jesus was willing to shed His blood and give up His life on earth for us.

To me the cross means salvation, not just a church steeple or something to wear.

What does the cross mean to you?