A Word from the Pastor

Colossians 3:15-17 says, “And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in your 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. And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.”
That passage plays a prominent role in this week’s bulletin, and also in last Wednesday’s sermon. Why the repetition? Due to the fact that we need to be called to trust the Timeless Truths of Holy Spirit-rooted peacefulness and thankfulness during these troubling times.
The hardest aspects of 2020 have not been the SARS-CoV2 virus or the contentious and now contested election. Our response to those things is the issue. The virus and the election are important, but most importantly they are opportunities for us to demonstrate that we really believe what we believe is true. Letting the peace of God rule in our hearts and being thankful in everything does not mean our heads are buried in the sand or that we are uninvolved. It does mean we are ruled by faith rather than fear and we live that faith in an inviting rather than uninviting manner.
Knowing truth is not as difficult as living truth. Praise God we have the “Spirit of truth…who will guide [us] into all truth” (John 16:13). Follow Him. Not the news. Not your fear. Follow Christ Jesus.


Fruitfulness is Linked to Faithfulness

John 15:5, “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.”
Every road has two ditches. One says, “I can’t do anything.” The other, “I can do it all by myself.” Remember Jesus never said, “Without Me you cannot do the big stuff.” The issue is not that we can do some things in our own strength. The issue is that we can do nothing apart from Christ. Fruitfulness in God’s work has one requirement: faithfulness in God’s Son. The only way a believer will make any progress in becoming more like Christ, is by relying on the Holy Spirit rather than our own abilities. To abide in Christ requires trusting Him, no matter what. He will take care of the rest.


Would You Bow Down?

Everybody lives by faith in something or someone. The difference between a true believe and an unbeliever is not the presence of faith but the object of their faith. Daniel 3 is the text for today’s study and this evening’s sermon. There we find that leaders and influencers from across the great Babylonian Empire were assembled to worship the 90′ high and 9′ wide golden image that King Nebuchadnezzar had erected. He wanted to unify his diverse empire by means of religion and fear. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Faith Tried by Fire

Trials are used by God to develop our faith. The same trials are used by the enemy to destroy us. During such times we will either be drawn closer to the Lord or further away from him. 
The Babylonian authorities showed up because of the King’s commands. They all stood up for the image’s dedication. When the music played they all bowed down. All except for three. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused to break God’s Law. They had already proven a willingness to cooperate with their new pagan leaders, but they would not compromise the clear commands of scripture. Instead, they were willing to pay the price that comes with trusting God.
I wonder if the Apostle Peter had these three men in mind when he wrote 1 Peter 1:7; 4:12:
That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:
Shadrach, Mechach, and Abednego were confident in the Lord’s control of  their situation. They stood tall when everyone else bowed low.
Would you bow down?
That is a question to ask and answer as we work through Daniel 3 tonight at 7pm. 


Walk with the Lord and Never Walk Alone

Psalm 48:14, “For this God is our God for ever and ever: he will be our guide even unto death.”

God may be trusted because God always keeps His promises. God has promised to never leave or forsake His people (Joshua 1:5; Hebrews 13:5). Those who walk with the Lord never walk alone. Trust Christ and He will be your guide not only in the pilgrimage through this world but into the world yet to come. Commenting on this verse C.H. Spurgeon wrote, “Farewell, fear. Come hither, gratitude and faith, and sing right joyously.” That kind of confidence is available to all who will trust the Lord to walk with them throughout this life and right into eternity. The Lord Jesus is the resurrection and the life. Whoever trusts Him, though he die, yet shall he live. Have you trusted Jesus?


Being Involved

The king couldn’t sleep. Dark dreams had filled his head of late. This man who led the most glorious empire in the world discovered that power, wealth, pleasure, or achievement were not enough to guarantee a good night’s rest. Since Nebuchadnezzar could not sleep, he had the wise men roused from their bed chambers. He demanded that they not only interpret his dream, but he first wanted the dream solvers to tell him what the dream was. In essence, Nebuchadnezzar didn’t just want his dream explained. He wanted himself to be explained. The king was terrifyingly troubled because he was unwilling to deal with the ultimate issues of life: “Who am I? Why am I here? Where am I going? What does it matter?” 
In steps Daniel at this point of the drama. He was one of the wise men in the realm, along with Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. They were all to be executed. We know from 1:17-20 that these four men were highly favored by the king, but evidently that wasn’t enough to save them from his wrath. Nebuchadnezzar seemed to struggle with fits of rage, and this wouldn’t be the last time.

Daniel’s involvement highlights character qualities that we would do well to emulate. We also must bear in mind as we highlight the six characteristics evident in Daniel 2:13-30, that they were all exhibited while Daniel was literally under the gun (the sword, in his case). The king’s agitation had created adversity for Daniel and his cohorts. Albert Einstein said, “Adversity introduces a man to himself.” Kentucky’s own James Lane Allen wrote, “Circumstances do not determine a man, they reveal him.” Daniel’s character was certainly revealed during this time of adversity. 

Livestream at 7pm

Tonight at 7pm we will livestream our mid-week Bible study of this life-or-death situation for Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. We shouldn’t forget that this wasn’t their first exposure to bad times. It wouldn’t be their last. Let’s also be reminded that while it’s normal to think we’ve never had it “this bad” before, that just isn’t true. Life is not easy. Life is not safe. Thankfully, our ultimate reward is not to be found in this life. Still, while here we should be involved. Daniel provides a solid template to follow.


Keeping the Faith

Daniel is a marvelous book of prophecy. But do not forget that Daniel was a real man. So were Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, and all the other players mentioned in this book. Daniel experienced real visions from God. The Holy Spirit inspired him to record those visions during real-life situations. As you read through the book, the difficulty of those real-life situations is immediately and consistently apparent. I believe it’s safe to suggest that, much like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, we are living during challenging times, and not just because of COVID-19. Like those four men, we are living in a faithless age. We are to be faithful. Just as they were.
The prophetic teaching of Daniel begins in earnest with chapter 7. From there through chapter 12 we learn of God’s sovereign power and rule over future events. The evidence of God’s sovereign power and rule over past and current events is what gives weight to those future claims. God’s ruling and over-ruling past and current events is what we find in Daniel 1-6. In those first six chapters we are reminded in dramatic fashion how God intervenes on behalf of His people for His glory, which is always for their good. We also see that His intervention takes shape both in the form of discipline and blessing.
This morning our text will be Daniel 1. We will be encouraged by examples of men from the past who kept their faith in the same God we serve during their own difficult days. May we do likewise. The livestream will begin at 11am.


God Is Faithful

Lamentations 3:22-24, “It is of the Lord‘s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. The Lord is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him.”
This is a blessed and TIMELESS TRUTH. God is faithful. Faithfulness describes His character. Paul stated at the beginning of 1 Corinthians, “God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of His Son Jesus Christ our Lord. “Faithful is He that calleth you, who also will do it” is how Paul ended 1 Thessalonians. Man is regularly faithless. God is utterly faithful. God never changes with the circumstances or the times. Man does. God never wakes up on the wrong side of the bed. Man does. God is always reliable all of the time. Man isn’t. Have faith in God, not man.

 Live-streaming at 7pm tonight

The faithfulness of God will be the focus of our Bible study this evening at 7pm. The continuing restrictions surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic means this study will be live-streamed only. Click here to view the live-stream. This evening’s text will be Lamentations 3:22-24, a familiar, well-loved passage, and for good reason. One of the greatest hymns of all time – Great Is Thy Faithfulness – is based on this text. God’s faithfulness is one of the most treasured of His TIMELESS TRUTHS.

 Until then…

At 7pm tonight, have your Bible open to Lamentations 3, and be logged on to the live-stream. Until then, think on this. God’s faithfulness is… (click link to open a page with all the scriptures listed below) 
  • Incomparable – Psalm 89:8
  • Impeccable – 2 Timothy 2:13; Psalm 89:33
  • Infinite – Psalm 36:5
  • Indestructible – Psalm 119:89-90
  • Unbreakable – Deuteronomy 7:9
  • Available – 1 John 1:9
  • Durable – 1 Corinthians 10:13
  • Dependable – 1 Peter 4:19