Memorial Day Thoughts

Memorial Day is one of the most justified holidays on the American calendar. Our nation is right to remember and honor those who have sacrificed their lives to defend our lives and liberties. Freedom is never free. I have spent a considerable amount of time in Arlington National Cemetery, where line after line of simple white markers declare liberty’s price. The sacrifices of those who have paid that price is worthy of recognition. Those markers are simple but powerful symbols of sacrifice. Symbols are powerful things.

God and Memorials

God is big on memorials. They are found scattered throughout the Scriptures. One example is from 1 Samuel 7:12, “Then Samuel took a stone, and set it between Mizpeh and Shen, and called the name of it Ebenezer, saying, Hitherto hath the LORD helped us.” That particular memorial was used by Robert Robinson in the hymn Come Thou Fount. The second stanza says: 
Here I raise mine Ebenezer; Hither by Thy help I come; And I hope, by Thy good pleasure, Safely to arrive at home. Jesus sought me when a stranger, Wandering from the fold of God; He to rescue me from danger, Interposed His precious blood.
God is our stone of help; which is what the word Ebenezer means. The hymn beautifully reminds us of our need for memorials. God has been, and will continue to be, my Savior and my sustainer. Therefore I can be “Confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in me will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ,” Philippians 1:6.
 
On this Memorial Day let’s remember the sacrifice of men and women who have paid the ultimate price to defend the temporary freedoms we enjoy in this life. On this day, and everyday, let’s remember and announce to all who will hear the eternal liberty and security that is found in Christ alone.

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God Never Disappoints

Ruth 2:12, “The LORD recompense thy work, and a full reward be given thee of the LORD God of Israel, under whose wings thou art come to trust.” 
 
Grace has no conditions. God’s grace and favor do not operate on the basis of an employee and employer relationship. Ruth found grace and favor, not because of her good attitude and model character traits. Ruth found grace and favor because she sought refuge under God’s wings. She trusted the character and promises of God. Her example is one to follow. Seek refuge under God’s wings. Count His protection better than all others. Trust His promises from the core of your being, and you will not be disappointed.

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Grace is Greater

God’s grace is greater than your sin. That’s what the Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 5:20, “Moreover the law entered, that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.”
 
All those who have experienced this great news are eager to share it with as many people possible. This is true whether you’re an ordinary person or royalty. Nebuchadnezzar ruled an empire renowned for its military, cultural, and artistic superiority. What could possibly be greater than building and ruling such a kingdom?
 
Nebuchadnezzar discovered that answer. When he did, he enthusiastically shared the news with the entire empire. This evening at 7pm we will read and learn from Nebuchadnezzar’s testimony. We also learn, once again, from Daniel’s example. You see, the truth about God’s amazing grace will only be truly appreciated by the one who recognizes his utter sinfulness. In other words, the Good News is so good because the bad news is so bad. Daniel did not shrink back from communicating the TIMELESS TRUTH of God’s grace to his king. That required him to also be willing to describe why his king – like all of us – required grace.
 
Our text tonight will be Daniel 4. The Bible study will be live-streamed. While we have not officially relaunched the Wednesday night service, you are free to join us and welcomed.

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Do You Know Jesus?

Do you know who Jesus is? The only way to truly answer that question is to search for answers in the scriptures. John 1:1 says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

Jesus is a DIVINE Person

  • “In the beginning” – That’s eternity 
  • “with God” – That’s equality 
  • “was God” – That’s divinity
Jesus is God spelling Himself out in a language we can understand.

Jesus is a HUMAN Person

In John 1:14 we learn that “the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us,” and John was an eyewitness to this so he parenthetically adds “(and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”
 
God the Son become the God-Man with His birth in Bethlehem. That was so because man has a problem. That problem is sin, and sin pays wages. Sin earns death. Men are spiritually dead by nature, and to physically die in that condition leads to eternal death and eternal punishment for our sin. Only man is able to pay for man’s sins, and only Christ’s death could purchase our pardon. The divine Christ became human in order to free those who were held in slavery all their lives by the fear of death (see Hebrews 2:14-18).
 

Jesus is the God-Man

Jesus understands us. He knows and cares. During His brief ministry on this earth He caused the blind to see, the crippled to walk, the deaf to hear, the mute to speak. All of that was to authenticate and demonstrate who He was, and how He alone is able to make you whole. Jesus never ceased being divine, and He will forever be a man. He was not and is not half-and-half. Jesus does not wear His divinity hat sometimes and His humanity hat other times. He is the only and the perfect God-Man.

Ask yourself two questions.

Do I know this Jesus? Does Jesus know me?
 
Jesus addressed a large group of religious people when He said…
“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. I and my Father are one.” John 10:27-30
 
Do you know this Jesus? More importantly, does He know you?

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The Day Death Died

Fear is powerful. Scripture teaches that the fear of God is the way of knowledge, wisdom, fruitfulness and joy. There is such a thing as healthy fear, but often our fear is unhealthy. You may discern the difference when your fear leads you to sinful practices. Fearing poverty, some put their career before anything and anyone else. Fearing loneliness, many behave against their better judgment thirsting for acceptance. Fearing failure, many will lie, cheat, steal, or worse. This means that the problem isn’t fear but what we do with our fears. 
 
The greatest of all fears is the fear of death. That fears is universal, because death comes to us all. The rich cannot buy their way out of it. The intellectual can’t outsmart it. The physically gifted cannot outrun or outlast it. Death is the great leveler of humanity. No event is so sobering because no event is so final or so mysterious. The prospect of going through the veil by ourselves is enough to overwhelm any of us with fear.
 
Fear is what has humanity by the throat right now. We’re afraid to touch or be touched. We’re afraid of the air we breathe because we’re afraid of COVID-19. Our fear what we don’t understand, and we don’t know much about this new coronavirus other than out fears that it is a death sentence, either for ourselves or our loved ones.

Good news for the fearful!

Here is some good news. Christ Jesus came into this world to free those who were held in slavery all their lives by the fear of death. John 11 recounts the story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead, and provides a preview of Christ’s own resurrection. That chapter teaches us some comforting truths as we think about our own mortality. That will be our text this Easter morning.
 
One of my favorite passages of all scripture is John 11:25-6, “Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?”
 
View this morning’s livestream by following this link or by clicking the “Watch Video” button on our church’s Facebook page. A Facebook account is not required to visit that page.

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Timeless Truth for Temporary Troubles

2 Corinthians 4:16-18, “For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.”
 
Times are tough right now. COVID-19 is easily transmitted, is highly contagious, and attacks the lungs. All of these reasons make the virus particularly virulent for seniors or anyone with a compromised immune system. This disease is serious. We know that much, and that’s about all we know.
 
Not knowing creates discomfort and anxiety. We want our questions satisfactorily answered. There is much we don’t know about COVID-19 and will never know. But there was a lot we didn’t last year at this time, and that will be true next year at this time. We are limited.
 
The problem isn’t with our limitations or with our questions. There is no shame in having questions. What we do with the questions is the issue. Don’t allow difficult life situations to cause you to forget what we do know. “Never doubt in the darkness what God has taught you in the light.”
 
Psalm 27:13-14 says, “I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.”
 
Isaiah 45:22 says, “Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.”
 
Our temporary troubles will be overcome by God’s timeless truths. Trust God’s Word. That will be our focus this morning during our 11am livestream. Here are your options for viewing the broadcast:

 


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The Power of Weakness

2 Corinthians 12:8-9, “For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
 
Paul wanted his affliction removed. He repeatedly prayed that way. It remained. God never offered an explanation, but He did make a promise. “My grace is sufficient.” God’s grace enables His strength to be made perfect through our weakness. There will be times when God does not remove affliction. Instead, He gives grace so that the affliction works for rather against the believer. Believers live on grace rather than explanations. God’s grace will provide for our every need when needed. God’s grace is sufficient to save us from our sins and sustain us in our suffering. Our feelings change. Trust the promise of…
 
God’s
Riches
Available at
Christ’s
Expense.
 
God’s truth is timeless. His promises never change. His grace is always sufficient. It’s the power of weakness.

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