We Are Prepared 

1 Timothy 6:7

“For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.”

Famous American inventor and statesman, Benjamin Franklin, is credited with saying, “Nothing is certain except for death and taxes.” It seems we spend much of our time, effort, and energy, trying to avoid these things, rather than preparing for them. Some of us will exercise regularly, change our diet, and get regular checkups with our family doctor, in an attempt to postpone the inevitable. Others, will avoid any thought whatsoever of death or dying, and live this life as though it will last forever. Some, might have a risk-it-all attitude, where they live life on the edge, while others will attempt to amass as much stuff in this life as possible. Remember the mantra “He who dies with the most toys wins”?While I am not suggesting that eating healthy or enjoying life are bad ideas, I am saying, attempts to avoid or ignore death, are not nearly as important as attempts to prepare for it.

Matthew 6:19-20 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.”

Jesus explained the folly of living for this life only. He reminds us that all we have acquired in this life, is subject to theft or decay. Not long ago, a water line under our house sprung a leak and ruined the flooring in our living room. I can remember the excitement on my wife’s face when the floor was first laid. While we knew it would not last forever, neither of us thought it would go so quickly. Life is like that, we live as though things will continue on forever, not because evidence suggests it, but because we do not want to face the reality that we are temporal beings with a shelf life. All of us must take seriously the words of the Apostle, realize the brevity of life, and prepare for eternity.

“For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.”

While it is true we can take nothing with us, we certainly can send things on ahead. Jesus maitained, we can store up treasures in heaven. We are all taking a trip one day into the unknown, to a destination where we have never traveled. While we cannot know everything we will face when we arrive, we can prepare in advance for our destination. Step one is to receive Christ; He alone is the way into heaven. Step two, get to know His Word, and live for the things that will outlast this life. The Bible teaches us there are only three things which are eternal: God, His Word, and the souls of men. If we want to live for that which will outlast this life, we must put Jesus first, get to know Him through the pages of our Bible, and seek to impact as many as possible for the kingdom of heaven.

Pastor Jim

You’re Doing It Wrong

1 Thessalonians 2:13 

“For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe.”

A few days ago I was working at my computer using a program that had been updated with new features. While I had used the program before, these new features added elements with which I was unfamiliar. I was having trouble with what should have been a pretty simple task. Each time I tried to make it do what I wanted, the program would override my action, doing something else to the document. In frustration, I called out for help from one of the other pastors, who is quite computer savvy. When he came to my aid I said, “This stupid thing is not working.” To which he replied. “That’s because you are doing it wrong.” After a moment of being offended, I realized he was right and I humbled myself allowing him to show me the correct way to work the program. I was delighted to find it was not the program that was being stupid, and the upgrades were actually quite helpful. But what does that have to do with our text?

“The word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe.”

I have heard people say something to the effect of, “I tried reading the Bible, but it did not work for me.” Others, might even goes so far as to say, “I tried Jesus, it did not work.” To which I think the proper response would be, “you are doing it wrong.” Notice that Paul speaks of the effectiveness of the Word of God to work in the life of the believer. He actually lists three necessities if we want the Word of God to work effectively in us.

You received the word of God which you heard from us”

First, they took the time to hear the Word of God. We read in Romans that “faith comes by hearing the Word of God” (Romans 10:17). The first step to being transformed by God’s Word is to receive the Word. We must put ourselves in a place where we are ingesting the Word of God on a regular basis. This includes the need for daily Bible reading, as well as church attendance, where we are being taught through the Word of God. Sadly, not all churches teach the Word. Find one that emphasizes the Bible and teaches through it.

“. . .you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, . . .”

Second, as they read through the Word, or heard Paul teach, they recognized these were not the opinions of man to be argued with, updated or discarded. Instead, they realized the Bible is in fact, the Word of God given to man. Writing to Timothy, Paul declared the Word of God is inspired and profitable. We all like that word profit, it means we gain from it. When we understand the Bible is of great value, take the time to listen to it, not to argue with God, or try to conform its teaching to fit our lifestyles, we will find that it effectively works in us.

“. . . the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe.”

Finally, Paul declares when they heard the Word, it was coupled with faith. They believed God wanted to do exactly what He said and they expected to see those things worked out in their lives. I recently read a tweet that said, “If you are not praying for a miracle you probably won’t get one.” The same idea is true when reading the Word. If you do not believe what God is saying, you are not going to be willing to put it into practice, and you will find yourselves accusing the Word of God of being impotent, instead of effectual.

Allow me to encourage you to approach your Bible as the Word of God, receiving it daily, trusting in its warnings and promises, so you, like the Thessalonians, may find that it has effectively worked in you.

Pastor Jim


  

The Word Of God Is Greater

1 Chronicles 22:13
“Then you will prosper, if you take care to fulfill the statutes and judgments with which the Lord charged Moses concerning Israel. Be strong and of good courage; do not fear nor be dismayed.”

As the time of David’s departure drew near he took the time to commission his son to follow and serve the Lord. Solomon would be surrounded by things that would make his task easier but it would ultimately be his own responsibility to choose to live according to the precepts laid down in the word of God. Solomon had the gifts he received from God, the pattern and the resources his father had left behind and he was surrounded by the men who had assisted David in his walk with the Lord. Sadly, the one thing that was missing was a personal desire in Solomon to live a life that pleased the Lord. Instead his life was marked by constant and continual compromise.

There are many pitfalls that make it difficult to follow Christ. We are all constantly bombarded with temptations designed to lead us down roads that take us farther and farther from the paths of God. What we often forget is that we have also been given a roadmap in the scriptures that is designed to guide us through these difficult seasons. When we choose to take the counsel laid forth by David and give care to keep the statutes found in the pages of our Bibles we will find great success.

At the end of the day Solomon had no excuse for his constant compromise. For while the temptations may be great the word of God is greater.

Jim

 

Consider God

Psalms 10:4
“The wicked in his proud countenance does not seek God; God is in none of his thoughts.”

The Psalmist points out at least four characteristics of the wicked. First, he declares that they do not think about God. One of the surest ways to live a life that pleases the Lord is to consider Him before you act. If you take the time to ask yourself, “What does God think about this?” you will find that you begin to make better and wiser decisions.

Psalms 10:5 “His ways are always prospering; Your judgments are far above, out of his sight…”

The Bible was designed to be a light for our path. It’s purpose is to be a guide instructing us to live a life that will be rewarded by God. One of the keys to successful living is to familiarize ourselves with its contents. The better you know the Word, the easier it becomes to make decisions that please the Lord. The wonderful thing about the Bible is that the Spirit of God empowers the word of God. In other words, we are not left to our own strength to do what the Bible says. As we read it, we are transformed by it and find ourselves living according to it.

Psalms 10:11 “He has said in his heart, ‘God has forgotten; He hides His face; He will never see.’”

It is amazing what we will do if we don’t think anyone is watching us. It is not uncommon to catch a person singing along to a favorite song in the car. They have lost sight of the fact that others can see them. When they realize that another car has pulled up next to them, they are filled with embarrassment. When we realize God watches everything we do, we will be much more careful not to misbehave when we are alone.

Psalms 10:13 “Why do the wicked renounce God?  He has said in his heart, ‘You will not require an account.’”

The end of every road is the throne of God. One day we will all stand before Him, to give an account for the life we lived. If we keep this fact in the forefront of our minds, it will effect every area of our lives.
Let us remember the Lord and live our life according to His ways.

Pastor Jim

 

 

A Personal Story

Matthew 1:1

“The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham”

I did not grow up going to church and when I was 15 years old I had never even seen a Bible. A close friend of mine went on a family trip to visit his grandmother who apparently was a believer, although I had no idea what that even meant. Upon his return he told me that he thought we needed to be “better” and stated that he was going to begin to read the Bible. I told him that I would join him in this venture and when I arrived home that day I asked my mom to get me a Bible. A few days later I found a little green book on my dresser. On the front cover it read, “New Testament.” I took the book to my mom and stated that I wanted a Bible, not some modern book and she explained to me that the New Testament was the second half of the Bible. I returned to my room and began to read. Three times I started and three times my mind wandered away from the pages not understanding a single word. I tossed the book back on my dresser and said to myself, “I guess this Bible stuff is not for me.” 

If this is your first time reading through the Bible you may have encountered the same difficulty that I did. You have found that the first 17 verses of Matthew are a list of names of people that you have never heard of and have a difficult time pronouncing. Allow me to encourage you that it is OK to skip the names. Pick up in verse 18 and begin the most fascinating story about the most exceptional person who has ever walked the face of the planet. 

A few years later, after becoming a believer myself I was given a little instruction that got me past the first few verses into an adventure of getting to know God personally through His word. I want to invite you to join me on that adventure as we read the word of God together and get to know the God of the word. 

Pastor Jim 

  

Jim Gallagher

Matthew 1:1
“The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham”

I did not grow up going to church. At the age of 15 years old, I had never seen a Bible. A close friend of mine went on a family trip to visit his grandmother, who apparently was a believer, although I had no idea what that meant. Upon his return, he told me he thought we needed to be “better”. He stated, he was going to begin reading the Bible. I decided I would join him in this venture, and when I arrived home that day, I asked my mom to get me a Bible. A few days later, I found a little green book on my dresser. On the front cover it read, “New Testament.” I took the book to my mom, and told her I wanted a Bible, not…

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Sound Of Silence 

Malachi 4:4
“Remember the Law of Moses, My servant, Which I commanded him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments.”

The book of Malachi brings the Old Testament to a close. For a period of 1,100 years God at various times and in diverse manners spoke to His people through the prophets. That time had now concluded and for the next 400 years heaven was silent. It was not until the angel appeared to Zechariah and Elizabeth, that this silence was broken. Knowing that this time was coming, God exhorted the people to think back upon His written Word.

Our walk with God is sometimes like that. We are confused regarding a decision we are trying to make. We pray, fast, and seek counsel from others, but we seem to be met with silence from above. When this silence lingers, it can often lead to discouragement and even to doubt. I think it is important to keep in mind, that God allows those times in our lives so we will learn to cling to His Word. Times of silence are designed to cause us to exalt His promises and rest upon them. God exalts His Word above His own name, and desires that we learn to do the same. The most powerful and most trustworthy things in all of life, are the promises found tucked away in the pages of your Bible. Sadly, many of those pages remain unturned, and we are left discouraged when we should be filled with hope, help, direction and strength. If you are facing a silent season in your life, be sure to follow the advice of Malachi, and reflect upon the promises of God.

Pastor Jim

 

Sweet And Sour 

Revelation 10:10
“Then I took the little book out of the angel’s hand and ate it, and it was as sweet as honey in my mouth. But when I had eaten it, my stomach became bitter.”

The Bible is the most popular book of all time. It has been translated into almost three thousand languages, and has been distributed on every continent. In America, almost every household contains a Bible, and in many cases, they own more than one. Some Christians seem to be collectors of Bibles. Their bookshelves contain multiple translations of the Bible, and with the advent of smart devices, we can have a cornucopia of translations at our fingertips. All that being said, there seems to be a common problem around the world; people do not read the Bible. John’s encounter with this angelic being gives some beautiful insights into what we should do with our Bibles, and what our Bibles will do to us.

The angel gives John the book and instructs him to eat it. This serves as an illustration of the need for us to consume the Word of God. The message contained in Scripture has the power to produce faith that leads to salvation, to comfort us in difficultly, to direct us during times of confusion, to empower us for service, to convict us when we are going astray, to give insight into the ways of God, to challenge us to higher living, and to equip us to assist others who are hurting. However, this book, with all of its benefits, will have no effect on your life if it sits on the bookshelf. To benefit from the Bible, we must consume it. Taking time each day to read your Bible, memorize its promises, and put into practice it’s commands, will transform your life.

Notice also, John’s reaction to consuming the Word; it was sweet in his mouth like honey. Because the Word of God is living, it is timely; you will find His promises show up at all the right times. A sense of peace, comfort, and inner strengthening, comes with each promise. How blessedly sweet are the promises of God to the mouth of the child of God.

However, notice there is a deeper impact upon John than just a sweet taste. The Word becomes bitter in his stomach. When we have eaten something that has given us a bitter stomach, the body reacts by needing to “get it out.” The Word of God is like that. We read it and are deeply impacted by it. As its truths touch us, we become compelled to share them with others. It is difficult to read a promise, know a loved one who is struggling, and not want to pass it on. When we read of the promises of heaven for those who trust Christ, and the sorrows awaiting those who reject them, we cannot help but share the promises of eternal life.

Today, right now, read the Word. Let it minister it’s sweetness to you, but don’t stop there, let it become bitter in your belly, and share its promises with others.

Pastor Jim