Let’s Battle 

1 Chronicles 20:1
“It happened in the spring of the year, at the time kings go out to battle… But David stayed at Jerusalem…”

Although the writer of Chronicles does not include it here, this is the time when David compromised, broke his own standards, violated the ways of God and sinned with Bathsheba. This is the lowest point in the life of the sweet psalmist of Israel. While there are many factors that led to his failure the text makes it clear that one of the contributing factors was being idle when he should have been busy in the battle.

The word idle simply means not to be working, busy or active. There are times in life when being idle is the exact thing we need; it was God who established the sabbath for Israel and desired them to take times of rest. Taking a break from activity to rest the body, wait on the Lord or simply enjoy the blessings of following Christ is an important part of life and our walk with the Lord. That being said, we must also realize that there are times when being idle can be dangerous. David’s problem was not that he was resting, but that he was resting when he should have been battling. He was in a season in life when the situation called for clinging to the Lord and stepping out in service, instead he chose to stay home, let his guard down and compromise his standards.

The seasons of life often determine our focus for us. If bombs are falling on the city it is not time for a family picnic. If you are in the midst of difficulty at home or work, or if you are struggling with something in your private and personal life it is not the time to sit back, but to clothe yourself in the armor of God and to battle the fiery darts of the wicked one that so often evidence themselves in thoughts that oppose the word of God.



True Grace

Jude 4
“For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Jude warns of those who turn grace into lewdness. The word lewd is somewhat outdated, but refers to something vulgar or obscene, especially that which is sexually immoral. Jude is referring to those who think the grace of God allows for behavior which is clearly forbidden in the Word of God. It is important to remember,  grace does not excuse sin, but provides forgiveness when we fail.

Recently, I heard a politician say how pleased he was with the states that voted for same sex marriage. His rationale held, since God created all of us, we should all have the same rights and privileges. I think this is a good example of forgetting that the grace of God does not condone sinful behavior. Sexual sin, whether it is homosexuality, marital infidelity, or premarital sex, is all clearly forbidden in the Word of God. To suggest that grace somehow overshadows the clear directives of God’s Word, is to misunderstand grace. Instead of releasing us to live however we want, grace provides a way for us to be forgiven and restored, no matter how we have failed. Perhaps you are married, and have been unfaithful to your spouse, grace does not excuse your behavior, but screams out that you can be forgiven, and your marriage restored. Perhaps you are a young person who has been drawn into the homosexual lifestyle. Grace calls out to you, that you can have your sins forgiven and be restored to relationship with God.

Instead of looking at grace as a license to misbehave, we should see it as an expression of God’s love. It is His desires that we spend eternity with Him. Let’s not cheapen His grace, but rejoice that He would pardon sinners.

Pastor Jim


On Second Thought

Jeremiah 34:10-11
Now when all the princes and all the people, who had entered into the covenant, heard that everyone should set free his male and female slaves, that no one should keep them in bondage anymore, they obeyed and let them go. But afterward they changed their minds and made the male and female slaves return, whom they had set free, and brought them into subjection as male and female slaves.”

As proof of true commitment to the Lord, the people were called upon to obey the Word of God by setting slaves free. Because of the intensity of the situation they were facing, the people quickly obeyed and emancipation began. Sadly, this obedience did not last. We read, after the slaves were freed, the people changed their minds. Perhaps setting the slaves free had intruded upon their lifestyle and they did not like it. Having to make their own beds, cook their own meals, and clean up after themselves, was too great an inconvenience. It caused them to choose instead, to disobey God and turn back to their former lifestyles. It is common for Christians to come to the altar, confess their sin, and leave it behind. Unfortunately, it is also common for Christians to turn back and get involved in the sins they had once left behind. As time takes us farther away from our initial conversion, we can forget how empty life apart from Christ really was. We can have a romanticized view of life before Christ. The devil is a master at making disobedience look like something that brings pleasure, satisfaction, and purpose to life. The reality is, life is really found in obedience to the Lord and His Word. Don’t turn back.

Pastor Jim


When Righteousness Dies

Isaiah 57:1
“The righteous perishes, and no man takes it to heart…”

Isaiah watched as righteousness ceased in the land. Those who lived their lives according to the standards of the Bible were looked down upon and even persecuted. Rightoeusness was seen as a plague, and the righteous were treated with contempt.

In many ways, we are facing the same attitude today. Unrighteous behaviors are being passed off as lifestyle choices. Anyone who dares to speak out against sin is called intolerant, while those who turn a blind eye to sin, or worse yet, applaud the choices of wickedness, are seen as openminded, loving, and progressive. We are failing to see that God has given man a standard to live by, and there are consequences for violating His ways.

One of Isaiah’s primary messages was unrighteousness weakens the nation. It mattered little to the prophet, the size of Israel’s military, or their economic condition. To him, the greatest danger was turning from the Word of God. We are constantly being reminded of the economic, social, and international troubles our nation has. At the moment, we are facing threat of war, threat of disease, and a continual economic crisis. The fact is, our nation is more than broke, we are in debt so deep it may be impossible to ever get out of it.

Instead of waiting for Washington, it is time for the individual Christian to take steps away from sin and toward the Lord. When we, as believers, choose to set aside sin, pride, prejudice or compromise, that action has a dramatic effect on those around us. Perhaps it is time to examine yourself and see if there are things that need to be set aside in your life. We may never know the impact a decision to stop smoking, drinking, or compromising will have on those around us.

Pastor Jim


For The Gospel’s Sake 

1 Corinthians 9:23
Now this I do for the gospel’s sake…”

When writing to the Romans, Paul explained, the message of the Gospel has the power to save the sinner. It is when a person humbles himself and accepts that Jesus Christ died to do away with his sin, that he is saved. In order for a person to come to saving faith, he must hear the message and see the reality of it worked out in the life of the believer. Paul, understanding the importance of the Gospel, explains to the Corinthians the things he was willing to forgo, so others would hear about Christ and believe in Him.

First, he speaks of personal freedoms he was willing to lay aside. In his case, he chose to support himself rather than being supported by the church. Others had misrepresented the Lord by making Christian service look like a means of making a buck. To combat this, Paul made certain, while he was in Corinth, money was not the focus of the ministry.

Second, he speaks of becoming “all things to all men that I might by all means win some.” Paul is in no way suggesting that he is compromising the message of the Gospel, or his Christian witness. Instead, he is speaking of being relevant to those whom he is seeking to reach. One way Paul did this was by speaking to be understood. His goal, as a pastor, was not to use such eloquence as to show the world how brilliant he was, but to speak with such simplicity as to be sure the message was clearly understood. He was also careful not to do things that would turn others unnecessarily away from Christ. He saw the big picture. He understood that many of the views, and lifestyle choices people were involved in, were as a result of not knowing Jesus. Instead of making it his aim to change the behavior of the unbeliever, he sought to introduce them to Christ, who would transform their thinking and their living.

Third, Paul spoke of disciplining himself. He realized, one way to undo all his efforts in Corinth, was to personally get involved in sin, thus “blowing his witness.” To guard against this, he treated his Christian life the way an Olympian treats his body. Knowing that success only comes with training, diet and discipline, Paul was sure to have a healthy diet of time with Jesus, study of the Word, and Christian fellowship, while at the same time keeping unnecessary temptation out of his life.

Finally, Paul writes, “When I have preached to others…” The Gospel is seen when we live like Christ. However, it is primarily, hearing and not seeing the gospel, that leads others to faith in Christ. “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.” ( Romans 10:17) To ensure that others came to Christ, Paul opened his mouth and declared the simple message of salvation by grace through faith.

Paul wrote, all this was done for the sake of the Gospel. It would do us all good to ask, “What am I doing for the sake of the Gospel?”

Pastor Jim


Slip Sliding 

2 Chronicles 1:15
“Also the king made silver and gold as common in Jerusalem as stones, and he made cedars as abundant as the sycamores which are in the lowland.”

After Solomon ascended to the throne of David, he was gifted by God with everything necessary to become the greatest king the world had ever known. Because of his father’s military campaigns, the nation would experience a time of peace unlike anything they had ever known. The wisdom of Solomon and the wealth of the nation made it seem as though they would have years and years of abiding peace, strength and growth. It seemed as though nothing could stop the nation that had been birthed by God. Tragically, in a few short decades, this nation would go through a heated civil war, dividing the nation, and costing many their lives. Not too much later, this nation would be defeated over and over again by their enemies, until they were finally overthrown and carried captive to Babylon. What happened? What caused the rapid fall of a nation with such promise?

The collapse of the nation began with the compromise of its leadership. By the end of Solomon’s life, the nation was filled with altars to false gods, and the people were involved in strange and immoral worship practices. This did not come suddenly. It was the byproduct of a slow, but slippery slope that began with just a little compromise. Solomon ignored the warnings of God, and began to multiply horses, money and wives unto himself. Soon his trust was no longer in the Lord, but in his army and his wealth. His wives began to turn his heart away from the Lord.

I wonder, if we were to truly examine our lives, if we could find things that do not belong? These things did not suddenly appear, instead we let them in gradually. A casual look at something forbidden, has led to an addiction that seems to control us. A neglect of the Word, has made it more difficult to get back in the habit of reading the Word, or a misunderstanding with someone, has led to a failure to be consistent in fellowship. Whatever it may be, understand this slippery slope will end with a tragic fall.

Before things get worse, it is time to get things right. Let’s determine, today, that we will walk with Christ.

Pastor Jim


Walking Through The Land 

1 Kings 16:32
“Then he set up an altar for Baal in the temple of Baal, which he had built in Samaria.”

If a traveler from a distant land were to arrive in Israel during the reign of Ahab, there would be little to convince him that these were a people chosen by God. If he entered from the north, the first thing to catch his eye would have been a massive altar built on a high hill in the area of Dan. This altar was erected to give worship to a massive golden cow the people revered as their god. If he came from the south, he would see a similar site erected in Bethel. If he made his way into the heart of the nation, to the newly built city of Samaria, he would find the focal point of the city was an altar built to Baal, the god of fertility. If our traveler were to continue through the towns and villages of Israel, he would see a wide variety of altars and high places built to almost every imaginable god under the son. Essentially, Israel had deteriorated from a nation whose purpose was to glorify YHWH, and be a beacon of light to the world, to a nation just like their neighbors. They had all the same problems, and addressed them with all the same solutions, as those who had never met the Lord.

I wonder what our fictitious friend would find if he were to enter our homes? If he opened the video cabinet, the refrigerator, or scanned through the search history on our computers or mobile devices, would he find different results than our neighbors who have never met Christ? If he observed the way we treat our spouse, or the time we give to personal devotions, would he conclude we were a people who desire to please God and obey His Word? If he were to measure the amount of time we spend instructing our children in the Word, and encouraging the behaviors that please the Lord, would he have hope that the next generation will follow Christ more closely than the current one?

Israel failed because they never got off the path on which Jeroboam put them. The longer they walked that road, the farther they got from the Lord. Perhaps it is time to stop going down the road you are traveling and make some changes in the way you apply Christ to your daily living. While this may seem like an insurmountable challenge, it is really as simple as turning to the Lord for help.

Pastor Jim


He Fell Down

Acts 20:9
“And in a window sat a certain young man named Eutychus, who was sinking into a deep sleep. He was overcome by sleep; and as Paul continued speaking, he fell down from the third story and was taken up dead.”

When reading the Bible, we should always look for application to our personal lives. In some texts, the truths to apply are very straight forward, others, are a little more difficult to find. This passage tells the story of a young man, Eutychus by name, who nods off during a Bible study and ends up dead. I think the passage is a warning of more than the need to stay awake at church. Eutychus’ fall is a perfect illustration of the way sin works.

Luke tells us the room they had gathered in was illuminated with many lamps. These lamps burned oil and gave off smoke and carbon monoxide. In this dimly lit room, filled with smoke, our young friend chose to situate himself on a window sill. To make matters worse, the room was located on the third level. Now, it is not sin to be sleepy or to sit in a window sill, but his actions do illustrate the steps that lead to a person’s fall. Facing a tempting situation, instead of being on guard, Eutychus put himself in a precarious place. Solomon wrote,

“Can a man take fire to his bosom, and his clothes not be burned? Can one walk on hot coals, and his feet not be seared?” Proverbs 6:27

When we put ourselves in certain places, a fall is inevitable. Eutychus could have avoided all this pain by simply choosing a different seat.

Second, notice he ignores the warning signs. We read that he was, “He was sinking into deep sleep.” He did not go from bright-eyed to sound asleep in a moment of time. Instead, he slowly, gradually, yet continually, nodded off. After the first or second time his head dropped, or his body twitched awake, it would have been smart to find a new place to sit; perhaps to stand up for a while or take notes. After all, Paul the Apostles was teaching; it was probably a study worth staying awake for. Instead, he stayed in the sill until he was fast asleep and ended up dead. Sin is like that. It never overtakes us without warning. Before we ever fall, we have to ignore the nagging of the Spirit within us, the Word of God, and many times, the people who God sends into our lives, in the midst of our struggle. How often, before you sin, has the door of escape become perfectly clear, yet you choose not to walk through it.

Finally, notice that this young man was failing to make significant spiritual investments. Sure he was at Bible study, but he was far from genuinely seeking the things of the Lord. To him a comfortable seat seemed more appealing than the Word of God. Showing up at church once a week is not enough to ensure spiritual growth. Personal investment in your walk with God is necessary. Those who find themselves growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus, overcoming personal sin, impacting others for the kingdom of God, are those who take time daily to invest in their relationship with Christ.

Thankfully, our story does not end with a dead young man. Instead, we read of the grace and power of God raising Eutychus back to life. Even when we fall, the grace of the Lord is enough to raise us up again. If you have failed, turn to Him right now.

Pastor Jim


Roller Coaster 

Judges 2:16
“Nevertheless, the Lord raised up judges who delivered them out of the hand of those who plundered them..

The book of Judges records a reoccurring cycle in the life of the young Israeli nation. Over and over, as the story unfolds, we will read of sin, suffering, supplications and salvation. The people will disobey the Lord, becoming involved in sinful and worldly practices. These practices will lead to suffering, and their suffering will cause them to cry out to God for help. Again and again, the mercy of God is revealed as God raises up judges or deliverers to rescue the people from the bondage their sin has caused.

This pattern is one which has sadly been repeated many times over in the life of believers down through the ages. We, like Israel, make compromises with sins that should be removed from our lives forever. As time goes on, we find these compromises have led us into practices we are ashamed of, and have a difficult time overcoming. Praise God, His mercy is new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23), and we can once again cry out for His forgiveness and strength.

If you are riding the roller coaster of compromise, it is time to learn the lesson of Judges. Remove forever those things that lead you away from the Lord. Victory ultimately came to Israel when David took the throne and made the Lord the center of national life. Put God first! Give Him your early morning, and the end of your day. Keep Him at the forefront of your thoughts, as you walk through life. Consider His ways when you are facing dilemmas or decisions.

Pastor Jim



Joshua 9:14
“Then the men of Israel took some of their provisions; but they did not ask counsel of the Lord.”

The men of Gibeon pulled off quite a scam. They went to great lengths to look like something they were not, in order to fool Israel into making a treaty with them. Old clothes, worn out shoes, moldy bread, all made it appear they had traveled a great distance. In reality, they lived within the borders of Israel’s land. Joshua and the other leaders of the nation were duped by the Gideonite’s ruse because when faced with this dilemma, they used their senses, rather than the Word of God. Had they taken the time to pray, God would have revealed to them the true nature of the Gibeonites. His Word already spoke regarding the inhabitants of the Land; Israel was to drive them out.

The reason for removing the inhabitants was quite simple. God knew the weakness of His people; they were easily influenced by the lifestyles of the people around them. He knew it would not be long before Israel was tempted to take on the sinful practices of the nations around them. To protect His people, He removed the temptation.

Sin, like the Gibeonites, is quite deceptive. It looks appealing, and even promises to bring gain to our lives. In reality, sin is always destructive. Too often, we make covenants of compromise, rather than driving things out of our lives. Sometimes, we leave things at arms distance, only to find that, in a moment of weakness, we fall into it again.

Paul reminds us of what to do with sin and the old life.

Galatians 2:20
“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”

Pastor Jim