The Exception 

Nahum 3:8
Are you better than No Amon that was situated by the River, that had the waters around her, whose rampart was the sea, whose wall was the sea?”

It is remarkable how we all think we are the exception to the rule. We believe wrong should be made right, injustice should be corrected, and sin should be punished, but we also believe that our wrongs are not that bad and should be overlooked. This is not a modern problem this is a human problem. Almost three thousand years ago, the inhabitants of Nineveh thought they could go on behaving however they wanted and would not face the judgment of God. They believed, others deserved it, but they themselves, were not as bad as their neighbors.

I few years ago, a man came into the church office bearing the marks of the abuse of alcohol and other substances. He was upset at how others were mistreating him. He went on a tirade against our town, at how unfair others were, and demanded that we give him some money. Without any regard for his own wrongs, he was quick to bring charges against us. When I began to address the issues in his life, he stormed out of the office, freely sharing how he now felt about me.

While this is perhaps an extreme example, it reminds us how easy it is to focus on the faults of others, while neglecting what is wrong with us. This is the type of behavior that keeps us from becoming the people God desires us to be, and destroys relationships. Jesus told us, that instead of focusing on the wrong in others, we should take the plank out of our own eye (Matthew 7:1-5). In other words, we need to deal with what is wrong with us first and foremost. It is right to be upset by the immorality that is rampantly displayed on TV and the big screen, but we cannot do so while neglecting to address the issues in our own lives.

Pastor Jim



Isaiah 16:14
“But now the Lord has spoken, saying, ‘Within three years, as the years of a hired man, the glory of Moab will be despised with all that great multitude, and the remnant will be very small and feeble.’”

The Moabites were not only Israel’s neighbors, they were also relatives. The Moabites were descendants of Lot, Abraham’s nephew. Their relationship should have created an alliance between the nations. Instead, their history was one of constant conflict. One of the most costly attacks during the wilderness years was masterminded by Balak, King of Moab. It was this constant conflict, against the people of God, which led Moab to the brink of destruction. Isaiah predicted, in three short years, Moab would be defeated and the inhabitants would be fleeing for refuge.

Since Isaiah did not date this prediction, we cannot know exactly when it was given. However, we do know, during the time of Isaiah’s ministry, the Assyrians were mounting attacks against the entire region. It was only a matter of time before Syria, Israel and Moab, fell to Assyrian forces. Hearing the warning from Isaiah, and looking around at the signs of the times, Moab should have concluded their time was short. They should seek to prepare for the unavoidable reality of coming face to face with God.

Isaiah presents an interesting scenario; he puts a shelf life on the Moabites, in order to help them prepare for eternity. It is as though they went to the doctor and heard compelling evidence that they would only live for three more years. I wonder, if the countdown officially started for me, and I knew I only had a few short years left, would I live differently? Perhaps it would do us good to examine our lives within the following categories, to determine if changes need to be made.

First, our spiritual life. God created us with a need to worship and a desire for Him. As a result, people must worship something; everyone, in one way or another, is religious. The issue is not whether or not you worship, but who you worship. Jesus explained that He came to this planet to enable us to prepare for eternity by getting right with God. This happens when we trust Christ as our Savior, and follow Him as Lord.

Second, our private life. We learn, at a very young age, to hide our wrong-doings so others cannot see them. It is important to remember, we cannot hide our sin from God, and our private life is a representation of our walk with God. Instead of hiding secret sins, we should be confessing them. Instead of spending our private time doing what we shouldn’t, we should spend that time with the Lord, in His Word and prayer.

Third, our family life. Perhaps the most important place for us to live out our Christianity is in the home. Our spouse and children learn far more from us than they ever will in a Sunday school classroom or a Bible study. Our Christian life should show itself in the home and in the way we treat our loved ones.

Finally, our community life. Jesus called people publicly, and sent them out into the world to make a difference. It is important for us to realize, we can make a difference when we live committed to the Lord. Our community life includes how we live at work, in recreation, and at our local church.

Life is short, let’s live for eternity.

Pastor Jim


Self Examination 

Job 15:12,13
“Why does your heart carry you away, And what do your eyes wink at, That you turn your spirit against God, And let such words go out of your mouth?”

Job has been plagued by a series of severe hardships that have caused others to believe he must be experiencing judgment from God for hidden sins. The body of the book is like a debate between Job and three men who are convinced he is hiding something. It is important to keep in mind, while their premise is wrong, much of what they say is in fact true. Here we find Eliphaz asking a very probing question that we would all benefit from taking a few minutes to consider. He asks, what it is in our hearts that is carrying us away from the Lord? Jesus asked a similar question, He inquired “what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” Both of these questions reveal that it is possible to have something in our lives which keeps us from true surrender to Christ, and may even be keeping us from salvation.

Eliphaz asks a second question that gives insight into the solution to the problem. He asks, “What do your eyes wink at?” Jesus declared that if the eye is good the whole body will be full of light, but if the eye is bad the body will be full of darkness (Luke 11:34). The idea is that the eyes are like a gate that brings information into he brain, and if we can control what we look at, we can also control that to which our heart becomes attached.

Perhaps it is time to consider what place Christ really has your life. Have you given Him reign as Lord, or is there something else that is the passion of your life?

Pastor Jim



Psalm 139:23-24
“Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting.”

In this portion of the Psalm, David prays three things: search me, try me and lead me. These are very interesting requests in light of what he has previously declared concerning God.

Lord, You have searched me and known me.” Psalm 139:1

In beautiful, poetic fashion, David declared there is nothing hidden from the all-seeing eye of God. He knows when we rise up and when we lie down. He knows our thoughts before we think them, and every word that leaves our lips. He knows the paths we choose to walk and where those roads will lead us. Our loving God thinks about us constantly, and no matter where we go, we cannot escape His peering gaze. The question that requires our attention is, if David knew that God has already searched him and known him, why pray “Search me…” ?

It seems to me, since David knew that God could see through all his disguises, he was actually removing the masks and allowing God to reveal what he was really like. He is asking God to reveal to him the things God knows are wrong with him, and to provide the divine help necessary to change. To use a modern phrase, our lives need to be an open book. Not only open, allowing the Lord to examine our hearts (after all, He sees all whether we try to hide it or not), but an open book, allowing the Lord to write upon the tablets of our hearts.

Have you laid open your whole life to the Lord and asked Him to examine you, and bring about the change that He desires? Take for example your private life, those moments when no one else is around; allow God to orchestrate what they should look like, and what needs to be removed. Or perhaps, your family life. All too often, we parent the way we were parented, rather than looking into the Word, at the example of our Heavenly Father, and seeking to have Him as our model. We must come to the place where, like David, we lay open our lives before the Lord, and allow Him to examine us with His loving gaze. When we do, we will find that His Word has much to say regarding our private life, family life, social life, and even our church life. Charles Spurgeon put it like this, “Like a Pharos, this holy song casts a clear light even to the uttermost parts of the sea, and warns us against that practical atheism which ignores the presence of God, and so makes shipwreck of the soul.”

A true believer is willing to be tried by God.

Pastor Jim



2 Kings 25:2
“So the city was besieged until the eleventh year of King Zedekiah.”

Imagine sitting on Mount Scopus, just a little northeast of Jerusalem, as the Babylonian forces surrounded the city. Before long, the walls were penetrated, and the city taken. First the leaders were gathered and executed, then the city was plundered and burned. What had once been a glorious testimony to the goodness of God, now told an entirely different message. All who watched the city fall should have learned the devastating effects of sin. Even after a contingency returned to rebuild the temple, Jerusalem would still bear scars from its fall.

For years, two different messages were being heralded within the city. There were the politicians who believed the secret to success was to form an alliance with Egypt and fight the Babylonians, while the prophets declared that it was time to submit to Babylon and trust in the mercy of God. Sadly, to the end, the people refused the ways of God, and the city was destroyed.

I am certain you are not surrounded by Babylon, but you may be facing some real life calamity. Sometimes, the difficulties we face are a result of the sins of others, or of living in a fallen world. However, it is at least possible, we may be facing the consequences of not obeying the Word of God. Take a few minutes to examine your life. If you discover you are involved in things that are forbidden by God, make the appropriate changes. The mercy of God is so great He will forgive and restore.

Pastor Jim



2 Kings 9:6
“Then he arose and went into the house. And he poured the oil on his head, and said to him, Thus says the Lord God of Israel: ‘I have anointed you king over the people of the Lord, over Israel.'”

Many men have been called and anointed by God for service. Unfortunately, too many follow the example of Jehu. He spent the beginning of his calling ridding Israel of those who had turned the nation against the Lord. One by one, his sword was a vehicle of judgment against the wicked leaders who went before him. Joram the king of Israel, Jezebel the queen mother, and Ahaziah king of Judah, were all slain for their wickedness, and crimes against the nation. After showing great zeal for righteousness in others, Jehu failed to show the same zeal for his own commitment to the Lord. After successfully using the sword against others, he allowed sin to run rampant in his own life. We read of him,

2 Kings 10:29 “However Jehu did not turn away from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who had made Israel sin, that is, from the golden calves that were at Bethel and Dan.”

One of the great dangers of Christian ministry is to become tolerant of your own sin, while focusing on helping to remove the sins of others. The devil is good at what he does, and what he does is deceive. He will spend great energies to get us to take the spotlight off ourselves, and only use it on others. The value of being in the Word of God daily, is that God will use it to probe into our lives and keep us on track.

Be careful to let God remove planks from your life, as He equips you to remove splinters from others (Matthew 7:3-4).

Pastor Jim