Count On The Promises Of God

Psalm 108:12
“Give us help from trouble,
For the help of man is useless.”

David knew what it was like to receive help from others. One of the greatest stories in the Bible speaks of a time when he was so deeply discouraged that he felt as though there was no hope. It was into that scene that his friend Jonathan appeared and “strengthened David’s hands in the Lord.” In another place, David famously wrote

Psalms 133:1 “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is For brethren to dwell together in unity!”

Clearly the king knew the value of fellowship and had often experienced the help of man. It might seem almost contradictory then for him to speak of man’s assistance being useless. However I think we have all known times in our life where we appreciate the kindness of others but have found their words to be too weak to actually provide us with the help we need. There are situations in life that create a hurt so deep that only the Words of God Himself can bring us the comfort and hope we need. I am so glad that the promises of God were designed for seasons in life like that. When all else fails it is good to know that the promises of God are always yes and amen and that there is no force in heaven or earth that is strong enough to break them. Jesus said that a day will come when heaven and earth will pass away, yet not even the smallest marking within His promises will fail.

Whatever circumstances you are facing you can count on the promises of God.

Pastor Jim

Questions for Psalm 108

  1. In verse 1 David says that his heart is unmovable, and that he WILL give his very best to God.  Have you settled this in your own heart?  Do you allow difficulty to easily move you?  Look at Acts 20:22-24.  Was Paul easily moved?
  2. Look at verse 2.  When does David get started each day in giving worship to God? The bible does not say that we must wake up early to have a good relationship with God, but it is a good principal that early in our day we sit with Him.  When are your regular times of sitting with God?  Do you spend your best and first times with Him to be nourished and directed by Him?
  3. Look at verses 4 and 5.  How high does the mercy of God reach?  What kind of praise does this mercy deserve?
  4. As David meditates on the successes and failures of the nation of Israel (verses 10-13), what conclusion does he arrive at concerning how victory is won?  What aid did the help of man provide?


Love God 

“ ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:30 

The world is fascinated with love. Innumerable songs, books, plays and poetry have been written on the subject. Love is the favorite theme of Hollywood movies, gossip rags and television shows. We even have Valentine’s Day, where we celebrate love with flowers, candy and romantic sentiments. 

I grew up hearing the words “all we need is love” heralded through the airwaves. Love was an important subject in the times of Christ as well. When Jesus was asked what was the most important of all the commandments He responded, “ ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:30 

The scribes understood exactly what Jesus was saying and agreed with Him fully. They said “to love God and to love others is more than all the offerings and sacrifices.” We have taken the greatest commandment and put it through the word processor of modern times and reduced it to one word: love. Even those who do not follow Jesus (and a few who do not even believe in Him) will quote Him as saying the greatest commandment is love. They will go on to espouse, that if we want to live and die right, all we need to do is be loving toward one another. Since Jesus declares that this is the most important of all commandments, it is vital that we understand that the command not only states love is the greatest responsibility of man, but also declares who we are to love. 

Just to love our family, or be compassionate toward those less fortunate than us, or to be kind to our fellow man, does not satisfy this commandment. We are only fulfilling the great commandment when we are loving God first, and loving others as an expression of our love for God. Ask yourself this morning, do I love God first? If you do, He should have first place in your life, which means He will have first place in your living. If you love Him, you will spend time with Him, in His Word and in prayer. You will seek to please Him with your actions and express your love to Him in worship. Just to love, or to herald the importance of love, does not satisfy the greatest commandment. Instead, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. ’ This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself. ’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
Pastor Jim


Walking Together 

Amos 3:3
“Can two walk together, unless they are agreed?”

If you and I were to go on a walk, we would not have to agree about everything, but we would have to agree about where we were going. Once we disagreed about direction, we could no longer walk together. Amos is suggesting that Israel failed to walk with God because they were not in agreement with the direction God was taking them. This passage is written long after God had walked Israel through the wilderness and into the promised land, but I am reminded of what God told the people during their wilderness journey.

Exodus 19:4 “You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to Myself.”

God made it clear, the destination which He was leading Israel, was not the land of Israel, but was to relationship with God. We are all on that same journey. Once we have received Christ, we begin a process called sanctification, where we are becoming like Christ. Every trial and blessing becomes a tool in God’s hand to accomplish this work in our lives. He wants to cut away the things that are ungodly from our lives and replace them with things that bring Him glory. However, the only way we will be successful is if we agree with God that we want to become like Him. Once that happens, we will allow Him to remove unnecessary things.

Are you willing? Have you sat before the Lord and truly asked Him to do whatever it takes to make you the person He wants you to be? If not, do that now. Take some time to confess what you are doing wrong and ask God to help you do what is right.

Pastor Jim


From Start To Finish

Daniel 1:21
“Thus Daniel continued until the first year of King Cyrus.”

I remember the first time I heard someone teaching the parable of the ‘Sower and the Soils.’They referred to the person represented by the shallow ground as a “Firecracker Christian.” That is, someone who starts out with a bang, but burns out before too long. Sadly, the landscape is filled with believers just like that. It is refreshing to read that Daniel continued in his commitment to the Lord. His life becomes a good example of how to persevere in our walk with the Lord. There are a number of key components necessary for any who desires to remain committed until the end.

First, we read of Daniel purposing in his heart, or committing himself and his ways to the Lord. This decision came about by looking at life through the filter of the Word of God. His environment presented him with a lifestyle forbidden by the Bible, and Daniel chose to follow the Word of God, instead of the ways of the world. I think we all understand that resolve alone is not enough to ensure success in our walk with Christ, however, without resolve we will never get started. The first step is to commit yourself and your ways completely to the Lord.

Second, we read Daniel did not try to make it on his own. Many from Jerusalem were taken captive to Babylon, yet, Daniel surrounded himself with like-minded men. His three closest friends were men who also wanted to be committed to  God. As we choose friends, we need to look for those whose lives will encourage us to press on with the Lord.

Third, we find Daniel was a man of the Word. He knew the proper response to temptation because he was familiar with the Scriptures. While the dietary restrictions of the Old Covenant do not apply to the Christian today, the principle of looking into the Word of God to discover how to live never changes. The Bible will not only instruct us, but has a way of feeding us spiritually, so we become strong enough to obey God when tempted. Nothing is more helpful than a healthy diet of Scripture.

Finally, Daniel was a man of faith. When challenged, he suggested a test. He would obey the Word of God and allow his boss to determine if following the Lord proved to be a better way of life than disobedience. After  a short time, it was evident to all, that doing things God’s way was better. In Christian circles, we talk a lot about faith. Daniel illustrates one of the key aspects of biblical faith, that is, we are to look into God’s word and do what it says, trusting God for the outcome.

Seventy years after chapter one begins, Daniel is still walking strong with the Lord. Kings and kingdoms had come and gone, yet Daniel remained faithful to God. His is the example I want to follow. I hope you will join in as well.

Pastor Jim



I Thessalonians 1:1
“Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy . . .”

Serving Jesus is a team sport. If we are going to be effective, we must establish godly relationships with others who want to follow and serve Christ. Their lives, and commitment to Christ, will serve to propel us forward, just as ours does the same for them. In my earliest years of following Christ, a particular song was sung for almost every altar call, or response time, after a message. One line went, “I have decided to follow Jesus, though none go with me still I will follow, no turning back.” I remember clearly, grappling with the idea that if everyone of my friends walked away from the Lord, I would remain following Him. I believe we all must come to the point where we decide we will live for Christ, regardless of what others do. At the same time, I also realized, I needed help if I would succeed in this venture. I began to look for others who were committed to Christ, others whose example I could follow, and whose life would propel me to serve Christ more. Even the Apostle Paul understood this. We find when he ventured out to serve the Lord, he did not do it alone.

“Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy . . .”

We know a lot about Paul and Timothy. Much of the Book of Acts tells Paul’s story, and many of the New Testament books were written by him. Timothy was an early traveling companion of Paul, who later became a pastor, and was the recipient of two of Paul’s letters. Silvanus (also called Silas) is a little more obscure character in Scripture; although with a little digging, we can learn much from his life. We are first introduced to him in Acts 15, where he accompanies Paul and others, delivering a letter written by the Apostles to the gentile believers, outside the borders of Israel. He is called a prophet, and described as a man who, “risked his life for the name of Christ” (Acts 15:26). After delivering the letter, Silas joined Paul and Barnabas in the ministry at the church in Antioch. It was there Silas saw a remarkable difference in the atmosphere of the church. While Jerusalem was constantly doing battle with legalist who wanted to add regulations to relationship with Christ, Antioch was marked by the grace of God. The atmosphere of the ministry was one that allowed Jesus to get a hold of people’s lives and transform them, by the Spirit, and through the Word. Having seen this, Silvanus decided not to return to Jerusalem, but to join Paul in his ministry endeavors.

“But Paul chose Silas . . .” Acts 15:40

Not long after joining the ministry team in Antioch, Silas was asked to join Paul, as he ventured out on his second missionary journey. They would visit the churches he had started on his first trip, and take the Gospel to further unreached areas. From this point, Silas became a vital part of the mission work of the early church. While their travel was filled with wild experiences and great adventure, Silas is perhaps most well know for what happened in Philippi. It was there, he and Paul were arrested and imprisoned. Rather than complaining about the trial and how unfair it was for a child of God to suffer, they took the solitude as an opportunity to worship. Acts 16 records how, in the middle of the night, bearing the wounds of being beaten, and wearing the chains of incarceration, Paul and Silas began to worship. Of all the musicians who have ever been recorded, I wish we had a CD of those songs. Two men, facing great suffering, and perhaps even execution, lifting up their voices and celebrating the Lord.

It is exciting to read the stories of men who risked their lives for Christ. Their time has passed, and the mantle must be passed on to another generation. Will you pick it up? Will you be willing to commit yourself to Christ, and surround yourself with others who will propel you forward, as you follow and serve Jesus?

Pastor Jim


Achilles Hill 

2 Chronicles 18:31
“So it was, when the captains of the chariots saw Jehoshaphat, that they said, ‘It is the king of Israel!’ Therefore they surrounded him to attack; but Jehoshaphat cried out, and the Lord helped him, and God diverted them from him.”

Greek mythology tells the story of the great warrior, Achilles, who survived many battles. As a baby, the legend foretold he would die young. To prevent his death, his mother took him to the River Styx, and dipped his body into the water. She held Achilles by the heel, so his heel was not washed over by the magical waters. Later in battle a poisonous arrow struck him in his heel killing him.

It seems that Jehoshaphat had an Achilles’ Heel of his own. We know him to have been a very godly man, who walked in the footsteps of the godly kings who reigned before him. We also know he was responsible for bringing spiritual reforms to Judah, and for sending teachers throughout the land to instruct the people in the ways of God. With all that, Jehoshaphat thought it was a good idea to befriend wicked king Ahab of Israel. A relationship that almost cost him his life. It wasn’t until he was surrounded by an enemy army, and face-to-face with his own death, that he realized the folly of this union and cried out to the Lord.

We need to be very careful. An ungodly relationship, or a compromise with sin, can undo years of walking with the Lord. It is not enough to wear some of the armor of God, we must wear all of it. If you have made steps toward walking with the Lord, but you are leaving one or two doors open to your old life, they will ultimately be your demise. Paul exhorted us to leave no provision for the flesh.

Perhaps it is time to reconsider some of your relationship choices. Are you being led away from the Lord by the company you are keeping? If so, make a break before you find yourself under a barrage of attacks too great to overcome.

Pastor Jim


Giant Killers 

2 Samuel 21:22
“These four were born to the giant in Gath, and fell by the hand of David and by the hand of his servants.”

In middle school, I could always be found hanging around with my friend Sean. We spent so much time together, we soon walked and talked the same. Truly, we had a walk; it was more like a strut. If you can imagine two 12 year old kids, 4’10″ tall, weighing in at 80lbs, strutting their way from class to class on the middle school campus, then you have a good idea of what that looked like. My point is, hanging together, we soon became like one another. This principle was true of those who hung around David, and is true of us today.

When we are first introduced to David, he is stepping into a valley to fight a foe that can only be described as a giant. Over 9ft tall and weighing well over 300lbs, stood a warrior that put fear into the hearts of all who saw him. The greatest champions of Israel cowered in their tents at the sound of his bellowing voice. Then came David. A young man, undaunted by the boastings of this giant, boldly approached, and in poetic fashion, defeated Goliath. There is little doubt, being around this young man would have a tremendous effect upon your life. It seems almost predictable, that we should read of David’s friends also conquering giants.

Solomon would later exhort us to choose our friends wisely. One reason is, we become like those with whom we spend time. It is so important to find others who will challenge us to press onward and upward in Christ. I personally want to be around men who will challenge me to be more holy, loving, and bold in my service of Christ.

Look around, are you surrounding yourself with those who influence you to become more like Jesus? Or are you settling for those who will allow you to be comfortable in compromise?

Pastor Jim


Shadow Boxing

2 Samuel 2:17

“So there was a very fierce battle that day, and Abner and the men of Israel were beaten before the servants of David.”

If we had a bird’s eye view of the events that transpired that day, we would see two armies positioned to fight against one another. On one side, the armies of Ishbosheth, led by Abner, and on the other, the armies of David, led by Joab. After a contest designed to show the talent of the soldiers, a bloody battle ensued, leaving three hundred and eighty men dead. If we take a closer look, we will see that this is not two armies fighting, but one nation turning on itself. When the battle ended, no enemy had been defeated and no real victory had been won. Instead, we find a nation has turned upon itself, leaving hundreds of families devastated, and the seeds of future conflict being sown. This battle was more like a cancer, and in the end, Israel was weakened by its victory. 

The applications from this truth seem almost endless. We see it implemented when the church spends it’s time fighting over minor doctrinal issues or philosophies of ministry, instead of seeking to proclaim the Gospel throughout the world. We see it in marriages, when couples fight over insignificant things, forgetting that it is possible to win an argument and lose a marriage. We see it in relationships, when people are unwilling to humble themselves and forgive, when they feel they have been wronged, and their stubbornness destroys a friendship. 

For the sake of the kingdom, your family, and your own health, it is time we stop fighting the wrong battles. Paul wrote to the Corinthians regarding interpersonal conflicts they were having, and said,  

1 Corinthians 6:7

“Now therefore, it is already an utter failure for you that you go to law against one another. Why do you not rather accept wrong? Why do you not rather let yourselves be cheated?”

Sometimes, the best thing we can do is humble ourselves, and let the fight end. Jesus declared a blessing on those who seek to make peace (Matthew 5:9). 

Pastor Jim 

Winning Team

1 Samuel 29:4
“But the princes of the Philistines were angry with him; so the princes of the Philistines said to him, ‘Make this fellow return, that he may go back to the place which you have appointed for him, and do not let him go down with us to battle, lest in the battle he become our adversary…'”

The Philistine lords gathered together to prepare an attack on Israel. Since David had been living among them, and was a tremendously talented soldier, King Achish included him and his men in the battle plans. When the remaining Philistine leaders saw David and his men, they immediately objected. David was an Israelite who had been responsible for defeating the Philistines in countless battles. These men knew that to include him in their campaign would prove to be a big mistake, as David would no doubt turn on them when the battle grew hot.

I find it interesting that these men were able to recognize what seems too allude so many Christians. The Bible clearly states, if we want to succeed in following Christ, we must surround ourselves with the right people.

Proverbs 12:26
“The righteous should choose his friends carefully,
For the way of the wicked leads them astray.”

Amos 3:3
“Can two walk together, unless they are agreed?”

2 Corinthians 6:14
“Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?”

Too many believers have begun to follow Christ, only to be tripped along the way by the company they choose to keep. While we are not to by isolationists like the Pharisees, who sought to remove themselves from any contact with the unbelieving world, we do need to recognize that the company we keep will determine the person we become. If you are single, don’t settle for someone who is not committed to Christ, just because you are lonely and they are nice. Make good relationship choices, beginning with, determining that you will be actively involved in your church, where you can be surrounded by others who want to follow Jesus, and will encourage you along the way.

Pastor Jim



1 Samuel 18:1

“Now when he had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul.”

The relationship between David and Jonathan is one of the most beautiful and encouraging in all of Scripture. We find that these two young men met while serving the Lord and furthering His kingdom. Their relationship was built on love, humility, and self-sacrifice. It was this relationship that proved to be a constant source of encouragement to David, and a means by which Jonathan learned to discover God’s plan for his life.

Friendships are essential to a healthy Christian life. Solomon wrote, 

Proverbs 12:26

“The righteous should choose his friends carefully, for the way of the wicked leads them astray.”

Proverbs 27:17

“As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.”

David’s life was greatly enhanced by the relationship he forged with Jonathan. Like a knife being rubbed against  steel, David’s character was sharpened by Jonathan. The jealous rage of king Saul often beat upon David’s countenance, and it was Jonathan who encouraged and strengthen him. In one of the more revealing passages we read,  

1 Samuel 23:16

“Then Jonathan, Saul’s son, arose and went to David in the woods and strengthened his hand in God.”

Jonathan did this by simply visiting his friend in time of need, and reminding him of the promises of God. This provided David with hope and strength to continue in that which God had called him. 

We would all be better off with a friend like Jonathan, but it is important to keep a few things in mind. First, David and Jonathan met while serving the Lord. The best and healthiest relationships are the ones forged in the service of Christ. The more we dive into “Kingdom work,” the more likely we are to meet others who will provide encouragement to help us keep on with Christ. Second, in a very practical passage, Solomon gives the following advice, 

Proverbs 18:24

“A man who has friends must himself be friendly…”

The secret to establishing good relationships, is to seek to be the friend you desire others to be. We all want a Jonathan in our lives, but perhaps a better approach is to seek to be a Jonathan in the life of others. He laid his life down, and sought to encourage David to become all God had called him to be. 

Pastor Jim