The Whole Town Is Talking

Ruth 3:11

“And now, my daughter, do not fear. I will do for you all that you request, for all the people of my town know that you are a virtuous woman.”


Ruth was not an Israelite, nor was she born in Israel. She was a foreigner from the neighboring country of Moab. The Moabites had a long and sorted relationship with Israel that would add to the stigma associated with this young foreigner. When Ruth arrived in Bethlehem, all that was known of her was that she was the widowed daughter-in-law of Naomi, who had left Israel ten years earlier with her family, and returned alone. It is probable that a vast array of stories began to spread regarding the character of this young woman. I find it striking, and encouraging, that in the short time she lived in this new town, she had quieted those rumors, and was considered by all who knew her, to be a “virtuous woman.” 


The word virtuous means to be strong and able. It is often used to speak of warriors in battle, but is also used to describe a woman of he highest caliber. The final chapter of Proverbs records the advice Solomon was given when looking for a wife. He was encouraged to find a woman of virtue. 


By her behaviors, Ruth was able to silence her critics, and set an example of godly behavior in her generation. Regardless of our gender or the difficulties we are facing, we should take a page from the story of Ruth, and seek to be a witness of Christ in the world in which we live. 


How are you viewed by family members, co-workers, and your community? Do they consider you to be a valiant,  godly individual? Does your communication and your behavior give evidence to your commitment to Christ? 


It’s time to become virtuous men and women whose lives testify of the grace and goodness of God. Our world needs us. 


Pastor Jim 

 

Raising Godly Children

Luke 1:80
“So the child grew and became strong in spirit, . . .”

IMG_1473Every parent has the same goal. We desire the best for our children. We want to see them achieve more than we have. We want them to make it through childhood not having been distracted or derailed by vices, but to be prepared to live godly lives and make good life choices. What a blessing for Zacharias and Elizabeth to read that their son, “grew and became strong in spirit”.

This statement reveals the grace of God, but it is also the byproduct of the way they lived their lives. We read in Scripture, and see in life, there are godly children produced in ungodly homes, however it is much more common for godliness in parents to be transferred to their kids. Notice for a moment the way Zach and Liz lived, we read,

“They were both righteous. . .”

Zach chose a godly wife, she a godly husband.
Zach served the Lord.
Together they were committed to the Word of God.
Even before John was born, they were praying for him.
They were real people with real struggles. Not having children and being older, caused Zach to question the promises of God; yet they continued to faithfully follow and serve the Lord.
They stood up to the culture – because Zach was mute, Liz named their son John. The people opposed her, yet she stood on the Word of God.
They worshipped the Lord. The moment his tongue was loosed, instead of blaming God for the difficulties of the last 9 months, Zach worshipped God.
They were filled with the Holy Spirit. Parenting is perhaps life’s greatest challenge, we cannot face it alone, we need a daily outpouring of the Spirit to succeed.

Perhaps the key to it all, they parented with a purpose. In Verse 76, we read they taught John the Word and ways of God. They taught Him God had a plan for his life, and taught him to live up to that plan.
We all want to see our kids and grandkids walking with the Lord. While we trust them to the grace of God, we also must set an example of walking with the Lord. Let’s commit today to put the things of the Lord first in our lives

Pastor Jim

 

Overcoming Obstacles

Genesis 39:9
“…how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?”

2015/01/img_1354.jpgJoseph faced a temptation that many would have succumbed to, yet he resisted, even when it cost him his job, reputation and freedom. There were many factors that could have influenced him to fail. His difficulties could have caused him to blame God for losing his family and his freedom; making him bitter toward God. The constant pressure from Mrs. Potifer, could have caused him to justify their relationship. After all, she must not have been treated properly by her husband, or she would not have been looking to the “help.” The customs of Egypt were, no doubt, much freer than those of Scripture. He could have thought “everybody else is involved in these kinds of behaviors.” While there were many things that could have led Joseph to sin, there was one factor compelling him to withstand the temptation. Joseph realized that a relationship with Potifer’s wife was a sin against God.

God has given us His Word, so we will understand His ways. Instead of blindly walking through life using our own experience, or intellect as our compass, we have been given the Word of God. The psalmist spoke of it as a light that illuminates our paths (Psalm 119:105). Peter referred to it as a light that shines in the darkness until the dawn appears and the morning star arises (2 Peter 1:19). Instead of blindly walking through life, we can have the Word illuminate the way. Tragically, many neglect the Word and use their own desire as a guide. Thinking of themselves as a “good person”, they do whatever seems best to them at the time. The end result is violating the ways of God, and suffering the consequences that come with it.

Joseph’s story was not over when the guards arrested him and threw him into prison. God still had plans for him, and would richly bless his life. Doing things God’s way, did not derail the life of Joseph, but if he had slipped, the story would have taken a turn for the worse. The key to the blessed life is not doing things our own way, but doing them His way. A decision to obey the Word, is a decision that will be blessed by the Lord.

Pastor Jim

 

It’s All Mine

Obadiah

The book of Obadiah is written as a warning to Edom; a people who inhabited the area that is present day Jordan. They are warned that because of their pride, they would soon be overthrown. That prophecy was fulfilled when Nebuchadnezzar passed through the area and conquered Edom.

The book also contains a message for Israel.

“But on Mount Zion there shall be deliverance, and there shall be holiness;
The house of Jacob shall possess their possessions.”
Obadiah 1:17

When Abraham was first called by God, he was given great and precious promises. He was told he would become a great nation, possess a great land, and provide a blessing for all nations. While these promises were fulfilled to a limited degree, Israel never experienced their fullness. We might say, they failed to ever really possess their possessions. When Joshua led the people into the land to take occupancy, he heard the Lord say,

Now Joshua was old, advanced in years. And the LORD said to him: “You are old, advanced in years, and there remains very much land yet to be possessed.” Joshua 13:1

After years of walking in the Promised Land, Israel had yet to experience all God had for them.

Many Christians do the same thing. While we might experience conversion, we neglect to move very far beyond that and find  we haven’t really experienced the fulness of our salvation. We, like Israel, fail to possess our possessions; but what are these possessions?

First, we possess the forgiveness of sin. Without coming to Christ for forgiveness, we are not a Christian. However, the moment we will lay down our pride and confess our sins and need for Christ to save us, we are washed in the blood of the lamb and become a child of God. That being said, it is important to realize there is much more to the Christian life than forgiveness. We are also promised victory over sin. In other words, we do not have to live constantly falling back into the same sins over and over again. Paul wrote,

“Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.”  Romans 8:37

And

“Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts.” Romans 6:12

Beyond that, the Bible also promises the believer will be given power to effectively serve the King of Kings. The Bible is filled with examples of men and women who were equipped by God to impact the world for the kingdom of heaven. Each of these individuals did so because they were willing to move on from forgiveness to service. I think a valid question to ask yourself is, “What have I done for the Kingdom of God?” If you have no answer or the answer causes you to look back in time, then you are failing to possess your possessions. It is high time we start investing in the Kingdom, after all, we will be spending eternity there.

Pastor Jim

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Unattended Children

Joel 1:3
“Tell your children about it,
Let your children tell their children,
And their children another generation.”

The days in which Joel lived were quite difficult. Israel was experiencing economically difficult times, brought about by locust swarms that had devastated the crops. Individual families were suffering greatly, finding it difficult to make ends meet or even provide enough food for the table. For the most part, people would associate their problems with natural occurrence; today we might blame it on mother nature. Joel, on the other hand, declared the condition of the nation was actually brought about because of the spiritual condition of the people. He declared things would only change when repentance occurred.

While it was important to declare this message in the chambers of the king and in the public gatherings of the people, Joel had another setting in mind where the message must be clearly taught. He wrote to parents to make sure they instructed their children to look at life through the filter of the revelation of God. Rather than seeing life through the eyes of pop culture, we must instruct our children to see the world the way God views it.

The responsibility for passing truth to the next generation is left primarily in the hands of the parents. The church, its children’s ministry, or youth group, play a role, but parents bear the primary responsibility before God of instructing their children in the ways of the Lord. The most effective way to do this is for parents to lead by example. Our kids should learn a proper world view because we have instructed them in the ways of the Lord, and set an example with our lifestyle.

Take some time today to talk with your children about the way to effectively follow Christ. If there is any area of compromise in your life, set it aside for the sake of your children.

Pastor Jim

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