A Healthy Home 

Proverbs 4:3-4
“When I was my father’s son, tender and the only one in the sight of my mother, he also taught me, and said to me: ‘Let your heart retain my words; keep my commands, and live.’”

Solomon is giving us a brief glimpse into his home life. In these verses we learn he was raised in an environment of love. He proudly refers to himself as his father’s son and the only one in the sight of his mother. Whatever cultural experiences he might have had being the son of a king, his parent’s love for him was clearly evident. We also see, Solomon was raised on the Word of God. Although David carried the responsibility of caring for the entire nation, he did not neglect the responsibility of caring for his own son. He took the time to instruct Solomon in the ways of wisdom and the Word of God.

These are two key ingredients that must be found in every Christian home. Children need parents that love them, and express that love in such a way, they believe they matter more than anything else to their parents. Certainly, there were times when the responsibilities of the Kingdom took David away from the home, requiring his undivided attention. He seemed to have made a point not to let his children think the Kingdom mattered more to him than they did.

King David had the resources of the kingdom at his disposal. He would be able to provide the best tutors for his children, and send them to the best schools. While it is necessary to have help, we must realize, as parents, we are the primary players in the spiritual development of our children. Sunday school teachers and youth pastors are a huge blessing, and can have a tremendous influence on our children, for the Lord. However, we, as parents, need to make the primary investments of the things of God, into the lives of our kids.

I think the reason it is somewhat difficult to do this, is because of the fact, we cannot give what we do not have. I am incapable of helping my son with his calculus homework, because I do not understand the subject. Some parents are the same way with the Bible. If you do not spend time reading the Bible, you will not have anything to share with your children or others.

The key to investing the things of the Lord in the lives of your children, is taking time to, first, make those investments in your own life.

Pastor Jim

 

Daily News

2 Chronicles 31:3
“The king also appointed a portion of his possessions for the burnt offerings: for the morning and evening burnt offerings, the burnt offerings for the Sabbaths and the New Moons and the set feasts, as it is written in the Law of the Lord.”

God established a worship schedule for Israel that included annual feasts, weekly Sabbaths, and daily sacrifices. It was important for the people to gather on Passover to celebrate, but it was not enough. It was necessary to meet on the Sabbath, but it was not enough. For them to carry on a healthy relationship with God, they needed to start the morning with offering and end the day with sacrifice.

I recently heard a man declare he did not need to go to church because it wasn’t Christmas. I think most Christians would agree, going to church once a year is not enough to carry on a healthy walk with God. Unfortunately, many of the same Christians treat their relationship with God as though it were a weekly exercise. The only time their Bibles are opened is at church on Sunday morning. Just as Israel needed daily attention to their relationship with God, we need to give daily attention to ours.

I have found the most helpful habit to develop is to have morning devotions. I purposefully rise early, grab a cup of tea and sit down with my Bible. Taking a few minutes to read through the Word and think upon the things that I have read, helps to give me clear direction on how to honor the Lord with my life. This time also provides strength for what the Bible calls “the inner man.” The more time we take to feed on the Word, the more strength we will have to face the opposition of the day, and to impact others for the Kingdom of God.

Take time this morning to offer the sacrifice of time and spend it in the Word of God.

Pastor Jim

 

Time Management 

Psalm 90:10
“The days of our lives are seventy years; and if by reason of strength they are eighty years.”

When we are young we think we will live forever; death, even aging, is for other people. As we age, we still cannot imagine a world of which we are not a part. Yet, the Psalmist is making clear, we have been designed by God with a shelf life. In other words, one day we will expire. The bodies that we live in will no longer be able to sustain life, and we will move on to an eternal habitation. James put it like this, “For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away  (James 4:14). The word ‘vapor’ is defined as, “diffused matter floating in the air impairing its transparency.” In other words, a vapor is only slightly more than nothing. It speaks of the fact that life on earth is transitory, not permanent. This does not mean that life is meaningless.

God actually places the highest value upon human life. We know He formed us in the womb as the highest expression of His creation. We are told we are made in the image of God, and after the fall we were redeemed by the blood of God. That being said, it is possible to live a meaningless life. The Bible speaks, on more than one occasion, of “worthless men.” Calling them worthless does not mean that God did not value them highly, but rather, they were wasting life, instead of living it. When they timed out and their lives came to an end, they had nothing eternal to show for it. When James refers to life as a vapor, he is reminding us that life is temporary.

No matter what your diet or exercise program consists of, death is certain. It has been proven that the death rate among human beings is 100%. One hundred years from now none of us will be alive. Now I am not saying this to depress you, but to prepare you. You see, while life is temporary it is also preparatory. What we do now prepares us for where and how we will spend eternity. We might benefit from thinking of life as the preliminary round. When asked the meaning of life, Rick Warren put it like this, “In a nutshell, life is preparation for eternity. We were made to last forever and God wants us to be in heaven with Him. We may spend 60-100 years here but we will spend trillions in heaven. This is the warm up act”

We are prepared for death when we have received Christ and are surrendered to, and serving Him. As a result, the Psalmist encourages us, “So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom (Psalm 90:12).”  Since we have limited time, seventy or perhaps eighty years, we are encouraged to number them. We need to understand, there is a limited number and we must spend them wisely.

Let’s do it. * 70 x 365 = 25,550 * , now multiply your age x 365 *, subtract that number from 25, 550 * I have 8,760 days left * I am 65% done. Another way of looking at it is, if my life were a book, I am two-thirds done. The plot has been set, the main characters developed, and the final act is being set up. The question we must ask ourselves is, “What are we writing on today’s page? What, from today, will last for eternity?” If we have prepared for eternity by receiving Christ, we further prepare by living each day in light of eternity.

“Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth.” Proverbs 27:1

Pastor Jim

 

Willingness

Exodus 35:5
“Take from among you an offering to the Lord. Whoever is of a willing heart, let him bring it as an offering to the Lord: gold, silver, and bronze; . . .”

IMG_1459Moses had been instructed to build the Tabernacle. It was to be an elaborate facility with a solid silver foundation, golden walls, intricately woven tapestries and highly detailed furnishing. Every detail was given to Moses, including it’s size, shape, and purpose. However, two things had been left out; materials and labor.

At one time, Moses, as a prince of Egypt, had been an extremely wealthy man with all the resources of Egypt at his disposal. For a nation that had erected structures like the pyramids, building the Tabernacle would not be beyond their means, and Moses could have underwritten the entire project.

However, those days were passed. Moses had forsaken all the riches of Egypt. In a word, Moses was broke. Where would the resources come from to build? The answer is found in two words that are repeated over and over in Exodus 35: stirred and willing. After explaining to the people the vision he had received from God regarding the building, he instructed them to go back to their tents. It was there, as families gathered together, that their hearts were stirred by the Lord. They determined to offer the Lord a portion of what had been given to them. We read, those with a willing heart brought a free will offering to the Lord. For some it was golden earrings, for others necklaces, rings or other jewelry. Some brought precious stones, while others brought their abilities as an offering; making themselves available to be part of the construction team. In each case, we read they brought willingly of what the Lord had given them, and that all the labor was directed and empowered by the Spirit of the Lord. As the project gets underway, the leaders find they are facing an interesting problem. They examined the plans and realized the people had given too much. Moses has to instruct the people to stop giving to the Lord. They had more than enough supplied to accomplish the task.

We learn some very important lessons about giving and receiving from this text. First, note that Moses was only interested in building what he had received directly from the Lord. He did not take on a additional projects that were more than the Lord wanted. He sought the Lord and built what the Lord desired. Second, Moses did not attempt to coerce the people. He allowed each man to go home to his family and determine what they would willingly give to the Lord. In the church today, too much pressure is being placed upon God’s people to give. We need to encourage people to seek the Lord, and give willingly. Finally, people gave a variety of things. Those who had wealth, gave gold and other precious things, those who had skills, gave their abilities, but all who gave were richly blessed as the Tabernacle was completed, and served as a place for people to meet with God.

Pastor Jim