Wednesday, 3/25/20 – Pressing on…

Steer back!

20191110_120829As he shared with us last Sunday Elder Don reminded us of a statement by Alan Baker, one of our Sermonindex Revival presenters. Alan had seen how very quickly a society can be turned upside down. In urgent public warning he pointed to us all, both present and online, and warned “Don’t think that can’t happen to you!

ocean water wave photo

Knowing that a complete and sudden loss of all we’ve relied upon is possible – this is the first step in being prepared for it. Ignoring warnings has always led to destruction: e.g. the people of Noah’s age and the ensuing flood, the Passover and slaying of the firstborn, the residents of Sodom & Gomorrah and its fiery destruction…

In each case God gave warning, but the people ignored it. Scripture teaches God always gives warning:

“Surely the Lord God does nothing without revealing His secret plan [of the judgment to come] to His servants the prophets.” (Amos 3:7 Amplified).

He warns us like a loving parent… like the good, good Father that He is.

As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways! Why will you die, people of Israel?” (Ezek. 33:11).

accuracy afternoon alarm clock analogue

Pastor Andrew touched on this theme in a message he shared some months ago. God warns before He acts. He doesn’t want to see us destroyed – but the clock keeps ticking…

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare.” (2 Pet. 3:9-10).

God is not trying to scare us… at least not without purpose; He is trying with all His might and with all His Love to steer us, as Don explained.

adult automotive blur car

Imagine a driver training instructor who shouts to his student “Turn around!” as the car heads to a precipice. Though it may startle the student the cry is urgent and motivated by greater wisdom and concern for what is best.

But suppose this student driver ignores the warning? What is the instructor to do? Shout louder?

Elder Don asked “How much does it take for God to get our attention?” How much does it take for Him to get your attention?

“Do not do what everyone else is doing,” said Elder Don, “Come to the Rock.”

Press on…

To see and hear Elder Don’s Sunday message, go to the Facebook page of Lincoln Baptist Church… look under Videos for the March 22 upload.

Tuesday, 3/24/20 – Pressing on…

The folly of flight

silhouette of a man in window

“…God’s judgment,” writes Paul to the Romans, “…is based on truth.” I’m not so sure much of our society understands this. Many do not even give thought to such notions of accountability. But each person IS accountable before God for what they have done with the life He has given them.

Do you think you will escape God’s judgment?” Paul asks. (Rom. 2:2-3). Sadly, many run from this question, they “flee on horses” (Isa. 30:16), as Elder Don reminded us last Sunday.

man wearing black officer uniform

But no one can outrun God! God is everywhere! The very idea that one can run “from” God is ludicrous. “Who can hide in secret places so that I cannot see them?” asks the Lord through Jeremiah. “Do not I fill heaven and earth?” (Jer. 23:24). There are no “secret places” to the One Who created all places. Like in any episode of “Cops,” or “Live PD” the one being pursued is ALWAYS better off surrendering than running.

silhouette of person riding horse on body of water under yellow sunset

But in these last few days of grace God is pursuing us not to destroy us but to “proclaim peace” to those captured. Someone has stepped up to take our punishment instead. “Stop running!” He shouts. “You are only running deeper into the prison! The door is this way… follow My Voice for it is urgent. This prison will soon seal shut forever!”

“I rarely raise My Voice” spoke the Lord privately to Don as he prayed. But God is shouting at us now… shouting to the whole of us… “Come to Me! I am your only Hope!”

Paul continues… “… God ‘will repay each person according to what they have done.’ …For God does not show favoritism.” (Rom. 2: 6, 11). To this the author of Hebrews adds,

“See to it that you do not refuse him who speaks. If they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, how much less will we, if we turn away from him who warns us from heaven? At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, ‘Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.’ The words ‘once more’ indicate the removing of what can be shaken—that is, created things—so that what cannot be shaken may remain.” (Heb. 12:25-27)

lion roaring inside cager

In C.S. Lewis’ The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe young Lucy asks the Beaver if the God-like figure Aslan is safe. “Safe?” said Mr. Beaver …. “Who said anything about safe? Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the king, I tell you.”

Believers, do not fear. This is our Father speaking… shouting… shaking… He’s a good, good Father. Run closer to Him as He rages. It is the safest place to be.

More tomorrow…

To see and hear Elder Don’s Sunday message, go to the Facebook page of Lincoln Baptist Church… look under Videos for the March 22 upload.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Monday, 3/23/20 – Pressing on…

Shouting above the din…

20200322_173742I’ve got to say a big public Kudos to Don Longworth for wonderfully pulling together the first interactive online Sunday service of Lincoln Baptist Church. Hats off also to Don’s wife Erin for her assistance and to Becka and Gerry for their remote connection and ministry. The Lord is good and taking good care of His people.

Elder Don shared with us from Isaiah 30, in particular from verse 15,

“This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: ‘In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it.’”

photo of opened bible book on brown table

I touched on the first part of this passage last Thursday, but it’s that last line that is so chilling “but you would have none of it.” It reminds me of Hoses 4:17 where we read “Ephraim is joined to idols; leave him alone.” I remember Billy Graham once preached on this passage. I can hear his firm, resonating voice now, see his penetrating  unwavering eyes, “…leave him alone!”

adult child daylight enjoyment

The Lord had plead long and hard with His people, but still they shunned Him. “The Israelites are stubborn, like a stubborn heifer,” He spoke through the prophet, “How then can the Lord pasture them like lambs in a meadow?” (v. 16). Then the acknowledgement that “Ephraim is joined to idols…” That word “joined” means “to be united, coupled together, to make an alliance with.” In other words Ephraim had made its decision, the people had turned from God and locked them selves in with sin. “Leave him alone!”

Our world should thank God Almighty that He has not yet “left us alone.” He is shaking the world once more to get us to turn to Him. God’s people know this. Jesus told us this was all coming… like pains of labour of a pregnant woman!

woman carrying baby

All these are the beginning of birth pains,” said Jesus (Matt. 24:8; Mark 13:8). “…destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman,” wrote Paul (1 Thess. 5:13). “We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.” (Rom. 8:22)

I do not know if this is that final hour, that hour which births the eternal kingdom. It may well be, or there may be more intense spasms yet to come. Only God the Father knows.

But I do know God is shaking our planet right now, or as Elder Don said, “God is shouting!” He is trying to get our attention above the din of our sin.

He’s doing this because He loves us. Sin leads one to destruction. The only way to escape it is to turn around. Leave the sin… turn to Him. You know you must leave it one day, for your flesh will most certainly one day die. Leave it now. Run to Him. Good things await you… a warm bed, a loving Father, eternal peace. “In repentance and rest is your salvation.”

More tomorrow…

To see and hear Elder Don’s Sunday message, go to the Facebook page of Lincoln Baptist Church… look under Videos for the March 22 upload.

Wednesday, 3/18/20 – Pressing on…

For peace outstanding, stop understanding!

person using laptop

When a friend of mine agreed to have a look at my computer to see if he could fix a problem I was having with it I was both thankful and nervous. I wondered… could I really trust him with it? Did he really know what he was doing? I knew something about computers at the time so I agreed, but asked to be present while he worked on it and to explain to me what he was doing as he slowly moved through each step. My friend agreed and soon set to work…

“First we should do a defrag,” said my friend. “What’s a defrag?” I asked. “Well it’s kinda like tidying up a messy room,” he said. “See, you’ve got bits of file over here, other bits over there…a defrag will put them all closer together and give your computer more contiguous space.” “Oh,” I said… “Uh, what’s ‘contiguous’?”

And on our morning went…

man in white crew neck t shirt raising his right hand

About an hour or so later the process was complete and my computer was good as new. I didn’t quite understand everything my friend was telling me, but he had demonstrated that he knew what he was doing just fine. All my trying to understand had accomplished was to slow things down.

I ended yesterday’s blog referencing Paul’s words to the Philippians,

The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 4:5b-7).

pigeon and seagull flying above body of water

The peace of God is available to every believer right now. You just rest in Him. In fact, it’s more a realization than an acquisition. Stop trying to understand it! It’s bigger than your understanding. It won’t fit inside it. Instead, thank the Lord for His Presence. Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is peace… there is freedom… freedom from all alarm.

“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” (2 Cor. 3:17-18).

Press on…

To hear Pastor Andrew’s Sunday message, go to the Lincoln Baptist Church website and look under ‘Sermons Online’ for the Mar. 15 message.

Tuesday, 3/17/20 – Pressing on…

Thinking vs Thanking

men s black and gray collared top

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)

But, you may object, that was Isaiah speaking… that was long ago… to a different audience… for a specific situation. Isn’t it just ‘wishful thinking’ to believe this promise applies to me?

Well, Paul didn’t think so. From prison he wrote to the churches,

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 4:6-7).

photo of man sitting on a cave

He taught his young protégé Timothy to take hold of the same truth, indicating that this peace was something inherent to the Spirit of God Who indwells every believer: “For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.” (2 Tim. 1:7)

Still not convinced? Well then how about the very words of Jesus Who, speaking to His disciples about a generation of believers who centuries later would see the signs and turmoil of the end times, said…

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27)

sky sunset person silhouette

Jesus gives this peace, He said, to “Anyone who loves me … “ (v. 23). God’s promise of peace is just as true to us in this 21st Century as is His promise to believers of hope for eternity: “Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” (Luke 12:32).

The fact these turmoil have come us no surprise. Jesus told us, “…In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33).

No dear believer, God’s promise of peace… peace for you, today, amid wars, rumors, rampant sin, love grown cold, greed — and COVID-19, is NOT ‘wishful thinking.’ His promise is a thing of ‘confident thanking.’

Don’t beg God for peace any longer. Thank Him for it!

man person people italy

With a thankful heart you will find as did Paul — and as have countless other believers — that “by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving,” the peace of God settles in… a peace “which transcends all understanding,” and a peace which “will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 4:6-7).

Press on…

To hear Pastor Andrew’s Sunday message, go to the Lincoln Baptist Church website and look under ‘Sermons Online’ for the Mar. 15 message.

Monday, 3/16/20 – Pressing on…

Because of the current COVID-19 crisis, I have decided that over the next couple of weeks I will use this blog to focus on the believer’s hope and confidence in God. This is not a time for panic, but a time to encourage our hearts. As the scriptures say, “encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” (Heb. 10:25). God has not abandoned us. He is still in control. To all who call upon Him He will grant Peace.

No surprise!

scientist in laboratory

COVID-19 is no surprise to God.

In fact, Jesus gave His Church a heads up on this two millennia ago. He said,

“There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven.” (Luke 21:11)

woman wearing face mask

That word ‘pestilence’ may sound odd to 21st Century ears. Merriam Webster defines pestilence as “a contagious or infectious epidemic disease that is virulent and devastating.” But the word can also take on a more metaphoric meaning. It can mean anything that is highly injurious or destructive. “I’ll pour this pestilence into his ear,” wrote Shakespeare.

woman in white dress shirt using white microscope

Jesus said that in the last days, the days near His return, there would be pestilence. Other translations make it “plagues,” “epidemics,” “outbursts of disease.” In the Greek, the word is λοιμός (loy’-mos) is clear: it means a plague, disease. Jesus is not speaking metaphorically when He says this. He means things like what we are seeing today. COVID -19 is no surprise to Jesus.

So, if our Lord and Saviour knew these very days would fall upon us, do we not realize that the current crisis can in no way affect His good purposes for His children?

Some 62 years ago C.S. Lewis wrote against panic regarding the atomic bomb. In part, he penned

“It is perfectly ridiculous to go about whimpering and drawing long faces because the scientists have added one more chance of painful and premature death to a world which already bristled with such chances and in which death itself was not a chance at all, but a certainty.

This is the first point to be made: and the first action to be taken is to pull ourselves together. If we are all going to be destroyed by an atomic bomb, let that bomb when it comes find us doing sensible and human things—praying, working, teaching, reading, listening to music, bathing the children, playing tennis, chatting to our friends over a pint and a game of darts—not huddled together like frightened sheep and thinking about bombs. They may break our bodies (a microbe can do that) but they need not dominate our minds.” – C. S. Lewis, “On Living in an Atomic Age” (1948)

man in blue and white striped long sleeve shirt while smiling

God had everything under control three months ago and He has everything under control still today. Take reasonable precautions, but do not be alarmed. By divine protection or by enabling grace God will always be with His children.

What did He say to do when such things as these begin to take place? He said, “When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” (Luke 21:28).

More tomorrow…

 

Wednesday, 3/11/20 – Pressing on…

Boxing or Running?

Paul makes reference to both as parallels to the Christian’s experiences and challenges in following Jesus.

I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air.” (1 Cor. 9:26).
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race.” (2 Tim. 4:7).

people doing marathon

The runner analogy speaks primarily to the believers need for endurance.

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” (Gal. 6:9).
You need to persevere,” writes the author od Hebrews, “so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.” (Heb. 10:36).
“…let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us…” (Heb. 12:1).

boxers inside a ring

The boxer analogy reminds us that in this world we need to fight.

Foes spiritual
“…our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Eph. 6:12-13).

Foes internal
“…the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want” (Gal. 5:17).

Foes external
For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world.” (1 John 2:16).

athletes audience ball bleachers

This world wants us to quit the race, take off the gloves, throw in the towel. “See all the people out there who are not running… not boxing,” It shouts. “Why don’t you just go join them?”

But the Christian is one on the racetrack… one in the ring. The Christian is not among the spectators!

Fight the good fight of the faith,” urges Paul. (1 Tim. 6:12).
“…press on toward the goal to win the prize…” (Phil. 3:14).

action adult athletes audience

The struggle is worth it! It is more than worth it. We run and fight to reach the goal: the hope of the Christian. What is that hope. It is “a living hope… an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade…. kept in heaven… the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” (see 1 Pet. 1:3-9).

Press on…

To hear Pastor Andrew’s Sunday message, go to the Lincoln Baptist Church website and look under ‘Sermons Online’ for the Mar. 9 message.