Today’s Blog

Friday, 1/1/21 – What will 2021 Bring?: Five Truths for a New Year

Five Truths for a New Year

Many are wondering “What lay ahead in 2021?” Will things be any better, or worse than they were in 2020? Well, I’m no prophet, but I can point you to some eternal truths from the Word of God. As we begin this new year, I have given this blog entry fully to that Word. Here are five truths for 2021.

1. Whatever 2021 brings, 2021 is the time for what 2021 brings.

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven” (Eccl. 3:1).
From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us.” (Acts 17:26-27).

2. When God decides to do a new thing nothing that went before can hinder it.

Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” (Isa. 43:18-19).
You can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted.” (Job. 42:2).

3. A lifetime is very short so you should invest each day wisely.

So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.” (Ps. 90:12).
Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.” (Eph. 5:16).

4. God has a plan for you! It is a good plan.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jer. 29:11).

5. He will help you stick to His plan in 2021 and through all your life…

In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.” (Prov. 16:9).
For this God is our God for ever and ever; He will be our guide even to the end.” (Ps. 48:14).
The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” (2 Tim. 4:18).

Press on — through 2021 and beyond… 😊

Got a question? Use the Contact page and send It to me. We’ll search the Word for God’s answer.

Thursday, 12/31/20 – Discipleship – Priorities

Priorities

As each time zone reaches the stroke of midnight tonight millions of people around this globe will begin new commitments to milliions of new lists of new priorities for the new year. Research has shown that by the end of January 80% of resolution makers will have at first wavered, then failed, then abandoned their commitments. After twelve months only 8% of these millions will have succeeded and kept their initial resolutions.

What resolutions typically top the lists of these determined individuals? You can likely guess:

  1. Exercise more
  2. Lose weight
  3. Save more / spend less
  4. Quit smoking
  5. Spend more time with family and friends

The resolutions one sets reveal the priorities one holds. They can provide great insights into one’s heart if one dares to look. “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Luke 12:34).

Solomon wrote, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” (Prov. 4:23). Jesus said, “…the things that come out of a person’s mouth [or are expressed by pen, or digitally] come from the heart…” (Matt. 15:18). “A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” (Luke 6:45).

Jesus told the Pharisees, “God knows your hearts. What people value highly is detestable in God’s sight.” (Luke 16:15). So it is best to source one’s resolutions not from ones own heart but from the heart of God. Scripture gives us clear instruction as to what this is:

Jesus both commands and promises this: “Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matt. 6:33). Or as a recent translation has it, “…make your top priority God’s kingdom and his way of life…” (NTE)*

Do this, and continue in it, and you will have the happiest new year of all!

Press on…

*New Testament for Everyone (© Nicholas Thomas Wright 2011).

Are you interested in being discipled one-on-one in the fundamentals of life in Christ? Or, would you like to begin this journey by turning from your current path and committing your path to Christ? — Use the Contact page and we’ll get you started.

Wednesday, 12/30/20 – Pressing on… Fears within…

Fears within…

My parents have long since proven their mortality as I shall one day prove mine. They both died bravely… even more so they lived bravely. Mom’s favorite verse was 1 Peter 5:7, “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.” Her favorite hymn, “The Love of God.” Its refrain, “O love of God, how rich and pure! / How measureless and strong! / It shall forevermore endure / The saints’ and angels’ song.” Mom was convinced of the Love of God for her, for me… for all souls. It was because she knew His Love for her that she could so assuredly give Him her cares, and urge me to do likewise.

It is the fact of God’s great Love for us that all fear of death, of suffering, of persecution, may be cast off from us. Fears will come upon us – even the Apostle Paul experienced fears, confessing “…we had no rest, but we were harassed at every turn—conflicts on the outside, fears within. But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us…” (2 Cor. 7:5-6). Remembering our God is with us… loving us… having our best interest in heart, can calm our cares. We have His promise:

You [Lord God] will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You.” (Isa. 26:3).

Fear is a lie. It is a roar from “our adversary the devil.” (1 Pet. 5:8). All he utters are lies. Resist him steadfast (v.9). Speak, with David, the Truth of God,

The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid.” (Ps. 118:6) and His Peace will be yours.

Press on…

To hear Don Longworth’s Sunday message, go to the Facebook page of Lincoln Baptist Church, or link to the livestream from the church website.

Tuesday, 12/29/20 – Pressing on… My Many “Me”s

My Many “Me”s

These are all pictures of me — well, okay, the first few might be a bit more representative than actual. But, like yourself, and as you can see, I’ve been a lot of different “me”s over the course of my now fast approaching 70 years.

There’s the “me” I never knew… there… in my mother’s womb. Memory cells are not yet developed then so no one can recall their pre-birth existence. Still, from what I’ve learned of it, it is not a period of my past I would wish to revisit.

Then there’s the childhood “me.” Childhood for most is a time of imagination. Toys and pretending are its trade. It is a time of discovery, a time of deferred responsibilities, a time when moms and dads are presumed eternal and ‘dead’ happens only to houseflies and batteries. A child wants never to be an adult, and an adult seldom wishes such innocence with naivete.

The “teens” and “twenties” me holds some appeal, but in all, the lessons of wisdom then unlearned cast doubt on any desire to return there. Though this body now bears its aches and scars it also contains a maturer soul, one at rest in Him who gave it.

So I think I shall press ever onward… Having transitioned through so many “me”s thus far, the one that takes me from this earth, away to “be like Him” can most certainly hold no fear.

“…now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.” (1 John 3:2).

More tomorrow…

To hear Don Longworth’s Sunday message, go to the Facebook page of Lincoln Baptist Church, or link to the livestream from the church website.

Monday, 12/28/20 – Pressing on… Crises and Fear

Crises and Fear

I remember reading Gail Sheehy’s book, Passages, shortly after it was published back in 1976. The book is subtitled “Predictable Crises of Adult Life.” Chapter One opens with Sheehy under fire – gunfire. “I was talking to a young boy in Northern Ireland where I was on assignment for a magazine” she writes, “when a bullet blew his face off.” Sheehy soon found herself frantic for cover. Laying face down on her stomach with a group of other refuge seekers a grim realization gripped her: “No one is with me. No one can keep me safe. There is no one who won’t ever leave me alone.” (pg 5).

“I had a headache for a year,” she continues, “…could not confront the fact of my own mortality… To be confronted for the first time with the arithmetic of life was, quite simply, terrifying.” (pg 6).

This past Sunday Don Longworth shared with us the grand difference the ever-present Christ makes when a believer confronts the predictable — and often unpredictable — “Crises of Adult Life.”

As a reminder, here are some of the “passages,” promises really, that the Lord gives to His own:

  • Heb. 13:5 “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”
  • John 14:1 “Do not let your hearts be troubled…”
  • Matt. 28:20 “I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
  • Do not be afraid,” said the angel to Zechariah… to Mary… to Joseph” (Luke 1:13, 30, Matt. 1:20), and to certain poor shepherds, “Do not be afraid” (Luke 2:10). “Immanuel” — “God with us” was to be His Name, and is still His Name today. He is The Unchanging One. (See Heb. 13:8).

The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid,” sang the psalmist, “What can mere mortals do to me?” (Psalm 118:6 / 56:3-4) — Indeed, What can mortality do to me? At the moment the penitent soul surrenders to Christ, placing full trust in Him, God’s gift to that soul is eternal lifenow! Death is but a bump along the way.

For the Christian, even if bullets may fly, the great reality is this: Some One is always with me. Some One Who can keep me safe. He is Some One Who won’t ever leave me alone!

There is no fear in love” (1 John 4:18).

More tomorrow…

To hear Don Longworth’s Sunday message, go to the Facebook page of Lincoln Baptist Church, or link to the livestream from the church website.

Friday, 12/25/20 – Friday Tough Question: “To Whom shall we go?”

“To Whom shall we go?”

Franklin Graham recently reported: “In some countries, more people are dying by suicide than from COVID-19.” In one month, for example, Japan saw more deaths from suicide than they had experienced in total due to Covid-19! And now, just as it seems we have created vaccines, a new variant of the virus is emerging along with new fears and uncertainties.

All around our planet this Christmas Day is like none other. According to Worldometer, as of December 23, 2020, 11:43 GMT, 1,726,543 people have died from the COVID-19 pandemic. (Click on the above link for the latest figures.) How many millions more are grieving the loss of a close family member or friend as they stare at a vacant dinner table chair this Christmas day? Never before have so many felt so helpless.

Science, that old standby, is scrambling, hospitals and other emergency care facilities are floundering. Economies and family budgets are collapsing, and mental health worldwide is deteriorating. To Whom can we turn? To Whom shall we go?

This question was asked some 2000 years ago by a simple Galilean fisherman. But Peter was not asking out of despair; Peter was asking rhetorically. He knew the answer, and spoke it next: “Lord, to Whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life…. You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (John 6:68-69).

On another occasion recorded by Matthew Peter makes a similar profession, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” (Matt. 16:16). Jesus commended Peter for this insight, wisdom received, He said, from the Holy Spirit of God.

Shortly after the birth of Christ wise men followed the Christmas star to Jesus. Wise men still go to Him  today. “To Whom shall we go” this Christmas… this era of chaos?

To Whom will you go?

Press on…

Got a question? Use the Contact page and send It to me. We’ll search the Word for God’s answer.

Thursday, 12/24/20 – Discipleship – Freedom!

Freedom!

When you’ve accepted God’s judgment that you are a sinner, justly deserving God’s wrath and punishment, you can have no cause for pride,. When you have trusted that the holy Christ’s sacrificial dying in your place has been sufficient to satisfy the wrath and justice of God, you have no fear of eternity and experience peace with God. When your treasures are in heaven and not on earth the things of earth no longer hold you.

Integrity before God means more to you than being the object of envy of others. The success of others do not threaten you. When your view and values are heavenward this world no longer entices you. You are free of it, and free of your own self-righteousness. When you know that it is before God that you stand or fall you are no longer bothered by what others may think of you, you no longer feel driven to defend yourself. When you surrender to Christ and take Him as Saviour and Lord you are free! Yes… free indeed!

This is why Jesus came into this world… to set men and women free. This is why we celebrate his birth… from the Old English ‘Crīstes mæsse’ (Christ Mass), the Church’s commemoration of God’s gift of grace and redemption… of freedom from sin, freedom from pride, freedom from inner turmoil, freedom from fear, freedom from temporal enticement, freedom from the taunts and opinions of others, freedom from guilt and self righteousness.

In Christ the believer is free to freely give!

Freely you have received; freely give.” (Matt. 10:8).

Press on…

Are you interested in being discipled one-on-one in the fundamentals of life in Christ? Or, would you like to begin this journey by turning from your current path and committing your path to Christ? — Use the Contact page and we’ll get you started.

Wednesday, 12/23/20 – Pressing on… Doing the Word of God

Doing the Word of God

In addition to everything I said yesterday, it is essential that we understand one thing: We must do what the Word of God says. Believing is not enough. “Faith, without works — without doing anything — is dead!” If you think otherwise you’ve been deceived. If I plant carrot seeds and nothing grows I cannot say I have carrots.

I cannot say Christ is my LORD if I do not do what He tells me. Jesus was very clear about this. He said, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.” (Matt. 7:21). “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” (Luke 6:46).

So what do we have to do in addition to bathing ourselves in the Word of God? We must do whatever the scripture has said to do. Things like:

“…be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility…” (1 Pet. 5:5) / “…put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” (Eph. 4:24). / “Put on the whole armour of God… “ (Eph 6:11). / “Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.” (Col 3:12, 14). / “…put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts…” (Eph. 4:22). / “…also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.” (Col 3:8). / “Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds” (Col 3:9). / “Purge out therefore the old leaven…” (1 Cor. 5:7). / “And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.” (2 Pet. 1:5-7). / “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” (Phil. 4:8). — And many more…

Someone has said “The Word of God can keep you from sin, OR sin can keep you from the Word of God.” “How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your Word.” (Ps. 119:9)

Be wise… bathe yourself in the Word of God, then go forward and do it!

Press on…

To hear Pastor Andrew’s Sunday message, go to the Facebook page of Lincoln Baptist Church, or link to the livestream from the church website.

Tuesday, 12/22/20 – Pressing on: The Cleansing Word…

The Cleansing Word...

“If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:8-9, NKJV).

We cannot trust our own heart. “The heart is deceitful above all things” (Jer. 17:9). The Apostle Paul knew this: “My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent,” he confessed. “It is the Lord who judges me.” That beìng the case the only wise thing to do is to keep cleansing our hearts.

We all need cleansing — every day! “How can a young man cleanse his way?” the psalmist asks, then replies: “By taking heed according to Your Word.” (Ps. 119:9, NKJV). “How can a young man keep his way pure?” the NIV has it. “By living according to Your Word.

The Word of God purifies.

Jesus told His disciples, “You are already clean because of the Word which I have spoken to you.” (John 15:3). Jesus had in mind the “cleansing” of a grape vine by pruning it — cutting off unnecessary growth to make it a more virile plant, directing its energies to produce the best fruit. He is teaching how in a similar way the Word of God purifies the soul. It frees one from corrupt desires, from sin and guilt.

Paul picks up on this in Ephesians… “Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the Word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.” (Eph. 5:25-27).

What strategies did the psalmist employ to stay clean, to continue in purity? “I have hidden Your Word in my heart that I might not sin against you,” he explains (v.11). “I recount all the laws… I rejoice in following your statutes… I meditate on your precepts… consider your ways… delight in your decrees.”

The psalmist had learned the cleansing power of a regular time of bathing oneself in God’s Word.

He vows, “I will not neglect Your Word.”

Regarding this, John warns us not to be deceived. He writes,

“If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.” (1 John 1:8-9).

Little children,” he says, ever so lovingly…  “let no one deceive you.

More tomorrow…

To hear Pastor Andrew’s Sunday message, go to the Facebook page of Lincoln Baptist Church, or link to the livestream from the church website.

Monday, 12/21/20 – Pressing on… Joy!

Joy !

“JOY to the world…”

Joy completes our quarter of Advent themes leading to the lighting of the final and central “Christ” candle on Christmas Eve. It joins Hope, Love, and Peace – anticipatory, motivational, consequential and emotional responses to the coming of the Saviour of all who will bow before and entrust their souls to Him.

The dictionary defines “joy” as “the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires.” It suggests synonyms such as “bliss,” “happiness,” even “warm fuzzies.” One dictionary suggests, as an example of the word’s use, the sentence: “My car is my pride and joy!”

These definitions seem quite temporal in scope, attainment based, dependent on some passing thing for joy’s continuance. But in scripture “joy” is something much deeper, a well drilled by hope, buttressed by love and, by its eternal reliability and promise, a well of great peace of soul. It’s waters can be drawn upon when one feels faint, “for the joy of the Lord is your strength” (Neh. 8:10). Though well water may not be bubbly, it is always pure, reliable, and refreshing.

John records much of Christ’s promises regarding the ultimate permanence and fullness of the joy He brings…

“I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” (John 15:11).

“…You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy. …Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.” (John 16:20, 22).

“Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete. (John 16:24).

This world has many trials, many sorrows, but the joy Christ provides will see us through them. And when the time of trials has ended this joy will shout its fullness.

“…I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they [all who trust in Him] may have the full measure of my joy within them.” (John 17:13).

More tomorrow…

To hear Pastor Andrew’s Sunday message, go to the Facebook page of Lincoln Baptist Church, or link to the livestream from the church website.