Today’s Blog

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.

Friday, 3/20/20 – Where Peace? – The Great Equation…

Where Peace? – The Great Equation…

man wearing eyeglasses

Some of the scriptures we’ve looked at through this week have actually been promises… almost equations… the Lord gives to His children. When worries come: Think on Christ. Talk with Him. Assurance and Peace will come to you.

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.” (Isa. 41:10)

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)

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).

agriculture clouds countryside daylight

David writes of his response to worry: “What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee.” (Ps. 46:4), and testifies of the Lord’s reliable reply, “When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.” (Ps. 94:19)

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” Peter urges (1 Pet. 5:7). Isaiah, David, John, Paul and Peter all agree: God’s Presence = Peace!

Perhaps Isaiah sums up this truth most succinctly,

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.” (Isa. 26:3)

beach woman sunrise silhouette

Look to Jesus! It’s as simple as that. If you want to see the sunrise you must look to the eastern horizon. You’ll never experience it staring southward.

“They cried out… terrified. Immediately he spoke to them and said, ‘Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.’” (Mark 6:49b-50)

Press on…

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

Thursday, 3/19/20 – Faint or stand firm – Evangelism

Faint or stand firm…

hands in front of white and black background

We’ve grown rather accustomed to trusting in man… trusting in science. We get sick and ask, “OK what should I take for this?” We expect medical science to have a ready-made response to any discomfort.

But ultimately all good gifts come from God (James 1:17). Trust in science or wealth alone is no more than trust in humanism and materialism. We neglect the exhortation of Deut. 8:18 to “…remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability...” Shaky business indeed.

airport bank board business

A few weeks ago in one of the adult Bible classes pastor Andrew said something I thought noteworthy. He saièd, “Materialism and humanism are really just extreme ungratefulness.” I like that. You see mankind is very reluctant to take honor from self and give it to God. The prophet Jeremiah warned “Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who draws strength from mere flesh and whose heart turns away from the Lord.” (Jer. 17:5). Every translation I consulted uses that word “cursed.” It is a serious thing to ignore the Lord in times of need.

woman looking at sea while sitting on beach

Pestilences! Plagues! Diseases! All that without a cure! They are beyond man’s ability to respond with a remedy! In the same chapter where Christ tells of coming pestilence, He says “People will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world,” but to His own He adds “…do not be frightened… “ (v. 7) …make up your mind not to worry beforehand…” (v. 14) “Stand firm….” (v. 19).

In Isaiah we read “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…’” (Isa. 30:15).

praying man looking up

Repentance, agreeing with God about your sinfulness and with His help turning from it, this is repentance. Rest, putting all your concerns upon Christ, resting in Him, taking up His yoke and walking in stride, in obedience, to Him. This is true “rest,” as Jesus said, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. “ (Matt. 11:29).

Sharing this singular path to peace, especially during this troubling time, is true evangelism. These COVID-19 days may indeed be one more appeal from our loving Lord to bring souls to Him. Perhaps like Esther He has an appointed role for you in this crisis to reach out with hope to those around you. “..who knows but that you have come to your [sphere of social contacts] for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14).

Stand firm…

Press on…

believe bible black and white book

Perhaps the Lord us calling to you in these difficult days. Perhaps you would you like to respond by turning from your current path and committing your path to Christ? — Use the Contact page… we’ll help get you started.

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…

 

Friday, 3/13/20 – Tough Question: “Why the extravagance?”

Why the extravagance?

20200311_224048“I’m puzzled! Why do we see such items of wealth poured into the construction of the Old Testament Tabernacle, yet when Christ was born He chose to come through the poorest and lowest, even to be born in a stable?”

It is true that Christ came into this world among the lowly and during His ministry years we know He had no home (Matt. 8:20), relied on others to meet His physical needs (Mark 15:40-41), and apparently only a very few items of clothing, which soldiers divided and gambled for beneath His cross (John 19:23).

But we must also remember that this lowly Jesus is now glorified Lord of all. John describes Him…

“…dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. The hair on his head was white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, and coming out of his mouth was a sharp, double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance.” (Rev. 1:13-16).

20200311_224131The O.T. Tabernacle, Solomon’s Temple and others described in scripture all portray to us the great worth of our Saviour. It is fitting that they and what they represented should be constructed of the richest of elements.

But do not fear that these construction materials came at great cost to the Hebrews. The gold and other items they gave came from the plunder of their Egyptian captors, all according to the instruction of God.

“And I will make the Egyptians favorably disposed toward this people, so that when you leave you will not go empty-handed. Every woman is to ask her neighbor and any woman living in her house for articles of silver and gold and for clothing, which you will put on your sons and daughters. And so you will plunder the Egyptians.” (Exod. 3:21-22). [This the Hebrews did: see Exod. 12: 35-36].

bullion gold gold bars golden

David and Solomon provided materials for the temple, and Solomon was the richest man of all, estimated by some to have a worth of $2 trillion. (Read about his wealth in 1 Kings 10:14-29).

The real wonder is not that earthly temples were constructions of wealth but that Christ visited us by setting all this aside in order to identify with us and restore us to fellowship with Him.

All things are the Lord’s anyway. His purposes are to teach us the respect and honor due Him. Gold is symbolic, and remember too that in heaven’s economy gold is no more than pavement! (see Rev. 21:21).

Press on…

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