Remember Sunday?

Today’s Passage – Exodus 16 – 18

(Second Milers also read – Luke 4 – 5; Proverbs 25; Psalm 119)

“See, for that the LORD hath given you the sabbath, therefore he giveth you on the sixth day the bread of two days; abide ye every man in his place, let no man go out of his place on the seventh day. So the people rested on the seventh day.” – (Exodus 16:29-30)

I am 47 years old, and I remember that when I was a boy everything shut down on Sunday. The supermarkets were closed; the department stores were closed; the home improvement stores were closed: it seemed like everything was closed. I remember when the first supermarket in our area opened up on Sunday. It was big news. Soon, all of the other supermarkets started opening. At first, Sunday was the worst sales day of the week for the retailers. I remember the managers telling me that it was a waste of time to even open, because they didn’t do enough business to justify it. Now, it is the best sales day of the week. How did we ever get away from Sunday being a day when just about everyone  had the day off, and most people went to church. I bet those businessmen that started it all thought that it would be a way for them to get a little ahead of their competitors. I wonder if they did? I wonder if they would look back on their decision and consider it a good thing? Come to think of it, the particular company that started it in our area is bankrupt today. What a shame.

In our passage today, God says that He would supply the Israelites with enough manna on the sixth day so that they would not have to gather it on the seventh. Now, before you fuss at me: I am well aware that the Sabbath for the nation Israel was Saturday, not Sunday. However, for Christians, the day that we set apart for worship and rest has traditionally been Sunday, the day of the resurrection. I think America was a much better place when she observed a day of rest on Sunday. Just about everybody went to church, with very few people who had to work.

The devil and the world have made it very difficult for Christians to be faithful to the Lord in setting aside Sunday as the Lord’s day. It has always been my conviction to keep Sunday as the day that our family worships the Lord. We have always made it a practice to attend both the morning and the evening services at our church. It is the Lord’s day, not just the Lord’s morning; and we are supposed to gather together “so much the more as we see the day approaching.” God has always been faithful. He has always met all of my family’s needs. We haven’t lost a thing by keeping Sunday as a day set apart from the rest of the week for the purpose of rest and worship. However, if you are like me, you may not be getting much rest on Sunday because you spend much of the day in the work of the ministry. I actually kept track of my hours last Sunday. My day started at 4 AM and I finished just after 9:30 PM, with only about a half an hour lunch break. Therefore, if I am going to be in obedience to Lord’s principle of resting one day out of seven, I must choose another day. Recently, I have started taking the day off on Monday to rest, and it has been very refreshing.

Christian, if I can offer you one piece of advice from this passage it would be this: set aside Sunday as the Lord’s day. Do everything in your power to get the day off from work. It may take a while to arrange your affairs so that this can be done, but work toward it. Go to church and then spend time together as a family. Eat a meal together on Sunday afternoon. Take a nap, or maybe have a little fellowship with some family and friends.  Make Sunday a special day; a day that you look forward to all the week long. Don’t worry about how you will be able to meet all of your obligations due to the fact that you have eliminated a day of earning income. Remember God is able to give you enough in six days to cover the seventh. “Seek ye first the kingdom of God” and He will take care of everything else.

I hope to see you this Sunday at church!

“Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” – (Hebrews 10:23-25)


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Quit Griping!

Today’s Passages – Exodus 13 – 15

(Second Milers also read – Luke 2 – 3; Proverbs 24; Psalms 116 – 118)

Scripture Memory for January – Isaiah 53

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 92:1 – 4

Watch “Growth Points 006″ Religion, Grace, and the Local Church” by Paul Chappell

“Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song unto the LORD, and spake, saying, I will sing unto the LORD, for he hath triumphed gloriously: the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea.” – (Exodus 15:1)

“And the people murmured against Moses, saying, What shall we drink?” – (Exodus 15:24)

Exodus 15 is an amazing chapter of Scripture, which demonstrates the fickle nature of God’s children. The first 21 verses, which comprises more that three-fourths of the chapter is the record of God’s people singing, dancing, and praising Him for the great miracle that He had done in delivering them from the hand of the Egyptians. Specifically, they are praising God and thanking Him for parting the Red Sea so that they could pass through on dry ground. You will remember, the Egyptians tried to follow them and that same sea closed up upon them and drowned them. The people of God were thrilled that God took away the water so that they could travel to other side. Now, at the end of the chapter, they are complaining that there is no water. First they want the water to go away, and then they want it back again. You just can’t make these Israelites happy, can you? I am kidding, of course; but I do want to point out the tendency that Israel had (and we have today) to forget about all of God’s past blessings by griping about some apparent injustice that seemed to be taking place in the present. Here, they begin to think that God delivered them from Egypt only to kill them with dehydration in the wilderness. Obsurd! That big God that they were worshipping in the beginning of the chapter all of sudden got smaller when the people got a little thirsty.

I find that we are no different today. We sometimes see God do wonderful things in our lives, and from that mountaintop we offer up to Him praise and worship. But then when God allows a little testing to come our way, our attitude changes completely. Our view of God seems to be based solely upon what He does for us. When we are getting popcorn, bubble gum, and ice cream, God is good; but when God says that we should eat a little brocholi because it’s what we need at the time, God becomes some mean ogre. We act like little children in the nursery, don’t we? Let’s grow up! Let’s mature in our faith to the point where we trust God completely. God is good when the circumstances in life are great; but God is also good when things are not going as we would like them to. God is always good. He loves us. He says He will never leave us; never forsake us. He has our very best interests at heart. Trust Him even when you don’t understand; and whatever you do, don’t gripe. Griping is perhaps the most predominant cause of death in the Old Testament. I am not saying that you should not bring your concerns and burdens to Him. There is a big difference between a prayer request and a complaint. Let’s get to the point in our Christian walk where we can praise Him even in the dark days. Remember, there are others out there that have it worse than you. God is not just good, He is awesome. Learn to wait on Him. He will deliver you if you will simply trust Him, obey, and be patient.

Look, we are all really good at spotting problems, but instead of murmering, why don’t we try becoming part of a solution. We can pray, and we can work to make the situation better. Anybody can complain, and they often do; but it takes a person of true character to actually make a difference.

“Do all things without murmurings and disputings:” – (Philippians 2:14)


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What Will God Have To Do To Get Your Attention?

Today’s Passage – Exodus 10 – 12

(Second Milers also read – Luke 1; Proverbs 23; Psalms 111 – 115)

Scripture Memorization for January – Isaiah 53

Read – “I Don’t Wanna” by Melissa Dilley

Read last year’s post from this passage – “What Can Wash Away My Sin?”

“And Pharaoh rose up in the night, he, and all his servants, and all the Egyptians; and there was a great cry in Egypt; for there was not a house where there was not one dead. And he called for Moses and Aaron by night, and said, Rise up, and get you forth from among my people, both ye and the children of Israel; and go, serve the LORD, as ye have said. Also take your flocks and your herds, as ye have said, and be gone; and bless me also. And the Egyptians were urgent upon the people, that they might send them out of the land in haste; for they said, We be all dead men.” – (Exodus 12:30-33)

Flies, frogs, locusts, darkness, hail. All of these and more sent by the hand of God in order that the Egyptians, as well as the Israelites, would know that there is an awesome and powerful God in Heaven. God’s command to the king of Egypt was simple: “let my people go”. However, Pharaoh was not too willing to heed the request of God. He seemed to be more willing to endure all of the plagues that God was sending his way. That is, all until his first born son was taken from him at the hand of God. God finally got his attention. He was finally ready to yield his stubborn will to the will of God.

There was a lot to think about in the passages of Scripture that we read this morning and I understand that there are deeper theological truths behind the hardness of Pharaoh’s heart, but I couldn’t get past the thought that sometimes God has to allow some especially painful things in our lives in order to get our attention. We are sometimes like that hard clay that the potter must soften before he can use it. I’m just wondering this morning, is there something that the Lord has been trying to do in your life that you have been resisting. Have you hardened yourself to the point where, in order for God to accomplish His will, He will have to break you. What will God have to do to get your attention?  I suppose this thought applies just as much to the Christian that is fighting against God’s perfect will as it does to the lost person that is resisting salvation. Whichever your case is, the remedy is the same. Soften your heart, and yield to God’s will. Is there some sin that you are holding on to? God will do what He has to do in order to get you to repent of it and forsake it. Whatever it takes, God will accomplish His will for your life. You cannot win in a battle with God.


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A Dry Thirsty Land – The Saturday Morning Post by Pastor Ted Stahl

Today’s Passage – Exodus 4 – 6

(Second Milers also read – Mark 13 – 14; Proverbs 21; Psalms 101 – 105)

Scripture Memorization for January – Isaiah 53

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 92:1

Read “How To Prepare For Revival” by Pastor Paul Chappell

And it shall come to pass, if they will not believe also these two signs, neither hearken unto thy voice, that thou shalt take of the water of the river, and pour it upon the dry land: and the water which thou takest out of the river shall become blood upon the dry land.” (Exodus 4:9).

Good morning. I saw something disturbing on the news yesterday. In Philadelphia – the city of brotherly love – there have been 20 killings since January first. When I watched the news at 10:00 pm, that number had jumped to 25. And there was still two hours to go. A Vietnam War veteran had his jaw broken and his skull fractured by a youth gang. What happened? America has gone dry: it’s a dry land. And it’s because people’s hearts have gotten harder.

This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (2Timothy 3:1-7)

Many of us are to blame. We are afraid to stand on what the Word of God says. We are afraid to speak out and say that any Jew, Muslim, Catholic, Protestant, Baptist, Atheist, Agnostic, Unbeliever, Charismatic, Evolutionist, Secular Humanist, self-proclaimed Christian, or anybody else not mentioned in these groups are going to Hell if they have not received Jesus Christ as their personal Savior. This is not being hateful to any group. This is not a hate crime. This is what God’s Word says in 1John chapter 5:11-12:

“And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.”

Do you know what a real hate crime is? Allowing souls to slip into hell without giving them the Gospel: telling them about Jesus. Even if you are shy, you can still leave a Gospel tract. Leave one with a tip when you dine out. Give one to the gas station attendant when you get gas in your car or truck. You could even mail some out to addresses in the phone book. Can you afford 45 cents a week? That’s 52 people you could reach with God’s plan for salvation in one year.

Without the shedding of blood, there is no remission [of sins]. We need to pour out the water of God’s Word on this dry land, and let the people know that the blood of Jesus cleanses you from all sin.

“And it shall come to pass, if they will not believe also these two signs, neither hearken unto thy voice, that thou shalt take of the water of the river, and pour it upon the dry land: and the water which thou takest out of the river shall become blood upon the dry land.” (Exodus 4:9).

Peace. (Colossians 1:19-20).


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Growing Through Affliction

Today’s Passage – Exodus 1 – 3

(Second Milers also read – Mark 11 – 12; Proverbs 20; Psalms 96 – 100)

Scripture Memorization for January – Isaiah 53

Read last year’s post from this passage – “The Call of God”

“But the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew. And they were grieved because of the children of Israel.” – (Exodus 1:12)

In our passage of Scripture this morning we read about the nation of Israel after they had been in Egypt for 400 years. When we last left the family of Jacob at the close of the Book of Genesis, the people of God were prospering, but after many generations have passed in this foreign land, they are now being persecuted. It seems that the Egyptians had recognized the hand and blessing of God upon His people, and became afraid that the Hebrews would take them over. So, they enslaved them, and made their lives bitter. However, the more the people of God were persecuted, the more they were grew. On a natural level, this doesn’t make any sense, but then again, the principles of God often go against human reasoning. These Egyptians simply couldn’t keep God’s people down, no matter how hard they tried.

There are two observations that I would like to make from this passage:

1  Throughout the history of the Christian churches, there have been periods of intense persecution. Persecution is a tool of the devil to defeat the people of God. However, again we have observed through history that some of the greatest times of growth in Christian history have come about as a result of persecution. Notice what happened to the church at Jerusalem after the death of Stephen:

“And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles. … Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word.” – (Acts 8:1, 4)

The devil attacked the church at Jerusalem, and it resulted in the spreading of the gospel throughout the rest of the world. Persecution actually caused the church to grow. In America today, we are experiencing the greatest prosperity and freedom that we have possibly ever had in Christian history. However, are the churches growing? Are we seeing more people converted to Christ? Most Christians today are not even aware of what our true mission is in this life. Don’t misunderstand me. I am not asking for persecution, and I certainly don’t look forward to it, but I am convinced that a revival of true church growth will only take place if God allows things to heat up a bit.

2  The second observation that I would like to make has to do with the personal walk of the individual believer. We also tend to grow more during times of trial and testing than we do during those mountaintop times. Consider these passages:

“Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:” – (1 Peter 1:6-7)

“Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.” – (1 Peter 4:12-13)

“My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.” – (James 1:2-4)

I know that when I look back in my own life I can clearly see that more growth came  during those difficult days rather than the days that I was “at ease in Zion”. Again, I do not enjoy the hard times, but I have learned to embrace them, and also embrace the God who loves me enough to mature me and, with the trials he brings me through, conform me into the very image of Christ.


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And The Fire Fell

Today’s Passage – Exodus 39 – 40; Proverbs 2

(Second Milers also read – Luke 20 – 21; memorize Psalm 119:11)

“Then a cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.” – (Exodus 40:34)

“And there came a fire out from before the LORD, and consumed upon the altar the burnt offering and the fat: which when all the people saw, they shouted, and fell on their faces.” – (Leviticus 9:24)

“Now when Solomon had made an end of praying, the fire came down from heaven, and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices; and the glory of the LORD filled the house.” – (2 Chronicles 7:1)

“Then the fire of the LORD fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench.” – (1 Kings 18:38)

The first two verses referenced above deal with the event that is taking place in Exodus 40: the dedication of the Tabernacle. Moses and the people of Israel have completed all that God had asked them to do regarding the construction of the Tabernacle. They had followed God’s instructions perfectly, building everything precisely as God had showed Moses. They anointed Aaron and his sons, and now everything is ready for God to put His blessing upon it. Exodus 40:34 tells us that the glory of the Lord filled the Tabernacle. Leviticus tells us that a fire came down from Heaven. You will notice that 2 Chronicles tells us that later in Israel’s history, in the days of King Solomon, that the fire fell again when they dedicated the Temple. It also fell in the time of Elijah when God was showing the people of Israel His power on Mount Carmel.

I remember years ago when Pastor Rick Wedemeyer and a handful of people first started the Christian Bible Church in South Tom’s River. There is no better way to say it than to say that in those early days the church was “on fire”. It was new, and it was fulfilling the purposes of glorifying the Lord and winning souls for Christ. The people were committed wholly to the Lord and His will for their lives. And the fire fell. God put a zeal, a fervor in the hearts of those people; and within a very short time the church had grown as many people were saved; and converts were being discipled and getting involved  in the service of the Lord.

I also have seen the fire of the Lord fall upon our ministry here at Jersey Shore Baptist Church; but unfortunately it has only been at certain seasons, and for a limited time. There have been times when the people were revived, and very zealous for the work of the Lord. Then there have been other times when the church seemed very lethargic. I pray constantly for the Lord to revive me, and our people; that He will once again set us on fire for His work, and His glory. I believe if God’s people will separate themselves from the world, and then dedicate themselves to the Lord and His purposes, the fire will fall once again. It really is all about what we desire. In our passage, the people of Israel were wholly focused on the Lord. And the fire fell. And if we were to wholly focus on the Lord in our lives and ministries, we would also see the fire of God fall to bless His work. Remember when you first trusted Christ as your Saviour? You were probably more “on fire” than you are now. I don’t know why, but it just happens that Christians as well as churches cool off in their spiritual zeal. However, now that we recognize that the fire in our hearts is not blazing as it once was, let’s confess our apathy to the Lord, and then ask Him to stoke the embers of our hearts and revive us. And the fire will fall once again.


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Too Much????

Today’s Reading – Exodus 36 – 38; Proverbs 1

(Second Milers also read Luke 18 & 19; memorize Psalm 119:11)

“And they spake unto Moses, saying, The people bring much more than enough for the service of the work, which the LORD commanded to make. And Moses gave commandment, and they caused it to be proclaimed throughout the camp, saying, Let neither man nor woman make any more work for the offering of the sanctuary. So the people were restrained from bringing. For the stuff they had was sufficient for all the work to make it, and too much.” – (Exodus 36:5-7)

I am always amazed when I read this portion of Scripture. This seems to be the first building fund in the Bible, and it may even be the first special offering. God asks the congregation of Israel to give to Moses an offering of the necessary materials to build the Tabernacle and all of its furniture. The people gave generously, and gave more, and kept on giving; so much so that the workers were complaining that there was way too much stuff given. They didn’t know what to do with all of the gold, silver, brass, skins, wood, and fabric that the people were anxious to offer to the Lord to be used in this tent of worship.

I know that many of you have seen this passage before, and no doubt, you may even have heard messages from this text; but when was the last time that you heard a preacher get up and tell you to stop giving. Can you imagine me standing at the pulpit this Sunday morning and announcing to the congregation that we have more money than we know what to do with? Can you picture me saying, “please stop giving!”? I can’t either. Why is it that in the ministry today there seems to be such a shortage of the things that are necessary to do the work of God. We seem to always be “behind the eight ball”, so to speak. Why is that?

I believe that there could me many individual reasons; but I will offer some of my thoughts. One reason that I believe people are reluctant to give today is that they do not understand the clear teaching of Scripture. The Bible gives a lot of instruction regarding giving, both by way of commandment as well as encouragement. Many people just don’t know (or don’t want to know) what the Bible teaches about the subject.

Another reason that people may be reluctant to give is that they just don’t trust the stewardship of the local churches. There has been a lot of financial corruption and scandal in recent days involving church leadership; and people wonder if their money is really going to the work of the Lord, or is it lining the pockets of the spiritual leaders. Maybe they feel that the church is spending too much money on facilities, etc. Even in our independent, fundamental churches we have gotten used to luxurious accommodations. Now, don’t misunderstand, I think the church house should be comfortable, and beautiful; but I think that it should also be very functional and practical. Church leaders need to be very conscious of the fact they have been given stewardship of the Lord’s money, and it should be spent very prayerfully and wisely.

I will offer one more thought regarding the lack of commitment on the part of the people of God in the area of giving. People today are just not as committed in general today. Think about it. In Moses day, there was nothing else for the people but God. The Tabernacle would literally be at the very center of their lives. Today, the worship of God is hardly at the center. It may be a part, even a big part of some people’s lives; but to say it is the center would be a far stretch. We are very busy and very distracted today; and we have a lot more to spend our money on. What were the people going to do with that stuff anyway? Where were they going to spend it? They didn’t even have houses to live in. But we do, don’t we? And with them big mortgages and rents; and car payments; and phone bills; and cable bills. You get the idea. If we are ever going to get the people of God back to where they once were, we will have to help them realize that God needs to be at the very center of their lives. Putting God back at the very core of people’s lives will help them to remember what’s really important, helping them to prioritize their lives; not just in the area of finances, but in every other area of their lives.


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Beaming

Today’s Passage – Exodus 33 – 35; Proverbs 31

(Second Milers also read Luke 16 & 17; memorize Psalms 119:11)

“And he was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights; he did neither eat bread, nor drink water. And he wrote upon the tables the words of the covenant, the ten commandments. And it came to pass, when Moses came down from mount Sinai with the two tables of testimony in Moses’ hand, when he came down from the mount, that Moses wist not that the skin of his face shone while he talked with him.” – (Exodus 34:28-29)

In chapter 34 of the Book of Exodus, Moses is back up on Mount Horeb receiving the Law of God for the second time. You will recall that the first two tables of stones were broken by Moses upon his return from the first trip. The people had corrupted themselves by creating and worshipping the golden calf. At any rate, this time he comes back and finds that the people had behaved themselves. What a blessing it is to return home from a trip and find that there are no problems.

My thought this morning is not about what Moses saw when he returned from his 40 days with God; rather, I want to give you a few thoughts about what the people saw in their leader. They said that his face shone. I believe that these people actually saw some kind of physical radiance beaming from the face of Moses. I do not think that what they saw could actually be duplicated today, but I do believe that people should be able to see a difference on our countenance, and in our attitude, when we have spent time with the Lord. I remember when I first became a Christian, we went to a conference to see a particular preacher. When we arrived, the preacher, whom I had never seen before, was standing in the front of the auditorium, and fellowshipping with a few other people. For some reason, I was able to spot him out of the crowd. There was just something about him. His presence revealed that he had been with God. He literally had God all over him. I wonder if people can see the presence of God in my life? Can they see Him in you?

In our passage, we see that this radiance came about after Moses had spent 40 days in the presence of God. He didn’t eat or drink during that time. He didn’t have access to a television or the internet, or even his eye phone. There was no other people to share the experience with him. It was just him and God, alone, free from any type of distraction. I wonder what God could do in our lives if we had a similar experience. We may not be able to spend 40 days in His presence, but how about 40 minutes. What could God do in your life and mine if we just spent 40 minutes of time alone with Him. I bet it would show up on our faces as well. I bet people would say about us that we were “glowing”, or “beaming”, or “shining”. The presence of God will lighten up our lives, and through us, the lives of those around us.  Why not peel yourself away from other people today; away from the cell phone, the television, and the computer; and get alone with the Lord. Let Him light your life up.


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God Gives You What You Need

Today’s Passage – Exodus 30 – 32; Proverbs 30

(Second Milers also read Luke 14 – 15; memorize Psalm 119:11)

“See, I have called by name Bezaleel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah: And I have filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship, … And I, behold, I have given with him Aholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan: and in the hearts of all that are wise hearted I have put wisdom, that they may make all that I have commanded thee;” – (Exodus 31:2-3, 6)

“But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” – (Philippians 4:19)

“For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office:” – (Romans 12:4)

“But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.” – (1 Corinthians 12:18)

I just want to give a quick thought from chapter 31 of the passage in Exodus that we are reading together today. I was tempted to write something from chapter 32, but I decided that this thought was more appropriate for the people of Jersey Shore. I am thankful because this message is a little more encouraging than what I would have said about chapter 32. I encourage you to read it and I think you will understand what I mean. Besides, I preached a message this morning that was might be considered hard by some, so here is my opportunity to balance the scales. This is pure encouragement.

In the preceding chapters God has been instructing Moses regarding the Tabernacle. God gave him a complete set of blueprints, with detailed instructions about how to go about building it. The problem was that Moses was not necessarily gifted in the area of construction. He was a great leader, but he certainly possess all of the skills necessary to do all that needed to be don; nor would he have the time to do it all himself. God understood this, so He raised up to men who were gifted in construction, at least the type of construction required for the Tabernacle and all of the furniture and coverings involved with it. They were going to oversee the building of the tabernacle so that Moses could do what he needed to do.

I remember when we were building our little addition to the church building. It was only a 900 square foot addition to the auditorium, but honestly I knew very little about what was needed to complete it. God raised up a man in our church to oversee the construction. The project was completed on time and under budget. Everybody congratulated me on what a wonderful job I did with the building, but truthfully, I had very little to do with it. And because I didn’t have to focus on the construction, I was able to fulfill without distraction my primary duties of ministry. Thank God for Don Price who was gifted and used of the Lord in a great way to fulfil this particular task.

God equips the local church with what it needs to do what God wants it to do. Part of my job as a pastor is to try to figure out what the gifts and talents are in the people, and put them to use. People who are not being used are unhappy people; and unhappy people will not stay long, and their talents will be wasted. God also equips each and every one of us with what we need so that we can fulfil His will. He will never ask us to do something and not provide the tools and materials that are necessary in order to get the job done.

Have you discovered what God has equipped you with? What gifts, talents, and abilities has God entrusted to your life? Are you allowing Him to use all of those things for His honor and glory? Why not find a place to serve in the local church where your talents can be used to the fullest? God wants to bear fruit in your life. Allow Him to use you.


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Entering Canaan

Today’s Reading – Exodus 22 – 24; Proverbs 27

(Second Milers also read Luke 8 & 9 ; memorize Psalms 119:9)

“I will send my fear before thee, and will destroy all the people to whom thou shalt come, and I will make all thine enemies turn their backs unto thee.” – (Exodus 23:27)

In Exodus 23, we see the nation of Israel travelling in the wilderness on their way out of Egypt and into Canaan, the land of promise. The verse cited above is one of those promises that were associated with the land. A careful reading of the chapter will reveal that God promised his people prosperity, which included abundant provision, and divine protection if they were to obey Him. God promised that the inhabitants of the land would be driven out, and all of the enemies of Israel would flee from them. Again, these promises were contigent upon the nation’s obedience in wholly following the Lord.

In this passage we see a picture of the Christian life today. God has also delivered us out of Egypt when He saved us. He wants to bring us into the spiritual land of Canaan, which is the Spirit-filled, Christ-centered life. Canaan of the Old Testament is not a picture of Heaven. You will remember the people still had battles to fight there,and there will be no more battles to fight once we get to Heaven; but Canaan is a picture of spiritual victory. Entering Canaan today for the believer is also contigent upon our submission to the will of God. Too many believers today are content to wander in the wilderness of their own reasoning and understanding. They are doing their thing instead of God’s thing. What’s worse is that there are also many genuine believers who live with their backs turned from Canaan and their focus still on Egypt (the world).

It is my desire to live in Canaan. I want to have the victories that God promises those who are surrendered to Him. I am tired of wandering in the spiritual barreness of the wilderness. How about you? God has an abundant life prepared for you which also includes provision, protection, power, and a wonderful purpose; but you cannot do it your way. You must surrender your will to the perfect will of God. Let the Holy Spirit of God control you and guide you, and you will experience the wonderful blessing and abundant life that God desires for you.


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Whatever Happened To Sunday?

Today’s Passage – Exodus 16 – 18; Proverbs 25

(Second Milers also read Luke 4 & 5; memorize Psalm 119:9)

“See, for that the LORD hath given you the sabbath, therefore he giveth you on the sixth day the bread of two days; abide ye every man in his place, let no man go out of his place on the seventh day. So the people rested on the seventh day.” – (Exodus 16:29-30)

I am 46 years old, and I remember that when I was a boy everything shut down on Sunday. The supermarkets were closed; the department stores were closed; the home improvement stores were closed: it seemed like everything was closed. I remember when the first supermarket in our area opened up on Sunday. It was big news. Soon, all of the other supermarkets started opening. At first, Sunday was the worst sales day of the week for the retailers. I remember the managers telling me that it was a waste of time to even open, because they didn’t do enough business to justify it. Now, it is the best sales day of the week. How did we get away from Sunday being a day when just about everyone  had the day off and stayed home after church. I bet those businessmen that started it all thought that it would be a way for them to get a little ahead of their competitors. I wonder if they did? I wonder if they would look back on their decision and consider it a good thing? Come to think of it, the particular company that started it in our area is bankrupt today. What a shame.

In our passage today, God says in chapter 16 that He will supply the Israelites enough manna on the sixth day so that they would not have to gather it on the seventh. Now, before you fuss at me: I am well aware that the Sabbath for the nation Israel was Saturday, not Sunday. However, for Christians, the day that we set apart for worship and rest has traditionally been Sunday, the day of the resurrection. I think America was a much better place when she observed a day of rest on Sunday. Just about everybody went to church on Sunday, and very few people were forced to work.

The devil and the world have made it very difficult for Christians to be faithful to the Lord in setting aside Sunday as the Lord’s day. It has always been my conviction to keep Sunday as the day that our family worships the Lord. We have always made it a practice to attend both the morning and the evening services at our church. It is the Lord’s day, not just the Lord’s morning; and we are supposed to gather together “so much the more as we see the day approaching.” God has always been faithful. He has always met all of my family’s needs. We haven’t lost a thing by keeping Sunday as a day set apart from the rest of the week for the purpose of rest and worship.

Christian, if I can offer you one piece of advice from this passage it would be this: set aside Sunday as the Lord’s day. Do everything in your power to get the day off from work. It may take a while to arrange your affairs so that this can be done, but work toward it. Go to church and then spend time together as a family. Eat a meal together on Sunday afternoon. Take a nap, or maybe have some fellowship with some extended family and friends.  Make Sunday a special day; a day that you look forward to all the week long. Don’t worry about how you will be able to meet all of your obligations because you have eliminated a day of earning income. Remember God is able to give you enough in six days to cover the seventh. “Seek ye first the kingdom of God” and He will take care of everything else.

I hope to see you this Sunday at church!


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How Quickly We Forget

Today’s Reading – Exodus 13 – 15; Proverbs 24

(Second Milers also read Luke 2 & 3; Memorize Psalm 119:9)

“Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song unto the LORD, and spake, saying, I will sing unto the LORD, for he hath triumphed gloriously: the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea.” – (Exodus 15:1)
“And the people murmured against Moses, saying, What shall we drink?” – (Exodus 15:24)
Exodus 15 is an amazing chapter of Scripture, which demonstrates the fickle nature of God’s children. The first 21 verses, which comprises more that three-fourths of the chapter is the record of God’s people singing, dancing, and praising Him for the great miracle that He had done in delivering them from the hand of the Egyptians. Specifically, they are praising God and thanking Him for parting the Red Sea so that they could pass through on dry ground. You will remember, the Egyptians tried to follow them and that same sea closed up upon them and drowned them. The people of God were thrilled that God took away the water so that they could travel to other side. Now, at the end of the chapter, they are complaining that there is no water. First they want the water to go away, and then they want it back again. You just can’t make these Israelites happy, can you? I am kidding, of course; but I do want to point out the tendency that Israel had (and we have today) to forget about all of God’s past blessings by griping about some apparent injustice that seemed to be taking place in the present. Here, they begin to think that God delivered them from Egypt only to kill them with dehydration in the wilderness. Obsurd! That big God that they were worshipping in the beginning of the chapter all of sudden got smaller when the people got a little thirsty.
I find that we are no different today. We sometimes see God do wonderful things in our lives, and from that mountaintop we offer up to Him praise and worship. But then when God allows a little testing to come our way, our attitude changes completely. Our view of God seems to be based solely upon what He does for us. When we are getting popcorn, bubble gum, and ice cream, God is good; but when God says that we should eat a little brocholi because it’s what we need at the time, God becomes some mean ogre. We act like little children in the nursery, don’t we? Let’s grow up! Let’s mature in our faith to the point where we trust God completely. God is good when the circumstances in life are great; but God is also good when things are not going as we would like them to. God is always good. He loves us. He says He will never leave us; never forsake us. He has our very best interests at heart. Trust Him even when you don’t understand; and whatever you do, don’t gripe. Griping is perhaps the most predominant cause of death in the Old Testament. I am not saying that you should not bring your concerns and burdens to Him. There is a big difference between a prayer request and a complaint. Let’s get to the point in our Christian walk where we can praise Him even in the dark days. Remember, there are others out there that have it worse than you. God is not just good, He is awesome. Learn to wait on Him. He will deliver you if you will simply trust Him, obey, and be patient.

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The Call of God

Today’s Passage – Exodus 1 – 3; Proverbs 20 (Second Milers also read – Mark 11 & 12; memorize Colossians 3:16)

“And when the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I.” (Exodus 3:4)

Forgive me for reminiscing a little this morning, but when I read this passage of Scripture dealing with the call of God to Moses, I can’t help but remember the times that I heard clearly the voice of God as He was directing my life. The times that I will share with you happened after I had already trusted Christ as my Saviour, and after I was also already serving Him and growing in Him the best I knew how through my local church. Notice in the passage that Moses also had to get close to God in order for him to hear God’s call.

The first time in my life that I felt God call me was when I was attending a evening service back at Ocean County Baptist Church nearly 20 years ago. I was probably 25 years old at the time and had only been a Christian at that  point for a short while. Anyway, we had a guest missionary speaker that night. I must confess that I do not remember the preacher’s name, or  the place where he was a missionary. I don’t even remember his message title or text. What I do remember, however, was his invitation. It went something like this: “If God were to call you to do something, and He were to make it clear to you that it was His will, would you surrender?” To me, that was a no brainer. The man was not asking me to surrender to some specific place or ministry at that moment; he was merely posing the possibility of a call, and asking what my response would be. I went forward, and frankly I thought the entire congregation would have walked the aisle with me; but when I got up after praying, I was shocked to see that there was only two of us up at the front. At that time in my life, I had no idea what God might do with me; but I told Him that night that I was willing to go “if” He were to call me. I often think back on that moment as the beginning point of God directing me to where I am today.

The second time, I heard God’s call clearly was when He called me to go to Bible College. I had already been to college once, and I was perfectly content with just serving with my pastor at my home church while I learned what I needed to know there. I remember my pastor and I agreeing that I should take some correspondance classes so that I would not have to uproot my family and go off to school. God, however, had other plans. While I was attending a conference down in Longview, Texas, God revealed clearly to me that He wanted me to be trained at Texas Baptist College. I do not regret that move for one minute. God taught me much there; but the main thing that He taught me was how to trust Him.

The third time I heard the voice of God in my life was when God called me to be the pastor of Jersey Shore Baptist Church. I never candidated at any other church. I really didn’t even candidate here. God, through a very miraculous set of circumstances, placed me here. That was almost ten years ago now and one thing is for sure, knowing that I was genuinely “called of God” has been the thing that has kept me going for this past decade. There have been many blessings along the way; and there has also been some difficult days; but I know that I am exactly where God wants me. The certainty of God’s call is what helps keep me going.


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