Daddy

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Today’s Passage – Mark 14 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

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

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – 1 Timothy 1:17

Read the “1023 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt.” (Mark 14:36)

 “For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.” (Romans 8:15)

“And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.” (Galatians 4:6)

In our passage today, we read of the heartbreaking story of our Saviour in the hours leading up to his crucifixion. Can you imagine what Jesus must have felt as He was betrayed by Judas, denied by Peter, and forsaken by the rest? The nation that He came to save was about to humiliate Him, beat Him, spit upon Him, and kill Him. And, in verse 36 above, He is in the Garden of Gethsemane with the three disciples who were His closest friends, and they could not even stay awake to pray with Him. I don’t think that we can fully comprehend the weight of sorrows that our Saviour bore for us that night.

However, in the Garden, He still had His daddy. The word “Abba” is an Aramaic word that most closely resembles the word “daddy” in our English language. It speaks of a warm, intimate relationship, as opposed to cold formality. It reminds us of the times as children when we could run and jump up into the arms of our earthly dads. In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus entered into the arms of His daddy; and though the Father did not remove the cup, I am sure that He comforted the Lord Jesus and loved on Him as He was about to do what He came to earth to do.

Notice the verses above from Romans and Galatians, which teach us that we, too, have the same privilege of jumping up into the lap of our Heavenly Father, and receiving the comfort, love, and help we need in our hour of need. It is wonderful to think that we serve a God, a Father, that wants to be called “Daddy”. God is not a cold taskmaster that demands only your service: He is a loving, Heavenly Daddy that wants an intimate relationship with His children.


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I Don’t Want to Render to Caesar

caesar

Today’s Passage – Mark 12 – 13 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here  to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

(Second Milers also read – Psalms 106 – 110; Proverbs 22

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 34:6

“And when they were come, they say unto him, Master, we know that thou art true, and carest for no man: for thou regardest not the person of men, but teachest the way of God in truth: Is it lawful to give tribute to Caesar, or not? … And Jesus answering said unto them, Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s. And they marvelled at him.” – (Mark 12:14, 17)

You will probably not enjoy reading this post as much as I won’t enjoy writing it. In our reading today from Mark 12:13 – 17, we see the Pharisees attempting to corner Jesus by getting him to say something that will get him in trouble. They specifically asked him about paying taxes. They thought that they had Him in a secure trap. If Jesus said that the people should not pay taxes, then they could get Him in hot water with the Roman government (Caesar); but if he said that the people should pay taxes, then the Jewish people would be furious with Him, because they hated the Roman government, and were expecting their Messiah to overthrow it. Jesus’ answer was marvelous. He simply said that the people owed a debt to the government, and that they should pay that debt. He also was careful to add that they were also to pay what was expected of them to God,

Nobody likes paying taxes; I certainly don’t. However, taxes are a necessary evil. We all enjoy the protection that we receive from our police and military. We all make use of our infrastructure: we drive on our roads, cross our bridges, etc. All of these services make our lives better. On the other side of the coin, we can all see where our government is spending too much money on things that we wish they would discontinue. Our government is voted in by the people it represents, and the people need to be part of the process. I also believe that believers should be involved in our government process. We should vote, and speak our minds regarding the issues that are important to us. We should participate in community events. Our church has done some road clean-ups in our community in the past. It’s our town. We live in it, and we should do our part to make it a better place.

It is interesting to me, however, that Jesus didn’t concern himself much with trying to correct the abuses of government. He was far more concerned with teaching doctrine, and speaking out against the corruption in the religious community. The Apostle Paul, likewise did not seek to correct or rally to correct the wrong policies of the Roman empire. For instance, in Paul’s day slavery was tolerated. Paul did not protest the government or the slave owners, trying to abolish slavery. He simply instructed the Christian slave owners to treat their believing servants like brothers; and in the case of Philemon and Onesimus, he was persuasive in the granting of liberty to a runaway slave. He also instructed the servants regarding how to love and serve their masters. I am sure that Paul did not condone slavery, however. My point is that he was more concerned about instructing, exhorting, and admonishing Christians, then he was about straightening out the world, or it’s government.

Getting back to taxes. I believe that believers should cheerfully and honestly render to Caesar (the government) the things (taxes) that are owed to Caesar. Don’t cheat on your taxes. Don’t try to hide any income “under the table”. Remember, God will take care of all of your needs, including your tax debt. He owns it all anyway. In another similar story regarding taxes, Jesus instructed Peter to go fishing, and in the first fish’s mouth he would find the tax money. (see Matthew 17:24 – 27) If we keep fishing for men, Jesus will continue to provide us with all of the coins that we need to pay our debt to Caesar, and meet all of our other needs as well.


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Servant Leadership

towel-and-basin

Today’s Passage – Mark 10 – 11 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

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

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Ephesians 4:32

Read the “1021 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister: And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all. For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.” – (Mark 10:43-45)

When I was in Bible college, I went to work for a supermarket chain in the East Texas area. This company had a unique, but refreshing leadership style that I was unaccustomed to at the time. My store manager, and all of the assistants were people that worked hard alongside the employees of the store. They didn’t just bark out orders to the clerks, they were willing to get their hands dirty themselves. It was not at all unusual to see the store manager with a mop in his hand, cleaning up a spill; or out in the parking lot gathering up the buggies (shopping carts). Their philosophy was that in order to be a leader in the company, you first had to demonstrate that you could be a great servant.

I find that in the ministry the same principle should also be true. The pastor, deacons, and other leaders in the church should not be beneath any task that needs to be done within the church. If the bathrooms need to be cleaned, or the lawns need to be mowed, the leadership should be more than willing to pitch in at times to do it. Now, I understand that it may not be the most efficient use of time and talents to have the leaders doing these things that could be done by others, but the leadership should be willing to do whatever needs to be done in order for the cause of Christ to move forward. There are no “big shots” in the ministry. The Lord we serve is the only superstar. The rest of us are merely servants.


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Are You For Real?

John the Baptist prepares the way

Today’s Passage – Mark 6 – 7 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

(Second Milers also read – Psalms 91 – 95; Proverbs 19

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 19

Read former posts from this pasage – “Don’t Lose the Personal Touch” & “Politicians”

“For Herod feared John, knowing that he was a just man and an holy, and observed him; and when he heard him, he did many things, and heard him gladly.” – (Mark 6:20)

In our text today, we read about the execution of John the Baptist by Herod. I will not rehash the story, as most of you are probably familiar with it, and if by chance you are not, you can read it for yourself in Mark 6:14 – 29. John was arrested by Herod because he had been preaching against Herod’s immoral relationship with his (Herod’s) brother’s wife. People who sin willfully do not like to be pointed out, or reminded about their sin. Most people do not have the option of silencing their critics, but when you are the mistress of the King, you can pretty much do whatever you want. Thus, Herodias eventually got what she wanted – John’s head on a platter.

Herod did not want to arrest, or kill, John the Baptist. He was actually afraid of him, because he knew that John was real. He knew that John, unlike the rest of the religious crowd of the day, was genuine in his faith and holiness. Men will fear a genuine believer who walks with God, and practices what he believes. Unfortunately, they will fear the crowd more. Herod feared Herodias, and the people who were watching, more than he feared God or John the Baptist. Pilate also feared the people more than he feared the Lord Jesus. However, the fear that Herod had for John continued even after John was gone. He actually thought that Jesus was some kind of a reincarnation of John, coming back to get him.

The thought I have this morning is that Herod feared John because he knew that John was the real deal. He was genuine. He wasn’t just playing some religious game, or using religion to advance his own personal agenda. The question I have for you (and me) this morning is, are you real? Is your faith making a difference in the lives of the people around you. Are there some Herodias’s in your life that just can’t stand you because of what you stand for? Are you poking some holes in the darkness around you, or are you just going through the religious motions, playing the church game? Just a thought.


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Go Home To Thy Friends

Studymassillonchurch1

Today’s Passage – Mark 4 – 5 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

(Second Milers also read – Psalms 86 – 90; Proverbs 18)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Micah 6:8

Read the “1018 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Read a previous post from this morning’s reading passage – “Good Ground

“Howbeit Jesus suffered him not, but saith unto him, Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee.” (Mark 5:19)

The testimony of this man from Decapolis that was saved by the Lord was incredible. He was delivered out of an horrible pit of the worst kinds of sin. He then volunteers by asking the Lord if he could stay with Him. You would think that the Lord would have this man travel with Him full-time sharing with the whole world what he had done for him. However, the Lord had different plans for this man’s life. Instead of taking him with Him, He told the man to go back home and tell all of his friends and family about his testimony. The Scripture tell us that the man “published” in Decapolis all things that the Lord had done for him.

I got to thinking that the Lord has different plans for all of our lives. Some of us He will call to minister for Him full-time as a pastor or missionary, etc. However, the vast majority of His children will be asked to stay home and tell their friends, family members, and neighbors about the Lord. We all have a testimony if we are saved; and the best place to start in sharing Christ with others is simply telling them what that Lord has done for us. Have you shared with your friends “how great things the Lord hath done for thee”? If you haven’t, there is no time better than today to start.

A note to you who have been saved and serving in a particular area for a long: If you are like me, when you were first saved all of the people you knew were lost, and you had many wonderful opportunities to influence the people with the love of Christ, which was literally bursting out from within you and your new and exciting faith. Now that you have been saved for some years, most of the people that you know are also saved people. You have the challenge to intentionally seek out opportunities to interact and impact the lost people where you live for Christ. Get out into your community, meet new people, and share Christ with them.


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Who Is In The Driver’s Seat?

drivers-seat

Today’s Passage – Mark 1 – 3 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

(Second Milers also read – Psalms 81 – 85; Proverbs 17)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Isaiah 51:11

Read the “1017 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Read a previous post from this morning’s Bible reading passage – “What Does It Mean To Blaspheme the Holy Ghost?

“And immediately the Spirit driveth him into the wilderness.” – (Mark 1:12)

Years ago, I used to see bumper stickers on the back of tractor trailers that would say, “God Is My Co-Pilot”. As a lost man, I remember thinking that it was a clever slogan, but now that I have thought about it, I am sure that God does not want to be a passenger in your life: He wants to drive. We see in our text that Jesus was “driven” by the Holy Spirit of God into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. While Jesus walked this earth He was filled with the Spirit, lead of the Spirit; and He performed all of His miracles in the power of the Holy Spirit.

It should be the same for the followers of Christ today. We should not to be in the driver’s seat of our own lives. We should be living our lives submitted to the will of God, and yielded to the Spirit of God. Consider the following verses regarding the Holy Ghost:

“And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;” – (Ephesians 5:18)

“This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. … If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” – (Galatians 5:16, 25)

“And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.” – (Ephesians 4:30)

“What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” – (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)

“Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:” – (John 16:7-8)

“Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.” – (John 16:13)

When I first trusted Christ as my Saviour, I recognized the presence of the Holy Spirit of God in my life. Though, I did not understand it then (nor do I understand it completely now), I knew that there was something inside of me “driving” me toward the direction of the will of God and the Word of God. I realize now that the Holy Spirit was even working in my life long before I was saved. I used to think that the Holy Ghost was kind of like an unseen force in my life; but I have come to realize that He is not a force, He is a Person, and He is God; and God does not take a back seat to anybody. God wants to drive, and we need to be willing to let Him drive us wherever He wants us to go.


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Have You Ever Been There?

Jesus on the cross

Today’s Passage – Mark 15 – 16 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here  to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

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

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – James 4:10

Read the “1024 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Read previous posts from this passage – “Ready, Set, Go“, and “The Just for the Unjust

“And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? which is, being interpreted, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Mark 15:34)

The above verse references the time when Jesus was on the cross with the sins of the whole world placed upon his shoulders. In His humanity, He cries to the Father, and for the first time Jesus calls His Father, “God” instead of “Father”. Here at this moment it seemed that everything was against Him, including God.

Does it ever seem to you like God has forsaken you? I have been through some dark valleys in my time, and there have been many times where I have wondered, “Where is God?” At those times, it seemed like God was nowhere to be found. However, in hindsight, I can see that God was there all along; and though I could not see Him or feel Him, He was there. He is always there. If you are going through some kind of a trial today, don’t trust your feelings: they will often betray you. Trust the Word of God. The Bible tells us that He will never leave us or forsake us. Keep trusting; keep praying, even though it seems like you are just talking to yourself. Remember faith is the evidence of things not seen. Though His presence may seem to be elsewhere, He is right there with you. He hasn’t stopped loving you, and He hasn’t stopped working for your good and His glory.


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Hear Ye Him!

Matt-17-Transfiguration-Picture

Today’s Passage – Mark 8 – 9 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here  to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

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

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Matthew 6:33

Read the “1020 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“And Peter answered and said to Jesus, Master, it is good for us to be here: and let us make three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias. For he wist not what to say; for they were sore afraid. And there was a cloud that overshadowed them: and a voice came out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son: hear him.” – (Mark 9:5-7)

In our passage today we have the account of the transfiguration of the Lord Jesus where a select few of His disciples were privileged to get a glimpse of the Lord in His resurrected glory. But something else that was very strange occurred on the mount that day that caught the attention of the disciples. Appearing to talk with Jesus was Moses and Elijah, two of the greatest men of the Old Testament. It seems that Peter was more impressed with the appearance of the two Old Testament men than he was with the Lord Jesus in all of His glory. He wanted to make three booths on the mountain: one for Moses, one for Elijah, and one for Jesus. In all fairness to Peter, however, notice that it said in v 6 that “he wist (knew) not what to say”.  One lesson that we can learn from this is that if we don’t know what to say we should keep our mouthes shut. At any rate, what happens next is amazing. God the Father booms from Heaven, This is my beloved son, hear ye him.He sternly rebukes Peter for even considering the other two men in the same category as His Son. Peter was willing to include the Lord, but he did not give the Lord the place of preeminence.

“And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.” – (Colossians 1:18)

I believe that most Christians today are in a way guilty of the same thing. We want God to be part of our life; but we do not give Him the place of preeminence either. He is included in our decision making, but He is not the final authority in our lives. We give Him part of out time, treasure, and talent; but we do not recognize His sovereign right to dictate wholly what we do with them. I believe God shouts down from Heaven, through His word, the same thing to us today. He is telling us to listen to His Son. Forget about all of the other voices of influence out there and give God exclusive rights in your life.

Notice that the Father commands the disciples as well as us today to “hear Him”.  Jesus said that His sheep hear His voice. I wonder how many Christians today are listening for the voice of the Saviour. It is a wonder that we can hear anything at all with all of the noises and distractions that are a part of lives today. God wants to speak to us, and He will if we will simply get alone with Him and open our hearts up to Him.


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Ready, Set, Go

 

Today’s Passage –Mark 15 – 16 

(Second Milers also read – Psalms 116 – 120; Proverbs 24

 

“And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” – (Mark 16:15)

“And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” – (Matthew 28:18-20)

“And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.” – (Matthew 10:7)

Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage.” – (Matthew 22:9)

“Howbeit Jesus suffered him not, but saith unto him, Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee.” – (Mark 5:19)

“Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God.” – (Luke 9:60)

“So that servant came, and shewed his lord these things. Then the master of the house being angry said to his servant, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind.” – (Luke 14:21)

“And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.” – (Luke 14:23)

“Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.” – (John 15:16)

Go, stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of this life.” – (Acts 5:20)

Got the message?


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Servant Leadership

Today’s Passage –Mark 10 – 11 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

(Second Milers also read – Psalms 101 – 105Proverbs 21

Scripture Memory for October – Matthew 5:1 – 16

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 34

“But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister: And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all. For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.” – (Mark 10:43-45)

When I was in Bible college, I went to work for a supermarket chain in the East Texas area. This company had a unique, but refreshing leadership style that I was unaccustomed to at the time. My store manager, and all of the assistants were people that worked hard alongside the employees of the store. They didn’t just bark out orders to the clerks, they were willing to get their hands dirty themselves. It was not at all unusual to see the store manager with a mop in his hand, cleaning up a spill; or out in the parking lot gathering up the buggies (shopping carts). Their philosophy was that in order to be a leader in the company, you first had to demonstrate that you could be a great servant.

I find that in the ministry the same principle should also be true. The pastor, deacons, and other leaders in the church should not be beneath any task that needs to be done within the church. If the bathrooms need to be cleaned, or the lawns need to be mowed, the leadership should be more than willing to pitch in at times to do it. Now, I understand that it may not be the most efficient use of time and talents to have the leaders doing these things that could be done by others, but the leadership should be willing to do whatever needs to be done in order for the cause of Christ to move forward. There are no “big shots” in the ministry. The Lord we serve is the only superstar. The rest of us are merely servants.


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Good Ground

Today’s Passage –Mark 4 – 5 

(Second Milers also read – Psalms 86 – 90; Proverbs 18

“And some fell on stony ground, where it had not much earth; and immediately it sprang up, because it had no depth of earth: But when the sun was up, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up, and choked it, and it yielded no fruit.” – (Mark 4:5-7)

I have always been fascinated by the accuracy of the Scripture. This parable of the sower is a perfect representative of the realities involved when dealing with people in their relationship to God. This story told and explained by the Lord Jesus speaks of four different types of soil, which is representative of four different groups of people. The first type of soil mentioned is hard ground that does not receive the seed, and eventually the seed that is sown upon it is gobbled up by birds. This soil type is representative of the hard-hearted person who will not allow God’s Word to enter into his heart. The last type of soil is the best case scenario, which represents a person who receives the Word of God by first trusting Christ as His Saviour; and then he goes on to produce much fruit in his life.

My focus this morning is on the two types of soil in the middle: the stony ground, and the ground with thorns. These two types of soil represent people who start out well, but eventually fizzle out spiritually. The “stony ground” Christian never lets the Word of God take route in his life. Consider what the Apostle Paul told the church at Colosse:

“As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.” – (Colossians 2:6-7)

If a Christian is going to continue growing and eventually begin producing fruit in his life, he must get “rooted” in the Word of God. This is why our church strongly recommends our discipleship program. Through discipleship the new believer gets a good foundation, and enough strength to help  withstand the lure of the world, the tests of the flesh, and the early attacks of the devil. If the new believer is going to survive, he must get in the Word of God.

That brings us to the third type of soil – the soil that is choked with thorns. The thorns represent all of the distractions that can keep the Christian away from the Spiritual nourishment he needs to keep producing fruit in his life. By the way, this can happen to the Christian who, as a new believer, has removed the stones from his soil and has been “rooted” in the Word of God. Thorns have a way of growing up all around us; and if we are not careful we will allow a bunch of things (sometimes even good things) to creep into our lives that will pull us away from God. We need to keep our focus.

In order for us to finish our course and remain fruitful in our lives we must get grounded in the Word; and then we must maintain our walk with the Lord. Anything that pulls us out of the will of God will hinder our ability to produce fruit. We are here to produce fruit.


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What Does It Mean To Blaspheme the Holy Ghost?

 

Today’s Passage –Mark 1 – 3 

(Second Milers also read – Psalms 81 – 85; Proverbs 17

 

“Verily I say unto you, All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme: But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation:” – (Mark 3:28-29)

“Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.” – (Matthew 12:31)

I remember when I was a new believer there were certain passages in the Bible that scared me. On the surface, these verses seemed to contradict what I was being taught in church. Mark 3:28 and 29 are those kind of verses. I used to think that these verses somehow taught that there was a certain sin that I could commit today as a believer that would revoke my salvation. Adding to this problem was the fact that I had no idea what this sin was. What did it mean to blaspheme against the Holy Ghost? For a number of years I just avoided the passage altogether: sort of like hiding a past due bill in a drawer, pretending that it’s not there. Eventually, however, I decided to study the passage out to see what it really was teaching.

As in all Bible study, it is crucial that we look into the context of the passage. In Mark 3, we have the religious leadership of Israel attributing the miracles that Christ was performing to the power of Satan. Basically they were saying that Jesus cast out devils with the power of the devil. Jesus straightened out there false logic by explaining that it made no sense for Satan to divide himself, or attack one of his own. The deeper message from this passage was, however, that Israel’s religious leaders had completely rejected that Jesus was, in fact, the Christ. By stating that Jesus was working for Satan, they totally rejected His lordship as their Messiah, and their God.

The question that I always had about this passage was what did all of this have to do with the Holy Ghost. To understand this, I had to do a little study on the Holy Spirit. Who is He? What Is His ministry all about. I will not give you here all that I discovered, but there are two things about the Holy Ghost that I will share with you, that are critical to answering the question regarding “blasphemy against the Holy Ghost”:

1  The Holy Spirit (or Holy Ghost) is God. He is just as much God as the Father is, and Jesus is.

“But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land? Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God.” – (Acts 5:3-4)

2  The Holy Ghost’s ministry on earth today is to bring people to salvation through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

“Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.” – (John 16:13-14)

The religious leaders in our text rejected their Messiah, Jesus Christ; and thereby rejected the message of the Holy Ghost. The message of the Holy Ghost is Jesus Christ, and when we die rejecting Christ, we die rejecting the message of the Holy Spirit. Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit then cannot be a sin that can be committed by a true believer, because a true believer has already received the Message of the Holy Spirit, which is Jesus. However, if a lost person continues to reject the message of salvation, and dies in his sins, he has blasphemed the Holy Ghost by rejecting the gift of salvation that the Holy Spirit offers through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.


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The Just for the Unjust

Today’s Passages – Mark 15 – 16; Proverbs 24

(Second Milers also read – Psalms 116 – 118; Memorize – Psalm 126:5 & 6)

“And so Pilate, willing to content the people, released Barabbas unto them, and delivered Jesus, when he had scourged him, to be crucified.” – (Mark 15:15)

“For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:” – (1 Peter 3:18)

I am a little embarassed to admit this, but this morning is the first time that I have given some thought to this man Barabbas who was a prisoner released by Pilate at the request of the Jews. The Scripture doesn’t tell us much about this man, save that he had committed insurrection presumably against the Roman government, and was guilty of murder. Jesus, on the other hand, was guilty of nothing but loving the people who were condemning Him. I am not too surprised that the Jews would want him released as it appears that Barabbas was trying to overthrow the Roman government; but why would Pilate agree to such a thing. Pilate was the man given the authority to make the call; and he knew that Barabbus was guilty and a danger to society. He also knew that Jesus was completely innocent. It just doesn’t make sense.

However, neither does it make sense that a just God would condemn His sinless Son to death in order to set free a bunch of vile sinners like us. Did you ever make the spiritual connection between yourself and Barabbas. I know what you might be thinking right now: you’re saying to yourself that Barabbas was a bad person, and he really deserved to be punished. But what about you and me? Are we good people? Or are we as the Scripture says: completely guilty before a just and holy God?  You see, you and I deserve the same judgement that Barabbas deserved; but the Lord Jesus willingly took our place: the innocent for the guilty; the just for the unjust. It’s mind-boggling to think that God would go to such lengths to save such unworthy creatures such as we.


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The Sunday Afternoon Post by Assistant Pastor Ted Stahl

Sunday Morning’s Message – The Safest Place on Earth

Sunday Evening’s Message – Where Did They Go?

Today’s Passages – Mark 14; Proverbs 23

(Second Milers also read – Psalms 111 – 115; Memorize – Psalm 126:5 & 6)

This is a repeat of Pastor’s Stahl’s blog post from last year on Mark 14.

Good morning. How in the world are you? I have two thoughts that may be a help to you today.  In today’s reading we find the story of the woman with the alabaster box of spikenard: a very expensive ointment (verses 3-11). This passage caused me to ask the question, “Have I ever been angry at God?”

How about you? When things don’t go your way, or the way you perceive they should go, do you blame God? Many people do. Cain was angry with God because He would not accept his offering. During the great tribulation, the seven years, rather than repent, many will turn and shake their fists at God. Here in this passage we have Judas. John chapter 12 gives us a little glimpse into where his heart was at…

“Then saith one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, which should betray him, Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor? This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein.” (John 12:4-6)

So Judas was angry with God (Mark 14:4-5). What happens next? Judas goes to the chief priests to betray Jesus (Mark 14:10-11). God’s Word tells us to be angry, and sin not (Eph. 4:26). Sin has a price. Judas was told by Jesus what the price would be in verse 21 of Mark 14…

“The Son of man indeed goeth, as it is written of him: but woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! good were it for that man if he had never been born.”

And you know the rest of the story: Judas betrayed Jesus anyway, and ended up hanging himself. The Bible tells us that Judas went to his own place. Is that the hottest part of Hell? I don’t know, but it all started with being angry at God. We all need to ask ourselves that question: “Am I angry at God?”

Remember: “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” (James 1:17)

That leads me to my second thought…

I received this e-mail the other day. It simply said…

Bob Roszak passed away yesterday on the 21 of October.

He was having problems with his heart…

George

I wish I could provide a link to what everyone was saying about this man. He was a fixture in the Buskey home for a long time. We all have an appointed time. Bob’s time had come. And here is the connection…

God had given this alabaster box of priceless ointment for us to hold onto for a while. The time had arrived to give it back: to poor it out and anoint the Saviour’s head and feet. Because of God’s grace, because of Jesus coming and dying on the cross and shedding His precious blood to pay for Bob’s sins, he is in Heaven today. One day you will see him again if you’re saved. God’s Word tells us that we are all sinners (Romans 3:10,23), and that the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 6:23). The Bible makes it simple,

1John 5:12-13 says, “He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.”

All you need do to receive Jesus for your own is to call on his name. Romans 10:3 says, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

You can’t get to Heaven on your own. Ephesians 2:8-9 tells us, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”

To God, love is an action word. Love was an action word to Bob also. Because of God’s action in John 3:16, Bob has a home in Heaven…

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

Peace (John 14:27)


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Forbid Them Not!

Today’s Passages – Mark 10 – 11; Proverbs 21

(Second Milers also read – Psalms 101 – 105; Memorize Daniel 12:3)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 121

Read a good article by Pastor Paul Chappell – “Stewarding Time”

“But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.” (Mark 10:14)

I have been saved now for over twenty years, and I have had the opportunity to observe  a variety of churches. One of the things that I see consistently in strong, healthy churches is the presence of a lot of young people. As a boy, growing up, I hated going to church. I tried to come up with every excuse as to why we should stay home. However, I am noticing that at our church and at many of the churches we are associated with, we have kids that want to be here. In fact, some of these kids are pushing their parents into bringing them. We also have a lot of kids that come on the bus without their parents. It thrills my soul to see young people who are excited about their faith, and really enjoy coming to church.

It is no secret that our church, and many others like ours, have been going through a financial trial. The money simply is not coming in like it used to. It has become painfully obvious that some things that we enjoy at church will have to be cut from the budget. But one thing I will never stand for cutting is the bus ministry. I believe the bus ministry has been the most effective tool that we have for reaching people. Last night on a rainy night, we had over 60 kids ride the bus to Kid’s Club, and quite a few of those stayed for the adult Bible Study that followed. I saw a lot of life in that bunch of kids. I bet that the Lord was very pleased as well.

Jesus wants the little children to come to church. He wants our churches to love and reach out to these children. For some, the spiritual influence they get from us will be the only light that they will ever receive. Let’s keep our churches “children friendly”. I know that children’s ministries (especially running busses) are expensive; but remember, when we invest in the children of today, we are also securing the future of the church.  The kids that we reach today will be paying all of the bills tomorrow.


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Hear Him!

Today’s Passages – Mark 8 – 9; Proverbs 20

(Second Milers also read – Psalms 96 – 100; Memorize – Daniel 12:3)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 89:1

“And Peter answered and said to Jesus, Master, it is good for us to be here: and let us make three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias. For he wist not what to say; for they were sore afraid. And there was a cloud that overshadowed them: and a voice came out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son: hear him.” – (Mark 9:5-7)

In our passage today we have the account of the transfiguration of the Lord Jesus where a select few of His disciples were privileged to get a glimpse of the Lord in His resurrected glory. But something else that was very strange occurred on the mount that day that caught the attention of the disciples. Appearing to talk with Jesus was Moses and Elijah, two of the greatest men of the Old Testament. It seems that Peter was more impressed with the appearance of the two Old Testament men than he was with the Lord Jesus in all of His glory. He wanted to make three booths on the mountain: one for Moses, one for Elijah, and one for Jesus. In all fairness to Peter, however, notice that it said in v 6 that “he wist (knew) not what to say”.  One lesson that we can learn from this is that if we don’t know what to say we should keep our mouthes shut. At any rate, what happens next is amazing. God the Father booms from Heaven, “This is my beloved son, hear ye him.” He sternly rebukes Peter for even considering the other two men in the same category as His Son. Peter was willing to include the Lord, but he did not give the Lord the place of preeminence.

“And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.” – (Colossians 1:18)

I believe that most Christians today are in a way guilty of the same thing. We want God to be part of our life; but we do not give Him the place of preeminence either. He is included in our decision making, but He is not the final authority in our lives. We give Him part of out time, treasure, and talent; but we do not recognize His sovereign right to dictate wholly what we do with them. I believe God shouts down from Heaven, through His word, the same thing to us today. He is telling us to listen to His Son. Forget about all of the other voices of influence out there and give God exclusive rights in your life.

Notice that the Father commands the disciples as well as us today to “hear Him”. Jesus said that His sheep hear His voice. I wonder how many Christians today are listening for the voice of the Saviour. It is a wonder that we can hear anything at all with all of the noises and distractions that are a part of lives today. God wants to speak to us, and He will if we will simply get alone with Him and open our hearts up to Him.


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Don’t Lose The Personal Touch

 

Today’s Passages – Mark 6 – 7; Proverbs 19

(Second Milers also read – Psalm 91 – 95; Memorize – Daniel 12:3)

 

“And he took him aside from the multitude, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spit, and touched his tongue; And looking up to heaven, he sighed, and saith unto him, Ephphatha, that is, Be opened.” – (Mark 7:33-34)

When we were kids, we would often drink from the same bottle of soda. In the day that we are living in, we rightly teach our young children to not get too close to people. We tell them not to share someone else’s cup, or even their hair brush or comb. It is even to the extreme now where many people refuse to shake hands; they simply “bump” fists. We are petrified that some sort of disease is going to be transferred to us from other people. I guess the medical experts are probably right about the fact that we are less likely to catch sickness if we keep our distance from people; but I wonder how are we going to be able to help the people that God has given to us to minister to by not getting close to their problems. In our text, Jesus stuck His fingers in the deaf guy’s ears. I don’t think he was wearing one of those latex gloves either when He did it. It gets worse. He then spits on His hands, and touches the guy’s tongue. I can see some of you “germaphobes” cringing right now.

I am really not suggesting that we throw out all that we have been taught in recent years about good personal hygiene; but I am asking us to consider the fact that in order to help people we have to be willing to enter into their world, and allow ourselves to be exposed to some of their problems. Jesus got out into the world where people live. He didn’t participate in the carnal things that they did, but he entered into their lives. I am not advocating that we throw our standards of separation out the window, either. I believe that we can live “in the world”, but through our Biblical standards, not be “of the world”. I believe this was the heart of the Apostle Paul when he said, “I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.” – (1 Corinthians 9:22B).

The world is changing rapidly today. We are using tools of technology where we have the ability to communicate to people without getting close to them; but I feel we are losing some good opportunities to minister to people face to face in the process. Jesus dealt with people on a personal level. I hope we don’t lose that personal touch in our ministry. I still like to knock on doors in order to meet the people in our community. I still like to go to our member’s homes, and see where they live. I still like to have them into my home for fellowship. I believe it literally opens up doors for deeper ministry. I think if Jesus was still here on earth today, He would be with the people. Just a thought.


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Preparing and Maintaining the Soil

Today’s Passages –Mark 4 – 5; Proverbs 18

(Second Milers also read – Psalms 86 – 90; Memorize Daniel 12:3)

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

Read “The Habits of Fruitful Soulwinners” by Dr. Paul Chappell.

Read last year’s post from this passage – “Go Home and Tell Them”

“And some fell on stony ground, where it had not much earth; and immediately it sprang up, because it had no depth of earth: But when the sun was up, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up, and choked it, and it yielded no fruit.” – (Mark 4:5-7)

I have always been fascinated by the accuracy of the Scripture. This parable of the sower is a perfect representative of the realities involved when dealing with people in their relationship to God. This story told and explained by the Lord Jesus speaks of four different types of soil, which is representative of four different groups of people. The first type of soil mentioned is hard ground that does not receive the seed, and eventually the seed that is sown upon it is gobbled up by birds. This soil type is representative of the hard-hearted person who will not allow God’s Word to enter into his heart. The last type of soil is the best case scenario, which represents a person who receives the Word of God by first trusting Christ as His Saviour; and then he goes on to produce much fruit in his life.

My focus this morning is on the two types of soil in the middle: the stony ground, and the ground with thorns. These two types of soil represent people who start out well, but eventually fizzle out spiritually. The “stony ground” Christian never lets the Word of God take route in his life. Consider what the Apostle Paul told the church at Colosse:

“As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.” – (Colossians 2:6-7)

If a Christian is going to continue growing and eventually begin producing fruit in his life, he must get “rooted” in the Word of God. This is why our church strongly recommends our discipleship program. Through discipleship the new believer gets a good foundation, and enough strength to help  withstand the lure of the world, the tests of the flesh, and the early attacks of the devil. If the new believer is going to survive, he must get in the Word of God.

That brings us to the third type of soil – the soil that is choked with thorns. The thorns represent all of the distractions that can keep the Christian away from the Spiritual nourishment he needs to keep producing fruit in his life. By the way, this can happen to the Christian who, as a new believer, has removed the stones from his soil and has been “rooted” in the Word of God. Thorns have a way of growing up all around us; and if we are not careful we will allow a bunch of things (sometimes even good things) to creep into our lives that will pull us away from God. We need to keep our focus.

In order for us to finish our course and remain fruitful in our lives we must get grounded in the Word; and then we must maintain our walk with the Lord. Anything that pulls us out of the will of God will hinder our ability to produce fruit. We are here to produce fruit.


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Who Is In The Driver’s Seat?

Listen to Sunday Morning’s Message preached by Pastor Erickson, “Thankful for the Crumbs”

Listen to Sunday Night’s Message – Is It I?

Check out our church calendar for information on upcoming events.

Today’s Passages – Mark 1 – 3; Proverbs 17

(Second Milers also read – Psalms 81 – 85; Memorize Daniel 12:3)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Micah 6:8

“And immediately the Spirit driveth him into the wilderness.” – (Mark 1:12)

Years ago, I used to see bumper stickers on the back of tractor trailers that would say, “God Is My Co-Pilot”. As a lost man, I remember thinking that it was a clever slogan, but now that I have thought about it, I am sure that God does not want to be a passenger in your life: He wants to drive. We see in our text that Jesus was “driven” by the Holy Spirit of God into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. While Jesus walked this earth He was filled with the Spirit, lead of the Spirit; and He performed all of His miracles in the power of the Holy Spirit.

It should be the same for the followers of Christ today. We should not to be in the driver’s seat of our own lives. We should be living our lives submitted to the will of God, and yielded to the Spirit of God. Consider the following verses regarding the Holy Ghost:

“And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;” – (Ephesians 5:18)

“This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. … If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” – (Galatians 5:16, 25)

“And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.” – (Ephesians 4:30)

“What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” – (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)

“Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:” – (John 16:7-8)

“Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.” – (John 16:13)

When I first trusted Christ as my Saviour, I recognized the presence of the Holy Spirit of God in my life. Though, I did not understand it then (nor do I understand it completely now), I knew that there was something inside of me “driving” me toward the direction of the will of God and the Word of God. I realize now that the Holy Spirit was even working in my life long before I was saved. I used to think that the Holy Ghost was kind of like an unseen force in my life; but I have come to realize that He is not a force, He is a Person, and He is God; and God does not take a back seat to anybody. God wants to drive, and we need to be willing to let Him drive us wherever He wants us to go.


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