March 24, 2019

God Uses the Most Unlikely People

For the past 4 weeks, I have listened to some great expository preaching by Michael Staton, at FBC Mustang.

Today's conclusion of this series in the book of Ruth was one that helped me to see even more that the experience of Ruth and Naomi's lives was something that I can relate to very much.

They both left a place that had been home for them. They both experienced devastating loss in their lives and they had settled in a new city with many unknowns, especially how would their needs be met without a husband to provide for them?

We had been living in Port Neches, Texas for the past 2 years and had looked forward to living in this community for the next 20 years of our lives. 

I had experienced a devastating loss of ministry when my term as pastor was not renewed, after Hurricane Harvey had occurred. This loss affected me the most emotionally and spiritually and it had affected my wife in a similar manner too.

We moved to a new city (Murrieta, CA) to live with my mother during this transition of our lives and there were unknowns about where our lives would move to next and when. Would we be able to meet our financial obligations personally and that has been a struggle for us throughout the past 15 months and continues to be so, but we're slowly getting out from under that struggle too.

God's faithfulness can be traced throughout this story and so much more can and should we realize that if we remain faithful and diligent in our work, the blessing of God will be found and received in our lives, much like it was for Ruth and her mother-in-law, Naomi.

Both women suffered the loss of their husbands, but Naomi's grief was multiplied by the loss of both of her sons too, and it's not too hard to imagine the tremendous amount of grief she had experienced.

It's also not too hard to imagine how a person could begin to think that such an emotional distress could cause a person to feel that God has somehow abandoned them too.

Have you ever felt that God may have abandoned you, whether there has been an unexpected transition in your life, or not? I know that I can honestly say that I have felt that way several times in the past 15 months of my life and I've prayed at the beach asking God, "What are you doing in my life right now that I need to understand? Help me understand why this is happening, please."

One of the applications that Michael had shared at the end of the sermon was that we don't grow best in times of comfort and ease, but in the difficult times of life, which is all the more reason why we should continue to trust God during those times. 

Our faith grows stronger when there are difficulties and unless our lives are continuously rooted in the daily discipline of the Word of God, we'll simply collapse in the midst of it.

I'm also grateful that he pointed out the genealogy list of people at the end of chapter 4 of Ruth and to see the list of names in Matthew chapter 1:3-6.

Each of the women listed in Matthew chapter 1:3-6 did not have lives that by human standards would have been considered useful for service to God.

Tamar deceived a man into having sex with her, so she could have children, Rahab was a known prostitute, Ruth lived in a country (Moab) that was known for immoral living, and Bathsheba committed adultery with another man.

Not one of these women would have been chosen as Woman of the Year, by human standards. But God uses the most unlikely and even the most undeserving people, to see that His will is accomplished and that His name will be praised, by each person and among other people too.

I've certainly felt that it would be unlikely that God would use me again, but according to the story of Ruth, He wants to use people who don't feel as if they deserve to be used by Him. That gives me hope and I hope it gives you hope too.

There is something that is part of God's will that needs to be accomplished, and and I hope that you realize, as much as I do now that somehow, some way, we daily play a role in seeing the sovereign hand of God at work in the fulfillment of His will, in more than just our individual lives.

So, if you're going through a season of life that has been difficult, or even experienced a tragic loss of life, don't despair. God is still at work and is doing something remarkable, through people in around your life, to cause you to worship and thank Him in immense awe and wonder.

February 3, 2019

BOOK REVIEW: Praying the Bible

Praying the BiblePraying the Bible by Donald S. Whitney
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I had read a blog post about this book a few years ago and was challenged by the concept of praying using verses of Scripture, to experience a more substantive time of prayer. The blog post was a great start, but I never kept up with the discipline to continue to pray using Scripture. Now that I've read this book, and followed the author's direction in chapter 7 I believe, I stopped reading, selected a Psalm according to the day (2 February) and I read and prayed for 7 minutes using Psalm 32:1-3 and what a difference that time of prayer was using Scripture to help guide me in what to say and how thankful I am that God has forgiven me and that my sin is covered by the blood of Jesus Christ. What a blessing it is, this gift that God has given to me, what He has done for me, to forgive me and not charge my sin against me and that I've been completely honest about it too. God knows if I'm being deceitful about it too, so I can't hide it either. He knows and sees all things anyway!

During my short time as a pastor, I've know people who have had some difficulty praying substantively, or feeling that their prayers were so dry and weren't reaching further than the room they were in, but they did believe that God heard them though. How often is it too that a person prays the same things about the same things and it never changes. This book will change that and breathe new life into your prayer life.

This is a great book and I'm glad I finally read it, and certainly wish that I had read it MUCH SOONER. Now, even through my daily bible reading plan, I'm aware of how I can pray using various verses, or passages from Scripture, to help me have a prayer life where I feel much more closer to God than I have before.

View all my reviews

March 28, 2018

Have you betrayed Jesus?

When it was evening, he reclined at table with the twelve. And as they were eating, he said, “Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.”  
Matthew 26:20-21

Jesus knew who would betray Him, what he would do and into whose hands He would be delivered. The omniscience of God here not only reveals that He knew what was about to happen to Him then, the Lord also knows all things pertaining to our lives today. Everything we’ve done, including those things we’re thinking about doing later.

This knowledge of God’s omniscience should cause us to look at our own lives and ask ourselves, “Have I been faithful in my relationship with Jesus, or have I been a fraud in my relationship with Jesus? Have I compromised my relationship with Jesus, by allowing other things, to become more valuable to have in my life, above the Lord?”

Judas betrayed Jesus into the authority of the Roman soldiers, but each one of us have betrayed Jesus to the authority of the Ten Commandments, as the Ten Commandments stand in judgment of our sin.

Remember this: As much as Jesus knows the worst things about you, He loves you still and the greatest demonstration of His love is His death on the cross, for your sin and mine.

Don’t betray Jesus by allowing something else to have authority over your life that will condemn you in God’s judgment, instead, repent of your sins and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ who died for you, to save you from God’s judgment.

That’s the Good News of Easter.

February 11, 2018

Earthly Gain or Eternal Satisfaction

Since we moved here to my mother's house, to temporarily live here while we get back on our feet financially, I wanted to make sure that we were attending a church where the preaching where the exposition of Scripture was the church's first priority, and it is. It is evident that it is because nearly everyone, young and old have their Bible with them, along with a notepad and a pen, to take notes, or make their own highlights while attending to the preaching of the Word.

This morning, we listened to a great and edifying sermon at Faith Bible Church in Murrieta, California this morning, from their series in 1 Timothy: House Rules. The sermon was based on 1 Timothy 6:2c-10, and is titled, Earthly Gain or Eternal Satisfaction.

January 26, 2018

​7 Signs of Hypocrites in the Church

This new year, I have started to read the Bible again from Genesis to Revelation, only it’s not a sequential order of reading. 

I’m following Professor Grant Horner’s Bible Reading Plan, which consists of reading 10 chapters of the Bible each day, from different genres of Scripture.

Through this reading plan the Gospels will be read four times, the Pentateuch twice, Paul’s letters 4-5 times each, the Old Testament wisdom literature six times, all the Psalms at least twice, all the Proverbs as well as Acts a dozen times, and all the way through the Old Testament History and Prophetic books about 1-1⁄2 times.

Each list of 10 chapters will never be read the same throughout this reading plan, but there will be a lot of times where the Scripture provides an understanding of interpretation of various subjects.

Upon my reading this morning in Matthew 23, the chapter heading says, “Seven Woes to the Scribes and Pharisees”.

The Pharisees were known as very religious people who believed that they were close to God by their outward display of religious piety. They knew the law of Moses, explained it to others and made sure the enforcement of obedience by others.

One might not think there are Pharisees today in the church, but there are and sometimes they cannot be recognized. They may not be wearing similar clothes to what is described in Matthew 23, but these types of hypocritical people can be identified by their actions, and each of these 7 woes that Jesus speaks about are actions that are displayed by those who portray to others an appearance of Christianity, but are instead hypocrites - people who are acting like they are Christians who are devoted to fulfilling the Great Commandment and the Great Commission, yet have no devotion to obeying either command.

Hypocrisy keeps people from the church and it will be one terrifying time before the Lord when those people have to give an account for any portion of these 7 things listed here in Scripture.

January 13, 2018

How True is the Bible?

In the December 1974 issue of Time magazine (p. 41), there is a cover story titled, “How True is the Bible?” 

An excerpt from the article it says, “The breadth, sophistication and diversity of all this biblical investigation are impressive, but it begs a question: Has it made the Bible more credible or less? Literalists who feel the ground move when a verse is challenged would have to say that credibility has suffered. Doubt has been sown, faith is in jeopardy. But believers who expect something else from the Bible may well conclude that its credibility has been enhanced. After more than two centuries of facing the heaviest guns that could be brought to bear, the Bible has survived—and is perhaps the better for the siege. Even on the critics’ own terms—historical fact—the Scriptures seem more acceptable now than when the rationalists began the attack.”

More than a century earlier Charles Spurgeon wrote in his commentary The Treasury of David, vol. 1a, “The Bible has passed through the furnace of persecution, literary criticism, philosophic doubt, and scientific discovery, and has lost nothing but those human interpretations which clung to it as alloy to precious ore. The experience of the saints has tried it in every conceivable manner, but not a single doctrine or promise has been consumed in the most excessive heat.” 

That is absolutely true. The infidels of the ages have beat upon this rock. But the Word of God stands firm, and in the end, like Voltaire, unbelievers are broken by the rock rather than breaking it.

God's Word, especially His promises to act are trustworthy and reliable.

Leave a comment and share a time when the Word of God didn't fail you and proved trustworthy and reliable.


January 11, 2018

God, are you aware of what's happening in my life?

As I was catching up in my Bible reading plan last night, by Professor Grant Horner, I noticed in Matthew 8 and Genesis 8, two similar experiences.

In Matthew 8:23-27, the disciples were in a boat with Jesus but had experienced a terrible storm where they thought they were going to die. Jesus questioned them wanting to know why was their faith so weak when He was with them and by His words, He calmed the storm and they marveled at what He did.

In Genesis 8:1 it says that "God remembered Noah,..." and Noah had just experienced an unimaginable flooding of the whole earth where anything that wasn't in the ark was destroyed by the 40 days and nights of rain.

In both accounts there was a circumstance of danger, even the unknown of what REALLY was going to happen while in the midst of this terrible trial, even a test of their faith.

In both accounts, neither group of people knew what God was going to do in the midst of the storm, i.e., trial, or test of faith.

The only one who knew was God and while He allowed the storm, i.e., trial or test, to occur, each group had to trust God while they were going through the storm and both groups of people survived the storms and were in awe of what God did, to bring them to a new place in their lives, as witnesses to His sovereignty, power and also, something we may often overlook in both of these accounts, God's immeasurable compassion for those whom were going through a very difficult time in their lives.

Maybe there is something you're going through right now and you're asking God, "Help me, Lord! Don't you see what's happening in and around my life?? Won't you do something to help me??"

The lesson for us to learn is that no matter what it is that you're going through, God knows what's happening in your life and the trial (storm) you're going through.

The disciples were chastised for their lack of faith while Jesus was with them and Noah, he had never seen rain falling so massively that the whole world would be swallowed up in water, leaving only him and his family to survive. But he was obedient to God's direction, in preparation for the flood and obedience to God is something that must be strengthened, whenever we're going through a time that our faith is being immensely tested.

It's hard to say and believe it even more, because when you're in great need of help, you need it immediately and maybe don't have too much patience to wait for God to do whatever it is that He's going to do because it's getting close to where you feel like you're not going to survive the storm.

Just remember, Noah and his family didn't die during the flood and none of the disciples perished either in the storm they were in.

But in the midst of that storm, when we don't think God is aware of our situation, He is very aware and He knows exactly how and when He'll deliver you out of it all, at the right time and to the right place.

Last year, I was reading a book titled, Gleanings in Genesis by A.W. Pink while I was preaching a series of sermons about Abraham's experiences of success failure, his obedience and disobedience to God. Pink said, "Profession must be tested and at times the meal in the barrel will run very low. Look not at the famine but unto God's faithfulness." (p. 146)

I hope this may be an encouragement to you today. Stay strong in faith and trust the Lord. He knows what He is doing and He will deliver you, at the right time and to the right place. Things may seem lean right now, or they have been and I need this reminder too, as much as anyone else, but it's important to remember God's faithfulness.

He's been faithful throughout history in the Bible and there is no doubt that God has been faithful in the past to you, as He has to me and I must remain hopeful and believe that God will continue to be faithful today and tomorrow too.

I may not understand it for myself even at this moment, but God does and I've found this encouragement from reading His Word last night and I'm glad I did.

I hope tonight you'll be able to sleep peacefully as Jesus did, in the midst of the storm.

God is faithful and He won't stop being faithful to any of His children now.

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God Uses the Most Unlikely People

For the past 4 weeks, I have listened to some great expository preaching by Michael Staton, at FBC Mustang. Today's conclusion of thi...