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March 31, 2010

My God, My God, Why Hast Thou Forsaken Me?

Devotions for Holy Week
From First Assembly of God, Brookfield, CT
Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The 4th Saying of Jesus on the Cross

And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, "Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?" that is to say, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" (Matthew 27:46)

As the end of his life drew near (ninth hour: 3 p.m.), Jesus cried out to his God, not to himself, but to His God. God who had come in the flesh, to live and dwell among His people, Jesus was crying out to His God, “My God, my God.”

Hanging on the cross, He was bearing the total weight and punishment of sin for the entire world at this moment. Was this how it was supposed to be? To endure this much pain? To endure this much agony? To carry this great of a burden, for the sin of the entire world cast upon Himself? Yet it was the iniquity of us all that was laid upon Christ (Isaiah 53:6).

How could the King of Israel, willingly submit Himself to dying on a cross, like this? The power of God was demonstrated through His life many times before, why wasn’t the power of God visible again, even now? Yet it was, only not in the manner of man’s desire, but according to God’s will.

March 30, 2010

Woman, Behold Your Son!...Behold Your Mother!

Devotions for Holy Week

From First Assembly of God, Brookfield, CT
Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The 3rd Saying of Jesus on the Cross


“When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing by, He said to His mother, ‘Woman, behold your son!’ Then He said to the disciple, Behold your mother!’ And from that hour that disciple took her to his own home.” (John 19:26-27)

These statements are unique in that they are the last instructions that Jesus makes before He dies. These statements to His’ mother and disciple are specific instructions that were taken seriously. John records that this disciple took Mary home and cared for her from that day on.

Why the need for a disciple to care for Mary? Where is Joseph? Where are Jesus’ brothers? Where is the extended family?

March 29, 2010

Today You Will Be With Me In Paradise

Each day of this week, leading up to Resurrection Sunday, we are emailing an early morning devotional to the congregation of First Assembly from our Pastoral Team.

Devotions for Holy Week

From First Assembly of God, Brookfield, CT
Monday, March 29, 2010


The 2nd Saying of Jesus on the Cross

Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, "If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us." But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, "Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? "And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong." Then he said to Jesus, "Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom." And Jesus said to him, "Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise." (Luke 23:39-43)

Here we have a portion of the account of Jesus Christ being crucified between two thieves, an innocent Man, who had done no evil, suffering the same ignominious fate as the common criminals on each side of Him. Thieves, reprobates, whatever way you would like to refer to them, it doesn’t matter; they were both justly condemned for their crimes. We all stand in the same condemnation, sinners, guilty as charged, having repeatedly broken the Moral Law of God, the Ten Commandments. In these two thieves we can see the effect that the Cross has on every son of Adam.

March 28, 2010

Father, Forgive Them

Each day of this week, leading up to Resurrection Sunday, we are emailing an early morning devotional to the congregation of First Assembly from our Pastoral Team.

I have been given permission to post each daily devotional, to my blog and you can read them here each day this week as they are sent out.


The 1st Saying of Jesus on the Cross

Then said Jesus, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34)

Jesus said these words right at the beginning of the crucifixion. Many commentators have suggested it might well have been said whilst they were driving the nails in His hands and feet!

In the original Greek language, the tense of the verb “Jesus said” conveys continual action. In other words, it literally reads “Jesus was saying” - it might suggest that Jesus repeated this prayer several times.

Picture Jesus being placed on the cross as it lay on the ground. Two Roman soldiers hold his arm outstretched as another hammers a huge spike through the skin and muscle tissue. Jesus said, “Father, forgive them.” Then as they place his other arm on the crossbeam and pounded that spike into the other hand, again, “Father, forgive them.” Next, they move to his feet, and cross one foot over the other and the soldier drives the final spike through both of his feet, pounding the nail deeply in the wooden cross. “Father, forgive them.”

March 25, 2010

The Ten Commandments

A Devotional Mesage from David Wilkerson

Most of America knows that the Supreme Court of the United States has ruled the Ten Commandments cannot be displayed in any government courthouse. This landmark decision has been covered exhaustively by the media. But what does the ruling mean?

A courthouse is where laws are enforced. The Ten Commandments represent God’s moral law, which never shifts or changes. It is as fixed as the law of gravity. If you defy that law, it’s like stepping off a high building. You can deny that the law affects you, but there are consequences sure to be paid.

March 22, 2010

Sunday Sermon: Can You Be Sure That You Are Saved?

This past Sunday, Pastor Phil Morgan continued his expository preaching series, from 1 Thessalonians 2:1 in a sermon titled, Can You Be Sure That You Are Saved?

Many people question themselves regarding whether or not they can certainly know that they will spend eternity in heaven when they die. 

The Scripture clearly reveals that one can know that they are soundly saved and by reading the Bible, a new believer in Christ can reassure themselves through the Word that they are indeed saved.

God is not a man that He should lie and we can confidently know and have what we ask of Him that is according to His will (Numbers 23:19; 1 John 5:14-15).

For anyone that may doubt whether or not they are saved, this is a sermon to listen to, download and burn a copy on to a CD.

Have a blessed week this week.

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March 21, 2010

Husbands Love Your Wives

Last night I read this devotional message from Charles Spurgeon and it was a great one, especially now that I am married.


May I never love my wife only by mere lip-service, but heartily, fervently and treasuring her, as Christ does for His church. May the love you have for your wife, be as Christ has for His church.

Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church. Ephesians 5:25.

March 18, 2010

The Effects of Your Walk with God

Overall, people are concerned about the state, or condition of their physical, mental, emotional and even financial well-being of their lives. But how many people really take the time to examine closely what the state of their lives are with God? I would guess by saying, not too many.

Even though He knows the true condition of our walk with Him, whether it is healthy or not, it is as important to know for ourselves if it is the same perspective as God's. We can deceive others by saying, "me and the big guy upstairs are tight," but the truth of the matter is, you're more like an empty, plastic bag blowing in the wind.

I have had the gracious opportunity to lead the youth group bible study at First Assembly of God, for the past 4 weeks and minister to these young men that attend.

As I prepare and study for my time with them, I have learned a lot more about the text of Scripture that we focus on each week and I hope, because these are teenage boys, that some small piece of what they hear each week begins to take hold of their lives and that by hearing the Word of God, their faith grows a little more than what it was that day.

Last week, we looked at Psalm 1:1-2 and discovered the type of counsel from God that is a blessing to a man and the danger against failing into a steady, yet increasingly sinful decline of ungodly people.

This week, Psalm 1:3-4 shows us the effects of one that has chosen to walk with God, compared to someone that is not walking with God.

He shall be like a tree, planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper. The ungodly are not so, but are like the chaff which the wind drives away. Psalm 1:3-4.
Having our lives be a steady walk with God, daily listening to Him through reading and studying His Word is not useless activity. No, it is extremely beneficial and it is pleasing to God too!

March 15, 2010

Sunday Sermon: Repentance and Its Fruit

One of the commandments of God concering His Law is not to create an image of something to worship as an idol (god) in a person's life.

The Bible says, "you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God," (Exodus 20:5).

Many people have misunderstood the word repent in the Bible, which means primarily to turn from something toward something else. Evangelists of the past and many even today, preach to people, calling them to repent of their sins and (re)turn to God, to serve Him rather than the sin that has enslaved them.

Pastor Phil Morgan's continued exposition of Scripture, of 1 Thessalonians chapter 1, explains a biblical example of repentance and its fruit look like and what turning to God from idols looks like and how to begin to serve the living and true God.

Like Nehemiah, Pastor Phil Morgan gave the sense, and helped the congregation of First Assembly, to understand the reading of Scripture (Nehemiah 8:4-8). I hope that this sermon will do the same for you.

March 14, 2010

How to Stand Strong in Faith

This morning's devotional reading by Charles Spurgeon is a great reminder that no matter how strong a person thinks they may be regarding standing firm against a temptation to sin, they are as weak as any other human being.

Spurgeon's advice regarding how to avoid it is stated as well. May this be a blessing to you as it was to me today.


"Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall."
1 Corinthians 10:12


It is a curious fact, that there is such a thing as being proud of grace. A man says, "I have great faith, I shall not fall; poor little faith may, but I never shall." "I have fervent love," says another, "I can stand, there is no danger of my going astray." He who boasts of grace has little grace to boast of. Some who do this imagine that their graces can keep them, knowing not that the stream must flow constantly from the fountain head, or else the brook will soon be dry. If a continuous stream of oil comes not to the lamp, though it burn brightly to-day, it will smoke to-morrow, and noxious will be its scent. Take heed that thou gloriest not in thy graces, but let all thy glorying and confidence be in Christ and his strength, for only so canst thou be kept from falling. Be much more in prayer. Spend longer time in holy adoration. Read the Scriptures more earnestly and constantly. Watch your lives more carefully. Live nearer to God. Take the best examples for your pattern. Let your conversation be redolent of heaven. Let your hearts be perfumed with affection for men’s souls. So live that men may take knowledge of you that you have been with Jesus, and have learned of him; and when that happy day shall come, when he whom you love shall say, "Come up higher," may it be your happiness to hear him say, "Thou hast fought a good fight, thou hast finished thy course, and henceforth there is laid up for thee a crown of righteousness which fadeth not away." On, Christian, with care and caution! On, with holy fear and trembling! On, with faith and confidence in Jesus alone, and let your constant petition be, "Uphold me according to thy word." He is able, and he alone, "To keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy."


Italics are mine.


Reference

Meyers, R. (2006). e-Sword. The sword of the Lord with an electronic edge (Verson 7.8) [Computer software].

March 12, 2010

Preaching the Bible Destroyed Another Man's Life

Recently, I heard a sermon that David Platt had preached, to the congregation he serves as the Senior Pastor of The Church at Brook Hills, in Birmingham, Alabama.

The letter that he reads at the beginning of this sermon, reveals the powerful affect sound biblical preaching has upon those who listen. In this case, the writer of the letter states that his life had become progressively destroyed by hearing his preaching of the Bbile, on a weekly basis.

Platt says in a 2006 Christianity Today article, "I want my preaching to be saturated with the Word of God. We have to know Christ, know him well and know his word."

And that is what a pastor's preaching should be like on a weekly basis, saturated with the Word of God and not with a philosophy that the world seems to want to follow more (Colossians 2:8), no, it should be 100% biblical and it should be in accordance with Scripture for the benefit of the spiritual growth of the congregation (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

I agree with Pastor David Platt concerning the importance that a congregation must know Christ, not just at the surface level, but know Him extemely well, which can only come from the pastor's preaching and the personal study His Word.

The great preacher Charles Spurgeon said, "I believe that those sermons which are fullest of Christ are the most likely to be blessed to the conversion of the hearers," which you will hear the testimony of such a conversion in the beginning of this video.



Christianity Today article about Pastor David Platt (2006) - At 28, Pastor Has Five Degrees and a 4,300-Member Flock

March 11, 2010

Choosing the Right Counsel - Psalm 1:1-2

Well, this is the third week of six where I am leading the high school boys youth ministry at First Assembly of God, for my seminary internship.

When the youth pastor asked me six weeks ago if I would be interested in leading the guys for six weeks, he also informed me that I didn't have to do this if I didn't want to. I thought for a moment and realized, how could I not accept this opportunity to contribute to the spiritual growth of these young men! It would certainly be a challenge for me and an experience that I might not otherwise willingly choose in the future, but either way, we would grow together through this experience.

The first week, our study was about when Jesus said that He is God (I AM) to the Pharisees (John 8:58) and I referred to the book of Exodus where Moses asked God, whom shall he say that sent him, to deliver the people from slavery of the Egyptians, "And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you." (Exodus 3:14, KJV).

March 9, 2010

They Shall Separate You from Themselves

Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man's sake. Luke 6:22.

An aspect of the Christian faith that seems to be overlooked and maybe often neglected in its needful evangelistic communication, is a perception that when someone becomes a Christian, their life will now become one big happy life story with a few bumps along the road, but nothing too severe of an experience that cannot be overcome by faith. You'll be loved and admired by all, especially those whom are not saved like you are.

This couldn't be more further from the truth!

It's kind of odd that Jesus would be saying that it is a blessing to be hated because of Him too. I don't know too many Christians, or have ever heard people come to faith in Christ because Jesus said that it is a blessing to be hated by your friends and/or your family. The blessing of this separation is for our benefit, but more for the glory of God, so read on, please!

Yet, if we observe this a little more closely, we see that in this verse it is non-believers who are separating themselves from those who are believers in Christ.

March 8, 2010

Sunday Sermon: True Converts

This past Sunday was the first time I had ever witnessed people either coming to faith in Christ, or re-dedicating their lives to Christ. Three young teenagers made a re-dedication to Christ before Pastor Phil even began to preach.

First Assembly worship leader, Josh Van Geersdaele said that he had not seen anything like that in a very long time, to witness the power of God drawing people to Himself, as the congregation exalted the worship of His Name. I was sensing in my spirit the need for an altar call at the beginning of the service and I had hoped that Pastor Phil was feeling the same and praise God that he did!

This sermon begins by explaining how there can be false converts within the church, which is mainly due to the lack of sound biblical, doctrinal and even evangelistic preaching from the pulpit. The charade of acting like a Christian will soon be exposed for their hypocrisy and with great embarrassment too. The greatest embarrassment however, is facing a Holy God in sheer terror for having perpetrated the garment of salvation selfishly.

Read what the Scripture says concerning such a person:
"Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace?" Hebrews 10:29.

Yet, within the text there is a description of what a person who has been genuinely converted to Christ looks like.

This, my dear friends, is the benefit of why we must hear expository preaching from the pulpit every week, so that we may have a greater understanding of the context of Scripture and grow in the knowledge and admonition of the LORD.

Sunday, March 7, 2010, First Assembly of God, Brookfield, CT. The sermon is an exposition of 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10.

I'd like to recommend reading Pastor Phil Morgan's post, What Should Your Preacher Be Doing? Two Bible Pictures. Enjoy reading and listening to both messages.


March 7, 2010

Morning Devotional

Today, I read my morning devotional (this time on my Kindle) from Saturday, March 6th by Charles Spurgeon and it was titled, "Ye Must Be Born Again." A day late, I know, but it was still so good to read and still good to share again.

I remembered that I had posted this once before and searched through my archive and found that it was published on March 17, 2008.

There could never be a day where that devotion is not appropriate or unnecessary to read or pass along to others.

Sundays are usually days when pastors and the members of congregations all around the world, hope to witness new people joining the family of God, through the repentance of their sins, by grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ. I hope that we will experience that today at First Assembly too.

Spurgeon said of the regenerating power of the Spirit of God that changes a man, "It is not a change of my name, but a renewal of my nature, so that I am not the man I used to be, but a new man in Christ Jesus."

I thank God for the new man that I am, because of Christ! Can you say the same?

Here is a nice short story to help see this more clearly that a person must be born again as you re-read the post.


You Must Believe
A young nurse was helping to care for a sick, Christian gentleman whom she loved very much. He said to her, "Ellen, it is time I should take my medicine. Measure just a tablespoon and put it in a glass." She quickly did so and brought it to his bedside. He made no attempt to take it from her but said, "Now, dear, will you drink it for me?" "Me drink it? What do you mean? I am sure I would in a minute if it would make you well, but you know it won't do you any good unless you take it yourself." "Won't it really?" "No, I am sure it will not." "If you cannot take my medicine for me, neither can I take your salvation for you. You must go to Jesus and believe in Him for yourself." The dear old saint of God had been trying to explain to his young nurse that she could not be saved on his account and by serving him, but rather through her own acceptance of Jesus Christ as her Savior.

Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents. Luke 15:10.

Reference

Meyers, R. (2006). e-Sword. The sword of the Lord with an electronic edge (Verson 7.8) [Computer software].

Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

March 4, 2010

The Power of the Word of God - Hebrews 4:12

If you haven’t noticed and it’s almost impossible not to, many churches these days seem to advertise their sermons along the lines of self-help, relevant, practical messages to change a person’s life.

Sure, the Bible is referred to in these types of messages but it achieves very little in the way of increasing an understanding of the text and the context of Scripture because these message only touch the surface of a person’s life rather than penetrating it deeply.

In this manner, the message is focused more on the physical aspects of life, how to achieve this or that, here and now, rather than having a priority focus of living in the righteousness of Christ, in a manner that is above reproach on a daily basis. Now, I am not advocating a practice of lifestyle-evangelism, absolutely not.


What I am saying is that a lifestyle such as this can be achieved because of the power of the Word of God that has penetrated a person’s life and its ability to change a person from the inside out, because the Scripture has been thoroughly explained to the congregation, which would cause them to live in a deeper devotion to Christ and to reading the Bible on a daily basis.

Unfortunately, in settings where these relevant types of messages are filled with persuasive words that lack the power of the Spirit of God, the Bible has become a harmless toy sword for Christians instead of a powerful sword that it is intended to be.

It has been such an amazing period in my life over the last two years, to hear the value of expository preaching having listened to preachers such as John MacArthur of Grace Community Church and his
Grace to You broadcast, Alistair Begg of Parkside Church and his Truth for Life broadcast, Dr. Steven Lawson of Christ Fellowship Baptist Church and Phil Johnson.

These are just a few of the well-known expositors that preach the Bible who explain every verse of Scripture, so that the congregation gains a more thorough understanding of the text, as Hebrew and Greek words are defined and utilized to illuminate even more, an understanding of the Scripture.

In the book of Hebrews, the writer says, “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)

Because I have been listening to expository preaching each week now since December 2010 under the leadership of Pastor
Phil Morgan at First Assembly of God, in Brookfield, CT, I gave an exposition of this verse to the young men of the youth ministry at First Assembly last night.

In the past, I had seen this verse only for what was on the surface. Yet there is more to understand about the Word of God, as a sword and what it accomplishes in the life of the believer. So what are the affects of this sword, the Word of God from this verse?