Justin Case stays in the trunk of my car at all times. It is a kit of tools and other materials in case of an emergency. It can serve as an auxiliary reserve in times of need as a support and aid. One might say that my car abounds or is rich and well-supplied with extra items.
There seems to be a time of excessive amounts of things that goes beyond satisfying needs and moves into the realm of surfeit. This term can be used to describe the overindulgence in eating or drinking as well as overdoing just about anything physical or material.
When King David decided to number Israel, it greatly displeased God ( 1 Ch 21: 1-7). This is somewhat perplexing because at other times taking a census was allowed and even commanded ( 1 Ch 23: 1-3) ( Ex 30: 12) ( Nu 3: 14-15) ( Nu 14: 21-23). This time, however, Satan had incited David to sin, bypassing God and depending on his one million plus soldiers. Surely he had forgotten what God did for Israel in the days of the Judge Gideon. God reduced the 32,000 warriors to 300 to prove His abounding might against the Midianites ( Jug 7: 2-7).
Christians today are told to abound in good works because God is abounding in grace to them ( 1 Cor 9:8). Paul writes that love should abound in them more and more and express itself in knowledge and insight ( Php 1:9). In fact, Jesus came into the world to bring abundant life to His disciples ( Jo 10-10).
The answer to knowing when to abound and yet not surfeit appears to be what one does with the excess. The first church shared their possessions with anyone who had need (Act 2:44-45). (Rom 12:13). As Paul stresses sacrificial giving ( 2 Cor 9:8) he also explains that it is to be reciprocal ( 2 Cor 8: 13-15). Just as God supplied abundant power to Gideon, He will abundantly supply all that we need at all times to generously love and help others (Eph4:28)
Submitted by Jery Bailey
This world we live in is moving along at a fast pace and it looks like “life’s pace” may even be getting more strenuous. Have you ever wondered “what you are doing” or “where you are going” in your life? Have you ever been concerned about what is going on in the world today or even in your own neighborhood today? Do you have answers to where you are going?
I have good news for you today. Wisdom, knowledge, understanding, and guidance are all available and easily accessible at our fingertips. We need to put the Word of God in our hearts and allow God to do the rest. Read and study if you would Mark 4:3-20. These scriptures tell us what happens in our lives relative to our level of accepting and applying the Word of God to our lives. We can allow ourselves to slip away into the condition we once lived or we can accept the Word and become productive members of the Body of Christ.
Mark 4:13 (NIV) 13 Then Jesus said to them, “Don’t you understand this parable? How then will you understand any parable?
If we can get to where we understand this parable, we are on the path to understanding the rest of the parables and the significance of the Word of God which is the Bible. When we try to change our lives our way it can be frustrating and ineffective. When we come to where we allow God to change our hearts and set us free, our success is greatly increased.
John 8:32 (NIV) 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
It is the “Truth” we know (and believe) that will set us free.
Once the Word of God gets into our hearts, then we enter a whole new realm of understanding and freedom.
If not already in the Word daily, it is time to get started.Blessings to you all as you allow the Word (the Bible) to change your hearts and lives forever!
Chet Wiswell, Elder
As a Christian, are we any different than anyone else in the world? Should we be different than the “unsaved” individual walking down the streets? Are we different and how are we different?
Acts 2:38 (NIV) 38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
As born again believers we have received the “gift of the Holy Spirit” who now lives and abides in us.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (NIV) 19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies. Once we come to Jesus, the Holy Spirit comes and lives in us. We are the “temple”, the abiding place, for the Holy Spirit. He will never leave us or forsake us according to Hebrews 13:5. What an awesome concept to try and wrap your minds around. The very God who created us is now living inside of us all the time.
Romans 8:9-11, 14-17 (NIV) 9 You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. 10 But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness. 11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of His Spirit who lives in you.14 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. 15 The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.
All of Chapter 8 is good reading to chew on and meditate on. So here is part of what we know:
1. As a Born again Christian, we all receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
2. Our Bodies are the Temple of the Holy Spirit. We are children of God.
3. We are to Honor God with our Bodies. Maybe we should consider how we live our lives.
4. If we don’t receive Jesus we don’t get the Holy Spirit. Maybe we should be more active in acknowledging the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives!
5. The Holy Spirit testifies (communicates) with our spirit. There are lots we don’t know or understand here so we should be learning to listen to the Holy Spirit.
We have a big advantage over the unsaved individual because of the presence of the Holy Spirit living in us…when we learn to listen to Him. We should be making better choices in our day to day life.
May the Eyes of Your Heart be open and enlightened to the presence of the Holy Spirit living in you.
Chet Wiswell, Elder.
Reverie can encompass the past, present and future for it is defined as a dreamy meditation. It might involve nostalgia as well as hopes and plans for retirement. However, it often occurs as people try to deal with present events. Reverie might also be a conversation with oneself about the why and how of a situation.
For a Christian reverie can be a valuable tool during one’s daily devotions. As we read scriptures we can ask questions like, “Why did God include this passage and how does it apply to me?” “How could I be more like Jesus in my contacts with others?” “ Have I remembered to pray about a difficult situation?” “Do I have my priorities in the right order?”
During these conversations with ourselves, we will soon discover that the Holy Spirit is there to help us through the difficult and frustrating times ( Rom 8: 14-16). He will lead us (v 14) cry out to the Father for us ( v 15) and testify with our spirit that we are indeed God’s ( v 16). He will also help us in our weakness and voice for us the prayers we cannot express ( Rom 8: 26). The Godhead know each other’s thoughts ( v 27) ( 1 Cor 2: 10-12) and thus the Holy Spirit can intercede for the saints in accordance with God’s will ( Rom 8:27).
Be assured that the devil will often try to interject negative thoughts into our reverie. After all, he did that to Job through his wife ( Job 2:9) through Peter ( Mt 16: 22-23) and even to Jesus during His temptations ( Mt 4: 1-11). He will attempt to persuade us to neglect and discontinue these precious times of reverie and replace them with other time-consuming things.
During our reverie we can meditate on how God used His providence to help us escape physical and spiritual danger. We can reflect on what He is doing for us now. We can remember all the promises of an abundant life here and an glorious life hereafter that He will fulfill in heaven ( Jo 14:1-3) ( Rev 21: 3-4).
Submitted by Jery Bailey
This is the 47th anniversary of the Roe V. Wade Supreme Court decision in 1973. This is one of those decisions that has impacted somewhere over 60 million babies in the last 47 years. That number grows by 3000 babies aborted each day in America. This is one of those life decisions that usually negatively impact Moms, Dads, Grand Parent, and many others each day. The scriptures talk about the unborn children.
Psalm 139:13-14 (NIV) 13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
Each of us have been created inside our mother’s womb. All of us. We are all the same in that respect!
Job 31:15 (NIV) 15 Did not he who made me in the womb make them? Did not the same one form us both within our mothers? Wow, what a verse. Those of us who are now living were created just like those who have been aborted!
Luke 1:41 (NIV) 41 When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.
The baby leaped in her womb would indicate that the unborn baby could respond to outside stimuli.
This would be either the #1 or #2 leading cause of death in America today depending upon the statistics you are looking at. For every 1000 live births there are 120 abortions. Staggering numbers!
We need to be supporting people and organizations that openly protect the unborn children.
The good news is this: God receives those aborted children immediately into his presence and by his Grace, through the shed blood of Jesus; there is forgiveness for those caught up in this activity.
Continue to pray for the unborn children and their parents.
Blessing to you all.
Chet Wiswell, Elder.
Christmas is an exciting time of the year. There is something special about this specific time that the Christian world remembers the birth of our Lord Jesus. It is hard to say just how many people actually understand the “reason for this season” verses the number who considers it just another Holiday time to be off work. From the Christian perspective we understand the importance and significance of the birth of our Lord Jesus. He left Heaven to live among his creation and finally He laid down his life for us on the cross then after 3 days He was resurrected from the grave and is now at the right hand of God in Heaven.
One verse keeps surfacing: Matt 1:23. We may not understand its significance.
Matthew 1:21-23 (NKJV) 21 And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”
22 So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: 23 “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.”
Immanuel is the first name given to Jesus describing “WHO” he is. Immanuel means “God with us”. How fitting it is to see and know the basic idea of who this Jesus would be. His purpose is to be with us now and through eternity and to have a close relationship with us now as well as through eternity. The message of salvation revolves around our inviting Jesus into our hearts and there he abides with us. It is interesting that the first name given to Jesus means “God with us”. This is God’s ultimate idea for each of us, that he wants a close relationship with each of us through His Son Jesus or Immanuel.
Blessings to each of you as we remember the birth of our Jesus this Christmas season.
Chet Wiswell, Elder
Recently I discovered by casual curiosity a kitchen towel with a label that said---Made in Brazil. The set me searching for other products that I use that were made in other countries. Sure enough, one pair of pajamas was from Bangladesh and another from China. As my search continued I also found articles from Jordan, India, Indonesia, Vietnam, Honduras, and on and on. On the flip side, some autos “made” in the U. S .are actually foreign makes such as Volkswagen, Toyota and Honda. Many products are assembled in one place from materials from somewhere else. It seems that we are becoming an international society, at least as far as our goods and services are concerned.
People are not literally “made” in the same way as material thing, but the popularity of DNA kits shows that they desire to know their heritage and what they are made of. There are often surprises and folks discover that their backgrounds and roots are quite different than what they had always believed. Lots of us find out that we are more “Heinz 57” than purebreds.
New Testament Christians are spiritually “made” when they are born again of water and the Spirit ( Jo 3: 3-8) ( Acts 22: 16) ( Rom 6: 3-7). They are all one in Christ but made up of all different nationalities, genders, cultures and races ( Gal 3: 26-28) The only label they wear is “made in Christ” because they have “clothed themselves with Christ (v 27).
There are still plenty of people who boast of their ethnicity, nationality, culture or race. The Jewish leaders of Jesus’ day rightly called Abraham their Father and ancestor ( Isa 51: 1-2). However John the Baptizer quickly disproved the notion that bloodlines alone gives one bragging rights and eliminates everyone else. He said, “ I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children of Abraham” ( Mt 3: 9) Paul explained that those who have been given the Holy Spirit ( Acts 2: 38) and belong to Christ are Abraham’s spiritual seed and heir according to the promise ( Gal 3: 29) ( Rom 8: 15-17). In that glorious reunion in heaven there will be a great multitude…from every nation, tribe , people and language standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb…wearing white robes ( Rev 7:9). The only boasting there will be is in the Lord and in His cross ( 1 Cor 1: 31) ( 2 Cor 10: 17- 18) (Gal 6:14).
Submitted by Jery Bailey, Elder
There are several ways and reasons to go back on one’s word, vows, promises and commitments. Some are unintentional but lame, such as: A foggy memory, Neglect, and Preoccupation. There seems to be a progression from excuses, remorse and retraction to denial, lies and fleeing the scene. We see such reneging in election promises, marriage vows, sports contracts and college tuition debts.
Far too often we hear of a wife who has worked hard to put a husband through college and beyond, only to be dumped for a “trophy wife.” Reneging appears to have other sleazy partners---hypocrisy, fraud, betrayal and treachery.
Our heavenly Father has always taken vows and promises very seriously. He called them covenants. He promised Noah and his descendants never to completely destroy humanity again by a flood and set a rainbow in the clouds as a sign ( Gen 9: 9,13). He promised to make Abraham the father of many nations ( Gen 17: 36). He said HE never would break His covenants if people worship and obey Him only ( Jud 2: 1-2). He continued affirming His covenants and asked the Israelites to remember their promise to be faithful ( 1 Ki 8:23) ( 1 Ch 16:15-18). Most did not, but a remnant did. One of the saddest and most egregious examples of reneging is recorded soon after God took them out of slavery in Egypt. The former slaves responded with one voice, “Everything the Lord has said we will do” ( Ex 24: 3). Very shortly afterwards they were worshiping a golden calf even as Moses was receiving the Ten Commandments from God ( Ex 32: 5-6).
God promised a New Covenant ( Testament) which would one day replace the others ( Jer 31: 34) and would be written on the hearts of the people ( v 33). This of course is the one sealed in the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ ( Mt 26:28) ( Heb 8:13) ( Heb 9:15) ( Heb 12: 22-24). Jesus Christ, the mediator of this New Covenant suffered heartbreaking treachery and betrayal by Judas, one of the twelve Apostles ( Mt 26: 14-16) and when the other eleven reneged on their vow to die with Him and deserted Him at His arrest and trial ( vv 31, 56). His command for us today is don’t break your oath and do not swear an oath at all ( Mt 5: 34-37). Those who have been immersed into Christ ( Rom 6: 3-6) have made a life-long commitment. Those who renege on that ( Heb 6: 4-6) have no other hope.
Submitted by Jery Bailey, Elder
It seems as though Giving Glory to God and giving Him Thanks continues to surface in life and in sermons. I keep coming back to Romans 1:21 which says: 21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. It sounds like if we as Christians fail to Glorify God and give Him Thanks, our thoughts and our hearts become clouded over and darkened. In other words, we no longer think clearly and no longer make good decisions in life. This seems to be a problem.
1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NKJV) 18 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Paul says in everything give thanks and that this is the will of God. Giving thanks to Him seems to be the heart God wants us to have!
Ephesians 5:20 (NKJV) 20 giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ… Again, Paul says “giving thanks always”, “for all things”, “to God the Father”. I think these are some good words of advice for us to heed.
Matthew 22:21 (NKJV) 21 They said to Him, “Caesar’s.” And He said to them, “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” Even Jesus said to give to God the things that are His and we know that all things belong to God.
So here is what I get from these kinds of verses. As I go through life one day at a time it is important to “ALWAYS” be acknowledging that God is the source of our “successes” and therefore it is proper to “give HIM thanks”. If we are not giving God the glory and thanks for where we are in our lives, weather that be our families, jobs, social life, or even our church life, we are in danger of taking the glory and thanks upon our own self instead of giving it to God. When we think our good fortune is all of our own makings we are setting ourselves up for failure and are outside of God’s blessing.
Therefore, make every effort to acknowledge God and give him thanks on a daily basis. Then watch this thinking process grow.
I thank God for each one of you!
Be Blessed in the Lord.
Chet Wiswell, Elder
Secrets are messages or activities which are hidden from being observed or detected. They are sometimes called mysteries. Small children usually discover them early on when they observe their parents whispering or spelling out secrets. Usually this is done to shield and protect them from harm or to avoid revealing an upcoming surprise. From then on they will find a world filled with secrets. They will experience it by interaction with peers at school, from huge corporations who zealously guard their secret recipes and force visitors to be accompanied by armed guards while entering or leaving their facilities ( happened to me once). They will learn that fraternal societies, cults and pseudo religions all have their codes, rituals and secret greetings and demands.
Gossip, conspiracy theories and visits from outer space aliens all thrive on having knowledge that outsiders don’t know. One bizarre example was on a History Channel which claimed the ark of the covenant was made and given to the Egyptians by space aliens and taken by Moses during the exodus. Many such odd notions flourish because humans desire to be among the insiders instead of left out. However, many secrets are necessary, especially for personal financial security or national defense issues.
The Bible often speaks about mysteries and secrets. God Himself has secrets, “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us…”( Deu 29:29). Samson’s secret about this great strength was eventually discovered by a nagging, weeping Delilah ( Jud 16:6, 16, 17). This cause him to lose his strength and his eyes ( vv 19-21).
David understood that he, “…was made in a secret place (womb)…” ( Ps 139: 14-16). Solomon mentioned that a gift given in secret soothes anger ( Pr 21: 14). Jesus declared that our giving and our fasting should be done in secret so that our heavenly Father could reward us (Mt6:3-4). Jesus told his inner circle of believers, “The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you, but to outsiders everything is said in parables…” ( Mk a4:10-12). Paul taught the Corinthians that, “ No, we speak of God’s secret wisdom that has been hidden…” (1 Cor 2:7) and that, “…men ought to regard us as servants of Christ as those entrusted with the secret of God” ( 4:1).
Many of the secret things of mankind happen in the dark places of Satan’s deep secrets ( Rev 2:24). However, “…God will judge men’s secrets ( Eph 5:12) through Jesus Christ…” ( Rom 2:16) They will be laid bare ( 1 Cor 14:25). As Christians we ought to emulate Paul’s secret, “…I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation…” ( Php 4: 12). Peter shows us why we are so blessed to be living on this side of the cross. God kept the suffering of Christ and the glories that would follow from the prophets and angels but revealed them to us through the Holy Spirit sent from heaven ( 1Pe1: 10-12).
Submitted by Jery Bailey, Elder
Here you will find Spiritual Nuggets from your eldership.