Let’s go!

If You Really Want To Go To Heaven . . .

  • You Must Know Jesus Christ & Obey Him (1 Jno. 5:20; Heb. 5:9).
  • You Must Read Your Bible (Eph. 3:1-4).
  • You Must Get Your Priorities Right (Matt. 6:33).
  • You Must Give Up All Sin ( 6).
  • You Must Join With Others Who Are Going to Heaven (Acts 9:26).
  • You Must Worship In Spirit And In Truth (Jno. 4:24).
  • You Must Keep Your Attitude Right (Phil. 2:1-5; Eph. 4:2).
  • You Must Not Be Surprised By Persecution (1 Pet. 4:12).
  • You Must Do All You Can Do (1 Pet. 4:10,11; 12:6-8).

www.lhmcallen.org

We are sheep. He is the Shepherd we need … an illustration.

agriculture animals baby blur
Photo by Trinity Kubassek on Pexels.com

ISTANBUL: Hundreds of sheep followed their leader (a mixed up lamb) off a cliff in eastern Turkey, plunging to their deaths this week while shepherds looked on in dismay. Four hundred sheep fell 15 metres to their deaths in a ravine in Van province near Iran but broke the fall of another 1,100 animals who survived, newspaper reports said yesterday. Shepherds from Ikizler village neglected the flock while eating breakfast, leaving the sheep to roam free – trying to follow each other, the Radikal daily said. The loss to local farmers was estimated at $74,000.

The Value of Memories

Memories Are Worth A Lot

Phil. 1:3-5

Warren E. Berkley

 I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.

Think about memory, association and attitude. Paul tells the Christians in Philippi that he remembers his good association with them. And, that this memory is entertained with an attitude of joy and gratitude to God.

Paul first came to Philippi, simply to preach the gospel to the lost. As he undertook that challenge, he was mocked, seized and imprisoned. He was not treated well in Philippi (see 1 Thess. 2:2).

But now (as a prisoner in another place), Paul is able to write back to Christians in Philippi without any bitterness. He remembers them with an emotion of joy.  “I thank God in all my remembrance of you.”

Just pause here and reflect on how valuable this attitude is. What a high example and standard for us to imitate. It is positive, mature, godly and healthy – to remember the good and reject bitterness and resentment. The painful things of the past ought to be managed by exalting good things and good people. Gratitude to God makes this conceivable.

There is another part of this good attitude toward the saints in Philippi: “…because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.”

How did they “partner” with Paul? What was the nature of their participation or fellowship?

The Christians in Philippi acted toward Paul, based on their commitment to God. They were committed to God, therefore committed to His servants. Not only through prayer.

Later in this epistle we learn that they responded to Paul’s needs. They sent aid to him once and again (Phil. 4:16).

It was not just that Paul was in “their thoughts and prayers,” though that is certainly true. Their commitment to God led to their sacrifice for His servants. Their interests in the lost caused them to support those who faithfully preached the gospel to the lost. Their love for brethren prompted their active love for Paul. All of this can be summarized as their fellowship with Paul.

Because they were connected with God, they were connected with His servant, the apostle Paul. 

Pondering

Well-Driven Nails: The Power of Finding Your Own Voice,by Byron Yawn:

“The notable expositors of our day share some common traits: efficient mental discipline and a determined capacity for reflection. As Solomon put it, they “ponder.” They think really well and deeply. Is it not the finely-sliced nuance which creates the enviable dynamic in their presentation? They have the capacity to focus their minds on a singular topic or truth for the length of time necessary to penetrate the obvious and unearth the profound. When they do deliver their sermons they come across as ‘well-driven nails’.”

The Refiner

The Refiner

-author unknown-

There was a group of women in a Bible study on the book of Malachi.

As they were studying Chapter Three, they came across Verse Three which says: “He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver.” This verse puzzled the women and they wondered what this statement meant about the character and nature of God. One of the women offered to find out about the process of refining silver and get back to the group at their next Bible study.

That week this woman called up a silversmith and made an appointment to watch him at work. She didn’t mention anything about the reason for her interest in silver beyond her curiosity about the process of refining silver. As she watched the silversmith, he held a piece of silver over the fire and let it heat up. He explained that in refining silver, one needed to hold the silver in the middle of the fire where the flames were hottest so as to burn away all the impurities.
The woman thought about God holding us in such a hot spot then she thought again about the verse, that says, “He sits as a refiner and purifier of silver.” She asked the silversmith if it was true that he had to sit there in front of the fire the whole time the silver was being refined. The man answered that yes, he not only had to sit there holding the silver, but he had to keep his eyes on the silver the entire time it was in the fire. For if the silver was left even a moment too long in the flames, it would be destroyed.

The woman was silent for a moment. Then she asked the silversmith, how do you know when the silver is fully refined? He smiled at her and answered, “Oh, that’s the easy part–when I see my image reflected in it.”
If today you are feeling the heat of the fire, remember that God has His
eye on you and will keep His hand on you and watch over you until He sees His image in you.

De-clutter

I am really perfectionistic about some things. But, keeping my office and desk neat doesn’t fall within that part of me. At the end of each day my desk is cluttered with the remnants of that day’s work.

Commentaries, notes, paper, pens, an empty coffee cup, keys, calendar, mail, some post-it notes and several of those little caps that you remove from plastic water bottles. I’m done as the day closes. Time to leave the office; the clutter can wait till tomorrow. Then tomorrow, I just add to it.

Periodically my good wife puts the pressure on. She does that by coming into my office and just doing the work. “Where does this go? Do you need this? When is the last time you opened this book? Why do you have 43 pens on your desk?” I comply and help. And at the end of that process, my office looks like this picture.

IMG_4801

Sometimes our lives are cluttered with stuff we don’t need, or stuff we haven’t put in a proper place. The pure and undefiled religion of Christ is designed to enable us to get rid of what we don’t need and put everything in its place. As we receive with meekness the Word, follow Christ and serve others, order is brought into our lives that is part of our coping with difficulty. We can run the race without the weight (Heb. 12:1,2), and we can press on (Phil. 3:14).

Small But Wise

selective focus photography of green lizard on tree
Photo by Diego Madrigal on Pexels.com

Small But Wise

24 Four things on earth are small,
but they are exceedingly wise:
25 the ants are a people not strong,
yet they provide their food in the summer;
26 the rock badgers are a people not mighty,
yet they make their homes in the cliffs;
27 the locusts have no king,
yet all of them march in rank;
28 the lizard you can take in your hands,
yet it is in kings’ palaces. – Prov. 30:24-28

Teaching the book of Proverbs this spring has sparked in me a renewed interest in these intriguing text messages from God.

The above text is written in a riddle/numerical format. In our modern manner of writing and communicating, we are not conversant with this form. But this isn’t difficult. Four images are put before us but there is really only one point. That one point is right on the page in front of us: “small but … exceedingly wise!” That’s it.

Ants, badgers, locusts and lizards do not compare in size to elephants or horses. That doesn’t make the smaller creatures inferior.

Now just pause there and consider what a powerful bit of wisdom that is. Small but not inferior. Small people, small churches, small audiences, small families – are not inferior to big people, big churches, big audiences and big families. Perhaps this isn’t really a profound theological discovery or a recently found moral truth. Yet this is something true and practical that deserves to be within our perspective.

Digging just a little deeper into the proverbial saying, each little creature is praised for some specific task or value. Ants team up to provide their food. Rock badgers have located good real estate in the cliffs. One locust may not intimidate a farmer or landowner, but when they unite and march in rank, look out! And, those little lizards (not the insurance spokesman). Here in the Rio Grande Valley, you cannot build a home that keeps lizards out. Even if you build a “kings’ palace,” they can get in.

Don’t be intimidated by your size. Don’t be discouraged if nobody knows or compliments the good you do. Do what God has equipped you to do. Do it with all your heart. Get past the words “big” and “small,” and just apply God’s wisdom to your life. -web

Three Kinds of Giving

“There are three kinds of giving: grudge giving, duty giving, and thanksgiving. Grudge giving says, ‘I hate to,’ duty giving says, ‘I ought to,’ thanksgiving says, ‘I want to.’ The first comes from constraint, the second from a sense of obligation, the third from a full heart. Nothing much is conveyed in grudge giving since ‘the gift without the giver is bare.’ Something more happens in duty giving, but there is no song in it. Thanksgiving is an open gate into the love of God” (Robert N. Rodenmayer).