Sermon "Skill in Your Hand & God in Your Heart"

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Is God on the Throne in Your Home?

Put on your creative thinking caps for a moment, and imagine something with me. Imagine God sitting on His throne in Heaven. Now I know that's a concept we have created so we can relate to Him, but I'm not sure if that's how we'll actually see Him. But for the purpose of my point, let's go with that.

He's seated on a throne, because it symbolizes His power and reign over everything; in Heaven and on Earth. The angels surround it glorifying Him, because He is God and is supreme over all. And those of us who will see Him there will bow down worshipping Him because He is God. Right?!

Ok, here's where I need you to kick your imagination into high gear.  Now imagine that God decided, perhaps for just one day, to pick up His throne, and move it to your home?

What if He threw your lazy boy out the door, and in its place, He sat divinely and majestically on His throne in your home?

So, at least for that day, it would be very apparant as to who was in charge in your house, right? There'd be no question as to who was the head and who made all the decisions. That is if God's throne was in your home.

So let me ask you think some things would change in your house? Would it make a difference in what you did and how you acted? Would you and your family interact differently with one another while God's throne was in your home? Are there shows you wouldn't watch? Is there certain music you wouldn't listen to? Would arguments cease? Would you read your Bible and pray more? Would your children be more respectful and obedient, if God's throne was in your home?

If it were a Sunday, would you still gripe in your heart about getting up to go to church? Would you get up to go to church at all? Wife would you be more submissive to your husband as the church submits to Christ; and husband would you be more sacrificially loving to your wife as Christ loves the church?  Would you pray more, obey more, give more, forgive more....if God's throne was in your home?

Well, my sister...if you are a Christian, then God's throne is already in your home. As a blood-bought believer in Christ, your home life, not just your church life, belongs to God. He is the true head of your household. It is His opinion that should matter to us. It is His leadership we must follow. It is His word that must guide us, even at especially at home.

So don't imagine, but rather think about what needs to change knowing that God's trone IS in your home.

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Remember What I Taught You and Don't Forget How to Behave

I remember when I was a kid the feeling I had when we were heading out on a trip to an amusement park like Kings Dominion. That anxious excitement did roller coaster loops in my stomach all the way there. As a young child, I never traveled very great distances, so a trip that was only a couple of hours seemed like it took forever. Not to mention, I had that same condition that most kids have; you know..are-we-there-yetitis.

But then as we approached the exit, I could see that big "Kings Dominion" sign from the highway, and I'd really be about to bubble over then. So dad would drive through the line to pay for parking; we'd cruise up and down the lanes to find as close a park as we could, all the while momma telling us not to forget which section we were parking in so we could find the car.

Dad would pull up, put the car in park, and make his obvious but glorious proclamation.."We're here!". My smile would be about to eat my face off. I was so ready to jump out that car.

But momma would momentarily pop our jubilant bubble by calming us down to give us ..The Talk. You know The Talk. Something like this. "Alright now, don't yall get in here and forget how to act; remember what I taught you and don't forget how to behave." To which we would reply in loathsome unison "Yeeesss Maam."

Press Pause on this read this scripture passage.

"Never forget the day when you stood before the Lord your God at Mount Sinai, where he told me, ‘Summon the people before me, and I will personally instruct them. Then they will learn to fear me as long as they live, and they will teach their children to fear me also.’ " Deuteronomy 4:10 (NLT)

See, what my momma was doing with us then is basically what the Lord was doing with His people here in Deuteronomy chapter 4. His chosen children, the nation of Israel, had been traveling for about 40 years making their way from Egypt to the Promised Land. And now here they are on the banks of the river about to cross over to claim that promise. But just before God sent them over, He had to have "The Talk" with them.

He told them to never forget the commands that He had given them back at Mt. Sinai. Never to forget to respect and obey Him. Never to forget to teach their children to do the same.

They needed "The Talk" because they were about to cross over to a place filled with new and different things. A place swarming with cultures that were foreign from their own, and none who knew anything about worshiping the true and living God. They needed to be reminded, and so do we.
Maybe you're about to embark on a new place in your life. A new job, new home, new marriage, new friends, new school, or just a new phase. Whatever it might be, let me remind you...Don't forget what God has taught you.

Don't abandon your love, respect and obedience to the Lord. After all, He is the one who brought you to where you are, and He is the one who will take you to where you're going. So whether you knew my mother or not, let the sweet spirit of her voice be a friendly reminder..." Don't yall get in here and forget how to act".
God bless you!

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Lord, Thank You for the Church - A Morning Prayer

Good morning Lord. Thank You for another day. This is the only March 4, 2020 I will ever get. I pray that I use it wisely.

Lord, I thank You for the gift of the church. You knew even before You left this world to go back to Heaven, that the believers You left here would face many tribulations simply because of what we believe. So out of Your love for us, You not only left us the Comforter which is the Holy Spirit, You also left us each other. Thank You so much for that.

I cannot imagine how tough it would be to not have others who understand my faith; to not have brothers and sisters in this world full of strangers. You knew what it felt like Jesus, because I believe You experienced that on the cross. And You didn't want me to feel that, so You blessed me with the church.

Lord You told Peter "Upon this rock I build my church". And from that time, You have been building Your church on that foundation of faith, stone by stone, believer by believer. I thank You that I am one of those, thoughtfully laid in my proper place, connected with all the others with the mortar of grace.

Lord, my flesh sometimes would like to be more than just another brick in the wall; it longs to be a stone standing unto itself to receive its own glory. But my spirit is now wise enough to know that fame is fleeting and loneliness can last a lifetime. So I am happy just to be counted among Your number. Happy to be, maybe a small part, but a part nonetheless...of Your Church.

Father, I pray for those today who have forsaken the gathering of the saints. Press upon their hearts and remind them that there is safety in numbers, and that even hot embers once scattered soon grow cold. Draw them to a gathering of Your children, and please make Your presence felt at my church so that its a place worth gathering.

Lord I love You. In Jesus name. Amen.

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Are You Offended by the Bible in the Drawer?

Try this out. Go to Google search and type in this phrase "Hotels removing Gideon Bibles". Then just glance at all of the headlines, and you'll see that seems to be a trend among hotels now. All of this all because of complaints from athiests and "freedom from religion" groups saying those hotel Bibles are offensive. Offensive!?!

Wait, mean the Bibles that are not lying out on the bed when you walk in but tucked away in a drawer that hardly anyone opens anyway?

You mean the Bible that just sits there and no one is making you even pick up, much less open it and read it?

You mean the Bible that the hotel didn't even have to pay for, but was purchased by the money of kind-hearted, Christian people who are not beating you over the head with it, but are politely tucking it away in that drawer that hardly anyone opens anyway, that Bible?

The one that sits quietly alone in the darkness of that drawer while there is porn on demand on a wide-screen HD tv and single shots of liquor in the mini-bar, when porn and alcohol have ruined more lives than anyone can count...that Bible?

The Bible that tells the story of God's love for the world as shown through His Son Jesus?

The Bible that even if you don't believe in God has a lot of wisdom that will definitely improve your life?

The Bible that even if you don't want to improve your life, is filled with great stories and poetic verse that rivals anything ever written so much so that Hollywood is breaking its neck to crank out movies based on stories from the Bible?

That Bible is offensive?

Oh....ok. Well, if you happen to be one offended by that Bible, then I will pray for you.

I will pray that you will see God's intent when He illuminated His Words and inspired those to write it was not to offend you, but to love you.

I will pray that one day the eyes of your heart will open so that you will know that it is the darkness of sin inside you that is offended by the light of God's truth.

I will pray that even if you are offended, that you will take a chance, or even take a dare, to just pick it up and read it. What do you have to lose but time? You waste plenty of that on lesser things. And if that Word doesn't penetrate your heart and touch something within you, then you can post it to the world...even right here in the comments, that I was wrong about the Bible....but I know I'm not.

Let us all who believe in the Bible pray that it will stay right where it is so it can be close to people who really need it. But even more, let us vow to keep it in our hearts where no one can remove it, and to show it in our lives where no one can ignore it.

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Did You Know That You Need a Doctor?

I used to hate going to the doctor. Not because I'm afraid of doctors or needles; that doesn't bother me. I guess sometimes it seemed pointless to go because either what I had would go away on it's own, or they wouldn't be able to figure out what it was. Yet, they'd run expensive tests and prescribe expensive medicines. So, for a long time, I wouldn't go to the doctor when I was sick, much less for just a routine check up when I wasn't. But that was then...

Now, because I have known so many people who've had some serious illness creep up on them without them knowing, I go on the regular. I know people who were walking around with 95% blocked arteries near their heart and didn't know it. Cancerous tumors growing inside and didn't know it. Failing heart valves, and not even know it. All these people were just going through life really, really sick, but didn't even know they needed a doctor. That's alarming to me. So I don't hesitate to go to the doctor now, even for my regular checkups.

You know, there's another kind of doctor you might need and not even know it.

Did you know that we all have a terminal illness that's worse than any deadly disease? It's not a sickness of your body, but of your soul, and it's called sin. It's congenital, that is you were born with it. You may feel just fine spiritually speaking. You feel like you’re a pretty good person, and you probably are. But the Bible says that we “ALL have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). And though you may have only done some “small sins”, the Bible says that if a person “keeps the whole law and yet offends in one point, he is guilty of all.” (James 2:10) So if we are honest with ourselves, we'd have to admit that we are all guilty of sin, our soul is sick, and we need a doctor.

So how do we get cured from this illness?

The Bible says it simply like this. If you confess with your mouth "Jesus is Lord", and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved (Romans 10:9). Then you do what Jesus told the woman at the well, you “go and sin no more”. That’s called repentance. You turn from your sin and strive to live a life according to what God says in His word. That's the outward evidence you display of the inner work that God has done.

So if you realize that you're sick with this sin, and you want to be cured, and you believe in Jesus and all that the Bible says about Him, then that's the sign the Lord is already working on the inside to cure your soul. The Great Physician is doing His part for you, now it's time to do your part for yourself. Pray this simple prayer right where you are right now, and really believe this in your heart as you pray.

“Jesus, I realize that I am sick with sin. I say, think, and do bad things no matter how hard I try not to. Even if I compare myself to others who may seem a lot sicker than me, I'm still a sinner. But I want to be a better person, I want to be cured, and I want a relationship with God through You. I'm sorry for all the bad things I have thought, said and done. Please forgive me. Please change my heart, take control of my life, and cure me from within. I promise to read the Bible, turn from my sins, and tell as many people as I can about You. Amen!”

If you really believe in Jesus, and that prayer you just prayed came from your faith in Him, then YOU ARE CURED! Praise God! You will still show some signs of the disease, but you'll get better and better with every passing day.

Now, you should tell someone about it. And if you're not a part of a local church, find one as soon as you can. They are like wellness centers for recovering sinners. Don't look for the one with the nicest building or the best choir. Those are fine, but you need to make sure you're in one where clear Bible teaching is a priority. Because that's what will keep your sin in remission.


Friday, February 7, 2020

When I Can't Trust My Own Legs to Carry Me

This picture brings back a lot of memories.  It's me and my oldest daughter Ariel on her 1st birthday. At the time of this post, she's now 22. It takes me back to when both my girls were growing up.

Though it seems like almost a lifetime ago, that smile on my face still feels pretty fresh.
I remember going through the phases of them first sitting up on their own, then holding themselves up on their legs, then actually taking a few steps while holding my hand. I remember that magical time when they teetered between needing me to help them and gaining the confidence to walk on their own.

Those precious few days in there when you know they will be walking soon is such a momentous time as a parent. Thoughts of "will she start walking today" dominated my mind and seemed to be the most important thing going on in the world; well it was in mine.

I can still see my babies' beautiful faces as they were standing up, looking around with nervous excitement and thoughts in their sweet little heads that went from "I think I can" to "I know I can't". Confidence would take over for a moment, and they'd lift up that little foot and smile; both hands up in the air, ready to run the world. But...the world must have been turning a little too fast; they'd look back at me as if to say, "I'm not quite ready". Then they would hold out their hand for me to hold it with mine...and they would walk.

I thank God for blessing me with children, and for using my life experiences with them to paint pictures that give me a better view of Him. See, He knows that there are so many times, even as an adult who's supposed to have it all together, that I feel like my babies felt when they were learning how to walk. Some days the world looks so big and I feel so small; and the things I have to do and the responsibilities I have to carry feel like way too much.

But I am so glad that God says to me "For I hold you by your right hand--I, the LORD your God. And I say to you, 'Don't be afraid. I am here to help you.' " Isaiah 41:13 (NLT). And that reminds me that even when I can't trust my own legs to carry me, I can always trust God's hand to hold me.

Thursday, January 30, 2020

The Story of a Boy named Timothy

Some time last year, the state of New York passed a new abortion law. This law not only strives to sustain and protect what has been allowed by Roe vs. Wade, it goes beyond it. Of a few different things this law adds, one is that it allows for late term abortions when it is determined that the baby is not "viable". Where it says viable,  that means a doctor says the baby is unable to live outside the mother's womb. Where it says late term, it means past 24 weeks, even up to 9 months right up to birth.....right up to birth.

What do I have to say about that? Well I say, I've got a story to tell you.

A woman named Pam and her husband Bob were serving as missionaries in the Philippines.  Pam contracted amoebic dysentery, an infection of the intestine caused by a parasite found in contaminated food and water.  She went into a coma and was treated with strong antibiotics before they discovered she was pregnant.

Doctors urged her to abort the baby for her own safety and told her that the medicines had caused irreversible damage to her baby.  She refused the abortion and cited her Christian faith as the reason for her hope that her son would be born without the devastating disabilities physicians predicted. Pam said the doctors didn’t think of it as a life, they thought of it as a mass of fetal tissue.

While pregnant, Pam nearly lost their baby four times but refused to consider abortion. She made a pledge to God with her husband that if He would give them a son, they would name him Timothy and they would raise him to know the Lord and would hopefully become a preacher one day.

God blessed them with a healthy son. They named him Timothy.

Fast forward two decades later to January 8, 2009. Timothy was the starting quarterback of his college football team. They were playing in the national championship. To share his faith, Timothy wrote in his eye black “John 3:16”.

By the end of the game, 94 million people had googled "John 3:16" to see what it meant. They read about God so loving the world that He sent His only Son, and that for everyone who believes in His Son would have eternal life with God.

By the way...Timothy and his team won that game. Timothy went on to win the Heisman trophy that year.

Fast forward 3 years later…to the date…on January 8, 2012. Timothy was starting as the quarterback for the Denver Broncos. Timothy and his team were playing against the Pittsburg Steelers in the first round of the playoffs. Timothy played well in that game. Everytime his team scored, Timothy kneeled on the field, with millions of people watching as he prayed to the one true and living God. The same God who gave him the athletic abilities to play that game so well.  The same God who gave him life and protected him in the womb.

By the way...Timothy and his team won that game.

During the game, the millions watching remembered Timothy was the one from the game 3 years earlier. Timothy found out after that another 90 million people searched "John 3:16". He also found out that...

-he had thrown for 316 yards
-his yards per rush were 3.16
-the yards per completion were 31.6, and
-the time of possession was 31.6 minutes

Timothy no longer plays football, but he uses his platform to minister to kids with disabilities and to share the Gospel message of John 3:16.

You might not know him as Timothy who was said to not be viable while in his mother's womb, but you probably do know him... as Tim Tebow.