Verse of the Day: Ignoring God leads to a Downward Spiral


But God’s angry displeasure erupts as acts of human mistrust and wrongdoing and lying accumulate, as people try to put a shroud over truth. But the basic reality of God is plain enough. Open your eyes and there it is! By taking a long and thoughtful look at what God has created, people have always been able to see what their eyes as such can’t see: eternal power, for instance, and the mystery of his divine being. So nobody has a good excuse. What happened was this: People knew God perfectly well, but when they didn’t treat him like God, refusing to worship him, they trivialized themselves into silliness and confusion so that there was neither sense nor direction left in their lives. They pretended to know it all, but were illiterate regarding life. They traded the glory of God who holds the whole world in his hands for cheap figurines you can buy at any roadside stand.

Romans 1:20

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Sunday Sermon: A Common Mistake and Lame Excuse


“Son of man, behold, they of the house of Israel say, The vision that he sees is for many days from now, and he prophesies of the times that are far off” – Ezekiel 12:27.

Human nature was very much the same in the exiles that listened to Ezekiel on the banks of the Chebar and in Manchester to-day. The same neglect of God’s message was grounded then on the same misapprehension of its bearings which profoundly operates in the case of many people now. Ezekiel had been proclaiming the fall of Jerusalem to the exiles whose captivity preceded it by a few years; and he was confronted by the incredulity which fancied that it had a great many facts to support it, and so it generalised God’s long-suffering delay in sending the threatened punishment into a scoffing proverb which said, “The days are prolonged, and every vision faileth.” To translate it into plain English, the prophets had cried ” Wolf! wolf!” so long that their alarms were disbelieved altogether.

Even the people that did not go the length of utter unbelief in the prophetic threatening took the comfortable conclusion that these threatenings had reference to a future date, and they need not trouble themselves about them. And so they said, according to my text, “They of the house of Israel say, The vision that he sees is for many days to come, and he prophesieth of the times that are far off.” “It may be all quite true, but it lies away in the distant future there; and things will last our time, so we do not need to bother ourselves about what he says.”

So the imagined distance of fulfilment turned the edge of the plainest denunciations, and was like wool stuffed in the people’s ears to deaden the reverberations of the thunder.

I wonder if there is anybody here now whom that fits, who meets the preaching of the Gospel with a shrug, and with this saying, “He prophesies of the . times that are far off.” I fancy there are a few; and I wish to say a word or two about this ground on which the widespread disregard of the Divine message is based.

I.—First, then, notice that the saying of my text— in the application which I now seek to make of it— is a truth, but it is only half a truth.

Of course, Ezekiel was speaking simply about the destruction of Jerusalem. If it had been true, as his hearers assumed, that that was not going to happen for a good many years yet, the chances were that it had no bearing upon them, and they were right enough in neglecting the teaching. And, of course, when I apply such a word as this in the direction in which I wish to do now, we do bring in a different set of thoughts; but the main idea remains the same. The neglect of God’s solemn message by a great many people is based, more or less consciously, upon the notion that the message of Christianity—or, if you like to call it so, of the Gospel; or, if you like to call it more vaguely, religion—has to do mainly with blessings and woes beyond the grave, and that there is plenty of time to attend to it when we get nearer the end.

Now is it true that “he prophesies of times that are far off”? Yes! and No! Yes! it is true, and it is the great glory of Christianity that it shifts the centre of gravity, so to speak, from this poor, transient, contemptible present, and sets it away out yonder in an august and infinite future. It brings to us not only knowledge of the future, but certitude, and takes . the conception of another life out of the region of perhapses, possibilities, dreads, or hopes, as the case may be, and sets it in the sunlight of certainty. There is no more mist. Other faiths, even when they have risen to the height of some contemplation of a future, have always seen it wrapped in nebulous clouds of possibilities, but Christianity sets it clear, definite, solid, as certain as yesterday, as certain as to-day.

It not only gives us the knowledge and the certitude of the times that are afar off, and that are not times but eternities, but it gives us, as the allimportant element in that future, that its ruling characteristic is retribution. It “brings life and immortality to light,” and just because it does, it brings the dark orb which, like some of the double stars in the heavens, is knit to the radiant sphere by a necessary band. It brings to light, with life and immortality, death and woe. It is true—” he prophesies of times that are far off,” and it is the glory of the Gospel of Christ’s revelation, and of the religion that is based thereon, that its centre is beyond the grave, and that its eye is so often turned to the clearly discerned facts that lie there.

But is that all that we have to say about Christianity? Many representations of it, I am free to confess, from pulpits and books and elsewhere, do talk as if that was all, as if it was a magnificent thing to have when you came to die. As the play has it, “I said to him that I hoped there was no need that he should think about God yet,” because he was not going to die. But I urge you to remember, dear brethren, that all that prophesying of times that are far off has the closest bearing upon this transient, throbbing moment, because, for one thing, one solemn part of the Christian revelation about the future is that Time is the parent of Eternity, and that, in like manner as in our earthly course ” the child is father of the man,” so the man as he has made himself is the author of himself as he will be through the infinite spaces that lie beyond the grave. Therefore, when a Christian preacher prophesies of times that are afar off, he is prophesying of present time, between which and the most distant eternity there is an iron nexus—a band which cannot be broken.

Nor is that all. Not only is the truth in my text but a half truth, if it is supposed that the main business of the Gospel is to talk to us about heaven and hell, and not about the earth on which we secure and procure the one or the other; but also it is a half truth because, large and transcendent, eternal in their duration, and blessed beyond all thought in their sweetness as are the possibilities, the certainties that are opened by the risen and ascended Christ, and tremendous beyond all words that men can speak as are the alternative possibilities, yet these are not all the contents of the Gospel message; but those blessings and penalties, joys and miseries, exaltations and degradations, which attend upon righteousness and sin, godliness and irreligion to-day are a large part of its theme and of its effects. Therefore, whilst on the one hand it is true, blessed be Christ’s name! that “he prophesies of times that are far off”; on the other hand it is an altogether inadequate description of the Gospel message and of the Christian body of truth to say that the future is its realm, and not the present.

II,—So, then, in the second place, my text gives a very good reason for prizing and attending to the prophecy.

If it is true that God, speaking through the facts of Christ’s death and Resurrection and Ascension, has given to us the sure and certain hope of immortality, and has declared to us plainly the conditions upon which that immortality may be ours, and the woful loss and eclipse into the shadow of which we shall stumble darkling if it is not ours, then surely that is a reason for prizing and laying to heart, and living by the revelation so mercifully made. People do not usually kick over their telescopes, and neglect to look through them, because they are so powerful that they show them the craters in the moon and turn faint specks into blazing suns. People do not usually neglect a word of warning or guidance in reference tothe ordering of their earthly lives because it is socomprehensive, and covers so large a ground, and is so certain and absolutely true. Surely there can be no greater sign of Divine loving-kindness, of a Saviour’s tenderness and care for us, than that He should come to each of us, as He does come, and say to each of us, ” Thou art to live for ever; and if thou, wilt take Me for thy light, thou shalt live for ever, blessed, calm, and pure.” And we listen, and say, “He prophesies of times that are far off.” Oh! is that not rather a reason for coming very close to, and for grappling to our hearts and living always by the power of, that great revelation? Surely to announce the consequences of evil, and to announce them solong beforehand that there is plenty of time to avoid them and to falsify the prediction, is the token of love.

Now I wish to lay it on the hearts of you people who call yourselves Christians, and who are so in some imperfect degree, whether we do at all adequately regard, remember, and live by this great mercy of God, that He should have prophesied to us “of the times that are far off.” Perhaps I am wrong, but I cannot help feeling that, for this generation, the glories of the future rest with God have been somewhat paled, and the terrors of the future unrest away from God have been somewhat lightened. I hope I am wrong, but I do not think that the modern average Christian thinks as much about heaven as his father did. And I believe that his religion has lost something of its buoyancy, of its power, of its restraining and stimulating energy, because, from a variety of reasons, the bias of this generation is rather to dwell upon, and to realise, the present social blessings of Christianity than to project itself into that august future. The reaction may be good. I have no doubt it was needed, but I think it has gone rather too far. And I would beseech Christian men and women to try and deserve more the sarcasm that is flung at us that we live for another world. Would God it were true—truer than it is! We should see better work done in this world if it were. So I say, that ” he prophesieth of times that are far off” is a good reason for prizing and obeying the prophet.

III.—Lastly, this is a very common and a very bad reason for neglecting the prophecy.

It does operate as a reason for giving little heed to the prophet, as I have been saying. In the old menof-war, when an engagement was impending, they ■used to bring up the hammocks from the bunks and pile them into the nettings at the side of the ship, to defend it from boarders and bullets. And then, after these had served their purpose of repelling, they were taken down again and the crew went to sleep upon them. That is exactly what some of my friends do with that misconception of the genius of Christianity which supposes that it is concerned mainly with another world. They put it up as a screen between them and God, between them and what they know to be their duty—viz., the acceptance of Christ as their Saviour. It is their hammock that they putbetween the bullets and themselves; and many a good sleep they get upon it!

Now, that strange capacity that men have of ignoring a certain future is seen at work all round about us in every region of life. I wonder how many young men there are in Manchester to-day that have begun to put their foot upon the wrong road, and who know just as well as I do that the end of it is disease, blasted reputation, ruined prospects, perhaps an early death. Why! there is not a drunkard in the city that does not know that. Every man that takes opium knows it. Every unclean, unchaste liver knows it;. and yet he can hide the thought from himself, and go straight on as if there was nothing at all of the sort within the horizon of possibility. It is one of the most marvellous things that men have that power; only beaten by the marvel that, having it, they should be such fools as to choose to exercise it. The peasants on the slopes of Vesuvius live very careless lives, and they have their little vineyards and their olives. Yes, and every morning when they come out, they can look up and see the thin wreath of smoke going up in the dazzling blue, and they know that some time or other there will be a roar and a rush, and down will come the lava. But “a short life and a merry one” is the creed of a good many of us, though we do not like to confess it. Some of you will remember the strange way in which ordinary habits survived in prisons in the dreadful times of the French Revolution, and how ladies and gentlemen, who were going to have their heads chopped off next morning, danced and flirted, and sat at entertainments, just as if there wasno such thing in the world as the public prosecutor and the tumbril, and the gaoler going about with a bit of chalk to mark each door where the condemned were for next day.

That same strange power of ignoring a known future, which works so widely and so disastrously roundabout us, is especially manifested in regard to religion. The great bulk of English men and women who are not Christians, and the little sample of such that I have in my audience now, as a rule believe as fully as we do the truths which they agree to neglect. Let me speak to them individually. You believe that death will introduce you into a world of two halves— that if you have been a good, religious man, you will dwell in blessedness; that if you have not, you will not—yet you never did a single thing, nor refrained from a single thing, because of that belief. And when I, and men of my profession, come and plead with you and try to get through that strange web of insensibility tbat you have spun round you, you listen, and then you say, with a shrug, ” He prophesies of things that are far off,” and you turn with relief to the trivialities of the day. Need I ask you whether that is a wise thing or not?

Surely it is not wise for a man to ignore a future that is certain simply because it is distant. So long as it is certain, what, in the name of common sense, has the time when it begins to be a present to do with our wisdom in regard to it? It is the uncertainty in future anticipations which makes it unwise to regulate life largely by them, and if you can eliminate that element of uncertainty—which you can do if you believe in Jesus Christ—then the question is not when is the prophecy going to be fulfilled, but is it true and trustworthy? The man is a fool who, because it is far off, thinks he can neglect it.

Surely it is not wise to ignore a future which is so incomparably greater than this present, and which also is so connected with this present as that life here is only intelligible as the vestibule and preparation for that great world beyond.

Surely it is not wise to ignore a future because you fancy it is far away, when it may burst upon you at any time. These exiles to whom Ezekiel spoke hugged themselves in the idea that his words were not to be fulfilled for many days to come; but they were mistaken, and the crash of the fall of Jerusalem stunned them before many months had passed by. We have to look forward to a future which must be very near to some of us, which may be nearer to others than they think, which at the remotest is but a little way from us, and which must come to us all. Oh, dear friends, surely it is not wise to ignore as far off that which for some of us may be here before this day closes, which will probably be ours in some cases before the fresh young leaves now upon the trees have dropped yellow in the autumn frosts, which at the most distant must be very near us, and which waits for us all.

What would you think of the crew and passengers of some ship lying in harbour, waiting for its sailing orders, who had got leave on shore, and did not know but that at any moment the blue-peter might be flying at the fore—the signal to weigh anchor—if they behaved themselves in the port as if they were never going to embark, and made no preparations for the voyage? Let me beseech you to rid yourselves of that most unreasonable of all reasons for neglecting the Gospel, that its most solemn revelations refer to the eternity beyond the grave.

There are many proofs that man on the whole is a very foolish creature, but there is not one more tragical than the fact that believing, as many of you do, that “the wages of sin is death, and the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ,” you stand aloof from accepting the gift, and risk the death.

The “times far off” have long since come near enough to those scoffers. The most distant future will be present to you before you are ready for it, unless you accept Jesus Christ as your All, for time and for eternity. If you do, the time that is near will be pure and calm, and the times that are far off will be radiant with unfading bliss.

Rev. Dr. CJ

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Daily Verse: 1 Corinthians 15:55-57


“Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 15:55-57 NIV

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Daily Devotional: Jesus Betrayed


Today’s Old Testament Reading: Isaiah 50:4-9

The Sovereign Lord has given me a well-instructed tongue,
    to know the word that sustains the weary.
He wakens me morning by morning,
    wakens my ear to listen like one being instructed.
The Sovereign Lord has opened my ears;
    I have not been rebellious,
    I have not turned away.
I offered my back to those who beat me,
    my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard;
I did not hide my face
    from mocking and spitting.
Because the Sovereign Lord helps me,
    I will not be disgraced.
Therefore have I set my face like flint,
    and I know I will not be put to shame.
He who vindicates me is near.
    Who then will bring charges against me?
    Let us face each other!
Who is my accuser?
    Let him confront me!
It is the Sovereign Lord who helps me.
    Who will condemn me?
They will all wear out like a garment;
    the moths will eat them up.

Today’s New Testament Reading: John 13:21-35

After he had said this, Jesus was troubled in spirit and testified, “Very truly I tell you, one of you is going to betray me.”

His disciples stared at one another, at a loss to know which of them he meant. One of them, the disciple whom Jesus loved, was reclining next to him. Simon Peter motioned to this disciple and said, “Ask him which one he means.”

Leaning back against Jesus, he asked him, “Lord, who is it?”

Jesus answered, “It is the one to whom I will give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish.” Then, dipping the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered into him.

So Jesus told him, “What you are about to do, do quickly.” But no one at the meal understood why Jesus said this to him. Since Judas had charge of the money, some thought Jesus was telling him to buy what was needed for the festival, or to give something to the poor. As soon as Judas had taken the bread, he went out. And it was night.

When he was gone, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man is glorified and God is glorified in him. If God is glorified in him, God will glorify the Son in himself, and will glorify him at once.

“My children, I will be with you only a little longer. You will look for me, and just as I told the Jews, so I tell you now: Where I am going, you cannot come.

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

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Daily Verse: Romans 13:6-7


This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor. Romans 13:6-7 NIV

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Daily Devotional: Jesus The Servent


Today’s Old Testament Reading: Isaiah 42:1-9

“Here is my servant, whom I uphold,
    my chosen one in whom I delight;
I will put my Spirit on him,
    and he will bring justice to the nations.
He will not shout or cry out,
    or raise his voice in the streets.
A bruised reed he will not break,
    and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out.
In faithfulness he will bring forth justice;
    he will not falter or be discouraged
till he establishes justice on earth.
    In his teaching the islands will put their hope.”

This is what God the Lord says—
the Creator of the heavens, who stretches them out,
    who spreads out the earth with all that springs from it,
    who gives breath to its people,
    and life to those who walk on it:
“I, the Lord, have called you in righteousness;
    I will take hold of your hand.
I will keep you and will make you
    to be a covenant for the people
    and a light for the Gentiles,
to open eyes that are blind,
    to free captives from prison
    and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.

“I am the Lord; that is my name!
    I will not yield my glory to another
    or my praise to idols.
See, the former things have taken place,
    and new things I declare;
before they spring into being
    I announce them to you.”

Today’s New Testament Reading: John 12:1-11

Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. Here a dinner was given in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him. Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.

But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected, “Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages.” He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.

“Leave her alone,” Jesus replied. “It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial. You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.”

Meanwhile a large crowd of Jews found out that Jesus was there and came, not only because of him but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. So the chief priests made plans to kill Lazarus as well, for on account of him many of the Jews were going over to Jesus and believing in him.

Isa43.1called you by nme you are mine

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Daily Devotional, Verse & Quote: Written On Our Hearts


Today’s Prayer

O Almighty God, who alone can order the unruly wills and affections of sinful men: help us to love what you command, and desire what you promise. Among the world’s many distractions, may our hearts be surely fixed where true joy is found, through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen. – adapted from the Book of Common Prayer

Today’s Scripture Reading: Jeremiah 31:31-34

“The days are coming,” declares the Lord,
    “when I will make a new covenant
with the people of Israel
    and with the people of Judah.
It will not be like the covenant
    I made with their ancestors
when I took them by the hand
    to lead them out of Egypt,
because they broke my covenant,
    though I was a husband to them,”
declares the Lord.
“This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel
    after that time,” declares the Lord.
“I will put my law in their minds
    and write it on their hearts.
I will be their God,
    and they will be my people.
No longer will they teach their neighbor,
    or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’
because they will all know me,
    from the least of them to the greatest,”
declares the Lord.
“For I will forgive their wickedness
    and will remember their sins no more.”

Today’s Quote

“I slew him—this right hand struck the dagger to his heart. My deeds slew Christ. Alas! I slew my best beloved; I killed him who loved me with an everlasting love. Oh eyes, why do you refuse to weep when you see Jesus’ body mangled and torn? Give vent to your sorrow, Christians, for you have good reason to do so.” – adapted from “The Tomb of Jesus” by Charles Spurgeon

Something to Think About

The Spurgeon quote above echoes the sentiments of the famous Easter hymn “Ah, Holy Jesus” in claiming that we, today, bear responsibility for Jesus’ death. Is this true? How so?

New Covenant

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Daily Devotional, Verse & Quote: We Are Sinners


Today’s Prayer

God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

— The tax collector in Luke 18, who in his awareness of his own sin would not even look up to heaven as he prayed

Today’s Scripture Reading: John 12:20-33

Now there were some Greeks among those who went up to worship at the festival. They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, with a request. “Sir,” they said, “we would like to see Jesus.” Philip went to tell Andrew; Andrew and Philip in turn told Jesus.

Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.

“Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name!”

Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.” The crowd that was there and heard it said it had thundered; others said an angel had spoken to him.

Jesus said, “This voice was for your benefit, not mine. Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out. And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” He said this to show the kind of death he was going to die.

Today’s Quote

“My life afrights me. For when carefully reviewed, its whole course shows in my sight like one great sin; or at least it is well-nigh nothing but barrenness. Or, if any fruit is seen in it, that fruit is so false, or so imperfect, or in some way or other so tainted with decay and corruption, that it must needs either fail to satisfy God, or else utterly offend Him.” – Anselm

Something to Think About

All of us have sinned—if we were without sin, Jesus’ sacrifice would not have been necessary to assure us a relationship with God. This week, take time to identify the temptations and sins that you struggle with. Are there un-confessed sins in your life that you need to bring before Jesus?

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Sunday Sermon: Surviving the Storms of our Life


storms-of-life

We have been in a study of Surviving the Storms and have found that it is not an accident or stroke of fate that gets you beyond the problems of life. I was at a funeral and I met the daughter of the man that had died. I asked how she was doing and her response was “I am Blessed” I have been told by well-meaning people, “God’s people never have a bad day!”

Is that right? Ever hear of a guy named Elijah? James reminded us that Elijah was a man subject to the same feelings and passions we have. The Bible says that Elijah plopped down under a Juniper tree, and asked God to kill him. 1 King 19:4-5 This is the same man who, only hours earlier was calling down fire from heaven. What was the reason for his despair? A couple of things probably; fear, and just sheer weariness. We are told he had just run all the way from the summit of Mount Carmel to the Valley of Jezreel. When your body is tired, you are sometimes subject to depression.

So, are there ups and downs even in the Christian life? Absolutely. Will friends sometimes drop you, or shoot arrows through your heart? Yes, they will. Will there come tests of your faith when feelings have to be shunned and only your foundational faith will sustain you? You got it! How to be prepared for it? Well, I can tell you that the same God whom you worship in the light is the same God you reach for in the night. God is there with you at this moment–even though you are not aware of His presence. Keep reaching and believing. We have learned some things that help us through the peaks and valleys of life. Let me list some of them in case you have forgotten.

1.Fear is a cause of falling, 2.We saw there were reasons for Storms: 3. We found Deception to be a cause of fall. The Devil knows he can’t defeat you if he can’t deceive you. 4. Lack of understanding 5. The lust for other things 6. PATIENCE. PATIENCE is not waiting around or just hanging in there, it is Joyful Faithfulness. THE ONLY WAY TO PRODUCE FRUIT IS BY CONSISTENCY. There is no option for FAITHFULNESS. 7. HOW TO BE FRUITFUL You must be a Christian and produce the way of life of a Christian.

That means we will have:

Peace: The test of Christ in you is Peace should rule in your heart. Peace should rule as an umpire in your heart.

Perspective: The way we look at the situation determines fruitfulness or frustration. Some do not glorify God as God, they want to be His buddy or His helper, forgetting God must be honored as God. A Sure Stop for most Storms Job 42:10 And the LORD turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before.

Purpose: We must live our lives to serve others, encourage others, lift up others, doing good for others.

As a minister was addressing a group of men, he took a large piece of paper and made a black dot in the center of it with a marking pen. Then he held the paper up before the group and asked them what they saw. One person quickly replied, “I see a black mark.” “Right,” the preacher replied. “What else do you see?” Complete silence prevailed. “Don’t you see anything other than the dot?” he asked. A chorus of no’s came from the audience. “I’m really surprised,” the speaker commented. “You have completely overlooked the most important thing of all—the sheet of paper.”

In life we are often distracted by small, dot-like disappointments or painful experiences, and we forget the countless blessings we receive from the hand of the Lord. But like the sheet of paper, the good things are far more important than the problems that grab our attention. Someone has written: “As you travel down life’s pathway, may this ever be your goal. Keep your eye upon the doughnut, and not upon the hole!” Someone said; “To realize the worth of the anchor we need to feel the storm.” – Luke 6:47 “Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like” Luke 6:48 He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep and laid the foundation on a rock, and when the flood arose the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock. Jesus was telling the disciples that EVERYONE HAS STORMS.

The house we just read about was a man that was doing the Word, was faithful, paid tithes, fasted, had done the right things BUT WAS STILL IN A STORM. Proverbs 10:25 As the whirlwind passeth so is the wicked no more: but the righteous is an everlasting foundation. (NIV) when the storm has swept by, the wicked are gone, but the righteous stand firm for ever. Sometimes the Lord calms the storm; sometimes he lets the storm rage and calms the believer. The very next verse tells us that a person that does his own thing, reads the Bible with the preacher, attends Church when he wants, Fasts between 10 PM and 6 AM, and pays tithes if the bills are not too high is in trouble when the storms hit. Luke 6:49 But he that heareth and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built an house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently and immediately it fell and the ruin of that house was great.

Here is the picture of a person whose health fails, his business bankrupts, now he turns to alcohol, drugs, and commits suicide. GREAT WAS THE RUIN OF THE HOUSE. Now can you see the Doughnut instead of the hole? The Advantage of “Doing the Word” is summed up in the 48 verse when the flood arose the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock. NOT EVEN SHAKEN Everybody gets into situations where they get discouraged.

We talked about Elijah but is there anything in the New Testament about discouragement? Paul; 2 Corinthians 1:8 For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life Paul was so discouraged in the troubles of Asia, that he was worn out and even thought of giving up on life. 9 But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves but in God which raiseth the dead: 10 Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us; Paul goes on to tell us that it seemed like a death sentence and there was no hope. BUT GOD When the problems come, and they will, the answer is BUT GOD The greatest scripture in the Bible is IT COME TO PASS, Praise God it did not come to stay.

PROPER RESPONSE TO STORMS OF LIFE The Blessing of Storms is that we can see how God will see us through because He has done it before. 2 Corinthians 4:8 We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed we are perplexed but not in despair 9 Persecuted but not forsaken cast down but not destroyed How can he say that—He based his belief on God has done it before and he will do it yet again. He wrote in Romans 8:37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.

I find it amazing the way Paul, Elijah and others did not mope around and become a perpetual victim. James 1:2 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; 3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. 4 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. When the storms come, it is time to Praise God, Shout- Jump for Joy KNOWING that the TRYING OF WHAT YOU BELIEF will work JOYFUL ENDURANCE JOYFUL ENDURANCE will make you MATURE and NOT LACKING ANYTHING, (Every desire satisfied).

James 1:12 Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. Your Joyful Faithfulness will work a change in you to change your desires. That is what the complete work is. As you struggle with things that you know that God is not pleased with in your life and a STORM comes, (JOB, FINANCES, CAR, FAMILY) It is Joyful Endurance that will change your desires making you complete, ready to receive a crown of life. 1 Peter 1:7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Peter (who had had what he believed tried) said that What you believe will be made PURE BY THE STORMS OF LIFE and it would BRING GLORY AND HONOR TO JESUS CHRIST. Your trials are opportunities to prove what you believe, and your life will not be shaken, when you base your life on THE WORD.

Rev. CJ

stormsoflife

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