Here is a website for a congregation with some good content for you. There are sermons and bulletin articles too! Check it out and see what you can find!
"Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you. Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing." (Philippians 3:13-16)
There are times in life that remind you just how fragile life can be. In a moment, in an instant, life can be gone. I had one such of those times this week.
It is because of this that I make this plea. If you are not right with God, I implore you to get right quickly before it is too late.
“Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.” (James 4:14)
“Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more. For ye know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour; Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God: That no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter: because that the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned you and testified. For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness.” (1 Thessalonians 4:1-7)
It was promised last week that we would look more closely at the parable
usually referred to as ‘the prodigal son’, and I want to say up front that I
don’t take any credit for any of the concepts that I am putting forth in this
article as though they are mine. In fact most of them come from a lesson on this
parable by Eric Owens entitled "In God’s Defense" you can hear his excellent
lesson at this link
In the first two parables Jesus tells in Luke 15 about the lost sheep and
coin those who represented God’s position searched without ceasing until those
two things were found, there is a shift when we come to the third parable
because it is about people and not inanimate objects or dumb animals. Let’s
notice how this father teaches us as fathers.
First, remember that the indication is that these are all adults. Young
children have to be trained and directed in their decisions, but adults are free
to make their own decisions. This son was very disrespectful of his father in
asking for the inheritance before his father was dead, yet the father let him
have it. His father accepted this with seeming equanimity and did not make a
scene. The father could have refused, but he knew that would only make the
The son didn’t just get mad and run away that day, he planned his departure
"not many days after". The father did not try to force him to stay against his
will, just like God never forces us to stay if we want to leave.
The son knew he had a good father because he believed that if he went back
after wasting 1/3 of his fathers wealth and repented and asked to be a servant
his father would accept that. The son didn’t realize how good his father really
was because he never could have imagined the response he received when he
returned. We need to realize some things about this father. He loved his son
deeply. He missed his son terribly. Despite that, he did not go out looking for
his son. He waited hoping for the son’s return, but never chased him. He
realized that chasing him would have driven him further away. He also didn’t
bail him out. Sometimes a person needs to hit the bottom before he will start
looking back up. The father could have hired someone to follow the boy and find
out where he was and keep him out of trouble, but this father knew that it is
essential to character development to let a man face the consequences of his
actions and decisions. We often fail in this area especially with people we care
about. A sweet little darling has mama or daddy wrapped around his or her little
finger and we won’t let them feel any pain. When we do that we are setting them
up for more pain down the road.
It is so difficult to know how to handle each situation, but the better we
get to know our children when they are young the better we will know when to let
go, when to hold on, when to chase, and when to wait. Our children need to know
that we love them and that when they are ready to come back and do right we want
them to and we have been waiting for them to do it. They also need to know that
our love is tough. There are boundaries and rules and consequences for the
decisions and choices we make in life and relationships. How different would
this parable have been if the boy had wasted all the money and come back for
more rather than coming with the contrite heart as he did?
Next time we will learn some more about this loving father.
"And let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare his works with rejoicing." (Psalms 107:22)
If we are truly grateful, we will be grateful to the one who gave all things. "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning." (James 1:17) What about giving of our time as well as our money? How about our time in church when the saints assemble or time reading the Bible everyday?
One of my favorite sections of scripture:
"I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy, For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now; Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ: Even as it is meet for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart; inasmuch as both in my bonds, and in the defence and confirmation of the gospel, ye all are partakers of my grace." (Philippians 1:3-7)
Sometimes things happen in the life of a parent that throw you for a loop! You think you have made the best choice for your child, only to have it revealed that it was a terrible choice. I find myself at one of those crossroads where I'm going to have to completely change direction as what I thought was the proper course turned out to not be.
I think that throughout my time as a parent, this will happen many times, just not a major problem as happened this time. We will move on from this mistake. What I want to pass on to you, is not to let these detours deter you from staying the course and keeping on the path to heaven.
Maybe in the future, I will write a more detailed post about what happened in our household a few nights ago. For now, I'm too much in shock and too many thoughts rambling around in my head. In today's world, it is difficult to remain faithful and keep our kids pure in everything, but it is possible!
“Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:” (2 Peter 1:10)
It is funny, isn't it? How that before a baby is born, in those long 9 months, time seems to slow down. The anticipation of the coming event seems to stretch out the time, you seem to get everything done that is needed by the time of the long-awaited event occurs. Once the baby arrives, time flies by again and before you know it, the child is turning 10...or out of the home and married!
So, my thoughts lately have been wondering this: If we anticipate the grand event of entering heaven, time should slow and we should focus on doing what needs to be done to get there. Our spiritual 'birth' into new bodies should be the thing we are longing for...the thing we desire most. So, let's get busy and work to get there!
"For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it." (Romans 8:18-25)