The Red Robins

“Consider the birds – do you think they worry about their existence? They don’t plant or reap or store up food, yet your heavenly Father provides them each with food. Are you not more valuable than they?”

Mathew 6:26

On this beautiful spring evening, as I was sitting on our patio, I noticed two Red Robin hopping in the grass.  They began to peck at the ground and started eating a worm.  After they finished eating, they both flew up onto the bird bath to flutter their wings and have a bath.  It so reminded me of the Bible scripture already quoted.  I love watching how carefree they seem to be. 

Seems that our world has been turned upside down. So many distractions that grab our attention and cause us to be anxious and worried.  At times it is so difficult to keep our mind and heart on the blessed promises of God. Yet, that is exactly what we must do if we are going to experience the peace that the Lord Jesus promises. John 16:33 says, “I have said these things to you, that in Me (Jesus) you may have peace.” 2 Thessalonians 3:16 states, “Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you peace at ALL times in every way.”

“Why would you worry about your clothing? Look at all the beautiful flowers in the fields. They don’t work or toil, and yet not even Solomon in all his splendor was robed in beauty like these! So, forsake your worries! Why would you say? What shall we eat? What shall we drink? What shall we wear?  Doesn’t your Father in heaven already know the things you need?” Matthew 6:28 & 31-33.

We must learn to live out of every Word that proceeds from the mouth of God! He has given to us His love letter, the Bible, read it, obey it, but even more, draw close to the Lord and He WILL draw close to you. Commit yourself unto the Lord, trust in Him, yield to Him all that you are and all that you have. Spend time just loving on the Lord and let Him love on you. Be filled with the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will experience the peace that He promised.  It is your birthright as His precious child.

Joy

Phyllis

OUR PATTERN FOR PRAYER!

“Pray, then, in this way…”  Matthew 6:9a

Just as a fountain never rises higher than its head, so a Christian never rises any higher than his or her prayer life!  Many years ago, S. D. Gordon in his book, Quiet Talks on Prayer, wrote, “A Christian has much to do after he has prayed, but he is not ready to do anything until he has prayed!”  The first time our Lord Jesus taught on the subject of prayer in His earthly ministry was in a part of what has become known as The Sermon on the Mount.  Sometime this portion is referred to as The Lord’s Prayer.  It is well to look at it as a model for a life of prayer, rather than an individual prayer.

The Lord not only instructs us how to pray, but first and foremost to be about praying!  Not if we pray, but when we pray!  Then He teaches us that the twofold purpose for prayer is first for the glory of our heavenly Father (vv 9b-10), and secondly for the good of His earthly family (vv 11-13).  Notice that Jesus introduces the term Father.  This is revolutionary!  In the Old Testament that term is not used.  God is referred to as holy, high and exalted.  Now Jesus tells us to understand that God is also our Father!  Prayer is primarily for obtaining something for our Father.  First of all reverence (Hallowed, revered, respected, feared).  Secondly, the advancing of His Kingdom.  As it was always Jesus’s ambition, so it is to be ours!  Thirdly, we should seek the will of our Father in heaven be done on the earth.  That brings up an interesting aspect…The will of God is always being done in heaven!  The idea is that when we pray about something, or someone, we need to find out what is happening in heaven in relation to that person, or situation, and pray that the heavenly Will will be done here on earth!

Prayer is secondarily for the good of the Father’s family.  Firstly, our provision (v 11). Secondly, our pardon (v 12).  Also, note the relation between our forgiving others, and the Lord forgiving us (vv 14-15).  It is possible to be in relation to God by faith in Christ, but be out of fellowship with him by refusing to forgive as we have been forgiven!  Thirdly, our protection (v 13).  Prayer is the Lord’s means whereby we as God’s children seek our heavenly Father’s glory and His family’s good.

I am reminded of a story I once read about ancient Rome.  After a great victory that was significant to Rome, there was a great celebration in the city, known as a Triumph.  When the battle was close to the city, the Emperor went to the battlefield to accept the surrender of the enemy.  Then there was a parade in the city of Rome with the Emperor riding on a gold chariot pulled by two white horses.  Surrounding the chariot was the Praetorian Guard, authorized to guard the Emperor up to cost of their personal lives.  As the parade passed through the city, suddenly a young boy broke from the crowd approaching the Emperor’s chariot.  The nearest guard drew his sword, telling the boy not to approach the Emperor.  The boy replied, “He’s your Emperor; He’s my Father!”  Jesus Christ is the Emperor of all the universe, and if you have put your faith in Him as Savior and Lord, God is your Father as well!  If you have not, you can put your faith in Christ right now!

Jon Moore

Courage

Bible definition of Courage:   The Hebrew word meaning, is to show oneself as strong.  We do not have to have a grin and bear it attitude.  Those that are God’s should fear not! The ideal for the Christian is based on the presence of Christ in our life.

Truly, today we can name many things in our life that can cause us to be fearful instead of being courageous.! Some 114 times the word COURAGE, COURAGOUS, OR COURAGOUSLY is used in the Bible.  It is meaningful when the Bible states something one time, but when it says something that many time the Lord is trying to get our attention.  Do you think the Lord would have told us to do something and not empower His precious children to do what He said?   OF COURSE NOT! The point of the Father sending His only Son to come to earth and die on a cruel cross was not only to get us to heaven when we die, but for us to have His resurrected Life to live in us and though us on this earth.

In the past few days, I have watched the news on TV and seen courage displayed in the face of overwhelming odds. Fighting against fear for my children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren in the world’s unstable condition, I once again went to the Bible scriptures for reminders of my Sovereign Father, God. READ aloud just a few of the 114 verses and BE REMINDED!

Deuteronomy 31:6: “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid, for the Lord your God goes with you, and will never leave you or forsake you.”

1 Corinthians 16:13: “Be on your guard; stand firm in your faith; be courageous; be strong.”

Psalm 31:24: “Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord.”

Isaiah 41:10: “So do not fear. For I am with you, do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

2 Timothy 1:7: “For God has not given us the spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love and self-discipline.”

Joy,

Phyllis

 

POWER OF THE TONGUE!

“No one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison.  With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse (revile) men, who have been made in the likeness of God; From the same mouth come both blessing and cursing.  My brethren, these things ought not to be this way.”  James 3:8-10 NASB

One of God’s greatest gifts to mankind is the gift of speech.  With it we pray, sing praises to the Lord, teach and preach the Bible and share the gospel message with those who are without Christ!  Yet, the Bible teaches, and our personal experience confirms, that the most difficult member of our body to control is the tongue!  One of the most practical books in the New Testament is the book of James.  In chapter 3:1-12 James points out three distinct powers of the tongue.  One is the power of direction.  He uses two analogies to illustrate (vv2-4).  First is the horse (on which usually one rides) into which’s mouth a “bit” is placed.  The pulling on the bit to one side or the other determines which way the horse turns.  The second analogy is that of a great ship (on which many usually ride).  As the ship’s rudder is turned the ship turns that direction.  The application is our tongue can not only dictate the direction of our personal life, but also have an influence on others as well!

The second power of one’s tongue is that of destruction!  Once again, James uses analogies to make his point (vv5-8). One is that of a grass fire.  Grass fires can be both wild and unruly.  One small match can unleash a magnitude of destruction, as well as getting quickly “out of hand”!  And all kinds of animals can be tamed by man, but not so the tongue!  Unfortunately, the rest of our body seems to follow wherever our tongue leads!  The tongue has the power to destroy a person, a family or a church.  No worse example can be found than that of the infamous Adolph Hitler.  He wrote an autobiography tens of thousands of words long of his life, entitled “Mein Kampf.”  It has been noted by researchers that for every word in his autobiography, 125 people were killed in World War II!

Finally, the third power of the tongue is the power of distortion, perhaps the most sinister and subtle of its powers.  If we are not watchful, even believers can be drawn into confessions and conclusions that are clearly outside of Truth (vv9-12)!  In such a place we both bless our Lord and Father, while at the same time revile men who have been made in the likeness of God!  Rightly, James exclaims, “These things ought not to be this way!”  When interviewed by Robert Frost concerning the Watergate break-in and the recorded tapes of President Nixon’s x-rated comments, the reverend Dr. Billy Graham stated, “The words were in his heart, or they never would have come from his lips!”  Jesus said, “Out of the abundance of the heart a man speaks.” (Matthew 12:34)

As Christians, we need to make it our business to spend more time with those who encourage us in the things of God and less time with those who criticize, condemn and divide!

Jon Moore

TRUST and THE LORD WILL GUIDE

“Trust in the Lord completely and do not rely upon your own opinions. With all your heart rely on Him to guide you and He will lead you in every decision you make.  Become intimate with Him in whatever you do, and He will lead you wherever you go. Don’t think for a moment that you know it all.” Proverbs 3:5-7 PTB

A new year is upon us, and so many things are happening in the world that seemingly overwhelm us.  What will 2022 hold for us as a nation, and more importantly, for us and our families personally? Bad news! Bad News! Lots of FEAR!! All we hear.

I have been young, and now I am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken. As one that has become old, and looking back on my life, I can testify that the Lord has always been there for me and my family in the good times and the seemingly bad times. 

Trusting in the Lord is a choice of the will.  One can get caught up in fear of what might happen in 2022, or take God at His Word. Stay close in the presence of the Lord, and He will guide you.

In World War 2 an American plane was flying a mission in Africa. Under the cloak of darkness they flew toward their destination of Benghazi in North Africa.  A strong tail wind pushed the plane much faster than expected.  When the instruments revealed they had reached their destination, the crew members kept flying in disbelief of what the gauges said.  They “felt” the instruments were wrong. They eventually ran out of gas; the plane crashed and all the crew were killed. 

We as God’s children need to stop trusting in our own judgements and feelings about the future.    Trust in the Lord and His Word!! He has given us His Word, the Holy Spirit and His promises. Surely that is ENOUGH!

 

Joy

Phyllis

THANKING GOD IN TROUBLED TIMES!

“Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.  And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”  James 1:2-4

Let me be clear!  The Thanksgiving/Christmas season is my favorite time of the year.  I am grateful that I live in a country where our forefathers expressed there thanksgiving to God for His ongoing blessings, and though it may seem hard to believe today, elected officials of a previous day voted to make Thanksgiving Day a national holiday!  However, there likely would be some today that would say, ‘We live in a different time, under different (difficult) circumstances.”’  What about the frustrations, anger, hostile words and actions; the increasing attack against Christianity and the Church?  The answer to our question, and the counsel for Believers in terms of our response is clearly to be found in God’s Word!  James under the guidance of the Holy Spirit gives us wise counsel in James 1:2-4.

He teaches us a systematic method of response in verse 2.  The Greek word translated consider is a bookkeeping term.  When we encounter circumstances that test our faith in God’s keeping, we should open our spiritual journal and enter that experience under the column titled “Joy”!  Note this will not be “if” these times come, but “when” they come.  The bottom line is that the Believer’s thanksgiving is not dependent on favorable circumstances, but by a free choice (Not a natural response, but a spiritual response)!

Be sure to recognize that this response is not just “hocus-pocus!”  It is affirmed by eternal Truths in verse 3.  The first Truth is essential.  God is in control of our situations!  One of the most mis-quoted, misunderstood verses in the bible is Romans 8:28.  This verse does NOT say, “all things are good.”  All things that happen in life are not good, but the verse says, “God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”  The question in some minds would be, ‘Why does the Lord do things this way?’  Verse 3 gives the answer.  The Lord is building character in the life of His children using adversity.  He knows that we will need the quality of “endurance” in us if we are to finish the course.  Christian, do you have confidence in God?  You can only be thankful in the midst of trials IF you have complete confidence in God!

The Bible clearly reveals God as the God of order from Genesis to Revelation.  In verse 4 He says “let” endurance have its perfect result.  The Greek word translated perfect here means ended.  Don’t focus on the earthly problem, but God’s eternal purpose!  Of course the Lord wants an ended work so He can have a “perfect” worker.  The second time the word perfect is used, it is translated from the Greek as “whole”!  This is what God is after in each of His children.

Consider this bible Truth, “Jesus is Lord!”  If this true, and it is, He is in control of the so-called good, and the so-called bad.  The pleasurable and the painful.  If you have not trusted Christ with your eternity, I encourage you to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved!  If you have trusted Christ for your eternity, trust Him now with your adversity!

Jon Moore

Thanksgiving!

In 1621 America celebrated the harvest and other blessings of the past year.  The holiday was believed to be modeled by the English colonists (Pilgrims) of Plymouth and the Wampanoag people. It wasn’t until 1863 that President Abraham Lincoln and then later presidents supported the event.  In 1941 Congress made it an official National holiday. 

I can remember when the children in school would dress up as Pilgrims and Indians having a play to celebrate Thanksgiving.  Have you ever helped your children make the turkey drawing using their hands as the pattern?  Those were such fun filled day for the children in our schools. Some might call them the “good old days.”

Long before America decided to declare to be thankful on a certain National Holiday, the God of the universe stated over 70 times in the KJ version of the Bible to give thanks. Our Lord knew that having a thankful heart was the key to having a contented life. I am afraid that we have forgotten this truth as we are so tuned into this world and all the problems that we have forgotten to give thanks in “all” things.1 Thes.5:18

 Colossians 3:17… And whatever you do in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

 1 Chronicles 16:34… Oh give thanks to the Lord for He is good for His steadfast love endures forever.

Psalms 118:24…This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.

 Colossians 3:15… Let the peace of God rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly.

 Psalms 107:1…Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, for His steadfast love endures forever.

Just a few verses to remind us that no matter how bad things are in this world, in Jesus Christ our Lord we have been blessed beyond measure.

Joy,

Phyllis

WHY BE FILLED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT?  (PART TWO)

“When He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.”  John 16:13

 In the first part of this series we pointed out that there is a great deal of misunderstanding about the ministry of the third Person of the Godhead, the Holy Spirit.  Consequently, this has left the door open for erroneous teaching on the subject.  Instead of spending our time criticizing the false teaching, or false teachers, I have chosen to spend the time teaching what the Bible does say about the command to be filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18).  I also pointed out that in the last hours of our Lord’s earthly life, He spent much of His time with His disciples, among other things preparing them for the coming of the Holy Spirit and what His ministry would be to, in and through them.  This ongoing conversation is recorded in chapters 14, 15 and 16 of the gospel of John.  In 14:16-17 Jesus said first that the Spirit would indwell Believers, with us in our loneliness, and in us in our weakness.

 Secondly, our Lord told His followers that the Holy Spirit would instruct Believers.  “The Helper, the Holy Spirit will teach you all things…” (John 14:26a).  All we truly know of the Lord is taught to us by the Spirit, and there are three aspects to this teaching.  He reminds us!  “…and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you” (14:26b).  There are times we don’t need to learn a new truth, but sometimes we need the Holy Spirit to “quicken” our spiritual memory to remember a truth He has already taught us!  The Spirit also refines us!  “When He, the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all the truth” (John 16:13a).  You may ask, “Is that not the same as John 14:26a (see above)?  No!  John 14:26a is inward, and John 16:13a is outward.  One, He teaches us.  Two, He leads us!  One of the “ways” of God is to teach you a truth, then lead you into a life experience that will call on you to exercise that newly discovered truth!  In Psalm 103:7 the psalmist says that God made His ways known to Moses, his acts to the children of Israel.  The people would acknowledge God’s leadership once He acted, but Moses could anticipate how the Lord would act, because He had learned His ways!

 Finally, the Holy Spirit reveals to us.  “He will disclose to you what is to come” (John 16:13b).  In a travelling ministry I have met many of the Lord’s people, and one subject that comes up often is, “What is the Lord going to do about this, or that?  What will He do about this situation in my life?”  One of the best ways to answer questions like that is to put the onus where it belongs!  If you want to know what tomorrow holds for you, pay attention to what the Lord is teaching you today!  He is always preparing us by providing for us.  Every child of His has the privilege of a one to one Teacher to student ratio in the Lord’s classroom!

 Stay in touch for Part Three!

Jon Moore

 

Looking for Fruit… Part 2

I want to continue sharing this month about my adventure in gardening.  As I mentioned last month, I have been gardening in my City Picker’s Gardening wagon for 2 years now.  I have been very excited almost every day as I am able to harvest vegetables. As I told you last month, I couldn’t help but believe that our Lord is pleased when He sees His children producing the fruit of the Spirit found in Galatians 5, love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, meekness, faithfulness, and self-control.

As Paul Harvey would say, here is the rest of the story.  I bought a hot pepper plant at the same time as my City Picker’s plants, however I decided to plant it in a different container.  I was careful to use the wonderful Miracle Grow Mix with the great nutrients.  After a few weeks I went out each day to check my hot pepper plant. To my surprise, I noticed that it had no peppers, not even a hint of a pepper.  I decided that the greenery was getting so big that I should transplant it into a larger container. Once again expecting some sign of the fruit it should be producing, not a trace.  I fertilized it just like Neal Sperry (our Texas authority on all gardening) said to do.  I watered, I pampered, NO PEPPERS. The green plant now is huge, but still no sign of anything resembling a pepper to harvest. Just a big fat green plant. Can you feel my frustration and disappointment?

I now want to share of another fruit of the Spirit found in John 4:35, “Behold I say unto you, lift up your eyes and behold the fields that are white unto harvest.”  Matthew 28:19a, “Therefore go and make disciples!” I can’t help but wonder if our Father in heaven might be saddened and disappointed in our lives when His blood bought children just sit in our comfortable churches getting fatter and fatter as we learn more information and enjoy our many, many activities, while our neighbors, community, state, and the world are going to hell in a hand basket.  Just a thought!!

“People need the Lord! Every day they pass me by, I can see it in their eyes, empty people filled with care, headed who knows where. On, they go through private pain, living fear to fear. Laughter hides their silent cries, only Jesus hears. We are called to take His light to a world where wrong seems right. What could be so great a cost for sharing Life with one who is lost?

Part of the Lyrics to “People need the Lord,” by Steve Green

Joy,

Phyllis

 

WHY BE FILLED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT?  (Part One)

“And do not get drunk with wine for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit.”

Ephesians 5:18

“If you love Me, you will keep my commandments.”

John 14:15

“I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of Truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him, because He abides with you and will be in you.”

John 14:16-17

 

The decade of the 1960s were years of rebellion!  There was a rebellion against the Vietnam war, the military draft, the sexual standards of the day, and the religious hypocrisy of the previous generation.  Large numbers of young people entered “A search for the Truth,” experimenting with eastern religions and hallucinatory drugs.  Some of these young people came full circle and found salvation through faith in Jesus Christ!  Oftentimes when these new converts tried to return to mainline traditional churches, they were not welcome with their long hair, crumpled clothing and lack of socially acceptable hygiene.  Consequently, false teaching spread, especially about the doctrine of the Holy Spirit!  Sadly, too many preachers spent more time condemning the false teachers than teaching the Bible Truth about the Holy Spirit.  Unfortunately, we see similar things happening today.  Thus, for several sessions we will be examining the Scripture’s answer to the question, “Why does a Christian need to be filled with the Holy Spirit?”

 First and foremost, the Believer needs to be filled with the Spirit, because the Bible commands it!  Ephesians 5:18 is NOT a recommendation, but a requirement!  In the original language it is an imperative!  In John 14:21 Jesus said, “He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me!”  In addition to that in the last hours of His earthly life, Jesus withdrew from the crowds to whom He had ministered and spent precious personal time with His disciples.  This ongoing conversation is recorded in John, chapters 14, 15 and 16.  In it Jesus points out three additional reasons why every Believer should be filled with the Holy Spirit, and what that means.

 In John 14:16 Jesus tells his disciples that the Holy Spirit will indwell Believers.  The “Helper” here is also translated “Comforter”, “Advocate” or “Intercessor” in other places in the Bible, but note that He is “another” Helper!  The Greek word translated another means “another like Me!”  The best description of the Holy Spirit is He is another like Jesus Christ!  He goes on to say that He will be with us forever!  How crucial it is to be reminded when we are lonely, that the Spirit is always with us.  In verse 17 we are told He will not only be with us, but He is in us as well.  This is reassuring when we are weak, and how often we rediscover our weaknesses in attempting to obey our Lord, both in worship and service!  Thus, the Holy Spirit is our Divine Helper who makes the impossible possible! 

 

Stay in touch for Part Two!

Jon Moore