A SIMPLE BUT PROFOUND TRUTH! “JESUS LOVES ME!”

As I sat with my grandson many years ago, I was singing this old familiar song, Jesus Loves Me. I have sung that song so many times to all my grandchildren, and now great grands, as well as my own children when they were young. It is a simple tune and has easy words, but the impact of this song has a powerful truth. This song has been sung by children and parents all around the world.

Anna Warner wrote these words in 1860. It was written for a man who was comforting a dying child. William Bradbury set the words to music in 1861.

“Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so; little ones to Him belong, they are weak, but He is strong. Yes, Jesus loves me! Yes, Jesus loves me! Yes, Jesus loves me! The Bible tells me so.”

What an awesome truth. It would do we adults good to sing that song often and be reminded of the incredible love of God toward us. Romans 5:8 “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 8:35-39 “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation or distress, persecution or famine, nakedness, peril, or sword? For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor anything present, nor things to come, nor height, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Jesus loves you!! Do you know this powerful truth? I mean in the very depth of your soul; do you really know?

Joy

Phyllis

DEALING WITH IDOLATRY

“Eljah came near to all the people and said, ‘How long will you hesitate between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal, follow him.’ But the people did not answer him a word.” 1st Kings 18:21

Esteemed author Henry Blackaby defines an idol as, “Any person(s), thing or way that substitutes for God in a life.” Sadly, idolatry is alive and well in America, even among those who would describe themselves as Christians! Therefore, it is of utmost importance that we heed the counsel of Elijah and the Scriptures!

We need to repair the altar of the Lord (v 30). The prophet first restored its anchor using twelve stones, the number denoting the number of the sons of Jacob before his name was changed by the Lord to Israel, which means ‘ruling with God’ (v 31). He then rebuilt the structure (v 32) in the name of the Lord! It is noteworthy that before any vessels were placed in the tabernacle (or later in the Temple), they were anointed with oil beforehand, setting them apart for the Lord’s exclusive use! Paul, later in New Testament times wrote to the church in Corinth to remind them, ‘You are not your own. You have been bought with a price: therefore, glorify God.” The altar of the Lord is no longer a physical structure, but a spiritual one in the heart!

Secondly, we need to restore our allegiance to Him (vv 33-35). Our allegiance and devotion to the Lord is not complete (meaningful) until all of self is on the altar. We need to always keep in mind that full allegiance means full surrender. Both the wood for the fire and the meat for the fragrance must be offered! Remember, it is always easier to put one’s sins on the altar than it is to put oneself there! In the Old Testament book of Malachi the people of Israel were charged with robbing God! Yet, they were already giving 10% of their income. The fact is they were sacrificing their diseased and crippled livestock; their blighted and infested crops! This in no way describes devotion/allegiance to the Lord.

Finally, we need to demonstrate respect for the Lord’s authority (v 36). This is the point Elijah is seen to be an implementer, not an innovator. He was telling the people what the Lord told him to tell! He was doing what the Lord told him to do! In this way only is the true God revealed (vv 37-39). In addition this is when any false gods are rejected (v 40). Gladys Aylward was a missionary to China during World War II. She was charged with the protection and care of 100 Chinese orphans. Word was received that the Japanese army was approaching, and they were killing all Christian missionaries and Chinese converts. The only escape was hundreds of miles away across the mountains. As Ms. Aylward said to one of the orphans, “I am not Moses!” One of the children replied, “But God is still God!” When we depend wholly on God, He shows Himself to be dependable!

As the foundations of America seem to disintegrate, and the influence of the Church continues to decline, are we failing to learn from our spiritual forefathers? Have we substituted any person(s), thing or way for God in our life? If so, may God grant us the humility and honesty to confess it the Lord and accept His forgiveness and restoration!

Jon Moore

Living a life of significance

Now that I am getting older, I am learning more about what really matters in life. There is a story told by Janice Hune, an associate professor at Kansas State. She said that she was using obituaries as a little window to look at cultural values. She discovered obituaries of the 19th century focused on the deceased’s character while in the 20th century it centered on their financial worth and work.

A life well lived has some qualities that are unmistakable. It is a life of significance declared by God Himself in His word. That life has a significant purpose, to “tell” the great works of God. Psalms 71:18 “When I am old and grey headed, oh God forsake me not until I have declared Your mighty strength to all generations.” Deuteronomy 6:5-7 “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your being. You shall teach these things (what things?) the wonders of God to your children and grandchildren. You shall talk of them when you are in your house, walking by the way, lying down and rising up.” Then, “trust” in the Lord. Psalms 31:14 “Trust in the Lord and rely confidently in Him.” Psalms 28:7, “The Lord is my Strength and Shield; my heart has learned to trust in Him.” Then a significant life has learned what the word “toil” really means. When I am feeling unworthy because I am unable to work in the Lord’s fields because of age, sickness, weaknesses, etc. we must remember what our Lord said when the disciples ask Him, “What are we to do, that we may habitually work the works of God? Jesus replied, “This is the work of God that you believe in Jesus Whom the Father has sent you.”

Keep telling, keep trusting, and keep toiling in believing prayer! You are one of the Lord’s most precious significant ones. Our God has declared it!!!!!

Joy

Phyllis

THE COMPLETION OF FAITH!

“What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,’ and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself!” James 2:14-17 NASB

When the theologian John Calvin was asked to comment on the seeming difference between the teaching of Paul in Ephesians 2:8-9, and that of James in James 2:14-17, he said, “The bible teaches we are not saved by good works, but saved to good works; not by faith plus works, but faith that works!” Is there a contradiction in the Bible, or is it more likely a mis-interpretation?

James 2:14-26

THE COMPLETION OF FAITH!

James begins this discussion by pointing out an obvious imitation of faith by stating “that” faith in verse 14! He describes this fake by calling it one who merely “says” he has faith!

Then he gives us two characteristics of this pitiful imitation. First, James says this fake faith is seen to have an absence of deeds (vv 15-16). The answer to the question in v 16 is obvious. If one refuses to meet the basic needs of another person, that is useless. Not only is there an absence of deeds, but there is the presence of death (v 17)! Make-believe faith produces only make-believe life. Consider the One Who shares His life with us when we put our faith in Him. Jesus not only went everywhere preaching and teaching the gospel, but He went everywhere doing good! (Acts 10:38)

But we need to be aware that imitations usually arise out of misconceptions, and that is true here. This pitiful imitation of God-given faith arose out of a perverted conception of faith! Note the false division between faith and works. Godly works are the blooms on the plant that identifies God-given faith (v 18). Take note not only of the false division, but also of the fatal subtraction (v 19). Faith is more than a passive intellectual exercise. It is the difference between knowing about what is said, and knowing the One Who is speaking! Separating faith and works is deadly!

Finally, see the proper expression of faith (vv 21-26). To be properly related our works are to correspond to our faith (vv 21-24). It is the opposite of passiveness, laziness. And it is the same for every person, the same for patriarch to converted prostitute-(22b,25). God-given faith has one expression, God empowered works!

After John the Baptist was imprisoned, he sent messengers to Jesus, asking if He was the Messiah, or “should we look for another?” the Lord told the messengers to go back and tell John what He (Jesus) was doing (John 7:18-22)! The clearest evidence of Who Jesus was, was what He was doing! The same is true of you, and the same is true of me!

Jon Moore

Run to the Rock!

“In this world you will have tribulation, trials, distress and frustrations.” John 16:33a

Where do we run when the things that were warned of in the Bible in John 16:33 come to pass in our lives, as well as our family and friends’ lives? I hear some say that they run to their preacher. Some to a psychologist. Some say that they just go to bed and cover their head and pretend it will go away. One thing about growing older is hopefully we grow a little wiser. If we know Christ as our personal Lord and Savior, we have a Rock in which to run.

The phone rings and the voice on the line says, “Your grandbaby is on the way to the hospital. Mom, I have cancer. Your son has had a bad car wreck. Your best friend’s husband just died. Your husband (wife) has cancer.” I could go on as many of you have already experienced or may soon get that unexpected phone call. What do we do? Where do we run? Our gracious heavenly Father has already planned for everything that we will ever face in this life.

John 16:33b. I have told you these things so that you may have peace and confidence.

Psalm 61:1 Hear my cry; O God listen to my prayer. From the ends of the earth, I call to You. I cry as my heart grows faint. Lead me to the Rock that is higher than I.

Psalm 18:2 The Lord is my Rock, and Fortress, and my Deliverer. My God, my strength, in Whom I will trust, my Buckler, and the Horn of my salvation.

Psalm 28:1 Unto You do I cry, O Lord, My Rock.

Psalm 31:3 For Thou art my Rock and fortress.

Psalm 62:7b The Rock of my strength, my refuge, is in God.

When trouble comes, and it has or will, let’s RUN TO THE ROCK, Who, is our strength and powerful God!

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 their 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

THE EXPRESSIONS OF FAITH

“By faith Rahab the harlot did not perish…for time will fail me if I tell of Gideon, Barak Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets, who by faith conquered kingdoms…and others were tortured…They were stoned, they were sawn in two…they went about…being destitute, afflicted, ill-treated…wandering in deserts and mountains and caves and holes in the ground. Hebrews 11:31-40

We live in stressful times. Some would say, historically stressful! One major source of stress is unfulfilled expectations. Often, for a Christian the major cause of stress is unbiblical expectations! Should a Christian always win? Be rich? Be healthy? Be successful? Hebrews 11 reveals some interesting case studies that vary dramatically!

Some had sensational deliverances. After all, Jesus is our Deliverer (Psalm 18:2)! There is a list of well-known Old Testament ‘heroes’ in verses 31-32, and an interesting thing about each one is that each one (for example, David) had a flawed testimony, which only emphasizes God’s grace and mercy! At the same time, others are described anonymously who led in military victories, performed acts of righteousness and carried out miraculous works in vv32-35a. It becomes abundantly clear that the author of the letter of Hebrews in chapter 11 is emphasizing that nothing is outside of the scope of God’s power in the life and ministry of one living by faith in Christ!

Yet, equal emphasis by the author of the letter is that sometimes those who live by faith experience spectacular difficulties in verses 35b-38. Clearly, the lesson to be learned is that faith is not some kind of earthly insurance that always delivers us out of difficulties, but when we operate by faith we can be delivered in our difficulties! Some deliberately choose the unseen realities of eternity than the seen rewards of the earthly (see verse 35b; also verses 24-25). Other instances of affliction and abuse are clearly devilishly concocted (verses 36-38). Whatever the case it often takes greater faith to embrace than it does to escape!

Perhaps the most important lesson to be earned from this chapter is that whatever the Christian faces in life is brought about by supernatural design! The Believer is not at the mercy of whim, or happenstance, but lives his or her life in faith that their steps are ordered by the Lord (see Psalm 37:23). Missionaries were expelled from Ethiopia prior to, and during World War II. Twenty years later Christian missionaries were allowed back in, only to discover that after twenty years of abuse and opposition, the Christians were greater in number and spiritually stronger than before!

1-The prophet Jeremiah was delivered from the hand of the wicked King Jehoiakim. Uriah the prophet was put to death by the same king. By faith one lived, and by faith one died, both to the glory of God!

2-Blessed be the name of the Lord!

 

Jon Moore

A Life of Joy

A character in the Li’l Abner comic strip several years ago named Joe Btfsplk always had a dark cloud hanging perpetually over his head. Doom and gloom. Yet in Psalm 87:7 the Bible says, “All my springs and resources of joy are in You, city of God.” Meaning God’s Spirit dwells in us if we are born again Christ followers, in other words, joy comes from the Lord, while doom and gloom come from people, circumstances, things, etc. I think Paul was a great example of how we can live in joy and victory as we read the book of Philippians. He experienced beatings, flogging, and imprisoned on several occasions. In fact, he was in a Roman prison when he wrote the book called the joy book! Some 16 times he uses the words rejoice, or joy. Philippians 4:11 Paul states, “In all things I have learned to be content.” Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ, Who strengthens me.”

How can someone experience and even encourage us to have joy or rejoice when things all around us are upside down and painful?

Paul challenges us to remember and rehearse the enormous privilege and surpassing value in knowing Christ personally. He reminds us of being heaven bound. We are so blessed with the power of Christ living in us and through us to do the Father’s will and good pleasure. He says because we have the power of Christ living in us that we don’t have to grumble, complain, and be filled with anxiety. Our Father in heaven says, “I’ve got this.”

What is the Bible’s answer to the challenges of today in this century in which we live.

1. BELIEVE…Philippians 1:6, “He Who began a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ developing, perfecting and bringing to full completion in you.”

2. Jesus said, “These things I have spoken to you that My joy might remain in you and that your joy might be full.” John 15:11

3. Jesus said, “The enemy comes to steal, kill and destroy, but I have come that you might have Life (God’s Life) and have it more abundantly.” John 10:10

4. “All things work together for good to those that have been called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28

A man tells a story that in a town that he visited, there is a well located in the middle of the town. People would flock to that well and drink fresh water. While visiting one day he noticed an older man drinking from the well. He asked him, “has the well ever run dry?” No, the older man said that they had tried to pump it dry. They even got the fire engines to try to pump it dry. Then, to their amazement they found there was an underground river flowing right through the town. God says, that His well of salvation and grace will NEVER run dry. It flows from the “river of God.” WOW what a Savior!

Joy,

Phyllis

 

 

ENCOURAGEMENT TO ENDURE!

“Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us…” Hebrews 12:1

The Hebrews in the Old Testament that were converted out of Judaism through faith in Jesus Christ were persecuted to the point of utter discouragement, and discouragement continues to be a challenge today for believers in Christ! The enduring challenge in the Christian life, as well as Christian ministry remains “growing weary in heart” (v 3b)! The author of the letter to converted jews continues to speak to Believers today about both how to recover from discouragement and how to prevent it!

The instruction is written in an athletic context, and our life and ministry are seen as a race to be run! The witnesses are to be seen as examples for and to us, not so much as their witnessing of us. In light of their examples, we should put away any distractions, or defilements that distract us from running the race and run with endurance the race that is set before us (v 1b).

Just as these men and women did before us, we should fix our eyes on Jesus (v 2a, 3a), the One Who was and is the Author (Forerunner) and the Perfector (Finisher) of our faith, despite the fact the race is characterized by a difficult and painful racetrack! Just as the Union soldiers testified that marching from Manchester to Gettysburg to make a victorious difference. They called it, “the hardest experience of the long war experience!” Yet, because Jesus purchased our redemption, we can persevere in the race!

What should be our expectation for running the race that our Lord has set before us? First of all completing our Heavenly Father’s will, “Let us” (v 1a)! Keep foremost in your heart and mind that in finishing His race, Jesus suffered for our sins, then He “sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (v 2b)! Keep in mind, there was no chair in the temple in the old testament, because the work of the priesthood was never finished! But Jesus “sat down” after his finished work! This speaks of a certain Hope Believers now have. This makes the Cross we bear the preamble to a victorious and celebrated victory in heaven!

The book of Hebrews emphasizes the crucial importance of Hope, not uncertain hope, but the sure Hope we are given in Christ! Trusting Christ in the midst of the challenges of our race releases His power enabling us to endure!

Jon Moore