Bored?

HandsAllot of times young people get themselves into trouble because they are bored. I think as parents, grandparents, youth leaders, and Pastors we could do allot to help them from becoming. Let’s think of some things that they could do to keep busy, especially as spring and summer approach.

The following quote from an American Judge who works with youth could be helpful. I found this quote on a teacher’s class room door in a local school in my area. Not sure who the judge is, but it’s a good lesson.

“Always we hear the cry from Teenagers, ‘what can we do, where can we go?’ My answer is this; Go home, mow the lawn, wash the windows, learn to cook, build a raft, get a job, visit the sick, study your lessons and after you’ve  finished, read a book. Your town does not owe you recreational facilities and your parents do not owe you fun. 

The world does not owe you a living, you owe the world something. You owe it your time, energy and talent so that not one will be at war, in sickness and lonely again. In other words grow up and stop being a cry baby, get out of your dream world and develop a backbone not a wishbone. Start behaving like a responsible person. You are important and you are needed. It’s too late to sit around and wait for somebody to do something someday. Someday is now and that somebody is you!”

How to face Adversity (part 2)

ImageDavid was no stranger to adversity. He knew it well. For some specifics check out Part 1 of this series.

So, how did David hang in there? How did he make it? Two ways really. First, David made good decisions, and second,God supplied what he needed to get him through. The awesome thing is He can do it for us too!

  • David had a friend

If a man has friends he is blessed. David had one good friend who was there to help him. Ironically, it was Jonathan Saul’s son. Jonathan must have known early on that David would take what could have been his. This could have been a great source of contention, this could have made the two enemies, but the Bible tells us that they were friends.

And it came to pass, when he had made an end of speaking unto Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. 1 Samuel 18:1

So, do you have friends in your life? No doubt, friends like Jonathan are hard to come by. If the answer is no, start by being a friend. Proverbs 18:24 – “A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.” Look for those around you who need a friend and when the adversity comes, you’ll have one!

  • David was a friend

In a moment of great stress David fled from Israel to king Achish of Gath. (1 Samuel 21) It’s amazing what adversity can make us do. Gath was the home town of  Goliath. David was certainly a well known person there,  and feared by many. The king was nervous to have David in his town and somehow let David know it. To escape from there David made the people think he was crazy! Suffice it to say they were glad to see him leave. But where to go now?

David ran to a cave called Adullam. I’m sure he was feeling lower than low, and while it may have seemed bleak God was still at work. Whether David knew it or not he had developed quite a following with the less desirable part of the Israelite society. The Bible tells us that all the distressed, debtors, and discontented gathered themselves to David at the cave. Most likely David didn’t feel like looking after a band of men such as that, yet he did not turn them away. Instead he reaches out to them, and it’s at this point in his life that God leads him to write Psalm 34. In this Psalm he encourages these 400 men to praise God and trust in the Lord. He says to them,

O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together. Psalms 34:3

The remarkable thing is that these men stuck with David through it all and many or maybe all became David’s Mighty Men!

  • David took responsibility.

I think at times of adversity and great stress it’s easy to say, “Look what’s going on in my life, I can’t do this anymore!” No matter what “this” is there are things we must continue. There are positions we cannot vacate. We still need to be a friend. We need to keep going to work or school. We need to keep our relationships open and right. Don’t shut down. Keep going. I’m sure the last thing David needed in his life was one more person to take care of, but when a young priest named Abiathar came to him in 1 Samuel 22 he didn’t shirk his responsibility.

Earlier in the narrative David needed something to eat, and a weapon. He had gone to the Abiathar’s father, Ahimelech,  for help. This man of God helped David, but it cost him his life. King Saul had become so vengeful that he killed 25 of the Lord’s priests including Ahimelech. This was certainly not David’s fault. He couldn’t be blamed for this tragedy. Yet he took full responsibility by accepting this young man into his care and protection. He tells Abiathar,

…I knew it that day, when Doeg the Edomite was there, that he would surely tell Saul: I have occasioned the death of all the persons of thy father’s house. Abide thou with me, fear not: for he that seeketh my life seeketh thy life: but with me thou shalt be in safeguard. 1 Sam 22:22-23

Obviously, David took the position God put him in very seriously. You know, I think he might make a great king!

Please check back for the conclusion of this series. Thanks for reading!

The Thanksgiving Tradition

Image Image

Happy Thanksgiving!

Here are two of our greatest Presidents Thanksgiving Day Proclamations:

This is the text of George Washington’s October 3, 1789 national Thanksgiving Proclamation; as printed in The Providence Gazette and Country Journal, on October 17, 1789.

By the President of the United States of America.

A Proclamation.

Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me “to recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.”

Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted; for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.

And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations, and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally, to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand, at the city of New York, the third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty-nine.

G. Washington.

This is the text of the October 3, 1863 Abraham Lincoln national Thanksgiving Day Proclamation.

President Abraham Lincoln’s Proclamation of Thanksgiving
Issued, October 3, 1863

The year that is drawing towards its close has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God.

In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to invite and provoke the aggressions of foreign States, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere, except in the theater of military conflict; while that theater has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union.

The needful diversions of wealth and strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defense have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship. The axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battlefield; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom.

No human counsel hath devised, nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.

It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and voice by the whole American people; I do, therefore, invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next as a Day of Thanksgiving and Prayer to our beneficent Father, who dwelleth in the heavens. And I recommend to them that, while offering up the ascriptions justly due to him that, for such singular deliverances and blessings; they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it, as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes, to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility, and union.

In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the city of Washington this third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the independence of the United States the eighty-eighth.

Abraham Lincoln

By the President: William H. Seward, Secretary of State.

Source: wallbuilders.com

History of Thanksgiving

 

Click here to view David Barton of Wallbuilders gives a short history lesson on Thanksgiving.

How to face Adversity (part 1)

King David certainly didn’t have the Kingdom of Israel handed to him. Of course, God had promised, and it was certainly going to come to pass, but that didn’t mean it would be easy.

After David faced the giant Goliath he became the most famous young man in Israel! Wow, everyone knew who David was and they loved him! Except for King Saul. A destructive seed of jealousy had begun to germinate in his heart and it was about to grow out of control.

Here is a short list of some things David faced during the time between slaying Goliath and becoming King:Image

  • King Saul literally tried to kill him with a javelin. (twice) 1 Sam 18-19
  • Challenged by Saul to kill 100 Philistines to win the Kings daughter (he actually killed 200, and can you imagine a father-in-law like that!) 1 Sam 18
  • King Saul sends his troops to hunt for David to kill him. 1 Sam 19
  • David, the champion of Israel, is forced to seek asylum from a foreign king. 1 Sam 21
  • David literally hid in a cave for fear of his life. 1 Sam 22
  • David had to seek shelter for his parents in Moab. 1 Sam 22
  • He felt responsible for the death of the Priests of the Lord. 1 Sam 21-22
  • David still fought for his country against the Philistines at Keilah. 1 Sam 23
  • Those David rescued at Keilah sought to betray him to Saul. 1 Sam 23
  • He suffered the loss of his chief spiritual leader, Samuel. 1 Sam 25
  • David and his men sought refuge again with their enemies. 1 Sam 27
  • His own family was kidnapped, nearly killed, and his possessions were lost at Ziklag. 1 Sam 30
  • Finally, David is crowned King. 2 Sam 2,5

What a road of Adversity! I mean David faced unimaginable things on his path to become King. I’m sure there were times when the troubles were overwhelming, but David kept his eyes on the Lord. He trusted God through it all. David was not alone through the adversity he faced. God was with him and God had His servants there to help David. More on this next time.

Thanks so much for reading. Feel free to leave a comment!

 

Charles Haddon Spurgeon on being a Baptist

Charles Spurgeon has been called the Prince of Preachers, and rightly so. He was a Baptist preacher and I am glad to be one as well! This is what he had to say about being a Baptist. spurgeon

Spurgeon made the following statement on April 2, 1861 in a great Baptist conference hosted by the Metropolitan Tabernacle, London, England.

“We believe that the Baptists are the original Christians. We did not commence our existence at the reformation, we were reformers before Luther and Calvin were born; we never came from the Church of Rome, for we were never in it, but we have an unbroken line up to the apostles themselves. We have always existed from the days of Christ, and our principles, sometimes veiled and forgotten, like a river which may travel under ground for a little season, have always had honest and holy adherents. Persecuted alike by Romanists and Protestants of almost every sect, yet there has never existed a Government holding Baptist principles which persecuted others; nor, I believe, any body of Baptists ever held it to be right to put the consciences of others under the control of man. We have ever been ready to suffer, as our martyrologies will prove, but we are not ready to accept any help from the State, to prostitute the purity of the Bride of Christ to any alliance with Government, and we will never make the Church, although the Queen, the despot over the consciences of men.”

 

David’s Caution

prayer1When you think of David, the Warrior who lobbed off Goliath’s head, the word Caution may not immediately come to mind. However, there are many instances where David proceeded with caution.

  • In 1 Samuel 17 when David faces Goliath he didn’t just run out onto the battle field and begin to fight. First he talked with the men in the army of Israel. It seems to me that he was first trying to encourage one of them to trust the Lord and take the field. He talks with his brother, who totally didn’t understand David’s heart and motivation. Then word gets to King Saul. Saul tried to convince David to wear his armor, but the armor was not “proved” in David’s life, so he declined. Finally, David proceeded in the name and strength of the Lord! In fact, 1 Samuel 17:48 tells us that David literally ran to face the giant.  And you know how that story ended.
  • Another instance in David’s life where he was cautious was when the Amalekites spoiled Ziklag. In 1 Samuel 30 we see that Ziklag was a city that David and his men had made home. Their families and belongings were there and the Amalekites had come and kidnapped the women and children, taken all of their possessions, and burned the city. David and his men came to the city three days later and found that everyone and everything was gone! Instead of rushing headlong into the chase David stops. With his family missing, his possessions lost, and trouble all around David takes time to talk to the Lord and seek His will. Then he pursued, and God allowed him to recover all of his things and most importantly his family.
  • On at least six occasions the Bible tells us that David inquired of the Lord before he went into battle.

David was not some rash wild man running in and out of this battle and that. He was a man who sought to follow God and do things in His time. Following God and being the man that God wants us to be requires taking time to “inquire of the Lord”. It requires caution even in circumstances that are urgent. Then, after we have heard from God, it is time to take the field of battle and trust the Lord.

What made David…David?

ImageIf you had to choose a Bible character that you most admired who would it be and why?  Of course Jesus Christ would be at the top of the list, but who else do you really admire?

David

David would have to be right up there on my list of most admired. His story is really so amazing! I think if I had to choose one word that best describes David it would be integrity. When David was on the run from King Saul he had many opportunities to be dishonest, selfish, to take matters into his own hands, but he didn’t. He maintained his integrity. I know David was just a man, and like all men a sinner, but he was a man who walked with God. He is a man to be admired.

Integrity – Purity; genuine, unadulterated, unimpaired state;

I’m studying the life of David right now, and preparing to teach on part of his life to the young people at our church. This verse has always been a theme for our youth ministry, and it’s almost as if Paul is saying to Timothy, be a David!

Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. 1 Timothy 4:12

 

I plan to share some more lessons I’ve learned from David’s life in upcoming posts, but until then feel free to share your most admired Bible character in the comments, and include a word or two that best describes that character. Thanks!

Does Jesus Love Me?

He loves me? He loves me not?…Throw that daisy away! HE LOVES YOU!

Just look at what Jesus went through for us:Crown-of-Thorns

  1. Mark 14:6-8 – Jesus says that He will soon die and be buried for us.
  2. Mark 14:33-36 – Jesus experienced great sorrow in His soul for us.
  3. Mark 14:41-44 – Jesus experienced betrayal for us.
  4. Mark 14:50 – Jesus experienced loneliness for us.
  5. Mark 15:15 – Jesus was whipped and beaten for us.
  6. Mark 15:16-20 – Jesus was mocked and abused for us.
  7. Mark 15:24-25 – Jesus was crucified for us.
  8. Mark 15:33-34 – Jesus was forsaken by God His Father for us.
  9. Mark 15:37 – Jesus died…for us.

And…Praise Be Unto God! HE LIVES…so that you and I can have life!

How then can we not be assured of His love for us? How can we do anything but serve Him and love Him?

We love him, because he first loved us. 1 John 4:19

Book Review – Dirty God, Jesus in the Trenches

follow-me-bible-close-up.gifWell, this title is one that certainly jumps out at you, and I guess that was the author’s intent. Of course, Johnnie Moore is not insinuating that God is Dirty in a sinful sense. But that He was willing to come to us, as we are, and save us by His grace.

Grace, that’s what this book is about. The undeserving favor of God. The book is divided into two parts. Getting Grace, and Giving Grace. The Lord Jesus Christ was so gracious that He would stoop lower than any of those around Him could ever have imagined. He was willing to touch and heal a leper, and He was gracious enough to bend down and wash His followers’ feet. He was willing to take our punishment for sin on the cross and die in our place. That is Getting Grace.

Giving Grace is what God intends for us to do once we have received it. As followers of Jesus, we should be emulating Him. Walking as He walked, loving as He loved, and serving as He served. Jesus was truly, “in the trenches”. He never had a selfish moment, but was always reaching out to anyone who needed help.

This book was convicting. Am I Giving Grace?  Am I gracious to those I serve and lead? To those who are closest to me? To strangers? It really makes you think. If we lived a Giving Grace kind of life. This world would truly be a different place.