St. John Baptist Church
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The Dearest Friend I Have
9/21/2020 10:41:10 AM
Years ago someone had a contest to find the best definition of a friend.  The winning definition was this..."A real friend is someone who comes in when the whole world has gone out."  I can see why that one won the contest, how about you?  It has been said that in life we have many acquaintances, but very few friends.  I have a few that I consider good and close friends, but there is one who is the dearest friend I have and that is the Lord.  He is the kind of friend who knows everything about you, warts and all, and loves you just the same.  He is the kind of friend who will stand by you when all is well and He will be there when all has turned upside down.  He cares like no one else ever could.  You can count on Him.  What a wonderful friend is Jesus.
There is One Who Cares
9/18/2020 8:26:02 AM
I have always been interested in what I have thought of as the "Cave Psalms".  There are a couple psalms that the title mentions them as when David was in the cave.  Psalm 142 is such a psalm.  I could say a lot about the psalm, but in verse 4 he says, I looked on my right hand, and behold, but there was no man that would know me: refuge failed me; no man cared for my soul.  Those, to me, are some sad words.  We all want someone to care and need someone to care.  I read recently that administators at one of the largest hospitals in the U.S. said that loneliness was a major reason for overcrowded emergency rooms.  People need someone to care.  I'm so glad that there is One who truly cares.  Jesus said in Matthew 11:28-Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  He meant that.  To a people who were overloaded by religious leaders with burdens to heavy to bear; to a people overloaded by life that weighs you down with its problems and cares.  Jesus says, Come unto me.  You and I can still come to Him and find rest, real rest, deep within our hearts.  I'm glad there is One who truly cares.
But If Not Faith
9/14/2020 8:02:55 AM
The story of Daniel and his three friends, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego have thrilled us and intrigued us since childhood.  We all know the story of the three Hebrew boys and the fiery furnace of the king.  They were commanded to bow before the king's golden image he had set up and if they didn't they would be thrown into the furnace.  Their response is found in Daniel 3:17-18-If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king.  But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.  They believed completely that God was able to deliver and that He would deliver them out of the king's hand, then they said, "but if not."  I wonder if we have the kind of faith that says, "I believe the Lord can.  I am trusting that the Lord will.  But if He doesn't I will still serve Him only."  That is "But if not faith."  There are those whose faith never gets that far.  Here's the question I have for you.  Will you serve Him still if He doesn't answer your prayer as you desire?  Will you still be faithful if He doesn't give healing as you want?  Will you still honor Him if He doesn't come through as you wanted Him to in a particular situation?  Will you still be faithful to serve Him then?  It's easy to be faithful when He answers like you had hoped and when you had hoped, but if not, will you still be faithful to Him?  If God's plan is different from yours, will you still trust Him?  These three said they would, even if God's plan was not to deliver them as they hoped He would.  It's something to consider.  Do we have the "but if not" kind of faith?
Psalm 46:1-7
9/11/2020 7:29:48 AM
1-God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
2-Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;
3-Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof.  Selah.
4-There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High.
5-God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early.
6-The heathen raged, the kingdoms were moved: he uttered his voice, the earth melted.
7-The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.  Selah.
The Blessedness of Trusting in the Lord
9/8/2020 8:06:40 AM
Psalm 84:12 says, O LORD of hosts, blessed is the man that trusteth in thee.  The word "blessed" is a word we so often associate with the beatitudes found in the Sermon on the Mount.  It is a word that speaks of true happiness or real joy.  It is describing where true happiness of life is found.  There are those who feel it must come from pleasures, prosperity or even in power, but the psalmist says that it is found when you put your trust in the Lord.  You see, pleasures fade, prosperity can depart and power can diminish, but the Lord is permanent.  The Bible commentator Albert Barnes put it like this, he says that this individual is "blessed in every respect; happy in being permitted to worship thee; happy in the blessings which religion scatters along his path here; happy in thy sustaining grace in times of trial; happy in the support given in the hour of death; happy in the eternity to which he is going."  In other words, we are truly blessed in every area of our lives, from here to eternity.  It's easy to focus on our burdens, but just stop for a few moments and realized just how blessed you are because of your trust in the Lord.
Have You Refreshed Anyone Lately?
9/3/2020 11:54:02 AM
2 Timothy 1:16 says, The Lord give mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus; for he oft refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain.  That verse has been a blessing to me every time I think of it or read it.  Here was a man who was such a blessing to the apostle Paul that he said that he "oft refreshed" him.  That word "refreshed" means to breathe or make cool like a breathe of fresh air or of breathing life into a person again.  I wonder how long it has been since we've done that for someone else.  Maybe there is someone you know who has had the breath knocked out of them by some tough situation.  Your words of encouragement may be the ones to be like breathing new life into their heart. The word also has the idea of refitting or restocking a ship for future voyages.  Again, there are people who feel spent by what they're going through.  Life can drain you, wipe out your energy and take your resources to nothing.  A word of kindness to let them know you're thinking of them and praying for them may restock their life to press on another day.  So, I ask you, have you refreshed anyone lately?  Paul said that Onesiphorus "oft refreshed" him.  He had been an encouragement more than once.  We all need someone at various times in our lives to "refresh" us from what life puts on us.  Maybe you're reading this and need that refreshing.  Maybe you're reading this and it's been a long time since you've "refreshed" somone else.  I'm sure if you ask the Lord to guide you, He will put someone on your heart that you can "refresh" today. 
He Understands
8/31/2020 8:08:16 AM
One thing I often struggle with is trying to identify or understand what someone else is dealing with or going through.  There have been many times as a pastor that I've had to look into the eyes of someone that was searching for answers and tell them, "I truly don't know" or "I can't identify with how you must feel, but I am so sorry." That always seems so empty for me to say that.  I always wish I could say more or have the right answer or help, but honestly, there are things I just don't have answers for or can help someone understand.  But there is One who can.  I'm so thankful that the Lord knows our hearts and He knows our hurts.  He has been here and He has identified with all the things we go through in this life.  We can come to Him with our burdens and know that He truly understands how we feel.  So, no matter what you are facing today and you may think that no one understands, I want you to realize that He does.  He truly understands what you're going through and He alone can meet your needs today.
When You Need a Little Light
8/27/2020 7:57:31 AM
There are those times when you just feel so frustrated by things that you aren't sure what to do.  I know you've been there and there may be someone reading this who is there right now.  Sometimes you just need a little light in your life.  It seems that things are dark and difficult for you.  There's a couple of verses that I want to share with you.  They help me and maybe they will you too.  Psalm 43:3-4 says, O send out thy light and thy truth: let them lead me; let them bring me unto thy holy hill, and to thy tabernacles.  Then will I go unto the altar of God, unto God my exceeding joy: yea, upon the harp will I praise thee, O God my God.  The psalmist longed for God to send out His light and truth and lead him.  But notice to where.  To the Lord.  That is where we need to get when life is discouraging and difficult.  Get to Him.  When you can't find an answer, get to Him.  When you need help, get to Him.  When you are frustrated, get to Him.  When you need a little light, get to Him.  When you need grace, get to Him.  When you get to Him, you can get the help you need and are able once again to find joy and peace in your heart.  If you need a little light today, get to Him.
Isaiah 59:19
8/24/2020 11:49:13 AM
"So shall they fear the name of the LORD from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun.  When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him."
Seeking Rest in the Lord
8/20/2020 7:55:35 AM
There is a weariness that creeps into our lives from the stress that daily life puts on us.  For you it may be from the rat race of work and the pressures that come with it.  For another it may be the stress that comes from sitting down with the stack of bills at the end of the day and trying figure out how to make the money match the payments.  For others it may be the stress of sickness that comes from a body that refuses to function as you once did and now you feel the frustration of trying to deal with it.  There is the stress of a home life that has gotten messed up by things out of your control.  Stress comes in so many patterns and so many places these days.  But the place of help is still the same in every situation.  Jesus said to a weary crowd in Matthew 11:28-Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  He gives rest from the problem of sin, from the pressures of life's situations and from the people that stress us.  Are you seeking rest today?  The place of rest hasn't changed.  It is still in the Lord.
We Keep Pressing On
8/17/2020 7:36:44 AM
I often think of three words that the apostle Paul said twice in 2 Corinthians chapter 4-we faint not.  In other words, we don't quit or we don't fall by the wayside, we keep pressing on.  He said in that same chapter in vs 8-9-We are troubled on every side; yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed.  To me those are some of the most astounding verses found in Paul's writings.  I think of all he had faced but yet he keeps pressing on.  I don't know about you, but I want that kind of help in my life.  So I think, where did he get it?  He gave the answer in ch 3:5-Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think anything of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God.  He says that it is not that we have enough within ourselves to face all life brings but that He is enough, He is ample and He is all sufficient for all that life may bring our way.  He is more that sufficient enough to help us in all of our troubles, trials and difficulties of life.  No matter what may come my way...He is more than enough!  That is why Paul could say, we faint not.  That is the only way we can face all that we face without fainting and keep pressing on.  No matter what you are facing today, you can face it, because He is more than enough.
Praying for One Another
8/14/2020 7:41:15 AM
Paul wrote to the church at Philippi in Philippians 1:3-4-I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy.  The idea Paul is talking about seems to be that every time I think about you I thank God for you and say a prayer for you that the Lord would bless and help you.  You know, that's how it ought to be for each of us.  Our lives should be so entwined with each other that we would never go from one Sunday until the next without giving each other a thought.  But constantly and continuously we ought to be thinking about one another and as someone comes to our minds, to give thanks to God for them and ask for God's blessings and help for them in their lives.  I've often said it and I'll say it again right now...if you can go from Sunday to Sunday and never give a thought about your church family or their needs, then you have a major spiritual problem in your life.  I thank the Lord today for my church family and I carry them in my heart and whenever the Lord brings someone in particular to my mind throughout the day, I want to be able to breathe a word of prayer for them, because you never know what they may be needing at that very moment God has placed them on my heart.  Let's be a people who are constantly praying for one another.
There is Strength in the Lord
8/10/2020 8:11:46 AM
I have been pastoring for well over 36 years now and I'm not sure that I have ever seen a time in my ministry when so many of God's people seem to be dealing with so much in their lives.  There have always been burdens.  There have always been trials.  Sickness has always come and life has always presented its challenges.  But it's almost like the thermostat has been turned up several degrees higher these days and it isn't just a scattering of people dealing with things but it's everyone it seems.  Yet, the one constant in it all is that the strength found in the Lord is undiminished.  We read in the news of shortages of funds for certain things, but I'm so thankful there is never a shortage of strength that the Lord has for His children.  Psalm 81:5 says, Blessed is the man whose strength is in thee; in whose heart are the ways of them.  Happy is the person who has realized that their strength rests in the Lord alone.  Oh, happy day when we realize that we can't face life in our own ability.  When we figure out it isn't by our own means that we'll survive all this world puts on us and realize our strength lies in the Lord.  He is the One who will get us through all that life puts on us.  If you haven't realized it today, there is strength in the Lord for you.
To Those Who Trust His Name
8/6/2020 10:20:25 AM
David said in Psalm 9:10-And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, LORD, hast not forsaken them that seek thee.  I'm sure you that have studied the Scriptures always notice when the word "LORD" pops up and it's in all capital letters that it means Jehovah.  The word Jehovah speaks of Him being the I AM; the One who is self-existent, that is all loving and caring for His own.  He is the One who sent Moses to deliver the children of Israel from bondage and led them to the land of Canaan.  And now David says that those who know His name put their trust in Him.  The idea of knowing Him isn't just a head knowledge of who He is, but a heart relationship with Him.  It speaks of someone who knows Him as their personal Savior and Lord.  It also causes us to remember the great power associated with that name Jehovah.  He wrought miracles in Egypt, parted the Red Sea, fed the children of Israel with manna and quail, gave them water from a rock and many more wondrous things.  He is worthy of our trust.  But the psalmist says He is faithful to those who seek Him and He truly is.  He will never forsake those who put their trust in His name.  I am so thankful for that wondrous assurance that we have in Him today.
Who Will Stay or Who Will Go
8/4/2020 7:41:27 AM
In John 6, after some difficult teaching from Jesus, the Bible tells us in verse 66-From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.  There were those who loved the miracles of the loaves and fishes and wanted more, but when it came to the area of commitment to Christ and staying with Christ, they instead went away.  I'm afraid we still have that crowd today.  There are those who love the services when they are sweet.  When the preacher doesn't get to preach and the emotions run high.  But when it comes to the ordinary and it is service as usual and the preacher is just "preaching", then it isn't very thrilling to them.  Jesus looked on the twelve at that time and asked them if they too would go away.  Peter, who often missed the mark, hit the nail on the head that day when he said, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.  There is nowhere else to go to find what we find in Jesus Christ.  I want to be one of the kind who stays true to Him no matter what we have, whether it is the spiritual high or low.  Right now everything seems out of sync and quite strained.  It's not what we're used to, but I'd rather have what we have right now, than not have anything at all.  To whom shall we go?  The world has nothing better to offer God's children.  Even as different as worship is right now, I'd rather have Jesus as it is for now, than not have Him at all.  So, I'm just going to stick with Him until things return to normal or until He comes to take us home.  Are you with me?  Will you stay?
The Forward Look of Hope
7/27/2020 8:39:13 AM
It's so easy to get cast down with what we're dealing with right now in our lives.  I know, because I'm bad to do it myself.  I get focused on what is going on and forget the things God has promised.  We are human and we do forget.  The danger is that if we focus on what we're going through right now that we can lose hope.  I have often read Psalm 42 where the psalmist seemed so low and was longing, thirsting for the Lord in his soul.  He says in vs 3-My tears have been my meat day and night.  He remembers how things once were, but they're not that way now, vs 4.  He talks to himself and asks himself in vs 5-Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me?  He is discouraged, yes.  But then he says something amazing--hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance.  He is saying, "You know, right now I may not be able to rejoice, but I will again.  I will praise Him for His help for I have a hope in Him."  You see, hope is a forward looking word.  It doesn't look backward, but forward.  The psalmist says that He will yet praise the Lord again.  He also says in vs 8-Yet the LORD will command his lovingkindness in the daytime, and in the night his song shall be with me, and my prayer unto the God of my life.  That was his confidence of hope.  The Lord will do this for me, so I will continue to make my prayer unto Him.  You may feel yourself at a low point in life today, but don't lose hope.  There will come a time, when He will touch your heart again, when He will lift you out of the fog, when He will stir your heart with song and He will let you rejoice in Him again.  Don't lose hope...keep looking forward in Him.
Giants Are No Match For Our God
7/23/2020 9:05:25 AM
I guess we have all heard the story of David and Goliath since we were knee high to nothing.  The story has fascinated children through the years, but it isn't just a children's story.  It is a truth to encourage saints of all ages to be reminded that our God can handle the giants of our lives.  We all have our "Goliaths" that we deal with.  Mine may not be the same as yours and yours are not the same as mine, but we all have our giants that walk up our valley threatening our peace and seeking to control our lives.  The hero in the story was David who was willing to face this giant and defeat him by the power of God.  Our hero is found in David's greater Son named Jesus who is able to defeat the giants in our lives.  No matter how loud they talk and no matter how big they stand, they are no match for our hero.  It isn't in our power that we can handle the giants that we face.  Far too often I have tried to handle them on my own, and suffered humiliating defeat.  But when I put the giant in Jesus' hands, victory is found in Him.  I have no idea today what giant may be walking up your valley, but I know that your giant is no match for our God and that He is able to give victory in your heart today.  Why not give your giant to Him?  Right now. No matter where you are. Bow your head and place that giant in His great hand and trust Him for the victory you need over that giant.
Is There Anything Too Hard for God?
7/20/2020 8:01:49 AM
Each of us have things today that we struggle with and are facing in our lives.  Some may seem as minor blips on the radar, while others seem so overwhelming and weigh our hearts down so heavily.  What may seem so minor to one individual though, can at the same time, be so big to us.  Our scales often weigh so differently, don't they?  But I've come to realize that on God's scale they all weigh the same.  It matters not how large it may be, there is nothing too hard for Him.  The prophet Jeremiah lived in days of such difficulty and uncertainty for the land of Judah.  He found himself imprisoned by king Zedekiah, but even then God gave him words of hope for days yet to come.  And Jeremiah prayed and in part of his prayer he said in Jeremiah 32:17-Ah Lord GOD! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee.  When everything seemed all out of sorts for him, Jeremiah reflects on the thought of who God is, the Creator of all things, and declares that nothing is too hard for Him.  No matter your burden; no matter your situation; no matter your worry; no matter your trial; no matter your diffculty; no matter your need--there is nothing too hard for Him.  Put your need in His hands, the hands that created and controls all things, and trust Him to meet your need.
Till the Storm Passes By
7/16/2020 11:17:14 AM
I'm not sure why the Lord has put this on my heart for the blog today or who it's for but back in 1958 Mosie Lister wrote a song entitled "Till the Storm Passes By".  It's a song that has always blessed my heart tremendously.  Here are the words for somebody today who may really be needing it.  

"In the dark of the midnight have I oft hid my face
While the storm howls above me, and there's no hiding place
'Mid the crash of the thunder, Precious Lord, hear my cry
Keep me safe till the storm passes by
Till the storm passes over, till the thunder sounds no more
Till the clouds roll forever from the sky
Hold me fast, let me stand in the hollow of Thy hand
Keep me safe till the storm passes by
Many times Satan whispered, "There is no need to try
For there's no end of sorrow, there's no hope by and by"
But I know Thou art with me, and tomorrow I'll rise
Where the storms never darken the skies
Till the storm passes over, till the thunder sounds no more
Till the clouds roll forever from the sky
Hold me fast, let me stand in the hollow of Thy hand
Keep me safe till the storm passes by
When the long night has ended and the storms come no more
Let me stand in Thy presence on the bright peaceful shore
In that land where the tempest, never comes, Lord, may I
Dwell with Thee when the storm passes by
Till the storm passes over, till the thunder sounds no more
Till the clouds roll forever from the sky
Hold me fast, let me stand in the hollow of Thy hand
Keep me safe till the storm passes by."
Finding Your Way
7/14/2020 8:30:43 AM
We have many options today in helping you find your way to where you're wanting to go today.  There are still those old road maps, Google Maps, GPS systems and more.  We as Christians are often trying to find our way in this life.  Sometimes it's just a matter of making a decision involving family or a personal matter.  Sometimes it is a life changing decision that can determine the direction of our lives.  The verses that always come to my mind at such a time are found in Proverbs 3:5-6 where Solomon says, Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.  In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.  Far too often I want to trust my "gut" feelings or the advice of someone else and sometimes those are helpful.  But the most helpful thing is to put all your trust in the Lord, for He truly knows the right way and the best way for us to go.  We can't lean on our own understanding because we can't always see the "big picture" but He does.  So, I must always lean on His wisdom and His understanding and trust in His guidance and He will lead me in the right way through my life decisions.  Maybe you're needing to find the right way in some matter today.  Let Him show you the way.
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