St. John Baptist Church
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Jeremiah 29:11-13
11/13/2020 10:25:18 AM
"For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.  Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you.  And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart."
Changing Times
11/9/2020 8:21:51 AM
We are living in changing times.  With the strange elections now seeming to be coming to a close and things not looking very promising for the future, I'm afraid there are some changes ahead for us all.  I guess we say that every time things don't go our way in an election, but this one has an unusual feel to it, especially with how the year 2020 has gone.  Everything about this year has been different.  With the pandemic, with violence and looting in cities, talk of defunding the police and now the election as strange as it has been, times are changing.  I am so thankful that God said to Malachi in Malachi 3:6-For I am the LORD, I change not.  Although everything else may change in life, He never changes and He never will.  He is firmly in control of the world situation.  He has grace sufficient for His children for changing times.  There are those who are probably reading these lines whose world is changing.  Your home, your health, your happiness, your life has changed.  Take courage today in the One who never changes.  He will never forsake you in your changing times.  Although our lives outwardly change, our salvation is secure and our Savior is supreme.  The hymnist wrote, "When darkness veils His lovely face, I rest on His unchanging grace.  In every high and stormy gale, my anchor holds within in the veil.  On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand.  All other ground is sinking sand."  Stand firmly on the One who never changes today.
Believing In Spite of What You're Seeing
11/6/2020 7:42:37 AM
When Jesus arrived in Bethany, Martha and Mary thought that He had arrived too late.  Their brother, Lazarus, had been dead four days.  When Martha received word that Jesus was in town she ran to meet Him and said to Him, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.  Jesus began to talk about the resurrection and she said she believed Lazarus would rise again in the last day.  But Jesus was talking about now in the immediate.  His final statement and question to Martha was, And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believeth thou this?  With that she responded that she did believe He was the Lord, the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.  Jesus was asking Martha, "Can you believe in spite of what you're seeing?"  It's easy to believe when everything is going our way.  It's easy when no one is sick, bills are paid, life is running smoothly and all is well.  But what about when everything gets messy?  What about when we don't understand what He is up to?  What about when things aren't going our way?  Can we believe in spite of what we're seeing?  What you are looking at in your life today may seem like an impossible situation (theirs was).  You may think the Lord isn't coming.  You may think nothing is changing.  You may think He is never going to work.  Just keep trusting and believing in the One who can do the impossible.  He is the same One who stepped into their situation and raised the dead.  Nothing was going to change their situation but a miracle and He still does miracles today.  Keep believing in Him in spite of what you're seeing.
Walking By Faith
11/2/2020 8:20:42 AM
Nowhere did the Lord ever promise us that the Christian life would be a life of ease.  He did tell the disciples before He left this world that in the world we would have tribulation or pressure.  We know that the Lord's ways sometimes are not always what we thought they would be.  At times He works differently than we expected.  At other times He works slower than we had hoped.  It all teaches us that we must walk by faith.  I read someone that said walking by faith is trusting that God's ways are always at work, even when we can't see how.  That is so true.  So often we don't see how the things we are going through can be anything good, but we just trust by faith that His plan will bring about the good He has designed for us.  That is what faith is all about.  Another preacher named John Blanchard said this, "Walking by faith means being prepared to trust where we are not permitted to see."  There may be something right now that you are going through that you can't see how it can be anything beneficial for your life or that any good can come out of it.  That's where you have to trust in the Lord and walk by faith.
A Lot of Talk About Peace
10/27/2020 8:14:08 AM
There has been a lot of talk about peace in the news lately coming out of the Middle East.  Various Arab countries are signing peace agreements with Israel and starting relationships with each other that once seemed impossible.  Some are saying there will be more to come.  Only time will tell.  My thoughts take me to Jeremiah 8:11 where it says, For they have healed the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace.  I can't help but think that this is only a precursor to a time when an agreement of peace will be made with Israel during the days of the Antichrist and they will be able to rebuild the Temple.  Thinking that lasting peace is achieved it will only be shortlived and will fall apart like a house of cards.  There will be no lasting peace until the Prince of peace comes and establishes His kingdom on this earth.  When He sits upon the throne of His father David and rules and reigns for a thousand years, then there will be a time of peace that this world has only dreamed of.  I can't help but think that we are only seeing the Bible fulfilled before our very eyes and the stage is being set.  Soon and very soon the Lord Himself will return for His bride to catch us away.  Even so come quickly Lord Jesus! 
More Grace
10/23/2020 8:04:23 AM
There is a little phrase found in James 4:6 that says, But he giveth more grace.  I have always loved that thought.  I am so thankful that God gives grace, but what a blessing to realize that He gives more grace when it is needed.  The idea is that He gives grace greater in measure or supply.  When our need seems greater, He has more grace to meet that need.  It is grace greater than all my sins.  When I have failed Him, His grace extends greater than my sins.  It is grace greater than all my sorrows.  It is grace greater than all my stressful situations.  It is grace greater than all my struggles.  It is grace greater than all my sufferings.  So this grace is superior than it all.  It is sufficient for it all, as well.  No matter where you are or what you are dealing with today, He has more grace for you to face the problem or deal with the situation.  Just look to Him because He is the one that gives more grace.
Love So Amazing
10/19/2020 8:42:35 AM
Have you ever had someone to let you down?  Have you ever been disappointed in life by someone or something that happened to you?  Well, of course you have...we all have.  We all know the sting of someone we know, we loved, we trusted, we counted on and thought we could depend on that let us down somewhere.  But the fact is, we're all human and as humans we are all subject to failure.  I can let someone else down just as easily as someone has let me down.  But, isn't it a blessing to know of One who never lets us down?  Who never fails?  There is one whose love is so amazing toward us that you can always count on Him.  He knows me.  He knows my every thought, both good or bad.  He knows my weaknesses and my strengths.  He knows my successes and my failures.  He knows when I've done right and when I've done wrong.  He sees me completely, as no one could ever see me.  Yet, He loves me in spite of it all.  Nothing about me changes His love.  I can't do anything to make Him love me more and I'll never do anything that would cause Him to love me less.  That is amazing love, is it not?  So, today you may feel disappointed somewhere in this life, but never forget about the One who loves you with an amazing love.
Homesick for Home
10/16/2020 6:36:12 AM
I remember when I was young, probably eight or nine years old, going to my cousins house to spend the night.  All was well and we had fun...until it got dark and it was getting close to bedtime.  I got sick on my stomach.  It wasn't that I didn't love where I was at or the people I was with.  I just wanted to go home.  I remember my aunt calling my mom and her coming to the house, getting me and taking me home.  That was my first experience of being homesick.  Well, times have changed since then, but it seems the older I get the more homesick for home I become.  I'm talking about the one the Lord has gone to prepare.  It isn't that I don't love where I'm at or the people I'm with.  Oh my, I surely do, but there is a sickness about this old world that causes me to look for home.  It's a familiar place where family will be and the Lord will be.  Where there will be no more sin, no sorrow, no sickness, no sadness and no Satan to contend with.  I look forward to the day when the Lord comes to get us all and take us home.  How about you?  Do you ever just get homesick for home?
Pray Without Ceasing
10/13/2020 7:43:20 AM
I remember hearing it or reading it somewhere years ago, but the statement was that "prayer is one of the hardest things you'll ever do."  I believe that and I believe that standing right along beside it would be the word patience.  It isn't hard to say little nothing prayers that aren't very vital or personal to you.  But when something is heavy on your heart, prayer can be a hard thing.  To earnestly call upon the Lord can take a lot out of you.  When our hearts are burdened and we need the help of the Lord we tend to lay aside all of the superficial things, the flowery things that may dress up our prayers and we cry out desperately to the Lord.  Then the Lord knows we are serious about what we are praying for and His attention is solely on our cries.  So, I encourage you to pray and to pray without ceasing over what is on your heart.  Not the flowery, formal, careless type of prayer, but the serious kind that the Father will know we truly are seeking His help in time of need.  He is always listening.
Jesus Knows What You're Going Through
10/7/2020 10:13:04 AM
I remember several years ago, when I pastored here the first time and was driving the school bus, that there was a particular time that I was really struggling.  To be honest I don't remember now what the situation was that I was struggling with.  What I remember is that on that particular morning I got on the bus, ran my route and came back to the school.  I was so low.  I was discouraged and just needed something.  I remember I got off the bus, got into my car and cranked it.  The radio was on and the first words I heard were the words of an old song from back then that said this..."Jesus knows what you're going through."  It was like the Lord spoke those words to my heart that morning and I couldn't help but cry.  It was what I needed to be reminded of that day.  I want you to know that today.  No matter what you're facing.  No matter what you're going through.  No matter how hard your day is.  No matter how difficult things may be right now for you.  Jesus knows what you're going through.  He has promised to go through it with you.  He will never leave you and He will never forsake you.  Lean on His strength.
When Sorrows Like Sea Billows Roll
10/5/2020 8:13:37 AM
There are times in each of our lives that we feel overwhelmed.  It can come in so many ways.  We can feel overwhelmed by the stress of work or by the pressing needs of family.  We can feel overwhelmed by days of sickness or a life filled with pain.  In the words of Horatio Spafford's great hymn there are times when sorrows like sea billows roll.  I've never been out on the sea, but I've seen enough pictures to get the idea of the thought.  Sometimes you feel as though it is one wave after another to the point you wonder if the next wave is the one to take you under.  It must have been how the disciples felt on the sea of Galilee when they tried so hard to deal with the storm, but felt they would perish.  It was then that they awoke the Master and asked Him, "Carest thou not that we perish?"  Foolish question?  Of course, but don't we all get there sometimes?  That's when the Master of the sea arose and calmed the winds and waves.  He can still do that in our troubled seas.  When our sorrows like sea billows roll and when He speaks peace then we can follow with the words, "It is well, it is well with my soul."  He does care about your storm so why not call on the One who has the power to calm the seas of your heart today?
A Light for a Dark Way
9/29/2020 7:18:47 AM
Psalm 119:105 says, Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.  So much of my life is spent trying to discern the right way to go and that seems to get even harder as the days are getting darker.  The decisions of life are too important to take lightly.  The directions of life for my family are too vital to take for granted.  We need something to help lighten the pathway and thankfully God has provided for us His Word to do so.  It is a we approach His Word with a heart tender to His voice and with a desire to listen and learn that He can and will guide us in our lives.  I'm afraid so often we take His Word as something we don't think much about until Sunday rolls around, then we follow along with the preacher as he reads his text.  But God wants to speak to each of us every day.  So I remind you, that life isn't getting easier and the days are getting darker, so we need to read God's Word and let it be the lamp to our feet and the light to our path as we walk through this world.  Even if you can only spend a few minutes a day with it, it will be a few minutes that you will give you some light for a dark way.
You Can Trust Jesus
9/26/2020 8:55:43 AM
When Jesus and his disciples attended the wedding feast at Cana in Galilee a dilemma arose that needed addressing.  They ran out of wine.  That was an embarassing situation, but it was a troubling situation for all that was involved in the wedding feast.  Mary, the mother of Jesus, did the only thing she knew to do which was to tell Jesus about the situation.  She didn't tell Him what to do, but she simply told Him, "They have no wine."  We don't know all that she thought He would do, but she trusted Him to do something.  Then she told the servants, "Whatsoever He saith unto you, do it."  In the whole situation Mary was trusting Jesus to do something in that time of great need.  There are so many who have an emptiness in their life right now.  It may be an emptiness of joy, of peace, of satisfaction or other things.  It could be an emptiness of hope.  An emptiness of understanding.  An emptiness of direction for life.  The list is endless.  Do as Mary.  Go to Jesus and tell Him all about it.  Trust Him for, after all, He is the only one who can fill life's emptiness with real joy, real hope, real peace and real life.  You can trust Jesus for whatever you are needing today.
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.
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