|St. John Baptist Church|
|Sermons, prayer requests, and updates for our church family|
|Elijah, according to the book of James, was a man of like passions as we are. In other words, he was just like you and me. Just as we, at times, need to hear the Lord's voice more clearly so did he. As a matter of fact, he had heard God's voice and had been obedient, until he heard Jezebel's voice and listened to her threats. He then fled into the wilderness, sat down under a juniper tree and wanted to die. Much of Elijah's problem is what you and I deal with...discouragement. It comes when we get tired, when we get distracted, when we listen to the wrong voices and we focus on the wrong things. What he needed was a time of rest and refocusing. He found himself alone in a cave where God could speak to him. It wasn't in the strong wind, earthquake or the fire that the Lord spoke to him through, but in the still small voice. So often we miss His voice because we don't have time for the still small voice. We need to slow down long enough to quieten down the voice of this world that we can hear His voice. It was after Elijah heard the still small voice that he was ready to go back out and face the world again.
|We spend a great deal of our day speaking and listening. We talk to friends, to family even to people we don't know. We listen to the radio, to the television, to the internet or to people on the telephone. I read that we hear somewhere in the neighborhood of between 20,000 to 30,000 words every day. That's a lot of words!! But of all the voices we listen to I wonder how much we listen for the Lord's voice. No, He doesn't speak in an audible voice for us to hear. It's so often much louder than that. He speaks to us in His word. He speaks to us through the Holy Spirit. He speaks to us through the circumstances of life. He often speaks to us even through the voice of a friend. Yet, I wonder if we are listening. So often we get so busy with life and all it involves that we just don't take the time to listen to what He says to us. Of all the voices that I hear, and there are a lot of important ones that I need to listen to, yet, His is the most important of all. His voice keeps me focused on what is truly important in life. Don't get so busy that you stop listening for His voice. No wonder the Bible so often says, If any man have ears to hear, let him hear.
|We have a lot of ways to help us find directions to where we are wanting to go today. It used to be those old paper road maps that once you unfolded them you just never could get them folded back together again just right. It is now GPS systems that are right on our cell phones and will help us get to where we need to go. The Lord has given us some direction in His word as well. Proverbs 3:5-8 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. Daily I need that direction about my life. I need Him to give me direction about my personal life, my family life, my spiritual life, as a matter of fact, about every area of my life. His direction is more accurate than any GPS system that man can create and will never have to recalculate anything for us. As Solomon said, Trust in the Lord with all thine heart. Why not try that today and every day.
|It seems that there is no lack of opinion today about everything. Just ask anyone you meet about any subject and you'll get an earful and probably most of it will depress you. Honestly, if you look at our world there isn't much to encourage you is there? But we who know the Lord can take courage in realizing that, no matter what is going on around us, the Lord is watching over us. There's an old song that says something like this, "His eye is on the sparrow, and He watches over me." Jesus said one day in Luke 12:6-Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God? Those little birds that we don't give much thought to. I ask you, have you thought about a sparrow today? God has. The idea of Jesus' teaching was that God cares more for His own that you could imagine and He went on to say in vs 7-But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows. If the Father cares for those little birds that we give little thought too, how much more does He care for you and I? And He knows every detail of our lives. I'm glad the Father is watching over me today. How about you? That encourages me today no matter what others are saying.
|There always seems to be a measure of dread as we start a new week and face the dreaded "Monday Morning." I guess I'm no different than anyone else, as far as that goes. But I'm so thankful that the Lord we worship on Sunday is the same on Monday. He didn't say "And, lo, I am with you on Sunday." But He said, "And, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world." And that includes Monday to the best of my knowledge. So be thankful that you have one with you today who was with you yesterday and will be with you always no matter what you face or no matter what you need...even if it's on Monday.
|Sometimes it seems so mind boggling to watch the news conferences as they give statistics about the coronavirus and the projections of the curve. Their ideas are presented of what they "think" will happen and when it "might" be safe to lift certain restrictions and restart the country's economic elements. Everyone seems to have an opinion and it will make your head hurt trying to decipher what they think. You know, I think I'll just stick with what I know. Job 19:25 says, For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth. I know my Redeemer lives. I know He sits on the throne. I know He is in control. I know He cares about me and my needs. I know He promised to never leave me nor forsake me. I know He promised to come back for me and take me home one day. There is a lot I don't know and never will know, so I think I'll just stick with what I know.|
|Waiting has never been one of my strongest virtues. I've often thought of myself like the person who is okay for God to do the work, but just be fast about it. I guess we're all like that, aren't we? We are dealing with a situation now that we are forced to slow down. We can't make this situation move any quicker and it seems as though it creeps along so slowly. It reminds of what the psalmist says in Psalm27:14-Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart:wait, I say, on the LORD. Easier said than done, right? But the blessing that comes is worth it. He shall strengthen our hearts. It means to establish, fortify or make strong. I don't know about you, but that is exactly what I need during these days. For Him to make strong my heart. Waiting isn't easy, but the benefits of it will be the reward of gaining His strength within.
|Paul wrote in Galatians 6:14-But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. It was Fanny Crosby that wrote the words, "In the cross, in the cross, be my glory ever; till my raptured soul shall find rest beyond the river." The cross reveals the amazing love that God has for sinners. Were it not for the cross, we would have no way of salvation. Billy Graham once said, "Once you have been to the cross, you will never be the same." I thank God today for the cross!|
|We live in this world of sin and sorrow but God has saved us and destined us for a better land. C.S. Lewis once said, "If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world." As the old hymn says, "This world is not my home, I'm just a passin' through." We are made for a better land and some day soon we'll arrive home safe and sound.|
|I was thinking this morning about what the Lord told Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:9 when He said, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Paul had asked the Lord to remove the thorn in the flesh, but this was God's answer to his prayer. God said that He would give him grace for where he was at. For Paul it was "in weakness." Where are you at today? In weakness? In doubt? In fear? In worry? In sickness? In distress? No matter where you are today, God has grace for where you are. And I'm so glad that it is sufficient, more than enough, to meet our needs for the situation. Trust Him and rely on His strength and His grace for where you are today.|
It is often so much easier for us to focus on our difficulty or problem than it is to focus on the Lord. He is in complete control at all times. Nothing slips by Him; He knows all we face and all that we need to deal with it. Max Lucado tells the story of a time when he was with a missionary flying from village to village in the interior of Brazil. The missionary flew a small plane that worried him greatly. He says he wiggled and squirmed; holding on with fear. Finally, the pilot looked at him and said, “We won’t face anything that I can’t handle. You might as well trust me to fly the plane.” (“Anxious for Nothing”, Max Lucado) Maybe that is what you (and I) truly need to do today. We need to realize that there is nothing we won’t face that He can’t handle and just trust Him to see us through.
|Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
|"Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding. He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength."
|Fear has a way of creeping into our lives and capturing our thoughts and minds. Without our realizing it we end up a prisoner to feelings that war against our faith. So often the problem comes from what we hear. The news broadcasts tell us statistics that worry us. Leaders speak of possibilites that frighten us. If that is all we listen to then we surely will fear. Romans 10:17 says, So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. I encourage you to tune into God's word more than you tune into the world news. It is in His word that our faith will be strengthened and our hope renewed. If we feed our minds on this world only, fear will ensue, but if we feed our minds on His word, faith will be produced in our hearts. Feed on His word today.
|There is nothing beyond the realm or scope of prayer. Prayer goes where our feet cannot take us. Prayer grips what our hands cannot hold. Prayer touches what we could never in our ability grasp. It touches the very heart of God. The greatest privilege that you and I have as God's child is to bow on our knees or to just simply bow our heads at any time or anywhere and say, "Father..." and we can know that immediately we are transported into the very Throne Room of Heaven, into the very presence of the Lord of Glory. He always has time. He is never too busy. He is never in a hurry. He always listens no matter how loud the world may be around us. If need be He will hold the sun in the heavens because one of His children needs help, just ask Joshua. If need be He will stop fire from burning because His children needs help, just ask the three Hebrew boys. If need be He will send an earthquake to shake your prison house, just ask Paul and Silas. So don't think for an instant that He doesn't care about you. Just ask Him and see what He says.
|The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock.
|It is amazing how things can change from one day to the next or should I say from one moment to the next. We all know the sudden change a phone call or doctor visit can bring to our lives don't we? But I'm thankful this morning that God's grace is sufficient for every day. First Peter chapter four, verse ten speaks of the "manifold grace of God." The word manifold means multi-faceted or multi-colored. No matter the kind of day we may have there is grace for that day. As a matter of fact, no matter the kind of week, month, year or life...God has grace for it all. So, whatever you are facing today, keep in mind, God has grace for you for this very day.|
|We hear every day of shortages from toilet paper to critical medical supplies. I'm so thankful with our Lord there is never a shortage. He never runs short on His mercy or His grace. He never runs short on His love. No matter where you may find yourself today, you are under the watchful eye of One who has everything you need and will never fail to supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.|
|"Jesus: Five letters. Six hours. One cross. Three nails. We live because he does, hope because he works, and matter because he matters. To be saved by grace is to be saved by him--not by an idea, doctrine, creed, or church membership, but by Jesus himself." - Max Lucado from "Jesus, the God Who Knows Your Name"|
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