|St. John Baptist Church|
|Sermons, prayer requests, and updates for our church family|
Memorial Day is exactly what it says…it is a day that serves to preserve our memory. It is a day set aside lest we forget the sacrifices made by men and women so that we might enjoy the freedoms we share today. It isn’t about whether you agree with war or not. It isn’t about what political platform you stand on. It isn’t about time off from work. It is about honoring those who have bravely served and sacrificed that America and Americans can remain free today. When you freely drive to church or to the mall or to work or wherever you desire to go, think about the sacrifices that earned you that right. When you lay in the warmth of your bed consider the soldiers who have laid in the fox holes of battlefields whose names are seldom remembered that you could do that. When you sit down at your table to eat a meal with your family consider the soldiers who, far from home and family, lived with the thought that they may never see their families again to give us that privilege. When you see old glory waving in the cemetery marking the graves of those who bravely served our country in the military, consider that by the grace of Almighty God and the sacrifice of these great men and women, we are what we are today as a nation; living in freedom for nearly 244 years. We dare not forget their great sacrifice in preserving our freedoms. I am thankful on this Memorial Day 2020 for those who have sacrificed, who haved served and are now serving in our Armed Forces.
|I woke up this morning with the old song sung by the Singing Cookes from years ago entitled "Oh What a City" on my mind. Some of the words go like this, "There's a city over yonder not made with human hands. A place where no heartache will ever trouble man. None of the poets or great authors can really describe all the beauty that's waiting inside. Oh what a City, what a land. On those Hills of Zion I know I'll stand. No more crying, no more dying, no more pain for us to bear. Oh, what a City He's gone to prepare." I am so thankful today that there is a place beyond this land of sin and sorrow. A place where there is no more sickness or pain to bear. Where there will be no more fear, nor worries, no loss, no loneliness, no emptiness, but all will be joy in His presence and with God's family forevermore. One step inside that city will bring abundant joy and happiness and peace. It will be home and we will feel more alive and more at home than we will have ever felt down here. Oh what a city!
|There is something spreading across our land that is increasing more than the Covid-19. It is a weariness in people. There is a weariness in being stuck in houses. A weariness in things not being normal. A weariness in things moving so slowing to get back to normal. A weariness with the numbers of the sick and dying rising daily. A weariness with all of the bickering among people over whether we ought to protect ourselves a certain way or not. A weariness of trying to get back to being able to do what we want to do again. Everyone is on edge and everyone is edgy these days. Yet, Paul gave some wondrous words to the Thessalonian church when he said in 2 Thessalonians 3:13-But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing. You, Christians, don't get weary in doing what is right. Remember this...we represent our Lord in everything we do. So, even though we are weary, we are still to do what is right. We are still representing Him as citizens of this country. We are representing Him as Christians in our community. We are representing Him in how we carry ourselves in public and how we act in dealing with others. Though we are weary, and surely we all are, we should never be weary in doing what is right in the eyes of our Lord.
|I heard the story once of an airplane that was caught up in a terrible storm. The plane was tossed about by the turbulence from side to side. The clouds were dark and the lightning was flashing. All of the passengers on board were frightened except for one small boy who was sitting with his notebook in hand. He was drawing a picture of himself climbing a tree on a sun-filled day. He seemed to be oblivious to the storm going on outside the plane. A lady asked him, "Aren't you afraid?" He looked up a moment, smiled and said calmly, "No." Then he went back to his drawing. The lady asked him again, "Why not?" The boy looked back at the lady and said, "Because my dad is the pilot." When life seems so out of control all around us, don't ever forget who is in control of it all. I'm glad I know who is at the controls and He is my Heavenly Father. We can't control what storms we may fly into, but we can always have peace because we know the Pilot and He will get us safely through the storm.
|This old hymn is on my heart this morning and it is what I want to give to you. Written by Edward Mote in the 1800s. "My hope is built on nothing less, Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness; I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus’ name. On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand; All other ground is sinking sand, All other ground is sinking sand. When darkness veils His lovely face, I rest on His unchanging grace;|
In every high and stormy gale, My anchor holds within the veil. His oath, His covenant, His blood support me in the whelming flood; When all around my soul gives way, He then is all my hope and stay. When He shall come with trumpet sound, Oh, may I then in Him be found; Dressed in His righteousness alone, Faultless to stand before the throne. On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand; All other ground is sinking sand, All other ground is sinking sand." Amen!!
|David asked in Psalm 139:7-Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? He went on to give several instances but with all the same conclusion that God would even be there. Could I just remind you that no matter where you are today, He is there. You will never be where God is not. If you find yourself in the lowest valley, He is there. If you feel yourself in the deepest pit, He is there. If you think yourself in the most difficult situation, He is there. No matter where you are today, He is there. He has promised to never leave us and no matter where life takes us we can rest assured He is there. The old hymn says, "When all around my soul gives way, He then is all my Hope and stay." No matter where you find yourself today, though you may not see Him, He is there.
|W. A. Criswell related this story once in a message that I want to share with you today. A wealthy man named John had given his life to the world and not to God. In his last illness he became obsessed with his hands. His wife called his business partner Jim, asking him to come and talk to him. "Maybe you can help him, Jim," she said, "he is obsessed with his hands." So Jim came to see his old friend John, whom he had known and loved through the years. As they visited, Jim finally said, "John, there is nothing wrong with your hands." But John looked at him and said, "Jim, look! My God, Jim, they are so empty! They are so empty!" So I shared that to ask you today...what is in your hands? We so often spend our lives trying to hold things that don't mean a hill of beans which we will one day let go off. What really matters is what we use our hands for to honor our Lord.
|I had on my mind this morning the wondrous privilege that we have to pray. I know we try to pray about many things in our lives like our family, our church, about the sick, the lost and I'm sure so many other things on our hearts. But I'm thinking about just the wondrous privilege it is to talk to the Lord. I'm afraid our prayers (mine included) so often consist only of nothing more than a spiritual shopping list of what we want delivered to our lives. But think about how privileged we are to talk to the Lord, the God of old, the Creator of the universe, the God Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of David, the Lord of Glory, the King of kings and Lord of lords. What an awesome privilege it is to be able to have an audience with Him and to know that He is interested in those things that concern me and my life. Yes, I can tell Him all about my family, our church, the sick, the lost and all the other things that weigh heavy on my heart and He cares about all of them. Yet, it pleases Him so that we come into His presence with worship and adoration in our hearts before we ask anything of Him. Before we tell Him all about our needs, lets be careful to tell HIm how much we love HIm and give Him the honor He truly deserves. What a wondrous privilege we have to talk to Him.