St. John Baptist Church
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When Things Don't Get Better
1/29/2021 7:33:42 AM
As a pastor for nearly 35 years I have dealt with more people than I can remember who have had sickness and sorrows.  I have listened as people have shared their burdens and told me of diagnoses, of test results and surgical outcomes.  I have wept with families as they talked about a child who has gone astray and they longed for them to come back home and to the Lord.  I have sat many long hours in hospitals waiting to find out if surgeries would go well.  I have tried to encourage people who were dealing with their most difficult and dark hours of life and wanted to lift them up.  You want to encourage hope that things will get better.  But what if they don't.  I listened to someone this past week who kept saying, "Tomorrow they will be better."  "Tomorrow they will be better."  But they weren't.  What do you do then?  When things don't get better, how do you deal with it?  To me the answer is found in the words of Psalm 71:16-I will go in the strength of the Lord GOD.  That is how we make it when things don't get better.  It isn't in our own strength, but in His strength.  In all of those situations I talked about being in as a pastor.  It wasn't my words that helped in any of them.  It was His strength that made all the difference.  In the dark and difficult hours I watched Him step into their circumstances and bring comfort and peace.  When things don't get better, it is in the strength of the Lord we can make it.  There are times when things do get better, and praise His wondrous name for those times!  But when they don't, you can go, you can make it, you can face it in the strength of the Lord.
Sufficient Grace
1/26/2021 9:01:39 AM
I can't tell you how often I've turned to the story of Paul and of his thorn in the flesh.  He tells about it in Second Corinthians chapter 12.  He talks about how the Lord blessed him with visions and revelations, but to keep him from being exalted above measure this thorn in the flesh was given him.  It became an instrument of Satan to buffet him.  I think about "thorns in the flesh" that have been given to many of us.  It could be a cancer or sickness you struggle with.  It could be a family problem or even a wayward child.  It could financial in nature when you find yourself in the red instead of black and wonder how to make ends meet.  It could be you find yourself weeping till you fall asleep each night with a hurting heart.  Thorns stick deep into your heart, don't they?  Maybe you have prayed continuously as Paul for God's help, but the thorn remains.  Even if He chooses not to remove it, He promises sufficient grace.  That is grace that meets the needs where its at.  It doesn't come close or fall just short, but is perfect for the situation.  I've always found it to be true.  His grace is sufficient for every need and every situation in our lives.  What is your thorn today?  He has grace sufficient for your need.
God Sees Every Tear
1/22/2021 9:34:17 AM
There is no way that we could count or measure the amount of tears that we have shed.  There are so many in our church family that for the past weeks and months have wept and cried over sickness and burdens.  There is a verse in Psalm 56 that says, Thou tellest my wanderings: put thou my tears into thy bottle: are they not in thy book?   The idea of the psalmist is that God knows all about our hurts and our pains and it tells me that God sees every tear that I cry and He has a record of each one that we shed.  I don't always know the hurt that people feel.  I don't always have the ability to sympathize with what they are dealing with or going through.  But God does and God can.  He knows where you are today.  He knows what you're going through at this very moment in time.  He sees your tears and He knows your pain.  I may never know what you are going through right now, but be encouraged to know that He does and He sees your tears and most of all, He cares.
Who Can You Help Today?
1/18/2021 7:26:22 AM
You know, it's easy to desire to be blessed.  We all have that one downpat don't we?  There is nothing wrong with desiring to be blessed of the Lord, but I wonder how often do we think about desiring to be a blessing to someone else.  There are so many others around us that are longing for an encouraging word or helping hand.  I know during this pandemic it may be hard to do some things, but we can still be an encouragment to someone else.  Send a card or text or make a phone call, but in some way there may be someone that just needs to hear a word of hope, a word of encouragement to lift them today.  Max Lucado, in his book "Outlive Your Life", makes this statement, "None of us can help everyone.  But all of us can help someone."  Who is that someone you can help today?  Then why not help them?
It Sure Is Dark Outside!
1/5/2021 7:58:21 AM
Has anyone else noticed how dark it is outside lately?  No, I'm not talking about how dark it is when you walk outside your house and look around at night.  I'm talking about how dark it is when you look around at our world.  The Bible describes the difference between Christians and non-Christians as being the difference between light and darkness.  It seems to me that the world that we're living in is getting darker with each passing day.  Paul wrote to Timothy in 2 Timothy 3:13-But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.  We are seeing evidence of that so greatly in our day.  Wickedness seems to be on the rise, while godliness seems to be on the decline.  But what are we to do?  Just what Paul told Timothy in the next verse, vs 14-But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them.  Just keep living by the same principles and truths that we've been living by through the years.  Don't change.  Don't give in to the worldly form of thinking, but remain true to the things of God.  Yes, it sure is dark outside, but let's continue to be the light God has called us to be.
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