Pastor’s Pen

 

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Our Shepherd

OUR SHEPHERD
 
23RD PSALM
 
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
 
2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
 
3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
 
4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
 
5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
 
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.
 
This Psalm is an invitation to us all to follow the Shepherd. As we begin a new year there is no better course to take than that of a sheep led by Jesus, the Good Shepherd. If we follow Him our entire year will be a year of great promise.
 
Pondering the role of the sheep,
Bro. Gene


It is Time To Go On The Offense

IT IS TIME TO GO ON THE OFFENSE
17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God;   Ephesians 6:17 b
 
We’ve come to the last part of our armament, the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. With this tool of offense, we are able to deal with temptations, and learn how to live with God, also how to live with man.
Scripture describes the Word of God as a two-edged sword, able to cut to the bone. The Word of God has the power to convict of sin and gives us ways to deal with our convictions. Scripture also describes the Word as a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.
Christians need the Word of God as the Bread of Life. Without it’s nourishment, a Christian will be extremely weak. Scripture goes hand in hand with the water of Christianity, which is prayer. With these nourishing elements, a Christian will thrive. Please be aware, the enemy of God, the devil, will do all he can in your life to keep you away from the Word of God and prayer.
No other book may be substituted for God’s Word, not the finest novel, or the greatest commentary, or even the greatest preacher’s manuscripts. So, I would encourage us all to use the Word of God as God intended and enjoy a life of victory and blessings.
In His Word,
Bro. Gene


Take The Helmet of Salvation

TAKE THE HELMET OF SALVATION

17 And take the helmet of salvation, …      Ephesians 6:17 a       
 
    How many football players do you know who would be willing to go into a game without their helmet?  It is against the law to ride a motorcycle without a helmet.  Airplane pilots in the military are required to wear helmets.  The importance of a helmet must never be underestimated.
 
     In Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, he spoke of putting on the whole armor of God for spiritual warfare.  In 2019, we are still engaged in that same spiritual warfare.  Therefore, all parts of the armor are needed. 
 
     We will now look at the helmet of salvation.  Salvation is completely necessary for anyone who is engaged in a spiritual battle.  In describing salvation as this piece of armament, we recognize its absolute importance.  The helmet guards our brain through which God speaks to us.
 
     Our heart is directed through the thought processes of our brain.  At the time of salvation, the Holy Spirit enters our hearts for the purpose of guiding us.  Without the helmet of salvation, we have no protection for the thought process by which the Holy Spirit leads us.   
 
      Satan’s greatest offensive weapon is deception.  He lies about us and to us.  Our helmet is there to protect us from the attack.  Without salvation, we will surely die.  Eternal life itself is dependent on our salvation.
 
     As you begin to put on the whole armor of God, remember, it will all be in vain without salvation.  I encourage you to often think about your salvation and the way it has changed your life.   
 
       Placing my helmet on and preparing for spiritual battle,                                                                                                                      Bro. Gene  
 


The Shield Of Faith

The Shield Of Faith

Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wickedEphesians 6:16
 
                As we continue putting on the whole armor of God, we now add the shield of faith. First, scripture tells us that it is impossible to please God without faith.  Therefore, a review of faith is in order. What is faith? Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things yet unseen. Key words being substance and evidence.
                Faith comes  by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. Yes, God’s Word is necessary if we are to have faith. Our battle with Satan often takes place within our minds. When we exercise faith, we state God’s Word and believe it. The promises contained in God’s Word belong to us. Satan attempts to take these promises from us. Thus, when we exercise faith, our shield stops these attacks.
                The shield protects the heart. We need to always protect our hearts, for the Spirit of God that lives within us is found there. It is impossible to hold our shields up without  God’s Word. We must have God’s Word to protect our hearts.
                All of the parts of God’s armament are necessary. Leaving off one part makes the whole armament totally ineffective. Being a Christian, we need the Word of God and prayer. Putting on the whole armor of God means praying and hearing the Word of God. This truth is necessary for all Christians. It doesn’t depend on any outside force except God.
 
Hold your shield high,  
Bro. Gene


Sound Footing

Sound Footing
 
15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Ephesians 6:15
 
16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, have everlasting life. John 3:16
 
Normally, we never think about leaving home without first putting on our shoes. As Christians who are putting on the whole armor of God, our footwear is equally important.
 
As the Apostle Paul speaks of putting on the whole armor of God, each piece is important. We have already girded ourselves about with truth and put on the breastplate of righteousness. Now comes the footwear which is the preparation of the gospel of peace.
 
The simple sweet truth of John 3:16 is the framework for this preparation. Jesus is what others need to hear about. We need to be comfortable with the plain truth of salvation, and our relationship with Jesus, who gave it to us.
 
The very first thing we acquire when we enter into a relationship with Jesus is our testimony. Our testimony is unique unto us. It is about our experience with Jesus. Our testimony is very important when sharing about Jesus with others. When we have a strong relationship with Jesus, we are comfortable sharing how it happened. Another important point in sharing the gospel is an understanding of the plain truth of the scripture. With these preparations, we are now ready to put on our footwear.
 
Using the analogy of footwear shows us that the gospel is mobile. The right time to share it is when the Holy Spirit presents the opportunity. It could be at work, at school, or any place we go. Remembering each part of our spiritual armament readies us to face all obstacles as we do the business of a New Testament Christian.
 
Using the tools He has given us,
Bro. Gene


Righteous Living

Righteous Living
 
14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, Ephesians 6:14 b
 
Last month we started with putting on the whole armor of God. We continue, this month, with the breastplate of righteousness. Being righteous is not an impossible task. But, it requires us to be in submission to Jesus in our way of living.
 
Righteousness can be defined as being in a right standing with God. The Holy Spirit of God leads us in righteousness. We know that God forgives sin and removes it from us. We also know that we may not become totally righteous until we are in Heaven. For now, living on the earth, we must carefully follow the leading of the Holy Spirit.
 
The purpose of the breastplate is protection of the heart. When we wear the breastplate of righteousness we live as the Holy Spirit leads. Therefore, we have protection from anything that would destroy our heart. Having a heart for God means loving and fearing Him completely. We can’t get by with only wearing the breastplate on Sundays. But, as with all the other parts of the armor, we need it everyday.
 
This breastplate bears testimony of our fear and love of a Holy God. Revival comes as each of us seek to live in righteousness. Let this breastplate of righteousness be a part of your armor everyday.
 
In Christ’s Love,
Bro. Gene


The Importance of Truth

The Importance of Truth
Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist. Ephesians 6:14a    
  
           We must understand that when we seek revival we will face opposition. This opposition is always in place. It is a spiritual matter just as revival is a spiritual matter.    
             Paul wrote to the Ephesians to instruct them on how to arm themselves against their spiritual foe. He instructed them to put on the whole armor or God.     
            Let’s look at the first piece of armor that we need to put on, the belt of truth. Truth affects us in our attempts to be submissive to God. We must be truthful with ourselves first. Then we can be truthful with God. In being truthful with ourselves, we recognize our sins and then we confess them to God and receive His forgiveness.
                After forgiveness, comes repentance, a very necessary part of one’s effort for revival. Others will observe our repentance and be encouraged to repent themselves. Our adversary, the devil,is the father of lies and deception. He is the one we battle against.      
           He will attempt to convince us that we will never be in right standing with God, even though scripture tells us different. By putting on the belt of truth, we are now signifying that we completely believe the word of God. Jesus, Himself, said, “I am the truth” therefor, trusting in Him brings us to walk in the truth. We must rely on God’s authority if we are to overcome the effects of lies of the devil. By understanding that we are not in opposition with others in the human race, but, with spiritual wickedness, we can engage in the battle for truth.      
           I will attempt, in the days ahead, to describe each piece of armament that Paul mentioned. Please consider how each piece of armor will benefit you in your quest for personal revival.  
                In Christ’s Love,  
               Bro. Gene


The Three R’s of A Committed Life

The Three R’s of A Committed Life

Matthew 3:1-2 3 In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea,And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
 
The first R has to be Repentance. This is not a very popular word in religious services today, probably because we don’t want to face the reality of our sinful condition. The prodigal son, of Luke Chapter 15, enjoyed his folly until all of his substance was gone. And, then, he came to himself. That’s the place where repentance begins.
 
The next R, though needlessly dreaded, is Return. The reception of a repentant person is warm with God and His fellowship. Both repent and return must take place before the final R is possible.
 
Each of us must search our own hearts to find where the last R, Revive, is needed. God will forgive us of our sins if we, but, ask. In returning to Him, there is always great joy. To be revived is to enjoy God’s great forgiveness and reconciliation.
 
Why do you suppose this is so difficult for Christians to do? Could it be that Satan makes sure we doubt before we take the action of repentance? Then Satan offers shame as a reason not to return. Thus, there is no revival. This is not God’s way. He has always been a God of reconciliation from Genesis to Revelation. Try it for yourself. Repent, Return, Revive!
 
In Christ’s Love,
Bro. Gene


A Blessed Homecoming

A BLESSED HOMECOMING
 18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, 19 And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants. 20 And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. Luke 15:18-20
 
Revival… much needed, yet very difficult to obtain.  The rebellious nature of mankind has been present since sin entered into the world in Genesis.  People rebel for a lot of different reasons.  None harbor any importance.  The importance of rebellion is the opportunity God gives us to repent.
 
John the Baptist preached, “Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand.”  Jesus came, born of a virgin, dwelt as a man with no sin, crucified for our sins, destroyed our sins in three days, and rose in victory!  This brings us to the here and now.
 
We are in need of a Spirit led revival!  As I preached in a recent sermon, I have drawn a circle around myself and asked God to bring revival into this circle.  My need for revival, to me, is most evident.  And, no one else can repent and turn to God for me.
 
If our church is to see revival, then, we must, as individuals, see the need for repentance.  Should God allow this revival, many issues that we face would simply dissolve.  For example, low church attendance would no longer occur at any of the meetings.  Finances would be abundant and joy would be indescribable.
 
God is desirous of our repentance.  The question is… “Are we?”  Are we ready to follow God’s Word, as in 2nd Chronicles 7:14?  If we are His people, will we humble ourselves?  Will we pray?  Will we seek His face?  Will we turn from our wicked ways?  Will we repent?
 
I cannot allow my life to be wasted in my efforts to follow God’s sovereign will.  Therefore, I will resolve to continue to seek repentance.  If you want to see revival, then, pray for your circle.                                  
 
                    Allowing the Spirit’s leadership,                                                                                                                                                Bro. Gene  


Look For Your Cloud’s Silver Lining

Romans 8:28 says : And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.
 
This passage in Romans may be difficult to understand, for , whenever we have a problem we seldom think about it bringing any good. God’s plan for us is to bless us in all circumstances. We read in the book of James that tribulation produces patience and all of us could certainly use a little more patience. But, non of us desire tribulation to gain it.
 
One of the best illustrations of how this occurs is a true story told to me by a friend in another church. As he was on his was to work one day, he had a flat tire on his old truck. The weather was hot and he didn’t want to be late to work. So as quickly as he could, he changed the tire. It took about twenty minutes before he was on his way again. About two miles up the road was a very busy intersection. When he got to the intersection, the flashing lights told him that something bad had happened. As he worked his way around the twisted wreckage, a policeman told him there were fatalities and it happened about twenty minutes earlier. The flat tire, though it was an inconvenience, had stopped him from being at the intersection when someone had run a red light.
 
The next time you have something happen that brings undesirable consequences, remember this passage in Romans. I certainly have not enjoyed this recent battle with pemphegus. But, I have noticed that my patience has certainly increased just as it says in James 1:2-3. So while we may not be desirous of problems and tribulations, take time when dealing with them to see God’s silver lining in your cloud.
Patiently yours,
Bro. Gene