“Pleasure for a Season”

“Pleasure for a Season”

Monday, February 4.

…And so Esau despised his birthright” Genesis 25:34

Reading the story of Esau and Jacob makes us wonder why the guy would sell his birthright. And the price is even worse to think about: A bowl of soup! We sometimes find ourselves in similar position. The question here is: Are we giving anything valuable up of things that worth little? What is our bowl of soup?

Are you pursuing career at the expense of your family? Are you so busy with your job or school that you have no time for God? Some people get involve in extra marital affairs at the detriment of their family. Others sacrifice their health for the consumption of alcohol or other drugs. In these cases, we make foolish choices that affect us.

Some of the choices we make robs us of the blessings God has for us. When we allow the devil to put us into temptation, we are actually allowing a pleasure for a season. We can not live carelessly basing our decision on our feelings and desires. Let us walk as wise people. Let us evaluate our choices to see what negative consequences it will bring us.

Memory verse: Proverbs 3:5

“The noblest pleasure is the joy of understanding.” Leonardo da Vinci

“Hills and Valleys”

“God is Good”

Friday, February 22.

“…And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character, and character, hope. And hope hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us” (Romans 5:1-5).

No one likes to suffer. No one wants to identify with people who are in pain. Every one wants to take pride in the good times. People identify with success. It is important to understand that suffering is okay in a sense because we learned valuable lessons from it.

Everyone goes through crisis. It could be divorce, illness, grief, loneliness, ect. Despite all that we go through, there is beauty in the faith we practiced. The beauty is that God helps us through all our trials. As we endeavor to reach the highest peak in life, God is always watching. He is good. He will see us through any trials.

Memory verse: Romans 12:11

“We don’t have the capacity to exaggerate God’s goodness” (Bill Johnson).

“God Works for those who loves him”

“God Works for those who loves him.”

Thursday, February 21, 2019.

“We know that all things work together for good to them that love the Lord” (Romans 8:28).

It is always good news when we hear testimonies of how God has been working in the lives of people. Reading the Upper Room, the story of how an amputee lost his family but rose up again. He remarried and restarted his career. Fanny Crosby wrote many songs as a result of her blindness.

We all go through afflictions. But those difficult time are meant for our good. God tests our characters. Job went through afflictions unimaginable. At the end of the day, he was successful. Everything work for good for the man Job because he loved God. He refused to curse. He held unto God’s unchanging hands. Let us always stand up to difficulties knowing that God is always going to be there.

Memory verse: Philippians 4:13

“God’s goodness is stronger than any evil” (Pope Francis).

“Praying for Church’s Finance”

“Praying for Church’s Finance”

Wednesday, February 20.

Luke 14.

Jesus’ example in Luke 14 helps us understand the importance of planning and using the resources of our church wisely. If the church does not plan and use its resources wisely, the money will run out and the church will be in trouble.

Any plan that is made ought to be made with prayers. Those involving finances should also be covered with prayers. It is always good to ask God for wisdom to understand his plan for wisdom in understanding his plan about money and how to apply it to our situation. Next, we must pray for clarity on how much is spent versus how much is earned.

God is always there and will lead his people on how to live within their financial means.

Memory verse: Luke 6:38

“All money is about belief” Adam Smith

“Fear”

“Fear”

Tuesday, February 19.

“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self discipline.

Fear is an emotion. It can be helpful or harmful. For example, it helpful to reverend or have fear of the Lord. It keeps us from transgressing his way. It keeps us from sin. It is also helpful or beneficial to have a healthy fear which warns of danger. Most times we have a different fear which keeps us from obeying God’s laws. When we focus our thoughts on our self rather than focusing on God, that kind of fear takes root. In the scripture above, Paul writes about such fear, when he talks about us having a spirit of timidity (2 Timothy 1:7).

When we go through circumstances in Life, we feel inadequate because we feel we can not handle the situation. It is not the situation but an error in our thinking that is causing the fear. In times like these, it is important for us to remember that our adequacy is not in ourselves but it is in God. It is in God because God knows our situations. Let us put fear away and trust him.

Memory verse: 1 Corinthians 3:4

“Fear is the path to the dark side.Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering.” Yoda

“God Stands Near”

“God Stands Near”

Monday, February 18.

“The following night, the Lord stood near Paul and said, take courage as you have testify about me in Jerusalem, so you must testify about me in Rome.”

In Acts 23, Paul is brought before the Sanhedrin, the leading religious court of the Jewish people at the time. What will Paul do? What will Paul say?

We as Christians are brought before the thoughts of people who do not mean well for Christ. People will judge us because of the hate in their hearts. They will persecute us. When Paul was brought before these people, he spoke about the good works he had done for the Lord.

When we are under attack, we need to just depend on the Holy Spirit for directions. We need to trust that God will give us the word to defend ourselves. In those instances, God is standing near to give us courage. Let us hold unto his unchanging hands.

Memory verse: Jeremiah 29:11

“Courage is resistance to fear, mastery to fear, not absence of fear.” Mark Twain

“Please God not Men”

“If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of God” (Galatians 1:10b).

When we read Jeremiah, one will find an outward difference between the prophet of Baal and the prophet of Yahweh. The two prophets speaks saying,’This is what the Lord say!’ The difference is that the prophet of Baal speaks what is heart is full of. The prophet of God speaks what the Living God puts in his mouth.

In first King 1:7, Micaiah the prophet of Yahweh had incurred the hatred of king Ahab because he spoke the words of the Lord not pleasing the king. Anyone who wants to be religious for the benefit of it should associate with the prophet of Baal. Only a true servant of God can speak the truth. In Micaiah 1:3, the prophet stood his ground to speak only what the Lord laid on his heart. It important for us to always listen to God through his Spirit and speak out when there is a moral decay. Let us not fashion ourselves after issues because it suits us.

Memory verse: 2 Chronicles 8:12

“Speaking your truth is the most powerful tool we all have” Oprah Winfrey

“Pursue Holiness”

“Pursue Holiness”

Thursday, February 14.

“Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. Mark 10:18

Everyone remembers the excitement of getting saved. It is through grace. But being saved isn’t all that matters. It is about growing and becoming more like Jesus. It is about pursuing holiness. How can we achieve this?

We rely on the power of the Holy Spirit. It transforms us more and more to be like Jesus. this is called sanctification. When we cooperate with the Spirit, then we are pursuing holiness. In order to do this, we have to be vigorous. We have to apply sustained effort. We need to strive.

Let us not loose out on the fact that we have to let our pursuit of holiness be anchored in the grace of God. It is only by the grace of God that we can succeed. Let us strive to be holy because our God is a holy God.

Memory verse: Hebrews 12:14

“Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify your name? For you alone are holy. All nations will come and worship you, for your righteous act have been revealed.” Revelation 15:4

We were Created for something better

“We were created for something much better.”                                                                                                

February 12.

 I am here on earth for just a little while.” Psalms 119:9

When my dad passed in 1979, I was young. I didn’t come to terms with the reality, that I had lost a love one, who was very important to my survival in this world.  The news came, my late brother and I had to trek a mile down the road, to inform our maternal uncle.  Life went on as usual for me, for the next two weeks.  The reality of dad’s death set in, when the body was brought home for wake keeping.  I remembered, I stood by the house and realized that dad was not going to wake up again.  It was the first time I cried, since the news broke.  As I grew up, I knew that life on earth was temporal.  We will be here today, and gone tomorrow.  Death is humankind common destiny.  We will all die some day.  The Psalmist says, “Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be. Remind me that my days are numbered, and that my life is fleeing away. Psalm 39:4.  While some dread the idea of death, it is important for us to remember that life on earth is temporal.  Compare to the fact that we will enjoy everlasting life with God, life on earth is brief.  Many forget that earth is not our permanent home.  Some encourage others to live recklessly.  Let us remember, that the life we have is from God.  We are only stewards of it.  Some day, God will call us home and we will be required to give an account of how we live it.  How we live life on this earth will determine our reward.  There is a better reward waiting for us: We will live with God in eternity.  Rick Warren in “the Purpose Driven Life,”  recounts a story of a retiring missionary coming to the U.S. on the same boat as the President of the United States.  There was cheering and merry making as the president was welcomed.  No one noticed the missionary.  The missionary complained to God.  God spoke to him quietly saying, “But my child, you are not home yet.”  His home was heaven.  Even in death, we will not be leaving home, we will be heading home to heaven, when Christ comes.  Friends, whenever you are down and trouble.  When death knocks on your door, and life on earth and serving God makes no sense.  Please know that your labor in God’s vineyard is not in vain, your reward is in heaven.

Memory verse:  Genesis 2:7

“Our faith gives us knowledge of something better.” E. F. Schumacher

“The Living Word”

SERMON BY THE REVEREND AMOS McCARTHY

5th SUNDAY AFTER EPIPHANY

FEBRUARY 3, 2019

Title: “The Living Word”

Text: “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works”  (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

Scripture Reading: 2 Peter 1:19-21

In 1985, for the first time in more than fifty years, Congress authorized the issue of official US government gold coins. Beginning in 1986 these new coins came on the market. Each of these American Eagles, as they are known, is guaranteed by the US Mint to contain the stated amount of pure 22 karat gold. They come in 1/10, 1/4, 1/2, and 1-ounce sizes, and buyers from around the world trust these coins because they trust the promises of the United States government that the coins are what they claim to be.

When it comes to Scripture, we have something far more reliable than the guarantee of a government—we have the promises of Almighty God that His Word is perfect and pure. God promised to preserve His Word for us. That means that, according to the promise of God, we can have complete faith that every word in the Bible is there on purpose. Psalm 12:7 affirms, “Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.”  The wise man in Proverbs also caution, “Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.” Proverbs 30:5

What should be one’s attitude toward the Bible? Some have made a sacred fetish out of the Bible.  People worship the book rather than the Christ it portrays. Others feel that there is some magical value in having a Bible nearby, regardless of whether it is read or studied.  These attitudes are dangerously close to bibliolatry. Bibliolatry is the worship of the Bible as a book rather than understanding the Bible as a divine Word of God and the expressions of God’s plan for people’s lives.  

Before we can properly assess our attitude toward the Bible, we must discover what it is.  We call it the Word of God, the living Word, the Law of life. All of these definitions are valid.  But what we do mean by them? To answer this question, let us look at few things we can consider the Bible to be.

    The Bible is a specific revelation.  People decide that they are going to “study the Bible” and master its contents just as they would study American history, anatomy, philosophy, or any other subject.  They immediately become frustrated and convinced that the Bible is nothing more than a mass of unrelated material filled with contradictions. What is their problem? It is simply that they are natural people attempting to understand spiritual things.  Paul commented on this problem to the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 2:14).

On the other hand, when people are filled with the Bible, they find an inexhaustible source of truth opening up before them.  They discover an amazing unity and a beautiful symmetry in its message. They see a magnificent interrelationship between its sixty six books, each making a contribution toward the overall theme of God’s redemptive purpose for the fallen, sinful humanity, as that purpose is culminated and revealed in Jesus Christ.  That makes me to ask the question, what do we mean by the term revelation?

    The word itself means “drawing back the veil,” signifying that an obstruction must be removed for a person’s vision to be complete.  It means to make known that which was once concealed from view. Divine revelation is disclosure by God of truths that one could not know otherwise.  Therefore whatever people discover about the truths of God must come by divine revelation. So then, what do we mean by illumination?

If a specific revelation by God to a person is to take place, that person’s understanding, which has been darkened by sin, must be illuminated.  Spiritual illumination means the bringing of heavenly light into the soul of a person who was born into spiritual darkness and who has lived in that darkness.  This is one of the ministries of the Holy Spirit. This is to illuminate the minds of believers so they understand God’s Word. In honesty and sincerity, the true believer prays, “Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law” (Psalm 119:18).

    To receive illumination from God in regard to the meaning of the Bible, we must be faithful to the light, or understanding, that we receive.  If the motive of our study of the Bible is spiritual pride, causing us to be “puffed up” with our intellectual grasp of the Bible, we grieve the Holy Spirit within us.  We must carefully apply the spiritual knowledge we receive to our everyday lives.

    The Bible is a progressive revelation.  Not only is the Bible a specific revelation of God to humanity, but it is also a progressive revelation.  When Christian begin a systematic study of the Bible, they discover that it is a gradual unfolding of God’s plan and purpose.  

    When children are in kindergarten, they aren’t given Shakespeare to read and algebra problems to work or solve.  Rather, they learn how to write the alphabet and how to count. The progressive development of their minds and understanding begins here.  So it is with God’s Word. God started with people, line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little,” until Jesus came and lived with symbols, or “pictures.”  The Old Testament is a great picture book filled with symbols that lead us to Jesus as he is revealed in the New Testament.

    For example, there is a ‘scarlet thread’ that runs through the Bible.  It begins in the garden of Eden, where the blood of an innocent animal was shed to provide coverings for the nakedness of Adam and Eve after they had sinned.  From that primeval incident, God began to show that people cannot hide their sins from him nor remedy the condition of sin in their lives. Only God can do it.  Thus the ‘scarlet thread’ has woven its way through the Bible. Finally, in glorious climax and culmination, it flows forth on Calvary to fulfill every symbol in the Old Testament.

    One would see how the New Testament as a book is bathed in blood, the vicarious, redemptive blood of our crucified Lord.  Natural people are repulsed by this; the critics of Christianity turn away from it. But without the power of God progressively revealed in the Scriptures, flowing forth in the shed blood of his Son, there is no power to save people from their sins.  Therefore God has progressively “turned on the lights” of understanding. The first promise of God in Scripture (Genesis 3:15) has in it the anticipation of a completed redemption; and the first act of worship looks toward God.

    Finally, the Bible is an inspired revelation.  In addition to being a specific and progressive revelation of God to humanity, the Bible is also an inspired revelation.  Without an acknowledgment of the divine inspiration of Scripture, the Bible becomes little more than the study of history, myth, and superstition.  The word inspired is found twice in the King James version of the Holy Bible. It is found in Job 32:8 and 2 Timothy 3:16. The job reference refers to God’s authorship of humanity’s intelligence, while Paul’s word in 2 Timothy means “God-breathed,”  suggesting that God imparted his Word directly into the minds of the authors.

When we speak of inspiration of the whole Bible, we refer to those original documents as they came from the pens of the various authors.  We no longer have the original manuscripts, but of one thing we can be certain: the same Holy Spirit who inspired the writers in the beginning will preserve the truth of the Scriptures.  Translators are not inspired in the sense that the original authors were , so their choice of words and phrases may not always be completely accurate.

God’s Word was inspired not by ‘common inspiration’ or in the same way that human literature geniuses are inspired.  Rather, God gave his thoughts to the individual writers, and they then expressed them within the framework of their unique personalities.  Holy people of God spoke in old times as they were “moved,” or inspired, by the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:21).

Since John penned Revelation, God has not given any new pr further revelation to humanity.  His will for people and for the ages is contained in the Bible. Everything people need to know to be saved from their sins and to live a Christian life is in God’s Word.  It tells people that they are lost and condemned in their sin. It also tells people that God loves them and that he demonstrated his love in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  All they need to do is accept by faith the message of the living Word of God.