On Sunday evenings, we have been focusing on "Worship" for the past few weeks. In my short time in the gospel ministry, it is apparent that worship is one vital ingredient that seems to be missing from services in most churches today. They have become events that occur at a certain time on Sunday mornings for the most part. Some churches (like ours) still have a Sunday evening service, and a few (again, like ours) still have Wednesday evening services too. But a lot have opted out of those services, primarily due to the lack of participation. Attendance is so low on Sunday and Wednesday evenings, that the cost of cooling or heating the building, and turning on the lights far outweighs the number in attendance. But that begs a question. Since when did worship become about numbers!? I used to worry a lot about how many folks were in attendance in every service, but I can honestly tell you, it was getting me nowhere fast! As a pastor, often we can't help but worry, but at what? Numbers in attendance? Well, I have learned a few things, and one of those is that it is not up to me about how many folks come to church. Sure, I can have some impact on the overall attendance, but it is not me who "draws" the people in! When I focused on the Lord, and allowed Him to minister to me, He showed me that He brings who He would have to every service! Now there are some that come whom the Lord doesn't bring, but He deals with them as well! He brings the folks where He needs them to be, for worship, membership, service, and so on. It is God who controls things, not the pastor, deacons, or anyone else! My duty is to Him. My goal is, as it should be, simply to follow the steps He has ordained for me each and every day. In other words, I am to worry only about Wayne, and what God has led me to do. You see, I will not answer for your deeds or words, nor will you answer for mine. That is an individual responsibility. Also, I can not save you, even if I wanted to! That too, is a decision you must make. Not choosing the Lord by the way, is a decision too now! But worshipping Him is my goal, for all He has done, and continues to do for me! In spite of all the things going on in my life today, that is why I come to church. It is the reason I come to any service! Jesus is more than the reason for the season at Christmas. He is more than the reason we celebrate Easter as well. He is the very reason I am alive today! He is the reason I press on toward the mark that Paul mentions. He alone is the reason I can be here today, in spite of all the reasons my enemy reminds that I don’t deserve to be here. Look, there are so many things that can overload our lives, day in and day out. The trick is to remain focused on Jesus, and make sure that what we do, we do for Him alone! Then, and only then, will all of the pieces of this puzzle of life we live, begin to fall in the right place. Sometimes they are so close that you can barely tell the difference, aren't they? Well, apply the same thought to your choices in life. Make sure that you are focused on the Lord Jesus, and His will for your life! Take your family to church, and when you go, go for one reason. To worship. Don;t go just because it is time for church. Do not go to see who else might be there, or for any other reason! Go because Jesus went to a cross for you. Go because He blessed you with another day. Go because you love Him, and want to express it to Him! Go worship the Lord, not the church, pastor, music minister, or anything else!! Worship Him, and God will bless you today! PW
Well, I can honestly say that I have fallen slack in posting here. And it is easy to get to that place in life where we feel so overwhelmed, and so run down, that we begin to cut corners. My question is this... WHY IS IT ALWAYS GOD THAT GETS CUT IN OUR LIVES? And mine, well it is no different! This morning, as the worship services began here at the church, 'ol smutface as Bro. Eddie Rogers so fondly calls him, he got on me, and just would not quit! He tried to depsrees me before Sunday School. He tried to disrupt my routine before the service, and I will admit, he succeeded to some extent! He continued, right on into the actual service itself, and just would not relent. (In case you were wondering, yes, the devil comes to church! He's way more faithful than the average person too!) Finally, as I searched for answers, I began to pray. I focused on the Lord and nothing else. I asked for Him to simply help me stay focused on Him, and He answered my prayer! The devil knew the message that God had given me this morning was one that he wanted to thwart if he could. The title is the same as this post, "Woe Is Me". What a title for a sermon, huh!? It focused on Matthew 23, and Jesus' criticism of the so called church leaders. He called them out for their misguided efforts at serving the Lord. The, He proceeded to talk about the civic leaders and such, and how they too were off base, out of touch with the Lord their God, and headed away from Him. Though Jesus was brutally honest and forthcoming, He was also compassionate. He loved everyone, and still does. It breaks His heart, brings tears to His eyes, to see so-called Christian people fall away, and go the way of the world. It hurts Him deeply when a lost person comes into contact with a child of His, and somehow, the gospel isn't mentioned nor displayed, there is no real love shared. Does anyone really read these blog posts? See, Satan has repeatedly told me that nobody does, and there is no use in doing it. It is, for all practical purposes, a complete waste of my time. With a schedule like I try to keep, I need more time, not less! But, when I ask myself what is more important, the love of Christ being shared, or my pitiful schedule, the reality of it is that if by some chance, a person were to stumble across one of these blog posts, and be pointed toward the God that loves them even now, no matter what they have ever done in their lives, then it was more than worth the effort on my behalf. The church today is sick folks. It is not well, and hasn't been for quite some time. WE NEED REVIVAL. Plain and simple, we need a true REVIVAL among the people of God. We have services scheduled next week, March 30th ~ April 2nd. If by chance you are reading this, maybe you should join us. Maybe it would inspire a wayward church member to return to the Lord. In any event, pray for us, because we need revival. God bless whomever may read these words! PW
I shared this on the back of our church bulletin a couple of weeks ago, and I thought I would share it with you here:
Good morning one and all, and WELCOME to McHenry First Baptist today! I am excited that you are here with us, to bring praise and worship to the Lord Jesus Christ! He is truly worthy of all praise, isn’t He!? He has done so much for me and my family, and I know He has for you as well. So let us all simply give Him thanks today. Let’s just praise Him, for being our God. A loving, merciful, God that cares about each and every one of us, no matter what! As we begin our revival services, I’m even more excited that you are here! We have been praying, asking the Lord to send a great revival, not to the church per se, but to our own hearts! Revival is an exciting time for a church, but we must not lose focus on what it truly is, and a lot of people today really do not know what revival is. Let me share a bit about what revival is not if I may. Revival is not simply a time to invite our friends and neighbors, or new folks in the community, to come to church. We should already be doing that anyway! It is not a time centered solely on saving lost souls, nor increasing church membership or attendance. It’s not a time focused on getting things done around the church, or starting some new ministry at the church. And, for those that aren’t really sure, revival is not the only time we have dinner on the grounds, and refreshments after services! No, revival is really none of those, rather all of those things, and a whole lot more, will be a result of revival! Picture this if you will, since it’s cold outside. Maybe you have a fireplace, wood heater, or even one of those fancy chiminea things, and you build yourself a nice, warm fire in there. It is so nice and cozy, and you get all comfortable close to it, and bask in it’s warmth! You get so relaxed in fact, that you fall asleep, and take a nice, extended nap! Some time later, you wake up and something isn’t quite right. Instead of being warm and cozy like you were, you find yourself cold and shivering again, because your nice, warm, cozy fire, went out while you were sleeping! You were not tending to it, didn’t add any more wood to it, and it went out, leaving only some ahses and coals, and partially burned pieces of wood there. A cold remnant of a once warm fire is now all that remains. This is a crude picture of what happens to the “fire” that burns within us for the Lord, when we don’t keep it tended as we should. We find ourselves not praying as much, or at all sadly. We’re not reading and studying God’s Word, not coming to Sunday School or church, especially on Sunday or Wednesday evenings! And before you know it, just like that warm, cozy fire we were thinking about, our fire for the Lord is reduced to nothing more than a remnant of what once was. Folks, REVIVAL is a time to “stoke that fire” if you will! To refocus ourselves on God, and to communicate with Him through prayer, reading and studying His word. Revival...is a time to put God back where He belongs, to the top spot in your life! So, let us focus not on our neighbors, our spouses, children, or anyone else. Let’s focus on our own hearts, and stoke the fires, fan them into a roaring fire of REVIVAL, and everything else will happen as a result! God bless you all, and pray for HIS WILL to be the standard here!
We had to cancel 2 of the 4 services we had scheduled due to the icy conditions. But just as we should never give up in our efforts to share the good news with the world, we will reschedule, and have Bro. Wayne back with us in the near future. May the Lord bless you all the more today!
Good morning! What a morning it was, huh!? So cool, felt really strange, but that's our weather here in South MS! I know it's been a while since I posted here, but I just had to share this. I have had one of those mornings where you do something so crazy, that it causes you to stop and really think! I got up about 7:10, just as Gracie was leaving for work, and taking Ian to school. Allan was finishing his morning routine, and about to leave for school. All the while, I'm having a cup of coffee, and doing my morning thing as well. At 7:30, everyone else is gone, and I go into Kirsten & Nolan's room the see if he is here, and he's not. So I proceed, getting ready to get my day started over the next hour or so. As I left the house about 8:30, I set the alarm as usual, and I left for the day. I stopped at the neighbors for a few mins, and came on up to the church. After about 10 minutes, my phone rings, and it is the alarm company, advising me that the alarm has been tripped at my house, showing a door was opened. That is really odd, as it never occurs, so I head back home, rather quickly as you might imagine! When I arrived, I immediately saw the person who tripped the alarm! I was shocked to say the least, that a person had actually set it off by opening the door! As I pulled into the driveway, he didn't try to run off, but was rather glad to see me! You see, it wasn't a burglar at all... It was Nolan, my 4 year old grandson! He had gotten up when his mommy went to work this morning, and went into Uncle Allan's room to sleep. I didn't know, nor did I check in there! When he awoke, he began to search for somebody...anybody, but there was nobody else there. When he opened the door to check for vehicles, the alarm went off, and the rest, as they say, is history. Talk about feeling terrible! His first words to me was, "Pawpaw, you left me here all alone!?" Wow...
I spoke about distractions a couple of weeks back, emphasizing just how easy it is for us as Christians to be distracted. And this very morning, God has demonstrated it to me personally. I was so focused on something else, that I failed to stop and think. Failed to check in the house for Nolan, knowing that he SHOULD be there somewhere. How often do we allow ourselves to be distracted from the Lord just as easily? Satan is working hard to cram stuff in your path that will do just that, and rest assured, he will use anything and everything to get it done! I want to encourage you to focus on the Lord every day. Don't neglect the things that are important in life, and there is nothing more important than our relationship with Him! Oh sure, grandchildren are absolutely wonderful blessings from the Lord, and we love them dearly! But nothing, not even grandchildren now, should ever distract us from our focus on the Lord. Don't get in such a rush that you neglect the important things! May His richest blessings be realized in your life today! - PW
Man, I am glad to be home to stay for a while! The past few weeks have really been tiring for me due to the travel involved. I have logged close to 3,000 miles and spent 11 days away from home over that span, and i am so glad to be home! Life can get busy, and things can pile on like crazy, even when it's things we want to do! So busy in fact, that they begin to interfere with the things that are of paramount importance, and we won't think the least bit about it. In fact, we will convince ourselves that "it's ok"! Well, I pray that those who have an occasion to read this blog entry will take just a moment, and see the seriousness of what I am sharing.
Paul wrote to Timothy in chapter 4: "1 Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, 2 speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron,". All you have to do is simply look around, and see this for yourself! I'm not trying to convince you of something that isn't there, just take a look, and you will see this in full, living color! In departing the "faith", Paul is telling Timothy (as a Christian, and a pastor mind you) that well meaning folks are going to depart from what they know to be right in the latter days! They are going to stop being faithful to the church, stop tithing and giving, both of their money and their time, and when you try to show them what's going on, they will get angry with you, and go even further away! Why?? Well, he also gives him the answer! Because they will "give heed to deceiving spirits, and doctrines of demons". Who is the "father of all lies"? Whose mission is it to deceive you? To lead you astray? Do you know? In their current state of mind, it will be anyone who tries to show them the truth of what is happening! But the truth of the matter is that our adversary, the devil has slipped you a fast one. He has been able to get you away from the doctrine of God, and you are now following a demonic doctrine. You're speaking lies in total hypocrisy, and day by day he is robbing you of the joy God wants you to have. It has happened, and you didn't even realize it!
This world is becoming more and more ungodly and wicked as the days pass. It's like this huge vortex, and it's literally sucking folks away from the doctrine that God has for us. He has told us to "love one another", but do we? We would rather gossip about someone's problems or issues, rather than to come alongside them in prayer. We'd rather see them suffer than to reach out and help. We'd much rather argue and fuss over the least little thing, than we would to even try to see something from another person's point of view. Call me crazy, but this is the prime reason why those who do wander into our churches from time to time, in a desperate search for something to fill the void in their hearts, don't see us as His disciples! He has told us to "love our neighbors as ourselves", but again, do we? Even the good folks who think they have this one right, are way off base here! Think about it now... Most of us, myself included, don't even know all our neighbors, much less love them. And then, to love them like I love myself?? Wow. Just how could I stay ahead of them if I did that!? And on top of all that, He has commanded us...didn't ask nicely or say pretty please, to "love the Lord our God with ALL of our heart, ALL of our minds, and ALL of our strength! Jesus actually called this the greatest commandment! It's #1 on the list, with the second being equally as important folks! In the same manner as He told Peter, "feed my sheep", Jesus told us that IF we truly loved Him, we would keep His commandments. So, if you think you love the Lord, ask yourself if you keep His commandments! I'll give you a minute to ponder that...
So, how did you do in that little examination of your life, huh!? I would almost guarantee that in your misguided efforts to do it, you found yourself comparing what you do, to someone else you know. Or perhaps, and this is reallllyyy sad, you may have found yourself saying that you were as good as anyone else at my church, so I have to be OK!?! And there in lies the whole problem... Do you see it now? Have you departed the faith, perhaps even without knowing it?? Look friends, this 'ol world is just crammed full of all sorts of things. Some are even gift-wrapped like you've never seen before. It's not coming from a red-skinned creature that has horns and holds a pitchfork! No no...these things come in appealing and alluring things that couldn't possibly do you any harm! They're as soft and cuddly as a "wittle bunny wabbit" and some candy and treats of course, on the one day in Christiandom when we should be focused on an old rugged cross, the Savior that gave His life there for my sin and yours, and the empty tomb, indicating that He rose in victory! They are as beautiful as a Douglas Fir, a cedar, or even a pine, all adorned with beautiful decorations, and to boot, a pile of presents underneath it. They are not hideous at all, but they are highly effective in distracting us from the true doctrine of God. They are family members coming to visit, family activities, and oh the big one, children's activities! Ball games, tournaments, dance recitals, choral concerts, shopping trips, birthday, and any other thing you can think of! Right behind those are all the adult activities that just happen to occur on Wednesday evenings and Sundays! Man, am I the only one that sees the pattern here!?
I will get off my soap box by saying it is time that Christians everywhere get up...STAND UP and be counted! Just tonight, I watched my son and his team's game in the semifinal game of the 12U Cal Ripken district tournament get postponed by the weather. I had already seen the bracket, and the winner of this game would advance to play for the championship on Saturday. No other games were set to be played on that field until Saturday. Yet, when the rain began to pour down, it was obvious they could not resume tonight, so the game was rescheduled...initially for Wednesday evening at 6:30! I could not believe it. Right smack dab in the middle of, or just before in some cases, church services. I questioned that move, as I am certain others did as well, and was later told that it was reset for Thursday evening. But that is just how easy we make it for the devil to wreck our lives. I applaud anyone who may have questioned the initial game time, and I congratulate the tournament for resetting the game to Thursday! I also would like to publicly thank them for not scheduling the finale at 10am Sunday morning! Way to lead the way folks! I would also call on these tournament folks to schedule and play these things on Friday evenings and Saturdays. 9 out of 10 of these tournaments could be finished on Saturday evening. There is really no reason for games to be held during church times! NONE! If you absolutely had to play on a Sunday, at least do it in the afternoon! But I bet you could work around that...IF you really wanted to. I don;t know about you. I can't speak for you, or anyone else but me. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord! I love you, and the time is drawing near. If you've fallen, you can get up! You must get up! Don't ask why, just GET UP! Blessings!
You know, we often take things for granted, don't we? I mean when you look back over your life in just the past couple of days or weeks, you can easily find things that you truly have not considered in depth or detail! I have had the priviledge of doing a few things over the past couple of weeks, with still more to come! I watched the NJCAA National Softball Championships and kept stats for them. I got to go to the SEC Baseball Tournament in Hoover, AL again, and do some radio reports from there. I got to go "handgrabbing" for catfish, or "noodling" as some call it, and saw a 39lb tabby brought up by hand! So the past couple of weeks have really been an adventure for me. Next week, I will travel to Houston for the SBC Pastor's Conference and Annua; Meeting, and retunr to attend the 2013 Gridiron Men's Conference in Birmingham. I will get to meet Mike Huckabee in Texas, and the Tim Tebow in Birmingham, so I am really looking forward to that. It's not Mike or Tim, but the chance to hear them speak from their hearts about the Lord, and things that have impacted their lives, that I am excited about. The fact that these 2 guys are part of it, is simply langiappe in my book.
I am truly thankful for all the Lord has blessed me with, and allowed me to be a part of in my life! I really am, and I am even more thankful that He would include me in His kingdom! To think that a siner like me, knowing all that I have done, could be the beneficiary of all that God has to offer in eternity...wow.Not because of anything I have done, other than realizing that I needed Him, and calling out to Him. That was the easy part! The hardest part was already done, long before I was ever born, by the Lord Himself on a cross at Calvary. He paid the penalty for my sin. Let me say that again! HE PAID THE PENALTY FOR MY SIN! He suffered for something He never did. He paid a debt He didn't owe, simply because I owed a debt I could not pay. Now as I walk this earth, and go about this thing called life, I have been a lot of places, and hopefully there are a lot more I will get to visit before I leave here. And it is easy to take all of that for granted. But it's even easier to take Christ's work on the cross for granted. Satan is out to defeat you, and he lies, steals, and kills all those who will allow him to! Oh the temporary things this world has to offer...there are so many! But to forsake eternity for all of them combined!? I don't think so. What will it benefit me, or anyone else, to have gained the entire world, seen all the sights, have all the money and possessions one could ever want, and miss heaven? I can tell you, nothing at all. Jesus never said it would be easy either, but oh the reward! It is well worth it! Look, nothing worth having is ever easy to obtain. And I know, salvation is not hard to obtain, but what did it cost Jesus? He thought I was worth it. He thinks you are worth it! He thinks all of us, whosoever will, is worth it! The big question is...what is it worth to you? Please, don't take this for granted. Don't let the devil convince you that God would never cast you into hell. If you wind up in hell, it will be your choice, not God's! He has given you an escape route. He has paid the price for it! All you need to do is acdcept it. God bless you, and all those who read these words! PW
As we head into the weekend...Mother's Day Weekend no less...the clouds have returned, and the familiar sound of thunder announces that the possibility of rain is turning into a reality! We have had some nice weather for a few days, and I for one am thankful for it! A rainy day isn't really what I wanted today, but then, I figured out a while back that I don't always get what I want! I do pray that it doesn't rain too much, or too hard, because erosion is a real problem with some of the things we have worked on this week.
I had been overly busy the past few days, and didn't really take the time to sit down and watch any news, either local or national. Oh yea, I get the "headline" items via Twitter feeds from major news outlets, but have paid little to any attention over the past couple of days. So this morning, as I sat drinking some coffee, and watching the early morning news shows, I actually got to catch up on some things making the media buzz. As I listened and watched, I wasn't shocked as some might say, but I think disgusted is a far better word to use, especially for those who represent us on a national level. Now, before I elaborate further, whether you voted for "them" or not does not determine whether they are your congressperson, president, or any other respresentative, at any level of government. As much as we might like that to be the case, it isn't, regardless of how many times you remind others that you didn't support them! So bear that in mind as you read. All the more today though, the headlines are so troubling, disheartening even. What in the world has happened!? Why are we seeing all this craziness, more and more day in and day out?
You may or may not know that we are going through the Bible, "book by book" on Wednesday evenings at McHenry FBC. This is an "overview" study of each book, with insights and other tidbits of information about the book, it's author, the time period, and other events going on in the world at the time. It is very interesting, especially for me, as I dig into additional sources for even more information to share. We began Deuteronomy this week, and I shared with our group that it was really eye opening to look at the young nation of Israel like we are doing, and see the almost crystal clear correlation we share with them today. Now I am no seminary-educated pastor, nor a learned theologian by any stretch of the word. I do plan to pursue more education in the coming months, but at this point, all I have is my "Master's degree". (The Master called, and I responded.) But look, you don't have to be a pastor, have a seminary or other degree, or meet any other requirements, to read and understand God's word! He designed it that way, so people just like me, could easily read it and know beyond all doubt that: He (God) created me and everything else; that He (God) loves me no matter what has transpired in my life; that sin is a problem that comes with a death sentence; and that He (God) gave Himself (Jesus) to take the penalty for my sin and make it possible for me to be redeemed, escape that death sentence, and live forever through His (God's) grace and mercy! That is the GREAT NEWS we call the gospel! That my friends, is God's Headline News! And please let me say that it is as true for you...yes, YOU, as it is for me and anyone else, bar none! God doesn't really care what degree you may or may not hold, just like it doesn't matter what walk of life you may come from, where that walk has taken you thus far, what color your skin is, nor what language you speak! Let me say this one more time! There are two biblical words that you need to know. WHOSOEVER and ALL. That is who God has extended His love to, went to the cross for, and has extended the free gift of eternal life to! Not Baptist or Episcopalian. Not Catholic or Protestant. Not even Democrat or Republican! WHOSOEVER and ALL...period! Nobody is excluded from that offer folks, nobody! So, as you consider that, let me return to the original questions, which are: What in the world has happened!? Why are we seeing all this craziness, more and more day in and day out? The OT is relevant folks. It is not to be dismissed with the New Covenant the Lord established! Remember, ALL SCRIPTURE is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine,
for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. So, let's use it for that right quick!
As we dove into Deuteronomy, remembering all the correlations we drew from Genesis through Numbers, we found even more. You see, the young nation had endured much in the near 40 years now since the Exodus. Much like a "new Christian", we have seen the struggles the people dealt with. Some did appropriately, while others did not. Man, did that strike a nerve or what!? Those who remained faithful, and continued to look to the Lord their God, were blessed, and are now camped in the Plains of Moab, about to cross the Jordan River, and move into the Promised Land. Those who did not, well simply put, they were allowed to die, and will not be "crossing over". In fact, the two most influential of them all, will not cross over. Do Christians, pastors and leads too, make mistakes? Absolutely. Are they perfect...is anyone for that matter? Absolutely not! But as we plainly see, the nations of the earth, including those whom God has deemed "His chosen people", have all made mistakes, and they all have suffered for them. What I want you to see today is WHAT HAS HAPPENED, and the very simple, straight-forward reason, that we are seeing all this craziness in the US, and around the world today. It is spelled out for us in Deuteronomy 11. Check this out: 26 “Behold, I set before you today a blessing and a curse: 27 the blessing, if you obey the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you today; 28 and the curse, if you do not obey the commandments of the Lord your God, but turn aside from the way which I command you today, to go after other gods which you have not known." Wow...right there all along, and we continue to search for all these other reasons that all this wickedness continues to befall us. America has turned away, and pursued other gods. Now you can say what you wish, but the fact remains that we have. I heard a radio show on AFR this week, and while I didn;t catch the commentator's name, I did catch part of his message. He said that basically, one of the primary reasons we have so many murders, all the theft, the rampant adultery, and other wicked things that plague us as a nation, is because we have removed the Ten Commandments from our schools. Children do not learn "Thou shall not: steal, lie, kill, covet, commit adultery, or have any other gods before Me" any longer! So, if they do not know that God said "Thou shall not"...they do. Man, a plain and simple message that slaps you in the face.
So, ask yourself this. Are we blessed? Or, are we cursed today? What about you? Are you blessed, or cursed? And the elephant in the room is right there for all to see... What are you going to do about it? I would encourage all, just as Peter did, to repent and be saved now while you still can. Time is running out, and the clock continues to tick... tick... tick... God, please help us to continue to spread the good news of your love! Thanks for reading, and if I can help you in some way, drop me a line! PW
On Wednesday evenings, we have been going thru a "book by book" study of the Bible. Now I know, taking on something like that is tremendous...huge even. Yes, it surely is, but we are not doing this "verse by vsere" now, it is simply "book by book". We are looking at each book, from Genesis to Revelation, and learning about the book itself, who was inspred to write it, the date, and other interesting facts that coincide with it. We look at how it relates to our lives today through the message it brought then, and continues to bring today. The Bible is alive, and it is just a relevant today, as it was when it was given to us!
So, we are currently in the book of Numbers, and we will likely finish it up tonight. It is fun and exciting to learn more about God's word! But as I was reviewing and getting ready for tonight's session, I wanted to pass along some thoughts that have come to mind while wrapping up Numbers. And before you say, "But that is Old Testament stuff!", remember that Paul reminds us that "ALL Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,". All includes both the Old and New Testaments! I don't know about you, but I stand in need of a COMPLETE SAVIOR, not just a half of one! We can learn a lot, if we will allow God to teach us.
So Numbers is the account of the "double numbering" of Israel. They were actually fruitful and multiplied in their journey from Sinai to the plains of Moab. But something interesting also happened along the way. A close look finds that while some remained faithful to God, there were many who "murmured and complained" about anything and everything they could. "We don't have anything to eat or drink out here!", so God fed them with manna, quail, and water, all from miraculous sources I might add. Now you would think that being delivered from slavery in Egypt, and seeing a sea split open, whereby they walked across "on dry ground" would have stuck out in their minds that God was more than capable. Then, Moses is on the mountain for 40 days, and there was an issue when he returned with the 10 Commandments. As they moved through the wilderness, they were fed with manna every day, quail came to provide meat, and they saw water come forth from a rock! Not just a trickle of it now, but enough for them to drink, and to water their animals too! It was literally gushing from this rock! Wow! But, still there was these complaints and mummerings, rebellion against God in all that He had done for them. So, in His justness, He punished them for it. They actually wandered in the wilderness for 38 years, while an entire generation of folks died off. The entire distance they were to travel would only have taken a couple of months, if that! But sin crept in, and kept them at bay of the Promised Land for an additional 38 years. I can not help but wonder just how far we as a nation, a state, a city or community, yes, we as a church, are wandering today because we "murmmur and complain" about the least little thing. We rebel against God, yet we expect Him to continue to bless and provide as if nothing has happened! My my, what a stiff neck people we truly are.
The message of Numbers is very clear, and if we would but apply it to our lives today, oh my what blessings from God would flow! When we rebel against God (sin), it sets a course for us that is negative, and leads away from God. Only true repentance can make a course correction for us. There is no other way. The consequences of rebellion can be severe, and you can spend the rest of your life spinning your wheels, and going nowhere. Fortunately, if we can discover the problem, and bring ourselves to true repentance, God will restore us, and bring us back into fellowship with Him! This is true of us as individuals, as churches, as communities, cities, counties, states, and as a nation. Remember folks, God is just. He is not partial when it comes to sin. My prayer is that He will not need to have your donkey tell you that! God, thank you for the thoughts, and please, bless all those who will read this! In His Service... Wayne
You know, the hustle and bustle of everyday life can be very fast at times for all of us. Many times I find myself up and out of the house in such a hurry, that I forget to simply sit down, and have a time of quiet, personal devotion with the Lord. Yep, I'm quite sure you have as well, so see, we have some commond ground from which to speak today!