By: Pastor Art Speck
Just a reminder that now that the election is behind us, please, let us work at also putting the divisiveness behind us. Remember that we are the UNITED States of America, not the DIVIDED States of America. Remember that it is okay to disagree and still love and show care, concern, and empathy. Remember that we are called to love and serve God, not a political party. As I watched the alphabet news agencies this morning to view the results I was disheartened at all the differences that were being pointed out … women, men, race, religion, sexual orientation … everyone was defined by something other than being American. I long for the time when we value people not by their differences, but by their heart. Let us continue to pray for our nation and our leaders, national, state, and local. Also pray for our church leaders. Our nation needs to come together as ONE NATION, UNDER GOD…
By: Pastor Art Speck
I praise God that He is so good! All the time! On Sunday morning we compared Nehemiah 13 and the “reformation” that Nehemiah was promoting for Jerusalem and Israel to the reformation that needs to take place in our lives continuously. Nehemiah starts out with a need to be separate from the world, to be different for God, an need to not let mixture into the church or the life of the believer. A “Mixed Multitude” is when a Christian lets sin enter his life and does not treat it as his enemy. A “Mixed Multitude” is when the church does not teach the cost of discipleship and is then full of people claiming to be Christians who have never given their lives to Jesus Christ.
2Pe 1:10 NIV Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble,
Nehemiah then talks about the enemy that has come in and the need to remove the intruder, to purify the house, to not neglect the house of God. All important steps in our lives. When the enemy slips in, time with God goes out the window and we neglect times of worship, times of reading, times of communication with God, we neglect time with God’s people. And then we wonder how it happened. We need to recommit to purity in our lives.
We need to be careful not to neglect God and His calling in our lives. Our enemy is no politics, it is not the removal of prayer in school, it is not the “big” things we think about, but the real enemy to the Christian today is subtle sins like pride, envy, jealousy, selfishness, lust and greed, that infiltrate the Christian’s life and the church like a virus and produce ineffective, apathetic, complacent and lazy Christians who have no idea what it means to die to self and live for God.
The Times-Reporter of New Philadelphia, Ohio, reported in September 1985 a celebration of a New Orleans municipal pool. The party around the pool was held to celebrate the first summer in memory without a drowning at the New Orleans city pool. In honor of the occasion, 200 people gathered, including 100 certified lifeguards. As the party was breaking up and the four lifeguards on duty began to clear the pool, they found a fully dressed body in the deep end. They tried to revive Jerome Moody, 31, but it was too late. He had drowned surrounded by lifeguards celebrating their successful season.
Don’t be like the apathetic lifeguards, keep pressing forward in our walk with God. Don’t let the enemy sneak in and push God out!
By: Pastor Art Speck
On Sunday we talked about the struggles when people turn back from God. There are several examples in the Bible, King Saul, Peter 3 times, Lot’s wife, etc. When someone turns from God it can squarely be placed on Satan’s deceitfulness. The believer is deceived and then works so hard to fill the void of God with things. One example of this is:
“A brilliant young 17 year old man once wrote: “Our heart, reason, history, and the work of Christ convince us that without Him we cannot achieve our goal, that without Him we are doomed by God, and only Christ can save us.” Just nine years later, he had abandoned any Christian commitment he may have once had. In fact, his new ideas established him as one of the most influential atheists of history. Worse, his ideas spawned, through the former Soviet Union and Communist movement, one of the greatest epics of human misery and death in history. You would recognize this man by the name, Karl Marx.”
That all sounds bleak and ominous, and like there is no hope for us, but thankfully God is the God of second chances! But even more importantly, He gives us a plan to stay on track and running after Him! We need to draw near to Him, hold fast to Him, consider one another, go to church, and keep your eyes on Christ!
A. Draw Near
Heb 10:22 NIV let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.
Jas 4:8 NIV Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
B. Hold Fast
Hebrews 10:23 “Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)”
C. Consider One Another
Heb 10:24 MKJV and let us consider one another to provoke to love and to good works,
(We are our brother’s keeper!)
D. Don’t Forsake Assembling
Heb 10:25 MKJV not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.
Heb 10:25 ERV We must not quit meeting together, as some are doing. No, we need to keep on encouraging each other. This becomes more and more important as you see the Day getting closer.
E. Keep Your Eyes on Christ
Heb 12:2 ERV We must never stop looking to Jesus. He is the leader of our faith, and he is the one who makes our faith complete. He suffered death on a cross. But he accepted the shame of the cross as if it were nothing because of the joy he could see waiting for him. And now he is sitting at the right side of God's throne.
Psa 121:1-8 NIV I lift up my eyes to the mountains-- where does my help come from? (2) My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. (3) He will not let your foot slip-- he who watches over you will not slumber; (4) indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. (5) The LORD watches over you-- the LORD is your shade at your right hand; (6) the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. (7) The LORD will keep you from all harm-- he will watch over your life; (8) the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.
When we do this, we can run the race that God lays before us, we can claim the prize, and we can bring others along with us! God has a plan for us to win and be MORE than conquerors! So as we get as close to Him as possible, all other things will fall into place. This doesn’t mean we will never have a problem, but it means we have a way of passage, a plan, a finish line, and we can have peace and joy, and victory no matter what we are going through! Yeah!
By: Pastor Art Speck