Friday, July 31, 2009

The Fruit Of The Spirit Is: Grapefruit?

So the fruit of the Spirit is Love, Joy, Peace and Longsuffering. Stevie asked me the other day what is longsuffering? Longsuffering is kind of like grapefruit. Grapefruit is a hard fruit to eat. For me anyway. I love it. And it is supposed to be healthy. (Isn’t there a grapefruit diet?) But it’s hard. Cut it in half and eat it with a spoon and stingy juice will squirt in your eye. Peel it and eat it like an orange and you have quite a mess with the peelings and the skins. But I love it and so I put up with it. Likewise Longsuffering is a hard fruit of the Spirit. So what is longsuffering? It is, of course, patience and endurance. Listen to James explain this concept...

For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. 4 So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. James 1:3-4 (NLT)

The word for complete here means mature. God's goal for us is that we be mature Believers; and complete patience makes for a mature Christian. So why do we need longsuffering? Well, troubles and troublemakers are in our lives to develop patience, perseverance, and persistence. It is by patience we see God's work in us, and it is by perseverance we learn God's will for us.

Do you know why longsuffering is so hard? Because it involves waiting. I am convinced one of the most difficult things to do in life is wait. We wait at red-lights, we wait in line at Wal Mart, we wait for football season to get here, and when it is here we wait for Saturday! But we HATE to WAIT!!! We are a culture that exists on instant satisfaction. Microwave popcorn, fast food, instant Lotto tickets, and (as Luke has discovered) TV dinners. For our culture waiting is a difficult, if not an impossible thing to achieve.

The other day I watched Amazing Grace, the movie about William Wilberforce. If you haven’t seen the movie you should. He spent 50 years in politics with one thing in mind, one goal, abolish slavery in England. On his deathbed, he learned that parliament passed the law. He never gave up. He knew somethings were worth fighting for. Some things require endurance and patience, and...oh, my...Longsuffering. Do we have that type of patience, that ability to see a tough issue through to the end.

James goes on to say, “be patient until the coming of the Lord.” (vs 7) The only reason the world is still here is not because God is powerless, nor is it because God is passive; it is because God is patient. He is longsuffering. Jesus is coming back. Make no doubt about it, that is His promise. The question is, what are we doing while we wait? Be patient with others and spread the good news of Jesus Christ and His Amazing Grace!




read more about William Wilberforce here:

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Why We Do What We Do

Whenever I think about why I do this, ministry I mean, I go back to a hundred Sundays like this one. Here is one of three new creatures in Christ from this Sunday.

How we praise God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we belong to Christ. (Eph 1:3 NLT)

Beaverdam Baptist Church

We had Baptism and the Lord's Supper this particular Sunday.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream

Con't of A Jet Tour Through Daniel

It has been said that Daniel wrote history with more accuracy before it happened, than anyone else has after it happened. The central question is, “Do you believe that Daniel wrote the book, or that it was published after the time of the Maccabean Rebellion, around 150 BC?” In-other-words, was it predictive or a forgery. I’m certain you can guess where I stand.

For one thing, I have no problem with the supernatural. I believe that God is the Father of Time (Is 9:6), so seeing the future is no harder for Him than for us to look to the right or left. Secondly, Josephus records that when Alexander the Great came to Jerusalem with intents on burning the city, the High Priest showed him Daniel’s writings. Specifically where he (Alex) was mentioned. Alex was so impressed by this he didn’t destroy the city. And then there is the Septuagint. This is the Old Testament written in the Greek language. It was written in Alexandria by Greek speaking Jews in the 3rd or 2nd century BC, well before the coming to power of Antiochus Epiphanies in 175 BC. Daniel is included in the Septuagint.

Daniel’s history is also more accurate than that of secular historians. For years opponents said that Daniel was a forgery because there was no King Belshazzar in secular history. (Daniel 5) But not only did the Nabonitus Cylinder, discovered in 1901, prove there was a King Belshazzar, but also that he was the co-regent. This explains why Daniel was only offered the third highest position in the land. Belshazzar couldn’t offer Daniel # 2, because he was # 2 himself. Opponents only argument is that Daniel is too precise and to accurate to have been written before hand. They cannot handle the supernatural, so they dismiss the facts.

So I hold to Danielian authorship. What this means, practically is this: If Daniel has been right so far, we can put complete confidence in what he says will happen next. We can trust his writings about the times of the end. As he said himself in Daniel 2:45, the great God has made known to the king what will take place in the future; so the dream is true and its interpretation is trustworthy.

So what does Daniel say? In the dream given to Nebuchadnezzar in daniel 2, Daniel saw four world empires represented in the form of a staue. The head of gold represented Nebuchadnezzar himself. This was the Neo-Babylonian Empire. The chest and arms of silver represents the Medio-Persian Empire. (If you’ve seen 300, you know about Xerxes, their most famous king.) The belly of bronze represents the empire of Alexander the Great. And lastly, Rome is seen as the legs of iron.

There is no fifth world empire. If there ever is a fifth world empire, close your Bibles and forget about the future, because it is up for grabs. What Daniel did see; however, was a continuation of the Roman Empire that will revive itself in the “latter days.” This Revived Roman Empire is seen in the feet of iron mixed with clay. It will be a ten-nation confederacy, most likely the European Economic Union.

The leader of this empire will consolidate his power and rule over the entire planet. He is most commonly known in the Scriptures as Antichrist, or the one who is opposite of Christ. He will rule over the feet of iron and clay. He will be on the "throne" when Jesus makes His bodily return to the planet Earth to set up His millinial Kingdom., so, so much to discuss, and so little time to write. Look for my next three posts on this subject...The Times of the Gentile...The Terror of the Antichrist...and The Triumph of Jesus Christ.

Until then,




Friday, July 24, 2009

Peace Like A River

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, and peace. Joy is contentment with life and our circumstances. Not happiness as we think about it. Well, peace is a similar fruit in that way. I want to let you in on a little secret about peace. Peace is not the absence of problems. Peace is the presence of Jesus in the midst of your problems. You see, you cannot always rejoice in your losses, but you can always rejoice in the Lord.

Paul told us that we should “be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.” Philippians 4:6 (NKJV) What is the opposite of not being anxious? Not worrying. The English word worry comes from the German “wurgën” which literally means to strangle. Worry strangles out our love and joy, and robs us of our peace.

I heard about a man who was a worrier. He worried so much and about so much, he caused people around him to worry. One day he came home from work and he was happy as a lark, his disposition had totally changed. His wife said, “What’s gotten into you? You’re not worried about anything?” He said, “No. Not at all.” She asked him what had changed sense he left for work. He said he had hired a professional worrier to worry for him. Naturally, this worried the wife. She said, “How much is that costing us?” He nonchalantly told her, “$1,000 a day.” She almost passed out! “How are we going to afford that bill!?” she screamed. To which he replied, “I’ll let him worry about that.”

Let me tell you what worry does, spiritually speaking. Worry makes us practical atheists. We may say we trust God, but when we worry, we’re telling God we don’t think much of Him or His abilities. We also tell God we think He is a liar. That He does not keep His word. Like Romans 8:28 or 1 Peter 5:7 where we’re told He works things together for good, and that we are to cast all of our cares upon Him.

So to have peace, we need joy—contentment in our circumstances. And to have joy we must have love—a commitment we make to ourselves and others. Then we may have true, Biblical peace. As Corrie Ten Boone once said: "When I look at the world, I get distressed. When I look at myself, I get depressed. But when I look at Jesus, I am at rest."



Thursday, July 23, 2009

But You Can’t Fool God!

You can fool all of the people some of the time, you can fool some of the people all of the time, but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time. (Or as Spanky from the Little Rascal’s would say, “But you can’t fool mom any of the time!”) So goes the old saying, at any rate. Perhaps more correctly stated; however, it should be said that you can never fool God.

The Psalmist writes “Take heed, you senseless ones among the people; you fools, when will you become wise? Does he who implanted the ear not hear? Does he who formed the eye not see?” Psalm 94:8-9 (NIV)

There's no fooling God. There is no place we can go where He does not see our every move. Those people who think they have God fooled are only fooling themselves. God sees all things, He hears all things, knows all things...nothing escapes His attention. For those who live in sin, that is a very frightening thought. The question then becomes, do you care that God is watching? Are you glad to know that the Master sees all?

For those who walk in righteousness, there is no problem. I say, “Let the Lord watch!” It is good to know that He is here. It is comforting to know that He sees me. It means that, no matter what, I am never alone! And that produces a peace that passes all ability to understand and keeps me from a spirit of timidity.



Monday, July 20, 2009

Eschatological Musings

So I’m preaching on “A Jet Tour Through Daniel” on Sunday nights in preparation for a vs by vs study on Revelation this fall. It is my personal opinion that Daniel is a book that is more pertinent to living a moral and spiritually victorious life than to eschatology. .

Nevertheless, Daniel is an eschatological gold mine. It is very difficult for me to preach Daniel with out discussing 1:8, “For Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king's meat.” Or chapter 3 and the consequences of following God with selfless determination. Or Chapter 5 and the moral and national implications of riotous living. Or Chapter 6 and the reward of steadfast discipleship.

But for this “Jet Tour” I will focus on the eschatological importance of chapters 2, 7, 9, and 12. Daniel is the key to unlocking Revelation. I hope I will do some justice to this controversial and exciting subject.

A few thoughts:
1) Only 1 thing needs to happen for Jesus to come and rapture the church. The angel to shout and the trumpet of God to sound. (1 Thessalonians 4)
2) No one knows when Jesus will return. I remember a book called 88 Reasons Why Jesus Will Return In 1988. (Turns out the guy was wrong 88 times.) Don't listen to date setters. Matthew 24:32-36
3) According to Daniel 2 and 7 there will be a ten nation confederacy that will be ruled by a single, dictatorial leader that will reign and rule over the world during the seven years known as the Tribulation.
4) This leader is known as the Antichrist.

So, coming up on Sunday the 26th I will discuss Daniel 2 and the statue of Nebuchadnezzar and what the ten toes represent.

If you’re in the neighborhood, drop by. If not check out the blog as I’ll update my thoughts here. Either way, pray that I do this subject the justice it deserves. And pray for those you know who do not know Jesus, that they may find Him before it is everlasting to late.



Thursday, July 16, 2009

I’ve Got The Joy

So the fruit of the Spirit is Love, then Joy. So I’m pondering on the aspects of joy for the Believer. The Bible makes it abundantly clear that joy, for the Believer, is to be separated from happiness. It’s not that we shouldn’t have happiness. We should. It’s that our joy should be present regardless of our felings. In-other-words; you cannot be happy without being joyful. But you can be joyful without being happy. Happiness is external. Joy is internal. Happiness depends on outward circumstances. Joy depends on inward character. Happiness depends upon what happens to you. Joy depends upon Who lives within you. Happiness is based on chance, while joy is based on choice.

Think of happiness as laughter and joy as peace or contentment. Laughter is good for you, and laughter is healthy. Solomon said: "a merry heart does good like a medicine." (Prov. 17:22) The usual reason for laughter is because something makes us happy. But we don't always laugh because we are not always happy.

But there is a contentment, a gladness of heart, that goes above and beyond happiness—joy. Biblical joy is peace. Consider what James said, “Count it all joy, my brethren, when you fall into various trials. (James 1:2 NKJV). How can we be happy when we go through a trial? We can’t. But we can be content, knowing that, “All thinks work together for good, to those who love the Lord and are called according to His purposes.” (Romans 8:28)

So laughter is good. So how about a joke? A rabbi and priest and a lawyer walk into a bar...OK, maybe not. on a serious note, Vance Haven once said: "The men of the world are not laughing at Christians who 'get happy' over being saved, half so much as they are disgusted with Christians who are showing no evidence of a dynamic transforming experience that makes us love what once we hated, and hate what once we loved."

David put it this way, “But let all those rejoice who put their trust in You; Let them ever shout for joy, because You defend them; Let those also who love Your name be joyful in You.” Psalm 5:11

Laughter is good, but joy is better. Joy resonates in the life of the Believer who has found that God is all they need, because God is all there is. Billy Sunday said, “If you have no joy in your religion, there is a leak in your Christianity.” Jesus said in John.15:11, "these things I have spoken to you, that my joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full."

What does it all mean? I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy, down in my heart...down in my heart to stay. As many church signs have quipped, No Jesus—No Peace. Know Jesus---Know Peace.



Saturday, July 11, 2009

First Fruits: Love

So I have been reading and studying about love this week in preparation for the message tomorrow. The first fruit is love, and that makes sense. It is the gateway to the other fruits. (You really can’t have peace, joy longsuffering, etc. with out love.) What I am finding is that the Bible sees love differently than the way we see love. We tend to see love as a feeling. God sees love as a commitment. We see love as an emotion. God sees love as a responsibility. We see love as a matter of the heart, and God sees love as a matter of the will.

I can’t help but think about (and show my age) The Partridge Family crooning “I Think I Love You.” If you “think” you love me, you don’t love me very much! However, our Western Culture has taught us that love is an emotion, a feeling. And a fifty percent divorce rate to go along with that. I don’t advocate arranged marriages, but communities that have them have a much lower divorce rate that we do. I heard about a woman from India who defended arranged marriages by saying, “We don’t get to choose our parents or our siblings, but we grow to love them.” As I said, love is a commitment, not an emotion.

It is a commitment God makes to us and asks us to make to others. It is why Jesus said that the Greatest commandment was to “Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.” Matthew 22:37 (The Message) Then love others as we love ourselves. Jesus says there is a hierarchy of Love. God first. Others second. Ourselves last. What would happen if we all lived that example. I should think divorce rates would plummet. Infidelity would disappear. As would child abuse, rape, jealousy, envy, disrespect, and strife. Wars? Murders?

Overall, though we must get it straight and love ourselves and others and God the way God loves us. With a commitment and a dedication. How do we start? By loving ourselves enough to trust in God and His love for us. So start by loving yourself enough to ask God for His love to dominate your existence. Quit sitting on the premises and start standing on the promises! And remember, God loves you and wants the best for you.

Still feeling a little out-of-favor these days? A little unworthy? Then remember this---
God does not love you because you are valuable. You are valuable because God loves you.



Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Fruits of the Spirit

I’ve been planning a series of messages coming up that will focus on the Fruits of the Spirit; you know love, joy, peace, Longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, Gentleness, and self -control. We are often (Believers) represented as trees in the Scriptures. For instance, in Psalm 1 we are like a tree planted by the waters.

There is such an interest in the Gifts of the Spirit these days. We all have at least one gift, no doubt about it. And in all honesty, most have more than one. But no one has them all. However, we are all called to have all of the fruits. It makes more sense to me to focus on the fruits, then, instead of the gifts.

It’s like a story I heard about a boy that used to climb down a tree near his bedroom window in order to escape punishment. One night he over heard his father tell his mother that he was going to cut down the tree, because it had stopped producing fruit. The panicked boy spent all night with a bushel of apples and a tube of superglue, and the next morning the tree was full of apples. He then listen for his father to come in with the morning paper and ran downstairs to the breakfast table to see if his plan had worked. Sure enough, the father said, “I can’t believe it, that old tree is full of apples.” Then, looking right at his son, he exclaimed, “It’s a miracle!” Getting nervous, the boy said, “Why do you say that dad?” His father smiled and answered, “Because it’s a pear tree.”

The one thing about a is known by its fruit. A peach tree doesn’t grow cherries and a pear tree doesn’t grow apples. Fruit reflects the character of the Tree that produces it. Umm...and a Believer’s character is reflected by the fruit he produces. Makes some sense, uh? Are we producing love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self -control?

So focus on these nine “fruits.” Are they present in your life? Do you bear them all? Do you love, have joy, and are you at peace? Are you longsuffering? Are you kind, good, and faithful?Do you exhibit gentleness, and self -control? Let the Holy Spirit fertilize your life and till the fallow ground of your heart so you will bear much of these fruits.

Food for thought.



Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy Independence Day!

Consider the following...

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.... We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

(Full text found at

In my younger days I was a patriot. It was all about the USA. I was a citizen of the United States. Not an American. One could be an American from Canada (a North American), or Brazil (a South American.) naturally, I knew many people that thought of South Americans as people from Alabama. Come to think of it, I think they all were from Alabama.

At any rate, my older years have been consumed with another citizenship, with another “nation.” A Kingdom, actually. I still love my country, still love following politics, I'm just not as consumed these days. Despite what Governors may or may not do, (for the love of all that is Republican, Haley Barber, please keep your zipper up and don’t resign!) Despite what law the president overturns or rules he disregards, I love my country. Mostly I worry about what this country will be for Luke. And my grandchildren. And I realize what we need is not another conservative congress. Not another conservative, CHRISTIAN president. Not a new Supreme Court. What we need is revival. Listen to the Psalmist

When the Lord brought back the captivity of Zion, We were like those who dream. 2 Then our mouth was filled with laughter, And our tongue with singing. Then they said among the nations, "The Lord has done great things for them." 3 The Lord has done great things for us, And we are glad. 4 Bring back our captivity, O Lord, As the streams in the South. 5 Those who sow in tears Shall reap in joy. 6 He who continually goes forth weeping, Bearing seed for sowing, Shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, Bringing his sheaves with him. 126

As we celebrate our Indepence today, let us remember how Dependent we are upon God. The Bible says that if God’s people will call upon Him, He will restore the Land. (2 Ch 7:14) Pray for our country today, and ask God to bring revival, that we may bring in the sheaves.