What a great day we had Sunday at Dogwood. Songs, communion service, and a good time in prayer, were followed by a great message from the "Sermon On The Mount". The sermon was concluded with the parable of the wise and foolish men who built their houses on the rock and the sand. Have you noticed how many of our older hymns and even older children's choruses have strong biblical doctrine engrained within them? This morning we are going to look at another one: "Just like a tree that's planted by the water".
Have you ever successfully planted a tree and seen the good results? You must put it in the soil by a definite act, and then you must let it stay there and remain settled in the ground until the little roots have time to fix themselves and begin to draw the sustenance from the soil.
There are two stages: the definite planting and then the habitual absorbing of moisture and nourishment from the ground. The root fibers must rest until they reach out their spongy pores and drink in the nutriment of the earth. After the habit is established, then by a certain uniform law the plant draws its life from the ground without an effort, and it is just as natural for it to grow as it is for us to breathe.
After we are first saved by faith in Christ, how can we take Christ as the One who can cleanse our heart completely, and as the One who can keep us clean; separated from this unclean world. That is a question that many may be asking, and if it is not answered in our heart and life, will there be any growth?
It is necessary first of all that we get into the posture of faith. This has to be done by a definite and voluntary act, and then maintained by a uniform habit. It is just the same as the planting of the tree. By faith you allow Him to cleanse your heart, establish you, and by faith you allow Him to keep you as you just simply remain settled in Him, and draw the sustenance you need to grow. If you are one who is constantly moving out on your own, you are probably seeing no growth, and may by this habit, bring about your own spiritual demise. Trust Him, rest in Him, for you can imagine what would happen to the planted tree if it were constantly moved.
Lord, help me this day to abide in You, and to grow into the habit of drawing all my life from Yours so that it shall be true for me, "in [You] [I] live, and move, and have [my] being" (Acts 17:28).
"I shall not be, I shall not be moved.
I shall not be, I shall not be moved.
Just like a tree that's planted by the water,
I shall not be moved."
"They shall be like a tree planted by water, sending out its roots by the stream. It shall not fear when heat comes, and its leaves shall stay green; in the year of drought it is not anxious, and it does not cease to bear fruit." Jeremiah 17:8
Abide in Christ and be blessed. Always remember.....you are loved!
There are probably more organizations in the U.S. per square inch than almost anywhere. Will Rogers said, "Americans will join anything in town. Why two Americans can hardly meet on the street without one banging a gavel and calling the other to order." We read of 160 people who had a meeting in Staunton, Virginia, and the prize for driving the longest distance went to a couple from Stockton, California. And can you guess what drew all these people from all over the country together for a two-day convention? They all owned Edsels. Now that was not my favorite Ford, but there are at least 160 of those cars that do have proud owners. Also, you have seen them during the summer months, those little Nash Ramblers in single file on our own Southern Indiana highways. Then there is a given time in the summer when you will see 1953 to 2011 Corvettes going up and down I-65 on their way to Bowling Green; heading to the Corvette Museum. People like to convene with other people around things they all love.
It's Friday, and I have begun to anticipate Sunday morning. Gathering with people I love in the presence of a Savior that we all love. We shared our faith with a lady yesterday who stated she did not need church. She had a personal relationship with Jesus, she prayed everyday and asked Him to forgive her of her sins. That's all she needed and she said that's all anyone needs. So we politely and lovingly left the conversation at that. However, that mindset is so difficult for me to understand, for a relationship with Him, has been the very thing that has kept me in church for some 37 years.
We have been part of car clubs, gun clubs, hunting clubs, fishing clubs, etc. But nothing compares with the fellowship of believers, because nothing compares to the One we believe in, our Lord. However, God knows how wayward man can be, so He gave us this warning as we see the end nearing:
"Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching." Hebrews 10:25
May God bless you this Friday morning, as you begin to prepare to worship Him in the assembly Sunday morning. Always remember that you are loved!!!
We heard recently of a young lady that was beautifully converted to Jesus from a life of sin. She was so blessed with this new life in Christ until she attended her first Bible study. The teacher quickly told her that though she was saved she would remain under a life of bondage to sin until she died. The grave would bring the freedom. Her heart sank in her chest, as the little bird that had been singing within her flew away. Many evangelical teachers insist so strongly upon free, unconditional grace as to create the impression that sin is not a serious matter and that God cares very little about it! They make it seem that God is only concerned with our escaping the consequences.
The gospel, then, in practical application, means little more than a way to escape the fruits of our past! But the heart that has felt the weight of its own sin and has seen the perfect holiness of the Most High God will never believe that a message of forgiveness without transformation is a message of good news. To remit a man's past without transforming his present is to ignore the honesty of his own heart. To that kind of thing God will be no party! For to offer a sinner the gift of salvation based upon the work of Christ, while at the same time allowing him to retain the idea that the gift carries with it no moral implications, is to do him untold injury where it hurts him most! "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life." Romans 6:23
That young lady struggled without the clear understanding of the "New Birth", until she heard of the victory that is available in Jesus. Jesus saves, cleanses, and keeps that one that is surrendered to Him. What a difference He has made in her life. The little bird began singing within her again. Praise God for He paid it all to provide it all.
"Freedom from all the carnal affections; Freedom from envy, hatred, and strife;
Freedom from vain and worldly ambitions; Freedom from all that saddened my life!
Glorious freedom! Wonderful freedom! No more in chains of sin I repine!
Jesus the glorious Emancipator! Now and forever He shall be mine."
".....I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." John 10:10b
Have a blessed Thursday, and remember that you are loved!!!
You've probably heard about the Battle of the Alamo that took place between the Republic of Mexico and the rebel Texan forces at the Alamo Mission in San Antonio, Texas in 1836. Today, the slogan used to honor this event is "Remember the Alamo." And the soldiers who fought and died are commemorated throughout the Alamo Mission in San Antonio. On one wall near the main entrance, there is one portrait with the following inscription: "James Butler Bonham--no picture of him exists. This portrait is of his nephew, Major James Bonham, deceased, who greatly resembled his uncle. It is placed here by the family that people may know the appearance of the man who died for freedom."
"Yet to all who received Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God—children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. … How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!"
--John 1:12-13; 1 John 3:1
Let's each pray: "Lord help me today to say what You would say, and do what You would do if You were here, for You are. Then hopefully folks could really see You and not me."
"Oh, to be like Thee! blessed Redeemer, This is my constant longing and prayer.
Gladly I'll forfeit all of earth's treasures, Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear.
Oh, to be like Thee! Oh, to be like Thee,
Blessed Redeemer pure as Thou art!
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart."
Thomas O. Chisholm
Remember Sunday school picnics? They would say: "Be out at the Conservation Club Lodge at 1:00 on Saturday, and pack a picnic lunch." If you were running late, if you just fail to prepare; or if you were like many I went to Sunday school with, you just didn't have much, you would throw together a baloney sandwich. After prayer was given you would open you brown bag, spread out your baloney sandwich while the family at the other end of the picnic table laid out their fried chicken, baked beans, potato salad and homemade rolls.
That fine cook that you were getting ready to eat next to, would say: "Why don't we just put it all together." No you could not do that, you couldn't even think of it, while all the time your eye was on that fried chicken, and two homemade chocolate pies. She keeps insisting that they have plenty of everything, and they just love baloney sandwiches. You finally gave in and sat there eating like a king when you came like a pauper.
Why would so many today say: "God's not going to get my baloney sandwich! No, sirree, this is mine!" Did you ever see anybody like that - so needy - just about half-starved to death yet hanging on for dear life. It's not that God needs your sandwich. The fact is, you need his chicken.
We remember reading about Uncle Buddy's prayer a few years ago, when he totally surrendered himself to receive God's fullness, all that God had for him. His simple prayer was: "God, here goes nothing for everything."
"You may....come to share in the very being of God" 2 Peter 1:4
May He richly bless you, as you remember that you are loved today!!!
This simple little statement within Jesus' prayer, the prayer He prayed for His disciples and for us before His arrest, assures us that if we get to know the Father, we will have the same love within us, that the He had for His Son.
"and I have made Your name known to them, and will make it known, so that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them." John 17:26
God bless each of us today as we get to know the Father more deeply through His word, and through our prayer time with Him. For when you do, the deeper we will experience His love within.
Our pastor will be back in the morning worship service tomorrow. We are hoping each of you can be there. We also hope you will be there for the Sunday school hour. In the morning we will look into this matter of "The New World Order". This is not a new concept, but one that many have been working toward for several decades. You will learn the names of many leaders in our country that have been pushing this idea, and many throughout Europe. This New World Order will usher in the One World Currency, or vice versa. A new currency that will replace the dollar as the global currency reserve. This has been attempted several times, most recently just a few months ago.
You may be thinking: "Henry, is this really relative to my day to day life?" We must say, emphatically: "Yes it is, and you should not miss this." Let's see if God has a stated purpose for America, what it is and if we are living up to that purpose. Then let's discover the purpose for us as individuals. We can't change everything, but we can live the way He wants.
"The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. And He is not served by human hands, as if He needed anything because He Himself gives all men life and breath and everything else. From one man He made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and He determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men world seek Him and perhaps reach out for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us. For in Him we live and move and have our being. ....."We are His offspring." Acts 17:24-28
Prayer: "Lord, give me the serenity to accept those things I cannot change, the courage to change those things I can and the wisdom to know the difference."
God bless you, and see you in the morning.
Would it startle you if I dared to say that the living God has never done anything in His universe apart from Jesus Christ? Christians seem to be woefully unaware of the full meaning and measure of the grace of God. Why should we question God's provision when the Holy Spirit tells us through the Apostle John that the Word who became flesh is "full of grace and truth"? Christian friend, the stars in their courses, the frogs that croak beside the lake, the angels in heaven above and men and women on earth below-all came out of the channel we call the eternal Word; and we realize, that in this He had the first word!
Yesterday we look at the scene in Revelation 4 around the throne of the Father, today in Revelation 5 it focuses on the Son of God. In this scene, John bears record of the whole universe joining to give praise to the Lamb that was slain, for He was the only one worthy to open the book, which reveals the end; therefore, we realize in this He has the last word. Under the earth and on the earth, and above the earth John heard creatures praising Jesus Christ, all joining in a great chorus: "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory and blessing!" Yes, surely the entire universe is beneficiary of God's rich grace in Jesus Christ!
God bless you today as you worship and serve Him, and never forget that you are loved!!!
Are you one that just has a hard time waiting for Sunday, when we can come together to worship the Lord? Do we have to wait, or can we worship Him this morning? John gives us a scene, as the Lord gave it to him.
"After this I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven. And the voice I had first heard speaking to me like a trumpet said, "Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this. ....there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it. And the one who sat there had the appearance of jasper and ruby. A rainbow that shone like an emerald encircled the throne.
Can you get a picture of that beautiful throne room in heaven? If not can you please read it again?
"Day and night they never stop saying: 'Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come.'" Whenever the living creatures give glory, honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne and who lives for ever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before Him who lives for ever and ever. They lay their crowns before the throne and say: 'You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for You created all things, and by Your will they were created and have their being.'"
Many of us believe that the time is fast approaching when we will hear those words, or similar words: "Come up here, and I will show you....."
God bless you and yours today, and remember that you are loved!!!
While we are right to thank God in appreciation for all of the great and good men in the history of the Christian church, we actually "follow" none of them. Our charter goes farther back and is from a higher source. They were rightly looked upon as leaders, but they were all servants of God, even as you and I are. Luther sowed. Wesley watered. Finney reaped-but they were only servants of the living God.
Here at Dogwood Community Church, and in other local congregations, we are all part of the church founded by the Lord Jesus Christ and kept going and growing by the mystery of the new birth. Therefore, our group is that of Christian believers gathered unto a Name to worship and adore the Presence. So, in that sense, the strain is gone. The strain and pressure to abide by traditional religious forms all begin to pale in importance as we function in faith as the people of God who glorify His Name and honor His Presence! If all of this is true-and everything within me witnesses that it is-we may insist that God is able to do for us all that He did in the days of the apostles, and through the lives of the later heroes of ours. There has been no canceling of our charter!
"Upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." Matthew 16:18
May you receive the blessings of the Lord today, and remember that you are loved!!!
Henry D. is from Southern Indiana and writes these wonderful daily devotionals to encourage those at the Dogwood Community Church located in Paoli, Indiana. Henry has graciously agreed to share these wonderful devotionals here at Without Excuse Ministries to encourage you our valued guest!