The Mystery of Prayer

June 30, 2016

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Scripture

“Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.”
~Matthew 7:7-8, NLT

Quote

The law of prayer is to ask.
~George W. Truett

Although Satan uses distractions, he does not want us to understand that we are being distracted. If we understand that he is behind the distraction, he loses his advantage.

Satan loathes and fears believers who pray. Any sincere pray offered by believers bothers Satan. He does not want us praying. Anemic prayers, good prayers, short prayers, long prayers, any prayer is bad as far as the devil is concerned. He does not mind us talking about prayer, reading books on prayer so long as we don’t pray. His approach is to discourage us from prayer by raising an endless questions that we cannot answer.

How does prayer work? Why would an infinite God who dwells in eternity listen to the prayer of a finite human in time? If God is sovereign, how can our prayer affect His will? How can He listen to thousands of us praying at the same time? How in the world can the human prayer of today affect the weather of tomorrow? We have answers to none of the above questions. Prayer is a mystery. It is something that we are to do in spite of the fact that we do not understand how it works. One does not have to understand the dynamics of electricity to flip a light switch.

Do we know how to pray? Do we understand prayer? No, but I will pray every day. Don’t let Satan keep your from prayer. He will do everything he can to keep you out or your prayer closet. Many times, the devil has said to me, “You can’t pray, you don’t even know how.” My response is–“You may be right but I am going to pray anyway.”

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  • We had two deaths in Danville yesterday: Sammy Crow departed this life at 3:15 pm at HH. Then we found out last night that Billy Laney’s son, James McAbee [45] was killed in an accident on 157. He was driving a tractor on 157 and got run over by an 18 wheeler. Sammy Crow [73] had a stroke Tuesday morning and never recovered. Sammy is survived by his wife Kathy, two sons, Bryan and Brett, two sisters and his mom who depended on Sammy for a lot of things. This is a shocking blow to the Danville community and the Crow family.
  • I had two places to be this morning and they were 200 miles a part but the LORD heard despairing cry and sent a helper to Columbia, Tennessee to pick up Seth who has been to summer camp.
  • I’ve been behind all week: can’t get caught up. Shohn will be carrying Clara to B’town to the doctor and I will be in an out, mostly out. Call my cell if you need me.

BLOCK PARTY AUGUST 13

1095

Parking Crew

 

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Scripture

Good people pass away; the godly often die before their time. But no one seems to care or wonder why. No one seems to understand that God is protecting them from the evil to come.

~Isaiah 57:1, NLT

Quote

For reasons we don’t understand, bad things happen to good people, and perhaps even more inexplicable is that good things happen to bad people.

~John Hamby

Pat Summit, the legendary coach of the Tennessee Volunteer women basketball team died yesterday morning early at the age of 64. She had suffered from Alzheimer’s for the last six years. This means that her quality of life dropped drastically at age 58 and that my friend is young. I’ve had a lot of friends to die young. The number is so large, I would be afraid to list them. Perhaps all of them were better men than myself; some of them for sure and it left me wondering: Lord, why would you take them and leave me. Why did you take them and leave drug pushers, wife beaters, dead beats, crooks and child molesters? It doesn’t make sense to us, does it?

Josiah was the best king  in Israel’s history: yes, he was a much better man than David. Josiah was a puritan with bulldog tenacity. He set out to destroy the pagan altars in Israel and his crusade lead him into the North where he was not recognized as a king. He hated Baal with a passion and he loved Yahweh. He got killed in battle at the age of 39 but the Lord allowed this to protect Josiah from seeing the evil that was to come. God has a way of turning our deepest grief into our greatest joy. My oldest brother died as an infant. My mother almost gave way to despair and she did have a root of bitterness. God gave her three more sons and all three broke her heart more than once. She told me once, “The only son that I’m sure will be in heaven is the one I gave up.” God took her grief and turned it into a comfort. He is an amazing God.

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  • You never know what a day will bring. I met Sammy and Kathy at the 4-way in Danville this morning. Little did I know what was happening. Sammy has suffered a major stroke and is fighting for his life. Doctors say the next 24 hours is critical. Pray for Sammy Crow and family.
  • BUMPER STICKER OF THE DAY: “Heaven, don’t miss it for the world!
  • GATHERING tonight at 6:30
  • SUNDAY SCHEDULE: Deacon’s and wives meeting in the sanctuary at 9:05, LCBS at 9:15 and worship at 10:15. No pm worship.

O Deceitful Tongue

June 23, 2016

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Scripture

You love evil more than good, and lying more than speaking the truth.

~Psalms 52:3, NRSV

Quote

Integrity is being truthful with yourself; honesty is being truthful with others.

~Spencer Johnson

When you read Psalm 52:3, You love evil more than good, and lying more than speaking the truth,  what name comes to mind? For me, it was Bill {Slick Willy} Clinton. I was in a hotel outside of DC when the news broke about Monica Lewinsky. I think I was there for the Promise Keepers rally. Whoever was rooming with me, said, “Jack, you have to see this,” it was Clinton making his famous denial: “I am not in a sexual relationship with this woman.” I tried to find the clip on YouTube and I couldn’t. I did find several with the words, “I did not.” I would have bet the farm that he said, “I am not,” which would have been a subtle play on the tense of the verb. Be that as it may, you can see the video clips on YouTube of the denial and then the confession. Either way you look at it, Clinton lied. In fact Clinton lied so much that it became natural: it would have required a special effort on his part to tell the truth.

But there is a greater problem than a president lying and that would be the lack of integrity in the folks who elected him. It was a proven fact that the man was a liar but that did not deter voters from electing him and many of them professed to be Christians. Lying is not just a political problem, it is a cultural problem. We live in a culture that loves to point the finger at someone else. We had rather make an excuse for our irresponsible behavior as to learn from our mistakes. We are childish and immature. We make promises and don’t keep them. We make vows and then break them. We make debts and don’t pay them. We sin but never confess them. We are a nation of liars. Isaiah could have been talking about America in 59:14, “Justice is driven away and right cannot come near. Truth stumbles in the public square, and honesty finds no place there.”

  • I love the GATHERING, great music and fair preaching.
  • Today is our court day: say a prayer for us. We don’t expect any surprises but you never know. I don’t like courts or court houses but I must confess that everyone there has been very helpful.
  • Thank God for electricity and A/C: what a blessing!
  • Pray for Rebecca and David, they leave Friday for vacation. Rebecca doesn’t fly so they are driving to Miami and going on a seven day cruise. Tyler will be filling in the next two weeks.

BLOCK PARTY

August 13: 6:00-9:00

No Immunity

June 21, 2016

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Scripture

As the scriptures say, “There is no one who is righteous… All have turned away from God; they have all gone wrong; no one does what is right, not even one.

~Romans 3:10-12, GNT

Quote

“The depravity of man is at once the most empirically verifiable reality but at the same time the most intellectually resisted fact.”

~Malcolm Muggeridge

June and I got hooked on TNT’s The Last Ship which comes on Sunday nights at 8:00. A deadly virus broke out causing a pandemic, the entire human race was threatened until Dr. Rachel Scott came up with a vaccine. The antagonistic in the drama is a group they call the “Immunes“. Due to their rare DNA, they are immune to the virus and many of them form an alliance to rule the world. On the final episode of the 2015 season, an Immune shot and killed Dr. Scott and I am not happy about her departure.

There are no immunes when it comes to sin, we are all infected; from the poorest peasant to the richest king, we are all hopelessly depraved. We all have a self-centered rebellious nature. Our sin has been sufficiently dealt with by Jesus but to appropriate this cleansing we have to acknowledge our sin which most refuse to do. The liberals not only deny personal sin, they deny the presence of evil. It takes a fool to deny the existence of God or the presence of evil. So we have another word for the “Immunes;” it is “fool.”

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  • I am not going to complain about hot weather but I am going to praise the LORD for the two cooler days {Sunday and Monday}.
  • I’ve decided that I will not go home in the evening until I have made four visits. My problem is that I enjoy them so much, I tend to stay way too long. I spent an hour and a half at my last stop yesterday. It seemed like 30 minutes.
  • VBS evaluation: I realize things that the average DBC member does not-We are blessed with good help. Mandy and Shohn are VBS, they do all the planning, enlisting workers, props, etc. They put hours into the planning before VBS begins. You are not going to find two better employees who not only know what they are doing but enjoy doing it. It might be a good idea to appreciate them. We are also blessed at DBC to have a lot of school teachers. Although some that could have helped didn’t, still our school teachers help us. Our master teachers are superb and we have had the best refreshment crew in VBS for a number of years. As far as I know the school went great and the program and picnic was the best ever. The unsung heroes in our VBS were the nursery workers, we had 26 children in our three nurseries.

God’s Missionary Heart

June 19, 2016

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Scripture

I will bring them to my holy mountain of Jerusalem and will fill them with joy in my house of prayer. I will accept their burnt offerings and sacrifices, because my Temple will be called a house of prayer for all nations.

~Isaiah 56:7, NLT

Quote

“God’s love is like the ocean: we can see it beginning but we can not see its depth or its end.”

~Image Quotes

The “them” in Isaiah 56:7 is in reference to us the Gentiles. God had miraculously and mysteriously brought the Jews home from exile but He promised to bring others to join them. In the same breath, Isaiah denounces the leaders of the Jews. He said, “You leaders are not doing your job. Instead of warning My people, you are blind and ignorant. You are like watch dogs who don’t bark. You lay around like a lazy dog who sleeps all the time. You are greedy dogs who never get enough. You have no understanding and you seek your own pleasure by taking advantage of others.”

Israel misinterpreted their call and responsibility. Isaiah made it crystal clear in 42:6, “I, the LORD, have called you to demonstrate my righteousness. I will take you by the hand and guard you, and I will give you to my people, Israel, as a symbol of my covenant with them. And you will be a light to guide the nations.

Israel failed to demonstrate God’s righteousness and they failed to be a light to the nations but Jesus did not fail. He did what Israel failed to do. Israel will eventually be a light, a guide to the nations but if will be a new Israel with Jesus as King and you and I will be a part of this great kingdom.

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  • Thank you Jesus for the cooler air: it is refreshing!
  • BUMPER STICKER OF THE DAY: “Somewhere in Kenya, a village is missing its idiot.”
  • Full schedule today: Deacon’s meeting at 8:15, LCBS at 9:15, Worship at 10:15, Kids leave for camp at 11:30, Pastor’s Search Team meets at 4:00, VBS Commencement at 5:00 and picnic to follow.
  • I got to visit four families yesterday. I’m slow because I get to talking and stay too long. Every visit I have made has been excellent. I haven’t heard a complaint yet: I have had a couple of close calls or near misses. We had a great time at Emily and Sean’s last night. I think I’ve finally got the boys figured out.
  • Children leaving for camp today and will be back Friday. We have a record number going. I think it is 26 plus counselors.

HAPPY FATHER’S DAY

Daddyww2

 

Unconditional Love

June 17, 2016

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Scripture

“The mountains and hills may crumble, but My love for you will never end; I will keep forever My promise of peace.” So says the LORD who loves you.

~Isaiah 54:10, GNT

Quote

The mystery of ministry is that we have been chosen to make our own limited and very conditional love the gateway for the unlimited and unconditional love of God.

~Henry Nouwen

As fallen sinners, we are programmed to think that love must be earned. We fail to understand that we are too depraved to earn God’s love. God loves us because that is who He is and what He does. It has nothing to do with your performance or pedigree. We are like Jospeh’s brothers: we are jealous, mistrusting, deeply insecure, disobedient, selfish and when we do something good, it is for the wrong reason. Joseph’s brothers deserved to be hung: they lied to their father and betrayed their brother. Twenty years later, when their wicked plot is uncovered, they bow before Joseph and beg for their lives. They were not truly repentant, they were trying to save their necks. Joseph loved them and forgave them but only because of his superior character. As Jacob knew all alone, Joseph was a better man than his brothers.

God loves you because He chose to love you. He decided before the foundation of the world to love you. This is an unalterable fact that you cannot change. As Junior Hill says, “Jesus loves you and there is nothing you can do about it.” He has already made up His mind to love you and His love is greater than your foul ups. This is the most liberating news on the planet.

Jesus didn’t love Israel because they were good or better than others: the Jews by nature or stiff necked and rebellious. They may be the most obstinate and obnoxious people on the face of earth but God loves them and that is not going to change even though they murdered His Son. The point is: if God can love a Jew, he can love anyone. It is about GRACE not race.

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  • Bumper Sticker of the Day: My Mother had morning sickness after I was born. {Rodney Dangerfield}
  • VBS day four 208. Papa John’s pizza today.
  • Thank God for the rain. I had to drive to the South yesterday and I noticed that those South of Danville got a good rain just as we did. This one is going to make some corn. For the first time: we have corn, squash, cucumbers and tomatoes during VBS. Now, if we can get to the corn before the coons do, that is the question.

girls in VBS

The Jewish Dilemma

June 16, 2016

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Scripture

“Who would have believed what we now report? Who could have seen the LORD’s hand in this?

~Isaiah 53:1, GNT

Quote

Jesus was treated the way we [all humankind] deserve so that we [all who repent and believe] can be treated the way Jesus deserves.

~Tim Keller

There is no question in my mind that Isaiah’s prophecies of the suffering servant refer both to the nation of Israel in general and the Messiah in particular. The prevailing rabbinic interpretation of Isaiah 53 ascribes the “servant” to the nation of Israel who silently endured unimaginable suffering at the hands of its Gentile oppressors. The unbelief expressed in the two exclamations…Who would believed what we now report? Who could have seen the LORD’s hand in this?–refers to Gentile shock over the coming Jewish triumph and world domination. God will crush all Gentile rulers and the Jews will rule the word through their messianic king. In other words: Gentiles are the bad guys and Jews are the good guys. We are the oppressors and they are the victims.

There is one tiny problem with their wishful thinking: there are no good guys. Both Jew and Gentile stand condemned before holy God. The Jews have suffered oppression in part due to their rebellious nature and their defiance of God. Isaiah made in clear in 53:8 that the sacrifice would be a person of purity. We know that Jesus was this person and He fulfilled all the Jewish demands of an acceptable sacrifice. The idea that the Jewish nation can save itself by its own merit is ridiculous. The trial and the execution of Jesus is proof that the Jews are as depraved as everyone else. Annas and Caiaphas orchestrated the entire thing and both were far more concerned with power and wealth than with justice.

The Jews have one hope and its JESUS. We have one hope and its JESUS. We are all in the same boat and to withstand the coming judgment, that boat [Our Ark] must be Jesus. We are all at the mercy of a holy God who shows no partiality: if He did, He wouldn’t be holy.

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  • Bumper Sticker of the day: Rich people stay rich because they live like they are poor. Poor people stay poor because they live like they are rich.
  • PTL we got an inch and one half of rain last night around 7:00 pm: THANK YOU JESUS!
  • VBS going great. Evangelism emphasis today, so pray. We had 206 on Monday, 212 on Tuesday and 222 on Wednesday. I think we have enrolled 287. You can see pics on my Facebook page. I’m not sure they are on the church page. Holly has posted hundreds.
  • The Gator Train is powered by the old gator Tom gave us. I guess we could call it Thomas the Train.

train

The Arrow

June 12, 2016

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Scripture

He made Me like an arrow, sharp and ready for use.

~Isaiah 49:2, CEV

Quote

I wish to be useful, and every kind of service necessary to the public good becomes honorable by being necessary.

~Nathan Hale

There are four servant songs or poems in Isaiah: [1] Isaiah 42:1-4 [2] Isaiah 49:1-6 [3] Isaiah 50:4-9 and [4] Isaiah 53 which everyone is familiar with. Over the ages, scholars have debated whether the servant is Israel the nation of Jesus the Messiah. There is no question that Isaiah 53 is about Jesus. This is the passage the Ethiopian eunuch was reading and Philip took this same scripture and preached Jesus. I think the answer is both and, not either or. Israel is God’s servant and so is Christ. The difference is: Jesus is God’s perfect servant.

  • God choose Christ, anointed Him [Isaiah 49:1]
  • God not only anointed Christ, He pointed Him, made Him sharp. [49:2]
  • God appointed Christ to bring His people back [49:5]
  • God made Christ a light to the nations [49:6]
  • God made Christ the SAVIOR of the world [49:6]
  • God made Christ despised and rejected [49:7]
  • God made Christ the KING of kings and kings and queens will bow before HIM [49:7]
  • God anointed Christ to set the captives free. [49:9]
  • God used Christ to bring comfort to His people. [49:13]
  • God made Christ a tangible expression of His love [49:14-16]

My favorite metaphor describing Christ in Isaiah 49 is the ‘Arrow’. God made Jesus an arrow. An arrow is directed or aimed. An arrow is sharp, to the point. An arrow is sent. In many cases, it goes where the archer cannot go. An arrow can protect and it can also conquer. Not only is Jesus an Arrow, you and I are arrows in His quiver. Our lives should be focused and to the point. We are to be driven by God’s energy. Remember, an arrow is of no use as long as it stays in the quiver: arrows are made to be used. We are God’s arrows created to serve His purpose.

Useful people are busy doing useful things; they don’t have time to be offended by those who treat them as useless. On the other hand, a useless person usually thinks him or herself as being important and is easily offended if not coddled and applauded.

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  • Well folks it is VBS eve 2016. May the Ruach be with us.
  • Ruth is at Vickie’s and very content.
  • Today’s schedule: Deacon’s meeting at 8;15, LCBS at 9:15, Worship at 10:15 and tonight we go to the TABERNACLE in Hartselle to hear Junior Hill.
  • Today’s Mission offering goes to a house in Guatemala in memory of Tom Bennich and then to bibles for the Gideons in memory of Tom. I would like to do 1,000 bibles in Tom’s memory. By the way, Tom was an arrow.

Tom Bennich

 

God Cares About You

June 11, 2016

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Scripture

I am poor and needy, but, LORD God, you care about me and you will come to my rescue.

~Psalms 40;17, CEV

Quote

No one will ever love you more than Jesus.

~Image Quotes

In Psalm 41:12, David declares his innocence but in Psalm 40 he is feeling the weight of his sins. I like David’s confession, {40:12} I have more troubles than I can count. My sins are all around me, and I can’t find my way. My sins out number the hairs on my head, and I feel weak. I also like his confidence, The LORD will come to my rescue, and He did come to David’s rescue and ours as well. He came in the person of Jesus who lived a perfect life in our behalf and then died an atoning death, paying for all our sins. So David was a poet and a prophet, he predicted the incarnation. Do you realize how many prophecies are fulfilled in Christ? Jesus was a difference maker, a game changer. He fulfilled prophecies that would be impossible for a mere man. O hallelujah, O what a Savior!

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  • I am not an NBA fan. I have not watched an NBA playoff game in five years but last night I watched a half or so of the Cleveland and Golden State game. I could become a Steph Curry fan if he was not an Obama supporter. Landon told me that he and Obama are golfing buddies. I hope Obama is better at golf than he is at governing. He should be, he spends more time on the golf course. It is certainly a good thing that Curry makes better judgments on the basketball court than he does in politics.
  • I cannot get caught up: I think I’ve been behind all week. We spent all day yesterday preparing for VBS. Our garden is going to run away if we don’t get it plowed. We have squash, cucumbers and we are a week or so from having corn. We had tomatoes for weeks, but we got them from the fruit stand in Danville.
  • VBS begins Monday at 8:30. Pick up time is 11:30 sharp and commencement is Sunday night June 19 at 5:30. Hamburger supper following program.
  • Looking forward to Sunday: Deacon’s meeting at 8:15, Polls open at 9:00, LCBS at 9:15, Celebrate Jesus at 10:15 and Sunday night we go to the TABERNACLE to hear Junior Hill.
juniorhill

Dr. Junior Hill

The Wicked

June 8, 2016

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Scripture

Soon the wicked will disappear. Though you look for them, they will be gone.

~Psalm 37:10, NLT

Quote

The  evil man has no future; the lamp of the wicked will be put out.

~Solomon

The Hebrew word ra’a’ means evil, bad, wicked, injurious, displeasing and unethical. It is used 96 times in the Psalms and 15 times in Psalm 37 which is a classic. A wonderful future awaits the one who sets his/her delight in the LORD Jesus Christ but for those who rebel against God and His anointed, there is no future. You cannot fight against God and win. You do not have to repent; you do not have to turn from sin and your selfish ways but you have zero chance of succeeding.

God told David, “Don’t waste time fretting over the success of the wicked, their triumph will be short lived–they are going no where.” They will dry up like spring flowers on a hot scorching summer day. They will disappear like smoke from a chimney: first you see  them, then poof, they vanish. It may appear that they are succeeding but their judgment is coming and their strength will be broken. Our God is so secure in who He is that He laughs [v.13] when He sees them plotting and scheming.

A wonderful future awaits those who delight in Christ–Those who fear God and acknowledge His son. They will live in peace and inherent the land but the rebellious have no future, none at all. [v.37-38]

EXTRA animated

  • I visited on Monday night and got in so late that there was no blog. Actually, I had two things come up on Monday: [1] My computer at the office crashed and [2] I was out late and give out. June asked if I was going to do a blog and I said “no’. I don’t think she could not believe it.
  • This is a busy week as we prepare for VBS: one of the last DAY SCHOOLS in the county. June noticed as we drove by last night, East Highland has gone to a night school. I am glad I am retiring. I’ve been telling you it was coming but I still don’t like it. We are going to be busy the rest of the week getting ready so if you call the office and no one answers, it is because we are outside or in the other building.
  • I made a mistake on May 29 of telling you that we had our debt reduced to 2016 but that was wrong: I was looking at the wrong chart. We did reduce it by two months. Our balance is around $58,000 and our next offering is July 31. Again, it falls on a Holiday weekend but there is nothing we can do about that. Our last one will be October 30 but Halloween Eve shouldn’t hurt us.
  • Don’t forget, our Sunday night church this week is at the HARTSELLE CAMP MEETING. Dr. Junior Hill will be preaching. Junior will be with us on August 21 and possibly for my retirement party. I am considering incorporating in January and working under the umbrella of EASTERN GATE MINISTRIES which was Junior’s brain child.

Junior Hill