Birthdays:Debra Riggins – Oct. 22nd - Mike Lee – Oct. 24th
A SOLEMN, GRACIOUS, POWERFUL REMINDER
Just recently I was reminded of a preacher who has publicly from the pulpit called me a false preacher and slandered my name. This caused a range of emotions to well up within me, even anger and thoughts of revenge and retaliation. But in such times the Holy Spirit always reminds me of the words of our Lord when He said, “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you” (Matt. 5:44). These are strong words of conviction to me, and when they ring forth in my very soul, I know that my only hope of salvation is the free and sovereign grace of God in and by the Lord Jesus Christ. I have no righteousness but HIM, and this is why I believe, rest in, and preach so strongly the imputed righteousness of Christ and not any righteousness in myself. Does this deny the blessed and powerful work of the Holy Spirit within me? NO, because when I am confronted with such matters, I am also brought to shame and sorrow over the fact that I am such a sinful person. And I thank God that He did not have the same attitude towards me when I was His enemy and when I slandered Him with my false doctrine, self-righteous attitude, ignorance, and unbelief. I am reminded that God commended His love toward me and that Christ Jesus died for me while I was yet and still am a sinner (Rom. 5:8,10). It is through this glorious reality that the Holy Spirit inspires and motivates me to love and pray for my enemies. It has nothing to do with my feelings and natural inclinations, for, like Paul, no good thing dwells in my flesh. It has to do with the sovereign, free, and unmerited love, mercy, and grace of God shown towards me in that God gave His only begotten Son to save a wretch like me. By the power of the Holy Spirit and because of spiritual life given to me and within me, I can will to love even my enemies whether I feel like it or not. I can will to pray for them and even desire blessings for them no matter how I feel. I can pray for the salvation of my enemies. This will within me is not the product of any free or good will of my own but of the sovereign power and grace of God in Christ Who loved me and gave Himself for me even when I was and am altogether unlovely. The fact is this – I am never, not even at my best, worthy of His love for me. Why should I even consider how others are or are not worthy of my love? Worthiness in ourselves should never be an issue. If it were, there would be no love for us, to us, or from us. The glory of God in Christ is the issue.
--- Bill Parker
GOD’S PROMISE TO HIS NATION
There is a promise that belongs to God’s redeemed and believing people in every age and in every circumstance. It is the promise of peace. Not peace without turmoil but peace in the midst of turmoil. This world, no matter what group rules it, since they are all sinners like us, will have trouble. Greed, thirst for power and glory, the very displays of the same fallen nature that plagues us will be demonstrated by them. So our peace will not come by what they do and certainly not by fretting over the state of affairs in our nation and world. No, this promise of peace is found in Isaiah 26:3 “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.” But as in all the promises of God there is a character described of those to whom it belongs. In this promise it is, “him… whose mind is stayed upon thee.” It belongs to those “looking unto Jesus.” Those who trust in God. “In God We Trust” is inscribed on the money of our nation but it has long been erased from the hearts and minds of most of its citizens. But by grace, within this troubled and declining nation is another. The apostle calls it “a holy nation.” “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light:” 1 Peter 2:9 It is the nation of God’s elect, redeemed and therefore believing people. Men and women from other nations are also a part of this “holy nation.” Their holiness is in Christ Jesus. He is our Lord and Ruler. He is ruling all things with a sovereign, steady and almighty hand. None can stay His hand, not the most powerful leaders of nations. Our King has made peace with God on our behalf by the blood of His cross. It is a perfect peace and through His work He gives us a peace that passes understanding. No matter what might be taking place in our earthly nation which might concern us, we know that we are as all God’s people, strangers and pilgrims passing through. This world is not our home. As our Savior, we are not of this world. We are children of the great King who works all things together for our good and His glory. He is the One who, in the midst of the greatest trouble, says, “Peace be still” and the waves of unrest die to a quiet calm. Instead of fretting (Psalm 37) let us pray to our gracious and wise God that He might give us this peace by enabling us to trust Him. This is our peace, “Alleluia, the Lord God omnipotent reigns!”