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When You Feel Like Giving Up

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

They call it hitting the wall. It is when your body can no longer endure the pain of running a marathon. I’ve never experienced this but I can imagine it’s no fun! Running 26.2 miles is a long way. Some hit the wall sooner than others. For some it’s around mile 17-20. When that time comes the person has to make a choice. They can give up or they can keep on going. Have you ever hit the wall? I’m not referring to running a marathon but rather in your walk with Christ. Have you felt like giving up and throwing in the towel? A marathon is nothing compared to our journey as Christians. Our goal is not a PR but rather heaven. You started off well after you were baptized. But maybe things have changed for you. Maybe you are facing trouble, discouragement, disappointment, etc. What will you do? We all know the right answer but sometimes we don’t respond the right way. If you have felt this way you are not alone, Numbers 11:10-14; Psalm 40:1-2. Great men have experienced the same. But there’s one in particular that stands out to me. His name was Elijah.

Elijah had reached his breaking point. Elijah had courageously told King Ahab that there would be a drought for three years, 1 Kings 17:1. After three years of no rain, God told him to go before Ahab. Elijah was falsely accused of being the source of the problems for Israel, 1 Kings 18:17. Nevertheless, Elijah courageously stood before Ahab and his false prophets, 1 Kings 18:19. He tried to persuade the rest of Israel to stand for truth, but it was to no avail. He had done what was right and evil still prevailed. Now he was on the run, 1 Kings 19:1-3. Elijah had reached his breaking point. He wanted to die, 1 Kings 19:4.

We should take comfort that we’re not alone when we have moments or even long periods of discouragement. Yet when we experience an Elijah moment, we need to make sure we respond the proper way. There were two things God needed to remind Elijah, that will serve us well when we feel like were stuck in miry clay. Let’s read and see what Elijah needed to hear, 1 Kings 19: 1-17.

Right Perspective: 

God corrected two misconceptions Elijah had about his situation. God asked Elijah, “What are you doing here?” How was it that one moment he had walked by faith, and the next moment he was walking by fear, doubt, and frustration? A couple of reasons could be given.

  1. First, he allowed fear to take the place of faith, 1 Kings 19:1-3. Fear is debilitating and that’s what happened to Elijah.
  2. Second, we find no mention of prayer in 1 Kings 19 (except to end his life). Yet prayer was what Elijah was doing all throughout chapter 18.
  3. Third, he separated himself from his friends, 1 Kings 19:3-4. Isolation typically fuels the feeling of loneliness which will feed depression. He should have stayed connected.
  4. Fourth, he began to have self-pity, 1 Kings 19:4. All of this led to Elijah into having the wrong perspective, 1 Kings 19:10. He thought that Jezebel would kill him, 1 Kings 19:1-3. Both of his views were wrong, 1 Kings 19:18, 2 Kings 2:1. Elijah needed to be reminded of God’s great power, and the fact that he was not alone.

We need the right perspective regarding our circumstances so we will not quit on God. With the pressures to engage in sexual immorality, drugs, drinking, and maybe just to quit believing in God, it’s tempting sometimes to through in the towel. But that’s the wrong perspective. God through His word reminds us that we can be success in tough situations, just as Christians were in the first century, 1 Peter 5:8-9. Our success and victory comes through Christ, 1 John 4:4, 5:4. Understanding this will help us to have the right perspective.

The proper perspective for us is not to allow short term problems, difficulties, or challenges, to get in the way of the greater goal: heaven. Are you considering giving up your faith in Christ? Do you find yourself on the verge of doing some things you know you shouldn’t do? If so, God has a question for you. His question is this: “What are you doing here?” It could be you have reached this point in your life because you have failed to listen and remember God’s word. A failure to remember God’s promises can cause us to have an epic fail in life. You can’t expect your faith to stand if you’re not willing to feed it, nurture it, and strengthen it by God’s word. For Elijah, he needed to be reminded of God’s great power. That’s what helped him to get out of his state of discouragement.

Remember your purpose: 

Elijah needed to be reminded of the greater purpose God had for him.

Elijah’s discouragement delayed the work of God. But what work was it that still needed to be accomplished? He needed to anoint two kings and to prepare Elisha, 1 Kings 19:16. Life was not all about him, but rather God. Recognizing his purpose is what helped Elijah to overcome his discouragement, 1 Kings 19:19. Sometimes we must be reminded that life is not all about us, but rather God.

  1. What is your purpose in life? Your purpose is to glorify God, Ephesians 3:20-21.
  2. You have purpose in the eyes of God. God values you. You are worth something in His eyes. He is the one that gives meaning to your life. That’s why we must know that our purpose is about serving Him, and not about us.
  3. Life is not about…

How many likes you can get on a Facebook post. It’s about God.

How many followers you can get on your YouTube video. It’s about God.

How successful you may be in a particular sport. It’s about God.

The spotlight must be on God, and not us. We must remember our purpose! What so many people need is a sense of direction. This is what God gives you. Maybe you have become discouraged, because you have forgotten your purpose. If so, God has a question for you. That question is this: “Why are you doing here?” Remember your purpose and get to work. Get to work and grow in your faith, 2 Peter 3:17-18. Get to work and reach read lost souls, Acts 8:1-3. Get to work and encourage your brethren, Hebrews 10:23-25. When Elijah remembered the work that was to be done, he did it.

  1. Elijah was rewarded for his work and his trust in God, 2 Kings 2:1-2.
  2. When we don’t give up, we will be rewarded by being with God one day.

Lord willing this Sunday I my two sermons will be "Unexpected Conversions" and "Primitive Christianity." God bless. 

Upcoming Gospel Meeting

Friday, April 05, 2019

We have been anticipating this weekend for a long time. Lord willing, we will have brother Phil Robertson presenting a series of lessons called "One Pure Light." This Saturday we will have a congregational singing beginning at 7:30 p.m. 

Below is the list of lessons brother Phil will present. 

Sunday AM
One Pure Light in a Very Dark World
One Powerful Light in A Compromising World
One Penitent Light In A Corrupt World

Monday PM
One Purposeful Light in an Aimless World

Tuesday PM
Why I Believe In Arranged Marriages

Wednesday PM
A Legacy of Faith: Parenting

These lessons will also be live streamed. If you have any Bible questions, please let us know. 

Take care and God Bless. 

Beware and be on Guard

Thursday, March 14, 2019

“Beware and be on guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions.” Those are the words of Jesus found in Luke 12:15. Someone in the crowd wanted Jesus to do something for him. In Luke 12:16, it says “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the family inheritance with me.”

The response from Jesus may not have been what he was hoping to hear. Jesus would then go into a parable. Here are the details of the man in the parable.

1. There was a man who was rich and his land was very productive, verse 16.

2. The man had so many crops that he needed to figure out what to do with all of them, verse 17.

3. He decided to start fresh and build even bigger barns. This is certainly a good problem to have (or at least it seemed to be), verse 18.

4. The man felt satisfied, content, accomplished, and good. He had done so much and now he was set for life. What could be better than that, verse 19?

5. But there was a problem. This man had only been focused on his success, current situation, and riches. He failed to consider the bigger picture. His soul! God said, “You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?” Verse 20. Surely, this was not what the man had in mind. All the hard work, all of the focus on his riches, and now it was about to be over.

6. The conclusion: While this man may have been rich physically, he was not rich toward God. He was a poor rich man, verse 21.

This is a scary parable. As we think about this parable, there are a couple of thoughts that should come to mind.

1. It’s not sinful to be rich. Great men like Abraham were rich. Job was rich. Many of the saints in the first century were rich, 1 Timothy 6.

2. The parable is certainly a warning for us. It was a warning for the man who spoke to Jesus about telling his brother to dividing up his family inheritance. Jesus knew what was in this man’s heart. He was warning him about covetousness. The fact he says “Beware” and “Be on guard” is powerful. He gives him two warnings about this. We should also take heed.

3. The challenge for this man was he was not focused on what was more important: eternity. What’s interesting is that in the law there were instructions about inheritances, Deuteronomy 21:15-17; Numbers 27:8-11. It appears that this man’s brother was the one who rightly should have received this inheritance. 

4. As we look at our lives, we should not measure our success by how much we possess. Our success is not based upon our bank account, our FICO score, or anything else with respect to finances. Rather, we need to see if are storing up treasures in heaven.

5. We don’t have as much control as we think we do. This man had it all laid out exactly what he was going to do. Only to die! God is ultimately in control. We are not.

6. There’s nothing wrong with having a lot of money and possessions. Let’s be sure we guard our hearts and keep our eyes on the big picture: heaven.

Lord willing, we will gather together at 9 a.m. for worship. My sermon during the 9 a.m. hour is called, "What Jonah teaches us about God." My sermon for the 10:40 hour is "Myths, Legends, or Fact?"

 

Surviving Storms

Thursday, March 07, 2019

Do you trust God? Our currency has written on it, “In God We Trust.” But do we trust Him? It’s easy to say we do, but it’s another to live it and believe it. It’s easy to raise our hand in Bible class and say, “We should always trust God.”

But it’s different when you experience a death in the family. It’s tough when there’s something wrong with your child. It’s challenging when problems arise in the church. It’s hard when you have to make a choice between your friends and your God. It’s difficult when you’re the only one in class who believes in the creation story. You wouldn’t think that God’s people would need to be reminded to trust in God, but we do. God’s people have always needed reminders.

This was true even for the apostles.

The apostles saw the miracles of Jesus. There was no reason for them not to have faith. Yet they needed to be reminded to trust God!

 In the gospels, we read  about the apostles going through a couple of storms. They would have to trust in God. We can learn some lessons from these stories as we think about different storms we will face in life.

 Storm #1: Mark 4:35-40

After a long day of teaching on the sea, Jesus told the apostles to cross to the other side. Earlier that day Jesus had taught parables to the crowds, Mark 4:1. Soon after they began to cross over to the other side, they ran into some problems. There arose a fierce (great) wind. Water began to pour into their boat. You would have thought that they would have been accustomed to this being that many were fishermen. This was no regular storm. Fear quickly set in the  hearts of the apostles. They cried out to Jesus for help, and He responded, Mark 4:38. Yet is was Jesus who then questioned them about their faith. This entire series of events is amazing to consider.

 Storm #2: Matthew 14:22-33.

After feeding 5,000 people with a boys sack lunch, Jesus told His apostles to get into the boat. While the apostles were in the boat crossing the sea, Jesus spent time in prayer, Matthew 8:23. By the time He would begin to cross the sea, His apostles were far ahead of Him. Instead of Jesus taking a boat to catch up to His apostles, He decided to go on a walk. It’s here that we find Peter asking Jesus to walk on the water, Matthew 14:28-29. That took some FAITH. But as he saw the winds, Peter became fearful, Matthew 14:30. What can we learn from these stories?

 1. Live with faith. Storms will come. Life can change from calm to stormy quickly. Trials don’t make us unique. How we respond to them is what will make us unique. Jesus demands that walk by faith.

2. Storms will reveal our faith. It’s been said, “Trials don’t make or break you. Instead, they reveal you.” Trials will reveal what kind of faith we have (shallow or strong). The disciples faith was shaken but then strengthened as a result of the storms, Mark 4:41; Matthew 14:33. Storms can actually be good for us as they will help us to draw closer to God.

3. Know that Jesus cares. He cared for His apostles and He cares for us.

4. Trust the facts and not your feelings. No matter what we face, we must remember that God is in control. The disciples FELT like they were going to drown. But they fact is they had Jesus on board. During storms, focus on Jesus and what you know, compared to what you are feeling. That's how we will be able to survive storms. 

Benjamin Lee. 

Lord willing this Sunday my sermons will be called: "Noah and the flood" and "Good Grief." 

 

COUNT THE COST

Thursday, February 28, 2019

“A pair of dead birds greet visitors at the chained front door of what would have been the YMCA on Dishman Road in Beaumont Texas. The birds likely flew in an opening in the rear of the 22,000– square– foot unfinished building, ripped open by vandals or transients looking for a place to get out of this season’s unusually cold winter. The owner, Wells Fargo, is looking for a way out of the property it acquired through foreclosure after the YMCA declared Chapter 7 bankruptcy and construction halted in February 2010. For about $2 million dollars you could own this facility .”

I read this in a newspaper about five years ago while  living  in Beaumont Texas. It made me think about  the words of Jesus in Luke 14:25-33. Jesus talked about discipleship. Those who follow Him must count the cost. Jesus demands total allegiance. While many might initially begin to follow Him, they fail to finish because they didn’t count the cost.

Jesus’ words in this text are some of the most challenging He taught. There is no middle ground when it comes to following Him. Being a disciple of Jesus is a life-long endeavor. There is no halftime, vacation, or sabbatical. How do you think the great crowds felt when they learned this.?

How do we feel when we hear these words from Jesus? Let’s consider a few thoughts from what Jesus said.

1. What is the cost? The cost of following Jesus is everything!  Despite the large crowds that were following Him, Jesus didn’t attempt to soften His words. His words were demanding, stringent, and probably shocking. To be a disciple of Jesus you must hate everyone including yourself, Luke 14:26. Jesus must be first. Jesus must come first before anyone else.  Many are surprised when they read the word “hate.” Certainly, we are to love all men. It’s the idea of “loving less or by comparison in his love for Christ.” We must love Jesus more than anyone else, including our selves. Half-hearted discipleship will not work. An every once in a while kind of discipleship will not work. Read Revelation 3:15-17, as an example

2. Can We Do It? Is it possible for us to put Jesus first above everyone and everything? The answer is YES. It is. Otherwise, Jesus would not have told us to do it. But it will require a lot of work. While our reward will be great, it will come with a price. But anything worthwhile comes with a price. The price of redeeming us required sacrifice on the part of Jesus, Ephesians 1:7. Therefore, we shouldn’t be surprised that the same will be true for us. We can do what Jesus says. We will have to trust Him at all times. We will have to remember the big picture: eternity with Him.

3.  Will We Do It? We are to count the cost. We don’t want to be like the man who began to build but then never finished. When I’m studying with people and teaching them about Jesus, this is one of the passages I share with them. I want them to see what Jesus says about discipleship. It really is a serious matter and one really needs to consider what Jesus about it. As Christians, let’s be sure that we finish. As Paul said, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up

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