Tuesday, May 31, 2016


Bob had finally made it to the last round of the TV game show $50,000 Question TV. Given his choice of a category, he told the host MC that he wanted a question on American History.

The big night arrived. Bob made his way onstage in front of the studio and TV audience. He had become the talk of the week. He was the best guest this show had ever seen. The MC stepped up to the mike.

"Bob, you have chosen American History as your final question. You know that if you correctly answer this question, you will walk away $50,000 dollars richer. Are you ready?"

Bob nodded with a cocky confidence -- the crowd went nuts. He hadn't missed a question all week.

"Bob, yours is a two-part question. As you know, you may answer either part first. As a rule, the second half of the question is always easier. Which part would you like to take a stab at first?"

Bob was becoming more noticeably nervous. American History was his easiest subject, but he wanted to play it safe. "I'll try the easier part first."

The MC nodded approvingly. "Here we go Bob. I will ask you the second half first, then the first half." The audience grew silent with anticipation...

"Bob, here is your question: And in what year did it happen?"

In our Christian walk, there are a lot of questions that need to be asked. And it seems to me that it is important not only to ask the right questions but to ask them in the right order. The Pharisees, for example, first asked Jesus questions such as, "Why aren't you washing your hands properly?" (Matthew 15:1-3). Even the disciples of John asked Jesus, "Why don't you fast?" (Matthew 9:14). It's not that those were bad questions to ask. The problem was, they were asking those questions first instead of more important questions like, "What can we do in our lives that would demonstrate justice and mercy and faith?" (Matthew 25:23) or "Who is this Jesus?" (Matthew 16:15).

It's so easy to get caught up asking the wrong questions first. Questions about premillennialism or the role of women in the church or which translation of the Bible we should read are not bad questions. For that matter, asking where Cain got his wife isn't a bad question! But those shouldn't be the first questions we ask. Questions related to God's nature and God's desire for a relationship with us and how to demonstrate love and faith in our lives must be asked first. Because if we get the questions out of order, we will find ourselves just as stumped as Bob was in the story above.

Have a great day!

Alan Smith
Helen Street Church of Christ
Fayetteville, North Carolina

Monday, May 30, 2016


During a Sunday-morning worship service, a mother tried everything she could think of — including rewards, scoldings, and threats — to get her fidgety 7-year-old son to be quiet. Nothing worked. Finally, about halfway through the sermon, she leaned over and whispered something in the little boy’s ear.

He immediately stopped fidgeting and sat quietly for the rest of the service. Afterward, a friend sitting in the row behind asked the young mother what she had said to her son.

The mother smiled and replied, “If you don’t be quiet, the preacher is going to lose his place, and then he’ll have to start his sermon all over again.”

As much as little boys (and most of the rest of us) dislike the idea of having the preacher “start over”, it’s not something that any of us like to do in our own lives. But there are times when we need to start over..

When it comes to trying to live godly lives, we all mess up. As good as our intentions are, as much as we promise ourselves that “I’ll never make that mistake again”, we find ourselves at the throne of God time and again, seeking grace and mercy, and having to start over. It’s not easy, and it requires humility on our part, but fortunately, God gives us that opportunity when we truly repent.

Just as difficult are the trials we face that force us to start over. Maybe you've had a serious illness or injury, and it finally looks like you’re going to get well, but there’s a setback in your health which requires you to start all over again. That news can be more devastating than the original diagnosis. Or maybe it’s a financial problem you’re facing. And just when it looked like there was a light at the end of the tunnel, your car or the washing machine breaks down or the kids need braces, and you’re back to square one trying to get your debt cleared up.

Such experiences require a perseverance that says, “No matter how long it takes, no matter how many setbacks I have, no matter how many times I have start over, I will not give up.” As Solomon wrote: “Although a righteous person may fall seven times, he gets up again.” (Proverbs 24:16, NET). It's not a question of whether we will fall. We will fall, but the righteous man, the wise man, continues to rise up and is willing to start over time and again.

If you find yourself discouraged today because you've failed God, may you seek His forgiveness and start over living the life that God wants you to live. If you're facing trials today that leave you wondering what's the use in trying any more, may God provide you strength to rise up and start over!

Have a great day!

Alan Smith
Helen Street Church of Christ
Fayetteville, North Carolina

Sunday, May 29, 2016

The Key to Radical Love

by John Piper

Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
(Matthew 5:11–12)

One of the questions I posed recently, while preaching on loving our enemies from Matthew 5:44, was, How do you love the people who kidnap you and then kill you?

How can we do this? Where does power to love like this come from? Just think how astonishing this is when it appears in the real world! Could anything show the truth and power and reality of Christ more than this?

I believe Jesus gives us the key to this radical, self-sacrificing love in the very same chapter.

In Matthew 5:11–12, he again talks about being persecuted. What is remarkable about these verses is that Jesus says that you are able not only to endure the mistreatment of the enemy, but rejoice in it. This seems even more beyond our reach. If I could do this — if I could rejoice in being persecuted — then it would be possible to love my persecutors. If the miracle of joy in the midst of the horror of injustice and pain and loss could happen, then the miracle of love for the perpetrators could happen too.

Jesus gives the key to joy in these verses. He says, “Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven.” The key to joy is faith in God’s future grace — “your reward is great in heaven.” I believe this joy is the freeing power to love our enemies when they persecute us. If that is true, then the command to love is a command to set our minds on things that are above, not on things that are on the earth ( Colossians 3:2).

The command to love our enemy is a command to find our hope and our satisfaction in God and his great reward — his future grace. The key to radical love is faith in future grace. We must be persuaded in the midst of our agony that the love of God is “better than life” ( Psalm 63:3). Loving your enemy doesn’t earn you the reward of heaven. Treasuring the reward of heaven empowers you to love your enemy.

Saturday, May 28, 2016


A young and foolish pilot wanted to sound cool and show who was boss on the aviation frequencies. It was his first time approaching a field during the night time.

Instead of making any official requests to the tower, he said: "Guess who?"

The controller switched the field lights off and replied: "Guess where!"

It important for a pilot to be able to see the place where he is landing! There is a true story about a pilot who was flying a fighter jet in bad weather and was about to make his instrument approach to an airport. The air traffic controller called and asked how much fuel he had. -- “Plenty,” he said.

“Well,” the controller said, "We’ve got a little problem. There’s a young pilot who is not instrument rated. He’s lost in the clouds, and we were wondering if you could intercept him and lead him back to the airport."

“Sure,” the pilot responded. He found the lost plane and pulled up beside it. He called on the radio and told the pilot to look out to his left. When the pilot of this small plane saw the powerful jet, he burst into tears of relief. As far as he was concerned, his life was about over. He would soon run out of fuel and crash.

“Don’t worry,” the test pilot said. “Everything’s going to be OK. I’m going to pull in front of you several hundred yards. Do everything I do. When I turn, I’ll turn gently. All you have to do is do exactly what I do.”

So carefully the leader and the follower turned toward the airport and slowly descended. When they finally broke through the clouds at 500 feet, the frightened pilot saw the most beautiful sight. There in front of him was the runway, and he was perfectly set up to land. What a blessing that the young pilot had someone nearby that he could look to!

There's a story in the Bible where an ancient king of Judah must have felt that same sense of relief. Jehoshaphat's kingdom was being threatened by the armies of Ammon, Moab, "and others" (2 Chronicles 20:1). In fact, those armies were so large and so strong, Judah didn't stand a chance of surviving an assault. There seemed to be nothing Jehoshaphat could do about it, so he turned to God (which, incidentally, is not such a bad place for us to find ourselves!). Eventually, God rescued the people of Judah by causing the armies of the enemy to turn on one another. But it is the prayer of Jehoshaphat that I think is so valuable. In fact, I think this may become my favorite verse in the Bible:

"For we have no power against this great multitude that is coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are on You." (2 Chronicles 20:12)

Is there a problem you're facing in your life that just seems overwhelming? Pray along with Jehoshaphat -- "God, I don't know what to do, but my eyes are on you!" Do you have a difficult decision to make and you don't know which course to take? "God, I don't know what to do, but my eyes are on you!" Are you suffering the attacks of enemies, those who would seek to do you harm? "God, I don't know what to do, but my eyes are on you!" Pray it today and pray it often.

Have a great day!

Alan Smith
Helen Street Church of Christ
Fayetteville, North Carolina

Friday, May 27, 2016


The following article was in the news a few years ago:

HANOI, Vietnam - After nearly two decades of ridicule, a father has agreed to change his son's name from "Fined Six Thousand and Five Hundred" -- the amount he was forced to pay in local currency for ignoring Vietnam's two-child policy.

Angry he was being fined for having a fifth child, Mai Xuan Can named his son Mai Phat Sau Nghin Ruoi after the amount he was forced to pay -- 6,500 dong (50 cents). In 1999, local government officials tried to persuade Can to change the name because the boy was constantly being teased by classmates at school. But Can, a former People's Committee official, refused to back down, Thuong said. They appealed to him again recently, and this time it worked.

"I told him that as his son is growing up, he should have another name -- not that weird name -- and he finally agreed," Thuong said.

The son, now 19, finally got a new name: Mai Hoang Long, which means golden dragon.

Choosing a name is an important responsibility. Those of us who are parents can remember spending hours and hours reading books filled with baby names, discussing this name and that before deciding on just the right name. Even after much forethought, one of my children was named at birth and re-named a couple of hours later because the first name just didn't seem to fit her.

Not surprisingly, names in the Bible are regarded as important. Names that were chosen may tell us something about the child or his birth (Isaac -- "laughter", Benjamin -- "son of the right hand", Esau -- "hairy"). Some names were changed to signal a drastic change in one's life (Abram to Abraham, Jacob to Israel, Saul to Paul).

A name is important because it's not just a word -- it's who you are. Your name is your character, the essence of who you are and what you stand for.

You may not be able to change your given name (at least, not without a lot of expense and trouble), but you can change what people think about when they hear that name. That's why Solomon wrote:

"A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches." (Prov. 22:1a)

You are choosing your name by how you live. Choose wisely.

Have a great day!

Alan Smith
Helen Street Church of Christ
Fayetteville, North Carolina

Thursday, May 26, 2016


At a computer expo (COMDEX), Bill Gates reportedly compared the computer industry with the auto industry and stated, "If GM had kept up with technology like the computer industry has, we would all be driving $25.00 cars that got 1,000 miles to the gallon."

In response to Bill's comments, General Motors issued a press release stating: If GM had developed technology like Microsoft, we would all be driving cars with the following characteristics:

1. For no reason whatsoever, your car would crash twice a day.

2. Every time they repainted the lines in the road, you would have to buy a new car.

3. Occasionally your car would die on the freeway for no reason. You would have to pull to the side of the road, close all of the windows, shut off the car, restart it, and reopen the windows before you could continue. For some reason you would simply accept this.

4. Occasionally, executing a maneuver such as a left turn would cause your car to shut down and refuse to restart, in which case you would have to reinstall the engine.

5. Macintosh would make a car that was powered by the sun, was reliable, five times as fast and twice as easy to drive - but would run on only five percent of the roads.

6. The oil, water temperature, and alternator warning lights would all be replaced by a single "This Car Has Performed An Illegal Operation" warning light.

7. The airbag system would ask "Are you sure?" before deploying.

8. Occasionally, for no reason whatsoever, your car would lock you out and refuse to let you in until you simultaneously lifted the door handle, turned the key and grabbed hold of the radio antenna.

9. Every time a new car was introduced, car buyers would have to learn how to drive all over again because none of the controls would operate in the same manner as the old car.

10. You'd have to press the "Start" button to turn the engine off.

It's amazing, isn't it, what we tolerate in some things we use (like Microsoft Windows) that we would never tolerate in other things we use (like our automobiles)? Then again, it shouldn't be too surprising because I find that there are many things which I tolerate in some people that I would never tolerate in others.

For example, if someone I don't particularly like passes me on the street and doesn't wave or say "hi", I get easily offended and assume that he is just being snobby. If a good friend does the same thing, though, I assume that he must have something on his mind and he was merely distracted. If someone I love dearly accidentally trips and kicks me in the shin, I think nothing of it. If someone else does it, though, I quickly assume they're clumsy and inconsiderate. I t's true, isn't it? We tolerate things from people we love that we would never tolerate from people we don't love.

Could it be that one of the reasons we have so many conflicts in the church is that love is lacking? When love is missing, we are quick to assume the worst, we tolerate nothing and we are quick to find fault. Patience is non-existent. Forgiveness is difficult. Love, however, truly does "cover a multitude of sins." (I Peter 4:8)

I like the way GOD'S WORD translates this passage from Paul's writings: "As holy people whom God has chosen and loved, be sympathetic, kind, humble, gentle, and patient. Put up with each other, and forgive each other if anyone has a complaint. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. Above all, be loving. This ties everything together perfectly." (Colossians 3:12-14)

Are you having trouble "putting up" with folks around you? May your love for others increase so that your level of toleration may increase as well.

Have a great day!

Alan Smith
Helen Street Church of Christ
Fayetteville, North Carolina

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Sitting at His Feet

by Os Hillman

"So Ruth gleaned in the field until evening. Then she threshed the barley she had gathered, and it amounted to about an ephah" (Ruth 2:17-18). 

The story of Ruth provides an excellent illustration of the connection between spending time in the presence of God and receiving physical provision. Naomi was married to Elimelech. They had two married sons. Elimelech died and ten years later both of the sons also died. Ruth was married to one of the sons. 

The other daughter-in-law moved back to her family, but Ruth, in spite of Naomi's encouragement, insisted on staying with Naomi. The only way for the family line to continue would have been for Ruth to marry another son or direct relative. Now, through a custom known as the kinsman redeemer, Ruth could be married to a relative in the family line. Times were tough and most people made a living by farming. Naomi had a relative named Boaz who was a prominent land owner and farmer. She sent Ruth to glean in the fields of Boaz all day in hopes of picking up excess grain left behind by the harvesters. 

Ruth stayed in the fields all day and yielded just one ephah of grain. It is a picture of sweat and toil for very little return. However, something happens later in the story. Naomi realized the only way Ruth was going to have any kind of future is if a kinsman redeemer came to her rescue. She instructed Ruth to go to the threshing floor where Boaz would be and to quietly sit at the feet of Boaz all night. This would be a sign of submitting her life to Boaz. He would have to exercise his right to be her kinsmen redeemer.. 

Later, Boaz sends Ruth home and takes the necessary steps to become her redeemer. But before he sends her home, he gives her six ephahs of barley - six times what she got spending all day in the fields. 

Friend, if we are going to succeed in fulfilling God's destiny for our lives, we must have a life of intimate worship and devotion to Jesus. Why not start spending more time at the feet of Jesus.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016


I heard a story recently about a young girl who wrote a letter to a missionary to let him know that her class had been praying for him. But evidently she'd been told not to request a response to her letter because the missionaries were very busy. So the missionary got a kick out of her letter. It said, "Dear Mr. Missionary, we are praying for you. But we are not expecting an answer."

I can't help but think that that little girl summarized the prayer lives of many Christians. Sometimes we pray without expecting an answer, even though God has assured us that He does indeed hear our prayers. David said, "I love the Lord, because He has heard my voice and my supplications." (Psalm 116:1). But I think many of us struggle with the nagging question, "Is God really listening to me?" Yes, He heard David, He heard Elijah, and He heard the apostles. But does He hear me?

How do we really know that our prayers are answered? Sure, there are times when we see visible results. We may pray for someone who's sick and the next week they get well. But more often, our prayers don't produce flashing "neon" answers. We pray for help in financial problems, and we don't see things get any better. We pray for guidance in making right decisions, but the decisions don't get any easier. We pray for relationships with other people to improve, but they just seem to get worse. How do we as Christians account for that happening? How do we explain the fact that so many of our prayers seem to go "unanswered"?

The truth is, for a child of God there is no such thing as an unanswered prayer. Maybe you've heard it said before that God answers prayer in three ways. Sometimes the answer is "yes." Sometimes the answer is "no." And sometimes the answer is "wait a while." It's easy to accept an answer of "yes," but what about when God says, "no"?

Let me suggest three principles:

First of all, we need to trust God enough to realize that our all-loving, all-powerful Father loves us and has our best interest at heart. So when it seems that God says "no" to our prayers, we must trust Him enough to understand that there must be a good reason for it. It may be beyond our limited ability to understand, but we must simply trust God.

Secondly, we must not forsake God. Disappointment is a dangerous, powerful thing. When we get the feeling that God isn't listening to us, that He has said "no" to some prayer, we have a tendency to feel disappointed in Him. And Satan whispers to us, "God said He loves you, but He's not here." And if we allow that disappointment to harbor in our hearts, it can drive a wedge between us and God. We must continue to be faithful to our responsibility before God.

And thirdly, we need to realize that the answer may not be "no," but only "wait a while." God always answers our prayers immediately, but sometimes there's a delay in the giving of the answer and that can be a difficult thing for us to accept. The ability to wait for an answer is one of the marks of maturity. Be willing to let God answer in his own time, in his own way, and in his own power.

Many people see God as a divine vending machine in which you deposit one prayer and out pops a blessing. But what happens when you put your money in the Coke machine and nothing comes out? You get angry, you kick the Coke machine. So it's not surprising that such a view of God and prayer leads to disappointment when God says no.

I believe that we need to foster an entirely different view of prayer from that one. Our God is the Great God of the Universe, the Creator of all things that exist other than Himself. For us to even venture to speak to Him is presumptuous. For us to ask Him to pay attention to our requests and then hope for Him to meet them requires bold expectation. In fact such would be arrogance if it were not for the simple fact that God tells us to do just that.

Looking from the proper perspective, we will not ask "What happens when God says no?" but rather "What happens when God says yes?" That the God of the heavens would listen to us and our needs is a great testimony to His great love for us. And it is that love that will lead Him to say no from time to time. At those times, we must trust Him knowing that he loves us and desires what is best for us. We must never forsake Him nor our duty toward Him. And we must realize that what we interpret to be an answer of "no" may just be God telling us to wait a while.

"This is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us."   (I John 5:14)

Monday, May 23, 2016


A young minister graduated from seminary just before World War I and he was appointed to a church in a very small town. He had been there only a couple of weeks when he received the call every new minister dreads -- the call to do his first funeral. The person who had died was not a member of his church. She was, in fact, a woman with a very bad reputation. Her husband was a railroad engineer who was away from home much of the time. She had rented rooms in their house to men who worked on the railroad and rumor had it that she rented more than just rooms when her husband was away.

The young preacher, faced with his first funeral, found no one who had a good word to say about this woman, until he entered the small old-fashioned grocery store on the day before the funeral.  He began to talk to the store owner about his sadness that the first person he would bury would be someone about which nothing good could be said.

The store owner didn't reply at first and then, in his silence, he appeared to make a decision. He took out his store ledger and laid it on the counter between him and the preacher. He opened the ledger at random and, covering the names in the left-hand column, he pointed to grocery bills written in red – groceries that people had bought on credit -- and then the column that showed the bill had been paid.

He said, "Every month, that woman would come in and ask me who was behind in their grocery bills. It was usually some family who had sickness or death -- or some poor woman trying to feed her kids when her husband drank up the money. She would pay their bill and she made me swear never to tell. But, I figure now that she is dead, people ought to know -- especially those who benefited from her charity who have been most critical of her."

Sunday, May 22, 2016


Anderson was having a very difficult time. Because of the recession, he'd been laid off from his firm, and jobs at his present salary were hard to find. Jobs at low salaries were hard to find. He was able to pay only the minimum on his credit card, and the balance owed had grown to monstrous proportions. His son needed braces, and the insurance company was being stubborn about paying for them. The financial problems were putting a strain on Anderson's marriage. He and his wife were either fighting or not speaking to each other. And as if things weren't bad enough, one of Anderson's wisdom teeth became impacted. It had to be cut out. The insurance would pay for that, but it required surgery. His regular dentist couldn't do it in the office. Anderson wondered how much worse life could get.

And then things suddenly turned around. Anderson's old firm hired him back in a better position with a better salary. He got in touch with a service representative who was willing to work with him on his credit card debt. The insurance finally came through on his son's braces. And his wisdom tooth broke through the gum. It would still have to be removed, but now he could sit in the dentist's chair and have it pulled. As the problems eased, Anderson's marriage improved. Life was good again.

Anderson was a religious man--or considered himself one--and he'd been praying steadily while things seemed so hopeless. But when they improved, he didn't even think that God might have had something to do with it. He was very glad, of course, that life was so much better. But he wasn't grateful--not even enough to say "Thank You."

Nettie was a seventy-year-old widow. She suddenly lost her husband after fifty years. He left some insurance, but he'd also left Nettie a big house, and there wasn't enough money to pay the utilities and maintenance and taxes. Nettie was forced to sell the home she loved and move in with her daughter. But Nettie was grateful for her blessings, and she never stopped thanking God for them.

She counted it a blessing that her husband had gone first, leaving her the one to mourn. After all, he wouldn't even have anyone to move in with. Nettie was grateful that she could help her daughter around the house and with the cooking; grateful that she got to spend time with her grandchildren. Though her health was poor, and her eyesight not good, at least she wasn't in a wheelchair or blind, as a few of her friends were. Another blessing to count.

The fact that Anderson didn't give God thanks didn't mean that God took back His blessings. It did mean that Anderson couldn't know the wonderful joy of praise that had always been so special to Nettie.

Life got better for Nettie. Her lawyer found an annuity her husband had left for her. It wasn't a fortune, but it was enough to give Nettie her own home again. Her health improved. An ophthalmologist operated on her eyes, and her sight was better than it had been in years. She thanked God, not every day, but every hour of every day.

Anderson will take the good things that come his way gladly, as his due. Nettie will accept them gratefully, as proofs of God's love and mercy.  Anderson will live his span of years, happy sometimes, unhappy sometimes, and die hoping for the best. Nettie will live in constant joy, as she gives praise for everything.  She will pass from her earthly life, thanking God for his final blessing here, as she moves into His glorious eternity.

Saturday, May 21, 2016


In the Living Bible, Psalm 12 begins with these words: “Lord! Help!  Godly men are fast disappearing. Where in all the world can dependable men be found? Everyone deceives and flatters and lies. There is no sincerity left.”

Does that sound like today? Could we not repeat David's words spoken hundreds of years ago? From politicians to news broadcasters, from deceptive friends and even some family members, flattering words are spoken, lies are told. Who can we believe? Who can we depend on to tell us the truth? Where is our moral compass and guide?

Praise God. Verse six of the same psalm gives us the answer: “The Lord's promise is sure. He speaks no careless word; all He says is purest truth, like silver seven times refined.” When we lack wisdom to know right from wrong, to decipher truth from embellished white lies, all we need do is
ask the Lord. He knows all things and is more than willing to share His vast knowledge with us. The only prerequisite is we must ask and seek answers that will guide us along the right paths.

Not only will God point us to the truth, He will also give us the courage to speak it, to refute the wrong information that will inevitably be a stumbling block to those who hear. Remember, Satan comes as an angel of light to deceive and lead astray even God's elect if we are not tuned into our Father in heaven. Through God's word, prayer and waiting on the promptings of the Holy Spirit, we can avoid the pitfalls of reasonable sounding lies. We have a Guide and Counselor within us Who will never lead us astray: “O Lord, we know that you will forever preserve Your own from the reach of evil men although they prowl on every side and vileness is praised throughout the land.” (Ps. 12:7) We need not fear. God is on our side! Halleluiah!

Friday, May 20, 2016

Can a City Be Transformed?

by Os Hillman
"All those who lived in Lydda and Sharon saw him and turned to the Lord." (emphasis mine Acts 9:35). 

Can an entire city be transformed for Jesus Christ? The book of Acts reveals that at least one city was. There are four key ingredients required among its Christian leaders to see a city transformed. These include prayer, humility, unity, and knowledge of God's ways. 

In every city in which transformation has taken place, believers have come together to pray for their city. Prayer changes the spiritual climate of a city. Some of the main areas of influence that must be the focus of our prayers include churches and businesses; the legal, political, educational and medical fields; and the media/entertainment industry. Workplace leaders must be strategically aligned with intercessors to impact their city. 

God uses men and women who recognize that they need each other and who do not seek glory for their work. "He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way" (Ps. 25:9). The workplace leaders that God is using today care little about being in the limelight. 

Jesus said, "May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me" (John 17:23). God calls each of us individually and corporately to represent Christ to the world, but our independence, pride and egos often prevent us from becoming unified in the purposes of Christ. 

Knowledge of God's Ways
Sometimes leaders can move in presumption instead of in a faith that is rooted in knowledge of God's ways. Such was the case of David, who wanted to bring the Ark of the Covenant into the city of Jerusalem. He was zealous for God and celebrated as he brought the Ark into the city. However, the ark was being carried into the city on a cart instead of by priests on poles, as God required. When a man named Uzzah reached out to catch the Ark when the oxen stumbled, he was immediately struck dead by God. David was devastated.. He lacked a knowledge of God's ways.

Do you want to see your city transformed? Make sure the three ingredients of prayer, unity and knowledge of God's ways exist in your leadership team.

Thursday, May 19, 2016


Dear Friend,
No matter what our role or position may be in life, we should do our absolute best to be faithful in that office. The job that we have been entrusted with no matter how large or small should be done with all of our hearts knowing that we will receive a just reward for being faithful in that position. So many people today are not satisfied with where they are in their life. They wish they had a better position, a less stressful position, a more fun position, but what they fail to realize in their discontentment is that in order for them to rise higher than they are right now, they must remain faithful where they are right now. We can never be entrusted with more when we are not faithful with what we have been given presently. This is a universal and eternal truth that applies to everything in our life. We must be faithful with the little until we can be trusted with the much. (Luke 12:48) (Matthew 25:21)
If you are finding yourself unsatisfied with where you are in life, I would encourage and challenge you to look past your present circumstances and look through your eyes of faith to a better and brighter future. Remain faithful with what you have been given and the God who sees all things done openly and in secret will reward you in like manner. Don’t murmur, don’t complain and most importantly don’t give up. Stay strong, stay faithful and stay diligent. What we do today will determine what we will have tomorrow. Let us always remember God’s faithfulness to us so that we may remain faithful to Him. If God has placed you where you are, it is to make you better, wiser and stronger so that you will be prepared and ready for your greater position. Believe this truth for yourself and strive to be all that you were created to be. (Matthew 6:1-8) (Job 8:7)
I hope this message inspires and challenges your heart to stay faithful to where you have been entrusted until the Lord promotes you to even greater heights.
In the eleventh century, King Henry III of Bavaria grew tired of court life and the pressures of being a monarch. So, he made application to Prior Richard at a local monastery, asking to be accepted as a contemplative and spend the rest of his life in the monastery.
“Your Majesty,” said Prior Richard, “Do you understand that the pledge here is one of obedience? That will be hard because you have been a king.”
“I understand,” said Henry. “The rest of my life I will be obedient to you, as Christ leads you.”
“Then I will tell you what to do,” said Prior Richard. “Go back to your throne and serve faithfully in the place where God has put you.”
When King Henry died, a statement was written: “The King learned to rule by being obedient.”
When we tire of our roles and responsibilities, it helps to remember God has planted us in a certain place and told us to be a good accountant, teacher, mother, or father. Christ expects us to be faithful where He puts us, no matter the task we have been given!
By Steve Brown
Read and meditate on these scriptures:
1 Samuel 15:22 “And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.”
Psalm 37:16-19 “A little that a righteous man hath is better than the riches of many wicked. For the arms of the wicked shall be broken: but the LORD upholdeth the righteous. The LORD knoweth the days of the upright: and their inheritance shall be for ever. They shall not be ashamed in the evil time: and in the days of famine they shall be satisfied.”
Hebrews 13:5–6 “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.”
Romans 12:1-2 “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”
Philippians 4:6-7 “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
James 1:2-5 “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.”
All of these scriptures can be found in the King James Version Bible.
In Christ’s Service,
Dwayne Savaya
God’s Work Ministry

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Esther, For Such a Time as This

by Os Hillman

"For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father's family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?" (Est 4:14-15).

Esther was a Jewish orphan living in the land of Persia after her people were taken into captivity from Jerusalem. Raised by her cousin Mordecai, she lived during the time of King Xerxes who reigned over Persia that stretched from India to Ethiopia.

An edict was sent out to bring all the virgins to the king's palace from the surrounding regions to replace Queen Vashti who found disfavor with the king and was deposed. Esther was one of the young women taken and was ultimately selected to be the next queen.

Mordecai had a high ranking position in the government that allowed him to learn of a plot by Haman, an official of the king, to kill all of the Jews.

Now, the only way this edict would not be carried out was if Esther asked for an audience with the king to request that the plot be abandoned on her behalf. However, to request an audience before the king was a serious matter. If he refused to give her audience, the penalty was immediate death.

It was at this time she made her famous statement, "If I die, I die." Esther realized this could be the reason God created her - to save her people from destruction. However, out of concern for Esther, Mordecai explained the situation to her, "For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father's family will perish." Mordecai was giving her a choice. Either she will be used by God or someone else will be used to save their people.

Everyday you and I are given a choice in our workplace. Are we willing to be the person God uses to impact the future destiny of a people? Many of us are silent Christians simply letting the status quo reign while we sit quietly by watching. Who knows that you were created for such a time as this to be a catalyst to stand in the gap for some situation in your workplace or community or nation.

Be faithful to your calling.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Stop Living By Christian Principles by Os Hillman

    ..."having a form of godliness but denying its power" (2 Tim 3:5).

    God never called you to live by Christian principles. He calls you to live in relationship with the living God, Jesus Christ. One of the weaknesses of the Church today is that we teach people principles without the relationship.

    The western church is big on ten step programs, "how-to" methods and acrostics to illustrate memorable ideas. There is a place for establishing principles to change negative behavior. However, we are not called to have a relationship with principles, but a living God.

    Living by principles is the equivalent to living by the law in the Old Testament. It is rooted in the Greek system of learning and is dependent upon our strength instead of being led and empowered by the Holy Spirit. Principle-based living is powerless living. This makes our Christian experience a religion instead of a relationship. "But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law" (Gal 5:18).
    We read about principle-based followers in the book of Acts, "The apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders among the people. And all the believers used to meet together in Solomon's Colonnade. No one else dared join them, even though they were highly regarded by the people" (Acts 5:12-14). There was a group of followers who liked being taught but never entered the game.

    The prophet Jeremiah tells us about the nature of God and His desire for every believer.

    This is what the LORD says: "Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight," declares the LORD. (Jeremiah 9:23-24).

    Friend, have you been guilty of living a life based on principles instead of knowing the One who authored the principles? Invite Jesus to be Lord over your life and begin to spend time with Him every day. Ask the Holy Spirit to lead and guide you through every moment of your day.

Monday, May 16, 2016


by Russell S. Miller   

Is "faith" in Ephesians 2:8,9 the "gift" of God?

Some have taught that the Greek word here, for "gift", suggests that faith is the gift of God. Can this thinking really be justified in the light of what the Apostle Paul says of salvation in Romans 6:23? The answer is an emphatic "NO".

Meditate upon this for a moment: Who created us? The Scriptures reply with a resounding: "GOD". God, "who created all things by Jesus Christ" (Eph.3:9), created us in His own "image" and "likeness" (Gen.1:26). And this great and mighty Creator, who "formed man of the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul" (Gen.2:7), put within this man, whom He had created, the ability to "seek the Lord" (Acts 17:23-27). This quotation from Acts is no less than the words of "the Apostle of the Gentiles" (Rom.11:13). Is there not within every one of us that vacuum that can only be filled with Christ? Yet the Apostle to the Nations declares:

"As it is written, There is none righteous, no not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no not one" (Rom.3:10-12).

The Bible does not contradict itself here. God has built within every man, woman and child--upon creation--that ability within him to believe. He can discern the sky; he can choose whatever he pleases; he can believe a lie. If man is responsible before God, and he most assuredly is, then he may choose to "receive" the gift of God:

"For the wages of sin is death; BUT THE GIFT OF GOD IS ETERNAL LIFE THROUGH JESUS CHRIST OUR LORD" (Rom.6:23).

It is not that he is unable to believe the gospel, as we have demonstrated, rather it is a matter of his will. Consequently, man will stand to give an account to his Creator, for his faith--his ability to believe--is indirectly given of God in creation. Man, however, is a rebel from his birth, and intentionally disobedient. In the words of John 3:18, "...he that BELIEVETH NOT IS CONDEMNED ALREADY, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God". This is why his sinfulness is defined in terms of "total depravity".

Sunday, May 15, 2016

The Convicting Work of the Holy Spirit

by Steve Me Vey

The ministry of the Holy Spirit in bringing conviction into our lives is one of the most misunderstood truths of the New Testament. Many of us have lived for many years with a viewpoint that suggests that one of His main responsibilities is to point out our sins so that we will abandon them. Many are surprised to learn that, while the Holy Spirit does indeed convict us, it isn't about our sins. He convicts us about something altogether different.

Consider John 16:8-11:

8 "And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment; 9 concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me; 10 and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father and you no longer see Me; 11 and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged.

This passage says that the Holy Spirit convicts of three things: 1. Sin 2. Righteousness
3. Judgment. He convicts two groups of people: The world (not you) and you (the Christian).

    Who does the Holy Spirit convict of sin? Verse 9 says that the conviction of sin is connected to the world. Why are they convicted? "Because they do not believe in Me," says Jesus. It is the unbeliever who is convicted of sin. What is that sin? They are convicted of one sin in particular-unbelief in Christ. The Holy Spirit doesn't convict unbelievers of their sins (plural), but of the singularly greatest sin of all -- their failure to trust Christ as their Savior.

   Even if they stopped doing all the wrong things they do in life, the world would still have the fundamental problem of their unbelief. When your house is burning to the ground, you don't worry that it needs a paint job. There are more pressing matters. So it is with those who don't know Christ. The Holy Spirit convicts them of their great need to believe in Him. Everything else is incidental.

   But what of the Christian? Jesus said the Spirit would convict of righteousness because "I go to My Father and you no longer see Me." Conviction of sin is directed to a group Jesus called "they" - the world. Conviction of righteousness is associated with "you" - the follower of Jesus. The ministry of the Holy Spirit toward the Christian is to convince us of our righteousness. Jesus has put away our sin by the sacrifice of Himself (see Hebrews 9:26). Now He seeks to convince (convict) us of that reality so that we will act consistently with who we are.

   The Spirit of Christ doesn't put you under guilt and condemnation about something Jesus Christ has already absorbed into Himself at the cross, defeated and put away. Remember that Jesus dealt with sin and then sat down by the right hand of God because there was nothing left to do regarding sin. Your sins have been defeated and put away. So at every moment, "There is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus."

When the Christian sins, the Holy Spirit causes us to realize, "This isn't who I am. I don't want to live like this." That realization is a call to recognize our righteousness and act like who we are. If you sense feelings of worthlessness and shame; if you think you are a horrible person when you sin, that isn't the Holy Spirit speaking to you. It may be your church or family history rising up to condemn you, but it isn't God's Spirit. He doesn't do that. Ever.

You can be convinced (convicted) that the ruler of this world (Satan) has already been judged and has nothing on you anymore. Your sins have been defeated, so when you find that you have fallen, don't beat yourself up because God doesn't. Just get up and act like who you are!

Saturday, May 14, 2016


By Pastor Bob Hann

A doctrine known as "Annihilation" thrives among the members of a particular persuasion. The essence of this teaching is the claim that the death of an unregenerated individual is simply the end: no eternal punishment or after-life at all. This position acknowledges that the saved pass on to eternal life in heaven when they die, thus having been saved to something, but not from anything. Scripture does not support this conclusion. In the Book of the Revelation, chapter twenty, verse four, the first resurrection is described. This is the resurrection of the righteous dead, who are qualified to enter the kingdom and "reign with Christ a thousand years" (Revelation 20:6). "But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished" (Revelation 20:5). The rest of the dead are those with whom we are concerned in considering the doctrine of annihilation.

"And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, and shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle the number of whom is as the sand of the sea" (Revelation 20:7,8). Satan attacks Jerusalem and is defeated. "And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever" (Revelation 20:10).

"And I saw a great white throne, and Him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them ... and the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works ... and whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire" (Revelation 20:11,13,15).

Speaking from His throne, the Lord says, "The fearful and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death" (Revelation 21:8).

Friday, May 13, 2016


by late Pastor Win Johnson

In his reading recently, this writer came across the following pungent statement by one of America's foremost Bible teachers of the past generation: "When turning thus to experience it is often recounted that some individual has first been a Christian and then later, become unsaved; but in every such instance, TWO UNSUPPORTABLE ASSUMPTIONS appear. It could not be demonstrated finally that the person named was saved in the first place, nor could it be established that he was unsaved in the second place." We agree wholeheartedly.

Having been raised in an Arminian background, well do we recall hearing of certain individuals who at one time were active in the Lord's work but who had forsaken their former profession and were now unsaved. Their experience was used to warn the rest of us of the danger of losing our salvation. Little did we know in those days of the obvious fact that salvation which can be earned by doing can also be lost by doing, while salvation which is entirely God's doing, man can never undo.

Those who teach a "lose your salvation" doctrine find very few Scriptures which even seem to support their view. Certainly, taking Matthew 24:13 out of it's Tribulation context, cannot be made to teach that salvation in this age depends upon our "enduring." Nor can John 15:2 which speaks of fruitless branches in the vine being "taken away," substantiate the teaching that salvation may be taken from those who are not "fruitful."

On the other hand, the Word of God is crystal clear when it says: "By grace are ye saved through faith and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God, NOT OF WORKS lest any man should boast" (Ephesians 2:8, 9).

Don't trust to hold God's hand; let Him hold yours. Let Him do the holding, and you the trusting. -- Hammer William Webb-

Dear Lord of light, I praise You for bringing me out of darkness into Your gracious light. Grant me grace to proclaim Your excellencies. Shine Your light into the hearts I hope to reach. Grant them the miracle of resting and trusting you in your high calling of us, in  the Lord Jesus we pray.  Amen.

Thursday, May 12, 2016


by Russell S. Miller
    "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth" (Genesis 1:1).

Have you ever considered that God's image is stamped upon all creation? The whole universe bears the image of God. Just ask yourself what the universe is made of. It bears the image of its Creator.

The Universe is made of three elements: Time, Space, and Matter. And each one of these is a triunity in itself:

Time is Past, Present, and Future.

Space is Length, Width, and Height.

Matter is Energy, Motion, and Phenomena.

"And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

"So God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them" (Gen.1:26,27).

When God created man, He said: "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness..." (Gen.1:26). Paul the Apostle tells us that man is "...spirit, soul, and body..." yet one man (IThes.5:23)! In John 1:1 the Lord Jesus Christ is called, The Word. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God" (John 1:1,2). In IJohn 5:7 we read most clearly these words concerning the Trinity: "For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one."

It's a shame the New World translation leaves these verses out because, not only does nature itself confirm the Triunity of God, but the Bible also clearly declares that God--God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, three Persons, yet one God--stamped His "image" and "likeness" upon all creation. In Colossians 2:9 the Deity of "the Man Christ Jesus" is confirmed: "For in Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily."

Much, much more could be said on a subject so involved as the Triunity of God.

"But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by Him" (ICor.8:6).

"...and no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost" (ICor.12:3). 

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

C. S. Lewis's Journey out of Atheism: 'The Most Reluctant Convert'

Eric Metaxas | BreakPoint |
Those of us who love and look up to the great apologist C. S. Lewis as an example of what a Christian should be , sometimes tend to forget how miraculous it is that he became a Christian at all. As a young man, Lewis’s path was taking him in quite a different direction. In fact, as Max McLean of Fellowship for the Performing Arts told us in a new interview at BreakPoint.org, “One could see him fitting into the more contemporary New Atheist camp,” in the mold of Christopher Hitchens.
Lewis as a prototype of the New Atheist? The idea boggles the mind! But it’s worth remembering just how close he came to that possibility. And Max McLean’s latest one-man play, “The Most Reluctant Convert,” brings the idea home to us in fresh new ways.
“C. S. Lewis On Stage: The Most Reluctant Convert,” which just had its world premiere in Washington, D.C., is based on Lewis’s writings, including “Surprised by Joy,” “The Problem of Pain,” “The Weight of Glory,” and some of Lewis’s letters.
Now I should say, I saw a preview of the show and it is spectacular. In the show, Lewis traces his spiritual journey for us, from an unthinking, unreflective childhood faith, through the materialistic atheism of his young adulthood, and back again to faith. The pain and brevity of life, brought close to home for him by his mother’s death, pulled him away from God. One line in particular sums up his atheistic views nicely: “I did not believe God existed, but I was angry with God for not existing.”
But even in that stage of Lewis’s life, signposts were all around him, pointing the way back. The show does a great job of highlighting some of these signposts, and demonstrating the intriguing fact that even many of Lewis’s favorite anti-religious people, books, and ideas ended up actually drawing him to faith in God.
For instance, there was the atheist tutor who taught him to think logically and to debate fiercely—habits that would eventually lead him to the idea that God must exist. The books he loved and the people he met, even his fellow atheists, kept him on this trajectory. Lewis’s story really is a shining example of how God can use anything and anyone when He pursues a soul.
And it might, and actually should give us some hope for today’s crop of New Atheists! Like that group, Lewis fought his battles on intellectual ground, but his story shows us that, contrary to popular belief, atheism doesn’t have to win such battles.
Max McLean, as you may remember, is no stranger to Lewis and his spiritual ideas. Just a few years ago he created and starred in the well-loved stage adaptation of “The Screwtape Letters.” But now, playing C. S. Lewis himself has given Max a chance to explore important facets of the great writer’s thinking and personality. He enjoys stepping into the role of the man who loved “ruthless dialectic” and was a tireless fighter in defense of truth. And his show gives us the background to better understand that personality and those ideas, for the strengthening of our own faith and convictions.
“The Most Reluctant Convert” plays in Washington until May 8. After that, it goes to San Francisco and then Los Angeles, and there are hopes for an eventual New York run. Meanwhile, Max’s group, the Fellowship for Performing Arts, will soon premiere a second show in D.C.: “Martin Luther on Trial.”
We will have a write-up of that on BreakPoint.org, so check for that in a couple of weeks. If Max and FPA can do for Martin Luther what they’ve done for C. S. Lewis, we’re all in for yet another great treat from this stellar group of Christian artists.
Come to BreakPoint.org and click on this commentary for more information on “The Most Reluctant Convert” and the Fellowship for Performing Arts.

BreakPoint is a Christian worldview ministry that seeks to build and resource a movement of Christians committed to living and defending Christian worldview in all areas of life. Begun by Chuck Colson in 1991 as a daily radio broadcast, BreakPoint provides a Christian perspective on today’s news and trends via radio, interactive media, and print. Today BreakPoint commentaries, co-hosted by Eric Metaxas and John Stonestreet, air daily on more than 1,200 outlets with an estimated weekly listening audience of eight million people. Feel free to contact us at BreakPoint.org where you can read and search answers to common questions.
Eric Metaxas is a co-host of BreakPoint Radio and a best-selling author whose biographies, children's books, and popular apologetics have been translated into more than a dozen languages.