Month: August 2016

Bitterness

    CALVARY BAPTIST CHURCH

TRUST THE BIBLE

“Bitterness

      Pastor Malcolm Harrison

 Recently I preached the message “When you can’t forgive” using the shameful event of David & Bathsheba’s terrible adultery as my text [II Sam 11] which it would help you to read before continuing. By way of introduction let me say that one of the most painful things in life is betrayal! If you’ve lived very long you may already know the great pain & heartache of having been done wrong…maybe even by someone you loved and trusted! Often in the wake of betrayal & heartache come great wrath, anger and bitterness. Let me tell you a story: Back before David slew Goliath there was a man of great wisdom named Ahithophel. So very wise and great was he that the Bible says his counsel was “as if a man had enquired at the oracle of God” [II Sam 16:23]. Ahithophel later became one of David’s counselors and most trusted friends. But David fell into a terrible sin – adultery with a married woman known as Bathsheba! She was the young beautiful wife of up and coming military hero Uriah. Uriah was a great warrior and though young himself he had already risen to David’s own elite force of valiant fighting men! Together Uriah & Bathsheba had dreams and a bright future! But while Uriah was off fighting for King and country, his King was committing adultery with his beautiful young wife! David and Bathsheba ruined forever that bright future with a night of adultery. If you’ve read the text, you know that Bathsheba ended up pregnant and to hide it, David brought Uriah home from the front to spend time with his wife so that it would appear the baby was Uriah’s and not David’s. When that failed, David had Uriah murdered in battle. Bathsheba had a loving Dad and doting Grandfather. The Bible doesn’t tell us how many times Bathsheba’s granddad gave her piggy back rides and took her fishing as a child, but it does tell us who he was. Can you guess? The beautiful young Bathsheba’s grandfather was none other than the great Ahithophel {David’s friend and counselor}. When Ahithophel discovered the dark secret of what his dear friend the great King David had done with his precious granddaughter; how he’d defiled her and gotten her pregnant & ruined a family’s hopes and had murdered her husband to hide it all he was consumed with rage! It was a painful betrayal of his son, his granddaughter, his grandson-in-law, of the throne and of God! Anger & outrage spread like a wildfire in Ahithophel! It consumed him so deeply he said horrible things [II Sam 16:15 to 17:6] and even asked David’s wicked son Absalom to let him have some men with which to go hunt David down and kill him personally [II Sam 17:1-4]. But meanwhile David had been confronted with his sin, and he and Bathsheba had paid in tears with the death of their baby for that night of fun and that murder [II Sam 12]. Sin always has a price and it’s always much higher than you think it’ll be! David sought and obtained mercy & forgiveness from God. We don’t know if he ever went to Ahithophel and asked his friend’s forgiveness, but if he did it fell on deaf ears. This betrayal had hurt Ahithophel too deeply for him to forgive. The bitterness of seeing Bathsheba in David’s arms, while her husband and baby lay cold in the grave turned his heart to stone and his great wisdom to darkness. I would caution you as your friend and as a pastor, anger and bitterness will eat you alive – you must forgive! By the end of II Sam 17 Ahithophel hung himself. The Bible tells us in Ephesians 4:26 Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Many verses come to mind in dealing with the results of anger and betrayal, of bitterness and wrath and all of them point to a simple truth: The heart that’s been born again and filled with the Spirit of God cannot long endure the heavy burden of bitterness and anger without suffering harm. See Colossians 3:13   “Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye” and Ephesians 4:32 “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you”. I encourage you to search for God’s strength in mercy by asking God to help you find compassion and forgiveness! This is the will of God. Yes, it is hard but with God all things are possible! Robert E Lee, a great Christian man, was once asked “whatever shall we do…just look what they’ve done” by a war ravaged family whose large old Oak tree had been shattered to shreds by Union cannon fire. He reflected a moment in silence and then said, “cut it down”. That’s good advice! Get the sad reminders out of sight, cut the bad memories down and move on! Come visit us at Calvary Baptist Church! 903-729-5924

God’s Fences

CALVARY BAPTIST CHURCH

TRUST THE BIBLE

“God’s Fences”

    Pastor Malcolm Harrison

 

 

Against my better judgment many years ago I let one of my son’s talk me into letting him have a puppy. We had a large back yard with a privacy fence and my son assured me he’d tend to the dog’s needs, and like many dads, I fell for it hook, line and sinker! “Max” as ‘it’ was eventually named, was a pathetic excuse for a dog. It was some kind of multi-mix mutt which I strongly suspected of having been conceived in a lab or some sinister experiment. It was spotted like a Dalmatian, built like a Dachshund and had the face of a lab; a good example of a female dog that spends time ‘outside the fence’. Nonetheless we all became fond of the mongrel and had many laughs at his expense. Max had a problem though; he was constantly digging under the fence and roaming the neighborhood vandalizing trashcans and stirring up trouble; just the kind of behavior one can reasonably expect from a suspicious looking spotted dog. The children would often have to roam the neighborhood calling out and trying to find him and then they’d chase, bait, beg, threaten or carry him back to the yard again. Over just a few years we’d filled in more “under the fence” holes than we could count. Bricks, tires, blocks, posts, debris…it didn’t matter; Max would just dig a new one. I ordered my sons to hide and scare Max back in when they caught him at it – it didn’t work. I even resorted to beatings, within reason, to drive him back into the yard – it didn’t work. Sure enough one day Max was standing in the road and was hit by a speeding car. To put it gently – it was bad. Cuts, rips, deep gashes, many teeth knocked out, hide peeled, bleeding profusely, Max was hurt bad. My daughter was screaming, Max was bellowing but it was far too late then the damage was done. I should have put him out of his misery but I didn’t have the heart and the children begged me not to. So, bleeding and hurt bad, they carried him home and for several weeks we doctored, wrapped, bandaged, fed him soup and waited. Slowly he recovered and after his release into the yard, never dug another hole or tried to get out again. Ecclesiastes 10:8 says “He that diggeth a pit shall fall into it; and whoso breaketh an hedge, a serpent shall bite him”. Sadly many Christians I’ve seen are just like that dog…always digging under the fence and roaming around in worldliness & carnality. Always looking over their shoulder back to the “flesh pots” of Egypt…always looking for a way to “get away with sin” in their lives. Filthy worldly music, filthy movies full of cursing, nudity, promiscuity, unequal yokes {wrong friends, wrong associations, wrong relationships, wrong marriage}; some “Christians” are always more interested in the things God is trying to keep out of their lives than what He’s trying to put into their lives. There are some Christians I know who are always “digging under the fence” God has put around them. Max had it made inside that fence, we gave him everything a dog could want but it was never ‘enough’. So it is with a Christian living inside the boundaries of the walls God has placed around you. Inside God’s will you find shelter, love, providence, mercy, grace, blessings, purpose, closeness and companionship and fellowship. Out side God’s will awaits heartbreak, divorce, pain, suffering, struggle, hardship and difficulty [Prov 13:15]. What Max couldn’t understand was, the fence wasn’t there to keep him from having fun, it was there to keep the world away from him! What some Christians can’t seem to get is that God hasn’t walled you inside the Bible to keep you from enjoying life, he’s walled you about with the scriptures to keep the world out of your life! The walls are for your protection. Our house has doors with locks. They’re not to keep me in, but to keep the world out! They keep me safe & protected. The Bible’s limitations on Christian living are not against you – they’re FOR YOU! Praise God! Sadly, I see more and more young people {even some adults} many from good Christian homes setting their eyes on things outside the fence of God’s will. They choose foolish idols, foolish influences, foolish relationships and foolish friendships, things that bring heartache, addiction, pain, suffering, shame and failure…sooner or later, they get hit by one of those ‘cars’ on life’s highway. Some survive…some don’t. Don’t believe that? Visit an abortion clinic, a prison, a jail, a rehab center. Weekly I speak with “Christians” who ‘dig under the fence and get out of God’s will’. He’s called, begged, chastised and rebuked but still…some won’t learn and won’t listen. I could tell you true accounts by the dozen of Christians who “got run over” by a car they never saw and they are still suffering from the wounds of a terribly painful lesson about ‘digging under God’s fences”. Stay in!!! Come visit with us at Calvary Baptist Church at 703 Gillespie Rd in Palestine, Texas 903-729-5924

 

 

Take Ye Away The Stone

Pastor Malcolm Harrison

 In John chapter 11 God gave us the wonderful & incredible account of the resurrection of Lazarus. There are many different doctrines and teachings to be learned and studied in this great event! One I’d like to share with you to help you in your prayer. First, read John 11 to refresh your memory. As you read verse one you see Lazarus was sick and in verse three his worried sisters Mary & Martha sent for Jesus! When Jesus got to them, after Lazarus’s death, Mary & Martha regard his arrival as “too late” and poor Mary says “Lord, if thou had been here, my brother had not died” vs 32. Jesus tells her to show him the grave. Have you ever wondered why Jesus asked her to show him where the grave was when he knew full well where it was? Carefully study and pray about that question. The answer should bring a smile & a tear to your face. Notice verse 39 [that is where we’ll take our text] and notice what Jesus said to Mary & Martha “Take ye away the stone”. Did you ever wonder why Jesus {son of Almighty God who can calm the seas, raise the dead, heal the sick, cast out devils and by whom all the whole universe was formed} would ask two women to move a huge stone? He certainly doesn’t need them or anyone else to move the stone away. He could’ve turned it into a parakeet or a bucket of fish had he but willed it. He could have turned the stone into a big ginger-bread cookie had he but thought it, but no, he told these two women to take away that stone….don’t you wonder why? Because like always God is teaching…through his son Jesus the Christ we are being taught several very important things here. One of which is this: Prayer involves removing obstacles! Sometimes the reason God doesn’t answer our prayers is that there is an Obstacle between our prayer petition and God. Here is our problem…we want God to move, but we don’t want to move! Sometimes God says to us “as long as you know that there’s an obstacle between me and your prayer request, I won’t answer it until you remove the obstacle”. We let things get in our life, sins that create obstacles to our prayers…sins create barriers that come between us and what we’re asking God for. We pray and beg God to move and the Holy Spirit within us all but shouts “yes God would love to answer your prayers but you’ve got this adultery here and that beer there and this filthy language here that you’ve got to deal with…What about these?” So, if we’re listening, the Holy Spirit shows us in our hearts what the “stone” is that must be removed…and we don’t want to move it…we don’t want to deal with our sins. So we ignore the Holy Spirit’s urgings and convictings….and our prayers go unanswered and our fellowship with God is broken! Some might be thinking “my goodness preacher…is it really that serious…can sin in my life, like skipping church, really prevent God from answering my prayers”? Lets see what the Bible says [Prov 28:9, Psalm 66:18, Isaiah 59:2-3, Jeremiah 14:11-12]. Willful intentional unrepentant sin most certainly WILL become a stone which God demands YOU take away before he will answer your prayers! Take a father who has a very sick child. Such a man needs his prayers to reach heaven Amen?! He needs God to answer his prayers on behalf of that child! But the dad is living in adultery and wont repent of it, won’t forsake it. God is in Heaven watching, waiting to answer, hoping the father will remove that “stone of adultery”, but the father loves his adultery more than his son and will not “take away the stone”. The prayer goes unanswered…the child doesn’t recover and the father blames God! All along it was the dad’s power to get that prayer answered, but he himself prevented God from answering! Is your love of sin, stronger than your desire to see God answering prayer in your life? Jesus said “Take ye away the stone”. One thing I can tell you as a son, as a father, as a husband and as a pastor who has seen many, many wonderful prayers answered, is that if you’ll repent, take away the stones of willful sin and get on your heart’s knees before God, you’ll see God answering prayers in your life! Come Visit us Soon at Calvary!

 

A Child Of The King

One of the common misconceptions promoted by the ‘all inclusive’ religion of today is the notion that ALL people are the “Children of God”. From internet forums to the erosive ‘community church’ movement self-styled ‘pastors’ are promoting this unbiblical precept in an effort to change who God is and thereby to change the definition of “Christian”.

Nonetheless let’s ask the question: Is this true? Is this really Biblical? Not hardly. In this brief article let me encourage you to “Trust the Bible”! Turn with me to the “Gospel of John” Chapter 8 verse 24-59 (In the REAL Bible…by which of course I mean of course the Authorized Bible…The King James Bible). Read those verses carefully and pay close attention to verses 36-47. There we find the Jewish Pharisees (the religious cream of the crop) getting more and more disgusted with Jesus’ narrow view of who is and who is not a follower of God nor the children of God. In verse 39 this religious crowd said “we are the children of Abraham” (by which they were referring to their genealogical descent from Abraham and which to them meant they were physically “holy” and beloved of God).

Jesus answered saying “If ye were Abraham’s Children ye would do the works of Abraham”. [The reference is allegorical – a son who loves his father obeys his father and follows his father’s leading in life – Proverbs is filled with references to good vs bad sons. Jesus is in effect saying if you really were good sons of your father you’d do as your father did. Abraham followed God and it is a forgone conclusion that if these Pharisees were going to claim to be Abrahams children then it follows that they’d do what their father did…but since they were not doing that, it is concluded that they are NOT his true children]. To drive his point home he adds “Ye do the deeds of your father” Vs 41 and they saidGod is our Father’. What follows is an outrage to liberals, atheist, agnostics, evolutionist, and particularly to the ‘religious liberal’. vs 42-44 IF GOD WERE YOUR FATHER YE WOULD LOVE ME…YE ARE OF YOUR FATHER THE DEVIL, and the lusts of your father ye will do”.

THERE IT IS! If you want to know WHY America and the rest of the world is at the point it is at…there is your answer. There are two peoples of the earth. They who love and follow God and they who do not. All divisions of people pale in comparison to this. “He that is of God heareth God’s words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God”. It is not complicated – it is in fact very simple. Either you love God and follow God (by the way it is of course a matter of fact that there is just ONE GOD) or you don’t.

Is everyone on the planet, regardless of doctrinal view or religious label, a child of God? Jesus answered that question point blank in our text: NO! Only they who “love and obey God” (all who deny Christ Jesus do so in denial of God’s word and of God himself – herein is the damning danger of denying the Trinity 1st John 5:7 and all of John 17). The Pharisees believed sincerely and completely that their “physical birth and blood line” was their ticket to heaven. The Jews practicing the keeping of the law of Moses believed like the Pharisees that salvation was to be had only in obeying the law and being a Jew (either by birth or by becoming a proselyte). {Paul wrote Galatians by inspiration of the Holy Ghost to explain that it is NOT the physical birth but the spiritual birth that counts when it comes to the matter of salvation}. Still today many believe that physical birth makes us all the children of God and as such that all people are simply traveling various ‘roads to heaven’ and that all religious roads lead to God. The Biblical reality is that some are the children of God and some are not. Those that are became the children of God by the New Birth{John 1:12, 3:3-5, 16-18, 36, Ephesians 2:8} without which one is a child of the devil {John 3:36}. Over the years many have asked me “how could a good and loving God throw his own children into hell”? Excellent question! The answer is that God will not throw his own children into hell but He certainly WILL throw all the children of the Devil into Hell [Rev 20]. The King James Bible says * You either come to God by Christ Jesus or you don’t come at all. All ‘religions’ not revolving around the Lord Jesus Christ and the new birth by Grace through Faith are hopeless roads to Hell. All people regardless of standing or state, Nationality or religious view, race or creed are either the children of God by the New Birth or they are the children of the Devil, PERIOD. The Pharisees hated Jesus for this saying. The Jews hated Jesus for this saying and crucified him for it. The Muslims hated this truth so they propped up their own Dagon [1st Samuel Ch 5] whom they named Allah and assigned him a false prophet named Muhammad. All over the world Christ Jesus is hated for the truth [John 8:45]. No wonder then that He said “He that is of God heareth God’s words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are NOT of God” [John 8:47]. To deny the Holy Bible is to deny God AND reveal that one is OF THE DEVIL. We hope you’ll bring your family to visit with us soon at Calvary Baptist Church across from Pizza Hut on the Loop in Palestine, Texas this week! Church – 903-729-5924