The Resurrection

My pastor, Lev Humphries, wrote the following article which I offer to you here as a blessing: [The Resurrection of Christ was a hot topic in New Testament times. It was one of the most often preached topics of Peter and Paul. In fact, in Acts 23 when Paul perceived that the one part were Sadducees, and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, Men and brethren, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee: of the hope and resurrection of the dead I am called in question. That sparked a division For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, neither angel: but the Pharisees confess both. Paul told Timothy in 2 Tim.2:18 that Hymenaeus and Philetus had, erred, saying that the resurrection is past already;… False doctrine concerning the resurrection is not new. 1 Cor. 15 is mostly concerned with the resurrection and tells us If the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.Verse 20-22 stateBut now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first fruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. Whether you are saved or not, you will be resurrected. Jesus spoke of this in John 5:28-29. Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming in the which all that are in the graves shall hear His voice, And shall come forth: they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation. Verse 24 explains that salvation is not merited by those who do good. It is received by faith. Verse 29 is a result of faith in Christ, the New Birth. If you look at Rom. 10:9-13, we have an invitation to the lost to call upon the name of Christ. If you look at verse 9 you will see the importance of believing in the resurrection of Christ: That if thou shalt confess with they mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. Remember 1 Cor.15:17, And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain…1 Peter 1:3, Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to His abundant mercy hath begotton us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.Revelation 1:18 Jesus statesI am He that liveth, and was dead; and , behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death“] This Sunday is the day we will celebrate what Christians refer to as “Resurrection Sunday”. It is the most crucial doctrinal truth of the Bible. In fact without the resurrection there would be no New Testament, no God ordained church and no eternal hope, no forgiveness of sins and no escape of damnation. Without the resurrection there would be no way for believers to be reconciled to our great merciful God! Without the resurrection there would be no hope of that glad reunion with dear loved ones who have died believing on God. We would sing no glad songs of joy, peace and hope. This Sunday we invite you to come and rejoice with us in the resurrection at Calvary Baptist Church in Palestine.

The Cup Not Taken Away

There are many different ‘cups’ in this old amazing Bible. Sometimes they’re literal cups, sometimes they’re allegorical cups, sometimes they’re prophetic cups. There are cups of blessing [1st Cor 10:16], of salvation [Psalm 116:13], of fury [Isaiah 51:17], and of wrath, judgment, indignation [See Psalm 11:6, 16:5, 23:5, 75:8, Jeremiah 51:7, Zechariah 12:2, Matt 10:42, 20:23 and there are more].  I can certainly say and know beyond doubt that the great and terrible King has handed me some of these cups over the years. I have drank from the cup of salvation, the cup of blessing, the cup of marriage, of children, of laughter and the cup of weeping; but always with the cup of mercy. There have been some cups I didn’t want to drink from, some I didn’t think I could handle.  I am thankful for the certain knowledge that the greatest gift ever given {Our sweet Lord Jesus} took one of my cups because I couldn’t take it and He loved me enough to take it for me. You may recall that in Matthew chapter 26 vs. 36 Jesus went to an ‘alone’ place where instead of sitting in the pew He “fell on his face and prayed” [vs 39] {which is something the Baptist were doing 2000 yrs before any other church was listed in the carrier pigeon and smoke signals book}. I fear I see little or no “falling on one’s face to pray” anymore. But watch on – He prayed there saying “…O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt”.  Let me call to your attention this week a comforting if difficult truth…Some ‘cups’ are not taken away.  Some cups may be handed to you and you alone must drink them. Cups that no one else can drink…perhaps you too will plead that the Father would take it from you if it be possible! Perhaps it will be a cup of terrible sickness, or a cup of horrible disease, or a cup of wrenching heartache? It may even be the cup of death.  I hope this is not the case – but we all run the race that is set before us [Hebrews 12:1] and we drink from those cups that are handed to us along the way. Like those runners for various causes and charities. They run along the road and at various points are tables set with cups of refreshment for them to take as they go by.  I notice they do not fear the cups but they just grab them and slam them down and keep on going. They trust those who hand them the cup. Is it not the same for you Christian? Have you not been handed enough good cups, cups of blessing and mercy and grace, that you have learned you can trust the Father with those hard and bitter cups too?  I think if you reflect back you will see He has given you far more cups of grace than of hardship. Even our precious Lord the Son of the Living God had to drink from a cup handing to Him by His own Father. If He will trust and obey and accept “the cup not taken away” then can we not all take our cups firmly in hand and drink them knowing that our Sweet Heavenly Father can be trusted implicitly with the contents? As for me I have come to trust that God will enable me to be confident that He knows best. His will is perfect. Calvary Baptist Church across from Pizza Hut on the Loop 903-729-5924. 

The Authority and Power of the Word of God

Napoleon once promoted a young soldier from the ranks to Captain. The old war horse had lost control of his steed and the young man had risked his own life to stop it. Napoleon was so impressed that he immediately promoted the young soldier to Captain of the guard on the spot. When the young soldier went to head of the ranks the unknowing leader ordered him back to his duties, but the new Captain refused and told him he’d been promoted to Captain. When asked by whose authority he replied “by order of the emperor” and that was that. Nothing more could be nor needed to be said. So powerful was the word of the famous emperor that upon hearing it all questions ceased.

Solomon, penman and secondary author of the great book of Ecclesiastes wrote in Chapter 8 vs 4 “Where the word of the King is, there is power: and who may say unto him, What doest thou? Old king Nebuchadnezzar back in Daniel Chapter 4 wrote two particularly interesting things that God permitted to be recorded in His bible – verse 34 “…I blessed the most High, and I praised and honored him that liveth for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation. 35 And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou? Job, oldest book in the bible, permits us to hear these ominous words which God said to him in Ch 38:2 “Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge”? And in verse 4 there “Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? Declare, if thou hast understanding?”

I am sure that I am not alone in being thankful that the “great and terrible God” [Neh 1:5] gave me enough sense to regard the words of the “Living God” for what they are! Absolutely inerrant, completely and unquestionably powerful far beyond my ability to comprehend and totally worthy of my devout belief, obedience, submission and fear. I trust in them, have my confidence in them, live by them and count it quite an honor that my precious King of Kings and Lord of Lords even allowed them to be given to me in my own language over 400 years ago.

I don’t know about you friend, but I am one of those old fashioned bible believers who thinks God said what He meant and meant what He said in John 14:23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. What does that mean? It means exactly that ‘if anyone really is a Christian and really does love the Lord Jesus Christ, he or she WILL keep God’s words’. How can someone who doesn’t even believe they exist perfectly in the bible do so?

Finishing What You Started

In Luke 14:28-30 The Only Begotten Son of God said “For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, Saying, This man began to build and was not able to finish.”

Can I call a few observations to mind? #1 “Christianity isn’t easy” or #2 “cheap”. Another good lesson to draw from this text for the student of the word of God would be #3 “Finish What You Started”.
I cannot stress enough what damage is done when professing Christians cave in and fall out. Many have I met who mock the Bible and insult Christianity and when you get to the bottom of it you often find that some Christian they trusted long ago, someone they loved quit and it robbed them of their hope! Time and again I’ve listened to the testimonies of those who at first appearance seem to hate Christians…someone who, as a child, watched their grandparents, or parents make a decision to follow Christ and then after some time they fell out, quit and their fall completely devastated someone who was watching to see if “it was real”. 
I wish I had space here to share with you just a few testimonies of some I’ve talked to over the years who said “No…I don’t want to hear about Christianity or Christ or God or Church…it wasn’t important to my parents and it isn’t important to me”. 
It is sad to think of those moms and dads who turned their own kids away from God by starting and then quitting. One man told me his father turned him away from Christianity by playing good Christian on Sunday and otherwise living like a hellion Mon-Saturday. “If that’s Christianity you can keep it”. 
Can I give you Christian parents, neighbors, grandparents, aunts, uncles, brothers and sisters some advice?! You are being watched and your walk is making an impact. Don’t quit! Don’t wobble on the axle! Get that Bible in its place every day; get that Christian life in its place every day! Put your feet on the floor saying “Lord…help me to honor you today lest I cause someone else to stumble and fall by my poor example”! If you’ve started on this Christian course of life – FINISH IT! If you’re a Christian, you’ve started a good thing, but a hard thing….So FINISH IT! Get serious about it before it is too late and you find yourself watching those who were watching you, headed to hell because you didn’t have the will and drive to dig in and go all the way! Don’t quit! Someone has to be willing to stand up for Jesus even if everyone else quits. Finish it! 
If you’ve already fell out; get up, brush off, and get going again! 

One of These Days Soon…I’ll Call for You

Old Paul was quite an opponent in a debate. Having been a ‘top shelf’ Pharisee himself he was intimately familiar with the scriptures and having met Christ himself and his eyes opened there was no stopping him in a discussion. A great example of Paul’s debate and convincing abilities can be read in Acts 24. There we find a lying con-artist named Tertullus doing his best to make Paul out to be a ‘pestilent fellow’ {common thug & troublemaker}. He accuses Paul of starting riots and profaning the temple. You know the type, Tertullus is one of those guys who stirs up more strife in a week than most do in their whole life. Anyway, after Tertullus finishes stacking up his big pile of false statements again Paul, Governor Felix says “ok Paul, let’s hear your side in this big hullabaloo.

Paul takes the witness stand and proceeds to dismantle Tertullus and all the fabricated accusations limb by limb. His reasoning and discussion of the facts is so compelling that even Governor Felix had to admit he couldn’t argue with it. A few weeks later as the testimony continues Paul is again before Felix and his argument so compelling that Felix had to get away from Paul or join him! In Acts 24:25 Felix says “Go thy way for this time, when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee”. 
I suppose anyone who has been in church long has heard this subject addressed, preached and taught on. I suppose any preacher worth his keep has seen someone under conviction raise a hand saying “pray for me pastor, I’m lost and I know it” and then seen them walk out of the church never to return. It’s a heartbreaker for any of us who has been witnessing to a lost loved one or friend. To see them come right up to the door and then withdraw the hand and turn away. Some perhaps will eventually open it and be gloriously saved. However, as in the case of Felix, we see that his refusal of Christ just made him harder and harder. He listened to Paul for two full years and wasn’t converted. 
When some important folks showed up Felix wanted to impress them and the Jews who hated Paul so he left Paul in chains. It certainly seems clear that not only did Felix’ refusal of Christ harden his heart, but it hardened his heart so much that, as far as we know, he never did accept Christ.

“When I have a convenient time”. I wonder how many have died before the convenient time ever came? I wonder how many have said “tomorrow I will for sure”. One of the saddest things in the book of Acts is this piece of scripture…tomorrow, maybe next week, maybe next month… Can I just encourage you to not to wait? The latter part of 2 Corinthians 6:2 says “behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” If you are saved, don’t neglect to warn your loved ones. Sooner or later for us all, there is no tomorrow.

Some Verses That are a Help in Time of Trouble

Over the years as I have faced my Goliaths and my times of rejoicing the sweet Lord has brought to my mind and heart some scripture verses that changed me, matured me, illuminated my way and brightened my path. Sometimes He’s given verses that made me laugh and made me smile. Often in times when I felt so alone He’s called to mind a verse that made me feel His presence so real I thought I could reach out and touch Him. He’s given me verses that warmed my heart. Many times he’s called to my mind scriptures that brought me up out of a horrible pit and at times when I’ve been done wrong by someone. In times of betrayal, in times of cruel accusations, in times of slander and lies. Oh, don’t we all know those?

Over the years there have been many who I have shared some of these verses with, those He’s put in my path. Sitting in hospital lobbies and waiting rooms, at funeral homes, in jails and prisons, on porches. The sad, the broken hearted, the lonely, the weary, the sick, the devastated and those on a deathbed. God has words of comfort, words of wisdom, words of help and assurance and confidence – it seems to me sometimes almost an insult to call them words, for these are filled with power and strength and comfort. Here are just a few that have been very precious to me and a great help to others as well in dark times. I urge you to turn and look at them in the perfect and most ancient of texts [which was retitled 400 years ago “The Authorized Version” called by some ‘the King James’ Bible].

Jeremiah 32:17 and Jeremiah 33:3 “Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not”. Isaiah 41:10 is a great one! Psalm 86:7 “In the day of my trouble I will call upon thee: for thou wilt answer me”. All of Psalm 51! Psalm 34:18 “The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit”. Psalm 27:13-14 have helped me often “I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. 14 “Wait I say on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait I say, on the Lord”. Job 13:15, Proverbs 13:15 “Good understanding giveth favour, but the way of transgressors is hard”. Proverbs 11:14, Luke 1:37, Mark 1:15 and the whole book of John. Revelation 21:4 is a sweet comfort “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away”. Ask God for the one He has for you today, for there are many!!

The Burglar That Escapes Undetected

Back many years ago I took the entrance exam for a large Police Department in Florida (and was later hired). I had to spend the night to be there for the long day of tests & exams so I had driven in the night before and gotten a hotel room. The next morning early I discovered that my truck had been burglarized! My truck was ransacked and tools, stereo and other odds and ends were stolen. The thief had broken in through my camper’s sliding window and breaking the latch.

It was clearly the work of an amateur. The really good burglars pride themselves on getting in & out undetected. They leave no evidence, no prints, nothing out of place. They sneak in, steal one or two things that often go unmissed and sneak out with the doors locked just as they found them. Their goal is that the crime will not even be discovered. Have you been burglarized? Let’s put it to the test and see if something monumentally important has been stolen from you that you didn’t even notice was missing! Turn in your Bible to 1st John 5:7 and lets check to see if any of the words that God gave you have been stolen. Your Bible should read “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.” If it doesn’t…the words of God have been stolen from your Bible. Some thieves try to tell you those words were ‘made up by men’ in 323 AD and don’t really belong in the Bible, but the fact is this verse was being quoted in writings by students of the Apostles as early as 70 A.D. 
Let’s look at another one: In Acts 8 the Lord sent the apostle Philip to go meet and teach a fella who wanted to know about Jesus. The fella was completely confused and so Philip met him and told him all about Jesus and showed him some scriptures to prove it. Afterwards the man wanted to be baptized and Philip said something vitally important to him in verse 8:37 “And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God”. WOW! Talk about a major league important piece of Scripture!!

It isn’t at all a surprise to me to see Bibles that have removed this verse completely or cut out the most important part. If I were the great thief and liar called Lucifer I would use every resource at my disposal to create Bibles from which I’ve removed some words here and there…like a good burglar. There are many hundreds of stolen words, words of the Living God, which sneaky burglars & thieves have stolen from all newer versions of the Bible since 1881. However if you want a Bible that has ALL the words God gave get yourself a 1611 King James Bible.

Those Who Wander from the Path

Sixty six year old retired nurse and hiking enthusiast Geraldine was lost and she knew she was in deep trouble. She’d tried repeatedly to call and text her husband from the deep woods but there was no service. ‘She was afraid to be alone and scared of the dark’ a friend said. Out of food, supplies and hopelessly lost, Geraldine wrote in her journal “When you find my body, it would be a great kindness if you would please call my husband and daughter and tell them I am dead…”. Then, inside her sleeping bag, inside her tent, she died. It would be a full two years before her remains were found by a logging company surveyor. 
If you walked from Palestine’s hospital to the Gateway gas station just south of the loop on highway 79 you’d have walked almost exactly two miles. That’s how far from the path and help Geraldine was.

Proverbs 4:14 sais “Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men.” Many verses echo this truth and warn us that there are right paths, wrong paths, plain paths, uneven paths, crooked paths and straight paths. Sadly we live in a generation wherein many seem to think that no matter how lost they are, they’re still on their own path. Too many think that wherever they are is their path and they don’t want to be warned {judged} no matter how far from the real path they’ve wandered. To them the path is wherever they happen to be. Statistics report that between 2010-2014 192 people died while hiking…they got lost and starved.

So it is spiritually as well. There are some plain paths in life for the Christian to follow and some they’re told to avoid. In life, hikers doom themselves by being unprepared, inexperienced and making poor decisions. In the spiritual life this holds true as well: we find Christians failing through a lack of Bible study, making poor spiritual decisions and most of all a lack of experience {relationship} with God. Many years ago I took my Great and Terrible God by the hand and asked him to show me and lead me in a plain path. There have been times when I wandered off the path, but it was because I let go of his hand. Each time I’ve stopped and shouted and called for him and he came to me and led me back to the path. Each time he has warned me to stay beside him and hold his hand. If you’ve gotten off the path and lost your way we urge you to stop where you are and call out to God. He will lead you back to the plain path! 

Why Hast Thou Done This?

Last week we looked into Jonah’s refusal to obey God and his finding of a ship to escape the will of God. This week let me call your attention to Jonah chapter 1 verses 4 through 10. In his rebellion to God’s will Jonah found a ship, paid the fare, found a good spot and went to sleep. [In like manner many Christians have done so; abandoned their post, found a comfy spot in the world and gone to sleep]. In verse 4 and 5 God sent a terrible storm. In verse 6 through 9 the mariners feared for their lives and struggled to determine why this storm was upon them. [There is a massive doctrinal and life lesson there too] can you see it? In verse 8 and 9 (with 11 considered) they confront Jonah and he confesses who he is and why the storm has befallen them. In verse 10 after Jonah tells these seasoned veteran shipmasters why they face the destruction of their ship and their lives, they were terrified and they demanded to know “Why Hast Thou Done This”?

Let me borrow your imagination for a few moments. The sky is black with storm clouds, the wind howls, the peels of lightening flash and the thunder is deafening. It rips the sails to shreds and breaks beams! You must shout to be heard by the man standing next to you. The ship reels and bucks and groans under the strain as the waves crash down on the deck. It plunges down into the troughs and then up on the next wave. Crates, ropes and tackle shatter against the railing. The men, white with panic, stagger and struggle to find something to hold onto. Some have seen the huge fish circling the ship. They fear the ship will be destroyed and they will all perish. Amidst this scene they shout their accusatory question at Jonah “WHY HAST THOU DONE THIS”?!

Why have you turned your back on God? Why have you abandoned what He told you to do? Why did you say “I surrender all to thee” when you had no intention to do so?! For the rebelling Christian alone many hard life lessons are stuffed into these few verses. Questions like: ‘Why did you tell God you would do His will and then turn your back on it’? ‘Has your storm arrived yet?’ Are you already in the belly of hell? Jonah 2:2. Can I point out that God sends storms only to turn those He loves back. He sends a storm because all else has failed to get our attention! When the mariners obeyed God that storm stopped. Can I point out that God has some storms beyond our wildest dreams if that’s what it takes to break our pride. We’re out of time and space for this week but let me urge you to study your Bible and see what God might show you.

Those Little Loving Reminders from God

Back years ago while preparing to enter full time ministry, I had started a family business to leave with my children in Florida. I was setting up a landscaping & tree work business. I had taken a tough job which involved removing a large heavy tree that was leaning far over a fence and a deep ravine in a posh neighborhood. 
The job was in a wooded section of two adjoining yards over a deep ravine with a chain link fence separating the two. It was hard, meticulous and dangerous work. I should’ve passed on it. Worse yet I had underbid it and left myself no room for error. The “climber” I had hired to rope it down piece by piece was costing me as well. Everything was going fine until he made a wrong cut and sure enough, down came 3000 pounds of solid oak and flattened that chain link fence into mangled scrap. I was now in the hole on this job! I was outraged. I was furious at the tree, furious at the fence, furious at the climber for making a stupid mistake, furious with myself for starting a business, furious at the birds for singing – you get the picture. Angrily I ordered my son and the climber to go to Lowe’s and buy the materials needed to repair the destroyed section of fence. Three new fence posts, 12 ft. of chain link fencing, ties, post caps.

After they left I stood there brooding and frustrated and worried. I looked up into the blue sky and said “Lord, I sure do need your help right now”. As I said it I drew back and kicked the pile of leaves at my feet. Clang! A metal against metal sound? I did it again. Clang! Absentmindedly I started kicking leaves and bramble aside with my boot. Low and behold what lay at my feet? Three chain link fence posts, three post caps, ties, and a roll of left over chain link exactly the amount I needed to fix the destroyed section! It had been buried there under the bramble and leaves and weeds just waiting and God had parked my feet right in the perfect spot to reveal it when I needed it. When did he make that provision for me? I do not know. But I do know that when I asked the Lord for help he answered me just like he said – Glory! I looked up into that blue sky and remembered Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end”. I remembered Job’s words in Job 13:15 “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him…”. I couldn’t help but be reminded yet again how my sweet King gives me these little loving reminders that He sees me. He hears my prayers and my cries. He knows my needs. Even little insignificant me, standing in a muddy ravine brooding in my anger he took time to send me a reminder – I love you! {Psalm 50:15}
How about you friend? Are you watching for God’s little reminders of love? Don’t let yourself get to thinking that you are not important to the great and terrible God of the living!

« Older posts