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The Bridegroom Hath the Bride Part 2

Last week we took a quick glance at John the Baptist’s role as the “friend of the bridegroom” [John 3:29 1611 KJB] {from which we adopted the European role of “best man” in our version of weddings}. This week let’s peel back another layer of this incredible Bible truth. Good old John wasn’t much of a ‘seeker sensitive’ lovey dovy kissy huggy kind of preacher. In fact his preaching against adultery got him tossed in prison and beheaded in his day. Like it or not, I’d go so far as to say if he preached against adultery in our time, most protestant churches would soon ‘feel led to hand him his pink slip and seek a new pastor’. Perhaps even many Baptist churches (which long pre-date the protestant ‘reformation’ and the Catholic church) would send him packing. What has this got to do with the Bridegroom and the bride (Christ and the Church)? Glad you asked – Christ doesn’t commit adultery against his betrothed wife (the church) and the betrothed wife doesn’t commit adultery against her husband (which is Christ) [Exodus 20:14 Thou shalt not commit adultery]. This commandment of God to Israel tells us how God the Father feels about the sanctity of marriage. I am sure many of you remember when most Christians and even the majority of lost people held adultery as a defilement of contempt and shame. In our days they’re having defilement parades whilst waiving defilement flags for adultery and all manner of reprobation. But enough, let us consider Christ. Why did John name himself “the friend of the Bridegroom”?  Because a wedding is coming. The Bridegroom is even now preparing a home for his bride. [John 14 “in my father’s house are many mansions {some fake bibles read ‘rooms’}. “I go to prepare a place for you”. Why prepare a place for the bride if the bride isn’t going to be {watch these words} “CAUGHT UP TOGETHER with them in the clouds to “meet the Lord in the air”? [Did you notice that at this part of the 2nd Coming – Christ does not set one foot on the ground at the Mount of Olives? You may remember that at the 2nd Coming, God said, in Zechariah 14:4 And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south. Some teach this is a contradiction – which is kind of funny if you know your Bible. There is no contradiction at all – simply TWO completely different parts of the 2nd coming are in view. Part 1 is of course ‘the rapture’ or “catching up” or if you understand it, the “calling out of the bride” by the bridegroom in preparation for the wedding of the church [Ephesians 5]. When the Bridegroom “calls out His bride” and “receives her unto himself” – “that where I am there ye may be also” [John 14:3] then begins ‘Jacob’s time of Trouble’ [Jeremiah 30:7]. The calling forth of the bride is next on the prophetic clock. Paul said ‘don’t worry about Anti-Christ. Focus rather on doing what Christ said – be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not”.

The Bridegroom Hath the Bride Part 1

When confronted about who he was ‘prophetically’ and what his role was in God’s photo album of doctrine, John ‘the Baptist’ answered saying “Ye yourselves bear me witness, that I said, I am not the Christ, but that I am sent before him” [John 3:28] 29 “He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled”. The husband, or bridegroom, is of course the Lord Jesus Christ [Revelation 18:23] and of course the bride is the church [Ephesians 5:25] and as a man (husband) and his woman (wife) are ONE [Ephesians 5:31] this picture is of Christ and His bride [32]. Something interesting about Jewish marriage customs is the practice of a Shadchan or {Matchmaker}. This ‘Shadchan’ is often a relative of or friend of the family and would seek out compatible mates – thus eliminating the often failure of ‘roll-of-the-dice” matches. In fact so many random matches fail that the practice of having a Shadchan arrange meetings with compatible mates is regaining popularity in Jewish culture. Once the Shadchan has arranged a meeting the groom and bride meet and determine for themselves if they are interested in the match and they choose whether to proceed. Once betrothed, the couple are referred to as husband and wife although they do not physically consummate the marriage until the betrothal has ended. Now watch this! After the betrothal, the groom prepares a dwelling place [John 14:1-3] for his new wife [Ephesians 5] and the family they are about to begin. Once completed the groom’s father would inspect it and determine if it was ready. If so, the father would choose a time and date to send his son (the groom) to go get his new bride and bring her to the new home! The groom was, until his father sends him to get his bride, unaware of when this might happen [Matt 24:42]. As such, a Jewish bride was told to keep herself pure, prepared and to be watching for her husband to come and call her out of her father’s house. In this traditional Jewish marriage practice the groom does not enter her house but stands outside with his entourage and calls [Matt 25:6, 13] for his bride to come out to meet him.  With her bride’s maids she comes out to meet him [Matt 25:1] and is carried to her wedding chamber prepared by her husband! It is a beautiful and joyous occasion which is celebrated by friends and family of the bride and groom!  How interesting this picture is! Friend – don’t let yourself be misled by a well-meaning but poorly studied preacher. The Lord IS coming for His bride as soon as His Father says “go get her”. It WILL happen without notice “as a thief in the night” [1st Thessalonians 5:2] and 2 will be working and all the sudden 1 will be gone [Matt 24:41]. The beginning miracle of our Lord’s public ministry was at a wedding [John 2]. The 2nd Coming of Christ in His Kingship ministry will begin with a wedding. That wedding won’t start until the Bride is present with Him. As such we will be gathered unto Him [1st Thessalonians 5:9, 2nd Thessalonians 2:1, Revelation 4:1 et al].

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.

God’s Stamp of Approval

There are many texts we could turn to in considering the topic of “God’s Stamp of Approval” but for sake of space & time let me just draw your attention to a few.  The thought on my heart for this message is a difficult one but a simple one and it is simply this: The Christian has to be very careful about putting God’s stamp of approval on things God doesn’t approve and in so doing lend peace to someone about doing something God would never give them peace about doing.

Many texts come to mind but just take for example the whole chapter of Genesis 34:1-34 (which see). In that sad text we find the account of Dinah, Jacob’s daughter, who was a ‘young damsel’. We’re not told how old she was but the context suggests somewhere in her early to mid teens. Jacob gave her permission to go out wandering around to “see the daughters of the land” {apparently she wanted to go make some friends with other girls her age} and there’s nothing wrong with that. Where the problem comes in is that Jacob permitted her to go wandering alone [unguarded, unprotected, ungoverned and unaccompanied]. Huge Mistake!! While she’s “out hanging out” she gets spotted by a young thug named Shechem who decides that since she’s pretty, young and alone she must be ‘available’ and he rapes her. *Let me say here, and I know some will disagree with me, NO she most certainly didn’t ‘deserve’ it and NO I don’t care what she was wearing she didn’t “ask for it”. The story goes downhill from there and a lot of people die before it’s over but the point is – God would never have given approval for her to be out wandering around town without a chaperon, but Jacob gave her permission to do so and in effect “put God’s stamp of approval” on permitting unsupervised, ungoverned and unchecked teens to be roaming around. Many parents today would say “oh that’s crazy…what’s wrong with letting teenagers have a little fun”? Nothing, as long as they’re supervised by ‘responsible’ adults. Sure a lot of parents disagree with that kind of “old school” thinking, but considering the triple digit increases in crime involving teens, the unwed teen pregnancy rate which has skyrocketed since the 50’s and gone beyond static’s ability to keep up with since the 90’s, the juvenile delinquency and crime rates in America going so fast we can’t build enough prisons to keep pace and unquestionable fact you’re left with is – “Freedom for an supervised teenager is like handing a ticking bomb to a 10 year old”.  It’s 90% or better not a matter of IF they’ll make a mess of their life but rather “how severe and how long till they do”. You say “well I don’t agree”; neither did the parents of Natalie Holloway BEFORE they let their daughter go on the Aruba party trip but you can bet your next paycheck if they could go back to the moment they said “yes” you wouldn’t know her name and she’d never have been allowed to go to Aruba.

What’s my point? Its that Jacob put “God’s Stamp of Approval” on something God would never have allowed. I see parents do this all the time. Let me assure you as a veteran Police Officer & Investigator; 95% of molested children wouldn’t have been if their parents had NOT let them spend the night with a “friend” and in many cases “a relative”. Its Christian parents allowing their sons and daughters to “mingle” with non-Christians. to be on this side of that foolish decision. e result was a raped & defiled young woman who was never the same again. Certainly there is a lot of preaching in that text – but the point I’m trying to get across is that Christian’s have a responsibility to obey God and follow his ordained decrees for living life in general.

You see whether we as Christians like it or not, the simple fact is that we represent God by our manner of living and in a very real sense we are witnessing every day either in a good way or a bad way. Anyone who knows you are a “Christian” or at least thinks you are (there’s a sermon in itself) forms an opinion of God, Christians and church going people as a whole based on what they see of your life. Perhaps that’s fair and perhaps its not but either way its certainly a truth. Be it at church, at work or just out in public the fact is you never know who’s watching you, listening to you and making perhaps making decisions {be they little ones or big ones} based on what they hear you say, on what you do or don’t do and “case in point” what you approve of or don’t approve of.  Probably if you’ve got a few years under your belt as a Christian you’ve experienced this first hand.

Pale Rider

In Alan Dean Foster’s bestselling western novel “Pale Rider” the main character {a role later reprised by actor and director Clint Eastwood} is portrayed as gun slinging whiskey drinking preacher ‘Gabriel’ who mysteriously comes to the rescue of poor downtrodden gold claim miners who are oppressed by a gold greedy land baron. Set with ominous background music and winter sky backdrop there is even a scene where someone reads part of Revelation 6:8 “And I looked, and behold a pale horse; and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him…”.  As if this wasn’t ridiculous enough, Clint Eastwood directed this tragic Biblical blunder on the “big screen” in the 1985 “Pale Rider”.  Apparently Foster hadn’t read too much of Revelation chapter 6 so let me set the record straight on “The Four Horsemen” of the Revelation. First things first, get this settled in your head: If you are really a “born again” [John 2:3] “saved” [Acts 16] “believer” [John 1:12] of the gospel of the risen Lord Jesus Christ [I Cor 15:1-4] – In other words if you are really saved, baptized by faith on the inside in the blood of the Lamb of God – watch this – You Won’t Be Here when the Horsemen are released on their terrible mission. What mission? Turn in the Bible to Revelation chapter 6 {which gives us a Panoramic view of the period known as ‘The Tribulation’ or “The Time of Jacob’s” [Jeremiah 30:7] pictured in ‘Daniel’s Furnace of Fire’. So here we are in “the Revelation of Jesus Christ” chapter 6, which is interestingly AFTER the church {the bride of Christ according to Paul in Ephesians 5} has been removed / taken / in what many call “the Rapture” and make no mistake friend – that IS A FACT.} and they were all mystified and confused that Jesus {the Messiah or Mashiach or Hamashiach in Hebrew} was getting more famous and baptizing more converts than John [John 3:26]. So John reminded them that they’d heard him say plainly “I am not the Christ” [Christ is simply Greek for Messiah].  Then John says in verse 2 “He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled.”  This and many other verses identify Jesus as “The Bridegroom”. Ephesians 5:25-32 tell us who the bride is! She is the church! Who is the church? Well if you’re a born again washed in the blood saved person – you are part of the church! So there’s John saying “I am not the bridegroom…he’s coming after me…I am just supposed to get things ready for the marriage”! So we find as Jesus comes into his ministry John’s ministry begins to diminish and conclude. Now watch this and see if you don’t get goosebumps and a blessing from it!!  In Jewish marriages the groom entered into a BETROTHAL period with his bride…but the date was a surprise. It was kept secret from all but the anize a ‘contemporary Christian music concert’. God didn’t send Jonah to Nineveh to set up a roadside healing tent or a prophecy banquet at the Inn. God sent Jonah to Nineveh to do what many churches are NOT DOING – God sent him TO PREACH!  Why is it in these days that we find so many who are against what God is for? Why it is that God chose ‘the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe’? [1st Corinthians 1:21]  Why is it that God sent the apostle Paul to say “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God” [1st Corinthians 1:18]? I’ll refer you to 1st & 2nd Timothy for the answer. He said to Jonah, not only do I want you to go and preach, but I want you to preach unto it “…the preaching that I bid thee”. Those of us who still ask that old question “…is there any word from the Lord?” are finding it harder and harder to find those little country churches where a ‘Fire & Brimstone” Jeremiah will lift up his voice like a trumpet [Isaiah 58:1] and shout “…there is”. There is all the world of difference between this man-made theological theorizing and ‘that preaching’ that God bids His servants to preach! Nineveh had collapsed into the same idolatrous sin that America has adopted. It was filled with decadence and moral decay. It was wicked. The only thing that will turn a wicked people from their wicked ways is preaching. As such God sent no Biblically ignorant Christian celebrity. He called on no winking smiling televangelists to deliver a message of a more prosperous personal journey…NO! A.W. Tozer once said “If I see clearly, the cross of popular religion is not the cross of the New Testament. It is, rather, a new bright ornament upon the bosom of a self-assured and carnal Christianity. The old cross slew men, the new cross entertains them. The old cross condemned; the new cross amuses. The old cross destroyed confidence in the flesh; the new cross encourages it”.  So God sent Jonah with eight simple words. Come worship the Living God with us at Calvary and see what words God might say to you! Malcolm Harrison is the pastor at Calvary Baptist Church 703 Gillespie Rd, Palestine, across from Pizza Hut on the loop. Service times: Sunday School for all ages 10 am, worship services at 11 am & 6 pm, Wednesday evening Bible Study & Prayer at 7:00 pm. 903-729-5924 

The Die is Cast

The old saying ‘the die is cast’ has both a solemnity and a finality to it when I hear it. It comes from the Latin phrase “Alea Iacta Est” and means basically the ‘point of no return’ has been crossed. It can be used in multiple senses. When a mold or die has been cast for a tool etc, once it hardens that’s it – it’s a done deal. In another sense, once the dice have been thrown that’s it – your committed regardless of outcome. The phrase is often used in relation to situations where an irreversible action has been taken and from which one cannot return. For example, let’s say you decided to go skydiving (which I’d be watching you do from the safety of the ground). You step through the door and jump! Once you are clear of the plane – you might scream “Alea Iacta Est”! You have reached the point where you’re irreversibly committed; win or lose, succeed or fail, the die is cast! Whenever I hear this phrase my mind runs to the Bible where many examples abound. I think of those who have so long resisted the convicting work of God that He has given them up to their own choices. It is as if they have crossed some invisible threshold or line from which there can be no return. Where the ‘final’ decision has been made.  Many are the martyrs who, after hearing the sweet hope of Christ have taken hold of his hand and risked all, including life, because for them the choice was made, and they would not be turned from it [Acts 7:58-60]. Sometimes I think of the prophecies of Daniel, Ezekiel, Zechariah and Revelation and of the terrible events that are coming soon. I think of the fourth ‘global’ Kingdom spoken of by Daniel [Daniel 7:23] with its ten Islamic Nations ruled by ten Islamic Kings who surround, oppose and threaten the destruction of Israel [Daniel 7:24]. The Bible says over and over {Daniel, Ezekiel and Zechariah} that they will come against Jerusalem one day. You can ‘mark it down’, that is going to be a terrible mistake. Daniel told us much about the Iran, Iraq, Syria, Turkey, Russia and Egypt et al. They have set themselves against God’s chosen ‘earthly’ people and God warned in Zechariah 12:3 that He would make “Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all who burden themselves with it shall be cut to pieces…”. God went on to say that He himself will destroy ALL THE NATIONS that come against Jerusalem [Zechariah 12:9]. I pity them now. I pity them for their terrible choices that have over centuries set their hearts course to oppose and exalt themselves against God and to cast their die. Their choices have been made and they are committed to the course now. There is no turning back at this point.  They have literally set themselves atop a stack of bombs and lit the fuse. “Alea Iacta Est”. Lastly take the devil as an example. From that moment he decided to set himself equal to God {which many people do every day} he too crossed “the point of no return”.  From that very moment he has been on a journey to Revelation 20:10. How about you Sir? Ma’am? Is it settled? Have you set out on your irreversible course? Has the die been cast?

The Prodigal’s Father

There are many great verses about Fathers in the Bible but one of my own favorites is found in Luke 15 and the Parable of the Prodigal Son. Go there with me this week as we approach Father’s Day 2019! Read vs 11-32. Most of the focus in the Parable is on the “prodigal son” but this week let us look at the prodigal love of the prodigal father. What a fantastic picture we have here of the ministry of fatherhood: Verse 12 shows us the father’s ministry of “GIVING”.  We fathers can do great harm if we’re not particularly careful with what we “GIVE” our kids! It is very easy to give too much or too little: freedom, work, responsibility, accountability, education, wisdom, time, entertainment, encouragement, praise and love and most important of all – a Biblical upbringing focused on the word of God.  Examples abound in the Bible that show us where fathers succeeded or failed by their giving in these categories. Verse 13 shows us the Father’s Ministry of “LETTING GO”: The father knows his son is making a major mistake. I am certain it broke the father’s heart to let his son go. However, letting go isn’t always a bad thing and in some cases it’s a blessing. Like giving a son or daughter in marriage, or off to start their life as adults. Verse 30 reveals that this Father learned of his son’s riotous life and of how he’d been reduced to squalor & hunger. I doubt this surprised him, but I imagine it broke his heart even worse. Here we see the Father’s Ministry of “TOUGH LOVE”. We might expect the father to pack up and go “hog-tie” his foolish son and bring him home. But we know that wouldn’t solve the problem. Why not? Because the son has a sinful heart and bringing him home won’t fix it. His heart would still be in the far country! This father knows that. Even when he learned his son was starving, he didn’t send more money! Why not? Because more money would only be wasted on more sin and wickedness. Many parents help their children remain in sin and wickedness by giving them the money to finance it. No…this father knows that more money isn’t the answer. His son must “COME TO HIMSELF” and see the “far country” for what it is and realize the error of his ways. TOUGH LOVE may require a father to let the hard lessons be learned! Sometimes a father must pray and wait for a son / daughter to “wake up”! In verse 20 we see the Father’s Ministry of KEEPING WATCH: When that son was yet a long way off his father saw him, he was waiting, praying and watching and his faith prevailed! A Father’s Ministry includes keeping watch for his children [Praying for them, looking out for them, having intercessory faith for them, keeping hope that God will work in them]! Even when friends and siblings have given up, a Father must KEEP WATCH! In verses 22-24 we see the father’s ministry of “FORGIVING, FORGETTING and RESTORING”! Yes, the son made a mess but that is past. There is repentance and the father sees it. So, he embraces and welcomes a son home. Many fathers need that one!

Echoes Down the Hall

On three different occasions of late the Lord has put on my heart to bring the message at Calvary Baptist Church from Acts Ch 16 vs 1-34.  I hope you’ll pause here and go read those verses before continuing.  There are many things we could look at here but let’s consider first that in addition to suffering a terrible beating [vs 23], they have also been thrown into prison, in the very heart of the prison. Imagine yourself there with them. The stench, the defilement the hopelessness. Hear in your mind the screams, the moans, the calls for water…the calls for death to come and finish what it started. I imagine myself there in the dark listening to the chains of the prisoners and the rats scurrying about.  Can you hear it? Can you smell it thick and pungent? Can you feel the despair so thick in that place you can almost reach out and touch it [v. 24].  In my mind I think I might go back to the poor decisions of my wasted life. I might revisit all my crimes and thieveries and I might feel the tears of shame run down my cheeks. I imagine what it must have been like to listen to those ‘followers of Christ’ that the guards dragged in early this afternoon. I saw the blood-stained tunics and I figure the beating they suffered must have been bad. But despite that, I try to imagine what it must have been like to listen to those two men praying and singing and praising God!  I think all the other prisoners would have been listening with rapt attention. In fact, did you notice that after God shook that prison with an earthquake and all those prisoner’s doors fell off the hinges or swung open wide and their chains fell to the flood, not one of them ran [vs 28]? No, they stood there still listening to Paul and Silas. Did they go into Paul’s cell? Did any of them walk to his cell and stand there with tears of joy and redemption running down their cheeks? When I read this amazing and beautiful account of God’s wonderous love I picture the untold millions of people who are themselves no less prisoners of sin and of condemnation. They are just as much locked in a cell with their own heavy chains as were those prisoners in this precious story.  But they too might be set free from their chains if you and I would sing! Their feet might be freed from the stocks if they could hear some echoes of our prayers down the hall. They might see their own prison door swing open if we would praise the great Lord of Heaven. How many times throughout the last 2000 years has a prisoner of sin stood listening to the sweet hymns and the praises and the prayers echoing down the hall? How many have been moved to kneel in their cell and cry out to God for pardon and mercy? I do not know how many prisoners were made disciples of the living God there in the prison of Philippi but I wonder how many of them spent the rest of their prison sentence singing and praying and praising God as they had heard Paul and Silas do? I invite you to come and get in your place and send some echoes of your own down the hall to your family and friends.

The Last Mother’s Day

Another Mother’s Day has come and gone.  It was by far the hardest I have ever had.  I lost my mother three weeks ago and the pain is still very tender.  No more will I be able to pick up the phone and call her to say Happy Mother’s Day.  No more will I get to send her a pretty card with declarations of my love for her.  Never again will I get to send her something pretty to try to make her happy.  Some of you have experienced this loss and know this pain.  But many of you still have your Mother.  The Bible says in Exodus 20:12 “Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.”   Indeed, we find it in many verses in our Bible.  Honor thy father and thy mother.  I find no qualifiers in these verses to honor my mother if she is perfect. Nor any verses that say she must earn it. My mother was not perfect and perhaps yours isn’t either.  Nonetheless God gave us a directive to honor her.  Not just once per year, but daily. Maybe you are young, and you have not learned yet what an asset your mother really is to you, how much she really does know after all.  Maybe your mother is aged, and she has told you the same story every time you have talked to her for years.  Maybe she is lonely and clingy and seeking your attention, forgetting that you are busy, that you have to work and raise a family.  Maybe your relationship has become flipped and now you are her caregiver.  Perhaps you are estranged and unforgiveness stands between you.  In the end, that is your mother and you only get one.  Again, my mother was not perfect, but let’s face it, neither am I.  I know that she did much more for me than I will ever really know. And now, as a mother myself, I know how much she truly loved me.  There really is no equal in this life to a mother’s love.  And perfect or not, I loved her very much.  Would to God I could call her now and tell her.  So why not treat every day like Mother’s Day?  But who could afford that you say?  Guess what.  She doesn’t want things, she doesn’t care if you never buy her another flower or another card, or another gift and she doesn’t care if you never buy her dinner again.  She wants you.  Your time, your attention and your love.  It always blesses my heart to see children come to church with their mothers for Mother’s Day.  What a joy!  Can I tell you she’d love to have you with her every Sunday?  She would be thrilled for a random call just to say, “You know what Mama, I just had you on my mind, I don’t really have time to talk but I wanted you to know that I love you.” Or perhaps a call to just say “Thank you Mama for all you have done for me.”  There will come a day unless you precede her that you will not have those opportunities again.  It’s been almost a week since her “special” day.  Have you seen her since?  Have you spoken to her?   Proverbs 31: 28 says “Her children arise up and call her blessed.”  If you still have her, honor your Mama before that last Mother’s Day is gone.

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.

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