Author: Malcolm Harrison (page 1 of 8)

The Day The Lord Hath Made

Psalm 118:24 teaches us “This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it”. Here we are three days into the new year 2020. What an incredible thing to try to image what it will bring. Great opportunity? Great Tragedy? Gladness & rejoicing or heartbreak and tears? All of the above? Something I have already considered and committed to strive towards is to remember daily that “this is, for me, a year that the Lord hath made”. I do not know what this year holds but I am confident knowing that my loving and devoted father God KNOWS what each and every moment of each and every day will bring forth in my life – both the cruel bitter moments and the sweet mercies.  As such, since he knows what is to come into my life and what is to go forth from my life – both that which comes and that which goes is already known. It is the same for you friend – This IS the day that the Lord hath made and you most certainly should rejoice and be glad in it. Not only in the day you read these words but in the year 2020.  I have come to terms with the fact that every beat of my heart, every breath I take, every moment of my life is in the very hand of God. This year of 2020, whether I am given all of it or part, is my personal gift from God. It is your gift from God. Last year is written in the books and been put away on the shelf of the past. Let us then focus our attention on what is ‘at hand’. We can be sure that IF we, who are his children, will hear, trust and obey, his words and let him have his will in our lives – we will surely find each day overflowing with reasons to rejoice and be glad in it!  I know there will be moments of sadness. How could it not be so in this fallen and sin sick world? Satan is the god of this world [2 Corinthians 4:4] and even if the Bible didn’t reveal it so wouldn’t we know that by mere observation?  I know that there will be disappointments. Oh, but for all the moments of sadness and disappointments my Father will ensure for me moments of laughter and encouragement and mercy from on high! Yes! This is the day and indeed this is the year that the Lord hath made and if we will but look, we will find daily renewed mercies which give us cause for rejoicing and gladness! Let me add that although I wish that this verse promised that “everyone” will rejoice in it; the sobering truth is that it specifically says only “we” will rejoice in it. Who is this “we”? Those of you who know your Bible already know the answer – this is “we” who are the children of God. They who have accepted his precious promise and wondrous gift of salvation. Those who have slapped away his hand and rejected his gift of hope may be certain that the “god of this world” and the wages of sin will bring no sweet mercies or gentle rejoicings this year. Would you like to have cause to “rejoice and be glad” in this day, this year that the Lord hath made? Visit Calvary and ask us how! 703 Gillespie Rd, Palestine, Texas across from Pizza Hut on the Loop. 903-729-5924

The Weapons Delivery Platforms

Those of you who are familiar with military or firearms terminology will have heard the phrase “weapons platform”. A weapons platform is a term for a wide range of things that are designed to deliver a weapon to a deployment point or location. Examples would be things like Submarines, Aircraft Carriers, Jets, Bombers, rocket launchers etc. Even a rifle or handgun is a ‘weapon platform’. Without a weapon platform to deliver them, a handful of bullets might just as well be a bag of rocks. Continuing the analogy let us look at its implications. Could we have ‘political weapon platforms’? Could there be political platforms from which are launched an endless barrage of treasonous anti-patriotic diatribe? Could some politicians? Some Professors? Some college campuses? Some ‘higher education institutions’ convert themselves into well positioned “weapon platforms” to launch their heinous ideologies? James said “lust, when it hath conceived, bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death” [James 1:15].  Can you see how a weapon of immorality which would otherwise be rejected might be disguised and painted up like a Trojan horse and pushed into acceptance by society? Social media makes another good example. I am convinced that social media is beyond doubt a flagrant weapons platform being used to deliver a ‘payload of weaponized immorality and psychological corruption’ into the minds and hearts of the intellectually weak, emotionally unstable and spiritually unprotected. Weapons from which so many, especially the young or immature, are particularly indefensible. You can quickly see how T.V., radio, Music, Entertainments, the Internet and even vast segments of public education are just ready-made ‘weapon platforms’ used to serve an agenda. The question becomes “what agenda and whose”? For those of us who study History and the Bible the answer is as glaring as a road-flare at midnight. Satan’s agenda. It has been said that “all warfare is based on deception” and that “the supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting”.  Carl Von Clausewitz phrased it thus “the conqueror is always a lover of peace; he would much prefer to take our lives unopposed”. The great Sampson [Judges 16] would never have voluntarily, knowingly betrayed God or his parents especially for nothing. But bring in the right weapon platform. Bring in the beautiful, winking, smiling, treacherous Delilah. By her beauty and feminine wiles, she got into his heart and mind and released pride, rebellion, lust and fornication which ruined him and led him to suicide. Take David’s son Amnon, [II Sam 13] who, because of the wicked counsel and encouragement from his ‘friend’ Jonadab, tricked his father and raped his sister. Take Absalom, who defiled himself and betrayed his father. Friends, Satan has got a truckload of bombs he’d love to drop in your life, your marriage, your prayer-life. He’d love to ruin your family and your relationship with God. He’d love to ruin your children. He’ll inevitably and invariably need to launch his weapons from a weapon platform: Your friendships, your relationships, your musical choices, your entertainments, your busy schedule, a co-worker etc.  One way or another he will seek to get his words and tools into your life. A friend, a girl, a boy, a spouse. Weapon Platforms come in all shapes and sizes, but they all have one purpose – to deliver Satan’s weapons in the most effective way possible. Be sober, be vigilant, keep watch, time is short, he’s working hard now. Visit Calvary Baptist Church this Sunday! 703 Gillespie Rd, Palestine, Texas across from Pizza Hut on the Loop. 903-729-5924

Don’t Judge Me

I ‘Googled’ the phrase “don’t judge me” and got 70 million 800 thousand results. After truncating the results I still had 1,560,000 hits. We can certainly estimate that most of the world’s population has an aversion to being judged, regardless of the reason or circumstances. Which is kind of ironic considering that all of us judge others but despise being judged ourselves. I suppose “judge not” is the 2nd most often MISQUOTED phrase in the Bible [Matthew 7:1-6], which I urge you to read. Now, ‘here’s the kicker’; Christians rejoice in being judged! In fact, the word judgment is found 239 times, “judge” is found 171 times. If you read Matthew 7:1-6 you learn that Christians are not left the same as they were when they trusted Christ, but rather are completely changed [Mark 5:15]. They’re made “new creatures in Christ” [2nd Corinthians 5:17] and nothing, ‘spiritually speaking’, is left ‘as it was’ when they came to the cross. Isn’t it ironic that so many people want to “come to God” as ‘they are’ so that they can ‘remain the same’ and ‘continue in sin’ with God’s blessing, sanction and approval? Consequently, {so-called} ‘churches’ abound and thrive for those who desire ‘acceptance & tolerance’ from God and man; churches of the ‘unconverted & unchanged’ where music, feeling and inclusivity are preeminent. May I suggest that a lost man desiring real forgiveness has NOT REFUSED judgment but rather, he’s EMBRACED it! He has judged himself [1st Corinthians 11:31] and found himself defiled, unclean, unrighteous, unworthy, unacceptable, naked and filthy before God. Job, which should be required reading for every student on earth, said “I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear, but now mine eyes seeth thee. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes” [Job 42:5-6]. They who raise their proud defiance “this is who I am, this is what I am, this is me” have good reason to fear and despise judgment. The Christian, however, has realized that which IS sin, confessed his or her guilt and repented before God; they’ve been made partakers of the righteousness of Christ because they’ve willingly embraced the judgment of God! As such, judgment has been turned into a glittering temple of the righteousness of God. The Christian has no fear of the reproaches or imprecations of man, he rejoices in them! His judgment is past! His record has been wiped clean and his case is closed! It is the defiled and rebellious one who hates and rejects judgment. No wonder there are millions shouting, “don’t judge me”. It is a “Freudian slip” in which their conscience screams ‘I am guilty, defiled, unclean and wicked in the sight of man and God and I  FEAR JUDGMENT’.  To the Christian, God asks, “How long will ye judge unjustly, and accept the persons of the wicked”? Jesus came as our sacrificial Lamb to take away our sins but sin cannot be taken from they who reject judgment and defy condemnation of sin, especially their own. Christmas, seen clearly, is in a manner of speaking, the day my lawyer walked into my cell and said, “my father is the judge, trust me and let’s just go into the courtroom and tell him the truth”! Amen! We’re really celebrating Christmas at Calvary! Calvary Baptist Church across from Pizza Hut on the loop. Sunday at 10AM for Sunday School, 11AM for Morning Worship and 6PM Sunday evening, 7PM Wednesday evening Prayer and Bible Study!

Be of Good Cheer, for I Believe God

I am one of those weirdos who likes a good lightening-laden thunderstorm and the worse they are the better I like them. I don’t rejoice in loss of life or devastation, but a good old-fashioned storm somehow captures my attention. The Scriptures tell of a real ‘daisy’ of a storm over in Acts 27:14 called “Euroclydon” that overtook the ship Paul was on as a prisoner. The ship was driven in the roaring waves so violently that they had tossed everything overboard in a desperate attempt to keep it afloat, but even then, everyone on board feared for their lives [Acts 27:20]. However, in the midst of the storm, Paul delivered some much welcome news [vs 23-24]. Read with me this amazing verse [25] “Wherefore, sirs, be of good cheer: for I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me”. Now that is one you should underline in your Bible! I like that phrase “I BELIEVE GOD”! Paul had told the owners and captain of the ship that the weather and season was not good sailing weather – but apparently (verse 11)

the ship’s captain and owners had said ‘oh just hush, go on and read your dumb old Bible, what do you know about ships and sailing anyway?”.  He had warned them that he ‘had a bad feeling about leaving the port back in Crete’, but they ignored him. But it was a whole different picture when the waves were towering above the little ship and crashing down on its deck! It was another matter altogether when the crates were knocked overboard in the screaming winds and dark clouds! No one was mocking Paul when all hope was taken away that they’d even survive [vs 20]. I imagine him standing there, holding onto the mast ropes and yelling above the roaring winds and rain saying “ be of good cheer: for I believe God”! Those are comforting words for me! They inspire me. I’ve never been on an old sinking wooden ship in the midst of a hurricane in fear for my next breath! I’ve never had “all hope taken away that I would even survive the night” but I have had my share of emergencies, catastrophes and tragedies. In them all I have found that I believe God and although I have not yet attained to keeping cheerful in calamities, I have learned to rest in knowing that what overwhelms me NEVER overwhelms God. In fact, there have been many circumstances where I have seen the truth of Psalm 27:13-14. “I had fainted unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord”. Obviously, as with so many promises in the word of God, this promise is for the sons and daughters of God – NOT just for anyone in general. But IF you are a child of the King by grace through faith then you too can ‘be of good cheer’ for “Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope is in the Lord” [Jeremiah 17:7].  I ask you friend, Do You Believe God? We here at Calvary do and we invite you to come to Calvary! Located across from Pizza Hut on Loop 256 in Palestine. Sunday School 10:AM, Services at 11 and 6 PM Sunday and of Course Bible study & prayer Wednesday night at 7 PM. 

Cops, Robbers and Dull Hearts

Unbeknownst to younger generations, there was a time ‘back in the day’ when neighborhood kids all played outside without electronics…and even survived without cellphones.  We played as long as we could and never considered going inside until we were made to.  It was a wild time of cap gun shootouts with bad guys on the dusty imaginary Texas streets of backyards. Some of us six-year-old degenerates even played team “Cowboys & Indians” with imaginary rifles and imaginary bows. We rode wild imaginary mustangs that neighed for battle.  One of the rules of shootout with the bad guys was, no matter what the objection, you had to grab your chest and fall when you got shot by your pretend enemy. You could embellish the scene with an appropriate “ahhgg” or the more popular “oh, ya got me Tex” but either way let me stress – the “chest grab & fall down rule” was carved in stone for ALL such games. Those refusing to comply risked the wrath of banishment from future games. Such children’s games have been played for thousands of years as evidenced by Matthew 11:16-17 “Whereunto shall I liken this generation? It is like unto children sitting in the markets, and calling unto their fellows, 17 And saying, “We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned unto you, and ye have not lamented.”  Jesus uses the same age-old children’s game rules – when someone points the imaginary finger at you and yells “bang” you respond accordingly. When someone flings the imaginary arrow at you and hollers their Indian chant you respond accordingly. The premise being that even children know that when this team does such and such, the other team responds accordingly. Here in our text the same thing is happening. These children play the part of the musicians and the other team must play the part of the dancers. Next, this team plays the part of the funeral mourners and the other team is expected to mourn and cry at the imaginary funeral. He is saying “you’ve been preached to with power, boldness and authority [verse 20-21] but you have not repented! You have been told the truth about man, sin and its price, God, forgiveness and Christ Jesus but you’ve still not responded. What can we learn from their rebuke? That God expects, contrary to what some misguided teachers say, that when the truth has been set before you, there is an expectation that you will respond to that truth!  He says to Chorazin and Bethsaida that IF the incredible miracles and mighty works that He did in their sight and presence had been done in the cities of Tyre and Sidon, that they would have repented!  They would have responded right! But not Chorazin and Bethsaida, no they have seen these might works and done nothing. The finger has been pointed and “bang” has been shouted but the bad guy has not grabbed his chest in mock defeat.  Indeed, the gospel has been given, preachers have preached, faithful Christians have shared what changes God has wrought in their lives when he saved them.  The mighty work, the death, burial and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ has been openly and plainly declared.  Then, the question is, have you responded to it?  Have you by grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ been made new?  Calvary Baptist Church across from Pizza Hut on the loop. Sunday School 10:AM, Services at 11 and 6 PM Sunday and of Course Bible study & prayer Wednesday night at 7 PM. 

Touches of Faith

Let me ask you to go in your imagination to Jerusalem 2000 years ago. Put yourself in a thronging crowd making its way down a narrow dusty cobblestone street where literally hundreds of shouting merchants sell their wares, seamen sell their fish, farmers call out their vegetable prices. Add to this the shouts and cries of the crippled, the sick, the lepers and the poor. It’s like a subway in New York at rush hour for its confusion and turmoil. We’re on our way to the house of Jairus {a Ruler of the Synagogue Luke 8:42} who has just asked Jesus to come help his little girl. You and I have seen her. A bright smiley 12-year-old full of life. But Jairus has come in tears and fallen at Jesus’ feet to ask help for his little girl who now lays sick and dying. Jesus has agreed to go help and we’re all following Him to the house hoping to see a miracle. Do you have this picture in your head? It’s so crowded though that we’re being pushed and shoved and bumping into each other as we go.

Amid this moving circus you and I have noticed a woman moving closer and closer to the Lord as we go along. We’ve noticed her teary eyes and somber expression and all of the sudden she gently reached out and touched the hem of his shirt. In this crowd many have brushed against him and some have bumped right into him, but this is different somehow. When she touched him she was healed of her infirmity [Luke 8:43-48]. So, dozens, if not more, people have bumped into the Lord on this street and nothing has happened. But along comes this tragic woman who has suffered so much and she barely touches him yet receives a miracle! Why? Why does one little light grasp of his shirt tail completely heal her of a physical infirmity but do nothing for others? I think it is because for many who bump into Jesus here and there the contact is inadvertent and unintentional. This poor woman however came looking for Jesus. She isn’t just another curious spectator there in the crowd. No, she’s there with her hope, her faith and she will not be turned from her purpose. Her touch is one of resolute faith and hope. In that simple brush of her fingers there was hope! There was Faith! There was Trust! In these end times there are many ‘religions’ selling proverbial ‘spectator tickets’ for the “thronging crowd” show where spectators walk along the dusty cobblestone street with the crowd but never actually touch the hem of His garment. But for those of you who are tired of merely drifting along in the crowd why not come and be healed and cleansed once and for all? How about it my friend? Have you wasted enough time searching for something that cleanses and heals? How long will you merely blend into the religious crowds who follow along just in case something happens? How long will you hope when all you need to do is reach out and take hold of Him? Will you just continue wandering from religion to religion but never drawing near and never taking hold? Or will you, like so many millions have done, finally draw near and reach out by grace through faith and take hold of the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world? Come be our guest at Calvary Baptist Church across from Pizza Hut on the loop 903-729-5924. 

What 30 Pieces of Silver Won’t Buy

In Matthew 26:14-15 God tells us about Judas’ conversation with the ‘chief priests’ and of how they negotiated the betrayal and the payment amount. “And said unto them, What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver” [Mk 14:10, Lk 22-3-6]. Thirty pieces of silver! I don’t think any of us really grasp the magnitude of that outrage. Can you imagine negotiating with the cruel priests the betrayal of the sweet Son of the living God for any price, let alone 30 pieces of silver?! Not only that, but Judas didn’t even get to keep the money! In fact, he only had it a few measly hours before he tried to rid himself of those 30 pieces of silver [Matthew 27:3-5].  At some point during the night and early hours of the following day Judas came to some realization that he’d been nothing more than a willing and convenient fool whom the devil, the priests and the elders, had used to accomplish what they wanted all along, to betray Christ. He was remorseful and overwhelmed by the mistake but by then it was too little, too late as they say. He even went back to the temple to try to undo the damage. He confronted the elders and chief priests who’d paid him to betray the Lord of Lords. Imagine him there in the doorway of the temple with his repentant tears running down his cheeks and beard saying, “I have sinned…I have betrayed the innocent blood”!  “Well” said the priests, “that’s your problem not ours, deal with it”. The Bible {ta’ biblia or the books} says Judas threw the 30 pieces of silver to the floor and then went out and hung himself.  I won’t defend or support Judas, how can I? He betrayed God’s Son. But just between you and me I’d have to admit ‘so have I’. I have many times betrayed my sweet King and Lord by my choices, my actions, my words, my choosing the world over the Lord. I’d have to say that I sometimes ask absent mindedly “Judas, what did you get for your 30 pieces of silver”? I wonder if he might not ask in turn, “what did you get for yours”?  I have wondered and I wonder even now, what might have been if I could have been there that fateful night and sat beside Judas at the table? If I could have leaned over whispered to him “are you sure you want to betray the Lamb of God”? I wonder what my life and walk and testimony might have been; what heartbreaks and shame might I have been spared if only someone had warned me “you are about to break God’s heart and betray the Precious Lord and instead of getting paid by this world for it you’re going to pay a horrible price”.  So, here is my question for you. Are you negotiating with this world for your 30 pieces of silver? Are you already on your way to see the priests and elders at the temple? Can I just warn you 1. The world never pays what it promises. 2. Even if it did, you’d regret it with all your heart. Let us put our betrayals behind us as Peter did and let’s get serious about the cross while there is yet time. Calvary Baptist Church across from Pizza Hut on the loop 903-729-5924. 

Those Who Come and Worship

You’ll find our text in Matthew 8:1-3 which I urge you to read. Verse 2 says “And, behold, there came a leper and worshipped him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean”. Verse 3 says “And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed”.  My memory fails to replay all of those with whom I have knelt in jails, prisons, nursing homes, living rooms and hospitals who, with tears dripping from their faces, have asked “preacher, do you think that God could love me”?  How precious it is to look into teary bloodshot eyes of those who have been devoured [1st Peter 5:8], those who have been ‘sifted’ [Luke 22:31] and tell them “yes”, Jesus says “I will, be thou clean”. Nothing is more precious to me than to know beyond all possible question and doubt that our God and His Son not only ‘could love’ them, but indeed DOES LOVE THEM! Hallalujah! There are some I admit that I personally couldn’t love. I’ve interviewed some horrible criminals who committed atrocities that I will not describe them here. But one thing I have never doubted for a moment is that my Father not only could but DOES love them. This poor Leper is such a wretch. His situation is hopeless.  What a terrible struggle his life must’ve been. Shredded by a disease so awful that people recoiled in fear and turned away at his approach.  I hope you will trust that I mean no insult when I point out that God’s Bible says “And, behold, there CAME a leper…”. This week I address those of you who have fallen out and don’t come. The Bible says “…who is on the Lord’s side? Let him come… [Ex 32:26] See also [Mark 10:21, Revelation 22:17] Over and over again we see that they who really desire God’s touch and fellowship are told to ‘come’. This leper could’ve stayed home but I am glad he came! I’m glad that poor women [Luke 7:38] didn’t sit at home with her alabaster box, her tears and her shame! She came and stood weeping, she came and knelt before him and washed his feet with her tears and dried them with her hair. Her longing for mercy drove her to Him! In Matthew 15:30 many came unto him bringing their sick, their lame, their hurting and saw him heal every one of them. He didn’t heal everyone in the land, he healed those who came! In verse 5 of our chapter we learn of the centurion whose servant was sick and dying at home; “there CAME unto him a centurion”. In verse 16 “they brought unto him”. Repeatedly they who love him and hope in him do their utmost to come to him. There has been a time, to my shame, when I refused to come. Indifference and coldness flourished in my neglect. I beseech you on Christ’s behalf to stop forsaking the assembling of yourself with your brethren. [1st John 3:14] Says those who are really saved love the brethren and desire their companionship and company. Have you not wondered why it is that you no longer desire to come and be close? If you would see them glow again put the coals back in the fire! This Sunday get up, dust off that Bible and come. Millions desire to come but cannot. God desires that you should come. Will you fail Him? Will you refuse the hand of love and mercy yet again? Calvary Baptist Church across from Pizza Hut on the loop! 903-729-5924. 

Having Loved This Present World

Last week we waded a few steps into 2 Timothy chapter 4, let me ask you to turn there again this week and let’s read verse 9 -11. Here Paul continues his final directions to his friends and brethren and especially his fellow pastors and then tells them of a great shame and failure on the part of Demas. Verse 10 “For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world”! Part of me finds this sad and disappointing. Did Demas drop the news of this betrayal on Paul during visitors hours at the prison? Did he even have the guts to tell Paul why he was abandoning God and the church? I have seen professing Christians use all sorts of fabricated excuses to forsake the Lord when it was nothing more than that they “loved this present world”. During the ‘War of Northern Aggression’ {some call it the civil war} the ‘after action reports’ recorded *Killed *Taken Prisoner and *Missing and sometimes the number of *Missing was staggering – it reflected those who snuck away in the night and those traitors who defected to the opposite side. I would ask you which column you’d list Demas in? Was he taken prisoner by the devil? Was he a traitor who forsook his General and his comrades? Part of me finds Demas a source of disappointment and I am sad for him. However, part of me finds Demas a sad example for other Christians. How many were shocked to hear Demas forsook the Lord? How many young people began to question their own faith after hearing that Demas had quit on God? Did Demas have a wife and children in church? If so, how did this affect their walk with the Lord? I have heard many say, “well preacher, it is my business and it isn’t hurting anyone”. I wish that were true, but it isn’t – Romans 14:7 says ‘For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself’. Our walk and witness and life touches and impacts others. We are not told what, specifically, lured Demas away, Paul just says Demas loved “this present world”.  What it the fishing boat? Was it the deer stand? Was it soccer, band, football or baseball practice? Who knows! One thing is certain, “This present world” is still luring Christians out and pulling lost people further away from God. I’d venture a guess that you have seen and know a Demas right now. I regret to say that you are probably going to see someone else forsake the Lord and return to the world. Lastly notice that Paul didn’t say “I always knew Demas was going to turn his back on the Lord”. No in fact I think Paul felt pity for Demas. The price of returning to the world is sometimes very high. So, let me urge you who are strong in the Lord to watch for an opportunity to reach out to the Demas’s you know. Try to help them to “free themselves from the snare of the devil” [2nd Timothy 24-26].  If Demas ever got it right and came back, we’re not told. But I have seen some who fell out come limping back! As the old saying goes “it’s better to go limping into heaven than to go skipping into hell”. Praise God for second chances! If you’re out and away from God, let me remind you that God welcomes prodigals’ home with rejoicing! Calvary Baptist Church across from Pizza Hut on the loop! 903-729-5924. 

Ready to Be Offered

2 Timothy chapter 4 is one of the most poignant chapters in the “pastoral letters”, perhaps in the entire New Testament. If space and time permitted, I would insert the received text / King James translation of the chapter here because all other versions will mislead you with incorrect renderings of it. You could use another version in some other places and perhaps be ok, but not in this chapter. In verse 6 we’ll find the correct reading “For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand”. Many ‘versions’ mistranslate this as ‘being offered’ or then even more ridiculous, ‘being poured out’. But the actual reading is much deeper as Paul tells us he is soon to be executed. The time of which is “at hand”. How strong he puts it when he says, “I am ready to be offered”! Ready to be presented to the Lord! Ready to be presented to our Father! Oh how strengthening and encouraging this is! He did not say it as “I am ready to die” (though physically you could add that in your mind so long as you don’t replace what he said). You see, Paul knows he isn’t going to die – his body will, but he himself certainly won’t be dying, no, no – he will be and is ready to be “offered”! Offered for acceptance! Offered as a testimony! Offered as a witness! Offered as a praise to the glorious God Almighty! The guards will behead Paul. It won’t be long, hours or days perhaps. Then Paul will be released from ‘this life’, released from ‘that weak beggarly body’ to be set before the Lamb of the Living God. Almost daily we hear or read about someone, many perhaps, who faced the ‘time of their departure’. Their executioner was leukemia, cancer, heart attack, accident, a fall, a wreck, an aneurism. Their hooded executioner came for them just as they came for Paul. It is heart-wrenching when we learn of it. I don’t want to face my executioner any more than you do but, since “there is no discharge in that war” [Eccl 8:8], I do not pray for deliverance from it. Instead, I pray that I should follow Paul’s lead and be “ready to be offered”. Death is a terror, but to be offered, now that is a comfort and a sweet consolation! So, the great question becomes “Pastor, if I am to be offered as Paul was, how can I be ready? What must I do that when I am offered, God will accept me”? If such thoughts run through your mind and fall upon your heart you should kneel this moment and thank God that you have been given a heart and mind that can comprehend the question, because many cannot. For many their conscience is seared, and their heart is defiled beyond the capacity to consider such soul-searching questions. The answers to these ultimate questions are within the book God gave us. Here at Calvary we focus our efforts on telling people who are not ready how they can be. We focus on showing people the answers God gave on the pages of that incredible amazing Book of the Lord [Isaiah 34:16] Are you ready to be offered? Do you sense you are not? Would you like to be? I invite you to bring your family and let’s all get ready for that “time of our departure”.  You’ll feel at home at Calvary Baptist Church across from Pizza Hut on the loop! 903-729-5924. 

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