Category: M

Mercy’s Lessons

Our Bible studies at Calvary Baptist Church have taken us into Jonah several times where we’ve been considering how Jonah ended up in the belly of a whale. Note that in Chapter 1 Jonah ended up in what he called the “belly of hell” [Ch 2:2] and in Matthew 12:40 Jesus referred to “Jonas in the whale’s belly” as a prefigure of himself three days and three nights in the earth. Which begs the question “was Jonah dead or alive”? Note also in [Ch 2:6] God can hear prayers from the darkest hell! In [Ch 2:9] notice where Salvation is exclusively “of the Lord” and NOT from other religions. From there let us consider [Ch 2:10] that Jonah found mercy! Amen! God is a God of Mercy! [2 Pet 3:9] “…Not willing that any should perish…but that all should come to repentance”. I wish some preachers would quit trying to redefine any and all! Anyway, Jonah found mercy! Are we all agreed on that? Yet notice that after he went and preached, the people of Nineveh did what many unstudied pastors say isn’t necessary – they begged God for mercy and turned from their wickedness! By the way that’s lost men and women begging God for mercy and turning from their wickedness. Dead in trespasses and sins has never meant too dead to beg God for mercy and turn from your wicked ways. Perhaps you’re wondering why the people of Nineveh did this when God had already said He was going to destroy them? Turn to the words of the King of Nineveh in Jonah 3:9 “Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not?” Ahh yes! Now that’s good advice! Maybe you are in a horrible mess! Maybe you’re in the middle of a nightmare! Maybe you’ve all but begged God to deal with your rebellious attitude. I don’t know about you, but this King’s words encourage me! Change your ways! Humble yourself before God and just maybe He’ll reach down and lift you out of that pit you’re in. Maybe the great God of second chances will take pity on you! In Jonah 3:10 God saw their works which demonstrated their seriousness about seeking mercy and He didn’t destroy them. Praise God for mercy!  Jonah is a crash course on MERCY! It’s the advanced level class on digging your own pit no doubt, but it’s also a crash course on Mercy. Let’s read ch  4:1 and notice Jonah was outraged that God spared Nineveh. Wow?! Outraged that someone got mercy?! Are you kidding? How can a man go through what Jonah went through and find the sea of God’s mercy but still not have any mercy for others? We find the word mercy 261 times in the Bible. Isn’t it just like a man to be so one sided? We expect mercy for our self but chastisement for others.  God expects us to use mercy toward our fellow man. I wish it weren’t so but let me remind you that Jonah never did get his heart straightened out. His last recorded words to God concerning Nineveh were “I do well to be angry, even unto death”.  God help us to remember to be merciful even when it isn’t deserved! For that is where God extended mercy to us!! This is pastor Malcolm Harrison inviting you to come visit with us at Calvary Baptist Church in Palestine on the loop across from Pizza Hut.

Missing Your Time

In Matthew chapter 11:20-24 we read that Jesus rebuked these 3 cities {another of the many trinities in Matthew by the way} for ‘NOT REPENTING’ [vs 20]. He says there “…for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago…” [vs 21]. On into verse 23 He says to Capernaum that “if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained unto this day” [vs 23]. Our Lord had done fantastic miracles, healings and wonders in the sight of these people. He had preached the word of God in an exciting, powerful and captivating way never even heard of before in the history of man. Imagine the very Son of God preaching and doing miracles yet people were bored, half asleep, unimpressed, unfazed and unrepentant. It is ironic isn’t it? That Jesus told them “if the things I’ve done in your presence…and the things I’ve preached to you were preached in other places THEY WOULD HAVE REPENTED!

In a receptive heart the word of God grabs you, grabs your attention and stirs you to action! It changes your course and conduct. It changes your musical tastes your way of talking, thinking, dressing and it changes your standards. If it doesn’t there is a massive problem – you are NOT receptive to the word of the living God. You are NOT receptive to the working of the Holy Ghost. Is this you sir / ma’am? Are you one of those who find yourself bored when the word of God is being preached? Do you find that reading the Bible is a sure fire way to put you to sleep? I know sometimes we all have a rough day and go to church tired and find ourselves nodding off in exhaustion, that’s not what I am talking about. I mean are you one of those who find that you are always bored at church? Always bored with preaching? Always bored with the Bible? It never moves you to look within? You never hear the Holy Ghost calling to you and urging you and convicting you? Do you find yourself constantly in disagreement with what the Bible says? Are you one of those who are always opposing what the preacher said? Are you never pricked in the heart and moved to repentance? Are you missing your chance to get on your knees before God to ask for Him to touch your heart?

This text ought to be a wakeup call! Friend the problem can’t always be the preacher, the music, the distractions…the real problem could be a heart problem! I urge you this week…don’t be like Chorazin, Bethsaida or Capernaum! Don’t let anything or anyone keep you from church; from prayer & Bible study; from giving a tract! Don’t let your kids sit near other whispering kids! The word of God will make great changes in your life & heart if you let it! The message your teen, your husband, your wife is missing may be the very message that could change their life! Ask for God’s help this week in your prayer time, your study time and expect God to put something on the pastor’s heart for you personally! You might be pleasantly surprised what will happen if you’ll come with an open Bible, an open heart, and ready mind!

Many Things Yet to Say…If You Were Ready

For the next few moments as we turn to the scriptures in this week’s study let me ask you to put on your thinking cap. In John 16:12 the Lamb of God has been setting forth some heretofore unrevealed doctrinal truths. He’s been talking about the Holy Ghost and His role in the world of men in the years following Christ’s return to the Father after the soon coming crucifixion. At the time these were completely new ideas, and little understood doctrinally, in essence almost completely foreign to His disciples to whom He was speaking. As they mulled over and considered the massive ramifications of His words, He added still another huge spiritual truth. [vs 12] He told them “I have yet many things to say unto you but ye cannot bear them now”. As you chew on that, let me ask you a few questions… 1. Would you agree that you did not always know what you know today? 2. Would you agree that some of the views and opinions you hold now, you did not always hold? 3. Would you agree that over the course of your life your views, your theology, your doctrinal comprehensions have changed and deepened based upon education, experiences, intellectual and spiritual growth? 4. Would it be safe to say that what you once thought you knew has since been altered as a result of these things? Lastly 5. Wouldn’t you have to agree that the more you’ve learned the more you’ve had to alter and tweak and change your views and opinions on some issues? I dare say any honest student of the Bible has had to make such corrections. That being said, still, mature Christians shouldn’t be easily blown around with every wind of doctrine; and yet we should be mindful that ‘we don’t know everything’. In fact, just as we once thought we were right on some things, we later learned we were completely wrong. So, it’s possible we may be wrong presently. I once had a young self-proclaimed preacher ask to preach at my church in Tennessee. Upon examination through questioning I learned that he was quite confused on several major doctrines. When I finished my questions, he asked how well he’d done? Poorly, I said sympathetically. He asked me to explain and within an hour as we looked at his answers and some scriptures, he completely changed his views on a handful of doctrines. I didn’t let him preach, but I did congratulate him for being humble enough to accept the possibility that he just might be mistaken in some of his views. It takes more courage to accept the fact that, just maybe, we might not know what we ‘know’ as well as we think we ‘know it’. The humble in heart will subject his opinions to the light of the scriptures and not vice versa. Jesus said, ‘I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now’. What is it that God would like to say to you if only you would prepare yourself to hear it? What is it that you’re not ready to hear? So, there is my question for you. What might God say in your heart if only you spiritually prepare yourself for it?

Man What a Deal

Matthew 27:15-26 tells us about a terrible ‘trade off’. I doubt anyone reading this article could deny that at some point they’ve been involved in a ‘trade deal’. You know, where you trade one thing to get something else. And too I’d venture that anyone who has done a ‘trade deal’, has as they say “gotten the short end of the stick”. Those among you who by God’s grace and mercy have spent time in the scriptures are familiar with Barabbas (by all accounts a murderer, criminal, riotous and loathsome character) but if not I urge you to read Luke chapter 23 and John chapter 18 before going further. What a great deal huh? The shouting crowd Satan had fanned to flame are actually demanding a wretched, lying cut-throat mongrel named Barabbas in exchange for the Precious Son of the Living God! It’s beyond comprehension. What a deal Satan conned them into making.
But can I tell you “Barabbas comes in many forms today” and people everywhere are calling for Christ to be murdered and kept out of their lives and for Barabbas to be released into it instead. I know a young couple who have three precious small children. They know the children are watching and learning from the decisions of the parents. Nonetheless they refuse to be in church choosing instead to watch television and go fishing etc. In effect they choose their Barabbas and cast out Christ from their life. They may as well teach their kids to shout “Away with this Christ…give us Barabbas instead”! You’ve probably seen many a young man or woman who foolishly traded their purity & chastity FOR defilement & shame.

What a terrible scene to imagine – the angry faces, the whispering Pharisees, the seditious plotting, the shouting of the mob – demanding that Pilot crucify Jesus! I can imagine Pilot standing there with dismay and shock on his face. Think about it…how far has a people sunk when a lost Roman “prefect” or Governor [who has been the cruel instrument of Herod in the region] is the only voice of sanity among them?! What vile whispering has Satan worked in the hearts of people both then and now that they would gladly trade off whatever decency and blessing they must in order to have their sin at any cost?

NO! Are there none left who will shout “Give us Christ”! A long time ago my Father chose to give me the power to choose to believe {John 1:11-12} and I too made the choice to become one of the sons of God! I urge you – don’t trade your real Bible for a counterfeit, don’t trade church for drama team, dance and band, don’t trade the Son of the Living God for some Barabbas of your own choosing. Some should paint on the side of their bass boat “SS Barabbas”. Some should change their horse’s name to Barabbas. Some should write across their television screen “Barabbas”. Oh I urge you Christian…today is a new day – choose carefully whom you will turn loose in your life.