Category: S

The Source, The Cause & The Solution

In the book of Jonah Chapter 1 vs 1-14 we read that the prophet Jonah was told to go to the great and wicked city called Nineveh and preach against their wicked ways. *This would be an outrage in our day just as it was in Jonah’s day. No one wants to be told that there is a standard of right and wrong and no one wants to be told that certain behaviors are defiled and reprobate. But let’s move on. Jonah as you know decided that these Gentiles deserved God’s judgment, so he decided to leave them to their fate [Jonah 4:1-2]. In verse 3 Jonah went instead to Joppa {modern day Jaffa} and hired a boat to take him anywhere but Nineveh. *Remember this: When a Christian or lost person masquerading as a Christian has decided to leave church, any ‘ship’ {excuse} will do. Jonah’s decision prompts God to send a storm to ‘get Jonah’s attention’. *Notice that ‘some’, not all, storms may be God’s effort to get your attention. So here is something important: The Source of the Storm {by the way storms can take many forms – economic, domestic, health, financial et al} is in this case God. Note also that since all the universe belongs to God, He can of course do as He pleases with it. NEXT Note that while God is the source of Jonah’s storm, Jonah himself is the cause of the storm. By that I mean that God sent Jonah’s storm but Jonah himself caused this storm. So, here we see the SOURCE of the storm is God, but Jonah is the CAUSE of Jonah’s storm. For those of you who have ‘a meditative and reflecting mind’ I’d wager you know someone who has refused to submit to God’s decrees and divine expectations [which decrees and divine expectations are good and right and just 1st John 5:3, Romans 12:1-2]. God’s storms are good, right and a demonstration of love rather than wrath. These efforts of God are not for our hurt but for our good. When we, as Jonah, refuse and rebel against God’s guiding hand, we become the author of our own storms and we determine their severity. So, we have the source and we have the cause. Let’s see the solution. As you read onward in Jonah chapter 1 the storm became severe and the mariners discovered 1. The Source. 2. The Cause and then they asked Jonah for the Solution. Sound familiar? Have you not many times told someone the SOURCE and the CAUSE and when they asked, ‘the SOLUTION’ only to have them reject it out of hand? The mariners refused. To them the answer sounded crazy. They “rowed hard” [vs 13] to solve it on their own. Typical isn’t it? How many have I told plainly the solution to their storm only to see them continue on in rebellion. I wish we had more space and time to explore God’s storms but let us not forget that God not only has storms, but if storms don’t work, He has whales too. Some of you readers have seen the inside of your own whale and there learned the value of repentance. So, here at Calvary Baptist Church we encourage, we beseech, we urge you to keep sharing the gospel and maybe spare a Jonah from a storm. Perhaps you’ll spare a whale the indignity of having to eat a rebellious Christian. Bring your Bible and come to Calvary. On the Loop across from Pizza Hut. 

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!!

Some Things You Can’t Get by Prayer

This past Sunday evening at Calvary Baptist Church the Holy Ghost led me to preach on the subject of “some things you can’t get by prayer”. Go with me in the King James Bible to James 4 and read verses 1-3. Verse 3 tells us “Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts”. That means quite literally that there most certainly are some things you cannot get by prayer.

For example: #1 Salvation of Someone Else: You cannot get someone saved {AGAINST} their will. Your child, spouse, friend, neighbor, co-worker etc. God will not violate their will, over-ride the Scriptures, by-pass faith in the finished work of the Lord & Lamb, dismiss the horror of the cross and make an exception to His own perfect plan of salvation just because you want Him to.

#2. RUIN: God loves you! If your loved one came to you asking for a piece of bread would you give them something horrible? Something dangerous? NO! [Matt 7] In like manner if a child, knowing no better, asked you for a box cutter or razor, would you give it to them? No of course not. God will not grant your prayer request for a thing that He knows would only destroy you, your family, your walk, your testimony, your faithfulness.

#3. Revenge / Vengeance: [Rom 12:19] You cannot talk God into granting you revenge / vengeance. Perhaps He will let you see it {but you’d best be careful how you respond}.

#4 Out of God’s Will: Many Christians desire things which are outside the Will of God. A wrong relationship, an unequal yoke in marriage, career, job decision, perhaps some material thing, or some sinful thing. You can forget that happening. The great God who loves you WILL NOT grant your request for a ruinous thing any more than you would hand a razor to a 5-year-old. Perhaps you will make a friendship with someone who is going to be a terrible influence on you. Perhaps you will marry a man who is going to break your heart, destroy your faith and lead your children to hell Ma’am. Maybe you will finally win the big jackpot sir that will destroy your happiness, your marriage, your children Sir. But you will have to step out of God’s will to have those things because He loves you too much to give them to you.

So, then what can you expect through prayer? Among other things – you can get a New Heart and a New Start! You can get a spouse that will love God and love you when you’re old and not so beautiful! You can get your marriage raised from the ashes and restored 10-fold stronger for God than it ever was. You might get new insight, more wisdom, deeper spiritual discernment! You could get that miracle you’ve been praying for! If I could just encourage you with what little space I have left let me say: You can get wondrous daily graces and benefits, unimagined strengths and mercies. Most of all you can talk directly to the Majesty on High who holds your whole life in His hand. Thank God for His Holy Spirit that takes our prayers and converts them and intercedes for us with God. When was your last conversation with God?

Some of My Useless Knives

By Pastor Malcolm Harrison

Ecclesiastes 10:10 says “If the iron be blunt, and he do not whet the edge, then must he put to more strength: but wisdom is profitable to direct.” Those of you who’ve ever had to chop firewood know exactly what the verse means! The Lord our God, as usual, is using simple things, in this case a dull axe, a dull knife etc, to explain a far more complex life truth.  In this case He is pointing out that – if you are chopping with a dull axe either you must sharpen the axe or work twice as hard. If you are cutting meat with a dull knife – either you must sharpen the knife “whet the edge” or you’ll be fighting that dull knife a making a mess of your meat.  I have a few knives that for all intents and purposes useless. They just can’t be sharpened! I call them my “wicked and ungodly knives”. I keep them all together in my ‘bad company’ junk box and occasionally I cast a disapproving look at them all. They’re good for nothing. Each one falls in one of two groups. 1. Won’t be sharpened or 2. Won’t keep an edge longer than 30 seconds. I wonder sometimes how many Christians are like that with God?  You know…one of those knives that can’t be sharpened. I committed long ago that God being my helper, he would not find me a useless dull knife that can’t be sharpened by his convicting work.  Notice in Eccl 10:10 that little statement at the end of the verse “…but wisdom is profitable to direct”.  Wisdom is like that iron file that can put an edge back on the knife or axe.  It may hurt but in the end that knife will be sharp again. So as well if a spiritually dull man will submit himself to God’s file {the Bible, The Holy Ghost’s convicting} he can be made wise and then the spiritual chopping down and cutting away of things that hurt and ruin and wreck his life…those things will be far easier to chop down and cut away! Amen! also if a man is dull, wisdom will help dom will sharpen a dull man and direct his steps and make his path easier and richer.. Come worship the Living God with us at Calvary and see what words God might say to you!

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. 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!!

Some of Those Daily Benefits of Salvation!

As the new Christian studies the word of God they are inevitably drawn to the various topics that accompany their “salvation” {Notice that I did NOT say that accompanies their ‘water’ baptism} but their ‘salvation’ [their new birth, their new man, their new creature in Christ]. *Note that to study aright and understand as an adult; you have realized the monumental difference between the spiritual baptism by Grace through Faith in the blood of the Lamb of God which is figuratively depicted by the outward testimony (in other words by the water baptism). That outward demonstration of the inward event is not the event itself but as the Holy Ghost said “the like figure” of that inward baptism.

This saving faith is accompanied by tremendous blessings and benefits: Paul spoke much on these blessings in his letters (Epistles). For example in Romans he taught that JUSTFICATION has two elements ONE OF WHICH IS The Forgiveness of sin which includes the REMOVAL of the guilt & of the punishment of sin. SECOND IS THE Imputation of the Righteousness of His Lamb, His Son the Lord Jesus Christ and the RESTORATION of God’s favor. [See Psalm 32:2, Rom 3:24 and Gal 2:16]. These “rewards” as Paul called them in Romans 4:4 also benefit us in that ‘Our Iniquities Are Forgiven! Our Sins are Covered and Our Father no longer imputes our sins to us but rather, He imputes the righteousness of Christ to us! Glory!

As David, a type of Christ, said “Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin” Romans 4:8. This “imputation of righteousness” then we find is a benefit of being “justified by faith” and includes our having peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 5:1). How exciting it is for not only the new Christian as they find and learn these sweet comforts in the Bible – but also for those of us who have been ‘standing on the promises of God’ these many years hence. How tearful is it to learn and come to the understanding that we all, before we trusted Christ (not the baptismal pool) were the enemies of Almighty God – and that it took the death of God’s own and only begotten Son (paying our condemnation) to reconcile that insurmountable debt! But oh what rejoicing and redemption is to be found in the resurrected life His Son provides us by His own resurrection [See Romans 5:10].

The Christian then, who has finally looked with new eyes at the old book, has begun to spiritually see old truths. Thus when you ask them “when did you get saved” they don’t try to remember when they got dunked in water; they go in their mind to that moment God imputed life changing righteousness to them by grace through faith!