Category: T

Those Who Wander from the Path

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

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

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

Those Little Loving Reminders from God

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

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

Too Full for the Honeycomb

Proverbs 27:7 tells us “The full soul loatheth an honeycomb; but to the hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet”. My wife is a fantastic cook! I won’t be surprised if she gets assigned to the kitchen when we get to heaven. Frankly I am certain the angels desire to look into her cooking but that’s just my opinion. At family gatherings like Thanksgiving we all sit around after the meal looking like beached whales we’re so full. It doesn’t matter what kind of cake or pie she’s made no one can get any of it because we’re too full of the meal. I hope you have someone who can cook like that in your family. If not, look us up when you get to heaven – there’ll be angels and saints lined up at her mansion to eat her cooking and none will have room for dessert. You know, I often find it much the same here in this life. People who have stuffed themselves all week on a steady diet of worldly junk, carnal thinking, carnal music, vulgar talking and ungodly living. They’re so full of that junk they can’t enjoy anything good and decent and sweet. Their hearts are stuffed so full of such shallow junk that Biblical things are undesirable. See it again in our text verse “the full soul loatheth an honeycomb”. Can you imagine that? I sure can…you can get so full nothing looks good. It doesn’t matter how appealing the dessert is they don’t want it. You can see these any given Sunday in the pew. They come late, look like they ate lemons all the way, don’t like the music, the hymns or the preaching. To these ‘full souls’ every moment past noon is an eternity of torment. You may see them again in a month or two if no excuse presents itself. Why? Because they’re full of the world and to them even the honeycomb of God’s house and words is loathsome. Ahh but let us go on in our text – BUT to the hungry every bitter thing is sweet! The Bible is still dripping the sweet words of eternal life [John 6:68]. Some of you I hope have reached that place where you saw yourself in need of the Saviour and you’ve reached out by faith and trusted, begged, repented and come crawling to the resurrected one to ask for mercy and forgiveness! For you, even the bitter things [Ex 12:7-8] are a welcome delight! Some of you have had the hand of God on your heart and now – Oh now the words of God are precious and sweet. Now you come early to have time to fellowship with the brethren! Now those old hymns that are tired and cold to some are new and refreshing and they bring a tender peaceful joy to your soul. Now even the most bitter and difficult things to understand are desirable. Don’t you find that as you listen and sing and hear God’s preaching that your heart has wandered off to stand gazing up at Calvary’s cross? Do you not find your mind has drifted off to stand before the door of an empty tomb?

The Tale of the Dragon

It is a ‘historical puzzle’ to me that so many people are fascinated by the mythological version of dragons. Movies, books, toys, jewelry, clothing, cutlery, why even candles and golden figurines feature dragons! We see them everywhere from tattoos to bumper stickers. What few realize, in my opinion, is why it is that even children’s cartoons constantly focus on presenting dragons as ‘fun, acceptable, enjoyable, friendly and totally cool’. Psychologists know that it is possible that by careful and repetitive exposure to something horrifying – fear of that horror can be overcome. Familiarity is a powerful influence often enough. Turn the monster into a friend and thereby unite them against a common foe. Raise a lamb with a wolf and you’ll have a lamb that trusts a wolf and opposes other sheep. So here we are in 2018 where children and adults alike think big fire breathing fanged dragons with horns are the coolest things on the planet. In this next few articles, God willing, I would like to tell you the biblical account of the real DRAGON. It isn’t the lovable Pete’s dragon some of you remember. It isn’t the Tokyo stomping Godzilla movie dragon either. No those are nothing compared to this. Stephen King and Hollywood haven’t in their wildest dreams imagined such a monstrosity as is coming. The great John, prophet of God, while banished for his Christianity to a remote Island, wrote the book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ. In chapter 5 he begins telling us of horrors unfathomed that are coming. He tells us of terrible and frightening books, vials, seals and of nightmarish beasts that shall rip open the earth and plague man. He tells of four dreadful horsemen that shall be unleashed upon the earth. Famine & Disease, War, Death & Hell, The Peace Taker. And he tells us that just as God is a Trinity and man is a trinity, so too there is an Unholy Trinity. It is referred to by Bible teachers as the Anti-trinity. At its head is the monster, The Dragon {Lucifer, Satan, the Devil, the King of Tyrus, the serpent = the anti-God}. Under his headship is another unimaginable creature that looks like a man, but it isn’t a man. It’s a thing called The Beast {the son of perdition, the little horn, the Man of Sin, the Anti-Christ}. Lastly in this unholy trinity is a creature called The False Prophet. In Revelation John tells us this “great red dragon” will have seven heads upon which are seven crowns and on his heads are ten horns. I am thankful to know I shall not see the Dragon in this life but I shall be present at his destruction. However I would warn you as we start this series of articles; the Dragon is very real and many millions will see him and bow before him as if he were God. I fear the “Tale of the Dragon” is the Pinnacle of Horror. Look for Part 2 next week!

Those Who Put Their Trust in God…

There was once a time when David was running for his life with his warriors [1st Samuel Ch 24] from the maniacal king Saul. It happened that David hid himself with his men in a cave and Saul, hot on his trail, came right to the place and ended up camped out very close to where David was hiding. It appeared Saul would surely find David and then it would be over. But David prayed and put his trust in God and a great Psalm was written about it. I am sure you may want to write it down or even memorize it for yourself for those times when you need reassurance. Psalms Ch. 57 vs 1 “Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me: for my soul trusteth in thee: yea, in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be past”. Oh the entire chapter is precious! Verse 7 of this prayer says “My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed: I will sing and give praise”. I’ll tell you friend, I have found many times that the great King of Kings and Lord of Lords is not just a God far off, but also one who is near at hand. David said his heart was “fixed” – you know what that means in the Hebrew? It means exactly what the Bible says – it means his heart was fixed on God, on trusting God, on accepting whatever consequences might come, accepting whatever the outcome David had settled his heart to trust God’s goodness and mercy and kindness. My 5 year old grandson trusts me to catch him when he jumps from furniture to me. Sometimes, with new situations, he is very reluctant so I have to force him and then he trusts me in that too. So it is with the Christian and God. Sometimes He must force us to go through something holding His hand. From then on we know that we can trust him in those situations too. The Apostle Paul touched on this trust when he said in Romans 5:3-4 “…tribulation worketh patience and patience, experience; and experience, hope…”. In other words when you go through something hard with God and He helps you through it, you learn that you can trust him with the next difficulty too and it gives you hope that others don’t have. It proves to you that you can trust him not only in ‘these’ things but in ‘those’ things as well. What a blessing to find that God is a merciful and loving God on the bright sunny days but He’s a refuge from the storm on those cold rainy nights as well. In our text from 1st Samuel David was indeed delivered from Saul’s wrath. In fact not only was he delivered from Saul, but moreover – God put Saul’s very life in David’s hands…and David was merciful to Saul, just as God had been merciful to David. You and I should have our hearts “fixed” on serving, trusting and obeying God. When you do, you’ll find yourself a much stronger Christian.

Too Close to Escape

Back many years ago I was a bit of a prankster. One night while out on patrol with my K-9 “Sampson” {a large and particularly aggressive Rottweiler} I happened to see two men fishing with lanterns and gigs. It was late at night, a perfect time for a good prank. So I parked, snuck to an advantageous spot and hid in some high bulrushes along the water’s edge to wait for them too wander to close. Between their talking, the water and lantern noise they couldn’t hear or see me. When they got within 20 feet I hissed at my dog – a que we’d rehearsed many times. Sampson immediately launched into his snapping snarling barking rage with his huge teeth gleaming in the moonlight. The noise was deafening and horrifying. I let him jump to the end of the 6 ft leash while I yelled “HALT POLICE”. He was like a furry black nightmare. The reaction was priceless! The men were screaming like school girls while climbing each other to escape “the monster” they later said they’d thought was a huge ‘gator’. The next morning I was sore from laughing! They had been caught totally unprepared and the “monster” was upon them before they knew it was there.
The Bible says that is how it will be for many people when Jesus comes at the “Rapture”; only it won’t be a prank and there won’t be any laughing. 1st Thessalonians 5:3 says in the “day of the Lord” they’ll think everything is peaceful and safe until all of a sudden, like a thief in the night, it will flash upon them like “sudden destruction” because they were UNAWARE, UNPREPARED “and they shall not escape”. The Bible says God has no pleasure in the death of the wicked [Ezekiel 33:11] nor is He willing that “ANY” should perish but that “ALL” should come to repentance. 2nd Peter 3:9 says the choice to receive God’s only begotten Son the Lord Jesus Christ is entirely up to each man and woman [John 1:12]. Everyone [Acts 17:30] has the power to accept, repent, believe and receive OR to ignore, reject, deny and face God’s wrath [John 3:36] when they die [Hebrews 9:27, Revelation 20:11-15].
As a Pastor I meet men & women regularly who are so focused on unimportant things that they are totally oblivious to what is going on around them. God is calling and sending them warnings but they don’t see, don’t hear, don’t know and before they know it – it is upon them. {Unfortunately some have heard, and heard, and heard God’s call and they’ve ignored it so many times He’s stopped calling. According to the Bible THERE WILL BE NO ESCAPE! I fear some reading this article are not even aware of just how close they are to the horrible wrath of God.

Things I’ve Committed to God’s Keeping

In 2nd Timothy the Apostle Paul said that ‘he knew whom he had believed {Our Lord Jesus Christ} and that he was persuaded that He was able to keep that which he had committed unto His trust against that day’. That is a great statement!
Great trials, deep troubles, intimidating situations, physical sufferings, family problems, marriage problems; certainly there is no end of things which can be deeply troubling. Paul lets us in on a great comfort in this scripture. He says he’s learned to trust that God is quite able to keep the things committed to His trust.

With that in mind let me give you 5 things I have committed to God’s trust: 1 My Soul: {John 3:16, Romans 10, Ephesians 2:8-9, Galatians 2:20} 46 years ago I came under conviction, repented of myself & my sin and God adopted me. I’ve trusted my soul to his keeping. 2 My Marriage: My wife and I have committed our marriage to God’s keeping. We trust and obey the bible directions for Christian men & women in marriage (which by the way has no guidance for relationships outside the Scriptures). Marriage is hard but with Christ at its center it gets sweeter and sweeter. 3 My Children. They’re grown now and despite my many failings they’re saved and trusting Christ. Having now done all I can to present them to the Lord and Him to them, all I can do is commit them unto His keeping. 4 My Friendships & My Enemies: Everyone needs friends, real sincere, true friends are hard enough to come by but one thing I’ve learned is that my Christian friends point me to the Lord while my worldly friends inevitably point me to the carnal and base things. So I have trusted my God to bring me the friends He wants in my life. On the same note: The devil has brought me enemies often enough but I am thankful that God exposes them for what they are when I commit both friends and enemies to His keeping. How do you spot an enemy? When they are against Christian things like church and they pretend to love God while condemning things God is for you can be sure – that’s an enemy of the cross. These I have turned over to God’s keeping and I have seen many times the dreadful result of God’s dealing with them on my behalf. 5 My Finances: I’ve trust my God to put in my hand what He deems right. I’ve met many ‘rented’ professing Christians. Those who, as long as the church pays their bills on occasion, they’ll attend (not faithfully mind you). But as soon as they church cuts off the handouts – they won’t be back.
Praise God for those who, if they never get anything else from God, they’re thankful for His unspeakable gift of Salvation and they’re faithful to His church and His bible.

Take Ye Away The Stone

Pastor Malcolm Harrison

 In John chapter 11 God gave us the wonderful & incredible account of the resurrection of Lazarus. There are many different doctrines and teachings to be learned and studied in this great event! One I’d like to share with you to help you in your prayer. First, read John 11 to refresh your memory. As you read verse one you see Lazarus was sick and in verse three his worried sisters Mary & Martha sent for Jesus! When Jesus got to them, after Lazarus’s death, Mary & Martha regard his arrival as “too late” and poor Mary says “Lord, if thou had been here, my brother had not died” vs 32. Jesus tells her to show him the grave. Have you ever wondered why Jesus asked her to show him where the grave was when he knew full well where it was? Carefully study and pray about that question. The answer should bring a smile & a tear to your face. Notice verse 39 [that is where we’ll take our text] and notice what Jesus said to Mary & Martha “Take ye away the stone”. Did you ever wonder why Jesus {son of Almighty God who can calm the seas, raise the dead, heal the sick, cast out devils and by whom all the whole universe was formed} would ask two women to move a huge stone? He certainly doesn’t need them or anyone else to move the stone away. He could’ve turned it into a parakeet or a bucket of fish had he but willed it. He could have turned the stone into a big ginger-bread cookie had he but thought it, but no, he told these two women to take away that stone….don’t you wonder why? Because like always God is teaching…through his son Jesus the Christ we are being taught several very important things here. One of which is this: Prayer involves removing obstacles! Sometimes the reason God doesn’t answer our prayers is that there is an Obstacle between our prayer petition and God. Here is our problem…we want God to move, but we don’t want to move! Sometimes God says to us “as long as you know that there’s an obstacle between me and your prayer request, I won’t answer it until you remove the obstacle”. We let things get in our life, sins that create obstacles to our prayers…sins create barriers that come between us and what we’re asking God for. We pray and beg God to move and the Holy Spirit within us all but shouts “yes God would love to answer your prayers but you’ve got this adultery here and that beer there and this filthy language here that you’ve got to deal with…What about these?” So, if we’re listening, the Holy Spirit shows us in our hearts what the “stone” is that must be removed…and we don’t want to move it…we don’t want to deal with our sins. So we ignore the Holy Spirit’s urgings and convictings….and our prayers go unanswered and our fellowship with God is broken! Some might be thinking “my goodness preacher…is it really that serious…can sin in my life, like skipping church, really prevent God from answering my prayers”? Lets see what the Bible says [Prov 28:9, Psalm 66:18, Isaiah 59:2-3, Jeremiah 14:11-12]. Willful intentional unrepentant sin most certainly WILL become a stone which God demands YOU take away before he will answer your prayers! Take a father who has a very sick child. Such a man needs his prayers to reach heaven Amen?! He needs God to answer his prayers on behalf of that child! But the dad is living in adultery and wont repent of it, won’t forsake it. God is in Heaven watching, waiting to answer, hoping the father will remove that “stone of adultery”, but the father loves his adultery more than his son and will not “take away the stone”. The prayer goes unanswered…the child doesn’t recover and the father blames God! All along it was the dad’s power to get that prayer answered, but he himself prevented God from answering! Is your love of sin, stronger than your desire to see God answering prayer in your life? Jesus said “Take ye away the stone”. One thing I can tell you as a son, as a father, as a husband and as a pastor who has seen many, many wonderful prayers answered, is that if you’ll repent, take away the stones of willful sin and get on your heart’s knees before God, you’ll see God answering prayers in your life! Come Visit us Soon at Calvary!