Fire

This year Old Town Hill has begun our year long theme about being watchmen. That is to be in the tower or on the wall and cry out warning to impending danger. So, this past Sunday we had to preach upon the impending danger for all who do not have a relationship with Jesus. This danger that Jesus explains to us is called hell. A place of wailing and gnashing of teeth. It’s an eternal flame that burns and brings horrible pain that never ends.

Yet Jesus speaks of another fire. In Luke 12:49, I have come to cast fire upon the earth; and how I wish it were already kindled! Jesus is speaking about judgment and purification and was looking forward to the day that it would all be accomplished.

Yes, Jesus came to save, but in doing so He has brought the only way to salvation and sanctification. Jesus also taught that the way to salvation was narrow and few would find it. That is why the call to be watchmen is the greatest call that can be placed upon a believer. That flame burns in us and it is a wonderful privilege to be a part of spreading this flame of truth, love, and hope.  Allow the zeal of the Lord and Savior to burn and bring change to the world around you.



Armor-Bearer

Sunday evenings we have been in the book of I Samuel and this past Sunday evening we looked at a great text in Chapter 14. We see the prince of Israel, a guy by the name of Jonathan, and his armor bearer sneak out of camp to go to battle. His Dad, the king, was chilling out under a pomegranate tree.

Now it’s easy to focus on the bravery of Jonathan and his willingness to face the enemy. We also see his great faith in God. In verse 6 Jonathan says “Come on, let’s cross over to the garrison of these uncircumcised men. Perhaps the Lord will help us. Nothing can keep the Lord from saving, whether by many or by few.” Jonathan wasn’t alone. We see someone with Jonathon whose name we are never told. We only know him as Jonathan’s armor bearer.

There seems to be more to this armor bearer than just obligation to be with Jonathan. There is a genuine trust and companionship. In the next verse the armor bearer replies, “Do what is in your heart. You choose. I’m right here with you whatever you decide.”

As I thought about this the Lord spoke to me with a great conviction. There are those who are called to be Jonathan’s, to lead, and to be courageous. Then there has to be the armor bearers, those who stick closer than a brother, who are willing to stand beside and take part in the victories that come to the faithful. I don’t always have to be a Jonathan, but there is great honor in being an armor bearer.

I believe what the church needs is more armor bearers. Those that may look at you and think to themselves, “this cat is crazy, but I’m going to stick by their side and see what the Lord will do.”

What we see is that not only do Jonathan and the armor bearer have a victory over 20 of the enemy, but it opens the door of faith and the Lord gives the nation of Israel a great victory as they route the Philistines all because of the faith of a prince and his armor bearer.   



New

It is crazy how quickly time goes by. If you’re like me I look back at the year we just had and ponder upon good memories and try not to think about the negatives. I then choose to think about what the new year may hold.

There is something exciting about new starts. The opportunity to try and meet goals that maybe we didn’t get in the previous year. To shed some of the bad experiences that have attached themselves to our lives. Maybe those relationships that have been severed for whatever reason can be healed.

Newness brings hope and hope is a powerful thing. That is exactly why Jesus came for us, to bring hope. He died and raised back to life so that we too may experience newness of life. To finally be rid of that old self and come to know what it really means to live in freedom and peace with God.

I know that this world can weigh a person down. The stresses of life can suck the very joy right out of a person. But will you join me in believing that Jesus has greater things in store for us? Will you join me in looking at this new year with excitement because of what could be? We can’t give up and we cannot allow this world to steal the joy that our God has generously given to us.

Jesus reminds us in Revelation 21:5, “Behold, I am making all things new.” And He said, “Write, for these words are faithful and true.” Will you join me in trusting our Lord in doing that very thing?

So, bring in 2020 with great expectation because our King is still on the throne and He is still in the business of doing great and mighty things. I choose to trust Him. I choose to face the new year with great hope. I will see great and wonderful things because I serve a great and wonderful God.



Peace

Peace

Christmas means so much too many different people and for many different reasons. For some it is the time of being with family and friends. Of course, for others it is all about presents and trying to create the perfect holiday for our children or grandchildren. Yet, the coming of the Messiah goes way beyond any of these things. I am reminded that Isaiah prophesied that He would be the Prince of Peace.

Peace, what is it really? Some would say that peace is the absence of strife or problems. Yet, this is not how Jesus describes peace. He tells us in John 16:33, “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

Jesus does not describe the absence of trouble or problems as peace. He says that even in the midst of tribulations there can be peace. This peace can only come through knowing Who holds everything in the palm of His hand. Peace comes in knowing that Jesus said He would never leave us nor forsake us. Peace comes in knowing that no matter what happens in our lives victory in circumstances is already ours. We can have peace because our Lord has overcome the world. Now He is not talking about a planet, He is speaking to a system. A worldly system is corrupt, evil, and perverse. This system has the purpose of destroying all that is good and righteous. Jesus has overcome this system. And because Jesus has overcome, we too can have peace in the midst of the battle that rages around and against us.

However, this peace can only come to those who have come to the knowledge of their need for a Savior. Peace comes in surrender. My prayer for all who may read this blog is that this Christmas you may truly know peace through Jesus Christ the Prince of Peace. Just ask Him to forgive you of all your sin, to come into your life, and make you that new person. Then get yourself into a church that teaches the Bible so that peace will grow inside you all year through.

 

Merry Christmas



Intercession

Have you ever been in that place where you have to face a scary situation? I remember back when I was in middle school and out of the blue I was called to the assistant principal’s office. I will not say the man’s name, but his nickname was “The Enforcer”. He was so intimidating that his shadow scared every kid in the school. So, you can imagine as I began the long walk down the hallway I was trying to think, what in the world have I done? The closer I got to that office door the more I wished I wasn’t alone. I wished that someone would walk with me to vouch for me, to stand between me and the enforcer.

Praise God we have a Savior that does that very thing for us. Hebrews 7:25, “Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him (Jesus), since He always lives to make intercession for them.” Jesus sits by the Father and continues to speak on our behalf, helping us in our prayer life, walking with us as we walk to the dreaded principal’s office. Our Jesus is always there, He never takes any time off. If, for some reason you don’t know Jesus as your Lord and Savior, He is still in the business of saving and keeping us saved forever.

So, how did my visit to the enforcer go? He just wanted to ask me questions about the certain behavior of some boys in the class. Specifically, were they shooting paper wads with rubber bands? I sang like a canary; I had no problem being the rat. Yes sir, they absolutely were doing that, and I told them they shouldn’t be doing such a thing for it was very irresponsible and someone could get hurt. Okay, maybe I didn’t say that, but I was just excited that I was innocent…. this time.



Fight

We have heard many times that this life of following Jesus is not an easy path. As a matter of fact, if following Jesus was easy everyone would be doing it. Paul, in his letter to his spiritual son Timothy, was consistent in reminding him that this life is a battle. In Paul’s first letter to Timothy in 6:12 he reminds Timothy and us, “Fight the good fight of faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called, and you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

The fight is to pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness. These are qualities that do not come to us naturally. They come through the gift of the Holy Spirit, yet if we are not careful that old self will try to squeeze these out of our lives. This is where the fight begins, to look at ourselves in the mirror of God’s word and tell that person glaring back that today we will fight the good fight of our faith.

Maybe it’s the Irish in me, but I’ve always enjoyed a good brawl. As we grow up the things we use to fight over we discover are really not that important. Today though Paul reminds us that there is still a good reason to roll up our sleeves and throw down; our walk with Jesus, the unity of the family, the salvation of those we love. These according to the scripture are worth the tussle. Let’s get ready to rumble.