Updated: Sep 29
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A parable was told of two sons. The younger son decided one day that he wanted his portion of the Father’s inheritance.
The father gave him his portion and this younger son left home. He lived a reckless lifestyle of pleasure and wasted all his money.
He became an indentured servant, looking after pigs. Having lost all and envying the pig food due to a famine, he decided to go back to his father’s house.
He concluded that the servants under his father lived better than he was living and went back home to live as a servant.
When he arrived, he barely had begun to request to be a servant when his father began a big feast, gave him a robe, and began a huge celebration.
The older brother was angry, explaining to his father that he had not done such foolish things as the reckless son and no party had ever been given for him.
The Father explained that the younger brother had been “dead” and now was “alive.”
The older brother was doing everything right in obedience but did not know the father’s heart of restoration and obedience.
It’s possible to live in the Father’s house and not know the father’s heart. The Father is all about restoration of relationships.
Parable of the Two Sons
Determination in Doing Good
Few things can take the place of your persistence.
Talent alone will not take the place of determination.
A genius mind alone will will not take the place of persistence.
Education and training alone will not take the place of an attitude of resilience.
Persistence and determination are your keys to success.
We can sometimes become weary.
There is so much opposition to the best plans for doing good.
It seems there is so much to be done.
There is often so much ingratitude for your efforts, you may feel weary.
Nevertheless, don’t give up!
“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 15:5
The Chinese Bamboo tree is an unusual tree.
It is watered and fertilized for an entire year. Nothing visible happens. Watering and fertilizing continues for the 2nd, 3rd, 4th years with no visible results.
Nothing seems to happen.
Then in the fifth year, within six weeks, the bamboo tree grows from a seed to a tree over ninety feet tall.
You may not see the results immediately. You may feel weary; but, hold on. It may be just a delay your facing. Just keep watering and fertilizing!
Joseph had great dreams that were not realized immediately. It took some time and trouble before he was promoted from prison to sitting on a throne in Egypt.
“And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” Galatians 6:9
Join us in our church service at 12 on Sunday to be encouraged in strength and determination.
It’s easy to get trapped into only selectively seeing things in a certain way.
Sometimes you don’t see things the way they really are. You can see based on past failures and fears and don’t see potential successes.
When you don’t see people or situations the way they really are, it can ruin relationships.
If you have been bullied, you might only see bullies.
If you have been verbally abused, you might only see verbal abuse, even when it’s not intended.
If you are accustomed to being hurt, you may only feel hurt even when others do not try to hurt you.
Perhaps you’ve been taken advantage of in the past. You might only see people with bad motives in most interactions with others.
It should be obvious that all of the above will taint your vision of others and ruin you perception of situations.
Wearing blinders that have been applied by negative past experiences, you may not be able to see anything good in the present or future.
You may be only able see the darkness in everything and everyone, blinded to the light.
You can have a bias for darkness, assuming the worst about everyone and everything.
What’s the solution?
First of all, you must be self-aware enough to recognize this faulty bias for this skewed vision.
Next, make a conscious attempt to “see beyond” the current situation. Yes, it may feel as if nothing good is happening. But what if you were to open your eyes and see differently?
When Elisha’s servant saw the Syrian army surrounding them, he panicked. When Elisha’s servant saw the horses and chariots and a great army surrounding their city, he was naturally afraid. He knew that there was little chance of escaping or surviving an attack from so many.
“Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”
This seemed unbelievable to Elisha’s servant. He saw the horses, the chariots, and the great army surrounding them. He could not see anyone who was with Elisha and him.
Elisha did not pray that God would change anything in the situation. His only request was that his servant could actually see the reality of the situation.
Yet, Elisha also did not try to persuade the servant of the reality of those who are with us. The servant could not have this explained to him nor could he be persuaded into it. He had to see it by seeing beyond the negative situation.
Take some time to pray and mindfully attempt to look beyond the mess you perceive and a see beyond it to a miracle.
Elisha’s Servant Sees Beyond:
Therefore sent he (the King of Syria) thither horses, and chariots, and a great host: and they came by night, and compassed the city about.
And when the servant of the man of God was risen early, and gone forth, behold, an host compassed the city both with horses and chariots. And his servant said unto him, Alas, my master! how shall we do?
And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them.
And Elisha prayed, and said, Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.
2 Kings 6:14-17
Maybe you’ve heard of the murder hornet. It’s two inches long and attacks the honeybee hives. The powerful mandibles of the murder hornet kill the honeybees.
The Japanese honeybee is different from the European honeybees you are familiar with.
You see, normally Giant Murder hornet comes to a European honeybee nest and starts decapitating honeybees and prepares to leave pheromone scents for the other murder hornets to find and destroy the nest.
The murder hornets decapitate the defenceless honeybees with their powerful mandibles and destroy the colony.
The Japanese honeybees are different.
When they notice the advance guard murder hornets intruder, they let it get inside the nest.
They begin shaking their abdomens to signal to each other what they are all about to do.
Then as if with one mind, they all together swarm the murder hornet.
It’s engulfed by dozens and then hundreds of honey bees. But they don’t sting that trespassing murder hornet.
With a thermal camera, you can see that they raise their collective temperature to 117 degrees F by moving their wings and vibrating.
Japanese honey bees can tolerate 118 F.
But the murder hornet can only withstand 115 F.
The murder hornet is slowly roasted alive from the unity and heat of the honeybees.
When the enemy comes in, it’s time to raise the temperature together.
Instead of nit picking each other, It’s time to pray together.
Instead of warring with each other, It’s time to worship together.
Instead of gossiping, it’s time to grow together.
You are no match for the enemy alone. We need to work together in unity and power and turn up the heat.
The enemy wants us looking at each other with distrust and hatred, the enemy defeats us. When we bind together in prayer we turn up the heat and our enemy can’t kill us.
“Blessed are they which do not sit in the seat of the scornful.”
You can be right, but scornful. It’s time to trade your scorn for unity.
Yes people have made mistakes and did not do things right. But there’s a bigger issue. The enemy wants to use that bitterness of the soul to destroy us all.
It’s time to have each other’s back in prayer and unite against the enemy. When we commit together against the enemy we will prevail. We will win together
The Japanese Honeybee does not defeat the murder hornet alone. They do it together.
We need one another. Alone we are open prey to the enemy. But together we can defeat power the enemy.
11 Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone?
12 And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.
Is Baptism Essential?
Jesus told his disciples to baptize. Water baptism was instituted by Jesus in Matthew 28:19. He told his disciples to teach all nations, baptizing them.
In Acts 2:38, Peter followed up by saying Repent and be baptized every one of you. Peter baptized thousands on the day of Pentecost.
It is true that the water itself has no saving virtue. However, Peter explained:
“...baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ” (I Peter 3:21).
The rejection of baptism is also recorded.
According to Luke 7:30, “the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God against themselves, being not baptized.”
The Mode of Baptism
According to the Scriptures, the proper mode of baptism is immersion. “And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water” (Matthew 3:16).
“And they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him” (Acts 8:38).
“Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death” (Romans 6:4).
The Formula for Baptism
Jesus commanded His disciples to “teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost” (Matthew 28:19).
He did not command them to use these words as a formula, but He commanded them to baptize in “the name.”
The word name is used here in the singular, and it is the focal point of the baptismal command.
The titles Father, Son, and Holy Ghost describe God’s relationships to humanity and are not the supreme, saving name described here, which is Jesus.
“Neither is there salvation in any other; for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
Peter was one of that number to whom Jesus had spoken and whose understanding had been opened.
After having listened to these instructions, a few days later, he was inspired by the Holy Ghost to preach on the Day of Pentecost.
The hearts of the hearers were pierced and, feeling condemned, they cried out to Peter and the other apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” (Acts 2:37).
Peter did not hesitate but boldly answered,
“Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Acts 2:38).
“Then they that gladly received his word were baptized, and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls” (Acts 2:41).
Peter did not disobey Matthew 28:19. He fulfilled it.
The Samaritans were also baptized in the name of Jesus in Acts 8:12:
“But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.”
After Paul’s teaching, John’s disciples were re-baptized in the name of Jesus years later in Acts 19:5:
“When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.”
Some say that they will accept the words of Jesus in Matthew 28:19 but not those of Peter in Acts 2:38.
But Peter spoke on the Day of Pentecost under the anointing of the Holy Ghost.
Peter was one of the apostles, and to him had been given the keys of the kingdom, so we have no right to discredit his words.
In Mark 7:8 Jesus said, “Laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men.”
History tells us that it was not until many years after the apostles that the mode and formula of baptism in the name of Jesus Christ were changed (See Hastings’ Dictionary of the Bible, vol. 1, p. 241).
What About You?
Just as Moses took the Israelites through the Red Sea as they were freed from slavery, you too can have your new beginning with baptism.
I’ve seen hundreds get baptized in the name above every other name. The joy, refreshing, and separation from a sinful past can be yours.
Contact us today if you’d like to learn more about baptism.
Confined, but Still Connected: At Home during COVID-19 During a time of isolation, it is important to stay connected. Although we cannot connect in person during a COVID-19 pandemic, there are many ways to stay connected. It can be tempting to curl up in your shell and not reach out during a crisis. Fear and isolation can create a breeding ground for depression. Check in with family members, especially seniors who are isolating even more than others. Some don’t have Internet. A regular phone call, a text, a Face Time, or even an email are all ideas to check in. What about You? 1. Go to bed on time. It’s tempting to stay up late and binge watch Netflix. Don’t do it. Keep a routine. 2. Get dressed and do things. Even if you are not seeing anyone. Shower and get dressed. It will tell your brain it’s time to get things done. Clean that junk room, organize those drawers, and do those projects! 3. Exercise. It maybe tempting to lazily lay around all day. Instead, go for a walk or follow an at home exercise video (tons on YouTube). The battle in your mind: Avoid too much news and conspiracy videos related to the pandemic. No matter how frustrated you become over this current crisis, keep on telling yourself, “This will pass.” We are streaming all our services on Facebook, and would love to see you join us. Be safe out there!
April 2020 Connect with Someone The events in our world related to CONVID-19 are startling, to say the least. If you feel worried or even scared, that’s normal. Acknowledge that fear and then move on. You don’t need to panic. Poor decisions and actions are taken when panic sets in. I’m reminded of the words of Jesus: “Let not your heart be troubled.” There can be unusual circumstances all around you. But you don’t have to become overcome by fear. The filter that helps you make decisions does not have to be fear. It can be faith. As the world gets darker, your light can shine brighter. Reach out to someone who is alone. Seniors, persons with disabilities, and anyone else you know all could use a phone call of encouragement. Or maybe you need to be emotionally strengthened. A close friend in our church is currently in lockdown in her care facility. She was upset when she heard the news. We’ve been contacting her daily just to let her know she’s not alone. Who can you phone to connect with? It will help them and you feel a little more connected and less fearful.
Guest column by Lacy Perkins
Remembering Who You Are
Life is life. All of us have schedules, timelines, responsibilities; sometimes the burdens and of this life can distract us from the call that God has placed on our lives.
Galations 4:9 says, “But now, after ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?”
There are times in our walk with God, after He has found us and brought us out of darkness into His marvellous light, that we forget who we are. When we follow the plan of salvation, God takes us to a new level, gives us purpose in His kingdom. He gives us power and authority and says, “Be of good cheer, for I have overcome the world.”
No longer must we rely on ourselves, but we can live victoriously through God. When we find ourselves stressing, worrying, attempting to figure things out on our own and making a mess, we need to ask ourselves the question Paul asked the church in Galatia – why am I turning again to the weak and beggarly elements? Why am I returning to the powerless slavery I was once in when I am a child of the living God? The Bible says old things are passed away, behold all things are become new; we are new creatures in Christ.
Refresh. Refresh your knowledge of who God is. Refresh your knowledge of who you are in God and what He has called you to do for the lost world around you.