Friday, 8/4/2017

 

Hi, Christian,

 

Last Friday I had a “day off” from my regular duties as pastor and saw an open door to get a few things done to please my wife and draw us closer to a finished project for the kitchen. I prayed for God to give me wisdom and help me to choose what to do so that it would be a profitable day. I got up and did an upper body exercise. By 8:00 a.m. I had determined to begin the picture window project that may take two days to complete. It loomed like a huge project because it would involved in taking out the two windows that wound out at the bottom of the larger windows above. I took the snipper for cutting limbs of the hedges at the back of the house to see how I would take apart the windows from the hardware. Old MacGyver was at work trying to figure out things without a map. After cutting some limbs back and looking under the window how things were put together, I decided to come back inside and see what “trick” could be used to take them apart. I saw a small part that seemed like it would hold the window to the arms that moved the window in and out. I got a pair of plyers and it worked. It was easy. The next challenge were the sliders on the sides of the windows. How would they come out of their groves? I began to take out some screws, but I knew this was not possible…I decided to “force” the slides and found they could be maneuvered in order to give them freedom to come out. I then began sanding, priming, and painting the windows and then the entire frame. While the windows dried from the painting, I worked on the frame. After nine hours of work, it was all done. A miracle of God and a rejoicing heart. God is so good!!!

 

1 Corinthians 7:14-16 - 14 For the unbelieving husband is made holy because of his wife, and the unbelieving wife is made holy because of her husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy. 15 But if the unbelieving partner separates, let it be so. In such cases the brother or sister is not enslaved. God has called you to peace. 16 For how do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?

Subject:  A Holier Family

 

As we read yesterday in in verses 12 and 13, if the unsaved person would still desire to stay married to the spouse who has now trusted Christ as Savior, they should not divorce or separate. Paul continues with this topic and says that the unbelieving spouse is made “holy” by the believing spouse. Does that mean there is an automatic “salvation” of the unsaved spouse?

 

The answer is, “No!” The word for “holy” in the Greek text means “to cause someone to have a quality of holiness” because of the saved person. Not only is the unsaved husband or wife impacted by the spouse, but the kids are impacted in a positive way by the parent that is saved. There is an influence of holiness that the unsaved spouse and the kids see as they are growing up that they would not see normally in a married couple.

 

But, if the unsaved partner dissolves the marriage, “let it be so” (this is an imperative…command). The saved brother or sister is not enslaved (bound or under obligation) in such matters. The major issue in such cases is “peace” (tranquility). It is because one does not know if the influence of the saved partner will “save” (rescue from danger) the other spouse. This can mean physical and eternal “salvation” (deliverance). If the person who is unsaved is eventually saved…it is God’s business. It is our “priority” to live a holy life so that the other people in the family come to the Savior for salvation just like we did. God is the one who works on the heart and mind of the unbeliever to bring them to Christ and the cross.

 

May we be doing our part in such matters. Whether it be with our families, friends, or people we meet in life, let us be godly examples of morally pure Christians. May God give us His grace as we walk with Him and serve Him in this life. May our testimony be one that God will receive the glory and the honor!!!

 

Because of Calvary,

 

Pastor Les

 

Scripture is from the ESV® Bible  (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.  Used by permission.  All rights reserved.

Thursday, 8/3/2017

 

Hello, Bible Reader,

 

Last week I launched out to sign up with the Wisconsin Athletic Club and plan to play racquetball again. I decided to go on Wednesday and get to the club about 10:45 to maybe catch an rball player before the matches begin around 11:30. That would leave me enough time to talk to someone and sign up as a member again. I was assigned to talk with Brady. I talked with a few men that I knew while I waited for Brady to come to the front desk. When he came, I told him I wanted the bottom line to rejoin the club. He shared the cost, the details of what I would receive for signing up. I went ahead and signed up with WAC and sought out a person or group of guys to play that morning. A gal named Jamie talked to me about pickleball. It is a game that is played by some of the players who are transitioning out of rball and into this newer sport for the club. They built two new out-door courts in back of the building and when the weather is acceptable outside, they play mostly doubles…that is four players. I watched the sport on the Internet later that day and looked at the cost of the racquet and the pickleball balls. I also looked at the rules of the game and then watched some 5.0 players as they competed in a real game. It looks like fun but it is sure different than rball. We shall see what develops in this next year as to what place pickleball has in my life. I shall strive to get back into playing once a week of racquetball. I am looking forward to playing again!!!

 

1 Corinthians 7:12-13 - 12 To the rest I say (I, not the Lord) that if any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he should not divorce her. 13 If any woman has a husband who is an unbeliever, and he consents to live with her, she should not divorce him.

Subject:  The Unequally Yoked Marriages

 

There have been a number of couples that have married and were both unsaved people and later one of the spouses gets saved. For whatever reason the other person is not enlightened by the Holy Spirit and come to Jesus Christ as Savior. It happens more often than one thinks…and sometimes both appear to be saved and one of the individuals does not make the observable changes in character and lifestyle that the other one makes. That is, both may come to church, one comes all the time and the other person comes only occasionally or sometimes rarely or not at all.

 

Paul is speaking to a brother or sister in Christ who is now married to an unbeliever. In either case, if the unbeliever consents to live with the new Christian spouse, divorce should not be an option for either person. There have been times that I have agreed to marry a couple and in the course of counseling, one of the future spouses-to-be gets saved in a church service on in our times together as a couple in counseling.

 

There would be those who are pastors and they would say, “I would just pull the plug and not marry the couple.” But, maybe I am too sensitive and I care about the couple to make a commitment to them to marry them and just abort my journey with them to the altar. It usually has been months invested and building my integrity with the couple that one of the two people comes to understand the gospel and is saved by the grace of God.

 

In those situations, I continue counseling the couple, praying for the couple, and especially for the person that is unsaved to become a Christian. The couple has a reception hall chosen and already have placed a down-payment for its use. They have paid for a number of needs for the wedding day and have the announcements on order. They have lined up a photographer and other people have been asked to stand up for the couple on their day they are to wed.

 

I feel compelled to marry the couple and trust that God would touch the unsaved person’s heart to become a Christian. If I did say, ”No, I will not marry you because one of you is saved and the other is not saved,” what would the couple think and do? I have given my word months before that I would marry them and they have committed to be married to each other. I believe I am obligated to carry out my part of the agreement.

 

I have seen where the unsaved person becomes a Christian later in life. I am sure that others have not become a believer in Christ. God tells the spouse that is saved to stay married to the unsaved spouse…I believe that engagement is a state of marriage ready to happen. May God be the judge.

 

Leaning upon HIM,

 

Pastor Les

 

Scripture is from the ESV® Bible  (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.  Used by permission.  All rights reserved.

Wednesday, 8/2/2017

 

Good Morning, Once Again,

 

Whoa! Here comes another sensitive subject matter. I remember about nine years ago leading a group of men in the matter of “divorce and remarriage” for licensing and ordination of men in the Grace Gospel Fellowship (GGF). We had six good men that met to discuss the matter. I remember I had to lay the groundwork for that new policy for the GGF as the chairman of the group. I told the men as we began the discussions on this topic that as best as possible, each of us had to lay aside our personal preferences and strive to understand each other as we shared our thoughts and ideas to the group. It is not easy to become objective after years of studying, pondering, evaluating the Scriptures, and now coming into a series of meetings to make a blanket policy for this international organization. But, our God was with us as we shared differences of looking at the subject and sharing our biblical perspectives. Yes, we definitely disagreed. Yes, some of us became passionate as we presented our personal view. NO, to my knowledge, no one walked away wounded or insulted because of our final conclusions for the GGF after several meetings on the subject. There were some “fragile” times when passions were a little involved, but these were good meetings looking at the issue and striving to separate the issue from the person. I thank God for those five men who joined me in this journey and Jesus Christ was glorified.

 

1 Corinthians 7:10-11 -  10 To the married I give this charge (not I, but the Lord): the wife should not separate from her husband 11 (but if she does, she should remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband), and the husband should not divorce his wife.

 

Subject:  The Law of Divorce & Remarriage

 

Divorce is a nasty, ugly, and irrecoverable act that leaves victims, gashes, and scars in its aftermath. There is not one good thing that comes out of a divorce no matter what the reason(s) for the separation of husband and wife. Yes, there are two reasons for a committed man and woman in a marriage to divorce that God has given to the Christian world. We shall discuss that later.

 

The charge is that the wife should not separate (isolate) herself from her husband. She agreed to marry the man and therefore she should not want to divorce the man to whom she made a commitment. And the charge is that the husband should not divorce (dissolve the marriage bond) his wife (v.11).

 

In the above two verses, Paul simply states that he gives a “charge” (order, command). It is not him that is giving this edict, but the Lord. The word “remain” is in the imperative (a command in the Greek text) and it means to stay in that position of being unmarried or the other alternative is to reconcile with her husband.

 

Reconciliation with each other is the goal should the marriage become strained or nearly impossible to stay married. The word “reconciliation” means to reestablish proper friendly interpersonal relations…make things right with one another…be at peace. This is God’s desire for all relationships, but especially the marriage bond. It is not a mud slide in the relation-ship, but a slow erosion. Seldom is it a sudden option because of a blow-up of some situation but a constant irritation or series of irritations that cause a couple to be drifting apart.

 

God’s will is that a couple finds a way to resolve their differences and stay married to each other. It is up to both partners to look for ways to show their love for one another and help each other build bridges to their relationship to arrive at a peaceful situation in their marriage.

 

If your marriage is challenged and it is difficult to have a decent conversation which leads to verbal blows, it is time to pray earnestly that God would change your heart and attitude. Do not wait for your spouse to make the necessary changes to bring you two together. It is up to you to change your ways and reconcile with your spouse.

 

Thanking God for my wife, Linda,

 

Pastor Les

 

Scripture is from the ESV® Bible  (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.  Used by permission.  All rights reserved.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

 

Good August Morning,   8-01-2017; 4:00 a.m.

 

Another month bit the dust and all of the seven months that we lived is in the books. That is, we cannot change one little thing of the past that we have done, we can only change today and the tomorrows that we live in this world. We are preparing for eternity, my friend, and there is no turning back, no stopping the clock for a time-out, and this not a time to quit living for Jesus Christ. NOW is the time to turn it on and get moving for our Savior. Time is running out on our lives one day at a time. Whether we realize it or not, the first SEVEN months is history. Whether good or bad or just indifferent, when we as Christians stand before our Judge Jesus Christ at the Bema (Judgment Seat of Christ) as it states in several places in Paul’s writings (1 Cor. 3:10-15; 2 Cor. 5:6-11; 2 Tim. 4:6-8) there will be no time for regret or repentance. We are growing older each day and hopefully wiser and more godly. We should be learning from the past and from committing the same mistakes and sins that we used to commit but changing what we do as God illuminates our eyes and hearts. May the Word of God be transforming you (Rom. 12:1-2) daily as you read and recommit yourself to the One who gave Himself for you (2 Cor. 5:14-15). It is time to check into the game of reality and begin living for Jesus Christ like never before. This is called revival and renewal that comes from the hand of God. Are you ready to real game of being a follower of our Lord and Savior this day and month!???

 

1 Corinthians 7:8-9 - To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is good for them to remain single, as I am. But if they cannot exercise self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion.

 

Subject: The Exemption of Singleness

 

I recently received an email from a single person sharing how she has appreciated last week’s devotionals on the tender subject of marriage and sex. Truly this is not one of my favorite subjects to write, talk, or preach about, but it is a topic that is neglected because it is sensitive. It can be hurtful, painful, and inflamed with emotion.

 

The topic today is on singleness. It appears that Paul is not married. Was he ever married? It is not a critical question to be answered. But, Paul is at this time single and tells those who are virgins and not married or widows and have not married again to stay single. There are advantages of being single. There is one critical exception for a single person to get married.

 

That exception is if they cannot exercise self-control regarding their thought life and even their daily walk among people of the opposite sex. To exercise self-control is to think godly thoughts at all times (Phil. 4:8). BUT, if you are married, being married is no assurance that you will avoid the same patterns during your single days of living. The reason we know this is that over 50% of all men in the churches today are involved in pornography. That is not my opinion or evaluation, it is the evaluation of many surveys taken with men both single and married. This includes those that are professing faith in Christ as Savior.

 

This ought not to be! Paul says to those who are single, if you are burning with passion (sexual arousal) you should get married. What happens if you do not have a person in the path of life to marry? Paul would say, “Find one!” Why? It is because it is “better (superior, preferable) to marry than to burn with passion” (v.9). We all have choices in life. We must make decisions based upon the best evidence we have at the time of choosing.

 

Over 50% of the men in our churches are making the wrong choices daily, weekly, and monthly. They are yielding to their passions rather than to the mind of Christ. The issue is, sexual arousal in the heart and mind. If this happens to you, be very fearful of the future. You may say, “It won’t go any further!” In the past 46 years of ministry, there are too many failures that have led to physical adultery and fornication. Do not be fooled and deceived by the temptations to view pornographic material that leads to the next step.

 

Be careful, pride and sexual misconduct are the two major sins that the Bible focuses much attention upon for even believers. Satan is like a roaring lion wanting to pounce upon you and one day destroy your testimony and your influence as a godly man or woman. So, take note and respond appropriately!

 

Happily married and rejoicing,

 

Pastor Les

 

Scripture is from the ESV® Bible  (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.  Used by permission.  All rights reserved.

Monday, 7/31/2017

 

Hi There, July ends Today!

 

Did you know that “Jesus Loves YOU!?” I am listening to this song on Pandora Radio right now. It is a “Kid’s Song” and there are many kid’s songs in our Christian world. But, some of them are so simple, yet so powerful. I am a believer in Jesus Christ who loves a variety of Christian music. I am so glad that Jesus loves me and I know that for a fact because “the Bible tells me so!” Do not miss the message of these unassuming and influential choruses or songs that hit the heart of each of us…if we are listening with our hearts. Christian music really ministers to me in my life. I enjoy the opportunity as I write these devotions that I have hymns and music with instruments only and they minister to me as I work at this project each week. It speaks to my heart, it lifts me up to write another devotional, and it gives me a spiritual high as I serve my Savior. Every Sunday there is one or more spiritual songs, choruses, and/or hymns that really ministers to me and I enjoy the worship of my One True God of the Universe. Right now I am listening to “Wonderful, Merciful Savior” on Pandora Radio. I remember the first time I heard this song…Cynthia Shyne, the wife of Pastor John Shyne, Jr. from Muskegon, Michigan sang this at an installation service for Henry Redd as we licensed him many years ago. It became one of my favorites all these years because of the message that speaks to my heart. Do you allow and make Christian music a good part of your life each day and week? I would not be without it!!!

 

1 Corinthians 7:6 - Now as a concession, not a command, I say this. I wish that all were as I myself am. But each has his own gift from God, one of one kind and one of another. (ESV)

 

Subject:  God’s Gift in Marital Status

 

Being married for over 51 years is a blessing for Linda and me in our lives. We have appreciated each other and continue to minister to each other in different ways over the years. As I look back, I could not live those 51 years without her. She is so important and precious to me. She has supported me, loved me, endured me, and helped me to become the person I am by the grace of God. I cannot imagine life without her. I miss her when I am on a trip away from home on God’s business and it is always good to get back home.

 

Most men and women find themselves in a marriage relationship. It is the one area of my life when I was about 17 years of age that I wanted to fulfill. I wanted to find the right person for the rest of my life…I believe that I did find her. I had dated over 20 young ladies in those years and I am thankful that Linda said that she would marry me. I had a lot of growing to do and a lot of understanding of what marriage was all about. God was patient and Linda was patient with me as I learned the way to treat my wife and family…I am truly blessed of God.

 

In verse 6 Paul makes a concession (to allow permission) and not as a command to the Christians of Corinth. He says that he wished all (Greek – men) were as he himself was like, single. But, to live a life like that is a gift. I do not have this gift for sure. If God takes my wife home to heaven before I die, it would be this gift that I would ask for in the rest of my life. But, for now, I am very happy with the marriage relationship with my bride.

 

But, there are some that have (possess) this gift (generous grace) to be single. I know of some single people that “wished and hoped” that they would find the right person that they could get marriage, yet are living a single life. Many tears and reminders of their singleness causes them to have “down times” in their lives, but they continue on and serve the Lord with zeal. Being single, especially as a woman, is not easy. It is a situation in life that one must depend upon God at all times to live a godly life of moral purity. God alone can help each of those people accomplish this feat of self-control and morality by His grace!

 

May God give you His grace and peace as you live in the state of marriage or singleness. If you are single and seeking a spouse, seek the face of the Lord and ask HIM for His wisdom for just the right person!

 

Thankful for my marriage,

 

Pastor Les

 

Scripture is from the ESV® Bible  (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.  Used by permission.  All rights reserved.