Friday, 7/14/2017

Good Morning,

What I am missing in life are my routines. For the past three months I have been living day-to-day and sometimes hour-to-hour. Every day is totally different and many unexpected things pop up in my life to make even more variety. Do not get me wrong, I enjoy variety, it is the spice of life. But, I also like to have habits and times that those scheduled events happen. But, I have learned a whole new world of existence during the past 90 days. It will be good to have more control of what is coming up next…especially in the early morning hours and in the afternoon hours. I have missed more naps in the afternoon because we have had contractors here or we are waiting for someone to show up or we are traveling to get something purchased or arranged. But, one of the routines in my life has not changed…that is getting up early in the morning while it is yet dark or when the sun is about to come up over the horizon and meeting with God for about 2 hours. That is not something I would ever want to compromise or change. It has been wonderful and it has been my sustaining power in working through those 90 days of “chaos” and change. This morning (Wednesday) was a great time with my God as I compared Judah and Joseph, the sons of Jacob, and the differences in these two men. Judah was impulsive and lived a very worldly lifestyle with his spiritual walk with God at a very low level. Joseph was on the other hand a very godly man with a growing intimacy with God as the years went by and a very high standard morally. Yes, I want to be like Joseph. How about you?

1 Corinthians 6:13-14 - 13 “Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food”—and God will destroy both one and the other. The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. 14 And God raised the Lord and will also raise us up by his power.

Subject:  Living in God’s Power

What does it mean to live in God’s power? It is more than living with the future assurance and hope of the resurrection. Yes, it is a most incredible hope and it demonstrated the power of God in a most unusual way. There is no greater miracle than to have a dead body that has lived and ceased to function come back to life after three days and three nights. I sincerely appreciate and respect that power that only God has and will exhibit one day in the future concerning all those who have died from the very first man, Abel. What a day that will be for those who have died and by faith will be resurrected with a new body that will live forever.

But, there is more about living the Christian life with God’s power. There are those who deny the power of godliness and just act like they are living a godly lifestyle. On the outside they appear to be clean, but on the inside they are wicked, evil people. You may say, “Now that is a negative way to look at people.” Read 2 Timothy 3:1-6. It speaks about religious people who are full of themselves, unholy, heartless, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God. Paul tells Timothy to “avoid such people.” (v.5).

There is power to live above the world and have a great relationship with God the Father through our Savior Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. The ability (power) to live at that level comes from reading, studying, and understanding the powerful Scriptures. It is able to dig deep into our hearts, our thoughts and intentions of the heart (Heb. 4:12). It is the power Word of God that makes the greatest difference in our lives. It gives us the ability to live above and beyond the life lived in the flesh. It is a higher realm and gives far more satisfaction than anything in this world.

Paul prayed for the Colossae Christians that they might be “strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy,” (Col. 1:11). It is not our power, but His power that we can endure all things, learn patience with joy of the Holy Spirit. It is God’s power that gives us the ability to do it for His glory.

In 2 Cor. 4:7 it says, “But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.” In 2 Cor. 3:5 Paul writes, “Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God.” Yes, our power to live the Christian life comes from above, from the God who makes us a new creature in Christ and sustains us day-after-day. Are you finding that power? Are you living in His ability and not in your abilities? It is in HIM that we can do all things through the One who strengthens us! Keep it up, my friend, trust in the living Word, the living Spirit, and the living Power that comes from God!

Relying 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.

Thursday, 7/13/2017

Hi There, Christian,

Last week I finally got out to pick our cherries in the last stages of getting ripe. We have two medium sized trees on our lot. One of them is healthy and doing well, the other one is struggling to stay alive. It has a number of challenges and may be around for only one more year. The cherry blossoms were many in the spring but the last day of coolness came close to 32 degrees and freezing did its number on the blossoms. The production of the trees was “fair”. But, the robins did enjoy their feasts for the past three weeks. They begin to attack the tree for food far before the cherries get ripe. They do not mind, I guess, to eat a premature cherry only slightly red. This year we had to just watch as we worked on the kitchen project and saw many of the outside, spring jobs be put on hold for a while. I did put my resignation in to the Church Board of Elders as general contractor of our Kitchen Project. The old boy is tuckered out and weary. It has been a good journey of three months putting things together. It has been a challenge and a growing to learn process for Linda and me. We have grown together to make decisions on a lot of things that as only renters we do not have to decide. But, this has thrown us into a decision-making mode and we have weathered the challenge. So, I went out to pick the remaining cherries and had only 2 quarts of tart cherries. I so enjoy these tart cherries and will savor them for a short time before they run out. It is so good to be able to pick a few cherries on the way to the church and then back home. That privilege is all but done for this season. Praise the Lord!!!

1 Corinthians 6:13 - 13 “Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food”—and God will destroy both one and the other. The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body.

Subject:  Food in Eternity

Food is such an important part of our lives. When I was a teen and young adult I believe my motto for life was “I live to eat.” It was such a blessing to eat and eat and eat and not gain weight. Yes, I was very active with sports and hard physical work, but I “loved” to eat. After I became a Christian, I enjoyed food and could put away a good portion at every meal. I am not sure at what age I began to realize that if I wanted to live a productive and quality of life, I would need to watch what I ate.

At about the age of 35 I recognized through a chiropractor that I was hypoglycemic. At that point in my life, I realized that sugar was not a good choice for me to enjoy and consume. I quit 95% of my choices to eat products and foods with sugar. It was not easy at first, but in a short time, I could watch others eat what I use to enjoy and had a desire to eat. I realized that I needed to be in charge of my diet from that point on in my life.

Yes, food was meant for the stomach and the stomach for food. I have appreciated not having much problems with my stomach. My stomach could take care of any foods that I could swallow and I was happy with that. God had been good to me to give me a stomach that did not have any ailments except during the flu season or with other minor illnesses.

Notice what Paul writes, “and God will destroy both one and the other.” The word “destroy” means to wipe out…cause to come to an end. Does that mean that we shall not have the necessity to eat food and that we shall not have our earthly, physical stomach. I cannot take this any other way… sorry food lovers. You and I will not be banqueting all the time and enjoying all the foods that we have enjoyed during our lifetime.

The body is not meant for sexual immorality as well. There is great pleasure for a short time in having a love-making experience with your wife. It is the intent of God during our time on earth. But, in heaven there will not be any sexual activity going on at all for all eternity. That also may be disappointing to you…especially if you know a Mormon. That is their hope for the male species in that false religion or cult to have many wives and sexual relationships all the time.

But, our body is meant for the Lord and the Lord was meant for our body. It is for the Holy Spirit to dwell inside our human body so that we might glorify the Lord! He created our body that we might be able exalt Jesus Christ through our thoughts, our words, and our actions. Are you doing that in all that you do?

He owns my body,

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, July 12, 2017

Good Morning,

Last week on Wednesday and Thursday the City of West Allis had a small crew of men working on the street in front of our house. The length of our street is ½ of a mile long and was repaved with tarmac about five years ago. It was a lengthy process as they also put in new water lines and sewer lines that were larger for the big amount of water that we get at times during a rain storm. The street was often flooded to about six to twelve inches of water in the middle of the street. Since the installation of the new blacktop for the street cracks have shown up as the street settled from all the construction work. One of the reasons is big dump trucks went up and down the street loaded with their cargo about one year after the street project for the high school athletic complex. The cracks became wider over the years and are now in need to a little more attention by the City to keep it from deteriorating more. So they are cleaning (sweeping), blowing the cracks, and putting in hot tar into the cracks and places where water could seep and freeze and widen the cracks even more. They have taken two days of time with five men working eight-hour shifts each day. I am sure that this is the best that man can do on any street in the mid-west where the winters are hard on streets and roads. The street has served us well and we are thankful for a street without potholes and a lot of patches in it. I am thankful to be able to do my runs on it for the short miles and a portion of the longer runs. It is our hope that it will last a long time. God is so good to us!!!

1 Corinthians 6:12 - 12 “All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be dominated by anything.

Subject:  The Life of Being in Control

We live in a world of self-gratification and fulfilling our personal wants and desires. It can lead to lust and being content only when we get our own way. We would classify a child as being spoiled by a parent…people become spoiled by pleasing themselves all the time.

In the Christian life we need to separate the good from the evil. It is not like the Old Testament where it was spelled out for them. God called some things unclean and other things He called clean or acceptable. Paul will be speaking about food and sexual morality in the future verses, but he begins by saying that “all things are lawful for me” but not necessarily helpful. What does he mean by this phrase?

The word “lawful” means obligatory (must, out to be) in the Greek text. It is speaking about being mandatory or necessary and essential. It may be lawful for me to eat sugar from a lawful point of view, but it is not helpful. The word “helpful” means advantageous, better off, or to be for our benefit. Because I have hypoglycemia, I may still be able to eat sugar products, but it is not good for me to do so.

It is lawful or even permitted for me to do like ride a motorcycle, but it may not be to my advantage to do so. I choose to drive and ride in a vehicle with four wheels on the ground and not take the risk of driving a two-wheeled vehicle with a lot of power and speed. Should anything happen in an accident, I would rather have the protection of the car or van.

Paul says that “all things are law for me,” but I will not be dominated by anything. The word means to be “to have power, control…to rule, reign”. Paul is speaking about self-control with the Spirit of God’s help. I have learned to not allow anything to have power or control over me. This comes in areas of diet, exercise, spiritual matters, and other things that may rule in my life that would not lead to be an advantage over me.

Is there something that you need to have more of a control with God’s help in your life? Is there something that you need to take back and not allow to dominate you? Take time to evaluate your life. Ponder, think, and meditate upon the things that God wants you to be in charge in each week. Do not let anything reign over you freedom of choice. Do not be consumed with fulfilling your passions, desires, lusts, and pleasures. Be a man or a woman who wants to let God be in charge of every aspect of your life!

Surrendered to Jesus Christ,

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, 7/11/2017

Good Morning, Worker for Christ,

This week should be the finishing week for the contractors. On Monday and today the electricians will complete their part of the project, Lord willing. Tomorrow the appliances will be delivered and installed into their places. On Thursday the plumber should finish up his work and then it up to us to get the kitchen back in order for the remainder of our lives in this house, our home. We have appreciated this house so very much. We raised our four kids in this place that they call “home”…Sarah now over 40 for  just a few years, Daniel and David now nearly 35 for eleven, and Stephen now 28 in September for all his life. It has been a good place to raise a family and now to enjoy our grandkids. The kitchen has been and is a main hub for our family when we get together. We spend three times a day at the very least in that room of the house. Linda spends a lot of time preparing meals, washing dishes, and eating. We are thankful for the old kitchen which has served us well for the 28 years and now look forward to enjoy the new kitchen for many years to come, Lord willing. Thanks for praying with us and encouraging us as we went through this very important time in our lives. We trust that God will provide the rest of the funds for the project as we finish up with the many small odds and ends. Each of them is important…like the replacing the doors and frames, putting in the trim, and putting all the kitchen supplies in new places along with throwing many things away. Thanks again for supporting us in these last three months!!!

1 Corinthians 6:1111 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

Subject: The Cleansing of All Unrighteousness

Yes, many of the Corinthian believers were sinners like many of those in the world in which they lived. It is just like you and me, we were sinners of the same sort as those around us. We ran around with unbelievers who hated God, the Bible and Jesus Christ. They did what they wanted to do and lived a very ungodly lifestyle.

However, God intervened in many of the Corinthians’ lives and the apostle Paul came to preach the gospel of the grace of God. They were saved from their sins. Paul states that they were washed (washed away their sin), you were sanctified (made holy), you were justified (released, set free from their sins) in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. Do not let these theological words “scare” you…they are to help you understand what God has done for you and me in changing us from a wicked sinner to a holy saint!

Can you imagine a person that was immersed in some specific sin in Corinth and heard the message of salvation and eternal life and chose to believe the message became a “new creation in Christ Jesus” – 2 Cor. 5:17? I look back at my life before I became a Christian at the age of 22. Wow! I was a typical man in an unsaved world with no one who was a Christian of my peers. God stooped down and drew me to an evangelistic meeting one spring evening where I heard the gospel and placed my faith in Jesus Christ as my Savior. Instantly I was washed, sanctified, and justified.

In a moment of time I was transferred from the dominion of the devil to the family of God. I was a part of a large body of believers and baptized by the Holy Spirit into God’s forever family. I became a saint (holy one) in that flash of time and I was assured of my eternal life because my name was written in the book of life!

I am so extremely thankful to God and what He has done for me. To think that a rotten sinner like myself has been washed clean by the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ once for all time!!! It was the Spirit of God who washed and renewed me (Titus 3:5). What a blessed hope we have in Christ! What a blessing for the past 50 years!

Washed by His blood,

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, 7/10/201

Good Morning,

How is it going for you today, the beginning of this new week? I need to ask you a serious question. How many verses of Scripture have you memorized this year? Is that something that you do on a regular basis? It seems to be lost art today. I memorized a passage for our Board of Elders – 1 Tim. 3:1-9. We are working on Titus 1:5-9 at the present time. Since I have been on the Kitchen Project and running outside, that area of my life has slipped. I need to get back with it again. I do not talk about it very much and I need to speak out about it more because it is such an important part of our spiritual growth. Some important things happen when you memorize the Word of God. First, of all you are “treasuring God’s Word in your heart” – Ps. 119:11. Secondly, it will keep you from sinning against God. Thirdly, the time you are working on memorizing the words, phrases, and putting the verse together in your mind, you will be interpreting the verse. It will give you a better handle on the verse or passage as you continue to hide the passage in your heart. Fourthly, you will be surprised the times you will use the verse in helping others as a Christian. So, please consider memorizing God’s Word beginning today…write a verse on a 3x5 card and go from there. Put at least one verse a month to memory. You will be glad that you began that new habit. Let me know what your plans are for this venture in your life.

PS Would you consider praying for the financial need of about $10,000 for the finishing of the Parsonage Remodeling Project? It would deeply appreciated. May God touch and stir the hearts of those to give as they have the means and a willing heart. Thanks!!!

1 Corinthians 6:9-109 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.

Subject:  The Unrighteous & Their Inheritance

To talk about sin and the fact of a group of people not making it to heaven is not a popular topic of discussion or preaching in today’s world. Many people do not like Christians saying that many will not make it to heaven except through the Lord Jesus Christ and His finished work on the cross. They say we are too narrow minded about the way to eternal life. But, Jesus said it Himself, “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” – Matt. 7:13-14. Yes, Jesus is the only way to heaven (Jn. 14:6).

Paul is “coming down” on the unrighteousness (ungodly, unjust) and that they will not inherit (possess a benefit from a gift) the kingdom of God. Paul states that they should not be deceived (led astray, cause to wander off the path) by false teachers. The list that Paul gives nine different set of sinners who will not inherit the kingdom ruled by our King! Paul says that some of the Corinthian believers were just like that before they were saved. This is not an exhaustive list, but a relevant list of sins that some of the Christians were caught up in during their unsaved state.

He begins by the sin of sexual immorality (the man in 1 Cor. 5:1-5). Some were idolaters (worshipers of idols), some adulterers (physical and mental adultery), homosexuals (intercourse with a male partner, sodomite), thieves (steal someone’s property), greedy (coveting, wanting more), drunkards (heavy drinkers), revilers (abusive person), and swindlers (robbers). Paul gives another list of sinners who will not inherit the kingdom of God in Galatians 5:19-21.

God is not pleased with sinners who will not repent and turned to the Lord Jesus Christ for their deliverance from their sins. The wrath of God will be poured out upon them for all eternity in the lake of fire (Rev. 20:11-15). It will be too late for them to turn to Christ for salvation. As it states in Hebrews 9:27, “And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment.” There is no turning back the clock. It is set in stone (cement) forever.

So it is with all of us. We must make a choice in this life before we die. As I sit and write this email devotional, I know a 23 year-old young lady who was involved in an automobile accident and in ICU and probably will not be able to make it out of the hospital alive. Her name is Amber. If she is not a Christian, she will be lost forever to a place called hell. So, make sure that you are saved and have your life demonstrate God’s grace in your life.

Saved by God’s grace,

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.