Friday, 7/7/2017

Good Morning, Friend,

How many times have you been taken to the cleaners by someone, both Christian and non-Christian and absorb a financial loss in the experience? My first experience was with a relative who needed help while we were in our first ministry. His car had a major problem and so I paid for the parts to repair his vehicle with a promise of being paid in the near future. That was about 40+ years ago and I am still waiting for my $95 which today would be worth about $1,000. The second event was a need for immediate funds of only $50, but with the need to have it now, it cost another $25 to send it to him. Yes, it was another relative who we were left holding the bag even to this very day. I remember a man by the name of Tony in Streamwood who we tried to help. I loaned him my car for a week and he used it for a month. I had to take my extra set of keys to take my car from his place of residence. He called me up and said, “Why did you take my car?” Plus I loaned him a good number of dollars. His payment were some used appliances to get some of the funds back. We did recoup a few dollars but the biggest return was a bunch of cockroaches. Yes, we just ate the small losses and continued to give, share, and borrow over the years. We are a lot more cautious and careful with whom we take promises from people. We just give away money with the intent that we would not get it back anyway. When I was a young man, I was naïve and I learned the lesson that the things of this life…money and material things are really not all that important. Even giving away things when one does not have much is a rich blessing. Life is not about the physical and material, it is wrapped up in my relationship with my God and my Savior! We can give away time, money, energy, wisdom and advice, as well as material things to others and enjoy the peace, joy, and blessing of being used as God’s vessel with those who are saved and unsaved in this world (Gal. 6:9-10). Be a giver and not a taker!!!

1 Corinthians 6:7-87 To have lawsuits at all with one another is already a defeat for you. Why not rather suffer wrong? Why not rather be defrauded? 8 But you yourselves wrong and defraud—even your own brothers!

Subject:  Defeated From the Start

Paul is continuing to speak about lawsuits or disputes with one Christian against another Christian. If it happens that these cases are brought to our local or even higher courts of law, we have already been defeated (loss, lack, failure). Yes, this is a complete defeat for the Body of Christ and the testimony for believers in Jesus Christ.

Why would you not rather (instead) suffer wrong? Why not rather be defrauded (deceived, cheated) or be deprived by deception or trickery? It is not easy to “give up” as Christians because most of us have been taught to stand up for our rights! We are Americans that have learned not to take it on the chin and walk away. We tend to want to fight back. We need to be strong and not allow anyone to push us around. If you let others run over you, it will happen again and again in your life and you will lose all that you have. You will be seen as a coward or a weakling.

Paul is simply saying it is better to suffer loss in a situation than to take it to the local authorities and allow civil authorities take charge and render a verdict in a situation between two believers. When that happens, you can wave the white flag of defeat. You have already lost even if you win your case against your Christian brother or sister.

That is why it is better to suffer wrong or be defrauded by a believer. Paul clearly states that the Corinthians are wrong (acting unjustly, doing what is wrong) and defraud (con, trick) your brother in Christ. This is not the biblical way to handle such situations.

So, the next time you are tempted to take another believer into a court of law, do not hire an attorney, do not file a petition to sue that person, and do not pay out money to correct a situation that went sour. Go to the pastor of your church or an elder of your church to get some godly advice. It is possible that the Church Board will handle the situation and pass down a judgment on the matter between the two parties. If they are not willing to help you, then just be willing to surrender your cause to the Lord. That is what you call humility. Just remember Jesus went to the cross and paid the awesome price for your sins and mine and he was wronged and deprived of His life for yours and mine. That is what you call ultimate humility.

Humbled by 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.

Thursday, 7/6/2017

It Is Another Great Day!

About six months ago or more I signed up to receive a 90-day free trial for an “Author’s Learning Center” subscription with a $9.99 a month payment after the 90 days. It was to help a novice writer like me to prepare for the writing world and the publishing of my potential book. I marked the date on my calendar to make sure that if I wanted to continue to receiving these email editions to go online and view these ways to become a better writer and help me publish my book, I knew the cut-off date. I did go online to read and learn about being an author. There were only a few things that I thought related to me as the first month passed. I was drawn less and less to the articles and enhancements that I as a new author was supposed to learn. I waited a couple of weeks before the expiration date to cancel my subscription. After the subscription date I received a number of calls and emails to talk to them about the subscription. One evening I got caught with a phone call in my church study by one of the representatives. We talked for about one-half hour and told her why I did not desire to sign up again. Later I received another call and again I shared that I did not desire to sign up again. She offered me a 30-day extension free of charge. I told her that I did not desire to receive any more of the ALC’s material. I became very busy with the Kitchen Remodel project and so I did not attend to my personal budget as I usually do. When I sat down about two months later, I found that I had been charged for two months and as I looked online, I found another month had already been charged to my credit card account. I called and talked to two representatives and found it to be a waste of time. I learned a $30 lesson once again. Is not life filled with lessons for us to learn? Sometimes we need to learn them over and over again, or in different ways. I thought that this publishing company which claims to be “Christian” would be reputable…but I was disappointed. We just have to watch those that claim to be Christian-based. I know which company that I shall not have publish my book should the Lord allow me to get to that point. I am convinced that I shall get to complete my first book and do another one after that…in His time!!!

1 Corinthians 6:4-64 So if you have such cases, why do you lay them before those who have no standing in the church? 5 I say this to your shame. Can it be that there is no one among you wise enough to settle a dispute between the brothers, 6 but brother goes to law against brother, and that before unbelievers?

Subject:  Judges Who Despise Christians

Who are “those” who have no standing in the church? It is the people who are the judges and juries in this world who are unsaved. The word “no standing” mean to despise the people without value. The people it is referring to have no qualifications spiritually for judging people with biblical justice and fairness. It is not that there are some judges and juries who never evaluate with the intentions of being fair, but since they are not saved, they cannot have a real understanding of people who are Christians because they despise God, the Bible, and the Christian values.

As Christians when we take another Christian to court in ordinary matters and bring the facts of the case before the judges, they will not interpret the Bible as a believer would and therefore render a conclusion that is not biblical.

Paul asks the question of “why do you do that?” The unsaved person has no ability to understand the ways of God. He further asks, are there not people in the congregation as leaders that can settle a dispute between believers? Is there none who is wise (prudent) enough to make a settlement in any dispute? Paul is speaking about a man who is prudent (wisdom with practical understanding). And is the reason for a Christian to go to law against another Christian is because no one is willing to take the responsibility to make an evaluation or judgment in such cases?

Please understand, when a case between a believer against an unbeliever is needed to be judged, the case should always go to the courts of law. It is not wrong to sue an unbeliever for some issues or matter before a worldly judge and needs to be evaluated for guilt for an infraction of the law. But this should not be the case for a believer against a believer. These types of legal decisions should be left up to spiritual leaders in the church.

Do not let a church a group of Christians be put to shame (embarrassment) by taking another believer in Christ to court or to be sued. It is important to take care of matters outside the public eye in such matters and take care of them within the church.

Qualified to judge,

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, 7/5/2017

Good Morning, Believer,

Last week my computer’s ability to connect with the Internet on a consistent basis without losing did not happen. After working for about 10 hours on Thursday, I then worked for one hour trying to get the devotional on the website. I tried to get last Friday’s e-devotions online but the Internet connection would quit on me over and over again. I was so tired, weary, and just needed a lot of rest. I went to bed and got up at 4 a.m. to have my time with God. By that time my devotions were completed with my Savior, it was 6 a.m. I went to the church to get the devotional out to all of you. I just continued to work the rest of the day on the Kitchen Project, have a date with my wife, and finished by working on doing some painting on the kitchen. Last week, looking back, was grueling, but God gave the strength to continue to go forward. It is not in our strength that we are able to do what sometimes looks impossible, but it all because of HIM that we can accomplish what we do to glorify HIM. I do not mind pushing out for my Savior…I remember the time that Jesus was in the boat with the disciples and a storm came up. Jesus was sleeping and was not awakened by the storm. Now that is being tired and weary. I have been like that a lot of times in my lifetime for Jesus’ sake. I do not mind, but it feels so good when I do get to rest and be refreshed. As I say often, “maybe this week?” As I write on Sunday, along with my computer problems at home…maybe this week??? We shall see…it is all in the Lord’s hands!

1 Corinthians 6:1-3When one of you has a grievance against another, does he dare go to law before the unrighteous instead of the saints? 2 Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases? 3 Do you not know that we are to judge angels? How much more, then, matters pertaining to this life! (ESV)

Subject: The Saints will Judge

What happens in a church situation when one church member has a grievance (lawsuit, case, legal action) against another church member? I am sure that most would go to get a lawyer and then to court. But, this is not what Paul (God) says should happen in a church setting. It is not the unsaved world that we should as Christians leave the decision in their hands for our disputes.

Why does a situation in a church setting get so bad that even a thought out going to court with a dispute against another Christian be an option? Jesus spoke about such matters in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5-7. In Matt. 5:38-42 He spoke a person who slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. If a person forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Jesus knew all about being used and abused.

Paul says, “When there is a grievance between two Christians, is he so bold to go to the worldly courts of law to decide right or wrong?” Should that kind of grievance be decided by the leader-ship of the church? In our church, it would be the “board of elders”.

Then Paul poses a couple of interesting questions. The first one is, “Do you not know that the saints will judge the world?” When it is speaking about “judging”, it is talking about authority to rule and make decisions in leadership positions. One day there will be hierarchy in this universe and people will be given authority to judge, rule, and make decisions for all eternity. I believe this is the reward of being faithful upon earth during our Christian lives.

The second one is, “If the world will be judged by you, are you not worthy to try insignificant cases?” To this question one can be very logical. If indeed this is the way it will be in the future eternal state, why can it not begin now with these small, insignificant issues between believers? Most of the disagreements are trivial and unimportant in comparison with the many issues that will come up in the courts of law.

And the final one, “Do you not know that we are to judge angels?” Again, put the word “to lead or have authority over” in place of the word “judge”. It seems that we shall be over the angels in leadership positions. How God arranges all of that for eternity, I am sure He has already figured out. We can just sit back and see if our name is called to lead or follow. It will depend upon what we do upon this earth for Jesus Christ.

Let us be wise, let us be discerning and careful in our evaluation of issues like this in life. We need to be careful about every word or every piece of advice that we give to others. It is important that we be Spirit-filled as we walk and talk. Let us be wise counselors for those that need our insights and guidance as they make decisions for Christ.

Learning to lead,

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.

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Tuesday, 7/4/2017

Hello, My Fellow Americans,

Do you remember who said that on their newscasts? It has been a long time ago and it probably tells my age. I can remember his voice in my brain saying those words…his name was Paul Harvey. As with many other newscasters, they had their own special ways of announcing the news. It is my opinion that he was so well liked many decades ago…people identified with and were proud to be Americans. Today there is such a negative attitude about being American. People have been burning the American flag, demonstrating about many issues in our country, and even degrading our U.S. President over the past decades. Honor of our soldiers has been lost, ridiculing our people serving in public office, and disregarding and supporting our police officers and firemen is often heard by people in our cities.

Be it known that I am proud to be an American. I know that not all is perfect and even far from perfect in our country. There is a lot of turmoil and chaos in our land. Disrespect for those who serve our cities, states, and federal government is a part of our culture. Respect for one another is at an all-time low. It is time for us to pray to our God to ask Him to help us be faithful to Him in these times of political unrest and spiritual decay. May God help us to shine for Him to the glory of our Savior Jesus Christ! May continue to bless America!!!

1 Corinthians 5:11-13 11 But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one. 12 For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church[a] whom you are to judge? 13I do not write these things to make you ashamed but to admonish you as my beloved children. (ESV)

Subject: Judging Others on the Inside

The Bible does say, “Judge not, that you be not judged” (Matt. 7:1). And, it was Jesus who stated those very words. Why is Paul speaking about judging people? He is not talking about judging outsiders, but those who are inside the church. The word for “judge” means to decide right or wrong and to pass judgment on those inside the church.

He is not talking about slandering (insulting, maligning, smearing someone’s name) or gossiping (telling rumors or falsehoods) about other people, but evaluating and coming to a conclusion about people with sin. It is speaking about sin (missing the mark) against God and not personal preferences that we might have.

The judgments that we are to make should be based upon the Word of God and not opinion. It is not easy to stand upon the Bible and make judgmental statements about individuals (those inside) the church. Paul has just talked about the man living with his step mother and having immoral relations with her. Paul makes a strong statement: “Purge the evil person from among you.”

Does that statement sound like a declarative statement or a command? The word “purge” is an imperative (a command). It means to remove that morally corrupt person away from the church. But what if it is your relative or your best friend? That would not be easy to do if you were on the church board, would it? Paul does not delight in saying what he just wrote to them about taking this action against this man.

The sin is an obvious missing the mark. It is not about preferences or opinions, but about facts. It is coming to a conclusion of deciding whether it is right or wrong biblically. Your final answer is based upon Scripture, not emotions or whether it feels good or not. Are you willing and able to make some hard conclusions about people and sin as a godly believer in Christ? It is never easy, but it is always consistent with God’s Word.

Paul writes these challenging word to admonish (warn, instruct) his beloved spiritual children. He does not write these things to embarrass (make them ashamed). He cares about each of them and he wants the very best for the believers as a whole in Corinth.

Standing for 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.

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Monday, July 3, 2017

Hello, My Fellow Christians,

Here we are in the seventh month of the year already. Yesterday I preached a message on “Angelic Battles”. No, it was not on spiritual warfare yet I did talk some about our battle with the devil and his angels. But, my message was about the elect angels and the evil angel fighting it out in the heavens. Why do they struggle? How do they struggle…knowingly it is not with guns and bullets or bombs and rockets? What do the evil angels hope to gain from the confrontations? A lot of good questions were brought out during the message and during the Q & A time after the message. Some questions will never be answered in this life from biblical perspective like: Why does God not go out and fight His own battles against the evil angels which would be an easy victory for HIM? The question that comes my way at time regarding mankind: Why did not God just destroy the evil angels when they sinned? Then they would not have been involved in tempting Eve and cause the domino to have Adam sin. We kicked off the sermon with the original sin and the consequences of that sin in Revelation 12:3-4 and then jump to the battle at the end of the Great Tribulation in Revelation 12:7-12. Michael and the devil had a argument over the corpse of Moses in Jude 1:9. Then there was the fight between the angel that came to see Daniel in chapter 10 of his book and how Michael needed to come and deliver the angel so he could finish his journey and his mission with Daniel…then went back to fight the prince of Persia and already was preparing for a fight against the prince of Greece (Dan. 10:2-20). I trust that God allowed you to worship Him intimately on Sunday and you grew spiritually during the message. You have a blessed week!!!

1 Corinthians 5:9-11 I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— 10 not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. 11 But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one. (ESV)

Subject: Be Careful in Associations

Last Friday I talked about separation and not isolation. Finding that balance in our Christian lives can become a challenge for us, yet Paul makes it very clear to us in this passage (at least I think so). Paul separates Christians into two general categories for the sake of simplicity: The carnal Christians and the spiritual Christians. In Galatians 6:1 he writes: “Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness.”

Rarely will a carnal Christian be able to help another carnal Christian through a difficulty or sin in one’s life. Why? It is because it is like the blind leading the blind in a dark alley and trying to find a godly answer or solution to the problem. He or she is not connected with God’s Word which gives us the answers to our challenges and concerns of this life. It is a practical book!!!

In verse 11 Paul is speaking to the Christians and telling them to not associate (be in the company of joint activity) with a professing Christian who is guilty of sexual immorality (sexual adultery, premarital sex, or any other form a sexual perversion), greed (guilty of coveting), being idolater (guilty of have other things before God), a reviler (one who slanders and gossips about others with judgmental words), a drunkard (heavy drinker) or a swindler (cheat, crook, embezzler). These are people who say they are believers in Jesus Christ and are still involved in these sinful ways.

How can this be? Why would someone tell others he is a Christian and still living in sin? Usually it is because the heart has been deceived, the person is ignoring what God is saying to them, or they have a mind that rebelling against God. When a worldly believer is connected with another believer who desires to follow the Lord, sad to have to say this, the godly person will usually go in the direction of following the worldly person.

So, who are your top ten friends? Who are the people you spend time with outside of work hours? What kind of an impact are these people making in your life? Are you finding them to influence you, your family, and your children? Remember you do not have much time to influence your kids. By the time they are 10 years old, they have made most of their habits that will stick with them the rest of their lives. They will add to those habits as they get older by making their own decisions…they will not be taught, but they will catch a whole lot of good or bad information from those around them and make important decisions on how they conduct their lives. So, be a good example and choose your friends, acquaintances, and even the relatives you spend time with wisely!!!

In His 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.

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