From the Pastor
5/7/2020 Is There a Shishak in Your Back Yard?
2 Chronicles 12:1-2 NLT
 But when Rehoboam was firmly established and strong, he abandoned the Law of the LORD, and all Israel followed him in this sin.
 Because they were unfaithful to the LORD, King Shishak of Egypt came up and attacked Jerusalem in the fifth year of King Rehoboam’s reign.
Many people come into a new relationship with God through placing their faith in Jesus Christ and suddenly life begins to turn around. Problems and issues begin to get worked out and go away. Quite often it happens in ways that we can only define as miracles because we know only God could have made that happen. We go on down the blessed road of fellowship with God through our faith in Jesus Christ.
I met a man one time who was arrested for drug use. Under the three strike rule that was followed at that time he was facing the rest of his life in prison. He had been raised in church but never really given is life to Jesus. He realized his situation was hopeless and fell on his knees in the jail cell and gave his heart and life to Christ. Miraculously he ended up getting one more chance to get his life together. He truly had given his heart to God in that jail cell. When he was released he got his life together with the help of God, got a college degree, completed Seminary and became an Evangelist.
God is blessing us continually and most times far more than we ever dreamed and certainly more than we ever deserved. Unfortunately many of us fall into what I will call the Shishak curve. We come to a relationship with God through placing our faith in Christ. God begins to bless us, working out problems, meeting our needs as He promises to do in Philippians 4:19. We begin to build up our finances, God provides us with sources of monetary reward we never expected. Where we always lacked in the past now we have sufficiency maybe even an abundance. Then something happens, we begin to trust in the gift rather than the giver and provider of all these good things. We forget that it is from God through the Lord Jesus Christ that we have received this abundance of provision and blessing in our life. We begin to trust in our own capabilities as though where we are today is by our doing. We forget it was God’s doing. We begin to leave God’s Word out of our daily life and eventually we leave God out altogether. But God doesn’t abandon us, leave us or forsake us. He sends a Shishak to remind us who we are and whose we are.
That’s where Rehoboam ended up. His daddy was Solomon, King of Israel. When Solomon died Rehoboam became king of Israel. However, 10 of the 12 tribes of Israel rebelled against Rehoboam’s leadership and set up their own kingdom. It was called the Northern Kingdom and it retained the name Israel. They crowned Jeroboam, son of Nebat, a servant of Solomon, as their king. Since the Temple of God was in Jerusalem, Jeroboam set up religious temples and idols for the people of the Northern kingdom to worship. “Why make that long trip to Jerusalem three times a year when you can worship right here in your own land?” He told the people of the Northern Kingdom.
When the rebellion happened Rehoboam set out to overthrow the rebellion, and force the people of the 10 Northern tribes to submit to his rule as king. However, God sent a man of God to warn Rehoboam that what had happened was by His doing and to leave the Northern kingdom alone. So Rehoboam obeyed the command of God and reigned over the Southern Kingdom which was made up of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin. The Southern kingdom became known as the land of Judah. During Jesus’ time on Earth it was called Judea.
Judah was important because that is where Jerusalem and its’ Temple of God was located. God blessed Rehoboam’s reign as king over the Sothern kingdom and Rehoboam began to build up and strengthen 15 cities in Judah with his military.
As the Southern kingdom began to get stronger militarily Rehoboam began to rely on his own power, strength and resources instead of depending on God. (See verse 1 above.) Rehoboam “abandoned the Law of the Lord, and all Israel followed him in this sin.
It’s interesting that parents often don’t think about the fact that their actions determine the path of their children. If we are honest with ourselves there is probably someone, your children, maybe someone in your family like a sister, brother or cousin, perhaps a friend, a casual acquaintance or someone you don’t even know, who is being influenced by your actions. Maybe your one of those people that people are just naturally attracted to and wished they could be like you. What kind of impression are you making in those lives? Are you pointing them to the way of salvation and eternal life or are you leading them down the road of destruction? Rehoboam lead an entire nation to sin and we must never forget that there are consequences that have to be paid for our sin.
2nd Chronicles 12:2 (see above) tells the consequences of Rehoboam’s sin. Rehoboam ended up with a Shishak in his back yard, so to speak. Shishak was the king of Egypt. Shishak had given Jeroboam, the servant of Solomon, safe haven for a number of years from Solomon because Solomon found out that God had sent a man of God to prophesy to Jeroboam that God was going to divide the kingdom after Solomon’s death and give 10 tribes to Jeroboam to rule. Solomon sought to kill Jeroboam to prevent God’s plan but Jeroboam fled to Egypt where he was protected by Shishak.
Rehoboam ruled over the Southern kingdom for 5 years but he had angered God for abandoning the Law of God and leading the nation to join in his sin. Sin leads to destruction and punishment and Shishak was God’s instrument of punishment.
Shishak invaded from the southwest out of Egypt and defeated the army of Judah at every stronghold city Rehoboam had built for the defense of Judah and especially Jerusalem. Rehoboam and his leaders fled to Jerusalem with the Egyptian army hot on their trail. God sent a man of God to Rehoboam to tell him that Shishak was His instrument of punishment for Rehoboam and Judah for having abandoned the Law of God. The Lord said, “You have abandoned me, so I am abandoning you to Shishak.”
Rehoboam and the leaders of Judah confessed their sin and acknowledged that God was justified in punishing them for their sin. God saw their contrition and saw how they had humbled themselves. Because of this the Lord sent the man of God to speak to Rehoboam again telling him that God had seen their change of heart and heard their admission of guilt, therefore, God would not let Shishak totally destroy Jerusalem. However, Judah would find itself under the rule of Shishak as his subjects. This would teach them the difference between being under the service of God or the service of man.
Shishak ransacked Jerusalem, the royal palace and the treasuries of the Temple. He took all the gold in the Temple and carried it back to Egypt. This included the 12 gold shields King David had made for the Temple guards. Yet 2nd Chronicles 2:12, states that even though Shishak took away much of the treasure of Judah there were still some good things in the land of Judah.
Now how about you, have you abandoned the Word of God in your life and your home? Have you led people to abandon God and His Word by your actions? Is there a Shishak under the direction of God heading toward your backyard to exact the punishment of God against you for your sins? Is Shishak chipping away at those defenses of life you have built for your future? Is your 401 diminishing instead of increasing? Have you lost your job? Is your family falling apart? Has your health begun to fail? Fortunately for us we can do the same thing Rehoboam did and thwart the anger of God and perhaps lighten the punishment of God because of our sins, by humbling ourselves, confessing our sin and asking God to forgive us. First John 1 verse 9 tells us that
1 John 1:9 NLT
But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.
God does not ignore our sin. Even though we are Christians, God punishes sin in order to purge sin from our lives. Defend yourself from Shishak. Humble yourself before God and ask for mercy. Start reading and applying the Word of God to your life again and see that there will still be some good things in your life.
If you have never received Christ as your Savior it’s very simple to do. Just pray to God and tell Him that you know you are a sinner, that you are sorry for your sins, and you want to invite Jesus into your life so you can become a new person and begin to live the way God wants you to live.
If you have invited Jesus into your heart to be your Savior, tell someone today. Find a Bible believing, Bible teaching church to attend so you can learn the Word of God. Send me an email and tell me so our church can pray for you. If you live in the area of our church come worship with us next Sunday. God Bless you.
4/30/2020 AS WE COME BACK TO PUBLIC WORSHIP--DO IT SAFELY
The validity of the danger of the COVID-19 virus has been borne out by the numbers. An article in the Church Leaders. Com newsletter, April 28, 2020, written by Jessica Mouser, stated that a meeting of the board members in January and annual meetings in March for the Church of God in Christ (COGIC) denomination may have possibly contributed to spread of the COVID-19 virus among COGIC churches. These two meetings may partially be the reason for the deaths of more than 30 key COGIC leaders and Pastors from COVID-19. Another possible contributing factor may have been that prior to the seriousness of the virus being realized the church encouraged members to attend funerals of people who had died.
News reports on television have reported on the deaths of pastors who refused to cease congregational meetings in view of the pandemic in its early development in the U.S. One pastor declared from the pulpit of his church that he would “go to jail or to the hospital before he ceased church meetings”. That same week however, the church voted to cease services. Three weeks later the pastor died from the virus.
Another pastor said he would not let the “hysteria” keep him from making his pilgrimage to New Orleans for Mardi Gras where he was going to preach and minister to musicians in various businesses. The pastor played an instrument and found it provided an opening to reach unsaved musicians. He died three weeks after Mardi-Gras from the virus.
We need to be praying for the churches and families of these pastors and church leaders whose lives and ministries were cut short by the virus. As we come back together for corporate worship we need to understand that our failure to follow the safety rules put in place by the our national, state and local governmental leadership as well as the church leadership can have devastating consequences, not just for us individually but for all who are worshipping with us. We must protect ourselves and those who are joining in worship with us.
Psa. 118:24 This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.
Psa. 122:1 I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD.
I am really missing being in church today. There’s nothing like being in your own personal home church with your own personal church home family. Every now and then I go to church somewhere else when I’m on vacation but it’s not the same. It doesn’t matter how large the church is or how impressive the facilities are, it’s just not the same. There’s just something about being in your home church.
Right now we can’t be in our home church. I hope that all our members are gathering together in their homes for a time of fellowship and Bible reading and taking advantage of listening to good solid Biblical preaching on television or radio during this time of limitation to social gathering. Kathy and I are.
4/26/2020 When your Church Home Becomes Your Not Church Home
Did you ever notice that when you grew up and moved away from your childhood home that when you went back to visit it didn’t seem the same? Something was different. It just wasn’t your home any more, even though it was. Sometimes God will take away that feeling of comfort and belonging in your own personal home church because He wants to move you to another church to serve Him. When you feel that loss of belonging where you are it may be that God has somewhere else He needs you and wants you. You just need to make sure it is God’s will that you leave your church and not a leading of the Devil trying to stop or destroy your ministry where you are.
God moved Kathy and I from a church one time. It was right for us to move, but a year later God moved us right back to the old church. Although I had been the #2 person in authority in that church before we left, I did not expect to find myself in any leadership capacity when we went back. I was wrong. Within a month I was right back in the position I held prior to leaving. So why leave in the first place? I believe it had to do with God preparing me to recognize the signs of His moving me into pastoral ministry when the time came, which it did.
One time we belonged to a church that we never really fit in with. No matter how hard we tried we just didn’t fit for a lot of reasons. Finally after about 3 years we decided to find another church. We went to a church nearer our home and when we got into the parking lot God wouldn’t let us out of the car. It was like God had chained the doors on the car shut. We decided to go back to where we had been attending. About 6 months later we decided to go to the other church again and this time there was no feeling that we shouldn’t get out of the car. We joined that church the next week. Later we found out that the first time we had tried to go to that church that it had been in the middle of a terrible circumstance where the pastor had been accused of misconduct. The pastor resigned and a third of the church went with him believing he had been falsely accused of inappropriate behavior. It turned out within a year or so that he had been guilty of the charges brought against him.
God didn’t let Kathy and I get out of the car the first time we tried to visit that church to protect us. We were relatively new in the faith and we had already had one disappointment in not being accepted as good enough by one church. God knew we didn’t need to get caught up in a mess that was going on in that church we were trying to visit that morning.
We need to be sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit in our lives. We may not know why God is doing something in our lives the way He is doing it. Even though it doesn’t make sense to us we need to remember God knows what He is doing and what’s best for us. You can never go wrong following God’s will for your life.
4/20/2020 The Purpose of the Word of God
The purpose of the Word of God is to give you the message of God. Too often we can quote the Word of God but our life, our actions demonstrates that we have no idea what the message of God is that these Words of God are trying to deliver to us. What is God saying to you today?
4/19/2020 From Hero to Zero
Mat 16:13 Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, "Who do people say that the Son of Man is?"
Mat 16:14 And they said, "Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets."
Mat 16:15 He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?"
Mat 16:16 Simon Peter replied, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."
Mat 16:17 And Jesus answered him, "Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.
Mat 16:18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
Mat 16:19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."
Mat 16:20 Then he strictly charged the disciples to tell no one that he was the Christ.
Mat 16:21 From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.
Mat 16:22 And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, "Far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to you."
Mat 16:23 But he turned and said to Peter, "Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man." (ENGLISH STANDARD VERSION)
Many Christians are familiar with these scriptures. Notice that verses 13-20 are apparently separated by a time lag from verses 21-23. How much time passes between the two sections isn’t clearly revealed.
Verses 16:13-20 close a section of Matthew’s Gospel that began at verse 4:17 which marks the beginning of Jesus’s ministry just after having successfully completed 40 days in the wilderness being tempted by Satan and following the arrest of John the Baptist. During the first part of his ministry that was carried out mostly in Galilee and surrounding area, Jesus alluded to His coming sacrifice on the cross. Beginning in verse 16:21 Jesus begins to openly and clearly declare that He will be arrested, tried, crucified, buried and on the third day rise from the dead.
Peter the Hero.
Jesus’ ministry has reached a turning point. His destiny to fulfill prophecy is rapidly approaching. In verse 16:13 Jesus asked a question of his disciples. “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?
The apostles answered that some people suggested Jesus was John the Baptist, some said Elijah and others thought Jesus was Jeremiah.
Then Jesus ask the disciples, “But who do you say I am?” I imagine there was an awkward moment of silence among the disciples. Maybe some of them may have thought that they knew exactly who Jesus was but were afraid to answer his question. Then Simon Peter speaks up first and says, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon-Bar Jonah!”
Whew-hooooo!!! Can you imagine how proud Simon Peter must have felt? Wouldn’t you have been relishing the moment if you had been Simon Peter at that moment? Singled out in front of all the rest of the disciples for giving the right answer to Jesus’ question. Have you ever been there? Singled out in front of a group of your peers at school or work for some unexpected praise by your leader. Read the rest of those verses 17-19. Jesus was singing the praises of Simon Peter. He was the Apostle Hero of the Day.
I remember a gentleman I worked with at a grocery store. He had been a disc-jockey on a small town radio in the past. Radio was his passion. I asked him why he was not still working for the radio station. I have never forgotten his answer. Hero today, zero tomorrow.” That was Simon Peter. (By the way, that young man ended up doing the traffic reports on Houston radio and from there was picked up to fill in on one of the largest, if not top, country radio station in Houston. Before long he was a full time disc-jockey for that radio station. Dreams do come true.)
Peter the Zero.
Don’t forget, some time has gone by between verse 20 and 21. Maybe a day or two, maybe a week or two, maybe longer. In verse 21 Jesus has begun the closing strides of His ministry and His destiny on Calvary. He has left Galilee and headed into Samaria and Judea and arrive at Jerusalem for Passover. He has now openly begun to declare His upcoming crucifixion in fulfillment of prophecy and God’s will. It was His purpose for coming into the world so that we might have the hope of salvation indelibly written into eternity for all who have or will become part of the family of God by placing their faith in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.
Now notice verse 22. Simon Peter takes Jesus aside and begins to rebuke Jesus for saying that He must be crucified for the sins of the world. Simon let his love for Jesus override his willingness to be obedient to the will of God. Simon wasn’t willing to give up Jesus for the sake of allowing the will of God to take place. That is a place that we all come too far too often in our lives. God says do this and we know that He has said do this, but we do what we want to do in contradiction to God’s will. We have put our self and our will above God’s.
Jesus reprimanded Simon for his contradicting the will of God just as quickly as He had praised Simon for his acknowledging Jesus was the Son of God back in verse 16:16.
Jesus called Simon Peter by the name “Satan” because Peter had placed his desires above the will of God. That’s what Satan and his followers do. That is something believers in Christ should never do, yet all too often that is exactly what we do. We place our wants and desires above the will of God. Have you ever been guilty of doing that?
Peter fell from "Hero to Zero" in a moment of time. Fortunately, God is a forgiving God who will accept our repentance and pleas for forgiveness without reservation. You can imagine that Peter felt sick in his soul for his disobedience to the will of God. I imagine that he made a promise to himself that he would not do something like this again. Well as most of us know from experience, it just ain’t so. We should not make promises we can’t keep, especially to God. The closest thing to a declaration or promise we should make is “If the Lord is willing…” or “Lord willing, I will…”
This would not be only time that Peter would let his mouth get him in trouble even though his intentions from the human perspective may appear admirable. The wonderful part of Peter’s life is that each time Peter went from Hero to Zero God forgave and Peter was able to get up, pick up the pieces and resume His walk in the Lord. Thank God that is true for you and me as well once we have come to be born again by faith in Christ. We can never do anything so bad that God will not forgive us and restore us into His eternal fellowship.
If you do not have that hope in your life today all you have to do to get it is to ask God to forgive your sins and invite Jesus to become your Lord and Savior. The moment you do that the Holy Spirit will come into your life and you will have your name written indelibly into God’s registry called “The Lamb’s Book of Life.” Jesus was the Lamb of God who died to pay your sin debt. You will now be in possession of the Hope of Eternal Life in Jesus Christ and a part of the family of God.
God bless you all.