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Equity

Good Morning,

The second greatest commandment is to love your neighbor as yourself.  James speaks of an honest and equitable love for all men, regardless of circumstances.   I am so thankful for our church!  I watch the homeless treated well, the rougher folks welcomed with open arms, and the educable slow adult treated with dignity and patience — that is a church pleasing to the Lord. 

James 2:4 “Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts?”
vs. 9 “But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors.”

Not to treat all men with dignity and love is such a sin, an exaltation of self, and a manifestation of pride.  How lovingly God has treated us despite our perverseness!  We ought to respect and regard all men. 

Other passages echo the same truth:
Romans 2:11 “For there is no respect of persons with God.”
Acts 10:34 “Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:”

When God spoke to ISRAEL about their treatment of others, He mentioned their partiality.  Men were treating one group well but treating another group unkindly.  God judged the people for this and held them in contempt. 

Malachi 2:9 “Therefore have I also made you contemptible and base before all the people, according as ye have not kept my ways, but have been partial in the law.”

Arguing with the prophet, the children of Israel claimed innocence:
vs. 10 “Have we not all one father? hath not one God created us?”
But the issue was their treatment of one another...
Verse 10 continues, “…why do we deal treacherously every man against his brother, by profaning the covenant of our fathers?”

To God, dealing treacherously against one another is a major issue.  

This mistreatment of one another brought about a disregard in the heart of God.  God simply did not notice their tears or their offerings. 
vs. 13 “And this have ye done again, covering the altar of the LORD with tears, with weeping, and with crying out, insomuch that he regardeth not the offering any more, or receiveth it with good will at your hand.”

God wants us to be good to each other.  God wants the poor treated properly.  God wants the widow and the fatherless to be cared for and loved.  God promises judgment on those who oppress the widow and the fatherless or those who do not pay the worker his wages.

Malachi 3:5 “And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right, and fear not me, saith the LORD of hosts.”

James 2:9 “...But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin…"
We need to be careful to love the brethren — all of them, with equity.  Loving all men is right, but "... especially unto them who are of the household of faith.”

Galatians 6:10 “As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all [men], especially unto them who are of the household of faith.”

When we walk into the door of the church, all men ought to matter, to be honored, and to be respected.

Pastor Goddard

 

Bu Ministry

Good Morning,

Considering "Christlikeness" and our world, I was thinking about our bus ministry.

Jesus left His comfort zone, the ease of home and a comfortable environment, and entered the world of the needy.  Bus workers leave their homes on Saturday and Sunday mornings and give their time to go into the world of needy people.

Jesus was not always well-received, but regular people heard Him gladly.

Mark 12:37 “David therefore himself calleth him Lord; and whence is he then his son? And the common people heard him gladly.”

Bus workers are not always received well either, but the poor are more likely to receive them into their world.  The poor also received the majority of our Lord's attention.   Bus routes are often more prone to minister to the poor of our community.

Luke 4:18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor…"
Luke 7:22 “Then Jesus answering said unto them, Go your way, and tell John what things ye have seen and heard; how that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, to the poor the gospel is preached.”

In fact, James tells us that God chose the poor to be rich in faith.

James 2:5 “Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?”

Jesus sought people just as our bus workers do:
Luke 19:10 “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.”

Bus workers go looking and searching for those who need the Gospel.

Jesus did what He did because people were about to eternally lose their souls.
Mark 8:36 “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?”

Bus workers go out to win souls.
Proverbs 11:30 “The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise.”

Jesus came to offer a better life.
John 10:10 “... I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”

Bus workers see some lives changed dramatically forever. 

One of the best investments of our time and money is the bus ministry.  Pray that, this year, we might start another bus route; the bus ministry is the ministry most near to our Lord's heart.

Pastor Bruce Goddard

Faith

Good morning,

As Satan masterminds the ruin of the home decade after decade, we must admit that we are outgunned, out experienced, and without power or resources against his works.  From corrupt schools to political and social depravity, the course of ruin has been running a long time.    Understand, that God has all the power, all the answers, and all the necessary ingredients for victory.

1 Corinthians 15:57 “But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Too often, men, like those in ancient Israel, rely on perspective, desires, and a distorted view of life. 

Deuteronomy 12:8 “Ye shall not do after all the things that we do here this day, every man whatsoever is right in his own eyes.”

Judges 21:25 “In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes.”

The Bible must be the basis of all our views; our opinions should rest in biblical thinking.  In getting the work of God completed, there is simply no room for self.

Deuteronomy 32:46 “And he said unto them, Set your hearts unto all the words which I testify among you this day, which ye shall command your children to observe to do, all the words of this law.”
vs. 47 “For it is not a vain thing for you; because it is your life: and through this thing ye shall prolong your days in the land, whither ye go over Jordan to possess it.”

Another difficulty is the addition of what we consider success or prosperity.  We do not truly know what is best in most situations.  Who would have thought the cross was good at that moment in history?  Who would have thought God had a hand in Joseph's imprisonment or Daniel’s being carried into Babylon?

Faith is trusting that God is in control when things go wrong (in our opinion), while we continue attempting to do the right thing.  We are to do what the Bible says because it says it, not because circumstances will fall into place according to our wishes.

Job 13:15 “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him.”

Paul knew how to be abased (not an attribute we covet or consider a part of victory), but Paul was fighting a spiritual battle and the stakes were far too high for humanity to control all the circumstances.  Paul would serve the Lord — no matter the earthly provisions.

God does some things to prevent other bad things from happening.  Paul's thorn in the flesh was the tool God used to prevent Paul from getting proud, thus rendering himself useless to the work of God.  So the physical handicap was vital for success and a prosperous ministry.

2 Corinthians 12:9 “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities,
that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

As we consider the victories Satan wins, let us not lean on the flesh or earthly understanding but rather humble obedience to the Bible.

Pastor Goddard

 

Environment Matters

ENVIRONMENT MATTERS
Good Morning,

Recently, I had the privilege of preaching several times at Pacific Baptist Bible College in Long Beach, with Pastor Steve Myers and the Esposito family.  I noticed how many of their young people are burdened for Southeast Asia.  Many of their young people are in Cambodia and other nearby countries. Many more of their young people are presently preparing to go to those countries as well. 

From our church, we have missionaries in the Philippines, China, and other countries; others are in Bible college planning to go to the mission field as well.  It is no surprise that if one rears a child in a ghetto, that he is more likely to end up in gangs, moral depravity, or in trouble with the law.  Many times, the end results are determined by the environment.

Where we place our children will have a major effect on their future. 

1 Samuel 1:11 “And she vowed a vow, and said, O LORD of hosts, if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thine handmaid, and remember me, and not forget thine handmaid, but wilt give unto thine handmaid a man child, then I will give him unto the LORD all the days of his life, and there shall no razor come upon his head.”

Samuel’s mother prayed for a son.  She promised him to the Lord if her prayers were answered.  The story continues, a child is born, and she fulfills her promise a few verses later.

vs. 26 “And she said, Oh my lord, as thy soul liveth, my lord, I am the woman that stood by thee here, praying unto the LORD.”
vs. 27 “For this child I prayed; and the LORD hath given me my petition which I asked of him:”
vs. 28 “Therefore also I have lent him to the LORD; as long as he liveth he shall be lent to the LORD. And he worshipped the LORD there.”

The prophet was born and delivered to the Lord’s house.  It is no wonder this young man, Samuel, turned out to be a spiritual giant for God.  Samuel had a praying mother and was raised around the church, preaching, and the ministry; it is only logical that his heart would be tender toward the things of God. 

Acts 4:20 “For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.”
Proverbs 13:20 “He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.”

I am not surprised that three of my four children are working in the ministry, and that the fourth child is attending Bible College and headed to the mission field this summer.  The ministry is the environment in which they were raised —a good home, school, and youth department and praying parents. 

I encourage parents to consider a few suggestions.  Of course, you will find great people whose upbringing was far from these suggestions; and you will also find sad stories of parents who tried to implement these suggestions yet all did not go well.  God is sovereign, and the free will of the youth must be considered.  I am saying that the chances of your child honoring God with his life are higher when more of these suggestions are implemented.

1. Never get involved in secular sports. Sports are a powerful god in today’s society, and they need to be held in check like a car or cell phone for a teen.

2. Never allow your children to have close friends who are not in your church and actively involved in the ministry. (This includes relatives; a holiday visit might be okay, but weekly time together is not.)

3. Place your children in the ministry as soon as possible.  Our ministry allows children from age four years old and up to visit the rest homes.  Once our children are in junior high, they are out soul winning.  As they enter high school, our young people start working on bus routes.
 
4. Do not raise your child in a youth department that has no one entering the ministry.
 
5. Do not place your children in a ministry in which the young people tend to go to secular colleges or liberal arts Christian colleges.  When the majors at the college consist of business or nursing and a little Bible, it is unlikely your children will consider serving God.

6. Place your children in an environment which promotes preaching as the biggest thing in life.   In our church, the laymen preach often.  Our men preach in jails and rest homes, and dozens of our men preach in public services on big days.  In our ministry, it is normal for a man to preach.  If you are a man, we assume you can preach. 

Did you know that many of the Apostles were related?  How is it that so many from the same general family ended up in the “chosen twelve?”  Could it be that their families had a special environment?  Maybe a spiritual, praying mother and aunt had something to do with it.  By looking at the Bible, we find it was not a mother who wanted her child to take dance classes or go to modeling school who said these words:
Matthew 20:21 “And he said unto her, What wilt thou? She saith unto him, Grant that these my two sons may sit, the one on thy right hand, and the other on the left, in thy kingdom.”

This mother probably did not take her kids to dance class or modeling school.  This mom had spiritual desires for her children and probably had great influence on the rest of the family; perhaps other parents had similar desires.  Where we bring up our children matters! 

Let me refer back to the folks at Pacific Baptist Church.  Why are more of their young people headed to Southeast Asia and more of my young people the Philippines?  I take our young people to the Philippines, while Brother Myers sends his youth to Southeast Asia for trips. The same reason most youth departments have no one serving God, it is the environment in which they grew up.  It is only logical!  Why is it that many of our young men are considering starting churches?  The reason is because many of the boys from ten and twenty years ago are now pastoring, and we make heroes out of them. 

I would no sooner place my child in a Sunday school where the teacher does not go soul winning than I would allow my child to play weekend sports with a pot smoker.  

Incorporate a great deal of godly singing in your home and your child will enjoy singing.  Watch sports constantly, and the children in your home will love sports.  Go soul winning weekly and talk about the ministry, and your child will most likely learn to win souls.   Bring your child to Nascar races and spend weekends working on cars, and you will bring up a different child than one who never misses Saturday soul winning and bus route visitation.  We are to TRAIN our children.  In fact, we are ALL TRAINING our children; the only difference is the matter of WHAT we are training them to be and do. 

These are not facts but observations that have been tried by decades.  (I have watched and dealt with families and young people for over forty years of ministry.)  Exceptions abound, but the general rule is simple:  the environment in which you raise your children will do much to determine their destiny. 

The idea that God calls a man to Burma as a missionary from a home without training is possible, but it would be rare. 

Consider your free time, your weekends, your child’s youth department, and your activities.  We will load up buses to go anywhere there is good preaching and create an activity.  We join like-minded youth groups for singing, games, and preaching.  Everything we do with teens is centered on ministry and preaching.  

Consider who and what your child is around.  Remember, one day, he will stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ to receive a reward for the deeds done in his life.

Romans 14:10 “But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.”
2 Corinthians 5:10 “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.”

Pastor Goddard

Summer Dress

Good Morning,

Genesis 3:7 “And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.”
vs. 8 “And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.”
vs. 9 “And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?”
vs. 10 “And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.”

This morning, while reading the story of Adam and Eve and God in the garden, I noticed a few things:

Regarding dress:
1. They were wearing fig leaves, yet when God came along, Adam hid because they were naked.  Hmmm.   The girl who gets out of the pool and quickly wraps a towel around herself knows she does not have enough clothing on.  She is naked.  They did not have enough on to be in the presence of God; they were far from ready to appear before Him.  Just because your daughter colored her underwear does not mean she should disrobe in public.  And just because others do it does not justify the action.  Primitive people run around completely naked. 

2. There were only the two people in the garden, yet their clothing mattered.  They sewed fig leaves together.  How we look when in private still matters.  The way in which we dress when at the store or in our home, with our family or with our spouse, does matter.  In the Garden of Eden, there were no children yet; perhaps our modesty matters more than this vile culture has taught us. 

3.  For married people, if you read many of my Marriage Moments that go out every Saturday, you know I think clothing is highly overrated when in the privacy of your bedroom.  But clothing does matter and modesty is right, even if it is the two of you walking in the garden of Eden. (At least that is what the story suggests.) 

4.  God comes along and sees their "swimsuit" style of dress, and clothes them with robes.  Could we perhaps realign what we allow our family to wear at the beach or pool?  God did not consider fig leaves to be enough. 

Regarding Sin and Rebellion:
1.  Rebellion and sin are not matters of damage or harm done to others.  The fruit was eaten by Eve, then Adam; no one else was present to harm.  Sin is against God as well as man.  To ignore the command of God is a sin.  It matters not who it hurts or if it hurts anyone at all. 

2.  The adulterer, the sodomite, the private drunk, or the drug user alone in his apartment all matter, and sin does not have to hurt another person to be wrong. 

3.  Our lives are not our own; we belong to God, and His will regarding our lives matters most.

4.  Satan is content to hurt us and God; getting caught is irrelevant to him.  

Genesis 3:14 “And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life:”

Regarding our children and society:
1.  Our sin causes great harm to children who are yet to be born.  Death passed upon all men as a result of sin.
Ignoring God harms society in the future; the present result alone does not justify actions.

2.  The wages of sin is death; it is a fact.  No matter what we THINK or what society says, when we ignore the commands of God, one person or many will die.  Prior to sin, there had not been pain, death, labor, thorns, or loss of life.

Genesis 3:17 “And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;”
vs. 18 “Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field;”
vs. 19 “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.”

The actions we choose really do matter; therefore we really do matter.  We are important to the future, to our children, and to their children.  Our actions will change the future, no matter how insignificant we feel we are.

Pastor Goddard

 

Value of All Men

Good Morning,

This morning, as I prayed over a world map, I was reminded of how needy our world is.  Six billion people are in the world, and the fact that so few have heard the Gospel is a serious problem.  I looked at the Middle East, dominated by Islam and the bondage of that deadly religion, then I looked down toward Australia and New Zealand and thought about the fact that those countries were just as hell-bound as the Muslims in Iran.  Ruled by a socialist government, the “free" controlled and educated, brainwashed and condemned socialist is no less lost than the totem-worshipping, naked native in Vanuatu.  In fact, those who are comfortable in the government’s care may be in a more serious situation.  The government-dependent family member who has food and comfort may have less understanding of his need than a woman bound by Islam who has at least a small concept of her depraved state via the internet or media. 

In fact, “… all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”   (Romans 3:23)  And no matter where we live, “… we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.”  (Isaiah 64:6)

It seems easier to give to the poor village people of Vietnam, yet the Irish and Welsh lie only a breath away from eternal damnation.  Those who are bound by the demons of animism are no more lost than those who worship in gothic Catholic cathedrals.  We live in a time in which over 90% of Europe does not attend church.  I believe that number to be higher than the unchurched natives in the Philippines.   When Mrs. Goddard and I visited Europe, we traveled for two weeks in Austria, Switzerland, Germany and Belgium and never once saw a Bible-preaching church.  Try driving down the dirt roads of Africa or South America, or the South Pacific Islands and see what land is more “lost.”  For as we drove around Fiji, we saw little country churches everywhere.  Maybe all did not preach the Gospel, but the people had Bibles and walked the roads to a church with some message of Christ.  

Our hearts are touched by the suffering children with bloated stomachs, but our minds should be touched by the lost in any nation.  A nation without clean drinking water burdens our hearts, but a socialist society like Germany should bring about a “divine call.”    In Germany, for instance, you cannot home school your children, even as a missionary from another country.  So many of our missionaries have left Germany for the sake of their children.  But our missionaries in Cambodia are free to educate their children in their own methods.  We have, to my knowledge, many more missionaries in Cambodia than we do in Germany.  Who is more lost?  

As I prayed for our missionary friend, Paul Sock, in Poland, I thought of the absolute absence of the Gospel there.  He has no missionary friends.  There is no Baptist pastor across town to whom he can go to fellowship or gain strength for the battle.  By far, he is more alone than our missionaries in Ghana, Africa.  He may be comfortable, safe, and able to drink the water, but the spiritual state of the people is perhaps more hopeless than those in Africa. 

When God called Jonah to Nineveh, the people there were no more lost than the Jews Paul preached to in Jerusalem.  Nineveh was a violent city, ruthless and wicked toward everyone, but hell was just as hot for them as it is for those who grow up sheltered in Kansas.  People matter — all people everywhere.

May we pray for our missionaries.  May we pray for our youth to hear the call of God in their lives.  May we, as believers, dedicate more of our money to the ministry of the Gospel, to training young people in Christian schools, to colleges, and to the support of missionaries around the world.

Hebrew 9:27 “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:”

Pastor Goddard

 

Knowledge

Good Morning,

Learning to broaden your perspective is helpful in every area of life.  I do not mean to acquaint yourself with shame or corrupt activities, I mean to learn, gain insight, or “borrow brains.”   Recently, while reading for a sermon, I thought of the word “SAVOR.”   We all have an impression about the word, but I took a moment to look up the word in the dictionary.  One great resource for you to have handy is a Webster’s 1828 Dictionary.  It is a giant volume in hardback, but it is also available for free on-line.  I keep this dictionary bookmarked on my computer so it is instantly available.  I rarely use newer dictionaries, as they are as corrupt as the authors and the culture in which they are written.  Look at this portion and see the Scripture used:

SA'VOR, noun [Latin sapor, sapio, to taste.]
1. Taste or odor; something that perceptibly affects the organs of taste and smell; as the savor of an orange or rose; an ill savor; a sweet savor
I smell sweet savors -
In Scripture, it usually denotes smell, scent, odor.
Leviticus 26:1. Ecclesiastes 10:1.
2. The quality which renders a thing valuable; the quality which renders other bodies agreeable to the taste.
If the salt hath lost its savor - Matthew 5:1.
3. In Scripture, character; reputation. Exodus 5:1.
4. Cause; occasion. 2 Corinthians 2:1.
Sweet savor in Scripture, denotes that which renders a thing acceptable to God, or His acceptance.  Hence, to smell a sweet savor is to accept the offering or service. Genesis 8:1.
5. To like; to delight in; to favor. Matthew 16.

More is written, but the point is, in 1828, the Bible was a part of explaining words to people.  Our culture has changed — and not for the better.  We, as Bible-believers, are not weird; it is our world that has become corrupt beyond words.
 
Hosea 4:6 “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.”

A lack of knowledge is not just a lack of college education, but as the verse says, rejecting knowledge is rejecting the truth for a lie that causes people to be destroyed.  

Notice the passage, “…. because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee…”

When we hear truths or facts and reject them, we get into trouble.  When a believer hears the truth of the Bible but does not want to accept the truth, he is in danger of being rejected.  He continues:

“…seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.”



When we forget the law of God, our children will suffer for it.  So here we sit, about sixty years from the introduction of rock and roll, free love, hippie philosophy, and rebellious college students taking over administration buildings, and ------ the beginning of a society that has educational institutions without God, prayer, or the Bible.  We allowed this to happen.  We, as Americans, rejected the command of God to not walk in the counsel of the ungodly, and it is no wonder our children are suffering.

We allowed heathen people to take the Bible out of our schools.  We allowed these things to happen, and in so doing, we have brought about two generations without the knowledge of God.  As such, we are nearly destroyed.
 
Hosea 4:6 “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge…”

We did not grow up ignorant; we, as a society, rejected the knowledge of God!  We knew better; we were trained better, and our dictionaries and laws of the first two hundred years of U.S. history show the constant awareness of God and the Bible.  Not all people were Christians, but they were all aware of the Divine presence and were reverent toward the Word of God.  We let our leaders, preachers, and parents simply toss out the knowledge of God as if it were not important.   We chose the secular life yet tried to keep a little of God around for Sundays and funerals. 
 
In robbing our youth of the Bible and God, we also have educators who replaced the knowledge of God with the knowledge of evil, shamelessly treating vulgar sin as if it were normal.  Presenting filthy living as normal (via the movie and music industry), we have brought up a generation that knows how to do wrong but knows little of good.

Jeremiah 4:22 “For my people is foolish, they have not known me; they are sottish children, and they have none understanding: they are wise to do evil, but to do good they have no knowledge.”

Perhaps we sit today in a little window of mercy as our current president unashamedly speaks of God and spiritual matters.  It may be possible that this window of opportunity is ours to take, and if we do not seek the Lord, we may find our children without a democracy, suffering under foolish or cruel leaders just as people of most other countries of the world live.
 
Isaiah 5:13 “Therefore my people are gone into captivity, because they have no knowledge: and their honourable men are famished, and their multitude dried up with thirst.”

We would be wise to passionately instruct our families, schools, and even our leaders in the things of God.  He is our foundation; He remains our hope.    Let us work at filling our Sunday schools and seeking ways to get every child possible into our Christian schools.  Without God, we are hopeless.
  
Knowledge is power, but the knowledge of good and God will bring freedom to society, blessings from Heaven, and mercy on our children.


Pastor Goddard

 

Why the Hatred?

Good Morning,

The first murder took place when Cain killed Abel; this was the beginning of obvious hatred in our world.  But did you ever wonder why there is such hatred toward things that seem so normal or common?

Why is there such hatred? 

1. Hatred toward the Jews:  for generations, they have been hated. Though Jews only represent a little more than .1% of the world’s population, they have been the object of infinite hatred. Why?

2. Hatred toward the home:  Heterosexual marriages are treated as inferior; families are ridiculed by liberals, attacked by Hollywood, and mocked by universities and high schools. Why?

3. Hatred towards Christianity:  Whether by Disney or our school system, legislation against nativity scenes or Christmas carols is pursued.  Why?

4. Hatred of morality:  Why attack basic moral living?  Why hate decency and abstinence?

5. Hatred for America:  While our food, clothing, military aid, and disaster relief circles the globe, America is somehow portrayed as a giant villain and the source of all evil.  Why? 

Exodus 20:6 “And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.”

Deuteronomy 5:10 “And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me and keep my commandments.”

When we love what God loves, we will be the recipients of His mercy as well as the wrath of Satan.  Satan hates anything God loves.  God has a love for morals and decency, consequently, a great hatred for and even violence towards morals exists.

Why is hatred shown toward pro-life people?  Because Satan hates life; he hates new life, and to destroy life is the height of glory for Satan.  Never align yourself with someone who is pro-abortion — their thinking is satanic.  Children belong to God. 
Psalm 127:3 “Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.”

God delivers those who love Him.  Satan hates those who love God, and he hates the mercy we receive from God. 

Psalm 91:14 “Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name.”


The Jewish population just over .1% of the world, and the land they occupy is so small that Israel could be placed seven times in the state of California with room to spare. Why the intense hatred for Jews?  The answer is obvious:  because God has a very special love for Israel.

What God loves, Satan hates.  God loves Abraham and Abraham's seed.  In Genesis 12, God made a promise that those who love Israel will be blessed by God.  Likewise, God promised that those who hate Israel will be cursed.  Obviously, Satan wants to line up with the haters of Israel.

Genesis 12:2 “And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:”
vs. 3 “And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.”

Always align yourself with those who love Israel because those who hate Israel have  aligned themselves with Satan.

How is it that America gives away a huge portion of its food?  How is it that the charitable giving of America to the world is almost immeasurable:  military aid, clothing, disaster relief, medical care, etc.??  How could someone hate a country like that?   It is easy to understand why people hate America!   For many years, America has stood for liberty, the Bible, morality, and has stood with Israel!  Consequently, Satan hates America!  Satan hates freedom because he believes in bondage.  Satan hates life because he is a murderer.

Of course, Satan hates America.  Any nation that does not align itself with God is going to hate America, freedom, and opportunity; for Satan wants dominion and control.  

Hatred?  Hatred is rooted in satanic resistance to anything God loves.  When you find those who love what God loves, you will be on your way to finding good friends and wise counselors. 

Pastor Goddard

Blessing and Work

Good Morning,

In life, there are simple truths that society is desperately trying to erase.
Notice Proverbs 12:24:  “The hand of the diligent shall bear rule: but the slothful shall be under tribute.”

Some people work hard and are rewarded.  Some people are lazy and will not receive what the diligent workers enjoy.  Like it or lump it, that is life.  No matter how hard the liberals try to make us all equal, it will not happen on this earth.   Diligent people rule; they will always be in charge.  Lazy people will have others over them — that is a fact.  A fact from God!

Life is set up to be labor-based; those who work hardest and smartest are usually the ones who get rewarded.

According to this verse, what reward do the diligent receive?  The rewards are positions of leadership — ruling positions.  Again, though it seems politically incorrect, some will rule and some will be ruled.  I am not talking about slavery; I refer to bosses and workers, managers and minimum-wage earners.   No, the guy who sells popcorn should not make the same amount of money as that of the NBA all-star.  When you rule, you will be less likely to lose your job in difficult times.  The person who is easy to replace will be easily replaced.  He is not as valuable to the boss and will not get as big a paycheck as a more valuable employee.

We need to bring our thinking back to the idea of EARNING what you receive.  No one owes me a living, and no one owes me the same pay as another.  Why should I get the same health care as a man who can pay for the very best doctor on earth?  I should not get the same house, the same vacation, or the same car; and, no, I will not get the same thing that God gives to another.

Some will rule.  Notice the promise to servants:  servants can end up ruling while sons of rulers (if they cause shame) stay UNDER the rule of servants.
Proverbs 17:2 “A wise servant shall have rule over a son that causeth shame, and shall have part of the inheritance among the brethren.”

Diligence allows us to stand before kings. This means one can be the advisor or partner to leadership.  Some who are not diligent will stand before mean men.  Or, they will work for creeps, cheats, or difficult men.  It is possible that your horrible boss is a gift you earned for not being diligent at a key time in your life.
Proverbs 22:29 “Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men.”

Do not get angry at these ideas; instead, teach these ideas to your children. 
The book of Proverbs continues to tell us that some will have nothing.  Too bad!!  Diligence will make you successful and prosperous.  If you choose to squander your chances for a prosperous life on drugs and booze or crime and moral shame, you will find yourself without — that is how life works!
Proverbs 13:4 “The soul of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing: but the soul of the diligent shall be made fat.”

Life is not full of blessings when you want them; blessings are not always going to be out in front of you.

Work hard.  Do right.  Be diligent...and usually, blessings will follow you.

A quick thought:  this idea of working hard has nothing to do with which career you chose, what education you have obtained, or how athletic you are.  The whole idea consists of only a very few characteristics:  hard work, diligence, and wisdom.

Your life is being built by the choices you make each day; choose carefully and wisely.

Pastor Goddard  

It Is Up To God

Good Morning,

Men have wasted much time trying to create their own ethics.  Right and wrong were both well established on the mount with Moses and God.  We might save much time and trouble if we simply do as our founders did and base our laws on the Law.

But men are full of themselves and are always trying to create a right and wrong which fit their own ethics.  For example,  we are told that the land of America was stolen from the Indians.  Israel, likewise, is accused of stealing its land from "rightful" owners.   (No one bothers to look back one more generation to find out how the former residents secured their lands.  We might assume it was not a legal purchase.)

Let us look at how God set things up and rest in His wisdom and providence.

Genesis 48:22 “Moreover I have given to thee one portion above thy brethren, which I took out of the hand of the Amorite with my sword and with my bow.”

To begin with, Jacob gave one son more than the others.  Then we read that Jacob "TOOK" land and gave it to his children.  Whether we like it or not, that is what God allowed to happen.  Fighting over land has always been an issue, and the stronger forces have always taken possessions from the weaker.  Just as other trouble on earth, God has allowed many situations to take place that may not fit into an American Ethics classroom.

Look at the prophecy from Noah toward the future of his sons:
Genesis 9:27 “God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.”

The children of one son will occupy the tent of another, and one son will become the servant to the others — whether you like it or not, the fact is clearly written.

Regarding his family and their future, God told Abram that Israel would be in Egypt for 400 years, come out of Egypt with great wealth, and then when the Amorites have been given their chance to repent, Abram's seed would occupy the land.  Like it or not — God was going to give this land to Israel.

Genesis 15:16 “But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full.”
The process of taking that land came about many years later, but it did occur.
 
Numbers 21:25 “And Israel took all these cities: and Israel dwelt in all the cities of the Amorites, in Heshbon, and in all the villages thereof.”
vs. 31 “Thus Israel dwelt in the land of the Amorites.”

The dumb idea that all people should have the same things, the same education, and even the same health care is a pipe dream idea of fools.  No society on earth has ever had equality!  The rich people or rulers always have more than the rest.  Men dream of having total equality in Heaven, too; but, they have not studied Heaven much, for, in Heaven, we will work and receive the reward of our efforts on earth for serving the King — we will not even be equal in Heaven.

Luke 19:17 “And he said unto him, Well, thou good servant: because thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities.”
1 Corinthians 3:11 “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.”
vs. 12 “Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;”
vs. 13 “Every  man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is.”
vs. 14 “If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.”
vs. 15 “If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.”

Debtors and lenders, bosses and workers, land owners, and those who work the land have always existed.  Some men are made by God to manage, to organize, and to lead.  Other men, equally good and worthy, have been designed to labor and produce with their hands.  One should find no shame in being what God designed him to be.  Some people love detail, figures, and statistics; other people enjoy the ease of following orders, doing their jobs, and returning home at the end of the day forgetting their job.  Managers rarely do this, but they love the passion and pressure of production.  God does what He wants with men, and God does not make all men to be kings, presidents, or rulers.

Colossians 3:22 “Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God:”

Colossians 4:1 “Masters, give unto your servants that which is just and equal; knowing that ye also have a Master in heaven.”

There has always been slavery; in fact, America is one of the first and few nations to outlaw slavery and, in fact, fought violently within itself to stop it.  Some people thought slavery was acceptable; but we, as a nation, made the decision to change that idea. 

Make no mistake:  slavery is still common around the world!  America, to her credit, has eliminated slavery within her borders.  God can bless a man or woman who is born in slavery, just as much as He can bless a man who is born free.  These verses in Colossians teach us to love and serve God wherever we are.

God can give land to whomever He chooses.  God can use the evil as well as the good; and make no mistake, God will see His purposes established.    If God wants to lift up one nation and put down another, that is His business, not ours.

God told Jeremiah that his mission was to proclaim the lifting up and putting down of nations.
Jeremiah 1:10 “See, I have this day set thee over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build, and to plant.”

We should all seek to live as Christ by loving and caring for all.  But understand that if God wants to do something on a national level, that is His prerogative.  As nations and cultures were developing in the early centuries of mankind, God certainly used men — good and bad — to accomplish His purposes.

Proverbs 16:4 “The LORD hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.”

Relax and trust God; He is worthy of our trust and hope.

Pastor Goddard

Usefulness

Good Morning,

As summer rushes upon us and many are thinking about college, careers, and the future, why not consider the thought, "Useful or Educated."

The Bible says we ought to serve one another.  Our Lord said that a servant is the greatest of all.
Matthew 23:11“But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant.”

Paul continued the thought that serving others is the purpose for our lives.

Galatians 6:2 “Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.”
Acts 20:35 “I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

Daily, we all see the UPS truck, the FedEx truck, and the semi's moving America up and down the highways; and in addition, millions of Americans travel daily on aircraft.  My thought is:  how important are the people that keep those planes and trucks running?

The idea that someone needs to have a four-year degree from a university and spend half of his university time sitting under the philosophical influence of God-hating, America-hating idiots is stupid!  Why spend our money sending our children to get a supposed "education" when we could send them somewhere to be trained vocationally to do something useful without all the philosophy, cultural enrichment, and moral corruption.  I would much rather have someone teach me to build a computer, write a program, or service a city bus.  I would rather my child be useful than to have a college degree.

Somebody is keeping those planes flying.  Somebody is keeping our diesel trucks on the road. Someone knows how to work on the giant earth-moving vehicles, service hydraulics, and maintain the cars that flood the highways.  Those people are important.  Those people are useful.  They need not have a college education to be useful.  How many of us know of college-educated people who are useless?  Millions of useless college graduates are scattered across the country.  Useful is what college should make us.  We should go to a vocational school or some other kind of school to learn to be useful.   If you have spent much time with drug addicts or criminals, you have found that many of them are very educated, very good communicators, and many can converse intellectually and discuss a broad array of subjects — but they are useless to society.

We have allowed liberal God-haters to tell us that our kids all need a college degree.  The reason college education is pushed so much is because when a young person is placed on a college campus for four years, his morals are constantly attacked, his values are constantly attacked, his patriotism is constantly attacked,  and then the college may find him something "useful" to do to help him get a job. (But that last one is only a possibility, not a guarantee.) The first few are guaranteed.  Of course, liberals would love to get every child into college; it would give them sixteen years to pervert the mind and the morals and the values of that child — a dream come true for Satan.  Private Christian schools, followed by quality vocational schools or Bible colleges will make our young people useful, employable, and patriotic, and they will do wonders for their marriage, family, and community.

Psalms 1:1 “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.”
Blessings are promised to the person who does not sit, stand, or walk in the ways of the godless world around us, yet we toss our youth into cesspools of iniquity to be trained for life.  It makes no sense.

Not long ago, there were vocational high schools and colleges.  For a high school student to say he was attending a "tech" school was to say he was in a more academic high school, but vocational high schools taught students mechanics as well as the "three R’s."  Fifty years ago, vocational training was common and admired.  A youth was learning to do something USEFUL.  Today, we pay $20-50,000 a year to have our children study sociology or the development of dance in ancient Africa.  Environmental studies are common, as are courses in counseling,  psychology, and political science.  Who gets a job with a degree in economics, unless it is to teach Economics?  Perhaps we should try to make our young people useful.   We surely do not need many more politicians.  Counselors are a dime a dozen and have done little to help American homes.  Why get a counseling degree unless you want a government job working with drug-abuse situations that will rarely help any of them?  A job with a paycheck is one thing, but what about being useful?

Galatians 5:13 "....by love serve one another."

Let us prayerfully seek a USEFUL path for our young people.  Exalt careers that minister to others: builders of all kinds, medicine, anything to do with servicing society, law enforcement, or the ministry.

On a side note, medicine, military, and law enforcement are the hardest on our Christian service. These three are hard on marriages and make it difficult to parent our children well. 
It is difficult to stay faithful to church in these careers, but they do help others and we sure need that emphasis.

We are losing far more missionaries than we are sending.  The world is growing in population while the number of those preaching the Gospel shrinks; surely more of our youth should consider the work of God, but that has to be a call from God.  Ironically, God calls many more workers from families and churches that lift up preaching and ministry as the highest calling.  Seems as if God might call those who are thinking about it.

Pastor Goddard

Believe

Good Morning,

We are Baptists.  We believe in baptizing those who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ and His death, burial, and resurrection; but we also believe there is absolutely no tie between baptism and being born again. 

Notice what Paul said regarding baptism:

1 Corinthians 1:14 “I thank God that I baptized none of you, but Crispus and Gaius;”
vs. 15 “Lest any should say that I had baptized in mine own name.
vs. 16 “And I baptized also the household of Stephanas: besides, I know not whether I baptized any other.
vs. 17 “For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.”
vs. 18 “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.”

There were divisions among the people in Corinth, and each had his favorite person to follow.  Paul was grateful he had baptized none of them.  Then he added, “Christ sent me not to baptize…” (verse 17)

When we begin adding men’s religious works to salvation, we can rest assured that we are doctrinally wrong.  God saves the sinner with no strings attached.  

Many churches tie salvation to religious works like baptism, communion, or other religious duties.  Never mistake this: BELIEF  is the key to salvation, nothing else. 
John 1:7 “The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe.”
John 1:12 “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:”
John 3:15 “That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.”
vs. 16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
vs. 18 “He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”
vs. 36 “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.”

We could go on and on, but make no mistake, God saves sinners when they place their trust in Him.  Any church that adds works to salvation is doing the devil’s work! 

Paul addressed this problem to the Galatian churches:
Galatians 3:1 “O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?”
vs. 2 “This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?”
vs. 3 “Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?”

Keep salvation simple; do not let people bewitch you into thinking our good works can somehow seal the deal after placing faith in Christ.

Pastor Goddard

 

Learn From The Past

Good Morning,

Finding my way into Jeremiah this morning, I was again moved by the warning of Jeremiah about carefully following the instruction of those who went before. 

Jeremiah 6:16 “Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein.”

Idiot modernists and compromisers have argued that we use a PA, and that is not old fashioned.  They will say that we drive cars and not ox carts, yet the text talks about a "path" and in the next verse, "stumble in their WAYS from the ancient PATHS.  We are not talking about a school bus or a horse-drawn wagon.  We are talking about a way of doing things that the older men approved of, that method, that accepted course of travel. 

Jeremiah 18:15 “Because my people hath forgotten me, they have burned incense to vanity, and they have caused them to stumble in their ways from the ancient paths, to walk in paths, in a way not cast up…"

Notice, this 150-year-old idea on a "way not cast up."

Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown's Commentary:
“ancient paths” — (Jeremiah 6:16) the paths which their pious ancestors trod. Not antiquity indiscriminately, but the example of the fathers who trod the right way, is here commended.

“not cast up” — not duly prepared… or not trodden. They had no precedent of former saints to induce them to devise for themselves a new worship.

New forms of worship are far from walking in a way approved by "the ancients."

Each succeeding generation carries the responsibility to build UPON the former wisdom and proven paths.  Just as one group of men who pick up building a wall where the last group left off; they do not redesign, realign, or redevelop; they continue to build upon that which was built before they arrived. 

The wise person will heed the lessons learned by former successful men and women.  The prudent person will study the wise as well as the foolish and carefully guard his choices so as to not repeat stupid thinking but to carefully replicate wise decisions. 

Proverbs 23:22 “Hearken unto thy father that begat thee, and despise not thy mother when she is old.”

Proverbs 12:15 “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise.”

Proverbs 19:20 “Hear counsel, and receive instruction, that thou mayest be wise in thy latter end.”

People who refuse to learn from the mistakes of the past are destined to repeat those same mistakes.  But it can also be said, that those who learn from the wisdom of yesterday may likewise repeat those wise decisions.

Pastor Goddard

 

How to Spot Turth or Error

Good Morning,

Great differences will always be found among the ideas or philosophies of men and religions.  I believe the Bible method, Americanism, and Baptist actions are best.    Notice the actions of those who differed with our Lord in these areas:
Matthew 12:13 “Then saith he to the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it forth; and it was restored whole, like as the other.”
vs. 14 “Then the Pharisees went out, and held a council against him, how they might destroy him.”

The Pharisees did not like the fact that Jesus healed people on the Sabbath; therefore, they wanted to destroy Him.  Jesus did not agree with their thinking, thus He showed them from Scripture that they were in error.  One side try's to destroy; the other side seeks to refute error with truth.

When immigrants came to America, they came seeking liberty: political, spiritual, and educational.  When the founders felt that the government was infringing upon their liberty, they sent people to England to discuss and to seek out resolutions; thus began the first attempt in American politics.  When the king of England did not agree, he sent troops to fight and to keep the “unruly Americans” in check.  TRUTH WANTS TO COMMUNICATE; ERROR WANTS TO KILL.  Most early American immigrants were Anglican in religion, and they differed from Baptists in many ways but especially in the manner of Baptism by immersion rather than sprinkling.  Baptists had no problem arguing with those who differed from them, but the Anglicans used the civil courts to ban, jail, drown, and destroy the Baptists.  TRUTH WANTS TO COMMUNICATE; ERROR WANTS TO KILL.  Baptists never tried to outlaw sprinkling or to do harm to those who practiced it.  Americans did not seek to have war with England; they were willing to allow England to keep her monarch and sought only freedom of conscience — the right to think and to believe what they felt true.

Jesus often taught about the error of the religious crowd.  He had no problem pointing out the double standards, the unscriptural teaching, and the compromising lifestyle of religious leaders; but Jesus never tried to kill them.

Many early Americans came to this new land seeking to educate their children according to their faith.  They did not want to be forced into a secular education created by the government or the church.   Like many Bible believers today, we seek not to close down the public schools nor to destroy the godless, immoral, unpatriotic institutions called places of higher learning.  We simply want to be left alone to educate our own.  But as laws are written and forced down our throats, the secular humanists and their failed system of education desire to crush and outlaw independent, private schools, regardless of the educational prowess they exhibit.  TRUTH WANTS TO COMMUNICATE; ERROR WANTS TO KILL.  One can usually tell which side is right by the actions or talk of destruction.

Evil can not tolerate good.  Failure can not remain in the presence of success without causing emotions of anger and ultimately violence.  Error, when confronting truth, lashes out in self-defense and seeks to destroy.  When Catholicism wrote law after law condemning anyone who differed theologically, and later as Protestants joined Catholics in utilizing the death penalty for Ana Baptists, Mennonites, and other Bible believers, the age-old battle between truth and error, right and wrong, moral and immoral raged once again.  Though Bible believers in early America sought out liberty for all religious people, many religious folks were happy with the “Edict of Tolerance” which gave certain religious groups freedom while condemning others.  Our Second Amendment was born a hundred years earlier in the hearts of Baptists seeking not to destroy, but to be left free to practice their faith and to guarantee others equal freedom.  (Skeptics of this statement should do their homework and find it unquestionably true.  A reference to research would be a more recent work by Jim Beller, America in Crimson Red.)  The clear difference is that TRUTH WANTS TO COMMUNICATE; ERROR WANTS TO KILL.

John 8:32 “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

Not only will the truth make you free, it will move you to seek freedom for others.  Deceptive, religious leaders killed our Lord because He represented good, right, and truth while they believed a lie.

Matthew 12:14 “Then the Pharisees went out, and held a council against him, how they might destroy him.”
Luke 6:11 “And they were filled with madness; and communed one with another what they might do to Jesus.”
John 5:18  “Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God.”
John 11:53 “Then from that day forth they took counsel together for to put him to death.”
vs. 57 “Now both the chief priests and the Pharisees had given a commandment, that, if any man knew where he were, he should shew it, that they might take him.”

Loving people, who are filled with truth, will never try to destroy their parents, spouse, or any others with whom they are connected.  It is our duty to love our neighbors as ourselves.  Truth in our hearts will bring that action to light.   Do not mistake this truth with pacifism or promotion of absolute tolerance of false doctrine.  John the Baptist called some false preachers serpents and "whited sepulchers,” but he never tried to kill them.   The preaching of Jesus and the Apostles brought serious repercussion. Because of the truth they proclaimed, they were not popular preachers; they happily exposed false teaching, but they never sought to take the life of another.

Truth will expose and seek to destroy error, but error will seek to destroy people. The difference is enormous.  Notice the actions of the Islamic followers toward the world, and once again, thank God for our incredible faith!

Pastor Goddard

 

College Choices

Good Morning,

Most of us know that universities are hotbeds of liberalism and compromise and that the entire university process is bent on challenging our beliefs in God, home, America, and values in general.  Because of that, most of us choose Christian colleges for our young people for at least a few years.  But what about Christian colleges?  Are they not powerful influences on our children?  Do they not have a value system?  Are not there beliefs that will be challenged by the teachers at that college?   Are not the teachers "professionals"  at TEACHING and getting students to believe what the teacher wants them to believe?

Of course, the answer to all of these questions is YES!

Proverbs 19:27 “Cease, my son, to hear the instruction that causeth to err from the words of knowledge.”

God warns that some instruction will lead us away from what we have been taught.  We are to stop listening to it!!!

Missionaries and pastors are often drawn to send their young people to a Christian college for reasons far less than conviction, belief, and the product at the end of the day.

Satan brings in ideas like leaven, and change starts without notice; little by little, it grows and influences the entire body.  Little things a young person might miss will grow to influence his entire belief system, future ministry, and personal convictions. 

Matthew 16:6 “Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.”
vs. 12 “Then understood they how that he bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.”

I have seen many pastors and missionaries with strong beliefs who sent their children to Bible colleges that are impressive outwardly, yet do not embrace the very convictions of the sending parent or pastor.  I received a call from a young lady years ago who was sent to a prestigious Baptist college.  The young lady asked me what she should do.  She said the college had standards of dress, but the high school did not.  She felt the college students were only a show, an advertisement for the ministry, yet the people in leadership had no real convictions about modesty.  I referred her to her father and said she should tell him everything and trust him.

There are colleges that have rules but do not enforce them; thus teaching students that rules do not matter and that convictions are a matter of convenience that may be violated as long as it does not hurt anyone.    One well-known Baptist college trains the students to never say "Amen" in a preaching service.  That matters to some of us.  If the college you are considering is affiliated with a church, then you might check out the high school and see what is there.  Most likely this is where your students will student teach, and many of your child's friends could be from that school.  Do they sincerely believe anything?

Some Baptist colleges say they "use only the KJV" when in the Greek class their training will be anything but loyal to the inspiration and preservation of the KJV.  As we all know, music is the biggest area of change we are seeing in conservative circles.  What kind of music is being allowed in the chapel services, in the dorms, and in the social lives of our young people?  Check out recent graduates, see how they dress, and if they are in the ministry, observe their music.  Take note of the conferences that are endorsed, the guest speakers, and the college social activities.  All these factors will influence the thinking of your students.

It is sad to spend 18 years training a young person in what is right and wrong, then spending thousands of dollars to send them to a Baptist college that undermines what the parents have diligently taught for two decades.

Doctrine and belief are vulnerable.  Although neither may change overnight, they are very delicate, and God warns about "wind of doctrine" and "cunning craftiness."  Change does not occur like an atom bomb, but the slight turning of values can cause a college student to slowly drift from that which their parents have taught them.

Ephesians 4:14 “That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;”

With summer right around the corner, be careful where you send your children.   Do your homework when it comes to college choices.  Just because it is a well-known Baptist college does not mean its values and beliefs are the same as yours.  Remember, the main things any college wants are students and money.  Much will be done to draw students to attend their school.

Pastor Goddard

 

Go On and Try

Good Morning,

The fact that we fail is undeniable.  The fact that we sometimes think selfishly and even evil is also true.  Yet, God, in mercy, works with sinful men.  We are but dust, and the Lord knows this.  Before I get to the lesson, let me say that no one gets close to the Lord without the love for right and the passion for holiness.  (Hebrews 1:8-9, 1 Peter 1:15-16)  I believe that a life of casual living with compromise toward the things of the world will cost us on earth and limit our usefulness to Christ.  James teaches that even friendship with the world is enmity with God, and as such, keeps us from ever having the intimacy with the Father that could be ours.  Yet, God has only sinners with whom to work, and, in mercy, He does so.

Jacob left home; and in route, he vowed to tithe and serve God if God would preserve him. 

Genesis 28:20 “And Jacob vowed a vow, saying, If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on,”
vs. 21 “So that I come again to my father's house in peace; then shall the LORD be my God:”
vs. 22 “And this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be God's house: and of all that thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto thee.”

God preserved Jacob and more by making him rich and greatly rewarding his hard work and love for God.  Jacob also gained four wives along the way.  When God led him to return home after being away for twenty years (31:41), he presented the idea to Rachel and Leah.  Here is their response:

Genesis 31:14 “And Rachel and Leah answered and said unto him, Is there yet any portion or inheritance for us in our father's house?”
vs. 15 “Are we not counted of him strangers? for he hath sold us, and hath quite devoured also our money.”
vs. 16 “For all the riches which God hath taken from our father, that is ours, and our children's: now then, whatsoever God hath said unto thee, do.”

No family thoughts or concern about their father arose.  Neither lady spoke of missing her mom or siblings — it was all about money.  As long as these girls had lots of money, they were happy.  Since their father had little, why not leave?  What reason did they have to stay? 

Now, if those women are not examples of totally selfish girls, I have never seen any.  Of course, prior to this event, both of their selfish, bickering spirits manifested themselves several times.  These gals fought over Jacob, and they fought over who had children and who did not.  The favorite wife, Rachel (the idolatrous thief), even stole her father's gods.
Genesis 31:19  “And Laban went to shear his sheep: and Rachel had stolen the images that were her father’s."

Suffice it to say, these women were not the godly examples we might hope for in the lives of our sons. 

Yet, God greatly used Jacob.  Jacob, whose name means supplanter or trickster, had his name changed to Israel meaning a prince.  It was said that he had power with God.  (Genesis 32:28)

We may live in a difficult situation or struggle with ties to shame or wrongdoing, but never forget that God can bless whomever He chooses to bless.  Our pastor, Dr. Hyles, came from a family where dad was a drunk who beat mom and abandoned his responsibilities as a father and husband.  David, the man after God's own heart, grew up in a home in which he was treated as a bother; he was mocked and ridiculed when he wanted to stand for God.  Godly Solomon was the second child born to Bathsheba and David, and Solomon’s mother began her relationship to David in adultery. 

The stories of men and women in difficulty being used of God are endless.  The famous missionary, Jim Elliot, arrived at his desired mission spot only to be killed by those he came to help.  Some time later, his wife and others returned to this same group of people, and a great harvest of souls took place.  (Read the book, Through Gates of Splendor, written by Mrs. Elliot.)  Many of our finest young people who went out to serve the Lord came from homes without Christ, and some came from a family with parents who claimed Christ but lived little or none of the things they claimed to believe.  I have two friends, who are wonderful preachers, whose father sits in a jail cell due to sinful acts while in the ministry. 

If someone near you is living selfishly, you decide to go on and live for God as best as you can.  If those around you are evil, love God and follow Him as you are able.  If those near you are contentious, live as best as you can in that situation.  God is not blind to your world, and He loves you and knows your heart.  God says, “If it be possible...live peaceably…”  What liberty and comfort that brings to those who also live in very difficult situations.

Romans 12:18 “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.”

Just go on and live for God as best as you are able. 

Pastor Goddard

 

What God?

Good Morning,

There they go off to the motorcycle track on Sunday morning… the riders have been thinking about riding for days; they even dressed up for the day and spent quite a bit of money for their religion (and do so on a weekly basis).

Matthew 6:21 “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”

There they are on Sunday morning… getting dressed up in some quite expensive, color-coordinated clothing to climb on a very expensive bicycle to spend their Sunday morning away from family to worship their god.

These people act as if they are not religious and that nice clothes offend them. They criticize the church goer for getting cleaned up and dressing their best for their God.  The leather jackets and chaps that Harley riders wear are very expensive. They buy the most expensive sunglasses and helmets, and the motorcycles they ride, maintain, and keep sparkling clean are incredibly expensive.  All of the details and possessions involved with this lifestyle are a part of their religion. They spend their Saturdays or Sundays riding around accomplishing little; it is their religion, it is what they do.

Deuteronomy 11:16 “Take heed to yourselves, that your heart be not deceived, and ye turn aside, and serve other gods, and worship them;”

1 Kings 9:6 “But if ye shall at all turn from following me, ye or your children, and will not keep my commandments and my statutes which I have set before you, but go and serve other gods, and worship them:”

The element that sets all of these religions apart is the fact that if one follows the gods of this world, he is expected to forsake the God of Heaven, His Book, His people, and His church.  God tells us not to forsake these things in order to follow the gods of sports, motorcycles, or bicycles. 

2 Chronicles 7:19 “But if ye turn away, and forsake my statutes and my commandments, which I have set before you, and shall go and serve other gods, and worship them;”

Those who follow the god of the world would rather put their children in beautiful, matching outfits and spend time teaching them about their god and their religion than place them in a Sunday school class and church.  Much of the family gathers together to be involved in this family religion.  Dressed in their nice clothes, they pile into the car; sometimes they even bring some food, knowing they will spend much of their Sunday with their god in their religion.  It could be softball or soccer, but athletics is their religion, and there is no doubt about it.  Their money, time, and fancy clothing are all elements — it is their religion.  Of course, they have no time for the hypocrites or dressy clothing of people at the church.  They state, ”The weekend is the only time we have to play ball."

Do not talk to me with an insulting tone about my putting on a suit and tie and carrying a Bible. I will take my Saturday and Sunday and go off to meet with those who believe as I believe. Do not insult me by criticizing my spending money on clothes and the God Whom I serve.  At least the God I serve is alive.  The God I serve is eternal.  The God I serve will take care of me when I am old, and He will give me an eternal home when I leave this world.

Did you ever see a fat man dressed up in bright colored spandex peddling his bicycle?  (And they say we are weird with our religious beliefs!)  

Do not be found forsaking the Lord while serving the gods of this world.  Most people have a religion, even if it simply involves sitting around all weekend drinking beer and watching television. A person’s god is revealed by where he puts his time and money, and often he forsakes his family to be 100% into his religion.  Many a man has lost his family over the god of beer. 

Where your treasure of time and money is, there is your God —my God is wonderful! 

Pastor Goddard

No Excuses

Good Morning,

Most of us are familiar with the phrase in Joshua chapter 1 and Psalms chapter 1:
“…whatsoever he doeth shall prosper."

Without question, God is offering us His blessing and the touch of the divine hand on all that we do; there is no excuse or reason for failure.

When we think of all the burdens, heartaches, sorrow, depression, and grief, how can we help but go to the book of Isaiah which tells us He is the “Prince of Peace.”
Isaiah 9:6 “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”

How can we help but look unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, and run our race (Hebrews 12:1-3)?
Isaiah tells us that perfect peace belongs to those whose minds are focused on the Saviour.
Isaiah 26:3 “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.”

When we fall prey to emotional tragedy, to whom does the blame belong?

I do not see failure as an option, short of abandoning the promises of God.  I am not saying I will never fail; I am saying that I will never fail while I walk in His precepts and stay focused on obedient living.  In fact, Peter gives us a list of things to do and makes the simple promise that if we do these things, we will never fall.  That is powerful and hopeful!  He does not say we will never be tried, tested, or suffer affliction; he says we will arise victoriously.

2 Peter 1:10 “Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:”

Let me explain the problem of anxiety attacks, quitting on home and marriage, or dropping out of church because we found out church members are sinners.  Let me give at least one reason why pastors end up changing their belief, compromising with the world, and even jumping head-long into shame and sin.

Go out some evening and drive by the various fast food restaurants.  Look at the lines of people at Jack-in-the-Box, McDonald’s, Burger King, and other fast-food restaurants.  Somehow, we feel we have fed our families when we stuffed a cheeseburger and a super size french fry into our children followed by sugar-filled Coke.  We all know that is not the way to properly feed a human body, but still, Americans are doing it.

That's exactly what we are doing spiritually!  We are living a junk-food life on non-nutritious Bible entertainment, music that caters to the body and soul rather than the spirit, and we top it off with pleasure-filled television.  The spiritual food that our children receive from a  prayerless home life and shallow preaching that rarely brings conviction to the soul lacks nutrition. (Paul said preaching should reprove, rebuke, and exhort.  Pastors today rarely do the first two —these are Captain Crunch pastor/teachers.)  Our spiritual nutrients are at zero while our fleshly appetites are the main focus, and just as our physical life suffers on a junk-food diet so does our spiritual life suffer on junk food spiritual nutrition.

As a parent, I would be embarrassed not to have fruits and vegetables in front of my children several times a day.  But I would be more embarrassed to allow my children to be malnourished when it comes to Bible reading, Bible memorization, prayer, and powerful, passionate preaching to feed their spiritual man.
Mark 8:36 “ For what shall it profit a man, if he gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?”

Who cares how healthy our family diet is when we place our adolescent son at swim activities with girls in bikinis!  What does it matter to fuss over vaccinations when the youth department attends movies, adults sip wine at dinner, and parents assume that their children will be physically involved with boyfriends and girlfriends?  What does it matter to buy organic food when sodomy is not condemned by a pastor, and he fears to mention abortion or adultery lest he lose members?   The pesticides of spiritual compromise have brought the downfall of more cities than fast food ever will.

I am shocked at the lines that are constantly at Starbucks, both for financial and health reasons!  But I am more shocked by the television shows that run all night in Christian homes just as the homes of the unsaved.  In an old Andy Griffith show, Barney says, "It is amazing how far TV has come."  That is a powerful statement that should get us all thinking.  Look at any television show from the 60s, and ask yourself if we have not followed a path — a path of perversion that has led us to the acceptance of shame and lewd behavior.  Television shows have come a long way, and Christians have willfully followed.

Why are we failing when so much of the Bible promises victory?  Why do we fall when God promises that "... if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:” (2 Peter 1:10)?  The reason is a life of sorry preaching, compromising churches, failure to separate from the world, entertainment-based family life, and a lack of spiritual homes.  There is no other excuse.  We are spiritually malnourished.   Ask yourself when was the last time conviction grabbed your heart during a sermon, and you went down an aisle to get right with God or to ask for His power to be what He wants you to be.  Fast-food preaching does not bring conviction:  it caters to feelings.  Ask yourself when was the last time you left church FEELING GOOD?  “Often,” will be the answer for most Christians.  Feeling good is frequent in most churches; conviction and correction are rare or non-existent.

Victory, success, and overcoming evil, are all themes in the Word of God.  All are promised, and the recipe is clearly recorded in the Bible.  The outcome is up to each one of us.  We may choose to entertain ourselves into failure and regret, or we can submit to the plan of God and enjoy His promises fulfilled in our lives.  There is no need for blame or excuses.  We are told by God to choose our path.

Deuteronomy 30:19 “I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:”

Joshua 24:15 “And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”

Pastor Goddard

 

Freedom, Responsibility, and Risk

Good Morning,

Adam and Eve had the freedom to eat from any tree in the Garden of Eden.  They were warned about the responsibility or price tag that would come with certain actions.  If they ate from the forbidden tree, they would die.  That was the price tag that came with the decision.   A risk was involved in their freedom, but freedom always brings with it responsibility and risk.   Child rearing ought to follow much of this same line of thinking.  
From childhood, everyone likes freedom.  We all want to make our own decisions.  During youth, we want to choose where to go and which friends to keep, and we do not want anyone telling us where we cannot go or if we should or should not do something. 

Sadly, responsibility is not coveted.  Assuming responsibility requires one to place himself in a position in which he must act in a certain manner, regardless of how he feels or what he wants.  Maturity and responsibility require us to give of ourselves in hopes of helping our own situation or that of another person.  I am responsible for raising my children.  It is not the government’s job.  It is not the school’s job.  It is not the church’s job.  My wife and I are responsible for raising our children.  We had the freedom to bring these children into the world, and with that freedom came the responsibility to provide for those children.  So I must not foolishly bear so many children that there is no way I can feed, clothe, and train them.  That is all part of MY RESPONSIBILITY.  

1 Timothy 5:8 “But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.”

It is my responsibility to provide for my children. It is not the government’s job to provide healthcare for my children.  It is not the government’s job to feed my children.  Understand, the word government means a group of people, and it is no person's responsibility to feed or clothe or house my children.  My freedom brought along my responsibility.   All the debate over health care could be solved by the same free market system as that of grocery stores.  The government does not have to feed my children; feeding my children is my job, thus, I find affordable food.  The rich eat better than the poor.  That is life!  The rich will get better health care than the poor.  That is life.  Freedom comes with responsibility.  

2 Thessalonians 3:10 “For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.”

We are to work our own job and earn our own money to buy our own food.  

Recently, I heard someone say that the government should not be giving money to people who are able to work.  I differ with them.  The government should not be giving money to anyone.  The money that the government has, they got from the people, and no citizen should be robbed by their government in order for the government to give that money away to someone else, healthy or sick.

I may choose to give my money to the poor or sick, but that is my right, and I am free to do it or not.  The freedom to give money belongs to me.  The government is set up only to protect my life, liberty, and property, not to provide housing, food, and medical care.  If everyone deserves the same health care, why do I not deserve the same housing as the wealthy?  I would like a gardener, a pool, and vacations all over the world — but those benefits come with money that is earned, and I have not earned that much.  

Everyone likes freedom, but freedom is bound to responsibility and risk.  If I am free to choose who I want to marry, then I accept the responsibility of that relationship.  I also accept the responsibility of working to finance and provide for that relationship.  The government does not pick out my wife, and since the government is to stay out of my marriage, it is not responsible for my marriage.  I take the risk of picking someone who does not like me, or of picking someone who is very difficult.  My freedom to pick a wife brings with it the risk that she has financial ambitions far beyond my work ambitions.  That is a risk that I take when I accept the responsibility that comes with the freedom of choosing my own spouse.

I have the freedom to choose where to live, as long as I am willing to accept the responsibility of paying the bills in that given neighborhood.  I have the freedom to own a cell phone and the responsibility of paying the bill.  The government should not tell me what kind of phone to use nor should it take the responsibility of paying for that phone.  My Freedom — My Responsibility —  My Risk.

When the Obamas started trying to tell people what kind of school lunches they could have, it was because those same people wanted absolutely free healthcare.  The government is paying for their disease resulting from their overweight bodies and pitiful dietary habits. So when the people gave up their responsibility for their own health, they also gave up the freedom of choice.  Tough luck!  But for most of America, we want liberty and are willing to take responsibility as well as risk.  Leave us alone!  

When I graduated from Bible college, I had the freedom to choose any city in America in which to start a church.  I also had the responsibility of finding a way to finance that church.  I had to find a place for the church to meet and provide the safety and spiritual growth of the people of that church.  I was free to make those choices.  Much responsibility followed me as I started the church.  Much risk followed me as well, for I could have failed miserably.  I could have obtained loans and found myself in great debt.

It was not the government’s job to find a location for my church to meet.  It was not the government’s job to finance my salary nor the expenses of this fledgling church.  As I had the freedom to start this church and to determine the belief system, the name, and the practice we considered appropriate, that freedom brought with it the responsibility to provide for the church.    

For those who are starting a business, America offers wonderful freedoms.  I might start a donut shop or a temporary employee business. I could start a gym or a grocery store.  Our country has provided wonderful liberty.  With those liberties, Americans accept the responsibility of planning, organizing, leading, figuring out the mission statement, hiring employees, and paying the bills.   With those freedoms, we accept the risk that we might fail, but that is what freedom is all about.

Our government has very, very limited responsibilities.  They need to stay out of our lives, out of our homes, and out of our businesses.  The government is only there to protect our life, our liberty, and our property.  Everything after that is our freedom, our responsibility, and our own risk.

Yes, there are people in need, and need brings about charitable behavior by American citizens.  People contribute to research and development. People donate to their churches and civic organizations that help the needy, whether it be Shriners, Jerry's kids, or the downtown rescue mission.

Romans 14:12 “So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.”

Pastor Goddard
 

 

The Content of the Message

Good Morning,

On occasion, I will hear a comment on my preaching or preaching in general.  We understand that everyone has opinions, and although we all have one, it is not necessarily correct unless it agrees with what God has said about preaching.

Most people, especially ladies, prefer “nice messages.”  Preaching that is harsh or pointed tends to unsettle the fairer sex.  I have had men come to me saying they love my preaching but their wives like the music at another church and so they must leave.  Of course, I trust the man to make the choice for his family; he will stand accountable for his decisions, not I. 

Considering preaching, I heard a comment recently from Pastor Tony Hutson:  he said that two-thirds of preaching ought to be negative.  The text to validate his thought was 2 Timothy 4:2,  “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.”

Three things are listed that Timothy was to do in preaching:  reprove, rebuke, and exhort.  Two are definitely negative, the third might as well be.

Jeremiah spoke of the trouble in Israel being the soft preachers:
Lamentations 2:14 “Thy prophets have seen vain and foolish things for thee: and they have not discovered thine iniquity, to turn away thy captivity; but have seen for thee false burdens and causes of banishment.”

He writes, “ they have not discovered thine iniquity.”  Preaching needs to “discover iniquity.”  That sounds negative to me.

When Paul was writing to Titus about his ministry on Crete, he said these things about the message of the pastor:
Titus 1:13 “This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith;”
Titus 2:15 “These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee.”

Notice the last instruction, “rebuke with all authority.”  From the pulpit, Titus was to rebuke wrong with authority, speaking as the man in charge.  Culture in our churches changes so often, but it should not change what God clearly tells us to do.  Over the years, if anything about my preaching has bothered people, it is when I speak with “authority.”    Speaking with authority also caused wonder in the days of our Lord; “For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.” (Matthew 7:29)

The fact is, sinners need preaching. We all need to hear, “this is right and that is wrong;” it is good for us.  Yes, we need instruction, comfort, and exhortation, but negative preaching ought to be common and welcomed.  The poor young men of today are trying to build churches without ever addressing sin or correcting dangerous activities among their congregation, and it simply will not work.  That is like training children without ever correcting their actions.  (Wow!  That is a caustic statement; as if I think church members are children!  What saith the Scriptures? 1 Peter 2:2 “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby.”  John calls believers “children” twelve times in 1 John.  Peter has the nerve to speak of believers as children again in 1 Peter 1:14, “As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance.”  So get over the idea that believers do not need instruction and training and help growing up spiritually.)  Christians need preaching, correction, negative messages, and warnings from their pastor. 

1 Thessalonians 5:14 “Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men.”
1 Timothy 6:17 “Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy;”

Perhaps a few words from John the Baptist and Jesus are appropriate at this point:
Luke 3:7 “Then said he to the multitude that came forth to be baptized of him, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?”
Matthew 23:33 “Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?”

Let me give a warning:  if a husband lets his kind wife with a tender, loving heart pick his church, he is heading for trouble.  Let God’s Word pick your church, and let preaching be negative now and then; and when it comes up, shout AMEN!  Voice your approval of the pastor.


Pastor Goddard

 

Don't Quit

Good Morning,

We are all aware of the trouble in life; trouble is common.  Trouble was predicted by our Lord when He said, "In the world ye shall have tribulation,” (John 16:33) yet it still catches us off guard.  We still struggle when we face a trial that forces us to our knees not knowing what to do next.  Any kind of Christian has people on his prayer list that make him sit back and simply pray, almost in disbelief, for the grief they bear.  Trouble is more real than any of us wish to admit.

Burdens are nothing new to the child of God.  Suffering, being overwhelmed, wondering what to do and where to turn: these are trials that come with life on this earth.  Trouble will be your companion, no matter how good of a Christian you are.  Notice Paul's words to the Corinthian church:
2 Corinthians 7:4 “Great is my boldness of speech toward you, great is my glorying of you: I am filled with comfort, I am exceeding joyful in all our tribulation.”
vs. 5 “For, when we were come into Macedonia, our flesh had no rest, but we were troubled on every side; without were fightings, within were fears.”
vs. 6 “Nevertheless God, that comforteth those that are cast down, comforted us by the coming of Titus;”

Look at the key phrases:
“…joyful in all our tribulation.”
“…troubled on every side…”
“…without were fightings…”
“…within were fears…”
“…cast down…”

Today, Paul might be diagnosed with PTSD or some panic disorder; surely, he would have been placed on some medication.  Yet, amidst the trouble, he went on serving God.   Today, some people make plans to serve God when life smooths out.  They act as if one first needs to deal with trials and then get involved in the ministry of the Gospel when the situation clears.   We tend to think that our trials serve as an exemption ticket, allowing us to opt out of ministry.  Yet here we find the greatest church builder, soul winner, and preacher in the early church, and he was beaten over and over, inside and out, and still served God!

I have dear friends who have been abandoned by their spouse, been broken in their body, faced bankruptcy, been betrayed or forsaken by friends, faced depression to the point of wishing to die, and many other tragedies.  Yet each has told me of their witnessing, Sunday school class, or their starting over in the ministry after losing all they had.  Any of these people could have quit on God, but as good soldiers of the cross, they continue to serve because God is worthy of our service.  We award Purple Hearts to wounded soldiers, and you may be sure that one day when we are all home in Heaven, the awards will be meted out to spiritual soldiers as well.  Until then, may we press on for the prize of the high calling in Christ!

Philippians 3:14 “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”

Hebrews 3:1 “Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus;”
vs. 7 “Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, To day if ye will hear his voice…”
vs. 8 “Harden not your hearts…"

May we continue to serve God, to believe in His plan, to wrestle through our trials, to limp across the finish line, and to be honored to stand for the King.

Pastor Goddard

 

Choice

Good Morning,

The choice to follow advice first shows up when a child is very small.  A child will push away a parental hand as he attempts some small deed.   Whether the job is tying shoes or eating some less-than-cooperative food item, the child is sure he can accomplish the task on his own.

The choice continues in life through household chores;  the child is certain he has found a better, easier way.  It continues into teen and young adult years, as the parent wrestles with how much pressure to put on a child and tries to figure out when to insist that things be done the way the parent says.

Frustration is seeing your child tying his shoes in a manner you know will not work and will most likely cause the child to trip (then in about fifteen minutes, still resisting the instruction and guidance of the parent, asks for help).  When dating begins, deciding whether or not to follow instruction or advice can get worse (not always, but it happens).  College life, freedom, and adult responsibilities all work together to create a spirit of independence in a world the child has never ventured into before; yet with child-like confidence, he declares his independence and abilities.

At some point, the wise parent steps back and awaits the incredible moment when the child turns back to the wiser leader who brought him into the world and asks for advice.  Sadly, it does not always happen, or it happens after a tragedy.

The parent brought the child into the world.  The parent trained the child to do everything from blowing his nose to bathing.  The parent paid the price that the youth might have a decent life.  Like God in the garden, those He brought into the world and provided for thought they knew better and could see the situation more clearly than God did.

A parent needs to learn a lesson from God in the garden — the lesson to step back and allow freedom of conscience, freedom of choice, and freedom whether to ruin their own life or not.

Joshua 24:15 “And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”

1 Kings 18:21 “And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the LORD be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word.”

At some point, a choice is given to the learner; following and carefully gaining from the experience of the elder is not mandatory but optional.  The fair-haired youth will at some point be allowed to ruin the human race by eating the forbidden fruit.  This truth is heard in every coach’s locker room, every teacher’s class, and in every pastor’s pew.  The time will come when the leader needs to step back and tell the follower the choice is his.

Stepping back and allowing the follower the choice to do right or not is hardest when the leader has invested much time and energy.  The more a leader invests in a follower, the more he loves him; and the more the leader loves, the more he fears the follower’s future stumbling and pain.  The reality remains, and the leader will face a time when he steps back and rejoices or weeps over the free will of man.
 
One more difficulty enters the equation.  As the parent or leader, do you stop caring?  When you have been thoroughly ignored and your years of proven wisdom are tossed aside for the ideas of inexperienced youth, do you stop loving?  Do you withhold the passion for the next child or the next opportunity to love, lead, and train?  God certainly did not stop loving and investing in us when some of His children ignored His instruction.  May we all have such love.

Pastor Goddard

Vexed

Good Morning,

One of the saddest stories I know in the Bible (and there are many sad ones) is the passage about Lot and his daughters.

Lot had moved his family because of work; life was easier in the valley near Sodom, work was better, the area had more conveniences and easier living arrangements, and the potential for advancement seemed possible there.

Years later, God came along and burned that evil place along with Lot's two married daughters and their families.  Lot's wife, broken over the situation, looked back and turned into a pillar of salt.  

Lot fled to a small city called Zoar, then chose to go into the mountains for a time.  (He did not need to stay alone because Abraham was not far away with an entire community of godly people.)  Lot was now alone in a mountain cave with his two daughters, overcome by grief and unbelief of what had just happened.  The following story takes place:

Genesis 19:31”And the firstborn said unto the younger, Our father is old, and there is not a man in the earth to come in unto us after the manner of all the earth:”
vs. 32 “Come, let us make our father drink wine, and we will lie with him, that we may preserve seed of our father.”
vs. 33 “And they made their father drink wine that night: and the firstborn went in, and lay with her father; and he perceived not when she lay down, nor when she arose.”
vs. 34 “And it came to pass on the morrow, that the firstborn said unto the younger, Behold, I lay yesternight with my father: let us make him drink wine this night also; and go thou in, and lie with him, that we may preserve seed of our father.”
vs. 35 “And they made their father drink wine that night also: and the younger arose, and lay with him; and he perceived not when she lay down, nor when she arose.”
vs. 36 “Thus were both the daughters of Lot with child by their father.”

There were other cities nearby; Zoar was spared by the angels at the request of Lot.  Why did Lot’s daughters think there were no other men? 
Where did the booze come from?  Leaving with only a moment’s notice, what did they bring?  A bottle?  Why was it necessary, right then, to turn to sexual behavior?
What daughter would think of such a thing?  What brought them to such a depraved mentality?
With the loss of home, sisters, and mom, and seeing such terrible judgment from God, how could they violate such basic rules of moral behavior?

Though we cannot read their minds, might I make some suggestions?
Peter gives us this truth from the story of Lot:

2 Peter 2:7 “And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked:”
vs. 8 “(For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;)”

Lot was VEXED.  The things he saw and the things he heard VEXED him.  These foul deeds and conversations all around him messed up his thinking and his behavior.  How could the children not also be VEXED?  What had those girls heard in the years they lived in Sodom?  Their world was so vile that their very thought process was wrong.  They had been so VEXED that they did not know how to hurt, to grieve, or to sorrow over great loss.  Their world had allowed them to see and hear such things that they felt no guilt or fear of God.

Could I ask each of us to consider what our children see and hear?  God said Lot was VEXED. Could I suggest we adults consider what we see and hear?  How VEXED are our children going to be because of what they see and hear in public schools?  With summer on the way, what will our children be exposed to on vacation, at family reunions, or by sitting around on their own at the mall?  How can we place our children in the theater with countless advertisements of shameful movies, regardless of what the feature movie is?  What depraved appetites are developing in our children through their social media, godless teachers, and godless books and magazines?

2 Corinthians 6:17 “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,”

If we want our children to be close to God, we must keep them out of the world.  If we want to be close to God, we, too, must come out from the world and be separate.   As for me and my family (and after thirty-six years of marriage and having reared four children), I have found that a life away from the world is the doorway to blessings and peace.

Pastor Goddard

 

Sacrifice

Good Morning,

Genesis 22:1 “And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am.”
vs. 2 “And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.”

The story of Abraham offering Isaac should be familiar to anyone who has been saved for any length of time.  It is a real story of a real father and his real son.  There is nothing fake or fairy tale about it.    From this story, we find an illustration of the relationship between God and Jesus.  Abraham the type of God the Father and Isaac the type of Jesus, offering Himself willingly.  Here are a few quick lessons from the text:
1. God will ask us to do things that are beyond reason or difficult to the extreme.
2. God may want us to give up something we want or love very much.
3. When Romans 12 says to present our bodies a living sacrifice, there is no limit to that surrender.  Dying on a mission field or having our loved ones die far from home is not unreasonable.
4. It is not necessary that we understand what God has planned.  Faith is obedience to the clear instruction of God's Word.  Faith is not God’s convincing us that His idea is good and reasonable, then allowing us time to think through the situation to decide if it all sounds good to us.  Tithing has nothing to do with our budget.  Men, loving your wife is not optional but commanded.  Not "forsaking the assembling" of the brethren is commanded.
5. God's love for us cannot be explained, but the sacrifice can be imagined as we read this story.
6. Surrender to the will of God is based upon trust, not emotion.  Isaac was a teenager and his father was over 100 years old; Isaac did not have to let his father tie him and lay him on the altar.
7. Sarah had only one child, and her husband walked off with him into the wilderness. We know nothing of what was told to her, what feelings she had, or if she even knew what was planned.   But this story included a real lady and her husband of many years who were real people with real emotions.

This story teaches many more lessons, but let me encourage you to read, to think as you read, and to write thoughts, notes, and ideas as you read.  When I was in college, I wrote every day.  I wrote something from my reading simply to keep my brain working while I read.  I am sure doctrinal error was written on those pages.  At the end of college, I threw out all those notebooks.  The goal was not to write a book but to keep my mind on the passages as I read. 

The Bible has a few commands about reading the Scriptures, but many direct us to meditate on the Word of God.  Think as you read.  Consider how this story occurred in the time in which it was written.  Think about the culture, the family,  the community, and of course, keep God in every story. 

Pastor Goddard

Sowing the Seeds of Depravity

SOWING THE SEEDS OF DEPRAVITY
Good Morning,

We have allowed our society to influence us to dress our little girls in next to nothing and place them in a dance class where they learn to stand in just the right way to attract attention to their anatomy.  We have smiled at the cute little girls acting so grown up.  When the little girls move into the teen years, we see these girls with makeup and dress that again shows off their beautiful God-given body; but, all the while, we remain unconcerned about the results.

When I throw a lure in a pond or stream while trying to catch a fish, that lure…lures!   The looks of that lure appeal to an appetite.  The fishing lure causes the fish to chase after it in hopes of satisfying an appetite.

While we walk through the malls and see how the world dresses in sensuous and revealing fashion, men are lured.  The fashions get our girls to dress and even stand in a sensuous manner, and men are lured.
 
In addition, we allow every television show imaginable to accent the woman's body; and usually, that woman is very available.  Show after show portrays women wanting sexual activity.  Television shows make it seem as if all women are loose and aggressive intimately.

I would never justify anyone taking advantage of a woman.  I would condemn anyone hurting another in any way, but when we dress girls up to make them look like they are for sale or aggressively available, or teach them to wiggle through life showing off things that would cause men to lust after them, we are allowing those girls to be just like the fisherman’s lure.  (We have allowed Hollywood to use movies and television to develop sensuous appetites in men and fashion girls as the bait.)

I do not think David was justified in his actions toward Bathsheba, but had she been more private, he would not have seen her. 

2 Samuel 11:2 “And it came to pass in an eveningtide, that David arose from off his bed, and walked upon the roof of the king’s house: and from the roof he saw a woman washing herself; and the woman was very beautiful to look upon.”

God condemns lust in the heart of a man, but He makes it clear that lust is within reach of every man.
Matthew 5:28 “But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.”

God explains that His Word will keep men from lust and shame; but without the Bible, men are going to be drawn toward sin.

Proverbs 6:23 “For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life:”
vs. 24 “To keep thee from the evil woman, from the flattery of the tongue of a strange woman.”
vs. 25 “Lust not after her beauty in thine heart; neither let her take thee with her eyelids.”
vs. 26 “For by means of a whorish woman a man is brought to a piece of bread: and the adulteress will hunt for the precious life.”

Without God’s Word, it seems only logical that several things follow:
1.  Young men and young ladies will be involved intimately.  It is not right, but to the world it only makes sense.
• Birth control and abortion are not the solution to sexual promiscuity but rather abstinence and morality.

2. The sexual crimes that take place constantly in our world can be blamed primarily on the wickedness of a man's heart.
• But Hollywood, clothing designers and foolish parents who allow their daughters to dress like they are for sale could change this with a redirection toward morality.
 
3. Television and movies make women out to be sex objects, and if dressed accordingly, men are just evil and stupid enough to chase the lure.
• Again, I say that no man should ever touch a woman inappropriately.  I carry the highest standard of modesty, propriety, and discretion, and preach it aggressively from my pulpit; but when a girl dresses as though she is available for sale and accents her posture sensuously, she is the bait.  A girl can dress modestly, stand appropriately, and act discreetly; she will be much safer.  It would not guarantee safety, but it would help!  If all women dressed that way, they would certainly keep each other safer because men would not be constantly drawn to sexuality.   Satan has poured child pornography into the minds of vile men and lured foolish parents into dressing their little girls with every possible inch of skin showing — you figure the result. 

We will not fix the moral depravity, but we could turn the volume down and stop advertising for it.  Think through how your family will dress this summer. 

May I suggest that men be careful about what they allow themselves to see?
Job 31:1 “I made a covenant with mine eyes; why then should I think upon a maid?”

May I also suggest that ladies be careful to dress modestly?
1 Timothy 2:9 “In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array;”

Pastor Goddard

Too Much To Do (Part 2)

Good Morning,

Having too much to do is common.  One dear friend of mine says he gets up each morning and prays for wisdom to know who to disappoint because most surely, someone will not get what they want.  He wants it to be the right person or situation.

Yesterday, I gave three points in part one for facing the problem of “Too Much to Do.”  (If you did not read part one yesterday, go back and read it first for more understanding of where I am going with this article.)
1. Accept that God has a plan; we are not alone in this mess we call life.
2. Separate what we can do from what we cannot do. 
The "cannots" will consume much time, thought, and energy while remaining incomplete, for they are out of our control; they are just time wasters.
3. Ask God.

Today, I would like to add a few more points:
4. Do what God commands.
Exodus 7:6 “And Moses and Aaron did as the LORD commanded them…”
Leviticus 8:4 “And Moses did as the LORD commanded him…”
Leviticus 16:34 “…And he did as the LORD commanded Moses.”
Leviticus 24:23 “… And the children of Israel did as the LORD commanded Moses.”
Numbers 20:27 “And Moses did as the LORD commanded…”
Numbers 27:22 “And Moses did as the LORD commanded him…”
Numbers 31:31 “And Moses and Eleazar the priest did as the LORD commanded Moses.”
Deuteronomy 34:9 “… and the children of Israel hearkened unto him, and did as the LORD commanded Moses.”

If God says to do something, we must make that command a priority!   There are some things that God wants us to do; we need to focus on those things.  

5. Stop wasting time on things God says to avoid.
Just as there are specific things God commands, there are things from which we are to turn.  In our society, many jobs and distractions clamor for our hearts and time.  At the top of the list of things from which we are to turn are entertainment and moral shame.  Observe people as you wander through life.  A large percentage of people are on a phone or tablet all the time playing a game, watching a video, scanning Facebook, etc.  

Recently, we were in a burger place; when an order was ready, a to-go number was called.  No one responded, so the gracious worker took the bag of food and the shake, and walked around. She found a lady sitting right in front of the counter watching something on her phone.  The worker kept calling out the order and had to get closer and closer (to the point of embarrassment) before the lady looked up.  We are forgetting people and relationships.  We are so occupied with social media that it has made us unsocial.   One cannot tell me that this kind of behavior pleases God, especially when the second greatest commandment is to love our neighbors as ourselves.  

James 4:8 “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.”

Some negative comes with the positive.  God wants us to draw near to Him and to pull away from the world.  God will draw near to us… but, He expects us to clean up a little.  There are things we need to STOP!  

James 4:4 “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.”
vs. 5 “Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy?”
vs. 6 “But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.”
vs. 7 “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”
vs. 8 “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.”

Entertainment is eating up precious hours and sowing seeds of failure and anxiety as it prevents us from doing what we can do.  (Point 2)

6. Straightway — get going.
Mark 6:45 “And straightway he constrained his disciples to get into the ship, and to go to the other side before unto Bethsaida, while he sent away the people.”
Nineteen times the word straightway is used in the book of Mark.  The word is only used in the entire Bible 42 times, so here is a lesson God wants us to catch.   Mark portrays Christ as a servant and the word straightway is the basis of being a good servant.  Get to the next job as soon as possible.  Stop squandering life between responsibilities, go from one to the next — straightway.  

7. Enjoy life.
It is easy to think that if you do the six things listed that there is no way to enjoy anything, but that is not true.  If we go to God for direction (number 3), He will, on occasion, take us aside for leisure.  

Mark 6:31 “And he said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while: for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat.”

Notice which book of the Bible is the ONLY book that mentions the word leisure.  Mark, the book that is written for the servant; the book in which the word straightway is mentioned often.  

a. Enjoy your marriage.
Ecclesiastes 9:9 “Live joyfully with the wife whom thou lovest all the days of the life of thy vanity, which he hath given thee under the sun, all the days of thy vanity: for that is thy portion in this life, and in thy labour which thou takest under the sun.”

Proverbs 5:18 “Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth.”

b. Enjoy the fruit of your labors.
Ecclesiastes 3:13 “And also that every man should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labour, it is the gift of God.”
vs. 22 “Wherefore I perceive that there is nothing better, than that a man should rejoice in his own works; for that is his portion: for who shall bring him to see what shall be after him?”
Ecclesiastes 5:18 “Behold that which I have seen: it is good and comely for one to eat and to drink, and to enjoy the good of all his labour that he taketh under the sun all the days of his life, which God giveth him: for it is his portion.”

Do not get so busy doing things that you never enjoy the life God has given you.  Jesus promised that He came to give us life abundantly — pleasure is surely a part of that.  

Stop now and then to take a break to watch a ball game with the family (probably not daily).   Go for a walk with your spouse, eat an ice cream, or sit and watch the sunset (for a few minutes, not a few hours).  Any one of these activities can be a "mini-vacation" (as our pastor used to call them).

I would suggest you find something daily that you enjoy… just for a few minutes.  Then find something weekly you and your spouse or family enjoy, and do it for a few hours.  Then every month or two, take a day apart from pressures just to keep up your strength fighting the battle.    

Again, these are not complete, but they will help keep you moving and accomplishing things in a world that would get you discouraged and cause you to quit altogether.  

Pastor Goddard

Achievers and Those Who Follow

Good Morning,

Whether it be big business, English history, or European monarchs, the typical rise to power and influence began with a nobody.  At some point, it started with a guy who was good with people and had leadership skills, or a man or a woman who was passionate and daring and willing to risk all to achieve something.  That is how almost every business, church, or kingdom began.  

That “nobody” possessed fighting skills, leadership skills, or perhaps finance and business skills.   It could have been agricultural skills with a unique blessing of God that made their crops or herds prosper, but this man or lady rose to influence because of who they were or what they could do.  

Proverbs 17:2 “A wise servant shall have rule over a son that causeth shame, and shall have part of the inheritance among the brethren.”

God says that servants who are wise will rule over sons.    

Consider the disciples:  they were working men; they were men of character, diligence, and loyalty.  These men, who turned the world upside down, were regular men who stepped out and did something for God in the power of God.  

Originally, leaders of communities were people who accomplished something.  With their own backbone, intellect, determination or passion, they became leaders of groups of people. Those in leadership raised their own children, and as often as possible, raised their children so as to not have to face the hardships, battles, and difficulties their parents had faced.  Why would a wealthy person allow his child to go through the hardships that his own poverty had brought him through?

Remember how David treated his son?
1 Kings 1:5 “Then Adonijah the son of Haggith exalted himself, saying, I will be king: and he prepared him chariots and horsemen, and fifty men to run before him.”
vs. 6 “And his father had not displeased him at any time in saying, Why hast thou done so? and he also was a very goodly man; and his mother bare him after Absalom.”

David was a great man, but not a great dad.  

Consequently, when parents raise their children with this philosophy, the next generation is often a more moderate (soft) generation.   Because the parents had leadership skills, the community looks to their children in hopes that the children of the leaders might keep the same traditions and lead the community well.

The problem is the second generation had never done anything. They did not fight their own battles. They had not accomplished great feats of skill and danger. Often, they were not leaders of men but rather tormentors of men.  Instead of leading, the second generation would often become cruel dictators, driving the people they should be leading. With soft leaders unwilling to sacrifice their own comfort for future achievement, this second-generation became demagogues, tyrants, and underachievers.

With a giant leadership vacuum created by this sorry second generation who had never done anything, that vacuum would be filled by someone who came from obscurity, someone who had no opportunity, no silver spoon or satin sheets, but they had the drive, the passion, the fight, and  the leadership abilities of the grandpa or great grandpa.  The foolish second generation thought he was a leader because of birthright.  He soon fell to the nobody who had one important gift:  that passionate drive in leadership that the first generation had.

Several observations of churches:  

1. First-generation churches, full of first-generation Christians, are often more passionate and have a higher percentage of involvement in ministries.  The new church could often baptize more and see many more souls saved than a church full of veteran Christians, simply because of their passion, not intellect or training.  

2. Young people who grew up in a good church enjoyed the blessings of great Christian leadership and heard the stories of big days, soul winning, and public preaching have a challenge.  These young people need to accomplish something themselves. They need to work at being good soul winners.  They should step out and build big bus routes, help organize, run and preach at big days, and be a part of starting new churches.  

3. The great danger second-generation Christians face is becoming the fat, lazy second-generation that enjoys the peace and blessings of the kingdom won by the spiritual soldiers and warriors of the prior generation.  They should be very careful to not spend so much time being safe and secure that they fail to step out and do exploits.  The second-generation should run a risk, take dares, and push the envelope (challenge limits), so they might be the "lean and mean” next generation of spiritual leaders.

Daniel 11:32 “… the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits.”

4. Each generation must labor to develop spiritual soldiers and warriors.  Each generation owes it to their children to allow them the opportunity to risk, to dare, to fail, and to fight the spiritual battles.  The old generation must be willing to let the next generation stumble and struggle and fight in order to be a successful generation of soldiers.  We need not riches and comfort but tenacity, skill, and dare.

Our previous president and his administration were people who would achieve nothing outside the classroom; they had never run a hot dog stand or achieved anything with their own hands. They sat in classrooms surrounded by books, secluded in comfort, and hence, we, as a nation, were lead by non-achievers.

Stewardship of our next generation is the responsibility of both the aged and the youth.  The aged must set the scene so that the young can try, risk, and dare.  The younger generation needs to determine to have their own victories and battle stories and to achieve their own glory.

Pastor Goddard

Too Much To Do

Good Morning,

There are some of us who sit idly by wishing for something to do.  Age, ill health or the loss of a loved one, or perhaps unemployment can cause this.  But for most of us, the how-can-I-get-it-all-done panic walks with us daily.  

Here are a few thoughts to help you in this battle:

1. God has a plan for your life.  
Learn enough Bible to accept the fact that God is sovereign, powerful, and caring.  Although we may not understand all He does (because He is God), we can accept that God has a plan, most often undisclosed to us.  

Isaiah 44:2 “Thus saith the LORD that made thee, and formed thee from the womb, which will help thee; Fear not, O Jacob, my servant; and thou, Jesurun, whom I have chosen.”
vs. 21 “Remember these, O Jacob and Israel; for thou art my servant: I have formed thee; thou art my servant: O Israel, thou shalt not be forgotten of me.”
vs. 24 “Thus saith the LORD, thy redeemer, and he that formed thee from the womb, I am the LORD that maketh all things; that stretcheth forth the heavens alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself;”
Jeremiah 1:5 “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.”

These verses of comfort were written to a society in bondage — the result of their sins.  

2. Separate what you can do from what you cannot do.
Proverbs 3:5 “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.”
vs. 6 “In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”

Focus your attention on things under your control.  You cannot control your co-worker, your boss, your spouse, and often your child.  You cannot control the weather,  the past,  your parents, or politics.  

You can control your Bible reading, time in prayer, and faithfulness to work.  You can control your treatment of others or church attendance, and simple things like cleaning a house.  Even if time does not allow you to do as much of any of these as you would like, you are in control.    The last verse, Proverbs 3:6 tells us “in all thy ways acknowledge him…”  We can talk about the Lord, bring Him up in conversation, and think about Him in every decision we make.    Focus all your attention on things you CAN DO, not on things that are out of your control.  

3. Ask God.
Here is the missing part for most of us.  We are guided by mandate and people or situations that insist we care for their situation, and we are told we MUST do these things.  

Our day would start far better if we were to ask God for a list of things HE considers our priorities.  What is there to lose?  We are not getting everything done anyway, why not get the things done God wants to be done?  Perhaps — just by chance — God will then step in and help us with the other responsibilities or duties we cannot accomplish on our own.  
Mark 1:35 “And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.”

At the beginning of the day, take a few minutes to ask God for direction; then, start on the tasks he shows you first.  After a few hours, stop again, and realign your priorities by taking a few minutes in prayer to seek the path God wants you to travel.  

Psalm 55:17 “Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice.”

If you are troubled at night, get up, take two or three minutes again to ask for direction in your thinking and the worries you carry in your heart.
Psalm 119:62 “At midnight I will rise to give thanks unto thee because of thy righteous judgments.”

Daniel 6:10 “Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime.”

We get so busy that we run all day and never “ACKNOWLEDGE HIM” or get direction from God.  As a result, we close out our day frustrated, defeated, and feeling like a failure.

Acknowledging God and asking for His direction will not stop all our anxiety, but it is a good start.  Faith pleases God, and turning to Him several times a day for a moment to seek direction and utter a cry for mercy will help your heart, even if all your frustrations are not immediately gone.  

The above verses in Isaiah and Jeremiah were written in a day of great trouble due to sin.  But God cared for, thought about, loved, and wanted to help them, but they still had some days of captivity ahead.  God’s presence would certainly make those days more bearable, and staying near to Him was sure to calm their hearts and minds.   

Psalm 73:28 “But it is good for me to draw near to God: I have put my trust in the Lord GOD, that I may declare all thy works.”
Psalm 145:18 “The LORD is nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth.”
Isaiah 55:6 “Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near:”

2 Chronicles 27:6 “So Jotham became mighty, because he prepared his ways before the LORD his God.”

Take time to plan and prepare your way “before the LORD.”

Pastor Goddard

Sowing Seeds of Depravity

Good Morning,

We have allowed our society to influence us to dress our little girls in next to nothing and place them in dance class where they learn to stand in just the right way to attract attention to their anatomy.  We have smiled at the cute little girls acting so grown up.  When the little girls move into the teen years, we see these girls with makeup and dress that again shows off their beautiful God-given body; but, all the while, we remain unconcerned about the results.

When I throw a lure in a pond or stream while trying to catch a fish, that lure…lures!   The looks of that lure appeal to an appetite.  The fishing lure causes the fish to chase after it in hopes of satisfying an appetite.

While we walk through the malls and see how the world dresses in sensuous and revealing fashion, men are lured.  The fashions get our girls to dress and even stand in a sensuous manner, and men are lured.
 
In addition, we allow every television show imaginable to accent the woman's body; and usually, that woman is very available.  Show after show portrays women wanting sexual activity.  Television shows make it seem as if all women are loose and aggressive intimately.

I would never justify anyone taking advantage of a woman.  I would condemn anyone hurting another in any way, but when we dress girls up to make them look like they are for sale or aggressively available, or teach them to wiggle through life showing off things that would cause men to lust after them, we are allowing those girls to be just like the fisherman’s lure.  (We have allowed Hollywood to use movies and television to develop sensuous appetites in men and fashion girls as the bait.)

I do not think David was justified in his actions toward Bathsheba, but had she been more private, he would not have seen her.  

2 Samuel 11:2 “And it came to pass in an eveningtide, that David arose from off his bed, and walked upon the roof of the king’s house: and from the roof he saw a woman washing herself; and the woman was very beautiful to look upon.”

God condemns lust in the heart of a man, but He makes it clear that lust is within reach of every man.
Matthew 5:28 “But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.”

God explains that His Word will keep men from lust and shame; but without the Bible, women are going to be drawn toward sin and cause sorrow beyond measure.

Proverbs 6:23 “For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life:”
vs. 24 “To keep thee from the evil woman, from the flattery of the tongue of a strange woman.”
vs. 25 “Lust not after her beauty in thine heart; neither let her take thee with her eyelids.”
vs. 26 “For by means of a whorish woman a man is brought to a piece of bread: and the adulteress will hunt for the precious life.”

Without God’s Word, it seems only logical that several things follow:
1.  Young men and young ladies will be involved intimately.  It is not right, but it only makes sense.
• Birth control and abortion are not the solution to sexual promiscuity but rather abstinence and morality.

2. The sexual crimes that take place constantly in our world can be blamed primarily on the wickedness of a man's heart.
• But Hollywood, clothing designers, and foolish parents who allow their daughters to dress like they are for sale could change this with a redirection toward morality.
 
3. Television and movies make women out to be sex objects, and if dressed accordingly, men are just evil and stupid enough to chase the lure.
• Again, I say that no man should ever touch a woman inappropriately.  I carry the highest standard of modesty, propriety, and discretion, and preach it aggressively from my pulpit; but when a girl dresses as though she is available for sale and accents her posture sensuously, she is the bait.  A girl can dress modestly, stand appropriately, and act discreetly; she will be much safer.  It would not guarantee safety, but it would help!  If all women dressed that way, they would certainly keep each other safer because men would not be constantly drawn to sexuality.   Satan has poured child pornography into the minds of vile men and lured foolish parents into dressing their little girls with every possible inch of skin showing — you figure the result.  

We will not fix the moral depravity, but we could turn the volume down and stop advertising for it.  Think through how your family will dress this summer.  

May I suggest that men be careful about what they allow themselves to see?
Job 31:1 “I made a covenant with mine eyes; why then should I think upon a maid?”

May I also suggest that ladies be careful to dress modestly?
1 Timothy 2:9 “In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array;”

Pastor Goddard

Who Is Our God?

Good Morning,

Here are a few thoughts to help determine just Who our God is.   You see, our God moves us to action; our God sets the standard for our actions and our beliefs.  For instance, I had a Christian man tell me he could vote for a Democrat because they helped his retirement and finances in general.  When I asked about their pro-abortion stand, he said, “I can vote for them and not believe in abortion.”  He continued, “Just because I vote for them doesn't mean I approve of abortion; people have to make their own choice on that.”

The reason he made his voting choice was because of his god — the dollar.  His vote had no regard for life, babies, or the sovereign will of God for each infant.  The only reason for his vote was money!  Often, that is how we determine who our god is. 

Matthew 6:24 “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.”

The reason I voted the way I did was because of my God, Who IS love, Who IS life, and Who cares about the children. In fact, my God has the life purpose for each child set up before he is born.  How could I approve of killing a child for whom God had a plan?  If my vote could possibly stop someone from being in public office that thought killing babies was okay, then I would not want to miss my opportunity to do so.  In fact, I think if someone believes killing a baby is acceptable, they are not wise enough to be dog catcher, let alone hold public office.  If that official took part in financing murder (abortion), performing the murder, or used their political clout to endorse murder, I believe they belong in jail, not in public office. 

My God determines my choices.  The way I treat my family reveals who my God is.  How could I love the God of Heaven, then drink booze and risk my home?  
The forgiveness in my heart is due to my God.  When I am hurt by someone, the God of Heaven tells me to forgive.  How can I partake in hatred or vengeance and hold the cross and the Saviour dear to my heart?

Could I love God and spend my money on gambling when the world lies in darkness without the Gospel?  I think the items on which we spend our money show who our god is.

If we do not step out and show ourselves as followers of Christ, our god is the people around us, our job, our money, or our position among men.  Consider the following verses:
1 Kings 18:21 “And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the LORD be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word.”
1 Corinthians 10:21 “Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table, and of the table of devils.”
Joshua 24:15 “And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”

Obviously, God expects us to make our stand for His name.  If we call on Him, pray to Him, and love Him, then let us stand up for Him.  Where we stand does reveal Whom we consider to be our God. 

Pastor Goddard

 

Patience

Good Morning,

One day, a teenager mentioned that it seemed that as soon as he got a grip on one problem, another came along.  I didn’t have the nerve to say “Welcome to life,” because we know this kind of circumstance occurs often in this troubled world.

I’ve addressed these verse in the past, but this morning I would like to focus on the word patience.

The word patient or patience appears seven times in the book of Revelation as well as Romans, and only once or twice in any other book of the Bible except for the short book of James in which it appears seven times (in six verses).  In the few pages of this short book, James focuses on the subject of patience more than any other author of any other book of the Bible.

James opens and closes with patience.
James 1:3 “Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.”
James 1:4 “But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.”
James 5:7 “Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain.”
James 5:8 “Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.”
James 5:10 “Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience.”
James 5:11 “Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.”

James urges us to let patience WORK on us and to trust God that the things we endure happen for a reason: to improve us, to strengthen us, to develop compassion or wisdom in us.

Later in James 5, James tells us to be patient like the farmer who waits for God to bring the fruit of the ground to maturity.  How encouraging an example that is.  As the farmer plows, cultivates, plants and waits on God for rain, so we are to do our job, face our trials, and wait on the Lord to shape our lives and hearts to be fruitful for His glory.

We are to have “long patience”; we are to “stablish” our hearts.  "Stablish" means to settle some things so we do not move, so we remain strong and steadfast in our position even while we suffer.  Then James gives us the example of the great men who were prophets of the Lord and reminds us that they too suffered.  We are not alone in the difficult days of neverending struggles, and James urges us to have “long patience.”

James 5:10 “Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience.”

In closing the book, James gives us the example of Job, and tells us to remember how things ended for Job and how God rewarded Job.  Of course, we understand that Job did not always have the life of full surrender and faithful trust.  Job wrestled with things; he was frustrated. He wanted to see God in a courtroom situation as Judge in which he could plead his own case.  The important thing to remember is how good and how merciful God was in the end.

God is not far from us in trials, but if we are not careful we can allow trials to move us away from God.

Pastor Goddard

Investments For God

Good Morning,

Too often, we forget that God has invested in us, our homes, our nation, our churches, and in each of us individually.  Anyone who invests expects a return on his investment.

In Amos, we read of God's expectations:
Amos 2:4 “Thus saith the LORD; For three transgressions of Judah, and for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof; because they have despised the law of the LORD, and have not kept his commandments, and their lies caused them to err, after the which their fathers have walked:”
vs. 5 “But I will send a fire upon Judah, and it shall devour the palaces of Jerusalem.”

God gave the Bible to the people of Judah, and by their disobedience, they showed hatred toward God and His precious Book.

When we ignore the Bible, make our own decisions, and follow our own paths, God considers our actions to be those of hatred toward His Word; judgment follows.

Chapter two continues with the reason God destroyed the people of Canaan and gave the land to Israel.
vs. 9 “Yet destroyed I the Amorite before them, whose height was like the height of the cedars, and he was strong as the oaks; yet I destroyed his fruit from above, and his roots from beneath.”
vs. 10 “Also I brought you up from the land of Egypt, and led you forty years through the wilderness, to possess the land of the Amorite.”

God invested time and planned to get rid of the sinful people to bring in people of His own; a people set apart to holiness.  God then called Israel's sons into the ministry to serve the people and to teach the Word of God.

vs. 11 “And I raised up of your sons for prophets, and of your young men for Nazarites. Is it not even thus, O ye children of Israel? saith the LORD.”
vs. 12 “But ye gave the Nazarites wine to drink; and commanded the prophets, saying, Prophesy not.”

God invested in training the young men and calling them into the ministry, but the people lived in compromise and urged the preachers to do the same.  (We do not think about leading our leaders astray, but it is a fact.  When we live holy, it really helps our leaders.)

God did so much for Israel:  He had given, loved, invested, and provided the very best for them.  Now the children of Israel were living just as the Amorites whom God had destroyed.

vs. 13 “Behold, I am pressed under you, as a cart is pressed that is full of sheaves.”

God is weary with our compromise and shame.  Just as a cart is overloaded, God is pressed out of shape.  He has invested so much, and He does expect much in return.

Is it possible that God has invested in our nation?  Could it be that we are the recipients of God's provisions and blessings individually?  Is it possible that we are not providing God with the returns He deserves?  Could we be wearying God with our casual obedience to the Scriptures? 

Pastor Goddard

 

A Cause

Good Morning,

January brings us into the new year, and our theme for the year is "FOR THIS CAUSE."

In January, we will focus on the NEXT GENERATION and the CAUSE that motivates us to reach the next generation.  The CAUSE is the glory of God and the cross of Christ!  If we hope to honor the cross and glorify God, we must reach the next generation.  The three areas we will bring to attention are the bus ministry, the Christian school, and the youth department.

The need for safe zones on American college campuses to protect wimpy young adults is a result of lousy schools and no youth department.  I have mentioned this before, but it was common for children in my youth to hear teachers say, "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me."  Yes, we were taught to be respectful and kind and to try to live "THE GOLDEN RULE" (that was in our schools and in our text books).  But stupid, satanic, socialistic educators pulled out any vestige of the Bible and the golden rule.  Sorry educators also removed any punishment for crime, and they did their best to remove winners and losers from games.  Diplomas for attendance were given; trophies for participation were awarded, and soon strength, courage, and determination were removed.  A government-dependent culture was created in which young people were content to share homes with parents for years with no intention of moving out on their own because it was simply TOO HARD.  Yes, we should be kind, but all of us say things that hurt people once in a while.  Those same protected young people become thin-skinned, soft, shallow adults, and when they face injustice or harm, they cry like babies.  A part of life is facing the times when even the best of us accidentally say things we should not; learning to deal with the mean people is a whole other issue.

A good Christian school and a good youth department will help much in the development of a young person.  The bus ministry not only gives bus riders access to the youth department and Sunday school but also provides a place of service for teens.  When teens in our church reach ninth grade they begin serving on bus routes.  We train our youth to understand that life is not about being entertained by the church, but the church is to provide a place of service and opportunity to minister to others.

Matthew 20:28 “Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.”

This passage speaks of our Saviour and sheds light on the world of “SAFE SPACE,” as we realize that suffering teaches us.  Any coach or drill instructor would assure you that hardship is a wonderful teacher.
Hebrews 5:8 “Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;”

If no one faces hardship, no one learns to live; for life is hard.  Jesus assured us that life will be filled with tribulation.
John 16:33 “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”

As we learn to struggle through trials and difficulties, whether on the playground in first grade or long hours of work and school in high school and college, we also must learn to serve others.

Philippians 2:4 “Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.”
vs. 5 “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:”
vs. 6 “Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:”
vs. 7 “But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:”
vs. 8 “And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”

Many of our young people are placed on bus routes with adults who may see someone walking nearby and simply instruct the teenage worker to jump out and approach the stranger to witness to him.  (No safe zone there.)  Teens are put in front of a bus full of children to teach them to preach, to lead songs, and to share the love of Christ with the needy of their community.  (Definitely not a safe zone.)

Our bus ministry does more for our teen workers than it does for the riders.  When adults organize, drive, mechanic, and finance the bus ministry they give the teenagers a terrific opportunity to become mature Christians.  Overly protective parents and ministry leaders are a giant hindrance to developing successful Christian young people.  Young people need to step out of their comfort zones, forget themselves, and serve others (even when it is difficult).

Too many churches are simply entertainment ministries in which young people are trained to think that life is all about themselves.  When the band or sensuous music does not please them, they will drift off to another church or secular place that makes them feel good.  Church youth departments have failed in raising servants, and Jesus has said the greatest person is the servant of all.

Matthew 23:11 “But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant.”
Mark 10:44 “And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all.”

When a Christian school with old-fashioned ethics, morality, history, and academics that require hard work is added to the life of a young person, one will find children becoming young adults who laugh at safe zone talk, get jobs, rent their own apartments, pay their own bills, and succeed in life and marriage.  I am constantly amazed at the jobs our former teens find.  The young people who went through our ministry are managers in the retail world, the defense industry, and many other areas.  To my amazement, young people who went through our small Christian school and youth department and served in our bus ministry are earning  $15 - 30 per hour in varied industries while in college.  They are earning their own way through college without safe zones or government loans.

Cry-baby young adults are nothing but evidence of the failure of schools, colleges, churches, and parenting skills.  A wise parent will prayerfully seek daily activities in which young people will have to face "hard knocks" and learn to deal with each situation.  We, as parents will not be there forever protecting our children, they must immediately begin learning to face hardship, mean people, and struggles.

We ought to start issuing bumper stickers:  "NO SAFE ZONES or CRYBABIES.”

Pastor Goddard

 

Dangers

Good Morning,

I have traveled to the Philippines several times, and each time, I brought church members with me.   Especially when there are young people along, I drill them over and over about what to eat and what to drink, the necessity of using hand sanitizer, and about general safety.  I am the leader.  I would be remiss to know the water is bad but not to warn our people about what can and can not be consumed.

Parents of the young people who have traveled with me have trusted me to watch out for their children.  If I do not take the situation seriously, I am a failure as a leader.  Paul spoke of such things to the elders in Ephesus. 

Acts 20:28 “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.”
vs. 29 “For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.”
vs. 30 “Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.”
vs. 31 “Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears”

Dangers are found within and without the church.  The Apostle Paul was so concerned that he warned these pastors night and day with tears.   So I offer you a few thoughts about leadership and security:

1. It is not unreasonable for the pastor to be concerned and passionate.
2. The period of warning in this city lasted three years; so, no, the pastor should not let up, and he should be on guard all the time.
3. To set up requirements, standards, and methods to check and recheck staff and ministry workers is only logical. 
4. For the members to be frustrated by a "hovering" leader is crazy; he has been warned by God of the "grievous wolves" that are likely to attack the church, and the pastor’s duty is to protect the flock, physically and spiritually (doctrine and lifestyle need to be guarded). 
5. The only ones who would desire more relaxed security are the evil or careless ones.   No one with wisdom would endanger the church. 
6. Paul said, "for I know" (verse 29)  that these evil men will come in to harm the church.  This fact is a definite one — not a possibility.   The people of God need to keep up their guard, but especially the leadership must be vigilant.

Parents who do not care about the friends of their children, allow “just anyone” to teach their children in school for thirty hours a week, or allow their child unrestricted access to the internet, are naive at best, foolish or evil at worst.

Here, at Faith Baptist Church and at our academy, we labor to provide the right friends, the right teachers, and the right protection for our young people.  I hope you will pray for our church and ministry to young people.  Helping finance the ministry is also a vital part of keeping the system working.  As the pastor, I will be diligent at protecting the flock; as members and friends, I hope you will pray and financially support this great work for God.

Pastor Goddard

 

Preventing Ruin

Good Morning,

While I was growing up, one of my few neighbors had a Morgan Stallion.  For the non-horse people, few folks own stallions as they are difficult to discipline and high-spirited to say the least.  A Morgan is a specially-bred animal and carried some powerfully destructive abilities.  This horse was kept in a corral about ten feet high made of the biggest planks you can imagine.  The walls were so strong and built so securely that you could hardly see the horse through the bars. 

The reason for the extra care was the very power and spirit of the horse.  He could tear down a normal corral and do much damage to anything in his path.  Only the very strong and controlling owner rode him in parades.  If that horse was not in the hands of a totally dominant and wise rider who had much “horse sense,” someone would get hurt. 

This animal was kept in check by someone who understood the danger and kept himself on guard.  In order to keep some sense of order, this horse was trained more extensively than most regular horses.  Though sometimes at night, we could hear him kicking the corral bars and causing a ruckus. 

When we understand the power and potential harm that can be done by something, we begin to realize the importance of two things:  protection and training.

Protection is the proper set up of barriers and safeguards to keep the wild animal from doing harm.

Training or discipline is also important because times will come when security and safeguards will be absent; during these times, discipline is needed to help prevent tragedy. 

This dangerous animal is similar to the “old man” within each one of us. 
Romans 7:18 “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.”
Ephesians 4:22 “That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;”

We need to remember that we have a corrupt, undisciplined, old nature, and if it is left unguarded, that flesh (the old nature) will ruin us. 

We are to discipline ourselves to the point at which we shun evil, turn away from wrong, and resist shame.
Colossians 3:8 “But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.”
vs. 9 “Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds;”

To reject the garbage of the world is not only necessary, but it also requires discipline.   By nature, there is no limit on the shame we may enjoy; for this reason, we are told to train our children. 
Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”
Proverbs 19:18 “Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying.”

In order to shape the habits of children, there is a need to train and correct them while they are yet very young.  There is a point at which no parent can change the course of the child’s character and he is “without hope.”  It is sad to say such, but it is God Who said it; we should trust Him.  “Chasten thy son while there is hope…” (Proverbs 19:18)

For this reason, little children should be disciplined in their eating, their spirit, and their behavior both in private and public.  Training is constant and requires well-disciplined parents.  A child may face a very disappointing moment or be hurt and bleeding; these are times when a wise parent trains the child to control his emotions, preventing him from falling apart, screaming, and getting out of control.  A child should never be allowed to let loose and vent in emotional outbursts, whether as a crying baby or a venting, angry athlete as a teenager.  We are to always be under control; we are never to recklessly allow our emotions to run unchecked.  Start this habit while the child is young by controlling his response to given situations. 

1 Corinthians 9:27 “But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.”

A life should be well-disciplined from infancy, trained and shaped to the parent’s will in every situation that arises.

Eli was in trouble with God for not “restraining” his sons.  
1 Samuel 3:13 “For I have told him that I will judge his house for ever for the iniquity which he knoweth; because his sons made themselves vile, and he restrained them not.”

David had a son that caused great harm to the kingdom, and the only passage explaining how it all happened reflects the lack of discipline the boy had.
1 Kings 1:6 “And his father had not displeased him at any time in saying, Why hast thou done so? and he also was a very goodly man; and his mother bare him after Absalom.”

Denial, restraint, and the habit of saying, “No” to oneself are all lessons the wise mother demands that her children learn.  Emotions and actions are to be controlled by the parent; this is necessary to “train up a child in the way he should go.”

Yes, we need to set up rules for behavior.  We need to say, “I will not go into a bar, and I will not be found alone with a woman to whom I am not married.”  But the need for a disciplined spirit is also a mandate.  Times will come when no rules will be present and no one will be watching;  these are the times when the flesh may run free and do much harm. 

Self-discipline is vital, but rules of behavior are equally important.  Rules that protect us are guidelines:  such as my decision to never get into a car alone with a woman.  Rules help keep our flesh from being drawn to wrong.  The rule that my child will have no internet access EVER without a parent looking over his shoulder is likened to the wall around the horse.  But free wi-fi is everywhere, and like the parade grounds, self-discipline must help or tragic results will follow. 

One of the reasons for which we are criticized in our church is the type of walls we build.  Most churches have no problem with their teens kissing and getting involved in a measure of passion.  The teens are told not to commit adultery, but they will not keep the youth from traveling the road to that sin.  We, on the other hand, tell our young people not to touch at all to avoid that sin.
1 Corinthians 7:1 “Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman.”

If men and ladies (young or old) do not touch on another, the flames of passion are kept on low.  But if they are allowed to embrace, the wild fires of emotion are free to burn and cause destruction; at this point, self-control is of no value. 

A third principle which is helpful in protecting us from ruin is a walk with God.  Laboring to develop a walk with God is vital because we want God to simply step in and help us when we are tempted.  “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil” is an act of God.  Personally, I want to be close enough to God that when no authorities are there to control me and my flesh becomes weak, I want God to step in to help me when temptation draws near.  I want God close to me to protect me in my hour of weakness and to order circumstances when tragedy knocks at my door.    I want to walk near to God and be humbly aware of my frail frame; in so doing, perhaps, I will find favor with God and He will be my protection in times of trouble. 

A disciplined spirit, a disciplined life, and a passion for God:  these three are vital to keeping this shameful old man from self-destruction. 

Pastor Goddard

 

Order and Chaos

Good Morning

Most of us like to have things in order, in place, and to varying degrees, well-planned and orderly in the world around us.

I am in favor of order if it is possible, but as Paul says in Romans 12:18, “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.”

I like that statement, “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you…” because it simply is not always possible.  As is with most of life, if we hope to get anything done, we will regularly end up living like football players having to “scramble.”

Often, a sports play may not go as designed, or a defensive player may read the play wrong causing everyone to do extra, regroup, and sometimes take some rough hits to survive; yet, we watch the game all week long and love it.  So why do we panic when life is not perfectly in order?  Panicking is simply not scriptural!  Start running the next play and see what God allows to happen! 

Paul talked about difficult situations that did not go as planned:
Philippians 4:12 “I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.”

Stop acting as though you are out of the will of God when money gets tight or pressures weigh on you.  Out of the will of God is defined as:  watching too much television, gambling, drinking booze, not reading the Bible, and a life void of prayer or soul winning. Life going sour is Bible Christianity.

Paul listened to the advice of godly friends and took a Jewish vow:
Acts 21:26 “Then Paul took the men, and the next day purifying himself with them entered into the temple, to signify the accomplishment of the days of purification, until that an offering should be offered for every one of them.”
vs. 27 “And when the seven days were almost ended, the Jews which were of Asia, when they saw him in the temple, stirred up all the people, and laid hands on him,”

Paul ended up in jail for a long time over that one.  Paul was trying to do right and ended up in jail. Great!  Where was God in that situation? 

Do not forget that the men who were to turn the world upside down were also the ones who went back to their fishing after the Lord rose from the dead.  Paul and Barnabas (remember Barnabas was the one responsible for bringing Paul into the ministry) had such a fuss that they split up and went separate ways — great Christians, right? 

Acts 15:39 “And the contention was so sharp between them, that they departed asunder one from the other: and so Barnabas took Mark, and sailed unto Cyprus;”

Situations do not always play out as we plan, and the variables of satanic work and human weaknesses are rarely anticipated — we have to scramble!!


Consider the early church:
They were threatened.
Acts 4:29 “And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word,”

They had lying and theft among the members.
Acts 5:1 “But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession,”
vs. 2 “And kept back part of the price, his wife also being privy to it, and brought a certain part, and laid it at the apostles’ feet.”

There was ethnic strife regarding finances.
Acts 6:1 “And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration.”

Stephen was killed; Paul was beaten, stoned, and left for dead, faced shipwreck and more beatings, and the entire church scattered throughout the country for their faith.
Acts 8:1 “And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles.”

Paul was accused and slandered by the very church members he had won to Christ or reached through his own ministry.  Why was this great man having to defend himself? 
1 Corinthians 9:1 “Am I not an apostle? am I not free? have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord? are not ye my work in the Lord?”
vs. 2 “If I be not an apostle unto others, yet doubtless I am to you: for the seal of mine apostleship are ye in the Lord.”
vs. 3 “Mine answer to them that do examine me is this,”

2 Corinthians 3:1 “Do we begin again to commend ourselves? or need we, as some others, epistles of commendation to you, or letters of commendation from you?”
vs. 2 “Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men:”
vs. 3 “Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart.”
2 Corinthians 12:12 “Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds.”

Reason and logic are not sufficient to touch the hearts of corrupt church members; just continue on and serve God. 

The closest friends of Paul walked out on him for the comfort and ease of the world.
2 Timothy 4:10 “For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia.”
2 Timothy 1:15 “This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me; of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes.”

Paul was left to stand alone in court.
2 Timothy 4:16 “At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge.”

We need not go on, but people even spoke boastfully about adultery in the church, lawsuits between church members, drinking booze, and gluttony — just to remind us of a few wrongs that existed in that wonderful early church that turned the world upside down.

If you think following the Lord will be a well-orchestrated, organized, carefully-planned life, you got the wrong instruction manual.  Our life is one of disappointment, death, failure, despair, and questions.  We will wonder WHY the Lord does not help, WHY He allows these things to happen, and WHY we are not able to accomplish that which obviously needs to get done.

Get over it!  You will not go OCD on God, for He alone knows what is best in each situation.  Trusting in your own abilities and your perfectly scheduled life will make the work you do a product of the flesh.  Plan and organize, but then continue in faith knowing that there is a Divine Conductor orchestrating the affairs of our lives.  He loves us!  That is all we need to know.  Get to work loving people, preaching the gospel, and walking with God.  Pray, read your Bible, tell others of the Savior, and stop acting as though God needs our blueprints on life to get anything accomplished. 

The greatest Christian in the New Testament wrote these words:
2 Corinthians 1:8 “For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life:”

We all need to stop acting as if everything in life needs to be orderly, kind, loving, and wonderful.   Christianity is not fly fishing on a quiet lake or sitting in a cubicle with every shred of paper properly filed.  We are on the one-yard line against an enemy without scruples; only seconds are left on the clock, and the other guys are carrying knives and billy clubs.  We will face serious contact and ugly attitudes, but there is a yard left to gain, and we are on the winning side.  A few bruises will be expected.

As the Christmas story says, "It's a Wonderful Life!"

Pastor Goddard

 

Enjoy

Good Morning,

With holidays consuming our bodies and souls, I would like to encourage each one of you hard working, passionate men and women to stop and enjoy your labors.  Honestly, sometimes I can get so busy working that it is difficult to stop, to relax, and to watch the grandchildren play.  

God says it is fine to enjoy the fruit of our labors.

Ecclesiastes 2:24 “There is nothing better for a man, than that he should eat and drink, and that he should make his soul enjoy good in his labour. This also I saw, that it was from the hand of God.”
Ecclesiastes 3:13 “And also that every man should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labour, it is the gift of God.”
Ecclesiastes 5:18 “Behold that which I have seen: it is good and comely for one to eat and to drink, and to enjoy the good of all his labour that he taketh under the sun all the days of his life, which God giveth him: for it is his portion.”

You have worked; and you have worked long hours.  Stop and spend some time doing nothing, watch Muppets Christmas Carrol or Mr. Smith goes to Washington.  Enjoy a walk with children to the park, or go on a bike ride.  If you are anything like me, the work is never all done, nor will it ever be. 

I could get up on Christmas morning and work eight or ten hours just like any other day.  Notice what God wrote:
Ecclesiastes 2:24 “There is nothing better for a man, than that he should eat and drink, and that he should make his soul enjoy good in his labour.”

“Nothing better” than to enjoy the good of your labor.  Take a cruise; go camping; and if you like guns, go shoot them. 

Do not miss the end of the verse (especially you high-pressure, non-stop people):
2:24 “…that he should make his soul enjoy good in his labour.”
3:13 “... it is the gift of God."

Make yourself enjoy the good gift of God.  Force yourself to stop, play, and relax. Honestly, it will not hurt. 

Pastor Goddard

 

Wise Men

Good Morning,

While reading in Matthew, I find verses that bring questions and bring my mind to places I can not explain.  I read verses that make me wonder about all kinds of questions that I cannot answer.  Then I remind myself that I am reading God’s Word, not a letter from my child. 

Matthew 17:10 “And his disciples asked him, saying, Why then say the scribes that Elias must first come?”
vs. 11 “And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things.”
vs. 12 “But I say unto you, That Elias is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed. Likewise shall also the Son of man suffer of them.”
vs. 13 “Then the disciples understood that he spake unto them of John the Baptist.”

This particular passage is one that leaves me with some questions.  Some things in the Bible I can not figure out, and some things just do not make sense to me.  One of the excuses of doubters and those who deny the existence of God is, "How can I believe in a Book with apparent contradictions?  How can I follow a faith I cannot understand?"  Yet, these same men have no problem believing the work of scientists, though their theories and supposed facts are regularly being found to be in error, whether in the field of medicine or astronomy or any other brand of sciences.

New discoveries give birth to more technology and updated facts which mankind cannot understand; yet, people have no problem trusting what we do not understand or those things about which we have further questions.  If we were not willing to continue to study when we still had many questions, why would we have traveled into space?  Why would we have research scientists and explorers if we did not believe in and searching out the unknown?  Man seems to have no problem accepting that there is a realm of the unknown and unexplained.  Neither do we seem to have issues with continuing to follow those who were proven to be wrong.  Just look at the voters who vote for a proven liar, perjurer, and all sorts of other shameful things.   Men have a problem with God.  Men have a problem accepting the existence of Someone smarter, Someone who is holy, and Someone to Whom they are accountable — that is man’s problem. 

Romans 1:19 “Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.”
vs. 20 “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:”
vs. 21”Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.”

Men just hate the idea of God — a God to Whom we must give an account of our actions!  Rather than acknowledge God, we talk in sophisticated terminology and eloquently profess ourselves to be wise.

vs. 22 “Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,”

Proverbs 26:12 “Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? there is more hope of a fool than of him.”

One day, we will each face the Lord, and those “smart” people who were too smart to believe, will believe on that day.

1 Corinthians 1:19 “For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.”

Do I understand all of the Bible?  No.  Do some things about Christianity confuse me?  Sure.  But my trust is in God, despite the limitations of my knowledge and understanding.

Pastor Goddard

Think

Good Morning,

Today, it matters little in which industry you are involved; industry has one primary goal — self preservation.  Go to a car lot and ask the salesman what you need.  He will direct you to a high end car and advise the addition of all the upgrades; but you alone know what you really need. THINK!!   The salesman is there for money and business, and as long as he does not hurt you, he is fine with selling you a Cadillac when an Impala would have been just fine.   The average real estate agent will sell to you any property for which you qualify; and he honestly does not care about your needs — the wants a commission.  Of course there are exceptions; Christians in many industries will care for the well-being of individuals, but that is not the rule out in the world. 

We hear jokes about a surgery the doctor thinks one needs, only to end up with a punch line about his wife needing a new car.  Sadly, more and more this is proven true.

Today, when you go to the doctor or dentist, you cannot go in trusting him as we did in the past.  The medical world, along with the pharmaceutical industry, has become a business in which they want to make money, and profit is the main goal.  If you would not let the car salesman tell you what to buy, I suggest you not let the dentist tell you what to buy either — they all sell a product.  When I decided to put our daughter in braces, I found it interesting that the orthodontist said nothing about life-long needs for retainers and other extras; he simply told us of the six months or a year of braces and the straight teeth.  I was the ignorant parent; six months was not bad, and straight teeth would be good.  Had the orthodontist told me about life-long needs I might have chosen differently. 

If you let the dentist control your family choices, he will have all your children in braces (and you as well).  The dental staff will schedule deep cleaning, plaque removal, and countless other expensive things they have planned for your mouth — and, of course, your wallet.

I am not saying any of these things are wrong; but there is nothing wrong with a Ferrari either, it just may not be best for me.  That which is best for me is my decision to make, not the salesman’s decision, whether it be a dental salesman or a medical salesman. 

If you allow the carpet salesman to pick out what you need, he will never offer you the cheapest brand, but rather the one with the most profit for himself.  If you do not think that doctors and dentists will sell you more than you need, you are not a very good student of human nature.  Go ahead and ask one of them; ask if they think dentists or doctors ever prescribe treatment that exceeds the necessary demands of the body.   I believe there are enough honest men and women in medicine that they will admit that, within their industry, excess can be found "at times." 

My cardiologist prescribed some pills for me.  After reading the side effects, I determined not to take the pills.  At my next visit, the doctor asked if I was taking the pills.  I said, “No,” and he asked why.  I explained and he assured me that I should take the pils no matter what the warnings said.  I refused and he softened his voice and said, "I would never take them either!  I won’t take any of that medicine."  At that point, I did not know if I should punch him or thank him for finally coming clean. 

Suffice it to say, men are sinners, and the nobility of position is as far gone in medicine as it is in the ministry or politics.   Men are sinners, and unless restrained by the Bible and a well-trained inner conscience, they will not choose your best interest over their own.

Psalm 51:5 “Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.”

Psalm 58:3 “The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies.”

Job 15:14 “What is man, that he should be clean? and he which is born of a woman, that he should be righteous?”
vs. 15 “Behold, he putteth no trust in his saints; yea, the heavens are not clean in his sight.”
vs. 16 “How much more abominable and filthy is man, which drinketh iniquity like water?”

God puts no trust in us, and we should be very careful about who we trust as well.
Job 15:15 “Behold, he putteth no trust in his saints…”

Men are sinners, and the farther we get from the Bible and a religiously-centered society, the more selfishness and greed will motivate the people in leadership. 

Pray, study, ask direction from others, but do not blindly let a mechanic tell you what repairs  your car needs.  We have all seen the reports of surveys done on auto repair shops.  Do you think the medical world is exempt from the flesh and carnal nature?  Think and seek God's help in discerning right and wrong, but do not let the landscape architect determine your needs around the house.  (Your yard will look like Disneyland and you will be broke!)  The fact that I need a car is easy to determine, but a used one for sale at $3,000 is a lot different from a new Lincoln at $40,000.  I will not trust the suggestion of the car salesman.   Just because I qualify for the loan, does not mean it is the best choice for my family.  A cancer doctor will often admit to you that he may not cure your cancer, but he will learn much in trying and that knowledge will help others.  Ask yourself if you are into trial medicine and helping others before making the decision; this is called being a guinea pig.  It is okay to be a guinea pig if you want to be, but at least find out this information before it all begins.  How much difficulty will you face?  How many trips to the doctor?  How many times will the elderly lady have to get her failing husband into the car to go for weekly tests, and how much suffering will he go through?  Ask and think! 

That dentist will try to give you perfect teeth, and cost is of no consequence to him.  You may have perfect teeth, but you will not be able to smile because you will be crying about being broke.  One of my older teenage children had an abscessed tooth.  The out-of-town dentist (we were on vacation) suggested a root canal, then a crown.  The cost was serious.  I asked about pulling it and getting an implant.  After pressing him for facts, he said a root canal and crown would need to be replaced in 7-10 years, and an implant would last over twenty years and end up costing much less.  I then asked his advice and he said he suggested the root canal and crown...ready... "if cost was not a consideration."  I said, I am not a dentist and cost is always a consideration!  I, of course, opted to have the tooth pulled.  Now, if you disagree with my choice, it does not matter; but understand that there just happens to be a more profitable path to travel in life, and most men are selfish and will send you down the path most profitable for themselves or they have different priorities than I do.  I will not go to ball games on Sunday when I should be in church — that is a priority!  The dentist wants a perfect smile:  I want godly children; I want to tithe, support missions, and help others.  Perhaps that is a reason why I did not own a house for twenty years after entering the ministry.  Many of my staff members were buying homes long before me.  I had priorities; right or wrong, they were mine.  THINK!! 

How often do you need your car waxed to protect the paint?  Ask the guy you hire to wax it and you will get a more expensive answer than if you ask a paint and body shop owner who repaints cars with oxidized paint.

Men are sinners! 
Jeremiah 17:9 “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”

Labor to be honorable in your work.  If you are in a position that brings people to you for counsel, seek God.  Do not trust the flesh of the average lost man, whether in the medical world or sales of exercise equipment. 

A family moved to our church from a distant city, and after some months, came to me with a question.  His house in the other city had finally sold.  He made a good profit on it and he wondered where the tithe should go, his old church or his new one (ours)?  Do you not see how quickly profit can move into our decision-making?  I suggested he send it to his old church.  Right or wrong, I felt I would err on the side of safety.  But that is not what the average lost man in the world is thinking; THINK for yourself. 

Pastor Goddard

 

Thy Kingdom Come

Good Morning,

I travel some, and those times away from home reveal more of what America truly is than a walk around the block here in Wildomar.  Our community is quite conservative, but, on a recent flight, I made a few observations that I would like to share with you:

1.  We live in an amazing nation. 

2.  People in long lines are generally courteous, thoughtful, and orderly.

3.  Food and drink is plentiful and safe

4.  Chapels and religious items are common

5.  Military personnel are treated with respect, not fear.

6. We live in an immodest nation.
If a gal is dipped in paint from the waist down and walks through an airport terminal, she is just as modestly dressed as many of the other women.  Americans wear more revealing and indiscreet clothes than most immigrants.  Magazines, billboards, and t-shirts promoting lewdness are found everywhere.

7. We live in an out-of-control nation.
Children do not obey as well as dogs. Fighting among parents is common.  Beggars and homeless people who live in the streets are common (often resulting from out-of-control booze, drugs, crime, or rebellion).

8.  We live in a wealthy nation.
Cars now cost more than houses used to cost.  Houses are more luxurious than ever before and are found everywhere — many houses are beautifully constructed, beautifully furnished, and incredibly plush.

9.  We live in a healthy nation.
Though many people suffer with disease, most illnesses are due to age.  Americans tend to live a long time — much longer than those in prior generations or in other countries.

10.  We live in a charitable nation.
Charities are advertised everywhere: for college, for poor nations, for dogs and cats, and for homeless and crippled people.  Americans give more than anyone else on earth — via their military, charities, religious institutions, and simply out-of-pocket into the hands of the needy. 

I, for one, love America; but I also understand that what we enjoy is the product of proper thinking from past generations and the mercy of God.    Whether you like it or not, America was founded by many folks who understood the value of religion and the Bible, and most of those people held a belief in God.  Morality was common, and most of the big political debates of today would have been solved by any farmer with “horse sense.”   Honestly, what would have happened if a boy in 1960 wanted to use a girl’s restroom?  NO legislation is needed to answer that question.  He would have been tossed out on his ear, and if a girl’s daddy was there, the situation would have become very serious.  In the past, much more religion and Bible had a place in the thoughts of the general public, much more than is found among people’s thoughts nowadays.

From John Adams:
“Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people.  It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

As America grows increasingly immoral and irreligious, we will find our Constitution without value, our freedoms usurped by government, and the stage set for a demagogue.   Morality, based upon the Word of God, is the only hope for our nation. 

Understand that the good we enjoy today is a product of the hearts of our forefathers.  When we toss out God, we also toss out mercy on our children.  
Deuteronomy 5:29 “O that there were such an heart in them, that they would fear me, and keep all my commandments always, that it might be well with them, and with their children for ever!”

John Adams also said, “Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There is never a democracy that did not commit suicide.”

Democracy is bankrupted when the people realize they are able to vote for money and goods for themselves.  We criticize government employees for voting to give themselves raises, while we cast our votes for political candidates who will give us material possessions as well —there is little difference between the two.  Mankind is hopelessly depraved, which is why we needed a Saviour!  To think that men would vote properly or legislate biblically is really being overly positive.  The songwriter wrote, “My hope is built on nothing less, than Jesus’ blood and righteousness…”  To hope in a political party is evidence of your insanity. 

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
 All other ground is sinking sand,

Bible principles teach our hearts to provide for ourselves, to give sufficient care to the poor, and to prepare for our future.  Government principles teach our hearts to be selfish.  The more the government grows, the more greedy and enslaved the people will become.  The more Bible the people know, the more humbly they will walk with God, the more freedom they will experience, and the more generous they will become.  (Just check out the charitable giving of those in government.  The more liberal they are, the less they personally give.  The more conservative they are, the more they personally give.  The more liberal they are, the more they want to give away YOUR money — that is not freedom or charity but bondage and theft.)

With all this being said, I love America, but I am looking forward to my future home, where righteousness reigns, not the foolish whims of judges and brainless citizens.

Is there trouble in the world around us?  Of course, but I am not looking for a perfect world here on earth; I look forward to a perfect heavenly kingdom to come:
Romans 8:17 “And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.”
Romans 8:18 “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”

Keep your hope in God, not in men.  Keep looking for Jesus to come take us out of this world, rather than wasting your life hoping Jesus will save this world — He already told us He was going to burn it up. 

2 Peter 3:10 “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.”
vs. 11 “Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness,”
vs. 12 “Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?”
vs. 13 “Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.”

The future is bright, and the White House cannot change that (neither can whoever lives there).  Our King reigns forever! 

Pastor Goddard

 

Secure In Storms

Good Morning,

The following lessons from Scripture are not unfamiliar to most.  Children sing, "The wise man built his house upon the rock..."  But read these verses considering our nation.

Luke 6:47 “Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like:”
vs. 48 “He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock.”
vs. 49 “But he that heareth, and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built an house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great.”

Our founders built a nation whose founding documents were based on the Bible.  From the court room to the liberty of conscience, we had men who respected the Bible and were involved in the early planning of our society.  Obviously, not all of those men were Christians, but they were men who held the Bible in high regard and used Its precepts as the foundation for our nation.  The wise man is likened to one who dug deep and built upon a rock... Both God and Jesus are referred to as our Rock.  (Deuteronomy 32:4,15,18, 30)

1 Corinthians 10:4 “And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ”

No wonder our nation rose to prominence in such a short time; not only the churches and the military, but the businesses prospered as well!  No, early Americans were not perfect, but they worked to build something good while rooting out the junk that came with them from Europe.  Soon they began enjoying the most amazingly blessed nation.  (A blessed nation we still get to enjoy today!)

The wise man builds that which can withstand the waves of trouble.  For generations, Americans had stood strong through difficulties; but in my lifetime, we lost our first war and struggled through serious rebellion of young people in college during the 60's.   Today, we face racial strife as well as rebellion against authority.  What happened around 1960?  The elimination of the Bible and prayer from schools had to be the biggest factor;  the next destructive elements were the lack of authority of fathers, the introduction of rock-and-roll, and (of course) Dr. Spock and his permissive child rearing instruction:  all of these resulted from a lack of Bible from the dads in the homes.

How could we do anything but stumble when the storms of life come?  We threw out the one element that promised us strength to weather the floodwaters of tribulation — GOD!  The "Rock" of faith in God is the solid foundation which we have allowed schools and secularists to rob from us.

Psalm 11:3 “If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?”

All the stability and security of God's presence has been ripped from our hearts and so yes, there is confusion, strife, and battles on countless fronts.  We are stumbling and the storms are taking their toll.

The question is:  Are we wise or are we foolish?  For the wise man built his house upon a Rock.

Luke 6:49 “But he that heareth, and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built an house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great.”

We have never been a nation of Bible-toting Baptists, but we have had principles guiding our leaders and our homes that were rooted in Christ's teaching.  In early schools, the Bible was our first reader; the Bible was the most common Book in our land. 

If God would turn our leaders to biblical principles, and if our churches and the homes of believers would take the Bible to heart and love it, honor it, and live it, perhaps we once again could face storms and stand strong.  The big offer still stands true in 2 Chronicles 7:14:  “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”

Will we have troubles?  Of course.  Will we stumble and crumble?  That depends entirely upon the mercy of God and what we do with His Book.

Luke 6:47 ”Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like:”
vs. 48 “He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock.”

Pastor Goddard

 

Receiving Rebuke

Good Morning,

Psalm 141:5 “Let the righteous smite me; it shall be a kindness: and let him reprove me; it shall be an excellent oil, which shall not break my head: for yet my prayer also shall be in their calamities.”

We are certainly in a culture that does not believe that verse.  When someone receives correction he instantly panics.  A mentality of total independence, self-sufficiency, and honestly- rebellion has existed for at least a generation — and this only refers to church attenders (we will not even address the whole world).  In the ‘60s, Dr. Spock wrote about letting your children express themselves; he banished the idea of spanking children.  In that era, our society allowed college students to burn administration buildings, take over college campuses, and tell the government what to do with war.  The issue was not always wrong, but the self-will was!

In Psalm 141:5, David writes, “Let the righteous smite me; it shall be a kindness: and let him reprove me; it shall be an excellent oil,”

Do we remember David when he was met by Abigail who basically corrected his thinking?

1 Samuel 25:32 “And David said to Abigail, Blessed be the LORD God of Israel, which sent thee this day to meet me:”
vs. 33 “And blessed be thy advice, and blessed be thou, which hast kept me this day from coming to shed blood, and from avenging myself with mine own hand.”

In front of his men, David accepted the counsel and rebuke, and changed his plans.  Had he no pride?  No, it does not seem like he did.

Remember when David was corrected by Nathan, the prophet, regarding Bathsheba?

2 Samuel 12:13 “And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the LORD. And Nathan said unto David, The LORD also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die.”

Again, David received correction which was candid and hurtful; but he accepted the correction and was a better man for it.  It seems that David believed what Solomon wrote:

Proverbs 27:5 “Open rebuke is better than secret love.”

Read the story of Asa: he was once a great king who was wonderfully blessed by God, yet Asa got to the point in his life at which he did not like correction.

2 Chronicles 16:10 “Then Asa was wroth with the seer, and put him in a prison house; for he was in a rage with him because of this thing.  And Asa oppressed some of the people the same time.”

The idea of taking rebuke and doing so with a good spirit is often found in the Scriptures:
Proverbs 9:8 “Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee.”


If you are wise, you will love the one who corrects you.  That is not the usual response from so-called Christians today, especially those from Bible-study, contemporary churches.  They prefer to lean to their own understanding.  I knew a man who had been in church often and seemed to know many Bible facts (which is far from knowing Bible truth).  When he challenged me on a belief, I simply opened my Bible and pointed to a passage.  His response shocked me; he said, "You don't really believe that do you?"  I have had a literal belief in the Bible from the beginning of my Christian life.  Yes, I did really believe that verse, just like the rest of the verses in my Bible!  He could not take correction, not even from the Bible.

College students across America have adopted this same no-one-will-correct-me kind of spirit.  They have decided that no one will tell them when they are wrong.  But what can we expect?  Our own political leaders refuse to accept correction on law, the Constitution, or even solid facts involving crime, guns, climate control, and much more.  If it is a fact that differs from their feeling, they simply yell louder and accuse those with facts of being stupid or prejudiced.  For example, let us reflect on the frequent conservative black politicians, judges, police chiefs, or writers.  If those people show facts that racial prejudice is greatly improving in America, they will be cursed, labeled, and slandered — all without facts.  If one tries to show facts about women’s rights in America to a feminist or liberal, he will be verbally beaten, slandered, ridiculed, and if possible, destroyed.  Try showing liberals that terrorism is rooted in Islam, Wow!  You will be put in a crazy house!  Every sane person knows the facts; simply said, some folks do not take correction, no matter how right it is.

Learn to take correction.  Fight the spirit of "superiority" that makes you think you cannot be corrected.  Giving and receiving correction is biblical!  Correction is right, and logical, but a rebellious culture hates to be told they are wrong, no matter how wrong they are.

Psalm 141:5 “Let the righteous smite me; it shall be a kindness: and let him reprove me; it shall be an excellent oil, which shall not break my head: for yet my prayer also shall be in their calamities.”

If a person is righteous, he is upstanding, truthful, and honorable; let the righteous correct me.  I am ready. 

Pastor Goddard

 

Why I Go To Church

Good Morning,

First and foremost, I go to church because God commands that I not forsake His house.

Hebrews 10:25 “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.”

If there is an activity that causes me to choose between it and church, my choice will almost always be church.   If my job asks me to work a Sunday or Wednesday in a pinch, I may yield occasionally, but I refuse to “forsake” the gathering together of the people of God.  A job that takes me from church week after week is simply out of the will of God.  I have to be in church.  I may miss Wednesdays, but I will enjoy Sunday morning and evening.  Perhaps, I may work on Sunday nights, but then I will refuse to miss Sunday morning and Wednesday night.  I will not allow the things of this life to rob me of my church.

The Bible gives so many more reasons why we should attend church:  church is a place where we can serve others and share the faith that has such a rich and costly heritage.

I go to church because I am a sinner, prone to wander, and without proper influences, there is no telling what vanity or shame I will begin to accept.  If you show me someone who has drifted away from church for long, in most cases, you will find the standard of righteousness has dropped and the shamelessness of sin has increased.  People will get out of church and start to justify drinking booze.  They will condone casinos, worldly movies, and all kinds of activities they would never have done while in church.  I, for one, am a sinner, and I need the preaching of God’s Word and the fellowship of God’s people to keep me safe and straight in my Christian life. 

I go to church because that is where I will find protection — church is a spiritual umbrella of protection that guards me against spiritual wickedness.
1 Corinthians 5:5 “To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.”

Paul said that removing a brother from fellowship and attendance to church places him in satanic hands, and he runs a great risk of ruin.   I simply cannot allow myself or my spouse and children to be away from the spiritual safety of the house of God.  There is something supernatural about being close to the people of God and the singing of His praises. 

I go to church because it provides a place for me to serve.  My very existence on earth demands that I serve God.  If I only work, make money, and raise a family, I have done no more than any lost man on my street.   Church allows me to teach the Bible to children or adults.  Church gives me a chance to work on a Sunday school bus, sing in the choir, or work in a rest home or jail ministry.  Church is preparing me for the Judgment Seat when I face Christ and find myself rewarded for my sacrifice or shamed for my selfish life.   Without faithful church attendance, it would be unlikely that one would continue to be a soul winner.  Being out of church long, almost guarantees that one will not continue witnessing to others of the grace of God. 

I go to church because it gives me a place to bring others who need the Lord.  What do I do with those I meet who are hurting if I do not attend church?  If I find someone at work or in the local store whose heart is breaking, and I tell them of a loving Savior, where do I send them?  I bring them to MY church, of course; but if I do not attend, how can I offer any direction? 

I go to church because it gives me a place to tithe and bring my offerings.   In the Bible, we are commanded to tithe.  Where would I bring my tithes and offerings if I did not go to church?  I doubt I would continue to give financially if I were not attending church. 

1 Corinthians 16:2 “Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.”

Malachi 3:10 “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.”

I go to church because that is where people are married, buried, or called to the ministry.   Where would people dedicate their lives to full-time service to the Lord except at church?  If we did not attend church, there would be no church, no preaching, and no one telling the nations about Christ and His love.  I go to church because my life matters, because someone must care about lost and hurting souls, and someone must keep the church alive and prosperous.   The destiny of the world is at stake; I for one will do my part!  

I go to church because it is the only institution on earth that was purchased by the blood of our Saviour.
Acts 20:28 “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.”

Lastly, I go to church because it is the place where the best of friends are found.  I could not find better friends in Hollywood, professional athletics, politics, or the business world.  There are no friends like the people of God.  Why would I trade friends at church for the garbage world around me; people with broken lives and sick motives for living do not appeal to me or encourage me.

I will go to church, minister to people through my church, and financially support my church! 

Pastor Goddard

 

Wisdom

Good Morning,

One of the sad situations we face in life is the slow decline in awe for leaders.  We get accustomed to leaders; we become familiar with our leaders; we spend time with our leaders over and over.  Whether it be our parents or pastor, we get used to them and their consistent accuracy in life choices.  We know them, their stories, and their mannerisms; the desire for the "new and fresh" can easily win us over. 

Consider Daniel:
Daniel 1:20 “And in all matters of wisdom and understanding, that the king enquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers that were in all his realm.”

Here we find a man who was considered to be ten times better than all others.  In chapter two, we observe Daniel advancing farther in esteem after solving the king’s troubles:
Daniel 2:46 “Then the king Nebuchadnezzar fell upon his face, and worshipped Daniel, and commanded that they should offer an oblation and sweet odours unto him.”
 vs. 47 “The king answered unto Daniel, and said, Of a truth it is, that your God is a God of gods, and a Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets, seeing thou couldest reveal this secret.”
 vs. 48 “Then the king made Daniel a great man, and gave him many great gifts, and made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon, and chief of the governors over all the wise men of Babylon.”

The king acknowledged Daniel as a man who was filled with the Spirit of God and in whom nothing troubled his spirit.

Daniel 4:8 “But at the last Daniel came in before me, whose name was Belteshazzar, according to the name of my god, and in whom is the spirit of the holy gods: and before him I told the dream, saying,”
vs. 9 “O Belteshazzar, master of the magicians, because I know that the spirit of the holy gods is in thee, and no secret troubleth thee, tell me the visions of my dream that I have seen, and the interpretation thereof.”

Daniel chapter 5 brings us into the life of another king, Belshazzar, the king who faced the “writing upon the wall.”  In panic, Belshazzar called for help from his wise men:
vs. 8 “Then came in all the king’s wise men: but they could not read the writing, nor make known to the king the interpretation thereof.”
vs. 9 “Then was king Belshazzar greatly troubled, and his countenance was changed in him, and his lords were astonied.”

With no answers from his wise men, Belshazzar’s wife verbalized a reminder:
vs. 11 “There is a man in thy kingdom, in whom is the spirit of the holy gods; and in the days of thy father light and understanding and wisdom, like the wisdom of the gods, was found in him; whom the king Nebuchadnezzar thy father, the king, I say, thy father, made master of the magicians, astrologers, Chaldeans, and soothsayers;”
vs. 12 “Forasmuch as an excellent spirit, and knowledge, and understanding, interpreting of dreams, and shewing of hard sentences, and dissolving of doubts, were found in the same Daniel, whom the king named Belteshazzar: now let Daniel be called, and he will shew the interpretation.”

The king called everyone except the one who had been proven — Daniel.  Daniel had proven himself over and over, yet was left out of the situation!

From the start, Daniel was ten times better than other men, and he became so amazingly used by God that the king worshipped him. He was known as a man of whom was said, “no secret troubleth thee.”  Daniel continued to solve problems for the king, but as time passed, his wisdom and godly influence were forgotten.  He was just a foreign guy, “whom the king my father brought out of Jewry?”  (Daniel 5:13)

The king’s wife knew about Daniel, and in honesty, Belshazzar had heard of him:
Daniel 5:11 “There is a man in thy kingdom, in whom is the spirit of the holy gods; and in the days of thy father light and understanding and wisdom, like the wisdom of the gods.”

As a last resort, Belshazzar called on Daniel.

vs. 13 “Then was Daniel brought in before the king. And the king spake and said unto Daniel, Art thou that Daniel, which art of the children of the captivity of Judah, whom the king my father brought out of Jewry?”
vs. 14 “I have even heard of thee, that the spirit of the gods is in thee, and that light and understanding and excellent wisdom is found in thee.”
vs. 15 “And now the wise men, the astrologers, have been brought in before me, that they should read this writing, and make known unto me the interpretation thereof: but they could not shew the interpretation of the thing:”
vs. 16 “And I have heard of thee, that thou canst make interpretations, and dissolve doubts: now if thou canst read the writing, and make known to me the interpretation thereof, thou shalt be clothed with scarlet, and have a chain of gold about thy neck, and shalt be the third ruler in the kingdom.”

How do we allow this to happen?  How can we have God-anointed help step into our world and see Heaven moved for the man, only to forget him in a few years?

I am watching this happen right now all across America.  The greatest church builders of our history, those who saw more people saved and baptized than any other preacher in history are only a generation behind us.  New, young preachers are looking to one another for “ideas” about church building.  The books of John Rice, Jack Hyles, and Lee Roberson are ignored while new kids on the block with cute websites and blogs are getting the attention.

My pastor read books about Spurgeon and others; I heard him talk about them.  Brother Hyles loved to tell us stories of his spiritual “fathers,” those who trained him and those older men who influenced his life and ministry.  I could name dozens of preachers whom my preacher mentioned who were older, wiser, and trusted men.  Today, my neighbors in the ministry read the insights of young men 30-40 years of age.  Honestly, these neighbors in the ministry do more talking and blog reading than they do book-reading.  

I can list the books that moved me in the ministry:  G. Gilchrist Lawson’s Deeper Experiences of Famous Christians, Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret, and Success Prone Christians by John R. Rice.  The names on this list could go on and on to George Mueller, Curtis Hutson, and many more, almost all of whom have gone on to Heaven.  I study Thomas Armitage, B. H. Carroll, Morgan Edwards, and J.T. Christian on Baptist history. 

What happened to the respect and honor of those time-tested men who were once lauded as heroes of the faith?  We are no different than  Belshazzar who forgot Daniel.  Have you forgotten that your parents might still know something?  Have you foolishly forgotten that you still have loved ones to whom you can look for help —those who taught you to tie your shoes and dress yourself?  I would like to take it a step farther:  No matter where you go to church, if your pastor is time-tested and proven by past, wise decisions, why do you not go to your pastor for his insight?   He was the one you trusted when you were newly saved; he walked you through that dark hour when the world was coming to an end.  He was the one who helped you rear your children, and the one you called when a child struggled.  He was the man the deacons trusted when the church was in its fledgling years.  What happened to trusting his guidance?   What happened to the trust in the opinion of the man God used to build your church?  Is his wisdom of no use to you any more?  Has the Lord ceased speaking to him?  Are your burdens too heavy for his spiritual shoulders?  Have you graduated to the point at which you have no need for spiritual leadership?  Maybe you believe you have, but after thirty-four years of pastoring, my greatest desire is to be able to call my pastor and gain his insight on life.  My pastor is in Heaven.  When the two men I trusted enough to call when I was in need passed away, for the first time, I found myself without an older gray head to go to for advice — I still do not like it. 

Daniel, ten times better than others, was worshipped by King Nebuchadnezzar for his Divine wisdom. Of Daniel, it was said that nothing troubled his spirit. In later years, that same great man in their presence was only to be forgotten.  Forgotten!   What a shame! 

Spurgeon "delighted in the musty old folios which many of his brethren have on their library shelves" and "as for new books, he leaves them to others.”  Why do you find a book by someone you do not know or know little, and read it because it is new, rather than reading the time-tested truths of yesterday’s heroes?  Not me!  My library is full of books — old books that have weathered the tests of time.  Once my phone was busy calling older, wiser men, but today it only wishes for the chance.  I have had a few friends in the ministry and, I have many great friends in my church; but I crave the time and instruction of those godly, older men who breathed the life of yesterday into my world.  May we not forget Rehoboam who leaned on the youthful wisdom of his friends while missing the rich counsel of the aged, proven men who advised his father — that story did not turn out well for him.

Pastor Goddard

 

Work

Good Morning,

Proverbs 23:21 “For the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty: and drowsiness shall clothe a man with rags.”

“…and drowsiness shall clothe a man with rags.”

The lack of work in this culture amazes me.  Today, I drove by at least five businesses with signs wanting help; perhaps none offered much money, but some were fairly good.  An internal, supernatural blessing comes with working, earning, and using your life to achieve something. 

Whether it be collecting cans or bringing in carts from the Walmart parking lot, we ought to do something — no one should sit home every day.  If I were the one without a job, I would have to work at something for righteousness’ sake no matter how much money was involved (perhaps volunteer at the church to mow lawns or clean windows).  The absence of work in your daily life can become a deadly pastime.   The philosophy is not just about the money; it is about character, integrity, ethics, and honor.  There is no shame in being poor, but there is shame in doing nothing. 

Many young people would rather go to school than to work; but school would become much more serious to them if they had to go to school days, work nights, and study in between with a weary mind and body. (But that would prevent folks from becoming professional students!)  The government’s paying for people to hang around some class for years is unwise at best. 

When I attended Bible college, like so many others, I worked at least twenty hours a week.  Twenty hours is probably enough for those who have yet to do much besides attend high school.  To toss a young person into a forty-hour-per-week job and college classes is probably not wise; when working too many hours, a young person is most likely to fail at something, whether it be school, morals, or their walk with God.  Not long after the first year or so of college, most of us worked 20-30 hours per week; more hours were added, and by graduation, most of us worked full-time and attended college.  Work is one of the most honorable activities in life.  Working to pay for most or all of college makes it all the more serious.

Proverbs says much about work:
Proverbs 6:9 “How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep?”
vs. 10 “Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep:”
vs. 11 “So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man.”

Too much sleep and too little work lead to poverty and want!

Proverbs 19:15 “Slothfulness casteth into a deep sleep; and an idle soul shall suffer hunger.”

God makes it simple:  a lazy man will be hungry.
2 Thessalonians 3:10 “For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.”
2 Thessalonians 3:12 “Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread.”

God says the man who does not work will have a life that is falling apart.
Proverbs 24:30 “I went by the field of the slothful, and by the vineyard of the man void of understanding;”
vs. 31 “And, lo, it was all grown over with thorns, and nettles had covered the face thereof, and the stone wall thereof was broken down.”
vs. 32 “Then I saw, and considered it well: I looked upon it, and received instruction.”
vs. 33 “Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep:”
vs. 34 “So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth; and thy want as an armed man.”

From toddler age, a child ought to be taught to work.  He can pick up clothing and toys; and before long, he will be able to straighten up his own bed and clear the dishes from the table.  From the time a child can pick up food and toss it to the floor, he is able to get on his knees and pick up every piece. 

A diligent mom trains children this way, and this mindset is necessary to bring up productive adults.  Set limits on video games.  For our children, we set a total of one hour each day for media (meaning one hour of video games, or one hour of a movie); they were not allowed to live a life of sitting around watching television, playing games, and being useless.

If money is a problem, two parents can make a substantial difference by doing the hard thing.  If dad will work two minimum-wage jobs and the mom worked one, together they make the equivalent of $25-30 per hour; not much money for the hours put in, but doing so opens up the eyes of God on their plight and reaches out for the mercy of Heaven.  This effort in working hard also teaches the children a great deal about life and character. 

If money is tight, and attendance to a private school is doubtful, a mom and children at home during summer should be able to make enough money to pay a large portion of a Christian school bill.  (There are always ways to make money if one is industrious.) Do not allow your teens (or any children) to sit at home and do nothing all summer.

The trouble remains: we have raised up a generation of people who want life to be easy.   A school teacher who works each summer during his thirty years of teaching will earn the equivalent of over twenty-five percent of his lifetime salary in savings and retirement, not to mention wise investments.  (The equivalent is 7.5 years of continued salary after retirement.)   

The average man in our church works fifty hours per week and drives an additional ten hours to and from work.  When one works 60 hours a week, there is not much more time available.  If needs are still not met, the wife and children can help produce much more income if they are diligent! 

Proverbs 13:4 “The soul of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing: but the soul of the diligent shall be made fat.:
Proverbs 21:5 “The thoughts of the diligent tend only to plenteousness; but of every one that is hasty only to want.”
Proverbs 22:29 “Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men.”
Proverbs 10:4 “He becometh poor that dealeth with a slack hand: but the hand of the diligent maketh rich.”
Proverbs 12:24 “The hand of the diligent shall bear rule: but the slothful shall be under tribute.”

Consider the promises associated with diligence:  “made fat,” “plenteousness,” “he shall stand before kings” (that would be a very good job), “but the hand of the diligent maketh rich,” and “the diligent shall bear rule.”

Many promises deal with the issues surrounding us as far as work, prosperity, and family blessings.  We all should know to go to God, seek His blessing, and then plan, think, and work. 

God blesses work, and God will allow the slothful or “drowsy” to be clothed with rags.

Pastor Goddard

 

Defeating Satan

Good Morning,

Most of us have personal areas that we acknowledge are bad, and other areas we simply tolerate that may not be so good when observed closely.  We all have that one area we excuse, yet we accuse another severely for his flaws.

Most people would consider adultery as “bad," and of course, God does too.  Such was the story in 1 Corinthians 5:  a man living in adultery attended church without shame and was "puffed up" about it.  Paul urged the people not to fellowship with him or eat with him, and to do so with the purpose of making him ashamed.  (Separation is not mean, it is biblical.) 

The story is in 1 Corinthians:
I Corinthians 5:9 “I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators:”
vs. 10 “Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world.”
vs. 11 “But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.”

We are forced to deal with the unsaved world and their mess, but we need not fellowship with the saved in their shame, "no not to eat" is the admonition in verse 11.

Paul concludes the instruction in verse 13:  “...Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.”

The church accepted the instruction of Paul, and the heart of the man broke.  The next question was, "What do we do now?"

In the following book, 2 Corinthians, chapter two tells the end of the story and is summarized by one word, "forgive."

Paul reminds them of his writing:
2 Corinthians 2:4 “For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote unto you with many tears;”

Paul assured them that the separation was for a purpose — to bring the man to repentance, not to avoid him and hate him for life.
vs. 6 “Sufficient to such a man is this punishment, which was inflicted of many.”
 
We will be called judgmental, critical, and mean-spirited.  We will be accused of acting as if we felt we were "holier than thou" and much more; but the issue is not me or my feelings, the focus  is placed on God's church.  The church was purchased by His Son's blood, and He wants the folks in His church to be clean.  Broken fellowship is God's plan for drawing people back into close and pure fellowship.  Separation is the tool God uses because He loves those who have strayed from Him, and He wants them back.  Keeping them in fellowship when they are unrepentant is not loving, but shameful. 

Back to Paul's writing in 2 Corinthians 2, we find that the man was broken and needed to receive forgiveness:
vs. 7 “So that contrariwise ye ought rather to forgive him, and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow.”

This is the point at which we fail: 
Yes, we ought to separate from those who are boastful and unrepentant of their sin, but once they repent, they need to be brought back into fellowship.

vs. 8 “Wherefore I beseech you that ye would confirm your love toward him.”
vs. 9 “For to this end also did I write, that I might know the proof of you, whether ye be obedient in all things.”

Paul spoke of the people being obedient in "all things,” meaning the forgiveness as well as the separation.  We may be good at removing fellowship from a wayward believer, but are we as good at bringing them back into fellowship?  That is obedience too!

Paul said in verse 8, "...confirm your love toward him."

Make it very clear that he is loved and that he belongs.

Satan gets an advantage if we do not forgive the broken sinner:
vs. 11 “Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.”

When one is proud, boastful, and unrepentant about his sin, this progression should take place:

1. Separate from them.

2.  They lose friends and companions, and yes, this may seem unkind, but it is biblical.

3.  They repent with a broken heart.

4.  We forgive and offer comfort (vs. 7).

5.  We confirm our love for them (vs. 8).

If we do not....Satan gets the advantage.

When we hold a believer away at arms length after he has gotten right, Satan wins.   To forgive, comfort, and love is the way to beat the devil.  The broken person should not be the object of gossip, or be accused of false repentance.  Love and comfort should be freely offered to him. 

May we be obedient in all things.  (2 Corinthians 2:9)

Pastor Goddard

 

Rest

Good Morning,

A backward recipe is found for peace (or rest) in the book of Matthew.

Matthew 11:28 “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
vs. 29 “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.”
vs. 30 “For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Here is the simple outline:

1. Come to Christ.  (We will call that salvation.)

2. Take His yoke.  (We will call that work — the work that Jesus would be doing if He were on earth.)

3. Learn about Jesus.  (We will call that Bible study.)

After salvation, if we hope to find rest, we need to accept a job for the Lord and then study the Bible.

Work and study seems contrary to being at rest.  But how many of us have come back from vacation worn out?  Everyone, right?  Because rest is not found in long drives, crowded amusement parks, and jammed sleeping quarters that consist of sleeping on the floor at some relative’s home.

Rest is an inside peace, found as we do God's work and draw nearer to His Son.  Quiet time, thinking, and reading the Scriptures are conducive to rest.  That could be in our own backyard or sitting at a park; but learning and then working for the Lord are vital.  Win a soul to Christ and see if you do not feel good.

Rest can be found daily as we stop everything long enough to get refueled on the Word of God and then get locked into a job for Christ daily or weekly.  Rest is not elusive, but you can not find Taco Bell food at Burger King.  Rest will be found exactly where God said rest is found. 

Hurried living, over-stretching our days, running so much we have no time with God, spending every free moment on entertainment: these things rob us of a restful spirit.

Again, the recipe is not hard....

vs. 28 “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
vs. 29 “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.”

1. Come to Christ.  (We will call that salvation.)

2. Take His yoke.  (We will call that work — the work that Jesus would be doing.)

3. Learn about Jesus.  (We will call that Bible study.)

Pastor  Goddard

 

Change

Good Morning,

Anyone who knows me will vouch for my passion to NOT CHANGE.  But today, I am suggesting that you be willing to change; not in theology but in other areas of life. 

Most of us have the strange idea that we have our lives basically in order, understand the important things of life, and need no instruction.  All the while, we are frustrated with our own failures, inadequacies, and thoughtless words and deeds —this is a peculiar combination of feelings and thoughts.  (What would you expect from sinful men?)

Think about the things God has done with men and their willingness to change, learn, and yield to the Lord when His will was revealed.

Jonathan was to be the next king.  Being the king’s son, it was his position by birth.  David showed up one day and killed Goliath.  When David returned to the gathering of men, Jonathan saw the one he believed should become the king, a man he knew he could loyally follow. 

1 Samuel 18:1 “And it came to pass, when he had made an end of speaking unto Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul.”
vs. 2 “And Saul took him that day, and would let him go no more home to his father’s house.”
vs. 3 “Then Jonathan and David made a covenant, because he loved him as his own soul.”
vs. 4 “And Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was upon him, and gave it to David, and his garments, even to his sword, and to his bow, and to his girdle.”

That was a dramatic change in plans; but heeding wisdom is being willing to see the leading of God and change plans.

Saul knew what was happening, and he had no intention of sharing his kingdom with anyone but his own son.

1 Samuel 20:30 “Then Saul’s anger was kindled against Jonathan, and he said unto him, Thou son of the perverse rebellious woman, do not I know that thou hast chosen the son of Jesse to thine own confusion, and unto the confusion of thy mother’s nakedness?”
vs. 31 “For as long as the son of Jesse liveth upon the ground, thou shalt not be established, nor thy kingdom. Wherefore now send and fetch him unto me, for he shall surely die.”

Many times, the people of God find that their ideas need to be changed or improved.

Acts 1:6 “When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?”

Having witnessed the resurrected Christ speaking to the people, the Apostles were sure that the kingdom was about to be set up.  They were ready for Rome to be dethroned and for Israel to once more hold a position of glory.  The problem was, they were a few thousand years early, and the church was yet to be built.  So what they knew needed to happen was not wrong, but their timing was way off; they went on to live and die for the Saviour!


When my wife and I were first married, we had made a decision that we were “non-babysitter" people.  We would raise our children, rather than allowing a sitter to do so.  After a few years as a pastor, I learned from older, wiser men, and we allowed our children to be watched by a sitter, but we were very careful about who watched our children, and we limited the list to include only a few well-vetted families.  We then became a faithful "dating couple."  We would date alone, walk and talk and hold hands without diaper bags, and we were able to give to our children the most precious gift — parents who loved each other.

I am not referring to changing from being a Baptist or from believing the KJV to some new version of the Bible, but I refer to the change of being willing to learn from those who know more from experience and to modify my ideas to conform to their teaching.

Sometimes the things we believe need to be modified to line up with the "revealed" will of God.

Consider the failed child rearing of Eli.  Both of his sons were terrible; he failed to the extreme, yet God brought a young man into the life of Eli.  God placed the trust of this young child, who could change the nation, into the hands of his older man.  Yes, Eli’s dreams were failed; and no, life had not gone as he had planned and wished, but he was willing to follow and do the will of God.  Even through a broken heart, Eli reared the amazing prophet and priest, Samuel. 

Eli said to his sons:
1 Samuel 2:24 “Nay, my sons; for it is no good report that I hear: ye make the LORD’S people to transgress.”

God spoke of Samuel:
vs. 26 “And the child Samuel grew on, and was in favour both with the LORD, and also with men.”

When failure and loss shatter our own dreams, accepting the chances to go forward and make a difference for God with new and different plans is wise.

Is it not great that God can use broken vessels and people who feel like failures?  Would it not be wise to accept that perhaps life’s situations have more elements involved than we know?   Now that we see more of the big picture, could we not modify our actions in order to achieve the most for God?  Again, I am not saying change your faith.  I am not saying add rock-and-roll to your church or throw out standards and separation.   I am saying change your behavior or your habits, your family activities, or even your child-rearing ideas (which can be dramatically influenced by the addition of children).

I remember Dr. Hyles saying he always played golf on Mondays.  One day he felt it best to stop.  He also played softball religiously and successfully.  Then one day, he felt it best to stop.  (There are great stories attached to both these situations, but lack of room does not allow me to elaborate.)

Gideon was a simple man just trying to feed his family; he had no intention of leading a nation; but God changed situations and used him to save the nation.  (Judges 6)  Dr. Curtis Hutson was a postman who was happy with his family and the little church he pastored.   He had never led a soul to Christ, and when he was ordained, he was told that he should never preach about the second coming of Christ.  Some of those ideas changed after meeting Dr. Hyles and Dr. Rice for the first time.   Curtis Hutson built the fastest growing church in Georgia and became a nationally-known preacher, famous soul winner, and later, the editor of a nationwide paper, The Sword of the Lord.

You may be unaware of the plans God has for you.  Rest in Him.  Cling to your faith, but in every other area of life, it is not unreasonable to allow God to change your ideas here and there, especially in the area of family and marriage.

Pastor Goddard

 

Fulfilled Life

Good Morning,

All through life, fulfillment is sought.  We seek jobs, relationships, houses, children, economic stability, and security; we then labor toward retirement. One day, we wake up old and wonder what we did with our lives; we find only emptiness and lack fulfillment.

John 10:10 “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”

Jesus came to give us life abundantly, but there are steps to gain this life.

1. Salvation:  Without a relationship with Christ, we will never find fulfillment.

2. Dedication:  My life belongs to the Lord.

Romans 12:1 “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.”
vs. 2 “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind…"

3. Consecration:  I will serve God and others.
A consecrated life produces fulfillment, purpose, and satisfaction. 

The end of the prior verse, Romans 12:2 tells us "...that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God."

Good, acceptable, and perfect:  Wow, that sounds like the life for which we all wish.  That kind of life is found in surrender and submission to the will of God.  Real life is not found in seeking life but in losing life.  Happiness is found as we strive to bring others happiness.  If we seek happiness for ourselves, that happiness eludes us eternally. 

Luke 9:24 “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.”
Luke 17:33 “Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it.”

If you will lose your life in the will of God and the service of men, a fulfilled, worthwhile life will become your own.  Satisfaction comes not at salvation but in consecration. 

One of the happiest times at our church is on our "Big Day" when the majority of our members get involved getting the Gospel out to the community.  Why is everyone happy?  Because we forget ourselves and seek to introduce others to real living.   In salvation, dedication, and consecration, we find happiness, even if it is only for a few hours.

If we were to do it more, our children might devote their lives to "real life."

Pastor Goddard

 

Laws of Men and God

Good Morning,

Much is to be written about law, the law of God and the law of men.  Today, we will look at a few thoughts as we briefly examine a part of the story of Nehemiah.

Nehemiah 10:28 “And the rest of the people, the priests, the Levites, the porters, the singers, the Nethinims, and all they that had separated themselves from the people of the lands unto the law of God, their wives, their sons, and their daughters, every one having knowledge, and having understanding;”
vs. 29 “They clave to their brethren, their nobles, and entered into a curse, and into an oath, to walk in God’s law, which was given by Moses the servant of God, and to observe and do all the commandments of the LORD our Lord, and his judgments and his statutes;”

These people had been living under the LAWS OF THE LAND, but now had separated themselves unto the LAW OF THE LORD.  They realized that the law of men failed and was far from God’s holy laws.  Considering the laws, let me share a few thoughts:

Who has a right to make a law?  If I own a boat, I can make laws or rules about how the boat can be used.  Ownership gives me authority.   If I start a business, I can make laws or rules for employees, as long as they are within the laws of the land.  But again, ownership gives me authority and the right to make laws pertaining to that ownership.  Other laws can be made because someone is given authority.  If I own a business and hire someone to run it, I set the basic rules and, in my absence, give authority to that person to make decisions and set a policy, rule, or law. 

The last example is what God did with society and civil authorities.  God set the rules and boundaries and then allowed men to set up their own government.  But authority to rule is given by God and must be subject to God’s laws and policies.  

Critics of Martin Luther King Jr. and his civil disobedience said he was “unwise and untimely.” They wondered how he could pick and choose which laws to obey.  He responded, “The answer is found in the fact that there are two types of laws:  some are just laws, and some are unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that ‘An unjust law is no law at all’.”   If we believe in civil rights, do we believe that civil rights legislation grants rights to African-Americans, or did they already possess those rights and government merely got around to recognizing them?  I think we all agree that God granted those equal rights before the idea ever got to the courts. 

We might refine that answer to reply, “There are laws that agree with the law of God and laws that violate God’s laws.  Only one need be obeyed.”  Jesus, Jeremiah, Paul and many others seriously violated civil laws, yet all were within the will of God. 

Thomas Aquinas said that an unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal and natural law.

William Blackstone wrote law books that were used all across America in the early days of the fledgling nation.  Influencing many of America’s Founders, he wrote “English Common Law and its emphasis on human rights was based on the higher law of God and found in the Scriptures.”

John F. Kennedy, in his Inaugural Address on January 20, 1961 said, “...the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state but from the hand of God.”

Another wrote regarding Blackstone, “Because of this, man lacks authority to write a law that contradicts God’s law.  In fact, this was the basic premise of the Declaration of Independence. Blackstone called this concept ‘ultra vires,’ which means it is beyond the authority of man to write a law that violates God’s law.”

God, being all-wise, loving and powerful, has the right to make laws, to establish boundaries, and to tell His creation what can and cannot be done.  God is the One Who has the right to say, "this is right and this is wrong."  No human has that right.  No man or group of men are good enough to set standards of righteousness, truth, or decency.  Therefore, any law that violates the law of God is not law at all.  All of man's laws must be subject to the law of God; if those laws are not subject to God’s law, they become laws of simple tyranny, lawlessness, and demagoguery.

Thomas Jefferson understood this well enough to write “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” are “endowed by our Creator” into the Declaration of Independence.  In the next sentence, he added that the purpose of government is to “secure these rights.”

Here we find M.L. King, Augustine, Aquinas, John F Kennedy, Jefferson, and Blackstone all agreeing about certain laws that are not laws at all.  Yet we live in a society that tells us to violate our clear belief in the Scriptures when judges tell businesses what they must do, and when courts order private schools to run completely in contradiction to the Bible and their faith.  Laws, those laws we need to obey, are given by God or are subject to God and the Bible.  Any laws that violate the law of God need not be obeyed, even though the disobedience brings great pain and punishment from that civil government. 

Our courts do not own us, nor do they own our nation.  They have no power, except that power given to them by God, and therefore all their actions must be subject to the law of God.  No group of men and women can say, "this is right" when God says it is wrong.  No court can tell us how to define marriage when God has already defined it.  The government can try, but believers need not obey.  As with 50 million martyrs who said, “No” to the government, we may die over it, but we should never feel obligated to obey an unscriptural law.

If we turn to the Ten Commandments, the First Table has to do with our relationship to God and no other God, a relationship in which no one has a right to interfere.

Exodus 20:3 “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.”
vs. 4 “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:”
vs. 5 “Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them:”
vs. 7 ”Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.”
vs. 8 “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.”

The second section or table has to do with man's relationship to men:  stealing, murder, etc. These commands deal with the society of man; and all laws should be compatible with commandments.  No law of man should venture over the line to the first table.

vs. 13 “Thou shalt not kill.”
vs. 14 “Thou shalt not commit adultery.”
vs. 15 “Thou shalt not steal.”
vs. 16 “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.”
vs. 17 “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife,”

The apostles had no problem telling civil leaders that they would obey God rather than men.  The apostles violated the laws of men.  Much of the founding of America was based upon English violations of men and their relationships to God.  The Revolutionary War was fought over freedom from tyrannical laws that stepped over the boundary of matters God allowed only His Word to control.  Much like Daniel, who prayed when he was told not to, and his three friends who refused to bow to the heathen idol.  We have the scriptural right to say, "NO" to government. 

We must begin to realize that, one day, the time will come when our faith and simple, biblical morality will be a punishable offense. We have lived in a 200-year period of time when freedom has been loved and defended.  But understand, for thousands of years no one had freedom; even today, most of the world has none.  

Today we must understand that biblical decency will cause us to SEPARATE FROM THE LAW OF MEN UNTO THE LAW OF GOD.  We are going to have to separate from the people of the land.  They are not going to like or understand our separation (a spiritual commitment between us and our Bibles).  Do not expect the lost world to understand. 

Nehemiah 10:28 “And the rest of the people, the priests, the Levites, the porters, the singers, the Nethinims, and all they that had separated themselves from the people of the lands unto the law of God…”

Pastor  Goddard

 

Pardon

Good Morning,

Isaiah 1:2 “Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth: for the LORD hath spoken, I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me.”
vs. 3 “The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master’s crib: but Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider.”
vs. 4 “Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters: they have forsaken the LORD, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger, they are gone away backward.”

For generations, Israel had received the most amazing blessings from God, not of their own merit but of grace, a gift from God.   Now, after turning away from God over and over, God asks the rhetorical question as a parent to a foolish child, “Why did you do that?”  There is no answer that is appropriate.  Rebellion is born in the heart of men and no matter how good God has been we are prone to wander.

Watching the invocation of the political conventions has revealed much this year.  An invocation, by definition, is the request for assistance from a superior power.  One side had a humble spirit of bowed heads as solemn and needy words were spoken to a Superior Power.   The other had cheers, boos, and irreverence similar to a party or live band show at which some attendees liked the music and others disliked it.   

The first was, at least outwardly, symbolic of a people who knew their need; the other appeared to be a group of 60’s college students who wanted more beer. 

The statement from God in Isaiah two, verse one reads, “…I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me.”

Then God points out that their rebellion against Him was accompanied by a terrible price.
vs. 7 “Your country is desolate, your cities are burned with fire: your land, strangers devour it in your presence, and it is desolate, as overthrown by strangers.”

It appears that one of the things God does when a nation forgets Him is to let strangers come ruin the land.   Whether it be terrorists or criminal immigrants, certainly, America is being devoured by strangers.  The amount of money being spent on imprisonment, education, and health care of non-citizens has become absurd.  If the trouble caused by terrorists within our borders is added, then yes, "your cities are burned with fire: your land, strangers devour it in your presence, and it is desolate" can be said of our land without stretching the text at all.  We can also point out the political and legal overthrow of some European nations by Islam and see that they are "overthrown by strangers."

Considering the moral shame of the people, God calls Israel, “Sodom,” and urges them to get back to the Bible.
vs. 10 “Hear the word of the LORD, ye rulers of Sodom; give ear unto the law of our God, ye people of Gomorrah.”

The result of their rebellion was a lack of safety.  Israel became vulnerable like a cottage in a vineyard, unprotected. 
vs. 8 “And the daughter of Zion is left as a cottage in a vineyard, as a lodge in a garden of cucumbers, as a besieged city.”
vs. 9 “Except the LORD of hosts had left unto us a very small remnant, we should have been as Sodom, and we should have been like unto Gomorrah.”

When we think we are safe, due to our own abilities, we are in grave danger; for there is no way to defend an entire nation, not with modern travel and communications.  No matter the candidate, the safety of America will rest in the hands of the Lord and no one else. 

Psalm 4:8 “I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety.”
Proverbs 21:31 “The horse is prepared against the day of battle: but safety is of the LORD.”

Accusations and questions continue:
Isaiah 1:21 “How is the faithful city become an harlot! it was full of judgment; righteousness lodged in it; but now murderers.”

God asks, “How did this happen?”  The nation went from being a land of righteousness to a land full of murder.   How much more so could God be asking these questions of America with our millions of abortions annually? 

Continuing in His accusations against the rebellious land, God points to political leaders who seek after the biggest donation; contributions are no more than bribes, whether it be from a foreign nation or a U.S.-based business:
vs. 23 “Thy princes are rebellious, and companions of thieves: every one loveth gifts, and followeth after rewards:”

The hope comes later in the chapter with a bright spot like the early dawn:
vs. 25 “And I will turn my hand upon thee, and purely purge away thy dross, and take away all thy tin:”
vs. 26 “And I will restore thy judges as at the first, and thy counsellors as at the beginning: afterward thou shalt be called, The city of righteousness, the faithful city.”

Where does it start?  With God, in mercy, giving us good judges!  Wow, this example mirrors our nation!  Is that not what we need in order to turn the nation back to decency?  I do not know if that is God’s intent for America, but it would be well worth praying for, knowing we need to be purged and cleansed of our shame.  Of course, this is a promise to Israel, but might God see fit to apply it to America as well?  If God would care to purge and pardon our nation, how grateful we all should be that the Creator might even consider us worthy of His attention.  We truly need to seek the Lord, while He is near.

Isaiah 55:6 “Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near:”

Pastor Goddard 

 

Labor

LABOR
Good Morning,

On a recent Sunday night, I preached a message on physical labor and work for God.   Knowing that many who read these morning moments are not members of our church, I chose to put a basic outline of my Sunday night sermon here for all to read.  For those who heard it in person, I hope you do not mind the review. 

Most of this world is trying to tell our young people that life should be fun, fulfilling, and enjoyable, and that if life does not include all of those attributes something is wrong.  Well, all of us with a brain and decent training know that all of life is filled with labor and some rewards along the way (usually more labor than reward).  I am not complaining, but I do know that most employers will simply use up an employee and then toss him aside without a thought.  (While paying as little as possible to keep the employee working.  It is a job, not a ministry.)

The first mistake is that some people think their jobs should be happy, pleasant, and enjoyable.  It is work, not play; it is a job, not a picnic.   But then other Christians become confused in accepting that their secular work should be hard and at times frustrating, but they feel the Christian life ought always be enjoyable and pleasant.  This mindset is far from the teaching of our Lord.  The reality of the Christian life at home, church, and in public can be very difficult.

John 6:27 “Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed.”

Jesus uses the word labour to describe our attitude toward earthly and spiritual things.  We are to labor for eternal rewards just as everyone labors for temporal possessions.

Solomon warned of the danger of laboring for earthly riches:
Proverbs 23:4 “Labour not to be rich: cease from thine own wisdom.”
In John 6, Jesus rebuked those who would labor for temporary things:
John 6:27 “Labour not for the meat which perisheth…”

We need to work; we need to have a job to provide for our own:
1 Timothy 5:8 “But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.”
2 Thessalonians 3:10 “For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.”
vs. 12 “Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread.”

The idea of laboring, planning, and working for wealth is unwise and against the principles of Christ’s teaching.  We are to labor for eternal things while we do whatever work needs to be done to provide for our own.   We do not need to put all our energy and planning into the accumulation of earthly possessions, for they will perish. Yes, use the things of this world, but do not make the possession of them your goal.

The Christian life is work and labor.

John 9:4 “I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.”
John 17:4 “I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.”
John 6:27 “Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life,”

The Christlike life is one of laboring, working, and striving.  Yes, at the end of a “Big Day” we ought to be broke and tired.  Getting up and going soul winning every Saturday is labor.  Being faithful to drive that Sunday school bus is work.  Preparing for the junior church you teach is labor if you do it well.  Preaching, prayer, soul winning, visiting the sick, and studying the Bible are all work; and God makes no apology for it being so.

Regarding pastors:  God urges congregations to pay more to the pastor who labors in the Word and doctrine. 
1 Timothy 5:17 “Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine.”

The work of God is labor; and labor is acceptable to God! 

Proverbs 2 tells us to search for wisdom as we do for riches. 
Proverbs 2:3 “Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding;”
vs. 4 “If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures;”

Spiritual tasks deserve more effort and labor than earthly tasks — that only makes sense!  One gives us minimal satisfaction for a few years, the other gives us perfect rewards for eternity.  Toward which should we put the most labor?  (Not a hard question.)

Believers will often accept the long hours and frustrating circumstances of a job that pays their bills, but will quit soul winning or teaching a class because they are tired, getting old, or are frustrated with the leadership or co-workers. 

If a boss asks for anyone to work overtime, almost everyone I know would do it.  Times arise  when the church needs overtime, this should also not be a problem to believers.  There are times at work when we have to put up with lazy people who work half way and allow others to carry their load; we do not think it is right, but it is our job and we do it anyway.  In any church, you will find many people who rarely work or give, yet you will also find faithful members who do extra and carry the load of the lazy and unconcerned people.  Carrying the load of the lazy person is part of the job and is assumed in secular life, but the assumption should also be made regarding the spiritual life.

God gave a pastor to the church.  The pastor’s job is to perfect the saints for “THE WORK OF THE MINISTRY.”  The pastor is not instructed to help Christian folks retire and relax and feel good about themselves. 
Ephesians 4:12 “For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:”

Labor for God.  Work for things that are eternal.  Learn to deal with difficult people, awkward situations, and weary bodies in the labor for eternal things (not like we do for money, but MORE for eternal things than for money); strive for the effort put forth for the eternal to be greater than that which is put forth for the temporal.

John 6:27 “Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life,”

This is called the work of the ministry. 

Pastor Goddard

 

Mercy

Good morning,

The following thoughts on mercy are partly from a recent Wednesday Bible study, but I wanted others to see them; I also wished for us all to have a second look to remind us of that which is greater than sacrifice — mercy.

To me, strong convictions and beliefs are a vital part of our American roots, but, even more so, a part of our spiritual roots.  Our spiritual forefathers were drowned, burned at the stake, and made to suffer unthinkable evils, all of which could have been avoided with a simple word of consent toward their captors — but death was chosen over compromise.  Likewise, America's founders pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor in hopes of establishing this land we hold so dear.  Conviction, determination, and strong beliefs are certainly a part of our heritage.

With that said, consider the Lord's view on MERCY:

Matthew 12:7 “But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless.”

Matthew 9:13 “But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”

Hosea 6:6 “For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.”

Showing mercy does not mean we quit standing for that which we believe, but it does mean we should care about people — even people we may not naturally care for on our own.

Mercy is lauded as more important than sacrifice and religious duties.  The best illustration of what God means when He uses the word mercy is in the story of the good Samaritan.  A man was robbed, beaten and bloodied, and dumped in a ditch.  As he lay dying, he was avoided by the religious crowd, who walked by without offering aid.  Then a Samaritan man came.  Samaritans were hated by the Jews, avoided at all costs, and were not on speaking terms with the Jews; but the Samaritan man not only helped the injured man but also invested time and money in restoring the wounded Jew to some measure of health.  It was said that he showed “MERCY."  At the end of the story, Jesus said to those listening, “…Go and do thou likewise” — show mercy.  (Luke 10:37)

Showing mercy is not visiting a friend or helping someone you love.  Mercy is going where you would not be expected to go, and doing what no one would expect you to do for someone you would not normally help.

Our big days are acts of mercy.  The bus ministry shows mercy.  Soul winning is an act of mercy.  Strangers do not invite us into their world; although they are in deep need of our message, they do not want us intruding into their lives.  The ministry of Jesus is to be merciful to those around us, whether or not they invite us to do so.

With holidays almost here, the act of being good to someone you do not really enjoy  is mercy.  Mercy is a high and lofty character trait!  Showing kindness to that one who has offended you is exercising mercy.  I am not suggesting that you sacrifice your children so the worldly people will feel good.  I am saying, we can help those in need and be good to those who may do evil to us.

Remember how Jesus treated the woman who was taken in adultery?  He showed mercy!

All year round we should be merciful, but especially during the holidays when so many people are struggling.

Pastor Goddard

 

God's Way

Good Morning,

Psalm 119:130 “The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.”

In America you will find that the top NHRA driver is black, the top UFC fighter is Irish, the President of the United States is half black and half white (much to our shame, is the first pro-Islamic President); you will also find Japanese and Latino baseball players, European basketball players, and professional athletes among whom black players outnumber white players.  If you also consider movie stars and singers, you will find a world of ethnic diversity; yet somehow America is labeled as racist.  It is a fact that the vast majority of Americans are of European descent, but if you watch any sports show, you will not find a majority of Europeans but a generous diversity of ethnicities.  The fact is, America is the most ethnically diverse nation on the planet.  Women are even involved in every political office in the land, including running for the White House (and losing because she was not the pick of the majority, but she certainly was in the running); America is not anti-woman.  In the past, America has had several governors who were black, Mexican, Japanese, Chinese, Filipino, Indian, Native American Indian women, and Mexican women; this fact alone proves we do not have a racist culture!  Our first black governor was elected in 1872, and much to the dismay of our liberal media, the first several black governors or lieutenant governors were Republicans. 

Other than the President, every other political office has women found in itsr ranks.  In the 1900s, C. J. Walker was the first black female millionaire in America.  These facts all prove one thing:  the media and school curriculum writers of America are a group of lying, anti-American, agenda-driven fools!   It is a fact that women are on almost every sports show, police and military movie, or TV series; and you will usually find a woman in charge or very close to it.  Obviously, America has no “internal misogynistic  problem.” (Stupid word made popular by the media meaning that one does not like women.)  Of course we like women!  The idea that we do not like women is a lie made up by anti-God media and politicians. 

While we pay black athletes millions of dollars, the confederate flag is basically outlawed; but who honestly believes we hate minorities?  Slavery was business; it was a shameful, wrong business, but it was a world-wide issue that was first resolved in the United Stated.  Stupid millionaire athletes who want to make a statement could start spending their off-season in the projects helping out in schools and starting job-training programs for poverty-stricken minorities;  but it is easier to kneel during The National Anthem.  (This way he gets more attention and does less work.) 

Somehow the media ignores the social ills of Islam in which women are suppressed beyond words, yet they demonize America!  The only honest reason for this slander is that Satan hates a nation so openly Bible-honoring and Christ-promoting. 

We live in a nation so blessed, so good, so giving, and so willing to fix its own ills; America is simply amazing!!  Understand, we will not give up our faith, our freedoms, or our roots of a Constitutional Republic (unless we keep sending our children to universities to brainwash them into mindless idiots who see all earthly ills as rooted in capitalism and Christianity).  It is a fact that U.S. History classes are not required for a history degree in most of the colleges of America.  Why?  Because the philosophy classes and other classes can not face the facts of the greatness of our nation or of our Christian roots. 

We need knowledge!  We need to fill our hearts and minds with understanding.  We are following a mindless, satanic path of folly, and unless we get our thinking straight, we will end up in ruin.  Available Christian colleges that will at least try to set the record straight are many; do not choose to give your child to the satanic, worldly educational system.

The knowledge of the Word of God shaped our nation; but the less we read our Bibles and the more we let Hollywood and universities fill our minds with trash, the more likely we are bound to lose our belief system. 

Psalm 119:105 “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.”
Proverbs 6:23 “For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life:”
Isaiah 8:20 “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.

Psalm 119:130 “The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.”

If we hope to see clearly and not act as mindless robots of the media and educational system, we had best get our children away from the television and into their Bibles.  (Probably dad and mom as well!)  We need to control the educational philosophies of those who teach our children. For us to allow countless hours of media to control our thinking, both liberal and conservative, is dangerous and deadly to sound thinking.  

Guard your mind, protect your thoughts; “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he…” (Proverbs 23:7

Pastor Goddard

 

Work

WORK
Good Morning,

I was looking over a list of our church workers this morning and thinking about the faithful people at FBC.  We are surrounded by amazing workers!! I noticed three ladies who all sing in the choir, help in the nursery, carry the responsibility of husband and children, and a couple of them work in several rest homes each month also.  These ladies show up to work at church, they clean, sing, go soul winning, and help in Sunday school as well.

Joshua told the people of Israel that they would each have to make their own choices, but that his family would serve the Lord.  Some folks choose to serve the world, care for their own needs, and do little or nothing for God.  Joshua assured the people that their decision was their own choice.

Joshua 24:15 “And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”

Work done for God will be rewarded; the results of our ignoring of God’s work will also manifest themselves in our future.  

Psalm 62:12 “Also unto thee, O Lord, belongeth mercy: for thou renderest to every man according to his work.”

Job 34:11 “For the work of a man shall he render unto him, and cause every man to find according to his ways.”

Matthew 16:27 “For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.”
Romans 2:6 “Who will render to every man according to his deeds:”
1 Corinthians 3:8 “Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour.”

In this passage, I see no rewards listed for having my child in a Saturday sports league or for having the prettiest yard in the neighborhood; but eternal paychecks are waiting for those who invest time, talents, and treasure in bringing souls for Christ.

Everyone has the same number of hours in a day, and when people invest time in serving God, they give up some things.  Some people will relinquish time allowed for recreation; other people will hurry through duties in order to give extra time for the ministries at church.  Some people miss having time to sleep, watch TV, or relax at home.  No one has more time than anyone else, but we all choose the activities in which to invest that time.  Some of our folks go from church to lunch, and then take church to those who do not have access to church -- those in a rest home or jail service.  Others rest, watch sports, and spend time with their families.  Although both groups have Sunday afternoon time available, one group will receive rewards for their Sunday afternoon labors.  My son and I had planned a hunting trip; but as the day approached, he said that due to his commitment to the fall program and bus route, he did not think it would be best to go.  I was more than pleased NOT to go and let the few hours we had available be used for God and others — the choice was my son's decision.


Some people spend Saturday working in their yards, catching up on house work, or playing with children (and all of that is wonderful and certainly not sinful); but others help on bus routes and go soul winning — there are some sacrifices when we give time to God.   Some people spend their Sunday morning sleeping in, enjoying family, and then attending church; others show up at church between 6:30-8:00AM and drive buses bringing hundreds of riders to church.  There is a sacrifice when people serve God.  People serve not because they have nothing to do, but because they choose to serve God.  While some serve the Lord with all their heart, others sit idly by; but make no mistake, God sees and rewards those who work for His glory.

Revelation 22:12 “And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.”
Ecclesiastes 12:14 “For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.”

This passage is not talking about Heaven or Hell but rather about rewards in Heaven.  In God's Word, verses dealing with work and rewards are found everywhere.  There is no welfare system in the kingdom of God.  Work is rewarded, and those who do not work for Him will suffer loss.

1 Corinthians 3:15 “If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.”

Many people will be in Heaven because of their faith in the blood of Christ; but whether they have any rewards or not is another story completely.   If you take off all the time that your boss allows, your paycheck will reflect the investment or lack thereof.  God is no different.

We all use up the 168 hours each week.  Much of that time we use to work a job, or to care for house and family; but how do we use the other hours?  How much of our 168 hours are used to work for God, church, and others?  Eternal rewards will be revealed one day; then, like the song says, we will wish we had given Him more.


By and by when I look on His face, Beautiful face, thorn shadowed face;
By and by when I look on His face,  I'll wish I had given Him more.
More, so much more,  More of my life than I e'er gave before
By and by when I look on His face,
I'll wish I had given Him more.

By and by when He holds out His hands,
Welcoming hands, nail riven hands;
By and by when He holds out His hands,
I'll wish I had given Him more.
More, so much more,
More of my love than I e'er gave before,
By and by when He holds out His hands,
I'll wish I had given Him more.

May we all say with Joshua, “…as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” (Joshua 24:15)

Pastor Goddard

 

Praying Always

Good Morning,

We all face countless choices every day.  There is simply no way of telling how many poor choices we make due to a lack of spiritual guidance.  Some of those choices seem small, but they limit our usefulness; other decisions have the potential of influencing great harm.  We need the Lord!

Consider the story of Joshua and the Gibeonites, compared to Moses’ instructions.

Deuteronomy 20:10 “When thou comest nigh unto a city to fight against it, then proclaim peace unto it.”
vs. 11 “And it shall be, if it make thee answer of peace, and open unto thee, then it shall be, that all the people that is found therein shall be tributaries unto thee, and they shall serve thee.”
vs. 12 “And if it will make no peace with thee, but will make war against thee, then thou shalt besiege it…"
vs. 15 “Thus shalt thou do unto all the cities which are very far off from thee, which are not of the cities of these nations.”
vs. 16 “But of the cities of these people, which the LORD thy God doth give thee for an inheritance, thou shalt save alive nothing that breatheth…"
vs. 18 “That they teach you not to do after all their abominations, which they have done unto their gods; so should ye sin against the LORD your God.”

As God gave instructions to Israel about their future, one of the issues He addressed was regarding cities nearby and those far off.  The people of Canaan were to be killed.  The people in the area surrounding Canaan were also a danger and an influence of godless worship and evil deeds.  The people living far away could be left alive, and peace could be made with them.  (Do not get caught up in the morality of the time, rather follow the error of the people.)

The people of Gibeon knew God was delivering all the inhabitants of the land into the hand of Israel, so they pretended to be from a far off land.  Carrying old bread and wearing old dirty clothing, they deceived Joshua and the elders of Israel.

Joshua 9:4 “They did work wilily, and went and made as if they had been ambassadors, and took old sacks upon their asses, and wine bottles, old, and rent, and bound up;”
vs. 5 “And old shoes and clouted upon their feet, and old garments upon them; and all the bread of their provision was dry and mouldy.”
vs. 6 “And they went to Joshua unto the camp at Gilgal, and said unto him, and to the men of Israel, We be come from a far country: now therefore make ye a league with us.”
vs. 7 “And the men of Israel said unto the Hivites, Peradventure ye dwell among us; and how shall we make a league with you?”

vs. 14 “And the men took of their victuals, and asked not counsel at the mouth of the LORD”

Joshua was suspicious, and he even doubted their words.
vs. 7 "...Peradventure ye dwell among us; and how shall we make a league with you?"

The important issue is that the Israelites had a biblical reason to spare the cities that were far away.  It was a part of their instruction from God from long ago.  But although they had a biblical reason to have mercy, they still needed to seek counsel from God.

vs. 14 “And the men took of their victuals, and asked not counsel at the mouth of the LORD”

There are many deeds people do that do not violate the Scripture in an obvious manner.  Even Satan tried to persuade Jesus to violate one verse by using another verse.

Matthew 4:5 “Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple,”
vs. 6 “And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.”
vs. 7 “Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God”

Just because some verse seems to authorize a given action does not mean we should not seek God and His counsel; many verses are to be considered.  Our culture has created certain moral rules, many of which are based upon verses such as "love your neighbor" or "be ye kind one to another,” which are, of course, wonderful and true.  But we are also told to "come out from among them and be ye separate" which can seem to counter those other verses.

The best plan is found in 1 Thessalonians 5:17 "Pray without ceasing."

We are frail; our perceptions are warped by our background and society.  We need God to help us to think clearly, even when the Bible seems to tell us what do do.  I am not talking about following feelings rather than the Bible, but often, we may forget verses; just as Jesus answered Satan with verses that put the verse that Satan used into context.  We may often find false impressions or a shortage of facts and information, just as Joshua did in thinking the Gibeonites were from a far off land.

We need to beg God for clear understanding, as well as for a mind to recall verses that apply to our given situation, and we need to do our homework and pray for wisdom to see, understand, and perceive the facts around us.  Never doubt the Word of God; but never trust that you know all the Bible you should know.  Instead, search the Scriptures daily, pray for understanding, and recall verses you have committed to memory that deal with your situation.  One work of the Holy Spirit is to bring to our minds verses that we have forgotten.

John 14:26 “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.”

We are not alone; we are not overpowered by the devil, but we are also not capable of countless right choices without the guidance of God.

1 Thessalonians 5:17 "Pray without ceasing."

Pastor Goddard

 

Surprised

Good Morning,

God gives us so many warnings in the Bible!  Often, He tells us what the outcome of certain actions will be.  Many Scriptures tell us about the result of sin, the response we will have to preaching, and the eternal result of a righteous life.  But still, we often get caught off-guard when we are unexpectedly injured by the repercussions of a bad decision, even though God told us it would happen. 

Let’s recall the story of Moses’ delivering the people of God.  God warned Moses that Pharaoh would not listen.  More than once, Moses was warned of the response he should expect from the Egyptian ruler. 

Exodus 3:19 “And I am sure that the king of Egypt will not let you go, no, not by a mighty hand.”

Exodus 4:21 “And the LORD said unto Moses, When thou goest to return into Egypt, see that thou do all those wonders before Pharaoh, which I have put in thine hand: but I will harden his heart, that he shall not let the people go.”

Exodus 7:3 “And I will harden Pharaoh's heart, and multiply my signs and my wonders in the land of Egypt.”
vs. 4 “But Pharaoh shall not hearken unto you, that I may lay my hand upon Egypt, and bring forth mine armies, and my people the children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt by great judgments.”

Exodus 14:4 “And I will harden Pharaoh's heart, that he shall follow after them; and I will be honoured upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host; that the Egyptians may know that I am the LORD. And they did so.”

So it seems that Moses would have comprehended the message.  Of course, when Moses first appeared before Pharaoh, he should have expected to be thrown out of the court, so let's see what happened.

Exodus 5:1 “And afterward Moses and Aaron went in, and told Pharaoh, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Let my people go, that they may hold a feast unto me in the wilderness.”
vs. 2 “And Pharaoh said, Who is the LORD, that I should obey his voice to let Israel go? I know not the LORD, neither will I let Israel go.”

Pharaoh heard the request and answered by denying Israel straw for their bricks and beating them if their production did not remain the same.  Of course, the people were shocked, and to say that they were unhappy with Moses is an understatement.

vs. 20 “And they met Moses and Aaron, who stood in the way, as they came forth from Pharaoh:”
vs. 21 “And they said unto them, The LORD look upon you, and judge; because ye have made our savour to be abhorred in the eyes of Pharaoh, and in the eyes of his servants, to put a sword in their hand to slay us.”
vs. 22 “And Moses returned unto the LORD, and said, Lord, wherefore hast thou so evil entreated this people? why is it that thou hast sent me?”
vs. 23 “For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in thy name, he hath done evil to this people; neither hast thou delivered thy people at all.”

If we would really listen and believe God, we would hear the explanation of what would occur.  We would face the situation, and respond,"Wow, isn't God awesome?  He is always right!"  We would be assured of our being in the perfect will of God because everything would be happening according to His plan.  The fact remains: we simply do not believe or we do not listen carefully.  Let's do our best not to be surprised.

Many times the Lord makes statements such as, "ye shall be hated by all men,” and "in the world ye shall have tribulation,” and "count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations."  Jesus told His followers that families would be split, jailed, and persecuted; His clear instruction was to "rejoice and be exceeding glad, for great is your reward in Heaven."  Do not be surprised.

A free, Bible-centered America may describe our land now, but it may not be a fitting description in the future. The amazing rights guaranteed by the founders and framers of America must become important once again in our nation, or those rights may disappear completely.  What God has asked of us does not change, and He clearly warns us that this world is not our friend.   Do not be surprised when the very culture of our society changes and rejects God and His Word. 

Paul said men would be lovers of themselves, righteousness would be rejected, and religious leaders would seek to please listeners rather than God.  Long ago, we were told that men would follow fables, and that mankind would worship and serve the creature more than the Creator — let's not be surprised that it is happening now.  So I say to Moses, ”God told you several times what would happen — relax, everything is fine; things are looking good for the future."

May we read His Word, pay close attention to what we read, and attempt not to be caught off-guard by events happening exactly as Jesus told us they would.  Relax about the future; enjoy each day the Lord gives us and remember that one thing He spoke of constantly was the Second Coming.  Jesus will come again "when men think not,” and we surely live in a time when folks do not think clearly.  Jesus will call us away; the departed are not dead, but alive in His presence.  We will join them in the clouds and forever be with the Lord.  There is a promise to which we can cling — do not be surprised! 

Pastor Goddard

 

Relationship to God

Good Morning,

While reading along through our Bible schedule I was reminded again how God longs for a relationship with us.  God’s desire for a relationship with man is a common theme found throughout the Scriptures.

Hosea 1:9 “Then said God, Call his name Loammi: for ye are not my people, and I will not be your God.”
Hosea 1:10 “Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured nor numbered; and it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people, there it shall be said unto them, Ye are the sons of the living God.”
Hosea 2:23 “And I will sow her unto me in the earth; and I will have mercy upon her that had not obtained mercy; and I will say to them which were not my people, Thou art my people; and they shall say, Thou art my God.”

The children born to Hosea, a faithful preacher with a godless immoral wife, were named to illustrate situations.  Loammi was so named to remind Israel of God’s desire to be their God, but also to remind them of His clear stand of not being close to people who love the world and cuddle up to the carnal, fleshly appetites of this life.

Jeremiah wrote about the longing of God to be close to us:
Jeremiah 24:7 “And I will give them an heart to know me, that I am the LORD: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God: for they shall return unto me with their whole heart.
Jeremiah 32:38 “And they shall be my people, and I will be their God:”

Likewise, Ezekiel wrote to remind sinful men that God longs to be near them:
Ezekiel 11:20 “That they may walk in my statutes, and keep mine ordinances, and do them: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God.”
Ezekiel 37:23 “Neither shall they defile themselves any more with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions: but I will save them out of all their dwellingplaces, wherein they have sinned, and will cleanse them: so shall they be my people, and I will be their God.”
vs. 27 “My tabernacle also shall be with them: yea, I will be their God, and they shall be my people.”

Zechariah also spoke of this most precious relationship to God:
Zechariah 8:8 “And I will bring them, and they shall dwell in the midst of Jerusalem: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God, in truth and in righteousness.”

But Zechariah makes it clear that any relationship to God must be founded upon righteousness. "...they shall be my people, and I will be their God, in truth and in righteousness."

As Paul wrote, there can be no closeness to God as long as we are in a relationship with the world.  God desires an intimate relationship with us.  Throughout Scripture, God presses the point that He longs to be our God and that we would be His people; but from Hosea's unfaithful wife, we see the grievous illustration of how ugly and vile we look when we seek a relationship with God while playing the harlot with the world.

2 Corinthians 6:16 “And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.”

The work of the Holy Spirit is to assure us of His presence and our relationship to the Father.
Romans 8:16 “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:”

Let me bring the most precious of promises to your attention:  God wants to walk with you!  God wants to not only have you as His child, but also to have you near to Him.  The very heart of God so longs for your closeness that He allowed His Son to die in order to make that closeness possible. 

God loves you and desires you to love Him; but God will have no unfaithfulness in His relationship.  To be close to God, you must forsake the world.  The marriage relationship is a picture of God's relationship to His own, and we are to "forsake all others" both in marriage and in our walk with God. 

We are not talking about salvation in these passages, but intimacy, a close walk with the Holy One of Israel.  Our Heavenly Father will be near only to those who seek Him and forsake the world.

Pastor Goddard

 

Other Belief

Good Morning,

The love of Christ is directed toward the entire world, and believers ought to care about all people.  I love what Paul says in the passage in I Corinthians 6:11:  ”And such were some of you: but ye are washed..."  No matter from where we come or what we have done, we all matter to God and all must come to Christ and trust Him for salvation.  No Bible believer would doubt that kind of thinking.

PEOPLE MATTER TO GOD AND TO ANY HONEST BIBLE BELIEVER; but honesty and deceit matter as well.  No Bible believer should accept lies or reject truth.  No child of God should embrace a faith that sends people to Hell.  That is not kind; that is wrong.  Should we love the people? Of course!  Should we act as though their religion is fine?  No, never!

In our world of tolerance, a guy can get in trouble if he speaks frankly.  For instance, not long ago, our president spoke of the "Axis of Evil." (President Bush, 2002)  Today if you speak ill of Islam you are labeled a “bigot" and a “hater."

We have become a people who embrace kindness more than truth.  I recently heard a Baptist preacher say love was the predominant character trait of God.  Had he studied his Bible rather than bent his ear toward his culture, he would have quickly seen that holiness is the dominant trait of God.  In the simplest Bible search, one will find that holiness and righteousness trump love and brotherly kindness (see 2 Peter 1 for one example.)

Allow me to be politically and religiously INCORRECT for a moment or two:

Mormons say that faithful Mormon men will marry hundreds of women and father enough children in order to populate a planet, and will be their god — THAT IS NONSENSE!

A JW says that only 144,000 Jehovah’s Witnesses will be in Heaven, and that the rest of the people will live on earth — THAT IS UNSCRIPTURAL FOLLY!

I am more often criticized for referring to Catholics than to any other religion.  Let us look at a few details about their religion:

These major doctrines of the Catholic church are never, never mentioned in the Word of God.   Try to not take offense.  I am not against people, whatever their religion; but I am against lies, falsehood, and people telling church members something is true when it is a tradition of men rather than a doctrine of God.

Mark 7:7 “Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.”

Holy Water
Baby Baptism
Church Leaders called Father
Worship of and prayer to Mary
Prayer to saints
Communion bread and wine being literal blood and flesh
Purgatory
Stages of the Cross

Rosary Beads
Penance
Burning Candles for countless religious purposes
Burning Heretics (practiced for hundreds of years)
Mary being sinless
Confession to a Priest
Priests having power to forgive sin
Church leaders forbidden to marry
No meat on Friday
The Pope, the Vicar of Christ

This list could be much longer, but why follow a church full of lies and deceit?  None of those practices are found anywhere in the Bible.  Every one of these doctrines (lies) could be answered with Bible verses, but let us just deal with a couple for the sake of morning space:

1 Timothy 4:1 ”Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;”
vs. 2 “Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;”
vs. 3 “Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.”

Satanic, seducing spirits and doctrines of devils come up with religions that forbid marriage?  Hmmm… Sounds like a Catholic, seducing spirit.

A satanic, seducing spirit and doctrine of devils forbids the eating of meat.  Hmmm… Sounds like  Catholics on Friday or the Adventists to me.

I am not hateful; I embrace honesty.  You may call me warm and fuzzy, for I am filled with love, warmth, tenderness, and affection.... FOR THE TRUTH!  Jesus often criticized and mocked the religious people of His day; yet we all agree that He was the most loving person Who ever lived!

According to the Vatican, if a Catholic leaves the church he cannot go to Heaven.  Really?  Does anyone believe that?  Does the Bible teach that?  No!  So why do people follow a lying church?

From their own writings (Catholic)...
“... affirmed at the same time the necessity of the Church which men enter through baptism as through a door. Hence they could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it, or to remain in it.

SOURCE: Vatican Council II—The Conciliar and Post Conciliar Documents, published by the Roman Catholic Church and contains the Imprimatur: Walter P. Kellenberg, D.D., Bishop of Rockville Centre, Aug. 12, 1975.

Now take that clear statement and compare it to the following one...

VATICAN CITY, NOV. 30, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Whoever seeks peace and the good of the community with a pure conscience, and keeps alive the desire for the transcendent, will be saved even if he lacks biblical faith, says Benedict XVI.

“…keeps alive the desire for the transcendent…”  What does that mean???

Double talk and stupidity!  No faith necessary FOR SALVATION?  How about that!

The Vatican says (1975) if you are not in the church you cannot go to Heaven; then a few years later (2005) a pope says if you are good but without faith, you can go to Heaven.

The list can go on and on — it is a ridiculous set of man-made rituals that bar salvation by grace and send countless millions to Hell.  NO, I will not speak well of Catholicism.  JW’s, Mormons and countless others who say good works are necessary for salvation; NO, I will not speak well of their faith — that faith is wrong and sending people to hell.

Truth — that is what we should embrace!  Jesus saves sinners.  John 3:16 says "whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life."   You need no Catholic church, no Baptist church, no Mormon church — Jesus saves, that is all!!

On recent Sunday mornings I have spoken on the simplicity of the Christian life; only Satan wants to complicate our faith.

2 Corinthians 11:3 “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.”

Satan corrupts the simplicity of the faith which Christ has brought to us — that is clear!  As the acronym puts it... "KISS."  (Keep it simple stupid)   Jesus saves!

Pastor Goddard

 

Why Do We Do It?

Good Morning,

Why do we do what we do?  We all know the correct answer.  We live our lives the way we do for the glory of God, not for our good or earthly recognition!  We go to the mission field with stories of martyrs on our hearts making us willing to die for the Gospel.  We are willing to stand for right and do without earthly goods; we do these things in all honesty and sincerity.

Once one is settled into the ministry, reality becomes apparent: 
• Churches do not continue sending support to a missionary.
• Help is not received from those who are very able to help.
• Spouses act as though they do not like us or the work God has called us to do.
Failing health of a child or spouse causes a struggle as to which path is right to follow and   whether God cares or not.
• Hard work has yielded great opportunity, only no one helps make the opportunity a reality.

When any of us face difficult days such as those listed above, we soon realize we have not been prepared for these situations; we had prepared for martyrdom.  These difficulties do not involve dying for the Saviour; they involve stupid people simply not caring.  We might find ourselves considering quitting when a child is sick and no one calls or sends an email, or we find ourselves broke with no financial help from rich, American churches; or a missionary may find that he is broke and it seems God does not even notice.   A Christian may be willing to burn at the stake but not willing to be disappointed.  Being taken to jail for proclaiming the Gospel is acceptable, but when those in whom we invest do little for us, service in the ministry becomes discouraging.

Philippians 4:12 “I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.”

The reason men need a Saviour is because they struggle with life.  Do not EXPECT people to act godly.  Paul gave several illustrations of his frustration with sinful men:
1 Corinthians 4:9 “For I think that God hath set forth us the apostles last, as it were appointed to death: for we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men.”
“…a spectacle…”  While trying to do right, the apostles became the object of ridicule and embarrassment.

vs. 10 “We are fools for Christ’s sake, but ye are wise in Christ; we are weak, but ye are strong; ye are honourable, but we are despised.”
Followers acted as though they were more mature than their leaders.

vs.11 “Even unto this present hour we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwellingplace;”
Insecurity and instability reigned in the lives of the apostles.

vs. 12 “And labour, working with our own hands: being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it:”
Labor, reviled, persecuted:  These are not terms we would want to use on our resumes.

vs. 13 “Being defamed, we intreat: we are made as the filth of the world, and are the offscouring of all things unto this day.”
Defamed, filth, offscouring:  again, this description is far less than one we might desire.

Even the best of God’s people wrestle with the carnal world and face assault daily:  thoughtless bosses, failing government, ignorant court systems, unjust legal issues, or many other difficult situations.  The life of a missionary in a third-world country also adds:  sanitation issues, crazy doctor and dentist issues, legal trouble, high expectations of those at home in the States.  One can suddenly become so discouraged that quitting seems to be the only solution.

It is not unreasonable to be weary in the battle.  God warned us to be careful about weariness.  
2 Thessalonians 3:13 “But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing.”
Galatians 6:9 “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.”

The answer is keeping your eyes on Jesus and not expecting any man to do anything.
Hebrews 12:3 “For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.”

Remembering why we do what we do is very important.  The reason is not because other men are faithful or because a spouse is so very good.  We do not continue to work because it is easy; we keep going because we do it for God.   We do what we do because no one else is doing it.  We do what we do because God rewards those who serve Him faithfully.

What did Paul face? 
• He faced being “…a spectacle…”  While trying to do right, he became the object of ridicule and embarrassment.
•  His followers acted as though they were more mature than their leaders.
He felt insecurity and instability.
He labored and was reviled and persecuted.
He was defamed and labeled as filth and offscouring.

For almost all of my ministry, I have labored while being surrounded by loving and encouraging people; but I understand that is not always the case for others.

Here is some encouragement for all of us:
Philippians 4:1 “Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved.”
1 Thessalonians 3:8 “For now we live, if ye stand fast in the Lord.”
2 Thessalonians 2:15 “Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.”

Pastor  Goddard

 

Prejudice

Good Morning,

I am writing this on Monday, Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday.  After thinking about the civil rights issues and viewing the many articles before me, I can not help but reflect on the issue of civil rights.

I have never been the victim of prejudice, and so my views on that subject must be ignored; but I can write of dealing with the fifty-eight years I have been alive, most of which have been lived in California.

There have been countless articles, television programs, books, and laws written that involve freedom and equal rights.  From my perspective, movies, television shows, news casters, the music industry, and of course, athletics are very ethnically integrated — still we are told of inequality of race.  Another observation is that ethnically-mixed marriages are common now; fifty years ago they were rare (seems to me that these issues are improving over time, but that is not the point this morning). Approximately 40% of my immediate neighborhood consists of black families and about 40% are of Latin descent.  That percentage may seem high, but it is accurate.  We live in an area in which the homes have an estimated value of over $300,000, and we all get along well.  One of our neighbors, who is of Caribbean decent, was our visitor in church this past week.  I, of course, understand that my valley is a small portion of the whole country, but nonetheless, we have very little issue with race.

The point is this: laws do not change hearts.  For over fifty years, we have had laws, yet fighting continues.  School rules do not change behavior because behavior comes from the heart. You can not legislate morality and heartfelt beliefs.  You can not force people to like each other. If there still are racial issues, these issues can not be solved by protest or violence, but by touching the heart.  Evil comes from the heart, not from a lack of laws.

Matthew 12:35 “A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.”

Matthew 15:18 “But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man.”
vs. “19 For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:”

Clearly the need is to change hearts, not heads or laws.  As is always the case, we need to spend more time in Sunday school and read more from the Bible in our schools and homes all week long.   If we begin working on the heart, changes in the life will follow.  But a society without Bible-reading people will be guided by flesh and greed, sinfulness and shame.

God seems to concern Himself little with our position in life, but much with our holiness and love for the Saviour and our fellow man.  To make a law that requires a man to love his wife will achieve nothing.  But filling his heart with Bible verses regarding a husband's duty and helping him study the example set by Christ and His love for others are both effective channels that will begin working on the heart.

If there is to be help for the racial issues of our land, it will be found in the church house (not the White House) and in the biblically-based thinking of parents and teachers, not in screaming protesters burning buildings and shooting police.  More help would also be found if families spent more time reading the Bible and good books and less time watching television and engaging in entertainment and video games.  If we could get good family values and the role of the mother and father into the heart of young married men and women, this too would move us toward a solution; but reform all begins with the Word of God.  If we could convince moms and dads to get back in Sunday school and off the ball fields and to enroll children in Christian schools, not godless institutions called schools, we could fix some of the injustice in our land.

Jesus is still the answer!!

Pastor Goddard

 

Strength

Good Morning,

We all face the “I cannot get it all done” emotion; some of us live there.  Truly, we cannot get everything done that the world puts on us.  I think Satan works to help put more and more good things onto our plates so we get frustrated, overwhelmed, and discouraged with “good works.” 

Paul writes about the danger of becoming weary in doing right:
2 Thessalonians 3:13 “But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing.”
Galatians 6:9 “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.”

One friend of mine says he gets up each morning and prays, “Lord, help me know who to disappoint today.”  He knows that he could not do all that everyone expects him to do, so he must not disappoint the Lord — but all others are on the list.

When we consider the many duties of life, here is a passage from my devotions that helps me:
Psalm 18:32 “It is God that girdeth me with strength, and maketh my way perfect.”

HE… He makes my way perfect, not I.  A great need is evident for all of us to daily seek the Lord’s direction with the affairs of life: even summer fun with children, grocery shopping, and car maintenance.  God will guide us to use our time and talents in such a way as to get the most out of each day.  A college student working many hours and attending college classes needs GOD to make his way perfect.  Men working long hours, then trying to be husband, father, and servants at church likewise need God to make their ways perfect.   

Psalms 18 continues:
vs. 33 “He maketh my feet like hinds’ feet, and setteth me upon my high places.”
The hind could be likened to a deer or even a mountain goat:  agile, swift, comfortable in places others cannot go.  The hind would be safe in difficult places and able to find food and security from enemies.   God will make our way perfect and will also keep us safe in the high places of life (in difficulty and danger). 
 
One more thought is added in this passage:
vs. 34 “He teacheth my hands to war, so that a bow of steel is broken by mine arms.”

When it is necessary, God will help us know how to fight against the evils of this world and against the wiles of the devil.  God will give us strength for the journey and the battle.  The main goal is to get time with God.  Satan will get us so busy that we neglect the Bible and prayer, and as such, fail to gain the help to make our way perfect.

Pastor Goddard

 

Purity

Good Morning,

From where I sit, it is a good evening!  As I sit in a less-than-desirable wardrobe, waiting for the end of day after a four-hour surgery (trusting that all is well with this procedure — by the time this is proofed and sent out, you will have probably found out).  For those of you who did not know, I had a procedure called "Ablation" - the cutting of some nerves around the heart that cause it to beat erratically and far too fast. 

Now… to 1 John where I am reading:
1 John 3:3 “And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.”

If you share the longing, the "hope" of the Lord's soon return, it will cause you to purify your life. Purity is just as important as any other doctrine in the Bible.  I want to cast my vote for preaching on purity.  I have not heard of much preaching on purity lately, but purity is clearly a Bible doctrine.   Holiness and purity are both New Testament doctrines — Amen!
2 Corinthians 7:1“Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.”

Some promises should move us to be separate from the world.
This verse follows the wonderful truth that God desires to be our Father and to have us as sons and daughters; that we might walk with Him and He with us.  Those promises are so wonderful!  The next chapter begins with, "Having therefore these promises...."  The wonderful promise of a personal relationship with God is motivation for purity and holy living.

The book of Hebrews also casts the vote for holiness.
Hebrews 12:14 “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:”

Peter emphasizes the subject with a more detailed description: “without spot, and blameless.”
2 Peter 3:14 “Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.”

"Without spot and blameless" means not to be living as much like the world as we are able, but to get as far away from the world as we can that we might strive for perfect holiness in the fear of God. (2 Corinthians 7:1)

As our churches fashion themselves more and more after the world, we hear less and less about purity and holiness.  Yet, as these verses indicate, God clearly teaches us much about purity.

James 4:8 “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.”

I am a little groggy yet; but the Bible is my best friend, even through blurred eyes or mind. I chose to cast my vote for PURITY — a wonderful goal to strive toward in our daily lives.  Exalt, promote, and talk about PURITY!

Pastor Goddard

 

Right and Wrong


Good Morning,

Life is not about expediency, comfort, ease, or worldly success, but about RIGHT AND WRONG.

Obedience and disobedience are the watchwords of believers.  Does the Bible tell us to do this and not do that? If so, there are no questions as to our response.  We must do the right and shun the wrong in every area!  Some people might say they would fight for the doctrine of pure salvation by grace, but so many other things are not worthy of standing and fighting.  These people would say to “Choose carefully your battles,” but I disagree!

Why was Daniel thrown into to the lions’ den?  Was it over the doctrine of salvation?  No, it was a matter of being caught in prayer.  Why were his friends thrown into the fiery furnace?  Was it over salvation by grace?  Of course not; they were punished for not bowing to a stupid statue.  Why did Joseph get in trouble with his brothers?  For many reasons perhaps, but for one, he reported his brothers unfaithfulness in business.  Why was Jeremiah placed into the mire of the dungeon prison?  He was penalized for telling the people that the Babylonians were going to win and that they should surrender.  Why was Stephen stoned?  He was stoned for blaming the Jews for the death of Christ.  Why were the Apostles beaten and jailed?  They were beaten for helping the cripple and casting out a demon.  None of these people were in trouble over the doctrine of the Gospel.  These men ruffled the feathers of the established church, and in going against the religious lifestyle of the day, they were in trouble with the religious leaders — and therefore, they became heroes.

If we stand firm on only the most basic principles of the Gospel, we would miss much of the Christian life, and our Bible heroes would be normal men without influence on eternity.

What was all the fuss about in 1 Corinthians?  Morals, lawsuits, divisions, exaltation of spiritual gifts in wrong ways:  none of these are really about the Gospel.  Right is worthy of our stand.  If each generation does not stand for right, no matter what our wives or friends think, the next generation is destined to crumble from the foundation.

When John wrote and named a man causing trouble, he made it clear what evil was.

3 John 9 “I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not.”
vs. 10 “Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he doeth, prating against us with malicious words: and not content therewith, neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, and casteth them out of the church.”
vs. 11 “Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good.”

The evil was a man in the church wanting to be in charge and pushing away proven, godly leadership.

Many other reasons are more worthy of our attention and stand.  When Jude said, contend for the faith, he not only spoke of salvation alone, but he also referred to right and wrong associated with our belief (as is mentioned in all the passages above).

Right and wrong matter; and the free world in which we live grants freedom of conscience.  But that same freedom is granted to us to stand for right and against wrong.  Every generation needs someone to stand.

Deliver me from this generation of pastors who are afraid of differing with their peers, terrified of being called narrow-minded, or of being accused of fanaticism.  God help the generation of pastors who let their wives set the standard of modest dress.  Forgive me, but most ladies have no clue of how depraved a man’s mind is.  Men need to look at clothing and the Scripture and say, “This is too short; this is too tight; that is too low; and that shows too much flesh.”  Men know but are afraid to stand and say anything about it. Men, you know how that girl looks in her tight jeans, and you also know how every curve accents the beautiful body it almost covers. Ladies, you know from advertising that the seat is the main focus of jeans; is that really what a Christian lady ought to be advertising to the world? “Look at my bottom and see how it looks in these tight jeans.” Really?  Glorify Christ by my tight jeans showing off my …..?  Men, you are cowards for not saying anything about it.

1 Timothy 2:9 “In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array;”

Separation from the world matters, or the Bible would not have made such a fuss about it.

2 Corinthians  6:17 “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you…”

Jude 23 “And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.”

Pastors, if we are more concerned about fitting in with the brethren than we are standing for right and against wrong, then we are a sorry lot of leaders.  Give up the position of leader and undershepherd, and step into the flock with the sheep and do what everyone else is doing.

No great leader in history did what the rest were doing; whether it was George Patton or Moses, leadership demands that someone step out in front, risk failure and humiliation, and say and do what others are afraid to say or do.   I would like to leave one last thought: What was the reason that John the Baptist was arrested?  If I am not mistaken, he was arrested for preaching to powerful people about adultery.  Hmmm… it seems as though Paul felt that distinguishing right from wrong was worth standing for.   If it is right, do it; if it is wrong, stop it.  It is not complicated.

Pastor Goddard

 

Quick Decisions

Good Morning,

There are many times in life when we in leadership are frustrated, depressed, or have anxiety over a situation and are emotionally forced to make decisions.  Such was the case when king Nebuchadnezzar dreamed a dream and could not remember it.  He wanted not only the interpretation but recall from his advisors.  Did you ever have a dream you could not remember?  Of course you have; but did you expect others to tell you what your dream was?  You probably did not. 

Daniel 2:12 “For this cause the king was angry and very furious, and commanded to destroy all the wise men of Babylon.”
vs. 13 “And the decree went forth that the wise men should be slain; and they sought Daniel and his fellows to be slain.”

We must remember the situation from which these men had come.  Like Daniel, every time the king conquered a nation, he pulled out the sharpest young men and trained them in the Babylonian education and culture, and they were to advise him as he tried to keep a giant empire together.  These were simply men, not diviners; that is just what the counselors said as well:
vs. 10 “The Chaldeans answered before the king, and said, There is not a man upon the earth that can shew the king’s matter: therefore there is no king, lord, nor ruler, that asked such things at any magician, or astrologer, or Chaldean.”
vs. 11 “And it is a rare thing that the king requireth, and there is none other that can shew it before the king, except the gods, whose dwelling is not with flesh.”

The king was emotionally pushed into a corner and was about to make hasty statements and make impulsive decisions.  In this case, God used the king and his unwise leadership; but we know slow decision making is most important. 

Daniel was sure of the imprudence of the actions:
vs. 14 “Then Daniel answered with counsel and wisdom to Arioch the captain of the king’s guard, which was gone forth to slay the wise men of Babylon:”
vs. 15 “He answered and said to Arioch the king’s captain, Why is the decree so hasty from the king? Then Arioch made the thing known to Daniel.”

When a death occurs, coming back to church is very difficult; but after a while, wise people do so.  When a child is expelled from our school or from Bible college, it is hard to walk into church; it is hard to face the questioning eyes of friends.  When an adult child messes up, it is difficult for a parent to continue in their normal church life — but they should.  Impulsive decisions in times of emotion will cause many harmful things to happen.  

When we face a legal problem or the death of a loved one, we want to sell the house and move.  If a marriage issue arises, we want to go to a new city and start over.  Hasty and unguided choices lead to more careless and unwise decisions. 

If the king killed all these men, many years of training and trust would be lost.  Yes, he was frustrated, but that was no reason to expect the men to be gods or supernatural.  They were just men.   Why should the king expect men to be anything else?  Why would he kill them and rob the kingdom of their knowledge because, after all, they were just men? 

Likewise, when a conflict happens at church, some people might quit; we are human.  Of course, there will be a conflict here and there; just as in marriage, we clash at times; but that does not mean we should divorce.  Yes, someone will say something hurtful, and words may be spoken without heart; but we are just human.  Those thoughtless words do not mean all is lost and all the good should be tossed out.   At times, someone in the congregation will turn out to be human — SHOCK! — so we want to kill all the good things in the church; kill all the good things we might do; kill all the good things others may do to help our children or our spouse:  That is unwise at best, foolish or evil at worst. 

I have watched several folks face a divorce and come back to church alone.  That is a hard day.  But there are many hard days in life, and we live through them.   Wise and careful actions will cause us to do as little damage as necessary and continue to act wisely.  If we are not sure which decision is wise then we go to an older, wiser person to guide us through the situation because we certainly cannot trust our hearts. 

Remember that your heart is deceitful, not wise.
Jeremiah 17:9 “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”

In those emotional hours, make no big decisions.
In those moments of passion, restrain in making serious choices, or saying things that carry finality such as:  “We are not going back there,” or “I am quitting this or that.”  In times of pressure, do not forbid your children from going to their school, participating in their youth department, and do not quit your teaching position in Sunday school. 

You matter, your children matter, and to kill all the wise men is rarely prudent.

Pastor Goddard

 

Leaders Ruin Followers

Good Morning,

Listening to the current news, I heard an LA cop who had written a simple set of rules to avoid being tased or pushed to the ground etc.  His advice — to do what you are told — was that simple.  Do what you are told when a cop is telling you to do something.

The public response was anger and disbelief.  How could this cop think he could get away with saying people should listen and obey?

I wonder when it became acceptable to ignore authority.  Have we forgotten what God says?
Romans 13:3 “For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:”
vs. 4 “For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.”

If we are not careful, we will become a society of anarchists.  Yes, we should listen to the cops; yes, we should listen to the teacher; yes, we should listen to our parents.

What are we thinking when we forget authority?  We came OUT of the primitive life of fighting and shooting and the do-what-we-think mentality, supposedly, to following the rules of obeying authority.

Perhaps our leaders (those we are to follow) have taught us to behave that way.

We deal with corrupt mayors and crooked police chiefs.  We have leaders in Washington D.C. who care nothing for the Constitution they swore to uphold.  We have local government leaders who care little or nothing for their vows and official responsibilities.  We have parents who beat their children, teachers who are sexually involved with their students; when we have leaders who will not follow the rules, we have citizens who simply do not care about authorities or what they say.

It was Jezebel who wrote letters, ignored the rules, and ordered a good man to be killed because her own husband wanted something that was not rightly his.  When leadership is evil, followers have no reason to be good.

Though we are admonished in the Scriptures to obey, obedience becomes difficult when those we follow shame the truth, violate right practices, and defile their position of leadership with selfishness and evil.

We will return either to the Bible practice of decency in leaders and followers or we will return to barbarianism.  We will return to the time when the ruler is the guy with the biggest gun or the biggest army.

Christianity delivered us from this life of wreck and ruin.  Sunday sports, carnal preachers, dirty television shows, and casual believers brought us the shame and defilement of a once wonderful nation.

Our only hope is a humble return to God:
2 Chronicles 7:14 “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”

Pastor Goddard

 

Jealous or Coveteous

Good Morning,

Of the forty-four times a form of the word jealous is used in the Bible, the majority are concerning the Lord and His desire for our praise and singular worship.
God often says that His Name is Jealous; God is moved to jealousy by his children’s worship of idols.

There are a few times the word jealous is used regarding a man who feels his wife has been unfaithful, but other than that, nearly every reference is about God.

Jealousy is not spoken of as bad.   The dictionary defines jealousy as:
1) Ardour, zeal, jealousy
   a) Ardour, jealousy, jealous disposition (of husband)
       1) Sexual passion
   b) Ardour of zeal (of religious zeal)
       1) Of men for God
       2) Of men for the house of God
       3) Of God for His people
   c) Ardour of anger
       1) Of men against adversaries
       2) Of God against men

Jealous for God and His Name or for His house is used and of course, is defined as positive.

We often think of jealousy and covetousness as being similar, but they are not even close. 

The word covet is defined as taking pleasure in something that is not yours.

Exodus 20:17 “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.”
Deuteronomy 5:21 “Neither shalt thou desire thy neighbour’s wife, neither shalt thou covet thy neighbour’s house, his field, or his manservant, or his maidservant, his ox, or his ass, or any thing that is thy neighbour’s.”

Remember the great harm done by Achan when he coveted the items seen in Jericho?  His entire family died due to his covetous heart. 

Joshua 7:21 “When I saw among the spoils a goodly Babylonish garment, and two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold of fifty shekels weight, then I coveted them, and took them; and, behold, they are hid in the earth in the midst of my tent, and the silver under it.”

Covetousness causes us to long to do what another does, possess what another possesses, or gain the fame another receives.  Men covet money they have not earned, and they greatly desire the praise and admiration of men.

There is a vast difference between our desire to help our team versus our desire to gain the praise of men and to be highly esteemed by others.

We are covetous creatures; we are self-seeking and desirous of money, houses, lands, cars, and wealth for the sake of admiration.  (Often it is not the possession of the item itself we desire but the prestige that will accompany the acquired goal.)  Our covetous heart desires attention, praise, favor, and friends; we covet the envy of others as we drive an unusual car… desiring people (we do not even know) to look at us, we desire the physical appearance that draws the eyes of strangers we will never see again… their look is satisfaction enough.

Although there is no verse condemning jealousy, almost every verse dealing with covetousness is deadly with condemnation. 

Some religious leaders serve in their position only for gain.
Romans 16:18 “For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.”
Titus 1:11 “Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre’s sake.”


The godly church must be sure to never appoint a pastor or deacon who is covetous.
1 Timothy 3:3 “Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous;”
1 Timothy 3:8 “Likewise must the deacons be grave, not doubletongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre;”
Titus 1:7 “For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre;”
1 Peter 5:2 “Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind;”

We should not be friends with those who covet gain.
1 Timothy 6:5 “Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.”
2 Peter 2:14 “Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children:”
2 Peter 2:15 “Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness;”

Delicate issues can be rooted in covetousness.  The single person may be covetous of the married person; the married lady who can not bear children may covet the beautiful family of another lady.   One person may start a business that prospers while another struggles; covetousness may sprout a deadly root.  A parent of a sickly child may covet the health he sees in his friend’s child, or a less than athletic child’s father can wish for the child of another that excels at physical endeavors. 

The illustrations are endless, but the answer lies in one verse:
Hebrews 13:5 “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”

We have Christ; we have the love of God and His promise of faithful involvement in our homes.  We have a Heavenly Father, Who is sovereign and has plans for our family FOR HIS GLORY, not for our own glory. 

The presence of Jesus Christ in our lives is to be our stay.  Our flesh naturally desires more.  Our weak and self-centered earthly heart desires success and possessions on earth, but God promises to provide for us in Heaven.  Serve Him today, and gain His infinite and amazing blessing in Heaven — what a wonderful promise — yet, we covet things now! 

One undesired evil that follows the covetous heart is the spirit it creates in our children.  The carnal appetites and covetous spirits of us as well as our children must be kept in submission through much preaching and Scripture, otherwise covetousness will leave us unhappy, discontent, and frustrated.


Pastor Goddard

 

Daniel

Good morning,

Most of us are familiar with the story of Daniel in the lion’s den.  The story is found in Daniel chapter 6.  Many wonderful lessons are found in this chapter, but I would like to point out just a few.  You can read through chapter 6 as you look at these points regarding Daniel and his circumstances:

1. Daniel did right without question, yet men still tried to destroy him.  Just because you are doing right does not mean everyone will like it.  The story does not say Daniel was a bad boss. There are no instances of Daniel’s injustice in dealing with these men.  The simple fact was that they did not like Daniel being the one in charge.

Daniel 6:4 “Then the presidents and princes sought to find occasion against Daniel concerning the kingdom; but they could find none occasion nor fault; forasmuch as he was faithful, neither was there any error or fault found in him.”
vs. 5 “Then said these men, We shall not find any occasion against this Daniel, except we find it against him concerning the law of his God.”

2. Daniel was in a position of authority.  Others were placed under him, and as is human nature, people tend to want authority; and if need be, they will destroy their authorities to have the position themselves.

3. Leaders do not always make the right decisions.  Leaders are sinful humans, and, at times, our leaders mistakes that will hurt us.  Remember, God is not dead.   The flattering princes under the authority of Daniel came to the king and asked him to make a law that no one be able to pray to any God or man except to the king.  Human arrogance and the love of attention brought the king to make a foolish choice.  Daniel was going to be thrown into the lion’s den.

vs. 7 “All the presidents of the kingdom, the governors, and the princes, the counsellors, and the captains, have consulted together to establish a royal statute, and to make a firm decree, that whosoever shall ask a petition of any God or man for thirty days, save of thee, O king, he shall be cast into the den of lions.”

4. Just because your leaders make a foolish decision does not mean they do not love you and that they do not regret the horrible choice they made.  At times, the decision involves unwise spending, but at other times the situation may involve the use of liquor or drugs or a failure to care for some detail in life; but remember, we are all sinful.  People who sincerely love can make decisions that say they do not love you.  Keep believing in people.

vs. 18 “Then the king went to his palace, and passed the night fasting: neither were instruments of musick brought before him: and his sleep went from him.”

The king spent the night in fasting with a broken heart for the wrong he had done and the harm he caused Daniel because he cared for him. The king truly did care.

5.  God was not absent.  Those circumstances were dire, yet there was still a God in Heaven Who cared for Daniel.  God knew Daniel situation was going to glorify His name through the difficulties that Daniel was facing.  God delivered Daniel from the lions.

6. The Bible says much about forgiveness and mercy, but it also says "vengeance is mine, I will repay saith the Lord.”  Daniel did not need to get even with those with men; God moved on the heart of the king, and the king took care of Daniel's enemies.

vs. 24 “And the king commanded, and they brought those men which had accused Daniel, and they cast them into the den of lions, them, their children, and their wives; and the lions had the mastery of them, and brake all their bones in pieces or ever they came at the bottom of the den.”

We, too, can trust God when evil men seek to hurt us and when foolish leaders fail to defend us.
Psalm 46:1 “...God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble…”
Psalm 20:7  “Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the LORD our God.”

7. The sorrows and difficulties the Old Testament saints had to deal with are wonderful lessons and reminders to each one of us today.  May we be reminded that our sorrows and difficulties are modern-day lessons from which others may watch and learn.  Trust in the Lord with all of your heart... may we continue to do right when situations go wrong, believing God will be glorified and other believers will be instructed.

Pastor Goddard

 

Compassion

Good Morning,

Most of us live in a world of amazing bliss:  we are loved and cared for; we enjoy relatively good health, friends, and a somewhat stable government (though the future of that is certainly in question).

But sadly, there are many whom I believe live in a world of brokenness:  betrayal, abandonment, or horrid disappointment in later years of life (events that were never even considered in their worst nightmare).  Today, some wonderful believers sit, self-loathing, in a dark hole of gloom, misery, and defeat. 

No earthly possession or action can possibly help in their long hours of darkness.  No word or event could erase rejection, humiliation, shame, and grief.  Brokenhearted, Job wrote these words:
Job 7:3 “So am I made to possess months of vanity, and wearisome nights are appointed to me.”
vs. 4 “When I lie down, I say, When shall I arise, and the night be gone? and I am full of tossings to and fro unto the dawning of the day…"
vs. 6 “My days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle, and are spent without hope.”

Some people face endless nights while sleeplessly awaiting the dawn; their days seem darker than night.   These hurting people wish only for the night to deliver them from life and day.  With a spirit of love and care, it would be wise for all of us to walk guardedly through life to be thoughtful and kind, and to intentionally notice people.  May we not grow complacent about the hurt that people face; and though we find ourselves unable to cure their pain, might we at least slow down long enough to care.

As believers, we will see an end, and though there be no rest in this day, there is a day of rest to come:
1 Thessalonians 4:18 “Wherefore comfort one another with these words.”
Hebrews 4:9 “There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.”

May our brief moments of courtesy and compassion offer support until the day the hurting souls see God and find themselves healed in heart, mind, and soul. 

Pastor Goddard

Clear Message

Good Morning,

While reading through the book of Ezekiel, I am reminded of how frankly the Lord speaks to us.  God is strong, yet wants to bring comfort to His people.

Ezekiel 14:23 “And they shall comfort you, when ye see their ways and their doings: and ye shall know that I have not done without cause all that I have done in it, saith the Lord GOD.”

Not only does God want us comforted amidst our troubles, but He also wants sin to be pointed out; and He has no problem naming sin.

Ezekiel 16:30 “How weak is thine heart, saith the Lord GOD, seeing thou doest all these things, the work of an imperious whorish woman;”
vs. 31 “In that thou buildest thine eminent place in the head of every way, and makest thine high place in every street; and hast not been as an harlot, in that thou scornest hire;”
vs. 32 “But as a wife that committeth adultery, which taketh strangers instead of her husband!”
vs. 33 “They give gifts to all whores: but thou givest thy gifts to all thy lovers, and hirest them, that they may come unto thee on every side for thy whoredom.”
vs. 34 “And the contrary is in thee from other women in thy whoredoms, whereas none followeth thee to commit whoredoms: and in that thou givest a reward, and no reward is given unto thee, therefore thou art contrary.”
vs. 35 “Wherefore, O harlot, hear the word of the LORD:”

That statement is rather pointed!  God makes no excuse for moral impropriety!  The words: harlot, adultery, and whorish are all words used to describe the pitiful way the people treated God.  While the people of Israel had been formed by God, blessed by God, turned into a great nation by God, they now acted like whores enjoying the world and the things of the world.  Could we say anything less about America today?

God calls sin terrible names; He makes no softening excuses for sin and demands that we, too, lay claim to the shame and vile nature of our sinful deeds.

1 John 1:8 “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”
vs. 9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
vs. 10 “If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.”

God wants us to label our sin as BAD and to acknowledge that our actions are wrong and that our deeds are shameful and perverse.

We live in a world where preachers are afraid to call sin by name.   (In fact, you will have trouble finding preachers who even like being called preachers.  They often prefer to be called “teacher" or “pastor.”  This is not wrong, but we have few prophets of God who stand for righteousness.) Few reverends today are willing to name sin.  Men who stand before congregations want to please the audience in hopes of building a crowd and an offering.  Our churches are gaining more worldliness, more casual Christianity, and more toleration of sin.   Now I know that our church is full of sinners, starting in the pulpit, but we call it sin, we do not act as if wrong actions are okay.

Just think with me:  when is the last time you heard a pastor talk about loud women?

Proverbs 7:11 “(She is loud and stubborn; her feet abide not in her house:”

…or about flattery and forward women kissing a guy?

Proverbs 7:13 “So she caught him, and kissed him, and with an impudent face said unto him,”
Proverbs 7:21 “With her much fair speech she caused him to yield, with the flattering of her lips she forced him.”

When have we heard a preacher address the evils of religious celibacy, or vegetarianism as a religious mandate?  (That could refer to Catholics or Seventh Day Adventists, not to mention others as well.) A good minister is supposed to preach on those subjects.

1 Timothy 4:3 “Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth…"
vs. 6 “If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ,”

So, yes, the gal who hops into bed with a guy she is not married to is a whorish woman —simple as that!  

Ezekiel 16:30 “How weak is thine heart ... the work of an imperious whorish woman;”

Imperious:  a woman who will not follow rules, submit to the authorities, or refuses to follow the rules placed upon her.  Hmmm… this is probably not used as a text mentioned by most preachers. 

Ready for a real shocker?  How about preaching on work?   Paul sure hit it hard.

2 Thessalonians 3:10 “For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.”
vs. 11 “For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies.”

Paul continues to say that men should work and EAT THEIR OWN BREAD:

vs. 12 “Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread.”
vs. 13 “But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing.”
vs. 14 “And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have
no company with him, that he may be ashamed.”

People who do not work should be avoided.  WOW!  That is unpopular preaching.  We, of course, are not referring to those who would take a job if it were there; many a good man found himself out of work for a short time. This passage speaks of those who are busybodies and avoid jobs. 

The point is that churches need to identify right and wrong and help people see what God thinks about certain subjects.

The Bible is a frank book; we ought to be loving, kind, giving, and merciful, but we need not act as if wrong is right or that someone's feelings are more important that right.  God is blunt, frank, and clear about what is right and what is wrong.  With a spirit of love, may we also be clear, and may we never side-step naming certain actions as right or wrong.

Pastor Goddard

 

Choice

Good morning,

Ezekiel tells about the accountability of each person for his own deeds.  In Ezekiel 18, a lengthy discussion makes it clear that the child will have to face his own actions and the father his own; no father will be punished for the deeds of the child, and no child will be punished for the deeds of the father.

Ezekiel 18:20 “The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.”
vs. 21 “But if the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die.”

We often think differently.  We tend to blame the father for the bad child; but that is not really the case.  Though a parent's decisions may make life hard on a child, the child can do right or wrong if he so chooses.  Though a bad child surely breaks a parent’s heart, the child will face consequences of his own decisions, and God does not blame the parent.

Proverbs 20:11” Even a child is known by his doings, whether his work be pure, and whether it be right.”

Every godly parent blames himself when a child travels a wrong path, but God holds the child accountable.  A parent often thinks of what he might have done differently or could have changed, and that is not wrong; for all of us could improve on our child rearing.  But the child made the choice.  In fact, it is not difficult at all to find children in much more difficult situations where the child prospered in spite of a terrible home life.  From the early days of America to today, we can find examples of people who lived in poverty yet became successful, faced hardship yet rose victorious, lived through hopeless situations and yet found a life of stability.   We all make choices, and we can do right or wrong, no matter the parents, home, education, or economy we have been given.

Romans 14:12 “So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.”

We all make choices.  We all look at the fork in the road and choose to turn one way or another.  Ultimately, we will face the results of our decisions.  People may try to help us, friends may be a comfort, but in our hearts and on earth, we will personally carry the responsibility and results for our decisions.

Galatians 6:5 “For every man shall bear his own burden.”

Parents, although we hurt over the suffering of our children, understand that they made the choices, not you. 

Likewise, no one forced a spouse to do wrong; the decision was theirs alone.  Do not blame yourself dear lady, when your husband is unfaithful.  No, you were probably not perfect, but he made his decisions. 

So it is with grandchildren; grandparents, it is not your fault when a grandchild travels a path of wrong.  It is not your burden to carry if they end up in crime or drugs.  They chose, they made the decision to go this way or that.  We will hurt, and yes, we will hate to see those we love suffer, but they made the decisions, and we cannot take the blame or the punishment for their wrong choices.

Pastor Goddard

 

Priorities

Good Morning,

Haggai was one of the preachers who helped get the building of the temple at Jerusalem going again after pressures had stopped the work.  Zechariah was the other who helped "kick start" the work in the book of Ezra.

Ezra 6:14 “And the elders of the Jews builded, and they prospered through the prophesying of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the son of Iddo. And they builded, and finished it, according to the commandment of the God of Israel, and according to the commandment of Cyrus, and Darius, and Artaxerxes king of Persia.”

The book of Ezra tells the story of the rebuilding of the temple and the trouble that stopped the work.   The book of Haggai tells the other side of the story; from the preacher's perspective, the message told is from the prophet to the people.

As you begin reading the book of Haggai, you will see one simple principle; the people had put themselves first and made their own homes a priority while placing God's house as small and unimportant on their list of priorities.

Haggai 1:4 “Is it time for you, O ye, to dwell in your cieled houses, and this house lie waste?”
vs. 5 “Now therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways.”

The preacher was asking if the people thought it proper for their own homes to be completed and well-built while the house of God remained unfinished.  The result of their misplaced priorities was financial trouble.

vs. 6 “Ye have sown much, and bring in little; ye eat, but ye have not enough; ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink; ye clothe you, but there is none warm; and he that earneth wages earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes.”
vs. 7 “Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways.”

Because the people had such sorry loyalty and such pitiful love for the things of God, He had hurt their economy; God caused situations to simply "go wrong" in every area of life.  I wonder if America might not listen to the message of Haggai and determine to honor God and His house and respect the things of God.  I do not believe the unsaved need to be the ones who should do this; for 2 Chronicles 7:14 begins with, "If my people, which are called by my name..."  Certainly, the people of God in America are the ones who need to get right today.

I believe we have a terrific church filled with servants and honorable men and women; but when an anonymous survey was taken, we found that only about 30% of our members tithe regularly.  That survey was not taken on a Sunday morning with people who casually attend, it was a men's meeting with those who are a serious part of the church. 

Baffled, I mentioned this to an older preacher, and he said that was a good number.  He said that most churches only produce 25%.   Wondering if the world had convinced the folks that tithing was not scriptural, I gave everyone the benefit of the doubt.  Then missions month came, and I asked everyone to make a commitment to foreign missions, any commitment:  a dollar a week, or anything that would say their family was going to support the work of the Gospel around the world.

Again I was taken back.  Out of 200-300 families we might count as members, we received only 109 pledge cards.  I would guess that in many homes, like my own, more than one giver could make a weekly pledge.  So potentially, we could have 50 teens and several hundred adults turn in a card.

So why would God not call for drought and unemployment in California?
vs. 10 “Therefore the heaven over you is stayed from dew, and the earth is stayed from her fruit.”
vs. 11 “And I called for a drought upon the land, and upon the mountains, and upon the corn, and upon the new wine, and upon the oil, and upon that which the ground bringeth forth, and upon men, and upon cattle, and upon all the labour of the hands.”

Why the trouble?  Verse 9 makes it clear:
vs. 9 “Ye looked for much, and, lo, it came to little; and when ye brought it home, I did blow upon it. Why? saith the LORD of hosts. Because of mine house that is waste, and ye run every man unto his own house.”

In the day in which Haggai preached, the people were brokenhearted and turned to God in repentance; and God, as He so often does, drew near to them and helped them.  The solution for California's trouble is in our hands.

vs. 12 “Then ... all the remnant of the people, obeyed the voice of the LORD their God, ... and the people did fear before the LORD.”
vs. 13 “Then spake Haggai the LORD’S messenger in the LORD’S message unto the people, saying, I am with you, saith the LORD.”

This idea is not unfamiliar; Jesus spoke of it as well:
Matthew 6:33 “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”

God does not want to be last on our priority list; He does not want to even be second.  If we will place Him first, then all our needs will be supplied.

Pastor  Goddard

 

On the Team

Good Morning,

Most of us have watched sporting events in which one person dominates the game.  Superior athletes are real; it seems as if something different was placed inside them at birth.    But we have also seen the amazing running back helped by the unknown lineman; the great batter still needs a good team fielding the ball else they would lose every game; even the superior solo tennis player must have a coach.

We are not all equal, but we can all participate and help the team.  There is no star who accomplishes much without a team beside him.  The same philosophy is true in the ministry.

Matthew 10:40 “He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me.”
vs. 41 “He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward; and he that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward.”
 
I need not be the prophet, but I can be important in the life of the prophet; and in so doing, I gain blessings and rewards from Heaven.  In a church, there is usually only one preacher; he does the majority of the preaching and teaching; but nursery workers are also vital if the pastor is to have peace and keep the attention of the congregation.  Janitors, PA men, ushers who collect the offering, and musicians who sing and play all have important roles in making the church a great place!

Paul writes to the Ephesian church about their usefulness and the fact that every member is a vital part of the whole.
Ephesians 4:16 “From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.”

Paul taught much of the same lessons to the Corinthian church, likening the ministry to a farmer who plants the seed and another waters it, but ultimately it is God Who makes things grow. 

1 Corinthians 3:6 “I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.”
vs. 7 “So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.”
vs. 8 “Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour.”
vs. 9 “For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.”

The fact that we are laborers together with God is a great thought.  We need each other; we all have different talents and duties

1 Corinthians 12:4 “Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.”
vs. 5 “And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord.”
vs. 6 “And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.”
vs. 7 “But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.”
vs. 8 “For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;”

We are all given different gifts by the Holy Spirit and yet, in the end, God is the one Who that makes the ministry work!

In a team, a church, or a family, no inferior parts will be found.  God blesses us for doing well what He designed us to do.   Faithfulness is what God desires, faithfulness to do and be what God designed us to be.    Obviously, if a part is missing, the team suffers.  We all matter far more than we realize. 

Pastor Goddard

 

Time

Good Morning,

We are amazing people.  Although, we live on a planet of six billion people, in a little blot of time, on a little speck of the planet, influencing one iota of eternity, our lives center around what we want -- we want now; and we want it done our way.

When the disciples had seen the Lord walk through the door into the room where they were, they needed to hear those first words, “Peace be unto you.”  The panic they felt was understandable.  Thomas was not there at the time, and when he returned, the excited men told of seeing the Lord.

John 20:25 “The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.”

If I were the Lord and some idiot had made such a statement, right then, I would have walked into where he was and scared him to death; but eight days passed before Jesus made another appearance.

John 20:26 “And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you.”

What went on during those eight days is unknown.  I think they re-lived every word He spoke.  I think one walked to the door and played as if he were Jesus and showed Thomas exactly what had taken place.  And knowing men, I think such rehearsing went on over and over for days.  Why it was eight days, I do not know.  What Jesus did during those days, I do not know.  But one thing I know is that God does not operate on our time tables.

Why did Moses have to spend 40 days on the mount while people were drifting into compromise?
Why were weeks of battle allowed to go on in Heaven before Daniel got his answer?
Why did Joseph have to spend 13 years in bondage and jail, and then rule before anything good came out of the situation?

We can find many of those time-related “whys” in our lives as well.  As a church, why did we have to spend 9 1/2 years in tents before we got a building?  Why do we now sit in a building overflowing with people, and in a town of 20,000, while it takes our city over two years to grant a simple building permit?  Why is it taking so long to raise money when the need is so great?  It is not as if God does not have sufficient resources to care for our needs.

Whatever the “Why is it taking so long?” in your life happens to be, let me encourage you to pay attention to the Bible stories of others just like you.  You are not alone in your wait.  God will act when it pleases Him to act.  What pleases Him is probably better than what pleases me (Probably? No, certainly!).

My world tends to focus almost completely on me, my friends and my family, without regard for the rest of the world or the world yet to be.  God on the other hand “so loved the world” that He made plans, orchestrated events over thousands of years, sacrificed incredibly, and has written the end of the story.

We may rest in His knowledge, though He rarely gives us answers to the “Why’s? or When’s?”  He is more than trustworthy.

Pastor Goddard

 

Tithing

Good Morning,

Malachi 3:10 “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.”

Malachi teaches us to tithe, to give of our increase to the Lord's house.  God promises rewards to those who tithe.  The number of Old Testament verses that are tossed out by modernists and liberals is interesting to me.  They start with the meaning of the verse then simply say the verse does not apply to us in the New Testament age.  (If only the government and local law enforcement would let us obey driving rules as to our preference.  (Haha!)  The fact remains that our Bible speaks of giving, tithing, sacrificing, and much more in regards to finances.

Proverbs 3:9 “Honour the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase:”
vs. 10 “So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine.”

The firstfruits is the tithe — the first part of the blessing of crops or herds, or in our case, the first part of every pay check.  Again, the promise comes to those who will give faithfully of their "firstfruits."

Our Lord asks us to remember to tithe, but tithing is not an end: we need to love people and practice judgment, mercy, and faith.  "These ought ye to have done..." (Luke 11:42) means to tithe of our goods.  We ought to tithe.  But we ought not think that tithing is sufficient when the world is in need of our love and righteous living.

Matthew 23:23 “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cumin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.”
Luke 11:42 “But woe unto you, Pharisees! for ye tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass over judgment and the love of God: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.”

Tithing has been a traditional method of giving; the only reason one would fight over giving 10% would be to keep more for himself and give less to God.  I simply can not get on that side of the argument.

Genesis 14:18 “And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God.”
vs. 19 “And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth:”
vs. 20 “And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all.”

As Abraham was returning from battle, he met Melchizedek who pronounced a blessing on Abraham.  Then Abraham gave the tithe of all he had gained to Melchizedek.  That event came about long before the law and Moses.  Tithing is a natural exercise believers follow. 

Pastor Goddard

 

Slander

Good Morning,

Considering Job these last few days, we can relate with him in the attacks on us from critics and slanderers.  Satan has no new methods, but the effectiveness of the old weapon of criticism is sufficient to make us fear.

In chapter 1, God called Job a righteous man; by chapter 8, he is under full assault by those frail, attacking friends.

Job 8:3 “Doth God pervert judgment? or doth the Almighty pervert justice?”
vs. 4 “If thy children have sinned against him, and he have cast them away for their transgression;”
vs. 5 “If thou wouldest seek unto God betimes, and make thy supplication to the Almighty;”
vs. 6 “If thou wert pure and upright; surely now he would awake for thee, and make the habitation of thy righteousness prosperous.”

Job’s friends slander his children:
vs. 4 “If thy children have sinned against him, and he have cast them away
What wicked things to say!  They told Job that God had cast off his children due to their sin.  (Remember the assault on Sarah Palin and her daughter?)  The devil’s crowd will happily ruin your child to prevent you from being useful to God. 

Bildad continues his slander:
vs. 5 “If thou wouldest seek unto God betimes…"
Now Bildad accuses Job's walk with God.  To act as if he knew how close Job was to God was the height of arrogance, yet believers often criticize other Christians by bringing their closeness to God into question.

Then Job (the man God called perfect and upright) gets hit again:
vs. 6 “If thou wert pure and upright”
Bildad accuses Job of being impure.  I have heard slanders about Dr. Hyles regarding purity; of course, that is an easy slander because there is no way to prove what is or is not done in secret.  Satan's minions have no restraint in deceiving or slandering the good character of God's best. 

Leaving Job no time to recover, Zophar steps in to continue the ugly words and insults:
Job 11:1 “Then answered Zophar the Naamathite, and said…"
vs. 3 “Should thy lies make men hold their peace? and when thou mockest, shall no man make thee ashamed?”

Zohar frankly calls Job a liar; he simply says that Job was being punished less than he deserved.  How vile!  How deep the pain Job must have felt to have a friend say that he deserved to have his children die, his wealth destroyed, and his health taken away. 

vs. 6 “... Know therefore that God exacteth of thee less than thine iniquity deserveth.”

Some quick lessons:

1. Do not think that anything is too low to be said if it will hurt a servant of God.

2. Be very careful about believing what you hear repeated, even by reputable men.

3. May none of us be the one who attacks, slanders, and defames the people of God around us.  Though weak and sinful, each one answers to God for his own deeds.

Romans 14:4 “Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.”

Pastor Goddard

 

Vote Freedom

Good morning

2 Chronicles 7:14 "If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."

As I traveled to an airport this week, I saw someone with a T-shirt on that said "a woman's place is in the White House.”  It is interesting to me that some people use gender as a reasons to put a person in any job, whether it be political or civilian.  That was like someone voting for the first black president.  For one thing, I thought he was half black and half white, but everyone who pays attention knows that it was an issue. They were so excited to get, “the first black president.” 

Why not vote for someone who is honest, or someone who believes what you believe?  Why not vote for someone who might defend our freedoms? 

Still, the black president managed to destroy the job market and employment for black Americans.  Voting for the first female president is absolutely  absurd and against everything our country stands for.  I thought we would vote for the candidate who would swear to uphold laws and defend our people in their pursuit of life liberty and property (those things that were promised by our founders).  

We should not be voting for a gender or a race but for president.   We should vote for someone who can help America stay true to our country's first principles.  As Christians, we should vote for someone who believes our most basic biblical and political principals.  Perhaps we could find someone who loves America, who will defend our Bill of Rights, and stand for the first two amendments, freedom of speech and freedom to bear arms.  Maybe a president of a nation ought to believe that which the nation was founded upon.

What we should vote for is freedom, not for a government that forces us to do things in which we do believe. 
Joshua 24:15 "And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD."
1 Kings 18:21 "And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the LORD be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him..."

I heard someone say he was voting for liberals because they seemed more willing to give to the poor and he felt like that was a biblical principal.  If, before making statements like this, a little bit of research is done, one would find that liberals, as a whole, give away taxpayer dollars that they take from others.   Liberals are rarely generous with their own money.  If we would like to follow biblical principles, this is a better example:
2 Thessalonians 3:10 "For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat."

We should give to others…by choice!

Luke 6:38 "Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again."

…but giving should not be something a government does with our tax dollars, but what we do personally out of a loving heart.

John 8:36 "If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed."

The Bible is full of passages on the subject of freedom; God designs mankind to be free.  Adam was free to eat of the forbidden fruit or not.  Today, mankind is free to marry or live in adultery.  We are free to be drunks or to be sober.  The most biblical way of thinking is that one that provides the most liberty and the least regulation.  Satanic rule has always been one of dominance, bondage, and authoritarianism.  Hitler, Stalin, the Muslim world, and other dictators create a world in which God is pushed out along with freedom of choice.  In dictatorships, liberty is replaced by tyranny, and the government tells you what is moral and what is not.   Christianity shows you what is true in the Bible and allows you liberty to choose. 

Freedom and biblical thinking do not force me to pay taxes to support schools I do not believe in or to abort babies against my conscience.   Biblical principles allow parents the freedom to choose the education of their young people.  Freedom as God offers, allows the lady the freedom to stay pure or be involved intimately, and then God would want freedom to protect the unborn baby in the womb.

Freedom from God does not kill babies nor sell their body parts -- that is animalistic and vile.
Vote and pray for your country!  Much is at stake!  For me, I will vote for what is closest to biblical morality and to that which I think will protect our right to believe what we want, to practice our faith, and also hopefully, to defend our Constitution. 

Pastor Goddard

Try

Good Morning,

Action is almost always better than inaction.  There are times to wait, but often the need of the hour is to work, to attempt, and to try.  That is what Jonathan did in this story:
       
1 Samuel 14:1 “Now it came to pass upon a day, that Jonathan the son of Saul said unto the young man that bare his armour, Come, and let us go over to the Philistines' garrison, that is on the other side. But he told not his father.”
vs. 6 “And Jonathan said to the young man that bare his armour, Come, and let us go over unto the garrison of these uncircumcised: it may be that the LORD will work for us: for there is no restraint to the LORD to save by many or by few.”
vs. 7 “And his armourbearer said unto him, Do all that is in thine heart: turn thee; behold, I am with thee according to thy heart.”

The army of Israel was terribly outnumbered and in serious trouble.  They had no real answer for the trouble.  But Jonathan said, “Let us try.”  It was not a try in obedience to God, it was a try because he was sitting there doing nothing.

There is a lot to be said for trying.  Try soul winning.  Try visiting on a bus route.  Try getting into daily Bible reading and prayer.  The attempt to try is often the first step to success.  No one knows how a situation will end if they will not at least try.  Try getting problems right in your marriage; do not sit back hopelessly waiting for the end of a failed relationship.  Try!  Try fixing something in time, dating, intimacy, or conversation.

At the risk of getting too personal, try exercise or walking daily; it might give you a longer life to serve God.  Try teaching Sunday school again.  Leaders do not know if you desire to teach; they are not mind readers.  Yes, it is possible that you are a young believer not ready to teach, but why not try?  Ask leaders what it takes to teach and see what they say.  Some of our finest members "used to teach,” and I, for one, have no idea why they are not teaching now.  I will not bother them, but I would love to have them start teaching the Bible to others again.

The famous missionary William Cary said, “Expect great things from God.  Attempt great things for God.”

Try... preaching in a rest home or jail.
Try... driving a Sunday school bus.
Try... working in nursery.
Try... applying for a job.

No one gets anything done until they have tried.

Pastor Goddard

Whose World Is It?

Good Morning,

In case you have not noticed, most of the entertainment world is liberal.   If you look through the movie and music industries, you will find baby killers, pro-homosexuals, anti-gun advocates, and worshippers of goldfish, toadstools, and dirt clods.   Liberalism is satanic, anti-life, anti-freedom, and certainly anti-God.  These people worship the creature more than the Creator (Romans 1:25).

This sort of thinking is logical because this world is Satan's domain.  He makes his own advocates famous.  I would give my children the best opportunities, and the evil one does so for his children as well.  They are going to get a shot at the fame and fortune of this world because it belongs to the devil.  Some good people are successful, but the number is far fewer than the number of successful people who are godless.  There is a “…god of this world.” 

2 Corinthians 4:4 “In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.”

Satan offered Jesus great power and influence because it was his to give; and today, Satan continues to offer influence to his own. 

Luke 4:5 “And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time.”
vs. 6 “And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it.”

We forget that this world is not our home, and that this world is cursed; we also forget that this world is under the authority of Satan. 

John 12:31 “Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.”

There will come a day when evil will be removed, but for now, we are forced to deal with selfishness, greed, lawlessness, and evil intents in most positions of power.  By God's grace, a few good folks get into positions of power, but that scenario is not usual.

Satan blinds people who will not receive the truth of the Gospel. 
John 12:40 “He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them.”

Have you never wondered why people cannot understand or grasp the simple truth of the Gospel and morality?  The reason:  blindness is their family trait. 

The powers of the air belong to Satan, and he has used television, movies, internet, and radio to promote abortion, sodomy, and all forms of godlessness. 

Ephesians 2:2 “Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:”

Did you ever wonder why most radio and television news stations are liberal?  The reason is because the owner of most of these venues is liberal — Satan. 

We live in a world in which we are forced to wrestle against spiritual wickedness. 
Ephesians 6:12 “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”

Do not let too much of Hollywood influence your mind; Hollywood is owned and operated for the most part by the devil and his crowd.  Guard the amount of time you spend listening to the radio, for the radio is basically under vile management.

How often have we wondered why some wicked detail was put into a movie when it mattered not at all to the plot or the drama?  Of course, the evil one tosses in his trash; he wants to influence our thinking as much as possible.  Satan lives for trash and longs for us to meditate on garbage.

Why, in a good story, is there some earth worshiper or queer who just happens to work into the story?  Because the earthly writers and producers are family to the owner, Satan.

I look at creation and wonder how everyone cannot see the Creator.  I watch something like "Planet Earth" or go to a large aquarium and marvel that everyone there is not saved.  Creation makes it so obvious that there is a God, and that the Creator is worthy of our love and worship.

2 Corinthians 4:4 “In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not…”

When you refuse the truth of the love of God and the Gospel of Christ, you open yourself up to satanic blinders; and no matter how much truth and glory you see, your heart is hardened and your eyes are blinded to the truth. 

Just as we ought to fill our minds with the Bible, good preaching, and godly music to be near to God and be more Christlike in our thinking, Satan wants to fill our minds with garbage music and satanic thinking.

This is not our world.  This is not our home.  Do not expect a fair shake in elections.  Do not be surprised when the media pushes the political candidate that loves abortion, sodomy, and environmental issues.  We ought to expect main-stream media to give liberal ideas 90% of the positive attention and only speaks of good people in a negative light.

A wrong leader can be easily identified.  If a leader wants more laws, more government intervention, more environmentalism, more abortion, and de-emphisis on the home, he is satanic.  If a leader makes wrong look right and shame appear good, they work for the devil.

A leader who wants freedom and sanctity of life, and who loves and honors the home and family is more likely to be on God's side.

Why are God's people making heroes of athletes, singers, or movie stars who openly proclaim that they belong to the side of evil? 

Never doubt that this world has a god of darkness, evil, murder, and bondage.  If Satan can bring bondage through drugs, he is happy.  If bondage comes through communism or religious domination (Islam), he will most certainly be just as happy.   Satan simply loves bondage.

"Free indeed" is one of the promises of Christ, but when Satan gets his way, he leaves people bound; whether he leaves Samson at the grinding wheel or the demoniac bound in the grave yard. 

Whether choosing entertainment or a political candidate, choose freedom as much as possible.  Remember, this world belongs to the evil one; keep it at arms distance, and certainly do not choose his own as your political authority.

Pastor Goddard

 

Tolerance

Good Morning,

When our founding fathers wrote the Establishment Clause, they made it clear that the government was to make no laws establishing a religion. The founders came from a culture that demanded each person be a part of the religion established by the government (whether in England or Italy). They did not intend a government without religion, for religion was very much a part of our first 150 years of American history.  But men were free to choose their religion.  Lining up those ideas with what we see in America today is difficult.  Understanding the Establishment Clause and its roots certainly makes it easier to understand why they wrote what they wrote.

For those who are too young to remember, until the 1960s, our schools all had prayer, Bible, and God in the classroom.  No one was forced to attend a certain church, and no one had to baptize their babies, but we were all taught to honor morality and respect God and right.   We were all taught to keep the "Golden Rule" — "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”  This rule does not establish a religion, it protects a moral culture. 

For a thousand years of European history, if you were not a Catholic, you were hunted, tortured, put to death, or banished.  When the Reformation took place, Luther, Zwingli, Calvin, and others established the Protestant churches.  (Protestant meaning to protest from within; they were once Catholics, but protested from within the church and came out.  These men were definitely not Baptists — for Baptists were never found within the Catholic church.)  Protestants picked up the mandatory state church idea from Catholicism.  If you were not a Lutheran, Martin Luther and his followers hunted you.  If you were in the area of Calvin and Zwingli, and you were not a member of the state church, you were jailed, banished, killed or tortured; and all of your goods could be taken from you for simply not being a member of the state church.  This kind of chaos occurred in England until the 1600s when our King James Bible was translated.  With that kind of a background, picture the many founders coming to America desiring to incorporate freedom of religion into our Constitution and our Bill of Rights.  (Much of the freedom of religion evolved from those who viewed the continued persecution of Baptists in America; see America in Crimson Red by James Beller).  Understanding their meaning when they said that the state should make no law establishing a religion is not difficult.

A cross being erected on government-owned property is very different from Calvin murdering people who were not a member of his church.  For a public school to have prayer for God’s mercy and blessing on the commencement ceremony is certainly nothing close to establishing a state religion.  A judge ordered the Ten Commandments to be removed from a courtroom wall for this reason:  someone might read them and then be compelled to keep them; the state does not want to be responsible for that.  Well, the state has succeeded; for none of their disciples are keeping the commandments: no murder, no lying, no adultery —the state has succeeded in keeping those terrible morals from the common man.   This twisted philosophy is NOT what the framers of our nation had in mind when they wrote the Establishment Clause.

Today, the only true establishment violation taking place in America is the ACLU and the liberal democrats establishing godlessness, heathenism, and a religion of humanism as a mandate for all people in the nation.  The young people in our public schools are having a godless religion jammed down their throats.  The religion of Evolution, which takes far more faith to believe than Creation, is established by the state.  The religion of atheism is certainly being forced on Americans through politics, public schools, and universities.  What the left-wing liberals call freedom is actually a violation of the very simple principles with which our Founding Fathers began — as a people, we were free to believe what we wanted to believe.  We were free to be Lutherans, Catholics, Methodists, Baptists, and we were free to be an atheist or a Christian.  No one, not even the government, could force anyone to believe one certain thing.  Today, unquestionably, the government is forcing atheism and Evolution down the throats of every public school child and every university student.

The Bible instructs parents to teach their children:
Deuteronomy 4:9 “Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons’ sons;”
Deuteronomy 6:7 “And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.”
Psalm 78:3 “Which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us.”
vs. 4 “We will not hide them from their children, shewing to the generation to come the praises of the LORD, and his strength, and his wonderful works that he hath done.”

We are not supposed to let heathen ideas be taught to our children:
Jeremiah 10:2 “Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen…"
Leviticus 20:23 “And ye shall not walk in the manners of the nation, which I cast out before you: for they committed all these things, and therefore I abhorred them.”

We are to control that which enters the minds of our children; we are to protect them from shameful ideas; and we are to help them gain a grasp of the Bible and its truth.
Psalms 1:1 “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.”
 vs. 2 “But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.”

While the world is jamming godless, immoral, and heathen ideas into our children's heads and hearts, we stand around fretting because it is too expensive to attend private schools.   Ever wonder why the government is so against vouchers for school?  They would not be in control of the mind of your child — that is why!!  Our government wants to be in complete control of your heart and your head.  It is our job to not let them!!

Pastor Goddard

 

Our Hope

Good morning

Romans 8:37 “Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.”

We live in exciting days in our nation. Certainly, days in which we need God's mercy and help. Consider this:  one of the top two candidates for president is being investigated by the FBI for multiple scandals, both personally and in the charitable foundation that they operate.  In addition to that, the same presidential candidate has given uranium to our deadliest enemies and sold access to our federal government in exchange for contributions to their personal charity.  This is not surprising to anyone over forty who pays attention because a decade ago, when the same person left the White House they stole furniture and china!  Who does something like that?  Yes, this person was forced to return it all, but what kind of people hold the highest office then steal historic, public property?  

Then we have a candidate who has never held a public office.  That is extremely unusual!

For those of you who are “millennials,” please understand that you were 13-20 years old when our current president took office.  As the pastor of 35 years, let me assure you that it is unusual for college students to not have a job in the summer.  But for some reason, today it is common, and has been so over the past five years.  If we look back a decade, we will find it was uncommon for college graduates to not have jobs — today this is a common scenario.  Most of you do not remember the Clinton administration with all of the moral impropriety and shameful activity, but since you were a teenager, the employment of college graduates has decreased.

Our churches have lost about 25% of income since our current president took office.  Our attendance has remained basically the same.  In spite of people leaving California, new people have come to replace them, but the economy has devastated families and businesses.

Yet the Bible promises,
1 Corinthians 15:57 “But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Young adults, let me assure you that the normal young people from 10 to 20 years ago were not living with their parents.  What has happened to your nation is terrible.   Because of leadership in our country, and because of the sorry job our universities are doing, young adult Americans somehow settle for pitiful wages and the guest room in their parents’ home.  This scenario is not normal for America, but it is new!

John 10:10 “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”

Christ came to offer us hope, strength, sufficiency, and more.
Psalm 37:25 “I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.”

This economic and emotional low is also a new thing; it is not godly or normal.

Regarding jobs, it is exciting to me to see the young people who grew up in our church and how it seems everyone of them has found their way to a good job.  Most of the young people who grew up in our church, whether they went into the ministry or the secular world, have been able to secure quality employment.  Good, old-fashioned, Bible Christianity produces something internally that helps the young person make it in the working world.  Even those young adults who are no longer attending church are finding good jobs.  Whatever the reason, whether it be good homes, good church, good school, or the fine youth department, something has happened in the hearts of our young people, and I say it is all amazing grace!

It is God Who prospers us, and mercy upon which we depend.  Seek His kingdom and His righteousness first, and then vote for right, moral, and biblical values as best as God leads you.   Fear not; but be sure that if evil gains more political authority, the people will suffer.

Proverbs 29:2 “When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.”

Pastor Bruce Goddard

Wisdom Brings More Wisdom

Good Morning,

One of the most important reasons to learn, to seek God, to surrender to His will, and to submit to His plans is this simple concept:  God gives wisdom to the wise. 

Daniel 2:21 “And he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding:”

"...he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding:"

Why would God offer wisdom to those who do not use that which they have?  Why would God offer understanding to those who ignore the Bible and the clear truth it reveals?  The more you listen, the more God gives you.   Wisdom is a doorway to the room where wisdom and understanding is meted out.

Mark 4:24 “And he said unto them, Take heed what ye hear: with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you: and unto you that hear shall more be given.”

To the degree that we listen, to that same degree God will give us more information, inspiration, and understanding.

Proverbs 4:18 “But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.”

When we walk in the path of the light, God will show us more light.  If we ignore the light, we will find ourselves in darkness.

From childhood, obedience brings more knowledge, wisdom, and opportunity.  If we follow the Lord, we can assume that God will give us light and direction for tomorrow.  The more we follow, the greater light and wisdom we will receive.  Nothing can outrank simple childlike, obedient faith.  Our desire for more from God will be repaid in proportion to our seeking and listening.

Proverbs 2:3 “Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding;”
vs. 4 “If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures;”
vs. 5 “Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God…"
vs. 9 “Then shalt thou understand righteousness, and judgment, and equity; yea, every good path.”

God moves in response to our desires for truth, understanding, and wisdom.  Likewise, God ignores those who ignore His Word.

Proverbs 1:24 “Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded;”
vs. 25 “But ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof:”
vs. 26 “I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh;”

I do not want God to ignore me!  In fact, I want God to protect me, to comfort me, to instruct me, and to do much more for me — all of that comes with seeking Him.

Pastor  Goddard

 

Flesh

Good Morning,

As we pass through life, we are often caught off guard by the situations in which others end up; at times, we even shock ourselves by the mess we create.  The surprise we feel shows that we fail to understand who we are.

Genesis 6:5 “And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”

We really are terribly sinful and have an infinite potential for evil.
“...that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”

We are possessed by a most deadly and evil flesh.  Paul put it this way:
Romans 7:18 “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.”
vs. 19 “For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.”
vs. 20 “Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.”

These verses are hard enough to grasp, but the next verse is really something we believers simply do not truly believe:
vs. 21 “I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.”

Evil is present with me?  Really?  Do we believe that evil resides in us and that unless we are spiritually stable and battlefield-ready, we will be ruled by a wickedness beyond belief?

America is falling because we do not believe that the daily choices and minor directional changes that are taking place will do much harm.  Many Americans have no problem with the idea of changing the Constitution or at least the first two amendments; obviously those people are unaware that our society was built upon those foundational truths and on the Biblical truth: “If the foundations be destroyed, what shall the righteous do?” (Psalm 11:3)

In spite of the countless little things that strengthen and preserve our spiritual health, we can slowly erode the stability and security of our Christian life; and one day, tragedy will strike.

A war rages inside us:
vs. 23 “But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind...”

The rest of verse 23 gives us the dreaded warning of “bridge out” just down the road: slavery and bondage.
“...bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.”
Fearful of this vile evil within, Paul continues:
vs. 24 “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?”

We are too self-sufficient, too self-confident, and not nearly fearful enough.

The solution is a total dependence upon the person of Christ,  by yielding our lives to His control in the countless little deeds of the day.
Romans 8:13 “For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.”

We are no match for the devil; but more than that, we are no match for our sinful flesh.  We need to be yielded to the Spirit of God and find victory only through His indwelling power.

We read Paul’s confident statement:
Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”

For the flesh profiteth nothing.
John 6:63 “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.”

There is no task so important today that it should take priority over the simple things we all know to do: reading the Bible, praying, and obeying and yielding to the Spirit of God.

Pastor Goddard

 

Rulers (Part 2)

Good Morning,

We have heard much about patriotism and love of country recently; we might be wise to take that love to the ballot box.

Psalm 12:8 “The wicked walk on every side, when the vilest men are exalted.”

If we vote vile men and women into office, we will soon be surrounded by the wicked.  When the president is evil, so is the cabinet; as the leader goes, so goes the follower.  When the mayor is corrupt, the police chief will soon follow suit.  When that happens, how faithful to the law will the police on the street continue to be?  We will have a culture of "every man for himself" (we are well on our way to that kind of society).

Proverbs 29:12 “If a ruler hearken to lies, all his servants are wicked.”

America tossed out Carson, Cruz, and Rubio — all men of faith and seemingly honorable in manners; but whatever characteristics they possess, we will not know.  The candidates we have will determine what happens to our nation in the next few years.

Proverbs 29:2 “When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.”

If we find ourselves ruled by the wicked, God assures us we will mourn.  God has given us the unusual privilege to elect our leaders.  If we choose the vilest men, it is our own fault.  Talk to people about right and wrong, promote good leaders, and promote decency and morality.  Do not be silent on righteous matters.  Tell store owners you will not shop there due to shameful items sold or displayed; stop people from talking wickedly in your presence; turn a deaf ear to suggestive comments and allow no place for the promiscuous attitude.  As often as need be to promote right, shut off wrong, shut down wrong, turn away, and say no! 

Isaiah 59:14 “And judgment is turned away backward, and justice standeth afar off: for truth is fallen in the street, and equity cannot enter.”
vs. 15 “Yea, truth faileth; and he that departeth from evil maketh himself a prey: and the LORD saw it, and it displeased him that there was no judgment.”
vs. 16 “And he saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor: therefore his arm brought salvation unto him; and his righteousness, it sustained him.”

When truth fails and right is forgotten, God is displeased and wonders why no one intercedes for it.

If wicked men rise, the good people hide; that is no direction for our nation to go!
Proverbs 28:12 “When righteous men do rejoice, there is great glory: but when the wicked rise, a man is hidden.”
vs. 28 “When the wicked rise, men hide themselves: but when they perish, the righteous increase.”

May we not have an unconcerned spirit toward our leaders.  Lack of concern will determine the state of the country in which our children live.  The Gospel ministry can quickly be forced underground again if wickedness rules.

Pray; pray for our leaders; pray for mercy (2 Chronicles 7:14); pray for Heaven's help.
       
1 Timothy 2:1 “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;”
vs. 2 “For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.”
vs. 3 “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;”

Pastor Goddard

 

Rulers

Good Morning,

Psalm 2:1 “Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?”
vs. 2 “The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying,”
vs. 3 “Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.”
vs. 4 “He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision.”

We are in a world that passionately fights to keep God out of its sight, mind, and most of all, out of the hearts of young people.  From the earliest school age, godlessness rages in America. 

Psalms 2:1 “Why do the heathen rage,”

The problem remains:  if there is a God, we are accountable to Him; and people just cannot allow that kind of thinking to be in their hearts.  Therefore, they “…imagine a vain thing.”  (Psalm 2:1)

The rulers of our nation have set themselves  in opposition to God.  (Verse 2: “The kings of the earth set themselves…)  They want no part of God, and they certainly want no part of morality.  It bothers our leaders in every area. 

A recent insurance law was sent to agents regarding gender:
“Gender identity means an individual’s internal sense of gender, which may be male, female, neither, or a combination of male and female, which may be different from an individual’s sex assigned at birth.  The way an individual expresses gender identity is frequently called gender expression, and may not conform to social stereotypes associated with a particular gender.  A transgender person is an individual whose gender identity is different from the sex assigned to that person at birth.”

vs. 2 “The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying,”
vs. 3 “Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.”

The bands and cords are the rules of morality, the biblical laws of life that God has set up; and rulers HATE Divine laws.  They hate the idea that there is anyone that can make rules or set up right and wrong.
 
Rulers are set in their thinking; they take counsel together to figure out how to run the nation without God.  Our leaders are laboring to break any biblical rules or cultural routines that come from our biblical heritage.  Of course it is all satanically inspired, but these rulers think it is all their doing.

Over thirty years ago, I said that liberals want to create a Robin Hood culture in which a few rich people rule over the poverty-stricken masses.  A society in which the common man begs for favors from the political elite; and as long as nothing in the poor man’s life bothers the ruling class, all will be well — poor, but well.  Have we forgotten that medical insurance used to be a business in which we paid money to an insurance company; and when our doctors said we needed some medical treatment, it happened.  Now we beg our way through a political mess — almost hopelessly.  Nowadays, a government favor allows us to have a surgery. 

Today, every common, American right and morality is challenged.  As verse three says in our text, “Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.”

Soon, the government will be coming into our churches telling us what can and cannot be preached.  Another generation of public schools will tear God and decency out of the hearts and minds of children, and be followed by another generation of universities turning our children into mindless citizens of the world rather than Americans.  Universities will strive to make our children more concerned about global climate change than getting an education that prepares them to work, to raise a family, and to face an eternal God.  When this happens, once again the law will be able to walk into churches and tell preachers what to say and what not to say. 

Honestly, these thoughts could become discouraging except for verse four:
vs. 4 “He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision.”

Fear not child of God:  rulers for centuries have hated God and His people.  God is not worried: He is laughing.   Forever, kings have set themselves against the Lord, His Book, and His people.  Never wonder how the current situation will turn out.  God will laugh at this liberal, lawless, immoral society, and He will most surely have them in “derision.” 

Remember when Nebuchadnezzar stood as a self-appointed deity?  God reminded the king that He was in charge and that His men were in touch with the Eternal One.  Later, when the king spewed prideful words over his accomplishments, God turned him into an animal. (Daniel 3:15;4:33)

A conservative, Constitution-loving American who is not a Christian could get very worried; but the child of God can sit back and watch while God humbles and mocks the heathen who rage, and the people who imagine a vain thing.  (Psalm 2:1)

We can relax and do our job of loving God and loving the people around us, witnessing, running buses, teaching Sunday School; as the song writer put it, “What a day that will be, when my Jesus I shall see…”

I can hardly wait until these presidential candidates bow before Jesus.  Do not miss our next few Adult Sunday school lessons, as the end of the world and the judgment are studied.  Awesome days are ahead —and God and God's people will win! 

Pastor Bruce Goddard

 

No Help In the World

Good Morning,

There are events, people, and places in the Bible that serve as types, pictures, or symbolisms.  Many of these pictures are very clear; others are vague.  Building entire Bible doctrines on types is not a good idea; but these symbols do communicate principles that are helpful, as long as they do not contradict other clear passages. 

Egypt is a type of the world.  This symbolism is clear and accepted by most as such.  God called His people out of the world (Egypt) and to Himself. He called his people to a different life and different worship.  He wants his people to rely on their Heavenly Father, not on the world.  This is illustrated in the life of Abraham, of whom we read the words “tent and altar” at each move he made.

Genesis 12:8 “And he removed from thence unto a mountain on the east of Bethel, and pitched his tent, having Bethel on the west, and Hai on the east: and there he builded an altar unto the LORD, and called upon the name of the LORD.”
Genesis 13:18 “Then Abram removed his tent, and came and dwelt in the plain of Mamre, which is in Hebron, and built there an altar unto the LORD.”
Genesis 26:25 “And he builded an altar there, and called upon the name of the LORD, and pitched his tent there: and there Isaac’s servants digged a well.”

When Abraham moved to Egypt, there was only the tent, not the altar — a significant difference to say the least.  But when one moves back to the world we would not expect an altar to be a focal point of life.  It was there where Hagar entered their world.

In Isaiah’s time, we read the following:
Isaiah 30:1 “Woe to the rebellious children, saith the LORD, that take counsel, but not of me; and that cover with a covering, but not of my spirit, that they may add sin to sin:”
vs. 2 “That walk to go down into Egypt, and have not asked at my mouth; to strengthen themselves in the strength of Pharaoh, and to trust in the shadow of Egypt!”

What foolish men to run to Egypt asking for advice and help in their trouble with Babylon!  Today, we believers are foolish people for running to the world to seek advice and instruction on the things of God.  When churches fail to grow, we run to the world’s music, the world’s casual atmosphere, and the world’s light shows.  Why not run to prayer and fasting and to the Bible and holiness, seeking the help of Heaven? 
vs. 3 “Therefore shall the strength of Pharaoh be your shame, and the trust in the shadow of Egypt your confusion.”
vs. 4 “For his princes were at Zoan, and his ambassadors came to Hanes.”
vs. 5 “They were all ashamed of a people that could not profit them, nor be an help nor profit, but a shame, and also a reproach.”

The strength of the world will result in our shame and confusion.  In America, we see solid, young preachers who have tried to run to the world’s methods and are now confused; they do not know what they believe.  Recently, I mentioned a good man who, when asked about his new pastor’s beliefs, responded that his pastor was still trying to figure out what he believed.  Poor, misguided young men, who, after years of Bible college, do not know what they believe! 

“…the strength of Pharaoh shall be your shame, and …. your confusion.” (Isaiah 30:3)

vs. 6 “The burden of the beasts of the south: into the land of trouble and anguish, from whence come the young and old lion, the viper and fiery flying serpent, they will carry their riches upon the shoulders of young asses, and their treasures upon the bunches of camels, to a people that shall not profit them.”

Israel sent gifts of great wealth to Egypt in order to try to secure military help in the battles they faced; but to no avail, for it was God the Israelites were offending, and God was sending these trials. 

Israel sent their wealth “… to a people that shall not profit them.”

Today, we send our children to universities in hopes of good jobs, and a good life; but understand that if by chance they receive training that gives them good jobs, the worldly influence and carnal appetites created may sit latent for years, yet bloom in maturity and affect monumental life choices.  There is no telling what corrupt  political, social, and family values are subtly pushed into the hearts of our youth.  

We are sending our wealth, our most valuable possessions -- our children, “… to a people that shall not profit them.”

Running to the world for help with a broken arm or dental work might be good; but what does the world know about life?  Do not lean on the world, but humbly run to Christ, God’s Word, and a holy life.  Allow God to provide for the material needs we may have.  For pastors and churches to run to the world for ideas on reaching youth is vanity!  The world does nothing but ruin our young people, soil their morals, crush their family values, and leave them hopeless in despair.  We need none of the world’s advice.  May we be satisfied with the humble life God has provided, seeking not the world’s wealth or peace. 

Ezra 9:12 “Now therefore give not your daughters unto their sons, neither take their daughters unto your sons, nor seek their peace or their wealth for ever: that ye may be strong, and eat the good of the land, and leave it for an inheritance to your children for ever.”

Pastor Goddard

Evil Men

Good Morning,

Considering the confused world around us, allow me to repeat a few thoughts I recently shared at a Wednesday night service:

Proverbs 16:4 “The LORD hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.”

We need not fear the wicked; not only are they under God's control, but He also made them  "...for the day of evil.”  It is no surprise to God; He is totally sovereign.

Proverbs 16:5 “Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD: though hand join in hand, he shall not be unpunished.”
 
God will deal with evil leaders and followers; no matter how strong they appear or if they run the newspapers, radio, and television stations, they will not go unpunished.

vs. 7 “When a man’s ways please the LORD, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.”

Of course voting and signing petitions is our duty, but most of all, consume yourself with pleasing God and allowing Him to work out the details in others areas.  Labor to make your ways please God, and all else will be fine.
 
vs. 9 “A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps.”
No matter what men may plan, God is sovereign and will direct events and circumstances.

vs. 10 “A divine sentence is in the lips of the king: his mouth transgresseth not in judgment.”
We need not fear when authorities go wrong; God is in charge — even of wicked rulers.

Exodus 9:16 “And in very deed for this cause have I raised thee up, for to shew in thee my power; and that my name may be declared throughout all the earth.”

Even Pharaoh, who enslaved the nation of Israel, was brought to that point in time when he brought honor and glory to God.  Fear not!!

Proverbs 16:11 “A just weight and balance are the LORD’S: all the weights of the bag are his work.”

God will do right; God will be fair in His dealings with mankind — even when it seems wrong, God will ultimately be right.  When the coin of destiny is flipped, relax, for God has His eye on the coin.

Proverbs 16:33 “The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of the LORD.”

Fear not child of God!  God is our refuge, our strength, and our sure foundation.  Obviously, we would all like decent and moral leaders, but God is near and will not forsake His own.

Pastor Goddard

Patience

Good Morning,

If we were to get our joy from the morning news, we would be the most miserable of people.  God is our refuge, our hope, our trust; we can rest in Him.  Understand that the events happening at this moment are not the end result, and what we see right now is not what will be in the future.  We may see evil people getting away with shame; we may see the vilest of men escaping the most logical judgment and punishment, but there is an end!!

Psalm 52:7 “Lo, this is the man that made not God his strength; but trusted in the abundance of his riches, and strengthened himself in his wickedness.”

In this passage, we read of a man who has no use for God, but instead, trusts in himself for money and earthly wisdom.

Here on earth, some people may be caught committing a crime and remain unpunished, but not eternally.  Some people will boast that they are free to run roughshod over our laws and Constitution, but there is a law of God yet to be faced and a Divine Judge to Whom they will yet answer. 

In that day, God will judge the wicked:
Psalm 52:5 “God shall likewise destroy thee for ever, he shall take thee away, and pluck thee out of thy dwelling place, and root thee out of the land of the living.”
 
The righteous will fear God and laugh at the wicked for not trusting in the wonderful love of God.  
Psalm 52:6 “The righteous also shall see, and fear, and shall laugh at him:”
vs. 7 “Lo, this is the man that made not God his strength; but trusted in the abundance of his riches, and strengthened himself in his wickedness.”
 
What brings us peace and rest?  What allows frail men to prosper in this life?  Not our own righteousness, but trust in the mercy of God.
vs. 8 “But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God: I trust in the mercy of God for ever and ever.”

Psalm 73 reveals the frustration of good people seeing evil men prosper and getting away with their shameful deeds.
Psalm 73:12 “Behold, these are the ungodly, who prosper in the world; they increase in riches.”
vs. 13 “Verily I have cleansed my heart in vain, and washed my hands in innocency.”
vs. 14 “For all the day long have I been plagued, and chastened every morning.”

David saw evil rewarded; he watched as good people struggled and bad people seemed to have no problems; but then in church, he found the answer.
vs. 17 “Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end.”
vs. 18 “Surely thou didst set them in slippery places: thou castedst them down into destruction.”
vs. 19 “How are they brought into desolation, as in a moment! they are utterly consumed with terrors.”

Make God your trust — in good days and bad.
Psalm 52:7 “Lo, this is the man that made not God his strength;”
vs. 8 “But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God: I trust in the mercy of God for ever and ever.”

Trust in the Lord; it is always our best and safest course to travel.  Do not worry about the wicked.  God is the judge.

Pastor Goddard

 

Judge or Examine

Good Morning,

Reading in Matthew we find a familiar verse that is often used among believers:
Matthew 7:1 “Judge not, that ye be not judged.”
vs. 2 “For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.”

This principle is interpreted in many ways, but one way to be sure you are on track with what a passage teaches is to view more Scripture in the context or on the subject elsewhere.   Some would say this verse means you should not be looking at another believer and saying their life and actions are wrong.  We are told we should not mention their lifestyle as wrong for you are being a judge.   Preachers are being called judgmental if they mention homosexuality as a sin (which God clearly does), or if a man preaches against liquor or adultery he is labeled a shameful judge.  But in the same chapter we read these words:

vs. 15 “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.”
vs. 16 “Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?”
vs. 17 “Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.”
vs. 18 “A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.”
vs. 19 “Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
vs. 20 “Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.”

When it comes to determining which preachers or teachers or “prophets” we should follow, we are commanded to examine the "fruit" and “judge," our prudent judgment will guide us and prevent us from following wrong people, reading wrong books, and learning wrong on the internet.

Someone said, "We are not to be judges, but we are commanded to be fruit inspectors."  

I can listen, watch, and choose to avoid someone and their instruction, yet at the same time, not judge them or rashly condemn their behavior.  We should avoid quick judgments and a spirit that causes us to condemn everyone and everything at first glance.  Verses 15 - 20 command us to look, consider, and carefully see the “fruit" of those whom we judge.  The only obvious difference seems to be suddenness of our judgment and perhaps doing so without all the facts. 

Interestingly, God sets the standard for our own judgment by how we treat others.

Matthew 7:2 “For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.”

Luke 6:37 “Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven:”

Treatment of each one of us is determined by how we treat others.  Are we harsh and critical of every little detail?  We will receive the same harsh judgement — who wants that?
Matthew 6:14 “For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:”
Remember Jesus said that He would be merciful to the merciful:
Psalm 18:25 “With the merciful thou wilt shew thyself merciful;”
Matthew 5:7 “Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.”
James 2:13 “For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment.”

The idea that we are not to carefully examine the life and teaching of others prior to our allowing their influence in our lives is complete folly.  We should examine the lives of children with whom our own play, schools we allow our children to attend, and movies and books that we place before our families — and it is no different for adults.  We must all be careful what we allow into our minds. 

Proverbs 23:7 “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee.”
Acts 4:20 “For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.”

What we see and hear will make a difference in our thoughts and actions.  So yes, we must judge, inspect, and make careful decisions about what we read, watch, and to whom we listen. Matthew 7:20 “Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.”
 
So to quickly criticize, slander, and condemn every man who crosses our paths would be wrong; but to carefully inspect the fruit of the life and ministry of a man before joining his church or reading his books is only logical. 

Judgment in verse 1 is as wrong as it is abrupt and undocumented, yet careful examination of teachers and preachers in verse 15 would be logical and proper.

So no, do not judge, but yes, examine, watch, and carefully determine who you will allow to influence you.

Pastor Goddard

Politicians and Preachers

Good Morning,

We live in a day of increasing hostility toward Gospel preachers and the ministry of the church.

This hostility is new to this generation in America, for we have enjoyed a long history of freedom for the last century; but religious liberty was not found in early America.  Baptists were jailed, banished, beaten, and abused in many ways.  Prior to the founding of America, Bible preachers faced every persecution imaginable in Europe from both Catholics and Protestants who held government positions.  In the dark ages, religious and political leaders worked arm-in-arm — the Bible was no friend to these merchants of bondage — of both mental and physical slavery.

Even that was not new; notice the attitude of political leaders toward Amos and his preaching.

Amos 7:10 “Then Amaziah the priest of Bethel sent to Jeroboam king of Israel, saying, Amos hath conspired against thee in the midst of the house of Israel: the land is not able to bear all his words.”

Jeremiah, too, faced trouble from political and religious leaders.

Jeremiah 20:2 “Then Pashur smote Jeremiah the prophet, and put him in the stocks that were in the high gate of Benjamin, which was by the house of the LORD.”
Jeremiah 20:3 “And it came to pass on the morrow, that Pashur brought forth Jeremiah out of the stocks. Then said Jeremiah unto him, The LORD hath not called thy name Pashur, but Magormissabib.”
Jeremiah 29:27 “Now therefore why hast thou not reproved Jeremiah of Anathoth, which maketh himself a prophet to you?”

Jeremiah 38:4 “Therefore the princes said unto the king, We beseech thee, let this man be put to death: for thus he weakeneth the hands of the men of war that remain in this city, and the hands of all the people, in speaking such words unto them: for this man seeketh not the welfare of this people, but the hurt.”

Jeremiah faced much tribulation from the political and religious leaders of his day; but neither was that an unusual situation.

In the days of the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat, a certain preacher stood for right and spent much time in jail for it.

1 Kings 22:26 “And the king of Israel said, Take Micaiah, and carry him back unto Amon the governor of the city, and to Joash the king’s son;”
vs. 27 “And say, Thus saith the king, Put this fellow in the prison, and feed him with bread of affliction and with water of affliction, until I come in peace.”
vs. 28 “And Micaiah said, If thou return at all in peace, the LORD hath not spoken by me. And he said, Hearken, O people, every one of you.”
 
Today, from Washington, we hear:  “Deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs, and structural biases have to be changed” in order to allow for more abortion.  They do not just want to keep abortion legal, they want to stop anyone from preaching against it.  See their continued comments:
“Laws have to be backed up with resources and political will.  And deep-seated religious beliefs have to be changed.”  

Yes, that comment is from one of the most well-known names in D.C.  Where is our First Amendment right now? 

When politicians plan to change our religious beliefs in order to achieve their political agenda, they will jail preachers and punish churches.  They will not use the lion’s den or burn people at the stake, they have the IRS and local codes that can manipulate Bible believers out of business.   We allow terrorists into our country and even finance their military, but we do not allow a religious people to voice their opposition to the political machine. 

Do not be surprised; do not panic; God is in charge, and many a good, God-fearing person has suffered at the hands of wicked political leaders.  Christians are on the winning side.  Even if our country goes back to the "pre-Constitution" days, America votes itself into a communist or socialist form of government, or we find the government regulating religious activities, God will laugh at the fools who think themselves mighty. 

Psalm 2:4 “He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision.”
Psalm 37:13 “The Lord shall laugh at him: for he seeth that his day is coming.”
Psalm 59:8 “But thou, O LORD, shalt laugh at them; thou shalt have all the heathen in derision.”

Jesus said, “Fear not, little flock…”
Luke 12:32 “Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”

Situations are going to get really good, but if, for a while, situations first get bad, stay faithful; you are not the first or the last person to suffer at the hands of satanic, political leaders. 

God offers freedom; politicians insist on servitude.  Christ offers free will, even to the point of denying Him and ignoring the Bible.  Evil governments force submission at the end of a sword.  (Whether it be a tax sword, a jail sword, or a confiscation-of-property sword.)

We live in a wonderful time!  I have little doubt that we will see revival or ruin, the rapture or a rampant outpouring of evil.  No matter what the immediate future holds, "What a day that will be, when my Jesus I shall see..."   May we stay faithful to Him, until we see Him face-to-face.

Pastor Goddard

 

Punishing Evil

Good Morning,

In a sensitive, be-nice society, we tend to struggle with capital punishment or other harsh sentences given to law breakers.  Were it my child in jail, I, too, would wish for a lighter sentence.   But in the Divine economy, God makes decisions based upon the whole picture and eternity rather than just my son or my friend.

In the text below, God points out the lewdness of the people.  The women were loose in their morals, and harlotry or sleeping around was not uncommon. 
Ezekiel 23:47 “And the company shall stone them with stones, and dispatch them with their swords; they shall slay their sons and their daughters, and burn up their houses with fire.”
vs. 48 “Thus will I cause lewdness to cease out of the land, that all women may be taught not to do after your lewdness.”

The context of the above passage speaks of the harlot-like actions of Israel and Judah in departing from God.  The principle is taken from the Mosaic law:  make punishment so severe that the innocent observer is clearly warned to stay away from that sin or die.  Jails were not a part of ancient Israel; the people did right or died. 

In the following passages, notice the severe treatment of certain offenders in Israel:
Leviticus 20:27 “A man also or woman that hath a familiar spirit, or that is a wizard, shall surely be put to death: they shall stone them with stones: their blood shall be upon them.”
Leviticus 24:23 “And Moses spake to the children of Israel, that they should bring forth him that had cursed out of the camp, and stone him with stones.  And the children of Israel did as the LORD commanded Moses.”
Numbers 14:10 “But all the congregation bade stone them with stones.  And the glory of the LORD appeared in the tabernacle of the congregation before all the children of Israel.”
Numbers 15:35 “And the LORD said unto Moses, The man shall be surely put to death: all the congregation shall stone him with stones without the camp.”
Deuteronomy 13:10 “And thou shalt stone him with stones, that he die; because he hath sought to thrust thee away from the LORD thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.”
Deuteronomy 17:5 “Then shalt thou bring forth that man or that woman, which have committed that wicked thing, unto thy gates, even that man or that woman, and shalt stone them with stones, till they die.”
Deuteronomy 21:21 “And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die: so shalt thou put evil away from among you; and all Israel shall hear, and fear.”
Deuteronomy 22:21 “Then they shall bring out the damsel to the door of her father’s house, and the men of her city shall stone her with stones that she die: because she hath wrought folly in Israel, to play the whore in her father’s house: so shalt thou put evil away from among you.”

The idea that lethal injection should not hurt or cause the subject to suffer is crazy — we are punishing them.  Public hangings in early America were a great deterrent of future crimes.  God ordered public stoning.  Every potential lawless youth was given a vision of fearful wrath if he followed the path of anarchy.

The goal of each situation of public punishment was to keep the nation clean:  Deuteronomy 13:11 “And all Israel shall hear, and fear, and shall do no more any such wickedness as this is among you.”

In America, we had capital punishment as a deterrent for wrong as well as removing the murderer from society.  (As most understand, the vast number of crimes in America are committed by repeat offenders; had the offenders remained in jail or faced capital punishment, we would have a far more safe and peaceful society.)  By seeing the punishment, the observer was also taught to be good.  The criminal was stopped from doing wrong, and the potential criminal was given a fear of following the path of shame — and society was more peaceful.

Proverbs teaches this principle:
Proverbs 19:25 “Smite a scorner, and the simple will beware:..”

Removing someone from a classroom may or may not help the disruptive child, but the "simple" child will receive warning and perhaps avoid the same error.  Allowing an unruly child to continue in wrong will easily make a hero out of his rebellious actions, and soon anarchy will reign in the classroom.

Rules and punishment must be present in a civil society or else lawlessness will spread like crabgrass, and good will become an oddity.  Being nice, kind, and permissive in normal day-to-day activities is not wrong.  Leadership must set boundaries and create a punishment for one who breaks those rules.  Whether in sports, the classroom, or the home, kindness shown in place of punishment to criminal behavior is folly.  Sin must be punished to maintain order.    Most teachers know to be extra strong early in the school year; once order is established, a more relaxed spirit may be allowed.  The same is true with rearing a child.  The first few years of a child's life should be run with strict regiment, the most demanding of right and punishing of wrong.  Once a child understands order and submission, much more mercy may be exhibited.

Nationally, we are under different laws than a religious nation as Israel was, but the principles are the same:  if we are more strict with offenders, the non-offenders will live more carefully, and order will reign.  If we do not start punishing political leaders for lawless behavior, we will be ruled by tyrants who fear nothing.  In America, leaders should fear offending the laws of the land and gaining the disfavor of the people.  We are fast-approaching a day of no fear of wrong in leaders, and a lawless land will follow.  Leaders must be punished, jailed, thrown out of office, and made to face every rule to which the common man is subject if we are to have a land of free men.

(Pray for your nation, and vote!)

Pastor Goddard

 

Leader's Warning

Good Morning,

Ecclesiastes 10:1”Dead flies cause the ointment of the apothecary to send forth a stinking savour: so doth a little folly him that is in reputation for wisdom and honour.”

We all understand that sin is sin no matter who does it.  We also know that breaking the law is the same no matter who commits the crime.  Yet, when it comes to punishment we do treat people differently.  A child is expected to be in the learning stage, figuring out what is right  and wrong.  Children have parents because they need someone to guide them through the daily affairs of life.

As we age and grow in responsibility, we are expected to know better and have character to do better.  The more esteem a person has, the more they need to walk straight; and if they do wrong, their punishment will be more harsh (at least in a normal society).  Sadly this is not true in our present society.

Out text this morning talks about the "apothecary" or one who puts together medicines.  Like our pharmacist, the apothecary was expected to have tools ingredients clean and pure.  A dead fly in the ointment was terrible and caused the breeding of disease and rot, sending forth the stinking savour, both in results and in literal aroma.  The use of defiled medicine results in a "stink."

Ecclesiastes 10:1 “Dead flies cause the ointment of the apothecary to send forth a stinking savour: so doth a little folly him that is in reputation for wisdom and honour.”

The illustration refers to leadership.  When a person climbs the ladder of esteem as a team captain, a boss, a parent, or any other leadership position, the result of a little folly is far more serious.  More is expected of those in leadership or popularity.  Yes, a pastor who does wrong will be treated more severely than an average Christian man.  Though the "folly" be a small incident, it carries serious ramifications because the matter sends forth a "stinking savour."

If you chose the blessing and honor of leadership, then plan on higher expectations of those you lead.  For this reason, Richard Nixon chose to resign the White House when someone in his administration was illegally recording conversations.  He understood that though his crimes were small, his position required a higher standard of conduct.  Let me assure you that the events of recent days dwarf any wrong done by President Nixon.  Yet today, his name carries a stigma while others whose deceit and criminal activities far exceed the crimes Nixon committed are found living, prospering, and enjoying the fame and popularity of men.  Our society owes the Nixon family a great apology for treating him like a criminal while allowing current events to go on unpunished.

When leaders can do wrong without being charged while common men are crushed beneath the weight of the law, it is a totalitarian oligarchy in the making.  Our text warns us that even a little folly will cause life to stink when one is in a position of honor. 

"...so doth a little folly him that is in reputation for wisdom and honour."

For those in leadership, you may expect to be held to a higher standard.  Do not complain when your treatment is more severe.  Step out of line just a little, and you may find your name "stinks."  Parents should walk straighter than children.  The boss should be held to a higher standard than the employees. 

Pastor Goddard

 

Identity

Good Morning,

Genesis 1:11 “And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.”
vs. 12 “And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good.”

Genesis 1:21 “And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.”

Genesis 1:24 “And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.”

Notice the phrase "after his kind."

All of us are well aware of the attacks our culture regularly throws at America.  America, our beloved, great country, is being attacked and mocked.  Statements such as, “My country tis of thee, sweet land of liberty…” are being removed from our culture.  Globalism and (using an older term) unilateral perspective toward the world tears away the very idea of unique nations and pushes all of us toward being one, being together, and breaking down those unique boundaries of national loyalties.  This line of thinking is the cause of the destruction of wonderful cultures and people across the world.  In History stories, we read about the French, Germans, Austrians, and other people of other nations, and we look with admiration on these unique people groups.  All of these people and cultures are being assaulted as much or more than America.

We are being robbed of our national distinctives.  Follow my thinking here:

One ripple of this globalistic thinking is surfacing in our churches.  There were once Nazarene, Baptist, or Pentecostal churches, but now we have community churches, fellowships, vineyards or branches — identities are being eliminated.

No one knows what another church believes, what sets them apart, or what they truly are.

Likewise, gender identities are being attacked and eliminated.  We now live in a culture in which  speaking about manliness or something regarding a character trait of your gender (whether a feminine woman or a masculine man) is attacked and treated as a narrow-minded, bigoted slander. 

In reality, we have pine trees and palm trees; we love them both; each tree is unique and distinct.  There is nothing wrong with being who we are.  Eliminating the boundaries, lines, and divisions is a work of Satan’s slow destruction of the work of God.  I do not have to hate others to enjoy being who I am.  I am a left-handed Norwegian who lives in America, and I love it; but I would expect a Japanese person to love Japan.

Women ought to glory in their feminine creation.  Men ought to love being manly.  There is nothing wrong with lines.

When you think of "Cajun food,” you do not think of European cuisine.  When you think of lumpia, no one imagines a group of Mexicans cooking.  We are different.  We are unique.  And we ought to enjoy being that way.

In the beginning, God made all kinds of trees and animals; He then created a man and a woman. They were different from one another, and God said that it was good.

Ecclesiastes 3:11 “He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end.”

Let God be God and Creator.  He made us; He made the nations, and He made two genders which are easily identified from birth in all mammals.  Let us keep our identity!

Pastor Goddard

 

Frail People

Good Morning,

While driving, most of us have been cut off by someone or nearly hit by another who was the recipient of bottled up emotion or a wellspring of words less than choice for the moment. 

When those times happen I try to remind myself of how often I, too, have failed to see that car coming or the car in the blind spot in my mirrors.  David made a request to God regarding that very situation:

Psalm 39:4 “LORD, make me to know mine end, and the measure of my days, what it is; that I may know how frail I am.”

"...that I may know how frail I am."  Those are important words!   I am frail; I am going to fall; and I am no better than any other.

When someone sins, we condemn them, not thinking of the times we have committed the same wrong, or something very similar.   Remember when Jesus responded to those who accused the adulterous woman:

John 8:7 “So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.”

After all of the men left (under deep conviction), Jesus said those wonderful words:

vs. 11 ” ...Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more."

We may also experience those who sing, and repeat their wrong doing.  In self-righteousness, we might say, “Well, if they mean it they will never do that again!"  We speak those heartless words forgetting so much Bible:

Matthew 18:22 “Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.”
Proverbs 24:16 “For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief.”

Yes, just men do fall, and they fall again and again.  We are to forgive, again and again.  Those words ought to make it clear just how FRAIL we all are.  If you sin against me, I may forgive, "But it better never happen again!"  How frail we are at obeying the Bible when dealing with those who are frail.

Any child of God will beat himself up enough that we need not try to be judge, jury, and executioner on top of their own self-punishment.  Job, when facing the troubles in life, wished to be hidden from all:

Job 14:13 “O that thou wouldest hide me in the grave, that thou wouldest keep me secret, until thy wrath be past, that thou wouldest appoint me a set time, and remember me!”

To be dead was better than to face another day, to see the faces of accusing friends, to look in the mirror and see one’s self.  We need not try to punish another.  I remember Dr. Hyles telling of his childhood when they were terribly poor and someone had stolen the milk off their porch. His mother said, "Perhaps the Lord knew they needed it more than we did."

We simply forget how many times we were in a similar situation and failed.

Luke 6:41 “And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but perceivest not the beam that is in thine own eye?”

One of our members recently decided to stop coming to church because they knew everyone was aware of their situation.  I assured them that everyone had their own sack of rocks to carry and IF they knew, it would only cause them to love this individual more. I assured the individual that few of our members even know this person’s last name, let alone a criminal past.  Our hearts condemn us though, and Satan works hard at messing up our thinking toward ourselves and others.

Satan is called the accuser of the brethren.

Revelation 12:10 “...the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.”

Much of our self-condemnation is satanically-inspired, and many of our accusations of others are likewise inspired by the wicked one.

Mercy is a wonderful word!

Deuteronomy 4:31 “(For the LORD thy God is a merciful God;)”

2 Samuel 22:26 “With the merciful thou wilt shew thyself merciful, and with the upright man thou wilt shew thyself upright.”

Knowing how frail we all are, wise people will be merciful, patient, and humble.

Pastor Goddard

 

Frail Leaders

Good Morning,

We live in a frail world full of sinners.  We understand this in essence, but often fail to accept it in our homes and churches.  Men will fail; children will do wrong; leaders will make poor choices.  I sat with the pastor of a very large church and asked him questions about the ministry.  I brought up one certain area of ministry, and he said what he had done in that situation and also said he felt it had not been the best choice.  Looking back to the situation, from the present standpoint, he would have done it differently.  The saying goes… “Hindsight is always 20-20.”

Leaders make choices that are not always correct.  Followers, by the way, also make poor judgments as well.  Doctors say they are only correct about 70% of the time in their diagnosis of ailments.  I believe your pastor, parent, or leader in business has a far better average than that.

Back to my point:  I have often seen a good person suffer because of the wrong choice of a leader, whether the leader was a good or bad one.  A husband makes a wrong choice.  A pastor fails in some area.  Your school principal does not handle a situation well.  The coach gets overly excited and scolds a player more severely than necessary.  DON’T MISS THIS!  At this point, none of the Bible verses on authority have gone away.  Nothing God commanded has been erased.   Your leader simply made a mistake.  You found out that your leader is frail and sinful. 

Now if the situation is a legal issue or an issue of morality, then of course, it is time to stop following the leader, at least for the moment and in that situation.  Let me illustrate: 

(The following illustration is the compilation of many situations; a story of many added into one illustration.  No, you do not know who these people are; the story is of many people, good people.)

Many years ago a man mis-stepped, morally.  For a brief time he flirted with the affections of a woman to whom he was not married.  Confessing it, forsaking it, and breaking his whole world apart to correct the situation, he did all that he could to be right.  For these many years since that time, his wife has continued to derided him and threatened him with divorce.  She has pushed to seek control over their whole life:  church, money, children, housing, social life, and more.  The fact:  he has gotten thoroughly right with God, while she has gotten thoroughly wrong with God. 

Her husband is still her husband.  He is not immoral.  He has been clean for these many years, and he still holds the biblical office of husband.  If she were to honor her husband, she would still be in the will of God and could trust God to guide the affairs of their home through her husband; but she nurses her pain and uses it as an excuse to take charge and rule over her husband and family. 

God is so faithful, and He understands that at times, a leader will fall; God makes provision and gives direction to the wife who finds herself facing such a case.

The lady is to win her disobedient husband by her obedient spirit.
1 Peter 3:1 “Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives;”

The same is true in the area of church leadership.  If the pastor has made a poor choice, he is still the one God will most likely use to guide the church.  There are no pastors who do not make poor choices.  If a pastor makes a terribly sinful choice and is removed from spiritual leadership, that does not make it permissible for believers to forsake church and never again trust a pastor.  For 2,000 years, God has guided His church with pastors: men who, on occasion, fail.  One man’s failure does not excuse disobedience to the entire scriptural command to honor and follow the pastor. 

Hebrews 13:7 “Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.”
vs. 17 “Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.”

God uses leaders to guide us into the will of God, to lead us safely, and to help us in rearing up children.  If we disregard our leaders, we place our children and our future at great risk.  Most of all, we hurt the work of God.  We endanger the many lost souls who could be saved and the countless believers who need to grow as a result of our lives and the lives of our children being in the will of God.

Consider this scenario:  God has a plan for my child to be a missionary, to win many lost people, and to help countless others grow in grace and serve God and mankind.  Years before that child is born or while he is yet in his youth, a parent, spouse, or pastor fails me (the parent) and I get bitter.  I decide to stop attending church or join a casual fellowship where little or no commitment or involvement is asked of me.  My child grows up and decides to attend a secular college, ends up out of church, marries a lost person, and after having a child or two and a divorce decides to get back into church and serve God.  Wonderful!  The life has been salvaged.  As a parent, I might be rejoicing, but the plan of God has been ruined and untold harm has been done because I got bitter, nursed a wounded heart, and never got right with God. 

Civil authorities are the plan of God: 
Romans 13:1 “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.”
vs. 2 “Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.”
vs. 3 “For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:”
vs. 4 “For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.”

If we allow crooked people to influence us to hate police officers, we will destroy our society and find ourselves under marshal law or military law — run by Washington — and we surely do not want that!!   Always back the badge, even when some who wear one make mistakes. 

Leadership is still the plan of God.  If your leader hurts you, find another leader!  If your husband has been unfaithful, go to the pastor or your parent and trust them and their advice.  If your pastor has gone wrong, find another one, and do not doubt the scripture’s teaching of the great help a spiritual leader is to your family. 

You will be disappointed!  Your leaders will show themselves to be human, and even sinful.  I hope not too sinful, but sinfulness to some degree, will be revealed.  When God said honor your father and mother, He knew they would be sinners.  When God said the pastor was necessary for the stability and order of the church (Titus 1:5), that is exactly what He meant, knowing that some pastors would fail. 

Do not turn into a rebel because someone else was a rebel.  Stay in the will of God when others get out of the will of God.  The biblical way to be in the will of God is to honor and to trust leadership. 

Pastor Goddard

 

Fancy Dress

Good Morning,

For those who are not aware, these Morning Moments began as simple thoughts from my  devotions that were sent to my staff.  Though my deacons started getting them, then my church members, and now to readers on-line, these Morning Moments are still just thoughts from my daily Bible reading — nothing scholarly, just thoughts as I read my Bible.  May these thoughts be a blessing to you.

My Bible reading chart places me in Isaiah for a while; again, I see so many similarities between Israel in Isaiah's time and our nation today.  Notice the emphasis on the body and clothing:

Isaiah 3:18 “In that day the Lord will take away the bravery of their tinkling ornaments about their feet, and their cauls, and their round tires like the moon,”
vs. 19 “The chains, and the bracelets, and the mufflers,”
vs. 20 “The bonnets, and the ornaments of the legs, and the headbands, and the tablets, and the earrings,”
vs. 21 “The rings, and nose jewels,”
vs. 22 “The changeable suits of apparel, and the mantles, and the wimples, and the crisping pins,”
vs. 23 “The glasses, and the fine linen, and the hoods, and the vails.”
vs. 24 “And it shall come to pass, that instead of sweet smell there shall be stink; and instead of a girdle a rent; and instead of well set hair baldness; and instead of a stomacher a girding of sackcloth; and burning instead of beauty.”

All of these strange terms apply to fancy styles in dress, jewelry, and hair styles.
God was a little tired of their fancy, worldly clothing; He was telling them of a day when they will have no rich and worldly ornaments with which to adorn themselves. 

Remember, Peter spoke of this as well:
1 Peter 3:3 “Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel;”

The unknown prophet, Zephaniah, likewise speaks of this:
Zephaniah 1:8 “And it shall come to pass in the day of the LORD'S sacrifice, that I will punish the princes, and the king's children, and all such as are clothed with strange apparel.”

The Lord finds something important about the way we look.  It might be our pride over rich apparel, or it could be the reliance on the outward man rather than leaning on the real man inside us. For many, to fit in with the world, to draw the eye of the worldly people, and to gain the fleshly esteem of carnal men is the desire.  Regardless of the reason, God takes notice of how much emphasis we place on our dress, especially when it is ornamented with jewelry and fancy, rich, worldly styles.  God tells ladies to dress modestly:  modest in style and modest in economics.
1 Timothy 2:9 “In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array;”

How this fashion-focused, Christian world today hates to hear about topics like this, but this issue is in the Scriptures far too often not to admit that it matters to God.  Proverbs 7 talks about the woman and forbids the crossing over of dress styles. There is a man’s clothing and woman’s clothing, and the two should never trade places  Deuteronomy 22 speaks of apparel being that of a man or that of a woman; God truly does notice and care about styles.

In our overall behavior and dress, Peter and Paul write about fashioning ourselves according to our former lusts and presenting our bodies a living sacrifice, not conforming to this world. 
(1 Peter 1:14, Romans 12:1-2)

No, we should not allow our girls to gaze at fashion magazines; and malls should not set our fashion trends.  Neither commercials nor movie stars or famous singers should be influencing our appearance.  Not long ago, boys started allowing the gang fashion of flat billed ball caps worn down to the eyes to become trendy.  No, a hat is not sinful, but allowing a gang member or rapper to guide ones fashion might be.  When boys start wearing skinny tight clothing for who knows what reason, it brings about questions as to who is guiding their thoughts and actions.  

Back to Isaiah:
Isaiah 3:18 “In that day the Lord will take away the bravery of their tinkling ornaments about their feet, and their cauls, and their round tires like the moon,”
vs. 19 “The chains, and the bracelets, and the mufflers,”
vs. 20 “The bonnets, and the ornaments of the legs, and the headbands, and the tablets, and the earrings,”

Put a ring on your toe or in your nose?  Really?  Who got you thinking that will make you beautiful?  Ladies, instead let it be the hidden man of the heart who places value on a person.

1 Peter 3:4 “But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.”

Pastor Goddard

 

Feeling

Good Morning

God gave us feelings.  We are flesh, and our flesh was given feelings by the Creator.  Weariness, temperature, pain and comfort:  all these are feelings that came from the manufacturer — there is nothing wrong with those feelings. 

Likewise, God gave us feelings of emotion.  We are emotional creatures who feel anger, pleasure, fear, love, and disappointment.  These feelings are not wrong; but anyone with even the slightest bit of wisdom knows that we cannot live a decent life while pleasing and catering to these feelings, emotionally or physically.  Most of our feelings need to be suppressed or even changed.  How many young people would have married in pre-teen years, and how many moral wrongs would have been committed if we let feelings run wild in youth or adulthood?  Our prisons are full of people who did what their feelings told them to do.   Abortion is usually a result of following unrestrained passion or following the feeling that you do not want a baby right now.

If we have a child that does not feel like going to school or doing his homework, a wise parent still makes the child fulfill his duty.  No accomplished musician ever went through the many years of practice without fighting the feelings of not wanting to practice.  Work is not a synonym with pleasure, ease, or comfort.  Work is something that needs to be done because it is right, because it is a pathway to a desired goal, or because it is necessary for survival.

Why do we allow society to place such emphasis on feelings?  We all know that feelings will ruin us, and that right must be our guide — not feelings.  The Bible tells us that the feelings in our heart are untrustworthy.

Jeremiah 17:9 “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”
Jeremiah 16:12 “And ye have done worse than your fathers; for, behold, ye walk every one after the imagination of his evil heart, that they may not hearken unto me:”
Genesis 6:5 “And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”

Following feeling results in all sorts of negative outcomes:
I feel like I need a break — so I quit my job.
I feel like I want to punch someone — so I am in trouble with the law.
I feel like I need drugs — so I am an addict again.
I feel like I am going to panic — so I run from my responsibilities.
I feel like I am another gender — so I commit unrighteous acts.

The fact remains that we cannot respond to our feelings or allow feelings to run our lives.  Our feelings are untrustworthy.  I may feel depressed, but I still need to be good to people, I still need to go to work, I still need to conduct my behavior according to the laws of the land.

If I feel angry and want to lash out at my spouse, I must suppress that feeling.  I must control my thoughts and create righteous feelings intentionally:  “As he thinketh in his heart, so is he.”  (Proverbs 23:7)

A successful military force must depend upon control of reactions to physical pain or weariness and emotional feelings that would hinder necessary action.  The same is true with athletics; no winning team allows feelings to rule.  Feelings of winners are controlled by logic, a coach, and the mind of the athlete. 

As all unrighteous emotions need to be suppressed, so must wrong physical feelings be controlled. 

A former drug user must say, “No!” to emotional or physical desires.
An alcoholic must say, “No!” to physical cravings for alcohol, else ruin will follow.
What a stupid idea to think that because I feel a certain way, I must act upon it.  Every human experiences sinful feelings; it is what we do with those feelings that makes the difference.

Proverbs 28:26 “He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered.”
John 6:63 “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.”

The Spirit brings life; following the flesh will bring death.
Jesus said the most basic trait required to be His disciple was to deny ourselves and not cater to our feelings. 
Matthew 16:24 “Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.”

Some people are more prone to certain weaknesses or to strengths.  Whether it be genetic or upbringing, some people lean more toward disorganization, or laziness, or athleticism, or intellect.  We are not all naturally artistic, but we can at least be careful when writing so our written words are legible.  Every child will not naturally do well in English and composition, but every child should learn to communicate.  Some children will have more trouble with math than others, yet all must learn basic math functions.  Feelings or natural tendencies are not to determine our actions. 

Some girls are more masculine than others, some boys are softer or somewhat feminine, but that does not justify abominable behavior any more than my anger justifies killing someone.  The fact I do not want a baby that was recently conceived has no bearing on the fact that the rights of the child demand I guard and protect its life.  Allowing emotional feelings to develop toward a co-worker when one is married is simply the sin of allowing the feelings to develop; this does not justify moral impropriety. 

Mark 7:21 “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders,”
vs. 22 “Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness:”

We must allow right (the Word of God) to control our choices.

If a spouse feels as if they do not love their spouse any more, but has vowed to “love and cherish ‘till death,” he must suppress those feelings and cultivate right feelings.

It is our foolishness that allows wrong feelings and wrong thoughts to take root in our minds and hearts causing us to be consumed with passion for something that God, and human logic, forbids. 

James 1:14 “But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.”
vs. 15 “Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.”

One might think, “I hate my job and I want to quit.”  But to quit a job with no secure income is folly; thus one should act logically and seek other employment, get trained for another industry,  or back to school in order to change careers — none of those decisions are wrong.  But to train up a culture of young people to feel they should enjoy their job or quit is nonsense.  Most people do what they enjoy on days off work, then do their best to appreciate the benefits of their job and simply keep working — work is work, not play (character and integrity, not laziness). 
 
If one feels anger, bitterness, jealousy, laziness, or any other wrong feeling, he must recognize those feelings as wrong and fill his mind and heart with right thoughts resulting in right feelings; and then right actions will follow.
To obey feelings will leave us useless, unproductive, and finally dead:
Ecclesiastes 9:3 “…yea, also the heart of the sons of men is full of evil, and madness is in their heart while they live…”

We can spend our lives changing the location of our home, the job we hold, the church we attend, the spouse we have, or any number of other elements of our lives — yet, the changes only lead to a world of total instability.  Following good counsel, logic, and the Bible will keep us on the successful path of those who walked the path before us.

Instead of allowing feelings to run my life, God instructs me to trust in His Word.

Proverbs 3:5 “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.”

Pastor Goddard

 

Train

Good Morning,

Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”

Most of us are familiar with this verse, yet so little training actually happens in our homes.  We have all heard an earnest mother give her child an instruction, only to be ignored; and then tell the child again, only to be ignored again.  Typically, the reaction of the mother is to raise her voice, articulate her words, and then either scream or simply give up. (The mother determines that the fuss is more trouble than the child's undesirable actions.)  This is also the situation in which child abuse finds its roots.  Train your children; correct the trouble immediately; the frustration that results in violence is unnecessary.

Training is something we do all the time.  We train our children to ignore us, or we train them to obey us.  We train the children to need television, or we train them to keep themselves entertained without television.  Right now I am sitting at home in my living room reading and writing.  My four-year-old granddaughter is playing quietly in the same room.  She need not be entertained; she is very capable of playing quietly by herself and without the need for television or a playmate.  She may think of something and comment to me, and I likewise may comment to her, but we both know the other one is occupied, and we do not bother each other.

Genesis 18:19 “For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.”

Abraham was one who "commanded" his household after him.  There was once a common colloquialism that said: "The man is the king in his house, and his home is his castle."  “Commanding his household” is one forgotten part of training — teaching and training by the father is a missing ingredient in our society.

Deuteronomy 4:9 “Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons’ sons;”
Deuteronomy 6:7 “And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.”
Psalm 78:3 “Which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us.”

Our foolish society has failed to bring up young men who know anything about authority, child rearing, or discipline.  We have also failed to train young ladies to trust the leadership of their husbands.

Ephesians 6:4 “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”
Colossians 3:21 “Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.”

The idea of church nurseries is a relatively new one.  Years ago, little children were taught to sit still; they could listen or be bored, but they knew they were not to make any noise in church.  I am very much in favor of Sunday school and teaching the Bible on the level of the listeners, but we truly had a society that trained even their babies to be still (most of the time). 

Every day, we train our children to listen and sit still, or to ignore, to eat constantly, and to need television and countless other entertainments.  We train ourselves to eat junk food or healthy food. In our home, it is natural to have a quiet atmosphere.  What is everyone doing?  Reading.  We shut off the technology, and everyone reads books, which is not natural — it is a trained behavior.   We also train our children to make their beds.  Training is simply the repeated action that slowly becomes a part of one’s nature.  We had to train one of our children to speak to others.  That particular child was quite content not to talk to anyone and even went to bed without anyone in the family knowing his whereabouts —until we had bed check.   Realizing his behavior was rude, we began working on it and slowly trained the "good night" ritual and other common conversational courtesies.  One day that child may marry, and will have to learn to be considerate of others and communicate.  Another of our children needed to be trained to stop talking.  Upon leaving for a school field trip, a reminder was always given — "Do not talk more than anyone else.  Pay attention and listen to others."  When we traveled together, we often needed to remind that child to listen to others.   Young men need to be trained to bathe and use deodorant.  Young ladies need to be trained to be kind, and not to gossip or slander.  Some young people see the negative in life and need to be trained to be positive.  If young people did not need training, God would not have given them parents.  It is our job to train our children.  I am amazed at how much we expect our dogs to obey while we are content to have rebellious children.  The need for training occurs in every area of life, not just obedience.  Training includes the ability to be still, to be kind, to overcome a shy nature, and to do hard things. (One of our four children could be the one who struggled with car wash fundraisers and candy sales; another with science and history fair.)  Training is a full-time responsibility of parents.  If we do not train our children, trouble and much hurt will follow.

Proverbs 29:15 “The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.”

Pastor Goddard

 

Turn

Good Morning,

In the prison system, you will find some of the most gifted artists; others are very well-educated in academics.  You will also find people with skills in athletics, craftsmanship, and even those who are very knowledgeable in the practice of law.  People in prison are often gifted communicators.  They can argue most any subject with intellect and accuracy.  I am not saying all those in prison are this way, but most of those to whom I have spoken are talented, to say the least.  The point is, people are not in prison because they had no gifts or talents.  Prison is a place for people who have a heart problem.

Genesis 6:5 “And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”

2 Chronicles 12:14 “And he did evil, because he prepared not his heart to seek the LORD.”

Jeremiah 7:24 “But they hearkened not, nor inclined their ear, but walked in the counsels and in the imagination of their evil heart, and went backward, and not forward.”

When evil hearts are not corrected, set straight, and brought humbly before the Lord seeking His mercy and help, those hearts will lead to shame.  It matters not if one has talents, education, economic status, or good looks.  Especially in youth, when a life and heart are being trained and shaped for life, sinfulness must be corrected immediately.  If no correction takes place, evil will most likely reign.

Ecclesiastes 8:11 “Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.”

Again, the heart is the problem.  Society and family certainly have something to do with shaping the heart.  A child who is raised in poverty and hurt can make it in life, just as Dr. Jack Hyles or Dr. Ben Carson; each man had a mother who was strong and determined to keep her children straight.  If that same child is given two parents who are willing to stay right in a crooked world, the child has a much better chance of choosing to do right.  The value of a good home is indescribable!

Consider those who grow up in good homes yet turn to wrong.  Of course the parents failed in this area or that, but no parent has passed through the child-rearing phase in life without failure. The choice of right or wrong is up to each child.  The decision is up to each young person to respond to the teaching and training he has received.  Some of the Scriptures’ finest men lost their children.  Blame could be placed anywhere; but in the end, each child chose to do what they did or to be what they were.

Romans 14:12 “So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.”

Good homes and good churches could drastically lessen the number of prison inmates, but only if the hearts of the children turn from wrong to right.  One the most vital prayers in life is represented in these verses; the writer simply begs God to turn him to right.

Psalm 119:37 “Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity; and quicken thou me in thy way.”

Jeremiah 31:18 “...I was chastised, as a bullock unaccustomed to the yoke: turn thou me, and I shall be turned; for thou art the LORD my God.”

Lamentations 5:21 “Turn thou us unto thee, O LORD, and we shall be turned; renew our days as of old.”

Humbly turning to God and saying, "I cannot do this, I need You to turn my heart to right" could make the difference, for the heart is deceitful above all things.  (Jeremiah 17:9,10)

Pastor Goddard

 

Spend and Be Spent

Good Morning,

2 Corinthians 12:15 “And I will very gladly spend and be spent for you; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved.”

In regard to his relationship to the Corinthian church, Paul wrote, “I will very gladly spend and be spent for you…”  Paul was explaining to them that he had no problem pouring his life out for their good.  He might not get anything back; he might not be rewarded on earth, but he was happy to spend his life completely for them. 

One of the negative influences on the Gospel ministry in our lifetime has been our prosperity.  We are very comfortable.  We are well cared for here.  Young people considering the ministry are questioning the will of God, knowing that it might mean a denial of earthly goods or physical comforts.  In our culture, to believe that God’s will could cause us pain or loss is difficult — even though countless millions of our predecessors died of exposure, torture, and starvation:
Hebrews 11:37 “They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented..” 

As hard as it is to believe, God is not very concerned about our bodies.  We can allow ourselves to think that the will of God has to include a good paycheck, safety, good health, and a retirement, but I see none of those things in the Bible.  Paul said he knew how to have much or little, to be full or hungry:
Philippians 4:12 “I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.”

Recently, we received a letter from a missionary in a very war-torn country, one where trouble is  everywhere and violence runs rampant in the streets.  His letter basically said, “Stop calling to see how we are and to tell us to come home; we are fine; we are in the will of God, and the will of God is the best place to be.”  That is certainly the spirit of the first-century believers.  Paul writes to the Corinthians:
1 Corinthians 4:10 “We are fools for Christ’s sake, but ye are wise in Christ; we are weak, but ye are strong; ye are honourable, but we are despised.”
vs. 11 “Even unto this present hour we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwellingplace;”
vs. 12 “And labour, working with our own hands: being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it:”
vs. 13 “Being defamed, we intreat: we are made as the filth of the world, and are the offscouring of all things unto this day.”

We do not have to be loved, well-received, or properly treated to be in the will of God.  I believe there is something about “denying ourselves” if we are to follow Christ; yet, in our world, we are so busy caring for ourselves, we are in danger of being worthless to the cause of Christ.

Years ago, it was reported that missionaries preparing to go to the mission field gathered their belongings in a coffin, not in a suitcase.  Many countries did not have provisions for burial, so these missionaries would bring their own coffin, knowing that they or one of the family members would be buried on the mission field. 

When Paul spoke of spending and being spent, he did not mean he was not going to have a good retirement; he meant that he would be beaten, abused, slandered, and perhaps tortured for the sake of the people who would receive Christ through his preaching.

Remember, Jesus came to earth to save the lost, and the price tag on His missionary adventure was extreme to say the least.  He was falsely accused; He was hated; He was ultimately murdered; and all of that was welcomed as He trusted the will of God and set aside physical comfort.

1 Peter 2:20 “For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.”
vs. 21 “For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:”
vs. 22 “Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:”
vs. 23 “Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously:”
vs. 24 “Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.”

These verses describe the life God has called us to follow;  a life in which we will be unjustly treated, falsely accused, and slandered when we have done nothing but speak graciously.

In starting a church, going to Bible college, or moving to the mission field, someone is going to pay the price; someone will spend and be spent.  In a culture in which we hurt very little, hunger is hardly known, and earthly provisions are abundant, let us remember that giving up earthly comforts and even personal safety is not even slightly out of the will of God.  God provided safety, health, and security — all in Heaven.  But while we are on earth, we are soldiers, strangers, and foreigners.

Pastor Bruce Goddard

 

Search

Good Morning,

Jesus said, “Search the Scriptures…” And Paul wrote to “Study to show thyself approved…”

John 5:39 “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.”
2 Timothy 2:15 “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”

To those of you who study your Bibles, I would like to point out that the passage says to search the “Scriptures,” not search the Internet.  No offense intended, but we turn to the Internet too quickly.  We are being programmed to run to the Internet, Google a question, and then read whatever answer comes up.  First, let me say that the most frequently visited websites are the first ones that show up in a search so it is dangerous to randomly read the most available, most accepted, or most common answers that come up first.  It is unlikely that the popular ideas are the Scriptural ones; it simply does not work that way very often.  Not to mention the fact that we know nothing of the writer, their faith, their background, or their ideologies. 

“Search the Scriptures…”  We know the Author,  and we know His love, holiness, and faithfulness — VERY SAFE READING!

Nicodemus scolded the religious leaders for their unjust judgment of Jesus, and the religious leaders responded that he should “search.”
John 7:52 “They answered and said unto him, Art thou also of Galilee? Search, and look: for out of Galilee ariseth no prophet.”

The problem lay in the fact that those religious leaders were so arrogant that they would not go get their facts straight and simply ask where Jesus was born.  If they had done so, they would have found His life and the Scriptures lined up perfectly (Micah 5:2); but they were correct in the need to search the Scriptures.

We are missing the instruction to search:  to read, to wander, to scan page after page looking for that certain text, to use a simple concordance to find all the verses that use a certain word.  Wow!  That simple search provides so much information and insight, and all of it comes straight from the Scriptures.  That is what Jesus said to do — SEARCH.  I recommend a Bible, concordance, and perhaps a Bible geography book be your only study tools for years and years.  Of course, be sure to add a great deal of preaching from people you know and trust.  

When instructions were given to Israel about a king, Moses said that the ruler was to have a Bible of his own… not someone who sits around and listens to scribes all day.  In fact, he was to write out his own copy, keep it with him all of the time, and read it daily. 

Deuteronomy 17:18 “And it shall be, when he sitteth upon the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write him a copy of this law in a book out of that which is before the priests the Levites:”
vs. 19 “And it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life: that he may learn to fear the LORD his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them:”

Isaiah instructed us to SEEK truth out of the Bible; not just read, but seek, search, study, and then gain the insights and blessing from Heaven.
Isaiah 34:16 “Seek ye out of the book of the LORD, and read: no one of these shall fail, none shall want her mate: for my mouth it hath commanded, and his spirit it hath gathered them.”

If we seek to know God well and desire to find His blessings, then we need to read, study, search, and memorize the eternal words.
Joshua 1:8 “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.”
Psalm 1:2 “But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.”
Psalm 119:11 “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.”
Psalm 119:97 “O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day.”

To take a minute or two and quickly read a few verses and act as though that is our time with God is folly.  If we treated our marriage like that, misery would be on the horizon.  Take time to read, study, search, seek, and make the Bible your own.  Our biggest mistake is our lack of knowledge of the Bible.

Hosea 4:6 “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge…"

Isaiah 5:13 “Therefore my people are gone into captivity, because they have no knowledge:”

Matthew 22:29 “Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God.”

Pastor Goddard

 

Some Do Most

Good Morning,

We have all heard the statistic that 10% of the people do 90% of the work in a church, and often, the same is true in a community.  I do not know if the numbers are correct, but the principle is true.  Most people do not accomplish the majority of the work.

In a church, if we start to plan with the idea that "If everyone did this, then we could all accomplish that” it is hopeful, but vain thinking.  Do not get your hopes up; nor should you be discouraged about the truth.  The fact remains that life has injustices, hurt, and difficulties.  Settle the thought into your mind to be one of those people who gets jobs done; let the rest stand idly by and achieve little or nothing.  See that you succeed yourself or at least give it your all.

Remember the battle in which Sisera fought and died: a few comments were recorded to remind us of the simple lesson that "some do most."

Judges 5:17 “Gilead abode beyond Jordan: and why did Dan remain in ships? Asher continued on the sea shore, and abode in his breaches.”
These guys stayed at a safe distance and waited.

vs. 18 “Zebulun and Naphtali were a people that jeoparded their lives unto the death in the high places of the field.”

Zebulun and Naphtali gave their all —and God DID notice.
vs. 20 “They fought from heaven; the stars in their courses fought against Sisera.”
vs. 23 “Curse ye Meroz, said the angel of the LORD, curse ye bitterly the inhabitants thereof; because they came not to the help of the LORD, to the help of the LORD against the mighty.”

God got involved in the fight by using the stars.  God helped by commanding the stars in their courses to fight.  God pronounced a curse on those who did not run to the fight.  We understand that God could have won any battle on His own, but when God wants us to help, why do we have a problem?  Remember the tribes about to enter Canaan and the desire some had to stay behind?  The reply of Moses was clear:
Numbers 32:6 ”And Moses said unto the children of Gad and to the children of Reuben, Shall your brethren go to war, and shall ye sit here?”

After agreeing to go and fight, Moses responded:
vs. 23 “But if ye will not do so, behold, ye have sinned against the LORD: and be sure your sin will find you out.”

The fact that most people will not give their all or risk a dangerous, self-sacrificing battle is obvious.  Most people will not go soul winning.  Most people will not run a bus route.  Most people will not teach a Sunday school class.  Most people will not go to the mission field to start churches.  Most people will not start a church; they would rather have a paid position in a church that another pastor ran the risk to establish.

The fact that most people will not participate in the work does not give us reason not to try.   We just need to keep our eyes on the Lord and keep from allowing ourselves to become discouraged if we have no help.

In the story mentioned earlier, God helped, and Jael helped with her tent spike.  Although it was a hard battle, the victory was won, and God received the glory.  That is a successful day!

If it happens to be you doing the work, do it for God and His honor.  If you have some help, rejoice; but do not let your happiness or your service of others rest on the participation of those around you — that is a formula for defeat.    Go serve God; walk with God; enjoy the life God has given you, and look forward to the Judgment Seat because God always pays well!

Pastor Goddard

Sorrow

Good Morning,

We all face difficult days.  Some of us will face very serious trouble, and it seems that some, while seeking to please the Lord, find themselves in the worst of trials.  As Paul said, "For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life.”  (2 Corinthians 1:8)

Naomi was one of those people who faced trouble to the point of despairing even of her life.  She followed her husband away from home; she brought her children up in a foreign land; and now, with her husband and sons gone, she was alone (almost alone) with a foreign daughter-in-law at her side.  Though bitter at how her life had progressed, she acknowledged that the hurt was from God.

Ruth 1:20 “And she said unto them, Call me not Naomi, call me Mara: for the Almighty hath dealt very bitterly with me.”
vs. 21 “I went out full, and the LORD hath brought me home again empty: why then call ye me Naomi, seeing the LORD hath testified against me, and the Almighty hath afflicted me?”

Ruth, the Moabitess daughter-in-law, had lost her husband; yet, at this point, she had more faith than the Jewish woman who hurt from the death of her husband and two sons.  In faith, Ruth worked, believed, and waited on God, and the blessings began to come into her life.  Boaz, the husband to be, spoke of her faithfulness being rewarded.

Ruth 2:12 “The LORD recompense thy work, and a full reward be given thee of the LORD God of Israel, under whose wings thou art come to trust.”

For a time, it seemed no kindness or mercy from God remained in Naomi's world, but now, as the plan of God unfolded, heavenly kindness is also revealed.

Ruth 2:20 “And Naomi said unto her daughter in law, Blessed be he of the LORD, who hath not left off his kindness to the living and to the dead. And Naomi said unto her, The man is near of kin unto us, one of our next kinsmen.”

Naomi was not able to see any kindness in her situation, but now a Divine smile revealed itself in her world.  The same scenario is also seen in the case of Hannah; she could have no children, and it was clear to her that God was at fault.
1 Samuel 1:5 “But unto Hannah he gave a worthy portion; for he loved Hannah: but the LORD had shut up her womb.”

Terrible suffering of heart and soul filled the life of Hannah.
vs. 6  “And her adversary also provoked her sore, for to make her fret, because the LORD had shut up her womb.”
vs. 7 “And as he did so year by year, when she went up to the house of the LORD, so she provoked her; therefore she wept, and did not eat.”
vs. 8 “Then said Elkanah her husband to her, Hannah, why weepest thou? and why eatest thou not? and why is thy heart grieved?…”

In both situations, the woman struggled with the problem: Naomi faced frustration that was directed toward the Lord; Hannah, though broken and grieved, ran to the Lord seeking help and mercy, making promises of faithful, loving service.

1 Samuel 1:27 “For this child I prayed; and the LORD hath given me my petition which I asked of him:”
vs. 28 “Therefore also I have lent him to the LORD; as long as he liveth he shall be lent to the LORD. And he worshipped the LORD there.”
I Samuel 2:1 “And Hannah prayed, and said, My heart rejoiceth in the LORD, mine horn is exalted in the LORD: my mouth is enlarged over mine enemies; because I rejoice in thy salvation.”

Seasons of sorrow, broken hearts, doubtful minds, unanswered questions:  such is the life of the people of God, but joy comes in the morning.  There will most likely come a day in this lifetime when your present sorrows will pass; but, if not, the lack of tears and sorrow is promised in Heaven.

Do not give up on the Lord!  But if you do give up, pray for help and mercy; He knows the sorrow, the suffering, and the pain.

Exodus 3:7 “And the LORD said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows;”

Pastor Goddard

 

Rewards

Good Morning,

Life is often filled with much hurt:  pain that is often caused by those around us, not by faults of our own.  Such was the case with Ahab and Naboth.

1 Kings 21:2 “And Ahab spake unto Naboth, saying, Give me thy vineyard, that I may have it for a garden of herbs, because it is near unto my house: and I will give thee for it a better vineyard than it; or, if it seem good to thee, I will give thee the worth of it in money.”
vs. 3 “And Naboth said to Ahab, The LORD forbid it me, that I should give the inheritance of my fathers unto thee.”
vs. 4 “And Ahab came into his house heavy and displeased because of the word which Naboth the Jezreelite had spoken to him: for he had said, I will not give thee the inheritance of my fathers. And he laid him down upon his bed, and turned away his face, and would eat no bread.”

Naboth did right; he was not to sell his family inheritance.  Ahab, although frustrated, was not going to push the issue — but then his wife came along.

vs. 5 “But Jezebel his wife came to him, and said unto him, Why is thy spirit so sad, that thou eatest no bread?”
vs. 6 “And he said unto her, Because I spake unto Naboth the Jezreelite, and said unto him, Give me thy vineyard for money; or else, if it please thee, I will give thee another vineyard for it: and he answered, I will not give thee my vineyard.”
vs. 7 “And Jezebel his wife said unto him, Dost thou now govern the kingdom of Israel? arise, and eat bread, and let thine heart be merry: I will give thee the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite.”

Most of you know the story:  Jezebel set up false witnesses who lied about Naboth; Naboth gets executed; and Ahab obtains the vineyard.  Now, at this point, you may doubt the value in standing for right.  Naboth’s family lost their land, a father, and a husband.

The important fact is that we are living for an eternal reward.  This world is not our home.  Although we may work among evil and shameful people, we are in this world to work for God.  We are told to love those evil people and to tell them of Christ’s love, even at times when they do not treat us right.

Jesus set the example for us of how to love people and face injustice; three days after His execution, the situation greatly improved!

Especially in America, we sometimes expect people to be honest, honorable, and at least try to do right and tell the truth; but I have had friends in prison over lies and deceit.  My friends did right, yet evil seemed to triumph.  But again, we are here to honor God and tell others about Him.  We are not here to be treated well.  We are here to do good.  Marriage hurt may come upon us; we may suffer from evil employment; we may face the government doing wrong and causing the nation or churches to suffer.  Evil men harm the innocent — that is the course of this evil world.

For the last 3,000 years, Naboth has been rewarded for his faithfulness; and Ahab and Jezebel have been rewarded for their evil.  Never fear; God is just and good, and He will always reward the faithful — even if those rewards are not often given on this earth.  When trials come, remember the little chorus, "This world is not my home, I'm just a passing through."  Then as much as you are able, do right and good, and leave the end to the Lord.

Pastor Goddard

 

Using the Church

Good Morning,

Over the years, countless businesses were built upon using people.  This is not necessarily sinful, but without a doubt, they use people:  whether Amway, Mary Kay, vitamins, or investments, most of these are legal, but we want them to stay out of our church.

Providing for their families is the pressure all of our members face.  Of course, we love one another and want to help each other, but using your church members as prospects is wrong.

Some years ago, one of our good men got his license to sell auto insurance.  He had passed all the tests and was excited to begin.  He told me something like this, "just think of all the church members I can sell insurance to."   I kindly responded, “Yes, ABSOLUTELY NONE!”  This a church, not a place for you to get prospects; go elsewhere to sell your services.

Let me quickly get to the point:  church members are not prospects!  When you get paid a wage for an hour of work, that is a job.  How can you tell the difference? 

I have listed signs of the wrong kind of business (not sinful, just something we WANT TO KEEP OUT OF OUR CHURCH):
1. When I get paid for bringing my friends into your business (that is a pyramid scheme).

2. When the first thing I need to do is buy, invest, or change my world, and the person above me makes money off my investment.

 3. When I need to go to weekly meetings to get pumped up. (Not sinful, just a sign.)

4.  When my church asks me to keep my business out of church and I get mad at my church. (That is one of the final signs of missing the point of Matthew 6:33, "Seek ye first…")

5. When I am invited to a home for a mystery meeting and have no idea of the goal of the meeting; it is a scam.  It is a fraudulent business that must be covered and camouflaged in order to get you involved (we call that deceitful).  Deceit is not a Christian attribute.  McDonald’s sells food; Arco sells gas and food; Walmart sells everything; there are big signs out front — they need not hide anything; they are HONEST.

6. When the business promises great pay and amazing success with little effort.  Of course, once you join, you are told you need to work the business to succeed, but that is not the selling point — again, we call that deceitful.  Again, deceit is not a Christian attribute.

In summary, our church members are here for church, not to be your prospects!  Come to church to serve, to learn, to give, and to help.  Come to church to be a friend, to go soul winning, to teach a class, to participate in the rest home ministry or jail or bus ministry.  Do not come to church thinking of who you might "recruit."  I love our military, but I do not want a recruiter coming to church looking to get others to sign up.  That is deceitful.  Deceitfulness is not a Christian attribute.

Pastor Goddard

 

Bounds

Good Morning,

The book of Hosea is a sad book because of the miserable marriage Hosea had, and the miserable life Gomer had.  But the remainder of the book deals with the mess Israel had become and is illustrated by the marriage of the prophet Hosea. 

One statement concerning Israel identifies their trouble:
Hosea 5:10 “The princes of Judah were like them that remove the bound: therefore I will pour out my wrath upon them like water.”

The people of Judah had removed the “bound,” the boundary, the set of rules or borders of behavior God had established.  The modern church can be found in the exact same situation; congregations bristle any time someone mentions standards or convictions.  If a preacher mentions unacceptable behavior or inappropriate activities for the child of God, they shout "legalism" and accuse the pastor as if he were adding something to salvation.

God poured out His wrath upon Israel because they had removed the "bounds" of behavior that He had asked them to keep.  I mention two commentaries on the subject for reference sake.

Clark wrote:
“…as execrable as they who remove the land-mark. They have leaped over law's enclosure, and scaled all the walls of right; they have despised and broken all laws, human and Divine.”

Jamieson wrote:
Proverbial for the rash setting aside of the ancestral laws by which men are kept to their duty…"

A man with whom I have been working was recently saved and baptized but needed to go to another church one Sunday.  He wrote the following to me as he left the church:
"I thought I was going to church, but it was a full on rock concert with lights and smoke coming out of the floor... So I left before the mirrors came out...."

I smiled and thought, praise the Lord for a young Christian who needed no one to tell him how shameful that kind of behavior is.

Peter wrote:
1 Peter 1:14 “As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance:”

Paul wrote:
Ephesians 2:2 “Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:”

Recently, I listened to one preacher who said that the first thing the world begins to transform is the music; next the language changes, and then the morals (or lack thereof).  Our churches and youth departments are doing their very best to bring as much of the world as possible in hopes of reaching young people.  What good is accomplished if we "reach" them only to continue to have them live worldly lives?

When we act as Israel did and remove the boundaries, we place ourselves in grave danger.

Hosea 5:10 "The princes of Judah were like them that remove the bound...therefore I will pour out my wrath upon them like water."

Wrath comes when the people of God remove the bounds God has established.

I have heard people complain about one of our presidential candidates being “un-presidential,” and I almost laugh.  If I were to make the same statement about their church seeming “un-churchy,”  the critics would be horrified!  We all understand that a proper manner of behavior, boundaries, and proverbial lines in the sand of activity, appearance, and music are all vital.   When Bill Clinton was playing a "jazz sax" at his inauguration party, it was not against the law, but it was “un-presidential."

Our homes have boundaries of behavior.   For a man to spend extended time "discipling" a lady to whom he is not married, alone, is imprudent, and ultimately crosses a boundary.   For two unmarried people to go on a trip together, staying in the same places, sharing the same room, this obviously tears down a boundary of what was once common decency.

I feel the same way about Universal Studios, casinos, and movie theaters.  Often, boundaries are set due to the environment.  For example:  walking down the liquor aisle at the grocery store is not depravity or some terrible sin, but that aisle is a place filled with all that is wrong.  Places like this are everywhere in the world and thrive at the highest and most elegant state.  Beautiful bottles lure the unsuspecting person into the deadly clutches of strong drink — an example of all that is wrong with the world.  God says we are not to love the world!  No one needs to say what is wrong with Hollywood, we all know that it reeks of shame, moral depravity, perversion, and filth.  The place is vulgar:  the actors, the story lines, and the specific behavior of Hollywood’s members both on and off the screen.    Any honest person knows what casinos, stage shows, and the Vegas environment promote — let’s just say, they do not promote Sunday school. 

1 John 2:15 “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man
love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”
Romans 12:2 “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

Ephesians 2:2 “Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:”

We are not to love the world, but to set our affections on the things of God;
Colossians 3:1 “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.”
vs. 2 “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.”

Just as the princes of Israel, pastors are afraid to acknowledge and mention the worldly influence creeping into our lives and into our churches; or, they, too, enjoy the world and have for that reason, "removed the bounds."  I may be the last one, but I will be one who clearly establishes the difference between right and wrong.  I thank God for the members of our church who likewise stand for right and "Amen!" my preaching on it.

Pastor Goddard

 

Bad Laws

Good Morning,

Israel was given good laws and a close relationship to God.  The Israelites were also given good leaders, moral principles by which to live, and a life honoring to God, if they would follow the instructions.

Men of all ages do not like to submit to rules and naturally rebel against authority.  Men are self-willed, even if it is to their own hurt.  Men simply do not like to obey; men love to do things their own way, even if it is harder and more painful.

When God placed Israel in captivity during Ezekiel's day, the clear warning was to obey the laws God had given them — good laws, laws of life — or He would place them under bad laws.

Ezekiel 20:24 “Because they had not executed my judgments, but had despised my statutes, and had polluted my sabbaths, and their eyes were after their fathers’ idols.”
vs. 25 “Wherefore I gave them also statutes that were not good, and judgments whereby they should not live;”

God offered laws that gave life, truth, and freedom.  If the people did not want to honor those laws, God would give them laws that were hard and that took away freedom. 
vs. 25 ”...and judgments whereby they should not live."

As in Jeremiah's day, God offered them yokes of word, but they broke them off, and God gave them yokes of iron.   The yoke represented submission to the leader, a position of work, following the master, doing what they were told to do — but it was a good yoke, one under which they could live and prosper — but the yoke of iron was nothing of the kind.

Jeremiah 28:13 “Go and tell Hananiah, saying, Thus saith the LORD; Thou hast broken the yokes of wood; but thou shalt make for them yokes of iron.”

In America, we were given laws, biblical laws of morality and decency.  Our founders provided for us laws that honor the Bible and the most basic principles of decent behavior.  Sadly, we have pushed away the right laws and embraced moral depravity and shame, and naturally, God is likely to place us under evil laws that do not give life and freedom but give death and loss.    We were the first major nation to provide freedom of conscience, freedom to bear arms, freedom of religion, and so much more.  We are quickly seeing those freedoms erode and replaced with bondage and tyranny.

While traveling this week, I noticed many stores and restaurants changing their restrooms to Men/Women, to solve the selfish, vain, gender conflicts that our idiot culture is pushing on us.  We have now forced women to use restrooms that men also use; restrooms are no longer as clean for ladies to use, and this inconvenience is a result of sinful, selfish folly.  The situation will only get worse, and the majority will suffer for the sinfulness of the few.  Only laws of right and wrong, logical, decent, and biblical create a good society.

These truths are common in the Word of God.

Psalm 81:12 “So I gave them up unto their own hearts’ lust: and they walked in their own counsels.”
Isaiah 66:4 “I also will choose their delusions, and will bring their fears upon them; because when I called, none did answer; when I spake, they did not hear: but they did evil before mine eyes, and chose that in which I delighted not.”
Romans 1:28 “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;”

As one preacher put it, if we do not like the things God gave us in His Word or if we try to change truth, rewrite the Bible, call evil good and good evil, then God will "mess with our minds" and cause us to believe a lie.

2 Thessalonians 2:11 “And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:”

Our only way of seeing clearly and understanding right and wrong is to cling to God.  Do not be deceived; we can not see straight without the work of God in our hearts and minds.  

Proverbs 1:7 “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.”

If our nation does play the fool, thankfully, we can seek after the Lord and find His mercy and blessing.  

No matter what our nation does, no matter what carnal churches do, we can seek after holiness and virtue.  You can be sure God owes us nothing!  Any mercy or good we receive is just grace and kindness.

Pastor Goddard

 

Why We Serve (Wrong Motives for the Ministry)

Good Morning,

In our church and many other churches, one person runs the weekly routine of teaching a certain class or junior church, and they continue to do so year after year.  These people are unsung hero’s!  These people make a continuous impact on eternity. They receive no accolades and no articles are written praising their influence; they are simply making a consistent impact for good in the world.

Too many people jump at the chance to make a big splash; they want to meet a need that brings attention; they strive to find someone in need for that one moment.  Committing to daily or weekly work is more than they want to fulfill, but helping with something big once in a great while is the pace they enjoy most. These people willingly offer their services to preach to a group when there is no pastor, but they will not preach weekly for a rest home service to folks who might not remember their names.

The one-time heroes are not bad, they just miss the big picture.  They labor for their own names, not for the cause.  An opposite of this kind of person is the one who dedicates long-term faithfulness in chipping away at the darkness that is creeping into our entire culture.  This person is the man or lady who runs a jail service week after week with little thanks or praise once leaving the walls of the jail.  But again, the hidden work being done is eternal, and the Lord says not to be weary in well doing.

2 Thessalonians 3:13 “But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing.”

It is easy to grow tired of the daily or weekly duties.  These responsibilities can become mundane; yet this is what defines the Christian life: making a difference day after day and also needing the Lord’s strength daily to keep on for His glory not our own.

2 Corinthians 4:1 “Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not;”

2 Corinthians 4:16 “For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.”

We need a daily renewing of Christ’s power in our carnal, fleshly vessels.

Another wrong motive is wanting to do something for someone who has a name:  a visiting evangelist, or someone who speaks at our annual ladies conference (helping these people is important).  To help on a bus route or teach a child’s Sunday school class every week has no glamour or glory.  But again, why do we do what we do?  Is it for our own names?  Is it for the thrill of being close to a star in the Lord’s work?

Proverbs 25:6 “Put not forth thyself in the presence of the king, and stand not in the place of great men:”

Proverbs 25:7 “For better it is that it be said unto thee, Come up hither; than that thou shouldest be put lower in the presence of the prince whom thine eyes have seen.”

Remember, there are no stars in God’s work; for He said in Matthew 25:40, “And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”

It matters not who someone is or what their name may be, serving the people of God is pleasing to the Lord.

Mark 9:41 “For whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in my name, because ye belong to Christ, verily I say unto you, he shall not lose his reward.”

Sometimes we will help another as long as it does not inconvenience us.  Again, that is hardly a biblical motive; especially considering what our Savior did for us and how terribly He was treated.

2 Corinthians 8:9 “For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.”

May we serve the Lord and the people of God because it is our honor and privilege.  If we are able, may we attempt to keep our names and our pleasure completely out of our service.

Pastor Goddard

 

What Matters

Good morning,

2 Kings 24:13 “And he carried out thence all the treasures of the house of the LORD, and the treasures of the king's house, and cut in pieces all the vessels of gold which Solomon king of Israel had made in the temple of the LORD, as the LORD had said.”
vs. 14 “And he carried away all Jerusalem, and all the princes, and all the mighty men of valour, even ten thousand captives, and all the craftsmen and smiths: none remained, save the poorest sort of the people of the land.”
vs. 15 “And he carried away Jehoiachin to Babylon, and the king's mother, and the king's wives, and his officers, and the mighty of the land, those carried he into captivity from Jerusalem to Babylon.”
vs. 16 “And all the men of might, even seven thousand, and craftsmen and smiths a thousand, all that were strong and apt for war, even them the king of Babylon brought captive to Babylon.”

All of the glory of Israel was crumbling:  the people and the beautiful things.  All the majesty in the eyes of man was thrown away into slavery and bondage.

Solomon built the most beautiful buildings:  the temple, his home, and other beautiful buildings around the city.  Billions of dollars were spent on gold, precious stones, and the most detailed  and ornate wooden carvings.  Animals of beauty roamed the property, every dish and drinking glass from the throne to the gardens was beautiful, luxurious, and costly.  Yet, because Solomon turned his heart away from God and his sons followed suit in their love for worldly pleasures, all of this splendor was thrown away without a second thought.  Solomon, his sons, and other kings were a grief to God.

In the prior passage, we see that God gave all the gold, precious stones, and even people: the mighty men, the trained craftsman, the scholars — God allowed them all to be taken into captivity.  All those people, all the beauty, and all the wealth which had been accumulated and dedicated to God went into captivity.

The lesson here is that God is not nearly as concerned about beautiful things as he is a heart dedicated to Himself.  He would rather his people be in captivity, be humble, and seek after their God than to have His people wealthy, free, and following the gods of this world.

We look at great churches in history like Moody Church, Highland Park Baptist Church, or First Baptist Church of Hammond, which sent missionaries into the world and trained thousands of preachers and missionaries to go into the world with the Gospel, and see them almost empty and useless for God.  Spurgeon’s tabernacle once had over 10,000 people in attendance several times a week; now we see it empty and only a memory.  We grieve over the money spent and the people who are gone; but God is not short on money, and He is certainly not impressed with earthly buildings.  The beauty of Heaven's structures far exceeds anything man can create.  The heart of men is what God desires most — a heart in love with the Heavenly Father. 

In the Scriptures, the question arises several times:  ”What is the greatest commandment?"  The answer is easy — “Love God with all your heart!”  God never directed us to build beautiful buildings or to acquire sizable crowds, but to go to all the world and tell people of the love of God for sinful man and to urge men to love God with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength.    I fear we long for our children to succeed in marriage, child-rearing, and finance while we are not nearly as passionate about our children succeeding in developing a deep and devoted love for God.  God is not concerned that our children are healthy, wealthy, or well-educated — especially if those children go through life not loving their God with all their hearts.

God would cherish the love of a homeless person more than He would admire the wealth of the godless millionaire.  God would enjoy the adoration of the unattractive and unathletic person while He would disdain the vain self-centeredness of the beauty queen or MVP.

God made America a great nation when it was unorganized, without a disciplined army, and without great wealth.  But America had churches; some people say there was one Bible preacher for everyone thousand citizens.  Today, America has pushed God out and has come to adore the flesh, money, and fame. Our nation has pushed aside godly values and morality while passionately pursuing earthly gain.  Without a second thought, God would have Washington decimated, Fort Knox emptied, or the New York Stock Exchange crumbled to the ground, if only He could get the heart of one person.  The love of men is worth more to God than all the monuments and sports arenas.  God would even burn all the national forests to get just one person to love Him with all of his heart.  God would happily destroy all if it would turn the hearts of men back to Him.  

Today, our purpose, our goal, and our only hope of success is very obvious — that we might love the One Who is worthy of all of our love and all of our praise.

Pastor Goddard

Terrorists

Good Morning,

We hear talk of much concern about terrorists coming into our country and of people growing up in our country who also become terrorists.  The idea of a “home-grown terrorist” scares people; but what else could we expect? 

If we would have done our job correctly by keeping America’s youth in Sunday school and kept teaching and preaching the principles of the Word of God to them, our youth would have easily identified the evil of Islam.  The very principle of loving your neighbor as yourself would overrule any philosophy that called on one religion to kill those of another religion.

Had we done our job right and kept patriotism in our schools, our youth would have learned about America in a positive light: our amazing rise from obscurity, our giving to and helping of other nations, our Constitution, and the freedom that started in America and spread to so much of the world.

When we educate our young people about ancient church history, our young people are brought up knowing of the torture and murder of millions during the Catholic Inquisition and of the Protestant inquisitions through which millions more Bible-believing, peace-loving people were tortured and murdered.  Had we properly shown how the "Barbary Pirates" caused havoc in the Mediterranean Sea in the 1700’s, our children would have understood that religious governments, including Islam, have been terrorizing people long before America was in existence.  The trouble is not America.  The trouble lies in any religious group, such as Islam, that wants to force people to that particular faith.  Sunday school would have shown Islam as a violent group from the beginning:
Genesis 16:12 “And he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man's hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren.”

Any religious group that forces their belief on another is wrong.  Proper education of our young people would have prevented that. 

Murder everywhere, the desire to destroy Israel, the passion to enslave people to a religious government:  If the truth of all these things had been taught in our schools, any educated child would be able to identify the evil influence of Islam.

We have homegrown terrorists because we have failed to teach our children about a loving God, a merciful God, a God Who gave His Son to die for their sins.  We can blame the ACLU and the other atheist organizations for any homegrown terrorists.  We can blame the anti-god politicians who fight against having the Bible in our schools and our public arena.  We might even blame those who have their children in Sunday sports rather than church.  The active Christian or the conservative is certainly not the the one who brings us home-grown terrorists.

We have given the hearts and minds of our youth to vanity, to deceit, and to those educational institutions that warp their minds enough to fight against their own nation.

We have ignored God so much that our society has become a worshipper of humanity rather than of God:

Romans 1:19 “Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.”
vs. 20 “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:”
vs. 21 “Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.”
vs. 22 “Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,”
vs. 23 “And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.”
vs. 25 “Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen”

If we bring back Sunday school and quality day schools into our lives, we can fix the destructive thinking of future terrorists. 

Pastor Goddard

 

Not Diligent

Good Morning,

The word diligent is a peculiar word.  In the Bible, the word denotes something sharp and pointed, and also alludes to a strict decision.  When using the word diligent it refers to something that is sharp, a decision with strict, pointed results and purpose. Diligent is an odd word.

Proverbs 10:4 “He becometh poor that dealeth with a slack hand: but the hand of the diligent maketh rich.”

Proverbs 12:24 “The hand of the diligent shall bear rule: but the slothful shall be under tribute.”

Whether referring to business or leadership, diligence is vital.  Someone who is diligent is strict in his adherence to a standard of operation, someone who is sharp and pointed.

In our world or in the church, many types of people may be found.  Make no mistake about it; whatever types of personalities you find among worldly people, you will also find that the church has them too:  lazy, ambitious, diligent, non-committers, and those who commit but never follow through.

For the moment, let me address one group of people found in most churches: the non-committers. Some people simply do not want to be committed to anything. These kinds of people are more than willing to help once for a project; they may even volunteer to help with something for a big day or a weekend.  These people may help occasionally in a nursery or with a clean-up day doing yard work; but this unique people group will not commit to anything that takes weekly dedication.
They love the people, and I believe they love the Lord, but they will never venture into the world of commitment or diligence.

Though we love these gracious people, they will not take a junior church.  We can enjoy a meal together or serve together at missions conference, but these people will not join the choir — that is an every-week commitment.  They may help out at the ladies’ conference or a men’s retreat, but they will not be ushers; for that is a week in, week out, commitment and is over the line of their willingness.

These folks may sing a special, but not join the choir; for a church special is at their liberty, while the choir requires practice twice a week.  No child’s Sunday school class will be taught by these wonderful people, even though they rarely, if ever, miss Sunday school. Something holds them back from committing to a set place or job, one through which their life matters and requires that they simply MUST be there.  Being a bus driver is not an option in their lives; for that job requires them to be present, every week — people will be dependent upon them.

Proverbs 12:27 “The slothful man roasteth not that which he took in hunting: but the substance of a diligent man is precious.”

Proverbs 13:4 “The soul of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing: but the soul of the diligent shall be made fat.”

There are diligent people who work hard, stay committed to a cause, serve willingly and faithfully, but they are not the group we are talking about this morning.  The group to which I refer today includes people who are wonderful members, and good friends.  They live clean, give financially, and are kind and loving — they just cannot commit to anything.

Be good to these unusual people; these people battle with making strong commitments.  The church will have many of these people.  Their giving matters; their occasional service in a ministry matters; and their love for folks matters.  Just because they are not there EVERY WEEK making a difference does not mean they are not valuable to the ministry.  Making a difference can be a one moment in history by just being in the right place at the right time.  Love these folks as they find their “moment in time.”

Although they may never drive a bus, teach a class, or become faithful soul winners, they can give and love and serve in various places in the church.  In the Bible, we read about some who “addicted themselves” to the ministry; but that does not include every person, not even most. Just some people — some amazing people!  Then there are the rest of us — we are normal; and we can all help somewhere.

Pastor Goddard

 

Mother

Good Morning,

Little could be more underrated than the work of a mother.  I sat reading my Bible this morning, and out of my window, I saw a mother getting her 2-3 year old into the car.  She is an employee of the California state school system, and her little child will be dropped off early to be cared for by who knows who.  Hopefully the sitter is a grandmother or godly friend, but most likely, the child will be left with a godless, valueless person who simply needs a job and will not do bodily harm to the child.  That mother is a hundred times more important to that little one than whatever paycheck she gains by employment.

At least nine times in the Bible God repeats the instruction:
Exodus 20:12 “Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.”
Deuteronomy 5:16 “Honour thy father and thy mother, as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee; that thy days may be prolonged, and that it may go well with thee, in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.”
Matthew 15:4 “For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death.”

God thinks home and parents are very important!

When God established the home in Eden, He placed a man and a woman there.  From that day until this day, there has been no greater influence on the heart of a child than his mother.  The values and philosophies of young people are set in their early life.  There is no better teacher of those values than a mother.

Moses did not stay long with his mother; perhaps four years at the most.  Yet, Moses received enough teaching from home to keep him right and make him useful for a lifetime. 

When God tells of the king who would reign over a nation, the reference was often made to the king’s mother.  These are only a few references you can easily find on your own.

1 Kings 14:31 “And Rehoboam slept with his fathers, and was buried with his fathers in the city of David. And his mother’s name was Naamah an Ammonitess. And Abijam his son reigned in his stead.”
1 Kings 15:2 “Three years reigned he in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name was Maachah, the daughter of Abishalom.”

Reference to good mothers was often documented. It is not hard to see that good mothers brought forth good kings, and bad mothers reared young men who became vile tyrants.  Mothers cannot be overrated!  Mothers of little children are, perhaps, the most important people in the world.  For good or bad, the old saying goes, “The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.”

Because of our economy and our desire for nice things, we have sold out the wonderful work of motherhood for a dollar, and we have placed our little ones in the hands of people who probably know little of child training or character development.  To keep children safe is of no value if their minds are in danger.  To teach a child letters and numbers is vanity if the child also gains character traits of laziness, selfishness, greed, mistrust for authority, and a life without the knowledge of God. 

We all know that we learn far more after we complete school than we do while attending classes.  We learn the character, the motives, and the life values that are instilled in us during youth.   Learning to strive, to work hard, to push on when situations are difficult — these are invaluable traits!  Who will teach these traits to our little ones?   While our schools in America continue to decline in their ability to educate our children, that which is far worse is the moral depravity and social distortion being poured into their hearts every day.  Our government schools are required to teach alternate lifestyles and sexual situations and information.  The classmates of our children are unknown to us in almost every case, and were we to know who sat in class with our children, we would (or at least should) panic! 

Early in our nation’s educational development, someone felt children should be at home until five or six years of age.  The reasons for that were good ones.  Mother and a godly home produce security, strength, stability, and filters with which to sort out the situations children face in life.  When a godly father is added to the equation, a man who is trusted by mother and siblings, the children will begin to understand faith, leadership, honor of God, and authority.  Someday, when the child hears of a Heavenly Father he will understand that Father is trusted, honored, and slightly feared.  The proper father figure at home, teaches the child to rest in the Lord when he does not understand; no one can teach her children to trust their father as well as a godly mother.

God did not trust His only Son to a day care.  God trusted his most valuable possession to the loving heart of a pure, young lady and to the husband whom she loyally followed.  To whom did God give John the Baptist?  He gave him to a godly couple.  Although old, the man and woman loved God and loved righteousness.  God gave the prophet, the “voice of one crying in the wilderness,” to this godly couple.  He who foretold the Savior’s arrival was not tossed randomly into a secular world, but into the loving arms of a faithful mother. 

To take the blank slate of a child and allow heathen to write values for life, political philosophies, morals, and character is a hideous crime; but to begin doing so at age two, three, or four years of age is tragic.  We are in a sad state when we give the minds of our children to a failed system of educators instead of placing them with loving, godly mothers.  How much more sad is it when educators have also failed at morality, virtue, strength, patriotism, love for God and others, and so much more.  Those who cannot do right themselves can hardly train our precious children.  Do you know the morality of the teachers and yard duty workers who shape the mind and soul of your child?  Can you say you understand the values and spiritual views of those caring for your preschoolers?  Who could possibly train a child in his early years as well as a loving mother? 

Proverbs 31:10 “Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.”
Proverbs 12:4 “A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband: but she that maketh ashamed is as rottenness in his bones.”
Proverbs 18:22 “Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the LORD.”
Proverbs 19:14 “House and riches are the inheritance of fathers: and a prudent wife is from the LORD.”

Do not overrate monetary possessions, and do not underrate the importance of a mother.

Pastor Goddard

Family Values

Good Morning,

In Genesis 1, God established the home as the basis for society.

Genesis 2:24 “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.”
Matthew 19:5 “And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?”

We understand that in the church, there are many broken homes and many single people.  In fact, in our church, around 25% of our adults are single (unmarried, singles, divorced, and widows/widowers).   Regardless of the number of single people in the church, we all need to understand that the foundation of a society and the work of God is the home.

When God uses illustrations to teach about the church, He uses illustrations of a husband and wife:  Ephesians 5:25 “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;”

When God talks about His devotion to His people, He asks Israel, “Where is your writing of divorcement?”  In their worst hour, God still loved Israel and cared for them.
Isaiah 50:1 “Thus saith the LORD, Where is the bill of your mother’s divorcement, whom I have put away? or which of my creditors is it to whom I have sold you?”

Even false religion is referred to in terms of moral and family values;
Revelation 17:5 “And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.”

When God tells of His love, He speaks of the love of our Father and His offer to us that we might be His children:
2 Corinthians 6:17 “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,”
vs. 18 “And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.”

With that in mind, one of the main purposes of the church is to establish, defend, and nurture the biblical home.   On the other hand, we understand that the devil would want to destroy the home and basic philosophies of family values.  Consequently, the church and the family should be constantly teaching proper roles to its young, as well as guarding against the satanic assault against biblical family values.

Titus 2 tells the older women to train younger ladies about the home.  Proverbs 31 lifts up the virtuous woman, not as a business manager, but as a wife and homemaker.   Deuteronomy 6 instructs men to speak constantly about the Bible and to train their children in the ways of the Lord. 

The idea of allowing our television and entertainment industry to set the family values of our children is nonsense.  For Bible-believing people to allow the public schools to shape the mind of future adults is preposterous.  God has very strong views on the home, and as we influence our young, we ought to promote those strong views.   As believers, we have a wonderful opportunity to train family values into children by the thousands.  Allowing the television to run constantly will work directly against the principles taught in church and the Scriptures.  The ideal plan is for the home, school, church, youth department, and entertainment to all agree.

As leaders, we have some control, and even as friends or Sunday school teachers we have influence.  May we use all we have to promote God and promote His agenda. 

Pastor Goddard

 

Care in Decisions

Good Morning,

We often think young people need advice about dating, jobs, school, finances, and the various new situations they will face, and we are right.  For the first time they are facing a serious relationship; for the first time they are leaving home to live in either college dorms, barracks, a house of their own, etc.

Proverbs 20:18 “Every purpose is established by counsel: and with good advice make war.”

My daughter (our second child) and her husband just bought their first home.  One faces a whole new world when he goes from renting to owning a home.  We as parents, of course, think our adult children need advice in the various matters of life:  the first child, the first pregnancy, potty training, or sending children off to school — we have a plethora of opinions. 

Proverbs 15:22 “Without counsel purposes are disappointed: but in the multitude of counsellors they are established.”

In all these areas, we are correct in believing advice is needed; because when someone is facing an area in which they are inexperienced, they need counsel.  Young people do need someone older and wiser to direct their thinking.  What we fail to realize is that when we, as the older parents, face situations for the first time, we also need counsel.

Proverbs 24:6 “For by wise counsel thou shalt make thy war: and in multitude of counsellors there is safety.”

As adults, we face “firsts” as well:  an inappropriate act made by a spouse (perhaps infidelity), financial reversal, a job layoff, a loss of career necessitating starting all over, a last child leaves home creating an empty nest, or problems relating to the biological changes of age. When faced with these “firsts,” it would be wise to seek godly counsel.

Proverbs 11:14 “Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety.”

When facing something for the first time, just as our children need help and counsel, we, too, need help as we pass through uncharted waters:  the loss of a spouse, a bankruptcy, the loss of a home, the death of a child, the death of a parent, or the move from a busy career to retirement (a time when suddenly there are a hundred and sixty-eight hours to fill) can create opportunities to make great mistakes.

Proverbs 12:15 “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise.”

Let me encourage you to seek good counsel.  Some things may have gone wrong in your life:  a doctor’s report may be terrifying or the choices your child makes may devastate you, but be sure that this is a time to have a friend, a counselor, and an outside set of eyes to help you keep your perspective.   Just because you are older, does not mean you do not need the wisdom of another.

Pastor Goddard

 

Busy

Good Morning,

Most of us understand that life is busy, although, some people think they are busy because they cannot sleep when they want, play when they want, and watch television when they want.

I do not know much, but I do know this:  if you want something good, then it will take time.  A good home requires tireless work.  Good children, a good marriage, and an orderly and well-cared-for house all require an enormous amount of time.  Even keeping your body good takes time.  Time is necessary to plan good meals, to get exercise, and to assemble a well-planned wardrobe.

I can personally say that my life includes almost no relaxing time.  The desire to minister to people requires lots and lots of time.  Rearing good children took every moment I could squeeze out of life.  And, of course, to stay married and like it requires me to draw from the last few moments from every day.

We cannot do what we feel like doing.  If we relax all day and exert ourselves only when it involves some personal pleasure, we should not expect anything good to come from our lives — this is the recipe for failure. 

I have watched successful college-age young people (those who have worked their way through school, served in ministries, and worked to do right) and in watching them, I can tell you, they were tired — they had no extra time.  When I was in college, I worked six blocks from the Sears Tower in Chicago and never once got to go inside the building.  The first time I ever entered the doors of the Sears Tower was after I was already in the ministry and took a group of young people with me.   When I was in college, I had no time to play; but I never missed my bus route, never slept through a class, and never dreamed of missing a church service (except for Wednesdays when I had to work nights to pay my college bill).   (Student Loans — Sorry, that is the government’s way to get you indoctrinated in their globalism, secularism, and immoral mentality.  Try getting a student loan to a private, Christian college that teaches the Bible and biblical morals — that school will not qualify.)

Mark 1:10 “And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him:”
Mark 1:18 “And straightway they forsook their nets, and followed him.”
Mark 1:20 “And straightway he called them: and they left their father Zebedee in the ship with the hired servants, and went after him.”
Mark 1:21”And they went into Capernaum; and straightway on the sabbath day he entered into the synagogue, and taught.”

Nineteen times in the book of Mark, the word "straightway" is used. This word is only used eight times in the book of Matthew (a book almost twice as long), four times in the book of Luke, once in the book of John, four times in the book of Acts, and once in the book of James.  “Straightway” does not appear in any other New Testament book.   Why was this particular word used so often in the book of Mark?  It is the book that portrays Christ as the servant; and a servant has no time to waste. 


Do you want great children?  Training children will take every free moment — none to waste.  Do you want a great marriage?  No free time is available to the couple wanting a great relationship; a couple must work constantly at making marriage better.  Do you want a great church?  Having a great church requires your getting off the golf course, shutting off the ball games, quitting sitting around eating with friends, and getting to work!   A millionaire once said, “You make a living from 8-5, but you make a success between 5 and 8.”   I know pastors who have been in the ministry for several years who do not run any children's or teen’s activities.   That is why they have no young people; they simply do not care to work at it.   We ran our first teen activity with two teens, and the activity was held only two weeks after starting the church.  Since the first day of our ministry, we have had bike races, ball games, and countless children’s and teen activities — it takes work, but it also pleases God.  I may be accused rightly of being unorganized and terrible with numbers and schedule, but no one will accuse me of being lazy.  In case you have not noticed, God blesses work!!

I am in favor of leisure if it involves walking with my wife or fishing with my son.  I am for leisure if it includes a board game with children or reading a story at bedtime.  But ladies, sleeping in half the day is a recipe for a messy home, an unhappy husband, and sorry children.  Get up and get to work!!  

"Work" and doing it  "straightway" is one great key to success.

Genesis 5:29 “And he called his name Noah, saying, This same shall comfort us concerning our work and toil of our hands, because of the ground which the LORD hath cursed.”

Exodus 20:9 “Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work:”
Exodus 23:12 “Six days thou shalt do thy work, and on the seventh day thou shalt rest”
Exodus 31:15 “Six days may work be done;”
Exodus 34:21 “Six days thou shalt work”
Exodus 35:2 “Six days shall work be done”
Leviticus 23:3 “Six days shall work be done”
Deuteronomy 5:13 “Six days thou shalt labour, and do all thy work:”

So how many days are we supposed to work?

Do you spend your time playing Pokemon, spending hours on video games, or sleeping in half the day?  When do you have time to train your children to work when you are sleeping all the time?    Watching TV every night is hardly fellowship nor is it a part of child training.  I walked in on my daughter-in-law the other day, and she had her 8 year old carrying a small vacuum up the stairs to clean the carpets; and the next thing I knew, she was using two rags to dust all the wood along the stairs.  My sons were mowing the lawn long before they were as tall as the mower handle.  What is wrong with children cleaning their own rooms, or washing and vacuuming the car inside and out?  The big issue is that it takes work to teach children to work, and most parents are too lazy to teach their children.

The average parents would rather toss their child into a public school and let the state tell the child he is free to choose his gender.  Allowing heathen people to train your children to think that the government owes them a living and that there is no God is being a lazy parent.   

To make a living for the family, to teach a Sunday school class, and to run a bus route for God and the eternal souls of men takes WORK.  Some churches would rather have a rock concert and entertain people rather than work at changing lives.

Do you want your children to attend the Christian school?  Your children could attend the Christian school if cans were collected all summer or sign twirling was done one day a week.  One of our men was out of work, and as a father of four, he walked house-to-house with a lawn mower and tools to wash cars — he paid his bills that way for several weeks until a job came along.  This dedication involves humble, hard work!  Work long hours; work till you drop; work two full-time jobs if necessary.  With hard work, anything can be accomplished!

Work!  Labor!  A few years ago, I talked to a single lady, whose story was not unusual.  She worked 20-30 hours a week and could not pay her bills and wanted my help.  I felt like making her follow my wife around for three days and see what the word WORK meant.  A single person could work 80 hours a week and still have 80 hours a week to do the rest of their duties. (I wanted to tell her, “Starve you lazy rascal!”)   I know Christian school teachers who teach full-time and work another 20-30 hour a week to pay bills because they want to serve God. 

We live in a cursed world.  If we want to make anything a success, work and toil is our lot.  Rest will come when we enter Heaven.  I have to say, if there is any fear in my life (with the exception of sin), it would be the day when I can no longer work long hours and make a difference — to sit unable to work would kill me.

Pastors, read, study, write, visit, and run activities for young people!

Pastor Goddard

 

Failure

Good Morning,
 
Failure is a terrible yet necessary part of life.  We hate it, but God speaks so often of failure. 

We are going to fall — define that as you will.
Proverbs 24:16 “For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief.”
Psalm 37:24 “Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholdeth him with his hand.”
Micah 7:8 “Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy: when I fall, I shall arise; when I sit in darkness, the LORD shall be a light unto me.”

When Samson failed at staying right with God (he was given chance after chance),  at last his eyes were blinded, he was chained in slavery; and yet, he asked God for another chance to do one more good thing and avenge himself against the enemy.  In mercy, God granted him strength, and he killed more of the enemy in his death than during his life.

Judges 16:30 “And Samson said, Let me die with the Philistines. And he bowed himself with all his might; and the house fell upon the lords, and upon all the people that were therein. So the dead which he slew at his death were more than they which he slew in his life.”

It was a sad day.  A man with incredible potential lost his life; who knows what could have been done had he stayed right with God.  The mercy of God is still present when we fail. 

Peter boasted of his devotion to our Lord:
Mark 14:31 “But he spake the more vehemently, If I should die with thee, I will not deny thee in any wise. Likewise also said they all.”

We all know the story of the three times Peter denied Christ and any affiliation with the Gospel, yet, after a time of weeping and time with the resurrected Lord, Peter preached at Pentecost and three thousand people were saved and baptized.

God is ready to work with those who fail Him; for we have all failed our Lord in countless ways.  Some situations, like Samson’s, cost more than the issue Peter faced, but be sure that we all step into failure on a regular basis. 

I believe the key to coming back from failure is to admit our wrong, repent (or turn) from it, and go to God seeking help and strength to not fail again.  But, of course, we do and then we repeat the process. 

Success in the Christian life is not much different than success in school or business.  We try and fail; we try and fail; we try and fail; and then we overcome.  Whether it be riding a bike or tying our shoes, reading our Bible daily or developing a life of prayer, failure is going to be our companion.  But in faith, may we turn from it, and come to God seeking mercy, help, and strength, and then try again to succeed. 

Pastor Goddard

Now & Later

Good Morning,

There is a candy called Now and Later — a candy kids can enjoy now but lasts a long time and can be enjoyed until later.  To have that philospohy in life would be great, but the fact is, most of our decisions are based on now OR later.

Jeremiah 5:31 “The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof?”

God is bothered by the choices people make that seem good at the time but are very bad in the end.  We all know that choosing now over later is destructive, yet we all often continue to make the choice for instant gratification.

One big difference between conservatives and liberals is the end toward which we work.  The goal of liberalism is to make people choose what makes them happy now and disregard what happens later.  The conservative person in the political spectrum will forfeit the enjoyment of now in order to achieve good later.

We all understand this principle from fairy tales and super heroes.  We sacrifice the immediate safety and comfort now (sometimes putting our bodies or our friends in danger) in order to reach the goal of a wonderful later.  Our military epitomizes this principle; they are willing to leave home, family, and comfort, and risk their lives now to acquire a better later (though it may not be better for them) for those for whom they have sacrificed.  The average girl, who carries a child out of wedlock and does not want that child, conceived that child in a situation in which her now was more important than her later.  She chose to follow passion, lust, and feeling instead of living for the long-term, end result.  Abortion always follows a “now” situation; the mother feels it is better to murder the child now than to forfeit her comfort in order to do right in the eyes of God and humanity and allow that child to have a life later.

Modern Christianity is also that way.  The conservative Christian who stands for a literal Bible and the old-fashioned values is one who will forfeit some popularity now in order to allow the next generation to enjoy seeing souls saved and baptized, young people called to preach and go to the mission field, and preachers provide for their needs.  The contemporary circle wants a church that is comfortable now, feels good now, is enjoyable now, but requires no sacrifice now, and they forget about the later.  The contemporary church is not sending young people out into the ministry.  The contemporary church is not providing missionaries for the foreign field to take the place of those coming home due to health or age.  The contemporary church members want music that makes them feel good now; they want to have a lifestyle of no separation or convictions so they can fit comfortably in the world, rather than live a separated life by forfeiting comforts of now to gain a more godly later.   It would be difficult to look around the country and find a compromising, liberal organization starting a Bible college.  The compromising crowd never produces young people with a passion to leave the world and go serve God.  The fundamental, separated, soul-oriented people start Bible colleges because their young people want to go on and live sacrificially for the future and are willing to give up their now in order to have a happily ever after later for everyone else.  For these same reasons, the once-famous Talbot and Biola, which put out many missionaries and church planters, have become institutions of educational exchange and zero productivity; leadership was taken over by "NOW" people and all the "LATER" became forfeited.  Schools like Temple have closed; many other schools are all but useless when it comes to producing preachers because the “NOW” group has taken over the leadership — these schools forfeited the “LATER” value system — once again, a conservative, fundamental organization is destroyed by the “NOW” group of people.

When a preacher goes out and starts a church with grit, conviction, self-sacrifice, and self-denial, his life of “later” motivation is touched by God and is blessed.  He reaps long-term results.  As his church faces trials and difficulties (which all churches do), their "later" thinking sustains them.  Sometimes, the preacher will blame his difficulties on his conservative values and philosophies and side-step the “later” motivation and replace it with a “now” motivation.  He thinks that it will be easier to build a church without opposing worldly music, mixed swimming, pants on women, shorts and indiscreet clothing, drinking alcohol, going to the movies, and the basic worldly environment.  He may give in to this pressure while thinking that accepting all these things will make it easier “now.”  The former self-sacrificing preacher made all these choices to move into "NOW" mentality not realizing that in so doing, he loses the very values that moved him into the pulpit:  the Spirit that called him to preach, the desire that moved him to go to Bible college and work night and day; the eagerness that moved him to go soul winning, exhibit personal holiness, and have a family that brings honor and glory to God — all those decisions were based on the “later.”  To change the course of his decision making to a “now” motivation is to forfeit everything that put him into the ministry.

Solomon reminds us that the end must be remembered.
Proverbs 14:12 “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.”
Proverbs 20:21 “An inheritance may be gotten hastily at the beginning; but the end thereof shall not be blessed.”

Ecclesiastes 7:8 “Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof: and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.”

As we read at the beginning of this article, when "LATER" motivation changes to "NOW" reasoning, the result will baffle us and leave us with no recourse.

Jeremiah 5:31 “The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof?”

Pastor Goddard

Making A Difference

Good Morning,

There is much talk in our world about people finding a purpose, a reason to live, and feeling fulfilled about their lives.  This is the reason people get involved in the preservation of some endangered species or the care and protection of animals.  There is a need to have a purpose and to feel as though your life is making a difference.  Perhaps this is the reason people drive a smaller car or plant a certain kind of water-saving landscape, hoping that their lives might be part of the answer to the world’s trouble, and in turn find purpose and usefulness.

As the broken record plays again, I say that the church and Christianity has everything that humanity needs.  If we would be saved, read our Bibles, and find a place of service and ministry, we would not only find we feel useful and fulfilled but we would actually make a difference on an eternal scale.

If we want to make a big difference, helping people is the most effective course to take; for people, alone, are eternal.  Helping people requires God; and obtaining God’s help requires submission and obedience. This is where the problems surface:  people love to do things their own way; people want to be good their own way; people want to choose their own methods and manners of making a difference.  Making a difference in the life of an eternal soul demands surrender to the only Person Who can save a soul, Jesus Christ.

Just think of what a big difference a church bus driver, who picks up children week after week for Sunday school, can make for eternity.  Think of the hundreds of souls who hear the Word of God taught and of the eternal difference that is made when some of those souls trust Christ as their Saviour.  Consider the eternal difference that is made when a person opens the Bible and teaches the Bible to children or adults, hour after hour, week after week, year after year.  Those who hear the Word of God will grow into adults and have the eternal Word of God embedded in their hearts and souls.  What could be more eternal than that?  To accomplish this, one must have the help of the Holy Spirit and must follow the path and pattern that God has set up for His work.

Rats, there we go again needing to do things God's way instead of our own.

Is witnessing to a lost soul or bringing a saved person back to Christ significant enough to make a difference?
James 5:20 “Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.”

That sounds mighty significant to me!

If you want to make a difference, forget the cute little car and teach Sunday school instead.  Or go on and eat beef and baked potatoes but drive a Sunday school bus or visit in the rest home or jail.  People are eternal; investing in people makes a difference!  Love them, teach them the Bible, tell them of Christ's love — that is making a difference.

Pastor Goddard

Hope For America

Good Morning,

Our current leadership in America has done much to slander and attack our nation, our wealth, our power, and our influence in the world.  The poor folks running our nation, had they only been in a decent Sunday school, would have learned the Bible instead of liberalism and socialism. 

Any faithful Bible reader understands the promises God gave to His people about obedience and faithful worship of the true God. 

Reading today in Jeremiah, I see a promise revived that was given to the people in Moses’ day.  Follow God and He will bless you and your nation.

Jeremiah 33:9 “And it shall be to me a name of joy, a praise and an honour before all the nations of the earth, which shall hear all the good that I do unto them: and they shall fear and tremble for all the goodness and for all the prosperity that I procure unto it.”

If a nation would turn to God, He would bless them so much that others would tremble.  That fear would not be present because of a country’s wealth but because of the obvious power and potential danger the blessed nation possessed. God would bless a nation so much that any nation that thought of threatening it would tremble and fear.  God offers security, financial influence, and power — great blessings for people who love others and love peace. 

Many a nation that thought about starting a war with its neighbor has thought twice when considering what America might do:  that is the blessing of God on a nation.

Notice the original promises to those who follow the Lord:

Deuteronomy 28:1 “And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the LORD thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth:”

The blessing of God results in a nation held high above all other nations.  When we forget God, He places evil nations over us — our curse.  Good people can be in leadership and be a blessing to the world; evil nations will be a curse to the world when they are powerful.

God further promises His people financial prosperity.
Deuteronomy 28:4 “Blessed shall be the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy ground, and the fruit of thy cattle, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep.”
vs. 5 “Blessed shall be thy basket and thy store.”
vs. 8 “The LORD shall command the blessing upon thee in thy storehouses, and in all that thou settest thine hand unto; and he shall bless thee in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.”
vs. 11 “And the LORD shall make thee plenteous in goods, in the fruit of thy body, and in the fruit of thy cattle, and in the fruit of thy ground, in the land which the LORD sware unto thy fathers to give thee.”
vs. 12 “The LORD shall open unto thee his good treasure, the heaven to give the rain unto thy land in his season, and to bless all the work of thine hand: and thou shalt lend unto many nations, and thou shalt not borrow.”

Notice, these are national promises!  God deals with nations as well as individuals. 

God promised military blessings.  (Yes, all of you peace lovers, God will bless the military of those nations who love Him.  No, God is not anti-military or anti-war.)
vs. 7 “The LORD shall cause thine enemies that rise up against thee to be smitten before thy face: they shall come out against thee one way, and flee before thee seven ways.”

Political influence will be given to God’s people if they will follow Him:
vs. 13 “And the LORD shall make thee the head, and not the tail; and thou shalt be above only, and thou shalt not be beneath; if that thou hearken unto the commandments of the LORD thy God, which I command thee this day, to observe and to do them:”

Political power and influence over other nations is not bad or evil; power is a gift to those who honor God and respect Divine values.  We are not evil because we have had more money than other nations; we are blessed by God.

We are not bad for being stronger; we have been blessed with security and safety and the ability to guard weaker nations with our strength.  Our financial, military, and social prosperity has been the gift of God, not the robbery of nations.  I wonder who ever had so much power or wealth that Americans could have robbed them to gain what we have?  We did have slavery for awhile (as did every other nation); America just had enough wisdom from God to get that worked out of our nation, and we did so long before the rest of the world.  

Stupid leaders want to turn America into a third-world nation ruled by tyrants.  If we continue to forget God, that is very likely to happen. 

I have spent time in the much-praised and adored countries of Europe, Australia, and New Zealand, and oppression is present there such as America has never known since we broke free of England:  outrageous taxation, oppressive and invasive government, miserable health care, and very little prosperity.  (They cannot even come up with a normal-sized can of soda.)  Those nations have few churches, tiny cars, and people share houses everywhere because they cannot afford their own homes.  We have all these blessings because our forefathers have lifted up God and righteousness!  Yes, we live in beautiful homes, drive big cars, enjoy plush vacations:  Have you noticed that we have big churches filled with people too!  It all goes together.  Financially bankrupted Europe has ancient, empty church buildings, impoverished  private businesses, and normal folks who struggle to get a car or a home.  Hmmm, seems as if those things go together too.  Makes sense when you think about it:  prosperous Christianity and prosperous people. 

Sugar-filled, Super Big Gulp sodas, sold at Seven Eleven convenience stores everywhere (run by immigrants — thanks to the blessings of God on America, not to their homeland), McDonalds double-sized fries, and gyms everywhere (because we also have super-sized Americans!) are all rewards from God.  These things are not bad, they are blessings.

A side note as we consider these thoughts:  Individuals can be blessed and prosper spiritually under any heathen, cursed national rule.  Paul did; Jesus did; Joseph did; Daniel did. The subject of this lesson is that we should all desire national mercy and favor from God.

May we remember that God offers the blessing to fallen nations.  The original promise was to the fledgling nation of Israel in Deuteronomy 28, but the promise to Jeremiah was to a fallen nation.
Jeremiah 33:9 “And it shall be to me a name of joy, a praise and an honour before all the nations of the earth, which shall hear all the good that I do unto them: and they shall fear and tremble for all the goodness and for all the prosperity that I procure unto it.”

God promised that if a nation turned from Him, He was still willing to reinstate those blessings, IF the people of that nation would turn to Him.  The time has come for American believers to wake up, get back in church and Sunday school, pull their children out of Sunday sports and out of the government atheistic public schools, and try to live Matthew 6:33:  “Seek ye first the kingdom of God…” 

The future lies in the hands of believers.
2 Chronicles 7:14 “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”

Pastor Goddard

Giving, Selfishness, and Politics

Good Morning,

Passages on giving abound throughout the Bible.  Though, giving is not a universal trait.  Not surprisingly, conservatives give more than liberals; just as conservatives go to church more than liberals. 

Deuteronomy 15:10 “Thou shalt surely give him, and thine heart shall not be grieved when thou givest unto him: because that for this thing the LORD thy God shall bless thee in all thy works, and in all that thou puttest thine hand unto.”
Proverbs 19:17 “He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the LORD; and that which he hath given will he pay him again.”
Ecclesiastes 11:1 “Cast thy bread upon the waters: for thou shalt find it after many days.”
vs. 2 “Give a portion to seven, and also to eight; for thou knowest not what evil shall be upon the earth.”

Giving is a way to secure the blessings of Heaven on a people.  Yes, I am for tithing, but I am also for giving that dollar to the guy who may not want work (and probably is not a veteran).  Why not give to cancer research and the kid selling candy for camp?  My personal view has been, if a kid is selling it, I will buy it (within reason - I am not going to buy $8 candy bars, but I will give him a buck and suggest he get a better selling product). 

2 Corinthians 9:6 “But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.”
vs. 7 “Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.”
vs. 8 “And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:”

When it comes to giving, let us take a moment to see how politics affect giving: 
INTERNATIONAL business times …October 6, 2014 - “Ranked by charitable giving, the top 17 states also voted for Mitt Romney, according to the Chronicle…"

New York Times … December 20, 2008 - “Yet when it comes to individual contributions to charitable causes, liberals are cheapskates.”

In general terms, conservatives typically give more than liberals. (Sadly, Mr. Trump seems to fit  into the liberal side when it comes to charitable giving.)

When it comes to giving to charity, Republicans in the United States, on the whole, are more generous than just about any other people on the planet.

Republican states are more generous than Democratic states by a wide margin.  In GOP states like Utah and Mississippi, families donate more than seven percent of their income to charity.  In liberal New England states like Massachusetts, the number is less than half of that.

The same holds true for the nation’s 50 biggest metropolitan areas.  The Chronicle found that residents of Salt Lake City, Memphis, and Birmingham, Alabama typically give at least 7 percent of their discretionary income to charity, while those in Boston and Providence average less than 3 percent.

An interactive tool on philanthropy.com shows the counties that give the most, and the visual is stunning: Western and southern Republican states are a deep green, indicating high rates of charitable giving, whereas liberal New England states, not so much.

Of course, one reason is faith.  The more dedicated you are to your religious views, the more generous you are financially in supporting that view.  As a whole, the Democratic party is non-religious.   Yes, I am aware that many Christians in the south are still Democrats but the percentage is nothing compared to the north east.

Christianity begins with denial of self, whereas liberalism begins with self and stays there to the end.   Some people will argue this siting political social issues, but wait, we will get there in a moment.  Our Lord said denying self is what starts the Christian life. 

Matthew 16:24 “Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.”

Jesus then says, if we seek self first, we will end up with less: 
Luke 17:33 “Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it.” God honored the Good Samaritan.

Giving to others is the most basic tenant of the Christian life.  Moral conservatism and giving go hand-in-hand.

Ann Coulter writes in Liberals Give 'Till It Hurts (you):
“Liberals never tire of discussing their own generosity, particularly when demanding that the government take your money by force to fund shiftless government employees overseeing counterproductive government programs.

In 2009, the Obamas gave 5.9 percent of their income to charity, about the same as they gave in 2006 and 2007.  In the eight years before he became president, Obama gave an average of 3.5 percent of his income to charity, upping that to 6.5 percent the year he ran for president.

George W. Bush gave away more than 10 percent of his income during each year of presidency, as he did in the years before becoming president.

Thus, in 2005, Obama gave about the same dollar amount to charity as President George Bush did, on an income of $1.7 million -- more than twice as much as President Bush's income of $735,180.  Again in 2006, Bush gave more to charity than Obama on an income one-third smaller than Obama's.

In the decade before Joe Biden became vice president, the Bidens gave a total (all 10 years combined) of $3,690 to charity, or 0.2 percent of their income. They gave in a decade what most Americans in their tax bracket give in an average year.

Of course, even in Biden's stingiest years, he gave more to charity than Senator John Kerry did in 1995, which was a big fat goose egg.  Kerry did, however, spend half a million dollars on a 17th-century Dutch seascape painting that year, as Peter Schweizer reports in his 2008 book, Makers and Takers.

To be fair, 1995 was an off-year for Kerry's charitable giving.  The year before, he gave $2,039 to charity, and the year before that a staggering $175.

He also dropped a $5 bill in the Salvation Army pail once and did not ask for change.

In 1998, Al Gore gave $353 to charity -- about a day's take for a lemonade stand in his neighborhood.  That was 10 percent of the national average for charitable giving by people in the $100,000-$200,000 income bracket. Gore was at the very top of that bracket, with an income of $197,729.

When Senator Ted Kennedy released his tax returns to run for president in the '70s, it showed that Kennedy gave a bare 1 percent of his income to charity -- or, as Schweizer says, "about as much as Kennedy claimed as a write-off on his 50-foot sailing sloop Curragh."  (Cash tips to bartenders and cocktail waitresses are not considered charitable donations.)

The Democratic base gives to charity as their betters do.  At the same income, a single mother on welfare is seven times less likely to give to charity than a working poor family that attends religious services.

In 2006 and 2007, John McCain, who files separately from his rich wife, gave 27.3 percent and 28.6 percent of his income to charity.

In 2005, Vice President Cheney gave 77 percent of his income to charity. (He also shot a lawyer in the face, which I think should count for something.)

In a single year, Schweizer reports, Rush Limbaugh "gave $109,716 to 'various individuals in need of assistance mainly due to family illnesses,' $52,898 to 'children's case management organizations,' including 'various programs to benefit families in need,' $35,100 for 'Alzheimer's community care -- day care for families in need,' and $40,951 for air conditioning units and heaters delivered to troops in Iraq."   (Rush also once gave $50 to Maxine Waters after mistaking her for a homeless person.)” 

As I watch the election debates and see the direction of America, I am reminded that when I was a youth, we were much more conservative.  Most young people wanted to grow up, live on their own, pay their own way, and be independent from their parents.  Today, the trending lifestyle is to live with your parents into your 30s.  Ask any person over 50 if he has ever lived with his parents after 20 (or perhaps 25 years of age if attending college that long).   That idea was just unimaginable.  Many young people moved out on their own at age 18 as soon as they graduated from high school.

Nowadays, we see young people cheering that they get to stay on their parents insurance until age 25.  Whatever happened to paying your own way and being independent?   But that is not the end of it, we now want more paid vacation, and of course, ladies who are expecting want lots of maternity leave, not caring for who gets the work done while she is home delivering a baby.  We have added paternal leave for the dad whose wife is having a baby.  Now I am not against dad being there to help; I would suggest you save up your vacation time for that, not punish your employer so you can play housewife.

Greatness and selfishness do not go hand-in-hand.  Greatness and taking do not go hand-in-hand.  Selfishness and greatness do not go hand-in-hand.  Study the giving of Americans compared to any other nation; I mean governmental giving and military aide, but add to that the charitable giving of private citizens like Red Cross, personal giving of monies, and missionary work and doctors going over seas at their own expense, etc.  Yes, we are richer, but liberals have it backwards.  They think we give because we are rich.  Perhaps we are rich because we give, and other nations are poor because they take.

When it comes to education, remember Dobbie Gillis, who worked and would sneak into college classes because, although he would not get a degree, he wanted knowledge?   Now we have people with multiple degrees but no job, kids graduating with $100,000 in student loans that they want the government to forgive (which means they want me to pay for their useless college degree).  Then when they get out of college they want to move into successful positions without ever working hard, sacrificing, or paying a price for success. 

I am amazed how many people vote according to their wallets rather than for right and wrong.  America was founded on sacrifice in order to gain freedom.  We are building an America based upon financial security and who cares about freedom.  Recently, I witnessed to a man who had a doctorate and two masters degrees, but had little to show for it all.  How about a job, hard work, long hours, coming home dead tired at the end of the day, and PAYING YOUR OWN WAY IN THE WORLD!

You have the right, according to the founders, to the pursuit of happiness; but catching happiness is up to you.  I am not supposed to pay for your stuff so you can have happiness.  Services rendered open the door to payment and benefits.  Greed and demands for no services rendered only qualifies you as a politician or a pan handler. 

Socialism demands and is selfish; a free democracy protects freedom and offers a chance to do something for yourself. 

Jesus said that if you were to follow Him, you needed to deny yourself, not demand for yourself.  If the liberals would give me access to their bank accounts, I would love to fund all the give-away programs they can imagine; but sadly, they are not into giving but taking.  Where are we today in America?  We are living in a selfish, "I want" culture that will kill everything wonderful about our nation.  The answer, as always, is getting Americans back to the Bible and to church. 

Pastor Goddard

Baptist

Good Morning,

Matthew 3:1 “In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea,”

As a boy, I had neighbor friends who were Nazarenes; I had a Jewish friend; I had cousins who faithfully attended a Lutheran church, and I also had some exposure to a Baptist church.  In those days, one knew what kind of church one attended by the definition and the name.  If someone was Episcopalian, certain distinctives were commonly known about his church.  If one was a Congregationalist, the title stood for certain beliefs and practices — the name of each church set it apart from other churches.  Of course, in recent years, the devil has managed to get everyone to blur the lines and do some non-denominational, non-committal, believe-nothing-seriously kind of religion.

In reality, we all think lines and brand names matter.  I have an iPhone.  If someone asks, "Which one?"  I respond, "I do not know."  Most people know whether it is an iPhone 6 or 6s or what ever came next.  Another person may have an Android.  I drive a GMC, another loves his Ford, yet someone else is bothered when I slam a Chrysler.  In each case, the name of the car is clearly marked on the side of the vehicle.   We do not mind labeling our cars do we?   Do you ever wonder why we fail to label churches?

We have not erased labels on phones or automobiles.  If you were to ask a young person about his shoes, the brand really matters.  Where your child attends college matters incredibly:  UCLA, USC, Berkeley, or wherever.  We seem to be unconcerned about what a child learned, but very concerned about from where he earned a degree.  Differences, brands, and lines matter!

When it comes to churches, no one wants to define them.  Churches are so eager to run from the denomination label that they have lost all specific beliefs.  If you ask the average church attender what he believes about salvation, it will create an intellectual, non-committal battle.  If you ask about gender, Heaven or Hell, eternal security, or which Bible is best, you will receive more varieties of answers than you can imagine (and those answers could all come from people who attend the same church).  Now, churches do not want to teach clearly, specifically, and biblically for fear of offending someone:  hence, the community church, the Vine, the Way, Revival, Sandals, the Grove, Harvest, the Branch, the Vineyard fellowship, the Church of the Valley, South Point Church, Althea fellowship, and on and on.  Not one of those names means anything.  Only the lack of definition has meaning:  they are not willing to say what they believe; or, more likely, they simply do not believe anything very seriously.  We could say these churches simply do not believe anything significant enough to make it known. 

God urges us to know what we believe, to study, and to tell others the things that ARE MOST SURELY BELIEVED — we are not to cloak our beliefs. 

Luke 1:1 “Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us…"

Declaration and "most surely believed" sounds as if God wants us to make those beliefs clear and public. 

We are a Baptist church.  We belong to no denomination.  We are independent of all outside authority.  We are not Southern Baptist, American Baptist, GARB, BBF, CBA — all of which are Baptist groups — but we are independent Baptists.  Some people may want to know more, therefore we comfortably attach other adjectives for those who ask or look at any of our church materials.  We are independent, separated, soul winning, premillennial, pretribulational, KJV, Baptists.  The more Bible you know, the more these definitions matter.  Being a Baptist says something about who we are, and we are not ashamed.  We do not hide what we are, and we are honored to be associated with the historic, Bible-believing Baptists.

Some people might ask in simple terms what that means, so here are a few simple descriptions by way of an acrostic: 
B - Bible believing — We believe the King Jams Bible to be the Word of God.
A - Autonomy — Autonomy means we believe the church, every church, should operate 
     independently and have no authority more than the membership of that local body.
P - Priesthood — We believe in the priesthood of the believer, and that every saved person has
     access to God through Christ and needs no man to go to God on his behalf. 
T - Two offices in the church: the pastor and the deacons (nothing else)
I  - Individual soul liberty — Every man will give an account of himself before God.  Our
     actions, good or bad, will be our own fault or honor; we will blame no one else.
S - Saved church membership — In order to be a member of the church, you must be born again,
     not simply a baby born to a church family.
T - Two ordinances, not sacraments: baptism and communion — An ordinance is simply something the Bible tells us to do.  (A sacrament is something that carries magical powers to forgive sin or bring some spiritual blessing.)  We are told to be baptized and to share in communion, two simple acts of obedience that can not pardon any sin. 

We believe baptism is not for babies, but only for those who have trusted Christ. 
Acts 8:37 “And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”

Communion is an open association between the believer, the membership, and Christ.  For a believer (not an unsaved person), communion is a sign of joining in loving friendship and commitment to his church and his Saviour. 

Yes, I drive a GMC; I am an American by birth and by choice; and I am also, without apology, a Baptist.  I am not hiding anything. This lesson is not a treatise on why we are Baptists (I have at least 20 books on the subject); this is a lesson on labels, on being clear and open about what we believe, and on the importance of believing SOMETHING. 

Matthew 3:1 “In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea.”

Yes, John was called "the Baptist," and yes, he did baptize Jesus. 

Pastor Goddard

Blindness

Good Morning,

I was amazed when I discovered (what most probably already knew) how liberal Jewish Americana are.  From Anti-gun, totally liberal George Soros, to almost every Jew in America, they are democrats, and for the most part, Democrats push an anti-Israel agenda.  Why would Jews, wealthy Jews, join with a political party that does much to hurt Israel?  Blindness.

Romans 11:25 “For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.”
Ephesians 4:18 ”Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart:”

Once we turn our faith away from the Bible and Christ, we turn down the light of understanding and our ability to see clearly.  In our adult Sunday school classes, we have been studying the future events of which God’s children will be a part.  One simple lesson was on the blindness that will occur when God sends the world strong delusions.

2 Thessalonians 2:11 “And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:”

You do not want to be on God’s bad side.  It is wise to humbly seek His favor, to admit your soul is frail and pitiful, and seek mercy.  If we want to arrogantly refuse to acknowledge God, we are likely to find ourselves as those described in Romans one:

Romans 1:24 “Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness…”
vs. 26 “For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections…”

I have no desire to find out that God has given up on me and let me go my own way.   The truth is clearly pointed out by Paul in regards to his own life:

1 Corinthians 9:27 “But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.”

Why would most Jews vote and prefer a liberal, anti-semitic political party?  The Jews are blind (the same reason they killed Jesus); they do not want to humble themselves and admit they need God, His mercy, and His forgiveness.  

For us to humble ourselves and find grace, mercy, and help is far better.
James 4:6  “…God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.”
James 4:10 “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.”
1 Peter 5:5  “…God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.”
vs. 6 “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:”

May we understand that it is not the Jews alone who can be blinded by their selfishness and rebellion.  If any of us turn from the clear teaching God is giving us, we too may end up making foolish, blind choices. 

Pastor Goddard


Being Good Is Not Always Good

Being Good Is Not Always Good
Good Morning,

We are witnessing some astonishing politics between the White House and the Middle East.  Of course, we have a president who is favorable toward Islam, but the situation entails more than just favor.  Notice what Isaiah says about being good to the wicked:

Isaiah 26:10 “Let favour be shewed to the wicked, yet will he not learn righteousness: in the land of uprightness will he deal unjustly, and will not behold the majesty of the LORD.”

No matter how good we are to wicked men, they will not learn to be good.  No matter how many nice things we do, or how much money we give  them, or how many weapons we supply, they will not like us; and they will not be good, because the root problem is not us, it is their wickedness. 

I am not saying all those in Islamic countries are wicked, but I will certainly say that many are, and those who want weapons, ransoms, and to blow up Israel and the western culture — they are wicked.  No matter how much we do for them, they will be evil.  Notice the end of the verse.

vs. 10 “…in the land of uprightness will he deal unjustly, and will not behold the majesty of the LORD.”

Though we let them into our country, give them freedom to own businesses, and freedom to build their mosques in OUR country, bringing them from the poverty of their own nation, they will deal unjustly.  They will certainly not see our kindness and attribute it to the Lord God of Israel.  They will refuse to recognize “the majesty of the Lord.” 

People of all cultures are sinful and do not need gifts — they need salvation.  Just like some Americans who can see the good done in our own history through God-fearing people and without question, see the influence of God on our founding principles, “… yet will he not learn righteousness…”

Once a man or woman gives his heart to wickedness, he is unable to see or discern “…the majesty of the Lord.”   For this reason, we must keep our own children in good company, both at school and socially.  To think our children will see God’s goodness and glory while dwelling among evil men is foolish. 

Some people might question being good to the lost man next door or the kid down the street; but a great difference exists between “wicked” and “lost” or “sinful.”    All men are sinful; all men are born lost; and all men need to come to the point of accepting their own condemned state and turn to Christ.  But for the “wicked” the story is different; they can be won to Christ, but only through much prayer, witnessing, and work of the Holy Spirit.

For this reason, no prisons or jails were mentioned in the law:  get right, get out, or get dead.  Some people were simply not going to change, and the list of offenses that deserved capital punishment was long.

At times, as our children become adults, it is better for them to face life alone (although heartbreak comes to parents).  At home, no cure would be found; only a continuation of the same ugly, fighting scenario.  Nationally, there is no way America can be kind enough to change a terrorist. 

Pastor Goddard

Ancient Paths

Good Morning,

Proverbs 22:28 “Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set.”

This passage is being spoken specifically about land possessed and markers that have been put in place to show property boundaries.  But the principle here also applies to life in general.  Some guidelines and lifestyles are worthy of our trust.  When someone older (an ancient) sets up some do's and dont's, it would be prudent to not move those markers. 

Two other similar passages in the Scripture:

Proverbs 23:10 “Remove not the old landmark; and enter not into the fields of the fatherless:”
Deuteronomy 19:14 “Thou shalt not remove thy neighbour’s landmark, which they of old time have set in thine inheritance, which thou shalt inherit in the land that the LORD thy God giveth thee to possess it.”

I would like to point out two thoughts from these verses:

1.  The landmarks are ancient.  The lessons learned and guidelines accepted and established over time are those of time and experience.  When traveling in the woods, it is always wise to follow a trail.  By following a game trail or one made by people, you are very unlikely to ever end up at a cliff or a dead end canyon where there is no escape.  Others have traveled this way before, and although people sometimes go to a cliff edge to simply look, then return the way they came, an animal will never do that.  Animals are going to create a safe and logical path of travel to and from water, safety, and food.  Stay on the old paths and you will travel in security and stability far beyond that which you will obtain by striking out on your own to discover a way to arrive at a given destination. 

The fact that others have used the path over and over shows it to be trustworthy.

2. Notice that the landmarks are set by someone.

Proverbs 22:28 “...which thy fathers have set.”
Deuteronomy 19:14 “...which they of old time have set…"

The landmarks set by older people, especially your father, are landmarks worthy of your trust.  One of the most foolish decisions a young person makes is to ignore the instruction and life principles of his parents.  To walk away from the faith of one’s father is vanity, folly, and the epitome of pride and arrogance.

In this passage, a young person has been under the tutelage of someone decades older than himself.  The youth has seen the life and end result of the faith and practice of his father or of other older people, yet, somehow he feels he could prove his maturity by figuring out his life on his own... as if his father had never listened to and learned from his father and from older people.  

The cars we drive are a product of hundreds of years of scientific experimentation.  We wear clothing and enjoy air conditioning that is a product of an inventor following in the path of another inventor, following in the path of another inventor.  Everything we enjoy is the product of looking back, learning from those who went before us, and taking what they learned and building upon the idea — NOT REINVENTING IT.


Here we sit in a wonderful thirty-four-year old church with a divorce rate that is almost zero.  We literally see no premarital pregnancies among our youth, no drug addictions, almost never a problem with the law, and an employment rate among our former youth close to 100%.  I ask, "Why do you want to try to invent something on your own?"

I would suggest that you, "Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set."   (Proverbs 22:28)

When your father loves God and right and when the ancients in your life have set up some landmarks of faith and practice, I would suggest that you will find yourself in grievous danger to walk away and create your own path.

For the very same reason, we find the aged Paul telling young Timothy and Titus to do just as he told them to do.

2 Timothy 2:2 “And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.”

It all makes sense to me:  An old guy who succeeded in following God for a lifetime says how to do something; I, a youth stepping out into life for the first time (in marriage, college, career, serving in the ministry, in any situation), will listen to the ancients.

Pastor Goddard

Opinions or Facts

Good Morning

All of us have opinions.  Most of us hold some very strong opinions, yet most of the time our opinions are not based on fact.  I can walk onto a submarine and have opinions about how it should be run, but anyone who knows submarines would assure me I know absolutely nothing.

I find it amazing how many people have opinions about war, fighting, and international conflict. But if those people were held at gunpoint or placed in the position in which the lives of their friends were at risk, suddenly their opinions would change dramatically.

We all have opinions about politics.  In fact, in these times, we have some very strong opinions; but if one of us was to walk into Congress and the White House, we would not even know where the cafeteria was.  We would not know where the checkbook was.  We really do not know the simplest things, yet we all seem to have very strong opinions about what should and should not be done.

We find that the same perspective is also found when it comes to church activities and policies. People walk into a church (having almost never read the Bible yet visited a few scattered churches here and there) and somehow think they know more about church than anyone who has been there year after year.  Opinions about church are often based on one’s background and are mingled with personal opinions and feelings.  Rarely are opinions about church based on the Word of God.

We also find the same scenario in preaching.  People will listen to one sermon and evaluate the pastor’s personal habits, opinions and worth; in some cases, they will condemn the man and criticize him (sometimes by writing slanderous blogs on the Internet about him — when in reality they know absolutely nothing about him, besides the fifteen to twenty minutes of his preaching).  It is likely that one or two statements in the sermon (totaling perhaps a minute or two) were the ignition for the fires of anger they felt.  They take the man's entire life and condemn him; they then act as jury, judge, and executioner to punish the man for two minutes worth of statements that frustrated them (perhaps they are not nearly as educated as they think they are).

Proverbs 1:7 tells us, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge…”  Proverbs 9:10 tells us, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom…”  We can not expect worldly people to have wisdom or knowledge when they ignore the Bible and the truth of God.  Understand this:  the more you know the Bible, the more you will understand how a church should be conducted.  The more you know the Bible, the more you will understand what God wants to accomplish in the pulpit through preaching.  The more you know the Bible, the more you will understand the proper role of government.

No child is going to understand the actions of a parent; having never been a parent, the child simply cannot relate to the decisions being made.  The average employee has no concept of the pressures on his employer.  The employee has opinions, but the fact remains that if he were the boss, he might act the exact same way — one just does not know.

The trouble is that all of us are working with people while living under a government and attending a church.  In only a few rare cases have we been in the same position or experienced the same things as those people; we are very inadequate in our knowledge of their circumstances. The only hope of our making proper judgments is through the Word of God giving us insight, wisdom, and knowledge.

I have some opinions about politics.  I have some facts about right and wrong from the Word of God.  My opinions on politics may be flawed, but my facts about morals and right and wrong are always right when they come from the Scriptures.

May we be willing to compromise on areas of opinion, and may we trust the perspective of others who are more informed or who work in areas beyond our experience.  But may God give us grace to not be flexible or bend when it comes to Bible-based convictions about right and wrong.  Wisdom to know the difference between these two would surely be a great gift from Heaven.

Proverbs 23:23 “Buy the truth, and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding.”

Pastor Goddard

Never turn Back

Good Morning,

We all face trying times (some face more than their fair share); but to act as if we are alone or the only one with a trial is unwise.

Moses was raised by heathen Egyptians and educated by worldly teachers, yet he turned out to serve God.  Joseph had a "dysfunctional family" to say the least:  he had been exploited and and mocked for his stand for right.  Daniel was an orphan and a victim of war.   The apostles had a terrible government, corrupt religious system, and tried to do something no one had ever done before.

Yes, you and I have trouble, but we travel in very good company.

Better people than us have been hurt and have kept serving God; we have no excuse to stop serving.  We need grace from Heaven.  We need power from the Lord.  We need not quit because someone treated us poorly.

1 Thessalonians 3:3 “That no man should be moved by these afflictions: for yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto.”

Paul, aware of the trouble in his past and the warnings of more trouble to come, wrote this:

Acts 20:24 “But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.”
Acts 21:13 “Then Paul answered, What mean ye to weep and to break mine heart? for I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.”

We serve the living Saviour; we walk with the King.  Quit?  Never!  Struggle?  Of course, but turning back is not an option!  The battle you face may set you back, but it does not need to stop you.  The disappointment may be real and never reconciled, but you are a valuable part of the team, and you have been chosen by God to make an eternal impact for Christ.

We walk in a world of enemy influences; we live among the minions of Hell.  Yes, there will be pressures and difficulties, but we are called to walk with God and serve others — with God's help, we can be strong enough to do so!

Pastor Goddard

 

Letting Children Ruin You

Good Morning,

What I am about to write comes from nearly forty years of ministry experience.  Thirty four years of which were spent as a pastor.  The Bible commands us to do many things:  walk with God, attend church, love God and the Bible, love our fellow man, honor our father and mother, and of course the basic ten commandments.

With all that being said, a serious duty lies before us that society (even Christian society) will try to ruin.  Priorities will be attacked, do’s and dont’s will be pushed and shoved; it is not easy to keep everything all right.  One thing that will help keep us on track is found in Matthew 6:33:  “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”

Putting God and His kingdom first will help us with the constant pressure to do and be what everyone thinks we should be.  Notice the praise Abraham gained over commanding his house after God:

Genesis 18:19 “For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.”
Deuteronomy 32:46 “And he said unto them, Set your hearts unto all the words which I testify among you this day, which ye shall command your children to observe to do, all the words of this law.”

We are to command our households after the Lord, not after comfort, sanitation, education, or “family.”

I have lost count of the number of parents who did not attend church or attended rarely because they did not want their children in a nursery.  Let me deal with that first.  There is no nursery as bad as having a parent who is not faithful to God’s house.

Hebrews 10:25 “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.”

Those nursery workers are trustworthy!  You will find only a rare home that is cleaner than a church nursery.  I understand the problem is that your home has your dirt versus the dirt another left behind in the nursery, but thousands of babies have been there — a little dirt in the nursery is okay and life will go on. 

Some people try desperately to appease the “church” mandate, while letting their babies run their lives:  they sit in church with babies and toddlers.  Now, as pastor, let me give you my perspective:  parents do not listen well while trying to keep children quiet.  No matter how good your little one is, he or she is a distraction to others who need the preaching.   Then, of course, there are the polite parents who, when the baby acts up, courteously walk out — thus we have the baby in charge of mom and dad.   A child cries when placed in the nursery, and I ask, “So what?”  Who is in charge of the affairs of your home, parents or the baby?   

I will determine when we go to church and where we sit; I am not about to have my family members spend their lives sitting in the back of church and as far from the preaching as possible.  Some think this is just for a little while, but there will be another baby, and then another, and soon we have parents who simply do not value preaching.  Let me promise you:  the value you place on preaching will influence your entire family and the future choices of your children. 

I digress: 
Parents of little ones will avoid choir because someone needs to watch the baby.  Teaching a Sunday school class or even attending Sunday school becomes contingent upon the baby:  where, who, how long, and under what circumstances determine all family decisions — all of which is summed up by “baby runs the house.” 

Serving God will never hurt your children!   We will teach; we will attend three church services a week; we will go soul winning; and we will serve.  After Matthew 6:33 is set in motion, we will figure out what to do with our children. 

In this world, all choices are based upon the total safety and security of the child (safety and security will run families for decades).  The “child first” philosophy grows with time.   I have seen children miss out on camp, activities, and countless spiritual events at church because the parents did not feel secure with the situation, or the child did not want to go.   I have NEVER seen one of those children turn out even slightly better than others, and in fact, usually they are wimpy, insecure, and unwilling to step out to do anything with their lives.

Parents will change their world in order to try to serve the child.  Parents will both stay home from church because a child is sick. How many parents does it take to wipe a baby’s nose? I  know some families in which all the children and both parents stay home because junior has a runny nose.  If you do not see the satanic thinking in that, you are missing gray matter. 

I had pastored two years before our first child was born.  It was difficult to place that four pound baby in the nursery, which was in fact a ’60’s hippie bus with shag carpet and cages for cribs built into the walls.  But the decision was made; my wife and I were going to not only be in church, but we were also going to serve God.  With or without children, we are commanded to serve the Lord and serve others.  When the baby was too sick for nursery, my wife had to stay home, as I felt my role as pastor carried more clout.  Most parents can trade off who will stay home with sick children, and that works fine too.  Being sure to stay in church keeps the home focused on Christ, not a child.  We had a problem in that I could not take a shift staying home watching baby; but soon my sister came to live with us, and she could then trade with my wife watching the baby when he was sick.  I wanted my wife, myself, and my sister in church, serving, being involved, and investing our lives in the cause of Christ.  A baby was not the sole purpose for my wife and my home.  A backslidden mother was of no value to that baby:  I wanted those children to be reared by a godly mom, and I had to keep her in church serving and investing in eternity.  With all my heart, I believed preaching was a vital part of spiritual development in my wife and children; I still believe this today. 

Four children later, all of whom were held by countless nursery workers and played with who-knows-what kind of toys that may have been slobbered on by who-knows-what-diseased child all survived — my first three are in the ministry full-time and my fourth will enroll in Bible college this fall. 

The best gift we gave our children was parents that served and loved God and led a life in which the children would fit into our worldwe would not build our world around them.

Dad is to rule the house, and it is his duty to keep that house spiritual.
1 Timothy 3:4 “One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity;”
vs. 5 “(For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)”
vs. 12 “Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well.”

Children are not little idols around whom we build our lives.  Children are arrows in the hand of a mighty man to shoot at the enemy, to launch out into combat, and to fight the forces of darkness.  (Psalm 127:4)

Pastor Goddard

How to Spot Truth & Error

HOW TO SPOT TRUTH OR ERROR
Good Morning,

Great differences will always be found among the ideals or philosophies of men and religions.  I believe the Bible method, Americanism, and Baptist actions are best.    Notice the actions of those who differed with our Lord in these areas:
Matthew 12:13 “Then saith he to the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it forth; and it was restored whole, like as the other.”
vs. 14 “Then the Pharisees went out, and held a council against him, how they might destroy him.”

The Pharisees did not like the fact that Jesus healed people on the Sabbath; therefore, they wanted to destroy Him.  Jesus did not agree with their thinking, thus He showed them from Scripture that they were in error.  One side try's to destroy; the other side seeks to refute error with truth.

When immigrants came to America, they came seeking liberty: political, spiritual, and educational.  When the founders felt that the government was infringing upon their liberty, they sent people to England to discuss and to seek out resolutions; thus began the first attempt in American politics.  When the king of England did not agree, he sent troops to fight and to keep the “unruly Americans” in check.  TRUTH WANTS TO COMMUNICATE; ERROR WANTS TO KILL.  Most early American immigrants were Anglican in religion, and they differed from Baptists in many ways but especially in the manner of Baptism by immersion rather than sprinkling.  Baptists had no problem arguing with those who differed from them, but the Anglicans used the civil courts to ban, jail, drown, and destroy the Baptists.  TRUTH WANTS TO COMMUNICATE; ERROR WANTS TO KILL.  Baptists never tried to outlaw sprinkling or to do harm to those who practiced it.  Americans did not seek to have war with England; they were willing to allow England to keep her monarch and sought only freedom of conscience — the right to think and to believe what they felt true.

Jesus often taught about the error of the religious crowd.  He had no problem pointing out the double standards, the unscriptural teaching, and the compromising lifestyle of religious leaders; but Jesus never tried to kill them.

Many early Americans came to this new land seeking to educate their children according to their faith.  They did not want to be forced into a secular education created by the government or the church.   Like many Bible believers today, we seek not to close down the public schools nor to destroy the godless, immoral, unpatriotic institutions called places of higher learning.  We simply want to be left alone to educate our own.  But as laws are written and forced down our throats, the secular humanists and their failed system of education desire to crush and outlaw independent, private schools, regardless of the educational prowess they exhibit.  TRUTH WANTS TO COMMUNICATE; ERROR WANTS TO KILL.  One can usually tell which side is right by the actions or talk of destruction.

Evil can not tolerate good.  Failure can not remain in the presence of success without causing emotions of anger and ultimately violence.  Error, when confronting truth, lashes out in self-defense and seeks to destroy.  When Catholicism wrote law after law condemning anyone who differed theologically, and later as Protestants joined Catholics in utilizing the death penalty for Ana Baptists, Mennonites, and other Bible believers, the age-old battle between truth and error, right and wrong, moral and immoral raged once again.  Though Bible believers in early America sought out liberty for all religious people, many religious folks were happy with the “Edict of Tolerance” which gave certain religious groups freedom while condemning others.  Our Second Amendment was born a hundred years earlier in the hearts of Baptists seeking not to destroy, but to be left free to practice their faith and to guarantee others equal freedom.  (Skeptics of this statement should do their homework and find it unquestionably true.  A reference to research would be a more recent work by Jim Beller, America in Crimson Red.)  The clear difference is that TRUTH WANTS TO COMMUNICATE; ERROR WANTS TO KILL.

John 8:32 “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

Not only will the truth make you free, it will move you to seek freedom for others.  Deceptive, religious leaders killed our Lord because He represented good, right, and truth while they believed a lie.

Matthew 12:14 “Then the Pharisees went out, and held a council against him, how they might destroy him.”
Luke 6:11 “And they were filled with madness; and communed one with another what they might do to Jesus.”
John 5:18  “Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God.”
John 11:53 “Then from that day forth they took counsel together for to put him to death.”
vs. 57 “Now both the chief priests and the Pharisees had given a commandment, that, if any man knew where he were, he should shew it, that they might take him.”

Loving people, who are filled with truth, will never try to destroy their parents, spouse, or any others with whom they are connected.  It is our duty to love our neighbors as ourselves.  Truth in our hearts will bring that action to light.   Do not mistake this truth with pacifism or promotion of absolute tolerance of false doctrine.  John the Baptist called some false preachers serpents and "whited sepulchers,” but he never tried to kill them.   The preaching of Jesus and the Apostles brought serious repercussion. Because of the truth they proclaimed, they were not popular preachers; they happily exposed false teaching, but they never sought to take the life of another.

Truth will expose and seek to destroy error, but error will seek to destroy people. The difference is enormous.  Notice the actions of the Islamic followers toward the world, and once again, thank God for our incredible faith!

Pastor Goddard

 

College & Career Choices

Good Morning,

About fifty young people from our church will be in college this fall; over forty of them will be attending Bible colleges.   Here are some thoughts for those who are considering Bible college and ministry:

First and foremost, ask yourself if that man or ministry from whom you plan to learn has ever trained anyone to do what you would like to do.  Just because you can play the piano does not mean you can train others to do the same.  If someone has never done something before, what makes him think he could do it now?  We have all had bad teachers who taught us nothing.   If you want to be in the ministry, find out if the school or person in leadership has produced anyone who went into the ministry.  In recent years, I have sent students to Commonwealth Baptist College in Kentucky, Golden State Baptist College in Santa Clara, CA, and Pacific Baptist College in Long Beach, CA.  Parents and I sent students to these colleges not just because our beliefs are the same, but also because graduates of these colleges are pastoring, serving as missionaries, and serving in other full-time ministry positions.  

The choice of which college to attend not only involves doctrine, but also includes the consideration that these colleges have succeeded in training others in the past.  Success is not to receive a diploma but to do what one was trained to do.  Some people from the above-mentioned colleges are serving on the mission field, preaching in pulpits, and serving full-time in Christian schools — AND those colleges believe the same doctrines that we do — THAT DOES MATTER.  Some very well-known colleges are sending people out into the ministry, but in the training process, have torn down the convictions, standards, and beliefs the students’ pastors and parents have instilled in those young people; I call that treason!  Missionaries who are far from the USA and do not know details are sending their children to supposed fundamental colleges that simply do not believe the same as the parents of the student.  Parents must know what is being taught to their children. 

Young people, do not expect to be properly trained in a place where no one has been properly trained in years past.  If no one is able to validate the leader's ability to train people, you take a big risk in trusting him with your future.   Half of my staff members were saved, baptized, and trained right here at FBC.  Many a pastor would love to have young men come and "be trained" by him when instead he is looking for help because he simply has never been able to lead or to train his own.  You are needed by that pastor, but do not go there to be trained; go get training elsewhere, then help him.  He is obviously not able to train others, and that does not mean he is not a good man; he is just not good at training others. 

Let me risk hurting some people’s feelings:

I do not know anyone successful in the ministry who was trained in a correspondence college or one of the many new online colleges.  There may be some, just none of whom I am aware.  These are not bad, in fact I am involved in teaching some online classes.  But men are usually trained by men, whether in a classroom or "hands on" (at least all the successful pastors I know were).   I think extra training, such as online colleges, has its place, but not for young men who need to be trained in character, in discipline, and in shaping their values.   The past proves that successful training needs to be done by men who have trained others as well. 

Paul told Timothy:
2 Timothy 2:2 “And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.”

Not everyone is able to train others.  Inability to teach is not shameful, but it is a shame to go to someone for training who cannot train. 

Regarding secular college training:

If you want an engineering degree, go get one.  But it might be wise to get that degree from a college through which other students not only received their degrees but also jobs.  Also consider the morality and life philosophy of graduates of that college.  Are all grads liberal  or anti-God?  What are you learning?  Do students get a diploma and a good job in the secular world, but never serve in a church again?  If so, then that is a dangerous school, and careful thought should be taken to protect yourself, for you are to serve God, no matter who provides your paycheck. 

The school is not what we should be choosing.  The product should be the basis of our choice of training for our child's future.   

Dozens of young people from our church are serving in the ministry, but in most cases, they were also trained in a college.  Therefore, I am pro-college; I am pro-dorm life; I am pro-long hours working nights and trying to stay awake in class.   Because of this, I would be hesitant to say I could train young people for the ministry.  Maybe I could, maybe I could not, but I can point to at least the three colleges mentioned above and say, "These places have done it and are doing it now."  If you were trained like our church trains young people, you will graduate from these colleges still believing what you have been taught all your life. 

Let me assure you, some of the well-known Baptist colleges that are most popular today are definitely NOT training young people to uphold the standards and beliefs of their parents and home church.  You who are on the mission field, do not allow outward appearances to deceive you; do your homework.  We only have one shot at training our children. 

Pastor Goddard

Care For Preachers

Good morning,

Here at Faith Baptist Church, my family has been so graciously treated.  We have enjoyed countless acts of kindness from many members.  (A few years ago, our deacons even set a very generous salary for their pastor.)  The lesson this morning brings a principle that has already been lived and applied abundantly at Faith Baptist Church, but for those who read these morning moments from other churches, perhaps this will be a reminder of something you can do to help your church.

While Hezekiah was rebuilding Judah, one important wrong he noticed was that the preachers were neglected.  Faithful tithing of the people allows preachers to have sufficient care for their families, but this had not been happening.

1 Chronicles 31:4 “Moreover he commanded the people that dwelt in Jerusalem to give the portion of the priests and the Levites, that they might be encouraged in the law of the LORD.”

The faithful giving of the people encouraged the preachers in the law of the Lord.  For a long time, I would not allow our men to give me a raise (though they offered over and over).  I ultimately faced pressures that occupied my heart and mind, and finally I realized it was okay to allow these good men to care for their pastor.  Of course, I realize some churches are not large enough for a full-time pastor.  In those situations, the pastor may need to have a side job, but the church then forfeits that wonderful privilege of having a full-time preacher.  Though in some small communities, this may be necessary, in most cities, the faithful giving of the people will provide not only for the church but also for the pastor and his family.

Notice the similar situation in the days of Nehemiah:

Nehemiah 13:10 “And I perceived that the portions of the Levites had not been given them: for the Levites and the singers, that did the work, were fled every one to his field.”
vs. 11 “Then contended I with the rulers, and said, Why is the house of God forsaken?”
for they were counted faithful, and their office was to distribute unto their brethren.”

Nehemiah said that when the preachers were not cared for, the "house of God was forsaken." You cannot say you love the house of God while the care of the pastor is neglected.  I care not how much money you send to the mission field or give away to the needy of your community, if the person caring for your spiritual needs is not provided for, you are “forsaking the house of God."  If you desire to care for more missionaries, the best method is to care for the pastor.  If the church is allowed to prosper, the increased attendance will then provide for missionaries more adequately.  If the pastor is distracted by unpaid bills, forced to find employment, or is living in meager circumstances, the church will not prosper, the church will shrink in size, the offerings will go down, and missionaries will suffer.

A full-time pastor is best for a church; he is able meet the needs of members as well as reach out to the community and the world with the Gospel.  Preachers, if your members try to do nice deeds for you — allow them to do so.  As difficult as it may be, treating you well is their privilege; if you deny them, you take away their chance to be obedient to the Lord in this area.  A good pastor comes to serve and give, not to take; it is awkward to be on the receiving end of nice gestures.  Wise people give and care for such a man.  Church members, force your pastor to be "middle class" among your members.  Look around your church and be sure your pastor lives as well as average members live.  He need not be rich, but he should not be poor.

Paul makes these truths clear in the New Testament;
1 Corinthians 9:9-14 “For it is written in the law of Moses, Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God take care for oxen?”
vs. 10 “Or saith he it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written: that he that ploweth should plow in hope; and that he that thresheth in hope should be partaker of his hope.”
vs. 11 “If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things?”
vs. 13 “Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live of the things of the temple? and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar?”
vs. 14 “Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.”

I am aware that some men are lazy and unmotivated and honestly do not WORK in the ministry.  For these men, the pastorate is a job, and they are out of their God-ordained calling.  Most men who choose to pastor a soul-winning, separated, Independent Baptist Church are going to work if they have the time and the opportunity.

Paul then urges the members of the church to share of their goods with those who preach to them, meaning any goods that might come into their life. ("Communicate" being a financial term.)
Galatians 6:6 “Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things.”

Paul, in writing to Timothy about how to set up a church and organize it, made it clear that people should care for those who minister to them in spiritual matters.  In fact, Paul said that if they were so blessed as to have a man who "labored in the word and doctrine" that that man should be counted worthy of "double honour."  (Honor being a financial term.)  Paul said that such a man is worthy of double pay because it was not common to find such a spiritual leader.

1 Timothy 5:17 “Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine.”

For those who attend Faith Baptist Church, thank you for your generous provision for your pastor, but we have other staff that are always worthy of your many acts of kindness.  For those of you who attend other churches, let me encourage you to help your pastor focus on the needs of the ministry rather than his own economic needs.  When a person frets over the dental bill, it becomes hard to stay focused on the needy person in the hospital with grieving loved ones

Pastor Goddard

 

Actions That Please God

Good Morning,

Today, while reading the last Psalm of my devotions for the day, I found a simple outline of the deeds of evil men. 

Psalm 50:17 “Seeing thou hatest instruction, and castest my words behind thee.”
vs. 18 “When thou sawest a thief, then thou consentedst with him, and hast been partaker with adulterers.”
vs. 19 “Thou givest thy mouth to evil, and thy tongue frameth deceit.”
vs. 20 “Thou sittest and speakest against thy brother; thou slanderest thine own mother’s son.”

Considering the areas God points out in this life, I am reminded of sins that we should strive to avoid in our own lives and watch for in training our children: 
1. Hate of instruction
2. Ignoring the Bible
3. Theft
4. Moral wrong
5. Evil words
6. Deceitful words
7. Slander of family

Look back at the verses and notice how God simply points out offenses that really bother Him.  If we seek to find mercy and help from the Lord, we need to please Him to the best of our ability.   Notice the two major issues in number 1 and 2 on the list; each relates to receiving instruction.  Numbers 5, 6, and 7 have to do with our words.  In those five of seven ills, we observe two areas which are vital in our lives and the lives of our children — being teachable and having guarded speech.  James 3:8 says, “But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.” 

God concludes the passage with qualities that please Him:
vs. 23 “Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me: and to him that ordereth his conversation aright will I shew the salvation of God.”

1. Praise
2. Ordered conversation

Simple deeds can be roadblocks to shame and open doors to honorable actions.  Consider the value of praise.  It is unlikely that you will be involved in criminal activity while singing praise to God.  Few opportunities for drugs or booze are presented to someone known for singing and praising God.  Ordering our conversation means to plan and control the subjects of our conversation.  If our words are pure, clean, and God-honoring, it is unlikely that we will enter into most of the wrong deeds mentioned in verses 18-20.   If we never talk inappropriately, we are unlikely to end up in moral impropriety. 

We see God clearly outlines proper and improper behavior.  May we labor to walk straight and speak in a manner that will please God. 

Pastor Goddard

 

Mercy

Good Morning,

Most of us are familiar with the life of Job:  his sufferings, his difficulties, the death of his family, and his financial disaster — all of these things piled onto the life of one of the finest men that lived in the land.

Job's so-called friends came first to comfort him, but soon criticized and judged him.  His so-called friends poured salt in the wound of Job’s soul by attacking his children, his morality, and his personal relationship to God.  Much bantering back-and-forth between Job and his friends took place, but the following statements reveal a profound truth:

Job 19:2 “How long will ye vex my soul, and break me in pieces with words?”
vs. 3 “These ten times have ye reproached me: ye are not ashamed that ye make yourselves strange to me.”

Job wondered why they were attacking him.  What was the point of making him more miserable?  Why would they invest their time and energy attempting to diagnose the wrong living of this man they had once called their friend.  I believe this is a common occurrence in today’s society as well.

Job continues…
vs. 4 “And be it indeed that I have erred, mine error remaineth with myself.”

“It is my fault,” Job said, “it is my doing and none of your business.”   So many times we criticize people, and meddle in their business of marriage, finance, child rearing… when their “error remaineth with” them.  It is not our problem to fix or to criticize.  

vs. 5 “If indeed ye will magnify yourselves against me, and plead against me my reproach:”
vs. 6 “Know now that God hath overthrown me, and hath compassed me with his net.”

Were Job’s friends simply promoting themselves?  Were they doing these things to magnify their own lives and freedom through the suffering Job faced?  Job assures them, “It is God who overthrew me.”

Considering these verses I wonder…
1. Why do we pick on those who are facing their own trials?
2. Why do we point out that it was their own dumb fault?
3. Why magnify their poor decisions?  The situation is not our own! 

We are not to run the life of another, even if they are doing wrong. 
vs. 4 “And be it indeed that I have erred, mine error remaineth with myself.”

The wrongdoing of another is their own error, and unless they are seeking our advice or help, let it remain their choice.  As Paul wrote, “Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.”  (Romans 14:4)

There is no spiritual reason to add to the suffering of another, even if it was their own fault.  When we criticize and accuse, we are simply being critics with pride, self promotion, and vanity ruling our words — it is all wrong!  I have no idea how hard another tried or is trying.  I can not imagine the suffering another faced along life’s path; it is vanity to act as if I have the answer they desire.  

God was not pleased with these men; in the closing of the story, Job prayed for his friends and God had mercy on them.

May we be careful not to verbally examine those who are hurting.  May we love and care for those in need.

Pastor Goddard

 

Breaking Point

Good Morning,

While reading in Job, I see the areas on which Satan focuses his attacks.  Job, a godly man full of righteousness and decency, finds himself as an object of attention both of God and the devil.  When he is to be tested, three main areas of his life are hit:  family, finances, and flesh. 

His children are all killed, his wealth is taken away, and finally, his body is covered in boils.  Job does well with these three troubles; we can be assured that we would not fare as well.  This was an amazing man, one of whom God said, “… and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil.” (Job 1:1)

We probably would not expect as glowing a report if God were to speak of us, yet we can be sure that these areas of attack would be our vulnerable spots.  When our children have troubles, we fret, panic, and often, we intervene.   When finances go awry, we usually panic, turn to the flesh, work more hours, change jobs, or even move our families to another area where work is better.  Abraham did that, and of course came back with Hagar.  Naomi and Elimelech moved for economic reasons, and Naomi returned with her daughter-in-law and no husband or sons.  (Ruth 1:2)

In all these trials, Job stood firm in his faith. 
Job 1:20 “Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped,”
vs. 21 “And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.”
vs. 22 “In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.”

Truly Job was a great man of faith who trusted God in an amazing manner.   Along with the three “F” areas of vulnerability (family, finances, and flesh), a fourth “F” was added — friends.

Three friends show up to comfort Job.  After a time of grieving, they begin to talk.  Job starts to complain, and the friends begin to accuse him.  Here begins the long, drawn out failure in the book of Job.   Friends, so very powerful in all of our lives, turned even this great man to the point of accusing God. 

In wonderful mercy, God listens, and then rebukes Job (knowing our frame as just dust).
Psalm 103:14 “For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.”

Knowing how frail we are, God, in infinite mercy slowly turns Job back to Himself and to faith.  Soon Job surrenders and commits his life into the hands of the One Who is altogether lovely, just, true, and worthy of all our praise and worship — even in dire circumstances. 

Job 42:1 “Then Job answered the LORD, and said,”
vs. 2 “I know that thou canst do every thing, and that no thought can be withholden from thee…”
vs. 5 “I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee.”
vs. 6 “Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.”

When Job had absolutely no idea of God’s purpose in this trial, he realized that God was worthy of his trust — surrender was finally achieved.  Job’s path is not a path any of us would want to travel, but God presents this man as an example to all generations as a man of great patience and faith.

James 5:11 “Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.”

We can all humbly bow before the King of Glory and submit to His perfect will, knowing that when we doubt and our faith fails, He is ever merciful. 

Psalm 69:3 “I am weary of my crying: my throat is dried: mine eyes fail while I wait for my God.”



Pastor Goddard

 

Differences

Good Morning,

People will often ask what the difference is between our church and other churches.   Whether it be McDonald’s, Burger King, In-N-Out, Kmart, or Walmart, people are interested in the difference.

Leviticus 10:10 “And that ye may put difference between holy and unholy, and between unclean and clean;”

If we were to ask around our community, any one who knows of Faith Baptist Church knows something distinct about us.  We are a Baptist church; we are different; we are separated; we are soul winners.  Even those who have never attended our church, but have crossed our paths, are aware of our outreach to the community.

The difference that I would like to point out this morning is one that God also addressed when speaking to the priests in the Old Testament.  Those priests were to show people the differences between certain things.  It was not the preacher’s job to blur the lines so that everything seemed equal, but rather, they were to draw very clear lines to establish the differences between one thing or another.

Ezekiel 22:26 “Her priests have violated my law, and have profaned mine holy things: they have put no difference between the holy and profane, neither have they shewed difference between the unclean and the clean, and have hid their eyes from my sabbaths, and I am profaned among them.”

Perhaps the greatest and most outwardly visible difference between churches in America is the matter of baptism.  The Protestants brought baby baptism with them out of the Catholic church. Protestants being Episcopalian, Presbyterian, Methodist, etc. — All came out of the Catholic church. and from the Catholic church, they brought some of the furniture of the Catholic philosophies (baby baptism being very widespread among the Protestants).  Baptists, on the other hand, have always used immersion as baptism — not sprinkling.  More than just the practice of immersion versus sprinkling, Baptists believe that in order to receive baptism, you must have outwardly put your faith in Jesus Christ.  Of course, we do not know what is in someone’s heart, but he needs to have the testimony of faith that he believes that Jesus is the Saviour.  In a Bible-believing Baptist church, no one is baptized as a baby.

Acts 2:41 tells us, “Then they that gladly received his word were baptized…”  So prior to baptism, someone must believe.  This is so common to our church members that they may think it not to be a big deal, but when we consider that the majority of fifty-million Baptist martyrs were killed over this matter of baptism, the matter should be obvious that baptism is not a minor doctrine.

Consider the practices of various religions. Many Protestants sprinkle for baptism, Baptists (if they are Bible-believing and fundamental) immerse only believers, and community churches, non-denominational churches, and the contemporary churches simply do not make a big deal about baptism.  (These churches may baptize on occasion, but they do not feel it is very important, let alone a requirement for church membership.)  I have mentioned this before, but the pastor of one of the local community churches (one that is very large) was asked why he baptizes babies.  Being called a community church conceals what the church believes; but in fact, on the church documents, it says the church is Dutch-reformed.  As a Protestant church, of course they baptize babies.  When the pastor was asked if he believed baptism would atone for sin or get a child saved, he said, “Absolutely not!  Only Jesus saves.”  When he was asked why he baptized babies he responded, "I do it because the people like it.”

The difference between churches is that some people want a church which pleases God, and some want a church that pleases men — but that is not the point today.

One of the great differences in churches is the matter of a born again or a redeemed membership.  In order to be a member in a Baptist church, one must publicly profess his faith in Jesus Christ and Him alone as the Saviour.  One must verbally communicate his belief that Jesus is the Saviour, and he has put his trust in Christ alone.  Then upon baptism, one is allowed to become a member of the church.  In Catholic and Protestant churches, an individual becomes a member of the church when he is baptized as a baby.  The goal of the original Catholic and Protestant churches was for one to be tied to the church from the cradle to the grave.  Within a week or two of birth, a baby was baptized and became a member of the church. Members were only allowed to marry within the church.  The cemeteries were on the church property, and only members were allowed to be buried there.  The gigantic problem that results from babies becoming members at baptism is that the churches become filled with unsaved church members.  There is no telling when or if a church member puts his faith in Jesus Christ, especially since most of these “Christian” church members are putting their faith in the baptistry and church membership.

If someone were to ask, “What is the difference between churches?” we could list several, but baptism of believers by immersion and a saved church membership are significant differences.  When someone teaches your child the Word of God at a Bible-believing Baptist church, you can be assured that the teacher has, at least outwardly, professed his faith in Jesus Christ, that he believes Christ is the Saviour, the only Saviour, and that he believes the Bible to be the final judge of truth and error.

It is not the pastor’s job to make people happy but to show the people what God said — another difference.  A good preacher will show people right and wrong.

Galatians 1:10 “For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.”

Ezekiel 44:23 “And they shall teach my people the difference between the holy and profane, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean.”

Pastor Goddard

 

Never Give Up

Good Morning,

Anyone who thinks clearly understands that we are all sinners.  Most of us us also understand that none of us deserve anything good from God.  But if we are not careful, hardship or injustice of the world around us or some other hurt can cause us to become self-centered and even bitter, and soon we begin acting as if we deserve a better lot in life than the one we have been given.

When a child goes astray it disrupts a “perfectly planned” world.  I know of some families who served the Lord faithfully until their marriages or children took a difficult turn, and then they seemed to develop bitterness and ultimately walked away from the Lord.  Many of us receive good over and over and year after year, but if we are not careful, we may serve God for the good He will do toward us rather than serve God for the honor of serving the King of kings.  When trials come, regardless of the reason, the possibility of walking away from the most wonderful and honorable life to which a sinful human could gain access becomes a reality. 

Job 2:10 “But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips.”

Job assured his wife that the good they had been receiving was more than they deserved and to receive some evil from God was no reason to abandon faithful love and worship.   I have a friend who was building a great church when his wife slipped into impropriety for a short season.  Though the pastor was faithfully serving God, the wrong in his home brought him to his knees to humbly seek the help of God and love of his wife.  The home was not only spared but continued to be greatly blessed by God.  Had the husband become bitter and ugly, the church, the children and all those connected would have been terribly hurt.  Instead, great mercy and healing took place. 

Job did not act as though he deserved the evil circumstances, but he accepted those circumstances from the hand of God.  He was a good man, and God openly testified of the honorable life of this man who found such sorrow and grief.  Yet, “In all this Job sinned not.” (Job 1:22)  Whatever hurt we face surely does not compare to Job’s hurt, nor does the suffering compare to Christ’s.  Hardship comes because we live in this world and because those around us are weak and sinful at times. 

Nations get into dreadful predicaments; yet, wonderful citizens of those nations suffer through no fault of their own.  Should they stop living for God because their culture is godless?  No, of course not; we ought to continue to love God and honor Him.  Although you may live through tears and a broken heart, your distress is no excuse to stop living for God.  Many a Christian sits uselessly out of church because of some hurt from the past.  That person’s lack of involvement now causes the church to suffer. 

Another passage that we might consider is one that addresses chastening:
Hebrews 12:9 “Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?”
Hebrews 12:10 “For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness.”
Hebrews 12:11 “Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.”

God will bring events or situations into our lives to correct us.  Again, may we not be so self-righteous as to pretend we need no correction.  God chastens to correct and to draw us near to Him.  If we allow some hurt to move us away from the Lord, we fight against God and His ultimate purpose.  God brings trials into our lives that we might be more righteous.
Hebrews 12:11 “… afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness.”

I watched a dear friend lose so much through false accusation and eventually be jailed for a time, yet I never saw his faith waver nor his holiness weaken.  Through his suffering, my admiration for him was increased. 

James 5:10 tells us, “Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience.”

Paul wrote to the Colossian church about patience in trials:
Colossians 3:12 “Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;”
vs. 13 “Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.”
vs. 14 “And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.”

“Put on” is the phrase Paul uses — patience is not natural or easy, nor is it a virtue that a simple conscious effort will accomplish.  You need to be deliberate, planned, and premeditated in adding these qualities to your life through the power of the Holy Spirit.  We are to PUT ON long-suffering, patience, and all the rest.   Yes, you will be hurt by those you have loved.  Yes, you will suffer being a citizen of this wicked world and find yourself surrounded by evil men; but in all situations, we are commanded to “…do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?”.  (Micah 6:8)

Have you suffered?  Keep your faith!  Have you been hurt unjustly?  Continue to love and honor God!  Have you loved God only to see a child go astray or a marriage lost?  Remember that He is worthy of our love and service; it is not He Who has ever let us down.  Have you been weak in faith or slack in your holiness and walk with God while drawing chastening from the Lord?  Allow your chastening to bring forth fruits of righteousness to the glory of God.  Honestly, what good is there in walking away from the Lord?  Does it help your marriage?  Will it make your children love God more?  Will the pay from your job improve as you forsake your Christian life?  I think not.  To all these questions, we can say, “Doing right will always be best, even though earthly possessions or relations may go astray.”

Trust God with all your heart.  Never give up.  “Never despair, but when you do, go on in despair.” 

Pastor Goddard

 

Keep Doing Right

Good Morning,

The doing of right will lead you to the right destination.

The wilderness was no easy journey for the children of Israel, but it worked; their journey brought them to the Promised Land.
Deuteronomy 8:15 “Who led thee through that great and terrible wilderness, wherein were fiery serpents, and scorpions, and drought, where there was no water; who brought thee forth water out of the rock of flint;”

Do not turn back when the road of life starts to look rough.  Kadesh looked that way when twelve men went to see the land, and ten allowed their fear to discourage the people.  The way was not too hard, they just did not try.  Two men agreed that the Israelites should take the land.

Numbers 13:31”But the men that went up with him said, We be not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we.”
vs. 32 “And they brought up an evil report of the land which they had searched unto the children of Israel, saying, The land, through which we have gone to search it, is a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof; and all the people that we saw in it are men of a great stature.”
vs. 33 “And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.”

Numbers 14:9 “Only rebel not ye against the LORD, neither fear ye the people of the land; for they are bread for us: their defence is departed from them, and the LORD is with us: fear them not.”

Does your situation involve babies, diapers, waking up several times a night, and mixing formula?  Do not give up!  Keep doing right and life will settle.  When we had our little ones, it was necessary to switch over to formula earlier than we would have preferred.  In addition to that new obstacle, no microwave or dishwasher was available, and sterilizing bottles was simply a pain.  When Josh was small, he needed to eat every two hours.  Thankfully, that did not last long, but those were not easy days.  We must understand that hard times do not last forever.  Just keep doing right, stay in church, and walk with God; the storm of life will soon calm.  New trials will come and new challenges to your faith will arise, but keep doing right and you will arrive at the place of blessing and joy as God has promised.  We now have three married children; all are happy and doing great.  Our youngest child is headed off to college this fall.  I would be remiss if I doubted, feared, and panicked after having seen God provide for our family over and over.  All the college bills were paid and all diplomas were received, and no, at the time, we did not see HOW it would happen.

When you wonder how you will ever afford another child, a house, or Christian school tuition, rest in the Lord, do right today, and believe that He is able to lead and provide.  Keep doing right, and you will find a way to arrive at your desired destination.

Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.”

Prices for buying a house may look scary.  Folks may tell you to buy now because the prices will only get higher.  Let me assure you, prices go up and down.  One of our staff members was urged to buy a home when prices were high because the prices seemed to only be getting higher.  They bought the home and within two years owed $100,000 more than their home was worth.  Do not hurry; do what you can; do not go over your budget; wait on God to provide a way to purchase a home, and the situation will work out.  One of our church families bought a home; a few years later the house market crashed.  They then owed $150,000 more than their home was worth.  I asked them to wait, keep paying their mortgage as they had promised to do, and trust God.  Years later, they sold their home and found they had acquired an enormous amount of equity, and they were very glad for having stayed on track.

Young couples, most of us started in apartments, rented homes, or lived in a junker.  Over the years, living situations really do get better.  There are times when God sees His glory more clearly through our grief and we do get hurt; but even then, mercy comes, and life will fall into place.

The rule?  Keep doing right and wait on God to get you where you need to be.

Pastor Goddard

 

Lean Souls

Good Morning,

Psalm 106:15 “And he gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul.”

Here is an interesting verse that shows us the liberty God allows His children to have.  We can listen to God, hearken to His counsel, seek the wisdom and guidance of our parents and pastor, or we can chase after that which we desire.

Psalm 106:13 “They soon forgat his works; they waited not for his counsel:”
vs. 14 “But lusted exceedingly in the wilderness, and tempted God in the desert.”

We can easily forget all that God has done for us and chase our own desires.

I consider the young people born and raised in our church.  Here they lived for 18-20 years under the blessing and mercy of God.  They were taught standards, holiness, and service.  As the young people move out on their own, some forget the peace of their childhood, and they neglect to consider the absence of suffering, brokenness, or shame in their world:  they desire this guy or gal, they want this job or opportunity for money, they forget tithing, teaching Sunday school, or bus work, and they run after the “lusts” of this life.

In our church, ninth through twelfth graders work on buses; older, faithful bus captains work with these young people and help them become consistent in ministering to others.  Our young people may forget the bus drivers who drive every summer in triple digit temperatures to bring children to Vacation Bible School.  These young adults may also neglect to remember the vacation time adults gave up to work at their junior camps and teen camps in order to ensure that the young men and ladies might enjoy some time away from the world and hear preaching, do loads of Bible memory, and of course, enjoy much fun. 

Regarding the Exodus, God writes:
Psalm 106:11 “And the waters covered their enemies: there was not one of them left.”
vs. 12 “Then believed they his words; they sang his praise.”

These people knew the wonders of God’s working in their lives, but that did not mean they were going to keep acting upon the truths they learned in the past.  When we “soon forget” what God has done for us, we follow the lusts of our own hearts.  The sad part is the result:  God sends “leanness into their soul.” (Psalm 106:15)

Urge your children to give veto power on career, college, and spouse to the leaders who have faithfully guided them thus far.  What folly for a young person who was safely guided through two decades of life and rests on secure footing, to then make the most major decisions of life without one word of counsel from his pastor or parents.


When I felt ready to marry my wife, I went first to my youth pastor.  Our church was large, and honestly, at that time, I was not close to my pastor.  (I am close to him now, and have been for decades, but as a young person, and he a busy pastor of a church running two to three thousand in attendance, we simply were not close yet.)  I determined that if my youth pastor had one doubt about my choice in girls, I would break off the relationship and go looking for another.  Secondly, I went to my parents with the same openness of soul.  Lastly, the hard one, I went to her dad.  I had yet to mention marriage to my wife.  We did not make all the plans then seek a token approval.  I did not say, “I love you,” nor did we converse about “Maybe if we get married” or “If the Lord works things out for the future we might…”   I simply determined to stay carefully guarded until I had all of my responsibilities in order.  Had any of these three people given me a negative response, I would have dropped the plan of marriage and sought out another. 

“Leanness into their soul!”  What a statement!  What a dreaded option available to the child of God.  We can be blessed, full, fat, and flourishing (Psalm 92:14) or live a “LEAN” life.

Remember, just because God allows something does not mean we should want it. 

Pastor Goddard

 

Most Surely Believed

Good Morning

Luke 1:1 “Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us,”

Luke was trying to communicate truths that were clearly, thoroughly, and confidently known and believed.  Paul wrote to Timothy saying that he should listen to the things that he had been taught and believed "knowing of whom thou hast learned them." (2 Timothy 3:14)

I like that!  "Knowing" and "most surely believed:” if you are in the ministry, you need to stop immediately; stop any work you are doing; stop anything that you are trying to get done for souls, for the church, for the youth department, or for the bus ministry, and figure out what you believe!

If you are in college, you should determined to not leave college until you know what you believe.

When people come to join our church, if they have not already received one, we bring them a copy of our Church Constitution (a document that describes how we operate the ministries of the church), and we give them a copy of our Statement of Faith which lists what we believe.

Before someone ever joins our church, we want them to know, for sure, what we believe.  The Statement of Faith lays out our Bible doctrines.  The Church Constitution lays out how those doctrines and beliefs are applied to the day-to-day functions of our church.

For example, the Statement of Faith says we believe in separation from the world and lists several verses that support that belief.  The Constitution takes that Bible doctrine and applies it. If you are a member of our church, we do not require you to live any certain way.  But if you are going to teach Sunday school at our church, we require you to dress a certain way, to not go to movies or dances, and to not drink booze or smoke.  Believing in separation, we ask all of our teachers and leaders to not be members of lodges or secret societies.

We want our belief system to be very sure, clear, and understandable.

Luke was writing to Theophilus to tell him the things he "most surely believed."

No person in the ministry should continue a single day longer without knowing for sure what he believes:  about divorce and remarriage, music, soul winning, bus ministry, separation from the world, and how that separation is to be applied to the daily affairs of your church and to the lives of your members’ lives.  What kind of youth department do you plan to develop?  How will you teach soul winning?  Where do you stand regarding "reformed theology" and the second coming of Christ (pre, mid, or post)?

If you are in the ministry, you should have settled what you believe about fashion, dress, and modesty.  No one should be in the ministry a year or two or five or ten and find themselves redefining what Fundamental Baptist beliefs include.  Those who serve in the ministry, not as pastors, but teaching or running bus routes, you too, should know what you believe.  Knowing what you believe protects the truth from error creeping into the ministries.

I have little doubt that if I softened what I believe in regards to separation, music, and modest apparel, our church would have a few more people, perhaps many more.  But long ago, I decided what was "most surely believed."

I have no problem with learning more, but I will not redefine what I believe.  For instance, when I left college, I was a Baptist.  I was a Baptist that was independent of denomination, of affiliation, or of supervisory organization.  But since I have pastored over thirty years, I have learned so much about Baptist history, great Baptists throughout the centuries, and about why they did what they did — I have learned an incredible amount of information in the last three decades; but I have not changed the fact that I am an Independent Baptist.  Now, I just happen to be a much more educated Independent Baptist than I was when I walked out of college.  The Southern Baptist Convention gave up on separation in the ‘50s.  Southern Baptist universities had given up preaching against liquor and impropriety in the ‘50s.  The Southern Baptists were a controlling organization telling Southern Baptist pastors what they could and could not do in the ‘50s.  I knew I was not a Southern Baptist when I left college.   By 1980, the Southern Baptist Convention, as a whole, had almost ceased to baptize converts.  That year, there might have been 2,000 baptisms in the entire Southern Baptist convention — a tragedy.  But the reason I was not a Southern Baptist, again, became clear.  I was a Bible-believing, soul-winning, baptizing-believers, Independent Baptist.  I was not a Southern Baptist — that was not up for discussion or negotiation.  I am not going back to their convention for money, position, or fame.  A dear pastor friend of mine tried to get a building for his new, growing church.  A Southern Baptist pastor with a dying congregation, said they ought to, instead, join together.  The Southern Baptist pastor casually asked, "You wouldn't mind being a Southern Baptist would you?"  Yes!  My friend DID mind; and no, they could not merge.  As a matter of fact, my friend continued to be a successful Independent Baptist and rented the building from the Southern Baptist.

2 Thessalonians 2:15 “Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.”

Paul told Timothy to stand fast and hold the "tradition" he had been given.  Today, figure out what you believe; how can you lead people when you do not know which direction you plan to go?  Settle the decision; all of it; lock down what you believe.  Family values, order and administration of the church, leadership being deacons or pastoral — your stand on all of these issues must be locked in — NOW.   I took the literal interpretation of the Bible as my guide, then in areas of question, I chose the faith delivered to me by my pastor.  Each person can make up their ideas if they want, but I chose a wiser, older man who was where I wanted to be one day.  It is not a surprise that after over three decades in the ministry, I am exactly where I had set out to be.

"Most surely believed..."Get your faith settled before you influence another person in what could be the wrong direction.   

Pastor Goddard

 

Morality and the Bible

Good Morning,

When I was in Kindergarten and first grade, I remember being at a baby sitter’s house before and after school as my parents both worked.  I remember looking for the first time in my life at National Geographic magazines.  It was interesting to me to see all of the primitive, uncivilized cultural distinctions.  People had tattoos all over their bodies.  They had piercings and giant holes put in the lobes of ears (the ear lobes stretched long like strings); they had stretched necks and lips that were pierced; and of course, the pages of those magazines showed nudity.  Often, the pictures were of topless women or a man in a loin cloth in the front with nothing but a string in the back — we call that uncivilized and primitive.  But this way of dressing is actually a complete lack of exposure to Judaeo-Christian values. 

The values God gave us in His Word teach us how to discern the ways of a heathen nations.  God gave us the Bible to bring us out of the primitive lifestyle and into a moral, orderly, and civilized culture.  Our missionaries in primitive parts of the world tell us that one of the first things that happens when people get saved is that they ask for clothing.  Other dramatic changes also take place:  men who consistently beat their wives stopped doing so, the casual swapping of wives stops; and adultery that once was treated as acceptable is suddenly shunned.  Once the most primitive people in the world (who have very little education) are exposed to the love of God and holiness of God, they want to clothe themselves and turn from their primitive cultures.

1 Peter 5:5 “... and be clothed with humility”
1 Timothy 2:9 “In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array;”

The changes that have taken place in America over the last fifty years are the exact opposite of what takes place in a primitive culture when the people receive the Word of God and the truth of the Gospel.  In the last fifty years, we have witnessed a rejection of the Bible and of truth.  Suddenly, men's opinions matter more than the truths of the Bible, and with that comes every form of depravity.  Most recently, this depravity has shown its head in the argument over which restroom someone should use — this confusion is not actually new in civilized countries.  In high school, I had a friend who went to France and he said that some of the restrooms were co-ed (in the 70’s).  As unsaved, public high school teenagers, the guys and the girls both were repulsed at the lack of decency in that ungodly country called France.  As a culture moves away from the Bible, it also moves away from decency.

The tattoos, the piercings, the lack of clothing, and act of living together without marriage — these all represent a society that has been starved for the Bible for many years.   Many people get saved yet still cling to their heathen background (so much so that they will not change). 

May we not forget that decency, morality, and civilized behavior is not a natural byproduct of humanity.  According to Jeremiah, men are deceitful above all things and desperately wicked.  When the Word of God is hidden in our hearts, we strive to flee from sin. (Psalm 119:9-11)  On our own we will be shameful, but with God's Word we can bring glory to Christ.

Pastor Bruce Goddard

Progression of Evil

Good Morning,

Psalm 36:1 “The transgression of the wicked saith within my heart, that there is no fear of God before his eyes.”
vs. 2 “For he flattereth himself in his own eyes, until his iniquity be found to be hateful.”
vs. 3 “The words of his mouth are iniquity and deceit: he hath left off to be wise, and to do good.”
vs. 4 “He deviseth mischief upon his bed; he setteth himself in a way that is not good; he abhorreth not evil.”

In these verses, we see the progression of sin in society, government, and our own families.  Notice the step by step process:

1. No fear of God
2. Flattery of self, pride, and absolute self-centered culture
3. Hate for all that is decent and holy because of a love for iniquity
4. Shameful speech without wisdom or simple goodness
    (Does that sound like our government and its laws?)
5. Plans and devises wrong
   Does it not seem as though some people sit up all night dreaming up new ways to be  
   shameful and vile?
6. Determined and set in his ways — ways that are wrong
7. Acts as if evil is okay by defending shame and passing laws to protect the villain

If you can not see this same progression in our society, you are obviously not paying much attention to the rulings of our courts and judges, to the condition of our schools, or even to our churches.  How do we lose Bible-believing churches and turn them into worldly halls of sin?  It begins with no fear of God.  No fear of God allows the leadership in the church to flatter themselves and to express hatred toward those who would expose their sinful ways.  The wrong continues and soon the church argues that sin is right and that right is sin. 

The progression of evil begins when there is no fear of God.  Identifying this lack of fear in our children or in those who sit in our classrooms or Sunday schools is easy.  This lack of fear NEED NOT BE punished as a MAJOR WRONGDOING; it is simply the first step in turning toward serious wrong. 

To allow our children to be educated in a culture that denies the existence of God is deadly.  That first step begins the downward slide.  Yes, it is our job to teach our children about God.  No, it is not the government’s job to teach our children there is no God.  That is the conflict we have faced for many years. The parent’s job is to prevent children from learning foolishness! 

Bible knowledge would have allowed voters to detect this progression and to identify the right or wrong candidates running for office.  Nothing in the last eight years has been a surprise to students of the Bible or to anyone with the most basic wisdom; the wrong direction was all clearly seen in the prior years of godless shame. 

For this reason and many others, the hope of America is Sunday schools, Bible preaching churches, and soul winning.


Pastor Goddard

The Bible

Good Morning,

Allow me to take a few moments to pay tribute to the amazing King James Bible we possess.   I recently read the foreward of the 400th Anniversary edition of the KJV printed in England by “The Crown,” and I took special notice of the foreward by His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales: 

“If the Word of God can seem a bit over our heads, perhaps it is supposed to be.  Elevated is what God is — it is a part of His very nature…”

Today the English language is too often debased.  This Bible preserves a tradition which we ignore at our peril.  We have to recognize that we need higher standards to communicate effectively in our modern world, whether for economic success or simply at the level of making ourselves understood and feeling connected to others.  The English language, found in all its richness in this translation, is a source of pride and a legacy to be handed down with care.

In 1912, Theodore Roosevelt said, “The King James Bible is a Magna Carta for the poor and oppressed: the most democratic book in the world.”

From Hollywood to the White House, the awe President Reagan had for the King James was often referenced.  He spoke in private and public about the end time, the majesty of the KJV, and of Russia’s place in prophecy (no doubt setting his mind toward Russia and the Cold War circumstances).   Reagan said much about our KJV, but here are a few of his quotes:

"What would you say if someone decided Shakespeare's plays, Charles Dickens’ novels, or the music of Beethoven could be rewritten and improved?”

"Indeed, it is an incontrovertible fact that all the complex and horrendous questions confronting us at home and worldwide have their answer in that single Book.”

Nowadays, we are encouraged to have The Good News Bible which is said to be translated in, "the natural English of everyday adult conversation."  I am sure the scholars and clergymen supervised by the American Bible Society were sincerely imbued with the thought that they were taking religion to the people with their Good News Bible, but I cannot help feeling we should instead be taking the people to religion and lifting them with the beauty of the language that has outlived the centuries.  Mr. Hanser has quoted from both the King James Version and the Good News Bible some well-known passages for us to compare.

A few thousand years ago, Job said, "How forcible are right words!" (Job 6:25)  The new translators have him saying, "Honest words are convincing."  That's only for starters!  The passage in Ecclesiastes 1:18, "For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow.” Is it really an improvement to instead say, "The wiser you are, the more worries you have; the more you know the more it hurts."  In the New Testament, in Matthew 3:3, we read, “…The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way…”  The Good News version translates, "Someone is shouting in the desert. Get the road ready."  It sounds like a straw boss announcing lunch hour is over.

More importantly than the words of men, what does God say about His Word?
Proverbs 30:5 “Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.”
vs. 6 “Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.”

Psalms 12:6 “The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.”
vs. 7 “Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.”
Psalm 119:140 “Thy word is very pure: therefore thy servant loveth it.”
Notice it was not the ideas that were pure, but the words.  David is speaking in this passage and, no doubt, much of what he read was from Moses’ day and the old historical writings of past generations.  God preserved those pure words so that David could write of them — words pure as silver purified in a furnace, purified seven times.   God said He would preserve those pure words for all generations. 

2 Timothy 3:16 “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:”
vs. 17 “That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.”

To what did Paul refer when he told Timothy the Scriptures were inspired?  What was in Timothy’s hands?  Was it some original document?  Of course not!  The Scriptures Timothy possessed had been copied over and over.  He had portions or complete books of the Bible which were written years before by various men from various parts of their world — yet each passage was “Inspired.”  The Bible had been copied, passed down, and preserved through the ages by the Sovereign hand of God. 

When Jesus was tempted by Satan, this was His response:
Matthew 4:4 “But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”

So, somewhere, the very words of God must be available in order for us to live.  Jesus said nothing of the “ideas” or “thoughts,” but only of the very words of God by which we should live. 

No other Bible on earth is spoken of as being inspired.  All the translations and paraphrases promote themselves as just that:  a mixed-up re-write as best as they can create.  If there is an inspired Bible, it is our King James; for the KJV is the only one anyone claims to be true.  If there be no true Bible, we are left to the whims of man, and to trust in the scholarship of educated sinners, shameful at best.  I will trust in the Book most loved and most printed in history; I will rest in the Monarch of books — the only Bible translated at the command of a King, not for profit but for mankind and the glory of God.  Many say that there is no copyright on the KJV, but actually, there is a copyright and it is held by “The Crown.”  Is that not fitting?  “THE CROWN” allows it to be freely copied, and sadly, abused and modified. 

Revelation 22:18 “For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:”
vs. 19 “And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.”

Those words are beyond me — frightening at best. 

Pastor Goddard

Wrath

Good Morning,

We all know a little about the love of God; it is vast and beyond understanding.  But knowing how the love of God is emphasized so much, I feel we understand much less about the wrath and judgment of God.

Those reading the Bible through this year, recently read about Jericho.  God did not want anyone or anything spared.

Joshua 6:17 “And the city shall be accursed, even it, and all that are therein, to the LORD: only Rahab the harlot shall live, she and all that are with her in the house, because she hid the messengers that we sent.”
vs. 21 “And they utterly destroyed all that was in the city, both man and woman, young and old, and ox, and sheep, and ass, with the edge of the sword.”
vs. 22 “But Joshua had said unto the two men that had spied out the country, Go into the harlot’s house, and bring out thence the woman, and all that she hath, as ye sware unto her.”

Everyone was killed.  I am not going to try to logic those actions in our minds, but I will say that God is always right.

We could go back to a recent reading and see the entire Egyptian army drown, the firstborns killed, everyone over twenty years of age in Israel dying in the wilderness, and of the great loss mentioned here:
Numbers 16:49 “Now they that died in the plague were fourteen thousand and seven hundred, beside them that died about the matter of Korah.”
Numbers 25:9 “And those that died in the plague were twenty and four thousand.”

The thousands of people who died were killed in holiness and justice, and God will never stand accused for His actions.  May I assure you, that to put the lost into Hell is more than within the "rights" of God as well as His past behavior.  God is a God of judgment!

For striking the rock, Moses was not allowed into the Promised Land.  Jesus was tortured beyond our understanding, all for sinful men.   We also know the story of Ananias and Sapphira who were killed for lying about their giving.  Humanly speaking, these examples may seem extreme.

In Paul's writing to Corinth, he explained the Lord's Supper and mentioned that some people were dead for not keeping themselves right with God.

1 Corinthians 11:29 “For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.”
vs. 30 “For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.”

When Israel finally entered Canaan (although it was 40 years later), they entered with a clear plan from God to take the land, the houses, the gardens, the vineyards, and the animals.  All except for Jericho, which was to be destroyed.  As with Sodom, God is God, and He may exercise His authority and holiness in judgment at any time He wished to do so.

Genesis 19:24 “Then the LORD rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven;”

2 Peter 2:6 “And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly;”

God says that His actions in Sodom are to be a reminder of Who He is and of what judgment lay ahead.

Revelation 20:15 “And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”

God is loving beyond our wildest dreams; He is self-sacrificing, kind, and ever merciful, but we are to never forget His wrath and judgment — we are to fear the Lord!

With all that in mind, Paul writes about his preaching to the lost;
2 Corinthians 5:11 “Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men…"

Pastor Goddard

 

Blame

Do not blame anyone but yourself.

Romans 14:12 “So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.”

We hear much about why people do this or what drives someone to do that.  The scenario is not uncommon; Adam said, “The woman thou gavest me…”  It was either God or the woman who received the blame, but surely, Adam was not going to take the blame.  We are all prone to blame others for our troubles or even our sin.  Today, even our society responds with blame. 

If a guy shoots a group of people, we study his background and ask if he was loved, if he was a loner, and if he faced difficulties in his life.  Yet the bottom line is, he shot some people and he needs to be shot or hanged!

Society does not cause a man to kill others, nor is it America and her moral impropriety that brings about the hatred of Islam.  Those involved with Islam choose to kill; they choose to hate; they choose to take life — that is no Christian doctrine; that is a satanic doctrine!    Islam has been killing and beheading folks for thousands of years.  President Jefferson had trouble with Islamic people and pirates in the North African area.  The pornography or movie industry of our country did not cause the behavior of those people — the cause was the evil in their hearts.  America was no super power in those days to bring about the ill treatment.  Islam was simply a culture of hatred and lawlessness, one comprised of people who hated, stole, and pillaged.

We all blame others.  One man in another church said, “I would be in the ministry had I not married my wife.”  What a terrible thing to say!  Why not do the will of God, be in the will of God, and honor the will of God today?  Why not man up and say, “I married this gal I loved when I knew I should have stayed in college.  We had babies, got busy with life, and I never got into the ministry.”  It is not the lady's fault.  Go on and serve God where you are right now instead of blaming the past for your lack of obedience today. 

I knew a man long ago who was unfaithful to his wife.  After hearing of this man’s actions, a good friend of mine said, “His wife drove him to it.”  Now let us be honest, a wife can drive her husband away.  A wife can be ugly to him and make him want to leave: but if he does wrong, he did it — not her.  A wife who never communicates may leave her husband starving for conversation, but she does not make him break his vows; he does that all on his own.  Unfair society does not make someone hate people.  A poverty stricken life does not force someone to steal or hurt others.    Dr. Ben Carson showed us that someone can grow up as a black youth in poverty and still do right.   Countless less-famous men and women likewise have proved these truths.  My pastor, Dr. Jack Hyles, grew up in terrible poverty with a drunkard dad who beat him and his mother and then left them.  That poor, ghetto boy went through life without ever tasting liquor — anyone can do what he wants to do. 

We will give an account of our own actions to God, Who is the perfect Judge, and no newspaper will be at the judgement to try to transfer that blame to someone else.
1 Peter 4:5 “Who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead.”

Preachers will give an account for their actions, their teaching, and for what they allow to take place in their churches.
Hebrews 13:17 “Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.”

The pastor who said he did NOT BELIEVE the doctrine of sprinkling babies was in the Bible but sprinkled babies anyway because the people liked it will stand before God for his actions, and he will not be able to blame his people.  He made the choice to compromise!! 

God says we will give an account of our idle words:
Matthew 12:36 “But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.”

Whether it be a test in school or a bad performance in a ball game, do not allow your children to go through life pointing fingers at everyone else.
Hebrews 9:27 “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:”

Likewise, do not blame yourself for the actions of another.  Yes, a little more kindness, a little more prayer and love might have changed the situation, but that individual chose their actions and did them on their own; you did not force them into their pitiful life.  Whether it be your child or a friend, you can not blame yourself for the corrupt choices of another.  Jesus did not sit around blaming Himself for Judas’ betrayal.  God did not walk around mourning and trying to rethink the decision about having the tree in the garden.  Adam and Eve made a choice, and it was their own fault.

My attitude is my choice; if I allow your actions to give me a bad attitude, then I am letting you run my heart and mind.  That is my choice.  Someone says they get angry watching the political news.  Well, that is our own fault; we can shut off the news.  Society wants to blame everyone for everything except the one who is guilty.   Let us get this straight:  God does not work that way and neither should we.

Jesus often spoke of our standing to be judged for our actions; no one is going to point a finger at another person, our own actions were all our choosing. 
Matthew 18:33 “Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee?”
vs. 34 “And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him.”
vs. 35 “So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.”

We do what we do because we choose to do it.  We fail because we do not study enough.  We do not have a decent job because we do not adequately prepare; or maybe because God is doing something unusual in our lives — any number of reasons are possible, but let us not blame others.  This trial may become a wonderful blessing; why sit blaming someone?  Do right; love God; and honor Him with the actions of today.

Are there bad schools?  Yes.  Are there bad referees?  (Of course!  The bad ones are the ones who referee our losing games!)  But in those times, we turn to God trusting that He gave us the leaders we needed to improve our game, to challenge us to be better in spirit or actions.  There is more to life than winning and making money.  We need to better our character and trust that God is involved in those things, both with our children and our own lives. 

Blame is a sorry response to a failed situation.   Confession is a far better path to travel. 

Pastor Goddard

 

Discretion

Good Morning,

One of the tragic changes in American culture is the lack of discretion.
Proverbs 2:11 “Discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee:”
Proverbs 11:22 “As a jewel of gold in a swine’s snout, so is a fair woman which is without discretion.”

Discretion has to do with good judgment or good taste, both in appearance and action.  Discretion will preserve; the lack of discretion will destroy.   A woman without discretion is like a beautiful ring in a pig's nose.  We need to speak about discretion to our young people — it matters to God! 

In Proverbs 7, we read about a woman with the attire of a harlot.  Obviously, forward women and forward men have always existed.  I am not so foolish to say that the devil has only just begun to use inappropriate behavior to hurt the people of God, but I will say it has become very acceptable — that is the dramatic change.  In the ’60s, girls wore extremely short mini skirts, and people looked at them with a measure of shame.  Now in this age, we find the pastors’ wives and the leading ladies in the church revealing far more flesh than is appropriate.

One cannot look at the news team or sports announcers without noticing the obviously well-chosen angles of crossed legs (far more noticeably than they ought) — that is indiscreet!  We have become so familiar with impropriety on television that Christian men and women have lowered their standards of discretion.

Being discreet:  when a lady stands too close to me, I move away.  When a man or lady speaks about anything too personal or inappropriate, discretion tells listeners to shut them down or leave.

Young men as much as young ladies need to have a wall of appropriateness and discreet behavior at all times.  A man should not be flattered by a forward woman, but he should rather treat her as if she was an assailant looking for the opportunity to destroy him.

Again, the trouble today is the acceptance of forward behavior: the little girls studying how to stand, how to hold their hand on their thrust-out hip, or how to wear the clothing that screams "sex" as the gal walks by a man.  This acceptance of indiscretion has prompted parents to send their children to dance classes — classes that ALWAYS end up in a sensuous manner.  We act as if "sexy" is a normal thought in dressing for work or for a date — but it is wrong!  If we are to be pleasing to God, modesty, discretion, and keeping a blush on our girls is vital.  A girl needs to realize that  her level of discretion will, most often, be left up to her to keep her dating life clean; a guy simply will melt if she allows physical activity to begin.  Sad, but true, the burden falls on the girls. 

Timothy speaks of ladies dressing in a way that becomes godliness.

1 Timothy 2:10 “But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.”

Solomon wrote of the forward woman in this way...

Proverbs 7:10 “And, behold, there met him a woman with the attire of an harlot, and subtil of heart. 11 (She is loud and stubborn; her feet abide not in her house:”

Yes, our words matter.  Yes, our dress matters.  Yes, our conversation should always be appropriate.

Colossians 4:6 “Let your speech be alway with grace,”

Proverbs 4:24 “Put away from thee a froward mouth, and perverse lips put far from thee.”
Proverbs 10:32 “The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable: but the mouth of the wicked speaketh frowardness.”

Let's make this summer a season of discretion.

Pastor Goddard

 

Forgiveness

Good Morning,

I recently preached a message on forgiveness and felt it might be wise to put these verses out in front of all of us to serve as a review.

Matthew 6:14 “For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:”
vs. 15 “But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”

Luke 6:37 “Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven:”

Whether or not one feels like forgiving, offering forgiveness to those who offend is a scriptural command.  To harbor bitterness for months or even years after an offense has been committed is not only godless — it is self-destructive.

 If the offender comes to confess the wrong and to ask for forgiveness of the one who has been hurt, and the offended one offers no forgiveness, the root of bitterness has sprung up and will trouble and defile countless others (according to the book of Hebrews).

Hebrews 12:15 “Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;”

If not all, at least most people who harbor bitterness and unforgiveness have chosen the path of defilement; they cling to their hurt and have no desire to forgive.  In all my years of ministry, I have never had anyone come to me and say, "I'm struggling with forgiveness. I love this person who has hurt me, and I want to get over the hurt.  How do I forgive them?"  But I have had many people tell me of instances in which one or another person hurt someone, and the hurt person refused to grant forgiveness, often leaving the church as a result.

What a waste of God's blessings and grace!  People who are unforgiving cling to their wounds like the homeless man holding a sign, hoping for sympathy or for someone to feel his pain.  People like this man have forgotten that Jesus already felt their pain, and He has already given them grace to be healed.

Matthew 18:21 “Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?”

We know the answer from the Saviour; forgiveness was not to be offered seven times, but seventy times seven.

Those who have been hurt and do not forgive usually desire hurt to enter the life of the one who offended them.  They harbor the unforgiving spirit and bitterness because they desire that the other person suffer.  Somehow, by harboring bitterness, one feels that he is hurting the one who hurt him; when in reality, the only ones being hurt are himself and those around him.

I have known many people who were hurt at church.  Each situation involved someone who said or did something that offended someone else; and although the offended one said he had forgiven the offense, he became very irregular in his church attendance and gave up his Sunday school class or area of ministry.  Regardless of the (so-called) forgiveness of the offended one, he somehow ended up out of church — harming himself and others.  Can you imagine what that individual will experience at the Judgment Seat of Christ while rewards are being handed out for serving in the church, working in bus ministry or Sunday school, going to rest homes or jails with the Gospel, winning souls, and investing time teaching the Bible to others?  Can you picture that person going to the Judgment Seat and realizing he missed years of faithful service to God because someone said something that hurt his feelings?


Among us, we will find a spouse, a parent, or a child who has been hurt and has enjoyed bathing in the pool of bitterness and pain, rubbing his suffering on the outside of his wounded body.  These individuals have displayed their hurt like a classic old car restored for all to see and say, "Wow!"  Many people wear their hurt openly and want everyone to know about it, perhaps by allowing little comments to slip out in hopes of wounding the character of the one who hurt them.  In so doing, these people forfeit countless thousands of opportunities to influence others for Christ and eternity.  The Lord could have received much honor from their lives, but He didn't.  Souls will be end in Hell because someone failed to invest his time, talents, and treasures -- all because he had been injured, he would rather soak in the cesspool of unforgiveness.

Ephesians 4:32 “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.”

Pastor Goddard

 

Ruler and Saviour

Good Morning,

Matthew 2:6 “And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.”

We all consider the earthly role of our Lord as one of Savoiur, and so He is.
Isaiah 9:6 “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”

The very next verse brings much more to light regarding the future position of Christ:
Isaiah 9:7 “Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.”

His government!  His rule!  In fact, the very name, Christ, means king.  Jesus is Ruler, Sovereign, Monarch, and so much more. 

In the New Testament, we see the same truth:
Ephesians 1:22 “And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,”
Colossians 1:18 “And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.”

Yes, Jesus is the Rose of Sharon and Lily of the Valley.
Song of Solomon 2:1 “I am the rose of Sharon, and the lily of the valleys.”

He is also the Ruler and King.

Revelation 2:27 “And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father.”
Revelation 11:15 “And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.”

Jesus is called the Lamb of God.
John 1:29 “The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.”

He is also referred to as high and lofty:
Isaiah 57:15 “For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy;”

Humanity likes to talk about the fact that “God is Love.”
1 John 4:8 “He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.”

But men somehow struggle with the fact that God is Holy.
1 Peter 1:15 “But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;”
vs. 16 “Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.”

In both the New and Old Testament, God speaks of Himself as a consuming fire.
Deuteronomy 4:24 “For the LORD thy God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God.”
Hebrews 12:29 “For our God is a consuming fire.”

We need to read our Bibles and learn about God.  Remember the exhortation to learn of Christ:
Matthew 11:29 “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” 

I love the story often made into a children’s song about the wise and foolish man.  One man who listened to the Lord’s instruction is pictured by his building a home that withstood the storm; the other man did not listen, and his house blew down in the storm. 

Certainly, our Lord is merciful; but He is just and holy — a consuming fire.  May we fear Him, worship Him, and trust Him.

1 Chronicles 16:30 “Fear before him, all the earth…"
Psalm 96:9 “O worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness: fear before him, all the earth.”
Ecclesiastes 3:14 “I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it: and God doeth it, that men should fear before him.”

Pastor Goddard

 

Results

Good Morning,

Most of us know the story of Moses striking the rock rather than speaking to it.  To us, the offense seems minor, but to God, it was major; and as a result, Moses was denied the right to enter the Promised Land and lead Israel to their home.

Choices are so very serious, and though God forgives, the results of our choices are not always removed.  Consider the sin of David towards Bathsheba and Uriah. 

2 Samuel 12:10 “Now therefore the sword shall never depart from thine house; because thou hast despised me, and hast taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be thy wife.”

The story consists of adultery, murder, and judgment.  Psalms 51 records David’s prayer of repentance, but God’s forgiveness was also recorded.

vs. 13 “And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the LORD. And Nathan said unto David, The LORD also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die.”

The child died, and the heart of Bathsheba broke; the sword would never depart from the house of David. 

Remember Lot’s choice to move to Sodom?  The long-term judgment on his family was a tragic result.  Though God refers to Lot as a righteous man, the suffering from his poor choices was eternal.

2 Peter 2:8 “(For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;)”

Lot’s children all suffered, his wife died, and countless lives in the city were lost; they could have been spared, but perished due to his compromise.

We all know the story of Eve’s listening to the devil on a matter that seemed small, and of the following choice by Adam — those two choices plunged the human race into endless harm.  We should begin each day in prayer for wisdom to be able to see and to hear and to help us respond properly to people, circumstances, and choices. 

We love to hear of God's mercy and forgiveness (I need it daily, just as we all do), but may we not forget the end of our choices — there is an end.

The greatest example of this is when Jesus offered His body as a sacrifice to God.  There is no way we can measure the good that resulted from that choice.  For we who believe, eternity will be inadequate to comprehend the wonders of the results of that choice and the ramifications of that day.

"Now therefore the sword shall never depart from thine house..." is a huge statement.  Choices for president will touch millions and probably billions of lives.  May we choose righteously.  For "The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life..." (Proverbs 11:30)

Pastor Goddard

 

Man's Place

Good Morning,

We are inundated with pressure to honor creation and dishonor man, worship earth and deny the existence of God. 

Notice the reason God placed man in the garden.... to dress it and keep it.

Genesis 2:7 “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.”
vs. 8 “And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.”
vs. 15 “And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.”

Anyone who has been out in nature will testify that fruit trees exist in the wild, but in a pitiful state compared to those trees "kept" by men.  Without men, California was a desert.  Wise men who knew how to plan properly brought water all over our state to provide abundance for all.  When I was in high school, California produced more cotton than the entire south, more corn than the Midwest, and more nuts (not the politicians) than any state.  With the rise of "earth worship" and liberalism in California, California is now moving back to a dust bowl through the central valley; but the fact remains: men can make it better. 

Out in the woods, you may find an apple tree, but its fruit will be small and its limbs overgrown and frail, breaking under the weight of the fruit.   A well-pruned fruit tree will always produce better fruit than one left to itself.

Man was put on the earth “to dress it and to keep it."  Dress it means to make it look good, to improve it, and to care for it.  The idea that man’s involvement is the problem is nonsense.  Godly men plan, improve, and honor God with their work on earth.  Godless men ruin and defile the earth while giving profit to self and no glory to God.

We can determine the merit of men by seeing how much better they leave a place and how much glory they bring to God.  Doctors who stay focused on man and health and who praise God for His marvelous creation are men of merit and respectability.  Teachers who stand in a classroom teaching truth in math, science, and communication skills, and who give God all the credit for the world in which we live — these are the finest of people.  But teachers who deny God, glorify creation, and magnify the frailties of men are not good, but are corrupt and evil.

Thirty years ago, "humanism" was the big evil in schools.  Humanism is the teaching that man, not God, is the center of the world; and that everything should be done to make men happy.   Now teachers are convincing children that nature is that central, not man, and that man is an interloper, a temporary inconvenience in a beautiful and perfect world (which it would be were it not for shameful men).   Men are now portrayed as evil and wrongdoers who have no more stature than a rat or bird.

Romans 1:24 “Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:”
vs. 25 “Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.”

All of this takes away the most basic truth in life: God loves men; He wants to save men from their sin, and He wants men to love and praise Him as Creator, Father, and Friend.

Revelation 4:11”Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.”

John 15:15 “Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.”

Men are not the problem when they love God and desire to do things in a way honoring to Him.  When men understand the two simple yet great commandments — love God supremely and love men — all of life falls into place.  When men make these two principles the foundation of all choices and deeds, all actions and priorities find their proper place. 

Matthew 22:37 “Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.”
vs. 38 “This is the first and great commandment.”
vs. 39  “And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.”
vs. 40 “On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

Pastor Goddard

 

Men Matter

Good Morning,

On Wednesday nights, we are studying the book of Proverbs.  This book of the Bible has a wealth of instruction not only for the young but also for parents and leaders.  The book is rooted  in a father’s instruction to his son about facing adult life.

In fact, the book of Proverbs could be outlined by the phrase, "my son."  Each time the words "my son" are used, another topic arises and continues on throughout many verses and chapters.  The fact that a father is instructing his child is what makes this book especially meaningful.  Our culture pushes fathers away from children while God desires them to be intimately close.  The work of the preacher is to bring the fathers and children close.

Malachi 4:5 “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD:”
vs. 6 “And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.”

Proverbs teaches children the importance of a right relationship with their father.  Proverbs also teaches the urgency of men to spend time teaching and training their children.

Proverbs 1:8 “My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother:”

Proverbs 4:1 “Hear, ye children, the instruction of a father, and attend to know understanding.”
vs. 2 “For I give you good doctrine, forsake ye not my law.”
vs. 3 “For I was my father's son, tender and only beloved in the sight of my mother.”
vs. 4 “He taught me also, and said unto me, Let thine heart retain my words: keep my commandments, and live.”

vs. 20 “My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings.”

In a day of ball games, giant televisions and entertainment everywhere, every man must invest his life in young people; especially his own, but also the children in Sunday school, Christian school, and the community.

No one I know doubts or challenges the vital role of a mother, yet somehow men are bashed as unimportant, insignificant, and unnecessary.  God differs from that idea in a serious way.

Let me  say, "Men's lives matter."  Older men who simply get to church matter; men who carry a Bible and sing matter; these men are seen by all, and they all matter.  Young men who sit with their families matter;  they set an example for all teens and children to see.  Men matter as they lend stability to the church, guarding the ministry from foolish change.

Deacons and pastors are to be men.
1 Timothy 3:1 “This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.  2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife,”
vs. 12 “Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well.”

Men matter as they put their offering into the plate; men show young people that they value the church enough to support it financially.  Men matter as they sing in the choir; they show that the music of the church is for the men as much as it is for ladies.  (All Old Testament music was performed by the Levites — men.)

Men matter when they work on a bus or teach Sunday school; young people see them proclaiming the church and the Bible as vitally important to all.

When a man invests his time in a certain project, he shows its value.  Just as a man teaches his children the principles of the Bible or teaches other young people at church, he makes it clear that God and the Bible matter.  Men, never underestimate your importance!

Pastor Goddard

 

Sign & Cry

Good Morning,

While reading in Ezekiel, I noticed some amazing events; one in particular, is the angels being sent to kill people in Jerusalem.

Ezekiel 9:4 “And the LORD said unto him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof.”
vs. 5 “And to the others he said in mine hearing, Go ye after him through the city, and smite: let not your eye spare, neither have ye pity:”
vs. 6 “Slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and women: but come not near any man upon whom is the mark; and begin at my sanctuary. Then they began at the ancient men which were before the house.”
vs. 7 “And he said unto them, Defile the house, and fill the courts with the slain: go ye forth. And they went forth, and slew in the city.”
vs. 8 “And it came to pass, while they were slaying them, and I was left, that I fell upon my face, and cried, and said, Ah Lord GOD! wilt thou destroy all the residue of Israel in thy pouring out of thy fury upon Jerusalem?”

The men who sighed and cried over the mess in which they found their nation were marked by the first angel, and the second was told to leave them alone.

vs. 4 “…set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof."

Those men who were bothered by the shame and corrupt lives of others were spared.  Thousands of those who accepted the compromise and abominable behavior were killed.

When the judgment began, it began at church with the men who should have been leading the congregation to righteousness. 

vs. 6   "... and begin at my sanctuary. Then they began at the ancient men which were before the house."

God expects different things from different people.  God expects we who have been trained right to step up and make a difference and to not tolerate shame and wrong.  We may not be able to stop wrong, but we can at least "sigh and cry for all the abominations."

Circumstances in America may be beyond our control, but they are not beyond our cry.  The shame on television is out of our control, but we can shut off our televisions and groan over the foul smut called entertainment.  For a mature believer to fill his home with vulgarity and lewd actions via the television does not qualify him as one of those who sighs and cries for all the abominations.

Ezekiel continues:
vs. 9 “Then said he unto me, The iniquity of the house of Israel and Judah is exceeding great, and the land is full of blood, and the city full of perverseness: for they say, The LORD hath forsaken the earth, and the LORD seeth not.”
vs. 10 “And as for me also, mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity, but I will recompense their way upon their head.”

WHY WAS THERE JUDGEMENT ?

1. “…iniquity… is exceeding great…”

2. “…the land is full of blood…”  (In our culture, this would be abortions by the millions.)

3. “…full of perverseness…”

4. Believed God was not active in their lives

We may live among people who believe God to be dead or out of touch, but we who know the truth, ought to tremble and fear when we realize that God is just, and that He is the rewarder of the wicked and the good. 

May we hope for God’s mercy on America; but even more so, may we sigh and cry for all these abominations that surround us — and not call the shame of the world amusement.

Pastor Goddard

 

Right and Wrong

Good Morning,

The devil is always trying to make sin culturally acceptable; but we must base our belief and our moral values on the Bible, not on culture.

Let us be clear:
Adultery is not “an affair;” it is SIN.
Homosexuality is not “an alternate lifestyle;” it is SIN.
Drug addition is not “over medicating” yourself; it is SIN, and you are an addict.
A worldly church service is not a “contemporary church;” it is friendly with the world and a SIN.

Well now…. I am sure I just went over the line of warm and fuzzy thinking already so allow me to continue.  We watch television and follow entertainment so closely that we corrupt our hearts. 
Lamentations 3:51 “Mine eye affecteth mine heart because of all the daughters of my city.”
Our long hours of television and our brief hours of preaching and Bible reading have wrongly affected our hearts.  When we do what we think is right, we make wrong decisions and cause disaster and ruin.  

We have softened our value system to match our hearts, but Jeremiah 17:9 says, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”  This is why so many churches will never mention adultery, drinking, or many other things commonly preached against in days gone by.  We are off track in our values and morals.

In Proverbs 28:26, Solomon wrote, “He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered.”

We may not understand certain biblical values, but God asks us to trust Him and not ourselves:
Proverbs 3:5 “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.”

When a news commentator tells us we are offending one percent of the population (an immoral, godless one percent at that) while believing what the Bible says, not to mention agreeing with ninety-nine percent of the population, then we simply should not care.  What God calls right and wrong is right and wrong — no matter what NBC, CBS, or any Supreme Court Justice writes.  I can be good to people, but I do not have to act as if sin is right.  I can love my neighbor without pretending his booze and drugs are acceptable.  I can care for those in my city who are hurting without treating adultery as if it is logical and reasonable. 

Deuteronomy 5:29 “O that there were such an heart in them, that they would fear me, and keep all my commandments always, that it might be well with them, and with their children for ever!” 

Ecclesiastes 12:13 “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.”

Some things are worthy of our concern.  We should care about our hearts keeping us from obeying God and not understanding our DUTIES.   We ought to be concerned about offending the Creator of the universe by the shameful actions we could accept or approve.  We should stand with those who love God, the Bible, and right (as God defines right).

I recently mentioned a good man named Micaiah in an evening sermon.  He was very unpopular and certainly offensive in his words.
1 Kings 22:8 “And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, There is yet one man, Micaiah the son of Imlah, by whom we may enquire of the LORD: but I hate him; for he doth not prophesy good concerning me, but evil.”

Unpopular, jailed, hated, but right — may we stand faithful!

Pastor Goddard

 

Who Trains Whom

Dear Friends,

I understand that some of you are still engaged, and others are married without children.  But for several years, these Marriage Moments articles have gone out to many readers, many of whom have children or grandchildren.

One of the trouble spots in marriage is the rearing of children.  Differences in discipline, in daily expectations of children, and everything from sleep habits to diet can cause tension between the husband and wife.

Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”

Genesis 18:19 “For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.”

The job of every parent is to TRAIN.  We are commanded to train children in life.  To train is to repeat an action so often that the right response to a given situation is natural, not debated in thought.

I have seen toddlers cry for food when all they wanted was the attention of a parent.  Or the child might simply cry (for no obvious reason), but as soon as he is picked up, he stops crying.  The need was “self” — no other need.  We have all seen a small child do something or make a noise when another child gets attention.  We need to TRAIN up our children.  One area of training involves subduing the child’s will.  What the child wants should not be more important than what is right or what the parents want.

"Demand feeding" is often encouraged by pediatricians, but that practice trains the child to demand what he wants.   I cannot even say those words!  What wise parent would allow a child to DEMAND anything?  Some mothers will nurse whenever a child cries in order to keep them quiet.  Again, feeding the flesh is hardly wise when discipline is available.  Demand feeding has countless ills, but for the moment, let me urge you to schedule your child.  How often does the child need to eat.  Within days (or weeks at most), babies will set their own basic feeding schedule.  Crying might be from gas or any other pain, so to feed the child is hardly helpful.  Stick with your schedule.  A child will cry because his mom leaves him in the church nursery.  Parents, determine where the child should be and make it happen without countless bribes of "be a good boy and I'll give you..."

From infancy, a baby should be trained to submit to the will of the parent or leader; after all, that is life.  The child will have to learn submission sooner or later (even if later is in a prison submitting to guards and prison rules).  We have a generation of parents who bribe children to behave rather than telling them what to do and expecting obedience.  Whether it be a child in the store demanding a candy bar or willingly going to the doctor or dentist to receive a bribe when they get home, parents have lost the simple principle of "Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.”  (Ephesians 6:1)

If a child cries when you put him down and stops crying when he is picked up again, you have just trained the child to throw a fit to get his way.  In our home, no one received anything by crying (including parents).  We never allowed a child to ask for anything in a “whining voice.”  We told our children to speak clearly, talk with a smile, be pleasant, or go through life with absolutely nothing — that is TRAINING a child to be pleasant and good.

From the earliest days of our children’s lives, we left them alone for short periods of time.  While they were awake, we left them in their crib, on the floor in the room nearby, and even on a blanket outside on the grass.  We did this before they were able to crawl.  We stayed within sight, but we wanted them to learn to be alone and to not need to be entertained all the time.  Every mother has a life around the house beyond that of the child:  food preparation, cleaning, other children, and of course her Bible and prayer time.  She must not be dominated 24/7 by a baby or toddler.

Parents should run the life of the child and train them; the child should not run the parent.   If you want more help on this, read older books on child rearing (books written in the last thirty years are more likely to be filled with humanism).  John Stormer’s book, Growing up God's Way is a good start.   Mrs. Goddard and I have several albums on child rearing available through our bookstore as well.

Pastor Goddard

 

Respect

Good Morning,

One of the signs of carnality is a critical or condescending spirit toward older people, especially toward those who have held positions of leadership:  parents, bosses, school teachers, or those in spiritual positions.

Leviticus 19:32 “Thou shalt rise up before the hoary head, and honour the face of the old man, and fear thy God: I am the LORD.”

“…honour the face of the old man…” — that is not difficult to understand!  We treat older, guest preachers with extra esteem for a reason.  There is a reason why our church strives to help widows — whether missionaries, pastor’s wives, or women in our own church.

1 Timothy 5:1 “Rebuke not an elder, but intreat him as a father; and the younger men as brethren;”

A time arrived when I needed to change churches to attend one with a more separated, fundamental direction; but I could not imagine speaking ill of an older preacher.   If in youthful ignorance any comment was ever made, it was just that:  a comment of youthful ignorance.

When a young preacher can carelessly rebuke a veteran preacher, especially publicly, it is a clear sign of immaturity and Scriptural ignorance.  When young people can ill-treat the aged, the future is grim at best.  When respect for older members is lacking, it is certain that Satan is the designer of the train of thought that brought about that lack of respect.  When the instructions of purpose-driven church philosophy clearly state that the older believers need to change or get out, the smell of sulfur is in the air.   Be careful about listening to or reading from those who do not hold our elderly in highest esteem.

Young preachers need to be especially wary; you are very unwise and biblically impoverished to spend time with pastors who disrespect those who built the faith — even if some differences existed.  The old men may have fought and separated from one another like Paul and Barnabas, but what fools we would be to slander them.  G.B. Vick split from J. Frank Norris, yet a man of wisdom would never speak badly of either one of them.

Our parents may have slipped here and there, but God commands us to honor them.  Paul apologized for speaking against the high priest, explaining that he was unaware the man was the high priest; he apologized even though the high priest was wrong.

Honor and respect for the gray head cannot be over taught.

Pastor Goddard

 

Innocence

Good Morning,

While reading this morning in Psalms, I was reminded of the importance of purity, holiness, innocence, and separation.

Psalm 26: 6 “I will wash mine hands in innocency: so will I compass thine altar, O LORD:”
vs. 7 “That I may publish with the voice of thanksgiving, and tell of all thy wondrous works.”

David speaks of literally bathing in innocence as he drew near the altar of God.
The word that (in verse 7) was used to publicly express thanksgiving for all God had done.  Biblical praise and testimony are rooted in an innocent and pure heart.

With regards to innocency, we must ask ourselves what the world is cultivating in the hearts of our children.  Would the half-time show of the Super Bowl keep our hearts innocent?  (I think not!  No one should act surprised that this question would be answered with a “NO.”)  

Super Bowl half-time shows typically push the limits of morality: I challenge you to look over the music and actions of Super Bowl half-time shows for the last decade and tell me we are bringing our families into a world of "INNOCENCE."
• 2004  Janet Jackson intentionally revealed her bare breasts
• 2014  Bruno Mars officiated a same sex marriage 
• Honestly, knowing ahead of time that the half-time show of 2011 would include Carry Underwood's performance of "Undo It,” would you not assume the questionable morality of the event before it happened?
Katy Parry’s wearing a Wilma Flintstone outfit or Beyonce and her associates literally screaming "sex and rebellion" most assuredly do NOT promote innocence.

This is what the world calls entertainment, but the child of God ought to walk a different path.  These actions are not subtle — they are blatant assaults on the morals of a culture.  These shameful examples are only the crumbs of vulgar and shameful living that clutter our world.

Innocence!  It ought to be the dream of each and every parent for their children.  Yet movies and media are constantly pumping trash into the hearts and minds of our young people.  BUT WAIT!  Who is speaking in the passage we used?  Not a parent worried about his child, but David — the wise and prudent king who said:

Psalm 26:4 “I have not sat with vain persons, neither will I go in with dissemblers.”
vs. 5 “I have hated the congregation of evil doers; and will not sit with the wicked.”
vs. 6 “I will wash mine hands in innocency: so will I compass thine altar, O LORD:”

David was careful about with whom he sat and associated; he made it very clear that he "HATED THE CONGREGATION OF EVIL DOERS." (verse 5)  Again, I wonder what we, as Christians, are doing following the entertainment of the world.  The shameful morals shown openly in our world ought to be repulsive to us.  Shut off the television; forbid your child to access the internet without adult supervision; at the grocery store in the check out line, focus on the candy, not the magazine covers which promote moral depravity.  Innocency will go hand-in-hand with hating the congregation of evil doers.

One last thought came to me as I read and meditated on these verses:  "I have hated the congregation of evil doers..."  Congregation?  Yes, the evil world is nothing more than a church or religious organization, evangelizing the moral and decent with their propaganda of filth, depravity, and godlessness.   Just as we seek to tell the world of Christ, holiness, love, and forgiveness, so the "congregation of evil doers" are evangelists of anarchy, preachers of moral depravity, and intentional promoters of illicit sex, violence, and hatred.  It is no accident!  Churches of evil doers aggressively push their perverted lifestyle and preach it everywhere they can.

Innocence is the open door to spreading the wonderful works of God. 
Psalm 26:7  "That I may publish with the voice of thanksgiving, and tell of all thy wondrous works." 

Our lack of separation is that which muffles the message of God's loving kindness.

Pastor Bruce Goddard

 

Keep On

Good Morning,

John the Baptist was in jail — surely a discouraging place to be.  He heard of all that Jesus was doing and sent some of his followers to ask, “Are you the one?”

Matthew 11:3 “And said unto him, Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another?”
 vs. 4 “Jesus answered and said unto them, Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see:”
vs. 5 “The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them.”
vs. 6 “And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.”

Jesus could have said much to validate His Name and Heavenly origins, but notice what He did in verses 4-5.  He quoted from a Messianic prophetic passage in Isaiah 35.  Jesus basically quoted Scripture to be sure John had his trust in something solid.  How much could Jesus have said to John?  I am your cousin; you and your mother know about my miraculous conception; you were also born in an amazing manner.”  Jesus could have continued by reminding John of his own words when he told his followers who Jesus was: “The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” (John 1:29)  Of course there were many things Jesus could have said, but He trusted the Bible to be what John needed in his dark hour.

When questions are brought to us by our own children or by those to whom we witness, the Bible is the safest answer.  The Bible is a powerful Book — a Book that says much to the heart while Its words are read to the ear.  It was the Bible that Jesus used to answer Satan.

The Bible reaches into the heart and soul and reveals to people their own inner workings.
Hebrews 4:12 “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”
vs. 13 “Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.”

To the friend who was discouraged (even in jail unjustly), the Bible was Jesus’ chosen response.  We too must master the Words of Life as answers to others; for the Bible’s words are light, wisdom, strength, guidance, and so much more.   

Notice the last comment in the passage where we began:

 Matthew 11:6  “And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.”

Jesus said special blessings would be given to the one who believed what the Bible said and did not get offended by the difficult circumstances of life.  (Offended meaning caused to stumble.)  When circumstances of life are hard, rest in the Bible and do not stumble on the path the Lord calls you to travel.  When life is difficult to understand, lean on the Scriptures — for the Scriptures are our hope. 

Pastor Goddard

 

Mercy & Truth

Good Morning,

In reading this morning, I found myself thinking about "mercy and truth."  These attributes are often found together in the Bible and teach us much. 
Psalm 85:10 “Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.”
Psalm 98:3 “He hath remembered his mercy and his truth toward the house of Israel: all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.”
Proverbs 16:6 “By mercy and truth iniquity is purged: and by the fear of the LORD men depart from evil.”

Many lessons are involved in "mercy and truth,” but for today, I would like to focus on the response of Samuel when the people of Israel demanded their first king. 

First of all, we notice how wrong the children of Israel were to ask for a king.
1 Samuel 12:13 “Now therefore behold the king whom ye have chosen, and whom ye have desired! and, behold, the LORD hath set a king over you.”
vs. 17  “…that ye may perceive and see that your wickedness is great, which ye have done in the sight of the LORD, in asking you a king.”
vs. 20 “...ye have done all this wickedness…"

Twice, Samuel calls the request for a king wickedness.  Yet, because the children of Israel fussed at the Lord, God let them have their way.  As demonstration of the severity of their wicked choice, God sent rain in their harvest.  Perhaps, a symbol of the power of the prophet of God, which their king could not have, or a severe warning that God can change anything in a moment.  (Wet grain could not be harvested else it would mold.  Their plans would need to change; the grain could not be harvested that day.)

Now to the point concerning mercy and truth:
Though it was wrong, and though it was an act of rejection toward God, God still chose to have mercy on the children of Israel.
1 Samuel 8:7 “And the LORD said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them.”

Although their action made a clear statement that they would rather have a frail man lead them than God, and though they spoke outright that they would like to be like the world around them, God showed mercy on them in granting their request.
1 Samuel 8:5 “And said unto him, Behold, thou art old, and thy sons walk not in thy ways: now make us a king to judge us like all the nations.”
vs. 20 “That we also may be like all the nations; and that our king may judge us, and go out before us, and fight our battles.”

Although Samuel, the man of God, severely warned the children of Israel about their evil choice, God still let them have their way.  Then God added His comments...

vs. 14 “If ye will fear the LORD, and serve him, and obey his voice, and not rebel against the commandment of the LORD, then shall both ye and also the king that reigneth over you continue following the LORD your God:”
vs. 15 “But if ye will not obey the voice of the LORD, but rebel against the commandment of the LORD, then shall the hand of the LORD be against you, as it was against your fathers.”

If these people would do right, stay close to the Lord, and obey His Word, they could go on and be a blessed people.  The desire for a king was wrong, but God was merciful.  The issue:  doing right is not easy for mankind under ideal circumstances, and every time we do something stupid, like changing our lives to fit in with the world, it makes it harder to do right. 

The choice was so bad that the people feared God would kill them all.
vs. 19 “And all the people said unto Samuel, Pray for thy servants unto the LORD thy God, that we die not: for we have added unto all our sins this evil, to ask us a king.”
No doubt, the fact that the people wanted something that was wrong was clear.  God was not going to fight with them, but rather allow them to have their own way, even though it was a dangerous path and much more likely to lead them away from God.  The mercy God gave them in agreeing to their request was followed by the truth of the consequences — fields being rained upon and the dread of possible death. 

vs. 20 “And Samuel said unto the people, Fear not: ye have done all this wickedness: yet turn not aside from following the LORD, but serve the LORD with all your heart;”
vs. 21 “And turn ye not aside: for then should ye go after vain things, which cannot profit nor deliver; for they are vain.”

Over and over God has warned us not to turn aside or seek vain things.

Through this story, we see that people can openly rebel against the Lord in their desire to be like the world around them, and in mercy God may still bless them.  In these situations, God gives serious warnings of the danger and that extra care must be exercised to do right; for the choice  may move one much closer to a sinful path.

To say that God is happy with the choice is stupid!  The bad choice was called wickedness twice; God showed His anger by an untimely thunderstorm on their crops.  Their choice was not acceptable, and the path was not a safe one.  The people would have been much better off if they had listened to the old preacher.  Adjusting our lives to adapt to the world around us is never a good idea.

"Mercy and truth:”  mercy, in that God tolerates our foolishness and tries to find a way to bless us in our rebellion; truth, in that wrong is clearly wrong and dangerous, and we are asking for trouble.

To be sure, you will encounter people who do things that your pastor shows you from the Bible are clearly wrong.  And yes, many of those people are blessed but are also much nearer to danger.

Yes, some churches choose to be "like the world,” and yes, I believe it angers God.  But in mercy, God tolerates their wrong, blesses them, and warns them to do right. He warns them that they are much nearer to ruin than if they were to walk according to the Bible and not try to be "like the nations" around them.  Finally, though the adults in those situations may survive, their children are the ones who are most likely to veer off the path and fall. 


Since we can not see the road ahead, it is always best to follow our Divine GPS and let the Lord guide us on the safest path possible.

Nothing is as safe as doing right.

Pastor Goddard

 

Fear

Good Morning,

The reasons I read a great deal of Baptist history are because, one, I had never learned much about our "spiritual roots,” and two, because I want to pass the reason we are Baptist on to the next generation.  I have learned that many religious people have taken liberty with the Bible through the years.  One can read where church tradition is more important than the Bible.  One can see why people say, "I know the Bible says this, but my church teaches that, and I'll trust my church.” — this kind of thinking is prominent even today.

I read these words in Ezra (while trying to stay current with our "Through the Bible in a Year" program):

Ezra 9:1 “Now when these things were done, the princes came to me, saying, The people of Israel, and the priests, and the Levites, have not separated themselves from the people of the lands, doing according to their abominations, even of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites, the Ammonites, the Moabites, the Egyptians, and the Amorites.”
vs. 2 “For they have taken of their daughters for themselves, and for their sons: so that the holy seed have mingled themselves with the people of those lands: yea, the hand of the princes and rulers hath been chief in this trespass.”
vs. 3 “And when I heard this thing, I rent my garment and my mantle, and plucked off the hair of my head and of my beard, and sat down astonied.”
vs. 4 “Then were assembled unto me every one that trembled at the words of the God of Israel, because of the transgression of those that had been carried away; and I sat astonied until the evening sacrifice.”

The people of Israel knew the mess Solomon caused when he married unbelievers, and they also knew the mess that resulted when Balaam turned the Israelites toward heathen women while they traveled through the wilderness.

Numbers 25:1 “And Israel abode in Shittim, and the people began to commit whoredom with the daughters of Moab.”
vs. 2 “And they called the people unto the sacrifices of their gods: and the people did eat, and bowed down to their gods.”
vs. 3 “And Israel joined himself unto Baal-peor: and the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel.”

The children of Israel were familiar with these stories, but the stories simply did not matter.  Men tend to put their own opinions above the Word of God.

This practice is still prominent among churches today regarding infant baptism. This opinion is taught by the church and has absolutely nothing to do with Bible — yet several churches do it anyway.  The same philosophy has been applied to dress and worldliness. We want to do certain things, and we are not about to let the Bible tell us to change what we do for fun, where we go, or what we wear.

Young people, allow me to tell you about Elvis Presley.  When he first started appearing on television, his body was not shown below the waist because they said he was vulgar. When the Beatles arrived from England, they were considered freaks and long-haired weirdos. Today, both are considered national icons. Right and wrong did not change, but opinions took precedence over all else.

Recently, I spoke to a young couple; the girl was a well-trained Baptist who lived with her unsaved boyfriend (who was also a very nice guy). Whether someone is nice or well trained does not matter — that which God says matters.

Proverbs 3:5 “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.”
Proverbs 28:26 “He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered.”

We are not to trust our own opinions. We are to trust the Bible and what God tells us, even when we do not understand.

Proverbs 22:19 “That thy trust may be in the LORD, I have made known to thee this day, even to thee.”
Job 13:15 “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him.”
Psalm 37:3 “Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.”
Psalm 37:5 “Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.”

When God speaks, He is right. Our opinions are not trustworthy unless they are based upon the Word of God. In the story above, Israel knew better than to act as they did.  They simply wanted something and did not think they would get caught — caught they were and trouble they caused; and in most situations their children and nation suffered for their wrong choices.

We must set up the Bible as our absolute rule for life; and though we may fumble along trying to follow the directions, at least we can admit it to be right and that we are weak sinners. When we, in humanity, admit our wrong, God pours out His mercy and helps us through situations. When we act as if our way is right, even though it clashes with the Bible, we enter the doorway to ruin.

When the situation was brought out in the open, Ezra was shocked; a group sat with him willing to share his grief.

vs. 4 “Then were assembled unto me every one that trembled at the words of the God of Israel,”

That spirit is the hope of a family, a church, and a nation. Tremble at God's Word; fear that we would treat God as a second-class teacher with failed ideas — then perhaps we will find mercy.

Pastor Goddard

 

Male and Female

Good Morning,

Riding on a plane recently, I sat behind a guy who was questionable at best in his "presence" (for lack of a better word).  I was wearing a short-sleeved shirt, and the sun was shining.  He wore a turquoise scarf and a couple of nice bracelets.  I looked over after a while and saw him reading the flight magazine, and he stopped on the article about ballet.  Somehow, I was doubtful as to his manliness.  Then he turned to an article dealing with the drama of getting another cat to replace the pet that dies.  I know nothing of the guy and pass no judgement on him, but his actions and appearance create questions to say the least.  Worst of all, he was writing some kind of outline for speaking, and one line read, "Did any of you have some kind of epiphany from yesterday's material."  I simply do not think a man ought to be reading about ballet, enjoying tender stories about how to replace a lost pet; and men should not even know the definition of the word epiphany (Definition: a moment of sudden revelation or insight).  (A little sarcasm there!)

When God created humanity, He created them male and female.
Genesis 1:27 “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.”
Genesis 5:2 “Male and female created he them; and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created.”

When God refers to the appearance of dress, He considers some clothing appropriate for a man and other clothing appropriate for a woman.
Deuteronomy 22:5 “The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman's garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God.”

God speaks of styles of hair as being more appropriate for either a woman or a man.
1 Corinthians 11:14 “Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him?”
vs. 15 “But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering.”
Revelation 9:8 “And they had hair as the hair of women, and their teeth were as the teeth of lions.”

When we consider training children, we would be wise to begin early at developing character traits that are appropriate to their gender.  The prior verses are written to tell us that God wants us ordering these things in the lives of our children.  God says certain traits ought to be definitive of a man and other traits of a woman; these characteristics should show both in hair and dress.

Manliness ought to also show in physical areas.  Boys ought to be trained to defend themselves and their families with their hands, firearms, or both.  I am weary of television shows in which the wife is tough, armed, a marshal arts expert, and she takes care of her husband.  This ridiculous ideology is no accident — it is a cultural rebellion against God and the Bible.  God says we ought to be strong, like a man.

1 Samuel 4:9 “Be strong, and quit yourselves like men, O ye Philistines, that ye be not servants unto the Hebrews, as they have been to you: quit yourselves like men, and fight.”
And yes, it is in the New Testament too...
1 Corinthians 16:13 “Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong.”

My suggestion is that boys not have girls who are friends until they are ready to have a girl friend.  Boys need boys who are friends.  Boys ought to be directed to masculine activities, and likewise, girls should be pointed to feminine activities.  I would never allow my son to wear "skinny jeans" or these tight button up shirts with 3/4 sleeves rolled up with buttons.  Aghhhhh!  Yes, some girls may like how these clothes look on a guy, but girls like each other too.  I am not about to let my son’s sister or mom dress him in "cute" clothes.  Let's be honest, a guy out in the world likes to see a gal in tight clothing because it is suggestive, revealing, and leads the guy mentally where he would like to be physically.   So why would a guy wear tight, form-fitting pants?  Girls do not gaze at guys and think sexual thoughts; so why does he wear them?  Does he dress to impress the guys he passes on the street?

I do not want my sons and daughters having anything similar (unless it is a hand gun).  I am bothered by glasses that can not be defined as male or female.  This unisex, genderless culture is new, like so much of the mess in our society.  You can look through my closet and find nothing resembling anything on my wife's side of the closet.  I could not imagine having shoes that look the same as any of those my wife wears!  The "toms" some boys are wearing without socks are so feminine; I can not believe a dad would let his boys wear them.  One of our girls walked up to a few friends, and in shock, she said, “(So-and-so)… just came in wearing the same shoes I am wearing!”  Raise boys that look like men; and raise girls that look like ladies!  Do not let the lines of gender even come close to touching.

(Wow!  Did you live through those comments?  Burn this email?  Wait, you can't burn emails, but maybe hit delete ASAP to protect your reputation!)

For over 4,000 years, we have had men and ladies, and no other option mattered.  Men were men — that was what they were — and they did manly things.  Girls were female and took part in feminine activities; yes, there were times when the trials of life forced them across the line, but it was not the rule.  Until recent days, we had no problem with men's rooms and ladies rooms; anyone with a brain understood the logic in these separations.  Girls’ shoes, boys’ hair cuts, men's clothing, and ladies’ sleepwear were never disputed.  (I do worry about men wanting to wear pretty things underneath their clothing or to sleep in — something is wrong!!)

I would suggest that from early life you keep the boys hair cut short, and do not try to dress them cute.  Keep the girls in very girly clothing.  Allow boys to do things with a little risk, especially as they get older.  I was riding bikes in fields with a bow and arrows at 7-9 years of age, and on occasion, my friends and I shot a snake or a rabbit and even broke arrows.  Then we were  allowed to use hot rosin and reset arrows and resharpen arrowheads on a wet stone (often making them more dull rather than sharper.)

Understand that this evil generation is after your children.  One serious issue is the role of a man and a lady; parents play a huge part in the establishment of that role.  I am not against girls having fun.  Our girls were driving wave runners at 8-12 years of age (although now, in most places now that is against the law).  I took our children on bike rides while they were still in diapers, and as soon as possible they rode their own bikes — though on a few occasions, they crashed.  Our girls and boys could comfortably shoot a pistol in grade school, but I spent more time on it with the boys.  My wife and I tried to give the boys more outdoor chores at home and focused the girls’ chores more on the inside of the house.  Sometimes the girls mowed the lawn, and the boys did some cooking, but the major work was defined as masculine and feminine.  Some would say I was programming them.  Yes I was.  I also programmed them to clean their rooms and stay away from drugs and booze.  I programmed them to wash, to brush their teeth, and to do many other things.  That is a parent’s job, but it is also a grandparent’s job.  What idiot wants to let their child define himself?  I can just see it now:  I approach my son about his dirty room, and he answers, "Dad, I have come out of the closet.  I am really a dirty-room person deep down inside!"   Or a mother tells her girl to bathe, and she replies, "Mother, I have decided to tell you that I am actually not a clean person. You have tried to make me stay clean all these years by giving me baths and washing my clothes, but today I'm announcing that I am not a clean person, and I like being dirty."  Some might say that those are ridiculous illustrations!  And I agree, just as the ideas these illustrations mock.

Men, on occasion, you may have to put your foot down.  A lady is naturally going to be feminine.  A feminine person will have trouble training a masculine boy.  Ladies, work together with your husband to train up your children in the way they SHOULD go.

The idea of grandparents helping identify a child’s role was clear in our home.  My dad made the girls a giant doll house, and he made our older son a wooden jeep, painted camouflage, (dad powered — I had to push him or he pushed it up a hill and drove it down).  Thank God for grandparents who are on the team by raising boys to be boys and girls to be girls!  Yes, I had a plan for my children; I planned on them loving God and getting married to the opposite gender.  I planned on them being strong enough to do hard things — all of them.  I still had the boys hold the door open for the girls, even if the boy was younger.  When teens started driving, I always had the son drive mom around if it was possible.  I did not make my boys out to be a helpless little creature under the powerful rule of a dominant mother.  I taught the boys that real men let ladies go through doors first, pick up items that have been dropped by a girl, and always offer to carry things for a girl.

Some might say that a child leans a certain way; I would say, fix their leaning!
Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”

It is our job to train up children to be what they are supposed to be according to God.  All boys will not be great athletes, and all girls will not want to stand around the kitchen with mom, but they ought to do it enough to be comfortable there.

Genesis 18:19 “For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.”

God condemns the loud, forward woman (Proverbs 7); so when it shows up in your girl, stop that characteristic from growing.  Study the character traits of a godly lady and train those traits into your girl from birth.  One young lady I know would walk through her house with heavy steps (like an elephant).  Her dad would make her go back where she started and walk again to the room softly.

Parents, grandparents, and all of the rest of us have a duty to help train up the next generation for God.  I love that one of my son's Sunday school teachers brought his class to the drag races.  l love that some of our men have helped teach my boys to work on cars.  Training our children is a team effort! 

Genesis 1:27 “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.”

Pastor Goddard

 

And Ye Fathers

Good Morning,

As society changes so much, I thought of the quotes  and phrases the younger people never hear nowadays: 

"Who wears the pants in the family?"

"Wait 'til your father gets home!”

"A man's home is his castle!”

"If you get a spanking at school, you get a spanking at home"

"The fairer sex"

“All is fair in love and war.”

"Don't quit!”

"Sissy kids"  (Remember the commercial on every television in America: "Fat kids, skinny kids, kids who climb on rocks, tough kids, sissy kids, even kids with chicken pox love hot dogs…?")

Many more quotes could be listed, but many of them would cause several people to stop reading these Morning Moments.  The point is, things change in society, and the change is not usually for good. (Yes, those were better days in America — at least we knew what bathroom to use, and any American could define a marriage without help from the Supreme Court.)

We live in a culture which does not like to look back, learn, listen, and follow the path of older and wiser generations.   I had both of my sons start reading Louis L' Amour books (I blacked out any bad words) as they entered seventh or eighth grade.  (I got them to read by not having the stupid television on all the time.)  L'Amour books teach great, manly qualities that I wanted my boys to learn:  loyalty, honesty, honor, hard work, “riding for the brand,” never touch a woman, payment for debt is a matter of life and death, respect the property of another man, fights and guns are necessary as long as bad people are on the earth, and defend your family, property, and country at all cost!

I am amazed that parents allow children to learn from Sponge Bob, Barney, The Simpsons, and the corrupt, womanizing pervert "Iron Man,” when they have John Wayne and others of his era to choose from.  Parents have allowed boys to grow up acting as though women are simply sex objects, while allowing girls to dress as if that is what they are.

We have allowed women to boss men, mocked the homemaker, made commercials that show the woman driving home from work and the man making this amazing dinner etc.  I have watched our basketball team play a homeschool team with one of the homeschool mothers coaching the boys and hugging the kid who fouled out (I cannot go on, it makes me want to throw up).   With no television in our home, our youngest son grew up with Old Time Radio on his Ipod; he was raised on "Have Gun Will Travel" and "Your's Truly Johnny Dollar" and several other radio shows of that era.   A boy ought to grow up with stories about sword play, guns, hard work, facing injustice, and doing right when no one else does.  We certainly do not need Star Wars, Vampires, and The Walking Dead.  Mr. Smith Goes to Washington is the kind of movie that carries value (it must have happened in a moment of insanity in Hollywood).  Every boy should know the stories of Sergeant York, The Red Baron, Audie Murphy, and Eddie Rickenbacker.

The time has come for us to look to our fathers:

Deuteronomy 32:7 “Remember the days of old, consider the years of many generations: ask thy father, and he will shew thee; thy elders, and they will tell thee.”
Isaiah 43:18 “Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old.”
Isaiah 46:9 “Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me,”
1 Corinthians 10:11 “Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.”

The Bible not only speaks about remembering the past, but also about fathers teaching their children:

Ephesians 6:4 “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”

Proverbs 1:8 “My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother:”

Dads, read to your children — not modern books, but rather stories such as The Moral Compass and The Book of Virtues.  Sets of old children's books that were published as a compilation of hundreds of years of famous stories, fairy tales, and history can be found at almost any thrift store.  Often at breakfast, after reading the Bible, I would read to our children out of these old stories; my children became familiar with Ulysses and the Cyclops, Molly Pitcher, Vikings (my family is of Norwegian decent), and stories that laud responsibility, courage, compassion, honesty, friendship, persistence, and faith.

The Bible talks about "the God of our fathers.”

1 Chronicles 12:17 “And David went out to meet them, and answered and said unto them, If ye be come peaceably unto me to help me, mine heart shall be knit unto you: but if ye be come to betray me to mine enemies, seeing there is no wrong in mine hands, the God of our fathers look thereon, and rebuke it.”
Acts 3:13 “The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified his Son Jesus; whom ye delivered up, and denied him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let him go.”
Acts 5:30 “The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree.”
Acts 22:14 “And he said, The God of our fathers hath chosen thee, that thou shouldest know his will, and see that Just One, and shouldest hear the voice of his mouth.”

With Father’s Day here, let us be reminded of the biblical importance of fathers.  May we study to know what we, as men, should be, and expose our boys to that which will develop those character traits in their hearts from youth.

Pastor Goddard

Fathers

Good Morning,

In case a feminist gal happens to accidentally read this, please get your nitro pill or a defibrillator … or just read no further; for the sane, Bible believers, here are a few thoughts on fathers:  

With Father’s Day a few days away, I consider the wonderful creation of God, the family.  Whether we are poor or rich, laborer or ruler, we all eventually turn our hearts and dreams toward a family.  How many articles are written of movie stars or entertainers who talk of losing weight, or of money or drug issues, but then turn the conversation to a wedding and deadlines because “they are having a baby” (as if having a baby is some spectacular event that never happened before).  The media can not believe that famous people want to be bothered by a child or worse yet, children.

Almost everyone has the deep-down desire to have love, relationships, and children.  To produce life, to train a life for the future, to invest beliefs and values in the life of another is a part of almost everyone.  Yet, the “WOW” is quickly gone from the rich and famous because the very roots of a good family are in God’s design, and few of the rich and famous desire to do anything God’s way.  A divorce happens and the media loves it; millions of dollars are spent on a divorce; fights over who gets the child take place (usually only one child, for these self-centered arrogant people rarely last long enough to have more than one baby before their greed and selfishness blow up anything resembling a home).

Here are a few biblical facts to prove the above statements to be true.  No matter what men say, that which God says is correct.  Bible believers understand that the home is a gift from Heaven and the plan of God.   A home is a happier place when the affairs of the home center around dad, not around children or mom.  When a mom understands that dad is the reason she is there, life will run much more smoothly.

1 Corinthians 11:8 “For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man.”
vs. 9 “Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.”

Happiness is also found when we realize that children are the heritage of the Lord, and that these children are the reward of God.
Psalm 127:3 “Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.”

Somewhere between a selfish, career-oriented woman and the innate desire for a family, many women today compromise between the two with “one child.”  That one child is raised mostly by daycares and babysitters as the mom feels she must pursue her career and her dreams of making something of herself, or perhaps just to gain toys and luxury so she and her family look good to the world around her.  I understand that biology and God-controlled events limit some to one child, but that is not the reason most have one child.  Couples simply do not want the bother of several monsters running around.  That one child is usually not central in life, but rather an ornament to a career woman’s achievements.  Her job, house, car, child, and husband (whether her first, second, or third) all work together in her attempt to fulfill the life goals of the woman — like trophies on the mantle.

Biblically, a woman is to first focus on her husband, then she is to focus on her children.  As God allows, she is free to help financially, as is spoken of clearly in Proverbs 31 about the “Virtuous Woman.”  She is not famous, but “Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.”  (Proverbs 31:23) 


The “virtuous woman” is such an amazing woman that she helps make her husband more well known.  This was seen in the life of “Ma Sunday,” the wife of famous evangelist, Billy Sunday. This virtue was also pictured in the lives of President Ronald Reagan and his wife, Nancy, who was clearly an important part of helping her husband be one of the greatest presidents in many, many years. 

Could I address children numerically? 
Psalm 127:4 “As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth.”
vs. 5 “Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them”

A happy man has a quiver “full of them” — children!  No specific number is mentioned, but we do at least see plural terms used.   Notice that "Happy" is the condition of the dad.  A biblical home has children and a FATHER, not one child and a mother living without the “unnecessary evil” of a man.

About fathers we read…
Proverbs 17:6 “Children’s children are the crown of old men; and the glory of children are their fathers.”
Malachi 4:6 “ And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.”

Proper relationships between dad and children bring about happier homes and blessings from God.  Most people have read of the percentage of incarcerated men who grew up in homes without a father.  The statistics are endless and come from varied sources, but the bottom line remains:  dad is vital to children.

When children have questions, a dad should be there to walk the child through the explanations.
Joshua 4:6 “That this may be a sign among you, that when your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What mean ye by these stones?”
Joshua 4:21 “And he spake unto the children of Israel, saying, When your children shall ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What mean these stones?”

When mom has questions, she should go to dad; dad should be able to offer answers:
1 Corinthians 14:35 “And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home…"

A good home is one in which mom centers her world on dad and makes the children her second priority.  This kind of home teaches children about authority, about the importance of God being first in our lives, and about submission to God and earthly leaders, etc. — the lessons are endless.  If dad is tossed out, children think they can disregard God when they do not agree with Him.  If dad walks away from the family, children will doubt the love and integrity of God and wonder how they can trust a God Who would walk out on them.  Their earthly father sets the image of their Heavenly Father.  If mom ignores the desires of dad and runs the home as she sees fit, the result will yield ideas such as the contemporary church, one where worship is done “our way,” music is played and sung the way “we like,” and the rules and standards of the Father are scorned. 

Society gives us men who do not work and do not provide, creating a mistrust in God.  If dad runs off after a prettier gal he communicates to his children that their Heavenly Father will dump them if they are not just right — deadly examples to say the least.  If men who molest children are added to the equation, destruction of the chance of trusting in the love of a Heavenly Father is multiplied.  People in our culture act as if a hero is a man who does not want children (or was a hands-off dad), drinks booze often, runs around with other women, and treats women as sex objects.  God says we are to give our families someone who is devoted and giving of himself to others. 

Of husbands:
Ephesians 5:25 “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;”

Of Christ:
1 Timothy 2:6 “Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.”
Titus 2:14 “Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.”

Dad is to train his children, not abandon them; he is to train them for God, not for the ball team.
Ephesians 6:4 “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”

How can a society understand a Heavenly Father when no earthly fathers are showing love, sacrifice, honor, purity, provision, or faithfulness?  For those many people who have no earthly father, the church needs to provide countless examples of what a father is to be.  We are to recreate the vision for young people of a FATHER. 

It is not spoken of much, but Jesus may have been brought up without a dad.  In His case, it was not necessary biologically, but Jesus was known as “the carpenter’s Son.”  Yes, even Jesus needed a father. 

What about moms?  The honor and praise of mom may be delayed some, but it will come.  If she will follow God’s instructions, her children and husband will be singing her praise.
Proverbs 31:28 “Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.”

Today, most of our society has no use for God; and one leading reason is the failure of moms to understand the home.
Titus 2:4 “That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,”
 vs. 5 “To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.”

One reason God and the Bible are mocked is because we have failed to teach ladies the proper priorities of the home.

A lady’s first priority is to love her husband; second, to love her children; her appropriate behavior is mentioned resulting in people thinking well of God.  Eight qualities are listed in this passage that older women are to teach younger women; sadly, the list is usually mocked rather than taught.  A career is not what ladies need (with their one ornament of a child); they need a loving devotion to their husbands and to God.

Men, it would sure be easier for a lady to fulfill her biblical role if we husbands would walk the talk.

Pastor Goddard

 

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