Reaching the unseen

REACHING THE UNSEEN IN 2016

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REACHING THE WORLD FOR JESUS

May God bless the Pastors and Bible Teachers all over the world, we thank God that Sermons to the World is now reaching 148 countries and all 50 States and The District of Columbia in the U.S.

MISSION

Mission: To be a resource to Pastors and Bible teachers in spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ around the world. – Sermons to the World

VISION STATEMENT

Vision: To reach the world on the internet to fulfill the command of Jesus in Matthew 28:19-20 – “to go into all the world and teach all nations”.

Welcome to our New Site

We welcome you to see our New Website http://sermonstotheworld.org.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

LOVE ONE ANOTHER WITH FORGIVENESS

LOVE ONE ANOTHER WITH FORGIVENESS
by Pastor Mark Taylor

“It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not.  They are new every morning: great is Thy Faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3: 22-23)

FORGIVENESS is another way we can “Love One Another”I know this is a difficult thing to do, but it is necessary in our relationship with our Heavenly Father.  Forgiveness is not about letting someone else get away with a past hurtful act against you, it is about you letting it go so God can give you happiness.  “If you forgive those who sin against you, your Heavenly Father will forgive you.  But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.” (Matthew 6:14-15).

Someone has said: “If you always do what you have done, you will always get what you always got”.  Some people get caught up in a cycle of doing the same thing over and over again and they will continue to get the same results.  Some people find themselves in a cycle of lack of forgiveness, bitterness, and fear.   Forgiveness can break the cycle of blame and pain.   “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear”. (1 John 4:18).

Feeling like you are the victim and blaming others for failures in your life will not allow you to put your past behind you. Change your response to failure by accepting God’s power in you to forgive.  To move forward today, you must learn to say good-bye to yesterday’s hurts, tragedies, and negative events.

A memory is a memory is a memory - and there is no healthy way to erase it.  It is history and no one can go back and undo it.  You cannot simply talk a problem to death, but the Holy Spirit can teach you how to forgive.  You can rise above your anger by funneling your mental energy into your spirit and intellect.   They can create new meaning out of old memories.  Forgiveness will bless you with an inner security and give you an unexpected sense of personal power.  Our emotions should not be controlled by the actions of others.

Remember you have been forgiven many times for mean things you have done toward God.   You have sinned by sins of commission or by omission, but He has forgiven you.  “This is the covenant that I will make with them...says the Lord.  I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them.  And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.” (Hebrews 10:15-16). 

We need to get the emotional power to forgive, and to stop torturing ourselves with the question: “Why Me?”. Everyone has losses in life.   Many people blame God for things He has nothing to do with.  When there is a great loss in your life through a death, or broken relationship, or loss of a job, God is not responsible. The source of loss is the free will God has given to us and others.  Jesus said:  “Satan has come to kill, steal, and destroy, but I have come that you might have life, and have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10). 
If you have anger toward God, you need to ask for forgiveness for misdirecting your anger.  God can handle it, but if you continue to blame Him, you will cut your self off of the future blessings and happiness He wants to give you.  God does not do to things to His children that are harmful or hurtful. There is an evil power in this world called Satan who deserves the blame for death, hurt, and loss. 


STRATGIES TO USE IN FORGIVENESS

Stop Hating those who have hurt you. It doesn’t mean you have to become their friends or hang out with them. But wanting revenge is not God’s plan for His children. “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto God’s wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.” (Romans 12:19)  It is a medical fact that hate or bitterness will cause you mental and physical problems.  Forgiveness benefits you even if others do not accept your apology or attempt to make things right.  It will set you free emotionally and open your heart to receive love.

Stop Thinking about it.  When you begin to think of the person or situation that has caused you to become bitter or angry, change your thinking.  Instead of feeling sorry for yourself and playing the victim card, begin to think of how blessed you are now and focus on how good your future can be.  Tell yourself to change the subject within your mind. “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.”  (Philippians 4:8).  The more you practice this the sooner you will have victory over the negative energy that comes from a lack of forgiveness.

Stop Talking about it.  I often hear people tell me what they have told many other people regarding what someone has done to them.  Repeating  the offense over and over again will never change the past situation or give you any peace in your life. There are many books, sermons, and counselors that can help you to move past your hurt.  The Bible says:  “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.”  (Psalm 19:14)

Stop Forgetting how good has been to you.  Remember how much and how many times you have been forgiven by God and others.  There is a saying:  “To err (make a mistake) is human, but to forgive is Divine.”  Paul had a lot of things to be bitter about, but this is what he said: “This one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead.” (Philippians 3:13).


Start Believing that you can forgive. Quit saying: “I can’t forgive”. We have to pray with faith that He will give you this ability.  It may not happen immediately, but it will happen.  Everyday thank God that He is giving you the ability to forgive.  “But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”  (Matthew 19:26).  “Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.” (Mark 9:23).

Sunday, February 11, 2018

LOVE ONE ANOTHER WITH ACTS OF SERVICE

LOVE ONE ANOTHER WITH ACTS OF SERVICE

“This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” (John 15:12)

Acts of service, is doing things for others that you would want them to do for you. Our Lord and Savior said this: “Therefore, whatever you want people to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 7:12).  You can show your love to others by doing things for them.  Love is not just a feeling, it is action.  “My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue only, but in deed and in truth” (1 John 3:18).

The “Love Language” of “acts of service” is something the Lord Jesus Christ both demonstrated and taught us to do. “So when He had washed their feet, taken His garments, and sat down again, He said to them, "Do you know what I have done to you? "You call me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am. "If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet.” (John 13:12-14).  Today, in our society, we do not demonstrate or love for each other with this custom,  but there are many ways we can “wash each other’s feet” through loving each other with tangible acts of love and service.

One of the meanings for the Hebrew word for love in the Old Testament is “to give”.  It is more concerned about giving than receiving.  This love isn’t about getting some feeling or satisfaction.  It is about giving devotion and time.  Giving is God’s vehicle of love.  “For God so loved - He gave His only begotten Son…” (John 3:16).  It is not an emotion, but an action.  It is love or kindness toward people and showing people mercy and kindness.

Many people are locked into “gender” gaps and “generational” gaps which identify and limit them in the types of service that they are willing to give to those they love.  For instance, some men will not wash the dishes, because their dads never washed the dishes.  They view that service as something the wife should always do.  Some women feel that it is the husband’s job to take out the trash and wash the car.  

When we allow ourselves to think and live the way our parents did, we limit our capacity to show our love to others with acts of service.  “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.” (Philippians 2:3).  Remember there are no rewards for maintaining stereotypes, but there are tremendous benefits to meeting the emotional needs of those you love.  You may do a lot of things right, but if you don’t do it with love, you will not meet the needs of those who need your love. “And though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.” (1 Corinthians 13:1-3)

Loving each other with acts of service is not limited to the husband and wife relationships.  This command of “loving one another” applies to our friends, fellow Christian brothers and sisters, children, and grandchildren. It is a love language that should be spoken by each of us to each other.  Love is a choice and cannot be demanded or manipulated.  “Each of us must decide daily to love or not to love each other.  This is true in all our relationships.

One of the best ways to express our love to the Lord is in “acts of service”.  “Serve the LORD with gladness; Come before His presence with singing.” (Psalms 100:2).  This includes attending worship services, giving, praying, and giving testimonies of His goodness.  “Oh, that men would give thanks to the LORD for His goodness, And for His wonderful works to the children of men!” (Psalms 107:8).   

Below are some simple “acts of service” we can do for each other and the Lord:
  1. Be at church to show your love and support for each other and the Lord.
  2. Visit the sick and home bound, and those in nursing homes.
  3.   Prepare some food for someone who has lost a loved one or who has just had surgery and is at home sick.
  4. Use your gifts and abilities to serve the Lord and others within the church. (teaching a class, watching the nursery, sing in the choir, repairing,  cleaning etc.).
  5. Find a mission work outside of the church you can devote time to or donate money to help in their work for the Lord.
  6. Ask others and the Lord the question: “Is there something I can do for you?”
  7. Write a note or make a phone call to let them know you are “there for them”.
  8. Invite someone to your home for a meal or take them out and pay for it.

You may feel that no one else has expressed the love language of “acts of service” toward you, and you may question why you should.  Remember, love is something you do because the Lord has already done it for you. “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8).  Demonstrating your love for others is not a matter of them deserving it or not, it is a matter of God’s grace in you.  “We love Him because He first loved us.” (1 John 4:19). Express to your loved ones that it is a way you feel loved when they do things for you.  One practical way to do this is for two people or a family to write down two to three things they can do for each other to make each one feel more loved.  You can show your love for God by showing your love one another in “acts of services”. "By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."  (John 13:35).  It is a testimony to your family, your friends, your church family, and most of all to your Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.” (1 John 4:7).


Tuesday, January 30, 2018

HOW TO LOVE ONE ANOTHER WITH WORDS

HOW TO LOVE ONE ANOTHER WITH WORDS

"This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.”  (John 15:12)

Love is the most important word in the English language.  It was also the most important commandment given to us from God and the Lord Jesus Christ. “And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.' This is the first commandment. "And the second, like it, is this: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these." (Mark 12:30-31).
Gary Chapman wrote a book taught and read by millions titled: “The 5 Love Languages – The Secret to Love That Lasts”. Hal Urban wrote another book titled “Positive Words, Powerful Results”.  In the next few weeks I will be using some of their material along with Scriptures and principles from our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, to help us fulfill the two great commandants.  Chapman’s book deals primarily with relationships between husbands and wives. Urban’s book deals with positive words.  I want to use their professional knowledge and take that a step farther and help us all learn how to love God, others, and ourselves.  I am praying that the Holy Spirit will help me teach us “How To Love”.
Chapman says that love can be expressed in five different ways or “5 Love Languages”.  They are: “Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Gifts, Acts of Service, and Physical Touch”.  In this message I would like for the Lord to speak to us about the first one which we will call “encouraging words”.  It doesn’t matter what age group you are in, the impact of words is that they can tear down or build up the person who uses them and the person who hears them.  “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit.” (Proverbs 18:21).
I am not going to spend much time on negative and offensive language.  The Bible along with most research shows that it causes physical, mental, social, and spiritual problems.  This includes complaining, moaning, whining, and hurtful language.  The words we use are stored in the heart and mind, and when we “speak our mind”, it is the overflow of what is stored in our hearts.  We need to be careful what we put in our minds and hearts.  Our Lord said: "A good person out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil person out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” (Luke 6:45).
Words like many other things we do are choices.  We can look for the good in others and in every situation.  We can choose to use good words to.  If you take the time to think before you speak you can be an encourager instead of a complainer or a carrier of bad words.  Look for the good instead of the bad, the right instead of the wrong, 
Someone has said that every word that we speak is a chance to change what is bad into something good.  The Lord Jesus said this about the things He spoke: "These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.” (John 15:11).  Learning to love like Jesus will make your life and the lives of others meaningful and joyful.  “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10).  Encouraging words are a way to show how much you love others and God.
One way to show love through encouraging words is to emphasize what people do right instead of focusing on their mistakes.  One of the most powerful human relations skills is learning how to encourage other people.  Look for, and find the good in people, and then tell them what you found.  Find reasons for praise and applause.  Support others by reinforcing what they do well.  Sincere praise brings out the best in us.  God the Father uses encouraging words: “Then a voice came from heaven, "You are My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." (Mark 1:11).
Our words are choices.  We are just as free to choose positive and encouraging things to say as we are to complain.  People need to feel loved.  They need to be made to feel that their lives matter and that they are important.  Below are some ways to love one another and love God.
Give encouragement; Express thanks; Acknowledge others; Give a compliment;
Congratulate those you love; Offer words of comfort; make others laugh; communicate your love in words; let others know you are praying for them.

Let’s not forget the first commandment: “And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.”  We are created in God’s image, and He desires that we show our love for Him.  One of those ways is “words of praise”.  “Oh, that men would give thanks to the LORD for His goodness, And for His wonderful works to the children of men!” (Psalms 107:8).  I am not sure if God needs encouragement, but He does desire our words of thanks, praise, and acknowledgement.  “Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.” (Psalms 136:1).

This “love language” is not just a suggestion for being a better person, it is a command from God.  “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” (1 John 4:7-8).  Ask the Lord Jesus today to give you more love for people.  Now you know one way to show love.  In the next message you will learn another way to show your love to God and to each other.  You will learn about showing your love with the “love language” of quality time.  This week work on using Words of Affirmation (encouragement), to show your love to your husband, wife, parents, children, grandchildren, friends, co-workers, and especially to your Heavenly Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.


Tuesday, January 23, 2018

THE HOLY SPIRIT


THE HOLY SPIRIT
BY PASTOR MARK TAYLOR

Jesus Promises Another Helper - John Chapter 14

15 “If you love Me, keep My commandments. 16 And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. 18 I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you….  23.  Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love Me, he will keep My words: and My Father will love him, and We will come unto him, and make Our abode with him. 24.  He that loves Me not, does not keep My sayings, and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father’s which sent Me.  25.  These things have I spoken unto you, being present with you.  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.

When you ask our Lord Jesus to come into your heart and forgive you of your sins, God the Father sends you The Holy Spirit.  He lives in you and will not leave you.  He is the voice of God Who gives you the ability to communicate with Him and will give you power to overcome sin and have a relationship with Him.  The Holy Spirit, who is the Third member of the Trinity, is a gift to us in this dispensation, the "Church Age." The Holy Spirit's work is to give believers gifts or talents to enable him to serve and Love our Lord Jesus Christ.  Our Lord in His physical body could only be present at one place at one time, but through the Holy Spirit He can be every where all the time.  

The Holy Spirit is present through out the whole Bible. From Genesis 1 to Revelation. Genesis 1:2 says “darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.”  Revelation 22:17 says: “The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’”. It is evident that the Holy Spirit is present through out the whole Bible, but His function is a bit different in the Old Testament and in the New Testament.  While He was with them, He mostly came upon people in the Old Testament, while He lives in us today and never leaves us.

In this short message, I want to express how important it is for you to understand The Holy Spirit.  He is the third person of the Trinity - The Father, The Son, The Holy Spirit.  He is God who speaks to you from Heaven who lives in you.  There are many illustrations of how three can be one, but none are adequate.  God has made Himself known in three different ways.  One illustration is water.  It can be ice, liquid, and steam, but it is all water - H2O.  We were created in God’s image.  We are a body, spirit, and soul.  We are three, yet we are one.  The difference is our three must stay together while we are alive on Earth.  God can express Himself in three different forms while remaining the same substance.  He is still one God.

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways," declares the LORD. "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts." (Isaiah 55:8, 9). 

We not only can receive help from God The Father, and God The Son, but our Lord Jesus sent us God the Holy Spirit to be our helper.

The Bible tells us that the Holy Spirit comforts us in time of trouble or sorrow; He helps us to overcome temptations & to live the way we ought; He educates our conscience; He helps us to pray as we ought; & He bears witness to God on our behalf that we are children of God.   To the Christian, the Holy Spirit is God’s great Helper - helping us where we are weak, lifting us up when we fall, comforting us in trouble or sorrow, guiding us in the way we ought to go, & standing alongside us as a witness for our defense before God on that great judgment day.

God gives us the Spirit so that we can know what the right thing is and how to do it. He could of given us a huge manual to study with the right thing to do in every situation that would ever come up in life. But instead He gives us the Spirit so that we have the answer right then as it comes up.
The second thing that the Spirit does for us is allow us to live as children of God. There is a big difference between being led by the flesh and being led by the Spirit. When we were led by the flesh we were sin controlled us. We were ruled over and had no choice in the matter. When we are controlled by the Spirit we are led as children are led.  How do I lead my children? 

First, I lead them gently. I take them by the hand, or if the way is too difficult I carry them.  Second, I lead my children in the way they need to go. I am not going to take them anywhere that is dangerous or unhealthy. No, I am going to take them to the best places for them.  Third, I lead my children personally.  I set the example for them. We talk along the way. I answer their questions and guide them through it encouraging and instructing.  

Another work of the Spirit is intercession for us, helping us to pray. Almost like a translator allowing us to speak the language of heaven. “Likewise the Spirit also helps our infirmities. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings (with feelings too deep for words) which cannot be uttered” (Romans 8:26).  In our spiritual lives there are many times when we do not have any idea what is wrong, all we know is that something is not right. At these times the Spirit that is dwelling in us knows exactly what the problem is and is already taking the issue up with God.


There is much more about the Holy Spirit but this is a great start to understanding God in our hearts, making us truly alive, children of God, intimately linked with the Father, guaranteed of an inheritance and interceded for perfectly because He knows our hearts and knows the will of God. What a blessing to be led by the Spirit!

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

HOW CAN I KNOW IF I AM A TRUE CHRISTIAN?

HOW CAN I KNOW IF I AM A CHRISTIAN?
By Pastor Mark Taylor


This is a very important question.  If we get this concept wrong, then nothing else in seeking a relationship with God will work.  We can be good moral people and have some knowledge of the Bible.  However, if we do not understand what the Bible says about "salvation", we can go through life deceived and discouraged.  So, Let us look at some basic evidences of knowing that we are true believers.  Because, that is what God wants.  "These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may believe on the name of the Son od God."  (I John 5:13)

Jesus has given us specific statements regarding how we must become a Christian and how we can know if we are really “saved” or “born again”.   Many of us have heard the invitation to come to Christ and have given our hearts to the Savior.  We have read and heard the verse Jesus said to Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God.” (John 3:3).    

We know that before a child is born into the world he has eyes, but cannot see, he has ears but cannot hear. Before we are born we cannot breathe. It is only after he is born that he is now capable of hearing and seeing.  When we are “born again” we receive our spiritual eyes and ears. “The natural man cannot receive the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (I Corinthians 2:14).  

When we are “born again” God breathes into our soul a spiritual life.  It is that great change which God works in the soul when He brings it into life.  When we are “born again”, our spiritual life begins. Our Lord is reminding us that if we are going to have the kingdom of God in us in this lifetime, and the kingdom of Heaven in the life to come, we must do two things:  “Except you be converted, and become as little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of Heaven.” (Matthew 18:3-4).

How can you know if you are “born again”.  There are several ways.  Have you come to Christ and asked for forgiveness of your sins and asked Him to be your Savior?  Is there a change within you that makes you care about spiritual things?  Is there a change in you that makes you want to avoid sin and the pleasures of this world?  “If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.” (Colossians 3:1-2).  The new birth does not consist in washing the outside of the cup, but a cleaning on the inside, in the inner man.  If you are not changed inside, this child is not born to you. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Another way you can know if you are “born again” is that there is a change on the exterior of your life.  Do your friends and family observe a change?  If there is no change in the outward life, there is no change within.  The proof of the Christian is in the living.  When we live in sin and worldly pleasure, and seek our own desires, and not God’s will, and we deceive ourselves.  “If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” (1 John 1:6-8).


The “New You” should not include the following characteristics. “But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds.”   (Colossians 3:8-9).  

The “New You” should include these characteristics: “Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, long suffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another.  If anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.” (Colossians 3:12-13).

The “New You” has the ability and power from the Holy Spirit to overcome sin. 
“No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.”   (1 Corinthians 10:13).

The “New You” has the ability to love others. “He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” (1 John 4:8).  “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the payment for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”. “And we have known and believed the love that God has for us.   (1 John 4:10-11)

God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him” (1 John 4:16).  “We love Him because He first loved us. If someone says, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.” (1 John 4:19-21).


The “New You” will demonstrate your faith by your good works.  “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”  (Ephesians 2:10).  “What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, "Depart in peace, be warmed and filled," but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.” (James 2:14-17).

Thursday, January 11, 2018

CHASING THE WIND

CHASING THE WIND
By Pastor Mark Taylor


“Better is a handful of peace than two hands full of toil and chasing after wind.”  Ecclesiastes 4:6 (paraphrased).
We are constantly measuring ourself with others to determine if we are "OK"  There is no win in comparison.    “For we dare not class ourselves or compare ourselves with those who commend themselves. But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.” 2 Corinthians 10:12

We have a tendency to compare what we have with what others have. We want our children and spouses to be better than others.  We want our houses and cars to be better than others.  It is not really about us wanting something better. It is about us, so we can feel better about who we are.  We all know that there is something wrong in our lives, personality, behavior, thoughts.  We try to fix this by comparing ourselves to others.  We say “Well at least I am not as bad as (fill in the blank).”

The problem with this is that as we look to the left and to the right, we will always find someone better, smarter, richer, prettier, and so on.  So we are putting undue pressure on others and on ourselves to be like someone else. Just be the best you can be.

There is no win in comparison.  What am we using for a reference point to determine if we are ok or if we are alright?  Solomon is saying that if you always are looking to the left are right for approval, you will have both hands chasing after the wind.  Are you looking at your father, your mother, your husband or wife to tell you you are ok? it is important to “love yourself” regardless if others withhold words of approval from you.

In Ecclesiastes 4:5. Solomon says “The fool folds his hand and does nothing.”  
He is not saying we are not to be ambitious and have goals in life.  He is not saying that we do not encourage our children and each other to become better.  What he is saying, is that life is meaningless if you can't enjoy what you have in one hand. Take time to smell the roses as you go through life.

Competitive is different than Comparison.   Competitive is when you put your energy into becoming better instead of doing things in seeking someone else's approval.  You do it for you and the team.  You use your gifts and abilities to help others climb up the ladder of success or overcome problems.  You have one hand climbing up and another hand reaching down to help others.  Then you can find the approval from within.   Being competitive is helping you and others.  This is called being a friend or being a family.


What is your mirror that you are looking at to tell you that you are ok? Are you exhausted from trying to keep up with- (fill in the blank)?  Are you broke from trying to keep up with - (fill in the blank)? Are you allowing what others have keep you from enjoying what you have?

Do you enjoy your kids or are you driving them crazy by comparing them to how much other kids have achieved?  Your love and approval should not be based on performance.  Are you comparing your wife or husband to someone else's?   You need to be thankful for the wife or husband God has given you.  Don’t compare them to others.

Who does your Heavenly Father compare you to?  Nobody.  He went to the cross so He could have a personal, one on one, relationship with you.  He does not compare you with His other children. “He demonstrated His love toward you when you were still nobody - someone who didn’t love Him, He died for you.”  Romans 5:8 (paraphrased).

Who’s estimation of you should you use when you evaluate yourself as whether or not you are ok or not?  You should use God's estimation of you above your own estimation of you.  He is going to say "Your fine, because your mine."

He is not done working on you to make you better.  Look to Him for your affirmation and for His approval of you.  He already sees you as His child.  Quite focusing on your weaknesses and focus on your relationship.

Proverbs 14:30 " A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones."  If you are always looking at others to receive their approval, you will never have peace, but will be "chasing the wind”.  Envy is wanting what others have and not being satisfied with who you are and what God has given you.

Take your cue about you from how God views you. Psalms 139:14. "I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”  “For I know what I have planned for you,’ says the Lord. ‘I have plans to prosper you, not to harm you. I have plans to give you a future filled with hope. When you call out to me and come to me in prayer, I will hear your prayers.” Jeremiah 29:11-12

What you have is less important than what you do with what you have.  The parable of the talents:  Matthew 25:14-30

What are you going to do with what God has entrusted to you?  Celebrate what God has done for others and use what God has given you.  Use what you have in one hand and don’t waste it trying to chase something you will never have.  Live a life of peace enjoying what God has given you and then He will give you more of what you need.






Thursday, January 4, 2018

Let God Be God

LET GOD BE GOD
by Pastor Mark Taylor

“…Let God be true, but every man a liar…” (Romans 3:4)

I have been working with families a lot on the loss of their loved ones.  Some have been young children, teenagers, and others have been middle aged men and women. I have been involved in the funerals and counseling of their loved ones who leave planet Earth to enter eternity.  It is never easy to say goodbye to those we love, young or old.  In the message below, I would like to give you a Biblical perspective of life after death.

The average life expectancy, according to the Social Security Administration, of a man who reaches the age of 65 lives to be 84.3 and a woman on average to an age of 86.6.  In contrast many of the African countries have average life expectancies in the lower 50’s.  Many die younger because of floods, famines, and disease.  They do not have the medical resources or economic ability to extend their lives.

I have heard from both atheists and devoted believers the same question.   That question can be reduced to one word, which is “Why?”  I have heard it phrased as “If God is a God of love, how could He let my loved one die?”  Or “How can the Christian God allow so much suffering and pain in the world?”  These people are believing a lie about a God who loves them.

Many people have attempted to answer this question of “Why?” from a theological viewpoint, while others have blamed God and have chosen to denied His existence.   Even though I have read many Christian books offering explanations, I have yet to find a simple answer to provide for a family member at the death of their loved one.  There are certainly no answers outside of a God who loves us - regardless of the inability to answer the question "Why?".

If you have chosen to turn away from believing in a loving God, there is little written that can help you.  This is a sad fact because without communicating with Him, you will never find comfort or understanding.  The only true answers will come from the Word of God, The Bible.  If you do not believe or accept the truth of the Bible, then you will never find any spiritual answers to your questions.  “But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (I Corinthians 2:14).

While comfort and peace can only come from the Holy Spirit, He can use God’s Word to give some meaning to our loss.  But let me say this to those who have accepted the Lord Jesus as their personal Savior, that there are either answers or there is grace to accept the unknown.  In this writing I hope to offer you hope in your loss.  It is probably not anything that someone else has not already said, but it is my attempt at giving you a Biblical perspective of life and death and eternity.

First of all let us examine the truth about “death” and who causes it.  I have heard good Christians ask questions like “ Why did God take my husband (child, parent, etc.)”.  It is very easy to blame God for everything bad and give Him little credit for what is good.  

Could it be possible that other things could have caused death?  Let us at least consider  two possibilities of what God’s Word says.

“The thief (Satan) does not come except to steal, and to kill and to destroy.  I (Jesus) have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10).  Could death be coming from Satan?

“For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection o the dead.  For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.”  (I Corinthians 15: 21-22)  Could death be coming from sin we inherited from Adam?  If so, we can also inherit eternal life from our Lord Jesus Christ.

Secondly, let us examine the brevity of this life on Earth. Today I am 70 years old.  But it seems like it was only a short time ago I was a young man full of energy and goals.  I am sure most people my age and older see life going by very quickly.  God’s Word has something to say about how short our life is:

“…For what is your life? It is even a vapor, that appears for a little time, and then vanishes away…” (James 4:14).

Finally, God has a plan for our future.  It is not just about living to be a 100 or longer in this life. To be with God is where all of God’s children will be at some point.  All the people Jesus healed and raised from the dead, left Earth at death and are now with our Lord Jesus in Heaven.  Healing here is just temporary at best.

“Behold the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God.  And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain, for the former things are passed away.”  ( Revelation 21:3-4).

“Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.”  (Psalm 116:15).

But  God’s view of “death” is not the same as ours.  We do not “lose” our loved ones.  They are just moving from one location to another. Would we feel we had lost them if they moved to another town?   When people leave here they move to His house.  Our Lord said these words: 

‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.”  (Matthew 22:32)

“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.  In My Father’s house are many mansions, if it were not so, I would have told you.  I go to prepare a place for you.  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that whereI am, there you may be also.”  (John 14: 1-3).

As you are going through your grief, remember that there is a God of love Who has all the answers for you waiting in Heaven.  Even that hard one “Why?”.

“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither has it entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for them that love Him.” (I Corinthians 2:9).


Let God be God and trust Him for the safety of your loved one who is in Heaven today.  Don’t believe the skeptics who have no answers or no hope.  Think about your future from God’s viewpoint: “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” (Jeremiah 29:11).  That future is to be reunited with your loved ones in Heaven.