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Monthly Archives: March 2011

Do you want to know the secret?

 

 

 

There is just something about the word “secret” that makes us pay closer attention, isn’t there? I don’t know for sure what it is. Maybe it is our desire to feel like we might “get  ahead”  in some aspect of our lives if we just knew what the secret was. Maybe it is just the confidence that comes from feeling as though we know something that others do not know. Regardless of what the reason really is, it is true. We tend to get excited when we know we are about to learn a secret.

 

This must have been the feeling of the Church in Philippi when Paul wrote in Philippians chapter 4  that he had “learned the secret.” Just imagine what must have been going through the minds of the first century Christians as they read those words from the apostle. They had been hearing of all of the wonderful works that Paul had done for the Lord. They knew that he did all of these great things even though he endured suffering, and persecution. And all of a sudden, Paul tells them, that he has a secret to reveal.

 

Paul says in verse 12 “… I have learned the secret in facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need” some may laugh at the thought of needing to know “a secret” when dealing with facing plenty. Many reason to themselves that their lives would be infinitely better if they just had “more.”  But we need to remember the words found in 1Timothy 6:9 ESV – “But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.” We are reminded that there truly is a secret when it comes to facing an abundance. Too many fall into believing that their riches will save them. Much like the rich young man in Matthew 19. The text states that he walked away from Jesus “sorrowful” because his possessions were great. In other words this man made a conscious decision to walk away from Jesus and cling to his stuff here in the world. He had worked so hard for everything that he had, and was not about to let it go, even if it meant spending eternity in hell.

 

Paul addresses in verse 11,12 that he is speaking about being content. He wasn’t talking about some magical potion. He wasn’t referencing some get rich quick scheme. He simply taught contentment.  Contentment is NOT:

  1. Complacency
  2. False hope based on ignorance
  3. Apathy

 

The Greek word for contentment (autarkēs) literally means-  “independent of external circumstances” you see Paul says that he has “learned” that NO MATTER what happens to him, or around him he WILL;

  1. Not be enticed by the World
  2. Keep his eyes fixed on God.

 

It Should be noted that contentment does not come naturally, not even for the apostle of Jesus. It is something that we must learn. David Roper in his commentary over Philippians states this. “For the poor, the danger is despair. For the rich, the danger is pride.”  Pro 30:8-9 ESV  Remove far from me falsehood and lying; give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that is needful for me,  (9)  lest I be full and deny you and say, “Who is the LORD?” or lest I be poor and steal and profane the name of my God.

 

Paul then goes on to reveal, “the secret.” Philippians 4:13- ” I can do all things through him who strengthens me. ”

 

Many people twist this verse out of context today. This verse does NOT mean that:

  1. You can run faster
  2. Lift more weight
  3. Get an A on the exam
  4. Get a promotion at work
  5. Pick any career of your choosing
  6. Achieve any goal that you set before you.

 

This is simply a beautiful promise made to us by our Heavenly father, that we will always have the strength to perform the tasks that GOD want’s us to perform.

 

So what is the secret?

 

The phrase “through him” quite literally means “in Him.” we are taught in Ephesians 1:3 that every spiritual blessing is found in Christ! Romans 6:3 teaches us that the ONLY way to get “in Christ”

Is through Baptism.

 

So here is the secret: If you have been baptized into Christ, and are living your life for Him. You have the power to do ANYTHING according to HIS will! What a blessing! Brothers and sisters, we have a lot of work to do. But do not grow weary, because we also have the power to do it!

 

In Him,

Troy

 

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Posted by on March 16, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

“I Just need Help!”

I recently was blessed with the opportunity to go around the town in which I live and meet some of the widows of the congregation that I recently began working with. (By, the way, if it has been awhile since you have made a visitation trip like this, I encourage you to go today!) one of the men here in this congregation was nice enough to drive me to a few different houses, to help me get acquainted with where people lived. Things were going good almost “routine” and then I entered another house, and I left feeling as though I needed that visit more than she did.

I will not mention her real name, so we will just call her Ruth. Ruth not only is a widow, but she is also raising 2 great-grandchildren on her own. To top it all off she struggles with all kinds of physical ailments that forces her to be in a wheel chair. Ruth began to talk to me about how much she enjoys listening to my sermons, as I thanked her, I tried shifting the focus on her life. I asked “How are things going for you in your life?” and she began to talk about the spiritual well-being (or lack of) her great grandchildren. She talked about how so many times they will tell her that they will come worship with her, and they always refuse when Sunday’s come around. As the tears began to well up in her eyes, she said “I, just want them to know God. I try my best to be an example for them, but my spirit is willing and my flesh is so weak.” Holding back a few tears of my own, I told her that I would definitely keep them in my prayers, and look for opportunities to reach her great grandchildren. We held hands, and prayed together. As I was about to leave, I looked back at Ruth, and I told her “I want you to know that if you ever need anything, be sure to give me a call. I truly respect you for what you are doing.” And she looked right back at me and stated “Troy, I don’t need respect, I need help.”

Those words have stuck with me. How many times has someone paid “lip-service” to this widow’s situation, but never stopped their busy lives to lend what she really needs, help? How many times have I done this in my life, with many, many others?

If we were all more like Ruth we would be:

  1. Very Polite, Hospitable, and encouraging:
  2. More concerned about others than ourselves:
  3. Concerned about eternal things.

I hope, and I pray that you will take the time to look around you, pay attention to someone who truly needs help, and reach out and HELP!

1Th 5:11 ESV  Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.

Philippians 2:3 ESV  Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.

Mat 6:19 ESV  “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal,

Jas 2:16 ESV  and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that?

Jas 1:27 ESV  Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.

In Him,

Troy

 
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Posted by on March 9, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

“The tomb IS Empty”

 

The longer that I am a Christian, the more convinced I become, that there is truly no other way to live a joyful life than to submit oneself to the Lord of Lord’s….

However, I do have a deep, penetrating, heart wrenching concern. My concern lies not with God, but with us, His children. We sing the chorus in our worship services proudly “Up from the grave He arose!” we preach sermons  over Christ’s power to conquer death, we know that He is risen from the dead. However, many go about their lives, living as though Jesus is still in the tomb.

I have been reading a book entitled “The Christian Atheist” , And while I do not agree with all that the author has to say, I truly appreciate the overall message of this book. It is about people who “Believe in God, but live as if He doesn’t exist” or people who “Place their whole faith in God, but live as if everything is up to them.” As I think about this concept, I can’t help but see it’s reality all around us today. Sadly- even within the Lord’s Church. We hear statements such as “I wish the Church was like it was in the 50’s” Or my personal “least favorite” of all “It is impossible to evangelize in today’s world”

I understand the trials and struggles of this world, I understand the pain one feels when losing a loved one, job, or close friend. I understand the heaviness that is felt when we see the corruptness of elected officials. I even understand the sometimes life-changing hurt that is caused from one church member to another. We do live in tough times. I also understand, that no matter what we are facing, no matter what our pain, Our God is bigger and greater than any problem!

What could the Lord’s Church become IF:

  1. We believe we are forgiven of our sins? Ephesians 1:7, 2 Corinthians 5:19
    1. Too often we walk around, carrying the weight, and the guilt of our sins. Forgetting that God has forgiven us of our sins!
    2. Not because we have earned it, but because our God is full of grace, and because we have chosen to be in Christ, God no longer counts our sins against us!
  1. We believe there is a heaven, and a hell? John 14:1-3, 2 peter 2:4-6
    1. If you truly believe the words in John 14, you know that Jesus Christ is preparing YOUR eternal home! Have you ever needed a “pick-me-up” during the day? Read John 14.
    2. If you truly believe that there is a hell. You have made a decision that you will NOT be there. And you WILL live your life accordingly.
  1. We believe Jesus rose from the grave? Mark 16:6
    1. When I remember that Jesus is risen from the grave, I am reminded that God, my Savior is ALIVE! I do not serve a dead god, I do not serve a god that is in the tomb, I serve The God that no tomb can hold!
    2. I can rest with confidence that He actively watches over me today, and hears/answers my prayers, and is active in my life!
  1. We believe there are lost souls all around us? Matthew 7:13-14
    1. If I take the Bible to be the true, holy, inspired Word of God (which I do,) I have to know that the MAJORITY of the world, is NOT in the relationship with God that they need to be.
    1. This means, I know someone who’s soul is lost.
    1. This means I have a great job to do! Matthew 28:18-20

We serve THE GREAT GOD of all of the universe! Let’s serve  Him Today!

In Him,

Troy

 

 
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Posted by on March 2, 2011 in Uncategorized

 
 
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