Pastor Goddard's Blog
Morning Moments

Sign up here for daily Morning Moments or Marriage Moments from Pastor Goddard

You can enter your email below to get Pastor Goddard's Morning Moments or Marriage Moments posts delivered to your inbox every morning, automatically.
Please be sure to add email@fbcwildomar.com and/or mm@fbcwildomar.com to your contacts or address book to ensure our messages don't get marked as spam.


* required field.

Full Name:

Marriage Moments:

Morning Moments:

E-mail:


Light

Good Morning,

Do you remember the days when your mom told you not to write on yourself?  Not long ago, certain things were considered primitive, and certain things were considered civilized.

I know I am stepping into the world of judging, but let us stop worrying about social trends and start worrying about simple honest thinking.

As a child, I remember looking at National Geographic magazines and seeing piercings, tattoos, stretched earlobes, and an excess of exposed flesh.  Those were strange days in America, days when the term underwear meant it was under and it was not to be seen.  Those were days when your poverty was seen through the holes in your pants or shoes — those holes were certainly not fashionable.  The primitive folks in uncivilized lands needed Christ and the Bible to bring them into the light of decency and propriety.  They did not need to become Americans but they could be taught to be more appropriate.

The primitive cultures of the world are subject to all kinds of demonic activities and influences.  In primitive cultures, the basic element that sets them apart from civilization is what many would call the lack of light.  Light — the opposite of the Dark Ages ( a time when no Scriptures were available to the hands of people), when people lived in darkness because of the lack of God's instruction.

Psalm 119:105  “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.”

Ephesians 5:13 “But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light.”

Light reproves the darkness! 

2 Peter 1:19 “We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:”

The Word of God shines in the darkness and brings the spiritual and physical dawning into our world.  The Word of God and the preaching of the Word of God brought men out of the Dark Ages, and with that, brought a civilized lifestyle, a lifestyle in which words like modesty, discretion, and virtue came with “the light.”   Of course, there was always shame and wrong, but at least it was named as wrong.  No one denied the wrong of drunkenness or adultery.  No one tried to justify sodomy or primitive living.  Tattoos and ear rings on men were only appropriate when they were pirates — uncivilized, scoundrels, and reprobate men who were to be kept at arm's length.

Psalm 19:8 “The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.”

Proverbs 6:23 “For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life:”

The light of God’s Word reproves us, enlightens us, and brings us out of darkness.  Without the Bible, we will return quickly to the dark world of primitive thinking and living.  The problem in America came when we stopped having a biblical influence on our homes, our church, and yes, our government.  The Bible had a huge influence on the founders and framers.  Nakedness was something they expected from the “savages” (American Indians), certainly not something in which civilized people would partake.  The Bible taught us about propriety.

Many will say that these styles are now acceptable in our nation; but understand this:  that which is becoming acceptable in America is no more civilized than that which is acceptable in the native tribes of Africa, South America, or the South Pacific.  Just because everyone runs around in a loin cloth does not make it right.  Those people are primitive.  They have not been taught the Bible, and therefore, they miss the most basic principles of biblical discretion and modesty.

I remember traveling to Disneyland with our family, and one of our children in the back of the van found some felt markers.  If I remember correctly, by the time we got to Disneyland, that child had colored markings all over their hands and arms and the back of one of the seats. Today, one would have to pay quite a bit of money to have that done to their arms;  my child paid in a different fashion for the artwork (payment as was rendered in the Disneyland parking lot).  Needless to say, that trip to Disneyland began very soberly and unhappily for one child; it was definitely not the “Happiest Place on Earth.”  We are civilized people; we do not mark up our bodies; we do not allow our body parts to hang out of our clothing, and we get married before we have intimate relationships — civilized. Civilized people have the “light.”

May we read a great deal more Bible and may God grant us wisdom to not live as those who have no “light.”

Pastor Goddard

 

College Students Leaving Home

Dear Friends,

When the apostles were ready to leave churches they had started, they "committed them to the Lord on whom they believed."
Acts 14:23 “And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed.”

We have a responsibility; and when our responsibilities end, we need to step back and let whoever is responsible next take care of business.

Some spiritual men ordained Paul and Barnabas and sent them out; then Paul and Barnabas made their own decisions, planned their own work, and adjusted their daily schedule according to what they thought best.  They returned to report on the Lord’s blessings.
Acts 14:26 “And thence sailed to Antioch, from whence they had been recommended to the grace of God for the work which they fulfilled.”

These men who ordained Paul and Barnabas recommended them to the grace of God.  They had to let them go and do what God led them to do.  It was not their duty to run around telling Paul and others what to do or what not to do.  When we start a church, I am only as involved as the pastor wants me to be.  I will knock on doors, provide financial help, and send him teachers, musicians, and nursery workers; but the new church is not my church.  "Independent" is what God wants churches to be.

Paul met with the Ephesian elders.  These pastors were dear to Paul, and he had probably trained many of them.  But as the events in Paul’s life kept him away more often, he entrusted them to the Lord and His grace.
Acts 20:32 “And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.”

Paul did not keep a strong hold on these men; he loved them, taught them, and committed them to God.

Now to bring these thoughts closer to home:
My wife and I and our nineteen-year-old son, along with two of our married children and grandchildren, were in Yosemite recently.  Walking around on top of Sentinel Dome, I noticed my nineteen-year-old son walking way too close to the edge (in my opinion) of the several thousand-foot high precipice.  Likewise, I saw my grandchildren (ages three to ten) running around closer than was comfortable for a grandfather to watch without intervening.  Wait!  Who is responsible?  Not me!

For me, my responsibility as a father ended some time ago.  I am not going to hover over a nineteen-year-old telling him to be safe and arguing with him about what is too dangerous.  My married children are responsible for their children, not the grandpa (yes, me).  Long ago, I had committed my family to the grace of God and hopefully, to their own good sense.  I did find myself needing to walk away; if I had not, I would have said something that was out of my area of responsibility.

Many families lose their closeness to adult children by maintaining a leadership role that is no longer theirs to claim — adult young people are adults.  When children are little, we are to train and retrain.  As they reach teen years, we have to slowly let go and allow their own judgment to rule while we are still near enough to offer guidance; but we must not rule every move.  When the children move into the late teen years, we need to let them go on with the calling of God on their lives.

Once our children reached college age, I became an advisor; just as I did for any young adult.  If I was asked, I offered my opinion, or not, depending on how I thought they would take it.  Under my roof, I have rules; but where and how my adult children live is their call.

When a youth goes off to college, the event is dramatic to mom (and sometimes dad).  But that step in life is a reality.  I planned on that day since my children were babies.  When the time came, I was not in shock!  Sadly, some parents try to run their children’s lives in adult years.  Parents often attempt to repair character flaws that were missed in childhood (which, by the way, almost always fails unless the young adult sincerely asks the parent to help him, and then it might work).  Young people can go to war and get shot or go to college and face roommates, dorm food, and secular jobs.  They are adults!

It is okay to do as the apostles did and commend them to the Lord.
Acts 14:23 “And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed.”

Will our children make every choice as we would?  No!  We did not make decisions exactly as our parents would have wanted either.  We fail to do everything wisely at our current age.  Let God lead our children; let the children we have trained make their own choices, and when necessary, sadly watch as they pay the consequences of the wrong choices.  Commit them to the merciful God who saved them. 

My children must figure out how to train their own children.  It is not my job.  My adult son, though only 19, needs to plan the next step in his life.  A few months before his freshman year of college ended, he called and said he would like to spend the summer in Trinidad and Guyana.  My wife and I were shocked, as nothing like this had been discussed before.  I felt as though the whole summer was too long; but, he is an adult.  He is paying his own way through college.  I suggested (just like I would have with any college students from our church) that he speak to the missions professor at the college and get his opinions.  I went to the Lord.   The college leadership suggested he go, but not for all summer this first time.  I was thankful but trusted God to lead my son through life via many counselors.  I am not the only one with wisdom, nor am I the only one from whom I want my son to heed counsel.

Oh, that parents would believe that God has a hand in the lives of their children and that God uses many people to guide and direct our youth!  I thank God for our school teachers, youth workers, coaches, and church staff.  I am so grateful for the jobs my son had in high school and for the men who taught him to do basic auto mechanics.  Now, as an adult, I am trusting God to lead my son through the lives of those in leadership in his Bible college.

Here is my opinion:
Let your children leave.  Be in control of your home.  Make it clear that you will veto certain people they may date, but the decision is their decision to listen or not.  Let your daughters know that you will not walk them down the aisle to a guy that you do not approve.  If I am paying for a wedding, I also have some authority.  I refuse to say, "Her mother and I do" in answer to the question, "Who gives away the bride?" if I do not believe I should give her away.  Again, that is my narrow opinion; but if I am paying for the wedding, I will have my opinion honored or pull out.  If it is the money of another, the home of another, the child of another, or the car of another, it is none of my business and I have no authority. You may know more and be wiser, but I have watched this scenario many times in the last forty years; I have some strong opinions and valid reason for them.

On a more common line of thinking, do not tell adult children when to brush their teeth or make their beds; do not meddle in every financial expenditure they make unless you are providing them money for college.  Treat them as any adult you respect.  Adults deserve respect and dignity, even if you need them to live across town instead of in the same house.  There are people I would not have to my home for a meal, yet there are also others that I might allow to spend the night if visiting — everyone is different.  I would happily give money to some people in their hour of need; others I would not.  Whether it be my children or a stranger, other adults are not my responsibility and I do not have authority over them.

Grandchildren are not mine to raise.  College adults are not mine to order around; I trained them well or not, but I have passed that stage.  I must trust in the Lord!

Acts 20:32 “And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.”

This philosophy is not easy, but, so far, it has worked for the four Goddard children.

Pastor Goddard

 

Three Gods

Good Morning,

I wonder what it would take for parents to understand that the public school system is out to ruin their children.  Gang violence is present and bisexual and transgender teachers — wait, let me clarify — there are queers leading our schools and evangelizing our children for an immoral world in which sexual anarchy reigns.

Our schools are not educating our children; academic scores are terrible!   Public schools have outlawed any mention of God, and the school is passionately trying to eliminate the words, “dad,” “mom,” “husband and wife,” and “family.”  All ages of children are being taught about sexual activity of all kinds, and the most intimate topics are discussed in every grade.  The authority of parents is removed, the flag is looked at with disdain, the conservative values of our nation are mocked and attacked, Islam is honored, our military and law enforcement are referred to as criminals…need we go farther?  The schools will not allow children to talk about their Bibles or their God. 

On a “gay pride day,” teens wore shirts boasting their acceptance of queer lifestyles.  One boy wore a shirt that said, “Straight and Proud.”  He was told that he was going to cause trouble and had to go home to change his shirt or turn it inside out.  Liberals only want freedom for themselves.  Abortion is promoted and taking place without parental permission.   Liberals hate our Constitution and promote feminine boys and masculine girls.  Although there are a few good teachers within the system, they are like a kiddy floating ring in the middle of the ocean in a hurricane. 

Why do we allow these immoral, America hating, godless people to train our children?  
Several reasons:
1. The biggest god in our lives is money.  Public education is free, and private education costs money.
2. The second god is ease.  Ease tells us it is simply easier to put children in a public school and too complicated to use private education.
3. Our third god is entertainment.  Entertainment in our lives, specifically movies and television shows are really no different than the liberal schools.  We watch it during our free time, and we have seared our conscience to the point that public schools do not seem too bad.
4. We love the sports, music, or drama programs.  Things often limited in private education.  We hold to the gods of the world rather than the God of Heaven.   

The Bible uses the phrase, “I am the Lord” 162 times.
Exodus 20:2 “I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.”
vs. 3 “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.”

God is the pinnacle of all Scripture.  Mankind is not the central theme — God is.  To worship God, honor God, obey God, love God, and live pleasing to God are the highest and most important purposes in life.   Our feelings are subject to God.  Our preferences are not important.  Our desires are to be in submission to the God of Glory. 

Exodus 15:11 “Who is like unto thee, O LORD, among the gods? who is like thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders?”
Deuteronomy 5:7 “Thou shalt have none other gods before me.”
Deuteronomy 6:5 “And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.”
Deuteronomy 6:14 “Ye shall not go after other gods, of the gods of the people which are round about you;”

Shame on the believer who throws his children into a den of iniquity and calls it “school.”  Pity the children who try to keep their minds clean in a vile, perverse world in which right is mocked and wrong is promoted. 

A grieving dad told me of his lesbian daughter of twenty-three years.  He said, “These schools promote that trash!”  “It is so wrong!” he told me, but his other three children were enrolled in the same public schools.  Why?  Because his gods told him to.

Who is your God?

Pastor Goddard

 

The Household of Faith

Good Morning,

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.”

Most of us strive to be good to people.  We will give money to the poor; we may even give some money to the panhandler who will probably spend the money on beer or drugs.  We will run our buses to poor neighborhoods, visit the poor and needy, help when they have a funeral they cannot afford, and help raise money to pay their children's way to camp.

But what of “the household of faith”?

As I have prayed for our missionaries decade after decade, I have realized that some of these people who have been on the mission field for many years send their children to a far off, strange, unknown country for college.  They do this in hopes of getting a good education for their children.  Where do the missionaries send their children?  To America.  I became burdened for these young people who live in our country and look like Americans but in actuality are living in a foreign land.  When we talk about being good to the “household of faith,” I could not help but begin to think about the children of missionaries.  We began a new ministry in our church to simply do little things for those young people who live in a foreign land so very far away from their families. 

We are not perfect at it, but our members “adopt” the college students of our missionaries and regularly send a note, a gift card to a store or restaurant, a little cash, or perhaps a goodie box filled with snacks a college student might enjoy. Birthdays are remembered; likewise, Christmas and other holidays likewise are times we try to get something to these children of our dear missionaries.

“…especially unto them who are of the household of faith.”

There came a time when I realized that godly women, widows of faithful pastors, often found themselves doing without near the end of their lives.  Sure, somebody should have planned better, and yes, someone should have put more away for the latter years of life; but let us be honest, it does not always happen.  Our church began sending a small missionary check to the widows of pastors and to the wives of those on the mission field who gave their lives to the ministry.

Just what about “the household of faith”?

What do we do with the faithful church member who is struggling?  How do we respond to that senior citizen couple when the husband or the wife shows first signs of Alzheimer's and is not able to get out to church as often.  The usual scenario is that they fail to attend church as faithfully, maybe they are not able to attend at all, and eventually, they are almost forgotten. These people helped to build our buildings; they bought buses, taught Sunday school, worked in the nursery, and supported every aspect of our ministry.  These faithful people in older age start missing church because of health or doctor visits.  Life gets difficult for them, and occasionally, they simply slip off the radar, receive only rare visits, and find themselves almost forgotten by the very people that they have served for a lifetime.

When that senior citizen starts missing night services because they do not see as well after dark, or when the senior starts missing the morning service because they simply cannot get going at the beginning of the day, let us be sure the church family remembers them.  Make no mistake:  you will be there one day, and the long, lonely hours will drag by.  Be good to everyone, but especially “to the household of faith.”

Pastor Goddard

 

Processors

Good Morning,

Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

Most of us understand that there is a difference between a Mac and a PC.  Each computer processes information differently.  Both get the job done (I guess — I have only owned Macs),  but the process is different.

When a person who is raised in the inner city hears something or faces something, they respond differently than I would because I was raised in the mountains of northern California.  Those who are raised in the city might fear to be alone in the woods; I would fear to walk down an inner-city street alone.  We respond differently and process information differently.

When children or animals have been hit often enough, they will flinch when they notice a raised hand.  On the other hand, I was raised in a good home, and it would never cross my mind that someone might strike me.  Those in our military who have seen terrible combat will respond differently than I would, having been a civilian.

We had a man saved in our church who had been involved in breaking into enemy prison camps and rescuing certain American prisoners.  His world was one of killing and sudden violence.  The most violence I ever faced was on the basketball court; therefore, that man and I will respond differently.

Follow my thinking: The way we process information and situations vary according to our training.  Schools train us how to think and how to process given information.  The Bible teaches us to process information from a godly perspective.  Secular schools train a student to process information from a secular, godless viewpoint.

Jeremiah 10:2 “Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them.”

If someone spends four years in a government-run high school and then four more years in a secular college, his processor will be influenced greatly.  If that same student goes on to a Bible college, everything he hears will be processed via the “secular processor.”  On the other hand, if a student spends four years in a Christian high school and a few years in a Christian college, his processor will be very different.  If that same student then attends a secular college (no matter what classes he takes or what degrees he earns), his processor is godly and his reaction to given information will be totally different.  We respond to each piece of information that we see, hear, and read; but our view, interpretation, and perception of that information will differ according to our training.

Dr. Hyles, our pastor for many years, told us that he had never drunk liquor or smoked; but after WWII and being in the paratroopers, he had a much softer view toward drinking and smoking. He said that which he once hated, he now thought was not so bad.  He had friends who drank and smoked, and they were good guys, so he was more tolerant towards those things.  The same scenario has taken place today regarding sodomy, adultery, abortion, the environment, pollution, and, of course, church.  That which was once very important is not so important anymore.  The wrong has not changed; only our perception has changed.

We are influenced and trained how to view life primarily in our youth.  The views of an adult with a godly background will be vastly different from those of an untrained young person regarding that same information.

The constant input from media is shaping our processing ability.  From social media to entertainment, from “fake news” to classrooms, our young people are not being trained for a job, they are being trained how to think toward life, people, situations, and even information.  It is amazing today how many people have accepted same sex-marriages and man-made climate change and are ready to completely change our Constitution (probably the greatest man-made document in the history of the world).  Freedom of thought, freedom of religion, and almost all political freedom in the world is rooted in the early American thinking (founded by many Baptists) and ultimately our Constitution.

Anglicans, Lutherans, and other Protestants wanted no freedom of thought or freedom of religion.  Try not having your baby baptized in the mid-1600s, and see how free America was.   Baptists and other true, Bible-believers had to reprogram the thinking of Americans and change the process of thinking among religious and political leaders.

I care not what career our young people pursue, but I do care deeply how they are trained to think.  I do not care if our young people have very lucrative careers or work as simple laborers (our church is built on people, not money), but I do care who trains the minds of our young people to process information.

There is a “path” and a “way.”   Not the specific act, but the direction or way things are seen, done and perceived.

Proverbs 4:14 “Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men.”

Proverbs 4:19 “The way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not at what they stumble.”

When you are dating, you should watch to see the WAY your friend thinks and processes information.

When you consider a job, you better figure out how that employer thinks.  If you are going to work for someone or with someone in partnership, be sure you know his thought process.

What can we do?  Start with faithfulness to church three times a week, and add daily Bible reading along with a substantial amount of preaching during the week, right friends, and a ministry in which you can invest in others.

God will guide our thoughts if we will commit our works to Him.

Proverbs 16:3 “Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established.”

Pastor Goddard

 

Effeminate Men

Good morning,

Men in America have not suddenly become feminine and been drawn sexually to their own gender. The feminization of men is a Satanic work from the early days of humanity, certainly as far back as Sodom.  Paul writes in the books of 1 Corinthians and Romans about being effeminate and acting against nature. 
1 Corinthians 6:9 “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,”
vs. 10 “…shall inherit the kingdom of God.”

Romans 1:26 “For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:”
vs. 27 “And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.”

Just as the misuse of drugs and alcohol, murder, and other various forms of shameful violence are present today, effeminate men will always be in society.  Mankind is sinful.  Why it seems to have increased in recent decades, I cannot tell you for sure; but I have observed trends which are probably a part of the cause.

Here are a few of my observations:
• Dominant women in the home
• Men absent from their family responsibilities, forcing mom to be in charge
• Divorce and children being raised without a dad

Ready for a rough one?
Women superheroes — I will not watch a show in which the woman is the superhero.  I am so narrow-minded, that someone gave me a Dr. Pepper with wonder woman on it and I almost threw it out.  (I decided to drink the Dr. Pepper first, then throw out the can.) 

We are erasing gender lines in life!  Women are coaching boys rather than caring for the softer and more feminine needs of the home (leaving these needs unmet in the home).  Women have moved into the military and police force.

1 Timothy 2:12 “But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.”

Ready for another sacred cow?  Women in politics.  There is no question that women standing up to campaign, criticize other political leaders, argue, and fight the political battles of a nation puts them in a position of dynamic leadership — which places men in a position of submission.  The verse above forbids that!  It may not be sinful, but it is hurtful. 

The problem consists of much more than, “A woman can do the job just as well as a man.”  The issue consists of what it is doing to society and the home.  Who is rearing the children when mom is being a soldier?  Who is training the children when mom is the CEO of a business?  Of course women are smart; of course, women can run a bulldozer, organize, or plan and implement.  But can a man be to the home and little children what a woman can be?  That is one of the issues.  Can a babysitter exude the love and security that the mother can?  I say, “Absolutely not!”  That babysitter does the job for the money; mom does the job in love.  No, dad would not be able to be all that a little child needed — Moms are unique.  While mom is out “playing the man” she is failing at rearing up her boys and girls; here is where the weakening of the gender begins. 

Isaiah 3:12 “As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths.”

To be what God designed a man to be, boys need some qualities that can only be learned from male leadership and from viewing female submission.  Whether it be on the job or in the home, when the man leads and the woman follows, boys learn to be men; girls also learn to be the unique creation of God that only they can be.

When these roles are wrong, a submissive, soft, feminine spirit is bred into a young man, and a forward, masculine dominance is developed in a young lady.  Manliness and an independent, self-sufficient, dare-to-try type manhood is under assault and is actually being dissolved right before our eyes.  The idea of a young man stepping up to another person eyeball to eyeball and daring him to start something was common in my youth — that kind of action is nearly obsolete today.

With the loss of dare and risk, we have also lost the willingness to start churches or businesses, to overhaul an engine, or go out hunting in the woods.  Those things that require a calm self-confidence and self-reliance are not only slipping away,  but they are also completely under assault in our country.

Carefully pick out books that boldly exemplify manliness.  Find books for your children to read that glorify women and men in their biblical roles.  About junior high age, I started letting my boys read Louis L’ Amour books.  I blacked out bad words and let them read.  These books exalt manliness, honesty, treating women right, paying debts, love for freedom and country, and many more characteristics I wanted my boys to learn.  I wanted my boys to hear good preaching, not teaching, but preaching by men who fearlessly said what was right and wrong.  

My wife and I were very careful about which cartoons and movies our children saw.  Hollywood will ruin your children if you give it a chance.  No shows with unmanly men or women in leadership ought to be allowed in front of your children's eyes.   Shows in which sexual innuendos are thrown around and women are viewed as sex objects ought to be trashed.  Shows with women who save the day and men are being rescued ought to be tossed as well.  Cartoons in which guys wiggle around like sissies or with female dancers ought to be banished from earth!

Summer activities that breed manliness ought to be encouraged:  bows and arrows, BB guns, hikes, long bike rides, swimming, climbing, jumping, fun fighting, and an occasional bloody nose ought to be accepted and encouraged.  Moms do not need to huddle over their children as they grow up, especially boys; let them be free and run risks now and then. 

We do humanity no favor in training women to act like men and men to act like women.  To attempt to erase gender differences is not only stupid, but it is dangerous for society.    Our bookstore has lessons on child rearing that deal at length with developing men and women. 

If you are homeschooling your children, you simply must get those boys away from mom and under male leadership.  Time to face injustice, to deal with stupid people, and to allow manly character to rub off on them from good men is a necessity. 

Be certain of this one thing:  the devil is out to ruin anything God does.  He wants men to be like women and women to be like men.  He wants the home to be a shambles and politics to create lords over slaves.   Use the summer to intentionally train your boys — especially in manly characteristics.

Pastor Goddard

 

Read your Bible

Good Morning,

I am afraid that many Christians have grown comfortable in their Christian lives.  At some point, each Christian has received Christ and grew in faith, mercy, and love, and God provided a stable life for them.  Their jobs, homes, and marriages are stable, and no great fear drives them — they are safe and secure.  The fear I have for them is the fact that they may easily drift from the Lord. Trouble and danger drive us to God; ease leads us to casual and complacent living.   It is not uncommon for believers to go days or weeks without reading their Bibles.    Like Catholics, they rely on the pastor to talk to God for them. 

Isaiah 34:16 “Seek ye out of the book of the LORD, and read…”

Joshua 1:8 “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night…”

The idea that we do not need God’s Word daily is a deadly assumption.  I love the fact that I lived around people who knew they needed their Bible every day.  My mom and dad would never go a day without reading their Bible.  My children grew up knowing grandma and grandpa read the Bible, and the Scriptures were often in our conversation.  My wife not only reads daily, but her idea of the perfect vacation is to spend several hours each morning reading and studying her Bible.

We must remember that we are not spiritual creatures; we are carnal.  Unless our “old man” is kept yielded to God, we will be subject to the carnal wishes of the flesh.  Being carnal is not what we do, but what we are.  Spiritual is what we are inside, our walk with God and our yielding to His will.  One who is spiritual daily seeks to know the Father’s will and yields his life to that divine plan for the day. 

John 5:39 “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life…”

When God explained the circumstances of having a king, He made it clear that the king needed to spend time daily in his Bible.  Reading the Bible daily will keep us from future foolishness.
Deuteronomy 17:19 “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:”

We are to read, teach, talk, and walk the Bible!
Deuteronomy 6:6 “And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart…”
vs. 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 119:97 “O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day.”
Do not be so foolish as to think we know enough Bible that we do not need to read it daily.  Cultivating the spiritual man through the truths of God’s Word is the main goal; knowing the facts of the Bible is not the objective.  Do not allow yourself to grow carnal and complacent to the point of not reading and studying the Bible daily.  We need daily Bible reading just like we need water.

Thoughtlessly reading our Bibles will cause us to fail in the relationship to our Bible.  If we simply look at words or glance over them like skimming a newspaper, we will soon treat the Bible with the same love and passion as the newspaper.

A mature believer should know how to study his Bible, and how to think, consider, grasp truth, and find lessons.  The Bible is an eternal Book; we will never begin to grasp Its depths and riches.
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.”

As you read the Bible daily, It should teach you and reveal faults in your life as a mirror; the Word of God should expose you to you! 

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.”

While reading your Bible, truths ought to open up about your heart.  While reading the Bible, you should suddenly find yourself ashamed of words or actions; you should find yourself exposed to the light of the Word, revealing your inner motives, plans, and dreams.   Like a mirror that magnifies your face, faithfully studying your Bible will reveal details in your heart and life; sin will be exposed and selfishness will be revealed.

One might say, “Things in my life are good, and I am fine reading occasionally.”  Two dangers exist with this mentality:
1. You slowly grow carnal and end up doing something terrible you should not have done.
2. You slowly grow carnal and fail to do something very important that God intended you to do.

What can you do to help?
1. Find a set time and place to read daily.
2. Have a plan where in the Bible you will read daily:  such as Proverbs for the day of the month, or two chapters in the New Testament each morning and two chapters in the Old Testament each evening, etc.
3. Write something down every day from your Bible reading.  Read, think, crystallize an idea and put it on paper; and then read back over what you wrote the previous day.
4. Pray before you read and ask God to teach you something.
5. Confess your cold heart towards the Bible; call it sin and ask for forgiveness. 
6. Use your Bible:  teach a class, witness, or talk to your spouse about your Bible if possible.

“Sing them over again to me, wonderful words of life, let me more of their beauty see, wonderful words of life…”

Pastor  Goddard

 

Listen

Good Morning,

One of the most important qualities we can strive to possess is the ability to listen to people.  When someone is speaking, it is vital that we focus on their words, pay attention to their body language, and seek to understand their feelings.  God does this, and how comforted we can feel knowing that God is attentive to our prayers. 

Psalm 18:6 “In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried unto my God: he heard my voice out of his temple, and my cry came before him, even into his ears.”
Psalm 40:1 “I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry.”

Few actions say, “I do not care” like someone not paying attention to the words of another.  A busy spouse who listens with only partial attention says, “Please shut up, I am busy.”  As a parent of a jabbering toddler, it is easy to get used to tuning out the words of the child.  Some go overboard and stop everything each time a child speaks; that response will not last, for it demands every moment of focus a mother has.  In our home, we taught children to be still unless there was something very important.  (Of course, when you see a bird in the yard and you are two, that is important!)  We had to teach them to simply enjoy being quiet.  Teaching this lesson is hard work — no matter your child rearing method — but you better not let yourself ignore your teen or spouse, or you will be teaching them to be quiet and that is what you do not want.

The great grief of Job was that he felt God was not listening to him and that there was no attentive ear in Heaven. 
Job 19:7 “Behold, I cry out of wrong, but I am not heard: I cry aloud, but there is no judgment.”

If you hope to keep close to your spouse, you must learn to stop and to pay close attention to their voice.  If you let that person walk out on you, you will wish desperately that you had listened. 

When the Israelites were in bondage in Egypt, God called to Moses and made a very important statement:
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;”

God saw their situation, He heard their cry, and He knew their sorrow:  that is the example of divine love we should express toward others.  The Sunday school teacher will be better if he listens to children talk.  The pastor or youth pastor will be more effective if he listens to the talk of the teens on the bus trip or in the van shuttling young people to and from activities or church. 

Many a frustrated spouse gives up on a conversation when their words are not heard.  If one allows that to begin, he is slowly heading away from a good marriage.  Most of us believe that someone who loves me will listen to me.  We do not want our spouse to think, “What’s the point, they do not care.”

When it comes to training your children, you must teach them to focus on their leader and know the exact instructions.  Sometimes it pays to tell the child what to do, then stop and say, “Now tell me what I said.”  Repeating the instructions also eliminates the common problem of the youth saying, “I did not understand,”  or “I did not hear you.”  

Another deadly habit to allow young people to start is hearing half the instructions and then saying, “I know, I know.”  If a parent hopes this child will one day have a decent job, that is a moment when correction must take place.  The child might know what is being said, but listening shows respect, love, submission, understanding of authority, and much much more.  A child can always be perceived as a quick learner; he need not boast in what he knows. 

Another common problem is talking before another is done talking. 
Proverbs 18:13 “He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.”

For example:  a husband starts talking, and before he completes his thought, his wife finishes his thought or starts talking about something else.  When a hurting person shares trouble, this situation often comes into the conversation.  If someone tells me about their car accident and I say, “Wow, you should have seen the accident I saw last year…”, all you are saying to that person is that you do not care about their words, their hurt, and their desire to have someone simply care. 

Paul put it this way:
Romans 12:15 “Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.”

Stop interrupting their story and listen!  There are times in a relationship we do not need an answer, but we need someone to listen, and in so doing say, “I CARE.”  Stop trying to show you also have hurt and simply care about their hurt.  When I am hurting, I do not want you to make my hurt small, I want it to be big, at least for a moment.  It could also be good things that are made small.  I caught a fish and immediately you tell me of a bigger one.  What you are saying is that you could not care less about ME.  That is what is being determined.  WHAT DO YOU THINK OF ME?  When we care about someone, we listen. 

I had a couple in my office who were headed for a divorce.  As is often the case, they brought me a mess so far gone, I would rather have faced Humpty Dumpty after his fall.  Amidst the chaos, the husband made an interesting statement:  while talking about going to a casino after work and spending money they did not have, he said this, “I go there because when I walk in, they smile and are glad to see me.”  I could repeat the story over and over; he went to the bar after work because the bartender listened to him ramble.  The pastor’s wife was unfaithful to her husband simply because she found someone who would listen to her, focus on her, and care about her feelings.  Her husband was too busy being a success to listen.  

Psalm 61:1 “Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer.”

If you love someone, then listen, focus, stop what you are doing, and pay attention to their words, their face, their eyes, and pray for God to help you HEAR.

Proverbs 20:12 “The hearing ear, and the seeing eye, the LORD hath made even both of them.”

God is the One Who will help you see and hear — that is so very important.  People matter, listen to them. 

Pastor Goddard

 

Hurry Life

Good Morning,

It is not uncommon for us to fight to accomplish our goals and dreams and to do so RIGHT NOW.  It seems that everything we want, we want NOW!! 

For example, we want to marry before we are “TOO OLD” (whenever that is).  In short, each of us needs to seek the Lord about his own life and development.  Moses stayed in Pharaoh’s court until he was forty years of age before he got married.  Forty years later, God called him into the ministry.  Most of the Apostles were single when they were called to follow the Lord.  At the time when Paul was ordained and sent out by the Holy Spirit to do the first work of foreign missions, he was not married.  This pattern seems to go against our modern "rules." 

Luke 3:23 “And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli,”

This verse is the only biblical reference as to our Lord’s age or the length of His ministry.  Most people count three Passovers in the Gospels, thus considering His ministry to be about three years.  With those ideas being speculation, let us consider one biblical fact — Jesus lived on this earth for about thirty years before beginning His ministry.  He did not hurry into the ministry! 

Too many people hurry.  Too many people rush into life long before they are ready.  Somehow we have allowed educators to tell us that children should enter school at five years of age and learn to read the next year.  (What craziness that is!)  Each person is an individual, and certainly, none of us are ready at the same age to do anything, from walking to talking. 

We rush our children off to school according to a random rule, and then we push them off to college at age eighteen according to the same ambiguous “rule.”  We simply push everyone into molds that are not fit to each person’s mind, body, or social and spiritual development. 

Dwight Moody was quoted as saying that if he had three years to live, he would spend two of them in college training and the third serving more effectively than he could have without the proper training. 

Old Testament kings took the throne anywhere from age seven years of age and up.  The transition time was a matter of circumstances, not an age mandate.  George Washington was forty-three when he was commander and chief of the Continental army.  Galusha Pennypacker was a Union general during the American Civil War at the age of twenty.  To this day, he is the youngest person to hold the rank of brigadier general in the U.S. Army.   Many a military man was commissioned according to skills, not age, while others gained rank due to the death of those above them.  One does not start professional sports because of age, but because of skills and accomplishments.  Little in our lives is tied to the calendar; why determine life plans on such a silly issue as age? 

Why do we hurry life?  If our Lord could wait until He was thirty years old to begin His earthly ministry, could we not allow circumstances to direct life, not age and timing?  Every young person is not ready for the college dorms at age seventeen.  Everyone is not ready for marriage at twenty-two or any other certain age.  Let the youth marry when he is ready to be what he needs to be for his spouse and the glory of God. 

Galatians 4:4 “But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,”

Jesus came when it was time, not when someone had the right number of birthdays.  There was a time called the “fulness of the gentiles.”
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.”

The idea of being hasty and pushing into decisions or stages of life is a dangerous one.
Proverbs 19:2 “…and he that hasteth with his feet sinneth.”
Proverbs 28:22 “He that hasteth to be rich hath an evil eye, and considereth not that poverty shall come upon him.”

We hurry into the college, marriage, and the work force; then we hurry to retire and wander around wondering what to do with ourselves.  Just why do we need to retire?  Why quit working?  Because we have had a certain number of birthdays?  Now if there is a reason regarding health, company policy, or family, sure; but to just stop working?  What a loss!  Once we stop working, we cease to contribute to the good of our world.  Retire so you can go to the mission field?  Absolutely!  Retire so you can serve full-time in your church as the janitor, building maintenance, or soul winner?  WOW!  What a good idea!  To wander around America in a million-dollar motor home for the remainder of your life while doing nothing for God would be a terrible waste of time. 

Let us see what would glorify God in the lives of our children.  May we search out the will of God and do that which honors God in our own future plans. 

1 Corinthians 10:31 “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.”

Pastor Goddard

 

Selfish Parents

Good Morning,

Last week, I returned home on the day our trash was picked up and saw some paper and other trash in the street left in front of our neighbor’s home.   They are elderly, and it was easy for me to pick up the trash.   The small job to me was kind and friendly to them; a Christian response.  

Romans 13:10 “Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.”

I am a fanatic about the second great commandment.  I want my property to help the value of my neighbors.  I want to drive in such a way as to be helpful to others on the street.  I ask our bus drivers to drive extra slow in residential neighborhoods because that big bus seems to be traveling much faster than it is.  Noise is also a factor, so I ask our drivers to avoid residential neighborhoods when possible.

Our actions and decisions should always be determined by the second greatest command of God.  

Mark 12:31 “And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.”

Our family will have people over for social activities, but we will keep the noise down and everyone leaves early so we do not bother our neighbors. Our church may have crowds at an outdoor event, but we will guard the timing of things so as to not bother folks who live around the church.  That is called obedience to God.  

Galatians 5:14 “For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.”

What about our children?  
Most of us have been in a restaurant when a crying toddler fussed and fumed and ruined the dinner for people all around them.  What about the food on the floor carelessly thrown down by the brat?  

I made our children get on the floor and pick up everything they dropped.  Cleaning up after ourselves shows loving Christianity towards the waitress.  If a child is big enough to pick up food on his plate, he can pick it up from the floor!  That was my narrow-minded opinion.

Likewise, we have seen the child in the store ruin a completely peaceful environment.  Worse yet, is when we get our family to church only to have our day ruined by an undisciplined child who fusses and ruins our Sunday school class or church service.  An undisciplined child who sits in Sunday school can ruin the class for the rest of the children. If that child is in a classroom of adults, it ruins the class for everyone, no one listens to the teacher, they only think about the child, cute or rotten.  

I teach our workers to have someone move the disruptive child to the rear of class; and if he continues to be a distraction, he is to be returned to his parents.  It is not our job to train children; that is the parent’s duty.  If the child rode a bus, the teacher is to return the child to a bus worker.

To raise selfish children who fuss and squirm and disrupt church is terribly selfish.  We do not consider it sinful, but it is.  Selfishness is sinful.  Many a parent keeps a child out of nursery and Sunday school classes because he thinks he is being a better parent; but in reality, the parent is being selfish and a problem to everyone else.  Now if the child can sit quietly, perhaps it can work, but it is simply not common for children under two to sit without being a distraction.  

Love for others ought to be the biggest goal in life short of loving God.  My family rights do not trump the love of others.  That would be selfish.  When we start out life selfish, it is difficult to imagine the children ever following Christ, especially when His first requirement is to “deny yourself.”

How will we send children to the mission field when they can not deny themselves?  When a child is allowed to act as he pleases at age two or four, he is destined for jail or a miserable life.  “Others” is the theme of the Christian life, and countless parents think their little family is the most important thing on the planet.  What ruined much of America was when a generation of post-war parents said, “I do not want my children to have to go through what I went through.”  When in reality, denial and restraint built this great land of ours.  We call this new era of young people spoiled brats.   Whether their domain is a college dorm, the White House, or an extra bedroom, selfishness is a sin.  

Loving others is not just a feeling but a constant motivation for every deed.  The way we act in the grocery store, respond when our food is not properly prepared in a restaurant, or when someone cuts us off in traffic shows how much we actually love others.

Love is the theme, love is supreme…

Love worketh no ill to his neighbor!  

Pastor Goddard

 

Inheritance

Good Morning,

We all live for temporal possessions more than we should.  It is simple to think about and seek after what we see and touch.  Though by faith we know better, the things of this earth still possess our thinking. 

David dealt with these emotions several times in the book of Psalms.  He battled with the idea that godless men had more possessions, and that wicked men were able to evade punishment  while the poor suffered.  God helped David to see and consider eternal rewards when he struggled with these thoughts. 

Psalm 49:6 “They that trust in their wealth, and boast themselves in the multitude of their riches;”
vs. 7 “None of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him:”
vs. 8 “(For the redemption of their soul is precious, and it ceaseth for ever:)”
vs. 9 “That he should still live for ever, and not see corruption.”
vs. 10 “For he seeth that wise men die, likewise the fool and the brutish person perish, and leave their wealth to others.”

In summary, placing trust in wealth is foolish, for only God can redeem a soul.  A rich man who dies with his wealth is no more than an animal or a fool;  for all his wealth will go to another who never earned it and probably cannot care for the inheritance. 

I find it interesting that David points out the idea of an inheritance and a family name: 
vs. 11 “Their inward thought is, that their houses shall continue for ever, and their dwelling places to all generations; they call their lands after their own names.”
vs. 12 “Nevertheless man being in honour abideth not: he is like the beasts that perish.”

Somehow the rich feel as if they are better off because some piece of dirt has their name on it.  I also find it amazing that the rich will work, plan, and connive to gain great wealth, only to die just like any animal.  They leave their wealth to a child who has never acquired the work ethic of his parent or the wisdom to care for the wealth.   In reality, the one to whom the working parent leaves his labors and profits may be a fool. 

Ecclesiastes 2:18 “Yea, I hated all my labour which I had taken under the sun: because I should leave it unto the man that shall be after me.”
vs. 19 “And who knoweth whether he shall be a wise man or a fool? yet shall he have rule over all my labour wherein I have laboured, and wherein I have shewed myself wise under the sun. This is also vanity.”

Death will devour the foolish man who has not trusted in the Lord, and a vain world will devour his accomplishments. 
Psalm 49:14 “Like sheep they are laid in the grave; death shall feed on them; and the upright shall have dominion over them in the morning; and their beauty shall consume in the grave from their dwelling.”

The child of God safely rests his soul in the hands of a loving God and Redeemer:
vs. 15 “But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave: for he shall receive me. Selah.”

Perhaps we ought to seek the Lord more than gold; and the gold we gain might be better used if it is placed into the hands of a faithful missionary or church ministry rather than a potentially foolish child. 

Pastor Goddard

Content

Good Morning,

As we approach our thirty-fifth year anniversary, we are focusing our attention on praise and gratitude.  Contentment is a vital part of thanksgiving; discontentment breeds complaining.  Recently, in a message, I spoke about contentment.  The following verses were used to address the subject.  (Time did not allow me to finally address this context, as I was on a different subject.)

1 Timothy 6:6 “But godliness with contentment is great gain.”
vs. 7 “For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.”
vs. 8 “And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.”

Paul says that godliness with contentment is great gain; having food and clothing should cause us to be content.  Looking at the verses prior to this statement helps put contentment into context.

1 Timothy 6:1 “Let as many servants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honour, that the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed.”

Paul is writing to slaves.  He is writing to assure them that their own condition is not what is important, but rather that God and the doctrines of Christianity are thought of well.  We have grown to focus all of our attention on our own comfort.  God wants us to focus all of our attention on His glory.

Similarly, Paul exhorts those servants with believing masters to honor and respect those they serve.

verse 2 “And they that have believing masters, let them not despise them, because they are brethren; but rather do them service, because they are faithful and beloved, partakers of the benefit. These things teach and exhort.”

In our culture, we are panic stricken over the idea of servants, slaves, or any type of human bondage.  God is much more concerned that we do right in whichever difficult situation we may find ourselves.  We often focus on our comfort, but God is focused on our appropriate behavior in our circumstance.

Many will fight and argue over this subject, and to their arguments, God adds His comments in the next few verses:

vs. 3 “If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness;”
vs. 4 “He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings,”
vs. 5 “Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.”


When someone wants to argue over a good testimony while living or working in a difficult situation, God says that person is proud, knows nothing, and is going to cause envy, strife, and evil; and as an end result bring about perverse disputings of man.  God knows what is best, and He follows these comments with the first verse I mentioned:

1 Timothy 6:6 “But godliness with contentment is great gain.”
vs. 7 “For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.”
vs. 8 “And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.”

God wants us to be content.  God wants us to be busy serving him and others.  Certainly, God does not want us to fight and to argue for our personal rights and the things that we feel “we deserve.”

Pastor Goddard

 

Trust Your Bible

Good Morning,

Believing God and the Bible is not always easy.  Faith to accept the gift of salvation is one of those wonderful decisions that we all must make.  Despite our occasional doubting, the work of the Holy Spirit confirms in our hearts that we are saved when we trust Christ.  That faith pleases God very much.

Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
vs. 6 “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”

Other areas of the Christian life, like tithing or forgiving, are more difficult.  The same Bible that says God loves us says we are to tithe.  Forgiving those who hurt us is harder than loving our neighbors.  To accept that God, in a supernatural fashion, is involved in both the good and the bad in our lives is often difficult.   Peter wrote that some of Paul’s writings were simply hard to understand, let alone to trust.

2 Peter 3:16 “As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood…”

We can all agree that some truths are harder to believe than others, even though the same Bible refers to both the easy and the difficult.

Several churches I know are facing the retirement of an older pastor and the decision to bring in a younger man to take the pulpit.  As long as his preaching and personal life match the Bible, he should be accepted and trusted.  Yes, it takes time to rest in the new pastor’s counsel on non-biblical issues; and for the older retired pastor to follow the new pastor’s lead in ministry ideas or to follow his preaching is even more difficult.  But if the new pastor’s life and home are exemplary and the Spirit of the Lord is present, he is to be trusted because God says to do so, not because he is as “good” as the older pastor.  The problem is rooted in the fact that we tend to place an earthly trust in the older pastor, a trust that is not Scriptural.  Hebrews 13 says to trust the end of his conversation; trust him unless he has given you a reason not to trust him.

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.”

The key phrase is “…whose faith follow."  You are to follow the faith of the one who has rule over you.  The last part of the verse, “…considering the end of their conversation,” refers to your watching that person’s life and ideologies and waiting to see the end result.  The pastor does not have to be fifty years old to be trusted; watch him to see if his life is worthy of your trust.   This verse does not direct you to jump on the "pastor bandwagon" the day you meet him; wait and consider the end of his conversation or life choices.   Scripturally, at some point, you need to place your trust in a pastor.  Remember that most great churches were started by a young man.

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.”

Many people have come to our church who were hurt by a former church or pastor.  I accept the fact that it may be some time before they are able to relax and rest in their relationship to me; however, at some point, if I have not fouled the waters of my testimony, they should enjoy the blessing of a good relationship to their pastor.   Clinging to a radio or internet pastor is unwise, especially when you have a pastor right in front of you whom you can see, whose family you can see, and whose ministry has been tested and proven through the years.

To honor our parents, to reverence the husband, and to believe that civil leaders are the ministers of God is not always easy to do, but each of the above-mentioned practices is always right to do.

Ephesians 5:33 “Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.”
Romans 13:6 “For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing.”

Believing these sometimes difficult commands ultimately requires a trust in the Bible we hold in our hands.  Do we believe the Bible or would we rather trust our own eyes, ears, and heart? 

Faith is eliminated if we only believe that which is always logical and something with which we agree;  remember, our faith is what pleases God.

I would like to encourage you to read your Bible and listen to preaching in order that your faith may grow; for nothing is so worthy of your trust as the Word of God — our wonderful Bible.

Pastor Goddard

 

Trust

TGood Morning,

Job 23:10 “But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.”

Often in the Bible, God speaks of His people being tried and purified, just as precious metals are tried in a furnace.  The fire heats the rough metal to a melting temperature, and the impurities separate from the raw ore in the mixture, resulting in a more pure metal. 

Psalms 12 speaks of purifying seven times and teaches us several lessons:
• As God’s people, we are precious. 
• We are impure.
• We need His help in cleaning our lives.   

Psalm 66:10 “For thou, O God, hast proved us: thou hast tried us, as silver is tried.”
Proverbs 17:3 “The fining pot is for silver, and the furnace for gold: but the LORD trieth the hearts.”

God’s goal for us is to be “His people.”  We do not gain beauty, but we become more purified to gain a closer relationship to Him. 

Zechariah 13:9 “And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The LORD is my God.”

Malachi 3:2 “But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap:”
vs. 3 “And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness.”

Purifying ourselves allows us to be able to offer pure offerings to the Lord.  He wants us to be able to serve Him and love Him. 

Just as the weapons that we depend upon in battle are forged with molten steel at a high heat, God needs to forge us through trials.  Similarly, diamonds are formed under great pressure and high heat.  None of us enjoy the pressure or the heat, but God uses those trials to make us pure and more useful. 

The military soldier we honor began his career in a high-pressure boot camp.  No one enjoys uncomfortable times in life, yet the most powerful military on earth begins in some kind of high-pressure training.   A human being is born in a time of great stress, pain, and pressure.  Although we do not enjoy discomfort, many great people came from difficult situations.  Dr. Jack Hyles, a man with a tender and loving heart towards the poor, came from a ghetto upbringing and lived in abject poverty. 

Setting aside a time to be thankful for the difficult situations or eras in life is a good idea.  We might honor those whom God used to apply the heat or pressure in our lives.  Those harsh circumstances and difficult people were used to make us strong, admirable, and honorable. 

No one likes difficulty; but the very salvation that Christianity exalts was born in injustice, denial, pain, and death.

That coach a player did not like might be the one who made him push through the tough times. That trainer who angered the trainee by excessive force may be the one who allowed him to become a winner later.  Much of the questioning, doubt, and lack of understanding in life can be brought to the Father in Heaven Who gave His Son that we might find forgiveness.  We must simply say, “I trust You!”

Often, the hard times bring us to our knees and cause us to trust exclusively in God.  Salvation is only found when we trust in the mercy and goodness of God, not in church or minister or our own goodness.  As in the military or athletics, we are forced to trust a coach or commander; so it is with our faith — we look to the cross and the Savior and simply trust Him.  When we encounter painful situations, we are to trust Him.  When we face injustice, we need to trust Him.  When the strain is overwhelming, though it be through tears, we must trust Him; for there is no other answer. 

Proverbs 17:3 “The fining pot is for silver, and the furnace for gold: but the LORD trieth the hearts.”

Pastor Goddard

 

No Need to Push

Good Morning,

Sitting at the airport, I saw a group of about fifty young people headed to DC and Philadelphia.  I saw several men in leadership, but there was a lady up front giving all the directions. The men were quite capable, but they were not going to fight for that position. 

One thing you will learn about leaders, especially good leaders, is that they will rarely fight for leadership.  If a subordinate wants to vaunt himself, most leaders will allow it.  Of course, on the job and in situations requiring the leader to lead, he will do so; but so often, a situation arises when leadership is available but someone in a subordinate position pushes up to the lead. 

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.”

Read the story; his action did not work out well. 

I have noticed that the best of leaders will wait to be invited to lead.  Likewise, I have noticed that many times the poor leaders and followers will long to be in charge.  Our neighbor is a lady police officer.  She is a great neighbor and one of our friends locally.  She made a statement once that she had to fight her way all the way to become sergeant (because she was a lady).  That is sad; for true leaders never have to fight their way into the lead.  If one has to fight, then he traveled the wrong path or does not belong there.  Leadership is a gift from God.  Position is earned by quality performance and divine interference.  Spiritually (and I believe in business), leadership will come to the wise and prudent worker.  You need not panic or fear unjust circumstances. 

Psalm 75:6 “For promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south.” vs. 7 “But God is the judge: he putteth down one, and setteth up another.”

We need not try to prove our worth; worth is determined by those who want the product.  People are pushed into leadership because they do what others cannot do, they have what others do not have, or they have achieved what others have not achieved.   I remember Marlene Evans — she was probably the most in-demand lady speaker in America’s fundamental churches.  She was simply “Mrs. Evans;” she needed not fight for position or prove herself.  She was amazing!  Preachers would do their best to get into ladies’ meetings in order to hear her speak. Pastors all over America wanted her to come speak at their ladies’ conferences because she was special, she had done what few had done, and she possessed something inside her that few others possessed.  She was thrust into leadership; there was no fight. 

I feel badly for the people in the world around us, constantly fighting, grinding, competing with those around them; if they could only rest in the Lord, He would place people in leadership who belong there.  I never desired to lead.  It simply came to me.  I would no more fight to lead than I would fight in a professional boxing match.  I will be me;  I will walk with God and allow Him to push me where He wants me to be.

Remember David?  While watching the sheep, he was asked to visit the battlefield.  Once he was there, a need arose that he was willing to meet.  Leadership was thrust upon him.  Remember Saul?  Hiding from his own inauguration?  The people had to ask God where the new king was.

1 Samuel 10:22 “Therefore they enquired of the LORD further, if the man should yet come thither. And the LORD answered, Behold, he hath hid himself among the stuff.”

If you are looking to fill a position and someone is pushing his way into your view, it is probably a good indication that he is the wrong man. 

Some of John the Baptist’s followers were concerned about Jesus getting so many disciples, but John was not concerned.

John 3:26 “And they came unto John, and said unto him, Rabbi, he that was with thee beyond Jordan, to whom thou barest witness, behold, the same baptizeth, and all men come to him.”
vs. 27 “John answered and said, A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven.”

When Dr. Hyles was asked to come to Hammond (where he later built the largest Sunday school in the world), he was first asked to fill out an application.  He refused and said, “Go pray down God’s man. I do not fill out applications!”  They responded that they liked his resume and asked him to come visit them; he said, “No!”  It was a battle to get Dr. Jack Hyles to go to Hammond, but finally God did it. 

Greatness does not clamor for your time or attention.  The Bible sits quietly while the mouse in the kitchen demands attention.  Jesus longs for your time and love, but He will sit on the side and be ignored if you so desire.  You can make television the leader in your home; Jesus will sit on the sidelines and be neglected. 

Ladies, you need not force your way into leadership.  If your leadership is needed, someone will ask you.  None of us need to fear being “passed over for promotion.”  God knows our address and phone number. 

Go to the God-ordained leader to ask for help, to get advice, and to find his opinion.  We will be wise to implore the advice of wise, godly leaders.   Remember, they will not come along on their own, you will need to ask them. 

Pastor Goddard

 

Heaven

Good Morning,

These thoughts may be obvious; but at times, we need to be reminded of future events.  We often hear about Heaven and eternity, but here are a few verses to help clear common confusion.

Abraham and his seed are promised an earthly inheritance.
Romans 4:13 “For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith.”

Genesis 28:14 “And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south: and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed.”

Psalm 2:8 “Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.”

The promise to the New Testament believer is a Heavenly inheritance.
Ephesians 1:3 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:”

Ephesians 1:20 “Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,”

Ephesians 2:6 “And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:”

2 Timothy 4:18 “And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”

Hebrews 11:16 “But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.”

Hebrews 12:22 “But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels,”

The confusing doctrine about living in paradise on earth that has been taught to the Jehovah’s Witnesses is a satanic mixture of Eden, the Jews’ inheritance, and hard-working religious people.  They think that only 144,000 chosen Jehovah’s Witnesses (who are clearly defined as male virgin Jews in Revelation 7:4-8, 14:1-4) will gain a heavenly reward — this belief is certainly confusing.

2 Corinthians 5:6 “Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord:”
vs. 8 “We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.”


Believers have the assurance that when they leave this earthly body, they immediately join the Lord in Heaven.

When Stephen was stoned and about to die, his vision was of Jesus standing; we can assume it was to welcome him to his new heavenly home.

Acts 7:56 “And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.”
vs. 57 “Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord,”
vs. 58 “And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man's feet, whose name was Saul.”
vs. 59 “And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.”
vs. 60 “And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.”

The believer can relax about his eternal home.  No confusing “soul sleep,” as taught by the Seventh Day Adventist church, will take place when we die; we will not lie in state for decades or centuries, waiting to stand in judgment to see if our works were good enough to get us into Heaven.  Thank God our faith is "counted for righteousness" and requires no works to earn Heaven!

Romans 4:5 “But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.”

Although Paul spoke not only of his trials on earth but also of the importance of his ministry to the people; he said he would rather be with the Lord because it would be far better.

Philippians 1:23 “For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better:”

Being in Heaven with our Lord is the "far better” — far better than staying in this earthly body, and far better than facing the trials of this world.  We are not going to be waiting in some grave or awaiting judgment in perdition.  All is well for the beloved of our Lord who depart this world for their eternal home.

Pastor Goddard

 

Boys to Men

Good Morning,

I raised my boys to give orders, not to take them.
This statement is a rough one to start the article, but follow my thinking for a moment:

We are all different, by training and by our very nature.  I remember when Kobe Bryant joined the Lakers.  He was just eighteen years old.  He moved from high school basketball to starting in the professional league — that is not because of good coaching, good conditioning, or good anything.  God made some people different from others.

Obviously, good coaching and training improve what we are; both our training and our basic makeup affect what we are and what we become.  General Patton used toy soldiers to relive historic battles.  He would study formations and battle plans while most boys were still figuring out fractions.  From his childhood, he was different from other boys.  God makes us for a purpose, and sometimes He ordains someone for greatness.

Parents and leaders do have some bearing on the results of child rearing, otherwise, there would be no need for leadership.    While I cannot make my child into something he is not designed to be, and a teacher or coach cannot reshape an intellect or a super athlete, training does matter.  The issue at hand is that we are not allowing our boys to be trained to lead.   Some people may lead a small business or their home, but all will lead to some extent.  Some people are designed to lead great hosts of people, while others may only be equipped to lead a few; but all people need to be allowed to learn to lead.

Look at the youthful years of David’s life.  Although he was not old enough to go to battle yet, he was mentally equipped in his early teen years or younger.    He faced a bear and a lion, alone, because it was his duty.  He had a job and responsibility that was serious and included risk and danger.  We do not want our children to face any of these things, yet they are the things that develop manhood and leadership.   There would have been no mighty King David without his early days of training.

1 Samuel 17:34 “And David said unto Saul, Thy servant kept his father’s sheep, and there came a lion, and a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock:”
vs. 36 “Thy servant slew both the lion and the bear: and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them, seeing he hath defied the armies of the living God.”
vs. 37 “David said moreover, The LORD that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine. And Saul said unto David, Go, and the LORD be with thee.”

Notice where David placed his trust.  “The LORD that delivered me…”  Had mom been there to protect her boy from any difficulty, he would never have learned to trust in the Lord.
 
From the early childhood years of my boys, I trained them to be men and leaders.  Early in life, I was helping my boys know how to make decisions.  I worked to set up situations in which they had to think and to make decisions.  In early childhood, I dropped off my son at the door of Payless Shoes.  I asked him what kind of shoes he needed: church, or school, or play.  I asked him what kind HE thought HE needed.  I told him I had to do something and that he was to pick out shoes and I would come into the store soon.  Then I drove to park the car (within sight of the store) and prayed he would think about his decision.  After a while, I walked in and asked what he had picked out.  Hundreds of times in child rearing, I planned and prepared situations in which my boys had to face life, think through the situation, make unaided choices, and then face the consequences of their good or bad decisions.  Many times, I would let them make poor choices and allow them to see how badly it turned out so they would learn from the bad choice.

Let us get back to my point:  I trained my boys to be leaders; leaders in their home, in their church, and on their job.  I have nothing against the minimum-wage earner, but I did not train my boys to be one (at least not for long).  I have nothing against someone being the follower; in fact, I insisted my boys learn to listen and to follow whether in sports or yard work, but I had no intention of them staying a follower for life.

Overbearing parents have trained boys to be wimpy, anemic, indecisive followers.     Overbearing teachers and yard supervisors have taken away a boy’s training time to develop leadership.  Too many organized sports in our world have robbed the boys’ chance to stand in the field, choose captains, pick teams, and find out some boys did not get picked or were picked last.  We have too many “no loser” thinkers in leadership over our boys.  Let me assure you, in life, there are losers; there are folks who do not get the job; there are people who get cut from the team, and there are some children who should be held back in school until they learn the required material before progressing to the next grade.  When is the last time you heard of a student flunking a grade?  It rarely happens anymore.  We are not rearing smarter kids; we are putting stupid people in leadership who rob our children of drive, independence, and initiative.

I am not writing this just to parents, but to teachers, to ministry leaders, and to coaches.  Let boys face difficulties.  Let boys end up in situations in which they have to make choices.  Let boys make poor choices, and allow them to live with that choice.  Stop telling children everything they are supposed to do.  Stop hovering over boys and ordering their every move.  Let them be young men!

Consider Hannah in 1 Samuel 1-3:  She brought her miracle boy to the priest after he was weaned and left him there in the hands of a man who had failed in rearing his own two boys.  She faced a risk; but, without that risk, Israel would never have known the giant of a leader, Samuel.

Think and prayerfully work with the young men you are training because you are training men, not boys.  If we do not train men of decision and strength, who will pack up and go to foreign fields.  Who will go start churches or businesses if we fail to train men? 

Leaders, think; the future of nations lies in the hands of the boys whom you do not even allow to choose teams for dodgeball.

Pastor Goddard

Freedom and Others

Good Morning,

One of the amazing attributes of God is that He offers us a free will.  The fact that Adam and Eve had the choice to obey or not to obey is amazing.  Throughout life, we see the same choice from God over and over.  Evil men may follow their corrupt ideas; and, although there are earthly results for wicked actions, God does not force people to follow Him.

On Mount Carmel, the choice was offered:
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.”

Joshua made the same statement as he neared the end of his life:
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.”

Jesus watched as many disciples walked away, but He simply asked his closest twelve what they would do — He did not forcefully compel them to stay.
John 6:67 “Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away?”
vs. 68 “Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.”

Barnabas, speaking to young believers, urged the people to make a wise choice and cleave to the Lord; but the choice was theirs.
Acts 11:23 “Who, when he came, and had seen the grace of God, was glad, and exhorted them all, that with purpose of heart they would cleave unto the Lord.”

Because God offers great liberty to us in marriage, in child-rearing, in church, and in government, we may follow His direction or foolishly choose our own path.

Might I offer some thoughts here regarding choice?

We know Islam is wrong because it offers no freedom, no free will, and no willing worship; it is mandated.  Although, remember that their lack of free will is no different than the Reformation churches of the Middle Ages that demanded everyone to submit to the church or to suffer banishment, death, or imprisonment.  God never ordained mandatory worship.  God desires the heart of willing love and submission.

In government, we may allow civil rulers to demand submission to their whims.  Over the centuries, the number of men like Hitler or Saddam Hussein is infinite.  Watch any city council, our own included, and see how quickly they force citizens to follow their agenda.   Again, these organizations are far from Divine in their roots, but that is not the point; freedom is the point this morning.

For instance, a church may choose which kind of service to run.  The church has the freedom to develop its own programs of soul winning, teaching, and ministering to the community.

In the late 1800s, Dwight Moody saw the churches of his day ministering to families and adults but completely ignoring the countless thousands of children in the community.  Like George Mueller, Moody was bothered by the forgotten children and determined to do something about it.  He started bringing the rougher children of the town to church who not only would come with uncouth appearances but also would disrupt the service. Moody was told to stop bringing the children.  Moody, feeling compelled to do something, rented a room and started a Sunday school for street children. 

Too often, we want total control over the influences of our children.  Although, I have no great argument against that preference, but, I will ask, “When will it change and what price will you pay for that.”  Will you disrupt church for everyone else while your little child bothers everyone in church?  Will you allow you or your spouse to miss the service of church and messages designed to minister to them as they walk around outside church with a disruptive child?  Will you miss the opportunity to influence others through teaching because you feel that you have to hang on to your child or children?    The choice is yours.

In our culture, a Sunday school class can be designed in such a way as to minister to children of all walks of life.  Because of the benefits of Sunday school, let me say (as God gives us the freedom to have differing opinions) that a church without Sunday school is a selfish church; one that is focused upon itself only and allows the world to go to Hell without regard for the needs of people.  Most of the adults in our churches trusted Christ as children.  If we remove ministries to children, countless souls will go to Hell.  If we remove the buses and Sunday school classes for rougher children, the borders of Hell will need to be enlarged.


Dr. Jack Hyles sat on the lap of his teacher on his first day in a children’s Sunday school.  He asked the teacher, “Does God love me as much as He loves the children with shoes?”   Yes, Sunday school was the place where the heart and soul of Dr. Jack Hyles were won.  Similarly, a Sunday school teacher visited Dwight Moody and led him to Christ.

The insecure pastor who is afraid that his members will learn to teach the Bible to children and adults is doing great harm to all.  The pastor who insists on everyone being in HIS services will never reach the souls he could have reached, for many will not sit in church with fussing children all around.

God gives us the freedom to choose.
 
The church without a bus ministry is not sinful; every church has a choice, but the church is commanded to reach the world. The duty of the church is to find some way to reach that world, but the church also has the freedom to disobey as well.

A revival church is one that has occasional revivals when a good preacher comes and preaches the Gospel and sees many people get saved.

An evangelistic church has folks invite their friends, and the pastor or teachers preach the Gospel to get them saved.

A soul-winning church goes into all the world and preaches the Gospel.  It gets people saved and brings them to church. 

To me, the third church sounds more like one that fulfills the Great Commissions.  How a church’s members get the Gospel to the world is a free choice though.

Sunday school (and bus ministry) also allows members to teach, preach, and visit in the homes of students.  Now the teacher is personally involved in the ministry and is reaching many more people for Christ.   Our members need a place to serve; for they will “all appear before the judgment seat of Christ…”

Here, at Faith Baptist Church, we have a serving church; our motto is “A Church of Active Faith.”  We all have a place to serve if we want one.  Service to others is not compulsory, but freely available.

Let me make an observation.  (By the way, this is only the view of one pastor in one city for thirty-five years.)  I have never seen a couple, who kept their children out of Sunday school and ministry, turn out children for God — NEVER!  Those families rarely even stayed in church; but if they did, they were nominal Christians, complacent at best.  I CAN show you countless servants of God in all walks of life who, as children, joined in the ministry of Sunday school, bus routes, Vacation Bible School, camps, and other outreach ministries who, today, continue to serve and glorify God through their lives.  The ministry does as much for the worker as it does for the student.  A selfish ministry to children will develop selfish adults.  If we make the church about entertainment, people will expect it forever.  Teach children to serve, then mature them into serving teens, then serving adults; this formula will yield a church that serves. 

As a family, we can sit around in our comfortable, safe-space lives, or we can pour our lives out on the altar of others.  We can offer our children for the service of the Lord as Hannah did.  Some people object to anyone outside the family teaching their children, but notice the family from whom the great man, Samuel, came.  He had a prayerful mother who freely offered her son to the service of the Lord.  Although, from preschool age, Samuel had a teacher, Eli, who was far from a successful father, yet the child was incredibly blessed.  (1 Samuel 1-4)

We have a choice, a free choice, like Adam and Eve.  We are free to live for others or to be selfish.  We are free to offer our bodies on the altar of sacrifice as Romans 12 urges.  We are free to bring up our children while sacrificing their own comfort to minister to others, or we can bring up children thinking that the world revolves around them.  We, as parents, can offer our families to God; and it may be, as with the great missionary Hudson Taylor, that we will bury our children prematurely.  Eternity will be the rewarding time; life on earth is the serving time.  

As a church, we can have our cute little group and glory in our amazing knowledge while we do little for eternity or others, or we can reach out to the world with all our heart.

We have freedom as a family, as a church, and as a government.  God allows us to choose our path, but He does not allow us to chose the outcome.   The road we travel is our choice; the destination will be set.

John 12:25 “He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.”

Pastor Goddard

Different

Good Morning,

The fact that God’s people are different is well known, but the extent of their difference is rarely seen so clearly as in the life of Mordecai.

Esther 3:8 “..and their laws are diverse from all people;”
The people of God have always been different; or at least, we are supposed to be different —different from all other people.

Esther 4:6 “So Hatach went forth to Mordecai unto the street of the city, which was before the king's gate.”
vs. 7 “And Mordecai told him of all that had happened unto him, and of the sum of the money that Haman had promised to pay to the king's treasuries for the Jews, to destroy them.”

How very personal the king’s law was to Mordecai because it was his fault that all the Jews were threatened.  He alone bore the responsibility, but it was according to the commands of God, and Mordecai was willing to leave the end result to God.  Although the other Jews did not hold the same standard, Mordecai’s unbending stand, uncompromising application of Scriptures, and unmovable conviction were the cause that threatened the lives of all the Jews.  Still, Mordecai did not seek peace nor compromise. 

Mordecai was not fearful of the destruction of the Jewish people.  Later, he assured Esther that deliverance would arrive from somewhere; it was her choice to be a part of it or not. 
Esther 4:14 “For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father’s house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”

Mordecai was sure, not only in his stand against the actions of religious people but also in that he would win in the end. 

Abraham was asked to offer his son on the altar.  This request was unusual and absurd in the eyes of men, yet it was the willingness to do the unusual deed that brought about the statement in Genesis 22:12:  “And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me.”

I am not saying that God would ask of us the unusual deeds that He asked of Abraham or Jephthah, but I am saying that unusual actions suit an unusual people.  We are strangers and pilgrims on this earth.  

1 Peter 2:11 “Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;”

Deciding not to drink booze or go to casinos is not a freak decision, but simply separation.  Loving your spouse, having an orderly home in which people love one another, following rules of behavior, allowing dad to be head of the home, or teaching children to obey are not weird nor freakish decisions. 

Esther 3:8 “…and their laws are diverse from all people;”

No matter the price, Daniel would not stop praying at his window, and his friends would not bow to the giant idol.  The apostles would not quit preaching on the street, nor would believers be deterred when death was the price.  Baptists were drowned by the millions for simply not baptizing their babies.  They were not freaks; they were people of conviction.   When people truly believe something is so right that suffering is better than compromise, they set themselves apart.

We are different.  Our roots are different.  Our God is worthy of our absolute trust, even if it makes us outcasts. 

Hebrews 11:13 “These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.”

In Hebrews 11, we read of the kinds of people that God revered as faithful heroes:
Hebrews 11:32 “And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets:”
vs. 33 “Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions,”
vs. 34 ‘Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.”

Some people were held up for great victories they had won; others were esteemed for standing true when the world said they were failures. 

vs. 35 “Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection:”
vs. 36 “And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment:”
vs. 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;”
vs. 38 “(Of whom the world was not worthy…”

We are not bad, but we are different.  We are people of conviction and strong belief — people who believe their God is worthy of our trust and obedience.

Yes, we are very different from the world around us. 

Pastor Goddard

Appearances

Good Morning,

We often concern ourselves with our outward appearance.  We worry about what our spouse thinks, what our friends think, and what the world thinks of us; appearance matters to us.  We act as though we cannot have a modest wedding gown and need to reveal flesh everywhere to be beautiful.  Of course, I do not agree with that; but the fact remains appearance matters. 

The devil uses appearance to persuade soul winners to dress more casually.  (As if dressing sharp will keep us from reaching the world around us!)  Satan will tell us that people will not be interested in a religion that dresses nicely.  Think with me for a moment.  The fastest growing religion in the world is Islam, and the second is Mormonism, yet these two religions have the strangest standards of dress and distinctive. 

The world does not mind our being different.  We do not need to dress like the world, nor do we need to have an athletic build or a movie-star appearance.  Our unusual appearance will not keep our faith from being accepted or our lives from being respected.  Some of the most loved people are anything but “in shape.”  The best Sunday school teachers I know are not living in bodies made at the gym; it is far more likely their shape was made in the bakery!  Top salesmen may be slim and fashionably skinny, but look at the business world and see if portly is not found more often with successful people than movie-star figures. 

What you are matters far more than how you look.  I am in favor of good looks, and I am in favor of caring for oneself — it does matter.  No young man was moved to enlist in the Marines after seeing an overweight guy in sweatpants.  The slim Marine in a dress uniform draws the youth to promise away four to seven years of his life to the Corps.  I am not saying you ought to be a slob; however, I am saying you should not dress casually thinking it will make you more successful.  If your sharp dress includes a portly figure, do not worry; you can still have confidence.  I need not compete with the bearded athlete when I knock on someone’s door.  I am there to offer spiritual and domestic help.  Most of us are average, and we need not be fearful about our dress or our weight.  If Islam reaches young people on our college campuses, I certainly am not afraid to mention dress propriety in the church.  I can wear a tie and dress shirt and reach the young, the old, and the middle-aged.  The devil is the only one who tells us that we cannot reach the world with sharp looks and modest dress. 

We should have a message; we should know how to love people; we should know God.  Appropriate appearance is not going to hurt our message.  I am an old-fashioned Baptist; I will dress the part.  I am not a contemporary rock-and-roll pastor or a night-club style worship leader.  I am a preacher.  I am a man of God.  My bus captains are representing the greatest work on earth, the Gospel of Christ.  Our soul winners bring the most important message in the world to homes, to jails, and to rest homes.  No!  I am not bothered by asking them to look important and dress important.  What they do is the most important job on earth!

I am not representing a surfboard company, nor am I a pool and spa salesmen.  I come to the world in the name of God, the Holy One of Israel.  Just as I would at a wedding or dinner at the White House, I will dress the part, portly or slim, wrinkled or youthful — the job we do and the One we represent are important! 

1 Samuel 16:7 “…for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.”

I am dressing to represent God to men, and men do look at my appearance.  Fast-food restaurants have uniforms because we want to know who serves us; they represent someone and something.  The owners want them to look the part. 

Do not fear to DRESS UP when you are serving the Lord of Glory; your dress will not hinder your influence on people — Islam testifies to that. 

Pastor Goddard

Love and the Soldier

Good Morning,

Happy Memorial Day!  Here at Faith Baptist, we will have a special service on our football field today.  We will take an hour to remember and to say, “Thank you,” to those many soldiers who purchased freedom at such a high cost.

Friday, I sent a Morning Moment about the importance of soldiers and of how God recorded so much about mighty men.  To a nation, it is vital to have the strength to protect its people in order that they might have freedom and peace.   Such was the case in David's kingdom when rebellion took place.  In the last days of David’s life, a group gathered together against the king; but the mighty men did not take part — they were too loyal.

1 Kings 1:8 “But Zadok the priest, and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, and Nathan the prophet, and Shimei, and Rei, and the mighty men which belonged to David, were not with Adonijah.”

God recorded the description, "mighty men," when referring to a son whom a father is proud to call his own.

1 Chronicles 26:6 “Also unto Shemaiah his son were sons born, that ruled throughout the house of their father: for they were mighty men of valour.”

When freedoms were under attack, the count of mighty men mattered most.

2 Chronicles 14:8 “And Asa had an army of men that bare targets and spears, out of Judah three hundred thousand; and out of Benjamin, that bare shields and drew bows, two hundred and fourscore thousand: all these were mighty men of valour.”

Evil has always been among mankind.  The wicked people of this world do not negotiate or make peace talks until they see that they are powerless or that their lives are in danger.  Today, people like the kamikaze of World War II, who do not value their own lives, still exist.  Suicide (bombers) murderers are common; they cannot be persuaded to peace.  For them, there must be a soldier!

In Bible times, God spoke often of a nation and elevated its warriors.  Over one hundred times, God lifts up the "mighty" or "valiant men."  When speaking of the good of men, armies, and nations, God mentions those who were mighty in battle and could sling stones with left or right hands; the Lord also made heroes of those who stood against great odds -- one man against one hundred or one man against several hundred.   God honored those who were willing to sneak behind enemy lines and, at great risk to themselves, achieve deeds of valor.

2 Samuel 23:16 “And the three mighty men brake through the host of the Philistines, and drew water out of the well of Bethlehem, that was by the gate, and took it, and brought it to David: nevertheless he would not drink thereof, but poured it out unto the LORD.”

Without the soldier, there would be no peace.  Without the warrior, there would be no freedom from tyranny.  Early America, with all its diplomacy, sent men back and forth across the Atlantic for years to enter the judgment halls of England.  They met with lords and rulers and tried to negotiate an agreement that would allow freedom without war.  But England had been used to ruling the hearts and minds of men and, in the end, had no intention of releasing the colonies from their rule or taxes. It was then that America was born.   When politicians and ambassadors failed, it was the soldier who stood and said, "We will be free men."  It was the soldier who gave us the freedom of speech, the freedom of religion, and the freedom of thought.  It was the blood of patriots that fertilized the seeds of liberty and opened up the future to men of peace and reason.

When God refers to examples for Christians to follow, He says we should be like soldiers.  When telling believers about the satanic battles, God said we should war a good warfare and fight a good fight.  Much is to be honored in the heart and soul of the military.  Equally, a debt is owed to the wife who is left behind and to the children who risked their father on the altar of freedom.

The Bible verse, "Greater love hath no man hath than this that a man lay down his life for his friend," is heard often during this time of year; the phrase very appropriate, yet seldom completely understood.   We live in a world that defines love by warm feelings and kind deeds.  God says that a soldier who gives his life for freedom and defense of another  IS LOVE!  Love is not rescuing a stray dog; love is the sacrifice of a soldier who offers his all so that others, whom he does not even know, might have life.  Love is not redefining marriage or opening our borders to anyone who wants to live in America; love is forgetting one's self, putting on a uniform, and risking his future in order that others might be safe to live and pursue their dreams.

When you see a person in American military uniform, you see the definition of love.  The soldier is not perfect, but his very willingness to surrender his future for the security of our nation portrays love in living color for all to see.

As long as evil exists, love will be painted before us in dress or camouflage uniform.  When an evil person comes to harm an innocent citizen, and someone risks his life to keep the evil man from harming him, the act is loving -- our military does that every day!

If our children ever wonder what love is all about, we can simply point to the sailor or soldier and reply, "That is what love is."

We enjoy watching young people exchange their wedding vows.  We think of this precious hour as loving.  Of course, there is love, but the two who stand in a beautiful room surrounded by friends, gifts, and loving family, have done little to lay down their lives; they are simply moving towards their desired future.  Show me a soldier, and I will show you someone who has already faced many difficulties and, in the days ahead, will no-doubt face denial of dreams and hopes.  Gifts and accolades from men will be rare, physical difficulties will be frequent, yet God looks down and says, "That is Love."

Today, let us consider the crosses and flags on countless graves and remember, " That is Love."

Pastor Goddard

Steadfast

Good Morning,

My pastor in Redding, CA, Pastor Blue, has probably said, "I'm so thankful for your steadfastness” over a hundred times to me.  Over the years, I have come to appreciate that statement more and more.  As a young Christian, the phrase meant little to me; but as the decades have passed, I have seen many people fall by the wayside, change, or drift with every wind of doctrine.  As I frequently see this, I understand why it meant so much to him that this young man from his church was steadfast.

God never intended for us to be unstable or to become victims of the pressures and changing ideas of the world around us.

God talks about a double-minded man being unstable.  He also emphasizes the importance of cleansing our hands from sin.
James 1:8 “A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.”
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.”

Instability, inconsistency, and flowing with the tides of life are all sins like drinking, fighting, coveting, and jealousy.  To the Roman church, Paul wrote:
Romans 1:11 “For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end ye may be established;”
God wants us to be firmly set and to be fixed in our position as well as our belief.  Our minds should be stable and constant.  David said, “My heart is fixed o God…” (Psalm 57:7)

Colossians 2:7 talks about being "stablished" in the faith.  In 2 Thessalonians 2:17, it says, “…stablish you in every good word and work."  So our faith, in Colossians 2 and our words and work in 2 Thessalonians 2 both demand that we be solid, steadfast, and consistent.  The idea of not knowing who we are or how to act from day to day is completely inconsistent with the walk of the Christian life.  Far too many believers are tossed with every emotional current that flows past them:  extreme joy one moment and then anger, depression, defeat, or despair the next moment.  These feelings are not products of the fruit of the Spirit but rather the product of being controlled by the world around us.  In my marriage, we have managed to get through thirty-six years without raised voices, angry or spiteful words, and without having to look back and regret the things we said to one another.  In rearing our children, we never allowed them to “vent.”  They were to be under control and have a disciplined mouth and attitude.  I remember growing up thinking up that if anyone ever slammed a door in anger or stomped his feet while walking away from a mother or father, he would probably be found in the mortuary.  Our stability as parents and as a married couple has much to do with our good upbringing, but it is even more affected by the work of the Spirit of God.

Galatians 5:22 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,”
vs. 23 “Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”
All of these character traits are a byproduct of being filled with and yielded to the Holy Spirit of God.  He is the One Who brings about love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance — especially temperance.  We need to consider the definition of temperate to be similar to the word self-control.  Someone who is temperate does not allow passions and sensual appetites to lead him.  God not only gives us His Word to guide, strengthen, and enable us to do right, but He sends His Holy Spirit to live within us to help us through each battle and trial.  God’s plan is not that you be unstable; that is Satan’s plan.
 
1 Peter 5:10 “But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.”

This verse tells us that it is the God of all grace Who not only called us to His eternal glory, but that it is He Who will make us perfect, established, strengthened, and settled.  If we yield our lives to God, He will do the settling.  God is the One Who will anchor us.  God's Word will develop the internal courage, character, and strength to do right.  In 1 Corinthians 15:58, we are told to be stable in regards to our work:  “…steadfast, unmovable, and always abounding in the work of the Lord…”  We should not be busy for God for just one week, one month, or even one year and then stumble off and ignore the work of God.  The Christian life is built upon steady, consistent, stable, Christian living.

2 Peter 3:17 “Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.”
vs. 18 “But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.”
Here, Peter tells us that the "error of the wicked" is that which will cause us to fall from our own steadfastness.  God's Word is to be that North Star that guides our daily decisions, as well as our thought life.  The will of God is that we not fall from our steadfastness but that we "grow in grace." (verse 18)

The work of God in the hearts of believers should develop a temperance (an evenness).  We should be "stablished" in our faith, belief, and practice.  When emotional or physical instability begins to push its way into our lives, we should confess it and forsake it.  We need to read our Bibles more and beg for God's help in our lives that we might be the consistent Christian He has called each of us to be.  Whether it be for your baby or toddler, your school-age child or your teenager, you, as parents, should be examples of consistency and steadfastness; but you should also develop those same character traits in your children.  For this is the kind of spirit of man that is pleasing to God.

Pastor Goddard

Just Sinners

Good Morning,

As I grow older and see myself and life more clearly, I am constantly amazed at the love of God.  Why would He love us?  Why would we find His favor and kindness?  How often do our actions or words cause us to be frustrated with ourselves as well as cause trouble or hurt for those around us?

We are a mess, but we are a very loved mess.

God sets the record straight in Romans as well as many other places;

Romans 3:10 “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:”
vs. 11 “There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.”
vs. 12  “They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.”

God makes this thought even more clear in the book of Isaiah:
Isaiah 64:6 “But 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.”

The closer we draw to God, the more vile we will see ourselves.  Job was frustrated with God for a time, but then we read a few chapters in which Job saw a clear view of God and suddenly had a change of heart:

Job 40:4 “Behold, I am vile; what shall I answer thee? I will lay mine hand upon my mouth.”
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.”

We are sinners; that perspective is most elementary.  We are proud, critical, covetous, and envious.  We blame others while trying to make ourselves look good.  We become angry at people who are not nice to us.  We really react badly when we are accused, criticized, or slandered.   We complain as if all of life should go our way.  We find ourselves feeling as though we deserve better treatment than the treatment people give us; we forget that God is the One Who gives out jobs, blessings, and responsibilities.

May we recall that we are just flesh, at best, vanity.

Psalm 39:5 “Behold, thou hast made my days as an handbreadth; and mine age is as nothing before thee: verily every man at his best state is altogether vanity.”

If we were to receive our due, we would end up in hell.  So maybe... we can just say, "I surely do not deserve any better."

Pastor Goddard

 

Summer Training

Good Morning,

With summer here, let me urge parents to take at least one important action with your children, SHUT DOWN the MEDIA ENTERTAINMENT.

Many activities can be done with your children, but training them to be men and ladies is no accident.  The mess we have in America today is a result of parents trusting public schools and parents allowing their children to do whatever they want.
Proverbs 22:15 “Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child…”
Proverbs 29:15  “… a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.”

Children do not know what to do.  They will come up with all kinds of shame and sinfulness if left to themselves.  If parents are missing, Satan will surely fill in the void.

Isaiah 34:16 “Seek ye out of the book of the LORD, and read…”

Read the Bible — individually and as a family.  If dad works too much and cannot, mom can do it when dad is gone from home.

Read books, fill your home with GOOD BOOKS.  There is junk that some people call books.  Fill your home with books that have morals, character, integrity, strength, and decency.  Of course, this will require parents to do their homework.  Talk to the school teachers at our church; ask, borrow brains, and then, of course, read the books yourself so you can talk to the children about the books they are reading.

It is commanded that we TRAIN our children — not allow them to run unchecked.
Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”

Outside activities are vital.  Get bikes or a small above-ground pool, or go on walks at parks or in the mountains.  It is important for a child to spend time alone outside, but be aware of where he is, and with whom and what he is playing.  I rode bikes with my kids from the time they were in diapers to their teen years.  We played outside.  We played on the swings and slides, played with balls, and shot BB guns — all of these were just around for the children to play with at will. (Yes, my panic-stricken friend, BB guns, air soft guns, nerf guns, and knives too - both rubber and real - along with nunchucks, fighting sticks, and anything that had to do with manly activities.)  My wife helped the children think of things to do outside, then she went back to her duties and left them to play.

Shut off or monitor video games.  We limited our children to thirty minutes of play at a time, and then only occasionally.  Shut off the television unless it is planned and very limited.

It was Abraham who commanded his household after God.  He led them, taught them, trained them, and created a home honoring to 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.”

Set a schedule:  read during these times, do yard and household chores, go outside and play, or go to a park.  Set up a schedule for your week and run it all summer.

Teaching children is not just an obligation you meet for an hour in the morning; teach them all day long.
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.”

Be training your children all day long!

Work and skills:
in Luke 2:52, it was said of our Lord, “And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.”

There is more to life than just sitting home in front of a Bible.  The word stature refers to the physical body:  to be strong, to work, and to have skills.  Many a boy has never dug a hole, used a hoe, mowed a lawn, or washed a car.  Every child should be able to detail a car inside and out, but it takes a parent to sit by his side showing him how to do it.

If you have no lawn, find someone who does, and ask if you might care for their yard for no charge just to train your children to use edgers, blowers, rakes, and mowers.  (By the way, you can buy all that equipment cheaper than video games and game systems.)  Summer is a great time to do that which is time-consuming and could not be done during school.  Load up the kids and go to museums, or go on hikes.  Google hiking trails in your area and you will find many.  Have the kids pack a lunch (teach them how), and leave for the day.  (In our area, San Diego has many hiking trails along the cliffs above the ocean where it is cooler.)   Children need to learn to cook.  All our children were comfortable in the kitchen before junior high.  Once a week, you could do a serious cleaning in one room.  Make it a project for mom and the kids.  Empty the room and scrub, touch up paint, reorganize, throw out, etc.

Change sprinklers, drip lines, timers, or take care of other details in the yard.  Who cares if it is already working fine, use that yard to train the children.

We are to train the child for life, everything in life.  Of course, do not miss anything your church has going on:  VBS, camps, and conferences.  It would not hurt to go to church and do serious room cleaning for God’s house.  Why not go empty a room and make it sparkle?  Teach children to wash windows; the church is a good place to do that as well.  Then help them start doing it for neighbors and make money.

Animals are a great responsibility builder.  Rabbits, dogs, and cats (in our area, a few chickens are great too).  I grew up with goats and milked them; I also grew up with a cow, horse, pigs, and many other animals.  We would have one animal for a while, then get rid of it and get something different, then another.  Everything is teaching and training.

Camping is great for children.  If dad cannot get away, mom can take them for an overnight stay first in the yard, then out in the woods.  I have slept in our treehouse with children (and with ants etc.)

Where did John the Baptist grow up?
Luke 1:80 “And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of his shewing unto Israel.”

Read, watch informational shows, and find places to go in the desert; bring a telescope, and get out of the house and away from technology.

We have allowed a heathen government to train our children.  This stupid world in which we live is the result of that mistake.   Make summer a training time of fun, work, and learning skills — but all training.

Did I mention… SHUT DOWN MEDIA ENTERTAINMENT!

Pastor Goddard

 

A Defense Against Drifting

Good Morning,

The glory of Israel and magnificence of the Jews’ faith was spectacular.  Remember how the Queen of Sheba traveled all that way just to talk with Solomon, to see his wealth, and to observe the employees and soldiers of this amazing kingdom?  Many people stood in awe of this amazing nation and of the buildings of almost divine engineering.  

David tells his people to look at the amazing city and its people and to mark down what they see.  He wanted them to be sure they knew what they had and to glory in all that God had given them.  The method of Satan is to fade the memory of grandeur into something nominal, to make something great into something regular, to make something spiritual to become commonplace, and to make places anointed by God to be remembered as “just another place.” 

Psalm 48:11 “Let mount Zion rejoice, let the daughters of Judah be glad, because of thy judgments.”
vs. 12 “Walk about Zion, and go round about her: tell the towers thereof.”
vs. 13 “Mark ye well her bulwarks, consider her palaces; that ye may tell it to the generation following.”
vs. 14 “For this God is our God for ever and ever: he will be our guide even unto death.”

David specifically mentioned some specific aspects they were to remember:
1. Judgments
vs. 11 “Let mount Zion rejoice, let the daughters of Judah be glad, because of thy judgments.”
Judgments, laws, rules of civility, patterns for living:  these principles from the Bible were unique in the world.  No one on earth had such judgments and statutes.   David did not want the Israelites to forget the amazing law God had given them. 

2. Guides and those who give warning 
David asked them to get a good look at the towers — the structures that gave warning of danger, guided their defense, and allowed people to have a greater view of the dangers coming, and in so doing, kept the people safe.   In our day, this guide may refer to the pastor, the parent, or the godly teacher who has sounded the warning about potential evils. 
vs. 12 “Walk about Zion, and go round about her: tell the towers thereof.”
(“…TELL the towers…” — means to count or to take account of)

3.  Soldiers and Defenses
vs. 13 “Mark ye well her bulwarks, consider her palaces; that ye may tell it to the generation following.”
Speaking of the soldiers and the various defenses set in place to protect the city and people from harm, David commands his people to “mark” these.   “Mark ye well…” meant to study it and pay close attention.  Consider what and who has defended you thus far.  Your godly home, your great church, your values and philosophies that kept evil away and allowed you to grow up in relative security and stability: think about them;, do not forget them!  Do not allow Satan to erase them from your memory. 

Observe and remember the Bible lessons you learned in study and the truths and principles of life that have been taught to you, and then lock those principles into your mind.  The very truths to which you owe your stable life and religion need to be taught to your children.  Do not walk away from your roots, but rather cling to those roots and pass them on to those who are following you.

vs. 13 “Mark ye well her bulwarks, consider her palaces; that ye may tell it to the generation following.”

Be sure that the next generation hears about that which you observed.  We are to study our faith.  The principles and values to which we owe our nation, our church and our faith need to be passed along to the next generation. 

Many young people with good training, good jobs, and a great life owe their success to the fine churches and schools in which they were trained.  God warns us not to forget from where we received our blessings.

Although many preachers do carry the message of our spiritual heritage on to the next generation, some pastors are trying to diminish the memory and make our roots insignificant.  We have and always will have men who try to make our safety and security a common, insignificant idea.  They will also promote the idea that the judgments, the towers, and the bulwarks upon which we were trained are nothing more than opinions or varied ideas. 

Pastor Goddard

 

A Missing Ingredient

Good Morning,

Many years ago, I took time with one of our staff members to talk about various people for whom he had worked.  Two, in particular, were well-known and had accomplished much; but without question, one had excelled vastly more when it came to influencing people. One worked greatly with information, paperwork, and administration; the other had seen countless lives changed.  I asked this friend the difference in leadership styles, and he said, “I worked FOR this man, but I worked WITH that man.”  We continued to discuss details, but this statement was the summary of our conversation

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.”

Jesus brought His followers into a personal team, a relationship with the leader.  I have told my staff to remove the first person pronoun from their conversation with our church members and other staff.  Do not say, “I would like this done,”  but rather say, “The staff would like to do it this way…”  Do NOT ever speak of “my bus” but “our bus.”  I doubt anyone could tell you of hearing me speak of “MY  church,” but they could often say they heard me speak of “OUR church.” 

Dr. Hyles would often speak of what the “deacons desired to be done" in a given situation or what "the staff thought was best."  Again, he left off the references, “MY opinion” or “I want,” and always made the work into a team effort.

Jesus told the disciples they were not servants but friends.  They had a personal interest in the ministry.  Jesus also often referred to “the Father’s” preference for one situation or another. 

John 5:17 “But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.”

If you want to create a “lord” relationship with your followers, you can do so easily; but, if you want a team, keep the nouns plural not singular.  “This is how WE would like the office decorated,” or “This is what the STAFF thinks would be best,” or “OUR FAMILY does that this way.”   In child discipline, keep God and the Bible involved rather than your godlike opinion.  Remove “I WON'T HAVE THAT IN MY HOUSE,” and replace it with, “GOD does not want that kind of behavior in OUR home.”   In business, use phrases like, “We have a policy” or “This is how we have always done that job.”

Whether it be in referring to history by saying “THE FOUNDERS WANTED…” or referring to church history by saying, “Baptists have always held to these beliefs…” I have spent the last thirty-five years keeping our church a team.  You, of course, may do as you please.  In our home, our children were raised with a team spirit.  We wanted to please God.  We would live for others in our home.  For instance, if it was early morning, we wanted to walk and speak in a way that did not wake up others because it was OUR house, not MY house.  I would not make much noise in the early hours because others have a right to sleep as much as I have a right to be awake.  Just because I am in charge does not mean I cannot consider everyone and bring their ideas into all my comments. 

I do not fuss about our Christian school standards; but I will say that many years ago, a GROUP of PARENTS got together to start a school and made some decisions about the kind of school THEY wanted THEIR children to attend.   Our principal and I do not say, “You cannot…” as educational lords would say, but instead, we say, “OUR school has a policy…”  We often say, “OUR deacons made the decision that…”  With our bus ministry, we say, “WE want OUR buses to be a good testimony (for God and church)” rather than, “I want MY buses to look sharp.”  We ran our buses for years before my wife asked if it might be good to have my name on them.  It had never occurred to me before.  We really need to get out of the god-like seat and become servants. 

At home, speaking to our children, we would say, “YOUR MOM and I…” or “GOD would want…”   I am not the gift of God to the world, nor am I the lord to dominate decisions.  In our office, I am sure I have made less than 10% of the choices or decisions.  Many staff people work there, and it is OUR office, not MINE.  I love pictures of people.  People are my life.  Early in our church days, I was the one putting everything together.  On the walls of OUR office were pictures of various people or groups of people.  After some years, I said WE need to keep OUR facilities looking up to date and sharp.  A couple of our staff people took the job of decorating the offices.  All my pictures came down and other stuff went up.  It is OUR office, not MY office.  Others know more about decorating than I do.  In OUR home, I assure you that my wife makes the vast majority of choices about furniture and decor.  It is OUR house; but because she is home more and that is her world, I will not be a lord over her. 

Recently, my family was in Yosemite; and while waiting for a shuttle to Glacier point, a lady gave directions.  Several bus loads of people waited for rides, and she was there to explain and organize boardings and departures.  She made comments such as, "I won’t have as many drivers for a little while,” and "I want MY drivers to have their lunch breaks," and "I will have another bus for you soon..."  She acted as though it was her little bus line and those drivers owed their existence to her.  Once we were on the bus, the driver made a joking comment about her; he was not being critical, but he felt the same way toward her arrogance as the rest of us did (no team spirit there). 

Let me suggest you become a team; use plural terms, remove the despot style of leadership, and talk about US, OUR, WE, and EVERYONE.  I would suggest you develop this into your children as well.  Start when your children are young, adjust your speech accordingly, and train your children to do it as well.  You may be the absolute lord of the spreadsheet and do bookkeeping MY WAY; but if you want to really influence people, it is essential to use the “us,” “we,” and “our” terms. 

Pastor Goddard

 

Whose Purpose

Good Morning,

We have all heard the statement, “God knows just what I need.”  It is possible that most of us have used those words as well.  If I could, I would like to put that statement into perspective.  Life does not center around me, but around God.  Here is how I would like to rearrange that statement:  “God knows what He needs or what He needs to get accomplished, and He knows how He can use me to achieve His need and His glory.”

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.”

1 Corinthians 10:31”Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.”

Whether it be helping the needy or being a good testimony in a time of tragedy, I am on earth for the glory of God.  God’s glory may consist of walking away from the cemetery where I left my dearest in life, or walking through the church building destroyed by a hurricane, or sitting alone wondering about the loss of a child; but giving God glory is not about what I need, for I am here to serve Him.  My purpose is what He needs from me, whether it be a shipwreck with Paul or jail with Peter.  The Philippian jailer would not have been saved were it not for Paul and Silas singing in jail at midnight. Giving God glory was not what Paul needed, it was what God knew the Philippian jailer needed.

Yes, Romans 8:28 talks about all things working together for good, but why not look at the passage in its entirety:
Romans 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”

Whose purpose?  His purpose, not mine.  Continue reading:

vs. 29 “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.”

According to these verses, our lives are being conformed to the image of His Son, not to our comfort or ease; Christ is being formed in us.

Galatians 4:19 “My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you,”

Romans 8:30 “Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.”

Great works are being done in my life through whichever circumstances might be necessary,  but these are all spiritual things, "called, justified, glorified."  These works which glorify God have nothing to do with the statement, “God knows what is best for me.”  Yes, He does know. For time and eternity, God always has the very best things in mind:  best for eternity, best for His glory, and best for me.  When I get to Heaven and look back, I will be grateful for whatever circumstance was necessary in my life, whether good or bad.


Just like the passage, “all things work together for good,” another “all things” is considered:

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.”

“That in all things he might have the preeminence.”

Whatever situations happen, we want Jesus to be glorified, God to be lifted up, and of course, when it is all said and done, we want to be more like Jesus.

As long as we are on the subject of thinking spiritually, go on and say, “God knows what is best for me,”  but be careful not to act as though everything happening around us is FOR US.  For just like those in the military, soldiers are there for the victory and the cause, not for their own personal good.  When the first Gulf War broke out, one of our newer men came to me saying, “I'm a reservist, what if they activate me?”  I said, “That is why you have been receiving that reserve paycheck every month, so they could activate you if needed.”   He wanted everything to work out for HIS good; yet, he forgot the greater cause.  He then said, “What if I die?”  I said then it would be good if you knew you were saved.”  He got saved and baptized and was not called back to active duty, but he was ready to live or die for the greater cause.

Our lives are for His glory; and yes, He does use us and pay very well, but payment is not always of comfort, prosperity, or ease.  We want to be ready to live, suffer, or even die for the greater cause of Christ and His preeminence.

Pastor Goddard

 

Men Disappoint Us

Good Morning,

Many people attend churches, who in a moment of "no risk" might say they are Christians, but we all understand that many of those people do not possess what they profess.

Titus 1:16 “They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.”

The lives of these people say one thing while their words say another.  Such has been the case since the beginning of Christianity.  Far too often, we panic when we notice the carnality of someone in the church, forgetting the Lord taught us so much about this.

Matthew 13:24 “Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field:”
vs. 25 “But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way.”
vs. 38 “The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one;”

Satan will sow his seed among the children of God — simply a fact!  We ought not to panic when we see the things come to pass that our Lord taught us.  These wolves in sheep's clothing will preach in pulpits, sit in the pews, talk on Christian radio stations, and write articles online on countless websites.  Heretics and deceivers have always been present.

2 Corinthians 11:13 “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.”
vs. 14 “And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.”
vs. 15 “Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.”
Galatians 2:4 “And that because of false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage:”

Likewise, some people love God and are believers but crumble in times of temptation or danger.  Do you recall the denial of Christ by Peter, or that Titus and Demas forsook the faithful, old preacher, Paul?  Now we need not panic or think the church is falling apart.  In each generation, God calls upon men to preach the truth; some do so in great tribulation.  We have been blessed to do so in peace, but the Gospel has been preached and all the armies of hell cannot overpower the wonderful truth of God's love, Christ's sacrifice, and the coming kingdom.

In Heaven, godly leaders will pass on to their eternal rewards, faithful mothers and fathers will find relief from the trials of this life, wonderful saints in our churches will leave this world and enter their long-awaited home:  but, be sure that those who do not possess what they profess will not stop the work of God or the coming of our Saviour.  We will see compromise like in the story of Ananias and Sapphira, who were believers yet covetous (Acts 5), and we will marvel at the evil of those like Cain, who slew his brother, Abel.  Some of our own will turn from the faith or even attack the faith like Judas did.  Some of our finest Christian friends may even live in the most difficult situations just as Abigail did with her terrible husband, Nabal, who was called "churlish and evil."

1 Samuel 25:3 “Now the name of the man was Nabal; and the name of his wife Abigail: and she was a woman of good understanding, and of a beautiful countenance: but the man was churlish and evil…"

May the child of God never fear.  Our hope is in the power of God and the eternal promises of the Bible.  We rest not in the good men of our church nor in the godly leaders of churches or nations.  How wonderful that our national hope is not placed in someone like Ronald Reagan who has already passed away but in a living Saviour Who rose from the grave.  Surely some people will disappoint us, but fear not, we rest in eternal arms.

Pastor Goddard

 

When Good Men Fall

Good Morning

Many times, God exalts the warrior, the valiant, or the one ready for battle.  In our own world, we honor veterans with medals of honor, purple hearts, and various other awards for doing that which is difficult or life-threatening. 

We might want to remember that every Christian is in a battle.  The battle between the flesh and the spirit rages, but the great battle between evil and good, God and Satan, us doing the right thing for God or us falling prey to the attacks of the wicked one is ever present.  Our wounded do not physically bleed, but morals, money, and discouragement are just as deadly and need far more experience and help to fight.   We must remember the fight and our adversary!

1 Peter 5:8 “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:”

In a battle, when someone dear falls by our side, we tend to fight harder, stand stronger, and be more valiant for the cause.  Sadly, in Christianity, when someone we love and admire in the faith falls, we tend to turn from the battle.  When a parent, pastor, or someone we respect dips his spiritual sails, gives up the fight, or falls to the wicked one, we too often simply quit and count the cause unworthy.

In my forty years of Christian ministry, I have watched some wonderful people fall.  I have seen many whom I loved and respected give up their faith.  I have seen godly couples lose a husband or wife to moral depravity, drugs, or criminal activity.  Seeing these wounded soldiers has never caused me to want to quit, but rather has caused me to want to stand all the more firm, to fight all the more fiercely, to prepare all the more diligently, and to aim with all the more precision.

When David lost his best friend, Jonathan, and Jonathan's father in battle, he wrote a song of the valor of these two great men.  He then taught all the young men in the use of the bow and arrow so that they might go to battle to fight and win.

2 Samuel 1:17 “And David lamented with this lamentation over Saul and over Jonathan his son:”
vs. 18 “(Also he bade them teach the children of Judah the use of the bow: behold, it is written in the book of Jasher.)”

In Judges 20:21, a battle took place in which 22,000 soldiers fell.  They did not quit but went to God in prayer.  They fought again and lost again; this time 18,000 soldiers died.   They fasted, prayed, and went back to battle; this time they won.  That is how real soldiers act when friends fall in battle — they keep fighting!

Second Lieutenant Audie Murphy commanded Company B, which was attacked by six tanks and waves of infantry.  Murphy ordered his men to withdraw to prepare positions in the woods, while he remained forward at his command post and continued to give fire directions to the artillery by telephone.  Behind him, to his right, one of our tank destroyers received a direct hit and began to burn; its crew withdrew to the woods.  Murphy continued to direct artillery fire which killed large numbers of the advancing enemy infantry.  With the enemy tanks abreast of his position, he climbed on the burning tank destroyer, which was in danger of blowing up at any moment, and employed its .50 caliber machine gun against the enemy.  He was alone and exposed to German fire from three sides, but his deadly fire killed dozens of Germans and caused their infantry attack to waver.  The enemy tanks, losing infantry support, began to fall back.  For an hour, the Germans tried every available weapon to eliminate Murphy, but he continued to hold his position and wiped out a squad which was trying to creep up unnoticed on his right flank. Germans reached as close as ten yards, only to be mowed down by his fire.  He received a leg wound, but ignored it and continued the single-handed fight until his ammunition was exhausted.  He then made his way to his company, refused medical attention, and organized the company in a counterattack which forced the Germans to withdraw.  His directing of artillery fire wiped out many of the enemy soldiers; he killed or wounded about fifty.  Second Lieutenant Murphy's indomitable courage and refusal to give an inch of ground saved his company from possible encirclement and destruction and enabled it to hold the woods which had been the enemy's objective.

That is the way a soldier acts.  If a parent or pastor falls in the spiritual battle, the first response of many Christians is to resign the faith and put on the uniform of the enemy.

When your leader falls, stand.  When the one you respect the most stumbles into shame, fight all the more to be what you should be and to fill his shoes.  A wonderful preacher had an adult son who messed up and lost his ministry.  Not knowing what to do, he spent much time in prayer and thought; he finally decided that he would stand all the straighter and fight all the stronger, for he had two people's shoes to fill.  He decided to do his work and pick up all of the work God had planned for his son as well.

When one falls in battle, walk clean and straight and true.  When one stumbles and falls, be on your guard all the more; be more watchful, be more prayerful, prepare more intensely, and stand more faithfully!

Quitters do nothing to help in the battle.  Probably, quitters hurt the cause more than the wounded.  Keep on!  Stand!

Pastor Goddard

 

Television

Good Morning,

Tonight, we sat and did something that we do not often do; we watched some television.  We muted commercials, but I made some observations.

If you watch much television, you are going to end up an idiot.  If you let your children watch television shows night after night, your children are going to become idiots regarding politics.  If you set your family before the television night after night, you will end up with idiotic family values.   As a young man, I remember hearing people call the television “the idiot box.”  After an hour or so of watching Fox News tonight, I am convinced that it is an idiot box on steroids!

When we allow millions of dollars to be spent to make stupid look good, we are going to end up fashion idiots.  Allowing our boys to see feminine guys and masculine gals star in sitcoms, movies, and commercials will create gender idiots.  If we give our ears to comments that are sensuous, talk or joke about private body parts, and treat vulgar, suggestive, and lewd comments as if they were appropriate, we will become moral idiots.

In addition to the moral depravity portrayed, the display of violence is appalling.  I know this is a sacred cow of the conservatives because we love our shooting, fighting, and killing, but what does the Bible say about violence?

Why was the earth flooded in the days of Noah?

Genesis 6:11 “The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.”
vs. 13 “And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.”

Psalm 11:5 “The LORD trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth.”

You may say what you want about this verse, but it seems God has a problem with those who love violence.

Psalm 73:6 “Therefore pride compasseth them about as a chain; violence covereth them as a garment.”

Pride and violence — two traits that are common in television shows.

Proverbs 4:17 “For they eat the bread of wickedness, and drink the wine of violence.”

Violence has become the "wine" of the television viewer; drinking it in like a drunk with his alcohol.

Is it any wonder we have so much violence in our society when we raise our children on television and video games?  Is it surprising that men hit their wives when they have seen it countless times on the television?

Idiots about morals, idiots about America, idiots about the home, idiots about their own gender, idiots about religion:  and to top it all off, the frosting of violence — the end result of idiotic, violent people.  (If you ask me, it sounds like a popular political party.)

That box would not be so attractive if it were not powerful and useful to evil.  Guard your family by turning it off, regulating it, and limiting how much of it is seen.  I am so thankful my children grew up television-ignorant (meaning, they knew nothing about it).

Pastor Goddard

 

Taking A Stand

Good Morning,

Jude 3 “Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.”
2 Peter 1:12 “Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth.”

We do not live in a new day of compromise, we live in a continuing world of compromise.

This change among preachers is not unusual or new.  I remember hearing Curtis Hutson preaching when his son, Tony, was still a boy (1960s).  He said folks were constantly pulling away from him because of his preaching on standards and separation.  Several years before, in the late 1950s, Brother Hyles was approached by the Southern Baptist leaders in Texas and was told he could keep preaching and being used in the SBC meetings if he would stop naming sin in his sermons.  The leaders told him it was okay to say, “live holy,” but not to say, “stop drinking  your booze.”    They told him he could preach on sin as long as he did not name it. 

These same compromisers are among us today, only no one is telling anyone what to do.  It is the cowardly DNA of preachers who say they believe something but will not preach it. 

Deuteronomy 11:19 “And ye shall teach them your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.”
Joel 1:3 “Tell ye your children of it, and let your children tell their children, and their children another generation.”

Telling the truth to the next generation is logical, obvious, and commanded.  If one believes something, it should be preached; and the extent to which a pastor preaches something in his pulpit is a reflection of how important he thinks it is.  But be sure, keeping your faith and remaining unchanged over the decades is no easy task; Paul said it is a fight.

1 Timothy 6:12 “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.”
2 Timothy 1:13 “Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.”
2 Timothy 4:7 “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:”

Consider how John the Baptist preached; his preaching caused the ruler to become angry.  Jesus and John called some leaders “whited sepulchers.”  Were they concerned about being invited to pray at the next city council meeting?  (Obviously, they were not concerned.)

Matthew 23:27 “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness.”

Paul was also known to have ruffled a few feathers in his day.  Today, pastors want to teach the Bible without rebuking, correcting, or making people uncomfortable. 
Acts 23:3 “Then said Paul unto him, God shall smite thee, thou whited wall: for sittest thou to judge me after the law, and commandest me to be smitten contrary to the law?”

Today, the lines of right and wrong are not approached from our pulpits.  The atmosphere of most churches is simply to do whatever will be a blessing to people without causing any strife. 

The encouraging news is (as I mentioned earlier with Dr. Hutson and  Dr. Hyles) that this is nothing new.  Preachers have always wanted to be accepted and regarded as intelligent, loving, and helpful without running off their crowds.  Just recently, a lady said, “Can’t we just have the sermon be about the Bible and not politics?”  Those comments make a difference in a man's heart when he stands in the pulpit.  Those comments affect every pastor; we love people and want to help them in any way possible.   For me, I answered that question in a sermon a few weeks later.  For me, as a preacher, I will preach sermons to help our homes, our church, our state, or our nation.  My duty is to influence the thinking of the people in my part of our country. 

Many pastors just do not truly believe anything, for if they did, they would be motivated to say something.  They just want a crowd more than they want obedient living among their people.  Typically, if a pastor has stopped preaching against the movies, he has also stopped believing movies are wrong.  If most pastors stopped preaching against booze, their congregation would not have to stop drinking booze.  Men I once held in esteem, men who were strong, now fear to mention anything that might be over the edge of acceptable preaching.

Again, this problem is not new.  It is not unfamiliar territory for a pastor to feel alone.  To continue in the things he was taught is normal and expected by God, but he must also assume he will see friends and former heroes drift and leave the path they once trod.  Nothing new.  Nothing shocking.  Nothing to bother us. 

1 Timothy 4:16 “Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them…"
2 Timothy 3:14 “But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of…"

Pastor Goddard

 

Important Matters

Good Morning.

In a recent Wednesday night Bible study, I concluded the month of lessons on salvation, baptism, and church membership.  For those of you who may have missed it, I repeat the basic lesson.

The idea of joining a church brings with it the responsibility of contributing.  God has equipped us to DO something, not ENJOY something.  Each of us has been especially gifted to do something effective and unique that is essential to the body of believers. 

Notice the words in the book of Titus about why we were saved:
Titus 2:13 “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;”
vs. 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.”

Why were we saved?  We were saved to be peculiar and to zealously serve; we are not to sit idly and just enjoy the blessing of Heaven, but to be misfits in this world and work for God.

In the book of Ephesians, we read more of the same:
Ephesians 4:4 “There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;”
There is one body or church, and each of us was given gifts by measure to minister with those gifts IN THE BODY!

vs. 7 “But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.”
vs. 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.”

Those gifts, if properly used, will supply effectually to the needs of the body or church.  There is a “measure” (or set amount), and that measure is effective in edifying the body.

We see more about the body in 1 Corinthians 12:18-20:
vs. 18 “But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.”
vs. 19 “And if they were all one member, where were the body?”
vs. 20 “But now are they many members, yet but one body.”

There are many of us, but we all are to be a part of that one body, a local church.

We are not all made for the same purpose.  Each of us has unique gifts and measures, but all of us are here for a reason.  As we age, we all start feeling useless, but God feels differently:
vs. 22 “Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary:”

For a third time, we are reading about the body, about gifts, and about God having a special place and plan for each of us.
 
Romans 12:3 “For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.”
vs. 4 “For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office:”
vs. 5 “So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.”
vs. 6 “Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;”

Here are the facts:
1.  We were not saved to live like the world, but to be peculiar.
2.  We were saved to make a difference IN THE BODY.
3. That means we need to attend church.  We cannot be a church jumper and have all our gifts and talents be used to benefit the body of believers.

The church matters!  Membership in our chosen church matters.  The church needs each one of us, and God placed us in our specific churches to effectually work and help that group of people.  It is not about my feeling good in my church, but about the contribution of my gifts to the ministry of that church.  

Sure, you may sit home and read your Bible, but the tasks God has planned for you to do in the church will be left wanting.

May we lift up the need to attend church, to be members of that church, and to serve in that church.


Pastor Goddard

Age

Good Morning,

On my desk, I have a letter from a dear friend.  He is 75 years old and has spent all of his life in the ministry.  He has a wonderful church and has served there for many decades.  In recent inclement weather, his church was flooded.  His home had two feet of water inside, his church auditorium had four feet of water, and their gymnasium had five feet of water.  Everything was a complete loss.  At age 75, with a lifetime of service behind him, one cannot help but wonder, "Why?"

Thinking through other friends of mine, who are ten to twenty years older than myself, I see some of the more severe burdens of life weighing on these godly couples as well.  My own dear Pastor, Dr. Jack Hyles, faced his most difficult battles of life in his 60s and early 70s.

I am reminded of the story of Abraham; we read of the continued testing of this great man of faith long after his one-hundredth birthday.

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.”

Abraham was over one hundred years of age, and God was still working on him, testing him, and proving him.  I would love to say that as we age, the battles diminish and the peace increases, but from observation, I simply do not believe that to be the case.  Another close friend of mine (in his mid-60s) had spent his entire lifetime serving God as a pastor, and he suddenly lost three key staff members, people who carried the load and had been well-trained in that ministry.  It is extremely difficult to hire staff, and to lose multiple staff members at the same time, obviously multiplies the difficulty.  I have watched godly, retired pastors face battles that separated them from their adult children whom they had been very near to all of their lives.  Of course, all of us have seen godly widows say goodbye to their lifetime partners.  Suddenly their worlds are empty, and very often, financially pressured beyond words.  Another dear friend in the ministry had his wife turn on him and the church when he was in his 60s.   Where does a pastor go when his wife denies the church, the pastor, and the faith?

In many cases, a veteran pastor has built a church, labored financially to leave a debt-free congregation, and as the weakness of the body increases and the pressures of life escalate, many dear men see their ministry through more clear eyes and understand that perhaps it will not continue to be that which it had been. The direction of society, leadership in the church, and trends among members weigh heavy on the pastor's heart.  When the older pastor views all these things, he sees the warning that perhaps the fruit of his lifetime of service and ministry will not continue after his departure.

How many godly, faithful, older men watched their lifetime ministry crumble into liberalism or shame or even close down within a few years of the pastor’s retirement.  What a grief to the heart of the pastor!  My home pastor retired from a successful ministry with a church averaging 2,000 or more, and within a few years, he saw the buildings rented out and attendance dropping to 100.  Again, age brings trials no one ever anticipated.

I remember enjoying a few days with Mr. and Mrs. Howard Jewell.  This godly man had been in the spotlight of countless revivals and stood with the greatest of America’s evangelists, and yet in the last years of his life, he cared for his stroke-victimized wife.  He sang and testified where he could, but the glamor and glory of former days were certainly a memory of the past. As he sang in our fledgling church which was meeting in a tent, he was such a blessing; I was helped and so were our people.  But this dear saint of God was being tested more severely than ever in his ministry.  Today, it is difficult to even find his name online anywhere; but in Heaven, his name was recorded, and I am sure he was richly rewarded.

Paul wrote to Timothy:
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.”
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.”
vs. 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.”

Can you see the aged Paul being jailed, having suffered countless injustices, having stood for the truth all these years, and having none to stand by his side?

These words are a reflection of David’s heartache when he wrote:
Psalm 31:11 “I was a reproach among all mine enemies, but especially among my neighbours, and a fear to mine acquaintance: they that did see me without fled from me.”
vs. 12  “I am forgotten as a dead man out of mind: I am like a broken vessel.”
vs. 13  “For I have heard the slander of many: fear was on every side: while they took counsel together against me, they devised to take away my life.”

We are familiar with the prophetic words of our Lord:
Psalm 41:9 “Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me.”

And of Job:
Job 19:14 “My kinsfolk have failed, and my familiar friends have forgotten me.”

As we age, our popularity can fade and our strength can erode, or the health of a spouse may crumble leaving our security in this life more shaky than our palsied hands.  I watched Dr. Wendell Evans lead the college alma mater at the end of the 2017 college year.  He had “served his own generation by the will of God.”  His voice was a little weak, his steps unsure, and his memory, though brilliant still, showing signs of failing.  He is not used as much as he had been in recent years, yet I reminded myself that his retirement party was awaiting him in Glory.  His reward and full retirement package were lovingly prepared by the Saviour Whom he had faithfully served.

In our own church, we have watched dear godly friends become frail, palsied, and forgetful.   Over time, we find ourselves less important, less useful, and perhaps feeling that we are in the way.  

We might be wise to remember a few things about age:
1.  We will all travel the path of aging, so be merciful and kind to those who are already on it.
2.  We should exercise extra patience with those who are needy due to years.
3. We should remember that this world is not our home; we are just passing through.
4. We must remember that God is the hope of the world and the sustenance of our children - not ourselves or our wives.  I can become frail of mind or body or even go on to Heaven, and God will take care of this world; He has been doing it for a long time.
5. We should not think too highly of ourselves or our work.  We are to raise our families and work to honor and please God.  What happens after our health fails is God’s business, not our own.  We were doing it for Him, not for us.
6. Even though age is no reward, we are still here for a purpose.  We are members of the body of Christ, and we supply something that no one else can provide.
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.”

God knows where I am, what I know, and what I am able to do.  It is He Whom I am to please and honor with my life.  I can rest in that fact!
 
Pastor Goddard

Authority

Good Morning,

Rebellion is common in our world.  When people are caught doing wrong, they tend to bristle, to rebel, and to get angry at the leader.  That is hardly the prudent path to follow.  When dealing with the power of the authority, it is simply wise to get along and to seek to pacify any anger that might be directed toward us. 

Ecclesiastes 10:4 “If the spirit of the ruler rise up against thee, leave not thy place; for yielding pacifieth great offences.”

Solomon gives the simple instruction to back off and to accept the attitude of the leadership. "...yielding pacifieth great offences"

We do not have to bristle when we are corrected. We do not have to push back when we are pushed (especially when we are pushed by authorities).  In Galatians, Paul rebuked Peter publicly.  Peter accepted the correction and the work went on.  Most preachers of today would have fluffed up like an angry rooster and challenged the one who corrected them.  When someone carries the power of the law, it is imprudent to fight back, unless it is absolutely necessary due to incredibly strong convictions about right and wrong.  Such was the case with the founders of America.  They had sent emissaries to England to beg for help to secure peace; over and over, the colonists sought to appease the authority.  War was a last resort, not their reaction to failing to get their way in a presidential election. 

We are warned to fear the authority:
Proverbs 24:21”My son, fear thou the LORD and the king: and meddle not with them that are given to change:”

Paul tells us that the ruler is ordained of God and that we should be afraid of the power of leaders.

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:”

Paul urged each wife to have the proper attitude toward her husband:
Ephesians 5:33 “Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.

The yelling, accusations, screams, and anger we see toward leadership are not only foolish but are destructive to decent society. 

1 Peter 2:13 “Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme;”
vs. 14 “Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well.”
vs. 15 “For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men:”
vs. 16 “As free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God.”
vs. 17 “Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king.”

These verses were written in a culture in which the Roman rule overpowered the will of the people — dominance and control.  In fact, most of the world lived under domination until the influence of the Bible-believing Baptists gave birth to “Freedom of Conscience.”  But even under an evil government, the believer was urged to follow and submit.  The pastor is in a place of authority; the parents likewise are to be honored by children, and of course, civil authorities by citizens.  (Hebrews 13:7,17)

Peter wrote that it is the WILL OF GOD….  With honorable submission, we silence the ignorant and foolish people among whom we live. 
I Peter 2:15 “For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men:”

Returning to the idea of "pacifying" the anger of the leader, we read:
Proverbs 16:14 “The wrath of a king is as messengers of death: but a wise man will pacify it.”
vs. 15 “In the light of the king's countenance is life; and his favour is as a cloud of the latter rain.”

Rulers are a part of society.  We, as followers, usually carry the responsibility of choosing our leaders and setting up our own governments.  Even in times of anarchy and tumult, the people are the ones who allow a man to come into leadership to be a dictator.  He may be heartless, or he may be a wise and prudent leader with wisdom; but in most situations, the follower allowed him to come to power.  No man comes into power without the permission of his followers.  Once he has the authority of the government, the military, and the police, he can then become an overbearing and wicked tyrant.  Regardless of what type of government we have, God urges us to do our best not to stir up the anger of the authority.

Pastor Goddard

 

Do You Know?

Good Morning,

John 13:3 “Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he was come from God, and went to God;”

I am amazed at the foolish company so many Christians keep.  We are going to be influenced by those around us, by what we read, by what we see, and by what we hear. 

Acts 4:20 “For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.”

1John 1:3 “That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us…”

John said, that which was seen and heard was declared, and it brought about fellowship.  That is not hard to accept!   I am careful to judge my books and companions on the basis of what they believe compared to what I believe, where I came from, and where I am going.  Someone recommended a great book on missions by a well-known Southern Baptist.  I glanced at it, then chose instead, Don Sisk's book on missions; he is not only one of us, but he also lived a lifetime success story.

Back to the text in John 13:  Jesus was able to wash the feet of the disciples and play the part of a servant because …
    1. …knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands,
    2. …and that he came from God,
    3. …and went to God.

When you know where you came from, where you are going, and what you are, it is much easier to make good choices and to have wisdom for the countless decisions of life.  A pastor above all others must have this discernment because so many people pay attention to his words.  Likewise, political leaders should have this insight as the course of nations depends upon their perspective of life.

Twenty years ago, a preacher came to me, a good man, a man who had more years of experience than I, yet trouble had come his way.  In starting a new church, someone from the SBC had asked him if they might help.  He came by my church bragging about the money they were going to give him, the help they had promised him, etc.  I did my best to cut the conversation short, for I do not need that kind of talk.  I was sitting in a tent, financially broke, and without help from anywhere (except God).   I hoped he would do well, I hoped everything would turn out well for him.  Yet, I did not need to hear that conversation.  I knew from where I came, I knew what I was, and I knew where I was going.  I did not need to hear talk of how wonderful someone else was, even if they were!   A year or so later, he stopped by to tell me about church pictorial directories he was selling.  The church plant had not worked out and he said the SBC, “were a bunch of liars…”  I did not want to hear that either.  I just wanted to keep my mind clear, straight, and certainly not critical.  I just wanted to stay tight with those who believed like me and to keep my focus on who I was and where I was going.

I need no one trying to turn me.  If you start talking about how surprisingly good the contemporary church is, I will start avoiding you.  Sure, you will find good people, but I cannot be close to everyone; so I will stay close to my crowd.

I am amazed at men who were saved in Independent Baptist churches and trained in Independent Baptist churches who embrace the Southern Baptist movement.  Besides its friendship with rock-and-roll, a total absence of standards, and soul winning being rare, they have been the biggest enemies of the old-time Gospel.  Whether it was Lester Roloff, Jack Hyles, Lee Roberson, John R. Rice, or J. Frank Norris, the SBC has made our roots their enemy.

Because President Obama had no clue about our Bible-based roots (or at least no love for it), he had no problem treating Israel like trash and Castro as a friend.  Any patriotic American over the age of fifty knows Castro as a murdering tyrant — no one to befriend, to say the least.  The idea of entertaining those who said the Holocaust was fabricated brings shock and disgust to true historians; yet, we have heard it said in the news in the last decade.

Do not try to tell me about the good someone else does; good can be found everywhere.  There are not enough days or hours to be influenced by everyone, so I will stay with my crowd.  We have too many men wanting to experiment with a group that has already exposed itself as wrong in many areas.  Yes, you will find some wonderful folks at Calvary Chapel or at the Methodist church, but they are not my crowd.  Some community churches are doing a good job in their towns, and I would assume that missionaries from Mormon churches have helped some folks in some way, but —

I know who I am; I know where I came from, and I know where I am going.

Men, you must study your roots.  If you have not, you are still not sure what you are.  You certainly do not know where you are going and have no clear destination.  You have no set course.  You are drifting like a “leaf driven with the wind.”  Dozens of members of our church, who were saved and baptized here, are more clear on their spiritual identity than many Bible college graduates who have heard an “uncertain sound” a little too often.   Stop listening to the “good” about the world you did not come from.  It will cause you to be unsteady in life decisions.

You may be surprised to know that God gave a pastor to you so that you will not be blown around by every new doctrine or preacher.

Ephesians 4:11 “And he gave … pastors …”
vs. 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;”

Because men do not have clear roots, and they have yet to solidly identify who they are, they are driven around by every cute “tweet,” catchy “website,” or well-spoken “ideologue.” 

But… I know who I am, I know where I came from, and I know where I am going.

Our Lord was able to do what He did because He knew some things.  Today, we sit with preachers who try to decide if they are even supposed to be a preacher, pastor, man of God, teacher, reverend, prophet, or Southern Baptist — or whether or not any of it even matters.  Yes, by all means, it matters.

You better figure out who you are, what you believe, where you came from, and where you are going.  Lock down what you believe, and whenever you are nudged to change, you simply toss that influence out.  I do not read good things about other denominations.  I do not stand in fellowship with  Presbyterian folks that happen to believe the Gospel.  (We will do that in Heaven -- when we are all Baptists.)   My roots and clear identity guide me in every book I read, every sermon I hear, every text and tweet I read, and every person I serve.  I recommend you do the same.

Pastor Goddard

Memorial Day Thoughts

Good Morning,

The celebration of Memorial Day is used to sell everything from food and drinks to decorations and new cars; perhaps we could return to the word memorial:  a time or event, a statue of structure to remind us of someone or something.

In 1868, the Grand Army of the Republic, a veterans organization, started decorating the graves of fallen Union soldiers.  Back then the day was called Decoration Day.  There were similar events in the south, and eventually, one unified, national remembrance of those who died in military service was established — Memorial Day.  For these many years, Americans have stopped on the last Monday in May to remember, to decorate graves, and to mourn.

War is nothing any sane person desires.  Fighting and killing is the method of crazy men — men with no value for life, no regard for anything but their own wishes, and desires without regard for the lives of another.  Yet, since Cain killed Able, we have lived in a world with killing and thoughtless deeds of shame and depravity, and among men who have been tyrants and demagogues, terrorizing common men who simply want to live in peace.   Good men and women have stepped away from their world of peace and order to willingly enter the world of the lawless and vile to fight them on their own soil.

In the times of King David, God mentions mighty men of war, men who hazarded their lives that others might find peace and freedom.  God gives honor to these men, mighty men.

2 Samuel 10:7 “And when David heard of it, he sent Joab, and all the host of the mighty men.”

2 Samuel 20:7 “And there went out after him Joab's men, and the Cherethites, and the Pelethites, and all the mighty men: and they went out of Jerusalem, to pursue after Sheba the son of Bichri.”

2 Samuel 23:8 “These be the names of the mighty men whom David had: The Tachmonite that sat in the seat, chief among the captains; the same was Adino the Eznite: he lift up his spear against eight hundred, whom he slew at one time.”

Before Israel could live in peace, there had to be a time of war, a time to rid the land of the evil and depraved.  Good men left their families behind and traveled, as they have done for many centuries, and they fought for their nation, for their families, and their future peace.

Joshua 1:14 “Your wives, your little ones, and your cattle, shall remain in the land which Moses gave you on this side Jordan; but ye shall pass before your brethren armed, all the mighty men of valour, and help them;”

Later, good men left home and safety to fight under the leadership of King David.  They left not for the love of the fight, but for love of home, country, wives, and children.  For many generations, the American Patriots have done the same, they have sought peace when there was no other means but war.

2 Samuel 10:12 “Be of good courage, and let us play the men for our people, and for the cities of our God: and the LORD do that which seemeth him good.”

From the colonial times until now, honorable American patriots have selflessly offered their lives on the altar of their home and country.  This Memorial Day, we remember as best our frail minds are able, those who purchased our freedom with their own lives.   How do you define the youth who trades his college, marriage, business, and future family that another might have all of those things without paying for them?  Noble, valiant, mighty, and selfless are all adjectives that define these heroes who sold their freedom to purchase it for others.

Human lips and frail human vocabulary fail to express our appreciation and debt to these who gave up freedom that we might enjoy it.  How weak and shameful are the ungrateful who, while enjoying the liberty purchased at such great price, fail to give homage to those who paid for it with their dreams, hopes, and desires?

This Memorial Day, we say the pitifully inadequate words, “THANK YOU.”

Pastor Goddard

 

Getting Right

Good Morning,

Proverbs 11 focuses on the benefits of righteousness.  God has so many benefits and promises available to us, and so many conditional passages which tell of much good that can be gained.  Too often, we fail to study God's formulas and what God says to do in order to get certain results.

Proverbs 11:4 “Riches profit not in the day of wrath: but righteousness delivereth from death.”
Righteousness will keep us from an untimely death.

vs. 5 “The righteousness of the perfect shall direct his way…"
Righteousness will guide us, help with making decisions, and keep us on track.

vs. 6 “The righteousness of the upright shall deliver them:”
Again, doing right will deliver us.

vs. 8 “The righteous is delivered out of trouble…"
The trouble that is headed our direction can be avoided if we will labor to keep our actions right.

vs. 18 “The wicked worketh a deceitful work: but to him that soweth righteousness shall be a sure reward.”

vs. 19 “As righteousness tendeth to life…"
Rewards and “life” are more promises God makes to the righteous.

Proverbs chapter 11 goes on and on with promises for the righteous.

With that being said, we really should seek the benefits that God offers.  We are sinners.  We need help.  We need the guidance and mercy of God to get through the troubled spots in life.

I would also like to mention a few serious promises regarding forgiveness and cleansing.  Of course, we sin and, of course, we fail; yet, we read about the promises to the righteous.  I, for one, want those blessings!

1 John 1:8-9 says if we confess our sin that God will forgive us AND cleanse us.  If I am forgiven and cleansed, then I am righteous in His sight.  Therefore, honest and sincere confession is a pathway to all the blessings that are promised to the righteous.

Here is the trouble.  If I hurt my wife with ugly words, I feel badly and try to make up for it with kindness; yet, I never face up to it and confess to her or to God.  At this point, I may have secured mercy with my wife, but not righteousness with God.  (Probably not complete cleansing with my wife either.)

James 5:16 “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”

Confession (and confessing to one another) is tied to answered prayer.  Therefore, I may secure some measure of reconciliation with my wife, but, forgiveness, cleansing, and assurance of answered prayer may be far from my possession.

When an unmarried couple conceives a child, they determine to get married and act as though the situation is okay — that is not so!  Their fornication was exceeding sinful and needs to be confessed.  Usually, no confession to God is made and forgiveness from one another is sought; hence they are not "righteous" with one another.  He did her wrong, and she also sinned against this man she says she loves.  Confession of sin is right and brings with it great blessing.  Without confession, there is also a myriad of promises — all bad promises.  Without confession, those promises of blessing on the righteous cannot be secured!

If a married person is unfaithful or gets too close to another, sin often occurs.  Earnest apologies are made, and the deep hurt is salted over and life goes on, but the offended party has never forgiven their spouse.  The couple may continue in their marriage, but there will be multiple rough spots (galore)!  Trouble will haunt their world.  Why?  Because the offended one never forgave.  The command to forgive is as clearly written in Scripture as the command to not commit adultery.

If someone slips back into drugs or a sinful past, and then catches himself, stops, and returns to right living, yet does not stop and seek forgiveness from the Lord, his parents, or the spouse whom he has hurt, cleansing and forgiveness cannot be obtained.  Cleansing and forgiveness need to be secured in order to enjoy the blessings of righteousness.

Look through Proverbs 11 and see the promises — they are wonderful benefits to be coveted!  Life is worth living right, and when we fail, those promises are worth getting right. 

Pastor Goddard

 

Faith of Children

Good Morning,

I preached this basic message on a recent Sunday night, but the truth is so important that I want to get it out to those who do not attend our services.  For those who have heard it, the following is a reminder of the truth.  For those who did not, perhaps you will have time to hear the entire message online at fbcwildomar.org. 

On a recent Friday night, I sat in Clay’s Mill Road Baptist Church in Lexington, Kentucky and watched the graduates of Commonwealth Baptist College receive their diplomas.  As each graduate walked across the platform, a brief summary was stated about their life and ministry involvement.  Of course, all of them were faithfully involved in the ministry of the church, but what stood out in my mind was the age of salvation for a large percentage of the graduates.  For most of the graduates, a comment was made about when or where they trusted Christ.  Some were won to Christ by a bus worker — THANK GOD FOR THE BUS MINISTRY!! — some were saved later in life.  Most of them were saved at the age of four or five years old.

We are in a day when Calvinism and other sour doctrines instruct folks to not witness to children.  Many people believe that children need to be older to make a REAL profession.  Some contemporary churches are accepting a works-based salvation which, likewise, demands more than child-like faith.  I differ incredibly!  My son, our youth pastor, trusted Christ at five years of age.  Once, I asked him if he ever doubted his decision.  He said, “What is there to doubt, God said He would save me and He did.”  As I said, the platform was filled with dozens of Bible college graduates who had trusted Christ before they started school.  Those who were saved in early childhood were now faithful bus workers, soul winners, Sunday school teachers, and successful workers for Christ.  How terrible is this damnable heresy that has slipped into Bible-preaching churches!  Of course, Satan has always smuggled this wicked teaching into protestant churches, but now, it is slipping into churches that once were aggressively winning souls and faithfully running buses.

Matthew 19:14 “But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.”

All these doctrinal heretics cloak themselves in intellectualism and a deep understanding of the Scriptures; but truly, these ideas just veil the carnality and compromise in a lazy religion.

In Matthew 18, Christ teaches about children and says:
vs. 10 “Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.”
vs. 11 “For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost.”

Christ came to save the lost… children that is. 

In the book of Luke, Jesus changes the vocabulary.  He says in Luke 19:8, “And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord; Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold.”
vs. 9 “And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham.”
vs. 10 “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.”

The difference is that in Luke, Jesus is talking with an adult, Zacchaeus.  In the book of Matthew, Jesus speaks of children.  What is different?  One word… SEEK.  Children will get saved without much SEEKING.  Adults need someone to run after them, debate with them, and convince them.

We are to go and seek to reach adults, but children will readily trust Christ with the most basic invitation.
Matthew 19:14 “But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.”

We need to SEEK adults, but we “suffer” children.  Suffer means to allow them or to let them come freely to Christ.

Matthew 18:2 “And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them,”
vs. 3 “And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.”
vs. 4 “Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”

Churches today are sending folks to Hell because they allow heresy into their homes through reformed theology and too much vain study of internet teachers.   Just recently, I heard of a soul winner getting scolded for witnessing to the child of a relative.  How sad when compromise and shame have crept into our churches to the point at which presenting the Gospel to a child is a scolding offense.  Jesus rebuked His disciples for that same action.
Luke 18:15 “And they brought unto him also infants, that he would touch them: but when his disciples saw it, they rebuked them.”
vs. 16 “But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.”
vs. 17 “Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein.”

This passage talks about little children, called “infants” (which is a broad term), but the point remains that they RECEIVED  the truth.  Adults are urged to receive the truth as these children did.  Adults need to become more childlike; children do not need to get more adult understanding.  If a child is old enough to wish to RECEIVE the truth, he can be saved.

If a child is surrounded by good preaching and daily Bible, he will know where he stands with Christ.  Parents need not worry that their children do not understand.  If something is missing in their faith, they will “work out their own salvation.”  Many of my most faithful adults trusted Christ as children, and I have no intention of losing one soul to Hell because some hyper-intellectual starts saying we should not witness to children.  The fact is that those who say this typically witness to few or not at all.  Their bus ministries are crumbling, their door-to-door soul winning is slipping away, and they are populating Hell with their theological shame.

Teach your children of Christ!  Fill your home and bus ministry with Bible, love, and the truths of Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection.  Make it clear and simple!  If a child wishes to be saved, the Lord will not refuse him.

Pastor Goddard

 

Manipulating Minds

Good Morning,

No one with even half a brain doubts the influence and competence of men or women.  We each have our strengths, our abilities, and our influences on life.  These influences are God-given and powerful, and normal people know and understand that.

Mother’s Day is our annual reminder of the truth we all understand — ladies are dynamic and vital to our culture, our home, and every aspect of life!  So before anyone reads any further, make no mistake:  we are perfectly created and needed exactly as God made us.  We need ladies and men and children, each fulfilling their own roles as God intended.

As I have stated before, the Bible clearly sets us all in certain places and relationships with one another.
1 Corinthians 11:3 “But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.”

God has set up a relationship “flow chart” or hierarchy which includes His Divine plan, and, as all of God’s plans, it is best, yet hated by Satan.  Today, I want to focus on entertainment and child rearing.  In my lifetime, a total shift in entertainment has taken place.  Television shows have transitioned from Gilligan's Island, I Love Lucy, Sea Hunt, Combat, and Father Knows Best, to CSI, NCIS,  Blind Spot, Hunger Games, Blacklist, and Castle.  Do you know what has changed?  A strategic change in the woman’s role has taken place. 

Movies like Salt and Marvel’s superheroes cannot be produced without a superwoman character, and usually, she is in a key position of leadership.  I am not an avid television watcher, but I take notice and do some research.  I have found a vast amount of brainwashing taking place in our world.  Young men have given the assumed role of leadership to giving the lead to women.  Roles in leadership are changing from male leadership to women taking charge.  Some will say that this “coincidence” is just entertainment; but of course, the mental influence of several hours of this “entertainment” each day has reflected that there is no question that the lives of our young people are being affected.

Compare the Bible reader to the television watcher.  Who are the heroes in Bible stories?  Joshua, Moses, Abraham, Joseph, Daniel, etc.; the list goes on and on.  How does Bible reading shape the thinking of young people?  Now consider the heroes in entertainment, whether in video games or movies.  More and more often, the heroes are women.  Television and video games are pushing an overly developed female with equal or superior physical and mental abilities, and more often men are portrayed in a pitiful back-seat role. 

The only struggling area might be sports.  Although the reporter on the field or locker room is most often a gal, women’s sports still lack the influence that is desired by the anti-man culture.   Any sports fan will tell you that women's sports are being aggressively pushed into our world.  The fact remains, we would rather watch men play basketball than women.  No matter how hard the world tries, we still tend to like the athletic prowess of men.  Men may watch the seductive lady spy in Covert Affairs, Wonder Woman in the Justice League, and Guardians of the Galaxy because each film is well-scripted with incredibly talented cameramen, producers, and infinite special effects — elements that make the lady look spectacular.  But when a woman is on the basketball court, appearances are all real; she has to perform.  Simply put, she cannot keep up with the physically superior skills of men.  They are, like it or not, the weaker gender.  But every media outlet is trying desperately to make women’s sports dominate our viewing world.  Thus far, the media has failed, but that is their only failure.  Notice the evening television shows or movies and see if there is not a woman boss, whether economic, or law, or military, or our sacred Hallmark shows.  Men are taking a back seat in entertainment, and the minds of boys and girls are being affected.  (Forgive my chauvinism, but I would not let my boys or girls watch Hallmark mysteries and drama very often.  Adults might be fine, developing children will not be.)

Even Disney has gone from Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella to women or girls who save the day.  Donald, Goofy, and Mickey were the prominent stars of Disney cartoons of the past, but in recent years, women have taken the leading role.   The newest Disney introduction includes homosexual characters; do not act as though it is unimportant or that it does not matter.  Do not be so foolish as to think your boys and girls are not the targets of this entertainment — mind manipulation. 

Scripture still says:
1 Timothy 2:11”Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection.”
vs. 12 “But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.”

So politically incorrect, yet so clearly Bible! 

Isaiah 3:12 “As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths.”
When men relinquish leadership to children and women, GOD SAYS…. they will destroy the path.

As I said at the beginning, no one doubts the invaluable place women have in our lives, but to fill our minds with Hollywood-inspired manipulation of role models is insane.

1 Corinthians 11:3 “But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.”

When we consider the development of boys into men, how are they going to have deep-seated convictions about their duty as a man and husband after thousands of hours of entertainment deception?

Ephesians 5:23 “For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.”
What boy growing up today has even the slightest idea of what that verse might mean in his home or life? 

Genesis 3:16 “Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.”

Ephesians 5:22 “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.”
vs. 24 “Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.”

Colossians 3:18 “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord.”

What are our girls going to do with Scriptures like these after a lifetime of media deception?
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;”
vs. 5 “For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands:”
vs. 6 “Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.”

When it comes to raising our children, our love for entertainment and our Bible convictions are going to be in direct conflict with one another.  The end result will not please God or benefit mankind.  If you are still rearing children, guard your home with all your heart. 

Pastor Goddard

 

Rebuke

Good Morning, 

I find it interesting how little we are willing to accept correction.  We willingly read books looking for information, listen to sermons, read blogs, and follow people on Twitter and Instagram, but to hear a trusted, loving leader correct us is not acceptable.  (For someone to correct us is almost considered sinful by the recipient.)  Yet consider how many verses deal with correction. Notice, I am not referring to a parent teaching a child or a leader giving advice sought by the follower, I am talking about rebuke, reproof, and correction. 

Proverbs 27:6 “Faithful are the wounds of a friend…”
God says, at times, a friend will need to “wound” someone they love. 

Remember when Nathan rebuked David?  This was a blunt, serious warning from the preacher to the king. 
2 Samuel 12:7 “And Nathan said to David, Thou art the man. Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, I anointed thee king over Israel, and I delivered thee out of the hand of Saul;”

What do we do with the exhortation regarding the righteous? 
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.”

David said that when a good man corrected him, he would receive it as if it were anointing oil. David did not think the godly people would hurt him or “break” his “head.”  David said he would pray for the one who smites him, not retaliate or write about him online. 

Abigail stopped David from his plans, and she did so right in front of his men while they readied themselves for battle!
1 Samuel 25:31 “That this shall be no grief unto thee, nor offence of heart unto my lord, either that thou hast shed blood causeless, or that my lord hath avenged himself: but when the LORD shall have dealt well with my lord, then remember thine handmaid.”
vs. 32 “And David said to Abigail, Blessed be the LORD God of Israel, which sent thee this day to meet me:”

David listened to her rebuke right in front of his men and said, “…Blessed be the LORD God of Israel, which sent thee this day to meet me…”  What a godly spirit of humility!   This story and countless others like it need to be trained into our children in hopes that they, too, will be favored by God as was David.

Of course, we know the book of Proverbs is filled with lessons on listening and taking correction as well as counsel.  Counsel might be perceived as a leader talking to a follower and the follower seeking the wisdom of the leader.  True, that is a part of counsel, but not the full extent.  We know what rebuke is: it is someone saying, “STOP IT!”  It is okay to correct, reprove, and rebuke! 

Proverbs 6:23 “For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life:”
Reproof is not my looking for advice.  Reproof is someone coming to me to correct MY  actions or MY plans.

Proverbs 9:8 “Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee.”
One’s reaction to reproof shows the individual’s true self:  a scorner or a wise man.  It is assumed that godly, righteous leaders will correct others.  Paul did it to Peter in front of the crowd in Antioch:
Galatians 2:11 “But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed.”

Yet, we read nothing of Peter defending himself, writing nasty articles about Paul online, or of breaking friendship with the godly man — these two were contemporaries.  Peter was saved and preaching long before Paul, yet Peter could take the correction.
Proverbs 27:6 “Faithful are the wounds of a friend…”

I have stepped over the line into correction and been rebuked by a follower, to which I responded by immediately calling the person, humbly apologizing, and firmly reminding myself that this person is unable to take correction.  That person will never be put in that place again, at least not by me.  If folks today get a little correction from a godly leader, they coil like a rattler ready to strike.  Remember — God says wise men hear instruction and rebuke.

Proverbs 9:9 “Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser: teach a just man, and he will increase in learning.”
Proverbs 15:5 “…he that regardeth reproof is prudent.”
Proverbs 19:25  “…reprove one that hath understanding, and he will understand knowledge.”
Proverbs  25:12  “As an earring of gold, and an ornament of fine gold, so is a wise reprover upon an obedient ear.”
Proverbs 27:5 “Open rebuke is better than secret love.”

Over and over, God mentions reproof and rebuke.  Once, I made a casual comment to a pastor and was attacked and ridiculed for my simple comments, which were far from correction.  I will not bother him again with my pitiful forty years of successful marriage, child rearing, a nd ministry experience.  He is obviously beyond my level of ministry and life experience (although I was preaching before he was born). 

Let us be simple and clear:  if your spiritual leaders do not think you are on the right path, they should correct you, rebuke you, and reprove you — it is biblical.  If you are a fool or a scorner, God says there is no reason to waste the words of correction on you. 

I have walked and talked for hours with both my pastors and both knew they were free to correct me (and I mean years after I had been pastoring — not as a college student to whom one would assume correction and instruction would be given).  I have been lovingly called an idiot several times.  I have been told this is the right way and that is the wrong way, and each time, I took the rebuke thankfully.  I have heard blunt words; I have had the direction of churches explained and been told the direction I should take.  I was thankful for the parents who taught me to listen and receive correction.  I wish I had had more time with Dr. Hyles to be corrected.  I thank God for every opportunity I still have to listen to my pastor (over 90 years old!) who is still living and to listen to his views on life and ministry.  

I remember the day, early in my ministry, when I asked my dear friend, Pete Cowling, a question.  Basicall, I said, “I have a few questions about marriage.  We do not have any problems, just questions.”  He sharply rebuked me by saying, “The day you do not think you have problems in your marriage you are in serious trouble.”  He proceeded to explain what he meant, and I was happy to be guided.  Only a fool does not want instruction and correction! 

We sit today in a world of prima donna-ish pastors and young people who have been taught that their self-esteem is more valuable than receiving wisdom and instruction — and, yes, correction and rebuke, too.  Where is the humility of one who says, “I do not know it all; teach me, correct me, and guide me.”  Take time to look up the verses I mentioned above and seek God’s use of the words arrogance, pride, and stubborn.

The greatness of any life or generation or of any church or school is all based upon being humble, being teachable, and gleaning the truth from the prior generation.

Pastor Bruce Goddard

Balancing Our Walk

Good Morning,

The human brain is amazing!   The brain automatically details without our conscious mind actively walking through the facts.  We can walk and balance a large frame on very small feet, and we can hear and see countless things around us.  We often avoid stumbling without conscious thought.  Our eyes automatically blink when something comes toward them — without conscious planning!  We have a miraculous brain!  The possibility that this intricate electronic organ accidentally developed over years of evolution is impossible.  It is more likely that a laptop would evolve than my brain.

Considering all the amazing things that happen around us to which our brains respond without conscious thought (including reaction to temperature, breathing, and responding to the movements of things on all sides), we must all agree that the brain is amazing!  The countless number of stimuli to which we are exposed affects our bodies, minds, and reactions without any concentration on our part.  If so much can be accomplished without conscious thought, would not we also be wise to consider the things upon which we intentionally meditate?  Do not our conscious thoughts also touch the very functionality of our bodies and souls?

Think through Psalms 5 with me:
vs. 1 “Give ear to my words, O LORD, consider my meditation.”
David invites God to consider the thoughts upon which he (David) meditates.

vs. 2 “Hearken unto the voice of my cry, my King, and my God: for unto thee will I pray.”
Instantly, David changes direction from meditation to prayers.  Most likely, God hears and answers our prayers according to the things that occupy our thoughts.  David asks God to consider his thinking and to answer his prayers. 

In verse 3, David states that God knows of his rising early to pray:
vs. 3 “My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O LORD; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up.”
David had been a man of prayer and a man of purity in thought, and as such, he feels he had greater access to the Throne of Grace. 

In verse 4, David suddenly moves from prayer and proper meditations to say that God has no pleasure in wickedness.  What has David been talking about?  Why did he change the subject?  (He probably changed nothing.)  His own meditation and prayer life are intimately tied to rejecting all wickedness.  He makes the clear statement that evil shall not dwell with God.  What kind of evil?  No doubt, evil thoughts.  (That has been the subject.)  Verse 5 says the foolish will not stand before God and that God hates the workers of iniquity.
 
vs. 4 “For thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness: neither shall evil dwell with thee.” vs. 5 “The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest all workers of iniquity.”
What do these verses have to do with prayer and meditation?  If our meditations are evil or wicked, then our prayers will not gain access to the presence of God.  If our meditations dwell on iniquity, we may assume God will avoid us and our prayers.

Our subconscious thinks and relates to our environment.  If our philosophy of thinking goes amiss (like vertigo) then our spiritual walking and standing will falter.  Ten thousand little impulses work in constant coordination to allow us constant stability and functionality.  Anything that is awry will cause us to falter in one way or another.  In a spiritual sense, if our meditations are off course, we may assume our spiritual walk will also be off balance, our relationship to God will falter, and our steps will be misguided.  Our meditations matter!  The information that enters our hearts and minds affects the delicate balance of spiritual sensitivity.

Paul spoke of our personal battle being spiritual, not fleshly;  he immediately directed the subject to the mind, thoughts, and meditations.  The need to cast down some thoughts and bring all thoughts into control is imperative! 
 2 Corinthians 10:4 “(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)”
vs. 5 “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;”

David’s thoughts were on this same subject when he said, “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.” (Psalm 19:14)

May we focus on ordering our meditations and casting down those thoughts which are unpleasing to God.  We then can trust God to order our steps and give us answered prayer, guidance, and strength for the tasks of the day.

Pastor Goddard

 

Hatred For Right

Good Morning,

When Jesus first started preaching, the godless crowd of religious leaders shrugged him off as an unimportant bother.  John the Baptist, with his statements about “whited sepulchers” and a “generation of vipers,” was not taken too seriously at first.  But the longer he preached, the more impact he had, and the more wickedness lost its grip on the minds of the people —then trouble began. 

From our church, we have young people in China who are missionaries.  As long as their churches remain small, they may have many house churches; but if any church becomes large and makes a visual impact, they (the missionaries) will be thrown out of the country.

Evil has no tolerance for good or for right.  Evil cannot debate on the platform of morality, freedom, or honorable thought.  Wrong cannot face an honest evaluation of information.  Evil has nothing with which to fight; therefore, during the Dark Ages, the Catholic Church and the Protestant reformers murdered Bible-believers in the most vicious ways.  Bible believers were not permitted to debate over the Bible, baby baptism, or the sacraments.  No intellectual argument could be made by the inquisitors, so the arguments turned violent. (Sounds much like recent events on college campuses. For some strange reason, folks still send their children to these institutions.)

In John 10, Jesus said, “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.”

That verse describes the marching orders of those on the satanic side.  Satan does not come to instruct or offer logic, wisdom, or help with research and development.  Satan comes to destroy things: he destroys countries; he destroys homes; he destroys individuals through liquor and drugs.  He destroys schools through the introduction of gang members, violence, drugs, and often through rebellion encouraged by the instructors.

If a man is given enough liquor and a wife with a critical tongue, the home will be destroyed (thanks to the help offered by the wicked one).  The result is often the death of a marriage and the ruin of children.

Notice the text:, "...The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy..."   Satan comes to do nothing else.  When someone says that good comes from sinful actions, that is not likely the case. 

Satan does not come except to kill and to destroy.  The religious but godless crowd could not answer John the Baptist’s preaching, so they put him in prison and ultimately beheaded him.  The religious, godless crowd, could not intellectually debate with Jesus Christ.  Their solution was to threaten and finally crucify him.

Today, any time a conservative on our university campuses tries to bring up values, morality, patriotism, or a constitutional train of thought, you will see this same satanic violence surface.  The evil one has no intellectual recourse, so he turns to violence.  Conservatives, whether politically, morally, or religiously,  need not resort to violence because people with a conservative value system have an intellectual argument  —and facts answer for themselves — they do not need to destroy.  Liberty and freedom are principles upon which our nation was built, and of course, these principles are rooted in our Christian values.  Christ came to offer life.  God, since before the Garden of Eden, has provided free choice.  Satan had a free choice to stay in Heaven or rebel.  Adam and Eve were neither forced to eat or not eat, the choice was their own.  Democracy has its free roots in Bible philosophy. 

Genesis 6:11 “The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.”

No Bible-reading person immediately resorts to violence, especially when matters are only of opinion and no life is being threatened.   War takes place when one starts the fight; conservative thinkers almost always choose dialogue over violence.  

The Bible-believing Christian has never tried to murder those who differ from them because Christ came to give life more abundantly.  Christ came to bring life. He brought freedom and liberty.  Those who are closest to God offer the greatest amount of freedom to those around them.  Those who walk closest to Satan will also walk closest to violence, anger, and destruction.  Those who walk farthest from God demand people think like they think. 

There is a reason why liberal leaders try to silence conservative media.  Liberals tried to remove the First Amendment and the liberty of people to simply go on the radio and state their opinion and the right to peaceably assemble.  The right to assemble “peaceably” is guaranteed by our Constitution and by anyone of values or moral ethics.  No conservative ever tried to silence a liberal.  Those nearest to Satan are the ones who try to silence those who are nearer to right, morality, and freedom.

Children have been known to throw temper tantrums; they cannot logic or intellectually deal with conflict, and neither are they able to carefully negotiate through conflict resolution.  The result?   They scream, cry, and stomp their feet ( just like university students or liberal politicians).  Rioters (not those who peacefully protest) and murderers are people who use violence to get their way rather than logical dialogue and peaceful negotiations.  For example: a husband beating his wife, or a foolish parent doing bodily harm to a child.

The wicked run to violence to silence those who differ from them. 

Psalm 11:5 “The LORD trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth.”
Proverbs 10:6 “Blessings are upon the head of the just: but violence covereth the mouth of the wicked.”

What was the main thrust of Hitler’s regime?  It was the violent torture and destruction of anyone who differed from him. The Muslim philosophy of life is to destroy anyone who does not believe what they believe. 

Remember John 10: “…the thief cometh not but for to steal and to kill and to destroy…”

One of the aspects of right philosophy that bring great freedom to the side of the evil one is that people on the right typically will not fight back.  Jesus could have killed everyone, but the disciples were taught to turn the other cheek.  Although in the old west, the bad guy might shoot the good guy in the back, the good guy would face up to the bad guy eyeball to eyeball.

As Christians, we may differ in our response to evil, but our lack of willingness to fight is definitely slipped into the Christian roots of America’s conservative people.  The Republican is less likely to attack a Liberal than a Liberal is to attack a Conservative.  Many people would like to see the Justice Department imprison the Clintons, Obamas, and others for everything from treason to dereliction of duty.  The Conservatives tend to right the ship and go on about their business rather than try to destroy their opponent.

Yes, hateful people exist (those who hate anything close to righteousness or decency).  Remember, the thief comes “to steal and to kill and to destroy”.  The people of God are builders.  

Pastor Goddard

Input

Good Morning,

The guarding of one’s heart is important beyond words.  Most people would agree that we should guard our thinking and protect the influences in our lives,  but few would place the emphasis on the Bible as God does.

Proverbs 4:20 “My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings.”
vs. 21 “Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart.”
vs. 22 “For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh.”
vs. 23 “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.”

Verse 23 says, “keep thy heart.”  The way to do so is in verses 20-21 —with a great deal of Bible!

We enjoy large amounts of entertainment.  Probably the biggest time waster and enemy to our young people is media, regardless of the kind.  We have created an environment of constant input from whatever source is available.  Restaurant tables are surrounded by television screens that distract people from those with whom they came to spend time.  Look around the next time you are out to eat; observe how many people ignore their partner while focused on some technical device.

God instructs us to keep our hearts — not to give our hearts to every cyber influence available.  Advertising of every kind forces its way into our Facebook notifications or email accounts.  Lewd ads draw our minds away from that which is holy and right.  The answer to keeping our hearts lies in reading and meditating on the Word of God.  When we keep our hearts with all diligence, a specific result follows:
Proverbs 4:22 “For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh.”

Oh, the blessings that we receive when we read and meditate on the Word of God!
Proverbs 4:4 “He taught me also, and said unto me, Let thine heart retain my words: keep my commandments, and live.”

There it is: “…keep my commandments, and live."  The Word of God is intimately tied to blessing.  The familiar passages of Psalm 1 and Joshua 1 are only the beginning of promises to those who love His Word.

Proverbs 7:2 “Keep my commandments, and live; and my law as the apple of thine eye.”

Leviticus 18:4 “Ye shall do my judgments, and keep mine ordinances, to walk therein: I am the LORD your God.”
vs. 5 “Ye shall therefore keep my statutes, and my judgments: which if a man do, he shall live in them: I am the LORD.”

Isaiah 55:3 “Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live…"

Proverbs 4:20 “My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings.”
vs. 21 “Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart.”

These verses certainly urge us to constantly focus on the Bible.  Attend, incline, not depart, keep:  these words communicate more than simply carrying our Bibles to Sunday school each week.  Logically, we can see why our lives are such a mess in America; we simply do not adequately focus on the Bible.  As you speak to your family in the morning, consider the Bible.  Strive for your reactions to those with whom you work to be according to the Word of God; plan the break time, phone conversation, and gathering at the end of the day all around Bible commands and ideas... they are life!

Clearly, you can live if you will focus your world around the Word of God.  We hear the phrase,  "Get a life!”  Truly, there is LIFE in a faithful relationship to the Word of God. 

Pastor Goddard


Truth

Good morning,

Much evil in the world is committed under the guise of the excuse that it was not “my decision,” or it was “the leader’s choice,” or “I had no power to stop it from happening.”  The fact is, we may not have the power to stop our leaders from doing wrong, but we certainly have the power to walk away or to verbally object.  We can stand with those who are being hurt or simply stand for truth even if we stand alone.

Jeremiah was put away in jail, and his assistant, Baruch, had been writing Jeremiah's words, Baruch was instructed by Jeremiah to go and read these words out in public areas where people would hear the warning from God.

Some of the civic leaders heard the warnings, and they were scared.

Jeremiah 36:16 “Now it came to pass, when they had heard all the words, they were afraid both one and other, and said unto Baruch, We will surely tell the king of all these words.”
vs. 17 “And they asked Baruch, saying, Tell us now, How didst thou write all these words at his mouth?”
vs. 18 “Then Baruch answered them, He pronounced all these words unto me with his mouth, and I wrote them with ink in the book.”
vs. 19 “Then said the princes unto Baruch, Go, hide thee, thou and Jeremiah; and let no man know where ye be.”

These men knew their country was in trouble.  They also knew that right would not be well-received by the king.  These men told Baruch and Jeremiah to go hide somewhere; they also had the roll (the written document) hidden in hopes perhaps that the king would not find it and destroy it.  Make no mistake, these men knew right from wrong.  They were afraid because of the wrong in which they had been a part.  The question now is, what were they going to do?

vs. 20 “And they went in to the king into the court, but they laid up the roll in the chamber of Elishama the scribe, and told all the words in the ears of the king.”
vs. 21 “So the king sent Jehudi to fetch the roll: and he took it out of Elishama the scribe's chamber. And Jehudi read it in the ears of the king, and in the ears of all the princes which stood beside the king.”
vs. 22 “Now the king sat in the winterhouse in the ninth month: and there was a fire on the hearth burning before him.”
vs. 23 “And it came to pass, that when Jehudi had read three or four leaves, he cut it with the penknife, and cast it into the fire that was on the hearth, until all the roll was consumed in the fire that was on the hearth.”
vs. 24 “Yet they were not afraid, nor rent their garments, neither the king, nor any of his servants that heard all these words.”

The king and his counselors listened to the Word of God, and then mocked and burned It, thinking that perhaps they could rid themselves of the Truth.  You cannot destroy the truth.  God instructed Jeremiah to rewrite every word and added more.  The nation fell as Jeremiah had spoken, and the king went into captivity as God said he would.

The point this morning is about the men who knew right from wrong.  These men heard the Word and feared. Deep down in their souls, these men knew the truth; what would they do?

vs. 25 “Nevertheless Elnathan and Delaiah and Gemariah had made intercession to the king that he would not burn the roll: but he would not hear them.”

These men urged the king not to burn the roll, but they did not stand for right.  Greatness is exemplified in Daniel’s willingness to go to the lion’s den in order to stand for right. Greatness is the willingness of Daniel's friends to walk into the fiery furnace.  Greatness is the boldness shown when the disciples said, "We ought to obey God rather than men." (Acts 5:29)

These men knew right from wrong, but they were not man enough to stand up for it.  They were not willing to risk their jobs or to endanger their lives for the truth.  When truth is on one side and leadership is on the other, each person has to decide for which side he will stand.  Will we stand with the truth regardless of cost, or will we turn our backs on the truth and allow evil to go unchecked?  We may not be able to stop evil, but we can certainly make it clear that evil is not right and that no one else thinks it is either.

No one should stand idly by while leaders violate righteous laws and principles.  A moral populace may not be able to stop the dictators, tyrants, and demagogues who rule, but we can certainly stand up and say they are wrong and that we refuse to act as if they are right.

God often mentions the fact that men do not care, and that they see wrong but do nothing.

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.”

Isaiah 57:1 “The righteous perisheth, and no man layeth it to heart: and merciful men are taken away, none considering that the righteous is taken away from the evil to come.”

Jeremiah 12:11 “They have made it desolate, and being desolate it mourneth unto me; the whole land is made desolate, because no man layeth it to heart.”

Somebody must care about the truth of God's Word!  We should stand up for the truth, even though it may mean we will lose our lives.  That is what the founders of our country meant when they said, “…we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.”

Pastor Goddard

 

Dads and Children

Good Morning,

I often tease about babies being a great deal of work and of little value until they get to be a year or so old and start giving back a little.  That statement is true, but everything good takes a considerable amount of work; often much giving is done without much in return. 

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.”

Speaking of John the Baptist, the Gospel of Luke declares:
Luke 1:16 “And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God.”
vs. 17 “And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”

Something spiritual happens when a father focuses his heart on his children and the children turn toward their father.  I passionately believe that this process needs to start from birth.  

Let us start with the Name by which God chose to be called:  “Our Father which art in Heaven.”  Not our mother, not our distant master available when needed, but “our Father.”  Father is the term chosen by God to relate to us as needy people.  What better example could men have of righteous and proper parenting than the God in Heaven Who loves us, chastens us, provides for us, and protects us? 

Dads might take this outline as their marching orders.  Dad should be responsible for a plan, protection, and provision.    

When my first child was born, he was six weeks early and was moved directly into infant intensive care — just for a little while, perhaps half an hour — but I went with him, and I held him before his mother.  His earthly father was the one who held him first, told him of his Heavenly Father’s love, and quoted Scripture to him, all before his mother held him.  First thing in the morning, all my children were met by their dad.  I had a work schedule that gave me the liberty to do some things that other fathers might not have the privilege to do.  I got the children up, bathed them, dressed them, and fed them, which allowed my wife to have a little time alone in the morning to get her day started without interruption.  From the time they were just a few days old or weeks at best, I was their first part of the day.  The same schedule continued until my children left for college.  At 6:30 AM every week day, I met with the children and had breakfast ready; I read the Bible to them and talked about their day.  Each child had his father for the morning moments before school, before friends, and often before their mother.  Many dads are long gone by 6:30 AM; I am not sure dad should wake the children for family Bible and prayer at 4:00 AM, but in my world, dad was thrilled to spend time with his children.

Normally, I would put our children to bed as well.  Again, mom has been pressured all day, and I desired for her to have some time for herself.  In our home, her alone time was at 6:30 AM and at bedtime (9:00 PM or 10:00 PM or even later.)  (We were not early-to-bed people.)  Bedtime was spent memorizing Bible in a fun manner, dragging children around the house on a blanket, bouncing on a bed, wrestling, throwing things, or doing whatever fun came up at the moment.  In our home, our children had their father pray with them at bedtime.  Also, each week, I generally took each child out for a date until they entered Junior High.  Long before they were out of diapers I gave them rides on the back of a bike, drove them to eat ice cream, or took them to slide and swing in the park. 

Let us refer to the Scripture:  It was Moses who led his family into Egypt; and when situations became difficult, he sent them back to his father-in-law until circumstances were stable.  It was Joseph to whom God spoke about not putting away Mary; later, God instructed Joseph to flee Jerusalem and live in Egypt.  God directed the husband where to live, when to marry, and later, where to work and rear his family (Nazareth). 

The dad was to provide, to protect, and to plan.  Planning for the family’s future was done by God and dad.  The decision to move to Egypt was made between Joseph and his father, Jacob.  God directed Abram to move from Er to Canaan.  Abram took his trained soldiers and delivered Lot and the people of the city who had been taken captive.  Abram also interceded with God on behalf of Lot and his family.  Dad needs to be the one doing the work of providing, protecting, and planning for the future. 

Dad needs to be intimately involved in the home, and especially in the lives of the children.  To properly grow up, children need a dad involved in their world.   As a father, I was not involved in the physical areas of the house:  food, clothing, furniture (my wife cared for these areas).  Due to my being at work, mom often was the one to direct the children with homework and household chores, but I was determined that our children and their dad were going to be close.  I was a very hands-on dad from birth.

As my children grew, it was their father who taught them to ride a bike, shoot a gun, swim, mow the lawn, and much more.  I was out visiting a widow with my five or six-year-old son, Josh, when we talked to some boys and my son got to see soul winning and converts for the first time — with his dad!  Daily, I bathed all my infant children in the kitchen sink from when they were days old.  On Sunday, I was the one to make sure the children were bathed, dressed, and ready for church (at least in their early days). 

A wise and godly father also disciplines his children just as our Heavenly Father disciplines us: 
Proverbs 3:11 “My son, despise not the chastening of the LORD; neither be weary of his correction:”
Hebrews 12:5 “And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him:”
vs. 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?”
vs. 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.”
vs. 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.”

I would guess that I was the first to chasten our children.  I have wept by their bedside and laughed countless times at silly activities, yet nothing is so awe-inspiring as holding that perfect child in your arms.  Dad needs to be deeply involved in all of it.  For, as the first verse says, if the preaching can turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the children to their fathers, God will not need to smite the earth with a curse.

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.”

Dads need to be passionately involved with their children.  Moms need to stay out of the way when dad is learning things that she already figured out as a pre-teen babysitter.  Yes, the diaper will be put on backward.  Yes, the child will get food on his clothing and bath water in his eyes; and who knows what the baby might eat when he is alone with dad!  Keeping Dad actively involved in a child’s life is far more important than preventing an occasional reckless activity or inexperienced attempt at dressing.  

Ask my children, who are now adults, about their dad’s involvement in their activities.  None will have a memory in which I was not involved, for I was there to see their first minute of life, to hear them take their first breath, and yes, even to change their dirty diapers.  When a tragedy at college struck, it was their dad who walked away from work, bought a plane ticket, and was at their side within hours of their calamity.

Dads and children — the most spiritual relationship on earth. 

Pastor  Goddard

P.S.  At our church, we tease about how “untimely” my sermons happen to be — again, I find myself writing about fathers right before Mother’s Day. 

Knowing or Doing

Good Morning,

The vast majority of Americans know that the media consists of a lying, biased group of corrupt anti-American deceivers; yet, the majority of Americans still watch the mainstream media.

The majority of Americans know that our universities are corrupt and are a political tool rather than an educational tool.  Most Americans know countless college graduates who cannot get a job in their field of study.   The majority of Americans understand the corruption within our universities, yet still, they long to send their children to get a degree from one of these esteemed institutions.

The vast majority of Americans understand that our public school system is a failure in the most dramatic way, failing to teach children to read, to know good English grammar, and to learn accurate history.  We understand that the schools are breeding grounds for immorality, liberalism, and for godless, unpatriotic, anti-family education. Yet most Americans still place their children in those schools.

We do not have a problem with knowing what is right, we have a problem with being willing to pay the price to do what is right. 

A large majority of Americans still believe that attending church is good.  People may differ in extreme ways over theology, but as a general practice, many would agree that attending church is good.  Yet, the majority of people will rarely darken the church doors.  Again, we do not have a problem with knowing what is right, we have a problem with saying, “No,” to ourselves and doing what is right.  Our bus ministry is a testimony to this fact; many parents love for their children to go on the bus and get some religion, but often the difficulty is convincing the parents to attend. 

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.”

Paul writes about how important it is to control ourselves.  We cannot allow our feelings and passions to run us.  We should keep our bodies in subjection.  The book of Proverbs teaches the same truth over and over:

Proverbs 25:28 “He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.”

Proverbs 16:32 “He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.”

If we KNOW what is right, then we ought to determine to DO what is right. 

We do not have a KNOW problem in America, we have a DO problem.  When it comes to personal discipline, training children, financial planning, or Christian growth, the issue usually comes down to doing what we KNOW to be right and saying, “NO," to the things we feel like doing. 

Romans 6:12 “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.”
vs.13 “Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.”
vs. 14 “For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.”

We are not to allow sin to rule.  It is our choice.  We are to yield our lives to God.  Again, it is our choice.  So learning what is right is important, but developing the self-will to do what is right is our urgent need.

Pastor Goddard

 

God's Plan

Good Morning,

Jeremiah 43:1”And it came to pass, that when Jeremiah had made an end of speaking unto all the people all the words of the LORD their God, for which the LORD their God had sent him to them, even all these words,”
vs. 2 “Then spake Azariah the son of Hoshaiah, and Johanan the son of Kareah, and all the proud men, saying unto Jeremiah, Thou speakest falsely: the LORD our God hath not sent thee to say, Go not into Egypt to sojourn there:”

Judah had been devastated by Babylon.  Most of the people were dead or taken into captivity.  In the prior chapter, the few remaining people had gone to Jeremiah seeking direction with the promise of obedience, no matter what the Lord told him. 

Jeremiah 42:5 “Then they said to Jeremiah, The LORD be a true and faithful witness between us, if we do not even according to all things for the which the LORD thy God shall send thee to us.”
vs. 6 “Whether it be good, or whether it be evil, we will obey the voice of the LORD our God, to whom we send thee; that it may be well with us, when we obey the voice of the LORD our God.”

The people said they would do anything to find peace and to have the Lord's presence.  But as the passage reveals, when people do not like the Lord's answers, they tend to do follow their own ideas.

For a long time, these people had witnessed the word of this preacher come true.  Over and over, they saw that the Lord was with him and that his counsel was accurate in every situation.  Now, with their hearts set on going to Egypt, they went to the preacher hoping to find God's blessing on their plans.  They did not want new directions, they wanted God to bless their own ideas.  Of course, that did not go well.

May we not be people with a plan, trying to get God involved, but rather a surrendered people with no plan, seeking direction from God in every area. 

Pastor Goddard

He Does Not Have Much To Work With

Good Morning,

We tend to beat ourselves up over our weaknesses, when, in fact, all God has to work with is sinners.  The fact that I fail is not nearly as big a problem as if I do not try.  The Bible says little about my being something spectacular, yet it says much about my faithfulness.

I do not have to be a great father; but, I need to be there and to give the job my best effort and to do so in prayer and intercession to God for mercy.  I do not have to be a miraculous husband who provides fancy cars and amazing vacations, but I do need to be faithful, keep my vows, work at whatever job God gives me, and come home and love the family God gave me.

I am certainly not a great soul winner, but for forty years, I have witnessed to people at stores, in parking lots, at doors, in lines at amusement parks, and in seats next to me on planes.  I do not have to be great, I just need to be faithful.

1 Corinthians 4:2 “Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.”

It is required that I be found faithful!

Look at the disciples:  they were proud, they argued among themselves, and they disagreed. 

Luke 22:24 "And there was also a strife among them, which of them should be accounted the greatest."
vs. 25 "And he said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors."
vs. 26 "But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve."


At one point, Peter tried to stop Jesus from going to the cross. 
Mark 8:32 "And he spake that saying openly. And Peter took him, and began to rebuke him."

vs. 33 "But when he had turned about and looked on his disciples, he rebuked Peter, saying, Get thee behind me, Satan:"


Saul murdered Christians before he was saved.  Paul and Barnabas got into an argument and quit traveling together. 
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;"

The church at Corinth had division and moral impropriety.  The book of Acts tells us that the church in Jerusalem had a problem with neglecting widows.
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.The church is just made up of sinners."

In the book of Micah, we are shown what GREAT Christianity is — it is nothing spectacular, but just doing the little things right.
Micah 6:8 “He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?”

These are things we are commanded to do:  do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God. God wants us to do our best.  Each one of us is to love God with all of his heart, soul, mind, and strength.  God does not say we have to be the best at anything, or spectacular, or supernatural, or overachievers.  We might be overweight or anorexic, short or tall, bald or with a full head of hair, but what God wants is for us to be faithful.

God does not have much to work with; honestly, He does not need much.

God does not use my goodness, he uses my faithfulness.  The goodness comes from God.  The power comes from God.  The miraculous works come from God.  But as for me, I just need to be there when I am supposed to be there.  If I were a Sunday school teacher, I would be at my class on time every week.  If I were a bus worker, I would be on my bus route on Saturday visiting the children and looking for new riders and be on the bus on Sunday investing time and attention in these children.  God will build the bus route if I will be faithful.

As a Christian, I can read my Bible.  And if I cannot read, I can listen to it with an electronic device.  I can pray; I can take the time to stop everything and talk to God — anyone can do that.  If we do our part, God will do that which we cannot do.

I have seen amazing people raise very un-amazing children.  I have seen very common people with financial burdens and health trouble bring up wonderful children.  I have seen people from broken homes rebuild their lives and become great servants of God.  We have had bus riders from difficult homes become wonderful church members, and some have gone into the ministry.  God uses a faithful parent, not a spectacular one.

Faithfulness is the key!

Faithfulness to church
Let me clarify an amazing thought:  When a baby has a runny nose, the entire family does not need to stay home to help wipe it.
Does dad stay home from work when mom is sick?
Does mom stay home from work when dad is home sick?
Does dad stay home from work when dad is sick?  Not often.  
Yet folks will miss church for any little reason.  We have allowed society to tell us that work matters but church does not.  We have allowed the world to teach us that attending church is an option, and that work and money are not optional but a mandate.
Your unfaithfulness to church says that you feel that church simply does not matter much.
Let me tell you something — by doing this, we teach our children that God does not matter much either.

Faithful to the daily things makes all the difference.  Be home when you are supposed to be.  BE at church or work when you are supposed to be.  Be with your children or spouse when you are supposed to be.  Be with God when you are supposed to be.  Faithfulness is not difficult, but it is hard; for it demands self-control to be FAITHFUL.  

Faithfulness matters!  

Pastor Goddard

Knowledge (Psrt 2)

Good Morning,

As we see high school graduations approaching and college choices on the horizon, may we consider knowledge this morning. 

Proverbs 19:2 “Also, that the soul be without knowledge, it is not good; and he that hasteth with his feet sinneth.”

Knowledge is important, but it is not important without the knowledge of God, good, and right. 

Hosea 4:1 “Hear the word of the LORD, ye children of Israel: for the LORD hath a controversy with the inhabitants of the land, because there is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land.”
Hosea 6:6 “For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.”

Knowledge is important; but God makes it clear that social work, benevolent behavior, and charitable activities are useless without the knowledge of God FIRST!!  

Without the knowledge of God, our benevolence will be tainted by our human frailties.  Our being good will be limited to our frail opinions of life and soured by the weakness of our own flesh.  We need God to show us how to be good and to whom we should be good. 

Knowledge is good.  God certainly wants us to learn and broaden our abilities to work, serve mankind, and even to serve God with our lives.  But it all starts with God.

God says that to begin learning wisdom and knowledge, we must first seek out the fear of God and the knowledge of God.
Psalm 111:10 “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever.”
Proverbs 1:7 “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.”
Proverbs 9:10 “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.”
Proverbs 15:33 “The fear of the LORD is the instruction of wisdom…”

May we not sit arrogantly by as if our own abilities at educating young people are sufficient.  We need God to help young people sort out information and apply that information to their own lives. 

It would be rare for any youth of eighteen to be able to face the enemy while standing at the front of the college class without having his values and faith harmed.  Make no mistake, the professors made godless instruction their primary goal long before their so-called subject was ever introduced.  The students may never practice the class material, but if the teacher can change the student’s values or view toward right and wrong, his job has been well done.   

God instructs us to not walk in the counsel of the ungodly (Psalm 1) and to “Learn not the way of the heathen…” (Jeremiah 10:2)

You may be sure that every university campus is a breeding ground of hatred for the Bible, the flag, the Constitution, freedom, the free market, morality, and everything else that is good, including God.    Pray for our young people.  Pray for parents and students to wisely plan for their continued education.  Without God, there is no knowledge or wisdom.  All the evils of hell will be thrown at the faithful youth who is seeking to simply gain an education, a job, and begin life.  

Pastor Goddard

 

Blame

Good Morning,

Since the time of the Garden of Eden, man has found others to blame for his shortcomings and mistakes.  Newspapers, psychologists, and politicians all want to blame somebody for everything that goes wrong.  The fact is, things go wrong because of weather, or accidents, or "acts of God" (as insurance companies used to call it), or a number of many other reasons.   We cannot always blame someone.  Much of the time, our trouble is our own stupid fault.   We did not set proper priorities, therefore trouble haunts our path.

Regarding trouble on earth, we read about Adam and Eve:
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;”

Notice the statement, "for thy sake."  God said that because Adam ate the forbidden fruit, he caused the earth to be cursed.  "For thy sake!"   Yes, men are the reason for all of the trouble, the war, the disease, and the suffering; men caused trouble when they chose to rebel against God. 

God says, "...for thy sake..."  The ground was cursed because of the sinfulness of man.  In the book of Revelation, we read the great proclamation that there will be no more curse.

Revelation 22:3 “And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him:”

A crowd of idiots wants to blame every hurricane and earthquake on men.  I want to announce that I believe all these troubles actually are man's fault, but not for the reasons they give.

Weeds are man's fault, as long as you blame sin and accept the sovereignty of God.  These "natural" disasters are a part of the curse!   Volcanoes, tornadoes, hurricanes, and droughts are all a result of sin.  Yes, man sinned and a perfect world was brought under a curse; yes, we may blame it on men, but not on large cars or carbon emissions.  God allowed Satan to wreak havoc on the earth because of men living in rebellion. 

Some people may ask how a loving God could allow such evil to occur on earth.  Let us not blame God for the trouble on earth.  God gave men a wonderful world where there was no death, no sorrow, and no suffering.  When Adam made the decision to ignore God, trouble began.  Today, we must remember that our nation, our church, and our homes are all tied to God and His will.  God is not mean, hateful or cruel.  God is loving enough to send His Son to die that men might be redeemed.  God is kind enough to prepare a place for His own where they shall dwell eternally in perfect peace and bliss.  That is love!  

As far as men seeking to blame everything on anyone EXCEPT for themselves and taking personal responsibility, here is an example:

Recently, the news reported that parents are complaining about Amazon and their sales policy.  It seems children are ordering things on-line without their parents' knowledge, and the parents are wanting those things to be refunded.  If the items were physical things such as a pair of shoes or a toy, the items probably could be returned easily. So from the brief news report, I am assuming these are movies or music or similar things that can be downloaded but not returned.

When we consider blame, let us take a realistic perspective.  An adult buys a child an electronic device. The parent-programmed that device so it can be hooked to the Internet.  The parent then provides the child credit card access!  The parent allows that child to use the device hooked to the world of cyber information without parental oversight, and they are angry at the supplier who sells something to the child. It is the parent’s responsibility to control what the child has in his hands. It is the parent’s responsibility to control the Internet to which that child has access. It is also the parent’s responsibility to control his connection to credit cards and methods of purchase.  This is 100% the parent’s fault, and yet the parent wants to blame Amazon for not refunding money.  Careless, thoughtless, negligent parents are going to have problems like this.

While we are on earth, we can accept some rules:  the more we submit to God, the better things will be eternally, and most often when we follow God's laws the better things will be on earth.

If one follows God's spending principles, his finances will usually be better.
If one follows God's laws for the home and family, life will usually be better. 

Stop blaming!   Take responsibility for your own actions, then beg for mercy. 

Pastor Goddard

 

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

 

Bus 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