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What The Bible Says Good Samaritan's Penny Pulpit by Pastor Ed Rice
What The Bible Says Good Samaritan's Penny Pulpit by Pastor Ed Rice
What The Bible Says Good Samaritan's Penny Pulpit by Pastor Ed Rice
What The Bible Says Good Samaritan's Penny Pulpit by Pastor Ed Rice
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As the coronavirus pandemic has swept across the globe, many state and local governments have issued stay-at-home orders. Almost everyone in the United States has had some kind of restriction placed on them.Various government authorities, particularly governors in California, Kentucky, Illinois, and Maine, have failed to prioritize religious liberty even as they prioritize other secular interests. Rather than looking at churches as partners to help care for our communities at this time, the governors in these states have treated churches as antagonists. Along with other governmental authorities, they have failed to cooperate with churches, often hindering them from assisting their communities during this time.The Department of Justice, which has been focused on protecting religious liberty, especially during the pandemic, released a memo expressing its concern that this right not be violated at this time. The memo notes that reasonable restrictions may be permissible. However, a state may not cross the line from “an appropriate exercise of authority to stop the spread of COVID-19 into an overbearing infringement of constitutional and statutory protections.” Many churches have challenged discriminatory state and local orders by bringing suit in court. These court cases are listed below.Churches that Won1. Tabernacle Baptist Church v. BeshearTo curb the spread of the coronavirus, Kentucky governor Andrew Beshear ordered nonessential businesses to close. The state put a limit on “mass gatherings,” including those considered “faith-based.” Tabernacle Baptist Church planned to hold services in accordance with social distancing guidelines. Nevertheless, they were not allowed. The judge held that Tabernacle’s free exercise rights were violated, and granted a temporary restraining order.2. On Fire Christian Center v. FischerOn Fire Christian Center in Louisville, Kentucky was granted a temporary restraining order, allowing it to hold drive-in services for Easter Sunday. Judge Walker found that the Louisville mayor’s prohibition was not neutral because it allowed businesses, such as liquor stores, to remain open for drive-through purposes but not churches.3. Maryville Baptist Church v. Beshear (church initially lost)The district court denied the Hillview, Kentucky church’s emergency motion for a temporary restraining order. The district judge found that the order applied to “all gatherings” and not just faith-based gatherings. The judge found the exceptions to be singular transitory experiences, whereas church services are communal activities. However, the opinion was appealed to the Sixth Circuit.On appeal, the Sixth Circuit held that the governor’s order likely prohibits the Free Exercise Clause and the Fourteenth Amendment, especially with respect to drive-in services. The governor had allowed law firms, laundromats, liquor stores, and gun shops to continue operating. The plaintiff’s motion for an injunction pending appeal was granted.4. First Pentecostal Church of Holly Springs v. City of Holly SpringsIn Mississippi, First Pentecostal Church of Holly Springs filed suit seeking a temporary restraining order permitting a planned Sunday service. At the hearing, the judge believed the city had made concessions that would resolve the dispute in question, but the court still put forth an order to clarify things. The judge noted that drive-in services should be permitted. Yet, the judge was less sympathetic to a request for a 35-person indoor gathering.5. Berean Baptist Church v. CooperA federal judge in North Carolina granted a temporary restraining order, which allowed churchgoers to attend church in person. The North Carolina governor banned indoor church services of over 10 people, though outdoor services were still allowed. The judge noted that some religious services cannot be conducted outdoors or with fewer than 10 people. He also noted that the governor allowed over 10 people indoors for secular activities. Finally, the judge said, “The Governor has failed to cite any peer-reviewed study showing that religious interactions in those 15 states have accelerated the spread of COVID-19 in any manner distinguishable from non-religious interactions.”6. Elkhorn Baptist Church, et al. v. BrownMore than 10 Oregon churches and multiple individuals brought suit against Governor Brown’s stay-at-home order. When the state started phase one opening, many churches still experienced heavy operating restrictions. The judge ruled that Brown’s executive order was null and void.Churches that Lost1. Lighthouse Fellowship Church v. Northam (DOJ intervened)In Virginia, Lighthouse Fellowship Church on Chincoteague Island filed suit after the pastor was issued a citation for holding a Palm Sunday service for 16 people. The church sought a preliminary injunction against Governor Northam’s order, but a U.S. District Court judge denied that request. The next day, attorneys for the church filed a notice that it would appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit and asked again for a temporary restraining order.Governor Northam’s new order will allow churches to hold gatherings at 50 percent capacity.2. Cassell v. SnydersIn Illinois, The Beloved Church sued because the stay-at-home order infringed on their religious practices. The governor reissued an order allowing churches to meet as long as they abided by the requirement of no more than 10 people. The judge held that the current crisis implicates Jacobson and advances the government’s interest in protecting Illinoisans from the pandemic. It has been appealed to the Seventh Circuit.3. Legacy Church, Inc. v. KunkelIn New Mexico, Legacy Church challenged the governor’s executive order, which restricts places of worship to gatherings of no more than five people within a single room. The judge held that the order did not violate the church’s First Amendment because it was neutral and generally applicable.4. Calvary Chapel of Bangor v. MillsIn Maine, Calvary Chapel sued Governor Mills over her executive order, which limited gatherings to 10 people. The district judge held that the plaintiff was unlikely to succeed on the merits. The judge found that the order was placed to protect the people from the virus. The judge found the order to be neutral and generally applicable.5. Elim Romanian Pentecostal Church v. PritzkerTwo churches in Illinois sued because they did not want to abide by the 10-person limit. The judge held that under Jacobson and a First Amendment analysis, the churches lost. The judge found that the order does not target religion. He noted that gatherings at church pose much more risk than gatherings at businesses. Finally, the judge noted that the order had nothing to do with suppressing religion but rather was executed to protect people from the disease.Churches Awaiting an Opinion1. Temple Baptist Church v. City of Greenville (DOJ intervened)In Mississippi, Temple Baptist Church sued after congregants were ticketed for attending drive-in church services. The attorneys withdrew the request for a temporary restraining order because new guidance was issued.2. Gish v. NewsomA day after Easter, three church pastors and a congregant sued the state of California, as well as Riverside and San Bernardino counties, for refusing to designate houses of worship as essential services. The social distancing mandates are particularly challenging for James Moffatt of Church Unlimited in Indio, who, the lawsuit complaint said, “believes that scripture commands him as a pastor to lay hands on people and pray for them, this includes the sick.” Here is the church’s complaint.3. Cross Culture Christian Center v. NewsomAfter a Lodi, California church was ordered to temporarily shut down, the Cross Culture Christian Center sued. “Plaintiffs have sincerely held religious beliefs, rooted in the Bible, that followers of Jesus Christ are not to forsake the assembling of themselves together, and that they are to do so even more in times of peril and crisis.” Here is the church’s complaint.4. Abiding Place Ministries v. NewsomThe San Diego church Abiding Place Ministries argued that California’s exemptions for non-religious businesses such as “cannabis retailers, grocery stores, pharmacies, supermarkets, big box stores,” betray a preference for non-religious activity. Here is the church’s complaint.5. South Bay United Pentecostal Church v. NewsomWith Gov. Newsom declaring a transition from “Phase 1” to “Phase 2” of the state’s pandemic response, allowing for more businesses to open and operate, two religious institutions felt they were not treated equally in the reopening plans. The South Bay United Pentecostal Church in Chula Vista and the Chabad of Carmel Valley synagogue in San Diego are suing, arguing that the revised order restricts their congregation’s free exercise of religion, assembly, speech, and right to due process and that it constitutes “excessive government entanglement with religion.” Here is the church’s complaint.6. Robinson, Knopfler v. MurphySt. Thomas More Society is representing a Jewish rabbi and a Catholic priest against New Jersey’s Executive Order 107, which caps gatherings at 10 people. The police halted the celebration of Mass and a Jewish prayer ceremony, which requires 10 men.7. Spell v. EdwardsPastor Tony Spell of Life Tabernacle Church in Louisiana filed suit to stop Governor Edwards from enforcing restrictions on him and his church. Spell has proceeded in a manner lacking legal strategy, making it more likely he will lose.** It should also be noted that some attorneys and legal firms sent letters to localities that resulted in churches being allowed to resume services. They did not get to the point of bringing suit. First Liberty has a list that can be found here.While there seems to be a split in approaches to how some courts are handling the lawsuits by the church, there is an overwhelming willingness of judges to allow outdoor church services. While the pandemic continues to unfold, we will be monitoring the church lawsuits in the courts and making sure churches are treated equally. Leaders in states less interested in protecting religious liberty during the pandemic should not be permitted to prioritize secular interests over faith-based ones. It is crucial to religious liberty that churches are treated equally; the right to freely exercise one’s religion should not be infringed upon unnecessarily.
Temple Baptist Church - 1-29-2020Hebrews 11:8-10Introduction: A. As we continue through God's “Hall of Faith,” we find a man named Abraham.1. Abraham is called the “Father” of our faith.2. Abraham is called “the friend of God.”3. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are called the “Fathers” of the Jewish nation.4. Abraham was the first Hebrew while Jacob was the first Jew.B. As we studied in Genesis, Abraham-Isaac-Jacob were flawed men.1. Abraham failed God to lead him. He went down to Egypt in a time of famine. He also went to Gerar.2. Abraham failed God to feed him. In famine, he left the place that God sent him to because he felt that God had blessed Egypt.3. Abraham failed God to protect him. Twice, he and Sarah lied about their relationship, placing Sarah in jeopardy to protect Abraham.4. Abraham hearkened to the voice of his wife. He took Hagar, Sarah's Egyptian handmaid to wife. This brought about the birth of Ishmael, whose descendants continue to be as thorn in the flesh to everyone living about them.C. The “Hall of Faith” is not about perfect men, it is about men of Faith!1. God can use flawed men who are men of faith!James 5:17-18 Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months. (18) And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit.2. There is an old saying: “God can take a crooked stick and draw a straight line!”3. God is no respecter of persons. But He is a respecter of men of faith.4. God is pleased with man's faith.Hebrews 11:6 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.5. God honors faith. God uses flawed men because He honors their Faith!D. The Faith of Abraham:1. Abraham had Saving Faith – Romans 4:1-3 What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found? (2) For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. (3) For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. (He had nothing to glory in except God!)a. Abraham's Faith was a Personal Faith. “Abraham our father … hath found”b. Abraham's Faith was a Glorifying Faith. “he hath whereof to glory; but not before God”c. Abraham's Faith was a Biblical Faith. “For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him”d. Abraham's Faith was a Saving Faith. “For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God … counted unto him for righteousness”2. Abraham had Following Faith – Hebrews 11:8 By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. (Abraham did not know where he was going but he knew that God did!)a. The age of Abraham's call. Abraham is now 75 years and almost half of his life is gone.b. The place of Abraham's call. In the Ur of the Chaldees, a heathen land of idolatry.c. The answer of Abraham's call. His obedience was immediate, not delayed.d. The unquestioning obedience to Abraham's call. At his age to leave his people and the land of his birth to go to a land that he had never seen.3. Abraham had Enduring Faith – Hebrews 11:9 By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: (Abraham never returned to the place of his family.)a. Abraham sojourned in the land of promise. “sojourned in the land of promise” He remained faithful to his call.b. Abraham sojourned in a strange country. “a strange country” He remained where God placed him. A place where he remained an outsider.c. Abraham raised his children there. “dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob” He did not go home to raise his children and grandchildren.d. Abraham gave his children his heritage. “the heirs with him of the same promise” Neither did his children returned to the land of the father's nativity.4. Abraham had Financial Faith – Genesis 14:18-20 And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God. (19) And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth: (20) And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all. (Abraham gave to God what belonged to Him because he knew where it all came from.)a. Abraham gave at the right place. “the priest of the most high God” In our economy, the local church. Malachi 3:10. Will a man rob God? So many do.b. Abraham gave the right amount. “tithes” The tithe is the Lord's!c. Abraham gave to the right Person. “the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth” All that we have belongs to God!5. Abraham had Strong Faith – Romans 4:19-21 And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sara's womb: (20) He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; (21) And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. (Abraham believed God when all human hope was gone.)a. Abraham believed God! “the promise of God” If God says it, you can put it in the bank.b. Abraham believed the Impossible! “an hundred years old … the deadness of Sara's womb” He was strong in faith.c. Abraham believed Unwaveringly. “being fully persuaded” He never doubted what God had promised.6. Abraham had Sacrificial Faith – Genesis 22:1-3 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. (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. (3) And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God had told him. (Abraham believed God for the incomprehensible.)a. What God gave, God required. “Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest” The most precious thing that God had given to Abraham, God required.b. Abraham was willing to give what God required. “And Abraham rose up early in the morning … And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son.” I find no hesitancy in Abraham's obedience. What faith this required?c. Abraham knew that God would have to resurrect his son, Isaac, the child of promise. “Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure.” (Hebrews 11:19) 7. Abraham had Eternal Faith – Hebrews 11:10 For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God. (Abraham knew that God's promise was sure and Abraham's eternity was secured.)Conclusion: Galatians 3:6-9 Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. (7) Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. (8) And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed. (9) So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.
Temple Baptist Church - 4-5-2020Psalm 92Introduction:A. Psalm 92 contrasts the wicked with the righteous. 1. The righteous love God!2. The unrighteous are the enemies of God!B. If the righteous love God, then they will love God's church!1. They will be faithful where they are planted.2. They will be thankful where they are planted.3. They will be flourishing where they are planted.C. It is interesting that the Holy Spirit used the word “planted” when referring to the faithfulness of God's people to the house of God. That word is normally used when speaking of trees, flowers, etc. being permanently placed into the ground.1. I only plant specific plants. I pick and choose what kind of plants that I buy because my yard is limited in area. I remember well that my mom would plant anything and everything in our yard when I was growing up and I had to mow around them. Most of them just looked like weeds and did not have flowers. Dad would mow them down.2. I only plant in specific places. I try to plant where there will be the fullest sun, which is hard in my yard as I live in the woods. I try to plant them in an orderly fashion so that they will look well.3. I only plant for specific reasons. For beauty and fruit!D. Several kinds of plants come to mind when looking at them considering God's people and the church.1. Special Occasion Plants – Easter Lilies and Poinsettias! a) Some people only come to church on special occasions such as Easter and Christmas. We are always glad to see them when they come and, evidently, two or three times a year is plenty for them to get their “religion” for the year. b) We leave them in the church for as much as a month around Christmas but, eventually, we give them away to someone who will take them home and care for them.c). You cannot lead them, and you cannot feed them because they are a type of the “natural” man who cannot receive or know the word of God. They just never seem to get it! They are satisfied with a little religion that soothes them a few days out of the year but have neither love nor desire for fellowship with God's people. 2. Artificial Plants – These are plants with no life in them that we buy that remain in certain places in the church. a) They just “adorn” the church but never produce or grow. These are the unsaved that never get right with the Lord. They never get saved and become spiritually alive through the new birth. b) They always sit in the same place and they are always there. I am not knocking our people sitting in the same places nor indicting them because they are always there. I say a sign that said, “Visitors welcome, members expected!” I actually pay them little attention because they require none. Every now and then, Marty will replace them or dress them up a little and they are beautiful but dead.c) I have actually tried to water them at times because I took them for the real thing but, alas, that never helped them. They never grow; they never need pruning; they never accept your efforts to care for them; they are just there and lifeless. You cannot lead them and you cannot feed them because they are the “natural” man who cannot receive or know the word of God.3. Potted Plants – These plants do have life but, like the Artificial Plants, are moved around quite a bit and eventually are replaced. a) They cannot be planted because they are not able to withstand the elements. When it gets cold, you have a frost, or it becomes snowy, they must be brought in for the winter or they will die. b) These are people and many are true believers (because they do have life) who can never get settled and continually, for always a “good reason,” move on. They will never get settled because they do not like problems or imperfections in the environment. Spring and summer (good times) are their favorites but fall and winter (hard times) are not. c) Potted Plants need special care. You must be careful how you handle them so as not to damage them. They must be watered and fed continually or they will die. They constantly have to be moved for cleaning or other purposes. d) Unfortunately, I always kill potted plants. I try my best to get them to live but everything I do with my “Brown Thumb” turns out wrong and they eventually die. I cannot lead them nor can I feed them because they have no need of either a pastor or a church family.4. Planted Plants – These are the believers that come to get in, not get out. a) They become a vital, living part of the local church. I have been a member of only three churches in the 43+ years since I was saved. I joined the church I was saved in and remained there until God called me into the ministry. I joined the church where I spent my Bible College years and remained faithfully there until God called me to pastor Temple Baptist. I joined Temple Baptist and have remained here. In March, it was 33 years. b) As a general rule, these planted plants feed and water themselves. I may have to pour a little water on them in drought or fertilize once a year, but they are self-feeders. About once a year, I prune them so as to help natural growth. I am careful in my pruning because they can be cut back too hard. They will still grow but may skip a year in fruit production. I prune as to leave buds for natural growth and buds for fruit.c) I thank God for our people as most of you have been here for years and can be depended upon in both good and bad times. Planted plants are buried deep in the soil and survive because they can withstand the elements in the area in which they are planted. You can lead them and you can feed them.d) Planted plants stay planted. We have a Windmill Palm in our front yard that is app. 20 feet tall now. It is a thing of beauty and adds so much to the overall décor of our yard and home. I never come home and find that my Palm tree has moved over to the neighbor's yard or somewhere else. Planted plants are always where the planter put them!e) These “planted plants” are the “heart and soul” of the local church! It is them that carry on the work of the ministry. It is them that support the local church with their tithes and offerings. It is them that help missionaries get on the field and stay on the field with their missions giving. You cannot support new missionaries with inconsistent support! You cannot pay bills and maintain the church with inconsistent tithes and offerings. God bless these “planted plants!”E. We need to remain or to become “planted plants” in 2014! 1. Planted Plants are Faithful Plants – vs. 1-2 Psalms 27:4 One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his temple.2. Planted Plants are Happy Plants – vs. 4 Psalms 122:1 I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD.3. Planted Plants are Protected Plants – vs. 9 Psalms 27:5 For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock.4. Planted Plants are Fruitful Plants – vs. 14 Psalms 1:3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.5. Planted Plants are Satisfied Plants – vs. 14 Psalms 42:4 When I remember these things, I pour out my soul in me: for I had gone with the multitude, I went with them to the house of God, with the voice of joy and praise, with a multitude that kept holyday.F. Now, the question is, “How do we become planted?”1. Planted comes through Realization! There are no perfect churches! There are no perfect pastors! We will never agree with everything that we see or hear! We will not get our way! People are imperfect and no two will ever agree on everything. Where there are people, there will be problems and this includes the pulpit! If we do ever find the perfect church and pastor, we need to leave them along because joining it will mess it up which leads up to point number 2.2. Planted comes through Remembering! We are not perfect! We are not always right! God knows best and faithfulness to the local church is not a request! When you join a church, you join it—it does not join you! We are not there to change the church; we are placed there to enhance it! When we fail to remember that we are flawed and often hard to get along with, then we hold others to a standard that we are not willing to live with ourselves. Critical people not only hurt others but also hurt themselves.3. Planted comes through Resolve! We are joining because we love the Lord and the church is His design and will for us! We are joining the church because it takes the combined effort and talent of the corporate body to get the job done! We are joining the church, not to be seen or to be somebody, but to be a blessing and encouragement to our brothers and sisters in Christ! We have ability to be used for the Lord and the Holy Spirit places me in a church that needs us.
Temple Baptist Church - 1-19-20201 Peter 1:1-9Introduction: A. I want to preach a message this morning on a subject that I am not an expert on: valleys or the hard places in life. As we begin the New Year, we all understand that there will more than likely be both good and hard times.B. I have often said that life is hard and the older you get, the harder life gets! Growing old is not for “wimps!” 1. In Ecclesiastes 11:9-12:1, Solomon said, “Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth; and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thine heart, and in the sight of thine eyes: but know thou, that for all these things God will bring thee into judgment. (10) Therefore remove sorrow from thy heart, and put away evil from thy flesh: for childhood and youth are vanity. (12:1) Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them;”2. There is joy in youth because there are parents there to handle the problems but, when young people get out of the “nest,” the responsibility of handling problems falls upon their shoulders.C. In these verses we find the age-old question: “If need be?” Valleys in life are hard places!D. Hard places in life have both negative and positive aspects to them. The negative aspects are easy to identify!1. Valleys of life are just that: valleys! Some deeper than others but all still valleys. Problems run from not so bad but aggravating to ones of deep sorrow. Problems vary in their depths but not one of us like valleys of any description! Ecclesiastes 3:4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;2. Some valleys are more beautiful than others that are barren wastelands! Small problems still allow for the enjoyment of life in general while larger problems have a way of consuming the traveler.2 Corinthians 7:5-6 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. (6) Nevertheless God, that comforteth those that are cast down, comforted us by the coming of Titus;3. Some valleys are short and some are long! There is a place out west called Ten Sleep Canyon. It took an Indian 10 days to get through it. Valleys always take the long way around the mountains because they are an indirect route. The shortest way is usually over the mountain.Psalms 77:2 In the day of my trouble I sought the Lord: my sore ran in the night, and ceased not: my soul refused to be comforted. (Job went from seven days and nights to 42 chapters!)E. Though we normally concentrate on the negative aspects of valleys in life, there are some positive things that come out of them.1. Trials reveal of what sort our faith is. “The trial of your faith” Matthew 13:20-21 But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; (21) Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended. (A faith that cannot be tested is a faith that cannot be trusted. Someone once said that troubles do not build character; they only expose it. A right faith in the Lord will get you through the valleys in good shape spiritually.)2. Trails are places with the potential for Spiritual Growth. “being much more precious than of gold that perisheth” 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. (We grow in the knowledge that when God is all that we have, it is then that we find that He is all that we need. We grow in the knowledge that God's grace is always more than sufficient. We grow in the knowledge that He will never leave us nor forsake us.)IT”S IN THE VALLEYS I GROWSometimes life seems hard to bear,Full of sorrow, trouble and woeIt's then I have to rememberThat it's in the valleys I grow.If I always stayed on the mountain topAnd never experienced pain,I would never appreciate God's loveAnd would be living in vain.I have so much to learnAnd my growth is very slow,Sometimes I need the mountain tops,But it's in the valleys I grow.I do not always understandWhy things happen as they do,But I am very sure of one thing.My Lord will see me through.My little valleys are nothingWhen I picture Christ on the crossHe went through the valley of death;His victory was Satan's loss.Forgive me Lord, for complainingWhen I'm feeling so very low.Just give me a gentle reminderThat it's in the valleys I grow.Continue to strengthen me, LordAnd use my life each dayTo share your love with othersAnd help them find their wayThank you for the valleys, LordFor this one thing I knowThe mountain tops are gloriousBut it's in the valleys I grow!3. Trials cause us not to take the good times for granted! “though it be tried with fire” Job 29:2-4 Oh that I were as in months past, as in the days when God preserved me; (3) When his candle shined upon my head, and when by his light I walked through darkness; (4) As I was in the days of my youth, when the secret of God was upon my tabernacle; (It is in the valley that we remember the mountains! Too often, we take good days for granted. Most of life is good and we should rejoice when it is.)4. Trials give us opportunity to glorify God before the eyes of the world! “might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ” Isaiah 24:15 Wherefore glorify ye the LORD in the fires, even the name of the LORD God of Israel in the isles of the sea. (It is easy to be a good Christian when all is well but the world watches us closely when we are in trouble. It is in the hard times that our little lights become big ones as the world fastens their eyes upon us and glorify our Father in heaven.)5. Trials deepen the child of God's love for Him! “Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory” 2 Corinthians 8:2 How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality. (Hard times in marriages either “make them or break them!” When a couple truly love one another, they will cleave to each more in the hard times and their love deepens. Thus, it is with the Lord. When we walk with Him in the hard times our love for Him deepens.)6. Without trials, there would be no deliverance! “Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.” 2 Timothy 4:16-18 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. (17) Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and that all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion. (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. (Without valleys, there would be no mountains climbed or to be climbed. From the valleys, we view the mountains and from the mountains, we view the valleys. Both, when viewed from a distance become things of great beauty.)
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