Joel 2:13 And rend your heart, and not your garments, And turn unto the LORD your God: For he is gracious and merciful, Slow to anger, and of great kindness, And repenteth him of the evil. God wanted them to have a broken heart, a heart that was changed. God wanted a heart that desired Him. They didn't need external symbols but internal reality. They needed to turn from themselves, their sin, etc to God. They needed to know who God is and how He is. He is full of grace. He is full of mercy. He is slow to get angry. He is of great kindness. He doesn't like to see people hurt. What a God He is. How wonderful and kind. How can you not turn to a God like Him.
Joel 3:14 Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: For the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision. Judgment was every where there in the book of Joel. God was calling His people back to Him. They needed to decide if they would love and serve Him or not. They were standing there halting between two decisions like so many today. It is time to decide. It is time to realize that sin has a cost and consequence. It is time to realize just how good God is and to thank Him. First we trust Him to be who He says He is and then we step out in faith believing Him for salvation and all of life. He has offered you forgiveness and salvation. Will you trust Him today?
This week we had our 11th annual Celebration Sunday, celebrating eleven years in ministry as a church. It was a great day full of special singing, preaching, and a great time of fellowship. There were over three hundred in attendance in all services! Pastor began His series on Mark Sunday morning and preached a great message entitled, Mark: The Original Comeback Kid. God can use anyone even if they have messed up in the past.Â For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: But the wicked shall fall into mischief (Proverbs 24:16). Sunday was an especially special day for the Spanish church as they set a record with 71 people in the service. Pastor Jimmy and the Spanish church have been working hard and God has been blessing. Please continue to pray for the Spanish ministry that God will continue to bless them! We didnâ€™t have a Sunday evening service, instead we did an afternoon service where four students, Jeffery Brown, Justus Mize, Jens Loony, and Nate Fransis all preached for ten minutes each on a Psalm praising God! We had a great Sunday and look forward to many more years of ministry!
Joel 1:19 O LORD, to thee will I cry: For the fire hath devoured the pastures of the wilderness, And the flame hath burned all the trees of the field. God's people have sinned against Him. They are suffering because of their sin. They do not call on God because they love Him. They do not call no God because they want to know Him better but because they are hurting. They call on the Lord because of the fire and flame. What does it take to get us to call on the Lord? Do we love Him? Are we seeking Him? I want to love God when I am not doing so to get help. I know that I need Him. I know that He is the source of all my blessings but I want to love Him even when I am not hurting.
Hosea 13:4 Yet I am the LORD thy God from the land of Egypt, And thou shalt know no god but me: For there is no saviour beside me. They should recognize God for who He is. He is the One that brought them out of the land of Egypt. He is the One that has done all the great things in their lives. There is none but Him. Now today you and I read this verse. We are not Israel and He didn't bring us out of Egypt but He did bring us out of bondage and slavery. He has shown us His power. He is the only God and we should treat Him as such. There is no one else that can save us. Let's honor Him today for who He is and what He does. He is our Lord and Savior and there is no other.
Hosea 14:1 O Israel, return unto the LORD thy God; For thou hast fallen by thine iniquity. The reason the calamity is happening is that God's people have turned from Him. They have turned to sin. They have done wrong. Their sin and wrong has brought horrible consequences. It is time to turn and get right with God. Where are you living right now? Are you suffering from the consequences of your sin? It is time to turn back to God. It is time to realize that what has happened is due to your sin and rebellion. God is waiting to forgive you and work in your life.
Hosea 12:6 Therefore turn thou to thy God: Keep mercy and judgment, And wait on thy God continually. Isn't this sweet. They have been wrong and living in rebellion. Now it they are ready to get right. They are to turn to God, do right, and wait on God. Those are good steps for all of us to take. I want to turn to Him. I want to do right. I want to live expecting God to work in my life. No matter where you are or what your past you can repent today. You can turn to God. You can expect God to do a work in your life. Why will you continue in your sin when you know that He is dealing with you right now.
Hosea 10:12 Sow to yourselves in righteousness, Reap in mercy; Break up your fallow ground: For it is time to seek the LORD, Till he come and rain righteousness upon you. God's people should be seeking Him. They should hunger and seek after righteousness desiring to please God. They should live and act like the people of God. Their goal more than money or anything else shojld be to love God and seek to please Him. As they seek God they will see God work in their lives. He will mer merciful to them. They needed to prepare their hearts for God and His Word to work in them. They were to prepare their hearts that had not been prepared and used in the service of the Lord in a long time. It is time to seek God. It is time to stop all the other things that we are doing and put Him first. He will come and do a work in us if we will just take the steps towards Him. God stands ready to work in our lives and only we hinder His work.
Hosea 11:4 I drew them with cords of a man, with bands of love: And I was to them as they that take off the yoke on their jaws, And I laid meat unto them. The strongest tie we can have over anyone is the one the Lord has over us. That is love. The love of Jesus constrains us. His love motivates us, forces us, pushes us, makes us what to serve Him. He is using human kindness, cords of a man to work in our lives. He draws us with bands or ties of love. He has been kind to us and is kind to us. He is at work in our lives with sweet gentleness. He loves us and He motivates us to serve Him. I want to please Him and I know that you do as well. As a leader I hope you will learn that manipulation and guilt do not work. You can use your love to motivate people to do something for God.
We had another great Sunday at Vision Baptist Church! There were almost two hundred and fifty people in church ready to worship. Sunday morning pastor Gardner finished the book of Malachi, which concludes our study through the minor prophets. It has been a great journey that has brought moreÂ understand the minor prophets! Next Sunday morning we will begin our series through the book of Mark. You wonâ€™t want to miss this exciting study. Sunday night Andrew Wilder lead us in the Lordâ€™s Supper. The Lordâ€™s Supper is always a great time to remember what Jesus has done for us on the cross in saving our souls. Please join us next Sunday as we have our 11th celebration Sunday! We will be celebrating eleven years of ministry as a church.
Hosea 9:1 Rejoice not, O Israel, for joy, as other people: For thou hast gone a whoring from thy God, Thou hast loved a reward upon every cornfloor. This passage of Scripture is pretty horrible. God wanted Israel to know that they shouldn't be too happy. They should realize that He knows that they are doing wrong. They have committed spiritual adultery. They have been doing wrong by loving other gods and serving them. God compares this to adultery because they were loving and giving their love to another instead of Him. He is their God. He is Israel's husband. They should have been loyal to God. They should have saved their love for the Lord Himself. This same truth is taught for us in James 4:4. We are not to love the world and the whole system that raises up itself against our God. If we choose to love the world then we are not loving God but becoming His enemy. God counts our love as special and not to be thrown around lightly.
Hosea 8:12 I have written to him the great things of my law, But they were counted as a strange thing. God said that He wrote His Word for them but they didn't care. It was as something strange or foreign to them. They had no real respect for God or His Word. I do not want to think or act like that. I want to see God's Word as special. I know you do as well. I do not want God or the world to think that I do not love God or His Word. So let's read it, treat it with respect, learn from it, and share what it says. God wrote it to teach us and to work in our lives. We should be excited and looking forward to what God is doing in our lives through His Word.
Hosea 7:13 Woe unto them! for they have fled from me: Destruction unto them! because they have transgressed against me: Though I have redeemed them, yet they have spoken lies against me. God had loved His people. He had brought them out of the slavery in Egypt. He had given them the promised land. Instead of running to Him they were running from Him. They said ugly things about Him, telling lies. They were sinning, doing what they knew that He did not want them to do. They are intentionally not loving God after He has first loved them. So in this verse we see â€śwoe!â€ť That word means judgment. It means that someone should realize how bad they are about to have it. Then He says that destruction was going to be on them. So we should see from this that if we continue running from God and doing our own thing we are going to suffer destruction. If we continue to lie about Him and His good character we can expect judgment to come. He has saved us. We have experienced Him working in our lives. It is time to love and serve Him not time to run [â€¦]
Hosea 5:15 I will go and return to my place, Till they acknowledge their offence, and seek my face: In their affliction they will seek me early. God says that He is stepping away until they realize that they have sinned. They will be allowed to continue in their suffering until they decide to seek Him. When He is near and working in our lives there is blessing. When He steps away then there will be affliction. They need to suffer alone till they realize why they are suffering. When they figure it out they can call on Him. He says that they will do so early. Are you living in sin and you know it? Have you decided to do things your way and ignored the will of God? Do you realize that He will leave you to suffer the consequences of your sin till you recognize that He really is God. He really does have a plan for your life! It is time to stop the suffering. It is time to turn back to God and pray that He will hear you!
Hosea 4:17 Ephraim is joined to idols: Let him alone. It was time to leave Ephraim alone. He had made his decision. He had gone too far. God said to just leave him. There can come a time in your life when you will be so stuck on your sin that God will just leave you to yourself and what will happen. God will walk away and let you deal with the consequences. While there is still time you should turn from your sin to Him. You should realize how foolish you have been in what you been doing. You should decide today that sin is not for you and that you want to serve God. Do not wait till God decides that it is time to just leave you alone. I can't think of words that are much sadder. He made up his mind: let him alone.
Hosea 1:2 The beginning of the word of the LORD by Hosea. And the LORD said to Hosea, Go, take unto thee a wife of whoredoms and children of whoredoms: for the land hath committed great whoredom, departing from the LORD. When you study the prophets an interesting thing is to notice how many times God tells them to do things that are living illustrations of their message. Here Hosea will marry a prostitute that will be unfaithful to him. He will love her any way and win back her heart and love. That is what God will be doing with the nation of Israel. He will win her back to Him and be a good God to them. As you read the story you will constantly see how God tells Hosea to do something and then tells how what Hosea is doing illustrates the relationship between God and His people. Have you ever thought that God may be using you to illustrate a truth that He is teaching others ? Could it be that God has you living out a truth that He is teaching. You think you are just living it out. Yet God is actually using you [â€¦]
Hosea 3:5 Afterward shall the children of Israel return, and seek the LORD their God, and David their king; and shall fear the LORD and his goodness in the latter days. As Hosea lives out his story and life that God has called him to Hosea can see that God is going to bring Israel back to Himself. God will work in the lives of His people. There will be hard times as the consequence of their sin but God will use it to bring them back. They will once again glorify Him. God is kind enough to show us what He is doing. He shows us even the process. He shows us that they suffer because of their rebellion. He shows us that after the consequences the people realize their need of God. Could it be that I too suffer when I do wrong so that I can see my need of God.
Daniel 12:4 But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased. Daniel is a book of prophecy. It is a book of God telling us what He is going to do, what is going to come to pass. When Daniel finished his book God told him to seal the book till later because at that time no one was going to be able to understand what he was saying. So God had the book of Daniel written for a time in the future. I am pretty sure we are in that time right now. The end is much nearer now than when Daniel wrote his book, over 500 years before the birth of Christ. Notice that in the time of the end many shall run to and fro so that is happening more today than ever. Then it says that knowledge shall increase. That has definitely happened in our life times. So here is a book written before the fact about the last days. I think it deserves some careful study.
Daniel 10:12 Then he said to me, â€śFear not, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand and humbled yourself before your God, your words have been heard, and I have come because of your words. It must of seemed to Daniel that God was not listening. It would have appeared that there was no answer to prayer or that God had not heard his prayer. But notice, He heard the prayer the first day it was prayed. God sent the answer. Maybe the answer takes a while to get here but that doesn't mean that God has not heard your prayer. God is a prayer hearing and prayer answering God. You can know that. It may take a while for God to answer, in our opinion, but He does answer. So let's pray. Let's ask God and trust Him.
Daniel 9:13 As it is written in the law of Moses, all this evil is come upon us: yet made we not our prayer before the LORD our God, that we might turn from our iniquities, and understand thy truth. There was and is a cause and effect in place. When we do wrong we will suffer because of it. Sin has consequences. The interesting thing in this verse is that they knew that they had done wrong. They knew that the bad stuff that was happening to them was a result of their doing wrong but they didn't care. They even knew that they should see their sin and turn. They just didn't want to do so. Isn't that our story all too often. Can it not be said that we know what is right. We know that sin has consequences but usually we just do not care. It isn't that important. If we want to understand truth though we will need to understand what is happening and turn from our sin. Continuing in sin just means continuing not to understand truth!
Daniel 8:25 And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace shall destroy many: he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without hand. This antichrist will cause sin to flourish. He will be about getting more people doing things that go against God. But the part that most caught my attention was that he will magnify himself in his heart. He will think highly of himself. He will have an overblown opinion of himself. Then I thought of how often I can do that. I thought of how much I seem to like myself and push myself. Do you have a problem with this too? He seems to make peace or act like all is ok and then out of the blue he hurts people. He uses peace to destroy. I am your friend, relax, then I will hurt you. Wow, that is a harsh way to live. Then he will stand against Jesus, the true Prince of princes. He will not win. He will be destroyed. Jesus will win that battle!
Daniel 7:13 I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. 14 And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed. God showed Daniel that He would one day establish the kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ. It would be like no kingdom before it. He will have an everlasting kingdom. His kingdom and reign will never end. No one will ever be able to destroy Him. All people, nations and languages will serve Him. Today we go about to set up His spiritual kingdom as we preach and teach the gospel all over the world. One day He will set up not only a spiritual kingdom but a literal one. Every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that Jesus is Lord. This world is headed towards a definite end. It will be when all power, kingdom, glory, and honor will be [â€¦]
Daniel 4:17 This matter is by the decree of the watchers, and the demand by the word of the holy ones: to the intent that the living may know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it the basest of men. So often as we think that things are out of control. We wonder where God is and what He is doing. It seems that He is letting the world spin out of control. That is not the lesson taught here in Daniel. Actually God was in control. A king began to think that he was something. He thought that he was the one that built his kingdom. He took pride in himself and his accomplishments. God reminds him in this story that God is in control. God gives us what we have. It is not me or you that makes something of ourselves. No matter what you accomplish you need to remember that it is God that gives you life. It is God that allows you to accomplish things. God is to get all the honor and glory. Men may rule and reign but there [â€¦]
Ezekiel 48:35 It was round about eighteen thousand measures: and the name of the city from that day shall be, The LORD is there. God is building a city. The new city of Jerusalem. It will be His capital city. Other places refer to Jerusalem as the city of truth but even better is this. The Lord is there. He will be the light. He will be all that we need. What a promise to Israel. What a promise to all of us.
We had another great Sunday at Vision Baptist Church, with a total of 265 people in attendance. The Spanish church had over 40 just in their service alone! Sunday morning Pastor GardnerÂ preached the next passage out of Malachi chapter 2, â€śHow you Handle your Money Reveals your Attitude towards God.â€ť Â Pastor Gardner carefully walked us through the passage and applied the same heart problem that Israel had in giving to God to us. It is a great honor to be apart of a church that sticks right to the text and preaches the Bible every week! Sunday night was a special night for the Our Generation Training Center. It was the first O.G.T.C. led service, where every aspect of the service was ran by students training here at the church. The theme was â€śRemember.â€ť Every message, including the offering devotional, pointed us to remember what Christ has done for us. Justus Mize then led the church in taking the Lordâ€™s Supper. As always you can view our services on LiveStream or YouTube and listen to them on Sermon Audio.
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