Mar 20

Fear The Lord

When you hear the phrase “fear the Lord”, what is the first idea or image that pops into your head? If you are like most people, you picture an angry, vindictive God who is just waiting to punish you for sin. Certainly we should fear the divine wrath of God. But is there more to the fear of the Lord? Today’s text is Joshua 4:24, “that all the peoples of the earth may know the hand of the Lord, that it is mighty, that you may fear the Lord your God forever.”

Joshua and all of Israel have just crossed over into the Promised Land. They crossed the Jordan River on dry ground. This was certainly meant to show the power of God. This was this particular generation’s defining moment, just like the previous generation’s moment was crossing the Red Sea on dry ground. I believe every generation has at least one defining moment, a moment in time in which everyone who is old enough to remember the event can recall where they were when it happened. For some, the date is December 7, 1941 (Pearl Harbor). For another generation, dates such as August 28, 1963 (MLK Jr.’s I Have a Dream Speech in Washington), November 22, 1963 (JFK assassination), or July 20, 1969 (Armstrong lands on the moon). For my generation the date is September 11, 2001 (terrorist attacks in NYC and Washington). For the current generation, certainly this coronavirus pandemic is going to be a defining moment that they will live through. It is one thing to be able to cross a river. It is another thing for that river to be supernaturally walled up so that the ground is dry for you to cross. But we also read in the text that during this time the Jordan River had overflowed its banks. Again, all of this is being done by God to reveal His power not only to Israel, but as our verse says, to all the peoples of the earth.

Israel was instructed to make a memorial once they crossed the Jordan River. One man from each the tribes of Israel was to pick up a stone from the Jordan River and carry it over to the other side. Once they crossed the Jordan River, the river went back to flowing normally, and Israel was now standing on the edge of the land that God had promised to give to them many, many years ago.

When we talk about the fear of the Lord, we aren’t simply talking about fear of divine punishment. The fear of the Lord, for Israel here and the child of God now is this, we don’t want to do anything or have anything in our life that would cause God to take His hand of blessing off of us. That is why the text says, “that you may fear the Lord your God forever” (bold-mine). The fear of the Lord was directed specifically to Israel here. Joshua is telling them to watch their life, and make sure that they are living rightly. This is one of the reasons why as a Christian, we must ask God to constantly search our heart, mind, and life and to reveal any sin that is in us. It is why we need to be diligent to spend time in the Word of God and prayer so that we will be better equipped when temptations come our way. It is also why we must be quick to confess our sin. We want to live to please God, and we don’t want there to be any reason that would cause God to take His hand of blessing off of us. Is there anything you need to talk to God about? Is there anything that God is trying to talk to you about? Don’t ignore the conviction you may be feeling. Instead, get alone with God and allow Him to speak through His Word, so that you can confess whatever is keeping God from blessing you. Then, each day ask God for His help to not give in to that temptation.

By His grace and for His glory,

Pastor Justin

Posted in Through The Bible in 2020 | 2 Comments
Mar 19

The Scarlet Cord

What do you think would be the chances that 66 books written by approximately 40 different authors over the course of approximately 1,5000-2,000 years would have a single, unified message? In a day and age where it is difficult to get two people to agree to the same facts on anything is difficult enough. But this is exactly what the Bible is and does. Over the course of 66 books with 40 different God-inspired human authors living in a various locations over 1,500-2,000 years, there is one unified message. There is a scarlet cord running through it. We see it in our text today physically, but also spiritually. Joshua 2:18 says, “unless, when we come into the land, you bind this line of scarlet cord in the window through which you let us down, and unless you bring your father, your mother, your brothers, and all your father’s household to your own home.”

Joshua has sent spies into Jericho to see the land which God has promised to give to the children of Israel. The spies are staying a Rahab’s house. Rahab had shown them kindness by hiding them from the king’s men who came looking for them. In return, she asked them to make her a promise, that they would spare her and her family when they came and destroyed Jericho. The words of verse 18 are the terms of this agreement. The men from Israel said that all of her family must be in her home, and there must be the scarlet cord in the widow that she had let them down out of her home. As long as they stayed in the home, they were safe. Verse 19 says that if they go outside during the battle, and Rahab’s family gets killed, that is on them.

This is a historical story of how Israel came to conquer Jericho as the first city that God was giving them in the Promised Land. This story also teaches an important spiritual truth. The spiritual truth is this, there is only one way to be saved. For Rahab and her family, it was about putting a scarlet cord in the widow and staying in the home. By doing that, Rahab was demonstrating faith that the men from Israel would keep their word. It was by faith that Rahab would be saved. For you and I, it is by faith we can be saved not in a scarlet cord in a widow, but by faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus as the only way we can be saved. The color of the cord is important, because of what imagery it creates. It creates the imagery of blood. We saw in Genesis 3, when Adam and Eve sinned, God sacrificed an animal to make coats of skin to cover Adam and Eve. There was a blood sacrifice for their sins. When God was going to deliver Israel from their bondage in Egypt, they were to sacrifice a lamb and put the blood on their doorpost. In the Law, there were blood sacrifices that were to be offered for the sins of the people. We see the scarlet cord here in Joshua. All of this points us to the sinless Lamb of God offering His life in our place for the forgiveness of our sins. That’s the unified message of the Bible; God created everything perfect and mankind had perfect fellowship with God, but sin broke that fellowship. In His love, God sent His Son to die in the place of sinners so that He could redeem us back to Himself and show His power and His grace for His glory. In doing so, God set it up that there was only one way a person could be saved, and the Bible is a record of that story of redemption both then, now, and until He returns.

In light of all of this, I think there are a few things we need to think through. First, have you trusted in the Gospel as the only way to be saved? It is more than a profession of belief, it is a lifestyle that models dependence on and obedience to Jesus. This is why Paul said in 2 Corinthians 13:5, “Let every man examine himself to see if he is in the faith or not.” And second, are you spreading this message everywhere you go? That is the call of a disciple of Jesus, to make disciples of all nations. If people could only know two things about us, let it be these two things; our love for God and our love for them by sharing with them the Gospel that has saved us and that can save them.

By His grace and for His glory,

Pastor Justin

Posted in Through The Bible in 2020 | Leave a comment
Mar 18

Ways to Stay in Touch During The Coronavirus Pandemic

Westlake Baptist Church Plan Regarding Coronavirus

We are certainly living through a time where there is much uncertainty and fear.  We praise God that we do not have to fear, nor do we have to worry in the face of a global pandemic, because God is still sovereign and still on His throne.  While God absolutely saw this coming, and knows what His purpose is for it; we as finite humans do not.  

Therefore, it is out of extreme caution, in the spirit of submitting to our governing authorities as commanded in Romans 13:1-7, and admitting that we are not doctors nor medical experts that we announce the following changes to our normal activities at Westlake Baptist Church.

Ways To Keep Up With WBC During the Coronavirus Outbreak:

  • With regards to Sunday school classes, we are encouraging each class to use its own discretion.  As of right now, groups of 10 or more are still permitted to meet.  I would encourage you to meet in someone’s home if possible.  If a class would like to meet at the church at a designated time, arrangements can be made.  If a class doesn’t feel comfortable meeting face to face, we would encourage you to take advantage of technology and have a digital class.  It is important that we continue to stay in communication with one another, pray with one another, and study with one another.
  • All sermons will be recorded and posted on our podcast as usual.  They will be up by Sunday afternoon.  You can get them for free wherever you get your podcast whether you use Apple or Android products.  You can also find them at www.sermons.faithlife.com.  All you have to do there is search for Westlake Baptist Church and you will be able to listen to them for free there as well.
  • All sermons will also have outlines on the Bible app that will be available for you to look at on Sunday mornings beginning at 8:00 a.m., and they will remain live until Sunday night at 8:00 p.m.  The Bible app is free for download on your phone or you can even get an account on your computer.  Just go to www.bible.com and you can sign up there.  Then, look for Events, and type Westlake Baptist Church. Important: You will only be able to see them when they are live.  You can save them for future reference if you prefer to.
  • We are hoping to utilize our YouTube Live channel to livestream Sunday messages.  If we are unable to work this out, we will record them and upload them to YouTube.  A link will be sent out for the YouTube channel.
  • We are going to plan on using our YouTube Live channel for Wednesday nights.  We are hoping to make these interactive.  A link will be sent out for our channel.
  • We will continue to write on the blog that can be found on our website which is www.westlakebaptist.organd when you get there just click “Blog” in the upper right corner and you will be directed there.  We will write our series, Blogging Through The Bible In 2020 each Monday through Friday as we have been doing this year.

Ways To Serve Right Now:

  • Continue to pray for those who are sick, doctors, nurses, and those serving on the front lines and battling this virus.  Continue to pray for the government, that God would give them wisdom to know how best to treat and eliminate this virus.  Continue to pray that God would have mercy on us as a nation, and countries around the world being affected right now.  Finally, continue to pray that God would allow the Gospel to spread further around the world in response to this virus.
  • Continue to call, text, or email one another.  While we may not be able to see each other face to face, we can still encourage and pray with one another.
  • Call our older members or those who are unable to get out and see if they need any groceries or if you can pick up anything for them since you are going out anyway.  Suggestion: When you pick something up for someone, arrange to leave it on a doorstep or back porch in case you were exposed to germs.
  • I am still trying to work with a couple of organizations to potentially deliver some meals to either the elderly or school-aged children who are out of school right now.  As those opportunities become available, I will pass them along to you.

In Christ’s Love,

Pastor Justin

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Mar 18

It’s Not About Me

Have you ever met someone who thought they were indispensable to their company or maybe a team that they played on? I think we have all met that person. I would even take a guess that at times in our life we have been that person. We may not have said it just the way I put it, but we felt we were really important, and that things wouldn’t be the same if we weren’t there. If so, let Moses’ story be a cautionary tale for us all. Deuteronomy 34:6 says, “And He buried him in a valley in the land of Moab, opposite Beth Peor; but no one knows his grave to this day.”

This is a record of the end of Moses’ life. The time has finally come for Moses to leave this life and enter into his eternity. This is a journey that we must all one day take. It is a journey that we must all be prepared for by having surrendered to the grace of God and be saved. Moses wasn’t allowed to go into the Promised Land, because in a moment of anger and frustration, he deliberately disobeyed God. What that story tells us is that God disciplines His children for their sin, but they are still His children. We see another act of God’s grace towards Moses in God sending Moses up Mt. Nebo to look out over the land that God was going to give to the children of Israel. God even gave Moses a supernatural viewing of all the land, because some of what Moses saw wouldn’t be visible from where he was at the time. But God wanted Moses to know that He was faithful to His promises and faithful to His children.

God is faithful to His promises and faithful to His children Click To Tweet

There is significance in the fact that Moses’ grave is unmarked. The significance is this, it’s not about Moses. Moses was a servant of God. Moses was to bring honor and glory to God. We as humans have a natural inclination to worship people, just look at famous athletes or entertainers who die, and the responses that pour in from people. If we knew where Moses’ grave was, I am sure that it would be a popular tourist destination for Jews and Christians. The end of Deuteronomy tells us that there was never a prophet like Moses after Moses; that is, until Jesus came along and was not only a better prophet, but He was the promised Messiah. I remember hearing pastor Matt Chandler say something years ago that has stuck with me; pastor Chandler said, “The man goes into the ground, but the mission goes on.” I believe that is the message of the end of the book of Deuteronomy. It was never about Moses, it was always about God. It was about who God was, and what He does for His children. My job as a husband, father, and a pastor is not to have people be inspired by me or in awe of me. My responsibility is to be faithful to God and His calling on my life, and to make sure that I point those around me to Him. One of these days I will no longer be here. What will my legacy be for my wife, my children, and the church? May it be nothing of what I’ve done, but may people only speak of what Jesus did for me in saving me, and what He did through me in pointing others to Him.

Our relationship with God won't be taken away, but His hand of blessing and our usefulness for the kingdom could be Click To Tweet

One other lesson that I think this story once again brings home is that there are consequences for our sin. Moses still belonged to God. God still used Moses to lead the children of Israel, and to represent God to Israel. However, for all the good that Moses did in his life, he still paid a price for willfully and blatantly disobeying God. This should be a warning to all who are disciples of Jesus, that while our relationship with God can never be taken away, His hand of blessing and our usefulness for the kingdom of God can be.

By His grace and for His glory,

Pastor Justin

Posted in Through The Bible in 2020, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
Mar 17

Amazing Grace

Have you ever felt like you messed up too big or that there’s no coming back from whatever you have done? I’ve got great news, while some people might write you off, God hasn’t! Deuteronomy 30:3 says, “That the Lord your God will bring you back from captivity, and have compassion on you, and gather you again from all the nations where the Lord your God has scattered you.”

Some people may write you off, but God hasn't Click To Tweet

God knew that Israel was going to go through a vicious cycle where He blessed them, they rebelled, He would discipline, they would confess and turn from their sin, and He would restore them. Then the cycle would essentially start all over. It’s the cycle of pride-fall-humility-restore. To show His all-knowing nature, God told them what they were going to do before they ever did it. He also told them what was going to happen both in the immediate aftermath of their sinful rebellion, but also the result when they humbled themselves and turned back to God.

What was true for Israel, is true for you and I today. The cycle we see them follow in throughout the Old Testament, is the same cycle we often see in our own lives today. One of the greatest blessings we can take from this is that God is willing to forgive and to restore us as we humble ourselves and admit our sin. I love what Paul said in the end of Romans 5:20, “…where sin did abound, grace did abound much more.” This must not be construed as a license to sin and do whatever we want. Rather, it should be seen as a comfort to those who feel like they have messed up too much and gone too far. There is never an excuse for our blatant sinful rebellion against God, but the good news is this, we can never out sin the grace of God.

There is never an excuse for our sin, but the good news is we can never out sin the grace of God Click To Tweet

We must confess our sin, but we can also know that God will forgive our sin as we turn from it and in faith turn to Him. Our sinful nature is one of the biggest reasons why we need accountability in our lives. We always think we are stronger than we are, or that we have it under control when we don’t. You and I need people in our lives who love us enough to call us out when we sin. Do you have that person or those people? Are you that person for someone else? If you don’t have that person or you aren’t that person, pray today about who you can enter into that type of relationship with, and then do it. It just might save you from making that foolish mistake, and it might keep you from having to experience the discipline of the Lord again.

By His grace and for His glory,

Pastor Justin

Posted in Through The Bible in 2020 | Leave a comment
Mar 17

Learning Humility

Have you ever had a time where things seemed to be going so good for you, and then all of the sudden something happens and it all comes to a screeching halt? I won’t speak for you, but oftentimes when that happens to me, it happens right around the time I start thinking “I’ve got this.” In the south at least, that’s what’s called getting too big for your britches. This isn’t something new. It’s something we see over and over in Scripture, including in our text for today in our series, Blogging Through The Bible In 2020. Deuteronomy 8:3 says, “So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord.”

We are dependent on God for all things, not just some things. Click To Tweet

God through Moses is revealing an important truth for us here, we need to learn humility. We need to remember that we are dependent upon God for all things, not just some things. Jesus quotes this verse during His time in the wilderness being tempted in Matthew 4. Later in the New Testament, James reminds us in James 4:6, “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” In this situation, we learn that trying times can come to God’s children as a way to keep us humble. They can teach us that we aren’t self-sufficient. They come to remind us of our desperation, and dependence. But they also remind us of the all-sufficiency, all-powerfulness, and the grace of God. Yes, Israel suffered hunger in the wilderness; but God also demonstrated His grace by providing food for them.

I look at what is going on in the world right now, and I can’t help but wonder if God isn’t trying to not only get our attention, but also remind us of who we are and more importantly, who He is. If you look in the Bible, you will see that God had already recorded these “common sense” approaches. The idea of washing our hands, putting other’s needs in front of our own needs, and serving one another are all throughout the Bible. We all know that we need to slow down, but yet we never actually slow down. The Bible reveals that God built into us a steady rhythm of work and rest. He also warned us over and over of the consequences of not doing so. As a whole, the world has been trying to eradicate God from every square of our lives, and yet when we get faced with a crazy pandemic, suddenly people want to call for prayer. Please don’t misunderstand me, a call to prayer is the smartest call we can make. At Westlake this past Sunday, we spent more time in prayer. My heart’s desire in this is that this won’t turn into another September 12th. The day after the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, we saw people realizing their own mortality. Our nation became a little kinder and gentler for a while. In many respects, we are seeing it again, except in the political arena and news (which should tell us all something about those who are supposed to be working for us). My prayer is that as God humbles us as a people, we will lovingly surrender and submit to Him not for a season, but for the rest of our lives. We are in a trying time filled with pain right now. I have no idea when it is going to slow down or even come to a halt. But I do know that there is One who knows the answer to that question and much, much more. He is the One who can use all things, including bad things, and turn them around for His glory and our good. He is the Lord. So, let us seek Him and His wisdom. Let’s allow God to humble us, so that in due time He can heal us and restore us.

By His grace and for His glory,

Pastor Justin

Posted in Through The Bible in 2020 | Leave a comment
Mar 15

Because of the Lord

Do we ever deserve a gift? Of course not, that’s a silly question. We receive a gift because of the kindness, generosity, and love of the gift-giver. Moses was reminding Israel of this point in our text for today in Blogging Through The Bible In 2020. Deuteronomy 7:7 says, “The Lord did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any other people, for you were the least of all people.”

We receive a gift because of the kindness, generosity, and love of the gift-giver Click To Tweet

Moses is explaining Israel’s role in the world, and the purpose God had for them. God chose Israel, not the other way around. The same is true for us in salvation. It is not that we somehow chose God. Rather, He chose us and in doing so, God gave us the faith necessary to turn from our sin and turn in faith trusting Jesus’ death and resurrection was the only way we could be saved. This was an act of God’s grace. The amazing thing is why God chose Israel instead of another nation. He chose Israel to reveal His power and might. God electing Israel was a demonstration of God’s mercy and grace. It’s not that Israel deserved to be chosen by God. Rather, He did it to show that He is gracious and merciful in saving some. I heard a pastor say before, “The scandal of the cross is not that God would allow some to go to hell. The scandal of the cross is that God would save anyone in the first place.”

We should praise God and thank Him for His mercy and grace in saving a sinner such as us. He does it not because of who we are or what we could do for Him. He did it to reveal His nature and character to us. This grace comes with a great responsibility. Because God chose us, we have a responsibility to Him, to be like Him, and to represent Him to the world. We don’t do these things in order to be saved, but rather we do them because we have been saved. Let’s let our light shine bright to the world to show the amazing grace of our Lord and Savior!

By His grace and for His glory,

Pastor Justin

Posted in Through The Bible in 2020 | Leave a comment
Mar 13

Statement on Church and the Novel Coronavirus

Right now, the world is experiencing a pandemic caused by COVID-19, also known as novel coronavirus.  We at Westlake Baptist want to strike a balance between faith in the sovereign God and appropriate precaution. As such, we are going to make some minor changes to our upcoming Sunday worship service.  We will notpartake in the Lord’s Supper as part of our service, and we will not have a meal immediately following our 10:30 worship service.  We will still have Sunday school at 9:30, and worship will be at 10:30.  We are looking forward to this time of worship as we will have a special guest speaker from Gideons International, as well as, our children’s ministry will sing a song for us.

We want to encourage you to come and worship with us this Sunday.  We understand that some people are nervous about going out into crowds with the spread of the novel coronavirus at this time.  We certainly understand that, and encourage you to exercise what you feel is your best judgment.  We at WBC are not doctors, and we do not want to tell you something that we do not know for a fact.  We have been in contact with health officials in the county as well as we have been following closely the updates and information coming from the Virginia Department of Health and the Center for Disease Control.  We want you to feel comfortable if you choose to come and worship with us this Sunday.  Therefore, I want to assure you of precautionary steps that we have taken and will continue to take:

  • All common areas and touch surfaces have been wiped down with approved disinfectants.
  • All areas in the nursery, children’s, and youth area have been wiped down with approved disinfectants.
  • We have both soap available in the restrooms as well as hand sanitizer in the church building.

While we cannot guarantee that this will keep people from getting sick, we are taking every precaution possible according to the VDH and CDC to help prevent the spread not only of the novel coronavirus, but also flu germs.  For those who are coming to worship with us on Sunday, we would like to ask you to help us prevent the spread of any germs by doing the following:

  • If you feel sick, we will miss you worshipping with us, but we would like to ask for you to stay home this weekend in order to rest and recover from any illness.
  • If a child or youth has a body temperature 99.6 or above, we respectfully ask you to keep them home.  It is best to wait until they are 24 hours fever free without medicine before returning to normal activities.
  • Please wash your hands after touching common touchpoints.  Proper washing of hands per CDC guidelines is using soap and rubbing your hands together for at least 20 seconds (sing the ABC song while washing your hands and you will be good to go).
  • If you cough or sneeze, please do so into a tissue, and then wash your hands.
  • We are going to practice fellowship from a distance for the next couple of weeks.  This means we encourage you to smile at each other, nod at each other, and talk with each other, but not hug or handshake.  If you want any contact with brothers and sisters in Christ, feel free to fist bump, elbow bump, or foot bump.

We understand that some will see the minor changes to the worship service and the extra precautions being taken as silly or overreacting, we want to look at for each person who comes and worships at WBC.  While most people who get sick will recover, we believe that loving our neighbor is looking at for the “least of these” who worship with us.

While the world experiences this pandemic and many are scared, we want to give you hope by offering the following biblical insights that apply not only during the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, but these truths are still applicable in the best of times.

  • God is in control.  While it may seem as the world is going crazy, and we may not understand everything going on, we know that God does know what is going on. 
  • We are to live by faith, not fear.  God is not the author of fear.  When we remember that God is in control, it gives us confidence that nothing is going to come to us that He is not already aware of.  As the saying goes, “I may not know what tomorrow holds, but I know who holds my tomorrows.”  Fear and panic are normal human emotions and reactions to the unknown.  However, just because we don’t understand doesn’t mean that God doesn’t understand.
  • Racism or discrimination is never ok.  During times like these, we often see the very best in people.  However, we also tend to see the worst come out in some people.  There have been many reports around the country of racism or discrimination towards Asian-Americans.  Let us remember that all of mankind is created in the image of God, God loves them enough to have sent His Son, Jesus, to die for them, and He desires a relationship with each of us.  No one in the Asian community caused this pandemic, and to take our fear or frustrations out on them is sinful.
  • Our hope is in Jesus. Regardless of what is going on in the world, we can face uncertain days, because Jesus died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins, and three days later He rose from the dead proving that death has no power of those who surrender in faith to Jesus.

As we go through these uncertain times in our nation, let us pray for our elected officials, doctors, nurses, research personnel, those who are sick, and the families of those who have died from the novel coronavirus.  Let us pray that God will give a cure soon, and that we will not only draw closer to Him now, but that we would remain closer to Him.

In Christ’s Love,

Pastor Justin

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Mar 12

God Is Near

Have you ever felt alone? I think we all go through times in which we feel alone. The amazing blessing of God for the child of God is this, you are never alone. In today’s reading, Moses reminds Israel of the great privilege they have because they are God’s people. Deuteronomy 4:7 says, “For what great nation is there that has God so near to it, as the Lord our God is to us, for whatever reason we may call upon Him?”

Moses is reminding Israel of God’s faithfulness to them, as well as reminding them of God’s blessings to them. Even though there were bigger and more powerful nations in existence that were certainly a threat to Israel, no other nation on earth could brag that God was near to them. No other nation could say “we are God’s children.” With that declaration came great responsibility, but also great blessings for Israel. Israel was sovereignly chosen by God to be His people. Israel being selected by God had nothing to do with Israel; it had everything to do with God. However, that also meant that Israel had a major responsibility to play towards the world. Israel was to be a light to the nations by how they lived. Their lives were to be an example of who God is, what it means to live in a right relationship with God, and they would even show the consequences for disobeying God.

If we fast forward into the New Testament, we see something amazing concerning the church. What Israel was supposed to do, but failed to do through their sin; the church is called to do. Romans 12:1-2 tell us that we are to be a living sacrifice that is holy and acceptable to God. 2 Corinthians 5:20 tells us that we are to be ambassadors for Christ to those around us. While as as Christians enjoy the same blessings today that Israel did in the Old Testament, we also bear the same responsibilities. This means that my life is not mine to do as I please. I am to be a living witness to the power of the Gospel and the glory of God. It means that I am to faithfully and accurately live as a representation of who God is to those around me. I am to daily submit myself to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Let us remember this, “to whom much is given, much is required.”

The awesome thing about it is this, God doesn’t expect us to do it on our own. He knows that on our own, we would utterly fail. We would fail because of our sin nature. In the Old Testament, God may have delivered Israel out of Egypt, but God spent the next 40 years getting Egypt’s ways out of Israel’s life. The same is true for you and I. While God has saved us from our sin, from the moment He saves us, He spends the rest of our life getting the sin out of us. What a blessing to know that God is committed to this work, and He will be successful in this work! No, we won’t be sinless this side of eternity. But God will use life’s circumstances, trials, and difficulties to mold us and shape us into the men and women He has created us to be. When we surrender to God’s work of transformation in our lives, we become living trophies and testimonies to the person and work of Jesus Christ. Though we often pray for God to remove difficult things from our life so that we can have an easier life, we need to remember that God is near. He has not, nor will He ever leave us alone. When we find ourselves struggling, and we aren’t sure what to do, just remember, God is near. Cry out to Him for help and for strength, and know that He will not turn a deaf hear to the cry of His children. When you feel alone just remember, God is near!

By His grace and for His glory,

Pastor Justin

Posted in Through The Bible in 2020 | Leave a comment
Mar 11

You Didn’t Believe

On Sunday as part of the message, I made the following statement, “I am convinced that part of the fall of mankind is that we forget what we should remember, and we remember the things that we should forget.” I think this is proven over and over how we can remember the one bad thing that happened during our day, but we often forget to remember and thank God for the nine things that went well. I think we see this statement proven in our Scripture for the day in Blogging Through The Bible In 2020 as well. Deuteronomy 1:32 says, “Yet, for all that, you did not believe the Lord your God.”

Part of the fall of mankind is this, we forget what we should remember, and we remember the things we should forget. Click To Tweet

Moses is giving a history lesson as the book opens. He is reminding Israel of why they had been wandering in the wilderness for the last 38 years. He also recounted all the ways that God had showed that He was with Israel, and Moses recounted many of the blessings of God towards Israel. Yet, Israel still struggled to believe that God loved them, that He was with them, and that they could trust God even when His plan didn’t seem to make sense to them. Moses wanted Israel to understand that God does everything with a purpose. Nothing is by accident, luck, or coincidence. The events of life are a reminder of the sovereignty of God. Let’s be honest though, we sometimes struggle to trust that God’s plan is best for us. We have our own ideas of what would be best. I heard a pastor say before, “If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans.”

"If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans." Click To Tweet

When of the greatest helps in strengthening our faith today is to remember God’s faithfulness to us in the past. God has promised that He will be present with us as His children at all times. As believers today, we have the Spirit of God living inside of us (see 1 Cor. 6:19). The Holy Spirit living inside of us is the proof and fulfillment of David’s words in the Old Testament when he wrote, “Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I feel from Your presence” (Psa. 139:7)? It’s not that we should deny our present struggles, it is that we should remember the power of God and the presence of God in our struggles. As the saying goes, “I may not know what tomorrow holds, but I know who holds my tomorrows.” Pray, give your joys and your sorrows over to the Lord, and trust that He will work things out for His glory and your good as He promised to.

By His grace and for His glory,

Pastor Justin

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