"Lay hands suddenly on no man, neither be partaker of other men's sins: keep thyself pure." (1 Timothy 5:22) What a verse of scripture in these days of 2016! Recently in my Pastoral ministry I have dealt with several situations where the question has come up: "What do I do or what do I say?" And yet when it comes to the decision of "what side do I take" the answer to the question seems to be right in front of our faces and that is the scripture that I have just shared with you from out of 1 Timothy.
So much SIN has seized the hearts of people who, at one time, were or even are of the household of faith. But as Demas did in 2 Timothy 4:10, some have come to love this present world and what it has to offer instead of the God whom created them. But for the Christian who does this it affects their Christian friends around them as to "How do I handle them?" "What do I do if it comes down to lying or telling the truth as to what they have told me?" Surely we must do all we can to keep their confidentiality as God would have us do that unless it were to bring physical harm to someone. But our verse above once again comes to thought about this where Paul told Timothy "Not to be a partaker of another man's sins" which is to say that if someone tells a lie to cover for someone then they hold themselves in account to God for bearing false witness. For 1 Timothy 5:22 is not a question in my opinion but a commandment and we should NEVER allow ourselves to get into a place where we are "aiding and furthering" someone's sins against God. For just as their sins will be found out as Numbers 32:23 says, the one who is defending the sin or trying to help cover it up will one day stand in account if they bear false witness concerning another person's sins. Jesus said in John 8:32 that the truth will make us free. Lies just like other sins DO NOTHING but hold us in bondage to Satan, and wreak havoc in destroying people and lives, in which by the way, the devil totally enjoys and has pleasure in! Because that bondage blinds believers who have drifted away, and most of all blinds the lost that what they are doing, and how they are living is justified, lets be in mind that in God's eyes, lying, adultery, stealing, hatred and wrath are NEVER justified in His eyes! Jesus said in Matthew 5:39: "but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also." But yet the reason we do not follow this commandment goes back to the blindness and bondage of jealousy, hate and envy that has taken hold of so many hearts today. We cannot see this commandment because vindictiveness, and revenge is all that controls our spirit when He himself tells us in Exodus 14 to let HIM fight our battles for us and in Romans 12:19 it says that "Vengeance is mine sayeth the Lord."
So I encourage you all, that you BE NOT a partaker in someone else's sins for that will only bring judgement down upon yourselves. Instead allow Jesus, who is the way, truth and the life to set you free by telling and living the truth before He returns and finds you living in bondage instead of in the freedom of HIS truth."
If there is anything 2020 taught us is was that things can totally change for us in a matter of seconds. When COVID-19 hit things started closing down and life totally changed for everyone not only in America but around the world. For a year or so the world had one ruler and it's name was COVID. But praise God because of the knowledge God gave so many to help find a vaccine we have been able to push back against this dictator of disease and have been more liberated in 2021. No doubt though the powers of the devil will still be at work to try and cause as much chaos as possible.
I bring this up because of the fact that as quickly as last year happened we see just how quickly death can occur as well. One minute we can be here, the gone the next. So is it with the rapture of the church. Scripture says "In a moment in the twinkling of an eye" Jesus will return. Are you ready should death come quickly upon you or should Jesus return? I can testify for myself that I was totally not ready when the pandemic hit in the Spring of 2020. And even though I am ready for the coming of the Christ it out in my mind that I always need to keep myself ready just in case He calls my number. I pray you are ready too. If not ask Him simply to come into your heart and life today. Romans 10:9 says "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved."
You can know you are ready for Heaven today just by calling upon the name of Jesus!!!
You know folks Jesus could have easily done the same thing. Instead of WILLINGLY giving Himself on the cross He could have had a spoiled attitude of "I am not going to that earth and die for their sins!!" "They got themselves into it by sinning, now let them fix it or die in their sins and burn in everlasting torment!" But yet Christ DID NOT do that instead He was GRACEFUL and LONGSUFFERING to the extent that He did come to this world! He took a beating for you and I! He did march up the Via Delarosa to Calvary! He had nails hammered in His hands and feet! A crown of thorns pushed into His skull all so that you and I could have the freedom to make excuses not to be in His house, or even read His Word?
Jesus WILLINGLY died and gave Himself for us with NO EXCUSE so that we might have everlasting life through Him and yet this generation today tries to make EXCUSES as to why they "cannot do for Him, "be in His house" or even take time to "read His Word and Pray" but can find time to be at a baseball game, football game or any other kind of game or activity. I am one who loves sports things myself but we must look at our priorities instead of making excuses as to how we can get out of the Lord's House.
If you want a real excuse, which is an actual reason, visit your local nursing home or hospital and listen to some of the moaning and crying due to terrible physical pain that the residents of that facility are in. These people will gladly trade places with you just so they can go to church while today's society of "churchgoers" make EXCUSES as to whether or not they want to go to church or stay home like they do on Friday night when deciding whether to eat out or stay home. Judgement day is coming folks!
"Let us not be lazy on Sunday and make excuses as to why we cannot go and worship our Lord." No, that is not from scripture, but from the Book of Pastor Barry! LOL Let's STOP MAKING EXCUSES and get on with the program God has called us to get on with, that when Jesus returns he may find us all faithful!!! For scripture says... "Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful" (1 Corinthians 4:2) When He returns, where will you be found???
Now that I am back in the "blog" business one thing I would like to share is that DEATH has no respect of persons neither does he take a day off.
It seems over the past three weeks or so we have seen many leave this world, some young, some old to enter into eternity..
This "Death" is something that will hit all of us one day and yet though the human side of us dread it, the spiritual man who is saved and born again longs for the day when we are able to be with Jesus face to face! For in that place scripture tells us that there is no more death (Rev. 21) sorrow, crying or heartache. Jesus was sorrowful unto death is what He told us just before He was taken away and arrested the night before He was crucified. In Matthew 26:39 He said "Father, let this cup pass from me. Nevertheless not my will but thine be done". I do not think Jesus was dreading death however as He knew how it would end on the third day when He would arise from the dead, but dreaded the pain, humiliation and much more that He would have to endure on His road to death. Death claimed Him once and will you and I once as Hebrews 9:27 tells us "It is appointned unto man once to die; after this the judgement." However since Jesus defeated death, we to have defeated death IF He is our personal Savior.
He will one day walk us through the Shadow of death only to take us to that wonderful place called Heaven where we will never lose anyone ever again, but spend eternity with them and most of all with our Lord Jesus!! May all of us be ready for the day that He calls our name to head home!
I think one reason so many families and marriages are in trouble today is because they have not totally surrendered all they are and even each other to Jesus Christ. In some weddings I have done, during the sand ceremony I have read the following: "Today, this relationship is symbolized through the pouring of these individual containers of sand one, representing (the wife or husband) and all that you were, all that you are, and all that you will ever be." We as couples should make sure that we have given ourselves not just to one another, but our marriages as a whole to the Lord, "all that we were, all that we are, and all that we will ever be."
The hardest thing for so many today is to totally surrender everything to the Lord and let Him be in charge of it because we are sometimes creatures of control. Feeling that we have to be in control at all times which is totally opposite of trusting God by faith. It is He who should have the control, not us.
May 2016 be your "Year of New Beginnings" and be less stressful than 2015 because you have given total control of your home, your life, you marriage and even your children into the care of the Lord Jesus!! #2016yearofnewbeginnings
But yet what is Christmas to so many others who do not have Christ in their lives? Nor do they acknowledge Him only in a passing moment or in a vain word? But yet many still celebrate Christmas with no acknowledgment of Jesus Christ whose name is actually in the word CHRISTmas.
On that first Christmas night there was no drunken parties, no drugs or profane language. It was a glorious night! A night that was setting the world up for what one day would be a huge party they could go to by way of this special baby that was born on that starry night. Can you just imagine during this time of year how it must break the heart of Jesus to look down and see so many doing all these sinful things to celebrate His birthday, when it was He who came to do away with all the lewdness and rioting and drunkenness upon the earth?
Also with it being the birthday of Jesus, how many often remember to wish Him Happy Birthday on December 25? "Pastor Barry we do not know that is His correct birthday?" "It could have been in September, February or April?" Even so it has been set aside on December 25 just as Thanksgiving is the fourth Thursday of each November.
At our house each Christmas morning since Karen and Katie were small we gather around the Christmas tree with a Bible and a candle. Olivia lights the candle usually and then we read the Christmas story out of Luke 2. After that we sing "Happy Birthday" to Jesus. No, that does not mean we are a perfect family by any means, lol, but we do want to share Jesus day with Him before gift giving, family time at Grandparents and a big Christmas feast.
Perhaps you and your family do this as well? Perhaps some do not? If it were our birthday the majority of us would long for someone to wish us a Happy Birthday. Don't we owe the Savior of the World that recognition as well? Merry Christmas!
However in 2015 I believe that adultery has gone way past the days of a man cheating on his wife or vice versa. Yes, these things unfortunately, still happen because the desires of the flesh, if we do not stand strong in spirit, can overtake anyone at anytime. Many may say: "Not me Pastor Barry! I would NEVER do that to my husband or wife." Well let me remind you what Peter said when he told Jesus he would NEVER deny Him. He denied Him three times!!! So as one dear Christian lady once told me in my early Christian life, "Never say what you aren't going to do because you may end up doing it and having to eat your words." No truer words were spoken to me that day back in 1989.
However so many people have been lured away from the purity of marriage by the other things instead of just "running out on their spouses with another person." As a Pastor I cannot begin to tell you how many marriages and relationships have been damaged or even destroyed because of the fact that their priorities were totally out of order. Today the husband is so busy working or doing what he wants to do that while he is so busy with those things there is a lonely wife sitting at home who is hungering for the attention of her husband. Not in a physical way mind you, but in an emotional way. Then there is the wife who also can get so occupied with many other things that the husband goes lacking for attention and this totally breaks the bonds of marriage and plays right into the hands of the devil who so desires to see marriage disrespected and damaged all because of the fact that it is an institution of God. (Genesis 2:24)
"But Pastor Barry I have to work for a living so that my family can have what they need." Country singer Loretta Lynn once sang a song about her childhood called "Coal Miner's Daughter" which was also the name of a motion picture about her life. In that song she said "We were poor but we had love, that's the one thing my daddy made sure of." With that, my thought is that Dad, your child will not remember 20 years from now, if Jesus tarries His return, what he had for dinner on a certain day, but he will remember whether or not you spent time with him, attended his ball games, watched your daughter play her first piano or dance recital. Therefore if we are so busy working or surfing the internet, spending time texting which all of us probably do way to much, we run the risk of causing our spouses and family to seek attention elsewhere because we were to busy having an affair with work, sports, computer and many other things, even just doing "what I want to do."
God, people, has given us a family if we are blessed to have one and it is a gift from God himself. To be so wrapped up in self will eventually bring one thing and that is loneliness and isolation all of our own doing.
In closing let me share with you an illustration I have used in Pastoral counseling many times. And that is Mom and Dad, that as you have that affair with your job, or just investing all your time in yourself instead of your family, the return off of your investment later will be nothing. Reason being is that when that child grows up, and you retire, you are going to want to know why your child has not come around you and perhaps sub consciously the reason they haven't is because of the lack of time investment you gave them growing up. Same thing happens with our marriages. That is that if it is all about us, and not having a heart of sacrifice for our spouse and family, we will lose them and become isolated from them all because of the decisions we made. So in our line of priorities, let us remember, God FIRST, Family SECOND and Me LAST! All this equals to a happy Christian family life and the way our Heavenly Father ordained it to be.
But yet perhaps it is the sign of the end times? Jesus tells us in Matthew 24 that nation shall rise against nation, kingdom against kingdom and that has been going on for years but perhaps not as heightened as what we have seen in 2015. Syria, which is to north of Israel, is right now ground zero of where the axis of terror seems to be home to. The U.S., Great Britain, France, Russia and many other nations have bombed targets in this nation to try and stop the cause of terror around the world. Is this a sign of another World War? The nations of the world are there no doubt in that one concentrated area battling the same sort of murderous regime it battled in the 1940's when Adolf Hitler had a vision to rule the world and would kill and destroy anything he could to try and accomplish it. For a time he made gains, but in the end, he was soundly defeated and destroyed himself so that he could evade having to answer for his crimes.
These terrorists are the same way. They plan out murderous attacks on innocent people including Christians until they try to achieve their goal which is world domination.
The Handwriting is on the wall I believe people!! And it is time to put aside our pride Christians and whatever else and be looking for our soon coming King! So much has infiltrated our minds to become bitter which Satan himself is enjoying. I have certainly seen plenty of storminess in 2015 my own self, and helping others as they suffer through the storms of life, marriage, emotions and much more!! Let us love one another until Jesus comes and may we, even in the midst of storm, be thankful for all that God has given and done for each of us this Thanksgiving!!!
I thank the Lord for every volunteer that we have here at Pleasant Grove Church. There is no doubt in my mind that is how God has blessed this church in allowing it to survive since it's inception in 1859. Just recently we had our annual Fall Bazaar which this year was the main fund raiser for our Church's Lady's Auxiliary. The vision for the bazaar came several years ago from Marsha Sauls who is actually President of our Lady's Auxiliary. Each year since 2010 it has been a very successful event during the fall at our church, as well as our annual Spring Auction and BBQ that benefits our building fund which Marsha also had a vision for and leads. Over the last 3 years the BBQ and auction has brought in nearly $20,000 each year for our church building fund. Also our Fair Booth that we have each year at The Wayne County Fair goes to benefit our building fund and was envisioned by folks like Terry Aycock, Debbie Howell, Ken and Vickie Jones and several others. Last year during our second year at our fair booth, one man was saved and today is now a member of our church!! Thank God for those with vision and for those who can take the ball and roll with it and work for the Kingdom of God like they do! There are so many others in our church like the volunteers in our Senior Saints Ministry, our Youth Council and also Walter and Elizabeth Fleming in our Sound Booth Area who know how to take the ball and go with it! All this seems to bring harmony and good fellowship among the brethren and it is truly a "Pastor's Dream!" As their Pastor, I pray for them as the continue to do as God has called them to do that the gifts they have been given will continue to glorify God and bless us as a church to have an opportunity to minister and reach souls for Jesus Christ!!
Has anyone ever been stuck in the past and can't figure out how to get out of the past? Paul here gives us directions as to just how to do that and why we should do this in this verse of scripture.
How many times have we been hurt physically in an accident or in some other way, only to feel excruciating pain at the time of the incident, then for it to heal and it leaves nothing but a scar. You know that is exactly how it is with the pains of the heart. We deal with hurt feelings, broken hearts only for Jesus in His most awesome way, and in His time, to heal us of the pain that leaves that scar. But isn't that how it was with Christ Himself? In John 20:26-27 Jesus said "And after eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, “Peace to you!” Then He said to Thomas, “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.” Jesus was pointing to the places in which the nails were driven at His crucifixion. Although the physical pain was gone, the memories of the pain were still there. I once heard someone say years ago that they would forgive but never forget. Although it is hard to forget pain because of the scars that are left behind, we must have a willingness to "forgive and forget" and move ahead and forget those things which are behind us as our first scripture said. For there is still so much work left to do for Christ our Savior! To look back will only hinder us as it did Lot's wife in Genesis 19 when she was turned into a pillar of salt when looking back at Sodom and Gomorrah when commanded not too. May we move forward in Jesus name, by His grace, and by His healing that we may worship and work for Him until He joyfully comes to take us home to Heaven!
As a broadcaster who has programmed on location as they were yesterday, it re enforces that we are certainly in those "Perilous Times" spoken of in 2 Timothy 3:1 which interpreted is "troubled times." As a father of a 22 and 21 year old I can only imagine the heartache that Alison and Adam's families are going through after being robbed by a mentality unstable individual. My prayers are with them all and with our nation as it has been, as all this junk about "rights" and "fairness" and "I've been offended" has done nothing except cause death and destruction. Have I ever been offended? Certainly I have with attacks upon Christianity being a daily thing in America these days it seems. But we do as Jesus says and "do good to those who use you, criticize and abuse you and let God take care of the rest ." We live in a nation that seems to be based on "I am offended" by everything" here in 2015. Folks, let me quote my dear wife as she has told me many time in our 23 years of marriage. "There are sometimes you just have to build a bridge and get over it." And I do prefer building that bridge over violence any day. #prayingforalisonandadamsfamilies