SUNDAY – JANUARY 23, 2022

“…Suddenly a voice came out of the cloud, saying, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!’ And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their faces and were greatly afraid.  But Jesus came and touched them and said, ‘Arise, and do not be afraid.’  When they had lifted their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only.”  Matthew 17:5-8

 

If we heard someone say that Jesus must be “first in our lives,” most of us would nod in agreement.  The fact is that most of us don’t know how to do that in a practical way.  We might think or ask, “How can I take care of my daily responsibilities and still make Jesus the center of my life?” The following comes from Lettie Cowman’s Springs in the Valley, the January 17th reading with no notation of who wrote it.

 

     “We have to get our eyes off others before we can have the full vision of Jesus.  Moses and Elias had to pass to make possible the vision of Jesus only.  In the year that King Uzziah died, Isaiah says, I saw the Lord.  His eyes and hopes had been upon the mighty and victorious earthly leader, and with his death all these hopes had sunk in despair.  But the stars come out when the lights of earth fade.  It was when Isaiah’s true vision and life began.

     “It is not enough to see Jesus along with other things and persons. What we need is to have Him fill all our vision, all our sky, all our heart, all our plans, and all our future.  What He wants from us is ‘first love,’ that is, the supreme place; and He cannot really be anything to us satisfactorily until He is everything.  He is able to fill every capacity of our being and without displacing any rightful affection or occupation, yet so blend with all, so control all, so become the very essence of all thought and all delight that we can truly say, ‘For me to live is Christ,’ for ‘the love of Christ constraineth me,’ shuts me up and in from everything else as a pent-up torrent in its narrow course, to live not unto myself but ‘unto Him that loved me, and gave Himself for me.’

     “Holy Spirit, bring us our transfiguration, take us apart to our Mount of vision, let Moses and Elias pass, and let us see no man save Jesus only.”

 

Our worship, our service, and our lives must become Christ-centered!
 
I’m waiting and watching!
     Pastor Doug

 

 
 
 
 
 

 

 

SUNDAY – JANUARY 16, 2022

“Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven.  For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.”

Matthew 16:19-20

 

I can confidently say that there is power in prayer.  James wrote, “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” (See James 5:16.)  Many years ago John Wesley said that nothing is done in the Kingdom of God except by prayer.  Certainly those of you reading this little article must agree with the idea that the Christian life includes praying as an essential expression of our faith and trust in our Heavenly Father.  Now think about how important and powerful prayer becomes when it is shared within a fellowship of believers.  When prayer becomes a part of our corporate, united spiritual life, God will respond in incredible and miraculous ways!

 

Cathy and I had the privilege of meeting and hearing a great stalwart of the faith, Richard Owen Roberts, a number of years ago.  It was at a conference entitled “Heart-Cry for Revival.”  At the meeting we acquired some of Brother Roberts’ written material on the subject of “fervent revival prayer!”  Here is a portion from that material.

 

     “The very heart of the biblical teaching on prayer is fervency and consistency.  When men are so earnest that they cannot live without the desired blessing, God is pleased with their attitude and takes delight in their petitions.

     “Half-hearted praying doesn’t even produce half-hearted results.  It is worse than nothing.  In fact, it is an affront against a gracious God.  God Himself is earnest.  He deals earnestly with people and requires people to deal earnestly with Him.

     “Secret prayer for revival is absolutely essential.  Men must begin with prayer for revival of their own souls.  They must wrestle with God in their own closets for this needed blessing.  When it comes, there will come with it a burden for a larger awakening affecting the whole church.  This prayer for revival must go on unceasingly.  It must shape and affect all of life.  It must become a burden of major proportions. It is a duty and a privilege not to be abandoned.

     Prayer for revival must also become a major part of the prayer life of the local church.  It ought to find its way into the public services of worship.  It ought to dominate the prayer meetings of the congregation.”

 

Now for a moment, just imagine what will happen when all of us who are part of NBC begin to pray fervently for a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit, and a fresh touch of God’s grace and power on all of us! Miracles! Salvation! Deliverance! Healing! New life!
 
I’m praying, waiting, and watching!
     Pastor Doug

 

 

 
 
 
 
 

 

SUNDAY  –  JANUARY 9, 2022

“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.  Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things.  Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

Matthew 6:33, 34

 

Last Sunday, I preached a message on the passage that contains these verses.  The theme of the passage is about trusting the Lord to take care of us each and every day of our lives.  On Monday, the very next day, I read the following from Mrs. Cowman’s Springs in the Valley.  It is from the writings of a man named Bob Burdette.

 

     “There are two golden days in the week, upon which, and about which, I never worry – two care-free days, kept sacredly free from fear and apprehension.

     “One of these days is Yesterday; yesterday, with its cares and frets, all its pains and aches, all its faults, mistakes and blunders, has passed forever beyond my recall.  I cannot undo an act that I wrought; nor unsay a word that I said.  All that it holds of my life, of wrong, of regret and sorrow, is in the hands of the Mighty Love that can bring honey out of the rock and sweetest waters out of the bitterest desert.  Save for the beautiful memories – sweet and tender – that linger like the perfume of roses is the heart of the day that is gone, I have nothing to do with Yesterday.  It was mine!  It is God’s!

     “And the other day that I do not worry about is Tomorrow; tomorrow, with all its possible adversities, its burdens, its perils, its large promise and poor performance, its failures and mistakes, is as far beyond my mastery as its dead sister, Yesterday.  It is a day of God’s.  Its sun will rise in roseate splendor, or behind a mask of weeping clouds, but it will rise.

     “Until then, the same Love and Patience that held Yesterday holds Tomorrow.  Save for the star of hope that gleams forever on the brow of Tomorrow, shining with tender promise into the heart of Today, I have no possession in that unborn day of grace.  All else is in the safe keeping of the Infinite Love that is higher than the stars, wider than the skies, deeper than the seas.  Tomorrow is God’s day!  It will be mine!

    “There is left for myself, then, but one day in the week – Today.  Any man can fight the battles of Today!  Any woman can carry the burdens of just one day!  Any man can resist the temptations of Today!  O, friends, it is when we willfully add the burdens of those two awful eternities – Yesterday and Tomorrow – such burdens as only the Mighty God can sustain – that we break down.  It isn’t the experience of Today that drives men mad.  It is the remorse for something that happened Yesterday; the dread of what Tomorrow may disclose.

     “These are God’s days!  Leave them with Him!

     “Therefore, I think and I do, and I journey but one day at a time!  That is the easy way.  That is Man’s Day.  Dutifully I run my course and work my appointed task on that Day of ours.  God, the All-Mighty and All-Loving, takes care of Yesterday and Tomorrow.”
 
God is with us each day!
     Pastor Doug
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

SUNDAY – JANUARY 2, 2022

“Give to the Lord the glory due His name; bring an offering and come into His courts.

Oh, worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness!  Tremble before Him, all the earth.”  Psalm 96:8,9

 

Worship and prayer are often very closely related.  In a broad sense, you cannot do one without the other.  We might be confronted suddenly and need to pray without time to “enter into worship.” It is unfortunately certain that thousands go to a time of worship without the slightest thought of whispering a prayer.  Yet the truth is that if we want to pray effectively, we must worship the God that we are crying out to.  It is also true that we cannot worship fully and reverently without seeking God in prayer.  The disappointing consequence of our lack of worship and prayer is based on our lack of time spent in the company of God.  Both worship and prayer require focus and attention given to God!

 

Andrew Murray’s introduction to the month of January’s devotions in “Daily in His Presence” states:

     “…We are too focused on our human limitations, on our own weakness and sinfulness, and not enough on God’s greatness, holiness, love, and omnipotence.  The thoughts and feelings that fill our hearts and minds influence our prayer (and worship).

     “If we dwell upon our own needs and desires, our own efforts, and our own faith, we shall soon find that there is no real power in our prayers (or worship).  It is essential that we see prayer (and worship) in the light of God; the deep interest He takes in us, the great love with which He desires to answer prayer, the omnipotence of His power, and the magnitude of His strengthening grace.

     “As with all else, in prayer (and worship) God must be first.  Prayer (or worship), to be effective, needs to first be approached in the light of heaven and the infinite glory of the living God.  It is when, by His marvelous grace, we have been lifted up into His fellowship and love that He bestows upon us the blessings we need.  The first thing, then, must be to bow in lowly reverence before God, offering Him our adoration and worship.”

 

Murray concludes: “We need to take time to adore God and secure some sense of His presence. Give God time to reveal Himself to you. Then adore Him. God is in the temple: Let all who appear before Him do so in awe. Prostrate yourself before Him with deepest reverence. Own Him alone as your God and Savior, and praise His name forever.”
 
I am waiting and watching!
     Pastor Doug