"Occupy Until HE Comes"
In Psalm 121:1-8 we read, "I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. (2) My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth. (3) He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber. (4) Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. (5) The LORD is thy keeper: the LORD is thy shade upon thy right hand. (6) The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night. (7) The LORD shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul. (8) The LORD shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore."
It's hard to believe that another year has become history. What awaits us during this coming year of 2012, in our personal lives, in our families, in our church, in our nation as well as on the international scene, only God knows. However it is good that we take heed to His instructions "To occupy until he comes." Therefore, I do pray that the Lord will be at the center of all you do.
Whether your feet be mired in the mud of some unexpected valley or scaling the precipitous heights of some great mountain, whether you are in the brightness of noonday or in the darkness of midnight, whether in sickness or in health, whether you have much or little, my prayer for you is to stay true, stay on track, stay excited, and stay at the task God has given to you. Honor Him, walk with Him, and serve Him every day.
As usual, for the first week of the NEW year, we set aside the Weekly SERMON to give you a challenge for the coming year. For the next few minutes would you please put aside what you are doing, pull up a chair, and focus on these TWELVE New Year's suggestions:
First: Search the Scriptures daily. Read them systematically and devotionally.
In Acts 17:11 , we read of the people at Thessalonica that they "…received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily whether those things were so."
In Psalm 119:105 we read, "Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path." The Word of God provides a guide to our daily walk of life. The Word of God stabilizes our walk though life .
In Psalm 119:11 we read, "Thy word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against thee." One can not live victoriously in the Christian life without reading the Word of God. You must read it, study it, search it, and memorize it to keep you from sin. If you choose to neglect those activities, then sin will keep you from the Word of God.
Throughout 2012, the challenge is to read your Bible daily and then get down on your knees and search your heart. I remind you of Psalms 119:165, "Great peace have they which love thy law, and nothing shall offend thee." Jesus said in John 5:39, "Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life, and they are they which testify of me."
Second: Pray a lot! Pray and expect to get answers from God.
Jeremiah 33:3 is perhaps one of the most challenging verses in the Bible on the subject of prayer, "Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knoweth not."
Then in Ephesians 3:20 we read, "Now unto Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think…"
Finally in I Thessalonians 5:17 we read, "Pray without ceasing."
There ought to be DAILY prayer on the part of each and every believer. Praying is a full time job. We ought to pray, and in our prayers expect to get answers from God. May I challenge you during 2012 to have a daily prayer life! There is so much to pray for – yourself, your family, your church, lost souls, missionaries and the ministry.
Third: Witness every day and try to win the ones to whom you witness. You can win souls if you work at it.
In Mark 15:16 Jesus commanded us to "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature." Soul winning is every Christian's responsibility, every day, in every situation. It is also the primary responsibility of the church.
For in Acts 2:47 we read, "And the Lord added to the church DAILY such as should be saved."
Then in Acts 5:42 the principle of visitation is established, "And DAILY in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ."
Oh, we must witness as never before. We must reach out and win souls. There are literally thousands of people who are dying and going to hell without any gospel witness.
Fourth: Make church the hub of your life. Have your family in church every Sunday morning, Sunday night and Wednesday night and allow nothing and nobody to discourage you from doing so. In Hebrews 10:24-25 we read, "And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: (25) Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching."
Fifth: Tithe! Give the Lord His portion of your income! You cannot out give Him. So be obedient in your stewardship. In I Corinthians 16:1-2 we read, "Now concerning the collection for the saints…. (2) Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come."
Six: Believe God about everything. Have faith in Him; trust Him. Proverbs 3:5-6 tells us to, "Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. (6) In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths."
Seven: Keep a good spirit in you. Rejoice! Let the joy of the Lord dominate your countenance. In Philippians 4:4 we read,"Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say REJOICE." Spend a little time each day rejoicing in the Lord. Praise the Lord for the BIG things, and even the little blessings in life, that He so graciously gives to you.
Eight: Serve! Find a place to plug your talent into the Lord's work. Do something in which you invest yourself in the Lord's work.
Nine: Keep short accounts with God. Stay in good relationship with Him. Use I John 1:5-10 as often as necessary, but keep things right. "This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. (6) If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: (7) But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. (8) If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. (9) If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (10) If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us."
Ten: Build strong relationships with strong Christians. Run with the right crowd and learn from them. Don't imitate weakness; let strength be your model.
Eleven: Find a mentor. Find someone to whom you can be accountable and who will help you grow in your walk with the Lord. I'm not talking about hero worship, but a mentor of stature whose track record is well established, clean, and obviously faithful.
Twelve: Keep looking expectantly to the sky. Maranatha! Indeed, the Lord is coming. When, we do not know, but it could be sometime soon! With both hands on the plow (at work), keep one eye glancing upward in anticipation of His promised coming. Even though the following passages about the second coming of Jesus are in the revelation for Israel at the end of the tribulation, they can also apply to us.
In Matthew 24:26 we read, "But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no not the angels of heaven, but my Father only."
And then in Matthew 24:44 Jesus says, "Therefore be ye also ready; for in such an hour as ye think not, the Son of man cometh." Live every day, literally live every hour, as if Jesus would come at that moment.
May these suggestions become a full agenda and a fruitful plan for all of us in 2012. Having challenged you with the above, allow me to share with you the vision for the Bible Baptist Ministry and the Weekly SERMON for 2012.
We are humbled by the 1100 Weekly SERMON messages going out by e-mail. This number includes over 830 missionaries receiving them. Since we began this ministry, we have e-mailed nearly 250,000.
We are grateful for those who helped us meet all the financial obligations in 2011. Praise the Lord!
We are grateful for the server system that has significantly reduced the time needed to send the Weekly SERMON.
We are grateful for those who have helped us this past year, our proof readers and 3 Web Sites and server.
I am thankful for you! Your prayers and financial support allowed us to continue to do what God has opened the door for us to do. Without your prayers and support the BBM would not be possible.
Lord willing during 2012, we will focus our Weekly SERMON messages on the rest of the Book of James, our next series along with other topical messages. In addition to the Weekly SERMON messages, we plan to produce two SERMON notebooks.
The first notebook will be the 14 sermons on the names of God, which will contain handout outlines as well as power point suggestions.
The second notebook will contain the contents from the Weekly Letters along with the church bulletin backs I do every week.
Once these are ready, you will be notified. They will be available on CD as will as in print form.
If possible during 2012 would you consider helping us in this faith ministry? Even though we do not charge for the ministry, there are expenses. Your donation will help us continue to "stand in the gap" in "teaching others also." After you have given your tithes to your church and taken care of your pastor, perhaps you would consider giving a one time yearly gift, or a monthly offering? For the purpose of financial accountability, we have placed this ministry under the Green Street Baptist Chapel of Edwardsville, PA. 18704. Checks made out to Green Street Baptist Chapel, memo to Bible Baptist Ministry and mailed to Bible Baptist Ministry 48 Alexie Road, Hanover Township, PA 18706 will be given to our ministry; or phone me at 570.829.5216 ..
Again this year, from the Bible Baptist Ministry, we thank you for your prayers and financial support as we seek to get the message out around the world. We trust you will have a very BLESSED NEW YEAR in the Lord during 2012 .