From the Pastor’s Heart – 12/31/2017

Ralph H. Dument wrote the following…

 

“What is a year?  A group of days – That may be used in many ways.

A year may be a priceless boon – Alas, that it is gone so soon!

And, yet, we need not feel forlorn – For now another year is born.

Our days and years are wisely planned – They live within the Master’s hand.

So, with glad hope and right good cheer,

We welcome this, another year!”

 

 A new year is another God given opportunity for release of the burdens and anxieties of human existence.  To know Christ, personally is to approach the new beginning, in the assurance and confidence of the hope, that only He can provide.  Confidence, in hope, breeds power in the dependent reality that to be “in the Master’s hand” is to be in the protective and provisional safety and concern of a loving God that loves us to the extent of Calvary.  What an awesome knowledge, when appropriated as truth.

May this be a year of total submission that will result in untold blessings.

 

                                                                                                         In Christ,  Mike Whaley


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From the Pastor’s Heart – 12/10/2017

There is a legend, that years after the birth of Christ announcement to the shepherds, some of the older shepherds were trying to remember the song sang by the angels announcing that blessed event.  While sitting out on the hillside under the stars, the elders tried again, and again, amidst the dark, to recall the words and the tune.
 
 
At some point, a stray lamb could be heard calling for help.  Despite the cries, no one moved from around the fire.  Finally, a young boy, who would have been far too young to have heard the angels’ announcement that night, got up from the campfire and went out into the darkness.  After stumbling around in the dark, bruising his body and incurring lacerations, finely, found the distressed, and lost lamb.
 
Hoisting the lamb over his shoulder, the boy returned the missing lamb to the fold.  As he returned to the area of the fold the older men were astonished as they heard the boy humming to himself, the very song that was sung by the angels proclaiming the Savior…”Glory to God in the highest.”
 

Christmas is the occasion by which God intervened in history to provide a savior to prevent the destruction of mankind, in his own sin.  He who was welcomed in praise, by the angels, is to be received and honored, in praise for the Savior/Lord is worthy of praise.  Its eternal affect was, and is, worthy of recognizing, and declaring, the “glory of God in the highest.”

Luke 2:13-14

                                                                                                             In Christ, Mike Whaley

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From the Pastor’s Heart – 12/3/2017

The story is told of a bear that lived in a 12’x12’ cage.  Having lived in that cage for ten year, it knew that cage intimately.  In fact, the bear was so familiar with its environment, that he could close his eyes and walk from one end of the cage and, before reaching the end, turn around and walk in the opposite direction.  Upon approaching the other end, the bear would again, stop before reaching the bars and make his turn.
 
 

As the bear grew, the keepers moved the bear into a 36’x36’ cage to allow it more room and comfort.  However, the bear would continue to, only, go twelve weeks before turning around to travel in the opposite direction.  Even though the bear had moved to a new cage, he had brought his old cage with him.  Despite the promotion, the old habits remained.

Many people have been so accustomed to living under the law so long, and under the limitations of a performance – based approach to Christian living, that they do not know how to handle the freedom, called grace, made possible by Christmas.  But, in Christ, one has been promoted to a new spiritual environment that allows for the abandoning of old habits, in order to claim their new status and abode.  Christ set one free to a lot more room in a new status.

Romans 7:24-25; Eph. 5:8-10; Titus 3:3-7

                                                                                                           In Christ, Mike Whaley

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From the Pastor’s Heart – 11/26/2017

If you take a poker and put it in a fireplace with a raging fire, the poker is just in the fire.  But, if you leave it in the fire, the fire gets into the poker.  If the poker is left in the fire for any length of time, the environment of the fire will rub off on the poker, so that it will become red hot.  It will not be red hot because it said, “Let me be hot today,” because it is in the mood to be hot, or because it stresses and strains to make itself red hot.  It became hot, red hot, because of where it was hanging out.  Not, only, does the poker get hot because the fire is hot, but if it is taken out of the fire and gets near something else, it will burn that something else.  Not because of the power of the poker, but because of the relationship of the poker to the fire.  Because the poker was in the fire, and the fire got into the poker, everything else is going to be set aflame.
 
 
If Christians are touching things and nothing is burning, nothing is changing, and there is no victory, it is because they do not understand that red hot power does not come through effort but through relationship.
 

God’s goal is Christ-likeness.  That is, being conformed to the character of Christ.  Christ-likeness, simply, means emulating the “who” of Christ, not because one is stressing or straining, but because, Christ is “in” you.  We can become “red hot” in our commitment and evangelism, by increasing our relationship with Christ, in prayer, study, and attention.  Then, we will affect all of those with whom we make contact.

 Phil 2:13; Rom 8:13

                                                                                                                                 In Christ, Mike Whaley

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From the Pastor’s Heart – 11/19/2017

In November of each year, we set aside a special day of thanksgiving.  It is a day of acknowledgement, and reflection, upon the blessings that we can claim.  This tradition, supposedly, arose out of the Pilgrims’ first year feast to celebrate their survival and to give thanks to God.  In reality, each day of life is worthy of thanksgiving, for its “being” as well as its opportunity.  For the very gift of life, itself, is a blessing and other material possessions are but bonuses.
 
 

And when one discovers this truth, then, as the years go by, one, always, comes to understand the brevity of the gift of life; it is like a vapor.  Therefore, thanksgiving should be a daily activity in recognition of God’s sovereignty and mercy.  And, when it comes to freedom and material possessions, surely, we Americans are blessed more than anyone else upon the face of the earth.  Praise be to God!

Given the shortness of the physical life, we, the redeemed, who know that eternity awaits every soul upon departing their life, must live in thanksgiving to the God of our salvation.  Through His mercy and grace, and the willing sacrifice of Jesus, we can be thankful of the assurance of an eternity in the present of a holy and righteous God, rather than suffering the consequence of our sins.

May this Thanksgiving Day begin a practice of, daily, “thanksgiving;” a practice of living each day as a tribute to the Savior God, as a form of thanksgiving.  May we live each day, in the confidence of our future, for Jesus paid the price that guarantees that assurance.  For the saved in Christ, each moment is entitled to thanksgiving, that we can “be anxious for nothing in prayer and supplication with thanksgiving.”

 

Luke 11:11-13; Phil. 4:6,19; I Chron. 16:8

                                                                                                                                         In Christ, Mike Whaley


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From the Pastor’s Heart – 11/12/2017

One of the greatest connections one can ever make is the connection between time and eternity.  One is important to the other, for expectations, always, affect present actions.  One can know what to expect, by what one does.  For instance the student who does not study, cannot expect to do well when taking an examination covering the material.
 
 
Likewise, if one expects to become a doctor, it will affect the educational decisions and plans.  Course choices, from high school forward, will be influenced by that objective.  If one desires to be a professional athlete, it will affect one’s physical training and workout regimen.  If one is diagnosed as being terminally ill, that revelation would affect how that person prioritizes the importance of things.  Basically, the expectations, affect decisions.
 

Regrettable, many Christians are living in perpetual defeat, because their expectations are locked into time.  They have lost their sight of eternity.

To recognize, and claim, the reality of one’s eternity, the Christian’s time in the present is, dramatically, affected.  With eternity in sight, the circumstances of the present become less important or traumatic.  The present is recognized as fleeting, and it necessitates an urgency within that time frame.

The psalmist, and the very teachings of Jesus, repeatedly, emphasized that the promise, and affect, of eternity, gives victory to the time of the present.

Psalm 39:5

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          In Christ, Mike Whaley


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From the Pastor’s Heart – 11/5/2017

A famous general, Douglas MacArthur, was meeting his foe, a Japanese general.  The meeting was set up for the Japanese general to, officially, surrender.  The Japanese general stuck out his hand to shake MacArthur’s hand and MacArthur responded to the gesture by saying, “I cannot shake your hand, sir, until you, first, surrender your sword.”  You see, one cannot be friends as long as that sword is hanging by your side, he was saying.  First, give me your symbol of an adversary, and, then, we can shake hands. 
 
 

A lot of us wish to shake hands with God, while continuing to carry our swords.  Carrying the sword of our “personal will” makes us an adversary of God, because God’s way, is the only way, and not subject to diversion or alteration.  We must, like the Japanese general, surrender this sword in submission to “the Master”, totally, completely, and without conditions.  Jesus made this, imminently, clear when He said that to be my disciple you “must deny yourself and come (follow) after me,” in action and teachings.

Have you still got your sword?

Matt. 6:9-10

                                                                                                               In Christ, Mike Whaley

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From the Pastor’s Heart – 10/29/2017

If you spend all your time, today, thinking about your failures or successes, yesterday, then, you will ruin your tomorrow.  When today looks too long at yesterday, we are borrowing from tomorrow’s time.
 
 

Yesterday is like a rearview mirror. When you go somewhere in the car, you use a rearview mirror.  A rearview mirror shows you what is behind you.  You need a rearview mirror, but you only need a rearview mirror to glance in, not to live in.  You do not, and cannot, move forward by focusing on the rearview mirror.  Forward motion requires focusing upon the windshield. To live in a rearview mirror, will hurt someone.  The windshield is a much larger piece of glass.  It reveals that, where you are going is much bigger than where you have been.  If yesterday is allowed to mess up today, it will ruin tomorrow.

While driving forward in the Christian life, every now and then, do look in the rearview mirror.  Take a peek but do not dwell there.  The look behind is for the purpose of assuring that, while moving forward, we will not make a wrong turn, or allow something from the past to overtake us.

Phil. 3:13-14

                                                                                                            In Christ, Mike Whaley

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From the Pastor’s Heart – 10/22/2017

A man visited the doctor one day, as he was in excruciating pain.  When the doctor asked the man where he hurt, the man replied, “all over.”  He said there was not a part that did not hurt.  The doctor told the man to touch his own shoulder.  In so doing, the man hollered.  The doctor instructed him to touch his own thigh, which elicited a scream.  Next, the doctor told him to touch his forehead which produced, yet, again, a yell of agony.  The doctor replied, “I have never seen anything like this.  Let us try one more thing…touch your toes.”  As the patient touch his toes, he grimaced, “Oh, Doc, everywhere I touch I hurt.”  Upon further examination the doctor exclaimed, “No wonder, you have a dislocated finger!”
 
 

Many of us have experienced this phenomenon.  Everywhere we turn in life, seems to be painful; to hurt.  The cause, however, may be due to one specific area of hurt that is radiating into every other area of our life.  That hurt may be an active and unconfessed sin, a harbored guilt, or an unreleased grudge.

Like a cancer, that hurt will contaminate the whole of the life, unless it is, completely, removed.      The Spirit of God is the “great physician” that uses the scalpel of love and grace, to remove such a hurt.

Ps. 9:13; 25:19; 43:1

                                                                                                                        In Christ, Mike Whaley


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From the Pastor’s Heart – 10/15/2017

Most of us, in our early years, used live worms as bait when we went fishing.  The worm on the hook, through its movement, would entice fish that they would be caught and serve as food for the fisherman.  The hook, itself, has no allurement.  Similarly, no mouse seeks out a mouse trap but can be attracted to cheese, prominently, displayed.  If the cheese conceals a trap, the mouse is lured into the constraints of the trap by the appeal of the cheese.
 
 

One can be duped by something that is legitimate, when it is used to entice or lure them into a trap for the destruction of the prey that has been fooled.  Such techniques are, frequently, used to convince people to purchase merchandise that they either do not need or cannot afford, using persuasive arguments that sound attractive.  Most advertising, today, is designed with this concept of drawing in a potential buyer, at its core.

Satan was the first to use, and perfect, the “cheese and trap” technique of trapping prey.  He pointed out to Eve how tantalizing and alluring the fruit on that tree appeared.  He played upon the “bait” of doubt and ego by saying, “surely, you shall not die,” implying that God just did not want Eve to have knowledge.  And, yes, she “took the cheese,” and the trap “was sprung.”  Eve was aught, for she had surrendered to the temptation to rebel against God’s instruction.

Temptations to oppose God, are presented by Satan, with various forms of attractive, or “cheese,” to entice one to indulge in conduct, and activities, forbidden by God’s law.  A believer must resist the attractiveness, false logic, or rationalization to engage in God prohibited activities.  Peter writes (II Peter 2:9) that the “Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptation.  “We must claim His power, and submit to it, to overcome temptation.  In Him, is victory over temptation and sin.

 

Duet. 4:19; James 1:13-16; 4:1-3

                                                                                                                                  In Christ, Mike Whaley


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