"With God All Things Are Possible"
Things To Do For Your Church
Our Youth Jubilee dates for 2017 are July 17th - 20th. The campmeeting style youth services are held at High Point Camp, 6607 Hayworth Springs Road, Jamestown, NC. Pine Grove Baptist Church has sponsored the summer Youth Jubilee since 2006. My journal will soon have pages filled with things to do in looking forward to these special meetings. I want to encourage you to be faithful in doing what you can for your church.
1. Give God and your church your time. "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." (Hebrews 10:25)
2. Give God and your church your talents. "And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more. His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord." (Matthew 25:20-21)
3. Give God and your church your tithes. "Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it." (Malachi 3:10)
4. Give others and your church your testimony. I want to divide this into two areas, the testimony we give and the testimony we live. We need to tell others what the Lord has done for us and invite them to church. That is important. But it is also important that we are a living testimony. We need to live our lives in such a way that others can see Christ shining through us. Many years ago I invited someone to church and he asked, "Does 'so-in-so' still go there?" I said, "No". He later went on to tell me that he could never go to church where this woman went, and he started to tell me why. We are to live to bring glory to God, and not bring a reproach on God and His house. "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen." (Matthew 28:19-20)
Things To Think About
I try to take time to read for my daily quiet time, but there are so many diversions that make it difficult to stay on the right path. Even when the house is quiet, my mind often wanders and I find myself reading the same section over and over because I just can't concentrate on what I am reading. I am too busy thinking about other things, things I need to do, what to cook for dinner, and has the dryer buzzer sounded yet? Sometimes I stop, jot down my thoughts, and that clears my head so I can continue with my reading. That also happens at night when I am trying to go to sleep and I can't seem to shut down my mind. Many of my devotionals are written on the note page of my ipad at the midnight hour. When troublesome thoughts and fears rob me of my peace I remember Philippians 4:8. "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things." We are so bombarded with the things of the world it is sometimes hard to think on the good things of God. There are six descriptions in our verse above and it could be a helpful exercise to write one journal entry for each item for a week, then write your summary on the last day. For example, begin with things that are true, with a focus on the truth of God's Word. Think on the good things.
Things To Pray About
A few weeks ago our car was hit from behind while Michael sat at a stop light. The impact pushed him so hard into the car in front of him it totaled our car. So, while we had planned to drive the car several more years, we were suddenly faced with the job of looking for another car. I prayed that God would show us the car just right for us, and it took about three weeks for us to have peace about which car to buy. I felt sure God had a car for us, but it took several days of prayer to know His will. I usually remember to pray about the big things. But, what about the little things? If we really think about it we know that there are no big and no little things in the eyes of God. He knows all things. He knows all about our trials and storms. He knows when we have needs, whether physical, financial, mental, or even spiritual. He knows when we are hurting within ourselves, and when we are hurting for others. There is nothing that He doesn't know about us and there is nothing too big for Him to take care of and nothing too small for Him to care about. We are His children and He watches over us as a loving Father. What should we pray about? I believe that we should pray about everything. We read in I Thessalonians 5:17, "Pray without ceasing." Another great prayer verse is Philippians 4:6. "Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God." Jesus encourages us to pray. "And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive." (Matthew 21:22) And what about those times when we just can't find the right words to pray? The Spirit prays for us. "Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered." (Romans 8:26)
Things To Do To Serve Others
I like to help people. But what I don't like is when I tell someone I will do something for them, and then I forget. A few days later I remember and I'm like, "Oh, I was supposed to (whatever) for (my used to be good friend.)" All kidding aside, it is bad to promise to help someone, then forget all about it. The older I get, the more forgetful I get, so writing things down in my journal has been a big help this year. Christ was a great example on serving others and not only does it please Him when we serve others, but He said it would make us happy too!
"12 So after he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, he said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you?
13 Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am.
14 If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another's feet.
15 For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.
16 Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him.
17 If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them." (John 13:12-17)
My journal has become a long "To Do List" and several of the pages are filled with simple reminders of things I want to do for others. I use a pink highlighter and make a big check mark in the middle of each page as I complete that task. It helps me to know that I am accomplishing my goals, and also helping others along the way. It really does give us joy to serve others!
Things To Do To Have Spiritual Success
When I was a young teen a visiting preacher to our church challenged us to read through the entire Bible. That was the first time I ever read it all the way through. I really don't know how many times I have read through my Bible since then, but God opens my eyes to more understanding each time. I often pray that God will speak to me through His Word and I have kept journals, writing down special verses or thoughts as I read. In this journal I have a few pages with my reading goals and I set new goals each time I reach one. Reading God's Word is one thing we can do to have Spiritual success. Pastor Jack Tripp spoke on "Spiritual Success" Wednesday night and I want to borrow from his outline to continue these thoughts.
"Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths." (Proverbs 3:5-6)
1. "Trust in the LORD with all thine heart" - Before we can trust someone we have to know them, and we can trust the Lord when we know Him. We trust Him by faith, just as those we find listed in Hebrews 11.
2. "Lean not unto thine own understanding." - Read the Word of God - "This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success." (Joshua 1:8)
3. "In all thy ways acknowledge him." Recognize the hand of God, working in all the events of our lives. "And all things are of God..." (II Corinthians 5:18) "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." (Romans 8:28)
4. "He shall direct thy path." - Rejoice in the path of God. "O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps." (Jeremiah 10:23) "The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way." (Psalm 37:23)
Things To Clean
Most of the first part of my journal for this year is dedicated to spring cleaning. I began writing in January while the weather was cold, and before I started planning my vegetable garden. I think I am odd, because I like spring cleaning. It is easier for me to get things done when I have a list, so I made lists after lists of all the neglected places that I wanted to tackle. My granddaughter, Maggie, likes to pull everything out of my kitchen cabinets so that was one of the projects we tackled. I checked the dates on the food, washed everything down and then we put the good stuff back. I cleaned places nobody sees, like my closets, and things we don't think about very often, like ceiling fans. I had most of my lists complete, when spring came and I started working in my garden. Now I have fresh veggies to pick and can, so my housework is being neglected, but I am happy that it was deep-cleaned a few months ago. When the children were small I always liked Proverbs 14:4. "Where no oxen are, the crib is clean: but much increase is by the strength of the ox." I enjoyed having the children near me, so I let them play with their toys all over the house, and it gave me great joy. Now that they have moved away with families of their own, it is easier to keep the house clean, but I often miss the days when they were young. I want to encourage those today who spend their time picking up after their children. Enjoy it while you can. Spend time with your family. Talk with them. Put your electronic devices away for a while and play with them. Laugh with them. One more thought before I close. Be thankful. As you wash your dishes, thank the Lord for another meal. When you fold and put away your clothes, be thankful that you have clean clothes to wear. And as you wipe up the little hand prints, be thankful for the little hands, because they won't be little very long.
Things To Sow And Reap
After I finished most of my cleaning tasks, I started thinking about my garden. My next entries were "Planning My Garden", "Tilling The Ground", "Buying The Seeds", etc. I decided that I wanted to plant pickling cucumbers and also salad cucumbers, and I marked out a space for each kind. I enjoy the paper work. Then comes the hard work, tilling the soil, and planting. It is hard, but I give it all I've got because I know that I can't reap without sowing. God tells us in Galatians 6:9, "And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not." I also like II Corinthians 9:6, "But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully." So I planted and I hoed and I worked hard, and the good Lord sent the rain and sunshine and I am now starting to reap what I sowed. There is also a spiritual aspect to sowing and reaping. "Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting." (Galatians 6:7-8) I wanted sweet corn, so I planted sweet corn. We will reap what we sow as we live on this earth. One reason people don't believe this is because the reaping is not always immediate. Most people don't jump into heavy sinful living all at once. They start out slow, tempting God, and when they are not punished, they move on a little deeper into sin, and soon they decide they can live any way they want to because nothing bad has happened to them yet. From the time I plant the seeds I walk daily down to my garden to see what is popping up through the soil. Sometimes I see tomatoes come up where I didn't plant tomatoes this year, or watermelons where I didn't plant watermelons. These are volunteer plants that came up from seeds I planted last year that produced and dropped fruit with new seeds that came up without my help. I started thinking about how this can happen in our lives, too. The seeds we plant by the way we live may not seem to be significant today. But they grow. And a year from now, or two years from now, we may reap what we sowed today, whether good or bad. You can be sure that although it may not be today, and it may not be tomorrow, there is a pay day someday. God's Word has promised that we will reap what we sow. So, let's get busy sowing the seed of God's precious Word.