Posts from the ‘Blog Post’ Category

Chief of All Sinners

“It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all.” (1 Timothy 1:15)

I chose this text verse to make a point about all of us in this world. To begin my thoughts is the question I ask myself and share with you, “What is the Bible to you?” Other than the bible, some call it the good book, the rule book, and one in our congregation uses an acronym. “Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth.” There are more I have heard, and I am sure some of you have heard too. Not that my calling is better or worse, I have a different perspective, as I call the bible when writing the Scriptures and speaking the bible. To myself, I view the Scriptures as the other side of the conversation with God.

I never have, and I am not one to say I have heard the Lord speak to me in a clear audio voice, but He does speak in my conscience. I also believe that God speaks in visions. He spoke to Joseph and the cupbearer to convey a message to Pharaoh. There are many examples of visions in Scripture, and there are those who have had visions to this day. I believe the two primary ways the Lord speaks to us are in prayer and the Scripture. As the other side of the conversation, the bible is God’s answer to our side of the conversation.

My perspective has changed in the way I receive the Scripture into my being. The Holy Spirit authors the Scripture. “But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.” (2 Peter 1:20-21) Even as Paul was writing to Timothy and saying he was the foremost of sinners, it was written to us individually. The Scripture is God’s prophecy to all of humanity. When I read “I am foremost of all,” that is speaking to me the foremost of all sinners.

When we read the Scriptures, God is speaking to us personally. I am the foremost of sinners, and you are too. The Scriptures tell me clearly “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Certainly, the unrighteous and the righteous are sinners. We often wonder why good things happen to the unrighteous, and bad things happen to the righteous. I often hear the unrighteous who have rejected our Lord say why a God of love causes all this evil in the world. Then I have to explain God does not cause evil to happen, as evil is the result of sin.

I believe if it were not for God’s common grace, humanity would have long ago destroyed itself. Our God of love, who is not partial to His creation, treats all justly. God pours out His blessing on all in His creation, as we are told in Psalm. “The LORD is gracious and merciful; Slow to anger and great in lovingkindness. The LORD is good to all, And His mercies are over all His works.” (Psalm 145:8-9) God shows His grace to all and desires all to know His goodness and seek Him in times of distress. God desires all of Humanity to become His children. “So that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” (Matthew 5:45)

It is by God’s grace that humanity comes to a saving knowledge of Jesus our Christ. God’s Word created all, and by God’s Word, all can live, and all will be judged. To all who will read and believe the Scripture says to each, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.” (Ephesians 2:8) My prayer is all will experience God’s saving grace. All live in His common grace, but they need the saving grace this verse speaks of.

Grace has different meanings for different people. Some bless their food with grace, name their children grace, and declare generous people as gracious. That’s okay, but it is not the saving grace Ephesians is speaking of. The saving grace is God’s divine influence upon the heart and its reflection in life. God’s saving grace is unmerited divine assistance given to humans for their regeneration and sanctification. “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)

Responding to the saving grace of God is like Ray Steven’s song “Mississippi Squirrel Revival,” “somethings got a hold on me lyric. Our vision changes from gaining all we can from the world to building our wealth in the Kingdom of God to come. Wealth is not dollars and cents but seeking the presence and approval of God by pleasing Him in our service to Him and seeking His Kingdom and bringing it to the heart of our deeds serving Him and our fellow humans. It is not being born of the flesh and its desire but of the Spirit and His desire. “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” (John 3:6)

What is the purpose of life if we lose it all at death? The Creator creates with purpose, and all His creation has a purpose. Humanity is to glorify God in all they do. When God’s saving grace gets a hold of your purpose, your being becomes revealed. There is a discovery of the good work you were designed to accomplish in this life here, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10) The world is a complex place to live in and holds a lot of mystery. Jesus overcame the world and its temptations, and His Spirit can counsel us through to the same victory. It is is the promise He has given to all of us. “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6)

The yoke of the Lord is easy to carry, as He has prepared the way before us, and all we do is pick up our cross and follow Him. Our charge is simple to spread the seeds of His truth into every ear that will hear. Water the seeds planted and edify the interest of the willing. His call is to “Go.” “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20) The basic command is love. Love the Lord God Almighty, and share His love with our neighbor. “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” (Luke 10:27)

God’s desire is all His creation come into harmony with His Word. God does not want any to perish but to have a relationship with Him as their Father. “The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9)

The followers of Jesus are the lights of His truth in a sin-darkened world, a world that is searching for love, peace, purpose, and reality. Humanity looks everywhere for these values and never finds them. From the beginning of humanity’s history, these values have been there for them, but they have rejected it and been given over to their own desires. The result is a world dying in its futility. In the hope of remedy, they search on, and our prayer is they will see and listen to the truth we share. God’s saving grace gives the satisfaction we’ve helped lift someone from the pit to the pedestal of God’s Kingdom. “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)

I joined the Army and survived Boot Camp at Fort Jackson S. C. On the first day, I learned why it’s called boot camp, as that was the first thing introduced to me on the backside. After all of that, I went to South Viet Nam with a heat filled with patriot cause. When you step on the battlefield, and total confusion surrounds you, all that parrot cause is gone. The soldiers around you are not people of color, they are not people of different religions, and neither are they people of mixed heritage. The cause becomes protecting the life which is protecting yours. When we walk through the world today with the people around us, that person beside us depends on us to share the Words of Life. “In Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we also are His children.” (Acts 17:28)

Thomas N Kirkpatrick Son Life Baptist, Valrico, Florida, July 12, 2021

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His Grace to Us Give to Others

“I pray that the fellowship of your faith may become effective through the knowledge of every good thing which is in you for Christ’s sake” (Philemon 1:6)

I would say most people want to be happy, although some take solace in their sadness. I have met people who seem to be happiest when they speak of sad occurrences. Those may be happy, but I do not believe they are. To those who want to be happy, there is plenty in this world to accommodate their desire. Happiness is fleeting and depends on the emotional reaction to circumstances. That is true of any happiness we have, but joy is everlasting because it is founded on eternal truth. Some days I am happy, and some days sad, but I find joy every day. My joy is established in the eternal promises of God, as His Word is true and endures forever. I could quote scripture, but history has proven my point.

I am always happy when I am joyful and have joy in my heart in times of sadness. I do not get caught in the rambling emotions of my life but rest on the foundation of joy in my heart. People can, or could, find happiness in the joy of God’s presence and find greater joy in His approval. There is a satisfaction in sharing the joy He has given to me with others that they may have His joy also.

I know we all have had days or evenings in the presence of someone who has a unique effect on our lives. I remember May Macbeth the first time I met her. I was pretty taken in by her and hated when the evening ended. It was at a sock hop, and I wore a hole in my sock. I hopped with her so much. On Sunday, I could not think of anything but the next time we could be together. I was happy in my heart, but when we met again, my heart was crushed. Mary had that other guy with her, and I didn’t know how to deal with that. We have all had people in our lives that we desire to be with, and it takes up our complete focus. Some work out for a lifetime, and some do not get to first base.

Some say that is life, or that’s the way it goes, and I cannot disagree. There is one known as “closer than a brother” I came to know later in life. He reached out His hand in an hour on my greatest need. It wasn’t a time of need for money or possessions of any sort. It was when I was alone with several monkeys on my back and a brick wall next to my face. There was nowhere to go, a memento the pastor calls a Red Sea moment. It was a “Where Would I God but to the Lord,” but He came to me as I cried out in frustration. It was the darkest night of my life when I saw the greatest light, my Savior and Lord, Jesus.

Two essential truths of God are His mercy and grace. Mercy towards the guilty and grace toward the undeserving. Everyone sacrifices their time, talent, and treasure, but the sacrifice the Lord desires is a broken and contrite heart. “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.” (Psalm 51:17) To whom Jesus calls He wants to give His grace through faith. “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.” (Ephesians 2:8) Jesus exhibits the grace of God and demands an answer from each He calls.

The problem for humanity is most are orphans in God’s creation. In the Garden of Eden, humanity separated itself from God and is no longer in harmony with His creation. Humanity is adrift in a sea without an accurate compass to find its way home. Jesus is that compass, as He is the way, the truth, and the life to be in the presence of God. (John 14:6) He is God and is present throughout all creation and knows the way through every trial and blessing. To abide in Jesus is the manifest wisdom of God, and without Him, we have a powerless fate. “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)

The door to God’s throne of grace is Jesus. We cannot enter into the throne as we are unrighteous (Matthew 5:48). Jesus is righteous and enters into the Holies of Holies and offers our prayers. Jesus is the only way, and no one can be in the presence of God except through Jesus. “Let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.” (Hebrews 10:22)

It is not humanity alone that makes the world a difficult place to navigate, and we are deceived by the god of this world, Satan. It is a narrow path we follow to avoid the land mines Satan has placed in our way. Satan is only a wicked angel, and our Lord is a God who knows the way and has the power to make His will for us to come true. We cannot understand these things completely as God can, but we will know the way by His Word. “Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6) Jesus will direct and order our steps on the narrow way to His Kingdom. The follower must trust and obey to remain in His presence, as we will be on that day. “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” (James 4:8)

At most points in my life, I never sought my dad’s approval because of my selfish interest. At any given time, my dad had thirty years more wisdom than me, yet, I forsook it. Over the years, my dad tried to teach me has paid off even long after he went home to be with the Lord. I’ll thank my dad someday soon. I haven’t sought the approval of others for most of my life and paid the price of that, but it wasn’t more than I could bear. Today right or wrong, I do not care much what people think of me, but I do care for their spiritual welfare. The only approval I seek is from my Lord and Savior. “For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ.” (Galatians 1:10)

I have shifted my focus from getting through this world or being accepted by the world to seeking the Kingdom of Heaven. My Elder brother said some years ago, “I’m working on a good finish.” As he, my focus is on the eternal rest in my Lord that awaits me. “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33) It is not that I don’t try to please people. I first try to please my God. Everything I do in this world is to bring Him glory and please Him, not that it earns me anything; I love Him first, as He loved me. “Just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who examines our hearts.” (1 Thessalonians 2:4)

The gift of His presence and approval fills my heart with everlasting joy. Joy is an eternal feeling that only comes from a relationship with the Father. There is individual power of joy, power of the peace that awaits when the work is completed. The power that made Jesus willing to sacrifice Himself on the cross for you and me. He went to the cross with the joy of His home set before Him. “Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2) His joy is the motivation that makes me willing to sacrifice all to do the good work He has prepared for me.

He has given His Spirit to counsel us along the way to understand and overcome the ways of the world. Sometimes it is hard to find a Christian believer, and it should not be that way. Followers of Jesus are to be like-minded with Him and in one accord. God has given them His love and should be expressed in all they do. Christians are led by His Spirit and display the fruits of His Spirit in their daily lives. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22-23)

The Lord has been gracious to us, He has shown His mercy towards us, and He has provided not only for us here but for all of eternity. We have this pearl of great wealth (Matthew 13:45-46), and we should share that with every ear that will hear. I cannot judge the possibilities of what God can do with the soul of a person. Jesus gave the summation of the Law “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” (Luke 10:27). Sharing God’s Word is not a burdensome yoke to carry. It is just living the gospel message in our lives. “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)

All of creation lives in the presence of God the Creator. Acknowledging His presence in everything we do changes the outcome of our lives. It is the end game we should be most concerned about. When we live our lives in a way that pleases God and gains His approval, we find joy in our hearts stronger than any of the world’s troubles. I want everyone to have a relationship with Jesus, and I want everyone to have a home in His Kingdom. There is a joy in sharing God’s gift of salvation through faith in Jesus. It is a joy that gives personal satisfaction that you have helped lift someone up from the pit to a pedestal in God’s Kingdom. “Though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls.” (1 Peter 1:8-9)

Thomas N Kirkpatrick

First Baptist Church of Durant, July 8, 2021

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God’s Love is the Answer

“Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.” (Ephesians 5:1-2)

Now and then, I fall back in time to capture a memory from long ago. I found myself this am on the stoop living in the ’60s and growing into my teenage years. It was a confusing time wandering around trying to be grown up and without an idea of what I was doing. It was the era of the Beatles vs. the Monkeys on the top forty. I like many of the Monkey’s songs, especially “Sleepy Jean,” but I liked everything the Beatles did. John Lennon was not my favorite Beatle, but a song of his from 1973 was on my mind this morning and stayed there a while, “Mind Games.”

As with most songs, I do not know or remember the lyrics, but I do remember these, “Love is the answer, and you know that for sure. Love is a flower. You got to let it; you got to let it grow.” There is a profound truth in those words. We are to love the Lord with all our hearts and love our neighbor as we love ourselves. I find it very easy to love the Lord with all my heart, and it is a natural love in the reflection of the love He has towards me. When it comes to my neighbors, it is not so easy. It becomes a duty to obey the Lord’s command. But as love grows, it too becomes natural. I don’t have to know someone to love them, but I do have to know them to like them. I find myself liking a lot of people I love and disliking a lot of people I love.

A few decades back, I was a Barstool Baptist. It was in my Army days, and it seemed as the drinks began their works on my brain, my father’s words kept coming out of my mouth. Perhaps it was because I knew he would be displeased with where I was. But, I think it more because most of what my father said came from the Word of God and God’s Word has a way of coming back in times of bad behavior. So, often in those days, I found myself on the stool being a Barstool Baptist. It’s funny how at this moment, another song comes to mind from a fellow West Virginian Hank Williams Sr., “Tear in My Beer.”

I’m a watcher more than an actor, so I would muse myself watching everyone getting saturated at the bar in Fort Stewart, Georgia. Some would come in upset, and others would drink themselves to sorrow. Thus, the song “Tear in my Beer” always came to my mind. Hank recorded that song in Nashville in 1950, which is my birth year. I have listened to Tear in my Beer but know none of the lyrics. But I get the idea, as it is about lost or unfaithful love. So I would sit on my stool and listen to somebody did somebody wrong songs; either the beer or the songs would change the mood in the bar.

I will have to say I give credit to the beer, which gave me more boldness to express my compassion. I am not known as a happy person, probably because I don’t smile much, but I hate to see someone crying in their beer. So with my false courage and my insides sloshing. I venture out to console a stranger who is approaching that one too many. Even as I am speaking of many decades ago, I concluded many of the sorrowful people in the bar could not satisfy their natural hunger for love. Their true want was a faithful love. That love is the desire God placed in every soul for divine love.

At that time, I could not explain divine love, as I had not myself truly found it. I, too, was a drifter in a sea of worldly wisdom. I would listen, sympathize and try to empathize, but I could not give them a satisfying answer. I tried to by a voice up but seldom gave them a lift up. The best I could do is recite a verse my father taught me in an effort to give them hope. “Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)

Some blame God for all their trials in life. It does not bother me, as I have done that many times in the past. There is a god to point to for all our trials, but it is not the Lord God Almighty. The god of this world is a fallen angel cast down from God’s Kingdom because of his pride. He is the serpent of old Satan who tempted Adam and Eve to eat the forbidden fruit. They fell to his temptation and brought sin into the world, fracturing the harmony of God’s creation and the souls of humanity. His temptation destroyed the image we were created in and changed our greatest desire. Humanity no longer desires God’s Kingdom but the kingdom of the world and lusts for it. “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.” (1 John 2:16)

Satan hates the Lord God Almighty, and he hates everything God has created, and I believe he even hates himself. Otherwise, Satan would have repented and asked forgiveness if he could. The most important thing to me about Satan is he hates you and me. The truth is Satan hates you and seeks to destroy you, and that is his biggest purpose to kill you and me. Satan is a powerful fallen angel, but he is not God’s opposite. Satan is a created being just as we. God defeated him on the cross, and He will crush him at the fullness of time.

God is love “The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” (1 John 4:8). The world has many definitions of love. Some see it as a physical word and seek physical remedy and application, and I am not saying they are incorrect. God is love, and His love is spiritual as well a physical. The short definition of agape love is unconditional, unselfish love towards all of His creation. It is the love God has for us and desires from us. All His creation gets that, and only humanity consistently falls short. Three times Jesus asked Peter if he loved Him and Peter answered with a lower love each time. Humanity in its present state cannot love God with agape love. Yet, the Lord God Almighty loves with agape love. So much so He paid the price for our sins. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)

Love as man sees it is not the problem. The problem is the definition of humanity’s love. It’s physical and incapable of complete love for one another, many come close, but none are perfect as God’s. Love is the answer, and until we have God’s agape love within us, we will not understand and share His love for others. Therefore, humanity must seek the Lord and find Him while He can be found. The moment will come for all when it is too late to find our God and Creator. “Seek the LORD while He may be found; Call upon Him while He is near.” (Isaiah 55:6)

To enter into the Kingdom of God, one must call upon the name of the Lord, which is Jesus; only He is the way, the truth, and the life. None will see their Creator or enter His eternal Kingdom except through a personal relationship with Jesus (John 14:6). On the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus taught, “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33). Our priority is to seek His Kingdom in all that we do. The right way is to acknowledge Him in all that we do. All that we do is for the glory of the Lord, and He will direct our paths. His path, though narrow, will lead to the gates of Heaven. (Proverbs 3:5-6). Our second priority is we must be righteous. We must not have sin in our life to prevent us from entering into the Holy Kingdom. Humanity can’t do that, but Jesus lived a perfect life, and He will give us that if we believe in Him and follow in faith. “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33)

I have heard it said and had one tell me that if they entered a church, the building would burn down. Their point is they are too wicked for God to consider them to receive salvation from the wrath of God. The truth is all are sinners, the righteous and the unrighteous. Jesus didn’t wait till everyone repented before He went to the cross to sacrifice Himself as the Lamb of God. “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8) See the love? Many people will not open a door for someone or say thank you for a kind deed, but Jesus went to the cross to save their souls. That was not His calling. His calling was to come and seek the lost and tell them of His Kingdom. “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.” (John 3:17)

The church will not burn down, and it is the exact place to go and fellowship with like-minded believers in the Lord Jesus Christ and grow in spiritual understanding of His Kingdom. Whatever is deterring you from your happiness, causing sadness, trials in life that seem insurmountable, the answer is found in the love of God towards you. God loves you, and there is nothing you can do to make Him love you more, and there is nothing you have done to make Him love you less. That is true; it is faithful, as it is God’s Agape love for you. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)

Thomas N Kirkpatrick

First Baptist Church of Durant, June 30, 2021

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Repent For the Kingdom Is At Hand

“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 4:17)

I am but a tiny morsel in a sea of humanity. I could have been capable of living a perfectly righteous life if I had what Adam and Eve forsook, trust, and obedience to God’s Word. We were not like the rest of God’s creation, which was spoken by His Word into existence. Adam was formed from a mound of dust and had no life until God breathed His life into him. Thus, our life comes from the Creator, and we live by His Spirit. God is Spirit, and our spirits are akin to His. The Lord God also created us in His image. Humanity can reason, an imagination for creativity, and able to pro-crate to grow our race. “Then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.”…” Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.’” (Genesis 1:26; Genesis 2:7)

We do not know how long Adam and Eve walked with God in the Garden of Eden before they fell into disobedience of God’s Word. They both sinned, and it fractures not only their intimate relationship with their Creator, but sin also fractured their spirit, heart, and mind. Sin fractured their whole physical being as well, and from then on, humanity is born with a resident evil their sin-nature. None in humanity is free from the constant battle between their conscience and spirit. The spirit is only satisfied by the comfort of its original desire to harmonize with God’s Spirit. The flesh resists because of its desire for the pleasures of this world found in its sinful nature. There is no calming peace without unity with God’s Spirit. As a result, I am a tiny morsel incapable of pleasing God because I can never be righteous as He.

God sent Himself as a man named Jesus born of a virgin woman so He would not have sin tainted blood or a fractured spirit. He did have a physical body with the same desires as any in humanity but could overcome them in the power of His Spirit. God’s Spirit in His Son Jesus is a key that humanity needs to overcome the world and enter into the Kingdom of Heaven perfect. Jesus was tempted by Satan for forty days and overcame with the Word of God. If Satan could have caused Jesus to stumble, He could no longer be God, and humanity would be lost. “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

When Jesus came out of His trial with Satan in the wilderness, He knew how to resist temptations. I have no reason to believe Satan was through in the wilderness, and I believe He continues to tempt Jesus throughout His time in the world. I know one of His disciples, Peter, was used to tempt Him. Jesus knows that Satan has to obey the Word of God and the power of eternal life is in God’s Spirit. Jesus came to be the living Word of God for humanity’s recognition, live the perfect righteous life, and be the Lamb of God to pay the world’s sin debt. “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” (Luke 19:10)

When John the Baptist was imprisoned, Jesus left Nazareth and traveled thirty miles to Capernaum along the Sea of Galilee. It was then He began His earthly ministry to teach the Gospel message of the Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus was fully God and was fully a man of humanity. He humbled Himself of His deity and called Himself the Son of Man. Through His sacrifice on the cross and resurrection on the third day, He showed the world He had the power to defeat death, and eternal life is through Him. The message of Jesus is humanity would have to change its course to see the Kingdom of Heaven. “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 4:17)

Adam and Eve were perfect at creation, and because they fell to disobedience of God’s Word, all of humanity falls short of the glory of God. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Repent means to change one’s mind, to feel remorse for the sins committed, and to be converted to a new course and destiny. We have to turn away from the fleshly world we live in to the spiritual world of the Kingdom. Paul says it this way to the Roman church. “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:2)

The Old Testament teaching of the Kingdom of Heaven is a future Kingdom to be established here in the world. Many think of the Kingdom of Heaven as being in a far-off place called Heaven, which is not wrong in thinking. However, the Old Testament teaching was that the Kingdom would be here and will be in the one-thousand-year reign of Jesus after the seven-year tribulation. After that, the Kingdom of Heaven continues in eternity. Jesus’ teaching adds to this thought on the Kingdom of Heaven. Some say the Kingdom is at hand means it is coming soon. Maybe, it is certainly sooner than later as time moves forward. As a representative of the Kingdom of Heaven, Jesus meant that He brought the Kingdom near to humanity by His presence. This phrase can be used today, as the spiritual church of Jesus endowed with the indwelling Holy Spirit brings the Kingdom of God near to humanity.

The mission of all who believe in Jesus as their Savior is to continue His mission to seek and save the lost. Yet, most will not listen and even become hostel to hear the gospel message. They appear to be satisfied with the hopeless direction they are in. The Christian can only pray for them the Lord will open their minds to the truth of the Kingdom of God. It is just as obvious God created this world as it is the world is passing away. Yet, they have been given over to the wicked ways through their rejection of the truth. “And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.” (Romans 1:28-32)

A natural person cannot reason with faith and see it as a mythical wish. They cannot discern the grace of God and excuse it as luck. “But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.” (1 Corinthians 2:14). All the while, they are moving towards the fury of God’s final wrath and the second death. “But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” (Revelation 21:8) It is the burden that every believer in Jesus carries their love for the lost souls of humanity.

With the God-fearing religious of the day, the Pharisees and scribes, He argued the Old Testament’s scripture, and the words of the Prophets pointed to Him as the Messiah. “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me; and you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life.” (John 5:39-40) After Jesus’ resurrection, He walked the road to Emmaus with some of His disciples who were distressed over His crucifixion. Jesus explained the scriptures, and the prophets pointed to Jesus. “Then beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures. (Luke 24:27)

Gospel Message of Jesus is the immediacy of the coming of the Kingdom of God. No one knows the hour or day the church will be called out, the appointed time of death, or the return of Jesus for the judgment of the world. Therefore, all need salvation from God’s wrath the gospel offers. The gospel sums the law of God into two points. “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” (Luke 10:27) 

The gospel message begins and ends with God’s love. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:16). Deliverance is the desire of God, as “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23) Jesus, the Lamb of God, sacrificed Himself on the cross shedding His blood as an atonement for the world’s sin. By His grace through faith we can receive the salvation offered by God. We can receive purpose for our lives that has blessings in the Kingdom of God now and eternally. “But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” (Philippians 2:4-10)

As a result of salvation and the gift from God’s love, we see the people around us in their great need of freedom from the bondage of sin. You will have the desire to express Godly love towards them, hoping your prayer will be answered they will see God. The power of His Spirit can do that. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22)

Believe in the name and power of Jesus, who created all things and sustains all things. “For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities–all things have been created through Him and for Him.” (Colossians 1:16) Give that some deep thought, and you will have a reverent fear for God the Father and His Son your Christ. The next time you call out to your Lord, do so in awe, as the Kingdom of Heaven is near because it is in you, and you are a part of the Kingdom to come. “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1:12-13)

Thomas N Kirkpatrick

First Baptist Church of Durant, June 23, 2021

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The Saving Knowledge of Jesus

“If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” (John 8:31-32)

To have the saving knowledge of Jesus is a treasured possession indeed. Many in this world have a far greater saving knowledge than I, and they are an inspiration to be around. I have what the Lord has given me over the years, and life experiences gained wisdom from the Lord’s knowledge. I am going to make a short controversial statement and then move on. A solid saving knowledge of Jesus in itself will not save you. Instead, I see the saving knowledge of Jesus as a blueprint of God’s plan of salvation for humanity.

God’s plan of salvation is a result of why humanity needs salvation. The short answer is all humanity has sinned and fallen short of God’s glory. (Romans 3:23) God is holy and therefore cannot allow the presence of sin in His Kingdom. God loves humanity and desires fellowship with them. God needed to redeem them to bring humanity back into unity. The wages of sin are death, and humanity is unable to save itself. Humanity can neither forgive itself on behalf of God nor pay the wage of sin. Sin requires a perfect death to pay the debt. No man is perfect; therefore, God sent Himself in the likeness of a man named Jesus to be His sacrificial lamb. Jesus sacrificed Himself for our sins. (John 3:16) All one needs to do to receive salvation is receive Jesus as their savior on faith. (John 14:6)

If humanity does not accept who Jesus is and does not live in faith His Word is true, they cannot find salvation any other place in this world. One must accept the why; they are a sinner and repent from sin towards the Kingdom of righteousness. “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Corinthians 5:21)

Knowing the truth will not save you from God’s wrath, only make you all the guiltier. You must live through the truth in faith, turning away from the darkness of evil. Jesus is the truth, and to know Him is to have complete faith in Him. If we believe Him to be the truth, He will set us free from the bondage of sin and reward us with eternal life due to our faith.

We cannot live righteous lives, and there is no amount of work to be done nor money to be earned that can purchase God’s salvation. The cost is far higher than the efforts or wealth of God’s creation. Salvation is not for sale, and good works cannot earn it. It cannot be awarded by participation and cannot be received just by knowing its availability. It is God’s gift to humanity by His grace through faith. “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)

Faith is the key to receiving God’s gift of salvation. “And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6) Some people take faith as a wish, while others take what they call faith into worldly possibilities. True faith can come only from Jesus, who knows the full possibilities of God the Father. “Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2)

The faith Jesus, as the Word of God, is born from believing His word and living in its truth. “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.” (Romans 10:17) Hope is built on nothing less than Jesus Christ and His righteousness, as the hymn says. Our hope is the salvation God offers, and faith gives the conviction of the unseen’s reality. “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1) By the Word of God, we live and move through the world to our destiny, the Kingdom of Heaven. The Word is our home now, and we long to be there. “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart”–that is, the word of faith which we are preaching, that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.” (Romans 10:8-10)

Our mission is the same as our Lord’s to share the gospel message to all who will receive it. That does not mean we are all evangelists by calling or pastors and teachers of the Word of God. We were created in Jesus for good works. “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10) The good works we were created to accomplish have been prepared before the beginning, which takes the stress out of wondering what we are to do. Jesus said, take up your cross and follow me. Rather than taking the initiative, we climb out of the boat and wake where Jesus leads.

Accomplish the good work; every thought and every deed is focused on the will of the Father. Jesus’s thoughts and deeds were in the Father’s will, and He is the example we follow. We keep our focus on Him, like Peter before he sank by taking His eyes off Jesus. (Matthew 14:22-46) With Jesus at the core of every thought and deed we do, all our works will be good. “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.” (Colossians 3:23-24)

Rather than just focusing on the Great Commission, I look to the Sermon on the Mount. “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16) God may not call you to the foreign mission field, and He may not call you to be a traveling evangelist, as you might now be where He needs you to be. “And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed” (2 Corinthians 9:8)

Do not be anxious but pray for your needs in the confidence that where God guides He provides. Always remembering that faith is key, and your faith pleases Him. Faith unlocks all the possibilities God has in store for our lives. “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15) Jesus came to seek and save the lost, and our mission is to tell His story and what He has done in our lives.

We cannot save one soul from the wrath of God, as only Jesus forgives, and it is God’s gift of salvation. Ours is the work of sowing the seeds of the truth, the Word of God. It is His Word that holds the power of salvation through the wooing of the Holy Spirit. Ours is to present, and Jesus saves. “And the one on whom seed was sown on the good soil, this is the man who hears the word and understands it; who indeed bears fruit and brings forth, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty.” (Matthew 13:23) (Matthew 13:18-23) Salvation is the good work of God. “So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth.” (1 Corinthians 3:7)

The burden of our hearts is we know the truth and that everyone needs to hear the saving knowledge of Jesus. Humanity has the free will to accept His truth or to reject it. We can do nothing other than our very best to get His Word into their ears and pray that God opens them to hear. The work is to have our and everyone’s names in the Book of Life. All when they leave this world will face the judgment of God. The final judgment is not of salvation, as one must receive God’s gift of salvation on this side of death. The judgment is that of works. For the believer, it is the Judgment Seat of Christ to reward our works done in the Holy Spirit’s power and burn the selfish works and receive rewards or the lack of reward. “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.” (2 Corinthians 5:10)

Those who have not claimed Jesus as their Lord and Savior, have not their names written in the Book of Life, will bow at the Great White Throne Judgment. Then they cannot deny the truth, it is there they will bow and confess Jesus as Lord, and it is there with fear and gnashing of teeth they will be tossed into the lake of fire. “And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.” (Revelation 20:15)

For us who know the truth to beg and plead, the ears and hearts of the wicked will be opened to receive the truth. So they will stand for righteousness and be counted in the number of the saints. In the power of Jesus’ name, our prayer is they to overcome this world and join us in His Kingdom evermore. “He who overcomes will thus be clothed in white garments; and I will not erase his name from the book of life, and I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.” (Revelation 3:5)

Thomas N Kirkpatrick

First Baptist Church of Durant, June 16, 2021

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A Battle to the Death

“For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6)

In the beginning, the Lord God created Adam from the dust of the earth and breathed life into him. “Then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.” (Genesis 2:7) In Genesis, breath is the word nesh-aw-maw, meaning the Lord God breathed a puff of His Divine breath into the soul of His created man. God’s Divine Spirit gave humanity an inspired intellect for their soul and spirit. Only humanity has this, and it separates humanity from all of the earth’s created living beings.

The Lord God had given Adam and Eve dominion over the earth, and they were to cultivate the ground and be fruitful. We know of only one restriction in the Garden of Eden: they were forbidden to eat the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Lucifer, the evil fallen Arch Angel, came to Eve near the forbidden tree. He deceitfully tempted Eve to eat the forbidden fruit. After a short argument where Satan told Eve she would not die, he gave his best argument to disobey God. “For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:5) Eve ate the fruit and then shared some with Adam.

The act of disobedience to God’s Word fracture the harmony between God and His creation. No longer could God and man walk and talk together. The first couple had misjudged the penalty of their sin. God had told Adam he would die if he ate the forbidden fruit, yet they were alive. Their physical death would come soon enough, but the actual death was spiritual. All of humanity will physically die on this earth. Even the righteous will, even if they are caught up, their bodies will remain in the dust, as it is corrupted. If any in humanity die without their spirit healed from the wage of sin, which is death, their spirits will face the second death in the pit of Hell.

In His love for His creation of humanity, the Lord God sent Himself in the likeness of a man named Jesus. Jesus was sent to be the perfect sacrifice for the sin indebtedness of humanity. “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name.” (John 1:12) Many refuse to believe Jesus is the Son of God, and others do not believe there is a God. Most love their sinful nature more than living a righteous life dedicated to a Savior. It is heartbreaking, as my life before was much more complicated than the Lord living in me. It is not hard to find salvation from the wrath of God but impossible to endure His wrath. “If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9)

When God breathed His Divine Spirit into man, humanity became created in the spiritual image of God. Humanity lost that spiritual image at their fall to sin. If a person’s sin is not forgiven and the spirit justified at the judgment Seat of Christ, that person can never enter the gates to Heaven. That is terrible news, but the uncomfortable news is the forgiven are still spiritual beings living in corrupted bodies. There’s continuous battle between the desires of the flesh and the Spirit of God dwelling in the Christian. “For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.” (Galatians 5:17)

From the fall, humanity has a love affair with the magnificence of the world. The world’s beauty and its resources are treasures all want, and many have a lust for. The Bible gives a pretty complete picture of the desires humanity has that are displeasing to God. “Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” (Galatians 5:19-21)

No one has escaped, and most are still trapped in a never-ending desire for their sinful nature. They not only displace their guilt but love to draw the naive into the same trap. The Christian believer knows once they were in the same downward spiral following the path of destruction. “Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.” (Ephesians 2:3)

With all the division we see in the world today, it still comes down to two groups of people, the children of wrath and the children of God. The Christians must never forget the state they were in when even they could not know the wickedness of their heart. “The heart is more deceitful than all else And is desperately sick; Who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9) Do not deceive yourselves and remain focused on the path the Lord has placed you on. “Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.” (Ephesians 2:3)

The battle between the flesh and the spirit will not end until we have escaped the corrupted flesh we are tented in. It is only a battle to be won, and only we can lose it. We must depart the way of the world and stay the course of the King’s Highway. “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:2)

Once the world was perfect and Adam and Eve were created perfectly. That was long ago, and the righteous of our past have kept the fight, and today the battle is still to be fought. Our fore-parents fought the battle, and Jesus gave them the victory of spirit over the flesh. In Christ, we are equipped to persevere. “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)

By our repentant conversion, we have received the counsel of His Holy Spirit to guide us through each day of our journey through this world. “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.” (John 14:26) The worldly cannot know our council because they cannot receive what they do not believe. They search the world for truth and cannot find the truth, but the Spirit in the Christian is truth. “The Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.” (John 14:17)

His Spirit within us is not a Spirit of fear nor defeat, and His Spirit is a perfect image for our spirit to abide in. The Spirit comes from the Kingdom of God and dwells with us each minute of our time here. The Spirit that gives us a vision of the eternal home we are bound for. “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 3:18)

The battle between our spirit and the flesh we carry rages on, but the ultimate victor is ours through Jesus, as He fought the same battle and overcame the world. Jesus took the sins of the world, He took our sins too, and nailed them with Him on the cross, and God accepted that as payment for our sins. Therefore the old sinful self has been crucified with Christ on the cross of Calvary. “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” (Galatians 2:20) The greatest fear humanity has is not shared with the children of God. “The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 15:56-57)

Jesus, our Savior, and friend, the role model of our life, is the essence of God the Father. To know Jesus is to know God, and He is the only way humanity can ever be with Him. Our spirit will be with Him in Heaven, and we will be as He is, for we will be perfected on the Day of Christ Jesus. The battle will be won, and peace will be everlasting. “Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is.” (1 John 3:2)

Thomas N Kirkpatrick

First Baptist Church of Durant, June 10, 2021

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If You Love Me

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37)

When Jesus entered Jerusalem for the final time in His ministry, the crowds gathered to meet Him were large. Some had heard His teaching throughout Galilee, some from an earlier visit to the city, and most recently, Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. The Pharisees already had decided to be rid of Him by death. The Sadducees who believed not in any resurrection were challenging Him, but the wisdom of Jesus’ knowledge surpassed them. It was then a layer from the Pharisees came to trick Jesus about the law. They asked Jesus which law was the greatest? The lawyer may have wanted to debate the law of Moses, but Jesus does not quote a law from Moses. (Matthew 22:34-40)

Instead, Jesus gave these two commandments as the greatest of the law. “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (Matt. 22:37). The crowds were astonished, and the Pharisees had no reply. How arrogant the Jewish leaders were that they could not accept a carpenter from Nazareth would have greater knowledge. Their pride of life caused them to miss their Messiah. The week before Passover, many missed the Lamb of God and, therefore, the Day of Visitation with their Messiah.

We have heard these commands before from Jesus, as they are common in the biblical teaching of the gospel. The commands are not simple, neither are they easy to comply with or accomplish without discipline. For discussion, let us explore the meaning of several words in this verse. First, let us look at the word heart. To find the best definition, we use the Hebrew word “Led” found in a verse of Solomon teaching us to guard our hearts. “Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life.” (Proverbs 4:23)

The heart is the core of our being, the center of our consciousness. Here resides our will that drives our moral character. We have determined that our mind by memory and reflection processes the knowledge we have learned and wisdom we have gained. To know one’s heart is to understand who one is and what one will do. God knows the heart of an individual, and therefore His judgments are righteous.

People see the definition of soul differently, as some say it is the spirit, some the heart, and others the body. Of the three, the body would be closest, but all would be correct. The word for soul in Hebrew is nephesh. Nephesh refers to breathing creatures, both human and animal. Nephesh also includes the mental abilities of the body. All of the answers would work as the soul is the completeness of the created living being. There is a difference between humanity and all other created living beings. That difference is the spirit. At creation, God breathed His Spirit into Adam. “Then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.” (Genesis 2:7)

There are several meanings for the word spirit. All of them entail a definition of wind. Wind can range from a violent to a gentle breeze. I laugh within myself, as I know many people who are puffed up with themselves. In Genesis, the word is nesh-aw-maw, meaning Lord God breathed a puff of His Divine breath into the soul of His created man. God’s Divine Spirit gave humanity an inspired intellect for their soul and spirit. Only humanity has this, and it separates humanity from all of the earth’s created living beings.

The mind of humanity is the center of deep thought to exercise knowledge through wisdom and exercise the imagination. These three, the heart, soul, and mind, were created to love their Creator, the Lord God Almighty. All creation gives the Lord God praise and glory. The vegetation, as the trees clap praise with joy. “For you will go out with joy And be led forth with peace; The mountains and the hills will break forth into shouts of joy before you, And all the trees of the field will clap their hands.” (Isaiah 55:12) The heavens rejoice in the Lord by singing worshipful music. “When the morning stars sang together And all the sons of God shouted for joy?” (Job 38:7) Humanity was created to give the Lord God glory. “Everyone who is called by My name, And whom I have created for My glory, Whom I have formed, even whom I have made.” (Isaiah 43:7)

Our heart, which drives our moral character, our soul is governed by the heart and our mind that so quickly missteps we are to devote to the love of God. We each know what our love is, and in this world, we often find our love is for the world. The world we live in is a dark place and abounds with evil that, at times, will take us farther into the darkness we have ever been. To love God as our first love takes the discipline of focus to stay on the course. We may wonder at times why we should love God. The Apostle John answers. Our love grows from the experience of God’s love for us. “We love, because He first loved us.” (1 John 4:19)

Love holds many explanations for people, and sometimes it is hard to know what love is. Sometimes we get love mixed up with lust, and sometimes we proclaim love for things we do not love. I love watching a campfire sparking the evening sky, and I love the evening star-filled sky. I love chocolate, and I love West Virginia, but none have given me anything to take home. There are several words and meanings for love, but only the Lord God has the highest form of love, Agape. Agape love from God is a fatherly love from our Creator. Agape is unconditional, and therefore there is nothing we can do to receive His love but accept it. The love God gives us, we return to Him and share His love with our neighbors unselfishly.

Why should we love God? We love God because He laid down His life to pay the sin debt we all have. “By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” (1 John 4:9-10) As my grandma would say, “Isn’t that the gospel.” The gospel of Jesus and that alone has the power to produce desire in our hearts to love God above all other loves. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” (Romans 1:16)

The goal of the God-man Jesus is to choose faithful followers who would be consumed with a passion for God and love for others. Love as this is beyond the capability of humanity. If that were not so, God would not have to come in the likeness of man and live a perfectly righteous life, sacrifice Himself on a cross, and rise from the grave in a resurrection to eternal life. Humanity can only achieve a likeness to their Savior by His Spirit abiding in them and their spirit abiding with His. “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)

In our Christian life, we hear much about bearing fruit. Soul-winning is a significant theme in the Christian walk, but no man has ever saved a soul. Saving souls is God’s work by the wooing of the spirit. Bearing fruit is displaying the Spirit’s fruit by our words and deeds in the power of His Holy Spirit abiding within us. It is the Holy Spirit’s fruit. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22-23)

All Christians want to see spiritual fruit in their lives. The way to receive it is to not focus on the fruit, but focus on Jesus, who has accepted you as a gift of His grace. If you focus only on the fruit, you may become frustrated and become despaired. You will produce spiritual fruit when led by the Spirit. “If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.” (Galatians 5:25)

God is love. “We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.” (1 John 4:16) As followers of Christ, we share the love He has given us to all. God works in the context of His love, and we in the same context of His love. If what we do does not flow from a heart of love, if we do not truly desire to do them, then our works are of no worth to God. “If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.” (1 Corinthians 13:2–3)

The gospel message of Jesus also produces obedience to God’s will, but obedience is powered by our hearts’ desire. The obedience of the faithful Christian is pleasing to God, and it is delightful to the Christian. Our pleasing and delightful obedience is proof of the Love we have for our Lord and Savior Jesus. True love cannot be by command. It has to come by passion and joined will with the Father. “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” (John 14:15)

As Helen H. Lemmel wrote in 1922. “Turn your eyes upon Jesus, Look full in His wonderful face, And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, In the light of His glory and grace.”

Thomas N Kirkpatrick

First Baptist Church of Durant, June 9, 2021

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A Heavy Yoke the World Is

“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)

The world has always been, and now seems, more so a burdensome place to live. I do live forward and do not dwell on the past too much. One value of the past is the mistakes we have made, and the wise will remember them and learn. Humanity seldom does learn from the past, and if it did, then the world would be as it began a paradise. When God first placed humanity in the Garden of Eden, it was a perfect paradise, which humanity has tried to return to ever since. If we had only been obedient to God’s Word, we never would have to repent. If we had not taken that one bite of the forbidden fruit, death would not be a constant companion at the forefront of our minds.

There was in the past and still is today a fallen angel named Lucifer who fell from the grace of God. We call him several names, but I call him Satan. Satan knows the Word of God, and he knows His place now and his destiny soon to come. Satan can be many things to each one, but he is the father of lies and will use his deceit to destroy everything God has created. Particularly humanity, as it is the crown of God’s creation and bears His image. Satan caught Eve’s attention and tempted her to do the one thing God had commanded Adam not to do, eat the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.

Satan’s sin against God was he should be equal to the Most High God. Satan was found out, and God had him thrown out of His Heaven to the earth below. God then placed humanity here on earth and told Satan he could not touch them. It drove a selfish Satan to want to corrupt humankind and deny them to a Holy God. Satan, as a serpent, tempted Eve with the same sin he had fallen to that humanity could be as God. “For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:5). Humanity today is trapped in the sin of selfishness and lust for the pleasures of this fallen world. As Satan, those who have sin in their lives can never walk the streets of God’s Heaven, as only righteous beings can be there.

Humanity can never be righteous, as they are spiritual beings living in a corrupted physical body. Humanity could never pay the wage of their sin, which is death. “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23) God sent Himself in the likeness of a man named Jesus to sacrifice Himself in place of all humanity that none should perish (John 3:16). The meaning of our text here is that he paid our sin debt and offers His sacrifice in place of our own. There is no wealth in God’s creation to equal the cost. Nothing humanity can earn, work, or buy to gain salvation. By God’s sufficient grace, He offers salvation freely through faith to humanity as a gift.

The good news of God’s Kingdom is simple, “If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9). Here is when I would hear my Grandma Money Kirk shout, “That is the Gospel!” If humanity had to buy or work for their salvation, none would be in God’s Kingdom except God and His angels. Jesus sacrificed His life on the cross, shedding His blood in place of ours, meeting the demand of the Law that death is the wage of sin. No one can get into Heaven with sin in their baggage. God lives in perfect righteousness, and that is the minimum standard. “Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48)

Jesus lived a righteous life. No one in humanity has ever accomplished that, and none can as we are born with a sinful corrupted physical body. The world is burdensome as most refuse to escape the trap because they love their sin and will sell their souls for the short time pleasures of the world. The world continues to be burdensome, as unrighteous hearts cannot make moral choices, and the world spirals further and further from the truth of God’s creation. Without a Heavenly Father in creation, humanity is out of touch and not in harmony with God’s plan. For those who do not know what loss is, that is lost.

All God wants is for a person to place Him on the throne of His heart. People sacrifice every day for the things in this world they need or want. They sacrifice their time, talent, and treasure for something that will be left behind when death overcomes them. When they face that twinkling of death, they face it in horror. Accepting Jesus as your Lord and Savior does call for a sacrifice. It is the same as the worldly sacrifice of time, talent, and treasure. The difference is your sacrifices are multiplied and go with you to your eternal home in Heaven. The two sacrifices that get you there cannot be bought but must be given. All the Lord wants from us is a poor spirit and true mourning for the sins we have fallen into. “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.” (Psalm 51:17)

Many in humanity find no purpose in their life. What does it mean, what is it worth, and what is the purpose? The meaning of humanity is they were created to glorify God as their Creator. Humanity is to recognize Him in all they do. (Proverbs 3:5-6) The Lord spoke this to the Prophet. “Everyone who is called by My name, And whom I have created for My glory, Whom I have formed, even whom I have made.” (Isaiah 43:7). Life’s worth is found in the price that was paid. Every life, righteous or unrighteous, Jesus paid the sin debt on the cross so that none would need to perish in eternity. Few think of that, as they live their life in fear of death, believing they will not die. The purpose is summed up in the two great commandments given by Jesus quoted from Old Testament Scripture. “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” (Luke 10:27)

One’s purpose is to do the good works God created for them to accomplish. “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10) Do not miss the path that has been prepared beforehand. The future is preplanned, and we have no fear walking in God’s will accomplishing the good work He has preplanned for us to do. If our meaning, worth, and purpose have all been pre-arranged before the beginning, then the yoke is easy compared to the worldly way. “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:29-20) His yoke is easy, as all needed is a willing faithful commitment, allowing Him to do the work through us.

Jesus was explaining to the Pharisees His good work was not of His own but that of the Father. The Pharisees would or could not believe that Jesus was the Son of God or a God Himself. A triune God was beyond their comprehension. Jesus answered them with this confession. “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner.” (John 5:19) The good work that is given to us is not our work alone. It can never be our good work; it can only be the good work the Holy Spirit has led us to do. The work the Spirit has empowered us to do. We can do nothing if we do not abide in Him the vine “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)

Our free will allows us to choose, and I urge all to choose wisely. The path may be the heavy yoke the world places upon us ending all our efforts where they began; here is the world and lost. The wise choice would be to cheerfully serve the Creator and receive the eternal rewards of the riches of His glory. At least do as the Apostle Phillip said, “Come and see.” The Gospel news of the Kingdom is simple to receive and believe in faith. “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.” (John 5:24)

Thomas N Kirkpatrick First Baptist Church of Durant, May 31, 2021

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Worship in Spirit and Truth

“God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4:24)

In the Hebrew nation of old, Moses built the Tabernacle according to the word of the Lord God. The tabernacle houses the Holies of Holies where the Ark of the Covenant rested, and the Lord God Almighty dwelt. The Hebrew nation was nomadic until they settled the Promised Land of Canaan with Joshua, their leader. King Solomon built the first Temple housing the Holies of Holies, where the Lord God dwelt and was worshipped. When King Solomon passed, the Israel nation split over who would be the successor to Solomon. Israel becomes the Northern kingdom, and Judea becomes the southern Kingdom. Both kingdoms continually forsook the word of their God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Israel was conquered by the Assyrians and Judea by the Babylonians.

King Cyrus invaded the Babylonians, which resulted in the Judeans returning to their land and the eventual rebuilding of the Temple. The King of Judea sent a call out to the Israelites living in the Assyrians conquered land, inviting them to return to Jerusalem. “The couriers went throughout all Israel and Judah with the letters from the hand of the king and his princes, even according to the command of the king, saying, “O sons of Israel, return to the LORD God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, that He may return to those of you who escaped and are left from the hand of the kings of Assyria.” (2 Chronicles 30:6)

The Israelites in Assyria had become intermingled with other peoples the King of Assyria had conquered also. They had intermarried and shared worship of other gods and lived north of Judea in Samaria. “The king of Assyria brought men from Babylon and from Cuthah and from Avva and from Hamath and Sepharvaim, and settled them in the cities of Samaria in place of the sons of Israel. So they possessed Samaria and lived in its cities.” (2 Kings 17:24)

When Zerubbabel began to rebuild the Temple, the Israelites living in Samaria came to aid in the Temple’s rebuilding and were rejected by Zerubbabel and Jeshua because they had intermixed with pagan people of foreign nations. “But Zerubbabel and Jeshua and the rest of the heads of fathers’ households of Israel said to them, “You have nothing in common with us in building a house to our God; but we ourselves will together build to the LORD God of Israel, as King Cyrus, the king of Persia has commanded us.” (Ezra 4:3), Since that time the Judeans and the Samarians had no relations between them. The problem was between Judea and Galilee was Samaria. There is a long path around Samaria to Galilee, but Jesus took the direct route.

When Jesus met the woman at the well, His request for a drink sparked curiosity in the woman. “Therefore the Samaritan woman said to Him, ‘How is it that You, being a Jew, ask me for a drink since I am a Samaritan woman?’” (John 4:9) Jesus tells her that if she knew who He was, she would ask Him for a drink of water that she would never thirst again. “Whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.” (John 4:14). The woman at the well deflects and speaks of the difference in the worship place between Jews and Samaritans. Jesus’ answered according to His purpose, teaching worship is not in a place other than the heart of the worshipper. “But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers.” (John 4:23)

Let us look at these three elements of Worship, Spirit, and Truth. Christians gather together to worship, but worship is not confined to a place. They gather to fellowship together with the Lord and to encourage each other. Worship is a reverent recognition of the person and Authority of God the Creator and our inferiority as His creation. God the Creator is bigger than His creation and is not confined to any place or realm. Worship is a state of one’s mind and attitude in constant thought of His Lord God. The Christian is in complete admiration of God. Worship is a state of being where there is a continuous awareness of God’s presence and communication. “With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints.” (Ephesians 6:18)

Spirit in the scripture is the word “pneuma” and is the spirit, soul, and creative source of a person. Humanity has a spirit breathed by God, and the pneuma is God-like, and the spiritually mature are believers in God. Those who have rejected God have a pneuma that is sarkikos, which refers to flesh that is governed by humanity’s human nature and sinful. Sarkikos would be spiritually immature. There is a contrast between the states of one’s spirit. One is spiritually dependent upon God’s Holy Spirit, and the other is carnal and lost to the desires of the flesh. When a person places His truth in Jesus for their salvation, they are infants in spiritual maturity but will grow to discern righteousness and wickedness. “For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.” (Hebrews 5:13-14) Christians need to grow quickly in faith and spiritual maturity, as Satan will seek to destroy their belief. “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8)

The Christian follower of Christ is to grow in the like-mindedness of Jesus. Growing in their faith in His Word, building trust and obedience, he will grow in spiritual strength and empowerment of the Holy Spirit. They will boldly step out in faith and proclaim the good news of God’s Kingdom, as their thoughts are expressed in spiritual words. “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God, which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words.” (1 Corinthians 2:12-13)

Jesus, who is the Word of God from the beginning and is God incarnate, and is truth. “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14) Jesus prayed a High Priestly prayer to the Father and asked that His disciples be sanctified, spiritually mature by the Word of God He spoke to them. “Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth.” (John 17:17) James encourages Christian believers to become spiritually mature, lacking in nothing God has for them in the purpose of His will. “Therefore, putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls.” (James 1:21) No one can achieve spiritual maturity apart from the Word of God. Only by His Word can one carry their cross and follow Him. “Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him.” (Colossians 2:6)

Worshipping in Spirit and Truth is a constant state of living and is not confined to a single place. Worshipping the Lord is inviting Him to be the center of life to love, guide, and equip the believer in all their endeavors through life. The key is to follow the One who loves you, who purchased you with His blood, and who has the best interest for you in His heart. Jesus is faithful and true and will never let you fall from the palm of His hand. “Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)

Thomas N Kirkpatrick

First Baptist Church of Durant, May 11, 2021

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The Lord’s Providence

“Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, indeed everything that is in the heavens and the earth; Yours is the dominion, O LORD, and You exalt Yourself as head over all.” (1 Chronicles 29:11)

I am always younger than yesterday, and in sometime back then, I found myself to be anxious about many things. I was just married, and before being ready, a new mouth came into my life to feed. When I had adjusted to that surprise, another mount opens up with tears of hunger. I would not say that I ever suffered anxiety attacks, just the typical worries of keeping a growing family provided for. We all go through that on our journey of life. Parents have to provide a home, food and drink, clothing, and the bare necessities of life.

I remembered the Disney movie of nineteen-sixty-seven, “The Jungle Book,” and liked the song sung by Balu the bear. The lyrics went like this. “Look for the bare necessities. The simple bare necessities. Forget about your worries and your strife. I mean the bare necessities. Old Mother Nature’s recipes. That brings the bare necessities of life.” I often sang that chorus knowing that it was meaningless as a help to provide for my family, but it eased the stress of my anxiousness. Being anxious is worry and nervousness of uncertain outcomes related to the needs we all have. The Lord provides, and part of that provision is to be given back for His purposes. Dad said I would always be short until I returned to the Lord what is His.

That is life, as I have come to learn when you have accomplished the task of meeting the need, the next moment will knock you back to the beginning. I always dreamed of not living paycheck to paycheck, as Friday never came soon enough. Peter was always mad that Paul had to rob him to get by. Too often, I had to go to my dad and ask for a hand up; he was always gracious and filled the need. Finally, my dad said, son, God gives you all that you need, and you are not managing it in a way that honors Him. “Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure–pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.” (Luke 6:38)

I got my dad’s point and committed myself first to give time to the Lord, use what talent I had for His glory, and the treasure that came my way, I returned a portion to Him. I have learned that talents grow when used for the Lord’s purposes, and it is impossible to out-give God. He is Jehovah Jireh, the great provider. The Lord God Jehovah Jireh’s Son Jesus taught this to His disciples when teaching on the Sermon on the Mount.

“For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6:25-34)

The Lord God is the Sovereign Creator of the Heavens and the earth. We do not know or can imagine the completeness of all that He has created. His providence means that He controls all the details of the physical and spiritual creation. Nothing happens that he is not aware of or out of His control. According to His will, all the Lord God allows to be works to advance His plan and purpose. The Lord’s general providence is directed to the righteous and the unrighteous alike. “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” (Matthew 5:44-45)

The Lord God has conditional providence towards His own Children. Those who come to Him in prayer live in obedience to His Word in Faith. For those, the Lord God has special provision as they seek His Kingdom and Righteousness first in their lives. (Matthew 6:33) His children do not fret over the things of this world and believe in the Lord who is faithful and true will never forsake them. His children do not live for the culmination of this world but the eternal day of the Lord. Today there you are in the eternal day of the Lord. No longer do you worry or become anxious about the morrow. His children live in the only endless day where no sun ever sets, as they live in the light of their God. There is nothing to be anxious for as He is the Jehovah Jireh who provides all they need or could want. There is no enemy to cause fear, as they live in peace and rest in the Sabbath of our Lord.

The children of the Lord no longer eat the food raised in fields of dirt, but the manna of Heaven found in the living Word of God. Neither wonder what they shall drink, as Jesus said, “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.” (John 4:13-14)

The Lord’s children wear clothes of fine white clean linen. Linen not made by corruptible hands or sown by hands of men for worldly profit, but made in the Holy Spirit’s guidance. “It was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.” (Revelation 19:8) On that day, His children will be complete and everything the Lord created them to be, holy righteous saints, God’s children, and the bride of His Son.

In this world, the followers of Christ follow in the path He has set before them. They go forward in confidence His Word is true and boldly proclaim His truth by word and deed. Praising their Lord for He loves them by His mercy and grace. Three hundred-fifty times the Lord has told them not to fear in His Word. In times of anxiety, lay it upon the Lord, and He will lift the burdens of this world. His followers always take their cares to the Lord in prayer. “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)

This world we live in is a burdensome place, a trial we must go through to reach the Kingdom of God. The Christian life does not end here but at departure begins in the eternity of God’s Kingdom. His Kingdom was made for His children just as the world was in the beginning. The fallen angel poisoned humanity with the venom of his deception and has burdened humanity ever since. The Lord God sent Himself in the likeness of a man to live the righteous life and sacrifice Himself to pay the debt of sin for the world. Jesus is ever calling to give rest to our weary souls and free us from the wrath of God to come. Jesus is calling. Go to Him instead of the myths of a fallen world. “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:28-29)

Today lose your anxiousness in the providential care of the Lord God in active faith of His Word. In Him, you will find purpose and meaning for your life here and rest perfected as the creation He created you to be in the Day of the Lord. “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6)

Thomas N Kirkpatrick

First Baptist Church of Durant, May 10, 2021

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