Today's Scripture Passage

Isaiah 22-24

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  • Do You Worship The Work?
    We are God’s fellow workers . . . —1 Corinthians 3:9Beware of any work for God that causes or allows you to avoid concentrating on Him. A great number of Christian workers worship their work. …
  • How I Almost Became a False Teacher
    What does a false teacher in the church look like? Some of them are easy to spot. Health-and-wealth, prosperity preachers hardly require any effort at all. Those who ignore or sneeringly distort the Bible also are fairly obvious. But what if they look like me? What if they attend church regularly, read the Bible, encourage their children to participate in Su […]
  • Why Don't You Ask Him? (Part 2 of 2)
    When miracles occur, people are amazed and inspired. But when Jesus healed a man born blind the religious leaders were disgusted and the parents were frightened. Find out why these people responded so poorly, and how we often have the same reaction today on Truth For Life with Alistair Begg. […]

God our hiding place...

From the desk of Pastor Hugh Diggins, Reformed Bible Church, West Rutland, Vermont:

“You are my hiding place; You preserve me from trouble; You surround me with songs of deliverance. Selah” Psalm 32:7

Most if not all of us remember playing hide and seek as children. We did our best to find a place where we hoped whoever “It” was would not find us. In this morning’s Verse we are reminded God is, for the Christian, a special place to hide. We read elsewhere He holds us in His hands and covers us under His wings. He is a Strong Fortress, an impenetrable Refuge and an unmovable Rock upon which we can stand. Hiding in Him is the safest and securest place any of us can be. There we are preserved and protected from whatever trouble may come our way. What makes this so exciting is when you consider the attributes of God such as His perfect wisdom, power and grace we know trouble may be looking for us and at times find us but we’re never left alone. We may be vulnerable but not unprotected.

What adds a special dimension to God being our hiding place and takes us beyond protection and preservation is the accompanying symphony of peace that surrounds us in His presence. “Songs of deliverance” echo and reverberate around us as we hide in safety from the distractions that fill the air with fearful noises. Words of assurance such as “I will never leave you nor forsake you” and “I never change” and “I am the Good Shepherd” are music to our ears as we rest in safety.

As always there is more to consider, another blessed truth to encourage our hearts. We are never far from this “hiding place”. It is as near as a prayer whispered quietly or a shout sounded in desperation. Reaching out to God is the door that opens to the “hiding place” where trouble cannot get to us and within are the delightful, restful, peaceful and ever so comforting songs of deliverance sung by our King, the great Deliverer and Rescuer of all who come to Him seeking safety. Does trouble lurk in the coming hours? None of us know. But we do know this, “God, you are our hiding place, You preserve us from trouble. You surround us with songs of deliverance. Selah (Pause and meditate on this)”

Do everything to the glory of God...

From the desk of the pastor:

1 Corinthians 10:31-”So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” ESV

Each day we have the opportunity to either honor God or dishonor Him. Tomorrow we have the opportunity to come together to worship (or glorify) God. Will we come to honor Him or honor ourselves?

In this verse, Paul is sharing that even in the ordinary things of life we should seek to glorify God. When we eat, we should glorify God because we have food to eat. When we work, we should glorify God because we not only have a job but also the ability to do it. When we are cleaning our homes, we should glorify God because we not only have a home but have things to clean up. When we are playing, whether fishing, hunting, snowmobiling or whatever, we should glorify God because He has given us these wonderful things to enjoy.

Why should we glorify God at all? We should because He is the One who created us for the purpose of glorifying Him. The Westminster Shorter Catechism asks as the first question, ‘What is the chief end of man?’ The answer is ‘Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.’ Ask yourself, maybe for the very first time; do I glorify God in the ordinary, monotonous and nonspiritual things of life? Take time to glorify God today in all that you have the opportunity to do!

Help me...

From the desk of Pastor Hugh Diggins, Reformed Bible Church, West Rutland, Vermont:

“Help me, O Lord my God; save me according to Thy lovingkindness” Psalm 109:26

Have you ever come to the end of a particularly taxing day when “Murphy’s Law” was in full force and everything that could go wrong did? You come in the door plop down in a chair; shake your head and sigh. Maybe you try to pray but being overwhelmed has distracted you to the point where you feel there is nothing more to say, except “Lord, you know how it is, help me, O Lord my God”.

Though a short prayer that may seem a bit desperate the words, when spoken from the heart, demonstrate faith seasoned with hope. God does “know how it is”, doesn’t He? After all, isn’t He omniscient? He never slumbers nor sleeps; He knows our comings and goings, when we lay down to sleep and when we arise and every moment in between. Therefore, in faith we pray and in prayer find ourselves infused with a much needed dose of hope. Not only does God “know how it is”, He is also our “…refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1).

Among the many comforts that come from placing our weariness in God’s hands is the knowledge that whatever the situation there is one thing that never changes and that is God’s loving-kindness. One of the ways He demonstrates His eternal, unchanging love is by taking all the loose ends and ragged edges of life and binding them together into a perfect tapestry. With the skill of a master artisan, God weaves the events of the day that have a tendency to overtake us in a flurry of disappointments and uses them to make us complete in Him. Therefore, a simple prayer at the end of a long day such as, “Lord, you know how it is, help me, O Lord my God” is not so much a prayer of desperation as it is a prayer of acknowledgement that God is at work to will and to do His good pleasure in our lives.

Looking forward to worship…

From the desk of the pastor:

Hebrews 10:23-25–”Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” ESV

It is Saturday once again…another week has drawn to a close and we look forward to another eventful week. One of the best ways to prepare ourselves for the coming week is by heeding the words in the above verses. When we gather together we have the opportunity to encourage one another in the common faith that we hold in Jesus Christ.

When we gather together to worship God, we have the opportunity to ‘give’ encouragement to one another and, when we do so, we will ‘get’ encouragement in return.

I look forward to having the opportunity to encourage you tomorrow!

We belong to Christ…

From the desk of the pastor:

Galatians 5:24-25–”And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.” ESV

What do we choose to follow each day? Do we follow the passions and desire of the flesh or the Holy Spirit? As those who have been bought with a price and are no longer our own we should embrace the fact that things are different. Because the old self has been crucified with Christ we should not give credence to that lifestyle any more. We are no longer slaves to our sinful human nature but have been freed to serve our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

One of the great transforming truths in the Christian life is the ‘newness’ we have because of Christ’s work on the cross. Our passions and desires have changed. God is going to continue and finish the work that He began. God is our new master and desires the very best for us. What are some of the things that we long for that do not honor God? What appetites are we feeding that are detrimental to walking by the Spirit?

May we take the time each day to make sure that we are walking in a manner worthy of the Lord because we desire to please Him and be that effective witness for Him.

God’s way is best…

From the desk of the pastor:

Romans 11:33-“Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!” ESV

In our day and age there are many programs that promote an answer to your problem or the things that you struggle with by following these “three easy steps”. It appears that given enough time there could be a formula for everything and maybe these formulas would work if everyone were the same.

This same ideology has crept into the church as well. What areas in the church can we simplify into a neat little program or formula? In light of this I want you to seriously contemplate the words of Paul in Romans 11. God is infinitely deep in His knowledge and wisdom while man is shallow and clouded by his own pride.

God cannot be placed into a box or a lamp like a genie. God knows each one of us better then we know ourselves and has the exact thing that we need to live the Christian life to its fullness, yet we fight Him at every turn. We need to quit fighting God and trust Him because His ways are unsearchable and inscrutable. May we this day surrender some area in our lives to God because then we will gain the real victory, a custom fit way!

Draw near…

From the desk of the pastor:

James 4:8-“Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” ESV

Do you desire to foster a more intimate relationship with God? Is the extent of your commitment like what is mentioned in…Isaiah 29:13-“And the Lord said: ‘Because this people draw near with their mouth and honor me with their lips, while their hearts are far from me, and their fear of me is a commandment taught by men,’”

Has your relationship with God dwindled to the point of being mere rote repetition leaving you unfulfilled? Do you feel like you are in a wasteland with nothing to feed your spiritual soul? Do you desire the heart of Paul as he said in…Philippians 3:10-“that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,”

God desires for us to draw nearer to Him. He does not force us to tap into His limitless source of power and refreshment but waits patiently for us to come to Him. We are the ones who are holding onto sin, which keeps us from seizing this promise. May God grant us the ability to cleanse our hands and purify our hearts through the only One who can perform these transformations…‘draw near to God, and He will draw near to you!’

A work in progress…

From the desk of the pastor:

Romans 12:2-“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” ESV

It is a true statement that because of our faith and trust in Jesus Christ for our salvation that we are taken care of for eternity. The sins which we have committed, are committing and will commit are forgiven. This is one of the reassuring truths of our position in Jesus Christ but this is not an end in itself. God is not only concerned about our final destination but also desires our betterment while we still live in this world.

God is able to change us and what we are prone toward doing in order to make us more like Him, right now. Our salvation in Christ is also for where our sins begin. He wants to change our minds and how we think about sin in general. God is changing us from:
• Lovers of self to lovers of God
• Arrogant to humble
• Critic to complimenter
• Ungrateful to grateful
• Unholy to holy
• Reckless to responsible
• Gossips to proclaimers of truth

God help save us from ourselves as we purpose to serve You this coming week.

Fret not…

From the desk of the pastor:

Psalms 37:7-“Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices!” ESV

It is often very hard to sit still and be silent. We always want to get our proverbial two cents into every situation we find ourselves. Are we able to give God, no matter what it is, the whole situation without being worried as to the result? We need to be!

Added to this silence is also the call to wait patiently. We live in an instant culture and want things when we want them and do not fancy waiting. Maybe there has been a wrong done by someone else and we desire revenge or retaliation. In waiting, God may teach us the lessons of gentleness, patience, and even forgiveness.

It is easy for us to look around and see the prosperity of others, no matter what the scenario may be. We feel that judgment or paying the piper should be the immediate consequences toward those who do evil. The verse tells us not to fret yourself…don’t be inflamed, don’t be angry, don’t let our envy burn against those who do evil things against us.

May we be able to swallow our pride and listen to what God wants to teach us, no matter what we are dealing with…He will never mislead us and will always instruct us in the way we should go.

Needless burdens…

From the desk of the pastor:

Psalms 55:22-“Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.” ESV

How many times have we carried around a needless burden? Sometimes in our self-sufficient society we can’t admit that we need someone else’s help. Our pride keeps us from giving over the burdens that God wants us to cast onto Him. God loves His children so much that He will not only carry our burden, but He will also carry us.

God does allow things to come into our lives to help us grow in Him but in the same token does not want us to carry around the burden of sin. God does not delight in seeing us overwhelmed and would much rather us rejoice in the joy and comfort that only He can provide. When we let go of those burdens and exercise our confidence in God’s power and provision that is when He is able to sustain us.

Do we desire peace and rest for our souls? Do we want to be free from the burden that we are needlessly carrying around? God does not want us to be shaken but desires for us to trust Him with whatever we may be facing. What a wonderful truth for the tempted and distressed. May we have the fortitude to believe and implement the words of the apostle Peter…

1 Peter 5:6-7—“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” ESV