Luke 13: 2 – 3 “And Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose ye that these Galileans were sinners above all the Galileans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.”

The Ethiopian Airline crash was very personal to us. Fortunately, we did not know of anyone on that plane, but were very familiar with the area where it crashed. The place is called Bishoftu, and for many years was the location of a missionary retreat. There is a large lake there that is peaceful and beautiful. We went there on many occasions just to get away.

We have also taken that flight from Addis Ababa to Nairobi, Kenya in order to make connection with an international flight. Our first thoughts went out to the large missionary population in Ethiopia who might have been on that flight but as far as we know, there were none. We have many Ethiopian friends who could have been on that flight. However, 157 people lost their lives –of that number there were 8 Americans, 18 Canadians, and a total of 35 different nationalities. The loss of life is sad regardless of where they come from.

In our text, Jesus addresses the question of catastrophes such as this. Apparently, there was the belief that people who suffered such tragedies had to be great sinners. He asked the question, “Do you think they were greater sinners than others?” but answered the question by saying, “No, but if you don’t repent, you will all perish.” Certainly tragedies of any kind are a reminder that life is short, and death can come at any time! We would all do well to be prepared.

The Daily Bread in one of its daily devotions told the fable of a man who made an agreement with the Grim Reaper. He said that he would gladly go if he would only warn him. A few years passed, and one evening the man was thinking about all of his possessions and how pleased he was with his life. Suddenly, the Grim Reaper tapped him on the shoulder and told him that it was time to go. The man protested and said that the agreement was that he would warn him before he came to take him. The Grim Reaper told him to look in the mirror at his bald head and wrinkled face. Then he reminded him that his hearing was bad as well as his eyesight. He told him that he had sent many warnings, but he had not listened! (February 29, 1991)

Have you received any reminders lately that life is short, but death is sure?

Do hard times make or break us?

From the Pastor’s Desk-

Jeremiah 17: 5 – 8 “…Cursed be the man that trusteth in man…” vs. 5 “Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord…” vs. 7

The difference in fruitfulness and barrenness might be described as the difference in green and brown. Most yards turn brown in the fall, but turn green again in the spring. In the winter months, the trees are bare and the grass turns brown. Then in early spring, the trees begin to bloom (think pollen), and gradually the leaves come out. If it is a fruit bearing tree, then in a few months the fruit will appear!

Jeremiah contrasts the person who trusts in the flesh, and the person who trusts in God. The person who trust in the flesh is like a heath, that is a scrubby and barren place. The person who trust in the Lord is planted by the waters and bears fruit year round. 

If you are a Christian, how would you describe yourself? Are you brown like winter, or green like summer? This may not be an easy question to answer, but you can test yourself by Jeremiah 17: 8 where it describes the person that is planted by the waters. They are not bothered by the heat or the drought, but just continue bearing fruit. In other words, when the heat of persecution comes, how easy is it to turn the other cheek? When God withholds the rains and the drought comes, how are you handling the dry seasons? 

The reality is that God uses the hard times to mature us. The trials force you back to the Word and to prayer. Those are the times you draw closer to the Lord. On the other hand, it is possible that the hard times will sidetrack you. You get discouraged and miss church. You are not faithful in prayer and reading of the Word; and then you wonder what happened! It has often been said, “If you are not as close to the Lord as you once were; Who moved?” We know the answer to that question, it wasn’t God! 

“Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.
But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.” Psalm 1:1 – 3

The fewer the words, the better the prayer…

From the Pastors Desk-

Nehemiah 2: 4 “Then the king said unto me, For what dost thou make request? So I prayed to the God of heaven.”

Martin Luther, the great reformer, said: “The fewer the words, the better the prayer…”

Nehemiah did not have the time to pray a long prayer, because he had just been asked a question that required an immediate answer. We don’t know what he said, or how he worded his prayer. We are reasonably certain he didn’t get on his knees, bow his head, or close his eyes. It probably was as short as the prayer Peter prayed when he began to sink in the water. He simply said, “Lord, save me”.

Charles Spurgeon said this in a sermon: “There is no need for us to go beating about the bush, and not telling the Lord distinctly what it is that we crave at His hands. Nor will it be seemly for us to make any attempt to use fine language; but let us ask God in the simplest and most direct manner for just the things we want…” (The Kneeling Christian, Clarion Classics, 1986, Zondervan Publishing House, Page 79-80)

The Apostle Paul said, “Be careful for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, let your requests be made known unto God.” Phil. 4:6. While praise and thanksgiving are important in prayer; prayer is simply telling God what you need. Instead of vague generalities, you give specific requests and trust God for a specific response. While that response may not be the exact thing you have asked for; God promises in vs. 7 to give a peace that passes all understanding! “And the peace of God which passes all understanding shall keep your heart and mind through Christ Jesus.”

Your heart may be burdened down with a specific problem or need, but when you make your request known unto God, He will give you the peace that you need for that particular trial.

When George Mueller was asked how much time he spent in prayer, he said, hours every day. But I live in the spirit of prayer. I pray as I walk and when I lie down and when I arise. And the answers are always coming.”

-Two Short Prayers-

God, be merciful to me a sinner! Luke 18:13

Dear God, Your will, nothing more, nothing less, nothing else. Amen. 
Bobby Richardson

1-27-19 All Volunteers Meeting

Are you currently volunteering in any position at Believers Baptist Church? Do you feel called to be a volunteer at the Church? If you answered yes to either of these questions, this meeting is for you. Join us as we discuss the year ahead. The meeting starts at 3pm.

Do you need a reference letter?

From the Pastor’s Desk…

Philippians 2: 19 – 22 “But I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timotheus shortly unto you, that I also may be of good comfort, when I know your state. For I have no man likeminded, who will naturally care for your state. For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ’s. But ye know the proof of him, that, as a son with the father, he hath served with me in the gospel.”

Do you need a reference letter? You couldn’t ask for one better than what Paul wrote for Timothy. We learn about Timothy from different passages of Scriptures. He had a godly upbringing by his mother and grandmother (II Timothy 1: 5; 3: 15). He came under Paul’s ministry in Derbe (Acts 16: 1 – 3), and apparently joined him there, and was with him when he started the church in Philippi (Acts 16: 12). There seems to have been a genuine bonding between Paul and Timothy. In fact, that of father-son. If the Apostle Paul did not lead him to Christ, he at least played a major role in discipling him.

In spite of the glowing commendation that Paul gave to Timothy; he also had his weaknesses. In Paul’s epistle to Timothy, he make references to his youth (I Timothy 4: 12); his infirmities (I Tim. 5: 23); his shyness and fearfulness (II Timothy 1: 7 – 8); and his human frailty (II Timothy 2: 22). This seems to contrast with his letter of commendation that Paul gave in Phil. 2: 19 – 22. However, Paul was always transparent, and as with other writers of Scripture, he never tried to gloss over anyone’s failures. This was also seen in his rebuke to the Apostle Peter Galatians 2: 11 – 14.

What lessons can we learn from this? Here are several thoughts that should be helpful to us as we serve the Lord.

******* The person who is strongest is the weakest. II Cor. 12: 9

******* God has placed us in vessels of clay that we might always be mindful of how fragile we are. II Cor. 4: 7

******* If the Apostle Paul could say, “We are troubled on every side…we are perplexed”; it is alright for us to say the same! II Cor. 4: 8

******* We do not have to flaunt our weaknesses, but we should be honest enough to admit that we have weaknesses!

God has chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty!