Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Saved and Livin' Loud

“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in my statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.” (Ezekiel 36: 26-27)

A little boy just got saved and sat on a bench next to an old man who looked upset. The little boy said to the man, “Sir, do you need to get saved?” The little boy’s question startled the old man for a moment. He abruptly said, “I’ll have you know that I have been a deacon in the church for over thirty years and chairman of the deacons for fifteen years.” The little boy responded, “Sir, it doesn’t matter what you have done, Jesus loves you and He will still save you!”

Salvation is God bringing humans into a right relationship with Him and with one another through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We are then saved from the consequences of our sin and are given eternal life. Christian salvation comes by God’s free mercy and love for others. Biblical salvation is “by grace through faith, and that not of ourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works, so that no man can boast” (Eph. 2:8-9).

So, if we are saved and we know it, then we should SHOW it! A.W. Tozer wrote years ago, “We can prove our faith by our commitment to it and in no other way. Any belief that does not command the one who holds it is not a real belief - it is only a pseudo-belief. It might shock some of us profoundly if we were suddenly brought face-to-face with our beliefs and forced to test them in the fires of practical living.

Live loud by boldly, in both word and deed, declaring your allegiance to the “author and perfecter of your faith” (Heb. 12:2). Let the fruit of your faith be evident for all the world to see. Let the joy of the Lord radiate throughout your life. Let the worship of Jesus Christ captivate your every thought as you begin a new week. You have been saved, redeemed, purchased with precious blood. Live Loud! After all, James declares, “Faith, by itself, if it does not have works, is dead” (James 2:17).

Livin’ Loud,

Dr. Derek

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Praying Down Heaven

“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14)

Ogdensburg, NY is about 2 hours northwest of Syracuse, and is affectionately referred to as “The North Country”. Ogdensburg is a city of about 12,000 residents with one “evangelical” church: Grace Baptist Church. Grace is one of 423 Southern Baptist churches in a state with incredible lostness (over 95%). To keep things in perspective, the state of New York has more lost people than there are people in the entire state of Alabama. The North Country is made of cities and towns like Ogdensburg.

My first visit to Ogdensburg left an indelible impression upon my heart. One does not have to travel to some foreign soil half-way around the world to find an area of spiritual need. I could not help but sense that our “adversary” has a demonic stronghold on parts of the North Country, and especially Ogdensburg.

Yet, in the midst of such darkness there is hope. Pastor Don Thoms and the people of Grace Baptist Church are passionately praying for God to pour out His Spirit upon their city and once again arouse a spiritual movement not unlike the days of the first and second “Great Spiritual Awakenings” (circa 1730 – 1840).

Now, I do not place myself in the same category as George Whitfield (1714-1770), Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758), or Charles Finney (1792-1875), but I do pray a supernatural anointing of the Holy Spirit upon my life in these revival services with Grace Baptist Church (May 16-19). And I pray for such an overwhelming move of God that brings about a quickening over people, resulting in confession of sin, weeping for lostness in Ogdensburg, and a desire to constantly linger before God. That is my prayer for Grace Church, for Ogdensburg, for New York, for FBC Jacksonville, and for this preacher. May God be glorified in these days of revival. May God sweep over us, and conform us into the likeness of His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. May God forever change the cities of Ogdensburg, NY and Jacksonville, AL.

Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” (Ephesians 3:20-21)

Dr. Derek

Monday, May 10, 2010

A Mother Deserving A Day

Who can find a virtuous and capable wife? She is more precious than rubies. Her husband can trust her, and she will greatly enrich his life. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life. She finds wool and flax and busily spins it. She is like a merchant’s ship, bringing her food from afar. She gets up before dawn to prepare breakfast for her household and plan the day’s work for her servant girls.

She goes to inspect a field and buys it; with her earnings she plants a vineyard. She is energetic and strong, a hard worker. She makes sure her dealings are profitable; her lamp burns late into the night. Her hands are busy spinning thread, her fingers twisting fiber. She extends a helping hand to the poor and opens her arms to the needy. She has no fear of winter for her household, for everyone has warm clothes.

She makes her own bedspreads. She dresses in fine linen and purple gowns. Her husband is well known at the city gates, where he sits with the other civic leaders. She makes belted linen garments and sashes to sell to the merchants. She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future. When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness. She carefully watches everything in her household and suffers nothing from laziness.

Her children stand and bless her. Her husband praises her: “There are many virtuous and capable women in the world, but you surpass them all!” Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised. Reward her for all she has done. Let her deeds publicly declare her praise.” (Proverbs 31:10-31)

Recently I came across a list of things that Moms really want for Mother’s Day. Here is just a sampling:

*To have a 14-year-old answer a question without rolling her eyes in that "Why is this person my mother?" way.

*Five pounds of chocolate that won’t add twenty.

*A full-time cleaning person who looks like Brad Pitt.

*A grocery store that doesn’t have candy, gum, and cheap toys displayed at the checkout line.

*To have a family meal without a discussion about bodily secretions.

*For a teenager to announce, "Hey, Mom! I got a full scholarship and a job all in the same day!"

No one deserves a special day all to herself more than today's Mom. A cartoon showed a psychologist talking to his patient: "Let's see," he said, "You spend 50 percent of your energy on your job, 50 percent on your husband and 50 percent on your children. I think I see your problem."

Mom, you are the most underappreciated person on the face of the earth. You have influenced my life in ways too numerous to count. Your gifts of selfless service have been felt over and over again in my life. You have been my teacher, my disciplinarian (thanks for not telling dad so many times), my cleaning lady, my chef and baker, my nurse and doctor, my counselor when my heart hurt, and my greatest cheerleader throughout life. You have shaped my heart in so many ways.

I would like to do something special for you on this Mother’s Day. However, when I tried special things in the past you only wanted the warmth of family togetherness and I am sure this year would be no different. So, once again, I say on this day and every day, “I LOVE YOU!” Outside of Jesus Christ and my bride of twenty years, you continue to hold that special place in my heart. I am one fortunate son to have YOU as my mother.

Thanking God For You,

A Son Who Loves His Mother

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

A compass is a navigational instrument for determining direction relative to the Earth's magnetic poles. The compass was invented in ancient China sometime before the 2nd century, and was used for navigation by the 11th century. It singlehandedly improved the safety and efficiency of travel, especially ocean travel. The compass brought about navigational capability that only recently was replaced by the modern Global Positioning System(GPS).

I am so thankful that God provided a powerful compass to navigate life. It was given by God, written over 1500 years, about 60 generations, from 3 different continents (Africa, Asia, and Europe), in three languages (Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek). It has one unwavering thread – God and man reconciled through Jesus. It tells of Christ’s coming, that he came, and then, that he is coming again.

The compass was replaced by the highly precise GPS. Will the Word of God ever be replaced by some guide that promises better accuracy? Never! Why? The Bible is God-breathed, and as such, is imperishable. Jesus said, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.” (Mark 13:31)

Is the Word of God enough for you this week? Can it truly bring light to your eyes and joy to your heart? Is it really useful for instruction, correction, discipline, and training for the living of a righteous life? YES!!!

Scripture is profitable for guiding me in “what is right, what is not right, how to get right, and how to stay right.

Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have LIFE in his name.” (John 20:30-31)

Use your compass today!

Dr. Derek