Staff Devotions

 

Pastor’s Desk October 15th

Scripture Passage: “These six things does the Lord hate: yes, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that devises wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaks lies, and he that sows discord among brothers.”  Proverbs 6: 16-19
 
Dear Friends,
 
     Number four is a heart that devises wicked imaginations.  In the innocence of childhood our imaginations are filled with kindness and wonderment.  We often devise plans for good things that ultimately help others.  Through the process of aging and dealing with the consequences of sin by us, or against us, we begin to devise plans to hurt others or get even.  Most times these imaginations benefit us in some way and have the sinister effect of evil against others.  This is an evil use of our God given gift of imagination.  Jesus described wicked imaginations perfectly in Mark 7: 20-23.  “That which comes out of the man,  that defiles the man.  For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, and evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these things come from within, and defile the man.”

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Pastor’s Desk October 8th

Scripture Passage: “These six things does the Lord hate: yes, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that devises wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaks lies, and he that sows discord among brothers.”  Proverbs 6: 16-19
 
Dear Friends,
 
God hates all sin, but there are some that are especially hateful to him because they demonstrate our treatment of each other.  In the seven sins listed I find it interesting that they all deal with the last six commandments.  Coming in at number one is the sin of pride.  Proverbs 16:18 says, “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.”  Every sin known to man traces back in some way to our pride.  We are even told it was because of Satan’s pride and desire to be like God that he was evicted from Heaven. (Isaiah 14:12-14)  When we overvalue ourselves and undervalue those around us it reveals the condition of our heart. To esteem ourselves and hold others in contempt goes against all Christ teaching on servant-leadership.  Pride is closely related to arrogance and is fleshed out in the way we treat others.

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Pastor’s Desk September 24th

Scripture Passage:  “Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consists not in the abundance of the things he possesses.”  Luke 12:15      “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.”  Colossians 3:2
 
Dear Friends, Much is said in our culture about a person’s value or worth.  Most of the time that value is measured in some way based upon money and possessions.  The more money they have access to, the more valuable they are to family, community, and even church.  Their success in life is evaluated according to the things they possess.  A person driving a Lexus is considered more successful than a person driving a Focus.  A person living in a three story house is seen as a person of means, while a person living in a double-wide is viewed as a person just getting by. The more stuff in the garage and adult toys in the yard are visible evidence of a person who is “going and blowing.”  The truth is most of the time these are signs of a person deeply in debt.  Loss of job, income, or health expose and reveal a person’s true worth compared to the things they possess.  To a materialistic person, once their stuff is gone, so is their value or worth.  To a person whose life is built on the “Rock,” it simply reinforces where their priorities lie.

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Pastor’s Desk October 1st

Scripture Passage:  “Stolen waters are sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant.  But he knows not that the dead are there; and that her guests are in the depth of hell.”              Proverbs 9:17-18
 
Dear Friends,
 
     “Forbidden fruit creates many jams,” is from a church billboard sign I saw many years ago.  I know that it speaks to me every time I see it because of my human nature to be drawn to things forbidden.  J.P.my grandson, was at Granny Charlotte’s house the other day and was particularly drawn to a door on an antique cook stove.  His mother told him “No” and moved him to another part of the room and gave him a toy to play with.  In just a few minutes he had made his way back over to the stove again and was opening and slamming the door shut while looking directly at his mother.  (He gets that from his Paw.)  He wanted to do the one thing he was told not to.  The next time he was taken away, he went kicking and screaming.  (You can guess what happened then?)

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Pastor’s Desk September 17th

Scripture Passage:  “They that go down to the sea in ships,  that do business in great waters; These see the works of the Lord, and his wonders in the deep.”  Psalms 107:23-24
 
Dear Friends,
 
There is nothing so calming to me, or frightful, as the waters of the ocean.  One minute you are lying on the beach with your toes in the sand, the next you are overcome by the rising tide and scampering to get out of the way of the crashing billows.  Water and wind are two of the most destructive natural forces known to man.  The same thing that cools you off and rocks you to sleep has the ability to drown and blow you away.  I like to visit the beach on vacation and go on cruises aboard the large ships, but there is no way I would want to live there all the time. I will choose the mountains every time.  We may be susceptible to a tornado, but it would be near impossible for us to be hit by a hurricane.  The climate and topography that attracts one person, repels another.  That is one of the things that make us unique as one of God’s creations. 

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Pastor’s Desk September 10th

Scripture Passage:  “And he spoke a parable unto them, saying,  The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits?  And he said,  This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods.  And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou has much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.  But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night your soul shall be required of you: then whose shall those things be, which you have provided? So is he that lays not up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”   Luke 12:16-21
 

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Pastor’s Desk September 3rd

Scripture Passage: “And the Lord God took the man and put him into the Garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.”   Genesis 2:15      “In the sweat of your face shall you eat bread, till you return unto the ground; for out of it were you taken; for dust you are, and unto dust shall you return.”  Genesis 3:19

Dear Friends,

     Happy Labor Day week.  Labor Day is a national holiday held on the first Monday in September to commemorate the working class.  It honors the American labor movement and the contributions the workers have made toward the prosperity of the nation.  The first unofficial celebration took place in New York City in 1882.  It became an official federal holiday in 1894 and is considered the unofficial end of summer.  Labor Day is a reminder that without the working class of people any nation can be brought to its knees. 


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Pastor’s Desk August 27th

Scripture Passage:  “Then said he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the laborers are few; Pray you therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth laborers into his harvest.”  Matthew 9:37-38

 

Dear Friends,

     When Patrick was a little boy the yard was full of his friends waiting to begin the next ballgame.  We went from baseball, to football, to basketball, to street hockey.  There was always a game to be played, but there was also work to be done.  He would often tell his friends that if they would him get his work done he could play much quicker.  What looked like a lot of work to Patrick became nothing more than a chore with a little help from his friends. During harvest time on the farm hot, laborious work became a game when all the family pitched in.  We had so much fun together it hardly seemed like work at all.  I remember hoeing my rows of tobacco and getting behind pretty quickly.  Papaw, daddy, and momma would reach over and help out so I could catch up.  We would all get to the end of the row about the same time because we all worked together.  Times change, people die, and we all get older.  Sometimes work does not get done now unless I do it.  It takes a long time when you have to do it alone.


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Pastor’s Desk August 20th

Scripture Passage:  “Judge not, and you shall not be judged: condemn not, and you shall not be condemned: forgive, and you shall be forgiven: Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom.  For with the same measure that you mete withal it shall be measured to you again.”  Luke 6: 37-38

Dear Friends,

     Luke 6:38 is one of my favorite passages of Scripture.  I think about all the people who have invested in my life and the giving spirit they exhibited.  It seemed that they could not do enough for me.  These same people were faithful to their church, their families and their friends.  The more they gave away, the more the Lord seemed to replenish their account.  A kind, generous person is a rare commodity in today’s society.  The younger generation tends to live with a sense of entitlement.  They are very good at taking what is offered, but tend to forget when the time comes for them to be the donor.  Young couples and young adults live in a materialistic society of cell phones, possessions and maxed out credit-cards. They live from paycheck to paycheck and spend more than they make – on themselves. Many my age live with a sense of limited responsibility.  We feel we have contributed our part to all the social programs and benevolence funds for the needy and it is time for someone else to step up to the plate.  It does not take long for us to become wearied with all the commercials, solicitors, road blocks, and pleas for money.  We tend to be generous with family and friends but stingy with those outside the circle of influence.  We have a good heart, but do not like to be taken advantage of.  We give generously to a worthy cause but struggle with the concept of deadbeats and bums.  The older generation lives on a fixed income and is limited in the amount they have available for donation.  They often do more than they actually can and then have to adjust in some other area to make up the difference.  There is a fine line between selfishness and selflessness and it is often determined by the amount of generosity in our hearts. 


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Pastor’s Desk August 13th

Scripture Passage:  “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord; looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled.”  Hebrews 12: 14-15

Dear Friends,

     This time of year has the John Deere mowing grass at least twice a week. Most people do not care, but I do not like dead grass lying everywhere.  I do not have the type of grass I want, but I have what the good Lord gave me.  One place in my yard had a clump of Johnson grass that kept coming up.  I would cut it down into the dirt with the weed eater, but before I would mow again it would be back up and thriving.  Johnson grass is sturdy, heat resistant, and high in protein and nutrients so it makes excellent hay for cattle.  The problem is the root system.  It chokes out everything else and takes over. The only way you can ever grow anything else where it has been is to kill all the roots.  If you look at most fields around Sweetwater right now Johnson grass is what you see.  Each year it gets worse and worse and now it has begun to spill over into people’s yards.  The birds and the wind carry the seed and sow them where they are not wanted.  If you leave one clump of Johnson grass and let it seed, you will have a yard full of it next year.  I had to spray with a powerful herbicide to kill the roots of my clump of Johnson grass.  In killing the roots, I also created a large bare place in my yard.  Here is where the spiritual lesson comes in. 


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