Let me talk to the Dads today. As 2013 begins and you begin to think about what the new year will hold and what changes you should make, let me ask you to consider a few things.
You are the chief warrior of your home. You are the Commander In Chief of the little army God has placed under you. I want to encourage you to step up and lead your family successfully through this evil world, so that when your soldiers advance on their own they will still be serving the Lord.
I can only speak to Dads today from my own life experience, not as an expert. I grew up on a farm in Iowa with little money. We were not an influential family and no one took much notice of us. But today as I look at the life my siblings and I live now there must have been something done right that was important beyond finances and influence. There are four of us siblings and all of us serve the Lord and we all married spouses that serve the Lord. None of us had a baby out of wedlock, have been divorced, did drugs, were homeless or been to jail. We are not perfect, of course, but there must have been something that caused us to choose to serve the Lord. I guarantee it wasn’t because our parents were perfect or even lived out their Christians lives without being hypocrites. They themselves had sins they openly struggled with. There must have been something deeper.
Let me give you a few reasons why I believe we serve the Lord.
1. We went to church. We went to church Sunday morning, Sunday night, Wednesday night and any time there was a special event. We learned that church was important. My parents never made us go but it wasn’t an option either. It is just what we did every Sunday. No one ever questioned whether we were going that week, we just went faithfully. (No, we weren’t the pastors either and we drove 40 miles ONE WAY to church.)
2. Nothing was more important than God. We were actively involved in sports, drama, Girl Scouts, and music at school but those events never overshadowed our church life. We were all A students, but we never missed church to stay home and do our homework. (We are all college graduates I might add.)
3. We were involved in church. We learned the Word of God through the Assemblies of God Bible quiz program. We participated in every program the AG had to offer from Royal Rangers for our brother to Missionettes for us girls. We played in the church orchestra and sang in the adult and youth choirs. We went to church camp in the summer and youth convention in the Fall. God was able to get ahold of us because we were in a place to hear him. We didn’t have much money and I’m not sure who paid of us to go to camp but I know we always went.
4. We prayed together. Our parents prayed for us even when we did not want them to. I know my mom prayed and extended family members were praying for us, too.
These are very simple things but yet it seems faithfulness to church and God are the hardest things to accomplish. We commit to sports, clubs, school, etc. to the point where our kids know those are important. They would never miss a sport team event and they know it. Without even saying it our children learn what is important to us. You don’t even have to say it out loud, they just know if there is a sports event on the calendar you will be there. But if they see a church event on the calendar they ask if they are going. Are sports bad? No. Clubs? No. School? No. It all comes down to priority.
So Dads let me address you as the Commander of the great army God has placed under you. Where are you leading your army? To sports games? To club meetings? To movies? That’s OK, no condemnation. Will you lead them to prayer meeting so they can see you cry out to God on their behalf? Will you teach them faithfulness to church by leading them there? Will you lead them into the things of God? Will you lead them to read the Bible? Will you lead your army into the uncharted waters of a Daniel Fast and show them that fasting and prayer work? Will you stand up and be the man of God that God has ordained for you to be? Where you lead your family they will go. You are the leader. They are watching.
You do not have to be perfect. You don’t have to have it all together. You just need to acknowledge your leader the Commander In Chief of all the Commander In Chiefs!!! Or King of Kings as the Bible calls Him!
The Mayan Calendar says that the world is ending on December 21, 2012 and yet I have not one ounce of fear. And neither should you. Take heart, my friends, the Bible has the answer to every question. Is the world ending on December 21, 2012?
If you are older than 1 1/2 years old you have already heard that world is ending recently because on May 22, 2011 American Christian radio host Harold Camping stated that the Rapture and Judgment Day would take place and that the end of the world would take place five months later on October 21, 2011. In addition, there have been 150 recorded predictions about the end of the world in recent days.
I found a few headlines on the site December 21, 2012, The official Website for 122112 Information. December 21, 2012: NASA Scientist Says 25 Million Americans Stockpiling Guns, Machetes for Doomsday
December 21, 2012 may or may not be doomsday but apparently at least 25 million people think that there won't be a Christmas this year because of the Mayan apocalypse.
And this one:
Mayan Prophecy Drives Surge in One-way Flight Searches
Believers in the supernatural are flocking to two small villages - Bugarach in the South of France and Sirince in Turkey - as the end of the Mayan Calendar nears. Many people truly believe that tomorrow is going to be the end of the world.
As a Christian, I open my Bible to see what it has to say. In Acts chapter 1 Jesus had completed his work on earth and was ascending into heaven. Acts 1: 10 "They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. 11 “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”
So we know according to this scripture that Jesus is coming back the same way he went into heaven. But when? That is a question men have been trying to answer for centuries. Even the disciples asked Jesus that question in Matthew 24:3 "As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” Jesus continues by giving them many signs of what life would be like when he returns (which you can read in Matthew 24 below), then he says this in verse 36: "No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father."
God the Father knows when the end of the age is going to be and He assures us that there will be plenty of signs but the exact day or hour no one knows. He commands us to be ready and keep watch for his return. (Matthew 24:42-44) I trust that God knows when his return will be and I do not need to be afraid!
New International Version 1984
Signs of the End of the Age
1Jesus left the temple and was walking away when his disciples came up to him to call his attention to its buildings.2“Do you see all these things?” he asked. “I tell you the truth, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down."
3As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”
4Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. 5For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. 6You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. 7Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8All these are the beginning of birth pains.
9“Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. 10At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 11and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. 12Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. 14And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.
15“So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand— 16then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17Let no one on the roof of his house go down to take anything out of the house. 18Let no one in the field go back to get his cloak.19How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! 20Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath. 21For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again. 22If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened. 23At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. 24For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect—if that were possible. 25See, I have told you ahead of time.
26“So if anyone tells you, ‘There he is, out in the desert,’ do not go out; or, ‘Here he is, in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. 27For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 28Wherever there is a carcass, there the vultures will gather.
29“Immediately after the distress of those days
“‘the sun will be darkened,
and the moon will not give its light;
the stars will fall from the sky,
and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’c
30“At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. 31And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.
32“Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. 33Even so, when you see all these things, you know that itd is near, right at the door. 34I tell you the truth, this generatione will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. 35Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.
The Day and Hour Unknown
36“No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son,f but only the Father. 37As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 38For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; 39and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 40Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. 41Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.
42“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. 43But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. 44So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.
45“Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time? 46It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns. 47I tell you the truth, he will put him in charge of all his possessions. 48But suppose that servant is wicked and says to himself, ‘My master is staying away a long time,’ 49and he then begins to beat his fellow servants and to eat and drink with drunkards. 50The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. 51He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
This past Sunday at church we had a homeless lady wondering around our parking lot and digging through the trash. One of the van drivers saw her when he returned from picking up those who needed a ride and immediately offered her a cup of coffee and welcomed her inside to get warm. He was moved to go to the local grocery store to buy her some food for lunch. During the worship time she was not sure where to sit or how to act. She mimicked what was happening in the service but found it hard to sit still. Several other members of the church gave her coffee and some even slipped her a ten or twenty dollar bill. Other attenders offered to take her home and give her a bath. Our church was overwhelmingly kind to this smelly, unkept woman. I wondered if she would be kicked out since she was caring a bag of trash including a few beer cans and could not stay still for very long, but she stayed on.
During communion Pastor Jeremiah asked if everyone had been served and she stood up and said that she had not yet been served. Pastor offered to pray for her and brought her to the front of the sanctuary. Pastor encouraged the congregation that we need to be serving our community for Christ and reaching the hungry and homeless. At that point when no one knew how this lady would react to Pastor calling her forward, Pastor revealed that the homeless lady was really Sandy Purdy, a local pastor's wife. Then he asked Sandy how she felt being at our church. Sandy said she was so warmly greeted and cared for. She has done this at several other churches and events with not so warm of a welcome.
I was so proud that we had cared for her!
The Bible says in Hebrews 13:2 "Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it." Even the Bible challenges us that God may be sending His angels to see if we will take care of them!