Thursday, February 21, 2008

The Chariot Ride

Everybody needs somebody. Once on the road to Gaza a man came upon a chariot. In the chariot he saw a man who was reading from the book of Isaiah. But the man didn't understand what he was reading. So the man in the chariot invited the man on the road to join him in his chariot. Everybody needs somebody.

One of the greatest honors one can ever receive is an invitation into someone else's chariot. Seldom do people allow others to ride with them. On occasion, I have been offered such a ride. I am so thankful to those who have asked me to ride with them. In some small way I hope I have helped to make a difference.

There have also been times when I have invited others into my chariot. I am thankful that they were willing to spend time with me, and could help me understand the truth in a better way. They had to be patient with me. They had to know the truth themselves before they could show it to me. I am so grateful for their influence and the changes and hope that their moments in my chariot brought into my life.

We are all riding in a chariot. But where we may be able to go depends on our willingness from time to time to let others ride with us. God urges us, not only to allow others to ride, but also to overtake chariots who need guidance, faith , and hope. And at the end of our lives, when we get to our desired destination, there will be no doubt in our minds about how we were able to arrive safely. In our hearts we will know what made the difference. It was what we learned on the chariot ride.

Then the Spirit said to Philip, "Go near and overtake this chariot." ~ Acts 8:29

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Overcoming Addiction

Let's face it, we have problems. While each person may have a specific struggle, we are all tempted by our own desires (James 1:13ff). We can only blame ourselves for our sins. But the good news is that sin and temptation can be defeated.

Wayne Jackson ( wrote recently about how to overcome a certain sexual addiction. He laid down the following solution principles, that can really work for addictions of any kind:


There are several things that honest souls need to know, and work seriously on, if they would overcome this problem, or any similar one, and live pure in the sight of Almighty God.

(1) They must cultivate a love for God with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength (Mark 12:30). Love is the motivating power behind faith and obedience (Galatians 5:6). You can only do this by immersing yourself in the Scriptures and coming to appreciate their authority and value in your personal life. When Jesus was tempted (Matthew 4:1ff), he appealed to “it is written” as his shield.

(2) Study a wealth of Bible texts on self-control, temperance, etc. A good concordance, e.g., Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance, can provide a list of passages relating to these topics. A comprehensive Bible dictionary, or a dictionary of Bible theology, can be very helpful on these themes as well.

(3) Become convinced that you really can do all things in him who is able and willing to “strengthen” (the idea of putting power into something) you (Philippians 4:13). Develop confidence in the Lord by coming close to him through the study of his Word every day.

(4) Talk to God in prayer. Plead with him to help you overcome this weakness. He loves you and wants to assist you and lift you out of spiritual slavery.

(5) Find a Christian friend (perhaps an elder, deacon, or minister), or a parent with whom you may confidentially talk. Confess your weakness and ask for encouragement as you fight the battle. Friendly confidants can be a powerful and wonderful source of strength.

Everybody has that one thing that is keeping them from wholly serving God and enjoying spiritual peace and hope. Jesus came to remove each and every problem from our lives. But we have to make the decision to follow Him. We must put our trust in Him by whom all things are possible (Matt. 19:26).

"Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, 'One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.'" ~ Mark 10:21

Saturday, February 16, 2008


There is a word that is probably the most important word in our language. Especially for young people, this word must be used often and with emphasis. It will make the difference. It will keep one pure and save one from years of tears. The word is, "No!"

Joseph had been betrayed by his own family. He had been sold as a slave, but he became ruler over Potiphar's household. Potiphar's wife fell in love with Joseph. She waited until nobody would know, to entice him to have sex with her. Joseph probably could have gotten involved without Potiphar or anyone else but God knowing. But Joseph said, No!"

Ruth had lost her husband. Her mother-in-law told her she could go home and seek another husband. She owed nothing to Naomi. But she loved her mother-in-law. She refused to leave her without help and without hope. Naomi told her to leave and start over. But Ruth said, "No!"

Moses had been saved by Pharaoh's daughter. He was raised in Egypt and enjoyed the finest food, clothes, shelter, and education. When he grew up he was forced to make a choice. In order to continue on the house of Pharaoh, he would have to deny his Hebrew heritage. He would have to give up the one true God for the polytheism of the Egyptians. He could have been rich, powerful, and famous in one of the greatest kingdom's in the world. He could have enjoyed the passing pleasures of sin. But Moses said, "No."

He was entitled a king, but only in jest. He was a servant to all. He was a master teacher. He was a friend to the friendless. He was more powerful than the oceans, yet more humble than the least of men. He was spat upon, and struck with fists. People lied to commit him to his death. He was scourged until his organs were visible. A crown of thorns was twisted into his skull until blood ran down his face. As he hung between two thieves, he was given the opporunity to show his true identity. They said, "Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God! Save yourself!" Here was his chance. He could have condemned his accusers, and every sinful man. He could have eased his father's pain. He could have ended his suffering. But Jesus said, "No!"

"But Jesus on his part did not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people." ~ John 2:24 ESV

Monday, February 11, 2008

The Things We May Do

So how are those resolutions going? Statistics say that most people give up on their New Year's resolutions by mid-February. One might venture to say that you can get around such a misstep all together if you just decide not to make any resolutions. Of course this would be a resolution in itself, though easier to keep.

Making a conscious decision to change a behavior or attitude is an healthy practice. Changes in our lives our coming anyway, whether we like it or not. In order for any person to grow spiritually, they must leave their "comfort zone" by accepting the challenge to do things they have never done, and to do the things that they have done better than before.

As we are already in the second month of the 2008, and since before you know it the year has a tendency to get away from us, I would like to challenge each of you to consider the following possibilities:

  • Read the Bible everyday. If you have children, read to them every night before bedtime. There are several children's Bible story books out there with plenty of material to last the whole year.
  • Join a visitation group. If you are not visiting the members and visitors, you are not doing your job as a Christian. You are in the family of God. You have a responsibility to be a functional member of this family.
  • Ladies, attend the Ladies' Bible class at 10 a.m. on Wednesdays. Men, attend the Men's breakfast every first Monday morning of the month at 7 a.m. This is a decision that you can make. It is simply a matter of going.
  • Host another family in your home once a month. It would be especially good for you to invite someone who needs encouragement or who you do not know as well. Of all the things the church used to be, this is what I miss the most. I know we are busy, but we need to find a way to have the kind of fellowship that brotherhood demands.
  • Invite people to worship. March 23 is scheduled to be our Coming Home Sunday. This will be a special effort to invite and encourage people to attend. You will at least have a good excuse to try. I hope that we will have 500 in attendance. I believe if we work together that we can do it!
These are just a few things we can do to make a difference. We will grow if we do these things. Take an assessment of your activities. Who is getting more of your time, the church or the world? I believe it will be a humbling realization. Let's put God and the church first. We will not regret it.

Oh, the things we may do, you and I, you and I;
Oh, the love we can give if we try;
Just a word or a song as we're passing along,
They will count in the great by and by.
~ Lizzie Dearmond

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Hear Me When I Call

There are some songs that remind you of certain people every time your hear them. This week at the FHU Lectures, during the Monday evening singing, the song leader led "Hear Me When I Call," a song written by Tillit S. Teddlie (1962). When I turned the pages of the song book and stopped at this hymn, I immediately thought of one man, Red Mitchell.

When I first came to Pulaski St., nearly five years ago, I was blessed to get to follow brother Mitchell into the pulpit. As David has written in one of our past bulletins, he is a modern day "sweet singer of Israel." Red would often lead this hymn before our opening prayer. As the days have passed I have seen a deeper meaning in the words of this song. Faith in God allows the spirit to get stronger as the flesh becomes weaker. On occasion I have considered the phrase, "hold my trembling hand, lest helpless I should fall." As time continues to usher our more aged members into eternity, I can see the comfort of God being lived out in our elderly, as they sing this thought to God in unwavering faith.

If anyone would ever live out the words of his own pen, brother Teddlie did so. He wrote this song in his 70's, and then lived another 25 years to sing it. At the age of 102, Tillit S. Teddile left this world, having written over 100 songs, many of which are still sung at each service by his brethren today. I imagine that he, and brother Mitchell, and many others have taken great consolation in God, in spite of their physcial infirmities. Some trembling comes to each one us, no matter our circumstances. With some this problem becomes more visible with age, and reminds each one of us of our approaching appointment with God.

May our great and matchless Father help us to echo the cry of our brethren who have gone before us. May each one of call unto our God who does hear us, who will hold our trembling hand across the vail.

Hear me when I call, O God, my righteousness,
Unto Thee I come in weakness and distress;
Hold my trembling hand, lest helpless I should fall,
O hear me, Lord, hear me, O hear me when I call!
~ Tillit S. Teddlie (1962)