Famine of God's Word

"The days are coming, declares the Sovereign Lord, when I will send a famine in the land - not a famine of food or a thirst for water, but a famine of hearing the words of the Lord.  Men will stagger from sea to sea and wander from north to east, searching for the word of the Lord, but will not find it."  Amos 8: 11-12

This text reveals to us that God is ruling in this world and universe.  He is the one who executes His purposes.  He can bless and he can punish.  Today the world does not see the hand of God in anything, and when devastation of various kinds come, the world simply sees execution of natural law, and blind mindless force.  In every tragedy man mourns, but, believes he is able to control his environment, and all he needs is more knowledge and understanding of the world.  Even in the Church there is an atmosphere that believes God does not intervene in judgment.  He is universal love, overlooks sin, and would not judge anybody, regardless of behavior.  This text gives us the truth that God is sovereign, and does execute His Word in the world, and what he threatens he can and will perform.  Amos assures us that God does not look on evil and godlessness with indifference, and although his love is seen in providing forgiveness through Christ’s sacrifice, he will execute judgment on sinners when they refuse his pleading to repent and be saved.

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Are We Following Christ?

Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, he has rejected you… [1 Samuel 15:23]

Therefore, as a tongue of fire consumes stubble and dry grass collapses into the flame, so their root will become like rot and their blossom blow away as dust; For they have rejected the law of the LORD of hosts and despised the word of the Holy One of Israel. [Isaiah 5:24]

The wise men are put to shame, they are dismayed and caught; Behold, they have rejected the word of the LORD, and what kind of wisdom do they have? [Jeremiah 8:9]

They made their hearts like flint so that they could not hear the law and the words which the LORD of hosts had sent by His Spirit through the former prophets; therefore great wrath came from the LORD of hosts. [Zechariah 7:12]

There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; the very words I have spoken will condemn them at the last day. [John 12:48]

Two men are standing before God on the Day of Judgment.  One, an unemployed father of four, went into a grocery, stuffed a ham under his shirt, ran out into the street and was hit by a truck and died.  The other robbed a bank and was killed in a shootout with the police.  As they stood there, did God see a man who was trying to feed his family and a man who stole money and tried to kill the police officers?  No, He did not.  He saw two sinners.

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Are You Giving or Returning?

Alan Smith of White Horse, Tennessee shared the following story of a church that had a parking problem.  It was right next door to a store that was closed on Sunday.  They asked the owner if they could use his parking lot.  He said that they could use it for 51 Sundays out of the year but that it would be chained off one week.  They were happy with the deal, but curious why it would be chained off that one Sunday.  He explained that he just wanted them to remember that it wasn't their parking lot!

You know, there's a lot of wisdom there.  Because if you use something long enough, you tend to assume that it's yours.  Everything we have belongs to God.  God wants us to remember that.  He told Israel that one day they would be richly blessed, but he warned them, "Do not say to yourself, 'My power and the might of my own hand have gotten me this wealth.'  But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, so that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your ancestors, as he is doing today."  (Deuteronomy 8:17-18).

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Filled With Joy

When John heard in prison what Christ was doing, he sent his disciples to ask him, “Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?”  Jesus replied, "Go back and report to John what you hear and see.  The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor.  Blessed is the man who does not fall away because of me." Matthew 11 and Luke 7.  John knew Jesus was the Messiah, yet he doubted because John wanted Jesus to get him out of prison and spare his life.  "Just one more miracle, please."  But Jesus didn’t do what John wanted.  When Paul pleaded with the Lord to remove the thorn, God responded with "My Grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."  2 Corinthians 11.  Paul wanted relief.  God said “no.”

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The B-I-B-L-E, That's the Word for Me

When I defended my faith statement before Presbytery, I stated that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God.  Even though my good friend ‘DM’ asked me if I was serious and then voted “No” against my Commission, I still believe that.

At Presbytery today, I read the faith statements of three young people desirous of Presbytery approval, and all three said that the Bible is the inspired Word of God and that it is the Living Word.  Also today, I was told that we Presbyterians are reformed and always reforming.

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Navigating Home

At one time, I was interested in discussing time-space continuum, string theory, neutrino spin and rotation, parallel universes, and alternate reality.  I used to listen to Blind Faith, Buffalo Springfield, and Paul Butterfield Blues.  I used to roam the forest and speak with the trees.  Today, I wonder if I can find my way home.

“For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the cleverness of the clever I will thwart.  Where is the wise man?  Where is the scribe?  Where is the debater of this age?

God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise.  God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong.  God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so no human being might boast in the presence of God.  He is the source of our life in Christ Jesus whom God made our wisdom, our righteousness, our sanctification and redemption.”  1 Corinthians Chapter 1.

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Agua Viva del Espirtu Santo

As you know Rick, Susanna, Tem, and I had the opportunity to visit the Yucatan including Xoy and our new partner San Diego Buena Vista last month.  As I write this I am anticipating you will hear a detailed report before this newsletter gets in your hand.  However, Xoy is doing great.  They are serving surrounding communities and their own, with agua purificada and employing three operators.  It seemed to me the town has taken what God has given them and increased their blessings by increasing their ministry.

San Diego Buena Vista is in dire need and it is time for us as a church to take what God has given us and increase our blessings by increasing our ministry.  We need money, plain and simple.  We have received generous support, but we need more if we are to help children have clean water.  All the funds collected are used for building the plant and equipment.  The gringos pay their own way to Mexico, pay for their lodging and meals, and donate to the project financially and physically.  What I ask is that you consider options to give as you have received.  You may say you have no resources to give.  Times are hard, mines are shutting down, etc.  Here is a proposal: in lieu of gifts for your birthday, anniversary, grandparents day, Christmas, Pastor Appreciation Day, etc., ask those who might give you some tangible gift to give to the water project(s).  Host a clean water party instead of a dirty Santa party.  Watch the Cats on TV instead of going to the game.  Have a quiet night at home with your sweetie instead of going somewhere for the weekend.  You get the idea.

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