All You Have To Do To Get To Heaven

Psalm 15 opens by asking the question everybody wants answered: “O Lord, who may abide in Your tent; who may dwell on Your holy hill?” In other words, how can we get to heaven, to be where God is — the ultimate goal of mankind? But the answer is more than daunting!

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“Four Surprising Signs of Wickedness” (Psalm 10:3-11 sermon)

(Preached at First Baptist, Pauls Valley, OK on Sunday evening, July 20, 2014)

When most of us think of “wickedness”, we tend to think of certain specific “evil deeds.” Dr. Kermit Gosnell, who was in the news recently for having murdered numerous babies who were accidentally born during botched abortions, may come to mind. They reported that just before he killed one baby, he joked to his assistants that the child was “big enough to walk to the bus.” Thankfully, he was indeed convicted of murder. What he did was absolute wickedness, make no mistake about it!

But that kind of picture of wickedness also misses the point somewhat, because in many of our minds it serves to excuse US from any kind of responsibility for wickedness — surely none of US have been involved in that kind of evil, right? But in fact, if the truth be known, each of us does indeed manifest wickedness every day.
I want us to turn to Psalm 10, where it speaks of “the wicked” in :3. Following that verse, we see a description of some of the qualities of the wicked person. Some of them are what we might expect. But others may be more surprising — and some of us would have to admit, after studying this scripture, that we are much more wicked than we realized. Let’s look together for a few minutes at “Four Surprising Signs of Wickedness.”

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Not A Coincidence

In II Kings 8:1-6 we find the story of how the Shunnamite woman, whose son Elisha had raised from from the dead, had been gone from the land of Israel for 7 years during a famine, but was returning to appeal to the King of Israel for the restoration of her property. What happened when she returned was no “coincidence.”

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Joshua 3:5 Sermon: “Preparing For God To Work”

(Preached at FBC Pauls Valley, OK, Sunday morning July 20, 2014)

A couple of weeks ago our son Michael took a Drivers Ed class in Norman. We were all excited about it; we pre-registered him online, and we made sure to check the list of all the things he had to have ready for the first day: the payment for the class; a folder to hold his papers in, a highlighter, lunch plans. We went by the school to make sure we knew where it was and how long it would take us to get there, etc. We weren’t leaving anything to chance; we are ready for him to drive, so we wanted to make sure everything was prepared & ready for him to take that class!

You’ve probably done the same thing with certain events like that in your life: perhaps getting your kindergartener ready for their first day or class, or a big job interview. If we make that kind of preparation for those kinds of things, how much more should we prepare for the things of God?! I want us to turn to a verse of scripture that speaks of God’s people preparing for Him work, Joshua 3:5:

“Then Joshua said to the people, ‘Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you.’” Continue reading

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Suddenly Everything Can Change

When God speaks and acts, things can change faster than you can imagine!
In II Kings 6, the Northern Kingdom of Israel’s capital city, Samaria, had been under seige, and they were starving. Chapter 6 verse 25 recorded that “a donkey’s head was sold for 80 shekels of silver, and a fourth of a kab of dove’s dung for five shekels”.

But in Chapter 7, the prophet Elisha declared that God would bring immediate relief to the people. He said in Verse 1: “Tomorrow about this time a measure of fine flour will be sold for a shekel, and two measures of barley for a shekel”.

This would be an amazingly quick turnaround. You almost feel sorry for the official in :2, who doubted Elisha’s word and as a result did not live to see it — for who could have believed it?

But it is a good reminder that with God, everything can indeed change in a moment: Continue reading

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Guarding In Prayer

Colossians 4:2 commands us: “Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving.” The word rendered “devote” is “proskartereo”, which Thayer’s lexicon translates, “persevere”, “give constant attention to”, “continue” in. This seems to indicate that the Colossians were already praying, but that they should guard themselves against the danger of being distracted from it. So should we! Continue reading

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The God of Little Things

The problem described in II Kings 6:1-6 is not what many people would consider a “big deal.” An axe head that one of the prophets had borrowed accidentally fell into the Jordan River. It was a common, ordinary, everyday type problem. It was not a child who had died, or a nation that needed revival, a plague that was destroying the people, or any such thing. It was just a borrowed axe that fell into a river! One might say, “Oh well!” No big deal. But it did matter to the son of the prophet who took the problem to Elisha — and evidently it mattered to God too, for He allowed Elisha to perform a miracle to bring the axe head up for him.

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