Lazarus was dead. His strong body and determined will to live could not overcome his sickness. The doctors who treated his illness had given the family hope. His sisters had prayed to Jesus. Their faith in God had given them hope. But now not only was Lazarus dead, but he had been in the tomb for four days. His sisters did not want to open the grave because by now the body had begun to rot and it stunk. It was a hopeless situation.
When you think of the story of Lazarus, you may think only of a dead man being brought back to life. However, it occurs to me that this is a story of Jesus’ ability to overcome the most hopeless of situations. When Jesus arrived at the tomb of Lazarus, everyone thought that He was four days late. However, Jesus is never late. He simply waited until Lazarus was dead enough for people to see and believe that He is Lord over the most hopeless of situations.
Many situations arise in our lives that appear to be hopeless. They may be caused by our own foolishness or maybe things happen that are beyond our control. Our will to overcome is not good enough. Friends speak of hope, yet we feel despair. We have prayed but it seems Jesus doesn’t hear. Now our situation stinks worse than a four day old corpse and we are saturated by hopelessness.
Jesus said; “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in Me, even if he dies, will live. Everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die — ever.” If Jesus can raise a dead man for the Glory of God, He can handle your problems for the Glory of God. Bring your mess to Jesus, loose yourself and let yourself go. I promise you this, in Christ there are no hopeless situations.
Douglas & Deborah Huff From Down Where The Pavement Ends
Everyone knows that Patrick Henry said, “Give me liberty or give me death”. But did you know he also said, “It cannot be emphasized too clearly and too often that this nation was not founded, by religionists, but by Christians. Not on religion, but on the gospel of Jesus Christ.” These words bear witness to the fact that our Founding Fathers knew this nation could survive only if she stood on the solid rock that is Christ Jesus.
Notice he said this nation was not founded by religionists. A religionist is a person whose faith is placed in the rules, regulations and other trappings of a religion. The establishment of this nation came about, not because of religious people, but because of Christians who followed Christ. These Followers of Christ knew that we are endowed with unalienable rights by our Creator. The government of the United States was instituted for the purpose of securing these rights and must never be allowed to become destructive of these rights.
In the early 1700s from the pulpits of Protestant churches, people were taught they were to be bond slaves to Christ and Christ alone. The sermons of many humble preachers stirred the souls of men to receive a Great Spiritual awakening. It was this Great Awakening that unified the thirteen colonies into one nation under God. From the pulpits were heard great patriotic sermons teaching that freedom was a God given right. These pastors were determined that no one should infringe on their congregation’s rights of Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. The men who heard these sermons became the Minutemen who marched into battle with Great Britain determined to have Liberty or Death.
The right to worship freely is the foundational right of all the unalienable rights given to us by the Laws of Nature and Nature’s God. When the Freedom of Religion is abolished all other rights will soon be gone. We must never relinquish our right to worship and the focus of our worship must always be Jesus Christ. Jesus is the only One who can give Life, Liberty and Happiness.
I recently acquired some chickens. Seven fat hens. I am responsible for their safety, so I built a secure pen for them. It has a top to keep out hawks and is reinforced around the bottom to keep out varmints. Daily I make sure they have fresh water and plenty of food. They are safe, well fed and have a warm dry coop to sleep in. Everything a chicken could want.
Everything a chicken could want, except they want out. Whenever I go to feed them, they are standing at the gate hoping I will let them out. They are glad to exchange the free food for food they can find for themselves. They are also happy to swap the safety of the enclosed pen for the wide open freedom of the yard. When a hawk flies over they hide under a bush and when a varmint comes around they fly into a tree. They don’t need me to take care of them. They are willing to take care of themselves.
It occurs to me that my chickens are exhibiting the true American spirit. True Americans don’t sit around waiting to be fed, they take care of themselves. True Americans will not trade freedom for safety. True Americans will not be told when, where and how to worship. They will worship how, where and when the God of all creation calls them. True Americans don’t depend on the government but will lift their eyes unto God in whom they have placed their trust.
The Declaration of Independence declares that it is evident that we are endowed by the Creator with the rights of Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. It appears that many people are willing to trade these rights for the dubious promises of corrupt politicians. I am not! I know that Jesus Christ died on the cross to free me from my sin. And brave soldiers died on the battlefield so I can live in freedom. Satan cannot steal my salvation and I will not sell my liberty. I will stand fast in the liberty by which Christ has made me free, and will not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage. I was set free to live in freedom and I will be free.
What kind of people do you think Jesus likes to have around Him. You may have gotten the idea from some church people that Jesus prefers to be around preachers and Sunday School teachers and other good people. After all Jesus said be perfect because I am perfect and these people are perfect Right? Righttt!
I guess there are some people who think that Jesus would never choose to be anywhere near a drug addict or alcoholic or anyone who does bad things. And Jesus would never chose to be around anyone who does not go to church, would He?
I know that a lot of you have serious problems in your life. Maybe you are an addict of some kind. Most of us are. Maybe your marriage is closer to hell than heaven on earth. Some of you may have a child who has broken your heart or a parent who has broken your heart. Do you have scars and pains from past mistakes? Do you have wounds on your heart that still festers years after someone hurt you? If so I have some good news for you.
You are the kind of person Jesus likes to hang around with. Jesus loves broken people. The Bible tells us that “The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart.” So if you have a broken heart or a broken marriage, if you are the victim of broken promises or broken dreams you can know that God has a special love for you.
All people have an element of brokenness within them but few find the blessing that God has for them in there brokenness. Jesus said “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” Many of you have a darkness in your hearts that comes from brokenness. But Jesus says you do not have to walk in this darkness because His Light can overcome your brokenness.
There is blessedness in brokenness and it is this, God will draw near to you in your brokenness. He says to you come to me all who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest.
Legend has it that the apostle Paul was only about 4 feet 6 inches tall. Physically he was a small man but spiritually he was a giant in God’s army. As a soldier of Jesus Christ, he felt constant grief in his heart for those who did not know the Savior. Gladly, he would have suffered eternity in hell if it meant that lost people would be saved. When threatened with death for preaching the gospel, he knew that he was standing against the gates of Hell and he would not back down.
Paul was devoted to the task of proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ to the world. He was determined to boldly open his mouth and preach truth to all people. He knew what was right and would not let the world turn him around. He put on the whole armor of God and went to battle with the ruler of darkness. He did all he could to stand and then he stood his ground. Knowing that the shield of faith would protect him from the fiery darts of the evil one, he refused to back down.
When Paul went to war with the enemy of Christ, Satan came against him with everything he had. Five times Paul was whipped almost to death. Three times he was beaten with rods. Once they stoned him and left him for dead. No matter where he was, he was always in danger and spent many cold, sleepless nights with a hungry belly. But for him these were light afflictions that could not compare with the eternal weight of glory that waited for him. When they finally took Paul’s head off, he entered heaven to a hero’s welcome while in hell Satan licked his wounds. Paul counted it all joy to suffer for Christ and he would not back down.
Today Paul is among a great cloud of witnesses in Heaven. They watch to see if anyone will let the love of Christ compel them to stand for righteousness. As Christians, we should continuously grieve for those who are lost because without Christ they have no hope. Would you pray that the Word of God would become like a fire in your bones that cannot be quenched?Because God demonstrated His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. We should be determined that even if they stand us up against the gates of Hell, we won’t back down.
“Do not fret because of evildoers, Nor be envious of the workers of iniquity. For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, And wither as the green herb. Trust in the Lord, and do good; Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness. Delight yourself also in the Lord, And He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, Trust also in Him, And He shall bring it to pass.”
In my lifetime, I have seen one president assassinated and another forced out of office. These two men seemed to be unbeatable in their public and private lives. They were towers of strength, but they where brought down by the forces of this world.
In my lifetime, I have seen a once powerful world superpower cease to exist. This evil nation once caused fearful Americans to build bomb shelters because of their dreaded nuclear weapons. This tower of socialist strength came crumbling to the ground because of the multiplied power of freedom seeking people.
In my lifetime, I have seen nationally known television evangelists knocked out of their lofty pulpits in shame and disgrace as their private sins became public knowledge. These self-proclaimed towers of spirituality were humbled as their public declarations of faith became private demons of failure.
In my lifetime, I saw the Twin Towers of New York City come crashing to the ground. These great buildings represented the financial might of our great nation and most people thought they would stand forever. But a handful of lunatics crashed planes loaded with people into the side of these buildings. Screaming “Praise be to Allah”, they flew right into the clutches of their father the Devil.
In my lifetime, I have seen many towers fall. Towers of friendship, towers of trust and towers of love. In my lifetime, I have been afraid, I have been ashamed and I have been hurt by people and by circumstances. I can tell you that there is no person who will not fail or hurt you sooner or later. Even those you love and trust the most. But let me tell you this.
In my lifetime, I have come to know a God in whom I can trust. He has told me He will never leave me nor forsake me and He has told me nothing can ever separate me from His love.
My God sought me with His love and bought me with His blood. He is my Lord. My Lord is Jesus Christ and He is an invincible Tower. The righteous run to this Tower and are safe.
Jesus is my Savior. When I was a nine year old boy, I reached out my hand to Him and trusted Him with my life. I didn’t understand a lot about Him. But that was ok, because He understood everything about me. My faith in Him was not misplaced. He has never failed me. I have many good friends and loved ones whom I can trust with things of this world, but for my eternal hope I will trust in no other name than Jesus.
Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth and the Light. No one can ever make their way to heaven except through Him. He is the only begotten Son of God. He came to do the will of His Father. It is the will of God that no one should be lost but that all should have eternal life. When the religious leaders instructed Peter not to preach in the name of Jesus, Peter said, “I think I will listen to God and not you.” Then Peter preached with the authority of God that there is no other name by which we might be saved than the name of Jesus.
If you trust Jesus, you will find in Him everything you need. When your life seems to be as dark as night, He is the Bright Morning Star. If your world seems to be crumbling around you, He is the Rock on which you can stand. If you feel loneliness, you can know that He will always be there. His righteousness will wipe away your sin. If you are prone to wander in darkness, He is the Good Shepherd and the Light of Life.
Have you trusted Jesus and Jesus only for eternal salvation. I have heard His voice and I can tell you without a doubt that He, and He alone, can save your soul. Many things and people want to be a god to you. But Jesus is the only God who died to wipe away your sins. He rose from the dead to reveal that He alone can give you eternal life. In Christ alone, can you find Salvation. There is no other authority under Heaven by which you might be saved. No other name but JESUS.
In Honor of my Daddy; Russell Huff, He served God and dedicated his life to loving my Momma and raising nine children. He was the greatest man I have ever known!
My Daddy, My Hero Big bucks, deep deer trails, squirrels cutting hickory nuts, Cane cutter rabbits, cold November mornings Deer stands, and my daddy, Thank you God! Broad River, wooden boat, 5-horse motor, bank hooks, trotlines, and fish baskets Big carps, big catfish and my daddy Thank you God Oak trees, hickory trees, popular trees Chainsaw, axe, log splitter, old pickup truck Warm house and my daddy, Thank you God A Farmall, B Allis Chalmers, Cornfield, Tomater rows, pea patch and butter beans A cold drink of water, Suppertime and my daddy Thank you God Five sisters, three brothers, mommas smile Laughter, tears, riding sweet gum saplings Hickory switch when needed, lotsa love always And my daddy, my precious Daddy, Thank you God! Thank you God; for my daddy, my hero, he taught me how to be a man!
Unless the LORD builds the house, They labor in vain who build it; Unless the LORD guards the city, The watchman stays awake in vain. It is vain for you to rise up early, To sit up late, To eat the bread of sorrows; For so He gives His beloved sleep. Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, The fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, So are the children of one’s youth. Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them; They shall not be ashamed, But shall speak with their enemies in the gate. (Psalms 127:1-5 NKJV)
Courage. Not the the kind of courage that is portrayed in hollywood movies, but real courage. The kind of courage that God honors and rewards. Many think of courage as the absence of fear. The courage that pleases God is the action of doing the right thing regardless our fears. It is doing the right thing regardless of financial or societal cost. Courage is fulfilling our spiritual responsibilities to our families.
In order to be courageous we must stand on our convictions. In order to have God pleasing courage we must have Godly convictions.
A Godly conviction is a basic Scriptural principle which we purpose to follow, whatever the cost.
What follows is ten scriptural convictions of a righteous man.
1. The Bible is the inspired, inerrant Word of God and the final authority for my life.
“Saying this means nothing if I do not cherish the Word of God. It is foolish to cherish a book. —- but this is not just a book. The Author of this Book is the Author and Authority of all of life. When I read this book I feel the breath that breathed these Words breathing on me.
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,” (2 Timothy 3:16)
One the best gifts you can give your children and grandchildren is to teach them to cherish God’s Word.
2. My purpose in life is to seek God with my whole heart and to build my goals around His priorities.
“Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ” (Philippians 3:8)
Think of quality. Life must be lived. Things must be built. Living in the world means, living in the world, working, loving, playing, Living. If we do all these things for the Glory of God and for the sake of His Kingdom. How great would be the Quality of the things we do.
3. My body is the living temple of God and must not be defiled by the lust of the world.
“Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.” (1 Corinthians 3:16-17)
Think of Health.
4. My church must teach the foundational truths of the Bible and reinforce my basic convictions.
“For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?” (1 Peter 4:17)
Any Church that does not hold to the Truth of God’s Word is not worthy of your presence.
5. My children and grandchildren belong to God, and it is my responsibility to teach them Scriptural principals, Godly character, and basic convictions.
“But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.”” (Matthew 19:14)
6. My activities must never weaken the Scriptural convictions of another Christian.
“Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way.” (Romans 14:13)
7. My marriage is a life-long commitment to God and to my wife.
“Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” (Genesis 2:24)
8. My money is a trust from God and must be earned and managed according to Scriptural principles.
“Therefore if you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches?” (Luke 16:11)
9. My words must be in harmony with God’s Word, especially when reproving and restoring a Christian brother.
“For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”” (Matthew 12:37)
10. My affections must be set on things above, not on things in the earth.
” “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:19-21,)