Archive for March, 2021

Good Friday Service 7:00 PM

Monday, March 29th, 2021

Join us for some passionate worship and soul stirring meditation from God’s Word about the greatest gift ever given, God’s Only Son. Invite your friends and family to revisit the greatest act of love ever demonstrated to man.

Tomorrow is the last day for non perishable food donations.

Saturday, March 27th, 2021

Sunday March 28 is the last day we will be collecting for Friendly Hands Food Bank

Join Us For Palm Sunday Worship!

Saturday, March 27th, 2021

March 28, 2021 is Palm Sunday and we are ready to celebrate King Jesus! Join us at 11:00 for Singing, Testimonies, and Soul Stirring Preaching. Spring is a season of new life! It is time to worship God together in person.

A Slippery Slope

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2021

A Slippery Slope

Pastor Don Carpenter

2021 Bible Reading Challenge / Judges 3:5–7

A hunter went out into the forest to shoot a bear. With winter fast approaching he planned to make a warm coat out of the bearskin. Soon he saw a bear coming toward him, he raised his gun and took aim.

“Wait,” said the bear, “why do you want to shoot me?”

The hunter replied: “Because I am cold.”

The bear replied “But I am hungry, so maybe we can reach an agreement.”

In the end, the hunter was well enveloped with the bear’s fur, and the bear had eaten his dinner.

The point: Disobedience (even partial) is sin, and we will always lose out when we try to compromise with sin! It will consume us in the end.

___

This week, in our 2021 Bible Reading challenge, we have been reading about the cyclical fall, judgement, repentance, and deliverance of the Children of Israel. It is easy for us to sit back and wonder how a people could be so thick as to turn from God so quickly. But the reality is it only takes a generation to completely change directions. Tonight we are going to look at three signs that one is on the Slippery Slope of Wickedness.

Become Comfortable With Carnality.

Judges 3:5 KJV

And the children of Israel dwelt among the Canaanites, Hittites, and Amorites, and Perizzites, and Hivites, and Jebusites:

Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words To Dwell

yashab (??????, 3427), “to dwell, sit, abide, inhabit, remain.”

Starts By Stopping the Good

Deuteronomy 6:4–9 KJV

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: 

And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. 

And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: 

And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. 

And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. 

And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.

Continues With Being Fascinated With Sin

Genesis 13:12 KJV

Abram dwelled in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain, and pitched his tent toward Sodom.

Proverbs 23:17 KJV

Let not thine heart envy sinners: But be thou in the fear of the LORD all the day long.

Completes With Comfort

Psalm 1:1 KJV

Blessed is the man That walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor standeth in the way of sinners, Nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.

walk, stand, and sit. This verbal progression depicts a regression from moving—to stationary—to sitting. Perhaps the idea is that sin is a temptation that one first tries out, later becomes accustomed to, and finally becomes a habit or lifestyle. Many have noted that the verbs walk, stand, and sit also call to mind the positive commandment in Deut. 6:4–9 that the person of faith is to keep the commandments of God in mind while at home and away, while coming and going. 

Become Comfortable With Compromise

Judges 3:6 KJV

And they took their daughters to be their wives, and gave their daughters to their sons, and served their gods.

Genesis 6:4–6 KJV

There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown. 

And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. 

And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.

Exodus 34:16 KJV

And thou take of their daughters unto thy sons, and their daughters go a whoring after their gods, and make thy sons go a whoring after their gods.

Deuteronomy 7:3–4 KJV

Neither shalt thou make marriages with them; thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son. 

For they will turn away thy son from following me, that they may serve other gods: so will the anger of the LORD be kindled against you, and destroy thee suddenly.

2 Corinthians 6:14–17 KJV

Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? 

And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? 

And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 

Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,

Become Comfortable With Corruption

Judges 3:7 KJV

And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and forgat the LORD their God, and served Baalim and the groves.

 • Did evil

 • Forgot God

 • Served Baalim

When we compromise with the world we lose our fellowship with God. A former Dean of St Paul’s, W R Inge, famously observed that any church that enters into a marriage with the spirit of the age “will soon find itself a widow in the next”.

How in the world does a people go from worshipping God to sacrificing to idols in one generation? How can churches that once preached the Gospel now reject the authority of Scripture? It happens when we allow ourselves to become comfortable, first with carnality, then with compromise and finally with corruption. That it the Slippery Slope.

Exported from Logos Bible Software, 7:06 PM March 23, 2021.

Ask, Seek, Knock

Saturday, March 20th, 2021

Ask, Seek Knock

Pastor Don Carpenter

What Are You Looking For? / Matthew 7:7–8

Pastor Jack Kale tells the following story:

The rain forced us inside for our annual family Easter egg hunt, but we had a blast anyway. The kids started by hiding 120 eggs in the kitchen and den while the adults played cards in the dining room. Gangee, Pap-Pap, Uncle Paul, Aunt Kathryn, my beautiful wife, and I grabbed our baskets and waited for the count. Three, two, one, go! The women dashed into the kitchen while the men opted for the den. I found my first egg hiding in the kleenex box. I heard the giggles of the women as they fought over who found whichever egg first. Sandra won with 29. I came in second with 25. I forget how the rest fell out.

Then it was our turn. We ordered the kids to their rooms and began to hide our eggs. Some yellow ones went in the matching flower bouquet on the the counter and among the lemons by the hearth. The white one replaced a light bulb in a lamp. We unzipped couch pillows and stuffed them inside. We hid green ones in the houseplants and I stuffed a blue one down a rolled up blue yoga mat. Hiding Easter eggs will bring out your devious side, but it sure is fun.

My favorite part was watching the kids find the hard ones. I think they felt the same way watching us. “They found the one in the fireplace!” they would shout. We cheered “You’re getting colder…. Colder…warmer… you’re burning up!” It was such a blast to watch their excitement as the found the difficult ones. We hid and we found. It was awesome.

Deep in the human soul lives a bloodhound who loves the search. It’s what drives us to study more deeply and ask more intently. It forces us to consider what is right, noble, and true. It begs us for philosophical walks into what matters in life. Its why a three year old asks why only to follow up with another “why” when you have answered the question. It’s why we read whodunits and what has made google so valuable. Its why we love a good Easter egg hunt.

Yet, the Easter egg hunt has reminded me of the joy of celebrating other’s discoveries. Watching others find their purpose and passion is really rewarding. Watching a child learn to ride a bike is just as powerful as learning yourself. In life we often walk with folks as they find their own answers to the tough questions that living throws our way. It’s easy to celebrate with others when they find the missing puzzle pieces of life. Finding life’s truth together can build relationships and bring clarity to each of us.

Just like Easter eggs, truth can be found in the some really difficult hiding places. Through the loss of loved ones recently, I have found the love of new friends and ones that I had forgotten. Facing financial pains in our past, our family found peace and contentment with what we had. Dealing with suicides, cancer, alzheimer’s, depressions, divorces, bankruptcies, and addictions have revealed life’s most colorful and beautiful Easter eggy truths. My experience has taught me that these eggs have been found best with those I love.

Some of us seem to be better at hiding truth than finding it, but life is really about the searching. Life has already hidden so much from plain view that we would be better served by searching. Look for the little Easter eggs that life sends your way. Thomas Moore wrote a whole book on Re-enchantment with Everyday Life as he examined the hidden truths that we can find if we simply look at life through curious eyes. Jesus said it this way: “Seek and you will find” (Matthew 7:7).

My guess is that you are looking for something right now that’s more important than your car keys or plastic eggs. You are looking for truth and relevance. You want to make a difference in the world and you want to matter. You want to scratch that itch that keeps calling you to take a risk and follow your dreams. You want to find true love. You are searching for answers to life’s tough questions. You are on a quest to find your place in this world. You are desperate for opportunities and options. You are a searcher. You are a seeker.

Today, I invite you to let that bloodhound loose in your life. Get busy looking for that silver lining in the clouds of your life. Keep questioning those easy answers that seem to satisfy everyone but you. Keep wrestling with the why’s and why not’s. Explore the corners of your soul as you figure out what makes you tick this way and why others just seem to tock. Peer through the clouds of doubt with binoculars of faith and hope. Look for the good in other people; it’s too easy to find faults. Keep looking. Keep searching and don’t give up till you’ve found all those Easter eggs that life has in store you.

___

For the next two Sunday nights we are going to ask the question, “What Are You Looking For?” Jesus gives us some encouragement about how to get things from our Loving Father. Tonight we will see that it takes some persistence and action on our part. We need to Ask, Seek, and Knock.

Matthew 7:7–8 KJV

Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: 

For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.

Ask

Psalm 10:17 KJV

LORD, thou hast heard the desire of the humble: Thou wilt prepare their heart, thou wilt cause thine ear to hear:

John 15:7 KJV

If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.

For Deliverance

Psalm 50:15 KJV

And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.

For Forgiveness

Psalm 86:5 KJV

For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; And plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee.

It Shall be Given

Matthew 21:22 KJV

And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.

Psalm 145:18–19 KJV

The LORD is nigh unto all them that call upon him, To all that call upon him in truth. 

He will fulfil the desire of them that fear him: He also will hear their cry, and will save them.

There is an old story about how the University of Chicago received a million-dollar grant from the heiress of a major department store. She had been a student at Northwest. So, administrators of Northwest went to visit her and asked why she had not made such a gift to her alma mater. Her answer was simple, “The people at the University of Chicago asked. You did not.”

Seek, Then You Will Find

The Lord’s Presence

Isaiah 55:6–7 KJV

Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, Call ye upon him while he is near: 

Let the wicked forsake his way, And the unrighteous man his thoughts: And let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; And to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

Jeremiah 29:13 KJV

And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.

Jeremiah 33:3 KJV

Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.

Psalm 27:8 KJV

When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, LORD, will I seek.

The Lord’s Will

Matthew 6:33 KJV

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

Psalm 10:4 KJV

The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts.

Psalm 69:32 KJV

The humble shall see this, and be glad: And your heart shall live that seek God.

Proverbs 3:5–6 KJV

Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; And lean not unto thine own understanding. 

In all thy ways acknowledge him, And he shall direct thy paths.

Knock and It Will Be Opened

Revelation 3:7 KJV

And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth;

1 Corinthians 16:9 KJV

For a great door and effectual is opened unto me, and there are many adversaries.

2 Corinthians 2:12 KJV

Furthermore, when I came to Troas to preach Christ’s gospel, and a door was opened unto me of the Lord,

Colossians 4:3 KJV

Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds:

All too often we believers have access to great riches in Christ, but we have failed put in the effort to appropriate those riches. When we ask, we are to be importunate until we receive. When we seek, we need to keep looking until we find. When we knock we need to keep knocking until the right door opens.

“In all human affairs there are efforts, and there are results, and the strength of the effort is the measure of the result.”

Ask, Seek, Knock!

Exported from Logos Bible Software, 10:39 AM March 20, 2021.

Pray Like This – Part 1

Friday, March 19th, 2021

Pray Like This – Part 1

Pastor Don Carpenter

When You Pray / Matthew 6:9–10

A woman called a pastor to come to the house to see her father. He goes to the house not knowing whether the man is Christian or not but he notices as he talks to him and the man answers back that he must be a Christian and there is a chair sitting close by. An empty chair. He asks “What’s the chair for and the man said, “Well, I’ll tell you, but I won’t tell my daughter, she’ll think I’m crazy. I’ve always had trouble praying. I knew a man in my early years who said to me, ‘All you need to do is put an empty chair in front of you and prayer is nothing more than talking to God. And why don’t you imagine God sitting in that chair and you just talk to him.'” And so he said, “I put an empty chair there and started talking to the chair as if God was there and it got so good that I just do it now hours sometime at a time and just talk to God and God talks to me and my soul is blessed by His divine grace.” And he said, “If I tell my daughter, she’ll think I’m losing my mind.”

Some months later, the man died. When the Pastor came to visit the family, he said to the daughter, “How did he die? What happened to him?” She said, “Well, the sickness just finally got him. But the strangest way we found him. When I came in, he was dead, but there’s a chair sitting beside the bed and I noticed that he had pushed himself out of the bed and put his head in the chair and died there with his head in the chair.”

___

Last week we started a three week series that looks at Jesus’ advice about prayer entitled “when You Pray”. We discovered that although prayer is not unique to Biblical Christianity, what makes Biblical Christianity different is that prayer is not merely a tool of the mind and psychology to get one in a certain meditative state; prayer is a dynamic, private, personal and intimate interaction with Almighty God.  

Biblical prayer is intimate. So when Jesus gave what is referred to as “The Lord’s Prayer”, He was not prescribing a wrote formula to memorize and recite in direct contradiction to his advice in the previous verses. He was however, giving us the building blocks of what a Biblical prayer should look like for a believer. In the next two weeks we will discover what Jesus was trying to teach when He said, “Pray Like This”.

Open Your Prayer With Humble Worship

Matthew 6:9–10 KJV

After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. 

Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.

Acknowledge God’s Relationship To You

King James Version Chapter 6

Our Father which art in heaven

Everyone Does Not Have That Relationship to God

John 8:44 KJV

Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.

This Relationship Is Unique To Born Again Believers

John 1:12 KJV

But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

Romans 8:15 KJV

For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.

Galatians 4:16 KJV

Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?

Prayer is to begin with worship. God is addressed as Our Father in heaven. Worship is the essence of all prayer. (In vv. 1–18 Jesus used the word “Father” 10 times! Only those who have true inner righteousness can address God in that way in worship.1

1 Louis A. Barbieri Jr., “Matthew,” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures, ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck, vol. 2 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985), 32.

___

A little boy was standing on the banks of the Mississippi River waving and shouting at a steamboat that was going by. He was beckoning the steamboat to come to shore.

A stranger came by and said, “That’s foolish young man. The boat will never come ashore for you. The captain is too busy to notice your waving and shouting.”

Just then, the boat turned and headed for shore. The little boy grinned and said to the stranger, “The captain is my daddy.”

The captain of the universe is our Abba. He’s our daddy. He pays attention to our petitions because he loves us. The first words in the Lord’s Prayer encourages us to call him, “Father.” He is the Lord of the universe as well as our daddy, but that doesn’t mean we should take him for granted any more than we should take our dads for granted. Thank you, Father.

Acknowledge God’s Holy Name

King James Version Chapter 6

Hallowed be thy name.

hagiazo (??????, 37), “to make holy” (from hagios, “holy”), signifies to set apart for God, to sanctify, to make a person or thing the opposite of koinos, “common”; it is translated “Hallowed,” with reference to the name of God the Father in the Lord’s Prayer, Matt. 6:9; Luke 11:2. See sanctify1

1 W. E. Vine, Merrill F. Unger, and William White Jr., Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words (Nashville, TN: T. Nelson, 1996), 287.

Hallowed be thy name. The word hallowed means to render or pronounce holy. God’s name is essentially holy; and the meaning of this petition is, “Let thy name be celebrated, venerated, and esteemed as holy everywhere, and receive from all men proper honour.” It is thus the expression of a wish or desire, on the part of the worshipper, that the name of God, or that God himself, should be held everywhere in proper veneration.1

1 Albert Barnes, Notes on the New Testament: Matthew & Mark, ed. Robert Frew (London: Blackie & Son, 1884–1885), 66.

His Name Is Power

Philippians 2:9–11 KJV

Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 

That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 

And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

His Name Is The Only Name For Salvation

Acts 4:10–12 KJV

Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. 

This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. 

Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

Psalm 111:9 KJV

He sent redemption unto his people: He hath commanded his covenant for ever: Holy and reverend is his name.

His Name Is Jesus

Exodus 3:14 KJV

And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.

John 8:56–58 KJV

Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad. 

Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham? 

Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.

Isaiah 9:6 KJV

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: And the government shall be upon his shoulder: And his name shall be called Wonderful, Counseller, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

Acknowledge God’s Will

Matthew 6:10 KJV

Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.

For The Future 

King James Version Chapter 6

Thy kingdom come

“Thy kingdom come,” looks on to the second advent of Christ when the kingdom of God will be established in power over all this world.1

1 H. A. Ironside, Expository Notes on the Gospel of Matthew. (Neptune, NJ: Loizeaux Brothers, 1948), 64.

Revelation 20:4 KJV

And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.

For Your Life

King James Version Chapter 6

Thy will be done

Tim Hansel in his book “When I Relax I feel Guilty,” writes some insights of what most people want from God.

“I would like to buy $3.00 worth of God, please. Not enough to explode my soul or disturb my sleep, but just enough to equal a cup of warm milk or a snooze in the sunshine. I don’t want enough of Him to make me love a black man or pick beets with a migrant. I want ecstasy, not transformation; I want the warmth of the womb, not a new birth. I want a pound of the Eternal in a paper sack. I would like to buy $3.00 worth of God, please.”

If we would be totally honest, the idea of transformation really scares us. That is because we know that such a radical change would be quite uncomfortable. We realize that with transformation comes a major overhaul of our lives and priorities.

(From a sermon by Scott Chambers, The Mission if You Accept it: Transformation, 2/15/2011)

Just like His will is done in Heaven.

Nehemiah 9:6 KJV

Thou, even thou, art LORD alone; thou hast made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth, and all things that are therein, the seas, and all that is therein, and thou preservest them all; and the host of heaven worshippeth thee.

Your Salvation

2 Peter 3:9 KJV

The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

John 4:34–35 KJV

Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work. 

Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.

Your Sanctification

1 Thessalonians 4:3 KJV

For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication:

Mark 3:35 KJV

For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother.

Your Submission

Matthew 26:42 KJV

He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done.

An old sailor repeatedly got lost at sea, so his friends gave him a compass and urged him to use it. The next time he went out in his boat, he followed their advice and took the compass with him. But as usual he became hopelessly confused and was unable to find land. Finally, he was once again rescued by his friends.

Disgusted and impatient with him, they asked, “Why didn’t you use that compass we gave you? You could have saved us a lot of trouble!”

The sailor responded: “I didn’t dare to! I wanted to go north, but as hard as I tried to make the needle aim in that direction, it just kept on pointing southeast.”

That old sailor was so certain he knew which way was north, that he stubbornly tried to force his own personal persuasion on his compass. As a result he was unable to benefit from the guidance it offered.

Let us make sure we do not treat God like that man treated the compass; trying to manipulate him to work our way!

Remember the Lord’s prayer is:

“Thy will be done” not “Thy will be done my way”

From a sermon by Gordon Curley, Beware of Detours! 11/18/2010

We have a lot to learn about prayer, this personal, intimate communication between the Father and His children. This morning we have discovered that we need to take the time to humbly worship God before laying out our requests. We start with our relationship, then acknowledge His Holy name. After that we put all our desires and pleas behind while we first submit to His perfect plan for the right now and the not yet. These are some things we learn when we follow our Savior’s advice to “Pray Like This”.

Exported from Logos Bible Software, 11:23 AM March 19, 2021.

COVID RESTRICTIONS LIFTED!

Wednesday, March 17th, 2021

Starting March 19 the State of Connecticut is allowing Churches to meet at 100% capacity! It is time to come back to church! Join us this Sunday March 21 as we celebrate the good news. We will also start in person Wednesday Night Prayer Meeting and Bible Study March 24. SEE YOU IN CHURCH!

*Distancing and masks are still required*

Now Therefore Arise!

Wednesday, March 17th, 2021

Now Therefore Arise!

Pastor Don Carpenter

2021 Bible Reading Challenge / Joshua 1:1–5

Years ago a certain Englishman moved to the United States. Soon after he arrived he dropped out of sight. One day his uncle in England died and left him about a five–million dollar estate. Scotland Yard went about trying to locate the man whose last address had been in Chicago. They searched for him but never found him. Later I heard that he was found one morning frozen to death in an entryway of a cheap hotel. He could not afford twenty–five cents for a room although he was heir to five million dollars! He did not claim what was his. He did not lay hold of what belonged to him.

Although God gave Israel the Promised Land, they never possessed all of it. As a matter of fact, Israel got very little of the land. Many Christians today are like Israel in that they are blessed with all spiritual blessings and yet they die like bums in a doorway without claiming those blessings as their own.

 J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible Commentary: History of Israel (Joshua/Judges), electronic ed., vol. 10 (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1991), 14.

This must have been a terrifying time for Joshua. The leader who introduced God to him, who taught him the law, who he followed loyally for 40 years was dead. It was now up to Joshua to take this often rebellious and idolatrous crew into the promised land. He had to face giants and incredible odds without the leader he knew and loved. He had to do it as an older person. Surely there was a high level of anxiety and self doubt. On top of all that Joshua was probably grieving heavily, and you don’t feel like getting out of bed much less going to war when you are buried in grief. It was at that moment, at the point where Joshua could have been paralyzed with grief and fear that God came to him with a specific command.

Joshua 1:1–2 KJV

NOW after the death of Moses the servant of the LORD it came to pass, that the LORD spake unto Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ minister, saying, 

Moses my servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people, unto the land which I do give to them, even to the children of Israel.

Moses my servant is dead – therefore arise. This had to be a difficult command. That should have been enough. God does not need to talk us into obeying. However in his loving and gracious way, He gave Joshua reasons to cast aside his fear and sadness and rise up to the task to which he has been called.  

There comes a time after an intense trial, loss or other dark valley that God wants us to move on and move up. We are allowed to grieve from time to time. We are allowed to hide ourselves from evil. We are allowed to take a rest, to come apart alone. But there comes a time when we need to get moving again. There comes a time when we need to get back to the ministry… to get back to church.. to get back to serving the King. God would be completely within His rights to just demand that we “BUCK UP BUTTERCUP”… but in this passage God gives Joshua and to us who studies these words the truths he needs to strengthen him, and the truths that we need in order to enthusiastically respond to the command “Now Therefore Arise!” 

The Outcome Is Already Settled

Joshua 1:3 KJV

Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you, as I said unto Moses.

 God didn’t give Joshua explanations as to how He would accomplish these things, because God’s people live on promises and not on explanations. When you trust God’s promises and step out by faith (v. 3), you can be sure that the Lord will give you the directions you need when you need them.1

1 Warren W. Wiersbe, Be Strong, “Be” Commentary Series (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1996), 24.

 God has given them the land. The land is theirs, but their enjoyment of it depends upon their taking possession of it. That part of the land upon which they walked would belong to them. Comparatively speaking, we have been told in Ephesians 1:3 that we are blessed with all spiritual blessings in the heavenlies. Unfortunately, very few Christians lay hold of the spiritual blessings that belong to them.1

1 J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible Commentary: History of Israel (Joshua/Judges), electronic ed., vol. 10 (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1991), 14.

Ephesians 1:3 KJV

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:

 God had already given them the land; it was their responsibility now to step out by faith and claim it (Josh 1:3; see Gen. 13:14–18). The same promise of victory that God had given to Moses (Num. 11:22–25), He reaffirmed to Joshua; and He carefully defined the borders of the land. Israel didn’t reach that full potential until the reigns of David and Solomon.

  The lesson for God’s people today is clear: God has given us “all spiritual blessings … in Christ” (Eph. 1:3), and we must step out by faith and claim them. He has set before His church an open door that nobody can close (Rev. 3:8), and we must walk through that door by faith and claim new territory for the Lord. It is impossible to stand still in Christian life and service; for when you stand still, you immediately start going backward. “Let us go on!” is God’s challenge to His church (Heb. 6:1), and that means moving ahead into new territory.1

1 Warren W. Wiersbe, Be Strong, “Be” Commentary Series (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1996), 24–25.

The Boundaries were already set.

Joshua 1:4 KJV

From the wilderness and this Lebanon even unto the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and unto the great sea toward the going down of the sun, shall be your coast.

the Lebanon Territory north of Israel, roughly corresponds with modern-day Lebanon.

the land of the Hittites The Hittite Empire was centered in Asia Minor (modern-day Turkey) but controlled territory north of Lebanon (and north/northwest of the Euphrates). However, some ot references to Hittites are most likely referring to a group of native Canaanites, descendants of Heth, son of Canaan (1 Chr 1:13), and not to the Hittite Empire (see Gen 23:10; 27:46). The Canaanite Hittites are most likely meant here (compare Deut 7:1; Ezek 16:3). See note on Josh 3:10.

great sea The Mediterranean Sea.

in the west The west (where the sun sets).1

1 John D. Barry et al., Faithlife Study Bible (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2012, 2016), Jos 1:4.

The Pattern Has Already Been Established.

Promises Made in the Past

Genesis 12:7 KJV

And the LORD appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land: and there builded he an altar unto the LORD, who appeared unto him.

Genesis 15:18 KJV

In the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates:

Deuteronomy 11:24 KJV

Every place whereon the soles of your feet shall tread shall be yours: from the wilderness and Lebanon, from the river, the river Euphrates, even unto the uttermost sea shall your coast be.

Past Promises Kept – As I Was With Moses

Joshua 1:5 KJV

There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.

Exodus 14:31 KJV

And Israel saw that great work which the LORD did upon the Egyptians: and the people feared the LORD, and believed the LORD, and his servant Moses.

 • Joshua

Genesis 28:14–15 KJV

And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south: and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed. 

And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of.

 • Gideon 

Judges 6:16 KJV

And the LORD said unto him, Surely I will be with thee, and thou shalt smite the Midianites as one man.

 • Jewish Exiles

Isaiah 41:10 KJV

Fear thou not; for I am with thee: Be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; Yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.

Isaiah 43:5 KJV

Fear not: for I am with thee: I will bring thy seed from the east, And gather thee from the west;

A wise leader doesn’t completely abandon the past but builds on it as he or she moves toward the future. Moses is mentioned fifty-seven times in the Book of Joshua, evidence that Joshua respected Moses and what he had done for Israel.1

1 Warren W. Wiersbe, Be Strong, “Be” Commentary Series (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1996), 23.

No Man Will Be Able to Stop You

Romans 8:31 KJV

What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?

Romans 8:37 KJV

Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.

Personal Promises Have Been Made

Joshua 1:5 KJV

There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.

I Will Not Leave You

John 10:27–30 KJV

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: 

And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. 

My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. 

I and my Father are one.

Matthew 28:20 KJV

Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

I Will Not Fail You

cast, to throw, i.q. ??????, ?????, whence pr.n. ?????? (casting forth, throwing down), specially—

(2) to cast down, to let fall, especially the hand, die Hand fallen lassen, see Piel, Hiphil. In Kal intrans. to decline as the day, i.e. to draw to a close, Judges 19:9; used of hay in the fire, i.e. to sink down, Isai. 5:24; followed by ???? to relax, to desist from any person or thing, Ex. 4:26; Jud. 8:3; Neh. 6:9.1

1 Wilhelm Gesenius and Samuel Prideaux Tregelles, Gesenius’ Hebrew and Chaldee Lexicon to the Old Testament Scriptures (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2003), 776.

to grow slack, release, let go; (Hi.) to abandon, desert, leave in the lurch; let loose, release from (45)1

1 George M. Landes, Building Your Biblical Hebrew Vocabulary: Learning Words by Frequency and Cognate, vol. 41, Resources for Biblical Study (Atlanta, GA: Society of Biblical Literature, 2001), 86.

I Will Not Forsake You

?azab (??????, 5800), “to leave, forsake, abandon, leave behind, be left over, let go.” This word occurs in Akkadian and post-biblical Hebrew and Aramaic. Similar words appear in Arabic and Ethiopic. The word occurs in biblical Hebrew about 215 times and in all periods.

Basically ?azab means “to depart from something,” or “to leave.” This is the meaning of the word in its first biblical appearance: “[For this cause] shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife …” (Gen. 2:24). A special nuance of the word is “to leave in the lurch,” or to leave someone who is depending upon one’s services. So Moses said to Hobab the Midianite (Kenite): “Leave us not [in the lurch] I pray thee; forasmuch as thou knowest how we are to encamp in the wilderness, and thou mayest be to us instead of eyes” (Num. 10:31).

The word also carries the meaning “forsake,” or “leave entirely.” Such passages convey a note of finality or completeness. So Isaiah is to preach that “… the land that thou abhorrest shall be forsaken of both her kings” (Isa. 7:16). In other places, the abandonment is complete but not necessarily permanent. God says that Israel is “as a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit.… For a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee” (Isa. 54:6–7). In Akkadian, this word carries a technical sense of “completely and permanently abandoned” or “divorced.” Isaiah employs this sense in 62:4: “Thou shalt no more be termed Forsaken; … but thou shalt be called [My delight is in her], and thy land [Married].…”1

1 W. E. Vine, Merrill F. Unger, and William White Jr., Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words (Nashville, TN: T. Nelson, 1996), 87.

Charles Spurgeon tells this story:

I have heard of a certain captain who had led his troops into a very difficult position, and he knew that the next day he should want them all to be full of courage. So, disguising himself, at nightfall he went around their tents and listened to their conversations until he heard one of them say, “Our captain is a very great warrior, and has won many victories, but he has this time made a mistake; for see, there are so many thousands of the enemy, and he has only so many infantry, so many cavalry, and so many guns.” The soldier made out the account and was about to sum up the scanty total when the captain, unable to bear it any longer, threw aside the curtain of the tent and said, “And how many do you count me for, sir?”—as much as to say, “I have won so many battles that you ought to know that my skill can multiply battalions by handling them.”

And so the Lord hears his servants estimating how feeble they are, and how little they can do, and how few are their helpers; and I think I hear him rebukingly say, “But how many do you count your God for? Is he never to come into your estimate? You talk of providing, and forget the God of providence; you talk of working, but forget the God who works in you to will and to do according to his own good pleasure.”1

1 Charles Spurgeon, 300 Sermon Illustrations from Charles Spurgeon, ed. Elliot Ritzema and Lynnea Smoyer (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2017).

Exported from Logos Bible Software, 11:37 AM March 17, 2021.

Sunday Morning March 14

Friday, March 12th, 2021

Prepare your heart and your family to worship with us by reviewing these songs:

Doxology https://youtu.be/HqpXWF15avU

Our Great Savior https://youtu.be/NMC4cweyA1I

Tell It to Jesus https://youtu.be/C0QWDcTwbGg

In The Garden https://youtu.be/4KoN-MbSBhY

I Must Tell Jesus https://youtu.be/xEzJBHuIDFM

He Washed My Eyes With Tears https://youtu.be/Sr8zn3Hk1SE

Straight Ahead

Tuesday, March 9th, 2021

Straight Ahead

Pastor Don Carpenter

2021 Bible Reading Challenge / Deuteronomy 17:18–20; Deuteronomy 28:14

A little boy was riding his tricycle furiously around the block, over and over again. Finally a policeman stopped and asked him why he was going around and around. The boy said that he was running away from home. Then the policeman asked why he kept going around the block. The boy responded, “Because my mom said that I’m not allowed to cross the street.”

The point is clear—obedience will keep you close to those you love.9271

1 Michael P. Green, 1500 Illustrations for Biblical Preaching (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2000), 253.

Our 2021 Bible Reading Challenge has taken us through the Pentatuch, the Books of the Law. In them we have been introduced to the main players in the battle of good and evil. We have learned about satan, about sin, about death and about forgiveness and restoration. Most of all we have learned about who God is and how we can relate to Him. One of the things we have been taught is that God knows better than we do.  He gave Moses the 10 Commandments not the 10 suggestions. We saw fire come from the altar and kill Aaron’s two sons because they did not follow God’s commandments regarding incense.

While doing this week’s devotions, a repeated phrase jumped out at me.

Deuteronomy 17:20 KJV

That his heart be not lifted up above his brethren, and that he turn not aside from the commandment, to the right hand, or to the left: to the end that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he, and his children, in the midst of Israel.

Deuteronomy 28:14 KJV

And thou shalt not go aside from any of the words which I command thee this day, to the right hand, or to the left, to go after other gods to serve them.

I was reminded of the words of our Savior also refering to the way of truth being a very narrow and specific pathway.

Matthew 7:14 KJV

Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

God knows better than we do. God loved us enough to give us the truth. We should not turn to the right and add what we think God really meant. We should not turn to the left by taking way what He did say. We would do well to follow the advice found in the law and repeated by our Savior. We should stay right on the path He put forth and go straight ahead.

The Straight Path Delivers Leaders From The Snare of Pride.

Deuteronomy 17:15 KJV

Thou shalt in any wise set him king over thee, whom the LORD thy God shall choose: one from among thy brethren shalt thou set king over thee: thou mayest not set a stranger over thee, which is not thy brother.

Deuteronomy 17:18–20 KJV

And it shall be, when he sitteth upon the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write him a copy of this law in a book out of that which is before the priests the Levites: 

And it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life: that he may learn to fear the LORD his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them: 

That his heart be not lifted up above his brethren, and that he turn not aside from the commandment, to the right hand, or to the left: to the end that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he, and his children, in the midst of Israel.

 • Godly leadership is always submissive to the Word of God

 • Godly leadership is always learning

Psalm 131:1 KJV

LORD, My heart is not haughty, nor mine eyes lofty: Neither do I exercise myself in great matters, or in things too high for me.

 • Godly leadership must guard against pride.

 • Godly leadership does not invent new scripture

 • Godly leadership does not ignore existing scripture.

Isaiah 55:7–11 KJV

Let the wicked forsake his way, And the unrighteous man his thoughts: And let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; And to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. 

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, Neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. 

For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are my ways higher than your ways, And my thoughts than your thoughts. 

For as the rain cometh down, And the snow from heaven, And returneth not thither, But watereth the earth, And maketh it bring forth and bud, That it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: 

So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: It shall not return unto me void, But it shall accomplish that which I please, And it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.

The Straight Path Delivers From False Doctrine

 • False gods… idolatry

Deuteronomy 28:14 KJV

And thou shalt not go aside from any of the words which I command thee this day, to the right hand, or to the left, to go after other gods to serve them.

 • False and deceptive teaching

Ephesians 4:11–14 KJV

And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 

For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 

Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: 

That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;

The Straight Path Delivers From Crippling Fear

Joshua 1:7 KJV

Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest.

Joshua 23:6 KJV

Be ye therefore very courageous to keep and to do all that is written in the book of the law of Moses, that ye turn not aside therefrom to the right hand or to the left;

The Straight Path Delivers From Past Mistakes and Leads to Revival.

2 Kings 22:1–2 KJV

Josiah was eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned thirty and one years in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name was Jedidah, the daughter of Adaiah of Boscath. 

And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, and walked in all the way of David his father, and turned not aside to the right hand or to the left.

Jeremiah 6:16 KJV

Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein.

We learn a lot about who God is from reading the Books of the Law. He is a God that loves us and knows all. He has revealed His truth to us in His Word. We do not need to add to it (turn to the right) nor dilute or take away from it ( turn to the left). We need to go straight ahead!

Exported from Logos Bible Software, 6:24 PM March 9, 2021.