OPENING REMARKS: It has been a blessing to see so many acts of love during this Covid-19 Pandemic season. Indeed, without such acts of sacrificial love our communities would be in much greater danger and experiencing much more suffering. It can be seen on a daily basis that the “true love” is the excellent response to the present crisis.
One of the most descriptive and challenging statements concerning the nature of true God-enabled love is written by the Apostle Paul.
TEXT: “…..But the greatest of these is love. Pursue love……” (1 Cor. 13:13b-14:1a, 13: 4-7 NKJV)
INTRODUCTION: The “love” chapter, often read at wedding ceremonies, was not written originally for such an occasion. The Apostle Paul is writing to a gifted church struggling with many issues.
In chapters 12-14, the Apostle addresses issues related to the use of spiritual gifts in corporate gatherings. Paul gets to the heart of the matter when he calls the...
TEXTS: Matthew 1:22-23, Romans 8:31-32, John 14:16-17 (HCSB)
INTRODUCTION: Usually I focus on one primary text of Scripture when I preach. But, for this devotional, I want to view three texts that express three glorious aspects of God’s relationship with us through Jesus Christ, our Lord. We won’t be expounding these texts in full, but rather we will be noting key truths in each of these texts. We will be emphasizing three English prepositions as we go along. And I hope that we will be encouraged as we think of God’s gracious work on our behalf to have an intimate relationship with us, His people, His children in Christ. It may be (especially) in times of difficulty, when encouragement is needed, that you and I will be able to repeat these three prepositions that will bless us with a renewed sense of the Lord’s presence in our lives.
The Angel broke into Joseph’s perplexing situation to...
Romans 8:31-32 “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him freely give us all things?” (NKJV)
What is written below is in no sense an exposition of this beautiful text of Scripture. The text, though, does provide a special Biblical backdrop for the personal testimony I am about to share.
The beginning of my personal story has direct connections with a golf game.
Actually, like many babies I was born in a hospital, Queen Charlotte’s Hospital – Hammersmith in Greater London, England. From what I have been told, I came very early and I was very sick. That’s where the golf game comes into play, so to speak! My father was away at the time of my birth because I came weeks before I was supposed to arrive. (My mother, of course, was not away.)
I have been told that my father was literally playing golf when he...
Since a lot of families are spending more time together these days, it may be good to think about the basics of raising our children. I don’t write as an expert, I write as one who trusts what the Word of God says about this great responsibility. And the one verse below has key truths and many practical implications concerning the critical role parents can and must take in the lives of their children.
Text: Ephesians 6:4 (ESV) “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”
INTRODUCTION: The Apostle Paul has addressed husbands and wives concerning their mutual responsibilities in Eph. 5:22-31. He has instructed children to obey and honor their parents in the preceding section (Eph. 6:1-3). These words in Eph. 6:4 are obviously directed to fathers specifically, although it is safe to assume that they are applicable to all parents, and to all who have...
“Good day” in the Lord Jesus Christ!
I hope you are well in every sense of the word!
I’d like to share a personal word with you about our ministry. It may be that we can be an encouragement to you and a resource for you as you seek to do God’s will in these days. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the ministry of God’s Word continues and must continue.
Indeed, this is a strategic time to be engaged in gospel and “Word” ministry! What an opportunity we have to preach Christ in all His fullness.
For almost 35 years it has been my privilege to serve the Lord with Olford Ministries International, Inc. I have had the opportunity, by God’s grace and goodness, to provide instruction and/or resources for God’s servants, especially those involved in the ministry of preaching and teaching God’s Word. It is very humbling as I look back, because it is God’s doing, and we praise Him for it.
Our primary goals have been to...
TEXT: Romans 1:1-7 “Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an Apostle ………..to all those in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” (ESV)
The Apostle Paul’s Epistle to the Romans is devoted to presenting and defending the gospel of God. The word for “gospel” itself is used three times in the first seventeen verses as Paul begins this letter. But Paul is not simply defending his gospel, he is defending his gospel in the light of his plan to travel to Rome and to preach there (1:10-15). Furthermore, the Apostle is seeking the help of the believers in Rome as he intends to take the gospel all the way to Spain after his visit (15:23-24).
As Paul opens his letter (1:1-7), he introduces himself as a messenger of the gospel, he then summarizes the message of the gospel, and within these same verses, he describes the ministry of...
The Need to Focus in Order to Finish
TEXT: “And say to Archippus, ‘See that you fulfill the ministry that you have received in the Lord.’” (Colossians 4:17 ESV)
As important as “getting started” is, it is just as important to finish. The Apostle Paul was a great encourager and exhorter, especially when faithfulness was needed. In this short text at the end of the glorious Letter to the Colossians, the Apostle is seeking to do just that, exhort. As we view this text, consider it an illustration of the need for faithfulness in doing the will of the Lord. Observe first of all:
This exhortation is to be addressed to Archippus, who was probably a church leader. He may in fact be the same Archippus referred to in Paul’s letter to Philemon (vs. 2). But, let’s pause to consider who was supposed to “say” this to Archippus. The directive is in...
Genesis 22:1 “…….. God tested Abraham……..”
This passage of Scripture, like a smooth stone thrown into a calm body of water, causes ripples throughout the “waters” of the Scriptures. The account is emotionally gripping. At times it is mentally perplexing. It certainly is personally challenging. And as Scripture, it is spiritually edifying. Ultimately, this account in Genesis points us to great Biblical truths concerning God’s provision of our perfect substitute, sacrifice, and savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. Abraham himself becomes a wonderful example of faith (Hebrews 11:17-19) and a faith that works (James 2:21-23). Abraham indeed passed the test that he was given by God!!
I want us to move through various sections of this account and consider different personal aspects of the challenge that Abraham faced. This test was a...
Text: “And the Lord, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed” (Deuteronomy 31:8 NKJV).
Maybe you need some encouragement today! Maybe we all need to be reminded of God’s promises to us even as Joshua needed assurance from the Lord. The challenges that Joshua was about to face were immense. Our challenges this very day may be or may seem to be immense as well. This text is not unique in the Scriptures. It is an example of God’s promised presence and helps as we seek to live for Him and serve Him as His people in Christ Jesus.
Moses’ days as a leader are coming to an end. Now Joshua is God’s chosen one to take the people into the Promised Land. Moses has addressed the people, and now he addresses Joshua “in the sight of all Israel.” It is Joshua who is to take the people into occupied territory, lead...
READING: Philippians 1:12-26
KEY TEXTS: “……. It is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Phil. 1:20-21 ESV)
OPENING COMMENT: The brief message below is based on Paul’s testimony in Philippians chapter 1. The truths are relevant for all times. But, all truths need to be viewed within the whole counsel of God. I say this because I am fully aware of the pain and the grief that people face and endure as they respond to end of life issues. So, I do not share these truths to be insensitive to those who are experiencing the sorrow related to these same issues. As believers, we are to rejoice with those who are rejoicing and we are to weep with those who are weeping (Romans 12:15). But, for those of us who are sensing the uncertainties of our day, I believe that we...