Beware of Gossip

636699511480249780-636615629448888954-GettyImages-690656936I heard a message the other day, preached by my mentor, Vasile Filat. It really touched my heart and I decided to translate it here in written form. The word that is translated into English as gossip, in the New Testament, is the Greek word “psithurismos“. It is derived from the verb “to whisper“. In the Old Testament, the Hebrew word is “ragan“. In some English translations, it is translated as “whisperer“. It’s roots go back to the grumbling and murmuring that the children of Israel did when they were wandering in the wilderness. It means to talk bad about someone, especially when they are not there to defend themselves or the accusations that you make. It causes another person to form a negative opinion about the person you talk about. This is something that is appealing to our sin nature. Little children do this without being taught what it is or how to do it. It’s in us from birth. Continue reading

Elisha chooses mercy and grace

3c86f228e28bb08242fca018e85248aeThis past Sunday, we looked at our second lesson on the life and ministry of the prophet Elisha. We saw how Elijah took Elisha under his wing and trained him for the ministry. In the beginning of his ministry, Elisha was not quick to extend mercy and grace to his enemies. Instead, he called down fire from heaven on two different occasions to consume his enemies. But, as he continued to minister, we see him change to a person who extends mercy and grace to those around him, even to his enemies.

The passage that we studied in class comes from II Kings 6. But, I want to give some context by quickly recapping what took place in II Kings 4-5. Elisha the prophet has several encounter with several different people in these chapters and there are some common character traits among these people. Continue reading

Complicated King Ahab

023-jehoshaphat-ahabI finished off the last article with a cliffhanger. Elijah confronted the sins of wicked King Ahab and there was a showdown between the false prophets and God’s prophet, Elijah. Elijah had the wicked, false prophets put to death for their actions. Then, he was sent to pursue King Ahab and his wicked wife, Jezebel. That is how the story ended. King Ahab and Jezebel must pay for their deeds. They rebelled against God and murdered the prophets of the Lord. They led the people in idolatry. The rest of this story unfolds in I Kings 20-22. These are some fascinating chapters in the Word of God. Continue reading

Elijah Confronts Sin

cph_30240958230Once again, I am sitting to write out my lesson for this coming Sunday. At Southern Calvert Baptist Church, we are walking through the entire Bible over a three year period. Last week, we covered the lesson on Elijah and the widow woman from I Kings 17. Jesus actually uses this woman’s faith as an example of what genuine faith looks like. She heard the Word of the Lord and she chose to trust the Word of the Lord, even when it meant putting her life and future on the line.

Elijah is a man of faith. He has a very difficult task ahead of him. He was called by God to take a very difficult message to the leadership of Israel. He publicly rebukes King Ahab for his wicked ways and then he prays according to the Word of God. As a result of that prayer, it does not rain in Israel for three and a half years. There is a severe famine in the land and everyone is suffering. The widow from the previous chapter was suffering because of this event. King Ahab is enraged and his wife actually begins putting to death the prophets of the Lord. One of King Ahab’s own servants, a man who fears the Lord, hid one hundred of the Lord’s prophets in two different caves so that they could not be put to death. He also provided food and water for them. King Ahab does not know about this. Elijah has survived the persecution but he is on the run. Things are bad in Israel physically, politically, spiritually etc. This is where our story picks up in I Kings 18. Continue reading

Solomon’s Prayer

110_05_0134_BiblePaintingsAt Southern Calvert Baptist Church, we are continuing to walk through the Bible, book by book, over a three year period. We are covering I Kings 8 this week. This is when King Solomon dedicates the Temple to the Lord. His prayer is a beautiful prayer and that is what we are going to study this week. As we observe this prayer, I want us to keep in mind the outline of the Lord’s Prayer. One version of the Lord’s Prayer is found in the Sermon on the Mount, found in Matthew 6.

9 “Pray, then, in this way: ‘Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name.
10 ‘Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven.
11 ‘Give us this day our daily bread.
12 ‘And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 ‘And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. [For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.’]

Continue reading

David experiences mercy, grace, and forgiveness

016-david-bathshebaAs we continue looking at the life of David and his walk with the Lord, we are reminded of why he is called a man after God’s own heart. He has a teachable spirit, a servant’s heart, and he was quick to obey. David is a man who has experienced God’s mercy and grace and he has been quick to extend that mercy and grace to others, even his enemy, King Saul.

In this lesson, we are going to see how David experiences God’s forgiveness. David, although a man after God’s own heart, was not perfect. Like all of us, David was born with a sin nature. His heart was inclined to sin, just like my heart is and just like your heart is. As we study this, just remember, no matter what you have done, God’s mercy, grace, and forgiveness is available. Continue reading

God’s mercy and grace produce genuine worship

king-davidLast week during our Connect Group at Southern Calvert Baptist Church, we took a look at the contrast between King Saul and David. King Saul was a man who trusted in himself. The prophet Jeremiah teaches that a man who trusts in himself is like a bush planted in the desert on top of a rock that is covered in salt. The results are catastrophic. King Saul’s life was one disaster after another. The Lord allowed King Saul to rule for over 40 years as punishment to the children of Israel because they rebelled against the Lord and asked for a king so that they could be just like the pagans. David, the future King of Israel was a man who trusted in the Lord. The prophet Jeremiah also teaches that a man who trusts in the Lord is like tree planted next to the water, with roots that extend deep and tap into the underground water supply. Even when drought comes, the tree continues to produce fruit. David lived a fruitful life for the Lord. God allows us to choose our actions but, He has already announced the consequences of those actions. Continue reading

Influenced by God to influence others

David-and-Saul-in-CaveKing Saul and future King David are a study in contrasts. Both of these men are born to the same nation, during the same period in history, influenced by the same culture etc. yet, they could not be more different in their paths in life. One of these men trusted in himself while the other trusted in the Lord. This trust manifests itself in all kinds of different ways. The prophet Jeremiah uses a great illustration to explain the differences between people who trust in themselves vs. people who trust in the Lord. Continue reading

Hearing and Answering God’s Calling

hannah-presents-son-samuel-barrett-82857-printHere at Southern Calvert Baptist Church we are preparing to study the great calling that the Lord gave to Samuel. We are studying through the entire Bible over a three year period using “The Gospel Project”. In our previous lesson, we looked at how Ruth came under the protection of the Lord God of Israel. The Gospel was extended to the Gentiles long before the Day of Pentecost, even before Acts 10. God extended His great mercy, grace, and salvation to the Gentile, Rahab, who was also a prostitute. Then He extended His message to Ruth. In this lesson, we are going to see God extend His great mercy, grace, and salvation to a little Jewish boy named Samuel. It is a beautiful picture of the holy calling that the Lord extends to every human being. The question is, are we going to answer that calling or not? Continue reading

Jesus on Divorce

jesus-teaching-1Over past 2 weeks, I have had an opportunity to teach Matthew 19 several different times. I wanted to share some of the insights with you here. Many people have questions about divorce. Many others have their own opinions on the subject of divorce. In order to find answers, we need to go to the source of wisdom, Jesus Christ, Himself. Jesus teaches on the subject of divorce in Matthew 19. I would like to examine this teaching here in this article. Continue reading