** Stephen A. Brown, Marketplace Ministries, inc.
The song Battle Hymn of the Republic was written by Julia Ward Howe during the Civil War as a pro-Union, anti-slavery anthem. Its lyrics, “Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord . . . His truth is marching on” provided troops with a marching cadance. In Mark 13:26 Jesus declared upon His return, “Then they will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and glory.” The Hymn continues with, “As He died to make men holy; let us live to make men free,” a reference to freeing the slaves. Since so many are slaves to sin, I’ll close with John 8:32, “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.”
Written And Submitted By Stephen A. Brown, Marketplace Ministries, inc.
HAPPY NEW YEAR! Inspiration speaker Dale Carnegie wrote that happiness is getting what you want. Dale was wrong. In the mid 1990’s ABC TV aired a one-hour special on Happiness. A young lady who won a 26 million dollar lottery was ask if it made her happy; she replied “Not really.” Troy Aikman, MVP of SuperBowl XXV11 was ask if he was happy; his response was “Is this all there is?” Members of the Royal Family were interviewed to see if their position made them happy; all said “No.” A new job, home, or car may produce temporary happiness; but there’s always something better to wish for. So, how can we have a Happy New Year? The Bible answers that in Psalm 144:15, “Happy are the people whose God is the Lord.”
Written and Submitted By: Stephen A. Brown, Marketplace Ministries, inc.
1 Thessalonians 5:8 (paraphrase) Let those of us who live in the light wear faith and love, and a helmet of hope. I read about a couple who discovered in an attic trunk, the torn, dirt and blood stained jersey of pro football running back Gayle Sayers of the Chicago Bears. The wife remembered that her dad has season tickets during that time, but didn’t know how he got the jersey. It was valued at $30,000; the appraiser explained the battering this jersey took made it more valuable. Battered believers are valued by God for we have been hit multiple times, but get up to run another play.
Written And Submitted By: Stephen A. Brown, Marketplace Ministries, inc.
Proverbs 3:34 “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Humility is not thinking less of yourself; its thinking of yourself less. Jesus told his disciples that the greatest one among them was a servant; and He came to serve, not to be served. Paul wrote of his desire to decrease, so Christ could increase. Following the Sugar Bowl, University of Georgia quarterback Jack Fromm, in an interview, credited his team mates with the win. 1 Peter 5:6 “Therefore, humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time:”
Stephen A. Brown, Marketplace Ministries, inc
Exodus 20:3, “You shall have no other gods before Me.” D.L.Moody wrote, “Whatever you love more than God is your idol.” I was invited to be the guest speaker at a Christian men’s dinner. After reciting Exodus 20:3, I advised the men we carry an idol in our pockets; pulling out a $1.00 bill and waiving it in the air. Show-and-tell time. After sharing stories of fortune seekers suffering from depression, I shared this scripture: 1 Timothy 6:10, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil . . .” Deuteronomy 6:5, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your might.”
Written and submitted by: Stephen A. Brown, Marketplace Ministries, inc
J. Greham Machen wrote, “Nothing surprises God; all things that happen are absolutely certain from all eternity because they are all embraced in God’s eternal plan.” I don’t understand why things happen the way they do; but I’m glad to know the One who does. Regardless of what’s happening with government, the stock market, or terrorism, we know He has a personal plan for each of us. Claim God’s promise as written in Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
Revelation 1:7, “Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, and they also who pierced Him . . ” Rev. Billy Graham wrote, “Bible teaching about the Second Coming of Christ was thought of as doomsday preaching. But not anymore. It is the only ray of hope that shines in a dark world.” It’s getting darker; Jesus is the true Light (John 14:6).
Professional Boxer Cassius Clay changed his name to Muhammad Ali. He loudly stated, “I’m the greatest.” Ali died with dementia tremors. In Mark 10:43, Jesus taught to be great you must be a servant. One of the best examples of this was Mother Teresa of Calcutta. Jesus demonstrated His teaching during the Passover when He took on the role of a servant and washed the feet of His disciples. In His words, “Let him who is great be the servant of all.”
Ezekiel 36:26, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you . . .” When we confess Christ, we have a heart transplant. Paul writes that we are a new creation set apart to glorify God. A Barna study of American adults claiming to be Christians, revealed 47% feel no responsibility to share their faith; 57% had not read the Bible in the last week; and 33% had not attended a Christian church in the past year. How this must grieve God.
Country music artist Tim McGraw recorded a song, Live Like You Were Dying. That’s thought provoking. To live like that would change the character of most people. In 1896, Christian author Charles Sheldon wrote a novel, In His Steps, where we find the first use of WWJD? (What Would Jesus Do?). The answer is found in his teachings and example. As His followers, we seek to be Christlike to glorify Father God. As for dying, Thomas Fuller said it best, “He that does not fear the future, may enjoy the present.”
In the novel, The Count of Monte Cristo, Edmond Dantes is unjustly arrested and thrown in a dungeon prison. After years there he lost his faith in God. He told an inmate, “I don’t believe in God.” Abbe Faria replied, “It doesn’t matter, He believes in you.” James 4:8, Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Charles Stanley wrote, “Faith makes certain the driving motivation of life is influenced by God and not your adversary.” The armor of God includes the Shield of Faith: defense against the firey spears (lies) shot by satan.
NATIONAL DAY OF PRAYER
This annual event began in 1951, and President Ronald Reagan signed it into law in 1988 as the first Thursday in May. The theme for this year is Pray God’s Glory Across the Earth. National Day of Prayer President Kathy Branzell wrote, “We pray that you will join us this year to pray and proclaim the knowledge of God’s glory across the earth.”
NBC News reported that scientists issued a warning that Earth faces a climate emergency. According to the journal of BioScience, human activities have impacted the planet. The report states that harmful greenhouse gas emissions are rapidly rising, and scientists have an obligation to warn humanity of this catastrophic threat. We have an obligation to warn unbelievers of a pending disaster: those left-behind to suffer super-natural storms and plagues during of the time (7 years) of tribulation (Matthew 24:21).
Home security has become a billion dollar industry. Theft by taking is on the increase according to law enforcement reports. While serving in jail ministry, I learned that 90% of these crimes are committed to fund drug addiction. Electronic security systems and cameras can help stop unlawful invasion. In the same manner we can protect our soul against evil by activating the Holy Spirit as a security shield. Paul wrote in Ephesians 6:12 that we don’t fight against flesh and blood, but against rulers of darkness. Let the security light of Jesus shine as a No Trespassing Sign.
Pastors who follow the teachings of Jesus are actually sub-shepherds of the Good Shepherd. Sheep are inherently dumb and need a leader to keep them safe. A few church pastors have chosen to disregard government orders, conducting services that expose members to a deadly disease. Jesus cared deeply for people and warned them of pending dangers. WWJD? I believe He would shelter his sheep. Psalm 91:3, “Surely He shall deliver you from . . . the perilous pestilence.”