The Bible says in James 1:2-3, “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.”
When James uses this word temptations, he is speaking about difficulties or trials. These are the outside problems that threaten to steal our inside joy. We know trials are definitely going to come.
What are we counting during these days of trials? We can count the days and hope it ends. We can count the people who are sick or dying. Or we can do what this verse tells us to do and count the joy.
The word joy means a cheerfulness or calm delight. This does not mean you are jumping up and down over calamity, but you are cheerful, calm and steady through it.
Joy Strengthens us. There is great strength in putting our life in the hands of the Lord. I John 1:4 says, “And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full. The Bible will give us strength and is a book that we need during these days. Not Facebook, not the news, but the Bible.
Joy Serves. When we are trusting in the Lord, it is easy to serve others. Psalm 100:2 says, “Serve the Lord with gladness…” There are people all around us that need services and help.
Joy Surrenders. God sure did not ask my opinion on this Coronavirus. It is his will and not mine. Psalm 4:8 says, “I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, Lord, only makest me dwell in safety.”
Joy Stabilizes. In the white-water rapids of the past couple of weeks, never have we needed our life stabilized like today. Nahum 1:7 says, “The LORD is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him.” Our community needs to see surrendered and stabile Christians during these coming days.
On a scale of one to ten, what is your joy count? We should all aim to get that count up near ten.
Seriously, have you ever seen anything like this? That is a rhetorical question, because we have never seen anything like this in the United States. As this highly contagious virus spreads rapidly, fear is spreading even more rapidly.
What is even more alarming is the deaths. Were the people ready to die? Were they ready to face eternity? People are stocking up on masks, hand sanitizer, and toilet paper for some reason, but don’t forget the preparation for the future. You can know that you are ready for eternity.
Please accept the diagnosis: no matter how healthy our body is, our soul is infected with sin. Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God. The glory of God is Heaven, and we come short of getting there because of our sin.
Please accept the consequences: you sin is going to separate you from God and heaven for all eternity. Romans 6 23 says, “For the wages of sin is death…”
Please accept the cure: the good news is that Jesus took the punishment of Hell in our place. He paid for our sin with His life. Romans 6:23 continues “….but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” God’s way is easy. God’s way is simple. God’s way is free.
To receive this gift and the cure from sin, all you must do is repent of your sin and ask Jesus to save you. Romans 10:13 says, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
This virus is taking lives every day as it sweeps across our country. Are you prepared for eternity? If you would like to talk with someone, call our church office at (903)665-8865 or my cell at (903)235-9623. We would love to pray with you and share the Lord with you during this time.
A note from Pastor Buckner regarding the Coronavirus:
This is a unique time in history to be alive and live for God. Psalms 146:2 says, “While I live will I praise the LORD: I will sing praises unto my God while I have any being.”
For now, our service structure remains the same. We are monitoring the news closely and will make changes as the need arises.
We are going the extra mile in cleaning to make sure that everything is sanitized, including all door handles.
Please wash your hands often.
We ask that during services and church events that you refrain as much as you can from shaking hands and contact.
If you are sick or have any symptoms of sickness we ask that you stay at home for the safety of others.
If you have health concerns that make you fearful of being in crowds, please take advantage of our livestreamed services. If you have breathing issues already, we want you to be especially careful.
We have upgraded our livestreaming equipment and you can clearly watch all of our services online. You can access the stream from our website (HopeAtHeritage.com) or Facebook page. You can also give your tithes and offerings through our website as well.
Because of this virus, we have decided to postpone our special Friend Day to a time more convenient to comfortably inviting your friends and family. Don’t stop inviting people to church and witnessing. This is an amazing time to talk to folks about their souls.
As Christians, we have no trouble accepting that Jesus is the only way to Heaven. The Bible says in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” What we do have trouble accepting is that the only way to have real fellowship with God is confessing and forsaking our sins.
Psalm 66:18 says, “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.” We will not experience a thriving relationship with Jesus if we are living in unconfessed sin. In parts of Africa they deal with strong Sahara winds that blow clouds of dust in people’s homes.
In some areas, the residents have to dust their furniture every single day. In our lives, that dust is an effective picture of sin. Every day we must work on cleaning our lives so that we can have good fellowship with Christ.
Confession is something that should happen every time you sin. Rather than letting sin collect, you should clean quickly, regularly and thoroughly. If you have a bad thought, confess it to God. If you do something that is wrong, confess it to Him.
Confession is one of the awesome privileges of a Christian, and Christ is just a prayer away. God understands our nature, and this is why He gave us I John 1:9: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” God wants to restore the relationship, so that we can fellowship with Him.
When we sin, we do not stop being the children of God; we simply lose fellowship with Him. Sin affects your communication, but not your eternal destiny. 1 John 1:9 is a life changing verse and we can experience great victory because of its simple promise.
The Bible says in Proverbs 27:1, “Boast not thyself of tomorrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.” Many years ago, a group of travelers traveled west during the early spring. In this group was an elderly minister who had made this trip before.
Because of torrential rains, many of the creeks and waterways they encountered were flooded and difficult to cross. As they made another rainy camp one night, they began discussing a large river that they expected to come to the next day. Most in the group did not think they would be able to cross safely.
Finally, after much discussion, they asked the minister what he thought. “Well, gentlemen,” said the preacher, “I have learned never to cross a river until I reach it.” With that statement, he headed for his bedroll and fell asleep.
There is a Bible verse that goes along with this wise man’s statement. Matthew 6:34 says, “Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.”
The Bible is telling us not to waste time being anxious about things that we cannot control. Each day brings with it cares enough on its own. The future is in God’s hands and needless worry about tomorrow only makes us miserable today. Someone put it this way; “Worrying is like a rocking chair, it gives you something to do, but it doesn’t get you anywhere.”
What problem are you worrying about? First Peter 5:7 encourages us this way; “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.” Take a few minutes and pray about the situations in your life and ask the Lord to help you with your worry. Trust Him to take care of you.
Loving God is a great subject but loving Him extends beyond mere verbal assent. We need to realize that love expresses most clearly in our actions. Men, your wife or girlfriend like to hear about your love, but if you never show it, they will eventually stop believing. The love for God in a Christian will display itself in one way or another.
Love for Christ produces faithfulness. You say you love God but rarely show up to worship Him at His house? If this writer rarely goes home to his wife, she is not going to feel truly loved. If you rarely show up at church will Christ feel truly loved? Again, love produces faithfulness.
Love for Christ produces fellowship. The more love that we have for Jesus Christ, the more we will want to fellowship with Him. Revelation 3:20, “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” If we fall in love with Jesus, we will also enjoy the company of those that also love Jesus. I John 4:20, “If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?”
Love for Christ produces fullness in our joy. The closer one gets to Jesus, the more joyful one will become. You cannot draw close to the Man of Peace without experiencing peace! The challenge for this Valentine week is not just to talk about our love for God, but to go out and show that love in our walk. Whenever you see a young man or young woman in love, it always affects their actions. They do their best to stay close to the one they love. Our world needs some Christians that will so fall in love with Jesus that there is a definitive change of action.