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Sunday school lesson – August 16, 2020

The Other Side of Pain

  • Pain is common to the human experience. Joe was leaving a grocery store when he was held-up by an armed gunman and shot three times. The only way he could pay his hospital bills was to sell his house and car. He had lost his job and was now begging for bus fare to look for one.

Discussion: How can you help the “Joes” of this community?

  • Cindy has just gone through a divorce. Her guilt is consuming her, but the greatest indignity came when her husband said, “I never really loved you anyway.”

Discussion: How can you help Cindy during this time. There are those people in the Caledonia-Kolola community that are going through this now.

  • Mary is intellectually disabled and the only person caring for her is her mother. Mary’s mother just died of cancer. She told me, “I just can’t stop crying.” That is pain.

Discussion: How can you help that neighbor who is Mary in your community?

As a minister— I see pain every day. I have seen how much it hurts to lose employment, I’ve have watched one’s home burn, and I have seen and worked with death frequently. It’s tough! Pain comes in all forms— physically, emotionally, and spiritually— and it often has debilitating effects upon us. It has a way of coloring life. At times, the load seems too great to bear, and we lose our desire to try.

Pain has another side. We may not always see it or even want to see it. It is not always negative. In Christ there is a redemptive value to pain. In Clyde Reed’s book, “Celebrate the Temporary”, he wrote the following:

“One of the most common obstacles to celebrating life fully is our avoidance of pain. We dread pain— we would do anything to avoid it. Our culture reinforces our avoidance pain by assuring us we can live a painless life. Advertisements can start by encouraging us to believe that life can be pain free, but life without pain is a myth— this is an unmistakable, clear, unalterable fact. Many of us do not realize that pain and joy run together. When we cut ourselves off from pain, we have unwittingly cut ourselves off from joy as well.”

Yes, the experience of pain in life prepares us for a productive and meaningful relationship with God. The pain in David’s life came because of unbridled passion. He felt defiled, dirty, and cut off from God. “The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit, a broken and contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.” Psalm 51:17

Brokenness compels us to look to the Lord and depend upon Him. God’s power is made evident in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9), so that brokenness becomes the crucible out of which comes yieldedness. Every man and woman of God has experienced such brokenness.

For Abraham, it was an altar; for Moses it was the wilderness; for Elijah, it was a wicked queen; For Paul, it was a thorn in the flesh; and for Jesus, it was a cross.

Yes, it is through pain that we are prepared to comfort and minister to others. Paul say that the God of all my comfort “comforts us in our afflictions, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction.” God has a unique way of bringing others into our lives to whom we can minister in special ways only because of our experiences.

It is possible that the pain you are experiencing right now is God’s way of preparing you to minister to people in the future who have the same pain. I have seen this work out many times in the ministry. When the time comes for you to minister to others, based on your pain, just say “yes” to God and always be available.

— Thoughts from Pulpit Helps, 1992

— Thoughts from Bro. Don


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Wednesday thoughts – August 12, 2020

In my house there is a clock on the mantle, two clocks on the wall in the living room, a new fancy clock (boxed up and lying on the floor), and a grandfather clock standing by the mantle. It looks like that would be enough clocks. Oh, no! There is a clock in the kitchen and another on the stove. In the bedroom there is an alarm clock, and just so you know, I wear a railroad watch that was my father’s. Oh yes, I have a cellphone that tells me what time it is. You might think that is enough clocks. Well— it ain’t! There is a clock in my truck and a clock in my office. Oh, I forgot there are a couple of watches I have stored away. What is all this clock business?

Did you know that on your birth certificate is the exact time you were born, and on your death certificate is the time will be given as to when you passed away. With all this in mind, what does the Bible say about time?

In Ecclesiastes 3:2 says, “A time to be born, and a time to die. A time to plant and a time to pluck up that which is planted.” Verse 3 says, “A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down and a time to build up.” Verse 4 says, “A time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance.” Verse 8 says, “A time to love and a time to hate, a time of war and a time of peace.”

Time is a precious thing and a fleeting thing. While you and I are not guaranteed another day— it is important that we take advantage of the time we have. If you and I are not saved, take the present time to make things right with God. If there is a relationship that needs to be restored, take advantage of the time you have been given to restore relationships.

You and I cannot stop time or aging, but we can utilize every minute to enjoy what God has given us. After all, it is God’s time that we have. He controls it all. In God’s timing, COVID-19 will be in the history books. Yes, He is in charge— not you or me. All we can do is walk by faith in the midst of the trials and struggles that we face every day, and along the way find some humor and make time to laugh. It is good medicine. Yes— time is precious!


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Sunday school lesson – August 9, 2020

Do You Take Temptation Seriously?

Genesis 3:15

One outstanding characteristic of our day is the lack of discernment. With all the knowledge and experience that we have, we still do not seem to be prepared to face and fight temptation. It seems that we are such easy targets of prey for the devil.

If I am tempted and succumb to the temptations, are there any lasting effects and consequences to my sin? The answer is, yes! We act as though we do not really know the truth except in our heads.

In the beginning of Genesis, the Creator comes into view. The creation is brought into existence by the expression of God’s power. He said all of this was “good” and “very good”, but then a catastrophe takes place with the disobedience of Adam and the fact that Eve was beguiled. Before Chapter 3 ends, even God Himself gives the cure for man’s malady in Chapter 3:15.

1st Note- (The place of temptation)- You would think if there ever was a place that was temptation free, it would have been the garden of Eden, but that was not so. You can be tempted anywhere, anytime; so be careful.

2nd Note- (The presence of the tempter)- He comes always in disguise, always to deceive, and he has demons that will do his bidding and work. Walking in the will of God is a safe place, but we can also be interrupted by a wrong thought or look that becomes lust.

3rd Note- (We come to the process of temptation.)- If you will notice, temptation starts almost unnoticed and undetected. Dr. John Phillips wrote the next four thoughts concerning this process. In Chapter 3:6, Eve “saw” which means the “look became lust.”

It was first hesitation that led to contemplation. Then the Bible says that she “took”, which means the “desire became a decision”, the “choice became a chain”, and the “sinner became a seducer” as she “gave also” to her husband.

It is amazing that all this happened to these innocent people in a perfect environment, but it did, and the story is repeated over and over again with different names.

4th Note- (Truth to notice is the purpose of temptation.) It is the devil’s purpose to ruin our lives by trying to convince us to doubt the love of God and the Word of God. The devil convinced Eve that God was holding out on her, and that He didn’t really mean what He said. I want to remind us that our Heavenly Father always says what He means and means what He says.

The devil knows he cannot take us away from God. “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.” John 10:27-30 But, He can tempt us and get us out of the will of God. James 1:13-16 describes clearly what we are capable of and the devil knows it. “Let no man say when He is tempted, I am tempted of God; for God cannot be tempted with evil; neither tempteth He any man: But every man is tempted when He is drawn away of his own lust and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin; and sin when it is finished, bringeth forth death. Do not err, my beloved brethren.” My God help us all to take temptation seriously. — Fires of Revival, Publication 2007.


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Wednesday thoughts – August 5, 2020

What are you sick of? Your answer may be one or more of the following:

  • National debt, and no one wants to address the issue.
  • COVID-19— what is the real truth?
  • Lawlessness, looting, and burning that occurs night after night while many political leaders turn their heads.
  • Broken relationships— where is the harmony?
  • Worry that is useless

Try to imagine a life where:

  • You were completely free from worry
  • You felt content with your financial situation
  • You had no ill feelings towards anyone
  • You were not enslaved to any destructive habits
  • You had the assurance that God was pleased with your life

My friend— this is exactly the kind of life Jesus lived, and the embryo of His life has been implanted into each of us who know Him.

The prophet Habakkak said this, “Yet, I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation.”

Yes, you and I may be sick of a lot of things that we have no control over, but let it be said, loud and clear, I will joy in the God of my salvation.


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Sunday school lesson – August 2, 2020

Advantages of Adversity

Ecclesiastes 7:14- “In the day of prosperity be joyful, but in the day of adversity consider: God also hath set the one over against the other; to the end that man should find nothing after him.”

According to Ecclesiastes 7:14, God has deliberately placed prosperity and adversity side by side. It is not the adversity itself that has the control over the adversities that come into the lives of believers, it is a loving God. God had the final word in Job’s life, and He does in our lives too.

With the above in mind, we could say this, “Trials are to be viewed as opportunities not obstructions.” James challenges us in James 1:2 to “Count it all joy when you fall into diverse temptations. (trials)” Trials, difficulties, and hardships are seldom put upon us by God as punishment. Our tough times most often come from God with worthy purposes. Trials are to be viewed as opportunities, not obstructions. James 1:12 says, “Blessed, happy, to be envied is the man who endureth temptation.”

The truth is this: the victor’s crown goes to those who have been given adversities as opportunities to trust the Lord Jesus to show himself strong in their behalf. As the song writer puts it, “If I never had a problem, I’d never know He could solve them.” So, what are the advantages of adversity? Why count it joy when we enter the storms of life? Why rejoice when life tumbles in on us?

1) Adversity jolts us out of our comfort zone. Trials can shock us back into reality. It is in the midst of the storm that we can most clearly measure our spiritual progress. If we are not forced to see our shortcomings, we won’t ever feel a need for growth.

2) It is the adversity of turbulent circumstances that we develop Christlikeness. James 1:3 assures us that testing times produce in us endurance and strength of character. We will always grow when we trust the Lord during hard times. We become mature, well balanced Christians as we yield body, soul, and spirit to Christ during adversity.

3) As we are perfected during difficult times, we not only experience personal growth and honor our Lord, whose servant we are, but we also increase our positive influence on others. Like fruit, that which is ripened in the field is much more delicious than that which is picked and shipped green. We “ripen” in the crucibles of life. As we mature, we are more apt to brighten the corner where we are.

As you are facing troubling times, read James 1:1-4 then flip back and read Hebrews 12:2-3. See Jesus! He is our leader. He is our source of faith. He is our example. Do you recall the pain and the shame that he endured as He faced hostility and grievous opposition? Compare what you are going through with His agony when He poured out His own blood on the cross. He did not grow weary, lose heart, and quit in His dark hour of adversity and neither will we as we trust in Him.

Trust Jesus as you endure trials. Count it all joy when you fall into troubled times. Rejoice that God will never leave you nor forsake you. He is busy in your adversities conforming you into His likeness.

Yes— there are advantages to your adversity.


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Wednesday thoughts – July 29, 2020

Ours is a time of uncertainty. Will schools open? Will there be college football? When will this virus end? What is the economic impact in Mississippi? How will the church survive? Yes, ours is a time of confusion and a world of rotten politics. Truth is very scarce, and there is much fear that has been generated by around the clock news.

Is there an answer to all this confusion? 1 Corinthians 14:33 says, “For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.” And, in 2 Timothy 1:7, which says, “For God hath not given us a spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” Is there an answer for you and I who profess to be believers? Yes, in Proverbs 3:5-6 it says, “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.”

Yes, in our state of confusion there is an answer. “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart.” You and I are to acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths. The Psalmist said it best in Psalm 55:22, “Cast thy burden upon the Lord and He shall sustain thee; He shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.”

My friend— there is that which we need to always remember. God is always certain, God is always secure, God is on the throne, and He will direct our steps even in the times of uncertainty.


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