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


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!


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.


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.


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.


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.


Sunday school lesson – July 26, 2020

A Man Called Peter

John 21:15-17

Note Verse 15— “So when they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter.”

Keep the following in mind:

Three times Peter denied Jesus. The first time he pretended not to know Jesus. The second time he denied being a follower of Jesus. The third time, Peter said of Jesus, “I don’t know Him. I don’t know of what you are speaking.”

In today’s text— take note of a conversation between Jesus and Peter. In Verse 15, Jesus said, “Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these?” Note the focus is on Peter to whom the question is asked.

Didn’t Jesus know whether or not Peter loved Him? Yes, He knew, but He needed to bring their entire relationship out into the open. What did Jesus mean by this question, “Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these?” He may have meant, “Do you love me more than these boats and your fishing?” “Are you willing to give it all up and devote your life to preaching the Gospel?” or “Do you love me more than these others love me?” or “Peter, after all that has happened, after all you denied me thrice, do you think your heart is better than the hearts of these others?”

Peter needed to know that his way had been sinful. He needed to be humble to become a faithful and fruitful servant.

Listen to Peter’s answer in Verses 15-17. “Yes, Lord, he said, you know that I love you.”, and Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.” Take care of my sheep. The word “love” here is stronger than the one used before and the word for “feed” means “shepherd my sheep.”

1) Peter was to feed the sheep on the Word.

2) Peter was to nurture, discipline, and develop them.

How does this apply to you and me?

In the church, the newer and weaker Christians are to be fed the Word. As they grow, they are to eat stronger food and develop stronger Christian character.

3) Verse 17

“Simon, son of John, lovest thou me?” Peter grieved. Three times, he is called upon to confess his love for Jesus. Peter was touched to the quick. Now he was deeply filled with sorrow and He had remembered the way he had denied Jesus. “Lord thou knowest all things, thou knowest that I love thee.” Lord, I remember how I treated you, and I am deeply sorrowful. Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.”

Peter had been forgiven and restored to a place of usefulness, and that leads us to one final question.

Do you love, Jesus? Oh, yes, I love Him.

You and I cannot possibly love Him without wanting to do something for Him.

Do you love, Jesus? Peter did.


Wednesday thoughts – July 22, 2020

When I Follow my Way

Hosea 11:7

Are there consequences to following my way? Yes

When I follow my way instead of God’s way, what happens to me?

I. I get slothful in God’s business.

I have to be pushed, prodded, pulled, and begged to get me to do God’s work. Note the on-word letter “I”. Very seldom do you hear or see someone who says I want to do God’s work. What does the Bible say about a lazy or slothful man? (Proverbs 10:4-5) Are you slothful in God’s business?

II. When I follow my way, I am not fervent in the spirit.

Are you at the boiling point in your desire to please God? At 211 degrees water is hot. At 212 degrees water boils, and water boiling produces steam, and steam can power a locomotive.

In the book of Romans 12:11, Paul instructs the believers of Rome to not be slothful in business, but to be fervent in spirit and serving the Lord.

Is that a description of your life? Hosea said, “My people are determined to turn from me, even though they call me God most high.”

III. When I follow my way, I am not in service for the Lord.

Instead, I am in service for me. My heart is full of ingratitude. I am unfaithful to God. I want to call God most high, but I want to serve Him on my terms when it may be convenient or beneficial to me. Most of the time I really do not want a close walk with God— because a close walk demands commitment.

Some say, “I want to follow my way and God’s way at the same time. That is impossible. It is no wonder that 1 John 2:15 gives this warning. Yes— I want to call God most high and yet follow my way. My way gives evidence of a backslidden heart. What is the evidence of a backslidden heart?

A) A lack of spiritual enjoyment

B) A fault-finding critical spirit

C) When secret, private prayer is regarded as a duty instead of a privilege.

D) Worldly things delight me more than spiritual things.

I want to call God Most High— yet follow my way. The consequences for a man with a backslidden heart are:

A) He will not control his tongue.

B) He will be full of his own care.

C) Selfishness ruins his life.

D) He will be filled with his own lust.

E) He will be full of his own troubles.

F) When one is backslidden, he is not at peace with himself.

Yes, I want to call God, Most-High, yet follow my own ways. This will not work.


Sunday school lesson – 7/19/2020

Psalm 46

The content of Psalm 46 fits the time in which we live. It is also a Psalm that fits each of us personally. This is what we need in a sinful and war-torn world. The dominant note throughout this Psalm is victory for God’s people in the day of trouble. This Psalm is a song for all Israel, for all who are the truly chosen of God, called to be His people. The peace of God that passes all understanding should keep the hearts and minds of all who rest in God. If indeed the Lord is our refuge and strength, we are entitled to seek after a spirit that will bear us above the dreads of common men. Yes, Psalm 46— is a victory Psalm.

I. Victory over the things that continually pursue us

God is our refuge. (Verse 1) Nothing on the face of this planet has the power to separate us from Him. God is our refuge in Jesus Christ.

II. Victory over the things that contribute to our weakness

“God is our refuge and strength.” (Verse 1) There are many things that tend to weaken these lives of ours even after we have been born again. Discouragements, fears, doubts will come our way. Let our soul within us declare that God is our refuge.

III. Victory over the things that clamor to trouble us

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” (Verse 1) He is always at hand when we need Him. How true it is, “Man is born into trouble, as the sparks fly upward.” Job 5:7 Yes, in all the trouble you and I face, God is a present help.

IV. Victory over conditions that frighten us.

(Verse 2) “Therefore will we not fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the seas.” Yes, perilous times are upon us, tragedy is stalking the world; men’s hearts are failing them for fear. -(Verse 4) “There is a river.” That river is God. His streams make our heart glad.

V. Victory over things that contemplate our destruction

The annihilation of destructive forces is the theme of Psalm 46:6-11. God still rules in the Heavens and on earth. “He madeth wars to cease unto the end of the earth.” (Verse 9)

The secret of victory is set forth in Verse 10, “Be still and know that I am God.” What a wonderful God we have. Read Psalm 46 over and over until you realize its great meaning for yourself. As you reflect on Psalm 46, note five great gifts that God gives us in times of overwhelming trouble.

A) God refreshes us in the midst of our trouble. (Verse 4) Because of his unfailing love, He offers us cool, rejuvenating waters of peace and joy. We must drink of these waters by fellowshipping with Him through prayer and meditation of His Word.

B) Whatever happens in our lives, we can rest securely because God lives within us. (Verse 5) In the same way that God’s presence literally dwelled in the city of Jerusalem, God resides within the believer today through His Holy Spirit. In an unstable world, we can feel perfectly stable because of His presence within us.

C) God has given us a third great gift to sustain us in time of trouble, the hope of a bright tomorrow. (Verse 5) Our dark, mighty trial will not last forever. The sun will rise in God’s timing, our season of suffering will end, and we will bask in the joy of God’s eternal day.

D) God has given us the record of His past faithfulness to strengthen us for our present challenges. (Verse 6) In His inspired Word, God has preserved the long history of His faithfulness to His people.

Names some times in your life when you have personally seen the faithfulness of God.

E) God will send His angels to protect and assist us in times of trouble. (Verse 7) As angels came and ministered to Jesus when He was tempted, God’s heavenly host are constantly at hand to minister to us. The author of Hebrews instructed us to always be hospitable to strangers, for we never know when we might be entertaining an angel. (Hebrews 13:2) Oh, how our Father loves us that we would utilize His army of angels— Heavenly beings far more powerful than we are— to serve us as we travel through this life.

Yes, Psalm 46— fits the time in which you and I live.


Wednesday thoughts – 7/15/2020

When one grows a garden— that individual will be confronted with many snares. These snares include weeds, morning glories, nut grass, Bermuda grass, corm worms, tomato worms, blights, fungus, too much water, drought, and even a dull hoe. When one is a believer, there are those snares that hinder one’s spiritual walk.

What are some of those snares that you face?

A) Discouragement

Moses was discouraged. Numbers 11:14-15 -“I am not able to bear all this people alone, because it is too heavy for me, and if thou deal thus with me, kill me, I pray thee, out of hand, if I have found favor in thy sight, and let me not see my wretchedness.”

Discouragement is a snare the devil uses to beat down the Christian. Thank God that Satan in the end is the loser.

B) Disbelief in the promises of God

Oh, how we need to remember that God said He would never leave us nor forsake us. Yes, we need to remember that in the end, Jesus Christ will reign and He, not man, will be in charge.

Disbelief is a snare that Satan uses to tear down the believer. Thank God our victory is in Jesus Christ.

C) Discrediting the Bible

The Bible is just not another book. It is God’s divine Word to Man. You and I live in a time when the Bible is ignored, neglected, and discredited. Oh, how we need a revival of confidence and faith in the Bible.

Discrediting the Bible is a snare that Satan uses to beat down and discourage the believer. Thank God that the Bible was written by men who were inspired by the Holy Ghost. Yes, it will stand and never change through the pages of history.

D) Desecration of the Lord’s Day

Oh, how we need a blood transfusion that will abandon the amusement and recreation of the Lord’s day. It is only then that people will have a little time to stop and think about God. America has gone the limit of desecrating the Lord’s day.

Desecration of the Lord’s day is a snare that Satan uses the in the believer’s life. The Lord’s day has not been cancelled. If I am to grow as a believer, I must stop and worship God. There is no substitute.

E) Discounting of public and private praying

Where are the churches with the Holy Ghost prayer meetings today? The world has more pull and power in the average life of professing believers than does the Holy Ghost.

Thought: There will be less straying when there is more praying.

Yes, just as there are snares to gardening that must be tended, there are also snares in the believer’s life that must be eradicated.