Watson Baptist Church
Watson, IL

Activities

Coming Events

Oct 5
Lord's Supper

Birthdays

Oct 5
Louise French - Elaine Higgs
Oct 6
Chip Townsend
Oct 7
LMayana Blair
Oct 13
Angie Townsend
Oct 15
Kenny Warfield
Oct 23
Thomas Rinehart
Oct 24
Kade Blair - Allen Hicks - Jan Johnson
Oct 25
Hope Rinehart
Oct 26
Nevaeh Peddycoat
Oct 27
Addison Faber
Oct 31
Lexie Jones

Anniversaries

Oct 18
Larry & Cherrie Foreman

Our Pastor

Pastor Van Mcqueen

Pastor Van is a graduate of Georgetown Baptist College in Georgetown KY, with a BA in music. He has served churches in KY, IL, TX, and Maryland.

He was married to Dorothy for 48 years. She passed away in 2001. He has two married children. Cindy Slyvester and Doug McQueen. Two grandchildren and three great-grand-children.

Pastor Van has served in almost every area of church-related service. He spent ten years in the field of fund raising for churches. He has no hobbies except he likes old trucks and owns and has restored an old 1950 Dodge pickup. His first love is Jesus, second is his family and third is the Watson Baptist Church.

Our Church

The Watson Baptist Church began as a Mission extension of Jackson Township Baptist Church in 1895. The first church, "The New Zion Baptist Church" started with 17 members at the White School House, later the place of worship was changed to the old Presbyterian Church. Mrs. Cannon of Mason presented a church bell to the church in 1904.

A new church was built in 1969 and the name became "The Watson Baptist Church". The land was donated by Glen and Agnes Martin. The church continued to grow and an addition was added in 1984. There have been 29 pastors to date.


Contact Information

Address:

Watson Baptist Church
100 N Old Watson Rd
Watson, IL 62473
Phone:

(217) 536-6226

WBC Facebook

Staff

Executive Pastor
Gary Beck - 757/816/6589
Deacon
Aaron Cline - 217343/8861
Deacon
Roger Loy - 217/240/5811
Deacon
Leo DeWeese - 217/343/4020

Prayer List

Pastor Van McQueen * All Church Members * Deacon & Associate Pastor Gary Beck
Government: Local/State/ National * Police Officers * Jail: Inmates/Guards
Deacon Aaron Cline * DOM Joe Lawson * President Donald Trump
All Military * Lost people * Your "ONE"
Church growth * Church attendance
Our Mission field of the Watson area.
Health Issues *** Hilda Webb * Frankie Webb * Bill Wright * Loretta Woods
Mike Welker's wife * Opal Rose * Charles Woods * Louise French * Robin Heltsley
Angie Monical * Chris Beck * Shirley Filer * Linda Wright * Todd Wright
Isaiah Wright * Ronni Morris * John Flach * Jeff Campton * Kay Koester
Don Groves * Sarah Morris * Kevin Moshenrose * Edward & Jude Beck * Bob Simmons
MILITARY *** Shane Evans - Kyle Webb - Jimmy Leist - Adam Nevergall - Jake Nelson
Curtis Webb - Chris French - Michael Niemerg - Justin Hovis - Keith Dial
Phil Blackwell - Lucas Kreke - Jackie Hughing - Chad Reed - Chris Jones - JAlex Artola
Ivan Artola - Tiffany Habing - Nic Lucy - Austin Ashworth - Jonathan Knox - Alyssa Artola
Cortney Mosier - Haley Koester

Devotionals

Sunday November 29, 2020

November 29.

Sifting and Strengthening

And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: but I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren. Luke 22:31, 32.

Here we have the Triangle of Spiritual Conflict: "Satan—you—I." Satan would sift us, but we have an Advocate. The devil asked God for permission to try Job. Here it is Simon Peter he puts through the sifter. And never have more saints been in his hands than today. But he can go only so far. There is one praying for us who defeated Satan, who came to destroy the works of the devil. The Adversary is not in the first two chapters of the Bible, nor is he in the last two. Thank God for a Book that ends with the devil out of business!

But he is very much in business now in the mighty tug-of-war for the souls of men. It is Christ or Antichrist and we are the prize. Peter's faith was eclipsed but not extinct. And when he was converted, he certainly strengthened the brethren and fed the sheep—and does so to this day.

Sometimes we must go through the Sifter before we are of much use for Strengthening.

Pastor Van
Saturday November 28, 2020

Between Two Fires

And when they had kindled a fire... Peter sat down among them. Luke 22:55.

As soon as they were come to land, they saw a fire of coals there. John 21:9.

Peter warmed himself at the enemy's fire—and denied His Lord. The devil always has a convenient fire for saints who are about to slip. Taking it easy is often the prelude to backsliding. Comfort precedes collapse.

Days later, Peter warmed at another fire, the coals His Master had kindled on the beach. There he met the question, "Lovest thou me?" and received the commission, "Feed my sheep."

Many Christians are living in an interim between Satan's Fire and the Saviour's Fire. If you have fallen because you warmed yourself when you should have warned yourself, the Lord seeks an interview. Peter, the backslider, was marked Special: "Go tell his disciples and Peter (Mk. 16:7). He does not want to fire you out but to fire you up!

If you have collapsed at Satan's Fire, you may be converted at the Saviour's Fire. Do not live "between fires."

Pastor Van
Friday November 27, 2020

Well, Thanksgiving is over, and maybe you have an issue that is just craving an answer: What do I do with all the leftovers? I hope you find ways to take care of them creatively. You wouldn't want any of that delicious food going to waste! Of course, you need to deal with leftovers appropriately, or they won't be of any benefit and might be a little dangerous.

Dealing with leftovers from Thanksgiving dinner is a good problem; however, some of you may be dealing with leftovers of another nature that are not a good problem. We all have made mistakes and done things we should not have done. Sometimes dealing with the "leftovers" from these times is a tough thing. There may be actual physical ramifications on account of our wrong-doing, or perhaps it is the struggle with the emotions we have as we think of our actions. This can be a really difficult issue. You need to deal with these issues appropriately or they can cause real problems.

Whatever you may have done, remember there is forgiveness with God. Seek his forgiveness. If you have wronged others, seek their forgiveness and do what you can to right the wrong. Finally, accept God's forgiveness and forgive yourself. If there are consequences to deal with, deal with them as need be and work to move on.

David knew the death of his infant son was a result of his wrongdoing with Bathsheba and what he had done with Uriah. He knew he had to deal realistically with the consequences, seek God's forgiveness, and seek other's forgiveness. His realistic understanding of the situation is reflected in his reply to his servants when he was told of the death of the baby, "While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept. I thought, 'Who knows? The LORD may be gracious to me and let the child live.' But now that he is dead, why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me." (II Samuel 12:22-23)

David sought God's forgiveness (read Psalm 51), did what he could to right the wrong. He continued to trust God. I find it interesting that the brother of this infant became David's successor - Solomon. God did not condone the wrong, but he commended David's actions of forgiveness and restitution. David dealt with the "leftovers."

Deal with the leftovers. Deal with them properly. Dispose of what needs to be disposed. Use what is beneficial. This is a good thing to do.

Pastor Steve
Thursday November 26, 2020

I would imagine you are fairly familiar with the story of Squanto and the Pilgrims. This story is the stuff of fictional best-sellers. Think about this for a bit - a group of people from Europe travel thousands of miles in a wooden craft in 66 days, miss their target by a few hundred miles, and just happen to land in a place where they find a native who speaks perfect English. Keep in mind that it was at the beginning of the 17th century. How in the world does that work out? It was almost as if they were expected.

In one very real sense, they were. This is an example of God doing the unexpected at a time when the unexpected was necessary.

God will do this in our lives at times. We never really know when it might take place, and we shouldn't try to predict these events, but we know God is always there and is watching out for us. We should never take God's providence for granted. Those early settlers certainly didn't. We shouldn't either.

Paul refers to God's providence in Romans 8:28 when he writes, "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." God is at work in our lives. He goes ahead of us, working on details in ways that are hidden from us, making things look like it is just the way it should be when, in reality, we were heading in a different direction. He provides for us in ways that we will never know about in this life.

God doesn't keep us from experiences that are not all that good, but he is working with us at those times and will bring us through. Once again, think about the ordeal of those 17th century travelers. They endured a great deal before things turned around for them. That is why we have Thanksgiving.

Enjoy your turkey today, and give thanks for the things you see around you that you know came from God. And don't forget to thank Him for all those things you don't see but are just as "there." Happy Thanksgiving!

Pastor Steve
Wednesday November 25, 2020

Tomorrow is a day when many families plan to get together and share a meal as Thanksgiving is celebrated. This is a good thing to do, and for many families, may be one of the few times when sharing a meal together around a table actually takes place. It seems that busy schedules in today's world hinders what was once a typical setting. Still, amid busy and varied schedules, many families find a way to sit down together for dinner regularly.

I remember once reading an article that spoke about the good things that result from family meals. In the article, family-health advocates described the benefits: an increased sense of unity, children sharing news and feeling listened to, and the physical perks of a planned, seated meal.

In Scripture, many great encounters between people and God happen around meals. Abraham and Sarah prepared a meal for three guests who turn out to be angels (Genesis 18). God gave instructions to the Hebrews to eat a special meal together before their delivery from Egypt (Exodus 12:9). Every year since, Jews celebrate the Passover feast. Elijah was strengthened with food served by an angel (1 Kings 19). Jesus shared meals not only with religious leaders but with "sinners" (e.g., Matthew 9). Jesus' Last Supper with his disciples before his death has become one of the Church's sacraments and a "foretaste" of the heavenly banquet to come. Christ said to his disciples, "I tell you, I will not drink from this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom." (Matthew 26:29)

It is a good thing when families have the opportunity to eat together. This is good at holidays; this is good at any time. As followers of Christ, it can be a holy time in God's presence. Sometimes circumstances and schedules don't allow this to happen, so enjoy the opportunities that you have, and gives thanks to God for the time you share.

Pastor Steve
Tuesday November 24, 2020

What Are You Looking At?

Looking unto Jesus. Hebrews 12:2.

We hear a lot these days about "looking up," "keeping your chin up," and other exhortations, by which this poor world tries to whistle its way past the graveyard. But the value of the uplook depends on what you are looking at. Looking up avails little if it is only a forced optimism staring at the blue sky.

The Christian looks and lives even as the snake-bitten Israelites were healed by a look at the brazen serpent. "Look unto me, and be ye saved," is God's invitation (Isa. 45:22). Then we live the Christian life, "off-looking unto Jesus" (Heb. 12:2). And we live looking for His return (Lk. 21:28; Heb. 9:28). But the value of faith lies in its object, and our look of faith has meaning only if "we see Jesus."

A lot of our present-day looking up sees nothing, for it is not looking at anything. Any object other than Jesus is only a disappointment. He is the only satisfying object of the soul's gaze. "They looked unto him, and were lightened: and their faces were not ashamed" (Ps. 34:5). "Looking up" and "smiling through," with a Micawberish hope that something will happen will never get you through. Fix your eyes on Jesus!

Pastor Van
Monday November 23, 2020

Peter's Other Confession

Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God. John 6:68, 69.

Peter's confession in Matthew 16 is familiar, but this other confession is equally important. Jesus had preached His crowd away, down to the irreducible minimum, the twelve disciples. He asked them, "Will ye also go away?"

Peter's answer moves through three stages. It is cumulative and rises from a good reason for believing on Christ through a better reason to the climax of conviction. It is first a matter of alternatives: "To whom shall we go?" It is Christ—or else. "What other road could we take?" If Jesus does not have the answer, who does?

Then his words: "Never man spake like this man." He has words of eternal life. They sprout, they germinate, they grow. God speaks when Christ speaks, for Christ is God.

And the glorious climax: "We have come to believe and still believe, we have come to know and still know, that you are the Holy One of God." There is no other way like His. There are no other words like His. There is no other One like Him.

Pastor Van
Sunday November 22, 2020

Rub It In!

Ye are the salt of the earth. Matthew 5:13.

I have just read a statement of a religious leader to the effect that the salt of the earth needs to be rubbed in—even if it smarts.

I have heard and read many developments of the salt theme. The outline usually runs the same course: salt seasons, purifies, preserves. But somebody ought to remind us that salt also irritates. Real living Christianity rubs this world the wrong way. "The world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world" (Jn. 1:14). Godly living is in itself a rebuke to this age, and this world resents the light that exposes its corruption.

Billy Sunday used to say, "They tell me I rub the fur the wrong way. I don't. Let the cat turn around."

We are going to a lot of trouble these days developing a brand of Christianity that will not irritate this world. The only salt that will not irritate is "salt without savour," and our Lord said such salt, whether table salt or spiritual salt, is "good for nothing but to be cast out and trodden under foot of men."

Pastor Van
Saturday November 21, 2020

A Troubling Remembrance

I remembered God, and was troubled. Psalm 77:3.

One would expect it to read, "I remembered God and Was comforted." But remembering God may sometimes make us unhappy. As a truant child remembers his parents and dreads their discipline, so when we go astray we remember that evil doing brings consequences. When we remember God's holiness and our sinfulness we are troubled.

Then, again, when we remember God's goodness and our ingratitude we are troubled. The goodness of God is meant to lead us to repentance. Like the Psalmist here, we call to mind better days and are brought to consider our ways to discover where we have departed from His Way.

Finally, when we remember God's service and our unfaithfulness we are troubled. So much to do, so little done! If that does not trouble us, then we are in a low state indeed.

But the kind of trouble the remembrance of God brings is trouble that leads through tears to triumph. May God stir up our minds by way of remembrance, lest we forget Him too long!

Pastor Van
Friday November 20, 2020

"Nothing Wavering"

And shall not doubt in his heart. Mark 11:23.

Doubting nothing. Acts 10:20.

But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. James 1:6.

It is a powerful phrase, and the word shows up elsewhere (Mt. 21:21; Rom. 4:20; 14:23). A. T. Robertson says, "It is a vivid picture of internal doubt."

We must not only believe God, we must believe we believe God. Like the silly habit of going back to see whether you really did lock that door, an unsettled state of spiritual indecision is developed by doubting souls. They never "close the gate" behind them, they are forever reconsidering their decisions. They are never sure of their conversion or their consecration. They are ever learning and never able to come to a knowledge of the truth.

When you have made any covenant with the Lord consider it final. If you did it honestly in the light you had you insult Him and your own intelligence by going over it all again. It becomes a vicious habit, and you can never be sure of anything. You never stand firmly on any point for fear you may be wrong.

Close your gates behind you and move on, "nothing doubting," "for he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed."

Pastor Van
Thursday November 19, 2020

"To Be Like Jesus"

For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son. Romans 8:29.

We may not understand predestination, and the scholars may argue about it, but it is very plain what God had in mind—our conformity to the image of His Son. In other words, He would have us to be like Jesus.We are all accepted in Him when we believe and are saints as to position, but the working out of all this in our daily lives is sometimes a slow process. We are stubborn and often "conformed to this world" instead.

It is possible to be a well-instructed fundamentalist who has progressed in Bible study, attended a lot of meetings, and learned "all the answers," and yet not be much like Jesus. Some of us are not much more like Him than we were ten years ago. We boast that we are not babes but mature Christians because we can take strong meat in Bible teaching; but are we not still babes if our progress has not been "in Christ," knowing Him better and becoming more like Him?

A mature Christian is one who has grown up in Bible Christlikeness, not merely graduated in Bible courses.

Pastor Van
Wednesday November 18, 2020

Moving Day

For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. Hebrews 4:10.

You will not find peace by moving from a big house into a bigger one, by moving from town to country, by moving up the social ladder, by moving from a B.A. to a Ph.D. Moving to the mountains in the summer or south in the winter will not do it. It was an old Negro maid who said of her unhappy globe-trotting mistress, "It don't do her any good, because she has to take herself along!"

But entering into God's rest by simple faith, ceasing from your own works to rest in His finished work, will do it. Do not limit the words, "Entered Into Rest," to a tombstone epitaph. You can enter now.

Out of my bondage, sorrow and night,

Jesus, I come; Jesus, I come.

Into Thy freedom, gladness and light,

Jesus, I come to Thee.

Out of my sickness into Thy health;

Out of my want and into Thy wealth;

Out of my sin and into Thyself,

Jesus, I come to Thee.

Moving day!

Pastor Van
Tuesday November 17, 2020

Is God Your Father?

I will be a Father unto you. II Corinthians 6:18.

Yes, if you are born from above by faith in His Son. Popular modern preaching to the contrary notwithstanding, He is the father of them only that believe (Gal. 3:26). Jesus' word to the Pharisees, "Ye are of your father the devil" (John 8:44), is forgotten these days.

But we are told that if we come out and are separate and touch not the unclean thing, God will be a Father unto us. Does His Fatherhood depend on our separation? No, it depends on our regeneration. But He cannot be to some of us the Father He wants to be because we are not in fellowship. There are fathers who cannot be to their children what they want to be because their children are in no condition for such favors. Sometimes they must be corrected and chastised. What a grief it is to want to do things for a child whose rebellious spirit makes it impossible! God wants to bless us with all the riches of His grace, but He cannot until we are separated from sin and made "blessable."

God may be your Father in relationship and still not be your Father in fellowship. Don't miss anything His Fatherhood holds for you!

Pastor Van
Monday November 16, 2020

Where Are You Going?

Lord, to whom shall we go? John 6:68.

Where could we go? Look down all other roads and see what they have to offer. It is Christ or else. The wisdom of man, the religions of the world, have no answer to the soul's desperate cry, "Where could I go but to the Lord?"

Where would we go? If we do not follow the Light we go out into darkness, utter and eternal. We would go to hell if we did not go to Him. "He that believeth not is condemned already."

Where should we go? To Jesus of course. Plain common sense tells us that nothing else satisfies. He has proven His case long ago. We ought to be Christians. God commands us to repent and believe.

It is a matter of eternal alternatives: saved or lost, justified or condemned, heaven or hell. "He that is not with me is against me."

"There is a way which seemeth right unto a man." "I am the way." Which way are you going?

Pastor Van
Sunday November 15, 2020

Keep Step with God

Enoch walked with God. Genesis 5:24.

Enoch did not run ahead of God or lag behind Him. He walked with Him. Some go too fast, they hasten to an immature and superficial experience with God, and their consecration is not thorough. They make a mechanical "decision," but the depths have never been stirred. Or else in a spell of emotion they make a hurried covenant with God but have no root or depth.

Others go too slowly. They are so afraid of a false decision that they make none. They spend nights praying for what is already theirs in Christ. They go into vagaries and extremes of "seeking," and sometimes become unbalanced.

There is a happy balance here. All that we need is in Jesus. Let us make no cheap and quick committals until all has been laid at His feet and we really mean business. Long hours of prayer are necessary only if we are stubborn, God is not slow to hear and answer. If we really mean business we need not tarry. Christ is here now, immediately accessible. No use wasting time afraid we are not "sure." We can never be sure of ourselves; He is the sure One!

Walk with God. "Run not before him." Lag not behind Him.

Pastor Van
Saturday November 14, 2020

A Lesson in Addition

And the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. Acts 2:41.

For a church of three thousand members to take in one hundred and twenty more would be almost phenomenal these days. But here a fellowship of one hundred and twenty was suddenly augmented by three thousand. What a revival if that rate of increase were maintained!

How was it done? Through the preaching of Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit. There are additions and additions today, but how much of them is the Lord adding daily such as should be saved?

There is addition from without, like barnacles on a boat. There is addition from within, like grapes on a vine. It is to be feared that the church has encumbered herself with a lot of excess baggage, not members of the body of Christ, but names in an organization.

You will observe that the Lord did the adding. He uses His appointed means, but He must do it if it is to be the genuine fruit of Pentecost.

Have you been added from without or from within?

Pastor Van
Friday November 13, 2020

The Interchangeable Triad

I in them, and thou in me... John 17:23.

We are in him... I John 5:20.

God is in Christ, Christ is in us who believe, we are in Christ—glorious identification that overflows all our figures to describe it! The Head and the Body, the Vine and the Branches—we are partakers of the Divine Nature.

Our poor little word images cannot say it. Sometimes we try with illustrations from daily life. The iron is in the fire, we say; then the iron grows red and we say the fire is in the iron. But all such efforts fall short.

"Your life is hid with Christ in God"—that is one way of looking at it. Those two precious words, "In Christ," lie scattered like jewels all over the New Testament. "Christ liveth in me," "Christ in you the hope of glory"—that is another facet of this gem. And what a red-letter day it has been for many a soul when "Christ liveth in me" gets translated from theology into reality!

Anyway you look at it, this Interchangeable Triad is something to shout about. "Thou in me, I in them, we... in him."

Pastor Van
Thursday November 12, 2020

The Touchstone of Faith

If thou shalt confess with thy mouth Jesus as Lord, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. Romans 10:9 (A.S.V.).

Here is the key to the sad state of many a Christian and many a church today. There has been a cheap easy profession of Christ as Saviour but no real confession of Christ as Lord. The lips claim Him as Saviour but the life shows no evidence of His Lordship. We love the same things we have always loved; we do not abhor that which is evil, we live our own lives, Christ has no say in the matter.

A. T. Robertson said, "No Jew would do this who had not really trusted Christ, for Kurios in the LXX [Septuagint] is used of God. No Gentile would do it who had not ceased worshiping the Emperor as Kurios. The word Kurios was and is the Touchstone of faith."

It meant everything in those days to say, "Jesus is Lord." There is one absolute test: Is Jesus Christ the Lord of your life? Or are you "fearing the Lord and serving your own gods"?

When our "believers" became real "disciples," then they will be "witnesses." You cannot willingly take Jesus as Saviour and wilfully deny Him as Lord. "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved."

Pastor Van
Wednesday November 11, 2020

Bed-Ridden Truth

If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them. John 13:17.

Our Lord conditions true happiness not on knowledge alone but on knowledge of His Word plus obedience.

Coleridge says: "Truths, of all others the most awful and interesting, are too often considered as so true that they lose the power of truth, and lie bed-ridden in the dormitory of the soul, side by side with the most despised and exploded errors."

Here lies a fearful peril to us all, that we take for granted the very things God never meant should become a matter of course, and because we know them so well and have heard them so often we assume that what is a fact in our heads is a force in our hearts. May it not be that this is why we never finish the verse, "Be ye doers of the word and not hearers only" by adding the most terrific part of it, deceiving your own selves? We pleasantly assent to a Gospel we ought powerfully to assert. How it needs to be rescued "from the neglect caused by the very circumstance of its universal admission"!

What great truth lies bed-ridden in the dormitory of your soul?

Pastor Van
Tuesday November 10, 2020

"The Central Verity"

Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost. I Corinthians 12:3.

Dr. G. Campbell Morgan says Paul is here stating the central verity of the church, the absolute Lordship of Christ. Both the cult of Cæsar and the cult of Christ used the term Kurios. It was "Nero Kurios" (Nero Lord) or "Kurios Iesous" (Lord Jesus)—"the battle cries of the spirit of error and the spirit of truth." Poly carp the martyr paid with his life because he refused to call Cæsar, Lord, and said each time, "Lord Jesus."

Of course, it is easy to call Him, Lord, Lord, and not do His commands (Mt. 7:21-23). Only the Spirit of God can make real to the soul the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Just because Nero is dead makes no difference—there is still the cult of Cæsar, and a man cannot have two Lords. A day of cheap discipleship, with churches filled by baptized pagans, needs to be startled into taking seriously the battle cry, "Jesus Is Lord."

There are too many religious Sauls who need to become regenerated Pauls asking, "Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?"

Pastor Van
Monday November 09, 2020

Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not. Jeremiah 33:3.

We are inclined to pray as though this world were in the grip of cold, fixed laws, with only the remote possibility that God might occasionally break through. We timidly whisper a few feeble petitions barely hoping, but certainly not believing that we shall receive. But God is not a prisoner in His own universe. Jesus is the Lord of all creation, King of kings and Lord of lords. The devil can go only so far as God allows him to go.

God is waiting to show Himself strong in behalf of those whose heart is perfect toward Him. He invites us to prove Him. He longs to demonstrate what He can do, exceeding abundantly above all we ask or think, great and mighty things which we know not.

"Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need."

This is our Father's world. God is still on the throne of creation. Call on Him and He will answer.

Pastor Van
Sunday November 08, 2020

He Shows Himself Strong

For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him. II Chronicles 16:9.

God is not waiting to show us strong in His behalf but Himself strong in our behalf. That makes a lot of difference. He is not out to demonstrate what we can do but what He can do. But God is on the lookout for candidates with hearts perfect toward Him. He is not a talent scout looking for somebody strong enough or good enough. He is looking for someone with a heart set on pleasing Him and an eye single to His glory. He will do the rest.

What a wonder that God will use our lives to demonstrate Himself! But we like to demonstrate ourselves and do great exploits in God's behalf. That reverses the process and God does not get the glory. We have seen enough of what men can do for God; we need to see more of what God can do through men.

He has shown Himself strong in our behalf many a time. And what He has done for others, He will do for you.

Pastor Van
Saturday November 07, 2020

The Stayed Mind

Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Isaiah 26:3.

We have mastered many diseases of the body. Some of the worst plagues have been conquered and others may be on the way out. But now we are going crazy by the thousands and the mental hospitals are crowded. The devil is majoring on the mind. Too often mental sufferers are advised to lay up their Bibles, give religion a rest, and go to the movies.

Is the Lord not able to help us when we need Him most? If He can save and keep the soul, is it the best we can do to turn body and mind over to the wisdom of man? Is there no balm in Gilead for us here and now and grace to help in every time of need?

The average unstrung individual will find his inhibitions, complexes, neuroses, and other ailments straightened out by getting right with God and man. The stayed mind is a sound mind and belongs to him who trusts in God. Such a man is kept in perfect peace, not by tensely maintaining a certain mental attitude, God keeps him. And he lets God do it! "He careth for you." Then let Him!

Pastor Van
Friday November 06, 2020

God Breaks Through!

Since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. II Peter 3:4.

It is the argument of the scoffers concerning the Lord's return, but it is used in a far wider range: "God is not interested in what becomes of us. God has not spoken with finality in the Bible. God did not take human form in Jesus Christ. Jesus was not virgin-born. He did not rise from the dead. He is not coming again. Men are born to be what they become, and there is no new birth. God does not guide and keep people. He does not answer prayer." In support of all this is the old argument: "'All things continue as from the beginning of creation'; things run a natural course fixed by law, and God never breaks through."

But He has broken through in His Word and in His Son, and He does save and guide and keep and answer prayer. There is a higher law, not contra-natural, but supernatural.

No, things do not continue as they were from the beginning. God breaks through! How we need a fresh visitation! "Oh that thou wouldst rend the heavens... [and] come down!"

Pastor Van
Thursday November 05, 2020

Don't Settle Here!

Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world. II Timothy 4:10.

Demas had to forsake something, for no man could follow Paul and the world at the same time. Paul was a stranger and a pilgrim, and "he sought a country." He had not driven his tent pegs down in these lowlands of earth, nor had he hung his stocking for the Santa Claus of this age to fill. All who follow him as He follows Christ make this present world "their passage and not their portion, as Matthew Henry puts it.

The angels from their place on high

Look down on us with wondering eye,

That where we are but passing guests

We build such firm and solid nests;

But where we hope to live for aye

We scarce take heed one stone to lay.

Don't feather your nest down here. The path of the Word and the path of the world do not run parallel. You must forsake one to follow the other.

Pastor Van
Wednesday November 04, 2020

"He Staggered Not"

He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief. Romans 4:20.

Faith does not nervously go over the same committal again and again. Faith goes on from there ruggedly believing that what God has promised He will perform. Abraham did not even consider what were really impossibilities. He considered God, not circumstances. So did Hannah when "she went her way and her countenance was no more sad." So did Paul in the storm at sea, when he said, "I believe God."

It is a mark of unbelief, not of faith, when we uneasily look around us and keep reminding God that we are depending on Him. We are trusting Him more when, instead of constantly reminding Him, we move on to do the next thing and the next, counting it all as good as done. A father would be grieved if his child kept on asking, "Are you sure you will take care of me?" A trusting child goes on about other things and wastes no time trying to trust its father.

You are not really trusting until you quit trying. The more you examine your faith, the sicklier it will be. Don't look at your faith. Look unto Jesus!

Pastor Van
Tuesday November 03, 2020

Willing and Working

Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. Philippians 2:12, 13.

This combination makes it all the work of God and yet puts us to work.He does the willing and the working. But we "work out what He works in."

It is a blessed thing to know and to remind ourselves as we move through each day, "God is working in me to will and do of his good pleasure." But let us remember the other side of it: "I do always those things that please him" (Jn. 8:29). How few Christians ever think of working out their salvation with fear and trembling in these days of cheap and easy religion! A deep and sober daily concern to please God is the rarest of rarities.

God wills and works, but He moves us to will and work. Our feeble purpose and performance take on real importance when we realize that God is energizing both. The Father hath not left us alone. Therefore we are enabled by Him to do those things that please Him.

Pastor Van
Monday November 02, 2020

Revive Us Again—but Not Now!

Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance. Matthew 3:8.

John the Baptist demanded real evidence of a change of heart. We live in an "epidemic" of so-called revivals the year round, but most church members weather them without repentance or the fruits thereof, renunciation and restitution. Most revivals begin with two or three sermons to the church and pass quickly into a drive for "prospects" and new church members, leaving the church quite unscathed.

 

We need a new John the Baptist putting the ax to the root, not the fruit, of the tree; calling for conviction-born repentance among Christians, a change of mind, godly sorrow, and confession and renunciation of sin, for he that "confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy"; and for restitution wherever possible—a straightening out of old accounts such as Zacchæus made.

This is revival—not just singing, "Revive Us Again," with no intention whatever of paying the price now!

Pastor Van
Sunday November 01, 2020

Crisis and Continuance

And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost. And they continued stedfastly. Acts 2:2, 42.

The same chapter records both Crisis and Continuance. Some of us major on one, some on the other. We need a synthesis of both. Ecstasies, high days, lofty experiences-some go in for these but cannot maintain such a high-strung pitch and often run into excesses. Others major on the daily walk and growth in grace but tend to get into a rut.

Why not "a sea of glass mingled with fire," a combination of both Crisis and Continuance? "Tasks in hours of insight willed can be in hours of gloom fulfilled." "After he had seen the vision, immediately we endeavoured to go" (Acts 16:10). The Vision and the Venture!

The best evidence of being truly filled with the Spirit is that one so filled "continues daily." The Glory shows up in the Grind! As important as the Grandeur of Getting Started is the Grace of Going On!

Pastor Van
Saturday October 31, 2020

How to Be Independent

I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. Philippians 4:11.

"Content" has been rendered "independent." Paul has learned in any state to be self-sufficient, independent, not in the haughty worldly sense but in that he lives by inner resources. He can do all things through Christ. While he deeply appreciates and rejoices in the love-gift sent to him by the Philippian saints, his sufficiency is not in the Lord's people but in God, who is able to supply every need.

The servant of the Lord who is looking to the Lord's people instead of unto the Lord will be nervous and sometimes disappointed. But the man who is looking unto Jesus about his finances as well as everything else will not worry whether his remuneration be a Philippian love-gift or a puny stipend. Not all churches may be as generous as the Philippians, but God's riches in glory by Christ Jesus are as abundant as in Paul's day.

Let us be independent of men, dependent on God.

Pastor Van
Friday October 30, 2020

The Departing Angel

And forthwith the angel departed from him. Acts 12:10.

The angel had brought Peter out of prison through the gate and safely outside. Now the miracle was over and the angel took his leave. Peter was on his own.

God intervenes by His angel many a time to loose our souls from prison. He does the supernatural thing when the occasion demands it. But He does not perform miracles when we can get along without them. He lets us do the thing we can do for ourselves, all within the circles of His grace of course.

Peter shifted for himself when be came to and realized he was not dreaming. Some saints expect angels to wake them up and serve them breakfast in bed. Do not expect the supernatural when God would have you proceed in the normal natural course of things. Peter did not sit down and wait for another angel—he headed toward a prayer meeting.

Thank God for His angels, but they depart. Trust His indwelling Spirit to guide you every day, miracle or no miracle. Angels come and go, but He abides.

Pastor Van
Thursday October 29, 2020

Make Disciples

Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all the nations... Matthew 28:17 (A.S.V.).

We would not strain for a point here, but it is evident that we are to make disciples, not just believers. Of course, in the Early Church there were no distinctions; a believer was also a disciple and a witness. There was no taking Christ as Saviour now, as Lord later—maybe never. Men confessed with their mouths Jesus as Lord while they believed in their hearts.

But today churches are filled with "believers" who have never been made disciples. Some of them perform perfunctory religious duties, but they have never denied self, taken up the cross, and followed Christ. They have not been taught to observe all things commanded.

The early Christians believed, became disciples, and that sent them out as witnesses to make disciples of others.

We need to learn our Great Commission all over again.

Pastor Van
Wednesday October 28, 2020

Lost and Found

He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it. Matthew 10:39.

Most of us are out to succeed, to achieve our own ends, to accomplish our own goals and aims. But God operates a Lost and Found Department, wherein a man loses himself in Another, exchanges self-realization for Christ-realization. It takes out all the fever and strain, the mad drive to reach some goal this crazy world has set, or some mark we have put up for ourselves. Today millions crack up in this insane scramble, but the man who lives for Christ's sake finds by losing what others lose forever trying to find.

You will observe that Jesus said, "He that loseth his life for my sake." Never forget that qualification. That rules out mere altruism and idealism. Martyrs in scientific research, men who lose themselves in music or art or medicine, soldiers on battlefields, do not necessarily come into this category. We must lose ourselves for His sake. Not even for religion's sake—for His sake. We are inclined to take in too much territory here.

God's "Lost and Found" operates "for Christ's sake."

astor Van
Pastor Van
Wednesday October 28, 2020

Lost and Found

He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it. Matthew 10:39.

Most of us are out to succeed, to achieve our own ends, to accomplish our own goals and aims. But God operates a Lost and Found Department, wherein a man loses himself in Another, exchanges self-realization for Christ-realization. It takes out all the fever and strain, the mad drive to reach some goal this crazy world has set, or some mark we have put up for ourselves. Today millions crack up in this insane scramble, but the man who lives for Christ's sake finds by losing what others lose forever trying to find.

You will observe that Jesus said, "He that loseth his life for my sake." Never forget that qualification. That rules out mere altruism and idealism. Martyrs in scientific research, men who lose themselves in music or art or medicine, soldiers on battlefields, do not necessarily come into this category. We must lose ourselves for His sake. Not even for religion's sake—for His sake. We are inclined to take in too much territory here.

God's "Lost and Found" operates "for Christ's sake."

Pastor Van
Tuesday October 27, 2020

Give God the Macedonian

The churches of Macedonia... first gave their own selves to the Lord. II Corinthians 8:1, 5.

We have money in the church today but not many Macedonians. People give their substance but not their selves. Fine churches are built, workers are employed, and the members show up on Sunday morning, but never dream of living for God seven days a week. Actually, every Christian is meant to be in full-time Christian service, whether he draws a salary for it or not. Jesus paid it all and all to Him we owe.

Silver and gold we have aplenty, but we are not saying to a crippled world, "Rise and walk." Expensive edifices built with "vain oblations"—gifts without the givers—cannot substitute for giving God the temples of our bodies and hearts. Modern Macedonians give money, but the early Macedonians first gave God the Macedonians! The Early Church was all lay witnesses. Too often now it is big business run by a salaried staff paid to do church work, while the rest of us work for ourselves. But we are all on the staff, and no matter how faithfully salaried helpers may work, they cannot do our job nor can we do ours merely by paying them. God wants the Macedonian first.

Pastor Van
Tuesday October 27, 2020
October 27.

Give God the Macedonian

The churches of Macedonia... first gave their own selves to the Lord. II Corinthians 8:1, 5.

We have money in the church today but not many Macedonians. People give their substance but not their selves. Fine churches are built, workers are employed, and the members show up on Sunday morning, but never dream of living for God seven days a week. Actually, every Christian is meant to be in full-time Christian service, whether he draws a salary for it or not. Jesus paid it all and all to Him we owe.

Silver and gold we have aplenty, but we are not saying to a crippled world, "Rise and walk." Expensive edifices built with "vain oblations"—gifts without the givers—cannot substitute for giving God the temples of our bodies and hearts. Modern Macedonians give money, but the early Macedonians first gave God the Macedonians! The Early Church was all lay witnesses. Too often now it is big business run by a salaried staff paid to do church work, while the rest of us work for ourselves. But we are all on the staff, and no matter how faithfully salaried helpers may work, they cannot do our job nor can we do ours merely by paying them. God wants the Macedonian first.

Pastor Van
Monday October 26, 2020

The Great Divider

So there was a division among the people on account of him. John 7:43.

Twice again John tells us of division because of Jesus (9:16; 10:19). A lot of pleasant talk about unity these days forgets that Christ is the Great Divider. He came not to send peace but a sword, and expressly declared that He would divide families, so that a man's foes would be they of his own household (Mt. 10:34-36). He divides hearts, homes, churches, humanity. No man can take a stand for Christ without a cleavage. If we gather not with Him we scatter abroad.

But not all division is on account of Christ. "Mark them which cause divisions... and avoid them" (Rom. 16:17). There are trouble-makers who delight in schisms. Be sure your division is on account of Him, not "them."

But be not deceived by sweet talk about harmony that does not make Christ the issue. He is a sanctuary or a snare (Isa. 8:14) and there is no middle ground. Men fall on that Rock and are broken in repentance or that Rock falls upon them and breaks them in judgment.

He is the Great Divider, and He does not divide men horizontally—high class, middle class, low class—but vertically, to the right and to the left.</p

Pastor Van
Sunday October 25, 2020

The Crowd or the Christ?

And every man went unto his own house. [But] Jesus went unto the mount of Olives. John 7:53; 8:1.

Our lonely Lord, beset by the Pharisees, despised and rejected of men, took to the solitude of the Mount of Olives, while men returned to the comfort of their homes. He had nowhere to lay His head, having come to His own, who received Him not. Many a night He spent in prayer, while even His disciples slumbered.

This world still goes "every man to his own house." Alas, even we Christians do, for "all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ's." We pursue our own interests, we live our own lives, we know nothing of the Mount of Olives' concern for the plight of our hearts, the condition of the church, the state of the world. We pay God our respects on Sunday, but we return to putter around our own premises. We sing, "I'll Go With Him Through The Garden," when the olive trees would never recognize us, for we never accompany our Lord there.

Our Lord was a solitary figure in His day, and to this hour the deeper Christian life is a lonely life. You will never "follow the crowd" to the Mount of Olives, for few go that way.

You can follow the crowd or the Christ, but not both, for they go in opposite directions.

Pastor Van
Saturday October 24, 2020

Angels Ahead

And they said among themselves, Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre? And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away: for it was very great. Mark 16:3, 4.

Others, like Dr. Jowett, have caught the precious lesson of these verses. How often have we set out expecting trouble and dreading the difficulty ahead, to find upon arrival that God had "rolled away the stone"! Like the lepers in Samaria's gate, we venture forward, to find that God has scattered the enemy.

What "stone" lies ahead of you? You are wondering how you will get it rolled away, you lie awake all night making plans to remove tomorrow's obstacle. And how often have you reached the place appointed, to find that God had anticipated your dilemma.

Some stones we can roll away. "Take ye away the stone," commanded Jesus at Lazarus' grave. Some hindrances we can remove, and we must if the miracle is to follow. But the stone that is too big for us God's angel can handle.

Some saints in weakened condition wonder how it will be when they come to death. Fear not. The grave could not hold Jesus nor will it hold you. For Him the stone which enemies thought they had made sure would hold Him in the grave was turned into a throne of triumph with an angel sitting on it.

Do not walk in dread. God's angel will arrive at the dilemma first. Are you looking for stones ahead or angels ahead?

Pastor Van
Friday October 23, 2020

If You Can't See, Look!

Looking unto Jesus. Hebrews 12:2

We are looking unto Jesus, not at Him. There is a world of difference. F. B. Meyer says something to the effect that if we cannot see Him we can look in the direction where we know Him to be. Alexander Whyte puts it: "He does not say, See; He says only, Look"

The snake-bitten Israelite, far to the rear in the multitude, may not have been able to make out clearly the outline of the serpent, but he looked that way. What matters most is not how clearly we perceive Jesus but the utter dependence of our look. If a friend should assume a debt for us, we would look, not at him, but unto him, to meet the obligation. Sometimes our view grows dim and we cannot feel or think with satisfaction. Darkness veils Jesus' lovely face, but if we rest on His unchanging grace, looking His way in the fog, that is it.

Look His way, face His direction, as you move through the mist. Look unto Him, even though you cannot look at Him. He will not fail, though ou cannot feel. He abideth faithful.

Pastor Van
Thursday October 22, 2020

Not Favorites but Intimates

Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons. Acts 10:34.

And the Lord spake unto Moses face to face as a man speaketh unto his friend. Exodus 33:11.

Someone said it well, "God has intimates but no favorites." He has no pets. He may seem to grant to some more success, greater blessings, than to others but, whatever the reasons are, known best to Himself, favoritism is not one of them. He sends rain upon the just and the unjust. He is no respecter of persons.

But He has closer fellowship with some, reveals Himself to them more fully, confides in them His deepest secrets. So He did with Enoch, with Abraham, "the friend of God," with Moses, not because of special merit in them or favoritism with Him, but because in His sovereign will He chose to do so.

Yet any man can know God more intimately. "Draw nigh to God and He will draw nigh to you." Jesus promised to manifest Himself to the obedient heart (Jn. 14:21). We are not servants but friends, and we can be close friends.

Do not expect to be a favorite, but aspire to be an intimate of God's. His secret is with them that fear Him.

Pastor Van
Wednesday October 21, 2020

The Ultimate Vindication

That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:10, 11.

The preacher of Christ, however much men may disagree with and oppose him now, has always the certainty that one day everybody will agree with him. Some day every tongue will make it unanimous that Jesus is Lord. It will be too late for the salvation of most of them, but our Lord will receive universal homage.

That day will vindicate our faith in Him in the eyes of all creation. We can afford to wait for that, but no unbeliever can afford to wait.

The Lordship of Christ is the center of our faith. The believer's confession is, "Jesus is Lord." One day the universe will make it final: "Jesus is Lord." It is never a question of "Will you confess Him as Lord?" but "When?" Now, while you may be saved, or then, will it be too late?

Do not wait for that Ultimate Vindication. "If thou shalt confess with thy mouth Jesus as Lord and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved."

Pastor Van
Tuesday October 20, 2020

Waiting for a Kingdom

A good man... who also himself waited for the kingdom of God. Luke 23:50, 51.

Some of us are looking for a better day. We are waiting for that time when God's kingdom shall come, when His will shall be done on earth as in heaven. We seek a country. We are strangers and pilgrims on this earth. We are not at home here. Our citizenship is in heaven.

I know it looks to some as though the Kingdom were nowhere near. It must have been a dark day for Joseph of Arimathea when he laid away the body of Jesus. It looked like the devil had everything going his way. But far from it! Redemption's work had been finished, and the resurrection was only a few hours away!

Throughout this wretched world more hearts are waiting for the Kingdom than we imagine. All other kingdoms are coming to an end. More than one patient Joseph of Arimathea is humbly carrying on. Lift up your heads, all ye who desire a better country. When things look darkest to the world, they look brightest to the Christian. Our King is coming back!

What better thing could be said of any mortal than this: "A good man... who also himself waited for the kingdom of God"?

Pastor Van
Monday October 19, 2020

Side Trip to Egypt

Woe to them that go down to Egypt for help. Isaiah 31:1.

Abram did it and got into an embarrassing predicament, denied his wife, and was sent out of the land. What a testimony for the Father of the Faithful! But he was not the only good man who visited Egypt in time of famine. We forget so easily that God can furnish tables in the wilderness. When times are hard we turn to the world for help. And sometimes Egypt offers a bigger salary!

We never need to leave Canaan and go back over Jordan for any reason whatsoever. We commonly think of the Promised Land as flowing with milk and honey, flourishing with figs and pomegranates. But sometimes God sends a drought and the pickings are slim and the garlic and onions and fleshpots tantalize us, tempt us to Egypt.

Are you passing through a dry spell and a lean season? Christians and churches are apt to turn to Pharaoh in spiritual famine. But it always means denial and embarrassment and humiliation and loss of testimony. All that we need we have in Canaan. No side trips are necessary. Settle down in Beulah Land and enjoy the country!

Pastor Van
Sunday October 18, 2020

Second Fiddle

And now, behold, the king walketh before you: and I am old and grayheaded. I Samuel 12:2.

Samuel was a better man than Saul, but he knew how to take a back seat graciously. Blessed are the Saints of the Second Fiddle! Some want to do solo work or be the whole orchestra. Saul had no grace for second place. When he heard the women singing, "Saul hath slain his thousands and David his ten thousands," he "was very wroth and the saying displeased him." Some preachers have been known to react that way when eclipsed by one more successful.

The best men are not always kings. "I have seen servants upon horses and princes walking as servants upon the earth." Diotrephes loves the pre-eminence. "In honor preferring one another"—surely that grace languishes for want of exercise!

 

John the Baptist was in his heyday as the foremost prophet and preacher of his time when he said of Jesus, "He must increase but I must decrease." God grant us the Beatitude of the Background, that only He may be seen!

Samuel took the back seat for a lesser, John the Baptist for a greater. Can you play second fiddle, whether for a lesser or for the Greatest of All?

Pastor Van
Saturday October 17, 2020

"Yet Believing"

Whom having not seen ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory. I Peter 1:8.

Peter had seen Jesus. His readers had not but they believed, anyway. Did not our Lord say a similar thing to Thomas: "Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen and yet have believed"? (Jn. 20:29.)

It is not every man's privilege to see, but it is every man's privilege to believe. Our love and our faith do not rest upon sight. Neither does our rejoicing. We have "joy and peace in believing (Rom. 15:13).

Do not demand a vision. Only three saw the glory on the transfiguration mount. But all the disciples walked with our Lord in the valley. The others were not disqualified by missing the vision. It is not lack of sight but lack of faith that rules us out. "We walk by faith, not by sight" (II Cor. 5:7). Yet believing—anyhow!

Pastor Van
Friday October 16, 2020

Let Go and Let God

Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee, Psalm 55:22.

Some dear souls get the impression that faith is an attitude, a spiritual pose, which must be strenuously maintained for dear life. So they grit their teeth and screw themselves up to believe in tense earnestness, afraid to let go for a moment. We might as well try to pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps.

Trusting God is exactly the very opposite of all that. Hudson Taylor worked hard trying to develop faith, until he stopped looking at his faith and learned to rest in the Faithful one. You will blow up trying to work yourself up to just the right pitch. Faith begins by letting go, stretching out on the promises, not by taking a deep breath, clenching your fists, and resolving to trust or bust.

If we are to roll our burden upon the Lord, the only move on our part is to roll it, then leave it. Of course, if we never leave it, it rolls back and we spend all our time rolling instead of resting. He will keep what we commit—and leave committed.

"Let go and let God" is too often a proverb instead of a practice.

Pastor Van
Thursday October 15, 2020

Morning After

But when the morning was now come, Jesus stood on the shore: but the disciples knew not that it was Jesus. John 21:4.

After a night of fruitless fishing—it had happened before (Lk. 5:5)—the disciples did not recognize the risen Lord upon the shore. How much of our labor is in vain because it is our own poor little expedition (see verse 3)! But our labor is not in vain when it is in the Lord.

There is a beautiful progression in this story. John recognizes the stranger. "It is the Lord!" Peter immediately leaps into the water and heads for shore. He has denied his Lord and had been out of fellowship, but when he heard Jesus was on the shore, he went toward Him, not from Him.

Jesus invited them to a prepared meal, and they knew it was the Lord. He becomes real to all who accept His invitation and take what He offers.

Has it been a fisherman's failure with you? Has your little venture come to nought? See the Lord upon the shore. Heed His instruction, and a night of defeat will give way to a morning of delight.

Pastor Van
Wednesday October 14, 2020

"All to Him I Owe"

Ye are bought with a price. I Corinthians 6:20.

We are not our own, we have been redeemed. But while we sing "Jesus Paid It All" let us remember the next line, "All To Him I Owe." Certain Divine requirements grow out of our being bought with a price. Such love demands my soul, my life, my all. We are to glorify God in body and spirit—our selves—because we belong to Him (I Cor. 6:19, 20). We are to glorify Him in our service: "Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men" (I Cor. 7:23). And Peter tells us that since we have been redeemed with the precious blood of Christ, we are to pass the time of our sojourning here in fear (I Pt. 1:17-21).

Self, service, sojourning—all to Him I owe, because He paid it all. While we sing about the price that He paid, we had better check on what God expects for us, not to repay Him, but as the expression of our heart's love to Him who redeemed us.

Pastor Van
Tuesday October 13, 2020

Blinded by "Seeing"

For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind. John 9:39.

This terrifying pronouncement ought to jolt some complacent souls today. It grows out of that dramatic incident in which the Pharisees, religious, separated, praying Bible scholars, called Jesus a sinner, while a poor blind man, just healed, eagerly and immediately believed on Him as the Son of God. The application does not end in John. Churchmen, deacons, trustees, even ministers, who say, "We see," have failed to know Jesus when He passed by in the day of their visitation, while some poor sinner who knew no theology has gladly cried, "I believe." The possibilities in the meaning of this verse are alarming and could cause consternation in some well-ordered church on Sunday morning were some man of the street to get saved to the disgust, maybe, of a chief elder.

Beware that you are not blinded by your "sight," saying, "I see," while "your sin remaineth."

Pastor Van
Monday October 12, 2020

"Any Time" or "God's Time"?

Shew thyself to the world.... My time is not yet come: but your time is always ready. John 7:4, 6.

Jesus' unbelieving brethren thought He was not handling His publicity right. Why didn't He get out of the backwoods in Galilee and go up to Jerusalem, the capital, where He would be noticed and could demonstrate Himself?

How little they understood Jesus! God's ways are not ours. The church too often has followed the counsel of unbelievers and "shewed itself" to the world. God does not run His business after the pattern of this age.

"Your time is always ready," Jesus told His brethren. The man of this world is always in season, for this is the season of this world. But when the world passes and the lusts thereof, the man who does God's will abides forever.

He who walks in God's way has a schedule and must await God's time for this and that. But for the unbeliever "one time is as good as another." The world knows nothing of seeking the mind of the Lord before doing this or that. But those who acknowledge Him in all their ways find that He directs their paths.

Pastor Van
Sunday October 11, 2020

October 11.

Royal Robes and Sackcloth

And it came to pass, when the king heard the words of the woman, that he rent his clothes; and he passed by upon the wall and the people looked, and, behold, he had sackcloth within upon his flesh. II Kings 6:30.

Jehoram, walking the walls of famine-stricken Samaria, wore a king's garments without but sackcloth next to his flesh. What a picture of this poor world today, spiritually starving, trying to be gay without to hide the gloom within! The robes of royalty without but the rags of a beggar within! How it illustrates the plight of every sinner bedecked without in the colorful garb of this world but clad in the filthy rags of self-righteousness in his inmost soul!

Alas, there are too many in our churches robed in a profession of piety, a form of godliness; but beneath the sham, the shame—the sackcloth of fear and doubt and sin.

What a Samaria of hunger and want is ours today! God grant us a few lepers in the gate, as in the long ago, who will venture forward to find the bounty that God has prepared for all who trust Him and who refuse to sit still until they die!

Pastor Van
Saturday October 10, 2020

Living a Double LifeThey feared the Lord, and served their own Gods. II Kings 17:33.

The Lord was the God of their lips but not of their lives. And their number is legion today who give God the allegiance of lip but not life. Our Lord described them, quoting from Isaiah: "This people draweth nigh me with their mouth, and honoreth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me." He asked, "Why call ye me Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?" Paul writes of those "who profess that they know God; but in works they deny him." It is an awful hypocrisy that declares with the lips what it denies with the life. We lie when we profess to rear the Lord at 11 A.M. on Sunday after we have served our own gods all week. "Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God and him only shalt thou serve." Worship and work must bear the same witness. It is what we serve that tells the tale. The shame of too many church members is that they lead a double life; they fear the Lord and serve their own gods.

Pastor Van
Friday October 09, 2020

We Gain As We Give

He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which giveth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. II Corinthians 9:6.

God "giveth liberally." He is a generous God, and His children should never be misers. He loves a cheerful giver and "the liberal soul shall be made fat."

Mary used expensive ointment when she anointed Jesus, not a cut-rate bargain. It was Judas, who pilfered the treasury, who grumbled about Mary's generosity. God does not smile upon extravagance, but He does reward the bountiful sower. His servants are worthy of their hire, and Paul, though he sought nothing for himself, ever exhorted the saints to be liberal in their giving. When Christians turn into tightwads and try to do God's work as cheaply as possible they get cheap results. God will not honor a stingy testimony. The church that puts on a bargain revival cheats itself. God's work is in no danger of bankruptcy when His people are hilarious in their giving and hospitable to His servants.

God hates a false economy that is out to reduce a budget instead of to receive a blessing. We reap as we sow here, just as anywhere else.

Pastor Van
Thursday October 08, 2020

Publicizing Our Piety

Moreover, when ye fast, be not as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. Matthew 6:16.

There is no holiness in a hair shirt or godliness in gunny-sack garments. "To be all out for God you don't have to look all in." The man who advertises his devotional life has not learned the most elementary rule of the devotional life—that it is a strictly private affair between him and his God.

Wearing cheap clothes if one can wear a good suit that will look better and last twice as long is false economy and not even good sense, let alone a mark of deeper holiness. God is not honored by penny-wise and pound-foolish living. We ought not to attract attention either by extravagance or negligence. A man may be trying to publicize his piety by faded garments, while he rails at the brother in fancy garb.

"Moses wist not that his face shone." The hypocrites were conscious of a sad face; Moses was unconscious of a shining face. Think it over.

Pastor Van
Wednesday October 07, 2020

Get Through to Jesus!

If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole. Mark 5:28.

In the maze of present-day confusion, the chaos of conflicting voices, how often have we wished that we might just press through and touch Jesus as in the days of His flesh. They were not bewildered then by scholars and sectarians, each claiming the only perfect right to introduce anyone to Him. This poor sick woman came all by herself and for herself and it worked. Whether she had pure, unadulterated, unalloyed faith I know not, but she got through to Jesus!

Are you troubled and dizzy with a dozen voices shouting in your ears? Have you, like the father of the demonized boy, brought your problem to the disciples—this church or preacher—to find that "they could not"? Don't go away. Jesus is saying, "Bring your problem to me."

Push through the crowd and touch Him for yourself. You need no middleman to present you. As many as touch Him are made whole.

"Be whole of thy plague," He told the woman. Bring your plague to Him. Let no one stop you short of Him. "As many as touched him..."

Pastor Van
Tuesday October 06, 2020

An Appointment with God

God... commandeth all men everywhere to repent: because he hath appointed a day in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained. Acts 17:30, 31.

We have an appointment with God. Many a man is careful to keep business and social engagements who ignores the supreme date on his calendar. God has set a day, He has ordained a judge, Christ Jesus. And this is the test by which men are judged, that light is come into the world in Jesus Christ and men loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. By the Man He has ordained He will judge the world on the day appointed.

And because of this He has commanded repentance. He does not merely invite us to repent, He does not simply suggest that we repent, He commands it against the background of the Man Ordained and the Day Appointed. Too much preaching today lacks the solemn background of approaching judgment. It is politely recommended that men repent when God sternly commands it.

Men need to be reminded of their appointment with God, their date with Deity. The Day is appointed, the Man is ordained, and we are commanded. Put it on your calendar. It is on God's!

Pastor Van
Monday October 05, 2020

Figs From Thistles

Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit. Matthew 12:33.

We urge people to join church, go to church, work in the church, tithe, sing in the choir, teach a class, and all too often the Lord is not adding such as are being saved—we are merely adding such as are being enlisted. We have corrupt trees endeavoring to produce good fruit. The church has recruited what God has not regenerated. The springs of their lives have not been reached, the source has not been dealt with. No wonder we coax and beg and entice by means diverse and often doubtful in order to persuade people to do what should be the spontaneous expression of their heart's love for Christ.

"Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?" We do not change the nature of our thorns by tying on the grapes of religious activity. We had better begin to aim at new creatures instead of just nice people. The intake may be smaller and statistics less impressive, but the fruit will be genuine.

Pastor Van
Sunday October 04, 2020

Back to Dogma!

The time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine. II Timothy 4:3.

One of the pet bugaboos of many a deluded soul in the past few years has been dogma. One would think it the unpardonable sin to be dogmatic in the pulpit. Now we are reaping the harvest, because "my humble opinion" has supplanted "Thus saith the Lord."

When I am sick I want a dogmatic physician who knows what ails me and calls it by its right name. I want my medicine put up by a dogmatic pharmacist. If he got tired of being dogmatic and decided to disregard his formula it might mean my funeral. When I ride the train I want a dogmatic engineer up front who keeps a schedule. When your car needs repairs you want a dogmatic mechanic who knows what the trouble is and can fix it.

 

Yet in the pulpit, of all places, ministers to whom is entrusted the care of men's souls throw away their instructions and go by guesswork instead of by God's Word. We are not peddlers of fable. God has spoken, and when men ask a reason for our hope we ought to have a definite, clear-cut answer.

The Early Church did something because it believed something. We are trying to do what they did without believing what they believed. But without Scriptural doctrine we cannot do our spiritual duty.

Pastor Van
Saturday October 3, 2020

"I Have No Man..."

Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool: but while I am coming, another steppeth down before me. John 5:7.

This poor man had been waiting for his chance to get into the healing waters for a long, long time. Today a crippled and infirm world crowds the pools of Bethesda. But how many never quite make it to healing and release! Whatever they seek, somebody else beats them to it.

In the presence of the Son of God this man was bemoaning the fact that he had no one to help him: "Sir, I have no man..." Are you waiting for human help to get you to your heart's desire? Better than all angel-troubled waters, better than the vain help of man, there stands One saying, "Wilt thou be made whole?"

Never were earth's pools of Bethesda as crowded as today. But you do not have to wait for an angel—some strange unearthly intervention—nor for a man—mere human assistance. Greater than angels or men, Jesus is at hand. Put your case in His hands and do His bidding. Men turn today to the supernatural in unguided mysticism and to the human in unspiritual psychiatry. All that you need is Jesus.

Pastor Van
Friday October 02, 2020

Abiding and Abounding

He that abideth in me and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit.John 15:5.

Why do so few Christians do business for God in daily public life? Because they do no business with Him in private devotional life. When people do not mean business with Christ in their hearts they will not do business for Christ with their hands. Too often there has been mental acceptance of a proposition without heart surrender to a Person. There has been a superficial profession: the Word has been heard and even received with joy, but there has been "no root." Or there has been a superficial dedication, like the son in the parable, who said, "I go, sir," but did not show up in the vineyard. If all who have "volunteered" to be missionaries had gone the world would have been evangelized.

When we really abide in Christ we bring forth much fruit. Alas, many branches will be cast into the fire and burned. If we are truly "with" Him we will gather for Him (Mt. 12:30).

Those who mean business with Him do business for Him. When we abide we abound.

Pastor Van
Thursday October 01, 2020

Trust and Tell

With the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. Romans 10:10.

We do not have to pray a certain number of hours or weep a certain quantity of tears in order to be saved. Him that cometh to Jesus as best he knows how will in no wise be cast out. There are no exceptions. Faith is not a strenuous attitude of mind, a tense effort to believe. Faith is not merely refusing to doubt. The essence of saving faith is trust, stretching out relaxed on what God has said. We get our minds on ourselves, how well we stretch out, how much we relax, instead of on our support, the Word of God.

The insomniac cannot sleep, because he tries to hold up the bed. He cannot let go and let the bed hold him up. He may not be lying in a perfect position, but the bed holds him up just the same. Your faith may not be perfect, but God's promises are. You can never trust yourself, but you can always trust Christ. It is a heart-and-mouth experience. Trust Him and tell it!

Pastor Van