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

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

Monday October 26, 2020

October 26.

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
Wednesday September 30, 2020

The Best Is yet to Be

So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption: it is raised in incorruption. I Corinthians 15:42.

Aches and pains remind us that the bodies we got from old Adam are disintegrating. Some of them look very unsightly before they are laid away, and often we are acutely aware that "it is sown in corruption." But the Christian anticipates a new body "like unto his glorious body" as part of his salvation. Everything we have by the first Adam is marred and spoiled and subject to decay. But when we become sons of God by faith in the last Adam we are assured a new body incorruptible, beyond the reach of sin, disease, and death. This removes the sense of futility such as torments the aging man without hope in Christ. The best is yet to be! Lovely landscapes may wither, but a new earth looms ahead. Strong bodies may fail, but they only make way for new ones infinitely stronger. Loved ones go, but all who are in Christ are headed for a better reunion. "Christians never meet for the last time."

Cheer up, my brother! This body may never die, for Jesus may come first. But at worst it is only sown in corruption for an incorruptible harvest. We can't lose!

Pastor Van
Tuesday September 29, 2020

"Pleasures Forevermore"

O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and his ways past finding out. Romans 11:33.

Paul is overwhelmed by the magnitude of his theme. And well may any believer go into raptures over the treasure we have in Christ Jesus in whom dwells all the fulness of the Godhead bodily, by whom all things consist. Should there ever be a dull moment when every moment, any moment, affords time to know Him, the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings? How can any preacher ever run out of sermons, with all this to ponder and preach? We shall be exploring the depths of it through all eternity. Shame on us that we take it for granted and get used to it here!

Here is a fountain that will never run dry, a treasure that can never be used up, a wealth that can never be exhausted. All other pursuits and quests and interests pale, but the riches of God in Christ Jesus will thrill us forever. Hallelujah!

Pastor Van
Monday September 28, 2020

September 28.

The Supreme Objective

When thou wast young, thou girdest thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not. John 21:18.

Jesus is speaking to Peter, and the explanation follows: "This spake he signifying by what death he should glorify God." What a picture, not only of impetuous, headstrong Peter but of us all in our early days when we did our own will and walked in our own way! We girded ourselves and walked where we wished and prided ourselves that we lived our own lives.

But the man who meets Jesus and submits to His sway comes to the day, blundering and stumbling as badly as Peter ever did, when he submits to what he does not choose for himself, even to death itself. And why? "This spake he signifying by what death he should glorify God." Our sole business, whether by life or by death, is just that, to glorify God. And when we discover that and do it, we have arrived.

Pastor Van
Sunday September 27, 2020

"If Any Man Sin"

If any man sin... I John 2:1.

If we confess our sins... I John 1:9.

If we walk in the light... I John 1:7.

We should not sin, but if we do sin we have an Advocate with the Father. We have a prosecutor, and an accuser, the devil; but we also have a lawyer to plead our case, Jesus Christ the righteous.

If we confess our sins the Father will forgive and cleanse. There must be genuine repentance and confession, but we need not wallow in remorse. God is our Father, if we believe and we are His children. And like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear Him.

"If we walk in the light as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another; and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin." Provision has been made for victory over sin. God's plan is to keep us from sin, not to keep us in sin. There is no ground for complacent living in iniquity just because we are "under the blood." "It is not that we are not able to sin but that we are able not to sin." But He also has made provision if we do sin, forgiveness and cleansing if we confess.

Pastor Van
Saturday September 26, 2020

Do You Need Something New?

Behold, I will do a new thing. Isaiah 43:19.

Sometimes the ladies decide they need new hats or suits. They have gotten into a rut, they think, and something new would give them a lift. There is a psychological boost in a fresh outfit, as even the men know.

 

It is possible for Christians to become threadbare in experience. They run on past blessings and eat stale manna. Their testimonies begin to sound like well-worn phonograph records, sometimes cracked and a little scratchy.

We should not evermore be seeking some new "blessing," but we can get to where we look shiny when we ought to be shining. God likes to do a new thing for us. Many a church thinks it needs a new pastor when it needs the same pastor renewed. Many a restless saint needs not a new pasture where the grass always looks greener but a new thing done in his heart while he lives in the same pasture.

Let God do a new thing for you!

Pastor Van
Friday September 25, 2020

Tarrying at Besor

As his part is that goeth down to the battle, so shall his part be that tarrieth by the stuff: they shall part alike. I Samuel 30:24.

Two hundred of David's men could not go on with him in the pursuit of the Amalekites. They were faint and stayed at the brook Besor. When the four hundred who went on returned with the spoils of victory, some did not want to share with those who had lingered behind. But, in the words of our text, David ruled otherwise.

For one reason or another, a lot of us do not get over Besor. We ought not to be faint, and all honor to the hardy souls who can "take it." But none of us has anything that he did not receive, and we show better spirit by sharing with weaker saints than in all our exploits against the enemy.

Some precious souls are housed in feeble bodies or otherwise kept at Besor. They never make the headlines with the front-line four hundred. But some prayed and toiled to keep hardier souls in the battle, and when the final prizes are awarded "they shall part alike."

Pastor Van
Thursday September 24, 2020

Christ's Program for Ephesus

Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works. Revelation 2:5.

A revival is the church remembering, the church repenting, the church repeating. Modern Ephesus may be orthodox and busy but she is far from her first love. She must have her mind stirred up by way of remembrance. She must discover how far she has slipped from her first estate. This is not easy and often is resented, for she may be very proud of her works and labor and patience and her hatred of the deeds of the Nicolaitanes. But revival begins with remembering, and to "jog the memory" is not easy for a preacher in Ephesus.

The church must repent, as our Lord commanded five out of seven churches in Asia to do. The average "revival" gets nowhere near a call to genuine repentance. And the church must repeat, do again the first works. To halt all the vast machinery today until we remember, repent, and repeat the first works would disrupt our program. So we dispense with real revival and face the "or else" of removal; "I will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent."

Pastor Van
Wednesday September 23, 2020

The First "Prospect"—Yourself!

If my people... shall humble themselves... II Chronicles 7:14.

If any man will come after me, let him deny himself. Matthew 16:24; Mark 8:34; Luke 9:23.

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

Dr. Torrey's first rule for revival was, "Let a few members of any church get thoroughly right with God themselves." Then they might go after others, but not until then. In their zeal for new members too many churches urge old members into visiting and canvassing "prospects," when first they need to get right with God themselves. We have no business going out to win others until we have faced our own condition first. Such activity may keep us from first giving ourselves to God. We may become occupied with others and thus dodge our own need. When Christians are right with God they will win others. Our revivals are stressing an "ingathering" of others, when God wants us to humble ourselves, deny ourselves, give ourselves. A drive for "prospects" before we do that is no revival at all.

Pastor Van
Tuesday September 22, 2020

Veterans' Rights

Let not him that girdeth on his harness boast himself as he that putteth it off. I Kings 20:11.

Nowadays, when most churches want young pastors and so much of our religious world is geared to youth, there is still something to be said for the voice of age and experience. It bespeaks a dangerous modern mood that mature and seasoned men find young Rehoboam disposed to scorn their counsel for the rash advice of youngsters.

We have always needed old people to keep things from going too fast and young people to keep them from going too slow. Youth has fire and age has light and we need both. "If only youth knew how and old age could!"

Some things come only with the passing of years, and the fruit of wisdom cannot be produced by any hurried process. Some things we must wait for. A mellowed Christian character cannot be grown hurriedly by any quick, overnight method. Paul at the end of his course and the finish of his fight has an advantage over Timothy. The old soldier laying down his armor still has an earned veteran's right over the most promising recruit.

Pastor Van
Monday September 21, 2020

"So Long Time—and Yet"

Have I been so long time with you and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? John 14:9.

Poor, dull, matter-of-fact Philip! Three years with Jesus, His preaching, His teaching, His miracles, Himself—and yet! "Shew us the Father and it sufficeth us." And for three years he had been looking right at the supreme revelation of the Father! "So long time—and yet!"

But we have no business feeling embarrassed and ashamed of Philip. For two thousand years we have had His presence, His church, the Spirit, the Word—and look at us! And some of us are well over life's hill and He has been with us all the way—so long time and yet! How poorly we know Him, how slow of heart to believe, how little like Him!

No, I will not blush for Philip, I will blush for myself. Is there a duller disciple anywhere? Forgive me, Lord. I need shed no tears for Philip, I should weep for myself.

"So long time... and yet!"

Pastor Van
Sunday September 20, 2020

When the Circus Did Not Hinder

Having favour with all the people... but the people magnified them. Acts 2:47; 5:13.

"It will be a bad week for our revival. We have the fair, the concert, the circus, football this week. The Sons and Daughters of I Will Arise have a supper, the high school has a dance." On and on it goes, while defeated church members build up their alibis. Any church that has to take a back seat and fearfully anticipate every side show that blows into town is already beaten. We have developed an inferiority complex before the world, the flesh and the devil, and apologetically we take what is left in attendance after our worldly members have gone where they really belong.

The Early Church did not quake every time the ungodly had a spree in Jerusalem. The saints in Rome did not have the blues because attendance would be cut by a gladiatorial contest in the Colosseum. They had a robust, world-shaking power of their own that eventually put the Colosseum out of business. If we recovered that we would leave our little hot-chocolate huddles in church basements and give the world today a demonstration that would make its little affairs look like firecrackers beside atom bombs.

Pastor Van
Saturday September 19, 2020

September 19.

Don't Stop at a Grave!

And Rachel died... and Israel journeyed. Genesis 35:19, 21.

Moses my servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan. Joshua 1:2.

And his disciples came, and took up the body, and buried it, and went and told Jesus. Matthew 14:12.

Jacob buried his beloved Rachel—and journeyed on. When Moses died Joshua took charge and crossed over Jordan. John the Baptist died, and his disciples brought their grief to Jesus.

No matter how deep your loss, how impossible it seems to go on, life is too short to stop by any grave. We must proceed. Loved ones pass away, great leaders die, the prophet is beheaded. But God's work goes on and we must go on. Those we have lost awhile would not have us settle at their graves. God would have us arise and cross Jordan.

Bring your loss to Jesus, but do not sit up with the past. For He said, "Let the dead bury their dead, but go thou..."

Pastor Van
Friday September 18, 2020

"We Know Not... But the Spirit"

Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities. Romans 8:26.

"I can't think or pray or feel as I ought. What shall I do?" You never will be able to do or be perfectly as you wish you might while you are in the flesh. You are a child of Adam, and the best falls far short. How often have we resolved, yielded, committed, dedicated ourselves, and then felt how poorly we had done it! No one ever prayed a prayer or preached a sermon that completely satisfied him. We are not to look in that direction for satisfaction.

Paul says in Romans 8 that we do not even know what to pray for as we ought, let alone how to pray, but the Spirit makes up our lack. God knows the intent of the heart, however poorly the lips express it.

If you can't pray like you want to, pray as you can. God knows what you mean. And you have good help—the Advocate who is God's Son and the Paraclete who is God's spirit. They will take your feeblest prayer and make it perfect.

Pastor Van
Thursday September 17, 2020

Shouting at Jericho

Shout; for the Lord hath given you the city. Joshua 6:16.

The people shouted before the walls fell. Anybody can shout after they fall. Faith anticipates victory and celebrates in advance.

"What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them" (Mk. 11:24). "Believe that ye receive them"—the walls are as good as down already when God says so. Faith takes His word for the deed and shouts now.

"The Lord hath given you the city." He has given us all things freely with the gift of His Son. We already have it in Christ, though we may not actually have possessed our possessions. Faith is the land deed for our inheritance with God's signature.

Jericho may loom big and ominous, but if, like Joshua, you have had a meeting with the Captain of the Lord's host, fear not. "Shout; for the Lord hath given you the city." Anticipate victory and shout in advance!

Pastor Van
Wednesday September 16, 2020

"Trust Also..."

Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass. Psalm 37:5.

"Roll thy way upon the Lord" is a marginal reading. Alas, we go through the form of it but fail to do the next thing, "trust also in him." We take our burden to the Lord, but we do not leave it there. We keep praying over the same ground, committing and recommitting our way. That is not faith, it is unbelief.

A man quietly reading a newspaper may not look as pious as a man on his knees in prayer. But if he has committed his way to the Lord and left it with Him, while he calmly moves on to something else, he is a better Christian than one who never leaves his way with the Lord but is always trying to. It looks very religious to keep on begging God to take over our burden, but true faith casts all care upon Him because He said to do it, and then considers it settled and stops worrying about it.

When Hannah brought her request to God, she considered it settled: "so the woman went her way and did eat and her countenance was no more sad." That is it! Go your way, eat and smile—it is as good as done when God takes over.

Pastor Van
Tuesday September 15, 2020

God and Titus

I found no rest in my spirit, because I found not Titus my brother.... Our flesh had no rest, but we were troubled on every side; without were fightings, within were fears. Nevertheless God, that comforteth those that are cast down, comforted us by the coming of Titus. II Corinthians 2:13; 7:5, 6.

Thank God for the humanness of Paul! Every lonely preacher, far from home, without rest in flesh or spirit, finds a kindred soul in these verses. We miss Titus, whether a brother or a dear one far from us. True, we have God, but we need the touch of a human hand and God often comforts us by Titus. It takes both God and Titus to cheer the cast-down. Paul had his helpers, like Onesiphorus, who oft refreshed him, and like Luke and Timothy.

But when the day came that "all men forsook" him, he could say, "Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me." There may come a time when Titus cannot reach us, but when it comes God will get through. And in the last valley where the dearest cannot go along we need fear no evil "for thou art with me."

Pastor Van
Monday September 14, 2020

By Paradise and Thorn to Christ

Caught up into paradise... a thorn in the flesh.... My grace is sufficient. II Corinthians 12:4, 7, 9.

Paul's paradise experience and the thorn given to offset it lest he be exalted above measure—from height to depth-were necessary to bring him to life's richest experience, the daily sufficiency of Christ. We may need a crisis to precipitate the matter, bring it to a head, but trips to the third heaven and thorns in the flesh are incidental to life's greatest lesson, to find in Christ Himself everything and draw from Him His resurrection life for body, mind, and spirit.

To stop short of that is to have an immature and inadequate experience. Occasional high days, answers to prayer now and then, temporary blessings, make an uneven and spasmodic Christian life. But to live day in and out, all kinds of days, in simple dependence on Christ as the branch on the vine, constantly abiding, that is the supreme experience. Not always glamorous and exciting but always sure, it is far better than an erratic, up-and-down, paradise-and-thorn existence. "A man in Christ"—that is it!

Pastor Van
Sunday September 13, 2020

He Himself is the Way

I will even make a way in the wilderness. Isaiah 43:19.

When I tread an unknown maze and can discern no path I find myself humming a little chorus:


"My Lord knows the way through the wilderness;

All I have to do is to follow.

Strength for the day,

Is mine all the way,

And all that I need for tomorrow.

My Lord knows the way through the wilderness;

All I have to do is to follow."


"Thou knewest my path." "I being in the way the Lord led me." "He leadeth me..." "Commit thy way..." Oh, the Book is full of it—My Lord knows the way!

Better still, He is the way. It was an African guide who said, "There is no way.... I am the way." My Lord offers me no road map to figure out alone. He Himself is the Way, and He goes along. That is so much better. I might get lost on a path, I need a Person. He is my Way and...

"All I have to do is to follow."

Pastor Van
Saturday September 12, 2020

God's Compensations

The Lord is able to give thee much more than this. II Chronicles 25:9.

Amaziah had hired an army of Israel to fight Edom, when he should have relied upon God. When a prophet advised against it Amaziah was concerned about the money he had paid out for such assistance. The prophet answered with our text. In other words, God is able to make up any loss we sustain when we give up anything for Him.

We are prone to seek help from the world when confronted with a crisis. To give it up leaves us with a helpless feeling. What about the sacrifices we make and the money we lose? But we only give up trash for treasures and rags for riches. God can and will abundantly compensate us for any loss we sustain. After all, we never lose anything by utter reliance on God. We but get rid of hindrances. It is never a losing proposition to trust God. When to us to live is Christ, then to die is gain, and even death pays dividends.

The Lord is able to give us much more than we lose when we part with all else to trust Him.

Pastor Van
Friday September 11, 2020

Majoring On the Minor

These ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.Matthew 23:23.

Jesus was not preaching mainly on tithing here. Some have emphasized the negative side of this admonition until it has been overlooked that our Lord is pleading for "the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy and faith."

When Christians "major on the major," put first things first, and give proper attention to their faith in and fellowship with Christ, they will not leave lesser things undone. We are in peril of getting people to join church, tithe, and observe certain religious duties which, indeed, ought not to be left undone, but still omitting the supreme things which they should do first. Such procedure only confirms them in their self-righteousness and makes them doubly hard to reach with spiritual "first things." Don't forget that the Pharisees read the Scriptures, went to church, prayed, gave a tenth—and went to hell. Our righteousness must exceed theirs.

Let us "major on the major" and "minor on the minor."

Pastor Van
Thursday September 10, 2020

Wounded Afresh

What are these wounds in thine hands?... These with which I was wounded in the house of my friends. Zechariah 13:6.

Our Lord's most grievous wounds are suffered at the hands of professing Christians, those who claim to be His friends. Judas was not the only man who has betrayed Jesus, nor is Peter the sole disciple who has denied Him. He is daily crucified afresh by those who call Him Lord, Lord, and do not His commands.

The present-day dens of iniquity, the liquor shops, theaters, the card playing and gambling, all the big, booming business of sin would practically be out of business if all church members withdrew their support. Staggering bums in the gutters are of little value to the devil. He prizes most the men and women who wear the livery of saints and live the lives of sinners.

Indeed, our Lord is wounded by this foul and blasphemous world. But His deepest scars He gets at the hands of those who dare to claim His Name. Shame on us who sing of His cross on Sunday and crucify Him afresh all week!

Pastor Van
Wednesday September 09, 2020

The Beloved Unseen

Whom having not seen, ye love. I Peter 1:8.

Walking with a little four-year-old, I said something about loving Jesus."But how can I love Him," she asked, "when I can't see Him?"

Thus she posed a problem which has occupied not a few grown-ups. Peter had seen Jesus. He was writing to Christians who had not. Yet they loved Him, anyway, and though now they saw Him not, yet believing, they rejoiced with joy unspeakable and full of glory.

We cannot see Him, but He lives and we can believe. And if we trust Him the Spirit makes Him real and the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts. And we make our way through this evil world in love with One we have never seen. We are not infatuated with a hero of fiction, a memory or an ideal. We love a Living Person who was and is, and we shall be like Him, for one day we shall see Him as He is.

Yes, we can love Him though we cannot see Him.

Pastor Van
Tuesday September 08, 2020

Three Worlds

The world that then was... The heavens and earth, which are now... Nevertheless, we... look for new heavens and a new earth. II Peter 3:6, 7, 13.

We are hearing much about "one world." The Christian thinks in terms of three worlds. The first was destroyed by water. The second will perish by fire. The believer looks for a third, where righteousness dwells. This present world is reserved for fire. The new world is reserved for us who have become citizens of heaven, to whom this present evil world is but our passage, not our portion. We are strangers and pilgrims, we seek a city.

The people of the first world "knew not" until the flood came. Only Noah had his eyes open. The people of our world know not, nor will they know, until sudden destruction comes. They pride themselves on what they know, but it is only educated ignorance. There are those today, however, like Noah who know what time of day it is. When the last storm begins to break and all heads in this world droop, they will lift up theirs, for redemption nears. The Third World is about to begin!

Pastor Van
Monday September 07, 2020

"Placing" Judas

Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place. Acts 1:25.

Judas was out of place as an apostle. The other eleven may not have known it, but Jesus was not deceived. "Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil?" "He knew what was in man." Judas kept up the pretense for several years, and was even treasurer of the twelve. But one day the farce ended and his real self came out, and he ended up where he belonged.

Men always ultimately arrive at their own place. They may be deacons or even stand in pulpits and deceive the people. But there are prepared places for prepared people. There are dwelling-places our Saviour has prepared for His own. There is a lake of fire prepared for the devil and his angels. And Judas arrives in time at his proper destination.

 

Many a Judas out of place goes to great pains to "belong." He tries to act naturally in the church and pose as a Christian. But the Lord knoweth them that are His, and all others, including some who may have prophesied in His day, must one day depart—for Judas belongs to another place.

Pastor Van
Sunday September 06, 2020

Looking Up

Neither know we what to do: but our eyes are upon thee. II Chronicles 20:12.

Jehoshaphat is faced by a powerful combination of Moabites, Ammonites, and others. In his desperation he turns to God: "O God, wilt thou not judge them? for we have no might against this great company that cometh against us."

Are we not often in this plight? Do these lines fall under the eye of someone sore beset by an alliance of evil confederates, whether in the flesh or of the unseen world of principalities and powers? You do not know what to do. We never do. We have no might against the Moabites.

But we can take Jehoshaphat's way out: "Our eyes are upon thee." We may not know what to do, but God always knows what He is going to do. He is never caught off guard or taken by surprise. Commit your case to Him. You can lie down at night and sleep, although tomorrow the Moabites will arrive. Many a saint has pillowed his head on a promise when all hope seemed gone. And when the dreaded day arrived God had handled the Moabites in His own way.

"Our eyes are upon thee." "Looking unto Jesus." We know not what to do, but He knows. No sleeping pill can rest a man like knowing that!

Pastor Van
Friday September 04, 2020

Between Yesterday and Tomorrow

Our fathers worshipped in this mountain.... I know that Messias cometh.John 4:20, 25.

The Samaritan woman was living between a golden past and a glorious future, but in a bleak and sinful present. She could look back to great days, when her fathers worshiped God, and to greater days ahead, when Messias would come and tell all things. Yet how little did she know that morning that this day would be her greatest, for then she would come to see and know the Master for herself!

How many of us live looking back or ahead, between a holy past and a holier future, but in a hollow present! Some sigh for the good old days when our fathers worshiped in this mountain. Some long for a better day ahead, when the Great Avenger shall vindicate us of our adversaries. But we need not stand at Jacob's well with our souls unsatisfied. The Messiah has come, He lives today, and He will meet us now where we are and as we are. We cannot go back to the fountains of yesterday nor drink at the springs of tomorrow. But the Living Christ offers living water today which shall be in us a well of water springing up into everlasting life. And we shall leave our old waterpots which we would fain have filled at earth's broken cisterns to tell others what we have found in Him today.

Pastor Van
Thursday September 03, 2020

The Best Promoter

Promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south. But God is the judge: he putteth down one, and setteth up another. Psalm 75:6, 7.

Promotion in this world is by no means based on merit. Not even in the religious world. Some of the best preachers hold forth in obscure places, while some who cannot and never will preach occupy important pulpits.

God's system of promotion does not follow the pattern of this age. It may look like anything but promotion, as when the Spirit sent Philip out of a spiritual awakening into a desert. God "hides" some of His best talent in unknown corners and buries some of His ablest servants in the depths of heathenism. He seems to waste some of His choicest men. They get scant recognition in this scrambled church world today, where servants ride on horses and princes walk as servants. Today, as ever, the prophet walks in the steps of his Lord, without honor in his own country. It comes to this: which kind of promotion do we seek? A smart politician who knows the "right" people can attain to considerable eminence down here. But the man who lets God promote him is spared all that fever. God may set him in a high place to the chagrin of some of his contemporaries. If he never gets a newspaper headline he will lose no sleep over it, for any place is a "large place" if it is God's place.

Pastor Van
Wednesday September 02, 2020

Double Abundance

God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work. II Corinthians 9:8.

God's grace is not only amazing grace, it is abounding grace. He abounds toward us that we may abound toward Him. There is abundance of grace in order that there may be abundance of good works. "Always having all sufficiency in all things"—what could be more satisfying than that? It is another way of saying, "My grace is sufficient for thee." There is nothing stingy and niggardly about the grace of God. "Of his fulness have all we received and grace upon grace." Jesus came that we might have life more abundantly.

And as God abounds toward us, we should abound toward Him. Paul was a great example of what he wrote. With all his infirmities, his thorn in the flesh, his opposition and persecution, who ever abounded to every good work as he did?

Our penurious and miserly service today declares that we live cheaply in our souls. We do not lay hold of the riches of grace in Christ Jesus. Our output is small because our intake is small. "My God shall supply all your need," and beyond that do more for us than we can ask or think.

Let us be doubly abundant, in grace and good works.

Pastor Van
Tuesday September 01, 2020

Second Childhood

Except ye be converted and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 18:3.

The crying need with most of us is not so much to learn more as to unlearn much of what we already know. We know too much. We are cluttered with a mental attic full of things we have read and heard, and now we need to get through—not back—to a few elementary simplicities. There is a second childhood, not of childishness but of childlikeness. To reach it requires a conversion, maybe a sort of second conversion with some of us, when we become just simple Christians content to trust and obey. Some great scholars as well as plain souls reach it. It is not a peak so high that only a few rarely endowed climbers can scale it; it is a valley so low that only a few will humble themselves to walk in it. We are straining too hard trying to be profound and deep to let go and be children again in spirit. And we get there heart first, not head first.

Pastor Van

Commentary

October 1, 2020

Times of uncertainty and unrest often stay around longer than we would like. This certainly is the case with the struggles we are facing on account of COVID-19. When this first hit, you may have been like me and thought we would be facing a little time of precaution, and then things would "right themselves." Obviously, this isn't the case. As one person put it, "unsettled times have seemed to settle on us like a wet blanket, weighing us down and exposing us to every cold wind that blows." We would like things to return to normal - to be the way they were before we encountered this crisis.

The thing is, we don't know when that will be, and we don't know if things will ever be the same as they were. Now, in the normal course of life, we know that we will face events that are life-altering. We should expect them, and I have written many times before about "expecting the unexpected." The issue with our current experience is that it is something totally off of anyone's radar. It is something for which no end can be defined, and we have no idea the extent of the effect it will have on our lives before the end finally comes. In addition, it is truly a universal experience. Everyone is facing this all at the same time.

So, to help us come to a position of peace with our present reality, we need to quit longing for the days of the past. This may not be an easy attitude to adopt, but it is a step that needs to be taken on the path towards developing peace at heart. God calls us to look for His presence here and now. Remembering who He is and that we are His, that we are in His hands, helps to steady our hearts and transform our perspective. We are in the hands of God, and we can rest assured that His hands offer comfort and peace.

Christ gave these words of assurance, "I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father s hand." (John 10:28=29) This is our present reality, and focusing on this and what is, not on what might have been but is not, will give us a more stable perspective of life as it now is.

Proverbs 4:25-26 speaks to the advantage of maintaining focus on the positive path of life, "Let your eyes look directly ahead and let your gaze be fixed straight in front of you. Watch the path of your feet and all your ways will be established." To maintain perspective in the midst of our uncertain times, focus on the presence of God.

Pastor Steve Willis - First Baptist Church - Newton, IL