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

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
Monday August 31, 2020

"But God Was with Him"

But God was with him. Acts 7:9.

This is one of the many "But Gods" in the Book that spell quite a difference. Joseph's brothers sold him into Egypt, but God was with him. Joseph himself put it this way: "Ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good" (Gen. 50:20). What men thought was overruled by what God wrought. "Man proposes but God disposes."

"He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me" (Heb. 13:5, 6). No plottings of men, no combinations of circumstances can defeat the man who has God as his helper. Here is the secret of many a life, conspired against by ill health, poverty, evil men, foes in the household, the world, the flesh and the devil, but victorious, anyway—God was with him. The devil and men often overstep themselves, sell Joseph into Egypt, but God makes him Prime Minister! "If God be for us, who can be against us?"

And even in the last dark chapter we need not tremble at our Adversary, but triumph with our Ally—"I will fear no evil, for thou art with me."

But God was with him. What a difference that makes!

Pastor Van
Sunday August 30, 2020

Here or Hereafter?

A crown... unto all them also that love his appearing.... Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world. II Timothy 4:8, 10.

If you love His appearing you are not in love with this present world. "If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him." "Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God."

Paul had set his sights higher than this passing scene. Demas would have his portion here and now. Paul was a pilgrim and a stranger, not only in love with Jesus but with His appearing. I wonder how many really love Jesus' return. One does not sense it much in churches building the Kingdom but not really joying in the coming of the King. And fundamentalists who revel in detailed programs of that event do not always seem to "love" it. Their interest is academic but not affectionate.

Demas sometimes lines up with Paul temporarily, but soon forsakes him. You cannot love and live for two worlds at a time. The love of the world and the love of the Father simply do not coexist in the same heart.

Are you in love with this age or with the one to come? It makes a difference!

Pastor Van
Saturday August 29, 2020

Known and Unknown

The world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. I John 3:1.

I never knew you. Matthew 7:23.

This world knew not our Lord. "There standeth one among you whom ye know not." So said John the Baptist. "If thou hadst known... If thou knewest... If ye had known"—so runs Jesus' constant refrain while He was among us.

Because the world knew Him not it knows us not. "Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you" (I Jn. 3:13). It not only does not know us, it hates us. "I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them" (Jn. 17:14). We cannot love the Word and be loved by the world.

But what matters the hatred of this world if He knows and loves us? Most fearful of all pronouncements ever to fall on human ears is that word to those who profess to know Him but whose works deny Him: "I never knew you."

"The Lord knoweth them that are his" (II Tim. 2:19). This world makes much of "knowing the right people." What matters is to know God.

Pastor Van
Friday August 28, 2020

"Jesus, Master"

If thou shalt confess with thy mouth Jesus as Lord... Romans 10:9.

In his Journal, John Wesley tells us that, a few days after Aldersgate, he awoke with "Jesus, Master" in his heart and in his mouth. The true believer acknowledges Jesus not only as His Saviour but as Lord of his life. We have a strange species of believer these days, a believer who confesses Christ as Saviour but whose life rejects Him as Master. The New Testament presents no such anomaly as a Christian who "takes" Christ now for salvation and defers obeying Him as Lord until later, maybe never. The initial confession set forth in our text is "Jesus As Lord."

If this were made clear to our "prospects" these days, and if they understood that a believer is also expected to be a disciple and a witness, it might drive away some, but we would not be embarrassed by a host of church members who call Him Lord, Lord, and do not His commandments.

John Wesley started right with "Jesus, Master" in His heart as well as in his mouth.

Pastor Van
Thursday August 27, 2020

Confidence and Care

Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. I Peter 5:7.

Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward. Hebrews 0:35.

Alas, we reverse the process: we cast away our confidence and carry all our care! It is His desire that we roll all our burden on Him and be careful for nothing. But we are so cumbered with ourselves that our minds are never free to be occupied with Him. If we can let Him take care of our problems while we attend to His work, we shall find our hearts free from that friction that cuts down our service to such a bare minimum. We get so little done for Him, our production is so pitiful, because everything goes into "overhead" and oiling the machinery. Most of our time and energy go into carrying what God asked us to cast on Him. And our confidence, the one thing He said to keep, we cast away.

You keep your confidence: He'll keep your cares!

Pastor Van
Wednesday August 26, 2020

Doctrine, Dynamic, Discipline

Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine. I Timothy 4:16.

Stir up the gift of God which is in thee. II Timothy 1:6.

Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. II Timothy 2:3.

Doctrine, Dynamic, Discipline—Paul would have young Timothy qualified in all three. For lack of any or all, our Timothys do not fare so well today. Some know not what they believe or else turn from truth to fable. Some lack fire from heaven, vainly "compassing themselves about with sparks." And real discipleship has given way to a modern version without a cross.

How the church suffers for lack of all three! How many members can give a reason for their hope? How much of our religious activity is the work of the Spirit? And while we have professed believers aplenty, how many disciples do we have?

We need a fresh course in the Three D's!

Pastor Van
Tuesday August 25, 2020

"I Would Have Told You"

In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. John 14:2.

Here is a blessed little word often overlooked: "If it were not so, I would have told you." Jesus not only affirms positively the glorious fact of our heavenly home, He makes it doubly sure by a negative: "If it were not so, I would have told you."

 

Countless multitudes have wondered whether there is a home beyond. Here is One who came from there and knows. We can take His word for it. He affirms it. And, furthermore, He assures us that if there were no such place He would have told us. He would not leave us in the dark. If death ends all He would have said so. But He died and returned to prove that the best is yet to come. And why do we wonder and hope, when we can know about our future dwelling-place? He would have let us know if there were no such abode. And He did let us know that there is!

I am not left merely to guess about it and hope for the best. I have a double guarantee: "There are many mansions: if there were not, I would have told you."

Pastor Van
Monday August 24, 2020

Campaign Against Ramoth-Gilead

Shouldest thou help the ungodly, and love them that hate the Lord? II Chronicles 19:2.

Jehoshaphat was A good man, but he allowed himself to be persuaded by Ahab to join him in an expedition against Ramoth-gilead. They called in the prophets after the decision already had been made in order to get their blessing, just as we often make our plans and then ask God to bless them instead of asking God for a plan. All the sycophant prophets concurred, except Micaiah, who told them the truth and was put in prison and fed the bread and water of affliction. The expedition resulted in Ahab's death. Then Jehu reproved Jehoshaphat with the words of our text.

God never wants His people to team up with the ungodly in their ventures. We have a different program and there is no concord between Christ and Belial. Ahab is always going up against some Ramoth-gilead, and all it takes, as in this case, is a big supper to line up unwise Jehosha-phats. Better a Micaiah on bread and water than a Jehoshaphat at a banquet, when a Ramoth-gilead campaign is brewing.

Pastor Van
Sunday August 23, 2020

"It" or "Him"?

I am the resurrection and the life. John 11:25.

Martha believed in the resurrection, but Jesus moved her from the doctrinal to the personal: "I am the resurrection." The resurrection is not an "It"—"I am the resurrection." We stop too often with "It." We get an idea, a theory, a doctrine in our heads, but we do not get Him in our hearts. We go in for sanctification, the victorious life, the second coming, and we believe and preach them with a vengeance, but we do not find our hearts warmed—we have "It," not Him. We seek this blessing and that, we join this group and that, we think, "Now I have found it," but all that is true and all that we need is in Him. We can even major on prayer and faith and not get through to Him. We can search the Scriptures and not come to Him that we might have life.

There is no life in any It, however good. He is our life In Him all things—including all the "Its"—consist

Pastor Van
Saturday August 22, 2020

Our Coming Inheritance

The wealth of the sinner is laid up for the just. Proverbs 13:22.

"The meek shall inherit the earth." Somebody has said, "That is the only way they'll get it." But true it is that the saints shall live and reign with Christ, and all the wealth that sinners have accumulated will eventually pass under the jurisdiction of the righteous. We can afford to wait. The wisest of wealthy kings wrote: "For God giveth to a man that is good in his sight wisdom, and knowledge, and joy: but to the sinner he giveth travail, to gather and to heap up, that he may give it to him that is good before God" (Ecc. 2:26). "The earth is the Lord's and the fulness thereof," and everything comes back eventually to its owner and His people. Men have their transient leases and enjoy the earth for a season, but all the wealth they gather will end up finally in the coffers of the just. The meek may serve in humble station now, but they shall come into their own. Why try to buy up so much earth now, when we shall inherit it later?

Pastor Van
Friday August 21, 2020

Ishmael and Isaac

Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman. But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise. Galatians 4:22, 23.

Ishmael was the result of a resort to the flesh, proposed by Sarai when God had already promised a son by her. To this day Ishmael and Isaac war in Arab and Jew. Any scheme of our own that takes matters in our own hands when God has spoken otherwise leads to plenty of trouble.

How many today live with war in their hearts because that which is of the flesh contends with that which is of faith! Call it inhibitions, complexes, neuroses, dress it up in psychiatric verbiage, it is but Ishmael and Isaac warring in the soul.

Abraham gave up Ishmael and he never returned. He gave up Isaac but God returned him. Give God your Ishmael—all that is of the flesh—that it may not return. Give Him Isaac too—that which is of faith—that He may return it sanctified and meet for the Master's use.

Pastor Van
Thursday August 20, 2020

Love and Labor

Lovest thou me?... Feed my sheep. John 21:16.

Our Lord joins love and labor. Our service for Him is a "labor of love" (I Thess. 1:3), a labor growing out of love. We should feed not only the sheep He has, but other sheep that He seeks we should help to bring into the fold.

Our Lord never thought of relationship to Him that does not issue in fruitfulness for Him. If we abide in Him we shall bring forth much fruit (Jn. 15:5). He that is with Him gathers with Him. He had no thought of fellowship without fruitfulness. We are married to Another, that we might bring forth fruit unto God (Rom. 7:4).

There is no place in Scripture for this type of church member who sings, "O How I Love Jesus," but feeds no sheep; who sings, "Rescue The Perishing," but does no rescue work himself.

"He that hath my commandments and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me." "Follow me and I will make you fishers of men." Because we love we labor.

Pastor Van
Wednesday August 19, 2020

Take His Word for It

Let God be true, but every man a liar. Romans 3:4.

"Abraham believed God." The essence of faith is simply taking God at His Word. "What more can he say than to you he hath said?" "He hath said... so that we may boldly say." We are thrown back upon revelation, not reason. God has spoken and holy men recorded it. Back of everything stands the record. If we are to believe the Living Word we must accept the Written Word. Jesus accepted the Old Testament as the Word of God. And He told us that His words were spirit and life. "Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus"—but how do we trust Him? The next line has it, "Just to take Him at His word."

Not "a feeling fond and fugitive," not a frame of mind strenuously maintained, but a calm reliance on, "It is written," that is it. For "these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God: and that believing ye might have life through his name."

Take His Word for it!

Pastor Van
Tuesday August 18, 2020

Jesus Made Real

He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine and shall shew it unto you. John 16:14.

We do not make Jesus real by conjuring up a mental picture of Him long ago in Galilee and trying to walk in imagination with Him there. We do not have to go back two thousand years or travel to Palestine to find Jesus. There is a fad for that sort of thing, but so might one inwardly visualize any character of history. Such mental association may, indeed, affect one's life to some degree, but it is far from the way Christ is made real to the believer.

The Holy Spirit has come for that purpose. All things spiritual are from God through Christ and are communicated to us by the Spirit. It was expedient that Jesus should go that the Spirit might come. He does not testify of Himself but of Christ, and He makes the Lord real to the heart. It is not a mere mental exercise but the work of the Spirit that enables us to say, "He is real to me."

Pastor Van
Monday August 17, 2020

Lacking "One Thing" or "Nothing"

Lacked ye anything? Luke 22:35.

One thing thou lackest. Mark 10:21.

When the disciples went forth at the bidding of Jesus without purse or scrip or shoes, they lacked nothing. The rich young ruler had purse and scrip and shoes, but when he went away he lacked one thing, and, lacking that, he lacked everything.

When we obey our Lord's orders and go forth by His commission we find His grace sufficient and our needs supplied through God's riches in glory by Christ Jesus. But a man may have all else, yet if he be not willing to abandon it all for the Master, he is a pauper. The supreme thing in this life is to count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus the Lord. A man may have kept other commandments, but if he will not cut loose from his dearest earthly treasure at the bidding of the Lord, he has failed at the vital point and is still a rebel.

Nothing matters but this: does Jesus have the utter absolute first and final say in your life? If He does, you will lack nothing.

Pastor Van
Sunday August 16, 2020

The Constraint of Christ

We love him, because he first loved us. I John 4:19.

For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich. II Corinthians 8:9.

Christ is the true motivation of Christian conduct. We do not love Him because we ought but because love begets love. He loved us and our hearts respond. We love others because His love constrains us, because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost.

Likewise, we give, not because we ought and not because of the need primarily, but because He gave. "Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe." Freely we have received, freely we give. Not grudgingly or of necessity, but cheer-fully. Witness a drive for church funds, a pitiful plea on Sunday to wangle a few dollars of "church dues" and you will perceive how far we have left the New Testament way. The stunts, picnics, bazaars, the moth-eaten jokes, the high-pressure—"Who'll give ten dollars?" God forgive us! God will never accept such money wrung from church misers. It is the gift without the giver, a vain oblation.

Pastor Van
Saturday August 15, 2020

Personalizing the Program

Ye shall be witnesses unto me. Acts 1:8.

What we say is a witness, too, but people are moved by the living witness as well as by the spoken testimony. It is slow business getting a congregation warmed up to a missionary program. But let a real live Spirit-filled missionary embody that program and see the difference! We have degenerated into money-raisers for a project or a budget, and what a weariness it is! "Next Sunday we must raise an offering for the orphanage, the church paper, the college." The causes of Christ do not strike fire until we incarnate them. Dutifully soliciting funds for a church enterprise is hard going. One orphan can be more eloquent than an hour's speech about the orphanage.

Christianity suffers today because it has become merely a big business in the minds of some and now we must raise the funds to keep the business going. It goes best when it is embodied in flaming witnesses. Christ is a Person, and He reaches other persons through persons, not merely through plans and propaganda. We are propagandizing the faith instead of propagating it.

Pastor Van
Friday August 14, 2020

We Asked for It

Hast thou not procured this unto thyself, in that thou hast forsaken the Lord thy God, when he led thee by the way? Jeremiah 2:17.

Are not these evils come upon us because our God is not among us? Deuteronomy 31:17.

Our plight today is our own fault. We asked for it. All our modern evils are come upon us because God is not among us. Of course, He is omnipresent, but He is not among us in that we have not His favor, the smile of His approval.

God has been among us in blessings unnumbered, but we have forgotten Him. And to be lost it is not necessary for a nation to blaspheme God. "The wicked shall be cast into hell and all nations that forget God."

Even God's people sometimes ask, "Is the Lord among us or not?" And in the absence of Him we are faced with the presence of evils galore.

We have lost the sense of God in the nation, in the churches, in our lives. The biggest business of the hour is to draw nigh to God that He may draw nigh to us. His presence with us is too often an assumption in our heads instead of an awareness in our hearts.

Pastor Van
Thursday August 13, 2020

How Good Were "the Good Old Days"?

Say not thou, What is the cause that the former days were better than these? for thou dost not inquire wisely concerning this. Ecclesiastes 7:10.

"Distance lends enchantment to the view," and in retrospect we crown the past with a halo. Like Saul, we try to call up Samuel, and sigh, "If only Wesley or Finney or Moody were alive now!" Elisha did not pine for Elijah: he asked, "Where is the Lord God of Elijah?"

Someone wrote to an editor, saying, "Your paper is not as good as it used to be." He replied, "It never has been."

Some of the old worthies could take pretty mean cracks at each other. If you go all the way back to the Early Church, consider the plight of Corinth. And even in Acts it was not long after Pentecost that "there arose a murmuring."

We do not inquire wisely when we cast longing eyes in the direction of the past. The days of Elijah are gone but the God of Elijah lives today. There are no untarnished haloes in any generation, and looking at heroes of any era is disappointing. Look not to "the good old days" but to the God of all the days.

Pastor Van
Wednesday August 12, 2020

Doing Business with Christ: Paul

Who art thou, Lord?... Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? Acts 9:5, 6.

Paul did business with the Lord. His was the authentic Who-What experience. Men who mean business with the Lord are definite and practical: "What comes next? What shall I do now?" Whatsoever He says, they do.

We live in a slovenly age, when duty and obedience and discipline have been relegated to the attic, along with the worn-out parlor lamp and cylinder-record phonograph. We had better bring them downstairs. We are not doing too well without them. A generation of unconverted young Sauls kicks against the pricks. They will not do business with Christ, because to do so He must be confessed and obeyed as Lord. "Who, Lord? Lord, what?" A lot of sentimental slush about Jesus forgets that "love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all."

The young ruler refused to submit to the Lordship of Jesus. Paul started right: "Who, Lord? Lord, what?" And who ever did greater business with and for His Lord?

Pastor Van
Tuesday August 11, 2020

Doing Business with Christ: The Young Ruler

Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? Matthew 19:16.

This promising youth did no real business with Jesus, because he did not really mean business. For all his manners and morals and money, he would not pay the price of real discipleship. Some very nice people would like to have eternal life as a good investment, but Jesus is not handing out salvation in return for another "good thing" on our self-righteous record of commandments already kept. He wanted to blast this young ruler into a real venture of daring faith that would cut him loose from his security, but the prospective disciple would not move from his moorings. It turned out that, after all, he loved his money more than his soul.

It takes a radical break to turn a man from earth's trash to heaven's treasure. Our Lord came immediately to the issue and would have this young man cut the knot instead of gradually untying it. He would have him bring the matter to a quick climax and be done with it.

For all his good points, this fine prospect missed his blessing while poorer specimens like Bartimæus, Zacchæus, the Samaritan woman, got theirs. Jesus loved him, but lost him because the questioner never meant business, though no man ever seemed to mean business more than he.

Pastor Van
Monday August 10, 2020

Doing Business with Christ: Pilate

What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ? Matthew 27:22.

Pilate had to do business with Jesus, and so must we all. We cannot wash our hands of the whole business any more than could he. We cannot leave Christ alone. The question is not, "What will you do with Jesus?" but "What are you doing with Him now?" We are for or against, we gather with Him or we scatter abroad.

Pilate faced the alternatives of cynicism: "What is truth?"; criminality: "Barabbas or Jesus?"; Cæsar: "If thou let this man go thou art not Cæsar's friend." The issue is always "Christ or...."

This unbelieving world, whether it choose the cynic, the criminal, or Cæsar, must do something with Christ. He is inescapable. And men must settle with Christ, not with a church or a preacher. Let us never obscure the issue: what are you doing with Jesus the Christ? "He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God."

Pastor Van
Sunday August 09, 2020

Doing Business with Christ: Demons

What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? Matthew 8:29.

The devil and the world of demons must face Christ. The devil tried to do business with Him, but the Lord dismissed him: "Get thee hence, Satan." The devil is not in the first two chapters of the Bible or in the last two. Thank God for a Book that disposes of the devil!

There is no concord between Christ and Belial. The demons cried, "Art thou come to torment us before the time?" They are doomed to the lake of fire prepared for the devil and his angels. They are overactive today because their time is short. The only power that can control them is Christ. Much that goes by other names today is really the work of the powers of darkness. And note that they know Jesus is the Son of God, a fact which many poor humans will not accept.

Our Lord has no traffic with the world of demons. There is no ground where they can get together. Let us beware of doing business with the devil. And if you don't want to trade with him, stay out of his shops!

Pastor Van Pastor Van
Saturday August 08, 2020

Alone, yet Not Alone

Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered every man to his own, and shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me. John 16:32.

Blessed paradox of the Saviour and the Saint! Our Lord was a solitary soul, yet not alone. And the Christian who presses into the deeper things of God will often be lonely but never alone. Paul was lonely in the Roman prison: "All men forsook me." But he was not alone: "The Lord stood with me."

"He that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone." Jacob may fancy himself alone in a strange land, with a stone for a pillow, but he will make a discovery: "Surely the Lord is in this place and I knew it not."

Live as though He were with you, for He is. You have His word for it and you can be confident of His promise, though you may not be conscious of His presence.

Even through the Valley of Death's Shadow, "I will fear no evil, FOR THOU ART WITH ME." Alone yet not alone!

Pastor Van
Friday August 07, 2020

Pleasing God

I do always those things that please him. John 8:29.

We live to please someone, ourselves, other people or God. Jesus "pleased not himself" (Rom. 15:3). We are not to live to please men. "Do I seek to please men?" (Gal. 1:10). "Not as pleasing men but God" (I Thess. 2:4). We are to please our neighbor for his good to edification (Rom. 15:2). Paul said he pleased all men, seeking, not his profit, but theirs, that they might be saved (I Cor. 10:33).

We are to please God, as our Lord said in our text. God was pleased in His Son (Mt. 3:17). He was not pleased with the Israelites in the wilderness (I Cor. 10:5). We had better take warning from them, for "these things happened unto us for ensamples." Enoch pleased God (Heb. 11:5). We cannot please God in the flesh (Rom. 8:8). It is impossible without faith (Heb. 11:6). But as we submit to God He works in us to will and to do of His good pleasure (Phil. 2:13). Then we are to live so as to please Him who hath chosen us to be soldiers (II Tim. 2:3, 4). And if we please Him we get answers to our prayers (I Jn. 3:22).

Whom are you living to please?

Pastor Van
Thursday August 06, 2020

"Notwithstanding the Lord..."

At my first answer no man stood with me, hut all men forsook me.... Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me. II Timothy 4:16, 17.

Paul mentions the failure of men, but he majors on the faithfulness of God. We had better learn early to put no confidence in the flesh—in ourselves or in others. Our most familiar friend, which did eat of our bread, may lift up his heel against us. Our Lord's disciples forsook Him and fled.Paul is tasting the same bitter experience. In his loneliness he begs Timothy to "come before winter."

We can easily grow wretched over the failure of men, even the best of them. There is so much fickleness and so many Christians fail us. We had better resolve early to expect little of men, much of God. Major on His faithfulness! We have His promise and we may be sure of His presence, for the one assures the other.

Raise your sights higher than men. Then, if even your father and mother forsake you, the Lord will take you up.

Pastor Van
Wednesday August 05, 2020

Taken Out or Taken Through?

I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. John 17:15.

How often have parents wished that they might keep their children pure and innocent, and how much they have dreaded what this wicked world might do to them. Saints in the Middle Ages tried to escape from the world to pursue a holy life in some secluded retreat. But we are not kept from evil that way. The defense must be from within. Indeed, we must shun every worldly force and influence that lowers our resistance to sin, but we have to live in this World, though we are not of it, and we can be kept from evil in the midst of it. We cannot run from this present world nor hide in a cave from the madding crowd's ignoble strife. We have to make our way through it all, but we can be kept by the power of God.

The boat can be in the water without the water being in the boat. Lord, do not take us out of the world, take us through!

Pastor Van
Tuesday August 04, 2020

Too Busy

As thy servant was busy here and there, he was gone. I Kings 20:40.

The man in this story received a charge to keep, but he was unfaithful, not because he was lazy or asleep, but because he was too busy. Idleness may be the devil's work-shop, but so is busyness if we are so busy that the best thing gets away.

Parents are too busy, and the children get away. Christians are too busy even with good things, and the best thing—to know God—gets away. Preachers are too busy, and the devotional life is lost. And while we are puttering life gets away.

The day of grace, the accepted time of salvation, passes unredeemed because we are too busy with the here and there and so forget the eternal.

If you are too busy to find time for God, you are too busy. You have received a charge to keep, and if your busyness keeps you from being about your Father's business, you are a poor business man!

Pastor Van
Monday August 03, 2020

"Marvel Not... If the World Hate You."

The world cannot hate you; but me it hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil. John 7:7.

If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. John 15:19.

The world cannot hate you, said Jesus to His unconverted brethren. They were of the world and the world loves its own.

Me it hateth, said our Lord of Himself. And why does it hate Him? "Because I testify of it that the works thereof are evil." Light has come into the world and men love darkness rather than light because their deeds are evil. This world resents the Light that shows it up.

The world hateth you, said our Lord to His disciples. And why does the world hate us? "Because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world." As we testify of the world that its deeds are evil and as we let our light shine and expose the unfruitful works of darkness, we share the hatred this age feels toward our Lord.

"The world knoweth us not, because it knew him not" (I Jn. 3:1).

Pastor Van
Sunday August 02, 2020

God-Thirsty

As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. Psalm 42:1.

There is much in our religious life today that is cheap and superficial. There is plenty of glorified big business, wheels within wheels. Men, methods, money, drives and movements and projects are abundant. But, as in other centuries, there are souls here and there who are sick of all that and whose consuming thirst is to know God. Most people are too busy raising quotas and thinking up slogans to walk with God. It takes time to be holy, but who takes time?

It is to be hoped that a new true mysticism will appear and that in this modern bedlam some saints will emerge whose business will be to know God through His Son by His Spirit. We are out to know everything, but never were we more ignorant of God.

God-thirsty souls! "Now Thee alone I seek!" "He satisfieth the longing soul."

Pastor Van
Saturday August 01, 2020

Talk and Walk

Are ye not carnal, and walk as men. I Corinthians 3:3.

He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked. I John 2:6.

Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. Galatians 5:16.

We are too much inclined to excuse strife and schism in our churches by saying, "Too err is human; no church is perfect." God has made provision for victory over the flesh, in both the individual and the collective life of His people. We may have been born the first time with bad tempers, but we have been born again, and the New Adam can conquer the Old. We have no right to accept the miserable divisions and tumults among believers today as though such were a normal condition. It is subnormal and abnormal. If we say we abide in Him we ought to walk as He walked, and we can if we walk in the Spirit.

We are not to walk as men but as saints. "We are all human" is the alibi of backsliders. We have been raised from a human to a heavenly level. If we say we abide in Him we ought to walk as He walked. Our walk should square with our talk.

Pastor Van

Commentary

September 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