Watson Baptist Church
Watson, IL

Activities

Coming Events


Birthdays

Aug 1
Angie Monical
Aug 2
Beth Morris
Aug 4
Megan Faber
Aug 10
Axle Beck
Aug 15
Mary Jane Beck
Aug 17
Brittny Long - Roger Loy
Aug 20
Jennifer DeWeese
Aug 22
Tammy Brown
Aug 23
Mildred Fancher
Aug 30
Lana Adams
Aug 31
Becky DeWeese

Anniversaries

Aug 15
Kevin & Megan Faber

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

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
Friday July 31, 2020

Taking No Chances

I know whom I have believed. II Timothy 1:12.

Once in a while somebody speaks of "staking all on Christ," or risking everything on God's promises, as though it were a glorified gamble. But we are not gambling when we venture on God's Word. Staking something on an uncertainty is a gamble, but when we commit to Christ we are depending on an absolute certainty that cannot fail. It is one thing trying to get on by auto-suggestion, trying to imagine what may or may not be actually true. It is another thing venturing on something we know is true, though sometimes it may not be real to us. Then we may with confidence live as though it were true because it is.

God's promises are true, forever settled in heaven. Jesus is true. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but never His words. Paul knew whom he trusted. There is no chance about it, but absolute certainty. We are risking nothing when we trust Him. He will keep the deposit.

Pastor Van
Thursday July 30, 2020

What to Preach

We preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake. II Corinthians 4:5.

Here is proper orientation for a preacher. He is not to preach himself, his experience, his ideas, his pet themes. The pulpit is no sounding board for a man. He is to preach "Christ Jesus as Lord," the threefold Name so often set forth in Scripture—Messiah, Mediator, Master. "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved."

It is a ministry of "Not I but Christ," Where does the preacher come in? "Ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake." Not just servants, period. We are not to be glorified flunkeys waiting on fussy church members. Only that service which is for His sake counts. A lot of things we do and a lot of things people demand are not for Jesus' sake.

But He is the subject of preaching and we are servants. Woe to the man who would make himself the subject and Christ a servant to advance his own ministry!

What to preach? Here is the answer to the old, old question.

Pastor Van
Wednesday July 29, 2020

Strength for the Day

I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. Philippians 4:13.

As thy days, so shall thy strength be. Deuteronomy 33:25.

Red-letter days and lofty experiences tend to fade. Resolutions, though penned in blood, soon lose their original drive. Spiritual stimulants, like shots in the arm, may serve a purpose, but living by shots in the arm, whether physically or spiritually, is abnormal. The trolley car does not run all day on one big push of power at the start. Its slender arm reaches up and keeps constant contact with the current.

Christ is our strength and He is with us all the days and is ever available. He will not give us tomorrow's strength today, nor will yesterday's grace suffice. "Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof," but also sufficient unto the day is the strength thereof with which to meet the evil.

Believe Him for today's strength today!

Pastor Van
Tuesday July 28, 2020

When Self-Defense Is a Sin

And he, willing to justify himself, said... Luke 10:29.

Endless are the devices by which we try to justify ourselves. When Samuel faced Saul returning from battle and disobedient to God, Saul tried to argue the case and explain why he had not exterminated the Amalekites as God had commanded. It is a mark of the disobedient heart to defend itself. David, when confronted by Nathan, did not argue, he broke into the penitence of the Fifty-first Psalm. Saul said, "I have sinned," but true repentance does not substitute sacrifice for obedience. The sacrifice God wants is a broken spirit. David offered that sacrifice, but Saul tried to substitute a burnt-offering.

When the voice of God confronts you with your sin, do not offer God an argument. You cannot justify yourself, anyway. One could finish the text above with dozens of alibis men offer to explain themselves. But when a man really does business with God all arguments and excuses are forgotten in the honest confession, "Against thee, thee only, have I sinned." God justifies freely by His grace, and we are "just-as-if-we'd-never-sinned."

Pastor Van
Monday July 27, 2020

The Cause and Cure of Error

Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God. Matthew 22:29.

For all our education today, we never had more ignorance and error. The root of it is revealed in this word from our Lord: we do not know the Scriptures or the power of God. For Scripture we substitute our own explanations, and for the power of God we substitute our own experience. God has said something to us in the Scriptures, His written Word, and He has done something for us in His Son, the Living Word; but we refuse both and live in error.

Like the generation of Noah's day, this age lives eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, and knows not, and will not know until judgment breaks. But God has provided a cure for ignorance. Again and again He says, "I would not have you ignorant" (Rom. 11:25; I Cor. 10:1; 12:1; II Cor. 1:8; I Thess. 4:13; II Pt. 3:8).

The cause of error is plain: ignorance of the Scriptures and of the power of God. The cure is equally plain: knowledge of the Scriptures and of the power of God. The first leads to the second: as we know the Scriptures we may know the power of God. "Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God."

Pastor Van
Sunday July 26, 2020

Proper Identification

Christ liveth in me. Galatians 2:20.

We are always intrigued and haunted by the simplicity of first-century Christianity. What would happen if a man started out today to be just a Christian? The idea has inspired books like In His Steps. Well, if a man started out to be "just a Christian" he would probably gather a band of "just Christians" around him, and soon there would be another denomination! Through the centuries believers hungry to recapture the simplicity of the early faith have started out to be just friends or disciples or brethren or some other group. But one always has to watch, lest devotion to a group or movement supersede devotion to Christ Himself.

In every Christian Christ lives again. Every true believer is a return to first-century Christianity. The problem is how to maintain the simplicity of being just a Christian, an en-Christed one amid the complexity of the modern religious set-up.

What ought to be most evident in us is that Christ lives in us. If our church or group is more evident than our identification with Christ it is too evident. We are here to advertise Him, not "it" or "us" or "them."

Pastor Van
Saturday July 25, 2020

The Divine Diagnosis

These things saith he... Revelation 2:1.

Nothing could be clearer than our Lord's dealing with the church at Ephesus, and it is just as fit in our case today. He first commended them for what they had. "But this thou hast..." He knew their works and labor and patience and their hatred of false doctrine. Our Lord Himself hates the deeds of the Nicolaitanes. Don't forget that. He said so.

Then He pointed out what they did not have. They had left their first love. You will notice how commendable a church may be and yet be without love. And without that we are but sounding rass and clanging cymbal.

Then Jesus tells them what to do. Remember, Repent, Repeat. It is very hard for Ephesus to remember from whence she has fallen. Usually, Ephesus does not think she has had a fall. The books may show a "rise" in membership and financial intake. It is tough going trying to show such churches that they have fallen. And of course repentance and a return to first works are out of the question until Ephesus remembers.

Finally, there is the alternative, what Christ will do if they obey not. "Or else..." It is revival or removal.

When will we submit to the Divine Diagnosis?

Pastor Van
Friday July 24, 2020

Be Reasonable!

And he thought within himself... Luke 12:17.

Why reason ye among yourselves? Matthew 16:8.

Come now, and let us reason together. Isaiah 1:18.

Contrary to the ideas of some, God does not discourage reason. He wants us to reason with Him. Reasoning within ourselves we arrive at conclusions as wrong as did the rich fool who planned for "many years," when God said, "This night..."

Reasoning among ourselves we do no better. The scribes and Pharisees were always reasoning (Mk. 11:31; Lk. 5:21) but their conclusions led to the crucifying of our Saviour. The disciples reasoned (Mk. 8:17; Lk. 9:46; 24:15), but they reasoned amiss until the Lord cleared things up.

God wants us to reason together with Him on the basis of revelation, not on our poor logic. "The heart has its reasons of which the reason knows nothing," said Pascal. There is a higher logic, which the natural man cannot receive; it is foolishness to him. But if we will let God reason with us, He will reveal His wisdom from above by the Spirit.

"While they... reasoned, Jesus himself drew near" (Lk. 24:15). Let Him clear up your problems!

Pastor Van
Thursday July 23, 2020

"Then the Lord..."

When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up. Psalm 27:10.

From childhood we like protection and security, someone to turn to. But loved ones fail us in one way or another. Death takes them, distance divides us, other circumstances render them unable to come to our aid. Some know the bitterness of being cast out or deserted by their own people. Precious as is the love and companionship and assistance of our dear ones, we had better not make that our main stay. We can be bereft of them in a moment and forsaken in tragic ways. Sometimes they remain, but because of infirmity cannot help us any more.

But when the choicest companions cannot walk with us, God says, "I will never leave thee nor forsake thee." It was a desolate man, forsaken of one he thought loved him, who penned out of his desperation, "O Love that wilt not let me go." It is well to reckon on the possibility of utter bereavement, of being forsaken by those we hold dearest; but along with it we may count on the promise of never being forsaken by Him who is dearest of all. At the point of darkest human loneliness—then the Lord.

Pastor Van
Wednesday July 22, 2020

Rejoice Today!

This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24.

We live on retrospect and anticipation. "Yesterday was so wonderful. How we did rejoice and how glad we were in it!" "Tomorrow will be a great day. We will rejoice and be glad then." But today—that is different.

Distance lends enchantment to the view, so yesterday is haloed by the glory of the past. And anticipation does so exceed fulfilment that tomorrow looks better today. Between the two lies now and it suffers by comparison.

But true joy is not in days either past or present or to come but in Christ, and He is with us "all the days," as He promised. He is the same yesterday, when we did rejoice. He is the same forever, all the tomorrows, through all eternity, when we shall rejoice. But He is also the same today, the day which the Lord hath made. We will be glad and rejoice in it, but better still in Him.

Pastor Van
Tuesday July 21, 2020

"Squenching" the Spirit

Quench not the Spirit. I Thessalonians 5:19.

A Negro friend used to say to me, "Don't 'squench' the Spirit." He coined his own word, but "squench," being a combination of "squelch" and "quench," really should be in the dictionary.

We quench the Spirit in more ways than we suspect. When we stifle the inner impression to speak or act for the Lord we do it. And we can quench the Spirit in others when we criticize or discourage or by any attitude "throw cold water" on their fire. The brother in prayer meeting who mixed his metaphors and said, "Lord, if there should be a spark of fire in this meeting, please water that spark," unwittingly suggested another way to smother the Spirit's freedom. How we do conspire to limit God in our meetings! We have an Honored Guest in every Christian gathering, and He can be grieved very easily. A frivolous spirit, a critical or rebellious frame of mind, a fed-up complacency—that will do it. The very way we arrange physical details, the way we scatter all over the church, two to a pew; the way we hear and hear not—surely "squench" says it, for we squelch and quench the Spirit.

Pastor Van
Monday July 20, 2020

"Beyond the Call of Duty"

We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do. Luke 17:10.

Heroes are often decorated for going "above and beyond the call of duty" to perform some feat not required in the ordinary normal course of their obligations. It might shock some church members who pride themselves on doing their duty to be told that they are unprofitable servants, but such we are if we merely do what is normally required of us. Now, it is a good thing to do our duty, and most of us do not even get that far. But we can get that far and merit no better word than "unprofitable." Alas, some of our best church workers and busiest religious folk never get beyond this category.

God's awards are for the Saints of the Second Mile who go above and beyond the call of duty. It is not whipping ourselves up to increased quantity production that is in mind here. It is the spontaneous and overflowing ministry that does far more for Jesus than it has to just because we love Him so.

We are glad to do far more than our duty for those we love on earth. Shall we do less for the Lover of our souls?

Pastor Van
Sunday July 19, 2020

"No Outside Help"

For I was ashamed to require of the king a band of soldiers and horsemen to help us against the enemy in the way: because we had spoken unto the king, saying, The hand of our God is upon all them for good to them that seek him; but his power and his wrath is against all them that forsake him. So we fasted and besought our God for this: and he was intreated of us. Ezra 8:22, 23.

Ezra had made great claims for his God and now he was ashamed to ask assistance from the king. And well we may be, but some of us are not. We recite: "Some trust in chariots and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the Lord our God"; we boast that our God is able to deliver us; but in an emergency we go to Egypt for help or borrow the militia of Artaxerxes. King Asa, after God's mighty deliverance from the Ethiopians, made a league with Syria when Baasha threatened him. Hanani, the seer, said, "Herein hast thou done foolishly." And we always do foolishly when we sing and preach about a God who supplies all our need and then beg help from the ungodly.

It ought to embarrass us to ask help from this world. We do not need its assistance. Let us beseech our God, and He will be entreated of us.

Pastor Van
Saturday July 18, 2020

Don't Miss Jesus!

But Thomas... was not with them when Jesus came. John 20:24.

Thomas missed one meeting of believers and was an unbeliever for a whole week. It pays to be present when Jesus appears. He guarantees His presence where two or three gather in His Name. Therefore it pays to be at church. There are other places where Jesus reveals Himself—the Book and prayer. And He has promised to reveal Himself to those who have His commandments and keep them. The place of obedience—the temple of the willing heart—there you may be sure He appears.

Don't miss Jesus. It makes a doubting Thomas. If we were on hand at these meeting places we would not be demanding extra evidences before we believe. Sometimes our Lord does grant a special manifestation, but "blessed are they that have not seen and yet have believed."

Be there when Jesus comes. I don't know what other business Thomas had that evening, but if your other business makes you miss Jesus you have too much business!

Pastor Van
Friday July 17, 2020

Anathema or Maranatha?

If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maranatha. I Corinthians 16:22.

The great apostle in a day when unbelieving Jews were calling Jesus accursed throws back the anathema with power. Then he takes an Aramaic term, which the scholars have argued over as to whether it means the Lord has come or "May he come!"

These two words, spelled with almost the same letters, set forth two viewpoints poles apart. There are millions today whose mark might well be anathema. They blaspheme the Lord and they are accursed. False preachers of "another Gospel" are anathema. The bitter hostility of long ago boiled over in that word.

Over against that is the love that said instead, "Jesus is Lord," and, looking for His return, cried, "Maranatha." Looking for the Lord was a distinguishing mark of first-century Christianity. Strange and sad it is that so many who claim to love Him today do not thrill to "The Lord cometh."

Are you Anathema or Maranatha? Which is the cry of your soul?

Are you Anathema or Maranatha? Which is the cry of your soul?

Pastor Van
Thursday July 16, 2020

"Today"

So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom. Psalm 90:12.

Today is not a day to be endured just in order to get over yonder to something better. The grass looks greener in the next pasture, but it is hard to tell which is our most important day. One day has one kind of opportunity, another has another. Let us buy up all the opportunities, for the days are evil.

We are apt to put a red circle around the wrong day. God's calendar does not look like ours. The big day on ours may be without special significance on His. And the ordinary day, when "nothing much happened," may, if redeemed to His glory, be a great day in His sight.

Do not try to evaluate any day, just make the most of it. What seems a dry and tedious interval, a desert stretch between here and yonder, while you burn with a fever to be into the middle of next week, may afford greater opportunity to know God and glorify Him than the glamorous day you are burning to reach.

Besides, this is the only day you can be sure of. "Boast not thyself of tomorrow." And today is the only day of its kind. God never makes two alike. There will never be another day like it. You may call it "just another day," but it isn't. Make it count for God!

Pastor Van
Wednesday July 15, 2020

"Yes, but" and "What If?"

Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation. Habakkuk 3:18.

Habakkuk enumerates a lot of gloomy circumstances, failure of figs and olives and vines and fields and flocks. But although these barren states exist, he will rejoice and be glad, for heaven never knows a drought.

Whether actual or potential, we have to reckon with failure around us, and the devil whispers, "Yes, but..." and "What if...?" "What if you get sick? What if this friend proves false? What if this effort fails?" If you are going to add up all that may happen, you may as well add sleeplessness and maybe a nervous breakdown. And the thing you fear is more than likely to arrive. "I feared a fear and it came upon me" (Job 3:25). We might as well face the worst thing that could happen and say, "Let worse come to worst, so what? I still have God." Drop your tense grip and fall into His arms. Break the tyranny of Yes, But and What If! Faith is worth nothing until it disregards the Failure around us and rejoices in the Faithfulness above us.

Pastor Van
Tuesday July 14, 2020

Remember the Heathen!

Ought ye not to walk in the fear of our God because of the reproach of the heathen our enemies? Nehemiah 5:9.

The world is watching us and we ought to walk circumspectly, because the days are evil. Abram and Lot must be ware of strife, because the Canaanite and the Perizzite dwell in the land, and "we brethren" (Gen. 13:7, 8). David's sin gave occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme (II Sam. 12:14). Paul wrote to Jews, "The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you" (Rom. 2:24). Young women are to be taught to live right, "that the word of God be not blasphemed" (Titus 2:5). Peter exhorts believers to a manner of life honest among the entiles, "that whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation" (I Pt. 2:12).

The Canaanite, the Perizzite, the Gentiles live all around us. Lest we bring reproach on the cause we represent we do well to deny ourselves that which may not hurt us but would give occasion to the adversary to blaspheme. The fact that we are free from the law gives us no grounds for foolishly running into license. And God help Abram and Lot and their herdmen to behave before the heathen, for "we be brethren."

Pastor Van
Monday July 13, 2020

Minus to Plus

Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong. II Corinthians 12:10.

Paul turned his stumbling-blocks into stepping-stones. John Bunyan in Bedford jail, Fanny Crosby in a prison of blindness "out of weakness were made strong." Long is the list of saints through the ages who have turned minus to plus by the grace of God.

Paul gloried in infirmities. We glory in strength. Paul gloried in tribulation. Most of us grumble. The Christian does not resent his affliction. He does not merely resign himself to it. He rises above it and transmutes it into a blessing. He is "more than conqueror."

This kind of book-keeping turns liabilities into assets. This world cannot understand it. "What things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ," says Paul. And then what seems loss he turns to gain!

We hear of people who "lose the savings of a lifetime." But what you really save in a lifetime is what you lay up in heaven, and you cannot lose that. And out of earth's darkest day you can coin heavenly wealth.

Turn your minus to plus!

Pastor Van
Sunday July 12, 2020

Eternal Truth, Present Fact

Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1.

Faith sometimes means a calm, quiet, passive, humble confidence that goes on its way, resting not in itself but in the Faithful One. But there is the other aspect, when faith becomes "an affirmation and an act that bids eternal truth be present fact." There is a reckless, almost fierce, faith that laughs in the teeth of circumstance and shouts, like Paul in the storm, "I believe God," and affirms, though a legion of demons mock, "Let God be true but every man a liar."

The affirmation and act that bids eternal truth be present fact is no dainty, hothouse sort of thing. Present fact can be awfully stubborn, and things as they are look woefully unlike what God says they may be. "A sense of things real comes doubly strong" sometimes. Bidding eternal truth be present fact may seem the wildest of fancies. But all children of Abraham do well to remember that he "hoped against hope" and considered not the impossible.

If present fact looks hopeless and eternal truth seems far removed, remember that Abraham saw them become one because "he believed God."

Pastor Van
Saturday July 11, 2020

"And Forsaketh"

He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy. Proverbs 28:13.

"If we confess our sins"—sins of omission, the things we should do but are not doing; sins of commission, the tilings we should not do but are doing; sins of disposition, sins of the spirit, so often overlooked in our emphasis on sins of the body; and doubtful things. "Whatsoever is not of faith is sin."

Confession should be accompanied by renunciation—"and forsaketh them." "If my people shall... turn from their wicked ways." Someone has said, "We cannot expect God to take away our sins by forgiving them if we will not put them away by forsaking them." All too often there is a cheap and easy confession of sin: "We have done many things we should not have done, and have left undone many things which we should have done." Who hasn't? Such confession does not forsake sin and turn from wicked ways.

Have you made a clean break with your sins and burned the bridges behind you?

Pastor Van
Friday July 10, 2020

When the Best Friend Fails

Mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me. But thou, O Lord... Psalm 41:9, 10.

We might as well face it: most of us meet some sad disillusionments and heartaches at the hands of our friends. The servant of God will learn that while God never fails him, God's people sometimes do. He will learn to expect little of people but much of God. We must make up our minds—"Am I going to trust God or not?" People will fail me, my very best friend may forsake e, but God will make up any deficits in His own way. Either we carry on with a child like trust e become sour and suspicious and hard-boiled, we worry and scheme by our own wits to "give as good as we get," and that does disastrous things to us as Christians. Of course, we are not to be gullible simpletons, but it is better to be wronged once in a while by people we trusted than to grow cynical after the pattern of this world. When it is all over, we shall find that God evened it up and took care of us, even though some of His people failed. We are winners after all if we stay sweet, though we may be losers at the hands of men.

Pastor Van
Thursday July 09, 2020

Hurt Before Healing

Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the nclean thing: and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. II Corinthians 6:17, 18.

There can be no normal Father-and-son fellowship until sin has been dealt with and put away. It is all very well to talk of just leading a normal daily Christian life without having to be "revived," but most Christians are not ready to lead such a life. One might as well tell a sick man to get out in the sunshine and follow his usual habits. We are subnormal and abnormal, and sometimes drastic measures are necessary before we can be normal Christians again. Even surgery may be indicated and the offending eye or foot or hand must be removed. We let Christians and churches go on in their sick condition rather than remove infection and employ spiritual catharsis. Sometimes radical procedure is necessary, and it may be disturbing to sick souls who prefer to be unmolested, but there can be no recovery without it.

Paul followed this course with the Corinthians, and our Lord called for repentance among the ailing churches of Asia. Sometimes we must feel worse before we can feel better. Hurt often must come before healing.

Pastor Van
Wednesday July 08, 2020

July 8.

Sad or Glad?

For they all saw him, and were troubled. Mark 6:50. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord. John 20:20.

The disciples saw Him in a storm but supposed Him to be a spirit. They did not recognize Him. But in our second verse they saw the risen Lord and knew Him by the print of the nails in His hands and feet.

Surely the sight of the Lord should make us glad. But sometimes we wist not that it is He. He draws near, but, like the Emmaus disciples, we have holden eyes. What should thrill us only troubles us. Indeed, as the Emmaus disciples related their experience, Jesus appeared, but they "supposed that they had seen a spirit." He quelled their fears then as He did in John's account by showing the marks of the cross.

We walk by faith, not by sight, these days, and are not granted a view of Him with our eyes. But in His dealings with us He still walks our seas and comes into our rooms through doors we have shut. Alas, that fear so often sees a spirit when faith should see the Saviour! What should bring triumph then brings only trouble. See Him and be glad!

Pastor Van
Tuesday July 07, 2020

July 7.

Why Trouble the Master?

Thy daughter is dead: why troublest thou the Master any further? Mark 5:35.

"The little girl is dead. It is too late now. Why bother the Master and take up His time?"

Have you come to a place where the case seems hopeless, where the prospect is "dead"? That loved one for whom you have prayed so long seems in direr straits than ever. The hope long deferred now seems impossible.

But Jesus had no funerals. And when the world says the issue is as dead as a corpse, remember that Jesus can break up funerals. We are so prone to give up and attend the interment of our hopes when God would raise the dead.

Jesus said to the ruler, "Be not afraid, only believe." And so He says to you. When ordinary logic, when undiscerning friends say, "It is too late," be not afraid to "trouble the Master."

Only believe....

All things are possible,

Only believe!

Pastor Van
Monday July 06, 2020

July 6.

"And Today"

Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever. Hebrews 13:8.

It is said that George Muller kept on his desk a motto bearing the central words of our text, "AND TODAY." Well might he do so and surely few men have demonstrated better the truth of it. It is not difficult to believe in Jesus Christ the same yesterday. And He will prove one day that He is the same forever. But "Jesus Christ the same today" —what a time we have with that middle span! Amid the dull monotony of things as they are, when the skies seem leaden and nothing breaks on the uninteresting scene, it is easier to visualize the Christ of the Galilean Past or the Christ of the Glorious Future than to expect great things from the Christ of the Glamourless Now.

But our text stoutly insists and today. We may not see Him in the flesh as they saw Him yesterday, and we see not yet all things put under Him as one day we shall, but He said He would be with us "all the days," and that includes today.

Is not many a Christian experience like this verse with "and today" in very fine type—strong in faith in the Christ of yesterday and forever, but very weak in faith in His presence and power today?

Pastor Van
Sunday July 05, 2020

July 5.

Faith or "It"?

According to your faith be it unto you. Matthew 9:29.

"According to your faith be it..." Be what? How much does "it" include? Here is one of the mallest and one of the biggest words—small in the dictionary but large in our text! For "it" includes all our need which God will supply according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. And the measure of that supply is "according to your faith." You may have all you need and all that faith will take. Whether that need be trivial or tremendous makes no difference to God—everything is His, anyway. You need not mind bringing to Him the simplest matter. The sparrow's fall does not escape His notice. Nor will you strain the heavenly resources with a stupendous request. The ocean will hold up a boat or a battleship, and God's grace will stand any weight you put on it.

So, whatever "it" may be that you are facing, no matter how hard or hopeless "it" may seem, do not let "it" dominate your faith, make "it" submit to your faith. "According to your faith be it" is God's yardstick, not "According to it be your faith."

Are you living by the tyranny of "it" or by the Triumph of Faith?

Day by Day: A Book of Bible Devotions.

Pastor Van
Saturday July 04, 2020

July 4.

"Wherefore" and "Therefore"

Wherefore Jesus... suffered without the gate. Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp. Hebrews 13:12, 13.

Jesus kept his "wherefore" and I must keep my "therefore." He went without the gate to suffer and I must go outside the camp to serve. I am not merely to go from something, I am to go to him. Where He is I belong. And it is not His popularity but His reproach that I must bear. The world and some churches have devised a popular Christ, but He is not this Christ of the Wherefore. One can stay inside the camp and follow this fictitious Jesus, but not the One who suffered that I might be sanctified with His blood. This present age, like all ages past, despises a bleeding Christ and a gory cross. There is nothing elegant about following a crucified Saviour and seeking a city to come.

I cannot get by with singing about the wondrous cross. Love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all. His "wherefore" demands my "therefore." And that means the sacrifice of person: "Let us... (v. 13), of praise (v. 15), of possessions (v. 16)

"Jesus paid it all" in the Wherefore. "All to Him I owe" in the Therefore.

Day by Day: A Book of Bible Devotions.

Pastor Van
Friday July 03, 2020

Whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth. Hebrews 12:6.

When trouble comes our way we are apt to overlook this blessed fact. If we had no chastening we might well inquire whether we are children of God. This passage (5:11) is very explicit: if we are without chastisement we are bastards, not sons. Of course, the ungodly have plenty of trouble, and the way of the transgressor is hard, but the affliction of the unrighteous is not the chastisement of the Father. They are not His sons.

In this day of light and loose and lunatic notions of child-rearing, of course discipline does not mean much. But God has not been converted to the new pattern. Verse 9 says, "We have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us and we gave them reverence." Alas, too many fathers have not corrected, and too many children have no reverence for fathers or for God. But the obedient Christian accepts God's discipline, seeks to learn its lessons, and gains the peaceable fruit of righteousness. God's purpose is that we might be partakers of His holiness. Surely that is worth all it costs.

But never forget this: God's chastening originates in His love. Because we are partakers of the Divine nature, His children, He disciplines us in order that we might be partakers of His holiness.

Pastor Van
Thursday July 02, 2020

U-turns are ambivalent entities. Sometimes they are legal, sometimes, they are not. Have you ever been tempted to make a U-turn at one of those places on the interstate where there is usually a sign that says something like, "Authorized Vehicles Only?" Don't answer that - no need to incriminate yourself. But, as I said earlier, there are times when U-turns are legal. In addition, there are times when they are not only legal, they are absolutely necessary. The key is to know when a U-turn is the right thing to do.

There are times in life when we need to do a U-turn. The people of Israel provide a good example of folks who failed to recognize the necessity of performing a U-turn. We read in Jeremiah 5:23-24, "But these people have stubborn and rebellious hearts; they have turned aside and gone away. They do not say to themselves, `Let us fear the Lord our God, who gives autumn and spring rains in season, who assures us of the regular weeks of harvest.'"

Israel needed to turn around and head the right direction. They needed to repent and follow the Lord. But they didn't heed the warnings and didn't see the need to make a U-turn. Instead, they kept on the path they were following. The result would not be good. God tells them in 5:15-17, "'O house of Israel,' declares the Lord, 'I am bringing a distant nation against you--an ancient and enduring nation, a people whose language you do not know, whose speech you do not understand. Their quivers are like an open grave; all of them are mighty warriors. They will devour your harvests and food, devour your sons and daughters; they will devour your flocks and herds, devour your vines and fig trees. With the sword they will destroy the fortified cities in which you trust.'"

I wrote earlier that sometimes U-turns are not only legal, they are absolutely necessary. Of course, I am not just referring to those that we need to make on an interstate or something. In our lives, we should know when and where to make U-turns. They can be an important part of getting where we need to be.

Pastor Van
Thursday July 02, 2020

U-turns are ambivalent entities. Sometimes they are legal, sometimes, they are not. Have you ever been tempted to make a U-turn at one of those places on the interstate where there is usually a sign that says something like, "Authorized Vehicles Only?" Don't answer that - no need to incriminate yourself. But, as I said earlier, there are times when U-turns are legal. In addition, there are times when they are not only legal, they are absolutely necessary. The key is to know when a U-turn is the right thing to do.

There are times in life when we need to do a U-turn. The people of Israel provide a good example of folks who failed to recognize the necessity of performing a U-turn. We read in Jeremiah 5:23-24, "But these people have stubborn and rebellious hearts; they have turned aside and gone away. They do not say to themselves, `Let us fear the Lord our God, who gives autumn and spring rains in season, who assures us of the regular weeks of harvest.'"

Israel needed to turn around and head the right direction. They needed to repent and follow the Lord. But they didn't heed the warnings and didn't see the need to make a U-turn. Instead, they kept on the path they were following. The result would not be good. God tells them in 5:15-17, "'O house of Israel,' declares the Lord, 'I am bringing a distant nation against you--an ancient and enduring nation, a people whose language you do not know, whose speech you do not understand. Their quivers are like an open grave; all of them are mighty warriors. They will devour your harvests and food, devour your sons and daughters; they will devour your flocks and herds, devour your vines and fig trees. With the sword they will destroy the fortified cities in which you trust.'"

I wrote earlier that sometimes U-turns are not only legal, they are absolutely necessary. Of course, I am not just referring to those that we need to make on an interstate or something. In our lives, we should know when and where to make U-turns. They can be an important part of getting where we need to be.

Pastor Steve
Wednesday July 01, 2020

Many years ago, a council of the Ministers of France was being held to discuss a treaty they had made with another country. Specifically, the ministers were arguing about breaking the treaty. Doing so would bring certain advantages to France. The council was leaning towards annulment of the document when one on the ministers spoke up. The Duke of Burgundy laid his hand on his copy of the treaty and said, "Gentleman, we have an agreement." With that, he voted against the dissolution of the document.

It is important that followers of Christ speak so that the Savior is glorified. Others need to know that they can trust what we affirm. Our word should be our bond, and being trustworthy should be looked upon as something to be desired. If you make a commitment, honor it. If you have an obligation, keep it.

Jesus said in Matthew 5:37, "All you need to say is simply 'Yes' or 'No'." If you are tempted to go back on an agreement or to break a promise, remember the words of the Duke of Burgundy, "Gentlemen, we have an agreement."

Pastor Steve
Tuesday June 30, 2020

I would imagine you have heard the expression "you can't get blood from a turnip." This is a truism that can be applied in many ways. Other similar expressions are you don t get orange juice from apples ; you don't get honey from a coconut , and so on. The point of these expressions is to emphasize that whatever is inside of something is that which determines what will come out.

This is true in the case of a person as well. Jesus said, "A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of (Luke 6:45)." A person cannot claim to be kind if his words are unkind. He cannot claim to follow the values of heaven if his mouth speaks the values of the world. Our speech attests to our character. Our heart is the well, and the mouth is the faucet. When the faucet is on, whatever is in the well comes out of the faucet.

Paul addresses this reality in a number of places. In Colossians 4:6 we read, "Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone." Ephesians 4:29 says, "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen." Clean up the inside so that what comes out will be pure.

Pastor Van
Monday June 29, 2020

Try this sometime - get someone to go with you to a beach or a park or other open area, put on a blindfold (this is why you need someone with you), and try to walk a straight line. You won't be able to do it. There is something within us that takes over and causes us to go in circles in the absence of some external outside point of reference on which to focus. We just can't keep straight.

Well, that's interesting, isn't it? It is also a problem we have spiritually as well. Without a guide, we will go astray. Scripture tells us we should stay on the straight path. The reason we don't is because we are messed up inwardly. Isaiah 53:6 says, "We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way." The way to keep our paths straight spiritually is to walk in the way God leads us. Proverbs 3:5-6 tells us, "Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.".

The straight path is the place to be, but you will not find it on your own. Place your faith in God and let him direct your life. We need be led by God because, "There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death (Proverbs 14:12)." Don't walk around in circles as if you are blindfolded. Let God direct you in a straight path.

Pastor Steve
Sunday June 28, 2020

A grandmother took her three-year-old granddaughter to the beach for an afternoon of building sand castles and enjoying the water. After they had constructed a rather elaborate structure, complete with moat, the grandmother got up to deposit some refuse in a near-by trash can. She hadn't gone two steps when she heard a wail from her granddaughter.

She quickly returned to the little girl and asked, "Honey, what's wrong?" "I couldn't see you!" was the reply. "But, darling, I was just right there," said the grandmother. The little girl replied, "I know. But I couldn't see your face!" She wanted to be able to see the "I am right here and I am not going to leave you" expression in her grandmother's face in order to be assured that she was safe and all was right with the world.

David writes in Psalm 27:8-9, "My heart says of you, 'Seek his face!' Your face, LORD, I will seek. Do not hide your face from me, do not turn your servant away in anger; you have been my helper." We should want to see God's face in order to receive the assurance of God's help and protection. We seek his face in order to develop a deeper relationship with him and thus allow our faith in him to be strengthened. We seek his face to experience the affirmation of his care and our safety in his arms.

With all that is taking place in our world just now, it is hard not to have concern and to feel anxious. Uncertainty and unrest have brought questions and fear into our lives. We have no idea what might take place tomorrow, but we know we are following someone who does. We need to seek His face. Looking into the face of our Father gives us the faith to confront our most worrisome troubles. When look into the face of the Father, rest assured that we will get that "I am right here and I am not going to leave you" expression!

Pastor Steve

Commentary

August 1, 2020

Just last week, I saw a post that contained a picture of a banner that said, "Bloom where you are planted," with the caption, "This has taken on a whole new meaning." That is an accurate observation. We are where we are, not able to do all that we would like to do, our lifestyles altered from what they were just weeks ago, and facing struggles we had not anticipated we would encounter.

The adage "bloom where you are planted" is usually applied in a circumstance when we find ourselves in a place or a position that is not really our first choice, but we are unable to change the circumstance. That would be a pretty accurate description of what is taking place now. What we would do at those times where the adage "Bloom where you are planted" fits would be something we can do now. Actually, there are several "somethings." Some of these are from an article written by Paul Chernyak. Most of what I will say is simply a reminder of suggestions I have written before, but sometimes reminders are helpful.

A good place to begin is to remember that we are in control of our thoughts. Acknowledge that you can take charge of your attitude about the situation. Another "something" we can do is to acknowledge the change that has occurred. There have been changes, and will be others. Of course, we can include our realistic hope that this circumstance will change in a positive way at some point. Thirdly, focus on what you have, not on what you don't. Look for things you can appreciate. Another "something" is to try to learn from what you are experiencing. Now, I know it is easy to say, "Grief, do I have to go through this to learn that?" Yes, this is difficult, but this is all part of trying to channel what we are experiencing in such a way as to decrease frustration, not elevate it. Finally, focus on acceptance. I hope some time of reflection on these thoughts will be helpful to some who may be struggling.

Let me conclude with some biblical perspective. Jonathon is a good example of someone who "bloomed where he was planted." Although he was Saul's son, and according to the prevailing practice at the time would be next in line for the throne of Israel, he accepted God's decision to choose David as the successor to his father. Jonathon chose to be David's friend and supported him in any way he could, even working against his father to save David's life.

We read about Jonathon's decision in I Samuel 18:1-4, "After David had finished talking with Saul, Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself...And Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself. Jonathan took off the robe he was wearing and gave it to David, along with his tunic, and even his sword, his bow and his belt." He learned how to bloom where he was planted.

Learning how to bloom where we are planted is good advice for us in a number of situations. Practicing these principles and following the example of Jonathon is something that can be helpful as we are experiencing a time that has given new meaning to an old phrase.

Pastor Steve Willis - First Baptist Church - Newton, IL