NO SUBSTITUTE FOR GOOD PEOPLE

NO SUBSTITUTE FOR GOOD PEOPLE                                                                                       Andy Hollifield 3-25-19

Do you realize that in the time it takes to have a baby it will be Christmas again? Just thought I would share that with you. Mark your calendars, it’s only nine months away. Well, since I have your attention now, I will get on into what I really want to talk about. I have had a really good weekend altogether. As always, any weekend that our ministry has a project is a little hectic. There are always some disappointing things that happen and the devil is always around to fight you and this year was no exception. We wound up without any speakers this year and our barbecue supplier charged an outrageous price for pork and beans that were supposed to have been baked beans. Some people we had thought were coming to our Baskets and Blessings event were unable to come. But God always provides enough and he did it again this year. You just can’t beat people who are willing to give their time on a Saturday morning to work for the benefit of others with nothing to gain for themselves except the blessings of God. The Lord has blessed us with a bunch of people who are dedicated to the service of the Lord and believe in our ministry. It is always a humbling experience to do one of our projects and be reminded that God has an abundance of good folks. Just like God told Elijah; not everyone has bowed to Baal. He always has some left.

As appreciative as I am for all of the folks that came Saturday, I am equally appreciative of the folks I met with on Sunday. I had the privilege to preach at Brush Creek Chapel Baptist Church in Fairview on Sunday night to another bunch of incredible people. They are one of our supporting churches and their youth had assembled 50 Easter baskets for us last weekend so I picked them up on Sunday. As usual, I had a loading crew to help load the van. The same kids that had assembled them also came out to help load them. On top of that, I thoroughly enjoyed preaching about the “Infallible Truths” that Christ provided after his resurrection. What a comfort to know that not only do we have good unchangeable doctrine, but we also have the proof in his word to back up the things that it says.

Not only did I get to be in service with my friends at Brush Creek, but I also got to meet with some relatively new friends after church. My friend Ryan, a children’s missionary from Tennessee, was able to come over yesterday afternoon to visit. He came to meet with Barb Mains from Help 4 Kids in Myrtle Beach. Her and her assistant Maria came up for the weekend to see Barb’s sister Wanda and niece Donna from Help 4 Kids in Swannanoa. I was the only one of our crowd that had actually met Ryan before even though the others had spoken with him on the phone. They had met around five o’clock and after church I went to meet with them. They were still sitting there swapping stories as people in Christian ministry are prone to do. It was one of those situations where even though they had only talked with Ryan on the phone, it was like a group of old friends sitting around enjoying each others company. We all talked about the upcoming work we are planning to do and how much the Lord has blessed us and how grateful we are to be able to be a part of the work we are in. It was only a year ago the end of this month that I met the folks from Help 4 Kids and I have met Ryan and Diane in Sneedville through them. Diane also works to help the people in Hancock county Tennessee which is the poorest county in the state. What a blessing it has been to get to know all of them and see the heart that other people have for serving the Lord by helping others.

I guess really I didn’t have much to say today except to thank God for all of the good people in my life. This is by no means all of them but it is such a great blessing to be around so many of them in one weekend. From spending my Saturday morning with some of my board members and folks from our supporting churches, to being in service at one of my supporting churches; God is good. One of the blessings of being with them is the fact that I preached in a meeting years ago with the pastors dad and have got to see over the last few years the great way God is using his son and his family in ministry. It is always an honor to be able to hear his wife and daughters sing in church.

Sometimes it just does our heart good if we not only count our blessings but also count the people in our lives that are blessings to us. God has given me a lot of good friends throughout my years of ministry and it helps to be reminded from time to time of just how blessed I am. There really is no substitute for good people. Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!

 

BE STRONG, AND DO IT

BE STRONG, AND DO IT                                                                                                              Andy Hollifield 3-17-18

1 Chronicles 28:9-10 And thou, Solomon my son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind: for the Lord searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts: if thou seek him, he will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee off forever. (10) Take heed now; for the Lord hath chosen thee to build an house for the sanctuary: be strong, and do it.

1 Chronicles 28:20 And David said to Solomon his son, Be strong and of good courage, and do it: fear not, nor be dismayed: for the Lord God, even my God, will be with thee; he will not fail thee,nor forsake thee, until thou hast finished all the work for the service of the house of the Lord.

I ran across this scripture the other night and I didn’t even read the whole story but this phrase jumped out at me because of the simplicity of the instruction: “Be strong, and do it.” What encouraging advice from a father to his son and it applies to everyone for everything the Lord has for us to do: “Be strong, and do it.” that is two  different instructions and the first is “Be strong.” When you are taking on a monumental task for the Lord, it is not just a good idea but a matter of survival to “Be strong.” I can’t lay claim to that as far as H.O.P.E. Ministries is concerned because I never set out to do anything but just go to Kentucky one weekend a month. God just kind of slipped that one to me a little at a time over the years. I don’t really know when it hit me but there came a point when I suddenly realized that it had long since outgrown me. I have always said that if God had of told me up front what he was going to allow our ministry to become, I would have probably ran like a scared rabbit. I have to admit though; it is definitely a wild ride when you just sit and watch God do things on a regular basis that you never dreamed of and realize that he has allowed you to be a part of it. It is a very humbling realization.

I do however remember a couple of times that God has given me those instructions: “Be strong and do it.” Not necessarily in those words but that was the gist of it. When God called me to preach, if I hadn’t of known better, I would have thought He had just made his first mistake. When I think of my faults and failures, I have often wondered if God has ever repented of the decision he made. Not “repented” in the sense of having sinned, because we know God has never sinned or made a mistake. But, I am talking about “repented” to the extent of being sorry or regretting like in Genesis 6:6 where it says, “And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.” I can still remember conversations I had at the time that I was running from the call. I wasn’t as tough as a lot of preachers, I didn’t make it but about 2-3 months on the run. When I did get assurance of it from the Lord, I immediately started trying to change his mind. I even went so far as to recommend three men in my church that I was sure would be far better than me. One was not scripturally qualified and one I think is still in church and the other one I am still sure would have been a far better choice than me. After probably getting weary with me trying to get out of it by recommending them, the Lord finally just said, “I am not calling them, I am calling you.” He gave some circumstances and answered prayer in a miraculous unexpected way that confirmed it in my soul. Still scared out of my mind, I knew what I had to do and he did promise to be with me and strengthen me. It didn’t take long before I faced some unexpected opposition that proved to me that I was going to have to be strong and rely upon God.

There were a lot of times that God demonstrated his power and helped me to be strong, but I encountered a situation after 18 years of preaching that I had never encountered before. I won’t go into a lot of details but it involved me having to sit and hear myself being ran down by people who didn’t even know me for about 2 hours. The good thing was that I had about 24 hours to pray about it and looking back, I am still convinced that I conducted myself just exactly as God wanted me to. That night after having been asked if I would like to speak my peace in my own defence, I calmly proceeded to do so. God gave me a boldness that night that I didn’t even realize I had and a calmness to the point that no one could find fault with how I conducted myself. That proved to be the hardest spiritual battle of my life. But, that night, as I left the place where I was, going down that driveway I felt the burden just lift off of me. The weight of the world was off of my shoulders and I knew that night that God had strengthened me and I just did what had to be done. A lot of people paid a price for my earlier disobedience in that matter, and I did later for several months, but God is still rich in mercy to those that call upon him and he sent me a Nathan and brought my sin to my attention. Just like David, when I repented he forgave and restored my joy.

I am at a point in my life now, and maybe it has to do with getting older, that I am more content with what the Lord has got for me to do than I have ever been. I don’t think that even as a young, single, preacher when I really had it made and wasn’t smart enough to know it, I was near as content and satisfied in the Lord as I am now. Many of you know about our next project with H.O.P.E. Ministries being to get the Gideon Home For Unwed Mothers up and running. Sometimes I just tremble at the thoughts of the cost and how big of a task that is going to be and how little I know about what I am doing. But then, I look back at nearly 32 years of ministry and some of the storms that God has brought me through and that great calm like in Mark 4:39 comes when Jesus says “Peace be still.” Immediately after that, “…The peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” begins to flood my soul like a river. Don’t get me wrong; I am not always that calm but the Lord is always that present and he is always that calm. He’s not worried about me perishing because he saved me to go to the other side and I am not there yet and neither are you. We can’t perish when we are in him and he is in us. Besides that, we are in his hand and He is in the Father’s hand and “…No man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand” (John 10:29). That right there is one of those written guarantees that are in his word.

Sometimes the will of the Lord in our lives seems far more than we can ever hope to do but God don’t leave us to do it alone. Just as David gave his son Solomon that great fatherly advice and told him that God would be with him, he will be with you and I. Isaiah 26:3 says, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.” Just keep your trust in him and you will have that perfect peace no matter what God has for you to do. Just “Be strong, and do it.” Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!

 

ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS

ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS                                                                                Andy Hollifield 3-19-19

James 2:17 And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?

While in the doctor’s office one day, I noticed a verse of scripture on a piece of notebook paper taped to the check-out lady’s desk. It was Romans 4:20 “He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God.” That of course is speaking of the faith of Abraham. I mentioned to the lady that it was one of my favorite scriptures in the bible. She proceeded to tell me that one of her coworkers had given it to her at a time when she was going through a rough trial in her life. That had apparently been a good while back but the action was remembered with fondness and thus the person that did it. All this time later it is still taped to the lady’s desk because of the thought that went into the action. This lady could have read the scripture herself and it probably wouldn’t have meant near as much. But, the fact that someone else saw her struggling and thought enough of her to pray for her and put forth the effort to do some little thing that wasn’t expected just to encourage her was and still is a great blessing.

I have mentioned before about the two men that called me when I was in NC Baptist Hospital in October ’83 to have a kidney transplant. I would have thought no less of them if they hadn’t of called and actually wouldn’t have thought anything at all. There were a lot of people I knew that I kind of figured would call if I stayed there long enough and most of them did. These two men were men that I had known from church. One I had known all of my life and the other I just barely knew at all. Of all of the calls I got during that three and a half weeks, those are the two I remember. Why? Simply because they had taken the time to do something that wasn’t even expected of them. One went to my mom and dad’s church and the other one was a member of my childhood pastor’s church and I barely knew him. But here I am almost 36 years later still talking about the action that they took to encourage me.

I have also mentioned before about the lady I went to church with calling me on a Saturday morning to play a song she had recorded off of the radio that she thought would help me. You have to remember this was in a time before we all had cell phones and instant music at the click of a button free of charge. You had either a radio or cassette tapes and that was your choice of music. My point is that she had to put forth a little effort to record that song for me. When she called, my parent were just leaving so I answered the phone. She explained that she had noticed me on Friday night at church when we gathered to pray for the soldiers and our nation during the first Gulf War. Just so no one gets the wrong idea, her and her husband were very good friends of mine. To be honest, I was a still a young preacher in my twenties and was single and the whole church kind of adopted me and babied me as their own. She told me that Saturday morning that the station had announced they were going to play that song right after the news or a commercial so she ran to get a tape recorder. The song was “There’s A Miracle In The Making” for you today. As far as I can remember, there wasn’t anything in particular wrong but the Lord evidently just put me on her heart to encourage me. It worked! By the time we got off of the phone, we were both crying and praising the Lord.

I am not going to bore you with a bunch of personal stories but I will mention a few scripture examples of this kind of encouragement. One was when Moses father-in-law suggested to him that he appoint judges over the more trivial matters of day-to-day life for the Israelites. That was something that he didn’t have to do but obviously he was concerned for his son in law. Another one had to be when the Shunemite woman and her husband built Elisha a small room on the wall of their home. It was a selfless act that they didn’t have to do and no one expected them to. They simply did it to help the prophet of God and give him a place to rest and pray.

That is just a few but my point is that it doesn’t take a whole lot on our part to mean the world to someone else. With just a little effort, you might just make somebody’s day. You never know what your little gesture will do for someone. It may remind them that God hasn’t forgot where they are or what they are going through. And also, just like the lady that played the song for me over the radio; you might just walk away with a great blessing and praising the Lord in your heart.  Talk is cheap but actions really do speak louder than words and last a whole lot longer. Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!

 

JUST BRAGGING…ON HIM

JUST BRAGGING…ON HIM                                                                                                        Andy Hollifield 3-18-19

Well, I guess this will be somewhere between an encouraging post, giving God praise, and just flat-out bragging. I guess everybody is entitled to every now and then. As much as everyone has prayed, you all have a right to brag a little too. I have to tell you about my day and actually my weekend. Most stuff in my life really isn’t that incredible and would definitely be completely boring if I plastered every event of my life on Facebook. I mean, who really cares what I had for lunch Sunday and whether or not I would eat it again?

But, nobody can resist babies. I had the privilege on Saturday to get invited to the current Gideon Home of our ministry which at this point is at Paula and Eric’s house. Both of our girls and our grandsons were going to be there along with almost all of Paula’s family celebrating birthdays. To be honest, it took me back about 45 years or so to my Grandma Walton’s house on Upper Herron Cove in Weaverville. It reminded me of Christmases and family get-togethers.  There with at least nine of us cousins along with about 10 adults and just one big roar in that small house and loving every minute of it. Those are the moments that memories are made of.

As usual, the fun part to me was all of the babies. There was Briley and Cooper which were between two and three, and then Sam, Ranger, and Hetzel in that order. There was also five or six older grandkids of Paula and Eric’s plus three of her kids and spouses along with Paula, Eric, Jacky, Yaudy, Tyler, and myself. To top things off, we even got to see the Mountain Heritage Varsity Girls whip up on a team from down east and bring the state 2A title back to Burnsville. Watching a local team win a championship, enjoying each others company, a wonderful supper, ice cream and brownies, and babies. What a way to spend a Saturday evening.

It even got better on Sunday. I got a text from a good friend early Sunday morning needing directions to Ridgeview where H.O.P.E. Ministries will be doing our Baskets and Blessings Easter basket assembly on Saturday the 23rd at 10 AM. It is always encouraging to know that someone other than me may show up. Then it was off to church at California Creek in Mars Hill to partake of a privilege I have had only once before. Sunday was the baby dedication for Hetzel. When you consider the pathetic lack of care he and Yaudy received from the doula at Mission Hospital that nearly cost Hetzel his life, to see where he is now, what a miracle from the Lord! After eight days in NICU where we weren’t even 100% sure he was going to make it, and now to be the sweet, little, laid-back feller he is, all I can say is God is good. It kept getting better. After church I was approached by a lady that said the Lord touched her heart while I was talking about the ministry. She said she sat there with tears streaming down her face and knew right then that she wanted to talk to me about getting involved with our ministry. Another young man asked for my phone number because he said his parents would love an opportunity to participate in our ministry.

It wasn’t just Hetzel but I also had the privilege for the first time in over a year to be in church with my number one grandson Sam and his mom Jacky. It was a year ago about this time that we were there to help Pastor Josh McDevitt dedicate Sam back to the Lord. Looking back at the last year and seeing the love that God has continued to build between all of us that have been involved with their care is an irreplaceable blessing in my life. As a matter of fact, Jacky was the one who called me about maybe finding Yaudy a place four weeks before she had her baby. I thought it was funny because I knew immediately where she was going to be placed; the same place Jacky had been; with Paula and Eric. To stand behind that pulpit and be able to tell a little about our ministry and to look back there at last years mom and baby and to this years mom and baby standing beside me, just makes a man realize just how blessed he is. Seventeen years ago on Tuesday I believe, is when I first officially formed H.O.P.E. Ministries. To see the important part God is now letting me have in the lives of these young ladies that were complete strangers but are now family is wonderful and humbling beyond words. Never would I have ever dreamed that God would let me be a part of anything so important and rewarding. I want to explain something I said that some may not understand. When I call Sam my number one grandson and Hetzel my number two grandson, it isn’t showing partiality one over another. It is simply birth order and the moms know that. To tell the truth, I wondered if I could ever love another baby like I do Sam. It was only the day after Hetzel was born and I got to see him for the first time that I really understood; God just doubled the size of my heart. Another really special unforseen blessing is to watch Yaudy and her love and care for Sam and also Jacky with Hetzel. To watch them both, being first time mothers and showing love like that for each others kid is truly amazing.

After the service, I met with some dear friends from Peterson Chapel FWB in Burnsville. They were bringing tornado relief supplies from their church for our trip to Alabama this week. It is always a blessing to see Leslie and David and the kids. There are some people who you just meet and link up with and those two are that kind of people. Leslie is the board member for their church on our ministry board. I am finding as I get older, that I am starting to work with people young enough to be my kids that have kids of their own and some even in school while others are now in college. In some respects it makes me feel old. Then on the other hand, it just makes me feel overwhelmingly blessed. Before they had arrived, my cousin Mark Crowder called needing more info on our Baskets and Blessings project for some folks at his home church that had expressed interest when he announced it Sunday morning. I then had a wonderful service preaching at State Street Baptist in West Asheville for my buddy Terry Sprouse on Sunday night.

Let me change something I said. I guess I probably am bragging a little. I don’t know how anybody could be any more blessed than what I am to be doing what I am doing and God getting others interested in helping. I get to do this all the time and on top of that, make mission trips with my son. To have two grandsons so far when I didn’t ever think I would have any, who but God can orchestrate that? Also to have a couple volunteering to let a young pregnant stranger move into their home for two to four months at no charge to them, only God gives people a heart like that. In addition to them, to have their entire family take these young ladies and babies in as part of their family, words cannot express how much of a blessing that is to me and especially to these girls. They have no close family or at least not much and with Paula’s family they have a whole slew of cousins to grow up with! What a mighty God we serve! Well, let me change that again; I am bragging a lot. But when you have a God as big as mine that has blessed me like he has, I have a whole lot to brag about with all of the glory going to him. This has been a little long for a feller that didn’t know what to write when I sat down and didn’t think I had much to say. I guess I was wrong. I have a lot to praise God for. Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!

 

THIS DAY

THIS DAY                                                                                                                                          Andy Hollifield 3-17-19

Genesis 50:20 But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive. (KJV)

Have you ever thought about the words “this day” in the bible? We’ll to be honest, I hadn’t either until my friend Pastor Terry Sprouse mentioned them on a Wednesday night in church. I made myself a note and to my surprise, those two words are used together 310 times in the bible. As I begin to read the times they had been used, I discovered that a lot of times, as in Genesis 50:20, they are used to signify or declare a victorious outcome. A lot of other times, they are used to establish the longevity of something such as saying “to this day.”  I want to look at just a few of the times when it signifies victory.

In Genesis 50:20 the account of Joseph’s life comes to a climax after the death of his Father and his sons had carried his body back to Canaan for burial as Israel had commanded. I guess truthfully the climax was when Joseph revealed himself to his brothers but the happy ending came years later. After Israel had died,  Joseph’s  brothers were concerned that he would exact revenge on them for their treatment of him when they were young. Verse 20 is probably a great relief to them because now they know they no longer have to live in fear. This verse is kind of the “they lived happily ever after” part of the story of Joseph. Before his death, his brothers came and fell down at his feet in total submission to him just as his dream years earlier had said they would. Joseph by this time was not only the spiritual leader of his people, but had also matured as God’s servant. He could now see that in spite of the twists and turns his life had taken, the Lord had him” in the place of God” (19) to preserve the nation of Israel that his family would eventually become. In verse 20 the words “this day” is a way of saying, “this is what God was doing the whole time of our lives to get us right here.” It is a wonderful thing to be able to look back at events in our lives that weren’t comfortable and were sometimes absolutely heart-breaking and be able to see what God was trying to accomplish all along. It is a blessing and great relief to be able to say, “this is what God was doing the whole time to make things how they are “this day” in my life. Our biggest trials in life are to bring us to “this day” to accomplish God’s purpose.

In Exodus 12:14 the words are used to signify a day that is of utmost importance and needs to be commemorated in the lives of those of us that are born again. It was the night of the passover. “This day” will forever be remembered as the day our life was spared and our sins forgiven because the blood of the lamb was applied to the door posts of our hearts. I’m not talking about the Jewish passover but rather the passover in each of our hearts when sin called for payment and Christ applied his shed blood to our hearts when we accepted him as our Savior. Do you realize that the Israelites, just like us, would have perished that night had they failed to have the blood applied as God had commanded?

One of the greatest victories in the bible was actually declared before the battle had been fought. We all love the account of David slaying Goliath, but did you realize that as he first started crossing the battlefield toward Goliath that he told the giant what was about to happen. Somewhere between the time David crossed the brook to face the giant and when he slew him, he not only got five smooth stones as he crossed over, but along the way he picked up some Holy Ghost boldness that he never had before. You never heard David mouthing at the giant till after he crossed the brook. As David and Goliath came closer to each other, Goliath seen he was only a boy and began to disdain or disrespect David and make fun of him and mock him. In verse 44 David told Goliath in so many words, “Come on I’m going to feed you to the birds and beasts.”  He then told him in verse 45, the charges against him and it was that he had defied the God of the armies of Israel. In verse 46 he really spells it out for him. He told him “This day” I’m going to kill you, then chop your head off, and then give you and your army to the birds and beasts. When I’m done with you, the whole world is going to know there’s a God in Israel. He continues in verse 47 and says everybody here will know this is God’s fight and he will give us the victory over you. The rest, as we say, is history.

No doubt David may not have fully understood the significance of the anointing of Samuel on his life. He had probably wondered at times if he was king why he was still out in the field tending sheep.  I am sure he kind of got his feelings hurt when his brother began to mouth off at him and he didn’t understand why he was so mad at him. It is evident that he was disappointed to see the entire army of Israel cowering because of one man. There were no doubt a lot of things in David’s life at this point that he couldn’t fully understand. He also didn’t know that all of that had taken place to get him to this day. This literally was “the first day of the rest of his life.” He left home that morning as just a shepherd. He returned home as a hero soldier and would later become the king of Israel and Judah chosen by God. All of that would have never happened or would have looked a lot different if not for “this day.”

You may be in some situations that you can’t understand why you have to go through. They may even have you on the verge of becoming bitter against the Lord. You may be as frustrated as Joseph and just can’t understand what good could possibly come out of the pain and trouble you are enduring. You may be as scared as Israel was leaving Egypt. God is saying move but your situation still looks the same. You want to be obedient and step out on faith but you are afraid of what might lie ahead, afraid of the unknown.  Like David and Joseph, try as you may, you just can’t make sense out of anything going on in your life. That’s because God hasn’t gotten you to “this day” in your life yet. “This day” that will surely come when God will exalt you. You may never understand everything but God will get you to “this day” in your life where you can at least see that he truly has been working everything for your good (Romans 8:28). Think of the victory you will be passing up and the joy you will miss out on if you don’t stick with the Lord until “this day” comes in your life. Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!

 

WHAT GOD NEEDS

WHAT GOD NEEDS                                                                                                                     Andy Hollifield 3-16-19

Luke 19:34 And they said, The Lord hath need of him. (KJV)

It is said that during The War Of 1812, a meatpacker named Samuel Wilson provided meat for the American soldiers. There was a requirement at that time for contractors to stamp their name and where the food was coming from on all the rations they provided. This story is legend as to the origin of the character Uncle Sam. The initials of the character match the initials of the country; US. One of the popular slogans recruiting soldiers at the time showed this character in stars and stripes garb pointing his index finger straight toward the one viewing the poster with the slogan: “Uncle Sam needs you.”

The same can be said of you and I when it comes to living for the Lord.  I have preached this wrong for years. I have always preached that God didn’t need us but we needed him. That is correct in a manner of speaking. God is still God with or without us but without him, we are lost without hope. As a matter of general service, we are the hands and feet of God. Now, just to keep us humble let me mention this: The bible tells us in three places that the Lord needed “a colt, the foal of an ass.” But you don’t find in those words where he has need of us.  God did tell Ananias that Saul was a chosen vessel unto him.  If we have been born again and he is our Savior, it is because we are a chosen vessel unto him and he has work for us to do.  Jesus told the Pharisees that when it came to worship and praise in Luke 19:40;  that if the disciples “should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.” We can be replaced with a rock but Jesus needed a donkey; that will put us right in our place doesn’t it?

The fact is that God does need us. He could do without us but he chooses to use us. As a matter of fact, not only does he use us but before he ascended back to heaven after his resurrection, he gave us the most important job in the world; His! Jesus spoke in at least two places proclaiming that himself to be “the light of the world.” In Matthew 5:13-16 Jesus declared us to be two different things. In verse 13 he said we were “the salt of the earth” and in verse 14 he said we are “the light of the world.” It is a great honor for the Lord to choose us as his replacement to continue his earthly ministry in leading lost souls to him. He even told us how to do his job. In verse 13 he says in so many words that we will be useless if we lose our savor and can’t season the earth. In verse 16 he said, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” All of his works while he was on the earth were done to glorify the Father and accomplish his will. If we are going to please him, we must conduct ourselves as he did, or simply put: Be a Christian.

In John 12:32 Jesus said, “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.” He was lifted up on Calvary by you and I as the sacrifice for our sins and now he needs us to lift him up as the Savior of the world. He didn’t give that job to donkeys or stones or even angels but he chose us to be his replacement on the earth. It sounds a lot more serious when you say it like that doesn’t it? We are the replacement chosen by the founder of the New Testament church to take over his position and replace him as the light of the world. Hand-picked! Out of all of his creation he chose man to come to this earth and die for, and rise again to live for, and ascend back to the Father to obtain mercy and forgiveness for, and also to prepare to come back for. Puts a new spin on it when you say it like that doesn’t it?  It is a serious job. There is only one thing that God needs. What God needs is us to be the light he intends us to be. We are far more important and privileged than we thought. God don’t make junk, he makes things he needs.  He made you didn’t he?  Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!

 

 

WHOSOEVER

WHOSOEVER                                                                                                                               Andy Hollifield 2-24-17

Revelation 22:17 “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And WHOSOEVER WILL, let him take the water of life freely.

“Whosoever will” is a phrase that is used 13 times in scripture including twice in the Old Testament. The word “whosoever” is used 183 times. The dictionary.com definition is real deep. It says; whoever and whatever person. That’s real theological and profound ain’t it? It doesn’t take a bible scholar or a rocket scientist to figure that one out does it? Most of the times the word whosoever appears, it is referring to some type of judgement. There are a few where it is used with promise of blessing.

Matthew 10:32 “Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.” Another one is in verse 42; “And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward.” Matthew 18:4 “Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” Mark 3:35 “For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother.”  Mark 8:34 “…Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” John 3:15-16 “That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. (16) For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 4:14 “But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst…” John 11:26 “And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die…” John 12:46 “I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness.” Acts 2:21 “And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Acts 10:43 “…That through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.” Acts 13:26 “…whosoever among you feareth God, to you is the word of this salvation sent.” Romans 10:11 “…Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.” Romans 10:13 “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Revelation 22:17 “…whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.”

I know that is a lot of scripture and I don’t normally like to use so much but I felt it needful to show that “whosoever” has access to in Jesus. There were a lot more scriptures that I didn’t write but these were extra special. They all come with a promise of blessings. I am glad that God is liberal in his love and mercy and longsuffering, but conservative in his anger, wrath, and judgment. He even said in James 1:5 “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” The thing I really want to point out is not so much all the promises but just the fact that there are no pre- qualifications. To sum it up I think the main things are; you have to be alive. That discounts any theology of anyone praying us out of hell doesn’t it? You have to come and humble yourself. You can ask others to pray for you all you want to but unless you pray, you can never be saved. You have to call on him. No one else can call on him for you. It is a personal salvation. And the really big thing is that you have to believe. If you don’t believe in him, there is no use to humble yourself and call on him.

I know I am probably doing a lousy job at getting my point across. Whosoever! It doesn’t matter who you are or who your family is. Doesn’t matter if you have been in church all your life or have never been. You can be the biggest sinner ever known and that doesn’t exclude you from God’s love. You can be the best person around but if you have never accepted Christ as your personal Savior, you will not go to heaven. There is nothing you can do; no great works, financial contributions, or anything else that will merit you God’s divine mercy. It doesn’t matter what you’ve done or where you’ve been, God will still forgive. It doesn’t matter who you know or how important you are. If you are alive, you are eligible for God’s love. You could be mean like the demonic of Gadara in Mark chapter 5 or as rich as Nicodemus in John chapter 3. You could live as loose as the woman at the well in John 4 who had five ex husbands and was shacked up when she met Jesus. You don’t have to live in the darkness of your life according to John 12.

My point is you are eligible and qualified. Regardless of your lot in life or the situations you might find yourself in, God still loves you. He gave all the promises I listed in the scripture for you. All you have to do is believe in him and repent of your sins and accept him as your Savior and all of this will be yours. If you are reading this and you have been saved, just look at all the promises you get by being a “whosoever”. Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!