God Will Take Care of You

Some very beautiful scriptures are in my heart today. Passages such as James 4:14, “What is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.” or a scripture from the Sermon on the Mount, “Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?…God takes care of the birds of the air and the lilies of the field…He’ll take care of you also.” (Matt.6:25-34), or “You must put God first! ”
I love a hymn in our hymn books on page 461, “BE NOT DISMAYED WHATE’ER BETIDE” … Verse “Be not dismayed whate’er betide, God will take care of you; Beneath His wings of love abide, God will take care of you. Thru days of toil when heart doth fail God will take care of you; When dangers fierce your path assail, God will take care of you. All you may need He will provide, God will take care of you; Nothing you ask will be denied, God will take care of you. No matter what may be the test, God will take care of you; Lean, weary one, upon His breast, God will take care of you. Chorus: God will take care of you, Thru every day, O’er all the way; He will take care of you, God will take care of you.” Read Matthew 7:7-11 in connection with this song.
This week a friend in Elk City took her life. This is not the first time that a friend has taken their life. A young lady that went to church with us in Hereford, a class mate of Brad’s, took her life. She was married and had a child. While I was preaching at Elk, one of our Deacons took his own life. About two years ago, a close friend with a son in college at OU, took his own life. All these thoughts and other thoughts are flooding my mind today. WHY! WHY! WHY!
I wish I could have spoken to all of these and others. Life is beautiful, truly a blessing from God. Life at its worst…is worth living. Eternity comes soon enough! Enjoy the time that God has blessed you with. Troubles will come, and when they do…”Cast all your care upon God, for He care for you.” (I Peter 5:7).
…Tom

TomTom 09-22-13

I have often read Psalms 90. Part of that chapter of scriptures is as follows: “Lord your have been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever, you had formed the earth and the world. From everlasting to everlasting you are God…A thousand years in your sight are like yesterday when it is past, and like a watch in the night…We have been consumed by your anger, and by your wrath we are terrified. You have set our iniquities before you…our secret sins in the light of your countenance. All our days have passed away in your wrath. We finish our years like a sigh…Who knows the power of your anger? For as the fear of you, so is your wrath. So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” (90:1-12)
Thought provoking??? Our lives have become so filled with obligations that it seems we just don’t have enough time. We have become so occupied with each day’s activities that we never get caught up. We all find a way to fill our lives to the point that there is just no time left. Instead of having control of our lives…our lives seem to have control of us. Scientists tell us that nature abhors a vacuum. The same is apparently true with our lives. We find a way of filling each day with so many activities that we are scheduled for weeks in advance. Some retired folks claim that they are busier now than before they retired.
It might be good for us to take inventory of our lives and see how we spend our time. We might slow down long enough to see what we are doing with our lives. What have we allowed to creep into our lives which now seems to control us. In the parable of the sower, Jesus taught that the person who received the seed among the thorns is like a person who allows the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches to choke the word. We become so focused on our own personal agenda that we forget to focus on the Lord’s work.
Jesus said on one occasion, “I must be about my Father’s business.” Listen friends…Is God’s Business your business or do you need to refocus your personal agenda?
…Tom

Tom Tom 09-15-13

Here lately, some businesses are in a failure mode and we wonder why. Why did that business fail when we thought everything was going good for them? I don’t have the answers for every business that fails. But some fail because those who own the business have been in a failure mode of thinking for several years. You will never succeed if you think every day that you won’t succeed. It’s the old thought… “That which I feared has finally come upon me!”
I went to a funeral probably at least 30 years ago, of a close preacher friend’s granddad. I will never forget something that Michael said as he preached his granddad’s funeral. He said that for years all that his grand- dad talked about was dying. He just knew that his time was short and that he would die very soon…and this went on for at least 10 years. As Michael preached the funeral he said “Well, it finally happened, granddad has passed away…something which has been current upon his mind for the last 10 years. It’s all he thought about.” Michael went on to say that his grand- dad didn’t enjoy living the last 10 years of his life because all he could think about was dying.
After the death of Moses, God spoke to Joshua and promised him success. He told him to go over the Jordan with all the children of Israel and that he would bless them with every place that the sole of their feet walked upon…just as he had promised Moses. He said, “I will be with you and never leave nor forsake you. Just be strong and of good courage and be obedient to the will of God.” It was a no failure promise, but with certain restrictions. They could not fail! (Joshua 1:1-9)
Today, I’m thinking about churches across the land. Why do some of them excel in everything they do…why are some in a continual growth pattern. Is it because they believe the promises that God has made them and they work and serve in keeping with God’s direction? Is their faith strong, do they courageously launch out and stay busy and believe that God intends for the church to succeed? It never was the will of God, for the church to lie dormant. In the Great Commission, followers of Christ were told to go make disciples, baptizing them in the name of the father, son, and holy spirit…and he would be with them to the end of the world. (Matt.28:18-20) They went, the church began, and the church grew. They were programmed for success. I honestly believe that the Hammon Church of Christ is programmed for success. We know that God is blessing us and will bless us and if we put all our confidence in God! …TOM

Tom Tom 09/01/13

So very often we either make the statement or hear the statement: “That was just what I needed!” I believe that churches should be designed to meet needs. Preachers should preach sermons that meet needs. Bible class teachers should teach the Bible to meet needs (actually school teachers, teach to meet needs). When you are meeting needs, then you are doing what you should be doing.
You can’t meet needs, if you don’t know what the needs are…amen! My day is made just a little better, when someone tells me…Tom…I really needed that. I have preached lessons where I wished certain ones had been there…then it dawns on me…I was there and I needed it. I try to preach and teach lessons that I need…and if others benefit then that’s an added blessing.
What do we try to fill our lives with? Happiness, contentment, satisfaction for jobs well done…just to name a few of those things that we must count very important. We should be filling our lives with CHRIST! Paul told Christians at Philippi: “I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord…” (Phil.3:8) Our purpose in life has to be greater than who we are and what we do. Paul told folks in that same church: “For me to live is Christ.” (Phil.1:21) He gave the secret to his life writing to that same church: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Phil.4:13)
Jesus in the Sermon on the mount said several things that sound like this statement from Paul. “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matt.16:25-26)
I love you dearly members of the Hammon Church of Christ…because you help to fill my needs! Keep on Keeping on!!!

Tom

Tom Tom 8/25/13

Today, we finish up a study of the “Life of Christ” in the auditorium. Actually we could continue another 13 weeks very easily, because a study of the Life of Christ is on going in the life of a Christian. We want to know all about His life from very angle. His life gives us hope, inspires us, lifts us up. Sometimes in a study of the Life of Christ, we go through a certain amount of depression because of the nature of the study…looking at His birth is joyful, and looking at His trial and death is sad…but looking at His resurrection excites us and gives us hope. Every church should study the Life of Christ every few years. I don’t ever want to forget what happened to purchase my freedom in Christ. So very thankful for the “Lord’s Supper” that draws us back in memory every Lord’s Day (Acts 20:7).
Because we have studied the Life of Christ, we are reminded of God’s Extreme Love for us (John 3:16), reminded of a Life of Service during the earthly ministry of Jesus, reminded that He is Lord of our life (Matt.7:21), reminded that we are blessed in countless ways (Matt.5), reminded that we are not to worry (Matt.6), not to judge (Matt.7), reminded that He gives us rest and that his yoke is easy (Matt.11), reminded not to act like Scribes and Pharisees of old, reminded of how so very important the church is (Matt.13 & 16), reminded that the Lord will return at an hour we know not, reminded that we should use our talents wisely, reminded that our service to and for the Lord is something that comes natural because of who we are (Matt.25), reminded of the Lord’s desire that we remember his death every first day of the week (Matt.26), reminded that He died for you and me and wants me to go everywhere preaching the good news (Matt.28), and that He has promised to be with us to the end!

Tom

Tom Tom 08/04/13

Several years ago, ABC television produced a documentary entitled: “Peter Jennings Reports…THE SEARCH FOR JESUS.”  What ABC claimed was that it was an unbiased account of the anchorman’s “search” for Jesus via academic scholars and trips to Palestine. However, what resulted was a showcase for the most liberal views imaginable.

One thing the show produced was an attempt to divorce Jesus from being the divine Son of God. Reference was made to Albert Schweitzer in his work entitled “The Quest of the Historical Jesus.”  In it he was critical of previous attempts to discover the “real” Jesus. He was delusional and about the only thing he verified was that Jesus was a “Great Man.” Jennings also looked at the work of Rudolf Bultmann who saw Jesus as a “husk” of “mythology” recorded in the New Testament. He felt that with no more information than what we had, we knew very little about Jesus????

Thus the “Jesus Seminar” was begun. In the reference to so-called scholars in this seminar, they attempted to determine what Jesus really said” as opposed to what they thought was added later by Jesus followers. The method they employed was terrible. The scholars actually voted on each Biblical passage as to what they thought was taught. They even color coded it. By casting color-coded beads into a box.  Red meant “Jesus undoubtedly said this.”  Pink meant, “Jesus probably said something like this.” Gray meant “Jesus did not say this, but an idea close to what he really believed.” Black meant, “Jesus did not say this…and was probably linked with tradition.”

Since the time of this “Jesus Seminar”, many books have been written to either prove Jesus or disapprove Jesus. In the final analysis…scholars do not determine truth. Only God’s Word does that. Jesus said, “You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.” (John 8:32). Paul told Timothy that all scripture is breathed from God (2 Tim.3:16,17). Peter said that holy men of God spoke (II Peter 1:20,21).

People must search for Jesus…but search the Bible…not scholars of a wicked world of unbelievers.

TOM

Tom Tom 07-28-13

Sometimes in discussing life in general, especially among Christian folks, someone will ask the question… “Are you liberal or conservative?”  Not an easy task to answer that question.  In some areas we need to be liberal and in others we should be conservative.  Liberal with our service to the Lord, liberal with our love for our fellow-man, liberal with our finances toward the church, liberal with the time we devote to family…and the list continues.  In other areas we should be conservative.  Conservative in regard to our following of Bible principles in our manner of life, conservative in our reckless spending of our money, conservative in the offering of advice to folks who didn’t ask for our advice, conservative in our meaningless promotion of self to the exclusion of others worth…and the list goes on.

Was Jesus a liberal or a conservative?  If he lived physically in Hammon Oklahoma, would he be a Republican or a Democrat?  Kind of a silly question and the answers are equally silly…right?  Some folks love to put people in little boxes in reference to how we think they believe or act.  Be careful about using scriptures to pigeon hole certain people.  Does scripture address Jesus’ political leanings? It may be surprising to learn that it does not.  In fact, the only time Jesus himself addresses the matter is in John 18:36.  He told Pilate, “My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.”  The language could hardly be any clearer.

Jesus had a strong economic philosophy? In the parable of the laborers who all received the same wages, he taught that all people who submit to the will of God will receive eternal life. In the parable of the talents, he illustrated the classic free-market enterprise system.

In social issues, Jesus consorted with sinners. He dined with sinners, talked to women, reached out to the Samaritans. To the woman caught in adultery, Jesus said, “Go, and sin no more.” (Jn.8:11). In a spiritual vein, Jesus said: “If you love me, keep my commandments.” (Jn.14:15). In the sermon on the mount he said, “Not everyone that says Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of my Father.” (Matt.7:21).

QUESTION… Is the Hammon Church of Christ liberal or conservative. ANSWER… We are just Christian folks doing God’s Will to the best of our ability. In some ways liberal and in others conservative. Label us if you must…but be careful with your descriptive phrases! That might label you?????                  

                                                                                            …TOM

Tom Tom 07-21-13

TomTom

 

What causes folks to quit…quit living faithful Christian lives, quit being faithful for every worship opportunity, to quit a marriage…the list goes on.  Some folks are quitters! They lack staying ability to the long haul.  I have known lots of folks in my life that went strong in the Lord for a time and then quit.  With most of them it was a slow gradual process that brought about them quitting. With some, the quitting came about because they changed friends, with others they changed jobs, or with others their health took a turn for the worse.

The Christians of Galatia were going through a quitting process. The reason that some gave was the false teachers that had come in and confused them.  They did not know who or what was right any more and they were thinking of leaving the truth that Paul had taught them. Paul heard of their condition and quickly wrote a letter by the Spirit’s inspiration, to help keep them from falling (1:6; 3:1,4; 4:11, 19; 5:7; 6:9).  Paul wanted them to know that if they quit the church they would be quitting God or forsaking God (1:1-6).  God was the one who was powerful enough to raise Christ from the dead. He is the one who created them. He gave them every blessing they had ever enjoyed. He did not leave them alone, but tried to direct their lives.

If they quit the church, they would be forsaking God’s Grace (1:6) Grace = God giving us favor that we do not deserve. The emphasis in the book of Galatians is on Grace (1:3,6,13; 2:9, 21; 5:4; 6:18).  If they quit the church they would be forsaking the Gospel (1:7-9). There is only one true gospel…many imitations, but only one gospel. Many will be lost at the judgment (Matt.7:21-23).

If the Galatian Christians gave up on the Church, they would be giving up on the Christ who died for them. It’s a serious thing to forsake the Church.  This Christians needed to awake to understanding the nature of the church. These Christians needed to know what they were doing when they forsook the One who died for them. Where would we go if we left the church?

 

                                                                       Tom

TomTom 07-14-13

What do you like about the Hammon Church of Christ? That it is STRONG, in the Faith? What do you like about the Hammon Church of Christ? That we sincerely love one another.  I can name a lot of reasons that I like this church. Hopefully, the preaching and singing lift this church up in a lot of folks hearts and minds.  If you had your choice within ten churches of Christ in the brotherhood, would the Hammon Church of Christ be in that top ten? Would it be in first place?

One thing that lifts up this church for me is our children, our youth. We have beautiful talented children and youth.  I am so very proud of our children. I look forward to them being in the assembly.  When the families are absent who have the children or young people…a big hole is left in the assembly. Is there anything that we can do to make them happy to be a part of this church?  Do we encourage them enough? Do we provide things in our classes and worship times that include them and make them feel important?  Are we training them to be Bible Class teachers, song leaders, young men to wait on the Lord’s Table, help get the count of the services, help to mow the grass…the list goes on.  Our youth must know that we count on them and that when they are absent…we miss them. Let’s all help families to bring up their children in the admonition of the Lord. (Eph.6:4)

Set a good example to our children and teenagers.  Encourage them to sing, help them find the numbers in the hymn books. Encourage them to listen to the sermon. (You might even encourage them to take the bulletin and follow along in the sermon outline.) Parents, prepare your children at home for the worship and study time.  Tell them why we baptize, why we sing without an instrument, why we partake of the Lord’s Supper.

I’m so very thankful that you worship with us on a regular basis here at the Hammon Church of Christ!

…Tom

Tom Tom 6-30-13

TOMTOM
We all are faced with decisions that only we individually can make. Many, many times the decisions that we make either boost our productivity or stop all activity. Some times we even wonder after the decision has been made…why did we choose the course of action that we choose. The prophet Joel in chapter 3:14 speaks of being in the “valley of decisions.” We have all been there and done that. Daily we come to the valley of decisions. It is a wonderful experience if the decision made helps to enable you to rise and climb the mountain of faith. But, sadly enough, it is a shameful thought if one weakens in this valley and goes down, down, down into the cavern of doubt, fear, and failure.
Decisions are far-reaching. Sometimes it seems an insignificant matter to decide on a course of action in little things, and yet the outcome may mean success or failure, happiness or misery, life or the never-ending state the Bible calls “the second death.”
With our youth…sometimes the decisions look like this: “Shall I sneak around and do this even though my parents disapprove? Shall I go to this place of questionable reputation? Shall I drink intoxicants or be an abstainer? Shall I become a Christian or wait?” These and other decisions are difficult to make for our children, that we have raised, hoping that they would always make the right decisions.
For those of us who are a little older…our decision making time sometimes catches us off guard. “Shall I accept this position that might interfere with my Christian responsibility? Shall we move to another town or state? Shall I be firm with my children, or let them have their way? Shall I be strong in the Lord, or be a weak and indifferent Christian? Shall I sacrifice principles? Shall I study the sacred scriptures and meditate upon them day and night, or shall I let the dust accumulate on my Bible? Shall I tell a nasty story or hear one?”
Joshua, in the “valley of decision” becomes the shining example of the ages, as we read his immortal words: “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:15)
…Tom