PREACHER JIM'S GEM

August 13, 2021


“BRING US LIGHT”


“To give to His people the knowledge of salvation by the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, 

with which the Sunrise from on high shall visit us, to shine upon those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, 

to guide our feet into the way of peace.” Luke 1:77-79


As hard as she tried, Joni Eareckson Tada could not get into the Christmas spirit. It was Christmas Eve, and she was seated in church with her friends. Candles lined the sanctuary. Boughs of green pine decked with red ribbon were everywhere. A soft snow swirled outside. Everything was perfect—except Joni.

As the congregation sang, she did not feel a single stirring of adoration or praise. “It’s no use,” her heart cried. “I’m a failure.” So she sulked. Then the bittersweet, wistful strains of a familiar carol reached her heart. From “O Come, O Come, Immanuel” came the words. “And ransom captive Israel, that mourns in lonely exile here.” This described her feelings exactly.

The song continued, “O come Thou Dayspring, come and cheer our spirits by Thine advent here; and drive away the shades of night and pierce the clouds and bring us light!” “That’s how I feel!” she cried out in her soul. She bowed and asked the Lord to take gloom away and bring her cheer—and He did!

What happened to Joni happens to all who respond in faith to Jesus—whether they are receiving Him as their Savior or are renewing fellowship with Him. He came to drive away the darkness of guilt and gloom and replace it with the light of His joy and peace.

O Come, Immanuel!


God Bless You, Always!

Preacher Jim Reed, D.V.


P.S. “NO JESUS NO PEACE! KNOW JESUS, KNOW PEACE!”

July 16, 2021


“JUST DO IT”


“Be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” James 1:22


John Wesley said it well. Thousands have echoed it since. “The problem of problems is getting Christianity in the life.” What is it that makes putting the Christian faith into practice so difficult? Maybe it’s because we assume that it’s enough simply to know God’s truth in our heads.

Most of us have heard more sermons than we can count. We may even take elaborate notes on what we hear. We tune into several religious broadcasts on the radio, and we watch a few more on television. We read the Bible regularly. We feel good about what we know. What else is left? The answer is as simple as it is obvious: “Just do it!”

At the end of his initial consultation with a client, the famous psychoanalyst, Alfred Adler would as a perceptive question: “And what would you do if you were cured?” The patient would give an answer. Adler would listen, then get up, open the door, and reply, “Well then, go and do it!”

How do you get God’s truth into your life? The answer is as obvious as it is ignored. In God’s strength, and in loving obedience to Him, just do it!


God Bless You, Always!

Preacher Jim Reed, D.V.


P.S. “WE MASTER THE SCRIPTURES ONLY WHEN 

May 26, 2021


“GONE THE SUN!”


“Your sun will never set again, and your moon will wane no more; the Lord will be your everlasting light and your days of sorrow will end.” Isaiah 60:20


In 1862, during the US Civil War, General Daniel Butterfield wanted a new melody for “lights out.” And so, without any musical training, he composed one in his head.

Years later, the general wrote, “I called in someone who could write music, and practiced a change in the call of ‘Taps’ until I had it suit my ear, and then…got it to my taste without being able to write music or knowing the technical name of any note, but, simply by ear, arranged it.” General Butterfield gave the music to the brigade bugler, and the rest is history.

While there are no official lyrics to the hauntingly familiar strains of “Taps,” here is a commonly accepted version of one verse: Day is done, gone the sun, from the hills, from the lake, from the sky; All is well, safely rest, God is nigh.

What a comforting lyric as faithful members of the military are laid to rest! And what hope in the acknowledgement that God is near, even-especially-in death!

At a time when death and evil reigned, the prophet Isaiah anticipated a day when death itself would die. “Your sun shall no longer go down,” he wrote to Israel, “for the LORD will be Your everlasting light” (60-20).

For those who follow Jesus, the strains of “Taps” are not a funeral dirge but a song of hope. “The days of your mourning shall be ended” (v. 20). All is well. God is nigh.


God Bless You, Always!

Preacher Jim Reed, D.V.


P.S. SUNSET IN ONE LAND IS SUNRISE IN ANOTHER!

May 12, 2021


“INNER STRENGTH!”


“But those who wait on the Lord will renew their strength.” Isaiah 40:31


What sustains believers in Christ when they hear distressing news or when they’re faced with enormous pressures? It’s an inner strength, the strength that comes from God. David said it this way: “The Lord is the strength of my life” (Psalm 27:1).

A study by the Laboratory for Statistical and Policy Research at Boston College bears this out. A devastating flood hit Toccoa Falls, Georgia in 1977, killing 39 and causing $1.5 million in damage. The researchers compared the survivors of that Bible college community with those who lived through similar catastrophes in four other states. The report stated, “On the whole, the people at Toccoa Falls came out very well. They were in better mental health than those in communities who weren’t hit so hard. Their very strong religious commitment gave them an understanding of what happened.”

Author Leslie B. Flynn gave this summary: “In other words, inner strength from their Christian faith enabled the survivors at Toccoa to fare better than others who suffered similar…calamities.”

Have you ever been weakening under pressure? Take the word of Isaiah and “wait on the Lord” (40:31). You will experience His calmness and renewal. Call on Him. He will give you inner strength.


God Bless You, Always!

Preacher Jim Reed, D.V.


P.S. “WITH JESUS ON THE INSIDE, WE CAN WITHSTAND ANY TROUB LES ON THE OUTSIDE!”

April 28, 2021


“UNEXPECTED ALLIGATORS!”


“When tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles.” Matthew 13:21


Long-time actress and comedienne Gracie Allen once received a small, live alligator as a gag. Not knowing what to do with it, Gracie placed it in the bathtub and then left for an appointment. When she returned home, she found this note from her maid: “Dear Miss Allen: Sorry, but I have to quit. I don’t work in houses where there is an alligator. I’d a told you told you this when I took on, but I never thought it would come up.”

Some people who say they’ll serve Christ are quick to leave when trouble comes. In Jesus’ parable of the soils, He pictured the various responses that people have to the gospel. For example, a person may seem to accept God’s truth, but he stumbles in his faith when difficulties arise (Matt. 13:20-21). Such troubles test the quality of one’s faith and expose the weakness of one’s commitment to Christ.

But someone may say, “Shouldn’t our Lord tell us up front what is involved in following Him?” He does. He appeals to us with one invitation: “Trust Me.” If we let trouble or disillusionment shake our faith, we are breaking the spirit of trust that brought us to Christ in the first place.

Father, when life brings us the unexpected and feel like quitting, help us to be faithful, and be fruitful for You.


God Bless You, Eternally!

Preacher Jim Reed, D.V.


P.S. “FOR THE CHRISTIAN, TESTING CANNOT BE SEPARATED FROM TRUSTING.”

April 14, 2021


“LIBERATING LOSS!”


“You do not know what will happen tomorrow.” James 4:14


Life on this sin-warped earth is unpredictable. James reminded us that we don't know what tomorrow will bring (4:14). If disaster comes-an accident, a tornado, an illness-will we surrender to despair? Or even while grieving our losses, will we remain confident of God's wisdom, love, and power, and move on with hope into tomorrow?

Inventive genius Thomas Edison lost his great New Jersey laboratories in an inferno-like fire on a December night in 1914. Yet the very next morning, walking among the still smoldering rubble of those buildings that had housed so many of his projects, Edison, then 67, said, "There is great value in disaster. All our mistakes are burned up. Thank God, we can start anew."

No matter what hopes and dreams and relationships have been destroyed in our lives, with God's help let's prayerfully follow an example far more inspiring than Edison's. Let's resolutely determine, as Paul did, that we will forget the things that lie behind and press forward in our pilgrimage and service (Philippians 3:13-14). Sometimes our Lord must liberate us from the past, even by painful loss, in order to lead us into a more fruitful future. 


God Bless You, Eternally!

Preacher Jim Reed, D.V.


P.S. "GREAT TRIALS OFTEN PRECEDE GREAT TRIUMPHS!

March 30, 2021


“A SURE HOPE!”


“But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep.” 1 Cor. 15:20


Konrad Adenauer, former chancellor of West Germany, once told evangelist Billy Graham, “If Jesus Christ is alive, then there is hope for the world. If not, I don’t see the slightest glimmer of hope on the horizon.” Then he added, “I believe Christ’s resurrection to be one of best-attested facts of history.”

Christ’s resurrection and ours go together. Establish one, and the other is sure. So argued the apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 15. And if Christ didn’t rise from the grave, what’s left? Empty preaching (v. 14), false witnesses (15), a futile faith (v. 17), unforgiven sins, (17), dead loved ones who have perished (vs. 18), and hopelessness (19). The force of this negative reasoning comes from what Paul established in verses 1 through 11. He listed many credible witnesses who saw the risen Lord. Peter (vs. 5), 500 people (v. 6), all the apostles (v. 7), and Paul himself (v. 8). When Socrates lay dying, his friends asked, “Shall we live again?” He could only say, “I hope so.” In contrast, the night before Sir Walter Raleigh was beheaded, he wrote in his Bible, “From this earth, this grave, this dust, my God shall raise me up.” We who trust Christ don’t have to say “I hope so.” Jesus’ resurrection is a sure hope for our coming resurrection.


God Bless You, Forever!

Preacher Jim Reed, D.V.


P.S. CHRIST’S EMPTY TOM GIVES US FULL ASSURANCE OF HEAVEN.

March 17, 2021


“UNANSWERED PRAYER!”


“I pleaded with the Lord three times…And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you.” II Corinthians 12:8-9


The Lord in His wisdom does not grant every prayer. Even Paul did not receive everything he sought at the throne of grace. His “thorn” was not removed; he was just given grace to bear it. Of one thing we can be certain. If our goal is to glorify God, He will give us what we ask, or what we would have asked if we could see as He sees.

Oftentimes I have come to thank the Lord for not granting some request of mine, for in the light of future developments I could see God’s wisdom in denying me the thing for which I had so fervently pleaded.

There are other times we may request things that God will not give us because they are completely contrary to His plan for us. ‘Yet we ask anyways, like the little boy who was overheard saying his nightly prayers: “Please God, make Miami the capital of Florida”. When he had said “Amen,” his mother asked, “Why did you ask that?” “Because”, he explained, “that’s what I put down on my exam paper today”

We must always remember that God’s thoughts are not our thoughts, nor are His ways our ways (Isaiah 55:8). When He says no to us, He has a very good reason for not granting our request.


God Bless You, Always!

Preacher Jim Reed, D.V.


P.S. “YOUR REQUEST DENIED? GOD’S GRACE SUPPLIED!”

March 3, 2021


"EARTHQUAKE!”


"The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust;” Psalm 18:2


The story is told about the time an earthquake struck a small village and caused great fear. One of the residents, however, seemed so calm through it all that the neighbors wondered how she could remain so peaceful and undisturbed. “What is your secret?” someone asked her. “We want to know what keeps you so relaxed while ground we stand on is shaking under our feet. Aren’t you afraid?” The woman simply replied, “No, I’m not. I’m just glad that I have a God who is strong enough to shake the world!” We who know Him as our heavenly Father through faith in His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, can also find comfort and courage in threatening circumstances. We are in the hands of One who is all powerful. Nothing is too strong for Him to control. He is able to care for and protect His own no matter what happens. In those life threatening situations we who are children of God and are trusting in the Lord can experience a deep, settled peace as we relax in the everlasting arms of our all powerful God. And, with the psalmist David, we too can say, “The LORD is my rock and my fortress and deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust.


God Bless You, Eternally!

Preacher Jim Reed, D.V.


P.S. “WHEN THE WORLD AROUND YOU IS CRUMBLING, GOD IS THE ROCK ON WHICH YOU CAN STAND”   

February 3, 2021


“THE MASTER’S APPROVAL!”


…Well done, good and faithful servant….” Matthew 25:21


Rudolph was a young musician in Vienna with a burning desire to write a symphony. Finally the time came when he was able to do so. After writing and rewriting it many times, he showed the score to some friends and asked for their opinion. Without exception they agreed it was an excellent work. But Rudolph continue to labor over it, polishing and perfecting what he hoped would be a masterpiece. At last, he was ready to present it to the public.

The orchestra performed his symphony beautifully. After the last movement ended, there was a brief pause. Then the audience broke out in thunderous applause. Rudolph, however, seemed unmoved until an old white-haired man approached him. Placing his hands on the young man’s shoulders, he exclaimed, “Well done, Rudolph! Well done!” Only then did the young musician smile with satisfaction. He had received approval from the one he wanted most to please-his respected mentor.

That’s how we should view our work—as service for our Master. Recognition from people is encouraging. But we should long to hear above anything else our Lord’s “Well done, good and faithful servant.” It’s the Master’s approval that really counts!


God Bless You, Always!

Preacher Jim Reed, D.V.


P.S. “WHEN YOU DO WHAT PLEASES GOD, GOD IS PLEASED WITH YOU!”   

January 20, 2021


“WHAT SHALL I WEAR TODAY!”


“Put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness and longsuffering.” Colossians 3:12


The alarm goes off. It’s morning already. You lie in bed, thinking.

You ask yourself the same question you ask yourself every morning, “What shall I wear today?”

You brush away the mental cobwebs and think through the day. There’s nothing really important---just the usual routine.

You listen to the clock radio for the weather report. Then you decide: the comfortable blue outfit with the red accents.

What we wear is important. We all want to dress appropriately and look our best. Besides, when we feel that we look good, we go through the day with more energy and confidence.

The Lord Jesus cares about what we wear, but He is more concerned about what we “put on” spiritually. Colossians 3 lists some of the virtues with which we should clothe ourselves

every morning: compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. When we are wearing these, we will deal properly with situations that arise, our friendships will be strengthened,

and we will have the good feeling that comes with knowing we are pleasing the Lord.

How have the days been for you? Pleasant? Or are there troubles? Bad feelings? Anger and hurt?

Maybe you need to put on some new clothes. (Colossians 3:12).


God Bless You, Always!

Preacher Jim Reed, D.V.


P.S. “CHRISTLIKENESS IS NEVER OUT OF STYLE!”

January 6, 2021


“A TESTED STRING!”


“For You, O God, have tested us; You have refined us as silver is refined.” Psalm 66:10


A talented violinist was scheduled to play before a very critical audience. Although she had a fine instrument, she was not satisfied with the quality of its sound. So she said to her father, “This violin must yield its full resonance and vibration of tone. I’m going out to buy some tested strings.”

When asked what tested strings were, she replied, “First they’re put on a rack and stretched and strained to take all the vacillation out of them. Then they are hammered and put through an acid test. This is what enables them to produce a perfect and full tone.” When she attached the tested strings and tuned the instrument, the music was noticeably more warm and rich than before.

If our lives are going to produce beautiful music for the Lord, testing in imperative. We all tend to vacillate. Sometimes we are up; sometimes we are down. Sometimes we are hot; sometimes we are cold. This hinders the spiritual tone God desires. Although we don’t enjoy the stretch, the strain, and the stress, what God-honoring results they can produce!

Just as a tested string gives the highest quality of sound, so Christians who accept their trials and learn to profit from them are able to bring the greatest glory to the Master Musician.


God Bless You, Always!

Preacher Jim Reed, D.V.


P.S. THE TRIALS OF LIFE ARE INTENDED TO MAKE US BETTER, NOT BITTER!

December 2, 2020


“RESPONSE OF LOVE & GRATITUDE”


He has put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God.” Psalm 40:3


Minister and lecturer Thomas DeWitt Talmage (1832-1902) told the story of an accident that occurred on a ferry on one of the Great Lakes. A little child standing by the rail suddenly lost her balance and fell overboard. “Save my child!” cried the frantic mother. Lying on the deck was a great Newfoundland dog, which plunged into the water at the command of his master. Swimming to the girl, he took hold of her clothing with his teeth and brought her to the side of the boat, where both were lifted to safety. Although still frightened, the little girl threw her arms around that big shaggy dog and kissed him again and again. It seemed a most natural and appropriate thing to do.

Likewise, a response of love and gratitude should flow from every person who has been rescued by the Savior through His self-sacrificing death on the cross. He came from heaven’s glory to suffer and die that we might have eternal life. The apostle Paul expressed his gratitude when he wrote, “Giving thanks to the Father who has…delivered us from the power of darkness and translated us into the kingdom of the Son of His love” (Col. 1:12, 13). 

Is your heart filled with praise and gratitude for all that God has done for you in Christ? It is a most fitting response.


God Bless You, Forever!

Preacher Jim Reed, D.V.


P.S. PRAISE IS THE SONG OF A SOUL SET FREE!


November 18, 2020


“THE ASCENSION!”


“Give me understanding that I may know Your testimonies.” Psalm 119:125


Samuel DiPiazza, CEO of a major public accounting firm, co-authored a book on building trust in the business world. The book proposes a spirit of transparency, a culture of accountability, and a people of integrity. But in an interview in Singapore, he noted there is one thing the book cannot teach-integrity. “Either you have it or you don’t, he said.

Is he right? In our world of shifting standards, can integrity be acquired by those who don’t have it? The answer is found in our unchanging standard – God’s Word, the Bible.

David the psalmist did not head a multinational corporation. But he did rule over a kingdom, and he was serious about doing what was right. He recognized how easy it is to slide down the slippery path of unethical behavior simply because it seems advantageous.

So David asked God, “Teach me Your statutes” (Ps. 119:124). “Give me understanding,” he said, “that I may know Your testimonies” (v. 125). David hated “every false way,” and based his life on the principle that “all Your precepts concerning all things I consider to be right” (v. 128).

By studying God’s Word and listening to His Holy Spirit, we can learn to hate falsehood and love integrity.


God Bless You, Always!

Preacher Jim Reed, D.V.


P.S. THE MEASURE OF A PERSON’S CHARACTER IS WHAT HE/SHE WOULD DO IT HE/SHE WOULD NEVER BE FOUND OUT!

November 4, 2020


“THE ASCENSION!”


“I go to prepare a place for you…I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” John 14:2-3


The repeated appearances of Jesus after His death and resurrection brought His followers so much joy that they must have wanted the visits to continue indefinitely. But on the 40th day after His resurrection, having given His disciples final instructions, Jesus slowly ascended and a cloud hid Him from view.

Jesus could have vanished instantly, as He had done previously (Luke 24:31). But He chose to ascend visibly to impress on His followers that this was the end of His visits. His bodily presence would soon be replaced by “another Helper” the Holy Spirit promised in John 14:16. Jesus’ ascension marked the dawn of a new era.

In His glorified human body, the Lord Jesus ascended, entered heaven, sat down at the right hand of God, sent the Holy Spirit (John 14:16-18; Acts 2:33), and now intercedes for us (Rom. 8:34; Heb. 7:25). He permeates the whole universe with His spiritual presence and power (Col. 1:15-23; Eph. 4:10).

An ancient writing says that Jesus ascended bodily into heaven “our entrance to secure, and our abode to prepare” That’s true. But it’s also true that as God, He is always spiritually present with us and will be “to the end of the age” (Matt. 28:20). What a wonderful Savior we have!


God Bless You, Always!

Preacher Jim Reed, D.V.


P.S. JESUS WENT AWAY SO THE HOLY SPIRIT COULD COME AND STAY!

September 30, 2020


“SPIRITUAL CHECKUP!”


“Examine me, O Lord, and try me; test my mind and my heart.” Psalm 26:2


Given a choice, many of us are a little afraid of spiritual checkups. After all, if we check our spirit too closely, we might have to change a habit or two. We might need something like an “attitude-ectomy”.

I suggest that we get over our reluctance. With God’s guidance, let’s undergo a spiritual checkup, using Proverbs 4:20-27 as a checklist.

Ears (vs. 20). Are we hearing God’s Word clearly and with understanding? Are we doing what those words tell us?

Eyes (vv. 23, 25). Are we keeping our eyes on the teachings that will guide us toward righteousness?

Heart (vs. 23). Are we protecting our heart from evil?

Tongue (v. 24). Is our mouth clean and pure?

Feet (v. 26). Are we walking straight toward God’s truth without wavering?

How did you do on your examination? Are there areas where you need to take action? Regular checkups will help you restore your spiritual vitality.


In His Majesty’s Service!

Preacher Jim Reed, D.V.


P.S. A SPIRITUAL CHECKUP IS THE KEY TO SPIRITUAL HEALTH!

September 16, 2020


NOT I, BUT CHRIST!”


“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me.” Galatians 2:20


When we place our faith in Jesus as our Savior, He comes to live within us. Then He works to transform us, replacing our selfishness with Christlikeness. As we grow in grace and in our knowledge of God, our thoughts, words, actions become more and more like our Lord’s.

A.J. Gordon, the 19th century American minister, educator, and author, gave us an example of this process from nature. He wrote, “Two little saplings grew up side by side. Through the action of the wind they crossed each other. By and by each became wounded by the friction. The sap began to mingle until one calm day they became attached. Then the stronger began to absorb the weaker. It became larger and larger, while the other withered and declined till it finally dropped away and disappeared. And now there are two trunks at the bottom and only one father up. Death has taken away the one; life has triumphed in the other.”

If you are a believer, there was a time when you and Christ met and became united. Where are you now? Are you dwelling side by side with Him but trying to run your own life? Or are you yielding to Christ and becoming more like Him? May your motto be, “Not I, but Christ.”


God Bless You, Always!,

Preacher Jim Reed, D.V.


P.S. THE TRIALS OF LIFE ARE INTENDED TO MAKE US BETTER, NOT BITTER!

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