Archive for April, 2017

Judge Righteously

“Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.” – John 7:24

One of the biggest misconceptions is that Christianity is a religion. That comes from sociology whereby sociologists categorize and lump all the world religions together and because they know no different they include Christianity. Nevertheless, let me point out that religion involves a system of rules and regulations empowered by laws and commandments. In short, religion is “do” oriented – whereby man to tries to get to God. What sets Christianity apart from all the world religions is that Christianity is a relationship based upon grace, mercy, and forgiveness empowered by love. In short, Christianity is “done” oriented – whereby God came down to man in order to be the “author and finisher” of our faith (Hebrews 12:2).

Just because all other world religions claim to be worshipers of a god it appears to the world that Christianity is just another religion – one among many. This demonstrates that outward appearances can be very deceptive.

In 1884 a 15-year-old boy died of Typhoid fever. Days after the funeral his grieving parents met with the president of Harvard University, Charles Eliot. Mr. Eliot met with the boy’s parents, who were dressed in ordinary attire, and he asked what he could do. They expressed their desire to fund a memorial in their son’s name. Mr. Eliot hastily said, “Perhaps you have in mind a scholarship?”   The parents said, “We were thinking of something more substantial than that… perhaps a building.” In a condescending way Mr. Eliot explained to the parents that their desire would be too expensive, and so they departed. Later the next year, Mr. Eliot learned that the parents had gone elsewhere and established a $26 million memorial in the name of their son Leland Stanford Junior, better known today as Stanford University!

Our opening scripture is one of the lesser-known passages in the New Testament. The Lord Jesus spoke these words as a rebuke to the Jewish religious leaders of His day. These law-oriented religionists criticized Jesus for making a man completely well on the Sabbath. They could not rejoice in the healing of this infirmed man by the hand of Jesus. They wandered away from the mercy that God delights to show (Hosea 6:6; Matthew 12:7) and had exalted the Sabbath day above hurting souls. To them it appeared that Jesus broke the Sabbath, but Jesus was Lord over the Sabbath (Matthew 12:8).

If you have not noticed, Jesus is instructing us to judge – but only according to righteousness!  Are you surprised?  Most people are.  If we find ourselves in a sticky situation it is better not to judge at all (Matthew 7:1), but if one is in the place where a judgment must be made. Let us take the words of our Lord and judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteously according to mercy, grace, and love.

David C. Hale, pastor



Lifting Up Praise

“Bless the LORD, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy name!   Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits.” – Psalm 103:1,2
          This Psalm is unique with its intimate sweetness and sentiments of gratitude to God for His mercies.  The writer uses the word “bless” which, as applied to God, means to praise Him with a strong affection of gratitude.  While another word, “soul” is repeated to emphasize that our praise to the LORD should come from our inner most being.  All that is within us, our heart, our will, affection, motives, emotions and reason are to be used as expressions of praise to our LORD and Savior – our Great God!  The idea is, that God is worthy of all the praise and adoration that the entire man can render.  What is so often missed is that praising the LORD starts from our soul-being, and not from an artificial atmosphere within a church service.  We all could agree that the early church that we read of in the book of Acts was spirit filled lifting up praise and blessings to God.  The first century Christians is our example, and we see that they praised the LORD without laser-light shows, drama performances, or any other such worldly methods.  The writer of this psalm had a heart for blessing and praising the LORD and he saw that none of his faculties or powers within him should be exempt from the privilege of declaring his admiration and honor toward God’s holy name.
          We have the great privilege to bless the holy name of the LORD because all that we have and all that we are comes from the LORD.  “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning” James 1:17.  Therefore we are to bless our LORD with all of our being and not forget all the glorious things He does for us, which works for our benefit.  I challenge you to read this psalm and notice how it is recorded that the LORD forgives all of our sins and has removed them as far as the east is from the west.  It is also recorded that He heals us.  He ransomed our lives from hell.  He surrounds us with loving-kindness and tender mercies.  He fills our life with good things whereby we are renewed and strengthened.  Therefore, is He not worthy to be praised?
          I encourage you to join me in asking God to search our hearts so that we would let all things go that we have unintentionally adopted in our praise that are not biblical.  As we lift up our voices in praise may it first originate from our heart-soul-being whereby we see the greatness of our LORD God who is worthy to be praised!
David C. Hale, pastor

Compassion and Life

Then He came and touched the open coffin, and those who carried him stood still. And He said, “Young man, I say to you, arise.” So he who was dead sat up and began to speak. And He presented him to his mother. – Luke 7:14,15


As the Lord Jesus taught throughout the cities of Galilee, He and His disciples came to the village of Nain. As He approached the city there was a large funeral procession. The young man being carried out was the only son of a widow. When Jesus saw the mother, His heart overflowed with compassion for her and He said, “Do not cry.” Then He graciously walked over to the open coffin and touched it, and as the pallbearers stopped and stood still Jesus said, “Young man, I say to you, arise.”

As the sovereign words proceeded out from the Lord Jesus the power of life was infused into this young man’s dead body so that he became alive. The young man who was dead sat up, and then in a tender moment Jesus presented the son back to his mother. As the news of this spread, great awe swept throughout the land with all the people giving praise to God.

During Jesus’ ministry we find Him in many different places teaching the gospel and engaging the people. We find Jesus in the market place (John 5:1-9). We find Jesus in the temple (John 5:14; 7:14). We find Jesus in the synagogue (Mark 3:1; John 18:20). We find Jesus on a mountainside (Matthew 5:12). We find Jesus by the seaside (Mark 4:1). When we read the scriptures we find our Lord Jesus in many different places, except for one – a funeral!

We never read of Jesus attending a funeral, burying someone, or even preaching a eulogy. In our opening scripture Jesus stops a funeral. Why is that? It is because Jesus is life (John 6:47; John 11:25; John 14:6). John the Baptist testified that, “In Him was life; and the life was the light of men” (John 1:4). Jesus is the very opposite of death. So having the very essence of life flowing out of Himself that is why every time we read about any dead people around Jesus, He showed compassion and they were raised to life.   Just ask Lazarus (John 11:43,44).

What a wonderful lesson for those of us who claim the name to Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. We should have the desires to exemplify compassion and testify of the eternal life found in Jesus to those around us. How many times do we get caught up in our busy schedule and forgo the opportunity – due to inconvenience? No one was more inconvenienced and taken advantage of than Jesus, yet He took time to stop a funeral procession.   I’m sure this mother was glad that Jesus was not too inconvenienced to share His life.


David C. Hale, pastor