Pastor's Devotional

  1. Hold Fast

    But that which ye have already hold fast till I come. Revelation 2:25

    Dear Congregation,
          The visible church on earth has for many centuries been titled the Church Militant. The term carries with it a sense of action, a movement for a cause, a passion for something that must be done. This is a helpful thought for us as the Scripture often puts the Christian life in militaristic terms. We are told to be good soldiers of Jesus Christ, to fight the good fight of faith, and to make sure we have our spiritual armor on. Our faith is one that requires us to go on the offensive. We all value evangelism and mission. We all should want to be part of that work and should daily seek out how we as members of the Body of Christ can participate in that calling. And yet, it is worthy to remember that unless what we are fighting for is kept true and pure, there is no point to offensive mission at all.
              The above verse is spoken by our Lord to His church in Thyatira. It is a congregation that has love, service, faith, and patience, but has been led astray by false teaching. God’s message has been twisted. Because of this the faithful among them are burdened and have a fight on their hands that seems too much to handle. To them the Lord says hold fast what you have. How encouraging these words still are to a church in our own century. It is easy for a faithful Christian to despair at the work that must be done. The unbelief, apathy, cruelty, ignorance, and falsehood often seem more than any congregation can handle. Yet, when truth and righteousness are held up, kindled, and cherished, this may have an effect on the strength of a church greater than all the offensive campaigns that can be devised. In holding fast we are exercising faith and reliance on our great commander. In holding fast we are displaying an obedience to the One who uses us in His plans of action. In holding fast we are recognizing the peace that passes all understanding keeping our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Holding fast does not negate evangelism or mission, in fact it deepens its quality.
              If you feel overwhelmed by the problems in the news, distresses in your family, uncertainty with your health, or lack of faith amongst your loved ones, hold fast. The verse above also reminds us that He is coming and the mission He has given us will be completed. The verse twenty six tells the church that the faithful will have power over the nations. Your allegiance to Christ is right. Your actions for His kingdom are not in vain. Your zeal for orthodoxy brings great reward. Occupy till He comes. Redeem the time, for the days are evil. Hold fast in your love for Christ, His Gospel, His church, His coming. He eternally holds fast for us. He has won and will see you through in that victory.
    Hold Fast In Christ,
    Pastor Basile


  2. His Divine Power

    Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue. II Peter 1:2-3

    Dear Congregation,
           These words of the apostle are precious and encouraging. You can never go wrong praying for, relying upon, meditating on, humbling your self with, studying, seeking, or remembering the divine power of God. In fact we are told that all things that pertain unto life and godliness are given to us by divine power. Superheroes, fictional characters with magic powers like Harry Potter, Gandalf, and the Jedi, are all very popular in our culture. The non Christian craves a godlike power of some sort because the non Christian is empty and alone. She goes through the day with all of life’s problems being her sole responsibility to fix and deal with. She imagines a better world where a spell or the movement of her hands can fix things and make things better. The fantasy is of coarse only that. However, you, Christian have been gifted by the divine power of God almighty. Consider your gifts.
              All things that pertain to life and godliness. You have eternal life because of the divine power of God; you will never die, will never know judgment or hell, and can never be harmed by failure. God gave you that. In addition, you have been equipped to live a life outside of yourself and your needs, to keep your affections on Christ and His kingdom. Every scrap of Christ like virtue and character that you display and grow into is also gifted to you by His hand so that you can have a life of Biblical success and peace. How marvelous that we do not have to be powerful because our Lord’s power is all sufficient.
              Perhaps this just seems too optimistic, too unrealistic? You believe, but you are not harnessing this divine power enough to delight in the above paragraph. Take note that the passage uses the word knowledge twice. The divine power is harnessed by our knowledge of God. That is, both our mental understanding and our relational bond. We will not appreciate the divine power unless we know the One who gives it. Knowing God is all important! Reformed Presbyterians value preaching, instruction, theology, and proper attention to detail because God’s Word tells us to do so. Without a study of Him there can be no relational passion. How can you truly delight in someone you only casually know? We need to be reading, studying, and meditating on the Word as the Psalmist commends in 1:1-2. Without that knowledge, the divine power that gives us everything else will appear weak and anemic. Take time to learn, read, talk, study, apply, and then His power will give you the love and passion to rejoice, share, serve, love, and delight in one another as you delight in Him. Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. The power behind all the Universe is intimately acquainted with you and your struggles. Learn of Him, walk with Him, and you will know His rest, peace, and power.
    In Christ,
    Pastor Basile

  3. Faith In The Least

    He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much. Luke 16:10

    Dear Congregation,
              As much as we speak of God’s grace, and praise Him for it, it strikes me how often we let it slip from our concentration and absorption. In the above passage, our Lord tells a parable that often confuses the reader. Among its varied applications is one which reminds us that faith and grace are so elementary to our salvation that their effects cannot be falsely manufactured. Christ has called us to Himself and has justified us, is sanctifying us, and will glorify us. Through all this He has given us our station, talents, personality, etc. He has also called us to a particular ministry. In concrete terms the above verse teaches that when faithful in small tasks, we will likewise show faithfulness in larger ones. However, I wish to direct your thinking to an additional aspect.
          All that is of great eternal value is given to us by faith and grace. Because I believe the Gospel, I therefore inherit a kingdom and life eternal that is beyond my earthly comprehension. The least amount of faith brings with it so much reward. In this world we are constantly bombarded by pressures and fears. The “what ifs?” of life easily haunt us. But in Christianity the “what ifs?” are not to worry us or crush us. My Lord has it all in hand. I often share as part of my testimony that I was convicted of a call to gospel ministry at the age of sixteen. What I do not often share is that during a period of time in college, before grace was an element I understood more fully, I wondered whether the pastorate was for me. My doubts came as a result of the position being held up as one for super men who could not fail, could not be ignorant, could not sin, and always had to be marble men in a fish bowl. In that light, I would make a better history teacher. With grace I came to understand that all I really needed to do was trust and depend upon the Lord. To have faith, and then God would sort out and give the increase. What a burden lifted!
              Perhaps you are going through a rough week, month, year, or decade? Perhaps you feel inadequate, that your life does not mount up to enough? That you need to prove more before you die? I suggest you remember grace and faith.  While I am  still relatively young, I have adopted a contentment in the realization that my life could be over tomorrow. I refuse to live a life where I am afraid of not meeting an earthly goal. May I simply be faithful to my Lord even in the least of things. Be faithful! Your Lord has plans and purpose to use you for His glory in ways that may seem small to you, but not to Him. Be humble! You are of Him and through Him and to Him! Rejoice! For He has saved you and loves you. He has given you much by grace through faith and will continue to do so through all eternity. Your faithfulness in even the smallest of things counts for much in the only court that really matters. Rest in your Savior!
    In Christ,
    Pastor Basile

  4. Fear The Lord!

    Come, you children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord. Psalm 34:11

              Are you saved? If you know what that means, and can answer yes, then you know the fear of the Lord. For you, the fear of the Lord is a reverent loving fear. One is which there is no terror or angst, but a tremendous respect, devotion, worth, and desire to please. If you’re saved, you fear the Lord because you know who He is and what He has done for you. You know what you deserved before you were saved and you know what you truly deserve now. You fear the Lord because you know that there are no expectations in this world and all goodness comes from Him alone by grace.  You fear the Lord because there is no one and nothing else to fear in all of existence. To live in the fear of the Lord causes us to live rightly, joyfully, peacefully, safely, and eternally. Fear the Lord!

              If you are not saved and that concept has no meaning for you, then the fear of the Lord is something that you also know all too well. You know the fear of the Lord with every worry, with every stress, with every care, with every loss. You know the fear of the Lord with every hardship and illness, with every reminder of death and mortality. Every time you make a mistake or do something wrong you are reminded of the fear of the Lord. That sickening oppressive feeling in your gut that you try to escape with entertainment, chemicals, people, work, celebration yet always seems to return, is a reminder of the fear of the Lord. You may deny the Lord God and pretend He does not exist but the pressures of life that cause you to be afraid are only hints at the fear that is to come. If you are not saved, the fear of the Lord is not a reverence, but a terror, one that you do well to heed and work out. That fear has only one antidote and that antidote is Good News! God graciously gave you an escape from terror in sending His Son to earth to die for your sins and make you His child. Christ died to save sinners. In sin you are right to be terrified. In salvation you are right to lovingly fear. Learn the fear of the Lord and know Christ.

              I am convinced that when the fear of God is taught in society the positives outweigh the negatives. Theology can be abused and misapplied to be sure. However, everyone needs to know the fear of the Lord. I would never have become a Christian if I did not know a fear of judgment. Churches need to teach the fear of the Lord to their member so that His honor and glory is first in their lives. Churches need to teach the terror fear of the Lord to the world so that they have no choice but to repent as a result of that fear. A society that is accountable to a higher power is more prone to do right. Even when a non believer acts out of sheer fear of judgment, if he acts rightly it is better than the alternative. Churches that want to see revival and want to please Christ must teach the fear of the Lord. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge and wisdom. The fear of the Lord leads to repentance and right living. The fear of the Lord leads to the necessity of Christ and His free gift of eternal life!

    In Christ,
    Pastor Basile

  5. Give Thanks!

    Sing unto the Lord O ye saints of His and give thanks at the remembrance of His holiness. Psalm 30:4

    Dear Congregation,
           When you observe secular attempts at Thanksgiving the word thankful is used and is most often applied to visible and physical things. The more heart felt secularist may express a gratitude for the relations in his or her life. My question is, who or what are they thankful to? The expression of thanksgiving comes from a theistic world view and really cannot exist outside it. The Christian can marvel and thank God for the blessings and comforts he or she has been given, but even then a sense of merit may be lurking beneath the expression. The Scripture most often calls the Christian to give thanksgiving for God and His works. Thanksgiving for Grace is true gratitude. Psalm 30 redirects us towards this foundational exercise.
              When times are good and comfortable, Sing unto the Lord and give thanks at the remembrance of His holiness. When life is miserable, physical pain is overwhelming; family has abandoned you, and tomorrow could be worse, sing unto the Lord and give thanks at the remembrance of His holiness. The wonder of being an eternal saint is that when your life fluctuates, God does not and His holiness is still worth singing about.
              Because He is holy, He sent His son to live a perfect and holy life and accomplish salvation where we cannot because we can never achieve holiness. Because He is holy, He has brought us up from the eternal pit of hell and given us the status of son or daughter with everlasting life, joy, and peace! Because He is holy, we know that whatever hardship we are facing will eventually pass away and be remembered not more. Because He is holy we have more than temporary comfort to find security in. Because He is holy, you o saint can always sing His praise. A secularist may pretend at a brief shallow thanksgiving but you Christian can give thanks beyond any for Christ died for you. No matter what happens in this life, we can give thanks to Him forever!!
    In Christ,
    Pastor Basile