Pastor's Devotional

  1. 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

  2. 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
             

  3. He Does What He Will

    All the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing;
    He does according to His will in the army of heaven
    And among the inhabitants of the earth.
    No one can restrain His hand
    Or say to Him, “What have You done?” Daniel 4:35

    Dear Congregation,
          These words were spoken by King Nebuchadnezzar after he been restored to sanity by the Lord and recognized that though He was the most powerful ruler in his known world, he still was not anywhere close to being God. Personally, I love this verse as it is a reminder to me that there is no event or circumstance that is worth panic, frustration, or anxiety. When we do panic, we are forgetting the purpose and force behind our reality. When I was in younger elementary school I was part of a little league baseball team. I think I mentioned before how I contributed little or nothing to the sport. However, in fourth grade, an event burned into my memory and stayed with me through life circumstances. I remember our team in the middle of a game losing badly. I remember sitting in the dugout watching the coach react to a particularly bad strike out. He began to bang his head against the cinderblock wall of the dugout in frustration. Even as a kid I recognized that this was not worth that type of reaction. Our understanding of God helps us to see our negative reactions in much this same light even when they appear to us as important.

              It is necessary to remember that Christian rest is not fatalism. The outsider may interpret it as such as we rest in whatever God sends as right. But in fatalism, humanity is trapped in a string of events without purpose or hope. The Christian not only knows there is purpose behind events but also personality. That personality is what gives us the satisfaction with God’s will. He has told us who He is, what He has done for us and where we will be going. He has told us that he loves us. He has sent His Son to live like us and die for us so that we have become His Sons and daughters undeservingly. This can never be said about cold empty fate.

              So the question for our hearts is still why does life frustrate and scare us so much. The Gospel teaches us to love Christ more than wealth, parents, children, siblings, health, safety, food, or any earthly provision. When we come to a place of knowing God and loving God so well that none of these things matter, then we find our true rest because our only satisfaction is in Him. We can love our family without fearing their loss because we love God more. We don’t have to worry about loved one’s salvation even though we pray for it. He does what He plans on doing and no one can stop Him or even dare challenge Him by asking what He thinks He is doing. We bow the knee, we trust, we obey, and we find our satisfaction totally in Him and His instruction. We have peace even when we do not get the results we would like in life. Enjoy Him alone, Glorify Him alone, rest in what He ordains, for Hi alone is right.
    In Christ,
    Pastor Basile

  4. Call Upon The Lord

    “And it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. For in Mount Zionand in Jerusalemthere shall be deliverance, as the Lord has said, among the remnant whom the Lord calls.” Joel 2:32

    Dear Congregation,
              This is one of those verses that comes at the end of an unsettling passage and offers its own clarity and a respite. In Joel chapter two we read about the great and terrible day of the Lord. The description of that day is one we consider with some trepidation. The Scriptures make it clear that the enemies of God and those who have refused to believe in Him will not fare well. While we intellectually recognize they get what they have earned, it still does not comfort us to hear it. So the above verse is one that soothes and redirects our attention to where it needs to be. The day may be terrible but the Lord will save those who call upon Him and trust in Him.

              It always amazes me when I read through the Old Testament and particularly the prophets, to see that the attitudes of their day parallel our own society. When times are good and the harvest is plentiful, God’s commands are forgotten and new religion is explored. Amazingly, when the times are bad and people are suffering, God is cursed and still disbelieved. Humanity has the same pattern through the millennia. Yet, we can be thankful that the Lord God also has consistency through the ages. The remnant in any century that believes in and calls upon the Lord will be saved! His mercy is everlasting.

              As a twenty first century church we are naturally unsettled when we encounter so much unbelief. We want to see people come to faith and yet so much seems to act as a barrier to that. Our struggles are no different than what the true remnant church has dealt with in biblical times or in all of history. When the Holy Spirit convicts a person, he or she recognizes they are without hope and calls upon the name of the Lord. If that person has hope in something material they will not call upon the Lord. We can thank God that we see our brokenness and that He alone can fix it. We pray for revival, perhaps we should also pray for desperation. Pray for people to know the need of God. In the great and terrible Day of the Lord He will be the needed lifeline. Calling upon him will be so soothing and overwhelmingly satisfying. May it be so now! Praise Him that He has made belief in the Gospel so simple, that it has not changed and we can call upon Him any time any where and know His salvation, His presence, and His peace.
    In Christ,
    Pastor Basile

  5. God Sees and Works

    Then He said to me, “Son of man, have you seen what the elders of the house of Israel do in the dark, every man in the room of his idols? For they say, ‘The Lord does not see us, the Lord has forsaken the land.’ ” Ezekiel 8:12

    Dear Congregation,
         This passage gives us another glimpse into the actions and attitude of backslidden Israel in the days near the captivity and exile. Ezekiel is shown abominable acts committed by leaders on temple property. The verse highlights that they ceased to fear the Lord and feared only the criticism or judgment of other people. Not only that, but they created their own new theology concerning God. Since God was largely speaking through a minority of prophets at this point in history they could dismiss God as having abandoned the land or earth. God did not see them because they had declared it so.
              First lets remember that we do not get to dictate or decide what God can and cannot do. We also cannot make assumptions about God based on our own experiences. All of our understanding of the Lord must come from His revealed Word. Therefore God always sees all things, God is always with His true people despite appearances, and God will always have final justice and victory no matter how it may appear to the contrary. I have often noted in Sunday sermons how people do not change through history, and their actions are cyclical. We can say much of our own culture, indeed, even of “Christians” today to match the above verse. People as a whole can recognize evil generally yet they still practice it because in secret there is the pretense of privacy. Society has dismissed God from the largest public forums because as they judge it, He has abandoned the Earth or never existed. Therefore we have become the law makers and the law breakers. What we know from Ezekiel’s prophecy as a whole is that these elders were terribly mistaken. So the modern idolaters and leaders who dismiss God’s word are as well.
              We as the Bible believing church in the 21st century can take warning from this passage and also be encouraged by it. God has not forsaken the earth or His church and His Word is still powerful and effective despite what our news and entertainment sources would like us to believe. When society walks away from the path of Christ we know that God is neither ignorant of nor powerless to deal with its actions. We can find our strength and solace in the firm unchanging truth of the Gospel and we can know that He is God and does rule and will rule. Justice will be done, the saints will be vindicated, the Church will be triumphant, and all will be put right because of the real, objective, revealed Lord Jesus Christ! Let us call out sin for what it is and not cover it up. Let us proclaim the Gospel as the only solution, and be about the Father’s business till He come.
    In Christ,
    Pastor Basile