Monday, September 23, 2013


Child Spiritual Development Resources
By: Charles Steiner


Today I’d like to let you know about a couple of resources that I am recommending to parents to assist in the spiritual development of your children who are in preschool or elementary school.

The first is a worksheet I have made available in the foyer of our church building called “My Worship Notes”. Many times it is such a struggle for parents with small children during worship, both in behavior and in helping them to learn to be active participant in worship. I hope this worksheet will help with both of these struggles. The worksheet asks children to write down the numbers of the songs we sang, their favorite song we sang, the number of times words like God and Jesus were said and it also includes a place for them to write down the lesson title, Bible verses, and a box where they can draw a picture that describes the sermon that was preached. The feedback I’ve received so far has been great. This worksheet is already helping several of our children learn and participate during worship.

The second resource I’d like to recommend is a book called The Beginner’s Bible. It is a Bible storybook for young children that help introduce them to the stories and characters of the Bible. More than 90 Bible stories are included with illustrative cartoon pictures that help the stories of the Bible come to life. It would be great if parents read at least one story out of this book and prayed with their children each day. Then as they get older, this pattern could be continued with an actual Bible and resources that are more appropriate for older children and teens. The Beginners Bible can be purchased locally in Tuscaloosa at Barnes and Noble or at Lifeway Christian Store. It can also be purchased online at Amazon.com with the current price being $8.17 for a new copy and $1.37 for a used copy. Order the Book Here The book is also available on the kindle and other ereaders if you prefer this.

Both of these resources can be used to further the spiritual development of your child. I hope they will be put to good use. 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013


Foolish

Scripture calls five of them wise and five of them foolish. That division would not have taken place if the bridegroom had not tarried. If he had just come at the right time, all “ten” would have been ready. There would have been no descriptions of the “foolish.” When Jesus told about these virgins, He wanted to be sure we understood our “readiness” does not need to be based on a “moment” but on a “lifetime.” We need to live every moment of every day ready for the bridegroom to come. The ones called wise prepared themselves so that they would be ready. On the other hand, five ladies are called foolish because, even though they would say they wanted to enter the feast with the bridegroom, they somehow convinced themselves there was a “moment” they were sure He was not coming. The bridegroom tarried. The five acted foolishly. They assumed He was not coming. At least, He was not coming now….And He came! They went into a state of panic. The wise were not going to give up their readiness! The foolish found themselves on the outside looking in. The bridegroom closed the door. They wanted to be ready. Surely He would not come now. Foolish.

All the best and I hope this gives you “Help for Today”

Clark

 

 

Monday, September 16, 2013


Hear Him (Luke 9:28-36)
 


 On many levels, I can appreciate the excitement and sentiment of Peter as he witnessed a conversation between Jesus, Moses and Elijah. After all, this was a collision of his worlds. This was a conversation between two names he had known and heard his entire life. For a Jewish boy in Biblical days, the names just do not get more prominent than Moses and Elijah. These names were a part of the history of God’s people. These names were a part of Peter’s history. Here they were on the mount called Transfiguration in conversation with Jesus, the one he had dropped his nets to follow. I can have an understanding of what he meant when he said to Jesus, “Master, it is good for us to be here; and let us make three tabernacles: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” It was at that point that the Father made clear a powerful reality to Peter, Clark and the rest of us. He made a statement of priority, preeminence and who the one and only one is that is His Son! A voice came out of the cloud and said, “This is My beloved Son. Hear Him!” Moses and Elijah were wonderful men who contributed much to the history of God’s people, but let us be very clear. If Moses and Elijah are saved eternally, they will be saved through the blood of Jesus Christ. There is no one like Him. No one compares. Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow! Hear Him!

Clark

Tuesday, April 16, 2013


Enlarge Your Vision
By: Charles Steiner



Ruth easily could have played the victim. Woe is me! My husband has died! My father in law has died! My brother in law has died! It’s just me, my mother in law, and my sister in law. What are we going to do now? (Keep in mind this is taking place thousands of years ago when it was not the custom for women to be financial providers). Ruth’s mother in law Naomi had a very negative attitude and even blamed God for her misfortune (1:13, 20-21). She encouraged her daughter in laws to go back to their home towns and families to start life over again (1:8b-14). Orpah did as Naomi suggested, but Ruth believed in Naomi and was loyal to her saying “Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God (1:16 ESV).” 

Because Ruth had a larger vision for what God could do, God blessed her more than Naomi and Orpah. Orpah went back to her home town and returned to the practice of worshiping false gods (1:15) and according to the writings of Jewish Rabbis became the mother of the philistine giant Goliath. Naomi was physically taken care of and was blessed with a grandson (4:13), but she thought she was to old to marry again or have children (1:11-12). I wonder if she had faith in God’s power, would he have blessed her with a husband and children. But what about Ruth? Though Ruth was not a Jew, she continued to worship and obey the commandments of the one true God, was loyal to her mother in law Naomi, and believed she would be blessed. The result? God blessed her with a rich Godly man named Boaz whom she had her son Obed with. And Obed became the grandfather of King David and was in the genealogy of Jesus, the savior of the world. Did Ruth just happen to be working in Boaz’s field? Did Boaz just happen to walk out into that particular field and meet his future wife Ruth? Was this just luck? I think not. God was that very day causing all things to work together for good for a woman who loved him and was called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28). 

God can do the same for you. Have you recently gone through pain, suffering, the loss of a loved one, or other adversities? Have a positive attitude, and believe in God’s ability to turn things around in your life. If you put your faith in God, and obey his commandments, God will bless you and your life will turn around for the better. Enlarge your vision of what God can do. 

Monday, March 18, 2013


Who’s Next?
By: Charles Steiner

I read a book recently called The Death of WCW. In the book the authors share how World Championship Wrestling, owned by billionaire Ted Turner, went from being the most popular wrestling company ever in 1998, to going out of business and being bought by it’s competition in 2001. One of the reasons the authors gave for the companies collapse was older wrestlers who were past their prime like Hulk Hogan refused to give up the spot light to younger wrestlers who were entering their prime. One of the wrestlers who should have carried the torch for WCW into the future was named Bill Goldberg. His catch phrase was “who’s next?” That’s exactly the question that WCW failed to answer. Who would be the next stars to follow the older guys on the brink of retirement?

Could what happened to WCW also happen in the church? More personally I ask could it happen to you and your family? We know through history that the church of the New Testament, which had rapidly grown in just a few short years, was almost non-existent just a few hundred years after it begun and had to be restored to its original form over a thousand years later. It can happen. We need to be asking ourselves “Who’s Next?” Who will be the adult church of tomorrow? And most importantly, what are we doing to ensure that there will be a church of tomorrow? Here are 3 things you can do to help increase the chances of your young loved ones being faithful Christian adults.

Pray. Pray with your children and grandchildren. Pray for them. Pray in every instance imaginable (happy, sad, mad, grateful, depressed). By doing so, you put your life into the hands of almighty God, and teach the young ones that you love to do the same. I Thessalonians 5:17 “Pray without ceasing.”

Apply the Bible to every day life. Reading the Bible is great and needs to be done. But scripture will never come alive more than when you apply it directly to the way your child behaves. If your child complains that someone is being mean to them at school and they don’t know what to do. The Bible comes alive when you explain that Jesus said to “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you (Matthew 5:44).

Put the Kingdom first. “Jesus said seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness (Mt. 6:33).” Your children notice what is really the most important to you. If you sacrifice the extra hour of sleep to come to Sunday school, they will notice. If you choose to skip something that would have been really fun to do something spiritual they will notice that too.

Who’s next? It’s a question we all need to be asking to help our young loved ones get to heaven. 


Monday, March 11, 2013


Classic Help for Today: Why “Help for Today”
Text: Hebrews 3:12-15


I did not know what I wanted to call this daily devotional. I was struggling trying to come up with just the right name. In time, though, I settled on a theme that would provide me the help I really need. I settled on an emphasis on today. My hope is that as my need for daily encouragement is addressed, you, too, will receive a benefit. I'm a procrastinator from way back. I'm a good planner and list maker. I should be the President of the "I'm Going to Start Tomorrow" club. Intentions promote favorable discovery, but, in reality, they get you nowhere. I remind you of the Fred Sanford quote that I've shared many times. "Never put off 'till tomorrow what you can do day after tomorrow." The Bible contrasts that way of thinking over and over. I'd like to direct your attention this morning to Hebrews 3:12-15. "Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; but exhort one another dailywhile it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end, while it is said: “Today, if you will hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.”" Wake up! Our mission is clear. Use today. it is all we know we have. Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow will never come. But today...today is precious.

All the best and I hope this gives you “Help for Today”

~  Clark Sims

Help for Today: The Enemy
Text: Matthew 2


King Herod was the absolute counter to the wise men we talked about yesterday. While they searched to find and worship Him, Herod had a very different view. A young child he had never seen posed a threat to Herod that, basically, consumed him. His actions directed toward the threatening one were drastic and cruel. Compassion did not seem to be high on Herod’s priority list. His actions, from lying to killing, were wicked and worldly. His focus was clear and obvious. No matter what it takes. No matter who it hurts. I must get rid of the “King of the Jews.”

On the surface, I would think it would be hard for any of you good people reading this e-mail to relate to the sentiment of Herod. But wait a second. Remember that same Jesus said, “He that is not with Me is against Me.” He also said, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” While Herod’s efforts seem to be so extreme and physical, what word would you use to describe someone who did not do what He said. Could it be that I, like Herod, am an enemy of Jesus? How does that question grad you today? If I do not obey Him, I make myself to be His enemy. If I do not obey Him, I do not love Him. Herod, and his evil intentions, seems to be so far removed from anything we know. I’m afraid we need to look deeper. Today. I’m not an enemy of Jesus, am I?

All the best and I hope this gives you “Help for Today”.

~ Clark Sims 


Help for Today: Wise Men
Text: Matthew 2:1-12


You can learn a great deal from those men the scriptures identify as wise. What did they do? They searched for Him with a desire to worship Him. They found Him and rejoiced to be in His presence. They humbled themselves and worshipped Him. They sacrificed what they had. They presented their “gifts” to Him. Wise men, don’t you think?

While I know physical circumstances have changed, the reality of identifying marks of a “wise man” remains the same. Check yourself today matched with the “standard” given in scripture. How much effort do you put into the search to find Him? How much time are you willing to put into the process? Is it your desire to worship Him? Where is “worship” on the “totem pole” of your priorities? If you can take it or leave it, it does not have the proper place. If there are things you choose over it, it does not have the proper place. Does the search for Him and reality of finding Him bring you joy, real, abundant joy? Do you know your place in His presence? The wise men of Matthew 2 made quite a statement as they bowed in the presence of this newborn baby. “Humble yourself in the sight of the Lord…” What are you willing to give to Him? What part of “self” are you ready to give for Him? I remember Wendell Winkler observing the only kind of acceptable giving is sacrificial giving. So I ask again, what part of “self” are you ready to give for Him? Your time, money, effort seem like precious commodities. They are. And they are His. Right? Have you found yourself to be a “wise man?” Think about it. Today!

All the best and I hope this gives you “Help for Today”.

~ Clark Sims