What an awesome Spirit-filled service we had today as Life on the Vine and Trinity Bible Fellowship combined services!
This Sunday we combine with Trinity Bible Fellowship Church for our Sunday Morning Worship at 11:00 AM. Looking forward to our Celebrating Our Children mini-program and our contemporary worship band!!! And we have a great meal and fellowship to follow!!
Gratuity Not Included: Servers
The natives showed us unusual kindness. . . .
Acts 28:1-10 Ask almost any waiter, waitress, or server and they'll tell you: They dread the Sunday after-church crowd. Perhaps it's undeserved, but many churchgoers have the reputation of being demanding and stingy. Somehow, we have gotten a bad name in the restaurant community, at least on Sundays.
It behooves us to be kind to those who serve us. One of the ways we express our thanksgiving to God is by treating others with gratitude and kindness. Proverbs 19:22 says, "What is desired in a man is kindness."
Those who serve us -- waiters, clerks, tellers, flight attendants, bellhops and skycaps, ushers, babysitters, valets, supermarket baggers, parking attendants, shuttle drivers, and so forth -- often work long hours and receive minimal pay. Yet they bear the brunt of complaints. They often have to put up with arrogant, unkind, irritable clients.
Go out of your way to smile at the guy behind the counter. Be pleasant to the woman on the phone. Tip when appropriate. Be a pleasure to serve. Show unusual kindness. A dash of gratitude can brighten the skies of others and represent Christ to their hearts.
A warm smile is the universal language of kindness.
William Arthur Ward
A Bucket of Prayer
Behold the power of prayer! In Revelation 8:5, John saw the prayers of the saints and said, “there were noises, thunderings, lightnings, and an earthquake!” You ask God for help and BAM! Fire falls to the earth. You lift your concerns to heaven, and turbulence happens.
Go ahead. Stand up on behalf of those you love. And yes, stand up on behalf of those you do not. Pray for those who hurt you. The quickest way to douse the fire of anger is with a bucket of prayer. Rather than rant, rave, or seek revenge…pray. Jesus did this. While hanging on the cross, he interceded for his enemies, “Father, forgive them; they don’t know what they are doing.” Even Jesus left his enemies in God’s hands.
Before you say amen—comes the power of a simple prayer!
From Before Amen
Thank God for Everything by Max Lucado
A person never runs out of reasons to say “thanks.” Just the word lifts the spirit! To say, “thanks” is to celebrate a gift. Something. Anything. In Scripture the idea of giving thanks is not a suggestion or a recommendation. It’s a command. It carries the same weight as “love your neighbor” and “give to the poor.” More than a hundred times, either by imperative or example, the Bible commands us to be thankful.
If quantity implies gravity, God takes thanksgiving seriously. Ingratitude is the original sin. Adam and Eve had a million reasons to give thanks. They lived in a perfect world. Then Satan slithered into the garden and, just like that, Eden wasn’t enough. Oh, the hissing we hear. “Don’t you want more?”
So thank God. Moment by moment. Day by day. Thank him…for everything!
From Before Amen
God’s Will, Hidden and Revealed “The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.” Deuteronomy 29:29
Scripture’s teaching on the will of God must determine our understanding of this important topic. This means that we must consider the various ways that the Word of God speaks of the will of the Lord, and one particularly important aspect of this instruction is the distinction between the hidden will of God and the revealed will of God. We find this distinction made in today’s passage: “The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law” (Deut. 29:29). Our Creator has revealed some things to us about His plans, attributes, and character, but He has not told us everything. God has hidden some things from us, and He will hide some things from us for all eternity, if for no other reason than we are finite and cannot ever fully comprehend an infinite being. We can know the Lord truly—He is not wholly other but has made us in His image (Gen. 1:26-28). Nevertheless, we will never know Him fully. The distinction between Creator and creature will always remain.
The Lord’s hidden will encompasses all that He has not revealed to us. God’s hidden will is also called the will of decree (or decretive will) because it consists in His eternal decree that ordains all things. Nothing can thwart this will; it always come to pass (Job 42:2). Our Creator’s hidden will is unknowable to us except in retrospect. We can look back at history and know the particulars of what the Lord has ordained because we know what has happened. If what God ordains always comes to pass, whatever has happened must have been ordained by Him. He “works all things according to the counsel of His will” (Eph. 1:11).
God’s revealed will is also known as His will of precept (or preceptive will) because it contains His commandments or precepts. This will tells us what is pleasing to the Lord in and of itself, and it reflects His eternal holy character (Pss. 119:105; 143:10). If we want to please God, this revealed will must be our guide.
Understanding this distinction can give us great peace as we seek God’s will in particular circumstances. We need not worry excessively that we are not where the Lord wants us or that we will fail to be where the Lord wants us, for our future will work out according to the secret will of the Lord, and we know God has good plans for His people (Jer. 29:11). All we need to concern ourselves with is our Creator’s revealed will. As long as we seek to obey Him, we can do what is pleasing to Him wherever we are.
Coram Deo Though we should be appropriately concerned about making the right decisions and the potential consequences of all of our choices, it is pointless for us to worry excessively about where we will be in the future. We cannot know God’s hidden will that has decreed the future, so fretting about it is a waste of time. We simply need to consider what we know is pleasing to the Lord. If we please Him today, we have done all that He requires of us.
Passages for Further Study Psalm 115:3
1 John 3:19-24
Looking for God’s Will “This is the will of God, your sanctification” (v. 3).
- 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8 Though Paul was an Apostle, he did not have automatic insight into all of the plans of God and His will in each specific situation. We see this implicitly in Paul’s request for the Romans to pray that the Jerusalem Christians would find the support from the Gentile churches acceptable (Rom. 15:31). At the time he wrote, Paul did not know whether the Jews would accept the offering. He did know, of course, that if God had ordained it, the Jews would certainly receive the monies in gladness. But the only reason for him to ask for such a specific result was that he did not know the Lord’s will in the matter. After all, if he knew it was not God’s will for the Jews to receive the monies, there would have been no point in asking for prayer, because to pray against God’s will is futile.
Paul’s request for prayer is based in part on the fact that he did not know what God willed in that specific situation, and this raises the issue of how we can know God’s will. In order to help us get a better of idea of how we may discern the will of the Lord and please Him in all that we do, we will now take a short break from our study of Romans and look at what Scripture says about God’s will using Dr. R.C. Sproul’s teaching series Knowing God’s Will.
Life presents us with many opportunities for trying to discern God’s will for us. We face many situations in which we must make a choice between two good options, and we are unsure which one is what the Lord has willed for us. This is especially difficult when neither option seems to be more advantageous than the other. At such times, we often ask God to intervene in a special way to show us the way forward. Most of us, of course, can think of times when the Lord seemed to give us special aid. One of the good opportunities might inexplicably vanish. Maybe we get an unexpected phone call from a friend and the conversation turns out to have bearing on the matter even if we never mention it. Still, even though such things may happen, they are extraordinary. The Lord does not ordinarily guide our decision-making in such ways. We need to know how to make God-pleasing decisions when no special providence is forthcoming, and we need to know how to distinguish what seems to be providential direction from our own imagination.
The first place to turn when we must make a choice is our Creator’s wisdom in Scripture. His Word says that above all, His will for us is our sanctification (1 Thess. 4:3). Thus, anything that works against our personal holiness is to be rejected.
Coram Deo If we are fretting about God’s will for us in a particular situation and one of the options available is ungodly, we may fret no longer. We are never allowed to disobey our Creator’s revealed standards, and if one of our options would require us to do that, we must immediately choose otherwise. The Lord’s will for us is our sanctification, so we must study Scripture diligently in order to know His will and to understand what the holiness He demands looks like.
Passages for Further Study Psalm 25:4-5
1 Peter 2:15