Pastor Bart Spencer

The Eternal Effect of a Godly Mother

1Sa 2:18-19  But Samuel ministered before the LORD, being a child, girded with a linen ephod. Moreover his mother made him a little coat, and brought it to him from year to year, when she came up with her husband to offer the yearly sacrifice.

In our text today we are introduced to a very tender and passionate portrait of a mother and son.  Hannah had spent the early years of her marriage to Elkanah barren.  God has closed up her womb to bring her to a place of deep petition to Him.  Here is a truth that would be good for us to hold close.  When troublesome times come to our life there is always a divine purpose behind them.  Had not Hannah suffered the sorrow of bareness and the scorn of her rival Peninnah she would not have sought the Lord with such depth and passion.  Do not waste the moments of trial for they are more precious than gold.

God at length did answer Hannah’s prayers and she bore a son and gave him the name, Samuel.  Once the child was weaned she honored her vow and ‘lent’ him back to the Lord.  She would visit her son each year as they traveled to the Temple.  In those intervening months between her visits with Samuel she occupied her time with making a cloak for him.

God had given young Samuel a linen ephod but Hannah would give him a ‘little coat.’  This was a small expression of a mother’s love that would ensure Samuel never forgot his origins and that he had a dear mother that loved him and prayed for him.  Amid all the important duties of the Temple and eventually as a prophet he would never forget the love of his mother.  Each time he reached for his coat to launch out on another round of his preaching circuit he was reminded of his mother’s love.

Samuel would eventually go the way of all the earth and find rest with spirits of just men made perfect.  Until one moment when he was summoned by the witch at En-dor.  It is wonderful and warming to note the description of Samuel—-1Sa 28:14  …And she said, An old man cometh up; and he is covered with a mantle. …

The observation is very simple.  The impressions of a godly mother will have an eternal effect on her child.  When it was time to let him go to the Lord she remained as close as the garment he wore.  A godly mother is never far away.  Today, if the Lord has given you children or someone to love intimately then make today count for eternity!

Walking and Talking

Gen 3:6  And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

In our verse today we are witness to the fall of man.  The singular event in the history of man that has brought devastating consequences to every human born from Adam and Eve.  One cannot help but wonder how different man’s relationship and fellowship with God might have been had this moment played out differently.

That causes me to wonder about the singular moments in marriages that might have produced a much different outcome had they been handled differently.

Notice in this verse and the preceding that Adam is strangely silent.  Was it his fault or Eve’s that he was not involved in the conversation and consideration of the options?  It matters little, what does matter is that Adam and Eve were not in communication about the events in their respective lives.  This serves to warn us of the importance of conversation and communication in a marriage.

Most couples are taken captive by satan at his will by virtue of the fiery dart of distraction.  Adam was to be dressing and keeping the garden and Eve was to be his helper.  They were designed to fit together and work together.  They were given language and a common bond for the purpose of being one flesh, but something happened that made them vulnerable to the subtle assault of satan.  That ‘something’ might very well have been a failure in their communication.  Did Eve act independently of Adam?  Was Adam so busy as to not notice something was bothering his bride?  Surely she was acting differently as she pondered the ruse of the serpent, but Adam took no notice of it.

The result was decisions were made that were not considered as a team, as the one flesh God had designed and directed them to be.  Certainly had they nurtured that portion of the bond of marriage that required them to have daily communication this tragedy in their marriage might have been averted.   Had they simply stayed interested and invested in the life of the other their marriage would have had a much different story to tell.  Today, when you arrive home, take time to ask your spouse about their day.  Ask them of the challenges and blessings.  And then LISTEN to their reply.  Be encouraged and stay in the fray for the victory is worth the battles.

People Will Not Agree with You…And That’s OK

2Ch 15:12-14  And they entered into a covenant to seek the LORD God of their fathers with all their heart and with all their soul; That whosoever would not seek the LORD God of Israel should be put to death, whether small or great, whether man or woman. And they sware unto the LORD with a loud voice, and with shouting, and with trumpets, and with cornets.

Today we find ourselves at a time of rejoicing by the people of God.  Having experienced a time away from God and suffering the result of such a choice they have now returned to Him.  As happens on the heels of most times of tragedy there was a dramatic swing in the opposite direction.  We are creatures of extremes.

Consider the Apostles.  At one point they were so enamored with the power they had on earth that they forgot their purpose was to glorify God in heaven.

Luk 10:17  And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name.

Luk 10:20  Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.

Not long after they were at the most sobering moment in the earthly ministry of the Lord only to occupy the time arguing about heaven.

Luk 22:24  And there was also a strife among them, which of them should be accounted the greatest.

One moment they were so earthly minded they were of no heavenly good and the next they were so heavenly minded they were of no earthly good.

In our text the Jews suffered the same affliction.  Having been delivered by God from the bondage of backsliding they now rejoiced in the liberty given by God.  So, what do they do?  They turn and take away the liberty of others.  

As you go about your day today remember from whence you came and surrender the need for everyone to be like you.  Exercise your liberty of choice and extend that same privilege to those you meet.  It is simply not important that everyone agrees with you.

The Devil Will Get What He Has Coming!

Rev 13:15  And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.

Rev 14:10  The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God…;and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone…:

Rev 14:11  And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever:…

Lord Acton famously stated, “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”  Of course we must assume Lord Acton was referencing the human realm without consideration of the Omnipotent God.

Satan’s entire purpose was to capture power in its absolute.  He wanted God’s power and was willing to strive against the Omnipotent God in order to gain it.  One-third of the angels were able to be persuaded by his deceitful rhetoric, beautiful presence, and mesmerizing music.  The result was the result of all who seek to play God.  God will not hold them guiltless who have designs on corrupting His power. 

Satan, motivated by pride, will do whatever is necessary to turn the heart of mankind away from God.  He attacked Job’s children, his health, his business, and his marriage only to come out the loser at length.  Job ended up with double of what he had before his trek through the valley of the shadow of death.

Believer in Christ, allow me to remind you that you have an enemy now that you belong to God.  Before you were born again you possessed no enemy.  Jesus loved you before you would come to love Him and satan was satisfied with your dead spiritual condition and rested comfortable in abusing you through your own lusts of whatever type they might be.  However, once you were regenerated by the power in the blood of Christ then satan became your enemy.  He has tortured your heart and placed one stumbling block after another in your path to prevent you from glorifying the Omnipotent God.

My encouragement for you today is that I have read the end of the book and satan is going to get what is coming to him.  He will not escape the judgment that Omnipotence will reign down on him.  John the Beloved said that satan knows that he has but a short time.  That is good news for us because before too long we will have front row seats to watch the one that has been abusing us for so long get what he’s got coming to him.

Your Words Are Having an Impact

Rev 11:10  And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth.

Of course we all have heard and learned the little rhyme taught us by our parents or friends when, as a child, someone said something that hurt our feelings. 

“Sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me.”

It made us sad or even brought tears to our eyes.  They may have made a joke of our glasses, our appearance, or even our pets.  What they said was not as important as the impact those words had on our heart. 

Words have an effect because words have meaning.  While those that cared for us tried to salve our hurts with that little rhyme the truth of the matter was, those words did indeed hurt.

In our text we are introduced to the 2 witnesses sent by God to preach repentance to a lost and satan-led world.  The majority of the world has sided with satan in opposition to God.  One would think the words of salvation spoken by the prophets bore little threat to the tyranny practiced by the anti-christ and yet, at length, we discover they were having a great effect.

These two witnesses were not seeing crowds of people saved and may have thought their witness was pointless.  Perhaps in their estimation it was pointless but their words certainly were not powerless.  Having performed miracles before the entire world it is telling that it wasn’t for the miracles they performed but for the words they witnessed that their lives were taken.

As you enter into the world today you will be met with people who have chosen to live life in safe zones.  They do not want to be confronted with their sinfulness whether that sin is gender identity, sodomy, atheism, intersectionality or socialism.  As you allow Christ to live His life through you be certain that your words are having and impact.  Stand for Christ so the lost have access to eternal hope.  Your words spoken in loved are having an impact.  Do not let this present evil world silence your witness!

In Your Father’s Eyes!

Ephesians 1:3-14

There is not a child born sans a desire to please his father.  

I can remember clearly a young man neglected and rejected by his biological father who was a repeat offender and imprisoned during much of the boy’s early life.  And yet, in the face of such rejection the boy continued to seek his father’s approval.

Grown men have harbored deep sadness as their life passes without their father’s affirmation.  It is innate in a child’s heart to own an intense desire for the approval of their father.  We need to know how our Father views us.

In our text Paul begins his letter to the church at Ephesus with a series of blessings that are the joy of believers as a result of Christ’s finished work on the Cross of Calvary. Here is that list:

1. Blessed with all spiritual blessings

2. Chosen to be holy and without blame

3. Adopted as His children

4. Accepted in the Beloved

5. Forgiveness of sin

6. Access to the grace of wisdom and prudence

7. Knowledge of the mystery of God’s will

8. A secured future with the saints of all ages

9. A spiritual inheritance

10. Ability to glorify God

11. Sealed with the Holy Spirit

12. Confident awaiting for the completed redemption

What stands out when reviewing these verses is the repeated mention of Christ.  12xs in 11 verses Christ is priority.   What we learn is that except for Christ we would have none of these blessings. Though we should be rejected, yet in God’s eyes, because of Christ, we could’t be better. 

Though, today, you are far from what you ought to be take time to rejoice in how you look in the Father’s Eyes!  You need not busy yourself seeking your Father’s approval for you already have it because of Christ.  Rejoice in how you look in your Father’s Eyes!

Speak Up!

Isa 58:12  And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in.

It was the early 1600’s and a group of Christians were being oppressed to the point of losing their freedom to worship God according to their own dictates.  As the pressure grew and the wickedness of their government bloomed more black roses they determined it was time to launch out.  They would hazard their lives for the purpose of living for Christ.  Under the guidance of William Bradford they would cross the Atlantic to a New World for the purpose of promoting the soul saving gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The impact of the gospel on the New World laid the foundation for what would become the United States of America.  You see, this small group of people called Pilgrims lived the faith that the Bible had produced in them.  When they witnessed of Christ and the glories of the Bible their actions produced an undeniable affirmation as to the truth of their claims

Friend, our nation is at a critical crossroads.  The future or failure of our nation depends upon the actions of the believers across our country.  Will you move on the faith God has instilled in your heart?  Today will you stand up and be counted for Christ and not only voice your faith but put it into action by confronting the decay of our culture?  Insert yourself in our political institutions and ensure your representatives know your name.  Speak the truth in love but SPEAK THE TRUTH.  And then ensure you are living that very same truth.

Today, “Lip it (the gospel) and live it!”

The Pen & The Voice

1Co 12:15-16  If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?

Today, when you go about the business of life, give consideration to the wonders that comprise the talents of others.  In no one person do all the necessities of life abide and that is why it is so essential that we are socially involved in life.

While reading the biography “John Adams” it ended with this statement describing the revived friendship of Adams with Thomas Jefferson at the end of their respective lives.  Jefferson died early the afternoon of July 4th while Adams died later that same evening.  The author noted that in one providential day both ‘the pen’ and ‘the voice’ of the Declaration of Independence passed away.

If men as great as John Adams and Thomas Jefferson needed assistance then surely you and I do also.  Cherish the relationships God brings into your life today and carefully search them out for the golden nuggets of blessings God has placed in them for you.

Blessed is the Nation Whose God is the Lord

Psalm 33:12  Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance.

This is the week that we celebrate and commemorate the founding of our nation.  Let it be a great reminder to us that not only is the nation blessed whose God is the Lord, but perhaps more blessed is the nation that doesn’t forget such a vital truth.  

It has been said the definition of insanity is to repeat the same process and expect different results.  In 2021 America we might find ourselves moved to turn that observation inside out and call it insanity to attempt to reproduce the great blessings of America by doing something entirely different.

I recently read a statement that posited the best evidence of a successful idea is experience.  If we were to take time this week and revisit the miraculous hand of the Divine in the history of our nation we would come away knowing that the American Experiment was a GREAT idea according to the wonderful blessings it has brought to the world.

“Finally, let us not forget the religious character of our origin.  Our fathers were brought hither by their high veneration for the Christian religion.  They journeyed by its light and labored in its hope.  They sought to incorporate its principles with the elements of their society, and to diffuse its influence though all their institutions, civic, political, or literary.  Let us cherish these sentiments and extend this influence still more widely; in the full conviction, that that is the happiest society which partakes in the highest degree of the mild and peaceful spirit of Christianity.”

Today, determine to render to God that which is God’s.  Of course the blessings of America are rooted in God Himself.  Therefore, give Him the glory and in doing so we, as a nation, will be able to verify the truth found in today’s verse…”Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD!”

Image: Grunge Vectors by Vecteezy

Unity Will Win the Day!

Mat 19:6  Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.

Of course, this passage is speaking of the marriage union which produces a marriage bond (responsibility).  However, as I read this passage today in light of the coming celebration of our National Liberty I see another application.

Our nation was birthed for no other reason than the sovereignty of God allowed it to be so.  On July 1, 1776 the concept of national freedom was far from a settled position.  Many looked at the present condition of our nation and saw it as hopeless.  When laid alongside the World Power that was England it was easy to see they possessed everything necessary for waging war while this fledgling group of colonies possessed none.  America had no standing army, no Navy, and no money.  It was a wreck of disjointed citizens.  It did not even have a common currency through which to conduct commerce.

What it did have, though, was the hand of God and a citizenry that feared the Lord.  God had brought people to this new world and used difficulties to unite them into a group with the metal to challenge the world’s lone Super-power.  What brought the victory and secured the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity?  Unity!

When God created the family it was to be a permanent relationship.  He told us we had no authority to dissolve it.  It would end only with the life of a spouse.  Man replaced the final authority from God to man’s intellect and desires. Welcome the ‘Writing of Divorce.”

Why is our country fractured and facing a dissolution?  Because we have turned from our God-ordained foundation.  God joined us together and formed our nation via a series of miraculous events but now, at last, we have once again sought to depose God as Sovereign and to satisfy our intellect and desires.  We removed Him from school and our homes.  We replaced church attendance with various forms of entertainment and distraction.  This can serve only to divorce us  from the blessings and protection of Almighty God.  What is the solution?  Unity.

At 91yrs old John Adams was asked for a challenge to the nation during the 50th Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence.  He offered but 2 words, “Freedom Forever.”  

All that is needed to save our homes, churches, and our nation is to unify around the authority of God once again.  Return to your first love you enjoyed with your spouse and a reunification will result.  Return to the first enthusiasm you knew when Church was fresh and you will find yourself occupying a seat there once again.  Finally, return to the handiwork of God in the founding of our nation and America will once again by the City on a Hill.