Shepherd’s Heart – Saturday, August 11, 2018

From Co-Laborers-in-Christ Around the World

The following post is an article written by Dr. John Temple, Senior Pastor of Poplar Springs Drive Baptist Church in Meridian, Mississippi, United States of America. It is posted here with permission.

Bro. John was one of my seminary professors at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.

Bro. Chris

Shepherd’s Heart – Saturday, August 11, 2018

From the Shepherd’s Heart

“And rising early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed.” Mark 1:35

How do you begin the day? Are your first conscious moments a focus on shutting off the alarm and pulling up the covers to avoid the agenda of the day? Maybe you are so rushed, you finish dressing and eating breakfast as you drive to the first appointment of the day.

Who sets the agenda of those first waking moments each day? Are you responsible for your world, or, is your world responsible for what you think, how you act, or what you say? Jesus set an example on how to control your day. Notice how Jesus remained in control of every day He lived.

First, Jesus focused on fellowship with His Father in Heaven. Jesus focused on His purpose instead of His circumstances. While His disciples focused on the demands of the crowds, Jesus focused on the source of power, and wisdom needed to meet each day. The time to communicate with the Heavenly Father prepared Jesus to meet the demands that come.

Second, Jesus made that fellowship with the Heavenly Father, priority. Jesus’ consistency in prayer provided consistency in doing and saying the right things when He met life. The greater the demand, the quicker He resorted to prayer. The more popular He became with successful ministry, the more He felt the need to stay aligned with the Father’s will. The closer Jesus came to life-threatening events, the longer He communed with the Father above. Instead of allowing life to crowd out prayer, Jesus allowed prayer to prioritize life.

Third, Jesus used prayer as a time of renewal and preparation. For Jesus, this was a time to recharge His batteries. The greater the drain on life, the greater the power needed to come. That power would not be found in the opinions of man. It will only be found in the authoritative advice of God. The same will be true for us. Opinions are cheap. Wisdom is priceless, and it only comes from above.

If you want to be more like Jesus, add time to the beginning of your day to have fellowship with Him. It is much more rewarding to commit your day to the Lord at its beginning, than to apologize for your mismanagement of the day at its end. Try beginning your day with the priority of prayer and see if life becomes easier to face.

Bro. John

Source: Dr. John A. Temple (2018)

Reprinted with permission.

Temple, J. A. (2018, August 11). Shepherd's Heart - Saturday, August 11, 2018 Message August 11, 2018, posted to Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/john.temple.98

Note: Unless otherwise indicated, permissions granted by Guest Authors to post or reprint their posts on Saved by Grace Ministries' website does not constitute any formal partnership, business relationship, or endorsement between, of, or by, the Guest Author and/or their organization(s) and Rev. Christopher M. Fulgham or Saved by Grace Ministries.

Shepherd’s Heart – Saturday, August 4, 2018

From Co-Laborers-in-Christ Around the World

The following post is an article written by Dr. John Temple, Senior Pastor of Poplar Springs Drive Baptist Church in Meridian, Mississippi, United States of America. It is posted here with permission.

Bro. John was one of my seminary professors at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.

Bro. Chris

Shepherd’s Heart – Saturday, August 4, 2018

From the Shepherd’s Heart

“Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.” Psalms 19:14

Usually, discussions about the Lord’s approval revolve around our actions. Most rules people cite refer to what we can “do,” and what we can’t “do.” For example, we think it doesn’t matter how much we hate someone if we don’t harm them. Jesus broadened the standard when He said to hate someone is as bad as to kill someone. “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.”

The Psalmist wrote, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.” Within this phrase is the awareness that God sees within the person as well as outward actions. Notice the impact of this simple admonition.

Realize that our desire to be acceptable by the Lord is the motive for the rest of the admonition. “Acceptable” is a priestly term that indicates a sacrifice is suitable to be given unto the Lord. If the sacrifice is acceptable, the worshipper is acceptable. If the sacrifice is unacceptable, the worshipper is unacceptable. Both the worshipper and what he offers to the Lord must be right with God. Both thoughts and actions must be suitable for God to see us acceptable before Him.

Secondly, notice that acceptance is in the eye of the Lord, not the worshipper. Therefore, it is important to yield to God’s standards of acceptability. His word of “good” or “bad” is final in that decision.

Thirdly, know that God knows our heart and the heart must be on godly thoughts and values if we are to be pleasing to God. It is when we are consistent with His Word that we are pleasing to Him. Therefore, we should weigh every thought against the guidance we find in scripture. Scripture should guide our thoughts and control our actions.

Fourth, realize that what we say is a product of who we are on the inside. Clean lives produce clean conversations. Corrupt lives produce unholy conversations. Regardless of situations, the Lord expects His people to reflect His character, not that of the world.

Finally, we come with the sacrifice of our hearts and lives to the Lord because of what He means to us. The psalmist calls the Lord, “my Rock and my Redeemer.” As Redeemer He has paid the price to set us free from the dirt of the world. As our Rock He is the safe place to stand in the midst of the storm.

Every breath should be expressed as an act of worship to a Lord who has made life worth living. When lived with constant celebration of His grace, we will find He is pleased.

Bro. John

Source: Dr. John A. Temple (2018)

Reprinted with permission.

Temple, J. A. (2018, August 4). Shepherd's Heart - Saturday, August 4, 2018 Message August 4, 2018, posted to Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/john.temple.98

Note: Unless otherwise indicated, permissions granted by Guest Authors to post or reprint their posts on Saved by Grace Ministries' website does not constitute any formal partnership, business relationship, or endorsement between, of, or by, the Guest Author and/or their organization(s) and Rev. Christopher M. Fulgham or Saved by Grace Ministries.

Shepherd’s Heart – Saturday, July 14, 2018

From Co-Laborers-in-Christ Around the World

The following post is an article written by Dr. John Temple, Senior Pastor of Poplar Springs Drive Baptist Church in Meridian, Mississippi, United States of America. It is posted here with permission.

Bro. John was one of my seminary professors at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.

Bro. Chris

Shepherd’s Heart – Saturday, July 14, 2018

Acts 14:22b (NASB)
22  … “Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.”

Expectations about life determine our reaction to the dynamics of life. Some believe life should be an ongoing party. They think that really living is enjoying food, fun, and fellowship. They measure life by the number of laughs they have in a day. Assumed is that life should be light and frivolous.

Others believe life is ongoing conflict. They think that really living is anticipating the next attack and defending against enemies and villains. They measure life by the number of victories they have in a day. Assumed is that life should be dark and threatening.

Today’s scripture is an interesting quote, “Through many tribulations, we must enter the kingdom of God.” The context is Paul and Barnabas returning to churches they had begun. Their intent was to encourage the young believers assuming that they were facing oppositions and difficulties. As a statement of encouragement, this quote was their message. Notice what we learn.

First, we must accept the life of faith is a life facing tribulations. A Tribulation is a burden or pressure that causes distress or opposition to a desired purpose or plan. Tribulations load life with trouble or resistance so accomplishing our purpose is threatened. Tribulations are trouble. Tribulations are roadblocks in our way. Tribulations are resistance.

Second, we must acknowledge why tribulations occur. Tribulations are the battlefield of the kingdom of light against the kingdom of darkness. It is Satan who resists our efforts to be what the Lord wants us to be. It is Satan who wants to “rain on our parade.” It is Satan who wants us to fail. It is Satan who wants us to resign from our assignment.

Thirdly, we must know that God allows tribulations to come. His reason is not that we have deserved it. God, in allowing the two kingdoms to continue to exist and compete is a way for Him to give us options, but to prove our choice that He is the Master of our life. Like faithful love, the Christian life is proven by endurance in good times and bad.

Fourth, it should be expected that we must go through these times to enter God’s kingdom. If we never felt threat or pressure, we would never realize our need of Christ and our urgency to trust in His power instead of ours. The tribulations of life help us turn from the darkness around us and stay on the straight and narrow aimed at the light.

Finally, we should celebrate what we learn in tribulations. More than identifying the threats, tribulations identify our purpose. The degree we suffer for the cause of Christ is the degree we share in His glory. Luke, the writer of the book of “Acts” is reminding us what he has learned; the way of spiritual heroes has always been the way of the cross.

It has been said that an expectation is a premeditated resentment. Make your expectation today be that you need the Lord in your life and you know where to find Him.

Jesus said, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross daily and follow me.” Today will have tribulations, but the Lord is the answer. Fellowship with Him in the shadow of the cross. There is where you find your victory.

Bro. John

Source: Dr. John A. Temple (2018)

Reprinted with permission.

Temple, J. A. (2018, July 14). Shepherd's Heart - Saturday, July 14, 2018 Message July 14, 2018, posted to Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/john.temple.98

Note: Unless otherwise indicated, permissions granted by Guest Authors to post or reprint their posts on Saved by Grace Ministries' website does not constitute any formal partnership, business relationship, or endorsement between, of, or by, the Guest Author and/or their organization(s) and Rev. Christopher M. Fulgham or Saved by Grace Ministries.

Shepherd’s Heart – Saturday, August 13, 2016

From Co-Laborers-in-Christ Around the World

The following post is an article written by Dr. John Temple, Senior Pastor of Poplar Springs Drive Baptist Church in Meridian, Mississippi, United States of America. It is posted here with permission. I should also note that Bro. John was one of my seminary professors at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.

Bro. John’s article caused me to pause and reflect on my own life, taking an assessment of my focus and values. I pray you have a meaningful experience as well.

Bro. Chris

Shepherd’s Heart – Saturday, August 13, 2016

Romans 12:2 (NASB)
2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

I have been searching for the word that describes our society. The word is “lasciviousness.” This is a big word, often used in the New Testament (nine times) yet rarely understood. Let me describe “lasciviousness” for you, and ask yourself if this doesn’t describe your culture.

Lasciviousness is an inclusive term for any form of excess. It describes a lack of boundaries. There is no concept of right and wrong. There is no distinction of proper and improper. There is no remorse or shame when actions are considered unacceptable.

Lasciviousness expresses itself with insensitivity to others. It does not care about the impact on other people. The desire to please self supersedes the collateral damage caused. Statements reflect this concept: “Rights” override “responsibilities.” “If it feels good, do it.” “If you think it, say it.” “If you like it, take it.” “The end justifies the means.” Public decency is behind the times. Being over the top is to be popular and accepted.

Lasciviousness is reckless. There is no reference point to consequences. Many believe there should be no consequences. Such a person is outraged that someone calls their hand. They consider anyone who opposes their excess to be hateful and intolerant. Without reference to the future, living in the moment is all that matters.

Lasciviousness is a life without feeling. Such people become calloused. Nothing shocks them anymore. Bored with the latest excess, the next act must be even more outrageous. They search for fulfillment little realizing that the direction they travel will never completely satisfy.

Because lasciviousness is so prevalent in our society, Christians are tempted to join in the excess. Christians entertain themselves with the excesses of the world and consider it normal without realizing that such things are not the kingdom of God. Like the world, Christians, dress provocatively, speak crudely, think perverse thoughts, laugh at dirty jokes, and generally wallow in the excesses of a society that has turned from God. All the while, the Christians fail to see that their world is out of God’s purpose and so are they if they live like the misguided around them.

The wise believer will strive to not be conformed to the world. Their fulfillment will be realized by pleasing the Lord. Their desire is to walk worthy of their calling. Their mission is to live a life that encourages others to join in, being a compassionate neighbor and a considerate citizen. As we consider the future of our land, let us look for true character and merit.

Bro. John

Source: Dr. John A. Temple (2016)

Reprinted with permission.

Temple, J. A. (2016, August 13). Shepherd's Heart - Saturday, August 13, 2016 Message August 13, 2016, posted to Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/john.temple.98

Note: Unless otherwise indicated, permissions granted by Guest Authors to post or reprint their posts on Saved by Grace Ministries' website does not constitute any formal partnership, business relationship, or endorsement between, of, or by, the Guest Author and/or their organization(s) and Rev. Christopher M. Fulgham or Saved by Grace Ministries.