A Prayer Request for Thailand

Please pray for both the people of Thailand and our missionary friends there, the Williams family.   Today, we received the note below from the Williams family:

What does martial law mean for Thailand?

At present it means military checkpoints and traffic jams at specific intersections in Bangkok. Otherwise, business continues as usual throughout the country. At least for the present.

Many are relieved at this peaceful intrusion of the military, and view it as a step toward ending the political tension and violence that has dragged out for the last six months in the nations capital.

Although the words, "This is not a coup," are voiced by the military chiefs, they will have to walk a very fine line to maintain order among two protest groups that are bent on civil war.

Just to clarify the scope of martial law, I have enclosed an article below from the AFP that helps to explain the situation.

Please continue to pray that the current struggle for peace in Thailand would prepare hearts to learn of Jesus Christ,  the Prince of Peace.

BANGKOK, May 20, 2014 (AFP) - Thailand's powerful military declared martial law Tuesday in a move it said was aimed to "restore peace and order" in the turbulent kingdom.

Invoking the law comes after Thailand's Constitutional Court ousted premier Yingluck Shinawatra in early May following months of protest seeking to oust her government.

But what is the scope of the military's powers? And what are the implications of the move for a nation that has seen 18 actual or attempted coups since 1932? Herewith the main points of the act:

-- The Martial Law Act 1914 gives the army "superior power" over civilian institutions in regard to maintaining public order and security.

-- The army can ban any assembly or meeting and prohibit public movement by land, air or water.

-- Military authorities have the power to censor or shut down newspapers and broadcasters.

-- Soldiers are given full powers to search, requisition, ban, seize, inhabit or destroy "any place". This includes body searches as well as vehicle, home and building inspections and scrutiny of printed material.

-- Army authorities can enlist people to work to help the military and can requisition vehicles, food, tools and weapons from any person or company at any time.

-- The military can impose curfews and prohibit access to certain areas.

-- Authorities can detain anyone it suspects of breaching martial law for up to seven days.

-- Civilian courts remain operational, but a martial court can be given authority to hear criminal trials in cases committed under martial law. It can continue to hear cases even after martial law has been revoked.

Ancient Artifacts Prove Bible Facts

 

Yesterday, we viewed a special exhibit at the Art Institute of Chicago that deals with the Greek influence on Egyptian art and religion in the 4th century BC ("When the Greeks Ruled Egypt").  Some of the artifacts deal with Ptolemy, a Greek ruler of Egypt (who was a "prince" of Alexander the Great but "not his posterity.") This was exciting for us because, roughly two centuries earlier, precisely that situation in Egypt was predicted by our Old Testament prophet, Daniel (Dan. 11:3-5).

Of course, the museum exhibit failed to connect their artifacts to the Bible facts.  Nonetheless, Bible-believers may choose to employ God's word to understand the true significance of these artifacts.   And having done that, we may be tremendously encouraged by the prophetic accuracy of God's word!

Daniel 11:3 And a mighty king shall stand up, that shall rule with great dominion, and do according to his will. 4 And when he shall stand up, his kingdom shall be broken, and shall be divided toward the four winds of heaven; and not to his posterity, nor according to his dominion which he ruled: for his kingdom shall be plucked up, even for others beside those.  5.And the king of the south shall be strong, and one of his princes; and he shall be strong above him, and have dominion; his dominion shall be a great dominion. 

 

What does the Bible teach about homosexuality?

Pastor Bob Hammond

At Long Hill Baptist Church, everyone is welcome to come and hear the word of God preached.  My purpose for sharing this short outline is to communicate what God has said in the Bible concerning the topic of homosexuality.  Importantly, my goal in addressing this topic is not to express hatred toward people who are living a homosexual lifestyle.  Rather, it is to express both Biblical truth and God's love toward those very same people!  We specifically disavow the hatred espoused by some churches.   And yet, we must understand what God has said on this topic.  Below, is a short outline of what the Bible teaches:

1. God has commanded that we abstain from homosexual behavior.

  • Leviticus 18:22 "Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination." 

2. God has great wrath against sin – including the sin of engaging in homosexual behavior.

  • God’s wrath at the sin of homosexuality is seen in the penalty for homosexuality that he prescribed under the Old Testament law:
    • Leviticus 20:13 "If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them."
    • NOTE:  Today, we are NOT living under the Old testament law.  As such, we do not advocate a legal death penalty for this sin.   However, God’s hatred of the sin does not change. 

3.  Understand that, according to the Bible, no one is “born a homosexual.”  Rather, homosexual inclinations are the result of rejecting the Lord.

In Romans chapter 1, we may observe a progression from failing to acknowledge our Creator  to (in v 24) to “God also (giving them) “up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves.”  Below, I offer a brief summary of this passage, beginning in verse 20: 

A. That Bible asserts that creation testifies to the existence of a creator:

 (Romans 1:20) "For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead"

B. Because of the testimony of creation, man is responsible to acknowledge the creator:


Romans 1:20b… "so that they are without excuse:"

C.  The  failure of an individual to acknowledge the creator breeds a progression of spiritual error (and consequences):

(Romans 1:21-22) " Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,"

  1.  “glorified him not” = failure to worship God;
  2.  “neither were thankful”= Unthankful to God;
  3. “became vain in their imaginations” = Vain thinking; 

23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.  24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: 25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.

D.  The Bible specifically states that homosexual inclinations result from this progressive of sin (that begins when a person rejects God):

Romans 1:26-27 "For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: 27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet."

4.   Homosexual behavior isn’t becoming more “right” (less sinful) simply because more people view it as acceptable.

God's word has not changed.  And the Bible specifically says that God does not change.   In James 1:17, the Bible says,  "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning."

So, why does the world's understanding of right and wrong seem to change over time?  In Proverbs 14:12, the Bible states, "There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death"  The Bible teaches that “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked..."  Our hearts often suggest that something is "good" when, in fact, God has said it is sinful.

So, how may a homosexual person know forgiveness of sin?

A person who has practised homosexuality may know forgiveness of sin the same way that any other person may know forgiveness of sin!  First, understand that, according to the Bible, all people are sinners, i.e. they have disobeyed God.  In Romans 3:23, the Bible says that "all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God."  

God’s perfect holiness and justice requires that a penalty be paid for our sin.  In fact, in Romans 6:23, the Bibles teaches that "the wages of sin is death." The good news is that the son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ, paid that penalty for us by shedding His blood and dying upon the cross in our place.

According to the Bible, it is only through repentance toward God and faith in Jesus Christ that our sins are forgiven (Acts 20:21).  Jesus said, “… I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6). In Romans 6:23, the Bible says, "the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."  If you will repent and receive Christ as your savior, the Bible says that you can know for certain that you have eternal life.  1 John 5:13 states,  “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God”  

Of course, many people will continue trusting in their good works to earn forgiveness instead of choosing to trust in Christ alone.   You may be surprised to learn that the Bible clearly states that we cannot earn Heaven through our good works.   In Ephesians chapter 2, the apostle Paul writes, "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves:  it is the gift of God:  Not of works, least any man should boast (Eph. 2:8-9).

How exactly may I know that my sins are forgiven?

1.  Understand that Christ died on the cross and paid for all our sins. Jesus Christ was the perfect sacrifice that satisfied God’s demand for justice against our sins. Because Jesus did that for us, eternal life is offered to us as a free gift. God paid the price for our sin Himself!

2.  Turn from sin and receive Christ as your savior. The Bible teaches that, in order to receive forgiveness of sins, we must repent and place our faith in Christ.  To repent is simply to make a conscious decision to turn away from sin and to turn toward Christ.   Repentence involves a change of mind that produces a change in action.   Repentence normally involves sorrow over our past sins - especially when we realize that Christ died on the cross in our place.   The Bible say, "...there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth."  (Luke 15:10)

The Bible says that "...Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." (Romans 10:13) "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:16). The word believe in John 3:16 means to place your trust in Christ. If you will place your trust in Jesus Christ as the one who paid for your sins on the cross of Calvary, and in nothing else, God promises you both forgiveness of sin and eternal life. 

 

A “BRIEF” HISTORY OF LAW

The following was written by Mr. Allan Seymour, a member of Long Hill Baptist Church.  Brother Allan is a first-year law student.                       

     The Book of Genesis tells us that “[i]n the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” In so doing, He established the physical laws of the universe. Those ancient laws still stand today; the sun “rises” and “sets,” the seasons come and go, the seas do not exceed their boundaries, and apples fall from trees.  The Holy Bible says that “[t]he heavens declare the glory of God,” and if men should fail to proclaim God’s glory, “the stones would immediately cry out.” Nature willingly obeys God.

     Genesis also tells us that, in addition to establishing the physical laws that govern the universe, God established moral laws to govern man. God commanded the first man, Adam, saying; “of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” Unlike nature, Adam failed to obey God. By the time of Noah, mankind’s moral degeneration had gained complete ascendency and, “every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” Later still, God’s law was memorialized on Mt. Sinai by Moses via the Ten Commandments. As mankind’s disobedience increased, so did the need for God’s moral laws to be delineated with particularity to constrain men’s actions.  But once again, man refused to obey God’s prescriptions and proscriptions, because, “[t]he heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked.” Later, in the time of the judges, the scripture says that “every man did that which was right in his own eyes;” the prototypical standard of contemporary society. Thus, the pattern of mankind’s rebellion to God’s authority has continued down through the ages up to our present time.

     Therefore, because of this proclivity of men to lawlessness, God authorized mankind to make laws to constrain the evil. The Holy Bible states that “there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.” Those power were ordained in order to assure an ordered society. Scripture says that human authority “is the minister of God to thee for good . . . for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.”

     These same principles were put forth by, amongst others, Jean Jacques Rousseau in the Social Contract. The thesis of that treatise was that, at some unknown point in the primordial past, men contracted together to forego some part of their freedom(detriment) by submitting themselves to human government, in exchange  for their mutual safety and security (benefit). Of course, these agreements were merely tacitly made, being neither oral nor written. Unfortunately, as such, and because as previously stated, the tendency of the human heart is toward lawlessness, the very powers that were authorized to enforce the benefit became the detriment. That is, until modern constitutional contracts were executed. Nevertheless, as we have seen, even in our own country, constitutions can also be disregarded.

     And as has also been seen in recent times, as men have become more lawless, it becomes necessary to promulgate a multiplicity of laws in an attempt to constrain that tendency. And not only that, but Congress has now gotten to the point where it loves making laws. Like the Pharisees of previous times, “they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.” Legislators love making laws, but they do not love obeying the laws that they make.

     Thus, does this brief history of law draw near to a close. The Holy Bible says that, because of man’s refusal to obey the moral law of God, his eternal destination is hell, as it is written; “the wages of sin is death.” But that is not the end of the story, for if it were, there would be no hope for any, because “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” The Word of God says that, even though mankind is confronted with this untenable dilemma, “God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” This is the last law left to be told; “the law of faith.” The Holy Bible says that this is the only law that needs to be obeyed in order for men to escape the consequence of their lawlessness. This law is briefly comprehended as follows: “[b]ut now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all that believe[!]”

- Allan Seymour

I Can't Do That!

Pastor Bob Hammond

Long Hill Baptist Church, Trumbull, CT

All too often, that's our excuse for not doing what God has clearly called us to do.   Who hasn't argued with God - claiming  there's just no way for us to obey Him in a certain area. We're especially good at offering up this excuse when it comes to sharing the gospel. 

For the past several weeks, we've been encouraged to see a few church members participate in our weekly Saturday morning gospel outreach.  What a joy to see people obey the Lord's command to "go" to our neighbors who are without Christ (Mat 18:19-20). 

And yet, I remain burdened to see more of our members participate in our door-to-door outreach efforts.  Some may think, "that's just not my thing."  Others may be inclined to say, "I'm not able to speak well." And many may feel, "I don't have the time." Let's be honest:  these are just excuses for disobedience.  Moses tried some of these same excuses - none of which were acceptable to God!  That fact is that we are all called to go.  The Lord asks that we "go into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled." (Luke 14:23). 

If God asks us to do something, He will make it possible.  Let's be reminded that Paul told the Phillipian church members,  "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." And that is true for every one of us, too.

This weekend, I'd like to again encourage every able-bodied church member to glorify Christ with your obedience to go. If you're not comfortable enough to speak, go along and pray silently. But do go - choosing to change "can't" to "can" - through Christ and for His glory.

We'll meet at church this Saturday morning at 10:00 AM.

Bill Nye's False Assertion About The Impact of Creationism on Scientific Progress

Pastor Hammond

Bill Nye recently argued that because creationism "offers no ability to predict the outcome of any experiment..." people who hold to creationism "cannot build, invent, and innovate..." The same people, he argues, "would be out-competed by engineers, scientists, and investors in other parts of the world (who hold to evolution)."

Nye's statements are surprisingly illogical. The scientific method works fine for creationists and evolutionists alike! Creationists choose to interpret the appearance of the earth through the lens of Scripture. However, that decision in no way impedes creationists from either conducting basic science or from applying the resulting discoveries to the development of new technologies.

I personally know at least one Biblical creationist who works as a professional scientist. A friend also reminded me that the inventor of MRI technology, Ray Damadian, is a Bible-believing Christian who rejects evolution as unscientific.  And, last but not least, Sir Isaac Newton was a both a creationist and one of the greatest scientists of all time!

A Challenge to Memorize Scripture

Pastor Robert Hammond, Long Hill Baptist Church

I pray that many have taken-up the challenge to begin reading through the entire King James Bible this year.  If you haven't already started, why not begin in Genesis 1:1 today?  Remember, reading just three and one-half chapters each day will allow you to read the entire Bible in one year.   Spouses may find it especially helpful to read the Bible aloud together.  My wife and I have recently started this practice; I find it to be a great help and encouragement. 

Now, permit me to also encourage you to be memorizing scripture this year.    In Psalms 119:11, the psalmist writes, "Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee."  Here, we observe that committing the word of God to memory is a great aide to our growth.  Permit me to encourage you to take up the challenge to memorize at least one verse each week this year. 

There's a number of good approaches to memorizing scripture.  

If you are new to memorizing scripture, it will be extremely helpful to begin memorizing individual verses (and short passages) that deal with a variety of doctrines.  Here's a link to download a list of 53 verses / short passages:  https://db.tt/Sp89EVQj

Tools that can help.  As a tool to help you memorize each verse, consider using index cards to create flash cards (with the reference on one side and the verse on the opposite side).  I've also created "digital flashcards" that may be used online to help memorize the same 53 verses & short passages.  See the online flashcards at http://quizlet.com/_k0zjh

If you have already memorized many verses, consider taking-up the challenge to memorize complete chapters and even entire books of the Bible. In recent memory, a number of our teens memorized the first chapter of James.  While this may seem like a daunting task, we have the Holy Spirit to help us! 

The important thing is to have a plan and to be in the habit of memorizing scripture.  Also, consider asking someone to partner with you to quiz you and to keep you accountable each week.  A final note:  As you pray for the Lord's help to take up this important challenge, also pray that the LORD will protect us from pride that can come with success!

Lord, please grow us in 2014 -- to thy glory!

A Challenge to Read the Bible

Pastor Robert Hammond, Long Hill Baptist Church

2 Timothy 3:16-17 "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works."

I'm writing to challenge members and friends of Long Hill Baptist Church to join me in reading through the entire King James Bible this year.  If you start now, you may complete the entire Bible this year by reading just three and one-half chapters daily!  A variety of reading plans are available.  One plan involves reading portions of the Old Testament and New Testament each day (click to see plan).   The simplest plan is to begin at Genesis 1:1 and read straight through to Revelation.  The important thing is to get started to ask the LORD to help you remain faithful.  And, if you miss a day, just get back on track the next day!

The idea of reading through the Old Testament can seem daunting.  Often, that's because we fail to see how the entire Old Testament relates to Christ. Recall that, in Luke 24:44, Jesus taught that the Old Testament was about him.  In Luke
Luke 24:44 Jesus says "... all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me."  This verse provides the lens through which we may understand the entire Old Testament.  In order to apply this "lens," simply keep asking, "How does this passage picture Christ?"  For example, in Genesis, consider how Noah's Ark pictures Christ. In Exodus, consider how the design of the tabernacle and the bloody sacrifices picture Christ. In Leviticus, consider how the various elements of the Levitical law picture Christ.  When you understand that every detail of Leviticus points to Christ, those details become far less tedious!

Also consider some good tools:

1.  I strongly encourage you to get a good reference book that introduces and outlines each book of the Bible.  One such book is Geisler's A Popular Survey of the Old Testament.  This book is easy-to-read and inexpensive.  Importantly, it focuses on how each book relates to Christ.  Order from Amazon.

2.  Get a good Bible dictionary such as the Concise King James Bible Dictionary from Way of Life Literature ($4.95) Order here

3.  Take care to learn some very basic principals for interpreting the Bible.  See an introduction here.

4.  For deeper study, consider purchasing Bible software such as Swordsearcher ($59.95)  Learn more.

5.  One completely free tool is an "accountability partner."  Ask someone to partner with you to keep you accountable to your Bible reading schedule. 

Thankfully, the only tool that's required to begin is a King James Bible!   Again, the important thing is to get started and to ask the LORD to help you remain faithful.

Bill Nye the Science Guy vs. the Bible

Pastor Hammond

I'm a pastor who appreciates science.  I recognize that the scientific method has been instrumental in   solving countless human challenges.  However, for me, the real power of science is it's ability to reveal the mind of our creator.  For example, the discovery of the structure and function of DNA reveals the breathtaking ingenuity of the LORD.   Yet, many in the scientific community have chosen to replace their creator with science.  Rather than using science to increase our understanding of God's creation, they make science and created things their God.  Consequently, the conclusions they draw from their scientific pursuits are necessarily clouded by their Godless assumptions.

Why are those assumptions so imporant?  The pursuit of scientific advancement requires the relentless collection and interpretation of data.  In order to be useful, data must always be interpreted through the lens of underlying assumptions.  Secular scientists interpret data through an evolutionary lens that assumes that the world is billions of years old - and that higher life forms evolved from lower life forms. 

Bill Nye "the science guy" is one such scientist.  Recently, it was announced that Nye will debate creationist Ken Ham in February.   Interestingly, the secular community is already posturing about this debate.  They fear that Nye's lack of experience as a debater gives Ham the advantage. Ham does indeed have an advantage. However, the reason is that he seeks his answers in Genesis, i.e. Ham's interpretive lens is the truth of God's word. 

Consider how secular scientists interpret the world through a false lens.  Because they reject the LORD as our creator, they require a godless explanation of our origin.  The the theory of evolution is their answer. 

In order for evolution to produce higher life forms such as man, evolutionary processes must be permitted millions and billions of years.  This necessarily requires the evolutionist to reject the fact that the Bible doesn't permit the earth to be more than 10,000 years old, i.e. his assumption of a Godless origin necessarily leads him to reject Biblical revelation that is inconsistent with his assumption.

If we begin with the assumption that God has revealed truth in his Word, we may interpret the appearance of the earth through a better lens.  We must acknowledge that the earth appears to be much older than the roughly 10,000 years that Scripture permits, i.e. it appears to evidence the effect of geological processes that would normally be expected to require millions or billions of years to complete. 

What lens the does Bible provide to help answer this observation?  The Bible reveals that the earth suffered a catastropic flood that ravaged the world.   A global flood of this magnitude would be more than capable of producing the geological effects that lead evolutionists to conclude that the world is very old, i.e. the flood has caused the world to appear older than it would otherwise appear. 

In choosing to interpret the appearance of the world through this Biblical lense, we discover not only a license, but a mandate that we reject the notion that the earth is more than 10,000 years old.   Having done that, we both honor scripture and deprive the evolutionist of the time that would be required for his theory of evolution to yield human beings.

Believers who choose to interpret their world through the lense of scripture will be encouraged by the strength of Biblical support for our approach.  Indeed, in Genesis, the Bible clearly reveals that the LORD created all forms of life as distinct, fully-developed life-forms during a literal six-day creation week.

The language of Genesis chapter 1 speaks of six literal days of creation.  Six times, the Bible describes the days of the creation week as being composed of an “evening and morning.”  The LORD used very literal language in order to rule out the possibility that he was referring to longer periods of time (i.e. millions or billions of years).

In Genesis chapter 1, the Bible says that all forms of life were created to reproduce “after his kind.”  Grass produces grass; whales produce whales, beasts of the earth produce beasts of earth.  Multiple times, the Lord repeated that each form of life reproduces “after his kind.”   This phrase refutes the possibility of evolution because it refutes the possibility that one life form evolved into “another kind” of life.  Rather, each form of life reproduces “after his kind.”

In Genesis 1:26-28, the Bible teaches that the LORD created man separately from animals.  We have an origin that is distinct and separate from the origin of plants, sea life and animals.   Man was created at a distinct point in time (v.26-27).  And man was created separately from animals (vs. 24-25) and separately from sea life and birds (fifth day of creation).  And the Bible is clear that only man was created “in the image of God.” (1:26).  

In summary, we must conclude that the language of Genesis chapter one excludes even the possibility that man evolved from other forms of life.   This is the Biblical lense through which we must interpret our world.  Bill Nye may win some debate points with crafty arguments.  But, the lense of scripture will remain true nonetheless.

 

Mind Your T’s & Y’s: Understanding King James Pronouns

Pastor Hammond

Living according to “every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matt. 4:4) requires that we make an effort to learn to understand every word of scripture.  Yet, any honest pastor will admit that the Elizabethan-era English of our King James Bible can be challenging. One of the first challenges that we face is the so-called Elizabethan pronouns, i.e. thou, thee, thy, thine, ye, and you.

It is fair to ask if these so-called “old fashioned” pronouns really matter – especially given that most modern Bible versions have replaced them with simpler, more familiar words.  For example, modern translations typically replace “ye” with “you.”  While that change may seem reasonable, readers must understand that dropping the use of the Elizabethan pronouns necessarily obscures the meaning of the Greek and Hebrew words that underly our English translations.  In fact, when translators change “ye” to “you,” they are necessarily changing God’s words!

Let’s take a closer look at the issue.   Recall that the New Testament is translated from Greek.  Biblical Greek differentiates between singular pronouns that refer to one person (thou, thee, thine) and plural pronouns that refer to multiple people (you, ye). Biblical Greek also differentiates between pronouns that serve as subjects and objects in a sentence.  Unfortunately, modern English no longer maintains a system of pronouns that bear the same level of precision.  Fortunately, however, the Elizabethan English of our King James Bible utilizes a system of pronouns that perfectly reflects the precision of the original Greek. 

You may be wondering if this level of grammatical precision is actually important.  Consider the King James translation of John 3:7.  There, Jesus said, "Marvel not that I said unto thee (singular, object form), ye (plural, subject form) must be born again."  The use of these precise pronouns in our  King James translation makes it clear that, while Jesus was speaking to one man (Nicodemus), his message was that all people must be born again.  However, the New International Version (NIV) obscures the fact that all must be born again; It translates  John 3:7 as  “You should not be surprised at my saying, You must be born again.”  Because the NIV says "You must be born again," a modern reader would not likely understand that Jesus was actually telling Nicodemus that all must be born again. 

Similar distinctions are made in the Biblical Hebrew underlying our King James Old Testament. Consider Exodus 4:15:  "And thou (2nd person singular, subject form) shalt speak unto him, and put words in his mouth: and I will be with thy (2nd-person singular,  possessive form) mouth, and with his mouth, and will teach you (plural, object form) what ye (plural, subject form) shall do" (KJV).

One commentator notes that, in the above verse, we see the pronouns "thou," "thy," "you," and "ye," all fulfilling a specific grammatical function.  Modern translations are more likely to read:  "You shall speak to him ...and I will be with your mouth,... and will teach you what you shall do."  In choosing to simplify the translation, they obscure the precision and clarity of the underlying Hebrew words.  However, our King James Bible makes it clear that the LORD told Moses that he (Moses) was to speak to Aaron, and that He (the LORD) would then teach both of them (not just Moses) what they were to do.

Ok, so how can I remember the meaning of each pronoun?

Here’s a simple rule:  In our King James bible, pronouns that begin with “T” are always singular (i.e. they refer to one person); Pronouns that begin with “Y” are always plural (i.e. they refer to multiple people).   Someone observed that a helpful way to remember this rule is that “t” resembles one "stick" whereas “y” pictures two (or more) sticks stacked together.  

Going a step further:  Biblical Greek also uses different forms of pronouns to identify subjects and objects in a sentence.  Recall that, in a sentence, a subject is the person who is performing an action.  The object is a person or thing that is receiving action.  Consider this sentence:   “Mary is feeding the baby.”   “Mary” is the subject, i.e. the one performing the action.   “Baby” is the object, i.e. the one upon whom the action is being performed.  

Praise God for our Authorized King James Bible – an accurate translation of God’s preserved words.

A Helpful Chart of King James Bible Pronouns: 

  1.  “T” pronouns  are singular (and always 2nd person)
    1. Thou = subject form
    2. Thee = object form
    3.  “Thy” & “Thine” show possession
  2. Y” pronouns are plural (and always 2nd-person)
    1. Ye = Subject form
    2. You = object form
    3. Your(s)” shows possession

Remember:  "T" pronouns are always singular. "Y" pronouns are always plural.

Should Christians Read Bill O'Reilly's book, "Killing Jesus"?

According the Bible, as Jesus hung on the cross, he said, "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do," (Luke 23:34).

I've read a review which states that, in his book,  Mr. O’Reilly asserts that “It wouldn’t have been physically possible (for Jesus to make that statement from the cross).  O'Reilly states, "You die on a cross from being suffocated...You can hardly breathe. We believe Jesus said that, but we don’t believe he said it on the cross because nobody could have heard it.”

Here, we may observe that Bill O'Reilly does not accept the Bible.  As such, I urge Bible-believers to have nothing to do with this book.

The Bible Says Jesus is the Only Way to Heaven!

Pastor Hammond

One of the clearest teachings of the Bible is the teaching that Jesus Christ is the only way of salvation. 

  • In John 14:6, Jesus said he is THE ONLY WAY.  There, we read, “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”
  • In Acts 4:10-12, The Bible states that salvation is offered through NO OTHER NAME but “by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth…”  Verse 12 states,  “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”
  • In 1 Corinthians 3:11, the Bible states that Christ is the ONLY FOUNDATION:  “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.”
  • In Romans 1:16, the Bible says that the Gospel of Christ is THE POWER unto salvation.  There, we read, “ For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” 

Importantly, the Bible also says that we cannot be “the way” for ourselves.  Our good works are not good enough for God. In Ephesians 2:8-9, the Bible reads, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:  Not of works, lest any man should boast.

For more information about knowing Jesus Christ as your savior, please see LHBaptist.com/salvation.  You may also contact Pastor Hammond at 203-268-5104.

What about Wicca?

Pastor Hammond

Wicca is a religion that involves a variety of ancient practices.  While there's considerable variation in how wicca is practiced,  we should understand a few common themes:

(1) Wicca teaches the veneration of nature. This is based on a profoundly unbiblical PANTHEISM, i.e. the idea that a (typically feminine) "divine" is present in all things. This is much more than teaching respect for nature; it's teaching that nature is God. This is entirely contrary to the Bible;

(2) Wicca's so-called "Charge of the Goddess" teaches a POLYTHEISTIC worship of various goddesses. Again, this is profoundly contrary to the Bible, e.g. Exodus 20:3 "Thou shalt have no other gods before me);

(3) The so-called Wiccan Rede teaches people to do whatever they like (so long as it hurts no one) - representing a rejection of the full cannon of Scripture - and it's numerous imperatives;

(4) Not uncommonly, Wiccans teach the use of magick -- a practice that is wholly reliant upon a very real demonic realm for it's very real results. I have known people who have been converted to Christianity after having spent considerable time practicing Wicca. They generally conclude that Wicca is ultimately about Satan - even if that is not taught overtly.  Importantly, I have personal experience with people who testify that THE VENERATION OF SATAN IS SOMETIMES TAUGHT OVERTLY (albeit not to new adherents!).

The Lord Jesus Christ died on the cross at calvary for all sinners - including the practicing wiccan.  A person who is caught-up in wicca may repent of their sin just like any other sinner.  

How may a wiccan know that his or her sins are forgiven?

1.  Understand and acknowledge that we are all sinners.  In Romans 3:23, the Bible says that "all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God."  God's perfect holiness and justice requires that a penalty be paid for sin.  In fact, in Romans 6:23, the Bibles teaches that "the wages of sin is death."

2.  Acknowledge that Jesus Christ - the son of God - died on the cross and paid for all our sins.  The good news is that the son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ, paid that penalty for us by shedding His blood and dying upon the cross in our place.  Jesus Christ was the perfect sacrifice that satisfied God’s demand for justice against our sins. Because Jesus did that for us, eternal life is offered to us as a free gift.  God paid the price for our sin Himself! 

3.  Understand that simply choosing to be a better person will not save you.
 The bible states, " For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast," (Ephesians 2:8-9).  No one can be saved through their own good works!

3.  Understand that repentance and faith are required for salvation.  According to the Bible, it is only through repentance and faith in Christ that our sins are forgiven.  Romans 6:23 says, "the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."  If you will repent and receive Christ as your savior, the Bible says that you can know for certain that you have eternal life (1 John 5:13).

To repent is simply to make a conscious decision to turn away from sin and to turn toward Christ.   Repentence involves a change of mind that produces a change in action.   Repentance normally involves sorrow over our past sins - especially when we realize that Christ died on the cross in our place.   The Bible say, "...there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth."  (Luke 15:10)

4. Understand that Bible says that "...Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." (Romans 10:13) "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:16). The word believe in John 3:16 means to place your trust in Christ. If you will place your trust in Jesus Christ as the one who paid for your sins on the cross of Calvary, and in nothing else, God promises you both forgiveness of sin and eternal life. 

In 1 John 1:9, the Bible says, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."  "All unrighteousness" includes the sin of practicing wicca!

In 1 John 5:13, John writes, "These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life..."  If you will repent - confessing your sinfulnes - and trust in Christ alone for forgiveness, you can KNOW that you have eternal life!

Learn more.  If you'd like to know about the forgiveness of sin that is possible in Jesus Christ, please contact Pastor Robert Hammond at Long Hill Baptist Church, 100 Middlebrooks Ave., Trumbull, CT (203) 268-5104.

Sandy Hook Elementary School Tragedy

December 15, 2012


Please join me in much prayer for the families and friends of the many students and adults who lost their lives.

Many will be searching for answers regarding this tragedy.  Let us all be reminded of the truth of Scripture:  "Evil men... shall wax worse and worse..." (2 Timothy 3:13).  
The world is indeed waxing worse and worse.  But, our LORD is still in control.  And His good purposes will be accomplished.  Importantly, I trust that each of us will allow this event to remind us of the critical need to urgently reach people with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

In Christ's Love,

Pastor 

(203) 208-3450

Helps for Spiritual Battle

Notes from a September 2012 conference regarding spiritual battle

1 Peter 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:

Truths About Spiritual Battle – (conference speaker:  Marvin Smith)

  • Understand that Satan has already been defeated; We need not give him any control in our lives!
    • Satan was defeated  in Heaven
    • Satan was defeated by Christ in the wilderness
    • Satan  was defeated by Christ  in hell
  • Understand that one of Satan's goal is to wear us out (Dan 7:25).
    • Satan is not trying to defeat God; he knows his future.  Satan isn't  targeting a lost men – he already has them. Rather, Satan is targeting saved people! (that he might distract us from living for Christ & serving our Savior)
      • Rev 13:7 -- Satan makes war with the saints
      • Rev 12:12- Satan has wrath - knowing that he cannot win 
  • Understand that Satan tells us LIES about God, others, self:
    • Lies Satan tells us about God:  God doesn't really LOVE  you, ACCEPT you or CARE ABOUT you. God isn't fair/ God ripped you off, GOD CANNOT USE ME;  cannot forgive me; God cannot  be trusted;
    • Lies Satan tells us about others: nobody cares; nobody loves me; the preacher is against me; the church does not accept me; no one understands me; everyone is a hypocrite; my parents do/don't love me; my spouse doesn't love me / care about me;
    •  Lies Satan tells me about myself:I'll never amount to anything; I'm stupid; I'm ugly (that's an offense to God!); I can't get victory; I'm worthless (we aren't worthy or worthless); I'm too filthy to be used of God; I am not accepted; I will never be loved; I cannot do anthing for God / my work isn't important.
  • Understand that we should combat Satan's lies with the truth of God’s word! 
    • Some great Biblical truths: 
      • We have been crucified with Christ (gal 2:20);  buried with him (to 6:4-5); raised up with him (Eph 2:6; ro 6:5); I am seated with Christ (Eph 2:6);  
      • The Spirit of God desires to renew us each day!
      • Truths about our Salvation:
        • Past:  We have been justified / positional sanctification
        • Present: We are growing in practical sanctification
        • Future: we will be glorified
      • Great truths about the results of my salvation in Christ: 
        • … I am accepted by the Father (Eph 1:6) 
        • … I am God's child (John 1:12)
        • … I am justified - ro 6:1
        • … I have been adopted as God's child (Eph 1:5)
        • … I have direct access to God
        • … I have been forgiven - Col 1:14
        • … I am complete in Christ
        • ….I have been appointed to bare fruit - John 15:1
        • … I am a personal witness of Christ
        • … I  am a new creation in Christ
        • … I am God's workmanship
        • … I can do all things in Christ
        • … I am more than a conqueror in Christ

James 4:7 "Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you."

What Are You Trusting in to Get Into Heaven?

Most people are trusting in their good works.  However, you may be suprised to learn that the Bible clearly states that we cannot earn Heaven through any good works - including the work of baptism.

In Ephesians chapter 2, the apostle Paul writes, "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves:  it is the gift of God:  Not of works, least any man should boast (Eph. 2:8-9).

No good works - including Baptism - are good enough to get us into Heaven.  Why is that?  In Romans 3:23, the Bible says that "all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God."  God's perfect holiness and justice requires that a penalty be paid for sin.  In fact, in Romans 6:23, the Bibles teaches that "the wages of sin is death."  The good news is that the son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ, paid that penalty for us by shedding His bood and dying upon the cross in our place. It is only through repentance and faith in Christ that our sins are forgiven.  Romans 6:23 says, "the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."  If you will repent and receive Christ as your savior, the Bible says that you can know for certain that you have eternal life (1 John 5:13).

How may I know that my sins are fogiven?

1.  Understand that Christ died on the cross and paid for all our sins. Jesus Christ was the perfect sacrifice that satisfied God’s demand for justice against our sins. Because Jesus did that for us, eternal life is offered to us as a free gift. God paid the price for our sin Himself!

2.  Turn away from sin and receive Christ as your savior. The Bible teaches that, in order to receive forgiveness of sins, we must repent and place our faith in Christ.  To repent is simply to make a conscious decision to turn away from sin and to turn toward Christ.   Repentence involves a change of mind that produces a change in action.   Repentence normally involves sorrow over our past sins - especially when we realize that Christ died on the cross in our place.   The Bible say, "...there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth."  (Luke 15:10)

The Bible says that "...Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." (Romans 10:13) "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:16). The word believe in John 3:16 means to place your trust in Christ. If you will place your trust in Jesus Christ as the one who paid for your sins on the cross of Calvary, and in nothing else, God promises you both forgiveness of sin and eternal life. 

Here’s a sample prayer you can pray: 

Dear Lord Jesus Christ, I acknowledge I have sinned against a Holy God and my sins have separated me from Him. I believe that you Jesus, are the Son of God, and I believe you died and paid for my sins on the cross some 2000 years ago, and that you rose from the dead.  Today, I'm choosing to turn away from a life a sin and to turn toward you, Lord.  I trust you alone, Lord Jesus, for my eternal salvation. 

God bless you my friend! If you have made this decision, please contact us and let us know. And please be baptized by immersion in a Bible-believing church such as ours. Get involved, and learn what it is to live the Christian life.

Recognizing the 55th Anniversary of Our First Service

In April 2012, Long Hill Baptist Church is celebrating the 55th anniversary of our first worship service.  We praise God for the following notes of encouragement received from pastors, friends, and missionaries serving throughout the United States and around the world.

To the saints and faithful brethren at Long Hill Baptist Church: We give thanks to God for your work of faith and labor of love in our Lord Jesus Christ. That your assembly still contends for the faith once delivered unto the saints, after fifty-five years, is a testimony to the grace and mercy of God. New England is littered with churches that have softened, weakened, and died spiritually. May the living God enrich you in every good work and enable Long Hill Baptist to continue as one of the Lord's candlesticks, faithful until He comes.  - Pastor Ken Brooks and the saints in Christ Jesus at Calvary Independent Baptist Church, West Redding, Connecticut

 Dear Pastor Hammond & Long Hill Baptist Church, We appreciate your long heritage, your pastor, and the flock.  Continue to stand for the LORD, His word, and be used of the LORD as one of His Local Churches. - Your friends at Galilean Baptist Church, Stafford Springs, CT.  

Dear Pastor Hammond, Congratulations on 55 years of serving Christ and faithfully preaching the gospel in Trumbull, CT. I can't imagine how many lives have been gloriously transformed by Christ through your ministry...won't Heaven be spectacular when all of that is revealed. We rejoice with you and pray the Lord will continue to bless you with more fruit for His glory.  Rejoicing With You, Shawn, Leslie, and Anna Beliveau, Your missionaries in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

 Dear Friends at Long Hill Baptist, Congratulations on your 55th anniversary. Through the years of ups and downs, you have had an impact on your community. Our prayer is that many of your best days are ahead.  Our prayers are with you and Pastor Bob as you continue to reach people for Christ and bring glory to our Lord Jesus Christ.  We miss you often, thank God for you and our good years there, and continue to remember you as you serve the Lord in Trumbull.  God bless you all! - Pastor Mark Aheron

Congratulations upon reaching 55 years of serving our Lord through your local church. We feel very privileged to have you as one of our supporting churches. I led two ladies to the Lord this week. This would not be possible if your church and others like you had no interest in missions. I pray your church will have a very long life. Love one another, love your pastor but above all continue a faithful love for our Lord and Savior as He is the reason we serve and survive…  The Shaw family in Mexico

 Pastor Hammond and the congregation of Long Hill Baptist Church, Congratulations on your 55th Anniversary as a church in Connecticut.  We hope that you are able to spend time today celebrating all the wonderful things that God has accomplished through your church over those 55 years. It is quite an accomplishment. As you count what God has done, please remember to include your missionary efforts over the years.  Since you started to support us ten years ago, we have been able to see five churches started here in Kenya …. all in Muslim areas.  Literally thousands of people have come to know Jesus Christ as their Savior because you enabled us to come here through your mission’s offerings.   May God bless you today and bring much joy into your hearts. We pray that He gives you many more years to serve Him.  Bobby Bechtel, Serving in Kenya.

Dear Long Hill Baptist Church, Congratulations on your 55th anniversary! It is so great to hear of congregations who have been faithfully serving the Lord for such a period of time. In these last days, we know that it is not easy to continue standing, and so many have fallen…. Connecticut needs your light, New England needs your light, and the world needs the light of churches like you. Thank you so much for your continued support of our family... It is our desire that the Lord will bless you richly in this new year of service, and also on this your anniversary celebration.  - Your servants for the sake of our Saviour, Matthew, Carrie, Ransom, Jacob and Melody Patenaude


Is Your New Years Resolve Disolving Yet?

Pastor Hammond | February 2012
  
How are you doing with those New Years resolution?  According to a recent poll, 2/3 of American don't make any New Years resolutions at all!  Many of us have discovered that, in our own strength, most resolutions are just too hard to keep.   We generally fail in our resolutions when we come to end of our own resolve.  So, we often decide not to resolve to make any necessary changes!

There's a better way.  This year, why not ask the LORD to strengthen you with His might (Eph 3:16) to grow in obedience to Him.  Here's seven critical areas where Christians should resolve, in the Lord's strength, to grow -- starting right now:
  • Ask the LORD to help you grow in your walk with Christ this year.  Ask Him to show you specific sins that should be forsaken this year;

  • Ask the LORD to help you read through the King James Bible in 2012.  The entire Bible may be read in one year by reading as few as 85 verses daily (or just 40-50 verses twice a day).  How many pages is that?  Divide the number of pages in your Bible by 366 to determine how many pages need to be read daily in order to read through your Bible this year.

  • Ask the LORD to help you spend significant time in prayer at least twice each day.  On average,  Americans spend several hours daily on leisure activities - including more than 2 hours of daily television watching.  We have time for prayer!  Please consider praying for church members and lost friends and family members every day this year.

  • Ask the LORD to help you commit to attending all of our church services every week - including the Sunday morning, Sunday evening and Wednesday evening meetings.  What's more important than worship? "Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching," (Hebrews 10:25).

  • Ask the LORD to show you how He would like you to serve Him through your church this year. And ask Him to help you be faithful to that area;

  • Ask the LORD to help you be faithful to give a true tithe to your church this year.  Also pray about your giving to both our Deacons and missionary funds.  Learn more about tithing;

  • Ask the LORD to help you be faithful to regularly share the gospel.  Make it a priority to learn to share the gospel.  "...and be ready always to give ananswer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear," (1 Peter 3:15).

Why not take a moment to pray through the above list right now?  Remember:  "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me!" (Phil. 4:13).

The Bible Has the Answer for Chronic Anxiety

Pastor Robert Hammond, Long Hill Baptist Church, Trumbull, CT

Do you realize that the Bible teaches believers to fear just one thing?  That one thing is the LORD himself!  In Proverbs 9:10, the LORD inspired Solomon to write, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom…”   The simple truth is that a believer who has developed a Biblical fear of the LORD has nothing else to fear. 

More than 50 times throughout His Word, God has told his people to “fear not.” Why?  Our sin nature tends lead us to worry – to suffer anxiety.  In Timothy 1:6-7, Paul reminds us that   “… God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”  Praise God that the Bible gives us God’s own plan for overcoming fear and anxiety.

So, what can we do to overcome anxiety?

1. Be sure that you genuinely know Christ as your Savior.  In Matthew 6, Jesus promised to meet the needs of those who have first sought his righteousness, i.e. people who know Christ as their Savior.     The Bible teaches that, in order to receive forgiveness of sins, we must repent and receive Christ as our Savior.  To repent is simply to make a conscious decision to turn away from sin and to turn toward Christ.  The Bible say, "...there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth,"  (Luke 15:10).  The Bible promises that "...Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved," (Romans 10:13).  "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life," (John 3:16).  The Bible also teaches that, when we are genuinely saved, the Holy Spirit testifies in our spirit that we are saved.  In 1 John 4:13, the Bible says, “Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.”

2. Understand that anxiety is often like a dashboard warning light - alerting us to a problem that needs to be addressed.

In Psalm 32, David described a bout with emotional turmoil.  He attributed his experience to his failure to confess sin.  David reports that his gladness and joy were restored only when he confessed his sin to God!

In the Bible, we that Asaph experience emotional turmoil due to a sinful focus on self instead of God. In Psalm 77, Asaph described his emotional state using language that sounds strikingly similar to our modern notionof anxiety and depression.  Asaph’s turmoil resolved only when he shifted his focus from himself to the LORD. If your emotional health is suffering due to a prideful focus on yourself, ask the LORD forgive this sin.  Receive his forgiveness, instruction and joy.  Psalm 32:11 commands, “Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, ye righteous: and shout for joy, all ye that are upright in heart.”

3. Ask the LORD to help you “fear not” -- because you belong to Him!  In Isaiah 43:1, the Bible says,  “But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine.”

4. Ask the LORD help you give all your worries to Him daily in prayer.  In 1 Peter 5:6-7, the Bible says,  “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:  7Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.”

In Philippians 4:6-7, Paul writes, “Be careful (anxious) for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.  7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” 

5. Ask the LORD to help you focus your mind on Godly things.  In Philippians 4:8, Paul writes,  “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”
 

6. Ask the LORD to help you focus on His promises to meet the needs of believers rather than focusing on worries about your needs.  In Matthew 6:25-33, Jesus said,  “Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?  26 Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?  27 Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?  28 And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin… 31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?  32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.  33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”

7. Ask the LORD to help you see Him as a refuge from difficulties that might bring fear.  In Psalm 46:1-2, the psalmist writes,  “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.  2 Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea.”

8. Ask the LORD to give you peace in your heart.  In John 16:33 (Jesus said,  “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”

9.  Ask the LORD to help you “let not your heart be troubled.”  Ask Christ to grow your faith in his promises to meet your needs.  In John 14:1, Jesus said, “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.”

10. Ask the LORD to help you focus on the fact that He is in perfect control of all things.  In Job 42:2, Job says,   “I know that thou canst do every thing, and that no thought can be withholden from thee.”  In Psalm 33:11, the psalmist writes,  “The counsel of the LORD standeth for ever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations.” And in Psalm 145:13, the Bible says,  “Thy kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and thy dominion endureth throughout all generations…”  Understand that God even controls the weather.  In Jonah 1:4, we observe that  “the LORD sent out a great wind into the sea, and there was a mighty tempest in the sea, so that the ship was like to be broken.”

11.  Understand that our God is a God of great comfort.  In 2 Corinthians 1:3, Paul writes, "Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort;" (2 Cor 1:3). And in John 14:18, Jesus says,  "I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you." In John 14:26, Jesus said, “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.”

If you would like to further discuss Biblical answers to personal struggles, contact Pastor Hammond at Long Hill Baptist Church, 203-268-5104 or hammond.robert@gmail.com.

The Greatest Gift of All

by Pastor Hammond

(On December 22, 2011, the Trumbull Times ran this article exactly as it appears below).


Over the years, I have read innumerable Christmastime articles that reflect on the true meaning of Christmas.  Predictably,  they contend that Christmas is less about receiving gifts and more about time for family, reflection, and, of course, for giving gifts. 
 
That all sounds good.  But, I really like to receive gifts.  
 
Earlier this Christmas season, I was invited to share the story of the best gift that I ever received.  A friend invited me to share my story with a woman in his family who has been fighting a terminal illness.   I quickly accepted the invitation to visit her at a local nursing home.
 
When I entered her room, I introduced myself and prayed with her. Then, I began telling her the story of the most wonderful gift that I had ever received.
 
I told her how, when I was a boy, a man took a book and told me the story of a Father who understood the importance of giving like no one else.  The man described a Father who was so concerned for others that he was willing to send his only son to die for them. 
 
I told her how that Father’s gift was motivated by unfathomable love.  And I told her that his son shared that love so perfectly that he was willing to shed his blood and to die for me. 
 
Puzzled, the women in the hospital bed turned away.  And then she turned back toward me. 
 
I explained that the book that was read to me was the Bible. And I explained that Father who was described to me is God the Father.   I continued that the son who was offered by his own Father is the long-prophesied Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ. 
 
I explained that God the Father sent his son both to be born of a virgin in Bethlehem and to die on the cross at Calvary – exactly as had been prophesied in the Scriptures.  And I told her why he did that:  According the Bible, I am a sinner.  Because of that, I deserve death – eternal separation from God.  But, according to the Bible, “the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

I told her that I had received that gift and I explained how she might receive it, too.  I explained that the Bible teaches that our good works aren’t good enough to earn forgiveness. 
 
I told her how Jesus said, “ye must be born again.”   And I told her that Peter, the Apostle, said, “Repent (turn away from sin) … and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out.” I explained that Salvation is a free gift that must simply be received by turning away from sin and by placing one’s faith in Christ. 
 
That night, she too decided to receive the greatest gift that I have ever received – the gift of eternal salvation.  She prayed and received Christ as her Savior. Because of her decision to receive Christ, she may know with certainty that, whenever her battle with illness ends, she will be in Heaven with her Savior.  That’s a great Christmas gift indeed.
 
Have you received the greatest gift of all – the Lord Jesus Christ?  Click to learn more about knowing Christ.