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The Evangelistic Ministries of John "BJ" Hall

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How about a Re-SOUL-ution this Year

January 6, 2018

~ By Evangelist John BJ Hall ~

1Cor.16:7-9
“For a great door and effectual is opened unto me, and there are many adversaries.”

A new employee stood in front of the paper shredder, looking a little confused. "Need some help?" a secretary, walking by, asked. "Yes," the employee replied, "how does this thing work?" "Oh it's simple," she said, taking the large report from his hand and feeding it into the shredder. "Thanks," the new guy said, "now can you tell me where all the copies come out?"

Technologies and office machines do baffle some people. Fax machines, cellular telephones, pagers, computers, and modems: all have burst on the scene virtually revolutionizing the way we communicate and do business. It's what we would call a breakthrough!

As we are still in the first week of a new year I'm convinced that more than ever we need a breakthrough in the church - I don't mean that we need new gadgets or programs — no what we need is a Spiritual Breakthrough - we need Revival, Renewing, Re-awakening, and Re-commitment.

In our text for this evening — the apostle Paul was winding up his first epistle to the Corinthians with some practical advice — he tells them in 15:58 to stand fast in the Lord, in the first part of chapter 16 he mentions an offering to be taken for the relief of the poor, and then he tells them of his plans for the immediate future: (READ 1Cor.16:7-9)

What I want to focus on in this study is the last verse - Paul saw an opportunity - an open door - and for us - that is exactly what the new year offers - an opportunity - an open door- a fresh start - a new beginning. Paul described his door as a GREAT door and an EFFECTUAL door. By that, he saw it as an opportunity for achieving Great things for God - making a difference - being Effective.

I'm convinced that we too want to be effective for God - we want to make a difference in our world - we have a deep longing for Christ to be glorified and lifted up in our lives and in our church. I believe that God will bless and do "exceedingly abundantly more than we ask or think" IF we are willing to be filled with His Spirit and bold enough to go through the OPEN DOOR that He places before us. (But remember — it won't be easy — Paul said that there were "many adversaries." And there will be for us too.)

I.     What Open Door is before us? What is this Breakthrough? COMMITMENT

Many people talk about New Years Resolutions - which usually fizzle out & fade. What I want to suggest is a New Years Re-soul-ution —a New Year Re-dedication — Re-commitment.

I have found that there are — seven things came to mind — seven pillars of our faith — that, if we Re-commit ourselves firmly to them — will guarantee Victory, Fruitfulness, and happiness in this new year.

By the way — before I talk about commitment — let me make sure there's no misunderstanding — Commitment is not just talking about religion. The story is told of an entertainer many years ago who would string up a tight-rope from one end of Niagara Falls to the other. Hundreds of spectators would come and watch him perform — he'd walk the tightrope — do tricks, and even ride a unicycle from one end to the other.

One day a man witnessed this display and was totally impressed. He clapped and cheered and even shouted, "You're the greatest!" The artist replied — "you believe I'm pretty good, huh?" Oh yes, the man said. "Then please, come let me ride you on my back as I cycle across to the other side!" TALK about commitment is one thing - ACTION is better.

1.     Make a fresh Commitment to the BIBLE - the word of God.

Read it daily, study it faithfully, hear it preached often, talk about it with your friends and family, memorize portions of it, Read it through in a year - but most importantly - HEED it and OBEY it.

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

"This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success. - Joshua 1:8

2.  Make a fresh Commitment to PRAYER!

"The LORD is nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth." - Psalm 145:18

"Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered." - Romans 8:26

"Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful." - Colossians 4:2

"Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." - Matthew 26:41

O what precious promises are made to us if we will just pray - why then do we neglect it? Why do we sell ourselves short & rob ourselves of victory by neglecting this most important gift? "O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear, all because we do not carry, everything to God in prayer." God grant us to be Committed to prayer!

3. Make a fresh Commitment to the CHURCH.

The church is the body & bride of Christ. She is His most precious, beloved and prized possession. To forsake the church and be a "lone ranger Christian" is to shoot yourself in the foot and severely hinder your effectiveness. WE NEED the Church!

  • Be regular in attendance! - Hebrews 10:25 (KJV) 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. 
  • Be generous in your Support - 2 Corinthians 9:7 Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. 
  • Be ACTIVE in your participation - not just a spectator. - Galatians 6:10 As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith. 
  • And most of all - Be filled with a Spirit of Love & Unity – Colossians 2:2 That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgment of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ; 

"Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently." - 1Peter 1:22

"By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples if ye have love one to another." John 13:35

4.  Make a fresh Commitment to the GREAT COMMISSION.

We must evangelize or fossilize. The love of Christ must constrain us to love the lost - both around the corner and around the world. Jesus's last words plainly tell us what we're to be all about:

"And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen." - Mt.28:18-20

5.  Make a fresh Commitment to CLEAN LIVING - PURITY.

A devotion from "Our Daily Bread" suggested that we can't make New Year's Resolutions without first Resolving the sins of our past. Thank God there are grace and forgiveness available to all. Let us humble ourselves & confess to God our trespasses and He will forgive. (1Jn.1:9; Ps.51:1-3; 17)

If we regard iniquity in our hearts - we will not be blessed; we will not have victory; instead, we will be miserable. The new year will be a dud. Let's start right. God's word plainly says: "And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure." - 1 Jn.3:3

We're thankful, Lord, that when we fall:

  • We can begin anew
  • If humbly we confess our sin,
  • Then turn and follow You.

6.  Make a fresh Commitment to your FAMILY.

This is every bit as important as the other commitments I've mentioned. Your family is a blessing from the Lord. Treat one another right! If not - I guarantee the new year will not be happy at all.

  • Husbands - love your wife and give honor to her. (Eph.5:25; 1Pet.3:7)
  • Wives - submit to your husbands as it is fit in the Lord. (Col.3:18)
  • Children - Honor & obey your parents (10 commandments; Eph.6:1)
  • Parents - Don't discourage your children - but bring them up right - in the Lord. (Eph.6:4; Col.3:21)

IF you make time for your family - quality time - love and cherish one another - worship as a family - I guarantee the coming year will be a super year.

7.    Make a fresh Commitment to God (Father, Son & Holy Spirit)

This, of course, is most important - what is the chief end of man? To glorify God and to enjoy Him forever. "Seek ye first the kingdom of God..." "Love the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind & strength..." "whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord..."

  • Seek to Experience God in Worship/Prayer
  • Abide in Christ through faith & Prayer
  • Be continuously filled with the Holy Spirit

II.   Remember, Paul said that there were many adversaries - enemies.

We too have adversaries that would keep us from going through these doors. Obstacles, pitfalls, enemies - call them what you will - they are real, nonetheless.

  1. 1.  The devil - demons - REAL.
    "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith...." - 1 Peter 5:8-9
    Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." - James 4:7
  2. Procrastination will keep you from the above 7 commitments - don't delay!
  3. Wasting Time - will keep you from going through the door.
  4. Stinking Thinking - the "I'm so helpless" stuck in a rut mindset will keep you from going through the door. Remember - "I can do all things through Christ..."
  5. "Nobody else is Committed..." - this isn't true - and even if it were, it's no reason for you not to be!

Are you ready to make the most of the doors that the Lord opens to you? Are you ready to go through it as a GREAT and EFFECTUAL door - or will you let it come and go just as another day - like all the others before? Let's go through the Door - press on in spite of the adversaries. You'll be glad you did!

Your future doesn’t begin tomorrow. It begins RIGHT NOW. What will you make of it this year?

Precious Memories

November 24, 2017

~ By Evangelist John BJ Hall ~

This is the only picture in existence of my great-grandma Jett, grandma Stanfill, my mother Marylee Faye Hall and me.

I don’t know a lot about Great-grandma Jett, other than the fact that she reared a daughter who became the best grandmother I can imagine. Grandma Stanfill was the most marvelous lady that ever lived. She loved God with all her heart. She displayed that love in her life, day after day. She showed that love to the children of Enid, Oklahoma as she directed the work of the Child Evangelism Fellowship in that city. I would stay with her during the summer and watched her interact with the children that came into her life.  

She lived about two blocks from an elementary school and held Bible club classes in her home. But this was not good enough for her or the children. She sold her home, which she had lived in for as long as I can remember. She used the money to buy a home across the street from the school. She remodeled the home into the perfect place for children to come and learn about the Lord. Her front room saw many children come to faith in Christ.

I remember the “flannel graphs” that she used while she told the Bible stories. I especially loved it when she would ask me to tell one of the stories to the children.

I can still hear her playing the old upright piano and singing praises to Jesus. Across the top of the piano were the pictures of missionaries and their families that she was praying for. When she wasn’t teaching children about Jesus and His great love, she was working at the church library at the Washington Avenue Bible Church.

There was a little wood cabinet tube type radio, which I have in my possession, which sat on a shelf in the kitchen. It was always tuned into a station where good ole Gospel preaching was done. One of her favorites was Dr. Theodore Epp’s “Back to the Bible” broadcast. She would cook and clean and wash dishes to the sound of Gospel preaching.

I remember the milk box that sat on her front porch. She would put empty milk bottles in it and the next morning there would be fresh milk. As a child, I thought it was magic. The milk would be used in many ways. I loved Grandma’s “French tea.” She would boil some water on the stove; pour some in a teacup, two sugar cubes and just the right amount of milk. What a treat. I thought that this must be how the fancy folks spent their afternoon.

These precious memories are part of what made me who I am today. My love for the Gospel, support of missions, prayer, and ministering to the children came from her.

Grandma Stanfill was not the only godly woman in my life. My mother was an amazing servant of the Most High God as well. Remind me to tell you about her someday.

Is there someone in your life who impacted who you are today? Is there someone in your life that you could influence and encourage in the ways of the Lord?

Paul wrote to Timothy his, "son" in the ministry, about the influence of his mother and grandmother.  "When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also. 6  Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands."  2 Timothy 1:5-6 (KJV) 

He then called on Timothy to "pay it forward" when he said, "Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2  And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also."   2 Timothy 2:1-2 (KJV)

Make a commitment today to make a difference in the lives of those around you.

Steps to Revival

November 15, 2017

~ By Evangelist John BJ Hall ~

The church was in turmoil. There was animosity between the older members and the younger members. You could feel the tension in the air. They wouldn’t sit on the same side of the auditorium. They wouldn’t even walk across the aisle to shake hands during the time of greeting in the worship service.

Why was this so? The older congregants felt their authority was threatened by a growing number of younger adults. At the same time, the younger adults believed that they were not appreciated for the things they could offer to the church.

My task as their pastor was to teach them to love one another. If they could learn that one thing they could then see each other’s strengths and could work together to glorify the Lord and His work in the church. In other words, they needed a revival, a renewal of a right spirit within.

In order for that revival to take place, there were some things that both groups needed to do. First, they needed to CLAIM A PURE HEART BEFORE GOD 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Claiming a pure heart, therefore, requires us to ask God to convict us of our sins. I recommend that you write them down. As you do, confess them to God. Each one He reveals to you should be confessed to Him, acknowledging your guilt. Then claim 1 John 1:9 by writing the verse over the sins — tear it up, and throw it away — symbolically purging you from them.

We then need to CLAIM THE FILLING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT. Paul wrote in Ephesians 5:18 “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit.”    This is not a hocus-pocus/mumbo-jumbo experience. It is also NOT a “second blessing” as some teach. It is to be a daily reality. Fill means control. We must allow the Holy Spirit to fill or control our lives, not only daily but moment by moment.

If we are going to allow the Holy Spirit to fill and control our lives we must find out what He wants to do in our lives. We do that by READING AND STUDYING GOD’S WORD. Throughout scripture, we find instructions on how to do this. Psalm 119:11 says, “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.”

The Apostle Paul wrote to his son in the ministry he instructed him to “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15) God’s Word, itself, gives us the tools we need to understand God’s Word. That sounds redundant, but we must recognize that the best commentary on the Bible, is the Bible.

Once we have discovered the rich truths in His Word we need to communicate with its author. In other words, we need to SPEND MUCH TIME ALONE WITH GOD IN PRAYER.

A few years ago US NEWS & WORLD REPORT  published the results of their survey on religion in America. They say that 76% of Americans see God as a heavenly father who can be reached by prayers.  Yet another survey said that the average Southern Baptist pastor spends only 7 minutes in prayer each day. Now before you judge those pastors too harshly, how much time do YOU spend in prayer each and every day?

The question for us is not whether or not we believe in prayer. Or whether we think others should pray more. The question is “Do I spend MUCH time alone with God in prayer?” Failure to spend time with God increases the separation between God and yourself. The same is true of every relationship in our lives.

One of the first things we did in the aforementioned church was work to establish an active prayer ministry. Our goal was to get each of the disparate factions to pray for each other. I intentionally assigned groups as prayer teams that included every age group in the church. It is true that you cannot pray for and with someone for an extended period and remain separated spiritually.

The result of these actions in our lives is renewal. If we are to have revival it must begin in our individual hearts.

When the Lord called us to a different church, one of the older ladies in the church came to me and said, “God brought you to us to teach us how to love.” This is the beginning of revival. We MUST see a purity of heart, control of the Holy Spirit, growth in the Word, and commitment to prayer. These are the steps to revival.

Is It a Miracle?

November 7, 2017

​By Evangelist John BJ Hall

Not long ago I was involved in a discussion about miracles. Some of those involved believed in miracles, and some did not. One went so far as to say, “Miracles require the rearrangement of molecules.” He said, “There are no medical miracles. ALL so-called medical miracles are merely the result of medical science.” He concluded his thoughts with these words, “Faith is the substance of things hoped for and evidence of things not seen, therefore anyone who claims to have seen a miracle is no longer a person of faith.”

What was my response to that statement? That is the most ridiculous argument against miracles that I have ever heard in my life. Let’s unpack his statement one issue at a time. First, he said, “Miracles require the rearrangement of molecules.” Where do you find that in the Bible? A more accurate statement about what constitutes a miracle would be: God would have to intervene in this world and suspend the laws of nature for there to be a miracle. I don’t see anywhere in scripture that says that He can’t do that.

Was it a miracle or not when Sarah conceived in her old age and bore a son God had promised? Let’s bring it a little closer to our time. Was it a miracle when Elizabeth conceived in her old age, having been barren for her entire life? Or do we say these women were not people of faith because they saw these miracles?

I’ve got one even closer to home. July 4, 1976, was a day that defined miracles for our family. It was on a Sunday. My wife’s parents were coming to our house for dinner. We didn’t have a lot of pots and pans, so she used a Presto Cooker to cook some corn on the cob. She had removed the weighted valve so pressure would not build up. But when she reached to take it off the stove, it blew up, spewing superheated water, steam, and food on her. She had 3rd-degree burns over 30% of her body. Her polyester clothes were melting into her flesh.

She was taken by ambulance from Craig General Hospital, Vinita, Oklahoma to Hillcrest Burn Center in Tulsa. This burn center was at the time acclaimed to be one of the top four burn units in the nation. These doctors and nurses were not novices, but the best and most experienced money could buy. In the triage room, the doctors examined her, taking pictures for documentation.

The doctor came out to speak with me. He said, “Connie is going to be in the Critical Room for three weeks and in the burn center for three months. She will have to have extensive grafting. Time: 2:00 pm July 4th.

At 3:00 pm the deacons from Adair First Baptist Church, where I had just resigned as their pastor, were standing in that same waiting room praying for God’s will to be done in her life.

At 4:00 pm the Webbers Falls First Baptist Church deacons, were standing in the waiting room praying for us in the same way.

Tuesday, July 8th at 8:00 am the doctor came out and seemed puzzled. He said, “We don’t know what is going on here. We have gone back over our initial findings and they were correct. But your wife ready to come out of the Critical Room this morning. However, she will still be in the Burn Center for three months so we can do the grafting that will be necessary.”

Thursday, July 10th at 8:00 am he returned to the waiting room. He said, “Mr. Hall, We can’t explain this. We have reviewed our initial findings. They were correct. We have gone back over the review that was done on Tuesday. It was also correct.” He stopped, took a breath and said, “This is not possible, but your wife is ready to go home today.” I said, “Thank you Doc.” He said, “She will need to come into my office in one week so that we can schedule grafting that will be needed. But we can do that on an outpatient basis.”

We went to the doctor’s office on the following Thursday. After examining her he came out to the waiting room. In front of about twenty-five or thirty witnesses, he said, “Reverend Hall. There is no explanation for what I am about to say.” He then went over the whole litany and timeline for what had taken place. To which he added, “What I am telling you is not conceivable but your wife is not going to have to have grafting after all. We THINK she may have some scaring.”

I am telling you today, there is absolutely no scaring. She even got her freckles back.

Does that make me less a man of faith? No, I say it has increased my faith. I have seen with my own eyes what God can do. I don’t have to believe anyone else’s story of healing. I believe because I have seen.

The statement that if someone “claims to have seen a miracle they are no longer a person of faith” has no basis in scripture.

I suppose then that none of the Apostles were men of faith since they claimed to have seen miracles. Some of them had even been involved in miracles happening in their ministries. How about the people who saw the lame man walk or the mute speak or the blind see? What about their faith. Were they no longer men and women of faith? Peter walked on water, I would classify that as a miracle. Was he no longer a man of faith?

On the contrary. Several times in the Gospels Jesus said, “Thy faith hath made the whole,” or “Thy faith hath saved thee.”

Why would my wife have to endure the excruciating pain of 3rd-degree burns over 30% of her body? What would glorify God in this experience? During her time in the Burn Center, I had the opportunity to witness to a man whose son was scalded when he pulled a large banquet type coffee pot over on himself. This man, who had lost his larynx to cancer, accepted Christ as his personal Savior and Lord. Why? He had seen and heard all the things that were said in the Burn Center waiting room.

I am not in any way saying that God sent that burn into her life. What I am saying is that God used the healing of her burns to be a witness to the hurting family of a little boy. He used it to teach the doctor that he was not in charge. That God still is in control. He used it to witness to the patients and their families at the doctor’s office that God is faithful.

He used it to bolster the faith of both the church at Adair and the one at Webbers Falls. To show them that God is in control when we think things are helpless.

He can use this event to bolster your faith and encourage you if you are in need.

He Awoke

November 2, 2017

By Evangelist John BJ Hall

He awoke from an unexpected sleep. Not even imagining why it had come so quickly. He did not want to open his eyes, just yet. But now he felt something different, very different. There was a presence he had never felt before. Maybe this was some creature he had not yet seen. It didn't seem possible that such could be. He had examined every species in existence. He had even given each one a unique name.

He didn't want to startle whatever it was. It seemed so near. He could almost reach out his hand like so . . . What was that? It was so soft. It felt like hair, long flowing hair.

He reached out again. Now the sensation was different. That was skin, like his own, yet somehow different; softer, warmer, tenderer.

He decided to peek. He just MUST know what this new sensation meant. Slowly he opened his eyes. There it was the most beautiful creature he had ever seen. This creature was like him, yet somehow different. He wasn't quite sure what to make of the difference, but he somehow knew that this had to be the most wonderful thing that had ever happened to him.

None of the other creatures in the garden made him feel this way. When he looked into her eyes it was as though he was looking into a beautiful shining pool glistening with the sparkle of golden sunshine. How could this be?

For so long he had felt an emptiness in his soul. Surely, there were plenty of other creatures in the garden, but he had always felt so alone. He could not remember a time when he was not alone. But now, here was this wonderful creature to whom he felt such a marvelous attraction, sitting there beside him gazing at him as though HE were something special. Somehow, he knew that he would never be alone again.

He knew what he must do. He must go to his Father in the cool of the evening and tell Him of this wonderful find. He could hardly wait. 

Then it dawned on him. He did not have to tell the Father of this find. The Father had made every creature in the garden. Why, He had made the garden itself. This beautiful creature must be a special gift from the Father, just for him.

Now he heard the Father walking in the Garden in the cool of the day. He must hurry and thank Him for this wonderful gift. No, he and his new found companion must hurry to meet the Father together.

As he approached the place where he and the Father met every day his heart fairly burst with excitement. How he wanted to introduce her to the Father.

There He was, in the usual place patiently waiting. As they approached the Father lifted His hand and said, "Her name is Eve, for she was taken out of the man. What God hath joined together let no man put asunder."

Together they fell prostrate before the Father and worshiped Him.

~~~~~

Genesis 2:18-25 (KJV) “And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. 19  And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof. 20  And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him. 21  And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; 22  And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. 23  And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. 24  Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. 25  And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.

This is an excerpt from the poetry and prose found in BJ's book, "WHOLLY THINE: A Look at Depression From the Inside"

© Copyright 1995 by Passages Ministries. All rights reserved.
For permission to use this short story contact Passages Ministries.

Seek the Lord

October 30, 2017

~ By Evangelist John BJ Hall ~

When my granddaughter was small, she loved to play hide and seek. Most of all she loved to be found. She would almost always hide in the same spot, in her bedroom behind the curtains.

I always made a big show out of looking for her. “Is she hiding under the bed?” She would giggle. “Nope not there, maybe she is in the dresser drawer.” Again she would giggle. “Maybe she is hiding in the closet.”

Just about the time I opened the closet door, out she would jump from behind the bedroom curtains and say, “Here I am, you found me.”

She just couldn’t wait any longer. She wanted me to find her.

That is the way God is. He want’s so much for us to find him. He leaves clues in nature. He leaves clues in the lives of those around us.

"Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: (Isaiah 55:6KJV)

 

All the while that we are looking in the dark corners of our lives, He is saying, “Please find me.” “I want you to find me.” “I sent My Son to point the way.” “I send preachers and teachers and evangelists and friends to point the way.” Please find me.

Seek in the Hebrew means -- to resort to, seek, seek with care, enquire, require, to seek with demand.

This passage tells us that there is an Urgency of Seeking. It has been said that Every human mind is a great slumbering power until awakened by a keen desire and by definite resolution to do. (Edgar F. Roberts). The urgency of the matter is that He will not always be able to be found. We MUST seek Him now, while He may be found. To be found means to encounter, to light upon and discover. God wants us to encounter Him, to discover His nature and His love. Acts 17:27-28 says, “That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: 28 For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring. (KJV)

 

There is A danger in NOT seeking Him. James Allen said, “You will become as small as your controlling desire; as great as your dominant aspiration.” If your desire and aspiration is less than God, then you will find less than He wants you to find. 1 Chronicles 28:9 tells us, “And thou, Solomon my son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind: for the LORD searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts: if thou seek him, he will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee off for ever. (KJV)

If thou seek him, he will be found by you. Remember Jessie and her hide and seek game? She was so anxious to be found. So much so that if you took too long look for her she would jump out and help you find her.

In the 1 Chronicles passage forsake means to neglect. If we neglect Him it results in being cast the off or to be forcefully rejected. It was Jesus himself that dictated the letter to the church at Laodicea that is found in Revelation chapter three. In that letter he said, “ I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. 16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue (sic) thee out of my mouth. (KJV)

However, there is blessing in seeking after the Lord. The first blessing it that You will find Him. Deuteronomy 4:29 “But if from thence thou shalt seek the LORD thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul.” (KJV)

You will also possess the things He has promised you.1 Chronicles 28:8 “Now therefore in the sight of all Israel the congregation of the LORD, and in the audience of our God, keep and seek for all the commandments of the LORD your God: that ye may possess this good land, and leave it for an inheritance for your children after you for ever. (KJV) He has promised that we will be saved and grow in Him when we seek Him.

He has also promised that He will build His house if we seek Him. 1 Chronicles 22:19 Now set your heart and your soul to seek the LORD your God; arise therefore, and build ye the sanctuary of the LORD God, to bring the ark of the covenant of the LORD, and the holy vessels of God, into the house that is to be built to the name of the LORD. (KJV) The church will be built up and strengthened when we turn to Him and seek him.

But here is the tragic truth: Romans 3:10-11 (KJV) “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: 11  There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.” As a result, we miss the blessings that come when we finding Him.

“Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the LORD, till he come and rain righteousness upon you.” (Hosea 10:12 KJV)

 

The Pursuit

We must find Him, they had said.
Unless we find Him, fear and dread.
We need the hope finding will give.
To give us joy each day we live.

Pursuing is the life for me.
For in pursuit I am set free.
My life more full than I had known
For in pursuit His love was shown.

Now this the truth I do believe
Pursue the Lord and to Him cleave.
Your life will be filled up with joy
And with His love all fear destroy.

Will you begin to seek His face?
To trust His as you run the race?
Each day He will, your hope renew.
And you can live a life that’s true.

 

© Copyright 2017 By Passages Ministries. All rights reserved.
For permission to use this poem contact Passages Ministries.

Wholly Thine

October 26, 2017

~ By Evangelist John BJ Hall ~

I had been in the ministry since I was eighteen years of age. While I was a freshman at Oklahoma Baptist University I served as part-time music and youth director for First Baptist Church, Arcadia, Oklahoma.

There were some traumatic events that took place in my life during that year. As a result, I dropped out of OBU and tendered my resignation at Arcadia. I went back to Sapulpa, broke up with my fiancé and quit a part-time job I had in Tulsa.

I then moved in with my parents in Disney, Oklahoma. Daddy was pastor of First Baptist Church there. He asked me to go on visitation with him. Every house we visited had a young lady about my age. I didn’t fall off the turnip truck. I knew what he was trying to do. And I was having none of it.

On January 6, 1970, we drove up a long hill for another visit. He would always have me knock on the door. I knocked on the door and before I knew it the most beautiful young woman I had ever seen was looking up at me with her deep brown eyes. I was speechless. But I knew one thing for sure. I was going to marry that girl and spend the rest of my life with her.

We were both shy. But I wasn’t about to let her get away. On Thursday night of that same week, I asked her to marry me. And praise the Lord, she said yes. Toward the end of February, I asked her dad for her hand in marriage. His response was amazing. “I’ve been wondering what was taking you so long.”

We began planning our wedding and on May 29, 1970, we walked down the aisle at First Baptist Church, Disney, Oklahoma and made our vows to one another and to our Lord. Shortly after our marriage, a church on the eastern edge of Oklahoma (Poynor Baptist Church) asked me to come and be their pastor.

There has never been a time when I wanted to do anything other than to serve my Lord. My prayer was and remains to this day “I want to be wholly Thine, Jesus. I want to serve you every day of my life.”

Is there any better thing in life than to be wholly committed to the Lord? I think not. D. L. Moody heard two men standing outside the shoe store where he worked. One said, “We have yet to see what God can do through a man wholly committed unto God.” Moody said to himself, “By the grace of God, I will be that man.”

Yet on his deathbed, after a life of service to the Lord, D. L. Moody said these words, “We have yet to see what God can do through a man wholly committed unto God.”

Now at 67 years of age, I have come to the realization that I too have fallen short of the mark in my life. I am grateful for the helpmeet that the Lord has given me. I definitely "married above myself." Connie remains my best friend and most powerful prayer warrior. God has truly blessed me. We have two awesome children that are each serving the Lord in their own right. And of course, the grandchildren are the icing on the cake. And now, some beautiful step-great-grandkids have come into our lives.

My prayer remains, “I want to be wholly Thine, Jesus. I want to serve you every day of my life.”

King David said, “Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou opened: burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not required. 7  Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me, 8  I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart. 9  I have preached righteousness in the great congregation: lo, I have not refrained my lips, O LORD, thou knowest. 10  I have not hidden thy righteousness within my heart; I have declared thy faithfulness and thy salvation: I have not concealed thy lovingkindness and thy truth from the great congregation.” Psalm 40:6-10 (KJV)

Wholly Thine

Wholly Thine, my Lord and King,
‘Tis the anthem I will sing.
As you gave your all for me,
So I give my all to Thee.

All I am, I give to You,
For that’s all that I can do,
So, my Lord, the world will see,
How that they can come to Thee.

Savior, you have done so much,
I have felt Your loving touch.
I’ll give that love to others too,
For that’s why Love came down from You.

You have done so much for me,
On the cross, You set me free.
So wholly Thine, my Lord and King,
‘Tis the anthem I will sing.

 

© Copyright 1985 by Passages Ministries. All rights reserved.
For permission to use this song contact Passages Ministries. 

I Miss Our Prayer Time

October 22, 2017

~ By Evangelist John BJ Hall ~

The phone would ring at just the right moment. Oh, it didn’t matter what the moment was. It was always, “the right moment.”

I could count on it like clockwork. If I was having a difficult time, struggling with a decision, or just needed someone to talk to, God would lay it on Mrs. Sharon’s heart to call. She lived in New Mexico and me in Oklahoma. But distance made no difference.

As I look back on the many years of conversations with Mrs. Sharon I can picture her gravelly voice was always filled with compassion and hope. The one thing I can’t picture is her face. You see I never met Mrs. Sharon. She was just a voice on the phone that I always knew had my back.

If my thinking was wrong, I could depend on her telling me so. The one thing she was not was timid. It was never more than a month between her calls. And I always knew that if I needed to talk to her I could call her. Although, I can only remember a couple of times over the last ten years in which I had to call her. Virtually every time I needed to talk to her, she called me.

In June of this last year, I had surgery. Before the time for me to go into the hospital, Mrs, Sharon called, just to say hi. What timing she had. I haven’t heard from her since that call. I have tried to call her to no avail. The last time I tried, I got the message, “We’re sorry, The number you have called is disconnected or no longer in service….” I have tried to find out what happened to Mrs. Sharon to no avail.

The picture attached to this article is another prayer warrior from Florida, Tuck Fielding. He went to be with the Lord this last year as well.

Is there someone in your life that you need to call? Do it today while the number is still in service.

But there is one call you can make that will never go unanswered. You can call upon the Lord in prayer. He is always there. His line will never be disconnected or be out of service.

Psalm 84:2, 10 (KJV) My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the LORD: my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God. ... 10  For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness.  

Our Prayer

O Lord we call upon Thee,
Our Father and our Friend.
Our troubles are not new you see,
Nor are they near an end.

Lord, we raise our prayer to You this hour.
Lift us up and fill us with Thy power.

We’re weary and we’re worn, dear Lord,
But not forsaken here.
Your love can mend a broken chord
When we to Thee draw near.

Lord, we raise our prayer to You this hour.
Lift us up and fill us with Thy power.

Why do we fight against Your love,
And wander all alone,
When guidance comes from up above,
To lead the wanderer home?

Lord, we raise our prayer to You this hour.
Lift us up and fill us with Thy power.

O Father, now we give our hearts,
In prayer and dedication,
For Your compassion never parts,
From this Your congregation.

Lord, we raise our prayer to You this hour.
Lift us up and fill us with Thy power.

So help us now to faithful stand,
Through danger trials and fire.
To ne'er let go of Your strong hand,
And we shall never tire.

Lord, we raise our prayer to You this hour.
Lift us up and fill us with Thy power.

 

© Copyright 1995 by Passages Ministries. All rights reserved.
For permission to use this song contact Passages Ministries.

Satan's Sifting

October 18, 2017

~ By Evangelist John BJ Hall ~

I believe there is a real devil! Many people don’t. They put him in the same category as Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny. They relegate him to the superstition and ignorance of the Middle Ages.

The Bible declares his existence, his intentions, as well as his methods. It tells us he is a spiritual being who is the enemy of God, his people, and all that is good. Jesus once said to Peter, “Satan desired to sift you as wheat...” (Luke 22:31). The purpose of sifting is to separate. Satan’s desire is to shake us loose from our faith. Here is that passage in its context:

Luke 22:31-34 (KJV)
And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: 32  But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith
fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren. 33  And he said unto him, Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death. 34  And he said, I tell thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before that thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest me.

How does Satan sift us today?

SATAN SIFTS US BY DOUBTS. He tries to discredit God’s word in our minds and to get us to doubt it. This is exactly what he did in the Garden of Eden with Eve. He discredited God’s word in her mind. If he can do that we can be easily led into sin.

“Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win by fearing to attempt.” — William Shakespeare

SATAN SIFTS US BY DISAPPOINTMENTS. When the Lord or his people do not measure up to our expectations, it discourages us. My father warned me as a youth, “If the Devil can’t make you fall, he will make someone fall, whose fall will make you fall.”

Disappointments can turn us from the Lord. BUT they don’t have to. We can allow it to make us stronger.

“Disappointment to a noble soul is what cold water is to burning metal; it strengthens, tempers, intensifies, but never destroys it.” — Eliza Tabor

SATAN SIFTS US BY OUR DESIRES. James says that we are tempted when we are drawn away by our own lusts (James 1:14). If we follow our desires rather than God’s Word, we end up in sin. Eve saw that the fruit was good for food.

Have you ever, while watching an interesting program on TV, seen a commercial come on that had some tantalizing food. It looked so good you could almost taste it? How tempting it is to get up and go to the refrigerator and get out something to eat. Why, because our desire has been aroused.

This happens in our spiritual walk as well.

“Lust is a captivity of the reason and an enraging of the passions. It hinders business and distracts counsel. It sins against the body and weakens the soul.” — Jeremy Taylor

SATAN SIFTS US BY DECEIT. He is the father of all lies. If he can deceive us, he will. Again, this is one of the things he used in the Garden. He told Eve that she could be like God.

“Hateful to me as the gates of Hades is that man who hides one thing in his heart and speaks another.” —Homer

SATAN SIFTS US BY DIFFICULTIES. Disease and death, sickness and sorrow, are not the handiwork of God. As in the case of Job, these are most often the works of Satan. Trouble has shaken more people’s faith in God than anything else I know.

People who have bought into the “name it and claim it gospel” are especially susceptible in this area. Just imagine, being taught that if you have enough faith, or speak the right words, or give to the right preacher your child will be healed. Then when he is not, many turn away from their faith and leave the church.

“There are two ways of meeting difficulties: you alter the difficulties or you alter yourself meeting them.” — Phyllis Bottome

We must learn to trust the Lord in everything. He will never let you down. Trust in me and I will disappoint you. I am a man with the same weaknesses as all men. But Christ lived a sinless life and died for our salvation. Trust Him today.

He Strengthens Me

When all of life begins to pale,
My Lord has promised not to fail.
His Word is fresh, and never stale,
And strengthens me when I am frail.

So I can trust Him as my friend.
He will be with me to the end.
He helps me stand against the trend,
And for His will, my life I’ll spend.

© Copyright 1995 by Passages Ministries. All Rights Reserved.
For permission to use this poem contact Passages Ministries. 

The Witness at My Door

October 15, 2017

~ By Evangelist John BJ Hall ~

They were standing at my front door. Two women and a teenage girl stood there after knocking on the door. When I opened the door, I knew who they were and why they were there. They each were holding a copy of The New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures. The leader of the group was also carrying a briefcase.  She handed me a pamphlet and asked, “Could we sit down together and talk about the Bible?”

I asked, “May I ask you a question?” She agreed. I continued, “Just suppose for a moment that I have a knife sticking in my back and I am bleeding to death. What do I need to do right now to enter Jehovah’s Kingdom?”

“Well,” she said, “That is an interesting question. Could we come in and talk about this pamphlet?”

I did not allow her to sidestep the question. I said, “Remember, I am bleeding out in front of you. What do I need to do right now to enter Jehovah’s Kingdom?”

She was flustered. She had no response.

I then asked her, “What did the thief on the cross have to do?” There was no response. I said, “Look in your New World Translation and read Luke 23:42-43.”

The youngest one opened her copy and read, “Then he said: ‘Jesus, remember me when you get into your Kingdom. 43 And he said to him: “Truly I tell you today, you will be with me in paradise.”

I again asked, “What did the thief have to do to enter into the Kingdom?” I said, “He only had to ask Jesus to remember him when he got to HIS KINGDOM.”

I asked, “Whose Kingdom are you trying to go to?” They said, “Jehovah’s Kingdom.”

I said, “You just read it. It said your Kingdom. That is, Jesus Kingdom.”

I then said, “Now turn to Revelation 1:8 and read that to me.” Again it was the young girl who turned to the passage and read, “I am the Al’pha and the Ome’ga,” says Jehovah God, “the One who is and who was and who is coming, the Almighty.”

I asked, “Who is Alpha and Omega?” They all said, “Jehovah.”

Then I said, “Turn to Revelation 21:6-7 and read that to me.”

This time it was the leader who read the passage. “And he said to me: “They have come to pass! I am the Al’pha and the Ome’ga, The beginning and the end. To anyone thirsting I will give from the spring of the water of life free. 7 Anyone conquering will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be my son.”

I asked, “Who is Beginning and End and Alpha and Omega?”

They said, “Jehovah.”

I did the same thing with Revelation 22:12-13. But then came the climax. I said, “Please read to me Revelation 1:17-18.”

The leader read aloud, “And when I saw him, I fell as dead at his feet. And he laid his right hand upon me and said: “Do not be fearful. I am the First and the Last, 18 and the living one; and I became dead, but, look! I am living forever and ever, and I have the keys of death and of Ha’des.”

I asked, “When did Jehovah God die?” They stood there looking like a calf looking at a new gate. They had no answer. I then said, “Please read Isaiah 43:10-11 to me.”

The leader read, “YOU are my witnesses,” is the utterance of Jehovah, “even my servant whom I have chosen, in order that YOU may know and have faith in me, and that YOU may understand that I am the same One. Before me there was no God formed, and after me there continued to be none. 11 I—I am Jehovah, and besides me there is no savior.”

I asked, “Who is the Savior?” They said, “Jehovah.”

I said, “Please read one more passage to me. Titus 2:13-14.”

Once again the leader read, “While we wait for the happy hope and glorious manifestation of the great God and of the Savior of us, Christ Jesus, 14 who gave himself for us that he might deliver us from every sort of lawlessness and cleanse for himself a people peculiarly his own, zealous for fine works.”

My final question, “Who is our Savior?”

The leader said, “We have to go. May we come back and talk about these things?”

I said, “Certainly.” I never saw them again.

It is important to note, IF you try this, have them read the passage to you out of their own “Bible”

There is one Savior. He died on Calvary for you and for me. It doesn’t matter if you are a Baptist, a Jehovah’s Witness, or an atheist. Jesus is our only hope and He is the one on whom you must call to be born again.

Ye Must Be Born Again

“Ye must be born again,” He said,
And Nicodemus heard with dread,
That he must come as though a child,
With contrite heart and spirit mild,
And turn from sin, 
of this world born.
That’s what it means to be reborn.

Christ Jesus died upon the cross,
To save our souls from endless loss.
If you will just repent of sin,
And turn your life control to Him,
He’ll save your soul and make you new,
And He will come and live in you.

 

© Copyright 1995 by Passages Ministries. All rights reserved.
For permission to use this poem contact Passages Ministries.

 

NOTE: The passages quoted in this blog are directly from "The New World Translation of  the Holy Scriptures." They are exactly as presented and printed there. Don't be tempted to use your King James Bible to do this. They believe the King James Version (and all other translations) are corrupted by faulty translation.

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How about a Re-SOUL-ution this Year

January 6, 2018

~ By Evangelist John BJ Hall ~

1Cor.16:7-9
“For a great door and effectual is opened unto me, and there are many adversaries.”

A new employee stood in front of the paper shredder, looking a little confused. "Need some help?" a secretary, walking by, asked. "Yes," the employee replied, "how does this thing work?" "Oh it's simple," she said, taking the large report from his hand and feeding it into the shredder. "Thanks," the new guy said, "now can you tell me where all the copies come out?"

Technologies and office machines do baffle some people. Fax machines, cellular telephones, pagers, computers, and modems: all have burst on the scene virtually revolutionizing the way we communicate and do business. It's what we would call a breakthrough!

As we are still in the first week of a new year I'm convinced that more than ever we need a breakthrough in the church - I don't mean that we need new gadgets or programs — no what we need is a Spiritual Breakthrough - we need Revival, Renewing, Re-awakening, and Re-commitment.

In our text for this evening — the apostle Paul was winding up his first epistle to the Corinthians with some practical advice — he tells them in 15:58 to stand fast in the Lord, in the first part of chapter 16 he mentions an offering to be taken for the relief of the poor, and then he tells them of his plans for the immediate future: (READ 1Cor.16:7-9)

What I want to focus on in this study is the last verse - Paul saw an opportunity - an open door - and for us - that is exactly what the new year offers - an opportunity - an open door- a fresh start - a new beginning. Paul described his door as a GREAT door and an EFFECTUAL door. By that, he saw it as an opportunity for achieving Great things for God - making a difference - being Effective.

I'm convinced that we too want to be effective for God - we want to make a difference in our world - we have a deep longing for Christ to be glorified and lifted up in our lives and in our church. I believe that God will bless and do "exceedingly abundantly more than we ask or think" IF we are willing to be filled with His Spirit and bold enough to go through the OPEN DOOR that He places before us. (But remember — it won't be easy — Paul said that there were "many adversaries." And there will be for us too.)

I.     What Open Door is before us? What is this Breakthrough? COMMITMENT

Many people talk about New Years Resolutions - which usually fizzle out & fade. What I want to suggest is a New Years Re-soul-ution —a New Year Re-dedication — Re-commitment.

I have found that there are — seven things came to mind — seven pillars of our faith — that, if we Re-commit ourselves firmly to them — will guarantee Victory, Fruitfulness, and happiness in this new year.

By the way — before I talk about commitment — let me make sure there's no misunderstanding — Commitment is not just talking about religion. The story is told of an entertainer many years ago who would string up a tight-rope from one end of Niagara Falls to the other. Hundreds of spectators would come and watch him perform — he'd walk the tightrope — do tricks, and even ride a unicycle from one end to the other.

One day a man witnessed this display and was totally impressed. He clapped and cheered and even shouted, "You're the greatest!" The artist replied — "you believe I'm pretty good, huh?" Oh yes, the man said. "Then please, come let me ride you on my back as I cycle across to the other side!" TALK about commitment is one thing - ACTION is better.

1.     Make a fresh Commitment to the BIBLE - the word of God.

Read it daily, study it faithfully, hear it preached often, talk about it with your friends and family, memorize portions of it, Read it through in a year - but most importantly - HEED it and OBEY it.

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

"This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success. - Joshua 1:8

2.  Make a fresh Commitment to PRAYER!

"The LORD is nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth." - Psalm 145:18

"Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered." - Romans 8:26

"Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful." - Colossians 4:2

"Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." - Matthew 26:41

O what precious promises are made to us if we will just pray - why then do we neglect it? Why do we sell ourselves short & rob ourselves of victory by neglecting this most important gift? "O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear, all because we do not carry, everything to God in prayer." God grant us to be Committed to prayer!

3. Make a fresh Commitment to the CHURCH.

The church is the body & bride of Christ. She is His most precious, beloved and prized possession. To forsake the church and be a "lone ranger Christian" is to shoot yourself in the foot and severely hinder your effectiveness. WE NEED the Church!

  • Be regular in attendance! - Hebrews 10:25 (KJV) 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. 
  • Be generous in your Support - 2 Corinthians 9:7 Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. 
  • Be ACTIVE in your participation - not just a spectator. - Galatians 6:10 As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith. 
  • And most of all - Be filled with a Spirit of Love & Unity – Colossians 2:2 That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgment of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ; 

"Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently." - 1Peter 1:22

"By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples if ye have love one to another." John 13:35

4.  Make a fresh Commitment to the GREAT COMMISSION.

We must evangelize or fossilize. The love of Christ must constrain us to love the lost - both around the corner and around the world. Jesus's last words plainly tell us what we're to be all about:

"And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen." - Mt.28:18-20

5.  Make a fresh Commitment to CLEAN LIVING - PURITY.

A devotion from "Our Daily Bread" suggested that we can't make New Year's Resolutions without first Resolving the sins of our past. Thank God there are grace and forgiveness available to all. Let us humble ourselves & confess to God our trespasses and He will forgive. (1Jn.1:9; Ps.51:1-3; 17)

If we regard iniquity in our hearts - we will not be blessed; we will not have victory; instead, we will be miserable. The new year will be a dud. Let's start right. God's word plainly says: "And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure." - 1 Jn.3:3

We're thankful, Lord, that when we fall:

  • We can begin anew
  • If humbly we confess our sin,
  • Then turn and follow You.

6.  Make a fresh Commitment to your FAMILY.

This is every bit as important as the other commitments I've mentioned. Your family is a blessing from the Lord. Treat one another right! If not - I guarantee the new year will not be happy at all.

  • Husbands - love your wife and give honor to her. (Eph.5:25; 1Pet.3:7)
  • Wives - submit to your husbands as it is fit in the Lord. (Col.3:18)
  • Children - Honor & obey your parents (10 commandments; Eph.6:1)
  • Parents - Don't discourage your children - but bring them up right - in the Lord. (Eph.6:4; Col.3:21)

IF you make time for your family - quality time - love and cherish one another - worship as a family - I guarantee the coming year will be a super year.

7.    Make a fresh Commitment to God (Father, Son & Holy Spirit)

This, of course, is most important - what is the chief end of man? To glorify God and to enjoy Him forever. "Seek ye first the kingdom of God..." "Love the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind & strength..." "whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord..."

  • Seek to Experience God in Worship/Prayer
  • Abide in Christ through faith & Prayer
  • Be continuously filled with the Holy Spirit

II.   Remember, Paul said that there were many adversaries - enemies.

We too have adversaries that would keep us from going through these doors. Obstacles, pitfalls, enemies - call them what you will - they are real, nonetheless.

  1. 1.  The devil - demons - REAL.
    "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith...." - 1 Peter 5:8-9
    Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." - James 4:7
  2. Procrastination will keep you from the above 7 commitments - don't delay!
  3. Wasting Time - will keep you from going through the door.
  4. Stinking Thinking - the "I'm so helpless" stuck in a rut mindset will keep you from going through the door. Remember - "I can do all things through Christ..."
  5. "Nobody else is Committed..." - this isn't true - and even if it were, it's no reason for you not to be!

Are you ready to make the most of the doors that the Lord opens to you? Are you ready to go through it as a GREAT and EFFECTUAL door - or will you let it come and go just as another day - like all the others before? Let's go through the Door - press on in spite of the adversaries. You'll be glad you did!

Your future doesn’t begin tomorrow. It begins RIGHT NOW. What will you make of it this year?

Precious Memories

November 24, 2017

~ By Evangelist John BJ Hall ~

This is the only picture in existence of my great-grandma Jett, grandma Stanfill, my mother Marylee Faye Hall and me.

I don’t know a lot about Great-grandma Jett, other than the fact that she reared a daughter who became the best grandmother I can imagine. Grandma Stanfill was the most marvelous lady that ever lived. She loved God with all her heart. She displayed that love in her life, day after day. She showed that love to the children of Enid, Oklahoma as she directed the work of the Child Evangelism Fellowship in that city. I would stay with her during the summer and watched her interact with the children that came into her life.  

She lived about two blocks from an elementary school and held Bible club classes in her home. But this was not good enough for her or the children. She sold her home, which she had lived in for as long as I can remember. She used the money to buy a home across the street from the school. She remodeled the home into the perfect place for children to come and learn about the Lord. Her front room saw many children come to faith in Christ.

I remember the “flannel graphs” that she used while she told the Bible stories. I especially loved it when she would ask me to tell one of the stories to the children.

I can still hear her playing the old upright piano and singing praises to Jesus. Across the top of the piano were the pictures of missionaries and their families that she was praying for. When she wasn’t teaching children about Jesus and His great love, she was working at the church library at the Washington Avenue Bible Church.

There was a little wood cabinet tube type radio, which I have in my possession, which sat on a shelf in the kitchen. It was always tuned into a station where good ole Gospel preaching was done. One of her favorites was Dr. Theodore Epp’s “Back to the Bible” broadcast. She would cook and clean and wash dishes to the sound of Gospel preaching.

I remember the milk box that sat on her front porch. She would put empty milk bottles in it and the next morning there would be fresh milk. As a child, I thought it was magic. The milk would be used in many ways. I loved Grandma’s “French tea.” She would boil some water on the stove; pour some in a teacup, two sugar cubes and just the right amount of milk. What a treat. I thought that this must be how the fancy folks spent their afternoon.

These precious memories are part of what made me who I am today. My love for the Gospel, support of missions, prayer, and ministering to the children came from her.

Grandma Stanfill was not the only godly woman in my life. My mother was an amazing servant of the Most High God as well. Remind me to tell you about her someday.

Is there someone in your life who impacted who you are today? Is there someone in your life that you could influence and encourage in the ways of the Lord?

Paul wrote to Timothy his, "son" in the ministry, about the influence of his mother and grandmother.  "When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also. 6  Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands."  2 Timothy 1:5-6 (KJV) 

He then called on Timothy to "pay it forward" when he said, "Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2  And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also."   2 Timothy 2:1-2 (KJV)

Make a commitment today to make a difference in the lives of those around you.

Steps to Revival

November 15, 2017

~ By Evangelist John BJ Hall ~

The church was in turmoil. There was animosity between the older members and the younger members. You could feel the tension in the air. They wouldn’t sit on the same side of the auditorium. They wouldn’t even walk across the aisle to shake hands during the time of greeting in the worship service.

Why was this so? The older congregants felt their authority was threatened by a growing number of younger adults. At the same time, the younger adults believed that they were not appreciated for the things they could offer to the church.

My task as their pastor was to teach them to love one another. If they could learn that one thing they could then see each other’s strengths and could work together to glorify the Lord and His work in the church. In other words, they needed a revival, a renewal of a right spirit within.

In order for that revival to take place, there were some things that both groups needed to do. First, they needed to CLAIM A PURE HEART BEFORE GOD 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Claiming a pure heart, therefore, requires us to ask God to convict us of our sins. I recommend that you write them down. As you do, confess them to God. Each one He reveals to you should be confessed to Him, acknowledging your guilt. Then claim 1 John 1:9 by writing the verse over the sins — tear it up, and throw it away — symbolically purging you from them.

We then need to CLAIM THE FILLING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT. Paul wrote in Ephesians 5:18 “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit.”    This is not a hocus-pocus/mumbo-jumbo experience. It is also NOT a “second blessing” as some teach. It is to be a daily reality. Fill means control. We must allow the Holy Spirit to fill or control our lives, not only daily but moment by moment.

If we are going to allow the Holy Spirit to fill and control our lives we must find out what He wants to do in our lives. We do that by READING AND STUDYING GOD’S WORD. Throughout scripture, we find instructions on how to do this. Psalm 119:11 says, “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.”

The Apostle Paul wrote to his son in the ministry he instructed him to “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15) God’s Word, itself, gives us the tools we need to understand God’s Word. That sounds redundant, but we must recognize that the best commentary on the Bible, is the Bible.

Once we have discovered the rich truths in His Word we need to communicate with its author. In other words, we need to SPEND MUCH TIME ALONE WITH GOD IN PRAYER.

A few years ago US NEWS & WORLD REPORT  published the results of their survey on religion in America. They say that 76% of Americans see God as a heavenly father who can be reached by prayers.  Yet another survey said that the average Southern Baptist pastor spends only 7 minutes in prayer each day. Now before you judge those pastors too harshly, how much time do YOU spend in prayer each and every day?

The question for us is not whether or not we believe in prayer. Or whether we think others should pray more. The question is “Do I spend MUCH time alone with God in prayer?” Failure to spend time with God increases the separation between God and yourself. The same is true of every relationship in our lives.

One of the first things we did in the aforementioned church was work to establish an active prayer ministry. Our goal was to get each of the disparate factions to pray for each other. I intentionally assigned groups as prayer teams that included every age group in the church. It is true that you cannot pray for and with someone for an extended period and remain separated spiritually.

The result of these actions in our lives is renewal. If we are to have revival it must begin in our individual hearts.

When the Lord called us to a different church, one of the older ladies in the church came to me and said, “God brought you to us to teach us how to love.” This is the beginning of revival. We MUST see a purity of heart, control of the Holy Spirit, growth in the Word, and commitment to prayer. These are the steps to revival.

Is It a Miracle?

November 7, 2017

​By Evangelist John BJ Hall

Not long ago I was involved in a discussion about miracles. Some of those involved believed in miracles, and some did not. One went so far as to say, “Miracles require the rearrangement of molecules.” He said, “There are no medical miracles. ALL so-called medical miracles are merely the result of medical science.” He concluded his thoughts with these words, “Faith is the substance of things hoped for and evidence of things not seen, therefore anyone who claims to have seen a miracle is no longer a person of faith.”

What was my response to that statement? That is the most ridiculous argument against miracles that I have ever heard in my life. Let’s unpack his statement one issue at a time. First, he said, “Miracles require the rearrangement of molecules.” Where do you find that in the Bible? A more accurate statement about what constitutes a miracle would be: God would have to intervene in this world and suspend the laws of nature for there to be a miracle. I don’t see anywhere in scripture that says that He can’t do that.

Was it a miracle or not when Sarah conceived in her old age and bore a son God had promised? Let’s bring it a little closer to our time. Was it a miracle when Elizabeth conceived in her old age, having been barren for her entire life? Or do we say these women were not people of faith because they saw these miracles?

I’ve got one even closer to home. July 4, 1976, was a day that defined miracles for our family. It was on a Sunday. My wife’s parents were coming to our house for dinner. We didn’t have a lot of pots and pans, so she used a Presto Cooker to cook some corn on the cob. She had removed the weighted valve so pressure would not build up. But when she reached to take it off the stove, it blew up, spewing superheated water, steam, and food on her. She had 3rd-degree burns over 30% of her body. Her polyester clothes were melting into her flesh.

She was taken by ambulance from Craig General Hospital, Vinita, Oklahoma to Hillcrest Burn Center in Tulsa. This burn center was at the time acclaimed to be one of the top four burn units in the nation. These doctors and nurses were not novices, but the best and most experienced money could buy. In the triage room, the doctors examined her, taking pictures for documentation.

The doctor came out to speak with me. He said, “Connie is going to be in the Critical Room for three weeks and in the burn center for three months. She will have to have extensive grafting. Time: 2:00 pm July 4th.

At 3:00 pm the deacons from Adair First Baptist Church, where I had just resigned as their pastor, were standing in that same waiting room praying for God’s will to be done in her life.

At 4:00 pm the Webbers Falls First Baptist Church deacons, were standing in the waiting room praying for us in the same way.

Tuesday, July 8th at 8:00 am the doctor came out and seemed puzzled. He said, “We don’t know what is going on here. We have gone back over our initial findings and they were correct. But your wife ready to come out of the Critical Room this morning. However, she will still be in the Burn Center for three months so we can do the grafting that will be necessary.”

Thursday, July 10th at 8:00 am he returned to the waiting room. He said, “Mr. Hall, We can’t explain this. We have reviewed our initial findings. They were correct. We have gone back over the review that was done on Tuesday. It was also correct.” He stopped, took a breath and said, “This is not possible, but your wife is ready to go home today.” I said, “Thank you Doc.” He said, “She will need to come into my office in one week so that we can schedule grafting that will be needed. But we can do that on an outpatient basis.”

We went to the doctor’s office on the following Thursday. After examining her he came out to the waiting room. In front of about twenty-five or thirty witnesses, he said, “Reverend Hall. There is no explanation for what I am about to say.” He then went over the whole litany and timeline for what had taken place. To which he added, “What I am telling you is not conceivable but your wife is not going to have to have grafting after all. We THINK she may have some scaring.”

I am telling you today, there is absolutely no scaring. She even got her freckles back.

Does that make me less a man of faith? No, I say it has increased my faith. I have seen with my own eyes what God can do. I don’t have to believe anyone else’s story of healing. I believe because I have seen.

The statement that if someone “claims to have seen a miracle they are no longer a person of faith” has no basis in scripture.

I suppose then that none of the Apostles were men of faith since they claimed to have seen miracles. Some of them had even been involved in miracles happening in their ministries. How about the people who saw the lame man walk or the mute speak or the blind see? What about their faith. Were they no longer men and women of faith? Peter walked on water, I would classify that as a miracle. Was he no longer a man of faith?

On the contrary. Several times in the Gospels Jesus said, “Thy faith hath made the whole,” or “Thy faith hath saved thee.”

Why would my wife have to endure the excruciating pain of 3rd-degree burns over 30% of her body? What would glorify God in this experience? During her time in the Burn Center, I had the opportunity to witness to a man whose son was scalded when he pulled a large banquet type coffee pot over on himself. This man, who had lost his larynx to cancer, accepted Christ as his personal Savior and Lord. Why? He had seen and heard all the things that were said in the Burn Center waiting room.

I am not in any way saying that God sent that burn into her life. What I am saying is that God used the healing of her burns to be a witness to the hurting family of a little boy. He used it to teach the doctor that he was not in charge. That God still is in control. He used it to witness to the patients and their families at the doctor’s office that God is faithful.

He used it to bolster the faith of both the church at Adair and the one at Webbers Falls. To show them that God is in control when we think things are helpless.

He can use this event to bolster your faith and encourage you if you are in need.

He Awoke

November 2, 2017

By Evangelist John BJ Hall

He awoke from an unexpected sleep. Not even imagining why it had come so quickly. He did not want to open his eyes, just yet. But now he felt something different, very different. There was a presence he had never felt before. Maybe this was some creature he had not yet seen. It didn't seem possible that such could be. He had examined every species in existence. He had even given each one a unique name.

He didn't want to startle whatever it was. It seemed so near. He could almost reach out his hand like so . . . What was that? It was so soft. It felt like hair, long flowing hair.

He reached out again. Now the sensation was different. That was skin, like his own, yet somehow different; softer, warmer, tenderer.

He decided to peek. He just MUST know what this new sensation meant. Slowly he opened his eyes. There it was the most beautiful creature he had ever seen. This creature was like him, yet somehow different. He wasn't quite sure what to make of the difference, but he somehow knew that this had to be the most wonderful thing that had ever happened to him.

None of the other creatures in the garden made him feel this way. When he looked into her eyes it was as though he was looking into a beautiful shining pool glistening with the sparkle of golden sunshine. How could this be?

For so long he had felt an emptiness in his soul. Surely, there were plenty of other creatures in the garden, but he had always felt so alone. He could not remember a time when he was not alone. But now, here was this wonderful creature to whom he felt such a marvelous attraction, sitting there beside him gazing at him as though HE were something special. Somehow, he knew that he would never be alone again.

He knew what he must do. He must go to his Father in the cool of the evening and tell Him of this wonderful find. He could hardly wait. 

Then it dawned on him. He did not have to tell the Father of this find. The Father had made every creature in the garden. Why, He had made the garden itself. This beautiful creature must be a special gift from the Father, just for him.

Now he heard the Father walking in the Garden in the cool of the day. He must hurry and thank Him for this wonderful gift. No, he and his new found companion must hurry to meet the Father together.

As he approached the place where he and the Father met every day his heart fairly burst with excitement. How he wanted to introduce her to the Father.

There He was, in the usual place patiently waiting. As they approached the Father lifted His hand and said, "Her name is Eve, for she was taken out of the man. What God hath joined together let no man put asunder."

Together they fell prostrate before the Father and worshiped Him.

~~~~~

Genesis 2:18-25 (KJV) “And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. 19  And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof. 20  And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him. 21  And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; 22  And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. 23  And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. 24  Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. 25  And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.

This is an excerpt from the poetry and prose found in BJ's book, "WHOLLY THINE: A Look at Depression From the Inside"

© Copyright 1995 by Passages Ministries. All rights reserved.
For permission to use this short story contact Passages Ministries.

Seek the Lord

October 30, 2017

~ By Evangelist John BJ Hall ~

When my granddaughter was small, she loved to play hide and seek. Most of all she loved to be found. She would almost always hide in the same spot, in her bedroom behind the curtains.

I always made a big show out of looking for her. “Is she hiding under the bed?” She would giggle. “Nope not there, maybe she is in the dresser drawer.” Again she would giggle. “Maybe she is hiding in the closet.”

Just about the time I opened the closet door, out she would jump from behind the bedroom curtains and say, “Here I am, you found me.”

She just couldn’t wait any longer. She wanted me to find her.

That is the way God is. He want’s so much for us to find him. He leaves clues in nature. He leaves clues in the lives of those around us.

"Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: (Isaiah 55:6KJV)

 

All the while that we are looking in the dark corners of our lives, He is saying, “Please find me.” “I want you to find me.” “I sent My Son to point the way.” “I send preachers and teachers and evangelists and friends to point the way.” Please find me.

Seek in the Hebrew means -- to resort to, seek, seek with care, enquire, require, to seek with demand.

This passage tells us that there is an Urgency of Seeking. It has been said that Every human mind is a great slumbering power until awakened by a keen desire and by definite resolution to do. (Edgar F. Roberts). The urgency of the matter is that He will not always be able to be found. We MUST seek Him now, while He may be found. To be found means to encounter, to light upon and discover. God wants us to encounter Him, to discover His nature and His love. Acts 17:27-28 says, “That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: 28 For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring. (KJV)

 

There is A danger in NOT seeking Him. James Allen said, “You will become as small as your controlling desire; as great as your dominant aspiration.” If your desire and aspiration is less than God, then you will find less than He wants you to find. 1 Chronicles 28:9 tells us, “And thou, Solomon my son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind: for the LORD searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts: if thou seek him, he will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee off for ever. (KJV)

If thou seek him, he will be found by you. Remember Jessie and her hide and seek game? She was so anxious to be found. So much so that if you took too long look for her she would jump out and help you find her.

In the 1 Chronicles passage forsake means to neglect. If we neglect Him it results in being cast the off or to be forcefully rejected. It was Jesus himself that dictated the letter to the church at Laodicea that is found in Revelation chapter three. In that letter he said, “ I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. 16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue (sic) thee out of my mouth. (KJV)

However, there is blessing in seeking after the Lord. The first blessing it that You will find Him. Deuteronomy 4:29 “But if from thence thou shalt seek the LORD thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul.” (KJV)

You will also possess the things He has promised you.1 Chronicles 28:8 “Now therefore in the sight of all Israel the congregation of the LORD, and in the audience of our God, keep and seek for all the commandments of the LORD your God: that ye may possess this good land, and leave it for an inheritance for your children after you for ever. (KJV) He has promised that we will be saved and grow in Him when we seek Him.

He has also promised that He will build His house if we seek Him. 1 Chronicles 22:19 Now set your heart and your soul to seek the LORD your God; arise therefore, and build ye the sanctuary of the LORD God, to bring the ark of the covenant of the LORD, and the holy vessels of God, into the house that is to be built to the name of the LORD. (KJV) The church will be built up and strengthened when we turn to Him and seek him.

But here is the tragic truth: Romans 3:10-11 (KJV) “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: 11  There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.” As a result, we miss the blessings that come when we finding Him.

“Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the LORD, till he come and rain righteousness upon you.” (Hosea 10:12 KJV)

 

The Pursuit

We must find Him, they had said.
Unless we find Him, fear and dread.
We need the hope finding will give.
To give us joy each day we live.

Pursuing is the life for me.
For in pursuit I am set free.
My life more full than I had known
For in pursuit His love was shown.

Now this the truth I do believe
Pursue the Lord and to Him cleave.
Your life will be filled up with joy
And with His love all fear destroy.

Will you begin to seek His face?
To trust His as you run the race?
Each day He will, your hope renew.
And you can live a life that’s true.

 

© Copyright 2017 By Passages Ministries. All rights reserved.
For permission to use this poem contact Passages Ministries.

Wholly Thine

October 26, 2017

~ By Evangelist John BJ Hall ~

I had been in the ministry since I was eighteen years of age. While I was a freshman at Oklahoma Baptist University I served as part-time music and youth director for First Baptist Church, Arcadia, Oklahoma.

There were some traumatic events that took place in my life during that year. As a result, I dropped out of OBU and tendered my resignation at Arcadia. I went back to Sapulpa, broke up with my fiancé and quit a part-time job I had in Tulsa.

I then moved in with my parents in Disney, Oklahoma. Daddy was pastor of First Baptist Church there. He asked me to go on visitation with him. Every house we visited had a young lady about my age. I didn’t fall off the turnip truck. I knew what he was trying to do. And I was having none of it.

On January 6, 1970, we drove up a long hill for another visit. He would always have me knock on the door. I knocked on the door and before I knew it the most beautiful young woman I had ever seen was looking up at me with her deep brown eyes. I was speechless. But I knew one thing for sure. I was going to marry that girl and spend the rest of my life with her.

We were both shy. But I wasn’t about to let her get away. On Thursday night of that same week, I asked her to marry me. And praise the Lord, she said yes. Toward the end of February, I asked her dad for her hand in marriage. His response was amazing. “I’ve been wondering what was taking you so long.”

We began planning our wedding and on May 29, 1970, we walked down the aisle at First Baptist Church, Disney, Oklahoma and made our vows to one another and to our Lord. Shortly after our marriage, a church on the eastern edge of Oklahoma (Poynor Baptist Church) asked me to come and be their pastor.

There has never been a time when I wanted to do anything other than to serve my Lord. My prayer was and remains to this day “I want to be wholly Thine, Jesus. I want to serve you every day of my life.”

Is there any better thing in life than to be wholly committed to the Lord? I think not. D. L. Moody heard two men standing outside the shoe store where he worked. One said, “We have yet to see what God can do through a man wholly committed unto God.” Moody said to himself, “By the grace of God, I will be that man.”

Yet on his deathbed, after a life of service to the Lord, D. L. Moody said these words, “We have yet to see what God can do through a man wholly committed unto God.”

Now at 67 years of age, I have come to the realization that I too have fallen short of the mark in my life. I am grateful for the helpmeet that the Lord has given me. I definitely "married above myself." Connie remains my best friend and most powerful prayer warrior. God has truly blessed me. We have two awesome children that are each serving the Lord in their own right. And of course, the grandchildren are the icing on the cake. And now, some beautiful step-great-grandkids have come into our lives.

My prayer remains, “I want to be wholly Thine, Jesus. I want to serve you every day of my life.”

King David said, “Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou opened: burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not required. 7  Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me, 8  I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart. 9  I have preached righteousness in the great congregation: lo, I have not refrained my lips, O LORD, thou knowest. 10  I have not hidden thy righteousness within my heart; I have declared thy faithfulness and thy salvation: I have not concealed thy lovingkindness and thy truth from the great congregation.” Psalm 40:6-10 (KJV)

Wholly Thine

Wholly Thine, my Lord and King,
‘Tis the anthem I will sing.
As you gave your all for me,
So I give my all to Thee.

All I am, I give to You,
For that’s all that I can do,
So, my Lord, the world will see,
How that they can come to Thee.

Savior, you have done so much,
I have felt Your loving touch.
I’ll give that love to others too,
For that’s why Love came down from You.

You have done so much for me,
On the cross, You set me free.
So wholly Thine, my Lord and King,
‘Tis the anthem I will sing.

 

© Copyright 1985 by Passages Ministries. All rights reserved.
For permission to use this song contact Passages Ministries. 

I Miss Our Prayer Time

October 22, 2017

~ By Evangelist John BJ Hall ~

The phone would ring at just the right moment. Oh, it didn’t matter what the moment was. It was always, “the right moment.”

I could count on it like clockwork. If I was having a difficult time, struggling with a decision, or just needed someone to talk to, God would lay it on Mrs. Sharon’s heart to call. She lived in New Mexico and me in Oklahoma. But distance made no difference.

As I look back on the many years of conversations with Mrs. Sharon I can picture her gravelly voice was always filled with compassion and hope. The one thing I can’t picture is her face. You see I never met Mrs. Sharon. She was just a voice on the phone that I always knew had my back.

If my thinking was wrong, I could depend on her telling me so. The one thing she was not was timid. It was never more than a month between her calls. And I always knew that if I needed to talk to her I could call her. Although, I can only remember a couple of times over the last ten years in which I had to call her. Virtually every time I needed to talk to her, she called me.

In June of this last year, I had surgery. Before the time for me to go into the hospital, Mrs, Sharon called, just to say hi. What timing she had. I haven’t heard from her since that call. I have tried to call her to no avail. The last time I tried, I got the message, “We’re sorry, The number you have called is disconnected or no longer in service….” I have tried to find out what happened to Mrs. Sharon to no avail.

The picture attached to this article is another prayer warrior from Florida, Tuck Fielding. He went to be with the Lord this last year as well.

Is there someone in your life that you need to call? Do it today while the number is still in service.

But there is one call you can make that will never go unanswered. You can call upon the Lord in prayer. He is always there. His line will never be disconnected or be out of service.

Psalm 84:2, 10 (KJV) My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the LORD: my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God. ... 10  For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness.  

Our Prayer

O Lord we call upon Thee,
Our Father and our Friend.
Our troubles are not new you see,
Nor are they near an end.

Lord, we raise our prayer to You this hour.
Lift us up and fill us with Thy power.

We’re weary and we’re worn, dear Lord,
But not forsaken here.
Your love can mend a broken chord
When we to Thee draw near.

Lord, we raise our prayer to You this hour.
Lift us up and fill us with Thy power.

Why do we fight against Your love,
And wander all alone,
When guidance comes from up above,
To lead the wanderer home?

Lord, we raise our prayer to You this hour.
Lift us up and fill us with Thy power.

O Father, now we give our hearts,
In prayer and dedication,
For Your compassion never parts,
From this Your congregation.

Lord, we raise our prayer to You this hour.
Lift us up and fill us with Thy power.

So help us now to faithful stand,
Through danger trials and fire.
To ne'er let go of Your strong hand,
And we shall never tire.

Lord, we raise our prayer to You this hour.
Lift us up and fill us with Thy power.

 

© Copyright 1995 by Passages Ministries. All rights reserved.
For permission to use this song contact Passages Ministries.

Satan's Sifting

October 18, 2017

~ By Evangelist John BJ Hall ~

I believe there is a real devil! Many people don’t. They put him in the same category as Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny. They relegate him to the superstition and ignorance of the Middle Ages.

The Bible declares his existence, his intentions, as well as his methods. It tells us he is a spiritual being who is the enemy of God, his people, and all that is good. Jesus once said to Peter, “Satan desired to sift you as wheat...” (Luke 22:31). The purpose of sifting is to separate. Satan’s desire is to shake us loose from our faith. Here is that passage in its context:

Luke 22:31-34 (KJV)
And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: 32  But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith
fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren. 33  And he said unto him, Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death. 34  And he said, I tell thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before that thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest me.

How does Satan sift us today?

SATAN SIFTS US BY DOUBTS. He tries to discredit God’s word in our minds and to get us to doubt it. This is exactly what he did in the Garden of Eden with Eve. He discredited God’s word in her mind. If he can do that we can be easily led into sin.

“Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win by fearing to attempt.” — William Shakespeare

SATAN SIFTS US BY DISAPPOINTMENTS. When the Lord or his people do not measure up to our expectations, it discourages us. My father warned me as a youth, “If the Devil can’t make you fall, he will make someone fall, whose fall will make you fall.”

Disappointments can turn us from the Lord. BUT they don’t have to. We can allow it to make us stronger.

“Disappointment to a noble soul is what cold water is to burning metal; it strengthens, tempers, intensifies, but never destroys it.” — Eliza Tabor

SATAN SIFTS US BY OUR DESIRES. James says that we are tempted when we are drawn away by our own lusts (James 1:14). If we follow our desires rather than God’s Word, we end up in sin. Eve saw that the fruit was good for food.

Have you ever, while watching an interesting program on TV, seen a commercial come on that had some tantalizing food. It looked so good you could almost taste it? How tempting it is to get up and go to the refrigerator and get out something to eat. Why, because our desire has been aroused.

This happens in our spiritual walk as well.

“Lust is a captivity of the reason and an enraging of the passions. It hinders business and distracts counsel. It sins against the body and weakens the soul.” — Jeremy Taylor

SATAN SIFTS US BY DECEIT. He is the father of all lies. If he can deceive us, he will. Again, this is one of the things he used in the Garden. He told Eve that she could be like God.

“Hateful to me as the gates of Hades is that man who hides one thing in his heart and speaks another.” —Homer

SATAN SIFTS US BY DIFFICULTIES. Disease and death, sickness and sorrow, are not the handiwork of God. As in the case of Job, these are most often the works of Satan. Trouble has shaken more people’s faith in God than anything else I know.

People who have bought into the “name it and claim it gospel” are especially susceptible in this area. Just imagine, being taught that if you have enough faith, or speak the right words, or give to the right preacher your child will be healed. Then when he is not, many turn away from their faith and leave the church.

“There are two ways of meeting difficulties: you alter the difficulties or you alter yourself meeting them.” — Phyllis Bottome

We must learn to trust the Lord in everything. He will never let you down. Trust in me and I will disappoint you. I am a man with the same weaknesses as all men. But Christ lived a sinless life and died for our salvation. Trust Him today.

He Strengthens Me

When all of life begins to pale,
My Lord has promised not to fail.
His Word is fresh, and never stale,
And strengthens me when I am frail.

So I can trust Him as my friend.
He will be with me to the end.
He helps me stand against the trend,
And for His will, my life I’ll spend.

© Copyright 1995 by Passages Ministries. All Rights Reserved.
For permission to use this poem contact Passages Ministries. 

The Witness at My Door

October 15, 2017

~ By Evangelist John BJ Hall ~

They were standing at my front door. Two women and a teenage girl stood there after knocking on the door. When I opened the door, I knew who they were and why they were there. They each were holding a copy of The New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures. The leader of the group was also carrying a briefcase.  She handed me a pamphlet and asked, “Could we sit down together and talk about the Bible?”

I asked, “May I ask you a question?” She agreed. I continued, “Just suppose for a moment that I have a knife sticking in my back and I am bleeding to death. What do I need to do right now to enter Jehovah’s Kingdom?”

“Well,” she said, “That is an interesting question. Could we come in and talk about this pamphlet?”

I did not allow her to sidestep the question. I said, “Remember, I am bleeding out in front of you. What do I need to do right now to enter Jehovah’s Kingdom?”

She was flustered. She had no response.

I then asked her, “What did the thief on the cross have to do?” There was no response. I said, “Look in your New World Translation and read Luke 23:42-43.”

The youngest one opened her copy and read, “Then he said: ‘Jesus, remember me when you get into your Kingdom. 43 And he said to him: “Truly I tell you today, you will be with me in paradise.”

I again asked, “What did the thief have to do to enter into the Kingdom?” I said, “He only had to ask Jesus to remember him when he got to HIS KINGDOM.”

I asked, “Whose Kingdom are you trying to go to?” They said, “Jehovah’s Kingdom.”

I said, “You just read it. It said your Kingdom. That is, Jesus Kingdom.”

I then said, “Now turn to Revelation 1:8 and read that to me.” Again it was the young girl who turned to the passage and read, “I am the Al’pha and the Ome’ga,” says Jehovah God, “the One who is and who was and who is coming, the Almighty.”

I asked, “Who is Alpha and Omega?” They all said, “Jehovah.”

Then I said, “Turn to Revelation 21:6-7 and read that to me.”

This time it was the leader who read the passage. “And he said to me: “They have come to pass! I am the Al’pha and the Ome’ga, The beginning and the end. To anyone thirsting I will give from the spring of the water of life free. 7 Anyone conquering will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be my son.”

I asked, “Who is Beginning and End and Alpha and Omega?”

They said, “Jehovah.”

I did the same thing with Revelation 22:12-13. But then came the climax. I said, “Please read to me Revelation 1:17-18.”

The leader read aloud, “And when I saw him, I fell as dead at his feet. And he laid his right hand upon me and said: “Do not be fearful. I am the First and the Last, 18 and the living one; and I became dead, but, look! I am living forever and ever, and I have the keys of death and of Ha’des.”

I asked, “When did Jehovah God die?” They stood there looking like a calf looking at a new gate. They had no answer. I then said, “Please read Isaiah 43:10-11 to me.”

The leader read, “YOU are my witnesses,” is the utterance of Jehovah, “even my servant whom I have chosen, in order that YOU may know and have faith in me, and that YOU may understand that I am the same One. Before me there was no God formed, and after me there continued to be none. 11 I—I am Jehovah, and besides me there is no savior.”

I asked, “Who is the Savior?” They said, “Jehovah.”

I said, “Please read one more passage to me. Titus 2:13-14.”

Once again the leader read, “While we wait for the happy hope and glorious manifestation of the great God and of the Savior of us, Christ Jesus, 14 who gave himself for us that he might deliver us from every sort of lawlessness and cleanse for himself a people peculiarly his own, zealous for fine works.”

My final question, “Who is our Savior?”

The leader said, “We have to go. May we come back and talk about these things?”

I said, “Certainly.” I never saw them again.

It is important to note, IF you try this, have them read the passage to you out of their own “Bible”

There is one Savior. He died on Calvary for you and for me. It doesn’t matter if you are a Baptist, a Jehovah’s Witness, or an atheist. Jesus is our only hope and He is the one on whom you must call to be born again.

Ye Must Be Born Again

“Ye must be born again,” He said,
And Nicodemus heard with dread,
That he must come as though a child,
With contrite heart and spirit mild,
And turn from sin, 
of this world born.
That’s what it means to be reborn.

Christ Jesus died upon the cross,
To save our souls from endless loss.
If you will just repent of sin,
And turn your life control to Him,
He’ll save your soul and make you new,
And He will come and live in you.

 

© Copyright 1995 by Passages Ministries. All rights reserved.
For permission to use this poem contact Passages Ministries.

 

NOTE: The passages quoted in this blog are directly from "The New World Translation of  the Holy Scriptures." They are exactly as presented and printed there. Don't be tempted to use your King James Bible to do this. They believe the King James Version (and all other translations) are corrupted by faulty translation.

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How about a Re-SOUL-ution this Year

January 6, 2018

~ By Evangelist John BJ Hall ~

1Cor.16:7-9
“For a great door and effectual is opened unto me, and there are many adversaries.”

A new employee stood in front of the paper shredder, looking a little confused. "Need some help?" a secretary, walking by, asked. "Yes," the employee replied, "how does this thing work?" "Oh it's simple," she said, taking the large report from his hand and feeding it into the shredder. "Thanks," the new guy said, "now can you tell me where all the copies come out?"

Technologies and office machines do baffle some people. Fax machines, cellular telephones, pagers, computers, and modems: all have burst on the scene virtually revolutionizing the way we communicate and do business. It's what we would call a breakthrough!

As we are still in the first week of a new year I'm convinced that more than ever we need a breakthrough in the church - I don't mean that we need new gadgets or programs — no what we need is a Spiritual Breakthrough - we need Revival, Renewing, Re-awakening, and Re-commitment.

In our text for this evening — the apostle Paul was winding up his first epistle to the Corinthians with some practical advice — he tells them in 15:58 to stand fast in the Lord, in the first part of chapter 16 he mentions an offering to be taken for the relief of the poor, and then he tells them of his plans for the immediate future: (READ 1Cor.16:7-9)

What I want to focus on in this study is the last verse - Paul saw an opportunity - an open door - and for us - that is exactly what the new year offers - an opportunity - an open door- a fresh start - a new beginning. Paul described his door as a GREAT door and an EFFECTUAL door. By that, he saw it as an opportunity for achieving Great things for God - making a difference - being Effective.

I'm convinced that we too want to be effective for God - we want to make a difference in our world - we have a deep longing for Christ to be glorified and lifted up in our lives and in our church. I believe that God will bless and do "exceedingly abundantly more than we ask or think" IF we are willing to be filled with His Spirit and bold enough to go through the OPEN DOOR that He places before us. (But remember — it won't be easy — Paul said that there were "many adversaries." And there will be for us too.)

I.     What Open Door is before us? What is this Breakthrough? COMMITMENT

Many people talk about New Years Resolutions - which usually fizzle out & fade. What I want to suggest is a New Years Re-soul-ution —a New Year Re-dedication — Re-commitment.

I have found that there are — seven things came to mind — seven pillars of our faith — that, if we Re-commit ourselves firmly to them — will guarantee Victory, Fruitfulness, and happiness in this new year.

By the way — before I talk about commitment — let me make sure there's no misunderstanding — Commitment is not just talking about religion. The story is told of an entertainer many years ago who would string up a tight-rope from one end of Niagara Falls to the other. Hundreds of spectators would come and watch him perform — he'd walk the tightrope — do tricks, and even ride a unicycle from one end to the other.

One day a man witnessed this display and was totally impressed. He clapped and cheered and even shouted, "You're the greatest!" The artist replied — "you believe I'm pretty good, huh?" Oh yes, the man said. "Then please, come let me ride you on my back as I cycle across to the other side!" TALK about commitment is one thing - ACTION is better.

1.     Make a fresh Commitment to the BIBLE - the word of God.

Read it daily, study it faithfully, hear it preached often, talk about it with your friends and family, memorize portions of it, Read it through in a year - but most importantly - HEED it and OBEY it.

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

"This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success. - Joshua 1:8

2.  Make a fresh Commitment to PRAYER!

"The LORD is nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth." - Psalm 145:18

"Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered." - Romans 8:26

"Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful." - Colossians 4:2

"Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." - Matthew 26:41

O what precious promises are made to us if we will just pray - why then do we neglect it? Why do we sell ourselves short & rob ourselves of victory by neglecting this most important gift? "O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear, all because we do not carry, everything to God in prayer." God grant us to be Committed to prayer!

3. Make a fresh Commitment to the CHURCH.

The church is the body & bride of Christ. She is His most precious, beloved and prized possession. To forsake the church and be a "lone ranger Christian" is to shoot yourself in the foot and severely hinder your effectiveness. WE NEED the Church!

  • Be regular in attendance! - Hebrews 10:25 (KJV) 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. 
  • Be generous in your Support - 2 Corinthians 9:7 Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. 
  • Be ACTIVE in your participation - not just a spectator. - Galatians 6:10 As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith. 
  • And most of all - Be filled with a Spirit of Love & Unity – Colossians 2:2 That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgment of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ; 

"Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently." - 1Peter 1:22

"By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples if ye have love one to another." John 13:35

4.  Make a fresh Commitment to the GREAT COMMISSION.

We must evangelize or fossilize. The love of Christ must constrain us to love the lost - both around the corner and around the world. Jesus's last words plainly tell us what we're to be all about:

"And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen." - Mt.28:18-20

5.  Make a fresh Commitment to CLEAN LIVING - PURITY.

A devotion from "Our Daily Bread" suggested that we can't make New Year's Resolutions without first Resolving the sins of our past. Thank God there are grace and forgiveness available to all. Let us humble ourselves & confess to God our trespasses and He will forgive. (1Jn.1:9; Ps.51:1-3; 17)

If we regard iniquity in our hearts - we will not be blessed; we will not have victory; instead, we will be miserable. The new year will be a dud. Let's start right. God's word plainly says: "And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure." - 1 Jn.3:3

We're thankful, Lord, that when we fall:

  • We can begin anew
  • If humbly we confess our sin,
  • Then turn and follow You.

6.  Make a fresh Commitment to your FAMILY.

This is every bit as important as the other commitments I've mentioned. Your family is a blessing from the Lord. Treat one another right! If not - I guarantee the new year will not be happy at all.

  • Husbands - love your wife and give honor to her. (Eph.5:25; 1Pet.3:7)
  • Wives - submit to your husbands as it is fit in the Lord. (Col.3:18)
  • Children - Honor & obey your parents (10 commandments; Eph.6:1)
  • Parents - Don't discourage your children - but bring them up right - in the Lord. (Eph.6:4; Col.3:21)

IF you make time for your family - quality time - love and cherish one another - worship as a family - I guarantee the coming year will be a super year.

7.    Make a fresh Commitment to God (Father, Son & Holy Spirit)

This, of course, is most important - what is the chief end of man? To glorify God and to enjoy Him forever. "Seek ye first the kingdom of God..." "Love the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind & strength..." "whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord..."

  • Seek to Experience God in Worship/Prayer
  • Abide in Christ through faith & Prayer
  • Be continuously filled with the Holy Spirit

II.   Remember, Paul said that there were many adversaries - enemies.

We too have adversaries that would keep us from going through these doors. Obstacles, pitfalls, enemies - call them what you will - they are real, nonetheless.

  1. 1.  The devil - demons - REAL.
    "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith...." - 1 Peter 5:8-9
    Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." - James 4:7
  2. Procrastination will keep you from the above 7 commitments - don't delay!
  3. Wasting Time - will keep you from going through the door.
  4. Stinking Thinking - the "I'm so helpless" stuck in a rut mindset will keep you from going through the door. Remember - "I can do all things through Christ..."
  5. "Nobody else is Committed..." - this isn't true - and even if it were, it's no reason for you not to be!

Are you ready to make the most of the doors that the Lord opens to you? Are you ready to go through it as a GREAT and EFFECTUAL door - or will you let it come and go just as another day - like all the others before? Let's go through the Door - press on in spite of the adversaries. You'll be glad you did!

Your future doesn’t begin tomorrow. It begins RIGHT NOW. What will you make of it this year?

Precious Memories

November 24, 2017

~ By Evangelist John BJ Hall ~

This is the only picture in existence of my great-grandma Jett, grandma Stanfill, my mother Marylee Faye Hall and me.

I don’t know a lot about Great-grandma Jett, other than the fact that she reared a daughter who became the best grandmother I can imagine. Grandma Stanfill was the most marvelous lady that ever lived. She loved God with all her heart. She displayed that love in her life, day after day. She showed that love to the children of Enid, Oklahoma as she directed the work of the Child Evangelism Fellowship in that city. I would stay with her during the summer and watched her interact with the children that came into her life.  

She lived about two blocks from an elementary school and held Bible club classes in her home. But this was not good enough for her or the children. She sold her home, which she had lived in for as long as I can remember. She used the money to buy a home across the street from the school. She remodeled the home into the perfect place for children to come and learn about the Lord. Her front room saw many children come to faith in Christ.

I remember the “flannel graphs” that she used while she told the Bible stories. I especially loved it when she would ask me to tell one of the stories to the children.

I can still hear her playing the old upright piano and singing praises to Jesus. Across the top of the piano were the pictures of missionaries and their families that she was praying for. When she wasn’t teaching children about Jesus and His great love, she was working at the church library at the Washington Avenue Bible Church.

There was a little wood cabinet tube type radio, which I have in my possession, which sat on a shelf in the kitchen. It was always tuned into a station where good ole Gospel preaching was done. One of her favorites was Dr. Theodore Epp’s “Back to the Bible” broadcast. She would cook and clean and wash dishes to the sound of Gospel preaching.

I remember the milk box that sat on her front porch. She would put empty milk bottles in it and the next morning there would be fresh milk. As a child, I thought it was magic. The milk would be used in many ways. I loved Grandma’s “French tea.” She would boil some water on the stove; pour some in a teacup, two sugar cubes and just the right amount of milk. What a treat. I thought that this must be how the fancy folks spent their afternoon.

These precious memories are part of what made me who I am today. My love for the Gospel, support of missions, prayer, and ministering to the children came from her.

Grandma Stanfill was not the only godly woman in my life. My mother was an amazing servant of the Most High God as well. Remind me to tell you about her someday.

Is there someone in your life who impacted who you are today? Is there someone in your life that you could influence and encourage in the ways of the Lord?

Paul wrote to Timothy his, "son" in the ministry, about the influence of his mother and grandmother.  "When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also. 6  Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands."  2 Timothy 1:5-6 (KJV) 

He then called on Timothy to "pay it forward" when he said, "Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2  And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also."   2 Timothy 2:1-2 (KJV)

Make a commitment today to make a difference in the lives of those around you.

Steps to Revival

November 15, 2017

~ By Evangelist John BJ Hall ~

The church was in turmoil. There was animosity between the older members and the younger members. You could feel the tension in the air. They wouldn’t sit on the same side of the auditorium. They wouldn’t even walk across the aisle to shake hands during the time of greeting in the worship service.

Why was this so? The older congregants felt their authority was threatened by a growing number of younger adults. At the same time, the younger adults believed that they were not appreciated for the things they could offer to the church.

My task as their pastor was to teach them to love one another. If they could learn that one thing they could then see each other’s strengths and could work together to glorify the Lord and His work in the church. In other words, they needed a revival, a renewal of a right spirit within.

In order for that revival to take place, there were some things that both groups needed to do. First, they needed to CLAIM A PURE HEART BEFORE GOD 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Claiming a pure heart, therefore, requires us to ask God to convict us of our sins. I recommend that you write them down. As you do, confess them to God. Each one He reveals to you should be confessed to Him, acknowledging your guilt. Then claim 1 John 1:9 by writing the verse over the sins — tear it up, and throw it away — symbolically purging you from them.

We then need to CLAIM THE FILLING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT. Paul wrote in Ephesians 5:18 “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit.”    This is not a hocus-pocus/mumbo-jumbo experience. It is also NOT a “second blessing” as some teach. It is to be a daily reality. Fill means control. We must allow the Holy Spirit to fill or control our lives, not only daily but moment by moment.

If we are going to allow the Holy Spirit to fill and control our lives we must find out what He wants to do in our lives. We do that by READING AND STUDYING GOD’S WORD. Throughout scripture, we find instructions on how to do this. Psalm 119:11 says, “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.”

The Apostle Paul wrote to his son in the ministry he instructed him to “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15) God’s Word, itself, gives us the tools we need to understand God’s Word. That sounds redundant, but we must recognize that the best commentary on the Bible, is the Bible.

Once we have discovered the rich truths in His Word we need to communicate with its author. In other words, we need to SPEND MUCH TIME ALONE WITH GOD IN PRAYER.

A few years ago US NEWS & WORLD REPORT  published the results of their survey on religion in America. They say that 76% of Americans see God as a heavenly father who can be reached by prayers.  Yet another survey said that the average Southern Baptist pastor spends only 7 minutes in prayer each day. Now before you judge those pastors too harshly, how much time do YOU spend in prayer each and every day?

The question for us is not whether or not we believe in prayer. Or whether we think others should pray more. The question is “Do I spend MUCH time alone with God in prayer?” Failure to spend time with God increases the separation between God and yourself. The same is true of every relationship in our lives.

One of the first things we did in the aforementioned church was work to establish an active prayer ministry. Our goal was to get each of the disparate factions to pray for each other. I intentionally assigned groups as prayer teams that included every age group in the church. It is true that you cannot pray for and with someone for an extended period and remain separated spiritually.

The result of these actions in our lives is renewal. If we are to have revival it must begin in our individual hearts.

When the Lord called us to a different church, one of the older ladies in the church came to me and said, “God brought you to us to teach us how to love.” This is the beginning of revival. We MUST see a purity of heart, control of the Holy Spirit, growth in the Word, and commitment to prayer. These are the steps to revival.

Is It a Miracle?

November 7, 2017

​By Evangelist John BJ Hall

Not long ago I was involved in a discussion about miracles. Some of those involved believed in miracles, and some did not. One went so far as to say, “Miracles require the rearrangement of molecules.” He said, “There are no medical miracles. ALL so-called medical miracles are merely the result of medical science.” He concluded his thoughts with these words, “Faith is the substance of things hoped for and evidence of things not seen, therefore anyone who claims to have seen a miracle is no longer a person of faith.”

What was my response to that statement? That is the most ridiculous argument against miracles that I have ever heard in my life. Let’s unpack his statement one issue at a time. First, he said, “Miracles require the rearrangement of molecules.” Where do you find that in the Bible? A more accurate statement about what constitutes a miracle would be: God would have to intervene in this world and suspend the laws of nature for there to be a miracle. I don’t see anywhere in scripture that says that He can’t do that.

Was it a miracle or not when Sarah conceived in her old age and bore a son God had promised? Let’s bring it a little closer to our time. Was it a miracle when Elizabeth conceived in her old age, having been barren for her entire life? Or do we say these women were not people of faith because they saw these miracles?

I’ve got one even closer to home. July 4, 1976, was a day that defined miracles for our family. It was on a Sunday. My wife’s parents were coming to our house for dinner. We didn’t have a lot of pots and pans, so she used a Presto Cooker to cook some corn on the cob. She had removed the weighted valve so pressure would not build up. But when she reached to take it off the stove, it blew up, spewing superheated water, steam, and food on her. She had 3rd-degree burns over 30% of her body. Her polyester clothes were melting into her flesh.

She was taken by ambulance from Craig General Hospital, Vinita, Oklahoma to Hillcrest Burn Center in Tulsa. This burn center was at the time acclaimed to be one of the top four burn units in the nation. These doctors and nurses were not novices, but the best and most experienced money could buy. In the triage room, the doctors examined her, taking pictures for documentation.

The doctor came out to speak with me. He said, “Connie is going to be in the Critical Room for three weeks and in the burn center for three months. She will have to have extensive grafting. Time: 2:00 pm July 4th.

At 3:00 pm the deacons from Adair First Baptist Church, where I had just resigned as their pastor, were standing in that same waiting room praying for God’s will to be done in her life.

At 4:00 pm the Webbers Falls First Baptist Church deacons, were standing in the waiting room praying for us in the same way.

Tuesday, July 8th at 8:00 am the doctor came out and seemed puzzled. He said, “We don’t know what is going on here. We have gone back over our initial findings and they were correct. But your wife ready to come out of the Critical Room this morning. However, she will still be in the Burn Center for three months so we can do the grafting that will be necessary.”

Thursday, July 10th at 8:00 am he returned to the waiting room. He said, “Mr. Hall, We can’t explain this. We have reviewed our initial findings. They were correct. We have gone back over the review that was done on Tuesday. It was also correct.” He stopped, took a breath and said, “This is not possible, but your wife is ready to go home today.” I said, “Thank you Doc.” He said, “She will need to come into my office in one week so that we can schedule grafting that will be needed. But we can do that on an outpatient basis.”

We went to the doctor’s office on the following Thursday. After examining her he came out to the waiting room. In front of about twenty-five or thirty witnesses, he said, “Reverend Hall. There is no explanation for what I am about to say.” He then went over the whole litany and timeline for what had taken place. To which he added, “What I am telling you is not conceivable but your wife is not going to have to have grafting after all. We THINK she may have some scaring.”

I am telling you today, there is absolutely no scaring. She even got her freckles back.

Does that make me less a man of faith? No, I say it has increased my faith. I have seen with my own eyes what God can do. I don’t have to believe anyone else’s story of healing. I believe because I have seen.

The statement that if someone “claims to have seen a miracle they are no longer a person of faith” has no basis in scripture.

I suppose then that none of the Apostles were men of faith since they claimed to have seen miracles. Some of them had even been involved in miracles happening in their ministries. How about the people who saw the lame man walk or the mute speak or the blind see? What about their faith. Were they no longer men and women of faith? Peter walked on water, I would classify that as a miracle. Was he no longer a man of faith?

On the contrary. Several times in the Gospels Jesus said, “Thy faith hath made the whole,” or “Thy faith hath saved thee.”

Why would my wife have to endure the excruciating pain of 3rd-degree burns over 30% of her body? What would glorify God in this experience? During her time in the Burn Center, I had the opportunity to witness to a man whose son was scalded when he pulled a large banquet type coffee pot over on himself. This man, who had lost his larynx to cancer, accepted Christ as his personal Savior and Lord. Why? He had seen and heard all the things that were said in the Burn Center waiting room.

I am not in any way saying that God sent that burn into her life. What I am saying is that God used the healing of her burns to be a witness to the hurting family of a little boy. He used it to teach the doctor that he was not in charge. That God still is in control. He used it to witness to the patients and their families at the doctor’s office that God is faithful.

He used it to bolster the faith of both the church at Adair and the one at Webbers Falls. To show them that God is in control when we think things are helpless.

He can use this event to bolster your faith and encourage you if you are in need.

He Awoke

November 2, 2017

By Evangelist John BJ Hall

He awoke from an unexpected sleep. Not even imagining why it had come so quickly. He did not want to open his eyes, just yet. But now he felt something different, very different. There was a presence he had never felt before. Maybe this was some creature he had not yet seen. It didn't seem possible that such could be. He had examined every species in existence. He had even given each one a unique name.

He didn't want to startle whatever it was. It seemed so near. He could almost reach out his hand like so . . . What was that? It was so soft. It felt like hair, long flowing hair.

He reached out again. Now the sensation was different. That was skin, like his own, yet somehow different; softer, warmer, tenderer.

He decided to peek. He just MUST know what this new sensation meant. Slowly he opened his eyes. There it was the most beautiful creature he had ever seen. This creature was like him, yet somehow different. He wasn't quite sure what to make of the difference, but he somehow knew that this had to be the most wonderful thing that had ever happened to him.

None of the other creatures in the garden made him feel this way. When he looked into her eyes it was as though he was looking into a beautiful shining pool glistening with the sparkle of golden sunshine. How could this be?

For so long he had felt an emptiness in his soul. Surely, there were plenty of other creatures in the garden, but he had always felt so alone. He could not remember a time when he was not alone. But now, here was this wonderful creature to whom he felt such a marvelous attraction, sitting there beside him gazing at him as though HE were something special. Somehow, he knew that he would never be alone again.

He knew what he must do. He must go to his Father in the cool of the evening and tell Him of this wonderful find. He could hardly wait. 

Then it dawned on him. He did not have to tell the Father of this find. The Father had made every creature in the garden. Why, He had made the garden itself. This beautiful creature must be a special gift from the Father, just for him.

Now he heard the Father walking in the Garden in the cool of the day. He must hurry and thank Him for this wonderful gift. No, he and his new found companion must hurry to meet the Father together.

As he approached the place where he and the Father met every day his heart fairly burst with excitement. How he wanted to introduce her to the Father.

There He was, in the usual place patiently waiting. As they approached the Father lifted His hand and said, "Her name is Eve, for she was taken out of the man. What God hath joined together let no man put asunder."

Together they fell prostrate before the Father and worshiped Him.

~~~~~

Genesis 2:18-25 (KJV) “And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. 19  And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof. 20  And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him. 21  And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; 22  And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. 23  And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. 24  Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. 25  And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.

This is an excerpt from the poetry and prose found in BJ's book, "WHOLLY THINE: A Look at Depression From the Inside"

© Copyright 1995 by Passages Ministries. All rights reserved.
For permission to use this short story contact Passages Ministries.

Seek the Lord

October 30, 2017

~ By Evangelist John BJ Hall ~

When my granddaughter was small, she loved to play hide and seek. Most of all she loved to be found. She would almost always hide in the same spot, in her bedroom behind the curtains.

I always made a big show out of looking for her. “Is she hiding under the bed?” She would giggle. “Nope not there, maybe she is in the dresser drawer.” Again she would giggle. “Maybe she is hiding in the closet.”

Just about the time I opened the closet door, out she would jump from behind the bedroom curtains and say, “Here I am, you found me.”

She just couldn’t wait any longer. She wanted me to find her.

That is the way God is. He want’s so much for us to find him. He leaves clues in nature. He leaves clues in the lives of those around us.

"Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: (Isaiah 55:6KJV)

 

All the while that we are looking in the dark corners of our lives, He is saying, “Please find me.” “I want you to find me.” “I sent My Son to point the way.” “I send preachers and teachers and evangelists and friends to point the way.” Please find me.

Seek in the Hebrew means -- to resort to, seek, seek with care, enquire, require, to seek with demand.

This passage tells us that there is an Urgency of Seeking. It has been said that Every human mind is a great slumbering power until awakened by a keen desire and by definite resolution to do. (Edgar F. Roberts). The urgency of the matter is that He will not always be able to be found. We MUST seek Him now, while He may be found. To be found means to encounter, to light upon and discover. God wants us to encounter Him, to discover His nature and His love. Acts 17:27-28 says, “That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: 28 For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring. (KJV)

 

There is A danger in NOT seeking Him. James Allen said, “You will become as small as your controlling desire; as great as your dominant aspiration.” If your desire and aspiration is less than God, then you will find less than He wants you to find. 1 Chronicles 28:9 tells us, “And thou, Solomon my son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind: for the LORD searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts: if thou seek him, he will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee off for ever. (KJV)

If thou seek him, he will be found by you. Remember Jessie and her hide and seek game? She was so anxious to be found. So much so that if you took too long look for her she would jump out and help you find her.

In the 1 Chronicles passage forsake means to neglect. If we neglect Him it results in being cast the off or to be forcefully rejected. It was Jesus himself that dictated the letter to the church at Laodicea that is found in Revelation chapter three. In that letter he said, “ I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. 16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue (sic) thee out of my mouth. (KJV)

However, there is blessing in seeking after the Lord. The first blessing it that You will find Him. Deuteronomy 4:29 “But if from thence thou shalt seek the LORD thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul.” (KJV)

You will also possess the things He has promised you.1 Chronicles 28:8 “Now therefore in the sight of all Israel the congregation of the LORD, and in the audience of our God, keep and seek for all the commandments of the LORD your God: that ye may possess this good land, and leave it for an inheritance for your children after you for ever. (KJV) He has promised that we will be saved and grow in Him when we seek Him.

He has also promised that He will build His house if we seek Him. 1 Chronicles 22:19 Now set your heart and your soul to seek the LORD your God; arise therefore, and build ye the sanctuary of the LORD God, to bring the ark of the covenant of the LORD, and the holy vessels of God, into the house that is to be built to the name of the LORD. (KJV) The church will be built up and strengthened when we turn to Him and seek him.

But here is the tragic truth: Romans 3:10-11 (KJV) “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: 11  There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.” As a result, we miss the blessings that come when we finding Him.

“Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the LORD, till he come and rain righteousness upon you.” (Hosea 10:12 KJV)

 

The Pursuit

We must find Him, they had said.
Unless we find Him, fear and dread.
We need the hope finding will give.
To give us joy each day we live.

Pursuing is the life for me.
For in pursuit I am set free.
My life more full than I had known
For in pursuit His love was shown.

Now this the truth I do believe
Pursue the Lord and to Him cleave.
Your life will be filled up with joy
And with His love all fear destroy.

Will you begin to seek His face?
To trust His as you run the race?
Each day He will, your hope renew.
And you can live a life that’s true.

 

© Copyright 2017 By Passages Ministries. All rights reserved.
For permission to use this poem contact Passages Ministries.

Wholly Thine

October 26, 2017

~ By Evangelist John BJ Hall ~

I had been in the ministry since I was eighteen years of age. While I was a freshman at Oklahoma Baptist University I served as part-time music and youth director for First Baptist Church, Arcadia, Oklahoma.

There were some traumatic events that took place in my life during that year. As a result, I dropped out of OBU and tendered my resignation at Arcadia. I went back to Sapulpa, broke up with my fiancé and quit a part-time job I had in Tulsa.

I then moved in with my parents in Disney, Oklahoma. Daddy was pastor of First Baptist Church there. He asked me to go on visitation with him. Every house we visited had a young lady about my age. I didn’t fall off the turnip truck. I knew what he was trying to do. And I was having none of it.

On January 6, 1970, we drove up a long hill for another visit. He would always have me knock on the door. I knocked on the door and before I knew it the most beautiful young woman I had ever seen was looking up at me with her deep brown eyes. I was speechless. But I knew one thing for sure. I was going to marry that girl and spend the rest of my life with her.

We were both shy. But I wasn’t about to let her get away. On Thursday night of that same week, I asked her to marry me. And praise the Lord, she said yes. Toward the end of February, I asked her dad for her hand in marriage. His response was amazing. “I’ve been wondering what was taking you so long.”

We began planning our wedding and on May 29, 1970, we walked down the aisle at First Baptist Church, Disney, Oklahoma and made our vows to one another and to our Lord. Shortly after our marriage, a church on the eastern edge of Oklahoma (Poynor Baptist Church) asked me to come and be their pastor.

There has never been a time when I wanted to do anything other than to serve my Lord. My prayer was and remains to this day “I want to be wholly Thine, Jesus. I want to serve you every day of my life.”

Is there any better thing in life than to be wholly committed to the Lord? I think not. D. L. Moody heard two men standing outside the shoe store where he worked. One said, “We have yet to see what God can do through a man wholly committed unto God.” Moody said to himself, “By the grace of God, I will be that man.”

Yet on his deathbed, after a life of service to the Lord, D. L. Moody said these words, “We have yet to see what God can do through a man wholly committed unto God.”

Now at 67 years of age, I have come to the realization that I too have fallen short of the mark in my life. I am grateful for the helpmeet that the Lord has given me. I definitely "married above myself." Connie remains my best friend and most powerful prayer warrior. God has truly blessed me. We have two awesome children that are each serving the Lord in their own right. And of course, the grandchildren are the icing on the cake. And now, some beautiful step-great-grandkids have come into our lives.

My prayer remains, “I want to be wholly Thine, Jesus. I want to serve you every day of my life.”

King David said, “Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou opened: burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not required. 7  Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me, 8  I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart. 9  I have preached righteousness in the great congregation: lo, I have not refrained my lips, O LORD, thou knowest. 10  I have not hidden thy righteousness within my heart; I have declared thy faithfulness and thy salvation: I have not concealed thy lovingkindness and thy truth from the great congregation.” Psalm 40:6-10 (KJV)

Wholly Thine

Wholly Thine, my Lord and King,
‘Tis the anthem I will sing.
As you gave your all for me,
So I give my all to Thee.

All I am, I give to You,
For that’s all that I can do,
So, my Lord, the world will see,
How that they can come to Thee.

Savior, you have done so much,
I have felt Your loving touch.
I’ll give that love to others too,
For that’s why Love came down from You.

You have done so much for me,
On the cross, You set me free.
So wholly Thine, my Lord and King,
‘Tis the anthem I will sing.

 

© Copyright 1985 by Passages Ministries. All rights reserved.
For permission to use this song contact Passages Ministries. 

I Miss Our Prayer Time

October 22, 2017

~ By Evangelist John BJ Hall ~

The phone would ring at just the right moment. Oh, it didn’t matter what the moment was. It was always, “the right moment.”

I could count on it like clockwork. If I was having a difficult time, struggling with a decision, or just needed someone to talk to, God would lay it on Mrs. Sharon’s heart to call. She lived in New Mexico and me in Oklahoma. But distance made no difference.

As I look back on the many years of conversations with Mrs. Sharon I can picture her gravelly voice was always filled with compassion and hope. The one thing I can’t picture is her face. You see I never met Mrs. Sharon. She was just a voice on the phone that I always knew had my back.

If my thinking was wrong, I could depend on her telling me so. The one thing she was not was timid. It was never more than a month between her calls. And I always knew that if I needed to talk to her I could call her. Although, I can only remember a couple of times over the last ten years in which I had to call her. Virtually every time I needed to talk to her, she called me.

In June of this last year, I had surgery. Before the time for me to go into the hospital, Mrs, Sharon called, just to say hi. What timing she had. I haven’t heard from her since that call. I have tried to call her to no avail. The last time I tried, I got the message, “We’re sorry, The number you have called is disconnected or no longer in service….” I have tried to find out what happened to Mrs. Sharon to no avail.

The picture attached to this article is another prayer warrior from Florida, Tuck Fielding. He went to be with the Lord this last year as well.

Is there someone in your life that you need to call? Do it today while the number is still in service.

But there is one call you can make that will never go unanswered. You can call upon the Lord in prayer. He is always there. His line will never be disconnected or be out of service.

Psalm 84:2, 10 (KJV) My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the LORD: my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God. ... 10  For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness.  

Our Prayer

O Lord we call upon Thee,
Our Father and our Friend.
Our troubles are not new you see,
Nor are they near an end.

Lord, we raise our prayer to You this hour.
Lift us up and fill us with Thy power.

We’re weary and we’re worn, dear Lord,
But not forsaken here.
Your love can mend a broken chord
When we to Thee draw near.

Lord, we raise our prayer to You this hour.
Lift us up and fill us with Thy power.

Why do we fight against Your love,
And wander all alone,
When guidance comes from up above,
To lead the wanderer home?

Lord, we raise our prayer to You this hour.
Lift us up and fill us with Thy power.

O Father, now we give our hearts,
In prayer and dedication,
For Your compassion never parts,
From this Your congregation.

Lord, we raise our prayer to You this hour.
Lift us up and fill us with Thy power.

So help us now to faithful stand,
Through danger trials and fire.
To ne'er let go of Your strong hand,
And we shall never tire.

Lord, we raise our prayer to You this hour.
Lift us up and fill us with Thy power.

 

© Copyright 1995 by Passages Ministries. All rights reserved.
For permission to use this song contact Passages Ministries.

Satan's Sifting

October 18, 2017

~ By Evangelist John BJ Hall ~

I believe there is a real devil! Many people don’t. They put him in the same category as Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny. They relegate him to the superstition and ignorance of the Middle Ages.

The Bible declares his existence, his intentions, as well as his methods. It tells us he is a spiritual being who is the enemy of God, his people, and all that is good. Jesus once said to Peter, “Satan desired to sift you as wheat...” (Luke 22:31). The purpose of sifting is to separate. Satan’s desire is to shake us loose from our faith. Here is that passage in its context:

Luke 22:31-34 (KJV)
And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: 32  But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith
fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren. 33  And he said unto him, Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death. 34  And he said, I tell thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before that thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest me.

How does Satan sift us today?

SATAN SIFTS US BY DOUBTS. He tries to discredit God’s word in our minds and to get us to doubt it. This is exactly what he did in the Garden of Eden with Eve. He discredited God’s word in her mind. If he can do that we can be easily led into sin.

“Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win by fearing to attempt.” — William Shakespeare

SATAN SIFTS US BY DISAPPOINTMENTS. When the Lord or his people do not measure up to our expectations, it discourages us. My father warned me as a youth, “If the Devil can’t make you fall, he will make someone fall, whose fall will make you fall.”

Disappointments can turn us from the Lord. BUT they don’t have to. We can allow it to make us stronger.

“Disappointment to a noble soul is what cold water is to burning metal; it strengthens, tempers, intensifies, but never destroys it.” — Eliza Tabor

SATAN SIFTS US BY OUR DESIRES. James says that we are tempted when we are drawn away by our own lusts (James 1:14). If we follow our desires rather than God’s Word, we end up in sin. Eve saw that the fruit was good for food.

Have you ever, while watching an interesting program on TV, seen a commercial come on that had some tantalizing food. It looked so good you could almost taste it? How tempting it is to get up and go to the refrigerator and get out something to eat. Why, because our desire has been aroused.

This happens in our spiritual walk as well.

“Lust is a captivity of the reason and an enraging of the passions. It hinders business and distracts counsel. It sins against the body and weakens the soul.” — Jeremy Taylor

SATAN SIFTS US BY DECEIT. He is the father of all lies. If he can deceive us, he will. Again, this is one of the things he used in the Garden. He told Eve that she could be like God.

“Hateful to me as the gates of Hades is that man who hides one thing in his heart and speaks another.” —Homer

SATAN SIFTS US BY DIFFICULTIES. Disease and death, sickness and sorrow, are not the handiwork of God. As in the case of Job, these are most often the works of Satan. Trouble has shaken more people’s faith in God than anything else I know.

People who have bought into the “name it and claim it gospel” are especially susceptible in this area. Just imagine, being taught that if you have enough faith, or speak the right words, or give to the right preacher your child will be healed. Then when he is not, many turn away from their faith and leave the church.

“There are two ways of meeting difficulties: you alter the difficulties or you alter yourself meeting them.” — Phyllis Bottome

We must learn to trust the Lord in everything. He will never let you down. Trust in me and I will disappoint you. I am a man with the same weaknesses as all men. But Christ lived a sinless life and died for our salvation. Trust Him today.

He Strengthens Me

When all of life begins to pale,
My Lord has promised not to fail.
His Word is fresh, and never stale,
And strengthens me when I am frail.

So I can trust Him as my friend.
He will be with me to the end.
He helps me stand against the trend,
And for His will, my life I’ll spend.

© Copyright 1995 by Passages Ministries. All Rights Reserved.
For permission to use this poem contact Passages Ministries. 

The Witness at My Door

October 15, 2017

~ By Evangelist John BJ Hall ~

They were standing at my front door. Two women and a teenage girl stood there after knocking on the door. When I opened the door, I knew who they were and why they were there. They each were holding a copy of The New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures. The leader of the group was also carrying a briefcase.  She handed me a pamphlet and asked, “Could we sit down together and talk about the Bible?”

I asked, “May I ask you a question?” She agreed. I continued, “Just suppose for a moment that I have a knife sticking in my back and I am bleeding to death. What do I need to do right now to enter Jehovah’s Kingdom?”

“Well,” she said, “That is an interesting question. Could we come in and talk about this pamphlet?”

I did not allow her to sidestep the question. I said, “Remember, I am bleeding out in front of you. What do I need to do right now to enter Jehovah’s Kingdom?”

She was flustered. She had no response.

I then asked her, “What did the thief on the cross have to do?” There was no response. I said, “Look in your New World Translation and read Luke 23:42-43.”

The youngest one opened her copy and read, “Then he said: ‘Jesus, remember me when you get into your Kingdom. 43 And he said to him: “Truly I tell you today, you will be with me in paradise.”

I again asked, “What did the thief have to do to enter into the Kingdom?” I said, “He only had to ask Jesus to remember him when he got to HIS KINGDOM.”

I asked, “Whose Kingdom are you trying to go to?” They said, “Jehovah’s Kingdom.”

I said, “You just read it. It said your Kingdom. That is, Jesus Kingdom.”

I then said, “Now turn to Revelation 1:8 and read that to me.” Again it was the young girl who turned to the passage and read, “I am the Al’pha and the Ome’ga,” says Jehovah God, “the One who is and who was and who is coming, the Almighty.”

I asked, “Who is Alpha and Omega?” They all said, “Jehovah.”

Then I said, “Turn to Revelation 21:6-7 and read that to me.”

This time it was the leader who read the passage. “And he said to me: “They have come to pass! I am the Al’pha and the Ome’ga, The beginning and the end. To anyone thirsting I will give from the spring of the water of life free. 7 Anyone conquering will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be my son.”

I asked, “Who is Beginning and End and Alpha and Omega?”

They said, “Jehovah.”

I did the same thing with Revelation 22:12-13. But then came the climax. I said, “Please read to me Revelation 1:17-18.”

The leader read aloud, “And when I saw him, I fell as dead at his feet. And he laid his right hand upon me and said: “Do not be fearful. I am the First and the Last, 18 and the living one; and I became dead, but, look! I am living forever and ever, and I have the keys of death and of Ha’des.”

I asked, “When did Jehovah God die?” They stood there looking like a calf looking at a new gate. They had no answer. I then said, “Please read Isaiah 43:10-11 to me.”

The leader read, “YOU are my witnesses,” is the utterance of Jehovah, “even my servant whom I have chosen, in order that YOU may know and have faith in me, and that YOU may understand that I am the same One. Before me there was no God formed, and after me there continued to be none. 11 I—I am Jehovah, and besides me there is no savior.”

I asked, “Who is the Savior?” They said, “Jehovah.”

I said, “Please read one more passage to me. Titus 2:13-14.”

Once again the leader read, “While we wait for the happy hope and glorious manifestation of the great God and of the Savior of us, Christ Jesus, 14 who gave himself for us that he might deliver us from every sort of lawlessness and cleanse for himself a people peculiarly his own, zealous for fine works.”

My final question, “Who is our Savior?”

The leader said, “We have to go. May we come back and talk about these things?”

I said, “Certainly.” I never saw them again.

It is important to note, IF you try this, have them read the passage to you out of their own “Bible”

There is one Savior. He died on Calvary for you and for me. It doesn’t matter if you are a Baptist, a Jehovah’s Witness, or an atheist. Jesus is our only hope and He is the one on whom you must call to be born again.

Ye Must Be Born Again

“Ye must be born again,” He said,
And Nicodemus heard with dread,
That he must come as though a child,
With contrite heart and spirit mild,
And turn from sin, 
of this world born.
That’s what it means to be reborn.

Christ Jesus died upon the cross,
To save our souls from endless loss.
If you will just repent of sin,
And turn your life control to Him,
He’ll save your soul and make you new,
And He will come and live in you.

 

© Copyright 1995 by Passages Ministries. All rights reserved.
For permission to use this poem contact Passages Ministries.

 

NOTE: The passages quoted in this blog are directly from "The New World Translation of  the Holy Scriptures." They are exactly as presented and printed there. Don't be tempted to use your King James Bible to do this. They believe the King James Version (and all other translations) are corrupted by faulty translation.

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