August 2010

Turning Our Disappointments Into God’s Appointments

August 30 2010 by D.E. Parkerson

Deep down in nearly every life there are disappointments of one kind or another. If you have not ever had a huge disappointment, the time will come when it will happen. No one is immune to disappointments — literally no one.

Even the most successful among us have dreams that are never realized, and things for which we hope that never come true. What do you do when you are confronted with rejection or failure, when a door you wanted to enter is closed in your face? Will you let it totally defeat you? Or will you find the strength to keep on going?

Handling disappointments is not easy. Even so, if we do not learn how to do that, eventually every single day will become a hill almost too high to climb. You have had some disappointments, haven’t you? Of course you have. We all have.

Charles L. Allen, in All Things Are Possible through Prayer, said, “The best thing I have heard about disappointment is this: ‘I have learned to turn disappointments into His (God’s) appointments.’”

That doesn’t mean that in the face of tragedy we should piously fold our hands and say, “It is the will of God, so I must grin and bear it.” It is possible that your disappointment is the will of God. If so, God could be trying to get your attention.

The apostle Paul had numerous disappointments. There were times he might have thrown up his hands in total defeat. Instead, he said, “ ... having done all to stand” (Eph. 6:13). Notice that he did not say, “And having done all, I decided to throw my hands up and quit.” He decided to “stand!

God will never lead those who trust Him to a dead end. He may change our direction, and He often does, but there will always be an open road before us. That newly opened road will always be in the center of His will for our lives.

For example, a boy who lived in Decatur, Ill., several years ago was deeply interested in photography. He carefully saved his money to buy a certain book and happily he ordered it. The publisher, however, made a mistake in his order and sent him a book on ventriloquism. The boy was not interested in ventriloquism. In fact, he did not even know what it was.

He had no idea he could send the book back. Besides, he probably did not have the money for the postage. He could have put the book aside and nursed his disappointment. Instead, he began reading it and he became interested. He learned to throw his voice and eventually got a wooden dummy which he named Charlie McCarthy. Out of a huge disappointment Edgar Bergen built a successful career.

Paul dreamed of one day going to Spain. Instead, he landed in a Roman prison. He might have cried out against God or folded his hands in despair. Instead, while in prison, he wrote some of his very finest epistles to the early churches. Through the centuries that have followed, these epistles have spoken God’s Word to Christians.

Are there disappointments in your life? You don’t have to let them defeat you. Why not let God turn your disappointment into His appointment?

(EDITOR’S NOTE — Parkerson is a native of Georgia, a graduate of Mercer University [B.A.], Southeastern Seminary [M. Div. and Th.M.], and Campbell University [D.D.]. He has served as pastor of one church in Georgia and five churches in North Carolina. Following retirement as pastor of the First Baptist Church in Sanford on Sept. 30, 1996, he has served nine North Carolina churches as interim pastor. His column, The Paper Pulpit, has appeared weekly in a few newspapers and other publications since 1958. He and his wife, Jessie, live in Wilmington near their daughter and family.)  
8/30/2010 4:14:00 AM by D.E. Parkerson | with 1 comments



Do You Need Plastic Surgery?

August 23 2010 by D.E. Parkerson

A man said to his friend, “I recently had to have some plastic surgery. I had taken on too much debt, so I took a pair of scissors and cut up my credit cards.”

He is not the only person who needs that kind of plastic surgery. I might add that our country could also profit from some plastic surgery. No one, and no nation, can continue indefinitely to spend more than is taken in without facing severe consequences. Why is this true? When your outgo exceeds your income your upkeep will sooner or later lead to your downfall.

We live in what has become a credit card society. We are assaulted constantly via radio, television and through publications by ads that encourage us to become addicted to having an endless number of material possessions. As a result, things that would have been luxuries a generation ago are regarded as necessities today.

Romans 13:8 says, “Owe no man anything.” This does not mean that we should never borrow anything. It simply means that you will not owe what you have borrowed until it is due. When it is due, you must pay in full. If not, you are in debt and owe.

Debt has the power to keep you from providing for your family. In describing the duty of every Christian, the apostle Paul said, “Anyone who does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever:” (1 Tim. 5:8). Family debt can lead to wife and child abuse.

Debt in and of itself is not a sin, but it is dangerous. People go to jail every day because of unpaid debt. It might not be a literal jail, but it is a penitentiary where their fears, regrets, and depression over unpaid bills have the power to incarcerate them in an emotional prison every bit as real as one with bars.

Excessive debt is generally the result of greed. The culture in which we live places an enormous amount of pressure upon us to keep up with our neighbors. This causes us to constantly want more and more. Greed is never satisfied.

Do you need plastic surgery? If so, ask yourself these questions:
  • Do I really need this? God promises to meet the things we need, but He has never promised to meet what we want as a result of our greed.
  • Does my mate agree with me concerning going into debt? More family arguments take place over money and debt than almost anything else.
  • Will I have peace of mind as a result of taking on this debt? Owing more than you can reasonably pay has the power to put you under extreme pressure. No one can function effectively under those conditions.
  • How am I going to pay this back? If there is no legitimate way you can know that a debt you have taken on can be paid back, it should never be assumed in the first place. Foolish rationalizations at this point can get you into deep trouble.
  • What can I achieve by taking on this debt that cannot be achieved in any other way? The Bible says that we are stewards of everything we have. Stewards do not waste God’s resources. We only oversee them, and are to use them in a way that glorifies Him and blesses mankind.
(EDITOR’S NOTE — Parkerson is a native of Georgia, a graduate of Mercer University [B.A.], Southeastern Seminary [M. Div. and Th.M.], and Campbell University [D.D.]. He has served as pastor of one church in Georgia and five churches in North Carolina. Following retirement as pastor of the First Baptist Church in Sanford on Sept. 30, 1996, he has served nine North Carolina churches as interim pastor. His column, The Paper Pulpit, has appeared weekly in a few newspapers and other publications since 1958. He and his wife, Jessie, live in Wilmington near their daughter and family.)  
8/23/2010 7:57:00 AM by D.E. Parkerson | with 0 comments



When Saying Nothing Says a Lot

August 16 2010 by D.E. Parkerson

One of my seminary professors many years ago said, “As you minister to those who are suffering or have experienced a great loss, remember this: There will be times when you do not know what to say. Don’t say anything! Your presence, your concern, and the One you represent will say more than any words you could express.”

He was saying that there are times when words are both inadequate and inappropriate, when they become an intrusion on the deepest and most sacred experiences of life. At such moments “silence is golden.”

In the Old Testament book that bears his name we are told that Job’s three so-called friends saw his horrible plight, his calamitous losses, his disfigurement and isolation, and did what many people would never do: “They sat on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights. No one said a word to him, because they saw how great his suffering was” (Job 2:13).

Seven days was the customary mourning period for the dead. Job’s three friends grieved for him as though he were dead. Their seven-day silence was far more eloquent than any words they could have spoken. How different it was from the endless advice and pious platitudes that are often encountered by persons in difficult times.

Jean Fleming, in her book, Between Walden and the Whirlwind, reminds us: “We live in a noisy, busy world. Silence and solitude are not 20th-century words. They fit the era of Victorian lace, high-button shoes and kerosene lamps better than our age of television, video arcades, and joggers wired with earphones. We have become a people with an aversion to quiet and an uneasiness with being alone.”

We are needlessly afraid of silence. We have to fill it with words, whether we have anything to say or not. The quiet forces in our world are the ones that most powerfully affect our lives. For example:
  • Sunbeams fall every day on the earth, silently, unheard by human ear. Yet they bring a marvelous energy and blessing to the earth.
  • Gravity is a silent force, yet it holds the stars and worlds in their orbits and keeps them on their courses with unvarying precision.
  • The dew comes silently in the night and bestows life and beauty on each plant and flower. God’s mightiest miracles are wrought in silence.
Noise and confusion come from human beings. However, God calls us to times of meaningful silence: “Be still and know that I am God” (Ps. 46:10).

The seven-day silence of Job’s friends teaches us a valuable lesson. It reminds us that there are times when silence is the only appropriate response, that there is a sacrament of silence that should be observed in life’s most sacred moments.

As the professor said, “There will be times when someone you know is facing tremendous difficulty. If you don’t know what to say, don’t say anything!” Your presence and your concern will say more than any amount of words you might speak.

(EDITOR’S NOTE — Parkerson is a native of Georgia, a graduate of Mercer University [B.A.], Southeastern Seminary [M. Div. and Th.M.], and Campbell University [D.D.]. He has served as pastor of one church in Georgia and five churches in North Carolina. Following retirement as pastor of the First Baptist Church in Sanford on Sept. 30, 1996, he has served nine North Carolina churches as interim pastor. His column, The Paper Pulpit, has appeared weekly in a few newspapers and other publications since 1958. He and his wife, Jessie, live in Wilmington near their daughter and family.)

8/16/2010 6:09:00 AM by D.E. Parkerson | with 0 comments



God’s Plan for Money Management

August 9 2010 by D.E. Parkerson

Jesus often used parables to convey spiritual truth. The Gospels contain 38, and 16 of these deal with money management. In fact, the New Testament says more about managing your money than about heaven and hell combined.

Five times more is said about money than prayer. While the New Testament contains more than 500 verses on both prayer and faith, over 2,000 verses deal with money and your possessions. That surprises lots of people.

Jesus said, “The kingdom of heaven is like a man traveling to a far country, who called his own servants and delivered his goods to them” (Matt. 25:14). This parable implies two things: (1) God is the owner, and (2) You and I, as stewards, have responsibilities.

Since all money is God’s money, every spending decision is a spiritual decision. Your checkbook is the reflection of your love of God and of your priorities as a steward. As you examine your checkbook, what does it say about you? Are you embarrassed?

One day all of us will give account to God for the way we have managed His resources. What are you going to say on Judgment Day when your checkbook shows that you have spent more on your pet than you have given to advance God’s kingdom?

Obviously, it is God’s will for you to spend money to meet your own needs and those of your family. There is a tremendous difference between selfishness and self-interest. It is not wrong or sinful to have self-interest; however, selfishness is a cancer.

Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary defines self-interest as “a concern for one’s own advantage and well-being.” It defines selfish as being “concerned excessively or exclusively with oneself; seeking or concentrating on one’s own advantage, pleasure, or well-being without regard for others.”

It is God’s will that those who serve Him invest in things that are permanent — such as helping to build the kingdom of God on earth. How much are you investing in the things that are not permanent, that you cannot take with you when you die? All your treasure, every last bit of it, will one day be left behind. But know this: you can send it on ahead by investing it in that which will one day be in heaven.

God wants those who serve Him to also invest in others. We do that by what we give in Christ’s name to meet human need. In our world it is possible to receive without giving. But God’s law says, “Give, and it will be given to you” (Luke 6:38).

The Old Testament law prescribed the tithe — “the first tenth.” The reason some Christians believe they cannot tithe is that they try to give their eleventh tenth. It may also be why many churches have so much difficulty in meeting their annual budget.

I read the story of one pastor who was outlining the order of worship for the Sunday his church budget was to be adopted. He said to the organist, “When I ask the members to stand up to indicate their willingness to tithe their income, I want you to play some appropriate music.

“What do you mean by “appropriate music?” the organist asked.

“The Star Spangled Banner, of course,” he replied.

(EDITOR’S NOTE — Parkerson is a native of Georgia, a graduate of Mercer University [B.A.], Southeastern Seminary [M. Div. and Th.M.], and Campbell University [D.D.]. He has served as pastor of one church in Georgia and five churches in North Carolina. Following retirement as pastor of the First Baptist Church in Sanford on Sept. 30, 1996, he has served nine North Carolina churches as interim pastor. His column, The Paper Pulpit, has appeared weekly in a few newspapers and other publications since 1958. He and his wife, Jessie, live in Wilmington near their daughter and family.)
8/9/2010 8:31:00 AM by D.E. Parkerson | with 0 comments



‘I Knew You Would Come!’

August 2 2010 by D.E. Parkerson

The Second Coming of Jesus Christ to earth is one of the cardinal teachings of the Bible. Of the 260 chapters of the New Testament, 216 of them make reference to His coming again. One of every 30 verses, 23 of the 27 New Testament books, and all nine authors herald Christ’s return.

Fifty times in his 13 epistles, Paul spoke of this grand climax of history. Its very frequency in the New Testament and its incorporation into the great creeds of Christian history, all underscore it as a cardinal Christian doctrine.

No less than 5,000 of Charles Wesley’s hymns exult in Christ’s return to gather His church. In our day Bill and Gloria Gaither have written what has become one of America’s most popular hymns, “The King Is Coming!”

Henry Gariepy, in Portraits of Perseverance, tells of the time during the First World War when an American soldier in the trenches saw his friend wounded out in no-man’s land — that is, the ground between his trench and that of the enemy.

He asked his commanding officer if he could go out and get him, only to be told, “Your request is refused.  If you go, I will lose you as well.  I have to say no.”

Disobeying his officer, he went out to save his friend. He managed to bring him back, only to fall mortally wounded as he staggered into the trench.

The officer was angry.  “I told you not to go,” he said. “Now I have lost two good men. It was not worth it!”

With his dying breath the heroic young soldier said, “But it was worth it, Sir, because when I got to him, he said, ‘Jim, I knew you would come.’”

It was unspeakable love that brought Christ from heaven to earth on that first Advent, and then led Him to go to the “no-man’s-land” called Calvary, there to be wounded and to die an excruciating death, that He might bring all who believe back from death to life, from defeat to victory, from sin to salvation.

The grand and glorious message of the gospel is that in the future at a time of God’s own choosing, Jesus will come again to earth! He will come for those who have accepted Him as Savior and Lord to carry them safely to that eternal city the Bible calls “The New Jerusalem.”

This is the promise that Jesus personally made to His disciples following His resurrection from the grave and prior to His ascension: “In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also” (Jn. 14:2-3, NASB).

On that glorious day Christians who live on the earth at that time will be able to say to Him, “I knew You would come!”

Would you be ready to meet Him if that were today?

(EDITOR’S NOTE — Parkerson is a native of Georgia, a graduate of Mercer University [B.A.], Southeastern Seminary [M. Div. and Th.M.], and Campbell University [D.D.]. He has served as pastor of one church in Georgia and five churches in North Carolina. Following retirement as pastor of the First Baptist Church in Sanford on Sept. 30, 1996, he has served nine North Carolina churches as interim pastor. His column, The Paper Pulpit, has appeared weekly in a few newspapers and other publications since 1958. He and his wife, Jessie, live in Wilmington near their daughter and family.)
8/2/2010 4:02:00 AM by D.E. Parkerson | with 1 comments