Religion

Calhoun, RL                          RL Calhoun

Pastor’s pulpit with RL Calhoun

When it comes to discovering and knowing the will of God, nothing is more important than spending time studying his Word under the leadership of the Holy Spirit. While God’s Word is not his only way of speaking to our hearts, there is absolutely no doubt that the Bible is his primary method of communication.
As the psalmist said: “Thy word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105). As Robert Jeffress puts it: “The Bible is God’s perfect revelation. The Bible is God’s complete revelation. The Bible is God’s living revelation. The Bible always trumps every other factor in our decision making.”
After Moses led the Israelites out of the bondage they had endured in Egypt, God called him to go up to the top of Mount Sinai. There, God gave him a message for the people on two stone tablets on which He had written the Ten Commandments.
Chuck Swindoll makes this pertinent observation about the meeting: “The first thing God gave to this man who met with Him was his truth in written form. He took the time to inscribe it in stone. He broke off a chunk of Sinai granite, honed it down so Moses could handle it and chiseled his revelation into it with his own finger.”
The Word of God must never be relegated to some kind of a secondary position when it comes to discovering the Lord’s will. Don’t adopt the attitude “Well, when all else fails, follow the instructions”. God gave his Word to instruct all of us concerning how to live our lives in a way that is pleasing to Him.
In fact, God’s command through the apostle Paul to Timothy is God’s command to every believer: “Study to shew (present) thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
Christian author Randy Alcorn says: “The Bible is the revealed will of God. If you want to live in his will, then ‘Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly’ (Colossians 3:16). Fill your heart and mind with the Word of God, trust in his empowerment to obey Him, and confess and repent when you disobey and fail. If you do this, you will be living in the will of God!”
How much time are you spending reading God’s Word? Do you have an appointed time and place to study the Bible under the Holy Spirit who is the divine instructor?
The Bible is not to be approached superstitiously and used like a crystal ball. Letting it simply fall open without looking and reading whatever verse your finger lands on is a frivolous way to seek the Lord’s will.
As an example, a severely depressed man was searching for direction. He hoped God would speak to him, so he opened his Bible and placed his finger on a verse. It read: “Judas went out and hanged himself.”
This was not the message he was looking for, so he tried again. This time his finger fell on this verse: “Go and do thou likewise.”
That really shook him up so, out of desperation, he decided to try one more time. Here’s what he read: “And what thou doest, do quickly.”
I’ll have more to say next week about searching the scriptures to discover God’s will. Meanwhile, open the Bible and ask God to speak to your heart. Doing so will bless your life.
RL Calhoun is pastor of New Life Fellowship church in Texas City.

Calhoun, RL                      RL Calhoun

Pastor’s pulpit with RL Calhoun

The truth has already been established – God has a personal and specific plan for all of us. Not only can we his children know his will but we must know his will if we are to make the right decisions vital to following his plan for our lives.
The dilemma we all face has to do with the “how” of knowing God’s will. An important decision has to be made, a significant step to choose or reject. Which way do we go?
Unfortunately, when it comes to knowing the will of God, there are confusing voices in Christian circles. They offer simplistic formulas for believers to use in discerning God’s guidance. Yet, simplistic formulas don’t work in the real-life decisions we have to make. To make matters worse, simple formulas are sometimes contradictory.
One says: “Love God and do whatever you desire.” Another insists: “To know God’s will, you have to deny your personal desires.” One biblical teacher says: “Look for the logical alternative to choose if you want to find God’s will.” Another says: “Abraham went out not knowing where he was going. Go and do likewise. Throw all reason to the wind.”
A Christian counselor advises: “You can know God’s will through your intuition. Check your inward feelings and move on accordingly.” Another counters: “Feelings will mislead you. God directs us through our rational thought process. Use your reason to determine what God’s will is relative to a particular decision.”
Believe it or not, some people claiming to be Christians encourage the use of astrology, Ouija boards, séances or palm reading to ascertain the guidance of the Lord. They are like the blind leading the blind as, in reality, they are being led by Satan himself into eternal destruction.
Two facts must be stated at this point. First, never despair – God wants you to know his will for your life! That truth cannot be emphasized too often. Remember Jesus’ words: “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.” Now that’s guidance with a capital “G”.
Jesus is the Good Shepherd. He leads all of us who are his sheep down life’s difficult, trying pathway. Through the many pitfalls and dangers, ups and downs, bright days and dark stormy days, the Good Shepherd is always with us.
Second, confusion about how to know God’s will can lead to tragic consequences. The Bible tells us that Satan is able to transform into an angel of light. Some well-meaning believers have thought they were doing the will of God only to discover they had missed the mark totally. Some of them have become angry and bitter toward the Lord and turned their backs on Him.
As God wants us to know his will and personal plan for our lives, the question is: “What must we do to understand exactly what his will is in a given situation?” Next week, we’ll begin focusing on actions that lead to the discovery of God’s will.
RL Calhoun is pastor of New Life Fellowship church in Texas City.

Doc Amey 33         Edward ‘Doc’ Amey

I  was born in Galveston on February 9, 1980. Before my father was killed six months and nine days after I was born, he nicknamed me Doc and I’ve been known by that name ever since. Until my life changed recently, it had no particular meaning but now I believe it stands for “Disciple of Christ”.
I’d like to share with you how that came to be.
As my mother was on drugs, I had it rough as a small child, living in Galveston’s Cedar Terrace projects. By age six I had moved to my grandmother’s house in Texas City. Even though a lot of us lived with my granny, those were some of the happiest days of my life.
By the time I was 10, my mom had gotten off the drugs for a while and we moved to the Chelsea district next door to the Rawls family who got me to go with them to their church, Christ Temple on 29th Street. That church made an impression on me that became a compass point in my life; no matter how far I went, I knew I could return to God, who loved me.
By age 12, I had become a product of my neighborhood environment, dropping off drugs for my cousin’s dad, drinking, gang banging and just being a bad kid all around.
I started using really heavy drugs and smoking weed to go along with it. By the time I was 17, I had made two girls pregnant. At 22, I had three kids with another on the way. There were numerous criminal charges and, eventually, I was on my way to prison for the first time. At least three attempted-murder charges were never filed because the victims never called the police.
My third stay in prison, in 2008, was a five-year sentence for possession of a gun. I was working in the prison’s hog barn and I remember praying: “God, if you are real like everybody says you are, then will you get me out of this place?” He did exactly that! I got out of prison for the third time on November 23, 2009, by parole and for good behavior.
I was on fire for God but, by 2011, I had fallen back into selling drugs when trying to help a family member out of a tight spot. However, God wasn’t about to let me go back to that life. He spoke to me and asked: “What are you doing? You told me if I got you out of the pigpen, you’d never do those things again and I wouldn’t have to worry about you!”
I retraced my steps and, in August 2012, I got back into church at the Fellowship of Texas City, where I still attend.
I found a new strength and identity in Christ and started driving for the church’s bus ministry, picking up kids to take them to Sunday service, just like someone had picked me up in Chelsea when I was a boy. It is my desire to help them know the right direction for their lives so they will never go where I did.
I graduated from Fellowship Bible College with perfect attendance and almost all A’s! I have also been a camp counselor and chaperone at the church’s summer camp for three years in a row – and I owe it all to God!
I’ve been inspired to write my story in a book that I hope to publish soon. I’ve set up an online fundraiser page and hope you will check it out at Doc Amey My Testimony Book Project on gofundme.com. I would appreciate any contribution and apply it all to my project.
God bless you all! I pray that my story will touch your life and encourage you to take God’s path, not your own – Yours, Doc (Disciple of Christ) Amey.
Edward Amey is a resident of Texas City.

Calhoun, RL                         RL Calhoun

Pastor’s pulpit with RL Calhoun

God’s personal will is where the rubber meets the road in the life of every believer. The question is: “Does God truly have a personal, individual plan for each person who belongs to Him?”
We could also ask: “Does the Lord lead believers step by step as they journey through life, or are we Christians the masters of our spiritual fate based on decisions that we make with no input from God?”
Or: “Has God commanded us to serve Him but then left the particulars of exactly how to do that up to us?”
There are those who contend that God doesn’t have a personal will and plan for those of us who know the Lord. A number of years ago, Garry Friesen wrote Decision Making And The Will Of God. In the book, he insists that God has no specific plan to govern the lives of his children. Friesen says that God has a sovereign will and a moral will and that He wants us to learn to make wise decisions according to general principles that are outlined in the Bible.
He argues that, if we really believe that God has a plan that covers every aspect of the lives of those of us who are Christians, then why don’t we seek his guidance for matters like what to have for breakfast or the identity of our future mate.
Believe it or not, when I was a senior in college, I went to the Lord in prayer regarding my future wife. He spoke these words to my heart: “You are going to marry a girl named Ruth.” Yes, Ruth and I will celebrate our 49th wedding anniversary this December.
In his book, Hearing The Master’s Voice, Robert Jeffress, the current senior pastor of the First Baptist church of Dallas, refutes the thesis of Garry Friesen. He points out that there are two very good arguments to support the conviction that God does indeed have a personal plan for the lives of all of his children.
To begin with, he says there is the logical argument. His position is that it simply doesn’t make sense that a God who so intricately designed the universe down to the minutest detail has no particular plan for those of us who were created in his very image.
Jeffress’ second argument to support the truth of God’s personal plan for the life of each believer is what he calls the biblical argument. As we study the Word of God, we can clearly see the plan of God at work in the lives of people – not in a general way but in a specific way.
For example, God had a specific plan for Noah that involved building the ark. God had a specific plan for Joseph that led to him being sold into slavery by his jealous brothers. God had a specific plan for Jonah that landed him in the belly of a whale because he didn’t want to do God’s will at first.
And, of course, God had a specific plan for his only begotten Son. That plan included Jesus dying the cruel death of crucifixion for your sins and mine.
The apostle Paul had no doubt that the Lord has a personal plan for each one of us who know and serve Him. Listen to his words in Ephesians 2:10: “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” Christian, your life is not to go floating along without rhyme or reason. Get excited! God has laid out a blueprint for the rest of your life. Don’t miss out on the great plan He has for you.
Next week, we will consider the how of knowing what that plan involves.
RL Calhoun is pastor of New Life Fellowship church in Texas City.

Calhoun, RL                        RL Calhoun

Pastor’s pulpit with RL Calhoun

As I noted last week, there are three vital aspects of God’s will – his providential will, his prescribed will and his personal will.
God’s prescribed will is laid out clearly in the Bible. For that reason, the Bible has been appropriately called The Handbook Of Life. In his second letter to Timothy, Paul described the word of God this way: “All scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.”
It was a foggy night when the captain of a ship saw what appeared to be another ship’s running lights in the distance. He quickly concluded that the oncoming vessel was obviously on a direct collision course with his ship.
He immediately signaled the other ship: “Please change your course 10 degrees to the east.”
Blinking through the fog, this reply came back: “You change your course 10 degrees to the west.”
The captain was furious. He instantly sent another message: “I am a sea captain with 35 years’ experience. Change your course 10 degrees to the east and do it now!”
Without delay, this signal came back: “I’m a seaman fourth class. Change your course 10 degrees west.”
Enraged, the captain, realizing that a terrible crash was imminent, beamed another message: “I’m a 50-ton freighter. Change course before
it’s too late!”
This simple message was flashed back: “Well, I’m a lighthouse. You change course before it’s too late.”
God has provided all of us with the lighthouse of his guidance. His course for all of us is laid out in his inspired word. If you want to know the way the Lord expects you to live and conduct yourself, you must study the Bible and then choose to live by its teachings in the power of the Holy Spirit.
What I am saying to you bottom line is that God’s prescribed will for living a life that is both satisfying and victorious is plainly laid out in his word. In his book Knowing God’s Will, Blaine Smith points out: “He has blessed us with the scriptures as a rock-solid, immutable testimony to his will and purpose for human life. The revelation of scripture is as unchangeable as the nature of God himself, and its guidance is as non-negotiable as the beam of illumination from a lighthouse.”
Today the Bible is being attacked continually. It is being ridiculed as having been written by misguided men who were out of touch with the real world. Therefore, its detractors say, when it comes to issues of morality and what is right and wrong, its teachings are to be rejected.
Well, I always remind people that life is all about choices. Your decision to accept the word of God as the source of his prescribed will is yours and yours alone. However, know this: choices involve consequences. People are living and dying every day on the basis of the choices they make.
Make the right choice. Most people own a Bible. Yet, they never pick it up. They never read it. Don’t be like one of them – be different.
If you will determine to live by what the word of God teaches, you will never go wrong. But choose instead to embrace the philosophy of humanism that has inundated our society and you are heading for certain disaster.
Do you believe God has a personal plan for your life? That question will be answered in next week’s article.
RL Calhoun is pastor of New Life Fellowship church in Texas City.