Contentment

By Pastor Hartman

When I got up this morning my thoughts were about being content. We are so richly blessed. We all have a roof over our heads, food on the table and clothes on our backs. We have our families and friends. But most importantly, we have a great God who loves us, takes care of us, comforts us and saves us.

Below are a few quotes regarding contentment. Many people have something to say on the subject. And our God said something about being content as well. May each of us take account of all we have and are. With that we can look up to the face of God, smile, and say, “Thank You.”

Read on… Here are some quotes I found to go along with the subject of contentment.

“Everything has its wonders, even darkness and silence, and I learn, whatever state I may be in, therein to be content.” Helen Keller

“He is richest who is content with the least, for content is the wealth of nature.” Socrates

“When you are content to be simply yourself and don’t compare or compete, everybody will respect you.” Lao Tzu

“Content makes poor men rich; discontent makes rich men poor.” Benjamin Franklin

“You can make positive deposits in your own economy every day by reading and listening to powerful, positive, life-changing content and by associating with encouraging and hope-building people.” Zig Ziglar

“But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain that we can carry nothing out.” 1Timothy 6:6-7

“Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatever state I am in to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: everywhere and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:11-13

“But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain that we can carry nothing out.” 1Timothy 6:6-7

“Let your conduct be without covetousness; and be content with what you have: for He has said, I will never leave you, nor forsake you.”Hebrews 13:5

Thanksgiving

By Pastor Hartman

Thanksgiving will soon be upon us. I imagine many have come up with the menu. Some have even made the purchases which possibly include turkey, with all the trimmings, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie… Are you hungry yet?

Thanksgiving! Images come to mind such as the gathering of family and friends, an awesome meal, Thanksgiving Day Parade, Football, a nap and food, food food!

Almost everyone in America celebrates Thanksgiving.

The Pilgrims dug seven times more graves than they built huts. For example, for ever 10 huts, they dug 70 graves. Yet they still set a day aside to celebrate with their new friends and give thanks to God for his blessings.

We have so much! Generally we get ourselves anything our heart desires. Sometimes we forget there are others just struggling to live.

Help Me Thanksgiving Day Prayer, by Samuel F. Pugh

O God, when I have food,
help me to remember the hungry;
When I have work,
help me to remember the jobless;
When I have a home,
help me to remember those who have no home at all;
When I am without pain,
help me to remember those who suffer,
And remembering,
help me to destroy my complacency;
bestir my compassion,
and be concerned enough to help;
By word and deed,
those who cry out for what we take for granted.
Amen.

This Sunday we will take up a special offering for the hurting victims in the Philippines. It will go to the Red Cross, a trustworthy agency, that will use collected funds for the intended purpose. As we sacrifice just a little of what we have to bring relief, I know our meal will taste even better. And as we give God thanks for what we have, let’s pray for those in dire need.

Like a Lamb

By Pastor Hartman

This has been somewhat of a hard week for us. Charlie, our black (and graying) Labrador Retriever is no longer with us. She has been a part of our family for over 15 years. She was pretty old for a lab, they say. I, my wife and three grown children are affected by her sickness and her passing.

Since my wife was on the way to the hospital for a non-life-threatening procedure, it was my duty to take Charlie in to the local veterinary clinic. She had gotten so weak, she had bladder cancer, and suddenly lost the use of her back legs. The night before I took her in she had crawled using her front legs to our bedroom door, asking to go outside. She was actually too weak to bark, and had lost control of her bladder before we were able to put her outside.

After we cleaned her up, as well as the floor, we put her on her bed and threw a cover partly over her. My wife left and I was getting ready to do what I had to do. The whole time she was giving out a little whine. It was so interesting to me that she stopped whining when I told her it was time to go. She never made a sound from that point on as I drove to the vets.

I couldn’t help but think of Isaiah 5:7, “He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.”

Late that afternoon I picked up my wife and we went on to be with Charlie for a few more minutes. We got to say our goodbyes, and praise her for being such a good dog. She was alive, but barely with us. Then the doctor gently allowed her to leave a body that was used up. I admit, tears flowed, and do so now as I write this. As hard as it was, we did the right thing for her.

As I write on, please don’t be offended as I make a comparison between our dog and Jesus’ death. I in no way do I consider our Lord to be like our dog.

My dear friends,

When the Lord Jesus went to Calvary’s cross, he went in the very prime of his life. He could have reviled, but didn’t. He could have called heaven’s angels to release him, and smite his enemies, but he didn’t. It was not a used, diseased and worn out body, but a pure, undefiled one that was being crucified. He submitted himself to a heavenly plan to bear our sins and diseases.

Those that thought him to be weak we’re wrong. He was God in the flesh, manifested to take away the sins of the world. He was strong in resolve… He was strong in his love for humanity… He was intent to do God’s will.

He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.

I am so glad he went willingly for you and me… He died so we could live forever with him. Some reflect their love with only words. Jesus reflected his love through words, but when it was finished, he reflected his love for us, in silence.

As I praise the living, loving Lord of heaven, I also pray for you, my brothers and sisters. May God bless and keep you today, and forever.

All Things Work Together

By Pastor Hartman

I trust the first half of your week went smoothly. And I trust the second half of your week goes well. At this moment, or any other, we stand between yesterday and tomorrow.

What went well for you last week? What didn’t go so well? If you could live it over, what would you change? What could you change? Some things that happen are out of our control. Some things we make happen. Yet in every thing, whether good or bad, whether controlled by us or not, our attitude is involved. Following attitude is emotion. Attitude and emotion can either paralyze us or propel us as we face tomorrow.

Where is God in your yesterdays? One of my favorite verses is Romans 8:28. “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”

That doesn’t mean that all things are good, but they work together for my good.

If some things work together to bring me on my knees in prayer, they work for my good.
If some things work together to illicit praise from my heart, they too work for my good.
If I remember that I am God’s child, that He loves me, regardless of what comes or goes, it all occurs for my good and for His purpose.

His purpose is my salvation. That’s His purpose for you too, that you will be saved for all eternity. If anything turns you from your Savior and your salvation, from His truth and your trusting Him, then it is outside of His purpose for your life. Your attitude and emotions are key.

Remember, God loves you and wants the best for you and from you. I know what He would choose for you. What will you choose for yourself? May all things work together for your good for you today and always.

It’s Christmas time in the city, the suburbs, the country…

By Pastor Hartman

When I think of Christmas, I think of God giving His best for me, for you, for the world.
Wrapped up in that tiny bundle was a gift that didn’t lose value, and that keeps on giving.
Unwrapped, we see the supreme love of God bringing grace and truth to a lost world.
And in the face of an innocent baby we see the hope our lost innocence found again.
One can’t read the story of Christ’s birth without considering the death He was to die.

To me, Christmas wouldn’t have meaning without considering these things.
It would be an empty holiday of going fast, but getting nowhere fast.
It would be a season of purchasing presents because everyone else is, and it’s expected.
It would be a time of decorating to see if we can out-decorate our neighbors.
It would be a time to only sing songs of flying reindeer and an eternally jolly man.

Without Christ Christmas wouldn’t be merry and bright. It would be Christ-less indeed.
So, let’s remember the One who remembered us.
Let’s give our best to the One who gave His best to the world.
Let’s sing loudly those carols that release the true story to every one everywhere.
CHRIST the SAVIOR is born!  Christ the savior is born!
Yes, it’s Christmas time once again.
Praise God!

Happy New Year (2013-2014)

By Pastor Hartman

2014!  Wow…. Where did 2013 go anyway? I’ve written the wrong year several times on correspondence this year already.  I’m getting better though. All it takes is correcting it a couple of times, and I’m writing “2014.”

We greet each other, “Happy New Year!” And we truly want the best for our friends and relatives. We truly want to experience a good new year ourselves. There’s those New Year’s resolutions we write down as we determine to help make it a better year than we experienced last year:

“This year I’m going to lose weight, get in shape, read the Bible through,” and so on… You fill in the blank. But I wonder what God wants for me and for you this year?

As we begin each day, let’s start out by asking the Lord to direct us. “Lord, what would YOU have me do? I belong to You and I want to yield myself to You. Is there anyone I can help today? Is there anywhere in particular You want me to go today?  What would You have me do and say?”

As we open ourselves to God and His design for us we WILL experience a Happy New Year!

God bless each of you! HAPPY NEW YEAR!
And Happy New Year God!

Our Journey

By Pastor Hartman

We are on a journey, a spiritual walk toward our heavenly home. Sometimes we get weary and want to rest. That’s the time to stop and reflect on the most important things of life. It is then we realize that we are not alone. There are others, our brothers and sisters of the faith are on the same journey. There is our Savior, Jesus Christ, who walks along the path with us.

We will come to obstacles that seem insurmountable. Our faith will be tried. The enemy, Satan himself, will attempt to plant thoughts in our mind. That’s the time to stop and read the Word of God. The Scriptures provide spiritual strength for the journey. “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:13). “What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:31).

God’s plan for your life may include pain and suffering. But know this, it also includes peace and joy.

Reach out a hand to the One who loves you more than you could ever imagine. He’ll walk with you every step of the way. “And the LORD, he it is that doth go before thee; he will be with thee, he will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not, neither be dismayed” (Deuteronomy 31:8). “And lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the world” (Matthew 28:20).

Keep going! Keep your eye on the prize! You can make it! Heaven’s your destiny! We can make it together!

Weather Predictions…

By Pastor Hartman

How many children (and adults) looked out their window this morning expecting to see snowflakes falling down? Before I left work yesterday a co-worker said her little girl was so excited: “Mommy, will we build a snowman tomorrow?” Her retort: “Baby, we’ll have to wait and see.”

As we chatted about weather predictions, she spoke of her daughter’s disappointment if she didn’t get to see snow and build that snowman. I told her she ought to crush some ice and put it in the freezer for her daughter. She said she was thinking about doing just that!

Will it snow in Savannah? Only God knows. We won’t know until we see snowflakes falling. Weather predictions are given to prepare us for conditions that may or may not happen. Not a bad idea to make preparations for any destructive storm that is anticipated. We tell our hospice patients and families that they must have a evacuation plan in place just in case emergency warrants an evacuation.

As we look to God and read His Word we read of end time predictions. Prophets in the Bible were not stoned to death just because their predictions didn’t come to pass immediately, but many people did hurl stones at God in the form of insults concerning prophecy. Take for example the predictive warning written in 2 Peter 3:4-7, The Message:

3-4 First off, you need to know that in the last days, mockers are going to have a heyday. Reducing everything to the level of their puny feelings, they’ll mock, “So what’s happened to the promise of his Coming? Our ancestors are dead and buried, and everything’s going on just as it has from the first day of creation. Nothing’s changed.”

5-7 They conveniently forget that long ago all the galaxies and this very planet were brought into existence out of watery chaos by God’s word. Then God’s word brought the chaos back in a flood that destroyed the world. The current galaxies and earth are fuel for the final fire. God is poised, ready to speak his word again, ready to give the signal for the judgment and destruction of the desecrating skeptics.

If God said it, believe it. It will come to pass! End time destruction won’t be like a few snowflakes falling to the earth. In fact, it will be the worst destructive force that we have ever witnessed in our lifetime. It’s imperative that we heed Biblical warnings and prepare ourselves that we may take the only evacuation route available to mankind. We know that route to be through faith in Jesus and obedience to God’s Word.

It’s not a day to be haphazard in our lives regarding our eternal destination. Pray, seek God, be faithful in all things He commands of us. If we are faithful to him, he will be faithful concerning His promises to the us. Take for example 1 John 1:9, If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

And where do our sins go? He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea (Micah 7:19). As far as the east is from the west,so far hath he removed our transgressions from us (Psalm 103:12).

We have so many promises in God’s Word. I want all of the good ones, not the ones that relegate the unbeliever to destruction!

So, when is He coming? No man knows, but God does! Let’s prepare ourselves today for tomorrow’s forecast. God does not lie! Wrath and destruction will be coming for the unbeliever and Jesus is coming for the believer.

Be ready! Be prepared! A friend passes on the warning!

No Regrets!

By Pastor Hartman

Could’a – Should’a – Would’a.
Three unhappy Twins.
Their last name is Regret!

When men talk with men, the conversation will more than likely center around work.
It is no wonder; we get a lot of satisfaction from our jobs. Many times we define ourselves
by our work and accomplishments.

I don’t know how many times in conversation when I mention my military career as an Army Chaplain, I hear regrets. They go like this: “I wished I had stayed in the military. I would not have retired so many years ago, but I didn’t.” Sometimes I hear other say, “I thought about going in the chaplaincy, but I’m too old now.”

Sounds like regrets to me. And the regret I’ve heard from new converts, “I wish I had known about God a long time ago.”

There was a man who was a hard worker, but he had the wrong priorities. Jesus talks about him in Luke 12:16-21:

And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? And he said, This will I do:I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.

Let’s continue to work. Let’s prioritize. Let’s not waste our lives on our own ambitions. I don’t want to live the rest of my life with regrets. I don’t want The Lord to say to me, “Thou Fool…” I want to hear him say, “Well done, good and faithful Servant.”

Live with no regrets!