I AM MY BROTHER’S KEEPER

 

Years ago, in a church I pastored, we had a young man who had lost his wife, but he had three small children.  He would arrive at the assemble with a Bible and pampers under one arm and a baby on the other, with the other two children scampering around to lovingly help their dad .  We joyfully watched him lovingly care for those young children, and never miss a service or opportunity to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ.  The church was delighted to help him while he was with us, and we all knew that it was with sacrifice that he could keep his family together.  Few of us have thought much about the single father.  We all know much of single mothers struggling to keep their families together and that is a major problem in our society.  My life is devoted to help all such mothers.  My purpose here is to point out that there are many wonderful, sacrificial single fathers sacrificing for their children.  I want to help them.  In another experience we had a single father family visit us.  The mother had gone to the hospital  with what she thought was a minor problem, and through medical neglect, a few hours later she was dead leaving a husband and four or five small children.  It was a blessing to see how well the father and children were adapting, but the sacrifice was obvious.  They had good extended family members and an amazing little ten year old girl who was acting as “mother”.  It was inspirational to see how well they were functioning, but it was very obvious that they had many needs.  I want to help single fathers!

A Ministry for Single Fathers

Recently I discovered a six year old ministry for single men, and I’d like to share it with you.  It is called Thee Brother’s Keeper.  It is directed by Mr. George Griepp.  I will quote from his brochure:

Thee Brother’s Keeper is a non-profit agency dedicated to addressing the needs of single father participants and their children.

Single father veterans, we are here to help you! Please call us so we can connect you with services we provide and with our partner agencies to further assist you.

Single father participants in crisis face many obstacles. They encounter barriers to employment, financial challenges, legal obligations, family issues, and housing dilemmas.

Thee Brother’s Keeper assists through nutrition education, vocational guidance, peer counseling, budgeting services, and technology training to allow single father participants to become independent single father families in the community.

There is a shortage of quality programs providing services for this single father family demographic. This places a heavy burden on these programs and creates a repetitive dependency that is hard to break.

Provision of transportation, housing, childcare, clothing, legal, organizational, budgeting, and nutrition assistance will allow single father participants to improve their quality of life and enable them to raise their children as successful single father participants and insure their children’s futures.

Assisting single fathers

Who have full custody of children

from dependence to independence

An IRS (501) (C) (3) Public Charity

Help us help single father families!

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I will help thee, saith the Lord.”
– Isa_41:14

This morning let us hear the Lord Jesus speak to each one of us: “I will help thee.” “It is but a small thing for me, thy God, to help thee. Consider what I have done already. What! not help thee? Why, I bought thee with my blood. What! not help thee? I have died for thee; and if I have done the greater, will I not do the less? Help thee! It is the least thing I will ever do for thee; I have done more, and will do more. Before the world began I chose thee. I made the covenant for thee. I laid aside my glory and became a man for thee; I gave up my life for thee; and if I did all this, I will surely help thee now. In helping thee, I am giving thee what I have bought for thee already. If thou hadst need of a thousand times as much help, I would give it thee; thou requirest little compared with what I am ready to give. ‘Tis much for thee to need, but it is nothing for me to bestow. ‘Help thee?’ Fear not! If there were an ant at the door of thy granary asking for help, it would not ruin thee to give him a handful of thy wheat; and thou art nothing but a tiny insect at the door of my all-sufficiency. ‘I will help thee.’“
O my soul, is not this enough? Dost thou need more strength than the omnipotence of the United Trinity? Dost thou want more wisdom than exists in the Father, more love than displays itself in the Son, or more power than is manifest in the influences of the Spirit? Bring hither thine empty pitcher! Surely this well will fill it. Haste, gather up thy wants, and bring them here-thine emptiness, thy woes, thy needs. Behold, this river of God is full for thy supply; what canst thou desire beside? Go forth, my soul, in this thy might. The Eternal God is thine helper!
“Fear not, I am with thee, oh, be not dismay’d!
I, I am thy God, and will still give thee aid.”

C.H. Spurgeon

 

For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.  (1Co 6:20)

     This verse from the Apostle Paul presents a powerful command and a powerful justification for the command.  The command is to glorify God in our bodies.  God loves our bodies.  They are important to Him.  The greatness of our bodies is seen in the fact  that they have the awesome potential to actually glorify God!  The motivation to glorify God in our bodies is in the good news that we are bought with a price.  We know that the price referred to is the precious blood of Jesus Christ.  “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers;  But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:  (1Pe 1:18-19).
      Below are two sermons I preached several years ago dealing with this edifying subject.  Click on Part 1, and when it is finished, backspace to click on Part 2.  May God richly bless you as you listen!

Bro Hal

Glorifying God In Our Bodies Part 1

Glorifying God In Our Bodies Part 2

We must love Jesus, as carrying on this great work of our salvation. Go on then, O my soul, put fire to the earth, blow thy little spark, set before thee God’s love, and thou canst not but love.

In God’s love consider, 1. The time. 2. The properties. 3. The effects of it.

1. For the time. — 1. He loved thee before the world was made. Hast thou not heard, and wilt thou ever forget it — were not those ancient loves from all eternity? — 2. He loved thee in the very beginning of the world. Was not the promise expressed to Adam intended for thee? As thou sinnedst in his loins, so didst thou in his loins receive the promise. “It shall bruise thy head.” And not long after, when God established his covenant with Abraham and his seed, wast thou not one of that seed of Abraham? 3. He loves thee now more especially, not only with a love of benevolence, as before, but with a love of complacency: not only hath he struck covenant with Christ, with Adam, with Abraham, in thy behalf, but particularly and personally with thyself. And Oh! what love is this? If a woman lately conceiving, love her future fruit; how much more doth she love it when it is born and embraced in her arms? So, if God loved thee before thou hadst a being, yea, before the world, or any creature in it, had a being; how much more now?

Oh the height, and depth, and length, and breadth, of this immeasurable love! O my soul, I cannot express the love of God in Christ to thee. I do but draw the picture of the sun with a coal, when I endeavor to express God’s love in Christ.lighthouse6

2. For the properties of this love. — 1. God’s love to thee is a free love. “I will love them freely,” saith God. And, “The Lord did not set his love upon you, and choose you, because ye were more in number than any people, — but because the Lord loved you.” There can be no other reason why the Lord loved thee, but because he loved thee. 2. God’s love to thee is the love of all relations. Look, what a friend’s love is to a friend, or what a father’s love is towards a child, or what an husband’s love is towards a wife, such is God’s love to thee: thou art his friend, his son, his daughter, his spouse; and God is thy all in all.

3. For the effects of his love. — 1. God so loves thee, as that he hath entered a covenant with thee. Oh, what a love is this! Tell me, O my soul, is there not an infinite disparity betwixt God and thee? He is God above, and thou art a worm below: he is the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is holy, and thon art less than the least of all the mercies of God. O wonder at such a condescension! that such a potter, and such a former of things, should come on terms of bargaining with such clay as is guilty before him! Had we the tongues of men and angels, we could never express it.

God so loves thee, as that in the covenant he gives thee all his promises. Indeed, what is the covenant but a heap of promises? As a cluster of stars makes a constellation, so a mass of promises concurreth in the covenant of grace. Wherever

Christ is, clusters of divine promises grow out of him, as the rays and beams are from the sun. As God hath given thee his Son, so he hath given thee himself, and in that God hath given thee his Son and himself; this is a greater degree of love.

Christians! stand amazed. Oh, what love is this to the children of men! Oh, that we should live to have our ears filled with this sound from heaven! “I will be a God to thee and to thy seed after thee; I am the Lord thy God, I will be their God, and they shall he my people.” O my soul, where hast thou been? Rouse up, and set before thee all these passages of God’s love in Christ: are not these strong attractives to gain thy love? Canst thou choose to love the Lord thy God? Shall not all this love of God in Christ to thee constrain thy love? God in Christ is the very element of love. Every element will to its proper place. Now God is love, and whither should thy love be carried, but to this ocean or sea of love? “Come, my beloved,” said the spouse to Christ, “let us go up early to the vineyards, let us see if the vines flourish, whether the tender grapes appear; there will I give thee my loves.” The flourishing of the vine, and the appearing of the tender grapes, are the fruits of the graces of God in the assemblies of his saints. When thou comest to the word, prayer, meditation, be sure of this, to give Christ thy love.  Isaac Ambrose

Looking unto Jesus, the beginner and finisher of our faith.”  Heb. XII. 2.

The most excellent subject to discourse or write of is Jesus Christ. Augustine having read Cicero’s works, commended them for their eloquence but he passed this sentence upon them, “They are not sweet, because the name of Jesus is not in them.”Indeed all we say is but unsavoury, if it be not seasoned with this salt. “I determined not to know any thing among you,” saith Paul, “save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.” He resolved with himself, before he preached among the Corinthians, that this should be the only point of knowledge that he would profess himself to have skill in, and that in the course of his ministry he would labor to bring them to. This he made the breadth, and length, and depth, and height, of his knowledge. Yea, doubtless, saith he, “and I count all things but loss, for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord.” In this knowledge of Christ there is an excellency above all other knowledge in the world. There is nothing more pleasing and comfortable, more animating and enlivening. Christ is the sun and center of all divine and revealed truths: we can preach nothing else as the object of our faith, which doth not some way or other either meet in Christ, or refer to Christ. Only Christ is the whole of man’s happiness; the sun to enlighten him, the physician to heal him, the wall of fire to defend him, the friend to comfort him, the pearl to enrich him, the ark to support him, the rock to sustain him under the heaviest pressures; “As an hiding-place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest, as rivers of waters in a dry place, and as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land.” Only Christ is that ladder between earth and heaven, the Mediator betwixt God and man; a mystery which the angels of heaven desire to pry into. Here is a blessed subject indeed: who would not be glad to be acquainted with it? “This is life eternal, to know God, and Jesus Christ whom he hath sent.” Come then! let us look on this Sun of righteousness; we cannot receive harm, but good, by such a look. Indeed, by looking long on the natural sun we may have our eyes dazzled, and our faces blackened; but by looking unto Jesus, we shall have our eyes clearer, and our faces fairer. If the light of the eye rejoice the heart, how much more when we have such a blessed object to look upon! As Christ is more excellent than all the world, so this sight transcends all other sights. Looking unto Jesus, is the epitome of a Christian’s happiness, the quintessence of evangelical duties.

In the text we have the act and object. The act in the original is very emphatic, but the English doth not fully express it; it signifies a drawing of the eye from one object to another: there are two expressions; the one signifies a turning of the eye from all other objects; the other, a fast fixing of the eye upon such an object, and only upon such. So is it both a looking off, and a looking on. On what? That is the object, a looking unto Jesus: a title that denotes his mercy, as Christ denotes his office. My meaning is not to insist on this name, in contradiction to any other names of Christ. He is often called Christ, and Lord, and Mediator, and Son of God, and Emmanuel: but Jesus is all these; Jesus is Christ, as he is the Anointed of God; and Jesus is Lord, as he hath dominion over all the world; and Jesus is mediator, as he is the reconciler of God and man; and Jesus is the Son of God, as he was eternally begotten before all worlds; and Jesus is Emmanuel, as he was incarnate, and so God with us. Only because Jesus signifies Saviour, and this name was given him upon that very account; “for he shall save his people from their sins”: I shall make this my design to look at Jesus more especially, as carrying on the great work of our salvation from first to last. This indeed is the glad tidings, the gospel, the gospel privilege, and our gospel duty — looking unto Jesus.  Isaac Ambrose

You Have a Belief System

According to Webster, a system is, “ a regularly interacting or interdependent group of items forming a unified whole.”  All you believe about everything is your belief system.  Everything you believe has an influence on everything else you believe.  A Christian might be 90% in harmony with the Bible, and yet appear to be very unchristian.  His system is out of balance.  He is in conflict with himself.  The sermon below was preached to help us all be harmonious in all our beliefs.  Let me know if it blesses you.

Bro Hal

The Sermon:  Your Belief System

Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them. (Mar 11:24)

My desire!  What we desire is the most important thing about us.  Knowing our desires is probably the most difficult thing we face.  So many things crowd our lives to produce confusion in WHAT WE REALLY DESIRE.  Most of us are strangers to ourselves.  What do you desire?  I mean what do you really want with with all your heart?  Paul, the apostle spelled out his passionate desire in Phil 3:10-11,

That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;  (Php 3:10)
If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.  (Php 3:11)

I share Paul’s desire to know Christ, and have been motivated by that desire for decades, but my desire this morning is a little different.  I am in the battle of my life and need many thins.  But if  I know my heart, I desire above all else this morning to know one hundred people who have an experimental knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord.  In the last two years in has broken my heart to see the cruelty of the so called “child protection system”.  I have wept until I could not weep anymore.  I have seen how perhaps sincere, but nevertheless deceived, social workers can destroy a beautiful family at will, while they doing the bidding of their bosses who sit in high places, with high salaries, and do “what is good for the children”.  Each day I learn more of how deep the dastardly business has become.   It is a huge billion dollar business.  It breaks my heart, and if I did not  know Jesus Christ personally, I could not take it!

But I have a greater burden and therefor a greater desire.  The thing that breaks my heart most is that my country, the good old USA, the Bible Belt, has lost The Gospel of our Lord Jesus.  I now live in a land of Christ-less Christianity!  Please do not be angry with me or judge me, God knows my heart, but it is so rare for me to meet someone who knows Jesus Christ personally!  Beloved, Christianity is Christ!  Please understand me, I know that just about everyone I meet is a “christian”.  I dare say that most of the people in the child abuse system go to church and belong to some kind of religion.  Most of those who are abused and have lost their children and their families, and are broken and contrite, and yet, they must admit that their religion has failed.  Where the rubber hits the road, their prayers are not answered, they are lonely, they are at the brink of despair, and yet they know that many years ago they made their commitment to Christ, or became religious.  They are doing the best they can.  And yet!

My desire, before I graduate to heaven, is to know a hundred believers who have an experimental knowledge of Jesus Christ my Lord!  If you know Him experimentally, I’d like to meet you, walk with you, fight the good fight of faith with you, and spend eternity with you!

Now I know some of you might think that this is just the ramblings of an old silver haired baptist preacher, and you don’t even know what I am talking about.  I do know!  Attached is a sermon I preached in our home worship to a living room full of people.  Please listen to it carefully, as many times as necessary until you can write me or call me and say, “Bro Hal I know Him, I know Jesus Christ experimentally.”  That is my Desire!

The Sermon:  Knowing Jesus Experimentally

“The church in thy house.”
– Phm_1:2

Family is a Fortress
Family is a Fortress

Is there a Church in this house? Are parents, children, friends, servants, all members of it? or are some still unconverted? Let us pause here and let the question go round-Am I a member of the Church in this house? How would father’s heart leap for joy, and mother’s eyes fill with holy tears if from the eldest to the youngest all were saved! Let us pray for this great mercy until the Lord shall grant it to us. Probably it had been the dearest object of Philemon’s desires to have all his household saved; but it was not at first granted him in its fulness. He had a wicked servant, Onesimus, who, having wronged him, ran away from his service. His master’s prayers followed him, and at last, as God would have it, Onesimus was led to hear Paul preach; his heart was touched, and he returned to Philemon, not only to be a faithful servant, but a brother beloved, adding another member to the Church in Philemon’s house. Is there an unconverted servant or child absent this morning? Make special supplication that such may, on their return to their home, gladden all hearts with good news of what grace has done! Is there one present? Let him partake in the same earnest entreaty.
If there be such a Church in our house, let us order it well, and let all act as in the sight of God. Let us move in the common affairs of life with studied holiness, diligence, kindness, and integrity. More is expected of a Church than of an ordinary household; family worship must, in such a case, be more devout and hearty; internal love must be more warm and unbroken, and external conduct must be more sanctified and Christlike. We need not fear that the smallness of our number will put us out of the list of Churches, for the Holy Spirit has here enrolled a family-church in the inspired book of remembrance. As a Church let us now draw nigh to the great head of the one Church universal, and let us beseech him to give us grace to shine before men to the glory of his name.

C.H. Spurgeon

 

“Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out? And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible to you”
(Matthew 17:19-20).

When the Lord Jesus sent His disciples into different parts of Palestine, He endued them with a double power, that of casting out unclean spirits and that of healing all sickness and all infirmity (Matthew 10:1). He did the same for the seventy who came back to Him with joy, saying, “Lord, even the spirits are subject unto us through Thy Name” (Luke 10:17). On the day of the Transfiguration, while the Lord was still upon the mountain, a father brought his son who was possessed with a demon, to His disciples, beseeching them to cast out the evil spirit, but they could not. When, after Jesus had cured the child, the disciples asked Him why they had been unable to do it themselves as in other cases, He answered them, “Because of your unbelief.” It was, then, their unbelief, and not the will of God which had been the cause of their defeat. In our days divine healing is very little believed in, because it has almost entirely disappeared from the Christian Church. One may ask the reason, and here are the two answers which have been given. The greater number think that miracles, the gift of healing included, should be limited to the time of the primitive Church, that their object was to establish the first foundation of Christianity, but that from that time circumstances have altered. Other believers say unhesitatingly that if the Church has lost these gifts, it is by her own fault; it is because she has become worldly that the Spirit acts but feebly in her; it is because she has not remained in direct and habitual relation with the full power of the unseen world; but that if she were to see anew springing up within her men and women who live the life of faith and of the Holy Spirit, entirely consecrated to their God, she would see again the manifestation of the same gifts as in former times. Which of these two opinions coincides the most with the Word of God? Is it by the will of God that the “gifts of healing” [I Corinthians 12:9] have been suppressed, or is it rather man who is responsible for it? Is it the will of God that miracles should not take place? Will He in consequence of this no longer give the faith which produces them? Or again, is it the Church which has been guilty of lacking faith? What Does the Scripture Say? The Bible does not authorize us, either by the words of the Lord or His apostles, to believe that the gifts of healing were granted only to the early times of the Church; on the contrary, the promises which Jesus made to the apostles when He gave them instructions concerning their mission, shortly before His ascension, appear to us applicable to all times (Mark
16:15-18). Mark 16
15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In My Name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;
18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover. Paul places the gift of healing among the operations of the Holy Spirit. [1 Corinthians 12
9 To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;] James gives a precise command on this matter without any restriction of time. [James 5
13 Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms.
14 Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the Name of the Lord:
15 And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.
16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.] The entire Scriptures declare that these graces will be granted according to the measure of the Spirit and of faith. It is also alleged that at the outset of each new dispensation God works miracles, that it is His ordinary course of action; but it is nothing of the kind. Think of the people of God in the former dispensation, in the time of Abraham, all through the life of Moses, in the exodus from Egypt, under Joshua, in the time of the Judges and of Samuel, under the reign of David and other godly kings up to Daniel’s time; during more than a thousand years miracles took place. But, it is said, miracles were much more necessary in the early days of Christianity than later. But what about the power of heathenism even in this day, wherever the Gospel seeks to combat it? It is impossible to admit that miracles should have been more needful for the heathen in Ephesus (Acts 19:11, 12) than for the heathen of Africa in the present day. Acts 19
11 And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul:
12 So that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them. And if we think of the ignorance and unbelief which reign even in the midst of the Christian nations, are we not driven to conclude that there is a need for manifest acts of the power of God to sustain the testimony of believers and to prove that God is with them? Besides, among believers themselves, how much of doubt, how much of weakness there is! How their faith needs to be awakened and stimulated by some evident proof of the presence of the Lord in their midst. One part of our being consists of flesh and blood; it is therefore in flesh and blood that God wills to manifest His presence. In order to prove that it is the Church’s unbelief which has lost the gift of healing, let us see what the Bible says about it. Does it not often put us on our guard against unbelief, against all which can estrange and turn us from our God? Does not the history of the Church show us the necessity of these warnings? Does it not furnish us with numerous examples of backward steps, of world pleasing, in which faith grew weak in the exact measure in which the spirit of the world took the upper hand? For such faith is only possible to him who lives in the world invisible. [2 Corinthians 5:7 (For we walk by faith, not by sight:)] Until the third century the healings by faith in Christ were numerous, but in the centuries following they became more infrequent. Do we not know from the Bible that it is always unbelief which hinders the mighty working of God?
Oh, that we could learn to believe in the promises of God! God has not gone back from His promises; Jesus is still He who heals both soul and body; salvation offers us even now healing and holiness, and the Holy Spirit is always ready to give us some manifestations of His power. Even when we ask why this divine power is not more often seen, He answers us: “Because of your unbelief.” The more we give ourselves to experience personally sanctification by faith, the more we shall also experience healing by faith. These two doctrines walk abreast. The more the Spirit of God lives and acts in the soul of believers, the more will the miracles multiply by which He works in the body. Thereby the world can recognize what redemption means.
Andrew Murray

“Renew a right spirit within me.”
– Psa_51:10
A backslider, if there be a spark of life left in him will groan after restoration. In this renewal the same exercise of grace is required as at our conversion. We needed repentance then; we certainly need it now. We wanted faith that we might come to Christ at first; only the like grace can bring us to Jesus now. We wanted a word from the Most High, a word from the lip of the loving One, to end our fears then; we shall soon discover, when under a sense of present sin, that we need it now. No man can be renewed without as real and true a manifestation of the Holy Spirit’s energy as he felt at first, because the work is as great, and flesh and blood are as much in the way now as ever they were. Let thy personal weakness, O Christian, be an argument to make thee pray earnestly to thy God for help. Remember, David when he felt himself to be powerless, did not fold his arms or close his lips, but he hastened to the mercy-seat with “renew a right spirit within me.” Let not the doctrine that you, unaided, can do nothing, make you sleep; but let it be a goad in your side to drive you with an awful earnestness to Israel’s strong Helper. O that you may have grace to plead with God, as though you pleaded for your very life-”Lord, renew a right spirit within me.” He who sincerely prays to God to do this, will prove his honesty by using the means through which God works. Be much in prayer; live much upon the Word of God; kill the lusts which have driven your Lord from you; be careful to watch over the future uprisings of sin. The Lord has his own appointed ways; sit by the wayside and you will be ready when he passes by. Continue in all those blessed ordinances which will foster and nourish your dying graces; and, knowing that all the power must proceed from him, cease not to cry, “Renew a right spirit within me.”

C.H. Spurgeon