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the Pastor's Scratchpad

" . . . your sins have withholden good things from you."  Jeremiah 5:25

Some live under the perception that sin brings good into their life. Although scripture does state that there is pleasure in sin it is only for a season.  The scripture also declares that "the wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23) and "sin when it is finished bringeth forth death" (James 1:5).  The end result of sin is never good.

Eve was deceived into believing that sin would improve her life.  She soon discovered  gruesome and irreversible consequences to her sin.  It not only cost her and her immediate family, but her sin affected all of us.

Jeremiah informed Judah that much of their problems, threats and shortages were because of the sinful ways they had chosen.  That sin actually served as a wall, not against enemies but against God.  It served as a barrier between them and the blessings of God.

Psalm 1 which contrast the lives of the righteous and the wicked draws this conclusion,  "For the Lord knows and fully approves the way of the righteous, But the way of the wicked shall perish." (AMP)
We can’t expect God to give us what we are unwilling to give others.

If you need God’s forgiveness, FORGIVE others.
Mark 11:25 - And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.

If you need God’s mercy, extend MERCY to others.
Matthew 5:7 - Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.

If you need God’s material blessing, learn to GIVE cheerfully.
Luke 6:38 - Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.
2 Corinthians 9:6 - But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.

Bible Reading Enriches Any Day

Don't Settle For Halfway Revivals

It's been said that History repeats itself. Unfortunately, many fail to learn from the past and blindly repeat the same mistakes of yesterday. Too often is the case when it comes to revival and church growth.

Take the year 1662 where in the New England colonies of this newly found Country of America: Church attendance was down to a hand full. Churches throughout Massachusetts, slowly but surly, were being closed due to the lack of interest. Men and women found other interests, like farming, sowing, family, friends, pleasure and self.

Even though the moral standards were high compared to our day, the people refused to make "COMMITMENTS" to the Lord, the Church, and Christian principles. Unfaithfulness to church, refusing to tithe, no prayer and soul-winning were the norm of the day.

The spiritual interests became so bad that leading ministers in the
congregational Churches of Massachusetts came up with what they thought might help. Instead of helping, it only made matters worse in the long run. They adopted what was called "Halfway Covenant".

People who could make no profession in any salvation experiencestill could get their children sprinkled and be accepted in church membership even though the parents were not members. The parents were able to have their children sprinkled so long as they accepted the doctrine of salvation and was not "SCANDALOUS IN LIVING". When the children grew up and they themselves couldn't profess of any salvation experience,
the only church privilege that was denied them was communion. Soon these churches began to grow, but they did so with "HALF WAY MEMBERS. " These halfway members out numbered the full communion "saved" members and became socially accepted. People began to say, "Why go all the way when you don't have to".

Eventually the restriction of the Lord's Supper was dropped and the "HALFWAY MEMBERS" were no different than the full "Saved Members". Soon every church was full of "unsaved saints". Of course, there is no such thing, but when you make your own rules, you can do as you wish.

After time, these half way covenant members were ordained into the ministry and became Pastors. The remnant of the ministers and members who had a confessed salvation experience realized that the "Halfway Covenant" was a tragic mistake.

It was Samuel Stoddard of the Congregation Church of Northampton, Massachusetts who was one of the ministers who developed this "Half Way Covenant". Samuel Stoddard was Jonathan Edward's grandfather. It was Jonathan Edwards who in 1734 mounted his pulpit in total rejection of this Halfway Covenant and preached "sinners in the hands of an angry God". After two hours of dangling their feet over hell, multitudes ran to the altar. Screams could be heard in the village of repenting souls. Edwards had a mighty revival that is recorded to this day.