Category Archives: Today’s Thoughts

Biblical insights and devotions for the day.

Be bold not to be embittered!

Be bold not to be embittered!
By Pastor Lee Hemen
November 22, 2018
 
I have always marveled at how embittered people hang onto to their bitterness like a protective cloak or badge of self-righteousness. They reason that they deserve to be bitter is because of past hurts that are often ones they never experienced themselves. It reminds me of Gollum from Lord of the Rings whose whole world and life’s focus revolved around a shiny golden ring. He ended up getting burned by it.
 
Thankfulness is a trait that one has to actually conjure up from within one’s self. You have to actually think about what you are thankful for and forget the past that wants you to cling to it like an addict to their drug of choice. There is a reason that a thankful heart is a happy heart. It purposefully forgets about itself and takes a positive step into the future. It realizes that all things come from God whether it is the good, the bad, or the ugly in life. And one can either remain stuck focusing on the ugliness or work to decide to head to the good that God offers us.
 
Life is precious and can be wasted when we embitter ourselves and remain wrapped in our cloak of self-pity and righteousness. Instead look for the joy of life, which I believe begins with the Lord, and allow the fruit of thankfulness to grow and bubble up in your heart today.
 
Life is tough by its very nature but life can also be a joyous journey of thankfulness. You decide to allow God in and he will fill your life with the joy you need for each day. The joy of the Lord can be your strength and you can learn to be thankful in all situations that life throws your way.
 
Have a blessed Thanksgiving.
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The Heart Wants What is Contrary to What God Desires

The Heart Wants What is Contrary to What God Desires
By Pastor Lee Hemen
March 17, 2018

We have all heard the phrase “The heart wants what the heart wants” and then stand back and go “ah”, but this is truly kind of a stupid phrase that excuses really dumb behavior and poor decision making. We are supposed to make life-changing decisions based on what we know, you know – knowledge. This is why the Scripture remind us that “Wisdom reposes in the heart of the discerning and even among fools she lets herself be known (Proverbs 14:33 NIV).” Notice the caveat “of the discerning” meaning those who think things through and use logic and not feelings. It also reminds us that “The heart of the righteous weighs its answers (Proverbs 15:28 NIV)” and that “The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge; the ears of the wise seek it out (Proverbs 18:15 NIV).” What this all means is that the “heart” needs to exercise caution and not rely on feelings or emotions over discernment. It is through the toughest times when we think we know what is right because our feelings or emotions are leading us to do something we know we should not and others have told us not to do that we need to remember these passages. Be mindful that “All a man’s ways seem right to him, but the LORD weighs the heart (Proverbs 21:2 NIV).”

Jeremiah wanted to do what he thought felt right but God reminded him, “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? I the LORD search the heart and examine the mind, to reward a man according to his conduct, according to what his deeds deserve (Jeremiah 17:9-10 NIV).” Therefore we need to step back and rely on the wisdom of others who know life better than we do. Hasty decisions can lead to disastrous results, hurt, and embarrassment. Sure there are always those who like to think life is some kind of romantic novel, but it is not.

As followers of Jesus we are to emulate him who took three and a half years to mentor his hasty disciples; especially Peter. He took his entire life to kneel before his Father in heaven in a garden and declare that his decision was based not on his will, his feelings, but on the will of God and his plan. This is why Jesus reminded his followers that “the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man ‘unclean.’ For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander (Matthew 15:18-19 NIV).” Our hearts are deceptive because this is where our emotions and feelings dwell and when we allow these to rule our lives the outcome can be foolish. This is why we are reminded that “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’ They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good (Psalms 14:1 NIV).”

Be warned when you follow your heart and not the wisdom of the Lord.

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Do you go to Sunday School?

Do you go to Sunday School?
By Pastor Lee Hemen
January 29, 2018

The apostle Paul wrote his friend and young cohort Timothy these words: “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15 NIV)” Yet sadly in our day many think that by just attending a worship service they have done this; handled the word of truth correctly. Nothing could be further from the truth. We live in a time when things like Wednesday Night and Sunday Evening Services have gone by the wayside and now for many churches they are doing away with Sunday School Classes or promoting Bible Study. It has created a flux of folks who think they know all about the Bible by simply listening to the latest pithy relevant message by their prognosticating preacher, using the Internet to garner spiritual insight, or by reading the latest Christian fad found in their local bookstore.

Paul correctly understood the human condition that it was like water in that it has a tendency to always flow downhill so-to-speak. We are lazy lots who would rather diet and exercise an easy way rather than put in the hardcore self-control and workout that is needed. A pill or prepackaged food will not create the life change needed and the same is true for the Christian who should be growing in their knowledge and understanding of Scripture.

As a pastor I try my best to be in a Sunday School Class on Sunday mornings. I enjoy not only the give and take of lively discussion, I enjoy the friendships formed, and the insights given me by fellow believers. It goes to the basics of what does this passage in the Bible mean, what does it mean for me, and what is its history and context?

Because of the lackadaisical attitude of most Christians there is a spiritual shallowness rampant within Christianity today. Many do not know what they believe nor why they should believe it or not. Most are influenced by society rather than being the salt and light they are supposed to be in an ungodly world. In the 80s and 90s it was the heresy of end times theology that crept into believer’s lives, in the early 2000s it is a worldview that is totally contrary to biblical truth and personal holiness. Worship was never meant to be where one is taught the deep spiritual truths of Jesus. It is where we are to worship. Depending upon a message in a moment will not suffice to make an individual one who is “approved… who correctly handles the word of truth”. Christians need to be in Bible Study or a Sunday School Class, whatever you want to name it, in order to mature and understand the word of God correctly. Paul also told his friend Timothy, “Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers. (1 Timothy 4:16 NIV)” And I am reminded of a beautiful little comment by Luke who wrote about a tiny church who saw the importance of getting together with their fellow believers to learn the word of God: “Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. (Acts 17:11 NIV)”

My advice then is this: Get your body to Bible Study or Sunday School Class on Sunday mornings and if your church does not offer them, find one that does. Therefore, “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15 NIV)”

This article is copyrighted © 2018 by Lee Hemen and is the sole property of Lee Hemen, and may not be used unless you quote the entire article and have my permission.

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Christmas Is About Three Fathers…

Christmas Is About three Fathers…
By Pastor Lee Hemen
December 25, 2016

The other day as I was changing the diaper of my baby granddaughter it all of sudden hit me that Christmas is about so much more than a baby boy. It is about fathers as well. In fact it is about three of them that I know of. First, I cannot but wonder about the father of Mary who watched as his little pregnant daughter walked slowly down the dusty road leaving Nazareth. The trip would not be long by today’s standards but a huge undertaking for a new couple. Food, clothes, and necessities for a new baby and of course her care had to be carried. We forget people usually did not live past their 40s during this time and at a distance of about 89 miles would be a hard journey. I wonder if he looked at the night sky full of stars noticing that the one which shown brightest was in the sky near the place where his daughter journeyed to and thought about her. Was she safe? Had she given birth? Was Joseph taking care of her? Was the baby born healthy and strong? I am sure this father worried about his daughter so far away from home giving birth for the first time. Loving fathers are like that.

The second father I thought of was Joseph. Here he was a father for the first time, far from home town himself, and the only spot he could find for his pregnant wife was a stall for sheep and goats. It was comfortable at least, with some new hay for Mary to spread a cloak down. But now the baby, his baby, their baby was going to be born. I am sure growing up in a small farming community like Nazareth Joseph had watched siblings, other family members, or friends’ children being born. Certainly he watched as sheep gave birth. But now it would be his bride and his child. He could place the baby in the clean swaddling clothes they brought from Nazareth with some of the new hay in the feeding trough. I wonder as Joseph looked up at the stars shining in the night sky if he realized all the work being a father entailed? The mentoring, the training, the discipline, devotion, and the imparting of the love of God, would he be up to it all? As he looked at his little wife did he wonder at his role in being the father of the Messiah? I am sure he did and so much more because loving fathers are like that.

The third and final father I thought of was God himself. The mystery, the shear wonder, and the amazing thing God the father had decided to do since the beginning of all creation was about to occur. I stand in utter awe thinking about the fact that this was God the father’s plan all along: To come himself in the form of a human baby, born to a young Hebrew couple from a small village, in small stable on such a silent night. The birth as amazing as it truly is, is just a moment in time and fades in stature to the cruel death he would willingly face; a death that would become the sacrifice for all of our sin for those who believe and even those who do not. I wonder that as the stars danced in the sky he had created and as the young woman cried in the pains of childbirth if God the Father did not smile as his plan was being born. It makes me smile. I do not think he worried about anything at all, after all he foreordained it all. He had predetermined that on this particular night that this young couple would give birth, well, to him! He had told them both it would happen just as he knew it would and it did. As angels sang, shepherds trembled, Wisemen wandered, and mad kings plotted the plan of God the Father came together perfectly. The plans of our loving Father are like that.

Merry Christmas!

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Christmas Is All About Love…

One of the things I have learned over the years is that Christmas is all about love. It begins with God who is love displaying himself in his love for all mankind. And this marvelous and mysterious love has infected all of mankind whether they want to believe in that love or not. The infection has manifested itself throughout the entire world. God’s love does that whether we want it to or not. It is manifested in the godly things we do to one another without asking for anything in return. It is seen in the trust little children have in the belief that God’s love is found in believing in a saintly man who loves children enough he is willing to share that love to those who are willing to be good for goodness sake. It is heard in the songs sung about that silent night when two people became parents for the first time a long way from home and their baby boy would be the hope of all mankind. Love is displayed in the red, green, and white decorations that celebrate the coldness of winter but the warmth of that Godly love. The wrapped gifts given are the shadow of the wonderful Wisemen who journeyed across stream and fountain, moor and mountain to an animal feeding trough outside of a tiny town in an obscure kingdom ruled by a mad king to set before the king of Kings their precious offerings of love. The love of God is reflected in the lights strung on houses, trees, and bushes and buildings; they blind us as Holiday Displays or warm us next to a fireplace as they twinkle on a tree. Each and every part of Christmas may be prepackaged or commercial for some but there deep inside of all the Christmas dress up is the love of God. And whether you like it or not there it is, his love sent in his Son and it is his birthday we celebrate. That’s what Christmas is all about.

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Today’s Thoughts – Personal Mediocrity and Situational Ethics

Today’s Thoughts – Personal Mediocrity and Situational Ethics
By Pastor Lee Hemen
June 28, 2015

We live in an age of personal mediocrity and situational ethics. So much so that there are those who claim Christ, but who truly have no idea what that means. I was speaking with a young man the other day and we were discussing spirituality. I shared with him the gospel and he responded that he thought a lot of people believe in Jesus because they did good things, treated one another nice, and were basically good people. In fact, he thought of himself as a believer! I challenged him to consider the statement of Jesus himself where he declares that he is the only way, the only truth, and the only life and that no one will ever know God unless it is through him. And where Jesus declared himself God and that one must believe in him to have eternal life or die in their sins. He just kind of blinked at me and then said, “Well we all see Jesus differently.” As we talked further it became evident that he had settled for his own form of spirituality and has stopped investigating it any further because he is satisfied with his mediocrity and situational ethics. He considers himself a believer without ever believing! And herein lays the danger of most Christianity; too many have settled for their own brand of faith instead of what Jesus actually teaches.

At what point is disobedience, disobedience? We live in a day and age whereby everyone wants to define their faith their own way, and this is simply not biblical and in fact spiritually dangerous. The judgment of the Supreme Court on gay marriage makes this quite plain. Far too many who claim Christ does not see it as any big deal and why should they? After all at what point after we have committed adultery, fornication, clipped, cut, marked, and tattooed our body, used booze and recreational drugs, and reinterpreted Scripture to suit our own emotional proclivity of the moment does any spiritual concept have any relevance in one’s life? As I asked before, at what point is disobedience, disobedience? We no longer go to church to worship God, we go to worship ourselves worshiping the god-concept we have constructed to meet our emotional needs. It is shallow at best and heretical at its worst.

When we simply ignore or rewrite what the Bible plainly teaches on the concepts of holy living, we are living dangerously and may have walked away from the true faith once delivered to all the saints. And sadly, we therefore may have doomed future generations from hearing the truth because most folks will settle for spiritual mediocrity and situational ethics. The Israelites did. It makes one wonder.

This article is copyrighted © 2015 by Lee Hemen and is the sole property of Lee Hemen, and may not be used unless you quote the entire article and have my permission.

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Are guns the problem or perhaps it is something else no one wants to admit?

Are guns the problem or perhaps it is something else no one wants to admit?
By Pastor Lee Hemen
June 12, 2014

What no else is addressing is the fact that ACTUAL school shootings usually are student on student violence. Why? Why is this happening when we are supposed to be living in the most enlightened age and we honor students for everything and anything? I believe it isn’t bullying, the availability of guns, or any other such nonsense. I believe it is because we no longer teach the sanctity of human life. This includes treating all women with respect. That the taking of a human life is horrendous — whether it is an abortion, suicide, or murder — that real men act like real men and are kind, considerate, courteous, brave, honest, trustworthy, sacrificial, gentle, chaste and godly. That real women act like godly women worthy of the previous instead of trash and dress worthy of being honored as ladies worthy of devotion. We no longer view marriage in its proper perspective and actually disdain it. Family is being redefined as any recent perverted proclivity. Most children have no clue who might be the “man of the week” in their life.

Then there is public education which has become worthless due to unions being more concerned for their power base than for the children and families they are supposed to serve. They use our precious progeny for experimentation and then blame parents when it does not work. Schools teach we are evolved from goo, that life is only convenient when it benefits us, and that free speech is being able to do or say anything at anytime without any consequences.

I do not necessarily like stories about “when I was a kid” but the simple fact remains that I went to a large high school and most all the guys in the school owned guns, shot guns, and went hunting regularly. We even carried them to school, put them in our lockers or kept them in gun racks in our vehicles, and we built beautiful wood and glass enclosed gun cases for our fathers in shop class, and at no time did anyone ever dream of using their weapons to take someone’s life. In fact, more people owned and used guns during my youth than they do now and yet we now have more violence? It isn’t the guns that are the problem, it is a permissive society that values porn, violent videos, and personal selfishness over a safe and sane society that respects human life. When we give up godliness for the sake of self-centered narcissism, we will continue to reap what we have sown.

So, perhaps what the Apostle Paul wrote so long ago smacks of the truth of what we are now facing: “Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles. Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator–who is forever praised. Amen. Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion. Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.” (Romans 1:22-32 NIV)

Just my thoughts…

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