The following articles were authored by pastoredsmith

Let Freedom Ring

July 4th.  What first comes into your mind on this day?  For me, it is Freedom!  Freedom is the most wonderful gift that God could have extended to mankind that comes as an “extra.”  When God granted eternal life to “whosoever will” accept Him as Savior, He really didn’t have to do more.  God could have allowed all of mankind to live in bondage, the one to another.  Some in our world live in slavery to this day, in the form of bondage of one person who is “owned by another;” but also in bondage to sin.  The blessing of Freedom is so precious!  We can be free and we can sing!  Let Freedom Ring!

President Ronald Reagan said, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.”  We must defend our freedoms if we are to continue to enjoy them!

The lyrics of a song written by Bill and Gloria Gaither come to mind.  They go something like this:  “Deep within the heart has always known that there is freedom. Somehow breathed into the very soul of life. The prisoner, the powerless, the slave have always known it. There’s something that keeps reaching for the sky! And, even life begins because a baby fights for freedom….and songs we love to sing have freedom’s theme. Some have walked through fire and flood to find a place of freedom. And, some have faced hell itself for freedom’s dream! Let Freedom Ring!!! Wherever minds know what it means to be in chains. Let Freedom Ring! Wherever hearts know pain. Let Freedom echo through the lonely streets where prisons have no key!……
“God built freedom into every fiber of creation, and He meant for us to be free and whole!! But, when my Lord bought freedom through the blood of His redemption, His Cross stamped PARDON on MY VERY SOUL!!….
“this hallelujah anthem of the free!! That iron bars and heavy chains can NEVER HOLD US CAPTIVE!! THE SON HAS MADE US FREE, AND FREE INDEED!!….
Let Freedom Ring!! Down though the ages from a hill called Calvary!!”

So, True Freedom is found in Christ!  As we treasure our freedoms as Americans, we can also treasure our freedom from the bondage of sin through Christ!  If you are reading this and are tired of being in bondage, I pray that you will declare your Independence from bondage to sin right now!! Independence of the soul was provided for “whosoever will” ask and believe on Jesus Christ! So, this July 4th, LET FREEDOM RING; down through the ages from a hill called Calvary!!!

This recording was made shortly after 9/11 at Carnegie Hall. David Phelps, Guy Penrod, Russ Taff and Bill Gaither sing this powerful “anthem of the free.” Let Freedom Ring!!!

Happy Birthday America!!  I pray that her people can once again come to the place that we acknowledge the One who gave us this precious gift of Freedom!

In Our Master’s Joyful Service,

Ed Smith

Click Here to Watch!

Experiencing Calm during Calamity

Everybody experiences calamity at some point in their lives.  And, if you are one of those people who say that they have not ever had a real major calamity, then I suggest you get prepared because it is virtually impossible to go through an entire lifetime without ever experiencing some type of calamity.  The death of a loved one; especially if it came as a result of a tragic situation.  A house fire.  An automobile accident.  A disease or other major illness comes your way.  The death of a child.   How many more calamities can you think of that have impacted you?  Trials, tribulations and tragedy is part of life.  And, every such experience we encounter in this realm is caused by a singular factor.  Sin.  It is the sin of mankind from the Garden of Eden that brought sickness and death upon mankind.  And the sin committed by other individuals has also contributed to the calamities that we experience in our lifetimes.  A murderer kills.  A thief steals.  A drunk driver causes automobile accidents.  And, some calamities cannot be traced to a specific sin committed by a specific person.  Those calamities are still caused by sin in general, and they are just as devastating; sometimes even more so.  Each time a sin is committed, someone else feels the sting of its consequences, even though the second person in this scenario is an innocent bystander.  Sin itself is a robber and a thief, stealing people’s lives and damaging many others in its sphere of influence.  So, calamity comes to us all at some point in our lifetime because of sin.

A false precept that took root in the Christian church for decades taught that, once a person accepted Christ as Savior, He would shield us from trouble and we would experience a good life because He lives inside us.  Folks, that is a blatant lie.  In fact, many times, the exact opposite is true.  Satan is very unhappy that we make any progress in our relationship with Christ.  The enemy of our soul is as a roaring lion, roaming about seeking whom he may devour….he wants to eat our lunch!  And, if he can’t have us, he will go after our kids or our family!  He is a vicious liar with a destructive bent against anybody who has Christ in their lives.

So, as Christians, how can we possibly live through a tragedy?  How can we find true victory in the midst of trouble?  How is it that a person who has experienced a tragic death can wake up the next morning and continue with their lives?  How can we find calmness in the midst of calamity?

In seeking an answer to these questions, my mind immediately goes to Job.  He was a wealthy man with a wonderful family.  And he was a devout follower of Jehovah God.  He was faithful.  He was obedient to God.  He loved his family.  The Scriptures call Job an “upright” man.  Life couldn’t get any better for Job, could it?  Perhaps not, but it certainly could get worse.  And, that it did.

The interesting thing is that Job’s calamity was not brought on by his own personal sin that resulted in the terrible things that happened to him.  Yet, he lost everything.  His children taken from him.  His cattle and livestock killed.  His wealth gone.  His houses burned.  His wife trying to convince him to “curse God and die…”  His friends giving him terrible advice that all boiled down to virtually the same thing his wife had counseled him to do.  Everything was now against Job.  This was a “calamity of calamities,” indeed.  Now, things seemingly couldn’t get worse.  But, they did.  His body was infected with a disease similar to leprosy, where oozing sores came up all over his body causing Job terrible pain.  So, just when you think it can’t get worse, sometimes it does.  All of this because of a discussion that God had with the devil about Job.  You see, the devil wants to destroy each of us.  And, sometimes, he wins a battle.  The good news is that I’ve already read the back of the book and “we win.”  So, there is victory THROUGH adversity by holding onto the wonderful Hand of our loving God.

The question today is this:  When you are faced with calamity, how and where can you find the calmness that comes only from God?  The kind of peace that the New Testament calls “Peace that Passes Understanding…”  Where is the source of that kind of Peace and how do we go about locating it?  Perhaps the outline from my sermon on this topic will answer that question and help us all to remember where the source of Peace is during our calamities.  Here is that outline.

I.  Worship God during your calamity.

a.  Worship Him because He is still in control.

b.  Worship Him because He has your best interest at heart.

c.  Worship Him because He understands the whole picture, even though you only see a tiny part.

d.  Worship Him because He is God.

e.  He is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end.

f.  He is Jehovah Raffa, our Healer.

g.  He is El Shaddai, the Lord our God.

h.  He is Jehovah Nissi, the Lord who smites our enemies.

i.  He is Jehovah Shalom, the Lord of Hosts.

j.  He is Jehovah Jirah, God our Provider.

k.  He is Yashua Homashia, Jesus Christ the Righteous.

l.  God calms our storms.  Sometimes He lets the storm continue and calms me.

II.  Humble Yourself before God.  I Chronicles 7:14 is good for a nation.  It is also good for a church, a family and an individual.  We must humble ourselves before God if we are to find healing.

III.  Spend time in silence before God.  I’m reminded of Elijah, after his victory over the prophets of Baal at Mt. Carmel.  The wicked queen Jezebel had issued a death promise against Elijah, and this brave man of God ran and hid in a cave.  There was a lot of noise; earthquakes, fires and such.  But, it was the “still, small voice of God” that delivered Elijah.  Spending silent time with God allows Him to speak to us as we read and meditate on His Word.

IV.  Instead of kicking against the brick wall, learn to accept the situation.  By accepting what has happened, we can understand that it is part of God’s BIGGER plan for our lives.  It didn’t take Him by surprise.  It didn’t cause God to say, “Oops.  I didn’t mean to allow this to happen.”  The truth is that God allowed man to have a free choice as to whether to serve Him or not.  Along with that choice came the choice to commit sin, and along with the sin that is committed comes consequences of sin.  The fact is that we live in a fallen and sinful world, and the consequences of sin will always be with us.  But, the good news is that by accepting God’s will, we also can accept His Hand in ours as we work our way through the calamity.

Three ways to find Calm during Calamity:

1)  Look up.  We see God’s Sovereignty.

2) Look ahead.  We see God’s Promises.

3)  Look within.  We will see Christ, if we have let Him in.

And, if we look within and don’t see Christ, now would be a good time to invite Him in.  By doing so, we will find eternal life; and we will find His Hand in ours as we navigate the perilous journey that we call “life.”

I pray that each and every person reading this finds Christ, if you don’t already know Him.  And, that each person reading herein who knows Christ as Savior finds true and lasting peace that passes understanding through Him.

You are loved with an everlasting Love.  And, I love you, too.

In Our Master’s Joyful Service,

Ed Smith

Four Stupid Things Christians do that mess up their lives

One of those “man on the street” impromptu interviews asked some young people questions about the Bible.  Two college-aged women and a young man in a group were interviewed.    “Can you name one of the 10 Commandments,” was one question.  One young lady in the group replied, “Freedom of Speech?”  The interviewer looked at the other young woman and said, “Finish this sentence.  ‘Let him who is without sin….'”  Her response?  “have a good time?”  The young man was asked, “Who, according to the Bible, was eaten by a whale?”  The confident young man answered, “Pinocchio.”

Is it any wonder that our world is in trouble?  The lack of knowledge of the contents of the Bible is reflected on our society in ways that we never thought we would live to see; yet those days are here.  But, even more seriously, I wonder how many people go about their lives messing them up at every turn and never realize that God has a better plan for their lives if only they would accept it.

The following is an excerpt from a sermon that I preached recently in Manchester, TN.   It gets its foundation from Genesis 16; the passage of Scripture where an impatient Sarai sent her handmaiden in to Abram to bear the son that she had decided would never happen; even though an angel had predicted it would.  Here is the basic outline of that message.

Four stupid things Christians do:

I. They allow their fleshly desires and the practices of culture to overrule the directives of God’s Word.

II.  They seek counsel from those who are unfamiliar with or who reject the Word of God.

III. They place the blame on others for the things they bring upon themselves.

IV. They refuse to take responsibility for their own actions in the name of keeping the peace.

I think the important thing to realize in all this is that sin; no matter how “small” it is, still carries with it the consequences of doing it.   Our modern culture is attempting more than ever to allow its citizens to participate in sin of all kinds with its blessings while removing (more accurately, “covering”) the consequences of those sins.  However, the consequences of sin will remain as long as mankind remains.  Yes, God forgives us when we ask Him to do so, and by that, He separates that sin on our account from Himself as “far as the East is from the West…”   But, once a murderer kills a person, that person is dead.  Once a lie is told, the truth is damaged; and even if the truth eventually comes out, the damage caused by the telling of the lie is still in existence.   The sin of Sarai and Abram’s disobedience towards God in lieu of obeying the directives of the culture of the day had major consequences.   An entire race of people;  A race that rejects Jesus Christ and Jehovah God in favor of a false prophet named Muhammad and a false God named Allah are the direct results of the sexual sin that Abram and Hagar committed; even though that sexual sin was the cultural “norm” of the day and came with the blessing of Abram’s wife, Sarai.  The animosity started immediately between Sarai and Hagar and carried forth between Ishmael (the child of sin) and Isaac (the son of God’s promise); and to their heirs even to this very day.  Thus, when you and I commit a sin, its consequences cause immediate damage and often cause long-lasting hurt, humiliation and harm to ourselves and others.

Never think that your sin only affects you.  It affects a multitude of others as well; sometimes even people we will never meet in this life; as was the case with Abram and Sarai.  The only way to overcome sin is to find Christ as Savior.  And, once a person has given their heart to Christ, true peace comes by listening to and heeding the Word of God.  In that book, we can find the Truth and thereby find God’s Peace that passes understanding.  But, we must read, listen and heed God’s Word if we are to find His Peace, Joy and Love.

Concerning listening to God’s Word, this illustration speaks volumes to many of us these days.

In an earlier day a certain young man was seeking a job as a Morse code telegraph operator. He found an advertisement and went to the address that was listed.   When he arrived it was a large, busy, noisy office.   In the background he could hear the chatter of a telegraph key.   A sign instructed applicants to take a seat and wait until they were summoned to enter the inner office.   Eight candidates had gotten there ahead of him; they were seated along the wall.   This was discouraging, but still he sat down to wait.
After about two or three minutes the young man stood up, stepped over to the door of the inner office, and walked in.   Naturally all of the other applicants started looking at each other and muttering.   Within about three minutes the young man came back out the door with the employer who said, “You gentlemen may go now.   The position has been filled.”   Several of them began to grumble.   One spoke up and said, “I don’t understand.   He was the last to come in.   We never even got a chance to be interviewed, and he got the job. That’s not fair.”
The employer said, “All the time you’ve been sitting here the telegraph key has been ticking out a message.   It said, ‘If you understand this message, come right in.   The job is yours.’   None of you heard it.   He did.   He got the job. ”

God has and is speaking through His Word, the Holy Bible.  He offers His love, His peace and most importantly, His plan of salvation through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.  My question today for you is this.  “Are you listening to God?  He is speaking to you in a language that you can understand and comprehend.  Are you allowing the noise of the world to drown out His message?  Are you tired of running from God?  If so, I encourage you to give your heart and life to Jesus Christ today.  He will save you.  He will give you peace.

You are loved with an everlasting love.  The love of Christ our Savior.  And, I love you, too.  May God give you peace as you seek it from Him.

In Our Master’s Joyful Service,

Ed Smith

How Great is our God?

How Great is Our God?

It is completely impossible for our tiny little finite mind to wrap itself around the vastness and eternal existence of our God!  No words can describe it.  No human feelings can touch it.  No sight can compare to it.  No emotion can feel it.  No travels; even if to the moon or to another planet, could ever begin to experience His vastness.

But, Louie Giglio tried.  In this 15 minute video found on You Tube, Louie does a “mashup” of pulsar sounds, star sounds, whale songs and human voices / instruments to demonstrate a miniscule part of what it might sound like if we were God for just a fraction of a second as He listens to all the sounds that are created in the Universe.

This video will demonstrate NOT the extent of who God is, nor what He actually hears in reality.  However, it is a good “human analogy” of the tip of the iceberg as to what God MIGHT feel as He listens in on His Creation as they sing to Him.  Listen to this wonderful mashup and experience worship from a unique perspective!

Click Here for “How Great is Our God.”