Message for Sunday, March 29, 2020
 Click here to see Pastor Rice give this message by video. https://drive.google.com/file/d/16kp9SNizPyvqIVBepu-klYY32HKTIvoy/view?usp=sharing
 
Melting Hearts
 
Pastor Rice shares a biblical perspective to deal with the effects of the cultural atmosphere surrounding the Coronavirus pandemic.
Sunday, March 29, 2020
 
 
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Melting Hearts
 

When you go into a store or other business these days you experience something of melting hearts. For sure if you look to news outlets you see it.  Folks are in disbelief at where we are and how quickly we have come to this place. I hear comments that tell me hearts are melting. This is not a permanent arrangement, this we know, but it is real today, nonetheless. And I think we are getting weary of it. We know the importance of the health preventions. We are following the orders of those in authority. We are trying to make the best of the situation. However, we are not limited to just waiting it out. We are to shine as those who are kept by the Lord. We can show our world what trust and security looks like. Let’s keep our faith active and keep our witness clear. Our hearts should not be melting because we have a Savior who will keep His promises regardless of the earthly situation we are in.

God cares about our hearts, which is that deep and full seat of emotions that drives our thoughts and actions. We find some understanding on the matter of our hearts as we look to God’s Word.

The book of Joshua shows us how the Israelites took possession of the land and divided it for the various tribes and groups. In chapter 2 the initial inspection of the land of Canaan depicts a ready advantage for Israel because the Canaanites had already lost hope in their hearts when they heard what God had done for Israel. Rahab had harbored the spies in the land, and she tells them what she knows. The dismal news of the pending judgement and invasion had paralyzed the city of Jericho with fear.  

Joshua 2:9-11 And she said unto the men, I know that the Lord hath given you the land, and that your terror is fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land faint because of you.

10 For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red sea for you, when ye came out of Egypt; and what ye did unto the two kings of the Amorites, that were on the other side Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom ye utterly destroyed.

11 And as soon as we had heard these things, our hearts did melt, neither did there remain any more courage in any man, because of you: for the Lord your God, he is God in heaven above, and in earth beneath.

This melting of the hearts was exactly what God intended as He planned to do the many things He promised for Israel. Notice that the description includes not only the loss of courage to fight for their land  as the result of the heart condition, but we are also told that the Canaanites now have a new and bold understanding of who God is and the realm of His authority.  This is an absolute change from their previous perception but is too late. The very reason that God was giving Canaan to the Israelites was because of the defiance of the inhabitants against God and the unwillingness to repent and turn to follow Him.

 

This is not the first occasion of melting hearts. There was also a time when the hearts of Israel also melted in the wake of dismal news. This occurred some 40 years earlier on the shores of the same land of Canaan.  Moses was still alive, the Israelites were only a few months out of Egypt on their journey to freedom and prosperity after more than 400 years of slavery to Egypt. This was their moment: God’s promise of possession of the land was upon them. All He needed from Israel was belief. They sent spies into the land and they returned with their report. Two of the spies believed God and were ready to take the land (Joshua and Caleb). The other ten spies saw only the obstacles not the opportunity. They reported their dismal perspective and the hearts of Israel melted in disbelief.

Numbers 13:26-33   And they returned from searching of the land after forty days.

26 And they went and came to Moses, and to Aaron, and to all the congregation of the children of Israel, unto the wilderness of Paran, to Kadesh; and brought back word unto them, and unto all the congregation, and shewed them the fruit of the land.

27 And they told him, and said, We came unto the land whither thou sentest us, and surely it floweth with milk and honey; and this is the fruit of it.

28 Nevertheless the people be strong that dwell in the land, and the cities are walled, and very great: and moreover we saw the children of Anak there.

29 The Amalekites dwell in the land of the south: and the Hittites, and the Jebusites, and the Amorites, dwell in the mountains: and the Canaanites dwell by the sea, and by the coast of Jordan.

30 And Caleb stilled the people before Moses, and said, Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it.

31 But the men that went up with him said, We be not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we.

32 And they brought up an evil report of the land which they had searched unto the children of Israel, saying, The land, through which we have gone to search it, is a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof; and all the people that we saw in it are men of a great stature.

33 And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.

45 years later, Caleb, one of the original spies from this period recounts the events this way. Joshua 14:7-8

  Forty years old was I when Moses the servant of the Lord sent me from Kadeshbarnea to espy out the land; and I brought him word again as it was in mine heart.

Nevertheless my brethren that went up with me made the heart of the people melt: but I wholly followed the Lord my God.

As a result of their failure to believe the Lord at His Word, Israel wandered for 40 years in the wilderness rather than taking possession of the promised land. The book of Joshua is the record of Israel taking the land after the 40 years of wandering and the dying off of the generation that did not believe. Moses had also passed away and now Joshua (one of the believing spies) was leading the way into the promised possession of Canaan. Joshua sends spies into the land and the melting hearts this time are on the inhabitants of Canaan rather than on Israel. Caleb the other believing spy would also take possession of Canaan.

 

The New Testament is also familiar with melting hearts. Though the word is not used the idea is clearly in mind in John 14. Jesus has told His disciples that the time had come for His betrayal and crucifixion. Their hearts were melting. Jesus spoke to them and to us in John 14.

John 14:1-3 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.

In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.

And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.

Jesus further explained and promised His peace to both the disciples and to us in the same conversation.

John 14:27  Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

John 16:33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

This promise of peace is what will sustain us until the promise of heaven is fulfilled. Now the question: do you believe the promise of heaven and are you kept by the promise of peace?

One final word from the book of Joshua. In chapter 21:44-45 we have a sure word about God’s ability to deliver on His promises.

Joshua 21:44-45

And the Lord gave them rest round about, according to all that he sware unto their fathers: and there stood not a man of all their enemies before them; the Lord delivered all their enemies into their hand.

45 There failed not ought of any good thing which the Lord had spoken unto the house of Israel; all came to pass.

We have the peace of Jesus and He will not forsake us. He has overcome the world. Troubled and fearful or melting hearts are not God’s intention for His people. Grasp the truth of Jesus and give Him the things you are troubled with. He will take care of your heart.

Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. 1 Peter 5:7
 

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New Music
Here is a link to a song played by Carson Rice on the digital piano using the trumpet voice.
Cancellations
 
In order to assist our community in reducing the spread of Covid-19 also known as Coronavirus we are canceling all in person activities through April 18.
We hope to have a regular church service on April 19 at 10:00 am. On That day we will not have a Bible Study hour.
Additional changes may be made as new information becomes available. 
 
Click here to read a message on the Unchangeable Character of God.  Read about God’s Unchangeable Character
********************March 24, 2020
Google Drive Link for music and other content
 
 

*********************March 23, 2020

I got this from my friend,  Evangelist Harold Vaughn. Thought it was helpful.

 

Shadows Can Be Good

Life brings shadows. Close proximity is required to fall under a shadow. In Psalm 23 David spoke of passing through the valley of the shadow of death (v. 4). And it’s not just death that casts a dark shadow. There are seasons in life where shadows press in upon us. But no all shadows are bad. Some shadows are good…really good.

 

After Pentecost the atmosphere was electric. Incredible things were taking place. Signs and wonders were happening by the hands of the apostles as the church was being birthed (Acts 5:12-16). So they brought forth the sick into the streets, and laid them on beds and couches, that at the least the shadow of Peter passing might overshadow some of them. Think of this…strong hope sprang up that even Peter’s shadow could bring healing to the afflicted. People were scrambling to position themselves and sick loved ones under Peter’s shadow. 

 

God is light and His incandescent radiance fills heaven. Yet the scriptures states, “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty” (Psalm 91:1). This secret place represents nearness to God. And to be under His shadow is a place of ultimate protection. The Psalmist lists 18 safeguards found only for those who are under the shadow of the Almighty.

 

The shadow of fear is overtaking the masses. The current season of darkness is causing many to tremble. Uncertainty and the are breeding panic. But we have strong shelter through the nearness of God.

The shadow of the Almighty is the ultimate refuge. Here we can find peace and security in the midst of uncertainty and confusion. The shadow of a vine shielded Jonah from the scorching sun. Our safety is found in our proximity to God. The shadow of the Almighty is a good shadow. Really Good.

 

is the time for a spiritual reset. So draw near to God and He will draw near to you. All God’s people have access to the secret place. Praise God for the shadow of the omnipotence! Abide there and you will be free from fear. Should fear come knocking, send faith to answer the door. The Lord draws near when we believe Him and praise Him. So let’s get under his shadow and dwell there.

Not Alone
 
Before you read this post be most assured we are praying for the people around the world affected in many ways by the coronavirus. How can we pray for you? Click prayer at the end of this post to tell us about your needs. 
 
Spending time alone as individuals is not a new thing. Having a whole society spending time alone is. The current pause in socializing may be difficult to accept, but it is not new. Solomon’s words from Ecclesiastes 3:5b “a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing;” help us to know that God knew of the days we are living in long before our experience brought us to the place we are today. In just a few weeks’ time we have gone from busy with others to minimized exposure with others. 
 
We suddenly have more time on our hands because many of our to do’s that involve others are on hold.  I seem to remember saying in recent months, “If only I had more time”. Well, here we are. We have more time. 
I think of how Jesus sought solitude on purpose because He understood how important that time alone with His Father would be to benefit His work on earth. We are now in a very interesting time in our lives. We have some time to redeem. May we make the best use of the time by adding more prayer time to our new routines. We are not alone. Our Father is near and His nearness is more real when we have some solitude and silence in our lives. Today that solitude seems forced. Maybe a new day will come for us where we will seek solitude because of new habits formed during this time.  We are not sure how long this will last but we can use the time in many ways. How will you use the time?
It is far easier to squander time than to redeem it. Let’s choose carefully how we use the time we have.