Daily Encouragement, Uncategorized

How Perfect makes His decisions.

By Pastor Mark Quick

It’s our nature to question the actions, non-actions, decisions, non-decisions and timing of God. We are in need of a breakthrough and being stuck in the waiting room feels frustrating. Your peace in the storm, however, comes from being anchored in faith toward the mind and person of God.

You’ve probably heard of “insider trading” on the news. Usually it is in the context of someone being prosecuted amid some major investing scandal. Insider trading is defined as: “the buying or selling of a security by someone who has access to material nonpublic information about the security.” In simpler terms, this trader has access to and acts upon information not available to the regular investor. It’s not always illegal, but illegal insider trading is what we usually hear about.

Imagine how much more successful your investment activity would be if you had access to internal boardroom conversations, the thoughts and plans of company executives and had a way to see into the future and know what market conditions are coming. What if, knowing what you know now, you could time travel back to the start of Apple Corporation and invest a few dollars in its stock? Wow.

Consider God’s statement in Isaiah 46:9-10, “Remember the former things of old,
For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me, Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things that are not yet done,
Saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, And I will do all My pleasure …”

We humans love to question and second guess God. We humans love to character assassinate God. “If He is good, why does He allow evil?” We ask questions along the lines of, “Does God hear me or care about my dilemma?” I could go on.

Take a step back though. Imagine with me that you as a being possess and embody within yourself, independent and transcendent of anything:

  • Perfect wisdom.
  • Perfect mercy.
  • Perfect love.
  • Perfect knowledge.
  • Perfect justice.
  • Perfect power.
  • That you are utterly and completely – Perfect … Perfect … Perfect!

If I knew everything that could possibly be known – past, present and future; If I were the absolute embodiment of love, justice, mercy and kindness; If I were able to do absolutely and totally anything I willed without hindrance … How might that affect my decision-making?

Our gripes against God are like preschoolers complaining about their doctorate level teacher forcing them to learn their letters. We’d rather be out on the playground. But we preschoolers lack perspective. We need to know our letters!

Remember that whatever God does for you, to you, through you or in you … whatever God does not do … It all is born out of His absolute perfection.

So be at rest.

Daily Encouragement

My life is the mind of God.

By Pastor Mark Quick
Watching a little bit of the Oscars and the Superbowl reminded me that all that really matters in the end is whether I have the approval of God.
Tom Brady received great praise for his Superbowl performance and is worthy of such respect based on his accomplishments. Just a few weeks later most of Hollywood’s brightest stars lifted praise to one another, some even weeping when they won or when others they cared about won an Academy Award. I will probably never win an Oscar. It’s the high point for an actor and I take nothing away from their accomplishment.
But watching these things reminded me that when everything is said and done it is only the opinion of God that matters. If I attain to the highest pinnacles of praise in athletics, or business, the theater arts or warfare … you name it … but when I stand before God do not hear His praise, then what will it matter at that point?
I was a thought in the mind of God before ever I was born on the Earth. The Psalmist David states this clearly.
“Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written,
The days fashioned for me, When as yet there were none of them.” [Psalm 139:6]

So there is the essence and meaning of life … God thought about me, God planned me and God has a predetermined purpose for me. Everyone on earth might think I’m fantastic, but if I don’t please Him who is the creator and the final judge, I’ve not lived a successful life.

My life is a quest. It is a quest to ascertain what is in His mind concerning my existence and then to walk it out.

This is why we pray – to ask God for His will. It is why we quiet ourselves in worship and meditation – to hear the voice of His Spirit. It is why we read and put into practice the commands and precepts of the Bible – so that by obedience we may position ourselves to walk in His plan for us and so that we may behave wisely, in concert with eternal principles.

Our purpose and meaning reside in the mind of God. Developing a relationship with Him is not burdensome. It is the wind in our sails that propels us along on a joyful journey toward becoming fully and finally a contented, completed, commendable soul.

For Leaders

Do your part to build the Kingdom of God – support your leader.

By Pastor Mark Quick

Israel’s King David receives a great deal of attention in the Bible, and rightly so. Under his leadership the political order was established, worship was centralized and enemies were neutralized. He is worthy of honor. However, there is no King David without “David’s Mighty Men.”

The Bible, in 2 Samuel 23 and 1 Chronicles 10, records the names and examples of the deeds accomplished by David’s Mighty Men. Here is a sampling of various things these individuals did, actions that separated them out as deserving of recognition and as contributors to the advancement of Israel:

  • One killed 800 men at one time.
  • One fought and helped win a great victory when the majority of others had fled.
  • One defended a field and won a battle when all the regular soldiers had fled.
  • Three broke through a garrison of Philistines to get water from the well of Bethlehem in order to encourage the heart of David.
  • One killed 300 men at one time.
  • One killed two lion-like men of Moab, killed an Egyptian of great stature and to top it off, went down into a pit on a snowy day and killed a lion.

Let me summarize by saying they were men who possessed skill. They were men who acted with bravery. They were men who cared about their leader and encouraged him. They were men who confronted and took care of problems.

There is only room in a kingdom for one king. Anything with more than one head is a monster, I heard a pastor say. However, there is all kinds of room for all kinds of mighty men. The more the better!

I want you to notice above all, what motivated these mighty men:

Now these were the heads of the mighty men whom David had, who strengthened themselves with him in his kingdom, with all Israel, to make him king, according to the word of the Lord concerning Israel. [1 Chronicles 11:10]

Pay attention to that phrase, “according to the word of the Lord concerning Israel.” These men supported David, I am certain, because they loved him. More importantly, they supported David because God’s agenda was their agenda. They supported David because they supported the advancement of their people.

Allow me to make the obvious application. If our leader does well, the church does well. If our leader succeeds, the work of God succeeds. It’s a wonderful experience when our leader is lovable and our work is productive for kingdom advancement. However, regardless of their loveliness, here is the bottom line … We support godly leaders because we support the agenda of God.

Notice I inserted the word “godly” there. No one is perfect, so we have to allow for the fact that our leaders are growing and developing in their walk with God just as we are. However, I am not ignorant of the fact that there are some leaders who are self-serving, engage in unethical and non-biblical behavior and whom we may not support in good conscience. We’ve got to be reasonable.

But thank God, despite all his flaws, it is said of David in Psalm 78 that he shepherded the people of God. The overall report card on David is that he was a repentant man and he was a man that cared about the people of God. We can support an imperfect leader if he has a heart like that.

In all this, I pray simply that whatever place we hold in the kingdom, be it a faithful volunteer or a paid church staff member, let us become mighty men and women. Let us kick butt for Jesus. Let us get water from the well to encourage our leaders. Let us set our hearts on the agenda of God and attack obstacles and knock out the enemy’s teeth. Let us be the one who goes down into the pit and solves the problem. Let us be the one who doesn’t abandon the field in times of trouble. Let us be the one who believes God is bigger than the Egyptian or the Moabite that is confronting us.

Let us get our minds where it needs to be, on advancing the agenda of God.

– In the mighty name of King Jesus, Amen

A Word to the Nation

Recent protests demonstrate spiritually darkened minds.

By Pastor Mark Quick

This past week marked the inauguration of now President Donald Trump, an event punctuated by many protests attended by many marchers. Their lack of logic and clear thinking demonstrates the consequences of idolatry.

“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them … His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made … because although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image …” [Romans 1:18-23]

I watched news coverage as celebrities and activists and common people chanted about “women’s rights,” paramount among them the “right” to abort their unborn babies. I thought about that passage once again.

We don’t like the rules of God, so we reject the creator God and shape for ourselves another god more to our liking. It’s a god we fabricate in our mind or even with our hands. Our god approves of our behavior, shares our values and adapts to our lusts.

The consequence of this is severe. We become “futile” in our thoughts, that is, characterized by a lack of sense. You can’t reason with an idolater. They shout and scream about having a right to kill an unborn baby. They shout that the government has no right and others have no right to tell them what to do with their bodies. But, that is what every law does. Every law is telling me I can’t do something with my body. I can’t use my body to kill my neighbor … I can’t use my body to steal my neighbor’s car … I can’t use my body to operate a car at excessive speed … I can’t use my body to swindle … I can’t use my body to do a whole lot of things. Their argument is senseless.

An additional consequence of idolatry is that our hearts become “foolish” and “darkened.” That is, we become stupid and blind.

That’s why it is hard to have a decent discussion with pro-choice advocates. They have rejected the created order and its God and as a result their minds and hearts have become futile, foolish and darkened.

That’s a bold statement, some of you might say, maybe to a pro-baby-murder advocate it’s even arrogant. But I am willing to say it because it agrees with the revelation of Almighty God and also because I am baffled about how a supposedly intelligent person can scream and spit and waive their hands in the air about how they have a right to terminate the most innocent of life – an unborn baby.

Years ago when I was a college student and editor of the campus newspaper one of the reporters and I got into a debate about abortion. Finally, I looked at her and said, “Well, it’s unfortunate your mother did not have one. I would have been spared from this asinine conversation.” She became angry at me, which puzzled me. Had she not thought about that? Had her mother exercised this “right” while pregnant with her then she would not be here.

And so it is. More than 60 million Americans have been obliterated. How many lawyers, doctors, scientists, athletes, electricians, plumbers, truck drivers, carpenters, policemen, firemen, governors, senators, artists, musicians, sailors, soldiers, merchants, entrepreneurs and inventors … are GONE because of abortion?

God have mercy on the fools who stand up and chant in favor of that.

Daily Encouragement

Are we worshiping God or circumstances?

By Pastor Mark Quick

I’ve been reading in Exodus and realizing what short memories we have concerning the goodness of God in our lives. It’s reminded me that the key to peace and progress is to keep my attitude anchored in God and not my surroundings.

Exodus 15:22-27 tells of the fact that just three days after crossing the Red Sea and there witnessing the destruction of the great Egyptian army, that after witnessing all the great plagues God brought on Egypt, the people of God now find themselves three days into their journey and without water.

They came to a place on the third day called Marah and found it’s water unsuited for consumption, unpalatable. This launched them into a fit of complaining. I’ll be honest, I kind of get it.

I don’t know many people who have gone three whole days without access to water. I haven’t. Imagine you are out there in the desert and with a mixed company of men, women, old people, children and an abundance of livestock and there is nothing to drink. You don’t even have shelter – you have no house. There are no markets. There is only an expanse of rough, dry and inhospitable terrain stretching out for miles around you. And you finally get to a place where there is water, and it is “bitter,” it cannot be consumed. It’s adding insult to injury.

I would like to say I would not have complained, that I would have been a great man of faith and patience. I’m reluctant to say that.

In reality, we are like fruit. If you squeeze a lemon, it squirts forth lemon juice. If you squeeze an orange, you get orange juice. Similarly, when life squeezes a person something is going to come out. It might be sweet or it might be bitter, but in all likelihood, if the trial is hot enough and the press heavy enough, it will be honest.

This section of Exodus assures us that God was leading them and that God was testing them. And just three days after the circumstances of victory at the Red Sea squeezed forth from them shouts of praise and dances of joy, the three-days journey and bitter waters of Marah have elicited choruses of complaints.

We must remain mindful to keep our praise rooted in who God is and what God has done. It can’t be localized praise. We ought to praise God when the enemy is drowned in the sea. And we ought to praise God when we find ourselves thirsty and confronted with bitter water.

Easier said than done, I realize. Verse 27 encourages us, because after Marah came a place called Elim. At Elim there were 12 wells and 70 palm trees. Between the Red Sea and Elim there may be a Marah in our journey, just like between two mountain peaks there will likely always be a valley.

Keep your praise going. Keep your fellowship with godly people going. Keep your prayers going. Keep your giving going. Keep your ministry going. Every Christian is going to have Red Sea times, Marah times, and Elim times. It’s life.

A Word to the Nation

Anti-Trump protesters are manifesting the sinful nature.

By Pastor Mark Quick

Watching these rioters who are coming unhinged because Trump won is sickening and I also think it’s revealing their spiritual condition and that of the American Left.

The Bible says in Galatians chapter five that the “fruit of the flesh” (sinful nature) includes “contentions” and “outbursts of wrath.”

I did not vote for Barak Obama in 2008 or 2012. As a Christian, I could not support a candidate who announced his support of abortion and gay marriage and as a thinking person I could not support the socialist policies he promised to implement. Those policies didn’t work in the rest of the world for the past century, why would they work here?

However, once the election was over, you will be glad to know that I did not head out the door so that I could loot, throw rocks, start fires and chant, “F–k Obama!”

I say it every time I post lately, but I will say it again, I was not and am not a Trump fan or apologist. He has scandals and moral issues. But so do the Clintons. I had to choose based on the candidate’s publicly stated positions concerning the sanctity of life and marriage, and secondly on their other policies. Their scandals basically canceled out, unfortunately.

Watching this rioting is so disappointing and irritating. It is barbaric, uncivilized, and horribly immature. But what can we expect from people who supported a candidate who believes it is OK to terminate babies for convenience and affronts God by redefining marriage? We can expect them to manifest their lack of a conscience.

What we are seeing is people’s true colors. The American Left ought to be proud.

The morning show hosts were puzzling and questioning this morning over what sort of outreach Trump should make to these hurt and disaffected people – the rioters.

I’ll tell you what I feel. We ought to “reach out” all right. We ought to reach out with a slap across the face and say, “Grow up! Deal with it just like we did for the past eight years.”

A Word to the Nation

I fear for the idea that is America.

By Pastor Mark Quick

This presidential election campaign and the accusations of racism against Donald Trump which got so much traction because he suggested, among other things, a wall along our southern border or screening entrants to our country from Muslim nations, has me greatly concerned.

The foundation that has made America unique and a land of blessing and opportunity and provided the energy for the civil rights movement is found in our national birth certificate, The Declaration of Independence. Notice these words:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed …

Our founders believed that our rights come from God and that the purpose of government is to secure those rights. Our rights are not granted to us by a king, or a parliament, or a congress, or by law enforcement officers or by a court. The institutions of government exist, in their view, to safeguard our God-given rights.

In their view, the people institute the government and the government serves the people.

I am not and have not been a Donald Trump fan. This post is not meant to be a defense of him as a person. Rather, the context of complaints against him has me concerned.

Since when is it racist to secure our border? Most of us lock our doors and windows at night because we understand that there are mean people in the world who might wish to steal our belongings or do us harm. We need to secure our border for the same reasons. Drug cartels and terrorists had not ought to find the front door of our country swung wide open. It is the job of government to secure our borders.

Since when is it racist to acknowledge that Islamic terrorists are blowing up and burning down the world, that Isis is on the march beheading people, that groups like Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad, Boko Haram, the Taliban and tens of dozens like them are blowing up school buses and markets and are kidnapping girls or have promised to infiltrate refuge groups?

And where on earth do we find an Islamic nation that has liberty? Why aren’t American liberals clamoring to move to Islamic nations?

This election was certainly a “lesser of two evils” scenario. It is offensive, however, when the liberal media and others say common sense concerns about border security and immigration enforcement are motivated by racism.

People like me, who want to preserve the idea of America, are not racist. We simply recognize that wide open borders and willful ignorance about the reality of terrorism are going to get us killed and that refusal to appreciate America’s exceptionalism is eroding our freedoms.

People like me, who want to preserve the idea of America, have seen enough of illegal immigrants marching for rights and benefits while waving the flag of their home nation in our face. What if I did that in any other foreign country?

Is it wrong for people like me to want to ensure that those who come to America appreciate, understand and will uphold the idea that is America? It’s so precious.

It’s not racist to cherish what made America great. It’s not racist to be concerned at the erosion of that idea when people refuse to enter legally, want to blow us up, or undermine that value by voting for socialist politicians seeking to redistribute wealth, nationalize healthcare or to surrender our national sovereignty to the United Nations.

Regarding that last point, I have never understood why people will go to such great lengths to flee oppression and come to America and then vote for people who espouse a system like where they came from.

Many of us want to preserve the idea that is America. We are not racist. We just have our eyes open.