Posted by: Pastor Terry Hagedorn | May 25, 2018

Today’s Verse for 05/25/2018

Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: — James 1:19 (KJV)

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Thought

Have a brake on your tongue; hit the throttle on your ears. Let your angry email sit three days before responding and make sure you read it and edit it before you send it. Keep you mouth shut and your ears open. They all say the same thing. Now if we would just do it, wouldn’t the Christian community so much more blessed!

Prayer

Mighty and Holy God, you are incredible — beyond my comprehending. How you put up with all the drivel, senseless and hurtful speech that I and your other children spew out is beyond my understanding. I ask that you release the Holy Spirit to convict my heart and guard my lips from any form of hurtful speech. I want my voice to be as much yours as my heart is. This I pray through Jesus. Amen.

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The Thoughts and Prayers for Today’s Verse are written by Phil Ware. You can email questions or comments to phil@heartlight.org.

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Posted by: Pastor Terry Hagedorn | May 24, 2018

Today’s Verse for 05/24/2018

Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another; — Romans 12:10 (KJV)

Thought

Being “devoted to another in brotherly love” requires that our church talk — we’re family, brothers and sisters, children of God — must be more than mere words. We must enter each others lives, getting to know one another so that we can serve, love and bless each other. What have you done lately to get more involved in the lives of your fellow Christians? Devotion to others follows a commitment to know and be known by them!

Prayer

Father, thank you for giving me a world wide family. Thank you for loving me so completely. Father I ask that you help me be more open with myself and my time to those in your family. Give me a heart that burns to bless and be blessed by those you have made your children. Through my brother Jesus I pray. Amen.

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The Thoughts and Prayers for Today’s Verse are written by Phil Ware. You can email questions or comments to phil@heartlight.org.

Posted by: Pastor Terry Hagedorn | May 23, 2018

SMOKING FLAX AT THE COUNTY JAIL

(c) 2000

Words: 1595

SMOKING FLAX AT THE COUNTY JAIL

Matthew 12:20 A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench till he send forth judgment unto victory.

Pastor Terry Hagedorn, Retired

C.H. Spurgeon, in Matthew: The King Has Come, comments on this verse, “The feeblest are not disdained by our Lord Jesus, though apparently useless as a bruised reed or even actually offensive as a smoking flax. He is gentle, and exercises no harsh severity.

He bears and forbears with those who are unlovely in his eyes. He longs to bind up the broken reed and fan the smoking flax into flaming life. Oh, that poor sinners would remember this, and trust him!”

Tom S. was a graduate student. He had a degree in psychology from a state university somewhere. God had saved him and called him to preach. He and I were ministerial students at BJU. We also worked together at a restaurant. One night at work, our conversation had turned to extension ministry.

He had asked, “What ministry are you doing?” (All preacher boys were required to be active in some extension ministry. He was seeking some ministry.)

“The Spartanburg county Jail,” I answered. “But, Tom, you do not want to go to the jail ministry,” I warned. “It is too rough. I am probably not going back myself–ever. However, if you want, I can get you in touch with the guys that do go.”

I had just started going to a jail ministry at the Spartanburg County Jail. However, my first experience had so discouraged me that I determined to never go back. Never!

The county jail–for those of you who have never had the privilege of being there–had a large iron barred area called the “tank.” There were small cells with bunks off of the back of the tank. This jail had six such tanks. The inmates spent their days just sitting on metal benches around a large metal table in the tank socializing–or, probably anti-socializing.

There had just been six of us there. So, I was assigned to go by myself to a whole tank of prisoners. Believe me, it was cruel and unusual punishment for everyone involved–including me! I had never been in a jail. I had not been preaching that long. Now, I found myself standing before a captive–really captive– audience of twenty or so inmates.

I suddenly could not remember my name or the date; let alone, what I was going to preach. I prayed, “Lord, help me!” (The greater the need–the shorter the prayer!)

He did help me. I found my notes. I introduced myself. I told the men why I was there: God loved them and Christ died to save them.

A few men gathered close to hear. Some men went to the cells in the back to lie down on their bunks for the duration. However, a man came out of the shadows of one of

the cells. He sauntered up and stood directly in front of me–only about a foot away.

Thank the Lord for iron bars. Because, he looked like a wild man. It was hard to judge his age. He appeared to be in his twenties. He had long tangled hair. It was tightly bound with a red and white bandanna around his forehead.

Minus that scraggly beard, he would have looked like Crazy Horse. (My apologies to Mr.Horse.) He wore unlaced combat boots, old dirty jeans, a gray tee-shirt and an unbuttoned red plaid flannel shirt. He smelled like urine, vomit, cigarette smoke, and body odor–not necessarily in that order. It was hard to determine which smell was predominate. Evidently that combination is quite a repellent, he didn’t have too many bugs on him.

His wardrobe and hygiene notwithstanding, the worst thing about him was his actions. He had come up there to taunt me, to mock me by repeating every thing I said, and to mimic my every movement.

I do not remember what I preached. Although many folks seem to share that condition, I had no excuse. The message had been echoed right back at me–verbatim! It is hard to preach through an interpreter. It is almost impossible through an interrupter.

Thankfully, time ran out. It was time to go. I concluded my message. There were no obvious decisions. I told them that I wanted to give them something to read as I reached into my inside coat pocket to get some tracts. No tracts–wrong sport coat; Instead, I pulled out a New Testament. It was an ultra-thin copy which I had bought at the

lost and found for fifty cents.

I had told them that I wanted to give them something. So, I–with some reluctance–placed the New Testament on a small ledge on the bars.

The wild looking man immediately snatched it up! He moved to the back like a dog that has stolen a piece of carrion from the rest of the pack. “Well, there goes that New Testament–wasted,” I thought.

I apologized to the others and promised that the next time I came, I would bring them all something to read.

“The next time I came?,” I was reminded of my promise. I said, “Tom, I am going to be going to the jail this week, after all. You can come with me, if you want. But, after this week, I am not going back.”

Tom timidly responded, “Well…I do need to do something. I would like to see what it’s like. I’ll go with you this week–just to observe. Okay?” (I think the story about the wild man scared him.)

“Okay,” I answered with the following warning, “BUT, prepare yourself for a bad experience!”

Including Tom, seven of us went to the jail ministry on Sunday. He told the others that he wanted to go with me. I don’t know why he did. I continued to gripe, complain and paint the bleakest picture possible to Tom.

As the Lord would have it, I was assigned to the same cell. Yet, it wasn’t the same cell; because, as we walked up, I quickly scanned the tank and there was no sight of the wild man.

However, as we approached the bars, three men came over to greet us. One was holding the little ultra-thin New Testament.

“Remember me?,” the one with the Bible asked.

“No,” I said giving him a careful look.

“I was the one who mocked you last week,” he explained.

I could not believe it. It was him! He had shaved. Someone had given him a hair cut–of sorts. His bandanna was gone. His clothes were cleaner. But, the biggest difference was in his countenance. He beamed with joy.

“What happened?,” I asked. I was stupefied.

“I took that New Testament hoping that I could trade it for a pack of cigarettes,” he stated. There was the sound of regret in his voice.

“But, no one would trade. And, I had bummed so many cigarettes that no one would give me anymore. So…,” his voice began to trail off as he proceeded, “when I noticed how thin the pages of this New Testament were…I tore out a blank page, got tobacco out of the cigarette butts off the floor and the butt can, and rolled me a cigarette.”

“The blank pages–and even the title page–did not bother me,” he continued remorsefully, “but, when I got to the printed pages–the Scriptures, I could not do it. Believe it or not, I had been brought up in a Christian home and a good church. I knew better.”

He continued with tears welling up in his eyes, “I could not believe how low I had sunk–to be smoking pages from a Bible! Sir, I have good parents. They love me and pray for me. They took me to church. I got saved as a little boy. But, I rebelled as a teenager. I got into trouble–a lot of trouble. I broke my Mom’s and Dad’s hearts. I didn’t care.”

“Last Sunday…I am sorry for how I made fun…I am sorry…,” fumbling for words he began to weep. “We’ve been reading the Bible you gave me and praying.”

I reached through the bars and took his hand with my right hand. I said, “Why don’t we pray now?”

When I said that, the three men took each other’s hands and began to sink down to their knees on the floor. It was spontaneous. It was the Lord’s doing. (I normally neither

kneel to pray in public, nor hold hands in a circle with anyone–especially not inmates. This day was an exceptional day in many ways!)

As I kneeled down, I took good old dumbfounded Tom’s hand; and, as he kneeled. The reached through and took the hand of the third man in the cell. What a sight that must have been. Five men kneeling in prayer and holding hands in a circle–in the jail!

It was the most wonderful prayer session . I prayed first. Then the–formerly–wild man prayed. Then the other two prayed. They professed faith in Christ and repentance for

sin in their prayers. Tom closed us. Tom never waxed more eloquent in prayer.

Isn’t it amazing how the Lord rules and overrules in the affairs of men? How amazing it is that God’s Word does God’s work–even if you almost smoke it! How amazing it is that the Lord is able to make all things to work together for the good?

As we left the jail, Tom said, “That wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be!”

Amen.

Posted by: Pastor Terry Hagedorn | May 23, 2018

Today’s Verse for 05/23/2018

Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification. — Romans 15:2 (KJV)

Thought

Being depressed and dissatisfied with life can be caused by a myriad of things. But for many of us, these are symptoms that we have focused too much on ourselves and are angry with life. We have forgotten to count our blessings, neglected giving thanks to God, become silent in our praise to our Father, and have quit helping those around us. Thinking of others is how Christ lived. When we follow his example, ours actions make a difference in the lives of those we bless and we also find ourselves immensely blessed as well. Let’s get our focus off ourselves and look to bless our neighbors!

Prayer

Holy and Matchless God, help me see the brokenness, hurt, and difficulties in the lives around me. Please use me to bless others who so desperately need to experience your love and grace. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

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The Thoughts and Prayers for Today’s Verse are written by Phil Ware. You can email questions or comments to phil@heartlight.org.

Posted by: Pastor Terry Hagedorn | May 22, 2018

CHRISTIAN ROCK?

Posted by: Pastor Terry Hagedorn | May 22, 2018

MMM 5/25/2018 Contemporary Christian Music

Posted by: Pastor Terry Hagedorn | May 22, 2018

Today’s Verse for 05/22/2018

For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. — Galatians 5:13 (KJV)

Thought

Freedom is a wonderful gift when it is handled with responsibility. Not being under law is such a sweet grace, but we want to pass that sweetness on to each other through service, kindness, and care.

Prayer

O Great God of Deliverance, thank you for rescuing Israel from Pharaoh’s grasp, David from the sword of Goliath, and Daniel from the lion’s den. But O Great Deliverer, thank you most of all for the triumph of Jesus over sin at Calvary and his victory over death at the empty tomb. I long to see you face to face and thank you for my freedom. Until that day, guide me as I use this gift of liberation to serve you children and live for you. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

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The Thoughts and Prayers for Today’s Verse are written by Phil Ware. You can email questions or comments to phil@heartlight.org.

Posted by: Pastor Terry Hagedorn | May 21, 2018

Today’s Verse for 05/21/2018

Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. — 1 Corinthians 1:10 (KJV)

Thought

If people in our congregations are ever going to get along, the leaders of those churches must remind us of how important it is. Jesus’ dying prayer was that we would be one. Why? So the world would know that the Father had sent him. Unity is not important, it is essential; not just as a theory or theology, but as a daily practice among the people who claim Jesus as Lord.

Prayer

Lord Jesus, you have presented all of my prayers to our Father and I thank you for this grace. I promise that I will do all I can to bring glory of our Father, to live at peace and to serve in unity with those who belong to you. Please bless our church family with more passion for the unity that you desire. In Jesus’ name and through the blessed Holy Spirit I pray. Amen.

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The Thoughts and Prayers for Today’s Verse are written by Phil Ware. You can email questions or comments to phil@heartlight.org.

Posted by: Pastor Terry Hagedorn | May 20, 2018

ABIDE WITH ME

Abide with me: fast falls the eventide

Author: Henry Francis Lyte (1847)

Full Text

1 Abide with me: fast falls the eventide;

the darkness deepens; Lord, with me abide.

When other helpers fail and comforts flee,

Help of the helpless, O abide with me.

2 Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day;

earth’s joys grow dim, its glories pass away.

Change and decay in all around I see.

O Lord who changes not, abide with me.

3 I need your presence every passing hour.

What but your grace can foil the tempter’s power?

Who like yourself my guide and strength can be?

Through cloud and sunshine, O abide with me.

4 I fear no foe with you at hand to bless,

though ills have weight, and tears their bitterness.

Where is death’s sting? Where, grave, your victory?

I triumph still, if you abide with me.

5 Hold now your Word before my closing eyes.

Shine through the gloom and point me to the skies.

Heaven’s morning breaks and earth’s vain shadows flee;

in life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.

Psalter Hymnal

Posted by: Pastor Terry Hagedorn | May 20, 2018

WHAT DO YOU VALUE

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