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Daily Devotions


If you support our national security issues, you may love and appreciate the United States of America, our Constitution with its’ freedoms, and our American flag.

If you support and practice our fiscal issues, you may value worldly possessions.

If you support and value our social issues, you may love Judeo-Christian values.

If you support and practice all these values, that is all good; an insignia of “Wisdom” . - Oscar Y. Harward

Thursday, May 21, 2015



Author: Merinda Charles, a man who pastored for over 40 years, including the great Moody Memorial Church in Chicago.  Merinda Charles has authored about a hundred books!  He is a great scholar and writer, and I agree with every single word of it.
Rev. Wally Gilmer used this message in teaching ‘Bible Study’ at Freedom Baptist Church, 20015 Coley Store Rd, Locust, NC 28097

1 Peter 5:1-4 

            Times of persecution demand that God’s people have adequate spiritual leadership.  If judgment is to begin at God’s house (1 Pet. 4:17), then that house had better be in order, or it will fall apart.  This explains why Peter wrote this special message to the leaders of the church; to encourage them to do their work faithfully. 
            The New Testament assemblies were organized under the leadership of elders and deacons (1 Tim. 3).  The words “elder” and “bishop” refer to the same office (Acts 20:17, 28).  The word “bishop” is often translated “overseer” (See 1 Pet. 5:2, and note that this title is applied to Christ in 2:25).  “Elder” refers to the maturity of the officer, and “bishop” to the responsibility of the office.  The word “pastor” (which literally means “shepherd”) is another title for the same office (Eph. 4:11).  The elders were appointed to office (Acts 14:23, where the verb “ordain” means “to appoint by the raising of hands.”)  Apparently each congregation had the privilege if voting on qualified men.
            Peter was concerned that the leadership in the local churches be at its best.  When the fiery trial would come, the believers in the assemblies would look to their elders for encouragement and direction.  What are the personal qualities that make for a successful pastor?


            Peter did not introduce himself in this letter as an apostle, or as a great spiritual leader, but simply as another elder.  He did mention, however, the fact that he had personally witnessed Christ’s sufferings (see Matt. 26:36ff).  The Greek word translated “witness” gives us our English word “martyr.”  We usually think of a “martyr” only as one who gives his life for Christ.  But, basically, a “martyr” is a witness who tells what he has seen or heard. 

            It is interesting to read 1 Peter 5 in the light of Peter’s personal experiences with Christ.  Verse 1 takes us to Gethsemane and Calvary.  The glory that shall be revealed” reminds us of Peter’s experience on the Mount of Transfiguration.  The emphasis in verse 2 on the shepherd and the sheep certainly brings to mind John 10 and our Lord’s admonition to Peter in John 21:15-17.

            The warning in verse 3 about “lording it over” the saints reminds us of Christ’s lesson about true greatness in Luke 22:24-30.  The phrase in verse 5, “be clothed with humility” takes us back to the Upper Room where Jesus put on the towel and washed the disciples’ feet. 

            The warning about Satan in verse 8 parallels our Lord’s warning to Peter that Satan was going to “sift” him and the other apostles.  Peter did not heed that warning, and he ended up denying his Lord three times. 

            So Peter wrote these words inspired by the Spirit of God, but also out of his own personal experience with Christ.  He had a vital and growing relationship with Christ, and this made it possible for him to minister effectively to God’s people. 

            The pastor of a local assembly must be a man who walks with God, and who is growing in his own spiritual life.  Paul admonished young Timothy “Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress” (1 Tim. 4:15 NIV).  The word “progress” in the original means “pioneer advancing.”  In other words, the elders must constantly

be moving into new territories of study, achievement, and ministry.  If the leaders of the church are not moving forward, the church will not move forward either.  “Everything rises and falls on leadership” is a much-used quote that is absolutely true.
            Sometimes God permits trials to come to a church so that people will be forced to grow and discover new truths ad new opportunities.  Certainly Peter grew in his spiritual experience as he suffered for Christ in the city of Jerusalem.  He was not perfect by any means.  But, he was yielded to Christ and willing to learn all that God had for him. 

            My counsel to all of God’s shepherds today is to cultivate a growing relationship with Jesus Christ, and then share what He gives you with your people.  That way, you will grow, and they will grow with you.


            The image of the flock is often used in the Bible, and is a very instructive one for us.  (See Ps. 23,100, Isaiah 40:11, Lk. 15:4-6, Jn. 10, Acts 20:28, Heb. 13:20-21, I Pet. 2:25, Rev. 7:17.)  We were once stray sheep, wandering toward ruin.  But, the Good Shepherd found us and restored us to the fold. 

            Sheep are clean animals, unlike dogs and pigs.  Sheep tend to flock together, and God’s people need to stick together.  Sheep are notoriously ignorant and prone to wander away if they do not follow the shepherd.  Sheep are pretty much defenseless and need their shepherd to protect them. 

            But sheep are very useful animals.  Jewish shepherds tended their sheep, not for the meat (which would have been too costly), but for the wool, milk and lambs.  God’s people should be useful to Him and certainly ought to “reproduce” themselves by bringing others to Christ.  Sheep were used for the sacrifices, and we ought to be “living sacrifices,” doing the will of God. 

            Peter reminded the shepherd-elders of their God-given responsibilities:
            1. Feed the Flock of God. (5:2)   The word “feed” means to “shepherd, care for.”  The shepherds had many tasks to perform in caring for the flock.  He had to protect the sheep from thieves, and hooligans.  Today, the pastor must protect God’s people from those who want to spoil the flock. (Acts 20:28-35)  Sometimes the sheep do not like it when their shepherd rebukes or warns them, but this vital ministry is for their own good. 

            The faithful shepherd not only protected his flock, but he also led them from pasture to pasture so that they might be adequately fed.  The shepherd always went before the flock and searched out the best land so that there would be nothing there to harm his flock.  He would check for snakes, pits, poisonous plants, and dangerous animals.  It is vitally important today for the pastor-shepherd lead his people to new pastures in the Word of God and in new Christian experiences.  That’s the only way the sheep will grow! 

            Sometimes it is necessary for a shepherd to seek out a wayward sheep and give it his personal attention.  Some pastors today are only interested in the crowds and have no time for individuals.  Jesus preached to great multitudes, but He also took time to chat with Nicodemus, the woman at the well, and others who had spiritual needs.  The Apostle Paul ministered to people personally in Thessalonica and loved them dearly (1 Thess. 2:11). 

            If a sheep is too rebellious, the shepherd may have to discipline him in some way.  If a sheep has a special need, the shepherd might carry it in his own arms, next to his heart.  At the close of each day, the faithful shepherd would examine each sheep to see if it needed special attention.  He would anoint the bruises and sores with healing oil, and remove and briars and burrs from the wool.  A good shepherd would also know each of his sheep by name and under-stand the different characteristics of each one.
            It is not an easy thing to be a faithful shepherd of God’s sheep!  It is a task that never ends and that demands the supernatural power of God if it is to be done correctly.  What makes it even more challenging is the fact that the flock is not the shepherd’s…it is God’s.  The Bible teaches that every pastor will have to give an account to God for his ministry to the flock.  But the sheep will also one day give an account of how they obeyed their spiritual leaders (Heb. 13:17).  So, both shepherds and sheep, have a great responsibility to each other. 

            2. Take the Oversight.  (5:2)  The word “bishop” means “overseer, one who looks over for the purpose of leading.”  You will notice that the shepherd is both “over” and “among.”  This can create problems if the sheep do not understand this.  Because he is one of the sheep, the pastor is “among” the members of the flock.  But because he is called to be a leader, the pastor is also “over” the flock.  Some people try to emphasize the “among” relationship and refuse to follow the authority of the shepherd.  Others want to put the pastor on a pedestal.  Both of these extremes are unbiblical. 

            The effective pastor needs both relationships.  He must be among his people so that he can get to know them, their needs and problems.  And he needs to be over his people so he can lead them and help them solve their problems.  There must be no conflict between pastoring and preaching, because they are both ministries of a faithful pastor.  The preacher needs to be a pastor so he can apply the Word to the needs of his people.  The pastor needs to be a preacher so that he can have authority when he shares in their daily needs and problems.  The pastor is not a religious lecturer who weekly passes along information about the Bible.  He is a shepherd who knows his people, and seeks to help them through the Word. 

            Being the spiritual leader of a flock has its dangers, and Peter pointed out some of the sins that the elders must avoid.  The first is laziness….”not by constraint, but willingly.”  His ministry must not be just a job that he has to perform.  He should do God’s will from his heart (Eph. 6:6).  Dr. George W. Truett was pastor of First Baptist Church of Dallas, Texas for nearly 50 years!  Often he was asked to accept other non-ministry positions making a lot more money.  He would always respond with “I cannot take another position.  I have sought, and found, a pastor’s heart.”  When a man has a pastor’s heart, he loves the sheep and serves them because he wants to, not because he has to. 

            Next to laziness, the shepherd must beware of covetousness… “not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind.”  It is perfectly proper and biblical to pay the pastor a good salary (1 Cor. 9, 1 Tim. 5:17-18).  And the church ought to be as fair and generous as possible.  But making money must not be the main motive of his ministry.        
The phrase “a ready mind” means an eager mind.”  It is the same word that Paul used in Romans 1:15 where he said he was eager to preach the Gospel.  It means a willingness to serve because of a readiness and eagerness within the heart.  This is the difference between a true shepherd and a hireling.  A hireling works because he is paid for it.  But a shepherd works because he loves the sheep and has a heart devoted to them.  Acts 20:17-38 provides a great description of the heart and ministry of a true shepherd. 

            3. Be An Example To The Flock.  (5:3)  The contrast is between dictatorship and leadership.  You cannot drive sheep.  You must go before them and lead them.  It has been well said that the church needs leaders who serve, and servants who lead.  A Christian leader once said to me, “The trouble we have today is that we have too many who think and act like celebrities, and not enough servants.”   

            It is by being an example that the shepherd solves the tension between being “among” and “over” the sheep.  People are willing to follow a leader who practices what he preaches and gives them an example to imitate.  I know of a church that was always in financial trouble.  No one could understand why.  After the pastor left, it was discovered that he had not himself contributed to the work of the church, but had preached many sermons telling others to contribute!  I heard of another church where the pastor was always preaching and teaching his people to visit and witness and win souls.  Yet he never visited and witnessed himself!  We cannot lead people to do what we do not do ourselves!”


            Since this is the epistle of hope, Peter brought in once again the promise of the Lord’s return.  His coming is an encouragement during suffering (1:7-8) and a motivator for faithful service.  If a pastor ministers to please himself, or to please people, he will have disappointing and difficult ministry.  It must be hard to keep all those people happy,” a visitor said to me after a church service.  I replied with a smile, “I don’t even try to keep them happy.  I try to please the Lord and make Him happy.  And He takes care of the rest.” 

            Jesus Christ is the Good Shepherd who died for the sheep, the Great Shepherd who lives for the sheep, and the Chief Shepherd who is coming back for His sheep.  As the “Chief Shepherd,” Jesus alone can evaluate a man’s ministry and give him the proper reward.  Some who appear to be first may end up last when the Lord examines each man’s ministry. 

            There were several kinds of “crowns” in those days.  The one Peter mentioned was the athlete’s crown; usually a garland of leaves or flowers that would quickly fade away.  The faithful pastor’s crown is a crown of glory, a perfect reward for an inheritance that will never fade away (1:4). 

            Today a Christian worker or leader may labor for many different kinds of rewards.  Some work hard to build personal empires.  Others strive for the applause of men.  Still others seek promotion in their denomination.  All of these things will fade one day.  The only reward we ought to strive for is the “Well done!” of the Savior, and the unfading crown of glory that goes with it.  What a joy it will be to place the crown at His feet (Rev. 4:10) and acknowledge that all we did was because of His grace and power.  We will have NO desire for personal glory when we see Jesus Christ face-to-face. 

            Everything in the local church rises or falls with leadership.  No matter how large or how small a fellowship might be; the leaders must be true Christians, each with a vital personal relationship with Christ, a loving concern for their people, and a real desire to please Jesus Christ, and Him alone.
            We lead by serving, and sometimes we serve by suffering for the Lord.  This is the way Jesus did it….and this is the only way that truly glorifies Him.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Main-stream Media worms are exposing their own decays


By Oscar Y. Harward


‘Freedom of the Press’ is a ‘Right’ giving Medias openness in preventing a tyrannical federal government from destroying our freedoms; not is co-opting and directing a left-wing political party.


There are many references in recent years where impious worms within the ‘Main-stream’ Medias have exposed themselves; coming out of their own decays; rather than exposing corruption(s) within our government.


The more current exposure is now showing as ABC News Anchor George Stephanopoulos displays his political partisanship by donating $75,000 to the Clinton Foundation but failing to report this ‘partisan’ gift even to his ABC bosses or anyone else.


Stephanopoulos continues his support of Democrat Party’s Presidential candidate and former Sec. of State Hillary Clinton, who most likely violated US Code multiple times; time will tell.  Stephanopoulos chastises Republicans and others for questioning Hillary’s ‘quid pro quo’.  Stephanopoulos says Hillary Clinton did not violate any laws. 


What is worse within Stephanopoulos’s hidden support of the Clintons, Stephanopoulos sought to moderate the 2016 GOP Presidential Primary debates; even though he shows his dislike for Republicans.  With Stephanopoulos as Moderator, he may be capable in swaying American voters to his own left-wing schemas.


For these reasons, George Stephanopoulos must be removed and fired.