For the past week, the East Coast has been suffocating under a heat wave of monumental proportions. When you work inside an industrial laundry, standing over an iron, working the soil room, or doing load out a heat wave means that you are literally melting! Our plant is in the process of installing spot cooling systems to help in times like these, but it is not yet available in all areas for everyone’s benefit.
As I looked around the building this week, temperatures were nearing triple digits outside. With all of the equipment in operation, temperatures within the building were well over triple digits. Something truly caught my attention: not one person was complaining! Coolers of water and Gatorade were brought in, and people had cool rags around their necks, but most amazing was how each one of them had a smile on their face and worked at full steam. In fact, it was more than full steam. The plant finished faster than normal.
We often forget to say thank you because we are so focused on the day to day work, but today is different. I would like to thank each one of you for your positive, winning attitude in the plant. Your hard work and your steadfast resolve gets the job done for our valued customers. It is because of you, the backbone of this company, that Halifax Linen is celebrating its 70th year in business. It is a blessing and an honor to work with each of you. Please know that you are truly valued and appreciated.
Romans 8:26-29 (NASB) 26 In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; 27 and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. 28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. 29 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren;
Have you ever looked at the back of a cross-stitched piece of work? If you were to only look at the back then you might say that the artist had no idea what in the world they were doing. It looks like random pieces of threads that is mangled together to resemble absolutely nothing. We may be tempted to look at our lives in the same manner. What does everything mean as it unfolds within my life? We walk through very troubled waters whether it is physically, emotionally, relationally, financially, and spiritually. What in the world is God doing in our life? What is He attempting to accomplish through the turmoil or blessings? If we could have things our way then we would be healthy, happy, and financially comfortable; however, our vision is often shortsighted as we only see the present. What is God’s ultimate desire in my life? Does He even care about my level of comfort? Doesn’t He want me to be happy? I wonder if we would be satisfied if God gave us everything that we ever wanted or desired if those things led us to a self-centered, egotistical lifestyle that was void of God or the desire for Him. What if the blessings actually led us to be eternally separated from God? Paul is attempting to instruct us in that we can only see the backside of the piece of cross-stitch. God’s desire is not for our level of comfort but how much the other side resembles Jesus (v29). God is working and moving so that the world will see a transformed life that is a beaming example of what God’s grace, mercy, love, and transforming power can do if we allow Him to work. God is moving. God is working. His Spirit is interceding because all things are working together to fulfill God’s plan in our lives. Can you see Jesus in your life? Keep focusing on the Master and allow Him to accomplish His deep work in your heart so that the world will not see the mangled backside but a beautiful picture of Jesus.
2 Chronicles 7:13-14 (NASB) 13 If I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or if I command the locust to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among My people, 14 and My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
Solomon had just dedicated the Temple as God’s glory had filled the place. God was speaking to Solomon and illustrating the path back to His heart. God has told Israel that there will be blessings if they follow Him; however, His hand would be removed if they turned their backs on Him and trials and troubles would follow. However, God instructed Solomon and Israel that there was a way to get back to His heart and blessings. It is my opinion that America is like a modern day Israel. God has greatly blessed this country; however, we have turned our backs on the One who has blessed us so greatly. We are a country that is in turmoil. We have become a country that is racially, politically, socially, and financially divided. There is so much animosity, anger, and utter despair that it seems as if we are a decaying, rotting piece of wood that is falling apart. Where did we go wrong? We simply have forgotten God and pushed Him aside! America somehow thinks that she is self-sufficient. Our devaluing of life began when we stopped protecting the unborn. We stopped standing for truth as the Bible is no longer welcomed in the public forum, our schools, or the general work place. We have proclaimed our arrogant attitudes of autonomy as simple prayer is shunned as offensive. It is heart breaking to see how far we have fallen. Is there any hope for America? Can this mighty ship be turned around from its course of self-destruction? This will not happen by electing someone new into the White House! We do not need a political revival! This will not happen on Wall Street! We do not need a financial revival! This will not happen in the public relations department as we link arms, sing around the fire, and treat each other better! We do not need just a racial and social revival! The only chance that America has if she will once again turn her face back towards God, pray, and repent. But the church cannot wait for world to lead her as she should be leading the world back to the heart of God. Do you see the current trouble as well as what lies ahead? Are you going to do something about it? Let this mighty revival begin with me and spread like wild fire across this great nation. Let the evidence of God’s love and mercy melt the hardest heart as God heals this land.
Romans 4:25-5:5 (NASB) 4:25 He who was delivered over because of our transgressions, and was raised because of our justification. 5:1 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. 3 And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; 4 and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; 5 and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
There was a man I used to visit in the nursing home who was just a little bit older than I was at the time. He had been there for over 30 years because of a vehicle accident. He was unable to do anything for himself as nurses bathed, clothed, moved, fed, and everything else on a daily basis. He could only move his arms; however, his hands were useless because of the accident. This correlates with our own situation with sin. Sin and its effects had to be paid for; however, we are helpless in doing anything about it. Sin and its effects cause a break in one’s relationship with God. So what are we to do? We can try and do good things to cover up our bad and “hope” in the end that our good deeds outweigh the bad. However, that is not the way things work as Romans 3 tells us that no one is righteous and our deeds are worthless. We have been justified by faith by the substitutionary death of Jesus on the cross for the sin of the world. This means that we are no longer under the penalty of death and separation from God. Can you believe it but there is more. Paul states in v3 that he exults (or glories, rejoices, or even gloats) in that God justifies our life but His love continues to be poured into our hearts as we walk through the troubles and trails of life. I for one fail to fully realize the gift or gifts that have been given to my life. Can you stop for a moment and ponder the gift of grace and mercy upon your life? Can you fathom that you have been justified and you are righteous because of Jesus’ sacrifice for our sin? Can you fathom the gift of God’s love that continually flows into our daily lives? Dear God, with a humble heart I simply say thank you. Thank you for Your grace, mercy, and love. I cannot comprehend nor grasp how much You love us. There are only two things that I possess, which are my worship and my life. These I lay at Your feet. Amen.
Romans 1:1 (NASB) Paul, a bond-servant of Christ Jesus, [a]called as an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God,
I preached from this scripture last evening and desired to share it with you as well. I know it is a little lengthy; however, I pray that you will read and ponder.
Is the only lot in life that a person is to experience in Christ pertaining to salvation? Do we come to know Christ as our Savior and all that comes along with that wonderful experience and proceed to wait for heaven? I think that Paul understood his life in a different manner. He called himself a bond-servant of Christ Jesus. There are a few items that sum up a bond-servant’s life and I wonder if they explain our lives as well. The first item is that a bond-servant is identified with its Master. There should be no secret Christian walk but the world should know that we are different. Our speech, attitudes, behaviors, thoughts and actions should all identify or reflect Jesus. Secondly, a bond-servant is obedient to its Master. There is no questioning or reasoning things out in wondering if the Master’s command was to be followed. If the Master gave a command to jump then you did not ask Him why? You asked Him, how high? The bond-servant of Jesus has been given orders, which is written in His Word. The only thing we must do is read and obey. Thirdly, a bond-servant worked tirelessly for its Master. In 1 Corinthians 4:1 “Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God,” Paul links the two ideas of servant-hood and stewardship together. A servant is supposed to be a worker. Being a Christian is not a sideline occupation but a worker until He comes or I go to see Him. We may not all be preachers or teachers; however, there is something that everyone can do to build the kingdom for Jesus. If you do not know what to do then ask your pastor (and you might have to pick him or her up off of the floor because they cannot believe that someone is volunteering to do something instead of having to be begged or shamed into working). Lastly, you do not have to worry about a thing because a bond-servant’s every need is taken care of by the Master. This is why Paul could state Philippians 4:19 in that God will supply every need according to the riches is Christ Jesus. There is only one question that remains. Have you experienced the saving and transforming power of Christ, which propels us to be a bond-servant of Christ Jesus? Or are we a sideline observer or cheerleader? I for one am not sure of the former if we are just the latter? Dear Lord, you have saved me, transformed me and commissioned me; therefore, I am Your bond-servant. Use every ounce of my life until I am used up in order to glorify Your wonderful name!
Halifax Linen would like to give a special Happy Birthday shout out to our Vice President, fearless leader and friend Ernest Addington. Ernest, 29 never looked so good.
1 Chronicles 22:5 (NASB) David said, “My son Solomon is young and inexperienced, and the house that is to be built for the Lord shall be exceedingly magnificent, famous and glorious throughout all lands. Therefore now I will make preparation for it.” So David made ample preparations before his death.
In every job that I have worked in my life I have received some sort of training to prepare me for the work. This training didn’t cover everything; however, they covered the basics. If something new came up then someone with the necessary experience gave instruction for the task. David could have sat back on his accomplishments with satisfaction and let Solomon fend for himself. David could have said that he didn’t have anyone prepare his way so Solomon can do it himself with on the job training and figure it all out on his own. It could be said that David is entering the discipleship process because he is instructing Solomon in what he needs to do. Are we preparing the next generation spiritually so that they might be able to stand up for Christ no matter what they might have to endure? Many will state that this is the job of the preacher, the Sunday school teacher, or youth leader. I beg to differ with you. May we hear the challenge that Moses gave Israel as they were going into the Promise Land in Deuteronomy 11:18-21 (NASB) 18 “You shall therefore impress these words of mine on your heart and on your soul; and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. 19 You shall teach them to your sons, talking of them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road and when you lie down and when you rise up. 20 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates, 21 so that your days and the days of your sons may be multiplied on the land which the Lord swore to your fathers to give them, as long as the heavens remain above the earth.” Every aspect of my life ought to illustrate the ways of Jesus so that I might lead and teach those around me in the ways of Christ. You might remember that Jesus called upon us to go and make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19). Are you preparing someone to follow Jesus? If not then gather your children, grandchildren, neighbors, friends, or co-workers and teach them to walk in Christ. If they are left to figure it out on their own then they might choose the wrong path. We must make preparations for the next generation.