Sermon Says: Alway, Always, & Forever (Part 1)

As I personally witnessed an eloquent, spirited Minister, during a Revival in Winston-Salem last Summer, I knew I was being blessed!  Have you ever had that spiritual feeling while seeing a fine, well-delivered Sermon?

  • What’s more central to Christian Assurance than this: I’ll be with you always to the end.

Dr. Rev. James D. Ballard preached on the second half of the last (20th) verse of the last chapter (28th) of the Book of Matthew.  While this chapter is perhaps best known for the Great Commission, which he powerfully covered in the Sermon, Ballard’s skillful exploration of the ‘I’ll be with you’ principle is what still lingers in my soul.

In this post I will offer three excerpts (below Scripture) from Ballard’s Sermon; an audio of same Therefore sermon, delivered at Springfield Baptist Church (January 2017), is source of quotes.  In Part 2 post I will expand on what Dr. Ballard said (and provide a link to the audio of the entire Sermon).  His own words, however, are provided below and speak volumes.  I’ve chosen to let you read and reflect on them . . . before I offer my own thoughts on the sovereignty and power of God.

Place:  New Jerusalem Missionary Baptist Church, Winston Salem NC (Pastor Ronald E. Speas, Summer Revival)

Date:  August 29, 2018

Minister:  Dr. Rev. James D. Ballard

Scripture:   Matthew 28: 16 – 20 KJV

Title of Sermon:  “Therefore” (three excerpts below Scripture)


16 Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them.  17 And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted.  18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.


  • “This little word, Lo, means look, observe, pay attention, take notice. That’s all it means.  It means that I’ll be with you.  I’ll be with you when you realize it and I’ll be with you when you don’t.  I’ll be with you when things go well, and I’ll be with you when they don’t”.

  • “Let me just suggest that because a person is beside you, it doesn’t mean they are with you. Being with someone has nothing to do with geographic proximity or personal location.  A lot of folks beside you are not with you, and a lot of that are no where near you are praying for you right now”.

  • “Alway denotes distance. Always denotes time.  So it doesn’t matter how far you go, or how long it takes you to get there, he’s still with you.  God does not give up on us like we give up on each other.  When we stumble sometimes, God keeps us from falling.  And when we fall, God picks us up, because he’s always with us”.

(to be continued)

66 Assurance Way


Photo credit: ford_paul/flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

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Jesus Christ Was Born: “Go Tell It on the Mountain”


While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them. And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.  An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.

Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”  Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

Luke 2: 6-14 NASB


Merry Christmas from 66 Assurance Way

Thanksgiving Devotional (Part 3)

 

Don’t Complain, Praise and be Thankful

Christian life offers joyful and unjoyful dimensions.

Surely enjoy the joyful aspects of your life as a follower of Christ, but appreciate that you’ll encounter trials, storms, and challenging paradoxes along the way.

Remember all things work together for the good for those who love the Lord.


Paul Morton’s classic song “I Won’t Complain” flows from the good and bad times that all, including Christians, face.  Despite all you endure in life, knowing that you’re not ‘in the fiery furnace’ alone (Daniel 3: 19-30) should give you great comfort as an abiding Christian.



  • A post I published on this blog a few years ago, Nine Paradoxes of Christian Living may offer spiritual food for thought.  It isn’t a long form post, but I believe you will see an aspect of your walk with Christ that will make more sense after reading it.
  • 30 Thankful Bible verses from one of my favorite websites, biblestudytools.com is a resource well worth tapping. As they state in that piece: “Read through these Bible verses to reflect on all that we have to be thankful for. Find some quiet time to pray and thank God, read Scripture out-loud, and find a renewed heart that is filled with peace and joy!
  • Need to dive into another timely Devotional? A YouVersion blog post, Why Gratitude is Great for You, offers other Thankfulness and Thanksgiving Devotionals.
  • Miss the first two parts of this Thanksgiving Devotional?  Part 1.   Part 2.

To God be the Glory.  I’m thankful he’s always with me and that he can do more than I can ask or imagine.  What a friend I thankfully have in Jesus.

Peace be with you.  Have a happy and safe Thanksgiving.


SCRIPTURE

The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want.  He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters.  He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake.  Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.  You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You have anointed my head with oil; My cup overflows.  Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, And I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

Psalm 23 (NASB)

 


Happy Thanksgiving from 66 Assurance Way


Photo Credit (Cross): Dave King / flickrCC

Thanksgiving Devotional (Part 2)

The first step to showing gratitude, to God or another person, is one’s thankfulness. A person who isn’t thankful can’t show gratitude either.  Let your Thanksgiving be one of thankfulness AND gratefulness



As I expressed last Spring in Christians: Do You Have a Gratitude Attitude? (Praise)

Your Praise is literally music to God’s ears.  It pleases him and drives the Devil crazy!  To put it simply, the God-exalting Praise of a Christian man availeth much!  Having a ‘gratitude attitude’ in your thankfulness towards the Lord is as valuable as your faith and prayers. 



SCRIPTURE

Oh, magnify the Lord with me,
and let us exalt his name together!

I sought the Lord, and he answered me
and delivered me from all my fears.

Psalm 34:3-4 ESV


  • If you missed the first part of this 3-part Devotional / Link
  • Need another Praise song to get you in the spirit?  Lord, I’m Available to You may be just what you need – a gospel classic.
  • Hoping your Thanksgiving is full of people with a ‘gratitude attitude’.  If it is, know that you are truly blessed.

66 Assurance Way


 

Thanksgiving Devotional (Part 1)

Count your Blessings, Instead of your Crosses;

Count your Gains, Instead of your Losses;

Count your Joys, Instead of your Woes;

Count your Friends, Instead of your Foes;

Count your Smiles, Instead of your Tears;

Count your Courage, Instead of your Fears;

Count your Health, Instead of your Wealth;

Count on God, Instead of Yourself.

  • From the Morning Service Program of my church, New Jerusalem Missionary Baptist Church, yesterday.  With life’s smiles come tears of sadness.  However, you’re NOT in this alone.
  • Count on God and you’ll reap the benefits of Christian Assurance!  Check out the 9 Pillars of Assurance at the top of this page.
  • When I heard the words above read (Thoughts for the Day) I knew I had to share them!
  • Look for the 2nd and 3rd Parts of this Thanksgiving Devotional Series in the days ahead.

Happy Thanksgiving from 66 Assurance Way.


  • “Thank You” / Walter Hawkins and Donnie McClurkin

SCRIPTURE

  • For what thanks can we render to God for you, for all the joy with which we rejoice for your sake before our God.  1 Thessalonians 3:9 (NKJV)
  • Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise.  Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. Psalm 100:4 (NKJV)

 


66 Assurance Way

Pray for Those Who Grieve


Tomorrow isn’t promised.  In the last 48 hours I’ve learned of passing of two fellow alumni from my alma mater, Brown University.  Marlene G. Brown (West Windsor NJ) and Gideon M. Leaks (Brooklyn NY).

I knew Marlene well; we both went to high school in Great Neck NY.  I just saw Gideon at a great reunion gathering in Providence, RI last month.  Two great people. Both were fifty something.  When people you went to college with in the early 80s pass away it makes you realize that tomorrow is surely not promised.

  • Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring. Proverbs 27:1 ESV

I just hope that I shall wear a crown when I pass away.

This NC choir encourages me to live in such a way that I will wear that crown some day.

  • In a weekend when 11 Jewish people worshiping were senselessly murdered at  a Pittsburgh synagogue, Tree of Life, let’s pray for the families of those eleven families and my two late fellow alumni. I am greatly saddened today.
  • I can’t help but recall the Mother Emanuel (SC) massacre a few years ago.  And the Texas church shooting more recently.  I will never get comfortable with the senselessness of killing people, whatever their race or religion, while worshiping. And never will.

Please cherish today and pray for all those who are grieving the loss of loved ones, friends, or neighbors.

To God be the Glory.

Greg Silverthorne, 66 Assurance Way

God: He’ll Test, but Never Tempt You



Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.

James 1:13-14 NKJV


  • My Pastor said a few months ago: God will test you, but he’ll never tempt you.  I never knew the origin, but the statement lingered in my mind.  When I stumbled on to this verse I needless to say did.  Only the Devil will attempt to tempt an abiding Christian.

P.S. I am happy to say this blog is in it’s sixth year.  The 5th anniversary day (September 21st) slipped my mind, because I was out of town.  Participating in a Choir at a Reunion at my alma mater (Brown University) during the third weekend of September (9/21 – 9/23) had me flying to Rhode Island . . . and singing with fellow Black alumni – going back to the late sixties classes.

P.P.S.  I didn’t realize I had not blogged for three months until Tuesday.  LSS my life has been a roller coaster since early July.  Joyful events have been intermingled with storms I didn’t ‘order’; thankfully the Lord allowed me to be delivered and endure my afflictions (Psalm 34:19) and keep on ‘stirring my gift’.  With my full armor of God on, the Evil One is wondering why I still love the Lord.  Why I continue to blog.  Part of my plan from my Heavenly Father is to share what he gives to me here in this space since 2013 . . . things I find enlightening.  Thank you for visiting 66 Assurance Way.  Five years and 22 days and counting!

To God be the Glory!


Greg Silverthorne

66 Assurance Way