Belmont Baptist Church

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The Holy Spirit Can

Hello Belmont Family,

My prayers are with you and your family.  I am in constant prayer for your safety, health and faith.  So many of us and people around the world have lost all sense of certainty with the Coronavirus scare. No one knows what will happen next. So how do we stay sane when we do not know what’s lurking around the corner?

Well, let me say to keep your faith and trust God.  This has been on my mind and I am in deep prayer for the Holy Spirit that lives within me as my helper, comforter and strength to carry on and be strong and stay focused. I know that our God has this in His hands and is always in control.  We must all put our faith, hope and trust in the Lord.  Therefore, I would like to share with you a few thoughts, and provide scriptures about the Holy Spirit and what He can do in your life.

Who is the Holy Spirit?
There are many misconceptions about the identity of the Holy Spirit. Some view the Holy Spirit as a mystical force. What does the Bible say about the identity of the Holy Spirit? Simply put, the Bible declares that the Holy Spirit is God. The Bible also tells us that the Holy Spirit is a divine person, a being with a mind, emotions, and a will. The fact that the Holy Spirit is God is clearly seen in many Scriptures, including Acts 5:3-4. In this verse Peter confronts Ananias as to why he lied to the Holy Spirit and tells him that he had “not lied to men but to God.” It is a clear declaration that lying to the Holy Spirit is lying to God. We can also know that the Holy Spirit is God because He possesses the characteristics of God. For example, His omnipresence is seen in Psalm 139:7-8, “Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.” Then in 1 Corinthians 3:10-11, we see the characteristic of omniscience in the Holy Spirit. “But God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For whom among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man’s spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.”

We can know that the Holy Spirit is indeed a divine person because He possesses a mind, emotions, and a will. The Holy Spirit thinks and knows (1 Corinthians 2:10). The Holy Spirit can be grieved (Ephesians 4:30). The Spirit intercedes for us (Romans 8:26-27). He makes decisions according to His will (1 Corinthians 12:7-11). The Holy Spirit is God, the third Person of the Trinity. As God, the Holy Spirit can truly function as the Comforter and Counselor that Jesus promised He would be (John 14:17, 26, 15:26).

Matthew 10:20 it says: “for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you”.

Luke 12:12 it says:For the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.”

 Brothers and sisters, the Holy Spirit equips the called to do something (Hebrews 13:21). Thank God. What is it that the Spirit has urged you to say “Yes” to that you think you cannot possibly do? Remember, the Spirit’s got this! Be empowered, equipped, and amazed!

 Pastor Larry

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We all need wisdom in our lives from God

I pray everyone is doing well and taking care of yourself and your family. My prayers are always with you. In these uncertain times of wondering what will happen today, tomorrow or the future, we all need to pray and stay focused. If there is one thing in life that will help me and others to deal with what we are experiencing, it is wisdom.

We have unlimited amounts of information available to us today. So often, however, what we really need is God’s wisdom and not more information. We receive so much information from the news, TV, newspapers, internet, etc.

We face daily decisions as well as major decisions such as:  What should I do today?, Can I go to the grocery store?, What vacation do I want to plan this year?, What house will I buy this year or in the future?, How should I save or spend my money? You may be wondering how you can resurrect your marriage. You may be wondering how to reach out to a child who’s off course. You may just be getting your own life together or back on track in living for God through His Son Jesus Christ. Let me say that there is no substitute for wisdom. We all need wisdom from God in our lives.

I think of King Solomon. Imagine being nineteen or twenty years old when you take the throne of your father, King David, who had built up a great nation. All of a sudden, ruling the kingdom was Solomon’s responsibility. He was questioning, and wondering, and feeling the weight of this. One night, God appeared to him in a dream and said, “Ask for whatever you want Me to give you” (1 Kings 3:3). He could have asked for more money, for more fame, for a long life, but Solomon answered, “God, what I need is Your wisdom to rule this people. I need an understanding heart to make the right decisions.”  God was so pleased with his answer that He not only gave Solomon wisdom, but He gave him power, influence, and great riches.

Wisdom is what we desperately need. Solomon said we are to “search for it as hidden treasure. For the Lord gives wisdom, from the mouth come knowledge and understanding. He holds success in store for the upright” (Proverbs 2:4-7). Wisdom comes by understanding and the knowledge of God and applying it to your life. You can have tons of information and even know God’s Word, but if you do not apply it, it is not going to do you any good.

Ask God to give you wisdom so you have an understanding heart to make right decisions. The Scriptures says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you” (James 1:5). And one of the best places to go for wisdom is the book of Proverbs, which was written by King Solomon. It is a book that is full of advice and life lessons, simple in its form, east to digest, and easy to apply. That is what wisdom is. It is a simple revelation of God that we can apply to our everyday lives. Ask for wisdom and read the book of Proverbs. Find some quiet time to read it. It is full of powerful nuggets of wisdom for your life.

Growing in wisdom means progressing on the way of being transformed from my own human nature, human understanding, and sinful reactions to the virtues and image of Christ. (Romans 8:29) The more wisdom I gain, the more I crave, and the more God is able to show me where I need to give up the foolishness of my own will in order to become free from sin.

Wisdom sets us free from futility, meaninglessness, uselessness, emptiness, vanity, superfluity and from living in vain. It gives us an appreciation for everything that is true and noble; for everything that is of God. Happy is the man who finds wisdom. …Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her, and happy are all who retain her.” (Proverbs 3:13-18).

I pray that you always trust in God when life hurts in ways we strive to control. Be blessed, Brothers and Sisters.  Please stay focused in One Accord.  This coronavirus (COVID-19) virus, fear and discernment will pass. God is in control. Love God, family and people that are your neighbors. “Without providing for a time of healing and discernment, there will be no hope of living through this present moment without a shattering of our common life.”

 Pastor Larry

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Seeking God in Times Like These

Hello Belmont Family.

Many blessings to you and your families in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I am blessed and thankful to be a part of the Belmont Family and your Pastor. My prayers and love go out to you and your families. I am trusting God to take control of the current situation, and give us peace in times like these.

I have been thinking and praying about “seeking God in times like these.” All of us are going through things that many of us have never experienced before. God calls His people to trust Him, to live carefully, to be watchful, and to pray in troubled times.

I would like to share and hopefully encourage those of you who are struggling with fear. We live in the most perilous of times, and fearfulness is a very natural response to the violence and uncertainties which surround us. In addition to the coronavirus pandemic, economic difficulties loom, health problems abound, and the testing of our faith is challenging.

God speaks to us repeatedly throughout His Word, that we are not to give in to fear, but trust Him who is able to protect us and provide for us. In uncertain times, there is certainty in Christ Jesus. He will not fail His own. We must constantly keep before our mind’s eye that Jesus will return for His Church–perhaps at any moment. We can await His coming with passionate eagerness, and we can expect Him to take care of us while we are yet waiting for His return.

There’s an old hymn that says, “In times like these, you need a Savior, in times like these, you need an anchor. Be very sure, be very sure, your anchor holds and grips the Solid Rock.” I want to share and encourage you with a few relevant Bible passages:

Psalm 33:18-22 (NKJV) 18 “Behold, the eye of the LORD is on those who fear Him, on those who hope in His mercy, 19 To deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine. 20 Our soul waits for the LORD; He is our help and our shield. 21 For our heart shall rejoice in Him, because we have trusted in His holy name. 22 Let Your mercy, O LORD, be upon us, Just as we hope in You.”

In Psalm 33:18-22: “Behold, the eye of the LORD is upon them that fear him, upon them that hope in his mercy; to deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine. Our soul waiteth for the LORD: he is our help and our shield. For our heart shall rejoice in him, because we have trusted in his holy name. Let thy mercy, O LORD, be upon us, according as we hope in thee.”

2 Timothy 1:7 “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”

In times like these, we can Pray and Trust God. God wants us to have faith. God wants us revived. God wants us to be on fire for Him. God wants us to be at peace with one another and to love one another. He wants us to be empowered with His Holy Spirit and to work together in victory. We can and need to be worshipping, working, witnessing and winning others to Jesus. In times like these we can be healed, holy, happy and Heaven bound. In times like these, we can be looking, loving and longing for Christ’s return.

In times like these, we have an Anchor. This anchor holds and grips the
solid rock. This rock is Jesus…and yes, He is the only one. In Him we
have all we need…whatever we need.

Brothers and sisters let’s put our focus back on the mighty King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Let’s hear His heart cry for those who are blindly marching toward hell and hold out Jesus to them–while we pray, and pray hard, in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Be blessed, Brothers and Sisters. Please stay focused in One Accord.
This coronavirus (COVID-19) will pass. God is in control.

Pastor Larry

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Trusting God When Life Hurts

Hello, Belmont Family. 

My love and prayers go out to all of you and your families.  During this time of uncertainties, fear, suffering, and pain, there are many people who are experiencing life threatening situations and are lost and do not know what to do.  Let me say to hold on to your faith and “Trust God When Life Hurts”.  Our God knows the answer and cure to every question, situation and event that is happening in our world today and in the future.  I’d like to share a few thoughts and scriptures to help put your mind at rest. 

1 Peter 5:10 (NKJV) says: “But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.”

Isaiah 41:10 (NKJV) says: “Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”

This promise is for the dear saint of God who has suffered for a while. A long while. I hope that isn’t you. I pray it isn’t you, but if it is, I’m relieved that you have found this promise today. God has you here for that purpose.

He knows you feel like He has forgotten you. He knows the rhythm of your battered heart. He has collected your tears in a bottle, or a gallon jug. God has a message for you today, my brothers and sisters: Hope for that sweet sister who awakens each morning, only to be reminded her husband is no longer there, Hope for the cancer patient who just can’t hear the words “cancer free”, Hope for the one living in tremendous pain, physical and emotional.

God is giving you that hope today. He wants you to hold onto this promise. Memorize it. Pray it. Hold God to His promises, because He is faithful. This season of suffering will pass.

Perhaps not today or the way you would prefer; but God loves you, and this too will pass.

We cannot understand why we hurt, nor why we struggle for so long. We certainly don’t comprehend the snowball effect while our trials enlarge as life speeds downhill. We can’t understand why a good God allows pain.

But we do understand God is good. We can sing “Good, Good Father” with confidence. We know truth, and this promise tucked away in Peter’s first epistle is the nugget of truth you need today.

We have been called to suffer. Peter says we are called to God’s eternal glory. Same thing. God receives glory from our story. Our testimony gives Satan heartburn because we didn’t fall apart. OK, maybe we fell to pieces a time or two, but the Master Potter put us back together. Better than before.

This turmoil you find yourself in is the refining process, and you, sweet friend, will emerge as gold.  That is His perfecting work.

The weakness you feel today is being overpowered by God’s strength. Suffering comes to make us stronger.

And settled. You will not always be tossed by the tempest, nor whipped by the whirlwind. Life will settle down.

Until our storms pass, we can trust in God’s grace. We can lean on His strength. We can remind our emotions of this truth and steady ourselves in God’s promise. A promise from a good Father.  PUSH through the pain. Pray Until Something Happens.

I pray that you always trust in God when life hurts in ways we strive to control.  Be blessed, Brothers and Sisters.  Please stay focused in One Accord.  This coronavirus (COVID-19) will pass.  God is in control.                    

                                               Pastor Larry

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Somebody Loves You

Dear Friend,
How are you? I just had to send a note to tell you how much I love and care about you. I saw you yesterday as you were talking with your friends. I waited all day hoping you would want to talk with me also. As evening drew near, I gave you a sunset to close your day and cool breezes to rest you—and I waited. You never came. Oh, yes, it hurt me—but I still love you because I am your friend.
I saw you fall to sleep last night and longed to touch your brow, so I spilled moonlight upon your pillow and face. Again, I waited, wanting to rush down so we could talk. I have so many gifts for you! You awakened late and rushed off to work. My tears were in the rain.
Today you look so sad—so all alone. It makes my heart ache because I understand. My friends let me down and hurt me many times, too, but I love you.
Oh! If you would only listen to me! I LOVE YOU! I try to tell you in the blue sky and in the quiet green grass. I whisper it in the leaves on the trees and breathe it in the colors of the flowers. I shout it to you in the mountain streams and give the birds songs of love to sing! I clothe you with warm sunshine and perfume the air with nature scents. My love for you is deeper than the oceans, and bigger than the biggest want or need in your heart! Oh! If only you knew how much I want to help you. I want you to meet my Father. He wants to help you too. My Father is that way, you know.
Just call me—ask me—talk with me! Oh, please don’t forget me. I have so much to share with you. Okay, I won’t hassle you any further. You are free to choose me. It is your decision. I have chosen you, because of this I will wait – because I love you.
Your Friend, Jesus Christ

This poem was given to me by one of Belmont oldest members. It was published in 1979 in the Florida Baptist Witness Paper. I wanted to share it with Belmont Family to be encouraged and comforted during these trying times of coping with the coronavirus (COVID-19). Be blessed, stay safe and keep praying.
Pastor Larry

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Jesus’s Christ Love For Us

5 April 2020

Brothers and Sisters, I pray everyone is doing well, staying safe, staying healthy, and praying without ceasing.  People around the world are scared for many reasons right now and do not know what will be happening from day to day.  May I say that only God knows, and He is in control. 

We are coming up on Palm Sunday, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday (Resurrection Day).  It is a great time to share the love of God and Jesus Christ with you.  You, in return, will share with others.  I’d like to share a few thoughts about Jesus Christ’s love and some scriptures to help ease your worry and bring some comfort to you. 

What is the love of Christ?
The phrase “love of Christ,” as opposed to “love for Christ,” refers to the love that He has toward mankind. His love can be briefly stated as His willingness to act in our best interest, especially in meeting our greatest need, even though it cost Him everything and even though we were the least worthy of such love.

Though Christ Jesus, being God in nature, existed from the beginning of time with God the Father (John 1:1) and the Holy Spirit, He willingly left His throne (John 1:1-14) to become a man, that He might pay the penalty for our sin so that we would not have to pay for it for all eternity in the lake of fire (Revelation 20:11-15).

Because mankind’s sin has been paid for by our sinless Savior, Jesus Christ, God, who is just and holy, can now forgive our sins when we accept Christ Jesus’ payment as our own (Romans 3:21-26). Christ’s love is shown by His leaving His home in heaven, where He was worshiped and honored as He deserved.  He came to earth as a man where He was mocked, betrayed, beaten, and crucified on a cross to pay the penalty for our sin, rising again from the dead on the third day. He considered our need of a Savior from our sin and its penalty as more important than His own comfort and life (Philippians 2:3-8).

This love which He demonstrated toward us on the cross is just the beginning. When we place our trust in Him as our Savior, He makes us God’s children, co-heirs with Him! He comes to dwell within us through His Holy Spirit, promising that He will never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5-6).

What does the Bible say about love?
Well, the Bible has a great deal to say about love. In fact, the Bible says that “love is of God” and “God is love” (1 John 4:7-8); in other words, love is a fundamental characteristic of who God is. Everything God does is impelled and influenced by His love.

There is also a distinct word for the type of love that God displays. In the Greek, this word is agape, and it refers to a benevolent and charitable love that seeks the best for the loved one.

The Bible says that, since true love is part of God’s nature, God is the source of love. He is the initiator of a loving relationship with us. Any love we have for God is simply a response to His sacrificial love for us: “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins” (1 John 4:10). Our human understanding of love is flawed, weak, and incomplete, but the more we look at Jesus, the better we understand true love.

The Bible also says that our love for God is related to our obedience of Him: “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not burdensome” (1 John 5:3;  John 14:15). We serve God out of love for Him. And God’s love for us enables us to obey Him freely, without the burden of guilt or the fear of punishment.
1 John 4:18 says that “perfect love drives out fear” (this is again the word agape). The dismissal of the fear of condemnation is one of the main functions of God’s love. Jesus described Himself as the Savior: “God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him” (John 3:17).

I pray that you will always share the love of God and Jesus with everyone you know and come in contact with daily.   Be blessed, Brothers and Sisters.  Please stay focused in One Accord.  God is in control.

                                      Pastor Larry

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Everyone Needs Compassion

19 January 2020

Pastor Larry’s Weekly Thoughts

“Everyone Needs Compassion”

Brothers and Sisters, as your Pastor, I want you to know that my wife Chin Sun and I love everyone and thank you for your support and prayers.  I was so amazed, but not surprised by what our God did last Sunday to give us the God-Sized Vision for 2020.

God showed up and showed out with blessings for all of us.  We had a great number of members and visitors that gathered to receive and hear Part 1 of Vision 2020.  Glory to God!

I know and believe in my heart that God is going to do a great and mighty work at Belmont this year and beyond.  I want to share with you my thoughts on Compassion.  I believe everyone needs compassion. Throughout the New Testament, Jesus had compassion for many, many people that he healed through their faith.

The question is:  What does it really mean to have compassion?

Well, let me tell you my thoughts on what compassion means.  It is a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering.

In Matthew 9:27-38 (NKJV) we get a glimpse of Christ’s compassion in the miraculous healing of two blind men and one demon-possessed man. Throughout His earthly ministry, He went about preaching the gospel and healing “through all the towns and villages” (v. 35). Why? “When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd” (v. 36).

The world today is still full of troubled and hurting people who need the Savior’s gentle care. Like a shepherd who leads, protects, and cares for his sheep, Jesus extends His compassion to all who come to Him (Hebrews 11:28). No matter where we are in life and what we’re experiencing, in Him we find a heart overflowing with tenderness and care. And when we’ve been a beneficiary of God’s loving compassion, we can’t help but want to extend it to others. 

True compassion is heart-broken over the eternal destiny of sinners. It is the compassion of God that moved Him to save rebellious sinners like us (Romans 12.1). True compassion meets the pressing physical needs of people. Empathy is to completely identify with the needs and suffering of others.  We grow compassionate as we treat others with kindness. We can start by doing good.

Be blessed, Brothers and Sisters.  Stay focused in One Accord.

Pastor Larry

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