Just One

Pastors Blog with Bro Ed Stephenson


2020 is now behind us and we are moving into a new year and a new decade. We need to ask ourselves, “What is one of the most important responsibilities for us, as believers, concerning our nation?”

The answer is found, I believe, in I Timothy 2:1-4, where Paul gives instructions to the young pastor Timothy to teach concerning citizen believers. At this time the cruel, Christian hating, Nero was ruling over the Roman Empire. Paul said, “I exhort therefore that, FIRST OF ALL, supplications (petition, appeals), prayers (pleas, request, hopes, desires) intercessions (negotiation, mediation), and giving of thanks be made FOR ALL MEN; for kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of truth.”

What a sacred privilege is prayer! For ‘sinners’ who have been ‘born again’ by the grace of God to be invited to the Throne of God and, in Jesus name, present their burdens, and request, along with praise and worship is such an amazing opportunity. To also notice God’s invitation to come ‘boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain (get hold of, acquire) mercy, and find grace to help in the time of need.” Jesus reminded us to pray so that we would not faint (fade, weak, feeble, diminish). The light of Jesus is most needed in our world and abiding presence of the Holy Spirit and the faithful practice of prayer will enable us to shine for the glory of the Father.

Prayer should never be ‘trivialized’ (to belittle, play down, make light of) as did the Pharisees who only prayed to impress other men. Jesus said of these who sought to make themselves ‘look good’ they have their reward and that was the praise of man. We trivialize prayer when we use it just to make points with those who are listening. I was most shocked this week with the opening prayer of the 117th Congress. As the congressman closed his prayer he said, “Amen and Awomen”. Now first of all he is trying to make points by removing any gender preference in closing a prayer. When one studies the word ‘amen’ one comes to understand the word has nothing to do with gender. It is an ancient word which speaks to confirmation, agreement and literally “so be it”. When he sought to please his listeners with some political ‘play-on-words’ he trivialize the great privilege, and honor, of prayer.

In Revelation 3:1, Jesus is presented as the ‘Amen’ which means that Jesus is the eternal confirmation of all that God is and all that God has promised in His Word. Paul told the saints in the church at Colosse that in Jesus dwells all the ‘fullness’, Amen!



There is so much with the Christmas story that is meaningful to man at any time of the year.  So much that should cause us to be in awe (wonder, reverence, admiration, worship) of God’s love for mankind. Once again I am in awe of God’s desire to come into His creation to pay a debt that man could never pay. I am in awe of ‘Immanuel’, God with Us, in the person of Christ our Lord. I am in awe of God’s message the night Christ was born, “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a ‘SAVIOR’, which is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:11) What man needed that night, is still the need of mankind today, a ‘SAVIOR’! Jesus reminds us in the Sermon on the Mount that, “…your Father knoweth what things ye have NEED of, before ye ask Him.” (Matt. 6:8) Man’s greatest need does not rest with the material but the spiritual and for this need to be met we needed a Savior! So God ‘graced’ a young virgin name Mary and that which was conceived in her was of the Holy Ghost! “And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for He SHALL SAVE His people from their sins.”

(Matthew 1:21)

From the Christmas story we learn how the shepherds received the heavenly message, about the birth of the child in Bethlehem, with great joy (happiness, thrill, ecstasy). The Bible tells us that the shepherds made ‘haste’ (speed, rush, swiftness) to get to Bethlehem to see this gift of God the ‘Savior’. At any point in our lives there should be an energy involved in the worship of Christ the Lord. Isn’t it amazing how going to the place of worship, to worship our Savior, turns out to be a drudgery (labor, chore, grind). As believers there should be an every present joy about the worship of Christ the Lord, “a joy that is unspeakable and full of glory.”

 Something else the shepherds did that must be done, by those who know this Savior, the Bible said they made known this story of the birth of the Savior. The Bible also tells us that people who heard the story from the Shepherds were in a state of wonder (miracle, marvel, amazement, sensation) concerning this Savior. Jesus, who is the light of the world, told His followers to let their light shine in this world of darkness, and to go into all the world and share the story of His birth, life, death, burial and resurrection, which is the ‘Good News’!

One other truth, from the Christmas story, that has amazed me since I was a young boy and that was when they arrived in Bethlehem “there was no room for them in the inn.” It seemed to me that a man with his wife, who was about to give birth, should have been given a room even if it meant someone had to give up their room. It just seemed to me that someone should have been kind enough to give their room for this couple. Yet, I have come to realize that there are still a lot of people who make “no room” for the Savior.  If you are so busy in “your room, or, life” that you don’t have room for the Savior, “you’re too wrapped up in your room, or, life”.

So many truths come from the Christmas story that must be applicable all year long, not just during the Christmas season.



I believe that Jesus is coming again! I believe He is coming back personally in bodily form to snatch (rapture) the redeemed unto Himself in the air (I Thess. 4:13-17). I believe His return is imminent (looming, impending, about to happen, at hand). I firmly believe what Jesus said, “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself, that where I am, there ye may be also.” (John 14:3)

You may ask yourself when is this event going to happen and you may have heard someone declare a date for this event to happen but the time of this event rest with the Father. Jesus did give some signs of the times when this event is about to happen and those signs are everywhere. Jesus said, “And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.” Luke 21:28

One key phrase in Luke 21:28 is the phrase, “when these things BEGIN to come to pass” not when these things are complete, or finished, but “when these things begin”. I am immediately reminded of the words of Jesus in Matthew 24:6-12, “And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers (various, assorted, different) places. All these things are the beginning of sorrows. Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. And many false prophets (proclaimers) shall arise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity (immorality, evil, crime, injustice, wickedness) shall abound (thrive, prosper, overflow) the love of many shall wax cold.”

May we all be reminded that Jesus said, “When these things begin to come to pass in different places look up”! Are we not living in a world where there tensions of war between nations all around the world. Are we not aware that millions of people go to bed each day with nothing to eat all around the world and in some places that would shocking. We should finally be aware of the word ‘pestilence’ which means ‘plaque’, ‘epidemic’, ‘virus’, ‘disease’, ‘pandemic’. DOES JESUS HAVE OUR ATTENTION YET?

Then Jesus told us that believers will be more, and more, disliked and even ‘hated’ for being His disciples. Isn’t it amazing that in America, where our roots run deep in Christanity, Bible believing people are looked upon as part of our society’s biggest problem. The numbers grow more every year who want to take any reference to God, or Jesus, out of our class rooms and culture. Hate will become more, and more, prevalent in the world and love will become more, and more, a governing factor of the past. In this atmosphere ‘false proclaimers’ shall arise and there will be more, and more, and more ‘immorality’, ‘evil’, ‘crime’ and ‘injustice’.


…………BRO. Ed


The virus continues to plague (afflict, trouble) our nation and the world. So many families have had to deal with the loss of loved ones cause by the virus and hearts are so heavy for them. It so important that we stand with them in prayer and the ministry of support during these very trying days. While we are all thankful for what appears to be a vaccine that will give us hope for victory we know for some it will come to late.

Yet in the midst of the pandemic we all being reminded that it is the holiday season and that now is the time to buy and get ready to celebrate the Christmas season. There seems to be a real paradox (irony, inconsistency, contradiction) about all this push to buy, and celebrate, when we are in the midst of such a pandemic and so many are dealing with broken hearts. Perhaps we need to all remember what this season is really about. It’s an old saying, yet, it is a vital truth to remember, “JESUS IS THE REASON FOR THE SEASON”.

In the midst of so much uncertainty may we all remember the words of Isaiah 7:14, “Therefore the Lord Himself shall give you a sign; Behold a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call is name Immanuel.” We must celebrate this truth that is not influence by a pandemic, economic declines, political uncertainties or world conflicts. The joy of Isaiah’s statement is found in the name of the child, ‘Immanuel’. In Matthew 1:23 we are given the meaning of the name ‘Immanuel, or Emmanuel’ , “which being interpreted is, GOD WITH US.”

The fact that God sent His Son, Jesus, is a testimony that God desires to be with us. Sin separated us from God but God loved man so much that He sent His Son to pay sins debt so that the separation would be removed and all hostilities would reconciled in the person of Jesus Christ. So Jesus is the person in whom “God with us” becomes a reality! How can we possibly celebrate Christmas if we do not know, personally, the joy of “God with us” in the person of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Jesus reminded us that the only way to know the Father was by Him, “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” John 14:6

How can we deal with all that is going on? Do we look for political answers, in either party, do we look to experts, in fields of science, medicine, economics, psychology, and research. I say to all of us that the most important truth to know in times like these is this, “Immanuel, God with us”.



The year was 1621 and the harvest was in so the Pilgrims, and Native Americans, celebrated a ‘Harvest Feast’ in Plymouth, Massachusetts and it has cone to be known as the first Thanksgiving. In the year 1630 settlers observed the first Thanksgiving of the Massachusetts Bay Colony in New England on July 8th.

In 1777, while in route to Valley Forge, George Washington and his army stopped in freezing weather to observe the first Thanksgiving of the new United States of America. In 1789 President George Washington declared November 26th as a national day of prayer and Thanksgiving. In 1863 President Abraham Lincoln declared Thanksgiving an official federal holiday.

In 1924 Macy’s held its first Thanksgiving Day Parade. In 1941 President Roosevelt established the fourth Thursday in November as Thanksgiving Day. In 1947 President Harry Truman ‘pardoned’ a turkey the day before it was scheduled to be served up as the main course at the White House Thanksgiving Day dinner. Modern presidents have carried on the tradition.

I think we all agree that we should express our thankfulness as a nation and individually. I think we all agree we should express our thankfulness more than just one day a year. I think we all agree that it is a sign of politeness to say, “Thank you”, when we are the recipients of kindness and graciousness. Most children are encouraged to say, “Thank You, and we all think it is so precious. Isn’t it sad that many forget how to say, “Thank you”.

I become concerned with the absence of Thankfulness and the failure to express our Thankfulness. Life would be most unbearable if it were not for the many acts of kindness, and graciousness, which have come our way. The question we need to ask ourselves is this, “Did I remember to say, “Thank You”? Another question to ask ourselves is this, “Is it too late to say, “Thank You”? If it is not to late I would say, “Get it done!”.

No one has been more kind, and gracious, to more undeserving people than our Heavenly Father. The fact that He loved us while we were lost in sin and sent “His only begotten Son” to pay our sin debt I think deserves a BIG, “THANK YOU!”. With all the perplexities of life I can always know that I am victorious in my ‘Living Savior’ and that ‘Greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world.’

The list for which I should be saying, “Thank You”, to my Heavenly Father, is too great for me know. I think eternity will be spent in praise of Him who made it possible and real praise always includes “THANK YOU!”.


The book of I Timothy is one of the ‘Pastoral Epistles’ written by the Apostle Paul while he was in prison in Rome. It is a letter that would inspire pastoral care of the local church. It is also a letter that would define the qualifications for one in the position as a pastor. Most importantly the words in I Timothy are the inspired words of God and the Holy Spirit led Paul to write these words of instruction. Remembering these truths are a must for those who make up the local church and for those who serve in the pastoral position.

 As your pastor I want all of us to be reminded of Paul’s instructions in I Timothy 2:1-4  concerning the importance of our prayer life individually and as a church family. As you begin, in verse one of this chapter, it is well to notice that the instructions in the first three verses are for the fulfilment of God’s design presented in verse 4, “Who will have all men to be saved, and come unto the knowledge of the truth.”

 So Paul begins by saying “I exhort (urge, encourage, insist), first of all that supplications (appeals, request, petitions), prayers (desires, hope, wish), intercessions (intervention, mediation), and giving if thanks, be made of all men.” So Paul is telling us that evangelistic prayers need to be presented for all men by the believers in the local church. It is important for us to pray for those in our families but we need to expand our prayers for salvation to come to all men.

 Then Paul presents some of those who are not a part of our inner circle but we must pray for especially in light of God’s expressed desire in verse four. At the time of this writing Nero was the ruler of the Roman Empire and he was most cruel and was very antichristian.

So as evil as Nero was the believers, in the local church at Ephesus, were to pray for his salvation. Then Paul expanded those to pray for by saying we are to pray for all those in positions of authority and that we pray for their salvation also.

We might say, “that’s easy for Paul to say, but it wasn’t easy for Paul to say, he is in prison at this time, held there by the very ones he is to pray for!” We should all agree that all those in positions of authority would be so changed if they were to be ‘born again’! Nothing would change the world like ‘born again leaders and people in positions of authority being born again!’ If we believe that then pray for their salvation.

If we can truly pray for someone’s salvation we will not be their enemies. It will also calm our souls and allow us to lead a more peaceful life in godliness and honesty. Paul goes on to say that this life of peace, and Godliness, is what is most acceptable to God our Savior. We should be excited about God’s desire “for all men to be saved” because we know that desire included us!





Has anyone asked for your opinion lately? Have you voiced your opinion only to be told that your opinion wasn’t asked for? Have you ever given your opinion only to find out that your opinion was wrong? There are those who have an opinion on any topic that is being discussed and there are those people who are very reluctant to voice their opinion. Giving one’s opinion should be done so with much thought realizing the possibility of being wrong and bringing about more harm than good.

 Opinions carry more weight considering who it is that is giving their opinion and what the subject matter is. If you are having some health issues you go to a doctor to get their opinion and even then you may want to get a second opinion. When dealing with legal matters you seek the opinion of a lawyer.  When dealing with tax questions you want the opinion of a CPA. Opinions are based, most of the time, on personal experience or the advice you received dealing with like circumstances.

The word opinion carries the meaning of one’s ‘view’, ‘estimation’, ‘belief’, ‘judgment’, ‘attitude’, ‘outlook’. So we should see that there are many things that go into one’s opinion. There are many variables that go into one’s opinion that will have a strong influence on the opinion. Opinions should carry conviction, certainty, principle and faith when dealing with the essentials of life. Our opinions should never be given dealing with the serious affairs of life in a trivial way.

As a believer I should make sure that my opinions are governed by my faith, and trust, in the Word of God. Now for me that means I have to give myself to the study of the Word and that I must have full confidence in the Word. In a world that is so full of unrest, crime, lies and a multitude trying to find the way I must be prepared to give good sound advice when giving my opinion if asked. When I am preaching I am not doing so to give my personal opinion but rather to present the truth of the Word. I never look at the Word of God as just another book with someone’s opinion. The Bible is not just God’s opinion it is His Word and His Word will touch every area of our lives and will give us truth to deal with the affairs of life. But of course the question is, “What is your opinion about the Bible?”

In Matthew 16 Jesus asked His disciples, “Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?”  What are the opinions you are hearing? Well some say your John the Baptist, some say you’re the reincarnation of Elijah, or Jeremiah, or one of the other prophets. Jesus said to them, “But whom say ye that I am? Peter spoke up and said with confidence, faith, certainty and principle, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Peter’s answer was not just an opinion but a declaration of truth! The world doesn’t need just another opinion they need to hear the truth of the Word. Jesus is the Son of the Living God!



When we study the Word we need to take time and study the life of those who were pointed out as great examples of faith. If faith, in God, is the foundation for victory that overcomes the world we need to pay attention.

In the book of Joshua one such person draws our attention and his name is Caleb. In Joshua 14 you’ll find a great conversation between Caleb and Joshua. In thinking of Caleb he comes to our attention when he is 40 years old and was selected by Moses to ‘spy’ out the land of Canaan while the nation is camped at Kadesh-barnea. Caleb’s name means ‘Wholehearted’ and his character, and life, lived up to his name. Only he, and Joshua, wold live, following the 40 years of wandering in the wilderness, of a generation crippled by ‘unbelief’. Joshua, and Caleb, would not alloiw difficulties to ‘change’ their commitment to God’s promise, or, question God’s ability to perform what He had promised!

When we speak of ‘Faith’ that breeds ‘commitment’ to God, even in the face of the opposition from the ‘majority’ we can’t help but bring up the names of Joshua and Caleb. To many of ‘end’ our lives thinking about “what could have been” but not Caleb. His life ended on a ‘HIGH’ note of ‘faith’ that was led by obedience and victory! The cause of Christ, and His church, calls for more men like Caleb and Joshua.

What an exciting, and challenging, life Joshua would lead as he followed Moses, but don’t overlook the ‘testimony’ of the life3 of Caleb. I find not record of Caleb ‘falling out’ with Joshua because God chose Joshua to follow Moses. There was ‘no jealousy or envy’ with Caleb he remained a loyal servant first of all to God.

In Joshua 14:7 we notice the character of Caleb. Listen folks character is important it means ‘uprightness, honor, integrity (reliability, truth and moral fiber). The Bible says that Caleb spoke the ‘truth’ to Moses from his heart. A man who is right with his God , who in his heart trust in his God, is a man whose word can be trusted. Truth will always prevail even in the face of the strength of the enemy. We see Caleb’s character, and love, when he addresses those who disagreed with him as ‘brethren’ in Joshua 14:7. Remember that the ‘love of God’ suffereth long and is kind and is not easily provoked.

The devotedness of Caleb is seen in Joshua 14:8 where we are told that even in the face of the negative report from the ten spies Caleb said, “but I wholly followed the Lord my God.” Caleb was ‘devoted’ (fervent, loyal, dedicated) to his God’s Will, God’s Word, God’s Provisions and God’s Purpose. Caleb was ‘sold out’ and fearlessly committed to standing with his God. It was God that Caleb would praise for keeping him ‘alive’ these 45  years and allowing him to continue to serve. (Joshua 14:10)

In verse 11, of Joshua 14, Caleb’s testimony is that by the grace of God I am still strong enough to continue to battle to possess what God has given us. Because of his faith, and character, Caleb didn’t look for a ‘laid back’ assignment for the future. Joshua 14:12 tells us that Caleb said ‘give me this mountain’ for my assignment. A mountain inhabited by giants but one that I want to claim for God.

The church needs some more people like Caleb who aren’t looking for the ‘laid back’ assignment but for the glory of God, and by His grace, we’ll take the mountain.



As I contemplate (consider, muse, ponder, meditate ) the environment we are now living in I am thirsting for wisdom (understanding, good sense, perception). James reminded us that if we need wisdom to ask God, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” James 1:5

Unfortunately, it appears that most people are not considering the Word of God for instruction to govern their lives and decisions. Jesus told us in the Sermon on the Mount that multiplied happiness comes to those who ‘do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.” In America there seems to be an overriding hunger, and thirst, for the flesh. Greed, and selfishness, are the motivating factors that have fueled the restlessness, and anger, of our society.

Yet, I must not be surprised! Once again the Word gives me the signs of the times as I read II Timothy 3:1-5, “This know also, that in the last days perilous (dangerous, unsafe, risky, terrifying) times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebrakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce (brutal, angry, raging), dispisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.”

These words of truth vividly describe the evening news if the truth is told! For believers it is important to notice the final words in verse five, “from such turn away.” The lifestyle presented to us in these verses should not be the dwelling place for believers. Knowing Jesus Christ, as our personal Savior, and the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, should cause us to separate ourselves from the characteristics of the unbelieving world describe in these verses.

The Statesman Prophet Isaiah recorded the Words of the Lord that fit our times, “But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire (mud, sludge, quagmire, dilemma, crisis) and dirt (muck, smut, scandle, filth). There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked.” Isa. 57:20-21

I am reminded of the words found in an old song 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……….This Rock is Jesus, Yes He’s the One, This Rock is Jesus, The Only One.”



“Now set your heart and your soul to seek the Lord, your God; arise therefore, and build ye the sanctuary of the Lord God, to bring the ark of the covenant of the Lord, and the holy vessels of god into the house that is to be built to the name of the Lord.” I Chron. 22:19

To say that King David loved Jehovah God would be an ‘understatement’, for Jehovah God, Himself, stated, “David is a man after my own heart.”

Now we all know of the failures of David, we all know of his affair with Bethsehba, we all know of his abuse of Uriah the Hittite, and how David plotted Uriah’s death. We are also aware of the price David paid for his failures. We also know that as men we are prome to emphasize the failures of others to the exclusion of the passion in the depths of their hearts. We all seem to be able to converse over the sins of David, yet, the overwhelming evidence of his life points out the truth that David loved God.

At the point of our text David is nearing the end of his life. What a life! A life filled with excditement, danger, victories and defeats. There were times of lonliness and times of great worship and meditation. David was the ‘great song’ writer of Israel. David was a poet, a warrior, a great strategists, he was tender hearted and at times cold hearted. David knew the sorrows of being hated and he also knew the joy of being loved and befriended. David experienced the joy of children and he had grieved over the rebellion and sin of his children. He had been thrilled at their birth and the people had heard him weep aloud at their death.

The most profound thing in David’s life was that as a ‘Shepherd Boy’ he had been chosen, by God, to be the anointed ‘King of Israel’. WOW! Tending sheep one day the next the chosen anointed one of God! David went from the humble duties of the shepherd to the throne all by the grace of God. When I think on these things I am always overwhelmed at how far the grace of God has brought us! By the grace of God we have gone from death to life. We have gone from having nothing to being ‘joint heirs’ with Christ. We have gone from being alienated from God to being His sons and daughters. We are, in Christ, a part of a royal priesthood and saints of the living God!

As David nears the end of his life he is obsessed with honoring his God by building Him a beautiful Temple of worship. It would be a beautiful place of worship with singers, a place of sacrifice and place of prayer. The Temple, most importantly, would be a place for the Ark of the Covenant, within the Holy of Holies. Within which would dwell the glory of God and the blood of the Passover Lamb would be applied toi atone for the sins of the people.

David was not permitted to build the great Temple but he did gather the material for his son, Solomon. With all the material ready David speaks to his son, Solomon, along with all the singers, princes, masons, craftsmen and priests, “Now set your hearts and your soul to seek the Lord your God.” The first great responsibility each generation has for the next generation is to provide the material for them to carry on the work of the Lord. It is also vitally important that we tell them the first order of business is to “SEEK THE LORD YOUR GOD”!