Preacher's Blog

Our preacher, Mark Stinnett, publishes articles for the church bulletin each week. These articles are designed to teach, encourage and challenge the members of our congregation. His latest articles can be found below with the most recent at the beginning of the list. Mark has archived all of his articles on his personal blog 'MicroMarks' which can be accessed at: micromarks.blogspot.com.

  • God's Will and Your Health

    Does God want you to be healthy?


    I have heard countless prayers for the sick. At times people have asked for very specific procedures or very specific outcomes. They focused their prayer based on a prognosis by a doctor.


    Very often I have heard requests worded, “If it is Your will…,” do this or that. At times it sounded as if God was working for us and we were micro-managing His divine involvement. And occasionally, but not often, I have heard people add to the end of a health-related prayer request, “Your will be done.”


    I am not criticizing anyone for praying to God. I am not criticizing anyone for praying for health issues. Rather, I am wondering about the will of God as it relates to your health.


    Do your remember any Scripture that teaches us that God’s will revolves around our good health? I’ll answer for you, “No!” That is not to say that God doesn’t care about your health. That is not to say that God will do nothing for you. That is not to say that you should not pray. It is merely to say, God’s will is not about your health. Rather, your health is about your will.


    God’s will is bigger than your health. He desires people to be saved from sin. He desires His word to be preached. He desires the advancement of the kingdom of heaven. So, we must understand that saving souls, spreading the gospel, and advancing of the kingdom is not about our physical well-being. God’s will for you involves heaven, not health.


    There is a compelling example that leads me to this conclusion. Do you remember Stephen?


    For some who are reading this, the mention of Stephen’s name is enough. Nevertheless, it may be worth noting a few things about the first Christian martyr. Stephen was among the men selected by the church in Jerusalem to assist with an issue concerning the distribution of food. He was a man who was “full of faith and of the Holy Spirit.” He was “full of grace and power” and was “performing great wonders and signs among the people.” Stephen was a powerful speaker for the kingdom of God and known as an evangelist. Because of his preaching of the gospel He was brought before the Jewish council and they all “saw his face like the face of an angel.” (Acts 6:15)


    By all human measures, Stephen was a valued part of the early church. God was using him to spread the gospel, save souls, and advance the kingdom of heaven. But God allowed the members of the Jewish council to stone Stephen to death after they had rejected his testimony.


    It just doesn’t seem right to say that it was God’s will for Stephen to die. Yet, if physical health is God’s will, then God did a lousy job with Stephen, not to mention all the persecuted Christians mentioned in Hebrews 11.


    How do we make sense of this?

    Your good health is not the focus of God’s will. It is a blessing for which you should be thankful.


    “Is anyone among you suffering? Then he should pray.” (James 5:13) 

    That includes your health.


    “Cast all your anxiety on Him [God], because He cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7) 

    That includes your health.


    Realize that when you are praying for your health, it is ‘your will.’ You are asking God for grace, and He may help you. However, realize that God’s will is far more important than yours.



    Mark Stinnett

    June 16, 2024

  • God's Performance Record

    In my previous article I used King David as an example of dealing with life’s anxiety. Even though pursued by an enemy, he was able to “lie down and sleep” because of His dependence on God. So, how do we draw from His example? How do we actually place our worries and anxieties into God’s hands? How??


    A man pleaded with Jesus to heal his demon-possessed son. He said, “If you can do anything, take pity on us and help us!” (Mark 9:22) Look at the exchange that followed.

    And Jesus said to him, “’If You can?’ All things are possible to him who believes.” Immediately the boy’s father cried out and said, “I do believe; help my unbelief.”


    You might say that the man had a degree of belief, but also a degree of unbelief. He brought his son to Jesus, but he seems to have been apprehensive, as if to think, “I’m not really sure if Jesus can do anything, but it’s worth a try. Nothing else has worked.”


    Do you ever feel that way about God?


    You can say, “God is able,” because the Bible says as much. But when it gets down to the grind of daily life, you wonder; you doubt. It is as if the Bible teaching is a doctrinal position, a kind of ideal, but the reality of life is different.


    On one occasion my middle daughter sat outside after a school activity waiting for me to pick her up. The moms of some of her friends offered her a ride. Her coach, the last one to leave, offered her a ride. She declined each of their offers saying, “My dad is picking me up.”


    I had forgotten her on that occasion! My wife called and reminded me. I was very late. I apologized to my daughter and asked her if she was concerned. “No, I knew you’d come.”


    She knew I would come because I had always come before. I had a good track record. For that reason, she was confident that I’d come.


    When you read the Bible and consider God’s track record, He always shows up. And yet, He sometimes says, “No,” and He sometimes disciplines us. Still yet, God has never failed.


    Consider the occasion in which God refused Paul. Having prayed three times for God to remove his thorn in the flesh, Paul was told by God, “My grace is sufficient for you.” It was God telling Paul that He was providing all that Paul needed. He did not need to remove the thorn in the flesh for Paul to be effective in accomplishing His will. (Read it in 2 Corinthians 12:7-10.)


    Sometimes, when the answer is not, “Yes,” we are tempted to think that God did not show up. However, that is to evaluate God according to our personal timetable, that is, according to our personal will. When we look at God’s record in accomplishing HIS will, He has a spotless record. The difficulty that we may encounter is that we are dissatisfied with God’s track record in accomplishing ’my’ will.


    HOW do we “lie down and sleep” in life’s difficulties? We pray and then we do the best with our plans and activities. The reason we can sleep is because God’s will is more important than our personal will. If God does not help us, it is because He knows that, like Paul, His grace is sufficient. We can endure the difficulty.


    Our faith (or lack of it) is not what makes God powerful. When God identified Himself to Moses saying, “I am who I am,” it had absolutely nothing to do with you and me. So, we rest in His power and His wisdom by aligning our will with His saying, “Your will be done.”


    Mark Stinnett

    June 9, 2024

  • Lie Down and Sleep

    Hungry, thirsty and wearied from a narrow and frightening escape, King David led family, close friends and his army from the comfort of their homes in Jerusalem across the Kidron brook east of the city to set up camp in a wilderness area somewhere north of the Dead Sea. Absalom, David’s son, was in pursuit of the throne of Israel. Absolom was in pursuit of David.


    Absalom’s hatred was originally aimed at his half-brother Amnon who had fallen in love with Tamar, Absolom’s beautiful sister. Tamar refused Ammon knowing that his intentions were sinful. Amnon raped Tamar and then in a fit of anger sent her away. Tamar confided in her brother Absalom, but he encouraged her to be quiet about the matter. He had nothing to say to Amnon, good or bad.


    Two years later Absalom saw an opportunity to resolve his hatred. He invited all his brothers together for a celebration during the shearing of the sheep. During the party, when everyone was merry with wine, Absalom gave the command and his men killed Amnon. Absalom ran to the land of Geshur where his grandfather (mother’s father) was king. There he stayed for three years.


    Daily David mourned the death of Amnon, his firstborn son. Eventually, Joab, the commander of David’s army, humbly requested that David send for Absalom. However, upon Absalom’s arrival David refused to see him face-to-face.


    Having no interaction with his father Absalom sat at the entrance of Jerusalem and greeted people as they came to the city. He assured everyone that he would render justice if only he had the authority to judge their complaint. He endeared himself to all of Israel, while, at the same time he was calculating a secret plan to overthrow King David.


    Absolom had many reasons to be angry with his father. However, for this occasion his anger grew into hatred so that he wanted to kill David and assume the throne of Israel.


    And yet, no evil plan is without fault and a messenger informed King David that “the hearts of the men of Israel are with Absalom.” David understood and immediately evacuated his family, close friends, and his loyal army. While fleeing from Absalom he wrote the third Psalm which begins:

       O Lord, how many are my foes!

       How many rise up against me!

       Many are saying of me,

       “God will not deliver him.” 

       --Psalm 3:1-2


    David had victoriously faced the giant, Goliath; but now he had to face his son. 

    How could he fight his own flesh and blood? 

    With Absalom enthroned what would be the fate of Israel? 

    What could David have done or said to bring about a better result? 

    Before going into battle, he told his men to deal gently with Absalom. Could they follow his command? Would they?


    David: 

       deposed king;

          one son lost to death, one son lost in life; 

             leader of family and friends, 

                leader of an army, 

                   leader of a nation; 

                      chosen by God.


    What an enormous burden weighed upon David’s shoulders. Yet as we look back at this event, David stands as a tremendous example of dependence on and confidence in God. From Psalm 3:

       You are a shield around me, O Lord (v. 3)

       I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the Lord sustains me. (v. 5)

       From the Lord comes deliverance. (v. 8)


    David knew that God was greater than his problems. Even with impossible circumstances he was able to prepare a place of rest and peacefully lie down and sleep knowing that God was his sustainer and deliverer.


    How do you view God? 

    Is He your sustainer and deliverer? 

    Is your God bigger than your problems? 

    Can you prepare a place and lie down and sleep?

     


    Mark Stinnett

    June 2, 2024