Advocate

#offeringthoughts

I John 2:1 We have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.

In preparation for our upcoming LifeBoat starting on Feb. 8 at 7 pm at my home on The Power of God’s Names, Cindy and I have been reading a book titled The Name Above Every Name by Herbert C. Gabhart. The name Advocate stuck out to me.

In 5th grade, I had an incident. As you can tell, I am not the tallest person here. I never grew to my full height and in 5th grade, I was even shorter. In fact, I was probably the shortest kid in class. As a result, I was often shoved around.

On this sunny day, we were playing kickball at lunchtime. Kickball is like baseball, only you kick the ball instead of batting it. Being the shortest kid, I was usually picked last and told where to play. I played catcher.

My team was able to retire the other team in short order, so it was our time to kick. Since I was already at the home plate, I got there first. I was a nice guy and let someone else go first. All of a sudden, I was being pushed and shoved as other kids started to cut in front of me. Next thing I know, I’m being pulled roughly out of line and being scolded by the principal for cutting in line. As I tried to plead my case, he got madder and told me to go back to my room.

Needless to say, I was very upset for being wrongfully accused and missing out on playtime. My school room had a walk-in coat closet and I was hiding in there, sobbing a bit. My teacher, Miss McNitt, shows up and asks what’s wrong. I explained the situation. She told me to wait there. Next thing I know, she comes back with the principal in tow. She asks him what his story was. After listening, she lit into him. She was a taller woman, but of course, in those days, everyone was tall to me. She towered over this guy. She gave him both barrels, reloaded and gave it to him again. She said, “I have taught this boy’s older sister and brother and now him. I have never met more well-behaved children. I believe his story more than yours. If you ever doubt him again, you will have to deal with me.” She told me if he ever gave me any more trouble again, to come talk to her. I had an advocate.

Advocate: one who pleads the cause of another; specifically, one who pleads the cause of another before a tribunal or judicial court (Merriam-Webster.com)

Of course, you know who my teacher was in 6th grade…the principal. Not a good year for me.

Time has passed. Miss McNitt got married and became Mrs. Charm. I’ve lost track of Mrs. Charm. I have lost track of my advocate.

We have an advocate in Jesus Christ. He said He would never leave me nor forsake me. He said I am in His Hand and no one can pluck me out. He is my advocate. On the day I stand before God the Father and if I try to plead my case, as I did in 5th grade, I will be sent away. But, Jesus, My Advocate, My Lord, My Savior, will advocate for me. He will tower over the accuser and my case will be won.

What an Advocate we have in Jesus Christ.

Mini-moral of this story: Don’t push me around or cut in front of me. I have an Advocate.

What a mighty God we serve.

#offeringthoughts

Copyright © 2018 David A. Zimmer, All Rights Reserved.



God Can Take Your Mumblings and Bless Others, If You Let Him

God works in mysterious ways. Sometimes I think I need to get the whole message from Him before I can deliver it. I have learned, though, He will speak pieces of a message to me and speak pieces to others. The combined message only comes out when we work together or talk to each other.

When I am developing my Offering Thoughts, I purposely do not look at what Pastor Craig’s, the lead pastor at River of Life Church, sermon topic. I like it when the message God has spoken to me coincides, supports, aligns with or, in some other fashion, connects with Pastor Craig’s sermon topic or a word the Lord brings through someone in the congregation. It builds my faith and trust I am hearing His voice.

Here is a great testimony by Steven Furtick of Elevation Church and Elevation Worship Music. He describes how God created “Oh Come To The Altar” by speaking to several people of his music ministry. That song has blessed me, and many others, over and over. Listen in as Steven describes the creation of the song.

#offeringthoughts

Copyright © 2018 David A. Zimmer, All Rights Reserved.



How Do I Know If I’ll Go To Heaven? “I Don’t Know.”

God has had His Hand upon my life from the very beginning. I don’t know if it was the habit instilled in me by my parents or a natural desire or God’s calling, but I have had an interest in knowing God from the time I was young.

I remember in Boy Scouts that I was appointed the troop’s chaplain although I had no formal training in religious affairs or direct relationship with God. I just had a desire to know God, although I didn’t know Him.

I do remember the two years of Catechism classes in the Lutheran Church, required for Confirmation which would lead to the ability to receive Communion with real wine and wafers at the ripe age of thirteen or so. I remember disliking those classes because they were always on a Saturday morning which eliminated camping with the Boy Scouts for two years (unless I played hooky from Catechism – an unpardonable sin, I’m sure).

At the end of those two years of church history and dogma lessons, I still had a burning question: What were the criteria to get into heaven? I didn’t know the truth of God’s Word. I never heard of the plan of Salvation. And I certainly never understood what Christ did for me on Calvary or the full meaning of His Resurrection. I had heard of Christ’s death and resurrection, but never how they pertained to me personally nor what I was supposed to do with that information.

On the final day of class, the pastor who led the classes asked if we had any questions. No one asked any. Finally, I mustered the strength and courage to raise my hand and asked the most important question of my life. “How do I know for sure if I were to die today, I would go to heaven?”

Simple. Direct. To the point.

To this day, I thank God for the pastor’s honesty. His response was sincere and equally to the point. Had he said anything else, I would have died in my sins and gone to Hell. My desire and need for the truth would have been satisfied. He simply said, “I don’t know.”

Of course, it floored me and I stomped out of the room angry and bitter for losing two years of camping with the Boy Scouts while listening to the boring ongoings about church history and dogma. Who cared!? What did all that ancient history have to do with me? What was the importance of knowing that stuff if you can’t answer an eternal question such as assurance of heaven versus hell?

Being only thirteen or so at the time, I put my search aside a bit. I wandered into other “religions” to see if they held a clue. The books I read I borrowed from my brother who was older by four years. The books were beyond my level of understanding, though they taught many interesting concepts. None gave me the guarantee for which I was searching – eternity in Heaven.

Finally in 1974, my mother came across some radio broadcasts that seemed to make sense, but more importantly, they offered the guarantee for salvation. Of course by then, I was a full-fledged teenager with all the wisdom bestowed on one of such an age. I had run into several people who were Jesus-freaks and basically the radio messages were trying to make me into one of them. Although I listened, they didn’t have much effect on me – initially.
Eventually, the seeds fell among good soil, sprouted and produced in September 1974. I don’t remember the exact date, time, or circumstances. Frankly they are not important. What is important is I gave my heart, soul, and mind to Christ. And, I became a Jesus-freak.

Over the past 30 plus years, I have learned wisdom and temperance along with my zeal for the Word. I have gone through many circumstances. I have seen many come and go. But the greatest thing I have learned is, regardless of others around you, regardless of circumstances and situations, and regardless of your current mood, God’s Word is always the same, yesterday, today, and forever. Nothing matters, only God’s Word matters. Base everything on His Word and you will have a firm foundation. Without His Word, you have no foundation, nothing to base your life on other than what you can see, taste, smell, feel, or hear – everything that is untrustworthy. God calls them the “unfruitful things.”

Today, I enjoy my walk with Christ. I wish I could say that it is always up and always intimate, but it would not be true. Fortunately, I know He sticks closer than a brother, He is always there, and even when I am more aloof than close, He is still there.

But most importantly, I know in Whom I have trusted. My search for guaranteed salvation ended back in September 1974. I have had no need or desire to see if there is anything else. I am not enlightened, tuned-in, turned-on, or otherwise, with the latest spiritual craze or fad. I am just a simple person, believing and knowing that God’s Word is truer today than ever, more appropriate than ever, and more needed today than ever.

I know the Bible has the answers the world is so desperately seeking but refuses to see because it is the Truth.

Mark Twain once quipped, “People will believe anything but the truth.” People will believe in their own intelligence and the ideas they create. They support them by rationalizations, but their ideas have no foundation.

When you know the Truth, you know the Truth. As the scriptures say, “You will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”*

If you don’t know that freedom and you have looked for it, you can stop looking now. Jesus Christ is the Truth. There simply ain’t no other. Let me say that again for emphasis. There is no other. No other leader, prophet, priest or person under heaven or on earth that can set you free from the damnation of Hell. Only Christ Jesus – crucified, died, and resurrected.

While you might not believe it, or believe God exists, or believe Jesus is the Christ, the only begotten Son of the Father, He still believes in you and died for you. But you have to accept the gift. So, simply get over stupidity, pride, ego, and whatever else. It isn’t about how rich you are, how talented you are or how great you are. It is all about what Christ did for you. Period.

David A. Zimmer

 


*  John 8:31, 32 NKJV Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

#offeringthoughts

Copyright © 2018 David A. Zimmer, All Rights Reserved.



Calling For A Time of Fasting and Prayer

For those who don’t know, I am David Zimmer. As an elder of River of Life Church here in Doylestown, PA, my focus is on missions. One of my duties is to keep you informed concerning missions here and around the world.

As we enter this New Year, a time of new beginnings, we as a church enter a week of prayer. As I was reading this past week, this particular passage popped out and I thought I would share it with you.

In Isaiah 58:6 – 9, the Lord states: Is this not the fast which I choose, to undo the bonds of wickedness, To tear to pieces the ropes of the yoke, To let the oppressed go free and break apart every enslaving yoke? Is it not to divide your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into the house; When you see the naked, that you cover him, and not to hide yourself from the needs of your own flesh and blood? Then your light will break out like the dawn, and your healing, restoration and new life will quickly spring forth; Your righteousness will go before you leading you to peace and prosperity, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard. Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; You will cry for help, and He will say, ‘Here I am.’”

This passage is the heart of missions. This passage is the heart of the Christian message. This passage is the heart of God to a lost and dying world. Pray that the Lord will send laborers into the fields to those who need salvation, food, clothing and hope.

I want to thank you for your continued support of our missionaries around the world. We receive letters from our missionaries of the great work Christ is doing because of your generous donations. I am glad to say you generous people have pledged to support our many missionaries and you have not backed away from those pledges. We elders review the church’s financials monthly and I am glad to report the missionary donations is equal with the pledges. As a result, we support God’s work here in the United States of America, as well as, around the world. Currently we support 36 missionaries. Praise Be To God.

#offeringthoughts

Copyright © 2018 David A. Zimmer, All Rights Reserved.



Happy New Year – A Time of Renewal, A Time of Re-affirmation

Offering Thoughts - #offeringthoughts

Happy New Year. Why do we say, “Happy New Year?” Is it a wishful statement that the new year will bring health, wealth and happiness? I don’t know for sure, but I do know, for me, it is the time of year I reflect back to the hopes I had for waning year, determine if those hopes were met and look forward to the new year in expectation I do better.

I think of the resolutions I made. The goal to be friendlier than the previous year. To extend a helpful hand in service to others more than the year before. To show more of Christ than the year before. And to have a closer relationship with Him. Of course, there are those carnal resolutions like losing 25 pounds I so desperately need to shed. I am happy to report I did lose those 25 pounds, unfortunately, I found 30 pounds along the way.

It is the time of year where I look forward with a renewed vigor. It is a demarcation of sorts. As it says in Philippians 3: 13 – 14: Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

Losing the 25 pounds will be added to my list again this year and I will add the goal of not finding the other 30 pounds along the way. As I serve up my plate of food each day, I will look at the portion and take a bit less each day. The smaller portion will remind me of the starving children in the world who need a sponsor, so they can receive at least one meal per day.

I have learned it is not my reputation or possessions that count in eternity. It is the number of people I have brought with me. I may not know them all in this life, but I will know them in heaven. However, they need to be in heaven for me to know them.

There are many programs that feed children around the world. I can’t think of a better one than the Feed One program through the Assemblies of God. Not only does a child get fed each day for a measly $10 per month, $2.50 a week, but they also experience the love of Christ and hear the message of the Gospel.

FeedOne is always open for donations and open to donors who want to give on a daily basis. I have doubled the number of children I sponsored last year. I use the monthly draw out of my checking account, so a child never misses his/her sponsorship from me and I never even feel the donation coming out. I certainly can afford $2.50 per child per week. Yes it adds up, but it works into my weekly cash flow and I know I am helping someone at the end of each week.

To those who have sponsored children, thank you. Every time I look at the portion of food on my plate, I will think of those children and thank God someone shared the love of Christ through food. I hope you will do the same.

#offeringthoughts

Copyright © 2017 David A. Zimmer, All Rights Reserved.



Twas the Night Before Christmas – 2016

Twas the night before Christmas
And not much was done
The kids were working, the turkey brining
My soul heavy like a ton
It had been a long year
With Mountains and Valleys, Ups and Downs.

The elections were over and the deed complete
Facebook had return to its normal speech
Ma and I were busy in the kitchen preparing for the next day.
The dog was lounging on the sofa snoring away
With the kids full grown and almost on their own,
The magic of yesteryear had all but disappeared.

But what to my wondering mind came the One of a Kind
The knowledge of the miraculous birth of our Lord and King
The one and only, God’s son, born unto us that starry night
With angels singing without shepherds’ fright
Out of my depths came an urge to shout and sing.

Hosanna in the highest, Emmanuel God with us, it’s a wonderful thing
His arrival split time into the before and the after
He lived a sinless life and became our Savior
Which is why we continue to celebrate His birthday
In such a wondrous way
Merry Christmas to all, and to all, a good night

Happy Birthday, Jesus Christ
My Lord
My Savior
My Healer
My Redeemer
My Blessing
My Holiness
My Righteousness
My Rock
My Foundation
My Comforter
My Provider
My Shield
My Fortress
My Advocator
My Guide
My All-in-All
My Everything

#offeringthoughts

Copyright © 2016 David A. Zimmer, All Rights Reserved.



Swaddling Cloths: God’s Attention to Prophetic Details

Luke 2: 10-12 Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David, a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”

Over the past month, as I hear the traditional Christmas music played this time of year and observed the hustle and bustle of people, I heard the story of Christ’s birth. It seemed the words swaddling cloths popped out continually. I wondered what the significance of the swaddling cloths were since the angel seemed to indicate the shepherds would know which baby was Christ because He would be wrapped in swaddling cloths, as if He wouldn’t be the only one in the manger.

I did some research on swaddling cloths which led to some interesting facts of the situation.

The first thing I learned was the place of Christ’s birth was a cave. Now I had seen it portrayed as a cave several times, but I always interpreted it as a barn or stable because it was associated with the Inn that had no room. Plus, in our culture, a stable is in a barn typically. I learned this was a special cave, one used specifically for birthing lambs that would be used for the temple sacrifices.

As I read over the account in the Bible, I read the passages about the angel announcing Christ’s birth to the shepherds. Shepherding was typically seen as the lowliest profession. Remember the account of King David’s anointing by Samuel to be the next king of Israel? Remember how his father Jesse’s answered Samuel’s request concerning any other sons after he had seen all the ones available? Jesse said, “Yes, I have one other son, but he is out in the fields tending the sheep.” (paraphrased). The tone of the sentence was more condescending and demeaning than one of great pride.

I learned the shepherds in the field that night were no ordinary shepherds, but they were Levitical shepherds. These shepherds were the ones who tended the sheep raised specifically for the sacrifices under the Law of the Old Testament. The Levitical shepherds would take the sheep to specific caves used for birthing the sacrificial lambs. The caves were specially cared for to keep them clean and prepared for the birthing process. The cave provided protection from the natural predators ready to snatch the newborns away.

Sacrificial lambs had to be without spot or blemish, so the shepherds would swaddle or wrap the newborns in cloths so they wouldn’t injure themselves from kicking and thrashing about as newborn lambs have a tendency to do. The cloths were typically ceremonially blessed for the service of God.

Swaddling is a practice typically done on newborn babies to help them transition from the tight confirms of a woman’s womb to the outside world. You’d recognize it by the baby being wrapped tightly in a blanket. The blanket keeps the baby warm and the snugness helps relax them. I knew about the practice, but I didn’t realize the wrapping of a baby in the blanket was called swaddling.

Additionally, swaddling cloths were used for burial back in the time of Christ. Devote Jews at that time would carry swaddling cloths with them as they traveled between towns. Their safety as they traveled was suspect and, according to the Law, if killed, they were to be buried within 24 hours. The swaddling cloths – or burial cloths – were a matter of convenience so those burying the person didn’t have to locate some. Theologians suggest the swaddling of Christ when He was born was a prophetic sign of his forthcoming burial.

Certain caves used for birthing sacrificial lambs were even more holy than others because it was in these caves the Passover Lambs were born. The Passover lambs were even more special than the sacrificial lambs because they were used during the Passover – a particularly holy time for the Old Testament Jews. Passover usually occurs around the time we Christians celebrate Easter or the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Christ. Such was the cave Christ was born in. The swaddling cloths were even more blessed than the regular caves’ cloths.

Do you see the significance and attention to detail here? God, sending His Paschal Lamb into the world, had His Son born in a Passover Lamb cave, wrapped in the holy garments set aside for a sacrificial lamb and announced to the Levitical shepherds who would fully understand the significance of the birth. He announced His Son as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1: 29).

The Jews had daily sacrifices, but the Passover Lamb and Passover Sacrifice were of unique significance. It started in the time when Israel was enslaved by the Egyptians. Passover, as it became known, was the final plague on Egypt when Moses demanded of Pharaoh to let the Israelites leave their captivity. Those who were safely in their house where the Passover Lamb was sacrificed and whose door lentils were properly marked with the blood of the lamb (in the form of a cross, mind you) were spared the death of their first-born son as the death angel passed over Egypt. Those whose door lentils were not marked lost their first-born sons. The Passover Lamb sacrifice was necessary to escape the judgment and their sins covered by the blood. Jesus Christ was the final acceptable sacrifice for our sins. All the wrath and judgment we deserved because of our sinful nature was borne by Christ and in return, we received salvation, forgiveness, redemption and more.

God’s attention to such details of His Son’s birth tells me He is very detailed-oriented. He knows exactly what needs to be done for me. The detailed plan for His Son’s birth supports the verse where God proclaims His love over me to the point of knowing the number of hairs on my head. He knows me. He even knows my name. He knows what I need. He meets my every need. He is my salvation from my sins. He sent His Son to take my place and remove the judgment for my sins.

As we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ at Christmas time, it is more than just the celebration of gift-giving, good wishes and large meals. It is the very celebration of the Life that gives us life. Merry Christmas to all. God’s Son was given to us.

#offeringthoughts

Copyright © 2017, David A. Zimmer, All Rights Reserved.



Message of Salvation by Jesus Christ Drowned Out By Hunger

Galatians 6:2 Bear one another’s burdens and in this way you will fulfill the requirements of the law of Christ [that is, the law of Christian love].

I have a burden today and I am wondering how many will bear it with me?

In my life, I have never lacked for food. When I was young, my mother would make me breakfast, lunch and dinner. Now, there is never a day when I don’t have food in the refrigerator or cupboard. Except for the time I purposely fasted for 5 days knowing I could easily end it because food was readily available, I don’t know what true hunger is or have to scavenge for food.

Abraham Maslow in his Hierarchy of Needs stated air, food and water are the most basic needs of life. Without them, we can’t rise to a higher order of life. I want to disagree with Maslow a bit. The most basic need in life is salvation through Jesus Christ. Yet, I have learned, the message of the Gospel is drowned out by the pangs of hunger.

December is the month we and the Assemblies of God launch the Feed One effort. I thank God the Assemblies is so concerned about the lost and dying world around us to give me the opportunity to feed the hungry.

With Feed One, $10 per month feeds a child for one full month. I can scarcely feed my kids on $10 per day each, and here, I can feed a child for a full month.

Help me carry my burden of feeding hungry children. Go to FeedOne and start a monthly donation. Only $10 per month. That’s $0.33 per day, $2.50 per week. Cheaper than 1 cup of coffee some people buy daily. Currently 22,000+ children are fed. Join with me to make that 44,000+ children.

Feed One - Feed One Child for $10/month
Will you help me represent River of Life Church? Will you help me feed hungry children?

#offeringthoughts

Copyright © 2017, David A. Zimmer, All Rights Reserved.



Thanksgiving Meals Multiplied to More Than Double from Previous Year

We all can recount the story of Jesus Christ feeding the crowd of 5000 men with just five loaves of bread and two fish. We read the conclusion of the story in Matthew 14:19-22 (NKJV):

Then He commanded the multitudes to sit down on the grass. And He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, He blessed and broke and gave the loaves to the disciples; and the disciples gave to the multitudes. So they all ate and were filled, and they took up twelve baskets full of the fragments that remained. Now those who had eaten were about five thousand men, besides women and children.

You may be wondering why I am wearing this apron, aren’t you? Last Monday evening, several of us journeyed to the heart of the needy section of Philadelphia to serve Thanksgiving dinner to the homeless and hungry. Thanks to the generous outpouring of our congregation, we were able to serve dinners Monday evening, have enough to feed the children in the school the next day, have the food multiplied to be handed out to community on platters Tuesday evening and feed the school children again on Wednesday. The number of meals served from the food provided by you was 682 meals.

The cars that traveled to Philadelphia were packed with enough to serve the dinners for just Monday night. God supplied a miracle and multiplied that food to fill 682 stomachs. The evening started with a service where the school children sang songs followed by a short message by the pastor. After the service, those who attended lined up for the food.

In my book, “Feeding the Five Thousand”, I started with a mock news article where several eyewitnesses of the day were interviewed. This is what I penned for the disciple John:

John, another disciple of the teacher, commented, “People need additional food after a period of time. Likewise, people need more of God’s Word lest they faint from spiritual hunger and perish. Today, these people have been fed spiritually and physically.”

We were able to spread the Gospel and feed the physical need that night. God, through His Son, multiplied the food to continue feeding multitudes the following days, just as He had done 2000 years ago. Glory to His Name. Thank you for Your Love, Father.

#offeringthoughts

Copyright © 2017, David A. Zimmer, All Rights Reserved.



Enemies of God: Lethargy, Homelessness, Hunger

Ps. 68:1 Let God arise, let His enemies be scattered, And let those who hate Him flee before Him.

Who are the enemies of God? I often think of Babylonians, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Jebusites, the Sodomites, the Canaanites and the Termites. There were the Philistines, those that worshipped Baal, the Egyptians, Macedonians, Medes and Persians. Certainly, don’t forget the Romans.

But in Romans 5:10, we read God reconciled us to Himself through his Son Jesus Christ when we were his enemies. Our unbelief is God’s enemy. Let our unbelief be scattered. My inaction, my lethargy in my beliefs are God’s enemies.

I like the opportunities such as feeding the hungry through my monthly donations. But I consider those my hidden good works. I don’t actually see the person being fed. I love the opportunities such as our ministry to the homeless and hungry in Philadelphia where I do see the people. Yes, it is only one meal a year, but it keeps it real to me the need for food and the love of Christ. It gets me out of my lethargy and keeps the work of Christ real.

People have already responded in a big way through donating for this dinner in Philly. I thank you for that. The generosity really touches me. Yet we are still in need of more food. So, if you didn’t get a chance to donate something, we still have room on the sign-up sheet for you. Don’t be shy. Don’t let someone else shove you out of the way and steal your spot. Sign up today so we can plan feed these hungry people.

And for those worshipping online. You don’t have to feel left out. Monetary donations help us buy any incidentals we might need. You can give online at the ROLC Doylestown.org website. Simply put in the comments box, Food for Philly.

The chapter in Psalms finishes this way.

Ps. 68:35 O God, You are awesome from Your sanctuary. The God of Israel Himself gives strength and power to the people. Blessed be God!

What a mighty God we serve.

#offeringthoughts

Copyright © 2017, David A. Zimmer, All Rights Reserved.