Oasis Church

Oasis Church

Friday, August 4, 2017

Which Thief Are You?

  When Jesus was taken to Calvary to be crucified, He was not the only one sentenced to death that day. The Bible tells us that there were two other men who would be crucified alongside our Lord.

There were also two others, criminals, led with Him to be put to death. And when they came to the place called Calvary, there they crucified Him, and the criminals, one on the right hand and the other on the left. Luke 23:32-33

  One of the criminals said something interesting. He said, “If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us.” (Luke 23:39) This was not said in a hopeful belief that Jesus was indeed the Messiah, for verse 39 says that the criminal man blasphemed Jesus when he asked that question. This man was literally within feet of the living God and His gift of salvation and he thumbed his nose at Him.

  Now the other criminal had a different response. He rebuked the first criminal, fearing God and acknowledging Jesus’ innocence alongside their guilt. Even in his guilty state, this criminal had faith to ask Jesus to remember him.

Then he said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.”
 Luke 23:42

  And here we witness Jesus being Jesus:

And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.” Luke 23:43

  This whole scene is such a picture of our sad little world. God offers Himself to us, HIMSELF! He offers us grace and mercy and love and what do we do? We thumb our nose at Him like that thief. “No thanks God, I don’t want to forgive that person.” or “No thanks God, I’d rather be bitter than thankful.” or worst of all, “No thanks God, I don’t want Your salvation.”

  Let’s never forget the cross at Calvary. Let’s never forget Innocence in the middle of Guilty. Let us remember that picture and ask ourselves, Which thief am I?

Dina Pugh

Monday, July 3, 2017

The Treasure of Wisdom

  Wisdom is a precious commodity. One definition of wisdom describes it as; Knowledge of what is true or right coupled with just judgment as to action. In other words, living your life out in truth. God is the source of all true wisdom and He graciously gives it to us for the asking.

For the LORD gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding. Proverbs 2:6
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.
 James 1:5

  We need wisdom if we are to walk in the ways God calls us to walk. Wisdom protects us from walking down the wrong path, from being lured astray by those who are foolish.

When wisdom enters your heart, and knowledge is pleasant to your soul, discretion will preserve you; understanding will keep you, to deliver you from the way of evil. Proverbs 2:10-12

  God imparts His wisdom through His word, through His Holy Spirit, and through other believers. I heard two examples of wisdom this past week that have stuck with me. One was from a pastor whose name I didn’t catch, but he said, “We are never more like God than when we forgive.” Friends, that is a high calling of wisdom that we need to live our lives by. Think of how differently our lives would be if we loved and forgave others like God? If we lived in the wisdom of forgiveness?

Happy is the man who finds wisdom, and the man who gains understanding; 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 3:13,17,18

The other pearl of wisdom I heard was from Joni Eareckson Tada. She said, “ God tests our faith, not so that He might know what’s in our heart, but that we might know.” I found that interesting. God already knows what’s in our hearts, but sometimes; whether good or bad, we don’t.

But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.
 James 3:17

This James 3:17 kind of wisdom is wisdom we should all hope to find in our hearts. But, if we are not finding this wisdom when we are tested, we should certainly be asking for it!

  Like I said, wisdom is a precious commodity. Let us seek to gain a heart of wisdom from the One who holds the treasure.
Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
Romans 11:33

Dina Pugh

Monday, May 29, 2017

In The Waiting

  Wait. Depending on the reason, the word Wait can bring about different emotions in us. For example, if you’re having to wait in a long line, the wait can produce frustration. Or let’s say you are waiting to hear back from your doctor regarding recent test results, the waiting can cause anxiety levels to rise. How about when we wait for a loved one to return home after being away for a long time? Or when we are waiting to celebrate an upcoming special occasion? Those are the good waits, the ones that bring joy and excitement.
Life is full of waiting. The Bible makes it clear that waiting is also a part of our walk with God. Numerous times throughout the old and new testament we are told to wait. 

“Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; wait, I say, on the Lord!” Psalm 27:14
For evildoers shall be cut off; but those who wait on the Lord, they shall inherit the earth. Psalm 37:9

  When God asks us to wait, it is always for our benefit. God knows the beginning from the end, so if God asks us to wait it is for good purpose. The reason behind the wait is not always given to us. If God has called us to wait on something, we would be wise to trust and obey. It is hard sometimes to not jump the gun and move forward ahead of God, especially when the wait seems never ending. Look at Abraham and Sarah; God promised them a son and when the waiting went from months, to years, to a little over two decades, the waiting became too much and they took matters into their own hands. (Genesis 16: 1-15) God still fulfilled His promise to them despite their act of independence, but their failure to trust and wait on God cost them much unnecessary grief. 

  We believers, as a whole, have also been waiting on a promise that seems far away. The promise of the return of our Lord Jesus. “…to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.”
1 Thessalonians 1:18
“…so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.”
Hebrews 9:28

  One day our Lord Jesus will return and our wait will be over. In the meantime, let us not grow weary in the waiting but let us remain steadfast in living our lives for Jesus.

“I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.”
John 14: 2-3

Dina Pugh

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

The World Needs Jesus

  What better time than now for the remembrance and celebration of Jesus’ sacrifice for us on a cross to save us from our sins? And boy, do we need saving. We need Jesus.

  Recent headlines of chemical attacks on innocents and live streaming murders weighs heavy. It sure seems like violence and evil among our fellowman is rising to a full boil. Story after story of humans hurting humans has become a daily occurrence. We need Jesus.

  When God made the earth and placed Adam and Eve in the garden, it came as no surprise to Him that we would need Jesus. Adam and Eve made an independent choice that separated them from God and left its mark on the whole of humanity. We opened the door to sin and in return, our gracious God opened the door to salvation.

Then Jesus said to them again, “Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.” John 10:7-10

  Sin comes in many forms. It can come hard and violent like murder and it can come quietly like a whisper of gossip. Sin is sin regardless of its manner of style. Which is why we all need Jesus. From the evil dictator committing horrendous acts of violence to the soccer mom making a snide remark against another, the world needs Jesus.

  Jesus is a necessity, but He is also a choice. You and I and the rest of the world need Him, but we have to choose Him. Jesus is free for the asking but we have to ask.

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” Matthew 7:7,8

  Jesus freely gives us life because He freely gave His. The world is hurting and walking in darkness. The world needs Jesus.

Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” John 8:12

Dina Pugh

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

There Are No Throw Away Days

  Do you ever have those times in your life where you have something unpleasant that you have to deal with but you’d rather not? Like maybe an upcoming medical procedure, or confronting a friend who hurt you, or filing your taxes. We all have things, whether planned or not, that come into our lives that we would rather ignore.

  When I have something unpleasant on the horizon, I find myself first of all dreading it, then wishing it would go away, then finally when it gets here I just want the whole day to pass quickly so that I can be done with it and move on to the next day. Kind of like making the day into a throw away day.

  But when I throw the day away, I’m not only throwing away the bad parts I don’t like, I’m also throwing away all the good parts. When all I can focus on is the thing I want to ignore, I end up blinding myself to God’s goodness around me. And believe me, no matter what a day holds, there is always God’s goodness to be found. Our attitude determines whether or not we see it.

  Even if we are facing the most horrendous and painful day and there is no joy to be found, we are still handed the good gifts of grace and mercy. We may be having a difficult day, or two, or three, or four, but our lord and Savior did the unimaginable for us. The day Jesus faced (because of us) is a day that changed all other days, past, present, or future. We haven’t a clue really as to what God has done on our behalf. That day on the cross marked the beginning of every single one of our days being filled with grace and mercy.

  So if grace and mercy are all you can find in your day – it is enough – and it is to be celebrated, not thrown away with the rest of it. I’ve learned now that because of grace and mercy there are no throw away days.

Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. 
They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.
Lamentations 3:22-23 (Emphasis added)

And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace.
John 1:16

Dina Pugh

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Dare To Be A Daniel

“But Daniel purposed in his heart…”

  Those six words from the book of Daniel, chapter one, verse eight have lingered on my heart recently. The Bible tells us that Daniel was a teenager when he was taken captive by the Babylonian king, King Nebuchadnezzar. Although Daniel was relatively young when he was captured, (some say as young as 15 years old) Daniel refused to compromise, he refused to follow the crowd.

  Verse 8 says, “But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s delicacies, nor with the wine which he drank; therefore he requested of the chief of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.” That must have taken great courage for Daniel to stand his ground on what he believed.

  Those words, “But Daniel purposed in his heart”, were the result of Daniel’s belief and reverence for God. From a young age, as well as throughout his entire life, Daniel was determined, resolved, resolute, and intentional regarding his walk with God. I so admire that.

  There’s a well-known Sunday school song titled, Dare to be a Daniel, with a chorus that goes:

Dare to be a Daniel,
Dare to stand alone;
Dare to have a purpose firm,
Dare to make it known!

  Like Daniel, I too, want to purpose in my heart. Purpose to live my life in a way that honors God. How about you? Will you join me in daring to be like Daniel?

Dina Pugh

Monday, January 23, 2017

Beautifully Kept

  Our first month of 2017 is drawing to a close. A brand new year is ahead of us. Are your New Year’s resolutions still holding strong or are they beginning to wane a bit? Or maybe you are like me and you don’t even bother making resolutions because you already know you’ll never stick to them anyway.

  Does a new year hold promise for you or does it bring hesitation of the unknown? I try to look at a new year with hope instead of hesitation, but we just never know what a new year will bring with it. I think we can at least expect a mixed bag of blessings and hardships. Hopefully the blessings will outweigh the hardships but even if they don’t, God will see us through. No matter what a day, a week, a month, or a year brings, God is in it.

  God is there when the doctor helps to deliver your new baby and God is there when the doctor delivers the news that you or a loved one has cancer. God is there when you land that perfect job and God is there when you lose your job that supports your family. God is there when you say, “I do” to the love of your life and God is there when the love has grown cold and walked out the door.

  God smiles in our joys and holds us in our sorrows. I have said this before: God is our One True Constant. We were made by Him and for Him and yet we are the ones who receive the wealth of His love. We can do nothing to earn this kind of love. This kind of love is absolute. God freely gives it. It is ours for the taking and it is by far the greatest thing you will ever have on earth. It far exceeds your best day ever and it far outweighs your darkest night.

  So if you have placed your life in God’s hands then no matter what today, tomorrow, or this next year brings, you are and will be beautifully kept by God.

Blessed be the God and father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
1 Peter 1:3-5 (Emphasis added)

Dina Pugh