Morning Light Website Banner

The Bible

Roman15:4.

For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written… that we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.”

Pslams 119:105

. “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.”

“To the influence of the Bible we are indebted for the progress made in civilization, and to this (Bible) we must look as our guide in the future.”

- President Ulysses S. Grant

“So great is my veneration for the Bible that the earlier my children begin to read it, the more confident my hope that they will prove useful citizens, and respectful members of society.”

- President John Quincy Adams

The Bible always gives light in every circumstance of life. There isn’t any other source comparable to the Word Of God – The Bible.

When there is a day without the sun or a night without the moon or stars; whether your head is aching or your heart is aching, there is none like the Word of God.

There is none like the Word of God when you have lost your mother or father, your husband or wife, or your son or daughter.

There is none like the Word of God when life loses its rhyme and reason, your hope is lost, and your dreams are gone, and you feel you’ve gone as far as you can go. You can lay down on your bed and

pillow your head on the Promises of God. Psalms 127:2 declares, “…It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep.”

  
Proverbs 3:24,

“When thou liest down, thou shalt not be afraid: yea, thou shalt lie down, and thy sleep shall be sweet.”

 

If you have lost hope, Hope is here. Hope that is real, relevant, and everlasting.

  • Pastor T.H. Sheppard


Hope Is An Anchor – The Anchor Holds

Hebrews 6: 18  We… “have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: 19  Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; 20  Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus…”

The Anchor holds because of where it is fastened, very securely, within the veil in Heaven. It did not sink to the bottom of the ocean floor, but instead; “Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come:” (Eph. 1:21) within the veil.

The Anchor is SURE and STEADFAST: “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: 28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. 29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. 30 I and my Father are one.”

The storms of life will come and go. During a storm at sea, the winds blow strong. Strong winds generate waves. The waves of immorality, violence, greed, godlessness, complacency, apathy and so much more, crash in around us continually. The world is filled with wickedness: (Isa. 57: 20 “the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt. 21 There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked.”)

Yet, even in the midst of life’s storms, we are anchored to higher things. Our Anchor holds. He is sure and steadfast.

This Hope is real. This Hope is relevant and it is an everlasting Hope.
 
-Pastor T.H. Sheppard


Hope is an Anchor

This morning, you have chosen to come to a safe haven. The Church symbolizes a place of SAFETY and REFUGE.

Hebrews 6:18b “…we have a strong consolation (solace, comfort), who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: 19 Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil…”

A ship drops anchor to keep it from drifting to its own destruction. It is the same with our soul. Without an anchor, we will drift from the things that are right and good to things that are harmful and even destructive.

The soul is the “seat of human emotions” and it is always subject to drifting. Therefore, our soul needs an anchor, one that is sure and steadfast.

The consolation we receive from the Holy Spirit and through the preached Word of God is full of HOPE. This HOPE becomes our anchor that keeps us from drifting to our own destruction. When trends change, our anchor holds. When storms of life come, our anchor holds.

Unlike a vessel on the ocean that drops its anchor to the ocean floor and hopes the drag of the anchor will stabilize the vessel, our Anchor is resting not down, nor even to our past, rather up in Heaven.

My soul cannot see its anchor. Yet, my soul knows it is anchored to nothing in this world. What peace knowing that my soul is anchored behind the veil in Heaven! It is unaffected by anything in this world.

This HOPE is a strong consolation.

Real Hope. Relevant Hope. Everlasting Hope

 -Pastor T. H. Sheppard



Comforted By Hope (part 2)

Jesus said in Matthew’s Gospel, “upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (16:18b)

These words of Jesus have brought comfort to many people in various situations since they were first spoken.

The very presence of the church building is a reminder of this promise. Many have stopped in a church parking lot, feeling the safety of that promise would extend to them while they slept, ate their lunch, talked on the phone, or to meditate on God during difficult situations. They felt the hope just being close to the Church building.

When everything is going wrong we look for something to help. The church stands as a symbol of hope. It is a lighthouse on the sea of life. It guides us to safety in the storms that come our way. The Church is a place of healing when we’ve been wounded by life, a place of safety when the circumstances of life threatens our very existence.

The altars are stained from the many tears. The pews show signs of wear because of usage, not by spectators who are just curious, but by many people who are hopeful of finding what they are in need of. The Church building brings back many memories of past victories, and blessings, and those powerful visitations of the Sweet Spirit of God.

When it seems that the “gates of Hell” have opened, things are going all wrong with the economy, with our society, in our government and the whole world scene, the CHURCH stands strong and victorious – “the gates of hell shall not prevail against” the CHURCH!

Hope is real. Hope is relevant. Hope is everlasting.
 
-Pastor T.H. Sheppard


Comforted By Hope

Today, in this Sanctuary are many people whose hearts are filled with Hope. The presence of the Church building is a symbol of Hope.

The Church building is a representation of the Hope in the hearts of the people who form the Congregations. We gather here because of that Hope to worship the ONE Who places Hope in the heart of everyone.

We are all very needy people. You may come in need of healing, or comfort, or realizing your need to be ready to meet Jesus, you’ve come for salvation.

The Church is an Emblem, an Icon of Hope because it represents all that Jesus was and is for today and the promise of help for all that tomorrow brings.

We’ve all been touched by the “sting” of death, and too much so it seems. But, our Hope isn’t found in the finest of professionals, or in the most beautiful of gravesites. We find our Hope “in nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness”.

1 Thessalonians 4: 16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. 18 Wherefore comfort (exhort) one another with these words.

Romans 15: 13 Now the God of hope(expectation of good) fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.

Real Hope. Relevant Hope. Everlasting Hope. 
 
- Pastor T. H. Sheppard


The Surprise Element

Have you noticed some of the advertising that is out there right now? Some of today's ads promote a "little known secret" that is hidden from most people. These ads "suggest" that, by purchasing their product, you will learn and benefit from their secret. This is their premise in selling their product to you. 
 
The Bible has many things that seem to be hidden but are miraculous when discovered. One of these secrets is "unity".
Proverbs 133Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity.
God told His people how the principle of unity worked in Leviticus 26:  8 And five of you shall chase an hundred, and an hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight:
 
God had to create a division between the people who were building the Tower of Babel, Gen. 11:7b…nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.
 
Unity is what makes being a part of the Church so powerful and enjoyable. We join together in worship and we all rally to the same reference point – the Wonderful Name of Jesus. (1 Cor. 1:10)
 
There is real HOPE in Jesus. Relevant HOPE and everlasting HOPE!
 
- Pastor T. H. Sheppard


Come Out!

2 Corinthians 6:16b  “For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said, “I will dwell in them and walk among them; And I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 17 Therefore, come out from their midst and be separate, says the Lord.” (NASB)

The Church is the “Ecclesia” which means called out. We did not come out of Heaven and form the Church. HE called us out of the world.

God walks among His people. When you have a special guest come to where you are, your home, job, or wherever, you respond with giving and being your best.

When HE came to live in your heart, HE came and brought with Him things that did not exist in this world that we came from. His call is clear, “come out.” The reason, HE wants to come in. HE brings with Him peace, peace that passes all understanding. HE brings joy, the kind that is “unspeakable joy.” You cannot explain it but this life-changing experience is so revolutionary that Jesus called it being “born again.”

When He called us in the beginning to come out of the world, it was with the promise that ,“I will come again and receive you unto myself.”

When the trumpet sounds it will be saying, “come out!”,  as HE takes His Church out of this world and “so shall we ever be with Him.”

This is the Hope that is here: Hope that is real. Hope that is relevant. Hope that is everlasting.
 
- Pastor Sheppard

 



Blessed Nation

Psalms 33:12  “Blessed is the nation whose god is The LORD.”

In Independence Hall, in Philadelphia, delegates from the Thirteen Colonies gathered in this small hall to discuss declaring their freedom from the rule of Britain.

The declaration had been drafted and was being considered, along with the fate of those who signed the document. If they failed it would mean certain death by hanging, or the headman’s axe. They would lose their wealth, their sacred honor, and their lives.

As the day wore on, the issue hung heavy in the balance and then, an “old man” rose from the small gallery. He seemed to be calling on all the strength he could muster, as he reminded everyone of the grievances that had brought them there and to this moment. Then, as though it would be his last breath he appealed: “Sign that parchment! They may turn every tree into a gallows, every home into a grave, and yet the words of that parchment can never die.”

Then he added, “If my hands were freezing in death, I would sign that parchment with my last ounce of strength. Sign! Sign, if the next moment the noose is around your neck, …for that parchment will be the textbook of freedom, the  Bible of the rights of man forever.” And he fell back, apparently exhausted, but all 56 delegates were moved to sign The Declaration Of Independence. They turned to thank him for his moving words, but he could not be found, nor were there any who knew him, or how he had come in and gone out the locked and guarded doors!

In the wake of the (4th of July)  Commemoration of the Travail and Birth of this Great Nation, we sense the urgency in the atmosphere as the “voice of the Lord” echoes and reverberates from the news headlines as well as from the Word of God; “Come out from among them and be ye separate.” HE is about to take HIS Church OUT!

––Surely!!!   “Blessed is the nation whose god is The LORD…”

- Pastor T. H. Sheppard

 



Small & Great

James 3:5  “...the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things.” James 3:8 “But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.”

This is why, in Acts 2:4, they spoke with “other tongues,” then, in verse 11, that tongue told the “wonderful works of God!”

There is a deep connection between the feelings of our heart and the words of our mouth. Our innermost feelings will find a way to be vocalized, whether we mean to or not. The Holy Ghost must be allowed to control our expressions (words) whether face to face, or on Facebook, Twitter, or in an e-mail. We are still accountable and those words can cause much damage. Be sure the Holy Ghost is in control at all times, especially before you click and send!

 As out-of –control as things are around us, and the “un-tamable” tongue continues to “set on fire the course of nature,” being “set on fire of Hell,” and seems to become more and more destructive through the growth of Social Media; THERE IS HOPE. HOPE IS REAL, HOPE IS RELEVANT, HOPE IS EVERLASTING, HOPE IS HERE!

- Pastor T. H. Sheppard

 



Offering Hope: The Christian Hope

Romans 6: 4  “… we are buried with Him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection:…” Co-Resurrection. The proof that I have been through crucifixion with Jesus is that I have a decided and noticeable likeness to Him. With the infilling of the Holy Ghost in my life, HE, Jesus re-adjusts my personal life to God. With the resurrection of Jesus the Holy Ghost has imparted the life of God to me and in me. Paul said it this way in Galatians 2: 20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. My natural life must be constructed on the basis of His life. I can have the resurrection life of Jesus now, and it will show itself in holiness. The Holy Spirit cannot be located as a Guest in a house, He invades everything. The resurrection life of Jesus invades every bit of my human nature. The Resurrection is now a fact of history. He lives!
HOPE is here! HOPE is real. Hope is relevant. HOPE IS NOW! -Pastor T.H. Sheppard


Hope Has Risen!

Luke 24: 21 But we trusted (hoped) that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, today is the third day since these things were done.

Two disciples were walking to their home in Emmaus and as they walked they were rehearsing the recent events, the arrest, trial, and crucifixion of Jesus. They were remembering a time when they had HOPE in someone and in something.

Things hadn’t turned out the way they thought they would. Now their HOPE is a thing of the past. They speak of HOPE in the past tense; “We had hoped He was the Redeemer”. According to their conversation, they had heard from the women who were first to the tomb, then from Peter and John who had also been to the empty tomb, that the body of Jesus was missing. Jesus, the reason of their hope was missing and they were confused (vs. 22).

But they just hadn’t put it all together yet. Their theology was right but their experience was lacking. When they experienced the Presence of Jesus, much like you will in the worship service today, everything changed. Their hearts burned to hear more about Him! Their HOPE had risen!

Jesus said, ” because I live, ye shall live also.” Luke 14:19b

HOPE is alive! HOPE HAS RISEN! HOPE is here!

Hope is real. Hope is relevant. Hope is everlasting!

HOPE IS HERE!

-Pastor T.H. Sheppard



Hope!

Proverbs 13: 12 Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life.

When life hurts and dreams fade, nothing compares to hope.

Without hope, incarcerated men and women waste away and die.

Without hope, prisoners of war languish and die.

Without hope, students get discouraged and drop out of school.

Without hope, sports teams slump and keep losing.

Without hope, alcoholics return to their alcohol.

Without hope, married couples decide to call it quits, and divorce.

Without hope, discouragement would reign in the preacher’s life, rendering him useless.

Without hope there would be no new businesses, nor new inventions, nor new songs.

Hope is our lifeline. Hope keeps us engaged in this process and pilgrimage of life.

Next week is Easter. We celebrate the Resurrection of our Savior, who took our sins upon Himself, causing His death, then He Resurrected from the dead, giving us the example for our new life. He gave us hope through His Resurrection.

We’re OFFERING HOPE; REAL, RELEVANT, EVERLASTING HOPE!
 
-Pastor T.H. Sheppard


Leaving God Out

4360 The Cuticura Corporation

George Robert White was a man whose God-given beliefs made him both a material and a spiritual millionaire at thirty as he built a small soap manufacturing plant in Boston into the multimillion-dollar Cuticura Corporation. He did this in spite of giving away a large part of his net profits to charity. He gave nothing for the spreading of the Gospel.

In 1952, Dr. Samuel M. Best said in This I Believe: “Since Mr. White’s death, I have endeavored as his successor to adhere to his code of ethics. Two dollars out of every three dollars profit earned by our corporation is shared with others in helping to make our nation a better place in which to live … for the advancement of medicine and science, for chemical research, for art and beauty.” But he made no effort to support the work of God.

There is no mention of our Lord’s great commission—of the spreading of the gospel. Perhaps that is why, despite their 2/3 of their profit giving, there is no longer a Cuticura Corporation in existence. Today the remaining Cuticura products are manufactured and sold by the Campana Corporation of Batavia, Illinois.

The sustained faithful giving of a large percentage of income money does not of itself guarantee continued success and God’s blessing with riches. There are many businesses which were founded and built up by faithful Christians who once gave richly to God’s evangelical causes—businesses which have capitulated to the humanist causes of their next-generation leaders.

When you are gone your children may not support the church that has been a very important part of your life, which has also been a blessing to them. You must be sure to include God in your future financial plans. The blessings will then continue, instead of the money being spent and forgotten.
 
-Pastor T. H. Sheppard


Offering Hope: That Produces Fearless Joy

Romans 8:37. Nay, in all these things, we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us.  

Paul is speaking of the things that might seem likely to separate or wedge in between the saint and the love of God;… but none of them is able to wedge in between the love of God and the soul of the saint.  

The bedrock of our Christian faith is the unmerited, un-understandable marvel of the love of God displayed on the Cross of Calvary. 

Paul says this is the reason we are more than conquerors in all these things, super-victors, with a joy we would not have but for the very things which look as if they are going to overwhelm us. 

The surf that distresses the ordinary swimmer produces in the surf-rider the super joy of going clean through it.  

Tribulation, distress, persecution, produce in us the super, fearless joy. We are more than conquerors through Him in all these things, not in spite of them, but in the midst of them.  

The saint never knows the joy of the Lord in spite of tribulation, but because of it. “I am exceeding joyful in all our tribulation,” says Paul. 

The experiences of life, terrible or monotonous, are powerless to touch the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. 

The Church is Offering Hope, real, relevant, everlasting and FEARLESS HOPE through the Gospel. 

- Pastor T. H. Sheppard

 



Offering Hope: Rise, Let Us Be Going!

Matthew 26: 36-46.

Jesus and the Disciples went to the garden of Gethsemane to pray. He took three of them in with Him and instructed them to watch with Him. He came back three times and found them sleeping. He told them to “sleep on”.

The Disciples had just made a colossal mistake that they couldn’t undo. They were tired and had failed their Lord by sleeping when they should have been watching. Some mistakes are irreparable. They cause feelings of failure and despair.

We’ve all been there. You may be there now.

But after finding them asleep the third time, Jesus didn’t rebuke them, correct them, nor did He comfort them. He tells them; “the hour is at hand”. Guilt washes over them. They have failed! But then Jesus says, “Rise, let’s be going”. There’s something ahead of greater importance than the past; “Rise. Let us be going”.

The past is past. Don’t linger there. It’s only good for education. Get up! The hour is at hand!

HOPE IS HERE! Get up! Leave the past. Hope now gives faith for the future which destroys despair and feelings of failure.

God is offering hope. Rise. Let us be going.



Offering Hope: Through The Church

The Church is God’s idea. Jesus established the New Testament Church upon the rock of the revelation of Who He is; the Messiah, the Christ, the Son of God. He further stated that “the gates of Hell would not prevail against” the Church.

The Church is now made up of imperfect, fallible people, yet by God’s grace it will be victorious over every foe, including death itself.

As the Church, we have joined our diverse gifts, callings, talents, and resources together for combined strength to fulfill God’s will.

Matthew 16:18b…” upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”

The Church is a safe harbor, saving station, emergency room, hospital, a lighthouse, a schoolhouse, and a shelter from the storms.

The Church is a Temple, built with lively stones, where the Spirit of God dwells.

The Church is a Chosen Generation, a Royal Priesthood, an Holy Nation, God’s special people.

The Church is the Body of Christ, the Bride of Christ, and the Family of God.

I’m thankful to belong to this family. Thank God for the Church!

Offering Hope And Seeing Whole Families made Whole!
 
Pastor Sheppard


Offering Hope: Rise, Let Us Be Going!

Matthew 26: 36-46.

Jesus and the Disciples went to the garden of Gethsemane to pray. He took three of them in with Him and instructed them to watch with Him. He came back three times and found them sleeping. He told them to “sleep on”.

The Disciples had just made a colossal mistake that they couldn’t undo. They were tired and had failed their Lord by sleeping when they should have been watching. Some mistakes are irreparable. They cause feelings of failure and despair.

We’ve all been there. You may be there now.

But after finding them asleep the third time, Jesus didn’t rebuke them, correct them, nor did He comfort them. He tells them; “the hour is at hand”. Guilt washes over them. They have failed! But then Jesus says, “Rise, let’s be going”. There’s something ahead of greater importance than the past; “Rise. Let us be going”.

The past is past. Don’t linger there. It’s only good for education. Get up! The hour is at hand!

HOPE IS HERE! Get up! Leave the past. Hope now gives faith for the future which destroys despair and feelings of failure.

God is offering hope. Rise. Let us be going.



Offering Hope, Lots of Hope!

Romans 15: 13 Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost. When you accept a situation or a person as hopeless, you are slamming the door in God’s face. The Holy Ghost Power will cause an abundance of HOPE! Our human spirit is effected by circumstances and will cause us to see things as hopeless. But the Holy Spirit will cause us to have HOPE!  -  Lots of HOPE, an abundance! Our opening passage calls God “The God of HOPE”. God’s kingdom is described in Romans 14: 17 For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. Lots of joy – lots of hope. As you rejoice in the Holy Ghost, HOPE    begins to increase until there is an abundance of HOPE. Pastor T. H. Sheppard  


Offering Hope: The Bible

John 20: 30 And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: 31 But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.  1 John 5: 13 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.  Romans 15: 4 For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.  Zechariah 9: 12 Turn you to the strong hold, ye prisoners of hope:… The Bible is the window in this prison of hope, through which we look into eternity. In every Service, every song, and every sermon we are Offering Hope! God is still “Making Whole Families Whole”! God can, and will make your family whole!  Pastor T. H. Sheppard


Hope Is Here!

This is our Specialty, HOPE. When life has been disappointing, people have let you down, dreams haven’t come true, and prayers haven’t been answered yet, there is still HOPE! When the very thing you have given years of your life to, or the people, or person you’ve done so much for let you down, there is still HOPE! You may have had marital disaster, financial disaster, career disaster, or any one of a number of things that have brought you down and maybe almost destroyed you. Maybe some of these things have happened in your life and you’re wondering, “Is there any way out?” Yes; there is HOPE! Hebrews 6: 18b,  we… have a strong consolation (peace), who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: 19 Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast,… "Never leave shore without an anchor..." is the advice of the experienced. We are OFFERING HOPE here in everything, for anyone, everyone. The Christian life is a lot like a ship out on the sea. Storms can come from out of nowhere and come they do. Like a ship we too have an anchor, His name is Jesus. When you can’t change the wind, adjust your sails. God has promised He will be our anchor.
We are blessed to be OFFERING HOPE!
Pastor Sheppard