Pastor Bill Ledbetter
How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked nor stand in the path of sinners, nor in the seat of scoffers! But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. And he will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. And in whatever he does, he prospers.
Psalm 1:1-3

God Wants You to Know Him – Exodus 9:15, 16

We find wonderful insight and wisdom in the great historical event when God delivered His people, Israel, from bondage in Egypt. In the initial events God revealed His power and wisdom by inflicting Egypt and the Egyptian King Pharaoh with Ten Plagues. One of the great insights occurs when God reveals His intentions by informing Pharaoh that He could simply put forth His hand and remove him and his nation from the Earth. Instead, though, God uses ten plagues to reveal His power and His name to Pharaoh, His people, Israel, and to all people through the ages.

The purpose of the ten distinct plages was to demonstrate God’s power that they and us might know Him; that we might marvel at His faithfulness, love, knowledge, and power. 

When we are young and carefree; when we are enjoying the excitement and bloom of youth and joy coats our anticipation of the future, it is hard to think that life could be anything but grand and glorious. When our lives have not yet been touched by disappointment, difficulty, disease, death, and disillusionment, we are prone to think life is thrilling and great and happy. And then … without warning … as though you pass through an invisible membrane or barrier, some monstrous event explodes in your life – loss of a job, inflation threatens to destroy us, disease attacks our body, hurricanes, tornados, accidents ravage our lives, and then death knocks on our door. Life unravels. Life is not fun. Life is not joyful, Life is, in fact, hard. It is at those times when we need to know how to relate to God and how to find purpose in this monstrous thing that has entered into our life.

Take heart in your trials because they are the chosen instrument whereby God will work in your life to amend your attitude, configure your character, widen your wisdom, fine tune your focus, and forge your faith (James 1:2-12). God the Father wants you to know Him, to understand His limitless power and resources, and to be assured of His love, so He has arranged a display of His greatness on the platform of your trials. Charles Stanley wrote, “The trials in your life have been allowed to tarry because your heavenly Father wants you – and others – to see Him in action.”

Here is a power thought: when trouble calls on you, you call on God.

[Charles Stanley: “Jesus, Our Perfect Hope,” p. 134].


Gethsemane Moments – Matthew 26:36-46

  When Jesus faced the central purpose of HIs time on Earth – to give Himself to death on a Cross as a payment for our sins, yours and mine – He retreated to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray. This event in the life of our Lord …

  1. Is Historically and Apologetically Instructive – Today, the Basilica of The Agony is a Christian church that enshrines the rock and physical place  where Jesus prayed. A Basilica is a shrine, church, and is so named because it enshrines something and also because of its architectural design.


  1. Gives us insight to the price He paid just for us – He was in anguish and agony when He went there to offer prayers to prepare for His sacrifice on the Cross. The word Gethsemane means oil press. It was a physical place where they pressed olive seeds to extract the oil we all like. It was symbolic of the truth that our Lord was about to be “pressed” on the Cross; He was about to suffer horrendously as He endured the malignity of men whom He Himself created, suffered the brutality of the physical beatings he took, and agonized under the Father’s frown as He judged our sins in the body of His only dear Son, Jesus.


  1. Counsels us on what to do when we experience Gethsemane moments. We, too, will experience Gethsemane moments in our lives; times when we suffer anguish and agony because of trials that are too deep for us, too painful for us, too agonizing for us. And when these Gethsemane moments come, we too, must go to our prayer closets for many hours of prayer to acquire the Father’s strength and wisdom to deal with those “agony moments” that threaten our happiness and well-being.

    Charles Stanley wrote, “If the perfect, sinless Son of the living God found it necessary to pray repeatedly, then there’s nothing wrong when we must do so as well.” In our sleepless nights, agonizing, fearful times when we wonder if we will survive, when life scares us and threatens us, when lifelong goals hang in the balance, we must do what our Lord modeled for us to do and that is to go the Father in agonizing prayer for comfort, peace, wisdom, courage, and direction.

    And know this: the Lord has been touched with the feeling of our infirmities, so He knows exactly how we feel and when we approach His throne, He will give us mercy and grace to help in our time of need (Hebrews 4:13-15).

“My hope is in Jesus because He always welcomes us into His presence.” 

[Charles Stanley: “Jesus, Our Perfect Hope,” p. 113]




Wisdom for The Rough Patch

Matthew 21:1-11

The Lord here fulfilled yet another prophecy spoken by Zechariah that the King would come mounted upon a donkey (Zechariah 9:9) which was one of hundreds of attesting signs regarding His identity, the Savior King, Jesus Christ. The people, believing He came to deliver them from Roman oppression to set their nation free, paid tribute to Him by spreading palm branches in the street before Him as He entered Jerusalem and shouting the Messianic blessing [unbeknownst to them], ” …Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord …” (Psalm 118:24-26).

  But in a couple of days, their hopes were squelched. Jesus was crucified, died, and they buried Him in a tomb. Believing they would finally be set free from the government oppression of the Romans, their hearts were bitterly disappointed. Disillusionment racked their souls as they scattered to their homes. Jesus wasn’t who they thought He was; and He would not set their nation free.

  But, three days later when He rose from the dead, they began to understand that His was a greater plan than simply setting the nation of Israel free. His plan involved setting sinners everywhere and throughout the ages free from the power, penalty, and punishment of their sins, giving those who repented of their sins and came to Jesus by faith the certain hope of eternal life.

  The last two years of my life, although filled with the Father’s peace, have been confusing to me. Desiring to be strongly on mission with the Lord as I have been before, I nevertheless seem to be in a holding pattern. Waiting. Yearning. Listening. Waiting. It is important to note that we, too, often misunderstand the plan of the Lord. We come to a rough patch in life, a time when we don’t understand His plan for our lives. Our plan is foiled, a dream dies unfulfilled, we don’t know what is happening and why, so we are perplexed, confused, maybe even disillusioned.

  Remember that His ways are not our ways and HIs thoughts are higher than our thoughts (Isaiah 55:8, 9).  Remember, faith is built in the rough patch. Faith is tried when we do not see nor understand. We must simply stand on the Father’s Word and trust in the Lord. Stand on the solid rock of His Word in spite of what you see or don’t see. Charles Stanely said, “He has a way of resurrecting your dreams in a manner far beyond your imagination that is bound to make you truly joyful.” [1]

1. Charles Stanley: “Jesus, Our Perfect Hope,” p. 109.


Hope for Strugglers – Isaiah 54:11

The Father speaks to His storm-tossed people and comforts them with the promise that He will personally redeem their sufferings by giving them a solid, attractive foundation of antimony and sapphire. 

  The Lord Jesus could have shielded His disciples with His great authority and power so that they lived trouble-free every day. But He didn’t. In fact Charles Stanley points out that “He led them into squall after squall – not to dishearten them, but to make their hearts stronger.” To have strong bodies we must challenge them with the rigors of weight-lifting  calascentics, stretching, and running. To grow strong character attributes, the Father challenges us with many difficulties and storms in this life. Knowing the disciples would face many obstacles because of their allegiance to Him, He built their virtue, faith, and  stamina so they could handle the approaching difficulties of life. 

  The Father has Kingdom purposes for you, too, so He is using the current buffering of storms in your life to prepare you.

  The bad news is that life is struggle after struggle. The good news is that the Father is in control and has a plan for the troubles in your life, to conform you to the image of His Son

  Be courageous. He will see you through every struggle. One day you will look.back, see how much He has changed you, and you will thank Him.

[Charles Stanley: “Jesus, Our Perfect Hope,” p. 29].


Jesus is Praying for You

Hebrews 7:25

Jesus is praying for you. God’s Word of pure truth says that Jesus lives to intercede for us; He is regularly pleading with the Father on our behalf.

  Jesus is God’s eternal Son, all God, all Man, and all powerful. When He prays, He does so perfectly and in exact harmony with the Father and the answers will come.

  Jesus is God’s Agent in Creation (John 1:1-3). Charles Stanley wrote, “The One who carried out Creation [most of it by Divine Fiat – by His Word alone He said, “Let there be light and there was light.”] is the One who is praying for you. The same voice that called the universe into existence is moving people, engineering situations, and orchestrating circumstances so to carry out His will for your life.”

  It is the Father who scrutinizes your path and who  is intimately acquainted with all your ways, so nothing can come into your life apart from His approval and everything that comes into your life He will use for your good and for His purpose to remake you into the image of His Son (Psalm 139:3; Romans 8:28, 29).

  So, do not be afraid. Remember Your Shepherd, your King, your Intercessor is with you and for you.

[Charles Stanley: “Jesus, Our Perfect Hope,” p. 5]


Listen to God

Ecclesiastes 5:1

  The wisest man in history, King Solomon, who penned The Proverbs was also used of the Holy Spirit to give us the Book of Ecclesiastes. Here he gives us wise counsel. Solomon advises us to approach the Father with thought and reverence and particularly he counsels us to approach the God of the universe for the purpose of listening to Him.

  As I ponder this, I am mindful of the countless  times I have approached Father God to pour out my grief, pain, and anxiety over and over again. There have been many situations in my life that so captivated me with anxiety, fear, and hopelessness that all I could do was to talk to my Father about it before I went to bed and first thing in the morning, too. Thankfully, He is the God of our situations! And … He gives us leeway ro ” … pour out your heart before Him” (Psalm 62:8)

  But, there is another key activity  in our relationship with the Lord. Irbis vitally important to approach Him with our Bible, a  pen and paper in hand for the purpose of listening to Him. God still speaks. He speaks to us through His Word; through His Spirit and a still small voice in our inner man, bringing thoughts to mind; through the Church [other believers]; and through our circumstances. So, it is vital that we draw near not only to talk with Him, but also to listen to Him.

  He knows what we have need of before we ask (Matthew 6:5-8). He is Almighty God and He knows exactly what needs ro be done in our life and our situations. Charles Stanley wrote, “Get on your knees before Him in prayer, open His Word, give Him ample time to speak to you, and agree with what He says. Keep seeking Him and don’t lose heart. Certainly the Lord will guide you, give you the wisdom you need, and lead you to overcome all you”re facing.

[Charles Stanley: “Jesus, Our Perfect Hope,” p. 55].