Sunday, June 30, 2013

LOVE IS....

Remember those Love is....cartoons from the 70's?  Or maybe you don't, so I'll tell you about them.  It was a popular cartoon always of the same man and woman and at the top of every drawing it said Love is..... and then underneath some cute saying about what love is.  Some of them were good, some were great, some were biblical and some were worldly but they all described love in some way.  I Corinthians 13 does that.  Describes what love is.  Only, this description is inspired by the Holy Spirit, so it is never simply "good" but always full on TRUTH.

I'd like us to read that passage of scripture together here - but first, I'd like to ask something of you.  Instead of reading it in light of "how you ought to behave or feel or act toward other people", I'd like to apply these principles of love to  -  ourselves.  When asked "What is the greatest commandment", Jesus answered "To love God with all your heart, all your mind and all your strength."  He did not stop there, but went on to a fuller answer.  "And the second is like it.  To love your neighbor AS YOU LOVE YOURSELF".  Many sermons and speeches have been made about loving our neighbors, loving others, taking care of others.  Few have addresses the idea of LOVING OURSELVES.  This isn't narcissistic self serving, selfish, self centered love.  This is righteous godly love for oneself, for you cannot love your neighbor properly if you do not love yourself properly.  Jesus didn't say "love your neighbor".  He said "love your neighor as you love yourself."

So, please read with me if you will.

ICorinthians 13: 4-8

Love suffers long and is kind;  do you show yourself the patience and kindness you show to others, or are you quick to beat yourself up and declare yourself unworthy or stupid?  Stop doing that!  Allow yourself GRACE - don't excuse bad behavior but do patiently allow yourself time and room to grow in the Lord and be kind to yourself as you go through the process.
love does not envy; Learn to be thankful and satisfied with what God has provided for you.  You do not need to be anything other than who you are.  God loves YOU!  He expects you to be the best you you can be, not a replica of anyone else.  Stop comparing yourself to anyone else or comparing what you do to what someone else does.
love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; and that takes care of the worry about loving yourself leading to self centered or selfish behavior.   
does not behave rudely, This is one of the toughest to apply to ourselves.  We behave rudely to ourselves and don't even notice.  We are often so prone to be so hard on ourselves.  Grace, covering us.  Grace toward ourselves.
does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil;  Toward ourselves we apply LOVE which means we don't condemn ourselves, we don't think the worse of ourselves.  Not excusing our behaviors, but instead striving for love in our actions and thoughts.
does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; Rather than put ourselves down and call ourselves names, we apply the TRUTH of Gods word to our own selves.  We are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus.  We are NEW CREATIONS.  We are loved, wanted, and valued by the Creator of all things.
bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Through all life's circumstances there will be many peaks and valleys we will go through.   In each we must hold on to the truth and often, we endure and hope and believe without any tangible reason to go with it.  We bear the burdens of life because we live in a sinful, fallen world, but we endure knowing that we have HOPE in Christ Jesus of Eternal Life!
  LOVE NEVER FAILS..

Don't you fail to love yourself, in order that you can more perfectly LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR!

We at Turn the Tide Ministries hope you find the Sunday Sermons encouraging and we ask you to please share them with others who may find encouragement in them as well.  You are welcome to comment here or write us anytime with a prayer request or a comment.  Thank you for joining us!  Please pray for us as we share the gospel of Salvation!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

The Body of Christ

Adherence, or the imperfect human attempt to adhere to the principles found in the Bible are what separate Believers from unbelievers and the actual application in our thoughts and subsequently our actions on a consistent and deliberate basis is what brings about the maturity in Christ from remaining a babe, able to drink milk only, as Paul the Apostle so lovingly described it.

Simply put, there are several steps we can follow that lead us to maturity as a Christian:

          *   Read, know and understand Gods word to the very best of your ability

II Timothy 2:15  Study to show yourself approved unto God a workman who need not be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth

          *   Choose to be obedient and think according to what you've studied 

Romans 12:2  and be not conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

          *   Give all glory and praise to the one to Whom all Glory and Praise is due    

I Corinthians 1:31  That according as it is written he that glories, let him glory in the Lord

Notice in each of these and in the many others found in the Bible, the end result, the beginning reason and the "why" is NEVER about you and I, not about us "getting what we ask for" or our lives being made easy and blessed.  It always begins, is about and ends with the Lord.  We give a lot of lip service to "its all about Jesus" but our actions often show the lie that in our hearts it is really all about us!
When a disciple asked Jesus about the greatest commandment, that, too, was all about the only one worthy of honor - the Lord!

Matthew 22: 36 - 39
Master, which is the great commandment in the law?  Jesus said unto him - You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind.  This is the first and great commandment.  And the second is like it.  You shall love your neighbor as you love yourself.

Jesus cut right to the heart of the matter, didn't He?  Every fiber of our being is created by God for His purpose precisely because HE IS THE CREATOR!  And the best use of all the "love" we have in us?  TO GIVE IT AWAY TO THOSE AROUND US.  

Jesus told His disciples that whoever would be first, would be last.  Whoever tried to "save" his own life would lose it.  This isn't a physical law, but a spiritual one.  To us, in our reasoning and logic it makes no sense at all.  But if you try it, you discover it works, perfectly, every time and in ways you can't even begin to imagine.  Take a moment, look up these verses and read the context of why Jesus spoke in this manner.  Next time, we'll take a look at them together, so be sure to send your questions and comments to turnthetideministry@live.com and join the discussion!

Verses to read:
Matthew 10:39; 16:25  Mark 8:35  Luke 9:24; 17:33  John 12:2

Sunday, June 16, 2013

The CROSS

Several mornings ago, I actually woke up already singing a song - a hymn, maybe some of you know it as well.  The chorus goes like this:

At the Cross, at the Cross where I first saw the light; and the burden of my heart rolled away!  It was there by faith; I received my sight; and now I am happy all the day!

The Cross of Jesus Christ has such great and important meaning and is significant in EVERY way in our lives on a daily, moment by moment basis.  It is at the Cross that our sin was taken by Lord and we received redemption, forgiveness, a pardon from the things of which we truly were and are guilty of, yet He declared us NOT GUILTY and free indeed!

It is at the Cross that we find our HOPE and our PEACE when troubles beset us.

It is to the Cross we bring our sorrows and find comfort; we bring our tangled messes and find The Way; we bring our hurts and find healing.  Everything we need and will ever need is found at the Cross.  Christ gave Himself willingly to be crucified; to pay our penalty; to deliver us from bondage; to liberate us from the captivity of sin and satans schemes!

The CROSS is the crossroad of all Eternity.  It is there that we each, every individual, must make our Eternal choice.  There is no remaining at the corner without choice being made.  Whatever road we are traveling. our own and in some cases even already traveling a road of awareness of the Lord, there comes that POINT OF CONTACT, that central, pivoting moment when we must choose.

Surrender ourselves to the Lord and go in an upward journey of obedience into His will; or move on in our own way, following our own dictates and desires.
A horizontal journey - seemingly our own, but not truly, for it leaves us subject to the god of this world, the father of lies and darkness we call "the devil".


Or a vertical journey - living not as our own, but as children of the Living God, walking in obedience to His commands, seeking His will and receiving His mercy, grace and love.

At the CROSS; at the CROSS - is it where YOU will SEE THE LIGHT?  Isaiah spoke such eloquent prophesy in chapter 53:

 4: Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God and afflicted.  5: but He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him and by His stripes we are healed 6: all we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one to his own way; AND THE LORD HAS LAID ON HIM THE INIQUITY OF US ALL.

God has taken the most complicated, chaotic mess of humanity - SIN - and He has given a straight forward and simple solution - THE CROSS. Choose - our own way - or CHOOSE OBEDIENCE TO HIS WAY. One way leads to destruction; the other to redemption.

Alas! and did my Savior bleed
And did my Sovereign die?
Would He devote that sacred head
For sinners such as I?


Refrain 
At the cross, at the cross where I first saw the light,
And the burden of my heart rolled away,
It was there by faith I received my sight,
And now I am happy all the day!

Thy body slain, sweet Jesus, Thine—
And bathed in its own blood—
While the firm mark of wrath divine,
His Soul in anguish stood.

Was it for crimes that I had done
He groaned upon the tree?
Amazing pity! grace unknown!
And love beyond degree!

Well might the sun in darkness hide
And shut his glories in,
When Christ, the mighty Maker died,
For man the creature’s sin.

Thus might I hide my blushing face
While His dear cross appears,
Dissolve my heart in thankfulness,
And melt my eyes to tears.

But drops of grief can ne’er repay
The debt of love I owe:
Here, Lord, I give my self away
’Tis all that I can do.

Words: Isaac Watts (1707)

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Anointed Ambassadors

There is no end to what we humans can truly do and accomplish when we are anointed by the Lord to do so, just as there is nothing we can do so well without it.  Many years ago when I was raising my children, the Lord anointed me to work with children in a very special way.  I opened a daycare, which allowed me to be in the home for my children while earning a very desperately needed income.  During this period of time I seemed to instinctively know the what, when and how concerning all the needs of the children who were brought by their parents for my care. 

No amount of crying irritated me in the slightest, I, a very impatient person by nature, was infinitely patient with these 1, 2, 3 and 4 year old demanding little human beings.  They delighted me!  I genuinely enjoyed introducing them to “the world” and found great joy and satisfaction in their delight!  Every new discovery they made was as fresh and exciting as the first time my own children had made just such a discovery.   A hug from one of them gave me the warm fuzzies like nothing else could, and I can honestly say that in almost 15 years of providing this service, I loved each and every child in my care and enjoyed every minute with them... until the day I didn’t anymore.  The season of child care came to an end for me and with it the special anointing.  A new season in my life began and a fresh, equally satisfying but different anointing came with it.


It was the same when Turn the Tide Ministries was blessed with our first RV which we affectionately referred to as Harvey the RV – a 19 foot mini motor home.  We lived in those 19 feet as if in a palace, and when God blessed us a couple of years later with an answer to prayer - simply that we would have a fifth wheel with a separate bed from the couch, it was like He had given us the Taj Mahal!  We dubbed it the "Silver L" and quickly re-made it to fit our needs.  We were blessed and not once did we feel cramped or overcrowded, not even when company came to visit our little space!

Every believer is anointed by God for the work of the ministry.  (See last weeks Sunday Sermon) Each one has a particular purpose for the talents and abilities God has given to us, to accomplish Gods great plan.  Each one is called by the Lord to serve, not all in the same way or same capacity, but all to serve to accomplish "the Mission" stated in II Corinthians 5:
 "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.
Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ..."

Have you confessed Jesus as Lord in your life?  Have you believed God raised Him from the dead and by the shedding of His blood you have received Remission of sin?  Then you are an Ambassador, a representative of Him on this earth.  It isn't a pulpit or a degree or a piece of paper from some "august body" that makes you a minister for the Lord Jesus Christ - it is the Christ in YOU and you walking IN that truth that releases His miraculous anointing in your life to do extraordinary things in His name! 

Ephesians 4:1-7 " I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.
 But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. "

HAVE A TRULY BLESSED & ANOINTED WEEK!  

Sunday, June 2, 2013

One Drop...One Ripple

We are but one drop in a vast ocean, how much affect can we truly have upon all the rest of the world?  It would seem extremely minimal at best as the ripple of our prayers and godly actions weakens as it widens.  But we can have great affect on the lives of those close to us, right?  Our prayers and our actions are direct, specific, engaged and powerful close up, aren't they?  Yes, and no.  Now I am fully aware that the bible teaches us to let your Yes be yes and no be no, and this might seem contradictory, but it isn't.  It's just more than what meets the immediate eye.

Acts 1:8 Jesus instructs His disciples (which we also are if He is our Lord) to be witnesses of Him in Judea (their immediate surroundings) Samaria (non-Jews, those slightly different than them in religious belief- like todays different denominations) and unto the UTTERMOST PARTS OF THE EARTH.  All of the disciples are to do this.  He wasn't simply talking about 1 or 2 of them, or just Paul when he would eventually join in or those "called to be missionaries" - EVERY SINGLE LAST ONE OF JESUS' DISCIPLES WAS EXPECTED TO FULFILL THIS MINISTRY CALL.

How could they possibly?  When we continue reading Acts, we discover that a great persecution took place and scattered most, but not all, of the disciples.  Many stayed right there in Jerusalem and were in complete obedience to Christ.  How?  By their prayers.  By the actions they took which affected others, which affected others, which affected others.......the ripple affect.  Yes, it did affect most directly those that were right there with them.  But no, those were not the only people affected.  And it wasn't JUST the evangelists/missionaries sent out that began to affect the whole earth!  Those prayers are powerful by the Spirit of the Living God and they go everywhere and into every heart He ordains them to.  Ephesians 2:10 tells us we are HIS WORKMANSHIP, created in Christ Jesus for good works which God prepared BEFOREHAND that we should walk in them.  We can't be everywhere, but HE IS!  When He moves in your heart to pray - PRAY!  You are having extraordinary affect upon someone else's life through that prayer as powerful and direct and engaged as if they were right there praying with you!

So keep in mind at all times that the ripples are continuously moving outward and constantly having affect in some way upon all the earth while you bless and work with those closest to your heart and keep up your efforts to share the gift of salvation, the gift of Eternal Life through Christ Jesus our Lord and Savior.  One day the King will return for His people and what joy and rejoicing in the hearts of those who hear those coveted words "Well done, thou good and faithful servant!"