Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Compassion

Feeling what another person is feeling, without regard to your own personal feelings is the mark of true compassion.  How many of us can even begin to experience such emotion?

Our own feelings swallow up every thought and direct every emotion.  Our own experiences shadow every thought and emotion.  Our own concerns outweigh concern for others.

Unless we are led by the Holy Spirit of the living God.

Through the Spirit working in and through us, we find our own self set aside, and are able to fully, compassionately be consumed with honest care for the hurt and needful hearts of others.

It has always amazed me how some people are so much better at this than I've ever been.

Until I yielded my heart to God, and sought His heart for the people He is calling to repentance and new life in Christ.  I can't say when it happened.  I cannot tell how it happened.

Surrender to the Holy Spirit brings about miraculous occurrence that there is NO earthly, physical explanation for.  Within the power of the Holy Spirit is where we truly begin to bless, minister to and love other people as Jesus loved, unselfishly, no personal agenda, pouring our heart out in order to fill it with compassionate empathy for the need of others.

Gods Word in Action

Monday, May 26, 2014

A place; a season; a job

In the Old Testament book of I Chronicles, chapters 25, 26 & 27 lay out a plan that includes a specific function for every family and each member of those families for the entire tribe of Israel.  Each one supplying what they are gifted and anointed to do best, means that the entire tribe of Israel has all of it's needs met by its own members.  They don't need anyone outside of themselves, when they function in the way God set them up to do.  He is the Head, they are the body.

The Apostle Paul sets up a similar idea in Romans 12 and I Corinthians 12.

Christ is the Head of the Body, and we each individually as followers of Christ have gifts and are anointed to function in a way that builds up and strengthens the Body of Christ.  No one gift or function is of any greater significance or importance than another, but all are necessary to the healthy working of the body as a whole.

Praise God, Who is Wisdom beyond our understanding, and always does what is BEST for His children!

Sunday, May 25, 2014

The Great HOPE

When I first began to listen, really listen to others teach the precepts and doctrine of the Bible, it inspired me and stirred such a passion in my heart!  How did these people KNOW these things?  How could they be so sure?

As a young child I began reading the Bible, and having no real life experience, most of what I read escaped my understanding completely.  BUT... a layer of wisdom was being sowed in my heart.  As I continued to read, and study, and listen to others, and study some more and read some more I discovered that a great deal of the Bible revealed itself, quite simply, within itself.

Take as an example the great problem of SIN.  Having listened to the teaching of man we come to understand that we each are sinners in need of a Savior, and God provided Jesus as our Savior.  We are blessed at the Great Salvation but are then deceived into condemnation, believing falsely that having once obtained the Great Salvation we are no longer worthy of it, can never be worthy of it and must pay a price, over and over again, in what appears to be a vain hope that we'll squeak by and sneak into heaven.

NAH... that just ain't the truth my friends!

Here's a simple truth in Gods Word taken from the Old Testament.

Jeremiah 3: 1 They say "If a man divorces his wife, and she goes from and becomes another man's, may he return to her again?  would not that land be greatly polluted? But you have played the harlot with many lovers; Yet return to Me" says the Lord.

If the "text" for the sermon were to stop there, we would only grasp how woefully we lack, how we fall so far short.  We might say we believe that God forgives us, certainly, but there would linger an edge of fear, a slice of doubt that could keep us enslaved to our sin as a burden that, though lifted, the shadow would remain to cloud our life still.

Continuing to read we will find within the same passage of scripture these words of truth:

Jeremiah 3: 12 -13  ...For I am merciful, says the Lord; I will not remain angry forever.  Only acknowledge your iniquity, that you have transgressed against the Lord your God....

Forgiveness is a complete and utter thing with God.  He requires that we acknowledge our sin in order that we will take responsibility and turn away from sin.  He doesn't hold it over our heads, count it against us forever or bring it up to humiliate us.  He throws it in a sea of forgetfulness, He separates us from it as far as the east is from the west and He remembers it no more.  GRACE.

In His Word, the Bible, we find we can indeed have the Great Salvation.  In our human frailty we find in Him we have Great Hope of His strength being our strength.

Be encouraged today!

IF you have confessed your sin to God, and turned away, repented of it, He has forgiven you and you walk, not burdened or shadowed, but FREE indeed as Christ Jesus declared!  Truly free to live in newness of heart, strength of purpose and JOY as you fulfill the great and mighty plan God has for your life!

IF you have not yet taken this step yet, today can be the day of your rebirth as a new creation in Christ, set free from enslaving sin and moving forward in the Grace of the Lord our God.

This is our Great Hope, to live eternally through Christ in God.  Allelujah!

Want to know more, understand more, gain more and receive all that God has for you?  Read, dear friend, His matchless wonderful words of life and love and hope and joy found in His book that we call the Bible.
It isn't just "a" book, it is THE BOOK.
Through it for centuries God speaks to those
who will LISTEN.

Friday, May 23, 2014

BFF

We all have that "Best Friend Forever" right?  and that person has never, ever let us down, have they?  What?  They have?  There has been a time when even with the BEST of intentions, not meaning to, our BFF let us DOWN?!?!

Yes, it happens.  Our closest confident repeats words whispered in confidence.  Our dearest friend just isn't "there" for us when we feel like we need them the most.  

Or, worse, it's been US who is the BFF that let someone down!  We didn't mean to, we didn't want to, but our own needs, our own lives just got in the way of "being there" for them.

But there is a friend who truly NEVER lets us down.  Who is always present, always loving, always seeking our best interest and not His own.

But we miss it if we think that friendship comes with no price.  As in ANY friendship, it is a two way street. We expect that our earthly friends will have expectations toward us, because we also have expectations toward them.  Yet there is a friend who willingly gives far more than He ever gets - and He expects no more!

John 15: 9-17
“As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. 10 If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.
11: “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. 12: This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13: Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. 14: You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. 15: No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you. 16: You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you. 17: These things I command you, that you love one another."

This Best Friend Forever really is Eternal!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

In the morning when we rise....



Our morning experience sets our tone for the entire day.  


If we wake up groggy, the whole day may seem to be lived in a groggy fog, even after coffee is administered.  Waking up and becoming bright eyed and bushy tailed can be as simple as taking a moment before we hop from beneath the covers, to greet our Lord!  Somehow that can make any day easier to deal with, even if later on in our day we suffer a set back.

For this reason the Psalmist exhorts:

Psalm 5: 1-3
Give ear to my words, O Lord,
Consider my meditation.
Give heed to the voice of my cry,
My King and my God,
For to You I will pray.
My voice You shall hear in the morning, O Lord;
In the morning I will direct it to You,
And I will look up.


Starting each day taking the time to get centered in the Lord sets up your heart to handle whatever may come your way each day.  For each day, you will have been calmly, lovingly reminded that you are not alone.  You are never alone.  Having read the words in the morning, they will come back to strengthen you throughout your day.

When you walk in agreement with Almighty God, maker of Heaven and maker of Earth, since nothing is too difficult for Him, and you abide in Him, nothing will be too difficult for you.  For truly you CAN do alla things through Him who loves you!

His peace will keep you, His love will sustain you.  His favor will provide for you.


Lamentations 3:22-24 

Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not.   They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I hope in Him!”

Hope in the Lord, trust in the Lord and discover the JOY of the Lord in your daily living!  You will not be sorry, but you just might get happy.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Once a day, every day, all day long

My Dad used to say the sweetest things, to let me know he cared about me and was thinking of me.
He'd tell me he always thought of me once a day, every day, all day long.
I never doubted that he loved me.

Our decision to trust and obey God works like that.  We don't make it once, one time and it stays in place forever.  Our flesh is too fickle for such an easy way as that.


It is a decision we must make daily.


Once a day, every day, all day long; we need to choose to yield to the Holy Spirit.


Once a day, every day, all day long; we must decide we will obey the commands we were given.  To love God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength.  And to love our neighbors as ourselves.


Many of us think we have the "Love God" part down really well, even if we do struggle with the "love the neighbors" part.


God says if we aren't loving the neighbors, we aren't loving Him.


1 John 4:20

If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?

Jesus put it clearly as well.  

John 14:21
He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me.

To love is to forgive, show mercy, encourage and think the best of others.

Love God today.  You'll be amazed at the results.  He promises!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Dreams & Visions

When we pray, do we REALLY believe God will answer us?

Then why are so often surprised when He does?

I recently talked about examining our own hearts; an exhortation Paul makes:

2 Corinthians 13:5
Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified.

Reading that one morning now too long ago, I asked God to help me examine my heart, and reveal if anything needed attention, repentance and change.

Interestingly enough, I had a couple of dreams in the next two weeks that appeared significant, as they stayed with me through the next day.  

Again, I sought the guidance of the Holy Spirit, Who leads us into all truth, and discovered to my surprise, then joy, that indeed I did have two specific areas that required further address. 

I also felt my surprise needed addressing!  When we pray in Faith, we certainly should expect to get an answer, don't you agree?

The Lord often speaks to us in dreams and visions.  It's one of the few times, I think, we're actually quiet enough to LISTEN!

I pray you, too, will find your faith increasing as you experience answer to your prayers!

Monday, May 19, 2014

When you pray....

Have you ever prayed - and nothing happened?  Then sometime later - answer to your prayer is received, but you may have forgotten you even prayed and so you don't notice?

I know that sounds odd, but I recently realized that actually has happened to me.  I thought it may have happened to others as well.  We think God hasn't heard us, hasn't answered us.  Life, our daily ups and downs and minor drama's continues and we forget prayers we prayed that seemed like a big deal at the time we prayed them, but now other concerns have crowded our hearts and minds for attention and we don't remember.

God's timing for answer comes and God hasn't forgotten.

In the Gospel of John I was reading chapter 7 this morning when verse 6 leapt out at me.

John 7: 6  Then Jesus said to them "My time has not yet come, but your time is always ready."

His timing isn't always OUR TIMING.  We want everything now, now, NOW!  Yet God always knows when the exact right time is.

Some who keep prayer journals have probably, like myself, gone back to read over what they've prayed in the past and suddenly seen that a prayer they forgot about was answered by the Lord.... in His perfect timing and not according to our timetables.

Our God is faithful... and He never forgets!

Lift your voice in prayer and put your trust in the One who loves you unconditionally.
Bless you today, in Jesus name!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

WITNESSES

Just as the Lord called out specific prophets in the Old Testament to live out examples of His truth, showing by their actions His heart, so has He called His people today to do the same.

Isaiah at one point was called by the Lord to live naked and barefoot for three years, as a sign to Egypt and Ethiopia.  (Isaiah 20: 1-6)

THREE YEARS.

ONE MAN.

NAKED.

BAREFOOT.

We read that like it was nothing.  Stop.  Think.  Meditate.  Consider.  Ponder.

For three years - or one thousand and ninety five days (1095) Isaiah lived his daily life NAKED.  Buttocks out for all to see.  Genitalia exposed to any who choose to look.  Do you think he was so different from you or I that he didn't experience embarrassment?

One thousand and ninety five days BAREFOOT.  Every where he went.  No sandals.  In the heat, in the cold, on the rocks - nothing to protect the tender bottom of his feet from harm.

And when asked, and I'll bet lots of people asked, his answer was "God told me to."

How many of us would do such a thing?  Faithfully, day in and day out, for three years?  We would convince ourselves that God doesn't want us to be "uncomfortable".

I know, because there have been plenty of times I've convinced myself of that very thought.  Surely God doesn't me to be so uncomfortable!  I can only thank God I was willing to submit to the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit convicted my heart of my selfishness.

But we are called to be witnesses of Christ Jesus to this world.  To be His witness is to live as He lived. (Oh that we were actually capable of living as He lived!  Sin free.  Obedient without compromise.  Gracious at every turn.  Generous without question.  Kind without exception.)

Jesus never lived in a mansion, behind locked gates, with servants at His beck and call tending to every unspoken need, because He was a Servant of God and therefore somehow deserving of such luxury.  Instead, He lived among those He was serving and ministering to.  He lived by example, letting people see how He trusted God to meet His every need from big things to small things.

Jesus was a great example of being a real part of the community He was teaching Gods word to.  No setting Himself above or apart from folks.  He lived with them, always ready to stop whatever He was doing to meet a need, pray with someone, share a truth they needed to hear.

When Jesus was teaching His disciples He made it abundantly clear  that the greatest among them would be the SERVANT to all of them.

A true servant of the Lord won't be found "lording" it over others.  They won't be found hiding from  those with great need behind locked gates or in the back of fancy cars driven by others.  They won't be found doing "momentary ministry" only when the camera's are rolling.

Like Mother Teresa, they will be found in the "trenches" with those in need giving encouragement, praying with others, feeding those who are hungry and sharing with them the glorious Gospel that will set them free!  They'll be living their lives, not in momentary ministry, but in ministry mode at all times, keeping their hearts open to others and always looking for the return of Jesus, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords!

We may fail on many occasions.  We may fail on a regular basis.  We may fail daily.

BUT WE MUST NEVER STOP TRYING.  We must never stop asking God to cleanse our hearts of unrighteousness and set our feet on a path of obedience before Him to do His will.

This is practical application of Biblical truth.  Read it (follow along on our reading schedule!)  Think about how it applies to your life.  Then do it.  Love your neighbor.  Feed the hungry.  Visit the sick and those in prison.  As you have opportunity, take it, and watch how God will transform your life and fill it with such JOY as you've never known previously.

We pray for you.  Please remember to pray for us as we, too, attempt to obey and please the Lord our God.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

DECEPTION

In the garden called Eden where God had placed the man and woman He had created, they enjoyed incredible FREEDOM.  Not simply the freedom to do as they chose to do; but a freedom from certain things.

  •         They were free from worry
  •         They were free from adversity
  •         They were free from shame
  •         They were free from strife
  •         They were free from horror
  •         They were free from tragedy
  •         They were free from SIN and its cost of DEATH and                                 DESTRUCTION

Then along came a serpent.  A slithering, slimy snake bent on just that, both Death and Destruction.  With one action, that of deceiving the woman, which caused the man to join her, this serpent brought down every ounce of freedom the man and woman had enjoyed.  

Suddenly they found themselves confronted with their own nakedness, and with that discovery came worse.

  •         They began to worry about being naked
  •         They tensed with the idea of being confronted by God
  •         They tried to hide from their shame
  •         They realized too late the horror of the consequences of what              they had done
  •         They understood the tragic loss of freedom they had suffered
  •         SIN and its darkness entered their hearts, their minds and their         souls and as a direct result, their fellowship with God was                   destroyed and they suffered immediate spiritual death and                 eventual physical death

This same deceit occurs today with the same consequences of death and destruction still accompanying it everywhere it finds a soul who falls prey to its lie.

Ephesians 6:12
12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.

Satan has no need to wreak havoc in the lives of some.  He is content to leave them alone in the quietness of their own sad desperation.  Because they are no threat to him.  A great deceit has taken place and many are only too happy to accept it. 

It is the deceit that there is no enemy.   No devil, no hell and no spiritual wickedness existing on this earth preying on the hearts of men and women.  We have no need to guard our hearts against an adversary who we have been convinced does not exist. It isn't that we don't "believe in" God.

It is more that if there is no enemy, there is no need of a deliverer.  In this way then, many live in apathy toward the truth God has given us.  After all, if we have no devil, we have no need of a Savior.  This is one of the deceitful ways satan has kept many who live otherwise “good” and “decent” lives from receiving Christ and living the truly ABUNDANT lives of JOY and PEACE and RIGHTEOUSNESS that God actually intends for us.

What then are we to do? 

I can tell you truly that it is not Gods intention that we sit passively and complacently while He spoon feeds truth and deliverance to us.

We are to take action!  

FOLLOW AFTER
DILIGENTLY SEEK
ZEALOUSLY PURSUE
EARNESTLY DESIRE

1 Corinthians 6:9
Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites...

2 Corinthians 11:3
But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.

Consider this:  

If I am wrong, if the Bible is a book of fairy tales and there is no God, I've lost nothing by living as if every word is true and absolute.  I'll die when my time comes, and whatever there is, will be.  Meanwhile, I can tell you truthfully that my life has been filled with meaning and purpose beyond myself, and I have personally witnessed  and been the recipient of miraculous things that defy description.

If you who insist there is no truth, no God and no need of a Savior named Jesus; if you have been deceived and are wrong, you will die when your time comes, and you will face unspeakable regret that you did not receive the truth when it was presented to you.  Meanwhile, where do you turn when life is difficult?  Where do you find peace and comfort?  When this world has no answers and you NEED answers, where do you turn?  

God's greatest desire is that ALL THE MEN AND WOMEN HE CREATED will turn to Him, trust Him and receive the forgiveness of sin and deliverance he made available through the sacrificial death on a cross of His only begotten son, Jesus.

WHY?  That's an easy question to answer.
  
John 3:16:  for God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son that whosoever will believe on Him will not perish, but have everlasting life.

Isn't that what all the popular songs we sing tell us? 


THAT LOVE IS THE ANSWER!  :O) 

If you need help, there is a loving answer for your situation.  Please fill out the prayer request form in the upper left.  We'll pray.  You pray.  And watch God come to rescue the child He loves unconditionally!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Keepers of our hearts

Proverbs 4:23
Keep your heart with all diligence for out of it spring the issues of life.

What is it to keep our hearts?  Does it mean we close the heart off?  Do we never fully reveal ourselves, never fully allow others in?

What are the issues of life?  The daily mundane routines of life?  Our spiritual life? 

What is it then, to keep our hearts and how, if indeed we even can, do we control the issues that come out of it?

Grasping and understanding what God desires of us and for us can sometimes feel like an overwhelming and impossible task.

Create in me a CLEAN HEART O GOD! the Psalmist prayed. 

Is it true that only God can cleanse and wash our hearts?  God, Who knows the thoughts and intents of our hearts?  God, the One Who gives the desire of our heart?

If so, then the question is, how can we keep these hearts? 

By paying attention to what we allow to influence us, that’s one way.  By watching carefully what ideas, thoughts, visual pictures and sounds – words and music included – that we give our time and attention to.

The heart, the physical organ, is the unifying factor in the functioning of our bodies as a whole.  Every drop of blood passes through our heart and by that heart is pumped out into every cell of our bodies.  If the brain stops working, we are still alive.  If the heart stops pumping, we are no longer alive, life has left our body.

It is the same with this spiritual heart the Psalmist is talking about.  Thoughts come from our minds, influenced and affected by the things we've allowed into it. 

  • ·        The conversations we have with other people
  • ·        The movies or TV shows we watch
  • ·        The books and magazines we read
  • ·        Pictures we look at
  • ·        Things we discover on the internet


Romans 12:2And do not be 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.

The renewal of ourselves comes from the renewing of our minds to Gods truth.  Our five senses are continually taking in data from all around us, and then circulating that information and emotion through the spiritual heart on a constant basis just as every drop of our blood circulates through our physical heart.  Even when we are sleeping, our minds are churning, thinking, and the spiritual heart is sorting, organizing and deciding what it will keep, how the data will be processed and what will be discarded.

Keep our (spiritual) hearts with all diligence, the psalmist warns us, for it is with that self same heart that we will believe to receive righteousness, the peace of God that passes all understanding and trust in the Lord with all of that heart.

With all our hearts, we pray Gods merciful grace be bountiful toward you in all ways and your heart be created clean in His image.  When we confess our sin and receive the gift of Eternal Life through Christ Jesus, He gives us a brand new heart! 

2 Corinthians 5:17Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.