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Harnessing Your Body and Mind so you won’t be a castaway

By on December 12, 2017

Here in America, we face an incredible struggle in the area of personal holiness. In the old days, so many of the things we joke about were considered sin. For example, in the Bible days, laziness was called slothfulness and was considered an absolute sin. (In God’s eyes, it has never changed!) Gluttony was a sin. So was immortality, greed, drunkenness and materialism.

In our modern culture where no one is expected to be responsible for his or her behavior, these things are considered “weakness” or “personal failings” but almost NEVER as sin.

It’s more common for Christians to joke about indulging the flesh than it is for them to cry out to God for strength, help and forgiveness.

God gave you your body and its natural appetites. But, if you fail to harness and control them, they become what the Bible calls in Romans 6:1 “instruments of sin” rather than “instruments of righteousness.” That’s why so many Christians, instead of pursuing God find themselves pursuing the cravings of the flesh. (1 John 2:16).

I ran across this quote by Michael Quoist, “If your body makes all the decisions and gives all the orders, and you obey, the physical can effectively destroy every other dimension of your personality. Your emotional life will be blunted and your spiritual life will be stifled…”

That’s why the Word of God is reminding us of the need to keep our natural desires and appetites under control. Your body is a great and wonderful tool, when harnessed and trained. If allowed to do what it feels like, it can be your worst enemy.

In fact, if it isn’t controlled, it can literally wage war against your soul. (1 Corinthians 9:27). That’s why you have to make sure that your body is your servant, not your master. (Remember? Jesus said that no man can serve two masters.)

When God tells you to present your body as a living sacrifice, and not to be conformed to this world, (Romans 12:1-2). He is hitting especially hard at the practices of the modern Christian.

What could be more conformity to the world than the way we pamper and indulge our bodies, even when we plainly know better?

I’m not talking just about food. (By the way, some people can overindulge in food to the point of gluttony yet never put on weight.)
Any bodily appetite that we don’t get control over opens us up to other areas of overindulgence and self-destruction.

For example, for years, there have been studies that smoking dope will lead to doing other drugs, including heroin and cocaine. Does it really? Yes, in the sense that, once you decide that you ENJOY not being in fill control of your faculties, you’re wide open for other areas to abuse your body. Same with beer drinking leading to other forms of drinking and the use of hard liquor.

The habit of always giving into the desires of your body, whether it’s in the areas of food or drink or other areas, always extends into other areas, if not stopped.

If you refuse to say “no” to an indulgent appetite in one of these areas, you’ll have a hard time saying “no” to dishonesty, or greed, or uncleanness in other areas, “It’s what I call the spillover factor.” That’s why in James 2:2 it says that if you can control your tongue, you can control your whole body.

Then there’s materialism. Right in there with immoral behavior, lust, impurity and evil desires, the Bible lists one that zaps a lot of Christians: Materialism. (Colossians 3:5)

He’s not talking about just having nice things. Or being well paid for what you do. He’s talking about the love of things just because you love them and they make you feel good. It’s the idea of having money or things as a way of altering your mood.

Here are the two ways that materialism tries to destroy your soul.

First, it makes you jealous of the good things that other people have. It makes you envious, and resentful of them. It keeps you discontented, because it causes you to focus on what you DON’T have instead of what you DO have.

Second, it gets you to try to give in to every desire your flesh has, so you get soft and lazy. The plain fact is, that SPIRITUAL SOFTNESS LEADS TO PHYSICAL SOFTNESS.

When aren’t more Christians close to God? It’s this one principle:

WHAT YOU FEED GROWS AND WHAT YOU STARVE DIES.
That’s it. If you feed your flesh, and the fleshy part of you, that’s what’ll grow. If you feed your spirit man, that’s what’ll grow.
So, God tells you to get in the habit of saying “NO” to your carnal desires and appetites instead of giving in to every whim. To stop acting according to your feelings and begin to act according to what’s right.

See, I rarely FEEL like (in the natural) doing what I SHOULD do. I don’t feel like going to bed each night. I don’t feel like getting up each morning. My flesh wants to sleep during the day and stay out all night. I don’t usually FEEL like reading the Bible. Or praying. Or going to church EVERY service. That’s why I have to take control of my body and make it do what God wants it to do instead of what IT wants to do.
The Word tells you what to do in 2 Timothy 2:22. RUN from them. Flee temptations! You don’t make yourself strong by seeing how much of it you can resist. No, most temptations are beat by running from them.

Stay out of the bars. Keep away from the crack houses. Don’t go out on dates with unsaved people. Don’t go parking! Don’t check out or watch “R” or “NC-17” videos. Cancel the Movie Channel, HBO or Cinemax if you have cable.

Next, don’t make ROOM for the flesh to operate. Romans 13:14 says, to make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its sinful desires. Your flesh LOVES to “miss the target!” don’t make room for it to do it.

If you have an eating problem, stay away from the ALL-YOU-CAN-EAT “pig bars”! if alcohol has gotten a pull on you, don’t even go IN to a place that sells alcohol! Especially not alone!

Feed on the Word. “How shall a young person cleanse his ways? By taking heed thereto according to the Word.” Pray. “Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation.”

What are the basic reasons that most people never rise above their flesh nature?

Because you are more concerned about feeling good, than you are about how GOD feels. You’d rather say “yes” to the flesh than say “yes” to God. You’d rather say “no” to God. You’d rather say “no” to Jesus than to say “no” to yourself.

You don’t REALLY try. There’s something about that particular sin that you actually ENJOY. You tend to think of it as your “bittersweet little friend” than as an enemy of both God and your soul.

You don’t think that sin is serious, or that God means it when He says, “Without holiness no man shall see the Lord.” (Hebrews 12:13) You’ve categorized sins into those that matter and those that don’t.

You might not do drugs or fornicate, but you don’t think it matters that you don’t tithe…or are unfaithful to God in assembling with the Saints in church each week. Until you realize that all sin is sin, you’ll never seek God’s strength, help and forgiveness.

The Holy Spirit wants to HELP you to walk in God’s victory and strength. To get hold of God and to hang on until you’ve received the help you need. Ask Him to help you seek God until you get a touch from Heaven, a touch from God Almighty, to break off the yoke of besetting sins…and to enter into the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free!

Who Are You Gonna Believe?

By on December 5, 2017

What makes the biggest difference in how your life goes? Not money. Not looks. Not skin color. Not education. None of these. No, what makes the number one difference in how your life goes is the whole matter of who and what you choose to believe.

What you believe about life. What you believe about other people. What you believe about money. What you believe about morality, drugs, alcohol and yourself. But most of all, what you believe about God.

That’s the most important one:
See, what you believe sets the course for everything else in your life. That’s why it’s important who you listen to. What you read. What you allow to come into your spirit. Because, ultimately, these are the things that WILL direct your life.

What about the people you’re hanging out with? What influence are they having on you? What are you BECOMING? Are you spending time with the people who will help you to become what God has planned for you? Are you READING what you need to read? Or instead, are you filling your head with mindless chatter, garbage and idiotic thoughts from TV?

Who and WHAT you believe is the most important factor in your life right now:

I’ve believed a lot of wrong things in the past. Like, I used to believe in Santa Claus. I used to believe that I looked good with long matted hair and in bell bottoms.

I’ve also wrongly believed that certain people were worthy of my trust, and then was set up for hurt and failure. In fact, I STILL tend to believe in people rather easy. I still tend to believe that people mean well, and that they are basically sincere. And, I’m sure I’ll be hurt from time to time as a result of what I’m believing.

Why can’t we treat God like that? Like me, you probably from time to time believe in people, just because you take them at their world. It’s a matter of courtesy and common respect. But, we don’t give God the same courtesy or respect.

In fact, in times of adversity, or times of trial, we’ll believe the devil when he says that God isn’t being faithful, or that God has forsaken us. In times of doubt and unbelief, we’ll give the devil all the credit in the world, even though he’s been a lair from the beginning.

But, if God promises us something good, we just shake our heads and shrug Him off. We decide not to take Him at His word because of our own weakness and inability to believe. But, “Let God be true and every man a liar.” (Romans 3:4) I’m here to encourage you to find faith in God.

God not only deserves your belief, but He invites you to PROVE that He doesn’t lie. Malachi 3:10 says: “Prove Me now…” God says, “Prove me now, if you suspect that My word isn’t true. Prove Me now if you think that I have left you or forsaken you. Prove Me now if you think that I don’t answer your sincere prayers according to My Word. Prove me now and have your doubts removed. Prove Me now and “be not faithless, but believing.” (John 20:27).

Most of the promises have an “if” attached to them. “If” you do such and such, THEN will I do thus and so. These are promises where you enter into agreement with God. You agree to do what He says, and He agrees to honor your words and actions.

For example, in this verse, Malachi 3:10, He says “Prove me now.” What’s the condition? If you want to prove God in the area of your money, the condition you need to meet is right here in this verse. “Bring ye all the tithes (that’s 10% of your income) into the storehouse (your local church) that there may be meat (spiritual food) in My house.

Not one of us prove God’s promise for our money until we have brought all of our tithe into the storehouse. Because that’s the condition, the “if” that God put on His promise so it can be proved. What about where He says, “Call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify Me.” (Psalm 50:15) The only way to prove God here is to have a day of trouble, and then to call upon Him. Or, where He says in John 6:37, “He that cometh to Me, I will in no wise cast out.” What a sweet promise. But, you can’t prove this promise unless you come to Jesus.

Conditions are descriptions of the people God has made these promises to. He says, “To this man will I look, even to him who is of a poor and contrite spirit, and trembleth at My word.” (Isaiah 66:2). That means, when you find that He’s just given a description of your condition, that you also find a promise that you can prove God with! You now have “a reason for the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.” (1 Peter 3:15).
What about, “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and He will have mercy upon him?” (Isaiah 55:7) Prove God! Let Him give you the grace to forsake yourself destructive ways, and your evil thoughts! And, return to God!
Help from Heaven. Hasn’t God proven Himself to you over? Hasn’t this been your experience? Can’t you say like David of old, “This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him and saved him out of all his troubles?” (Psalm 34:6). Hasn’t He always been to you “a very present help in time of trouble?” (Psalm 46:1).

Some of God’s promises don’t even HAVE conditions. He says, “I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.” (Jeremiah 31:3) There’s no condition here. All you have to do is pray, “Lord, I believe that you DO love me with an everlasting love, and that You have drawn me to You.”

Or, “I will put My Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes, and ye SHALL keep My judgments and do them.” (Ezekiel 36:27). You humbly bring this verse to God, and say, “Have You Said this? Then, Lord, DO it.”

If God gives you a promise, don’t be afraid to prove Him in it. You say, “But I am so weak! I’m not strong like I was before!” Doesn’t He say this for you? “When I am weak, then I am strong?” (2 Cor. 12:10).

What could possibly glorify God more than proving His word is true? When you get down on your knees and say, “Lord, you have said that “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.” (1 Timothy 1:15) and that, “Whosever shall call on the Name of the Lord shall be saved. (Acts 2:21). Lord, that means that Jesus came for ME. So, I call upon Your Name, believing that You SHALL save me.”

What could you do, to glorify God any more than that? You might be the person who’s feeling like your sins are overwhelming…like you have been so unfaithful, so disloyal – Prove God! He says, “Through this man (Jesus) is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins, and by Him all that believe are freely justified.” (Acts 13:38-39) Doesn’t He also invite you to prove that “I, even I am He that blotteth out thy transgressions, and will not remember thy sins?” (Isaiah 43:25).

Prove God! Believe God! Call upon Him and He will answer thee! Seek Him and ye shall find Him! Come to Him, and He will in no wise cast you out!

Where are you hiding? What God asked Adam, He’s asking YOU!

By on November 30, 2017

The Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, ‘Where art thou?’ God spoke these words on the very first judgment day in human history. We always think about the Judgment Day that we all will go through at the end of our lives, but there are LOTS of “mini” judgment days that we go through, here in this life. Usually, we’re not even aware of them.

These little judgment days happen whenever God and a guilty person are brought together. We’re like Adam in a lot of ways. When we sin, we want to avoid being in the presence of God. We KNOW we’re wrong, so we don’t want to be around Him (That’s the #1 reason that SOME of the people who read my articles can’t bring themselves to church on a regular basis!) We follow the same pattern that Adam did, after he sinned.

First of all, GOD hadn’t condemned Adam. Adam’s OWN heart was condemning him. He was guilty and he KNEW IT. He was in rebellion. So, when he heard the voice of God as He walked in the garden, Adam went and hid himself. He KNEW that when He was in the presence of God, his sin would be exposed.
Secondly, even though Adam was doing his level best to AVOID dealing with God, God sought out Adam, saying, “Where art thou?”

Immediately, Adam is brought into the presence of God, knowing he’d been detected and that there was no use in trying to hide from God any longer.
Third, there was a bringing to light the hidden things of darkness. Adam tells God that he was afraid of God, and God says, “What hast thou DONE?”
God hadn’t hidden from Adam; Adam had hidden from God. He knew that when he was in the presence of God, he would feel compelled to bare all, and to give account for the deeds done in his body. Like I said earlier, Adam was experiencing the first Judgement Day in human history.

If God is going to work powerfully at thee Worship Center, and in our lives – as we have been praying that He would – the first thing He will do is to draw each one of us personally. And, when He does draw us near, the Holy Spirit will produce the same effects in us as He did in Adam: That voice which called for Adam will speak to YOUR heart and conscience. And you’ll find yourself being asked, “Where art thou?”

God wasn’t trying to find out where Adam was physically. (Though when He looks in at the Worship Center on Sunday mornings, KNOWING where some of us OUGHT to be, I believe He’s saying, “I called you to the Worship Center…”
WHERE ART THOU?!! God KNEW where Adam had hidden himself.

God was asking Adam that question to get Adam to examine himself. To bring it forcibly to Adam’s heart and conscience. GOD WAS CAUSING ADAM TO COMPARE HIS REAL POSITION NOW…COMPARED WITH WHERE HE USED TO BE.

A short time before, it had been a joy to Adam to hear God’s voice. Now, Adam has fallen to a depth where he wants to avoid personal contact with God, at all costs…

Adam was waking up to the fact that, not only was he in an unclean position, but that he was trying to run from God the ONLY One who would be able to remedy Adam’s fallen condition.

Adam was turning his back on God. Even though Adam had sinned against God, and was trying to escape from God, God was still Adam’s best and only true Friend!

It’s the same with many of us. Look at your own heart. Examine it as though you were standing before God, and just ask yourself, “Where am I?” Go a step farther and ask, “What am I trying to do to myself? Am I secretly trying to hide from God because I’ve sinned against Him? Why am I trying to avoid the only friend I can deliver me from the problems that I have surrounded myself with?”

Where are some of the places we try to hide?

Being “Average”. We have a bulk of people who aren’t ACTIVELY hiding. They just sort of SIT behind their half-hearted commitment that they made years ago, when they actually CARED about God.

These are people who haven’t been as bad as the people they read about in the newspaper. They like to think of themselves as “good, average Christians.” They go to church two or three times a week, basically tithe, take communion, and occasionally read their Bibles.

But, this kind of religion is nothing more than a sham and self-deception. It doesn’t bring joy and peace. It doesn’t bring power. It doesn’t produce the desire to really pray. The whole thing is a shadow, play-acting.

There’s no spiritual reality in it.

Excuse Making. “It’s not in my personality. I’m just not LIKE that.” God isn’t talking about your heart towards Him and His people.
“I’m too busy.” Are you going to be too busy to die one day, and too busy to bring your excuses to the throne of God?

“I have an addiction that I can’t beat…a sin that I’m not ready to let go of.” If you KNEW you’d be standing before the throne of God tonight, you’d be able to sober up and let go of that sin so quick it make my head spin! And you know it.

“Pastor Steve expects too much out of us!” no, I don’t. I just love you more than you like to realize and I believe in you more than you could know.
There are lots of other excuses and lots of other places people try to run to in order to hide from God. Our excuses are just that, excuses. And they don’t hold up when compared with God’s truth.

Why should you hide yourself from Jesus?

Now, if Jesus was walking the aisles of the Worship Center with a sword of judgement and vengeance in His hand…If His eyes flashed with hot fire and indignation…If He dealt with us through a voice of thunder, trying to terrorize us…well, then I could understand why we would want to hide from Him.

But the Jesus that we’re hiding from is the cross for us…His eyes are filled with warm and glowing love and pity…His heart is full of tender compassion…and He’s coming to offer forgiveness and renewing…cleansing and revival.

What is there in Him that would make you want to avoid coming into intimate contact with Him? He’s speaking to you right now, through the anointing on this message. (Most people will have tossed this newsletter aside by now. But you didn’t.)

Meet with Jesus this Sunday at the church He has called you to. Let Him touch your heart and spirit. Find in Him the thing that you’ve been searching for that can’t be found…a hiding place. A place of peace, security, forgiveness and love…a place that can only be found in Jesus.

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Event Calendar

  • December 2017
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
     1 2 10:00 am: Church Decorating Day
3 4 6:30 pm: Ladies Christmas Party 56789
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17 6:30 pm: Church Christmas Program 181920212223
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