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knowing jesus well

The Most Important Thing Knowing Jesus Well

By on May 3, 2016

What’s the most important thing in your life? Having lots of friends? Making a lot of money? Impressing people? Having as much leisure time as possible? All these things motivate some people. But, none of them can satisfy for very long, because they are all earthly and temporary.

In Philippians 3:10 -12, it says “that I may know Him, (that’s Jesus), and the power of his resurrection…” Here’s the hearts cry of the Spirit of God for you. That you might know, be on intimate, close terms with Jesus! He WANTS you to know him! He isn’t hiding from you like many people suppose, no, He’s calling out to you, wanting you to draw near to Him, so he can draw near to you, like it says in the book of James.

Have you ever wanted to know someone, someone who was important to you? What did you do? I remember when I first discovered Linda, I saw her before I met her. I wanted to know ALL about her! I did what I could to find out her name! I went to a social function and sat next to her roommate, so I could find out all I could about Linda: her likes, her dislikes, her tastes in music, clothes, her tastes in guys… and even the scary question, did she already have a boyfriend?!!

Once I found out who she was, where she was from, where she was going and what she was looking for, I was on a mission! I wanted to catch her attention and win her heart! I changed my schedule, I changed my hangouts, I changed my friends that might hurt my chances with her! I even changed my socks! Why? So that I might KNOW her!

That’s what the Holy Spirit is telling you here: do what you’ve got to do, be what you’ve got to be to know Jesus! Change what you’ve got to change and make yourself available to Him!

Thank God, there’s more! At least for me, changing takes effort, even when there’s the power of love behind it. That’s a key for someone –the reason you have such a hard time with doing what you KNOW the Lord wants is because there needs to be the power of love behind it. You need to all in love with Jesus, and then those changes will seem easy for you.

It goes on to say, “I want to know, or experience, the power of His resurrection.” The devil likes to point out how weak your flesh is, but Jesus wants to remind you how powerful His resurrection is! That power of the Spirit of God, that resurrection power that can take your life that’s as good as dead and put Gods abundance back into it, is still available to you today! Thank God, He has never lost His power!

Then there’s this part of Philippians 3:10, “that I may know the fellowship of His sufferings.” When you suffer as a Christian, you are not alone! You have Jesus right there with you, feeling what you’re feeling and, being touched with the feelings of your infirmities. We have not a High Priest who is untouched by the feelings of our infirmities! We have Jesus, who will never leave you nor forsake you. He is right there in that room with you, if you will call out to Him with your voice!

We are conformed to the image and likeness of Jesus right up to the time we leave our bodies and, move on up to our heavenly homes, praise God. He is the only means where you and I will attain the resurrection of the dead and leave this life. He is the resurrection and the life! He can I resurrect that hope! He can I resurrect those dreams! He can resurrect that calling that has been I on your life for so many years and I you haven’t done anything I (serious) about it! The gifts and callings of God are without repentance. God hasn’t repented I of calling you!

Verse 12 lets you know God isn’t waiting for you to become perfect before your life and place it squarely in Jesus’ nail-scarred hands. No, He says right here, “NOT as though I were already perfect or had already attained.” That’s just the devil’s lie to hold you back, telling you that you have to be perfect and have all the situations in your life just right before you can tell anybody what Jesus has done for you!

He goes right on there to say, “I follow after…” I am FOLLOWING Jesus…moving ahead in the things of God… moving out of spiritual babyhood. It’s not just deciding you don’t want to go to hell with the devil, but it’s that following after that makes you a disciple of Jesus!

Then he goes on, “But I follow after that I may apprehend,” now notice, “that I may apprehend that for which I have been apprehended of Christ.” We talked about that a little last week. I told about when I was a teenager living out there as a lawbreaker and a sinner. I was out there following my carnal desires and living in doubt and unbelief, and then one day I was apprehended! Caught! That’s right, like a common criminal; I was apprehended by the Holy Spirit of God! He stopped me dead in my tracks, turned me around and put me on a mission!

I’m on a mission to reach and teach and rescue and revive and send into the ministry as many people as God will send me to! That’s why I not only come through the mail to reach you, I labor as a Pastor, along with Rev. McCoy to be here for you, so you can have a church home and close spiritual family. That’s why I reach out on television to find those people God has sent us to! Then I go and preach this Gospel of the Kingdom everywhere God opens the doors!

“So that I may apprehend that for which I was apprehended” If you don’t understand this verse, you’ll never understand me or any other servant of God who labors day and night to bring this gospel to hurting people.

Jesus is the embodiment of God’s message to lost humanity. Jesus is God saying, “I want to come into your world, and into your life. Jesus is God saying, “I want to deliver you from your sins and addictions. Jesus is God saying, “l want to use you to reach other people, and bring them hope in life, to bring them salvation in life.”

Jesus is Gods message to the human race. And when Jesus went to the cross, to be humiliated and tortured to death, He was God was saying, “Even though you don’t love me, and don’t even know me, I’m going to bear your sins; I’m going to bear your punishment; I’m going to take your curse; I’m going to take all your sins and pay them with My blood.”

I’m going to pray for you between now and Sunday. Even though I always pray for you, I am making a concerted effort at intercession before this Sunday’s service. You’ve been feeling alone and powerless, but if you’ll make up your mind to get to know Jesus and the power of His resurrection, your life will turn around! You’ve got to make up your mind to get as good at knowing Jesus as you are at some of those little hobbies you pride yourself so much in knowing! Today, let Jesus, be the One you’re gripped with getting to know and learn!

Before closing, I want to remind you to send in your prayer requests, and if your life has been touched by this ministry, write and let us know! Your testimony can bless thousands of people who need encouragement and hope.

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The Influence of Godly Mothers

By on May 3, 2016

Jay Kesler tells of a sailor who lived immorally while on leave in the city of Tokyo. He spent every dollar he had on drugs, drinks and women. Hey! That’s what being a sailor on leave is all about! The night after his leave was over, as he lay in his bunk, sleep would not come to his eyes.

His thoughts kept going back to his Christian mother. In his mind, he could see her kneeling beside her bed, praying for him. He recalled, too, the warm and loving life she had lived over the years. How she’d been faithful to God, how she’d taken him to church and Sunday school, how she would talk with him about the condition of his soul. As these vivid images passed across the screen of his mind, they pressed heavily upon his conscience.

Finally he couldn’t resist the Holy Spirit’s urging any longer. Getting out of his bunk he kneeled and prayed, “God of my mother, please forgive me.” Right there, he received forgiveness and peace . . . knowing the goodness of God. After his tour of duty was over, he studied for the ministry. Today he is serving the Lord as a pastor. Not because of all the sermons he’d heard, but because of the life and prayers of a godly and faithful mother.

God’s Word gives credit to Timothy’s mom and grandmother for his faith, the faith that caused him to be the Apostle Paul’s right hand man and helper. 2 Timothy 1:5 says that the Apostle Paul remembered the genuine faith that was in Timothy, and how it first was in his grand- mother, Lois. Timothy’s grand- mother passed her faith on to Timothy’s mom, Eunice, who passed it to Timothy.

How did they pass it on? Through teaching Timothy the Word of God. 2 Timothy 3:15 tells that from his childhood Timothy had known the Holy Scriptures which were able to make him wise, leading him to salvation through Jesus Christ.
Susannah Wesley spent one hour each day praying for her 17 children, as she went about her work. In addition, scheduled time to take each child aside for a full hour every week to discuss spiritual matters.

No wonder two of her sons, Charles and John, were used of God to bring blessing to all of England and much of America. Charles wrote more than 600 hymns. John Wesley became a minister, and then went on to become a powerful evangelist. At a time when England was sinking in immorality, drunkenness and corruption, John Wesley was mightily used by God to turn back the hearts of his countrymen to God and to righteousness.

We need dozens of John Wesley’s today! Hundreds, no thousands of dedicated men and women who will stand up for God and speak to their friends and neighbors for him!

To get what we need, we need for God to first raise up moms like Susannah Wesley! Moms who will actively and specifically set aside time each day to pray for their children. Moms who will take time to teach and train their children in the life skills they need. Moms who will get to know God and their Bibles well – and then take the time to impart what they’ve received, into their children!

Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way that he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it. Here are a few principles that Susannah Wesley followed in raising her children: “(1) Subdue self-will in a child and thus work together with God to save his soul. (2) Teach him to pray as soon as he can speak. (3) Give him nothing he cries for and only what is good for him if he asks for it politely (4) To prevent lying, punish no fault which is freely confessed but never allow a rebellious, sinful act to go unnoticed. (5) Commend and reward good behavior. (6) Strictly observe all promises you have made to your child.”

The old saying, “The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world,” may not be accurate, but it has a basis in reality. Mothers sometimes feel like no one is paying attention to them, that everyone expects too much of them and that they really don’t have enough say-so in life. But, find me an adult who wasn’t strongly shaped and influenced by his or her mother’s life and attitude!

Most of our overburdened, overworked and stressed out moms underestimate the influence they have on their husbands and children. Mom, they watch you, listen to you and rely on you to keep the warm and spiritual climate in the home. Even men who aren’t interested in spiritual things can depend on their wives for the touch of God on the family.

Your family pays more attention to your words and life than you think! They know that love for Jesus must be much more than the good feelings gained from enthusiastic singing and glowing testimonies in public. A lady exuberantly described how much she enjoyed her church. She exclaimed, “Oh how l love Jesus!” Yet she couldn’t get along with her mother-in- law, fought with her sisters, cussed at her kids and tried to dominate her husband!

Her kids weren’t interested in her walk with God. Neither was her husband. They felt that if she couldn‘t show her devotion to Jesus by obeying His command to love others, the happiness she felt at church meant nothing.

Proof of her love for Christ would include being nice to her mother- in-law, making things right with her sisters, being kind and gentle to her kids and respecting her husband. Our lives speak louder than our mouths!

One of the women in our church when we were in Kentucky felt like she was just wearing herself out, and that no one in her family even noticed her efforts. She was a busy house-wife and mother of three kids. Her husband worked hard and she took in laundry and ironing to meet the needs of her family. She also was active in the church, especially in the area of intercessory prayer. During a time when her schedule was particularly heavy, she began to feel unloved and depressed.

It seemed that she was being taken for granted by everyone. Her children expected clean clothes and hot, full meals. Her husband was busy and too tired to pay much attention to her. The people at church seemed unappreciative.

One Friday afternoon, a bouquet of flowers was delivered to her door. The note with it said, “We just wanted you to know how much we love and appreciate you. You’re a wonderful wife and mot- her.” lt was signed, “Your husband and children.” She sat down on the steps and wept – and thanked God. As her tears flowed out, so did her depression!

Being a mother CAN be a thankless job – if the people in your life rarely express appreciation! That’s why the Bible says in Romans 1327, “Give honor to whom honor is due.”

Parenting specialist Barbara Whitehead said “‘Maybe there is indeed such a thing as a one- minute manager, but there is not such thing as a one-minute parent. It takes time, LOTS of it, to be an effective parent.

Good mothers recognize that having children gives a moral and spiritual responsibility of parents to their children. On top of that, however, parents have responsibility to the neighborhood and community to invest serious time and effort in their children. We all have to live with the consequences of children whose parents don’t bring them up right.

Recent statistics indicate that average working parents, by their own reckoning, spend only 17 waking hours a week with their children (remember Susannah Wesley’s 17 hours?). The myth of “quality time” is that quality just doesn’t occur apart from quantity.

Reasons for both parents working are many, but economics is usually a major factor, but “making ends meet” may sometimes need to be redefined. A lot of the things we’re working so hard to pay for aren’t essential to survival, despite social pressures to the contrary. So, you can end up raising money instead of raising your children.

God is challenging us to make choices about what is really most important in the long run: more income or better relationships with our children. More toys and possessions or children who are secure, loved and spiritually healthy. l thank God for mothers who are literally “handmaidens of the Lord,” who serve Him in their homes and in their motherhood!

We want to honor the Mothers this Sunday! Let’s give them the thanks they deserve, the help they need, the appreciation they crave and the TIME that we owe them!

jesus compassion

The Great Compassion Jesus Has For You

By on April 26, 2016

The Great Compassion Jesus Has For You
By Steve Davis

How does God feel about you? ls He furious with you? Tired of fooling with you? Maybe He’s cheesed- off with you! Ready to explode in anger!!! Or, He might just be aloof, detached and couldn’t care less! Could be, that He’s glad you’re having all your problems, because you’re such a hassle to Him!

I want to tell you what the Bible says about God. ln Psalm 145:8: “The Lord is gracious and full of compassion, slow to anger and of great mercy. The Lord is good to all and His tender mercies are over all His works. “1 Corinthians 13 tells us that “Love suffers long and is not easily offended.” Those are traits of God, too. He puts up with a lot and doesn’t get mad easily.

You might have a hard time believing these things about God. lt’s easier to believe the OPPOSITE of them – because that’s what the devil has been lying to people about God for years. The devil would take Psalm 145:8 and tell you, “The Lord is picky and hard to please, quick to wrath and of great anger. The Lord is good only to the holier than thou types, and His tender mercies are very limited, and especially not for people like YOU!”

That’s the kind of slander the devil spreads about God. And, when the devil lies about God, we’d rather believe him than believe the Bible.

The Lord is gracious and full of compassion. He is of a sweet disposition and feels what you’re going through, and He cares. He isn’t up there in Heaven all detached and not caring about you. He is full of compassion. Compassion means to “feel the same thing, deeply.” (Passion= strong, deep feeling. Com= linked together) It is the capacity to hurt, feel and suffer with. When Jesus saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion. He felt what they were feeling.

Matthew 9:36 says, “And when Jesus saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion on them because they fainted and were scattered abroad as sheep having no shepherd. Then said He unto His disciples, ‘The harvest truly is plenteous, but the laborers are few. Pray ye, therefore, the Lord of the harvest, that He will send forth His laborers into His harvest. ”

We need to know more about the compassion of Jesus. So many times the devil has lied to us and people have taught us that God is hard to please, and wants to punish us. That He’s just waiting for us to trip up. That He isn’t really on our side. We know that God loves humanity in a general way, but we feel like He does not really care about us individually. He wants me to help you to under- stand that He is a compassionate God.

In Hebrews, it says, “We do not have a High Priest Who cannot be touched with the feelings of our infirmities. But He was in all points tempted like as we and yet without sin.” In other words, Jesus knows EXACTLY what you feel, when you’re weak, worn, tired, scared or discouraged.

God cares about you personally. Some people come here after they’ve tried everything else. Their families have given up on them. Their friends have thrown up their hands in disgust. They’ve tried drugs, they’ve abused their bodies with alcohol, some have gambled, others have been living illicit lifestyles. They’ve done everything a person can do.

Many people who come here are lost in life. They’re without God and stained with their sins. And if they die like they are, they’ll be lost forever.

I want you to know that God has compassion for you. You’re not alone and on your own. God is on your side. Jesus was God in a human body. Jesus came here to earth so no one would ever doubt that God cares about us. When He came here, the Bible says He would be called Emmanuel. That means, God with us, or God on our side.

See, the devil is against us, but God is WITH us. Jesus lived in a human body just like you and me. It was subject to all kinds of temptations. He got hungry. He got tired. He got lonely!!! He felt pain and thirst. He was wrongly accused. He had friends who talked bad about Him behind His back.

The Bible makes this so plain in John 4. Jesus sat beside the well because He was weary, tired and hungry. His body got tired. His body got sore. His body got hungry. He was there alone, waiting for His disciples to go into town and get food.

This was the same Jesus who could multiply five loaves and two fishes into enough food to feed a multitude! But, He chose to feel what you and I feel. He knows what it’s like to do without.

Jesus is the Son of God, and He has compassion for you. He cares about you. He feels compassion for you in His heart.

When He saw the crowds of people, He was moved with compassion. He felt pity and sympathy for people because they were lost in life. They were like sheep without a shepherd. They had no direction and were at the mercy of the wolves.

That sounds like a lot of people today. You’re lost in life. You don’t have a sense of direction, a sense of belonging. You don’t know what you should do. It makes you flee] depressed, dejected and discouraged. You’re like a sheep, that doesn’t have a shepherd.

What is the attitude of Jesus toward people with problems, toward people like you? Jesus is moved with compassion. He feels the heartbreak of some- body who has trouble. He feels the pain in your body. He feels the struggle that you’re going through. He sees and feels the heartache that’s in your family because of those things you’re facing right now. Jesus knows you well, inside and out and is moved with compassion.

The Bible says, when Jesus went out among the people, when He was forgiving sins, when he was healing the sick, when He was delivering people from the afflictions of the devil, that He was moved with compassion. It was compassion, feeling deeply what you feel deeply that moved Him.

When He healed people with diseases, do you know what He felt? He felt what it was to live in constant pain and to be left out. He felt like it was to be kicked out by humanity. He felt like it was to be separated from your family. He felt it in His heart.

Jesus told the story of the Good Samaritan. About the man going down from Jerusalem to Jericho. The man fell among thieves. They robbed him, and they left him half dead beside the road.
That’s the way it is for many of us. The devil has stolen our health, stolen our marriage, stolen our children, stolen our possessions, stolen our joy, stolen everything. He has beat us down and left us half dead on the side of the road of life. Jesus said a priest came by, and didn’t lift a finger to help the man. He just passed by on the other side. He had no compassion. Then, another religious type came by – a scribe. He looked at the poor, beaten man and then went on his way.

But then a Samaritan came by. A Samaritan was someone that society looked down on. Jesus said the Samaritan had com- passion on the man. When he saw the man he bound up his wounds, carried him to an inn and arranged for the man to be taken care of – and he paid every penny of that price himself!

When the Samaritan came and looked at him, he had compassion. He felt what that man was feeling. That’s what Jesus did. He came. He didn’t pass by you on the other side. He didn’t t look at you and pass on His way.

The Samaritan didn’t lecture the man about how he should’ve known better than to go down that road. He didn’t criticize the man for not being stronger. No, he dealt with the man’s pain, and carried him.

We need to stop criticizing people, stop picking at them and start having compassion on them. See, that Samaritan was a picture of God. You may have gone down the wrong road. Maybe you’ve wandered far away from God. You may have lost everything God blessed you with; but, when God sees you there beaten and robbed, He isn’t willing to let you lay there in pain for one more minute.

When God sees you’re willing to be carried by Jesus – like when you let the Holy Spirit lead you to come here to church, He is moved with compassion. God doesn’t look at you with critical eyes and pick you to pieces. No, He has compassion.

He lifts you up. He lifts those who are willing to be lifted. God comes to those who want to 0 with Him. God wants you well. He feels your suffering. He feels your heartbreak. He feels the disease in you. He feels the bewildered spirit that you have. He feels the emptiness that’s around you. He feels what you’re feeling deeply. And, He wants to deliver you from it.

God is a powerful and compassionate Deliverer. He loves you totally. And if you’ll yield to Him, His compassion is reaching out to you today. Respond to His love. Surrender your life to Jesus. Pray this prayer, will you?

Jesus, l give you my heart. I give you my pain. l give You my mistakes, my stupidity and my foolish choices. Bind up my wounds. Carry me, Jesus. Thank You for paying the price to touch my life Lord Jesus, be my Master; be my Savior, be my Lord. Let Your love fill me, heal me, deliver me; and I’ll serve You all of my days. Thank You for hearing this prayer; in Jesus Name, Amen.
Bless You,
Pastor Steve

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Some People’s Lives Go Onward and Upward. Other People’s Lives Go Down the Drain. Where’s Yours Going To End Up?

By on April 19, 2016

You’ve seen it. Two people in similar circumstances ending up with completely different lives. Maybe they both had a problem, or even a tragedy. One of them comes out stronger for it. The other one is nearly destroyed, turning to drugs, or alcohol. Or maybe they both hit good times. Again, one of them becomes generous, humble and an all-round great person. The other one becomes arrogant, conceited and a pain in the neck to be around.

Did you ever wonder how YOU’RE going to end up? Do you ever think about what you’re becoming? God says in Haggai 1:7 “Consider your ways.” Then, in 2 Corinthians 13:5 “Examine yourselves, whether ye are in the faith; prove your own selves…”

Some people are in church, but they’re not in the faith. They’re walking in the strength of their own flesh. That’s why they have such a tough time serving God. When you’re walking in the flesh, every little pothole seems like a canyon. And, every little bump in the road seems like an unsurpassable mountain. That’s why you’ve GOT to walk by faith; if you’re going to make it.

That’s the difference between those who love walking with God and sewing Him and those who find it an almost impossible drudgery. The flesh and the spirit are at war with each other. So, when you’re walking in the flesh, you find yourself constantly torn and engaging in self-defeating behavior.

You’ll find a powerful example of this in 1 Samuel 16. King Saul had been one of the best men in Israel. He was chosen by God to be the king. He was tall, strong, anointed by God. He even prophesied with the prophets of God. But, ultimately he lost out with God.

David, on the other hand, started out as the little brother in a farming family, watching sheep. Through a series of circumstances and David’s responses, he ended up being king in Saul’s place.

Since Saul was already the king, let’s start with how he gradually slipped and slid and sabotaged his own life. You know what? He probably wasn’t even aware of the changes in his life until God said, “I reject you from being King.”(1 Samuel 15:23)

That’s the way it is for us, too. Other people can see that we’re not where we used to be with God, but we can’t see it. It’s obvious to them that we’re withdrawing from our close walk, that we’re not ordering our lives the way we used to, that we’re not involved with the other people of God as intimately as we once did. We still have the words, but they’re no longer a reality in our lives.

Remember when Saul was scared to fight Goliath? Then, David showed up, full of faith, and said that he’d use his faith to defeat Goliath. Saul said in 1 Samuel 17:37 “Go, and the Lord be with thee.” See, Saul still knew the right thing, and he could give good advice to others, but he didn’t have the reality in his own heart anymore.

Anger Coldness of heart begins on the inside and works its way out. Saul had gradually gone from being a great guy, and a spiritual one to being angry bitter jealous and unpredictably moody. In 1 Samuel 18:7, people were congratulating David on his successes on the battle field. They were singing, “Saul has slain his thousands, but David has slain his ten thousands.” Instead of rejoicing that God had raised up someone to bring deliverance to God’s people, Saul let anger fill his heart (verse 8).

Fear. That’s a third thing that comes into your life when you’re moving away from God. You lose your confidence and sense of His protection in your life. That’s why Saul wouldn’t enter into the battle anymore, dumping the responsibility on David.

Bitterness. Envy and bitterness fill the heart of a person who is losing out with God. They get bitter and jealous of those who are doing well. “Saul was very angry… and Saul kept a jealous eye on David from that day onward.” (1 Samuel 18:8-9)

Emptiness. 1 Samuel 18:12 says that, “The Lord was departed from Saul.” Can you imagine that kind of spiritual emptiness? The kind that comes when the Lord withdraws His presence from your life?

When God shuts Himself up from you, life is downhill from there. You don’t enjoy church, you don’t feel like being around Gods people, you lose your appetite for your Bible. Life becomes “without form, and void.”

Then, there’s David. 1 Samuel 18:14 says that “David behaved himself wisely in all his ways and the Lord was with him.” Here’s a main difference between Saul and David. David behaved wisely. Saul was self-indulgent.

Saul HAD known the blessing of God at one time, and had served the Lord with gladness, but somewhere along the line, he began listening to his flesh, and indulging it, rather than disciplining it.

David lived and walked in fellowship with God. He stayed sensitive to the Spirit of the Lord, and that’s why he was able to behave himself wisely.

1 Samuel 18:15: “When Saul saw that he behaved himself very wisely, he was afraid of David.” David’s wise behaving wasn’t just one or two decisions, it was his life. When you’re walking with God and have the peace which passeth understanding, people who aren’t right with God will be a little afraid of you. They can just sense that you’re tuned in to something they’re not- and it scares them.

ln the same way that David’s life of blessing didn’t just come from one or two decisions, Saul’s life of problems didn’t come all at once. With Saul, NOT doing the right thing became his lifestyle. It wasn’t just making a few mistakes. lt was his whole attitude that caused God to reject him.

Saul became disobedient. He was impatient. He didn’t know what to do when he had nothing to do. Where David, in his spare time sought God, Saul in his spare time sinned (1 Samuel 15:23). Saul repeatedly disobeyed God, but still expected the blessing of God on his life. lt just doesn’t work that way.

Sin will take you farther than you want to go and will cost you more than you’re able to pay. When Saul first began to disobey God, he never figured that one act of disobedience would lead to another and so on. He had no idea that he would become a bitter angry and jealous, attempted murderer and ultimately be rejected by God. But, that’s how sin works. Saul ended up alone, miserable and desolate, dying at the hands of hostile enemies.

David? He started his life with his only strength being “l come to you in the Name of the Lord of Hosts!” (1 Samuel 17:45). That was David’s only strength and power and he knew it. That’s why David never wanted to put that walk with God and dependence on Him in jeopardy.

David was never after his own glory but that “all the earth might know that there is a God in Israel.” When that’s your sole motivation, it takes the limits off what God can do in you and through you. David knew and proclaimed that his struggles weren’t his own, but in his life, “the battle is the Lord’s!” David kept his heart centered on God’s heart. That’s why his life kept moving onward and upward.

Where do you line up? Are you more like Saul, or becoming more like David? All of us have a lot of Saul in us. It’s the nature of our flesh. But, when we give our hearts totally to the Spirit of God, to do with us as He will, we’ll become like David, who was “a man after God’s own heart.”

faith isn't enough

Faith is not Enough! God Says So!

By on April 12, 2016

Some people mistakenly believe that “faith is enough, all I need is faith.” While that SOUNDS good at first, the fact is that even God says that faith is NOT enough!

You say, “well, that’s what Jesus preached: only believe, right?” Actually, Jesus didn’t preach faith first. He preached “repentance” first. His message as was the Apostles’ message was and is “repent and believe.” First repentance and THEN faith!

Peter 1:1 says that we have obtained expensive, costly faith from God. God says your faith is of high value; it cost Him a lot and is expensive to Heaven. For you and me, it is valuable because it links Heaven’s resources to earth’s needs.

All of Heaven’s bounty is available to the person who will get God’s kind of faith from the Bible, and then act on that faith consistently.

That’s why you have to be in the place to hear from God. We don’t believe in skipping church. We believe in getting into the House of God at the appointed times, worshiping with the saints and feeding on the Word of God as it is in the Bible. Faith is an auditory thing, the Bible says. Faith comes from actually HEARING the Word of God. Romans 10:17 says that.

Verse 2 says that grace and peace is multiplied to us when we get to really know God and Jesus Christ as Lord. It’s not knowing about faith, or even knowing about the Bible that brings you grace and peace. It’s knowing God Himself.

Verse 3 tells us that His divine power has given you and me ALL THINGS that pertain to our lives and to our godliness. God has provided for the things you need in your life in the natural, and also He has provided ALL that you and I need to live lives of power and godliness.

He has released His power so you can deal successfully in all areas of your life. He knows you need that something extra to get you through from day to day. You’ve got to pick up what Jesus put there for you, if you’re going to be able to make it without falling and staying down.

Verse 4 talks about God’s promises. God has put more than 7,000 promises in the Word of God for us. I like to think of the promises of God as “already answered prayers,” or “things God has said ‘yes’ to.” A promise in the Word of God is literally a self-fulfilling prophecy that is activated when you believe it and begin to act on it.

Notice that a main point of the promises is for you and me to USE them to partake of God’s nature, and to escape the corruption that is in the world through lust.

See, the sins of our generation are so broad that even the Christians are getting caught up in them: Pay attention to what’s going on in your life, what’s being allowed to creep in. If you’re saved and still cuss and swear, you have a problem. You need Jesus to cleanse you heart. If you allow that stuff in your heart, it will come out of your mouth, He has given us all we need to live holy, clean and pure in the midst of a corrupt and perverse generation.

The Bible is God’s manna from Heaven. And, just like the children of Israel had to feed on that manna every day, we have to feed on the great promises in God’s Word every day.

Corruption in this world comes through lust. Many of the most popular products: jeans, cologne and music are sold not because of the quality of the product, but because of the advertiser’s ability to sell us on lust.

The only way to escape is to apply these promises to sins and habits and hack it out with the Sword. Otherwise, your life will be one failure after another.

When hurting, empty, defeated people come here, and start living according to the Bible, their lives start turning around. God begins answering their prayers; they begin to prosper as He gets them out of the messes they had created. Then, once their lives start to smooth out, a few of them leave, figuring they can handle everything now.

But, and this breaks my heart, it’s like a dog returning to its vomit, they end up returning to the same attitudes, the same thinking and the same problems again.

In verse five, God tells us that it’s not enough to just “have faith.” Matter of fact, He tells us to give ALL diligence to add to our faith.” He says, “add to your faith virtue.” Virtue means “moral excellence.” How badly our society needs to see Believers living honest, godly lives, filled with integrity!

Then, He says, add knowledge! “Faith Teaching” is not enough! If our relationship with God is based ONLY on faith, you can later be wiped out when doubt and unbelief come! That’s why you need knowledge!

Or, even more common: You have an experience with the Lord, and are touched and moved by His Spirit. But, when the glow is gone, or something or someone else moves you, you are left empty and weak! Spiritual knowledge is what will keep you when the enemy attacks you in the area of your emotions.

God gives us the measure of faith. It’s a faith from Heaven planted in your heart. But you have to do something with it.

Then, God says to add temperance, or self- control. We are in a generation where “self-control” is a bad word! Lack of self-control is the tool the devil uses to destroy God’s people each and every day! Think of the sin that so easily entraps you, and then think about how the enemy uses your lack of self-control to get you to indulge in that sin! See why God puts such an emphasis on self-control?

The Devil wants to get a stronghold. Give no place to the Devil. Do not give in, Praise God instead. The Devil only points out everything that’s wrong in your life and in everybody else’s life. Praise God instead. When you praise God, the Devil flees.

We’ll also talk about how God wants us to learn to be patient, with ourselves, with others and with Him. Learning to hang in there for the long haul. We’ll learn what he says about adding godliness, kindness, not condemning everybody and not getting your feelings hurt easily- not assuming that others have bad motives.

Jesus purchased these things for you. Our world is filled with lonely, hurting people, waiting to see the love of God demonstrated in our lives. God is longing to add His blessing to your faith life, as you and He labor together to reach a lost and hurting world.

the question god is waiting for you to ask

The Question that God is waiting For you to ask…the question that will get Him Working On your Behalf!

By on April 5, 2016

The
Question
that God is
waiting
For you to
ask… the
question
that will
get Him
Working
On your
Behalf!

You’re hurting. Confused, frustrated and upset. Part of your problem isn’t your fault. But, you know that you aren’t totally guilt free, either. You need help and comfort. But, because you know you are part of the cause of your problem, you don‘t really feel like you can go to God with it, right?

l understand how you feel. It’s really hard to go to God when you hurt so bad and feel like you keep making the same old mistakes and committing the same old sins over and over again. That’s why l like passages in the Bible like the one l was just reading in Jeremiah chapter 8.

God’s people were having problems. They were slipping, sliding and falling. None of those are very fun. If you’ve ever slipped on the ice, or fallen down the stairs, or even slid into something with your car, you know what l mean. Slipping, sliding and falling are always painful for the people involved.

God had noticed the pain of His people, and then noticed something else: He had made man upright (Ecclesiastes 7:29), but here His people were slipping, sliding and falling. So, He stooped from His throne in Heaven and investigated WHY His people were having all these problems being upright.

What He found. When God began to hear what was going on in their lives, He found out the reason they kept falling and getting hurt and damaged. Jeremiah 8:4-5 tell about this.

The reason they kept falling wasn’t because God wasn’t able to help them, it was because they lied to themselves, tricked themselves and thought they could live that way.

They would do something wrong, and then tell themselves that it wasn’t really all that bad. They would steal something, but then deceive themselves into thinking that it was Ok for them to take it. They would drink too much, but then say that this was a special occasion and that they really weren’t all that drunk. Get the picture?

Instead of holding on to God, they were holding on to self-deceptions. They were addicted to messing up. When they could have been delivered, they could have been cleansed, when they could have been forgiven, they just kept right on lying to themselves about what they were doing.

ln verse 6, God says, “l listened and l heard, but they didn’t speak right. Not one of them repented of his doing wrong, saying what have I done? Each one of them just kept right on doing the same kinds of things…”

Why we get into these situations. When we’re hurting, and coming up short, we don‘t like to admit the part that we had in producing our own pain. Instead, we like to point out other peoples’ failures, how other people let us down, how other people disappointed us, and how unfairly we‘ve been treated.

We like to tell all about the injustices we‘ve been subjected to, and all of life‘s unfairness, but we don‘t ever like to ask, “What have I done to make such a miserable mess of m y situation? We don‘t like to search ourselves for our part in why things are so messed up. And, that’s not smart.

lt’s like refusing to look at your checkbook balance. It won’t make you any poorer to check out the balance in your checking account. You might even find some money in there that you didn’t know you had. lt’s a lot better to go over your account balance now than to bounce a check, pay the fine and maybe even get hauled to court for writing bad checks!

A little self-examination won’t hurt you. At least you`re in a position to make things right with God and maybe have them turn around for you. And, it’s MUCH better than ignoring your conscience and hoping to go to Heaven… but finding the doors locked when you get there.

You might want to keep being self-deceived, but l would much rather know exactly my condition before God as it really is. Even though it might hurt, l would rather know what it is to humble myself under the hand of Almighty God, than to deceive myself with the most pleasant fantasies of being right with Him when l’m not.

Many times l have prayed and said, “Lord, help me to know the worst of how my soul is with you. lf l’m not pleasing you, if |’m indulging in sin, let me be honest with myself and admit it to you!” ls that fun? Do you think l enjoy praying like that? NO! A thousand times NO! But, it’s the kind of prayer that God hears. lt’s the kind of prayer that God bows Himself to hear. And, to answer.

Here God is in Heaven, but He bows His ear for the slightest whisper from a person who wants His help! How can we help but love God when we find out how attentive He is to every need and hurt of ours?

Jesus brought us a wonderful truth In the Parable of the Prodigal son. When the Father sees a child of His returning home, even from afar off, He runs out to meet His long lost offspring. ln this parable, the Father fell on the son’s neck and kissed him, and welcomed him back heartily and with great rejoicing. Do you think He’d do any different with you?

God is so eager to find something good, even in the most disobedient person. To God, it’s beautiful when you tell Him that you’re tired of wandering. lt’s like music to Him when you sigh that it’s too hard trying to do things on your own, without Him. When you cry that you need His help and forgiveness, your tears are like works of art to Him.

God tells us here in Jeremiah 8:6 that He’s bowing to your heart and listening. Listening, hoping to hear something good. God says, “l drew near… l waited, l listened, but they didn’t speak right. No man said, what have l done? None of them repented of his wickedness saying what shall l do?”

You can never have a desire to draw near to God that doesn‘t fill Him with hope. You can never direct a prayer toward Heaven that doesn‘t get noticed. Even though you have prayed prayers and made promises that didn’t last as long as your cold breath in the air, all these things have moved the heart of God.

God has been listening to your cry and noticing the moving’s in your soul, and He remembers your every prayer and promise, even today. If you’re looking for God, if you’re seeking relief from Jesus, you’re not going after Someone who can’t see. You’re not calling out for someone who can’t hear.

You’re coming to your Heavenly Father, your Father who sees you when you are yet a great ways off. Maybe there was only one tear that fell down your cheek, or one sigh of remorse and defeat, but your Father noticed it as a sign of hope. Maybe it was just a lump in your throat when you heard the Words of God, but God took note of it. He took it as a sign that you’re not totally hardened by sin, not totally unmoved by the moving’s of His Spirit.

Bless You,
Pastor Steve

God's Delays are not God's denials

God’s Delays are not God’s Denials

By on March 29, 2016

We’ve been teaching you how to receive from God and how to get what He died to provide for you on Calvary. The Bible says in Second Chronicles 15:9, “Then eyes of the Lord go to and fro throughout the earth seeking to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose hearts are perfect, or complete towards Him.”

When you’re 100% serious about serving God, God becomes 100% serious about showing himself strong on your behalf! God’s searching; He’s on a mission, to find the few who will mean 100% business for God! Those who will do anything for Him! Those who would give up any sin for Him! Those who will obey him no matter what the cost! That’s who God is looking for! Are you one of those people?

Without faith, you won’t get anything from God. Last week, we talked about combining patience with your faith. How, we’re talking about dealing with God’s delays.

In Matthew 15 starting in verse 21, we find the story of a woman who came to Jesus, and He kept putting her off. But, she received from Jesus what she needed. “Then Jesus went thence, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon. And behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, ‘Have mercy on me, 0 lord thou son of David my daughter is grievously vexed with a demon.’ But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, ‘Send her away; for she cries after us.’ But he answered and said ‘I am not sent but to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.’ Then came she and worshiped him, saying, ‘Lord help me.’ But he answered her and said ‘lt is not right for me to take the children’s bread and cast it to the dogs.’ And she said, ‘Truth, Lord; yet the dogs eat the crumbs which fall from the Masters ‘ table.’ Then Jesus answered and said unto her, ‘O woman, great is your faith; be it unto you even as you wilt. ‘And her daughter was made whole from that very hour. ”

This woman had a strong desire to receive help from Jesus. Plus, she acted on her faith. But now, she needed an edge. The edge that comes when you make the decision to absolutely not go away empty handed.

This woman’s daughter was full of the devil. And she didn’t know what to do. ln our society, there are more and more kids getting into witch- craft, drugs, the occult, and alcohol abuse. We need the delivering power of Jesus TODAY.

She heard about Jesus and His ability to drive out demons. The name of Jesus can still drive out demons! He still delivers people from the influence of demonic forces.

So, she came and cried out to Jesus for help. Look how he dealt with her: He IGNORED her! She’d already been through so much! All these problems with her daughter, and apparently no husband to help her. She could have easily turned around and gone home, all hurt and pouty.

She cried out and Jesus didn’t answer her. She could have said, “Well, He doesn’t care about me.” But Jesus was raising the level of her commitment. Making her think, making her evaluate just how – serious she was about getting her need met. Or, was it more important to her to just not have her feelings hurt?

Jesus didn’t answer, so she went to the disciples. She said, “Please help me! Jesus won’t listen to me. Maybe you can get me some help!

She nagged them so much they went to Jesus because she was getting on their nerves! They ran to Jesus and said, “Get her away from us! She’s crying after us. Lord, tell her to leave us alone.”

Sometimes, God delays to get you to change your approach. Make adjustments, do things differently. That’s what He was doing here. You’ve got to remember, God’s delays are not God’s denials!

Now, she has to change AGAIN! So finally she came and fell down at the feet of Jesus and worshiped Him. And Jesus responded! He insulted her!

Jesus said, “It’s not right to take the children’s bread and cast it to the dogs!” He was referring to her being a Gentile, rather than a Jew! Was she dedicated enough to even overcome racism? Could she still exercise her faith in the face of insults? YES! It caused her to become MORE determined! She said, “Yet, Lord even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from the Master’s table.”

That’s how you’ve got to be! She didn’t care if she was delayed, given the run around, called a dog or anything else! She was focused! And Jesus said to her, “O woman, great is your faith! Be it unto you even as you desire.” And from that moment on, that demon left that girl and she was made whole.

How serious are you about having God’s will in every area of your life? You say, “Well, l don’t want to be a couch Christian or a Sunday Morning only Christian, but it’s takes a lot of faith and all that to get strong and be a real servant of God.

Well, how long are you willing to hold on? How strong is your desire? That’s what God wants to know. His eyes are searching throughout all the whole earth to show Himself strong in the behalf of those who grab hold of the garments of God and say, I’ll not be shaken off! I know Your promises! I know You keep Your word!

In God’s delays, He’s sometimes showing us we have to change. How serious are you? Enough to come to church on Sunday morning? Sunday night? Wednesday night? Enough to get up and read your Bible every day?

When God looked at this, after Adam and Eve had rebelled, how big God was desire to redeem us? He sent angels from heaven with messages and warnings. He sent prophets, to teach, guide and warn. Then, He sent His only Son, Jesus to come, bring deliverance and then to die on the cross for us. That’s how serious God is! No effort was too great, no price was too high!

Then, after Jesus was resurrected and returned to Heaven, the Holy Spirit came. He came like a rushing mighty wind! Like a tornado, like a hurricane! He came to do what? Take charge of the Church and to live in our bodies!” Thank God we’re not alone. You are not alone in life. The Holy Spirit is here! The Bible says, “Grieve not the Spirit of God whereby you are sealed until the day of redemption.” Thank God. He’s with-us and He’ll never leave us. And He’ll never forsake us!

How big is your desire to be a real Christian? One that lives holy, godly, dropping all known sin, and reaching others for Jesus? Maybe your sins aren’t dropping off as quickly as you’d like. Well, listen, God’s delays are not God’s denials! Ask Him, seek Him, knock on His door for strength and help! Knock until He answers!

Our commitment is to reach the unreached and to tell the untold. The people here at the Worship Center have a desire so great that they not only tithe their income, they stretch their faith, by giving of their time, goods and talents. That’s the kind of people we are here!

There are people all over the Southern Maryland area, who need to know there’s a Godin Heaven who loves them. They’re standing on the ‘dusty roads of life, suffering because of their sins, hassled by demons, no peace in their heart, and nobody to tell them.

YOU say, Well, how serious are YOU Steve? How serious am l? lm giving all my energies, all my life to reaching hurting people! Like you, my passion and obsession is to help people to get their lives back on track and find God in this life. This church is committed to take the Gospel in every way we can! This generation must hear about God’s love and His great mercy!

Our desire is bigger than greed, laziness, sin, failure, carnality and the devil himself! Our commitment is so big, we’ll sacrifice and reach people and work, and give until every person in this area has had the chance to meet Jesus. We will be able to say we’ve done our best to reach those who have never heard the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.

How big is your desire? I’m teaching about this because I know that deep in your heart, its stronger than your desire to make money. l know that. It’s stronger than your desire to be popular or to be on the social register. l know in your heart of hearts, you’d rather have God’s approval and blessing than anything else in this life. l know, that deep in your heart, you have a desire big enough to really get God`s attention.

But let me ask you this question: How big is your desire for God to say on the Judgement Day, ‘Well done, you good and faithful servant?’ Think about that today, when this life is over and you’re standing alone in front of God. Think about Heaven. How big is your desire?

Why don’t you just pray this prayer and make this confession? Dear God, set my priorities straight! T y Cleanse me from my sins. Be my Lord and Savior. l confess that You are greater than any need l have. You have sent Your Son for me, and l receive Him as my Lord. Fill me with zeal and passion for You. I give you my heart, strength, time and all that l am. Thank You for hearing my prayer, ln Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Bless You,
Pastor Steve

Staying out of sin

Harnessing Your Imagination and Staying Out of Sin

By on March 22, 2016

King David, in the Bible, was a human with strengths, weaknesses, drives, desires and faults, just like you and me. He had experienced the joys and pleasures of walking close with God. He had felt the hand of God in his life whenever he was in a time of need.

David also had felt the heartache of being deceived by the enemy. He wasn’t unacquainted with the grief and despair that comes from following his own fleshly desires. Knowing that bitter sting, and the disappointment that follows sin, he wrote in Psalm 119:113, “I hate vain thoughts: but Thy law do I love.”

See, David had discovered that we are no stronger than our spiritual life. You can be smart in the things of this world and brilliant on your job, and even a genius when it comes to personal self-control. But, when it comes to the spiritual realm, when the enemy attacks you, or puts you on his “hit list,” you will be no stronger than your spiritual life.

The reason for this is that “we are not wrestling with flesh and blood, but with principalities and powers, and spiritual wickedness in high places,” like it says in Ephesians 6:12.

David found out that even HIS heart was “desperately wicked and deceitful above all things.”

First of all, when the enemy comes at you, he begins with a desire, usually for something you have no right to. It could be that he gives you a desire for the tax money that rightfully belongs to Uncle Sam. The enemy will give you all kinds of reasons why it is right for you to cheat on your taxes! Why? Because the devil wants you rich? NO! Because he wants you to get audited, fined and if possible, imprisoned!

At any rate, whatever it is that the devil gives you a wrong desire for; it is only so he can bring you pain and misery.

David had also fallen prey to the LYING that comes when a person is trying to deceive. If you have to violate the truth to get to do something, then that something or that person is not meant for YOU! If you do what’s right, you’ll get what’s right for you.

It happened to David. He almost lost his job. His deception and sinning caused people to blaspheme God. His marriage relationship was never the same. His kids grew up to be rebellious – all because he had given into the vain thoughts that the enemy had planted in his heart. Now, David HATED vain thoughts. Vain thoughts are the deceptions that the Devil tells you will bring you joy, love, satisfaction, or happiness, but instead bring you heartache and loss.

In Jeremiah 4:14, God tells His people to “wash thine heart from wickedness, that thou mayest be saved. How long shall thy vain thought lodge within thee?” ln other words, you need to apply the blood of Jesus to your heart, and stop embracing or entertaining the vain thoughts that can take up residence in your heart.

You can’t be wicked and be saved. All of us have vain thoughts that visit us. But in this verse, God’s people were letting vain thoughts make themselves at home in their hearts. They imagined they were saved.

God tells us as Spirit-filled Believers how to deal with these vain thoughts. ln II Cor.10:5 He says, we need to be “casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to obedience of Christ.”

You will be tempted to think things that are not true. Most vain thoughts accuse God. David battled depression. Ever do that? David found that the basis for his depression was vain imaginations and accusing God of being unfair, or not caring enough. The devil tells you that God doesn’t supply for you. Listen, God will not let you go under if you walk with Him in obedience. Walk in the Spirit, so you don’t fulfill the desires (vain thoughts) of the flesh.
The flesh will get you into “trespassing,” getting into areas you have no business being. You get in trouble if you go beyond your faith, lying to yourself. Then you want to blame God. He will not let you go down if you use wisdom in working and spending.

We have to be patient in our faith. The Bible says its through faith and patience that we get God’s blessings. God has great things, and will not withhold them if you live uprightly. Seek the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and these things will be added to you.

Psalm 84:11 – “For the Lord God is a sin and shield: The Lord will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.” Life is sweet when you’re walking close with Jesus.

David found that we need to guard ourselves in the area of who we hang out with, if we want to avoid vain thinking. In Psalm 119:1115 – he says, “Depart from me, ye evildoers: for I will keep the commandments of my God.” When you’re committed to obeying God, you’ll have to be unsociable to some people. Hanging with people who aren’t putting spirituality first will ultimately cause you to cool off, to backslide.

“Choose whom you will serve, but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”(Josh. 24:15) If you don’t serve God, you’ll go under. Psalm 37:17 – “For the arms of the wicked shall be broken: but the Lord upholdeth the righteous.” Jesus holds you up. He loves you so much.

Psalm 119:117 – “Hold thou me up, and I shall be safe: and I will have respect unto thy statutes continually.” “Lord, it’ll look bad if it doesn’t work out!” That’s the key – talking about how great God is -for His names sake!

Rely on God’s Holy Spirit power. Isaiah 41:10 – “Fear not: for I am with thee: be not dismayed: for I am they God: I will strengthen thee: yea, I will help thee: yea, I will uphold thee with the right and of my righteousness.” Don’t be afraid, church, for the Lord God is your God. Believe God will hold you up.
Psalm 119:118 – “Thou hast trodden down all them that err from Thy statutes: for their deceit is falsehood.” When people try to get over on life, or break God’s principles without thinking anything will happen to them, they will be stomped down. Some religious people do that. They flatter God, lie with their tongues. They serve God Sunday morning only.

Verse 119 – “Thou puttest away all the wicked of the earth like dross: Therefore, I love Thy testimonies.” There are people trying to hold you back. God tries people like gold – burn off dross, leave pure gold. The wealth of the wicked is stored up for the righteous.

ll Chron 24:20 – “Why transgress ye the commandments of the Lord that ye cannot prosper?” God wants to prosper you and bless all that you put your hand to. But, if you let the enemy fill your heart with vain thoughts, you’ll never prosper in God or in the world. Stay in prayer, keep in obedience. Let God deal with your heart and keep you straightened out!

trapped! Stuck in life

Trapped! Stuck in a Rut! Boxed In! How to get out

By on March 15, 2016

lf feeling trapped, stuck in a rut, boxed in, or any other feeling of being bound up describes you, you’re in good company. Thousands of people in our society feel that way. But, fortunately for you, your life doesn’t have to be described that way anymore.

One of my favorite stories in the Bible is in Luke 18: 35-43, where a man was sitting on the edge of the road in life, begging. He was blind. He couldn’t get out of his situation. He had no alternative but to beg. His blindness was a trap; a box. It was like being knee deep in quicksand. He was stuck in a rut. He had been there for years and it seemed like there was no way out.

When we feel trapped, it seems like we don’t have any alternative, but to keep on like we’ve been doing, even though we don’t like what we’re becoming. But, like the blind man, there is ALWAYS at least one other alternative.

That one alternative you ALWAYS have is this: You can ASK for help. That’s what the man did who was in the trap of blindness. He heard that Jesus was passing by and he called out for help. He decided that no longer was he going to be in the trap of blindness, going through life with no vision. Not as long as there was Jesus!

He cried out for help, and Jesus gave him vision. His life was changed forever!

When you feel trapped, you feel like life is passing you by. You don’t feel comfortable, content or satisfied. You feel like you’re not moving ahead, you feel incompetent and you don’t like yourself very much. You feel isolated and alone.

But, I want to tell you that EVERYBODY gets in a rut or trap from time to time. Everybody. That’s why your Bible is chocked full of stories about ordinary people like you and me, and the problems they faced. God tells us of their pain, their short- comings, their strengths and how they overcame their struggles.

The greatest power given to you is the power of choice. “I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing. Therefore, choose life, that you might live, and your children (Deuteronomy 30:19).” God says that we can make choices that will bring us problems, or choices that bring us blessings.

Most of our traps and nits begin when we make impulsive or poorly thought out choices. The ones that hurt the most are the choices we KNEW we made without regarding the long term effects. We all know how it feels to be stuck in the rut that was our own doing, or our own choice.

For instance, when we’ve married someone against the advice of our friends and family and now it’s not working out. Or when we’ve taken a job that we can’t stand, just because it came along when we were desperate. Again, maybe bought a car because we didn’t want to say “no” to the salesman – and now we’re stuck with five years of payments.

Once we’ve made a crummy choice, followed by more crummy choices, we feel like there’s no hope; that things will never get better. That’s when we do our poorest choices. Why? Because we feel like all is lost, we have nothing left to lose.

Feeling trapped or stuck makes you feel like there’s no way out, and that there’s nothing you can do about it. That’s what makes it such bondage. That’s how the enemy can make you feel like throwing in the towel.

He gets you to the point where you don’t believe there are any alternatives to your situation. “The god of this world hath blinded the minds of them who believe not lest the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ… should shine to them. (2 Corinthians 2:4).” In other words, the enemy blinds your mind, so you don’t have the faith for good news (that’s what “gospel means), from Heaven to shine into your situation.

When you feel there’s no hope, that’s when thoughts of suicide, depression, anger and bitterness creep in. lt usually leads to sinning in your outward life or in your attitude. lt’s the blindness to opportunities that cause you to feel disappointed in your life. The Apostles felt this. One time they said, “… we were pressed out of measure, above strength, so that we despaired even of life. (2 Corinthians 1:8).”

Feeling like you’re trapped in a prison cell, maybe sentenced to death, is the source of depression, fatigue and loss of energy. That same blindness causes you to complain, and to see only the bad. You feel so hopeless that it seems like your whole life is pointless.

This is when you’re ripe for a fall or a major personal catastrophe. You’ll either have a breakdown or a breakthrough. You feel like you’re knee deep in quicksand, that you can’t change anything and you’re sinking fast.

When you get in this condition, you find yourself looking for easy answers. This means you’re ripe to do some incredibly dumb things. You’ll do things without thinking of the ultimate consequences. You’ll grasp at straws; you’ll act and speak impulsively, or go after the first “opportunity” (if you want to call it that) that presents itself.

You get into what’s called “magical thinking.” Whether you think all your problems would be over if you could just move across town, or if you think all you need is a new friend, you’re engaging in magical thinking. One way to spot magical thinking is the phrase, “if only…” If only you weren’t married… lf only you WERE married! If only you had gone to college. Things like that.

When you’re caught in a trap, you find yourself spending too much time thinking about your problems and worrying about them. You lay in bed at night going over and over your situation, dissecting it bit by bit. During the day it pops up in your conversation with whoever will listen.

How do you get out? Let’s get back to 2 Corinthians 4:4. The opposite of a blinded mind and lack of faith is a mind that’s shined on by the good news (gospel) of Jesus Christ. In other words, God has a definite light at the end of your tunnel. And, it’s brighter than you think.

You might be looking at other peoples’ lives and envying them, feeling like “they have it all.” I can promise you, they’ve also gone through times where they’ve felt trapped, stuck in the mud and hopeless. If they’ve gotten out, you can too.

Notice when you read about the lives of people in the Bible and how they changed, how they all had one thing in common. They all put off changing; they dawdled, procrastinated and delayed as long as they possibly could! They stayed in their rut until it got intolerable to live like that anymore.

THEN, they made changes, and their lives became fruitful and satisfying. Why did they put off changing? Because they were human, just like you and me! But, they got sick and tired of being sick and tired, every last one of them found they could make changes and turn their lives around, if they really wanted to.

Did they all do it? NO! Some did and some didn’t. Just like people today. Some’ll make a life and some will make excuses. Why? Because it’s EASlER to make excuses than it is to make a life.

Like the Apostles in 2 Corinthians 1:8, you’ve got to go on and put your trust in God rather than in yourself. In verse 9, they conclude, “But we had the sentence of death in ourselves that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead.”

lt’s not easy to get out of the trap. But, nothing worth having IS easy. lt all involves working, thinking, choosing and following through. lt involves commitment. Committing yourself and your situation to the Lord.

You have to be absolutely committed to having your life improved. You didn’t get into that mess overnight, and you won’t get totally out overnight. lf it began with a poor choice, followed by more poor choices, you get out the same way. By making a good choice. Followed by more good choices.

lt wasn’t just one decision that messed up your life, and it’ll take more than one decision to get it back to the way you want it. Otherwise, the Bible would be an awfully slim book!

You have choices. There ARE alternatives. You might be boxed in where you are in a place that you just don’t recognize the choices and options that are available. But, you CAN ask for help.

Romans 10:12 says that our Lord “is rich to all that call upon Him.” Ask Him for help. Ask Him to restore your sight, your vision in life. Ask Him for wisdom in your choices. He’s rich – if you’ll call on Him!

Bless You,
Pastor Steve

make up your mind live for god

Make Up Your Mind in Live for God 100%

By on March 8, 2016

We live in a world full of compromise, half-truths and moral weakness. People don’t even EXPECT you to keep your word, or to be the person you claim to be. They’re so used to people who are hypocritical and dishonest that they really don’t even believe in integrity anymore. So much for people’s expectations. But, God hasn’t dropped His expectations at all.

Daniel lived in a time like that. He was faithful to God in a society that was idolatrous, materialistic and where compromise was the name of the game.

One day, the King of Babylon gave Daniel and a handful of other young people the chance to become incredibly rich, popular and successful. All they had to do was to cooperate with his 3-year long diet and personal development program – and they’d be set for life! Living like kings! That’s all in Daniel 1:1-5.

Hey! A no brainer, right? Who could turn that down? Every child of God’s dream – Health, wealth, happiness! Total prosperity! All at once!

But, look at verse eight. “Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself. . . ”

Daniel DETERMINED not to defile himself. Daniel made up his mind. Notice that he had a mind. And, that he made it up. Minds are to be made up. (Faces, hair and nails get made up more nowadays than minds do.) Daniel made up his mind what he would do and what he wouldn’t do.

More than just making up his mind, he stuck with it. He chose the right thing because it was right, and rejected the wrong thing because it was wrong, period. He didn’t do what he FELT like. He did what he knew in his heart WAS right.

Note, too, that Daniel didn’t go and ask all his friends what THEY were going to do. He didn’t look around at all the other people who were compromising and chasing material gain and comforts. He didn’t say, “Well, all these other people are living the good life and having fun! They still seem to be Israelites! I might as well do the same thing!”

No! Thoughts like that never even crossed his mind. What other people are doing has nothing to do with what’s right and what’s wrong. God isn’t running a democracy, where you vote on what’s sin and what’s righteousness. God chose all that long ago, and it’s not negotiable. You can protest all you want, and point to all the hypocrites and carnal or backslidden people you want. God’s standard doesn’t change even one bit.

Daniel’s choice to not defile himself with the king’s meat and wine was a choice that not only showed his devotion to God in the spirit realm. It also had other levels of testimony.

When Daniel purposed in his heart not to defile himself with the king’s meat, he was also making a very dangerous decision in the natural realm. See, from reading verses 1-7, you know that he was in captivity, he was not a free citizen like you and I are.

According to the laws of the land, he had no right to say, “NO!” Especially when the one he was saying “no” to was the king!

What was he saying no to? What level of temptation was he facing? More than you or I have ever faced, you can be sure of that. When I think of some of the LITTLE things that catch me, and trip me up, I feel ashamed when I read about Daniel’s heart for God.

He was held captive in the 2nd largest empire in world history. Here he was being offered a chance to first, no longer be a slave! But, beyond that, to enjoy health, wealth and power beyond his wildest dreams! He was being offered a chance to become part of the very top of the Babylonian Empire! With the best of clothes, the best of food, the best of entertainment and the chance to cater to every desire his flesh would ever have! And, “Daniel purposed in his heart not to defile himself…”

What Nebuchadnezzar was offering didn’t seem that bad, at first. Just like the compromises the world asks you to make don’t seem that bad, at first. But, you see, Nebuchadnezzar didn’t want to just MIX with God’s people; he wanted to merge, blend, to make them all conform into one culture. He wanted to assimilate, not to integrate.

When Daniel purposed in his heart what he would and wouldn’t do, his decision had content. What he would and what he would not do. It even went down to what he would and would not eat and drink.

He made up his mind about material things. What his relationship would be to them. He made up his mind about approval from his peers. Did he want approval from his friends, or approval from God? He made up his mind about popularity, money, possessions and compromise. Then, he stuck with it.

He made up his mind about spiritual things. He did not want to defile himself. He decided, “I shall not be unholy.” He made a decision for his personal holiness. No matter what those around him were doing, Daniel made up his mind, purposed in his heart, not to be unholy.

Daniel purposed in his heart for personal righteous living and NOTHING was going to shake him from his commitment. Nothing and no one!

The longer l live, the more l am convinced that the great difference between people, between the weak and the mighty, between the spiritual giant and the spiritual dwarf is the level of their determination. That, once a purpose is set, a promise is made to God, that after that, it’s either death or victory.

Just this morning, in my, devotions, I was reading the account of a man of God who wanted more strength, and victory over his battles with the flesh. He had been converted in the Methodist church, where he says, “I was gloriously saved and set free from the condemnation of sin.” But, there were areas of his life that he KNEW were a hindrance to God’s using him.

So, He locked himself in his closet, to pray until God answered. He prayed and prayed, and then it happened! He felt the presence of God there in his closet. And, the Holy Spirit began to speak to his heart.

He said, “I felt unworthy to hear His voice. But He wasn’t speaking because l was worthy, He was speaking because l was needy… God was giving me a list of the things that stood between me and His power. . . After each requirement there followed a brief explanation about the requirement and it’s importance.

“I never dreamed l was falling so far short of the glory of God. I hadn’t realized there were so many things in my life that generated doubt and hindered my faith. God then revealed to me the things that were hindrances to my ministry – the things that prevented Him from working with me. They were the same things that were hindering thousands of others.

“When the last requirement was written down on the list, God spoke once again. He said… This is the answer. When you have placed on the altar of consecration and obedience the last thing on your list, ye shall not only heal the sick, but in My Name shall ye cast out devils. Ye shall see mighty miracles as, in My Name, ye preach the Word. For, behold, I give you power over all power of the enemy. ”

See, there’s a price tag for walking closely with God. This brother had thirteen things the Lord showed him he needed to do. Eleven of them he could share. The last two were so personal he never shared them with anyone. They had to remain between him and God.

What happened? Over the next several years, this brother was able to mark the requirements from his list, one by one. The list grew smaller and smaller, as he “purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself.”

It was years before the last two were marked off. Guess what happened then? He was able to claim the promises that God made to him and he began to be used by God in a mighty way. Literally millions of people gave their hearts to the Lord through his ministry!

He said, “Although l do not claim to possess the gift of healing, hundreds were miraculously healed… I do not claim to possess a single gift of the Spirit, nor to have the power to impart any gift to others, yet all the gifts of the Spirit were in operation, night after night. God confirmed His Word with signs following.”

What had he done? Just what Daniel had done. Purposed in his heart not to defile himself, and to consecrate himself totally to God.

What happened to Daniel? His three best friends were inspired to follow totally after God, like Daniel was doing. They were his first fruits. And, at the time when they were examined, the Word says that they were found healthier, wiser and “in all matters of wisdom and understanding, the king enquired of them. He found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers that were in his realm. ”

Because Daniel purposed in his heart not to defile himself, he was able to be used by God to bring the King to a knowledge of God (Dan. 2:47) ln 2:48, we read, “Then the king made Daniel a great man, and gave him many great gifts, and made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon, and chief of the governors over all the wise men of Babylon.” His three friends were also set in high places of honor and esteem. All because of their consecration to God. To be right and to not become, unholy.

God wants to work in your life. It takes for YOU to purpose in your heart that you will no longer compromise with sin, no longer just try to please your friends but to live to please Him. “Promotion cometh not from the north, the south, the east or the west, but promotion cometh from the Lord!” Purpose in your heart not to defile yourself- with anything or anybody!

Bless You,
Pastor Steve

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