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Here's the thing to seek

Here’s The Thing To Seek

By on August 23, 2016

What are you seeking? In the natural realm of your life, there are many things that you can and should seek. Things like solid friendships with quality people, a happy and close knit family. Then, there’s maintaining a positive wholesome environment where each member is growing in God’s will.

On the job, you should seek to be excellent at what you do; to be hardworking and capable, as well as a pleasant person to have onboard. These are worth seeking because they give you credibility when you’re talking to others about being a servant of God. If you’re an incompetent whiner who is chronically lazy, you won’t be able to convince anybody that Jesus is Lord of your life.

How about spiritually? First off, the number one priority has to be seeking a close personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Without Him, there IS no true spirituality.

You have to seek Him in the right place and at the right time. “Seek ye the Lord while he may be found; Call upon Him while He is near.” That’s in Isaiah 55:6. And, like the angels said in Luke 24:5- 6, “Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here …”

After Jesus what do you seek? Having the kingdom of God at work in your life. Jesus said this in Matthew 6:33. “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto thee.”

You seek to put Him first, and to live righteously. You want to have your heart full of the love of the Lord and to be full of the Holy Spirit. Then, those other goals, the ones we talked about earlier, the ones at home, and work, will be taken care of.

There’s a whole other area of seeking that most Christians totally ignore. Even Christians who are diligent at seeking the Lord in their personal prayer times. Even Christians who seek to be full of the Holy Spirit. Even Christians who like to operate in the gifts of the Spirit.

Yep. There’s still a major area that God tells all Christians, especially Christians who are zealous for spiritual gifts, to seek. Many Christians feel it’s not their job. Or, that they’re so “spiritual” that it doesn’t pertain to them. However, God doesn’t see it that way.

What is this neglected, ignored and disobeyed command to seek something from God? It’s in 1 Corinthians 14:12. “Since ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church.”

What’s “edify?” Edify means to build up, or strengthen; to make stronger; to cause to become greater.

God’s saying, since you’re zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that you may excel at building the church up. At making it stronger. At making it grow. At increasing the number of people coming to church and experiencing Jesus Christ. That’s what God says.

We want to be used in praying, intercession or praise. But God has bigger plans for his people. Most Christians have more interest in edifying themselves and being entertained when they come to church. Worse than that, if they come and the emphasis isn’t on their own personal edification, they get mad and leave!

The Holy Spirit is very clear about what the purpose of the church is. It’s to build up the Body of Christ, so believers can become more like Jesus. Evangelism, reaching other people for Jesus is ONE aspect of edifying the Body of Christ. A major one. But, it’s not the only one.

There’s also helping to feed those people spiritually when they come in. That’s what Jesus was talking about when He said to Peter, “Feed My sheep,” in John 21:17. The theme of the conversation was Jesus saying, “Peter, if you really love Me, feed, take care of, work for, tend to My sheep.” So, when you really love Jesus, what He’s looking for and exposing is for you to feed, or serve His sheep in some capacity or another.

You, of course have the responsibility to reach your friends and family. But, what else does the Lord expect from His people, in the area of edifying the church?

First, to seek to edify it. To make it a matter of personal prayer before the Lord. Ask, “Lord, You know me. You also know my heart. What would you have ME to do to edify the church?”

Then, be silent before Him and listen for His “still small voice.” He’ll speak, if you’ll listen. He’ll give you an area to use your talents so the Holy Spirit can use you to edify the church.

See, WE want to be used by God in the spectacular – or not at all. We might imagine getting up front and prophesying the future . . . or waving our hand and healing every sick person in the county or speaking a word that will cast all demons out of the Federal Government.

And, if God doesn’t use us in THIS way, we feel like we’re off the hook. But, what good is it to feel this way, when God is wanting to build up the church through you – and you’re only available on YOUR terms, not His???

God You Can Use ME Any Way You Want.
Just Don’t Let It Involve Work

Part of edifying the church, in a VERY real way is maintenance and upkeep of the building itself. When the early church in Acts met in houses, they had to maintain the houses. By the time Corinthians was written, they were meeting in church buildings; they had outgrown the houses, but we’re still under the Lord’s mandate to reach the lost. So, they met in larger meeting places. Church buildings came as a result of obeying God (More on that, Sunday!)

If the building is dirty, smelly, under – maintained, and “shop-worn,” how do you think God wants people with those skills to edify his church? By singing? Singing praise choruses while the building is falling down? Of course not!

There’s also teaching, discipling. New believers especially need discipling by older believers. lf you’ve know the Lord a few years, what do you think God might let you find, when you seek to edify the church? Probably an opportunity to disciple others on a steady ongoing basis.

It’ll develop discipline in you, as well as stability. It will give you fruit for eternity. It will help new believers to have an easier start in their Christian life than they would have had if you hadn’t sought to edify the church. Plus, God will open more of himself to you, as He finds that you’re faithful in the little things. Luke 16:10 teaches that.

Are you pretty good at organizing? Be zealous to seek how you can build up the church through your organizing. This is an aspect of the gift of wisdom (1 Corinthians 12:8). God wants you to USE that giftedness. He gave it to you so you could do more than just organize your closets!

God wants to edify the church through people who can type, visit, or make phone calls. These are all given to profit the members of the church. 1 Corinthians 12:7 says so.

God has gifted some people with the ability to ASK. These people feel comfortable approaching others and asking them to do things or to give, to build up the Kingdom. They are willing to consecrate that talent to the Lord and ask businesses, and individuals for donations and help. What a gift! It’s a part of the gift of faith, in 1 Corinthians 12:9. Are you an Asker?

Do you like babies and small children? Jesus said, ‘let the little children come unto me. ” You can edify the church by letting the little children come to Jesus, so their parents can be discipled and taught. All it takes is to do it during one service, and then you can edify yourself during some of the other ones each week.

Acts 20:28 tells us to “take heed unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over which the Holy Ghost has made you overseers, to feed the church of God which He has purchased with his own blood. ”

My commission from the Lord is in Colossians 1:28, where as a minister of Jesus Christ, it says, “Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. Whereunto l also labor; striving according to lhs working, which worketh in me mightily.”

My passion is to stir you to become the person you’ll be pleased to be, on the day that you stand before the Lord. That nothing was left undone that He set before you.

When you seek to strengthen what God is doing in your Church, he will bless you with more ideas, blessings and answers to prayer than you can even imagine. Seek to EDIFY the church!

Spending the summer in the Psalms

Spending the Summer in The Psalms

By on August 18, 2016

We’ve been spending the Summer in the Psalms. On Sunday nights at 6:30 and Wednesday evenings at 7:30, we are going through the Psalms and listening to the good things that God has for us in them. It is an exciting time, and always a blessing as we interact and different ones contribute their thoughts and experiences. This past Sunday night we were in Psalm 103.

Psalm 103: 1-5 Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name.
2 Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits:
3 Who forgives all your iniquities; who heals all your diseases,
4 Who redeems your life from destruction; who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies
5 Who satisfies you with good things; so that your youth is renewed like the eagles.

With old age comes wisdom, but there is something special about the outlook of a youthful person. When you’re young, each day is exciting, the world is a sensational place, the future is bright. You’re anxious to get the day started, because it’s a first start on your exciting future filled with opportunities, challenges, victories, new people, new ideas, new experiences – like David said, ”This is the day [today IS special] that the Lord has made [today is a personal gift to you from God], I will rejoice and be glad in it.” Notice that he says, “I WILL rejoice and be glad in it,” meaning that it is a CHOICE to rejoice, a choice to be glad TODAY. Before today is over, I will have rejoiced and I will have been glad – at least once!

It’s easy for younger people to be hopeful and optimistic. But it takes real work to stay that way! As the years pass, we all face incredible attacks on our dreams, our hopes and our aspirations. Without a daily specific decision, a daily determination to maintain that youthful outlook, you’ll lose your excitement about life.

This joy, which is from God, is so valuable that it’s a tragedy to lose it. It’s what gives meaning to everything else in life.
The enemy knows that the “joy of the Lord is your strength,” so his greatest way to make you weak is find ways to take away your joy. The joyous Believer is a strong believer. A downcast Believer is a weak believer.

When Satan steals the thrill and enthusiasm from your life, your high hopes drop to the ground and everything loses meaning. That’s how the enemy sets you up to fall.
Some people start spending money like it’s going out of style. Others go after every sensation their flesh craves. Some just sit in front of their computers or TV. Others try to live their lives through their kids – and all of them find that none of these things work.
Outside solutions can’t cure inside problems. So may Christians settle for what isn’t even life; rushing through the day to get to the evening. Killing the evening online and in front of TV till they go to bed. Tossing and turning in bed till they get up to go to school or work again and get to the weekend. But God didn’t give us this life just so we can rush through it!
Here are some ways to get that vigor and strength of your youth back:

Come apart and rest for a while. Jesus said that in Mark 6:31. My Pastor used to say that if you don’t come apart and rest awhile, you’ll end up just coming apart. Lazy people are to be pitied, but those who never take a break, who never slow down and just enjoy their lives are just as pitiful. God designed us not to be machines going through endless activity and soaking up more and more meaningless information.
He didn’t create us to wear out our bodies and stress out our nervous systems through endless work and activity. We are designed to spend quiet time alone with God, in the Word of God, in prayer and meditation. Without it, we begin to lose our strength, zeal and vision.

Feed your soul with God’s bread. You have to eat Heaven’s food if you want Heaven’s strength. Jesus said in Matthew 4:4 that we can’t live by earthly bread alone, but we need to feed on the Word of God. There are so many books, lessons, teachings, programs available that most of us settle for living on the processed junk food that man produces rather than the pure word of God, the Bible. We need to READ the Word of God, not what someone else says about the Word of God, and we need to internalize it, make it part of us, draw our strength from it.

The strength that you have in your body today is from the food that you ate yesterday, the day before, last week and before. The spiritual strength that you have today is from the bread from Heaven that you fed on yesterday, the day before, last week and before.
Make good, supportive friends. Even Jesus had friends. He said in John 15:14, “You are my friends if you do what I command.” Make good friends, and then invest the time needed to maintain those friendships and build them. People regularly ask me, “Where do I find good friends?” You don’t find good friends. You have to make them, cultivate them. Not everybody has the potential to be a good close friend. But many people do!

Never overlook the opportunity to make a new friend or cultivate an old friendship again. God made us to interact and fellowship with others, instead of being isolated and alone. I had to learn to enjoy meeting and learning more about all sorts of people, of all ages and backgrounds. No one is boring if you get to know them well enough. No two people are alike! And, everyone is fascinating in some unique way!
Look for opportunities every day to do good. Acts 10:38 talks about “how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil …” Life gets interesting and intriguing again when we get involved with other people; helping them, listening to them, doing good for them.

People who lose the thrill and excitement of being alive are those who are mostly preoccupied with their own troubles, their own interests, their own pleasures. When we get in the habit of giving joy to the people nearest us, the Holy Spirit in us gives us such a sense of joy and wellbeing that it almost makes you high!

Be awake, alert, observant, listening. Be determined not to miss what’s in our own situation and circumstance, in our own life, family, job and friends. There’s so much pleasure on so many levels if we will just expand our interests to the many things and people that are around us! Interests in the books we bought but never finished reading, in old pictures we took but haven’t looked at in a while, even the sky above us and all the nature around us – if we’re not in a hurry and are awake and listening.

The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof. He designed it all for us to appreciate, enjoy and take care of. It is designed to give you joy.

Remember the many benefits that the Lord has blessed you with: Forgiveness, healing, salvation and protection, His love, His mercies and just the many day to day small blessings and tokens of His love for you. As you do this, you’ll get back that joy of your early days!

Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: Who forgives all your iniquities; who heals all your diseases; Who redeems your life from destruction; who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies; Who satisfies your mouth with good things; so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

Making godly choices & recieving heavenly blessings

Making Godly Choices & Receiving Heavenly Blessings

By on August 9, 2016

Jesus talked a lot about what we value, or think is important in life. I How you and I live shows what we I ally think is important and also what I we don’t think is worth paying attention to.

Jesus said that you have to make a decision, actually a lot of decisions, sometimes several a day, as to what is most important to you. That’s why I He said to make up your mind who, you’re going to serve.

When you’re with your Godly friends, it brings out the best in you. Then, you have those friends, those family members I that bring out the RAW you. When you’re around THAT bunch, you’re a I whole different person. You talk I differently, act differently, you do different things that just aren’t LIKE you. You need to decide today which one is the real you!

In Mark 8:36, Jesus asked, “What good is it, if you gain the whole world, and yet lose your own soul”? And, once you lose your soul, what could you give to get it back? What could you give in exchange for your soul?”

If you gain the world, THIS world, you’ll lose your soul. You cannot have it both ways. Jesus knows that whenever you gain in one area, you’re I doing without in another. So the MAIN question might be, what are you willing to do without, in order to get something else? Some people are willing to do without close friends and family, in order to chase money.

Other people are willing to do without money, family and jobs, in order to get drunk or high. That’s how a person makes the choices that make him or her end up in a gutter, homeless, broke and diseased.

What are you willing to do without, in order to gain God.

Jesus here was warning you to consider the pain of making decisions based on fear, loneliness, depression, anger or bitterness. He taught us that we’re always TRADING giving one thing for another. He says, “Make sure you’re going to be HAPPY with what you GOT for what you TRADED.”

Here, He was talking about trading your soul for the things of this world . . . and then finding out it isn’t even what you wanted.

Psalms 39.4 says it like this, “Lord, make me know my end, the result, how my life is going. Also make me know how little time I have on earth, so I can realize how frail, or easily hurt, I am.”

What you do, the choices you make AFFECT you. Also, you aren’t going to live on earth forever. You’re going to die one day, and stand before God, with Jesus and the saints of God, or to live in Hell forever with the devil and his followers.

Knowing this, God says in Job 28:28 will HELP us to be wiser and do better. He says, “Behold the fear of the Lord; that is wisdom and to depart from evil is understanding.” If you really fear God, you’ll conduct yourself wisely. AND, if we UNDERSTAND life and how it works, we’ll depart from evil, you’ll get out of that evil situation.

Why does he say, “Fear God?” Because most people fear poverty or they fear rejection, or maybe loneliness, or maybe even its sickness you fear, or death. But, you’re GOING to fear something. Fear God and you won‘t be afraid of I anything else. Then, you can get I focused on getting your life back on track. In Psalm 27:1 it says, “The Lord is My Light and my salvation. Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life. Of whom shall I be afraid?”

God is also talking to me about how some people TEMPT Him. They almost CHALLENGE Him to do something about the way they I live and act. Don’t mess with God. God has power to crush you anytime, like a bug. Sometimes we feel like He owes us. Or, that we can go out and sin and live those lifestyles like the world does and God owes it to us to W cover for us. He MIGHT cover for you I for a while, but then there comes a time when He might just decide to pour out a little judgement on you.

If you have godly understanding, God says, you will depart from evil. You’ll| get away from it, and you will put it away from you. Notice, it’s not fear that gets you to depart from evil, it’s UNDERSTANDING. When you have understanding, you recognize that everything we do brings a result. Every action you and I do has consequences. That’s the good news! Good news if you understand that doing good brings good consequences.

The Bible says that God is no respecter of persons (Acts 10:34). What that means is God will bless YOU just like He will bless the most spiritual and most godly and wisest person on earth – if you will live and act according to God’s Word, the Bible. Good results, good relationships come from doing the good will of God, consistently.

God gives you the power to choose a major part of your future. lf you plan on going to Heaven, then you need to ACT on that desire, that plan NOW. Successful people make good long term decisions. They think about not only what they FEEL right now, but also where they are headed – where they want to be. You’ve GOT to make decisions with the Judgment Seat of Christ taken into account- with “how will this pan out on the Judgment Day?”

The enemy steals from you by having you think only of how you feel, or what you desire RIGHT NOW. He gets you into the pattern of making impulsive decisions – and he blinds you to the consequences. That’s how he gets many people to get their credit cards charged to the point that they can never pay them off. lt’s how he cons people into getting upset and going out drinking or drugging. lt’s the same strategy he uses to get people to give into their lusts and into illicit behavior. Wherever you find good people doing bad things, you’ll know that the enemy has deceived them – which they’ve ALLOWED themselves to be deceived by the enemy for short term pleasure and long term pain.

Jesus said in Luke 9:23, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.” He saying, “Yes, you HAVE to make sacrifices here, in the day-to-day decisions if you’re going to follow Me and be my disciple.” You have to make sacrifices today, so you can reap God’s blessing the rest of your life and in Heaven.

The devil wants you to put off serving God with your body as a living sacrifice until later. He’s saying, “next week” or, after l get married, THEN I’ll get a grip on my lust problem.” Then, if you fall because you gave occasion to the flesh, the enemy tells you to just stay down there – that you’ve already blown it, so you might as well enjoy it.” That is the devil’s lie.

Then you pray, ask for forgiveness and strength and make the change now. Now is the accepted time. God says so. Today is your day of new beginnings; your day of making a promise to God to serve Him faithfully starting right now. NOW is the accepted time to start over. People who end up blessed, people who are full of joy, people who are able to stay happy people learn to put the flesh under and to walk in the Spirit.

Do the right thing because it’s right. lt will put you in the place where God can release His mighty blessings in your life. Jesus wants to HELP you get first things first. To get your life in order. ln Matthew 6:33, He said, “Seek ye FIRST the Kingdom of God and His righteousness- and then all these other things will be added unto you. ”

Problems in life come from being out of God’s order. Buying without the income to pay. Having sex when you aren’t married to that person. Having children and not being married. lt’s what we call ‘having dessert before dinner.” God is telling you to have dinner before dessert. There’s nothing wrong with dessert. But, it has a specific place in the meal: AFTER dinner.

Unhappy people usually have dessert before dinner. Happy and blessed people have dessert AFTER dinner. We’re learning walk in the Spirit, and to please Jesus instead of pleasing our desires. We’re offering ourselves, our bodies as living sacrifices, holy and acceptable to the Lord, which is our reasonable service. And, with that service, comes God’s unspeakable benefits and blessings!

Sober, vigilant and not devoured

Sober, Vigilant and Not Devoured

By on August 2, 2016

The guy was obviously drunk. He was talking to himself, shaking his fist and cussing at imaginary adversaries; bumping into mail- boxes and fire hydrants, and occasionally stumbling on the cracks in the sidewalk. Then, without warning, he walked straight out in front of a car, without even seeing it! When the driver skidded and veered into the other lane, our man broke into a broad grin and waved, slurring in a loud voice, “Howyadoooin, man?!!”

l thought, “Amazing!” He cusses at the air, tries to pick a fight with a mailbox, and then gleefully waves at a car that almost creamed him!

Suddenly, the Lord brought l Peter 5:8 to me. “Be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary; the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about seeking who he may devour.” The Holy Spirit told me, “Son, that pitiful man is living no differently than MANY of God’s people! Just with him, it’s obvious!”

l had to go meditate on that one. l started thinking about the traits of an “alcohol besotted, chemically inconvenienced, sobriety derived” individual. (In this message, I’ll use the term “drunk” for short, and stick to the male gender for convenience.)

The drunk walks unsteadily. He stumbles at the smallest things and falls easily. He veers first to the right, then to the left, and might just fall down if the wind blows past.

He sees and hears enemies where there aren’t any. He might pick a fight with his closest friends, family members or loved ones. And, it’s just as likely he’d happily go out with people he wouldn’t be caught dead with, if he were sober!

He might be so easily offended and angered that the slightest thing sets him off. Or, he might be so jovial and silly that he thinks everything’s a joke even when the police try to arrest him!

Of course, people who really know him just don’t take him seriously. They write off his tirades and threats as, “He’s drunk. Don’t pay any attention to him.” When he decides he’s the world’s most charming and sophisticated man, it’s the same thing: “He’s drunk. Don’t pay any attention to him.”

Then there’s the area of vision. The drunk typically has blurred vision. He can’t see like he should. He sees what isn’t there, and doesn’t see what plainly is in front of him.

He just can’t perform in any area like a sober person could and should. Why? Because he is intoxicated.

Intoxicated. What’s it really mean? Something that’s toxic is poison. A drunk person is one who has taken in poison. “ln-toxic-ated.” ln a poisoned state. That’s why God says in Eph. 5:18, “Be not drunk… but be ye filled with the Spirit.” If you want to feel better, change your state, celebrate, relax with friends, the way to do it is to be Spirit-filled, not toxin filled.

So, I Peter 5:8 begins by telling us to be vigilant. Keep an eye out. Pay attention. Be on the lookout. Get focused with seeing.

When one of Linda’s contact lenses pops out, she gets “occupied with seeing.” She begins crawling on the carpet, looking, examining every speck of dust that looks shiny, obsessed with not missing that lens.

Or, when she’s gone for a few days and the kids and l straighten up the house before she comes back. We think it’s spotless! But she can walk three feet in the door and be convinced that we didn’t lift a finger while she was one! Why? Because she knows what to look for! Like a Customs agent at an international airport, she knows what to look for and sees what we would never catch! Vigilant.

Next, it does not say the devil is the adversary. No, he’s not “the” adversary. He is YOUR adversary. Out to get YOU personally, to push YOUR personal buttons. To discourage YOU. To get YOU to grow cold towards the things of God. To get YOU to mess up your life. To get YOU to miss God. There is a devil and the battle is personal. He wants to destroy YOU.

An adversary is one who is against you. Pushing you, pulling you, hitting you, driving you in the way that you do not want to go. An adversary makes contact in an effort to thwart your efforts and destroy your dreams.

Notice that the adversary is NOT flesh and blood. Not people. Ephesians 6:12 tells us that. No, your adversary is the devil. A spiritual enemy who is an old hand at lying, cheating, conning, setting people up; people smarter than you, people stronger than you and people better connected than you are. That’s all he’s been doing for centuries.

He’s like a roaring lion. Not like a yapping, prancing Chihuahua! When a lion roars, you have a warning. You know WHAT your enemy is, and you have a pretty good idea what his plans are! You know it’s a lion roaring and not a frog croaking! You know that lion is fully capable of overpowering just about anyone or anything he goes after.

He walketh about. He is actively going around trying to find your weak spot, or the way he can trip you up. He doesn’t stay in one place waiting for you to waltz by. Nope. He’s going over your life like an IRS agent going over your financial records! He’s seeking, the Bible says.

But, notice, thank God, that he’s seeking WHOM he may devour. That means he can’t devour everyone. He can only devour those who are in the wrong place, and are too “drunk,” too oblivious to what is actually happening in their lives and hearts.

As a born again child of God, you need to recognize and walk in the fact that through Jesus, God has pulled us out of the jungle! He’s gotten us out of the lion’s domain.

l thank God that the Bible says in Colossians 1:13-I4 that God “hath delivered us from the power of darkness and hath (past tense) translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son, in whom we have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins.” We’re not like chickens thrown into the lion’s cage for supper anymore!

Jesus has stripped Satan of his power. God says in Colossians 2:15 that Jesus “spoiled (or stripped) principalities and powers (remember that phrase from Ephesians 6:12?) And made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it.”

That’s why you want to walk in obedience to the Word of God. When you walk in the Spirit, you have victory over the enemy and all power of the enemy. Listen to what God says in Hebrews 2:14. “He brought NOTHING to the one who had the power of death, that is, the devil.”

So, the only power the enemy has over you is the power you GIVE him! He operates in the area of your life that you won’t let Jesus be Lord over. Some of us have given the enemy all he needs to wipe us out by walking in the flesh, or in the vanity of our own minds. I’m so glad that there is a Jesus who will disarm the enemy when we turn to Him and ask His strength and help.

When Jesus was about to be crucified, He said that the prince of this world, the devil, came to Him, but found nothing in Him. The enemy had no power over Jesus because there was not one thing in Jesus’ life that the enemy could point to and say, “that’s mine.” Jesus had totally committed Himself to pleasing the father.

When you give place to the devil, he then has a RIGHT to operate in that area . . . and he’ll steal, kill and destroy.

When l was a little unsaved kid, the man up the road had a grove of apple trees. He didn’t want any of us on his property; because he knew we’d be stealing his apples. Of course, they were sweeter and juicier than any apples in the store! So, we would throw a baseball or basketball over his fence. Then we’d run in there and grab the ball and as many apples as possible! When he’d yell at us, we would hold up the ball and say, “l was just here getting my ball!”

That’s why Colossians 4:27 says “Give no place to the devil.” Don’t let him throw, his ball in your orchard! He’ll steal your fruit and destroy your efforts! That might be the reason you’re hurting. Maybe you’ve given the enemy a little room here, and just a little space there, and now he’s just tearing you up. There are so many hurting people nowadays who have lost jobs, their families, their children, all because they gave the enemy a little room to get in… and he ended up devouring them.

I want you to know that Jesus is here to offer forgiveness, strength and hope. He speaks to me about the hurts that people have so l can bring the Word and bring healing to hurting lives.

Maybe you’ve been a little like the drunk man. Not watching, not paying attention. Maybe your walk hasn’t exactly been straight. You might’ve fallen and you aren’t strong enough to get back up. When you call out for the Lord to help you, I’m telling you, He’ll hear your cry and reach down and touch you. l know that because He did it for me when l was 16 years old. He’s done it for dozens and dozens of people here at the Worship Center, and He’ll do it for you.

Why not bow your head and pray: “Lord Jesus, the enemy has come like a roaring lion and has been trying to devour me. But I call out to You to save me and deliver me. I ask you to be my Lord and Savior. Come into my heart and life. Cleanse me of my sins and lead me in the path that I should go. Open my eyes so I will be vigilant. Open my spirit so I will be sober and able to make the right decisions. Use me to bring glory to You. I ask this in Your Name, Amen.”

Bless You,
Pastor Steve

Persevere and Receive

Persevere and Receive the Reward!

By on July 26, 2016

We’ve been talking about receiving good things from God in this life. First, we asked, the main question, How Serious Are You? First, it was on making Jesus Lord over your whole life. If you want what God has, you have to give Him what you have. Now, we’re moving on to Persistence, or not giving up.

We’re looking at Luke 11:5-10, where Jesus says, “Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go to him at midnight and say unto him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; For a friend of mine has come to me on his journey and I have nothing to set before him?’ And will answer from within and say, “Do not trouble me; the door is now shut, and my children, like me are in bed; I cannot get up and give to you?”

I say unto you, though he will not get up and give to him because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will get up and give him as much as he needs.

So, I say unto you, Ask and it will be given to you; Seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened unto you. For everyone who asks receives; and he who seeks, finds; and to him who knocks the door will be opened.

God has good things in life for you. Once you give your heart to Him, and are walking in obedience, living in the Spirit, by faith, He promises to open the windows of Heaven to you, or to pour out Heaven’s blessings in your life.

Jesus told us this story about being persistent, because it’s so easy to try a little bit here, and pray a little bit there, and then when nothing seems to be happening, to give up on our faith and quit. We get hurt, we get tired, and we get worn down by life’s circumstances. That’s when we just feel like going back to our old ways.

God planted it in your heart to want to be successful and to receive the blessings of God! Jesus came to bring the riches of Heaven to you, here, in this life, and eternal life with God forever in Heaven. ln the same way that salvation is by faith, receiving God’s best in your life is by faith. But, there’s also something else you need.

ln Hebrews lU:35-36, God says, Therefore, do not cast away your confidence, which has great recompense (or payback) for reward. But you have need of patience, that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise.

lt takes more than just faith and actions in faith for you to fulfill the will God. You have to KEEP on being confident in what God has called you to do, and then do it in faith. He says that we have need of patience. So that AFTER we have done the will of God, we will receive what he has promised us.

What is God searching for? An opportunity to ACT on behalf of the Believer who will go after God 100% When He sees you’re not going to give up, He’s going to do something for you!

A lot of people are great at starting things! They start out all gung-ho and full of vision. Faith comes and they commit themselves to what the Spirit of God has put in their hearts. Then, the time comes for patience!

God’s promise doesn’t happen right away! The saddest thing is that the promise comes AFTER doing the will of God. ln other words, you can tire yourself out serving, praying obeying and doing what the Word of God says, and then give up, or walk away just before God brings you the recompense of reward! lt breaks my heart for people who are good people – but they haven’t learned yet how to receive from God!

God has called me to teach you what the Bible says, so you can be filled with faith, and be one of those who receives from the Spirit of God. lf you’re walking according to how things look, or how they sound, or how you feel in your flesh, you’ll never receive the things of the Spirit of God. 1 Cor. 2:4 says, the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God.

To your flesh, the things God is doing just don’t make sense. They don’t make sense to MY carnal mind either. That’s why l have to walk in the Spirit!

God is doing a new and great thing here at the Worship Center, and we don’t want you to miss it. He’s sending us quality people, leaders, ministers, laborers. People are being spoken to, who haven’t been here in years, and God is telling them to come back here, to receive what He has for them. Last week, a man from Oklahoma told me he had pulled up in front of another church here in town, and the Spirit of God told him,” leave, l will direct you where to go. Then, as he was driving by, the Spirit said, Pull in here, this is where l will bless you.” That has been happening to people for the last five or six weeks now! God is doing a work here, and those who plug in will receive the blessing of God.

You have to persevere, or hang in there. Many people want a lot of things, but they don’t want to sacrifice. They want it if it’s quick, cheap and easy. But, when it looks like it’s going to cost them a little sleep, or a few dollars, or if they get misunderstood by a couple of people, they want to quit. Well, guess what? That’s why you have to persevere! Otherwise, you’ll do all the work, and reap none of the rewards.

Jesus told about an unexpected demand being placed on someone at midnight. In the middle of the night, he received a visitor passing through that way while taking a trip. The man just wasn’t prepared for this extra demand! Do you ever feel like that? You’re already overworked, overwhelmed, overtired and under supplied. And, it’s midnight! Nothing is open and no one can help you – they’re fast asleep, just like YOU would like to be!

Jesus said this man didn’t have what he needed, so he went to where he knew he could get bread. He committed himself to coming back with bread.

He began to beat on the door. He woke up his neighbor who looked out the upstairs window. He said, “What do you want down there? It’s midnight!” The guy said, “A friend of mine has come unexpectedly. l don’t have any bread and l know you can help me. Please get up and give me some bread!” The neighbor said, “Listen, my children are already in bed. l was, too. l can’t get up and give you anything! It’s too late!”

He’s finally gotten his kids to bed. You know how hard THAT is! First one, then another, then the first one gets back up. But now, its midnight and they’re finally asleep! He said, “I’m not going to get out of bed and wake the kids up and give you bread! Go away!” But the guy just kept on knocking after he closed the window! And, HE RECEIVED!

Jesus said the man didn’t receive because he was so nice. But because of his persistence! He wouldn’t back down! He refused to be a quitter! He went over there to get bread, he’d made a commitment to come back with bread, and he wasn’t going to come back empty handed! I made a commitment to serve God as a Pastor, and, no matter how hard it gets, l refuse to come back to Heaven empty handed!

This is what Jesus is talking about. He said ask and keep on asking; seek and keep on seeking; knock and keep on knocking. Jesus said, “Everyone that asks and keeps on asking; seeks and keeps on seeking; knocks and keeps on knocking, will receive!” Every one, Jesus said. Do you believe that? God is no respecter of persons, and whatever He’s done for anybody else, He’ll do for YOU, too. But, you have to be persistent.

God wants you to be fruitful in this life. That’s what glorifies the Father. He gave you His promises in the Word of God, so you could take them, release your faith, act on them and receive those promises… IF you’ll dare to not give up. lf you’ll dare to take the promises of God and knock on the door of Heaven and keep on knocking, asking and seeking!

How bad do you want God’s will in your life? How strong is your desire for happiness, for soul satisfaction? How great is your desire to please Jesus? How great is your desire to be a faithful, strong member of the Body of Christ? Not a whining, murmurer, but a strong soldier of Jesus Christ?

Jesus is telling you to persevere! Winners never quit and quitters never win. You know, it’s a joy to teach the Word of God. l want to be a blessing to you. I’m a Pastor. I challenge. I exhort. I encourage. If you’ll persevere in obedience to what God told you to do, you can have the desires of your heart. The Bible says, “Delight yourself also in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.”

Bless You,
Pastor Steve

how can you shrink your problems and hassels

HOW YOU CAN SHRINK YOUR PROBLEMS and HASSLES…USING BIBLE TRUTHS

By on July 12, 2016

I confess. lf it weren’t for the powerful principles in God’s Word, I’d be a basket case. There’s just so much pressure. So many demands and expectations. So much to do and so little time. Incredible needs and limited resources.

How do we maintain the peace, serenity and calm that Jesus promises when we have so many trials and hassles? The technique for walking in the Spirit and not being overwhelmed is found in several verses of your Bible; several verses that are often overlooked.

One reason we freak out so easily is that we’re right in the middle of our problem, and all we can see and feel is the hassle and problem that’s frustrating us right now. Because we’re in the middle of it, we blow it all out of proportion.

For example, on the evening news, almost every night, you hear about some teenager getting shot over a little bit of nothing. Maybe he looked the wrong way at some- one, or “dissed” a kid at school. Or he might’ve “looked like” he had an attitude. So, he gets murdered. For nothing. To the murderer what the kid did was a major insult, a blow to the ego and intolerable. To you and me and everyone else not involved, it was a little bit of nothing.

It’s all a matter of perspective. When you and l allow a problem to be magnified into a major catastrophe, we lose the ability to deal with it in a sensible and godly manner. The enemy knows that, so he does all he can to get us to blow things out of proportion and to over react.

Problem Number 1: The enemy likes to magnify your problems, challenges, bills and other frustrating factors in your life. He wants them to seem bigger than they really are, so all you can see, feel and think about are the problems that embroil you.

When your problems are made larger than life, they seem to be stronger than God. You feel like your life and future is being controlled by your problems, and that everything is going down the tubes.

The devil doesn’t care WHICH problems he magnifies. Any of them will do. He’ll use past problems, present ones or future ones. Some of us keep pointing back to things that happened years ago, and feel that our lives will never be right because of the awful things that happened, way back when. Others feel swamped by our present problems.

Then, who among us hasn’t been paralyzed by the thought of FUTURE problems, looming on the horizon? Things like ill health, financial disaster being lonely and rejected and so on. He wants us to feel our problems are pervasive-all encompassing.

Bible Solution: lnstead of magnifying your problems, magnify your faith in the work of God in your life. “Let such as love thy salvation say continually. Let God be magnified (Psalm40:16).” The Apostle Paul used this spiritual principle even when the devil threatened to kill him. ln Philippians 1:20, he said, “…now Christ (not my fears or anxieties) shall be magnified in my body whether by life or by death.”

Problem Number 2: The enemy wants you to focus on right now, and to forget that the mess you’re in won’t last forever. lf the devil can get you to think that the situation you’re in right now is going to last forever you’ll lose sight of the big picture. He wants us to feel like our problem is going to be permanent; that it’ll always be like this.

This is how a lot of arguments in the home get started. People start arguing over the smallest thing, sometimes even forgetting what it was they were arguing about in the first place. (Hint: Before getting into an argument, ask yourself, “Five years down the road, will all this even matter? ls it REALLY worth arguing about?” Most of the time it isn’t.

Bible Solution: The truth is, that we need to think in terms of eternity. What stops us is we let ourselves get so caught up in our problems that we DON’T stop. Romans 8:18, “…the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared to the glory which shall be revealed in us.” Put your situation in perspective with what God has already done in your life and what He’s promised you for eternity.

See, when you’re so hyped about your present situation, you won’t even think about how your actions and decisions affect eternity.

Problem Number 3: Your feelings get blown out of proportion. You get hurt; you get angry. You feel rejected, slighted or disrespected. The enemy whispers to you that you’ll ALWAYS feel the way you feel right now.

At that moment, if your feelings are blown out of proportion, and you lose sight of eternity you’ll say and do some regrettably stupid things. Things that can wreck your job, marriage, finances or friendships.

When you let your emotions direct your path, you lose. Period. You’re made in the image of God and aren’t created to be led by your angers, hurts, disappointments, lusts or fears. Your emotions change from moment to moment, and they usually aren’t even accurate.

“They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy. (Jonah 2:8).” In other words, when your emotions kick in, they tend to distort what’s really going on. They’ll tell you things are worse than they really are, that you’re less competent than you really are, that you’re being mistreated more than you really are, and then, you ACT on what your emotions are saying, instead of on the Word of God.

For example, doesn’t God promise that He will never leave you, nor forsake you (Hebrews 9:13)? Even in the valley of the shadow of death, isn’t it true that you need to fear no evil, for He is with you (Psalm 23:4)? Hasn’t He given you His promise that He will work out ALL things for your good, if you love Him (Romans 8; 28)?

The things that are happening to you right now WON’T be still happening a year from now, or two years from now. We all know that. But, even so, we throw tantrums when someone asks us to do something we don’t feel like doing, or complain if the person ahead of us in the store wants to pay by check and doesn’t have two photo i.d.’s. We get frustrated because we have a hard time losing weight. We moan endlessly about how overworked, under-paid and unappreciated we are.

When the enemy has blown away your sense of eternity and the goodness of God operating in our lives, the most trivial inconvenience seems to be a major attack and the slightest offhanded remark of a friend takes on gigantic proportions. So, we blow our stack in a fit of hypersensitivity letting them have a piece of our mind!

Bible solution: “Set your affections on things above, not on things of earth,” like it says in Colossians 3:2. That’s where your emotions belong… in the Presence of Jesus! Instead of having your world as small as your day to day problems, compare them to the bigness of Gods plan for you in eternity.

Let Christ be magnified, given a bigger place in your life, your thoughts and your emotions. Think on all the amazing things He’s done for you. lsn’t it true that He’s forgiven you for more sins than you could even name? Hasn’t he given you many answers to prayer, demonstrating that He loves you and cares for you? So, this little setback or disappointment has a meaning, a purpose, and you can look at it as something that propels you into His presence, to give you and Him hours of fellowship and time together in prayer.

You’re not made to spend the majority of your time crossing hurdles and digging yourself out of ditches. lf you’re going to be able to enjoy the blessings and goodness of God in your life, you’re going to have to be willing to expand your experience beyond the scope of your own little world. Enter into God’s world, by faith!

Lighten your load! Cast your cares on Him, Believer because He careth for you! Rid yourself of your problems_ and worries by giving them to Jesus
by faith!

Getting your eyes open

Getting Your Eyes Open…So You Can Have Vision and Victory!

By on July 5, 2016

God made you to have vision, or direction in life -to know where you’re going. When you know where you’re going, you also know where NOT to go. When you know what you’re supposed to be doing, you also know what you’re NOT supposed to be doing.

When you don’t have vision, you don’t have direction, and you begin to drift, to become aimless. You stop being effective, and you run out of energy for living. Or, as the Bible says, you perish.

“Where there is no vision, the people perish.” Proverbs 29:18 says that. It’s like being in a house at night and all your lights go out. You can barely move or do anything until you get a light going again.

Jesus told a story in Luke 12: 42-46. He spoke about the master of a great household going away for several days to a wedding celebration. The master told his servants to be working, waiting and watching for him to return. If they were still watching when he came back, he would throw a feast for them, and bless them with his goods.

On the other hand, if a servant said to himself, “the master isn’t coming back for a while,” and began to get drunk and beat the other servants, he would be beaten and cut off from the rest of the servants – cast into outer darkness.

In other words, the master was telling his servants to be filled with faith, hope and expectancy. Jesus is telling you the same thing: To have your eyes open to Jesus coming into your life. To be ready to receive Heaven’s Best. Jesus IS Heaven’s Best. Romans 8:32 says, “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us ALL things?”

SPIRITUAL UNDERSTANDING

WILL OPEN YOUR EYES AND
GIVE YOU VISION IN LIFE.

THEN, YOU WON ‘T BE SO
EASILY DISCOURAGED OR
QUICKLY OVERCOME.

Being filled with expectancy opens your eyes. lt causes you to look for things you weren’t looking for before. Your eyes begin to be open for a change in your situation. This same expectancy is what causes you to get closer to God and to lay down your sins.

You lay down your sins because you’re believing that God is going to work in your life and that you don’t want to have ANYTHING to hinder His working. You change your behaving so your reward can come.

Jesus said in Luke 12:3 7, “Blessed are those servants whom the Lord when He cometh shall find watching…” On into verse 40, He says, “Be ye ready also, for the Son of Man cometh at an hour when ye think not.”

Jesus is going to come into your situation even at the time when you think He’s never going to come. When you’ve gotten so discouraged and the enemy has been troubling you, the Bible says that Jesus IS going to come!

Jesus is coming knocking on your door, if you’re listening. He wants to take that situation that is beating you (V. 45-46) and deliver you from it! He’s coming to deliver you and to give you rest and strength.

The main point of what Jesus is talking about is having your eyes open for God to work in your life. The eye is the light of the body (Matthew 6:22). He told us here in Luke 12:35 to have our loins girded (walking in the truth) and to have our lights burning, our eyes opened, have our lamps lit.

Having your lamps lit means you’re using the oil of understanding (Matthew 25:1; 7). Spiritual understanding will open your eyes give you vision in life. Then, you won’t be so easily overcome or so quickly discouraged. To get spiritual understanding, you have to pay the price and get it from those who have it. (Matthew25:9) That’s the only way to keep from living in spiritual darkness. Many Christians are living in spiritual darkness! When you have no vision for your life or your future, you give up. In fact the word “perish” used in the Bible means, “to be put in an inferior condition to be destroyed, to expire.” Without a vision, people are expired, but with a vision, people are inspired.

If you don’t get your eyes opened to what God wants to do in your life, you’ll never get anywhere with God. That spirit of doubt and unbelief that got hold of the servant in Jesus’ story will try to destroy you and to devour your goods. It will try to get you to stop using your faith, to lose your sense of expectancy. It will try to get you to stop praying and stop sowing your seed for God’s harvest in your life. It will try to get you to walk in your own natural, carnal weakness instead of in God’s power and strength.

Jesus is saying here that if you keep your eyes open and walk with the Spirit, God will come and remove that nagging doubt and unbelief that’s been hounding you.

You MUST start believing God! The Bible and the promises of God are only by faith. They are “yea and amen” to those who believe God (2 Corinthians 1:20). God’s Word brings faith. When you ASK according to God’s Word, ASK for that deliverance, that strength, that help that you need, God comes on the scene at just the right time to deliver you from that thing that’s beating you!

Don’t allow doubts and unbelief to lie to you and to steal your vision, and become drunk on the things of this world! Trust God! Your needs WILL be met!

You’ve been brought into the Master’s household, and your faith has been tested. Now, you have to choose to BELIEVE and obey. Otherwise, you’ll listen to doubt, condemnation and lies from the devil. And it’ll rob you of your testimony and try to kill you.

Jesus is here NOW, if you’ll look to Him. You’ve been waiting for Him to reveal Himself to you, and He’s been waiting for YOU to look to Him. Why is it that Jesus opened the eyes of the blind? So they could SEE!

You need to see what is really going on around you! To see where you’re going! He opened the eyes of the blind so they could quit being beggars and quit living off of other peoples’ blessings and so they could receive the riches of Heaven

I have faith in the Name of Jesus. His name is the Name above every name. When prayer is made in faith in His Name, the powers of darkness are broken! The thing that’s been beating you and destroying the good in your life is cut off and cast into outer darkness!!!

We wrestle not against flesh and blood but against principalities and powers and rulers of darkness (Eph. 6). The enemy is trying to keep you blind, to make you lose vision and perish. Jesus is going to fill you with faith and open your eyes to the riches of God’s power and grace! There’s nothing too big for God. There’s NOTHING He can’t do!

worst kind of sin

What’s The Worst Kind of Sin?

By on June 28, 2016

We know that all sins are bad. They all are “missing the mark.” They all have the tinge of selfishness attached to them; they all tend to be “self-centered.” They all have a smack of rebellion in them. But what is the WORST kind of sin?

I’ll tell you the worst kind of sin. Actually, I won’t tell you, the Bible will tell you. It’s a kind of sin that, in the Old Testament, there was no atoning for. If you sinned like this, you were out of luck: it carried a death penalty. That’s how serious it was. It was called, ‘presumptuous sinning.”

What is a “presumptuous sin?” A presumptuous sin is one that you know plainly is wrong. It’s one that you know better than to do, and you do it anyway, because you choose to. It’s a premeditated sin, one that you thought about, planned or made deliberate provision for.

Let’s examine it together. First of all, we said that it was a sin that you know plainly is wrong, but do it anyway. If you’re a kid, it could go like this: You’re on phone restriction, and you know that under no uncertain terms are you to use the telephone. But you want to use it anyway. So, when your mom or dad is out of the room for a few minutes, you sneak and use the phone to call your friends, keeping an eye and an ear out for when your parent comes back in. That’s a presumptuous sin. There’s no way you could say that you didn’t know better or that you were tempted so much that you couldn’t resist. It’s just out and out disobedience because you want to do what you want to do, no matter what.

If you didn’t KNOW you were on restriction, or you thought that your restriction was over, that would be different. Or, if you RECEIVED a call, and the person said, “You won’t BELIEVE what just happened…!”

Then, you might be enticed to stay on. That also isn’t a presumptuous sin. You didn’t plan it, it wasn’t something you wanted. Yet, they phoned… and then your curiosity got the best of you. True, you were STILL violating your restriction, but you were caught off guard, and it took you. Do you understand the difference? Presumptuous sin isn’t like that.

Sinning against your conscience, when it’s warning you to not do something, is presumptuous sinning. Sometimes, we go one step further than even that: We have not only our conscience trying to warn us, but we have faithful friends, family and others warning us. But we keep on being a hardhead.

If I sin against my conscience, I’m presumptuous. But, if l sin against my consciences and against the advice of my friends that makes me even more of a chump. If my friends warn me to stay away from evil influences, if my loved ones warn me that I’m heading down the wrong road, but I keep on doing what I want to do, then I’m even more presumptuous than anyone in their right mind could be.

A person sins even more presumptuously when he or she has had the benefit of seeing what the effects of that kind of sin are, in other peoples’ lives. Maybe you’ve had a friend that lost his or her job due to the very kind of sin that you’re now playing with. Or worse, lost their marriage and family through their carelessness and ungodly desires.

Worse, you’ve had warnings in your own close calls… where God in His great mercy spared you from certain disastrous results.

Maybe you prayed that if God would get you out of that situation, you would live a godly life. But then, like a dog returning to its vomit, or a sow to the mire, you turned and went right back to your same old presumptuous sins; presuming that God will keep on covering for you and bailing you out.

So, you’ve sinned against your conscience, the warnings of others and now against your own vows and promises to God.

So many have had warnings that were so terrible that even a mentally deranged person would have taken heed. They’ve gotten into situations so mind blowing that the person standing next to them would be shocked if they could know who was standing next to them. But, even with all this, soon they will go right back to the same lusts and appetites.

Presumptuous sins are rarely spontaneous. They’re the kind of sins that people give place to the devil for. In other words, they scheme, plot and set the stage for the very sin that is destroying them.

They have a desire or a lust, and they feed it, dwell on it and entertain it until they no longer can keep it just on the inside. It gets so strong that they have to act it out. Why? Because they’ve nursed that thing, done it a thousand times in their mind, and now, they just have to do it.

James 1:14 – 15 says, “Every person is tempted when he or she is carried away by his or her own desires, and enticed. Then, when the desire has taken on a life of its own, it produces sin. And when sin has done its work. It brings forth death.”
(Paraphrase)
To be tripped up by the enemy
hitting you from behind is one thing.
But to think, plan and plot, for
hours, days or weeks is
unthinkable… it’s presumptuous
sinning in its worst form.

Keeping on with the same sin, once you know how it catches you, is presumptuous sin. Sinning once, being what the Bible calls being “overtaken in a fault,” (Galatians 6:1) is not sinning presumptuously. But, committing the same sin, predictably, every time the opportunity presents itself, that’s presumptuous sin.

One more way presumptuous sin overtakes the Christian. When a person thinks that for some reason that particular sin won’t hurt them. It might hurt others, but it won’t hurt them. I can think of people who will insist that Christians need to be in the house of God and plugged into a particular Church, in order to stay strong and to produce fruit. Trouble is, they don’t practice that for themselves.

They are sinning presumptuously when they do that. They are squatting down over a live volcano, imagining they won’t get burned! Because they indulge in sins and are too blind to see how it has weakened them, and dirtied them, they imagine falsely that they are still clean. Their sin, in daring to think that they can sin without it damaging their soul, is a sin of presumption.

David prayed in Psalm 19:13, “Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then l shall be upright and l shall be innocent of the great transgression.”

David was a man after God’s own heart, and he had to pray like this! The best in the body of Christ need to watch and pray, lest they enter into temptation. The strongest saints can also commit the most humiliating sins. The Bible is clear about that. That’s why Jesus taught us to pray, “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” When we’re in temptation, we’re praying that God would not leave us there.

Even if you’re very strong, you are likely to sin in the area where you’re the strongest. Don’t say, “I could never do drugs” Or, “l would never cuss.” Or, ‘l could never drink, or steal, or sin sexually.” Without God’s grace and strength, you just might do ALL these things and THEN some!

If David had to pray to be kept back from presumptuous sins, how much should people like you and I pray to be kept? If the strongest Christian needs to pray it, then you also need to speak this prayer to God. And, if you’re a person who has already been going down that road of presumptuous sinning, can you say that you do not need to pray for God to keep you from continuing in your selfishness?

I care about you and how you feel. I’m speaking this message not to your head, but to your heart, to your soul. Your conscience is being touched by the Holy Spirit of your God… and He’s reminding you of your commitment to Him.

Remember that Jesus died for all sins, even your presumptuous sins. Today, call out to Him in prayer and be strengthened. Be cleansed and be renewed. Let Him work in your heart until you KNOW the sin is gone, and your conscience is once again strong and clean. Let the Holy Spirit purify your heart with His love and with His fire. And those presumptuous sins will not have dominion over you. You SHALL be upright. And, you SHALL be innocent of the great transgression.

loving god

Why EVERYTHING – yes; everything works together for your good, if you love God

By on June 21, 2016

When you’re going through problems and hassles, rejections and things that just aren’t working out, would it help to know that there’s a purpose in it? Would you feel better if you at least knew that some good would come out of it all? Could you hang on just a little longer if you were confident that none of your pain was in vain?

You bet! You’re probably familiar with Romans 8:28 which says, “We know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to His purpose.” Well, this verse means exactly what it says. If you love God, each and every thing that comes into your life is for a positive purpose.

I know it seems hard to believe. Especially when you’re going through the pain of being rejected or having your dreams collapse around your ears. But, God never, never lies. So, this verse is true whether we feel like it all the time or not.

First of all, you have to realize that you’re more than just a body and a brain. You’re a spiritual being that lives in a body that has a brain. Second, you need to keep in mind that living on earth for a total of eighty or ninety years is only a SMALL part of your total life and existence. Third, during the relatively short time you’re on earth, there are specific lessons for you to learn and certain tasks that are set before you. And last, there are other people here whose lives you are meant to touch and influence for the good. At the end of your time here, you’ll stand before God and He’ll evaluate your life and work on earth.

These are basic understandings that you need to bear in mind. They’ll help you to understand WHY God causes all things to work together for your good, if you love Him.

To help you make more sense out of your life and the things you’ve been through, let’s do a little exercise. Just suppose that, say 1,000 years before you were born, you were living in Heaven and God told you that He’d be sending you to Earth in a thousand years. When you come to earth, you’ll need to be a particular kind of person, with specific traits, abilities and strengths.

There will be several other people whose lives you’re going to touch. You’ll have to be at the right place and be able to give them the strength, help and guidance they’ll need. Your whole time on earth is going to be so short, and the timing is going to be so crucial, that you’re going to absolutely HAVE to be prepared.

If you’re going to be able to accomplish your mission, you’ll need to have certain experiences and go through specific circumstances to make you become that person you’ll need to be. Imagine that you would be able to choose your parents and the situations you will go through, as well as where you’ll be born and under what circumstances.

You’ll do all this because at the time that you’ll be sent to earth, there’ll be certain things that you’ll have to learn, do and become. And, the only way you can learn those lessons will be to be born into that family at that location at that time and in those circumstances.

Now realize that the person you are today is a result of family you had, the parents God chose for you and the difficult things you went through growing up. Your compassion for others, you’re caring for people with difficulties, your ability to keep on hanging on when things get tough – all these you learned during your times of trouble and hardships. James 1:3 says that “the trying (or testing) of your faith worketh (or brings forth) patience.” Other areas of strength and understanding in your life came as a result of even the negative qualities that were in one or both of your parents.

So, here’s the point. Your life really WAS planned thousands of years ago. And, it was done by someone more caring, and who loved you more than you even love yourself. 2 Thessalonians 2:13 says that you are “beloved of the Lord, [and] God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through the sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth.”

From the very beginning, thousands of years ago, God was working to bring you to salvation, and the Holy Spirit was at work to set you apart for God. He was working in every area of your life and even your heredity to bring you to the point where you’d believe the truth and be saved.

Your part is to choose Him and to work with God in this life as a “worker together with Him” (2 Corinthians 6:1), ministering His life to people, and bringing them the truth that will set them free (John 8:3 2).

Since the person you are today is a direct result of a loving and deliberate choice of your parents, family neighbors and situations, can you discover more purpose or meaning in the experiences you had growing up? Can you feel less bitterness and more peace? Can’t you pull life lessons out of those different problems and crises in your life?

You are truly here to do something special with your life. You’re on earth to make a significant contribution to other people and to society. Your life is part of a great master plan that God has been working for your greatest good and for the good of those around you.

Let’s say you have a kid that’s a real challenge to raise and to deal with. I believe that you are paired up with that child for ONE reason: That child NEEDS the input that only YOU have to offer And, YOU have lessons to learn that will only be learned through the trials and hassles you’re going to go through with your child! You’re the best qualified and the most understanding person in the whole world for that kid!

When you know that your life is a part of God’s master plan you have a greater peace. You understand that each trial, circumstance or problem is a vital part of what you need right now. lt’s a means of teaching you what you need to know before you go on to the next step.

Understanding that you have a destiny makes every experience have value. It means that each event came to you at the best time, so you could move forward and be able to grow. lt means that you’re also better equipped to help others when they have difficulties and crises. Since what you’ve become is a result of the things that happened in your life and your responses to them, can you see why thing; couldn’t have been otherwise than what they were?

Can you sense the progression and the preparation that your experiences brought you? Your life is part of something greater than yourself. lt’s a part of the lives of many, many other people whose lives are being impacted by what you’ve become and are growing into.

The events in your life are connected in a way that bring you growth and even greatness in life. They are working to bring about great contributions to the lives of others. These are the things that shape your destiny.

Begin to accept the good meaning of the tough things that have happened in your life as an adult and when you we’re growing up. “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee and I ordained thee to be a prophet…” That’s what God said in Jeremiah 1:5.

Begin to see even your greatest trials as part of your destiny and as a part of your equipping for your mission. You’ll understand that things don’t “just happen” randomly or haphazardly. These events have shaped you into the person you are today.

You might not, at this point, know clearly where your life is going. But you can be assured that nothing has happened by accident. You can boost your faith by confidently expecting to be used by God to reach out and touch other people and to do something worthwhile with your life.

This one Bible principle, Romans 8:28, kicks fear and uncertainty out of your life forever. lt helps you to experience your life as an adventure that is moving you towards meaning and worthwhile outcomes. Lt releases the joy of the Spirit and the peace that passes understanding.

When you can calmly trust God to BE God, you’ll be able to release your faith, which activates His will in your life. His Spirit will begin to draw people and circumstances into your life that are in harmony with the perfect will of God for your life.

You are uniquely blessed and are important to more people than you’ll ever know. You’ve been put on the earth for a very special purpose. Remember that when you’re having a run in with that difficult person. Release your faith for God to have His perfect work in you through that trial.

Use this knowledge of Gods will to uproot the fear and doubts that the enemy wants to plant in your heart. Replace the fear doubt and unbelief with faith, hope and love. Be patient, calm and trusting of God. All things are working together for your good, because you love God and are called according to His purpose!

Fathers-Day

Father’s Day…What You and I Can Learn From Noah, As a Dad

By on June 14, 2016

We’re exploring the walk of a father who was, in every sense of the word, a real man. A man of God and a man among men.

He lived in a corrupt society. He was spoke, but people wouldn’t listen. He worked hard and long, with his hands. He had no converts…except his own family.

Noah was a man who had a tough time of it. He was a good man, a working man. Someone very much like you and me. He was frustrated by the corrupt and violent society he was living in. And, being a working man, he didn’t have a voice.

Then, like now, you had the rich and clever, the “cool” people running society, doing whatever they feel like, and the working man and how he felt didn’t seem to matter too much.

Noah might not have meant a lot to society. He might not have been too important in the eyes of his neighbors. But, he had one great accomplishment. One that not one other of the people who laughed at home had. He allowed God to work in his life in a way that none of the popular and “fun” people bothered with.

Noah was responsible for his family coming to know God. Through Noah’s life and testimony, his entire family came to faith in God.They watched their dad.

They noticed how he worked hard and labored with his hands to provide for his family. They found out that he would be there for them, whenever they had needs.

They heard how the other people would laugh at how strict he was on himself and his family…and still their father would do his level best to make sure his family was strong, close and faithful to God.

Noah was a good father. It wasn’t any easier in Noah’s day to raise a good family. It was a day when, like today, there was much crime; alcoholism; partying; mega immorality; violence in the streets. It was a time when even good men would give into temptation and fall into different sins.

“God saw that the wickedness of man was great…and every imagination of his heart was only evil continually.” (Genesis 6:5).

In the midst of all this, Noah made a commitment to raise his family to be strong, tight knit, and godly. He wanted to lead his wife and kids to a close relationship with God. Even more important to you and me, is the fact that God honored Noah’s commitment and everyone of Noah’s family was saved.

How did Noah become a strong man in a time of weak men in a weak society? He “found grace in the eyes of the Lord.” (Genesis 6:8) While others went after their possessions, their social positions and popularity with other evil people, Noah went into the presence of his God.

The Bible word, “grace” means “that which brings sweetness in life.”

To the others, having a sweet life would mean being rich. Or, to some, having all the friends you could name…that would bring sweetness in life to them. But to Noah, it was being in the presence of the Lord. That’s where HE felt life was its sweetest.

Second, Noah listened to what God was saying to him. He didn’t just pray and then go his own way. Hebrews 11:7 says that Noah paid attention when God warned him about the days he was living in.

Third, Noah made changes in his family life. He “prepared an ark for the saving of his house.” (Hebrews 11:7). He changed his work schedule. He changed his spending habits. Noah changed his hobbies, he changed how he related to his three children. Why? Because he wanted everyone in his family to be saved. It meant that much to him.

Noah stood tall in a land where men were weak and spineless. He took a stand, not caring whether or not his friends thought serving God wasn’t masculine. He was man enough not to sit back and idly watch his three children go the way of the rest of the world. He was a real father to his children.

Noah spoke what he believed. Nobody else listened to Noah. But, he stayed faithful to God and to the work that God had given him. So, his family saw how, over the years, their husband and father really was a man of God.

“Come thou and thy family into the ark.” That’s what God said to Noah in Genesis 7:1. This means that God Himself recognized that Noah’s family had been won to the Lord during the years of Noah’s faithfulness.

It must have been the greatest day in Noah’s life, as a husband and father, when God acknowledged that his whole family had been saved. Noah didn’t win any prizes for his preaching, but he won his family by his obedience to God.

Help for me and you. Jesus said about the days we’re living in, “As it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be in the days of the Son of Man. They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage…” (Luke 17:26-27).

God is no respector of persons. That means His grace is sufficient for fathers (and mothers) today as it was in the days of Noah. Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord and so can we. If we delight ourselves in the Lord, He will give us our families for His glory. If our “sweetness in life” is in the presence of the Lord, we will, like Noah be taught by the holy Spirit and led by Him.

America and our families are looking for men to be men. To be strong, caring, consistent and godly. When the fathers decide to be real men, full of faith and godliness, caring and gentle, when the fathers change their way of living in order to save their families, we can expect the families to follow the father’s faith.

Dads, bring your family to church with you this week. Let them know you take being a father seriously. That, from now on, you’re going to be a father, like Noah, who lived his fatherhood in the eyes of God.

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Event Calendar

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
 1 2 Bible Study and Celebrate Recovery 345 6 12:00 pm: Church Picnic and Baptism
7 Men of Favor Mini Meeting 8910111213
14 1:00 pm: Daughters of the King Intercessory Prayer 1516171819 20 2:00 pm: Second Southhampton Community-Police Annual Cookout
21 Back to School Celebration (Book Bag & School Supplies) 222324252627
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