KICKING WORRY OUT OF THE HOLIDAY SEASON

By on December 19, 2018

“Tis the season to be jolly…”

Sure, if you are a credit card company. Or a long distance phone company. Or a toy manufacturer. It’s the season to be jolly if you happen to own a mall.

If you don’t fit in one of those four categories, it’s the season of financial pressure; facing up to the end of the year with little or no money set aside. It’s the season to feel bad that you didn’t do any better financially than you did. It’s the season to break out the credit cards and wince.

It’s the season that many families will be paying off in monthly installments for the next twelve months. And, even with going in debt, buying things you really can’t afford, your kids will probably still think you’re a tightwad. They’ve seen and been pumped up to want hundreds of dollars’ worth of worthless overpriced imported toys and clothes.

Then, there are the emotional assaults. We’re in the season where there are the highest incidents of anxiety and depression. You might be able to keep on top throughout the whole rest of the year, but in December? WHAM! It hits you upside the head and won’t back off!

What to do? Jesus said in Luke 12:29, “Seek not what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind, for all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Heavenly Father KNOWETH that ye have need of these things.”

What He’s saying: Don’t make your goal to be acquiring more and more possessions. For yourself or for anybody else. That’s not a worthy goal. Not worth worrying about. Don’t worry about the basics. They’ll be there. You’re not alone, and God KNOWS what your needs are.

God knows your needs, and He cares. That’s a main point that Jesus made for a higher purpose than to just acquire and hoard possessions. God has planted in your heart the NEED to accomplish something worthwhile and good for other people.

You and I are made in the image of God. It’s that image of God that drives us to want to give, love, provide for others and make a difference. And, that’s the part that feels grieved when, at the end of the year, it seems like we’ve done little of importance…once again.

You’re BORN with that sense of eternity, and the desire to seek and to search for meaning and purpose. Because you’re not a mere animal, material things and accomplishments provide only temporary comfort, but then, leave us feeling as weak, empty and like something’s missing, as we were before.

I’m telling you that, to tell you THIS. Toys, clothes, appliances and high tech gizmos WON’T satisfy your kids, friends and loved ones. These things will have meaning as TOKENS of your love and care, but in themselves, they won’t provide meaning and lasting satisfaction.

The good news is, that NOT having these things won’t bring lasting hurt, pain, disappointment or grief? That is, as long as your loved ones KNOW that you love them and care deeply for them.

Material things don’t satisfy, and, the lack of material things won’t devastate! You FIRST have to deal with your own expectations, then you’re free to relax and give of yourself, and from your heart.

Your Heavenly Father, Jesus says, KNOWS your heart, and that you have a need to give to your need, and He cares.

Priority One? Getting to know Him better. This is the season when your spirit is especially sensitive to God, joy, meaning in life and relationships. This is the time to spend specific, quality time with God, to get to know Him better and to understand His plans and purposes in your life more fully.

It’s a time for opening your Bible and getting familiar with it, reading it with “new eyes.” Read while asking Him to speak to you, giving you good understanding. Let the Holy Spirit lead you and guide you as you read the Scriptures.

Part of dealing with anxiety and depression is to bring your life to God, and ask Him to direct your plans and path this year. You’ll want to spend time with Him, and get to know His mind for your life.

You might be discouraged because things haven’t worked out like you’d planned this year. Maybe God didn’t bless you like you’d wanted, or he didn’t seem to use you very much.

This is a matter of hungering and thirsting for God. It’s just like with regular food and drink, when you’re hungry or thirsty, you DO SOMETHING about it. When you are hungry or thirsty for more of God, you’ll DO something about it. Jesus said that “blessed ones” hunger and thirst after the Kingdom of God. That’s in Matthew 5:6.

Those who hunger and thirst after righteousness SHALL be filled. Don’t hunger and thirst after THINGS. Hunger and thirst after God.

Psalm 37:4 says, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.” That’s the order. God first, and then, only then, things will be released into your life. Or, as Jesus said in Matthew 6:33, “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.”

Here’s the order: First the spiritual, then the material. Colossians 3:1 says to set your affections on the things that are above it doesn’t do any good to be rich in earthly things but poor in spiritual things.

Don’t LOVE things. Love God, love people and love your pets. Good rule of thumb: Don’t love anything that can’t return your love.

You’ve got to prepare your heart. In Ezra 7:10, it says that God’s hand moved on Ezra’s life for good because, “Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach (others).” He wanted to know God, to walk with Him and to impart what he had learned to others. You have to PREPARE for the good that God has planned for you.

Make room for God in your schedule. Give him a definite time slot, or appointment each day. Then LOOK for opportunities, as for them and make room for God to work in your life.

Take every opportunity to seek God. When depression, fear or anxiety show up and they are signals to DO SOMETHING.

These negative emotions are like the warning lights on the dash-board of your car. They’re saying, “Pull over and do a check up, find what’s missing and fill it up!”

Deal with the emptiness, and the fullness will take care of itself. Don’t let despair ruin your holidays. Love isn’t measured in cash register receipts or credit card bills. Give your loved ones the gift of BEING THERE FOR THEM. Of PRAYING for them and with them, of listening, really listening to them. Them if you have a little money, buy them a token of your esteem for them. You’ll ALL be happier, and more relaxed.

Give God thee best gift of all this Christmas. Give Him our whole heart, your life, and your financial situations. Give Him your friendships. Speak to your friends and co-workers about Him. Invite them to sit with you in church this week.

Jesus said, “Fear not, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the Kingdom (Luke 12:32).” Also, “A man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of things which he possesseth (Luke12:15).”

Jesus said also in Mark 8:36 “What shall it profit a man, if he gain the WHOLE world and lose his soul?” what if you get your kid EVERYTHING on his or her list, and don’t teach them how to know Jesus?

This year, cast your cares on the Lord. Don’t worry so much about what you can and can’t buy. Think more about what you’re becoming, the kind of person you’re turning out to be. Put God first, and your Christmas season will be all it’s cracked up to be, and more!”

HOW FAITH IN GOD CHANGES YOUR LIFE AND OPENS THE DOOR FOR GOOD TO COME

By on December 4, 2018

Prayer works, when you believe. When you read your Bible, faith comes. And that faith that comes from reading and feeding on the Word of God will soon lead you to start praying those weak, whining prayers of people who don’t believe God. Your praying becomes different when your believing becomes different.

God hasn’t run out of power. That’s one thing you realize as you spend time getting to know Him through your Bible. No, God hasn’t run out of power, some people have run out of faith.

Why was it that Jesus didn’t do many miracles when He went to His own hometown? Matthew 13:58 says that “He didn’t do many mighty works there because of their unbelief.” Unbelief limits God. He isn’t limited by time. God isn’t limited by lack. He isn’t limited by sickness, education, skin color, age or any other thing that we think limit what He can do in our lives.

The only 2 things that limit God are sin and unbelief. Sin in your life will hinder God’s moving and working in your situation. And, unbelief in your heart will hinder Him the same way. Both sin and unbelief cause people to live as if there was no Almighty, All Powerful God in Heaven.

Isn’t it unbelief that kept the children of Israel out of the Promised Land? Hebrews 3:19 says “that they could not enter in because of unbelief.” It wasn’t their sin that kept them out there wandering around the wilderness, surrounded by enemies. It was their unbelief. When they stopped believing God, that’s when they got into sin. Many people’s lives today are like that. They feel like they’re wandering around in a wilderness, surrounded by hostile forces.

Like the children of Israel, your faith shapes the world you live in. that’s what Jesus meant when He talked about removing mountains by faith (Mark 11:23). That’s what Jesus was talking about when He told about having trees plucked out by the roots, and replanted using faith (Luke 17:6).

It’s what He was proving when He was spoke to the useless fig tree that was cumbering the ground, and it withered up, right there on the spot.
(Matthew 21:20-21).

God has given you the measure of faith from Heaven so you can rearrange your life here on earth. He gave you His Word, so you can know His will, and then He gave you faith, so you can bring His will into your daily world.

Jesus was teaching us to remove that mountain of sin and evil habits. To pluck out that tree that blocks your path, and put it into the right place in your life. He’s telling you to speak to that situation that just isn’t getting any better, and let God’s power deal with it!

Listen to this. Jesus said “Ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost comes upon you…(Acts 1:8).” There is a power in the Believer that’s incredible, and God is waiting for us to stand up and live as the sons and daughters of God on the earth.

That’s why we have to allow the Holy Spirit to renew our minds by the Word of God, like it says in Romans 12:2. As we grow in spiritual understanding, we learn how to release our faith.

God is no Respecter of persons. This means that He is not partial, or that He doesn’t play favorites (Acts 10:34). You have the same access to God that Peter had, or Paul or even your favorite minister on TV or radio.

Romans 5:1-2 says this about faith and having access to God: “Being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ; by Whom also we have access by faith…”

That’s why I press so hard for people to read God’s Word, to get filled with faith and then to act on that faith. People have found that, when they feed on God’s Word, believe on it and then ACT on it, that God is not limited by their age, sex, education or past failures.

The Word of God literally transforms you from what you are in yourself to what you CAN be in God (Rom. 12:2, 2 Cor. 3:18). Faith in God is what transformed a little shepherd boy into a giant killer. Then, by faith in God, David the shepherd boy became king. In Judges 5:7, faith in God turned a housewife, a mother in Israel into a prophetess and leader. In Acts 9, a murderous Saul the persecutor of Christians into Paul the Apostle of God. The power of God to change your life is not limited! The only limitation is what you’ll ACT on!

Your life is only as limited as your faith in God. If you don’t like what you’re receiving, then get into the Word of God and change what you’re believing! Change from faith that is weak and unsure to faith that is strong and giving glory to God!

God says in Isaiah 55:11, “My word…shall not return to me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please and it shall prosper…” God’s Word accomplishes and prospers wherever it’s sent, or wherever it’s applied! That’s why you need to find out what God says about your spiritual life, and then apply his Word to it.

That’s why you need to find out what God says about your family and relationships, and then apply, or send His Word into those situations. A major change came into Linda’s and my life when we discovered what God said about true spiritual riches. We applied His Word to our lives, responded to His call to ministry and He has supplied our every need.

After spending time in the presence of God, you slowly begin to realize that you have the same basic brain cells, muscles, nerves, heart and spirit as anyone else has.

The difference in life comes from the faith in God that a person uses to release His power through those brain cells, muscles, nerves, heart and spirit. That’s what propels a person to victory…faith in God!

Because so many people are afraid to use their faith, they have to be pushed and prodded and encouraged. Because He cares so deeply, God has sent me to people who need a little extra nudge, or who need a little extra care and feeding.

What you’ve been believing has shaped your life up to now. What have you been believing? That you’re a failure in life? That you’re inferior to other people? That you’re doomed to poverty? These negative beliefs short circuit your faith from Heaven and cause you to act, speak and feel against God.

Get into your Bible and feed your spirit on Heaven’s food! God has no “variableness.” There’s not even a shadow of Him turning from being the Giver of every good and perfect gift! That’s what James 1:17 says.

Getting to really know God is important that you’ll want to read His book more than anything else. Each day, feed your spirit on these good works from God. Think on the promises of God, these self-fulfilling prophecies He’s given us in His Word.

When you do this, you’re shaping your thinking. When you speak and act according to what you read in the Word, you’re bringing God’s blessings from the inner part of your life to the outside realm where you live.

TO CHANGE YOUR LIFE BY FAITH IN GOD, TRY THIS ON A DAILY BASIS:

1. SPEND 10 MINUTES ASKING GO TO SHOW YOU WHAT YOU CAN DO DIFFERENTLY ON YOUR JOB, IN SCHOOL, YOUR CHURCH AND IN YOUR FAMILY. GIVE THESE 10 MINUTES TOTALLY TO GOD. TELL HIM YOU WANT TO LET HIM DO HIS BEST IN YOU.

2. USING YOUR FAITH, BEGIN TO EXPERIENCE IN ADVANCE HAVING GOD AT WORK IN THE DIFFERENT AREAS OD YOUR LIFE. EXPERIENCE IN ADVANCE THE JOY OF ANSWERED PRAYERS AND OF TOTAL VICTORY AS GOD MOVES MORE AND MORE IN YOUR LIFE.

3. JOT DOWN A PROMISE OR TWO FROM YOUR BIBLE READING AND CARRY IT AROUND WITH YOU. THROUGHOUT THE DAY, RUN THESE WORDS FROM GOD THROUGH YOUR MIND, DEVELOPING HABITS OF ACTIVE LIVING FAITH.

4. INCREASE YOUR KNOWLEDGE OF GOD, AND OF HIS SPIRITUAL LAWS. READ IN BOTH THE OLD TEST. AND THE NEW TEST. THIS WAY, YOU’LL GET A WORKING KNOWLEDGE OF HOW THE PRINCIPLES OF FAITH OPERATE.

5. READ GOOD EDIFYING BOOKS AND MAGAZINES, AVOID DESTRUCTIVE MUSIC, TV AND VIDEOS THAT DAMAGE YOUR SPIRIT. IF IT DOESN’T STRENGTHEN YOU, TRASH IT. SAME WITH YOUR CASUAL CONVERSATIONS AND FRIENDSHIPS. STAY AWAY FROM NEGATIVE CONVERSATIONS AND CRITICAL PEOPLE. “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you (2 Cor. 6:17).

Believe God! Let Him save you and forgive you! Let Him change your life from the inside out, by the power of His Word and His faith operating in your life.

A ROCK-SOLID LIFE WHERE YOU’RE BLESSED IN WHAT YOU DO

By on November 28, 2018

“Rock-Solid” life. A life where you’re not easily shaken or moved by outward circumstances. A life where you’re not afraid when a storm comes or when the tides of problems rise. That’s the kind of life that your heavenly Father created you to live. He didn’t plan for some people to live solid, predictably good lives and for others to be tossed to and from living lives of upheaval, turmoil and change.

That’s what Jesus was saying in Matthew 7:24 and 25. Listen: “Therefore, whoever hears these sayings of mine and does them, I will compare him to a wise man, who built his house upon a rock. And, when the rain descended and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat upon that house – it didn’t fall; because it was founded upon a rock.”

There. You have Jesus’ word for it. God’s will is for you to not fall, even in the most severe storms that this life can throw at you. The strength isn’t a strength that YOU have to develop within yourself, it’s the strength of the ROCK that you are building your life on.

First Corinthians 3:11 says that Jesus Christ is the only foundation that you can build your life on, and expect it to last through the storms of life. In John 1:1-3, it says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God…All things were made by Him and without Him was nothing made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.”

So, the way you build your life on the Rock of Jesus today, is to build your life on the life-giving principles of the Word of God. It’s the only way to be sure that you’re walking in the light of God and that He can bless the decisions you’re making.

James 1:22 puts it this way: “Be doers of the Word and not hearers only – deceiving your own selves. Because, if any man is only a hearer and not a doer, he is like a man looking at his face in a mirror. He looks at himself and then goes his way, immediately forgetting what kind of man he was. But, whosoever looks into the perfect law of liberty (the Word of God) and continues in it, this man shall be blessed in his deeds.”

A lot of people come to church and like to sing, feel the presence of the Holy Spirit and then listen to an inspiring message. They’re just hearers, unless they put it into practice in their daily lives. That’s why you might have friends who go to church and enjoy it, but they’re lacking the blessing of God in their day-to-day lives.

They hear the message, faith comes, they decide to live according to God’s Word, and they even pray about it. Only to go out and live like they did before. Like a person looking in a mirror, and then going out and forgetting what sort of person he is.

See, the Bible is “the perfect law of liberty.” When you look into this book, you see what sort of person you are, in God. You discover what God wants to do in your life. It lets you know that you’re free from the old inferiorities, the old addictions, the old adequacies and the old failings. That’s why it’s called the perfect law of your life. Spiritual, material and physical.

When you bring what God says in His Word to your friends, they’ll see the good that God has for them, as well as the bad that comes from ignoring Him. They’ll see the bondage that comes from keeping God distant.

“Acquaint now thyself with Him, and be at peace: thereby good shall come unto thee.” That’s Job 22:21. Who does the “acquainting?” YOU do! Some people are waiting for God to reveal Himself to them, but God is waiting for THEM to reveal THEMSELVES to HIM! Let your friend know that God is waiting to meet him or her.

Other people are waiting for the “right time.” They say, “It’s not my time yet.” Well, God says that now IS the time to acquaint themselves with Him. Why?

Because, first of all PEACE will come. Second, GOOD will come into their lives. They won’t have to go after the good, it will come to them!

When a person tells me that he isn’t ready yet, I usually follow this course:

“Tell me. If you’re not ready NOW, when do you suppose you WILL be ready?” They might say, “In six months.” Or, “when I get out of the military.” Or, “When I get out of school.”

Then I  ask, “When you DO acquaint yourself with God, and are at peace, HOW DO YOU SUPPOSE YOUR LIFE WILL BE DIFFERENT? How do you suppose you’ll feel?”

Then, I listen. They’ll tell me about the bad things, bad habits and bad feelings that’ll change. They’ll tell me how they’ll feel better, and will feel good about life and other people and about God.

Then, I ask, “Why is it that you want to PUT OFF having all those good changes? Can you think of a better time than NOW to begin living the kind of life you’ve been telling me about?”

Guess what happens? Usually, the Spirit of God has already been dealing with their hearts, or they wouldn’t be in a conversation like that in the first place. You can count on that.

Second, they WON’T be able to think of a better time than now with God and to be at peace. Or, to find themselves in a position of favor with God.

So, THAT’S the moment of prayer. Simply ask something like this: “What could be better than bowing our heads together and talking to God about becoming acquainted with Him?” If they’re shy, or in a place where you can’t openly pray, simply say, “Maybe you could bow your head and make acquaintance with God silently, where you are. I’ll sit here quietly until you’re through.”

That’s the beginning of helping a person live a rock-solid life, with the blessing of God on all that they do. It’s also part of YOUR living a rock solid life – because you’re doing what Jesus did. You’re introducing people to the Heavenly Father.” He that wins souls is wise.”

It’s your way of living out John 13:34-35. That’s where Jesus said, “A new commandment I give to you. Love one another. By this shall everybody know that you are my disciples, if you have love for each other.”

Jesus said in John 15:5-8 that He is the vine and we are the branches. The vine gives life to the branch, which is the fruit producing part of the vine. If you’re connected to the vine, you’re GOING to be producing fruit! Peoples’ lives are GOING to be changed because of your reaching out to them in love.

In James 2:20, you’ll find that faith that doesn’t produce works is “dead” faith. So, you’re not really a Believer unless you’re a DOER. If you’re not DOING the Words of God, you’re building your house on the sand. It’s not just religious talk, but obeying what God says.

Jesus said the Father always heard His prayers, because Jesus did the things that please the Father. When you listen to His Word, and do it, you become a “Father-Pleaser,” like Jesus was.

And, like Jesus, it won’t be YOU that’s doing the work, but the Father working IN you. he gives you the desire and He also brings it to pass in your life (Eph. 3:20).

He’s your wisdom (1 Cor. 1:30), and in Him, you’re complete, lacking nothing (Col. 1:9. 2 Cor. 6:1 says that you have become a co-laborer with Him. That’s why your life is solid, and what you do is blessed by God!