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Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas: What does it really mean to you?


Sermon: Sealed God's Promise. This year my son and his finance helped us get our tree up and light up the house. I've really enjoyed it. My Mom loved the season and was a great decorator. Christmas morning when we woke up Joshua had the lights all on..and things were shining. My brother and his family came with us to celebrate with our father....little Josiah understands so much more now than he did last year. My eldest called from Afganistan and I spoke with his wife on Christmas Eve...a niece called from Ohio and a niece wrote a message on facebook. I miss the gathering we always had at at my husbands parents house with all the nieces and nephews. The Christmas party at church is always fun....I miss those that couldn't attend this year. The promise of my Mom in law coming a few days after Christmas warms my heart. I wonder if Pastor has told her that in a few weeks we are getting another Dachshund to add to our pack? Maybe that will be our little surprise.

We spent Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with family and watched a few Christmas shows. If you asked me what gifts I got...I'd have to stop and think...and contrary to the smart remarks that may come from my friends and family it is not my age. Simply put.... the joy of Christmas doesn't come wrapped in a gift wrapped box or pretty bag. It comes in our heart as we sit at our tables with those we love....as we remember together the one who came...the one who is God With Us.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Isn't the Snow Pretty

Click here Bro. Shane's Testimony and Sunday School
There are some wonderful things about living in the North Country. Some years I can't wait for the snow. This year (and for the benefit of my children it is not because I'm getting old) however, it is seems all to cold. One thing that has been truly fun this year is that we have decorations up. Joshie and Katie helped put up our tree and make the house look festive. They also helped Papa. It was so sweet to visit him today and see him rolling along on his scooter looking at his decorations. He shut off the lights to get a better effect and had me help him get some of the things turned on. Dad is less able to get out and about in the winter but there are still nice things to be expectant about in his life. Each season has good things about it.

Overcoming obstacles of Winter

1. The cold
Cold winter breezes can go right through you and chill you to the bone, yet sometimes the brisk winter air is refreshing. Cold weather can make a person want to hold up in their warm house under a blanket or it can be a part of winter fun that involves outdoor activities.
The trick to getting along outside in the winter is to be properly covered up. Yesterday when I shoveled I had a scarf that I used to cover my ears....heavier socks, gloves, my famous long-johns and of course my winter coat. One of the things we need to do in our Christian walk is to have the right equipment. Sometimes our life can seem as cold as the long North Country winters. We wonder when it is gonna end. Most of know not to be caught without what we need to get along. We have a survival checklist so to speak. In our part of the country we have to make a choice to embrace our environment and prepare for it. The same is true of our life and our journey here on the earth. God gives us a survival kit in his Word. One of the greatest survival tools of the Bible is the helmet of Salvation which guides our mindset. The Word tells us to renew our mind. We are to line our mind up with what God says instead of allowing our culture to dictate how we think. You might not be a winter sport enthusiast, but you can find things to enjoy about wintertime. Like the beauty of snow. Pastor says he wishes the snow (pretty as it is ) would only fall in the yard and miss the sidewalk, road, and driveway.

2. The tendency to hibernate
The cold winters often temp folks to stay inside. The heat of the house feels good compared to the frigid temperatures. While I'm not one to play winter sports...I do like to get out of the house. Some folks hibernate in the cold season...because they are either unable physically to get outside in the winter or they chose to not get outside because they are willing to put their life on hold until spring. My Dad cannot get out as much in the winter. We take him to the Dr. and try to get him out to eat on the transit bus (it has a lift for his Scooter chair) but he is not able to ride his scooter outside with the same freedom he enjoys in the other seasons. It sure would be lonely if he had to spend all winter alone in his trailer. He was just saying how he enjoys the Bible studies and family and friends who come to visit and make those months go by quicker. Even though he is in his trailer more than he'd like he has chosen to continue to enjoy life and make a difference in the lives of others. Life at times can seem like a cold winter and at certain junctures we can be tempted to curl up in our own little cocoon by ourselves. We have to remember in those times to use our survival kit from the Word to overcome. One of the great truths of the Word is we don't walk alone. God made us to need him and to need the love and support of others...He also made us to need to give love and support to others.




Saturday, November 27, 2010

Giving Thanks

I hope your Thanksgiving day was a time of joy as you celebrated with your family. As I've read the reactions of friends on facebook and talked to my family and friends....I've heard some great reports.

  • We followed my Mothers tradition of going around the table and saying what we are thankful to God for this year. My brother grumbled at the prospect of the "public display" but my nieces revealed it was all an act because when they were in Ohio he used to maintain the same tradition. My heart always melts when we hear everyone's heart.

  • I've heard of the joy of making pies and dinners for family and guest, the joy of children enjoying the new event (Little Josiah was so cute this year because he understood the joy of being all together for a big feast).

  • I've also heard of folks whose feast wasn't all they wanted it to be because of hard times. My prayer is their feast became about what we all should remember...it is not about the food...or perfect circumstances....but our trust and thanks to God whether in hard times or good times...and our love for family and friends. I watched last night as the President and his wife pasted out food in a local food bank and thought....we ought to do something more next year to reach out to families in need.
  • I heard of a young couple who invited some single folks who were not near their family to have Thanksgiving with them.
  • I've heard of a young dating couple who prepared a bed and blanket for a cat they saw shivering in the cold earlier in the day.
  • I'm thankful for the fun of getting Christmas decorations up with sweet kids.
  • I'm thankful for the safety of my eldest and his wife

As I look back at Thursday our official Turkey Day I desire two things. One to make concrete plans to do so much more for others next year to make the day a day that other families can come together with Thanksgiving to God....And to remember everyday can be a day of thankfulness to our Great God.

What did you learn and see this year? What are you thankful to God about this year? What plans to you have on your heart to help others this season?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Sermon and Sunday School

Sunday School 10-10-2010


Certificates of Appreciation from the Devil

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Blessing Others

PTL....I was finally able to get sermonplayer to work again. Click here to listen to Faith Soup

Last week Pastor and I used the Ephesian chapter 1 prayers as a basis to pray blessing over the church family as well as our boys, nieces and nephews ect. I love these passages.


15 Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, 16 do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, 18 the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power (Ephesians 1:15-19, New King James Version)


The Patriarch's Blessing


The Patriarchs spoke blessing over their children knowing the power of the spoken word passed down through generations. Even today Jewish families say a blessing at the Sabbath meal over their spouses and children. The practice of speaking blessing is more than just form or history. I remember when my boys were born I pledged not to call them stupid or dumb and to uplift them. I wanted them to know they were special. Many of you remember the story of our youngest getting a little mouthy when he turned 13. I was determined to get him to be more respectful and I was advocating that Pastor John put his foot down and restore order. As I prayed and pondered it...the Holy Spirit gave me a solution that I thought couldn't be right. He instructed me to thank Joshua everytime he did something good. I rebelled against that thinking he needed a good swift kick in the behind instead. Yet, I knew both our boys did a lot to help both us and their grandparents. So I began my adventure of thankfulness and blessing which puzzled Joshua at first. Maybe he wondered who kidnapped his mother and left this other person behind to take her place. Within a few weeks his attitude changed completely and I learned a valuable lesson. My son did respect us....he wanted to be appreciated back and blessing changed our outlook. The blessing of the Patriarchs was to last a lifetime and it proclaimed God's promise over their life. The Word is filled with promises for us and our children as well. Even when things look bad it is important to concentrate on God's promise and proclaim it over our loved ones.

Aaron's Blessing over the Congregation

God gave Moses a verbal blessing for Aaron and his sons to give the congregation of Israel . Pastors sometimes speak this over the church. Reading this shows what God desires for the church to know about how God wants His blessing to be upon us.


22 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying: 23 “Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, ‘This is the way you shall bless the children of Israel. Say to them:

24 “The LORD bless you and keep you;

25 The LORD make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;

26 The LORD lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.”’
27 “So they shall put My name on the children of Israel, and I will bless them.” (Numbers 6:22-27, New King James Version)


This week ask the Lord how you can be involved in blessing people with your words and your prayers.




Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Blessing of the Lord


God's Blessing upon humanity
The Bible tells us that God spoke the world into existence. His words are powerful enough to cause those things which were not into existence to come into existence. Soon after creation God spoke some more powerful words.

28And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. (Genesis 1:28, King James Version)

God spoke powerful words of blessing to Adam and Eve. Humanity was made in His image with the purpose of ruling and reigning with Him. His plan was that we fellowship with Him and that we share His heart for creation. Sin came into the world and marred that picture yet God's plan is still in tact. When we come to Him and allow Him to restore our heart to His we become a new creation ready to walk in His plan.

God shows His continuing plan as He blessed the patriarchs

The Blessing of One Man Changes Everything
After the flood God blessed Noah and his family. Noah had been found faithful in a world where everyone had turned from following God.

1And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth. (Genesis 9:1, King James Version)
The enemy had sown seeds of rebellion and discord within humanity against God in order to keep man from fulfilling the call of God. One man held to the love of God and that changed everything for mankind. God protected him from destruction and from the plan of the enemy. The Father's blessing of Noah shows that one person can cooperate with the plan of God and make a huge difference in this world.


God Blesses Abraham: God can call us out of any circumstances and bless us when we commit to follow Him.
1Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee: 2And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:

3And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed. (Genesis 12:1-3, King James Version)

God revealed Himself to a man from a family who worshiped idols and did not serve or have respect for the things of God. Abram was a man with hang-ups but God knew that he was also a man who would be willing to have faith for the impossible. We serve a God who is still in the business of revealing Himself to imperfect humanity. When we read about Abram we see a man who had great faith in God even as he struggled with character flaws. We may not be perfect but if we will yield to God trusting Him to fulfill his promise He will change us and give us His heart. One man's obedience and trust brought God's plan for blessing upon a nation and all of humanity into fruition.

We can certainly see that God blessing has been important to mankind. Next time we'll examine how God can use our words of blessing to others for His good plan.

Here is a special blessing from God that is my prayer for all of you.


Then the Lord spoke to Moses saying, 'Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, "Thus you shall bless the sons of Israel. You shall say to them:
The Lord bless you, and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine on you,
And be gracious to you;
The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace."'
So they shall invoke My name on the sons of Israel, and I
shall bless them."

Numbers 6:22-27












Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Create A Clean Spirit Within Me

I've had some trouble getting the videos up but I think I'm getting closer to figuring out the problem. The last video I have up is Bro. Todd Murphy of Micaiah Ministries: The Rock: Knowing What to do in the Storm

Psalm 51
We sang Psalm 51 in church Sunday. These words have spoken truth for generations. Sunday service was heavily anointed as our praises ascended heavenward. This song was especially beautiful and impressed upon my mind.


10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me away from Your presence,
And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.

12 Restore to me the joy of Your salvation,
And uphold me by Your generous Spirit. (Psalm 51:10-12, New King James Version

I believe God desires to speak to us as He moves in our midst here in the North Country. Last week we talked about things that grieve the Holy Spirit. This week we’ll talk about how the Holy Spirit moves us to repentance

Nathan Confronts David
David was a man after God’s own heart. He loved God and the people of God. He trusted God when he was a shepherd boy no one paid attention too…he trusted God when King Saul became enraged and jealous enough to kill him. He honored the king and refused to touch God’s anointed. He trusted God as God was helping him to establish his throne and conquer land from the enemies of his people. He was a psalmist who worshiped God with his whole heart. Yet there came a time when King David hid something that could have destroyed him if left unchecked. He had an inappropriate relationship with a woman and in order to hide the pregnancy that resulted and he had the woman's husband killed in the heat of battle. Left unrepented of this sin would destroy his relationship with the Lord and hurt others. There were already consequences that could not be changed. Nathan the Prophet told David a story about a man who had many sheep but killed his poor neighbors little sheep for a supper. The little sheep was like a pet and very special to the neighbor. David became upset at the telling of the story and wanted to punish the man. Nathan proclaimed, "Thou art the man!" The truth was out and it was time for David to face it head on.

David’s cry of repentance in Psalm 51 is an example to us of what we can do when we find ourselves in need of admitting our wrong actions and our willingness to yield to God. It shows us that even people who love God with all of their heart have to guard their relationship with Jesus. The story of David, Bathsheba (the woman involved), and the prophet Nathan brings up some questions for us to ponder.

How did a man after God’s heart get into this predicament?
The obvious answer for the avid church goer and Bible reader is that he wasn’t where he was suppose to be. He was suppose to be with his soldiers on the battle field. He had lost his focus. Dig a little deeper and let it make you think. David did lose his focus and that was the start of trouble. He also had issues that he had not dealt with in his life. He was married to many women yet the lure of beauty outweighed the fact that God didn’t approve of longing for another man’s wife. (the fact that OT men married more than one wife doesn't mean that is God's plan...Paul tells about being the husband of one wife) His power and ability to cover up his sin kept him from seeking help from the Lord. Are there areas that we have covered up? How are we treating people? Are we trying to hide something from God? Have we lost our focus? Are there issues we haven’t dealt with in our lives? Do we justify things that our society says is okay but the Word of God tells us are wrong?

Why does God use others to Bring Correction?
The saga of David let’s us know that sometimes God will bring someone to correct us when we have covered up and refused to judge or examine ourselves. His love for us won’t allow Him to watch as we go toward destruction. David was in such a state that he could see the sins of others and even be critical and judgmental while not seeing his own sin. Prophet Nathan was prepared with the famous, “Thou art the man”. You see often when we are in such a state we get critical of others and it becomes easy to focus on that instead of “judging ourselves“.

David's Choice
David had a choice to make. He had the power to have Nathan imprisoned or killed. He could have silence the person whom God had sent to him. It is never easy to hear words of correction but when they are from a heart of love and not a critical spirit they are words that can bring healing and restoration. David’s choice to receive Nathan’s words and to repent and to be willing to deal with core issues forever changed what the enemy meant for evil to destroy him. It restored him to fellowship with God. David penned the words, “take not your Holy Spirit from me”….he never wanted to be without the presence of God in his life.

What am I to do with this story of David, Bathsheba, and the Prophet Nathan?

Stories in the Bible are there for our example. When we see how David fell prey to a sin that separates from God it lets us know that we must protect and guard our heart. (Proverbs 4) We must be willing to examine ourselves and not cover up things that need to be dealt with in our lives. We must examine how we are treating people, if our relationships glorify God, if things that are attracting our attention are in line with God's Word, and we must be willing to listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit and those that God has placed in our lives.

God has a good plan for our life. We must not allow ourselves to have unrepented sin in our lives. Agreeing with God and changing our actions is not about being "controlled" ....it is about being free.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Things that Grieve the Holy Spirit

Micaiah Ministries will be at Living Waters Fellowship Friday @ 7p.m. and Sunday @ 11:15 a.m and 7p.m.

I've been thinking about what causes the Holy Spirit to be grieved....which means to have sorrow or to be distressed. Pastor John's message Got Mud: Take the Presence of God with You speaks of desiring to seek God's presence for your life. That is certainly the will of God for his people. What are things that would hinder that from happening in our lives?

Here are some things that grieve the Holy Spirit.


Not Believing and trusting Him. (Psalms 95:9-11, Psalm 78:39-41, Isaiah 63:9-11, 1 Corinthians 10:1-5, the book of Exodus)

This one is a hard one. All of these verses say the Holy Spirit was grieved. When I read the book of Exodus I ask myself if I would be any different than the children of Israel . What would I do if an army was closing in on me, if the food supply was non-existent, or I was dealing with a parched throat because of lack of water? Would I be among those who saw the miracles of God and doubted God when each new crisis arose? Reading Exodus lets us know that God's heart was always to provide....He longed for His people to trust Him and to believe that provision was His will. He wanted them to seek Him not run turn tail. I don't have to go far to see what I would do. All I have to do is examine my reactions to my own circumstances. Do I remember the works of the Lord in my life and others or do I panic at every turn. Don't get me wrong...I know sometimes things happen that can rattle us....but what do we do when that occurs? Do I run to God or do I run from Him. God wants us to seek Him and to trust Him remembering His mighty hand. The Psalm 78 passage says , "again and again they tempted God and limited the Holy One of Israel." Imagine that, when we don't believe God can help us we are putting limits on God. The Holy Spirit is blessed when we trust even in hard situations, when we don't give up on our faith in the face of difficulty, when we seek Him even when our emotions are in an uproar...when He is our solution not our complaint.


Not knowing His Ways ( Psalm 95: 9-11)

God said that generation did not know His ways. That is a sad commentary. Every Father wants his children to know him...to trust his love for them and to understand and pass on the integrity they learned from him to their children. God was basically saying...this generation just didn't get it. They didn't know Him...they knew of him but didn't grasp His heart. It is not that they didn't have opportunity. The Word says in 1 Corinthians 10:1-4 that everyone in the wilderness had the same opportunity to see God's mighty hand and let faith rise in their heart. Most of that generation ended up dying in the wilderness leaving their offspring to see the fulfillment of God's promise by faith. God said, "they didn't know my ways".

God talks a lot about the Moses generation...they are called examples to us. They are examples of how not to act and how not to relate to God. There were some fine exceptions Caleb and Joshua. God is desiring us to know His heart, to know his ways, and to know Him.

Rebelling and turning from Him (Isaiah 63:8-11)

In this passage God shares His heart. His love for Israel...His heart for them as His people. When they were in distress He was distressed for them and had a solution. Verse 10 tells us they rebelled against the God who had shared his tender mercies and it grieved His Holy Spirit. A read of the entire chapter shows a spirit of repentance which God accepts. Yet here we see that God has experienced the sting of being rejected by His people. Just as parents or grandparents desire good for their loved ones God loves and desires our good. He invest His love in us and it hurts His heart when someone walks away or rejects His loving correction.

Corrupt Speech, Anger, Strife....unkindness (Ephesians 4:29-32)
In between exhortations to not allow corrupt speech, anger and strife in your life and another passage stating that we need to be kind and tender hearted and forgiving...are the words , "Do not grieve the Holy Spirit by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption" The way we use our mouth and the way we treat other people matters to God. Is it not incidental that these areas are found together because often our mouth gets us into trouble with other people and causes hurt and divison. Some folks think that it is just "them and God"....but this passage lets us know our mouth and our relationships with others matter to Him. They matter so much that when we mess them up we can actually grieve the Holy Spirit. Thank God for His mercy in these areas. He is faithful to help us overcome habits that hurt others and can wreck havic upon our life. He is willing to take Spiritual soap to our tongue and help us to have right attitudes. Our treatment of others matters.


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Stand

Click here for Sermon: Who are you Partnered With Part 2 and Sunday School.

This week...I've come upon many people that are in situations that require standing firm.

"Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. "Ephesians 6:11

1. Standing firm means that we bear up against the things that are trying to come our way to bring destruction to us and those we love in someway. Standing firm, just like accepting Jesus as Savior or living right, requires first and foremost that we recognize that by ourselves we are powerless to succeed. It is only through Jesus shed blood and the ransom paid that we can ever hope to succeed in any spiritual endeavor. " Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might" Ephesians 6:10

2. Standing can be lonely and grueling. We find in the famous Ephesians six passage that our enemy is seeking outright destruction. The hard truth that our real enemy is not a person or group of people but Satan and the demonic reminds us even more that we must totally rely upon our Savior for victory. It is not always easy to stand. Sometimes it would be easier to give up and not hold to our faith. To give up would be to let the enemy win and to not allow God's glory to be seen. It is God who gains the victory...but it is we who stand. Standing involves believing God to work in our life even when it looks like all is lost. It means doing the right thing, treating people well, and standing on the promises of God even when doing so is the hardest thing in the world for us. Standing requires a refusal to give in attitude.

3. Standing in faith is active. Sometimes we want to fix our situation ourselves. Believing God requires that we be willing to listen to His voice through the Word, or through the Holy Spirit speaking to our heart. Sometimes He will give us an action to take and sometimes He will tell us to stand down and see the salvation of the Lord. Either method is active because it requires our faith to be stretched.


4. Standing in faith brings rewards. Having faith in God and His ability will never fail us. Each circumstance that requires standing feels as if it will never end and that our failure is certain. Putting our life in God's hand and being willing to obey Him and the Word of God can be scary in the natural....but when we ask God with a grateful heart to intervene He gives us His peace. It is not that we are blind to the situation...we simply know He is in control and well able to meet our need . Looking back over our life I can see many such situations that were resolved in ways we'd never dreamed possible for our good.

Maybe some of you have testimonies of standing firm in faith that you'd like to share with us here on the blog. Feel free to send a comment. Even if you don't comment take a minute to remember what God has done...when you stood firm refusing to give in to the devil.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

God in times of trouble

Sermon: Who are you partnered With? Part 1 and Sunday School with Bro. Larry

Psalm 46

1 God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble. So we will not fear when earthquakes come and the mountains crumble into the sea. 3 Let the oceans roar and foam. Let the mountains tremble as the waters surge! NLT

Easy to read
The verse may be quick and easy to read but when you are actually looking at a picture of a mountain crumbling around people ....and the fear and mayhem a sudden disaster can bring it puts the significance of this verse in perspective. Take a look at the clip from Youtube my cousin Mark posted to facebook showing a recent (Feb 2010) landslide in Italy.


When I watched this clip Psalm 46 immediately came to my mind. You don't need to speak Italian to hear the panic in the hearts of the people. The little town had to be evacuated and it is certainly evident that there was great loss. The Psalmist uses graphic illustrations to make his point about God's faithfulness in times of trouble.

Don't Deny the Reality of what you or others are going through.

Storms are never denied to be real in the Bible. The Bible describes both physical disasters and crushing circumstances. Even in the midst of the storms of life God's blessings can be seen. Faith in God can move mountains. We've seen financial miracles, physical healings, hearts mended and restored to health and a host of other blessings in our faith walk. The faith walk clings to the promises of God and speaks them despite stinging circumstances...one thing it doesn't do is pretend they don't exist. Our Father helps us navigate through them. Best of all He is willing to speak to our heart about nagging questions that trouble our mind. (see Luke 13:1-5)

The News
News is filled with things that should bring us more and more to a point of fear and dread. Yet the Word tells us that God wants us to see Him as a refuge and strength even when things around us may be crumbling. Whether the news is a natural disaster or bad circumstances we serve a God who says to us that He is more than enough and that He has made a way for us. The causes of bad circumstances can be anywhere from our own doing, the wrong doing of someone else in our path, the work of the enemy, to the groaning of the earth.

Peace Be Still
When ever I read or hear the story of Jesus calming the sea....I wonder at His statement, "Ye of little faith". Picture the disciples in the midst of the storm with Peter barking orders, water overtaking the boat and the wind whipping at their back, adrenaline high as they struggle for survival. Meanwhile Jesus is asleep. When he is awakened He calms the sea with a word. Notice he doesn't say..."Guys what are you talking about there is no storm" We too can speak to the storm with the Word of God.

There is peace in knowing God is with us in the storm and that we can trust Him to answer us even when we are trying to keep it together and speaking in faith to still the storm.



















Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The Protection of God

Sunday School and Sermon: Just Do it
Video: Coffee with Jesus How do you pray

Usually I write a blog entry...but this week I'm just going to share a chapter of the Bible that is precious to me.

1 He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress;
My God, in Him I will trust.”

3 Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler
And from the perilous pestilence.
4 He shall cover you with His feathers,
And under His wings you shall take refuge;
His truth shall be your shield and buckler.
5 You shall not be afraid of the terror by night,
Nor of the arrow that flies by day,
6 Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness,
Nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday.

7 A thousand may fall at your side,
And ten thousand at your right hand;
But it shall not come near you.
8 Only with your eyes shall you look,
And see the reward of the wicked.

9 Because you have made the LORD, who is my refuge,
Even the Most High, your dwelling place,
10 No evil shall befall you,
Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling;
11 For He shall give His angels charge over you,
To keep you in all your ways.
12 In their hands they shall bear you up,
Lest you dash your foot against a stone.
13 You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra,
The young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot.

14 “Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him;
I will set him on high, because he has known My name.
15 He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him,
And show him My salvation.” (Psalm 91, New King James Version)

Monday, July 26, 2010

The Voice of God

Sunday School /Sermon /Cindy Jacobs Call for intercession for the nation.

A few Sundays ago my Dad and I settled in to watch Yankee Baseball. It was then we heard that Bob Shepherd who had been the public address announcer at Yankee Stadium for years had passed away. The players remembered him with fondness. A commentator made a comment that bothered me at first until I listened to the explanation. He said something like , "Many players and fans have said Bob Shepherd's voice was like the voice of God"

The players reasoning.

He knew their name


The players recalled that if he was unsure of how to properly pronounce their name that he would seek them out to make sure he would say it right. He enjoyed getting to know the players of the game. He did this without partiality. It didn't matter if you were a Yankee or Visiting team member, a famous player or a rookie...your name mattered.


God knows our name too
The Bible tells us that God knows our comings and our goings, He has even the hairs on our head numbered and holds us in the palm of His hand. There is no partiality with God. He cares about men and women, rich and poor, famous or average joes....our life matters to Him.

His Voice was Majestic

When players came to Yankee Stadium they looked forward to hearing him say their name. He didn't yell it, he didn't say it quickly or with slothfulness to get through the line up, He said each name with dignity.


God calls us to Himself


God calls us by name to Himself. The Word says He calls whosoever will. Jesus is described as the Good Shepherd whose sheep will not go to another because they recognize His voice. David describes God as the Shepherd who attends to His flock.

Bob Shepherd's voice announced who was up to bat and what position each player played. God's voice...His true voice leads us when we are up to bat on the field of life...and leads us to the right position or gifts and callings to employ.

We know as Christians that Mr. Shepherd really wasn't the voice of God...but if we will listen to why people said it of him we can surely see some wonderful characteristics of our Father God and how he speaks to us today.

To Listen to a tribute to Bob Shepherd click here

Monday, July 19, 2010

The Heart of God




The Heart of God

A few weeks ago we talked about David being a man after God's own heart in Sunday School with Br. Larry and it got me thinking about God's heart and what pleases Him. What made David a man after God's own heart? Those of us that know his story know that it certainly wasn't that he did everything right without breaking any of the laws of God. His sin is recorded for all to see throughout the generations of man....thankfully his heart toward God is also recorded so we can follow his example in both good times and bad and in our successes and our failures.


David like Saul was brought from small beginnings but in the end their hearts were like night and day. They both sinned before the Lord yet God rejected one man and restored the other man. Both men spoke words of repentance at the time when their sin was exposed ,nevertheless, Saul was left in a position disgrace while David was restored to kingship and honor. We find that words spoken without heart toward God are meaningless while words of truth and intimancy move the heart of God.


What about looking the part?


Saul looked the part of a king and he was head and shoulders above everyone else. His small beginnings didn't keep God from calling him to the task. He didn't consider himself up for kingship at first and even tried to hide when Samuel was going to name him before the people. The Bible tells us that God did a work in his heart making him a new man and even gave him people who were determined to serve God by serving him. David was the youngest of his fathers sons. He was a shepherd who really didn't look the part of a king. When God told Samuel that someone in David's family was going to replace Saul, David wasn't even called in from the field to be considered until Samuel asked if there was another brother somewhere. Neither man was looking for the job of king but found themselves commissioned by God through the prophet Samuel. Certainly once they were walking in kingship both men looked the part....but David wasn't afraid even when he was king to take off kingly robes and worship.


Heart of Worship

David was a musician who played the harp and wrote hundreds of songs to worship the Lord. A look at the Psalms will reveal that he wasn't afraid to express his emotions and questions before God. Some will argue that musical types are emotional anyway and so it is easy for them to express themselves. The good thing is you don't have to have a certain personality type to simply share your heart with your creator....it can be through song, through pen, through words, or a variety of ways that God may put within you. Ultimately a person of worship comes into such intimacy with God that not only do they willing share their heart with Him, but He shares His heart with them. David had such a relationship with God and so can we.Bold


A trust that wouldn't go away

David had a trust in God that wouldn't go away. When David came before King Saul to get permission to fight Goliath he remembered God's help in the face of the lion and the bear who tried to get to the sheep of his fold. His trust didn't diminish in the face of many enemies over his life time....and that trust led him to obey God when it seemed odds where against him.


Obedience

David's love and trust toward God led to his desire to obey God's voice. Saul had the same opportunity given to him, but his heart got so puffed up with the gift of kingship that God gave him that he lost intimacy with his creator. Obeying God is not about a bunch of rules....it is about understanding the love of God for his creation....understanding the Father heart of God towards us, his sons and daughters, really getting that what He sets before his children is for the best. This kind of obedience is far superior to rule keeping....it is about obeying Father God out of a heart of trust and love. It reminds me of one of my favorite New Testament stories.....that starts with Jesus saying, "I must needs go to Samaria"



Friday, June 25, 2010

He Restores My Soul

Sunday School and Sermon

Lately it seems like many people are going through storms in their lives.

Psalms 23 speaks to us in these times.

I won't want

When I was a child and looked at the first sentence of the Psalm in the King James Version I was a little confused. It says..."The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want" I thought it was saying I shall not want the shepherd. Thankfully later I realized that it meant that God is my provider and He is like a shepherd who takes care of his flock caring for each individual sheep. I won't want for anything when I trust in Him.


He takes me to the peaceful place.

Shepherds know that in order for their sheep to feel comfortable enough to eat and drink they must be in a peaceful place. So they provide green pastures near still waters. A fast running stream would make them uneasy. Jesus knows that about us too so He gives us access to a place we can hear His voice away from the storm. A place where we can drink from His strength in a still peace. Sometimes we forget the Shepherd is with us, we fail to allow Him to take us to the safe place in His presence and as a result we can't receive the Word (food and drink) He supplies. Come away from the pressures you face....stop all your doing and rest in His presence. This coming away can be as you read the word, or as you simply draw away from your work and worries and do something restful allowing Him room to bring peace.

He restores my soul
Have you ever had your mind swirl with information about what you are going through or worries about decisions you must make. The word soul means your mind, will, and emotions. The Good Shepherd is very interested in your mindset. Come away with Him...rest and allow Him to change restore the hurts, worries and bring peace. When we allow Holy Spirit to renew our thought patterns...and we see ourselves through His love instead of our problems we can begin to walk in peace and righteousness.


I will fear no evil


"Yeah though I walk through the shadow of death....I will fear no evil for thou art with me" This famous phrase tells us that even our darkest fear can be conquered when we know that God is with us in the mix.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

A Strong Wind Is Blowing

Pastor's Sermon A Strong Wind is blowing encourages us to expect the supernatural in our lives. God makes Himself strong in our life. Sunday Sermon and Sunday School.

A Strong Wind of the Spirit Fills Your Cup


This week a dear friend sent an email with an important prayer request. I immediately wanted to respond. Yet I felt Holy Spirit say, "Fill your cup, write later" Lately I've felt drawn to come away with the Lord...and sometimes have been frustrated with the agenda of the day. I remembered that when we speak in heavenly languages that God edifies our spirit. So I went away for awhile and quieted myself in the midst of the noise of my life and took time to speak to God. There are different ways we can come away with him. My mother played the piano. I remember sometimes waking up as a child to the sound of her music drifting upstairs. I write my thoughts in a notebook....I cast my cares there...I cry out to Him there. We mustn't loose the connection when things are tough....it can be easy to come away when everything seems to be okay...it is in those times when we have noise and frustration that it is difficult. I needed to fill my cup...Holy Spirit reminded me that I can't give out if my cup becomes empty and dry. Yesterday's Manna is not sufficient for the new day.

Come away this week into the presence of the Lord...take some time away from the noise of the day.





Monday, June 7, 2010

First Ministry Experience

Click to Watch Sunday School and Sermon online

Last December the kids from Children's Church went on their first ministry adventure. We are talking about planning another ministry endeavor with them and so I thought it might be interesting for you to read about their first experience. Perhaps it might entice you to think of something we adults can do together to reach out to the community. Let me know.

Lessons from children's first ministry experience

Friday, May 28, 2010

Hidden Things

Did you wonder what happened to us? We had some technical problems with the sermon uploads...but got them straightened out...PTL.

Sunday School and Sermon: Pity Party

Memorial Day Video

Hidden Things
I wrote a post some time ago that keeps coming back to my mind this week. When I wrote it....it was as if the Holy Spirit downloaded to me from the heart of Jesus. I've been encouraged and reminded of things to watch for as I've re-read it. Maybe you'd like to give it a second glance too. God is doing a new thing...showing us new things...and protecting us and our relationships from the plans of the enemy.

Reposting of Hidden things:

Hidden Things


July 17, 2009
The Lord began to talk to me as I sat down to read the Word. I felt released to write it here.


Hidden Things of our heart
In this season of time the Lord will reveal the hidden things of the heart to His people. They will see in their own hearts. ..the hidden things that dwell there…things that need removal and that will be unsettling to see. This will happen to Generals on down to privates in His army. He will purify them with fire and even in everyday circumstances they will come to see what He sees that needs to be removed. This is in preparation for the move of the Spirit that is going forth in the world even today. It comes from His heart of love and because in this season we will need to go forth in power and victory with nothing holding us back. Reaction is the key to how believers will gain benefit from the unveiling of their heart being made plain to their eyes of understanding. It would be easy to desire to bury what one sees back up and go about life as usual. God told me, “In My Great love I can’t allow it to be buried, so when My children react that way I will unbury it again with a wind of my Spirit and present it before the eyes of understanding for My children to see in the light of day.” This exposure will show the hidden things and motives of the heart. Some will desperately try to fix themselves, but they must come to Him for strength and guidance to overcome. Hidden impurities of motive of the heart must be acknowledged and brought before the Lord and laid at His feet. He will powerfully crush them (the hidden things that offend) into powder and they (the hidden things that offend) will be blown away by the wind of the Spirit.” This will involve listening to the Spirit’s voice.


Hidden things of the Enemy
At the same time God will reveal the hidden things of the enemy and his agenda. The enemy is seeking destruction on every side. He seeks to confuse the Body of Christ bringing pride and condemnation. He (the enemy) seeks to stifle the move of God that is being carried out now and will be carried out in the near future through individual members of the body … he is seeking to keep the children of God from obeying the voice of the Lord . The Lord says, Guard your heart…Proverbs chapter 4...the enemy will try to regain what he has lost and open doors again from which you have be set free from bondages…he will try to set new doors before you to walk through that are formed for envy, strife and bitterness. Sing out loud because our Savoir is bigger…Stand up those that have stumbled and return to the Lord of Host who rescues us from all bondage. Wash off your failing in the blood and stand firm in guarding your heart. He (the enemy) will seek to disengage your relationship with God and relationships that bring strength to your spirit. Be sensitive to the voice of the Holy Spirit and tender to his wooing and prodding.


Hidden things of God
God in this season will show His Children the hidden things of the Kingdom. Things (the plans and purposes of God for given situations) that have been saved for such a time as this. Strategies that will overcome works of darkness and expose the lost to the Light of the Gospel, increase that will enable families and ministries to provide for themselves and reach out to others proclaiming the voice of the Kingdom with power and signs following wherever they go. Nothing in his plan is too small or too big.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Growing in Christ

Sermon the Confidence Game.

Ladies Remember May 14th, 2010 @6:30 p.m. is the next Book Club Meeting.

Growing in Christ


1 Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. 2 And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.

(Ephesians 5:1-2, New King James Version)
Make Yourself Friendly
Some years ago we went to a conference that really began a healing in my heart concerning friendships. My husband and I had made some changes that resulted in the loss of fellowship with some dear friends. The readjustment left me wondering if the work and possible hurtful side effects of friendships were worth putting forth any effort into establishing new friendships. Sis. Fox preached a wonderful sermon at the conference explaining that to have friends you must make yourself friendly. You had to take risk and put aside old baggage that would keep you from allowing God to place people in your life. Little did I know that God was preparing me for dear friendships that I might have missed or that I might have not put time and energy into if I hadn't taken in a right now message from Sis. Fox.

Friendships help us imitate Christ and inspire us to grow in our love walk.

It is interesting that Paul relates imitating Christ with the love walk. Whether it be friendships or those who are not your typical "lovely" people....the love walk is connected with your growth process. A person cannot really imitate or be like Jesus if they don't learn to walk in love towards people. How we treat others counts. Love is not always a gooey feeling...sometimes it takes work and the expressing of honest feelings. Those years ago because of past hurts I almost stalled my spiritual growth because I was trying to imitate Christ without really investing in the work of friendship. In an effort to protect my emotions I steered away from getting too close to anyone new. As I sat there listening to Sis.F Fox I began to realize that God had brought me to a divine appointment that would open my heart to God given friendships if I would allow Him to heal my heart and take the risk of making new friendships. I know now that this was vital to my spiritual health.

Two very sweet friends

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

No More Manna

Sermon "No More Manna" and Sunday School "The Armor of God"

So You Want to Go Back to Egypt
The children of Israel left Egypt after having been slaves for many years. They came out with God's great hand...but had trouble trusting God when things seemed to get bad. Sometimes we are tempted to think we wouldn't have acted that way...but more and more I'm realizing that we all have moments when the latest crisis brings insecurities from our past that we must overcome in order to believe and see God's ability to work upon our behalf. Throughout their self imposed wilderness wanderings they had opportunity to see God's hand in their everyday life. One thing God did was provide daily Mana for them. It served as a reminder that God was their provision. They were to gather a certain amount and on the day before the Sabbath they could gather enough for two days. Sometimes they chafed against this provision wishing they had a wider variety of food to eat. Some even wanted to go back to Egypt where the provision seemed greater. They seemed to forget that while Egypt had extra food it had been a land of slavery for them...a land with no future for them....and certainly not God's will. Perhaps sometimes we've been the same way with God's provision in our life. Maybe we've even wavered wondering if God really cares or if His provision is going to be enough.

What did the Manna Accomplish?
The forty years of wondering are sometimes looked upon as a useless time. Certainly I can agree that it was a result of faithlessness toward God and His ability to provide. However...I realize that many of us have followed the same path. Everyone that was in that wilderness had a chance to learn about God. The daily bread or manna was meant to give a group of people with a slave mentality the gift of knowing that there was a God in heaven who loved them enough to daily provide for them. It was not meant to go on forever...it was to be a model of God's love and mercy for His people.

No More Manna

I believe that 2010 has brought with it a new season for the Body of Christ. It is a time of transition where the old securities will fade and God will have us branch out in faith that comes as a result of seeing His daily provision. Stepping out can be scary because we are used to the old way...but when we take with us the lessons of God's faithfulness we will see His great provision in the new season. When Israel came into the promise land there was a new provision afoot. They would gather it from the place God had enabled them to place their feet upon. There would be battles to fight...and victory would require overcoming enemies. (armor of God) It was a new level and a greater provision than they had experienced in their life...now they would gather from the land God had provided. The manna stopped but God's provision went on. There was variety...there was plenty...there was trust in God's hand. This new provision was for a generation that trusted God and was willing to overcome the works of the enemy. The provision was one of abundance. I believe we are starting to walk in that new season where abundance will flow. Make no mistake there will be obstacles to overcome and we will have to listen to God's voice and gather. When the Israeli's were ready to go into the land before Moses died...he told them in essence ....when you have houses and lands and provisions like you have not had before...don't forget the God of your provision.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Resurrection Day

Sunday Sermon: "I'll be Back and Sunday School.

Sunday was a wonderful day of Celebration. The Bible tells us that Jesus made an open show of the devil when he died on the cross and rose again. He took our sins and gave us power over all the works of the enemy.

When we celebrate the Resurrection season we talk about Good Friday. That is the day that we remember that Jesus was place on the cross and suffered and died and paid for our sins. It is a day when the disciples felt like all was lost. Their hopes that He was Messiah seemed to be shattered and questions filled their mind. Sometimes we are in a season that seems like Good Friday. Things occur that make our heart sink and cause questions. Thankfully Sunday is coming. Sunday was Resurrection. In the same way are season will not always be a Friday of questions...if we are faithful we will see resurrection and purpose.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Be Alert


Sermon: God is God and Sunday School Lesson

Photobucket Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. (1 Peter 5:8, New King James Version)


Be Alert....corny I know...I looked for a soldier standing at attention...couldn't find it so Pastor suggested a BEE

The last two weeks have been interesting. Pastor John had some trouble with his cell phone company. We've had a pay as you go company for many years, but in the last few months they've really messed him up several times. He ended up losing his longstanding phone number due to a mistake made by an overseas call in center. It was disturbing because all of our contacts have had that number for years and we have numerous business cards out in the community with that number. Funeral homes and hospitals also have the old number and use it in emergencies. Anyway for awhile it seemed hopeful that he could get his number back...we kept getting messages on our home phone that if he hurried all would be well. So he started the process. Hours later when much time and effort had been spent on the phone I had the sinking feeling that something more was up than the ineptness of call centers. No it was worse than that...it was the whittling away of precious time and energy. As I listened to Pastor John try to explain one more time what he wanted....I wondered what it was that the devil wanted to keep us away from obtaining or giving our attention to by keeping us wrapped up in this endless cycle...I won't mention here the number of hours spent on the phone trying to get the mistake fixed.

Hindsight being 20/20 we both realize it would have been better to leave the situation alone and simply go on with the new phone number. BTW...in the end that's exactly what we had to do anyway. If you'll admit it there are times when we all hold on to something like a dog with a bone....even when it is evident to others you should let it go. Pastor John was on a mission to save something that had been worthwhile to the ministry of the church. Something that might keep us from missed phone calls from someone who knew of the old number. Sometimes even things that may seem like a worthy cause can be time distractions. There are times to fight and times to realize that the fight is not the Lord's.

This week I was sick and Pastor John's attention was upon helping me...which is a right thing to do. I've not been sick to this extent in a long time. Some nasty bug. I'm feeling much better now. It got me pondering since I've been feeling better. What things did the enemy want to keep us from these last few weeks? What did he hope to accomplish? The Holy Spirit began to show me that the enemy hopes to blindside God's people. I also saw that all was not lost and fear doesn't have to reign. Thank God that He is well able to give revelation and wisdom when we seek Him. I felt Holy Spirit say...."seek Jesus...Be in His presence and don't let anything drag you from it this week." He will reveal Himself to us and bring His presence. There are a lot of issues and circumstances going on as I talk to people in church and on the net...but God is in control of them all and His presence brings peace. "Thou wilt keep in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: for he trusted in thee." Isaiah 26:3

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Your Own Song

Sermon: When the Devil Roars;Roar Back Sunday School; Purity



Is it possible that each individual carries their unique song within them? Recently a friend encouraged me by reminding me that God created us to be a song that glorifies Him. She heard on KLOVE radio station that the each individuals dna holds a unique song. When dna is stretched it resembles the same wave lengths found in music. I looked this up on the internet and found some scientific articles that supported these statements. While the thought is new and certainly will continue to be tested the implication is that individuals were wired with a unique song within their dna.

We give God praise through the song of our life. My friends observation about dna reminded me that we have a built in song given to us by God no matter what is going on in our lives circumstance. It makes sense then that God's Word exhorts us to praise Him at all times...and sing to Him out of the abundance of our heart. Music moves the heart of man like nothing else can. When we draw near to God He draws near to us and from our innermost being comes a song that the creator of our soul put within us. It is exciting to discover that even our dna was meant to line up with God's Word and His love for us.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

God's Best...Our Best

Sermon: Fear Not and Sunday School: Sanctity of Life
I was thinking about love the other day and my thoughts went to the most famous verse in the Bible. John 3:16 is known by many people even those who do not profess to be Christians. It has a profoundly simply message. God is love. We are called to be imitators of that love which can only be obtained and expressed by accepting Jesus as Savor. At salvation this same love is deposited in us and must be cultivated in our life. In a world where hurts, betrayals and disappointments run rampant it is easy to lose sight of true love. I found three aspects of God’s love in the verse. We’ll talk about the first one today.

God’s love gives.
It’s not the kind of love that gives to manipulate the targets response. We’ve all come into contact with people whose giving always has a catch. Manipulative love says, “I’ll give you something but then your freedom to chose is a thing of the past.” The Bible tells us that God loved us while we were still sinners. He loved us before we loved Him. He loved us before we ever made the choice to serve Him or reject Him. He sets before us today as He did in Joshua’s day a choice between life or death, blessing or cursing. Every choice we makes leads us somewhere. Choosing Him and His ways bring life and purpose to our existence on this earth and beyond.

God’s love gives the best.
Another part of God’s giving nature is to give the very best. He so loved the world He gave His one and only son. Some of us have had times where our best was limited. Christmases when perhaps the gifts were few or where they were from a discount store or better yet homemade. Yet they were from our heart…they were our best. Maybe you’ve re-gifted at least once in your life because an occasion came up that caught you unaware or your heart wasn’t really touched by the event. It is at those times when we have to admit that our gift was in the pile…but it wasn’t our best effort and certainly didn’t attach any great value. God the Father gave Jesus as his best gift. The love and honor He placed upon Jesus shows us the value He places upon you and I. When I consider my sons and the love I have for them…I realize how hard it would be to give them as a gift to a world that in many respects doesn’t deserve such a treasured possession. They are a part of me and that doesn’t change with age or circumstance. God didn’t give us his second or third best…He gave the very best.

Because He gave His best we give our best.

Sometimes we all struggle with giving our best to others as an outpouring of our love for God. When we accept Jesus our spirit is renewed and His love is placed in our heart. So because we are God’s children we begin to desire to imitate Him in his giving. Yet somehow we still struggle. The value of a person that God’s placed in our path may not be readily apparent to us. We may struggle because the person that God’s put in our path has made so many mistakes it doesn’t seem like they deserve a “millionth” chance even if they have repented. The big and small things that we can do for someone in our life may take a little planning and our time is precious. Biblical love is a lot of things…it doesn’t always ooze with soft words…sometimes it is calling a spade a spade. Sometimes it requires us to let go of a perceived hurt and to give of ourselves anyway. Love isn’t always the easy way.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Encourage One Another

Cheerleading
Sunday Sermon with Pastor John...The Word and Sunday School with Bro. Larry.

My niece was on the Cheer Leading Squad this year at school. We went to one of her competitions and I was impressed with the amount of practice and teamwork that it takes to complete the routines.

Cheer Leaders Show Enthusiasm For Their Team

Cheer Leaders must have an enthusiasm for their team and that enthusiasm must transfer to the audience and the players on the field. The Body of Christ needs that as well. We are all called to be encouragers in some capacity. Cheerleaders must encourage and have a respect for the team no matter the score on the score board. A good Cheer Leader cares about the team and the audience.

They Cheer No Matter The Current Score on the Scoreboard

It is easier to cheer when the team is ahead and the momentum of the crowd is high, but a Cheer Leader doesn't give up when things are hard. Their demeanor affects the team and the audience that watches. I've been to games where the home team was down in points and mistakes had been made. You could almost feel the discouragement come into the atmosphere of the room. Yet the cheerleaders would rise throwing off their own discouragement as they began their cheer for the team. As they cheer something begins to change that the scoreboard can not measure...it is a sense of honor (value) towards the team. This type of action changes the atmosphere of both a team (church) and those in the audience (the world...those we have an influence with). It brings hope for the future and desire to focus on a solution.

Local churches need this as well. It is not always easy. Congregations go through different things....some good and some difficult. An encourager cares about their local Body of Christ. They care about solutions and realize that their spirit may well be what helps a discouraged player pick up the ball and play like they need to play to win the game.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Reactions

Pastor John's sermon God's GPS and Bro. Larry's Sunday School Class.

Our Reactions to what happens around us.

Most of this week we've been at my in-laws house as my father in law is not doing well. Even in this stressful time God has been faithful to speak to me about different things as I pondered about His will for a persons life.

Many of us are familiar with Charles Swindoll's quote
"I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. And so it is with you... we are in charge of our Attitudes.” If we believe this then it means that even with life's way of throwing curve balls at us we still have great responsibility for our outcomes based upon our reactions. The quote looks us square in the face with the reality that even with the hurts and brokeness that come as a part of life it is we who determine our ultimate victory or defeat.

I'm thankful that many times we have opportunity to compose ourselves and put on a better reaction.
Paul the apostle talked about putting things on and off. He was talking about attitudes and actions that please or displease the Lord. Thankfully he explained the Holy Spirit can renew and transform us day by day as we yield to him. Even though I came to the Lord as a child...I still find situations where my flesh rises up and my reaction is not what it should be to help a situation or a relationship. Thankfully many times my initial reaction is not in the presence of the person or persons who otherwise would get a piece of my unyielded mind. There are times when hard things need to be addressed and said...but it makes all the difference when your attitude has been cleansed of that self righteousness that only thinks of itself. Take heart that no matter how old you are in the Lord he is faithful to reign you in and to give you wisdom and calm to deal properly with any given situation.

Some of the things the Holy Spirit will talk to us about that will help us in our reactions.

Perspective:
We see things from our own perspective based on our experience or knowledge concerning a situation in our life. The Spirit will often urge us to change perspective enough to see where someone's mindset is compared to ours. He will ask us to take note of what things have affected their words, actions and reactions. This doesn't mean we change our mind, but it does allow us to speak with a compassion and understanding that we wouldn't have otherwise. Sometimes I'm tempted to "fix things quick" and get things straight....but that can land a person in trouble if they bypass the Spirit's call to take a moment and ponder someones perspective. This can also come into play during a conversation....be willing to listen.

Forgiveness
Reactions can be totally different when we choose to forgive someone who has hurt us. Maybe someone has had a bad day, perhaps they are going through strain at work or at home or a myriad of other circumstances. When we choose to be aware that not every offense is caused by mean-spiritedness we are well on our way to redirecting our reaction to a situation. There are times when someone is purposely mean...maybe they are reacting to their own hurt and loss...and it is then that we must decide whether we will allow them to pull us down with them. While we don't have to be buddy buddy in such cases...letting go of anger and the desire to pay back looses us from the trap of walking in sour attitudes and reactions.

Remember how you react effects yourself and other people.
Have you ever been in a good mood singing a song as you work only to be stopped short by someone who clouds the room with anger and a sour expression. Maybe you've been the one with the cloud hanging over your head. No one is saying that life is all a bowl of cherries....or that your every waking moment should filled with the "sound of music"...but remember you affect those around you. Take some time to allow God to speak to you when you feel that cloud. He wants to shine some sonlight into your day if you will allow Him to.

Here are some Don'ts
  • Don't despair if you've blown it with your reaction...ask forgiveness and trust God to restore relationships.
  • Don't assume that you are the sole blame for every situation of offense or stress. Remember just as you must yield your reactions so must others.
  • Don't give up. The apostle Paul said, "I have not yet attained". I don't know about you but that sure gives me hope.
Maybe you have some experiences or some more Don'ts to add to my list. Feel free to go ahead and reply.









Thursday, January 14, 2010

.Taking Inventory

Pastor John's sermon The Truth About Forgiveness is a reminder that our life can be blocked if we don't forgive others when we have been forgiven of so much.

Please pray for missionaries to Haiti Randy and Anita Chabot and their daughter Amelia. They are okay but last I heard Amelia's fiance was not found. I sent an email from Amelia out a few nights ago with an update on how they were doing. At that point she knew her computer battery wouldn't last long and that it would be hard for her to get ahold of us at all.

Taking Inventory
I turned 45 years old in December. The passage of time causes one to take inventory of their life and what they've accomplished. This year I watched "It's a Wonderful Life" with my niece. It spoke to my heart...because sometimes our inventory is not like God's inventory. We can have our outlook soured by circumstances that are not a finished work yet. You all know the story of "It's A Wonderful Life" George Bailey looks upon his life with all of its trials and wonders if anything was worth while...indeed he wonders if he is worth while. He is kind hearted and spends his life caring about the needs of others but is accused of being a poor business man by the scheming Mr. Potter who cares nothing for the welfare of anybody but himself.

Our worth in God's eyes
Sometimes we cannot see with our eyes the worth and value that God puts upon us as an individual human being. We examine ourselves and see only brokenness. We see circumstance that are in the now before they are truly finished and we cast a judgment about ourselves, others and even God. We must be careful not to let the "Mr. Potters" of the world set the criteria for our inventory. Paul the apostle said that he would let God judge his accomplishments not the whims of man.

A look at life without us
It might seem a little self important to say that without us things might not be as good for those around us...it is hard to get past the idea that we might be getting prideful to even go there. Yet God knows every hair upon our head and every coming and going we make. If we yield our lives to His purpose then whether or not we "see" our worth at the moment...we can be assured that we do matter. Maybe you are in the midst of a mess complete with upset emotions and depressed thought patterns. That still doesn't mean that you haven't had a godly impact. We are often the toughest critics of our own life. Your inventory of yourself might not have a high rating...but remember there are those who would rate your contribution higher. God can make something new from a broken life...His sense of value is far different than ours.

Sometimes others don't see the value in another human being until they no longer have what they once had in relationship.
Whether it is a young person going off to college, a husband or wife who are not getting along, or simply a kind next door neighbor we often don't see true value in someone until we are removed from situations or their presence. I remember longing to be on my own...out of the watchful eye of my parents. Yet when I went to college I found myself missing the very people who I wanted to distance myself from because I began to see their worth when they were no longer close by. Absence doesn't always have to be the way we realize the worth of others or our worth to them...we can take a moment in our busy lives to make a mental list of the things that we are thankful for about people around us and yes even things about ourselves.

Evil intents at work
In the movie It's a Wonderful Life Mr. Potter is the source of scheming with selfish intent. His trickery and mean spiritedness was the assault that caused the final blow in George Bailey's ability to go forward. George felt like he couldn't take one more step and that his whole life had been for nought. The Word tells us the we wrestle not against flesh and blood. We wrestle instead against the forces of the enemy of our soul. We are not blind to the fact that often the tool of the enemy is a human being caught in the devil's trap. George believed the lie of the enemy and it plummeted him into a cycle of self destructive thoughts and emotions that would have killed him without God's intervention. These feelings brought on by the master accuser caused him to give up on life. We must be diligent to not fall for a lie instead of God's truth.

God's view
There is a moment near the end of the movie where George finally gets it. The pharmacist saved from a deadly mistake caused by the grief of losing his son, his brother saved in childhood by George from a drowning accident lived and was able in turn to save many men in battle, and the families who looked to him for help in a time of trouble. He sees that his life matters. He sees that the world would be less with out his contribution to it. I hope as you ponder the well known movie you see that your life has value. Jesus is the source of that value. His love for people and his desire to serve came as a gift from heaven's throne.

The next time you take inventory of your life ask the Holy Spirit to help you. He'll show you areas that you can improve upon. He'll show you those things that please Him about you. Don't believe the lies the devil tries to cast.