Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Tuesday's Thoughts

This past weekend I felt led to remind the New River family of the need to recognize that we are VALUABLE TO GOD. Those words may appear to be arrogant or haughty at first glance but doesn't the death of Jesus Christ on the cross validate the point that I was declaring on Sunday as well as the point that I am declaring today? The Spirit of God was very evident in the service as we celebrated the fact that God truly loves us and that He cares about our daily journey of life. I am still celebrating this particular Biblical Truth this morning!!

I still sense the Spirit at work in my heart today concerning God's awesome and wonderful love for ALL OF HUMANITY!! I was led back to a passage of scripture from the writings of the Apostle Paul. I feel led to share this passage with you. I also feel led to allow the Word of God to speak to you without adding my own commentary. Will you take a few moments and allow this passage to "marinate" in your heart? I believe the TRUTH that is revealed in this passage is destined to make an eternal difference in our lives!! Blessings on you as you "take in" the power, strength and encouragement that comes alive as you read this TRUTH SPOKEN FROM THE HEART OF GOD!!

Ephesians 3:14-21, When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father,  15 the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth.  16 I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. 17 Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. 18 And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. 19 May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. 20 Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. 21 Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen.(NLT)


Friday, July 28, 2017

Friday's Challenge

I am sure that many of us at some point in our journey of life have asked this one word question. "WHY?" We have sought to understand the reasoning behind the situation/difficulty/challenge, etc. that we were facing. We found no answers in our human reasoning and in some cases we were not satisfied with the answers we found in our "spiritual reasoning." Many of us found no solid answers at all other than the fact that we were going to chose to trust God and walk with Him through these moments of life.

I read some words from author Max Lucado this morning and they spoke to my heart. I would like to share them with you today. There are times in which there is no "rhyme or reason" why a certain situation took place or is presently taking place in our lives but we learn to lean on the presence of God and the strength of His promises.

"Nothing in the Bible would cause us to call a famine good or a heart attack good or a terrorist attack good. These are terrible calamities, born out of a fallen earth. Yet every message in the Bible compels us to believe that God will mix them with other ingredients, and bring good out of them. But we must let God define good. Our definition includes health, comfort, and recognition. His definition? In the case of His Son, Jesus Christ, the good life consisted of struggles, storms, and death. But God worked it all together for the greatest of good: His glory and our salvation.

At some point we all stand at this intersection. Is God good when the outcome is not? Do you want to know heaven’s clearest answer to the question of suffering? Take a look at Jesus!"

God is calling us to trust His heart even when we can not see His hand!!


Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Tuesday's Thoughts

Have we forgotten that the presence of God is such a precious and wonderful blessing that God chooses to reveal to His family? Is it possible that we take His presence for granted and that we fail to respond to Him in an appropriate and correct manner? Isn't it also possible that we fail to show respect to the presence to God and because of this attitude we fail to offer our sincere worship and praise to God? 

The usher who prayed for our offering on Sunday morning encouraged our congregation to be willing to "get involved with God." I was challenged through those words to say the least. Do I truly desire to get involved with God? Or have I grown content to just observe the presence of God rather than responding to the activity of the presence of God? I truly believe that God desires for us to "involve" ourselves with His presence. The presence of God contains all that we need to meet the challenges that we are facing in our lives.

I witnessed an event on this past Saturday night in a church in Southeastern Kentucky where I was ministering that has made an eternal difference in my life. The presence of God was very evident in the service and there were people present who chose to "involve" themselves with God. They made the decision to move from the observation mode into the participation mode. And oh what a change began to take place when various individuals in the room chose to take a step of faith.

I shared the Word of God with the congregation. I issued the challenge of the invitation to the congregation. People stepped out of their "comfort zone" and began to line up for prayer. I started praying with them and did not fully notice the length of the line. I just knew that we were praying for people for a lengthy period of time. This next sentence may startle those people who are always in a hurry for church service to end. This next sentence may startle those people who are always in a hurry to leave church and those people who very seldom wait to the end of the service. There were people who waited patiently in line for 15-30 minutes for the Pastor and myself to pray for them!! Several of these individuals were parents who had their children with them and even these children waited patiently for prayer. It is amazing what can happen when we "wait on God" and when we take the time to "involve" ourselves with God!!

Here are two familiar scriptures that we need to see lived out and practiced in the present day church world.

Matthew 6:33, But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” (NKJV) (Emphasis Added)

Matthew 5:6, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled.” (NKJV) (Emphasis Added)

HOW LONG HAS IT BEEN SINCE WE JUST SOUGHT TO DRAW CLOSER TO GOD RATHER THAN SEEKING HIM FOR A NEED IN OUR LIVES?

Friday, July 21, 2017

There is REALLY AN ADVERSARY!!

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

I sincerely believe that the Spirit placed this blog post in my heart this morning. I had planned to share some other thoughts or possibly share nothing at all due to my schedule today. BUT during prayer the Holy Spirit interrupted my plans and led me down a path that included me sharing these words/thoughts with you. I pray that you will listen with your heart and not just read them from an intellectual standpoint. This is certainly not a "deep" theological paper but I believe that it is a reality that must become even more "real" to us than ever before. There is an actual enemy that seeks to defeat and overthrow our faith. We need to be alert and aware of this truth so that we will know how to respond to these attacks correctly.

The Spirit revealed to me a spiritual force or forces that was seeking to "undermine" the faith of individuals as well as the corporate faith of our church family during a recent prayer time. I immediately sensed that it was the presence of God that was preparing my heart for what was about to take place. I am saddened to say that I have seen this "activity" take place in the lives of individuals which has affected our local ministry effort. Different types of battles, temptations, "issues", lack of passion/hunger for Christ, selfishness, struggles, etc. have appeared in the past few months with the specific intended purpose of weakening our faith which eventually would lead to the demise of our personal faith. BUT DURING PRAYER THIS MORNING THE SPIRIT URGED ME TO BRING THESE THOUGHTS TO EACH OF YOU!! This "undermining" is happening in many locations and in the lives many believers if not in all of our lives.

Most of us are familiar with termites. Termites work in the hidden crevices and hidden material of our homes. They work out of our sight and most of the time they work without us knowing what type of "undermining" destruction they are creating. The presence of termites are not discovered until much damage has occurred in many cases. I have witnessed three swarms of termites which revealed that there was a problem in the infrastructure of the building. One of these swarms were in our home and the other two were in the church buildings where I was serving as Pastor. These swarms alerted me that I needed professional help if I was going to stop the destruction that was taking place.

I have written these previous words so that I could declare these words. THERE ARE "SPIRITUAL TERMITES"  that are working behind the scenes in the secret of darkness seeking to interfere in our faith walk with Christ. Each of us can identify these "termites" at work against us and in us if we are truly honest. I will allow you the privilege to make your own list of these "termites" that you know has arisen against you during your Christian walk. But at certain times in our lives the Holy Spirit will create an atmosphere which will cause these "spiritual termites" to swarm. This is our signal to call out for assistance from the Lord God Almighty.

WHAT IS "SWARMING" AROUND YOU TODAY? IS IT THE PRESENCE OF GOD AND HIS DIRECTION FOR YOUR LIFE OR IS IT GOD REVEALING THE "SPIRITUAL TERMITES" THAT ARE SEEKING TO UNDERMINE YOUR FAITH? 

WE CAN NOT AFFORD TO ALLOW ANYTHING TO GET BETWEEN US AND OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD!!

Monday, July 17, 2017

Behind the Scenes

I would like to take this opportunity to make a personal reflection as well as share a biblical principle that I believe is very important. Today (July 17, 2017) would have been my Mother-in-law's 85th birthday. She died very suddenly in 1974 around two (2) months shy of her 42nd birthday. I would like to take a moment and honor her life today. The past few days have found me reminiscing about the short time that I knew her. There were several things that I can remember about her. She was opinionated to say the least. She was a wonderful cook. She was a hard working woman. She loved her family. Have I already said that she was opinionated? (If you could only know some of the discussions that her and I shared during the short time that I knew her.) 

But there is one element that is often forgotten about when you describe the life of Louise Edwards Phillips. She was a Prayer Warrior/Intercessor!! She has been known to be praying when her husband and family would go to bed and she would still be praying when they awakened the next morning. People would call and ask her to pray. She prayed for her family. She prayed for her friends. She prayed for people that she did not even know. Was she perfect? No. Was she famous? No. Did she write a book? No. Did she leave a lot of money or possessions when she died? No. As a matter of fact, very few of her worldly possessions still exists today but the MOST IMPORTANT PART OF HER LIFE STILL EXISTS. Her family and her friends can remember that she was a woman of Prayer who truly believed that God heard her prayers and that God would answer her prayers. OH THAT GOD WOULD RAISE UP MORE WOMEN OF PRAYER DURING THESE DARK, DIFFICULT AND CHALLENGING TIMES IN WHICH WE ARE LIVING.

Here is the principle that the Spirit spoke to me about as I was riding down the road a few days go. Louise was not an "up-front"person. She was a "behind the scenes" person. She was out of the sight of the world yet very much known in Heaven. Prayer Warriors/Intercessors/Armor Bearers serve such an important role in the present day church. These "behind the scenes" individuals who do not receive much notoriety yet without them the church would be in trouble. Here is an analogy for you to think about. You can watch a movie or a television show and immediately recognize the star (s). Their name is promoted, advertised and used as a selling point for the production. Take a moment and watch the credits that are listed at the close of the movie or the TV show. Usually the credits roll so fast that you do not have time to read the names because they are passing so quickly. BUT WITHOUT THESE "BEHIND THE SCENES" WORKERS it would have been impossible for the production to be completed.

I offer a SPECIAL THANKS to those Prayer Warriors/Intercessors/Armor Bearers who daily serve "behind the scenes" undergirding the cause of Jesus Christ and His Kingdom with PRAYER. You are the strength behind the operational structure as well as the strength behind the ministry effort that takes place on a daily basis. YOU ARE A BLESSING TO THE FAMILY OF GOD!!

Louise Edwards Phillips you are no longer physically with us but YOU ARE NOT FORGOTTEN!!

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Paul's Advice

1 Thessalonians 5:16, Rejoice always,(NKJV);  “Always be joyful.(NLT)

Today's passage of scripture is taken from the first letter that the Apostle Paul shared with the church in Thessalonica. He is coming to the conclusion of this time of interaction and he feels led to share with the saints of God what I will reference as "spiritual advice." This short but powerful nugget of truth is written prior to the exhortation to "pray without ceasing." We are probably more aware of the second exhortation than we are the previous exhortation that declares "Rejoice always." I believe that there are times in our lives in which prayer would be an easier goal to reach than "always be joyful."

Each of us will face those up and down moments of life. As a matter of fact our emotions can shift very quickly as we face certain events or situations in our daily lives. We can move from the mountain top of joy and peace to the valley of despair in a brief moment of time. It is during those moments that we learn to rely on the influence and impact of the Holy Spirit in our lives. It is during those moments that the Spirit can apply the healing balm of the Word of God to our lives in such a manner that we can recognize the presence of God even in the midst of our trials/challenges/obstacles/struggles.

There have been many times in my life that I have been reminded of the faithfulness of God regardless of the situation that I may have been facing at that present moment. I was reminded this morning during prayer that God truly loves me, cares for me and that He is interested in my life. His ears are open to my prayers and His eyes watch over me as I move through this particular day of my life. 

Doesn't the enemy try to "steal" from us the Truth that I just declared in my previous sentence? Satan wants me to believe that God is uninterested and unconcerned about my plight of life? But we must ALWAYS REMEMBER THAT satan IS A LIAR AND THAT HE SEEKS TO DECEIVE US!! 

God is fighting for you and not against you!!

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Tuesday's Thoughts

Psalm 85:6, “Will You not revive us again, That Your people may rejoice in You?” (NKJV)

I read an article this morning that challenged my heart. It is entitled Don’t Give Up On The Church In America. It was written by Shane Idleman. Anyone who knows me will tell you that I am a person that strongly believes that God desires to revive the church in America. I pray that request each time that I pray and I still believe that God has prepared an awakening for this day and time. Each of us must be prepared to respond to God appropriately and correctly. I encourage you to read these words and allow the Holy Spirit to quicken your heart and life. These are the days that we need to respond to the unction, direction and guidance of God on a personal basis as well as a corporate basis.

“In Duncan Campbell’s book, The Price and Power of Revival, he made the following statement: “Here I would suggest that one of the main secrets of success in the early Church lay in the fact that the early believers believed in unction from on high and not entertainment from men....How did the early Church get the people? By publicity projects, by bills, by posters, by parades, by pictures? No! The people were arrested and drawn together and brought into vital relationship with God, not by sounds from men, but by sounds from heaven...Unction is the dire and desperate need of the ministry today.”

We must ​preach God’s Word with genuine power via humility if we are to truly help others. Without God’s authority and power, words are lifeless. Where are those with uncompromising power and authority in the pulpits today? The one thing that all of the great revivals in church history had is the one thing that we often lack—the genuine power of the Holy Spirit. The very thing that we need is the very thing that we are afraid of.

Dear God, will You not REVIVE US AGAIN?