Monday, January 16, 2017

Post-Christmas Refelctions

It is always a privilege and blessing to reflect on the blessings that come from our relationship with Jesus Christ. I asked several individuals to share their personal reflections of their relationship with Christ. I asked then to answer the question, "The Birth of Jesus reveals to me that Jesus is.................."
These thoughts were shared by Chad T., one of the young men who attends our local church in Radcliff, Kentucky. 

The Bible states that Jesus is our Messiah. How does that make Jesus our healer?

Isaiah 53:5 But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.
What type of healings does the world need?
The most important healing is:
  1. Soul Healing
    
  Romans 3:23 states, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”.
We all have a soul that is housed within our body that was born into sin. Why is being born into sin a problem? Romans 6:23 states, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord”. When we confess and repent of our sins and accept Jesus as our Savior, we heal, we are cleansed and our soul is restored by becoming reborn in Him and secure our eternity in heaven and gain access to the blessings of God.
The second type of healing is:
  
  2. Physical Healing
Unless you are Superman, everyone’s body is made of flesh and bones that is susceptible to broken bones, disabilities, sickness and disease and becomes feeble as we grow older. The cost of treating any of these illness or injuries has skyrocketed leaving many people facing the inability to seek the treatment they need. However Jesus sacrifice gives us the authority to not only pray for our own healing but for the healing of others as well. The healing is provided for each of us through the entrance of Christ into this world.

  Mark 16:17-18, 17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18 they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.”
The third type of healing is:
  
  3. Emotional Healing
  The world’s emotional health is being affected around the world by the following:

  (A)   Depression:  If you have experienced bouts of depression, you’re not alone.
Anxiety and Depression Association of America reported that in 2014, around 15.7 million adults age 18 or older in the U.S. had experienced at least one major depressive episode in the last year, which represented 6.7 percent of all American adults.

      (B) Depression can be brought on by the loss of a loved one, a broken relationship, the loss of a job, divorce, bullying, feelings of hopelessness and abuse just to name a few of the contributing factors that can be associated with Depression.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Perseverance

1 Timothy 4:7b-8, On the other hand, discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness; for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.(NASB)

Our Adult Discipleship Class has been focusing on the spiritual directives that are shared with us in 1 Timothy 4. This portion of the Apostle Paul's letter to a young Pastor named Timothy is filled with some wonderful principles that have the ability to make an eternal difference in our lives. BUT I must be willing to apply these principles to my life on a consistent, persistent basis regardless of the attempts of satan to dissuade or discourage me. Let's be realistic for a moment; serving God in the 21st Century is going to require sincere perseverance on our part. We will not be able to just go through the motions of religious actions or the acceptance of the spiritual status quo in our lives. Each of us needs to maintain a passionate pursuit of a deeper, stronger relationship with Jesus Christ.

Each of us may nod our heads in agreement and even say a silent Amen to what we just read in the previous paragraph. The real proof of our belief will be demonstrated as we begin to apply and live out those Biblical principles that will produce transformation in our lives. Is it possible that the modern day church has settled for "temporary relief" from the struggles of life while God's intended goal is "spiritual transformation" for our lives? We are looking for an immediate victory in our lives and trust me they do come for us at various times in our walk of life. But God is looking for you and me to build an-ongoing, developing, life-changing relationship with Him. We have settled for such more less than God has planned for us.

There are believers whose spiritual lives are stuck in a rut of despair, hopelessness and even despair. Could this be due to the fact that we have settled into a zone of spiritual contentment and we have lost the urgency of the moment to draw closer to God? Each of us must realize that the enemy is always seeking ways, means and strategies to derail the process and development of our relationship with Christ. The quicker that we realize that truth the more likely we will be to respond to those attempts to satan. We must reject and resist the attempts of satan to "calm down" and "slow down" our pursuit of more of God. 

The sin of complacency, lethargy and unconcern is capturing the heart of far too many believers. These are the days in which we need to respond aggressively to these attempts of satan. Just as we would respond appropriately to an intruder in our home we need to respond appropriately to this "spiritual intruder" who is seeking the demise of our relationship with Christ. Pick up the weapons of warfare and let the enemy know that he is in for a fight. 

This is not the time to capitulate or surrender to the tactics of the enemy but this is the time to counter attack the enemy with obedience to our Savior!!!


Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Truth vs. Predictions

Matthew 24:35, Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.

I am constantly amazed at the attempts of satan to either discredit truth or in some cases he is even trying to annihilate truth. It is very important for Christians to refocus our attention on the Truth that is declared in the Word of God. These are the days in which we must be very careful as well as diligent to put our complete trust in God and not just our partial trust. We cannot afford to pick and choose the part of the Word of God that we want to believe. The modern world is treating the Bible as a "spiritual buffet"in which we pick and choose truth as someone would choose what entree or dessert they desired to eat. But take note of the declaration of Jesus revealed in today's scripture passage. It is important to realize and remember that many things will come and go and many things will change in our world but the Words of God "will by no means pass away."

I read an interesting quote from Beth Moore this morning that confirmed what I have been sensing in my heart during prayer. There is a struggle between Love and Truth in our day and time. There is the camp of believers who think that all we need to do is to love everyone and there is another camp of believers who desire to take the "hammer of truth" and drive people into the Kingdom of God. I personally believe that it will take the proper mixture/combination of Love and Truth to bring the correct results in the sight of God. Take a moment and focus on these words from Beth Moore.

“You will watch a generation of Christians – OF CHRISTIANS – set the Bible aside in an attempt to become more like Jesus. And stunningly it will sound completely plausible. This will be perhaps the cleverest of the devil’s schemes in your generation. Sacrificing TRUTH for LOVE’s sake. And you will rise or fall based upon whether you will sacrifice one for the other. Will you have the courage to live in the tension of both TRUTH & LOVE?” 

I am praying that God will fill me the proper "amount" of Love and Truth as I seek to please Him and lead others to Jesus Christ!!!

Monday, January 9, 2017

Monday's Musings

James 4:8, Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.(NKJV)

First, I want to offer praise to God for the wonderful service that we enjoyed at New River on Sunday morning. It was very cold on the outside but the sanctuary was warm with the ministering presence of the Spirit. I am CONVINCED that God is at work in this world and I am CONVINCED that I want to join with Him in this process. We need to remember that God is calling and not drafting people to follow Him. I don't believe that God will force us to participate with Him but I believe that God is calling us to join Him in the process of spiritual liberation of those who are in need. Will I (you) be willing to offer our sincere service to Him and be willing to release my faith when He calls me to take the appropriate action?

I kept hearing the Spirit remind me that I must be willing to position myself to take action when God calls for my response. We can read numerous stories in the Bible where God called for His people to take action. These stories are found in both the Old Covenant as well as the New Covenant. I sense that God is looking for faith and that He recognizes the release of sincere faith. James 2:20  declares this principle; "But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works in dead?" (NKJV) (Emphasis added) 

I believe that we choose to ignore the truth of the matter that there are times that God calls us to combine our faith with our obedience to do what He is requiring at that moment. I may feel led to share a offering with a missionary but I have to be willing to reach into my pocket or purse and produce the offering. Do you realize that we practice this principle on various occasions in our natural lives?

We make an appointment with our Doctor because we are ill. We enter the examination room for the diagnosis. The Doctor provides his best analysis of the illness that is affecting us and he prescribes a medicine that he believes will solve the problem. The nurse takes the prescription and forwards it to the Pharmacy. We leave the office and at some point in the day if not immediately we will drive to the Pharmacy. Why do we go the Pharmacy? The Doctor has told us that there will be medicine waiting for us at the Pharmacy and he has even provided the directions for us to follow. We follow the Doctor's directions and we find ourselves feeling better. Some of us are even on daily medicines possibly for the remainder of our lives to circumvent a disease or affliction that is in our body.

Isn't it amazing how we resist invitations from God that might call for a response or call for our participation? Yet, we realize, understand, know and believe that He has the proper prescription for the ills of life that are facing us. GOD IS CALLING FOR OUR PARTICIPATION AND FOR OUR OBEDIENCE!! We just need to stop waiting and respond to the direction that God is providing for us!!

Friday, January 6, 2017

Friday's Reminder

This passage of scripture spoke to my heart this morning and my spirit was refreshed as I read the promises that are contained in the letter of the Apostle Peter. We are in the midst of a special time of Prayer and each of us needs to be reminded that God is very present with us and that God is fully aware of all of the struggles, challenges and attacks of satan that come against us. But we are able to continue "fighting the good fight of faith" because we have believed and embraced a living hope that is directly connected with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Our hope is placed in Christ and not in any of the elements of our temporary and fickle environment. 

Verse 8 is a powerful reminder of the love and faith that can abide in the hearts of God's people. Read it once more, "whom having not seen you love, Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory." WOW, I am strengthened and encouraged through this declaration of Truth. We walk in the strength of verse 8 on many occasions as we express our exuberant praise and honor to God during our times of private as well as public worship. Have you ever sensed a "rush of joy" as you began to focus on the promises of God and then quickly began to remember those times in which God has intervened in your life? Isn't the Love of God simply amazing?

I encourage you to reflect on this passage of scripture as we continue to seek after the heart of God. We are praying for ourselves as well as for the needs of others. God is able to meet these needs and I am very determined to continue pursing the presence of God.

I Peter 1:3-9, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls.” (NKJV)

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Encouragement

I would like to share a portion of a letter that I shared with the New River church body  a few days ago. We are participating with our brothers and sisters in Christ around our nation in a time of Prayer and Fasting. But for me it also a time of re-dedication and re-commitment to the cause of Jesus Christ. I have discovered that as I enter the presence of God through Prayer & Praise that I will sense the leading of the Spirit which will reconnect me with the reason that Christ came to this earth. There is true joy and freedom when we see our need of being about the "Father's Business." I pray that God will continue to deal with my heart in that manner and I also pray that God will deal with your heart in that manner. 

Let these words cause you to reflect on 2016 but also let them encourage you to trust God even more in 2017!!

We cannot change what has taken place in the year of 2016 but we can prepare our hearts to make the correct decisions that will confront us in 2017. I sincerely believe that God is calling each of us to draw closer to Him and the situations that we are facing are demanding that we make the correct decisions. We cannot afford to "squeeze God" out of our lives because we are so busy taking care of other things. I understand that we are all very busy with life but each of us needs to make sure that God receives "quality time" from us as we move forward into 2017. I am praying that our services will be a part of those "quality" times that will provide a spiritual impact on all of our lives. I know that I am even more serious in my approach to preparation, prayers, obedience and the presentation of the message that God places on and in my heart. I ask for your prayers as I follow the leading of the Holy Spirit in serving this local church as Pastor. 

This New Year will have its share of challenges for each of us but it will also be full of OPPORTUNITIES TO SERVE GOD AND ENCOURAGE ONE ANOTHER!! I encourage you to be aware of those opportunities and seize the moment as you offer your service to God. We have entered into the first week of our 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting. I have certainly sensed the refreshing presence of God in my times of prayer. I am looking forward to what God has planned for us as we continue to move toward the promise of His coming. I encourage you to join with me in seeking God for a closer and deeper relationship with Him. I believe that needs to be the priority in each of our lives.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Prayer Time

Good Morning on this third day of 2017!! I trust that you are enjoying the blessings of God and that each of us are recognizing and remembering the goodness of the Lord on a daily basis. We must learn to praise God for His "daily benefits" and I truly believe this daily recognition of God will prepare our hearts to receive the fullness of all that God has prepared for us to receive. I can remember some words from a song that I have heard in my lifetime; "When the praises go up, the blessings come down."

I know that many believers are involved in the 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting but I would also like to encourage you to be involved in "21 Days of Praise." There will be times that our praise will be the "sacrifice of praise" because it is by faith that we see our need being met. I have learned to practice this scriptural promise on many occasions in my life but my "sacrifice" soon turned into heartfelt praise and thanksgiving as I reviewed and remembered the presence of God in my life. Would someone join me in saying PRAISE THE LORD?

I would like to share a passage of scripture with you today as you prepare to enter into your time of Praise and Prayer.

Psalm 86:4-6, Rejoice the soul of Your servant,
For to You, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
For You, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive,
And abundant in mercy to all those who call upon You.
Give ear, O Lord, to my prayer;
And attend to the voice of my supplications.(NKJV)

Blessings on your journey with Jesus Christ!!!