Thursday, May 23, 2019

Memorial Day

I trust that each of us realizes that the presence of God’s love, care, concern and interest is “fresh and new” each and every day of our lives. This knowledge reminds me of the song, “Oh, What a Savior.” We are blessed to know that God loves us unconditionally and He does not abandon us regardless of the situations of life!!

I offer God praise, appreciation and thanksgiving for this past weekend’s services. The presence of God was very identifiable and His ministering presence was received by many of those who participated in those services. I truly believe that God desires to reveal His presence among us as we gather as His family in our times of worship whether private or public. We must be willing to identify His presence and then obediently respond to His presence. We have to expand our thinking from just knowing “that we need God”. We must BOLDLY DECLARE THAT WE WANT HIM TO PERFORM HIS WORK IN OUR LIVES!! I continue to seek for guidance as I follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. This is a critical time for Christians in America. I have been praying and will continue to pray for a SPIRITUAL AWAKENING in our personal lives, our families, our churches, our communities as well as our nation!!

I am sure that each of us knows that this coming weekend is Memorial Day Weekend. I would like to ask you to take a moment and realize that Memorial Day is more than cookouts, mini vacations, the opening of swimming pools, etc. I do not believe that any of these events are evil or sinful if they are conducted in the right manner. I am not writing this to condemn anyone as much as I feel challenged to remind us of what this weekend should represent. I was awakened with a “spirit of heaviness” which I believe came from the Holy Spirit as I began to reflect on the memories of those who sacrificed their lives on a battlefield in America or around the world.

It seems to me that the people of America have a tendency to take “moments of remembrance” and turn them into opportunities to celebrate ourselves rather than focusing on the true purpose of the Holiday. I am quite sure that there are families across our nation who still lives with the daily loss of a loved one on a battlefield in some far away land. And let us also not forget those families whose loved one has the letters MIA or POW attached to their name!! There are still men and women being deployed to BATTLE FIELDS today or to areas of unrest and trouble. We must continue to pray for these brave men and women who are serving our nation. They are protecting our FREEDOM and we need to cover them in prayer!!

I found this information concerning Memorial Day and I would like to share it with you. Memorial Day is much more than just a three-day weekend and a chance to get the year's first sunburn. It's a time to remember the men and women who sacrificed their lives for their country. MEMORIAL DAY BEGAN AS A RESPONSE TO THE CIVIL WAR. Memorial Day was a response to the unprecedented carnage of the Civil War, in which a total of some 620,000 soldiers died between both sides. The loss of life and its effect on communities throughout the country led to several spontaneous commemorations of the dead.

In 1864, women from Boalsburg, Pennsylvania, put flowers on the graves of their fallen soldiers from the just-fought Battle of Gettysburg. The next year, a group of women decorated the graves of soldiers buried in a Vicksburg, Mississippi Cemetery. In April 1866, women from Columbus, Mississippi, laid flowers on the graves of both Union and Confederate soldiers. In the same month, in Carbondale, Illinois, 219 Civil War veterans marched through town in memory of the fallen to Woodlawn Cemetery, where Union hero Major General John A. Logan delivered the principal address. The ceremony gave Carbondale its claim to the first organized, community-wide Memorial Day observance. 

Each of us needs to remember our personal opportunity to take some time and reflect on those "who gave it all" as we are enjoying OUR FREEDOM TODAY!!

Friday, April 26, 2019

Friday's Reflections

I would like to take a moment and look back at a recent Wednesday night Bible Study. The video teacher made a statement that challenged me that evening and still challenges me today. He said, “Our goal as Christians should be to get into the presence of God.” I believe that this should be a personal desire as well as a corporate desire. Listen to David’s words in Psalm 84:1-2, “How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of hosts! My soul longs, yes, faints for the courts of the Lord; my heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God.”  WOW!! Isn’t that an awesome challenge but also a wonderful opportunity for each believer?

Have you heard the term “name dropper?” Human beings enjoy letting their family and friends know “who they know.” We enjoy dropping their names at just the right time in the conversation so that it will garner the most attention. Even preachers have been known to do this in their preaching. LOL We enjoy people knowing that we know someone of importance, fame, fortune, or a “star” in either sports or entertainment. There is certainly no sin being committed when we put that practice into action. BUT DO YOU REALIZE that believers know the One whom EVERYONE will bow before one day? (Philippians 2:10) Are we sure that we want to limit famous and powerful to this world only? REALLY?

In 1 Samuel 17:34-37 we see a glimpse into the impact of David meeting with God early in his life. Scripture says, But David said to Saul, “Your servant used to keep sheep for his father. And when there came a lion, or a bear, and took a lamb from the flock, I went after him and struck him and delivered it out of his mouth. And if he arose against me, I caught him by his beard and struck him and killed him. Your servant has struck down both lions and bears, and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be like one of them, for he has defied the armies of the living God.” And David said, “The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” And Saul said to David“Go, and the Lord be with you!” It was during David’s time in the fields that He learned of God’s power and desire for deliverance. He learned what it was to meet with God in the daily walk and work of life. And he carried that knowledge with him into every battle, trial, and failure. Yes, there is much more to learn from being in the presence of God as an individual BUT ALSO AS A CORPORATE BODY OF BELIEVERS!!!

I want to make being in the presence of God a priority in my life. I understand that we are all busy people with responsibilities. We are unable to spend each waking hour of our lives in some secluded place in our home. But doesn’t the Bible teach us to “pray without ceasing?” We know that there are physical limitations to that action BUT WE CAN LIVE WITH AN ATTITUDE OF PRAYER!! I believe that we can also live with an attitude of being in the presence of God throughout the day. That simply means that we can live with an “open heart” always looking for an encounter with God as well as always listening for Him to speak to us in some shape, form or manner!!

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Thursday's Reflections

Good morning! This week’s weather reminds us that we are in a stage of transition when it comes to our weather forecast. HOLY WEEK reveals a time of transition in the earthly life of Jesus Christ. He went from being celebrated (Palm Sunday) to being crucified (Good Friday) in the period of one short week. BUT aren’t you glad that the story does not end at the grave? We can fast forward to the FIRST DAY of a new week. The new week brought the RESURRECTION OF OUR SAVIOR, JESUS CHRIST!! Let me add these words, I am thankful for the NEW DAYS in my life in which I see Christ in a fresh revelation!!

It is during my times of prayer and meditation that I continue to hear the words "fresh and new." We declare that the story of the cross is an "old, old story" YET it is still powerful, relevant, life-changing as well as VERY IMPORTANT to share in this present time and era of life. The Gospel message may be considered "old news" YET it is still fresh and new!! How can that statement be true? It is true because the disciples found the grave empty and they found JESUS CHRIST ALIVE!! We look back and remember that He died! We look up and remember that HE IS ALIVE!!

Let me share some words from Anne Graham Lotz. “He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit (John 19:30, NKJV). After nine hours of standing on His feet, after being scourged, slapped, and manhandled, after six hours of hanging on the Cross, the average person would have barely had enough life and breath left to even whisper. But Jesus, the Lamb of God, with life still fully flowing through His body, shouted out in a clear, ringing, triumphant voice, “It is finished.” The price for our redemption had been paid! The sacrifice for our sin had been made! Sin was forgiven! Guilt was atoned for! Eternal life was now offered! Heaven has been opened! It is finished!

Now let me share the words from the Apostle John recorded in John 20:1-8, “Now the first day of the week Mary Magdalene went to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. Then she ran and came to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him.” Peter therefore went out, and the other disciple, and were going to the tomb. So they both ran together, and the other disciple outran Peter and came to the tomb first. And he, stooping down and looking in, saw the linen cloths lying there; yet he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb; and he saw the linen cloths lying there, and the handkerchief that had been around His head, not lying with the linen cloths, but folded together in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who came to the tomb first, went in also; and he saw and believed.(NKJV)

Friday, April 12, 2019

Testimony on Friday

This is the day that the Lord has made. The word "today" has been rising up in my spirit on a constant basis over the past few weeks. The Spirit continues to remind me that God is present NOW and that He desires to reveal Himself NOW!! I refuse to just live in my memories of yesterday. I refuse to just live in my dreams of the future. I DESIRE to live in the HERE & NOW regarding my relationship with Jesus Christ.

Early this morning a lady that attends church at New River sent me a copy of the post that she had placed on Facebook. I wanted to share her testimony with you. This miracle from God took place on Thursday as she encountered a visitation of the Holy Spirit. Would you take a moment and read the thoughts she shared concerning her "SPIRITUAL BREAKTHROUGH!!!" You and I can receive our BREAKTHROUGH TODAY!!!

Do you need God to give you a breakthrough today? Are you struggling today with the weight of the world which so easily besets you? I am here to testify that God is the God of your breakthrough. I received my breakthrough last night. I had been struggling in my life to overcome some powerful words that were spoken over me as a child. The power of these words held me back in my life and kept me feeling like I was a nobody and would never do or be anything in my life. Feelings of insecurity and self worth were present in my life and they were my constant companion. 

But you know God showed up at my door unexpectedly and through a very special person to me, gave me the words of life and through these powerful and beautiful words that were spoken by the Holy Ghost through thIs person, I was set free from this bondage in my life. How did I know I was set free? God came on me and I went to my room and I got on my knees before God and began to weep uncontrollably and I felt God lift this bondage off of me through the power of these life changing words that were spoken to me by the Holy Ghost. God used my special friend to breathe life back into my soul. 

Do you know what it feels like to walk in freedom and victory? I do!! I felt the peace of God come over me and I could not stop crying because of the overwhelming presence of God that unexpectedly knocked on my door and gave me my breakthrough. I am free from the bondages of the enemy. My chains are gone. I have been set free, my God, my savior, has ransomed me. and like a flood his mercy reigns unending love, AMAZING GRACE! 

I am going forth today with new strength, vision, purpose and determination I am walking into the plan God has for me and the shackles and chains are back in the prison cell that I was in. Did you know you could be a prisoner of your own soul? You can hold yourself prisoner by believing the lies of the enemy. The enemy wants to put doubt, fear, discouragement and hopelessness on you to hold you captive. He wants to hold you captive so you will never know the peace and freedom of God. That is his job and we need to break loose of these bondages and tell the enemy to loose us and let us go in Jesus name. 

I don’t know about you but I am taking back what the devil stole from me. It started last night. Today is a new day for me. It is a beautiful day that the Lord has made. God makes all things new.God may show up at your door unexpectedly today. When he knocks, open the door, because he brought you a gift. It is your BREAKTHROUGH.. SURPRISE!!!! God amazes me when he special delivers your gift, in ways we do not expect. God is so good and his mercies are new everyday. We serve a God who never fails. Thank you Lord for my breakthrough. Knock, knock, who is there? It’s God with your breakthrough. Did you answer the door?

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Christ is MY Rock

John 8:56-59, Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad.” 57 Then the Jews said to Him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?” 58 Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.” 59 Then they took up stones to throw at Him; but Jesus hid Himself and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by. (NKJV)

I read a story concerning a dream a twelve year-old named Christopher had been having--a nightmare that recurred several times during a month long period.   Whenever the boy focused on an object in his dream, it would suddenly shrink and then start spinning counterclockwise at ever-increasing speeds.   The experience was so unnerving that when he woke up, he saw objects in his bedroom growing smaller and smaller and then beginning to spin uncontrollably, just like in his nightmare. Finally one night the dream changed.

"I was having the dream," Christopher explained, "when suddenly a slab of stone appeared right in front of my face so I couldn't see anything else. It looked like it was some kind of marble and had handles on either side and writing on it. As soon as I saw it, I grabbed on to the handles. When I looked closer, I realized the inscription read: ‘Jesus Is the Rock.' It blocked out all the stuff that had been scaring me, and I never had the dream again." Christopher's dream offers a wonderful image of how Jesus can deal with our fear. When Christopher was looking at the stone, he couldn't see anything else, not even the things that frightened him. Grabbing hold of the rock, he was at peace and the nightmare vanished.

What are you facing today that frightens you or shakes your confidence? Illness? Job loss? Trouble at home? Difficulties at work? No matter how out of control life may seem, decide to keep your eyes glued to Jesus--to his character and his faithfulness and not to the circumstances that disturb you. Recommit yourself not only to hearing his Word but to building your life on it, confident that when the rains come down, the streams rise up, and the winds blow and beat against your house, it will not fall because its foundation is securely built on the rock. 

Friday, April 5, 2019

#SPIRITUALALERT

I remember an old saying from my childhood, “Do not wish your life away.” I need to embrace TODAY as a day that the Lord has made. I need to rejoice in what God is doing right at this moment even if I do not see the results at this present time. I believe that God is at work even when I cannot identify His presence because of everything that I may be facing. Those become the moments in which we offer what the Bible calls “the sacrifice of Praise.”

I believe that each of us needs to recognize that Christians are engaged in spiritual warfare even if we do not accept that fact to be true. Some of us are dealing with an all out attack of satan and the powers of darkness. Others of us are facing the subtle, sly attempts of satan to defeat our walk of faith. Let me remind both of these groups about the truth of the matter. The powers of darkness are seeking to undermine, overwhelm and ultimately OVERTHROW AND DEFEAT OUR FAITH IN GOD!!

Ephesians 6:10, A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.Notice this Word from God comes prior to the direction from God about putting on the armor of God. The Spirit and the Word reminds us that EACH OF US will need to be strong in the Lord and we will need to walk in His mighty power.

This brings me to my inspiration for today. Does anyone else notice that the enemy of our soul seeks to “weaken” our faith through all of the “stuff” that we are encountering? Satan desires for the present day church to be weak in the Lord rather than strong in the Lord. I truly believe that the Holy Spirit has called me to bring these words to our attention today.

The spirit of this culture wants us to be weakened through these attempts of satan. Each of us knows the importance of a strong immunity system from a physical point of view. A strong immunity system provides the strength and stamina we need to fight off various illnesses, diseases, infections, etc. I FIRMLY BELIEVE that a HEALTHY SPIRITUAL IMMUNITY SYSTEM will provide the strength and stamina that we need to fight off the enemy as He seeks to move us away from our relationship with God.

God is calling us to draw a line in the sand and resist these attempts of satan. I am witnessing these attacks of satan in my life as well as in the lives of people that I know on a personal basis. We cannot afford to ignore these attacks of satan. We cannot afford to surrender SO EASILY to these attacks of satan. We cannot afford to accept SPIRITUAL WEAKNESS in our lives WHEN THE WORD OF GOD AND THE SPIRIT OF GOD PROMISES US STRENGTH!!  

God is calling us to be alert and awake to the strategies, attacks, and tactics of satan (The Word in the KJV Bible is “wiles.”). We also cannot afford to RESIST the effort of the Holy Spirit and the Word to draw our attention to a need for each of us to have a closer walk with God. We must stop RESISTING the Spirit and the Word of God that is speaking to us. Rather, we must EMBRACE what the Spirit and the Word of God desires to accomplish in our lives.

Friday, March 22, 2019

Friday's Break from the Normal

Preachers face the challenge of sharing the Gospel message to a variety of people. This variety is filled with different ages, different spiritual backgrounds, different likes and/or dislikes, different levels of understanding, different thought processes, different doctrinal beliefs, different views of the importance of "preaching", different views of the quality/ability of the messenger, etc. This is an endless list that could be filled with many differences BUT I think you may be getting the picture that I am trying to paint.

But there is one commonality when it comes to preaching although preaching is being replaced with "inspirational talks" in many ministries. But we must remember that this is not a sporting event where the coach is called on to "motivate" the team into playing their best game. Preaching is not about playing a game; preaching is about dealing with the eternal destiny of humanity. Preaching is not about getting you prepared to win the NCAA tournament. Preaching is about sharing the Word of God which will lead us into the right type of fellowship as well as relationship with our Heavenly Father. 

I want to share a passage of scripture that has been speaking to me since the beginning of 2019. Would you take a moment and let this passage "preach" to you today? Allow the Word of God speak to the "spiritual man/woman" that you desire to be. It is taken from the Spirit inspired and Spirit anointed writings of the Apostle Paul.

Philippians 4:4-9, Rejoice in the Lord always [delight, take pleasure in Him]; again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle spirit [your graciousness, unselfishness, mercy, tolerance, and patience] be known to all people. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious or worried about anything, but in everything [every circumstance and situation] by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, continue to make your [specific] requests known to God. And the peace of God [that peace which reassures the heart, that peace] which transcends all understanding, [that peace which] stands guard over your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus [is yours]. Finally, believers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable and worthy of respect, whatever is right and confirmed by God’s word, whatever is pure and wholesome, whatever is lovely and brings peace, whatever is admirable and of good repute; if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think continually on these things [center your mind on them, and implant them in your heart].  The things which you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things [in daily life], and the God [who is the source] of peace and well-being will be with you.” (Amplified)