Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Moving FORWARD

Is it really true that we are already a week into the month of November? I am sure that someone already knows the number of days until Christmas. I am thankful that I know the SAVIOR OF THE WORLD that was born on what we reference as Christmas Day. He is MUCH MORE than a holiday celebration to me. He is my Redeemer and I am thankful that He has offered me the gift of forgiveness and Salvation.

I am sure that there are mixed reactions to the weekly message that I share with you. My thoughts are always written from a heart that desires to provide you with “spiritual ammunition” to resist and rebuke the attacks of satan. Let us remember that he seeks to tear down and destroy our faith. I seek to listen for and listen to the Voice of God as He speaks into my heart. All of what I write has first spoken to me and I always pray that it will speak to you. I also try to share inspiring and challenging words from other sources as the Spirit leads. I am taking that approach today.

I read these words yesterday and I felt that they would encourage you. Satan is out to overwhelm each of us but God is the One who will lead us to victory if we will continue to trust in Him and continue to follow His guidance!!

"The author of Hebrews understands his audience so he draws extensively from the Old Testament to build a case that Jesus Christ is greater than the angels, Moses, the Old Covenant, its priests, and its sacrificial system. The writer argues that the superior beauty of Christ, the greatness of His sacrifice on our behalf and the promise of the unshakeable kingdom that He is bringing should encourage believers to have faith and stand firm in the midst of their suffering.

The Christian life is not easy. It is often filled with trials and tribulations, suffering, persecution and adverse circumstances. Are you facing any of these hard times right now? Are you tempted to give up? Maybe you’re asking if this Christian life is worth it. 

I want to encourage you to not throw in the towel. God has not abandoned you, and He’s there to help you persevere through the tough times. Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus, and rejoice in your great salvation because Jesus is better and superior than anything else you could run to." 

Do you have any challenges in your life right now? Stop and pray right now, and ask God to help you endure and overcome them.

I shared these words at the close of last Sunday’s service. We must remove these following words from our spiritual vocabulary “giving up and giving in” AND we must add these words to our spiritual vocabulary “PRESSING ON AND PRESSING IN!!” I truly believe that these are the days of VICTORY for those who will trust God regardless of…………………..

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Reformation Day

Happy Reformation Day!! October 31st is a day of spiritual celebration for the people of God. We need to lift our voices in praise and honor to our Lord God Almighty as this day reminds us a “fresh” work that God began to do in the lives of His people. Let me share a brief and very simple lesson on Reformation Day.

“Martin Luther, a scholar, took quill in hand, dipped it in his inkwell and penned his 95 Theses on October 31, 1517. These were intended to spark a debate, to stir some soul-searching among his fellow brothers in the church. The 95 theses reminded the church that it needed a reformation. The church, and the world, would never be the same.

One of Luther’s 95 Theses simply declares, “The Church’s true treasure is the gospel of Jesus Christ.” That alone is the meaning of Reformation Day. The church lost sight of the gospel because it had long ago covered over the pages of God’s word with layer upon layer of tradition. Tradition always brings about system of works, of earning your way back to God. It was true of the Pharisees, and it was true of medieval Roman Catholicism. Didn’t Christ Himself say, “My yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Reformation Day celebrates the joyful beauty of the liberating gospel of Jesus Christ.” (Ligonier Ministries)

I firmly believe that God is calling us back to the powerful transformation that is revealed in the message of the Gospel. Surely each of us can recognize our need for more of God in our lives. How many more tragedies both locally, nationally as well as around the world do we need to hear about until a spirit of “spiritual seriousness” takes hold of our soul? Or have we just grown to accept the world we presently live in as “This is just the way it is now.” I still happen to believe that there is power in the Gospel and the True Gospel brings changes to our lives.

I believe that the Spirit is calling us (the family of God) to counteract and counter attack these evil spirits with the true and genuine LOVE OF GOD. Let me also be clear with these words; “The love of God must be revealed through sincere actions and not just the speaking and writing of words that we have learned to use.” Let me emphasize that I am referencing MY LIFE as well as sharing these thoughts with you.

The time has come for the family of God to unite in love and harmony. It is time for us to lay aside our differences and fulfill the words of Jesus that I will share at the end of this paragraph. It is time to untangle (Hebrews 12:1) ourselves and be about the Father’s business. John 13:34-35, A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” (NKJV) (Emphasis Added)

Monday, October 29, 2018

Monday's Musings

My heart is heavy this morning as I look back on the hate crimes that have taken place this last week in Louisville, KY and Pittsburgh, PA. These crimes effect each of us even if we seek to ignore them because they did not take place in or "back yard." It seems (at least to me) that these types of events often embolden others to commit a similar heinous crime against an individual or a group of people that they have chosen to hate. The larger question may be; "How will we choose to fight this hate?"

I am very concerned about the spirits of “hatred and division” that are creating such chaos in our nation. These evil spirits are making an impact in all of our lives whether we want to admit it or not. The powers of darkness are seeking to cover over and in some cases eliminate the LIGHT OF TRUTH!! These powers are attacking our individual lives, our families, our churches, our communities as well as our nation. The family of God MUST ARISE from sleep and cast off our spiritual lethargy. We must allow the TRUE LOVE OF GOD work IN US & THROUGH US!! We must answer hate with God’s love. We must answer division with God’s love!! We must “fight the good fight of faith” immersed in the Love of God so that we can demonstrate that Christianity is more that just a group of words that we have learned to repeat. True Christianity was planned to be lived out in our daily lives through the strength and Love of God that He will provide if we will commit to seeking His face and His presence!!

#ITISTIMETOMOVEFORWARD

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Thursday's Thoughts

I continue to rejoice in the presence of God as I remember that He is with me at all times and in all situations that I face. I also continue to rejoice in the presence of God that has been very real and very evident in our corporate worship services in recent months.
I sincerely believe the words that a brother in Christ shared with me on Monday via a text message, “God IS up to something.” But each of us must be willing to answer this question; “Will I respond in obedience or will I just choose to read about the move of God or settle for just observing what God is doing?”
We must become like the man in the New Testament who was told to “take up your bed and walk.”  I believe that God is looking for participants who will identify His presence and then take the appropriate steps of obedience. Let’s be honest with each other; “It is easier to stay in the land of contentment and satisfaction than it is to take the step of faith and step out of our spiritual comfort zone."
Pastor Everrett Holloway shared these words on his FB page on Tuesday. I felt led to share them with you as we move forward through today. TODAY for your morning devotion, don’t just get into the word; let the word get into you! Colossians 3:16, "Let the word Of Christ dwell in you richly!" TODAY don’t allow your worry to overtake your worship! TODAY don’t allow the voices of others and their opinions override the voice and the presence of God! TODAY don’t allow your busyness to help you forget how blessed you are!  TODAY don’t just walk and talk but walk in the power of the spirit and speak life and faith, so that those around you will see the CHRIST within you and desire to be like Him and want to live for Him!  Acts 18:27.” In Him we live and move and have our being. As some poets have said we are his offspring!” Be Blessed TODAY!
We have only one day to follow God and it’s not yesterday because that day is gone. It’s not tomorrow, because we can’t be certain that it will come. All we have is today.” (Unknown)

Friday, September 14, 2018

Friday's Encouragement

I firmly believe that God is calling us to focus on Him as we move forward in this world. The writer in Hebrews 12:2 (NKJV) said it this way; “...Keeping our eyes on Jesus...”; Psalm 57:7 (KJV) declares these words; “My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed...”; and the old hymn encourages us to “Turn your eyes upon Jesus, Look full in His wonderful face, And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.” (Helen Howarth Lemuel)

I also firmly believe that God is calling the present day church to rediscover the importance of prayer which will lead us into the power of prayer. Prayer is being overlooked as an important “spiritual tool” that God has provided for us to use against the attacks of satan. We have time for everything but prayer. We have set aside prayer as being “something” that a select few are called to practice. I encourage you to read out loud the words of 1 Peter 5:7, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.(NKJV)

These challenging reminders as well as the daily call from God to draw nearer to Him and His directions for my life is convincing me of my need to FOCUS ON THE CONTINUING DEVELOPMENT OF MY RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD. I encourage each of us to pay close attention to the Word of God and to the call to the present day church to place Christ as the “center piece” of our lives!! Will we take time to draw near to Him today? God is looking for action and not just our “religious words.” The present day church needs to pay close attention to the words of Jesus in Matthew 15:8, “These people draw near to me with their mouth, And honor me with their lips, But their heart is far from me.” (NKJV)

I received a text from one of the brothers of the New River church body as I was praying this morning. He shared a passage of scripture that God led him to read during his time of prayer and devotion. Psalm 27:7-8, Hear me as I pray, O Lord. Be merciful and answer me! My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.” And my heart responds, “Lord, I am coming.” (NLT) (Emphasis Added) He had spoken these words to the Bible Study on Wednesday night. “Over the past few days I have felt led to say these words to God, I AM COMING TO YOU!!” (Mike G.) He had based his words on the promise of God found in James 4:8a, Draw near to God and He will draw near to you…”

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Remembering 9-11-01

Today is 9-11-18. Many of us can and will remember where we were located when the Terrorist attacks took place in America 17 years ago today. We were glued to our radios or televisions trying to make some sense out of the terrible events that were taking place right before our very eyes. But let me make another observation. Will we also remember the “need to pray” that came upon us. Our minds were full of the “WHAT IF” scenarios. Was our nation under attack? Was WWWIII about to happen? Was the end of the America that we knew happening at this particular moment?

I remember receiving phone calls from people who asked could we gather for prayer at church the evening of 9-11-01. I can still remember the prayer time that evening. There were people who attended that prayer meeting that did not normally attend the prayer meetings. Churches opened their doors for prayer! Our President asked the nation to pray! Political leaders “reached across the isle” in unity and cooperation for the common good of the American people! People prayed in the public view other citizens. We sang “God bless America” time and time again.

BUT IT DID NOT TAKE LONG BEFORE WE RETURNED TO THE WAY THINGS WERE AND WE SOON FORGOT ABOUT WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN IF WE HAD RETAINED THE ATTITUDE OF PRAYERFUL SURRENDER TO GOD!!

Today is about remembering the victims of 9-11 as well as the families of the victims. I will also remember the first responders who made the greatest sacrifice of all as well as their families. I am choosing to remember each of these individuals through my commitment to pray for our nation. Our nation is under another type of attack on 9-11-18. It is a “spiritual attack” upon the soul of America!! 

Will you take some time and pray for the Spirit of God to awaken EACH OF US to a deeper, stronger relationship with God?

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Thursday's Thoughts

I trust that we are walking in the promises of the presence of God in our daily lives. It is a wonderful blessing as well as privilege to know that God is TRULY INTERESTED in our spiritual well-being. As a matter of fact I believe that God is more interested in our spiritual journey of life than we are at various junctures of life. I believe this because God sees the complete picture of Heaven and Hell. He knows the joy of Heaven and the sadness of eternal separation from God. We only see the end result through our eyes that are often “blinded” through the distractions as well as attractions of satan.

I truly believe that these are the days in which God is calling us to recognize His voice. I also truly believe that God is at work in His Kingdom and that He is AWAITING MY (YOUR) RESPONSE TO THE PRESENCE OF THE SPIRIT!!
James 4:7-8, Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” (NKJV)
These words of a song somewhat describe the church service that I attended this past Sunday. “The presence of the Lord is here, the presence of the Lord is here, we can feel Him in the atmosphere...” This song prompted this thought in my mind. What or whom am I looking for when I attend a church service? Am I just looking for social interaction or fellowship? Am I just checking my “religious box” of attending church? Am I looking for everything to be what I want or what I like so that my “carnal (fleshly) needs will be met? Am I looking for something or someone to criticize, judge or even condemn? OR AM I LOOKING FOR AN ENCOUNTER WITH THE TRUE AND LIVING GOD? I do not want to offend anyone but I will make this bold statement. I AM LOOKING FOR AN ENCOUNTER WITH GOD!! 
The enemy wants to trap us in the bondage of “resistance, rejection and rebellion.” He may choose to set these negative responses toward God in motion over a small amount of time until we are slowly drawn into an arena of full blown rebellion. I truly believe that the Spirit is revealing this to me to enlighten us and not to condemn us. I am commissioned to share what I see in my role as a “spiritual watchman on the wall.” (Ezekiel 3, Ezekiel 33) YET, in the midst of these challenging days I see the Hand of God at work in marvelous ways. THAT IS ONE OF THE REASONS THAT I AM DETERMINED TO PURSUE MORE OF GOD REGARDLESS OF THE PRICE THAT I MAY HAVE TO PAY!!