Thursday, December 20, 2018

Thursday's Thoughts

We are in the final week of countdown as we move toward Christmas. I am listening to Christmas music as I am preparing this note to share.
Ann and I wanted to take this opportunity to wish you a very MERRY CHRISTMAS!! Each of you are a wonderful blessing to us and we are thankful for your friendship and our common identity as a part of the family of God!! We are also praying that God will bless you and your family as we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior!!
Joy to the world
Joy to the world
Joy to the world, the Lord is come
Let earth receive her King
Let every heart prepare Him room
And Heaven and nature sing
And Heaven and nature sing
And Heaven, and Heaven, and nature sing   (G. F. Handel / Isaac Watts) (Emphasis Added)
This verse of from the Christmas carol, Joy to the World, has been on my heart and in my spirit this week. The words “Let earth receive her King and Let every heart prepare Him room” has resonated over and over in my heart this week. I will share with you the questions that the Holy Spirit kept placing in my heart. “Do I truly RECEIVE Him as my King” and “Am I truly making ROOM for Him? The keys words are RECEIVE and ROOM!! I sense that the Spirit is teaching me that both these actions must continue to take place on a daily basis. I must receive His presence and guidance on a daily basis and I must make room for Christ in all of the busyness of life. I truly believe that the enemy seeks to hinder me in each of these steps in my life. I just encourage you to take a long look at this challenge found in the words of the song but also plainly taught in the Word of God!!
This passage of scripture reminds us of the plan of God. 3 John 1:2. Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.” (KJV) God truly desires to see us prosper and walk in good health BUT He also desires to see our “soul prosper.” The Spirit placed this passage of scripture in my spirit at the beginning of 2018 and now He is strongly reminding me of its importance as we near the close of 2018.
Is it possible that each of us needs to ask our self this question, “Am I as concerned about the prosperity of my soul as I am my financial status and the status of my health? I believe that our financial status and our health status are important to God. But how long has it been since I prayed about the “status of my soul?” It seems to me that the scripture teaches that God places a high priority on the status of my soul. I feel led to encourage each of us to sincerely and seriously ask God to provide the direction, guidance, and a stronger desire to see the continuing development of our relationship with Him in this coming year. The condition of my soul must also become a greater priority to each of us in 2019!! I truly believe that the times in which we are living as well as the spiritual condition of our society is demanding that we draw closer to God!!
MERRY CHRISTMAS!! I believe that God is calling each of us to identify that it is A RELATIONSHIP WITH CHRIST THAT IS THE GREATEST GIFT KNOWN TO MANKIND!!!

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Thursday's Thoughts

Isaiah 6:3, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!”
I pray that you are taking some “personal time” to reflect on the meaning of Christmas. I know that my precious sentence has been repeated year after year at Christmas. But I also believe that each of us needs to be reminded of the REASON FOR THE SEASON. Oh, I think that I just used another familiar phrase that we have heard before. I know and fully believe that God has challenged me to focus on Him even more as I pray, worship, preach and witness to others. I believe that the Spirit is calling us to fully REMEMBER as well as IDENTIFY Jesus Christ as the great “I AM” during this season of celebration. Isn’t it time for EACH OF US to remember the greatness of God on a daily basis?
It’s vital to the Christian life that we as sons and daughters of the Most High God allow our affections to be stirred by the loving, powerful nature of our heavenly Father. Too often we feel that God is distant or separated from us. Too often we allow misconceptions or lies to place a rift between us and experiencing God. It’s in reminding ourselves of God’s character that lies are broken and a pathway is laid for us to encounter His tangible love. Open your heart and mind and receive fresh revelation of the goodness of God this week. Allow your affections to be stirred and your heart to be filled with desire to seek the face of your heavenly Father. A song was deposited in my spirit as I was preparing my heart to write this article. A portion of the song makes this declaration; “You are awesome in this place Mighty God…” I am afraid that many believers have lost the “AWE” out of the Awesomeness of God! I do not desire to be captured or influenced by “any spirit” that diminishes the greatness of God!! I also do not want to allow the enemy of my soul steal my desire to praise, worship and honor my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!!
Is it possible that we have turned the Goodness of God and the presence of God into a “spiritual Santa Claus” with whom we share our wish list of desires, needs, wants, etc.? Is it possible that we have turned God into an “AAA service man” whom arrives at times of emergency and provides the services needed and then moves on to the next emergency? Is it possible that we have turned God into simply“a character” in the Bible whom we read about but don’t invite Him to make a daily difference in our lives? It is possible that we have turned the revelation of Jesus Christ into a “story” of a good man who performed many great miracles but we have failed to fully realize that He is the “Way, the Truth and the Life?
I have shared these thoughts with you because I sense the Holy Spirit calling me to draw near to God through sincere and heartfelt worship to God. I also believe that God is leading me to share these words with you. The enemy does not want the present day church to be a WORSHIPING CHURCH!! He wants our personal devotional times as well as our corporate gatherings to be filled with distractions, diversions, hindrances, gossip, wandering minds, selfishness, busyness, as well as the attractions of the world. I am only scratching the surface when it comes to the enemy’s attempts to interfere in our times of worship. BUT THE PEOPLE OF GOD MUST RISE TO THE OCCASION AND RESIST, REJECT AND REBUKE THE TACTICS OF SATAN!! We must ask as well as allow the Holy Spirit to speak to us and draw is into the presence of God as never before. I am encouraging each of us to take a stand against the enemy and once more reach out and embrace the Goodness and Greatness of God!!We need OUR VOICES and OUR HEARTS to CONNECT WITH THE HEART OF OUR HEAVENLY FATHER!! Good things will take place in the presence of God!!

Monday, December 10, 2018

Monday's Musings

Our Adult Bible Study group on Wednesday nights have been focusing on the Armor of God for the past several months. That discussion led us to focus on the need 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 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.” This scripture came to the forefront of last Wednesday’s Bible study discussion. 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” (Bro. Kenny’s word) 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.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Thursday's Reflections

It is a wonderful day to offer God praise for His daily presence in our lives. I was unable to share my inspiration with you last week due to the medical procedure on my heart that I underwent on Wednesday. I am also thankful that I was discharged on Thursday afternoon in time to share dinner with our family! The procedure went well and my heart rate is much better than it has been for the past two - three months. I offer God sincere THANKSGIVING & PRAISE FOR HIS GOODNESS.
Last Thursday was a special day set aside for our nation to remind ourselves of the blessings of God that have been upon America since our very beginning. Don’t you believe that each and every day of our lives needs to be lived with appreciation for and recognition of the daily blessings of God? We should never allow our wants and desires to be greater than our praise and worship. It seems that we always think we need more proof of God’s Goodness before we want to take the time to offer Him praise. But TODAY is the DAY to lift our voices in gratitude to an Almighty God who watches over us day by day.
The words of this song have been in my heart for the past few days. “Open the eyes of my heart Lord; Open the eyes of my heart Lord, I want to see You, I want to see You…”  This passage of scripture was deposited in my Spirit this morning during prayer; John 12:35, Jesus replied, “My light will shine for you just a little longer. Walk in the light while you can, so the darkness will not overtake you. Those who walk in the darkness cannot see where they are going. (NKJV) (Emphasis Added) I trust that you are aware as well as able to recognize that there is a battle between Jesus (The Light) and the prince and power of darkness (Satan). The people of God are caught in the middle of this battle and we are being challenged to make the correct decisions concerning the direction of our lives.
I encourage you to pay close attention to these following words. They will be straight to the point but written in love and compassion. The destiny of OUR SOULS depends on the decisions that we are making concerning our relationship with God. The culture of the present day church world is far more interested in affirmation and encouragement than we are interested in conviction. I try my best to provide affirmation and encouragement in every opportunity that arises and I am sure that you also take the same approach to life.
I also believe that God teaches us the power of affirmation. His Word tells us that He is willing to call us His children when we choose to walk in fellowship with Him. But the Word of God also teaches us that the Holy Spirit will reveal the sin in our lives so that we can identify our need for a Savior. It is easy to applaud affirmation and become offended at conviction as God calls us to draw closer to Him. I FIRMLY BELIEVE that God is calling us to draw closer to Him and WE must be willing to invite His conviction as well as His correction into OUR LIVES! We will soon learn that the conviction and correction of God is for our benefit and not our demise. We must stop running from conviction and take the opportunity to respond to the Love of our Heavenly Father who is at work in the present preparing each of us for the future.
Would you be willing to join with me in prayer against the powers of darkness that are seeking to blind our eyes to THE TRUTH? The Truth of God is under attack not only outside the church but inside the church. Satan works to either eliminate the Light or at least hinder the Light from being displayed through our lives and in our lives!! Here is a call from God; Romans 13:11-12, And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. 12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.” (NKJV)

Wednesday, November 7, 2018


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!!


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.


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!!

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Wednesday's Reminder

I trust that your journey with God continues to grow stronger and stronger as we purpose in our hearts to draw closer to God. The Spirit has been reminding me of the various "voices" that each of us hear on a daily basis. Many of these voices come from the darkness of Hell and they seek to lead us away from our relationship with Jesus Christ, the Chief Shepherd of our soul. I would like to share a familiar passage with us that comes from John 10.

John 10:4-5, And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers. (NKJV)

The voices of darkness or the "voices of strangers" have one purpose and one purpose alone. They seek to bring confusion, doubt, fear, anxiety, discouragement, disillusionment, etc. These spirits then seek to work against the development of our spiritual relationship with Christ. The Bible reveals this Truth throughout the Old Testament as well as the New Testament; "God will speak to His people." I am faced with the decision of making sure that I listen to the correct voice of the Shepherd, Jesus Christ. Listening to the Voice of Christ means that I must choose to resist the other voices that are constantly desiring to distract me from serving God or attracting me to pursue my old life. Satan is also cunning enough to know that he may not initially lead me completely away from God but he will use any means that he can to "cool off" or "slow down" my walk with Christ. These become the moments in each of our lives in which we must choose to follow Christ with all of our heart and not just a portion of our heart.

The Apostle Peter referred to our spiritual enemy as a "roaring lion" who is "walking about seeking whom he may devour." (I Peter 5:8) We must learn to resist this "noise maker" and turn our ears to hear the Voice of our Savior. I know that this is challenging to each of us in this day of spiritual warfare BUT I FULLY BELIEVE that the Spirit will give us enough power and strength to accomplish this spiritual goal of following the Voice of our Savior. We must ask the Spirit to strengthen our resolve, our courage, our desire and our personal walk with Christ. It can be accomplished if we believe the fact that God has called us to be OVERCOMERS!!

Let us remind ourselves of the words of the Apostle Paul in Hebrews 2:1Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away.” But sometimes we drift. Pleasure entices us. Troubles mount. Sin calls. The world beckons. We wonder why our hearts seem empty and cold. What happened to the zeal we had? What happened to our desire to live an extraordinary life? What happened to the desire to gather with fellow believers and offer our praise and worship to the One who had forgiven us of our sins? Why are we sliding back into old habits and patterns? These may be questions the Holy Spirit is urging us to consider. Perhaps He is right now shaking us awake from our spiritual sleepiness, reminding us that without holiness no one will see the Lord (see Hebrews 12:14). Today let us ask God to help us live out our faith with passionate commitment, fueled by a hunger for holiness that reflects our love of God and his greater love for us. Let us pray earnestly and eagerly for the grace to be fully awake to God's life within us.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Wednesday's Encouragement

Psalm 119:33-36, Teach me your decrees, O Lord; I will keep them to the end. 34 Give me understanding and I will obey your instructions; I will put them into practice with all my heart.35 Make me walk along the path of your commands, for that is where my happiness is found. 36 Give me an eagerness for your laws rather than a love for money!” (NLT)

I am sure that many of you can attest to my belief as well as your belief that the Word of God MUST PLAY an important role in our lives. It does seem that some people are intimidated by the Bible rather than being encouraged and strengthened by the Bible. I believe these different attitudes may come from our approach as to how we read the Bible. I have read various writers describe the need to read the Bible as a "love letter" from God rather than just reading it as a "rule book" of laws and regulations. Let me state the obvious; I do believe that the Bible is the Word of God and it does provide direction, guidance, correction, and discipline, etc. for the children of God. But the Word of God is written for the spiritual development of our soul and not for the destruction of our soul.

Is it possible that we have taken the Word of God and developed our "checklist" of things that we need to do and things that we don't need to do? Yes, I believe that the Bible does reveal and teach us what is right and wrong. But the Word of God also reveals the love, mercy, grace, compassion, kindness, etc. as well as the daily interest that God has in our lives. Yes, God is a God of judgment but He is also a God of forgiveness, a God of reconciliation, a God of restoration, and a God that desires to draw near to us as well as draw us near to Him. The Bible should not be intimidating to us but the Bible should be viewed as a "love letter" that reveals God's desire to bring humanity into the fullness of fellowship and communion with Him as well as with each other. The Bible is more than a novel that was written through human insight and through the concepts of humanity. No, The Bible was written through the inspiration and anointing of the Holy God who loved this world enough to prepare a plan of salvation for the redemption of mankind (Read: 2 Timothy 3:16-17, 2 Peter 1:21).

The Bible is not meant to be a book that we simply display or quote from time time as  a "witness" to people that we believe in God. No, the Bible was meant to be "lived out or put into practice" in our lives on a daily basis. I believe that the joy of the Lord will fully come alive in OUR LIVES when we realize the Bible is not meant to be a "burden" but the Word is meant to be a "tool" of the revelation of God's love. care and concern for our individual journey of faith. 

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Sitting or Standing?

The Apostle Paul shared a powerful challenge with the church at Ephesus as well as with each of us in Ephesians 6:10 & 13; "Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in in the evil day, and having done all, to stand." (NKJV) (Emphasis Added)

I am COMPLETELY AND THOROUGHLY CONVINCED THAT GOD is calling each of us to draw closer to Him so that we can become the "spiritual warriors" that are needed in this day and time. This is no time to be "asleep" at the wheel of our lives. We need to be alert, awake and aware of the condition of our soul and the spiritual condition of those family and friends that are near and dear to us. We cannot afford for our soul to be living in a spiritual famine while the needs and desires of the flesh are being fed and fed very well. These are the days in which we need to be seeking God with passion, desire and longing for more of Him in our lives. I want God to know that I need Him and want Him more today than I did yesterday.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Tuesday's Thoughts

I find myself concerned as I sense the Holy Spirit revealing to me that the Truth of God is under attack by the powers of darkness. I see this on a personal level as a believer as well as the Ministerial level. It seems to me that people who reference themselves as believers  are "picking and choosing" what portions of the Truth that they feel is necessary or important to apply to their lives. The pressure from the "spirit of this age" is seeking to lead EACH OF US away from God into our own world of what is right and what is wrong. But isn't that a unknown and dangerous path to travel? Would that attitude be described as rebellion or rejection of the Truth in the eyes of God? 

Let me say it another way; It is dangerous when any one of us choose to leave God out of our lives or we choose to ignore His principles and replace them with our own desires and plans. The Psalmist David issued this warning in Psalms 9:17, "The wicked shall be turned into hell, And all the nations that forget God." (NKJV) (Emphasis added) I fully understand that this verse is used when we decry the condition of America. But America is made up of individuals such as you and me. Many of those individuals have a relationship with God or who at one time enjoyed a relationship with God. 

Paul's writing to his protege Timothy reminded him as well as us of a time of "perilous or dangerous" times. Isn't it safe to say that we are living in some of those days at the present time? I encourage you to take a moment and read this passage of scripture. EACH OF US needs to examine our lives and MAKE SURE that we are not being captured by any of the activities that Paul is describing.

2 Timothy 3:1-9, You should know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times. For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred. They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good. They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God. They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that! They are the kind who work their way into people’s homes and win the confidence of vulnerable women who are burdened with the guilt of sin and controlled by various desires. (Such women are forever following new teachings, but they are never able to understand the truth.) These teachers oppose the truth just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses. They have depraved minds and a counterfeit faith. But they won’t get away with this for long. Someday everyone will recognize what fools they are, just as with Jannes and Jambres. (NLT)

Friday, August 3, 2018

We Are NOT Alone

I would like to share a few thoughts that I shared with our local church family a few days ago. I can sense that the Spirit is teaching me to remember that the presence of God is with me regardless of the circumstances that I am facing. The Spirit is also teaching me to "walk" in the strength of that powerful promise. The presence God is very real and always prepared to reveal Himself if I will take the effort to look for Him and listen to Him!!

I am thankful for the interest that God has in our lives on a daily basis. Aren't you glad that God doesn't just pick our one day a week to be interested in our lives or that there are certain days of the week that God is "not in the office"? I am thankful that I am under the caring and loving observation of God on a moment by moment time frame. Each of us know that our lives can "change in a moment" either for the positive or for the negative. I must always remember that "God is able to_________________."

The Spirit reminded me in prayer this morning of two very important principles that are contained in our need to attend church on a consistent basis. Our corporate worship services allow us the opportunity to exalt, lift up and honor our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Our corporate worship services also serve as an opportunity to encourage, strengthen, and be a blessing to one another. I truly believe that each of us needs to do our best to accomplish both of these goals when we gather together on any given Sunday!! Your contributions to these Biblical principles can not be replaced by someone else when you are unable to worship with us!! Let me remind you of a passage of scripture found in the book of Hebrews.

Hebrews 10:25, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” (NIV)
Hebrews 10:25, And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.” (NLT)
We are encouraged to remind each other that God is with us regardless of what is taking place at any specific time in our lives. If the Lord physically walked with you throughout the day, would you be afraid or discouraged? Of course you would be totally encouraged and secure. By faith your heavenly Father walks with you day in and day out. You are not left out in the cold all alone. You have the resources of a child of God to be strong and courageous. That offers the hope that we can rise up and receive the grace and strength of the Lord and then be willing to share that grace, mercy, strength and love with our fellow travelers on the road of life. 

Monday, July 30, 2018

Monday's Musings

Ann and I attended a small group meeting recently and in this meeting one of the ladies of the church was asked to lead the time of discussion. This format has an individual within the group share their inspiration and then the meeting is opened for questions and discussions. I asked Sis. Reenie for permission to share her inspirational thoughts that she shared that evening. I am sharing her presentation today. 

Against all odds, the Pilgrims set sail in August of 1620 for the New World.  The seven weeks they spent in the rolling, stinking ship and 102 of them in a space the size of a volleyball court- was just the beginning.  Winter was upon them soon after they arrived and these "strangers in a strange land", weakened by the months at sea, began to die.  By the time it was over, forty-seven of them-nearly half their number- had died.  Subsequent years brought more hardships and challenges, but they kept their faith, and were used by God to lay the foundation of a mighty nation.  They never knew what an impact they had.

Against all odds, the American patriots declared their independence from the most powerful nation in the world.  After eight long years of war, and entirely by the grace of God; they won that independence.  So the founding and securing of this nation was birthed on the backs of the men and women of this country who sought God for His Divine Intervention, at times and with circumstances that were absolutely impossible to reconcile. "But God...."

Our Founding Fathers endured their struggles- and many, many more- for the sake of the vision God had given them of a country that would be free.  But through the years, the comforts & pleasures of peace and prosperity weakened the vision and the relationship each subsequent generation had with God. We see the results in our society every day. It looks impossible to turn this nation around now.  "But God..." 

Remember, the Church was the instrument God used in the 1700's to ignite the Great Awakening that laid a foundation of faith just prior to the Revolutionary War.  I believe He desires to use the Church to turn this nation back to Him now.  I also believe He can use us, the "older" Christians, to fan the flames.  But first we must rid ourselves of every encumbrance of bad habits, dead traditions and pounds of accumulated complacency.  We must recognize that if we refuse to undertake this task, America as we know it will probably be lost forever.  The time is now. 

The task is before us, and the mandate God gave to Paul on the Damascus Road is the same one we need to take to heart now, namely Acts 26: 16 & 18: "I have appeared to you for this purpose, to make you a minister and a witness both of the things which you have seen and of the things which I will yet reveal to you." To open their eyes, to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me." 

I firmly believe that God is calling the "church" to fulfill our responsibilities in this day and time. We must "...lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us." (Hebrews 12:1) (Emphasis Added) I also firmly believe that our family, our friends, our church family, our communities, our state and our nation is depending on us to make the right decisions. Will I (we) choose to make the correct decision or will I choose to remain satisfied and contented with my present spiritual condition? (Pastor Mike)