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Monthly Archives : June 2016

Love… The Address Of The Heart … 1 Corinthians 13:13 … June 26, 2016
So now faith,hope,and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.                           
                                                                                1 Corinthians 13:13 ESV
 
 
        How would you describe love to a person?  Would you agree that love is not as easy to explain as it is to show by actions?  Have you ever heard it said of a couple,  “They are so in love.”  Wouldn’t this statement be due to their actions toward each other?  Love is the greatest attribute in the Christian life.  Without love everything else is worthless and of no real value.  Love is the only part of the Christian life that will go on forever.  Faith will cease when it gives way to sight, hope will cease when we have that which we’ve hoped for, but love will never cease. That is why in the last verse of 1 Corinthians 13 it states “The greatest of these is love.”   Love is where you are to abide or live.  It should be your address when someone is looking you up. The address known by all the town folks and especially your neighbors.   Think about this for a moment……Jesus had no place in which to call His own, yet people always knew where to find Him – thousands upon thousands of people.  His address was not a physical place; it was the address of His heart.   Just ask those who were in his presence. After visiting with Jesus, many went away never to be the same.  They were fed, healed, forgiven, and changed in ways that would effect them for all eternity.   Jesus loves and loved in all His actions…..all the way to the cross.  He showed us glimpses of His Father everyday that He lived upon this earth.  So how might we do the same in showing God’s love toward people.    
 
BE GENUINE:
     Let love be GENUINE. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection.  Outdo one another in showing honor.  Romans 12:9-10 ESV
This type of love is seen and is shown by actions rather than talk.  The old adage, “Actions speak louder than words” would apply here.  This is not a love that loves for what it can receive in return, but rather a love that honors God with much glory.   
 
MAKE LOVE THE PRIORITY
     Let ALL that you do be done in  love.  1Corinthians 16:14 ESV
We will do what we deem important in our life.  If we desire to love others more than anything else, we will do so.  Keep in mind loving can be hard work especially when dealing with someone that might be hard to love.  Remember how God loved us as an example of how we are to love others.  God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8 ESV
 
MAKE IT YOUR ADDRESS
     As the Father has loves me, so I have loved you. ABIDE in my love. John 15:9 ESV
Obviously this is not a physical address but the address of your heart.  It is where people know you live in your Christian walk.  How are you known by others in your daily living?  When talking about your church or looking for a church, do you seek or talk about what the church offers or where you can best serve?  This simple question may help in giving you insight to the address of your heart.  Remember this- it would have been far for comfortable for Jesus to stay in heaven.  But he came to earth to serve not be served.  For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.  Mark 10:45 ESV    Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.  John 15:13 ESV  God is Love, and this fact will never be affected by man’s views or opinions.   His Son made this clear in the way He lived…….it was the address of His heart.  It was where He lived, and it is the same address we should have in our lives today when going by the name Christian. 
 
 
By His Grace ~ Pastor David
Heavenly Minded, It’s a Good Thing … Colossians 3:2 … June 12, 2016

Set your mind on things above, not on the things on the earth.   Colossians 3:2

What dominates your thoughts? Fear? Do the “what if’s” of life rob you of present joys? Anger? Do you find yourself upset and reacting to circumstances beyond your control? Sadness? Have losses in your life caused you to feel like everyday is overcast with clouds of regret? Worries concerning finances? How will I ever make it to the first or end of the month? Criticism? Never satisfied with the people God placed in your life or the direction of your daily life. On the list could go of negative thoughts that can suck the life right out of daily living.

    I have heard it said, “Don’t be so heavenly minded that you are of no earthly good.” In fact, I know I’ve said it myself a time or two. I no longer believe this to be a true statement. I do not believe that we can be too heavenly minded when it comes to a life in Christ and Colossians 3:2 tells us clearly to, “Set your mind on things above”. Why is it so important for this to be your focus/mindset? Verse one gives us a clear answer, “Where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. You are to seek those things which are above,” and seeking requires focus. There is so much that can dominate your focus/mind that will ultimately rob you of peace and joy. So how do we start to develop this mindset?

1. SET A GOAL

     One thing I know for sure; if you do not set goals in your Christian pilgrimage, you will grow stagnate. Paul gave us this insight, Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the GOAL for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:12-14 ESV 

     What is the goal you have set as a Christian in living strong? Goals are intended to help us organize, evaluate, and to move forward. Someone once told me if you reach your goals easily, you haven’t set your goals high enough. The greatest goal you can set in the Christian life is to be like Jesus. Trust me, that is a high enough goal.

2. BE THANKFUL IN EVERYTHING

     Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs with THANKFULNESS in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, GIVING THANKS to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:16-17 ESV

3. PRAY

     Pray without ceasing. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 ESV … Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your request be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7 ESV

4. GUARD YOUR THOUGHTS

     Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, THINK ABOUT THESE THINGS. Whatever you have learned and received and heard and seen in me – practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:8-9 ESV

There really is no great secret in having a mind of peace. When you worry, it brings great stress to your body. When you rest, it renews your mind. Let your mind rest upon Jesus and all that He has done for you and is yet to do. When your world may come crashing down around you, look to heaven; for all that is really important is there.

Because of His Grace ~ Pastor David

No Condemnation, Only Salvation … John 3:17 … June 5, 2016
For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. John 3 :17
      Everything we are as Christians is because of the cross, the empty tomb, and the risen Savior.  God sent Jesus to redeem us and to set us free from the penalty of sin.  We must always remember that the story of Christianity isn’t about condemnation but salvation.  Everyone, that believes in Him and repents of sin, will be forgiven and becomes part of the family of God by spiritual adoption.  What a privilege it is to be called a child of God!  This is only possible because Jesus was willing to die on the cross and defeat sin/death by rising from the dead.  In doing so Jesus brought God His Father glory and honor.  Jesus’s desire to honor His Father by being obedient unto death continually brings Him glory today, for God is glorified in every person that experiences His salvation.  This makes life extremely important; for all who go by the name ”Christian,” acknowledges the risen Savior and his power to save. We are the continuation of this redemptive story.   So how should this story be told by your life?
    First, by giving a clear message that His coming was not to condemn but to save.  Condemnation was already a reality.  Jesus didn’t need to come reminding us of that fact but rather to give us hope.  For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.  Luke 19:10 ESV ….. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!  According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a LIVING HOPE through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. 1 Peter 1:3 ESV
Second, by teaching the world of His salvation.  And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.  Acts4:12 ESV ….  Jesus said to him, “ I am the way, and the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.”  John 14:6 ESV
Third, by living with anticipation of his return.  In my Father’s house are many rooms.  If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I WILL COME AGAIN and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.  John 14:2-3 ESV
       Other religions have made many claims, but only Christianity can boast of the eternal living God.  You can visit the graves of those who many have followed, but there is no grave for the Christian to visit…….only a empty tomb.  Thank you God for no condemnation and for salvation that overcomes the world … even death.  May my life be a continuation of this story until His return.
Because His Grace ~ Pastor David
Truth is Freeing Indeed … John 8:31-31… May 22, 2016

   

So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him,”If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.             
John 8:31-32  ESV
     It is one thing to believe in Jesus intellectually  yet quite another to live for Him.  In verse 31 Jesus spoke to the Jews who believed in Him, but by verse 59 they had picked up stones to stone Him.  He also said in verse 31 …...“If you abide in my word” (ESV)  “hold to my teachings” (NIV) “remain faithful to my teachings”(NLT) “continue in My word”(HCSB),……”You are truly my disciples”. I know we are not saved / redeemed by our works but by His grace and mercy. Ephesians 2:8-9. However how a person lives, tells you much about what they believe. But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works. “Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that God is one; you do well.  Even the demons believe-and shudder!  James 2: 18-19 ESV  As a thought, how much do you love the Lord?  I know people have different love languages but every love language always involves action.  When you say, “I Love Jesus,” do your actions match your speech?  The life in Christ has a reward attached to it now  not only when we go to be with Him.  It is knowing His truth and that His truth will set you free.  Many will say that Truth is objective, and there is no absolute truth.  If you believe that, then you are absolutely right that there is no absolute truth. But wait, what makes the statement, “there is no absolute truth” true if there is no absolute truth?  Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)  Jesus didn’t come into the world to condemn the world but that the world through Him might be saved. John 3:17  People all over the world worship someone or something so what makes God /Jesus / Holy Spirit different?  God created the world and everything in it. Jesus, God’s Son, came  to save us from sin and set us free. The Holy Spirit indwells us enabling us to do that which we could never accomplish on our own.  So what is the truth that sets you free?  
1. It is knowing God though His Son Jesus and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit by the confession and repenting of your sin.  
2. It is living a life that bears the evidence that you belong to Jesus.  You will never be perfect, but you are forgiven and can anticipate the fact that one day you will be with Him because He came for you.                                                                                    
This truth, if accepted and received, is very freeing ……very freeing indeed.
 
Because of His Grace~ Pastor David
The Symphony of the Christian Life … Romans 6:1 … May 15, 2016

        Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for rightness. Romans 6:13 ESV

Sanctification: The state of growing in divine grace as a result of Christian commitment after baptism or conversion. (Webster Collegiate Dictionary)

Christians cannot sin successfully……sin yes, successfully no. The Holy Spirit will not allow this because of the sanctifying process He is completing in you. Your body is to be an instrument used to bring God glory, This is referring to your hands, mouth, feet, and every part of your being. Let me present this to you in another light for the sake of illustration. When I think of instruments outside of this context, I think of musical instruments. If your life was made of musical instruments, what would be the melody and lyrics of your life? Think how powerful music can be to those listening or playing it. A musician doesn’t just wake up one day able to play with great ability. It is the result of a lifetime of effort, and teachers pouring themselves into the life of the musician enabling them to perform. So it is in the sanctification process…….the Holy Spirit teaches us a new melody in life more beautiful than we could ever produce left to ourselves. Yes, it takes practice and effort, but the ability and accomplishment only happen because of the teaching of the Holy Spirit. Lives taught by the Holy Spirit should sing out faithfulness, perseverance, love, mercy, and holiness, which are just a few of the many instruments that make up the symphony of the Christian life. The sour note of sin played on the instrument of life will be more recognizable to the one who practices the teaching of the Holy Spirit. Just as a great conductor of a symphony will point out the improper note, so will the Holy Spirit in the life of the Christian. So where do we begin?

First, commit not to live willfully in sin. “Do not present your members to sin.” In other words, “give no opportunity to the devil.” Ephesians 4:27 ESV Satan is more than willing to bring temptations of sin to you …. don’t make it easy for him in your life.

Second, recognize who you are in Christ…… Alive “Present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life.”  “So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. Romans 6:11 ESV

Thirdly, be an instrument in God’s symphony of life. “and your members to God as instruments for righteousness.” As an instrument in the hand of a master performer, may your life be lead by the master conductor producing the beautiful music of the Christian life for all the world to hear.

Just a closing thought …..if you are not playing the music of the Christian life, could you be in the wrong symphony? This would be a horrible thought when it is all played back to you someday, standing before the One who created the music of life, realizing you really didn’t know the composer.

Because of His Grace ~ Pastor David

Cancer Of The Soul and Its Cure … Ephesians 4:31-23 … May 29, 2016
Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.  Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another , as God in Christ forgave you.  Ephesians 4:31-32 ESV
   
  Cancer.  I looked up on the internet how many different kinds of cancer there are, and one source stated there are over 100 different kinds.   Everyone knows a friend, acquaintance, or family member they love that one day will be diagnosed with this dreaded disease.  Billions have been spent on research for a cure and with some success, we hear reports of “in remission” or “cancer free”.  Cancer reminds us more directly how fragile life can be, and in many cases it cuts short desires of long life.   Sin is the cancer of the soul; and if you total up how many different types of sin cancers there are, I’m sure it would exceed the number of physical cancers.  Sin cancer will rob you of life just as physical cancer, but the difference is that there is a one hundred percent cure for the cancer of sin.  While the healing process is immediate concerning the death attached to sin, we will take spiritual treatments the rest of our life in doses given by the Holy Spirit.
     Today, we will look at the cancer of bitterness that deprives a life of love,  joy, and peace.  Have you ever read on a label “this ingredient has been known to cause cancer”?  What ingredient of thought have you ingested into your mind that causes bitterness to grow?  You desire wrath to fall on someone who has hurt you…You want vengeance!!!  You may be consumed with anger at someone who said they would never leave you but did.  Your mind is overloaded with the noise and clamor of injustice done to you.  You might even say slanderous things about a person or people just to satisfy the bitterness that consumes you because of the pain they caused in your life.  In the worst case scenario,  you would like to cause them malice which is physical or mental harm.   I have read that we all have cancer cells in our body.  I know that without exception we all have the sin cancer in our minds.  So the sin of bitterness can overtake anyone who has been treated cruelly, unjustly, with ingratitude, or fill in the blank for your own life circumstance.  Bitterness can only thrive in your life when you dwell on whatever caused it to begin.  So how do you overcome it?  The treatment for bitterness may not be easy at first but you must remember that it is for yourself that you are seeking healing from this cancer of sin.  A sin cancer that is robbing you of the life that God wants you to have abundantly. 
First, we must make the decision to be kind…. Repay no evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all.  If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceable with all.  Romans 12:17-18 ESV  You cannot control how another person conducts themselves or behaves but you can choose how you conduct yourself.  Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.   Romans 12:21 ESV……  I told you it wasn’t going to be easy, especially when you are fighting bitterness.  The place to start in being kind is to pray for them.  This is what Jesus did when they were crucifying him. Remember his words?  “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Luke 23:34 ESV 
Second, be tenderhearted….  This is a heart that is teachable.  As a vine grows you can take the tender branches and direct them in the direction you choose them to go.  But when it has grown, the vine becomes thick and harder to train.  So it is with our hearts.  If our heart become hard, it becomes more difficult to go in the direction we know that is right.  The Bible is God’s word, and it directs us in how we should live to bring Him glory.  Sometimes that may even be painful.  As the gardner prunes the vine, so God may prune us to reroute the direction of our life.  Jesus said,” I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser.  Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.” John 15:1-2 ESV  …. 
Third, forgive one another….  Forgiveness is not something we do because the person deserves it; it is something we do because we have been told to do so by God.   It is more difficult to forgive than it is to hold a grudge.   Yet the grudge robs you of love, joy, and peace because the grudge keeps replaying the offense over and over in your mind.  One reason we are told to forgive is:  it is freeing us to live again.  It is impossible to harbor a grudge and true love, joy and peace in your life at the same time.  He told us to forgive as He has forgiven us. (as God in Christ forgave you)  You might say,  “You don’t know what I’ve been thorough or what a certain person has done to me” and you might be right.  But I also know that God calls us to live differently than the world.  He calls us to live differently so that others might see something different in us that will cause them to hopefully evaluate why.  We do so that they might receive a glimpse of Jesus in the darkness of their life.  In other words we reflect the light/love of Jesus who did for us when we did not deserve it.  For one will scarcely die for a righteous person-though perhaps for a good person one would even dare die- but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  Romans 5:7-9 ESV
    Do not try to do all the above in your own strength for you will surely fail.  Rather cry out to God for strength and know that as stated in scripture, “I can do all thing through Christ which strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13 ESV  Pray the Holy Spirit will give you a treatment to kill the sin cancer of bitterness, enabling you to experience the abundant life of love , joy, and peace.
Because of His Grace ~ Pastor David 
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