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Monthly Archives : November 2018

HOPE …… Psalm 42:5b …… November 25, 2018

Hope in God …… Psalm 42:5b

      To hope in God is to live in the assurance of His promises. It is being keenly aware of the fact that God cannot and will not lie. (Hebrews 6:18) In a day of instant gratification, this may be a difficult truth to grasp, but hope believes God in the midst of life’s storms. God will calm these storms in His time and when the storm has accomplished its intended purpose. Storms are nothing new in life, and there were many so-called storms that surrounded Jesus, months before his birth, then during His birth, and following His birth. Christian hope is believing and knowing everything will keep moving in the direction God intended for kingdom purpose, no matter what the circumstance. Let us look at storms experienced by those who were involved in the coming of Jesus the first time.

STORM ONE:
     Joseph found Mary with child before they had ever come together. And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. Matthew 1:19 ESV  We don’t have a lot of information here, but one can only guess what was going through Joseph’s mind. Perhaps the heartache of misunderstanding, of trust betrayed, of love lost. What does this tell us about the man who would be stepfather to God’s son? The fact that he wasn’t going to make public her pregnancy caused by someone else showed restraint. In that day, unwed pregnancy was punishable by stoning the woman to death. This tells me much of the man God chose. He was a kind man, not self-centered, but was a man of love and compassion. He was man that also listened. But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.” Matthew 1:20 ESV ……When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife. Matthew 1:24 ESV  This storm gave us a glimpse of Joseph’s character.

STORM TWO:
     Joseph had a pregnant wife and was ordered by Caesar Augustus to travel from Nazareth to Bethlehem in order to be registered/counted. This trip would be approximately 100 miles in distance and Mary his wife was very close to giving birth. This could be a difficult trip in modern days, but they had to do it by donkey and walking. When they arrived in Bethlehem, there were no vacancies anywhere which forced them to a dwelling made for animals that had a manger. Having to travel to Bethlehem was the storm, but it fulfilled the prophecy of Micah 5:2. But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is the ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from old, from ancient days.

STORM THREE:
There was a king named Herod whom the wise men visited when looking for Jesus. Herod became troubled over the news of Jesus’s birth and planned to kill him. He requested the wise men return to him and give him the location of Jesus that he might ‘come and worship Him, too’. God warned the wise men in a dream not to return to Herod, and they went home without returning to Herod. (Matthew 2:1-12) It was shortly after they left that an angel appeared to Joseph in a dream and told him to flee to Egypt (Matthew 2:13-15) Why this storm? It was so another of many prophecies would be fulfilled concerning Jesus. When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son. Hosea 11:1 ESV

We are given stories throughout the Bible of hopes fulfilled for those who followed God and believed. As we follow God as Christians, we are living in the hope of things yet to come. This is not a hope of possibilities, but a hope of assurance that gives us strength, for it is based upon the word of the living God. Jesus came the first time just as God had promised, and He will come again…. as promised. It is living in the hope, not that I might make it to heaven, but in the assurance that I will. This fact is not based upon who I am, but who Jesus is. The Lamb of God, who took away the consequence of my sin…..death. Every storm/event/experience has kingdom purpose in the life of the Christian. It gives us the opportunity to give testimony of the hope we have in God alone. Not a hope based on logic, but a hope based upon His word. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. Hebrews 10:23 ESV  So may we sing with boldness and confidence…… My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness; I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on JESUS’ NAME. On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand; all other ground is sinking sand.

Because of His Grace ~ Pastor David

Give Thanks……1 Thessalonians 5:18 …… November 18, 2018

     Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 ESV

     I heard a saying recently; I’m not sure who said it, but it goes something like this: “If I only had tomorrow what I thanked God for today, what would my world look like?” I immediately began to think of all the things I was thankful for, but later as I thought more about it, I realized I’d missed the mark. As Christians we need to be thankful for everything, but most importantly, for our relationship with God. First and foremost God should always top the list in the Christian’s life when it comes to being thankful. Sometimes we take for granted those we love the most. How many times when someone we love passes away do we say, “I wish I’d spent more time with them”? Or how often have you heard a parent say, “I worked so hard when my kids were growing up; I wish I’d spent more time doing things with them”? It isn’t that you didn’t love them; it was perhaps the thought “I will do it tomorrow.” The only problem is …. tomorrow is always tomorrow. It is God’s will for us to live thankful as stated in the above verse, but let us evaluate what that looks like for the Christian. It is easy for us to give thanks in good situations but what about in difficult times? We are, according to the will of God, to be thankful in…. every…. circumstance/situation/in everything.

In Good Times:
     
It is easy to be thankful when things are going good. When the sea parts, and you are able to escape the approaching army by walking to safety on dry ground. When the harvest is plentiful and the barns are full. When you are healthy and experiencing life without apparent conflict. When life in general is just good, good, good. In these times we express, and rightly so, “God has been so very good to us and we are thankful.”

In Difficult Times:
     Ok, it might not be quite as easy here, but we are still able to give thanks. Things are not going so well, but we are able to endure, for we can see light at the end of the tunnel. I’m always thankful when I can see, in life’s difficult situations, that it will only be a season. I may express thankfulness for what I see coming, more than my present circumstance. However, is God any less good and worthy of thanksgiving in this time than in the good times? Not if I believe you give thanks to God in the middle of every circumstance.

In Dark Times:
     This is where life is overwhelming, and there is no end in sight of the present circumstance or situation. In the book of Job, you can see this type of reality, as almost everything for which one would be thankful was taken away from him in one day. Then in days that followed, after the loss of all earthly blessings, he lost his health. One can see Job’s true heart when he was requested to curse God and die (Job 2:9) and this was his reply, “Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this Job did not sin with his lips.” Job 2:10b ESV

     Please understand that sometimes we give thanks not necessarily for the circumstances of life, but we give thanks to God in the midst of every circumstance. To be able to give thanks to God in the midst of every circumstance is to give testimony that your faith is in God and not in your position, or circumstances experienced in life. I have heard the statement, “Life is not fair.” Let me ask the question, “Fair for you or for God?” If life was fair Jesus would not have died on the cross for our sins. Fair would be that we pay the consequence for our own sin, not Jesus. The person who believes that life should be fair, is a person the devil will be able to easily sidetrack with a bad circumstance. I told my children when they were growing up, “You cannot always choose what life deals to you, but you can choose how you are going to deal with it.” Years ago when I experienced my heart attack, a nurse came in and said to me, “It’s not fair.” I asked, “What’s not fair?” She said, “You’re active, not overweight, yet you had a heart attack and have diabetes.” To which I replied with a smile, “Welcome to life.” By the way, how the Lord took care of me with a wife and four children at home over the days and weeks that followed was amazing. Not easy but amazing. Let me encourage you to practice this next week being THANKFUL TO GOD IN CHRIST JESUS before you give thanks for anything else. Don’t focus on any circumstance, be it good or bad, but only on God. Give thanks to him for his greatness, mercy, grace, salvation, and many, many more attributes. Do this and experience the joy that comes from living thankful to God. I hope you have an awesome Giving of Thanks this week.

Because of His Grace ~Pastor David

Living Thankful…… Colossians 3:15…… November 11, 2018

     And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Colossians 3:15ESV

     We are  living in a time where there seems to be much turmoil and stress. Perhaps this is not different from other times in history. There is turmoil and stressing every historic age. Nothing is new under the sun. I believe everything has a cause and effect. What we focus upon will affect our mental, and in some cases, our physical health. As Christians we have been given instructions as to how we are too live each day, and the Bible is full of such instructions. Is is one thing to know about such teachings and it is another to live these teachings. One place to live the teachings of the Bible is in the area of thankfulness. So let me ask a question, “What are you thankful for?” Many of us would say we are thankful for heath, food, our home, family, and on and on the list could go. What if the first thing that came from your lips when asked what you are thankful for was…….Jesus. All the afore mentioned things for which you said you were thankful can be lost but not Jesus. Don’t misunderstand; I believe we should be thankful for all those, but Jesus should be the focus of our thankfulness. So how do we make Jesus the center of our focus and thankfulness?

 

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly: Colossians 3:16a ESV
     There has always been a collation of living in victory by hiding and honoring God’s word in your heart. (Psalm 119:9-11 … 119:105 … Luke 6:47-48) This is not a casual reading of the word; this is writing it upon your heart with intention. It is daily looking to it for strength, it is seeking direction in living in harmony, and it is living obediently the teachings of Jesus. It is walking in the grace of Jesus as He teaches us by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. We will stumble and fall, but we don’t have to stay down because, “He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” 1John 4:4 ESV

Singing psalms and hymns and spiritual song with thanksgiving: Colossians 3:16b ESV
     What do you sing? When all that God has done through Jesus and Holy Spirit is your focus, you will sing willingly with an outpouring of gratitude in song. I will sing to the LORD, because he has dealt bountifully with me. Psalm 13:6 ESV….. Sing to him, sing praises to him; tell of all his wondrous works! Psalm 105:2 ESV….. You can sing in every situation of life – good, bad, or indifferent because the goodness of God never changes. Paul and Silas gave us a great testimony of this fact. After being beaten, put in jail, and chained, About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them Acts 16:25 ESV Read the following verses and see the effect it had on this situation and those around them.

 

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 3:17 ESV
     As Christians we need to be intentional in our walk with God, not casual.  In him we live and move and have our being. Acts 17:28 ESV  We need intentional Bible study time, prayer time, market place time, rest time…. all the time living on purpose for Jesus. If we live more this way, we will be thankful for the joy that comes from serving and living in His will everyday.

The peace we have is not our own; its “the peace of Christ”  It is as a quote I once read…. “Know Jesus – Know Peace …. No Jesus – No Peace.” So let us as Christinas live on purpose for God, And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Colossians 3:15 ESV

Because of His Grace ~ Pastor David

Jesus In Jude …. Our Enduring Grace …… November 4, 2018

     Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Jude 24-25 ESV

     The book of Jude teaches us how we should live and gives testimony as to what we believe. There were those, which this book addresses, who were using the grace of God as a ticket to sin. They were living immorally and selfishly and claiming to be under grace. This in a nutshell gives an overview of the book. In this book, warning are given as to how God has dealt with sin in the past, and He hasn’t changed. Not only were people living in this manner, but false teachers, perhaps those who teach the prosperity gospel today, were promoting this false way of living. Jude addresses the improper lifestyles more than the false teaching. I believe it is because your life will always give testimony as to what you believe. Also, if you live improperly with NO regard to holiness, you are communicating to God, who is Holy, that He has made little difference in you life. You are also revealing how little YOU love him, for if you love him, you will desire to live holy. Jesus said, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” John 14:15 ESV  We were not redeemed by the precious blood of Jesus to live with no regard for his teachings. Some teachings that involve grace are this…. That we are saved by it (Ephesians 2:8-9)…. That we don’t use it as a ticket to sin (Romans 6:1,14-15) and a multitude of other verses and teachings throughout the Bible also testify to that. Grace is a beautiful thing, for it is a gift to us. I provides for us a life in Christ that we could never obtain on our own. It is able to hold on to us when we fail. It is the expression of God’s abundant love for us by giving us the gift of life through His Son Jesus. Grace is God’s hand in our life doing wonderful things.

Keeps Us:
     We walk not in our own strength but in His strength because the Holy Spirit live in each one of us as Christians. We are soldiers in battle, not against flesh and blood but against an uses foe; but we walk not alone, fore he is with us. Paul addressed Timothy when he said, “You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus.” 2 Timothy 2:1 ESV  We have the Holy Spirit which Jesus promised before He ascended. Because we have this Spirit living in us, we, as Christinas, are the Temple of the Holy Spirit. This presence is for us that we might not walk alone but be empowered by His grace that keeps us living in the truth of His ways, and that we might be witnesses to all

Covers Us:
     We will one day stand before God, and if we were to do so without Christ, our sin would be all that God saw. Jesus is the grace need and given for the purpose of covering our sins by paying a debt he did not owe…. Our sin debt. He will one day present us before God, not in our righteousness but His. He saved my life for His glory. If someone took a bullet for fee, I would be eternally grateful and would like to thing I would do all I could to express my thankfulness. Especially if I deserved that bullet, and they were innocent but cared more about me than their own life. That describes in a very simple way what Jesus did for us as sinners. I am saved by His blood, and I desire to live for Him. I am thankful for His grace in my life. Without such beautiful grace, I would have no hope.

     Our response to such grace should be to honor Him by how we worship and live. Not Casually but with our mind, body, and soul. Everything within us should shout…… GLORY!      MAJESTY!     DOMINION!     AND     AUTHORITY!     BEFORE ALL TIME AND NOW AND FOREVER MORE! God has and is doing great things in our lives as Christians, and we need to be very careful not to become gospel-hardened … to hear and not be moved by the fact that we worship the Creator of the universe, and that He sent His only Son to die for us. Think much on this; for if we don’t, we will fill our minds with things that really don’t matter.  Never forget to keep what is most important in your life the most important. The most important is … God the Father….Jesus…. And the Holy Spirit and the grace that was shown by Him.  He is eternal and nothing else has eternal value. This is our enduring grace….. IN CHRIST ALONE!

Because Of His marvelous Grace ~ Pastor David

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