Drop us a line...

Send Message

Monthly Archives : January 2019

STRENGTH JANUARY 27, 2019

     And you shall love the Lord you God with all your heart and with all your soul, and with all your mind and with all your STRENGTH. Mark 12:30 ESV

     To have strength in the Lord you must acknowledge that He is your strength. He is your strength when He is your focus. However, when sin becomes the focus, you lose sight of God. Sin begins to weaken you by placing burdens upon you that you were never intended or able to bear. It is His abiding presence that we should pursue in order to exercise this strength. Seek the Lord and his strength; see his presence continually! 1 Chronicles 16:11 ESV  Remember, exercising the mind in the things of the Lord to gain spiritual strength is just as important as exercising the body for physical strength. I have heard many use the verse Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me, when attempting to accomplish a difficult physical task. In context however, this is referring to the challenges that we faced in our minds. Circumstances of life that weigh on the mind can bring us down both mentally and physically. When overwhelmed mentally, we can lose joy. And when we lose joy, we lose strength. It is important to remember…. the joy of the Lord IS your strength. Nehemiah 8:10b ESV  So, knowing strength comes from him, how do we grow in this strength, to love him more every day?

LIVE:
In him we live and move and have our being. Acts 17:28a ESV
 Our lives should define who we are in Christ by how we live every day.  When Mary and I got married, we ceased to live at separate locations. We ceased to be two separate people, in spirit. We became as one flesh abiding together and growing to love each other more every day. So it is as the bride of Christ. We are joined together in relationship with God through Christ, and we are defined by this relationship. God is not just someone to visit on Sunday. He is the address of our soul. The more I grow my relationship with God, the more I grow to love him. The more I understand the sacrifice He made for me, the more precious He becomes to me. This is never more real in my life than when I live, move, and have my being in Him. His strength of love for me becomes my strength to love Him back. This strength doesn’t come from knowing about Him, but knowing Him as Savior, Redeemer, and Friend.

WORSHIP
     When I think of worship, I think of joy. I have never encountered anyone worshipping God without experiencing the joy that comes from knowing Him. The Joy of the Lord is your strength. Nehemiah 8:10b ESV  This is not saying you have strength only when everything is going great in your life; rather it is strength from the joy of knowing God’s abiding presence in your life, in every circumstance of life. Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 ESV  This is why Peter and the apostles were able to rejoice in suffering (Acts 5:41)  Worship, as love, is a choice the Christian should always make. In life as a Christian you will show strength in loving God by worshipping Him always…. NO MATTER WHAT!

     Do not be burdened down by weakness, but focus on the love that God has shown you in Christ Jesus. Love requires you to have strength, and some of the strongest people I know …. have love …. especially those who love God.

Because of His Grace ~ Pastor David

The Mind January 20, 2019

     And you shall love the Lord you God with all your heart and with all your soul, and with all yourMIND, and with all your strength. Mark 12:30 ESV

     Everything begins in the mind, for this is where battles are won and lost in life for every individual and Christian. It is the battle ground where Satan attacks a person with lies and half truths that cause confusion, frustrations, fear, and on this list could go. When a person fights these battles in his or her own strength, the only outcome will be loss and failure. The person who thinks they are strong and can take care of themselves, underestimates the power of Satan. I once heard a story that went something like this. A person said, “There was no God” …. which is a lie Satan attempts to perpetuate in the mind of this person and anyone else who will believe such a lie. This person lived their whole life with few apparent problems; and from all outward appearances, he seemed quite happy and successful. This person appeared to move freely in and out of all the doors of life. However, where he lived was in the prison of sin which he denied could hold him or would have any consequences. The door to that prison cell of sin is open, and he seemed to move about freely, often boasting of his personal freedoms. This was true until one day the door of life closed, and in death the door to that prison of sin also closed, never to open again. No more freedoms and no more brags, for the door is locked for all eternity. This person may demand for the door to be opened, but Satan laughs and says, “I won your mind, and now I have won you.” In the cell of his sin and death he had become a trophy for Satan. This is obviously allegorical, but the real outcome at the end of life without Jesus and His Salvation is JUST AS FRIGHTENING!

The past two Sundays we have defined Christianity as loving God on purpose with our heart and soul and this Sunday I want to share how we love God with our minds.

WE GIVE NO PLACE TO THE DEVIL:
     For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. Romans 8:5 ESV
     When I have an object of value, I put it in a safe place in order to protect it. I do not and will not place it where it might be broken or damaged. If we set our minds upon this world, we are placing it in danger, for the mind should be protected by the Spirit of God. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. Romans 8:6 ESV

WE MAKE NEW LIFE THOUGHTS:
     Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may decree what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2 ESV
     In the life of a person who has become a Christian, a process of reprogramming the mind begins. In the computer world there is a phrase- garbage in, garbage out. In other words, if you program into the computer that 2+2= 5, then when seeking the answer for this equation, the computer will always tell you 5 until you renew the answer to the correct number 4. Seeking to be right in our own way is like programming our minds with a way we deem to be true. Proverbs 16:25 gives you the result of such thinking. There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.

WE FOCUS UPON GOD:
     If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your MINDS on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. Colossians 3:1-2 ESV

     This is how we accomplish both giving no place to the devil and making new thoughts. Our focus in life must be a single focus upon God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit. This is the most important of all we do as Christians, for to focus here is to set your mind in a safe place and to learn the new way of thinking that will change how you live. It is gaining the correct answers to all the problems and challenges life has to give.

     The best way to accomplish the above three thoughts is to spend as much time as possible in the word of God. To place scripture in your mind as a Christian is like reprograming our minds to love God more. It fills our minds with truth and not the garbage of the world. This is how we can love God with all our mind.

Because of HIs Grace ~ Pastor David

HEART & SOUL JANUARY 13, 2019

     My soul longs, yes, faints for the courts of the Lord; my heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God. Psalm 84:2

     When God created man, He breathed into him the breath of life. (Genesis 2:7) This breath took Adam from being flesh made from dust to being a living soul. The soul is the part of life which is deep inside a person, and as long as the heart is beating the soul remains. When the breath of life leaves the body, the soul leaves the body, and life in the flesh as we know it, dies. Understand, we were created on purpose and for a purpose. Let everything that has breath praise the Lord! Psalm 150:6 ESV  The heart and soul are synonymous when describing life. The soul makes up the mind, will, and emotions of a person whereas the heart is what keeps the life-flowing blood moving through our body. Through out the Bible these two parts of who we are, are often used to describe life, both physical and spiritual. Last Sunday, when defining Christianity, I used a passage from Mark’s gospel as spoken by Jesus, “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” Mark 12:30 ESV  Obviously this covers the whole make-up of a person when loving God, but today I want to give thought on two specific parts …..the soul and heart.

THE SOUL:
My soul longs, yes, faints for the courts of the Lord;….. Psalm 84:2a ESV
     This Psalm describes someone desiring to be in God’s presence more than anything else. It’s a life that desires with “an overwhelming want” to be where God is. This is someone who wants more than simply being acquainted with God; he wants to KNOW Him, to be with Him, to be touched by Him, to walk with Him…….. This happens from deep within the person who is seeking after the things of God. The more they taste and see that the Lord is good, the greater their appetite grows for more of Him. (Psalm 35:8) This is a person who seeks God not because He is hiding, but because He desires to experience more of his presence in his life. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:13 ESV  This is how you [l]ove the Lord your God with all your SOUL…. Mark 12:30a ESV

THE HEART:
My heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God. Psalm 84:2
     Heart and flesh show the more visible aspects of what is in the soul. The heart here can represent both the inner life of the soul and the outer life of the flesh for it is tied to both. The inner, because it reflects the soul’s desires, and the outer, for it proclaims it with song, praising God. A person can perform/sing with an outer expression, but that might be all that it is… a performance …. but for the soul that is longing for Him, it is more than a performance. It is a burning desire for God to know you love and worship Him. I give you thanks, O LORD, with my whole heart; before gods I sing your praise; Psalm 138:1 ESV  This is one who wants to bring God much glory….. I give thanks to you,O Lord my God, WITH MY WHOLE HEART, and I WILL GLORIFY YOUR NAME FOREVER. Psalm 86:12 ESV

     Love is taught the same way hate is taught…. by actions. It is important, as Christians, that we express our love for God with our speech, actions, and walk. Anyone can call themselves a Christian, sing, or talk a good talk, but to do these three with joy is to desire, long, faint for the presence of God the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit in your life. Otherwise you are just religious, and religion without God is burdensome. Desire to live in His presence, and you will experience the Joy that will make you want to sing of your love for Him…. forever.

Because of His Grace ~ Pastor David

DEFINING CHRISTIANITY JANUARY 6, 2019

     “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” Mark 12:30 ESV

     This past week I have asked different individuals to define what it means to be a Christian. I have read from blogs and discussion forums on different internet sites. This has proven interesting to me, with the many different views and explanations I have received. I have heard some say, “It is to be a follower of Christ”; others described a lifestyle that should be lived, and some expressed rather different definitions. This is a definition I would like for you to consider in the defining process: “living a life dedicated to finding ways to love God”. Every person who is a Christian, is so, because God has shown and has given love to us through His Son Jesus. Being a Christian isn’t just about living by certain standards of do’s and don’t’s. It’s about living a life of loving God on purpose. Think about it this way. I follow God because I love Him. I live, choosing a certain way of doing or not doing something, as an expression to God of my love for Him. In one word….LOVE…Christianity can best be defined. Love should be the address of every Christian. We should live in a subdivision called Love with street names like Faith, Hope, Joy, Praise, Kindness, Generosity, Forgiveness, and on the list of streets names could go. It is a place where Christians live, not a place they visit. The foundation for all the houses in this subdivision has been laid by and is Jesus. Jesus never gave the name “Christian” to those who followed him; this happened for the first time at Antioch. (Acts 11:26) In fact, only two other times in the bible was the name “Christian” used: Acts 26:28 and 1 Peter 4:16. Jesus never said you should call yourselves Christians, but He did give us the material with which to build. This later caused others to attach the name “Christian” to the believers of Jesus.

LOVE ME:
     If you love me you will keep my commandments. John 14:15 ESV ….. Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.” John 14:23 ESV  This is living on purpose and for the purpose of loving God. Psalm 119:11 ESV  I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. You do not memorize and live the Word to impress people but to love God. Being a Christian isn’t about having a ticket to Heaven, but believing and accepting the good news of the gospel that Jesus has saved/rescued you from death, and you live, loving and expressing gratitude every earthly day you have left.

LOVE IS THE GREATEST:
     1 Corinthians 13 is often described as the love chapter and teaches what love is and is not. The last verse after all the teaching and description of love says this, “So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three: but the greatest of these is love.” verse 13 ESV  Once again I remind you, love is where we live/abide. The love for God will be what matters when you enter into your eternal home, not the stuff described by some as being a Christian. Remember the words of Jesus, “Not everyone who says to me, Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of Heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in Heaven.” Matthew 7:21 ESV  So what is the will of the Father?  For this is the will of my Father, that everyone WHO LOOKS ON THE SON AND BELIEVES IN HIM should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. John 6:40 ESV  As I have often said, “What you believe will determine how you live.” If you believe John 3:16 and believe in Jesus as the Son of God who took away your sin, you will live loving Him on purpose.

LOVE IS THE MOST IMPORTANT:
    It was asked of Jesus what is the most important commandment, and Jesus gave this answer, “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” Mark 12:30 ESV  When you are living/loving God on purpose, it will be more evident that you are a Christian by how you live than by what you say; just as the cliche says, “Actions speak louder than words.”

My challenge to you this day is to live/love as instructed by Jesus in Mark 12:30. Do this, and others will know that you are a Christian.

Because of His Grace ~ Pastor David

NEW BEGINNINGS …. DECEMBER 30, 2018

     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 this 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

     Paul, of all people, could have claimed that if perfection comes from the law, he would have exceeded every expectation. (Philippians 3:4-6) However, he makes clear that to be right with God, one must pursue Christ Jesus. Self-righteousness and the requirements of God’s law will never accomplish the ultimate goal, which is to be made right with God by being perfect and without sin. To put it more directly – to be HOLY. We live in a culture or society where the measure of perfection before God is not so much keeping the laws of God, but rather the law of comparison. We compare ourselves with others, making up our own value system as to what is good or evil. This system then determines in the individual’s mind whether or not they are good enough for Heaven. But Heaven is not obtained by this system of law any more than by following every jot and tittle of God’s law. If righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose. Galatians 2:21b ESV  God’s law does teach what He expects, but not the means by which our sins are forgiven. (Romans 8:1-11…. Ephesians 1:7) May we do what we have read in the verses above to obtain the goal in our own lives.

FORGET:
     This is very important for the person who is going to move forward in Christ. I’m not teaching that we do not learn from the past …. just that we shouldn’t live there. Paul would never have moved forward, growing in his understanding of Jesus if he didn’t make Him Lord of his life by forsaking his own understanding of God. Paul had to put aside what he perceived to be service and acceptance from God by the law, and receive a new understanding of who God is through His Son …. Jesus. Being made right with God is never accomplished by the works of the law, but by relationship with God in Christ Jesus. The works and requirements of the law were accomplished by Christ upon the cross. For by the WORKS OF THE LAW no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin. Romans 3:20 ESV …. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, NOT A RESULT OF WORKS, so that no one may boast. Ephesians 2:8-9 ESV…Paul said it best in Galatians 6:14 ESV “But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

PRESS ON:
     Paul described pressing on as straining forward. This phrase teaches us that living in grace is not a retirement from doing what God has called us to be, which is HOLY. As he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy. 1 Peter 1:15-16 ESV (Leviticus 11:44)  The Christian life is compared to an athlete running a race with endurance. This race is not physical but spiritual, and we are told to lay aside every weight of sin, that we might run with endurance. (Hebrews 12:1-2) Remember…… 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.

THE GOAL:
     Continuing with the race analogy… Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may be able to obtain. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. 1 Corinthians 9:24 ESV  Keep this in context; this is not telling us we are working for our own salvation, but rather that this is how we should live as a result of salvation made possible by Christ Jesus. We are not to live aimlessly with no goals for living Godly. What should be the goal of every Christian? Whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31b ESV  As Paul explained to the men of Athens in Acts 17 concerning the unknown God, may we this day live those words for all who do not know God… In him we live and move and have our being. (verse 28 ESV)  We also need to know how to dress for the race in order to win. Put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires. Romans 13:14 ESV

     In a couple of days, Lord willing we will be celebrating a new year….. a new beginning. May we not dwell on the past which we cannot change, but look forward toward the future. As a blank page of life is before you not yet lived, live with goals to make a difference in your walk with God. I heard it said and have read somewhere…. begin with the end goal in mind. Let me give you one goal to consider…. I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:1-2 ESV

Because of His Grace ~ Pastor David

X