At this very moment, people we know and even some we don't, are facing serious adversities. Family's have lost loved ones, marriages are under attack, there's financial despair for others, and some are facing job stress. Not only are there personal attacks, but our world is suffering from wars, weather related calamities, and multiple difficult issues, too numerous to list.
I know people that could verbalize Paul's words from 2 Cor. 4. "We are hedged in (pressed) on every side [troubled and oppressed in every way]........ we suffer embarrassments are perplexed unable to find a way out......; We are pursued (persecuted and hard driven).......; we are struck down to the ground...;" The only difference is, Paul had a response to the problems, "We are hedged in (pressed) on every side [troubled and oppressed in every way], but not cramped crushed; we suffer embarrassments are perplexed unable to find a way out, but not driven to despair; We are pursued (persecuted and hard driven), but not deserted [to stand alone]; we are struck down to the ground, but never struck out destroyed;" He realized that the Greater One lived IN him. Paul was assured that the Lord was standing with him and was giving him strength. (2 Tim. 4:17) This gave him the ability to press on through.
In 2 Timothy in chapter 3, Paul said, "But know this, in the last days perilous times will come:" Yes we will face risky, harmful, dangerous periods of time. This is just a fact! So how does one handle these events in their life? What can we do to be victorious overcomers? How can we endure through all the hardships? We need the strength of God to get past the circumstances with which we face. Trying to do it in our own flesh causes fatigue, depressions, oppression, fear, and stress. Here are some spiritual exercises you can do that will strengthen your faith and encourage you to remain steadfast IN faith!
1) James 1:2-3 "My brethren, count it all joy, when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience." A great example of counting it all joy, is when Paul and Silas were imprisoned in the deepest darkest dungeon. Although they were chained and in pain from their beating, they expressed joy by singing praises to God! What did they have to be joyful about, you ask? They saw past their situation in the Spirit, knowing they served a big God, who would deliver them. The facts didn't define their attitude, but their attitude established different facts...deliverance! Their praises opened their shackles and set them free. It's time we praised the Lord to loose us from the chains of despair! Put on a garment of praise for a spirit of heaviness.
2) Proverbs 2:5-6 "Trust in the Lord with ALL your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways (course of life) acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths." Putting down our feelings about our problem is hard, because emotions are prominent. Taking time in the middle of the adversity to pray and focus on the promise of God's Word, will give direction and peace. In Joshua we read, that keeping the Word of God in our heart, in our mind and upon our lips, assists us in being a doer. Therefore, we will be successful and make wise decisions. Take any fear, worry or doubt cast it down, and be persuaded that God is able to do exceeding abundantly above anything you could ask or imagine!
3) Proverbs 18:21 "Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat it's fruit." Most of us are guilty of declaring our problems, complaining and stating defeat. We condemn ourselves before God can work in our behalf. On the one hand we send forth faith in a prayer, and negate it by confessing doom and gloom. To experience the presence of His power over our circumstance, we must first believe! Test what you believe by gauging what's coming out of your mouth. Because out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. Repent for not submitting to God and resisting the devil. Then, make a conscience effort to practice agreeing with His Word verbally! Your confession will remind you of the action of faith necessary for affirming your faith!
Remember, that no matter the dilemma we're facing, the Word of God and prayer opens the door for God to work, and Praise will keep the door open. Don't measure what you believe by what you're experiencing. Heb. 10:35-36 "Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise."
Everyone loves music. There are so many genres, it gives the listener a plethora to choose from. Even small children move and groove with the sound of songs. People wear headsets or earphones to hear their special tunes. We've got smart phones, ipods, ipads and tablets, radios, and cd's. Music stimulates us in movies, soothes us as we drive, wakes us in alarms and inspires with creativity. But more than that it's is a way that we can praise and worship God. Ps. 57:7 "My heart, O God, is steadfast, my heart is steadfast; I will sing and make music." Ps. 33:2-3 "Give thanks to the Lord with the lyre; sing praises to Him with the harp of ten strings. Sing to Him a new song; play skillfully [on the strings] with a loud joyful sound."
It is written throughout the Bible, noting people who played instruments in the house of God, or singers (praisers) that marched out before armies. (2 Chron. 20:21) We find in Genesis that Jubal was the father of all who played the harp and flute. It was written that Moses sang a song of praise after the Exodus of the Israelites. Even Deborah, the prophetess, sang a victory song of the defeat of Sisera. The boy David, played a harp that ministered peace to King Saul. Paul and Silas sang a song in the deepest of prisons during captivity. It's written in Revelation of angels who sing continually in heaven. So we can see the all through the Word of God music is important.
In some churches, people think music is a time filler, standing or sitting to watch the musicians, never participating. Praise is an audible expression or action acknowledging gratefulness to God. We must engage in the doing of it. Ps. 71:8 "My mouth is filled with your praise and glory all day long." Ps. 109:30 "With my mouth I will give thanks abundantly to the Lord; And in the midst of many I will praise Him." Notice it's MY MOUTH that's participating. I WILL, is a decision WE make to be involved.
Praise becomes more than just singing songs. It works like a plow preparing the soil of our heart, making it soft and pliable to receive the Word and His instruction. We are saying to God, 'I lay down myself, my thoughts, my fears, and MY agenda, and place You first and foremost in my heart', releasing to You authority over my life.' Praise is a condition of the heart, exalting and magnifying Him not your problems.
It is suggested that people have become 'thrill' seekers, expecting church to bring all the bells, whistles, and fireworks that the world offers. And if the music isn't as electrifying, they lose interest and fade off into a lethargic trance. To experience the power of God in any service, thanksgiving and praise always proceed. This means we must be involved.
Let me just say the Bible says, we are to bless the Lord, O my soul and ALL that is within me! It also says, that He inhabits the praises of His people. When we decide that Jesus becomes the object of praise the church will change drastically. We will begin to see a true move of His Spirit, where He actually shows up and meets needs. This means you and I must 1) Not allow emotions to dictate whether or not we praise. (Praise and worship regardless of how you feel.) 2) Be constant in repentance and forgiveness. (Sin can keep you out of the presence of God) 3) Put down fear of what others will think. (Really, they shouldn't be watching you anyway!) And 4) Open your mouth and sing out, lift your hands. (God isn't going to make you His puppet.) YOU have to do it! Love must be verbalized to be complete. Declare the praises of Him, who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light! (1 Peter 2:9-10) Let's Praise the Lord!
We all know that heat is regulated by the fuel. Adding wood to the fire in the fireplace makes the fire last longer and become stronger. The more you add, the flames become extensive and enduring. And of course, if we fail to add the wood, the fire eventually dies.
Proverbs 26:20-21 GNT "Without wood, a fire goes out; without gossip, quarreling stops. Charcoal keeps the embers glowing, wood keeps the fire burning, and troublemakers keep arguments alive."
I came to realize, recently, this same scripture can apply to what we say over our circumstances. Facing a serious illness, extreme need for finances, conflict in major life decisions, or simple daily matters are powered by what we say repeatedly. In essence, we fuel the fire by our mouth and whatever we allow to build the fire the longest becomes the strongest! When we keep reciting the problem, it keeps growing.
Many people don't believe that words are forceful. But the Bible tells us differently. "Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof". (Pro. 18:21) And "For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned." (Mt. 12:37) This explains how important it is WHAT we say! Think about this, our words determine the outcome of our circumstance. Since it behooved God to create the World by what He spoke, it's also required of us to consider our creation by what we speak. Rom. 4:17b "...God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did."
What we say produces a consequence. Not only for others but for ourselves as well. Faith filled words are powerful and life giving. Fearful words bring failure and defeat. A person that voices the Word over something, then in their second breath is contradictory, is like the double minded man mentioned in James Chapter 1. Their allegiance is divided because of sincerity, conflicted between belief and unbelief, thinking God will help while at the same time giving up all hope. Truth is, they will get nothing! (Read James Chapter 3)
Smith Wigglesworth said, "Voice your position in God and you will be surrounded by all the resources of God in times of trial." Expression where we stand in God, in faith, determines whether or not we will be victorious. Because out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. (Mat. 12:34) What we say reveals what we truly believe.
Today, evaluate your confession about your circumstance. Are you blaming God or are you praising Him for your deliverance? Are you talking about the report of your health or finances to everyone or confessing His supply to the need! Is your mouth a well spring of blessing or cursing? Your speech is prophetically declaring death or life! Make a decision today to watch the Words of your mouth. Speak what God says about you and your life! Take your God given authority in the Word of God creating His best. Let's fuel the fire of faith by confessing the Word of God! Hope says, I can have it. Faith says, I already have it!
Sailing a ship in stormy weather can be hazardous unless the captain has the knowledge and expertise. High winds and enormous waves can cause the ship to sink or shipwreck. Many a vessel has been lost due to treacherous seas. Like the tempest at sea, we are living in a troubled world. However, Jesus said "...in the world you will have tribulation..." (John 16:33) Paul also wrote in 2 Timothy, "...in the last days perilous times will come." (2 Tim. 3:1) Listening to the news we can see that we live in very dangerous, risky and unpredictable days. One who does not have the Lord as his Savior, is generally fearful and fretful. Jesus is our lighthouse, illuminating the path to safety. Through His direction and knowledge from His Word there is hope. (Heb. 13:20-21 "Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to who be glory forever and ever. Amen") In light of the fact of circumstances we face, let's see how our Great Shepherd is characteristic of the lighthouse to us....
Psalms 23 says, "The Lord is my shepherd;" Making Jesus the ruler of your life, places Him as your protector, and watcher of your life. A lighthouse is guidance to safety. Surrendering to Him, just like sheep do to a shepherd, allows Him to be a guide of security. Sheep know the shepherds voice and where He leads they follow, unlike goats that question and butt everything that comes against them. (John 10:4)
"I shall not want." Phil. 4:19 says, "He supplies all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus." As your Shepherd, He's going to make sure you have provision for every necessity. His supply is satisfying if we follow Him, as a ship that follows the light from the lighthouse. The Bible also tells us, He will give us the desires of our heart as long as we are delighting in Him. (Ps. 37:4) In the place of every need is supply.
"He makes me to lie down in green pastures;" When sheep lie down it means they are satisfied and content. Because we are in His presence there is fullness of joy we can rest untroubled as well as at peace, "I will both lie down in peace, and sleep; For You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety." (Ps. 4:8 & Ps.16:11) Even in the midst of a stormy sea the beacon shines to give us confidence and peace.
"He leads me beside the still waters." We can be sure He's leading us to a place of refreshment and tranquility. When we delight in His Word, as we meditate day and night will place us by the rivers of water which provides sustenance. Therefore, keeping us refreshed and prosperous, quenching our thirst. (Ps. 1:1-3 & Jer. 17:3)
"He restores my soul;" God forgives our iniquities and heals all our diseases. (Ps. 103:3) Regardless of how much we mess up, when we repent He forgives. Because of His infinite mercy and grace we are restored. The Holy Spirit gently signals us during times of struggles to escort us to the sanctuary for redemption.
"He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake." We can depend on the guidance of the Holy Spirit. (John 16:13) He will usher us in the right direction and in safety. His Name is the Lord our Righteousness, Jehovah Tsidkenu. Ps. 32:8 God says, "I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye." Keeping our vision focused on Him assures traveling in a sheltered course.
"Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death," Life is full of tribulations and temptations. One thing for sure, is we are going to the other side of the problem. But we must remember not to set up camp in depression or sorrow. We are more than an overcomer through Him. Especially when storms are raging, there's trust in His guidance. Pro. 18:30 "As for God, His way is perfect; The word of the Lord is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him."
"I will fear no evil, for You are with me;" Paul wrote, that God didn't give us a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power, of love and of a sound mind. (2 Tim. 1:7) As long as we abide in the presence of the All Mighty God, we remain in His protection and fear will not affect us. (Ps. 91) Relying on the promise of His faithfulness to never leave or forsake us brings courage and strength. (Deu. 31:6-8) Just like the light signaling lost ships gives hope.
"Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me." God's Word is the instruction we need to get us through our life. In Ps. 119:105, it says, His Word is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path. That means it will point us in the right direction daily and for things to come. If we refer to the Bible everyday, it will teach, correct, and admonish us in living. (2 Ti. 3:16)
"You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;" God is on our side. He will contend with those who contend with us. Although there are enemies, we will not just survive, but feast in the midst of them. We come out on top of situations because of Him. Ps. 18:3 says, we can call upon the Lord, and He will deliver us from our enemies. Our trust and faith in Him, will bring peace with any adversary. (Pr. 16:17)
"You anoint my head with oil;" The anointing of oil upon the head is symbolic of blessing, protection and empowerment. We are sanctified and set apart for Him. (1 Cor. 6:11) We are chosen to proclaim the praises of God. (1 Peter 2:9)
"My cup runs over." Jesus said He came that we might have life and have it more abundantly, overflowing, much more than is expected or needed. This is the blessing that spills over. We are blessed!
"Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life;" As long as we remain faithful to God's Word, we shall be in His mercy. Ps. 65:11 says, God crowns the year with His goodness, and richness overflows wherever He is. Steadfastly abiding in the Word and His presence guarantees goodness and mercy.
"And I will dwell in the house of the Lord Forever." We have guarantee of our place for eternity when Jesus becomes our Lord and Savior. This is a promise of security in eternity.
We want to encourage you to mediate on this scripture and let it become a reality in your heart. Realize that through the Word, God has given us guidance for anything we may face. He encourages us with the promises of provision, protection, healing, blessing, and His benefits. Our failure to recognize these, believe and trust Him, and receive it, puts us at risk in these insecure days. Don't shipwreck because you reject faith and a good conscience. Keep your eyes upon Jesus and sail through to the shore. You can do all things through Him, who gives you strength. (Phil. 4:13)
Let's pretend that you hired me as an executive assistant for your swiftly advancing business. Because you desire to expand the company, a decision is made for you and your family to move to Europe and establish a division there for the next year. You tell me that you will write each week and give me all the necessary directions and instructions needed to run the corporation in the states. Months pass and the letters come flowing in with expectations and guidance to manage the business.
After your year term in Europe, you return and drive to the office. As you approach you are shocked to find the grass and weeds have taken over the yard. Windows are broken out and the place looks a mess. As you enter the building you find the receptionist is sitting at her desk doing her nails, reading a magazine and snacking. Upon observation you discover the waste baskets are running over, the carpet is filthy, and not one person is interested that you, the owner has returned. You then ask for me, to which they reply by pointing to a room that's been converted to a game space. Troubled by this you continue to proceed towards that area and coincidentally come across me as I have finished a game of chess with the sales director. We then progress to your office, which has been converted into a television/movie room. Our conversation is as follows:
You, "Can you explain what's going on?"
Me, "What do you mean?"
You, "Well, take a look around. Didn't you get my letters?"
Me, "Yes, we sure did. We got all of them. Actually we began a 'letter study day', every Friday night right after you left. We designated personnel to attend small groups to discuss the contents of the letters. Many of us have literally committed to memorizing some of the sentences and even the paragraphs. Several even know by heart and entire letter. You really wrote some great things."
You, "Alright, you received my letters, you read, discussed and even memorized them, but what did you DO about them?"
In the book of Matthew chapter 24, beginning in verse 44 Jesus talks about His return saying, "You also must be ready therefore, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not expect Him. Who then is the faithful, thoughtful, and wise servant, whom his master has put in charge of his household to give to the others the food and supplies at the proper time? Blessed (happy, fortunate, and to be envied) is that servant whom, when his master comes, he will find so doing."
It's easy to become lackadaisical in our work with the Lord as well as our walk with Him. Consumption with our every day life gets in the way of praying, getting into the Word, serving at church or often going to church. Loosing focus can cause us to get bored, tired, cranky, and do inappropriate things unbecoming to a Christian. Listen people, the signs of the times are all around us, Jesus IS coming soon. No, I don't know the day nor the time, but I do know it's soon.
Our job is to be about the Lord's business:
1) Being a Christian witness to friends, family and acquaintances; Phil. 2:15 "That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;"
2) Remaining steadfast in prayer and rightly dividing the word of truth; 1 Pet. 4:7 "But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer." and 2 Tim. 2:15 "Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."
3) Prevailing as an overcomer in trials and tribulations; Rom. 8:37 "Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us."
4) Staying faithful to assemble with our brothers and sisters in the Lord for encouragement; Heb. 10:25 "Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much to more, as you see the day approaching."
5) Serving Him as our part of the Body of Christ. Heb. 6:10 "For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have showed toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister."
Let the Lord find us busy doing His Word not just busy with our business. Luke 12:37 "Blessed (happy, fortunate, and to be envied) are those servants whom the Master finds awake and alert and watching when He comes. Truly I say to you, He will gird himself and have them recline at table and will come and serve them!"
Think back to all the gifts you've ever received. This might be difficult for some. Like me, you've probably received many gifts over your lifetime. Can you remember the greatest gift you've ever received?
When I was a child, gifts were something only given on very special occasions, like Christmas or Birthdays. It was rare to get a gift for no apparent reason. My most memorable gift was a much wanted doll house. I lived with my grandparents when I was young, and they had a very meager life. They didn't put up a Christmas tree or buy Easter baskets or even bake birthday cakes. Yet on one Christmas I recall the metal doll house with furniture that they gave me. It wasn't sitting under a tree, but perched on a small table by the front door. I was a delighted at that gift.
Over the years, I've been given many wonderful gifts from friends and family. Many of which were very memorable and valuable. The value being, the heartfelt sentiment from the giver. If you were to consider the worth of a gift, how would you measure it? Some would probably say the significance would be in the cost. Others might say it would be calculated by the usefulness of that gift. For instance a person who was given a coat, who had no coat, would more likely value that gift better than one who had several coats. And of course, there are those who value a gift by the sincerity of the giver. Let me just say that, in whatever way you measure the value of a gift it's usually due to its importance at the time.
This Christmas season I would like to inspire you to consider in all the gifts you've ever been given, the Greatest Gift of all is Jesus Christ. Is. 9:6 (GNT) says, "A child is born to us! A son is given to us! And he will be our ruler. He will be called, Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace."
There is much value in the gift of this Savior. And, just as with any gift, it's worth is in the eye or the heart of the receiver. You choose how valuable He is to you. To me He is my peace in the midst of all troubles and turmoil. And my healer, Who heals ALL my diseases, infirmities, and sicknesses. Jesus is my provider for all my needs. He is my gift of eternal life. I'm assured I have a place with Him in Heaven. What does this Wonderful Gift of our Savior mean to you? Do you daily place value on this gift by giving Him priority in and over your life? Let this be a reminder of how great a gift we have been given.
Perhaps the most important question for some, have you personally accepted this gift of Jesus Christ, as Savior? To receive the Greatest Gift, repeat this prayer: "Lord Jesus, I ask You to come into my life and forgive me of all my sins. I confess my sins before You this day. I denounce Satan and all his works. I confess Jesus as the Lord of my life. Thank You for saving me. I believe with my heart and I confess with my mouth that You rose from the dead. I am saved. Write my name in the Lamb's book of life. Today is my God-day with the Lord Jesus! I pray this prayer to the Father in the name of Jesus. Amen."
If you just prayed this prayer, please e-mail, mail, or call us to let us know. We'd like to send you a free booklet to to help you understand a little more about this new life in Christ.
Do you find yourself overwhelmed or stressed with all the things on your 'To Do' list? With all the decorating, shopping, planning, events and just regular everyday chores, it seems like the list just keeps growing. Not to mention all those that want to help add things to your list.
It's actually easy to get engulfed in feelings of pressure, thinking there's not enough time to get everything done. So, we want to help you enjoy the season and keep you from freaking out in the season. If you'll do the following we know that you'll have a lot more peace and a lot less anxiety!
1. First things first. Put the Lord first in your day. Mark 12:30 says, "And you shall love the Lord your God will all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and will all your strength. This is the first commandment." Love is recognizing and honoring. It's so easy to get distracted and forget God. But we must remember He IS the reason for the season. It's because of His love that we celebrate Christmas. Besides that, you'll find giving Him first place in your day, will produce peace, order and joy!
2. Take moments throughout your day to 'smell the roses'. In other words, slow down! Rushing only causes pressure and stress. Realize the task WILL get done, you WILL get to where you're going, and everything WILL come together. By slowing down you not only give yourself time to enjoy the moments, but generate peace for you and others. Life is short, appreciate it. Eccl. 3:13 "and also that every man should eat and drink and enjoy the good of all his labor—it is the gift of God."
3. Rejoice, sing and praise God. It is a proven fact that music can affect our behavior and our emotions. Ps. 63:3-5 "Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, My lips shall praise You. Thus I will bless You while I live; I will lift up my hands in Your name, My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness (abundance), and my mouth shall praise You with joyful lips." So listen to some beautiful Christmas music and sing along. This will help create an atmosphere of peace and joy!
Putting forth an effort to do these three things will promote joy and peace. The experience of Christmas, perhaps, will be better than ever before. And although there are challenges, remember Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year!
It is with grateful hearts we celebrate this wonderful Thanksgiving. Although there are many people in our lives to which we're thankful, our first and foremost giving of Thanks goes to our Heavenly Father.
We praise the Lord for His faithful goodness, mercy and grace. We thank Him for His ever present Spirit, Who guides, instructs, and comforts. We rejoice in His abundance of blessings and daily provisions. We give honor to God for His continual healing power. We thank Him for the beauty and breath of life that He has given. Thank you Father for being the God of second chances and your ever ready forgiveness in our repentance. "Bless the Lord, O my soul, And all that is within me, bless His holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, And forget not all His benefits; Who forgives all our iniquities, Who heals all our diseases, Who redeems our life from destruction, Who crowns us with loving kindness and tender mercies, Who satisfies our mouth with good things, So that our youth is renewed like the eagle's." (Ps. 103:1-5)
Father, we thank You for Your protection and defense in the course of life. "Though we walk in the midst of trouble, You will revive us; You will stretch out Your hand against the wrath of our enemies. And Your right hand will save us. The Lord will perfect that which concerns us; His mercy endures forever." (Ps. 138:7,8)
Thank You Almighty God for Your everlasting love. "Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet My unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor My covenant of peace be removed," says the LORD, who has compassion on you." (Is. 54:10)
We take this day to "Offer to God thanksgiving, and pay our vows to the Most High" and we know that "He who brings an offering of praise and thanksgiving honors and glorifies God; and he who orders his way aright [who prepares the way that God may show him], to him the salvation of God will be demonstrated." (Ps. 50:14, 23 NIV)
Now is the time to acknowledge the Lord God in our life and give Him thanksgiving and blessings. Make sure this Thanksgiving you offer praise to Him, first.
We wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving, In His love and ours Pastors Michael & Ginny Gulotta
We here at Living Joy, just want to say THANK YOU!
THANK YOU for all the prayers you've prayed. For the times you've spent laying before the Lord interceding for others, even for those you didn't know. We THANK YOU for praying for the people that didn't treat you fairly. THANK YOU for prayers you prayed for those in the ministry, people in leadership, and for the men and women in the military. (1 Pet. 3:12 "For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, And His ears are open to their prayers...." 1 Tim. 2:1 "Therefore, I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men,")
THANK YOU for the times you given most sacrificial. THANK YOU for being obedient to the Lord in your giving, being faithful even when it was difficult. THANK YOU for helping the poor and needy when asked to sponsor or give. (2 Cor. 8:7 NIV "Now as you abound and excel and are at the front in everything, in faith, in expressing yourselves, in knowledge, in all zeal, and in your love for us, [see to it that you come to the front now and abound and excel in this gracious work [of almsgiving] also." Pro. 19:17 "He who has pity on the poor lends to the Lord, And He will pay back what he has given.")
THANK YOU for your faithful service to the Lord. For all the times you attend church, for your diligence in ushering, greeting, working behind the scenes as technicians, teaching children, and ministering to the babies. THANK YOU for all the encouragement you've given the "Man or Woman" of God, in words of affirmation or gifts of love. THANK YOU for being the arms of God to hug those in need, for being His feet to go share the gospel, and for being the Lord's mouth to build up and cheer up others. (2 Thes. 1:3 "We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is fitting, because your faith grows exceedingly, and the love of every one of you all abounds toward each other" 1 Pet. 4:10NIV "Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God's grace in it's various forms.")
THANK YOU for remaining stedfast in the faith, not giving up. THANK YOU for your consistency in trusting the Lord. THANK YOU for persevering in trials and tribulations. THANK YOU for your belief in God's Word that never fails. THANK YOU for being responsible in your allegiance to the Lord. (1 Pet. 2:12 GNT "Your conduct among the heathen should be so good that when they accuse you of being evildoers, they will have to recognize your good deeds and so praise God on the Day of his coming." 2 Cor. 9:8 NIV "And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.")
We give thanks to God, Who in Christ always leads us in triumph [as trophies of Christ’s victory] and through us spreads and makes evident the fragrance of the knowledge of God everywhere. (2 Cor. 2:14 AMP)
It is our prayer that during this wonderful season of Thanksgiving that you remember to be thankful to and for those God has placed in your life. Some may be blessings and others may be the 'opportunity for you to develop your walk of faith'. No matter what you encounter, we pray that you are able to look past circumstances and find the reason to be THANKFUL to God. "Enter His gates with thanksgiving and into His courts with praise, be thankful unto Him and bless His name." (Ps. 100:4)
Breathe, just breathe! Don't let the pressures of the holiday's get to you. Right now it's easy to look at your finances and feel the stress of it all. Wondering how you're going to buy Christmas presents, donate to those favorite charities, and pay all your bills on time. Or perhaps you're considering how much time you've got to get everything done. What ever your dilemma, take a deep breath and trust God. The devil wants to get you anxious and frustrated about things. And the more bothered you are, the less peace you have.
So how can you eliminate troubled thoughts? If you will begin to do the following you will experience the peace of God.
1) Cast all your care upon the Lord for He cares for you! (1 Peter 5:7) This means to throw, toss, or fling your worry over to the Lord. This does not mean in prayer we rehearse all the problems and woes. We must take the thought of concern in prayer to the Lord with the answer from the Word of God. For instance, if you're afraid that you're low in money, in prayer you would find a scripture that confirms God's answer to your need. Phil. 4:19 "And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus." would be one of the scriptures you could validate for God's provision to you. Praying using this scripture not only builds faith in God, but proves His answer to your problem.
2) "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not to your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths." (Ps. 3:5-6) Full trust is confidence in someone. It's believing without any doubt that they will do what they said. We must arrive at the place of taking our perceptions and view them through the Word of God. That means if you are looking at your situation through the eyes of past insufficiencies, you have to cast those imaginations down, bringing your thoughts into focus with God's promise. Remember, "He is able to make all grace abound unto you that you having all sufficiency in all things, will abound to every good work." (2 Cor. 9:8) By recognizing your need for God's intervention you unlock the paths of His direction.
3) "By Him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His name." (Heb. 13:15) Now it's time to exercise faith. When we believe something we act like we do! We need to give praise and thanks to God for something, even if it hasn't happened yet. This exercises our belief that we already have received it by faith. Since God operates by faith, just as He releases faith in His words, so must we. Declaring His Word over our circumstance is proving we believe and agree.
Remember the thief (the devil) comes to steal, kill, and destroy. But Jesus said He came to give life and give it more abundantly. This 'Life' comes from the Word of God - it's our source to live in victory. Using these scriptures will activate faith, reveal your submission to God, and help you resist the devil's stress. Thus JOY and peace come and you have deflated the Holiday pressures.
Pastors Michael & Ginny Gulotta
Pro. 11:25 "The generous soul will be made rich, And he who waters will also be watered himself."