World conditions are intensifying. As we look around we see news flashes of violence, disasters, doom, gloom and despair. Others and ourselves are being bombarded with sickness, tragic family or friend loss, financial stress, and mental pressures. We feel like we are living in a battle zone that's never ending.
Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 3:1 "But know this that in the last days perilous times will come." Listen up children of God, we are living in the final days, before Jesus returns. We are facing dangerous, unpredictable, high risk times. Some of you may be asking, how can we persevere?
Let me reassure you that there are conquering strategies for every believer. The basis to being an overcomer is found in the Bible. This is a time we can not afford to live with the notion that everything will resolve itself and settle down. The devil knows that his time is nearly ending and he's unleashing all that he has to kill, steal and destroy. (John 10:10) This is the moment that we, born again, spirit filled, sword wielding Christians rise up to the occasion. Fear, dread and defeat will try to overpower you. Don't let it! Ps. 138:7 says, "Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You will revived me; You will stretch out Your hand against the wrath of my enemies. And Your right hand will save me. The LORD will perfect that which concerns me; Your mercy, O LORD, endures forever..."
Peace, comfort and victory comes from trusting in the Lord. He IS the 'All Sufficient, El Shadday'! Experiencing His sustaining strength requires that we must run to Him first in all situations! We have to make His Word the place we go for security, assurance, and direction! Then no evil will conquer us nor any disease come near. The following scripture is one that is our anchor for safety in troubled times. It's time to realize that His deliverance will come in our time of need, when we trust, believe and rely upon Who He is! The problem with most people, is that they don't call upon the Lord in the midst of difficulty. It's much easier to try to figure it out on our own or depend on another method to alleviate our distress. Let this scripture resonate within your heart and spirit becoming the stability for faith in God's safety and deliverance!
Ps. 91 Those who live in the shelter of the Most HighThis I declare about the
In the next few weeks we will be talking about how to live, be skilled, and persevere during perilous times! It's time to arise from lethargy, put on the armor of God, engage active faith, fight the good fight of faith, lay aside fear, discouragement and defeat to become the victor in Christ you are called to be! If you need prayer of agreement, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, we are here for you!
Some dads are funny, some are serious, others are matter of fact and yet regardless of their personality, they are DAD. No matter the kind of father you have or had, you have gained much from him. Some would say, "but mine wasn't around, they left when I was small". To you I would say, you learned how not to be and the importance of faithfulness. (It's important in the midst of 'life' situations, in spite of the good and bad and the ups and downs, to find the gain.)
Being a father is a big responsibility. First of all there's the task of being the provider for the entire family. He's accountable for making sure the bills are paid, food's in the cabinet, gas is in the car, there's money for extracurricular activities, as well as for clothes. Having and keeping a good job is very important to him. (Pro. 12:11) (Col. 3:23)
A dad also has to be the emotional strength in a family. Assuring that everything's going to be alright. He comforts the family in sad and difficult times and encourages each one according to their persona. Building up and cheering up attitudes. (Josh. 1:9)
He's the disciplinarian, helping to direct and lead in the right direction. As difficult as it may be for him to punish and correct, he does it because of love for his children. When a wrong decision was made, he's there to help, instruct and redirect. (Pro. 3:11-12)
The brunt of decisions lie in his lap, so he must stay tuned in to God, lending his ear to His instructions. He prays continually for each member of the family, lifting up their needs, desires and purpose before the Lord. His mouth daily confesses the Word over his children believing in faith for the manifestation of God's blessings in their lives. His faith is fortified by being faithful in his service to the Lord. And by this example he is showing his family how to be Godly. (Pro. 22:6)
He helps with scientific homework projects, math calculations, rescuing lost items or fixing broken things. Dads are known for making sure there's recreation, like picnics, camping trips, fishing excursions, trips to amusements parks, going to the movies and even birthday parties. Amidst the significant and important tasks, he still has time to laugh, and have fun doing silly things. Jumping into a pool with all his clothes on, letting the dog lick his face, having a tea party with his daughter, or playing games with his son are all part of being a Dad.
And just in case you didn't know or you forgot...... he attended your events, he cried when you got hurt, carried you to bed when you fell asleep in the car, kissed your boo boos, and stayed up praying over you when you were sick. You see a DAD is a lot of things to his family. He IS the extension of God's love! A wonderful gift from the Heavenly Father. And this Sunday is the day we take to say Thank You, and Honor him for his blessing our life. Take time to thank God for the man God gave you as DAD, whether he's your natural father, step-father, father-in-law, grandfather, uncle or a 'DAD like one' - let's give honor where honor is due. Give him your love and attention, after all he's given you his!
Eph. 6:1-4 "Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. "Honor your father and mother"--which is the first commandment with a promise-- "that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth." Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord."
Recently I read a story about a man and his wife that had six children. Explaining how vigorous a household of eight can be, they began to share some of the rules they enforce within the family. One specific edict, caught my attention. They called it 'Double Trouble'! This ordinance specifies that if a child overhears a command that's been given to another, and proceed to disobey, they get 'Double Trouble'. For instance, the instruction to child #1 is no cookies before dinner. Child #2 overheard the direction, but ate cookies before dinner. Therefore, Child #2 received double the punishment based on the awareness of the rule. Although he argued, 'you told Child #1 he couldn't eat cookies, not me', he deliberately disobeyed. A value aspect in life is recognizing that we each are responsible for our actions, especially if we know right from wrong.
It works the same way with our governmental laws. We didn't hear directly from the initiator of the law, but we received the information through other means, and we are responsible for the doing. A great biblical example would be Adam and Eve. Before Eve was, Adam walked and talked with God, Who gave him instructions, especially about the 'tree in the middle of the garden'. The Lord God hadn't spoken directly with Eve about that tree, but she was still responsible for what she heard that God had said.
Acting upon the Old Testament Word of God is similar. The O.T. isn't directly addressed to us, but is there for a guide and for instruction. There are many truths in it. God gave us these so that we would gain understanding of His nature, His will and direction for our life. This makes us accountable to obey regardless of the 'way' we heard. 2 Tim. 3:16 "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness," Avenues of hearing can be from reading it yourself or hearing it preached.
Upon my daily Bible reading, I came across this powerful truth that gave me insight to a long good life, peace, favor with God and people, direction for decisions, healing in the body and financial freedom. If you're like me, these elements are part of a daily prayer regiment. I don't know of anyone that isn't believing God for long life, favor, healing or financial breakthrough! Let's take a look at Proverbs 3: 1-10 "My son, do not forget my teachings, and keep my commands in mind, because they will bring you long life, good years, and peace. Do not let mercy and truth leave you. Fasten them around your neck. Write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will find favor and much success in the sight of God and humanity. Trust the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths smooth. Do not consider yourself wise. Fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. Then your body will be healed, and your bones will have nourishment. Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the first and best part of all your income. Then your barns will be full, and your vats will overflow with fresh wine."
This instruction from the Lord has it all! To see these things operational in our life, we must be a doer of this Word. That's our responsibility! This Word gives us five key points to activate God's promises for us, 1) Heeding and meditating on the Word of God brings a long, good life with peace. (Josh. 1:8) 2) Always acting in mercy and truth, holding them dear in our heart gives us favor and success with God and man. (Pro. 16:6) 3) Trust the Lord instead of our own thoughts allows God's to direct our steps. (Ps. 18:30) 4) Putting down pride, and making a 180 degree turn from evil brings healing to our body. (Rom. 12:16; Pro. 14:16) and 5) Honoring God by giving and tithing from our income insures that we shall never lack. (Luke 6:38)
We can no longer blame God or others for the situations in our life, we have become responsible by hearing. The truth is, consequences are the outcome of our choices. What happens to us in life isn't about the unfairness, it's about our response to His ability! Whatever arises in life, choose to respond using the Word in order to obtain His promises.
A uniformed policeman stands at the scene of a traffic accident, redirecting on coming cars. No one will disobey him, because he's the one in authority telling others what to do. In the same way an officer of the law has jurisdiction in the city, we have command over the works of darkness in our life. Jesus said in Luke 10:19, "Behold I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you." And in Mark 11:23-24, "For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, 'Be removed and be cast into the sea', and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. Therefore, I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them."
So why are there so many that are still confronted and overcome with difficulty, distress, and dilemma? If you are one of these and asking yourself this question, read on.
Most Christians do not know that they can take spiritual authority over situations. I would venture to say ignorance is one of the biggest reasons. Hosea 4:6 says, "My people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge..." Because we aren't taught how to stand up against the 'wiles of the devil', how to recognize the attack is FROM the devil, and what to do IN times like this, we do nothing!
Another cause is unbelief! If you were to ask, some would say: "I don't believe in the devil." or, "There's no way we can change circumstances." In Luke 17:6, Jesus said, "If you have faith as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be pulled up by the roots and be planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you." But there are many who just don't believe.
Fear is also a source of not taking authority. When faced with demonic activity, a number of people are of the opinion the devil is stronger than God. So rather than DO anything, they back down and 'hide', thinking he will just go away.
Listen Children of God, He has done all He's going to do! Jesus has done all He's going to do! 1) He left us His Word (Heb. 4:12 "For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword...")
2) And His Spirit (Rom. 8:11 "..if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwell in you." )
3) Jesus disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in the work of the cross and resurrection! (Col. 2:15)
4) He gave us the keys to the Kingdom (Matt. 16:19 "... and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”)
It is now our responsibility to activate our faith and the power of God concerning the tactics of the devil, using the tools He gave us. In all these things, we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us (Rom. 8:37) Rise up and be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might! We've got to put on the armor of God and fight the good fight of faith. We need to stand, in faith believing God's Word, when we've done all we know to do. We can not afford to lose heart, but know we possess the treasure of His power within us! Be like that policeman commanding things to line up with what God says! You're wearing the badge!
1 John 4:4 "You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world."
We've all heard the old adage, "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never harm me." The response was to bullies on the playground that called us names. The reply was to imply they might be able to hurt us by physical force, but their insults would not. America values 'Freedom of Speech, so people are quick with expressing what's on their mind. Whether it's an opinion about world events, another person, or just how we feel, it's uttered without restrictions regardless of repercussions. In fact, in our culture today, we support the irresponsible use of words through music, movies or in the public. Most individuals think nothing of the foul language that's expressed. Because we've become desensitized, by our consistent hearing of it, we do not notice it and we allow it to become common place.
As a Christian, words are extremely important, especially to God. Proverbs 18:21 says, "Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits." Since God created the world by speaking, then utterance must be significant. What this scripture means, is that we frame our future by what we say. That's why it's important to think before vocalizing. You know, we don't always have to say everything we think about!
Do you know of someone that has been affected by what others have told them? Perhaps a parent that spoke negatively to a child, telling them "You're not going to amount to anything, you're such a loser, you lazy no good kid."; A teacher that said, "You're such a failure, what's the matter with your brain? When God passed out brains you must have thought He said trains and you said no thanks." If this degrading talk is consistent, they begin to believe what's been said. That's why the Word of God says, "Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it." (Prov. 4:23) It's critical that we guard what goes into our heart, because our life is shaped by what we let in. We should be protective of the movies we watch, the music we listen to or the conversation with which we yield.
Not only it is our obligation to protect our ears, but we must put a guard on our mouth. Proverbs 21:23 "Whoever guards his mouth and tongue Keeps his soul from troubles." Most of us are praying and believing God for a specific thing. We can trust Him and be in faith when we pray. But we must remember, to retain the blessing of the Lord it's contingent upon our mouth. It's easy to loose faith and our blessings, when our mouth complains or talks about the problem. In Mark 11:22-24 Jesus says, "....Have faith in God [constantly].Truly I tell you, whoever says to this mountain, Be lifted up and thrown into the sea! and does not doubt at all in his heart but believes that what he says will take place, it will be done for him. For this reason I am telling you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe (trust and be confident) that it is granted to you, and you will [get it]." Don't lose the answer you've received or the miracles because of opposing conversation. Remember Proverbs 18:21, "Death and life are in the power of the tongue..." We want blessing not cursing!
Take a look and see what's enthroned on your heart. You decide by what's coming out of your mouth. "For out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks." (Luke 6:45) Make a quality decision today to place the Word of God in your heart. Heb. 4:12 "For the Word that God speaks is alive and full of power [making it active, operative, energizing, and effective]; it is sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating to the dividing line of the breath of life (soul) and [the immortal] spirit, and of joints and marrow [of the deepest parts of our nature], exposing and sifting and analyzing and judging the very thoughts and purposes of the heart." Gods Word is Life, Choose Life!
Have you ever felt as if everyone and everything was coming against you? Your thoughts being bombarded with condemnation, telling you it's all your fault and that you're a complete mess up! And no matter how hard you try to fix it, you're not getting out of it? Let me tell you right now, you have invisible enemies! Ephesians 6:12GWT tells us, "This is not a wrestling match against a human opponent. We are wrestling with rulers, authorities, the powers who govern this world of darkness, and spiritual forces that control evil in the heavenly world." Our opposition isn't coming from people. It's what's behind the problem - unseen forces trying to kill, steal and destroy your hopes, dreams and faith. (John 10:10)
1 Peter 5:8 says, "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour." One of my favorite minister teachers said, interpreted the verse like this: "You must be constantly alert and on your guard! The devil, like an accusing lawyer, will try to charge you will all kinds of arguments and accusations. You need to know that he is like a lion on the prowl, constantly walking around, roaring, with a deafening sound, earnestly seeking the kind of person he can completely consume and slurp up!" (from Sparkling Gems from the Greek by Rick Renner)
These powers from the supernatural realm are assaulting with depression, defeatist attitudes, hopelessness, worry, fear, discouragement, distress and the like. Does this sound like you? The problem is that most people don't recognize 1) it's coming from the devil and 2) there's a way of escaping this! (1 Cor. 10:13)
If you want to become free from any attack of the devil, here's what you can do!
1) James 4:7 "Submit to God, resist the devil and he will flee from you." Submitting to God means, prayer and reading or studying the Word. We must know about the authority God and Jesus has given us and how to operate in it. (Luke 10:19) Just sitting in your room and thinking God's going to zap the devil, isn't going to change anything. He is not in control. If He was, He would have control over the evil. God has done all He's going to do through the power of the cross and Jesus' resurrection. Resisting something takes determination and a firm stand. A great example would be a dieter that is refusing to eat cake. Closing his eyes and pretending the cake will go away won't work. He must strongly fight against the urges to eat the dessert. To combat the tactics of satan's attacks, it requires a purposeful persistent opposition. The decision to cast down all imaginations that don't line up with the Word and a commitment to remain dedicated to confessing the scriptures. With this type of perseverance you can win every time!
2) Walk in the Spirit! Galatians 5:16 says, "...walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh." By saying walk, we are implying that we need to live our life, make it our behavior or habit to be in the Spirit. One who 'walks in the Spirit', is asking the Holy Spirit for direction, listening and heeding His instruction! Saying what God's Word says, rather than talking about the problem. Walking in the Spirit means we're not participating with things that are contrary to the Word of God! It's control over the flesh!
3) And when we've done all to stand, stand! (Eph. 6:13-18) In other words, after doing everything in the Spirit we know to do, taken our authority, prayed in the Holy Ghost, and resisted the devil, we stand convinced that things have already changed. Why? Because we've acted in faith. And faith is the things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen. Faith is calling those things that be not as though they were, running the course with endurance, and never let go strength. It keeps it's eyes on Jesus the author and finisher of faith. Praise and Worship is in our mouth because we believe we have already obtained victory. And when the invisible enemies come, we are already convinced that we are more than conquerors through Christ!
We encourage you to fight the good fight of faith, stay true to your course, never give up, know that you're an overcomer through the blood of the Lamb and the word of your testimony above the invisible enemies!
Phillipians 3:14 "I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus."
Only 5 more days till the new year! 2014! It's really hard to believe that we have already gone through this year. If you were to analyze this last year, would you do anything different? Perhaps you could ask yourself, are you completely satisfied with it's outcome? Is this where you saw yourself at the beginning of 2013?
Maybe the question we should be asking ourself, is what am I willing to change in 2014 to make it a better year? Yes, that's what we call 'resolutions'. New Year's resolutions! Sometimes we keep them, sometimes we don't. Many of us get weary half way through and just give up. It could be because we don't keep the vision before us. Habakkuk 2:2 says, "And the Lord answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that reads it." Which gives the implication that we should keep the target of God's direction before us daily. So that as we go about our everyday business, we won't loose sight of our purpose OR His plan! We must determine what kind of 'resolutions' will help guide us towards that 'mark for the prize'?
'Resolutions', I just imagine most of you don't even like the sound of that word. It means we must have an intention, a determination, a resolve or the commitment. Commitment today is a term that's taken lightly, in marriage, in the job force, or in our relationship with God. If we don't like how something is proceeding, we toss in the towel. We give up, making all kinds of excuses why 'it' didn't work! "My spouse didn't understand me.", "My boss didn't recognize my talents.", or "God just doesn't answer me." Setting new resolutions, means we must take responsibility for ourself! Something in us has to change. We are only responsible to change one person! Ourself! No matter how hard you try, you're not going to change your spouse, nor are you going to transform your boss, and your most definitely not changing God. He is the same today, yesterday and forever! His Word remains forever.
Being able to start a new year, is like getting a brand new clean sheet of paper to write on. It's like a blank canvas. No mistakes, no messes, just a clean sheet of paper. Ready to start fresh. It's like letting all the past be past, knowing that what we've learned we can apply to the new days ahead. And just perhaps, we won't make the same errors. If we take the plans for the future, look at ourself and say, "What can I do different today, to insure a different tomorrow?" Smiling a little more, Praying a lot more, be increasingly kinder, giving beyond normal expectations or just doing something a little bit better than yesterday. It won't be long and you'll be able to see a change in your life. You'll be happier, healthier, and perhaps slight more wealthier. (Wealth is not always measured by money)
Let the New Year begin.... "Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." Phil. 3:13-14
With Christmas rapidly approaching, I'm reminded of a children's song, "Santa Clause is Coming to Town." The chorus says, "He knows when you are sleeping, he knows when you're awake, he knows if you've been bad or good.." I'm by no means endorsing Santa. Yet it brings to mind something that deeply impacted me, after watching a specific online ministry broadcast. Something I already knew, but somehow, had vaguely disregarded awakened in my spirit. More importantly than Santa watching, Jesus is watching!
A scriptural reference to this is found in Mark 12:41-42 which says, "Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents." And we know that Jesus stopped and pointed out to everyone there, that this woman's offering was more abundant than all that had been given. Jesus was not only observing the amount they were giving, but He was also considering the way they gave. The attitude of the heart is extremely important. Pr. 21:2NIV "A person may think their own ways are right, but the Lord weighs the heart." God is looking on our hearts in all that we do, to see our motive. Are we doing our service because we want others to see us and think we are holy? Do we give in the offering because 'we're expected to'? Is our worship done for the sake of others watching? What is the true motive of our heart?
In Revelation when Jesus spoke to the seven churches, the very first thing He says to them is, "I know your works.." He knew their works, because He had visited their church. He walked up and down their services, He listened to their conversations and their hearts were revealed to Him. If Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever, then He's keeping an eye on us. He is paying attention to how we act in troublesome times, to our treatment of others, listening to our conversations, heeding our attitudes we have to the messages we receive from our Pastor. He's watching to see if we behave like He did because we love Him and want to, or if it's because we want to impress. Jesus is not just watching us when we're at church, but He's with us when we're home, at our job, at school, or where ever we may be.
Listen children of God, Hebrews 4:13 says, "Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account." Reality set in for me today, God is with us, watching. No matter what we think, hide in our heart, speak, or conduct ourselves, God knows. And one day, very soon, just like the scripture says, we will give and account. I encourage you today to consider your attitude, your behavior, and your words. Are they glorifying the Lord? Colossians 3:17 "And whatever you do [no matter what it is] in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus and in [dependence upon] His Person, giving praise to God the Father through Him."
We need to quit pretending we're one way, when our heart says another. Jesus is not only watching, but knows our heart. Make a decision today to practice the presence of God in every day life and activate Colossians 1:10. "That you may walk (live and conduct yourselves) in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him and desiring to please Him in all things, bearing fruit in every good work and steadily growing and increasing in and by the knowledge of God [with fuller, deeper, and clearer insight, acquaintance, and recognition]."
Anyone out there ever made a mistake that you were embarrassed about? A bad decision or a fall into a sin? Then right after the realization that you fell short of the grace of God, remorse set in. All the repenting didn't seem to help you feel better. And the devil, who is quick to bring up past sins, guilt or condemnation was right there on your tail. Even some friends or family seem to constantly rehearse the mishap, which doesn't make the situation better. Getting past the hurt and guilt is extremely difficult. Forgiveness from yourself and those you hurt, generally seem a long time coming.
1 John 1:9 says, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." Of course the first thing we need to do is confess to the Lord we messed up. The second, is to ask for forgiveness. Then the scripture says, He is faithful to forgive us and cleanse us! That means He cleans us up. It's as if we never sinned. Now, the hard part, in our mind is, we must forgive ourself! Yes, we have to let it go, just as if we never sinned! (A word of caution, all this forgiveness and cleansing, doesn't give us freedom to sin again. Rom. 6:15) Forgiveness is not condoning the sin or even the lack of accountability, it's letting go of the anguish or resentment of the sin. It's coming to realize that Jesus himself took our sin, guilt and iniquities. Is. 53:5 NIV "But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our guilt and iniquities; the chastisement [needful to obtain] peace and well-being for us was upon Him, and with the stripes [that wounded] Him we are healed and made whole." We can be free from pain of guilt and condemnation only by receiving it by faith from God, when we truly repent!
Now let's talk to the people that were hurt by the offense. I am reminded of the story in the Bible where, Jesus spoke to the accusers of the woman caught in the act of adultery, "he who is without sin cast the first stone". I believe that everyone of us at one time has committed a sin that affected others. I can already hear "but my sin wasn't as grave as the one committed against me"! Listen people of God, sin is sin! Lying is the same as stealing, sexual sin is the equilvalent of anger, unforgiveness is synonymous of murder. One sin is not greater than another! And if Jesus can forgive us of any sin we commit, then how simple is it that we forgive others! Holding grudges, animosity or someone hostage for their sin hurts us as much it does the one who committed the infraction. First of all it keeps us from being forgiven. (Mat. 6:14-15) Secondly, the bitterness that comes from unforgiveness keeps the blessings of God from flowing to us because we grieve the Holy Spirit. "Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers, And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another even as God in Christ forgave you." (Eph. 4:29-32)
How many times are we suppose to forgive, you ask? Jesus said in Luke 17:3-4 "Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.” I know some of you are saying, 'How can I forgive this person that has done this dastardly deed against me? My feelings are hurt. Trust is broken. How do I know they won't do it again?' The answer to forgiveness is LOVE. Agape Love which is unconditional Love, like the love Jesus gave us. He forgave us even before we were born. He paid the price for our sin and forgiveness 2000 years ago. The only way to get past this hurt is by faith in the Lord. Through prayer, praying like you would for yourself and faith, forgiveness will flow. Every time you think of the pain you must forgive by faith, until one day you realize it's no longer tormenting you. That's when forgiveness is established.
If you are one of these two kinds of people I urge you to operate in the Love of God and forgive. Allow the healing power of God to come into your life and minister to you. Remember 2 Cor. 5:17 "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come." Trust the Lord for a new beginning. All things are possible with Him.
Prayer #1: Father, in the name of Jesus I come to you repenting for my actions. I ask for Your forgiveness and invite the Holy Spirit to help direct me and lead me in the path of righteousness. Open my ears and seal Your Word, that I may do what I have heard. Amen.
Prayer #2: Father, I come to You in the name of Jesus praying for the person that sinned against me. I forgive them as Christ forgave me. I loose them from my anger and allow the Holy Spirit to minister healing to them and to me. I ask forgiveness for anything I may have done to cause this transgression. And I choose to operate in the Agape Love towards them. Amen.
We've had people ask, why is it necessary to attend church? Can't we just watch a television evangelist, watch an internet minister or listen to a cd and get the same results? However good or educational these may be, there's just something about attending a corporate church service. Heb. 10:24 amp. "Not forsaking or neglecting to assemble together (as believers) as is the habit of some people, but admonishing (warning, urging and encouraging) one another and all the more faithfully as you see the day approaching."
The church is a place where we learn and receive faith. (Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. The Word here is preached Word) Being built up in faith ensures that when challenges arise, faith meets them rather than fear. Being separated and alone gives place to fearful thoughts and discouraging attitudes. Seeing other believers that are confronted with the same kinds of situations as yourself, and learning of their triumphs and victories builds faith! You can't get that from t.v., the internet or a c.d.
There are some who say: 'I'm not ready to go to church, I need to get myself together first before I go.' The local church will accept you just the way you are. But, if it's a faith filled, spirit filled, bible teaching church it will not leave you the same way you came. Your faithful attendance to listen to the message of the Word and apply it to you life daily, will cause you to change. (Rom. 10:14 "How can they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?") You must come to hear and hear to believe.
One might say: 'I used to be in a church and worked so much I got burned out.' Let me say first, people who feel overworked are generally unorganized. Pressure comes because of the lack of organization, not because one has a role in serving in the local church. We can get 'burnt out' doing sports, hobbies, and the like, and quit as a result. Secondly, burn out comes because an ember is too far away from a flame. Our flame gets extinguished because we're doing 'works' without a relationship with Christ. The lack of organization gets us to working so much we neglect to spend quality time praising and praying. Plus when we're not scheduled to work, we stay away from service rather than come and get energized from the preached Word and fellowship, using the excuse 'I'm burned out.'
I've heard some say: 'There are just hypocrites in the church. They come to church but don't really act like they should.' My question to you would be, are you going to allow a 'hypocrite' come between you and your relationship with God? Because if you refrain from attending church, worshipping the Lord, or serving Him, then he just got between you and Christ and he's closer to Christ than you are. Besides what better place for a hypocrite than church? Just perhaps he'll hear the Word at one point and get his life changed. We should pray for them, not allow them to control what we do.
People have even said: 'I've gone but I just don't get it. I don't understand what's being taught.' If you're not 'getting it'. Then you need to put into operation Mark 4:14-20. Work on your (dirt) heart. What determines what your dirt is like is you. Cast your cares over on the Lord, walk in forgiveness, or put your sight on things above not on the earth. Become a spiritual man, because a 'natural man' can't receive spiritual things. (1 Cor 2:14-15) A change of heart will help you better comprehend the Word of God.
The case in point with not attending church, regardless of the reason you're being robbed of a blessing Christ intended for you to have. Eph. 4:11 Christ gave the apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers to the church for the equipping of the saints, for the work of ministry and for the edifying of the body of Christ. He purposes that our minds be renewed by the Word. He desires that we may better understand and know what promises are already ours so we can live victoriously. And the only way to do that is in the local church. Pray to make sure you attend the church of God's choice for you. Be certain the church you attend preaches/teaches and believes the uncompromised Word of God, not just what you want to hear. (Truth sometimes is uncomfortable.) Then be faithful, because faithful attenders understand and learn more swiftly than the non attenders. If you don't believe that, then only send your child to school one day a month.
Let me just end with this, it' easy to be thrilled with something, it's just difficult to stay thrilled. It takes diligence to remain excited about church. It's an attitude we must choose. Choose to be inspired at your local church!
Pastors Michael & Ginny Gulotta
Pro. 11:25 "The generous soul will be made rich, And he who waters will also be watered himself."