Sunday, July 31, 2016

Jacob, Jabbok and Wrestlemania Part 3

Genesis 32:22-32
Today we continue our study on Jacob and how God reclaimed his life to fulfill His intended purpose and plan.
God not only has eternal life for His children but an 
earthly purpose as well.
I. A Man Sought Solitude - v.22-24
• Many will never change until they get 
uncomfortable or face a crisis
II. A Man Wrestled with God and Himself - v.24-25a
• Most people will miss God's best for their lives because they 
give up too soon.  
III. A Man was Reclaimed by God - v.25b-32
A. He was a Broken man v.25b-27
B. He was a Blessed Man v.28-30
In the Bible, receiving a new name signifies making a new                                                    beginning.
God’s purpose and Jacob’s blessing are one and the same thing.  
When God rules our lives, then He can trust us with His 
power; for only those who are under His authority have the right to exercise His authority.
C. He was a Branded Man v.31-32
A man with a limp can’t put his full weight on himself.
When a man is walking with the Lord, he will almost always be out of step with the world!
Scars are history written on the body. They are tattoos with better stories.  
The scars you can’t see are the hardest to heal.
Scars only come with healing.  They remind us that we were                   wounded, not arewounded.
There Are Wounded Who Choose Not to Heal
Life is hardif it’s not, it should be.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Majority Report

By Donnie O’Fallon
Now behold the Lord has let live, just as He spoke, these forty-five years, from the time the Lord spoke this word to Moses, when Israel walked in the wilderness; and behold I am eighty-five years old today. I am still as strong today as I was in the day, Moses sent me; as my strength was then, so it is now, for war and for going out and for coming in. Now then, (give me that mountain) this hill country which the Lord spoke of on that day…”
Joshua 14:10-12 NAS
This passage records the words of Caleb, one of the 12 spies that went into the promise land of Canaan. Ten of the spies brought back the Majority Report, “there’s giant in the land, we can’t possess it”! However, Caleb and Joshua brought back the Minority Report, which said, “there are giants, but we can possess the land because God’s already given it to us so let’s go take it”! Caleb was not afraid of a mountain sized challenge because he knew he served a God who could move mountains! At age 85, he knew that God rewarded faithfulness so he said, “I want that mountain”! Caleb also knew God would not reward the faithlessness of the Majority Report. What should have taken a few days, took forty years of wondering. They, nor their off-springs, would possess the Promise Land.
 Like Caleb and Joshua, We Must have a Purposeful Activity and A Positive Attitude.
As I embark on a new responsibility as Baby Boomer and Senior Adult Pastor, I’m keenly aware of the fact that form the cradle to the grave we are to continue to fulfill The Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20). That’s ministry and missions; and The Great Commandment (Matthew 22:36-40), which is to love God, our neighbors and ourselves. As we age, we begin dealing with certain physical and for some, mental limitation. I want to begin addressing some of these issues so that we can remain as strong as we can, for as long as we can, and stay spiritually in tune with The Lord to fulfill His plan and purpose in us individually and as a church. Remember the Promise of Philippians 1:6 that says “For I am confident of this one thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus”. Just as Caleb said, “there is much land to be possessed, I’m convinced God has a purpose for our lives right up to the very end. God can use us to mentor and disciple the younger generation and pass on the knowledge and experiences of life to them just as was true with Caleb, Joshua, Jesus to his disciples, Elijah to Elisha, Paul to Timothy and Titus to the younger generation then.
Like Caleb and Joshua, We Must Approach This Time with A Prayerful Appropriation.
You see, it is God Gods power in our lives that accomplishes what He desires in and through us. That’s His promise regardless of the problems. The ten said’ “they’re too big to hit, we might make really mad”, but Caleb said, “they’re too big to miss, God’s promised it, so let’s get on with it”. Paul says’ “My God shall supply all your needs according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus”. I love Isaiah words to God’s people, “Even to your old age I will be the same, and even to your graying years I will bear you! I have done it and I will carry you; and I will bear you and I will deliver you”, (Isaiah. 46: 4). Praying about every open door and every opportunity.

My Prayer for Us: “Lord teach us to number our days that we may that we may present you a heart for wisdom”, Psalm 90:12, Amen!

Thursday, July 28, 2016

How to Respond to Conflict (Part 3)

Beloved, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good. The one who does good is of God; the one who does evil has not seen God.  3 John 1:11

I.         Focus on the positive
As human beings we are pretty much negative by nature.  A lot of times instead of seeing the good we only see the bad. It is always hard to focus on the positive when you are in the middle of a conflict with another person.  We get defensive and selfish.  We have our point of view and we want others to see it our way.  We can become prideful; much like Diotrephes was in our devotional yesterday.
Being positive when you have a conflict means not using terms like “you never” or “you always.”  It means instead of being mean, be kind.  Instead of getting angry, be loving.  Instead of using harsh words, use gentle ones. Much easier said than done, but God knows how hard this is for us and he provides plenty of guidelines for us such as Proverbs 15:1, “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” (NIV)
As Christians we are most like God when we are reconciling relationships.  Romans 12:21, tells us “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (NIV)  How do you reconcile a relationship?  Here are some action steps you can take:
  • Schedule a peace conference with someone you are having a conflict with.
  • Resolve to put Jesus first in your relationships.
  • The next time you have a conflict with someone, write the problem down on a piece of paper so you won’t forget what it is and get side tracked.
  • Say a positive word to and think a positive thought for a person you have a conflict with.
The Bad Outweighs the Good!
With all of the problems that we encounter in life it is sometimes difficult not to expect the worst and hope for the best.  Life should be like a photograph; we should be turning NEGATIVES into POSITIVES.  Very often we allow bad circumstances to control our life.  Circumstances are like a feather mattress.  If you get underneath them, you will suffocate.  But, if you stay on top of them, you can rest easy.  An unknown author wrote a humorous poem that gives pretty good advice along these lines:
As you travel down life’s pathway,
Whatever be your goal,
Keep your eye upon the doughnut,
And not upon the hole.
Don’t lose it!
Even though we have good intentions, sometimes when we get in a conflict, we lose our resolve.   We may get caught up in what the other person is saying about us or accusing us of and we may begin to act just like they are.  That is what Paul is warning us about in this verse.  …do not imitate what is evil, but what is good.  Be imitators of good, keep your head about you, respond like Jesus would.
Satan likes to tempt us and put us in situations that might cause us to stumble.  He wants us to fail and be imitators of evil.  God will sustain us.  He knows our weaknesses.  He created us. He died for us because He knows our weaknesses and in our weakness, His strength is perfect.  Call on Him to get you through a difficult time dealing with conflict.  He will carry you through to the other side. 

Scripture to Claim:
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.   2 Corinthians 12:9

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