Friday, February 28, 2020

Toward Christian Maturity by Donnie O’Fallon

Friday, February 28, 2020

Toward Christian Maturity by Donnie O’Fallon

I’m sure you have appreciated as I have, the messages that Brother Van and Sam have shared with us thus far in 2020. They are motivating us toward growth in the Grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. As you grow in your relationship with God, as a believer, it’s natural for you to want to know Jesus better. As we begin to grow, we will discover that the completeness of our life is truly in Him: “ Him you have been made complete...” Colossians 2:10a. Jesus wants us to have and know “Abundant life”, that can only come from Him and to allow Him to become involved in every intimate part of our lives. His desire is to lead us beyond ourselves and to allow Christ to assume full direction and control. As we learn to do this, we will experience a personal relationship with God that becomes sweeter every day.

*  Do Your Part - God helps you grow as a Christian, but you must put forth the effort to do your part. Jesus stated to his disciples, If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow me. Luke 9:23
*  Live in the Word -  We’ve heard Brother Van say, “your growth and faith is in direct proportion to your knowledge of the Word of God.” 1 Peter 2:2 says Like newborn babes, long for the pure milk of the word, so you may grow in in respect to salvation. You see as we daily read the Word, the Word begins to change us, moving us toward personal development and spiritual growth.
*  Pray in Faith - Prayer is communion with God. It is Worship. It is learning to talk to Him throughout the day. It is to believe His promises.  If you abide in me, and My words abide in you, ask what you wish, and it will be done for you. John 15:7  He also tells us in His Word, that He delights in the prayer of His people. As we pray, we gain new strength daily.
*  Fellowship with Gods people, other believers, through His Church - Everyone will know you are my disciples (disciplined followers) of Jesus, when you love others.
John 13:34-35
*  Minister and Witness - Finally as we mature, we learn that we are to minister to others and share our witness with others of God’s Grace in our lives. In John 15:8 Jesus speaks these words - My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be my disciples.

I pray for each one to come to this place of commitment that you can pray, “Heavenly Father, I want to be more like You. I commit myself to daily let your Word speak to me and to pray daily for your guidance, leading and strength. Help me to love you more and strengthen me to love others and teach me to share my story with them”. Amen!

Thursday, February 27, 2020

The Right Way

Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it.  Matthew 7:13  The Right Way
We all need directions in life whether we want to admit or not to get where we want to go. Jesus gave us some insight as to our itinerary through life. People are in such a hurry to get to the next place, the next appointment, the next event that they miss a lot of life.  It is easy to get lost if you don’t pay close attention to the direction you are going.
Salvation and sanctification did not just "happen" to those who "flow" with others but to those who "seek". Christ gives clear instruction to beware following the easy way while disregarding its inevitable end.  It is important to remember that there is a difference between the Christian and the world.  Below are some reasons why the way of the world is so appealing to so many people. 
The Way of the World v.13b

·         It's Availability - "the gate is wide"

We are born into it - It requires no seeking or desiring - it is natural. The wide path is the one most traveled. It is the easy path.  You do not have to do anything to walk this path. Apathy puts you on it.

If you have not chosen to leave it you are in it.

·         It's Ease of Following - "the way is broad"

It is spacious, easy, no restriction.  You don't have to try to be bad.  Those on this way have the bumper sticker "If it feels good do it".

·         It's Company - "there are many who enter through it"

If you like to travel with the crowd you will go this way. You will never seem alone.  It provides a feeling of security and pleasure.  A falsehood is "If most people do it, it must be the best thing to do and it is okay"

People on this road use each other for it is a self-centered life.  Most on the "broad way" don't like the road or the crowd - they just don't know how to leave it.  A certain truth is if you have to "do wrong" to "feel-good" then something is wrong.

·         It's End - "leads to destruction"

Most people don't look where they're going.  A very important question for all of us today is “If you get where you’re going, where will you be?”   Nowhere is this question more important than when it is related to eternity.  At some point all of us will come to the end of our road.  Jesus said, if you find yourself on this road you will find yourself at this destination. 

The wide paths have many ways that you can take and stay on the path.  Some will travel down Substance Abuse street. Some it will walk down Pride Avenue. Others will travel down Materialism Way. Some will travel down Sexual Sins Estate road. Some will take Hate Street or they will walk down Murder Avenue. Many will walk down Apathy lane.

The point is, you don't have to do anything to ruin your life. As a matter of fact that's how you ruin it, by not doing anything.  Most people don't care where they are going just as long as the way is spacious and filled with pleasure and friends. An example is leading hogs into a pen by giving them exactly what they want. They never look to see where they are going. People today are the same way. 

Don’t fall into the easy path that leads to destruction.  Be intentional and live your life with purpose.  Consider carefully the decisions you make and the path you choose to follow.


There is a way which seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death. Proverbs 14:12

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

God is There

Wednesday, February 26, 2020
For the Word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Hebrews 4:12 
When You don’t Hear Anything
There are those moments in life when silence is golden.  Then there are those moments in life when silence is deafening, maddening, and excruciating.  Those moments come when we are seeking God earnestly with all our heart and get nothing in return.  Your heart is right, your prayers are right on and you are on your knees pleading for His guidance, but still you do not feel the presence of God, you do not sense His direction and you start to feel like He doesn't even care anymore..
God is there, even when it feels like he isn’t. He loves you and knows what is best, especially when you don’t.  If He doesn’t answer you as quickly as you think He should, He has a reason and everything is better in His time.  Maybe He is working on something or someone.  His time is not our time and when the silence is deafening, we listen harder.  It is comes eventually.  Be sure you are listening to the right voice.  
We all have friends who love us so much they want to fix our lives for us.  Their answer may not be the answer God has for you.  It may be Biblical.  It may be good, solid, sound Christian advice but still not be what God wants you to do in a particular situation.  You have to discern.  You have to keep seeking and keep your focus on God and what He leads you to do.  Study the Bible, pray and listen.
He Speaks
You will hear God speaking to you in that still, small voice that prompts you in your spirit. But, how do you know it is God who is speaking to you? God has given us some direction as to how we can determine His voice from any others we may hear which may come from well meaning friends who love us.  These confirmations will strengthen our faith and enable us to hear God more clearly as we grow in our faith.
How do you know God is speaking to you? - The Tests
The first test is the confirmation of God's written Word - the Bible.
 Everything that God says will agree with His written Word. He will never tell you to sin or go against a teaching in His Word. This simple test can clarify many "messages." We must, however, be careful not to read the written Word with any preconceived ideas of what it is saying. 
The second test is the confirmation of godly counsel. God has placed people in our lives to help us to hear His voice. These people may include pastors, teachers, parents, and godly friends. In most cases, they will confirm the voice of God to you and help you to see His plan. This is not to say that you should rely on them solely. These people are human and can have their own feelings and fears distort their objectivity. However, they can be a very valuable source of confirmation when you are uncertain of God's voice. 
The third test is the confirmation through circumstances. Christians can carefully study their situation for indications of God's will. Some Christians have called this the Gideon method or "putting out the fleece." When God told Gideon that he was to lead Israel into battle against their enemies, Gideon put a fleece out on the ground in order to receive a sign that God was really speaking to him. If you feel led to use this test, come to God with a humble attitude and not a spirit of testing Him. Pray for God to reveal His will and carefully watch the circumstances that relate to that decision.
Wait expectantly with great anticipation.  He will be faithful.  The answer is coming. Be ready to accept the answer he gives you. Be open to His guidance.  Accept His love and perfect will for your life.

Throwing aside his cloak, he jumped up and came to Jesus. And answering him, Jesus said, "What do you want Me to do for you?" And the blind man said to Him, "Rabboni, I want to regain my sight!" And Jesus said to him, "Go; your faith has made you well." Immediately he regained his sight and began following Him on the road.

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

The Light Jesus Brings

Tuesday, February 25, 2020 Some material taken from Add A Little Salt
You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

The Light Jesus Brings
Light is a necessary and needed commodity.  It brings warmth and clarity.  It helps us feel safe and gives us confidence. Christ’s light for the world shines through transformed believers. Every believer is meant to be a point of light to a dark world.
To those of us who love the light, it is easy to find, but there are times in life when the darkness tries to consume us. Those are the times we have to find the light inside our hearts.  The hope we have in Jesus sparks and we can find our way from the darkness and into His light. The light of Jesus in our hearts can never be extinguished by Satan and his darkness.  In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.  John 1:4-5 And it never will.
His light is life-giving and healing. It is revealing and freeing. When we seek His light, we will never walk in darkness and we will always have Him. Seek the light Jesus gives and pass it on to everyone around you.
It is our responsibility to be a point of light to a dark world, to carry the light of Jesus to everyone. Jesus clearly says our purpose is to make a difference:but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. Matthew 5:14-16
When we are living in the light of His glory, we can’t help but be a light to the rest of the world, and most of the time, we don’t even realize we are shining.  it is a natural consequence of living in His light.  When we live our life under His control, we will radiate His light and love. 

 His light brings clarity. 
His light brings warmth. 
His light brings safety. 
His light brings salvation to all. 
His light brings all good things.
Only the redeeming light of Jesus can draw us out of the darkness of sin and into His grace and forgiveness. Take His light and run with it. Let if fall all over you and consume you. Let it rain down on your life and spill over to everyone around you.

Monday, February 24, 2020

The Sham of Darkness

You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
I am one of those people. When I was little, I always had a nightlight on when I went to bed.  If I ever went anywhere that I had to sleep in the dark, I was paralyzed in fear and couldn’t sleep. I have never like to sleep in complete darkness and I still don’t. I may not have the main light on, but I like there to be a little light shining somewhere so I can see.   
From the beginning of time there has been darkness and light. Most of the time we see darkness and light in opposition of each other as in good vs. evil with darkness being representative of evil and light representing goodness. Darkness does many things. It covers. It hides.  It can be frightening. Darkness can be comforting too, but usually because we want to hide, whether it is hiding from danger or from something else. We hardly ever see darkness represented in a positive light unless it is in view of something light-hearted like the moon, stars, or such.
Why exactly do we view darkness this way? As humans we are generally more comfortable with light.  We can see clearly what is around us and in front of us.  We don’t have to guess, and it leaves little to our imagination. In the darkness however, we cannot see anything that is around us and we allow ourselves to imagine all kinds of things - many untrue. Our greatest fears seem to come alive in the dark, producing feelings of insecurity because we have no control.
Nyctophobia is characterized by a severe fear of the dark triggered by the brain's disfigured perception of what could happen when in a dark environment. It is amazing what our brains can do - and make us believe that is not true. Fear of the darkness is not fear of the dark as much as fear of what we can’t see. Darkness distorts the truth. The truth is one thing but how we perceive it because of the darkness is another.  
Satan will use darkness disguised as light to trick us if he can. He disguises darkness as light and before we know it, it has strangled our heart. What seems to be the answer to hope becomes a person’s deepest betrayal because its end was death. There is a force of evil that seeks to destroy and veils itself in the shining lights of on the street only to lead victims into darkness and rob them of life and hope. Satan wants us to think that the darkness he offers is really light and hope.  He leads us to believe that his darkness will fill the longing in our hearts, but in the end, it just eats away at it.  Satan is crafty and he is the great deceiver, but his flashy tricks to lure us are exposed when the light of Christ hits our lives. 
Darkness in our lives reveals the parts of our lives where Christ is absent. Satan and all who love his ways love the darkness because it hides the truth of what he is. Darkness only hides sin until the light comes.  John 1: says The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.  Jesus is the light, and He will prevail. We must always be vigilant and on guard, making sure that what seems like light is really light. True light only comes from the one true God. 

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12

Sunday, February 23, 2020

A World of Darkness Needs Light

A World of Darkness Needs Light
Matthew 5:14-16
Jesus shares another metaphor of the impact a believer has on others.  Believers are light in the darkness. 
The Beatitudes established a whole new concept of a person who was “Blessed”.
Darkness can be frightening.
·      Nyctophobia is characterized by a severe fear of the dark triggered by the brain's disfigured perceptionof what could happen when in a dark environment.
Darkness can be enjoyable.
Light and Darkness were created by God.
Darkness is not only physical but moral and spiritual as well.. 

I. Darkness Hides Danger – Proverbs 4:19

·      It is the fact of darkness that presses the need for light
·      Satan is a liar and makes the darkness look like light.  

II. Darkness Hides Truth - 

·      The sacrifice of Christ on the cross finds its purpose and meaning in the holiness of God.
·      There is NOTHING WRONG unless there is HOLY RIGHTEOUSNESS. 
·      The world does not understand the danger or damage of sin without the light.
·      When the light of righteousness shines on unrighteousness, selfish pleasure rejects the truth and walks on into darkness. 
·      The darkness of pride found in religion and the Pharisees is a great darkness.

III. The Darkness is Overcome by the Light of Christ

·      Jesus was introduced to this world as light.
·      Salvation is seen as light.

IV. It is a Distributed Light Matthew 5:14a

·      Christ’s light for the world shines through transformed believers. Every believer is meant to be a pointof light to a dark world.
·      People who attack the darkness with darkness have little effect on bringing light.  

V. It is a Visible Light - Matthew 5:15a

·      It is PRIDE again that covers our light because we fear the censure of others.
·      When we fail to express our Christian faith by standing against sin and the darkness it brings, we are "busheling our bulb"

VI. It is a Revealing Light Matthew 5:15b

·      Getting honest about our lives is the only path to redemption and restoration.

VII. It is a Beautiful Light Matthew 5:16a

·      The Fruit of the Spirit revealed in the life of a believer is beautiful for all to see.

VIII. It is a God-Glorifying Light Matthew 5:16b

·      Actions and attitudes in life that emanate from our new nature bring glory to God, not man.

Friday, February 21, 2020

Overcoming Fears

Friday, February 21,2020
 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.  John 14:27, (NIV)
When destructive fear is entrenched in our lives, we must remember that God is greater than all our fears. He desires to empower us to dismantle and demolish fear's strongholds in our lives. 
Fear must be uprooted and the truth implanted so that we are freed not merely to survive but to thrive in a dangerous world.  John 8:32 "and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free."  
Some steps to overcoming crippling fears are:
·      Face Your Fears. Don't run from your fears. Standing up to them and facing them head-on is half the battle. II Corinthians 10:3-5 says For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the  against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ,)
·      Feel your fears. Don't try to silence them by getting busy in distracting activities.  Give yourself permission to feel the trembling, the anguish, and the terror.  By doing so, you will be able to begin identifying your fears and what's underneath them. 
Putting descriptive words to both the feelings and beliefs underlying your fears will equip you to talk more honestly and openly about your fears with someone who cares, whether a professional or a friend.  Keeping a journal will help you focus your thoughts as you face your fears.  Once your thoughts, feelings, and beliefs are written out in front of you, it will allow you to be more objective with what is going on inside.
David was a man who honestly wrestled with his fears.  Psalm 55:4-8 - My heart is in anguish within me; the terrors of death assail me. Fear and trembling have beset me; horror has overwhelmed me. I said, "Oh, that I had the wings of a dove! I would fly away and be at rest-I would flee far away and stay in the desert; I would hurry to my place of shelter, far from the tempest and storm."
When you journal, it is helpful to ask yourself questions that make you write out detailed answers. Don't ask questions that can be answered with one word. Here are some questions to get you started.
·         What am I afraid of right now? 
·         What am I trying to avoid facing? 
·         If I wasn’t afraid right now, what would I do differently? 
·         What would have to change for me not to be afraid? 
·         What am I afraid will happen in this situation? 
·         What do I fear the other person will think of me? 
·         What am I afraid will happen if my anxious thoughts are true? What’s the worst that could happen? And if that happens, then what? And if that happens, then what? 
As you follow this process of honestly facing your fears, you will be better prepared to examine your findings and learn from your fears instead of running from them.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13 NIV 

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