Friday, February 26, 2021

Our Help and Comfort in Life

 Friday, February 26, 2020

But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. John 14:26

Our Help and Comfort in Life
God really did do a wonderful and loving thing for us by giving the Holy Spirit as our Helper. We have the Holy Spirit with us all the time – He never leaves our side. In fact, our body is a temple – the home of the Holy Spirit. Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? 1 Corinthians 3:16 ESV He is our constant companion.

In the scripture above, Jesus was talking to the disciples before He went to heaven and telling them that the Holy Spirit (Helper) would come to them/us after He goes away. The Holy Spirit is a helper given to us who provides us so many different things. Some of the things the Holy Spirit does for us:

·         Helper - But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. John 16:7

·         Teacher - the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. John 14:26

·         Convicts Us of Sin - And when He comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment…John:16:8

·          Reveals Truth - When the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all the truth… John 16:13

·         Gives Spiritual Gifts - All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills. 1 Corinthians 12:11

·         Seals Our Inheritance - In Him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in Him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit… Ephesians 1:13

·         Provides Strength in Our Weakness - Likewise, the Spirit helps us in our weakness… Romans 8:26a

·         Sanctifies Us - But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. 1 Corinthians 6:11

·         Comforts - 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 you may abound in hope.  Romans 15:13

One of the greatest gifts of the Holy Spirit to us is that He is our comforter. The Greek word for “Comforter” or “Counselor” is parakletos. which means one called to the side of another, or coming alongside another to counsel or support the one who needs it. This Counselor, or Paraclete, is God the Holy Spirit, who has been called to our side. This is God Himself dwelling in every believer.

When hope runs out, and troubles come, we know God has overcome the world and He has already won all our battles. But we still have to walk through the valleys and live through the battles. We are more than conquerors, but in the middle of the battles it doesn’t feel like it. We have the Holy Spirit with us and this examples for us what we should do for others when we can - come alongside them for support along the way.

Because we have the Holy Spirit, we don’t have to endure anything in this life alone. He never leaves our side, never closes His eyes and sleeps, never turns His head away. Through the he lonely, difficult times He is always there. He gives us the comfort we need that no one else can give us.  Even if we don't feel His presence we can know that He is always there. 

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Which One Are You?

 Thursday, February 24, 2021 Some material taken from The Neighbor Lover

And by chance a priest was going down on that road, and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. Likewise a Levite also, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, who was on a journey, came upon him; and when he saw him, he felt compassion, and came to him and bandaged up his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them; and he put him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn and took care of him. Luke 10:31-34

Which One Are You?

The parable of the Good Samaritan has four key characters: The Traveler, The Priest, The Levite, and the Samaritan. Each character plays an important part in the lesson we can learn from this story.

The Traveler:
This man was traveling alone on a dangerous road. Some might call this being in the wrong place at the wrong time. The Jericho road was never safe to travel alone and he probably knew that. He might have been a little irresponsible and should have known that he was taking a chance traveling this road alone. It could have been considered that he had no one to blame but himself for the situation that he found himself in. But Jesus points him out as one in need of mercy. Whether his hurting was self-imposed, or accidental he was still in need of mercy.

The Priest
The priest was a slave to religion. He was all out rituals, temple duties and going through all the motions. He was too busy to stop and help the traveler. To him, his duties were more important than the life of the man lying on the road. It sounds harsh but it is true. If he had even gone over to him and touched him, had he been dead then he would not He set the claims of ceremony above charity.  All the “things” he felt he needed to do prevented him from taking the time to stop and help someone. How many times have we all passed up someone who needed help because we didn’t have the time to get involved?

The Levite
The Levite thought he was better than others and that he could not take a risk by stopping to help someone.  One who considered self above others.  He was not willing to take a chance to stop and somehow get trapped or hurt himself.

"Showing mercy involves risk."  Because of the great mercy we have experienced ourselves from God, we should be the first ones to show mercy, not hold it back. It is not ours to keep, but to give away. If you are not willing to take a risk, then you will not ever be in the place to show compassion to others. Mercy and sacrifice go together. If we only serve God by doing “church things” and never get involved in hands on helping people, we will never know the abundant life He gives.

But go and learn what this means: 'I desire mercy and not sacrifice.' Matthew 9:13a

The Samaritan
First of all, he stopped. He believed that helping another and this man's life was more important that whatever he was on his way to do. He took the risk to show mercy. He didn't believe he was above getting involved and helping another person. His credit was good (trustworthy), and he was known in the area. He was honest and prepared to help. The Samaritan showed what life is all about. He was simply an ordinary man who showed his care for others, especially those in trouble.

So, which one are you? Let me start off by saying that we are all travelers. We all get beaten down and left behind on the road of life at times. When you know someone who is in need of a friend, are you going to be too busy with all your church things or all your other things to stop and call them or have coffee with them so they can talk? Will you think you are too good and do not want to risk getting caught up in their issues? Or will you take the time to stop like the Samaritan man? Are you willing to take the risk to care about others as Jesus and the Good Samaritan did? God showed us mercy and love and He wants us to do the same for others in need. 


Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Dangerous Places

 Wednesday, February 24, 2021  

 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii[e] and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers? The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him. Jesus told him, Go and do likewise. Luke 10:33-37                                                                                                  

The Jericho Road and Other Dangerous Places

The parable of the Good Samaritan, told by Jesus, is one a lot of us are familiar with. A man traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho was robbed and beaten and left for dead. Three people came upon him and two crossed the road to avoid him while one stopped to help him.

The Jericho road connected Jerusalem and Jericho and was 17 miles of treacherous, dangerous, and violent road. Over the course of those seventeen miles, the road drops an estimated 3600 feet. It is a steep, winding, descending, remote road, that for centuries has been a place of robberies.  Many events happened on the Jericho road in the Bible. In Luke 19, it is on the road to Jericho that Zacchaeus climbs up the sycamore tree so he can catch a glimpse of Jesus. And it is on that same road in Mark 10 where Jesus encounters Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus. The road to Jericho is also the setting for the parable that Jesus tells of the Good Samaritan in Luke chapter 10. Jesus told the parable of the Good Samaritan and chose the road to Jericho on purpose. The Jericho road in life is where we should be looking to help others and it is where we find Christ again and again.

Each of these, though rejected by their world, find meaning and acceptance when they encounter Jesus on the Jericho Road.  It is easy for us to identify and relate to these three men.  We have been rejected by men.  We have been born with afflictions.  We also have known what it is to feel small, and less-than others. As far as the road being a dangerous place, our world has certainly felt like a scary place this past year - a Jericho road all around us. 

Like those on the Jericho Road, we need to look around us and see those who are lost, or beaten, or rejected, or cast aside.  We can lead them to a Jesus encounter that will change their lives. It is here that Jesus’ message about the Good Samaritan comes into focus. When asked who is our neighbor, Jesus replied: Who was the one who showed true love to the man on the side of the road? When the evidence pointed to the Samaritan, the instruction was given: “Go and do likewise.” (see Luke 10:25-37)

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

The Comfort God Provides

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

The Comfort God Provides

God is the God of all comfort, but God often chooses to use those who have been comforted, to comfort others. God expects us to comfort those who are in any trouble with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. The comfort God extends to us is designed to be shared with others.  John Henry Jowett, who lived almost 200 years ago, said, God does not comfort us to make us comfortable, but to make us comforters.


God gives us comfort when we need Him the most.  He does not desert us in our time of need!
Hebrews 13:5 says, I will never leave you nor forsake you. So we may boldly say: The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me? 
It is so easy to get tunnel-vision and see only what is around us and what affects our lives—if things are going well for us then everything is OK.  If our world is crumbling, the whole world is crumbling. Yet, as the people of God, we need to have our eyes trained on others around us and those who are in the world... so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

This verse shows us the means through which God brings us comfort.  Look at the word We in this verse.  We are the people who bring God’s comfort.  The phrase So that we can comfort points to the means God uses to provide encouragement to people.  The way He often brings comfort is through His people.  


Those comforts in suffering that we found helpful are those handholds that we share with other other sufferers.  This passage teaches us that our suffering, and the comfort we receive through our suffering, becomes the very strength with which we overcome.  Then we can help others learn to trust God to help them overcome.  

Are you trusting in the Lord, or are you trying to do it all in your own power? God wants to fill you with power to overcome and persevere no matter what the circumstances.  He desires to carry you and comfort you.  He wishes the best for His children because He loves us so very much.  Trust Him to work through you.  Don’t go on believing you can handle it all on your own.  He is waiting to rescue you.  He is waiting for you to call on your God of all comfort.  2 Cor. 1:3


Receive the comfort of the Holy Spirit. Accept His healing power and soak in the warmth of His loving touch then pass it on by helping others.  Every day, people around us are slammed with troubles and problems…many of them are looking for something or someone to help but they are looking in all of the wrong places.  Take your eyes off of yourself and see the needs of others. 

…and our hope for you is firmly grounded, knowing that as you are sharers of our sufferings, so also you are sharers of our comfort.  2 Corinthians 1:7

Monday, February 22, 2021

The Messy Work of Loving

 Monday, February 22, 2021

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.

The Messy Work of Loving

One of the greatest problems in relationships is the unrealistic expectations we place on the people we love and those who love us. We live in an Instagram world where every marriage, parenthood experience, family, home, etc. seems perfect and beautiful. We have been inundated with the whole concept of “self-love” in the last few years also. The best self love we can give ourselves is to look outward instead of inward. 

The thing about love that we try to leave out or cover up is that sometimes it is not clean, tidy, or comfortable. Most of life’s moments with the people we love are not “Insta worthy.” Real love for each other, the kind of love God asks us to stand in and suffer through at times, is never what gets posted on the most popular social media sites. Yes, love is a beautiful gift from God, but we have to take the ugly side along with the beautiful side. It is the hard times we go through with those we love that refines us personally and strengthens our relationships, with each other and with God.

We want a perfect and easy life – we are human! We want easy relationships, that flow effortlessly, but the only perfect love we will ever experience is the flawless, unconditional love that God has for us. No love on earth – from people or things – will ever fulfill us like the love of God. But we will search endlessly for something or someone that does, until we learn that He is the only place to find that fulfillment and that true fulfillment will only come from giving that love away.

God does put people in our lives that are not easy to love, or they are not convenient. Like the Priest and the Levite in the story of the Good Samaritan that Brother Van preached on yesterday, we tend to cross the road, avoid, or keep clear of these inconvenient, messy people. We rarely seek them out, hoping we don’t get caught up in some situation with them - because they almost always have a situation. You know who they are, we all have them in our lives. If we want to live a life that truly glorifies Him, and if we want to live our lives in a way that He wants us to, that involves loving those people. If God has put someone in your life like that, He did it for a purpose. You may be the only person that ever shows the love of God to them. Please do not think I am talking down about anyone. We are all messy people at times.

I cannot stop thinking about the amazing grace God has for me. How could I ever not have grace for another? He has loved us when we were the most unlovable, and gave His Son for our salvation and eternal life. He loves us when we fail Him every day, and never gives up on us. God calls us to do messy, hard things. He calls us to love when it is inconvenient and to sacrifice and put the needs of others before our needs or desires. He calls us to look in the ditches and to help the ones no one else wants to help. He calls us to love those we subconsciously think are unworthy. He calls us to be the Good Samaritan and not cross the road. If God does not call us to do these things, then what is our purpose in His kingdom? He calls us to show His love to everyone - and messy people in messy situations need it the most. 


Friday, February 19, 2021

Worship is Always A Good Idea

 Friday, February 19, 2021 Some material take from When You Don't Know What To Do

And the Levites, of the Kohathites and the Korahites, stood up to praise the LORD, the God of Israel, with a very loud voice. And they rose early in the morning and went out into the wilderness of Tekoa. And when they went out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, “Hear me, Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem! Believe in the LORD your God, and you will be established; believe his prophets, and you will succeed.” 2 Chronicles 20:19-20 ESV

Worship is Always A Good Idea

Last Sunday and earlier this week we have been talking about King Jehoshaphat and the great horde of armies that had declared war on the southern kingdom of Judah. Jehoshaphat, not knowing what to do in the face of this great threat, prayed to the Lord for guidance. We learned from Jehoshaphat’s example that the first thing to do when we don’t know what to do is to focus on God. The second thing we learned from Jehoshaphat’s example is to praise God in the face of uncertainty. 

They had been given the promise by God that they would have victory over this battle because it was not their battle - it was the Lord’s. Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed at this great horde, for the battle is not yours but God's. Tomorrow go down against them… You will not need to fight in this battle. Stand firm, hold your position, and see the salvation of the LORD on your behalf...’ Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed. Tomorrow go out against them, and the LORD will be with you.”  2 Chronicles 20: 15b-17 They were praying and thanking God while a group of them stood up and started praising the Lord.

This group who stood up to praise the Lord in are not a group of charismatic free spirits. They were appointed by King David as the official Choir of Israel (1 Chronicles 6:31). This group had been assigned the task of ministry by song in Israel. They stood up and led the people in praising the Lord for His promised victory. - Sam Nobles

The element of fear was gone. The promise of God was in their hearts and praise was the result. They might have still be a little nervous because they were human, and God still wanted them to go to the battle, but they praised anyway.

I have worshiped my way through some of the worst days of my life - days filled with fear, anxiety, worry, and depression.  Music has always been a source of healing and comfort for me personally, as well as a joyful expression. Worship in the hard times is a choice we make over defeat, a true sacrifice of praise when our heart is anxious. We are human and God knows we will have human feelings, even when we believe His promises. Worship is a soothing balm for our very human feelings, and it reminds us of the things we know - God’s faithfulness and promises.

Gathering together in corporate worship is one of the most important things we can do. Coming together in adoration for Him and confessing His truth together is powerful. It is a weapon against Satan and focusing on our God instead of our problems is a testimony of our faith in Him. God accepts the offering of praise and makes it an occasion for His power to be devastating to the enemy. Community worship unites us as one body before Christ, in agreement of his promises and claiming His victory.


Thursday, February 18, 2021

My Portion…Forever

 Thursday, February 18, 2021

Whom have I in heaven but you?  And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.  My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.  Psalm 73:25-26

My Portion…Forever
Whatever you are facing today that seems so daunting, He is faithful and our strength and portion forever. The decisions you have to make, the valley you must walk through, or the suffering you must endure, He is there and He will lead you through it. 

I spin my wheels pretty often trying to figure things out, trying to dig myself out of a hole, or just plain ole fretting about a situation that I can see no way out of. Trying to solve these in my own power leads to hopelessness every time. My attempts and strivings will never be enough because my flesh is not able and it is weak.  But my God is everything I need.  He is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.  He is my portion when my physical body fails me.  He is my portion when my people fail me.  He is my portion when my hope fails me.  He is my portion when all this life has to offer fails me, because it surely will.  He will never fail me. 

We are broken humans and totally incapable of this life on our own.  We get tired and come to those places where our flesh fails.  Our flesh also fails when we get weak spiritually.  The good news is that when we walk with God and depend on Him, we are not limited to our own natural strength.  In every sense God is everything we need.  He is our portion – our part – THE part that completes us and makes us whole and without Him, we will never be whole or complete.  When we realize this - when we get to that place - we can finally rest in His strength.  

Our human strength has major limits and fades fast, but God’s strength knows no boundaries.  God has a limitless supply of strength and He is all-powerful!  He wants to give us His strength to live.  Not only is He our portion, but His strength revives us so we can go on.  Instead of giving up, Jesus empowers us to get up again.  And in those two little words, but God, lies victory.  The road to victory only begins when we acknowledge that He is our strength and our portion. It is completely possible to sit in peace in the middle of uncertain circumstances. When we surrender and let Him take over, victory comes. In our weakness, His strength is perfect and everything we need to overcome.  


The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace. Psalm 29:11

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

The Battle Is Not Yours

 Wednesday, February 17, 2021 Some material taken from When You Don’t Know What To Do

And the Spirit of the LORD came upon Jahaziel the son of Zechariah and he said, Listen, all Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem and King Jehoshaphat: Thus says the LORD to you, Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed at this great horde, for the battle is not yours but God's. Tomorrow go down against them. You will not need to fight in this battle. Stand firm, hold your position, and see the salvation of the LORD on your behalf. Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed. Tomorrow go out against them, and the LORD will be with you. 2 Chronicles 20:14-17

For the battle is not yours, but God's...

I love this passage because I think there are so many good things we can learn from this situation and how God handles it. First I have to say that the image of the great horde is exactly what it feels like when we are facing difficult times. Even though we may not have a great army headed for us, we have different kinds of “great hordes” that descend on us at times. Jehoshaphat was facing a great horde of armies. Prior to this passage God had protected Jehoshaphat by holding back his enemies, which of course He could have continued to do, but He does not. Instead the great horde is coming, and instead of rescuing them completely out of the situation, God sends them directly into the middle of it. God often wants us to go to the battle front as an exercise of our faith in Him. This battle was not Jehoshaphat’s or the kingdom of Judah’s battle, it was the Lords - for the battle is not yours but God's.

So many times, we just want God to make the great horde disappear, or for God to keep holding back the hordes, but sometimes He wants us to take the step of faith and face the great hordes so He can do a great work in our hearts. It takes a lot of faith and trust to stand still when the hordes are upon you, but this is what faith is. Our faith is built on moments like this when we see God work in our lives, and our faith is strengthened when we witness it over and over again. We see His power and faithfulness at work for us in our lives. God will fight every battle for us - He already has the victory in His hands. He wants us to trust Him - His sovereignty, power and faithfulness. 

Even when we are most desperate, and fear is making our insides melt, let us ascribe sovereign power to God. When you begin by ascribing all power and glory to God, a strength and hope and confidence come into your prayers that aligns you with the power seat of the universe. - 

Sam Nobles

Trusting in God’s sovereignty is the only answer in a situation when we don’t know what to do. Believing in His sovereignty is the only way we will trust in Him and His promises on the front lines of battle. When we have to fight battles for or make decisions that affect our loved ones, trusting Him is the only way to get through. Focusing on Him every step of the way we can find direction and guidance for taking the steps we feel He is leading us to take in faith.

God cares about us. He understands our fears and loves us and wants the best for us. The battle is not ours just like the battle was not Jehoshaphat’s either. There is no battle too big for Him because He is sovereign God and nothing happens outside of His control. He sends us to the battle but we do not have to fight because He fights for us. We just have the faith to move forward and to turn it all over to Him.

The LORD will fight for you, and you have only to be silent. Exodus 14:14



Tuesday, February 16, 2021

We Have A Situation...

 Tuesday, February 16, 2021

 O our God, will you not execute judgment on them? For we are powerless against this great horde that is coming against us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you. 
2 Chronicles 20:12

We Have A Situation...

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you just didn’t know what to do? We have to make a lot of decisions every day and sometimes decision overload can wear us out. Other times, there are just too many options. Trying to order a cup of coffee in a coffee shop can be overwhelming if you don’t know exactly what you want. Making a decision about what kind of coffee to order is not going to change your life, but there are times when we have to make decisions that will change our lives and will directly affect the lives of those around us.

Sunday we heard our teaching pastor, Sam Nobles, talk about King Jehoshaphat. He was in a situation where he needed to make a decision that would affect many people and he didn’t know what to do.

During the rule of King Jehoshaphat, a huge army of Moabites, Ammonites, and Edomites from across the Dead Sea declared war on the southern kingdom of Judah. King Jehoshaphat was justifiably alarmed, so he proclaimed a fast and called the people to the temple, where he prayed to the Lord. - Sam Nobles

When Jehoshaphat prayed to the Lord, he told Him that Judah was powerless against this huge army and they did not know what to do. As King, it was Jehoshaphat’s responsibility to make the decision about what to do in circumstances like this and he was afraid. Not knowing what to do can cause us to be fearful - especially in the face of danger. But Jehoshaphat did the best thing right away - he prayed about it, confessing his feelings and saying that their eyes were on God. 

When we find ourselves in a situation where we don’t know what to do, often we look everywhere else except to God. We try to solve the problem ourselves, we ask advice from all our friends, or we google. We need to follow Jehoshaphat’s example and pray first, and then look to the Lord. 

We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you. 

A person’s perception of God will drive that person’s actions and define that person’s reality. - Sam Nobles

What we think about God is what we will believe to be true about Him and what we believe about Him will determine how we handle our faith in Him. If deep down we really don’t believe in His power and sovereignty, we won’t have the faith in Him that will help us through any situation we face. He offers all the power and strength and answers we need, but we have to believe in Him, turn to Him and trust Him. 

How do you perceive God? Right now is the time to decide what you think about God. And when those uncertain circumstances come, instead of making decisions based on what we feel, we need to turn to God and remember what we know about Him. That is what we have to hang onto when we don’t know what to do. 

How we see God matters. Everything is a mess lately, and people are searching. Now is the time to be an example to the rest of the world, a living testimony of what we believe about God. When we come into these difficult decision-making times and uncertainty, the world will be watching to see how we handle it. If we say you believe in God - his sovereignty and power, then we need to be ready to live it. 

There will be times in life when it feels as if God has walked away from us but if we remember what God has done in the past and anticipate what He will do for us in the future, we can have peace in the present. We need to put our eyes on Him and not let our focus stray. We must keep our eyes on Him always. Some of these seasons last what feels like forever. It is important not to tire of waiting on God and go in search of another solution. There is never a better solution than the one He offers. Pray. Tell Him how you are feeling. Then fix your eyes on Him and keep them there. 





Monday, February 15, 2021

The Right Choice

Monday, February 15, 2021

Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the of the Lord is.  Ephesians 5:15-17 NASB

The Right Choice

While we consider the options we have in life, it is easy to forget that a momentary decision can create a lifetime of impact.  There are things that provoke us to make unhealthy decisions.  These may not be bad in themselves but the choice we make in regard to them damages our lives. 

There are many factors that can influence our decision making negatively. Three big factors are:
  • Natural Drives and Desires – We have some natrual drives and desires that can get in the way of our making good decisions.  God understands – He made us with these drives and desires that can be a weakness.  But He expects us to have self control and master these desires. 
  • Emotions Out of Control - Fear, anger, depression, and even joy can cause faulty decision-making for the processing of these emotions is not in the logical parts of the brain. 
  • Trying to Please Others - If you live to please one person today, you will live to please another tomorrow.  Your life will become a slave to the opinions and directions of others.  There is only one who knows you fully and has a purpose and plan for your life.  Andy Stanley said We will steer where we stare.  So stare mightily at God and His plan.  If you don’t know His plan, stare mightily at living out His word in your life and His plan will unfold day by day. Decision by decision.  From The Best Yes by Lysa Terkeurst
Often we look back on our lives filled with regret at the choices and decisions we have made.  One thing I always tried to make sure my children understood is that they did not want to live with regrets.  Think about decisions before you act. Think long term.  How will this act affect my life in the years to come.  How will this affect others in my life now?  Is this something that I want to define me?  Because even though we may not define ourselves by our bad choices, others will.  

Anytime we make a choice or a decision, if we consult the one true source in life we will avoid consequences that we painfully regret.  God’s word gives instruction and advice that will match up with any problem or situation we may ever face.  Make a concious effort to keep natural drives and desires, emotions, and the need to please others out of the decision making process and bring God to the front and center.  He is the only one that you have to answer to that reallly matters.  If you make a choice based on what would be pleasing to God, but it makes someone else upset, remember what is more important.  You will be criticised and possibly persecuted because of your faith.  You may be embarassed but I would rather be embarrased before men and stand before my Heavenly Father knowing that I made a choice based on what I believed to be most honoring to Him.  

Big and and small, our choices follow us and sometimes send us down a specific path.  Make each choice prayerfully and carefully.  

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love…Ephesians 1:3-4  

Sunday, February 14, 2021

When You Don’t Know What To Do

 When You Don’t Know What To Do

2 Chronicles 20:1-23

Praising the Lord is not a casual, meaningless activity. There is power in praise that displays the glory of the Lord and functions as the overflow of a heart that is completely focused on God  

  I.When You Find Yourself In A Situation Where You Don’t Know What To Do, The First Thing To Do Is To Put Your Eyes On The Lord.

·  Putting your eyes on the Lord is choosing to take your attention off your circumstances and place your focus on God

·  Putting your eyes on the Lord is remembering God’s past faithfulness.

·  Putting your eyes on the Lord is trusting and entrusting yourself to the almighty, sovereign God.

II.When You Find Yourself In A Situation Where You Don’t Know What To Do, The Second Thing To Do Is To Put God’s Praise In Front Of Your Problem.

·  Praise is a powerful dynamic that allows believers to uniformly come into agreement with God.

·  Praise is a weapon of warfare against the enemy.

·  Praise in the midst of difficulty, looks beyond the problems we face to the victory that only God can bring.


Friday, February 12, 2021

Hold Fast

Friday, February 12, 2021

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; Hebrews 10:23

Never Lose Hope

We must never loosen our grip on what we believe, no matter what our circumstances are. The Confession of Jesus Christ is the Confession that we all need to make if we want to have eternal hope. Do you lack hope and expectancy? If so you need to make the good confession of faith in Jesus Christ.  Profess publically that you believe Jesus is God’s unique Son. That He died on the Cross for our sin; that He received the punishment we deserved and purchased our pardon from sin and hell by His shed blood; that He rose again conquering sin, death and the grave, and that He ascended back into Heaven and that He is coming again for His own. This confession is the foundation for all our hope and faith. 

Cynical voices try to erode our faith. Materialistic voices keep us too busy for God. The events of life seem to conspire to shake our faith. But we who confess Christ are to persevere in and by constantly confessing our belief.  Perseverance in confessing Christ is the evidence that we have received the promise of God. If our hope is based on the unfailing promise of God we should confess it confidently and boldly. Has God ever failed us? Is God not faithful to His people and to His promises for all who draw near in faith?

Let us hold fast the confession...

The Greek verb translated “hold fast” has the sense of holding firm, securing or tightening down our confession of hope. We must not go off balance or become unleveled as does a faulty foundation. We must not bend or yield to winds of pressure that blow upon us from a seductive yet hostile world.

There is reason to hold firm even though the circumstances of life appear to be haunting us. Even if things have become difficult and at the moment we feel there is little reason for keeping on. The One who made the promise “is faithful” and will not let us down. He does not count time in the short segments by which we count it; therefore, we should not let momentary discouragement cause us to turn away. Hang on; God is on His way with resources for endurance. Though things might become even more difficult God uses the very process of enduring, to discipline and strengthen you to grow His rich fruit in your life. The tragedies of today will become the triumphs of tomorrow.  God is faithful, and He is faithful to His promises.

A YOUNG PARATROOPER admitted that he had been frightened the first time he jumped. There was nothing but a big piece of fabric between him and death. What if that fabric accidentally ripped apart? What if his ripcord didn't work and the parachute failed to open?  But when he jumped, everything functioned perfectly. Supported by that life-preserving umbrella over his head, the soldier floated earthward. He said, "I had a release from fear and a marvelous feeling of exhilaration."

What about the promises God makes in the Bible? Will they uphold us in times of crisis? It all depends on whether we believe them to be God's promises or merely printed words, black marks on white paper, or simply the guesses of fallible human beings like ourselves. Because they are the promises of God, we can cling to them with assurance. This will bring relief from fear and impart a deep inner peace. Throughout the ages, our God has been trusted millions upon millions of times. And He has never been proven untrustworthy. So let's trust Him and add our personal testimony to that of the countless host of fellow believers who have found that our promise-keeping God is unfailingly faithful.

Thursday, February 11, 2021

First Things First

 Thursday, February 11, 2021

But you, O LORD, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head. I cried aloud to the LORD, and he answered me from his holy hill. Selah Psalms 3:3


First Things First

If you have grown up in church, you most likely have heard the term “firstfruits.” It comes from a verse in Proverbs 3: Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine. v 9-10 It has to do with how we honor God by giving Him the “firstfruits” of our resources - the first ten percent off the top of everything we make should go right to God as an offering. 

God deserves the first place over everything in our lives. He deserves first place in our hearts and over our families and over our circumstances. He desires to be in that first place. First thing in the morning He wants to be our first thought. He also desires to be the first one we run to whenever troubles come our way. He wants us to go to Him first with everything, before we turn to another person or thing for advice or comfort. I heard on a podcast recently that He wants our first feelings also. He wants to be the first one to hear everything that bothers us, worries us, makes us afraid, as well as makes us happy. He wants us to cry out to Him in our trials just as David did in the verse above. 

When we put God in the first place in our lives, the first thing we think to do in times of crisis is to call out to Him. When we know He hears us, and we trust Him to answer in whatever way He knows best, it brings peace into our turbulent heart. He already knows what we are going through but calling out to Him opens our heart and exposes us before Him, revealing the condition of our heart. Praying takes our eyes off what is happening around us and helps us focus on Him. It helps us understand what we are feeling to talk it out with Him and helps us to be listening for His answer. 

Not only does God hear us, but He also protects us like a shield and lifts our head. No more defeat and downcast feelings, only looking up to Him. Trusting in the sovereignty of God provides strength and confidence for anything we might face. Pray, cry out to Him, and know that He will not only make provision for your prayer, but is your protector and lifter of your head. 

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

False Threats Lead to A Real Crisis

 Wednesday, February 9, 2021  Some material taken from Many Are My Foes 

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8

False Threats Lead to A Real Crisis

Satan loves to fill our heads with all kinds of false threats that create a crisis in our hearts and minds when there is actually no crisis at all. Has that ever happened to you? Maybe you thought someone said something about you, or you misinterpreted what someone said or a reaction they had to something you said. This is an open door. This is how the enemy gets in and attacks us and starts a crisis. He uses a false threat to start a false crisis that we turn into a real crisis that causes us fear, worry, anxiety, depression, and even breaks down our relationships if we let it go that far.

This past Sunday Brother Van told us some of the false threats that Satan uses:

Rumors“They said…”  IL. “Sounded like 50 frogs”

Exaggeration“There were thousands of them”

LiesSatan is a liar

IgnoranceWe fear what we don’t understand

PrejudiceWe believe the false truths about people

The UnknownWhat will they think of me?  How will they act?

It is so important for us to wear the Armor of God every day. The Armor helps to protect us from Satan coming in any of these open doors – or “chinks in the armor” he can find. Satan will find that one weak link, that one unprotected area, and he will attack. He is always looking, and he is always ready to shoot flaming arrows at us. But God has given us all we need - In addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.  Ephesians 6:16

To extinguish the flaming arrows of the evil one.  The Shield of Faith - Our growing faith in God shields us against attacks in the form of setbacks, insults, and temptation, and all those listed above. We must realize that the ultimate victory is ours with God. Faith acts on the great truths of God’s Word. Faith talks. Faith argues with Satan. That That is the shield of faith. It always calls for action.  Hold strong to your shield and your faith.  Never lay them down.  By faith you can resist the devil and his “fiery darts” and he will turn tail and run.  God will be victorious! What happens when a flaming arrow gets through?

What will overcome fear that has broken through our borders?

Reason overcomes fear.

Experience overcomes fear.

Faith overcomes fear.

Confidence from the past overcomes fear.

Protection overcomes fear.

Knowledge overcomes fear.

Prayer overcomes fear.

God's sufficiency in trial!

We are not meant to dodge flaming arrows or fight any battles by ourselves. That was never the plan. Our God is sufficient in all things and most of all in handling our trials!


I am not ashamed; for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that He 
is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day. 2 Timothy 1:12

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Here I Am Again…

 Tuesday, February 9, 2021  

Once again there was a battle between the Philistines and Israel. David went down with his men to fight against the Philistines, and he became exhausted. 2 Samuel 21:15

Here I Am Again…

Trials and battles in life are never one and done. It is true for us and it was true for David as well. A lot of the teaching we study so often from David came from what he wrote in the midst of trials. 

Most of us know the story of David and Goliath and don’t pay much attention to the fact that there were other battles with the Philistines. They didn’t go away after Goliath was killed, and David was not done with that battle. Over two decades later, he was still fighting the Philistines - and he was exhausted. 

Trials are heavy and carrying them in our own strength will crush us, just as fighting battles in our own strength will wear us out. Satan will continue to throw the same battles at us because he knows our weaknesses, and although he cannot have us when we belong to God, he likes to taunt us. He wants us to stumble and is always ready with just the right obstacle. He knows our weaknesses and sometimes it is the same weakness that weaves its way into many of our battles. If we have an addiction problem, maybe it stems from something in our childhood that we to want to forget. We might kick the addiction, but we won’t cure the cause until we deal with the root. It is not an excuse, but the devil will use whatever weakness he can to take us out of the fight.

Some people are more plagued by trials than others, but all of us experience them all through life - beginning to end. Some battles we have to fight, and we don’t have a choice about it. There are tragedies and illness in life, and we have no control over it, but we have to walk through it to get to the other side. So how do we power through the trials of life? The way we power through, is that WE don’t power through. Fighting battles and trudging through trials in our own power will leave us feeling weary, weak, drained, and defeated. Satan wants us to feel defeated, and when we feel defeated we can become hopeless in a hurry. 

We all feel defeated and hopeless sometimes, because no matter what we know, we still try in our human power to do the things that require the power of God. Because He loves us so much, our Father has given us the same power that rose Jesus from the grave - resurrection power! This is the power that we walk through life in, the mountaintop joyful experiences, along with every valley and battle along the way. The key is abiding in Christ. Through our times of struggle, we draw closer to God. We never know we need Him more than when we are suffering. Suffering and trials keep us tethered to Him, seeking Him and open to His leading. When we stay tethered to Christ in a relationship with Him, we can face anything, trusting in His power and leaning on Him all the way. 


O LORD, how many are my foes! Many are rising against me; many are saying of
my soul there is no salvation for him in God, Selah. Psalm 3:1-2


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