Friday, April 29, 2022

This is a Test

 Friday, April 29, 2022

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.  By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3 and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already.    1 John 4:1-3

This is a Test
In 1 john 4, John encourages us to measure everything that comes our way against the word of God.  There were false prophets trying their best to lead the new Christians away from the truth and John gave them guidelines, so they could discern where people were coming from.  

What Are You Attracted to?  What draws you in?  Whatever it is, I can assure you that there are false prophet or demons out there that mimics it exactly.  Satan and false prophets do not come into your life looking like something you want to avoid at all costs.  They come in costume, incognito, so you don’t realize it.  They know exactly what you want to hear, and they say it.  Then they draw you in little by little with ideas and charm and before you know it, you are hoodwinked. 

John told them that only a true spirit of God will believe that Jesus came in the flesh, that Jesus was both fully God and fully human.  Everything changed for the world when Jesus came in the flesh.  The difference is a half Christian point of view.  If someone is a true believer, you can see it in their lives:

They walk in the light - If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.  But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.  1 John 1:6-7

They love, not hate - Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. 10 Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him[b] there is no cause for stumbling. 11 But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.  1 John 2:9-11

They don’t practice righteousness By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.  1 John 3:10

Some popular misrepresentations of Christ and Christianity today are:

  • It doesn’t matter if you walk and aisle or get baptized, as long as you are a good person.
  • I believe that Jesus lived but he shouldn’t get to say whether or not I go to heaven.  
  • Is heaven real anyway?  Or just a story?  

We are called to love the people of this world, but we can love them without losing our discernment – in this world but not of this world.  If there is someone or some thing in your life that is drawing you away from Jesus, you need to take a step back, put in some prayer time, and ask yourself if you are seeing the truth of the situation.  


They are from the world; therefore, they speak from the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error.  

1 John 4:5-6

Thursday, April 28, 2022

Dysfunctional Does Not Mean Defective in the Kingdom of God

 Thursday, April 28, 2022

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 2 Corinthians 5:17

Dysfunctional Does Not Mean Defective in the Kingdom of God

God is in the business of restoration. Not only does He forgive, redeem, and restore us when we become His children, but He can restore and redeem our past – our past sins and our childhood from dysfunctional homes. I think dysfunctional has become more the norm in the last couple of years. Actually, every family, no matter how healthy they seem, probably has some level of dysfunction. 

Whether we like it or not, our dysfunctional families help make us who we are. Our experiences are woven into the fiber of who we are, but we have to learn to not let them define us. We are not the mistakes we have made, nor are we the mistakes our parents made. 

As we saw with King Hezekiah, dysfunction does not mean defective in the kingdom of God. Hezekiah came from what had to be the most dysfunctional family in history. His father sacrificed his brother to a false god, as well as introducing all kinds of evil into the kingdom. Hezekiah came behind him as king, and he successfully undid everything his father had done and more. He did not let his dysfunctional family keep him from fulfilling God’s purpose through him. He broke the cycle of dysfunction! Hezekiah tore down the idols and shrines to the false gods. He re-opened the Lord’s temple and restored Judah to a Christian kingdom. There was no other king like him. And he did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, according to all that David his father had done. He removed the high places and broke the pillars and cut down the Asherah. And he broke in pieces the bronze serpent that Moses had made, for until those days the people of Israel had made offerings to it (it was called Nehushtan).  He trusted in the Lord, the God of Israel, so that there was none like him among all the kings of Judah after him, nor among those who were before him. For he held fast to the Lord. He did not depart from following him but kept the commandments that the Lord commanded Moses. And the Lord was with him; wherever he went out he prospered. 2 Kings 18:3-7a

Sometimes God uses the scars we have from our dysfunctional families to help others. It becomes a ministry of sorts. In dysfunctional families, nothing is ever consistent, nothing feels safe, and no one is thriving. Children from dysfunctional families often feel scared, unworthy, and ashamed. These feelings of unworthiness and shame can keep us from feeling "worthy enough” to do what God calls us to do. Satan loves nothing more than for us to be stuck in these lies for our whole lives. 

When we become a child of God, we are a new creation. Old things - the shame, the feelings of unworthiness, the guilt, - are gone in His name. We cannot erase our childhood or past, but we can release it and give it to God. We can ask for and receive healing in Him. A professional counselor can also help if needed. Build a support system - find support in those who will lift you up, pray for you and with you, and help you remember that just because you may have come from a dysfunctional home, you are not defective! You are a son or daughter of the King. You have been grafted into another family tree - God’s family, and you have an eternal inheritance that cannot be erased or wiped out because of your dysfunctional family. 




Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Only God

 Wednesday, April 27, 2022  Some material taken from Only God by Sam Nobles

He trusted in the Lord, the God of Israel, so that there was none like him among all the kings of Judah after him, nor among those who were before him. For he held fast to the Lord. He did not depart from following him but kept the commandments that the Lord commanded Moses. And the Lord was with him; wherever he went out, he prospered. He rebelled against the king of Assyria and would not serve him. He struck down the Philistines as far as Gaza and its territory, from watchtower to fortified city. 2 Kings 18:5-8

Only God

There are times in life that feel like everything is so messed up that there is no hope at all. Maybe we have made the mess ourselves. Maybe the mess is residual mess from our dysfunctional childhood, which usually makes for a dysfunctional adulthood. Feeling hopeless makes us want to give up completely. It can make us miss our purpose. It can cause us to destroy relationships or ruin our careers. Hopelessness is like falling into a deep, dark hole, with no way out. But God can come in and shine His light of hope in our darkest days. He can turn everything around and make a whole new life possible. Through the life of a king named Hezekiah, we can see what only God can do. 

·    Only God can raise a great son from the worst father - In the Bible, we have example after example of God bringing hope to hopeless situations. This past Sunday, Pastor Sam preached about Hezekiah. He was the best king Judah ever had, but he came from the worst king Judah ever had.  His father was Ahaz. Ahaz was an evil king and he let evil thrive in Judah. He introduced God’s people to false gods, and even sacrificed his own son to one of these false gods! He lost territory, destroyed the economy, and established an alliance with the enemy. He cared nothing about Judah or the people there - even his own family apparently. From every perspective, things looked extremely hopeless in Judah. But after Judah died, his son, Hezekiah, takes the throne. God did some great things through Hezekiah - things that no one thought was possible. Things that only God could do. His own life was a testimony of Gods’ amazing power. 

·    Only God can bring a great revival from the worst disaster - God used Hezekiah to rebuild and restore Judah. Hezekiah loved God and he worked heartily to undo what his father had done. He destroyed pagan altars, idols, and temples. He restored and reopened the Lord’s temple that his own father had shut down. He brought the Passover back as a national holiday and did so much more. Because of Hezekiah and the changes he made in Judah, revival swept the kingdom. Because of his faithfulness in putting God first in everything he did, Hezekiah prospered.  

·    Only God can give a great ministry to the most ordinary believer - God often uses the people who seem least likely for His work. Micah was a prophet that ministered in Jerusalem during the reign of both Ahaz and Hezekiah. Can you imagine being a prophet of God during the reign of Ahaz? Think about it: the creator of all things, the One who spoke the universe into existence, called on Micah of Moresheth (an unknown guy from a nowhere town) to deliver His Word to the entire nation of His chosen people - during their darkest days. I think they surely needed to hear what God gave Micah to tell them. God called Moses as he hid in the desert because he had murdered a man. No matter what Moses had done, God had a purpose for him - for His chosen people in another dark time in their history. He called Gideon to lead a military force against Midian, which he believed himself to be completely unfit for. He was not a great military soldier, nor did he come from a military family. He called a teenage girl from a small town to be the mother of the Savior of the World. In every case, God always equips who He calls with exactly what they need. That is something that only God can do. 

Where do you need God to bring hope into your life? What situation feels impossible? What mess makes you feel hopeless? Hold fast to Him and never stop following Him. Keep His commands. He is faithful. He is powerful. And if He can bring a great revival to a hopeless kingdom through the son of the most evil king ever, He can resurrect your dead places, redeem your messes, and fulfill His purpose in you and through you. 



Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Spiraling Back Towards God

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

So Abram went up from Egypt to the Negev, he and his wife and all that belonged to him, and Lot with him. Now Abram was very rich in livestock, in silver and in gold. He went on his journeys from the Negev as far as Bethel, to the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Bethel and Ai, to the place of the altar which he had made there formerly; and there Abram called on the name of the Lord. Genesis 13:1-4

Spiraling Back Towards God

Have you ever felt like you are spiraling out of control?  Or maybe you have been out of control for a while, and you are wearing thin. Anytime we move away from God, we will start spiraling and it will wear us out eventually.  When you realize how far away from God you have gotten, that is when something has to change

How can we dig ourselves out of a hole?  How can we spiral back towards God?  There is no way we can do this in our own power, so relinquishing control back to God and surrendering to Him is the first step.  The next step is to turn from whatever you have followed after that has brought you to where you are. Turn around and go the opposite way.  Shift your focus back on God - taking just one thought captive can shift all our thoughts and get us back on the right track – the one that leads upward. 

Abram (later to be named Abraham) spiraled out away from God’s will for his life for a while. From Abram’s story we can learn some good steps to take to regain God’s control in our life:

Abram was called by God to basically pick up everything and go and God would show him where later.  That must have been very hard to just pick up all your family and possessions and go – but you do not know where you are going, but Abram was faithful and obedient. God had a vision for Abram, and He made Him three promises – I will make of you a great nation, I will bless you and make your name great, and I will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you. Everywhere they stopped along the way, Abram built an alar to the Lord and called upon His name. They got to Egypt and Abram was afraid that they would kill him to take Sarai (later to be named Sarah) if they knew he was her husband, because she was very beautiful. So he asked her to lie and say she was his sister. Sure enough, Pharaoh took her for his wife and treated Abram well for her sake.  But the Lord sent great plagues on Pharaoh’s house because of Sarai.  Pharaoh found out that she was Abram’s wife and told Abram to take his wife and go.

Abram started out great, but he got off track like we all do. He decided that God must not know what He is doing because Abram didn’t understand, so he took control. Now he had to make some different choices to let God regain control of his life. 

How to Regain God’s Control of Your Life

·   Retrace Your Steps – Go back and see where you lost the vision for your life. Abram had to back up to where he started this spiral.

·   Return to The Previous Victory – Remember what God has done for you and through you. Review the promise and vision given.  Remember where you started from.

·   Renew Your Walk – Abram we He went back to his altar. He is now a different man in his faith. Recommitment to God's plan occurs when we confess our prideful activity and humble ourselves to His desire for our lives and His design to bring it to pass.

What can we learn from Abraham? His choices didn’t get him what he wanted. Only having God in control of his life got him the vision and promise that was intended for him. 

No matter how much we don’t understand what He is doing at the time, taking the control away from God, and managing our own circumstances will never get us the outcome we think we want. Trust Him with the path that He has laid for you and you will never be disappointed. 

Wait for the LORD; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the LORD. 
Psalms 27:14


Monday, April 25, 2022

Grace And Peace Be Multiplied To You

Monday,  April 25, 2022

Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.  II Peter 1:2-3 

Knowing God and having a relationship with Him will bring so much into our lives. Grace, peace, and His divine power are just the beginning to what life in Christ will bring, and you cannot find them anywhere else.  
The verse above says that grace and peace are “multiplied in the knowledge of God and of Jesus Christ our Lord.” Grace is received by faith and obedience. We experience a measure of this peace through receiving God’s grace in the matter of our salvation. We place our hand of faith in God’s hand of grace, which He has reached down to us through no merit of our own.  But, there are people who have experienced great peace in that area of their life, yet have great turmoil in other areas of their lives. 
Look at 2 Peter 3:18: “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”  This is a command, which means you have to decide to do it. Every command that God makes in the Bible is something that you have to decide to do. That means it is possible that you don’t do it.  To disobey is to turn aside from the course of “multiplied grace and peace.”

Unless a Christian grows, this grace and peace is not multiplied to him in the sense that Peter is speaking and he doesn’t enjoy many of the family privileges of being a child of God.

In the knowledge of God and the Lord Jesus means more than just filling a pew every Sunday morning.  The Christian life is a RELATIONSHIP, Not a Religion. The knowledge of God is the sphere in which grace and peace are communicated to the soul; they cannot be found outside that sphere. It, not merely of intellectual apprehension, but rather of deep contemplation; the knowledge which implies love—for only love can concentrate continually the powers of the soul in close meditation upon its object. To Know Him is to Love Him, Serve Him, and Trust Him.
Everything pertaining to Life and Godliness  
All that believers need for spiritual life and godly living is attainable through our knowledge (RELATIONSHIP) of Him (Christ). An intimate “full knowledge” of Christ is the source of spiritual power and growth.

The Christian life begins with saving faith in the person of Jesus Christ. But when you know Jesus Christ personally, you also experience God’s power, and this power produces “life and godliness.”
When you are born into the family of God by faith in Christ, you are born complete. “…and in Him you have been made complete” (Col. 2:10).  God gives you everything you will ever need “for life and godliness.” Nothing has to be added! Just as a normal baby is born with all the “equipment” he needs for life and only needs to grow, so the Christian has all that is needed and only needs to grow. God never has to call back any of His “models” because something is lacking or faulty. The believer is “genetically structured” to experience “glory and virtue.” One day we will be like the Lord Jesus Christ. We have been “called... to His eternal glory” (1 Peter 5:10), and we shall share that glory when Jesus Christ returns and takes His people to heaven.

Christ called us to this life of godliness by His own glory and goodness. Christ attracts people enslaved by sin by His own moral excellence and the total impact of His glorious Person.
Christ has given to me the capacity to rise above myself and my sin.  He has blessed me with the wisdom and power of His Holy Spirit to sanctify me IN and not just AFTER my earthly experience.

For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;1strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light.  Colossians 1:9-12

Sunday, April 24, 2022

Only God

 Only God 

Micah 1:1

The prophet Micah ministered during the reign of three different kings. During his time as God’s prophet, he saw God take a people suffering in a moral disaster and raise them through a spiritual revival. Micah witnessed that which only God could accomplish.

Only God Can Bring A Great Revival From The Worst Disaster.

God brings life to that which is dead.

God brings hope to that which is hopeless.

Only God Can Raise A Great Son From The Worst Father.

The best king Judah ever had was the son of one of the worst kings.

Dysfunctional does not mean defective in the kingdom of God.

Only God Can Give A Great Ministry To The Most Ordinary Believer. 

The word of God gives great confidence to any ordinary believer.

The word of God is not only alive, but it also gives life.

Friday, April 22, 2022

The Way of the Cross is Love

Friday, April 22, 2022 Submitted by Donnie O'Fallon

Oswald Chambers said, “The cross is the center of Time and Eternity, the answer of the enigmas of both.” Remember … the Cross did not happen to Jesus: He came on purpose for it and you.


The Way of the Cross is Love

We just celebrated Good Friday and Easter Services last weekend. For me it was a wonderful celebration. I was moved as much as I have ever been moved by the Good Friday Service. In the Upper Room Discourse, Jesus gave His final comfort and challenge to His Disciples, then and now. You see, God makes a big deal about Love. Love is so central to the Biblical message, one would think that even if we got everything else wrong, we would get Love right. I God talked so much about Love, the question is then, why do we Love so little?


1.     Could it be because love is UNNATURAL? “In the later times because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will wax cold,” (Matthew 24:12). Love is mentioned over 1,00 times in the New Testament and the repetition for the reason is, it’s Unnatural. Gods repetition says something about Him and us. He is long suffering and is willing to repeat Himself so we will get it. He hates sin but loves the sinner. Also read (1John 4:7-8).


2.     Could it be because love is UNCONTROLLABLE? Remember when the children came and swarmed Jesus? The disciples admonished Him to send them away, but Jesus words were, “no, let them come.”Remember Peter’s comments at the Last Supper - “Lord, You’ll never wash my feet”, Jesus responded with, “If I do not wash your feet you have no share with Me”(John 13:8 ESV). Remember Mary at Jesus’ feet, and how Martha criticized Jesus? His words were, “Mary has chosen the better part.” Remember the Triumphant Entry into Jerusalem and the religious leaders said, “He should quiet the crowds!” Jesus asserted, “If these kept silent the stones would cry out,” (Luke19:40).


3.     Could it be love is UNCONDITIONAL? “God sent His Son into the world, so that we might live through Him, in this is Love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent His Son into the world, so that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that He Loved us…” (John 4:9-10).


4.     Could it be because love is UNMISTAKABLE? “A new commandment I give to you, that you Love one another: just as I have Loved you, you also are to Love one another. By this shall all men know you are my disciples…” (John 13:34-35).


He went from the Upper Room, to the Garden, to the Cross, to the Tomb. Real Love is tough, it acts, it’s down to earth, it’s alive, it’s not passive - it’s active. It has some very distinguishing characteristics about it! Love is not an emotion, but it will likely affect your emotions. Love is an active choice of volition and will! This is the kind of love that makes every other kind of Love deeper and dearer.


Draw nearer to Him and be a container and channel of His love. “Now hope does not disappoint, because the Love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirits who was given to us,” (Romans 5:5). 

This is an act of submission and servant hood. Become clay in the Potters hands!

Thursday, April 21, 2022

Never Going Back

 Thursday, April 21, 2022

Simon Peter, Thomas (called the Twin), Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of his disciples were together. 3 Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We will go with you.” They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing. John 21:2-3

Never Going Back

This week we have heard the story of Peter denying Jesus 3 times. Then he locked eyes with Jesus, realized his sin, and then Jesus was taken away to be crucified. 

We have all had those moments when we locked eyes with Jesus, and we realized our sin. It may have not been literally like Peter’s experience, but we know the burn of the Savior’s eyes on our heart and soul. He knows all things - and that means everything we do. There is no place to hide in our sin. We may think we are hiding but we are only hiding from ourselves and the truth. Jesus sees us all the time. we run from one idol to another and eventually we have no more idols to hide behind. At that moment we feel His eyes on our soul, we realize our sin. 

After Jesus was crucified, Peter was probably feeling very lost. He likely felt that everything he was passionate about, everything that he had poured his life into since he had met Jesus and become a fisher of men was destroyed now by his sin.  Have you ever felt that way? Have you ever felt like you have sinned so bad that your life is destroyed? Peter decided he was going back to being a fisherman – of fish. He told some of the other disciples he was going fishing and they went with him. 

Peter went back to what he was before Jesus called him to a new life and a new purpose.  He went back to what he thought was all he had at that point. He had ruined his purpose, his calling, and his relationship with Jesus, so he went back to what he knew and what he was comfortable with and what he knew. Sometimes we do the same thing when we think we have ruined everything. We go back, and when we go back, we usually go back-wards. When we go back to what we were before we met Jesus, it might be comfortable, but you will most likely not be held accountable

Peter and the disciples fished all night, only to catch nothing. A helpful stranger on the beach called out to them and told them to throw the net over to the other side of the boat. They almost caught more fish than they could get in the boat, and John immediately knew it was Jesus. When John said it was Jesus, Peter put on his coat and jumped into the water. 

That disciple whom Jesus loved therefore said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment, for he was stripped for work, and threw himself into the sea. John 21:7 

Peter put on everything he had with him and jumped into the sea! He was so excited and happy that it was Jesus that he was not even going to wait to get to shore in the boat. He took everything he had and went. He did have a heart to heart with Jesus and his relationship and ministry were restored.

I love the symbolism here. Peter grabbed everything and jumped into the sea. To me, it was as if he was saying that he was going back to Jesus for good. He was not going back to the place he was before, so he took everything with him. He was never going back. 

If you feel like you have ruined your life so badly that the only choice you have is to go backwards, let me tell you that is not the case. Jesus know our weaknesses and He loves us right through them. Even if we leave His side, He never leaves us, and He always wants to restore His relationship with us. He always waits for us to come back and welcomes us with open arms just like He did Peter.


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