Posts tagged ‘Grace’

RECOGNITION IS THE POWER OF BLESSING

RECOGNITION IS THE POWER OF BLESSING

GRACE UPON GRACE (PHOTO BY PASTOR DAVIS)

GRACE UPON GRACE (PHOTO BY PASTOR DAVIS)

CHILDREN OF GOD, today you are truly BLESSED for the Lord, our God has placed in your hands the powers to BLESS other people. So on this day I encourage you to use your God-given powers to BLESS that person that is standing next to you or perhaps even sitting next to you. When you praise anyone, that person at once begins to unfold, as a rose unfolds and expands, because you are recognizing his Real Self. “RECOGNITION IS THE POWER OF BLESSING!” Recognition is a law, and what you recognize will become quickened and active!

When you BLESS a person, a place, a thing, you recognize THE PRESENCE AND POWER OF GOD within them, and your BLESSING calls forth the good into active manifestation. You tune yourself into the reality, or soul, of the person or thing.

Now listen to what the scriptures teaches us. “BLESSED (HAPPY, fortunate, prosperous, and enviable) is the man who walks and lives not in the counsel of the ungodly [following their advice, their plans and purposes], nor stands [submissive and inactive] in the path where sinners walk, nor sits down [to relax and rest] where the scornful [and the mockers] gather.

But his delight and desire are in the law of the Lord, and on His law (the precepts, the instructions, the teachings of God) he habitually meditates (ponders and studies) by day and by night.

And he shall be like a tree firmly planted [and tended] by the streams of water, ready to bring forth its fruit in its season; its leaf also shall not fade or wither; and everything he does shall prosper [and come to maturity].” (Psalms 1:1-3). (AMP)

This one act incurs a double good. You help the person or thing you bless, and you consciously align yourself with the Power of All Good. What can you think of that has a greater fascination and allure than to know that through a simple act of yours, you can release the hidden good in countless persons, and make many apparently troubled situations smooth and easy?

Therefore my brothers and sisters, I encourage you to use your awesome powers the Lord our God has provided you with an sprinkle bless minds over the lives of all the people that God has placed in your presence. For this day is truly the first day of the rest of your life that make it have a greater meaning than self.

We bless this lesson to you today because God has provided it to us in order that we use it to bless your life. Now wait on the Lord and he will pour you out a blessing that you will not have the room in your space to contain all that God is about to give you because, “RECOGNITION IS THE POWER OF BLESSING!”

BELIEVE THAT YOU CAN GROW UP IN THE GRACE OF JESUS CHRIST

BELIEVE THAT YOU CAN GROW UP IN THE GRACE OF JESUS CHRIST

THE SON OF RIGHTEOUSNESS (PHOTO BY PASTOR DAVIS)

THE SON OF RIGHTEOUSNESS (PHOTO BY PASTOR DAVIS)

CHILDREN OF GOD, as we stand before the throne of grace, in the awesome power of God who holds the entire UNIVERSE in the palm of His Hands, we are asking you to CONCEIVE and BELIEVE in your MINDS that we can, “GROW UP IN THE GRACE OF JESUS CHRIST.”

Therefore, as we enter into this CHRISTMAS SEASON, we ask you simply to BELIEVEBELIEVE that we were created in the image of God and given His Character that we may grow up in His grace.  We can do nothing of our own.  Our growth is totally depended upon the actions of God.  Everything in the Universe was created by God and for God that it may grow and flourish in the manner God has chosen it to be.  Therefore, as a newborn creature in this life, “our mission is to grow up in the grace of Jesus Christ.”

Now the question becomes, how do we accomplish our mission that God has given us?  As with all life, so it is with growth.  We must learn to lean and depend on the maker and giver of all life.  Know that it is only God, who brings the bud to bloom and the flower to fruit. It is by his power that the seed develops,” first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear.” Mark 4:28.

The plants and flowers grow not by their own care, anxiety, or effort, but by receiving that which God has furnished to minister to their life. The child cannot by any anxiety or power of its own, add to its own stature. No more can you, by anxiety or effort of yourself, secure spiritual growth.  No, all life is the mystery and work of God provided to us through His power and grace.

The plant, as well as the child, grows by receiving from its surroundings that which ministers to its life – air, sunshine, and food. What these gifts of nature are to animal and plant, such is Christ to those who trust in him. He is there” everlasting light,”  “a sun and shield.”  Isaiah 60:19; Psalms 84:11, he shall be as” the dew unto Israel.” “He shall come down like rain upon the mown grass.” Hosea 14:5; Psalms 72:6. He is the living water,” the bread of God… Which cometh down from heaven, and gives life unto the world” John 6:33!

As the flower turns to the sun, that the bright beams of day aid in perfecting its beauty and symmetry, so should we turn to the Son of righteousness, that heavens light may shine upon us, that our character may be developed into the likeness of Christ.

Jesus teaches the same thing when he says, “abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abides in the vine; no more can ye, except he abide in me… Without me you can do nothing.” John 15:4-5. You are just as dependent upon Christ, in order to live a holy life, as is the branch upon the parent stock for growth and fruitfulness. Apart From Him, you have no life. You have no power to resist temptation or to grow in grace and holiness. Abiding in him, you may flourish. Drawing your life from him, you will not wither nor be fruitless. You will be like a tree, planted by the rivers of water.

 

Many have an idea that they must do some part of the work alone. They have trusted in Christ for the forgiveness of sin, but now they seek by their own efforts to live aright. However, every such effort must fail. Jesus says,” Without me ye can do nothing.” Our growth in grace, our joy, our usefulness, all depend upon our union with Christ. It is by communion with him, daily, hourly, by abiding in him, that we are to grow in grace. He is not only the author, but the finisher of our faith. It is Christ first, last, and always. He is to be with us, not only at the beginning and the end of our course, but at every step of the way.” I have set the Lord always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.” Psalms 16:8.

By faith, you became Christ’s, and by faith, you are to grow up in him through grace, by giving and taking. You are to give all, your heart, your will, your service, give yourself to him to obey all his requirements; and you must take all, Christ, the fullness of all blessings, to abide in your heart, to be your strength, your righteousness, your everlasting helper, to give you power to obey, and when you do all these things, your GROWING UP IN THE GRACE OF JESUS CHRIST is now under way.  Now you must stay focus and keep your eye on the prize.

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SUBCONSCIOUSLY BLOCKING THE FLOW OF GOD’S GRACE

SUB-CONSCIOUSLY BLOCKING THE FLOW OF GOD’S GRACE:

"GOD GIVES BEAUTY TO EVERYTHING" PHOTO BY SHIRLEY RHODES

“GOD GIVES BEAUTY TO EVERYTHING” PHOTO BY SHIRLEY RHODES

WRITTEN BY SHIRLEY RHODES:

Are you aware of the fact that you’re SUB-CONSCIOUSLY BLOCKING THE FLOW OF GOD’S GRACE and if you are, how do you allow your spirit to reconnect to the flow of power that keeps you in perfect peace? The subconscious mind is described as “of or concerning the part of the mind of which one is not fully aware but which influences one’s actions and feelings. Scripture reminds us this way, “You (God) will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you (him)” (Isaiah 26:3: NIV).

Think about your attitude, behavior, lack of wisdom and lack of understanding; are you SUB-CONSCIOUSLY BLOCKING THE FLOW OF GOD’S GRACE.

Attitude is described as a settled way of thinking or feeling about someone or something, typically one that is reflected is ones’ behavior. Awareness or presence of the Holy Spirit is essential as to how you allow your attitude to be the dominant factor that controls your response to certain events in life; we are reminded in scripture, “Let nothing be done through strife or pride…let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus…he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death…” (Philippians 2:3-8 NKJV); by being mean-spirited; boastful, gossiper, backbiter, hateful attitudes toward others you may be SUBCONSCIOUSLY BLOCKING THE FLOW OF GOD’S GRACE; check the attitude.

Without wisdom and knowledge we approach life from “a blind side” therefore SUBCONSCIOUSLY BLOCKING THE FLOW OF GOD’S GRACE, it’s like following a road without directions.  For the Lord gives wisdom, from his mouth come knowledge and understanding (Proverbs 2:6: NKJV).   When wisdom enters your heart, and knowledge is pleasant to your soul; discretion will preserve you, to deliver you from the ways of evil (10-11)…When you embrace your assignment in faith, know that God is within you and he will not lead you astray.

So my friends, if you are SUBCONSCIOUSLY BLOCKING THE FLOW OF GOD’S GRACE, renew, refill and move forth in your purpose, it’s your gift, embrace it whole heartily. Your strength and power will be given at the time appointed, so don’t lose hope.

HAVING FAITH IN GOD CAN ACCOMPLISH THE IMPOSSIBLE (LESSON 3 OF 3)

HAVING FAITH IN GOD CAN ACCOMPLISH THE IMPOSSIBLE (LESSON 3 OF 3)

REFLECTIONS OF TRUTH (PHOTO BY PASTOR DAVIS)

REFLECTIONS OF TRUTH (PHOTO BY PASTOR DAVIS)

IS THERE ANYTHING TO HARD FOR GOD?

BACK GROUND SCRIPTURES FOR THIS SERIES OF LESSONS: Mark 11:13-14, 20-25

CHILDREN OF GOD, we present you the third and final lesson in this series on FAITH and PRAYER.  In our SUNDAY PRAISE, PRAYER AND WORSHIP SERVICE, we will present the SUMMARY of this week’s lesson.  We encourage you to WORSHIP with us for the final conclusion of JESUS powerful teaching on FAITH and PRAYER.

JESUS wants us to know that the word IMPOSSIBILITY is not a word that should be used in our lexicon.  In understanding JESUS teaching in this text we should be moved into action.  Know that in our minds we can do anything in the name of JESUS.  There is no mountain to high that we cannot climb, no valley to low that we cannot walk through.

We should not become like the motions of the ocean.  Always going back and forth, but we should be so rooted and grounded in our faith that no matter what comes after us we will always be able to with stand it.  We are built of strong timber, the timber of Jesus Christ.  When God says that nothing is impossible, we must learn to trust God in his word.  Knowing that God can never tell a lie, if he does he will deny himself.  God never makes a promise that he does not fulfill.  Our faith must be rooted and grounded in the word of God.  Our spirit must be one of can do.  Having a can do spirit will remove the mountains of impossibility from your life.

When the doctors says to you that you only have six months to live, and there is nothing else they can do for you.  Your attitude must be one of faith.  Faith in Jesus, Faith that if Jesus said it, it is a done deal; Jesus said that if you believe in God without doubt in your mind, nothing is impossible.

Change your thinking and you will change your life.  Tell the doctor that my God said not until he says it is time for me to go, that I will leave this world.  I can overcome this, I will overcome this because I am leaning and depending on my God.  I am an over comer, I am born in the Spirit of the living God.  For me nothing is impossible.  Today not only do I talk the talk, but I am walking the walk.  I am walking out my faith in the name of Jesus.  I know that my God did not bring me this far to leave me.  He promised me that He would never put on me more than I could bear.  I am standing on that promise, because I know that this check that my God has given to me, I can deposit it into my bank account and it will never bounce.  Faith, Faith, Faith, it is my faith that will always see me through.  Come on now let’s walk it out, talk it out.  Let’s tell the devil, devil get thee behind me, because I am holding onto My God’s unchanging hands.

Faith, Faith, Faith, there is nothing that is impossible in my world.  Step by step I am moving closer to where My God is trying to take me. It was nothing but Grace that brought me through the tribulations of this life.  It was nothing but God’s grace that brought me up on the rough side of the mountain and planted my feet right here where I am standing today.

Now sing this hymn with me, Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me!  I once was lost but now I am found, I was blind but now I see.  Taws grace that taught my heart to fear, and grace my fears relieved; how precious did that grace appear the hour I first believed!”

It was God’s grace that gave me the opportunity to change my thinking, It is my faith that has sustained me, it is my faith that has healed me, and I know that it is my faith that will move any mountain in my life, because I believe in the true and living God. What about you?  Do you believe that, “HAVING FAITH IN GOD CAN ACCOMPLISH THE IMPOSSIBLE?”

Truly, I say to you today, hold onto your FAITH and believe in the IMPOSSIBLE.  Know that God is real, and He can move those Mountains that are hindering you from moving forward out of your life.

We bless this series to you that it has provided you with a portion of inspiration and encouragement to reach out, stretch out and lifted up to that high place that God is pushing you towards.  In Jesus name we pray, AMEN!

CLICK THIS LINK TO REVIEW LESSON ONE:  http://wp.me/pf75v-2Sd

CLICK THIS LINK TO REVIEW LESSON TWO:  http://wp.me/pf75v-2Sg

CLICK HERE TO VISIT OUR YOU TUBE TEACHING CHANNEL:  http://www.youtube.com/davistheteacher/

 

 

THE AWESOME POWER OF GOD’S GRACE

 

ABUNDANTLY BLESSED, PHOTO BY SHIRLEY RHODES

ABUNDANTLY BLESSED, PHOTO BY SHIRLEY RHODES

THE AWESOME POWER OF GOD’S GRACE:

WRITTEN BY SHIRLEY RHODES:

A question we should all ask our-selves, “Do I understand THE AWESOME POWER OF GOD’S GRACE?” Those who chose to live by faith are truly blessed; anyone who tries to live by his/her own effort, independent of God is doomed to failure. In order to experience God’s grace we must be willing to humbly submit to the will of God for our lives; in doing so, we share in blessings of love, joy and peace.

We know that Jesus has rescued us from this evil world by what he did, offered himself as a sacrifice for our sins. What he has done is, The Awesome Power of God’s Grace in which we are able to embrace his teachings of love for one another. His message of unconditional love brings our lives into complete obedience as we seek to embrace how he loved in order to continue the pattern. God’s word reminds us this way; “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God…” (1 John: 4:7 NKJV).

If its joy you’re lacking take a look at The Awesome Power of God’s Grace, for he is your joy. Let us be encouraged and allow joy to flow free in our hearts; we can “count it all joy when trials come” knowing that the testing of our faith produces patience; but let patience have it’s perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing (James: 1:2-4); for joy comes in the morning.

The Awesome Power of God’s Grace gives us peace like nothing else. Remember that it is God’s desire for each of us to prosper and be in good health (3 John: 2) and live in peace. In order to find and maintain the peace God offers; we must maintain a healthy heart (spirit) and a sound mind (knowledge and understanding), in so doing, study and apply his words of instructions to our lives constantly. God will keep him in perfect peace, those whose mind stays on him because he is our everlasting strength (Isaiah 26:3-4).

My friends, when the trials of life come (they will) think on the goodness of God and you will understand THE AWESOME POWER OF GOD’S GRACE. Experience, love, joy and peace in all you do, they are your gifts from God.

Brothers and Sisters, let us encourage you to come into our SUNDAY PRAYER, PRAISE AND WORSHIP VIRTUAL CHURCH SERVICE, beginning at 0700 Sunday Morning and every Sunday.  Tomorrow’s message is appropriately title: GOD’S GRACE IS SUFFICIENT!  This is a Bible Study lesson you do not want to miss.  God is blessing us daily with His Holy Word; now let us use the blessings of His mercy and grace to bless others.

WHAT ARE YOU WILLING TO SACRIFICE?

WHAT ARE YOU WILLING TO SACRIFICE?

God is Light photo by Shirley Rhodes

God is Light photo by Shirley Rhodes

WRITTEN BY SHIRLEY RHODES                     

 

In today’s lesson, I set before you a very important question to ponder, and that question is; What Are You” Really” Willing to Sacrifice for the price that has been paid for your FREEDOM?  Pride, distrust, envy, hatred, anger, lack of commitment, and unwillingness to love those who strive against you in every way are just a few of the obstacles encountered in life, even when up against such odds, what are you willing to sacrifice?

Deciding to step out or move forth requires an in creditable amount of will power and self-discipline, much more than many of us are able to envision in our minds. Making sacrifices requires us to rethink our own agenda, knowing that in life there are no quick fixes. Jesus made that sacrifice in order for us to see and understand that it is possible to reroute the way we think in terms of our daily lives. It is the mission of “the Dark One” to create in each of us self-doubt and when we surrender control or our will we find ourselves on loosing grounds, where we become like a rubber band stretched and pulled so that there is no more room to expand.

So, the question is, What Are You Willing to Sacrifice?

First of all you must be willing to admit that you are not your own, we are all sinners saved by grace. To sacrifice your will or desire to get to know more about Christ and his many teachings will become one of the greatest accomplishments of your life.

We live as mortal beings, yet we are spiritual, awareness brings about enlighten and we come into that knowledge by submission and change of attitude, no longer conditioned by how the world dictate who and whose we are.

A  New Day Photo by Shirley Rhodes

A New Day Photo by Shirley Rhodes

What Are You Willing to Sacrifice?  In Christ we become new creatures with meaning and purpose, willing to surrender our lives to a Savior who patiently waits. Admitting that we are sinners and in need of salvation is a start, acceptance, and total surrender of our lives brings us into an intimate relationship with Christ. We set aside “sacred moments” to allow the Holy Spirit to minister to our needs, learning to live in expectancy.

We must remember that God is not someone we bargain  with; think of your relationship with your parents as a child, how you trusted them in all innocence, or your children dependence on you to meet their needs; Christ is the spiritual connection that brings wholeness, a sense of direction, and is the supplier of all that we need.

Knowing and trusting God to guide you as you journey places you under grace, when its sin verses grace, grace wins. Sin threatens us with death and that’s it. Grace, through Jesus gives us life that is never ending (Romans 5: 20-21).  This means you must not give sin a vote in the way you conduct your lives.

What Are You Willing to Sacrifice? A relationship in Jesus gives us freedom; you’re living in the freedom of God when you surrender in obedience to the will of the Father for your life.

What Are You Willing to Sacrifice?  It is well worth the sacrifice to allow the Holy Spirit to come into your life and learn in obedience the way of Jesus, follow the pattern he has so graciously left in place for all of us to follow. Always keep his teachings at the forefront of your spiritual mind and you will journey this life in peace no matter the obstacles.

 

FAITH AND DOUBT CANNOT DWELL IN THE SAME HOUSE (PART 2 of 2)

FAITH AND DOUBT CANNOT DWELL IN THE SAME HOUSE (PART 2 of 2)

Pilot Mountain, N.C. (Photo by Pastor Davis)

As we begin lesson two we begin with precept two on doing the ABSOLUTE IMPOSSIBLE.  Now listen to how Jesus teaches us to overcome the IMPOSSIBLE.  He says, “Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”  (Mark 11:23-24 ESV)

Jesus then moved swiftly in teaching them a lesson about answers to prayer.  Jesus had cursed the fig tree; the fig tree had died; the disciples had expressed surprise.  Then Jesus explained that they could ask anything of God and receive an answer.  This mountain (referring to the Mount of Olives on which they stood) could be sent into the sea (the Dead Sea that could be seen from the Mount).  Jesus point was that in their petitions to God they must believe and not doubt (that is, without wavering in their confidence in God).  Remember, “FAITH AND DOUBT CANNOT DWELL IN THE SAME HOUSE.”  The kind of prayer Jesus meant was not the arbitrary wish to move a mountain; instead, he was referring to prayers that the disciples would need to endlessly pray as they faced mountains of opposition to their gospel message in the years to come.  Their prayers for the advancement of God’s Kingdom would always be answered positively in God’s timing.

However, as we look at the straight forward teaching of Jesus concerning the character of God and that God’s character never changes, Jesus told them that there was no guarantee that simply by asking him anything they wanted and believing they could get it.  Now don’t you become discourage in what Jesus is saying to the disciples, but listen how he instructs them on the moral high ground of God.  He says to them, “God does not grant request that violate his own nature or will.  Jesus statement was not a blank check.  To be fulfilled, requests made to God in prayer must be in harmony with the principles of God’s Kingdom.  They must be made in Jesus name.

Now turn with me for a moment in your Bibles to (John 14:13-14).  Listen to what it says, “And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it. The stronger our faith, the more likely our prayers will be in union with Christ and in line with God’s will; then God would be happy to grant them.  God can accomplish anything, even if it seems humanly impossible.

Impossibility is not a word that should be used in our lexicon.  In understanding this text we should be moved into action.  Know that in our minds we can do anything in the name of Jesus.  There is no mountain to high that we cannot climb, no valley to low that we cannot walk through.

We should not become like the motions of the ocean.  Always going back and forth, but we should be so rooted and grounded in our faith that no matter what comes after us we will always be able to with stand it.  We are built of strong timber, the timber of Jesus Christ.  When God says that nothing is impossible, we must learn to trust God in his word.  Knowing that God can never tell a lie, if he does he will deny himself.  God never makes a promise that he does not fulfill.  Our faith must be rooted and grounded in the word of God.  Our spirit must be one of can do.  Having a can do spirit will remove the mountains of impossibility from your life.

When the doctors says to you that you only have six months to live, and there is nothing else they can do for you.  Your attitude must be one of faith.  Faith in Jesus, Faith that if Jesus said it, it is a done deal; Jesus said that if you believe in God without doubt in your mind, nothing is impossible.

Change your thinking and you will change your life.  Tell the doctor that my God said not until he says it is time for me to go, that I will leave this world.  I can overcome this, I will overcome this because I am leaning and depending on my God.  I am an over comer, I am born in the Spirit of the living God.  For me nothing is impossible.  Today not only do I talk the talk, but I am walking the walk.  I am walking out my faith in the name of Jesus.  I know that my God did not bring me this far to leave me.  He promised me that He would never put on me more than I could bear.  I am standing on that promise, because I know that this check that my God has given to me, I can deposit it into my bank account and it will never bounce.  Faith, Faith, Faith, it is my faith that will always see me through.  Come on now let’s walk it out, talk it out.  Let’s tell the devil, devil get thee behind me, because I am holding onto My God’s unchanging hands.

Faith, Faith, Faith, there is nothing that is impossible in my world.  Step by step I am moving closer to where My God is trying to take me. It was nothing but Grace that brought me through the tribulations of this life.  It was nothing but God’s grace that brought me up on the rough side of the mountain and planted my feet right here where I am standing today.

Now sing this hymn with me, “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me!  I once was lost but now I am found, I was blind but now I see.  Taws grace that taught my heart to fear, and grace my fears relieved; how precious did that grace appear the hour I first believed!”

It was God’s grace that gave me the opportunity to change my thinking, It is my faith that has sustained me, it is my faith that has healed me, and I know that it is my faith that will move any mountain in my life, because I believe in the true and living God and I know without a doubt that “FAITH AND DOUBT CANNOT DWELL IN THE SAME HOUSE.” What about you?

WHAT ARE YOU WILLING TO SACRIFICE

WHAT ARE YOU WILLING TO SACRIFICE?

WRITTEN BY SHIRLEY RHODES

THE FLOWER MAKES HER SACRIFICE

THE FLOWER MAKES HER SACRIFICE (PHOTO BY SHIRLEY RHODES)

In today’s lesson, I set before you a very important question for you to ponder, and that question is; “What Are You” Really” Willing to Sacrifice for the price that has been paid for your FREEDOM?”  Pride, distrust, envy, hatred, anger, lack of commitment, and unwillingness to love those who strive against you in every way are just a few of the obstacles encountered in life, even when up against such odds, “What are you willing to sacrifice?”

Deciding to step out or move forth requires an in creditable amount of will power and self-discipline, much more than many of us are able to envision in our minds. Making sacrifices requires us to rethink our own agenda, knowing that in life there are no quick fixes. Jesus made that sacrifice in order for us to see and understand that it is possible to reroute the way we think in terms of our daily lives. It is the mission of “the Dark One” to create in each of us self-doubt and when we surrender control of our will we find ourselves on loosing grounds, where we become like a rubber band stretched and pulled so that there is no more room to expand.

So, the question is, “What Are You Willing to Sacrifice?”First of all you must be willing to admit that you are not your own, we are all sinners saved by grace. To sacrifice your will or desire to get to know more about Christ and his many teachings will become one of the greatest accomplishments of your life.

We live as mortal beings, yet we are spiritual, awareness brings about enlighten and we come into that knowledge by submission and change of attitude, no longer conditioned by how the world dictate who and whose we are.

What Are You Willing to Sacrifice?  In Christ we become new creatures with meaning and purpose, willing to surrender our lives to a Savior who patiently waits. Admitting that we are sinners and in need of salvation is a start, acceptance, and total surrender of our lives brings us into an intimate relationship with Christ. We set aside “sacred moments” to allow the Holy Spirit to minister to our needs, learning to live in expectancy.

We must remember that God is not someone we bargain  with; think of your relationship with your parents as a child, how you trusted them in all innocence, or your children dependence on you to meet their needs; Christ is the spiritual connection that brings wholeness, a sense of direction, and is the supplier of all that we need.

Knowing and trusting God to guide you as you journey places you under grace, when its sin verses grace, grace wins. Sin threatens us with death and that’s it. Grace, through Jesus gives us life that is never ending (Romans 5: 20-21).  This means you must not give sin a vote in the way you conduct your lives.

THE BIRD LIVING FREE (PHOTO BY SHIRLEY RHODES)

THE BIRD LIVING FREE (PHOTO BY SHIRLEY RHODES)

What Are You Willing to Sacrifice? A relationship in Jesus gives us freedom, but we must first be willing to make the Sacrifice.  When we do, He releases us from our chains of bondage that have been placed upon us by the world.  He allows you to lift up your head towards the sky, straighten up your back, stiffen up your spin and provide you with the freedom to walk through the path of rigorousness and fear no evil.  He will prepare a table before you in the present of your enemies, and take you to places that you could only begin to experience in your imagination.  Yes, when you begin to live in the freedom of God, and surrender in obedience to His will, the chains of bondage will be removed and you will be free as a bird.

The question is, What Are You Willing to Sacrifice?  It is well worth the sacrifice to allow the Holy Spirit to come into your life and learn in obedience the way of Jesus, follow the pattern he has so graciously left in place for all of us to follow. Always keep his teachings at the forefront of your spiritual mind and you will journey this life in peace no matter the obstacles.

 

GOD HAS PROVIDED US GRACE FOR A NEW BEGINNING

GOD HAS PROVIDED US GRACE FOR A NEW BEGINNING

THE ENDING AND THE BEGINNING

WRITTEN BY SHIRLEY RHODES

 

MOMENTS OF REFLECTIONS THE ENDING AND THE BEGINNING (PHOTO BY SHIRLEY RHODES)

MOMENTS OF REFLECTIONS THE ENDING AND THE BEGINNING (PHOTO BY SHIRLEY RHODES)

THE ENDING AND THE BEGINNING

The fullness of God’s grace is beyond our human appreciation, comprehension or full knowledge. The riches of His goodness cannot be expressed or described by mortal tongue. We can only attempt to describe it, and our best efforts will be a puny approximation. We can admire the beauty of His divine grace, but we cannot really explore its depths.  At best we can only stand in awe at what we have seen and live in the expectance of what is yet to come.  Through God’s grace we have survived the trials and tribulation of a year of ups and downs in many areas of our lives.  We now stand at the end and await the beginning of the new.

The Endings and Beginnings are a part of who we are as well as the process we all go through in life. Jesus last day upon the cross was truly a lesson for all of us to learn concerning our own lives.  When we pause and reflect upon the last day, we quickly realize so much has happened, struggle, decisions, choice and chance; yet we have so much to be thankful for,  there are even moments we can look back on with pride and accomplishment.  What to do with our learning experiences, stop and take stock (think); what have I accomplished that makes me proud, did I reach goals I set for myself this time last year?

What ever happened this year is behind us and those moments can never be reclaimed, they are endings.

This day and this moment is truly a brand new beginning, letting go of ways that are not beneficial such as anger, resentment, fears, allow those things to become part of our experiences we grow from and then release them.  Let’s become more diligent in our prayer life, pray for joy, peace, directions and for everyone whether we know them or not.  Let us make room in our hearts, our lives to fellowship and set side time for introspection with our higher power, the source, the light, the bread of life, remembering to follow the pattern Jesus gave so that we might live productive lives.

Endings and Beginnings: Our spiritual identity is our soul, our spirit and that never change.

Life takes us through changes that enhance our character and instills values in our lives developing our inner being and helping us to discover who we really are.  We go through many changes in a life time before we find out who we really are and what we have to give.  One thing is certain, we should always see ourselves as valuable even though others may not recognize and/or accept that fact.

No matter what role or purpose we’ve been assigned in this life; knowledge we gain through the process, keep it close to heart as Wisdom teachings. Proverbs remind us in this way:  Collect my counsels and guard them with your life, tune your ears to the world of Wisdom. Set your heart on a life of Understanding, make insight your priority and don’t take no for an answer, before you know it Fear of God will be yours; you’ll have come upon the Knowledge of God (Proverbs 2:1-5). God gives out Wisdom free and is plainspoken in Knowledge and Understanding. He is a rich mine of Common Sense for those who live well (6). He controls our Endings and Beginnings so why not learn to trust him with an obedient heart and attitude, which pleases Him.

This is the time of year to reflect on where we’ve been; a time to release those things (ways) that hinder our growth and the time to look forward to a new year encouraged with optimism, strength and courage. Learn from the Endings and embrace new Beginnings, make this year about   renewal, commitment, caring and sharing. Grow in God’s Grace and Love.

Make it a Brand New Beginning!!

When we think about where we have been this past year and how we have managed to come through it all, we must confront this one truth, and that is simply this, “Our God is truly an awesome God.  Have you ever come on anything quite like this extravagant generosity of God, this deep, deep wisdom? It’s way over our heads. We’ll never figure it out.  Is there anyone around who can explain God?  Anyone smart enough to tell Him what to do; anyone who has done Him such a huge favor that God has to ask His advice?  Everything comes from Him, Everything happens through him; everything ends up in Him.  Always glory!  Always praise! Yes, Yes, Yes!”  Romans 11:33-36.

Now as you make plans for this Brand New Beginning we encourage you to grow in God’s Grace, make this a happy, joyful, safe and prospers New Beginning.  Click on this video clip sit back relax and allow the sounds of the water to minister to you as you reflect on your Brand New Beginning that lies ahead.  May God bless you abundantly, in Jesus name, Amen!

May God’s grace and mercy abide in you throughout this Brand New Beginning, filling your life with pure joy and prosperity.

FREE FROM THE ENSLAVING POWER OF SIN

FREE FROM THE ENSLAVING POWER OF SIN

WRITTEN BY SHIRLEY RHODES

 

The Saving Powers of the Cross (Photo by Pastor Davis)

The Saving Powers of the Cross (Photo by Pastor Davis)

The gospel is the power of God for salvation to all who are faithful.  God loved us so that he sent his Son to break the Enslaving Power of Sin on our lives through his redemptive death on the cross. Though we humans are weak and unworthy God showed his love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). The fact is that no human being can break the power of sin and stand righteous before a living God. God in his grace choose to reign over those guilty who surrender, and put their trust in him, through Jesus we become innocent, children of the King, the power of sin and death is broken.

The Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus fills our hearts with hope, love, joy and peace. When we face the

Forgiven | Redeemed | Restored | Reborn | & Se...

Forgiven | Redeemed | Restored | Reborn | & Set Free (Photo credit: ashley.adcox)

Powers of Darkness we are encouraged to stand firm in faith, the Enslaving Power of Sin has already been taken care of.  If God is for us, who is against us? In all creation nothing will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:39).

As Jesus prayed for his followers his main concern was that they follow the pattern and to genuinely show love and concern for one another.  He knew that they would face stiff opposition because he himself had. Even so, he didn’t live according to the world standards or his chosen followers; he prayed that God would guard them from the Evil One because he knew the competition for their souls would be fierce.

The ultimate goal was and is for all to become one heart and mind in Christ so that the world might  desire to know him and his teachings, to  encourage others by making known to them Gods’ word, that through Jesus Christ the Enslaving Power of Sin has already been taken care of.

Jesus was faithful to the end (Photo by Pastor Davis)

Jesus was faithful to the end (Photo by Pastor Davis)

So, take a good hard look at Christ Jesus, the centerpiece of everything we believe, faithful in all God gave him to do. The Holy Spirit prompts us to listen and watch our step, make sure we remain faithful so that we are not easily sidetracked by the Evil One.  For as long as it’s still God’s today, stay alert and keep a grip on the sure thing, Jesus, because we are in the race committed to the call, reminded that the Enslaving Power of Sin has already been taken care of and that we are free in Christ Jesus.

Now that we know what we have–Jesus, this great High Priest with ready access to God–let us not let it slip through our fingers. We don’t have a priest that is out of touch with reality. He has been through weakness and testing, experienced it all—all but sin; so let’s walk right up to him and get what he is ready to give. Take the mercy, and accept the help (Hebrews 4:14-16, MGS).

The Enslaving Power of Sin conquered once and for all to those whose desire is to know who the Savior really is and one’s purpose in life. Let us live life with an attitude of praise, prayer and thanksgiving, a life in which we are able to share love, joy and peace with genuine concern for one another.

Today, I leave you with my peace, that God will bless your life abundantly and provide you with the desires of your heart.  Now live in expectances of the moment, for God is watching over your life and has provided you with unknown powers to grow in His grace and move higher in the providence of this life.

 

GRACE AND PEACE HAVE BEEN FREELY GIVEN

GRACE AND PEACE HAVE BEEN FREELY GIVEN

The Beauty and Justification of God‘s Grace (Photo by Pastor Davis)

By Shirley Rhodes

In our lesson today we present you with two precepts.  One of Grace and the other of Peace, and when they are combined we learn just how God has given both of them to all His Children Freely.  Paul spoke elegantly about God’s Grace and Peace though out his life.  He also demonstrated to us how Grace and Peace had been Freely Given by God.

According to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood: May grace and peace be multiplied to you.  (1 Peter 1:2 ESV)

Do you know the grace of God in justification? Do you know the grace of God in sanctification? Do you by God’s grace forgive others; do you by God’s grace live a contented life, rejoicing in the Lord always? You cannot live this way in your own strength. You need God’s grace. His grace is sufficient for all your needs.

The Apostle Paul had a physical affliction, a thorn in the flesh, which he asked the Lord to remove. How did the Lord answer him? Did he heal Paul? No. He said my grace is sufficient for you (II Corinthians 12:9). In weakness Paul would be more aware of the strength of the Lord. He would know the abounding grace of God every day.

Jesus Christ rescued us from this evil world by offering himself as a sacrifice for our sins. It is the plan of

THE HEART OF THE CROSS IS KING JESUS (Photo by Pastor Davis)

God that all/everyone experience that rescue, therefore Grace and Peace Have Been Freely Given so that we might all come into knowledge and understanding.

The world we live in is complex and can often lead to moments of confusion when faith and religion is involved, a choice. Understanding the meaning behind why Grace and Peace Have Been Freely Given should fill our hearts with the desire to know more about the One who gives so liberally the freedom of choice. The truth is one of the first things Men and Women do when they get their hands on religion is that many of them often turn it into an instrument for controlling others. God sent his only Son in order that we might taste the free life; a life free of constraints and bondage of the old way by entering into a relationship knowing Grace and Peace Have Been Freely Given in order that we may have life and have it more abundantly.

Paul says, “I tried keeping rules and working my head off to please God, and it didn’t work. So, I quit being a “law man” so that I could get to be God’s man. Christ’s life showed me how, and enabled me to do it. I identified myself completely with him, I have been crucified with Christ, and my ego is no longer central. It is no longer I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God, Christ lives in me. The life you see me living is not “mine” but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I am not going back on that. Is it not clear to you that to go back to that old rule keeping, peer-pleasing religion would be abandonment to everything personal and free in my relationship with God? I refuse to do that”; ( Galatians 2:19-21; MGS) for God’s Grace and Peace Have Been Freely Given.

Paul wrote of peace from God and Jesus. It is actually peace from God and peace with God. We have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 5:1). Paul mentions peace after grace and for good reason – because peace flows from grace. Someone has described grace as a fountain and peace as the river that flows from it.

Christ is our peace (Ephesians 2:14). Through his blood Jesus has brought us, indeed bought us, Peace with God. Jesus said my peace I give to you, not as the world gives. Let not your heart be troubled or afraid.  (John 14:27). In Christ we have peace with God and that peace overflows, along with his grace, into every aspect of our life.

Those who live by faith are blessed; anyone who tries to live by his own effort, independent of God is doomed to failure. The person who lives in the right relationship with God does it by embracing what God arranges for him. Doing things for God is the opposite of entering into what God does for you. Christ redeemed us from that self-defeating, cursed life by absorbing it completely into him-self. Grace (favor) and Peace (calm response) Have Been Freely (voluntary) Given to all who seek.

I conclude this lesson with my peace to you and may God’s grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.


GROWING UP IN THE GRACE OF JESUS CHRIST

GROWING UP IN THE GRACE OF JESUS CHRIST

We were created in the image of God and given His Character that we may grow up in His grace.  We can do nothing of our own.  Our growth is totally depended upon the actions of God.  Everything in the Universe was created by God and for God that it may grow and flourish in the manner God has chosen it to be.  Therefore, as a newborn creature in this life, our mission is to grow up in the grace of Jesus Christ.

THE SUNFLOWER HARVEST (Photo by Pastor Davis)

Now the question becomes, how do we accomplish our mission that God has given us?  As with all life, so it is with growth.  We must learn to lean and depend on the maker and giver of all life.  Know that it is only God, who brings the bud to bloom and the flower to fruit. It is by his power that the seed develops,” first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear.” Mark 4:28.

The plants and flowers grow not by their own care, anxiety, or effort, but by receiving that which God has furnished to minister to their life. The child cannot by any anxiety or power of its own, add to its own stature. No more can you, by anxiety or effort of yourself, secure spiritual growth.  No, all life is the mystery and work of God provided to us through His power and grace.

 

THE ROSE OF SHARON (Photo by Pastor Davis)

The plant, as well as the child, grows by receiving from its surroundings that which ministers to its life – air, sunshine, and food. What these gifts of nature are to animal and plant, such is Christ to those who trust in him. He is there” everlasting light,”  “a sun and shield.”  Isaiah 60:19; Psalms 84:11, he shall be as” the dew unto Israel.” “He shall come down like rain upon the mown grass.” Hosea 14:5; Psalms 72:6. He is the living water,” the bread of God… Which cometh down from heaven, and gives life unto the world” John 6:33!

As the flower turns to the sun, that the bright beams of day aid in perfecting its beauty and symmetry, so should we turn to the Sun of righteousness, that heavens light may shine upon us, that our character may be developed into the likeness of Christ.

Jesus teaches the same thing when he says, “abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abides in the vine; no more can ye, except he abide in me… Without me you can do nothing.” John 15:4-5. You are just as dependent upon Christ, in order to live a holy life, as is the branch upon the parent stock for growth and fruitfulness. Apart From Him, you have no life. You have no power to resist temptation or to grow in grace and holiness. Abiding in him, you may flourish. Drawing your life from him, you will not wither nor be fruitless. You will be like a tree, planted by the rivers of water.

Many have an idea that they must do some part of the work alone. They have trusted in Christ for the forgiveness of sin, but now they seek by their own efforts to live aright. However, every such effort must fail. Jesus says,” Without me ye can do nothing.” Our growth in grace, our joy, our usefulness, all depend upon our union with Christ. It is by communion with him, daily, hourly, by abiding in him, that we are to grow in grace. He is not only the author, but the finisher of our faith. It is Christ first, last, and always. He is to be with us, not only at the beginning and the end of our course, but at every step of the way.” I have set the Lord always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.” Psalms 16:8.

By faith, you became Christ’s, and by faith, you are to grow up in him through grace, by giving and taking. You are to give all, your heart, your will, your service, give yourself to him to obey all his requirements; and you must take all, Christ, the fullness of all blessings, to abide in your heart, to be your strength, your righteousness, your everlasting helper, to give you power to obey, and when you do all these things, your GROWING UP IN THE GRACE OF JESUS CHRIST is now under way.  Now you must stay focus and keep your eye on the prize.

 

YOU ARE BLESSED HIGHLY FAVORED AND VALUED

YOU ARE BLESSED HIGHLY FAVORED AND VALUED

BLESSED AND HIGHLY FAVORED

 

CAN YOU SEE YOURSELF AS SPECIAL—CHOSEN—VALUED AND PART OF THE WHOLE?

BY MINISTER SHIRLEY RHODES

Each individual has VALUE and GOD BLESSES you, showers HIS FAVORS upon you, and VALUE is added to your life according to HIS grace.  The key is learning to recognize ones’ source, by diligently seeking to bring about a change in one’ life; No one else can live or walk one’s journey the choices and chances are given to all; the desire to discover ones’ true meaning in life begins with surrender and opening ones’ self to the welcoming presence of Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit. Jesus lets’ us know he is always available if we seek him in obedience, putting him first in our lives.

Jesus says, “Come unto me, all you that labor and are burdened down, I will give you rest.  Walk with me and work with me –watch how I do it. I’m meek and lowly in heart and you shall find rest for your souls. My yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11: 28-30)

To grow and strengthen one’ self, you must learn to nourish with kindness, knowledge, patience and love.  These are your building blocks.

Our lives must unfold into the knowledge and understand that we are all a part of the universal puzzle and therefore cannot grow separated  from the whole, think of being a part of something larger than you are, there’s even greater, expansive room for growth, we must be willing to allow our thoughts to focus. If you are struggling with issues, think of your struggle as a “tug of war” the stronger team wins, remember life can also be like that sometimes.

Many of the problems in our neighborhoods, our country and the world can be conquered when we each decide to do our part, first we must see the magnitude and recognize cause and effect in people’s lives.

God rescued us from dead-end alleys and dark dungeons. He’s set us up in the kingdom of his Son he loves so much, the Son who got us out of the pit we were in, got rid of the sins we were doomed to keep repeating. (Colossians 1: 13-14-Mgs)

The mystery in a nutshell is this: CHRIST is in you, so therefore you can look forward to sharing God’s glory; it’s that simple.  He will BLESS your life, shower his FAVOR upon you, and the added VALUE will be yours to enjoy.

Life is about CHOICE, remembering to take responsibility for our ACTIONS, starts one on the road toward healing/recovery.  When you are able to FREE YOUR MIND, then you will know without a doubt, and you will begin to SEE YOURSELF AS SPECIAL—CHOSEN—VALUED AND PART OF THE WHOLE!  Your entire world will become filled with God’s BLESSINGS and FAVOR.

TODAYS POETRY READING (GOD BLESSES HIS CHOSEN ONE)

TODAYS POETRY READING (GOD BLESSES HIS CHOSEN ONE)

You’re the handsomest of men;
every word from your lips is sheer grace,
and God has blessed you, blessed you so much.
Strap your sword to your side, warrior!
Accept praise! Accept due honor!
Ride majestically! Ride triumphantly!
Ride on the side of truth!
Ride for the righteous meek! 

“Your instructions are glow-in-the-dark;
you shoot sharp arrows
Into enemy hearts; the king’s
foes lie down in the dust, beaten.

“Your throne is God’s throne,
ever and always;
The scepter of your royal rule
measures right living.
You love the right
and hate the wrong.
And that is why God, your very own God,
poured fragrant oil on your head,
Marking you out as king
from among your dear companions.

Psalm 45:2-7 MSG

GOD’S GRACE AND MERCY AND JUSTICE IS FOR ALL!

 

THE HARVEST IS PLENTIFUL by Pastor Davis

GOD’S GRACE AND MERCY AND JUSTICE IS FOR ALL! (PSALMS 1 AND 112 MSG)

How well God must like you— you do not hang out at Sin Saloon, you do not slink along Dead-End Road, you do not go to Smart-Mouth College.

Instead, you thrill to God’s Word;
you chew on Scripture day and night.
You are a tree replanted in Eden,
bearing fresh fruit every month,
never dropping a leaf,
always in blossom.

You are not at all like the wicked,
who are mere windblown dust—
without defense in court,
unfit company for innocent people.

God charts the road you take.
The road they take is Skid Row.
Hallelujah! Blessed man, blessed woman, who fear God,
Who cherish and relish his commandments,
their children robust on the earth,
and the homes of the upright—how blessed!
Their houses brim with wealth
and a generosity that never runs dry.
Sunrise breaks through the darkness for good people—
God’s grace and mercy and justice! 


   The good person is generous and lends lavishly;
No shuffling or stumbling around for this one,
But a sterling and solid and lasting reputation.
Unfazed by rumor and gossip,
Heart ready, trusting in God,
Spirit firm, unperturbed,
Ever blessed, relaxed among enemies,
They lavish gifts on the poor
A generosity that goes on, and on, and on.
An honored life! A beautiful life!
Someone wicked takes one look and rages,
Blusters away but ends up speechless.
There is nothing to the dreams of the wicked. Nothing.

GOD’S GRACE AND MERCY AND JUSTICE IS FOR ALL!

HOW TO GET GOD TO ANSWER YOUR PRAYERS (PART 2)

Scroll of the Psalms

SCROLL OF THE PSALMS

HOW TO GET GOD TO ANSWER YOUR PRAYERS (PART 2)

Follow Christ’s example and God will answer your prayers.

You can know God’s will by studying His Word. The Bible contains more than a thousand pages and 750,000 words of God’s expressed will. If you study it daily, replacing your thoughts with His, you can understand what God wants.

For example, notice Jeremiah 9; “Thus says the Lord, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: but let him that glories glory in this,” “that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord which exercise loving-kindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, says the Lord” (vs. 23-24).

Do your prayers reflect loving-kindness (mercy, out-going concern for others), godly judgment (wisdom based on true biblical understanding), and righteousness (obedience to God’s laws; see Psalm 119:172 and 111:10)?

Have a humble, yielded attitude: The carnal mind is deceitful—even to itself (Jer. 17:9). It is naturally hostile to God and His spiritual laws. It cannot obey Him (Rom. 8:7-8).

This world’s Christianity does not understand this. Its religionists, teachers and leaders do not preach it.

Yet the Bible teaches that God will only listen to those who are teachable, humble and yielded to Him. Notice Isaiah 66: “Thus says the Lord, The heaven is My throne, and the earth is My footstool: where is the house that You build unto Me? And where is the place of My rest? For all those things has My hand made, and all those things have been, says the Lord: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembles at My Word” (vs. 1-2).

Jesus used a parable to teach a valuable lesson to “some who trusted in themselves” (Luke 18:9):

“Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican [tax collector]. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank You, that I am not as other men are, extortionist, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess” (vs. 10-12). The Pharisee “knew” that He was God’s gift to mankind.

“And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner” (vs. 13). The tax collector saw himself from God’s perspective and humbled himself.

Christ continued, “I tell you, this man [the tax collector] went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalts himself shall be abased; and he that humbles himself shall be exalted” (vs. 14).

God will not listen to the prayers of the proud and arrogant.

Keep God’s Law: To begin to understand God’s will, you must obey Him, David wrote, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do His commandments” (Psa. 111:10).

The more you obey God, the more understanding He will give you. Moreover, the more you receive, the more God expects you to obey Him.

When you do this, God promises, “Beloved, if our heart condemn us not”—because we deliberately choose God’s way of life and stop sinning— “then have we confidence toward God. And whatsoever we ask, we receive of Him, because we keep His commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in His sight” (I John 3:21-22).

God listens to those who obey Him. It is that simple.

When Jesus lived on earth, He knew that God would always answer His prayers. Here’s why: “And He that sent Me is with Me: the Father has not left Me alone; for I do always those things that please Him” (John 8:29).

If you follow Christ’s footsteps and obey God, your prayers will be answered!

Consider this: “He that turns away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination” (Prov. 28:9). If you do not listen to (and obey) God, He will not listen to you!

Approach God with a clean conscience: When you sin—break God’s laws—He cannot hear you: “Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither His ear heavy, that it cannot hear: but your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid His face from you, that He will not hear” (Isa. 59:1-2).

In Psalm 24, David asked, “Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord? Or who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart” (vs. 3-4).

He also wrote, “If I regard iniquity [sin] in my heart [mind], the Lord will not hear” (66:18).

Confess your sins before God. Repent and ask for His forgiveness. Christ’s blood will cleanse you.

Some people fall into a dangerous pattern: When they sin, their guilt gnaws at them. They feel too ashamed to approach God in prayer. And God cannot hear a prayer that is never uttered. Because they have not confessed their sins and repented, their sin grows. Soon they are trapped in a cycle of sin. If they do not turn to God soon, their conscience will be seared. They will end up sinning without feeling guilt, shame or fear.

Do not let this happen to you!

The Bible states, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (I John 1:9).

God has seen men commit every sin imaginable. Your confession cannot shock Him. But it will set you free from the deadly cycle of sin, pain and, ultimately, death.

Be bold: This world’s Christianity pictures Christ as a helpless weakling nailed to a cross.

But the Bible clearly shows that Christ is in heaven, actively working on behalf of His servants: “Seeing then that we have a great High Priest that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God; let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an High Priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin” (Heb. 4:14-15).

When we pray to God, we do so by the authority of Jesus Christ. His shed blood allows us to enter the most holy place in the universe—God’s throne!

That is why, when we pray, we are commanded to “come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb. 4:14-16).

God expects our prayers to be bold, full of confidence—in Him, not self.

If we come before God wavering and full of doubt, He will not listen (James 1:6-7).

Pray in detail: Some have reasoned, “Why should I pray? Doesn’t God already know everything, including what I think?”

Yes, He does. In fact, God knows you better than you know yourself, down to the number of hairs you have on your head (Matt. 10:30; Luke 12:7).

God knows everything you need even before you ask Him (Matt. 6:8).

He knows your inner thoughts and desires: “I the Lord search the heart [mind], I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruits of his doings” (Jer. 17:10).

Yet God wants you to pray to Him. Here are five reasons why:

(1) God wants you to draw close to Him and show Him where your heart is (Matt. 6:19-21).

(2) He wants you to express out-going concern for others. Praying for others is an opportunity to do this.

(3) He wants you to prove and test Him by claiming His many promises (Mal. 3:10; I Thes. 5:21).

(4) He wants you to submit your will to Him. If you believe God’s Word and pray from the heart, God’s thoughts will saturate your mind. You will come to think—and act—like Him (Eph. 1:17-19).

(5) Like any good parent, God wants to know His children. Specific, highly detailed prayers please God.

Consider this scripture: “And when He had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb [Christ], having everyone of them harps, and golden vials full of odors [incense], which are the prayers of saints” (Rev. 5:8).

TO BE CONTINUED IN LESSON 3.

PASTORS MUST STOP KEEPING THEIR MEMBERS PROSPERITY POOR (PART 1)

In today’s market place when so many people have lost their jobs and inability to earn a proper living for their families and losing their homes and all their worldly goods it is time for Pastors and church leaders to carefully study the types of messages they delivery to their congregation. The bible gives us a road map for us to follow, how we present that road map to our followers at a time such as this is the most important thing that we can do in the name of Jesus.

I do realize that I am going to get a lot of negative feedback from my fellow brethren in the ministry, but I also feel that it is important to get this message out.  Now I ask you to read and study the entire message before you make up your mind, and let us begin a dialog that can be beneficial to all believers.

Throughout most of the Church History the spiritual current, especially of the Catholic and Orthodox churches has been that the most spiritual possible lifestyle is to be poor.

The preaching and teaching of these Pastors have done more harm to the poor than they have given them the keys to living a prospers life style because they use Scriptures like “Blessed are the poor…” and “Sell everything you have and come follow me,”  the mindset has been that in order to truly follow Christ you must impoverish yourself.

Now, of course, at any given time, only a few are willing to do this at one time, and so they are considered the most spiritual.   This promotes a general sense of guilt among the middle class and of pride among the self-impoverished.   Moreover, it creates a universal rejection of Earthly wealth for Christians, leaving it to be pursued by either those of other faiths (such as the medieval Jews) or by Christians who do not really believe the Gospel.

It is my opinion this promotes a general place of powerlessness for the church, and of “scraping by” for the average person.   Ironically, which teaching its people to be poor, the church itself held greater riches than most kings, building incredible edifices to promote itself.   The outcome of promoting poverty then, was to have a rich clergy and a poor laity.

In the wake of the great healing revival of the 1940’s and 50’s two things happened.  First, the healing crusaders like Oral Roberts and Jack Coe and others had built huge and very costly ministry empires which required a remarkable amount of money was needed.    Secondly, the anointing waned on many of these men, depriving them of the power which would both draw people to their services and money to feed the ministry empire.   Largely because of these two factors, the doctrine of “Faith” which they had developed with regard to getting people healed began to grow into a doctrine of Wealth.

Slowly the ability to get out of a wheelchair was replaced with the promise to get material goods.   Instead of “if you have faith, you can be made whole” it was “if you have faith, you can get out of debt.”  Now at the time, I believe the shift was subtle, but a generation later, what had happened became clear — the power of God had been traded for money.     We live under a system of “prosperity” now, where ministers promise that giving (to them) is the way to wealth, and implicitly that if you do so you will become rich like them.   These rich ministers are the ones who had “faith” to get wealth, and by “sowing in” to their ministries you can get the same thing.    The great irony again is that this has not produced a race of billionaire Christians, what it has primarily produced is the same exact thing that the Old Catholic “poverty mentality” did — rich ministers and poor laymen.

Does this mean that God does not want his children to prosper?  By no means, I believe that God desires to give His children great wealth so that they can “make friends for yourselves by means of unrighteous wealth, and then “they may receive you into the eternal dwellings.” (Luke 16:9)   In other words, we are given the financial resources to advance His Gospel and reach every living creature.   If that is your heart and practice with your wealth, God wants to give you the increase.    What these “prosperity” preachers are doing is just the opposite, however.   They are taking huge sums of money which otherwise would be putting others into ministry to spread the Gospel and helping those in need and spending it on lives of difficult to imagine luxury.  And they feel no pangs of conscience about it because in their system being rich is a sign of being blessed.

Anyone can get rich by telling you that by giving him or her money, you will get rich.   That is what they call a “pyramid scheme” and rightly so.  It is the devil’s method.  Take from the many to enrich the few. Real prosperity then is the businessperson who uses his God-given talents to bring wealth into the Kingdom.   God does not tell such a man he must live on nothing.   He tells him that if his heart is in the right place, he’ll want to give greatly to the cause of the Gospel.   If you have a business or hold a job, God wants to give you the increase, but it’s not going to come by giving more money to a “prosperity” preacher.  It’s going to come by your God given talent, the favor of God on your life, and by giving to reach the ends of the Earth with His message.

We have come to a place where we think that having a private jet is a sign of the anointing.   It may be a sign of the anointing, but a sign that the anointing has been misused.   We need to fear the Lord, because he does not take use of positions in His house for personal gain lightly. This is not unlike the sin of Gehazi.  He saw that he could get a couple of talents of silver and some robes from Elisha’s anointing and look where it took him.  He became a leper.  The sons of Eli thought their spiritual inheritance was best used to gain better portions of meat from the people’s sacrifices.  God killed them.  It’s amazing how in every reformation of the church from Jesus, to Luther, to our time, that one of the great issues is the abuse of money.     I believe the Lord has winked at many in our time because they legitimately believed they were helping the people, but a time is soon coming when He is going to reform the church again.

Get ready for the Lord is going to make it all right.  The leaders of the church have prospered while the rest of its members have remained poor.

THE LIFE AND DEATH OF JESUS CHRIST

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HOW AWESOME IS THAT DAY TO ME

HOW AWESOME IS THAT DAY TO ME

By Josh Etter

Ponder these words as Holy Week begins. You might consider using this poem in your personal or family devotions this week:

How awesome is that day to me-
O day of hallowed history!
Set time in God’s determined plan
To sacrifice the Son of Man.
What famous work that day was done
By Jesus Christ, His Perfect Son!
The Second Adam, sent to save,
Humbly obeying to the grave!

How savage is that day to me-
O day of pure brutality!
When Christ, the Son of God Most High,
Was fiercely whipped and hung to die.
And O the horror of my sin,
Seen there in His appalling skin!
For God struck down- as meant for me-
The sinless One, at Calvary.

How precious is that day to me-
O day of purchased liberty!
In Him, a freeman now I live;
My sins, through death, did God forgive.
No wrath at length looms o’er my head,
But loving kindness there instead.
His righteousness, my guilt replaced,
And Love, this ransomed soul embraced!

O awesome, savage, precious day-
‘Tis God the Savior on display!
What peerless, holy, gracious Mind
Would fashion such a Grand Design?

THE LORD’S SUPPER

The Lord’s Supper

Written by Harold Russwurm

Introduction

Much has been written concerning the Lord’s Supper and its observation. It is suggested that you carefully examine all that is contained in this writing and then study the Bible to get a complete study of what inspired writers had to say about the Lord’s Supper. This writing will address such matters as the institution of the supper by our Lord, the practice of early Christians, some of the written teachings to local congregations by the writers of the New Testament, and what is expected of those of us participating in the partaking of the Supper. We should remember that the teachings of the Bible must always take place over what man may write or say. God‘s Word is truth and we must follow it to be pleasing to Him. Quotations contained in this booklet are taken from the New American Standard version of the Holy Bible.

Institution of the Lord’s Supper

Jesus, nearing his death upon the cross for the sins of all men, saw the necessity to provide a way whereby individual Christians could look back to the cross and remember Him. This was not the first time that some type of remembrance was used to help man recall a past event. After God had destroyed the world by water, He told Noah that He would make a covenant with man to never again destroy the world by water. To keep this firmly in the mind of man, God placed a rainbow in the sky and each time that man looked and saw the rainbow he would be reminded that God had made a promise to man. Today, many of us vividly call to our mind the occasion of the flood when we see a rainbow in the sky. You can read fully about this event in Genesis chapter 9 beginning with verse 8.

Just prior to the departure of the children of Israel from Egypt, God had sent a plague to take the life of every first born unless a lamb had been killed and eaten, then a portion of the blood placed upon the two side posts and the upper post of the door in which the lamb had been eaten (Exodus 12:3-14). The lives of the children of those who fully obeyed the Lord’s command were spared, as were the first born of the animals. Moses had been very careful in his instructions to the children of Israel. As a result, all those that faithfully followed his instructions did not see death come to their households. Many did lose their children and animals since theyrefused to obey God. As the people of that day looked upon the blood that had been placed on the post, they recalled that the Lord had passed over the house since they had obeyed Him. This became a remembranceto them as to how God had been with them.

Very specific instructions were given to the priests under the law of Moses in the offering of sacrifices as to how each sacrifice was to be offered and the purpose for which it was being offered. God was not pleased unless the priest fully obeyed His instructions. Read about Nadab and Abihu and what happened to them for offering strange fire upon the alter (Lev 10:1,2).

A reading of the entire book of Leviticus gives a good background on the expectations of the priest under the law of Moses. As the lamb without spot or blemish was the sacrifice under the Old Law, Jesus Christ becomesour sacrifice under the New Covenant which is the law under which we live today. Jesus was totally aware of all that had happened in times past since He was “from the beginning” (John 1: 1) and had known that He would eventually give His life for the sins of man. With His understanding, He instituted the Lord’s Supper as something that would be helpful to man in remembrance of His cross, suffering and death, as well as His resurrection. See Matthew 26:26-29; Mark 14:22-25; Luke 22:14- 23 and I Corinthians 11:23-29.

In the three gospel accounts, we find that Jesus took bread, blessed it, broke it and gave it to the disciples and told them to “take and eat; this is My body.” Jesus blessed or prayed over the bread before it was broken. This was symbolic of His body as being whole and unblemished as it was offered as a sacrifice upon the cross. It was a perfect sacrifice and would provide many benefits for His disciples of that day and future generations as well as beneficial to all of those that had been followers in times past.

Today we are to express to our Father, through His Son, our thanks for the giving of His Son upon the cross for the forgiveness of our sins, prior to breaking the bread. This should help us to remember the perfect sacrifice of Christ’s body as it was offered upon the cross. As He underwent great suffering even so we today must be willing to suffer as His disciples. The breaking of the bread will strengthen us to be willing and prepared to undergo the suffering that may come into our lives as we live for Him. Jesus also took the cup and after having given thanks, gave it to His disciples and told them to drink of it, stating that it was to be done in remembrance of Him.

Some today misunderstand the matter of “the cup.” In eating the bread, we do not eat the dish on which it is served and in drinking the cup we do not drink the container. We drink the contents of the cup. It is the contents that Christ is setting forth as the memorial of His blood and not the container. Jesus tells the disciples on this occasion that His blood is given for the forgiveness of sins. He tells them that He will not participate with them in this Supper until He “drinks it new with you in My Father’s Kingdom.”

This signifies that today as we partake of the bread and drink of the fruit of the vine, we are communing with the Lord. In order for us to receive the benefits, we must be in His Kingdom.

Early Christians Partake of the Supper

“And on the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul began talking to them, intending to depart the next day, and he prolonged his message until midnight” (Acts 20:7). From this reading, we find that Paul, along with other followers of Jesus, met together upon the first day (Sunday) of the week. Some would try and confuse us as to the day we are to meet, but Paul had no doubt about the meeting day and since he was inspired of God and full of the Spirit let’s look to him as to when we are to come together.

It would appear that since the text does not deal with Paul having to teach them about the Lord’s Supper, that they were already aware of when to observe it from previous teaching since they had come together for this purpose. Each week has a first day, and this being the case, we are to partake of this memorial upon the first day of every week. There are no other teachings in the Scriptures that set out any other day or regularity other than upon the first day.

Paul’s Teaching to the Corinthians

In I Corinthians 11, we find that even during the first century the Christians were misusing the Lord’s Supper; confusing it with a common meal. Paul rather severely admonishes them in this regard. In fact, in verse 20, he tells them that “when you meet together, it is not to eat of the Lord’s Supper.” Some were eating and leaving others hungry and others were becoming drunk. This was clearly a misuse of the Lord’s Supper according to the inspired Apostle Paul. Therefore, he issues a strong statement condemning this practice, “What! Do you not have houses in which to eat and drink? Or do you despise the church of God, and shame those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you? In this I will not praise you” (I Corinthians 11:22).

After Paul has pointed out their unacceptable practice of using the Lord’s Supper, he then proceeded in the next verses of this chapter to teach them the proper way to observe this memorial supper. First of all, he tells them that he received of the Lord what he has delivered to them. This is so they might not have any question as to where this practice had its origin. This was from the Lord. Here again, Paul relates the institution of the Supper by the Lord. He tells them that after having given thanks, He broke the bread and told them to partake of the bread and eat it in remembrance of Him. Likewise, He took the cup in the same manner, and then told them that as often as they drank of it they were to do this in remembrance of Him. Then in verse 26, He tells them that “as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.” To proclaim is to make known publicly. Therefore, we show forth the Lord’s death as we partake of the Lord’s Supper upon the first day of the week. This is not for physical fulfillment but is for spiritual nourishment. How long are we to proclaim the Lord’s death? Paul tells us that it is “until He comes.” Since He has already come one time, this refers to His second coming.

Paul goes on to tell them that it is possible to partake in an unworthy manner and therefore, be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. How would one be found guilty of the body and blood of the Lord? By eating and drinking in an unworthy manner. Examination is to be made by each of us each time we partake of this memorial. We are to guard our thoughts so as to partake of these representative emblems remembering Jesus and His death upon the cross for our sin. Paul in his writing states that many are weak and sickly in this matter, therefore, we today need to give heed so that we will not become such when we partake of the Lord’s Supper.

Christ vs. Satan

After having spent some time in looking at the suffering of Christ and all that He has done for us, we should now ask ourselves what has Satan done for us? First of all, he lied to the first humans, Adam and Eve, in the garden and caused them to be driven from a perfect place to live. He has caused misery, suffering, pain, anguish, heartbreak, and all such bad things to happen to men throughout history. He continues today to try and place stumbling blocks in our pathway to cause us to leave the Way of the Lord. His appeal is based upon lies about happiness, joy, peace and all good things that man is seeking. God, Christ and the Holy Spirit base their appeal to us upon a great love that has been and continues to be manifested toward us daily. In view of the contrast should we not choose to remember Jesus and follow Him?

Some Practical Suggestions

We should guard our minds and the thoughts that enter them in such a way as to allow us to remember Jesus as we partake of the Lord’s Supper. We may have difficulty in controlling what thoughts enter our minds but we can readily control what remains in our meditations.

Either memorize the scriptures pertaining to the observation of the Lord’s Supper and use this as a time to reflect upon them or open your Bible and read from these sections of scripture. Many people have find this to be very beneficial in helping to remember Jesus.

Many very good songs have been written that can be used to help us properly reflect as we observe this feast by thinking about the words and their meanings.

In I Corinthians 10:16, we find that the cup is a sharing in the blood of Christ. From this we find that we do share with Christ as we partake of His Supper. This gives us sufficient motive to be willing to suffer physically or mentally and we signify this each time that we engage in the observation of this supper. How more readily could you and I draw nearer to Jesus than to be given a memorial in which we can remember His suffering and death upon the cross for us. It was out of love for each of us that Jesus was willing to be used as the perfect sacrifice upon the cross, therefore, we today need to remember Him and in so doing we will be drawn to Him. Love is the strongest motive that is possessed by man and to be Christ-like, we are to love. No motive will move us to obedience, service, or worship of God like love. Love is a lasting motivation and will bind us together with those of like faith.

Conclusion

It is our hope and prayer that this short booklet will be of help to some in their weekly observance of partaking of the Lord’s Supper. If this is accomplished then this has been time well spent. Since this study is not presented in great detail, it will be necessary for you to go to the Word of God and meditate upon it to become fully aware of His teachings.

God’s Word will stand the test of time as it will be used to judge man in the last day. The Bible is true and following it will prepare us to meet our Savior.

Paul felt strongly enough to correct those at Corinth when they had begun to observe the Lord’s Supper in an improper manner. We must be careful today that we properly participate in this communion service. The partaking is for each individual Christian. Spiritual strength will be gained by proper observation of the Lord’s Supper. This strength can be used to help us live daily for Jesus. Therefore, we should look forward to communing with the Lord in His Supper on each first day of the week.

Summary

WHEN: Upon the first day of the week (Acts 20:7).

WHERE: Where gathered together (Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 11:20).

HOW: Worthy manner (I Corinthians 11:27).

WHY: To remember Jesus (I Corinthians 11:23ff).

Written by Harold Russwurm

 

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