Posts tagged ‘Spirituality’

Relationship Strategies (Breaking out of the prison of Loneliness)

IS LONELINESS KEEPING YOU IN A PRISON OF DARKNESS?

LOCKED IN A PRISON OF DARKNESS (PHOTO BY PASTOR DAVIS)

LOCKED IN A PRISON OF DARKNESS (PHOTO BY PASTOR DAVIS)

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU FEEL AS IF YOU ARE ALL ALONE?

WRITTEN BY SHIRLEY RHODES

Let us begin this day by understanding that we are never alone when we learn to lean and depend on Jesus.  Now think deeply on this, when you are feeling loneliness in your life, because learning to lean and depend on Jesus requires you to turn away from the things of this world, which include your worldly thoughts.  Now listen to how Jesus teaches us to lean and depend on Him, He says, “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. (John 15:16 ESV)”

What happens when you feel as if you are all alone?

What happened to those friends who walked by your side and interacted with you, saying they have your back? Through-out a life time you are apt to encounter such friends as these. As you grow and mature you are likely to experience situations where you’ll have moments of joy as well as disappointment.

It is a time of reflection and a  reminder as to how God is able to lift you  above moments of disappointment  and encourage your heart to let you know that all is not lost, for in him is where your strength lies.

When you feel as if you are all alone?  God says, “If you will hold on to me for dear life, I’ll get you out of trouble. I’ll give you the best care if you only get to know me. Call me and I’ll answer, be at your side in bad times. I’ll rescue you, I’ll give you long life, give you a long drink of salvation.” (Psalm 91: 1-16, MGS)

When you realize that the very people you considered to be friends will go to any level to cause you harm or pain you must have a spirit of forgiveness even when you are alone.

It is when you are alone that you ask God to help you understand why things happen the way they do and don’t carry the burden of heaviness alone. Unforgiveness can destroy friendships, take away your joy in life and can even damage your health. So, the best thing you can do is release those feelings and repeat to yourself, “I am choosing to forgive those who have stolen from me, broken my heart or caused any physical or emotional damage.  Lord thank you for giving me the ability to release, and for peace and joy to journey on in faith. Fill my heart with love greater than I’ve ever had for all of my friends, you are my peace. Thank you.”

What happens when you feel as if you are all alone, you’re at a crossroad in life? There comes a point in time when you must choose, you must make decisions, those type things that guide you towards your assigned destination. Those friends you once thought you could not do with-out is no longer a part of what or who you seek to be, that only means that you are coming into your  own, beginning to realize the value of life. Many go through life never reaching this point, but when you connect to the source, you’ve connected to the One that will always be there, no matter the season.

What happens when you feel as if you are alone?  Once you’ve tapped into the source you have gained a friend for life. For Jesus says, “I will never leave, nor forsake you,” those words reassures us that beyond our worldly thoughts, our spiritual connection brings us into a whole new dimension of life, we are now new creatures in Christ Jesus, who is our friend and provider, always watching over us and listening to our cry for help. He is not like man; he hears and will acknowledge our requests at the time appointed. So, rest assured my friends, you are never alone.

We pray that this message has been a blessing to your soul, and you will begin your daily walk with God lifting Him up as He picks you up and takes you to that high place that He desires for all His Children to be.

Who is the betrayer at the dinner table?

 (MARK 14:17-20 AMP)

THE PLACE OF THE LAST SUPPER (PHOTO BY PASTOR DAVIS)

THE PLACE OF THE LAST SUPPER (PHOTO BY PASTOR DAVIS)

My brothers and sisters, this week allows us to go deep within ourselves and reflect upon that awesome moment in history that Jesus took upon His shoulders the agony of being beaten, humiliated in every way possible, suffering while being nailed and hanged upon a cross for all of our sins in order that we may have the opportunity to enjoy eternal life that God the father promised and sent His Son Jesus to die for.

Now use your imagination and image yourselves sitting down at the dinner table with family and friends and eating a well prepared meal as you discuss the family problems and current events which are suppose to be a very enjoyable moment.  Then image yourself not having the benefit of spiritual insight to know that one of your family members have been plotting behind your back to kill the head of your family, what would be your immediate reaction?  In the case of Jesus and His twelve disciples this is exactly what happen.

On that evening (Wednesday or Thursday), Jesus arrived in Jerusalem with the twelve disciples.  The meal was not to be eaten until after sunset and was supposed to be finished by midnight.

However, as Jesus and His Disciples were eating, Jesus spoke the stunning words, that quickly got the attention of everyone sitting around the dinner table that evening.  Jesus said, “One of you will betray me.”  The betrayer was one of his own chosen twelve disciples, a member of his own family, one with whom the meal was being shared.  Jesus words caused quite a stir among the disciples.  They had heard Jesus tell them three different times that he would soon die, but that one of them would actually betray Jesus saddened them greatly.

Although the other disciples were confused by Jesus words, Judas knew what he meant.  Apparently, Judas was not the obvious betrayer.  After all, he was the one the disciples trusted to keep the money.  Therefore, the disciples asked Jesus who the betrayer was; “I’m not the one, am I?” each one asked in turn.  Matthew records that even Judas asked the same question (Matthew 26:25).  Jesus knew that Judas was going to betray him, and he also knew that Judas would not repent.

In our studies we find that Luke wrote this about Satan, he said Satan entered into Judas Iscariot before he went to the religious leaders.  However, Satan’s part in the betrayal of Jesus does not remove any of the responsibility from Judas.  In God’s sovereign will and according  to his timetable, he uses sinful men.  But that doesn’t excuse their sin.  All people will be held accountable for their choices and actions.  Whatever Judas thought, Satan assumed that Jesus death would end Jesus mission and thwart God’s plan.  Like Judas, Satan did not know that Jesus death and resurrection were the most important parts of God’s plan all along.

All I can say in conclusion, is that this had to be one hellish feeling in the gut of each family member sitting around the dinner table that night knowing that one of them would betray the head of their family in such an evil way.

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The people chooses a murder over the Messiah

THE PEOPLE CHOOSES A MURDER OVER THE MESSIAH

PILATE WASHED HIS HANDS OF THE SITUATION (PHOTO BY PASTOR DAVIS)

Today as we  think on all the good things Jesus has done for each one of us, and if you were one of those people in the crowd more than 2000 years ago would you make the same choice as they did.  How can you be certain that you would or would not?  On what basics are you making your decision?

Now let us look at how scripture records that event.  We know from our studies that the Jewish leaders clamored for Jesus’ death, while a Gentile woman believed that Jesus was truly innocent.

People of these times placed a great deal of importance on dreams.  God was sending a warning to Pilate through his wife, but he did not heed it.  Pilate’ fear of losing his very prestige job made him not listen to his wife with the warning God had given to her to give to her husband.  Listen to the message she sent to her husband, 19Also, while he was seated on the judgment bench, his wife sent him a message, saying, Have nothing to do with that just and upright Man, for I have had a painful experience today in a dream because of Him.”  (Matthew 27:19 AMP).

Now Pilate is caught up in a situation is regardless to how he truly feels about it and the fact that his wife is pressing upon him not to go through with it, if he wants to keep his job and prevent a riot from taking place, he must complete the task.  All the religious leaders went among the crowd, persuading the people to call for Barabbas to be released.  This is how the Bible describes the situation; 20But the chief priests and the elders prevailed on the people to ask for Barabbas, and put Jesus to death.  21Again the governor said to them, which of the two do you wish me to release for you? And they said, Barabbas!  Matthew 27:20-21)

The people knew that Barabbas was a revolutionary and a murderer, yet they still chose him over the Son of God, one who had done so much for them.  Faced with the same choice today, people are still choosing “Barabbas.”  They would rather have the tangible force of human power than the salvation offered by the Son of God.  Now think on this for a moment and look at your own life.

The crowd has really been wiped into frenzy and Pilate is caught in one big mess, so he says this to the crowd, “Then what shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?  23They all replied, Let Him be crucified! And he said, Why? What has He done that is evil? But they shouted all the louder, Let Him be crucified!” 

24So when Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but rather that a riot was about to break out, he took water and washed his hands in the presence of the crowd, saying, I am not guilty of nor responsible for this righteous Man’s blood; see to it yourselves. (Matthew 27:22-23 AMP)

This hand washing was performed as a gesture of innocence to show that one had nothing to do with a murder, was a Jewish custom, not a Roman one (Deuteronomy 21:6-9).  In trying to excuse himself and place the responsibility for an innocent man’s death on them, he followed the path already taken by the religious leaders as they dealt with Judas in 27:4, saying, “The responsibility is yours!”  In making no decision, Pilate made the decision to let the crowds crucify Jesus.  Although he washed his hands, the guilt remained.  How do you feel after you physically wash your hands, of a situation that you have been heavily involved in that you know was wrong?

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GOD CALLED MOSES THE EXODUS STORY CONTINUES (PART 3 of 5)

GOD CALLED MOSES TO GO AND RESCUSE HIS PEOPLE FROM SLAVERY (PART 3 of 5)

I AM THAT I AM (Photo by Pastor Davis)

I AM THAT I AM (Photo by Pastor Davis)

Strike Six: Boils Exodus 9:8-12

After being halfway through God’s master plan, for removing Pharaoh Chains from God’s people, God decides to throw a change-up pitch.  God causes Ashes to turn into boils on the men and animals of Egypt.  Even the magicians were affected.  The more Pharaoh hardened his heart, the more it became judicially hardened by God.

God said to Moses and Aaron, “Take fistfuls of soot from a furnace and have Moses throw it into the air right before Pharaoh’s eyes; it will become a film of fine dust all over Egypt and cause sores, an eruption of boils on people and animals throughout Egypt.” So they took soot from a furnace, stood in front of Pharaoh, and threw it up into the air. It caused boils to erupt on people and animals. The magicians weren’t able to compete with Moses this time because of the boils—they were covered with boils just like everyone else in Egypt.

God hardened Pharaoh in his stubbornness. He wouldn’t listen, just as God had said to Moses.

Now here is where things really begin to get more interesting and exciting.  The Lord tightens his grip on Pharaoh and reminds Pharaoh that He could have destroyed him and the Egyptians with the preceding pestilence, but instead He had spared Pharaoh in order to demonstrate His power and spread His fame.  Here we see that the Lord used Pharaoh as an example of what happens to a person who is determined to resist the power of God.

Strike Seven: Hail Exodus 9:13-35

God said to Moses, “Get up early in the morning and confront Pharaoh. Tell him, ‘God, the God of the Hebrews, says: Release my people so they can worship me. This time I am going to strike you and your servants and your people with the full force of my power so you’ll get it into your head that there’s no one like me anywhere in all the Earth. You know that by now I could have struck you and your people with deadly disease and there would be nothing left of you, not a trace. But for one reason only I’ve kept you on your feet: To make you recognize my power so that my reputation spreads in all the Earth. You are still building yourself up at my people’s expense. You are not letting them go. So here’s what’s going to happen: At this time tomorrow I’m sending a terrific hailstorm—there’s never been a storm like this in Egypt from the day of its founding until now. So get your livestock under roof—everything exposed in the open fields, people and animals, will die when the hail comes down.'”

All of Pharaoh’s servants who had respect for God’s word got their workers and animals under cover as fast as they could, but those who didn’t take God’s word seriously left their workers and animals out in the field.

God said to Moses: “Stretch your hands to the skies. Signal the hail to fall all over Egypt on people and animals and crops exposed in the fields of Egypt.”

Moses lifted his staff to the skies and God sent peals of thunder and hail shot through with lightning strikes. God rained hail down on the land of Egypt. The hail came, hail and lightning—a fierce hailstorm. There had been nothing like it in Egypt in its entire history. The hail hit hard all over Egypt. Everything exposed out in the fields, people and animals and crops, was smashed. Even the trees in the fields were shattered. Except for Goshen where the Israelites lived; there was no hail in Goshen.

Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron. He said, “I’ve sinned for sure this time—God is in the right and I and my people are in the wrong. Pray to God. We’ve had enough of God’s thunder and hail. I’ll let you go. The sooner you’re out of here the better.”

Moses said, “As soon as I’m out of the city, I’ll stretch out my arms to God. The thunder will stop and the hail end so you’ll know that the land is God’s land. Still, I know that you and your servants have no respect for God.”

(The flax and the barley were ruined, for they were just ripening, but the wheat and spelt weren’t hurt—they ripen later.)

Moses left Pharaoh and the city and stretched out his arms to God. The thunder and hail stopped; the storm cleared.

But when Pharaoh saw that the rain and hail and thunder had stopped, he kept right on sinning, stubborn as ever, both he and his servants. Pharaoh’s heart turned rock-hard. He refused to release the Israelites, as God had ordered through Moses.

Stay tune, we will be back with the rest of the story before the end of this day.  It gets more exciting and Pharaoh has not felt the full force of God’s power yet.

We pray that you have enjoyed studying this very important story with us thus far.  We will continue on Tuesday of next week with lesson 4 and 5.  Please share these lesson with your family and friends, for it is truly the Lord’s will that His Word spreads throughout the entire world and you are a very important part of the process God has called us all into.

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FATHERS ROLE AS LEADERS IN THE AMERICAN FAMILY

FATHERS ROLE AS LEADERS IN THE AMERICAN FAMILY

WHY ARE FAMILIES BREAKING DOWN? 

TRAVIS CHAPEL UNITED METHODIST CHURCH CLEVELAND, GA. (PHOTO BY PASTOR DAVIS)

TRAVIS CHAPEL UNITED METHODIST CHURCH CLEVELAND, GA. (PHOTO BY PASTOR DAVIS)

WRITTEN BY PASTOR TERRY COOMER                                                                                                 Elwood Bible Baptist Church, Elwood, Indiana 46036

THE MOST IMPORTANT FACTOR IN THE BREAKDOWN OF THE HOME IS FATHERS NOT FULFILLING THEIR BIBLICAL ROLE OF LEADERSHIP IN THE HOME. This is the most important reason for unhappy families.

God says, worship is to be led by the father. “For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him and they shall keep the way of the Lord to do justice and judgment; that the Lord may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him” (Genesis 18:9).

Most fathers I know could care less. This is a wicked thing. There is more to being a father than just producing children. The lack of leadership by the father today in every area is the most important factor in the breakdown of the American home. I pray the Lord will give us more men like Joshua.

Joshua 24:14-15, “Now therefore fear the Lord, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the Lord. And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom you will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: BUT AS FOR ME AND MY HOUSE, WE WILL SERVE THE LORD.”

There has to be a consecration by dad. There is more to a marriage than just living together in a physical relationship.

Lack of godly male leadership brings about the disastrous consequences of rebellion, delinquency, and sexual promiscuity. Divorce is usually caused by a father not taking his Biblical responsibilities and is something God hates, (See Malachi 2:12-17. Matthew 19:5-6.)

The most important cause of divorce in America is the lack of proper, godly leadership by the father and husband. It is also the most frequent cause of children’s feelings of rejection, behavioral problems, and anxieties.  Ephesians 6:1-4. Notice in verse 4, “And ye fathers provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” The word “wrath” means a strong desire to avenge. How does a father provoke a child to wrath? By not bringing him up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord; Nurture means training with structure. Most fathers have no desire for the Word of God and they are raising angry vengeful children because they are not committed to training their children in spiritual principles as God commands. Of course, they cannot train the child if they are ignorant of God’s principles themselves. That is a picture of the American father.

David Blankenhorn in his 1995 book, Fatherless America,” says “the culture change from a stable, two parent home to the father’s abandonment of his responsibilities of marriage and parenting is America’s most urgent social problem. The father’s absence is the main reason for unhappy homes, many current social problems, and is a national crisis of our time.”

According to the National Fatherhood Institute, 40% of the children in the United States have not seen their father for a year! In the last 15 years “fatherless” children jumped from 10.2 million to 15.6 million. 70% of juveniles in detention centers and reformatories are children of fatherless homes. Statistics indicate that “violent criminals” are overwhelmingly males who grew up without a father’s leadership. This includes 60% of America’s rapists, 72% of adolescent murders, and 70% of long-term prison inmates. One out of every four high school seniors graduate functionally illiterate. It is more than a physical presence. There are many homes where a father is there, but that is all. They want all their needs fulfilled, but do not want to take the spiritual, godly, or normal leadership that God intended. Instead children grow up listening to their parents fight, cuss, yell, scream, spend money on all kinds of entertainment and material possessions trying to be happy.

The father’s failure to take responsibility and leadership in the home has created a valueless, unhappy, fractured home and society. This failure has had a devastating effect on our children and has spawned a multitude of wicked societal problems including delinquency, sexual promiscuity, drug use, and violence.

The family is in trouble in America because men fail to be the leaders God wants them to be. We desperately need to pray for the men of this country to do as God has commanded. The results of the men not obeying God have been disastrous. The great need is for men to repent of their sins, to really come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, and then to be obedient to the commands of God from His Word. Men must be the leaders God desires them to be. May God help us to pray for the men of America.

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A BETRAYER AT THE DINNER TABLE

A BETRAYER AT THE DINNER TABLE (MARK 14:17-20 AMP)

THE PLACE OF THE LAST SUPPER (PHOTO BY PASTOR DAVIS)

THE PLACE OF THE LAST SUPPER (PHOTO BY PASTOR DAVIS)

My brothers and sisters, this week allows us to go deep within ourselves and reflect upon that awesome moment in history that Jesus took upon His shoulders the agony of being beaten, humiliated in every way possible, suffering while being nailed and hanged upon a cross for all of our sins in order that we may have the opportunity to enjoy eternal life that God the father promised and sent His Son Jesus to die for.

Now use your imagination and image yourselves sitting down at the dinner table with family and friends and eating a well prepared meal as you discuss the family problems and current events which are suppose to be a very enjoyable moment.  Then image yourself not having the benefit of spiritual insight to know that one of your family members have been plotting behind your back to kill the head of your family, what would be your immediate reaction?  In the case of Jesus and His twelve disciples this is exactly what happen.

On that evening (Wednesday or Thursday), Jesus arrived in Jerusalem with the twelve disciples.  The meal was not to be eaten until after sunset and was supposed to be finished by midnight.

However, as Jesus and His Disciples were eating, Jesus spoke the stunning words, that quickly got the attention of everyone sitting around the dinner table that evening.  Jesus said, “One of you will betray me.”  The betrayer was one of his own chosen twelve disciples, a member of his own family, one with whom the meal was being shared.  Jesus words caused quite a stir among the disciples.  They had heard Jesus tell them three different times that he would soon die, but that one of them would actually betray Jesus saddened them greatly.

Although the other disciples were confused by Jesus words, Judas knew what he meant.  Apparently, Judas was not the obvious betrayer.  After all, he was the one the disciples trusted to keep the money.  Therefore, the disciples asked Jesus who the betrayer was; “I’m not the one, am I?” each one asked in turn.  Matthew records that even Judas asked the same question (Matthew 26:25).  Jesus knew that Judas was going to betray him, and he also knew that Judas would not repent.

In our studies we find that Luke wrote this about Satan, he said Satan entered into Judas Iscariot before he went to the religious leaders.  However, Satan’s part in the betrayal of Jesus does not remove any of the responsibility from Judas.  In God’s sovereign will and according  to his timetable, he uses sinful men.  But that doesn’t excuse their sin.  All people will be held accountable for their choices and actions.  Whatever Judas thought, Satan assumed that Jesus death would end Jesus mission and thwart God’s plan.  Like Judas, Satan did not know that Jesus death and resurrection were the most important parts of God’s plan all along.

All I can say in conclusion, is that this had to be one hellish feeling in the gut of each family member sitting around the dinner table that night knowing that one of them would betray the head of their family in such an evil way.

THE PEOPLE CHOOSES A MURDER OVER A POPULAR TEACHER

THE PEOPLE CHOOSES A MURDER OVER A POPULAR TEACHER

PILATE WASHED HIS HANDS OF THE SITUATION (PHOTO BY PASTOR DAVIS)

Today as we  think on all the good things Jesus has done for each one of us, and if you were one of those people in the crowd more than 2000 years ago would you make the same choice as they did.  How can you be certain that you would or would not?  On what basics are you making your decision?

Now let us look at how scripture records that event.  We know from our studies that the Jewish leaders clamored for Jesus’ death, while a Gentile woman believed that Jesus was truly innocent.

People of these times placed a great deal of importance on dreams.  God was sending a warning to Pilate through his wife, but he did not heed it.  Pilate’ fear of losing his very prestige job made him not listen to his wife with the warning God had given to her to give to her husband.  Listen to the message she sent to her husband, 19Also, while he was seated on the judgment bench, his wife sent him a message, saying, Have nothing to do with that just and upright Man, for I have had a painful experience today in a dream because of Him.”  (Matthew 27:19 AMP).

Now Pilate is caught up in a situation is regardless to how he truly feels about it and the fact that his wife is pressing upon him not to go through with it, if he wants to keep his job and prevent a riot from taking place, he must complete the task.  All the religious leaders went among the crowd, persuading the people to call for Barabbas to be released.  This is how the Bible describes the situation; 20But the chief priests and the elders prevailed on the people to ask for Barabbas, and put Jesus to death.  21Again the governor said to them, which of the two do you wish me to release for you? And they said, Barabbas!  Matthew 27:20-21)

The people knew that Barabbas was a revolutionary and a murderer, yet they still chose him over the Son of God, one who had done so much for them.  Faced with the same choice today, people are still choosing “Barabbas.”  They would rather have the tangible force of human power than the salvation offered by the Son of God.  Now think on this for a moment and look at your own life.

The crowd has really been wiped into frenzy and Pilate is caught in one big mess, so he says this to the crowd, “Then what shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?  23They all replied, Let Him be crucified! And he said, Why? What has He done that is evil? But they shouted all the louder, Let Him be crucified!” 

24So when Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but rather that a riot was about to break out, he took water and washed his hands in the presence of the crowd, saying, I am not guilty of nor responsible for this righteous Man’s blood; see to it yourselves. (Matthew 27:22-23 AMP)

This hand washing was performed as a gesture of innocence to show that one had nothing to do with a murder, was a Jewish custom, not a Roman one (Deuteronomy 21:6-9).  In trying to excuse himself and place the responsibility for an innocent man’s death on them, he followed the path already taken by the religious leaders as they dealt with Judas in 27:4, saying, “The responsibility is yours!”  In making no decision, Pilate made the decision to let the crowds crucify Jesus.  Although he washed his hands, the guilt remained.  How do you feel after you physically wash your hands, of a situation that you have been heavily involved in that you know was wrong?

 

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