As 2013 comes to a close, I would like to share my deepest gratitude to all who continue to support our “little church that makes a big difference”. It is a privilege to be used of God to work in this ministry on our journey to help the sick and the sorrowful. Hugging a drug addict suffering with HIV/AIDS and letting him mow your lawn to make a few dollars, bringing food to the less fortunate, or toys to some soldier’s family who needs a little help in this Christmas season, visiting the pre-op patient who is a bit frightened at the enormity of the surgery or drained at the prospect of its failure, buying a boatload of snacks for a prisoner who has access to so little of them…whatever form of God’s grace and mercy is extended to the least of these, is really a gift back to God. Your support allows us to continue to honor God in honoring His people.
Let us all be even more determined to work as a team in encouraging, correcting, reproving, edifying, and praying for one another in order to achieve the work of the Lord…His salvation of souls. Some of us may be on the front lines a bit more than others, but because we are all a part of the body of Christ, as we go out…so do you!
In that light, may we unswervingly continue to love, worship and serve God alone, to know and obey Him and His Word and untiringly advance His directives to our church and our community while teaching these precepts to others; for the purpose of equipping the saints of God for service, building up the body of Christ to the full stature of Christ so as to help bring about the shared vision of one nation under God!
Yahoo—what a wonderful life! Let us give our time, tithe and talent to the Lord and watch Him manifest His great works in us, our families, our community, state and nation. You are important to God and important to us here at Great Hope Christian Fellowship Church. Keep up the good work, wherever you are and know how very much you are loved and appreciated. Many thanks again. God bless you all with a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year.
This will be the last blog of 2013…see you around the corner in Jan 2014!
S-T-R-E-S-S. Any of you recognize this in your life lately? So often, I keep hearing people say they are stressed out. They don't have time for family, church, rest, etc.; or they accomplish it all and remain stressed out. How can this be? Stress, stress, stress. But who can take away your stress? Yes, Jesus.
We need to be a student of stress, not a slave to it. Stress is a good reaction made by God...the "fight or flight" reaction we have in a fearful or stressful situation. There are a lot of chemical changes and reactions in the body that the Lord designed for us, which add to the complete and optimal working of our bodies. And we need to understand a bit about stress to help get through it. You can't avoid stress, but you can handle it.
The stages of stress are (a) ready, (b) react, (c) recover. It is the recovery we don't have enough of. We are sick and weak because of “un-recovered” stress. Remember that God rested, not because He was tired but because He wanted to give an example for us to follow. Go through your stress, according to God's directions:
Are we "spent" yet? I don't know about you, but my time schedule seems to be full to the overflowing! We must be so careful as workers in the vineyard that we don't become spent out and crushed! Satan, the father of lies and confusion, would have us remain tired, cranky, impatient, miserable sourpusses, so that our examples would be poor and contrary to the doctrine of Christ.
May it never be! Let us be ever so careful that the work God calls us to do, does not end up distracting us from concentrating on Him. Many Christian workers worship their work and do not concentrate on God. Concentrating on God will mean that in all the areas of life (mental, moral, spiritual) we will have the freedom of a child, letting the stronger, bigger Lord do the planning, and we just do the obeying and receiving the pleasurable end results. With an eye only to the work to be done, the tendency is for the worker to have a life where there is no freedom, no rest, no delight, only the burden.
Oswald Chambers says it so well, “There is no responsibility on you for the work; the only responsibility you have is to keep in living constant touch with God, and to see that you allow nothing to hinder your co-operation with Him…God engineers everything; wherever He puts us our one great aim is to pour out a wholehearted devotion to Him in that particular work.”
Let us perpetually look in the face of God and then go forth to work with the people. Endure the fire—it’s producing pure gold!
“Why is this happening to me, Lord?” Did you ever cry that out to God? Well, if you’re just walking with the “church” and not Jesus, you’ll be asking that til you croak! But if you buckle down in a serious and intimate walk with Him, you’ll eventually come to understand that when you actually allow Him to run your life, there is always a reason for your challenges and trials. Sometimes, those challenges and trials involve a plan so much bigger and the effective results encompass so much more than just little ol’ you!
In God’s “School of Holiness”, He sometimes takes you through a whole bunch of experiences that are not solely meant for you, but for others (although you will learn a heck of a lot in them!). Remember the “broken bread and poured out wine” we are supposed to resemble!
God uses these experiences to help shape us into useful workers of His plan, not our own. Often, by enabling us to understand what takes place in the lives of others, we are more complete in Him, just as Jesus was, when He entered into His sufferings. “Enter into the sufferings of Christ” takes on a whole new meaning.
If we could choose our trials, there are so many we would not because we couldn’t see the value of the lesson. What God often sees as a way to faith, we (and others) see as foolishness. Are you prepared for God to stamp out your own personal ambitions? Or do you try to find a short cut around suffering. Get a revelation—there is none! The road with the Lord is a long, treacherous and difficult road most of the time, which can only be endured with Jesus Christ.
Don’t try to understand things beforehand but, rather, go through the trials head on (with the Lord that is!), even though not knowing where God is taking you but trusting that He truly knows where He’s going. And before you know it, you’ll be on the other side of that mountain and come to the realization that God had strengthened and changed you in going over it, so you could get through that challenge. What a great God we serve! Endure the fire—it’s producing pure gold!
Obeying God is a subject that cannot be covered in a few short words, but I think we can cover some very important themes today. There are seven points I would like to make:
1. The Lord gave us the 10 Commandments more than 3,000 years ago (Exodus 20:3-17) and they are still relevant today. Isn't that amazing? But we need to know that this written covenant was never given so that the people who kept it could be saved. If it were enough, there would be no need for Jesus to die.
2. These commandments were given so people might realize that as hard as they try, they cannot do what God wants them to do, even when God writes it down on tablets of stone (Romans 3:20). The law was given that man might realize that he is helpless and hopeless when left to himself to try to obey God. God wanted man to realize that his only hope to receive the righteousness of God is by faith in Jesus Christ.
3. Ask God to forgive you and have Christ enter your heart. Let Him bring the changes and level of obedience to God you cannot do by yourself. Remember, the 10 Commandments are golden, the Bible is golden, but our only hope is to receive the righteousness of God in Jesus Christ.
4. So–o–o, it is not good enough just to obey the 10 Commandments; it is not good enough just to read the Bible. We need Jesus…for what He did on Calvary can save an individual, and it can save a nation!
5. If you have been struggling to obey God and yet are failing, you may be trying to do God's will with your own, broken, unfixed will. It will never work and you will give up as many, many others have before you.
6. Don't give up, though. It will work if you do it the right way first. Get a few quiet moments with just you and the Lord. Ask Him to forgive you of all your wrongdoings, He calls it "sin"... the wrongdoings you know of and the ones you don't know. Ask Him to come inside of you to bring His perfect nature into your soul. That way, you start on the road with Him and not just yourself and the broken nature. Then, and only then, will you be able to have success where there was once only failure. The deal is this – you crucify your nature and don’t let it rule, then you submit totally to the indwelling nature of God. The change will be dramatic. You will be able to love where you could not love before and forgive in situations where it was impossible to forgive. Any and all circumstances will be changed forever with God influencing your every thought, word, and deed.
7. Be careful, though, God is not on your time frame or method of repair! Just take it one slow step at a time and He will lead you in the way in which you are to go. What a great God we serve and worthy of all praise. Endure the fire—it’s producing pure gold!