Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The Good News of Salvation!

The prophet Isaiah clearly knew who the Messiah would be 800 years before He was born! Isaiah’s heart must have leapt for joy when he began writing those words of the coming Savior. Isaiah lived in Jerusalem almost 800 years before Jesus’ birth. He was just an ordinary Jewish man. Isaiah was married, had two sons and worked as an official for King Uzziah during his early years; however, later he was called by God to be a prophet and he obeyed that calling.

On a morning 2000 years ago, the Jewish men assembled at the synagogue in northern Israel, and one of Isaiah’s prophecies was read out loud to everyone by Jesus. Jesus selected Isaiah 61 to launch His public ministry and to announce that He was the Messiah. The Jews knew that God’s long-awaited chosen One would preach good tidings to the poor, heal the broken hearted, proclaim liberty to the captives and to those who are oppressed, and proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord’s favor. (Is. 61:1, 2)

While all people would benefit from this ministry, the gospel was, and still is, the good news to the poor. “So he came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read. And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord. Then He closed the book and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him. And He began to say to them, today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” (Luke 4:16-21)

God used ordinary people like Isaiah 2800 years ago! And today, God wants to use people like you, to proclaim His word and His prophecies about the Messiah to the unsaved.

Why not yield yourselves to the Spirit of the Lord, and let Him use you in the upcoming New Year!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

January Thaw

As Linda and I prepare for our sabbatical month in January, we look forward to the time of relaxation and change of pace from our busy routine. I am so thankful to have a staff who handles all the church affairs so efficiently. Josiah Hodgett is a qualified young minister who will speak next Sunday with the end of the year message.

Pastor Reg Myers will be ministering a series of messages on “The Grace of God” during the first three Sundays of January before we return. He has been praying and preparing these messages diligently and the Holy Spirit’s anointing is upon him.

Power of God’s Presence in 2015

We are asking God for life-changing revival to break upon this church body and upon the churches in America in this New Year. A spiritual awakening to God’s presence in His people is genuinely needed that will bring an authentic harvest of souls.

We cannot generate revival by any efforts of our flesh. We cannot depend on any man or personality to generate a spiritual revival. The prophet Zechariah said that the rebuilding of the temple in the Old Testament couldn’t even be accomplished by the force of an army, nor through the muscular power or physical stamina of the workman; rather it must be accomplished by the empowering of the Spirit of God! The word of the Lord was “not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts.”

The only part in revival that we as God’s people have is that of prayer intercession and brokenness before the Lord. God will do the rest. The greatest sacrifice that God delights in is the sacrifice of a broken (humble) spirit. Psalm 51:17  “A broken and contrite heart...these, O God, you will not despise.”

When high-mindedness, pride, intellect, and self-reliance is taken away, than God can release His power and glory and pour out His Spirit upon us in a fresh new way!

What can we do? We can begin to humble ourselves by fasting and prayer and begin to place spiritual things ahead of natural things. Ask God for revival in your own heart. Let His presence come in and give you more passion for His presence so He can increase your expectations and faith for revival.

God’s power is for healing, restoring, and saving impossible situations. And I think you would agree that needs to happen!

Let’s believe in 2015! I’m excited for the New Year!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Peace That Passes Understanding!

“and the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7

Christmas time of year can all too often become a time of overwhelming busyness and nagging anxiety for so many of us. It can almost become an undeclared war between what is supposed to be the most joyous season versus the devil trying his best to access our minds and emotions with impatience, anxiety and frustration.

Hey! Christmas is not about the wiles of the devil invading people’s minds and emotions. Christmas is about the peace and joy that Christ brings to our hearts. He brings us a “peace that passes all understanding.”

All of the compound words that form this one verse in Philippians 4:7 implies that God’s peace completely outshines every other attempt to produce peace and that there is absolutely nothing in the world that can compare with the peace of God. It is a peace that “shall keep your hearts and minds…..”

God’s peace, if allowed to work in our lives, will stand at the gates of our hearts and minds, and will act like a “guard” to control and monitor everything that tries to enter our hearts, minds, and emotions.

The peace of God keeps us from being thrown into a frenzy of panic and anxiety. The peace of God operating in us dominates our minds and our life. When God’s peace is active in your life, it surpasses all natural understanding. It protects, guards, keeps, and defends you.

Nothing compares to this supernatural, powerful, protective, guarding peace that God has positioned to stand at the entrance of your heart and mind!

So, make sure that Philippians 4:7 is a reality in your life today and every day! Let God’s supernatural peace rise up to dominate your heart and protect your mind and emotions.

A personal prayer: “Lord, I thank you for placing your wonderful, powerful, protective peace in my life. Because what is inside me is what rules me, I choose to let this peace rise up and conquer me. With your peace standing at the gate of my mind, the devil cannot attack my emotions with panic or frenzy. Thank you for loving me enough to put this powerful peace in my life! In Jesus’ Name!”

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

God Is A Good God!

I have often heard people ask the question: “Why do bad things happen to good people?”

There is an interesting verse in Ecclesiastes 7:14 from the New Living Translation. “Enjoy prosperity while you can, but when hard times strike, realize that both come from God.”  Christians are not immune from facing hardships in life. The Psalmist wrote: “Your righteousness, O God, reaches to the highest heavens. You have done such wonderful things. Who can compare with you, O God?”

“You have allowed me to suffer much hardship, but you will restore me to life again and lift me up from the depths of the earth. You will restore me to even greater honor and comfort me once again.” Psalms 71:19-21 (NLT)

Whatever suffering God permits us to experience He will always compensate us with His overwhelming goodness and love and restore us back to life and normalcy again. Whether we experience times of prosperity or times of hardship and adversity, it is so important to remember that God is good at all times and that we walk in humility and thankfulness before Him.

“God’s way is perfect—His word has been proven true—He is a shield to those who trust in Him.” Psalm 18:30

“It is God that girds us with strength and makes our way perfect.” Psalm 18:32

Our journey in this life is a walk of faith. We cannot be certain of only good times in life. But we can be certain that God will remain good to us and that He will always be there to help us when we face adversity.  The Psalmist David faced many enemies who tried to destroy his life. But God delivered him from their hand. He described the Lord as “his rock.” (Psalm 18:31) He took his refuge in the Lord and noted that God was his “shield of defense” (18:30)  The entire 18th chapter of Psalms is full of praise and rejoicing for the mercies that God had shown toward David. Sometimes we have to recount some past victories and express gratitude toward God for them just to build up our faith.

Never Speak Foolishly!
We remember that a man named Job in the Bible was tested severely for his integrity and faith. When his wife told him to curse God and die, Job did not grant her wish. Job said to her, “Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity? In all this Job did not sin with his lips.”

Job expressed his faith in God while in deep adversity. God rewarded him with deliverance and restoration because he did not turn away from God.

Remember: The goodness of God will always provide the strength and grace to endure at all times.

Psalm 107:1 “Give thanks to the Lord for He is good.”

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

And Be Ye Thankful

Thanksgiving season releases something from within us that too often remains inactive throughout the rest of the year. It’s called a thankful spirit, a thankful heart, an attitude of gratitude. Scripture says to “let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which you are called in one body; and be ye thankful”. (Colossians 3:15) We should be reminded that true thanksgiving is an act of being more than it is just an expression of words.

I believe that peace and thankfulness originate in the true peace that Christ alone can give us. When His peace rules in our hearts it will manifest the fruit of thankfulness. The heart that is ruled by God’s peace is not controlled by bitterness, anger, nor un-thankfulness. The peace of God rules the heart with a thankful spirit. 

I remember when Gene Krantz served in this church for several years until he married and moved to another congregation. Gene had an encounter with Christ that brought him a real freedom from the power of sin and the world that had controlled his life. He had found peace with God and gained real love and acceptance with our church family.

Gene was such a grateful man and gave himself to serve wherever he could help in the church. Gene also discovered that he could use his slight raspy voice to sing in the church. The song most remembered by this congregation which Gene sang with such a deep emotion was the song “Thank you for giving to the Lord, I am a life that was changed”. It broke us all up. He sang it with his whole heart. The peace that he had with Jesus shined through his own heart of thankfulness.

When Gene was killed in a car accident I felt an extra loss for a man who had shown to me and to all who knew him that our lives are not measured or remembered by our abilities or giftings. We are remembered for our attitude of gratitude and for the heart of thankfulness.

A thankful heart is the result of having true peace with God. A thankful heart is an expression of how good God is to you. It is a show of appreciation for a blessed life which comes from Gods’ goodness. God is good! His mercies are everlasting! Remembering his goodness will remind you of your own thankfulness. At all times -“be ye thankful”.