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What’s Going on Around Us

Rom 8:18-39 (NLT)

Ever wonder why there seems to be so much change in the weather in recent years?  I mean everywhere not just here in North America?  Well, the Bible has something to say about that.  We are living in the “last days” according to Scripture.   2 Timothy 3:1-17 says this period of time is in reference to our world and how things are going.  Actually the last days began long ago with the birth of the Church on the Day of Pentecost found in Acts 2:17.  The days of the Messiah was known by this term as well as the return of Jesus.

What do we do while we await Jesus return?  We continue to believe and reach others with hope of them having redeemed souls.  Just knowing that the Bible teaches things that have come to past gives me comfort that nothing catches God by surprise.  He knows about the hurricanes, the Tsunamis, the fires on the west coast and the floods.  He also knows about humanities’ fickle ways to love themselves more than their creator.  Yet, God has made a way for us to be redeemed and to live with Him in heaven.   A place where we don’t deserve. 

Much of what’s going on around us is due to sin’s effects on a fallen world.  In Genesis chapters 1 and 2 the world was made perfect and God was pleased.  But since Adam sinned by disobeying God, sin entered and we are still paying the price today (Gen. 3:1-19).  However, don’t look at your surroundings with doom and gloom.  Be informed, trust in God’s plan for your life and remember… the Scriptures are God’s way of preparing His people of what’s to come!



Pay It Forward

I Timothy 1:16

Recently this has become a popular way of saying pass on to someone else the blessing that has been given to you.  You often hear about people in the drive through of a fast food restaurant  paying for the car behind them.  Someone giving of themselves without any expectation of anything in return.  Many often chose to demonstrate this act under the cover of anonymity.  Not wanting any glory but only the satisfaction that comes with giving (glorifying God through obedience), it is truly “better to give then receive”.

Paul in this verse is not talking about paying forward any monetary item but something much more valuable, MERCY!  He was able to show mercy towards others because of the mercy that  God continually supplied to Him daily. He described himself as the worst of sinners and that God displayed his “unlimited patience” as an example for us to follow. Being reminded of Gods patience towards us makes it so much easier to PAY THAT FORWARD! Make a constant effort daily to demonstrate the unlimited patience that God so mercifully pours out on us! Mercy is not giving someone what they deserve. 

Let God fight your battles, “those that are merciful shall also obtain mercy”. Keep that in mind when responding to others!


Can Satan Stop Us?

1 Thessalonians  2:17-20 
The Apostle to the gentiles found himself in a situation where Satan and his followers attempted to stop the Lord’s work.  Paul was confronted by opposition (the Jews) only three weeks into his visit to Thessalonica; a church that he planted! He had to leave at a critical time in their growth and development. When you’re serving the Lord you can expect some challenges, but Paul didn’t let the challenges prevent him from sharing the truth. He sent a message by way of a letter that would remind the church that, “the gates of hell will NOT prevail” He wanted to come, again and again, but Satan stopped Him? That’s right, Satan is the adversary, eager to stop the saints from GROWING IN THEIR FAITH and SERVING THOSE IN NEED!
Did Satan stop them or inspire them to go about the work another way (perspective is everything)?
The TRUTH captured their hearts even though it was written from a distance. He reminded them and reminds us today that our HOPE, our JOY and our CROWN is in the fact that the Lord is coming back. Enemy… you can get a false sense of victory if you want to, but never forget that JESUS has the final say and we, the church represent God’s GLORY!
God “PRESERVES” US!
Don’t let Satan stop you from fully serving the Lord. If one door closes, the Lord has already provided a way of escape (another way for His will to be done)! What God starts, no one can stop, unless YOU STOP!


Outsider or Insider!

Colossians 4:5-6

Nobody ever wants to feel like an outsider. You don’t feel welcome in the group. There are people who grew up in environments that made it seem as if they didn’t belong. People who have this in their background can spend a lifetime trying to fit in. In these two verses Paul is letting us know how important it is to make sure that NO ONE feels like an outsider on a Christian’s watch. Matter of fact he tells us that we should look for opportunities to bring the outsiders, inside the family of faith

Judgement makes people feel like outsiders, but grace gently ushers them in. God has made available a free gift that we can’t keep to ourselves. Let no one feel like an outsider around you. It is your mission to make every one recognize how special they are in the sight of God. Let our conversation lead people towards the Lord’s table and not away from it. The church is an insider to truth. Make known to the world that God’s desire is that all people would be insiders (believers in Him).



I have a Secret to Tell

Philippians 4:11-13
Does God keep secrets from us? Curiosity always kicks in when people talk about having a secret. Doesn’t even always matter what the secret is. There’s something about being in “the know” that makes us feel special. Thankfully in God’s sight we are “all” SPECIAL! God by way of the Apostle Paul has revealed a secret to us that can dramatically change our lives for the better. It doesn’t matter what your going through. It’s a gift you can’t buy and only Christian maturity will embrace it. This secret is summed up in one word…………………………………..CONTENTMENT!
Wait a second Pastor, you’re not telling us the problem is going to be fixed? You’re telling us that contentment in Christ can give us the strength to endure ANYTHING?! I’m saying that God might just decide to fix it immediately, but even if that is not His will, our salvation doesn’t go away. Our contentment is not based on our situation, but it’s based on who HOLDS our situation. Christian maturity says, “I embrace suffering for the cause of Christ”. That we carry our cross gladly for our Savior and Lord. Is it easy?…No, but the Apostle is sharing a secret as to why he can endure hardship and remain faithful to the cause of Christ.
“Be content”, whatever the circumstances! Jesus is enough! This is a secret you can share!


Peace Please

Romans 12:18   

How can you make peace with someone who refuses to accept it? Have you ever tried to be the bigger person, taken the high ground but still found yourself disappointed? This is a very real challenge of Christian service.  God I’m trying to be obedient to the bible but “they” won’t let me, lol. Is being obedient to God enough for you to rest in His peace? Do we need people to give us something that God has already provided? Matter of fact “peace” is not something that man can provide. It is a spiritual gift according to Galatians which means that it originates with God, for those adopted by God.

Verses 9-21 says that peace is an extension of love. This peace that we all seek rests in the idea of fully receiving God’s love. Fully receiving God’s love enables us to be at “peace“, even when others promote chaos. Perfect peace is not based on what is happening around us but what God has already done in us (peace I give you, peace I leave with you). Receive the peace of God as you move forward in His calling on your life. Peace be still doesn’t only work on the winds and the waves, it also settles the storms in our minds and hearts.



Does God Really forgive and forget?

Isaiah 43:25 (ESV) 

Forgiveness is not always as easy as some make it seem. Just forgive!, why can’t you let it go!, how long are you going to hold on to that? Hurt, betrayal and disappointment can change us into someone we don’t recognize. That seed of un-forgiveness continues to grow and it impacts our relationship with Jesus, our friends and family; even how we see ourselves. How can we release something that seems to have a hold on us that is unshakable? Some say they can forgive but will never forget! Does God forgive that way. I forgive you but it will remain a part of your permanent record. Is that “real” forgiveness?

Thankfully the text reminds us that in Christ we have true forgiveness. Forgiveness that says if you confess to me with a sincere heart and turn from those ways I WILL FORGIVE AND FORGET! What Good News!  No matter what you have done, my love and my grace will wipe the sin away. Not only wipe it away but it is as if it NEVER happened. We can choose to hold on to un-forgiveness or we can follow the example of our Savior. God help me forgive others the way you have forgiven me. Set yourself free by allowing God’s forgiveness to cover you!

 
MB


Seek the Kingdom First!

Matthew 6:33 (ESV)   

Even as Christians there are times when we worry. What can I do to fix this, who can I call on for help, I just can’t get this off my mind.  Some even feel guilty for having these thoughts, but Jesus recognized that “worry” as a part of the human condition. Our text encourages us to seek God in all things, and leave the results of everything to Him.  Could it be that simple, give God our full attention and not look for righteousness in the law (rule following) but in our faith in Him?

He says you can continue to worry but by worrying you can’t add a single hour to your life.  He talks about how people that don’t have a relationship with Him worry about everything. What they’re going to eat, drink, and wear. That people who hold non-christian beliefs are concerned about those things. As believers we go to God not just in crisis but every moment of everyday. Why can we believe that seeking Him first and His righteousness is what’s best? Because He loves us and He knows what’s best for us. If your heavenly Father provides for the birds of the air, are you not MORE VALUABLE than them? How much more will He provide for us! By faith, we don’t worry.

*Pastor Jason Shaw (who’s currently stationed in Fl.) has provided this week’s devotional thought. 

Thank you Jason for this helpful reminder…



How I KNOW God is Faithful

Luke 16:10 (ESV)

Your faithfulness in the little things, will show how faithful you will be with the big stuff.  EVERYONE wants or needs God to do big stuff in their lives.  But as I am reflecting on this passage.  I can’t help but think about this past Easter weekend…

When you sacrifice your time, energy, finances and love of others for God, He rewards your faithfulness as if it was done towards God Himself (Matthew 25:34-40).  God rewards those who are faithful.  This Sunday we had additional guests because we served the community…that was not the intent, but we thank God for our guests.  Additionally, someone donated online because they were moved by it!

God rewards those who are faithful.  But did you know that God seeks to grow your faith throughout your life?  Yes, He continually uses times which call for us individually to trust Him.  He loves you like that!  And each time you are able to trust God at a higher level, God reveals even more of Himself.


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Ready to Receive, Ready to Give

Acts 3:1-10 (ESV)

I was just pondering on this story of the man who was so insignificant that he was known only by his condition (lame from birth).  At first I thought, how sad to be known like that and dependent on others.  But we ALL are born with a lameness called sin.  Because of it, we are known by our condition “sinners” in God’s sight. 

But when Peter and John come upon this insignificant man…notice I didn’t call him unknown?  Because he was known, daily he was laid out in front of the temple.  He was just insignificant, people helped him get his beg on.  How many people do you give attention to or splurge the precious commodity of your time on, and yet not share what they really stand in need of?

People will always stand ready of need.  So we should stand ready to give (not of only your resources, but the Good News of God’s salvation)!  I’m not suggesting that Christians are to go around healing people literally.  But through God’s grace, you are a healer of their souls!

Perhaps you know someone whom you pass daily or weekly on your way to work but they are so insignificant that you overlook their real need.  Is it even on your radar?  My friend, such as you have…freely give!


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