FOOD FOR LIFE
On this page you will find words of encouragement from the Pastor's Pen
Created as a Masterpiece
I saw someone post a statement that said, "I cannot fathom how a Creator so divine would take any interest in a soul like mine".
It got me thinking about the perspective that we each have of God and how we believe God sees us. So often, we sell ourselves short of receiving His love for us, reproducing His love in us, and giving away His love through us.
Our lives have become boring, contradictive, undirected, and unproductive. Our churches are dead and offensive, because our testimony of His love at work in and through us is neglected and forgotten, replaced with complacency and self-indulgence.
In Mathew 6:22-23, Jesus explains that our sight, or ability to see clearly and healthy, gives light to our whole being, but if we don't see clearly, or our vision is bad, we will be full of darkness.
God says that His people die for lack of vision, and cast off restraint (Hosea 4:7). So if we have a messed up view of God and His love for us, we will not have healthy productive lives or inspire and reproduce that Love and Hope in others and are left with dead religion that stinks.
So let's look at this from a different view:
A human father and mother (even in their flawed state) love, are interested in, and like their child that was made as a product of their love for each other.
So then, how much more would a perfect father who IS the Definition of Pure Love Himself, love, be interested in, and like Every Son and Every Daughter He personally made with His own hands, breathing His breath of Life into, and giving attributes that are the same as His.
When you understand who you are in Him, it's easier to accept and grab a hold of and see you from His point of view. He sees the one He Loves! And every time He looks at you, He loves who He sees, period.
God loves you, His greatest masterpiece and Treasure!
Love God, Love People
I hear people talk about how they can't stand another person that they go to church with. They are short if spoken too, give a rude answer, or avoid the person altogether. Usually the things they state this person did to them, are the very things they do themselves. Then it is carried further when they talk to others about it. What a terrible impact this has on the new person coming to visit, desperately needing to find a church body to love them right where they are and what they are going through, not to mention the destruction of unity in the church body. This creates rivalries, divisions, and a toxic atmosphere that chokes worship, stunts growth, and turns people away from God and all He has for them, all the while screaming out, "This is God!" with our attitudes, words and actions. THIS IS WRONG and IT IS SIN. Why?
Because God loves you and IS LOVE Himself. If we say we love God, but not our neighbor, we are lying and the Truth (which is God) IS NOT IN US - therefore SIN! 1st Corinthians 13 speaks VERY PLAINLY about what Love IS and what it is NOT:
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
When we violate any one of these, we sin against God who is love. I know it's hard to learn how and to put into practice TRULY LOVING YOUR NEIGHBOR, but for the person who says, "I am a Christian", it is absolutely vital and mandatory. You don't have the option to "opt out", and not SIN. God Himself said, "Love me with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength", and "love your neighbor".
How can we love people who hurt us? We ask God to help us to love like He does, and we choose to forgive - each and every time the memory of the offense is brought to your mind.
I am praying for you that you would ask God to help you forgive yourself and others and take on His Love for others as you learn to love Him. I choose to Love You!
Learning to Love
"What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Don't they come from the evil desires at war within you?" James 4:1 NLT
I look around at our communities filled with churches, some directly across the street from each other. There are many churches but they are not filled with people. Most have small gatherings in buildings that are too large for the number of people that attend them. As I think why these churches have so few people, I realized why there are so many churches to begin with.
Many churches begin from a split off of an existing church due to a difference of opinion. Everybody wants what they want to the point that it causes anger, frustration, bitterness, and hatred. These turn into bitter rivalries and drive people who claim to love God apart.
I even observe people in church who can't stand to be in the presence of other believers, yet they stay hoping the others will leave. And in the process, they destroy the unity of the church, and with their attitudes and countenance, and yes even words, set the atmosphere of destruction in the one place where the world needs to see the love of God flourishing.
Our churches are not growing because the people of the world see the bitter rivalries between people who are supposed to show the love of God that brings hope and healing.
So let us learn to forgive, asking God to give us the power of His grace that we may love others even when we don't like how they behave, or the attitude that they have. Let us keep in mind that we exhibit the same thing that we find fault in the other person. Let us extend the same grace and hope and love that we have been shown time after time after time. Let us learn to love.
Feed My Sheep
As you look at your day that God has breathed for you, take a moment to consider the effectiveness of your day's efforts.
Where are your thoughts centered? Are the things you think, do, and say producing fruit that is ripe for someone to eat? Is it satisfying to their soul? Does it make them want more, or does it make them want to spit it out.
What is the quality of the fruit of our Christian experience that we are showing and sharing with everyone around us?
2016: What does it hold?
What will we allow God to do in and through us this year. Will you make THE difference in someone's life? Will you Daily submit your will, motives, yes even your thoughts to Holy Spirit's leading and direction? Will you set aside what works for you and seek out and do what works for God?
If you decide yes, then be prepared for Holy Spirit to examine your heart, expose hidden things, and bring up and out things that need to be dealt with. God is only Good, and knows exactly what you need to be the overcoming, powerful, free and victorious Son and Daughter of the King.
Why does one need to go through this sometimes painful process of maturity? Because God has uniquely created, crafted, commissioned, and positioned you to Demonstrate the Power and Reality of His Love to a spiritual, knowledgeable, desperate world that has been left without hope by an unbelieving, and disobedient "church", that acknowledges God with their lips but denies Him with their lifestyle.
So in 2016, What Will You Do?
Speak To Those Bones
Are you at that place in your life where it is dry and hopeless? Would you do anything to really "live" again? Ezekiel faced a similar situation in Ezekiel 37 when he looked and saw entire valley filled with dry and scattered human bones. God asked him if the bones could live again as people. Ezekiel couldn't see it happening, but told God, "Well, You know".
Then God did something strange. He could have just fixed the situation Himself and not involved anyone else. But God loves to work THROUGH people, so they can KNOW for themselves that God is good and that God loves them enough to include them in His solutions and plans.
"Speak a prophetic message to these bones."
So He told Ezekiel to do something weird, strange, and totally outside what was comfortable or that made any sense. God told Ezekiel to speak to his situation prophetically, (a message that reveals and declares), the words of Life that God gave to him. When Ezekiel did this, he saw the impossible happen and his situation resolved.
Maybe you don't think there is anything left to do, and all hope is gone. But God has already given you His Words of life, hope, and power over EVERY situation.
It is now time for you to Speak Out and Declare God's Word by faith in and over your "Valley of Dry Bones", and see the revelation of God's Word and His power as He acts on your faith and obedience. #TLCSpeakToThoseBones
CHANGE THE CHANNEL
Do you ever find yourself in a conversation, argument, or watching a video in your mind, and all of a sudden realize that this not going in a direction that is good for you or anyone else, and is certainly not pleasing to Holy Spirit? James 4:7 gives us the instruction in how to deal with this when it says, "Submit to God, resist the devil, and he will flee."
But sometimes, its hard to disengage from that argument, conversation, or video in your mind. How do you submit? How do resist? It may not be as difficult as we are led to believe.
When you realize that the thing you are dealing with is NOT GOOD or GODLY, that is Holy Spirit breaking through the fog that is distracting and blinding you. This is the point of "Submission". This where you make the choice to continue, or do something different. "It's so hard to stop", you might think, or "I don't what else to do or think about". But don't worry, vs 6 tells that "God gives Grace to the humble" - a product of submission - so you don't HAVE to continue as you were.
Now here is what you can do: CHANGE THE CHANNEL! Don't try and stop the conversation, argument, or video first, simply start a conversation with God. "What is YOUR Plan for me today?", "What do You want to get accomplished in and through me today? Give Him praise - the devil HATES praise directed to God, and he takes off! (Remember satan was the Chief Worshipper of God before his rebellion).
"But what if it happens again"? Now that you are aware of the devil's schemes, TAKE BACK THE REMOTE and CHANGE THE CHANNEL AGAIN. Ask Holy Spirit to guard your mind. Do this every time. Your enemy is predictable and will come back and try the same thing every time.
Be blessed for GOD IS GOOD! #TLCChangeTheChannel
LIVE THE DREAM
What is your individual purpose? Deeper than being a Christian, deeper than loving God and loving people. What is it that only you can do? When you are considering your life, have you accomplished what you were created to do, or are you living out someone else's dream, helping them accomplish their purpose? Is your job that you don't love, the service that you give, the resources you share, the means to accomplish your purpose or someone else's? There's nothing wrong with helping someone achieve what God has placed in their heart, but don't wrap all that you are into that. Find out from God what He placed in your heart to with your life, and DO IT! Otherwise, at the end of yourself, and along the journey there, you will look back on your life with regret and bitterness. #TLClivethedream