Pastor’s Blog

Joy, Joy, Joy

 

Joy, Joy, Joy

  1. Hayden 3-25-17

 

Don’t let the devil steal your joy. Let me say that again. Don’t let the devil steal your joy. It never seems to fail that when we experience a victory in our lives, i.e. a wonderful time of worship, a soul being saved and baptized, or a step forward in our spiritual growth, an unexpected blessing, the devil can often be found trying to rob us of our new found joy.   This can happen through negative circumstances or negative people or our own personal negativity arising in the shadow of victory like a wall sent to block all the good things God has been doing. We end up focusing on the negativity and soon the victory we experienced is forgotten and our joy in the Lord has evaporated. Proverbs 4:23 reads thusly, “Guard your heart with all diligence, for out it flow the issues of life.” If we allow the devil to steal our joy, our whole life is affected and we end up becoming the vehicle of negativity that goes about stealing joy from others, affecting the whole Church.

So how do we combat those attacks on our joy? First, look upon negative incursions as an opportunity to be joyful anyway. Scripture says, “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing” (James 1:2-4). Though the attack may have it’s origin in the devil, God will use it for our good if we let Him.

And second, take the advice of Philippians 4:6-9, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.” Let God’s peace be a guard over your heart. Remember, an attack from the enemy of our souls often means we have been and are doing something right! Don’t let the devil steal your joy!

 

Be blessed even more!

 

Pastor Chris


Read more...

When GOD Doesn’t Make Sense

An Encouraging Word

  1. Hayden 3-9-17

 

Our world can often be a very critical and cynical place to live in. It is so easy to see how many Christians see this generation in light of the scripture that says, “10 And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. 11 Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. 12 And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold” (Matthew 24:10-12). With record violence taking place in many of our major cities, ever increasing anxiety over the direction of world and online communications with one another becoming less and less civil due to our expansive differences in belief systems, it would appear that our love for one another, as the prophecy reveals, is certainly growing colder than ever before. While we may be witnessing this icy transformation take place in our nation and around the world, it does not have to be a characteristic of the Body of Christ.

John 13:34-35 says this, “34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” When the Lord tells us that we are to love one another, what He really means is…that’s right…we are to love one another. That means we should say encouraging words that lift each other up rather than finding ways to tear each other down. We are to seek the best for our brothers and sisters in Christ, not just for ourselves.

We read in Ephesians 4:29–32, “29 Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. 32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.” When we communicate with each other, is our speech laced with kindness? Do we make every effort to speak edifying words to one another so that we are consistently imparting grace to those that hear us? When we allow the Spirit to be our guide, our conversation will be an encouragement to our fellow believers and the world will see the love of Christ flow through us and thereby know that we belong to Jesus.

 

Be blessed even more!

 

Pastor Chris


Read more...

This Too Shall Pass

Life can be like a roller coaster at times when in the middle of our peaceful world, sudden disappointments appear wrecking havoc and throwing us into turmoil. In one stretch of time we seem to be traveling along on a steady course that appears uneventful and peaceful and then…BAM…tragedy strikes and our world is turned upside down.   These are the moments that try our faith and can often lead us to question God and His purposes for us. The Bible gives us several reasons for why these things take place, but the most common reason that I see is revealed in this scripture. Matthew 5:44-45 says this. “But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.

Yes, we can blame the devil for many things that we see going wrong in the world. And yes, we at times need to lay the blame on our troubles at the feet of our own bad decisions. But more often then not, the sun shines as well as rains for all of us because we exist together on this giant ball called earth, living in a fallen world of sin that affects us in very real, tangible ways. And bad things happen to very good people just as they happen to those who have rejected God and blaspheme Him. There are instances in the scripture where we see God intervene and punish the unrighteous for their evil deeds as well as rewarding the righteous for their unbending faith in Him. We also see the devil at work trying to wreck havoc where he can. We have seen these examples in our study of Daniel on Wednesday evenings.   But if we continue digging in the Word, we will also see times when the unrighteous are seemingly ignored by God while His servants suffer.

Jesus encouraged His disciples during these times when He said that in Him we may have peace. In the world we experience tribulation; but be of good cheer, He has overcome the world (John 16). Just know this, and I hope this encourages you, God is watching and keeps an accounting of all He sees. For those following Him, He will never leave nor forsake you (Hebrews 13:5). His blood cleanses you of all sin and we can rest in knowing that when difficulties arise…THIS TOO SHALL PASS. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 says, “Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. 17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, 18 while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”

 

Be blessed even more!

 

Pastor Chris


Read more...

Doom, Despair, and Agony On Me!

We live in an imperfect world to say the least. Sometimes we start to feel like WE are CHARLIE BROWN! The gas prices drop but taxes are too high and our take home pay is often too low, so what’s the point? The moment we really begin to enjoy the beautiful fall weather, an ice storm hits and the air drops to freezing! Then it goes back up to warm weather again, but we’ve come down with the flu, respectively, and are not able to enjoy it…wonderful. We just get the hot water heater fixed but then the furnace goes out right about the time the weather drops below 20o F so you are cold…again, get the flu…again and can’t enjoy the holidays…again! And by the way, the car broke down so who cares about the low gas prices! Sometimes, the problems are even more severe! Sound familiar…

We end up living in an ever perpetual loop of the “doom and despair” syndrome. You know the old Hee-Haw bit: “Doom, despair, and agony on me. Deep dark depression, excessive misery. If it weren’t for bad luck, I’d have no luck at all. Doom, despair and agony on me.” Now Jesus said that we would have tribulation in this world (John 16:33), but that we should be of good cheer, never despairing from the misfortune that befalls all of us at one time or another.

It is in these times when despair would bring us down into a pit of constant complaining, that we need to have our “God inspired gratitude” kick in to remind us of the greatest blessing ever given to mankind. It was revealed to us in Luke chapter 2 and in “A Charlie Brown Christmas” when Linus gives a wonderful soliloquy to fellow cast members. It goes something like this: “8 That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. 9 Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, 10 but the angel reassured them. ‘Don’t be afraid!’ he said. ‘I bring you good tidings of joy that will be to all people. 11 The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! 12 And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.’ 13 Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying, 14 ‘Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased’” (Luke 2:8-14).

This is a wonderful time of the year when it may be helpful to remind ourselves that God sent His son, Jesus, that we might be truly blessed with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ (Ephesians 1:3).

Be blessed even more!!

Pastor Chris


Read more...

Purpose of Guilt & Shame

There are times when guilt and shame are properly placed and have a Godly purpose. We should never feel guilt or shame when we honor God, or embrace the same for something that is not our fault. Feelings of guilt & shame that are appropriate can only be so as they relate to God and our dishonoring Him.

In 1 Corinthians 6, we see the account of Christians initiating legal action against their brothers in Christ. The Apostle Paul rebukes this action declaring, “Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unrighteous, and not before the saints? 2 Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world will be judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters? 3 Do you not know that we shall judge angels? How much more, things that pertain to this life? 4 If then you have judgments concerning things pertaining to this life, do you appoint those who are least esteemed by the church to judge? 5 I say this to your shame.” In this instance, brothers in Christ were dishonoring God by taking other believer to a worldly court. They were trying to appear righteous in deed, but were actually showing their spiritual weakness and dishonoring God. Paul said this to their SHAME!

In Ezekiel 43, the Israelites contaminated the temple by ignoring God’s specific instructions. The writer pens this in verse 10, “Son of man, describe the temple to the house of Israel, that they may be ashamed of their iniquities;” When believers purposefully ignore God’s Word, His directions and sin, we are to recognize our guilt and experience shame. Guilt and shame are proper when our thoughts and actions dishonor our Lord. If the world had a greater sense of well-placed guilt and shame, we would have a lot less young celebrities “twerking” on Grammy Award shows!

Yet, even when we sin and dishonor God, Jesus does not want us to hang on to or bathe ourselves in guilt and shame, wallowing in self-pity. Properly placed guilt and shame becomes improper and misplaced when it continues on beyond the Holy Spirit’s conviction. Guilt and shame is used by the Holy Spirit to convict us of our sin so that we can repent and be restored to God. Anything that lingers beyond that turns into ungodly condemnation and is of Satan to destroy us. The Apostle John tells us in his first epistle, chapter 1:8-9, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” The devil uses guilt & shame to destroy us. God uses guilt and shame to bring us back to Himself and forgives us of all unrighteousness.

Be blessed even more!!

Pastor Chris


Read more...