Choose you this Day…

Joshua 24:15a “And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day
whom you will serve; …”

Choose you this Day! 

Questions and comments, we hear daily from others and sometimes from within.

How can I achieve a higher salary?
How do I increase my 401K?

How can I get that perfect body?
Can I achieve the status of being a millionaire?

Why is this happening to me? I deserve more…
How do I get that really fancy new car?
Why can’t I have a new 4,000 sq. ft home in the secluded woods on 30 acres next to my own lake?
When should I sell and when should I buy?
Is life really all about possessions and self?
So what are my goals in life for me and for my family?

Choose you this day as to whom you will serve…! God does remind us what items have eternal significance.

Mat 6:19-21,24 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in & steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroy and where thieves do not break in & steal. FOR WHERE YOUR TREASURE IS THERE YOUR HEART WILL BE ALSO. NO ONE CAN SERVE TWO MASTERS; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”

How about some questions pleasing to God?

What must I do to be saved?
How can I help someone who is struggling today?
How can I help someone to see Jesus today?

Lord, thank you for this difficulty I am going through for you to teach me that trials bring spiritual growth!
Lord, what would You have me to do for your glory?????

Our example for setting life priorities is Jesus.

Luke 22:42 “Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless, not my will, but thine, be done.”

Having nice things in and of itself is not wrong. Letting things or money be your controlling focus can only cause heartache in the long run and is out of line with God’s will for our lives. Letting God’s priorities be your focus provides peace and contentment that our world cannot understand.

Phil 4:6, 7 “do not be anxious about anything, 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 your minds in Christ Jesus.”

So, where are your priorities this morning?

Joshua 24:15 “And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom you will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.

Just put your community in place of the Amorites. It’s real and applies to you and me!

The choice on whom and what I will serve is up to me. So…………….

Mat 6:33, 34 “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

Have a great day in service of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Jesus!!!

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Serving Jesus Test….

Serving Jesus Test….

To all believers our Lord entrusts an awesome responsibility! So, the question is, how do our lives stack up to God’s desires and expectations for our lives??

Luke 9:23 “And Jesus said unto them, if anyone will come after Me, let them deny themselves, take up their cross daily and follow Me.”

When was the last time you denied yourself of some activity or worldly pleasure so you could perform a service for our Savior? God is calling….

Isa 30:21 “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you saying, ‘This is the way – walk in it’.”

Mat 5:13, 14 “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing, but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. You are the light of the earth; A city that is set on hill cannot be hidden.”

So rate yourself from 1 to 10 on how well you feel you are doing with being salt and light to a dark and sinful world. How did you do? I think I can safely say that everyone of us has room for much improvement. Especially in our humanistic, materialistic and sexually focused country.
It’s an ugly world with plenty of room to be the salt. Salt seasons our world or calls out sin for what it is. Not an easy task in our, ‘let everyone do their own thing’ world. And of course if you wish to bring error and sin to the world’s attention you will need to study God’s word so you know God’s truths and absolutes. And remember….

 

John 15:20, 21 “Remember the word that I said unto you, a servant is not greater than his lord. If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they kept my word, they will keep yours also. But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me.”

 

Yes, there are still and always will be absolutes in our world. The enemy is doing a great job of trying to make everything including sin look to be a gray area ever changing and ok. Now if you start to recognize the ugliness or sinfulness of our world remember to review your own life prior to reviewing the lives of others. That requires we deny ourselves first of those sinful temptations and plan to read and study God’s word so the Holy Spirit can show us how to combat them. Now we are back to that nasty denial thing again. But we need to understand the blessings of serving come both in this world and out of this world when we are home with Jesus.

So, when was the last time you seasoned your world?

So, let’s get going………..the fields are truly white and waiting for the harvest!

Faith of a Child…

Mark 10:15 “Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom
of God as a little child will by no means enter it.”

Faith of a Child

Tess was a precocious eight-year-old when she heard her Mom and Dad
talking about her little brother, Andrew. All she knew was that he was very
sick and they were completely out of money. They were moving to an apartment
next month because Daddy didn’t have the money for the doctor’s bills and the
house. Only a very costly surgery could save him now and it was looking like
there was no one to loan them the money. She heard Daddy say to her tearful
Mother with whispered desperation, “Only a miracle can save him now.”

Tess went to her bedroom and pulled a glass jelly jar from its hiding
place in the closet. She poured all the change out on the floor and counted
it carefully. Three times, even. The total had to be exactly perfect. No
chance here for mistakes. Carefully placing the coins back in the jar and
twisting on the cap, she slipped out the back door and made her way 6 blocks
to Rexall’s Drug Store with the big Red Indian Chief sign above the
door.

She waited patiently for the pharmacist to give her some attention but
he was too busy at this moment. Tess twisted her feet to make a scuffing
noise. Nothing. She cleared her throat with the most disgusting sound she
could muster. No good. Finally she took a quarter from her jar and banged
it on the glass counter.

That did it! “And what do you want?” the pharmacist asked in an annoyed
tone of voice. “I’m talking to my brother from Chicago whom I haven’t seen
in ages”, he said without waiting for a reply to his question.

“Well, I want to talk to you about my brother,” Tess answered back in
the same annoyed tone.

“He’s really; really sick and I want to buy a miracle.”

“I beg your pardon?” said the pharmacist.

“His name is Andrew and he has something bad growing inside his head and
my Daddy says only a miracle can save him now. So how much does a miracle
cost?”

“We don’t sell miracles here, little girl. I’m sorry but I can’t help you,”
the pharmacist said, softening a little.

“Listen, I have the money to pay for it. If it isn’t enough, I will get the rest.”

The pharmacist’s brother was a well dressed man. He stooped down and
asked the little girl, “What kind of a miracle does your brother need?”

“I don’t know,” Tess replied with her eyes welling up. “I just know he’s
really sick and Mommy says he needs an operation. My Daddy can’t pay for it,
so I want to use my money”.

“How much do you have?” asked the man from Chicago.

“One dollar and eleven cents,” Tess answered barely audibly. “And it’s all
the money I have, but I can get some more if I need to.”

“Well, what a coincidence,” smiled the man. “A dollar and eleven cents is the exact
price of a miracle for little brothers.” He took her money in one hand and
with the other hand he grasped her mitten and said, “Take me to where you
live. I want to see your brother and meet your parents. Let’s see if I have
the kind of miracle you need.”

That well dressed man was Dr. Carlton Armstrong, a surgeon, specializing in
neuro-surgery. The operation was completed without charge and it wasn’t long
until Andrew was home again and doing well. Mom and Dad were happily talking
about the chain of events that had led them to this place.
“That surgery,” her Mom whispered, “was a real miracle. I wonder how much it
would have cost?”

Tess smiled. She knew exactly how much a miracle cost, one dollar and eleven
cents, plus the faith of a little child. A miracle is not the suspension of
natural law, but the operation of a higher law……

Luke 18:17 “Verily I say unto you, whosoever shall not receive the

kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein.

Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence
of things not seen.”

Fortunately, God made me this way…

Romans 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to
them that love God, to them who are the called according
to his purpose.

Fortunately, God made me this way…

All things in the life of ‘born again’ believers who are called to serve Jesus truly work together!

Gladys Aylward as a child thought she was not good enough.
During the 1920s, she had heard about the great spiritual need of China,
and she sensed God’s strong call on her life to go there. But she was
only a small chambermaid.

When she applied to China Inland Mission in London, they rejected her
because she wasn’t educated enough and was probably too old to learn the
language. Gladys Aylward through much prayer decided otherwise and made
it to China.

She made such a difference there that a number of books have been
written about her life. Hollywood even based a major movie on her life,
The Inn of the Sixth Happiness with an Academy Award-winning actress
portraying her.

In her later years, as she told her story to audiences in many
places, they were surprised to hear the commanding speech coming from
this very tiny lady who had to stand on a box to be seen over the
pulpit. She told them: “As I was growing up, I had two great sorrows.

First, as my friends kept getting taller, I stopped growing.
Secondly, as my friends grew beautiful blonde curly hair, mine was
straight black. Then I went to China. As I looked over the people to
whom Jehovah God had sent me, I said to myself, ‘These people have hair
as black and straight as mine … and they stopped growing when I did.’
I bowed my head and I said, ‘Lord God, you know what you were doing!”
Yes, He does.

Much to her surprise, and much to everyone’s surprise, little
Gladys Aylward had been equipped by God with everything she needed to
carry out His plan for her life. And so, have we if Jesus is our Savior.
We know that because of Ephesians 2:10, “We are God’s workmanship,
created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance
for us to do.”

Do you ever find yourself thinking that you don’t have what
others have? And thinking that because you do not have what others have
you cannot serve Jesus? You need to stop this line of thinking
immediately! All that is needed for carrying out God’s mission is you
and a willing heart. He will provide the rest. Do not ask, “Who am I,
Lord”, but ask “What would you have me to do, Lord”?

Philip. 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”

Service starts with obedience and not skill! In fact, our
inability could be our greatest asset. It causes us to lean not upon our
own understanding and skills but to rely on His grace and sufficiency.

2 Cor. 12:9 “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for
my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly
therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of
Christ may rest upon me.”

CHRISTians and Spiritual Gifts…

CHRISTians and Spiritual Gifts…

If you are not a ‘born again’ believer who has done some studying of Spiritual Gifts in the scriptures this morning’s encouragement and/or challenge will be foreign to you. Actually, many believers are not aware of what our Savior says about the spiritual gifts we have been entrusted with and directed to use to lift up His name. Please read on and see how the Holy Spirit challenges you.

I Cor 12:1 “…now concerning Spiritual Gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be ignorant.”

Spiritual Gifts

Everyone loves a free gift. Jesus is the ultimate free gift. With His gift of salvation, He has asked each believer to serve Him and His Church. The Church contains all those in this world who are trusting in Jesus alone for their salvation.  Did you know there are no denominations mentioned in scripture?

On the topics of Spiritual Gifts Jesus gave His Church (the people) Spiritual Gifts to perform service for His glory. We do not have to walk in our own strength and wisdom which is great.  If I were attempting to serve by my strength I can assure you I would fall flat on my face. We receive that supernatural desire and Gift(s) when we are ‘born again’.  After presenting ourselves to service Jesus (Romans 12:1,2) we can then look for how God will show us what our gift(s) are and how they are to be used.

Keep in mind that at salvation you are a baby in Christ or an immature person spiritually.  Use of my Spiritual Gifts will require my commitment to use them. After committing to use them then the Holy Spirit can work to develop them in my life.  Like salvation we are never forced into using them. But it is extremely important to know that Jesus commands and desires that we do so and that it is for His glory and not ours and that no minimum level of education is required to use them.

While these Gifts may run parallel to our earthly developed skills they frequently do not. I fall into that category. My gifts did not match my earthly skills which were not many. After many years serving Jesus, I am very happy they did not. I was then and remain required to place more faith in His power versus my expertise.  I once tried using one of my spiritual gifts in my own power and I fell flat on my face. The important lesson I was being taught is that as Philippians 4:13 says, “I can do all through Christ who, strengthens me”.  It is never by my strength, ability or any natural or developed talent. God’s grace is enough for our salvation and for our service for the King. So, remember, when you cannot do it and you know God is asking you to, that is a great place to be in your life because you are totally dependent on Him for any success.

I Cor 12:9 “And He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness, most gladly therefore will I glory in my infirmities that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

Every born-again believer has at least one Spiritual Gift and its purpose is to be used in the fashion Jesus intended and of course with the right attitude and motive. The only good motive for serving is because Jesus asked you to do so. You are then doing it for His glory and not yours or your family or churches.

Eph 4:7,8 “But to each one of us (believers) grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s’ gift. Therefore, He says, ‘When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts to men.”

Have you used your gift yet???

We may serve because a leader in the Church or family member encourages or challenged us to do so but if it is not for Jesus it will not last. I remember an elderly believer once telling me that if you wait 2 to 3 years you will find out what a servant’s commitment really is. His point being that if it is not for Christ they most likely will no longer be in that ministry after 2 to 3 years.

It is OK to try out different ministries to see where Jesus wants you to serve and leave those He did not intend for you. But when you find the one He intended for you then stay the course, for His glory. Yes, even when those you are serving with fall away. Remember Who you are serving. That will sustain you.

The purpose for these gifts;

Eph 4:16 “…from whom the whole body (Worldwide Church), joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part (person) does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.”

If you are not sure of your Gift(s) the place to start is on your knees requesting wisdom and then of course, search the scriptures daily.  Below is a listing of the spiritual gifts and some help in understanding your Gift(s) to help you in your quest to obey Jesus.

Start searching the scriptures today asking the Holy Spirit to reveal to you just where and how you are to serve Jesus. The following are some scripture passages defining what the Spiritual Gifts are;

WHERE FOUND: Romans 12:6-8, Eph 4:11, I Peter 4:11, I Cor 12:6-10, I Cor 12:28- 30

 
GIFTS
PASTOR TEACHER
TEACHING
HELPS (SERVING, MINISTERING)
ADMINISTRATION/LEADING
EVANGELISM
EXHORTATION
FAITH
GIVING
MERCY
APOSTLE
PROPHECY
MIRACLES
HEALING
TONGUES
INTERPRETATION OF TONGUES
DISCERNING OF SPIRITS
WORD OF KNOWLEDGE
WORD OF WISDOM

 

  • ASK NOT WHAT YOUR CHURCH CAN DO FOR YOU BUT ASK WHAT YOU CAN DO FOR JESUS’ CHURCH

Adversity, a Tool for Spiritual Growth

Romans 5:3-5 “And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation develops patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope makes not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.”

Adversity, a Tool for Spiritual Growth

Can adversity in my life come from God? How should I view that adversity? Or is adversity in my life simply a result of fleshly or spiritual issues that I have and if I were spiritually stronger these things would never happen to me? These questions are asked by Christians of all maturity levels.

Some church organizations focus on the “Health, Wealth and Prosperity” theme and that adversity has no place in the life of a Christian. Is that true? Those churches teach that God would have you to be healthy and wealthy with never a hint of adversity in your life. That teaching is attractive to our fleshly emotions. If you are experiencing adversity their answer is that it is because you are weak in faith. They say if you just come to their church, support the programs, join in with the emotional message that God lift you up physically and materially. Many get deceived by this because it offers what the flesh wants. And the flesh always wants only what is best for it.

II Tim 4:3,4 “For the time will come when they will not endure the sound doctrine; but, having itching ears, will heap to themselves teachers after their own lusts; 4 and will turn away their ears from the truth, and turn aside unto fables.”

So, how does God view adversity and our spiritual development? Our answer as with all questions in life is right there in the Book. There are many examples in scripture that help us understand how God views this topic and the depth of His love for us. Our obvious best example is our Savior Jesus. He came to display unconditional love while doing the will of the Father. We will never have to experience the depth of pain that Jesus experienced for us. If we are looking for our own will to be done it is easy to fall into the Health, Wealth and Prosperity trap.

Luke 22:42 “Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.”

We could also look at the lives of Noah, Jonah, Moses, Job, David, Joseph, Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego, Rehab, Ruth, Daniel, Paul, Peter, Mary and on and on. What we see are individuals that were molded by the circumstances that God sent into their lives. Those circumstances were simply not a result of their weak faith and fortunately they never viewed them like that. God loved them as He loves us and wanted the best for their lives. The question was what was best for their lives to bring glory of God and not to provide comfort for self. Each of those mentioned above experienced adversity and out of it came growth and more importantly God was pleased and glorified. That growth occurred only after they got to the place in their lives where they said, your will be done and not mine. None were blessed or avoided adversity simply because of strong faith. Their spiritual maturity grew as they presented themselves to God as living sacrifices to perform His will through their lives.

James 1:2, 3 “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.”

Rom 12:1, 2 “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be you transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

For me when I accept adversity as being from God the benefits are spiritual growth. When I reject trials as being from God the result is frustration, heartache and even tears. I have memorized II Cor 12:9 to help me in those times of adversity. It reminds me that God is in control and wants to lift up His name by His work in my life. WOW, you cannot have anything more than that if you are looking for purpose in your life.

In II Corinthians 12 Paul first viewed his “thorn” as a limiting handicap. After requesting that God remove it multiple times he received the answer. It was no. By the way, no and wait are answers to prayer. He evaluated the answer and came up with the spiritually correct answer. God had a purpose for the thorn and he was much better off accepting it than ignoring or complaining about it. After coming to the true perspective, he regarded it as a heavenly advantage. Pains and problems come into our lives and if viewed properly are tools reminding us of God’s all-sufficient grace.

Whatever your “thorn” today, remembers—His grace IS sufficient and it is available right now!!!!!!!

II Cor 12:9 “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

God’s Definition of Guidance…

Luke 22:40-42 “ When He came to the place, He said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.” And He was withdrawn from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and prayed, saying, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.”

God’s Definition of Guidance…

When I meditated on the word guidance, I kept seeing “dance” at the end of
the word. I remember reading that doing God’s will is a lot like dancing.
When two people try to lead, nothing feels right. The movement doesn’t flow
with the music, and everything is quite uncomfortable and jerky.

When one person realizes and lets the other lead, both bodies begin to flow
with the music. One gives gentle cues, perhaps with a nudge to the back or
by pressing lightly in one direction or another. It’s as if two become one
body, moving beautifully. The dance takes surrender, willingness, and
attentiveness from one person and gentle guidance and skill from the other.

My eyes drew back to the word guidance. When I saw “G,” I thought of God,
followed by “u” and “I.” “God, “u” and “I” dance.” God, you, and I dance. This statement is what guidance means to me. As I lowered my head, I became willing to trust that I would get guidance about my life. Once again, I became willing to let God lead.

My prayer for you today is that God’s blessings and mercies be upon you and
your family on this day and every day. May you abide in Him as He abides in
you. Dance together with God, trusting Him to lead and to guide you through
each season of your life.

And for those of you that know me closer than others you realize how poor of a dancer I am. I truly need my Lord leading me every step of the way…..HIS WAY!

Rom 12:1,2 “I beseech you therefore brethren, by the mercies of God, that you
present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your
reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world, but be transformed by
the renewing of your mind, that you prove what is that good and acceptable and
perfect will of God.”