Prepare Your Mind For Deliverance!

Prepare Your Mind For Deliverance!

“And God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And He said, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’ ”” (Exodus 3:14 NKJV)

The Israelites had been in bondage for so long, that it was necessary for God to prepare their minds for their deliverance out of Egypt. Though they cried out for deliverance day and night, still, they would need strength and encouragement to take that final step and leave their chains. They would need to stop thinking like slaves, and start thinking like the Kings kids! Moses told them, the Great I AM has sent me to deliver you with this encouragement. Whatever you face along the way, I AM there, whatever you need, I AM your source, when you feel weak, I AM your strength, essentially, I AM whatever you need!

We all face difficult things in life and they can often bring doubt and despair and the feeling that there is no point in even trying, I will be in these chains forever! Let these two word prepare your mind for deliverance, I AM! 


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Having a Faith That Never Fails

Devotion by Craig Little
What is faith? Hebrews 11: 1-3 describes it as, “… the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good testimony. By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.
Simply, it is the belief in something we can’t see with our human eyes. As humans we all exercise a bit of faith. Think of sailors on the open seas, or hot air balloons! The people operating these have put faith in wind and air currents, which are unseen. As a more “hands on” example, we plug in our appliances, PC’s, phones, and other such items, into a socket where unseen electricity powers and charges them.
Those are examples of faith all mankind has. As Christians though, our faith needs to be in something of a much greater magnitude; God. We all, as Christians, obviously have faith in God, but I think many are missing out on just how awesome, powerful, and completely capable He is. There are a couple verses that really speak to me of the awesome power of God. The first I would like to share is Psalm 139. This may not be the chapter that would first pop in your mind when thinking of the awesome power of God, but to me each time I read it I am left in awe and adoration. Let me share…
Psalm 139:1-18 – God’s Perfect Knowledge of Man
O LORD, You have searched me and known me.
2 You know my sitting down and my rising up;
You understand my thought afar off.
3 You comprehend my path and my lying down,
And are acquainted with all my ways.
4 For there is not a word on my tongue,
But behold, O LORD, You know it altogether.
5 You have hedged me behind and before,
And laid Your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
It is high, I cannot attain it.
7 Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?
8 If I ascend into heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.
9 If I take the wings of the morning,
And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
10 Even there Your hand shall lead me,
And Your right hand shall hold me.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall fall[a] on me,”
Even the night shall be light about me;
12 Indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You,
But the night shines as the day;
The darkness and the light are both alike to You.
13 For You formed my inward parts;
You covered me in my mother’s womb.
14 I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;[b]
Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.
And in Your book they all were written,
The days fashioned for me,
When as yet there were none of them.
17 How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!
How great is the sum of them!
18 If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand;
When I awake, I am still with You.
To me every verse in this Psalm is something that emanates “God only” characteristics. When life has me guessing and I don’t know the answers, I know He knows. When I feel unlovable and unable to reciprocate love, He shows me how much He loves me and how much He pursues me. When our bodies seem too complicated or beyond the help of mortal men, He fashioned us and we are EXACTLY as we were intended to be. Incredible!
Another verse, I would like to share, is Joshua 10: 12 – 15. This describes an astronomical feat that defies scientific law! Newton’s first law of motion states and I quote, “When viewed in an inertial reference frame, an object either remains at rest or continues to move at a constant velocity, unless acted upon by an external force. “ I stress the “…unless acted upon by an external force.” Think of our solar system and how all the planets, moons, asteroids, etc… move through the vacuum of space; constant and unchanging. Now let’s read…
Joshua 10: 12-15 – The Sun Stands Still
12 Then Joshua spoke to the LORD in the day when the LORD delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel:
“Sun, stand still over Gibeon;
And Moon, in the Valley of Aijalon.”
13 So the sun stood still,
And the moon stopped,
Till the people had revenge
Upon their enemies.
Is this not written in the Book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and did not hasten to go down for about a whole day. 14 And there has been no day like that, before it or after it, that the LORD heeded the voice of a man; for the LORD fought for Israel.
15 Then Joshua returned, and all Israel with him, to the camp at Gilgal.
How about that! God, NOT constrained by laws of science! What is even more amazing than stopping orbit and rotation of the earth, is why He stopped it. For Israel, His chosen, for us: for those who had faith enough to ask. This is so key, at least for me. I’ve believed in God for a long time, but to grow and begin to see and understand just how powerful He is, can change your life, the lives of your families, and the lives of this community and world!
Now that we have a better idea of the capabilities of God, this should help our faith. Building our faith should play a big part of our growth as a Christian. For Hebrews 11:6 states, “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”
God has shown me a lot about faith this last year. I have found myself at the very bottom; where everything was falling apart around me with nothing inside of me capable of fixing the issues of having no job and Ceci going through a life threatening cancer. Many times I’ve felt dead inside and to have faith was not a natural choice. Sometimes you have situations where God shows Himself big time and your faith grows beyond measure, but there are those times where everything goes wrong, the world tells you the opposite of what you want to hear, and God seems silent… At this point, what did we believe, and where did our trust lie?
Ceci and I have been face to face with this question many times this year. Every doctor’s appointment has ended in discouragement and hopelessness (as the world sees it). Many times the doctors’ attitudes and demeanor seemed to be they were talking to someone already dead. Walking away from some of these situations with those fears and doubts ringing in our ears, it was difficult to hear from God… But again, what were WE going to believe, and where were WE going to place our trust?
God gave me an example… When you think about a true “agape” love, it is more about a decision to love. It is love outside of “how you make me feel”. Just as God loves us. God has shown me how that is similar to “True Faith”. It isn’t a matter of how you feel. He has given us faith, exercise it! Just believe in Him, because His word said He is faithful, and His actions have personally shown me He is faithful. Just the peace and hope I have experienced, proves to me that He is always faithful. Thus the answer to the question of what were we going to believe and where we going to place our trust? The answer is in the last half of Joshua 24:15. “But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” He is all we need and my faith rests in Him.
As we go into prayer, remember who God is and regardless of how you feel in this moment, have the faith to believe He is willing to act on the prayers and supplications we give to Him. One of my favorite sayings states, “God moves mountains and faith moves God!” Let’s have the faith that can move the heart of God and change everything we know, for His glory!
By Craig Little
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Is God Your Power Supply?

Devotion by Bobby Ross
 
Let me start by saying I am a geek… I love Computers, I love technology, and I love what can be done when they are combined. Now a days, not only do we have our computers and laptops at home, but we even put them in our cars, our TV’s, our gaming systems, and in the most common place…, in our cell phones. There are very few days where we aren’t  interfacing with at least one type of computer to do something.

 

But what happens when we lose power to these things?

  • No computer:
      – Means no email, no Facebook, no online shopping, etc…
  • No Car:
      – Means no work, no shopping, no traveling…
  • And No Phone!?
      – To some people, this means the END OF THE WORLD…
      – Separating you from everyone and everything.
 
So what do you do when your computer devices lose power? Most likely you would replace the batteries or plug it in for a recharge. Then all is well again… until the next time it dies.This was me during the last couple of weeks. First my wife’s computers died and wouldn’t turn on, a week later my computer died and also wouldn’t turn on, and finally, my cell phone decided to stop working as well.

 

Now some of you may not fret over things like this, but me, (you remember that geek that I mentioned earlier?), well I need to jump right in, figure out what’s wrong, and get it fixed… NOW! So as I initially started to troubleshoot things, I could see some indications of power in our computers, but still couldn’t get either of them to turn on. After using some primitive testing techniques unsuccessfully, I ended up feeling a little powerless and drained myself. I knew I had the skills and knowledge to figure these issues out, so what was I doing wrong?
 
I then removed the power supply from my computer, took it to the electronic store, and had them test it. When they plugged it into the tester, it only partially lit up because a part of it had no power going through it.  Now it was clear to me that all I needed to fix it was a new power supply.

 

Our lives are much like these computer devices… Just like they need a power source to be able to do what they were created for, we to need the Power of God in us to be able to do what we were created for.

So how do we get recharged or powered back up when we are drained?

  1. Pray and Ask for the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
    1. We should be filled with the power of the Holy Spirit in us.  

      In Acts 1:8a, Jesus tells us “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you;”

    2. How can you receive the Holy Spirit?  All you need to do is ask.

      Matthew 7:7a states “Ask, and it will be given to you;…” 

  2. Be in His Word.  This is how we get to know God.
    1. We should be filled with His Word.

      Hebrew 4:12 says – “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”

      Jeremiah stated in Jeremiah 15:16a, “Your words were found, and I ate them, And Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart;”

  3. Be in prayer and fellowship with our Lord.
    1. Do you remember how it felt when you were a teenager and you would hang out with your best friend? You couldn’t wait to do everything together, you knew you could always rely on each other, you had the best times together, you laughed, had fun, and you were joyful.
    2. Now imagine how it would be having that kind of fellowship with your Lord and Savior. How do you think you would feel then?
    3. 1 John 1:5-7 says: 

      5 This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.


Remember how my computer’s power supply was only partially getting power through it? We can be the same way if we only allow God in parts of our life. In order to be fully charged, we need to let Christ completely into our lives.The best way for us to get recharged with the Power of God, is to fill your hearts, your minds and your souls with the things of God.
  • Be in Prayer
  • Be in God’s Word
  • Be in fellowship with Him 
 
So be filled with Jesus;
John 3:30 says “He must increase, but I must decrease.”
Let Him remove the things of the world and replace them with the things of God
Psalm 107:9 states: “For He satisfies the longing soul, And fills the hungry soul with goodness.”
Be hungry for the things of God and be filled with His goodness.
Ephesians 4:23 states “be renewed in the spirit of your mind,…”
Be renewed daily, in His Word and in fellowship with Him.

Now, much like all those different computer devices I mentioned earlier that need power or a regular recharge, we too at times need a power to draw upon to recharge from. How do you think you would look, if God placed a Power Tester on you right now? Would it light up showing you were fully charged for God? Or would it be dim indicating something in you needed to be replaced?Be truthful and ask yourself, what power are you relying upon? Is it in the things of this world or is it in the Power of God? Truth be told, we all likely need to have some things replaced in us in order to be fully charged for God.

 

Spending time in fellowship with Him and in His Word are the best power supply sources we have available. So recharge yourself, and as you tap in to Him and His Word, then allow God to replace those things in your life that dim His power in you.

Encouragement: Dig into His Word, for the Power of God is revealed all throughout it.

1 Corinthians 1:18 – For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
1 Corinthians 2:5 – that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.
1 Corinthians 4:20 – For the kingdom of God is not in word but in power.
 
By Bobby Ross
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Breakfast With Jesus

Devotion by Jon Young in John 21:5-7a,12a
 
My favorite meal of the day is breakfast. It’s actually the only meal I like to cook. I love to bless my family on an occasional Saturday morning and prepare a big breakfast. I also discovered that I could eat breakfast for lunch and even for dinner. A report I read on Web MD stated, “Your mother was right! Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day.”
 
John chapter 21 tells the story of 7 fisherman, lead by Peter, who go fishing the entire night, only to catch nothing. At dawns first light, Jesus appears on the beach grilling up some breakfast. He gives the men some directions, and suddenly – success! The net is full and heavy! There are many great lessons to learn in chapter 21, for example, the emptiness of a self-directed life, compared to the fullness of a God directed life. The fruitless works under my own power (verse 6 says “they” were not able to draw in the net), compared to a life submitted to Christ (In verse 11, Peter was able to draw the net in by himself after Jesus commanded him to). We also see that Jesus is able to do exceedingly, abundantly above all that we ask or think (Eph. 3:20). Verse 6 shows that Jesus gave them not just their daily need, but a multitude of fish.
 
This chapter is so rich but, for me, the important lesson is found in verse 5: Jesus simply asks, “Do you have any food“? I find myself getting so busy in life, that I miss out on one of my most basic needs – food; not the food that Jesus talked about in John 6:27, “. . . a food that perishes“, but everlasting food that only Christ can give us. John tells us in chapter 20:31, “But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His Name.” Jesus gave us these words of life, His living Word, the Bible.
 
Basic
Instructions
Before
Leaving
Earth
 
2Timothy 3:16 says, “. . .all scripture is given by inspiration of God . . . for instruction in righteousness”.
 
Where does the Word of God fit into your life? Is it the book that is picked up on Sunday mornings? Maybe a quick read before bedtime? Or, is it your lifeline, your very breath? Can you open the pages of this book with expectation that God can and will “feed” you, speak to you and instruct you? Jesus said, “Children, have you any food”? I love that He calls them “children”. I am reminded of John 1:12, “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His Name.
 
Do you have any food“? His disciples answered, “No.” When Jesus asks you, “Do you have any food“? How will you answer?
 
My suggestion, . . . pick up your Bible, and let Jesus tell you the words He told His disciples in verse 12: “Come and eat breakfast“!
 
By Jon Young
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Be Encouraged, Become an Encourager

Women’s Devotion
 
Ever have one of those days where you are just discouraged?  Maybe you are having doubts about your skills, something being asked of you, or even a situation that you might be facing.  Author Lysa Terkeurst of Proverbs 31 Ministries states it well in her title, “The Bathtub is Overflowing, but I Feel Drained.”   Can you relate? I sure can.  The enemy loves to drain our energy, clog our brain, dry us out, and leave us left with a ring of soap scum.
 
Thankfully, we don’t have to keep feeling down. God wants us to be refreshed and invigorated. God knew we would have moments where doubts and fears would creep in like mold growing in the corners of our minds. God wants us to be pure and clean. He cleanses and refreshes, so we can sparkle. He knows our thoughts and since the very beginning He has always been there to comfort; shape our faith, and spur us on. God is in the business of encouraging us.
 
According Webster’s Dictionary of 1828, to Encourage means
To give courage to; to give or increase confidence of success; to inspire with courage, spirit or strength of mind; Embolden; to animate, to incite, and to inspirit.
 
Just a few examples in the Bible where God encouraged others with words of comfort include:
 
1. After these things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision, saying, “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward.” (Genesis 15:1)
 
2. “Now therefore, do not be afraid; I will provide for you and your little ones.” And he comforted them and spoke kindly to them.  (Genesis 50:19)
 
3. Here God Comforts Joshua after Moses died by saying  “No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life; as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you nor forsake you. (Joshua 1:5)
 
4. “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)
 
5. Now Joshua uses the encouragement God gave him to likewise encourage the Israelites. “Then Joshua said to them, “Do not be afraid, nor be dismayed; be strong and of good courage, for thus the LORD will do to all your enemies against whom you fight.” (Joshua 10:25)
 
6. In the day when I cried out, You answered me, And made me bold with strength in my soul. (Psalm 138:3)
 
7. Jesus tells us, “ Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. “ (Matthew 11:28)
 
We know what Encouragement is, but how important is it?
 
It is Critical. When things are dark and gloomy, being encouraged makes for a brighter day. It renews and refreshes by giving us a glimmer of hope.  Encouragement is so important that God specifically gave it as a spiritual gift as seen in Romans 12:6a & 12:8a which states “We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us.  If it is to encourage, then give encouragement …
 
What Does an Encourager Look Like?
 
An encourager radiates. They sparkle and shine. Most importantly, they believe in you, even when you might not. They see the good hiding inside. They motivate and challenge you to be the best God wants you to be. They stick their neck out and stand by your side even when nobody else will.
 
For instance, Joseph of Cyprus, otherwise known as Barnabas, or “Son of Encouragement,” sought out Saul of Tarsus and brought him to the apostles (Acts 9:27). Barnabas was not scared of Saul and vouched for him that Paul was indeed a changed man, a man of God. He worked with Paul and traveled with him.  Barnabas was a key player in coming alongside Paul.
 
We likewise see Paul believing in and entrusting timid Timothy to hold down the fort while he was gone in order to help Timothy to believe more in our God, himself and guide the people to accept his leadership.  1 Thessalonians 3:2 states, “(we ) sent Timothy, our brother and minister of God, and our fellow laborer in the gospel of Christ, to establish you and encourage you concerning your faith
 
What Does An Encourager DO? 
 
An encourager not only sees a need to encourage others, but acts upon the need “to stir up love and good works… exhorting one another,” as described in Hebrews 10:24-25”.  Encouragement not only impacts the moment at hand, but encouragement at the right time changes lives FOREVER!

 

Jackie Robison, was touched by such an encourager.  

“Jackie Robinson was the first African American to play baseball in the major leagues. Breaking baseball’s colour barrier, he faced hostile crowds in every stadium. While playing one day in his home stadium of Ebbets Field in Brooklyn, he committed an error. The fans began to jeer him. He stood at second base, humiliated, while the crowd booed.

Then, without saying a word, shortstop Pee Wee Reese went over and stood next to Jackie. He put his arm around him and faced the crowd. Suddenly the fans grew quiet. Robinson later said that that arm around his shoulder saved his career. Pee Wee Reese was a true encourager that day–the one who stood up and said ‘I believe in this man.’”

 
And this was the type of person that Barnabas was. Barnabas saw potential in people when no one else did. He was willing to risk helping others, even when those risks involved his own reputation.
 
What Does an Encourager Think or Say?
 
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.” (Phillipians 4:8)
 
A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.” ( Proverbs 25:11)

 

Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, Sweetness to the soul and health to the bones.” (Proverbs 16:24)

Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.” (Ephesians 4;29)

 
Now that we know the qualities of an Encourager, we need to ask ourselves… who Can Be an Encourager?

 

All of us!  We OWE it to God & Each other. An IOU, if you will

1. (I) Reach In – Draw Near to God (James 4:8a)-  You need Him to fill you up, so He can pour you out.

 
2. (O) Reach Out – Encourage Others- Pray and look for eyes to see, ways to reach out, and bless someone.
 
3. (U) Reach Up – In all that we do, it to be done to give God honor and Glory!
 
Let’s Be Encouragers Together- Here’s Your Challenge.
 
This month you will see lots of Hearts everywhere.  I encourage you to be on the Lookout where God could use to brighten someone’s day.  Let’s fill Hearts with Encouragement.
 
Here’s a few ideas to get you started in a group setting:

 

1. First, Write your name on the card and pass it to the right. Smile. This person will be praying for you this week.  What an encouragement it is just know that prayers will be lifted on your behalf.

 
2. Be Encouraged- You are special.  Anonymously write a word of encouragement  to each person.  Don’t worry if you just met someone and you’re not sure what to say, God will give you something or a verse that you love and would like to share. 
 
3.  If you’re Married– Your assignment is to write your Sweet Husband a note of appreciation.  Encourage your husband with words he needs to build him up.  Let him know how deeply you RESPECT HIM and his guidance as your husband. Thank him for all that he does.  Remember, those qualities that made you fall in love with Him and the gifts God blessed gave him. Let him know that you are his biggest fan.
 
4. Kids-Do something special and make it memorable.  Perhaps, you can make a heart mobile. Write their name on the first heart, attach tape & add the next heart with a character trait or something you’ve been meaning to say to their heart. Keep adding more character/praise hearts until you reach your desired length.  Hang it up and surprise them before or after school.  (see  book 52 Things Kids Need from a Mom).

 

5. Friend– Be a friend. Lately only bills or junk mail make it our mailboxes. Surprise a friend with something better. Write them a letter of encouragement.

6. Stranger– How often have you gone to the grocery store and seen your cashier just having a bad day?  I’m sure they use a kind word or a smile. Make it a point give them grace.  What about the cashier that gave you extra friendly service? Compliment them.  Tell their smile brightened your day. Thank them for their hard work.

 
May you Be Encouraged Daily And Become a Daily Encourager
 
By Kerri Ross
 
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Learning To Fly!

eagles-with-baby-and-nest(smaller)“He found him in a desert land And in the wasteland, a howling wilderness; He encircled him, He instructed him, He kept him as the apple of His eye. As an eagle stirs up its nest, Hovers over its young, Spreading out its wings, taking them up, Carrying them on its wings, So the LORD alone led him, And there was no foreign god with him. (Deut 32:10-12 NKJV).
 
A mother eagle builds her nest on top of a mountain, usually on an unreachable ledge, extending out of a cliff that hangs over a chasm, thousands of feet below.
 
After the eagle builds a sturdy, safe nest, she feathers it.  She cushions it for her babies to make it comfortable and cozy.  When her eagles are hatched, she spends the first weeks feeding them, sheltering them, keeping them nestled and safe.
 
In this happy and peaceful setting, the eaglets grow fat and strong.  Soon they’re wrestling around in the nest, elbowing each other for room, and fighting to be the first to eat. Wise mom knows it is time to disturb the nest. 
 
Little by little, she starts pulling out the soft and cushy things.  The eaglets must wonder, “What’s with Mom?” as their nest becomes prickly and starts to poke them. It’s not so comfortable anymore.  So, they start working their way up from the bottom of the nest, trying to get away from mom’s strange and outrageous behavior, until they find themselves near the edge.
 
As they peek out over the horizon, they must think, Wow! what a big world!  It looks interesting, so they venture a little higher until they are perched right on the edge.  Suddenly Mom comes up from behind, and purposely pushes one little eaglet over the edge.
 
Well, at this point our little eaglet is convinced that mom is crazy.  He’s falling and falling, apparently plunging to his death. Fighting the currents in the wind, vainly flapping his baby wings, tumbling around out there in the middle of the air, scared to death.
 
Then, right before he hits bottom, Mom swoops down with her big powerful wings and catches him, carrying him up, and up back to the safety of the nest—until next time.
 
Over and over the eaglet tries to escape the thorniness and discomfort of his nest.  As he climbs toward the perch, mom sneaks up once again and pushes him out, and again he falls.  Each time, she catches him, but she knows that one day she won’t need to.  For each time he falls, his flapping at the wind gets stronger and more sure.  Finally the day comes when he is capable of flying on is own, soaring on the wind and learning to navigate by himself. 
 
And do you know howlearning-to-fly-eagle-in-the-sunset(smaller)jpg eagles navigate?
 
By the sun.  They look to the light for their guidance.
 
I believe this is God’s desire for us. That as we keep our eyes on Jesus who is the light of men, we will learn to soar! What an incredible encouragement and promise this is.
 
Read how Isaiah 40 says it:
 
“Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the LORD, The Creator of the ends of the earth, Neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the weak, And to those who have no might He increases strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, And the young men shall utterly fall, But those who wait on the LORD Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:28-31 NKJV)
 
Sometimes we can feel like we are all alone and sinking fast in this big world. But I want to remind you that you are not alone. God promises that He will never leave you nor forsake you. He is always moving and working things out on your behalf.
 
Just keep waiting upon Him; whether that is through your trials, serving or simply living for Him, trust Him with your whole heart and He promises you that you will soar!
 
You know, the Bible shows us a living God is always present, speaking, pleading, loving, working and manifesting Himself whenever and wherever His people have the willingness and desire to see Him.
But why does it seem at times, that the redeemed children of God themselves know so little of that experience?
 
Most would think it is sin, ad although that can certainly hinder your experience with God, the answer is because of our chronic unbelief. Faith enables our spiritual senses to function. Where faith is lacking the result will be inward numbness toward spiritual things. It is by faith, that you can I can experience all that God has for us! 
 
“But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6 NKJV)
 
A spiritual kingdom surrounds us, waiting for us to recognize it. God Himself is awaiting our response to His provision, protection and presence. This eternal world will come alive to us the moment we begin to consider its reality by faith.
 
Prayer: Lord, give us faith to believe, to see, to know Your awesome Provision, Protection and Presence in our lives. Bring the reality of your kingdom alive in our hearts and homes. And Lord, help our unbelief and help us to be led by your light. Teach us to trust you and fly. Amen.
 
In His Grace
Pastor Rudy
 
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Words From The Heart

“And indeed, now I know that you all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, will see my face no more. Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God… Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears. (Acts 20:25-27, 31 NKJV)
 
 
Near the end of Paul the apostle’s life, he met with his beloved brothers and elders of the church of Ephesus in a very emotional and purposeful meeting. And in this farewell message, he gave them some of the most meaningful encouragement and instructions that anyone could ever hear.
He said with confidence that he was “innocent of the blood of all men,” meaning that he could never be held accountable for anyone hearing the truth and not choosing Christ. The reason is given in the next sentence, “For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God.”
 
It is very important that we understand our responsibility is that of a herald. A herald had only one job, tell the subjects of the kingdom what the king has said; nothing more, and nothing less. As a herald of the King of kings, Paul gives the people the whole truth of God’s word, he holds nothing back. That is what Paul means when he declares “the whole counsel of God.”
 
As a result, Paul was one of the most successful in the bible at making disciples (followers of Christ). As you read about Paul’s ministry, he was surrounded by people who were always maturing and serving Jesus. What was the secret? It is found in verse 31 of Acts chapter 20, “Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears.”
Paul was not just a cold dispenser of doctrine and truth, but a warm, loving pastor, with a broken heart, for God’s people. It was because of love that he spoke truth to the people, because the bible doesn’t just tell us to speak the truth, it tells to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15).
 
The truth does not change, God does not change, but what makes a difference is how that truth is spoken. Sometimes when Christians share truth they do more harm that good. You have to be careful of the way you use the word of God; it is a sword, it is sharp, and you can hurt people or you can build them up with the same truth.
 
Be faithful to the King and proclaim His Word, but don’t forget that we are also ambassadors of Christ, and so we are also call to represent Him well. And for over thirty years now, I have always experienced love, compassion, grace and mercy from my Savior, and remember, it is His goodness that leads us to repentance.
 
We all know someone that we would like to see come to Christ, or mature in Christ. Give them the whole counsel of God’s Word, but do it with tears and a compassion that is motivated by love.
 
 
The Disciple That Jesus Loved,
Pastor Rudy
 
 
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What’s Eating Away At You?

So on a set day Herod, arrayed in royal apparel, sat on his throne and gave an oration to them. And the people kept shouting, “The voice of a god and not of a man!” Then immediately an angel of the Lord struck him, because he did not give glory to God. And he was eaten by worms and died. (Acts 12:21-23 NKJV)

Have you ever noticed how quickly anxiety or negativity can eat away your joy and vision? Believe it or not, that is not the worst of it. This is a process that started long before you experienced the lack of joy and peace; this was something that had begun eating away at you from the inside out like a worm.

In this passage, I believe the worm that ate Herod from the inside out, is symbolic of his spiritual condition as well. We are told very plainly that “the Lord struck him, because he did not give glory to God.” And the end result was that worms ate away at him until life was taken from him.

Like Herod, many forget that we were created to praise and glorify God. We do not praise Him because He needs a boost in self esteem, but because praise is due and He is worthy of our praise, even when we don’t feel like it.

And the reality is, if we don’t worship and praise God, we will worship and praise someone, whether some idol or ourselves, because the need to praise is built into us. But Isaiah tells us that God will not share His glory with another, and when we don’t praise God then we are sharing His glory with another: Usually the person or reason that prevented us from giving Him praise in the first place.

When we don’t give Him glory, it is not only counterproductive to the purpose of your life, but it eats away at you from the inside out and eventually you will die (spiritually speaking). What is the answer? Stop complaining. Praise Him. Thank Him continually! Praising Him in all things de-worms us!

In His Grace
Pastor Rudy

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Love That Restrains!

“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.”
(John 14:15)

One way we can remain responsible and loyal to Jesus is by retaining our first love for Him.

Long ago, a friend and I were going on a business trip to the Consumer Electronic Show in Las Vegas, NV. He was a surfer dude, very macho, and raw. Though I was sure I wanted to minister to him, while enjoying something we had in common, I said to myself, “This is going to be bad.” He’s not a believer. He’s going to chase every female he can see. But, by the end of the trip, he had never looked at a woman or made a single suggestive comment.

As we were looking at all the new gadgets and technology, he kept saying, “Oh dude, I wish my wife could have seen this.” Every day he called her and spoke of her. I realized he was totally in love with his wife, and it protected him from any other woman. He wasn’t even tempted.

By being fully devoted in love and totally committed to one person, he was totally free. I realized: that is the total freedom the apostle Paul experienced because he chose to be a “bond slave of Christ.”

The more in love with Jesus we are and the more surrendered our commitment to Christ, the freer we are. We discipline our desires; we discipline our natural inclination; we resist temptation because as Paul put it, love restrains us!

Prayer –
Father God,
Let us know more and more how much you love us, that we may fall more in love with you!

For Jesus sake, Amen.

In His Grace
Rudy

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Find Someone Who Needs Comfort And Pay It Forward!

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)

Have you ever been comforted by the mercy and love of our Heavenly Father?  What a true joy it is knowing that the Creator of heaven and earth would take the time to be concerned with our burdens.

How should we respond to this?


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