Words of Encouragement
Words of Encouragement
Moving forward? Forgetting? Forgiving? Believing? After a year like 2020 those are things we will all have to do. How do we do those things without God? How can we move past the hurt this year has caused? How do I put my trust wholly in YOU? How do I forgive those who have done me wrong? How do I believe that YOU really do have our best interest at heart? How do I believe that all things work together for YOUR good? When we go thru things that we feel like drain all the goodness out of us, that's when GOD says, wait, trust me. He said in Isaiah 55:9 "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts." JESUS is the only way we can find restoration and peace in our soul. HE is the way, truth and light. When we say, "I can't", GOD says, "Let me." When we learn to put our trust in HIM, our whole life will have a different outlook. Why live in fear when HE can calm those fears? Romans 15:13 says, "Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost." When we put all of our hope in HIM, all of those things will come easy. You want to move on and build a better life for you and your family? Put ALL your trust in HIM. You want to forget? Forgive. You need to believe again? Have the faith.
Isaiah 40:31 "But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew [their] strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; [and] they shall walk, and not faint."
In this coming year, lean on HIM. Let your faith be larger than your fear. Hold to GOD'S unchanging hand. When the storms of life seem to loom above, trust HE knows. HIS grace is sufficient and HIS mercy is new every morning.
God’s grace touches every area of our lives, and we need it in order to please Him. He has granted us favor and mercy so that we can be born again, granting us entrance into the Kingdom of God when we believe and obey Acts 2:38. Only through the grace of God can we be saved from our sins. “For by grace are ye saved through faith: and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)
Grace teaches us how we must live. “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in the present world.” (Titus 2:11-12)
God’s grace abounds to each of us, even in our sins and failures. “For where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.” (Romans 5:20)
Grace causes us to hope in God’s everlasting mercy, for we are justified by grace. “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God; being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 3:23)
“My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)
“Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16) (by Crawford Coon)
Learning to Seek Him
Learning to Seek Him
It's Christmas time! Houses are decked out with shining and sparkling lights, presents are wrapped neatly under the tree, churches are practicing for their annual Christmas programs and the wonder of the season is reflecting in the eyes of children. Most people love this time of year, but also are happy when it's over because of all the busyness of the season. There is always a lot of parties, rehearsals, planning, sending Christmas cards, and making sure that turkey and ham is big enough to feed all the in-laws.
This time of the year is truly joyful and sweet memories are always made. But, with all of the hustle and bustle of the season, we sometimes forget what the season is all about. We get so caught up in our to-do's, Jesus is put on the backburner.
In the book of Luke, we can read the story of Jesus' life on this earth from beginning to the end. We read how Mary was hand picked by our creator to become the mother of Jesus. We read how Joseph was trusting enough to become the baby's earthly father. The story tell us about the journey to Bethlehem and the miraculous birth of our savior, and how shepherds sought to find the King of Kings. In Matthew 2 is the story of the wise men who sought baby Jesus to bring Him gifts.
As Jesus grew older, there were people who sought after Him. The story of the woman with the issue of blood is found in several books of the Bible. (Matthew 9:20–22, Mark 5:25–34, Luke 8:43–48) In Luke 19:1-10, we read about the story of a wee little man named Zacchaeus who sought Jesus. There was also a man named Nicodemus, who wanted to know more about this man named Jesus and how it was possible to be born again. There are other stories of people who sought after our merciful savior. In Acts 8, Luke 18:38-43, and Matthew 9:2-8 are more stories of people seeking Jesus.
Seeking Him should be our first priority, even in this crazy, fast paced month. After all, He is the reason for the season. But, not only in December; we should seek Him every month, everyday. He is the same Jesus now as He was in the Bible. (Hebrews 13:8) He wants a relationship with us all the times. It says in Luke 19:10, "For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost." Jesus came to save us from our sins. He paid the ultimate price by being born in such humble surroundings, and at the end of His life dying on an old rugged cross, where His blood flowed to cover all corners of the earth. That same blood reaches for us today. He wants to wash your sins away so you can be in the place He is preparing for us. He is always waiting there with open arms, ready to pick you up and turn your life around. He loves you and desires you to seek Him.
Learning to let God Navigate
In September of 2018, we had the privilege of attending Summit in Pigeon Forge, TN. We flew out of Albuquerque, into Denver and then into Nashville. I am not a huge fan of flying, because I don’t like heights. But overall it was an awesome experience. On the way home our flights got all re-routed and we ended up flying from Nashville to San Diego, and then on to Albuquerque. It was such a long day by the time we got home. Most of the flights were uneventful and most pilots let us know where we were flying over. It was so amazing to look out the window and see how the land scape changed, from luscious trees to dry desert, to majestic snowy mountains to the vast ocean. The flight from Nashville to San Diego was smooth and enjoyable, considering we had to be re-routed. Our landing into San Diego was without any hiccups and although it was frustrating in the airport, we didn’t have a long layover and were soon on our way.
The airplane we were on from San Diego to Albuquerque was quiet and dark. The stewardess was so kind and was a great tease. The flight wasn’t long and soon we saw the lights of the city. However; the landing was nerve wracking, scary and I hope to never experience that again. When the plane landed on the runway, it went left and right, on wheel and then the other. It was so bumpy and I was trying to hold a 6-month-old on my lap without letting her head hit anything. We were praying!
In the midst of all the flights and confusion of the day, a thought came to me; Be careful who pilots your plane.
In this world there are so many different pilots. We can let anyone influence us to go this way or that way, and the end result can be devastating or joyful.
“No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.”
If we choose the wrong master, or pilot, our eternity is chosen for us. We can go with the wrong pilot and end up crashing and burning.
John 10:10 10
"The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly."
You choose what the devil can steal. You choose what he will kill and then he will destroy you.
OR, You can choose to let Jesus pilot your plane and have “Life everlasting.”
“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
As Fall approaches, school will be starting and there will be so many choices to make. What friends you will be around, what classes to take, and the extra-curricular activities you will be involved in. In every decision we make, we will be choosing what pilot is navigating our plane. We need to live our life for The Glory of God. In everything we do, let us make wise decisions.
1 Corinthians 10:31
“Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.”
Choose wisely who you let navigate your life.
Learning to Lead
Learning to Lead
He hath shown thee, O man, what is good: And what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God. (Micah 6:8)
Every man is the leader of his family. Whether he is a good or bad leader is up to him. Leading is a hard responsibility and one that every godly man should prayerfully consider. It is the man’s responsibility to lead his family in the ways of the Lord. How can a man lead his family in such a way that they would be saved? The Word of the Lord gives us many examples of godly leadership. Of Abraham the Lord said, “For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment”. Jacob commanded his family, “Put away the strange gods that are among you, and be clean and change your garments; and let us arise and go up to Bethel; and I will make there an alter unto God.” Joshua chose for his family the road they would take, “Chose you this day who you will serve, but as for me and my house we will serve the Lord.”
Choosing the right road: Every man is responsible to the Lord for his house. Not the building, but his family. God held Eli responsible for his sons because they did evil and he didn’t restrain them. Choosing the right direction for your family will make all the difference in where they spend eternity. Doing what is right before the Lord, and showing your children how to live godly is a heaven or hell issue for them. When children see their father filled with the Holy Ghost and living a godly life at work or at home, they have an example to follow in their own lives.
Showing mercy: A man represents the Lord to his children. When God declared himself to Moses, the first attribute He listed was merciful. The Lord’s very essence is full of mercy. We must show our children mercy just as the Lord has shown mercy to us. When a father is merciful and kind to his children, they learn that God is merciful and kind too.
Walking in the fear of the Lord: The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Walking fearfully and carefully before the Lord, believing that He will judge every thing that you do, is a wise road to take. Teaching our families to respect and reverence the Word of the Lord, the Name of the Lord, and the House of the Lord is wisdom.
As we celebrate Father’s Day this month, let us carefully and prayerfully choose to follow Jesus and be the father that He designed us to be.
Learning to be Filled
Learning to be Filled
THE PROMISE OF PENTECOST. Pentecost is a Jewish Holiday celebrating the giving of the law on Mt. Sinai. The voice of the Lord thundered as He spoke, and there was fire and smoke on the mountain. It was there that God wrote the law on two tables of stone and gave them to Moses. This was the defining moment in their history. They were not just a group of people that had been delivered from slavery and were looking for a home, but at Mt. Sinai they became God’s people. He made a covenant with them, they were given laws to govern themselves, the Lord declared ownership of them, and they agreed to be God’s chosen people. He would lead them into their new home, fight their battles, deliver them from their enemies, and they agreed to follow.
The giving of the law was a promise of things to come. In Jeremiah 31:33, the Lord said that the day would come when He would write his law in the hearts of men. In Ezekiel 11:19-20, He said He would replace their hearts of stone with hearts of flesh, so they could understand his law and know Him.
These promises were fulfilled on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2. Jesus had told his disciples before He ascended to go to Jerusalem and wait for the promise of the Father.
“And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as a rushing, mighty wind, and it filled the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.”
Just like at Sinai, the Glory of the Lord was present; in the wind, the fire, and the voice of God as He spoke through each of them. This is what still happens today when a repented heart is filled with the Holy Ghost. We don’t see the fire or hear the wind, but all who are filled will speak in tongues, “As the Spirit gives them utterance”. God writes His law in our hearts to lead and guide us, we take on His Name in baptism, and we become one of His people.
Learning to Surrender
Learning to Surrender
A young lady, by the name of Mary, was visited by an angel and told news that would change her life forever. The angel said, “The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore, also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.” At this news, Mary said something we would be wise to learn.
She told the angel, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word.” There was a spirit within Mary that surrendered her will and gave way to a higher calling. She learned to surrender. (Luke 1:26-38)
A man named John the Baptist, who was the forerunner of Jesus Christ, came forth preaching and baptizing unto repentance. We read of this man many times throughout his ministry, up until he was beheaded. “He it is, who coming after me is preferred before me, whose shoe’s latchet I am not worthy to unloose.” (John 1:27). John also said, “He must increase, but I must decrease (John 3:30).
There was a common spirit in Mary and John. It was a spirit that said, “I must learn to surrender. It’s not about my life or what I can gain out of this situation.” NO, there was something deep down that flowed from them that said, “Not my will but Your will must be done”.
As we enter into the next few weeks, we look forward to celebrating Easter, the resurrection of our Savior Jesus Christ. We must examine the life that Jesus lived, and through his example we can learn to surrender our will. In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus prayed before they took and crucified him. It’s important to understand that Jesus knew exactly what cup He was to drink out of, He knew what was coming His way, and still He prayed that day, “Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless, not my will, but thine, be done” (Luke 22:42). Oh, what a Savior! What a God that for the Joy that was set before him endured the cross (Hebrews 12:2).
Let me tell you, saint of God, today you must learn to surrender. If I can learn to surrender to His Will and His Word, everything else will come in time. Let us Learn to Surrender today.
Learning to Live
Learning to Live
Spring---a time of renewal, rebirth, hope, and new life. Winter is past. Green grass shoots up from the thawing ground,
tiny buds appear on barren trees, and flowers peak their pretty blossoms out of the snow. It is the season of hope;
bringing to life that seed buried beneath the cold winter ground.
So too can be the condition of our souls. Buried beneath the bitter cold of broken dreams and hopeless situations lies the seed of life waiting for the fresh breath
of God . Just as the warm wind blows away the cold frost of winter, the Holy Ghost sweeps over our souls and the voice of God whispers to us,
Into the silence of four hundred years, a voice spoke. Zachariah heard it. Mary and Joseph heard it. Angels announced it to shepherds on a hillside.
Simeon heard it. The Wise Men saw it's Glory.
Life was coming!!
Jesus has come that we might have life abundantly. No more does darkness have to reign in our lives. Hope can replace our despair. He will give us joy for our sorrow, beauty for ashes.
The Lord calls to us, "Incline your ear and come unto me: Hear, and your soul shall live." (Isaiah 55:3). He tells us, "I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: choose life, that both you and your children shall live." (Deuteronomy 30:19).
He shows us, "In him (Jesus) was life; and the life was the light of men" (John 1:4). He pleads with us, "Come to me, that you might have life" (John 5:40).
He gives to us, "I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world." (John 6:51).
We receive that life when we repent of our sins, are baptized in the Name of Jesus for the remission of our sins, and
receive the gift of the Holy Ghost! Now that everlasting life dwells within us! What joy! What hope!
Let us receive the Gospel of Christ!
Let us Live!!
LEARNING TO LOVE
LEARNING TO LOVE
GOD IS LOVE. Humanity is made in the image of God, and whatever is good in us comes from our Creator. Love is the best attribute that we can have. The Word of God tells us in 1 Corinthians 13 what love looks like:
Love is patient and kind,
Love does not envy, or exalt itself;
Love is not proud.
Love behaves wisely,
Love is not selfish or easily angered.
Love thinks no evil.
Love does not rejoice in sin, but rejoices in truth.
Love bears all thing, believes all things,
Hopes all things, endures all things.
LOVE NEVER FAILS!
The Bible tells us how to love: love without deceit (Romans 12:9), love with humility (Galatians 5:13), love abundantly (1 Thessalonians 3:12), love continually (Hebrews 13:1) love sincerely and fervently (1 Peter 1:22) and love without fear (1 John 4:18).
The Bible also tells us who to love. We are to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength; and love our neighbor as ourselves (Mark 12:30-31). We are to love one another (John 13:34-35). We are to love our enemies (Matthew 5:44). We are to love our families (Ephesians 5:25, Titus 2:4). We are to love our leaders (1 Thessalonians 5:12-13).
“Love is a multifaceted subject touching all our lives in some measure. When love is absent, we are all the poorer for it; when it is present, both the loved and those who love are richer. Love is costly, but hate exacts a far greater toll. You have the capacity to love as a person; as a Christian, that ability expands to incomprehensible heights. Love confirms your Christianity, while the absence of it removes the designation from your name. Allow Him who is love to love through you: become an open channel for God’s love to flow through.”
Apostolic Foundations, Bible Principles To Live By, by Crawford Coon
Learning to Trust
Learning to Trust
Bow down thy ear, and hear the words of the wise, and apply thine heart to knowledge. For it is a pleasant thing if thou keep them within thee; they shall be withal be fitted in thy lips. That thy trust may be in the Lord, I have made known to thee this day, even to thee. Have not I written to thee excellent things in counsels and knowledge, that I might make thee know the certainty of the words of truth; that thou mightest answer thy words of truth to them that sent unto thee.
Trust is not an inherent characteristic or trait of humans. Due to Adam’s fall, people inherently distrust. Nothing creates distrust quicker than deceit, and this is exactly what happened to Adam and Eve along with the rest of the human race. Satan deceived them. Listening to Satan results in blatant distrust toward everything and everybody. Distrust is one of the most miserable, defeating, debasing spirits we can allow to live in our mind and heart. By all means we should rise above it and walk in the light and quietness of trust. God’s word can be depended on.
There are three major avenues through which we may acquire trust in God.
1. God’s Word. The Bible is one of the most valuable instructors available to teach us how and whom to trust. We cannot acquire trust in God without absolute confidence in His Word.
2. Personal Experience. Serving God will bring encounters with all types of experiences, and from these we will learn to trust God
3. Instruction. Receiving instruction from others based on God’s Word and their experiences can be a shortcut to our goal if we will only listen.
Faith is a necessary ingredient in establishing trust in God. Trust holds faith in place. Doubt displaces faith, while trust anchors our faith in God. When our faith does not alter our circumstance, trust enables us to accept life as it is. When we have faith in God, it will mature into trust; trust then keeps us from becoming bitter when our requests are not granted. Faith expects, trust accepts. Faith produces change, trust submits to unchanged circumstances. Faith is believing, trust is knowing. Trust is the ultimate relationship between humans and God, nothing supersedes it. Trust never stands alone without faith, for faith is the essential cornerstone upon which it stands. When prayers are not answered as you wish, do not abandon your faith, just simply trust Him. (Excerpted from Apostolic Foundations by Crawford Coon)
Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus
Just to take Him at His Word
Just to rest upon His promise
Just to know thus saith the Lord
Jesus, Jesus, How I trust Him
How I've proved Him o're and o're
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus
Oh for grace to trust Him more