Saturday, December 1, 2007

DECEMBER NEWSLETTER 2007

Living Word Christian Fellowship

“That I may publish with the voice of thanksgiving...” Psalm 26:7

Vol. 16, No. 12 December 2007


Every time I think I am doing well, I get slugged by the enemy. But I am determined to fight on and press into the glorious image of Christ. I know what He is and what He wants is worth more than any battle I will ever experience.
Once again we are in the holidays and we can make it what we want. Don’t be discouraged because you don’t have what others have or can’t do what everyone else can do. Rejoice that you are alive and the Lord is your Savior. He is in control of your life. If you will acknowledge Him in where you currently are, you might find how good things really are in the Lord.
I hear the bad news every day. It is very depressive. But as soon as I get my mind on the Lord I find favor and goodness flowing from the throne of God.
We are warned of these days and are not to take them lightly. Take heed to what you know to be true and keep focused on the Lord Jesus Christ. Anything else will bring you down to despair. Our glorious hope is in the fullness of time that is taking place. That is the fullness of Christ coming to maturity in His Bride. Let all your senses be trained to recognize His working power in you and to know the changes that are taking place are more wonderful than previously imagined.
Heb 5:14 “But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, [even] those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.”
Today the body must have meat in order to sustain these days of difficulty. And with the Lord’s direction and help, it shall take place.
Look where you have already come from. Not too bad if you think about it.

In Christ,

Pr. Steve

The House Is Being Established



Mic 4:1 (KJV) “But in the last days it shall come to pass, [that] the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it.”
Gen 5:24 “And Enoch walked with God: and he [was] not; for God took him.”
To have an ever-increasing awareness of the presence of God is to walk with Him. The glory of His presence is when the heart burns, the soul becomes fascinated with holiness, and a sense of His nearness fills our thinking.
God created us for one purpose – to experience Him.
Psalm 46:1 tells us that God is an ever-present help in trouble. Yet in Psalm 27:4 David desires to behold the beauty of the Lord (in the midst of trouble).
I do not want to put seeking a spiritual experience above seeking the Lord Himself. I believe there is just a longing that God has placed upon His people that has not been there previously. We are looking for a “heart-to-heart relationship with God which goes beyond anything we have ever experienced.”
In Solomon’s day, God’s glory came to the temple. In our day, God’s glory is coming to His temple, which we are.
Today the temple is “being fitly framed together.” According to 1 Pet. 2:5 we are called living stones that are being build into a spiritual house. This spiritual house is going to be filled with the glory of God. And the time is fast approaching when individuals who have found relationship with the Lord will become a corporate expression to God so His glory can be revealed.
To see the people of God as a holy temple in which He manifests His glory causes me to recognize my responsibility to my brothers and sisters. It keeps me focused so my attitudes and actions will make me the kind of stone that can be “fitly framed” into His temple. For until we are built together, we will not satisfy God’s requirement for His manifested presence.
Micah tells us the day is coming when the house of the Lord will be established in the top of the mountains. I believe it is possible this day has begun.
· Established = fitted or framed
· Top = to the head
· Mountain = to loom (appear as a light)
Solomon’s temple was destroyed because of the sin of Israel. After a period of time it was permitted to be rebuilt under Zerubbabel. Ezra shows us that once the foundation was finished, opposition came against them. It took two prophets, Haggai & Zechariah to keep Zerubbabel encouraged to finish the task. Haggai is the one who gives us the prophecy:
Hag 2:9 “The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former, saith the LORD of hosts: and in this place will I give peace, saith the LORD of hosts.”
I want you to notice, there was no opposition from the enemy when the foundation was being laid. It was only when the enemy saw them joining “stone to stone” that the enemy became angry. We have a country that has churches built with the foundation of the Kingdom of God with relatively little opposition. But where they are trying to build upon that foundation all hell is breaking loose.
Foundations are times when people reflect upon themselves, while stone laying is when we reflect on others. When a stone is being laid next to another stone – that is building relationships – that is reflecting the beauty of Christ. [Little notice is made with one stone, but add to it, and the building begins to take shape and gets noticed.]
But this is where our enemy begins to attack. He highlights people’s faults, exposes their behavior and produces conflicts with each other. We begin to think it is too difficult and exasperating to bear others’ idiosyncrasies. After awhile, we say “I don’t need this” and we take our stone out of the building. {Well, without your stone, the building is put on hold until a replacement can be found.} (Does this make sense?)
Hag 1:2 (KJV) “Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, This people say, The time is not come, the time that the LORD'S house should be built.”
Well, when is the time? To oppose the building of the temple is to oppose God. And to oppose God is to disobey. And to disobey is to withdraw the manifested presence of God. Today we have many foundational churches without the presence of God in them. THE POWER OF GOD IS RELEASED WHEN WE OBEY GOD’S VOICE. An atomic reaction takes place until multitudes are affected.
Rom 5:19 (KJV) “For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.”
For others to follow, requires only one person’s obedience, for it is obedience that releases the grace of God to bring many to Jesus.
Hag 1:4-5 (KJV) “[Is it] time for you, O ye, to dwell in your cieled houses, and this house [lie] waste? (5) Now therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways.”
Consider your ways! It is truly right to put your own needs and concerns above others? Is it truly right for you to give up when the going gets tough? We have to stay tough until the process is complete. It is more enjoyable to back away and fulfill our lives with family, fun, and festivity. It is hard work to cultivate relationships that are lasting.
We have to keep building until:
Eph 4:13 (KJV) “Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:”
The house that is being built is the relationships we are developing at the local level of the church. God has called us to be faithful to the building. When He sees we mean business, the glory of His presence will be revealed.
Psa 133:1-3 “Behold, how good and how pleasant [it is] for brethren to dwell together in unity! for there the LORD commanded the blessing, [even] life for evermore.”
That life is the presence of God Almighty. Eph.4:3 tells us that unity is a bond of peace. IF I REALLY WANT TO EXPERIENCE THE GLORY OF HIS PRESENCE, THEN I MUST ALLOW THE MASTER BUILDER TO FIT ME INTO HIS TEMPLE, even if it costs me my comfort.
The evil of our day has caused us to withdraw from people. We must not become casualties of this war. Allow God to build a relationship through you.
Hag 1:6 (KJV) “Ye have sown much, and bring in little; ye eat, but ye have not enough; ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink; ye clothe you, but there is none warm; and he that earneth wages earneth wages [to put it] into a bag with holes.”
When we don’t have enough, we don’t give proper attention to the temple of God – we don’t allow the Holy Spirit to fit us together for the glory of God. Instead, we will go around in dissatisfaction and disappointment.
Hag 1:7-11 (KJV) “Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways. (8) Go up to the mountain, and bring wood, and build the house; and I will take pleasure in it, and I will be glorified, saith the LORD. (9) Ye looked for much, and, lo, [it came] to little; and when ye brought [it] home, I did blow upon it. Why? saith the LORD of hosts. Because of mine house that [is] waste, and ye run every man unto his own house. (10) Therefore the heaven over you is stayed from dew, and the earth is stayed [from] her fruit. (11) And I called for a drought upon the land, and upon the mountains, and upon the corn, and upon the new wine, and upon the oil, and upon [that] which the ground bringeth forth, and upon men, and upon cattle, and upon all the labour of the hands.”
These people did not give up until the opposition became too great. Yet, God still rebukes them sternly. Why? Because He saw they were missing their destiny. DO WE TRULY WANT TO SEE THE MANIFESTED GLORY OF GOD IN OUR DAY?
What can we do to get the process finished?
When Solomon had the temple built, he gave instructions that no cutting, shaping and polishing of the stones would take place at the temple site. All that took place at the quarry. Only after this was completed was the stone permitted to go up the mountain to be fitted together. ARE WE ALLOWING GOD TO CUT, SHAPE & POLISH US WHERE WE ARE? Until we do, when we try to fit we are going to rub someone the wrong way. It is difficult to fit together when the world sees division, schism and competition.
To be rightly fitted means to be refined in the fires of testing so we are not left to ourselves. Every unique edge must be chiseled and polished so we can fit. Being rightly fitted means we must die to our personal preferences and allow room for God to show Himself to us.
We must remain humble as God sets us in His place of purpose. You may be the first row of stones placed on the foundation – that might make you feel pretty important. But how will you feel when all the others stones are placed around you and you won’t be noticed. That means you must give up your rights – all jealousy and envy just to be what God wants. IF WE LOVE HIM AS WE SAY, THEN WE WILL ACCEPT WHAT HE DOES WITH US.
Remember we have no say in where we are placed. We simply must maintain the faith that the Master Builder knows exactly how to perfect the building of the Temple.
When we allow this to happen, we are then closest to the heart of the Father. When we embrace His Work, His Way, then we discover the depth of His presence.
Mic 4:2 (KJV) “And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.”
Once we are fitted and joined to the head, then we will appear as a light to others who will then come and be taught to walk in the Kingdom of God from everlasting to everlasting.

-Pr. Steve

I am going to be sharing with you thoughts from my journal over the past few years. This is to show you how the Lord has brought about His Word in my life to minister to you and to show you how real this walk can be. Please read and understand by the Spirit about ...

. . . My calling as a pastor


Pastor’s Journal 2006
Dec. 1: I thank You for a peace that far exceeds what the world offers. In the midst of sickness and pain You are the God of comfort and purity. I live in it and I live by it. There is no other way. Glory is in Christ. Victory is by following the way of the cross and finding my rest in You. I am eternally blessed and I am receiving the goodness of the Lord.
Dec. 2: “With every setback it has pushed you closer to Me. Nothing has been lost. My favor is upon you to bring about My will for Living Word. Do not be weary, the victory and fulfillment will come.”
Dec. 4: “Do not allow feelings, thoughts or words to defeat you. The battle is to monitor the victory. If you give in to the darkness, you will experience defeat, but I say, ‘Victory is yours already.’”
Dec. 6: The steps of a righteous man are ordered by God.
Dec. 11: “Do not allow discouragement to lead you. Let hope lead. Do not allow anger to lead you. Let love lead. Do not allow confusion to lead you; let peace prevail. That is when you clearly know and understand Me and My direction for your life.”
Dec. 18: “Walk in peace. Perfect peace have they whose mind is stayed on the Lord. Don’t allow the thoughts to defeat you; but stay in My perfect peace, knowing that I deliver those who seek My face.”
Dec. 19: “There is coming a move of My Spirit that will cost everyone who is a part of it. Don’t be swayed by the counterfeit that will offer you everything freely. My way is the way of suffering.”
Dec. 25: “Do not be shaken or troubled in your mind that the day of the Lord is at hand until there be a great falling away. You are following My direction. Remember, you are in warfare. Whether you fight or not, the battle still goes on; but if you fight, there you will experience victory and blessing because My hand is directing you.”
Dec. 26: Life is fragile, love is strong.
Dec. 28: “For you never to stumble or fall, you must continually be adding and increasing in faith, goodness, knowledge, self-control, endurance, godliness, brotherly affection and love. Do not allow anything to distract you from pressing into those things so that the pressures of the world will not over take you.”
Dec. 29: “Come let us reason together, saith the Lord. Let us settle once and for all the matters that hinder your progress so you can move forward!”
Dec. 30: Remember – Courage – Courage- Courage. It will bring you through every situation!

The Great Escape



Most of the times during the Christmas season people think about what they might receive. This Christmas we can think about the things we have already received, but from which we may not be getting the full benefit.
2 Peter 1:2-11 (KJV) “Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, (3) According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that [pertain] unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: (4) Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. (5) And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; (6) And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; (7) And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. (8) For if these things be in you, and abound, they make [you that ye shall] neither [be] barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. (9) But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. (10) Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: (11) For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.”
All who have been born again have received a wealth of Gods’ precious promises, and are now able to partake of His divine nature. Wow! Those are some awesome privileges, and they have been given to us for an awesome purpose: “That through them we may escape the corruption that is in the world through lust.” We all need to set as precedence in our hearts that our purpose in life is to accomplish the things we are called by God to do. Sometimes people get drawn back into the old corrupt ways they walked in before they were born again then find themselves in worst condition than before.
Genesis 19:17 (KJV) “And it came to pass, when they had brought them forth abroad, that he said, Escape for thy life; look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the plain; escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed.”
That account in Genesis 19 is about Lot and his family being told to flee from Sodom because it was going to be destroyed. The warning was given: “Look not behind thee, escape for thy life.” To escape means to flee, shun and be secure from danger; to avoid an evil. The Lord had clearly declared it a life and death situation. But Lot’s wife just could not resist looking back, and so she was instantly transformed into a pillar of salt. Though Lot did not look back, he did, however, ask God if he could go to a different town instead of proceeding up the mountain. Lot’s example does not give us license, but it does set a precedence of the possibility of seeking the Lord about the situations instead of just turning to sin. Ultimately, the situations we endure are designed to deliver us from evil and to strengthen us in our relationship with Christ.
Psalms 141:8-10 (KJV) “But mine eyes [are] unto thee, O GOD the Lord: in thee is my trust; leave not my soul destitute. (9) Keep me from the snares [which] they have laid for me, and the gins of the workers of iniquity. (10) Let the wicked fall into their own nets, whilst that I withal escape.”
We can cry out to the Lord and He will hear us! That crying out is a form of praying to the Lord. People sometimes think that they don’t know how to pray or what to pray about, but the truth is that we all need to entreat the Lord for wisdom to avoid the snares and pitfalls of the enemy. Prayer is not about what we feel, it is all about the matter of life and death. He who consistently chooses life escapes death.
1 Corinthians 10:12-15 (KJV) “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. (13) There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God [is] faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear [it]. (14) Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry. (15) I speak as to wise men; judge ye what I say.”
We are tempted, and our faith is tried in many ways every day. Therefore we can understand our need for a living way of escape. We must not take God for granted. We must constantly seek the Lord our God through prayer and through His word, both spoken and written. This quest is a major part of our relationship with God. The direction, protection and wisdom that we receive as we seek Him are all part of His precious promises for us.
Luke 21:33-36 (KJV) “Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away. (34) And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and [so] that day come upon you unawares. (35) For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. (36) Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.”


-Kurt A. Thurston